Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
Judges 17 – A man in the hill country of Ephraim, who has taken 1100 pieces of silver from his own mother, returns it to her; and in gratitude (?) she gives him 200 to make an “idol” for him. His name is Micah. He sets up a shrine, makes an ephod and teraphim and installs one of his sons as a priest. It’s as if he is starting his own cult from his own house. The writer simply says “In those days there was no king in Israel; all the people did what was right in…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 6th mo. 20, 2013 at 5:57am — No Comments
Leviticus 20 – Penalties for sins: If you offer your children as a sacrifice to Molech – death.
Consulting fortune-tellers – this is called “spiritual prostitution” and is punished by cutting them off from the community.
If you “act as mediums or . . . consult the spirits of the dead” (20:27), then you must die by stoning.
Dishonoring father or mother – death.
Adultery – death for…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 5th mo. 1, 2013 at 6:32am — No Comments
Leviticus 17 – Every sheep, goat or ox must be presented as an offering to the Lord in front of the Dwelling before it can be slaughtered for food. The blood needs to be splashed on the altar and the fat burned.
Offerings previously were made to “satyrs” [goat-demons] but this shall be no more (17:7).
This differs from Deut.12 where slaughter is permitted as long as the blood is poured out—scholars disagree which practice came first, Schocken says. …Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 4th mo. 28, 2013 at 6:00am — No Comments
Exodus 18 – Moses’s father-in-law, Jethro (AKA Reuel) brings Zipporah, Moses’ wife, and their two sons, Gershom/Sojourner There and Eliezer/God’s Help, to Moses at the mountain of God, and he rejoices to hear all that the Lord has done. The Schocken Bible points out that the wilderness or “trek” narratives, Exodus and Numbers, have six stations or stops between Egypt and Sinai, and then six again from Sinai to the Promised Land. Here they…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 3rd mo. 30, 2013 at 5:51am — No Comments
Exodus 17 – The people in the desert are thirsty and again they complain to Moses. Again, they belabor Moses with their complaints about the things they lack as “free” men. “Moses cried out to the Lord, “What should I do with these people? They are ready to stone me” (17:4).
God instructs Moses to take his staff, “the one [he] used when [he] struck the water of the Nile” (17:5) and to strike a rock at Horeb, near Mt. Sinai so that water will come out of…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 3rd mo. 29, 2013 at 6:30am — No Comments
Job 8 – Now Bildad of Shuah speaks to him, censoring him for talking too much. “Does God twist justice? Does the Almighty twist what is right? Your children must have sinned against him, so their punishment was well deserved” (8:1-3).
Bildad’s advice is similar to that of Eliphaz – Job or someone in his family MUST have done something to bring this misery on him, “but “if [he] pray[s] to God and seek[s] the favor of the Almighty. . . if [he is]…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 2nd mo. 27, 2013 at 6:16am — No Comments
Job 6 – The misery Job feels is heavier than the sands of the seas. It is no wonder then that he speaks a little wildly – carelessly. “Don’t I have a right to complain? Don’t wild donkeys bray when they find no grass, and oxen below when they have no food?” (5:5)
“”Oh, that I might have my request, that God would grant my desire. I wish he would crush me. I wish he would reach out his hand and kill me. At least I can take comfort in this: Despite the pain, I…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 2nd mo. 26, 2013 at 5:39am — No Comments
Job 2 – Again the Sons of God [and Satan] assemble, and again God praises Job. This time Satan asks to be given power to afflict Job’s “person,” or his personal “health” (2:4). Job is smitten with boils from head to foot. His wife seems annoyed at his patience with God. “’Are you still trying to maintain your integrity? Curse God and die.’ (2:9)
Job responds to her with these words: “’You talk like a foolish woman. Should we accept only good things from the hand…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 2nd mo. 24, 2013 at 5:30am — No Comments
Psalm 81 – “Sing praises to God, our strength. Sing to the God of Jacob. Sing! Beat the tambourine. Play the sweet lyre and the harp” (81:1-2). Let us celebrate our God who gave us the narrative we live by, whose presence we have felt and whose direction has given our lives purpose.
“He made it a law for Israel when he attacked Egypt to set us free. I heard an unknown voice say, ‘Now I will take the load from your shoulders;…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 12th mo. 26, 2012 at 6:42am — No Comments
Psalm 66 – “Come and see what our God has done, what awesome miracles he performs for people. He made a dry path through the Red Sea, and his people went across on foot . . . For by his great power he rules forever. He watches every movement of the nations; let no rebel rise in defiance” (66:5-7).
