Saturday, January 22, 2011

Responses to questions posed in RS class

The Creation
Genesis 1: plants & animals created first, then men & women created together & commanded to be fruitful & multiply
            Genesis 2: man created first, then plants & animals, then woman

Men and women (plural) or man and woman (singular) were created together? There was only one man created and then one woman after him. This is borne out by the statement, “…in the image of God He created him; male and female he created them.” – Tanakh - The Holy Scriptures. There is no indication in the first chapter of Genesis of a simultaneous creation of both the man and woman. They were, however, created on the same day – the sixth day.

As regards plants, bush, shrub and vegetation, herb of the field the New Commentary on Genesis, by F. Delitzsch, D.D., reads: “And no plant of the field was yet upon the earth, and no herb of the field had as yet sprung up: for Jahveh Elohim had not yet caused it to rain upon the earth, and men there were not to till the ground. And a mist went up from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.” (Pages 115, 117) Also The Holy Scriptures of the Old Testament, in German, by the Hebrew grammarian E. Kautzsch, translated into English, reads: “But there was not as yet upon earth any shrub upon the plains, and as yet no plants sprouted upon the plains; for Jahwe God had not yet made it rain upon the earth, and men were [as yet] not there, to cultivate the ground; but a mist kept rising from the earth and watering the whole surface of the earth’s ground.” (Brackets his)
The Book of Genesis, by Thomas J. Conant, also reads: “Now there was yet no plant of the field in the earth, and no herb of the field had yet sprung up; for Jehovah God had not yet caused it to rain on the earth, and there was no man to till the ground. And there went up mist from the earth; and it watered all the face of the ground.” Also the Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Genesis, by George Bush, page 53 of Volume I, says in the footnote with reference to the word “before” appearing in the King James Version Bible: “The Hebrew particle (terem) rendered ‘before’ may mean ‘not yet,’ namely, ‘and every plant of the field was not yet in the earth, and every herb of the field had not yet sprung up,’ which substantially agrees with the former” rendering of the King James Version. An American Translation reads similarly; so does Moffatt’s A New Translation of the Bible.
Accordingly Genesis 2:5, 6 quoted above must apply to the third day of creation described in Genesis 1:9-13. But first it describes the earth’s condition just after Jehovah God had made the dry land appear and before he had commanded the earth to bring forth grass and seed-bearing vegetation and fruit-bearing trees. Persons who take the King James Version or a similar version’s rendering to be correct interpret its rendering to mean that God started off such plant life perfect, that is, full-grown, without its germinating from the seed. But this does not necessarily have to be so, not according to the reading of other versions. At any rate, for a time the earth was lifeless, without plant life and without animal and human life. The earth was also rainless. To provide for the coming plant life, God duly provided an irrigation system, not by rain but by a vapor for all the earth, aside from such rivers as Genesis 2:10-14 indicates there were
Rain was not necessary to cause the vegetation to grow or to keep growing, any more than man was needed to cultivate the earth and make the vegetation grow or keep growing. Genesis 2:5 does not say that the vegetation could not grow because God had not made it rain and had not created man to cultivate the ground. God started off the vegetation without rain and without man, because God produced the necessary moisture that made rain and man unnecessary. Hence the very next verse (6) starts off with the conjunction “but,” and goes on to say that a vapor regularly went up from the earth and irrigated the entire surface of the ground all around the globe.
The next verse, Genesis 2:7, skips all the in-between history of Genesis 1:14-25 concerning the breaking through of light upon the earth’s surface and the producing of creature life in the sea, bird life in the air and the subhuman creature life on earth. It goes into detail about the creation of man, more so than Genesis 1:27 does. But with man’s creation and being put in the garden of Eden it is not to be reasoned from Genesis 2:5 that now it began to rain upon the earth and man began working like a farmer, plowing the ground and scattering seed and harvesting the yield. His cultivating of the earth like that came after he was run out of the garden of Eden, and Cain imitated Adam and “became a tiller of the soil.” (Gen.4:2 Tanakh - The Holy Scriptures) Thus man and rain did not precede God’s creation of the vegetation on earth, and Genesis 1:9-13 and Genesis 2:5, 6 are found to be in agreement.

The Flood
            how many animals?
            God commands 2 (one pair) of all animals and birds (Genesis 6:19-20)
            God commands 14 (seven pairs) of clean animals and birds (Genesis 7:3-4)

