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Showing posts from May, 2019

Word for Word: Episode 48

יֹ֥ום חֲמִישִֽׁי Fifth Day After providing everything needed to sustain it, God created living (moving) things. This is a turning point it creation. By adding sentience and movement, the Creator shared more of His character to the universe. Animals can consciously form relationships with others of their kind and form beneficial bonds with other species as well. The account of the fifth day introduced the following words: [sharats] v. שָׁרַץ to swarm, to bring forth abundantly; to creep, crawl. n. [sherets] שֶׁרֶץ : swarmers, creepers; a swarm [nephesh] נֶפֶשׁ soul, life, person [chay] חַי living, alive; from חָיָה, to live. [`owph] n. עוֹף a flying thing [`uwph] v. עוּף to fly [tanniyn] תַּנִּין dragon, serpent, whale, "sea monster" [ramas] רָמַשׂ creep, move lightly, move about [kanaph]כָּנָף wing, extremity, edge [rabah]רָבָה to be great, many, much or numerous [chamiyshiy] חֲמִישִׁי adj. fifth, from חָמֵשׁ (chamesh) five

Word for Word: Episode 47

פְּר֣וּ וּרְב֗וּ וּמִלְא֤וּ Be fruitful, multiply, and fill The filling of the new world with life from the Creator would be hard, but necessary work. Though it could have been accomplished in a moment, God set in motion a process. The gift of life had been given, but the command meant it was by volition that the paired animals would obey. It is a built in urge in living things to "procreate", but soon the creatures would have to choose. The first command is to be fruitful, פְּר֣וּ (paru) from פָּרָה (parah). On day three the fruit trees we're created bearing fruit (פְּרִי, peri)  a derivative of this verb. The command to multiply is רְב֗וּ, rebu, the verb רָבָה (rabah, to become great, many, much or numerous). Each of these translations reflect the root meaning of increasing. The verb would become the honorary title of Rabbi, that is to say "great one". Finally, the animals are told to "fill" their realm with descendants. The verb here is מָלָא, mä·lā'…

Life Lessons from David and Bathsheba

If you have ever been in church, than you have probably heard the infamous account of “David and Bathsheba”, that is, the adultery of David and Bathsheba and David’s eventual murder of her husband. Clearly this event in David’s life is warning against adultery and its grave consequences. It is a clear example of how even David, the “man after God’s own heart” traumatically fell into sin. All of these things are true, but what does this episode really mean for my life? What life lessons can I learn from David and Bathsheba.
In this blog series we are going to take a deep dive into the affair between David and Bathsheba and the real, relevant and practical life lessons we can learn from this.

Idleness Leads to Temptation “[It happened] In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel. And they ravaged the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem.”- 2 Sam 11:1 ESV  David had been made King b…

A Narrative Shift

David had endured years of violence and uprising running from Saul as rightful King and now he would experience it again- this time everything he had spent his life building would be at stake. After Nathan delivers God’s indictment of his double-sin: murder and adultery, there is a complete change in the narrative of the Book(s) of Samuel (1 and 2 Samuel should be understood as one book). Up until this point, Samuel focuses on David’s rise to power. After this, everything in the main narrative goes down hill. In the same way, after we sin the natural results of the sin or God’s justice may dramatically alter the course of our lives in a negative way. David was acquitted of the punishment he legally deserved: death; however, David still experienced God’s wrath in the law of retribution. “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” (Exo 21:24) or for David- sexual relations with another’s wife will happen to him and violence he committed against Uriah will happen within his own family. 

I…

God, Create a Clean Heart In Me

“David said… ‘I have sinned against Yahweh.’ And Nathan said to David, ‘Yahweh also has put away your sin, you shall not die.’” In the midst of David’s verbal confession before the prophet Nathan, David wrote (or said) a prayer- now known as Psalm 51. It is important to remember that biblical prose is not journalistic in nature, but it is storytelling. The events are not fictional, but they are narrated and told “at a distance” from the raw, historical happenings. David’s confession may not have been at the same time that Nathan had confronted him. It seems, that David’s confession here is a representative statement of his prayer and Nathan’s response is God’s response.
David’s prayer is full of asking God to do things. David fully recognizes that in order to get the effects of cleanliness and restoration, God must be the cause. David asks God to create a clean heart in him. The Hebrew word for create here, bara is a verb that only has God as the cause (according to Dr. Michael Heis…

The Confrontation

After Uriah’s death, Bathsheba mourned. After the mourning was over David took her as his wife, the right thing to do in the circumstances.

But the thing that David had done displeased [Yahweh]. And And [Yahweh] sent Nathan to David”- 2 Sam 11:27b-12:1a Uriah was dead, Bathsheba was now his wife. For David, it was as if he not only avoided the consequences of his sin, he had made amends by marrying Bathsheba. God saw what he had done and was not pleased. As the King of Israel, David was responsible the governance of his kingdom; but was still under the leadership of God. Therefore, David had a personal prophet, Nathan, who communicated the revelation of God to him and interceded before him. One day Nathan came before David, having been sent by God. He presented him with a scenario: a rich man with large flocks stole one man’s only lamb. In those days, Kings would act as the chief judge over the country, hearing cases and ensuring fair justice. (2 Sam 12:1-4)
When David heard this, …

Word for Word: Episode 46

יְבָ֧רֶךְ אֹתָ֛ם אֱלֹהִ֖ים God blessed them With millions of sentient creatures scattered from the deepest sea to above the clouds, their creator assured their continuance by granting them what they collectively needed. The word בָּרַךְ is a root word which means "to kneel", as a subject to a ruler to request a favor. When used in the intensive form as here, it becomes the granting of that favor. That is to say, "to bless". When the self-sufficient Creator deems it proper to cause good things to happen to please his creatures, it shows a personal interest in the affairs of this world. In blessing the lives of even the wiggling sea urchins, God demonstrates his benevolent providence. He is always there, doing the right thing.

