THE CO-CALLED CONTRADICTIONS OF THE BIBLE #12 - Ethical Discrepancies continued
But unto the sons of the concubines,
which Abraham had, Abraham gave
Then Jacob rose up, and set his sons and his wives upon camels.
If a man have two wives, one beloved, and another hated.
And unto David were sons born in Hebron: and his firstborn was Amnon, of Ahinoam the Jezreelitess. . . . His second, Chileab, of Abigail. . . . The third, Absalom the son of Maacah. . . . And the fourth, Adonijah the son of Haggith; and the fifth, Shephatiah the son of Abital; and the sixth, Ithream, by Eglah David's wife.
2 Samuel 3:2-5
And David comforted Bathsheba his wife.
2 Samuel 12:24
But king Solomon loved many strange women. . . . And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines.
1 Kings 11:1, 3
Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth. Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love.
Yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant. And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth.
For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; and they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
Let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.
1 Corinthians 7:2
°Works, i. 671.
Only this need be said—that God, on account of "the hardness of men's hearts," suffered polygamy among his people for a time, but "from the beginning it was not so."151 And, as previously intimated, the patriarchs must be judged by the degree of light which they possessed. Too, it must be remembered that their polygamy differed materially from the "free-love" systems of other times. In polygamy, each wife of the "much-married" man was nevertheless his wife, and, together with her offspring, entitled to be cared for and maintained by him. Moreover, a "concubine," in those days, was not simply a kept mistress, as the word might now imply, but was a wife of lower rank, who was wedded with somewhat less than the ordinary formalities. Dr. Jahn152 says: "Although this connection was, in fact, a marriage, and a legitimate one, it was not, nevertheless, celebrated and confirmed by the ceremonies above related." So Mr. Newman:153 "A concubine, in ancient times, was only a wife of inferior rank, and the union was just as permanent as with a wife." The latter author suggests that the usages of the modern court of Persia point to the conclusion that Solomon really took these numerous women as virtual hostages for the good behavior of their fathers, who were chieftains of the surrounding heathen nations, and tributary to him. This is a reasonable suggestion.
Might be favored.
Blessed is he that considereth the poor.
He that hath mercy on the poor, happy is he.
Must not be favored.
Neither shalt thou countenance a poor
man in his cause.
The first two texts commend the exercise of benevolence in cases where no question of law or justice is involved; the last teaches that, in suits between man and man, justice must be done. The judges must not be unduly swayed by the poor man's pleading, but must decide the matter impartially.
First-born and firstlings.
All the best of the oil, and all the best of the wine, and of the wheat, the first-fruits of them which they shall offer unto the Lord, them have I given thee. And whatsoever is first ripe in the land, which they shall bring unto the Lord, shall be thine. . . . Every thing that openeth the matrix in all flesh, which they bring unto the Lord, whether it be of men or beasts, shall be thine. . . . All the heave offerings of the holy things, which the children of Israel offer unto the Lord, have I given thee, and thy sons and thy daughters with thee, by a statute for ever.
Otherwise disposed of.
Thou mayest not eat within thy gates the tithe of thy corn, or of thy wine, or of thy oil, or the firstlings of thy herds or of thy flock, nor any of thy vows which thou vowest, nor thy free will-offerings, or heave offering of thine hand. But thou must eat them before the Lord thy God in the place which the Lord thy God shall choose, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy manservant, and thy maidservant, and the Levite that is within thy gates.
Thou shalt do no work with the firstling of thy bullock, nor shear the firstling of thy sheep. Thou shalt eat it before the Lord thy God year by year in the place which the Lord shall choose, thou and thy household.
151 Matthew 19:8.
152Bib.Archaeol. Sec. 155.
153 Hist, of Heb. Monarchy, pp. 102,127.
Michaelis154 says there were two kinds of "firstlings"; the first belonging to the priest as his salary, and the "second firstlings," as he styles them, belonging to the altar, and, of course, consumed by the offerer himself and his guests. He defines the second firstling as that which immediately succeeded the proper firstling.