How many of the clean beasts did Noah take into the ark—seven of each clean beast or seven pairs of each?
After Noah finished building the ark, Jehovah told him: “Go, you and all your household, into the ark, because you are the one I have seen to be righteous before me among this generation. Of every clean beast you must take to yourself by sevens, the sire and its mate; and of every beast that is not clean just two, the sire and its mate.” (Genesis 7:1, 2) Some translations, such as The New English Bible, The New Jerusalem Bible, and Tanakh - The Holy Scriptures, render the original Hebrew “seven pairs.”
In the original language, the expression “sevens” literally reads “seven seven.” However, the repetition of a number in the Hebrew language does not necessarily mean that the numbers should be added together. For example, 2 Samuel 21:20 describes “a man of extraordinary size” as having “six fingers on each of his hands and six toes on each of his feet.” In Hebrew, the number “six” is repeated. This, though, does not mean that the giant had six pairs of fingers (or, 12) on each hand and six pairs of toes on each foot. The repetition relates only to the distribution of fingers on a hand and of toes on a foot.
What guidance do the grammatical rules of the Hebrew language provide in the matter of repeating numbers? When discussing Genesis 7:2, 9, William R. Harper’s Introductory Hebrew Method and Manual states: “Words are often repeated in order to express the distributive relation.” Gesenius’ Hebrew Grammar (Second English Edition) says: “Distributives are expressed . . . by repetition of the cardinal number.” It gives as examples Genesis 7:9, 15 and 2 Samuel 21:20, where the repeated numbers are “two” and “six” respectively.
So “seven seven” in Genesis 7:2 does not mean seven pairs, or 14, just as the repeating of “two” does not mean two pairs, or four, in Genesis 7:9, 15. The repetition of a number in each verse merely denotes a distribution—not an addition of the numbers. Hence, while clean animals were taken into the ark “by sevens,” of the unclean ones, “just two” were taken.
What, though, of the expression “the sire and its mate” immediately after the word “sevens” at Genesis 7:2? That has led some to think that Noah was instructed to take seven pairs of every kind of clean animal. The clean beasts, however, were preserved not strictly for the purpose of procreation. Genesis 8:20 tells us that after coming out of the ark, “Noah began to build an altar to Jehovah and to take some of all the clean beasts and of all the clean flying creatures and to offer burnt offerings upon the altar.” Having on hand the seventh animal from each clean kind provided Noah with an animal for sacrifice, leaving three mated pairs for propagating their kind on the earth.
God’s limit of human lifespan to 120 years
            Genesis 6:3
contradicted by people who live longer (e.g. Exodus 6:16ff.: Levi 137, Kohath 133, Amram 137)

Before the Flood, God fixed a 120-year time limit for the corrupt world that humans and rebellious materialized angels or divine beings (see Tanakh – The Holy Scriptures) had brought about. (Genesis 6:1-3) Godly Noah was 480 years old at that point. (Genesis 7:6) He was childless and remained so for another 20 years. (Genesis 5:32) Much later, only after Noah’s sons had reached adulthood and had married, God informed Noah of His purpose to remove wickedness from the earth. (Genesis 6:9-13, 18) Even then, though Noah was entrusted with the commission of building the ark, God did not reveal his time schedule to him. Thus it was not mans life span that was shortened to 120 years but rather his time to act corruptly and lawlessly that was curtailed.

Jacob named Israel
            at Peniel (Genesis 32:23ff.) Genesis 32: 29
            later at Bethel (Genesis 35:9ff.)

Israel is the name God gave to Jacob when he was about 97 years old. It was during the night that Jacob crossed the torrent valley of Jabbok on his way to meet his brother Esau that he began struggling with what turned out to be an angel or divine being. Because of Jacob’s perseverance in the struggle, his name was changed to Israel as a token of God’s blessing. In commemoration of these events, Jacob named the place Peniel.

 Later, at Bethel the change in name was confirmed by God, and from then on to the end of his life Jacob was frequently called Israel.

Who bought land at Shechem from sons of Hamor?
            Jacob (Genesis 33:19)
            or Abraham (Acts 7:16)

    How then, can Acts 7:16, which ascribes to Abraham the purchase of a burial place in Shechem, be harmonized with Genesis 23:15-19?
It might seem that there is a conflict, with Acts 7:16 saying Abraham bought a burial place in Shechem but Genesis 23:15-19 reporting that he purchased such a plot in Machpelah near Hebron. There are a number of possible explanations. Let us note some of the details.
Soon after Abraham entered the Promised Land he resided for a time in Shechem, which was in the northern area where Samaria was later built. (Gen. 12:6-8) When Abraham’s wife Sarah later died, he purchased as a burial place the field and cave of Machpelah, which was near Hebron to the south of Jerusalem. “And then Abraham buried his wife Sarah  in the cave of the field of Machpelah, facing Mamre -  Hebron - in the land of Canaan.” (Gen. 23:15-19) In time Abraham, Isaac, Rebekah and Leah were also buried there.—Gen. 25:9; 49:29-32.
Abraham’s grandson Jacob also dwelt for a while near Shechem, and he there purchased a tract of land and built an altar. (Gen. 33:18-20) When he was near death in Egypt, Jacob commanded his sons that he be buried, not in Shechem, but with his fathers in the plot that Abraham had purchased near Hebron. (Gen. 49:29-32; 50:12, 13) As to a burial in Shechem, Joshua 24:32 says that after the Israelites entered the Promised Land they buried Joseph’s bones “in Shechem in the piece of ground that Jacob had bought…,” which came to be in the territory of Joseph’s son Manasseh.
With this history in mind, we can note Acts 7:15, 16. In his masterful defense the Christian disciple Stephen said: “Jacob went down into Egypt. And he deceased; and so did our forefathers, and they [the “forefathers”] were transferred to Shechem and were laid in the tomb that Abraham had bought for a price with silver money from the sons of Hamor in Shechem.” So it might appear that Stephen was saying that Abraham, rather than Jacob, purchased land in Shechem. Yet Genesis 23:17, 18 tells us that Abraham bought a burial place in Machpelah near Hebron.
Also, it could be that in addition to the purchase of the plot of land in Hebron, Abraham could have also obtained the land in Shechem where Jehovah appeared to him and where he then built an altar. (Gen. 12:7) If so, then this may have been the same land that Genesis 33:18, 19 mentions Jacob as buying from those who controlled it at that time. This view would eliminate any seeming problem with Acts 7:16.
Another approach is that Stephen may simply have been condensing two accounts, combining Abraham’s transaction at Genesis 23:15-19 and the purchase by Jacob mentioned at Genesis 33:18, 19. Giving some weight to this possibility is the fact that at Acts 7:7 Stephen evidently combined into one statement something God said to Abraham and something He said to Moses. (Gen. 15:14; Ex. 3:12) Thus Acts 7:16 may just be a condensed or elliptical statement that was sufficient for Stephen’s purpose, as was Acts 7:7.
Another possible solution can be considered. Abraham was Jacob’s grandfather. So, even though Genesis 33:18, 19 says that Jacob purchased land at Shechem, Stephen could have ascribed the purchase to Abraham the patriarchal head. Giving credence to this are other instances in the Bible where the names of forefathers were applied to and used for the descendants.—Hos. 11:1, 3, 12; Matt. 2:15-18.
Each one of these possibilities may be the solution to the seeming conflict between Acts 7:16 and Genesis 23:15-19 and 33:19.

