Monday, November 02, 2009

From Jerusalem to Greenvile, stop 1

Well, it's been far too long away from the blog! I've gave a few cards out, and worked on a few websites, but generally, I have just not been into the blogging scene lately.

Here is a "rabbit trail" I got on the other day. Using Googe Earth I traced the "Great Circle" from Jerusalem to Greenville. A great circle is a straight line drawn on a globe which is equally distant from the center. It is shorter than the line along the latitude east-and-west. The longitudes north-to-south are great circles. So, while heading west from Jerusalem brings you to the coast of Georgia, the great circle to the same point, or rather one close to it, goes across Europe and the North Atlantic.

The great circle to my house from the temple mound, then, goes from Israel, to Greece and Croatia, then through Italy, Switzerland and France, over the the channel to southern Wales, and then across the North Atlantic to Canada and the East Coast of America. I was surprized how this route somewhat traces the spread of the gospel to upstate South Carolina.

And so, I am going to attempt a "travelogue" of some of the villages (very few cities are in the path) that I found along the "rabbit trail." I will especially be looking for evidences of the church in these places.

The first village outside of Jerusalem is Bayt Surik. This is a Palestinian village subject to much controversy due to settlement of Jews outside Jerusalem. It is also spelled "Beit Surik," and supposedly means "Springs village." A security fence was built near here in 2006 which upset the native Palestinians greatly. The village is just over the 1949 Armistice Agreement Line in what is considered "occupied territory" popularly called "the West Bank."

A good site to visit concerning this village is

This is a site ran by some Britons who formed a friendship forum with the Palestinians. I borrowed the picture above from them. It seems that American Evangelicalism is very biased in favor of Israel, I would recommend that conservative Christians read both sides of what is happening in the "holy" land. The sin nature is alive and well in the homeland of Christ!

The nearest church that Google Maps pulls up is the Church of the Visitation, commemorating the site where Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist, lived when Mary visited her (Luke 1:39). This is about eight miles away via curving road in a southern direction.

Biblical Ramah is three miles to the east, but the Google maps will not route you down the roads between the two places (both in the West Bank). The trip down into "Israel" and back up looks to be around ten miles. Keeping travelers off of dangerous Palestinian controlled roads seems to be a feature that Google wishes to provide. Mapquest, my other source for directions, is only for the US and Canada.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Naked and not ashamed

(AR, AUR, AIR, ARaR, ARaM) and cognates all go back to the basic meaning of "bare," or exposed.

(AIR) shows up first alphabetically. It is translated "city" and "watch(er)," assuming an open area and/or a place that needed the watchful (and open) eye of a guard. This word is said to be from(AUM) which is translated "awake," "bare," "chaff," "skin" and even "blind," each with the idea of something spread out in the open - eyes, skin, grain, or eyes glazed over as with a skin.

(AR) comes from rye and is another spelling for "city," but is also translated "enemy" as coming from . The root (ARaM) seems be related less directly, but leads to the two translations of (AROM) so tantalizingly presented early in Genesis. Mre means either "to gather up" (from harvesting, and thus laying bare the ground?) or "to be prudent" (to be watchful, with "bared" eyes). A field denuded of its produce would be naked, and likewise, one who is prudent would have to have his eyes, and mind, wide open.

An unusual justaposition of two uses of the Hebrew word
appears in Genesis 2:25 and 3:1. The concordance has two entries, 06174 and 06175.

Here are the two together:

Ge 2:25 And they were both naked (06174), the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.
Ge 3:1 Now the serpent was more subtil (06175) than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

I have replaced (06175) with (naked) in every case, except for the oldest (Genesis and Job) in a positive sense of "prudence" rather than "subtle" as with the serpent.

But let us consider the translation in its purest sense as ALWAYS "naked."

Ge 3:1 Now the serpent was more subtle (naked) than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

"The serpent was more naked (being hairless!) than any beast of the field." Indeed, the reptile has no hair, and in that way may be considered like man (whose hair was fine and nearly invisible). This lends to the rather ridiculous notion that Satan actually seduced Eve in a human-like form. But it makes sense taken literally.

