Thursday, March 31, 2011

1 Samuel 8-11 God Save the King

1 Samuel 8-11

Samuel's sons are rotten priests.  A retelling of the sons of Eli?  The verbiage is VERY similar.

2:22 Now Eli was very old, and heard all that his sons did unto all Israel; and how they lay with the women that assembled [at] the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.

8:1 And it came to pass, when Samuel was old, that he made his sons judges over Israel.
Now the name of his firstborn was Joel; and the name of his second, Abiah: [they were] judges in Beersheba.
And his sons walked not in his ways, but turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment.

The people want a king but Samuel isn't buying the idea.  He talks to God about it, who tells him go ahead and find himself a king.
We then get to meet Saul.  Whadda think happens?

I liked this story/parable.  It shows Saul as a common man with a great destiny (seems to be a running theme).  
I like the ending where they find the asses.  How about you?  ;-)

We'll overlook the 'oh, by the way, we smote the Ammonites in the heat of the afternoon sun' thing.
It's like they HAD to throw in a killing to make the story complete.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

1 Samuel 5-7 God's Road Trip

1 Samuel 5-7

The LORD spends a few days with the Phillies but it doesn't go well.
Golden mice and hemorrhoids?!?!  Is there another meaning for this that I'm not getting?

God doesn't really punish the Philistines for kidnapping him (other then the 'roids) but he immediately kills over 50,000 of Israelites when they look into the ark.

Even so, he takes credit for defeating the Philistines and keeping them out for a bit.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

1 Samuel 1-4

1 Samuel 1-4

Samuel is born.
Eli's sons are no good.
The Philistines kick the Israeli's collective ass and take the ark of God.  

Shouldn't God have known this would happen?  Or is his real plan about to unfold?  ;-)

Enhanced by Zemanta

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Ruth 1-4 Sisters are doing it for themselves

Ruth 1-4

The entire Book of Ruth in one sitting!

When life gives you lemons, thresh some barley for Boaz, the land owner.
I read this very short book wondering why is was included in the OT.  It didn't really make sense until the last verse.
The linage of David.  Nuff said.

I did like getting an extremely rare (perhaps only?) look at the plight of women in these days.  Their options must have been very limited.

My question is: Is the focus of this story about the women trying to get by or about the generosity of the male, Boaz?
Enhanced by Zemanta

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Judges 17-21 The Final Judgement

Judges 17-21

Micah steals money from his mom but then cops to it and is then "Blessed by the LORD"  I think the storyteller is being sarcastic.
She wanted to use the money for graven and molten images.  Micah uses the rest to hire a Levite.

Chapter 19 is an obvious retelling of the story of Lot and Sodom & Gomorrah but with a grotest twist .

Chapter 20 is all about the Benjamins.  Still not exactly sure why they would go to war against the rest of the tribes (other then condoning the gang rape of chapter 19).  After the battle in which al the women were killed, only 400 Benjamin males remain.  What to do?  Wipe out another group and take their virgins.  But alas, we're 200 virgins short.  They pick up the remainder by kidnapping girls dancing in the fields.

You can't make this stuff up.  Or can you?
Enhanced by Zemanta

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Judges 14-16 Samson aka Proto Jesus

Judges 14-16

Much like the opening of the New Testament, an angel of the LORD visits a woman and tells her she will bear a child that shall be a savior.  He'll also be a long haired hippie.
She is impregnated by someone other then her husband.  The husband seems OK with the deal.
The angel gives her some very sound advice; don't drink wine and eat well.

The difference between Jesus and Samson?  Jesus was a fairly peaceful man.  Samson is a short tempered asshole, who first thought murder and mayhem.

Samson starts off as a petulant brat, insisting that his parents get him a (nameless) Philistine woman for a bride instead of an Israelite.
His hormones ragging, he kills a lion with his bear hands!  Later the carcass of the lion is filled with honey which leads to a good meal and a riddle.

"Out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth sweetness."

Samson's buddies threaten to burn his house down when they can't solve the riddle.  Time to get some new friends!

His wife gives her friends the answer to the riddle, Samson is enraged and kills thirty random men (with the help of the Spirit of the LORD) to pay off his debt.

He kills, kills again, meets Delilah, loses his hair and eyes, kills again and dies.
Moral of the story?  If you want to kill a ton of people, just ask The LORD to help.

I love (actually, I'm horrified) that every few verses of the Samson story deal with him killing and destroying, yet this is considered a "children friendly" Bible story.  With A LOT of glossing over of course.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Judges 11-13 Jephthah, what a lousy name for a hero

Judges 11-13

Jephthah, the son of a harlot is cast out by the "real family" of Gilead, but the elders come crawling back when they need a mighty warrior to defeat the evil Ammon.

Jephthath (just rolls off the tongue doesn't it.) makes a deal with The LORD to insure victory but it comes at a pretty steep price.  His virginal, only daughter with no name is to become a burnt offering.
She's OK with the idea as long as she can still go on spring break before she becomes a burnt offering.

The Gileadites kill thousands of Ephraimites when they can't pronounce Shibboleth correctly.  I'm sure I would have died by the edge of their sword if they asked me!

BTW, why is it important that the sons, daughters and nephews of the leaders rode on ass colts?
Why is this important information but we never learn what the Israelites do to piss off God repeatedly?

Enhanced by Zemanta

Monday, March 21, 2011

Judges 7-10 Gideon Saves the Day

Judges 7-10

Gideon, like Moses starts out as a man not ready to accept his destiny.  But, god shows him some magic tricks and Gideon becomes a blood lusting warmonger.

