Author: vcross1168

Why did Mordecai refuse to bow to Haman?

When reading in the book of Ester I was surprised to find that Mordecai did not bow down to Haman. This moment is the pivital moment in the book where Haman becomes so infuriated than Mordecai will not bow down that he seeks to destroy all Jews. “5 And when Haman saw that Mordecai did not bow down or pay homage to him, Haman was filled with fury. 6 But he disdained to lay hands on Mordecai alone. So, as they had made known to him the people of Mordecai, Haman sought to destroy all the Jews, the people of Mordecai, throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus.” (biblestudytools.com)

The reason this stood out to me so distinctly was that in the old testament there are plenty of faithful people who bow down before authority figures. Not only does Mordecai refuse to bow but the reading does not give us a reason why he refuses. The entire Jewish community becomes in danger from this action so I’d hope he has a good reason for it.

Looking further into the situation I found that Haman could have fancied himself a god. If Haman thought he was a god and considered himself to be above all others he probably reassured himself by making all others bow down to him. When Mordecai refused he understood how un-powerful he was and sought to destroy all people who had the right to not bow down to a man who was not Yahweh. If this theory is true than Mordecai does the right thing by not bowing down to another god. He is rewarded by Yahweh for staying faithful. (http://www.koltorah.org) Another source I found referenced Mordecai’s refusal based off religious reasons. The book states that Haman was probably an Amalekite, and Yahweh had expressed himself as being at war with Amalek “from generation to generation.” (Ex 17:16–saying: “Because a hand is against the throne of the Lord! The Lord will have war with Am′a·lek from generation to generation.”; (answers.com) This is another reason that proves that Mardecai was not trying to cause problems but be a faithful servant to Yahweh.

One of the more radical ideas comes from tan essay by Rav Yaakov Meidan of Yeshivat Har Etzion that appears in a book entitled Esther Hee Hadassa.”Yalkut Shimoni 956 that states that Mordechai refused to bow to Haman because Haman was technically his slave.  The Midrash relates that Mordechai and Haman were once on a boat together and Haman had no food.  Mordechai, according to this Midrash, agreed to give food to Haman on condition that Haman become his slave.”  (http://jtf.org). However, since this story was not found in the Hebrew bible I have a difficult time accrediting it. I also would like to think that Mordecai would not put his people in such danger because he was a prideful man. However, that was not the only research I found that supported the theory that Mordecai believed Haman was his slave. Since Haman was of Amalek descent it is possible Mordecai found it unfitting for him to bow. In the midrash Ester Rabbah there is a dialogue that says Haman demands it since Jacob bowed to Esau. However Mordecai states that he was from the tribe of Benjamin and since Benjamin was dead at the time his people did not bow to Esau. (http://hebrew4christians.com)

Finally according to the midrash of Ester Rabbah, Haman had sewn in a picture of a god in his clothes, making himself an idol. This means that Mordecai was proving himself to Yahweh. (http://gewatkins.net)

It is very interesting how when you get other books involved you can see how the story unfolds differently. I still believe that Mordecai refused to bow for the sake of his religion and honor of Yahweh. However, it was interesting to see how others had interpreted the meaning.

Caffeine helps the brain stay alert

Athletes all over the campus are up and at it before the sun. By the time a morning class rolls around and most kids are rolling out of bed, we are dragging our sore bodies to class. There is only one thing on my mind before class, how can I manage to get caffeine before class?

 With the classroom redesign I propose that the coffee is already there.  Knowing that when I get to class there will be a nice brew waiting for me would make me more excited to get to class. Not only would the caffeine make me more awake, studies show it would also help with memory. It allows for a sense of alertness and helps students retain more information during class. http://www.livestrong.com/article/404549-does-caffeine-help-you-do-better-in-school/. This would all students help walk away from a lecture with better understanding and clarity of what was going on.

  Caffeine is a substance that Is generally understood to scientist as a blocker. “It heads right for the adenosine receptors in your system and, because of its similarities to adenosine, it’s accepted by your body as the real thing and gets into the receptors” (lifehack.com) This means that caffeine is added to your system and helps. It doesn’t add or do anything crazy to the body. Making it safe for college students to drink.