How long in captivity in Egypt?
            Exodus 12:40-41: 430 years
Exodus 6:16ff.: Kohath (at Gen. 46:11 he enters into Egypt, lived 133 years) - Amram (137 years) - Moses (80 years old at Exodus) = at most (with Kohath brought in as an infant, and children born just before father’s death) 350 years. 

How long did the Israelites dwell in the land of Egypt? The 430 years mentioned here includes the time the sons of Israel spent “in the land of Egypt and in the land of Canaan.”

“Who had dwelt.” In Heb. this verb is pl. The relative pronoun ’asher′, “who,” can apply to the “sons of Israel” rather than to the “dwelling.” LXX, “But the dwelling of the sons of Israel which they [LXXA adds “and their fathers”] dwelt in the land of Egypt and in the land of Canaan [was] four hundred and thirty years long”; Sam, “in the land of Canaan and in the land of Egypt.” Likewise Josephus wrote in Jewish Antiquities, Book II, chapter 15, ¶2: “They left Egypt in the month of Xanthicus [the Macedonian month equated by Josephus with the month Nisan], on the fifteenth by lunar reckoning, 430 years after the coming of our forefather Abraham to Canaan.” (Loeb Classical Library, by H. Thackeray, 1967, p. 305) The sons of Israel went out of the land of Egypt on the 15th day of the first month. See Ex 12:37; Nu 33:3, 5. SamLXX and Josephus show that the 430 years are counted from the time Abraham entered the land of Canaan until the time the Israelites went out of Egypt. See Ga 3:17.

The apostle Paul agrees with the above when he states at Galatians 3:17, “ Further, I say this: As to the covenant previously validated by God, the Law that has come into being four hundred and thirty years later does not invalidate it, so as to abolish the promise.”

 According to the most accurate chronology of the Bible (Ussher’s date for Adam’s creation is short by 22 years), seventy-five-year-old Abraham crossed the Euphrates River in 1943 B.C.E. on his way to Canaan. (Genesis 12:4) From then until the time 130-year-old Jacob entered Egypt was 215 years. (Genesis 21:5; 25:26; 47:9) This means that the Israelites thereafter spent an equal period of 215 years in Egypt.

Moses’ father-in-law: Reuel (Exodus 2:18-21) or Jethro (Exodus 3:1; 18:1)?
            In Numbers 10:29 Reuel is the father of Jethro, who is the father-in-law of Moses

Numbers 10:29 speaks of Hobab as the brother-in-law of Moses the prophet and Judges 4:11 states that Hobab was the father-in-law of Moses. Also, Moses’ father-in-law is called both Reuel and Jethro. How can this be harmonized?
The name Hobab may be one name but it may apply to two separate individuals, namely, to a father and to his son. Numbers 10:29 says of Hobab the son whose sister Zipporah Moses married: “Moses said to Hobab the son of Reuel the Midianite, Moses’father-in-law, ‘We are setting out for the place of which the LORD has said.’” Since Reuel the Midianite was Moses’ father-in-law, then Reuel’s son Hobab was the brother-in-law of Moses. This Hobab the brother-in-law of Moses is the one whom the chapter in the book is discussing as a prophetic picture of the present-day “great crowd” of the “other sheep” whom Jesus Christ, the greater Moses, is gathering to his fold today.
In rendering Judges 4:11 thus, there is agreement between the literal translation by Dr. Robert Young, by J. B. Rotherham and by J. N. Darby, also the translation of the Jewish Publication Society, Moffatt’s translation and An American Translation. True, the American Standard Version does read: “Hobab the brother-in-law of Moses,” but in the marginal reading it says: “or, father-in-law.” And the Revised Standard Version reads: “Hobab the father-in-law of Moses.” So the decision of the majority is to make the translation read according to what the original Hebrew says.
According to this, then, the name of Moses’ father-in-law was the same as that of his brother-in-law, namely, Hobab. Thus in the Scriptures several names are assigned to Moses’ father-in-law. In Exodus 2:16-22 he is called Reuel; in Exodus 3:1 he is called Jethro; in Judges 1:16 he is called “the Kenite, whose son-in-law Moses was.” The fact is that the rabbis of the Jews say that Moses’ father-in-law had seven names.

