Paul, the Theological Rebel

Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn.

Deuteronomy 25:4 (KJV)

Muzzle the ox – The Rabbis have long suggested that the word “ox” can apply to all animals that are used for the purpose of work, but clarify that this verse does not apply to humans.

Continue reading “Paul, the Theological Rebel”

Absolute, but Flexible

Make two cherubim of gold—make them of hammered work—at the two ends of the cover.

Exodus 25:18 (JPS)

Make – There is no question in what is going on here. God has just instructed the fashioning of two cherubim, an entity found in heaven. The people are to make a graven/sculptured image of something in the heavens. Does this cause you to ponder? Was there not another commandment directly forbidding this?

Continue reading “Absolute, but Flexible”

When Translations Become a Lie

“‘How can you say, “We are wise,
    for we have the law of the Lord,”
when actually the lying pen of the scribes
    has handled it falsely?

Jeremiah 8:8 (NIV)

Lying – Is Jeremiah indicating that the scribes have lied – that they have corrupted the law by writing into it lies? It would appear so if we read the NIV version of this verse. The NIV suggests that the scribes have lied with their pen and handled the law falsely. This is quite serious! How can we possibly trust that the Torah is true if the scribes have been seeding inaccuracies into the text?

Continue reading “When Translations Become a Lie”

The Mikvah of Israel

O Hope of Israel! O LORD!
All who forsake You shall be put to shame,
Those in the land who turn from Youe
Shall be doomedf men,
For they have forsaken the LORD,
The Fount of living waters.

Jeremiah 17:13

Hope – There is something fantastic happening here with the language. Jeremiah writes, Oh YHVH, You are the hope of Israel, the fountain of living waters. Hidden behind the word “hope” is the relationship that pairs it to the fountain of living waters. The word “hope” here is actually the Hebrew word Mikvah ( מִקְוֵ֤ה ).

Continue reading “The Mikvah of Israel”

Full of Nothing

I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. Why do you call me Naomi, since the Lord has testified against me and the Almighty has afflicted me?”

Ruth 1:21 (NASB)

Full – This response from Naomi when compared to chapter’s beginning opens up a deeper understanding of how she came into this state – a state of hopelessness. She went out full during a time of famine. How strange. If Naomi and her husband were full, then why would they leave?

Continue reading “Full of Nothing”

Be Disheartened

Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.

Psalm 46:10 (KJV)

Be still – I’ve heard this verse quoted many times as if God was instructing us to just remain calm. Just quiet yourself and understand God. As if a call to stop the hustle and bustle of your life, and to just be still for a moment. Unfortunately, this understanding comes from selecting a verse out of context and glazing over the English translation to make it fit for us.

Continue reading “Be Disheartened”

Firstborn and Only Begotten

And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the Lord, Israel is my son, even my firstborn:

Exodus 4:22 (KJV)

Firstborn – As a follower of Yeshua, it is easy to forget history when you believe the history of the faith began with the advent of Jesus in the first century. When all we read is the New Testament, the history prior to it becomes irrelevant. If I believe that Yeshua completely absolved everything written in the Old Testament to create a new religion called Christianity, then I have lost perspective.

Continue reading “Firstborn and Only Begotten”

A Hebrew Homonym

11 The word of the LORD came to me: What do you see, Jeremiah? I replied: I see a branch of an almond tree.
12 The LORD said to me: You have seen right, For I am watchful to bring My word to pass.

Jeremiah 1:11-12 (JPS)

Almond tree / I am watchful – We lose so much when we read the text in a translated language. Below, the two Hebrew words look identical, but are expressed with very different meanings. In one case, the word שקד is an almond tree, but the second occurrence of שקד means to “watch.” What is going on?

Continue reading “A Hebrew Homonym”

The Legacy of Isaac

And these are the generations of Isaac, Abraham’s son: Abraham begat Isaac:

Genesis 25:19 (KJV)

Generations of Isaac – When someone begins to tell you about the generations of a person, they normally begin with that person’s children. I’m expecting this verse to end with and Isaac begat Jacob, but instead the verse jumps to Abraham. Why?

Continue reading “The Legacy of Isaac”

Duality or Triune?

Then the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

Genesis 2:7 (JPS)

Breath of life – What is man made up of? That is the question here. Jewish traditions imply that humans are dual in nature made of a body and a soul. They adopted this concept from Plato’s dualism. However, Trinitarian Christians who desperately want to see their concept of a triune God imitated in the creation of mankind adopted the construct of a soul, a body, and a spirit. Which is correct?

Continue reading “Duality or Triune?”