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News Letter 5847-043
19th day of the 10th month 5847 years after the creation of Adam
The 10th Month in the Second year of the third Sabbatical Cycle
The Third Sabbatical Cycle of the 119th Jubilee Cycle
The Sabbatical Cycle of Earthquakes Famines, and Pestilences.
January 14, 2012

Shabbat Shalom Brethren,
We have come back from Tex-Arabia last weekend having shared the Sabbatical and Jubilee years teaching and The Prophecies of Abraham and the 70 Shabua and the Prophecies in the Law of Niddah.

Opps did I say Arabia out loud. I meant Texas. But I was so shocked as I flew into Abilene from Dallas looking out my window. I could see the lakes and how much they had shrunk from the drought. I was about 1 mile up in the air and the shore lines were extensive.

I could not believe my eyes as I saw where one lake had dried up and the shore line there was red. I was sure I was imagining that. And then as I flew over Abilene, the lake to the north of the city and another to the south if I have my bearings right was reddish. I must have imagined it also. So I asked my host to take me out to the lake and to look at it up close. It did have a rusty colour to it and the beach was white sand not red clay.

Also when I flew in I could see countless rivers that had dried up. And then as we came lower as we approached our landing, I looked earnestly for all the cattle of Texas. I could not see any but a few dozen at most.

My host also drove me around to look for cattle. We could only find some where water was being pumped in to water them. And these looked healthy. But the few places we did find cattle and the ponds were now dried up, the cattle looked very lean to sickly.

The Great State of Texas has been and is being humbled.

But just like the proverbial frog that is in the pot of water, most Texans have no idea what is going on and why this is happening to them. They just hope that tomorrow will be better and so they stay in the pot as it gets hotter and hotter no realizing they are about to die.

My host also drove me to see something I had forgotten all about until I saw it. It was the cult of Ysrayl Hawkins who claims to be one of the two witnesses. His brother was the other one of the two witnesses. Only problem is his brother died a few years back.

As I drove around this huge complex and witnessed the poverty of those who live in trailers or shacks, I also saw the homes of the elders who had watch towers built on them which were very prominent and I could not stop thinking of another Waco in the making, which was not that far from here. The people of Waco by the way also kept the Sabbath.

You can read this report which shows how Ysrayl has lied to those who follow him and how he has turned his lust of the flesh into the polygamist sect he now runs.
http://jesus-messiah.com/apologetics/cults/yisrayl-hawkins.html

Seeing this cult disgusted me knowing that they looked just like many of us in our beliefs’ accept they did not walk the walk. One man was living with the wife of another man who had told her to leave. And they justified this relationship because they were Torah obedient. But having a sexual relationship with another man’s wife is not kosher. It is actually disobedient. Others who did not obey the divine leader were burned out of their shanty and forced to leave the 10 foot high fenced in land. Others die mysteriously and are buried without autopsy nor reported to authorities as they do not believe in Government authority. They themselves are the authority.

I was sickened to learn of all this. And then to know they kept the Sabbath, and used the sacred name, and kept the Holy Days. I almost wanted to leave and not share the Sabbatical years with them in case any of them came to the meeting and they also began to do the Sabbatical years as well.

But there were others in Texas who drove 5 hours to be there. Some drove 7 hours to hear what I had to say. And one couple drove all the way from Dakota, 15 hours away one way, so they could learn about Yehovah’s Sabbatical years. For these people, for these with a huge heart to learn His truths I am motivated to do more. But for those who pretend to be obedient and abuse their wives, into mindless submissive robots, I have nothing good to say about you.

A couple of the women at our meeting, could not look me in the eye. They could not talk to me for fear they would be seen talking to a man. They wanted to learn but this abuse of the scriptures by their husbands had them so confused about many things.

Please do not misunderstand me not everyone in Texas was like this, but there were some men there like this and they had the gall to try and discredit me for various reasons using the 613 laws, having not heard anything I had said, being blinded by their own self-righteousness.

But for the rest of the roughly 50 people who came they were overwhelmed with the truths they now knew about. And it is for them that I was thrilled to come and share these truths to.

