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  • You are here: Blogs Directory / Theology / A Daily Genesis Welcome Guest
    A Daily Genesis
          A systematic commentary on the whole book of Genesis

    Fri, Jul 31st - 8:03AM



    Genesis 15:1-6

     

    †. Gen 15:1a . . Some time later, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision.

    This is the very first record of a vision in the Bible. The Hebrew word is machazeh (makh-az-eh') and it appears in only four places in the entire Old Testament; which is pretty amazing considering the volume of prophecy the Old Testament contains.

    Visions aren't always visible scenes, but sometimes contain only audible words; and this is one of those instances. It wasn't the Lord who came to Abram in a vision: it was His word; viz: this vision was something heard rather than seen i.e. a message.

    †. Gen 15:1b . . Fear not, Abram, I am a shield to you;

    The vision informed Abram that Yhvh intended to protect him; which was a good thing because quite possibly Abram at this time was feeling a bit anxious that a counterattack might be organized up in Shinar and return to Canaan for revenge with a much larger force than the one recently defeated.

    †. Gen 15:1c . .Your reward shall be very great.

    In other words; his reward would be much greater than the one he just recently forfeited. In those days, it was winner takes all; but Abram had not exercised that option.

    Below is an ancient take on the event.

    T. Thereupon was the word of the Lord with Abram in a vision, saying: Fear not; for if these men should gather together in legions and come against thee, My Word will be thy shield: and also if these fall before thee in this world, the reward of thy good works shall be kept, and be prepared before Me in the world to come, great exceedingly. (Targum Jonathan)

    †. Gen 15:2a . . But Abram said: O Lord God, what can You give me, seeing that I shall die childless,

    Apparently Abram misunderstood God back in Gen 12:2 when He promised to make of Abram a great nation; even though God restated the promise at Gen 12:7 and Gen 13:15 and clearly meant Abram would engender biological progeny. However, I think the man had grown so accustomed to Sarah's sterility that it just never occurred to him that God's promise might actually be for real.

    †. Gen 15:2b . . and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus?

    Eliezer wasn't Abram's blood kin; however, by common law in Canaan, he was Abram's default heir apparent in the absence of legal progeny.

    †. Gen 15:3 . . Abram said further: Since You have granted me no offspring, my steward will be my heir.

    When a man without children died in that day, common law stipulated that his chief steward got it all and had a legal right to pass it all on to his own son. Abram had no real estate, but if he did, then Eliezer would get that too in the event Abram died with no heir. Sarai? Well, she'd probably stay on as Eliezer's concubine.

    But the real danger at this point wasn't to Abram's gold, silver, slaves, herds, and women; but to the promises that God made to Abram concerning his heir. Those would pass to Eliezer too.

    †. Gen 15:4-5 . .The word of The Lord came to him in reply: That one shall not be your heir; none but your very own issue shall be your heir. He took him outside and said: Look toward heaven and count the stars, if you are able to count them. And He added: So shall your offspring be.

    In Abram's day, prior to the invention of optics, the only stars that people could see with their own eyes were those in our home galaxy; the Milky Way; which consists of an estimated 100-400 billion stars. But many of those estimated billions of stars appear to the naked eye not as stars but as glowing clouds; viz: they cannot be individually distinguished by the naked eye so those didn't matter to Abram when it came to actually tallying the heavens.

    The entire global sky contains roughly five or six thousand stars visible to the naked eye. However, we can't see all those stars at once; only the ones when the sky is dark. So then; in Abram's day, he could see at most three thousand discernible stars from dark till dawn. God had said "if you are able to count them". Well; even at only three thousand, the task would be difficult.

    NOTE: The term "stars" may have been an ancient colloquialism for large numbers of just about anything. Compare Heb 12:1 where "cloud" is a term for the same purpose.

    Anyway . . it finally sank in that God's promise was for real and that's when one of the most significant events in history took place.

    †. Gen 15:6 . . And he believed in Yhvh; and He counted it to him for righteousness.

    That is the very first time anything "righteous" was said about Abram in Genesis; and it resulted not from piety, but rather, from belief.

    The Hebrew word for "belief" is horribly ambiguous. 'Aman can mean, among other things: (1) to build up or support, (2) to foster as a parent or nurse, (3) figuratively to render (or be) firm or faithful, (4) to trust or believe, (5) to be permanent or quiet, (6) to be morally true or certain, and (7) to rely upon.

    Any choice I make from that list would be entirely arbitrary; but my money is upon trust and reliance because at that moment, Abram began seriously pinning his hopes on God to do something about his childless situation.

    The thing to note is that Abram's hope wasn't based upon wishful thinking. No; he had a testimony from God to justify his confidence.

    According to the first chapter of Genesis; the cosmos-- all of its forms of life, matter, and energy --is the result of intelligent design. Do people gain a degree of righteousness when they believe that chapter is true? No; I mean, even demons believe that chapter is true; and fat lot of good it does them because there are no personal guarantees in that chapter; it's entirely academic.

    But how about this?

    "I came down from heaven not to do my own will but the will of the One who sent me. And this is the will of the One who sent me, that I should not lose anything of what He gave me, but that I should raise it [on] the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him may have eternal life, and I shall raise him [on] the last day." (John 6:38-40)

    Whether people do or don't rely upon and/or trust that statement will have no effect upon its outcome; viz: it is going to happen. However, their doubt will cost them a degree of righteousness because John 3:38-40 isn't academic; no, it's a personal guarantee.

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    Thu, Jul 30th - 8:30AM



    Genesis 14:20b-24

     

    †. Gen 14:20b . . And [Abram] gave him a tenth of everything.

    According to Heb 7:1-4, this particular tenth regarded only the recent spoils of war; not of all Abram's estate in its entirety. So then, tenths should be reserved for times when you know in your heart that it was God who engineered your success.

    Just exactly how King Mel disposed of Abram's tenth isn't stated; but typically contributions back then went towards a local priest's support. This principle would apply of course only if Mel was useful to Abram as a priest; viz: a source of spiritual counseling and/or a mediator between himself and God, otherwise Abram would owe him nothing.

    But enough of that. A comprehensive dissertation on the Melchizedekian priesthood is located in the New Testament's open letter to the Hebrew people.

    †. Gen 14:21 . .Then the king of Sodom said to Abram: Give me the persons, and take the possessions for yourself.

    Sheik Bera was very grateful to Abram, and asked only for the return of his fellow citizens; but not for the return of their stolen goods. Abram was more than welcome to keep it all as his reward for rescuing the people of the Plain. Although Bera and his citizens were very wicked, this is one time I have to give him some credit for showing excellent propriety.

    But Abram refused. There was just no way he was going to get rich by exploiting his own neighbors' misfortunes. Although he had a perfect right, within the customs of that day, to all the spoils of war, (a tenth of which he already gave to Melchizedek) he waived it in favor of looking out for Sheik Bera's best interests. I tell you, this man Abram was incredibly gracious; and his manner of life, as a rule, made his religion, and his god, look pretty good.

    †. Gen 14:22-23 . .But Abram said to the king of Sodom: I swear to the Lord God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth; I will not take so much as a thread or a sandal strap of what is yours; you shall not say: It is I who made Abram rich

    When you get down to it; a person's reputation is all that really matters in life; because it's really the only thing we take with us when we pass on. Abram didn't want to be known as someone who got rich through the misfortunes of others. And that is exactly what would have happened had he agreed to Bera's suggestion. You can imagine what that would have done to his influence for God in that region; and how it would have ruined Abram's own self respect. It would be awful indeed if people round about gossiped that Abram's only motive for rescuing his nephew was for profit.

    Abram didn't need Bera's stuff anyway. What the heck; he had plenty back home already. Why be greedy? I mean: how much does it really take to satisfy? Does a man really have to own every skyscraper, every square foot of real estate, every drop of water, every cow, pig, and chicken, every inch of agricultural land, every fruit and vegetable seed sold around the world, every watt of electricity, every telephone system, every share of stock in a blue chip company, every software program, every car dealership, every oil well, every refinery, every electric generating plant, every natural gas supplier, a monopoly on insecticide and weed killer, every utility, and every hotel and apartment building before he feels he has enough?

    When will Walmart's corporate managers finally say "Lets stop expanding. We have enough market share". They never will because Walmart's greed and its predatory nature knows no bounds.

    As I watched a NetFlix documentary about corn production; the producers visited a chemical plant that makes high fructose corn syrup. The manager of the plant was asked how much market share his product had. After answering, he was then asked how much market share he would like to have; and he answered "all of it"

    The Supreme Almighty God, who had so blessed Abram thus far, would surely continue to do so. Abram had far more personal honor and self respect than the predatory ENRON traders who took advantage of forest fires in California some years ago to raise that State's electric rates.

    †. Gen 14:24 . . For me, nothing but what my servants have used up; as for the share of the men who went with me-- Aner, Eshkol, and Mamre --let them take their share.

    Abram's only request was replacement of his own provisions that his troops consumed during the mission. He didn't permit them to take a share of the spoils; and since they were his slaves; they had no say in it. But his Amorite allies spoke for themselves. If they wanted anything, it was their own decisions about it and Abram didn't interfere. I mean, after all; the cities of the plain owed the Amorite guys at least a little something as compensation for saving their bacon.

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    Wed, Jul 29th - 8:50AM



    Genesis 14:17-20a

     

    †. Gen 14:17 . .When he returned from defeating Chedorlaomer and the kings with him, the king of Sodom came out to meet him in the Valley of Shaveh, which is the Valley of the King.

    The location of the Shaveh Valley is a total mystery; this being the only place in the entire Old Testament where it's mentioned. "Shaveh" is a transliteration of Shaveh (shaw-vay') which means: plain or level or equal.

    Some feel that the Shaveh Valley was some sort of neutral zone, like a Geneva Switzerland; where rival sheiks could meet and talk turkey without fear of reprisal or assassination. The Valley of the King is thought to be a special location where kingships were publicly bestowed upon individuals-- which, if true, would imply that Abram may have been offered an opportunity to rule a portion of Canaan.

    It's not unusual for victorious military commanders to be politically popular. General Dwight D. Eisenhower, the USA's 34th president, was one of those; and so was the great Shawnee chieftain Tecumseh. (had the British not reneged on their commitment to support Tecumseh's hard-won coalition of eastern tribes, the United States east of the Mississippi river might be half its size today)

    †. Gen 14:18a . . And King Melchizedek of Salem brought out bread and wine;

    Melchizedek's name is Malkiy-Tsedeq (mal-kee-tseh'-dek) which means: king of right or possibly just simply righteous king; in contrast to the wickedness which was the stock in trade of Bera, king of Sodom. I tend to think that King Mel was a widely-accepted circuit judge in that region; a sort of one-man Supreme Court in his day like Samuel was in his.

    "Salem"-- an early name of Jerusalem --is from Shalem (shaw-lame') which means: peaceful.

    Some make a big deal out of the bread and wine; relating it to the elements of the Christian communion service, a.k.a. the Lord's Supper. However, the Lord's bread was unleavened; keeping with the law of the Passover.

    The Hebrew word for unleavened bread is matstsah (mats-tsaw') whereas the Hebrew word for the bread that Mel brought with him isn't matstsah, rather, it's lechem (lekh'-em) which is a nondescript word for all manner of food; it isn't limited to bakery products.

    A good example of the ambiguity of lechem is the feast that Joseph ordered prepared for his brothers (Gen 43:25-31). It wasn't a basket of Focaccia al rosmarino; rather, an entire banquet.

    There's really nothing especially symbolic about the wine either; it was a common dinner beverage introduced to the post Flood world by none other than grampa Noah. (Gen 9:20-21)

    Mel's catering service probably brought enough food and drink for Abram's entire detachment. They certainly deserved to be feted for their efforts, not just the old boy himself. Mel's feast was a celebration; no doubt instigated by Mel, but participated in by the whole region as a gesture of deep gratitude to Abram and his men for ridding Canaan of that awful Ched person. In other words: I think that what we're looking at here is a fiesta.

    The wine that Mel brought to this event was capable of making everybody quite drunk if they imbibed an amount beyond their tolerance. The word is yayin (yah'-yin) which means: to effervesce; wine (as fermented); by implication, intoxication. It's the very same word used of the beverage that hammered gramps in chapter nine.

    Mel was not only a political figure in that region; but a religious figure as well.

    †. Gen 14:18b . . he was a priest of God Most High.

    "Most High" is a brand new superlative for God at this point in Genesis. It's 'elyown (el-yone') which means: an elevation, i.e. lofty. As a title it means: the Supreme, or the Very Highest.

    We might have thought that Abram's camp comprised the only God-fearing people in all of Canaan. But surprise of surprises. There was another man in the land who was a God-fearing sheik just like Abram. But Mel went one better. This man was not just a sheik, but also a priest of the Supreme God; and he holds the honor of being the very first official priest of God in the entire Bible; many years before Aaron.

    Abram was a prophet, a great sheik, and a great man of God; and although he did the part of a priest for his clan-- as did Job, Noah, and others-- he was never really an official priest nor was he ever really a true king. So Mel easily outranked Abram. (cf. Heb 7:4-7)

    True priests are mediators between God and Man; and in that capacity, have the authority and the wherewithal to effect a reconciliation between the two whenever there's a breakdown in diplomatic relations. Priests also have a knowledge of God; which they have a sacred duty to dispense to their constituents. (Mal 2:7)

    The Bible is completely silent about Mel's origin. It doesn't list his genealogy; no, not even so much as his mother and father; which is very unusual because Aaronic priests have to prove their lineage before being permitted to take office. So that, in reality, a priest like Mel doesn't have to be related to Aaron, nor does he even have to be particularly Jewish; nor any other specific ethnic for that matter. He just has to be a human being because high priests are taken from among men rather than from among angels. (Heb 5:1)

    However, humanness doesn't eo ipso qualify someone for the office of Melchizedekian priest because it's an appointment rather than a career track. (Ps 110:4, Heb 5:4-6)

    Mel was definitely a Gentile because Abram (himself also a Gentile, from the region of Iraq) had yet to engender Isaac; the father of Jacob, who was to become the progenitor of the twelve tribes of the people of Israel; viz: the Jews. So; though Christ was a Jew, a number of his ancestors weren't.

    NOTE: The most important thing to note about Mel is that he was a priest prior to the institution of Israel's covenanted law. Therefore, since Bible law isn't retroactive-- viz: doesn't have ex post facto jurisdiction (Deut 5:2-4, Gal 3:17) --then Mel's constituents weren't obligated to comply with the Ten Commandments; ergo: the Commandments cannot be used to prosecute them in heaven's court of law (cf. Rom 4:15, Rom 5:13).

    This rather outstanding advantage carries over to Christ's constituents too because his priesthood is patterned after Mel's. (Ps 110:4, Heb 5:4-6)

    Another thing to note about Mel's priesthood is that according to the letter to Hebrews; it's a high-priest priesthood; which means that only one man at a time can hold the office.

    That right there totally invalidates Mormonism's order of Melchizedek. It also invalidates Mormonism's Aaronic order too because Aaron's is also a high-priest priesthood. In other words: the high priest's priesthood doesn't consist of a panel of priests like the nine justices comprising the US Supreme Court. No, the high-priest's priesthood is a one-man show.

    †. Gen 14:19-20a . . He blessed him, saying: Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your foes into your hand.

    At this point in time, Abram's relationship with God was very satisfactory. 'Elyown had nothing critical for Mel to say of Abram; and Mel verified that God was the reason behind Abram's success in battle. David's too.

    "In your strength I can crush an army; with my God I can scale any wall (2Sam 22:30)

    "He prepares me for battle; he strengthens me to draw a bow of bronze. (2 Sam 22:35)

    "Blessed be the Lord, my rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle" (Ps 144:1)

     etc.

    There are Christians who, allegedly for conscience sake, are totally against all war and violence. They fail to appreciate that peace, liberty, and human rights are preserved in an evil world only by force of arms.

    Conscientious objectors-- while refusing to put themselves in harm's way standing guard over their family and their country, and to lend a hand in keeping the world a relatively safe, stable place to live, sacrificing their own lives and futures if need be --don't seem to mind taking advantage of the abundance of benefits purchased by the blood of others whom they despise as baby killers and war mongers.

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    Tue, Jul 28th - 10:06AM



    Genesis 14:13c-16

     

    †. Gen 14:13c . . who was dwelling at the terebinths of Mamre the Amorite, kinsman of Eshkol and Aner, these being Abram's allies.

    Abram had become a shrewd sheik. The best way to survive on the frontier is to team up-- especially with someone that all the others know and fear. That way most everyone will leave you alone because they don't want to deal with your friends. The terebinths (oaks) belonged to Mamre, a well known Amorite in that region. His kin, Eshkol and Aner, were Abram's friends too.

    That tactic pays off in many of America's penal systems too. First thing a new inmate has to do is join a gang or otherwise he'll be prey for all of them.

    †. Gen 14:14a . .When Abram heard that his kinsman had been taken captive, he mustered his retainers, born into his household, numbering three hundred and eighteen,

    The word for "retainers" is chaniyk (kaw-neek') which means: initiated; i.e. practiced. This is the one and only place in the entire Old Testament where chaniyk is located so it's difficult to know precisely what Genesis means by it; but seeing as how the retainers' origin is mentioned, chaniyk probably refers to their unusual degree of loyalty (cf. John 10:30). In other words: it's my guess those men comprised Abram's personal body guards; viz: his retinue-- a sort of ancient Secret Service.

    Abram was their sheik by birth, rather than by conscription. So these particular men weren't mercenaries; but rather more like his very own sons. They were men of deep gratitude for their master's providence; and every one of them, to a man, were more than willing to die for him.

    Though Abram was by nature a man of peace, he was prepared to fight in the event it became necessary. In the wild untamed land of Palestine 4,000+ years ago, men without mettle didn't survive very long. And even today, it's still true that a strong man armed, keeps his goods. (cf. Luke 11:21)

    They numbered 318. If we assume that each one was married, then the number of persons doubles to 736. If each man had at least one child, then the number triples to 954. A plausible scenario is that Sheik Abram's camp was a community of at least 1,000 people-- a fair sized town. When this man broke camp, it was a serious caravan.

    †. Gen 14:14b . . and went in pursuit as far as Dan.

    At this early date, there was neither a region, nor a town, in Canaan colonized and named after Jacob's son Dan. There wasn't even one in Moses' day. It wasn't until Joshua 19:40-48 that Dan's tribe received their portion of Canaan. So Dan's name could very well be a later editorial insertion.

    It's unthinkable that Abram would leave his camp and his wife, and all the women and children unprotected while he and his warriors traveled miles from home. So it's reasonable to expect that some of his Amorite allies remained behind to reinforce Abram's camp while he was out of town.

    †. Gen 14:15a . . At night, he and his servants deployed against them and defeated them;

    Very commendable for a former city slicker. Abram, no doubt coached by Mamre, employed excellent Bedouin guerrilla tactics against a well-armed, seasoned foe of superior numbers. After his scouts located The Ched's caravan, Abram dogged him, waiting for an opportunity to attack in circumstances to his advantage. When the time came, he did it under cover of darkness, rather than in daylight; and came at them from more than one direction, which would help to create confusion, chaos, and panic amidst Ched's army.

    El Ched's men were probably laid back, stuffed full of stolen food and sleepy with booze; and proud of themselves for their victories; totally unsuspecting anyone remaining in Canaan would have the moxie to take them on. Having no flares, nor Claymores, nor barbed wire, mines, nor flashlights, night vision capability, nor motion detectors, or early warning systems of any kind; Ched's forces were easily surprised and routed.

