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Offline rakovsky

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Re: 1st century Gnostic Christian, Judaic, and Pagan writings about Christianity
« Reply #90 on: September 27, 2017, 09:23:17 PM »
Why does the Adam essentially mean "dirt" if he wasn't dirt, though? A prophetic naming?
Interesting issue. On one hand, in Against Apion, Josephus wrote:
Quote
Even after the legitimate relations of husband and wife ablutions are required.^ For the Law regards this act as involving a partition of the soul [part of it going] into another place [C] ; for it suffers both when being implanted in bodies,[D] and again when severed from them by death.

THACKERAY'S FOOTNOTE:
[C] "There is transference of part of the soul or life-principle from the father." ~ Dr. T. E. Page.
[D] An Essene (and Platonic) view ; cf. B. ii. 154 f.

But in Book 1 of the Antiquities, Josephus does say that Adam means "red" because he was formed out of red clay, which happened already before the Fall:
Quote
[Moses] concerning the formation of man, says thus: That God took dust from the ground, and formed man, and inserted in him a spirit and a soul.(2) This man was called Adam, which in the Hebrew tongue signifies one that is red, because he was formed out of red earth, compounded together; for of that kind is virgin and true earth.

Whiston's Footnote
We may observe here, that Josephus supposed man to be compounded of spirit, soul, and body, with St. Paul, 1 Thessalonians 5:23, and the rest of the ancients

Thackeray's Footnote
Adamah = ground, from which Adam or man was formed (gen 2, 7); Adom="red"
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Offline rakovsky

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Re: 1st century Gnostic Christian, Judaic, and Pagan writings about Christianity
« Reply #91 on: September 28, 2017, 03:53:49 PM »
In Book 1 of the Antiquities, Josephus notes that in Jewish tradition, there is a combination of two underlying sets of calendars:
Quote
This catastrophe happened in the six hundredth Date of the year of Noah's rulership,*^ in what was once the second Gen. vu. ii. month, called by the Macedonians Dius and by the Hebrews Marsuan,' according to the arrangement of the calendar which they followed in Egypt. Moses, however, appointed Nisan, that is to say Xanthicus, as the first month for the festivals, because it was in Moses this month that he brought the Hebrews out of of the Egypt " ; he also reckoned this month as the commencement of the year for everything relating to divine worship, but for selling and buying and other ordinary affairs he preserved the ancient order.'

FOOTNOTE:
The old Hebrew year began in autumn ; later custom transferred the opening:, for certain purposes, to the spring. The Babylonian year began in spring, and the completion
of the change in Hebrew practice doubtless dates from the exile, though there are indications before tliat date of the alternative custom. In attributing an innovation to Moses Josephus is merely following the Priestly (exilic) editor of Exodus xii. : in referring to him a distinction between an ecclesiastical and a civil year the historian seems to impute to earlier ages the custom of his own day. For this there is a classical passage in the Mishnah.
Quote
Josephus allows the reader to have doubts about the ancient peoples' lifespans:
Noah lived after the deluge for 350 years, all happily passed, and died at the age of 950. Nor let the the reader, comparing: the life of the ancients with our own and the brevity of its years, imagine that reasons what is recorded of them is false ; let him not infer
that, because no Ufe is so prolonged to-day, they too never reached such a span of existence. ... Moreover, my words are attested by all historians of antiquity, whether
Greeks or barbarians : Manetho the annalist of the Egyptians, Berosus the compiler of the Chaldaean traditions ; ... But on these matters let everyone decide according to his fancy.(B)

FOOTNOTE
(B)The first occurrence of a formula which, with variations, recurs repeatedly where anything of a miraculous nature is in question (ii. 348, iii. 81, etc.). Dionysius of Halicarnassus in his Roman Antiquities (the unnamed model for our author's Jewish Antiquities) had already used similar formulas in the same connexion, ... and by the 2nd century a.d. this non-committal attitude to the marvellous had become a rule for historians.

Does Magog refer to southern Russia, when Josephus writes:

Quote
Japheth, son of Noah, had seven sons. ... Magog founded the Magogians, thus named after him, but who by the Greeks are called Scythians.



« Last Edit: September 28, 2017, 03:55:21 PM by rakovsky »
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Offline rakovsky

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Re: 1st century Gnostic Christian, Judaic, and Pagan writings about Christianity
« Reply #92 on: September 28, 2017, 04:36:15 PM »
Josephus' discussion on "Palestine" as coming from one of Noah's descendants only a few generations after the flood disproves some modern Israelis' claims that there was no such ancient name:
Quote
Mersaeus (Gen. x. 13) had eight sons, all of whom occupied the territory extending from Gaza to Egypt ; but Phylistinus is the only one whose country has preserved the founder's name, for the Greeks call his portion Palestine.

Talking about the Hebrews, Josephus claims that their patriarch was Heber and that some of Heber's descendants moved to India:
Quote
Arphaxades was the father of Seles * and he of Heber, after whom the Jews were originally called Hebrews. Heber begat Juctas' and Phaleg, who was thus called because he was born at the time of the partition of territories, Phalek being the Hebrew for " division." ^ Juctas, Heber's other son, was the father of Elmodad,^ Saleph. Azermoth, Ira, Edoram, Uzal, Dacles, Ebal, Abimael, Saphas,** Ophir, Evil,*' Jobel.** These, proceeding from the river Cophen,(E) inhabited parts of India and of the adjacent country of Seria.(F)

(E) Tributary of the Indus.
(F)  Probably N.W. China.

Here is the map for Haplogroup J, one of the main Semitic haplogroups. One can see that there was movement eastward into Elam (Persia) and a little bit into the Indus:


Quote
Haplogroup J1 (Y-DNA)

About 20% of Jewish people belong haplogroup J1-P58, most of whom are also positive either for ZS223, L858 (Z642, YSC76 and FGC12) or Z18297. L816 represents a minority of Jewish J1. ZS223 comprises the Cohen Modal Haplotype. In the Hebrew Bible, the common ancestor of all Cohens is identified as Aaron, the brother of Moses. Roughly half of all Cohanim belong to J1-ZS223.
...
J1-P58 (J1a2b on the ISOGG tree, formerly known as J1e, then as J1c3) is by far the most widespread subclade of J1. It is a typically Semitic haplogroup, making up most of the population of the Arabian peninsula, where it accounts for approximately 40% to 75% of male lineages.
http://www.eupedia.com/europe/Haplogroup_J1_Y-DNA.shtml
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Re: 1st century Gnostic Christian, Judaic, and Pagan writings about Christianity
« Reply #93 on: September 28, 2017, 06:47:20 PM »



The Land of Nogays... I can't even think of a joke...
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Re: 1st century Gnostic Christian, Judaic, and Pagan writings about Christianity
« Reply #94 on: September 28, 2017, 06:49:43 PM »



The Land of Nogays... I can't even think of a joke...

Ha. I had always assumed it was pronounced "No-guy" but your way is funnier.
Quote
“A goose to hatch the Crystal Egg after an Eagle had half-hatched it! Aye, aye, to be sure, that’s right,” said the Old Woman of Beare. “And now you must go find out what happened to it. Go now, and when you come back I will give you your name.”
- from The King of Ireland's Son, by Padraic Colum

Offline rakovsky

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Hearing Josephus' summary of the story of Isaac, I can see how Isaac can be a prefigurement of Christ. Isaac was born of a mother in a birth that was not naturally expectable. Sarra was such an old woman that she did not think she could give birth. It was a miracle that the three divine beings told her about.

Hearing that she would give birth made her "laugh inside her", which in turn made her name the child after the word "laughter". Is her laughing inside herself a cryptic reference to the process of a virgin birth?

And then we have the story of how he was going to be sacrificed at the end of a three day journey, but God spared him, providing a ram whose horns were caught in briers, resembling the image of a crown of thorns.

The story of Ishmael's circumcision and rejection by Abraham is confusing as to ishmael's age. How to reconcile it? Josephus writes:
Quote
The Arabs defer the ceremony to the thirteenth year, because Ishmael, the founder of their race, born of Abraham's concubine, was circumcised at that age.
...
...seeing that Sarra's behests [to reject Ishmael] were sanctioned also by God, [Abraham] yielded and, committing Ishmael to his mother, the child being not yet of age to go alone, bade her take a skin full of water and a loaf and be gone, with necessity to serve as her guide. She went her way, but, so soon as her provisions failed her, was in evil case ; and the water being well-nigh spent, she laid the little child, expiring, under a fir-tree and went....
Circumcision in the Bible was God's special covenant with Abraham, so if Ishmael got rejected by Abraham at a very young age, how did Ishmael get circumcised at 13?

Did Abraham take him back or did some shepherds just decide to do it alone and imposed a circumcision on the Arabs' tradition that has nothing to do with Abraham?
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The Land of Nogays... I can't even think of a joke...

Ha. I had always assumed it was pronounced "No-guy" but your way is funnier.

 ;D
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Hearing Josephus' summary of the story of Isaac, I can see how Isaac can be a prefigurement of Christ. Isaac was born of a mother in a birth that was not naturally expectable. Sarra was such an old woman that she did not think she could give birth. It was a miracle that the three divine beings told her about.

Hearing that she would give birth made her "laugh inside her", which in turn made her name the child after the word "laughter". Is her laughing inside herself a cryptic reference to the process of a virgin birth?

And then we have the story of how he was going to be sacrificed at the end of a three day journey, but God spared him, providing a ram whose horns were caught in briers, resembling the image of a crown of thorns.