“Caffeine peaks 15 minutes on average and stay high for 45 minutes after ingestion”  (http://psychcentral.com/) This means that the best way for students to do critical thinking with a caffeinated system is for them to drink it at the beginning of class and not before. If the students drink coffee 30 minutes before class they are not going to have a system of caffeine by the middle and end of class and that means that the drowsiness will kick in and some of the critical thinking could not be as up to  speed.  Another reason why making coffee available in class would help critical thinking.

According to forbes.com, there are ideal times to drink coffee. An hour after you are awake, early afternoon, and after 5. This means that this coffee machine would not only benefit morning classes, but classes at all times of the day!

Overall caffeine is a good thing that will help students be alert, focused,and of a sound mind to participate in class. It is beneficial at all times of the day. It is important to begin drinking caffeine at the beginning of class to have full effect. Therefore I propose we set aside 400 dollars of the budget for a keurig coffee machine. The machine is 179.99. I propose that 70 dollars be allotted for sugar and creamers, and the rest for actual coffee. Students will be asked to provide their own cups.

I know that this will make it easier for me to get motivated to go to class. Not only that, it will help with my critical thinking.

How does Jezebel acquire so much power?

While reading in 1 Kings I was surprised when I got to chapter 21. The story of Naboth, Jezebel, and Ahab. I found the story particularly interesting because in this story the women, Jezebel, was the biggest instigator of the sins against Israel.It was here we begin to see how much power she really has. When Naboth originally told Ahab “no”, Ahab simply sulked,  he didn’t plot to kill Naboth.. It was Jezebel who was determined to use her husbands power to get whatever she wanted. Jezebel was the one who had Naboth, an honest man, stoned to death. Not only having a women be so important to a story but for a women to have so much power in these in times is rare. (http://www.thywordistruth.com).That is why I wanted to further look into how Jezebel had so much power.

Even in today’s socitey women are not seen as powerful as men; however, Jezebel seemed to have more power than anyone at the time. She is able to turn Ahab away from Yahweh and is determined to wipe out Yahweh’s followers. “In fact, the threat of Jezebel is so great, the  prophet Elijah summons the acolytes of Jezebel to a tournament on Mt. Carmel to determine which deity is supreme: God or Baal” (http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org)

Yet even after Elijah won, she still threatened him into hiding. Elijah went into depression from the tragic fall of his life because of this queen.

Looking further into the subject I found that “Jezebel came from Phoenicia, where her father was an absolute monarch. She assumed a king had absolute power and could rule as he wished. This was opposed to the Israelite ideal of a king who ruled under the guidance of Yahweh and Yahweh’s priests.” (http://www.womeninthebible.net). This simply means Jezebel had so much power because she assumed she did, and did as she pleased.

Ahab did not help the situation because instead of stopping her, he let her do whatever she pleased. Ahab allowed her to singlehandedly bring Israel into sin by letting her spread her ideals. (http://phoenicia.org/jezebel.html)

Today we can look at Ahab and not understand the power he gave to Jezebel. However, in today’s society people are bending to the will of others they care about. I think that is why Yahweh redeemed Ahab, because he was being negatively influenced. He knew Ahab’s true intentions and could see that Jezebel was just manipulating him. Although he failed the test, Yahweh redeemed him when Ahab repented. (http://www.justlikehim.com)

Psalm 30

Psalm 30

30 I will extol you, O Lord, for you have drawn me up
    and have not let my foes rejoice over me.
O Lord my God, I cried to you for help,
    and you have healed me.
O Lord, you have brought up my soul from Sheol;
    you restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit.[a]

Sing praises to the Lord, O you his saints,
    and give thanks to his holy name.[b]
For his anger is but for a moment,
    and his favor is for a lifetime.[c]
Weeping may tarry for the night,
    but joy comes with the morning.

As for me, I said in my prosperity,
    “I shall never be moved.”
By your favor, O Lord,
    you made my mountain stand strong;
you hid your face;
    I was dismayed.