Davidson155 recognizes a "second sort of firstlings, which were to be employed for feast offerings, and therefore to be consumed by the offerer himself and his guests. The name denotes the animals next in age to those belonging to the sacerdotal salary. Hence the firstlings referred to were additional to such as appear in Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers."
Similarly Dr. Jahn.156 Keil thinks there was nothing in the earlier law which would preclude the priests allowing the persons who presented the firstlings to take part in the sacrificial meals, or handing over to them some portion of the flesh which belonged to himself to hold a sacrificial meal.
Produce of seventh year
For the poor.
And six years thou shalt sow thy land, and shalt gather in the fruits thereof. But the seventh year thou shalt let it rest and lie still; that the poor of thy people may eat: and what they leave the beasts of the field shall eat. In like manner thou shalt deal with thy vineyard, and with thy oliveyard.
For owner and his family.
But in the seventh year shall be a sabbath of rest unto the land, a sabbath for the Lord: thou shalt neither sow thy field, nor prune thy vineyard. That which groweth of its own accord of thy harvest thou shalt not reap, neither gather the grapes of thy vine undressed: for it is a year of rest unto the land. And the sabbath of the land shall be meat for you; for thee, and for thy servant, and for thy maid, and for thy hired servants, and for thy stranger that sojourneth with thee.
154Mosaic Laws, iii. 146-149. 155Introd. to Old Testament, i. 353. 156Bib. Archaeol. Sec. 388-389.
The first quotation, with its context, teaches that the spontaneous yield of the seventh year is to be left for the poor, and for the wild beasts. The owner of the land is neither to cultivate it, nor to meddle with its produce, for that year.157 From the second quotation we learn that the "sabbath of the land" was to maintain the owner and his family, with the flocks and herds. In Leviticus 25:21-22, is promised a largely increased crop—"fruit for three years"—in the sixth year. It is, we think, this surplus—termed, in the seventh verse, "the increase thereof"— and not the mere spontaneous produce of the year of rest, which is designated as "the sabbath of the land." In other words, it is this surplus alone which is to serve the owner and his household during the year of rest, while all that grows during that year is to be relinquished to the destitute.
Keil takes the somewhat different view that the produce arising without tilling of sowing was to be a common good for man and beast. According to Exodus, it was to belong to the poor and needy, but the owner was not forbidden to partake of it also, so that here is no discrepancy.
Property in man
One man owns another.
And if a man smite his servant, or his maid, with a rod, and he die under his hand; he shall be surely punished. Notwithstanding, if he continue a day or two, he shall not be punished: for he is his money.
And ye shall take them as an inheritance for your children after you, to inherit them for a possession, they shall be your bondmen for ever.
All men are brethren.
And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation.
On account of the "hardness of mens hearts," slavery, like polygamy, was suffered for a time; but the Mosaic code was so shaped as to mitigate its evils, and secure its final extinction. It was doubtless better thus to bring about its gradual abolition than to uproot it by a sudden convulsion. Slavery among the Hebrews was of a much milder type than among their contemporaries. In this
157 Such seems the plain import of Leviticus 25:5 and 20.
opinion Dr. Jahn concurs. Michaelis158 says that Moses "permitted slavery, but under restrictions by which its rigors were remarkably mitigated, and particularly in the case of Israelite citizens becoming subjected to it."
Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.
And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers' money, and overthrew the tables.
But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.
We have previously seen that the first text is equivalent to a declaration that, in the changed circumstances of the disciples, "self-defense and self-provision would henceforward be necessary." The passage sanctions self-defense but not aggression.
Alford says the next passage should read, "He drove all out of the temple, both the sheep and the oxen." The "scourge" was applied to the brutes, not to their owners.
Barnes takes the original of Matthew 5:39, as meaning, Do not set yourselves against one who has injured you. We are not to cherish feelings of obstinate and implacable resentment.
