SO-CALLED  CONTRADICTIONS  OF  THE  BIBLE  #8




Ethical Discrepancies

1. Duty of Man—Toward God

Blessing gained


By those who see.


Blessed are the eyes which see the things

that ye see.

Luke 10:23


Those who see not.


Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

John 20:29



The word "blessed," in the first case seems to mean "highly favored," enjoying peculiar privileges;" in the latter, "worthy of commendation."

Andrew Fuller: "There is a wide difference between requiring sight as the ground of faith, which Thomas did, and obtaining it as the completion of faith, which those who saw the coming and kingdom of the Messiah did. The one was in species of unbelief, the other was faith terminating in vision."

The reader need not be reminded that no rigid and precise classification has been attempted. That arrangement which seemed most natural and obvious has generally been adopted. The mere classification of discrepancies is a trivial matter in comparison with their solution.



Blood—disposal



Poured upon altar.


The blood of thy sacrifices shall be

poured out upon the altar.

                                         Deuteronomy 12:27


Sprinkled upon it.


The priests shall sprinkle the blood

upon the altar round about.

Leviticus 3:2



Maimonides, whose knowledge of Hebrew customs and traditions was unsurpassed, says that a part of the blood was sprinkled upon the altar, and the remainder poured out at the bottom of it.

The Septuagint and Vulgate render the Hebrew word in Leviticus "pour" and "pour out."2 A part of the blood was disposed of in one way and the rest in another. Smith's Bib. Diet says that the priest, after he had sprinkled the altar of incense with die blood, "poured out what remained at the foot of die altar of burnt-offering." Outram:3 "The blood of the paschal lamb, of the male firstlings, and of the tithes, was considered as rightly sprinkled, if it were only poured out at either corner of the altar."



Covered with dust.


He  shall  even  pour  out  the  blood

thereof, and cover it with dust.

Leviticus 17:13


Poured out as water.


Thou shalt pour it upon the earth as

water.

                                         Deuteronomy 12:24


Strange that a recent author who deems this a discrepancy could not see that the blood might be "poured upon the earth," and afterward "covered with the dust."



Christ's execution


Lawful.


We have a law, and by our law he ought

to die.

John 19:7


Unlawful.


It is not lawful for us to put any man

to death.

John 18:31



The first text refers to the Mosaic code, the second to the restrictions imposed by the Roman government. The meaning of the combined passages is, "By our code of laws he ought to die, but it is not lawful for us (not permitted us by the Roman government) to put any man to death."

Alford: "From the time when Archelaus was deposed (a.d. 6 or 7) and Judea became a Roman province, it would follow by the Roman law, that the

2 Fuerst says the word means, to moisten, to wet.

3 On Sacrifices, chap. xvi.



Jews lost the power of life and death." From Josephus,4 we learn that it was not permitted the high priest even to assemble a sanhedrim without the consent of the Roman procurator.



Covenant basis


Religious laws.


And he said, Behold I make a covenant. . . . Write thou these words: for after the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with thee and with

Exodus 34:10, 27


Civil laws.


Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord, and all the judgments. . . . The covenant, which the Lord hath made with you concerning all these words.


Exodus 24:3, 8



The discrepancy which a late writer finds here has no existence, except in his imagination. The first passage clearly makes the decalogue the foundation of the "covenant."5 The "words" and "judgments" of the second passage begin with the decalogue in the twentieth chapter, so that both passages concur in making that decalogue the "basis" of the "covenant."


Covering of sin


Approved.


Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.

Psalm 32:1

Denounced.


He that covereth his  sins  shall not

prosper.

Proverbs 28:13



In the first text, the parallelism shows that the "covering of sin" means its remission or atonement. The second, as the context evinces, refers to its unjustifiable concealment.

The first text alludes to God's gracious act in forgiving sin; the second to roans wicked act in conniving at it, and hiding it.



Crimes specified


One list.


Cursed be the man that maketh any graven or molten image, an abomination unto the Lord, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and putteth it in a secret place: and all the people shall answer and say, Amen, etc.


                                          

                                      Deuteronomy 27:15-26


A different list.


And God spake all these words, saying, I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me, etc.

                                     Exodus 20:1—23:336

4 Antiq. xx. 9, 1. 

5 See Exodus 34:28, last clause. 

6 Passages abridged here, and in several cases.



Keil, on Deuteronomy 27:26: "From this last curse, which applies to even-breach of the law, it evidently follows, that the different sins and transgressions already mentioned were only selected by way of example, and for the most part were such as could be easily concealed from the judicial authorities."

Similarly Le Clerc and Michaelis.



David's conduct


Strayed from God.


I have gone astray like a lost sheep.

Psalm 119:176


Did not stray.


Yet I erred not from thy precepts.

Psalm 119:110



David does not charge himself with any moral obliquity, but sets forth his desolate and perilous condition. The Hebrew of "have gone astray" means, according to Gesenius, "to be thrust hither and thither." Surely this was David's experience.

Menasseh ben Israel takes the first text as alluding to the "troubles and misfortunes which David experienced in this world—constantly persecuted, and fleeing from one place to another to escape from Saul and his own son."


A man of perfect heart. 


His heart was not perfect with the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father. Because David did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord, and turned not aside from any thing that he commanded him all the days of his life, save only in the matter of Uriah the Hittite.

1 Kings 15:3, 5


I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will.

Acts 13:22


Committed sin.


David's heart smote him after that he had numbered the people. And David said unto the Lord, I have sinned greatly in that I have done.

2 Samuel 24:10


Thou hast been a man of war, and hast shed blood.


1 Chronicles 28:3



The quotation from Acts refers to David early in life,7 before he had fallen into those great sins which cast such a shadow upon his administration.

Again, the praise bestowed upon David contemplates him in relation to his predecessor and successors in the kingly office. In comparison with them, his heart was "perfect with the Lord his God." Hackett:8 "This commendation is not absolute, but describes the character of David in comparison with that of

7See 1 Samuel 13:14.

8On Acts 13:22.



Saul." Smith's Bib. Diet, says, "The commendation has been made too much of. It merely indicates a man whom God will approve, in distinction from Saul, who was rejected."

