OK, Another Quote of the Day

‘You have heard how it was said, You will love your neighbour and hate your enemy.  But I say this to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you;  so that you may be children of your Father in heaven, for he causes his sun to rise on the bad as well as the good, and sends down rain to fall on the upright and the wicked alike.  For if you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Do not even the tax collectors do as much?   And if you save your greetings for your brothers, are you doing anything exceptional?  Do not even the gentiles do as much? You must therefore be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.’  (Matt. 5:43-48)

When False Prophets and Court Evangelicals Speak…

But the prophet who presumes to say something in my name which I have not commanded him to say, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet must die.”  ‘You may be privately wondering, “How are we to tell that a prophecy does not come from Yahweh?”  When a prophet speaks in the name of Yahweh and the thing does not happen and the word is not fulfilled, then it has not been said by Yahweh. The prophet has spoken presumptuously. You have nothing to fear from him.’ (Deut. 18:20-22)

Hebräisches und aramäisches Wörterbuch zum Alten Testament

This dictionary encompasses the complete vocabulary of the Biblia Hebraica including its Aramaic passages, as well as the Hebrew and Aramaic fragments of the Books of Sirach and Tobit. It provides an index of references in the Old Hebrew inscriptions and in the Hebrew texts from the Judaean Desert, and provides an overview of the most important German translations, serving as a small-format translation aid.

– Kompaktes Wörterbuch zum schnellen Nachschlagen der wichtigsten Übersetzungsäquivalente
– Entspricht dem aktuellen Stand der Hebraistik
– Neu aufgenommen sind Wortschatz der Bücher Jesus Sirach und Tobit, der althebräischen Inschriften und Qumran

This fourth, fully revised and updated one volume Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon is a handy go to quick reference work that every student of the Hebrew Bible should have on their desk.  It includes not only words which can be found in the Masoretic text but also those words found in the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Hebrew of Ben Sira.  Furthermore, when various words are found in Qumran texts or Sirach they are noted as such in parentheses (Q)(S)(QS), etc.  When a word can be translated in different ways, the chief possibilities are noted with Roman numerals (which is also the method in the other larger Lexica).

The Lexicon is divided into two major sections: Hebrew and Aramaic.  Words are defined briefly, usually with one or two words and sometimes, when necessary, more fully.  The listing of words defined is alphabetical.  That makes it a super reference resource for beginning students as it allows them to find the form used in the text without having to try to figure out the ‘triliteral root’ as users of, for instance, BDB are forced to do.

The lists occur right in the middle of the page so there is plenty of marginal space for users to make notes.  There is no introduction to speak of but there is a table of abbreviations that users will wish to consult before they begin using the resource.

It compares nicely to the one volume ‘Dictionary of Classical Hebrew’ edited by David Clines.  It is a bit smaller than Cline’s edition in terms of its height and width and breadth so it is a bit more portable.  The paperback edition is most certainly sturdily bound and no cracking or creaking or strange sounds were made whilst working with it.  Some books, you’ll know, do make noise when poorly constructed.  This one is finely made.

There are no surprises in terms of definitions.  As mentioned above, they are brief and concise.  For instance, the two entries for כרוב occur thusly:

כרוב I (Q) Kerub, Sphinx

כרוב II n.l. Kerub

The word appears, followed, when needed, by a Roman numeral, and if it appears in the Qumran scrolls the (Q) is next (or S) and then the most rudimentary definition.  And so on, throughout.

This is a very handy tool and, again, as stated previously, it really needs to find a place on the desk of all students of the Hebrew Bible.  To be sure, it doesn’t do everything the big lexica do, but it isn’t meant to.  It’s meant to help readers get the notion of a word so that their own reading is facilitated.  And it does that beautifully.

Well Now… That’s A Right Stern Warning; Or, Why Things Aren’t Getting any Better

`And after all this, if you do not obey Me, but walk contrary to Me, then I also will walk contrary to you in fury; and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins. You shall eat the flesh of your sons, and you shall eat the flesh of your daughters. I will destroy your high places, cut down your incense altars, and cast your carcasses on the lifeless forms of your idols; and My soul shall abhor you. I will lay your cities waste and bring your sanctuaries to desolation, and I will not smell the fragrance of your sweet aromas. I will bring the land to desolation, and your enemies who dwell in it shall be astonished at it. I will scatter you among the nations and draw out a sword after you; your land shall be desolate and your cities waste.