The last text means, as noted elsewhere, that those who take the sword in opposition to legal authority, as Peter contemplated doing, or against innocence, as the Jews were about to do, should perish by a violent death.
THE FIRST TEXT WAS TO DO WITH A PROPHECY THAT WAS TO BE FULFILLED.
RESISTING EVIL IS TO DO WITH AUTHORITY AND PERSECUTION, SUCH AS BEING PERSECUTED FOR BEING A CHRISTIAN. IT DOES NOT MEAN YOU STAND BY WHILE THUGS OR AN EVIL ARMY SAY FROM A HITLER, DOES HARM TO YOUR LOVED ONES; SELF DEFENCE IS TAUGHT IN THE BIBLE UNDER SUCH SITUATIONS - Keith Hunt
And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.
But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloak forbid not to take thy coat also.
158Mosaic Laws, ii. 157.
Michaelis159 and Jahn160 think that the law of Moses addresses the perpetrator of the wrong, admonishing him of the satisfaction he must render for the wrongs inflicted by him. Christ, on the other hand, addresses the injured party, forbidding him, as an individual to give vent to his vindictive feelings and take the retribution into his own hands, instead of waiting for the due process of law. Alford observes that "our Lord does not contradict the Mosaic law, but expands and fulfills it, declaring to us that the necessity for it would be altogether removed in the complete state of that kingdom which He came to establish." Warington161 says, "On what principle are cases of this kind to be explained? Surely by regarding such laws as having been, when given, especially adapted to the people and the times, and for these necessary; but as being for later days and other people not necessary and unadapted, and therefore abrogated."
THE FIRST WAS TO DO WITH JUST RECOMPENSE WHICH STILL WOULD APPLY TODAY IN OUR COURTS OF LAW. THE SECOND IS TO DO WITH OUTRIGHT EVIL OR VENGEFUL PERSECUTION. THAT WICH IS OUTSIDE THE MANY TYPES OF THINGS YOU ARE ALLOWED TO GO TO COURT OVER [EXCEPT WITH A BROTHER IN THE FAITH] WITH THOSE OUTSIDE THE CHRISTIAN FAITH. IT IS THE MORE PERSONAL STRIFE SOMEONE HAS AGAINST YOU, WHO WANTS TO BE "MEAN" TOWARDS YOU, LIKE A BULLY IN A SCHOOL YARD - Keith Hunt
Thou shalt not steal.
Thou shalt not defraud thy neighbour, neither rob him.
The wicked borroweth, and payeth not again.
That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such.
1 Thessalonians 4:6
And I will give this people favour in the sight of the Egyptians: and it shall come to pass, that, when ye go, ye shall not go empty: but every woman shall borrow of her neighbour, and of her that sojourneth in her house, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: and ye shall put them upon your sons, and upon your daughters; and ye shall spoil the Egyptians.
And the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses; and they borrowed of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: and the Lord gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent unto them such things as they required. And they spoiled the Egyptians.
The point of the objection is, that the Israelites defrauded the Egyptians, by borrowing, but neglecting to repay. A recent writer styles their conduct "immoral," and adds, "It makes no difference whether the verb translated borrow means ask or demand. The representation made to the Egyptians by the Israelites when they borrowed or asked the jewels was, that they were going a three days'
159 Mosaic Laws, iii. 473-474.
160Bib. Archaeol. Sec. 256.
On Inspiration, p. 252.
journey into the wilderness to sacrifice to the Lord God. They conveyed the impression that they were about to return." Knobel also asserts that it was their intention to deceive the king. To this objection, Augustine,162 Hengstenberg,163 and Keil reply: God knew the hard heart of Pharaoh, and therefore directed that no more should be asked at first than he must either grant or display the hardness of his heart. Had he consented, God would then have made known to him his whole design, and demanded that His people should be allowed to depart altogether. But when Pharaoh scornfully refused the first and smaller request, Moses was instructed to demand the entire departure of Israel from the land. The modified request was an act of mercy to Pharaoh, and had he granted it, Israel would not have gone beyond it.