We also had this live streamed. We did not know how to do it and it was rough getting it set it up. But we managed to save the first teaching with poor audio which you can listen to at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/prophecies-of-abraham We were not able to save the teaching on The Prophecies of Abraham for some reason. But another Brother did save the 70 Shabua and the Prophecies of Niddah on a webinar. But this webinar runs out the end of next week as I understand it. So if you want to watch it then you must do so ASAP. It can be watched at http://www.instantpresenter.com/WebConference/RecordingDefault.aspx?c_psrid=E955DE87814A

I spoke from 10 Am until about 6:30 PM with a one hour lunch break in between. We had over 150 people watch us live and they were able to see all three presentations. We just were not able to record the second one as I said.

Some of those listening live, commented as they were listening and here are some of the comments.



 “fascinating stuff. I’m learning a lot”

He makes it sound so easy and fit so perfectly. I can’t keep it straight in my brain.





bookmarking BBC news
he says he’s not a prophet but he is otherwise he wouldn’t have the understanding of the pattern :)

I haven’t even gotten all the FEASTS down yet. I’m way behind you guys.
The Feasts are a piece of cake compared to this!





A Prophet does no more than direct people back to the Truth’s found in Torah… so….

i think the hardest part is counting out the years to prove what time it is… the rest, to me is a little easier to grasp…


You truly never know you’ve been asleep till you wake up.

His newsletters always floored me due to length. But now I understand why- so much to say!

This was really great of them to broadcast this for free, and to spend all day on it. I had a friend come over and we blasted it on the big screen. Great information, truly.

You did a fantastic job Lora and Joseph.
I saw the morning session. Pretty incredible. Looking forward to see the other two later.

They were all excellent. The third one dealt a lot with Niddah and Daniel’s timeline, Revelation, geo-political events as related to prophecy, etc. Very exciting. You’ll really like the other 2 when they become available. Hope it will be soon because I would like to see the third part again

After the meeting I was informed of some things and I am now speaking out about them.

I am speaking out against a small minority who tried to discredit what I had to say; they came late and heard nothing of what I had taught all day. There were others who were going to come, but they sat in a bar Friday night as their Sabbath custom was, and they got drunk. Then as they came to the meeting on Shabbat their vehicle broke down preventing them from coming at all.

Yehovah is not mocked, nor is he fooled by the way you live the rest of the week. If your reading this and this is describing the things you do then you need to repent of your evil habits right away. It can be done. I have done it. And I know what the signs are and what the consequences will be. Just because you think you say the name right does not mean you have a rabbits foot that is going to get you into the kingdom. You do not want Yehshua to say to you be gone I never knew you. It is now time to shape up. The sword that is coming in just 8 years time, will take those who do not repent. So change your evil ways now!!!

One of the highlights of the weekend for me was teaching a young lady the many things I knew about Noah’s Ark. It was so much fun to share and teach this great subject to a select few before we began our teachings of the Sabbatical years.

They say that happens is Vegas stays in Vegas, but not for me. IN order to return home to Toronto I had to fly to sin city. For the lady sitting next to me this was an oxymoron and funny. In our conversation she learned why I was in Abilene that weekend. She on the other hand was going to the tech convention in Las Vegas as were most of those on the plane that morning.

This lady also attended Chuck Swindells Plano Texas Church meetings. As she asked me questions I became more awake. I just wanted to sleep. So for the next two hours I explained to this lady where Israel went and what their names became as they traveled after the captivity. She was amazed and found this awesome. Something Mr. Swindell had never taught. I also taught this lady why all these calamities had hit Texas showing her exactly what her bible says would happen for not keeping the Sabbatical years. Again she said this was a subject she had wondered about but had never had it explained to her. She was excited to have learned this. And thriled to be sitting with me this morning.

For me this was great to again to be able to share what I had come to learn. A divine appointment. Now she can go and learn some more. She has said she will search my web site and study more.

I am so pleased to have been able to begin sharing this in Texas. The things I showed on the power point, I was able to see firsthand on the ground in Texas.

We will get a good teaching on line for you with the Power points. So please pray about this and also consider helping us to share this message by donating to the cost of Airfare. We are not making a fortune doing this. As you can see we do need a microphone system. So please do consider donating to help us go forward and share this with brethren everywhere.