Mount of Law: Horeb (Exodus 3:1; 17:6; 33:6) or Sinai (Exodus 19:18, etc.)?

Horeb “The mountain of God,” is apparently the same as Mount Sinai. (1Ki 19:8; Ex 33:6) Generally, though, Horeb seems to designate the mountainous region around Mount Sinai, otherwise called the Wilderness of Sinai.—De 1:6, 19; 4:10, 15; 5:2; 9:8; 18:16; 29:1; 1Ki 8:9; 2Ch 5:10; Ps 106:19; Mal 4:4; compare Ex 3:1, 2; Ac 7:30;
At Horeb, God’s angel appeared to Moses in the midst of the burning thornbush, commissioning him to lead Israel out of Egypt. (Ex 3:1-15) Later, while at Rephidim, the liberated Israelites complained about having no water to drink. Thereupon, at God’s direction, Moses, accompanied by some of the older men of Israel, went to a rock in Horeb, evidently the mountainous region of Horeb, and struck the rock with his rod. Water miraculously began issuing forth from this rock. (Ex 17:1-6; compare Ps 105:41.) Centuries afterward, the prophet Elijah fled from vengeful Queen Jezebel to Horeb by way of Beer-sheba.—1Ki 19:2-8.

The Ten Commandments
            Compare Exodus 20 with Exodus 34

The Ten Words
This translation of the Hebrew expression ‛ase′reth had·deva·rim′, found only in the Pentateuch, designates the ten basic laws of the Law covenant; commonly called the Ten Commandments. (Ex 34:28; De 4:13; 10:4) This special code of laws is also spoken of as the “Words” (De 5:22) and as “the words of the covenant.” (Ex 34:28) The Greek Septuagint (Ex 34:28; De 10:4) reads de′ka (ten) lo′gous (words), from which combination the word “Decalogue” is derived.
Source of Tablets. The Ten Words were first orally given at Mount Sinai by the angel of God. (Ex 20:1; 31:18; De 5:22; 9:10; Ac 7:38, 53; see also Ga 3:19; Heb 2:2.) Moses then ascended the mountain to receive the Ten Words in written form on two stone tablets, along with other commandments and instructions. During his extended 40-day stay, the people grew restless and made a molten calf to worship. Descending the mountain, Moses saw this spectacle of idolatry and threw down “the tablets [that] were the workmanship of God,” the very tablets upon which the Ten Words had been written, and shattered them.—Ex 24:12; 31:18–32:19; De 9:8-17; compare Lu 11:20.
God later told Moses: “Carve out for yourself two tablets of stone like the first ones, and I must write upon the tablets the words that appeared on the first tablets, which you shattered.” (Ex 34:1-4) And so after another 40 days spent in the mountain, a duplicate copy of the Ten Words was obtained. These were kept by Moses in an ark of acacia wood. (De 10:1-5) The two tablets were called “the tablets of the covenant.” (De 9:9, 11, 15) Evidently this is why the gold-overlaid ark later made by Bezalel, in which the tablets were eventually kept, was called “the ark of the covenant.” (Jos 3:6, 11; 8:33; Jg 20:27; Heb 9:4) This legislation of the Ten Words was also called “the testimony” (Ex 25:16, 21; 40:20) and the “tablets of the Testimony” (Ex 31:18; 34:29), hence the expressions “the ark of the testimony” (Ex 25:22; Nu 4:5), and also “the tabernacle of the Testimony,” that is, the tent where the Ark was housed.—Ex 38:21.
Concerning the first set of tablets, it is stated that they not only were made by God but were also “written on by God’s finger,” evidently denoting God’s spirit. (Ex 31:18; De 4:13; 5:22; 9:10) Likewise, the second set of tablets, although carved out by Moses, were written upon by God. When, at Exodus 34:27, Moses was told, “Write down for yourself these words,” reference was not to the Ten Words themselves, but, rather, as on a previous occasion (Ex 24:3, 4), he was to write down some of the other details pertaining to the covenant regulations. Hence, the pronoun “he” in Exodus 34:28b refers to God when it says: “And he [God, not Moses] proceeded to write upon the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Words.” Verse 1 shows this to be so. Later, when recalling these events, Moses confirms that it was God who duplicated the tablets.—De 10:1-4.
Contents of the Commandments. By way of an introduction to these Ten Words is the forthright statement in the first person: “I am the LORD your God, who have brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slaves.” (Ex 20:2) This not only states who is speaking to whom but shows why the Decalogue was especially given to the Jews at that time. It was not given to Abraham.—De 5:2, 3.
The first commandment, “You must not have any other gods against my face,” put Yahweh/Jehovah first. (Ex 20:3) It involved his lofty office and unique position as God Almighty, the Most High, the Supreme Sovereign. This commandment indicated that the Israelites were not to have any other gods as rivals to Jehovah.
The second commandment was a natural follow-up of the first in that it forbade idolatry in any shape or form as an open affront to Jehovah’s glory and Personage. ‘You must not make a carved image or a form like anything in the heavens, on the earth, or in the waters under the earth, nor are you to bow down to or serve them.’ This prohibition is underscored with the declaration: “Because I Jehovah your God am a God exacting exclusive devotion.”—Ex 20:4-6.
The third commandment, in its proper and logical sequence, declared: “You must not take up the name of Jehovah your God in a worthless way.” (Ex 20:7) This harmonizes with the prominence attached to Jehovah’s name throughout the Hebrew Scriptures. Within just these few verses of the Ten Words (Ex 20:2-17), the name occurs eight times. The phrase “not take up” has the thought of “not pronounce” or “not lift up (carry).” To do this to God’s name in “a worthless way” would be to lift up that name to a falsehood, or “in vain.” The Israelites who were privileged to bear Jehovah’s name as his witnesses and who became apostate were in effect taking up and carrying about Jehovah’s name in a worthless way.—Isa 43:10; Eze 36:20, 21.
The fourth commandment stated: “Remembering the sabbath day to hold it sacred, you are to render service and you must do all your work six days. But the seventh day is a sabbath to Jehovah your God. You must not do any work, you nor your son nor your daughter, your slave man nor your slave girl nor your domestic animal nor your alien resident who is inside your gates.” (Ex 20:8-10) By their holding this day as holy to Jehovah, all, even the slaves and the domestic animals, would have the benefit of refreshing rest. The Sabbath day also provided opportunity to concentrate on spiritual matters without distraction.