Job 5:12 He disappointeth the devices of the crafty (naked), so that their hands cannot perform their enterprise.

God, it is said, frustrates the plans of the naked, so that they cannot get things done. It seems that these poor saps just don't have the tools needed to do the job!

Job 15:5 For thy mouth uttereth thine iniquity, and thou choosest the tongue of the crafty (naked).

Job is accused of admitting himself to be a sinner by cursing like a naked drunkard [choosing the tongue of the {shamefully} naked].

Pr 12:16 A fool’s wrath is presently known: but a prudent (naked) man covereth shame.

"The naked cover shame," a rather prudent act for sure. Meanwhile, the fool's angry rantings are out in the open.

Pr 12:23 A prudent (naked) man concealeth knowledge: but the heart of fools proclaimeth foolishness.

The naked man covers what is known (that is, his nakedness). But fools make their foolishness known to all.

Pr 13:16 Every prudent (naked) man dealeth with knowledge: but a fool layeth open his folly.

He who is naked acts with wisdom, but a fool lets everyone see his foolishness.

Pr 14:8 The wisdom of the prudent (naked) is to understand his way: but the folly of fools is deceit.

The wisdom of him who is naked is that he knows how to act discretely, but fools are just sneaky!

Pr 14:15 The simple believeth every word: but the prudent (naked) man looketh well to his going.

Whereas the naive will trust your words, he who is naked well aware of his surroundings.

Pr 14:18 The simple inherit folly: but the prudent (naked) are crowned with knowledge.

Whereas the naive live with fools, they who are naked are surrounded by those who understand.

Pr 22:3 A prudent (naked) man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.
Pr 27:12 A prudent (naked) man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself; but the simple pass on, and are punished.

He who is naked perceives evil intent and covers himself, but the naive will sin and face judgment.

The word's simple meaning is plainly to be "bare" with no pretense of self-importance. We are known fully by God, who sees through any pretense we might set forth. In the garden, Adam and Eve were fully open with one another. And then another naked creature seemingly opened itself to the same scrutiny, offering full disclosure of something he said had been covered up. That creature was inhabited by the Chief Liar of the universe.

But the nakedness the serpent displayed, an openness to discerning what is bad for relationships, is seen in those who are truly wise -- the "naked of spirit." Or perhaps, even in those who live "au naturale" in a spirit of openness most of us have a trouble with even within marriage! In these Proverbs a naked person is seen to be wise in deciding where he goes and with whom he associates. From covering himself among strangers (12:16, 23) to discreet behavior among friends, the "Edenist" is wiser than those who have things to hide. A naturist, being keenly aware of his surroundings, can sense when those who sneak in to gawk at him. He will not grant such evil desire, but will cover himself (27:12).

It doesn't work well the other direction:

Ge 2:25 And they were both naked (prudent), the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

OK. So we have the first couple before the fall, unashamedly wise beyond their (apparent) years. Hmmm.

1Sa 19:24 And he stripped off his clothes also, and prophesied before Samuel in like manner, and lay down naked (prudent) all that day and all that night. Wherefore they say, Is Saul also among the prophets?

Well, perhaps this is not as redundant as at first translated. Without clothes, he would be naked. But to prophecy he must have some reason left, thus "prudence"?

Job 1:21 And said, Naked (prudent) came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked (prudent) shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.

Nope, that won't work. A newborn baby is not "prudent," for he cannot reason about anything. He is totally dependent upon animal instincts at that point. And as naked as the day he was born! And, though one may be wise when he dies, it is not the body that has the smarts.

Job 22:6 For thou hast taken a pledge from thy brother for nought, and stripped the naked (prudent) of their clothing.

Job is being accused of taking advantage of his neighbors. No carefully reasoning man would allow himself to be treated like that. Unless, of course the naked man didn't want the clothes in the first place. But then, it wouldn't be so bad to take them, would it?

Job 24:7 They cause the naked (prudent) to lodge without clothing, that they have no covering in the cold.

Here we have paralellism. No clothing and no covering, pretty much leaves one naked and in the cold. For a wise man to seek lodging when he has no clothes makes sense, but then, to be out in the cold without covering is definitely not wise.
But - [They cause the prudent to grumble, being without clothing and no covering in the cold] - makes sense out of context. But in context, the sin is in mistreatment of the poor.