The story of Ishmael's circumcision and rejection by Abraham is confusing as to ishmael's age. How to reconcile it? Josephus writes:
Quote
The Arabs defer the ceremony to the thirteenth year, because Ishmael, the founder of their race, born of Abraham's concubine, was circumcised at that age.
...
...seeing that Sarra's behests [to reject Ishmael] were sanctioned also by God, [Abraham] yielded and, committing Ishmael to his mother, the child being not yet of age to go alone, bade her take a skin full of water and a loaf and be gone, with necessity to serve as her guide. She went her way, but, so soon as her provisions failed her, was in evil case ; and the water being well-nigh spent, she laid the little child, expiring, under a fir-tree and went....
Circumcision in the Bible was God's special covenant with Abraham, so if Ishmael got rejected by Abraham at a very young age, how did Ishmael get circumcised at 13?

Did Abraham take him back or did some shepherds just decide to do it alone and imposed a circumcision on the Arabs' tradition that has nothing to do with Abraham?

Well, I don't think circumcision was invented for the Abrahamic Covenant. My guess is Hagar believed in it just as much as Abraham and whoever took them in (and presumably married her/adopted Ishmael) agreed to do it when she asked him. Then Ishmael did it to his sons, then...
Quote
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Offline RaphaCam

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Why does the Adam essentially mean "dirt" if he wasn't dirt, though? A prophetic naming?
He was made from the earth. The man-earth etymological connection is deep-rooted, though. Human and humus have the same root.
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Offline rakovsky

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The story of Jacob fighting the angel of God, which Josephus relates, is a little confusing for me:
Quote
when they had crossed a torrent called Jabacchos, Jacob, being left behind, encountered a phantom, wrestled with it and overcame it. The struggle had been begun by the spectre, which now found a tongue and addressed him, bidding him rejoice in his achievement and not to imagine that it was a puny adversary whom he had mastered : he had defeated an angel of God and should deem this victory an omen of great blessings to come and an assurance that his race would never be extinguished and that no mortal man would surpass him in strength. He moreover bade him take the name of Israel, which in the Hebrew tongue denotes the opponent of an angel of God. 
...
The apparition, having thus spoken, vanished ; and Jacob, delighted with the vision, named the place Phanuel," that is to say, " the face of God." And because in the contest he had suffered injury near the broad sinew,^ he himself abstained from eating that sinew, and for his sake we too are forbidden to eat of it.
If the angel was good (Israel means fights with El/God and the place is called "face of God"), then why did it attack Jacob violently, why was it good for Jacob to conquer a good angel, and does the injury to the broad sinew in the back of the leg resemble the story of the serpeant's biting of the heel in the Garden of Eden?
If the angel was a bad one (like Satan), then why was the place of the fight called "face of God"?

If the twelve tribes of Israel are named after Jacob's 12 sons, then is there a group or legacy left in the wake of his daughter Dinah? Women traditionally did not inherit wealth AFAIK if there were sons.
« Last Edit: October 05, 2017, 10:57:24 PM by rakovsky »
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Offline rakovsky

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In retelling the story of Joseph's interpretation of the dreams of the cupbearer and baker, Josephus says that the baker would be "crucified". This raises a question for me. In the story of Joseph's redemption from the pit, theologians see a hidden reference to the resurrection. Is there a correlation then between the story of the cupbearer and his wine, the baker and his loaves, and that of the Eucharist or Passion?

The cupbearer's dream goes that he crushed three grapes and gave the juice with the must(yeast) to the king, and Josephus saw this as freedom in three days, since wine makes men joyful.

The bread baker's dream goes that one of the three baskets on his head had meats and the birds took them instead, and Joseph saw this as predicting death in three days:
Quote
" that I was carrying three baskets upon my head, two filled with loaves, and the third with dainties and divers meats such as are prepared for kings, when birds flew down and devoured them all, heedless of my efforts to scare them away." He was expecting a prediction similar to that made to the butler ; but Joseph, grasping on reflexion the import of the dream, after assuring him that he could have wished to have
good news to interpret to him " and not such as the dream disclosed to his mind, told him that he had in all but two days yet to live (the baskets indicated that), and that on the third day he would be crucified and become food for the fowls, utterly powerless to
defend himself.

The three days theme in the Old Testament is sometimes seen as a prediction of the third day resurrection in Christian theology. Perhaps this could explain Josephus' change of decapitation and impalement into one of crucifixion, as he seems to elsewhere allude to Christian themes in his writings. Wine or bread, like that of Melchisedek, is sometimes also seen as a reference to the Eucharist.

I can see Joseph's explanation of why wine would lead to redemption for the cupbearer, as wine makes men happy. But why should bread or the baker's profession be associated with a tragic fate in the story? Could this be an allusion to the teaching that "the life is in the blood" according to the Pentateuch, whereas there are ancient teachings about the body restricting the soul or being associated with suffering?

Josephus explains the meaning of Joseph's Egyptian name this way, below. I know there are different theories.
Quote
He had now completed his thirtieth year and Joseph's was in the enjoyment of every honour at the hand of the king, who called him Psonthomphanech(os), in view of his amazing intelligence, that name signifying " Discoverer of Secrets."

Thackeray's Note
Heb. Zaphenath-paneah. The interpretation
here given of the Hebrew form of the name (the first half
of which was connected with Heb. zdphan, " to hide ") recurs in the Syriac version and in the Targum of Onkelos. The meaning of the underlying Egyptian name is uncertain.

One writer saw in Josephus' writings a Christian ethic, like an idea of having mercy on the guilty, and saw this as a sign of Josephus being a Christian.
The speech that Josephus has Jacob's son Judas/Judah give to Joseph about mercy reminds me of this ethic:
Quote
For great though it be to benefit the needy, yet more princely is it to save those who have incurred righteous penalty for crimes perpetrated upon oneself ; for if the pardoning of transgressors for light offences redounds to the credit of the indulgent judge, to refrain from wrath in the case of crimes which expose the culprit's life to his
victim's vengeance is an attribute of the nature of God.
I agree that forgiveness and mercy toward the guilty has a divine aspect of morality and love. This is part of my Christian ethic.

In this part of the speech below, does Judas/Judah imply a different etymology for Joseph's Egyptian name? I remember reading a theory that it incorporates an Egyptian word for God?
Quote
For in this name thou wilt alike be doing honour to thy sire and granting a favour to thyself, seeing that thou already rejoicest in that title and wilt be preserved in unimpaired possession of it by God, who is the Father of all ; since, in virtue of that name that thou thyself sharest with Him, it will be deemed an act of piety towards Him to take pity on our father and the sufferings that he will endure if bereaved of his children.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2017, 05:20:52 PM by rakovsky »
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I thought the whole point of the New Perspective on Paul was that the idea that ancient Judaism had no concept of mercy and grace is a Medieval Catholic distortion that came into Protestantism via Luther.
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Offline rakovsky

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I thought the whole point of the New Perspective on Paul was that the idea that ancient Judaism had no concept of mercy and grace is a Medieval Catholic distortion that came into Protestantism via Luther.
Well, even if the supposed medieval theory were correct, one could claim that this passage on mercy came from Josephus's own theorized Christian leanings.
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I thought the whole point of the New Perspective on Paul was that the idea that ancient Judaism had no concept of mercy and grace is a Medieval Catholic distortion that came into Protestantism via Luther.
Well, even if the supposed medieval theory were correct, one could claim that this passage on mercy came from Josephus's own theorized Christian leanings.

Sure, but that's kind of speculation on top of speculation. When do you apply Occam's Razor?
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Offline rakovsky

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I thought the whole point of the New Perspective on Paul was that the idea that ancient Judaism had no concept of mercy and grace is a Medieval Catholic distortion that came into Protestantism via Luther.
Well, even if the supposed medieval theory were correct, one could claim that this passage on mercy came from Josephus's own theorized Christian leanings.

Sure, but that's kind of speculation on top of speculation. When do you apply Occam's Razor?

You mentioned two ideas- 1. That strong mercy was just brought into Christian tradition through the NT and not the OT, or 2. that it was in both and that the Catholics wrongly misunderstood the issue.

Josephus has ideas of strong mercy, so does that point to either theory?

I am saying that it isn't clear which theory Josephus' writings on mercy points to, because scholars are divided on whether Josephus was Christian, and I think he probably was Christian.
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Josephus writes about the story of Moses parting the sea in Book II of the Antiquities:
Quote
Nor let anyone marvel at the astonishing nature of the narrative or doubt that it was given to men of old, innocent of crime, to find a road of salvation through the sea itself, whether by the will of God or maybe by accident, seeing that the hosts of Alexander king of Macedon, men born but the other day, beheld the Pamphylian Sea retire before them and, when other road there was none, offer a passage through itself, what time it pleased God to overthrow the Persian empire ; and on that all are agreed who have recorded Alexander's exploits. '' However on these matters everyone is welcome to his own
opinion.

This is the location of the Pamphylian sea, the area by Pamphylia in the sea:


Moses told the Israelites when they wanted to rebel against him in the desert, according to Josephus,
Quote
that, if he [Moses] feared anything, it was not so much for his own safety—for it would be no misfortune to him to be unjustly done to death— as for them, lest in flinging those stones at him theyshould be thought to be pronouncing sentence upon God.

The words that "it would be no misfortune to him to be unjustly done to death" is hard for me to understand reasonably. Why wouldn't Moses' unjust death of stoning be a misfortune?

Josephus says of the manna that descended in the desert:

Quote
For, while Moses raised his hands in prayer, a dew descended, and,
as this congealed about his hands,' Moses, surmising that this too was a nutriment come to them from God, tasted it and was delighted ; and, whereas the multitude in their ignorance took this for snow and attributed the phenomenon to the season of the year, he instructed them that this heaven-descending dew was not as they supposed, but was sent for their salvation and sustenance...

They then, imitating their leader, were delighted with what they ate, for it had the sweet and delicious; taste of honey and resembled the spicy herb called bdellium, its size being that of a coriander seed ; and they fell to collecting it with the keenest ardour.
...
It is a mainstay to dwellers in these parts against their dearth of other provisions,** and to this very day ^ all that region is watered by a rain Hke to that which then, as a favour to Moses, the Deity sent down for men's sustenance. The Hebrews call this food manna; for the word man is an interrogative in our language, asking the question "What is this .''