God wants all the credit for the killings so he sends home 90 percent of the Israelites that came to fight.  taking "Every one that lappeth of the water with his tongue, as a dog lappeth"

The enemy end up killing each other (I think).  I hope they still gave The LORD credit!

Judges quickly gets very vague about the Israelites doing evil in the eyes of the lord.  It seems like every time God turns his back, the Israelites get to whoring and Baal worship.  

I was happy to see God finally say NO MORE! at 10:13.  To bad he caved as soon as the Israelites apologized.  
Enhanced by Zemanta

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Judges 4-6

Judges 4-6

Jammed at work this weekend.   Enjoy the continuing adventures of our hearty adventures!
Enhanced by Zemanta

Friday, March 18, 2011

Judges 1-3 Something, Something Something, Dark Side

Judges 1-3

Surprise!!! Judges starts out with the Israelites at war with the Canaanites!
We get a new leading man (pun intended) in Judah.

Fair warning.  My comments are going to be fairly snarky.

Adonibezek tries to run but is caught and has his thumbs and big toes cut off.  More twisted violence from God's chosen people.

1:12 is a retelling of Caleb giving his daughter away as a prize for killing .  The original telling is in Joshua 15.

More instances of God not being able to fulfill his covenant with the Israelites.  Apparently, some people are more powerful then God.  Or maybe he was on vacation when the Israelites went to war.

I'm going to argue semantics here but are they saying COULDN'T drive out or DIDN'T drive out.
Why did they allow these people to stay and live?

Chapter 2 acknowledges that God doesn't like the peaceful cohabitation.

Then things take a turn for the worse.

The next generation (I'm unclear on passage of time) turns away from God, which, of course, pisses him off greatly.  He somehow sells them to the enemy (would love to know how that process went down) but then, "raised up judges, which delivered them out of the hand of those that spoiled them."
Who is this Judge? The Holy Spirit?  It says that the judge dies.  So confused 

Chapter 3 is a repeat of chapter 2.  Can the editing of this book be any worse?

My favorite part about these chapters is that there is so much vagary (40 years pass, Israelites screw up again, 18 years pass) and then we get an ULTRA detailed account of an assassination by a zealot!!!

Ehud, the assassin then leads a raid into Moab that kills thousands of hikers.

Sometimes reading the OT gives me a headache.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Joshua 21-24 I Shall Call This Alter... ED

Joshua 21-24

We reach the end of Joshua.  The book and the man.
This book has a satisfying ending (a sense of completion) unlike most of the previous books we've been thru.  

The Levites get their cities and everyone goes off happy to their own little piece of the Promised Land.
21:43-45 Tells us that the LORD has given the Israelites all the land he swore unto them, but the previous chapters give us several instances were he couldn't drive out the rightful owners of the land(16:10, 17:12).  He shouldn't have over-promised.

But wait!  The children of Reuben, the children of Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh have built an alter in their land on the other side of Jordan.  Surely they must be up to no good!  The rest of the Israelites send an investigative party to find out why.  they're (rightly) afraid that God will punish everyone for the crimes of the few.
Turns out everyone was worried about nothing as the alter is for praising the LORD.

Here's a Hmmmm moment.  God asks the Israelites which of the many gods they will serve.  Him, the pre-flood gods or the god of the Amorites.
He seems to give them a choice here where, before they got to the promised land, he would have destroyed them .  Interesting.
24:15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

We end with another recap of God mass killings before Joshua takes his final bows before the people.  

I'm curious.  Apart from the need to change the name, this book seems like it should be part of the Pentateuch.  It's a direct continuation of the story and bookends Exodus nicely.
Is the separation due only to being written AFTER the death of Moses?

Anyway, now that the Israelites are settled into the Promised Land, I'm guessing that the Book of Judges will be much more peaceful.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Joshua 17-20 Where For Art Thou LORD?

Joshua 17-20

I just noticed that the LORD has no input from chapters 12-19.  He is mentioned many times but he is not directly heard from for over eight chapters.
There's nothing to read into this, only an observation.

The remaining tribes seem to resurvey the promised land and redraw the maps.   Am I right about this?

These chapters are pretty boring.  Nothing new is gleaned but I may have glossed over something in my boredom.

We end with restating of the cities of refuge.

One more day of Joshua and then on to Judges, which we'll finish in one week.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Joshua 13-16 And She Lighted Off Her Ass

Joshua is old. There is still much land to conquer.  How much time has passed between chapter 12 and 13?  5 years?

God and Joshua (I tend to first write Moses when I talk about interaction with God.  It's really ingrained in my brain!) discuss the borders of the promised land.

Here is a map of how the land was divided up.

At 14:7 we suddenly go to first person.  Is it Caleb speaking?  Why does he get the center stage all of a sudden?

15:63 As for the Jebusites the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the children of Judah could not drive them out: but the Jebusites dwell with the children of Judah at Jerusalem unto this day.

16:10 And they drave not out the Canaanites that dwelt in Gezer: but the Canaanites dwell among the Ephraimites unto this day, and serve under tribute.

What the heck?  God couldn't drive the Jebusites out of Jerusalem?
Enhanced by Zemanta

Monday, March 14, 2011

Joshua 9-12 Whole Lotta Smoten Goin' On

Joshua 9-12

Joshua and the Israelites continue to kill untold numbers as they continue to occupy the Promised Land.
The only thing that stood out for me in these chapters was that God stopped the Earth's rotation so they Israelites would have enough sunlight to chase down and slaughter the fleeing enemy.  God helps out by killing the majority with giant hailstones.Nice.

Chapter 12 ends with a wrap-up of with a fond remembrance of all the kings they killed.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Donate to the Red Cross Japan Relief if you can.