The fifth commandment, “Honor your father and your mother,” may be viewed as linking together the first four, which define man’s duties toward God, and the remaining commandments, which set forth man’s obligations toward fellow creatures. For since parents serve as God’s representatives, by keeping the fifth command one is honoring and obeying both the Creator and those creatures upon whom God has conferred authority. This command was the only one of the ten with a promise attached: “in order that your days may prove long upon the ground that Jehovah your God is giving you.”—Ex 20:12; De 5:16; Eph 6:2, 3.
The next commandments in the code were stated very tersely: the sixth, “You must not murder”; the seventh, “You must not commit adultery”; the eighth, “You must not steal.” (Ex 20:13-15) This is the way these laws are listed in the Masoretic text—from laws dealing with crimes causing the greatest harm to one’s neighbor to the one causing the least, in that order. In some Greek manuscripts (Codex Alexandrinus, Codex Ambrosianus) the order is ‘murder, theft, adultery’; Philo (The Decalogue, XII, 51) has “adultery, murder, theft”; the Codex Vaticanus, ‘adultery, theft, murder.’ Going next from deeds to words, the ninth says: “You must not testify falsely as a witness against your fellowman.”—Ex 20:16.
The tenth commandment (Ex 20:17) was unique in that it forbade covetousness, that is, wrong desire for the property and possessions, including the wife, belonging to a fellowman. No human lawmakers originated such a law, for, indeed, there would be no way humanly possible of enforcing it. God, on the other hand, by this tenth commandment made each one directly accountable to Him as the one who sees and knows all the secret thoughts of a person’s heart.—1Sa 16:7; Pr 21:2; Jer 17:10.
Other Listings of These Laws. The above division of the Ten Words as found at Exodus 20:2-17 is a natural one. It is the same as given by Josephus, Jewish historian of the first century C.E. (Jewish Antiquities, III, 91, 92 [v, 5]), and by the Jewish philosopher Philo, also of the first century C.E., in The Decalogue (XII, 51). Others, however, including Augustine, combined the two laws against foreign gods and images (Ex 20:3-6; De 5:7-10) into one commandment, and then, in order to recover a tenth, divided Exodus 20:17 (De 5:21) into two commandments, thus making a ninth against coveting a man’s wife, and a tenth against coveting his house, and so forth. Augustine sought to support his theoretical division on the later parallel listing of the Decalogue at Deuteronomy 5:6-21, where two different Hebrew words in verse 21 are found (“Neither must you desire [form of Heb. cha·madh′] . . . Neither must you selfishly crave [form of Heb. ’a·wah′]”), rather than on the earlier text in Exodus 20:17, where just the one verb (desire) occurs twice.
There are other minor differences in the wording between the parallel enumerations of the Ten Commandments in Exodus and Deuteronomy, but these in no way affect the force or the meaning of the laws. Whereas, in the former listing, the Ten Words are stated in formal legislative style, its later repetition is more narrative in form, for on the latter occasion Moses was merely rehearsing God’s commandment in the way of a reminder. The Ten Words also appear elsewhere in still other variations, for they were often quoted or cited along with other instructions by Bible writers of both the Hebrew and Christian Greek Scriptures.—Ex 31:14; 34:14, 17, 21; Le 19:3, 11, 12; De 4:15-19; 6:14, 15; Mt 5:27; 15:4; Lu 18:20; Ro 13:9; Eph 6:2, 3.
The Ten Words were God-given, hence comprise a perfect law code. When a man “versed in the Law” asked Jesus Christ, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”, Jesus quoted a command that, in effect, epitomized the first four (or possibly five) of the Ten Commandments, saying: “You must love Jehovah your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole mind.” The rest of the Decalogue, Jesus then summed up in the few words of another command: “You must love your neighbor as yourself.”—Mt 22:35-40; De 6:5; Le 19:18.
Deuteronomy 10:1-4 shows God wrote the second set of the Ten Commandments on the tables of stone, but Exodus 34:27, 28 says Moses wrote this second set. Is there an explanation of this seeming contradiction?
God through an angel representative on Mount Sinai wrote the first set on tables of stone for Moses, which set Moses broke in anger when he descended from the mount and found the Israelites worshiping the golden calf. (Ex. 32:15, 16, 19) God then wrote a second set on new stone tablets, as is clearly shown by Deuteronomy 10:1-4. A careful consideration of Exodus 34:1-28 shows it to be in agreement, and not in contradiction. Exodus 34:1 plainly states that God would write on the second set of tables the same Ten Commandments that he representatively wrote on the first tables. Then in verses 10 to 26 we read about the making of a covenant between God and the nation of Israel, and verse 27 then shows God commanding Moses: “Write thou these words: for after the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with thee and with Israel.” The words of this covenant, from verses 10 to 26, make no reference to the Ten Commandments. Thereafter verse 28 states: “And he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he ate no bread and drank no water; and he wrote down on the tablets the terms of the covenant, the Ten Commandments.” – Tanakh – The Holy Scriptures.
In view of the fact that at verse 1 it states that the LORD will write the Ten Commandments, and verse 27 only indicates that Moses was commanded to write the words of the covenant discussed in verses 10-26, it must be concluded that the pronoun “he” in the closing sentence of verse 28 refers back to the LORD and not to Moses. Bible commentators in general are agreed on this point, and in Rotherham’s translation the last “He” in verse 28 is capitalized to show that it refers to God and not to Moses. Thus no contradiction exists between Exodus 34:27, 28 and Deuteronomy 10:1-4.