Thackeray's Footnote
Travellers in Arabia have identified the manna as an exudation of a species of the tamarisk-tree ; " a fresh supply appears each night during its season (June and July),"
Encycl. Bibl. s.v.

The Tamarisk
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that, if he [Moses] feared anything, it was not so much for his own safety—for it would be no misfortune to him to be unjustly done to death— as for them, lest in flinging those stones at him theyshould be thought to be pronouncing sentence upon God.

The words that "it would be no misfortune to him to be unjustly done to death" is hard for me to understand reasonably. Why wouldn't Moses' unjust death of stoning be a misfortune?

It wouldn't be misfortune "to him"- in other words, he was not afraid of death, but afraid that his death would occasion God's wrath as an offense against God himself.
Quote
“A goose to hatch the Crystal Egg after an Eagle had half-hatched it! Aye, aye, to be sure, that’s right,” said the Old Woman of Beare. “And now you must go find out what happened to it. Go now, and when you come back I will give you your name.”
- from The King of Ireland's Son, by Padraic Colum

Offline rakovsky

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Thanks.
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Josephus relates that among the 10 commandments or "Decalogue", the tenth is: "to covet nothing that belongs to another." This commandment is a challenge, since it doesn't just mean not to steal another person's property or to covet another's wife, but to covet anything that belongs to another. I think that if covetousness is banished from someone's heart, it helps him/her. If he doesn't yearn for someone else's job or car or money, then he won't be trying to take it away from the other person. It will also help him be happier in life because he won't feel empty and lacking in that which he doesn't have.
Sometimes in my life I feel a mild sense of envy when I deal with someone else appears to have something better, like a young woman who is alittle arrogant to me but has a much stronger career herself. I wish I didn't have those feelings of envy or jealousy one bit, because they make me feel inadequate.

Also, Josephus explains that the Tabernacle with the Ark were a practical replacement for meeting God on Mount Sinai, since the Ark would have God's presence. He says that God
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desired that a tabernacle should be made for Him, whither He would descend whensoever He came among them, " to the intent," said he, " that when we move elsewhere we may take this with us and have no more need to ascend to Sinai, but that He himself, frequenting the tabernacle, may be present at our prayers.

In Book 2 of the Antiquities, Josephus records details about the throne of God having Cherubim, and about the tabets of the 10 Commandments not in the Bible:
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To the cover were affixed two figures, (Ex. xxv.) " cherubs " as the Hebrews call them—winged creatures these, but in form unlike to any that man's eyes have seen, and Moses says that he saw them sculptured upon the throne of God.(Footnote A) Within this ark he deposited the two tables, whereon had been recorded the ten commandments, five on each of them, and two and a half on either face.(FOOTNOTE B) The ark itself he laid up in the sanctuary.


Thackeray's footnotes
(A) Not in the Pentateuch, nor apparently (to judge from M. Weill's silence) in any known Rabbinical tradition. Perhaps,
as suggested by M. Weill, a reminiscence of Ezekiel's vision, in which cherubim uphold the firmament which supports God's throne (Ezek. x. 1).
(B) The tables being regarded as OPISTHOGRAPHA. For this last detail no parallel has been found in Rabbinical tradition for "five on each" cf. § 101 note. M. Weill, however, renders "deux et demie par colonne."
What does OPISTHOGRAPHA mean?
Is it saying that on the front cover there were two and a half commandments, and then 5 commandments on the inside cover? The total would be 15 commandments, so that sounds wrong.
I don't understand Weill's French translation, either.

Josephus explains the meaning of elements of the tabernacle and the priest's clothes:
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every one of these objects is intended to recall and represent the universe, as he will find if he will but consent to examine them without prejudice and with understanding." Thus, to take the tabernacle, thirty cubits long, by dividing this into three parts and giving up two of them to the priests, as a place approachable and open to all, Moses signifies the earth and the sea, since these too are accessible to all ; but the third portion he reserved for God alone, because heaven also is inaccessible to men. Again, by placing upon the table the twelve loaves, he signifies that the year is divided into as many months. By making the candelabrum to consist of seventy portions," he

hinted at the ten degree provinces " of the planets, and by the seven lamps thereon the course of the planets themselves, for such is their number.* The tapestries woven of four materials denote the natural elements : thus the fine linen appears to typify the earth, because from it springs up the flax, and the purple the sea, since it is incarnadined with the blood of fish ; the air must be indicated by the blue, and the crimson " will be the svmbol of fire.

The highpriest's tunic likewise signifies the earth, being of linen, and its blue the arch of heaven, while it recalls the lightnings by its pomegranates, the thunder by the sound of its bells. His upper garment,*^ too, denotes universal nature, which it pleased God to make of four elements ; being further interwoven with gold in token, I imagine, of the all-pervading sunlight. The essen, again, he set in the midst of this garment, after the manner of the earth, which occupies the midmost place [ie. in the universe]; and by the girdle [ie. the sash] wherewith he encompassed it he signified the ocean, which holds the whole in its embrace. Sun and moon are indicated by the two sardonyxes wherewith he pinned the high-priest's robe." As for the twelve stones, whether one would prefer to read in them the months or the constellations of like number, which the Greeks call the circle of the zodiac, he will not mistake the lawgiver's intention. Furthermore, the head-dress appears to me to symbolize heaven, being blue ; else it would not have borne upon it the name of God, blazoned upon the crown—a crown, moreover, of gold by reason of that sheen in which the Deity most delights.
When he talks about the sash around the priest who is dressed like the universe, he is talking I think about the theory of a water canopy, whereby the earth and the heavens are surrounded by the waters above the heavens. This theory shows up in some places like Psalms, the Creation story in Genesis, and the story of Noah's flood.
« Last Edit: October 14, 2017, 01:41:10 AM by rakovsky »
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Josephus writes about how the priest's stones predicted victories but ceased to do so in the 2nd c. BC:
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By means of the twelve stones, which the high-priest wore upon his breast stitched into the essen, God foreshowed victory to those on the eve of battle. For so brilliant a light flashed out from them, ere the army was yet in motion, that it was evident to thewhole host that God had come to their aid. Hence it is that those Greeks who revere our practices, because they can in no way gainsay them, call the essen logion (" oracle ")." Howbeit, essen and sardonyx alike ceased to shine two hundred years before I composed this work,* because of God's displeasure at the transgression of the laws.

Josephus says that Moses instituted the Festival of Booths (Sukkot) for the Hebrews to build tent-booths in September or October to protect themselves against the onset of winter. Does this festival correlate to the Transfiguration, when Jesus looked white as snow and Peter proposed making booths? The Transfiguration feast is in August, not September - October.
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Josephus relates that among the 10 commandments or "Decalogue", the tenth is: "to covet nothing that belongs to another." This commandment is a challenge, since it doesn't just mean not to steal another person's property or to covet another's wife, but to covet anything that belongs to another. I think that if covetousness is banished from someone's heart, it helps him/her. If he doesn't yearn for someone else's job or car or money, then he won't be trying to take it away from the other person. It will also help him be happier in life because he won't feel empty and lacking in that which he doesn't have.
Sometimes in my life I feel a mild sense of envy when I deal with someone else appears to have something better, like a young woman who is alittle arrogant to me but has a much stronger career herself. I wish I didn't have those feelings of envy or jealousy one bit, because they make me feel inadequate.

Same here.
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The breath of Thine Holy Spirit inspires artists, poets and scientists. The power of Thy supreme knowledge makes them prophets and interpreters of Thy laws, who reveal the depths of Thy creative wisdom. Their works speak unwittingly of Thee. How great art Thou in Thy creation! How great art Thou in man!
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Josephus relates that among the 10 commandments or "Decalogue", the tenth is: "to covet nothing that belongs to another." This commandment is a challenge, since it doesn't just mean not to steal another person's property or to covet another's wife, but to covet anything that belongs to another. I think that if covetousness is banished from someone's heart, it helps him/her. If he doesn't yearn for someone else's job or car or money, then he won't be trying to take it away from the other person. It will also help him be happier in life because he won't feel empty and lacking in that which he doesn't have.
Sometimes in my life I feel a mild sense of envy when I deal with someone else appears to have something better, like a young woman who is alittle arrogant to me but has a much stronger career herself. I wish I didn't have those feelings of envy or jealousy one bit, because they make me feel inadequate.

Same here.
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Josephus in Book 4 of the Antiquities has Balaam explain that his prophecy works as if he were a direct channeler of God's messages, in reply to King Balak's objection to the substance of Balaam's prophecy:
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Such was the inspired utterance of one who was no longer his own master but was overruled by the divine spirit to deliver it. But when Balak fumed and accused him or transgressing the covenant whereunder, in exchange for liberal gifts, he had obtained his services from his allies—having come, in
fact, to curse his enemies, he was now belauding those very persons and pronouncing them the most blessed of men—" Balak," said lie, " hast thou reflected on the whole matter and thinkest thou that it rests with us at all to be silent or to speak on such themes as these, when we are possessed by the spirit of God ? For that spirit gives utterance to such language and words as it will, whereof we are all unconscious.

For myself, I remember well what both thou and the Madianites craved when ye eagerly brought me hither and for what purpose Ihave paid this visit, and it was my earnest prayer to do no despite to thy desire. But God is mightier than that determination of mine to do this favour ; and wholly impotent are they who pretend to such foreknowledge of human affairs, drawn from their own breasts, as to refrain from speaking that which the Deity suggests and to violate His will. For nothing within us, once He has gained prior entry, is any more our own. Thus, for my part, I neither intended to extol this army nor to recount the blessings for which God has designed their race ; it is He who, in His gracious favour to them and His zeal to confer on them a life of felicity and everlasting renown, has put it into my heart to pronounce such words as these.