Besides, David's repentance was as deep and thorough as his sins were flagrant and aggravated. On this subject Mr. Carlyle 9 fitly and forcibly remarks: "Who is called 'the man after God's own heart'? David, the Hebrew king, had fallen into sins enough—blackest crimes—there was no want of sin. And, therefore, unbelievers sneer, and ask, 'Is this your man according to God's heart'? The sneer, I must say, seems to me but a shallow one. What are faults, what are the outward details of a life, if the inner secret of it, the remorse, temptations, the often-baffled, never-ended struggle of it, be forgotten? . . . David's life and history, as written for us in those Psalms of his, I consider to be the truest emblem ever given us of a man's moral progress and warfare here below. All earnest souls will ever discover in it the faithful struggle of an earnest human soul towards what is good and best. Struggle often baffled—sore baffled—driven as into entire wreck; yet a struggle never ended, ever with tears, repentance, true unconquerable purpose, begun anew."

In this his constant attitude as a moral hero "striving against sin," who when "cast down is not destroyed," but springs up, to renew the conflict, David challenges our admiration.



Fast—observance


Enjoined.


On the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you. . . . And ye shall do no work in that same day: ... for whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people.

Leviticus 23:27-29


Disregarded.


And at that time Solomon held a feast, and all Israel with him, . . . before the Lord our God, seven days and seven days, even fourteen days. On the eighth day he sent the people away.

1 Kings 8:65-66


And on the three and twentieth day of the seventh month he sent the people away into their tents.

2 Chronicles 7:10



It cannot be proved that Solomon did not keep the day of atonement according to the law in Leviticus. The feast of tabernacles began on the fifteenth and ended on the twenty-second of the month; closing with a "holy convocation" the "eighth day,"10 at the end of which Solomon dismissed the people; the dismission

9 Heroes and Hero-worship, p. 72. 

10 Leviticus 23:33-39.



taking effect the next morning, the twenty-third. In this manner the accounts in Kings and Chronicles harmonize perfectly.

We may suppose that the first series of seven days was not entirely consecutive, but began with the seventh, and included three days before and four days after the tenth, or "day of atonement," which was fitly observed. Or it may be that this series began with the eighth day of the month, while the "day of atonement," being itself a religious solemnity of high importance, and from the brevity of the narrative, is reckoned in as one of the days of festivity, although it was kept according to the law.

The latter seems to be the opinion of eminent Jewish critics.11 Bahr: "Old commentators say that the dedication rendered it unusually solemn; others, that, as it was a fast-day, its observance was for the time omitted."



Firstborn sons


Dedicated.


The firstborn of thy sons shalt thou

give unto me.

Exodus 22:29


Redeemed.


All the firstborn of man among thy

children shalt thou redeem.

Exodus 13:13



Keil: "The adoption of the firstborn on the part of Jehovah was a perpetual guarantee to the whole nation of the right of covenant fellowship." The firstborn sons, though specially consecrated to God, were allowed to be redeemed, and Levites substituted in their stead.12



Firstling animals


Redeemable.


Then shalt thou turn it into money, etc. Deuteronomy 


          

                                                                          14:22-26


Not redeemable.


The firstling of a cow, or the firstling of a sheep, or the firstling of a goat, thou shalt not redeem.


Numbers 18:17



The first passage does not, as some pretend, sanction the redemption of firstlings. It merely allows them, for convenience' sake, to be "turned into money"; but the money must be taken to the prescribed place, and there expended for articles of food and drink to be consumed in the same manner as the original firstlings would have been. It was simply an arrangement for the accommodation of the offerer.

11Conciliator, i. 235.

12Numbers 3:12-13.



Redeemed with money. 


The firstling of unclean beasts shalt thou redeem. . . . According to thine estimation, for the money of five shekels.


Numbers 18:15-16


With an animal, or slain. 


The firstling of an ass thou shalt redeem with a lamb: and if thou redeem him not, then shalt thou break his neck.


Exodus 34:20



Keil thinks that "the earlier law, which commanded that an ass should be redeemed with a sheep, or else be put to death, was modified in favor of the revenues of the sanctuary and its servants." Money would be more serviceable than numerous animals, by way of commutation.



Sanctified.


All the firstling males that come of thy herd and of thy flock thou shalt sanctify onto the Lord thy God.


                                         Deuteronomy 15:19


Not sanctified.


The firstling of the beasts, which should be the Lord's firstling, no man shall sanctify it.

Leviticus 27:26



Keil: "What belonged to the Lord by law could not be dedicated to him by the vow." It would be mockery to give him what was already his.


Idolatry


God only, worshipped. 


Thou shalt have no other gods before me. . . . Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them.

Exodus 20:3, 5


Other beings adored.


God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God which fed me all my life long unto this day. The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads.


Genesis 48:15-16


Behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand. . . . And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship.

Joshua 5:13-14



"God before whom my fathers walked," "God who fed me all my life," and the "Angel who redeemed me" are three appellations of one and the same Being. 

Lange: "A threefold naming of God." Murphy: "Jacob's threefold periphrasis is intended to describe the one God who wills, works, and wards."

On Joshua 5:14, Keil says the Hebrew word employed here "does not always mean divine worship, but very frequently means nothing more than the deep Oriental reverence paid by a dependant to his superior or king."13 Gesenius: "This honor was paid not only to superiors, as to kings and princes, but also to equals."14 There is, then, no idolatry in either case.

13 Samuel 9:6; 14:33.


Capitally punished.


If there be found among you, . . . man or woman that hath wrought wickedness in the sight of the Lord thy God, in transgressing his covenant. And hath gone and served other gods, and worshipped them... . The hands of the witnesses shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterward the hands of all the people.

                                     Deuteronomy 17:2-3, 715



Punishment undesired.


For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God. Ezekiel 18:32



The capital punishment of idolaters was not a thing desirable per se, but it was enjoined out of regard to the welfare of the people and the security of the government. Under the theocracy, in which God was the sole Lawgiver and King, idolatry was simply high treason, and must be severely punished, or the very existence of the government would be endangered.

Michaelis:16 "As the only true God was the civil legislator of the people of Israel, and accepted by them as their King, idolatry was a crime against the state, and therefore just as deservedly punished with death as high treason is with us. Whoever worshipped strange gods shook, at the same time, the whole fabric of the laws, and rebelled against him in whose name the government was carried on."

Dr. Jahn:17 "Whoever in the Hebrew nation, over which Jehovah was King, worshipped another god, or practised any superstitions, by this very act renounced his allegiance to his king, and deserted to another. He committed high treason, and was properly considered a public criminal. Whoever incited others to idolatry incited them to rebellion, and was a mover of sedition. Therefore death was justly awarded as the punishment of idolatry and its kindred arts, magic, necromancy, and soothsaying; and also of inciting to idolatry."


Image-making


Sanctioned


And thou shalt make two cherubim of gold, beaten work shalt thou make them, in the two ends of the mercy-seat. . . . And the cherubim shall stretch forth their wings on high, covering the mercy-seat with their wings.... And in the candlestick shall be four bowls made like unto almonds, with their knops and their flowers.