To you, O Lord, I cry,
    and to the Lord I plead for mercy:
“What profit is there in my death,[d]
    if I go down to the pit?[e]
Will the dust praise you?
    Will it tell of your faithfulness?
10 Hear, O Lord, and be merciful to me!
    O Lord, be my helper!”

11 You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
    you have loosed my sackcloth
    and clothed me with gladness,
12 that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent.
    O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!

This week I choose Psalm 30. It is a Psalm of David, dedicated at the temple to Yahweh. This poem is a praise to Yahweh for saving him from an illness. Although no previous books mention an illness of David and therefore we don’t the exact history of this Psalm; it is important to recognize that David is giving praise for the good works Yahweh has done in his life.

The basic summery of this psalm is that; after Yahweh saved him from the illness he calls for others to praise Yahweh, then praises God for his deliverance. Since this poem is a testimonial, exalts God, and places all attention on God; it is considered a Psalm of Praise. More specifically it is a “thanksgiving” or “Todah Psalm”.This Psalm follows the body of the Todah which includes the testimony, the experience, and a overall tone of joy. (http://www.crivoice.org/psalmgenre.html)

This poem is filled with many different poetic devices. The first one I noticed was that in verse 9. Verse 9 is filled with rhetorical questions. He is asking rhetorically what will be the purpose of his life if it ends, this also means that he is praising Yahweh for saving his life and will continue to give Yahweh praise.

Verse 11 uses imagery to help us better understand the joy that David is feeling. He is so filled with joy he goes from mourning to dancing. He says he is so happy that the only thing clothing him is gladness. Now it is not realistic to think of David dancing around naked in joy. That is why this imagery is so powerful.

This psalm is also full of synonymous parallelism.Throughout the poem he repeats his thankfullness, faithfulness, joy, priase, and glory. All from the same reason of his being saved from illness. He is thankful through out the whole poem and shows it through parallelism.

Why is the Ark of the Covenate captured?

Of all the captivating stories of 1 Samuel and 2 Samuel, I found one in particular most fascinating. When the Philistines took the Ark of the Covenant.

This surprised me for various reasons. First off, Israel was losing the battle against the Philistines. I was annoyed that new generation of Israelites had fallen of glory, again, which made Yahweh allow them to be defeated. Then when the Isrealites tried to win the battle by bringing the Ark of the Covenant, they were still defeated. Not only were they defeated but the Ark was taken as a war trophy. My biggest issue with this is that after everything they had been through: the detailed instructions, the building, the sacrificing, carrying it through the wilderness, Yahweh allowed his sacred place be captured.

1Samuel 4 : Philistines <b>captured</b> the <b>Ark of the Covenant</b>; Eli dies.

My first instinct is to follow the pattern that the books previously had and assume it was some type of lesson. However, all it did was bring curses upon the lands where it transported. The Israelites learned nothing from this lesson.

Shiloh goes extinct

So why did Yahweh allow the Ark of the Covenant to be captured?

The Philistines win the battle and capture the Ark of the Covenant.

After further looking into the reasoning for Yahweh taking something where He dwelled, I found that it actually could be considered an lesson for the Isrealities. One of Yahwehs commands was to not worship idols.  By bringing out the Ark only when they felt they were loosing was like bringing out a good luck charm. This was not how Yahweh intended for the Ark to work. Therefore, by taking it away, they were learning that Yahweh was serious about his commands. (http://enduringword.com)

“Another reason Yahweh might Yahweh allowed the Ark of the Covenant to be seized so its powers could be made manifest to the Philistines, a Gentile nation, and to Israel. In other words, the Ark being subject to Philistine captivity typifies mankind’s souls being subject to evil spirits’ negativity.” http://www.plim.org/arkofcovenant.html.

After the ark was captured Eli’s two sons died and Eli died from hearing that. Once the “glory” had left Israel the people were being judged by Samuel. (http://www.bibleexplained.com). This means that the Ark was still cherished by the Israelites even though it was gone. This shows us the Israelites once more have remorse for falling back into old patterns.

. The Philistines return the <b>Ark</b> to the Israelites after <b>capturing</b> ...

What is the difference between between a law, commandment, and statue?