Josephus says that Balaam gave more prophecies about the future, such as calamities for future kings and cities, including prophecies that were fulfilled by Josephus' time. Josephus concludes:
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And from all these prophecies having received the fulfilment which he predicted one may infer what the future also has in store.

FOOTNOTE BY THACKERAY
a rather similar mysterious reference to the fulfilment of the prophecies of Daniel in A. x. 210.
This reminds me of Balaam's prophecy that the scepter won't depart until Shiloh comes. This implies that the Messiah came in the 1st c. AD when Judea lost its kingship.

Josephus says that Moses instructed Israel to destroy her enemies fully:
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Wherefore, if ye would have those laws remain to you, ye will leave not one of your enemies alive after defeating them, but will deem it expedient to destroy them all, lest, should they live, ye having had but a taste of any of their ways should corrupt tlie constitution of your fathers.
Some theologians have tried to square these instructions with the Christian principles of mercy.
I can't think of an eas way to do so offhand.


Exodus 22:28 says: "Thou shalt not revile the gods, nor curse the ruler of thy people."
Josephus paraphrases Exodus 22:25 as saying:
"Let none blaspheme the gods which other Foreign cities revere".
Thackeray's footnote says:
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Ex. I.e. " Thou shalt not revile Elohim,"' meaning, according to Palestinian tradition, " the judges." Here Josephus follows Alexandrian exegesis : the i.xx translated the plural Elohim by (hot's, and so Philo ( Vita Mos. ii. 26, § 205, De spec. leg. i. 7, § 53). C/. Ap. ii. 237, where the same reason for the injunction is given as in Philo, viz. the hallowing of the word " God."
What do you make of this? Is the TOrah here protecting respect for foreign "judges" or foreign pagan "gods"?

Josephus adds a nasty detail not found in scripture about women who marry and have been proven to have lost their virginity before marrying:
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But should he [the husband] prove that the young woman has been corrupted [by sex before his marriage to her], then, if she be one of the people, for not having kept chaste guard over her virginity up to her lawful marriage, let her be stoned ; if she be of priestly parentage, let her be burnt alive."

THACKERAY'S FOOTNOTE
This last clause has no authority in Scripture and is not strictly in accord with tradition (see Weill's note). Scripture mentions only the penalty of stoning for all alike.

Josephus paraphrases Deuteronomy 24 as saying:
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" Punish not children for the wrongdoing of individual their fathers, but by reason of their own virtue deem them deserving rather of pity for having been born of depraved parents than of hatred for their base lineage.'*
This goes against the principle in Augustinian thought of how personal guilt of sin is passed down biologically.

Josephus refers to the ban on eunuchs in Deuteronomy 23:
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Shun eunuchs and flee all dealings with those Bannins of who have deprived themselves of their virility and of those fruits of generation, which God has given to men for the increase of our race ; expel them even as infanticides who withal [A] have destroyed the means of procreation.

FOOTNOTE A
Another text reads " before them " i.e. " before the infants' birth."

How does this compare with Matthew 19:12?:
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12 For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother's womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.

Josephus proposes an interesting, maybe creative, solution to the question of how Moses could have written the end of the Pentateuch where it describes Moses' own death:
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And, while he bade farewell to Eleazar and Joshua and was yet communing with them, a cloud of a sudden descended upon him and he disappeared in a ravine. ** But he has written of himself in the Deut. sacred books that he died,'' for fear lest they should venture to say that by reason of his surpassing virtue he had gone back to the Deity.

FOOTNOTES
The Biblical account runs : " So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the
word of the Lord. And He buried him in the ravine... but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this daj\"

Ptabbis were divided on the question whether the last eight verses of Deut. were written by .Moses or by Joshua (.see Weill's note). The view of Josephus has the support of R. Simeon.
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This goes against the principle in Augustinian thought of how personal guilt of sin is passed down biologically.

Not really. One can acknowledge a theological priniciple while still holding that it would be impractical or immoral to try and fulfill it in a human manner, right?

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How does this compare with Matthew 19:12?:

Jesus might have meant "celibates" like the Essenes and not self-castrators (which I'm guessing is what the Fathers of Nicaea had in mind when making that canon as well). Just a thought.
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Exodus 22:28 says: "Thou shalt not revile the gods, nor curse the ruler of thy people."
Josephus paraphrases Exodus 22:25 as saying:
"Let none blaspheme the gods which other Foreign cities revere".
Thackeray's footnote says:
Quote
Ex. I.e. " Thou shalt not revile Elohim,"' meaning, according to Palestinian tradition, " the judges." Here Josephus follows Alexandrian exegesis : the i.xx translated the plural Elohim by (hot's, and so Philo ( Vita Mos. ii. 26, § 205, De spec. leg. i. 7, § 53). C/. Ap. ii. 237, where the same reason for the injunction is given as in Philo, viz. the hallowing of the word " God."
What do you make of this? Is the TOrah here protecting respect for foreign "judges" or foreign pagan "gods"?

Sound more like Josephus trying to score some points with his Roman friends?

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In telling the story of the conquest of Canaan, Josephus keeps repeating about how Moses announced that all Canaanites would get killed and that Joshua implemented this with different cities. It sounds brutal, eg.:
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Advancing very far in pursuit, Joshua destroyed the whole of the enemy's army? save for a few '^—the
kings all fell—in such wise that, when there were no more men to be killed, he slew their horses and burnt the chariots. He then overran the country unmolested, none daring to come out to give him battle ; the cities too he captured by siege and massacred every creature that he caught.

A fifth year had now passed away and there was no longer any Canaanite left [i.e. left in the particular conquered Canaanite region, since Josephus later says some Canaanite regions remained unconquered?], save for such as had escaped through the solidity of their walls.
(Book V of the Antiquities)

I know theologians have addressed this issue in reconciling it with the merciful teaching of Christianity to forgive enemies. One way I can think of is that to belong to the tribe of Canaanites could mean a political designation, and that the Canaanites could have given up their status as "Canaanites", and accepted Israel's God in order to be spared.
Another question is whether the extermination of Canaanites was God's order or just something that Moses decided on in accordance with God's more general order to conquer the area. Yet later in Book V, Josephus writes:
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The Benjamites, within whose lot lay Jerusalem, permitted its inhabitants to pay them tribute ; and thus all reposing, these from slaughter and those Canaamtes from peril, were at leisure to till the soil. The other tribes, imitating that of Benjamin, did the same and, contenting themselves with the tributes paid to them, suffered the Canaanites to live in peace.

...as their riches increased, under the mastery of luxury and voluptuousness, they recked little of the order of their constitution and no longer hearkened diligently to its laws. Incensed thereat, the Deity warned them by oracle, first that they had acted contrary to His will in sparing the Canaanites, and next that those foes, seizing their occasion, would treat them with great ruthlessness.

Here let's consider a different issue: Christological prophecies.
In Book V, Josephus tells the Biblical story of Yael killing the Canaanite commander Sisera, with details curious enough to raise a question of whether they have an allegorical meaning, as do stories like the Binding of Isaac and Joseph's capture in the pit.
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But Sisares, having leapt from his chariot when he saw that the rout was come, fled till he reached the abode of a woman of the Kenites " named Iale; she, at his request to conceal him, took him in, and, when he asked for drink, gave him milk that had turned sour." And he, having drunk thereof immoderately, fell asleep. Then, as he slumbered, lale took an iron nail and drove it with a hammer through his mouth and jaw, piercing the ground; and when Barak's company •* arrived soon after she showed him to them nailed to the earth. Thus did this victory redound, as Dabora had foretold, to a woman's glory. But Barak, marching upon Asor, slew Jabin ^ who encountered him and, the general having fallen, razed the city to the ground ; he then held command of the Israelites for forty years.

FOOTNOTE
[Iale refers to:] Bibl. Jael.
First, why would Yael give Sisera sour milk on his request? It reminds me of the Psalm and of the Passion, where the narrator and Christ are given vinegar, respectively.
Second, Yael is a combination of Ya (a reference to Jehovah's Biblical abbreviation 'Yah'?) and El (God).
Third, the story actually goes that Yael pierced Sisera through the temples with the nail, not the mouth as Josephus wrote. What is the significance of using a hammer and nail, other than just cracking him with the hammer? In Psalms, David says that God opened or gouged ears in him. This Hebrew word for gouging (karah) commonly refers to using large nails to gouge wells and holes in the earth. And in the story, Yael even drives the nail through and into the earth.
If it's seen as Christological, the sour milk would refer to the vinegar, the falling asleep to the death, and the piercing with a nail to the crucifixion. The fact that a pagan general was used can refer to the inspired words in the Psalm that God opened ears in the narrator to hear God's word, which could make Sisera's being pierced as he slept a prefigurement of the pagan world being asleep and then hearing the word.

Another possible Christology prophecy appears in Book V, when Josephus tells how the ruler, Gideon died, and Gideon's youngest son killed his own brothers, with only his brother Jotham escaping. Jotham announced this parable to the people, below. Is it a prophetic reference to the crown of thorns?:
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the trees, once gifted wth a human voice, held a meeting and besought a fig-tree " to rule over them. And when she refused, because she enjoyed the esteem which her fruits brought her, an esteem that was all her own and not conferred from without by others, the trees did not renounce their intention of having a ruler, but thought good to offer this dignity to the vine. And the vine, when so elected, on the same grounds as those of the fig-tree, declined the sovereignty. The olive-trees having done the like, a bramble—since the trees requested it to accept the kingship, and it is good in giving wood for tinder—promised to undertake the office and to act strenuously. However it behoved them all to sit down beneath her shadow, and should they plot her ruin they would be destroyed by the fire within her. " I tell this fable," said Jotham, " not for your merriment, but because notwithstanding the manifold benefits that ye have received from Gedeon ye suffer Abimelech to hold sovereign sway, after aiding him to slay my brethren. Ye will find him in no wise different from a fire."
In the gospels, ancient Israel is compared to a fig tree, Jesus is compared to a vine, then in Romans 9-11 the assembly of the righteous is compared to an olive tree. The crown of thorns was a set of brambles that were placed over Christ.