                                        Exodus 25:18, 20, 34


And the Lord said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole.

Numbers 21:8


The throne had six steps. . . . And twelve lions stood there on the one side and on the other upon the six steps: there was not the like made in any kingdom.

1 Kings 10:19-20



Forbidden.


Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing. . . . Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them.

Exodus 20:4-5


Take heed unto yourselves, lest ye forget the covenant of the Lord your God, which he made with you, and make you a graven image, or the likeness of any thing, which the Lord thy God hath forbidden thee.

Deuteronomy 4:23


Cursed be the man that maketh any graven or molten image, an abomination unto the Lord, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and putteth it in a secret place.

                                         Deuteronomy 27:15


14 Genesis 23:7; Exodus 18:7; 1 Kings 2:19.

15 See Deuteronomy 13:6-11.

16 Commentary on Laws of Moses, iv. 11.

17 History of Hebrew Commonwealth, p. 19 (English edition).




Some interpret the prohibitions as referring to images intended to represent the Divine Being.

Michaelis:18 "It is evident that images of the Deity are alone spoken of in all these passages, and that, if we infer the prohibition of painting and sculpture from these texts, we might with equal reason from the words that follow, "Thou shalt not lift up thine eyes to heaven, to behold the sun, moon, and stars," infer that we are never to raise our eyes to heaven, and contemplate the sun, moon, and stars, but rather to walk upon all fours forever."

Josephus19 and Menasseh ben Israel 20 apply the prohibition to images made for the purposes of idolatry. The latter, with Rabbi Isaac Arama, also restricts it to the likeness of existing, and not of imaginary things.

Further, the cherubim were not "graven images," but were of "beaten work," as Murphy says, "formed by the hammer, of malleable gold." Nor were they made "In the likeness" of any created thing whatever. Their form was purely ideal."

Hengstenberg:21 "The cherubim is a representative of creation in its highest grade, an ideal creature. The vital powers communicated to the most elevated existences in the visible creation are collected and individualized in it."

In this view Josephus, Bochart, Stuart,22 and Fairbairn 23 substantially agree. Thus it is clear that neither the making of the cherubim nor the other cases of sculpture or image-making was a violation of the second commandment. The idolatrous purpose at which the prohibition is aimed was wanting in all of the foregoing instances.


18 Com. on Laws of Moses, iv. 52.

19 Antiq. iii. v. 5.

20 Conciliator, i. 154-157.

21 Egypt and Books of Moses, 168.

22 On Revelation 4:6-8.

23 Typology, i. 261-262 (4th edition).



Israel's transgression


Ineradicable.


For though thou wash thee with nitre, and take thee much soap, yet thine iniquity is marked before me.

Jeremiah 2:22


To be removed.


O Jerusalem, wash thine heart from wickedness, that thou mayest be saved. How long shall thy vain thoughts lodge within thee?

Jeremiah 4:14



Abarhanel: "Although you wash and cleanse yourself outwardly, your iniquity is marked." That is, by no external rites and ceremonies can you be cleansed; your hearts must be purified by penitence.



Jerusalem—ethical aspect


A delight to God.


The Lord loveth the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob. Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God.

Psalm 87:2-3


For the Lord hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation.

Psalm 132:13



A provocation.


For this city has been to me as a provocation of mine anger and of my fury from the day that they built it even unto this day; that I should remove it from before my face.

Jeremiah 32:31



In the first passages there is, as Tholuck says, "no reference to Jerusalem according to her earthly aspects, with her streets and walls and palaces." It is the churchy which is figuratively styled "Zion" and "city of God."

Calvin; "Christ has by his advent extended Mount Zion to the ends of the earth." Jeremiah refers to the literal Jerusalem.


BAD  UNDERSTANDING:  THE  CITY  IS  THE  LITERAL  CITY  OF  JERUSALEM.  THE  SAME  KIND  OF  THOUGHT  IS  IN  GOD  MAKING  MANKIND….IT  WAS  GOOD;  YET  LATER  IT  IS  WRITTEN  HE  REPENTED  OF  MAKING  MANKIND  FOR  THE  WICKEDNESS  THAT  CAME.  JERUSALEM  CAN  BE  BOTH  A  GLORY  TO  GOD  AND  ALSO  REPUGNANT  WITHIN  DIFFERENT  SITUATIONS  AND  TIMES. THE  WORDS  "FROM  THE  DAY  THAT  THEY  BUILT  IT  EVEN  UNTO  THIS  DAY"  IS  A  FIGURE  OF  SPEACH  USED  BY  GOD  AS  HE  IN  THIS  SITUATION  ONLY  THINKS  OF  ALL  THE  EVIL  IT  PRODUCED [OF  COURSE  THERE  WAS  GOOD,  AS  UNDER  THE  REIGN  OF  DAVID  AND  SOLOMON]  -  Keith Hunt



Judging of David


Desired.


Judge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness, and according to mine integrity that is in me.

Psalm 7:8


Deprecated.


Enter not into judgment with thy servant: for in thy sight shall no man living be justified.

Psalm 143:2



The first text has reference to one particular case, the controversy between David and "Cush 24 the Benjamite." David knew himself to be guiltless of the crimes alleged against him by this enemy; hence his appeal: "As to this charge, God knows that I am innocent." But, on a retrospect of his whole life, he

* The Jewish expositors understood Saul to be meant; others say Shimei.


acknowledges his ill-desert in general, and exclaims: "Enter not into judgment with thy servant." A man may be absolutely innocent, even in God's sight, with reference to a certain accusation, yet not sinless in respect to his whole life.



Just man's life


By faith.


The just shall live by his faith.

Habakkuk2:4


By deeds.


If a man be just, and do that which is lawful and right.... he shall surely live, saith the Lord God.

Ezekiel 18:5, 9


The faith is such as produces good works; the deeds are such as spring from living faith. One text speaks of the subject in one relation; the other, in a different, yet not incompatible one.



Monarchy


Sanctioned by God.


When thou art come unto the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, and shalt possess it, and shalt dwell therein, and shalt say, I will set a king over me, like as all the nations that are about me; thou shalt in anywise set him king over thee, whom the Lord thy God shall choose.

Deuteronomy 17:14-15



Offensive to Him.


Make us a king to judge us like all the nations. . . . And the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, . . . but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.

1 Samuel 8:5, 7


Is it not wheat harvest to day? I will call unto the Lord, and he shall send thunder and rain; that ye may perceive and see that your wickedness is great, which ye have done in the sight of the Lord, in asking you a king.