“Our lives are in his hands, and he keeps our feet from stumbling” (66:9).
“You captured us in your net and laid the burden of slavery on our backs. Then you put a…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 12th mo. 20, 2012 at 6:16am — No Comments
Psalm 12 – “Help, O Lord, for the godly are fast disappearing! The faithful have vanished from the earth! Neighbors lie to each other, speaking with flattering lips and deceitful hearts” (12:1-2).
People don’t seem to care any more whether they lie or do violence to others. Reading the words of this psalm make me realize that probably every generation has looked around and seen terrible things, things that put us to shame as a people. But…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 12th mo. 5, 2012 at 7:05am — No Comments
Added by Irene Lape on 11th mo. 30, 2012 at 8:05am — No Comments
Ezekiel 21 – The same prophesy of destruction is directed to the people of the Negeb. The King of Babylon will stop at the crossroads that lead either to Jerusalem or to Rabbah of the Ammonites, and there he will conduct all kids of magic to see which one he is meant to attack. It will be Jerusalem. But the Ammonites too, practitioners of all kinds of “lying omens,” will be slaughtered.
The prophet here seems to wander away from the…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 11th mo. 2, 2012 at 6:27am — No Comments
Ezekiel 14 – Ezekiel is visited by the Elders of the people, but he is called to testify against them because they have “enshrined idols in their own hearts” (14:3) and have not been faithful. Ezekiel is to tell them this in no uncertain terms, and Ezekiel “hopes to touch the heart of the House of Israel who have deserted me in favor of a pack of idols” (14:5).
Come back, he urges. But the retribution God plans will not touch the holy ones – those like Noah or Daniel…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 10th mo. 25, 2012 at 7:10am — No Comments
Ezekiel 10 – The prophet sees another very hard-to-follow vision: above the vault, over the cherubs’ heads, something that looks like a sapphire and above this a throne. The man in white (the vision of chapter 8) is told to take burning coal from between the cherubs and scatter it over Jerusalem.
The man goes into the courtyard of the Temple and a cloud fills the inner court. “The glory of Yahweh rose off the cherubs,” and the court is filled with the brightness of the…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 10th mo. 23, 2012 at 5:58am — No Comments
Introductory Information for Nahum: A poem celebrating the fall of Nineveh, the capital city of Israel’s ancient enemy, Assyria. The fall of Nineveh was seen as the judgment of God upon a cruel and arrogant nation.
The Assyrian state arose sometime in the 25th-24th century BC; beginning in the 10th c. BC, it grew strong, conquering even Egypt and eventually the entire Middle East. It was eventually brought low by prolonged civil war…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 10th mo. 16, 2012 at 7:36am — No Comments
Hosea 4 – The condition of Israel is pitiful in Hosea’s eyes: “there is no fidelity, no tenderness, no knowledge of God in the country, only perjury and lies, slaughter, theft, adultery and violence, murder after murder” (4:1-2).
The priests and the prophets are denounced for their failure to guide. “My people perish for want of knowledge. As you have rejected knowledge so do I reject you from my priesthood” (4:6). They will pay for their misdeeds, more than those they…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 10th mo. 12, 2012 at 6:00am — No Comments
Amos 9 – In another vision, the prophet sees the Lord standing by the altar asking that the building be reduced to rubble so that no one can escape. God has led not only the Jews. He has led the Philistines and the Aramaeans too. The Israelites cannot just rest on their laurels, thinking God will always be by them. But his anger will not strike all. There will be a remnant, “For now I will issue orders and shake the House of Israel among all the nations, as you shake a sieve so…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 10th mo. 10, 2012 at 7:49am — No Comments
Amos 8 – Amos says the Lord showed him “a basket of ripe fruit” – an image for the people of Israel “ripe for destruction” (8:2). “I will no longer overlook its offenses” (8:2).
“Listen to his, you who trample on the needy and try to suppress the poor people of the country, you who say, ‘When will New Moon be over so that we can sell our corn, and Sabbath, so that we can market our wheat?” (8:4-5). They use the profits they make to buy fancy things.
Added by Irene Lape on 10th mo. 9, 2012 at 6:54am — No Comments
Amos 5 – Like a virgin who dies before enjoying the joys of marriage, Israel will “lie all alone on her own soil, with no one to lift her up” (5:2). Yahweh says this to the House of Israel, “Seek me and you shall live” (5:6), but Yahweh will not be found in the sanctuaries where sacrifices are offered. It is the Lord “who made the Pleiades and Orion, who turns the dusk to dawn and day to darkest night. He summons the waters of the…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 10th mo. 8, 2012 at 7:36am — No Comments