The above is a link to an article at The Ultimate Apple Weblog.  It will take you to the online iTunes store or launch iTunes on your computer if it's installed. I'm linking to the article because clicking on the link just opens iTunes for me and I can't get a direct link to the store.  Sorry.

It's an easy way to help with the relief efforts in Japan after the horrible devastation they experienced, and continue to experience.

I have a friend who lives near the coast of southern Japan.  He and his friends are alright but he says the devastation is unimaginable.

Also, please donate blood if and when you can.  It seems are nations blood supply is in a near constant shortage.
I'm donating on Friday, March 18 at Northwestern University Medical School in downtown Chicago.
If you live in Chicago, sign up and join me.

If you want to donate blood elsewhere, you can go to the Red Cross site directly to find a location.

Help if you can.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Joshua 4-8 In The Land of Milk and Honey and Bloodshed

Joshua 4-8

5 chapters today but it's a pretty easy and action filled read.

The Israelites cross Jordan and enter the promised land.  Joshua commemorates the event by preserving twelve stones (4:9), or did he (4:20)?

All young males are circumcised and the older ones re-circumcised (?)  Why did they stop the tradition while wandering in the desert?

The first thing on their agenda after stepping foot on the promised land is to continue the massacre of the inhabitants.  Jericho is first on the list.

The priests practice some psychological warfare against Jericho by blowing horns and marching around the locked up city.  It must have been pretty scary for the inhabitants.  But they didn't live in fear for long because the Israelites brought the walls down and killed every living thing inside except for Rehab the harlot and her family.

But Achan has to go and screw up by coveting.  God's reaction?  Sending a small army to Ai to get it's ass kicked.  This humbles the Israelites.

They make things right by stoning and burning Achan, his family, cattle and possessions.  Sounds reasonable.

The Israelites are then able to attack and destroy Ai (in a very clever move IMO).
The laws of Moses are once again written in stone.

Another happy ending.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Friday, March 11, 2011

Joshua 1-3 Be Strong and of Good Courage

Joshua 1-3

New book and new leading man.  Joshua, son of Nun.  Great name for a sci-fi cowboy comic book!

After the death of Moses, the Lord changes his name to Jehovah and commands Joshua to cross the Jordan.  But first two spies are send out to recon the first city of Jericho.
They immediately go to the home of a prostitute.  At first, this caused me to raise an eyebrow but then I looked at it from perspective of the spies.  They would want to go somewhere where a lot of questions wouldn't be asked.  If you're going to a prostitute's house, people will just assume you've come into town to get your jollies (nudge, nudge).
Of course, their presence is somehow made known to the king almost immediately and Rehab the harlot makes a deal to save the spies in exchange for the sparing of herself and her family when the Israelites march in and kill everyone.

When the spies return, Joshua gives his/God's marching orders and as the priests (or the 12 representatives of the 12 tribes) step into the Jordan, the waters recede.

They're almost there!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Atheist Jokes?

My sister ( Buddhist) sent me some Catholic jokes today.  It got me to thinking, I don't think I've ever heard an Atheist joke.

Share 'em if you got 'em.
Enhanced by Zemanta

I'm Back

Three more 18+ hour days in Miami.  Stepped outside the hotel once for dinner.
We'll start Joshua tomorrow with 1-3.
Good night.

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Foundation

From Edward


The first division of the sacred canon of the Old Testament is generally designated as the Torah (i.e, the Law.) The noun torah is from a root yarah, "to throw" or "to shoot," and means "direction," "law", "instruction." As a designation of the first five books of the Bible, the word is employed in a more restricted sense to stress the legal element which forms so great a part of these books. This usage does not exclude the narrative or historical sections, but rather includes them, since they form the fitting background or framework for the legislation.1 These first five books are also known as the Pentateuch. The work Pentateuch is derived from the Greek word pentateuchos, meaning "a compilation of five" or "five-volumed [book]." ... Origen, a third-century church father, was the first to give the name Pentateuch to these five books of Moses.2


The Jews designated the book according to its first word, B'reshith ("In the Beginning"). Also in Talmudic times it was also called "Book of the Creation of the World". The title "Genesis" us from the LXX rendering of 2:4a, "This is the book of the geneseos of heaven and earth," The word means "origin," "source," "generation," and has been adopted by most translations as the title of the book.3

This first book of the Bible is a history of the creation of this world and it's first inhabitants and continues up until the Hebrews are brought into Egypt. We have learned about the perfect paradise that God had created for man, and mans rebellion against the one rule God placed on man, don't eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. 4 Man grows and populates the earth but becomes exceedingly wicked. So bad man has become that God decides to wipe them out, all except one family. Noah found grace with God 5 and was saved from this disaster.

There are some people that believe that the flood was local and only in the Mesopotamian valley. However in the Bible it records "and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered." emphasis mine. 6 This only being local brings in more problems than it solves. And the people had to be really stupid, because all they would have to do was move to survive it. Also if you look around the globe you see evidence of a global flood. H.S. Bellamy in Moons, Myths and Men estimates that altogether there are over 500 Flood legends worldwide.7 Depending on what worldview you look at the evidence will determine the interpretation that you get from those evidences.

After the flood man rebels again and won't go forth and replenish the whole world. So God confuses their languages thus giving them a reason to disperse and fill the whole earth. There is a solution for every problem. :-D

Granted there is the "Tablet Theory" that suggests that portions of Genesis were originally written on clay tablets by men who personally experienced the events described. The tablets were later compiled by Moses.8 I think this is more plausible than the JEDP hypothesis.