1 Samuel 12:17



The rationalistic objection is that the monarchy was contemplated and provided for in the law, yet was afterwards declared to be offensive in the sight of God. To this objection Jewish interpreters25 reply as follows. It is said, in Tosa-pfaoth, that the sin lay "not in demanding a king, but in the mode of so doing, Tike all the nations,'" virtually equivalent to a wish to become like surrounding idolaters. Maimonides and Nachmanides: In making their demand in the shape at a complaint, as if they were tired of Samuel's administration, and wished to

15 See Menasseh ben Israel's Conciliator, i. 285-289.



be rid of him. The Cabalists: In acting prematurely, or asking impatiently and at an improper time.

Abarbanel: "The divine will was not that they should elect a king, for God was the true King of Israel." That is, Deuteronomy 17 was not a command, nor even a permission, to choose a king, but a mere prophetic statement of what God foresaw they would do. It is not said, "When you enter the land, place a king over you," but, "When thou art come unto the land, and shalt say, I will set," etc.

Professor Keil finds the wrong in their overlooking their own misconduct, and in distrusting God and his guidance. "In such a state of mind as this, their desire for a king was a contempt and rejection of the kingly government of Jehovah, and was nothing more than forsaking him to serve other gods."



Motherhood


Blessed.


Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by

the sides of thy house.

Psalm 128:3



To be expiated.


She shall bring a lamb of the first year for a burnt offering, and a young pigeon, or a turtledove, for a sin offering, unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, unto the priest: who shall offer it before the Lord, and make an atonement for her.

Leviticus 12:6-7



Michaelis thinks that Moses, by such laws, intended to "represent theological truths in a figurative manner."

Abarbanel:26 "As no one bears pains and troubles in this world without guilt; and as there is no chastisement without sin; and lastly, as every woman bears children with pain and danger, hence every one is commanded, after childbirth, to offer an expiatory sacrifice."


IT  IS  WRONG  TO  SAY  OR  BELIEVE  EVERY  WOMAN  BEARS  CHILDREN  "IN  PAIN"  -  SUCH  IS  NOT  THE  CASE  AS  THOUSANDS  OF  WOMEN  BEAR  TESTIMONY  TO.  I  HAVE  A  STUDY  ON  THIS  WEBSITE  THAT  CORRECTLY  UNDERSTANDS  THE  PASSAGE  IN  GENESIS  THAT  SAY  IN  EFFECT  WOMEN  WOULD  BEAR  CHILDREN  IN  PAIN  -  Keith Hunt



Leyrer 27 says that this and all the other rites of purification were intended "to foster the constant humiliation of fallen man; to remind him in all the leading processes of natural life—generation, birth, eating, disease, death—how everything, even his own bodily nature, lies under the curse of sin, that so the law might become a schoolmaster to bring unto Christ, and awaken and sustain the longing for a Redeemer from the curse which had fallen upon his body."

Mr. Clark, in Bible Commentary: "The conclusion, then, appears to be reasonable that all the rites of purification were intended to remind the Israelite

26 On Leviticus 12; quoted in Outram on Sacrifices, p. 145.

27 In Keil.


that he belonged to a fallen race, and that he needed a purification and atonement which he could not effect for himself."



Paul's moral state


Nothing good in him.


For I know that in me (that is, in my

flesh,) dwelleth no good thing.

Romans 7:18


Christ dwelt in him.


I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me. Galatians 2:20



In these passages Paul speaks in two distinct relations. "In me, that is, in my flesh"—in my lower, carnal self. "Christ liveth in me"—in my higher, spiritual self, in my renewed heart in which Christ is enthroned. This is Alford's view. Hodge takes substantially the same view. Some interpret the first text as describing Paul previous to his conversion; the latter, as applying to him after that event.


Piety evinced


By profession.


No man can say that Jesus is the Lord,

but by the Holy Ghost.

1 Corinthians 12:3


Profession useless.


Not every one that saith unto me, Lord,

Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of

heaven.

Matthew 7:21


And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?

Luke 6:46



The word "say," in the first text, does not imply the mere utterance of the words, but the hearty and spontaneous confession of belief in the Messiahship of Jesus. In the last texts the calling of him "Lord," "Lord," is mere lip service.



Prayer


May be in public.


And Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in the presence of all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward heaven: and he said, Lord God of Israel, there is no God like thee.

1 Kings 8:22-23


His windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime. Then these men assembled, and found Daniel praying.

Daniel 6:10-11



Should be in private.


He went in therefore, and shut the door

upon them twain, and prayed unto the

Lord.

2 Kings 4:33


When thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret. Matthew 6:5-6



I will therefore that men pray every where.

1 Timothy 2:8


He went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.

Luke 6:12


Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour.

Acts 10:9



It is not publicity, but ostentation in prayer, which is prohibited; not praying in public, but praying in conspicuous places to "be seen of men." The motive, not the place, is the thing in question. Chrysostom and Augustine both caution us against a merely literal interpretation of Matthew 6:6.


PRAYING  IN  A  CHURCH  SERVICE  IS  ONE  THING,  BUT  PRAYING  TO  THOUSANDS  OR  MILLIONS  OF  CASUAL  ANYBODY  VIEWING  ON  TV,  THE  TV  EVANGELIST,  IS  QUITE  ANTHER  SITUATION;  PRAYING  TO  THAT  KIND  OF  OUTSIDE  AUDIENCE  IS  AN  EXERCISE  IN  VANITY  -  Keith Hunt



Incessant.


Because of his importunity he will rise

and give him as many as he needeth.

Luke 11:8


Men ought always to pray, and not to faint; . . . Shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him.


Luke 18:1, 7


Brief.


When ye pray, use not vain repetitions as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.


Matthew 6:7-8



There are abundant examples of the "vain repetitions" which Jesus prohibits. Lightfoot adduces a Jewish maxim, "He who multiplies prayer is heard."

The priests of Baal, in their frantic orgies before their idols sacrifices, cried from morning even until noon saying, "O Baal, hear us; O Baal, hear us."28 Another instance is that of the mob at Ephesus, who for about two hours cried out, "Great is Diana of the Ephesians."29

The Mohammedan monks in India often practise these "vain repetitions" for days together. They have been known to repeat a single syllable of supposed religious efficacy until their strength was exhausted, and they could no longer speak.30 A missionary writes that in Orissa some heathen worshippers sit for many hours of the day and night pronouncing the name of Krisnu on a string of beads.