While reading in Deuteronomy, I noticed four words that seemed to be on repeat: commandments, statutes, rules, and laws. If I was having a casual conversation about the “do’s and dont’s” of today’s culture I could use these four words interchangeably and no one would think twice. However, verses such as Deuteronomy 6:1, and Deuteronomy 11:1 make me question if those words each had a separate meaning to the Hebrew culture.

Now this is the commandment, the statutes and the rulesthat the Lord your God commanded me to teach you, that you may do them in the land to which you are going over, to possess it, ” (Biblegateway.com).  Deuteronomy 6:1

“You shall therefore love the Lord your God and keep his charge, his statutes, his rules, and his commandments always.” (Biblegateway.com). Deuteronomy 11:1

Coming from a book that is very accurately and literally interpreted my first guess is that each of these words has a different meaning.

my english hebrew dictionary learn hebrew

In order to see if my instincts were correct,  I went back to translations and started looking into the Hebrew meanings of each word. The first word I needed to figure out was Commandment. “The second significant noun here is the feminine plural of mitsevâh (îÄöåÈä) [pronounced mitse-AH], which means, commandment, prohibition, precept, that which is forbidden, constraint, proscription, countermand. This is nearly always translated Laws, Commandments, Ordinances and Statutes” (http://kukis.org/). The original 10 commandments is essentially a list telling people what is not allowed, what is forbidden. Therefore, this leads me to understand that when I read the word commandment in the Old Testament, I can be sure to understand that Moses is referencing the original 10. Although, there are the main ten commandments which were written on stone tablets, in reality there were 613 commandments of the Old Testament. (http://www.swartzentrover.com). So if “commandments” is referencing the first 10, what word refers to the other 613?

The 613 Commandments in the Torah

When researching the Hebrew meaning of the word statues I found that traditionally the word has another meaning. ” The masculine form of this word found more often in the Old Testament: chôq (çÉ÷) [pronounced khoke], and it means, decree, that which is decreed; statute; boundary, defined limit; an appointed portion of labor, a task. The key concept here is the setting of a boundary or a limit. Sometimes these kinds of words can have very different meanings and sometimes the shadings are lost to us” (http://kukis.org/). It is important here to understand that this word is referring to limitations. Where as commandments are more significant in way of living and honoring, statues are more important to the specificity of things.

This leads us to the difference of the 10 Commandments and the Law of Moses. There are the 10 original commandments that Yahweh gave his people. An original 10 to live by. If you look at the rest of the commandments of the Old testament you see that the rest of the commandments are a breakdown of the original 10. (answer.com). That falls perfectly into play the difference of actual meaning between the words. Since statues means specificity, it is logical that is refers to Mosaic Law which is the specifics of the 10  commandments.

... Law of Moses, and were attentive as he read from the Law of God from

Finally, we have the word Law. “The final word is þôwrah (èåÉøÇä or èÉøÇä) [pronounced TOH-rah], which means, instruction, doctrine;[human and divine] law, direction, regulations, protocol; custom; it is transliterated Torah. It is nearly always translated law, laws” (http://kukis.org/). This would mean that the word Law is referencing, Law of God written on the hearts of men; and this is the concept of right and wrong. (http://kukis.org/).

in playing devils advocate, the other argument is that all these words essentially mean the same thing. The main reason that they keep repeating is to place emphasis on the rules that Yahweh is setting. “All four of these Hebrew words are used throughout the writings of Moses to refer to commands from God to be obeyed by God’s people. Distinctions are sometimes made regarding one word from the other, yet the overall principle is one of obedience to all that the Lord commands, whether it’s a general command, a prescribed law, a legal verdict, or a religious festival or ritual.” (Gotquestions.org).

Same Word Different Meaning - Homonyms Matching Puzzles

I think it is essential to understand the small differences like these to help understand what the original text meant. I find it fascinating that today we can use the same word for many different meanings but the Hebrew culture had such specifics and intent with each word they passed down.

Did the Hebrews really travel with 2,000,000 people through the wilderness?

