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Old Testament Interpretation III:

The Name 'Jacob', the Mark of Cain, Jeshrun, et al.

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Question #1:

Hello Robert:

It has been awhile since I last emailed. I wanted to thank you for your prayers. I am so appreciative for your words of encouragement and wisdom over the past two years. Knowing you love Jesus and are "anonymous" helps to really open up and share. And I can always anticipate a quick and "heart-felt" response. I will be forever grateful for your presence.

God is continuing to bring us through some very challenging financial times, but times I would not trade for ANYTHING. It's been a time of drawing near God through scripture memorization and "taking every thought captive." I can't even begin to explain the peace that "memory scripture" has brought. But through it all, God has been so faithful!

I was wanting to email you on an entirely different subject. I would love to learn the Greek (or Hebrew) meaning of the name Jacob. I am aware of the typical names that I can find online (supplanter and "heel grabber") , but I was thinking, with your extensive Bible knowledge, that you may be able to share some additional insight. We have a family member named "Jacob". On account of the story of how Jacob stole his brothers birthright and acted in unGodly ways, one of his friends, also named Jacob, recently changed his name to Israel. I don't think our family member will go that far, but I can understand, by current Biblical knowledge, why his friend wanted to change his name. I was wondering if you could shed some "positive" words about the name Jacob.

Thank you Robert,

Response #1:

It's good to hear from you! I have been keeping you and your family and situation(s) in my prayers day by day, and I am heartened to hear that you are hanging in there strong with the Lord. Thanks for all your good words – and for your prayers especially too. I certainly know what you mean about the trying times being the ones where we feel the Lord's help and presence the most dramatically. That has been (and continues to be) the same for me as well. He is indeed faithful!

As to the question about the name Jacob, the essential etymology of "heel-grabber" is correct as we know in this case from the story of his birth (Genesis 25:6: "his brother came out, with his hand grasping Esau’s heel; so he was named Jacob" NIV). Sometimes this Hebrew root ('qaabh) does have negative connotations, but consider this:

He took his brother by the heel in the womb, And in his strength he struggled with God. Yes, he struggled with the Angel and prevailed; He wept, and sought favor from Him.
Hosea 12:3-4a NKJV

Both 'qaabh and yasar (the later of which roots is the origin of the name "Israel") indicate persistent, determined actions (represented in the physical acts of refusing to let go), and only the context will tell if that action is taken in a bad cause. The quote above links the two roots, and of course the second one is entirely good – at least it is in the end. For in truth the incident at Bethel involved two struggles: 1) Jacob wrestles with the Angel of the Lord (a Christophany) resisting His will to cross the river (representing the historical reluctance of a good part of the Jewish people to follow the right path – e.g., Saul of Tarsus before conversion); 2) then, after being wounded, Jacob wrestles with the Angel of the Lord unwilling to let Him go without a blessing (representing the historical determination of the Jewish people who have responded to Him to stay faithful to Him no matter what, after being humbled – e.g., Paul after conversion). Just as "wrestling with God" can be a good or a bad thing (bad, if it is an unwillingness to accept Jesus as the Christ; good, if it represents a determination to stay true to Him by "holding on" no matter what), so it is with "overcoming". Being indomitable is a good thing in a humble person, a bad thing in an arrogant one. This characteristic was Jacob's signature one, "stubborn like a mule", we might say, when he resisted the Lord; "tough as a bull-dog", we might say, once he had been humbled at the riverside and made up his mind to "hold on" to the Lord regardless of the cost. Our Lord's changing of his name represents the shift of attitude from the one to other (even though both names can – and do – cut both ways); the fact that "Jacob" continues to be used in scripture to represent Israel in a positive way indicates what Isaac certainly knew when he named him, namely, that the name represented a quality of spirit which would serve the lad well – as long as it was employed in humility and in a good cause. Jacob turned out to be a spiritual "over-comer" in the end, staying strong in the Lord despite all the adversity he endured (cf. Rom.8:37; 1Jn.5:4-5; Rev.2:7; 2:11; 2:17; 2:26; 3:5; 3:12; 3:21).

