bible

Did Abraham meet Jacob as alluded in Hebrews 11:9?

Hebrews 11:8

8 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. 9 By faith he sojourned in the land of pro…

Differences in Genesis creation stories

It is sometimes depicted that the basic argument to read “the creation story” (Genesis 1) as a non literal story are modern science and the evolution theory. But I believe that the biggest problem with a literal view is in the text itself. More specific in the differences between the “creation stories” in Genesis 1 and 2.

Order of Gen 1

Vegetation created:

God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: plants yielding seeds
according to their kinds, and trees bearing fruit with seed in it
according to their kinds.” It was so. The land produced vegetation –
plants yielding seeds according to their kinds, and trees bearing
fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. God saw that it was
good. (1:11)

Human created:

Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, after our
likeness, so they may rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of
the air, over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over all the
creatures that move on the earth.” (1:26)

Order of Gen 2

No vegetation:

Now no shrub of the field had yet grown on the earth, and no plant of
the field had yet sprouted, for the Lord God had not caused it to rain
on the earth, and there was no man to cultivate the ground. (2:5)

Human created:

The Lord God formed the man from the soil of the ground and breathed
into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living
being. (2:7)

Vegetation created:

The Lord God planted an orchard in the east, in Eden; and there he
placed the man he had formed. The Lord God made all kinds of trees
grow from the soil, every tree that was pleasing to look at and good
for food. (Now the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good
and evil were in the middle of the orchard.) (2:8-9)

All quotes are from the NET Bible.

Question

Is there a way to make a strong argument that both those stories are to be read literally (as if it was written by a modern historian)? How could those different accounts be merged?

Could there have been a threshold-god associated with 1 Samuel 5:5

Among the Romans there were three gods which made up the entrance of a door – “Cardea (Hinge-goddess), called after hinges, and Forculus (Door-god) after doors, and Limentinus (Threshold-god) after the threshold, and Janus himself (Gate-god) after the gate” – Tertullian

Was there a Philistine, Canaanite, Summarian, or Ugaritic equivalent for the Roman Threshold-god, Limentinus, that could have been associated with or given a different significance to the passage of 1 Samuel 5:5?

1 Samuel 5:4-5
But the following morning when they rose, there was Dagon, fallen on his face on the ground before the ark of the Lord! His head and hands had been broken off and were lying on the threshold; only his body remained. That is why to this day neither the priests of Dagon nor any others who enter Dagon’s temple at Ashdod step on the threshold.<

Reading Plans for 2017

Whatever it is you’re looking for in a reading plan, you should find it below: 52 Week Bible Reading Plan Read through the Bible in a…

An Urgent Message

Dr. Steve Yamaguchi raises the first of two urgent issues for the contemporary church. Part 1 of his introduction to the Odyssey Report of…

Why did the magi seek a king?

In Matthew 2:1-3 (NET), the author states:

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

Why would the Magi have automatically associated a star with kingship? Was the a historical/religious basis for doing so?

Why would Mary and Joseph offer “turtle doves” in Luke 2:24?

When Jesus was “presented” in Jerusalem by Mary and Joseph, the sacrifice made was “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons”:

Luke 2: 22 When the days of their purification according to the law of Moses were fulfilled, they brought him up to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male who opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”), 24 and to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, “A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.”

But in Matthew when the Magi found Jesus:

Matthew 2: 11 They came into the house and saw the young child with Mary, his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Opening their treasures, they offered to him gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

Why such an offering when they were given such gifts?

What did Joseph suspect Mary of in Matthew 1:18-19?

There only seem to be three options I’ve heard or seem possible:

  • Adultery (Post-marriage)
  • Fornication (Pre-marriage)
  • He knew the child was born of the Holy Spirit and want to remove himself from the relationship because he though he was unworthy. (Catholic gave me this view)

If there are any others please mention and provide verses for them.

Here is the story that seems (to me) to point to Joseph suspecting (or in His mind knowing) Mary had slept with another man.

“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS. – Matthew 1:18-25

However, there doesn’t seem to be a simple way to explain all the details that seem to come up that make this hard to fit into any specific model.

My Notes So Far:

Mary and Joseph were “espoused” or “betrothed” all the way up to Jesus birth. This is important because they were not quite “married” nor “single”. Espousal/Betrothal is a binding covenant prior to the marriage feast and consummation – which is why separate rules are given for it in Deuteronomy 22. Joseph is legally her “husband” and she is is “wife” though they are not yet “married”.

