Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
Numbers 35 - Cities are set aside for the Levites who have no allotment of land. Six cities are established as cities of asylum where homicides can take refuge. In addition there are 42 other cities together with pastureland. The land is to be ceded by the other tribes in accordance with the size of their respective allotments. The deal with the cities of asylum is that homicides shall not be subject to blood vengeance (by the family of the victim) “unless he is first tried…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 5th mo. 24, 2013 at 5:51am — No Comments
Job 27 – Job continues, maintaining that for “as long as there is life in me and God’s breath is in my nostrils, my lips will speak no wrong, nor my tongue utter deceit” (27:3-4).
“I will never concede that you are right; I will defend my integrity until I die. I will maintain my innocence without wavering. My conscience is clear for as long as I live” (27:5-6).
Job goes on to speak nearly the same “wisdom” he has heard with such…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 3rd mo. 8, 2013 at 6:07am — No Comments
Job 10 – Job says he is disgusted with his life and must complain about it. “I will say to God, ‘Don’t simply condemn me—tell me the charge you are bringing against me’” (10:2).
Job believes God does not “see” with the eyes of men – God is eternal and so mysterious, it is pure pride to claim any kind of “knowledge.”
“You guided my conception and formed me in the womb. You clothed me with skin and flesh, and you knit my bones and sinews together. You…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 2nd mo. 28, 2013 at 6:09am — 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
Introduction: The Interpreter’s One-Volume Commentary (Nashville: Abingdon Press. 1971), notes that while this book is typically classed as “wisdom literature,” the “wisdom” here is mostly from the mouths of the three of Job’s friends and is not much respected. The thoughts of Job form a kind of anti-wisdom writing.
The “wisdom literature” tradition was not just Jewish. There are examples of similar stories in many different…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 2nd mo. 23, 2013 at 5:51am — No Comments
Wisdom 18 – For the Jews, however, this time of darkness – the three days described in Exodus 10:21-23 was a time of light. “[F]or your holy ones all was great light” (18:1).
To them God granted a “pillar of blazing fire to guide them on their unknown journey” (18:3).
Then, as the Egyptians had earlier (c.1200 BC) attempted to kill all the firstborn of the Jews, they now suffered the loss of their firstborn in the 10th plague. It is this…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 8th mo. 29, 2012 at 7:58am — No Comments
Wisdom 17 – “Your judgments are indeed great and inexpressible, which is why undisciplined souls have gone astray. When impious men imagined they had the holy nation in their power, they themselves lay prisoners of the dark, in the fetters of long night, confined under their own roofs, banished from eternal providence” (17:1-2). This passage is very difficult to see at first; it is about the ninth plague suffered by the Egyptians – three days of darkness [see Exodus…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 8th mo. 28, 2012 at 8:34am — No Comments
Wisdom 15 – The justice and patience of God are focused on here. “If we sin, we still are yours, since we acknowledge your power, but knowing you acknowledge us as yours, we will not sin” (15:2).
Those who fashion works of clay or silver or gold forget that they too have been fashioned from earth, but they spend no time thinking of the “imminent death or on the shortness of life” (15:8). They misconceive “the One who shaped him, who breathed an active soul into him and…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 8th mo. 27, 2012 at 7:18am — No Comments
Wisdom 12 – “Little by little, therefore, you correct those who offend, you admonish and remind them of how they have sinned, so that they may abstain from evil and trust in you, Lord” (12:1-2).
The author explains that God made way for the Jews in the holy land of Canaan because the ancient people there practiced loathsome rites of child sacrifice. Yet God “treated them [the Canaanites] leniently . . . [giving] them a chance to repent”…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 8th mo. 24, 2012 at 6:41am — No Comments
Wisdom 10 – He starts here to go over the history of human beings and Wisdom’s place in that history from Adam to Moses. “The father of the world, the first being to be fashioned, created alone [unique in nature], he had her [Wisdom] for his protector and she delivered him from his fault; she gave him the strength to subjugate all things” (10:1). The Jerusalem Bible footnote explains that “she” delivered Adam through the practice of repentance and…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 8th mo. 23, 2012 at 7:40am — No Comments
Wisdom 9 – Here Solomon pleads with the Lord to grant him Wisdom: “‘God of our ancestors, Lord of mercy who by your word have made all things, and in your wisdom have fitted man to rule the creatures that have come from you, to govern the world in holiness and justice and in honesty of soul to wield authority, grant me Wisdom, consort of your throne, and do not reject me from the number of your children” (9:1-4).