Josephus records a story of child sacrifice for victory in battle:
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With these words he dismissed the envoys, Then, after praying'' for victory and promising to sacrifice, should he return to his home unscathed, and to offer up the first creature that should meet him, he closed with the enemy, defeated them outright, and massacring pursued them up to the city of Maniath(e); then, crossing into Ammanitis, he destroyed many cities, carried off spoil, and delivered his countrymen from a servitude which they had borne for eighteen years. But on returning he fell foul of a calamity far different from these fair achievements ; for it was his daughter who met him, his only daughter, a virgin yet. Wailing in anguish at the greatness of the blow,** the father chid his daughter for her haste in meeting him, seeing that he had dedicated her to God. But she without displeasure learnt her destiny, to wit that she must die in return for her father's victory and the liberation of her fellow-citizens ; she but asked him to grant her two months wherein to bewail her youth with her fellw-citizens, and thereafter he should do in accordance with his vow. He accorded her the respite aforesaid, and at its close sacrificed his child as a burnt-offering—a sacrifice neither sanctioned by the law nor well-pleasing to God ; for he had not by reflection probed what might befall or in what aspect the deed would appear to them that heard of it.

Josephus tells the story of an angel foretelling Samson's birth to his mother. The angel makes the prediction to his mother, then appears to Samson's father and says that the prediction is only to be said by the angel to the mother. The mother seems to conclude that this angel, who had refused to give his own name, was God Himself:
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Manoch thereat fearing that some mischief might befall them from this vision of God, his wife bade him take heart, since it was for their good that it had been given them to see God.
The same is said by the husband about the angel, in Judges 13:
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22. And Manoah said unto his wife, We shall surely die, because we have seen God.
It raises the question of whether this angel was in fact God, and if so, how to explain the incident in light of the Biblical verse that no man can see God and live. Maybe the angel kept his face covered?
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20 But He said, “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live.” ...  22 “So it shall be, while My glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand while I pass by. 23 “Then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen.” (Exodus 33:17-23)


 “No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him” (John 1:18, NKJ).
« Last Edit: October 30, 2017, 01:27:40 PM by rakovsky »
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Probably another Old Testament appearance of Christ (like to Jacob at Peniel).

As for the Canaanites, yes any of them could have repented and been spared like Rahab. Also, remember how nasty the tribes were to the Israelites in the desert and how cruel Canaanite religion was to its own people (child sacrifice), etc. That doesn't completely make me ok with the mass slaughter, but it does help somewhat.

On Jephtah, here's an argument that he didn't kill his daughter, he just forced her into consecrated virginity.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2017, 04:42:30 PM by Volnutt »
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Re: 1st century Gnostic Christian, Judaic, and Pagan writings about Christianity
« Reply #117 on: November 03, 2017, 07:47:06 PM »
Good input, Volnutt.

In Antiquities, Book 6, Josephus narrates why Samuel the prophet resented creating a kingship over Israel:
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These words sorely grieved Samuel by reason of his innate righteousness and his hatred of kings ; for he was keenly enamoured of aristocratic government, accounting it divine and productive of bliss to those who adopted it.
The Greek word used here for aristocracy is "aristokratios". What form of government was that exactly? Rule by a council of nobles?
After Saul became King, Josephus notes:
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And thus was the government of the Hebrews transformed into a monarchy. For under Moses and his disciple Joshua, who was commander-in-chief, they remained under aristocratic rule : after Joshua's death for full eighteen years " the people continued in a state of anarchy : whereafter they returned to their former polity, entrusting supreme judicial authority to him who in battle and in bravery had proved himself the best ; and that is why they called this period of their political life the age of Judges.


God's complaint to Samuel about appointing a king is that
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it was not him [Samuel] whom they had spurned, but God Himself, not wishing Him to reign alone ; these deeds, moreover, they had (He said) been devising from the day when He had brought them forth from Egypt ; howbeit they would ere long be seized with painful remorse, a remorse by which nought will be undone of that which is to be, but which will convict them of contempt and of adopting a course ungrateful toward Me and to thy prophetic office.
Samuel says to the Israelites that the kings will makes the Israelites' sons
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tillers of their estates, diggers of their vineyards ; nay, there is nothing which your sons will not do at their behest, after the manner of slaves bought at a price. Of your daughters also they will make perfumers, cooks and bakers, and subject them to every menial task which handmaids must perforce perform from fear of stripes and tortures. They ^vill moreover rob you of your possessions and bestow them upon eunuchs and bodyguards, and confer your herds of cattle upon their retainers. In a word, ye with all yours will be bondservants to the king along with your own domestics ; and he, when he is come,'' will beget in you a memory of these words of mine and (cause you) through these sufferings to repent and to implore God to take pity on you and to grant you speedy deliverance from your kings. Howbeit He will not hearken to your prayers, but ^\ill disregard them and suffer you to pay the penalty for your own perversity."

It sounds like a strong, anti-monarchist explanation against kingship and monarchy.

In narrating Saul's first battle, Josephus adds in a prophecy by Saul that the Israelites would conquer on the third day before sunrise:
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Thereon, divinely inspired, he dismissed the men from Jabis with a promise to come to their aid on the third day " and ere sunrise to defeat the foe, so that the ascending sun should see them already victors and freed from their fears.

Footnote
In Scripture (1 Sam. xi. 9) Saul (or, in the Heb., the Israelites) promises that deliverance will come on the morrow;
This third day victory reminds me of the theme in Christianity of a third day resurrection. I sense that Josephus added it for this reason, and if not, then in reflection of a third day theme of salvation in ancient Judaism.

Apparently, the ancient Jews treated casting lots as a way to perform legitimate prophecy or divination. Josephus writes:
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The multitude thereon calling upon him so to do, he forthwith caused them all to stand in one place, and stood himself with his son in another, and sought by the lot to discover the sinner ; and the lot indicated Jonathan.
This reminds me of another time when Josephus narrates as legitimate the Israelites casting lots to find who had committed a certain sin - stealing valuables from enemies that should have been given to God.
But at the same time, the issue of casting lots reminds me of the Torah's prohibition on divination (Deut 18:10):
"There shall not be found among you ... one who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens".

I am not really a fan of the story of God demanding the death of the Amalekites' infants and punishing Saul for not killing the Amalekites' king:
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he also took prisoner the enemy's king, Agag, whom out of admiration for his beauty and his stature he accounted worthy to be saved ; herein he was no longer acting in accordance with the will of God, but giving way to feehngs of his own, and yielding inopportunely to compassion where it was not permitted to him without peril. For God so hated the race of the Amalekites that He had ordered him to spare not even the infants, to whom it is more natural that pity should be shown ; but Saul saved their king, the author of all the injuries to the Hebrews, having had more regard for the beauty of his enemy than for memory of what God enjoined.

Josephus describes David's appearance thus:
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Now so soon as David appeared at his father's summons,—a lad of ruddy colour, with piercing " eyes and in other ways handsome,—" This," said Samuel softly to himself, "is he whom it has pleased God to make king "; and he sat himself down and made the youth sit beside him

Since the Bible describes David playing a harp while singing his songs, it raises in my mind the question of what David's songs sounded like musically when accompanied by the harp.

Since David is seen as a prefigurement of the Messiah, could this be true in his battle against Goliath as well? Saul gave David his kingly armor, but David rejected it:
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But David was weighed down by this armour, for he had not been trained nor taught to wear armour, and said, " Let this fine apparel be for thee, O King, for thou indeed art able to wear it,^ but suffer me, as thy servant, to fight just as I will." Accordingly he laid down the armour and, taking up his staff, he put five stones from the brook into his shepherd's wallet, and with a sling in his right hand advanced against Goliath. The enemy, seeing him approaching in this manner, showed his scorn, and derided him for coming to fight, not with such weapons as men are accustomed to use against other men, but with those wherewith we drive a^ay and keep off dogs.
Could Goliath represent paganism or the devil, Saul's armor represent the outward accoutrements of a king that Jesus gave up in coming as a heavenly leader, and the five stones representing the five wounds of Christ, and the brook representing death (like the Jordan does)?

The story of Melcha voluntarily saving David, but telling her father Saul that she helped him because David forced her to reminds me of a moral dilemma of whether it's ever morally right to lie in order to achieve a greater purpose. The story also brings to my mind Mark Twain's declarations about lying, like: "If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything." "I have a higher and grander standard of principle than George Washington. He could not lie; I can, but I won't." "An injurious truth has no merit over an injurious lie. Neither should ever be uttered. The man who speaks an injurious truth, lest his soul be not saved if he do otherwise, should reflect that that sort of a soul is not strictly worth saving."
Here is Josephus' account of Melcha's lie:
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But when her father rebuked her for having saved his enemy and tricked himself, she resorted to a plausible defence ; her husband, she declared, had threatened to kill her and so, by terrifying her, had secured her aid in his escape, for which she deserved pardon, seeing that she had acted under constraint and not of her own free will.
Antiquities, Book 6
How would you answer that dilemma?