“And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. – Luke 1:26-27

“To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. – Luke 2:5-6

“Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS. – Matthew 1:24-25

People both thought Jesus was legitimately Joseph’s son (the statement in John 8:41 is sometimes readinto against this idea, but nothing supports that view)

Is not this the carpenter’s son? – Matthew 13:55

And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli, – Luke 3:23

Joseph was a “just man”:

“Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, – Matthew 1:19

Knew his action would make her a publick example (either death or shame)

“Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. – Matthew 1:19

Worth noting that the “exception” clause for divorce is only mentioned in Matthew where this situation with Joseph thinking about putting away Mary comes up.

But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication – Matthew 5:32

And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery. – Matthew 19:9

Divorce only seems legal under fornication:

“The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?” – Matthew 19:3 “And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication” – Matthew 19:9

If the “public example” was the death penalty, it seems to require three specific situations.

The death penalty once married (which they were not yet):

“If any man take a wife, and go in unto her, and hate her, And give occasions of speech against her, and bring up an evil name upon her, and say, I took this woman, and when I came to her, I found her not a maid:…” – Deuteronomy 22:13-14
“…if this thing be true, and the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel: Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die: because she hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the whore in her father’s house: so shalt thou put evil away from among you. – Deuteronomy 22:20-21

Also death if already married:

“If a man be found lying with a woman married to an husband, then they shall both of them die, both the man that lay with the woman, and the woman: so shalt thou put away evil from Israel. – Deuteronomy 22:22

Also death if betrothed and in a city:

“If a damsel that is a virgin be betrothed unto an husband, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her; Then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and ye shall stone them with stones that they die; the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city; and the man, because he hath humbled his neighbour’s wife: so thou shalt put away evil from among you. – Deuteronomy 22:23-24

This last one is interesting because perhaps this is what Joseph was thinking happened (Mary had just gone to the “country” to visit Elizabeth.

And no death if betrothed, but it happened in the country:

“But if a man find a betrothed damsel in the field, and the man force her, and lie with her: then the man only that lay with her shall die: But unto the damsel thou shalt do nothing; there is in the damsel no sin worthy of death: for as when a man riseth against his neighbour, and slayeth him, even so is this matter: For he found her in the field, and the betrothed damsel cried, and there was none to save her. – Deuteronomy 22:25-27

If Joseph thought this last case might have happened, then what is the whole “make a public example” about since there is no fault of her’s here? Also, how could he legally divorce her (even quietly)? Perhaps he ascribed to the standard teaching Jesus refuted about divorce for any reason?

In Luke 1:32, why isn’t the breath/spirit considered Jesus’ father?

The gospels seem to attribute the conception of Jesus to holy breath (το γαρ εν αυτη γεννηθεν εκ πνευματος εστιν αγιου):

ISV Mat 1:20 After he had thought about it, an angel of the Lord appeared
to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” he said, “don’t be afraid
to take Mary as your wife, because what has been conceived in her is
from the Holy Spirit
.

ISV Luke 1:34 Mary asked the angel, “How can this happen, since I have not
had relations with a man?” Luk 1:35 The angel answered her, “The
Holy Spirit will come over you, and the power of the Most High will
surround you.
Therefore, the child will be holy and will be called
the Son of God.

Yet Jesus’ father is not “the power of the most high” but rather the most high himself AND David:

KJV Luk_1:32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the
Highest
: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his
father David
:

Why isn’t the breath/spirit considered Jesus’ father? In these gospel passages is the breath/spirit a person? Or God’s “power” and creative “organ”?

