Posts Tagged ‘Bible’

[NOTE: I have included the verse numbers here and color coded the commentaries so that any words based on a particular commentary appear in a specific color. The first time a particular commentary is used, the name of that commentary will appear in parentheses. Subsequent appearances will be indicated by color only. I have used in some cases the Hebrew phonetic spelling for names such as “HaShem” for God, “Yirmiyahu” for Jeremiah, “Kohanim” for priests, etc.]

(1) Hashem spoke to Yirmiyahu, saying, (2) “Go and prophesy before the people in (Targum) Jerusalem, saying, ‘Hashem said, ‘Return to Me, for I desire to have mercy upon you! (Rashi) I remember the kindness of your youth, the goodness of times past, and the love we shared when I brought you under a bride’s canopy, when you followed after my messengers, Moshe and Aharon. You went out of a land that was settled to go into the wilderness, a land not sown, with no provisions for the journey, because you had faith in Me. (3) Israel is Hashem’s sanctified portion, as terumah is the sanctified portion of the earth’s produce, like the wheat harvest before the omer offering is brought. Just as these are forbidden to be consumed, and those who consume them incur guilt upon themselves, so too, all that devour Israel shall be held guilty; evil shall come upon them.

(4) “Hear the word of the Hashem, O House of Jacob, and all the families of the House of Israel. (5) What did your fathers find wrong with Me, that they have gone far from Me, and have gone after vanity, and become insignificant? (6) Neither did they consider, when seeking objects of worship (Radak): ‘Where is Hashem that brought us up from the land of Egypt, that led us through the wilderness, through a land of deserts and of pits, through a land of drought and of the shadow of death, through a land that no man passed through, and where no man dwelt?’ Rather, they pursued foreign gods. (7) I brought you to the Land of Israel, that was planted like a forest, to eat its fruit and its bounty, but you came and defiled My land, and you made My heritage an abomination. (8) The Kohanim did not say, ‘Where is Hashem?’ and those who hold fast to the Torah, the Sanhedrin, did not know me, and the shepherds, the kings, rebelled against me, and the prophets prophesied in the name of Baal, and they followed after that which could not profit. (9) Therefore, before I bring evil upon you, I will continue to reprove you, through my prophets, and I shall reprove your children’s children, even though I have already reproved you for many days. (10) Pass over to the islands of the Kittites and see, send to Kedar and pay attention, observe their ways well; see if this has ever happened. (11) Has a nation forsaken its gods, though their gods are false? Yet My nation has forsaken its Glory for gods that can avail them not. (12) O heavens, be bewildered at this! Storm and be as though you are ruined, over the Holy Temple that will ultimately be ruined. (13) For my people have committed two evils! Had they merely forsaken Me for another like Me, that would be only one evil. However, they forsook Me, the source of the waters of life, and as a second evil, they have followed after false gods, like digging for themselves broken, fissured wells to hold stagnant water, wells that cannot contain their water, as it leaks through the cracks, and splashes over and against the walls, causing them to collapse. (14) Is Israel a slave or the child of a maidservant? Why have they become the spoils of others? (15) Kings threaten the nation of Israel; like roaring lions, they have raised their voices. They have desolated the Land of Israel; they have burnt their cities, rendering them uninhabited. (16) The people of Noph and Tachpanches, the Egyptians, shall also crush your skull. (17) Shall not your guilt and iniquity, having abandoned HaShem your God, while He tried teaching you to go upon the good and upright path, cause this evil and retribution to come upon you? (18) And now, why would you abandon Me and rely upon Egypt, to drink the waters of the Nile in which the Egyptians drowned your children? And why would you rebel against Me so that you will be exiled to Assyria, to drink the waters of the Euphrates River, across which Assyria is found? (19) Your evil shall bring suffering upon you, and your waywardness shall bring rebuke upon you, and know and see that evil and bitter is your forsaking Hashem your God, and that the fear of me was not in your heart. (20) For I have always broken the yoke of the nations from upon you, I have cut off your bonds, and you said, ‘I will not transgress Your words,’ yet upon every high hill and underneath every fresh tree you lay like a prostitute, serving other gods. (21) I planted you as a sorek, a choice vine. Just as sorek equals 606, I gave you 606 commandments in addition to the seven Noahide laws. You are children of upright and righteous fathers, completely pure seed, so how did you turn into unwanted, wild vines? (22) Even if you attempt to clean yourself with soda ash and use much soap, yet like a stain that cannot be cleansed is your iniquity, the iniquity of the Golden Calf, before Me, for that iniquity stands forever, and all retribution that befalls Israel includes some of the iniquity of the Golden Calf. (23) How can you say, ‘I have not been defiled, I did not go after the bealim’? See your way in the valley, know what you did, how you sinned in the matter of Baal Peor, and you continue in the same way, like a swift, young she-camel that continues in the wayward behavior of her youth. (24) A wild she-donkey, accustomed to the wilderness, runs in whatever direction she desires (Radak); who can retrieve her from her intended destination? All those who seek her shall become exhausted for naught; she shall be found and caught in the month of her sleep. So too you, Israel, shall be caught in the month of Av, that has been prepared for you since the time of the spies, when your forefathers established it as a time for crying with their baseless tears. (25) My prophets say, ‘Hold yourself back from serving idolatry, so that your foot not walk barefoot into exile, and hold back your throat from dying of thirst!’ Yet you say regarding the words of the prophets, ‘I have despaired of your words, no! For I have loved foreign gods, and I shall go after them.’ (26) Like the shame of a person thought trustworthy when he is discovered to be a thief, so shall Israel be ashamed, they, their kings, their officers and their priests and their prophets. (27) They say to the wooden image, ‘You are my father,’ and to that made of stone, ‘You gave birth to me,’ for they have turned to Me their back and not their face, but in the time that evil comes upon them they will reject their idolatry and confess before Me and say, ‘Arise, have mercy upon us and save us!’ (28) And where are your gods that you made for yourself? Let them arise, and see if they can save you in the time evil befalls you, for your gods have become as numerous as your cities, O Judah; in each city a different deity is worshipped!