We may add that, on the return of the Israelites from their three days' journey, negotiations would doubtless have been entered into for their final departure. It should be observed that Moses' demand increased in the same proportion as Pharaoh's hardening.164 Towards the close, there seems to have been no expectation, on either side, that the Israelites would return. After the smiting of the firstborn, the Egyptians were desirous to get rid of the Israelites at any price. Hence, they are said to have "thrust them out altogether," and to have been "urgent" upon them to depart "in haste."165 So far at the last from any promise or expectation of their return, the Egyptians were only too glad to be relieved of their presence.
Michaelis166 has a peculiar explanation of the "borrowing." He thinks the Hebrews borrowed the articles with the honest intention of restoring them; but, in the haste of their midnight departure, driven out by the pressing command of the king, they had no opportunity to do this. Hence, they took the articles with them, with the view to restore them as soon as possible. In a day or two, the Egyptians made war upon the Israelites. This act of hostility, this "breach of the peace," changed the relations between the two parties, and justified the Israelites in detaining the property of their enemies as a kind of "contraband of war.
Hence, he concludes that the act of the Israelites was no robbery of the Egyptians, but simply a detention of their property after the breach of peace with the Israelites.
162Quaest. 13 in Ex.
163 Genesis of Pent., ii. 417-432.
164See Exodus 8:1, 27; 10:25-26.
165 Compare Exodus 11:1; 12:31-33.
166 Com. on Mosaic Laws, iii. 45-47.
Ewald167 maintains that since Israel could not return to Egypt after Pharaoh's treachery and the incidents on the Red Sea, and therefore was not bound to return the borrowed goods, the people kept them and despoiled the Egyptians of them. This sagacious critic sees in this turn of affairs a kind of "divine recompense," a piece of "high retributive justice, far above human inequalities, that those who had long been oppressed in Egypt should now be forced to borrow the necessary vessels from the Egyptians, and be obliged by Pharaoh's subsequent treachery to retain them, and thus be indemnified for long oppression."
But there is another view of the case. The Hebrew word, shaal, means, according to Fuerst and Gesenius, to ask or demand, as well as to borrow. It is used in the former sense in Psalm 2:8, "Ask of me," etc. There is no good reason why we should not adopt this rendering in Exodus. We are told that "the Lord gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians," also that Moses was "very great" in their sight.168 The awe which they felt for Moses, as also for the Israelites so signally favored of God, induced the Egyptians to comply with the demands of the Hebrews to that extent, that the latter "spoiled," that is, impoverished, the former. Hengstenberg: "They had spoiled Israel; now Israel carries away the spoil of Egypt." This author, with Rosenmuller, Lilienthal, Tholuck, Winer, Lange, Murphy, Keil, Wordsworth, and a host of critics, understands that the Hebrews asked and received these things simply as gifts. And Josephus169 corroborates this view, saying of the Egyptians, "They also honored the Hebrews with gifts; some in order to secure their speedy departure, and others on account of neighborly intimacy with them." This explanation relieves the entire difficulty.
Slavery and oppression
And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.
Both thy bondmen, and thy bondmaids, which thou shalt have, shall be of the heathen that are round about you; of them shall ye buy bondmen and bondmaids.
And I will sell your sons and your daughters into the hand of the children of Judah, and they shall sell them to the Sabeans.
And he that stealeth a man and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death.
Thou shalt neither vex a stranger, nor oppress him: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.
167 Hist, of Israel, ii. 66.
169Antiq. ii. 14, 6 (Bekker's Greek edition).
To undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?
As to Canaan, we have elsewhere seen that he, being, as the Hebrew requires, the "youngest of Noah's family," was probably the very one indicated as guilty of some unnamed indignity to the sleeping patriarch,170 and hence was deservedly punished for his crime.
Leviticus refers to a mild form of servitude among the Israelites. Joel threatens captivity as a punishment for sin.