The Waters of Meribah
            Compare Exodus 15:27 (Exodus 17:1-7) with Numbers 20:1-13
            in Exodus Moses alone, in Numbers with Aaron
            in Exodus, God commands Moses to strike the rock
            in Numbers God does not say so, and curses Moses for striking the rock

Meribah [Quarreling] is a place in the vicinity of the Israelite wilderness encampment at Rephidim. It was there that God provided a miraculous supply of water when Moses struck the rock in Horeb with his rod. Moses then called the site “Massah” (meaning “Testing; Trial”) and “Meribah” (meaning “Quarreling”). These names were commemorative of Israel’s quarreling with Moses and its testing of God on account of the lack of water.—Ex 17:1-7.
 The name “Meribah” was later also given to a location near Kadesh, the reason for the name likewise being Israel’s quarreling with Moses and God about the lack of water. (Nu 20:1-13) Unlike the place near Rephidim, where the Israelites encamped less than two months after coming out of Egypt (Ex 16:1; 17:1; 19:1), this Meribah did not bear the name Massah. The Scriptures sometimes distinguish it from the other location by referring to “the waters of Meribah” (Ps 106:32) or “the waters of Meribah at Kadesh.” (Nu 27:14; De 32:51) However, at Psalm 81:7 the reference to God’s examining Israel by “the waters of Meribah” may allude to the incident at Meribah near Rephidim.—Compare De 33:8.
Moses and Aaron failed to sanctify God in connection with the miraculous provision of water at Meribah in the Kadesh area. This was the reason Moses was “cursed” by God. Therefore they lost the privilege of entering the Promised Land. This event seems to have occurred in the 40th year of Israel’s wilderness wanderings.—Nu 20:1, 9-13, 22-28; 33:38, 39.

            Exodus (Numbers) 22:20 God says “go with them”
            Exodus (Numbers) 22:22 “God was incensed at his going”

Numbers 22:20-22—Why did God’s anger blaze against Balaam? God had told the prophet Balaam that he should not curse the Israelites. (Numbers 22:12) However, the prophet went with Balak’s men with the full intention of cursing Israel. Balaam wanted to please the Moabite king and receive a reward from him just as Peter indicates by his comments at 2 Peter 2:15,16: Abandoning the straight path, they have been misled. They have followed the path of Balaam, [the son] of Beor, who loved the reward of wrongdoing, but got a reproof for his own violation of what was right. A voiceless beast of burden, making utterance with the voice of a man, hindered the prophet’s mad course.” With this statement Jude also agrees: “Too bad for them, because they have gone in the path of Cain, and have rushed into the erroneous course of Balaam for reward, and have perished in the rebellious talk of Korah!”(2 Peter 2:15, 16; Jude 11)

  Even when Balaam was forced to bless rather than curse Israel, he sought the king’s favor by suggesting that Baal-worshiping women be used to seduce Israelite men. (Numbers 31:15, 16) Thus, the reason for God’s anger against Balaam was the prophet’s unscrupulous greed and not his “going with them” as God commanded.

Baal of Peor
            Moabite (Numbers 25:1) or Midianite (Numbers 25:18; 31:16)?