Job 24:10 They cause him to go naked (prudent) without clothing, and they take away the sheaf from the hungry;

As above, the disinfranchised is being sinned against. Taking a prudent man's clothes is not the same thing as taking a hungry man's food.

Job 26:6 Hell is naked (prudent) before him, and destruction hath no covering.

Pure parallelism. Hell=destruction, naked=no covering.
Alternate: "What he asked for is laid bare in front of him, but destruction is just as sure."

Ec 5:15 As he came forth of his mother’s womb, naked (prudent) shall he return to go as he came, and shall take nothing of his labour, which he may carry away in his hand.

As with the passage in Job, a baby is not prudent, though an old man may be in his choices before death.

Isa 20:2 At the same time spake the LORD by Isaiah the son of Amoz, saying, Go and loose the sackcloth from off thy loins, and put off thy shoe from thy foot. And he did so, walking naked (prudent) and barefoot.

Isaiah is told to drop his drawers and take his shoes off to boot. Nothing quite like opening yourself to the scrutiny of the enemy to make one wise!

Isa 20:3 And the LORD said, Like as my servant Isaiah hath walked naked (prudent) and barefoot three years for a sign and wonder upon Egypt and upon Ethiopia;
Isa 20:4 So shall the king of Assyria lead away the Egyptians prisoners, and the Ethiopians captives, young and old, naked (prudent) and barefoot, even with their buttocks uncovered, to the shame of Egypt.

Isaiah's message is clear - as I am now, so you will be very soon! Naked and barefoot!

Isa 58:7 Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked (prudent), that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?

In context, the poor soul in need of covering is no doubt naked and not liking it.

Ho 2:3 Lest I strip her naked (prudent), and set her as in the day that she was born, and make her as a wilderness, and set her like a dry land, and slay her with thirst.

A very stark picture of the inhumane treatment of the treatment of a newborn or miscarriage, abandoned to die by the side of the road.

Am 2:16 And he that is courageous among the mighty shall flee away naked (prudent) in that day, saith the LORD.

OK. This one almost works the other way - "Just as courageous men flee, so shall the prudent"

Mic 1:8 Therefore I will wail and howl, I will go stripped and naked (prudent): I will make a wailing like the dragons, and mourning as the owls.

The prophet is making a racket. "Stripped and wiser (!??)," he sounds like a wild animal. Not likely. Again, it "stripped and naked" just go together.

The shamefully naked, whether by design or from mistreatment, are far from discerning in their relationships. They understand only their distraught condition. They need relief. Nakedness, if not innocent, is sin. Since we all battle sin, in its many guises, very few of us can uncover our insecurities, to be truly "aromic," without shame. Ours is a city with walls, with its guard always up. We are always wary of others who charm us with an open face, for so few are pure. Our eyes are "peeled," looking for the dangers of those who just as cunningly look to take advantage of any "opening" they can find.

Open wide and say "ARR."

What Jesus Read

On his inaugural sermon, Jesus is given the scroll of Isaiah. He opens to the place where it is written:

"The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD."

Luke records the LXX version, but has Jesus include: "and to let the oppressed go free," from 58:6. The English translation of the Greek NT has "opening the eyes of the blind" following the LXX. " tuflois anablepsin" is indeed best translated that way.

But what of this insertion? Why is it said to be "read" if it is not in the text. I submit that it was right there on the page, with his right thumb "marking the spot." He read his own interpretive insertion from the text in front of him.

The picture above is from the "Great Isaiah Scroll" (c. 150 BC). I have three pages as they would have unrolled from that copy of Isaiah. I have marked the words he read. Clicking on the image will give a larger version.

Jesus read everything Luke says he read, undoubtedly from a Hebrew scroll. Luke cites the LXX version because that is what he is familiar with. There is no inconsistency. The copy Jesus had may have had the verses on adjacent pages (its only a matter of a few words moved up. His copy might have been of a finer hand, putting the verses even closer on the page. The point is, this explains an apparent discrepancy in a concrete way.