Then the land shall enjoy its sabbaths as long as it lies desolate and you are in your enemies’ land; then the land shall rest and enjoy its sabbaths.  As long as it lies desolate it shall rest– for the time it did not rest on your sabbaths when you dwelt in it.

`And as for those of you who are left, I will send faintness into their hearts in the lands of their enemies; the sound of a shaken leaf shall cause them to flee; they shall flee as though fleeing from a sword, and they shall fall when no one pursues. They shall stumble over one another, as it were before a sword, when no one pursues; and you shall have no power to stand before your enemies. You shall perish among the nations, and the land of your enemies shall eat you up. And those of you who are left shall waste away in their iniquity in your enemies’ lands; also in their fathers’ iniquities, which are with them, they shall waste away.

`But if they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their fathers, with their unfaithfulness in which they were unfaithful to Me, and that they also have walked contrary to Me,  and that I also have walked contrary to them and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if their uncircumcised hearts are humbled, and they accept their guilt– then I will remember My covenant with Jacob, and My covenant with Isaac and My covenant with Abraham I will remember; I will remember the land. (Lev. 26:27-42)

You’d almost think you were reading Isaiah or Jeremiah.  But nope.  It’s Leviticus.

Ephesus…

Paul had decided to pass wide of Ephesus so as to avoid spending time in Asia, since he was anxious to be in Jerusalem, if possible, for the day of Pentecost. From Miletus he sent for the elders of the church of Ephesus. When they arrived he addressed these words to them:

‘You know what my way of life has been ever since the first day I set foot among you in Asia, how I have served the Lord in all humility, with all the sorrows and trials that came to me through the plots of the Jews. I have not hesitated to do anything that would be helpful to you; I have preached to you and instructed you both in public and in your homes, urging both Jews and Greeks to turn to God and to believe in our Lord Jesus. 

‘And now you see me on my way to Jerusalem in captivity to the Spirit; I have no idea what will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit, in town after town, has made it clear to me that imprisonment and persecution await me. But I do not place any value on my own life, provided that I complete the mission the Lord Jesus gave me — to bear witness to the good news of God’s grace.  ‘I now feel sure that none of you among whom I have gone about proclaiming the kingdom will ever see my face again. And so on this very day I swear that my conscience is clear as far as all of you are concerned, for I have without faltering put before you the whole of God’s purpose.

‘Be on your guard for yourselves and for all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you the guardians, to feed the Church of God which he bought with the blood of his own Son.  ‘I know quite well that when I have gone fierce wolves will invade you and will have no mercy on the flock.  Even from your own ranks there will be men coming forward with a travesty of the truth on their lips to induce the disciples to follow them. So be on your guard, remembering how night and day for three years I never slackened in counselling each one of you with tears.  And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace that has power to build you up and to give you your inheritance among all the sanctified. (Acts 20:16-32)

The Best Commentary Yet

the-person-the-pew-commentary-series

Dr Jim West has undertaken the phenomenal task of writing a commentary on every book of the Bible! And what strikes this reader most forcefully is its faithfulness to what it says on the tin: West’s efforts have been expended “for the person in the pew”.

In other words, one should not expect the usual exhaustive analysis of syntax, interpretive options, history of scholarship and such like. These commentaries are written so that the reader needs no theological education, and West presupposes no ability to read Greek or Hebrew. Anyone can read and understand these.

The result is like going through the biblical texts, with a scholarly pastor, who pauses to make a number of bite-sized observations on the way. And whatever one thinks of those annotations, anyone can follow and digest them. West writes with a heart for the church, and his unique character and love for scripture are obvious in these pages.