Baal of Peor.
The particular Baal worshiped at Mount Peor by both Moabites and Midianites. (Nu 25:1, 3, 6) It has been suggested that Baal of Peor may actually have been Chemosh, in view of the fact that the latter deity was the chief god of the Moabites. (Nu 21:29) As with Baalism generally, grossly licentious rites were probably connected with the worship of Baal of Peor. The Israelites, while encamped at Shittim on the high plains of Moab, were enticed into immorality and idolatry by the female worshipers of this god.—Nu 25:1-18; De 4:3; Ps 106:28; Ho 9:10; Re 2:14.
Israel’s sin in connection with Baal of Peor resulted in God’s sending a death-dealing scourge that killed thousands of Israelites. A question arises as to the number of those actually killed by the scourge in view of a seeming discrepancy between Numbers 25:9 and 1 Corinthians 10:8. Apparently 23,000 were directly killed by the scourge, whereas 1,000 “head ones” or ringleaders were killed by the judges of Israel and then hung up, exposed to public view.—Nu 25:4, 5;

city of Hazor:
            destroyed by Joshua, king Jabin killed (Joshua 11:10-13)
            destroyed by Deborah & Barak, king Jabin pursued & “destroyed” (Judges 4)
The city of Hazor is the chief city of northern Canaan at the time of Israel’s conquest under Joshua. (Jos 11:10) Hazor has been identified with Tell el-Qedah (Tel Hazor) located about 11 km (7 mi) SSE of the suggested site of Kedesh. According to archaeologist Yigael Yadin, under whose direction excavations were carried out at the site from 1955 to 1958 and 1968 to 1969, the Hazor of Joshua’s time covered an area of approximately 60 ha (150 acres) and could have accommodated from 25,000 to 30,000 inhabitants.
Jabin the king of Hazor led the united forces of northern Canaan against Joshua but suffered a humiliating defeat. Hazor itself was burned, the only city in that area built on a mound to be so treated. (Jos 11:1-13) Although later assigned to the tribe of Naphtali (Jos 19:32, 35, 36), Hazor, in the time of Deborah and Barak, was the seat of another powerful Canaanite king also called Jabin.—Jg 4:2, 17; 1Sa 12:9.
At a later period, Hazor, like Gezer and Megiddo, was fortified by King Solomon. (1Ki 9:15) Archaeological finds indicate that the gates of these three cities were of similar construction. Reporting on the excavations at Hazor, Yigael Yadin, in his work The Art of Warfare in Biblical Lands (1963, Vol. II, p. 288), writes: “As the first sign of the gate of this wall began to emerge from the dust and earth that were gently being scooped away, we were struck by its similarity to the ‘Gate of Solomon’ which had been discovered at Megiddo. Before proceeding further with the excavation, we made tentative markings of the ground following our estimate of the plan of the gate on the basis of the Megiddo gate. And then we told the laborers to go ahead and continue removing the debris. When they had finished, they looked at us with astonishment, as if we were magicians or fortune-tellers. For there, before us, was the gate whose outline we had marked, a replica of the Megiddo gate. This proved not only that both gates had been built by Solomon but that both had followed a single master plan.”
Over 200 years after Solomon’s death, during the reign of Israelite King Pekah, the Assyrian king Tiglath-pileser III conquered Hazor and carried its inhabitants into exile.—2Ki 15:29.

Deborah vs. Sisera
            Deborah from Ephraim (Judges 4:5) or Issachar (Judges 5:15)?
A comparison of Judges 4:5 and Judges 5:15 reveal no contradiction.
Deborah was a prophetess in Israel; the wife of Lappidoth. (Jg 4:4) There is no evidence that Lappidoth and Barak were the same person, as some suggest. The association of Deborah and Barak was purely because of their common interest in liberating Israel from Canaanite oppression. Deborah dwelt under a palm tree located in the mountainous region of Ephraim between Ramah and Bethel; “the sons of Israel would go up to her for judgment.”—Jg 4:5.
God used Deborah to summon Barak from Kedesh-naphtali and inform him of God’s purpose to use 10,000 men in defeating the huge army of Canaanite King Jabin under his army chief Sisera. Barak had God’s promise that He would give the enemy into his hand. But in addition, as he gathered the troops and led them to Mount Tabor, he insisted on the presence of Deborah as God’s representative, even though Deborah was a woman. Deborah proved willing to leave her place of greater security and to join Barak. However, she prophesied that “the beautifying thing” of the victory would go to a woman. These words were fulfilled when the woman Jael put Sisera to death.—Jg 4:6-10, 17-22.
Deborah and Barak joined in singing a song on the day of victory. Part of the song is written in the first person, indicating that Deborah was its composer, in part, if not in its entirety. (Jg 5:7) It was a custom for the women to celebrate victories with song and dance. (Ex 15:20, 21; Jg 11:34; 1Sa 18:6, 7; Ps 68:11) The song gives all credit and praise to the LORD for the victory in behalf of his people. It adds considerably to the narrative that precedes it, and to get a full picture the two must be viewed side by side. After describing God’s might and majesty and recalling the condition of Israel prior to Barak’s fight, it commends the tribes who responded to the call and inquires about others who did not. It graphically adds details concerning the battle and the rout of the Canaanites, the courageous act of Jael in killing Sisera, and the disappointment of Sisera’s mother, who waited in vain for spoils and slaves of Israel to be brought back after the expected victory of her son Sisera.—Jg 5.

Two tribes (Judges 4) fight or six (Judges 5)?