Alford, with great fitness, adduces the "Paternosters" and "Ave Marias" of the Romish church as examples in point.

It is such idle, empty "repetitions" as the above which the Greek term "bat-talogeo" designates, and which Christ condemns, and not fervent, importunate supplication.


281 Kings 18:26-29.

29 Acts 19:34.

30 Hackett on Acts, p. 322. See, also, Morier's Second Journey, p. 176.


Repentance


Esau unable to repent.


He   found   no   place   of repentance,

though  he  sought  it  carefully with

tears.

Hebrews 12:17



Ought to have repented.


God ... commandeth all men every

where to repent.

Acts 17:30



Most modern commentators, as Stuart, Tholuck, Ebrard, Barnes, interpret the first text, "found no place for a change of mind in his father." But Alford, Bleek, Delitzsch, De Wette, Hofmann, and others take it as meaning that he found no way open to reverse what had been done. "He might change; but the penalty could not, from the very nature of the circumstances, be taken off." He might secure the salvation of his soul; but he could not regain the forfeited birthright, nor secure the revocation of the blessing pronounced prophetically upon Jacob.



Righteousness


Perilous.


Be not righteous over much; neither make thyself over wise: why shouldest thou destroy thyself?

Ecclesiastes 7:16


Want of it, perilous.


Be not over much wicked, neither be thou foolish: why shouldest thou die before thy time?

Ecclesiastes 7:17



The first text is a caution against pharisaic self-righteousness, laying claim to superior wisdom and sanctity, and incurring the penalty which God sends upon arrogance and hypocrisy.

The second admonishes us to be on our guard against crossing the borderline which separates the righteous, who is still subject to weakness and error, from the wilful transgressor. Zockler, referring to these texts, says: "A recommendation to avoid the two extremes of false righteousness and bold wickedness."

The gist of the whole is: Avoid extremes in all things.



Sabbath


Sanctioned.


Remember the sabbath day to keep it

holy.

Exodus 20:8


Blessed is the man that doeth this, and the son of man that layeth hold on it; that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it.


Isaiah 56:2



Repudiated.


The new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. 


Isaiah 1:13


One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.


                                                                     Romans 14:5 


Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of a holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days.

Colossians 2:16



The reason why the Sabbath keeping and other observances of the Israelites were not acceptable to God, is set forth by Isaiah, in a subsequent verse, thus: "Your hands are full of blood."

As to the text from Romans, Stuart, Barnes, Hodge, and others think that Paul is not here speaking of the "Lord's day" at all, but of certain Jewish festivals, the passover, feast of tabernacles, and the like, which a man might observe or not, as he saw fit.

Colossians 2:16, is interpreted by Gilfillan 31 as referring to the Jewish sabbath, or "seventh day," which had been superseded by "the Lord's day"; the latter being, at the time of Paul's writing, acknowledged and observed by the whole Christian church.

Others, from the fact that the term "sabbath" is applied, in the Old Testament, not only to the seventh day, but to all the days of holy rest observed by the Hebrews, and particularly to the beginning and close of their great festivals, understand the last text as not intended to include the weekly day of rest.


A  BAD  MIXTURE  OF  UNDERSTANDING:  PEOPLE  LIKE  BARNES  IN  THEIR  DAY  BELIEVED  SINCERELY  THERE  WAS  TO  BE  A  SABBATH  DAY  OBSERVED  BY  GOD'S  PEOPLE,  THOUGH  TO  THEM  IT  WAS  SUNDAY.  THE  UNDERSTANDING  OF  ROMANS  14  AND  COLOSSIANS  2:16  IS  ANOTHER  CATHOLIC  AND  PROTESTANT  MESS-UP  OF  THE  SCRIPTURES  AND  TRUTHS  OF  GOD.  ALL  PASSAGES  FULLY  EXPOUNDED  IN  STUDIES  ON  THIS  WEBSITE  -  Keith Hunt


Instituted for one reason.


For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

Exodus 20:11



For a different reason. 


And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the Lord thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand, and by a stretched out arm: therefore the Lord thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day.

Deuteronomy 5:15



This is an example of two concurrent reasons for the same observance. The primary reason why all mankind should keep the Sabbath is that the Creator rested on that day. An additional and special reason why the Israelites should keep it was the fact that they had been delivered from Egyptian bondage by the Author of the Sabbath.

If it were said to the freedmen of this country, "You should observe the first day of January, because it is the beginning of a new year"; and a little after:

31 "The Sabbath," pp. 303-313. See, also, Justin Edwards's "Sabbath Manual," pp. 117-127.



"You should observe the first day of January, because it is the anniversary of your emancipation by President Lincoln," there would be no discrepancy.



Sabbath desecration


Prohibited.


Whosoever  doeth  any work  in  the

sabbath day, he shall surely be put to

death.

Exodus 31:15


They found a man that gathered sticks upon the sabbath day.... And all the congregation brought him without the camp, and stoned him with stones, and he died: as the Lord commanded Moses.

Numbers 15:32, 36



Countenanced.


At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungered, and began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat, etc.

Matthew 12:1-5


And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day.


John 5:16



Deeds of necessity and mercy were not forbidden by Moses. Eating, drinking, caring for the sick, and like needful acts were not interdicted. Our Savior did not "break" the Sabbath. He did, indeed, disregard the foolish traditions of the scribes and pharisees relative to that day, but neither by precept nor example did he sanction its real desecration.


AND  BY  OBSERVING  IT,  THE  SABBATH,  7TH  DAY  OF  THE  WEEK,  HE  LEFT  US  AN  EXAMPLE,  AS  HE  DID  IN  ALL  HIS  LIFE,  TO  LIVE  AS  HE  LIVED.  HE  NEVER  OFFERED  AN  ANIMAL  SACRIFICE  -  Keith Hunt



Sacrifices


Appointed.


Thou shalt burn the whole ram upon

the altar: it is a burnt offering unto the

Lord. ... And thou shalt offer every

day a bullock for a sin offering for

atonement.

Exodus 29:18, 36



Disavowed.


Will I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats? Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High.

Psalm 50:13-14


For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering.

Psalm 51:16


To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the Lord: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats. When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts? Bring no more vain oblations: incense is an abomination unto me.

Isaiah 1:11-13


Your burnt offerings are not acceptable, nor your sacrifices sweet unto me. 


                                                                   Jeremiah 6:20 


For I spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices: but this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people. 


                                                              Jeremiah 7:22-23


For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings. 


                                                                        Hosea 6:6



The first quotation from Psalms sets forth God's spirituality, as a result of which "the outward sacrifices, as such, can yield him no satisfaction."