    †. Gen 14:15b . . and he pursued them as far as Hobah,

    Unfortunately this is the only place in the entire Old Testament where Hobah is mentioned; and archaeologists have had no luck so far in discovering its exact location.

    †. Gen 14:15c . .which is north of Damascus.

    Many, many years later, in 1918, the Hejaz Arab Army led by T.E. Laurence (Laurence of Arabia) would fight the Turks in this very region and drive them out of Damascus.

    Ol' Abram sure didn't want those guys to forget Canaan none too soon. It wasn't enough to beat them at Dan; no, he ran them all the way out of the country. The survivors of the invading army no doubt straggled back to their homelands as best they could, amazed at this sudden, unexpected humiliating end to what had been up till then a mighty wave of victory and conquest.

    No mention of this battle has ever yet been found on any of the Babylonian or Elamite inscriptions-- which is understandable. Ancient kings were accustomed to boast only about their victories since defeat usually left them dead or in slavery.

    †. Gen 14:16 . . He brought back all the possessions; he also brought back his kinsman Lot and his possessions, and the women and the rest of the people.

    If Abram had left the Federation's people in enemy hands and rescued only his nephew, no one would have faulted him for it. They were, after all, total strangers and had nothing in common with either Abram or Abram's religion; being "very wicked sinners against the Lord." But that would have been a terribly ignoble show of charity; not to mention downright politically stupid in a land where you needed all the friends you could get.

    It's easy to imagine the tremendous amount of respect this campaign won for Abram in the eyes of all the Canaanites. He was a great sheik in that land, no doubt about it now. Abram beat a Babylonian army.

    That was an impressive accomplishment; and a testimony to his cunning, his dependability, and to his courage under fire. Everyone in Canaan knew now that Abram wasn't a man to be trifled with. He's a perfect example of the old proverb: Walk softly, and carry a big stick. Abram was no bully, yet didn't allow others to bully him. Now if only he would quit lying to people about his relationship to Sarai.

    NOTE: US President Theodore Roosevelt is famous for his comment about walking softly, but the way he went about obtaining the Panama Canal zone was not what I would call "soft".

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    Mon, Jul 27th - 8:53AM



    Genesis 14:4b-13b

     

    †. Gen 14:4b . . and in the thirteenth year they rebelled.

    El Ched wouldn't get wind of that right away of course. There was no email, no radio, no sat-com, no land line, no snail mail, no cells, nor television, nor telegraph, nor aircraft, nor motorized conveyances in that day so it would take some time for an overland caravan to return and tell him how the federation of five towns in the Valley refused to cough up their payments.

    Meanwhile the local sheiks had some time to prepare themselves for attack while The Ched organized an expeditionary force.

    †. Gen 14:5-7 . . In the fourteenth year Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him came and defeated the Rephaim at Ashteroth-karnaim, the Zuzim at Ham, the Emim at Shaveh-kiriathaim, and the Horites in their hill country of Seir as far as El-paran, which is by the wilderness.

    . . . On their way back they came to En-mishpat, which is Kadesh, and subdued all the territory of the Amalekites, and also the Amorites who dwelt in Hazazon-tamar.

    Ched took no chances that any nearby clans would come to the aid of the Valley people. So before launching his attack against the Federation, he first subdued everyone in the region roundabout who might be sympathetic to their cause. The Ched was a very shrewd commander.

    Dr.Nelson Glueck, a leading Palestine archaeologist, has this to say about El Ched's conquest:

    "A punitive expedition developed into an orgy of annihilation. I found that every village in their path had been plundered and left in ruins, and the countryside laid waste. The population had been wiped out or led away into captivity. For hundreds of years thereafter, the entire area was like an abandoned cemetery, hideously unkempt, with all its monuments shattered and strewn in pieces on the ground."

    The invasion first crushed all the sheiks north, east, and then west of the Dead Sea before it reached the communities of Siddim, against whom the invasion had been mounted in the first place. The purpose was no doubt to eliminate the possibility of an attack from the rear while Ched was occupied fighting the Federation.

    Dr.Glueck identifies Ashtaroth Karnaim, where The Ched encountered the Rephaim, as two adjacent cities in southern Syria, Tell Ashtarah and Sheikh Sa'ad, which was called Carnaim in New Testament times. The name Ashtarah comes from the name of the Greek moon goddess Astarte , equivalent to the Babylonian god Ishtar and the Canaanite goddess of sensual love Ashtaroth, whose worship was one of the sources of gross immorality among the Canaanites.

    After defeating the Rephaim, Ched smashed the Horites in Mount Seir-- a mountainous region somewhat to the southeast of the Dead Sea --Esau's future turf. Then he went to El-Paran, in the southern wilderness, and then returned to Kadesh, on the western side of the Dead Sea where he crushed the people in a region that would later belong to the Amelekites. He also defeated a contingent of the Amorites, who were very probably the dominant tribe in Canaan at that time.

    Some identify Hazazon-tamar as En-Gedi. If this identification is correct, then Hazazon may be Wady Husasah, northwest of 'Ain Jidy.

    Another suggestion, which certainly seems very likely true, is that Hazazon-tamar is the Thamara of Eusebius, Onomasticon (85:3; 210:86), the Thamaro, of Ptol. xvi. 3. The ruin Kurnub, 20 miles west-southwest of the south end of the Dead Sea-- on the road from Hebron to Elath-- is supposed to mark this site. My maps aren't too detailed in that area but Karnub seems to be in a region triangulated by Dimona, Arad, and Be'er Sheva.

    Anyway, after thus neutralizing all who might stand in his way, Ched's confederated army then turned its full attention to the five communities in the Plain. And woe and behold, Abram's nephew Lot was right smack in the middle of it all.

    †. Gen 14:8-9 . .Then the king of Sodom, the king of Gomorrah, the king of Admah, the king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela, which is Zoar, went forth and engaged them in battle in the Valley of Siddim: King Chedorlaomer of Elam, King Tidal of Goiim, King Amraphel of Shinar, and King Arioch of Ellasar-- four kings against those five.

    That was probably a wise move. If each town had remained behind its own walls, defending against El Ched individually on its own, he could have conquered them very easily one at a time. By combining their forces, and meeting him in the open, they stood a much better chance. But valley dwellers were no match for a seasoned expeditionary force. The men from Babylonia were battle-honed veterans.

    †. Gen 14:10 . .The Valley of Siddim was full of slime pits. The kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled and fell into them while the rest fled to a mountain.

    The Hebrew word translated "slime pits" is be'er (be-ayr') which is everywhere but maybe three places translated "well" as in water wells and/or cisterns. Some Bibles translate it "bitumen pit" but bitumen and slime are interpretations rather than translations. The pits apparently were natural features in the valley; viz: random sink holes.

    NOTE: The level of the Dead Sea dropped a record five feet in 2012; and in the years between 1939 and 1999 it dropped eighty feet. The Sea's shrinkage has been a major problem for decades, with it's shoreline retreating as much as a mile in some spots. The process destabilizes the ground surrounding it, causing massive sink holes that have actually devoured whole villages.

    The Hebrew word for "fell" is very ambiguous and could just as easily be translated "got down". Compare Gen 17:3 where Abraham fell on his face. In other words: the chieftains of Sodom and Gomorrah jumped down into some of those naturally-occurring pits like Army fox holes for cover and concealment.

    †. Gen 14:11-12 . . The invaders seized all the wealth of Sodom and Gomorrah and all their provisions, and went their way. They also took Lot, the son of Abram's brother, and his possessions, and departed; for he had settled in Sodom.

    Talk about riches to rags! Lot went from a prosperous cattle baron to a slave in sixty minutes (so to speak).

    The word for "provisions" is 'okel (o'-kel) which means: food. Victuals were an important spoil of war in those days when supply lines were totally nonexistent. There were no heavy-drops from cargo planes, nor helicopters to ferry in MRE's, medicine, FNG's, ammo, potable water, and things of that nature. When El Ched's army needed re-supply, they had to take it from their vanquished-- ergo: they were highly motivated; because if they wanted to eat, then they had to fight; and they had to win.

    †. Gen 14:13a . . A refugee brought the news to Abram

    It was a trek from Sodom to Abram's camp. He was way up in Mamre; and a goodly portion of it uphill-- very uphill. At any rate, news of Sodom's overthrow meant that Lot was captured; or maybe even dead. One way or the other, Abram had to find out if his nephew was still alive-- kind of like John Wayne looking for his two nieces in The Searchers.

    †. Gen 14:13b . . the Hebrew,

    This is very first appearance of the word "Hebrew", which is 'Ibriy (ib-ree') and means: an Eberite; viz: a descendant of Eber. It can also mean "the other side" which implies that Abram may have been known as one who came from the other side of the Euphrates river-- sort of like Mexican, Central, and South American immigrants who cross the Rio Grande from Mexico into Texas. But more likely he was called Eberite because of his family's lineage. Eber was first mentioned back in Gen 10:21.

    NOTE: Hebrews weren't Jews in Abram's day; no they were Gentiles. It was Abram's eventual progeny who became Jews-- specifically people genetically and/or religiously associated with Judah: Jacob's fourth son: patriarch of the Messianic tribe (Gen 49:8-12, Heb 7:14).

    The word for "Jew" is yehuwdiy (yeh-hoo-dee') which means Judah-ite; and doesn't appear in the Bible until 2Kgs 16:6; many, many years after the Exodus.

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    Sun, Jul 26th - 7:41AM



    Genesis 14:1-4a

     

    †. Gen 14:1 . . Now, when King Amraphel of Shinar, King Arioch of Ellasar, King Chedorlaomer of Elam, and King Tidal of nations.

    Shinar was the whole of Babylonia; Ellasar was the leading tribe in its southern part; and Elam was the original kingdom of Persia.

    The Hebrew word for "nations" is gowy (go'-ee) a word wielded by some Jews as a racial epithet to indicate non-Jewish peoples. But gowy isn't really all that specific. The people of Israel are called gowy at Gen 18:18, and Jacob, the father of the twelve tribes, is called a gowy at Gen 25:23. Gowy really just simply indicates a massing; e.g. a herd of animals and/or a horde of locusts; which when extended, indicates a particular people; e.g. Iroquois, Maya, Inuit, Chinese, Pacific Islanders, Japanese, and/or Arabs, et al.

    Mr. Tidal was probably the chief of a large confederacy consisting of mongrel, multi racial people; possibly a tribal area in northeastern Babylonia. America is a perfect example of Tidal's confederacy because it's a melting pot of assimilation, intermarriage, and diverse races, cultures, languages, and nationalities. The only true Americans in America are its indigenous peoples. Everybody else is either an immigrant or the posterity of an immigrant.

    At one time, Amraphel was thought to be Hammurabi; the great king of Babylon. But it's now widely agreed that Hammurabi didn't arrive on the scene until many years later. The other kings remain a mystery too, having not yet been archaeologically identified.

    †. Gen 14:2 . . made war on King Bera of Sodom, King Birsha of Gomorrah, King Shinab of Admah, King Shemeber of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela, which is Zoar,

    None of these men were "kings" in the fashion that we today think of royalty. They were more like mayors, sheiks, or chieftains. And they didn't actually have extensive realms; nor very much jurisdiction beyond the very community each one dominated.

    Canaanite cities weren't really serious municipalities; but rather more like fortified hamlets-- much like the strategic villages in Viet Nam; except that just about all Canaanite towns were enclosed within stone walls made of rough boulders about six feet in diameter. Archaeologists call this type of wall a Cyclops wall. The boulder walls were usually combined with an escarpment and reinforced with earthen revetments.

    Canaanite towns doubled as forts; places of refuge in time of danger, whether from sudden attack by nomadic bands or from civil wars among the Canaanites themselves. Towering perimeter walls invariably enclosed small areas, not much bigger than Ste. Peter's Square in Rome. Each of these town-forts had a water supply, but weren't really suitable for housing large populations in permanent homes.

    Inside the walls lived only the chieftain, the aristocracy, wealthy merchants, and even sometimes Egyptian representatives. The rest of the inhabitants of the township-- the ranchers and farmers, the vassals and the servants and the serfs-- lived outside the walls; often in tents or simple mud hogans or wattle huts. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob all lived in tents; viz: pavilions.

    In Tell el-Hesi, probably Eglon, the town proper was just over an acre. In Tell es-Safi, formerly Gath, it was twelve acres. In Tell el-Zakariyah, formerly Megiddo, the same amount. Gezer, on the road from Jerusalem to Jaffa, occupied just over twenty acres. Even in the more built up area of Jericho, the inner fortified wall, the Acropolis proper, enclosed a space of little more than five acres; yet Jericho was an important city and one of the strongest fortresses in the country.

    So the five cities of the Plain were nothing to brag about-- well, maybe in their day they might have been notable enough amongst their contemporaries.

    †. Gen 14:3 . . all the latter joined forces at the Valley of Siddim, now the Salt Sea.

    In its early history; the valley was home to the Sedom Lagoon. Back then, water from the Red Sea was able to ebb in and out of the lagoon because the region hasn't always been land-locked like it is today. At one time the Jordan River had an easy outlet to the gulf of Aqaba. But over time, tectonic forces altered the region; preventing drainage into the gulf and trapping water in a huge basin from which they cannot now escape.

    †. Gen 14:4a . .Twelve years they served Chedorlaomer,

    Apparently El Ched was the instigator behind the extortion scheme holding Sodom and its neighbors economically hostage. The other kings who came along with him to Canaan were just reinforcements to back his play. You have to wonder how The Ched ever found the Valley of Siddim in the first place and what in the world motivated him to travel so far from home. 

    Ched's home turf, Elam, is a well-known tract, partly mountainous, whose western boundary, starting on the northeast side of the Persian Gulf, practically followed the course of the lower Tigris. It was bounded on the north by Media, on the east by Persia and on the west by Babylonia. The Assyro-Babylonians called the tract Elamtu, expressed ideographically by the Sumerian characters for Nimma or Numma, which seems to have been its name in that language. As Numma, or Elam, apparently mean height, or the like, these names were probably applied to it on account of its mountainous nature.

    Another name by which it was known in early times was Ashshan-- or Anshan --or Anzan, (Anzhan) --one of its ancient cities. The great capital of the tract, however, was Susa (Shushan), whence its Greek name of Susiana, interchanging with Elymais, from the semitic Elam. Shushan is famous for its stories of Esther and Nehemiah.

    The modern-day city of Ahvaz Iran is a pretty good locator for the region of Elam. If you have a map handy you can readily see just how far The Ched traveled to reach the Jordan Valley. Even if he came straight over by helicopter, it's at least 780 miles.

    It's amazing the distances that conquerors traveled on foot and the backs of animals in ancient times. Hannibal crossed the Pyrenees and the Alps, with elephants no less, to attack northern Italy. (The Alps have so weathered since that Hannibal would have difficulty following the same track today.) But even just getting to the far sides of those mountain ranges from Carthage was itself an arduous journey sans mechanical conveyances. It's no surprise then that the Second Punic War lasted nigh unto seventeen years.

    In the past; it took armies a long time just to get to the battlefields before they even did any fighting. Invaders from China thought nothing of skirting the Himalayas and entering India via the Khyber Pass in order to conduct campaigns in the Ganges River Valley. I really have to wonder sometimes how commanders kept their armies from becoming discouraged by all that travel and by all that time away from home.

    That situation actually befell Alexander the Great. After eight years and 17,000 miles, his weary army refused to campaign anymore in India and mutinied at the Hyphasis River (today's Beas). Abandoning his ambition to conquer lands and peoples more distant to the east of Greece than any man before him, including his father Philip, the young commander had no choice but to turn back.

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    Sat, Jul 25th - 7:31AM



    Genesis 13:18

     

    †. Gen 13:18a . . And Abram moved his tent, and came to dwell at the terebinths of Mamre, which are in Hebron;

    Hebron (Hevron) itself is today a city of over 70,000 people located about 20 miles south of Jerusalem at an elevation of 3,050 feet above sea level. Hebron is sacred in Jewish history; but a very dangerous place to live today what with all the Palestinian troubles going on in Israel.

    The Hebrew word for "terebinths" is 'elown (ay-lone') which means: an oak, or other strong tree. Oaks, especially the very old large ones, were important meeting places. Near where I live in Oregon, there's a site called Five Oaks, named after the five oak trees that once thrived there. In pre white man days, local Native Americans met at those trees for pow-wows.

    Mamre, an Amorite named up ahead in Gen 14:24, was one of Abram's allies. The oaks of Mamre were apparently named after him; who some believe was a local sheik or a chieftain.

    In Abram's day; Canaan was thinly populated. It was in fact a land of no law and no order. The inhabitants lived in a state of constant readiness. The widely scattered townships were veritable islands in the middle of nowhere; and vulnerable to daring attacks by the desert nomads. Suddenly, and when least expected, those predatory nomads sprang upon unwary people with indiscriminate butchery, carrying off cattle and crops. It was probably for that very reason that Abram was allied with Mamre.

    †. Gen 13:18b . . and he built an altar there to the Lord.

    Abram's altars testify to the fact that his worship wasn't restricted to a special location. Later; Israel's covenanted law would do that very thing; but Abram wasn't under its jurisdiction so he was at liberty to sacrifice wherever it pleased him. This is an important Bible axiom; viz: law cannot be broken where it doesn't exist. (Rom 4:15, Rom 5:13, Gal 3:17)

    NOTE: It was in the interests of trade that Egypt, in 3,000 BC, was the first great power to stretch out its tentacles towards Canaan. A hard diorite tablet, listing the details of a ship's cargo of timber for Pharaoh Snefru, is stored in the museum at Palermo. Its date is 2,700 BC. Dense woods covered the slopes of Lebanon then. The excellent wood from its cedars and meru (a kind of conifer) were just what the Pharaohs needed for their elaborate building schemes.

    Five hundred years prior to Abram's day, there was already a flourishing import and export trade on the Canaanite coast. Egypt exchanged gold and spices from Nubia, copper and turquoise from the mines at Sinai, and linen and ivory for silver from Taurus, leather goods from Byblos, and painted vases from Crete. In the great Phoenician dye works, well to do Egyptians had their robes dyed purple. For their society women, they bought lapis-lazuli blue-- eyelids dyed blue were all the rage --and stibium, a cosmetic which was highly prized by the ladies for touching up their eyelashes.

    The coastal communities of Canaan presented a picture of cosmopolitan life which was busy, prosperous, and even luxurious; but just a few miles inland lay a world of glaring contrast. Bedouin attacks, insurrections, and feuds between towns were common.

    A much more profitable enterprise than pillaging villages in malicious and barbaric fashion, was to hold them hostage; kind of like the plight of the villagers in the movie: The Magnificent Seven. To avoid being murdered and ravaged, the villagers gave the lion's share of their Gross National Product to the bullies. It was just that sort of scenario that resulted in the capture of the cities of the Plain while Lot was living down there among them.

    ASIDE: Though I would not care to live in Abram's day; I can't help but envy some of his advantages. There was no light pollution, no air pollution, no water pollution, no soil pollution, and no aquifer pollution. All his fruits and vegetables, all of them, were 100% organic.

    Nobody fattened pigs, sheep, fowl, and cows with genetically modified grains-- overcrowded and standing ankle deep in their own droppings --in an intrinsically unsanitary concentrated animal feeding operation; so there was no E.coli 0157:H7 to fear.

    All livestock was grass-fed outdoors on open pasture lands, which produces a medically, and nutritionally, superior grade of meat compared to grain. The cattle themselves were healthier too and had no need of antibiotics to keep them from getting sick in nasty, dirty feed lots. And chickens weren't hybridized to produce breasts so immense and out of proportion that the poor things can scarcely stand up on their own two feet.