When we first begin in numbers we see that God has asked Moses to take a census of all the men who were able to serve in the Hebrew army. “And there shall be with you a man from each tribe, each man being the head of the house of his fathers.”  (Numbers 1:4). The numbers of these men total to 603,550; and that is excludes the Levi tribes! This suggests that the number of people that Moses and Aaron were guiding through the wilderness was over 2,000,000. (Answers.com). When looking into the numbers I found multiple scholars who agreed that if the army was in fact over 600,000; the amount of people traveling through the wilderness was 2,000,000 to 2,500,000. 

That seems like quite a large group to be camping with. My question this week is, did this story get lost in translation, exaggerated over time, or is it plausible that these numbers are correct?

My first reaction is that the story got lost in translation. When looking into this theory I found that the Hebrew word for “thousand” is the same for the word “chief”. This could mean that we used the wrong meaning and the real numbers are supposed to be translated as one figure less. “For example, the 46,500 of Reuben (1:20) is read as 45 chiefs and 1,500 fighting men, the 59,300 of Simeon (1:23) is read as 58 chiefs and 1,300 fighting men, etc.” (Biblestudytools.com). When I started to research more I found more information to back this theory that the translation is wrong. “The Hebrew word translated as “thousand” in these population figures actually refers to an indeterminate-size clan, troop or family. The Hebrew word itself is transliterated ‘elep and also carries the meaning of a family complex or clan in some cases, such as family. This would mean that the results for the first census adds up to 598 families or troops consisting of a total of 5550 men and the results for the second census is nearly the same at 596 families or troops consisting of 5730 men.” (Accuracyingenesis). Both of these sources imply that the population, though still large, would be around 20,000 to 40,000.

One theory is that in fact, these are true numbers. The Bible has covenants and promises to the Hebrew people that will prosper with big tribes and large nations. If you look back at what the earlier books say, it seems acceptable that the Iseralites were traveling with that many people. If we look back to the book of Exodus we see the Egyptian pharaoh deciding to make the Isrealites his slaves because he was worried about their numbers they might be able to over power them. “He was so concerned that he attempted to reduce the slave numbers by pressuring the midwives to kill the Hebrews’ newborn sons (Exodus 1:8,15). No exact numbers are given, but if the king was worried the Hebrew population could soon outnumber the Egyptians’, then there is strong reason to believe a vast number of Jewish people lived in the region at the time of the Exodus.”(Gotquestions.org)

... story of Moses leading the children of Israel through the wilderness

Finally, another way to look at these numbers is to look at them as symbolic not mathematical.The research that I found would agree with the theory that the Isrealites may have exaggerated just a bit in their numbers. “The numerical value of the Hebrew letters in the expression bene yisra’el  equals 603 (the number of the thousands of the fighting men, 1:46); the remaining 550 (plus 1 for Moses) might come from the numerical equivalent of the Hebrew letters in the expression “all the men . . . who are able to serve in the army” (1:3).” (biblestudytools.com). This simply means that the these books are supposed to be translated symbolically not literally.”In the same way that most do not understand creation to have occurred in the span of 168 hours. The Bible is to be read seriously but not literally.” (http://hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/).

After all this, I believe that the translation was lost somewhere over time. If we misunderstood the translation of the word thousand and instead of 2,000,000 there were 20,000 traveling it makes more sense.

Betrayal

From the beginning of the book of Exodus to the end, the Hebrews witnessed time and time again, the power of Yahweh. They watched Him place ten plagues on Egypt, the parting of the Red Sea,and awoke to manna  on the ground every morning. Yet, when Moses had been gone for 40 days and 40 nights speaking to God; the Isrealites turned to Aaron and asked for a new god. Then Aaron had the brilliant idea of fashioning a new god out of gold.

Aaron answered them, “Take off the gold earrings that your wives, your sons and your daughters are wearing, and bring them to me.” So all the people took off their earrings and brought them to Aaron. He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, “These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.” When Aaron saw this, he built an altar in front of the calf and announced, “Tomorrow there will be a festival to the Lord.”
~ Exodus 32:2-5

 

Why is it the Hebrews could easily turn and go against something that God had specifically asked them not to do?