Josephus makes an interesting observation about the corruption of power, taking for the occasion Saul's slaughter of the high priest Abimelech's family for Abimelech's good faith assistance to David:
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Saul thereby gave all to know and understand the character of men, namely that so long as they are of private and humble station, through inability to indulge their instincts or to dare all that they desire, they are kindly and moderate and pursue only what is right, and turn thereto their every thought and endeavour ; then too, concerning the Deity, they are persuaded that He is present in all that happens in life and that He not only sees the acts that are done, but clearly knows even the thoughts whence those acts are to come. But when once they attain to power and sovereignty, then, stripping off all those qualities and laying aside their habits and ways as if they were stage masks, they assume in their place audacity, recklessness, contempt for things human and divine ; and at the moment when they most need piety and righteousness, being now within closest reach of envy, with all their thoughts and acts exposed to all men, then, as though God no longer saw them or were overawed by their power, they break out into these riotous acts. Their fear of rumours, their wilful hates," their irrational loves—these they regard as valid, sure and true, acceptable to man and God, but of the future they take not the least account.
This depiction lines up well with Josephus' narrative of Herod the Great, who was a great warrior and achieved the nation's respect, but then killed his own children and punished the innocent on political charges.

Josephus' description of the mourning by Israel's families individually for Samuel reminds me of how in Zechariah 12, the families mourn individually for the pierced one(s), whom Christianity identifies as Christ. Applying what Josephus wrote about Samuel, the individual mourning of families in Zechariah 12 represents the importance of the pierced one:
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About this time the prophet Samuel died, a man who had enjoyed no common esteem among the Hebrews. His virtue and the affection of the multitude for him were manifested by the prolonged mourning which the people made, and by the display and zeal given to his burial and to the observance of the customary rites.

For they buried him in his native Armatha and wept for him very many days, -with no mere public mourning as for the death of a stranger, but each privately grieving as for his own
« Last Edit: November 03, 2017, 07:48:48 PM by rakovsky »
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Re: 1st century Gnostic Christian, Judaic, and Pagan writings about Christianity
« Reply #118 on: November 03, 2017, 08:37:32 PM »
"Aristocracy" comes from the Greek aristos- "the best." Seems like Josephus was arguing for rule by those who had proven themselves most Godly and as a result were blessed by God with victory or prophecy. Maybe he would have liked the Calvinist work ethic lol.

A king, on the other hand, would just get the job because his father had it regardless of the new king's own personal merit (something that Samuel had seen a bit of personally, growing up around the sons of Eli). Interesting that Josephus wound up serving two hereditary Emperors lol.


As for lots, Exodus 28 did allow for the urim and thummim. That doesn't mean that people doing divination like that on their own weren't disobeying God, but I can see where they got the idea it might be ok.


I'm firmly in the "lying to protect someone else from injustice is fine" camp and I think that the Bible is on my side. But it's an endless debate.


Interesting possible Christological parallels that I never would have thought of.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2017, 08:41:00 PM by Volnutt »
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Re: 1st century Gnostic Christian, Judaic, and Pagan writings about Christianity
« Reply #119 on: November 03, 2017, 09:54:57 PM »
Nice succinct replies.
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The breath of Thine Holy Spirit inspires artists, poets and scientists. The power of Thy supreme knowledge makes them prophets and interpreters of Thy laws, who reveal the depths of Thy creative wisdom. Their works speak unwittingly of Thee. How great art Thou in Thy creation! How great art Thou in man!
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Re: 1st century Gnostic Christian, Judaic, and Pagan writings about Christianity
« Reply #121 on: November 07, 2017, 12:05:45 AM »
In Josephus' telling of Samuel talking through the witch of Endor, the spirit is really Samuel and not, as one theory goes, just a spirit pretending to be Samuel.

Josephus also makes an interesting discourse about Saul's decision to face death in war, which reminds me of Christian attitudes toward martyrdom:
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although he knew of what was to come and his impending death, which the prophet had foretold, yet determined not to flee from it or, by clinging to life, to betray his people to the enemy and dishonour the dignity of kingship ; instead, he thought it noble to expose himself, his house and hischildren to these perils and, along with them, to fall fighting for his subjects." He preferred to have his sons meet death as brave men rather than leave them behind, while still uncertain what kind of men they might prove to be ; for thus, as successors and posterity, he would obtain glory and an ageless name.* Such a man alone, in my opinion, is just, valiant and wise, and he, if any has been or shall be such, deserves to have all men acknowledge his virtue. For men who have gone forth to war with high hopes, thinking to conquer and return in safety, and have accomplished some brilliant feat are, to my mind, mistakenly described as valiant by the historians and other writers who have spoken of such persons. Certainly it is just that these too receive approbation ; but the terms " stout-hearted," " greatly daring," " contemptuous of danger " can justly be applied only to such as have emulated Saul.

...to harbour in one's heart no hope of success, but to know beforehand that one must die and die fighting, and then not to fear nor be appalled at this terrible fate, but to meet it with full knowledge of what is coming—that, in my judgement, is proof of true valour. And this Saul did...

Antiquities, Book VI

Josephus interprets the Bible to suggest that Zabulon was the only tribe that fully supported David when David was in a civil war with Saul's son.
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From the tribe of Zabulon came fifty thousand picked men, for this tribe was the only one which joined David as a whole.
The footnote says that Josephus must be relying on the end of this verse:
1 Chron 12:33 "Of Zebulun, such as went forth to battle, expert in war, with all instruments of war, fifty thousand, which could keep rank: they were not of double heart."

Is Zabulon the territory that includes what later became Jesus' home of Nazareth?


Josephus writes:
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When David had driven the Jebusites out of the citadel and had himself rebuilt Jerusalem, he called it the City of David and continued to dwell in it for the whole length of time that he reigned.
SEE EG. 1 Kings iii. 1
But wasn't Bethlehem also called The City of David?


While in the post-Biblical period some have claimed that David had not sinned in the affair with Uriah, Josephus takes the view that David had sinned in it:
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At these words the king was dismayed and greatly troubled, and with tears of grief admitted his impiety—for he was, as all agreed, a god-fearing man and never sinned in his life except in the matter of Uriah's wife—, whereupon God took pity on him and was reconciled to him.
Antiquities, Book VII

There is a scholarly debate over whether David tortured to death the inhabitants of Rabatha. Josephus writes:
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As for the inhabitants, he tortured them and put them to death.

FOOTNOTE
The Heb. text of 2 Sam. xii. 31 is obscure and probably corrupt, leaving it uncertain whether tiie Ammonites were tortured or merely put to forced labour. It is probable that Josephus omits the Scriptural details because of the difficulty of the text.
The KJV goes: "And he brought forth the people that were therein, and put them under saws, and under harrows of iron, and under axes of iron, and made them pass through the brickkiln: and thus did he unto all the cities of the children of Ammon."
The LXX says: "And he brought forth the people that were in it, and put them †† under the saw, and under iron harrows, and axes of iron, and made them pass through the brick-kiln: and thus he did to all the cities of the children of Ammon."

Scholars since then have found this a morally or linguistically problematic passage.

The Protestant Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary says "To be thus severe in putting the children of Ammon to slavery was a sign that David's heart was not yet made soft by repentance, at the time when this took place. We shall be most compassionate, kind, and forgiving to others, when we most feel our need of the Lord's forgiving love, and taste the sweetness of it in our own souls."

The Protestant Benson in his commentary argues that the text only means that he put them to work with saws and axes as slaves, and he cites the Syriac version of the Bible as interpreting the text that way:
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The Hebrew, vajasem bammegeerah, &c., may be literally and properly rendered, and he put them to the saw, and to iron harrows, or mines, and to axes of iron, and made them pass by, or to, the brick-kilns; that is, he made them slaves, and put them to the most servile employments, namely, sawing, harrowing, or making iron harrows, or mining, hewing of wood, and making brick. The version of the Seventy, though not very clear, may be interpreted to the same purpose. The Syriac and Arabic versions render the passage, He brought them out, and threw them into chains, and iron shackles, and made them pass before him in a proper measure, or by companies at a time.

If the parallel place, 1 Chronicles 20:3, which our version renders, He cut them with saws, and with harrows of iron, and with axes, be objected, it must be observed, the Hebrew, vajasser, may be rendered, He separated to the saw, &c.; or, He ruled or governed by the saw, harrows, mines, and axes; made them slaves, and condemned them to these servile employments. Thus the words are rendered by Schmidius. And “this interpretation,” says Dr. Dodd, “is far from being forced, is agreeable to the proper sense and construction of the words, and will vindicate David from any inhumanity that can be charged upon the man after God’s own heart.

The Syriac version is, He bound them with iron chains, &c.; and thus he bound them all. And the Arabic, He bound them all with chains, killing none of the Ammonites, This interpretation may be further confirmed by the next clause: Thus did he unto all the children of Ammon — For had he destroyed all the inhabitants by these, or any methods of severity, it would have been an almost total extirpation of them; and yet we read of them as united with the Moabites, and the inhabitants of Seir, and forming a very large army to invade the dominions of Jehoshaphat.
« Last Edit: November 07, 2017, 12:12:54 AM by rakovsky »
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Re: 1st century Gnostic Christian, Judaic, and Pagan writings about Christianity
« Reply #122 on: November 07, 2017, 12:19:05 AM »
Are we talking about the Targums? Those are just paraphrases, not translations.

1 Kings 5:15 says David in the matter of Uriah the Hittite.

I'm not sure where Nazareth was, Matthew 4:13-16 only speaks of Zebulon and Naphtali as being the location of Jesus's ministry in Capernaum. I guess it's reasonable to conclude Nazareth was nearby, though.
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Re: 1st century Gnostic Christian, Judaic, and Pagan writings about Christianity
« Reply #123 on: November 07, 2017, 12:28:53 AM »
Are we talking about the Targums? Those are just paraphrases, not translations.

The Peshitta is sometimes considered the Syriac translation of the Bible and I rake it as what Benson means.

The Syriac of the Bible I take to be the Peshitta translation, not the Targums, which as you said are a paraphrasing commentary.
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Re: 1st century Gnostic Christian, Judaic, and Pagan writings about Christianity
« Reply #124 on: November 07, 2017, 12:32:42 AM »
Oh, ok. I don't know why I didn't think about the Peshitta.
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Re: 1st century Gnostic Christian, Judaic, and Pagan writings about Christianity
« Reply #125 on: November 07, 2017, 07:34:44 PM »
The story of David fleeing from Absalom seems strange in the history of monarchies. A major part of a kingdom rarely in history supports a king's son in a war against his own father. I can't think of any good examples.