NOTES:

This is the BDAG entry for the verb which appears in Matthew 1:20 as “conceived”:

γεννάω fut. γεννήσω; 1 aor. ἐγέννησα; pf. γεγέννηκα. Pass.: fut. pl.
γεννηθήσεσθε Sir 41:9; 1 aor. ἐγεννήθην; pf. γεγέννημαι (Pind.,
Hdt.+).—See ARahlfs, Genesis 1926, 39. Gener., to cause someth. to
come into existence, primarily through procreation or parturition. ①
become the parent of, beget ⓐ by procreation
(oft. LXX, fr. Gen 4:18
on) Mt 1:2–20 (cp. Diod S 4, 67, 2–68, 6, the genealogy of the
Aeolians: 67, 4 Ἄρνη ἐγέννησεν Αἰόλον κ. Βοιωτόν; 67, 7 Ἱππάλκιμος
ἐγέννησε Πηνέλεων; 68:1 Σαλμωνεὺς ἐγέννησε θυγατέρα … Τυρώ; 68, 3
Ποσειδῶν ἐγέννησε Πελίαν κ. Νηλέα; 68, 6 Νηλεὺς παῖδας ἐγέννησε
δώδεκα. Interchanged with ἐγέννησε are ἐτέκνωσε, ἦν υἱός, παῖδες
ἐγένοντο, etc.; cp. PMich 155, 7. The continuity is not formalized to
the degree in Mt, but in Diod S 4, 69, 1–3 ἐγέννησε is repeated six
times in a short space, and 4, 75, 4f ἐγέννησε occurs four times with
the names of fathers and sons; Did., Gen. 144, 27); Ac 7:8, 29. ἐκ w.
gen. of the mother (Hdt. 1, 108, 2; Diod S 4, 2, 1; 4, 62, 1; Palaeph.
44; PLond V, 1730, 10 οἱ ἐξ αὐτῆς γεννηθέντες υἱοί; Tob 1:9; 2 Esdr
10:44; Demetr.: 722 Fgm. 2, 2 Jac.; TestJob 1:6; Jos, Ant. 12, 189) Mt
1:3, 5f.—Pass. be fathered (Orig., C. Cels. 8, 66, 23) ἐκ τῆς
παιδίσκης κατὰ σάρκα w. the slave-woman, according to the flesh (i.e.
in line with human devising; opp. διʼ ἐπαγγελίας) Gal 4:23. ὁ κατὰ
σάρκα γεννηθείς he that was fathered by human design, opp. ὁ κατὰ
πνεῦμα he that was fathered by the Spirit’s design, i.e. in keeping
with the divine promise, vs. 23) vs. 29. τὸ ἐν αὐτῇ γεννηθὲν ἐκ
πνεύματός ἐστιν that which is conceived in her is of the Spirit Mt
1:20 (τὸ γεννηθέν of that which is yet unborn: Diod S 17, 77, 3). Here
the male principle is introduced by ἐκ (Lucian, Dial. Deor. 20, 14 ἐκ
κύκνου γεγεννημένη; Phlegon: 257 Fgm. 36, 2, 4 Jac.; Ps-Callisth. 1,
30, 3 ἐξ Ἄμμωνος ἐγεννήθη; TestSim 2:2) as J 1:13 (ἐγενήθ. P75et al.);
but in 3:6 the imagery is complex, involving a maternal aspect in vs.
4. W. ἀπό (En 15:8 οἱ γίγαντες οἱ γεννηθέντες ἀπὸ τ. πνευμάτων κ. σαρκός) ἀφʼ ἑνὸς ἐγεννήθησαν they were fathered by one man Hb 11:12
(numerous edd. ἐγενήθησαν). ἐκ πορνείας οὐ γεγεννήμεθα (v.l.
ἐγεννήθημεν) J 8:41 (cp. StudPal XX, 4, 30 ἐξ ἀγράφων γάμων
γεγεννῆσθαι). ἐν ἁμαρτίαις σὺ ἐγεννήθης ὅλος you’re a born sinner,
totally! 9:34.—Lk 1:35 (where mng. 2 is also prob. [as in τὸ
γεννώμενον Philo, Plant. 15]. S. AFridrichsen, SymbOsl 6, 1928, 33–36;
HAlmqvist, Plut. u. d. NT ’46, 60f). ⓑ by exercising the role of a
parental figure, ext. of 1a (Philo, Leg. ad Gai. 58 μᾶλλον αὐτὸν τῶν
γονέων γεγέννηκα), of a teacher on pupils ἐν Χ. Ἰ. διὰ τοῦ εὐαγγελίου
ὑμᾶς ἐγέννησα I became your father as Christians through the gospel 1