The author of Genesis wrote the events because he believed that they really happened. He also wanted his readers to believe that they had happened. It's interesting there are scholars that stoutly insist that the biblical writer was wrong -- that the events in Genesis 1-11 never happened, but the meaning they gave to "history" is so valuable we need to extract it and apply it to present life situations.

Here one cannot but pose a question: If the meaning the biblical writer proposed for history led him to construct, intentionally or naively, a past that never happened, may not this same "meaning" lead later writers to abuse the past by talking about "events" that never happened? And if we adopt the meaning of history found in Genesis 1-11, or any other part of the Bible are we not likely to build a totally incorrect picture of events happening today?9


The book of Exodus was called by the Jews after its opening words, we'elleh shemoth ("And these are the names"), or simply shemoth ("names"). The LXX designated it, according to its central theme, Exodos (the word appears in Ex. 19:1), and the Vulgate, Exodus.10

The book of Exodus is the link between the preparatory history that is contained in Genesis and the remaining books of the Law. The Hebrew children have a new Pharaoh that did not remember Joseph11, and the Hebrews having grown to such a size that it brings concern to Pharaoh and he decides to deal harshly with them12. Moses is born put into a basket and sent down the river. Pharaohs daughter finds him, and decides to keep him. Moses get's older knows about his past, sees an Egyptian smiting one of his Hebrew brethren. Moses thinking he was alone and nobody looking decided to take out the Egyptian. However the second day he goes out and learns that someone was watching him. This causes Moses to panic and run for his life.13 Pharaoh wanted him dead now as well.

Moses spends some time tending sheep and then spies a burning bush. Upon his investigation God speaks to Moses from the bush. I know Bruce mentioned something about God being in Heaven (i was being to lazy to fetch the reference, then thought better of it. :-D ). In Exodus 3:8 God says "I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians... I know late answer. :-D
After some lengthy dialogue Moses agrees to go up to Pharaoh and demand the people be set free. It takes 10 plagues climaxing in the killing of the first born before Pharaoh releases the Hebrews.

The Hebrews are on their way out of Egypt and come to the Red Sea. Now some people say this is interpreted wrong and should be the Sea of Reeds or Reed sea. However i guess if you look in the right place and seek the truth it will be revealed. There is a place in the Gulf of Aqaba where evidence of the crossing of Moses and the Hebrews have been discovered.14 I find when it comes to believing the Bible or man, as history has shown me, the Bible has not lost yet. :-D

The Hebrew children make it across the Red Sea and to Mt. Sinai. The people are now ready to be organized as a theocratic nation, and hence must receive the legislation necessary for such organization. This legislation consists of three parts: that given at Mt. Sinai (Exodus, Leviticus), that given in the wilderness wanderings (Numbers), and that delivered in the plains of Moab (Deuteronomy). The remainder of Exodus (i.e., 20-40) concerns that legislation given by God to Israel at Mt. Sinai.15

The Commandments Exodus 20

  1. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
  2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in the heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:
  3. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain;
  4. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
  5. Honour thy father and they mother:
  6. Thou shalt not kill
  7. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
  8. Thou shalt not steal
  9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against they neighbour. AKA no lying
  10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's.

Which of these commandments don't you like and why?


Leviticus the third book of Moses, opens with the words "And he called" (way yiqra'), and is so designated by the Jews. In Talmudic times it was also called Law of the Priests (torath kohanim). In the LXX it bears the title Levitikon ("Levitical," an adjective modifying the word biblion, "book," which is to be understood). The Vulgate designates it simply Leviticus.16

In this book is a deep, underlying unity of plan and though which expresses itself in a twofold way. The first is it deals with the removal of that defilement which separates man from God and(1-16), secondly, it covers the restoration of the lost fellowship between man and God.(17-26)

There is nothing historical in Leviticus except the account which it gives us of the consecration of the priesthood (ch.8-9), of the punishment of Nabab and Abihu, by the hand of God, for offering strange fire (ch.10), and of Shelomith's son, by the hand of the magistrate, for blasphemy (ch. 24). All the rest of the book is taken up with the laws, chiefly the ecclesiastical laws, which God gave to Israel by Moses, concerning their sacrifices and offerings, their meats and drinks, and divers washings, and the other peculiarities by which God set that people apart for himself, and distinguished them from other nations, all which were shadows of good things to come, which are realized and superseded by the gospel of Christ.

We call the book Leviticus, from the Septuagint, because it contains the laws and ordinances of the Levitical priesthood (as it is called, Heb 7:11), and the ministrations of it. The Levites were principally charged with these institutions, both to do their part and to teach the people theirs.17

Aren't we all glad that we don't need to do the sacrifices anymore?


By the Jews this book is called "In the wilderness" (bemidhbar - the word is construct) or "And he spake" (wayedhabber). The LXX gave it the title "Numbers" (arithmoi), and this is followed by the Vulgate.18

The titles of the five books of Moses, which we use in our Bibles, are all borrowed from the Greek translation of the Seventy, the most ancient version of the Old Testament that we know of. But the title of this book only we turn into English; in all the rest we retain the Greek word itself, for which difference I know no reason but that the Latin translators have generally done the same. Otherwise this book might as well have been called Arithmoi, the Greek title, as the first Genesis, and the second Exodus; or these might as well have been translated, and called, the first Generation, or Original, the second the Out-let, or Escape, as this Numbers. - This book was thus entitled because of the numbers of the children of Israel, so often mentioned in this book, and so well worthy to give a title to it, because it was the remarkable accomplishment of God's promise to Abraham that his seed should be as the stars of heaven for multitude. It also relates to two numberings of them, one at mount Sinai (ch. 1), the other in the plains of Moab, thirty-nine years after (ch.26). And not three men the same in the last account that were in the first. The book is almost equally divided between histories and laws, intermixed.19

There are two things i took away from this this book. One was Moses not sanctify the Lord in the eyes of the children of Israel, and Moses then being told that he would not bring the congregation into the land which God had given them.20 I have covered this in the comments section on a previous post so i won't go over it here again.