(29) “Why do you contend to Me, saying, ‘We have not sinned!’ You have all rebelled against me, even the righteous among you! (30) In vain I struck your sons, for they did not accept reproof; your sword consumed your prophets, Zechariah and Isaiah, whom you killed, like a destroying lion.”

(31) Jeremiah held up the container of manna that had been preserved since the generation of the Exodus and declared, “You of this generation! See here what the word of Hashem can bring about! When I brought down from heaven this miraculous bread every single day, did your forefathers experience a barren wilderness, a land of darkness? Why has my people said, ‘We are distanced from you; we shall not come to you again’? (32) Will a maiden forget her jewelry or a bride her ornaments? But My people has forgotten Me for days innumerable. (33) O how you adorn yourself to seek love when you greet your adulterous lovers! Indeed, you have pursued even the worst of all ways to learn and behave. (34) Even on your skirt is found the innocent lifeblood of the destitute. You did not find them stealthily tunneling into someone’s home to rob them, in which case they forfeit their life by endangering others, when you killed them. Rather, it was because they rebuked you concerning these matters. (35) Yet you said in your heart, ‘Indeed, I am innocent, even His anger is turned back from me.’ Behold, I shall come with you to judgment for saying, ‘I have not sinned.’ (36) How very lowly you will become, straying from your path, abandoning Me and depending upon Egypt for help!” Here Yirmiyahu refers to the future, to the days of the kings Yehoyakim and Tzidkiyahu. “You will also be embarrassed that you depended upon Egypt, just as you were embarrassed that you depended upon Assyria in the days of King Achaz. He depended on Assyria, but they besieged him rather than strengthen him. (37) You will also go out from this place with the shame of your sins upon your head, for HaShem is disgusted that you rely upon others (Metzudah), and you will not succeed because of them.”