As you can see we are trying to make this available to everyone for free. We want you to have this understanding. But there are cost involved in travel and hotels and banquet rooms in order to share this with people. So please do help.
You can send any help to;

Joseph F Dumond
14 Willow Cres.
Orangeville Ontario
Canada. L9V 1A5

And please state what the funds are for as we are still raising money to purchase a farm in Israel. Which we mention in our presentation.

We are just two weeks away from our Speaking engagement in Ashland Kentucky. We do hope you all in this area will make the effort to come out and hear this teaching first hand.

Saturday, January 28, 2012
Ashland Kentucky.
Time 2:00pm until 6:00pm

The hall is in the Kyova Mall , Fairfield Inn 1/4 mile away 10945 US Rte.60, Ashland, Kentucky

If you’re in Tennessee or West Virginia then come. Again pray for good weather as I expect to drive 10 hours to this event myself. I know of others who are coming from Ohio.

We will be speaking Feb 11, 2012 in Ocala Florida. The hall is booked from 9AM to 9PM. I will not be speaking for all that time but I will answer everyone’s questions who come out and I will stay as late as need to be to do it.

We will be at the
Forest Community Center at Sandhill Park
777 South 314-A, Ocklawaha, FL 32179 [ FCC phone # 1.352.438.2840 ].

If anyone is interested, here is the address and phone # of the Days Inn in Silver Springs, FL:
5751 E. Silver Springs Blvd {SR 40), Silver Springs, FL 34488 Phone: 1.352.236.2575$59 per night per room, sleeps 4.

This event is being hosted by Ken & Jan Gordon 1.352.625.4236

We also have planned a three week teaching series in Sarnia Ontario for February and then again in June, so stay tuned for more details about this.

Last week we shared with you the history of events around the Bar Kokhba Revolt. We wanted you to understand the events of the time and how Judah wanted Simon to be the Messiah. Mostly at the prompting of Rabbi Akiva.

This week I want to share more information about this time and how it was twisted to soot the political aims of the leading Rabbis of that time.

The following is taken from http://www.yahweh.org/publications/sjc/sj27Chap.pdf of Qedesh La Yahweh Press. http://www.yahweh.org/yahweh2.html

Rabbi Yose Seder Olam
There has been a failure to recognize the motive of the rabbis who originated the chronology system upon which popular rabbinical chronology is built. These rabbis were supporters of Bar Kochba, a man who claimed to be the promised messiah and who had a large following among the masses. Bar Kochba’s supporters read into the Second Revolt a fulfillment of the prophecy in Daniel, 9:24-27, which states that the messiah would come AFTER 483 weeks (incorrectly interpreted to mean 483 years), i.e. in the 484th year of the building of the second Temple. In their calculations, the destruction of Jerusalem (70CE) took place in the 421st year of this era.

Since the 421st year of this period equals 70 CE, the rabbis began this era in 351 BCE (see chart B). In reality, this construction is impossible. The era starts when the command went forth to build the second Temple; yet the first stages of the second Temple were already completed in the sixth year of King Darius of Persia (515 BCE). Therefore, the early construction of the second Temple was actually completed some 164 years before the rabbis calculated that the work to build it had started. Neither can the rabbinical understanding be a reference to a later building phase, for the second Temple was not enlarged until the eighteenth year of King Herod (20/19 BCE)

The clear intent of the contrived chronology from the period is to prove that Bar Kochba was the promised messiah. The 484th year of this era, the year in which the messiah was to appear, becomes 133/134 CE. This date, therefore, proves that the Second Revolt would have actually begun in 133 CE not 132 CE (133 CE being the year in which the messiah’s appearance was expected). Other contemporary rabbis and later rabbis dismissed the Bar Kochba messianic attachment to the chronology but inaccurately continued use of it as if it was a factual framework for the past.

The claim of three and one half years for the length of the revolt – as found in some variant tests of the Seder Olam Rabbah and a couple of Talmudic writings – is, in fact, of much later origin than either the earliest copies of Seder Olam or Eusebius. The figure of three and one half years is actually derived from still another attempt to read into the Second Revolt some of the prophecy of Daniel, 9:24-27; i.e. the statement that in the “middle of the week” (interpreted to mean three and one half years) the evil one shall “cause the sacrifices and offering to cease.” As a result, these writings superimposed their own chronological interpretation on that event.