    NOTE: Most kinds of cattle are herbivores, i.e. they are not designed to subsist on grain. If they are fed too much grain for too long a time, cattle develop digestive and intestinal problems; possibly even death. However, seeing as how grain fattens cattle faster than roughage, grain is the preferred fodder in feed lots where cows are on their final steps to the slaughter.

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    Fri, Jul 24th - 8:42AM



    Genesis 13:14-17

     

    †. Gen 13:14-15 . . And the Lord said to Abram, after Lot had parted from him: Raise your eyes and look out from where you are, to the north and south, to the east and west, for I give all the land that you see to you and your offspring forever.

    Oh the irony of it! If Lot went off only to the Jordan Valley to stake a claim for his own progeny, then he didn't go far enough away because from Abram's vantage he could see eastward clear across the Jordan valley and over into Moab (the Hashemite kingdom of Jordan) and far past the five cities of the Plain. So Abram, and his progeny, were promised eternal ownership of not only the highlands of Canaan, but in addition, also the whole Jordan Valley where Lot moved-- and beyond.

    †. Gen 13:16 . . I will make your offspring as the dust of the earth, so that if one can count the dust of the earth, then your offspring too can be counted.

    I just hope Abram remembers what God said the next time he feels inclined to fib in order to save his skin. Will he never catch on that he cannot die until God makes good on the promises regarding his progeny?

    Abram's biological progeny descend not only from Isaac, but also from Ishmael and the other boys too. But his progeny shouldn't be construed to be exactly equal to the number of bits of dust that make up the earth's soil. The expression is a common Old Testament colloquialism for very large quantities (e.g. Gen 41:49, Josh 11:4, Judg 7:12, 1Sam 13:5, 2Sam 17:11, 1Kgs 4:29, Job 29:18, Ps 78:27; et al).

    The meaning is that they would simply become too numerous to count. Later God will liken the number of Abram's offspring to the sand at the beach. Same thing there too-- not the precise number of grains, but a number so great that any attempt to count them would be futile; and the stars too.

    Abram lived somewhere in the neighborhood of the 20th century BC; roughly five hundred years after completion of the Pyramid of Khafre at Giza. So Abram lived about 4,000 years ago. Millions and millions of Abram's kin have lived and died since then. And it's not over yet, not by a long sea mile.

    NOTE: Not only were civilizations in Egypt great at this time, but elsewhere too; for example the ancient city of Harappa that was once located in the Indus River Valley of northwest India: a site now located in Pakistan. Harappa was a fairly large city of something like 23,500 people; and still in its heyday during the time of Abram. And the Maya, famous for their apocalyptic calendar; were blooming in and around what is now the Yucatán Peninsula. By the time of Abram, people had really spread out from the tower of Babel; and world development was happening by leaps and bounds.

    In Messiah's future millennial kingdom, Abram's people will multiply exceedingly because they will all enjoy very long life spans and engender large families. The Bible says that a man of 100 years age in Israel will be regarded as a mere child in that era. (Isa 65:20)

    Abram's offspring truly cannot be tallied; not now or ever. Only The Almighty could ever get the number right because all the souls belonging to Abram, among both the dead and the living, have become so numerous.

    †. Gen 13:17 . . Up, walk about the land, through its length and its breadth, for I give it to you.

    It's notable that God said: I give it to you. The land was Abram's possession right then and there and no one can ever take it away from him. Not even Almighty God can take it away from Abram now because once The Lord gives His word, He is bound to it like a ball and chain (Rom 11:28-29). That should be a comfort to Moses' people, throughout all the ages, that once God gives His word on something, He has to make good on it.

    "May your steadfast love reach me, O Lord, your deliverance, as you have promised. I shall have an answer for those who taunt me, for I have put my trust in your word." (Ps 119:41-42)

    Although Abram lacked sovereign control over his real estate at the time, it was his possession nevertheless.

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    Thu, Jul 23rd - 9:06AM



    Genesis 13:11b-13

     

    †. Gen 13:11b . .Thus they parted from each other;

    To me, it would have made better horse sense in a foreign land to consolidate their holdings-- sort of an Abraham & Lot Inc. --instead of maintaining two separate independent enterprises. But I guess Lot had ambitions and wanted to be his own man.

    Either Lot had more mettle than uncle Abram; or was just downright reckless because he had the moxie to go off on his own into a totally strange region with absolutely no assurance that God would travel with him.

    Explorers like Columbus, Cortez, Balboa, and Magellan had that kind of nerve; they were strong, arrogant, and confident. But I don't think Abram ever was like that. I seriously doubt he would have left Haran at all had not God called him to it. I believe it was only the assurance of divine patronage that gave Abram the courage to travel far from home in that day.

    †. Gen 13:12a . . Abram remained in the land of Canaan, while Lot settled in the cities of the Plain,

    Cities in that day didn't in any way resemble the huge sprawling metropolises of the present. We would no doubt regard them as little more than fortified hamlets. Some of the cities of the plain were Sodom, Admah, Zeboiim, Gomorrah, and Bela; which is Zoar. Jericho was in existence then too and no doubt a major population center in that region.

    †. Gen 13:12b . . pitching his tents near Sodom.

    Logistically that was a pretty sensible arrangement. By living amongst those cities, Lot had a ready market for his livestock; and a source of goods and services he could use out on the ranch. There was something special about Sodom that magnetized him though because he eventually moved his family into town.

    I think Mrs. Lot may have had a little something to do with that. Not too many women enjoy rough-country living out in the middle of nowhere. Most prefer being near the conveniences of neighbors, shopping, and services.

    †. Gen 13:13 . . Now the inhabitants of Sodom were very wicked sinners against the Lord.

    The precise location of ancient Sodom is uncertain. Some feel it was sited at the south end of the Dead Sea; but it's difficult to know for sure. According to Gen 14:1-3, the communities of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim, and Zoar were situated in an area of the Jordan Valley the Bible labels "the vale of Siddim; which is the salt sea". Meaning of course that it was the salt sea when somebody wrote that section but wasn't always inundated in the ancient past.

    The Hebrew word for Siddim means flats; viz: a flood plain; for example river valleys; which are of course subject to seasonal flooding. Personally, if it were me; I would have emplaced my community at the north end of the vale rather than south since the north end was the better location for a ready supply of fresh water from the Jordan River for homes and farming.

    The author's choice of words is curious. The flatlanders weren't just sinners; they were "very wicked" sinners; and not just very wicked sinners, but very wicked sinners "against" the Lord; which suggests outright insolence, impudence, and defiance; viz: standing up to God and asserting one's independence.

    NOTE: Everything in Genesis occurred quite a few years prior to the institution of the Ten Commandments so God couldn't prosecute the vale's people for breaking any one specific law as per the covenant that Moses' people agreed upon with God in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. He actually came down on them for pretty much the same reason He came down on the antediluvians: for ignoring Him.

    "And Yhvh said: My Spirit shall not strive with man forever (Gen 6:3a)

    "And this is the condemnation: light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil." (John 3:19)

    John 3:19 is pretty much a blanket indictment that God can use any time He wishes to justify coming down on people.

    How could the people of the vale be adjudged defiant if they had no clue God disapproved their lifestyle? Well; it's interesting that we today tend to count only published men like Isaiah and Jeremiah as prophets. But God has had numbers of prophets out and about in the ancient world whose names we've never heard of.

    For example: at 1Kgs 19:14, Elijah complained that he was one man alone standing for God in Israel; but unknown to him, Obadiah had hidden a hundred prophets in a cave. (1Kgs 18:4 and 18:13)

    Abram is listed as a prophet (Gen 20:7). And in point to fact, God has had prophets out and about ever since Abel (Luke 11:50-51). But the most notable prophet in the days of Sodom and Gomorrah was a priest named Melchizedek. (Gen 14:18-20. According to Mal 2:7, priests aren't just for rituals; but also for teaching.

    Malachi labels priests Jehovah's "messengers" which is from the very same Hebrew word for angels; which tells me we should never assume that the word "angel" eo ipso indicates a celestial emissary. It could just as easily be a human agent on a divine mission.

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    Wed, Jul 22nd - 9:37AM



    Genesis 13:1-11a

     

    †. Gen 13:1-2 . . From Egypt, Abram went up into the Negeb, with his wife and all that he possessed, together with Lot. Now Abram was very rich in cattle, silver, and gold.

    The word for "rich" is from kabad (kaw-bad') which means: to be heavy, i.e. in either a bad sense (burdensome, severe, dull) or in a good sense (numerous, rich, honorable); causatively, to make weighty (in the same two senses); viz: which is why, I guess, we call the rich "loaded"

    So the rich are not only wealthy, but weighted down too. It was a piece of cake for Abram to pull up stakes and move around wherever God wanted before he got so wealthy. Now it will be an undertaking especially without power tools and mechanized conveyances.

    NOTE: Though it's not stated, I think it's probably pretty safe to assume that Lot enjoyed the very same privileged status in Egypt that his uncle Abram did due to their mutual relationship to Sarai; so that Lot came up out of Egypt a very prosperous cattle baron.

    †. Gen 13:3-7a . . And he proceeded by stages from the Negeb as far as Bethel, to the place where his tent had been formerly, between Bethel and Ai, the site of the altar that he had built there at first; and there Abram invoked the Lord by name.

    . . . Lot, who went with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents, so that the land could not support them staying together; for their possessions were so great that they could not remain together. And there was quarreling between the herdsmen of Abram's cattle and those of Lot's cattle.

    Pasture can support only so many head of cattle per acre, and the land was just recently recovering from a famine. Lot's drovers were squabbling with Abram's over available grass; and probably the available water too. If those men had barbed wire in that day, I'm sure they would have strung it. Then the shootin' would have really started up!

    †. Gen 13:7b . .The Canaanites and Perizzites were then dwelling in the land.

    How do you suppose Abram's and Lot's squabbling looked to the pagans? When God's people can't get along, outsiders become disgusted with them and they sure won't be influenced for God in a good way when Moses' people are fighting amongst themselves like that.

    Years ago, when I was a young welder just starting out on my own, I rented a small room in a daylight basement from a man who was the senior pastor of a medium-sized Seventh Day Adventist church in the Portland Oregon area. He and his wife radiated the luster of polished spirituality whenever I spoke with them out in the yard, but in my location under the floor of the house, I could overhear their bitter quarrels upstairs behind closed doors. Was I favorably inclined to attend his church? No.

    †. Gen 13:8-9a . . Abram said to Lot: Let there be no strife between you and me, between my herdsmen and yours, for we are kinsmen. Is not the whole land before you?

    Palestine was still pretty much a wild frontier in the 20th century BC. Actually very little of it was private property. And what with no Bureau of Land Management, the land out west from Ur was pretty much up for grabs to anyone who had the moxie to take it. Abram and Lot remind me very much of early day American pioneers and cattle barons.

    †. Gen 13:9b . . Let us separate.

    It wasn't an easy thing for Abram to be firm with his kin, and it was a weakness in his spiritual life from day-one. He and Sarai were supposed to leave their kin and come to Canaan alone. He wasn't supposed to take along a nephew. But Abram just couldn't leave Lot behind. So now he and Lot are separating with bad blood between them. And Lot's future is very uncertain down in that God-less country away from his uncle Abram's patronage.

    †. Gen 13:9c . . if you go north, I will go south; and if you go south, I will go north.

    Even though there was some bad blood now between Abram and Lot, the old boy remained a gracious man. Being the senior of the two, Abram could have claimed first dibs on the land. But he waived the privileges of rank, and gave his nephew the choice. But, in point of fact, Abram made Lot a promise that he could in no way guarantee to honor; because it was God who ultimately dictated where Abram was to dwell in the land.

    †. Gen 13:10 . . Lot looked about him and saw how well watered was the whole plain of the Jordan, all of it-- this was before the Lord had destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah --all the way to Zoar, like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt.

    The Jordan Valley slopes southward like a ramp from an altitude of roughly 685 feet below sea level at the Sea of Galilee to an elevation of 1,384 feet below sea level at the Dead Sea. Water was Lot's primary concern and there was plenty of it down there in that valley 4,000 years ago. Along with overflow from the Sea of Galilee, was an abundance of wadis and streams draining into the Jordan Valley from the highlands.

    In its heyday, the Jordan poured about 1.3 billion cubic feet of water per year into the Dead Sea. Today-- due to dams, diversions, and pumping --only about 2 or 3 percent of those ancient billions reach the sea. In the last century alone, the Sea's level declined 80 feet in just the sixty years between 1939 and 1999.

    Eighty feet may not seem like much depth, but when it's considered that the surface area of the Dead Sea is roughly 235 square miles; we're looking at something like 3.56 cubic miles of water. If all that water were to be packed into a single cube, it's sides would be 1.527 miles in length, i.e. 8,062 feet. There are currently no man-made structures on earth that tall.

    In Abram's day, the Jordan Valley in the region between the Dead Sea and the Sea of Galilee was well watered, fertile, and very appealing to a cattle baron like Lot. It had some pretty good jungles too: home to lots of fierce lions at one time.

    NOTE: The Israel of today is just a dried up husk of its former environmental glory. For example: Israel's lions, now extinct, once inhabited forests (Jer 5:6) mountain caves (Nahum 2:12) and the Jordan Valley (Jer 49:19). Israel's bears (2Kgs 2:24) were eradicated in the early 20th century. The closest kin to the bears that once roamed wild there are the Syrian brown bears kept in the Biblical Zoo in Jerusalem.

    What the world sees today in Palestine little resembles the land of milk and honey into which Joshua brought Moses' people some 3,500 years ago; and there's their own breaches of the covenant to thank for it.

    "Even all nations shall say: Wherefore hath the Lord done thus unto this land? what meaneth the heat of this great anger?

    . . .Then men shall say: Because they have forsaken the covenant of the Lord God of their fathers, which He made with them when He brought them forth out of the land of Egypt: for they went and served other gods, and worshipped them, gods whom they knew not, and whom He had not given unto them: and the anger of the Lord was kindled against this land, to bring upon it all the curses that are written in this book" (Deut 29:24-27)

    A menu of the curses is on public display at Lev 26:3-38, Deut 27:15-26, and Deut 28:1-69.

    †. Gen 13:11a . . So Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan, and Lot journeyed eastward.

    Today a descent down to Jericho from Bethel (modern Beitin) would be close to a 4,000 foot drop in elevation. Whooee! That'll sure make your ears pop!

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    Tue, Jul 21st - 9:03AM



    Genesis 12:13-20

     

    †. Gen 12:13 . . I beseech you; say that you are my sister, that it may go well with me because of you, and that I may remain alive thanks to you.

    Abram didn't have to entreat Sarai to go along with his scheme. According to Gen 18:12 and 1Pet 3:6, she regarded her husband's authority above her own.

    This scene is useful for exemplifying the gracious nature of this amazing man of God. Though he was a king in his own home, Abram wasn't a callous despot like Kim Jong Un and/or Robert Mugabe who care little for either the feelings or the welfare of their citizens.

    Abram was shrewd. He was not only concerned about saving his skin, but also about taking advantage of his being Sarai's kin; and actually that part of it did work out pretty well. However, I would have to scold him on this point because his conduct reveals a lack of confidence in God's promises back in Gen 12:2-3 and Gen 12:7.

    He has to be kept alive to engender heirs so God can make good on His promise to give them the land of Canaan. No one could kill Abram at this point; not even a Pharaoh, king of Egypt. Not even The Almighty God Himself could kill Abram at this point because it was too late for that.

    God passed His word back at Shechem that he would make of Abram a great nation and He can't go back on it without seriously compromising His own integrity. Some people might be inclined to call that a character weakness; but to those of us relying upon God to honor His word, His integrity is the very basis of our confidence. God's promises-- especially His unconditional promises --are not only human-proof; but God-proof too.

    †. Gen 12:14 . .When Abram entered Egypt, the Egyptians saw how very beautiful the woman was.

    When men talk about a woman's beauty, they're not talking about the sterling character of a woman like Ruth; no, they're talking about the physical attributes of a woman like Queen Vashti in the book of Esther. (cf. Gen 6:1-2)

    How did the Egyptians see Sarai was a looker? Well, the dress code for women in her day was nothing like the totally unflattering burqas that Islam imposes upon women in our day.

    Depicted in a wall painting in the tomb of an Egyptian nobleman named Khnum-hotpe, at Beni-Hasen on the Nile river, dating from about 1900 BC, is a Semitic troupe passing customs to enter Egypt. The women are wearing form-fitting, highly colored, sleeveless wrap-around dresses whose hems stop at mid calf. Their décolletage swoops from the left shoulder to just under the opposite armpit, leaving that side's shoulder completely bare.

    Their hair-- fastened by a thin white ribbon around the forehead and covered with neither a shawl, nor a scarf, nor a hijab --falls loosely over bosoms and shoulders, and there are stylish little curls just in front of the ears. Adorning their feet are dark brown, half-length boots. In attire like that, a woman filled out in all the right places would be very easy to notice.

    †. Gen 12:15a . . Pharaoh's courtiers saw her and praised her to Pharaoh,

    Webster's has a couple of definitions for "courtiers". They are people in attendance at a royal court; and they are also people who practice flattery. Apparently Pharaoh's toadies kept their eyes out for appealing women to add to their sovereign's harem; and thus gain for themselves his favor and approval.

    Their sighting of Sarai wasn't just happenstance. Entry into Egypt in those days was tightly controlled and the only way in was past specified check points. At one time in Egypt's past, there existed a long chain of forts, watchtowers, and strong points designed to watch over immigration and possible invasions by the Sand People from the east. The "wall" stretched north and south across the desert approximately along the same path as today's Suez Canal. Each check point was manned by armed soldiers accompanied by officials of the Egyptian government; sort of like the customs agents and border patrols of the modern world today.

    †. Gen 12:15b . . and the woman was taken into Pharaoh's palace.

    Not good. A woman in the harems of that day would never have a home of her own nor freedom to travel. Never would she be allowed to pursue romance nor to associate with her friends and relatives ever again.

    †. Gen 12:16 . . And because of her, it went well with Abram; he acquired sheep, oxen, jack donkeys, male and female slaves, jenny donkeys, and camels.

    Life is much better when you're connected. Because of Sarai, Abram was a bit of a celebrity and thus treated very well.

    So Abram is getting rich. After all, his sister is in the White House. You think anyone is going to cheat him or make him pay full price for goods and services? No way. If anything, people were more than willing to give him lots of expensive gifts and deep discounts, hoping to remain in Pharaoh's good graces by doing so.

    But what's going on in Pharaoh's boudoir at night? There is just no way Abram could block that out of his mind. If only he had believed God's promise, Sarai's honor wouldn't be in such immediate danger of compromise. Abram could have swaggered into Egypt totally fearless of Pharaoh and his country; and kept his wife within her own camp, safe and snug among her own people.

    †. Gen 12:17 . . But the Lord afflicted Pharaoh and his household with mighty plagues on account of Sarai, the wife of Abram.

    I, for one, don't blame Pharaoh for any of that. It was totally Abram's fault. Pharaoh and his courtiers were duped into thinking Sarai was available. How could they have known she was spoken for?

    Our hero didn't tell the Egyptians about his adventures with The Lord. All he could think about was how to survive and stay alive. ¡Error! If he had instead been a faithful witness for God, rather than looking out for his own skin, I think things would have gone much better for Abram and Sarai down there in Egypt.