Here are a couple of other links on this topic which may be of some help to you:

Jacob wrestling with the angel

The Angel who wrestled with Jacob

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #2:

Is "the man in linen" in Ezekiel 9 writing the name of the righteous to be spared an appearance of Christ? I'm astounded how little modern day believer knows of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, etc.

Also, on Ezekiel 8:17: "Look at them put the branch to their nose!" NIV

I assume this is some sort of illegal religious practice ... Help?

Thanks again, Doc

Response #2:

I don't take the man in linen as a Christophany, for one thing because the Lord involved in commanding him here is in my view Jesus Christ representing the Father (as is frequently the case: compare Isaiah 6:1-12 with John 12:38-41).

As to "the branch to the nose", this may be either a pagan fertility symbol (which fits the idolatrous contexts) or a general gesture of disrespect – it is not otherwise attested. In any case, the overall meaning is quite clear: the Israelites are defying God in a high-handed way that provokes retribution.

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #3:

Hello again Dr Luginbill.

I was wondering, why did God bother providing Cain protection against those who wanted to kill him? Also, I'm surprised I haven't notice this before, but when and where did Adam get his name? Adam, naming Eve woman and Eve are clearly indicated, but did God actually name Adam? I know in Gen. 5, God called "them" Adam, but is their an account of Adam's naming by himself?

Thank you in advance

Response #3:

An interesting question. It's often difficult to give answers to "why?" questions. The stated purpose of the mark is, of course, to prevent Cain being killed, and the mark is given to him by the Lord in response to his despairing of life, when he pronounces the Lord's curse on him "more than I can bear" after the Lord had said to him:

"What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground. Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth."
Genesis 4:10-12 NIV

The clear purpose of God's curse is to make Cain live with the consequences of his action rather than to immediately remove him from life. The mark, therefore, allows Cain to "get on with his life" – a life of mental torment knowing what he has done (cf. Prov.28:17). This was the first murder in human history, and while there was no doubt about the wrongness of what Cain did – either absolutely or in his heart (as the self-serving, guilt-ridden and oft misinterpreted response "I am my brother's keeper?" makes clear), still there had as yet been no pronounced consequences for such an act (as far as we are told). So in the interest of justice and also retribution, the Lord leaves him alive and makes it possible for him to stay alive – the only human being ever granted an exception to the death penalty for murder (in God's economy), but with a visible stain on his forehead for all the world to see.

As to Adam, in Genesis 1:27, God does name him/them: "Let us make Man/Adam . . . " – there being no distinction in Hebrew between the name "Adam" and the generic word for the human race, Man (i.e., they are both 'adham, אָדָם, in Hebrew). On the etymology of the name, see the link: "The Creation of Adam".

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #4:

I need an explanation to Judges 5:25 with emphasis on "Butter."

Response #4:

Good to make your acquaintance. Translations of this word as it is used here in Judges 5:25 run the gamut from "butter" to "yoghurt" to "cream" to "curds" to "curdled milk". The Hebrew word, chema' (חֶמְאָֽה), means in Israel today "butter", but in ancient times it could mean any sort of milk by-product as opposed to milk. We over-differentiate milk by-products today in ways somewhat foreign to the ancients. For example, our word "butter" is from the Greek and means, literally, "cow cheese" (as opposed to "goat cheese"). Jael and her family were nomadic, so the likelihood is that they did as many such peoples have always done with excess milk, namely, mix it with some particular culture to produce a sort of runny yoghurt that has a longer "shelf-life" in a time of no refrigeration. That is possibly what we have here, though any sort of thicker, curdled milk (which all these by-products are) can be understood. Keil and Delitzsch prefer "fine milk" since this is poetry and the contrast is to chalabh, "milk", and we should understand, after all, that Jael probably only offered one bowl of milk / milky substance (as opposed to two different things). From that point of view, "semi-curdled milk" or "curds and whey"/"runny cottage cheese" is also workable, along with "runny yoghurt". The best solution will be one that has the milk plus by-product combined in a soupy mixture so that the poem is true in both stanzas but the offering was one bowl.

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob Luginbill

Question #5:

Hello, Doc.