The Bar Kochba Chronology
Let us first examine in more depth the origin of the Bar Kochba Chronology. A major error of the advocates of system “B”, “C”, and “D” has been their failure to take into account the source of the chronology used by the authors of the Seder Olam and other Talmudic works. This chronology originated from the supporters of Bar Kochba who read into the Bar Kochba revolt the prophecy of Daniel, 9;24-27, which foretold of the appearance of the messiah.

First, it can be no mere coincidence that the year 133 CE, year 16 of Hadrian, is the 484th year of the era of building the second Temple – the year 351 BCE being the date determined by the rabbis as the time when the building of the second Temple began.
Why did these rabbis calculate a date so far from the truth (i.e. over 164 years) if it had not arisen for some religious and political purpose?

The very fact that the chronology agreed upon by the rabbis from the time of Rabbi Jose (about 160 CE) was based upon the prophecy of Daniel, 9:24-27 – and then finding that his chronology fulfills the messianic expectation at the time of Bar Kochba’s insurrection – clearly indicates its original source and intent. In fact, Rabbi Jose, who wrote the Seder Olam (the text upon which Talmudic chronology is built) only about 25 years after the end of that revolt, also lived at the time of the Second Revolt. Nevertheless, he was not the originator of the chronology but only its transmitter.

Rabbi Yahanan, who lived in the next century after Jose, and the Babylonian Talmudic works Yebamot (82b) and Niddah (46b) report that Rabbi Jose “taught” Seder Olam. Rabbi Jose (Yose) is himself cited nine times in the Seder Olam, while other Rabbis, all of them Tannaim, appear altogether ten times. Milikowsky concludes from this evidence.

“With SO (Seder Olam), there is good reason to believe that R. Yose’s central role was that of a transmitter who edited (revised?) and added his own comments to the text. Only in this way can we explain the statements attributed to R. Yose in SO; a later editor when re-editing the chronography of R. Yose transmitted added R. Yose’s name to those comments which the latter had added (in the first person?) to the text. Not only does this solve our problem, i.e. how is it possible for R. Yose to be cited in SO if it is his work, but it is also the only ways to explain why R. Yose is cited in SO almost as much as all other Sages together: since he transmitted SO, his notes and comments were more numerous than the statements of their Sages which were attached to the text.

It is clear from this evidence that Rabbi Jose transmitted a chronology that had been in vogue during the Bar Kochba period only 30 years before. It was a chronology that he “taught” not originated. The political and messianic attachments made during the Bar Kochba revolt were dropped but the scheme of things was continued as if this chronology represented the true chronology of the ancient Jewish people.

Bar Kochba represented himself as the messiah. His appearance in Jewish history at the precise time that the Jewish chronology of the rabbis would indicate the appearance of the messiah cannot be a mere coincidence. His official title was (Nasia or Nasi),” denoting chief, prince, or king. The name Kochba, meaning “star” was a reference to the messianic prophecy in Number, 24:17. Rabbi Akiba specifically calls him the “King Messiah.” Bar Kochba is often considered one of the “gibborim” or “mighty warriors” of Jewish history in later Talmudic works. He is described as catching stones flung from Roman catapults and hurling them back with deadly results. According to this legend, it was for that reason that Rabbi Akiba declared him to be the messiah.

The majority of coins from the first year of the revolt bear Bar Kochba’s name and his title “Nasia of Israel.” These coins clearly reflect the messianic aspirations of Bar Kochba. The “star which appears above the Temple façade on the obverse of most tetradrachms of the second and third years [of the revolt-coins] again alludes to the messianic aspirations of Ben Kosiba [Bar Kochba].” This star is still held up among the Jews today as the star of David.

The belief that Bar Kochba was the messiah and that he fulfilled the requirements of Daniel, 9:24-27 (rabbinical interpretation) necessitates that his appearance after 483 years must occur on a Sabbath year, i.e. in the 484th year. Wacholder, in his study on Chronomessianism, for example, presents an outline of the ancient evidence proving that “at one time” there existed among the Jews a “widespread belief, that the inevitable coming of the messiah would take place during the season when Israel celebrated the sabbatical year.” And indeed, this circumstance is exactly what the records from the Bar Kochba period indicate.