In this story, David's son Absalom had smoothed over a conflict with his father, but told lots of people that as king, he (Absalom) would have supported the peoples' causes and court cases that David had rejected. Absalom then went to Hebron, where he started to built up a following. Then, David, supposedly out of fear, fled Jerusalem the capitol.

I can see a challenge for a king if he thinks that his own son is building up forces against him. What is the best thing for the king to do, when the son is not in open opposition? David's decision to flee could have been a tactical move in order to make the conflict open, and then using the occasion of the conflict's openness to return and conquer the rebels. Had the king stayed in Jerusalem and kept control of the capitol and the son secretly plotting in Hebron, it would be hard to make the conflict so clear to the people.

King Herod's decision in a situation of intrigue was to claim that his sons were plotting against him, which may or may not have been true, and then to kill them as plotters. Tsar Ivan IV, in a different circumstance, did flee his own capitol when the boyars supposedly rebelled against him. The Tsar openly resigned his rule, effectively compelling people to come to him to ask him to be Tsar again, which he used to his advantage to impose a crueler rule, unfortunately.

I also wonder what episodes, if any, in David's life the Psalmist referred to when making the Psalm's about the king's death and resurrection. In Psalm 3, about the Psalmist sleeping and waking up despite the rebellion, the occasion is said in the Psalm's prologue to be David's fleeing from Absalom. Could these events in David's life parallel in some way Christ's rejection by or conflict with the Jewish religious leadership, since David is seen as a Messianic prefigurement?
In this way, David crossing the Jordan could be a reference to Christ's crossing the barrier of death. The Jordan in the Pentateuch, by analogy, is used as a crossing point of the Israelites into the Promised Land. Achitophel's hanging suicide or Absalom's head being caught in the tree could have relation to Judas's death. Or perhaps Absalom's hair getting stuck in the tree resemble the crown of thorns, and Joab's arrow in Absalom represent a spear wound. The women hiding the messengers for David in the well could have a relation to the women seeing angels at Jesus' tomb. David's wish to have died in his son's place recalls the atoning theology in Christ's death.

Thackeray's footnote mentions a controversy over whether Absalom had children. In Antiquities VII, Josephus writes:
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He [Absalom] dwelt, however, in Jerusalem two years and became the father of three sons and of one very beautiful daughter, whom Solomon's son Roboamos " married later and by whom he had a son named Abias.**

[Absalom set up] a marble column, two stades distant from Jerusalem, which he named Absalom's Hand,<^ saying that if his his children should perish, his name would remain in connexion with the column. He had, in fact, three sons and one daughter, named Thamara, as we have said before.''

FOOTNOTE
Josephus, in attributing to Absalom the fear that his children might die before him, disposes of the difficulty caused by the contradiction between 2 Sam. xiv. 27, referred to in § 190, and the present verse, 2 Sam. xviii. 18, which reads, " for he said, I have no son to keep my name in remembrance." A rabbinic tradition has it that Absalom's sons died before him as a punishment for having set fire to Joab's field ; another tradition states that Absalom left sons " but they were so insignificant that Scripture speaks of them as though he died childless"

COMPARE:

2 Samuel 14:27 "And unto Absalom there were born three sons, and one daughter, whose name was Tamar: she was a woman of a fair countenance."


2 Samuel 18:18 "Now Absalom in his lifetime had taken and reared up for himself a pillar, which is in the king's dale: for he said, I have no son to keep my name in remembrance: and he called the pillar after his own name: and it is called unto this day, Absalom's place."

Maybe the three sons had gotten killed in the interim between the verses?

David's general Joab sounds like a bad guy. David told him not to kill one of Saul's leading commanders, and then Joab did it. Then David said not to kill Absalom, and Joab did it. After that, Joab threatened to revolt if David kept mourning for Absalom:
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Cease, therefore, from your unjustified grief and go out and show yourself to your soldiers and thank them for the victory and for their ardour in the fight. For, if you persist in doing as you have just been doing, I will this very day persuade the people to revolt from you and give the kingdom over to another, and then I shall make your sorrow more bitter and real."
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Re: 1st century Gnostic Christian, Judaic, and Pagan writings about Christianity
« Reply #126 on: November 16, 2017, 07:11:57 PM »
In Book VII, the heads of the tribe of Judah are told by the tribes of Israel that not only Judah's tribe, but they all, are David's relatives because he is their leader:
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The chiefs of the other tribes were not silenced by these words of the leaders of the tribe of Judah, but said, " We are amazed, brothers, that you call the king a relative only of yourselves, for he who receives from God authority over all must be considered a relative of us all. And for this reason the entire people has eleven * parts (in him), while you have but one,
It reminds me of the teaching in Paul's epistles that Christ is even the father of Christians who are not Jewish.

Does David's use of instruments suggest that it is proper to use instruments in singing the Psalms, or else in the course of liturgy?:
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David, being now free from wars and dangers, and enjoying profound peace from this time on, composed songs and hymns to God in varied meters— some he made in trimeters, and others in pentameters. He also made musical instruments, and instructed the Levites how to use them in praising God on the so-called Sabbath day and on the other festivals. Now the forms of these instruments were somewhat as follows: the kinyra had ten strings stretched on it, which were struck with a plectrum ; the nabla, which
had twelve notes, was plucked with the fingers ; and the kymbala were large, broad plates of brass.

FOOTNOTE
Josephus, in characterizing Hebrew poetry, which is accentual, uses terms familiar to Greek readers, who knew only quantitative poetry. These terms may stand if taken to mean lines of three beats (trimeters) or three plus two beats (pentameters).

Later, in Book VIII Chapter 3, Josephus relates how Solomon made musical instruments for playing the Psalms:
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of the musical instruments devised for singing psalms, which are called nablai and kinyrai,'^ he made forty thousand of electrum.
I would be interested to hear what the Psalms melodies sounded like, accompanied by the instruments.

Here in Book VII, Josephus tries to explain why David's census-taking was sinful, giving an explanation not in scripture:
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Then King David, desiring to know how many tens of thousands there were of the people, forgot the injunctions of Moses ^ who had prescribed that, when the populace was numbered, half a shekel should be paid to God for every person * ; and he ordered Joab, his commander, to go out and take a census of the entire population. And, though Joab told him that there was no need to do this, he did not listen to him, but ordered him to proceed without delay to the numbering of the Hebrews.

FOOTNOTE
Cf. Ex. XXX. 12 f. This explanation of David's sin in numbering the people is also found in rabbinic tradition.
Scripture, while not explaining why the census was sinful, gives two different acxounts of its origin, 2 Sam. " And again the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel and he incited David against them, saying. Go, number Israel and Judah " ; 1 Chron. " And Satan stood up against Israel and incited David to number Israel."
Exodus 30:12 says:
"When thou takest the sum of the children of Israel after their number, then shall they give every man a ransom for his soul unto the Lord, when thou numberest them; that there be no plague among them, when thou numberest them."

I have always found this incident curious. The Biblical account doesn't specify that God or Satan incited David to fail to pay the shekels, only that God or Satan incited David to take the census itself.
Likewise, when the Bible says that the census failed to include the Levites and Benjamin, the Bible explains this by saying that Joab failed to number them because the king's order was abominable to Joab, not because the failure to pay the shekels was wrong.
(1 Chronicles 21:6: But Levi and Benjamin counted he not among them: for the king's word was abominable to Joab.)

Josephus tells how David had a choice of punishment for this sin: 7 years of famine, 3 months of defeat, or 3 days of pestilence and disease. David chose the latter and 70,000 Israelites died various sudden deaths with no clear direct cause. Next, Josephus records David's prayer:
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Then, looking up into the air and beholding the angel being borne through it toward Jerusalem, with his sword drawn, the king said to God that it was he, the shepherd " who was rightly to be punished, but the flock, which had committed no sin, should be saved; and he entreated Him to cause His anger to fall upon him and all his line, but to spare the people.
This prayer where the shepherd/king and his descendants would suffer in place of the people reminds me of the concept of the atoning sacrifice of the shepherd/kingly Messiah in Isaiah and in Christianity. The three days of dying and pestilence reminds me of Christ's three days in the "heart of the earth" and of Isaiah's theme of the Messiah suffering affliction or disease on the people's behalf.

God agrees to stop the pestilence and commands David to make a sacrifice at Araunah the Jebusite's threshing floor in Jerusalem. Araunah has his equipment, threshing floor, oxen and plough sacrificed there. Josephus relates about the location:
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As it happened, it was to this very place that Abraham brought his son Isaac, to sacrifice him as a burnt-offering, and, as he was about to slaughter him, there suddenly appeared beside the altar a ram, which Abraham sacrificed in place of his son, as we related earlier.
This location became the Temple mount, as Josephus records:
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Then, when David saw that God had hearkened to his prayer and had accepted the sacrifice with favour, he resolved to call that entire place the altar « of all the people, and to build a temple to God... he came close to foretelling what was later to happen, for God sent a prophet to say that in this place a temple would be built by the son who was destined to succeed him on the throne.
Does the threshing floor have a mystical meaning?

It's interesting to see that due to Adonias' attempt to become king, David appointed Solomon king even while David was still alive. Usually kings accede to the throne upon their predecessor's death or removal from power, whereas David himself delivered the kingship from himself to his son.
David has his son Solomon led out with guards, anointed, and then proclaimed king publicly. After Adonias accepts Solomon's kingship, David then has the Hebrews assembled and Solomon anointed as king again:
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And throughout the whole day the king feasted with all the people, and they anointed Solomon with oil a second time and proclaimed him king, with Sadok as high priest of the entire nation.
It's interesting- it suggests that someone could be anointed with Chrism oil for Chrismation a second time in case they weren't sure if they had been Chrismated or if their Chrismation wasn't valid. For example, maybe some conservative Greek elders do not recognize baptisms outside the church and require rebaptism, so maybe they don't recognize converts' Chrismations outside the church and require a second Chrismation.