Spies are sent into the promised land to see what it is like, 12 of them went in, only 2 came back and reported that they could take the land. The other spies said they could not take the land. The people believed them and not the 2. I guess majority is not always right. :-D And this was the second major thing i took from Numbers. The Hebrews not believing that God was with them, even seeing all that He had done to get them out of Egypt, are informed that since they rebelled and did not believe God that everyone 20 years or older would not be going into the Promised Land.

Also after reviewing this section i noticed that Joshua's name was Oshea Numbers 13:16, Moses called him Jehoshua and in Deuteronomy 32:44 Hoshea. Some kind of merge of the names? Or am i reading that all wrong? I had tried to make a joke of this. Just like my days in school i'm goofing off when i should have been paying attention a little more. ;-)

Many people think, i take it from reading their comments, that this punishment levied against Moses was to harsh. What would be an appropriate punishment? And can that punishment be consistent with how God dealt with the people that did not believe they could take the promised land? see Numbers 14:6-24.


The fifth book of Moses bears the name "These are the words" ('elleh haddevarim, or simply devarim). It came also to be designated by the Jews as "Repetition of the law" (mishneh hattorah, or simply mishneh), from the words in 17:18. It has also been called "The book fo Admonitions" (sefer tochahoth). The LXX has rendered 17:18 "this second law" (to deuteronomion touto), and the Vulgate, "Deuteronomium," which is really an incorrect rendering of the passage.21

Deuteronomy contains the last address of Moses to the Hebrew people. 40 years have passed and they have been in the wilderness for that time plus some. The generation 20 and older when the people rebelled in Numbers 14 have died off. Moses is now reminding or bringing to their attention the laws and covenant with God for their possession of the Promised land. At the end Joshua takes command of the people and prepares them to enter into the Promised Land.

Final question: You have a covenant with a people to bless them, their land, crops, their women so they would not be barren, to put fear in nations around them to stay away or be destroyed. Yet if they did not obey and broke the covenant you would bring the opposite on them. So do you feel it would be totally acceptable to allow them to take the good from the covenant, yet let them off the hook when they break the covenant? And if so what do you do with them? They broke the covenant after taking good from it. Do you still keep giving them the good or do you cut them off? And if you cut them off do you think you would not get what is in the curse of the covenant?

Closing remarks

There is so much to cover i hope i got a good portion in. Maybe if this is found lacking yet useful i will do a second edition and add in some items from the comments. I really enjoy this project and look forward to the upcoming 61 books.


  • 1 Edward J. Young, An Introduction to the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, Michigan; Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company) pp. 43

  • 2 Josh McDowell, The New Evidence that demands a verdict Evidence I & II Fully updated in one volume to answer questions challenging Christians in the 21st Century. (Nashville, Tennessee; Thomas Nelson Publishers) pp. 400
  • 3 Edward J. Young, An Introduction to the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, Michigan; Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company) pp. 49

  • 4 (Genesis 2:16,17) And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

  • 5 (Genesis 6:8) But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.
  • 6 (Genesis 7:19) And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered.
  • 7 Accessed Sunday March 6th 2011 @ 2200 CST.
  • 8 Accessed Sunday March 6th 2011 @ 1830 CST.
  • 9 G. Herbert Livingston, The Pentateuch in its cultural Environment (Grand Rapids, Michigan; Baker Book House) pp. 147
  • 10 Edward J. Young, An Introduction to the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, Michigan; Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company) pp. 65
  • 11 (Exodus 1:8) Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph.
  • 12 (Exodus 1:9) And he said unto his people, Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we: 10 Come on, let us deal wisely with them; lest they multiply, and it come to pass, that, when there falleth out any war, they join also unto our enemies, and fight against us, and so get them up out of the land.
  • 13 (Exodus 2:11-15) And it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out unto his brethren, and looked on their burdens: and he spied an Egyptian smiting an Hebrew, one of his brethren. 12 And he looked this way and that way, and when he saw that there was no man, he slew the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand. 13 And when he went out the second day, behold, two men of the Hebrews strove together: and he said to him that did the wrong, Wherefore smitest thou thy fellow? 14 And he said, Who made thee a prince and a judge over us? intendest thou to kill me, as thou killedst the Egyptian? And Moses feared, and said, Surely this thing is known.

  • 14 Accessed March 6th 2011 @ 2000 CST.
  • 15 Edward J. Young, An Introduction to the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, Michigan; Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company) pp. 65
  • 16 Edward J. Young, An Introduction to the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, Michigan; Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company) pp. 79
  • 17 Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry's Commentary Genesis to Deuteronomy (Peabody, Massachusetts; Hendrickson Publishers, Inc) pp. 352
  • 18 Edward J. Young, An Introduction to the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, Michigan; Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company) pp. 89
  • 19 Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry's Commentary Genesis to Deuteronomy (Peabody, Massachusetts; Hendrickson Publishers, Inc) pp. 441
  • 20 (Numbers 20:10-12) And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock, and he said unto them, Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock? 11 And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also. 12 And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them.
  • 21 Edward J. Young, An Introduction to the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, Michigan; Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company) pp. 99
Enhanced by Zemanta

New Contributor Introduction: Edward

I'd like to welcome our next guest blogger, Edward.
I love having Edward contributing in the comments and look forward to his upcoming posts.

