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    Default The Old Testament - a study thread

    As I mentioned in a previous thread, I'm reading the Bible - King James Version - from beginning to end.

    Still working on Exodus. I've got to the point, Chapter 24, where Moses is on Mount Sinai being instructed on how to build the Ark of the Covenant - all in gold.

    And of course all sorts of things from Genesis and Exodus have puzzled me... many of which I've asked about before, including God's logic in sending a flood to wipe out all mankind and all animal kind - but then saving Noah's family who are all still part of original sin...so He accomplished nothing by that flood except to kill a lot of people...original sin and man's wickedness was still in the world...

    Then there's the story of Joseph. There's going to be 7 years of famine in the land, so Joseph's father - Jacob aka Israel - brings all his people into Egypt to serve the pharaoh - which is the start of their slavery.

    And I've asked about that before too....Moses keeps telling Pharaoh to let his people go, but God - GOD - keeps hardening Pharaoh's heart so that the Egyptians have to endure the 10 plagues.

    And then after he lets them go, God AGAIN hardens Pharaoh's heart so he chases after them with his army and is drowned in the Red Sea. None of that was Pharaoh's own doing - God did it all...

    But, I have asked about all that before so let's start some new questions...

    When God is telling Moses to tell the Hebrews to "get out of Dodge," he tells them to "borrow" jewelry from the Egypians, and is specific that they are only going out to "worship" their God - implying that they'll return and, presumably, bring back all those jewels with them.

    So is God telling Moses and the Hebrews to lie to the Egyptians? And...they're pretty well-treated slaves, if the Egyptians allow them to borrow jewelry...
    "Let joy and innocence prevail."

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    I think in one sense there is an internal conflict within the book of Exodus by the later compilers and editors of the work. There is, throughout the work and overriding theme of god being always in complete charge. This is why there is constant references to God hardening the pharaoh's heart. But it may also represent a polite cover up on the effectiveness of Moses, especially with regard to his track record, not with the Egyptians but his own people.

    If we go all the way back to the beginning of the story, we see a slightly different picture of God's relationship with pharaoh. 3:19 "And I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go, no, not by a mighty hand." So at the start of the story it seems more like God knows pharaoh won't listen as opposed to God deliberately forcing pharaoh not to listen.

    But if pharaoh's heart was hardened, everyone else's were not. We see in 22, "But every woman shall borrow of her neighbour, and of her that sojourneth in her house, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: and ye shall put them upon your sons, and upon your daughters; and ye shall spoil the Egyptians." (NABRE uses the term "plunder" and interestingly enough the term "borrow" isn't used either. Here is the text from the NABRE: "Every woman will ask her neighbor and the resident alien in her house for silver and gold articles and for clothing, and you will put them on your sons and daughters. So you will plunder the Egyptians.")

    We see this later on in chapter 12:35-36 "And the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses; and they borrowed of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: And the Lord gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent unto them such things as they required. And they spoiled the Egyptians." (NABRE: "And the Israelites did as Moses had commanded: they asked the Egyptians for articles of silver and gold and for clothing. Indeed the LORD had made the Egyptians so well-disposed toward the people that they let them have whatever they asked for. And so they despoiled the Egyptians.")

    Now we can go on with the difference between "borrow" and "ask" and there is the often used explanation of looking too deeply into the occasionally badly translated words of the King James Bible. I'll only point in passing that I searched a Hebrew Bible and the translated word was "ask" and not "borrow."

    Why the citizens felt so inclined to the (let's face it, they were foreign workers) is not known, but neither is the story from their perspective. Plagues happen, Moses sees pharaoh and they stop. What they knew is unknown but it seems likely they probably did not directly blame the plagues on the foreign workers because that would have been a highly classified state secret.


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    Quote Originally Posted by tzor View Post
    ."Why the citizens felt so inclined to the (let's face it, they were foreign workers) is not known, but neither is the story from their perspective. Plagues happen, Moses sees pharaoh and they stop. What they knew is unknown but it seems likely they probably did not directly blame the plagues on the foreign workers because that would have been a highly classified state secret.
    Typically when bad things happen, "the Other" (those who are not like us) - in this case the Hebrew foreign workers - are always blamed. They're the first to be blamed and run out of town on a rail!