Josephus has David say to Solomon before dying:
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" I am now, my son, going to my destiny and must depart to my fathers and travel the common road of all men now alive or yet to be, from which no one can ever return to learn what is happening among the living."
I wonder how common this idea was in ancient Judaism. Samuel the prophet had learned of Saul's fate after Samuel's death due to the incident with the witch of Endor.

David also explains why he didn't keep Joab permanently from power - Joab was too strong for David:
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Remember also the David's crime of Joab, the commander, who, because of envy, killed two just and brave generals, Abenner, the son of Ner, and Amasa, the son of Jethras, and, in whatever way you may think best, avenge their deaths ; for Joab, being stronger and more powerful than I, has until now escaped punishment.
In the course of the narration of Joab's crimes however, Josephus (and I suppose the Bible) hadn't said that David was not strong enough politically to take action. Later, when Solomon kills his own brother Adonias, Joab runs to the Temple for protection and grabs the altar for protection. Solomon orders him to the court, but Joab refuses, saying he would prefer to die there at the temple, so Solomon has him killed there. Does that count as a desecration?

These instructions here by David sound immoral, because it looks like David broke his promise of forgiveness:
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And as for Sumuis,'' the son of Gera, of the tribe of Benjamin, who cursed me repeatedly during my flight, on the way to The Camps, and, when he met me at the Jordan, received a pledge that he would suffer no harm for the time being,—look now for a reasonable pretext to punish him."

Josephus writes that David was "with so great a measure of authority, never once did he do wrong, except in the matter of Uriah's wife."
It's an interesting comment because rabbis took the view that David was not in the wrong that time.

Josephus says of Solomon:
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And God granted him knowledge of the art used against demons for the benefit and healing of men. He also composed incantations by which illnesses are relieved, and left behind forms of exorcisms with which those possessed by demons drive them out, never to return.*

And this kind of cure is of very great power among us to this day, for I have seen a certain Eleazar,'' a countryman of mine, in the presence of Vespasian, his sons, tribunes and a number of other soldiers, free men possessed by demons, and this was the manner of the cure : he
put to the nose of tlic possessed man a i-ing which had under its seal one of the roots " prescribed by Solomon, and then, as the man smelled it, drew out the demon through his nostrils, and, when the man at once fell down, adjured the demon never to come back into him, speaking Solomon's name and reciting the incantations which he had composed. Then, wishing to convince the bystanders and prove to them that he had this power, Eleazar placed a cup or footbasin full of water a little way off and commanded the demon, as it went out of the man, to overtui-n it and make known to the spectators that he had left the man.

FOOTNOTES
* Though Scrii^ture says nothing of Solomon's power over demons and skill in healing, both Jewisii and Christian as well as Muslim tradition contain many legends on these subjects

* Ginzberg vi. 291 note 48, " the recognized authorities of rabbinic Judaism condemn the use of the conjuring books ascribed to Solomon, whereas the early Church held them in high esteem."
This shows that in Jesus' time there was a belief that Solomon had anti-demon powers. This shows up in the Talmud and other writings, especially from medieval times.
The elements of the story of Eleazar, involving the ring and the footbasin, bring to mind the elements of later stories, which also involve the legend of "Solomon's ring" and the idea that Solomon sent demons into vessels.

It's neat to read in Book VIII about how the second story of Jerusalem's Temple was built by Solomon with a second story that was accessible by stairs. Maybe some priests and Temple workers lived there?:
"And the king contrived a stairway to the upper story through the thickness of the wall, for it had no great door on the east as the lower building had, but it had entrances through very small doors on the sides."

He adds: "^And Solomon summoned from Tyre, from Eiromos's court, a craftsman named Cheiromos,' who was of Naphthalite descent on his mother's side". Aren't those names "Hiram" and "Hiram" in Hebrew? That's confusing.

And what are the function of the twin pillars named Jachin and Boaz? Do they hold up the entrance, do they open the gates, or are they purely decorative?


Another drawing:

(I can't find a version of the drawing with the fine print readable.)

Josephus writes:
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This Cheiromos also made two pillars of bronze which was four fingers in thickness,"* the height of the columns being eighteen cubits and their circumference twelve ^ cubits ; and on the capital of each rested a lily formed of cast metal, rising to a height of five cubits, about which was a network intertwined with bronze palm-buds, which covered the lilies. And from this depended two hundred pomegranates in two rows. One of these columns he placed as a doorpost ^ on the right of the gateway, calling it Jachein,'' while the other, on the left, he named Abaiz.

Josephus says: "And the ark held nothing but the two stone tablets which preserved the ten commandments spoken by God to Moses on Mount Sinai inscribed upon them."
Didn't it also hold Aaron's rod that had budded or the manna from the desert?

Josephus has Solomon say that he praises God with his voice in the air and that the prayer ascends through it. (Bk VIII, Chp 4)
Solomon also prays: "And this help I ask of Thee not alone for the Hebrews who may fall into error, but also if any come even from the ends of the earth or from wherever it may be and turn to Thee, imploring to receive some kindness, do Thou hearken and give it them."
It makes me want to go to Solomon's Temple for prayer. But I am about 2600 years too late.

Josephus claims that Solomon founded Palmyra (Hebrew: Tadmor), in modern day Syria. He also says that the land of Ophir to where Solomon sent his ships for gold was in India.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2017, 07:12:36 PM by rakovsky »
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Offline Asteriktos

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Re: 1st century Gnostic Christian, Judaic, and Pagan writings about Christianity
« Reply #127 on: November 16, 2017, 11:24:05 PM »
A book I'm reading atm has an interpretation of St. Maximos in reconciling part of the census passages, but nothing about the couple things you asked about. I'll try to look for something this weekend.

Offline Porter ODoran

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Later, in Book VIII Chapter 3, Josephus relates how Solomon made musical instruments for playing the Psalms:
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of the musical instruments devised for singing psalms, which are called nablai and kinyrai,'^ he made forty thousand of electrum.
I would be interested to hear what the Psalms melodies sounded like, accompanied by the instruments.

Maybe check Spotify?

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Here in Book VII, Josephus tries to explain why David's census-taking was sinful, giving an explanation not in scripture:
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Then King David, desiring to know how many tens of thousands there were of the people, forgot the injunctions of Moses ^ who had prescribed that, when the populace was numbered, half a shekel should be paid to God for every person * ; and he ordered Joab, his commander, to go out and take a census of the entire population. And, though Joab told him that there was no need to do this, he did not listen to him, but ordered him to proceed without delay to the numbering of the Hebrews.

Rather than a contradiction of Scripture, this is Josephus's attempt to reconcile Scripture. However, I think his analysis is superficial and therefore incorrect.

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I have always found this incident curious.

It's critical to understand that the census had a military purpose. Kings were also forbidden by the Law, as such things are the beginning of empire, avarice, and so on -- the bloody cunning of men substituted for simple faith in Jehovah.

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The Biblical account doesn't specify that God or Satan incited David to fail to pay the shekels, only that God or Satan incited David to take the census itself.

Both God and Satan, as in the Hebrew belief ha-Satan, "the prosecutor," is an agent and angel of God.

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Likewise, when the Bible says that the census failed to include the Levites and Benjamin, the Bible explains this by saying that Joab failed to number them because the king's order was abominable to Joab, not because the failure to pay the shekels was wrong.

The census was abominable to Joab because it was wrong.

Keep up the hard work. This thread rarely fails to entertain.
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Offline rakovsky

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Thanks for the answers.
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Offline rakovsky

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In describing the building of the Temple, Josephus says:
"The weight of the gold that was brought to Soiomon him was six hundred and sixty-six talents, not including what was brought by the merchants or the gifts which the governors and the kings of Arabia sent to him."(Book VIII)
The use of the number 666 raises a question of whether this is only a random coincidence that the number of the beast in Revelations is 666 as well. Maybe there is some shared underlying meaning in the number 666?

Josephus finds Solomon's use of animal figures to be sinful, but the Bible doesn't particularly. Josephus writes:
"there had been an occasion on which he sinned and went astray in respect of the observance of the laws, namely when he made the images of the bronze bulls underneath the sea which he had set up as an offering, and those of the lions around his own throne, for in making them he committed an impious act."

Josephus records the story of how a wicked prophet went about rationalizing away the divine signs given by the good prophet Jadon. Jadon predicted that the Northern Israelite King Jeroboam's hand, weakened at an order to arrest Jadon, would get restored and that the king's altar would collapse. The wicked prophet told Jeroboam
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that his hand had been numbed by the fatigue of carrying the sacrifices and then, after being rested, had again returned to its natural condition, and that the altar, being new and having received a great many large victims, had fallen down from the weight of the things laid upon it. He then told him of the death of the man who had given these prophetic signs and how he had lost his life when attacked by a lion. Thus, he said, there was nothing of a prophet either in his person or in what he had spoken. By these words he convinced the king, and, having wholly turned his thoughts away from God and from holy and righteous deeds, he urged him on to impious acts.
As for the story of Jadon getting killed by the lion, Josephus says that Jadon heard from God not to stay in Jeroboam's city after giving the message. But the wicked prophet told Jadon, on the latter's leaving the city, to come back and eat with him because of an alleged order from God that in fact the wicked prophet invented. As punishment, God sent the lion to kill Jadon.
« Last Edit: Yesterday at 04:05:02 PM by rakovsky »
The ocean, infinite to men, and the worlds beyond it, are directed by the same ordinances of the Lord. ~ I Clement 20