Dr. Chris Tilling
New Testament Tutor,
St Mellitus College & St Paul’s Theological Centre

The PDF’s of the entire series are available. You can acquire them from yours truly for a paltry $75 by clicking my PayPal Link.  And be sure to include your email address so they can be sent to you.

Guess the Speaker

Who do you think said this:

For the leaders of this people cause them to err, And those who are led by them are destroyed. Therefore the Lord will have no joy in their young men, Nor have mercy on their fatherless and widows; For everyone is a hypocrite and an evildoer, And every mouth speaks folly.

For all this His anger is not turned away, But His hand is stretched out still. For wickedness burns as the fire; It shall devour the briers and thorns, And kindle in the thickets of the forest; They shall mount up like rising smoke.

Through the wrath of the LORD of hosts The land is burned up, And the people shall be as fuel for the fire; No man shall spare his brother. And he shall snatch on the right hand And be hungry; He shall devour on the left hand And not be satisfied; Every man shall eat the flesh of his own arm.

If you guessed Isaiah, you guessed correctly.  Though it could just as well have been spoken today.

Jeremiah’s Most Profound Confession

You deceived me, LORD, and I was deceived. You seized me and prevailed. I am a laughingstock all the time; everyone ridicules me.  For whenever I speak, I cry out, I proclaim, “Violence and destruction!” because the word of the LORD has become for me constant disgrace and derision. 

If I say, “I won’t mention Him or speak any longer in His name,” His message becomes a fire burning in my heart, shut up in my bones. I become tired of holding it in, and I cannot prevail.  For I have heard the gossip of many people, “Terror is on every side! Report him; let’s report him!” Everyone I trusted watches for my fall. “Perhaps he will be deceived so that we might prevail against him and take our vengeance on him.”

But the LORD is with me like a violent warrior. Therefore, my persecutors will stumble and not prevail. Since they have not succeeded, they will be utterly shamed, an everlasting humiliation that will never be forgotten. LORD of Hosts, testing the righteous and seeing the heart and mind, let me see Your vengeance on them, for I have presented my case to You. (Jer. 20:7-12)

David’s Last Word

As David lie dying he charged his son Solomon to bring deathly vengeance to an old enemy-

There is also with you Shimei son of Gera, the Benjaminite from Bahurim, who cursed me with a terrible curse on the day when I went to Mahanaim; but when he came down to meet me at the Jordan, I swore to him by the Lord, ‘I will not put you to death with the sword.’ Therefore do not hold him guiltless, for you are a wise man; you will know what you ought to do to him, and you must bring his gray head down with blood to Sheol.”

‘I won’t kill you’, David promised Shimei…. but Solomon, you must.  David’s last word wasn’t a prayer of confession or a word of praise- it was a vindictive vengeful charge to his son.

That’s what the Deuteronomist thought of David.  Because right after David uttered these words, the Deuteronomist reports that he died.

The Deuteronomist despised David as much as David despised Shimei…

The Pastor isn’t In Charge…

The Pastor is just the person God’s asked to help you fulfill your spiritual potential.  Nothing more.  Nothing less.  Or in Paul’s words

… to knit God’s holy people together for the work of service to build up the Body of Christ, until we all reach unity in faith and knowledge of the Son of God and form the perfect Man, fully mature with the fullness of Christ himself. (Eph. 4:12-13)

Armies don’t Keep Kings Safe

From heaven Yahweh looks down, he sees all the children of Adam, from the place where he sits he watches all who dwell on the earth; he alone moulds their hearts, he understands all they do.  A large army will not keep a king safe, nor his strength save a warrior’s life; it is delusion to rely on a horse for safety, for all its power it cannot save.

But see how Yahweh watches over those who fear him, those who rely on his faithful love, to rescue them from death and keep them alive in famine.  We are waiting for Yahweh; he is our help and our shield, for in him our heart rejoices, in his holy name we trust.  Yahweh, let your faithful love rest on us, as our hope has rested in you. (Ps. 33:13-22)

I Hear You, Son of Sira

There are three sorts of people my soul hates, and whose existence I consider an outrage: the poor swollen with pride, the rich who is a liar and an adulterous old man who has no sense. (Sir. 25:2)