    What puzzles me about this whole story is that God hardened Pharoah's heart 10 times - then again when the Israelis are leaving and Moses has to part the Red Sea.

    After 10 plagues, one after the other, commanded by Moses, how stupid do you have to be to not realize there's some kind of evil at work - if not God? Get 'em out of Dodge ASAP - but don't give 'em your jewels and gold before they go.
    "Let joy and innocence prevail."

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    I've just finished Exodus.

    I could look this up own but since I'd like to see a discussion happening here...

    Did Moses go up to the Mount twice, each time for 40 days?

    And to punish the people after demanding that Aaron make them a golden calf (the first time Moses was up there) - does God and Moses actually have the house of Levi kill 3000 people?

    In addition, at this point the Israelis don't know of the existence of God? They're only following Moses -- whom God has set up as a god, giving him all this magical power - and once Moses is dead (they think) they have no God to turn to so they go back to gods?
    "Let joy and innocence prevail."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex McAlpine View Post
    I've just finished Exodus.

    I could look this up own but since I'd like to see a discussion happening here...

    Did Moses go up to the Mount twice, each time for 40 days?

    And to punish the people after demanding that Aaron make them a golden calf (the first time Moses was up there) - does God and Moses actually have the house of Levi kill 3000 people?

    In addition, at this point the Israelis don't know of the existence of God? They're only following Moses -- whom God has set up as a god, giving him all this magical power - and once Moses is dead (they think) they have no God to turn to so they go back to gods?
    The Jewish people take this story to heart. It drives home the point that it is not enough that only 3,000 people (out of three million) began worshiping the Golden Calf. By this time the Jews were aware they were a people set apart and that they had been given a grave responsibility to all the nations. The part they were to play was vital. Over two and a half million people could not stand by and do nothing while three thousand others misbehaved. The dire consequences imposed here emphasized the magnitude of the role God had for this nation. They were to play a great part in the unfolding events. Failure was unacceptable.

    From what I can gather, only about one-third of the three thousand worshiping the Golden Calf were Jews. Apparently the other two thousands were impressed by the plagues against Egypt and decided to join the Jewish exodus. However, when things got tough, they decided to return to Egyptian gods--and about a thousand Jews went along with them.




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    Quote Originally Posted by Meriweather View Post
    From what I can gather, only about one-third of the three thousand worshiping the Golden Calf were Jews. Apparently the other two thousands were impressed by the plagues against Egypt and decided to join the Jewish exodus. However, when things got tough, they decided to return to Egyptian gods--and about a thousand Jews went along with them.
    Interesting.

    Would this be the oral traditions that are taught to the rabbis? (I think they have the OT but also oral/supporting material they need to learn?)

    I'm now reading Leviticus and learning all the ways to make burnt, sin and meat offerings!
    "Let joy and innocence prevail."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex McAlpine View Post
    Interesting.

    Would this be the oral traditions that are taught to the rabbis? (I think they have the OT but also oral/supporting material they need to learn?)

    I'm now reading Leviticus and learning all the ways to make burnt, sin and meat offerings!
    I don’t know whether it is oral or written rabbinical teachings…just additional information gathered at some point.




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    Quote Originally Posted by Meriweather View Post
    I don’t know whether it is oral or written rabbinical teachings…just additional information gathered at some point.
    I remember reading somewhere that the Jews had the Old Testament and then...other documents that they used which qualified as also from God...I might be misremembering...can't remember where I read it.

    As someone who relies on the Bible only for my knowledge, and I assume the average Christian from the year 1 AD up until today, would also know only the Bible - or what the priest told them about the Bible...

    In fact..do most Christians only read the New Testament or do they study the Old as well?

    I'm still working on Leviticus..... God really wanted to make sure those sacrifices to him were done right!

    DId the Jews have so many bullocks and lambs that sacrificing one a day was pretty easy?
    "Let joy and innocence prevail."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex McAlpine View Post
    I remember reading somewhere that the Jews had the Old Testament and then...other documents that they used which qualified as also from God...I might be misremembering...can't remember where I read it.