We – like Solomon – are “feeble . . . with little…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 8th mo. 22, 2012 at 7:46am — No Comments
Wisdom 6 – This is addressed specifically to the kings of the world. Power is a gift from God and must not be abused. We can see it as advice to all who have political power and ever all who have any kind of authority over other people:
“[P]ower is a gift to you from the Lord, sovereignty is from the Most High; he himself will probe your acts and scrutinize your intentions” (6:3).
“Wisdom is bright and does not grow dim. By those who love her she is…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 8th mo. 21, 2012 at 9:01am — No Comments
Wisdom 3 – The souls of the virtuous are in God’s hand. It is true their death seems like annihilation, but they are at peace. “Their hope was rich with immortality” (3:4) The New Jerusalem note says this is the first use of the word “immortality” in the Old Testament. It means the abiding unity of the soul with God and does not yet mean resurrection of the body. “Those who are faithful will live with him in love; for grace and mercy await those he has…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 8th mo. 19, 2012 at 9:21pm — No Comments
Introduction to the Book of Wisdom from Lawrence Boadt’s Reading the Old Testament
The Book of Wisdom is known only in Greek and was possibly the last Old Testament book written. It contains philosophical arguments found in Philo of Alexandria and other Jewish writers in 1st c. BC. The author is interested in reassuring the Jewish community in Egypt that keeping their faith is worthwhile despite hardship in a pagan land. The focus is on salvation…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 8th mo. 17, 2012 at 7:04am — No Comments
Sirach 51 – A beautiful psalm of thankfulness and praise – thankfulness for God’s (Wisdom’s) interventions in the writer’s life, praise for all the good that flows from “her.”
“I am determined to put her [God’s wisdom] into practice, I have earnestly pursued what is good, I will not be put to shame. My soul has fought to possess her, I have been scrupulous in keeping the Law; I have stretched out my hands to heaven and bewailed my ignorance of her; I have directed my…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 8th mo. 16, 2012 at 6:43am — No Comments
Sirach 37 – On False Friendships: “[S]ome friends are only friends in name. Is it not a deadly sorrow, when a comrade or a friend turns enemy?” (37:2)
On Advisers: “Any adviser will offer advice, but some are governed by self-interest” (37:7). You should always know what the interests of your advisers are, so you can properly judge their advice.
“Do not consult a woman about her rival, or a coward about war, a merchant about prices, or a buyer…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 8th mo. 4, 2012 at 6:41am — No Comments
Sirach 25 – “There are three things my soul delights in, and which are delightful to God and to men: concord between brothers, friendship between neighbors, and a wife and husband who live happily together” (25:1-2).
The three things his “soul hates” are a “poor man swollen with pride, a rich man who is a liar and an adulterous old man who has no sense” (25:3-4).
The old should rejoice in their experience and wisdom.
And then come…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 7th mo. 27, 2012 at 9:00am — No Comments
Sirach 24 – “Wisdom. . . glories in herself in the presence of the Mighty One” (24:1-2). ‘I came forth from the mouth of the Most High, and I covered the earth like mist. . .Over the waves of the sea and over the whole earth, and over every people and nation I have held sway. Among all these I searched for rest, and looked to see in whose territory I might pitch camp. Then the creator of all things instructed me, and he who created me fixed a place for my tent.
Added by Irene Lape on 7th mo. 26, 2012 at 9:55am — No Comments
Sirach 4 – He begins with lines of advice on dealing with the poor, the angry and the destitute, “for if a man curses you in the bitterness of his soul, his maker will hear his imprecation. Gain the love of the community, bow your head to a man of authority. To the poor man lend an ear, and return his greeting courteously” (4:7-9).
“Whoever loves her [wisdom] loves life, those who wait on her early will be filled with happiness” (4:12). For, “though she takes him at…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 6th mo. 22, 2012 at 6:53am — No Comments
The Apocrypha – Books of the Old Testament – about 16 of them - included in the Septuagint and Latin Vulgate but not in the Masoretic Bible or the Protestant Bibles. The word in Greek originally meant “hidden” or “secret” – thought to be somewhat beyond the reach of ordinary readers - but because of the exclusion of some of the texts from the Masoretic text, compiled by Torah scholars between the 7th and 11th centuries AD. Their criteria was generally to accept…Continue