I have rendered Jeremiah Chapter 1 into a flowing English narrative incorporating selections of classic commentaries, primarily Rashi, also drawing from Targum and Radak. I would love for this to be a springboard for discussion.

Jeremiah, Chapter 1

Jeremiah son of Hilkiah, a Kohen (priest) from Anathoth in the land of Benjamin, was descended from Rahab the harlot. Despite his humble lineage, he was more righteous than those in his generation who were of prestigious lineage, and therefore was chosen by God to rebuke his generation. Jeremiah began prophesying in the 13th year of King Josiah son of Amon, when the Divine Presence (Shechinah) began to dwell upon him. He prophesied throughout the rest of Josiah’s reign, and throughout the reign of Jehoiakim son of Josiah, and the reign of Zedekiah son of Josiah, until the 11th year of Zedekiah, in the 5th month, when Jerusalem was exiled.

God said to Jeremiah: “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you. I had already revealed to Adam, from the beginning of time, who the prophets of each generation would be for all time, including you. Before you emerged from the womb, I prepared you for this purpose. I already told Moses, ‘I will raise up a prophet for them… like you’ (Deuteronomy 18:18). This prophecy refers to you, Jeremiah. You are a prophet like Moses, for just as Moses rebuked Israel, so shall you rebuke Israel. Just as Moses prophesied for forty years, so shall you prophesy for forty years. I have made you a prophet who will prophesy to Israel, a nation that behaves as though it is the same as the other nations of the world, not fulfilling the unique mission that I have commanded them. You will also prophesy regarding the calamities that will befall the nations of the world because of their wickedness.”

Jeremiah said to God: “But Lord, behold, I am unable to rebuke the people, for I am yet a lad. Moses rebuked the people close to his death. By that time, Israel already regarded Moses highly because of all the miracles he had performed for their benefit throughout many years. He took them out of Egypt and split the sea for them. He brought down the manna and swarms of quail for them to eat. He gave them the Torah and drew water from the rock. Therefore he could also rebuke them and they would listen. But you ask me to rebuke them at the very beginning of my career!”

God said to Jeremiah: “Do not say, ‘I am a lad,’ for you shall go to the nations of the world if I send you to them, and you shall speak to the people of Israel the words I tell you. Do not fear them, for I am with you, to save you.”

God sent His prophetic words and arranged them in Jeremiah’s mouth. God said to Jeremiah: “Behold, I have put my words in your mouth. See, I have appointed you this day over the nations and over the kingdoms to uproot and to smash and to annihilate and to destroy, for as you prophesy regarding them, so shall befall them. But as for Israel, you are appointed to build and to plant, if they listen and repent.”

God spoke to Jeremiah, saying, “What do you see, Jeremiah?”

Jeremiah said, “I see an almond branch, representing a king who is quick to do evil, as the almond tree is quicker to blossom than other trees.” 

God said to Jeremiah, “You have seen well. Just as this almond blossoms more quickly than other trees, so am I quick to carry out my word. It takes twenty-one days for the almond to ripen, just as there shall be twenty-one days from the 17th of Tamuz, when the walls of Jerusalem will be breached, until the 9th of Av, when the Temple will be destroyed.”

God spoke to Jeremiah again, saying, “What do you see?”

Jeremiah said, “I see a boiling pot, bubbling up on the north side.”

God said to Jeremiah, “From Babylonia, which is in the north, shall the evil come forth upon all the inhabitants of the land. For behold, I am calling to all the families of the kingdoms of the north, and each man shall set his seat at the opening of the gates of Jerusalem, and upon all its walls around, and upon all the cities of Judah. And I shall pronounce judgment upon Judah and Jerusalem for all their evil, for abandoning me and burning incense to other gods, and bowing to the works of their hands. And you, Jeremiah, brace yourself, and rise up, and speak to them all that I shall command you. Do not fear them, lest I break you before them. Behold, today I have made you strong as a fortified city and as a pillar of iron and as copper walls to pronounce retribution against all the inhabitants of the land: the kings of Judah, its officers, its priests and the common people. They will judge you and strive against you to suppress your prophetic words, but they will not succeed against you, for I am with you, to save you.”