So, in 1st Chronicles 2:15 the author identifies David as Jessie's 7th son, but in 1st Samuel 16:10 says "Jesse had 7 sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, 'The Lord hasn't chosen these' " NIV

You're are already aware of this (I'm sure). What do we make of this?

Response #5:

It is interesting, but no reason to doubt scripture. The key point, I think, is that the passage in 1st Chronicles chapter two does not rule out more sons. In the genealogy of Adam in the previous chapter, Cain is not mentioned, for example (and also we know that Adam and Eve had many sons and daughters whose names never occur in scripture: Gen.5:4 NKJV: "After he begot Seth, the days of Adam were eight hundred years; and he had [other unnamed] sons and daughters").

A variety of solutions has been proposed for the assumed "discrepancy" at 1st Chronicles 2:15 (e.g., one son died in childhood: Ryrie; one had no progeny: K&D). It seems more likely to me that one was the son of another wife or concubine. Jesse seems to have had "issues" with David, and I have opined in the past that this may be because his first wife, David's mother, died in childbirth with him (cf. Ps.22:10; 71:6). In any case, Jesse seemed to ignore David as being a son at all when Samuel came calling, and this may be an indication that he had actually replaced him (in this heart and mind) with another son from another source, but not a legitimate one so as to make the genealogy in Chronicles.

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior, David's greater Son.

Bob L.

Question #6:

Hi Bob,

What exactly does the first half of this verse mean?

Ex.22:29 NKJV: "You shall not delay to offer the first of your ripe produce and your juices. The firstborn of your sons you shall give to Me."


Response #6:

The Hebrew here is quite poetic. The two nouns which are the object and which constitute what we are "not to hold back" are "fullness" and "weeping" respectively. Most commentators take this to mean "fullness of the fields" and "weeping of the wine vats"; together they would constitute the command to offer one's first-fruits to the Lord. Given that the second half of the verse talks about first-born sons, that makes good sense in my view. The reason for the poetic diction may be to avoid what later Israel did anyway, namely, to get too particular and precise in the process of tithing et al. so as to reduce it to a legalistic rule. This deliberately poetic verse would then be addressing the spirit of the command in general terms (particularly effective in a summary chapter of this sort).

Here's wishing you a blessed new year in Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #7:

Hi Dr. Luginbill,

While we're at the subject of generational curses, what exactly do Exodus 20:5 and Deuteronomy 5:9 mean, and why does the Lord recant these curses in Ezekiel 18? If he did not want anyone to blame the children, it seems unusual that he would initialize them to begin with.

Of course, one interpretation is that because ancient Israel was a shame culture, God really wanted people to feel guilty for their own transgressions, but knew that the Israelis cared more about social perception of innocence, so God instituted an ordinance such that he would punish the family (and thus institute a high level of shame). However, God is saying that he wants Israel to abandon this spiritual baby food (provided by the law) and instead move on.


Response #7:

Here are a couple of links where I address the subject:

The Third and Fourth Generational Curses

Breaking the Generational Curse?

To my mind, the Lord's promise to show mercy to "a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments" (Ex.20:6 NIV) is the more weighty part of the equation: it demonstrates that the Lord's desire to show mercy and to bless us is disproportionately greater than any inclination to curse us. Even so, the cycle of cursing is broken as soon as anyone in the line turns back to the Lord – and the reverse is true is as well. So the choice of the individual in question is what is really at issue, and Ezekiel 18 exemplifies that principle.

In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior in whom we are blessed forevermore,

Bob L.

Question #8:

Hello Bob,

I know that you are abiding in our Father’s presences, with that said, on II Samuel Chapter 19 verse 41- v43 thru Chapter 20 verse 1:

1. How is David more kin to Judah than Israel?

2. Belial the son of a Benjamite, why does he say "they" the Benjamites or is he solely speaking for himself having no part in David/Judah or in Israel? When were the Benjamites separated from the 12 tribes back in the book of Judges because of the concubine?

3. The relationship of Judah with David and in kind David’s relationship with Israel, is this a type of the Redeemed walk with Christ and the same type of infighting with Christians and Israel?