It may be that Barak had some doubts about being able to recruit 10,000 men for this undertaking; Deborah’s being well known would help. Be that as it may, it does seem that he felt that he just had to have the presence of God’s prophetess or mouthpiece, and so he replied to the prophetess Deborah: “If you will go with me, I also shall certainly go; but if you will not go with me, I shall not go.” To this Deborah, evidently a little disappointed, replied: “Without fail I shall go with you. Just the same, the beautifying thing will not become yours on the way that you are going, for it will be into the hand of a woman that Jehovah will sell Sisera.”—Judg. 4:8, 9.
Appreciating the magnitude of the task ahead of him, Barak wanted God’s representative, even though that one happened to be a woman, to go with him. He may also have reasoned that Deborah’s presence would strengthen the morale of his men.
With the prophetess Deborah at his side Barak began to call for volunteers, and, it seems, not just from Zebulun and Naphtali, but from most of the other tribes as well. This is what Deborah’s victory song seems to indicate, for those of Ephraim, Benjamin, Manasseh (Machir) and Issachar are also mentioned with approval for having shared in the fighting, while other tribes, such as Reuben, Dan and Asher, are censured for not having “come to the assistance of the LORD.” It took courage to follow Barak and Deborah, and fittingly Deborah later sang of such: “My heart is with Israel’s leaders, With the dedicated of the people - Bless the LORD.”—Judg. 5:9-18, 23.

Sisera killed while sleeping (Judges 4) or drinking (Judges 5)?

Sisera the army chief under Canaanite King Jabin. Sisera, who lived at Harosheth rather than at Jabin’s city Hazor, is more prominent in the account than King Jabin. Sometime after Judge Ehud had overthrown Moabite domination, Sisera and Jabin came to oppress Israel for 20 years.—Jg 4:1-3; 1Sa 12:9.
On hearing that Deborah and Barak had mustered the Israelites to fight against him, Sisera collected his forces, including his 900 iron-scythed chariots, and confronted Israel at the torrent valley of Kishon. But God fought against Sisera and threw his whole army into confusion, resulting in their total defeat.—Jg 4:7, 12-16, 23; 5:20, 21; Ps 83:9.
His chariots bogged down (compare Jg 5:21), and Sisera fled on foot, coming to the tent of Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, who was at peace with Jabin. She invited him inside. Exhausted from the battle and the flight, the weary Sisera, depending on the safety of Jael’s tent, decided to rest. Jael gave Sisera some milk to drink, and he asked her to stand guard. When he had fallen into a sound sleep, she stealthily went up to him and drove a tent pin through his temples into the earth. When Barak arrived, Jael presented to him the fallen enemy. (Jg 4:9, 17-22; 5:25-27) Sisera’s mother and her household waited in vain for him to return with great spoil.—Jg 5:28-30.

David given the sacred bread by high priest Ahimelech (1 Samuel 21) or Abiathar (Mark 2:25f.)?

At Mark 2:26 most translations have Jesus saying that David went into the house of God and ate the showbread “when Abiathar was high priest.” Since Abiathar’s father, Ahimelech, was the high priest when that event took place, such translation would result in a historical error. It is noteworthy that a number of early manuscripts omit the above phrase, and it is not found in the corresponding passages at Matthew 12:4 and Luke 6:4. However, a similar Greek structure occurs at Mark 12:26 and Luke 20:37, and here many translations use the phrase “in the passage about.” (RS; AT; JB) So, it appears that Mark 2:26 properly allows for it to be translated: How he entered into the house of God, in the account about Abiathar the chief priest. Since the account of the first exploits of Abiathar begins immediately following the record of David’s entering the house of God to eat the showbread, and since Abiathar did later become Israel’s high priest in David’s reign, this translation maintains the historical accuracy of the record.

David’s Census:
            2 Samuel 24: God commands
            1 Chronicles 21: Satan commands

Who caused David to take a count of the Israelites?
Second Samuel 24:1 states: “The anger of the LORD again flared up against Israel, and he incited David against them, saying: ‘Go and number Israel and Judah.’” But it was not God who moved King David to sin, for 1 Chronicles 21:1 says: “Satan arose against Israel and incited David to number Israel.” God was displeased with the Israelites and therefore allowed Satan the Devil to bring this sin upon them. For this reason, 2 Samuel 24:1 reads as though God did it himself. Interestingly, Joseph B. Rotherham’s translation reads: “The anger of Yahweh kindled against Israel, so that he suffered David to be moved against them saying, Go count Israel and Judah.”

Sacrificial cult
            God commanded it (Torah)
            God did not command it (Jeremiah)

Specific scriptures please.

            son of Berechiah, son of Iddo (Zechariah 1:1)
            son of Iddo (Ezra 5:1)

A prophet, father of Berechiah and grandfather of the prophet Zechariah. (Ezr 5:1; 6:14; Zec 1:1, 7)

The same word for “son” can also mean “grandson”. - See Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament page 138 definition I, Strong’s number 1248.

son of Shealtiel (Ezra 3:2, 3:8, 5:2; Nehemiah 12:1; Haggai 1:1, 1:12, 1:14, 2:2, 2:23; Matthew 1:12; Luke 3:27)
            son of Pedaiah (1 Chron 3:19)

  How were Zerubbabel, Pedaiah, and Shealtiel related? Zerubbabel was a son of Pedaiah, who was a brother of Shealtiel. Yet, the Bible at times calls Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel. (Matthew 1:12; Luke 3:27) This could be because Pedaiah died and Shealtiel raised Zerubbabel. Or perhaps since Shealtiel died without having a child, Pedaiah performed brother-in-law marriage, and Zerubbabel was the firstborn of that union.—Deuteronomy 25:5-10

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