Someone posted this in a Facebook group called “Study of Judaism”:

i am wanting to share my research on Satan ! it is common for me to be told that Satan has not fallen, that angels are like robots and cant sin !

if you have been taught that angels cant sin from your rabbi then ask your rabbi to explain Ezekiel 28

Ezekiel 28:14 Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.

15 Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.

16 By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire.

17 Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee

My response:

The passage you quote is not talking about Satan. It is a mistake to use a King James Bible to try to understand the word of God, because the translation does not convey the depth and nuance of the original Hebrew Scriptures. Your translation is altogether arguable, but to keep the discussion simple, I will do my best to explain the passage even according to your translation. In context, this message is directed at the King of Tyre. Verse 12: “Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him.” Tyre was a nation of master craftsmen who aided King Solomon in the construction of the Holy Temple (see I Kings). Verse 13: “Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering…” This metaphorical language conveys that Tyre was equipped with every precious stone, as though in Eden, and they used these stones in their extravagant construction and craftsmanship. “…the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created.” In music as well, the nation of Tyre excelled. Since it was part of their national fabric, this aptitude is described in terms of Tyre having been “created,” or destined, to have this character. Verse 15: “Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth…” The King of Tyre, because of his lofty rank, is likened to a cherub (or angel) that spreads its wings to cover (like the cherubs over the Ark of the Covenant), because the king rules over and protects his kingdom. “…thou wast upon the holy mountain of God…” As mentioned above, the King of Tyre aided Solomon in the construction of the Holy Temple on the mountain of God. “…thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.” This could refer simply to sparkling gems as above, or metaphorically to the spiritual nation of Israel. Verses 15-16: “Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned…” The King of Tyre was originally meritorious, but later sinned. “Violence” is a mistranslation of the Hebrew word “hamas” which means “robbery” (though for our purposes this does not make a great difference). There was robbery in his nation because of the greed generated by great wealth, and the king did not properly protect his subjects, as was his duty as the “covering cherub.” “…therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God…” The original merit mentioned above, that is, the construction of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem upon the mountain of G-d, will no longer be remembered for him. Because… Verse 17: “Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness…” He became haughty in his own grandeur, and did not remember the true responsibility for which God set him as king, that is, to do justice for and to protect those under his rule, as a “covering cherub.” “…I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee…” Therefore, rather than behold the beauty for which the King of Tyre held himself high, his enemies will behold him in his downfall. The Scripture is CLEAR that this is a message for the King of Tyre, a mortal man, and has nothing to do with Satan. The language of Eden and cherubs in this context is therefore METAPHORICAL. Suggestions: (1) Read passages IN CONTEXT, using exegesis to understand Scripture, rather than eisegesis. (2) Dump the King James translation (or any Christian translation for that matter) and learn to read and understand the original language of the text. At the very least, find a teacher who can, or use a scholarly Jewish translation (such as Artscroll or The Living Torah / The Living Nach). All the best, brother!

​In the Institutes of Menu, which according to Sir William Jones are nearly as ancient as the writings of Moses, the account of the six days of creation so closely resembles that given in Genesis, that it is scarcely possible to doubt its being derived from the same patriarchal communication. There is, however, a particular definition given of the word day as applied to the creation, and it is expressly stated to be a period of several thousand years. If this interpretation be admitted, it will remove the difficulty that some have felt in reconciling the epochs of creation with the six days mentioned by Moses. The six days in which Creative Energy renovated the globe and called into existence different classes of animals, will imply six successive epochs of indefinite duration. The absence of human bones in stratified rocks or in undisturbed beds of gravel or clay, in dicates that man, the most perfect of terrestrial beings, was not created till after those great revolutions which buried many different orders and entire genera of animals deep under the present surface of the earth. That man is the latest tenant of the globe, is confirmed by the oldest records or traditions that exist of the origin of the human race…

Compared with the ephemeral existence of man on the earth, the epochs of these changes may appear of almost inconceivable duration; but we are expressly told, ‘that with the Creator a thousand years are as one day, and one day as a thousand years.’         