Exodus denounces the kidnapping and oppressing of free persons, foreigners or otherwise.171 Isaiah admonishes against illegal oppression, rather than against that form of servitude recognized in and regulated by the law.
Hebrew slavery permitted.
If thou buy a Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve: and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing.
And if thy brother that dwelleth by thee be waxen poor, and be sold unto thee: thou shalt not compel him to serve as a bondservant: but as a hired servant, and as a sojourner, he shall be with thee, and shall serve thee unto the year of jubilee. . . . Over your brethren the children of Israel, ye shall not rule one over another with rigor.
Leviticus 25:39-40, 46
The latter passages do not, as De Wette seems to think, prohibit the purchase of a Hebrew slave; they merely provide that the service of such should be more lenient than that of a stranger. Even a foreigner might buy a Hebrew slave, but always with liberty of redemption.172 A gentile slave could be held for lifelong service.
Emancipation in the seventh year.
And if thy brother, an Hebrew man, or an Hebrew woman, be sold unto thee, and serve thee six years then in the seventh year thou shalt let him go free from thee.
In the fiftieth year.
And if thy brother that dwelleth by thee be waxen poor, and be sold unto thee. ... he shall be with thee, and shall serve thee unto the year of jubilee: and then shall he depart from thee.
171 Deuteronomy 24:7.
That is, his servitude would cease at the end of the six years, or at the end of the jubilee period, whichever was nearest. For example, a man sold under ordinary circumstances must serve six full years; but a man sold in the forty-sixth, would go out in the fiftieth year of the jubilee period, thus serving less than six years' time.
And if thy brother, an Hebrew man, or an Hebrew woman, be sold unto thee, and serve thee six years; then in the seventh year thou shalt let him go free from thee.
And if a man sell his daughter to be a maidservant, she shall not go out as the menservants do. ... And if he do not these three unto her, then shall she go out free without money.
Michaelis173 and Jahn think that the first text is a modification of the original law, with a view to a further mitigation of the evils of slavery. Hengstenberg174 thinks the case specified in Exodus was an exception to the general rule. It would seldom occur that a father would sell his daughter into servitude, and never but with the expectation that she should become a wife, though of the second rank. The whole matter of the sale was arranged with this object in view. Nachmanides175 says she did not go out unconditionally as the manservant did. He went out at the end of the sixth year, without let or hinderance. She, on the contrary, might be espoused by her master, or betrothed to his son, in which case she did not go out at all, except for ill-treatment or neglect. Similarly Keil and others.
Saalschiitz176 maintains that Deuteronomy 15 refers to an actual maidservant whom her owner sells to another, and who gains, by this transaction, the privilege of going out free after six years' service with the second master.
In Exodus 21, the reference is, he thinks, to one who has previously been free, but whom her father sells into servitude with certain stipulations and guarantees as to her future position and rights in the family.
Sons sharing estate
Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac.
But he shall acknowledge the son of the hated, the firstborn, by giving him a double portion of all that he hath: for he is the beginning of his strength; the right of the firstborn is his.
174 Genesis of Pent. ii. 361.
175 Conciliator,!. 178.
176 See in Bib. Sacra, xix. 32-75.
A late writer says: "According to the Deuteronomist the firstborn was to receive a double portion; formerly the son's shared alike." He, however, gives no quotation sustaining the latter part of his statement, and we have not been able to find any which is conclusive. Even Genesis 21:10, quoted above, does not seem satisfactory.
Isaac received "all" of his father's property, with the exception of some "gifts" to his half-brothers.177 Joseph virtually enjoyed the rights of primogeniture; for his two sons were reckoned among his father's heirs, and on precisely the same footing with them.178
THE FIRST IS BEFORE MOSES' TIME AND PERTAINED TO THE PROMISE GOD GAVE TO ABRAHAM; THE SON BORN TO THE BONDWOMAN WAS SARAH AND ABRAHAM'S DOING. GOD WOULD STILL DO WHAT HE PROMISED TO ABRAHAM THROUGH SARAH, AND THE SON PROMISED TO THEM BY GOD. THE LATTER IS A LAW UNDER MOSES - Keith Hunt
Loved as a brother.