Response #8:

Good to hear from you. On the questions, to take the last one first, I'm not sure I see a definitive interpretation such as this in the passage, but it certainly is a good application: to the extent that we find fault with ancient Israelites getting het up about tribal affiliations when they had David and his line as (potential) kings, to that same extent Christian infighting is even more questionable (we are all "one" in Jesus Christ, after all); on the other hand, nothing is more important than the truth, so that while getting in knock-down drag-outs with our brethren is ill-advised, separating from those who don't teach or believe the truth is a salutary thing to do (at least where teaching and learning the truth are concerned).

As to the substance of this passage, while is difficult for us to understand today, the Israelites were quite partisan in their tribal affiliations in the period before the Babylonian exile (perhaps not as much so as the ancient Greeks, but that example gives a good parallel). In that sense only, David is more of Judah than of Israel, and his statement was clearly designed as a first step in re-establishing the kingdom (which it did begin to accomplish).

As to Benjamin, "son of Belial" is a generic pejorative phrase; the man's name was "Sheba son of Bikri". It was perhaps natural that a Benjamite would lead the charge away from Davidic authority inasmuch as Saul was a Benjamite, the tribe which had until only recently been blessed to have the kingship. Since Benjamin "ruled Israel" through Saul, Sheba was speaking for himself, his tribe, and for the other ten tribes outside of Judah – to anyone whom he could get to follow him, that is (cf. 2Sam.20:14). This revolt was put down fairly quickly (2Sam.20:15-22).

Yours in Jesus our dear Lord,

Bob L.

Question #9:

Thank you, Bob

Just one more question, was the tribe of Benjamin ever separated from the 12 tribes and if so why?

Thank you

Response #9:

You're welcome,

No, not to my knowledge. The incident you mentioned related in the book of Judges is an example of warfare between tribes, and Benjamin came close to being wiped out, but the reaction of the other tribes is interesting in this respect:

The people grieved for Benjamin, because the LORD had made a gap in the tribes of Israel.
Judges 21:15 NIV

They then did everything within their power to "close the gap".

Yours in Jesus our dear Lord,

Bob L.

Question #10:

I am studying Isaiah today. Just wondered why the Lord calls His chosen, Jesuran instead of Israel as He has stated in previous verses. I can’t seem to find Jesuran-have I missed this in all my studies?

Before I close, I must say that when I came to chapter 44 verse 4 & 5; I was filled with so much joy! This scripture is full of the Lord’s blessing to all who are His, whether we be from the tribe of Judah or Israel or a gentile believer. Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!

Your friend in Christ our Lord, our King and Redeemer,

Response #10:

"Jeshurun" (however spelled in English, the versions vary on the spelling which probably accounts for why this rendering seems odd), means "upright [or righteous] one" (it is from the Hebrew root yashar). During the Millennium (the subject generally in this passage), Israel will truly be "righteous", not from her own works, but through the righteousness that is from faith after the manner of Abraham's faith (Rom.4:1ff.), as the Jewish people return to their Lord, the Messiah, whom they will then behold face to face. Please see the link: "The Millennial Reign of Christ".

Yours in Jesus Christ who is the hope of Israel, and of the entire world.

Bob L.

Question #11:

Hello again,

I was wondering, what is the context of Numbers 20:12? Did God allow Moses and Aaron to go through this circumstance so they would trust him? Is this often the case in life today? What does it mean to trust in God enough to honour him as holy?

Numbers 20:12 But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, "Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them."

Thanks again

Response #11:

Good to hear from you again. As to your question:

God gave them very specific instructions which they violated. This was the new generation being tested, the one about to enter the land; not the older generation, the ones who had "tested me ten times" and now been put to death over forty years of wandering in the desert. The situation was different, the time was different, and the people were different. But Moses didn't follow God's directions to represent a different symbolism: speaking to the Rock represents our Lord in resurrection and return (2nd advent) – or would have; striking the Rock previously had represented the death of Christ on the cross (an appropriate symbolism for the "reborn" generation just as the striking the rock had been for the apostate generation). Both things, Christ's suffering and Christ's Person and resurrection, are critical elements of the gospel. So getting this wrong was no small thing, especially for someone in such a high position of authority who understood the truth as well as Moses did. It would be like you or I giving the gospel in an incorrect way out of anger, even though we knew it was incomplete and misleading – to several million people. And as Aaron was blessed by his association with his brother, so he suffered the consequences of his brother's misguided action (he didn't try to stop him, after all).