-Robert Bakewell, Introduction to Geology, pp. 15-16

Marine shells lie far distant from the deep, and the anchor has been found on the summit of hills.

          -Sir Charles Lyell, Principles of Geology

“[Hindu] sacred writings distinctly trace a deluge which bears a close and important similitude to that recorded by Moses… Swyambhoma, ‘The Lord of the earth,’ is warned of the intended destruction of mankind by a flood, and he is directed to provide a bark denominated ‘Arga,’ into which he enters with seven holy persons besides himself, and the seed of every living thing.”
          -John Briggs, History of the Rise of Mahomedan Power in India, p. lxiii

This new science news piece has been making the rounds:

“Ancient ‘Deep Skull’ from Borneo full of surprises” —

What follows is most of the article, truncated a bit by me. The point I make here is only to highlight another example about how “conclusions” of “scientist” regarding the interpretations of ancient findings have once again been demonstrated to be false or at least highly questionable. As it should be. Science should always be an endeavor of continual learning, and therefore, as we learn more, older ideas will be overturned now and again. However, in that context, I wish to level criticism at those who constantly push contemporary scientific “belief” as “proof” against the Bible. As evidenced in this article, what scientists THINK the fossils are telling us is ALWAYS tentative, until new information becomes available to modify what we thought we knew. But when these two systems of knowledge conflict with one another, science does not checkmate the Bible. It’s just saying, “Maybe.” A person who wishes to hold on to their faith that the Bible remains true despite what appears to be evidence to the contrary is well within the bounds of reason in doing so.

“A new study of the 37,000-year old remains of the ‘Deep Skull’ – the oldest modern human discovered in island South-East Asia – has revealed this ancient person was not related to Indigenous Australians, as had been originally thought.

“The Deep Skull was also likely to have been an older woman, rather than a teenage boy.

“Our analysis overturns long-held views about the early history of this region,” says Associate Professor Curnoe, Director of the UNSW Palaeontology, Geobiology and Earth Archives Research Centre (PANGEA).

 “‘We’ve found that these very ancient remains most closely resemble some of the Indigenous people of Borneo today, with their delicately built features and small body size, rather than Indigenous people from Australia.’

“In 1960, Brothwell concluded the Deep Skull belonged to an adolescent male and represented a population of early modern humans closely related, or even ancestral, to Indigenous Australians, particularly Tasmanians.
“‘Brothwell’s ideas have been highly influential and stood largely untested, so we wanted to see whether they might be correct after almost six decades,’ says Curnoe.

“‘Our study challenges many of these old ideas. It shows the Deep Skull is from a middle-aged female rather than a teenage boy, and has few similarities to Indigenous Australians. Instead, it more closely resembles people today from more northerly parts of South-East Asia.'”

“The Deep Skull has also been a key fossil in the development of the so-called ‘two-layer’ hypothesis in which South-East Asia is thought to have been initially settled by people related to Indigenous Australians and New Guineans, who were then replaced by farmers from southern China a few thousand years ago.

“The new study challenges this view by showing that – in Borneo at least – the earliest people to inhabit the island were much more like Indigenous people living there today rather than Indigenous Australians, and suggests long continuity through time.

“It also suggests that at least some of the Indigenous people of Borneo were not replaced by migrating farmers, but instead adopted the new farming culture when it arrived around 3,000 years ago.

“‘Our work, coupled with recent genetic studies of people across South-East Asia, presents a serious challenge to the two-layer scenario for Borneo and islands further to the north,’ says Curnoe.

“‘We need to rethink our ideas about the region’s prehistory, which was far more complicated than we’ve appreciated until now.'”