I think of Edward as the lamb is the wolves den!  He is a Christian surrounded by mostly Atheists but he stands his ground and is never afraid to present his position. He's given the non-believer some great insight into how a Christian reads the Bible.
Below is Edward's personal introduction.

I have been asked to contribute to the project and look forward to this coming year. I am 35yr old male and work as a software programmer and Unix/Linux administrator. I am married with 1 daughter and 1 son, the son keeps me busy, he's 2 going on 3. I first learned about this project when i was on a news website and decided to stop by and see what it was all about. I am a Christian, however probably not the kind that you encounter every day. I was raised in the church then when i was 19 decided to go my own way. I lived like most people, took what i liked about God and His laws, and chucked the rest. It was not until after 3 years of marriage when i was upset with my wife and made a comment "God she does not love me the way i should be loved!" and than i heard a still small voice say "Maybe it's because you don't love Me the way I should be loved.". It was at that point that i decided to research the Christian faith and the Bible. I spent 2 years on Bible translations, text source, and origins. Unfortunately for me i did not take any notes, so i am doing it all over again. Last year in 6 or 8 months i read the entire Bible. I started in the New Testament and then did the Old. At the end of it i realized that with God you are either 100% in or just stay out.1 He did not and does not want anything less. So what was i to do?

Well i decided to get in 100% and learn about defending the faith and being ready always to give an answer.2 In the Christian circles it's called Apologetics to which i thought sounded like i was apologizing for stuff all the time. Christianity...stands out among all distinctively "the Apologetic religion."3 the word Apologetic comes from the Greek work apologia, meaning the defence of a position against an attack, not from the English word apology, which is exclusively understood as a defensive plea for forgiveness for an action that is open to blame.4

So i was back in reading through the NT again when i learned of this project. I felt i was being ordered to put my actions where my mouth and head have been. So i started to read the posts, when the project was still in Genesis, i came to realize not many people were Christians that were commenting. In all honesty i felt it was the blind leading the blind.5, 6 So i decided that i would comment and give a Conservative Christians perspective on the Bible. To me it looked like, at first, that this project had attracted only people that clearly did not accept the Bible as the Word of God, yet had never studied it themselves to come to that conclusion or were finding other people and works that also agreed with them in their criticism of the Bible. I did not think they would actually read it and be receptive to input from the CC point of view. However i was half right. Some people have fallen away and don't post that much any more, others are still in there daily, which is good to see.

I really want to gain the anti-theist point of view and why they hold it. I also want to learn about their worldview and see if they have apply their critical thinking to their own worldview that they have to the Bible and Christianity. I also want people to question me allot. I really want to be trained up to have answer to tough questions people have.

There have been times that i have felt like just abandoning this project, however i know that the reward goes to them that don't faint.7 Also it would only show to me and others that i really don't believe what is recorded in the Bible.8 I enjoy this project and look forward to each night when i get my son to bed to be able to sit down read the passages for the day and then comment on stuff and read other peoples comments.


  • 1 (Luke 9:62) And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.
  • 2 (1 Peter 3:15) But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
  • 3 Michael A. Robinson, The Necessary Existence of God pp. 6; B. B. Warfield, Selected Shorter Writings of B.B. Warfield II (Nutley,NJ: P & R, 1973), pp.99-100
  • 4 Accessed Sunday Martch 6th @ 1430 CST
  • 5 (Matthew 15:14) Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.
  • 6 (Luke 6:39) And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch?
  • 7 (Galatians 6:9) And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
  • 8 (Mark 16:15) And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Pentateuch: A Strange and Fascinating Library

From Brian

Sorry, this post is long. Hopefully it's useful for those jumping in midstream or those who need a refresher.