    But now they will be forcibly deported; in shame and disgrace. So, instead of being a positive influence for their god, they became a very bad one. God's people are supposed to believe in their god, and reflect that confidence to others; and at the very least they ought to be honest. And God's people should never be reluctant to tell others about their religion even if those others appear to be pagan heathens.

    †. Gen 12:18-20 . . Pharaoh sent for Abram and said: What is this you have done to me! Why did you not tell me that she was your wife? Why did you say "She is my sister" so that I took her as my wife? Now, here is your wife; take her and begone! And Pharaoh put men in charge of him, and they sent him off with his wife and all that he possessed.

    One can scarcely blame Mr. Pharaoh for blowing his top. Nobody likes to be duped, especially monarchs.

    Just exactly how Pharaoh found out that Sarai was Abram's wife is not said. Probably the very same way King Abimelech discovered the truth about her in a later incident. Here's how that will go when we get there later on. (Gen 20:1-7)

    From a totally humanistic point of view, it would appear that God is terribly unfair. I mean, after all, Pharaoh and Abimelech couldn't possibly have known that Sarai was married, especially when both she and her husband were telling people otherwise. But these incidents are valuable to reveal that sin is just a wee bit more complicated than Man's inadequate little sense of right and wrong and fairness is able to fully comprehend.

    Well anyway; as the texts says: Abram acquired female slaves during this brief stopover in Egypt; and quite possibly one of their names was-- you guessed it --Ms. Hagar: the mother of Ishmael, the father of the Arab world; from whence ultimately came Muhammad and the religion of Islam. Just goes to show that chaos theory may not be 100% right, but it isn't 100% wrong either.

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    Mon, Jul 20th - 9:57AM



    Genesis 12:7c-12

     

    †. Gen 12:7c-8 . . And he built an altar there to the Lord who had appeared to him. From there he moved on to the hill country east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east; and he built there an altar to the Lord and invoked the Lord by name.

    Eusebius Onomasticon, placed Bethel twelve Roman miles north from Jerusalem, on the road to Neapolis. The site today is represented by the modern town of Beitin, a village which stands on a knoll east of the road to Nablus; roughly 2½ miles northeast of Ramallah El-Bira.

    Ai hasn't really been pinpointed yet but is identified either with the modern Haiyan, just south of the village Deir Dibwan or with a mound, El-Tell, to the north.

    This is only the second time in Scripture where it's said human beings called upon God by a name. The first was Gen 4:26. What name might Abram have used to invoke God? The name Yhvh was well known by this time, and Abram addressed God by it on numerous occasions (e.g. Gen 13:4, 14:22, 15:8, 21:33, and 24:3).

    God's demeanor towards Abram was sometimes that of an officer in wartime who doesn't tell his troops in advance the location of their next bivouac. Instead he orders them to march in a certain direction, only later telling them when to stop and set up camp. So Abram went in the direction he was commanded to go; not really knowing his destination or the why. For the time being, Abram didn't need to know the why-- he only needed to know which way.

    Free now from the harmful influence of his dad's pagan idolatry, Abram revived the religion of his sacred ancestors and began calling upon God the same way they did; and he got his travel orders that way too. Each time he worshipped at the altars, God told him what to do, where to go next; and sometimes even shared some personal data along with His big plans for Abram's future.

    Abram was doing pretty much what Adam did in the garden; meeting with God in the cool of the day; so to speak. Only Abram did it differently because he was a sinful being, whereas, in the beginning, Adam wasn't; so he didn't need an altar, at first.

    †. Gen 12:9 . .Then Abram journeyed by stages toward the Negev.

    "Negev" is from negeb (neh'-gheb) and means: to be parched; the south (from its drought); specifically, the Negev or southern district of Judah; occasionally Egypt (as south to Palestine). The Negev is generally considered as beginning south of Dhahiriya; which is right in between Hevron and Be'ér Sheva; and as stretching south in a series of rolling hills until the actual wilderness begins, a distance of perhaps 70 miles.

    To the east, the Negev is bounded by the Dead Sea and the Arabah, and to the west the boundaries are generally Egypt and the Mediterranean Sea. It's a land of scanty springs and sparse rainfall. The character of its soil is a transition from the fertility of Canaan to the wilderness of the desert-- essentially a pastoral land, where grazing is plentiful in the early months and where camels and goats can survive, even through the long summer drought.

    Today, as through most periods of history, the Negev is a land for the nomad rather than the settled inhabitant, although abundant ruins in many spots testify to better physical conditions at some periods. The east and west directions of the valleys, the general dryness, and the character of the inhabitants, have always made it a more or less isolated region without thoroughfare.

    The great routes passed along the coast to the west or up the Arabah to the east. Against all who would lead an army up from the south, this southern frontier of Judah presented a tough obstacle in the old days. The Negev is slated for a make-over when the Jews return to their homeland.

    "The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon; they will see the glory of The Lord, the excellency of our God." (Isa 35:1-2)

    "Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert. The burning sand will become a pool, the thirsty ground bubbling springs. In the haunts where jackals once lay, grass and reeds and papyrus will grow." (Isa 35:6-7)

    Lebanon's glory of old was timber; especially cedars (1Kng 4:33). Sharon was known for its flowers (Song 2:1) and Carmel for its orchards (Isa 33:9). How God will get timber, flowers, and orchards to flourish in the Negev should be interesting.

    †. Gen 12:10 . .There was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to sojourn there, for the famine was severe in the land.

    Famines were usually the result of things like low humidity, lack of rain, and/or plagues of insects and plant diseases.

    Abram fully intended to return to Canaan just as soon as the famine ended. The move to Egypt was a temporary expedient, rather than the result of irrational panic. Famine might seem to some as an excuse for Abram to return to Haran. But Abram wasn't retreating. His destiny did not lie in Haran. It lay in Palestine-- period! --no going back.

    I've heard more than one commentator say that Abram was out of God's will when he left Canaan and moved to Egypt. It is really impossible to know that for sure. Compare Gen 46:2-4 where God instructed Jacob to migrate to Egypt during a severe famine.

    So, I'm inclined to give Abram the benefit of the doubt. Back at Shechem, Abram began the practice of erecting altars and calling on grandpa Noah's god. Each time he moved, he built a new altar. And each time he did that, God gave him new travel orders. Since the text doesn't suggest otherwise; it should be okay to assume Abram went down to Egypt under the very same divine guidance as the other places he moved to.

    †. Gen 12:11 . . As he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai: I know what a beautiful woman you are.

    Abram was about nine years older than Sarai; so she was over 66 years-old when this event occurred because according to Gen 12:4, Abram was seventy-five when they left Haran. Sarai was amazing. Even at 66+ years she drew admiring glances.

    Abram's acknowledgement of Sarai's beauty appears to have been somewhat out of the ordinary; but that's no surprise. After a number of years of marriage, it isn't uncommon for men to take their wives for granted; and to stop taking notice of them after a while.

    †. Gen 12:12 . . If the Egyptians see you, and think "She is his wife" they will kill me and let you live.

    Egypt had an active presence up in and around Canaan prior to Abram's day and perhaps the conduct of their frontier consulates was somewhat less than honorable at times. So of course the people of Canaan would quite naturally assume all Egyptians were pigs just like many people today assume that all Muslims are vicious because of the Muslim terrorists who flew airplanes into the World Trade Center.

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    Sun, Jul 19th - 8:20AM



    Genesis 12:3b-7b

     

    †. Gen 12:3b . . And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.

    The Hebrew word translated "in you" is a bit ambiguous. It can also mean "through you" and/or "by means of you".

    Abram eventually found out that the above prediction concerned a great grandson of his.

    "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day, and he saw it and was glad." (John 8:56-57)

    The "blessing" in focus is no doubt the one below.

    "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be spared through Him. (John 3:16-17)

    "And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world." (1 John 2:2)

    †. Gen 12:4a . . Abram went forth as the Lord had commanded him,

    Although Abram didn't "went forth" exactly when God told him to; he finally did; and that's what counts. Jonah didn't "went forth" when he was told to go either, but God prepared a large fish to persuade him to stop fooling around and get a move on; and he finally complied.

    †. Gen 12:4b . . and Lot went with him.

    That was an err on Abram's part. He was told to leave his native land and to leave his father's house. He wasn't supposed to take any relatives along with him: and Lot wasn't a child; he was a grown man capable of operating a ranch on his own so it's not like Abram would have abandoned Lot an orphan.

    †. Gen 12:4c . . Abram was seventy-five years old when he left Haran.

    That hardly seems like a sensible age to reinvent one's self and begin a new life; but Abram was relatively young yet in his own day, and still had 100 years of life left to go.

    †. Gen 12:5 . . Abram took his wife Sarai and his brother's son Lot, and all the wealth that they had amassed, and the persons that they had acquired in Haran; and they set out for the land of Canaan; and they arrived there.

    I'm pretty sure Sarai anticipated this move. Abram had probably been talking about it ever since God appeared to him in Ur so I seriously doubt it disrupted her life like a bolt out of the blue.

    From Haran (Haraan Turkey) it's well over 400 miles south to the West Bank in Palestine. You can imagine the difficulty of making such a trip what with no automobiles, no trains, no buses, no taxi cabs, no airplanes, no paved-surface highways, and no graded roads. It was all trails and dirt paths; and all on foot, or on the back of an animal, or in a cart pulled by an animal.

    People traveled like that for millennia before powered conveyances were invented and became widespread. Practically all modern means of travel were invented in the 20th century AD.

    In only just the last 120 years or so of Man's existence has there been airplanes and horseless carriages. Man went from the Wright Brothers to the moon in just sixty-six years.

    The previous thousands of years before Karl Benz's production of gasoline-powered motorwagens; people were very slow moving, and travel was arduous, inconvenient, and totally earth-bound. In those days, a pioneer's greatest obstacle to migration was distance.

    It's significant that Abram wasn't required to dispose of his worldly goods in order to follow God. Abram later became an exceedingly rich man and God never once asked him to give it all away to charity.

    Riches are bad only if they have such a hold upon a person that they must compromise their integrity to hang on to it. For that person, it's better to be poor. But it would be wrong to impose poverty upon everyone because not everyone is consumed with survival, avarice, and greed.

    †. Gen 12:6 . . Abram traveled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem. At that time the Canaanites were in the land.

    The Canaanites were Canaan's descendants-- Noah's bad-apple grandson.

    The Canaanites probably didn't have complete control of the land at this time, merely a presence, same as Abram. But they were definitely in progress of getting control. By the time Joshua invaded, roughly four hundred years later, Canaan's clan was pretty well rooted in Palestine.

    Abram's welfare wasn't improved by coming out west to Canaan. His home town Ur was a modern city with decent accommodations. But out on the frontier, it was rugged. Palestine in that day was no Utopia. It was more like the conditions which faced our own early day American pioneers and settlers. There were communities scattered here and there, but for the most part, it was wild, wooly, and untamed.

    Abram, now paying attention to God, is going where he's told and moving in all the right directions. The next two moves are preceded by altars; upon which, we can safely assume, were offered the traditional Noah-style burnt offering. Altar sites were hot-spots; viz: locations for making wireless contact with God; sort of like what the Temple at Jerusalem became in later years.

    †. Gen 12:7a . .The Lord appeared to Abram

    Exactly how or in what form God appeared to Abram isn't said. God's appearances aren't always visual. Sometimes an appearance is merely an audible voice; or a dream, an angel, a burning bush, a breeze, a column of smoke, or even an eerie glow.

    †. Gen 12:7b . . and said: I will assign this land to your heirs.

    This is the very first instance of a Divine promise made to Abram regarding ownership of Palestine; and it probably bounced right off his skull like a sonar ping. But later on, God will repeat that promise again and again until it finally sinks in. Repetition is, after all, a proven learning aid.

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    Sat, Jul 18th - 8:15AM



    Genesis 12:1-3a

     

    †. Gen 12:1. .The Lord said to Abram: Go forth from your native land and from your father's house to the land that I will show you.

    Stephen said Abram was still living in Ur, and hadn't moved up to Haran yet when God called him to leave his kin (Acts 7:2-3). There's no record of any interaction with God all the while that Abram lived in Haran. Jehovah was silent, and waiting for Abram to get with the program and do as He said-- leave his kin and head on out to a country of God's choosing. When he finally departed, Abram was not yet informed of his precise destination. (Heb 11:8)

    The Lord made several promises to Abram at this time.

    †. Gen 12:2a . . I will make of you a great nation,

    Greatness is arbitrary. Some say numbers best represent greatness, while others feel that accomplishments, prosperity, health, and contributions to mankind define greatness. In that last aspect; no other nation on earth has contributed more to the benefit of mankind than the people of Israel. It is through them that sinful men of all nations may obtain a full ransom from the wrath of God. Israel is also destined to become the seat of world power, economic prosperity, and the center for religious studies.

    †. Gen 12:2b . . And I will bless you;

    Abram became a very wealthy man; with enough male servants to field a respectable army. He also enjoyed long life and good health; and the admiration of his neighbors.

    †. Gen 12:2c . . I will make your name great,

    Nobody is more famous than Abram. Even people who never heard of George Washington, Alexander the Great, Napoleon, or Genghis Khan, know about Abram. He is connected to the three most prominent religions in the world: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. And his name is always held in the very highest regard. Abram isn't known for nefarious deeds nor bloody conquests. He is known as the friend of God, and as a role model for all decent God-fearing people everywhere all over the world.

    †. Gen 12:2d . . And you shall be a blessing.

    There are some people that the world is well rid of like conceited entertainers, neighbors from hell, thin skinned defensive people with raging tempers, habitual liars, cry babies, people who falsify information, sully reputations, ruthless businessmen, con and scam artists, unscrupulous lawyers, crooked cops and dishonest politicians, insurance frauds, Wall Street sociopaths, managers on a power trip, hackers, and the like.

    But Abram was none of those. He was a very gracious, honorable man; the kind of guy you would thank God for. But most of all, Abram is the progenitor of Messiah-- the savior of the world.

    "A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham" (Matt 1:1)

    Messiah is the one who makes it possible for sinners to escape the judgment of God. You can't be a better blessing than that.

    "Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. For God so cared for the world that he donated His one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His son into the world to condemn the world, but to rescue the world through him." (John 3:14-17)

    NOTE: The reference to Moses' serpent is located at Num 21:4-9

    Just as Moses' people were spared certain death by doing no more nor less than looking to Moses' serpent; so believers today are spared certain death in the reservoir of brimstone depicted at Rev 20:11-15 by doing no more nor less than looking to Christ's crucifixion.

    †. Gen 12:3a . . I will bless those who bless you, and curse him that curses you;

    That curse works both ways; viz: it prevents God from cursing Abram. This is very important because were God to curse Abram, for any reason, any at all; He would have to level a curse right back at Himself.

    God as much as granted Abram immunity from any, and all, of the curses listed at Ex 34:6-7, Lev 26:3-38, Deut 27:15-26, and Deut 28:1 69 that God is obligated to slam Moses' people with for breaching the covenant that they agreed upon with God as per Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.

    Modern Judaism insists that Deut 29:14-15 retroactively binds Abraham to the covenant. But Deut 5:2-3 and Gal 3:17 clearly exempt him.

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    Fri, Jul 17th - 10:11AM



    Genesis 11:28-32

     

    †. Gen 11:28 . . Haran died in the lifetime of his father Terah, in his native land, Ur of the Chaldeans.

    The Grim Reaper cares not for the age of its victims, whether young or whether old. Haran died before his dad. Many a parent has buried their children before they even had a chance to live.

    You know, anybody can die; it's not all that difficult; and people don't have to be old nor do they have to be especially intelligent. Even the young, the inexperienced, and the stupid do it all the time.

    "For the wise man, like the fool, will not be long remembered: in days to come both will be forgotten. Like the fool, the wise man too must die." (Ecc 2:16)

    "For the time of mischance comes to all. And a man cannot even know his time. As fishes are enmeshed in a fatal net, and as birds are trapped in a snare, so men are caught at the time of calamity, when it comes upon them without warning." (Ecc 9:10-12)

    "Your fathers, where are they? and the prophets: do they live for ever?" (Zech 1:5)

    †. Gen 11:29 . . Abram and Nahor took to themselves wives, the name of Abram's wife being Sarai and that of Nahor's wife Milcah, the daughter of Haran, the father of Milcah and Iscah.

    Nahor married a niece; the daughter of his brother Haran. And Abram, according to Gen 20:12, married a half sister; the daughter of his father Terah. Such close marriages were later forbidden in the covenant that Moses' people agreed upon with God as per Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.

    But as Genesis has shown all along, at this early date close marriages were neither forbidden nor particularly dangerous from a genetic point of view, and so were not uncommon. Adam's family married among themselves; and so did Noah's. They really had no choice about it. There just weren't any other people available for spouses at the time.

    Inbreeding was neither a sin nor a problem in those days. But it sure is now. You wouldn't dare engender children with a sister or a brother or a niece nowadays. The risk of birth defects is just too high. It's notable that as longevity decreased, so did the margin of safety in marrying relatives. The quality of the human body was seriously deteriorating.

    †. Gen 11:30 . . Now Sarai was barren, she had no child.

    This is the very first recorded incident of a human reproductive malfunction. Other than the reduction in longevity; the human body seems to have been running on all eight cylinders up to this point. But who was the problem; was it Abram or Sarai? It was Sarai because Abram later engendered a child by one of Sarai's servant girls.

    One of the first horrors the human family witnessed was Abel's death. No one had ever seen a human being dead before. And now this. A woman who couldn't conceive. It must have been stunning and unbelievable. All the women in history up to this point were cranking out babies like rabbits and mice.

    But this was double bad for Sarai. Not only could she not have a family of her own, but you know how the tabloids feed on unusual events. Well . . this was one for the books. Sarai, in her day, was a true freak of nature. Everyone would point at her and whisper in hushed tones: Look! There she is! That's the one we saw on 20/20.

    She must have felt terribly inferior, and you can just imagine what that did to her self esteem too. Sarai was a gorgeous piece of work, but her womb had no more life in it than a stack of 8x11 Xerox paper.

    I'm a man; so how can I possibly understand Sarai's personal grief? Only another barren woman can understand what Sarai must have felt. There are women who don't care about children. But Sarai doesn't strike me as one of those. And even if she didn't care for children, it would have still been a comfort in her mind to know that at least she could have some if she wanted to.

    "There are three things that are never satisfied, yea, four things say not; "It is enough" -- the grave; the barren womb, the earth that is not filled with water; and the fire." (Prov 30:15-16)

    †. Gen 11:31a . .Terah took his son Abram, his grandson Lot the son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, the wife of his son Abram, and they set out together from Ur of the Chaldeans for the land of Canaan;

    Ur's ruins are located approximately midway between the modern city of Baghdad Iraq, and the head of the Persian Gulf, south of the Euphrates River, on the edge of the Al Hajarah Desert. The site of Ur is known today as Tall al Muqayyar.

    In antiquity, the Euphrates River flowed near the city walls; and thus Ur was favorably located for the development of commerce and for attaining political dominance. The biblical name "Ur of the Chaldees" refers to the Chaldeans, who settled in the area about 900 BC. By the 4th century BC, the city was practically forgotten, possibly as a result of a shift in the course of the Euphrates River.

    Water played an important role in the location of ancient civilizations. The Sahara desert, for example, was once a pluvial region with lakes. When geological forces caused the loss of rainfall and surface water, the Sahara became the dry waste it's famed for today and consequently its inhabitants had to relocate.