Before we feel too bad for Moses, however, we should consider that he is going to be resuscitated and will indeed "enter the land" in his miraculously preserved, physical body (Jude 1:9) as one of the two witnesses of the Tribulation who oversee the Jewish revival and direct the 144,000 (see the link).

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #12:

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

Thank you for your encouraging words and sharing your knowledge of the scripture with me. Whenever I come across an apparent contradiction in the scripture, I try to reconcile it or find a correct explanation because I believe the Bible is the inerrant Word of God. I have heard many atheists use Judges 1:19 to prove that God cannot possibly exist because He contradicts Himself. I've heard several explanation on this verse and I think they are faulty. The one I tend to agree with is that God would have driven out the inhabitants of the valley regardless of their chariots of iron, but chose not to because the Israelites were disobedient as explained by the angel of the Lord in Judges 2: 1-3

And an angel of the Lord came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said, I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers; and I said, I will never break my covenant with you. And ye shall make no league with the inhabitants of this land; ye shall throw down their altars: but ye have not obeyed my voice: why have ye done this? Wherefore I also said, I will not drive them out from before you; but they shall be as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you. And the Lord was with Judah; and he drave out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron. (Judges 2:1-3)

Is this the correct explanation of that passage, or is there another explanation that is more accurate?

God Bless you and your ministry,

Response #12:

You are very welcome – it is always good to hear from you, my friend. Yes, I think you are exactly correct. All things have been decreed, but our free will is nonetheless absolutely free. So there are frequently times when God expresses things to His people in those terms (as with Jonah and Nineveh where destruction was decreed but the Lord relented when the people repented):

"If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned."
Jeremiah 18:7-8 NIV

In terms of the above we see the positive results of responding to God's warnings; in terms of the example you give, we see the negative results of failing to continue walking with the Lord so as to enjoy the blessings He has promised for those who continue with Him. No one should think that they can forsake Him in this life and not suffer the consequences.

Those who are far from you will perish; you destroy all who are unfaithful to you. But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.
Psalm 73:27-28 NIV

And we know that, for those who love God, He works everything together for good – [that is to say,] for those who have been called according to His plan.
Romans 8:28

Kudos to you for persevering in your own walk with the Lord and congratulations for the fruit of spiritual discernment that is growing in you through the Word of God in the Holy Spirit.

Yours in Jesus our Lord,

Bob L.

Question #13:

You wrote: (e.g, the kingship of David and of Solomon being symbolically applicable to the millennial reign of Christ; cf. Zech.3:8-10).

The words of this passage seem to be targeted at High Priest Joshua - I'm aware you put 'cf.' there, so the connection with the statement might not be as direct, but are these words supposed to be linked to David and Solomon?

Response #13:

It says in Zechariah 3:8 that these men are "symbolic of things to come". The combining of the priesthood and the kingship in this passage seems to me to be clearly Messianic (and many others have noted that too).

Question #14:

Could you clarify Isaiah 53:7-9:

(7) Though He was oppressed and afflicted, like a lamb led to slaughter He did not open His mouth, and like a ewe before her shearers He did not open His mouth. (8) By repressive judgment He was taken away, and who gave any thought to His posterity? For He was cut off from the land of the living. He was punished for the transgression of my people. (9) And they assigned Him a grave with the wicked (pl.) and with a rich [man] in His deaths (sic).

I) What is meant by 'His posterity'?

I) Our Lord was put into a new grave, but Isaiah says 'they assigned Him a grave with the wicked'. Why is that the case? Is 'a grave with the wicked' a metaphor of the cross?

III) The passage also says 'a grave with the wicked and with a rich man' - the rich man was the owner of the tomb, but he wasn't laid in a grave, so what is the meaning of this sentence? Was one of the criminals that were hanged on a cross together with our Lord a rich man?

IV) Finally, it says 'in His deaths' - why is the death in plural?