The first five books are an interesting collection of ancient literature, pieced together from at least four sources or schools of authors (J, E, P, D) to form the backbone of the Israelites’ understanding of themselves:
We begin with a three-part book, collectively called Genesis, consisting of 1. Primordial history 2. Epic of the Patriarchs 3. Novella of Joseph
The primordial history is a collection of mythology with notable parallels to much older mythological texts from the region such as the Enuma Elish, the Epic of Gilgamesh, and the Epic of Atrahasis.
We get two versions of the creation of the Earth (the ancient notion of a three-level earth with stars set in a firmament) followed by the familiar Adam and Eve story, which ends with the couple disobeying God and getting locked out of Eden. Guards are posted at the tree of life; No immortality for humans. A plant that bestows immortality is a common motif in ancient near-Eastern mythology. Enkidu is prevented from eating it by a snake in the Epic of Gilgamesh.
Cain (farmer) slays Abel (shepherd). Israelite tribal league of herdsmen = good, agriculturalist Canaanite foes = bad.
Humans are wicked. God wipes them out in a flood. Preserves Noah and his family (Utnapishtim in Epic of Gilgamesh, Atrahasis in Epic of Atrahasis) plus some animals. Let’s cut the ancient authors some slack on this one. They couldn’t have possibly known there are millions of species on the planet, nor that rainfall that would cover the mountains in 40 days would sink an aircraft carrier. . .mythology, people.
Noahide covenant: Humans rule the earth, be fruitful and multiply, just don’t kill each other or eat blood and we’re all good. God won’t kill everyone (only entire people groups as we’ll see). Hangs up bow in sky = etiology story for rainbows.
People try to build a tower to heaven/sky (parallel of Icarus and Daedalus?) God gets nervous – sky is his domain after all – and curses them to all speak different tongues = etiology story for different languages.
The OCD-plagued P source connects all the characters of the primordial history to each other and to the patriarchs with monotonous genealogies.
The epic of the patriarchs tells the stories of Abraham, his son Isaac, and Isaac’s son Jacob, the ancestors of the Israelites according to tradition. They all have infertile wives so that every conception is a miracle.
Abrahamic covenant: Royal grant model. You, Abraham, are special and I will give you and your numerous descendants the coveted land of Canaan.
God asks Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac but substitutes a ram at the last second when Abraham has raised the knife. Message – obedience is paramount, Abraham is super-dedicated, child sacrifice is . . .???
Can’t neglect the infamous Sodom story: Abraham’s nephew Lot goes to Sodom and is visited by two messengers of God. Citizens form a mob and demand that the two men be sent out for a gang-raping. Lot offers his two virgin daughters instead. They all flee, God destroys the city. Lot’s daughters get him drunk and take turns having sex with him. Yeah, this is not a PG-13 book! The children that are conceived become the ancestors of the Moabites and Ammonites: part of the family, but still incestuous bastards.
Jacob tricks his twin brother Esau out of his birthright and their father Isaac’s blessing. He also uses a superstitious notion - that what a sheep sees when she’s copulating affects the coat color of the lambs she conceives - to cheat his father-in-law (don’t get any ideas ranchers, it’s just a story). Jacob wrestles with a man, who turns out to be God, and who renames him Israel. He then reunites with his brother Esau, from whom he rightly expects murderous rage, but actually receives forgiveness.
The god worshipped by the patriarchs is a limited, anthropomorphic, and very physical one, certainly not the omniscient, omnipotent, omni-benevolent god that is later conceived of by monotheists. He is referred to by a number of epithets which are attributed to several gods of the region’s pantheon including El Elyon, Baal, and Yahweh. One source (J), however, insists that this god is Yahweh and that the patriarchs knew him by this name.
The novella about Joseph that ends Genesis functions to move the action to Egypt, where Exodus will begin. Joseph (a son of Jacob) is kind of a brat who pisses off his siblings by talking about his dreams that all say he is way better than all of them. They sell him into slavery and he is brought to Egypt, where he gains notoriety for interpreting dreams, becomes Pharaoh’s trusted advisor, and helps the nation survive a famine. Joseph invites his family to Egypt and the novella ends with Jacob foretelling the future of the 12 tribes of Israel (12 sons of Jacob).
Exodus begins with the descendents of the patriarchs enslaved in Egypt under a new, less sympathetic regime. Onto the scene steps the hero Moses, who borrows his birth story from King Sargon of Akkad (placed in a basket of rushes on a river, found by a drawer of water, raised in a foreign court) and lends the rest of his story to Michael Corleone as Bruce has pointed out.
While in exile for the slaying of an Egyptian, Moses is spoken to by a god who reveals that his name is YHWH (Yahweh), insisting that he is the same god that was known to the patriarchs, though they knew him by other names. Scholars suggest that the authors are preserving a tradition where their ancestors worshiped El, the chief god of the Canaanite pantheon, while still promoting exclusive Yahweh worship.
Moses is called to liberate his people, which he does by means of increasingly nasty plagues to break the spirit of Pharaoh. Yahweh keeps hardening Pharaoh’s heart though, and he refuses to let Moses’ brethren go, necessitating worse and worse plagues until Moses makes Pharaoh “an offer he can’t refuse” (the killing of all the first-born in Egypt).
Hebrews flee, Egyptians chase, are drowned in the Sea of Reeds. Begin wanderings in Sinai.
Yahweh and the Israelites’ honeymoon is over quickly as much of the Sinai period is characterized by mutual buyer’s remorse, with the Israelites complaining about the conditions in the desert and Yahweh being enraged at their ungratefulness and disobedience.
The bulk of Exodus/Leviticus/Numbers involves Moses going up Mount Sinai to hash out the details of the covenant between Yahweh and the Israelites.
Mosaic covenant: Modeled on the suzerain-vassal treaties used by ancient near-Eastern peoples. Lays out in detail the behavior that is expected of the vassals (Israelites) to ensure the protection of the suzerain (Yahweh). Stipulates that the covenant be written down and housed in a shrine (Ark) for safekeeping, and renewed on ritual occasions. Enumerates the blessings that await those that keep the conditions and the curses that will befall those that don’t.
Of the conditions of the covenant, the Ten Commandments are well known. Well, the version from Ex. 20/Deut. 5 are, not so much the set from Ex. 34 which have almost no overlap with the others and focus solely on the manner of Yahweh-worship and not at all on ethical behavior. However, at this point in the narrative where Moses goes up the mountain to receive the law, this seemed like a great place for the P (priestly) source to throw in massive quantities of cultic law in excruciating detail.
Very, very, very detailed instructions are given for the building of the Ark and the tabernacle to surround it. We also get specific protocols for the many types of animal sacrifices that the covenant requires. An impressive body of civil law is given as well as a holiness code, providing the requirements of symbolic cleanliness to participate in the cultic rituals and keep this people set apart for Yahweh. Israelites become ritually impure from contact with things that are un-godlike such as reproduction and death, and must avoid things that violate the natural order/categories of things (fish without scales, an ox yoked to an ass).
The book of Deuteronomy provides an introduction to the Deuteronomistic History (Joshua, Judges, 1,2 Samuel, 1,2 Kings) and a theological lens through which to read it. It recapitulates certain sections of the law with special emphasis on the laws banning anything associated with the worship of deities other than Yahweh and mandating the centralization of cultic sacrifice and ritual dedicated to Yahweh at a place to be determined (implied: Jerusalem). Another focus is on the notion that bad things will happen to the Israelites if they fail to keep the conditions of the covenant, which is exactly how events will be depicted in the Deuteronomistic History. The end of the book brings us to the border of Canaan, ready for the conquest to begin in earnest. First, Moses has to die since Yahweh has forbidden him from entering the land (apparently for a perceived slight earlier in the desert wandering that many readers find unsatisfying).
So here we are. I’m itching to get into the promised land and meet some more Israelite heroes.
Enhanced by Zemanta