    Ur was enclosed by oval walls thirty feet high, which protected not only the city, but two harbors as well. Sir Leonard Woolley discovered that the inhabitants benefited from well-planned streets, and houses with high standards of sanitation. They appear to have been constructed to remain cool in the hot summers and some may have been two-storied. House walls adjoined the streets. Homes featured an inner courtyard onto which their rooms faced; just like Judah's home in the Charlton Heston movie Ben Hur.

    †. Gen 11:31b . . but when they had come as far as Haran, they settled there.

    According to Gen 12:1, God took an interest in Abram while he was in Ur, before he left with Terah to travel to Haran. After sharing his vision with Terah, the dad quite possibly became interested in a new life himself, having recently lost a son. The land where he then lived held bad memories and, probably not wanting to lose touch with any more of his family if Abram were to move away, he suggested that they all travel together; which is a perfectly good idea considering the dangers they were likely to encounter en route.

    But the dad didn't have the heart for it really. The old gentleman decided to settle in Haran instead of going all the way to Canaan like the original plan called for.

    From Ur, Canaan is dead west and just about the same distance as Haran. But instead of going directly to Canaan, they went north, following the trade routes. I think I would have too. Terah's family was a lot safer going from town to town along the fertile crescent. It would take longer to get to Canaan, but they would be in better shape upon arrival.

    There are some who like to keep their foot on the gas and push on through when they travel. But that is very tiring. It's far better to stop often, eat, and rest before moving on. The towns along the northern route could provide them with needed supplies for the journey too.

    But Haran (modern Charran or Haraan) is too far out of the way really. It's clear up in Urfa Turkey on the trade route to Ninevah. Terah could have turned south a lot sooner and gone on down to Canaan via Damascus. But I think that by then, he'd lost interest in Canaan and decided that Haran was the place for him. And Abram, probably not wanting to leave his dad alone there, stayed on too.

    †. Gen 11:32 . .The days of Terah came to 205 years; and Terah died in Haran.

    Terah lived a relatively long life for his day. His son Abram only lived to 175.

    But I sometimes wonder if Terah didn't cut his life short by staying in Haran. Did he forget about God's call to Abram to go to Canaan?

    Seeing as how Terah didn't serve Noah's god, rather, other gods (Josh 24:2), it's only natural that he wouldn't take Yhvh's call seriously. Noah's god wanted Abram to live down in Canaan. But because of his dad, Abram didn't go there. How unfortunate that parents can actually be a hindrance to their children associating with God whole heartedly.

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    Thu, Jul 16th - 10:13AM



    Genesis 11:6-27

     

    †. Gen 11:6 . . and Jehovah said: If, as one people with one language for all, this is how they have begun to act, then nothing that they may propose to do will be out of their reach.

    I don't think Jehovah objected to the people's unity per se. I mean, after all; it's Christ's wish that his church be unified (John 17:1-26, 1Cor 1:10). I think what He objected to was the direction that humanity's unity was taking; and it was no doubt similar to the direction depicted below.

     "Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against Yhvh and against His anointed. Let us break their chains-- they say --and throw off their fetters." (Ps 2:1-3)

    †. Gen 11:7 . . Let us, then, go down and confound their speech there, so that they shall not understand one another's speech.

    "let us" is the language of Gen 1:26 when God created man. Exactly who accompanied Yhvh on this mission isn't stated; but it's difficult to imagine Him traveling solo without an entourage of some sort. (cf. Gen 28:12 and Matt 25:31)

    †. Gen 11:8 . .Thus the Lord scattered them from there over the face of the whole earth; and they stopped building the city.

    The language barrier was only a temporary delay because later on the city of Babylon was eventually built. But at this point in time, the world had no choice. It was just impossible to continue. Incidentally; the entire world has never again been unified in a singular endeavor like it was on that tower.

    †. Gen 11:9 . .That is why it was called Babel, because there the Lord confounded the speech of the whole earth; and from there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth.

    In time, people did branch out and colonize the whole planet. But barely anything is said in the Bible about the world in the years between Babel and Abraham.

    †. Gen 11:10a . .This is the line of Shem.

    Well; that's pretty much about it for the other brothers. From now on, the Bible will direct its focus mainly upon Shem's line. But not all. Just specific ones that are connected to Abraham's covenant; and ultimately to Messiah.

    Noah was a pretty simple kind of guy. He probably tore apart the ark for its wood and built a home, and barns, and whittled fence posts and split rails to corral his livestock. The rest of the ark's lumber he could distribute to his sons and grandchildren for their own ranches after setting aside enough firewood for many years to come.

    He more than likely stayed pretty close to where the ark went aground and remained behind when the others migrated out west. After all, if Noah could raise food right where he was, plus his grapes, then why move away? He'd seen it all anyway and lived the adventure of a lifetime.

    †. Gen 11:10b . . Shem was 100 years old when he begot Arpachshad, two years after the Flood.

    That would make Shem about 97 years old when the flood began.

    †. Gen 11:11 . . After the birth of Arpachshad, Shem lived 500 years and begot sons and daughters.

    Each of the patriarchs probably had at least as many daughters as well as sons even though girls' names are rarely listed in the record.

    †. Gen 11:12-25 . .When Arpachshad had lived 35 years, he begot Shelah. After the birth of Shelah, Arpachshad lived 403 years and begot sons and daughters . .When Nahor had lived 29 years, he begot Terah. After the birth of Terah, Nahor lived 119 years and begot sons and daughters.

    Included in the genealogy of Gen 11:12-25 was a man named Eber. His name carries on to this day in a people well known as Hebrews; for the Old Testament word for Hebrew is 'Ibriy (ib-ree'); which means an Eberite; viz: a descendant of Eber.

    At that point in time, the human life span was noticeably decreasing.

    Noah lived 950 years (about the same as his antediluvian forebears), but Shem lived only 600. It became even worse by the time of Nahor; who only lived to 148. Today, even the healthiest among us begins to decline as early as our mid thirties; with an average life expectancy of not even 80. This problem has baffled scientists for years and no one seems to know yet just why our body cells age and deteriorate so fast. Whoever solves that problem will get very rich from it, that's for sure.

    God introduced tongues during the Tower Of Babel incident to break up world unification. Apparently it was God's judgment that world unification in those days was not a good thing. Well; the language barrier remains in place today; so I'm assuming that world unification in our day is still not a good thing.

    In other words: today's world is an imperfect world. But according to 2Pet 3:1-13 and the 21st chapter of Revelation, a new world order is on its way; a perfect world that can be trusted with unification so there will be no need for a control measure to thwart global rebellions against God and all that He stands for.

    †. Gen 11:26-27 . .When Terah had lived 70 years, he begot Abram, Nahor, and Haran. Now this is the line of Terah: Terah begot Abram, Nahor, and Haran; and Haran begot Lot.

    By the time of Terah, Shem's line had slipped away and no longer worshipped Yhvh in spite of their solid spiritual heritage.

    "Then Joshua said to all the people: Thus said the Lord, the God of Israel; "In olden times, your forefathers-- Terah, father of Abraham and father of Nahor --lived beyond the Euphrates and worshiped other gods." (Josh 24:2)

    Because their dad worshipped other gods, the two brothers, Abram and Nahor, grew up as idolaters until Noah's god stepped in and broke the chain: appearing to Abram, and instructing him to leave his relatives, and get out of Ur.

    One has to wonder what happened with Terah. His grandfathers Shem and Noah actually came off the ark and saw the Flood for themselves but that was waaaaay back when. Time has a way of turning history into legend; and anon into myth, folklore, and superstition.

    NOTE: One of the problems associated with the credibility of the Flood is finding evidence for it; and a significant portion of that problem is related to the Flood's duration. The actual downpour lasted a mere forty days; and the standing water was gone within a year; which just isn't enough time. It takes water millennia to erode permanent features in the earth's lithosphere.

    And on top of that, once the rain stopped, the Flood's waters were essentially static like a lake or a swimming pool. In order to cause erosion of any significance, water has to move; as a river or a stream, or as waves along the sea shore; not stand still.

    When I was a kid, the presence of sea shells and fossils way up on the sides and tops of mountains was thought to be evidence of the Flood, but now we know that they got up there by tectonic forces rather than by the Flood.

    You know it hasn't been all that long ago that people began putting some faith in continental drift. It's been barely a century since German meteorologist Alfred Wegner proposed that Earth's dry land had once been a single continent then gradually began separating. He was soundly mocked and dismissed by his contemporary scientific community.

    Not anymore they don't. Now pretty near all the geological scientists are in agreement that the earth's prominent mountain ranges were produced by the grinding, colliding, buckling, and subduction of massive sections of the earth's crust.

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    Wed, Jul 15th - 10:34AM



    Genesis 11:1-5

     

    †. Gen 11:1 . . Everyone on earth had the same language and the same words.

    The Hebrew word for "language" is from saphah (saw-faw') which means: the lip. The one for "words" is from dabar (daw-baw') which means: a word (as spoken or written)

    Spoken languages are a combination of words and lips; viz: vocabulary and pronunciation, i.e. accent and inflection. It's one thing to know the words of a language, but it is quite another to speak them with the correct pronunciation. In that day, everyone used the same words and spoke them alike.

    †. Gen 11:2 . . And as they migrated from the east, they came upon a valley in the land of Shinar and settled there.

    The name "Shinar" was of course given later because these early migrations were to lands heretofore uninhabited. According to Gen 10:10, Shinar became Nimrod's turf.

    The amount of time elapsed between Noah's bender and this migration isn't stated in the Bible-- plus; there's really no way to tell which part of the world was "the east" in the author's day.

    Here in the USA, the Great Continental Divide is an east/west determinant. Funny thing is, if you're located in Phoenix Arizona, then Billings Montana is to your continental east even though geographically, it's almost directly north; so when you see directions like "east" and/or "west" in the Bible, it's probably best to NOT think cardinal points on a compass.

    For example in the case of the Magi of Matt 2:1. As best as we can tell, their city was somewhere east of the meridian that runs north/south through the Jordan River Valley but that kind of an east is continental rather than geographical so there's really no telling where they came from.

    This particular migration was "from" the east; which means pioneers from among Noah's progeny, whose numbers at this point are totally unknown, went out west looking for greener pastures. Although the region of Shinar has not yet been precisely pinpointed, we can take a relatively educated guess at it.

    "In the third year of the reign of King Jehoiakim of Judah, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came to Jerusalem and laid siege to it. The Lord delivered King Jehoiakim of Judah into his power, together with some of the vessels of the House of God, and he brought them to the land of Shinar to the house of his god; he deposited the vessels in the treasury of his god." (Dan 1:1-2)

    The "Shinar" of Daniel's day is apparently the region where ancient Babylon was located. Babylon's location today is marked by a broad area of ruins just east of the Euphrates River, approximately 90 km (56 mi) south of Baghdad, Iraq. It's part of an area commonly known as the Fertile Crescent; a very large region arching across the northern part of the Syrian Desert and extending from the Nile Valley to the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. In the early post-Flood years, this region was very lush. But today much of it is arid wasteland.

    †. Gen 11:3a . .They said to one another: Come, let us make bricks and burn them hard. (Brick served them as stone).

    Brick are blocks of clay or other ceramic used for construction and decorative facing. Bricks may be dried in the sun but are more usually baked in a kiln. They cost relatively little, resist dampness and heat, and can actually last longer than some kinds of stone.

    Brick was the chief building material of ancient Mesopotamia and Palestine. The inhabitants of Jericho in Palestine were building with brick about 9,000 years ago (7,000 bc). That's about 5,000 years before Abraham's day.

    Sumerian and Babylonian builders constructed ziggurats, palaces, and city walls of sun-dried brick and covered them with more durable kiln-baked, often brilliantly glazed brick, arranged in decorative pictorial friezes. Later the Persians and the Chinese built in brick, for example, the Great Wall of China. The Romans built large structures such as baths, amphitheaters, and aqueducts in brick, which they often covered with marble facing.

    †. Gen 11:3b . . and bitumen served them as mortar.

    According to Webster's, bitumen is any of various mixtures of hydrocarbons (as tar) often together with their nonmetallic derivatives that occur naturally or are obtained as residues after heat-refining natural substances (e.g. petroleum).

    The stuff can be deadly if one isn't careful because once your feet become stuck, they are very difficult to extract; as the museum at the La Brea tar pits in Los Angeles attests. But it's a handy building material too. Noah sealed the ark with a bituminous material, and Moses owed his life to it. (Ex 2:1-10)

    †. Gen 11:4 . . And they said: Come, let us build us a city, and a tower with its top in the sky, to make a name for ourselves; else we shall be scattered all over the world.

    Magnificent cities have a way of attracting tourism, commerce, and industry. People want to come and visit, and to live there. Politically, their scheme made good sense. More people equals more prosperity; resulting in more power and control over the region-- and of course the larger their tax base the more city services they could provide citizens; including an effective civil defense program.

    There's nothing really intrinsically wrong in building a large beautiful city. But in their case, it wasn't the right time for it. God wanted the post-Flooders to move out and populate the entire globe, rather than accumulate in one local region.

    Towers served a variety of purposes in the ancient world. Some were used as look-outs, others were used as tombs, and yet others were used as bloody altars for human sacrifices.

    The purpose intended for the tower of Gen 11:4 isn't stated but guessing from the wording, I'd say it was intended to be a grand monument; sort of like the 630 foot stainless steel Gateway Arch in Ste. Louis Missouri, or a magnificent minaret like the 239-foot Qutab Minar in Delhi India. Something like that would certainly go a long ways towards getting the Shinarians the renown they sought.

    But their wish that the tower's top be in the sky suggests their primary motive was to use its facade to display a variety of gods popular in that day. There's towers like that right now that in the city of Madurai in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu, located on the banks of River Vaigai.

    The towers are literally festooned with hundreds of gods. So if your favorite god is up there somewhere, there's no need for you to leave town and go on a pilgrimage elsewhere to worship. People love their religion. So if you give them the liberty and the means to practice it; they'll love you forever. Tolerance is good politics. If only Islamic fundamentalists understood this.

    †. Gen 11:5 . .Jehovah came down to look at the city and tower that man had built,

    That verse presents an interesting theological problem. Wouldn't it make better sense by saying Jehovah looked down, instead of saying He "came" down? Why bother to come down? Doesn't the Bible's God see all and know all? Isn't God omniscient? Can't He see everything from right where He is?

    Well; the fact of the matter is: the Being that most of us think of as the highest of all beings, has never been to our world in person, and I don't think He ever intends to come to our world in person.

    "No man has seen God at any time; the only-begotten, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has declared Him." (John 1:18, cf. 1Tim 6:16)

    "You have neither heard His voice at any time nor seen His form" (John 5:37)

    FAQ: But didn't Moses hear God's voice at the giving of the Ten Commandments?

    A: No, the voice he heard was that of an angel. (Acts 7:53)

    I think we are going to have to concede that the Jehovah of Gen 11:5 isn't the highest of all beings, rather, a subordinate being whose name is his master's. In other words: this subordinate being has the authority to use God's name for itself; which of course means it has to be obeyed and spoken to as God because we are going to find out in the book of Genesis that this being speaks for God and speaks as God; plus, his name shows up in the very first of the Ten Commandments in the book of Exodus where Jehovah says "I am your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt". Pretty amazing.

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    Tue, Jul 14th - 11:10AM



    Genesis 10:1-32

     

    †. Gen 10:1 . .These are the lines of Shem, Ham, and Japheth, the sons of Noah: sons were born to them after the Flood.

    Chapter ten is a tiresome list of genealogies that some have found interesting enough to devote entire books; generating a catalogue of nations connecting Noah's descendants to the ancient civilizations and even today's. But I'm going to comment upon only a few salient features.

    †. Gen 10:5 . .These are the descendants of Japheth by their lands-- each with its language-- their clans and their nations.

    Diverse languages didn't appear right away. First came the tower of Babel. It was after that when people's languages became what we might call "foreign".

    †. Gen 10:8-9 . . Cush was the father of Nimrod, who grew to be a mighty warrior on the earth. He was a mighty hunter before The Lord; that is why it is said: Like Nimrod, a mighty hunter before The Lord. The first centers of his kingdom were Babylon, Erech, Akkad and Calneh, in Shinar.

    At first, mankind was scattered out in individual clans, and leadership was pretty much restricted to local patriarchal Dons and Sheiks.

    But Nimrod wasn't content with local rule. He was resolved not only to be head and shoulders above his neighbors-- not only to be eminent among them but to lord it over them.

    The same spirit that actuated the mighty men and the men of renown prior to the Flood, (by reason of whom the Flood came) now revived in Nimrod. There are some in whom ambition, achievement, and affectation of dominion seem to be bred in the bone. Nothing short of hell itself will humble and break the proud, domineering spirits of men such as those.

    Nimrod is interesting. He's a Nephilistic personage with humble beginnings: first as a professional hunter; probably supplying meat to frontier towns and selling pelts at trading posts. That was likely Nimrod's career path up until his exploits became famous and he began to realize it was far more profitable to go into politics.

    Lots of great men, some good and some bad, had humble beginnings-- Abraham Lincoln, King David, and even Hitler. Timely circumstances, and fortuitous events, catapulted those blokes up to very high levels of control over their fellow men.

    A contemporary case in point is former US President Barak Hussein Obama: a man who had little to no chance of winning a US Senate seat had it not been for his shoo-in opponent's carnal indiscretions.

    From thence, the voting public's disgust with the Republican party, coupled with their infatuation with the color of Mr. Obama's skin (he's not really Black, he's mulatto), practically assured his election to America's highest federal office. He was but a junior senator with like zero executive experience; yet there he was flying around the world in Air Force One.

    To this very day Nimrod is still known as the outdoorsman who would be king. He was such a famous icon of that day that his example became descriptive of others who worked their way to the top like he did-- men of vision, daring, energy, strong personal ambition, and dogged perseverance.

    The common personality trait, among such men, is their strong desire not just to govern, but to quite dominate people. There are those for whom it isn't enough to win; no, it isn't enough for people like that to win: everyone else has to lose. They don't want 50% market share, nor even 90% no, they're content with nothing less than 100%

    Actually, Nimrod was one of the great men of history, though so little is written about him. He was the first statesmen to successfully unite the world; and it was such a solid unity that only divine intervention could bring it down.

    †. Gen 10:21a . . Sons were also born to Shem, ancestor of all the descendants of Eber

    Descendants of Eber (most notably Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) became known as Eberites: a.k.a. Hebrews.

    †. Gen 10:32 . .These are the families of the sons of Noah, after their generations, in their nations: and by these were the nations divided in the earth after the Flood

    What I find very interesting about the nations divided in the earth is their diversity of progress. When Europeans came to the continental US, they found indigenous peoples who were, from all appearances, perpetual cave men. They never had an iron age. Heck, no metal age at all; except maybe copper here and there.

    Long, long after the Neanderthals and the Cro-Magnons evolved into Egyptians, Romans, Greeks, Spaniards, and Portuguese; the American Indian was still using stone tools, living in rudimentary shelters, and walking everywhere he went. His greatest obstacle to travel was distance because they had neither horses nor wheels. It was like they were a people whom time forgot.