Response #14:

I) Posterity – meaning He was cut off without offspring or the continuation of His family line through His own seed – part of His sacrifice as this is the most important thing to those of Israel in particular (cf. Abraham).

II) Wicked – meaning that when He as crucified He was put to death as an evil-doer and crucified between two actual criminals.

III) The Hebrew word qebher is a generic term for any sort of final resting place and can include the idea of "tomb".

IV) The plural is a plural of intensity and demonstrates the uniqueness of His spiritual death in dying for the sins of the world.

Question #15:

Could you please clarify Isaiah 42:19: Who is blind but My servant, Or so deaf as My messenger whom I send? Who is so blind as he that is at peace with Me, Or so blind as the servant of the LORD?

What does Isaiah mean by 'blind' and 'deaf'?

Response #15:

Isaiah 42:19 is referring to Christ and by His example giving the standard to which all believers should aspire, namely, believing God and not what our ears hear or our eyes see. Compare the prophecy about our Lord in Isaiah 11:

. . .and he will delight in the fear of the LORD. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears;
Isaiah 11:3 NIV

Question #16:

You wrote: (78) Because of the compassionate mercies of our God, through which the rising [Light] from on high will visit us, (79) to shine upon those in darkness and dwelling in the shadow of death, to make straight [paths for] our feet in the way of peace.

Luke 1:78-79 (cf. Is.9:2; Mal.4:2)

A rather strange occurrence - I couldn't locate Mal.4:2 in Polish translation. Has the 4th chapter not been accepted by all churches?

Response #16:

If the verse beginning "Surely, the day is coming" is Malachi 3:19 in Polish, then the Polish version is following the Hebrew verse/chapter order which continues with chapter 3 instead of subdividing into a new chapter 4. All of these divisions are relatively late, but this is odd since the Vulgate and the English R.C. Bible (e.g., Douay-Rheims) both follow the system I am using. The Polish Bible has apparently followed the Septuagint which follows the Hebrew Bible in this respect, odd to my view since after all Polish uses the Roman alphabet not the Cyrillic, and is in the Roman Catholic rather than the Greek Orthodox tradition in most matters (or such was my understanding).

Question #17:

Could you please briefly explain the footnote no.66 from Christology?

Reading 'anah II in the piel here (rather than 'anah I in the qal). This alternate reading, which explains much in light of the "rejection" in the next verse, does not require any change in the essential consonantal text, only a small change in its vocalization. It is understandable how the "answer" vocalization came to replace the "humbled" one, inasmuch as the latter reading presents the suffering Messiah, a concept later generations of unbelieving Jewish scholars sought to eradicate as far as possible.

Response #17:

NIV has "for you answered me", and that is a correct rendering of the MT as it is traditionally pointed. In my opinion, the verb should be pointed as a intensive piel rather than the standard qal. The letters would remain the same: only the vowel points (only added in ca. the 8th cent) would need to be adjusted. If piel, then "I shall praise You although You humbled Me" would be the correct translation – which in my view fits the context and is correct.

Question #18:

Psalm 19:5 caught my eye:

It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
like a champion rejoicing to run his course.

Would you take the second part of this couplet as referring to some sport events in ancient world?

Response #18:

Athletics are a Greek (and Roman) development for the most part. We know of runners in ancient Israel (cf. 2Sam.18:19ff.), but this was connected to military activity. Indeed, in the Greco-Roman tradition all athletics begin as a military function and the military connection, never entirely lost, is often at the forefront. The verse in Psalm 19 says gibbor, and while "champion" is not an unacceptable translation, "mighty man (of war)" is closer to the mark.

Question #19:

Could you please clarify Psalm 31:5: Into Your hand I commit my spirit; You have ransomed me, O LORD, God of truth.

You wrote: The first verse is spoken by our Lord and you point that it makes clear that the work on the cross has been accomplished, which is also illustrated by the second verse.

I wanted to ask - the second verse, although does show that salvation has been accomplished, could not have been spoken by our Lord, as He is the one who ransomed us (and the author of the Psalm)? So, taken together, both verses relate to the same event, but the former could have been spoken by our Lord, and has been, but the latter refers to us - the beneficiaries of His work on the cross - please let me know if my understanding is correct.