New Contributor Introduction: BHitt

Hi KingAndI’ers, I'll be contributing occassional posts here. I’m Brian. I’m a 29-year-old husband, father, and neuroscientist studying the molecular mechanisms of Alzheimer’s disease (I know, a lot of Bible overlap there, huh?) I’m most of the way through a combined MD/PhD program at Northwestern and my wife and I are expecting our second child any day now, so I should be sternly reprimanded for spending so much time indulging a hobby on this site! Whatever.
I’m participating in this project because I think everyone should read the Bible. My own experience with the Bible is multifaceted. My mother is Irish Catholic and I was raised accordingly, attending Catholic school with daily religious instruction. I loved the Catholic Church but felt like there must be more to Christian spirituality than the theology and rituals encompassed by the Catechism.
I began attending various Protestant and Evangelical churches on my own and with friends and found that their style resonated with my desire for a more intense and personal relationship with God. I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal lord and savior, prayed constantly, read the Bible daily, and shared the Gospel with others.
At the time, I read everything in the Bible through the lens of my salvation in Christ and the relationship that God wanted to have with me.
I’m a proud and joyful atheist! There was no crisis of faith, nor was there any epiphany. I just gradually developed a naturalistic understanding of the world, a humanistic sense of purpose, and a skeptical approach to truth-seeking. I eventually saw Christianity (like all religion) as a fascinating cultural and sociological production – likewise, the Bible:
I now read the Bible as a wonderful collection of ancient literature spanning many genres, a window into an ancient culture with cultural continuity with the present, and a cornerstone of Western literature and thought. I must admit, it makes more sense this way!
Being a huge nerd and voracious consumer of books/lectures, I went through a stretch a couple years ago where I returned to the Old Testament and listened to several professors’ lectures on it. I really enjoyed it, and was excited to see Bruce start this project, providing an excuse to do it all again, this time with a group. I think the discussion has been great! I’ve especially enjoyed the contrasting faithful and secular reactions to things like the character of the OT god and the morality of the Bible. Big thanks to Bruce and to everyone who’s commenting. I hope I can help encourage the discussion! My first post will be a brief-ish overview of what we've already read.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Deuteronomy 31-34 Moses Closes With A Song

Deuteronomy 31-34

Deuteronomy 31-34 Skeptics Annotated Bible

The final chapters of Deuteronomy are here.  We've made it thru the Pentateuch!

Moses does a little reminiscing and basically tells the Israelites that they're screw ups and will fall apart when he's gone.

God tells how he will punish the Israelites and the enemies of the Israelites.  It all kind of runs together and I had a hard time figuring out who he was mad at in any given sentence. :-/

God and Moses write a song.  Does anyone know the melody?

From 32:39-43 we get some Charlie Sheen quality ranting (I'm trying to make this blog topical and hip for the kids.).

Moses gives us a final review of the tribes and says something nice about them before God tells him to climb up the mountain and die.

The deceased Moses then writes some nice things about himself afterwards.

I hope to have a review of the first five books this weekend.  I also hope to have some guest posts up to give a different perspective as well.

We'll start the book of Joshua on Monday.
Enhanced by Zemanta


It just hit me;
Michael Corleone (The Godfather) and Moses share the same storyline.

1. They were reluctant to get into the family business
2. Once they did accept their role as leader of their people, they were ruthless and even family weren't immune
3. There were many that wanted to break from the family and act against our heros.  They were struck down with great vengeance
4. They both died unfulfilled

Enhanced by Zemanta

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Deuteronomy 28-30

Deuteronomy 28-30

Deuteronomy 28-30 Skeptic Annotated Bible

We learn all the things that The LORD shall bless Israel with.  And then get the curses if they follow another god.  The curses seem much more detailed then the blessings but that may just be my bias talking.

Perhaps one final round of throwing the fear of God into the Israelites before they take possession of the promised land?
Enhanced by Zemanta

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Deuteronomy 25-27 Dead Husbands and Shoes

Deuteronomy 25-27

Deuteronomy 25-27 Skeptics Annotated Bible

Whoops again.  Because of my mistake yesterday, I'm a day off on posting.  But, we still got the rest of the year to catch up so;

Judges can order a whipping and you can't muzzle a Ox when he's working the field.  WTF?  Again with the editing.
The brother of a dead husband  has to provide his seed to the deceased's wife so that his brothers line will continue. If he doesn't, she can take his shoe off and spit on him (?!?!).
This harkens back to the Book of Genesis when God smote Onan for spilling his seed on the ground instead of going into his dead brothers wife.

A woman that interferes in a fight between her husband and another man by grabbing the other mans yarbles will have her hands cut-off.  Pretty harsh don't you think?

"Thou shalt not have divers weights, great and small."  Sounds odd but according to the Skeptics Annotated Bible, it refers to treating people equally and fairly.

Joseph was Syarian?  Did we know this before?

Chapter 26 has more laws that we've seen before.

Moses tells the Israelites to put God's laws into stone in Chapter 27.  I've always liked this imagery.

We learn of things that will leave you cursed.  A lot of it has to do with sleeping with the wrong people/animals.

Say Amen.
Enhanced by Zemanta