    As someone who relies on the Bible only for my knowledge, and I assume the average Christian from the year 1 AD up until today, would also know only the Bible - or what the priest told them about the Bible...

    In fact..do most Christians only read the New Testament or do they study the Old as well?

    I'm still working on Leviticus..... God really wanted to make sure those sacrifices to him were done right!

    DId the Jews have so many bullocks and lambs that sacrificing one a day was pretty easy?
    Your questions would need scholars (notice the plural) to accurately respond. Yes, Jews have always had more material than just the laws and the prophets...commentary you might say on historical and laws. Does the commentary always date back to the time of Biblical accounts? Perhaps not always. Some of it dates only to the first few centuries of the current era, some to fight against Christian interpretation, and much of this rightly so. Jews did not establish Canon (or current Canon) until after the advent of Christianity. This is somewhat amusing because Catholic Bibles contain all the Old Testament books in use at the time of Christ. After Chris and the emergence of Christianity, the Jews decided to eliminate some of these books from their Canon. Catholics retained these books, but later, Protestants elected to follow the Jews in the eliminating the books from Protestant Bibles as well.

    Keep in mind that when an animal was sacrificed, it was not burned in its entirety. Rather, a portion was burned, a portion went to the priests, and the rest was returned to the family or community.. The animal was not wasted. (Recall that the Passover lamb was considered a sacrifice, yet it was also eaten by the family/community.)




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    Quote Originally Posted by Meriweather View Post
    I don’t know whether it is oral or written rabbinical teachings…just additional information gathered at some point.
    Specific numbers might be oral. Exodus 12:38 states, "A crowd of mixed ancestry also went up with them, with livestock in great abundance, both flocks and herds." This is described in the footnotes as "not simply descendants of Jacob; cf. Nm 11:4; Lv 24:10–11"


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    I've finished Leviticus and am now working my way through Numbers.

    And I've come to the bit where some poor fool was gathering sticks on the Sabbath day. So God condemns him to be stoned to death.

    And there are a few crimes in which stoning to death - with stones - is the punishment.

    My question is, why stoning?

    A quicker way would be to just stab someone through the heart or even behead them. Instead, apparently the whole congregation circles the victim and throws great big huge rocks to kill them?

    Is this so the whole congregation can be called "guilty" of killing someone by stoning (which is how I would look at it!).

    Or are they just to have the pleasure of knowing they helped kill a sinner?
    "Let joy and innocence prevail."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex McAlpine View Post
    I've finished Leviticus and am now working my way through Numbers.

    And I've come to the bit where some poor fool was gathering sticks on the Sabbath day. So God condemns him to be stoned to death.

    And there are a few crimes in which stoning to death - with stones - is the punishment.

    My question is, why stoning?

    A quicker way would be to just stab someone through the heart or even behead them. Instead, apparently the whole congregation circles the victim and throws great big huge rocks to kill them?

    Is this so the whole congregation can be called "guilty" of killing someone by stoning (which is how I would look at it!).

    Or are they just to have the pleasure of knowing they helped kill a sinner?

    The way in which you pose your questions is what makes it difficult for me to take your questions seriously.

    No they were not taking joy out of the Stoning, they were to experience the seriousness of the consequences of NOT being Obedient to God.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cbut1 View Post
    No they were not taking joy out of the Stoning, they were to experience the seriousness of the consequences of NOT being Obedient to God.
    I am asking serious questions.... I guess they may come across as sarcastic because....well, Jesus! (And I say that as an atheistic exclamation of bemusement, not a prayer...)

    So the SERIOUSNESS of picking up sticks on the sabbath - Jeez, the man was picking up sticks on the Sabbath! ooooh, I'm surprised he wasn't sent straight to hell for that unforgivable sin! - was to throw rock after rock at someone, who probably lived quite a long time while all these rocks were being thrown - much as what happens to women being stoned in Islamic countries today, eh?

    These weren't small rocks, right, but large stones? What'd they do, scour the land for just the right size stones that would inflict the maximum pain on the person they were stoning to death? Or did God create just the right-sized rocks? I'm surprised that he didn't give the exact measurements for the rocks to be used, like he did for his tabernacle and altar and all that stuff...