But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.
Not thus loved.
Of a foreigner thou mayest exact it again: but that which is thine with thy brother thy hand shall release.
Unto a stranger thou mayest lend upon usury; but unto thy brother thou shalt not lend upon usury.
The first text need not be pressed as prescribing that absolutely no distinction shall be made between a foreigner and a native-born Israelite.
Or, perhaps, the first text alludes to a stranger who has become a proselyte; the other two to one who is not such.
Under common regulations.
One law shall be to him that is home-born, and unto the stranger that sojourneth among you.
Ye shall therefore keep my statutes and my judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations; neither any of your own nation, nor any stranger that sojourneth among you.
Some license allowed.
Ye shall not eat of any thing that dieth of itself: thou shalt give it unto the stranger that is in thy gates, that he may eat it; or thou mayest sell it unto an alien; for thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God.
In respect to matters of fundamental importance, foreignborn and native citizens were under the same law.
178Compare Genesis 47:5; Numbers 1:10; 1 Chronicles 5:1-2; Ezekiel 47:13; 48:4-5.
In matters of trivial consequence the foreigner was left more at liberty. There was no forcible proselytism under the Mosaic law.
AS BEFORE, THE SAME LAW FOR HOME BORN AND PROSELYTE. THE OTHER FOR THOSE VISITING SHALL WE SAY, IN ISRAEL - NON-PROSELYTE - Keith Hunt
Of no poor man.
If thou lend money to any of my people that is poor by thee,
thou shalt not be to him as an usurer, neither shalt thou lay upon him usury.
Of no Hebrew.
Thou shalt not lend upon usury to thy brother; usury of money,
usury of victuals, usury of anything that is lent upon usury.
Michaelis179 says that, "in process of time, a prohibition became necessary, otherwise no poor person would ever have got any loan." Jahn180 thinks that a difficulty arose in determining who was to be considered a poor person; hence it became necessary to extend the prohibition to all Hebrews, so that henceforth interest could be taken only of foreigners.
Davidson181 concedes the wisdom of this arrangement, and adds: "It is easy to see that this would limit their commerce with other nations, and by so doing preserve their religious faith from contamination."
Do not I hate them, O Lord, that hate
thee? and am not I grieved with those
that rise up against thee? I hate them
with perfect hatred: I count them mine
But love ye your enemies, and do good.
Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.
The first texts are simply an intense Oriental way of expressing David's utter abhorrence of the vile principles and conduct of the wicked. Viewed simply as depraved and corrupt, he "hated" them; viewed as human beings, he loved them, and desired their repentance and reformation.
Calvin: "Because, devoted to the cultivation of piety, he thoroughly abhorred all impiety."
YOU CAN HATE THE SINS OF PEOPLE, SO EXPRESSED AS "I HATE THEM" FOR THEIR SINS, AND FOR RISING UP AGAINST GOD, I.E. THE ATHEIST. THEN YOU CAN STILL LOVE THOSE AGAINST GOD, BY DOING GOOD TOWARDS THEM - Keith Hunt
He that justifietn the wicked,
and he that condemneth the just,
even they both are abomination
to the Lord.
He that saith unto the wicked, Thou art righteous; him shall the people curse.
Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil .... Which justify the wicked for reward.
Isaiah 5:20, 23
But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.
179 Vol. i. p. 338.
180Bib. Archaeol. Sec. 251.
181Introd. to Old Testament, i. 345.
In the first instances, the term "justify" denotes the acquittal of the wicked through bribes; helping the criminal to escape his just deserts. In the last case, the term implies the gracious act of God in pardoning the sinner, and cleansing him from guilt.
Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.
A man also or a woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death.
But refuse profane and old wives'
fables, and exercise thyself rather unto
1 Timothy 4:7
Keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings.