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    Mon, Jul 13th - 10:52AM



    Genesis 9:24-29

     

    †. Gen 9:24-25a . .When Noah woke up from his wine and learned what his youngest son had done to him, he said: Cursed be Canaan;

    I'd imagine that Canaan objected very strongly upon hearing a curse pronounced upon himself when it was not him but his dad who embarrassed grandpa. What did Canaan do to deserve a curse? Not a thing. Then why did Noah curse Ham's son instead of cursing Ham? The answer to that is located in the passage below:

    "Jehovah, Jehovah: a God compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in kindness and faithfulness; extending kindness to the thousandth generation-- forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin; yet He does not remit all punishment; but visits the iniquity of parents upon children and children's children unto the third and fourth generation." (Ex 34:6-7)

    Parents' progeny aren't imputed guilt for their parents' conduct, but they do sometimes become collateral damage when God goes after the parents. For example the Flood. No doubt quite a few innocent children drowned in that event due to their parents' wickedness. The same happened to the children in Sodom and Gomorrah. And during Moses' face-off with Pharaoh, God moved against everything that pertained to the man; including, but not limited to, his economy, his land, his livestock, his citizens, his citizens' children, and his own children. It's a very disturbing biblical fact of life that sometimes God gets back at the parents by going after things that pertain to them.

    For example; God took the life of David's innocent little baby boy to get back at his father for committing the capital crimes of premeditated murder and adultery.

    Another example is located in the 16th chapter of Numbers where not just the rebels were punished; but their entire families and all their belongings were swallowed by a fissure that God opened in the ground beneath their feet.

    A close call is recorded in the book of Jonah. Had not the adults in Ninevah changed their ways, something like 120,000 little children would have perished; not to mention all the cattle. According to Jonah 4:11, taking out children and dumb animals is not something that God enjoys. But there is a mysterious element to absolute justice that apparently compels Him to do it.

    The antediluvian's case, Ham's case, Sodom and Gomorrah's case, David's case, Pharaoh's case, Korah's case, and Ninevah's case lead me to suspect that God's chosen people caught up in the Holocaust weren't caught up as retribution for their own sins; but rather; as retribution for the sins of past generations; which also tells me that the status of God's chosen people isn't something to be proud of; but rather; something to be afraid of because moths that fly too close to the flame risk getting their wings burned seeing as how the covenant's God doesn't practice favoritism.

    "You only have I chosen among all the families of the earth; therefore, I will punish you for all your iniquities." (Amos 3:2)

    In other words: among the various human communities on earth; Moses' people have the least excuse for their impieties due to their privileged association with God and their ready access to the knowledge of His will.

    †. Gen 9:25b . . the lowest of slaves shall he be to his brothers.

    That's a very derogatory remark, and more likely a colloquialism or a metaphor rather than a literal prediction; sort of like the one God made regarding the Serpent; that it would crawl on its belly and eat dirt; viz: henceforth be regarded the lowest sort of filth imaginable. Well, that was Noah's prediction regarding Canaan; and it came true. The people of the land of Canaan became so abhorrent that God, in Deut 7:1-5 and Deut 18:9-14, commanded Moses' people to drive them out, to exterminate them, to reject their religions, and to avoid assimilation.

    †. Gen 9:26a . . And he said: Blessed be Jehovah, the god of Shem;

    Jehovah is said to be Shem's god. But Jehovhah is not said to be the god of either Ham or Japheth. Shem is the only one of the three brothers of whom it is said "Jehovah, the god of" perhaps implying that the Bible's God didn't become Shem's god just because the family he was born into worshipped that particular god, rather because Shem personally chose the Bible's God to be his god. A lot of adults are in a religion simply because that's the one they grew up with.

    †. Gen 9:26b . . let Canaan be a slave to them.

    The pronoun "them" would refer to the peoples that would descend from Shem.

    †. Gen 9:27a . . May God enlarge Japheth,

    That seems more a prayer than a prediction. Japheth is generally regarded as the father of several Gentile nations, most particularly the Romans and the Greeks, who became mighty world powers. Japheth seemed like an okay kind of guy who at least had a sense of propriety. People like him; even though maybe not particularly God-fearing, will listen to reason, and can often be persuaded to do the right thing. He proved at least that much when he assisted brother Shem to cover their dad's exposure in a discreet way. It is so cool to see someone wishing good for non-Jews so early in human history.

    †. Gen 9:27b . . and let him dwell in the tents of Shem;

    That doesn't necessarily mean Shem's people and Japheth's people would mingle and assimilate. The expression "dwell in the tents of" is a colloquialism sometimes used to denote compliance or conformity. Here's an example of just the opposite of what we might call dwelling in the tents of Shem.

    "Better one day in Your courts than a thousand [anywhere else]; I would rather stand at the threshold of God's house than dwell in the tents of the wicked." (Ps 84:11)

    The "tents of the wicked" regards a life style that has no place in it for the Bible's God and doesn't allow His spirit an influence in one's personal life. The remainder of that Psalm is dedicated to the kind of people of whom we could say: dwell in the tents of Shem.

    "For The Lord God is sun and shield; The Lord bestows grace and glory; He does not withhold His bounty from those who live without blame. O Lord of hosts, happy is the man who trusts in You." (Ps 84:12-13)

    NOTE: The expression "Lord of hosts" runs throughout the Old Testament. It's apparent meaning is that Jehovah is commander in chief of all military forces; both natural and supernatural-- friends and foes alike. The expression isn't poetic. God is able to manipulate the outcome of any conflict in which He's involved. Plenty of stories in the Old Testament bear that out.

    People who live in the tents of the wicked, and walk where the wicked walk; sure don't walk where Shem walks. Not all of Japheth's people would dwell in the tents of Shem of course. But the idea is that Japheth's people weren't totally a bad apple like Canaan's. Many of them would become God-fearing, moral, scrupulous, and upright-- though not all of course; but at least Japheth's progeny wouldn't prove 100% incorrigible.

    †. Gen 9:27c . . and let Canaan be a slave to them.

    Not all of Ham's descendants would become subservient to the people of Shem and Japheth. Only those in Canaan's line.

    †. Gen 9:28-29 . . Noah lived after the Flood 350 years. And all the days of Noah came to 950 years; then he died.

    Another righteous man bites the dust. Noah lived twenty more years than Adam, but nineteen less than Methuselah-- no doubt a great role model and a tremendous influence upon the minds of all his grandchildren. He surely must have had a huge brood of them in the new world by the time his 350 post-Flood years ended.

    Guys like Noah prove a point. Just because someone is righteous is no reason to think that they shouldn't have to die. The human body has its limits. No matter how righteous somebody is, their body will eventually give out.

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    Sun, Jul 12th - 8:34AM



    Genesis 9:20-23

     

    †. Gen 9:20a . . Noah, a tiller of the soil,

    There was a time when a large percentage of Americans grew their own food, but it's come to the point when some kids don't even know that where their food comes from.

    For example; as a young graduate student, Steven L. Hopp, co-author of "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle", lived in an urban neighborhood where his little backyard vegetable garden was a howling curiosity to the boys who ran wild in the alley. One day, as Steven pulled a nice long fresh carrot out of the ground, one of the boys asked him how it got in there.

    So after explaining some fundamentals of farming, Steven asked the boy if he could think of another vegetable that grows in the ground. After consulting with his posse, the boy responded: spaghetti?

    Later in life, Steven's wife used to take her children's friends out back to the family garden to warm them up to the idea of eating vegetables; but the strategy sometimes backfired. They'd back away slowly saying: Oh maaaaan! those things touched dirt! Ewwww!

    Accustomed to shopping with their moms in a well-lit, shiny supermarket stocked with pre-washed, pre-sorted, neatly piled vegetables, the kids were brought up to believe that all dirt is 100% unsanitary; and really, how could you blame them when every advertisement they see on television for sanitizers, cleansers, and detergents always portray dirt as bad?

    It's not just kids who are uninformed about agriculture. When author Barbara Kingsolver once submitted some material to an editor, the editor nixed the part in the story about pineapples growing out of the ground. The editor insisted they grew on trees.

    In another incident, one of Barbara's friends expressed amazement when told that peas, potatoes, and spinach were "up" in Barbara's garden. The friend wanted to know how potatoes could be "up" since to their knowledge potatoes grew down in the ground rather on the surface. The friend was seriously taken aback to discover that potato plants have stems and leaves; same as onions, radishes, beets, turnips, and peanuts.

    †. Gen 9:20b . . was the first to plant a vineyard.

    Was Noah the first ever to plant a vineyard? I strongly suspect verse 20 means that he was just the first one to raise grapes in the new world; not the first ever in all of human history because according to Matt 24:38, people were imbibing prior to the Flood.

    †. Gen 9:21a . . He drank of the wine and became drunk,

    How often did Noah drink and pass out? I ask because the wrath of God isn't upon drinkers per se; but upon heavy drinkers.

    "Woe to those who rise early in the morning to run after their drinks, who stay up late at night till they are inflamed with wine. They have harps and lyres at their banquets, tambourines and flutes and wine, but they have no regard for Yhvh's deeds, no respect for the work of His hands." (Isa 5:11-12)

    I'm unaware of any woe to those who've had too much to drink. No; it's the people who subsist on alcohol that get the bad marks; for example:

    "It happened, as she continued praying before Yhvh, that Eli watched her mouth. Now Hannah spoke in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard. Therefore Eli thought she was drunk. So Eli said to her; How long will you be drunk? Put your wine away from you!" (1Sam 1:12-14)

    Eli suspected that Hannah was a wino; which is very different than just getting hammered now and then. In other words: I seriously doubt that Noah was a candidate for AA. He was just a guy who let his wine sneak up on him.

    I once knew a girl in high school with such a low tolerance for alcohol that just one can of ordinary beer made her start acting silly. She was by nobody's definition either a wino or an alcoholic; just a regular girl who liked to have fun on Friday night with the other kids.

    "Joseph took servings to them from before him, but Benjamin's serving was five times as much as any of theirs. So they drank and were merry with him." (Gen 43:34)

    The Hebrew word for "merry" in that verse is from shakar (shaw-kar') which means to become tipsy; viz: to satiate with a stimulating drink. It might surprise some people that God gave Man grapes for that very purpose.

    "You make the grass grow for the cattle, and herbage for man's labor that he may get food out of the earth-- wine that cheers the hearts of men" (Ps 104:14-15)

    Some folk object that the Bible doesn't say Joseph and his brothers drank wine at that meal. Well; if those with that objection can come up with another beverage in the book of Genesis besides wine that had enough wallop to make Joseph and his brothers tipsy; I might be persuaded.

    NOTE: Noah's episode with the wine didn't disqualify him from becoming one of three most righteous men in the Old Testament. God still placed him right up there alongside Job and Daniel at Ezek 14:12-20.

    So apparently some people's idea of a righteous man is not same as God's idea of a righteous man. The focus in this incident isn't upon Noah's conduct anyway; it's upon his son Ham's.

    †. Gen 9:21b . . and he uncovered himself within his tent.

    Noah wasn't a flasher. And he was indoors; passed out in the privacy of his own home. Plus the Bible only says he was uncovered; it doesn't say whether it was his front side or his backside that Ham is about to gaze upon.

    Noah's home at this point in time was a tent; which isn't the typical domicile of a man who farms. Nomads live in tents, farmers live in houses. Vineyards take time to grow to maturity and a nomad isn't likely to wait around long enough for that. So why was Noah living in a portable shelter instead of a permanent building?

    At this particular time, Noah's home was probably under construction. No doubt he put a higher priority on his livelihood than on his quality of life. A nice home is a senseless luxury when there's no food on the table.

    "Finish your outdoor work and get your fields ready; after that, build your house." (Prov 24:27)

    †. Gen 9:22a . . Ham, the father of Canaan, saw his father's nakedness

    What if Ham had barged in on his mother like that? Didn't anybody ever teach that man to knock or call out before entering someone's bedroom? What was he doing sneaking around in there anyway? 

    †. Gen 9:22b . . and told his two brothers outside.

    Ham wasn't just a little kid who stumbled into his parents' bedroom. He was a grown man, married, and quite possibly by this time his son Canaan was already born. Catching his dad naked was probably an innocent enough accident; but Ham couldn't let it go. No, he just had to broadcast it and make sport of his dad. Good grief, you'd think he would at least pull the covers so no one else would see his dad in that condition.

    Ham didn't seem to respect his dad very much. It's a very black-hearted demon's seed who takes pleasure in opportunities to mock their parents. I wonder if that's what Ham felt as he gazed down at his dad. Did it actually make him feel good to see the old gentleman wallowing in disgrace?

    So although the Flood wiped out sinful people, it didn't wipe out sin did it? No, sin survived, and stowed away aboard the ark within the very family of Noah; the most righteous man on Earth; before the Flood and after the Flood. (cf. Ezk 14:13-20)

    †. Gen 9:23 . . But Shem and Japheth took a cloth, placed it against both their backs and, walking backward, they covered their father's nakedness; their faces were turned the other way, so that they did not see their father's nakedness.

    Good lads! Those two men respected their dad and did the right thing by him. It's only too clear that Ham despised his father. You know, when you love people, you won't demean them, nor ridicule them, nor wish them disgrace, nor do anything at all that might tarnish their reputation. Love reveals itself by always looking out for the best interests of others.

    Ham's act is seen even more reprehensible when juxtaposed with the Flood. Noah's ark saved Ham's bacon, and this is how his son repaid the favor? When Noah got off the ark, he reciprocated God's kindness with gratitude and burnt offerings. Ham reciprocated his father's kindness with mockery and public disgrace. There are those among the Serpent's seed, as were Cain and Ham, who hate good simply for the very good's sake; viz: good disgusts them.

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    Sat, Jul 11th - 9:40AM



    Genesis 9:7-19

     

    †. Gen 9:7 . . Be fertile, then, and increase; abound on the earth and increase on it.

    The idea conveyed here is that Man was not supposed to unite and stay in one place, but to scatter, diversify, and establish communities all over the globe.

    †. Gen 9:8-10 . . And God said to Noah and to his sons with him: I now establish My covenant with you and your offspring to come, and with every living thing that is with you-- birds, cattle, and every wild beast as well --all that have come out of the ark, every living thing on earth.

    Noah's covenant is an especially interesting covenant because it was made with both Man and Beast: all living things wherein is the breath of life.

    Are people today Noah's offspring that were to come? Yes they are. So we should pay attention to what God told Noah and his sons. "My covenant" applies to everyone; and all the critters too. In fact, all living beings in the post-Flood world are under the jurisdiction of the covenant God made with Noah and his family.

    †. Gen 9:11 . . I will maintain My covenant with you: never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.

    Noah needed to hear that so he wouldn't get jumpy the next time it started to rain really hard in his neighborhood. There is still flooding going on in the world, but certainly not on the same scale as the Flood.

    †. Gen 9:12-17 . . God further said: This is the sign that I set for the covenant between Me and you, and every living creature with you, for all ages to come. I have set My bow in the clouds, and it shall serve as a sign of the covenant between Me and the earth.

    . . .When I bring clouds over the earth, and the bow appears in the clouds, I will remember My covenant between Me and you and every living creature among all flesh, so that the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh.

    . . .When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures, all flesh that is on earth. That, God said to Noah, shall be the sign of the covenant that I have established between Me and all flesh that is on earth.

    Some people say Noah had never seen a rainbow before because they don't believe it ever rained in the antediluvian world. But even if it didn't rain, rainbows aren't restricted to rainy weather. They can be seen in waterfalls, fog, and even in icy air. Since the antediluvian world got some of its irrigation from mists, there's a pretty good chance Noah had seen at least one rainbow by the time he was six hundred years old.

    Noah's covenant is still in force; as evidenced by the significant presence of rainbows in prophetic visions. (e.g. Ezek 1:27-28, Rev 10:1-4)

    Next time you see a rainbow, think of ol' grandpa Noah and think of God's promise-- to Noah, to his progeny, to all peoples on this side of the Flood, and to every creature --that the Earth will never again be destroyed by water. And remember capital punishment for murder, and remember that the animal world is accountable for taking human life.

    And when you risk contracting E.coli 0157:H7 and/or E.coli 0157:H4 by eating a fast food hamburger made with chicken-droppings-fed, over-crowded, antibiotic treated, up-to-their-knees in manure, industrially produced beef; or risk contracting salmonella by eating a tasty dish of under cooked, Teriyaki chicken made from mass-produced, genetically altered, antibiotic-fed, overcrowded, factory-farmed broilers; remember it was God's blessing that gave our world the green light to eat flesh so that beginning in the last half of the 20th century, everyone from thenceforth could dine on tainted meat.

    †. Gen 9:18 . .The sons of Noah who came out of the ark were Shem, Ham, and Japheth-- Ham being the father of Canaan.

    Stay tuned for more about Mr. Canaan.

    †. Gen 9:19 . .These three were the sons of Noah, and from these the whole world branched out.

    It's remarkable that every ethnic, every tribe, every color, and every language, is rooted in just those three men. Every existing human being is alive today from the gene pool of Noah's boys and their wives-- Caucasian, Negro, Mongol, Asian, Semite, Aleut, Indians of the Americas, Pacific Islander; and even the Pigmies. Everybody is related to one of those three boys, and also related to each other in Noah.

    Whenever there is war, it is truly brother against brother. The phrase "fellow man" is not just a feel-good, slap on the back acceptance of someone you might normally feel superior to or despise beyond reason; no, it's an expression that identifies human beings you are verily-- though possibly quite distantly --related to.

    All the physical characteristics of the different nations and various tribes, must, therefore, have been present in the genetic constitutions of just those three men and three women. Somehow, by the regular mechanisms of genetics-- variation, adaptation, mutation, and recombination --all the various groups of nations and tribes developed from that meager post-Flood human beginning.

    But what about Mr. and Mrs. Noah? Didn't they have any more children? After all, Noah still had about three hundred years left to go in his life. Well . . if the Noah's did have any more children, they must have been all girls because the writer said the world was populated by only those three brothers.

    So if indeed there were Noah girls, they had to find husbands from among their cousins. Those early post-Flood conditions fostered very close intermarriages; but it was harmless in those days because the human genome was still yet relatively young, strong, and undamaged

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    Fri, Jul 10th - 7:50AM



    Genesis 9:6

     

    †. Gen 9:6a . .Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed;

    The death penalty here in Gen 9:6 is mandatory only for murder; which Webster's defines as: the crime of unlawfully killing a person; especially with malice aforethought. The key word in that definition is "unlawfully"

    Capital punishment for murder isn't optional. The word "shall" indicates an edict: and anybody who thinks they're in step with God while actively opposing the death penalty has another think coming.

    FAQ: Don't you think it's better to lock all murderers away for life rather than risk taking the lives of those who are innocent?

    A: It is never better to disobey God. The first couple did, and you see what that got them.

    Disobedience is on a scale with dark arts and the worship of Shiva and Vishnu.

    "Has the Lord as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry. (1Sam 15:22-23)

    In war, commanders expect a percentage of casualties by human error and/or friendly fire; and those kinds of casualties are usually factored in as acceptable losses. But it isn't wise to turn off a war off just because somebody might get hurt by friendly fire. Accidents happen; even under ideal conditions.

    It's the same with the war on crime. Just because a percentage of innocent people get executed for something they didn't do, is no excuse to get in bed with the Devil and oppose God's edicts as per Gen 9:5-6.

    America's justice system, although far from perfect, has a pretty good batting average. The overwhelming majority of people dead from executions fully deserved what they got. Only a tiny percentage are victims of error; and those percentages should always be considered acceptable losses in any legitimate endeavor to protect domestic tranquility.

    †. Gen 9:6b . . For in His image did God make man.

    Interesting. So then; indiscriminate killing wasn't banned because it's immoral, but rather, because it demeans the honor and dignity of God. Apparently, were humanity lacking His image, people could go on safari and stalk each other like game animals and mount human heads as trophies of the hunt.

    "People can tame all kinds of animals and birds and reptiles and fish, but no one can tame the tongue. It is an uncontrollable evil, full of deadly poison. Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it breaks out into curses against those who have been made in the image of God." (Jas 3:7-9)

    James criticized the cursing of humans not because it's immoral, but because it demeans the honor and dignity of God.