The Desperate Cover Up

"So David sent word to Joab, 'Send me Uriah the Hittite.'"- 2 Sam 11:6 ESV So begins David’s attempt to hide his sin. He had sent Bathsheba home from his bedroom, as if nothing had been done wrong. Within a short time, David heard word that Bathsheba was pregnant. Sooner or later, David would have to deal with the consequences of his actions. In response to Bathsheba’s pregnancy and “evidence” of David’s sin, he sought to deal with it the natural way- bring Uriah home to his wife.
When Uriah came home from the frontlines, David gave him a warm welcome- completing hiding any ulterior motive. After a pleasant and hospitable evening, David sent Uriah on his way home with a gift to encourage his return to his wife. To David’s dismay, Uriah did not return home that night. When David heard this he was shocked- he would have to move from a simple to an elaborate cover up if Uriah did not go home to his wife.


“Uriah said to David, ‘The Ark and Israel and Judah dwell in boo…

The Anatomy of David's Affair

“But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin…” (James 1:14-15a ESV)
“And David sent and inquired about the woman. And one said ‘Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?’- (2 Sam 11:3)  The moment David saw the beautiful Bathsheba and chose to behold her for too long, he (as in the words of Jesus) “had already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matt 5:28). David had already sinned. He had the option to repent of it right there, confess it to God and to turn away (perhaps literally) from his sin. The woman David had seen piqued his interest, so he sent some people to go find out about her. They told David she was Uriah the Hittite’s wife. Uriah the Hittite was no stranger to David, in fact Uriah was one of the top thirty men in all of David’s army (1 Chr 11:41)!
The identification of Bathsheba as Uriah’s wife wasn’t something that David could just brush off. …

Idleness Leads to Temptation

“[It happened] In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel. And they ravaged the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem.”- 2 Sam 11:1 ESV (emphasis added)  These are the opening lines of the account of David’s adultery. It was spring, the war season. In ancient times, armies would primarily fight during spring weather. Armies were not equipped to fight during the cold months of winter. Even if a war was ongoing, opposing sides would often cease battle for the season until the weather was right again. Then they would resume in the spring. One possible reason armies fought in warm weather was that crops were plentiful, giving easily accessible food to passing soldiers.
In those times, Kings were also generals. They led their army on the front lines of the battle. They planned military strategy, negotiated with the enemy and boosted the morale of the troops. Under normal circumstances…

Word for Word: Episode 45

הָֽרֹמֶ֡שֶׂת The movers On the other side of the spectrum of sea creatures were the myriad of smaller animals--living beings that self propelled through the water, the liquid medium that makes life possible. There are so many different sea animals that we may never know how many there are or may have been. They live in the deepest part of the waters that have been explored so far. They also live in drops of water so small that the air can transfer them to bodies of water far inland. (see https://massivesci.com/articles/sea-spray-microbiome/) Aside from the placement of the stars, the filling the ocean was the most extensive act of original creation. And so far as we know, this collection of living things far exceeds the stars in variety.

Word for Word: Episode 44

וְעֹוף֙ יְעֹופֵ֣ף עַל־הָאָ֔רֶץ Flyers flying over the earth As with the swarm, the flock of "birds" is a large general category. The verb form, עוּף (`uwf), is used to designate flying. The root further points to the most common flyer, the birds, due to their using their wings to wrap, or cover, their young. The noun form is עוֹף (`owf), with the pointing of the vowel different. עַל־פְּנֵ֖י רְקִ֥יעַ הַשָּׁמָֽיִם The face of the firmament There has been much discussion on the nature of the firmament and its relationship with the heavens. As we saw on the second day, the firmament is called "heaven". However, many translate this simply as the air. This seems to be the sense of the birds. But what is the surface of the sky? Where does the air begin?These concepts are defined by the observer. The air that every living thing on earth and in the sky breathes begins at the surface of the earth. However, the surface of the heavens is to be viewed from below. It is clear that the …

Word for Word: Episode 43

הַתַּנִּינִ֖ם הַגְּדֹלִ֑ים The great whales The verb bara, to create, is used a second time when animal life is bestowed upon creatures of the sea and air. The first mentioned is the תַּנִּין,tanniyn, an nonspecific designation for a fearsome creature sometimes called a "dragon". The creatures is said to be quite large. Their size alone would have demanded respect from all other animals in the sea. The contrast between the "monsters" and the "minnows", so to speak, is another merism. The act of creating was universal in scope. Twice in this verse the Hebrew word כָּל, kal, is used. Be they in the water or the air, every animal was especially designed for its niche in God's world.