1 Timothy 6:20
A critic whom we have quoted often, objects to the Pentateuch, that it "sanctioned the belief in witchcraft by enjoining a wizard to be put to death; whereas we know that such belief was superstition." To this it is a sufficient
1. Admitting that the terms "witchcraft," "wizard," and the like, were used
in their modern signification, as implying the "possession of supernatural or magical power by compact with evil spirits," it would follow, upon theocratic principles, that he who so much as pretends to exercise this power—thereby deceiving the people, and seducing them from their allegiance to God—would be worthy of death. The law does not decide as to the validity of his claims, or the success of his attempts; but simply says, "The man or woman who assumes to exercise witchcraft shall be put to death."
2. But there is reason to believe that the foregoing terms do not bear, in
the Scriptures, their modern meaning. As Sir Walter Scott182 observes: The
sorcery or witchcraft of the Old Testament resolves itself into a trafficking with
182 "Letters on Demonology and Witchcraft;" Letter 2.
idols, and asking counsel of false deities; or, in other words, into idolatry. This opinion is entertained by many other writers; as, for example, Dr. Graves,183 Mr. Denham,184 and Mr. R. S. Poole.185 The latter author regards it as a distinctive characteristic of the Bible that from first to last it warrants no trust or dread of charms and incantations as capable of producing evil consequences when used against a man. In the Psalms, the most personal of all the books of Scripture, there is no prayer to be protected against magical influences. The believer prays to be delivered from every kind of evil that could hurt the body or soul, but he says nothing of the machinations of sorcerers.
These facts go to prove that the modern notion of witchcraft, which the above-named critic justly characterizes as "superstition," was entirely unknown to the early Hebrews. Witchcraft with them and throughout the Scriptures, was a species of idolatry.186 So that the critic's objection above quoted, falls pointless to the ground.
Woman—condition and rights
Should he in subjection.
Thy desire shall be to thy husband, and
he shall rule over thee.
The head of the woman is the man.
1 Corinthians 11:3
They are commanded
to be under obedience, as also saith the law.
1 Corinthians 14:34
Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. . . . Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
Ephesians 5:22, 24
For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands, even as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord.
1 Peter 3:5-6
May bear rule.
And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, she judged Israel at that time. . . . And the children of Israel came up to her for judgment. . . . And Deborah said unto Barak, Up; for this is the day in which the Lord hath delivered Sisera into thy hand: is not the Lord gone out before thee? So Barak went down from mount Tabor, and ten thousand men after him.
And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon, she came to prove Solomon with hard questions at Jerusalem.
2 Chronicles 9:1
Candace queen of the Ethiopians.
The cases mentioned in Chronicles and Acts are related as mere matters of history. Besides, the queens of Sheba and Ethiopia were Gentile rulers, and did not arise under the Theocracy.
183Lect. on Pent. i. 190 (second edition).
184Kitto, iii. 1120 (Alexander's edition).
185 Smith's Bib. Diet., Art. "Magic."
186See Deuteronomy, 18:10-11; 2 Chronicles 33:5-6; Galatians 5:20; Revelation 21:8.
The case of Deborah is clearly an exceptional one; tending therefore to confirm the general rule. Cassel remarks: "That she, a woman, became the center of the people, proves the relaxation of spiritual and manly energy." Professor Bush has the ingenious suggestion that had her office, at the time, been discharged by a man, the circumstance might have excited king Jabin's suspicion, and led to increased violence and oppression on his part.
OKAY DEBORAH IS AN EXCEPTION TO THE NORM, BUT GOD ALLOWS EXCEPTIONS…. OBVIOUSLY - Keith Hunt
Must keep silence.
Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.
1 Corinthians 14:34-35
Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.
1 Timothy 2:11-12
May prophesy and teach.
Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron.
And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, she judged Israel at that time.
Hilkiah the priest, and Ahikam, and Achbor, and Shaphan, and Asahiah, went unto Huldah the prophetess. ... And she said unto them, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel.
2 Kings 22:14-15
And there was one Anna, a prophetess, . .. which departed not from the temple. .. . And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.