The second contrasts mere external sacrifices with that obedience in default of which all sacrifices are worthless. The offerings spoken of by Isaiah and Jeremiah (sixth chapter) were rejected because of the wickedness of the offerers. Their hands were "full of blood," and they had "rejected" God's law. Reason enough for the nonacceptance of their oblations. Jeremiah 7:22, 23 is susceptible of two interpretations.32

First. It may be taken as a Hebraistic way of saying, "At that time, I laid no stress upon mere sacrifices in comparison with true obedience. This explanation is given by Calvin and Stuart, also by Dr. Priestley and Prof. Norton. 33 This interpretation is in harmony with Hosea 6:6, also with Samuel's language to Saul: "Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams."34

Secondly. The quotation may mean, "I gave the command relative to obedience previous to that concerning sacrifices." This interpretation, propounded by the Jewish critics, agrees with the facts in the case. The command respecting obedience was given at Marah, 35 just after the Hebrews left the Red Sea; those pertaining to sacrifices were mainly given at Mount Sinai 36 at a later period of the history.

It is clear that none of the foregoing texts disparage sacrifices offered aright. Heartless offerings are ever rejected.

32 Magee on Atonement, pp. 146-147 (Bonn's edition).

33 Evidences of Genuineness of Gospels, ii. Note D. p. cxl.
34 1 Samuel 15:22.

35 Exodus 15:25-26.

36 Exodus 29; Leviticus 1-8.



Expiatory.


And the priest shall make an atonement for him as concerning his sin, and it shall be forgiven him.


Leviticus 4:26


The life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls.


Leviticus 17:11


One kid of the goats for a sin offering, to make an atonement for you.

Numbers 29:5



Not expiatory.


For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. . . . The same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.

Hebrews 10:4, 11



Dr. Davidson 37 says that sin and trespass offerings "were regarded as possessing an atoning, expiatory power—that they were substituted in place of 'the sinner' who brought them, bearing the punishment of his transgression, and so procuring its pardon from God. By their means sins were taken away and covered. The Deity was appeased." Of the sprinkling of the blood, he adds, "The act of sprinkling was symbolical, implying that the person who offered the sacrifice had forfeited his life, and the life of the animal was forfeited instead." So Kalisch:38 "It is impossible to doubt that the doctrine of vicarious sacrifice was entertained by the Hebrews. . . . The animal dies to symbolize the death deserved by the offerer on account of his sins."

It does not, however, appear that these sacrifices were deemed to have, per se the power to remove sin. They were a condition, but not the cause, of pardon. As Alford and Ebrard say, they were "not the instrument of complete vicarious propitiation, but an exhibition of the postulate of such propitiation."

Outram also regards them merely as a "condition of pardon." These sacrifices, being a "yearly remembrance" of sin, since they could not make the offerer "perfect as pertaining to the conscience," pointed him to the great Sacrifice, which "taketh away the sin of the world."


Human sacrifices sanctioned. 


Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering.

Genesis 22:2


Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, and the silver, and the garment, and the wedge 

of gold, and his sons, and his daughters, and his oxen, 

and his asses, and his sheep, and his tent, and all that he 

had; and they brought them unto the valley of Achor. . . . And all Israel stoned him with stones, and burned them 

with fire, after they had stoned them with stones.


                                             Joshua 7:24-25


And Jephthah vowed a vow unto the Lord. . . . Whatsoever 

cometh forth of the doors of my house to meet me, when I 

return in peace from the children of Ammon, shall surely 

be the Lord's, and I will offer it up for a burnt-offering. . . . 

Behold, his daughter came out to meet him with timbrels 

and with dances: and she was his only child. . . . Her father, 

who did with her according to his vow which he had vowed: 

and she knew no man.

                                                    Judges 11:30-31, 34, 39


The king took the two sons of Rizpah, ... and the five sons 

of Michal the daughter of Saul. . . . And he delivered 

them into the hands of the Gibeonites, and they hanged 

them in the hill before the Lord. ... And after that God 

was entreated for the land.

                                                          2 Samuel 21:8-9,14


37 Introd. to Old Testament, i. 287. 

38 On Leviticus. Part i. pp. 192-193.


Stringently prohibited.


And thou shalt not let any of thy seed

pass through the fire to Molech.

Leviticus 18:21


Whosoever he be of the children of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn in Israel, that giveth any of his seed unto Molech; he shall surely be put to death.

Leviticus 20:2




As to the case of Abraham, God's design was not to secure a certain outward act, but a certain state of mind, a willingness to give up the beloved object to Jehovah. "The principle of this great trial," says Dr. Thomas Arnold,39 "was the same which has been applied to God's servants in every age—whether they were willing to part with what they loved best on earth when Gods service called for it." Hengstenberg:40 "Verse 12 shows that satisfaction was rendered to the Lord's command when the spiritual sacrifice was completed." In this view concur Warburton, Keil, Murphy, Lange,41 Bush, Wordsworth, and other authorities.

Kurtz 42 says: "It is true that God did not seek the slaying of Isaac in facto, but only the implicit surrender of the lad in mind and heart "The command, in the original, is somewhat ambiguous: "Make him ascend for a burnt offering." This Abraham interpreted literally, as implying the actual slaying of his son. This his mistake was the means of developing and testing his faith.


39Miscel. Works, p. 150 (New York edition).

40Genuineness of Pent. ii. 114.

41Com. on Genesis, pp 79-80.
42Hist.of 01d.Cov.i.263.



The assumed slaughter of Achans children a recent author terms "a cruel and unjust thing, forbidden in Deuteronomy 24:16, yet afterwards perpetrated with the Divine sanction."

This case has been already discussed under "Justice of God." It is sufficient to say here that the case furnishes no sanction of the abominable custom of slaughtering human beings in sacrifice. As has been elsewhere suggested, for anything that we know to the contrary, Achans sons and daughters may all have been full grown, and may have encouraged and participated in the sacrilege in which he took the lead. This is Keifs view of the case.

In reference to Jephthah's supposed sacrifice of his daughter, it maybe said:

First. It cannot be proved that he did offer her as a burnt offering. The Bible does not say that he did this. If, through ignorance and a misguided fanaticism, he actually committed the cruel deed, it does not appear that God in any manner sanctioned it. The sacred historian expresses no opinion in regard to it. The apparent commendation of Jephthah, in Hebrews 11:32, applies to the general tenor of his life, and not, necessarily, to every act performed by him in that remote age.