Response #19:

Certainly, Jesus did not need to be "ransomed", and that is what padhah often means; its basic meaning, however, is to liberate, loose, set free. I understand this to mean the Father's bringing of our Lord through the ordeal of ordeals, His death for all sin on the cross.

Question #20:

Q&A regarding Genesis 49:10:

"The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes, And to him shall be the obedience of the peoples."

You wrote (at the link: http://ichthys.com/mail-Genesis-QuestionsIII.htm#Shilo):

Shilo was the place of the pitching of the tabernacle when the Israelites first conquered the land. The name means "place of rest" and for that reason the verse is often taken to means "until Messiah reestablished rest in the land" (along the lines of Acts 3:19). However, it is also possible without changing the consonantal form of the Masoretic text to construe this word as a phrase (i.e., shiy-loh instead of Shiyloh; n.b., many Heb. mss. have she-loh, a reading which makes this interpretation even more likely). The messianic interpretation is the same in both cases (and indeed in virtually all cases) but then the NIV's rendering will be correct (this is the one I generally quote on this verse): "until he (i.e., the Messiah) comes to whom it (i.e., the scepter of rulership) belongs and the obedience of the nations is his" (cf. Ezek.21:27).

Could you please explain what she-loh means?

Response #20:

I take the she- to be the alternative Hebrew relative pronoun (the main one now in Modern Hebrew), and -lo to be the third singular masculine pronominal suffix, with the resultant "dative" expressing possession. This yields the meaning "Him (-she) to whom it belongs (-lo)", referring to our Lord's right to possess the Kingdom when He "comes again" (the second advent).

Question #21:

You wrote: Earthquakes are the essential divine exclamation point (cf. 1Kng.19:11-12; Acts 4:31).

You include 1 Kings 19:11-12, even though the passage says "the Lord was not in the earthquake"? Do you mean that the earthquake was still of divine origin?

Response #21:

Yes. The Lord as "not in" the earthquake, meaning that while there are many physical phenomena which He causes, this is quite different from Him being present "in" something – as He is present "in us". This example is given to instruct Elijah that although many fearful things may happen and present themselves to us, and may even have an ultimate divine origin (nothing happens without God, after all), God's purpose, power and presence are so far superior to anything our eyes may see, our ears may hear, or our feelings feel, that there is simply no comparison. Therefore Elijah had nothing in truth to fear from Jezebel – even though her letter was terrifying to him, God was not empowering it, God was not behind it, and God was not going to allow Jezebel to harm him, anymore than the whirlwind, earthquake or fire God showed him had harmed him. He watched in safety because of God's protection, and so could have done in the north had he not fled in fear. This is example (and of course the entire story) is a good warning for us all, believers who stand on the cusp of the end times: no matter what terrors may unfold, God will not be "in them" – and He can certainly protect us from them. Our job is to trust Him that He will, and proceed apace with what our dear Lord Jesus wants us to do even so.

Question #22:

2 Kings 17:32-33 (NASB):

They also feared the Lord and appointed from among themselves priests of the high places, who acted for them in the houses of the high places. They feared the Lord and served their own gods according to the custom of the nations from among whom they had been carried away into exile.

What is meant by 'They also feared the Lord' if they worshipped false gods? Similarly, 2 Kings 17:41:

So while these nations feared the Lord, they also served their idols; their children likewise and their grandchildren, as their fathers did, so they do to this day.

Response #22:

Both passages are giving a collective appraisal of the northern kingdom. If you are asking how a person could truly "fear the Lord" and yet worship idols, that is a good question to which there is no easy answer. Of course even in our own day there are a good many marginal Christians who may be Christians indeed who nonetheless are compromising with their self-made worldly idols all the time. I would take this passage to indicate that the people of the northern kingdom were, generally speaking, marginal believers at best who dishonored the Lord so thoroughly by their conduct that they suffered a collective "sin unto death" by having their nation destroyed. God's dealing with Israel in a more collective way versus His more individual treatment of believers in this age is a general distinction between the ages of Israel and the Church respectively.

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