And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.
Whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly.
And the same man had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy.
Salute Tryphena and Tryphosa, who labour in the Lord. Salute the beloved Per sis, which laboured much in the Lord.
But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoreth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.
1 Corinthians 11:5
Help those women which laboured with me in the gospel.
It is difficult to scan carefully the texts which mention prophecy and teach, and by implication commend, female prophets and teachers; and at the same time believe that the first texts were meant to overbalance these, and to prohibit, everywhere and for all time, woman's speaking upon religious topics, in promiscuous assemblies, or in public. Yet several of the best commentators, Alford, Ellicott, Wordsworth, Neander, Conybeare, Schaff, Meyer,187 and Huther, apparently take this view of the case. Still, with fitting deference, we may ask whether after all the texts from Corinthians and Timothy may not have been intended for a local and specific, rather than a general, application. Was there not something in the situation and surroundings of those to whom Paul was writing which warrants this supposition? Many circumstances seems to favor this view. We find that sensuality prevailed in the city of Corinth to an almost unprecedented extent. Mr. Conybeare188 speaks of the "peculiar licentiousness of manners" prevalent there, and adds, "So notorious was this, that it had actually passed into the vocabulary of the Greek tongue, and the very word 'to Corinthianize' meant 'to play the wanton; nay the bad reputation of the city had become proverbial, even in foreign languages, and is immortalized by the Latin poets."
The same author, enumerating the evils which prevailed at that time in the Corinthian church, says that "women had forgotten the modesty of their sex, and came forward unveiled (contrary to the habit of their country) to address the public assembly." It would seem, then, that any Corinthian woman, making herself conspicuous, or attempting to speak in public, would be deemed unchaste. Does not this fact furnish the key to the interpretation of the texts above mentioned? Does Paul in these texts, counsel anything more than a prudent regard to the customs and prejudices of the people, for the sake of avoiding scandal? And might not similar circumstances in Ephesus where Timothy was, have prompted the like counsel to him?
Neander189 thinks that, in 1 Corinthians 11 Paul merely refers for example to what was going on in the Corinthian church, reserving his denunciation of it, to the proper place in chapter 14.
The ancient Montanists held that the former passage was meant to be an exception to the rule, covering those cases in which the immediate operation of the Divine Spirit raised up prophets from the female sex; also, that Paul meant to restrain females from didactic addresses, but not from the public expression of
187This author in his last edition, concedes that the prohibition does not apply to the smaller religious assemblies of the church, which, he thinks, might fall under the head of "churches in the house," Hausgemeinden. Compare Romans 16:5; 1 Corinthians 16:19. See his Com. on 1 Corinthians 11:4.
188Life and Epistles of St. Paul, Vol. ii. pp. 27, 31 (American edition).
189 Planting and Training, p. 150. See also Schaff, Hist, of Apostol. Church, 508-509.
their feelings. Dr. Adam Clarke thinks that the apostle merely prohibits a woman's questioning, disputing, etc., as men were allowed to do, in the synagogues and public assemblies. They were to speak, if at all, in a modest manner, by way of suggestion rather than dictation. Other modern writers take a similar view.
It is beyond reasonable question that the history of missionary enterprises, as well as of revivals, decidedly negatives any such rigid and absolute interpretation and application of the texts in the first series as shall tend to cripple the energies of the church of Christ.
BAD UNDERSTANDING OF THE SUBJECT BY THE AUTHOR. I HAVE WRITTEN VERY EXTENSIVELY ON THIS MATTER IN MY STUDIES ON "CHURCH GOVERNMENT" AND DR. BACCHIOCCHI HAS ALSO IN HIS BOOK "WOMEN'S ROLE IN THE CHURCH." THERE IS MUCH TO COVER ON THIS SUBJECT. THE READER CAN REFER TO THE WORKS I'VE JUST MENTIONED; THEY ARE ON MY WEBSITE - Keith Hunt
END OF ETHICAL DISCREPANCIES.
TO BE CONTINUED