    The image of God lends humanity a measure of divinity that it wouldn't have otherwise.

    "You made him a little lower than the angels; you crowned him with glory and honor and put everything under his feet." (Heb 2:7-8)

    Without that measure of divinity, humanity would just be another among many air-breathing species.

    Refusal to pursue the death penalty for murder denigrates the sanctity of Almighty God. So don't ever let anyone tell you capital punishment for murder is wrong. No; capital punishment for murder isn't wrong; au contraire, capital punishment for murder is divine.

    NOTE: Some time ago I noticed that the law Moses' people agreed upon with God as per Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy contains no stipulations for plea bargaining, imprisonment, or appeals-- justice is swift and some of its punishments are what we today in our sophisticated society would call cruel and unusual; plus capital punishment is ordered for quite a variety of violations. There is no such thing as a life sentence in that law. Those that would otherwise deserve it, are simply put to death.

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    Thu, Jul 9th - 7:38AM



    Genesis 9:4-5

     

    †. Gen 9:4 . .You must not, however, eat flesh with its life-blood in it.

    That restriction is against life-blood; so then blood that cannot support life-- dead blood --is exempt.

    Life-blood, is actually blood that's alive; blood that hasn't begun to spoil; viz: it's still fresh enough for a transfusion and contains enough active ingredients to carry oxygen and heal wounds.

    Ancient Jews understood that verse to mean it is unlawful to eat meat that isn't dead; viz: it isn't merely uncooked; it's still viable-- fresh enough for a successful graft.

    T. But flesh which is torn of the living beast, what time the life is in it, or that torn from a slaughtered animal before all the breath has gone forth, you shall not eat. (Targum Jonathan)

    The way I see it: Man isn't forbidden to dine upon raw meat; only that it absolutely has to be dead with no chance of recovery. Same with blood. This law is the very first law God laid down in the new world after the Flood. It has never been repealed, and remains among the list of primary laws imposed upon Christians.

    "It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things. Fare well." (Acts 15:28-29)

    A strangled animal still has all of its blood in it. The animal might be brain dead, and its heart may have stopped beating, but its flesh will remain alive for some time by reason of the viable blood still in its veins. Recent changes to CPR procedures include no longer giving victims mouth-to-mouth respiration for the first few minutes because the blood in a victim's system still contains useful oxygen that can save their life merely by pumping the chest as before.

    Noah's Law No.1 forbids Man to eat living flesh and living blood; and Christians are no exception. Because of the danger of pathogens, it was quite possibly necessary to add this limitation to the grant of liberty to eat meat, lest, instead of nourishing his body by it, Man should inadvertently destroy himself; and in this day and age of E.coli 0157:H7, E.coli 0104:H4, and salmonella; adequately cooking meat can be considered a form of self defense.

    The prohibition against eating living flesh and blood is neither Jewish, nor is it Christian. It's universal; because God enacted that law long before there were any Jews or Christians. All human beings are under its jurisdiction. Man can eat all the raw meat he wants; and he can eat blood too; but he has absolutely no permission to eat either blood or meat that's still alive.

    The animal world isn't so fussy. They routinely devour their prey alive all the time. Hopefully no one reading this will ever stoop that low. The very best way to assure that meat and its blood are dead is to cook it-- thoroughly; and double check it with a meat thermometer.

    At issue with the prohibition against eating blood are the feelings of some that modern slaughter houses don't always kill animals properly. Many use a device called a captured-bolt to stun the animals and then workers slit the animals' throats while they're unconscious. Sometimes the bolt kills an animal instead of knocking it out and then all that the slaughter house has to work with is gravity because the animal's heart isn't pumping to assist. So there are those who feel no one should eat common meat because you can't guarantee the animal's blood was properly drained.

    Exactly what the definition of "properly drained" is I don't know because it's impossible to drain every last drop of blood out of meat no matter how you might go about it; so the prohibition against eating blood has got to be interpreted from a practical perspective rather than from a purist's.

    There are cultures that poke holes in cows' necks in order to drink blood straight out of the animal utilizing its own blood pressure like a tap to fill their cups. Other cultures cut open the thorax of animals freshly taken in hunting in order to take blood-soaked bites of the animal's heart. Those examples are probably about as close to vampirism as one can get without actually joining Edward Cullen's family and undergoing the conversion process.

    †. Gen 9:5 . . But for your own life-blood I will require a reckoning: I will require it of every beast; of man, too, will I require a reckoning for human life, of every man for that of his fellow man!

    Noah's Law No.2 mandates capital punishment for murder; viz: eye-for-an-eye retribution for the unjustified killing of a human being. This law is also a universal law and applies to every family of Man and Beast that descends from the ark; no exceptions.

    God requires an investigation into the death of a human being whenever it is caused by another human being or by a member of the animal kingdom. If the killing cannot be justified, the perpetrator has to be executed at the hands of human beings: no exceptions.

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    Wed, Jul 8th - 9:49AM



    Genesis 9:1-3

     

    †. Gen 9:1 . . God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them: Be fertile and increase, and fill the earth.

    Divine blessings should never be construed as laws, rules and/or commands. They're typically expressions of good will and/or empowerment. God included Noah in the blessing so that he and his wife could have more children if they wanted; but there's no record of any additional progeny.

    The blessing God bestowed upon Noah's family is the very same blessing bestowed upon the Adams in the very beginning. Here in chapter nine is the beginning of a new generation. This new generation-- springing from Shem, Ham, and Japheth --has continued for a good many years and won't end until everything Christ predicted in Matt 24:1-44 comes to pass.

    The word for "fill" is from male' (maw-lay') and as-used in Gen 1:22, Gen 1:26-28, and Gen 6:11-13 doesn't strictly mean refill or replenish. It just means to fill or to be full of; and can apply to a bucket that's never been used as well as to a bucket that's just been emptied; or to a bucket that's half empty (or half full, depending upon one's outlook).

    Here in chapter nine, male' is indicative of a pioneering family that would start afresh under different circumstances than those of the antediluvian world. The Noahs were essentially a transition team, bringing human life from the old world to the current one. The new conditions effecting Shem, Ham, and Japheth's generation include a change in Man's diet, his alienation from the animal world, and the introduction of criminal justice.

    †. Gen 9:2a . .The fear and the dread of you shall be upon all the beasts of the earth and upon all the birds of the sky-- everything with which the earth is astir --and upon all the fish of the sea;

    From the start, the animal kingdom lived with Man in peaceful co-existence-- the birds, beasts, fish, and even the tiniest of creatures; the microbes, as they would be included in the statement "everything with which the earth is astir". That situation ended with the Flood.

    It was God's wish that the critters, great and small, would be subordinate to Man's sovereignty (Gen 1:26-28). But no longer. I don't know how He did it, but God instigated anarchy in the animal world so that now all is in chaos; and most, if not all, species have stopped accepting Man as their superior; no, they view Man as both predator and prey. Quite a few species use Man-- dead and/or alive --for food.

    I think we can safely assume that it was right about here in human history when diseases became the norm as microbes, which at one time were harmless, became pathogens.

    Also about this time, it became necessary for Man to tame animals before they would do his bidding. In the beginning, they were willing, but now they're wary, wild, hostile, stubborn, and rebellious.

    †. Gen 9:2b-3 . . they are given into your hand. Every creature that lives shall be yours to eat; as with the green grasses, I give you all these.

    Man doesn't have to eat every living thing if he doesn't want to-- it's optional; since Gen 9:1-3 is clearly a blessing rather than a commandment.

    Apparently the inclusion of meat in Man's diet after the Flood was intended primarily as a source of natural supplements to make up for the human body's gradually lessening ability to manufacture all its own essential vitamins; much the same reason that modern vegans resort to synthetic supplements in order to avoid contracting deficiency diseases.

    According to an article in the Dec 10, 2013 Science section of the New York Times, scientists believe that the early human body was able to manufacture all of its own essential vitamins; but over time gradually lost the ability to manufacture all but K and D.

    That seems plausible to me seeing as how Noah lived to be 950 years old, but by the time of Abraham, the human life span had decreased considerably to 175; which the Bible describes as a ripe old age (Gen 25:7-8) so the human body was obviously a whole lot stronger back in Noah's day than it was in Abraham's.

    Incidentally, the Hebrew words for "green grasses" includes tender young shoots rather than only the adult plants. An excellent example of a shoot is asparagus. We typically only harvest the spears because the adult plant is not only a hideous bush, but it's not even tasty.

    NOTE: Bible students are often curious about the disparity between what was right and wrong for Noah and what was right and wrong for Moses since the laws of God are supposedly absolutes in any era. But God-given diets are what's known as "dispensational" which means they're in effect for only a specific era, and oftentimes only for a specific people. For example: it's wrong for Moses' people to eat vultures, pigs, and/or lobsters, octopus, and clams; while for Christ's people, it makes no difference.

    Dispensations are an important aspect of Man's association with God; and failure to discern them can sometimes lead to unnecessary confusion in peoples' minds.

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    Tue, Jul 7th - 9:14AM



    Genesis 8:20-22

     

    †. Gen 8:20a . .Then Noah built an altar to the Lord

    This is the very first mention of an altar in the Bible. I don't really know if anyone else constructed one before this. Abel and some of the others may have, but it's very difficult to be certain. At any rate, Noah's altar was dedicated to Yhvh rather than to one of the heathen deities people worshipped prior to the Flood-- and according to Rom 1:22-23 there were many.

    †. Gen 8:20b . . and, taking of every clean animal and of every clean bird, he offered burnt offerings on the altar.

    This is the very first mention of the burnt offering. The Hebrew word is 'olah (o-law') which means: a step (or collectively, stairs, as ascending); or a holocaust (as going up in smoke).

    The burnt offering was the very first sacrifice of any kind involving worship in the new world; and it set the tone for Yhvh's future association with mankind in the years to come. How Noah knew about the 'olah can only be attributed to revelation. But what's odd about the 'olah is that the word itself doesn't show up in Scripture again until the Akedah scene in the 22nd chapter. (the Akedah is the traditional title of Abraham's offering of his son Isaac)

    Although 'olah can indicate a step (or collectively, stairs, as ascending); it's improper to construct an altar with stairs (Ex 20:24-26) so that the ziggurats that man eventually constructed were of course offensive to God not just because ritual murders were conducted on them but also because they were essentially stairways to heaven.

    Killing and burning on such a scale as Noah's can be taken as a ritual intended to dedicate the post Flood world to God; sort of like the quantity of Solomon's sacrifices that he offered to dedicate the new Temple. (1Kgs 8:62-64)

    †. Gen 8:21a . .The Lord smelled a pleasant odor,

    Anyone who has ever been in the kitchen when something is burning on the stove knows that overcooked meat does not give off a pleasant odor. A scented candle smells a whole lot better. But the chemical odor of the burnt offering really has little to do with it. The expression "a pleasant odor" is a biblical colloquialism that means just the opposite of something that's objectionable; for example: "I hate that woman's opinions about men. They stink."

    †. Gen 8:21b . .Then the Lord said in His heart: I will never again curse the ground for man's sake,

    True, Yhvh never again cursed the ground; but neither did He lift the original curse that was pronounced in the third chapter. The first curse remains, but at least God hasn't put additional burdens on the soil. According to Rev 22:3, the first curse is slated to be removed once and for all.

    †. Gen 8:21c . . although the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth;

    Albert Einstein once remarked: "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

    Had God encumbered the ground with additional curses He would have been entirely justified in doing so because the Flood did nothing to rectify the intrinsically evil condition of the post-Eden human heart. However, God is a sensible person not easily given to futility.

    †. Gen 8:21d . . nor will I ever again destroy every living being, as I have done.

    All the living things in this case refers to that which survives by means of the breath of life. (Gen 6:17, Gen 7:22)

    The promise is qualified by the phrase "as I have done"

    So Gen 8:21 doesn't mean God will never again destroy all the living, nor that He will never again destroy the Earth-- only that He won't repeat the method He employed the first time. (Gen 9:11)

    In point of fact, next time, it's by fire rather than water.

    "The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

    . . . Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness; looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?" (2Pet 3:10-12)

    NOTE: The blackball temperature produced by a thermo-nuclear device is something like 180,000,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Just imagine if God were to turn the atomic structure of the entire universe into one great big self-destructing thermo-nuclear device. The noise, and the heat, generated by such a detonation would be beyond one's comprehension.

    †. Gen 8:22 . . So long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night shall not cease.

    The promise of Gen 8:22 was prefaced by "so long as the earth endures." Well; the Earth is definitely not permanent. It is in fact running out of time. But until the Day Of The Lord, everything will proceed as normal; which can be dangerous because people are easily lulled by the routine of status quo and fail to look far enough ahead and get ready for the future. (cf. Luke 21:33-36)

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    Mon, Jul 6th - 7:47AM



    Genesis 8:15-19

     

    †. Gen 8:15-19 . . God spoke to Noah, saying: Come out of the ark, together with your wife, your sons, and your sons' wives. Bring out with you every living thing of all flesh that is with you: birds, animals, and everything that creeps on earth; and let them swarm on the earth and be fertile and increase on earth.

    . . . So Noah came out, together with his sons, his wife, and his sons' wives. Every animal, every creeping thing, and every bird, everything that stirs on earth came out of the ark by families.

    The Hebrew word for "families" is from mishpachah (mish-paw-khaw') and roughly speaks of taxonomy; viz: classifications.

    Verse 19 strongly suggests that already in Noah's day living things were ranked by type because they came out of the ark according to their species. How they were ranked is uncertain. It may have been according to intelligence, and then again, maybe by usefulness to Man. Some might put the primates first because they are so smart; but I would put a higher value on beasts of burden, and any other creature that best serves Man's domestic needs; I mean, chimps are cute but what were they really good for in Noah's day?

    It must have been a stirring sight. Everyone soaking up the sun, stretching their legs, and feeling brisk and cheerful. Like astronauts back from a long, tedious space mission; they were all so happy to be home at last.

    No doubt the rats and mice probably were content to remain in the ark where it was nice and cozy, and I bet they eventually moved in with the Noahs after their new home was built.

    Many of the smaller creatures, like non winged insects and moles and centipedes, can't really travel very fast so it must have taken them a pretty long time to multiply and spread out; unless they found a way to hitch a ride aboard the larger animals.

    The big guys would take a considerable amount of time to get back up to numbers. The gestation period of a meadow mouse is about 21 days and they can have anywhere from four to six babies at a time. At the extreme are the African elephants. Their gestation is about 660 days. So they don't multiply very fast. White rhinoceros take 480 days, cows 284, giraffes 457, zebras 365, moose 240, hippos 238, gorillas 258, and camels 406. Most of the domestic birds-- turkeys, pigeons, geese, ducks, and chickens --all incubate within a month or less.

    Critters with the longest gestations usually have the fewest number of babies in a litter-- typically only one; and two at the most. Since many of the clean type animals are of the larger species, and therefore would take longer to multiply, it was wise to take along seven pairs of those.

    NOTE: It's sometimes argued that Noah couldn't possibly have carried every kind of insect aboard his ark; but then, he didn't have to. Noah took aboard only the species that came to him (Gen 6:20). Those that didn't come, died out (Gen 7:21-23). However, Insect eggs are pretty tough, and capable of surviving extremes of weather. In point of fact, quite a few birds depend upon insect eggs for food to carry them through the winter. The parents of many of those insect eggs no doubt perished in the Flood, but I have a hunch their species survived by means of the eggs they left behind.

    So; how did all the various species end up in their respective environs-- e.g. arctic, rain forests, deserts, and tropical islands? Nobody really knows, but we can take an educated guess.

    According to an article in the October 2011 issue of National Geographic, around 56 million years ago, the Atlantic Ocean had not fully opened up and it was possible for animals to migrate from Asia through Europe and across Greenland to North America. They wouldn't have encountered a speck of ice because the earth was quite a bit warmer than today.

    We suggested previously that with the knowledge today of the science of plate tectonics, it isn't unreasonable to assume that God simply crunched all the dry land together in order to facilitate migrations to the ark, and left the land that way until the Flood was over and it was time for the animals to go back where they came from.

    Sometimes when I contemplate the earth's crust consisting of solid stone like granite, schist, and gneiss; its seems impossible to me that any force could crunch it; but in the hands of the earth's creator, what's solid to me is little more than modeling clay to its maker.

    As the planet's topography underwent continual alteration by enormous geological forces, resulting in a variety of global climatic conditions, many species became isolated and underwent some interesting adaptations and mutations in order to become the highly specialized creatures that we find living around the world today.

    Classical evolution per se, is, I believe, a spurious fantasy because it discounts intelligent design and an outside source of all life. But Bible students have to allow for a least a degree of genetic and somatic adaptations and mutations or Genesis won't make any sense at all. It is just too unreasonable to assume that the incredible variety of life existing in our world today all existed during Noah's too.

    After all, every known variety of Man existing today came from just eight people. If those eight are responsible for producing all the different kinds of human beings in our world today, then why couldn't the creatures aboard the ark have been the foundation for all the varieties of non human life?

    So; what happened to the ark? Well; according to the dimensions given at Gen 6:15, the ark was shaped like what the beautiful minds call a right rectangular prism; which is nothing in the world but the shape of a common shoe box. So most of the lumber and logs used in its construction would've been nice and straight; which is perfect for putting together houses, fences, barns, corrals, stables, gates, hog troughs, mangers, and outhouses.

    I think it's safe to assume that Noah and his kin gradually dismantled the ark over time and used the wood for many other purposes, including fires. Nobody cooked or heated their homes or their bath and laundry water using refined fossil fuels and/or electricity and steam in those days, so everybody needed to keep on hand a pretty fair-sized wood pile for their daily needs.

    There was probably plenty of driftwood left behind by the Flood, but most of that would be water-soaked at first. But according to Gen 6:14 the ark's lumber was treated. So underneath the pitch it was still in pretty good shape and should have been preserved for many years to come.

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    Sun, Jul 5th - 9:33AM



    Genesis 8:13-14

     

    †. Gen 8:13-14 . . In the six hundred and first year, in the first month, on the first of the month, the waters began to dry from the earth; and when Noah removed the covering of the ark, he saw that the surface of the ground was drying. And in the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth was dry.

    Calculating the duration of the Flood is not only an interesting exercise but also an opportunity to get the hang of prophetic time keeping.

    It began to rain on the 17th day of the second month of the 600th year of Noah's life. The Earth was dry on the 27th day of the second month of his 601st year. So, reckoning time according to prophetic months of 30 days each, and not counting the final day, Noah's passengers and crew were aboard the ark for a total of 370 days; which is roughly 5 days over a solar year, and 10 days over a prophetic year.

    FAQ: Whence came the so-called prophetic year?

    A: The Flood began on the seventeenth day of the second month of Noah's life, and it rained for forty days. Then the rain stopped so the water could begin draining off and leave the ark aground. A period of exactly five months went by. Those five months are recorded as exactly 150 days. If we were to try and use the months of the Jewish calendar, the number of days would not add up to 150. Here's why.

    The months of the Jewish calendar supposedly equivalent to the months of the Flood are:

    lyar . . . . . . . . 29 days
    Sivan . . . . . . . 30 days
    Tammuz . . . . . 29 days
    Av . . . . . . . . . 30 days
    Elul . . . . . . . . 29 days
    Tishri . . . . . . . 30 days

    Using the Jewish calendar, it would begin raining on the 17th of lyar, thus flooding a total of 13 days during that month. Following would be 30 in Sivan, 29 in Tammuz, 30 in Av, 29 in Elul, and lastly 16 in Tishri if we don't count the day that the ark ran aground. The total number of days from the beginning of the Flood until the day the ark went aground, would have been, according to the Jewish calendar, 147; which is three days short of 150.