Secondly. There are good reasons for holding, with Auberlen, Bush, Cassel, Delitzsch, Grotius, Hengstenberg, Houbigant, Keil, the Kimchis, Lange, LeClerc, Lilienthal, Saalschiitz, Schudt, Waterland, and other critics, that, instead of being offered as a burnt sacrifice, she was simply devoted to perpetual celibacy in the service of the tabernacle.43

(a) The literal sacrifice of human beings was strictly forbidden in the Mosaic law, and Jephthah was doubtless fully aware of this fact.

(b) The Hebrew of Jephthah's vow may be correctly translated, "Shall surely be the Lord's,44 or I will offer it up for a burnt-offering." Dr. Davidson:45 "It cannot be denied that the conjunction Vav may be rendered. The Hebrew language had very few conjunctions, and therefore one had to fulfil the office of several in other languages." Dr. Randolph, J. Kimchi, and Auberlen render, "Shall surely be the Lords, and I will offer to him a burnt offering." Dr. Davidson says: "We admit that the construction is grammatically possible; for examples justify it, as Gesenius shows." Either of these translations removes the difficulty.

© During the "two months" which intervened between Jephthah's return and the supposed sacrifice, it is scarcely credible that the priests would not have interfered to prevent the barbarous deed, or that Jephthah himself would not have "inquired of the Lord" respecting a release from his vow.

43 See allusion to something similar; Exodus 38:8 and 1 Samuel 2:22.

44 Compare 1 Samuel 1:11. "I will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life."

45 Introd. to Old Testament, i. 476.



As she was Jephthah's only child, to devote her to perpetual virginity would preclude him from all hope of posterity—in the estimation of a Jew, a most humiliating and calamitous deprivation.

The phraseology of verses 37-40 points clearly to a life of perpetual and enforced celibacy. On any other hypothesis the language seems irrelevant and unmeaning. As Keil expresses it, to bewail ones virginity does not mean to mourn because one has to die a virgin, but because one has to live and remain a virgin. Inasmuch as the history lays special emphasis upon her bewailing her virginity, this must have stood in some peculiar relation to the nature of the vow. Observe, too, that this lamentation takes place "upon the mountains." Cassel observes that if life had been in question her tears might have been shed at home. But lamentations of this character could not be uttered in the town and in the presence of men. For such plaints, modesty required the solitude of the mountains. The words of the thirty-ninth verse are very explicit. They assert that her father fulfilled his vow through the fact that "she knew no man." That is, the vow was fulfilled in the dedication of her life to the Lord, as a spiritual burnt offering, in a life-long chastity.

"Completeness of consecration as a spiritual sacrifice" seems the pervading idea in the case of Jephthah's sacrifice.

In 2 Samuel 21:1 the designation, Saul's "bloody house," intimates strongly that the men whom a recent writer pathetically deplores as "innocent grandchildren" were really participants in the crime of their departed progenitor. He had gone beyond the reach of earthly justice; hence the penalty fell upon his surviving partners in treachery and blood. David Kimchi 46 tentatively, and Dr. Jahn 47 confidently propose this very reasonable explanation of the case.

On the whole, none of the foregoing cases represents human sacrifices as sanctioned by the Almighty.


Service of God


With fear.


Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice

with trembling.

Psalm 2:11

With gladness.


Serve the Lord with gladness.

Psalm 100:2



Reverential fear and devout gladness are quite compatible.

46Menasseh ben Israel's Conciliator, i. 167.

47History of Hebrew Commonwealth, p. 43 (Ward's edition).



Sin forgiven


All sin pardonable.


And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.

Acts 13:39


Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.

Romans 5:20


If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.

1 John 2:1


Some unpardonable.


Whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.

Matthew 12:32


He that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation.

Mark 3:29


There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it.

1 John 5:16



The by no means assert that every sin, wherever and by whomsoever committed, will be forgiven. The general rule is that sins repented of will be forgiven. Matthew and Mark speak of sins which will never be repented of, consequently never forgiven; hence they are sins "unto death."



Sin-offering


One kind.


When the sin, which they have sinned against it, is known, then the congregation shall offer a young bullock for the sin. . . . When a ruler hath sinned, ... if his sin, wherein he hath sinned, come to his knowledge; he shall bring his offering, a kid of the goats.

                                        Leviticus 4:14, 22-23



A different kind.


If ought be committed by ignorance without the knowledge of the congregation, that all the congregation shall offer one young bullock for a burnt offering, . . . and one kid of the goats for a sin offering.

Numbers 15:24



We think the difference here is due to condensation on the part of the later writer. In the first case, the offering for the congregation and that for the ruler are specified separately; in the second case, for brevity's sake, the congregation and the rulers are considered as one, and their respective offerings are spoken of as constituting but one offering.

Mr. Espin, in Bible Commentary, says that, in the citation from Leviticus, the reference is to sins of commission; in that from Numbers, to sins of omission. Hence there is a slight difference in the ritual.


Sinners'  feeling


Feared greatly.


There were they in great fear.

Psalm 53:5


No fear in the case. 


Where no fear was.

                                                                         Psalm 53:5



"The wicked flee when no man pursueth" (Proverbs 28:1).


Feared the Lord.


So these nations feared the Lord, and

served their graven images.

2 Kings 17:41


Feared not the Lord.


Unto this day they do after the former

manners: they fear not the Lord.

2 Kings 17:34



An instructive example of the use of the same word in different senses.


Staves of ark


To remain.


The staves shall be in the rings of the

ark: they shall not be taken from it.

Exodus 25:15



Might be removed.


Aaron shall come, and his sons, and they shall take down the covering veil, and cover the ark of testimony with it; . . . and shall put in the staves thereof. Numbers 4:5-6



Keil renders Numbers 4:6, "Adjust its bearing-poles." Similarly Bush, Nachmanides, Abarbanel, and Rashi. Bible Commentary, "Put the staves thereof in order."


Swearing and oaths


Countenanced.


And Abraham said, I will swear.

Genesis 21:24


And Jacob sware by the fear of his father Isaac.

Genesis 31:53


Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name.

Deuteronomy 6:13


I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ.

Matthew 26:63


I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost.

Romans 9:1


When God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself.

Hebrews 6:13


The angel which I saw . . . lifted up his hand to heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever and ever.

Revelation 10:5-6




Prohibited.


By swearing, and lying, and killing,

and stealing.

Hosea 4:2


It hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths: but I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne: nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.

Matthew 5:33-37


But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.