There are several different theories that explain why the Israelites were easy to turn against Yahweh. The explanation that the book of Exodus gives us is short and simple. Exodus 32:22 simply states that people are prone to evil. 

That’s it? This idol cost 3,000 people their lives and the explanation that  the story is offering me is that people are evil?

After doing research into the culture of the Hebrews I found more information that further explains their actions. One explanation could be that it was a misunderstanding. Of course, the people knew they were not to create a false idol but once the calf was built Aaron proclaims it as the same god who brought them out of Egypt. Aaron wasn’t saying that the golden calf was a replacement for the true God, he was claiming that this calf represented the true God who had brought them out of Egypt. (lavistachurchofchrist.org).

The people of this time were accustomed to seeing their gods and idol worship. For them it was part of their culture to be able to see what they were worshiping. When Moses had remained absent for 40 days they no longer had a clear direction and thought it be easier to return to their cultured ways of worship. (gotquestions.org

I also found in my research that the Israelites had for a long time worshiped the moon god. The golden calf in Exodus was made while Joshua and Moses were on the mountain. There is strong biblical evidence that Joshua was worshiped as a sun god before his story evolved in Hebrew legend to that of a mortal hero. If so, the symbolism of the story is that when the sun god is away (night time) then the people worship the moon god. (gotanswers.com)

 

I do! I think?

You put on the pretty white dress. Check for the 100th time that you have your something old, new, borrowed, and blue. The procession starts, and your big day is FINALLY here.

Just like Adam and Eve, right?

Probably not. The early books of Genesis talk about many marriages but never go into detail of how they are married and what that commitment means.

In the first book of Genesis, there is a very common theme; everything that God created was good. In Genesis 2:18 we hear a different song. “Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” Then in Genesis 2:24 we get our first idea of marriage when God claims “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” 

So if the first marriage was given by God to Adam as a help to him, then how do we go to Isacc’s and Rebekah marriage where seemingly all it took was for him to take her.”Then Isaac brought her into the tent of Sarah his mother and took Rebekah, and she became his wife, and he loved her.“(Genesis 25:67)(Biblegateway) If that is all it takes for people to be married; than I am sure there are people running around with more spouses than they’d care to admit. So much for commitment issues, right?

There are different view points as to what makes a marriage official in God’s eyes. The least likely of the theories meaning a consummation of the marriage. You’re welcome, Hugh Hefner. Although Genesis doesn’t go into much detail of the ceremony itself, I have come to understand that the requirements of a marriage aren’t as complicated as they might seem.According to my research there are a few requirements to sustain a marriage.  “As long as the requirements are reasonable and not against the Bible, a couple should seek whatever formal governmental recognition is available. A couple should follow whatever cultural and familial practices are typically employed to recognize a couple as “officially married.” If possible, a couple should consummate the marriage sexually, fulfilling the physical aspect of the “one flesh” principle.” (GotQuestions.com). From reading Genesis 25, I have come to understand that the girls father is to be paid and the marriage must be consummated. The current laws of the land where what dictated the ceremony. Although there were many faults of marriage in the Bible, the marriage was created for a man and woman to stay exclusive to one another. (http://minuteswithmessiah.tripod.com/question/marriage.html)

This led me into looking into the constitution of marriage. God created marriage, to be good! Why? What is the point of having a partner? While looking into this I saw there are 5 main reasons that God created marriage. 

“1. To Avoid Fornication. (I Corinthians 7:2) “Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.” 

2. Procreation And Rearing Functional Children. 

3. To Serve And Love Another.

4. For Two To Become One.

5. Husbands And Wives As Christ And The Church. The home is a reflection of Christ and the Church. “

(http://ezinearticles.com/?The-Purpose-of-Marriage-According-to-God&id=1950894)

happy-married-couple

Seems almost simpler, doesn’t it? Here is some gifts, I promise to be yours, and they lived happily ever after. . http://youtu.be/lWtTdRmSrYQ?t=2m4

Of course, after further reading the stories you soon discover a marriage then is no easier than a marriage now. None the less, it is a blessing from God. No matter how it happens, or the ceremony it takes for it to be official, it is still a sacred thing.