    However, we can safely ignore the Jewish calendar, and just reckon the elapsed time relative to Noah's birthday. The 150 days then average out to five months of 30 days apiece. That doesn't really cause any problems because a dating method of that nature is not intended to mark off the actual passage of astronomical time in a calendar year; only the days of time elapsed during an important event such as the Flood.

    So; here in Genesis, very early in the Bible, a precedent is set for specifying the length of a special kind of year: the prophetic year. Since the months in a year of this type are of thirty days apiece, then twelve such months add up to 360 days; which is 5¼ days less than a calendar year.

    The prophetic year is sort of like a baker's dozen. Though a baker's dozen is not a dozen of twelve; it is nonetheless a dozen in its own right. As long as students of the Bible are aware of the existence of such a thing as a prophetic year, they won't be tripped up when they run across it in prophecy; for example the one below:

    "And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days." (Rev 12:6)

    "And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent." (Rev 12:14)

    Those two passages speak of a 3½ year period of exactly 1,260 days. Well, 3½ solar years is 1,274+ days; which is almost fifteen days too many. But if we reckon those 3½ years as prophetic years of 360 days each, then it comes out perfectly to 1,260 days.

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    Sat, Jul 4th - 8:53AM



    Genesis 8:6-12

     

    †. Gen 8:6-7a . . At the end of forty days, Noah opened the window of the ark that he had made and sent out the raven;

    Although the Raven is listed in Israel's covenanted law as an unclean bird, sometimes it's an excellent choice for assisting in a divine task; for example 1Kgs 17:1-6.

    The word for "Raven" is 'oreb (o-rabe') which is not a specific species of bird, but a whole family of birds now classified as Corvids; which includes Crows, Jackdaws, Jays, Magpies, Nutcrackers, and Rooks.

    Ravens are classified in ornithology as song birds; although Crows don't seem to carry much of a tune. They're intelligent, sociable, and highly adaptable. Although they don't usually trust Man, they have been known to associate with him in remarkable ways.

    One morning I was out in front weeding the yard when some crows down the street were raising a serious ruckus and dive-bombing back and forth across the street. One of them flew to where I was weeding and landed on a streetlight above me and cawed its fool head off; the meanwhile fluttering its wings and leaning forward and rocking as it cawed. Then it flew back and rejoined the others. Then another one, a really big barrel-chested crow, came and landed on our roof. It too cawed like mad (only louder).

    Then it occurred to me they might be trying to get my attention. So I walked down to where the others were, and there in a driveway was a fledgling Crow who couldn't fly well enough to get back up in the trees from whence it fell; and a big cat was harassing it. So I brought the young Crow home and put it up on a limb in our backyard and pretty soon the others heard its cries and came to take care of it. We had to assist the fledgling back up to his limb a few more times after it soared down to the food and water we put out for its friends; but eventually its wings became strong enough to do it alone.

    BTW: That event took place quite a few years ago and as time went by, young crows began little by little making our backyard their playground and today, it isn't unusual to see twenty or so of all ages walking around out there like chickens in a barnyard helping themselves to the peanuts we put out for squirrels, and pecking cracked corn and sunflower chips out of the bird feeders.

    †. Gen 8:7b . . it went to and fro until the waters had dried up from the earth.

    Ravens will eat just about anything, including carrion; and there was probably plenty of that floating around out there. With all the dead stuff to feast on, the raven could spend the whole day out on its own. However, no tree tops were above the water yet and crows need to get off the ground at night so it probably returned to the ark in the evening to roost. The very fact of its return was evidence to Noah that the waters were still pretty deep out there.

    †. Gen 8:8-9 . .Then he sent out the dove to see whether the waters had decreased from the surface of the ground. But the dove could not find a resting place for its foot, and returned to him to the ark, for there was water over all the earth. So putting out his hand, he took it into the ark with him.

    The word for "Dove" is from yownah (yo-naw') which is a general term for either a Dove or a Pigeon. Pigeons are well known for their homing instincts. So why didn't the Pigeon roost up on the roof of the ark instead of letting Noah take it inside? Well . . a Pigeon's nature is different than a Raven's. The big guys are somewhat independent, but Pigeons readily take to human care. That's probably why they are so much more common in cities than Crows; where people can feed them popcorn and bread crumbs.

    Pigeons and Doves don't eat carrion; but prefer to forage on the ground for seeds. But bare ground was inaccessible at this point in time. The yownah no doubt became very hungry; and certainly knew Mr. Noah had plenty of grain on board with him back at the ark. Pigeons also prefer a roof over their heads; like docks and wharfs, and bridges and roadway overpasses. It almost seems they were actually made to live in coops; and what better coop than the ark?

    †. Gen 8:10-11 . . He waited another seven days, and again sent out the dove from the ark. The dove came back to him toward evening, and there in its bill was a plucked-off olive leaf. Then Noah knew that the waters had decreased on the earth.

    The word for "plucked-off" is from taraph (taw-rawf') which means: recently torn off; viz: fresh. A taraph leaf is alive; which of course the skeptics are only too happy to point out is impossible seeing as how olive trees cannot survive under water very long before they die. But wasn't the Flood itself impossible? (sigh) Some people are just naturally miracle-challenged; what can I say?

    Old-world olives prefer a Mediterranean climate, which is pretty good empirical evidence that the ark did not come to rest on the top of Turkey's Mt. Ararat; a snow-capped dormant volcano consisting of two peaks: Lesser Ararat @ 12,782 feet, and Greater Ararat @ 16,854 feet.

    Tall mountains like Ararat have what's called a timberline; which is an elevation beyond which no trees grow. The elevation of Mt. Hood's timberline here in Oregon is right around 6,000 feet. So it's a pretty safe bet that the olive tree, from which the dove plucked a leaf, wasn't growing up on Mt. Ararat prior to the Flood. It would've preferred neither the elevation nor the climate.

    †. Gen 8:12 . . He waited still another seven days and sent the dove forth; and it did not return to him any more.

    Apparently the dove finally found some dry, bare ground to forage for seeds, and minute gravel for its craw.

    Why didn't Noah just look out the window and see for himself? Well; the structural location of the ark's window is a bit of a mystery. For one thing, it wasn't cut into the sides like the windows in an airplane, rather, it was located up on top. The design of the ark's top is itself a bit of a mystery. Apparently the position of the window was such that structural portions of the top obscured Noah' view; allowing him to see the sky but not the ground.

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    Fri, Jul 3rd - 8:49AM



    Genesis 8:1-5

     

    †. Gen 8:1a . . God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the cattle that were with him in the ark,

    Does that mean God forgot all about the ark's passengers until He realized why there was a string tied around His finger? (chuckle) No; it reaffirms that they were always on God's mind. He isn't forgetful. God doesn't need reminding.

    But what about Noah's sisters and brothers, and/or his aunts and uncles? Did God think of them too? No. Noah's kin, except those aboard the ark; were all wiped out in the Flood. He and Mrs. Noah may have had other children too; and grand children. If so, then those also perished: and their family pets too right along with them.

    Out ahead, at the final judgment, many of us are going to have to watch as our own kin are condemned to eternal suffering; and thrown alive, wild eyed, shrieking, yelping, bellowing, and bawling like little children into the impoundment of flaming sulfur depicted at Rev 20:11-15 and Rev 21:8. We might even be called up as witnesses to testify in the prosecution's case against them. That will be an awful ordeal.

    †. Gen 8:1b-3a . . and God caused a wind to blow across the earth, and the waters subsided. The fountains of the deep and the floodgates of the sky were stopped up, and the rain from the sky was held back; the waters then receded steadily from the earth.

    The Old Testament Hebrew word that the editors of the NIV translated "receded" is shuwb (shoob) an ambiguous word that can mean draw back, return to the beginning, or simply diminish. The very same word is used in the NIV's translation of Gen 3:19 thusly:

    "By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return."

    In that example; shuwb indicates that Adam went right back where he came from; viz: the dust.

    According to Gen 7:11 the waters of the Flood came from the springs of the great deep and from heaven. So then, I take shuwb to mean that the waters went right back to heaven and the great deep as the Flood dried up so that the waters didn't drain off, they were dried off; which is a good thing because had the waters drained off, they would have caused quite a bit of erosion; but actually, there was nowhere for them to drain; they had to be removed.

    Gen 8:1-3 strongly suggests that the Flood's waters were were dried off by the process of evaporation like the way women use blow dryers to remove dampness from their hair after washing. But there's just no way that much water got absorbed by the earth's atmosphere or it would still be here. No, I'm convinced those waters were taken back out into space from whence they came in the first place. How were they pulled back out in space? Well; if I could explain how God got the Flood's waters off the planet with wind power; then I would be able to explain how Jesus levitated off the ground in Acts 1:9. People think walking on water is amazing? Try walking on air.

    †. Gen 8:3b-4 . . At the end of one hundred and fifty days the waters diminished, so that in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat.

    The Hebrew word for "Ararat" is from  'Ararat (ar-aw-rat') which appears three more times in the Bible: one at 2Kgs 19:36-37, one at Isa 37:36-38, and one at Jer 51:27. Ararat is always the country of Armenia: never a specific mountain by the same name.

    The Hebrew word for "mountains" in Gen 8:4 is haareey which is the plural of har (har). It doesn't always mean a prominent land mass like Everest or Kilimanjaro; especially when it's plural. Har can also mean a range of hills or highlands; like the region of Israel where Miriam's cousin Elizabeth lived.

    "At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah's home and greeted Elizabeth." (Luke 1:39-40)

    In California, where I lived as a kid, the local elevation 35 miles east of San Diego, in the town of Alpine, was about 2,000 feet above sea level. There were plenty of meadows with pasture and good soil. In fact much of it was very good ranchland and quite a few people in that area raised horses and cows. We ourselves kept about five hundred chickens, and a few goats and calves. We lived in the mountains of San Diego; but we didn't live up on top of one of its mountains like Viejas, Lyon's, or Cuyamaca.

    The ark contained the only surviving souls of man and animal on the entire planet. Does it really make good sense to strand them up on a mountain peak where they might risk death and injury descending it?

    When my wife and I visited the San Diego zoo together back in the early 1980's, we noticed that the Giraffes' area had no fence around it. The tour guide told us the Giraffes' enclosure doesn't need a fence because their area is up on a plateau 3 feet high. The Giraffes don't try to escape because they're afraid of heights. There's just no way Giraffes could've climbed down off of Turkey's Mount Ararat. It's way too steep and rugged. Those poor timid creatures would've been stranded up there and died; and so would hippos, elephants, and flightless birds like penguins.

    †. Gen 8:5 . .The waters went on diminishing until the tenth month; in the tenth month, on the first of the month, the tops of the mountains became visible.

    Gravity assists rain to fall. But to get the Flood's waters off the planet required overcoming gravity enough to get it up off the planet. The mechanical nature of that wind would be an interesting study. Was it a global hurricane, or was it more like a global tornado, or a combination of both: one for evaporation, and one for sucking it all out into the void? Well, whatever; it must have howled and roared like the sound of a thousand World Trade Centers collapsing at once.

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    Thu, Jul 2nd - 8:44AM



    Genesis 7:16b-24

     

    †. Gen 7:16b . . And the Lord shut him in.

    The Lord not only shut him in, but sealed him in too. The hatch to hull mating surfaces had to be waterproofed with bitumen the same as all the rest of the ark.

    The Hebrew word for "shut" actually means to shut up; like as when a corral gate is closed to pen livestock and/or the door of a jail cell is locked to confine a convict. In other words, Noah was locked inside the ark by a door that could be opened only from the outside. That's interesting. It means that once the ark's door was sealed, Noah became a prisoner; and were he, or anybody else inside, to change their mind about going, it was too late.

    From that point on, Noah had no more control over his safety. From thence, it was up to the ark, and up to God, to protect him from the Flood.

    †. Gen 7:17-18 . .The Flood continued forty days on the earth, and the waters increased and lifted the ark so that it rose above the earth. The waters swelled and increased greatly upon the earth, and the ark drifted upon the waters.

    That was no week-end sailing trip. The ark drifted; viz: it was completely at the mercy and the whims of the elements. It had no means for steering, no navigational equipment, and no means of propulsion; it floated about like flotsam.

    †. Gen 7:19-20 . .When the waters had swelled much more upon the earth, all the highest mountains everywhere under the sky were covered. Fifteen cubits higher did the waters swell, as the mountains were covered.

    FAQ: Is it possible that the Flood was local rather than global?

    A: Well; the problem with that theory is: the waters breached the highest mountains by fifteen cubits (22½ feet). So then, if perchance Noah lived in a geographic basin, the waters would have overflowed the mountains surrounding him and kept on going before they ever got up to that 22½ feet of extra elevation.

    But the water would start spilling past Noah's area long before it breached the tops of the highest mountains surrounding him because mountain ranges aren't shaped smooth, level, and planed like the rim of a domestic bath tub. No; they're very irregular and consist of high points and low points; viz: peaks, valleys, canyons, saddles, and passes.

    Thus mountain ranges make poor bath tubs because you would lose water through the low points before it even had a chance to fill to the peaks. In point of fact, were the sides of your bathtub shaped like a mountain range; you could never fill it. And in trying to; just end up with water all over the floor.

    22½ feet may not seem like a lot of water but when you consider the diameter of the Earth, that is an enormous amount when it's above the highest mountains. How high were the highest mountains in Noah's day? Nobody really knows. But just supposing the tallest at that time was about equal to California's Mount Laguna east of San Diego; viz: 5,738 feet above sea level-- about 1.1 miles. Adding 22½ feet to that comes out to approximately 5,761 feet.

    The amount of rain it would take to accumulate that much water in only forty days would be something like six global feet of depth per hour (not taking into consideration that the diameter of the water's surface would increase as the water got deeper)

    To put that in perspective: the lobby of the Empire State Building in New York city is approximately 47 feet above sea level. At 6 feet per hour, the lobby would be under water in less than eight hours. The whole building, lightening rod and all; would be under water in just a little over ten days. The new One World Trade Center would be gone in about thirteen days, and Denver in less than thirty-seven.

    It's sometimes objected that there is no geological evidence to support the Flood. Well it only lasted a year so what do the skeptics expect? And besides, it was essentially standing water rather than flowing water so it would've produced relatively little erosion, if any.

    And the water was remmoved all at the same time from all over the globe rather than drained off from a single location, viz: God didn't pull the plug, so to speak. And then we should also take into consideration that though the Flood's arrival was swift and violent, it's removal was relatively gradual and gentle.

    †. Gen 7:21-23a . . And all flesh that stirred on earth perished-- birds, cattle, beasts, and all the things that swarmed upon the earth, and all mankind. All in whose nostrils was the merest breath of life, all that was on dry land, died.

    . . . All existence on earth was blotted out-- man, cattle, creeping things, and birds of the sky; they were blotted out from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark.

    All "existence on earth" was limited to fauna life on land. Apparently flora life and aqua life were spared.

    †. Gen 7:24 . . And the waters prevailed on the earth one hundred and fifty days.

    One of Webster's definitions of "prevail" is: to triumph. In other words; the Flood won and humanity lost. Man can dam rivers; he can divert streams, he can build sea walls, dikes, and channels, he can drain swamps and wetlands; but every one of those kinds of hydraulic engineering feats would've failed to control the Flood.

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    Wed, Jul 1st - 9:10AM



    Genesis 7:10-16a

     

    †. Gen 7:10 . . And on the seventh day the waters of the Flood came upon the earth.

    Thus far Genesis has defined days on Earth as periods of time when the Sun is up rather than down, so we may safely assume this particular seventh day began with sunrise, viz: the rain began in daylight rather than when it was dark outside.

    Back in verse 4, God gave Noah seven days to get moved into the ark. The water came right on time, just exactly when God said it would. God's word carries different force in different circumstances. Sometimes He makes predictions, sometimes He makes promises, and sometimes He even makes threats.

    Threats are often negotiable; sort of like an "or else". Like when Jonah went to Ninevah and walked around town heralding in the streets that within forty days they would be overthrown. When the people changed their ways, God backed off.

    But a prediction isn't negotiable; nor is it open to discussion. When God makes a prediction, you can make bank on it because He's seen the future. The Flood was predicted. He said it was coming in seven days; and sure enough it showed up.

    NOTE: The apostle John saw the great white throne event depicted at Rev 20:10-15. That event is now inevitable because John's vision is a revelation; viz: a glimpse into not just one possible future, rather, it is what it is, i.e. it is the future.

    †. Gen 7:11a . . In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month,

    The Flood isn't dated according to a calendar; but rather, relative to Noah's life. In other words: let's say that Noah was born in the month of July. Had that been the case; then the second month of his life would have been August. More about this later.

    †. Gen 7:11b . . the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.

    The Hebrew word translated "deep" is tehowm (teh-home') which indicates an abyss (as a surging mass of water) especially the deep (the main sea or the subterranean water-supply). Tehowm occurred very early on in the Bible's texts at Gen 1:1-2.

    The difference is that this deep is the great deep. The word for "great" is from rab (rab) which means abundant (in quantity, size, age, number, rank, quality), so that this particular deep could be thought of as bottomless; viz: an abysmal source of water beyond human imagination whereas the Earth's indigenous sources are limited. The precise location of the great deep is currently unknown.

    The "windows" of heaven are translated from 'arubbah (ar-oob-baw') which refers to a sluice; viz: a trough and/or a channel for moving water from one place to another; in this case for transferring water from the great deep to the Earth.

    Seeing as how Gen 7:11 speaks of heaven and sluices, then I think it's safe to assume that the water used to flood the Earth came from somewhere out in the cosmos; which is actually a reasonable assumption.

    In an article I found on the internet dated July 22, 2011; astronomers have discovered the largest and oldest mass of water ever detected in the universe-- a gigantic cloud harboring 140 trillion times more water than all of Earth's oceans combined. Well; I'm pretty sure that's a sufficient quantity of water to inundate the Earth to a depth required by the Flood.

    †. Gen 7:12 . . (The rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights.)

    In the modern world, civil time reckons forty days and forty nights as forty calendar days without consideration of the Sun's location because we work with 24-hour days instead of days of 12 hours apiece like they did back in Jesus' era. (John 11:9-10)

    †. Gen 7:13-16a . .That same day Noah and Noah's sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, went into the ark, with Noah's wife and the three wives of his sons— they and all beasts of every kind, all cattle of every kind, all creatures of every kind that creep on the earth, and all birds of every kind, every bird, every winged thing.

    . . .They came to Noah into the ark, two each of all flesh in which there was breath of life. Thus they that entered comprised male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him.

    Again it's reiterated that the critters "came" to Noah; he didn't have to go on safari to round them up; and then they entered the ark on their own without Noah and his boys having to herd them in. That is really remarkable. It's like those critters somehow knew that there was something terrible brewing and Noah's ark was the only safe haven.

    This is another example where a "day" can be longer than twenty-four hours; in fact, the day here in Gen 7:13-16 is a whole week plus forty more days and nights. Thus from the time of God's invitation to come into the ark, and up until it stopped raining, was a day period consisting of 47 calendar days.

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    About Me

    Name: Clifford Weber
    ChristiansUnite ID: weberhome
    Member Since: 2015-05-11
    Location: Beaverton, Oregon, United States
    Denomination: Conservative Baptist
    About Me: Retired DoD welder

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