    Are there any Bible stories of someone refusing to stone a 'sinner' because it was a pretty barbaric and inhumane thing to do?
    "Let joy and innocence prevail."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex McAlpine View Post
    I am asking serious questions.... I guess they may come across as sarcastic because....well, Jesus! (And I say that as an atheistic exclamation of bemusement, not a prayer...)
    Yes often times they do read to me as sarcastic and as such I find it difficult to want to discuss your questions.

    I take my faith and responsibility seriously if one isn't serious enough to have an honest dialog then I just end up casting pearls before the swine.


    So the SERIOUSNESS of picking up sticks on the sabbath - Jeez, the man was picking up sticks on the Sabbath! ooooh, I'm surprised he wasn't sent straight to hell for that unforgivable sin! - was to throw rock after rock at someone, who probably lived quite a long time while all these rocks were being thrown - much as what happens to women being stoned in Islamic countries today, eh?
    Again God offered to Israel a Covenant and Israel accepted that Covenant by declaring all that God has said we will do. Ok both parties agreed to the terms of the Covenant, which included do no work on the Sabbath day.

    Exo_16:23, Exo_16:27-28, Exo_20:8-10, Exo_35:2-3

    If you go back and read especially; Exodus 35: 2 Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day there shall be to you an holy day, a sabbath of rest to the LORD: whosoever doeth work therein shall be put to death.

    Exo 35: 3 Ye shall kindle no fire throughout your habitations upon the sabbath day.


    The Hebrew language indicates that this is more than just picking up a stick or a couple of sticks but gathering wood for your home or habitation. In doing so on the Sabbath day one violated the Commandment they made with God about not doing work on the Sabbath BY CHOICE.

    That is the big distinction here because as in the Garden of Eden the account shows that Eve actually violated the Commandment from God before Adam did but Eve was tricked into doing it but Adam BY CHOICE did so. When we as Gods creation violate (especially BY CHOICE) our Covenant with Him we are to face a consequence. In the account you are referencing the man by choice was gathering not just a stick but firewood for use in his habitation which is work being done on the Sabbath. All work they needed accomplished for the Sabbath day was to be done the day before.


    These weren't small rocks, right, but large stones? What'd they do, scour the land for just the right size stones that would inflict the maximum pain on the person they were stoning to death? Or did God create just the right-sized rocks? I'm surprised that he didn't give the exact measurements for the rocks to be used, like he did for his tabernacle and altar and all that stuff...
    Yes most likely at least fist sized stones God already created them and had them where they were needed around the world.


    Are there any Bible stories of someone refusing to stone a 'sinner' because it was a pretty barbaric and inhumane thing to do?
    Not that I recall coming across, BTW the practice was done away with from a scriptural standpoint when the Lord arose from the grave.

    That is not to say people didn't still use it or even some still today.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cbut1 View Post
    Yes often times they do read to me as sarcastic and as such I find it difficult to want to discuss your questions.
    Okay, sorry - I'll curb my tongue in that regard!

    Again God offered to Israel a Covenant and Israel accepted that Covenant by declaring all that God has said we will do. Ok both parties agreed to the terms of the Covenant, which included do no work on the Sabbath day.
    Did both parties agree, though?

    Again, I'm reading the King James Version and i know that other versions of the Bible are different...

    But from what I've read - I don't recall that the Isrealites were given any choice in the matter.

    God told Moses he was going to take everyone out of Egypt.

    God tells Moses what each tribe is supposed to do - Levites are the priests, etc. He doesn't ask.

    Also, I have an over-arcing question to ask....

    Once we've gotten into Exodus and Leviticus, etc., the whole rest of the Old Testament is tales about the Israelis/Jews, correct?

    And again this has always puzzled me - God chooses the Isrealites to be his chosen people. But what about all the other people God has created? He doesn't want them to all come together to worship him until the New Testament?

    Are there any other one-God only religions in the world before God chooses the Isrealites?

    I know that the Pharaoh Akkenaten attempted to establish a one-God only religion (Aten the sun god) but were there any others?
    "Let joy and innocence prevail."

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