Cor 4:15; Phlm 10 (s. Ltzm. and JWeiss on 1 Cor 4:15; ADieterich,
Mithraslit. 1903, 146ff).—Pass. ἐκ (τοῦ) θεοῦ γεννᾶσθαι J 1:13 (on the
rdg. of the Lat. ms. b, s. JPryor, NovT 27, ’85, 296–318); 1J 2:29;
3:9; 4:7; 5:1, 4, 18. On γεννᾶσθαι ἐξ ὕδατος κ. πνεύματος J 3:5 cp.
1QS 4:20–22 and s. YYadin, JBL 74, ’55, 40–43. Also ἄνωθεν γ. J 3:3,
7. πᾶς ὁ ἀγαπῶν τὸν γεννήσαντα ἀγαπᾷ τὸν γεγεννημένον ἐξ αὐτοῦ everyone who loves the father (=God) loves the child (=Christ or one’s
fellow Christian) 1J 5:1 (on γεννᾶσθαι ἐκ θεοῦ s. Hdb. on J 3:3 and 1J
3:9 and the sources and lit. listed there; s. also παλιγγενεσία). Cp.
σήμερον γεγέννηκά σε (Ps 2:7) 1 Cl 36:4; GEb 18, 37; Ac 13:33 (held by
some to have been the orig. rdg. Lk 3:22 v.l.; s. JHillmann, Die
Kindheitsgesch. Jesu nach Lucas: Jahrbücher f. Protestantische
Theologie 17/2, 1891, 192–261; HUsener, D. Weihnachtsfest2 1911,
38ff); Hb 1:5; 5:5. p 194 ② to give birth to, bear (Aeschyl.,
Suppl. 48; X., De Rep. Lac. 1, 3; Lucian, Sacrif. 6; Plut., Mor., 3c;
Ps.-Callisth. 1, 9, 2 ἐκ θεοῦ γεννήσασα παῖδα=a woman who has borne a
child to a god; BGU 132 II, 5; Judg 11:1 B; Is 66:9; 4 Macc 10:2) Lk
1:13, 57; 23:29; J 16:21 w. τίκτειν; AcPl Ha 8, 28 εἰς δουλείαν
γεννῶσα who bears children for slavery Gal 4:24. Pass. be born (ἐκ
παρθένου Did., Gen. 96, 13) ἐγεννήθη Μωϋσῆς Ac 7:20; cp. Hb 11:23.
γεγεννημένος ἐν Ταρσῷ Ac 22:3; μήπω … γεννηθέντων Ro 9:11; πρὶν ἡμᾶς
γεννηθῆναι before we were born 1 Cl 38:3. εἰς τὸν κόσμον come into the
world J 16:21; Mt 2:1, 4; 19:12; 26:24 (=1 Cl 46:8); Mk 14:21 (cp. En
38:2); Lk 1:35 (1a is also prob.; a v.l. adds ἐκ σοῦ, which can be
rendered ‘the child to whom you give birth’). ἐκ Μαρίας ἐγεννήθη
AcPlCor 1:14; 2:5 (cp. Mt 1:16); J 3:4; 9:2, 19f, 32; IEph 18:2; ITr
11:2; ἀληθῶς γ. be in fact born (in opp. to Docetism) 9:1. γεγεννημένα
(v.l. γεγενημένα) εἰς ἅλωσιν 2 Pt 2:12. εἰς τοῦτο for this purpose J
18:37. διάλεκτος ἐν ᾑ ἐγεννήθημεν the language in which we were born
i.e., which we have spoken fr. infancy Ac 2:8. ἐγὼ δὲ καὶ γεγέννημαι
but I was actually born a Roman citizen 22:28. οὗτος ἐγεννήθη βασιλεύς
born a king GJs 20:4 codd. γεννῶνται και γεννῶσιν Lk 20:34 v.l. ③ to
cause someth. to happen, bring forth, produce, cause, fig. of various
kinds of production (Pla. et al.; Polyb. 1, 67, 2 στάσις ἐγεννᾶτο;
Philo, De Jos. 254; Jos., Ant. 6, 144) 2 Ti 2:23.—γ. καρπόν produce
fruit (Philo, Op. M. 113) ITr 11:1. Forged writing γεγεννημένον for
γεγενημένον GJs 24:3.—B. 280. DELG s.v. γίγνομαι p. 222. M-M. TW.

Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., & Bauer, W. (2000). A Greek-English lexicon
of the New Testament and other early Christian literature (3rd ed.,
pp. 193–194). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.