James 5:12



The context puts it beyond doubt that Hosea speaks of false "swearing." It is equally clear that our Lord, in Matthew, does not refer to judicial oaths, but to profane swearing, or oaths in common conversation. In proof, observe:

First. The Jews in that age were in the habit of using vain and frivolous oaths in their ordinary talk. They swore by the temple, by the earth, by heaven, by the head, etc. So long as they did not use the name of God in these oaths, they did not deem them particularly binding. This practice is alluded to in Matthew 23:16-22.

Maimonides:48 "If any one swears by heaven, by the earth, by the sun, and so forth, although it is the intention of him who swears in these words to swear by him who created these things, yet this is not an oath. Or, if one swears by one of the prophets or by one of the books of scripture, although it the the purpose of the swearer to swear by him who sent that prophet or who gave that book, nevertheless this is not an oath." Michaelis 49 says that such oaths were "at that time so common and so frequently and basely abused as to have become perfectly disgraceful to the Jews, even in the eyes of the less treacherous heathen around them, and justly distinguished by the name of Jewish oaths." Against this abuse of language the Lord cautioned his disciples: "Let your speech, or conversation 'logos' be yea, yea; nay, nay." "Do not attempt to bolster up your veracity by frivolous oaths."


BAD  EXPLANATION:  UNDER  THE  NEW  COVENANT  -  MAGNIFICATION  AND  SPIRIT  OF  THE  LAW  -  JESUS  MEANT  WHAT  HE  SAID,  A  CHRISTIAN  SHOULD  NOT  SWEAR  BY  ANYTHING;  I.E.  HAND  ON  THE  BIBLE  ETC.  - Keith Hunt


Secondly. So far from condemning judicial oaths, Jesus recognized their validity, and allowed himself to be put under oath. When the high priest said to him, "I adjure thee [put thee under oath, cause thee to swear] by the living God that thou tell us," Jesus submitted to be thus sworn, and responded to the solemn obligation. We find, also, that good men, an angel, even God himself, employed the "oath" for confirmation.50


WHAT  MEN  SAY  TO  YOU  IS  ONE  THING,  YOU  HAVE  NO  CONTROL  OVER  THEIR  SPEECH;  BUT  YOU  DO  NOT  HAVE  TO  AGREE  WITH  THEIR  SPEECH,  YET  YOU  CAN  OR  CAN  NOT  DO  AS  REQUESTED  EVEN  UNDER  STRONG  LANGUAGE;  JESUS  COMPLIED  BUT  THAT  DOES  NOT  MEAN  HE  ACCEPTED  "SWEARING"  UNDER  OATHS  ETC.  -  Keith Hunt


James 5:12 evidently refers to the frivolous oaths we have mentioned. Huther: "It is to be noticed that swearing by the name of God 51 is not mentioned; for we must not imagine that this is included in the last member of the clause; the apostle intending, evidently, by 'neither any other oath' to point only at similar formulae, of which several are mentioned in Matthew."

The inference from these facts we leave to the reader.


JAMES  MEANT  WHAT  HE  SAID,  JESUS  MEANT  WHAT  HE  SAID;  THERE  IS  NO  "FRIVOLOUS"  ANYTHING  HERE  MENTIONED  BY  JAMES  OR  JESUS.  THE  NEW  TESTAMENT [COVENANT]  IS  HIGHER  THAN  THE  OLD  COVENANT;  EVEN  THE  LAWS  OF  THE  SECULAR  GOVERNMENTS  IN  THE  WEST  ALLOWED  YOU  TO  "AFFIRM"  AND  NOT  SWEAR  ON  THE  BIBLE,  IN  COURTS  OF  LAW.  A  CHRISTIAN'S  WORD  SHOULD  BE  ENOUGH,  AND  NO  SWEARING  ON  ANYTHING  SHOULD  BE  DONE.  GOD  HAS  THE  RIGHT  TO  SWEAR  BY  HIMSELF,  A  FIGURE  OF  SPEECH  HE  CAN  USE  TO  SAY,  "AS  I  AM  GOD,  THE  PERFECT  ONE,  THE  HOLY  ONE,  THE  RIGHTEOUS  ONE,  I  SAY  BY  MY  NAME…."  -  Keith Hunt

48Quoted by Lightfoot, Hor. Hebrews, p. 280 (Carpzov's edition).

49Commentaries on Laws of Moses, iv. 357.

50Compare Genesis 21:23-24; 1 Samuel 20:42; Hebrews 6:17-18; Revelations 10:5-6.

51Of course, for judicial purposes only.



Times observed


May be observed.


He that regardeth the day, regardeth it

unto the Lord.

Romans 14:6



Must not be observed.


There shall not be found among you

... an observer of times.

                                         Deuteronomy 18:10


Ye  observe  days,   and  months,   and times, and years.


Galatians 4:10



Michaelis and Aben Ezra take the expression, "observer of times," in Deuteronomy, as implying "divination from the course of theclouds." Gesenius regards it as denoting "some kind of divination connected with idolatry"; Fuerst: "It is better to set out with the fundamental signification, to cover, to wrap up." Hence the meaning would be, "to practise enchantment covertly or secretly" Keil,52 with certain rabbis, derives the Hebrew term from "ayin," an eye; hence, literally, "to ogle, to bewitch with the evil eye." The passage has no reference to the keeping of the Mosaic feasts.


The texts from Romans and Galatians refer to entirely different classes of persons. 


Andrew Fuller 53 says that the former text refers to Jewish converts, who, having from their youth observed the Mosaic festivals as instituted by Divine authority, were permitted to continue this observance, and treated as "regarding these days unto the Lord." 


A  BAD  EXPLANATION:  THE  TRUTH  OF  ROMANS  14  IS  GIVEN  IN  A  STUDY  ON  THIS WEBSITE  -  Keith Hunt


The latter text has respect to Gentile converts, who, having previously done service to idols, 54 showed some inclination to cling to their former unauthorized and superstitious observances; and hence were reproved.


A  GOOD  EXPLANATION,  SELDOM  FOUND  IN  MODERN  FUNDAMENTAL  THEOLOGY;  BUT  THE  EXPLANATION  IS  CORRECT  -  Keith Hunt



Trespass recompensed


To the Lord.


He shall bring for his trespass unto the

Lord a ram.

                                                                      Leviticus 5:15


To the priest.


He shall bring a ram ... for a trespass

offering, unto the priest.

                                                                      Leviticus 5:18



Rashi: "To the Lord for the priest." The latter was the Lord's deputy. A tax paid to the officer appointed by the government may be said to be paid either to the officer or to the government.


52On Leviticus 19:26.

53Works, i. 680-681.

54See Galatians 4:8-11.

………………..


TO  BE  CONTINUED