The rental contracts found at Murabba’at were written towards the end of the month of Shebat (the eleventh month of the Jewish year) of the second year of the redemption. They reveal that the eve of a Sabbath year was to follow after five coming, complete harvest years. Therefore, the first year of the revolt (133/134 CE, Nisan reckoning) was in fact a Sabbath year!

Just as important to our study is another overlooked fact. Based upon the date for Hezekiah’s sixteenth year, the second year of the Bar Kochba revolt (134/135 CE, Nisan reckoning) was a Jubilee year (Chart B). What better time for someone claiming to be the messiah to exert his claim? Even though during this period the rabbis claimed that the Jubilee was abolished by “rabbinic” – though definitely not by “scriptural” – ordinances, the Jubilee was still calculated and its prophetic connection with the messiah clearly understood.

This detail also explains why no rental contracts were found that showed a harvest during the first and second years of the Second Revolt. The 12 contracts under discussion for this period merely point to the fact that in the coming five years there would be five harvests before the next Sabbath year.

These facts demonstrate that these 12 contracts, written on the twentieth day of Shebat (Jan/Feb), must be understood to mean that the five producing years referred to would actually commence with the first of Nisan, which was only 40 days away. These five years were to end on the eve of the next Sabbath year.

Finally, we must account for the fact that Bar Kochba seized Jerusalem and other Roman outposts during his first year, even though this year was undoubtedly a Sabbath year and despite the fact that military expeditions were forbidden under Jewish law in that season. Again we must return to the fact the Bar Kochba’s followers saw Bar Kochba as the messiah. The messiah was to war against the enemies of Israel. In the eyes of the rabbis, when the messiah came to war for the freedom of Israel, it was expected that he would do so during a Sabbath year. Therefore, normally forbidden aggressive military activity during a Sabbath year was under this exceptional circumstance permissible.

The Three and One Half Years
Next, let us examine the evidence used to support a three and one half year period for the war. To begin with, the figure (three years and one half)” found in some of the variant texts of the Seder Olam Rabbah instead of (two years and one half),” as footnoted in Neubauer’s translation, does not change the beginning year for the revolt, as the advocates of systems “B”, “C”, and “D” would have us believe.

Even in the variant texts referred to by Neubauer we still find 80 years from the conflict of As-varus to the conflict of Vespasian; 52 years more to the conflict of Quietus; and 16 years more to the war of Bar Kochba. These figures bring us to the spring 133 CE as the outbreak of the war. The ending figure, on the other hand, is changed to the middle of the year 136 CE, not 135 CE!

When the chronologists supporting systems “B”, “C”, and “D” use the three and one half years from some of the variant texts of the Seder Olam Rabbah, they misuse it by subtracting that number from the confirmed date for the fall of Beth Thera in late summer of 135 CE. If this figure is correct and original, as claimed, then they should appropriately begin counting from the sixteenth year after the conflict with Quietus as directed in the text.

Neubauer’s edition of the Seder Olam and his citations of variant texts, found in his Mediaeval Jewish Chronicles, are cited by Schurer and others as proof of a three and one half year war. Yet this text is described by Milikowsky’s more recent edition of that work as falling short because of its “selectivity in citing variants, the insufficient care in copying editions and manuscripts, and the method used in the text and apparatus.” These details, he continues “preclude its being considered an adequate utilization of the materials he had available. Additionally, there are many manuscripts of SO [Seder Olam] to which he had no access, and others to which he had only limited access.”

Milikowsky’s editions of the Seder Olam, which far better utilizes all the variants, declares that two and one half years for the Second Revolt is the true and earliest figure supplied by the best texts More important, even Neubauer’s edition leaves the figure of two and one half years in his main text, showing that he too found this number to be from the earliest and best manuscripts to which he was familiar.

In the Talmudic texts entitles Lamentations Rabbah, “three and one half years” is given for the siege of Beth Thera by Hadrian. What usually goes unnoticed is the fact that three and one half years is also given in his text for the length of the siege of Jerusalem by Vespasian. But Vespasian did not besiege Jerusalem for three and a half years. His son Titus did not begin laying siege against Jerusalem until the spring of 70 CE, and the war was over in Elul (Gorpiaeus; Aug/Sept) of that same year.

Neither can the three and one half years represent the duration of the entire war, since the First Revolt began in the spring of 66 CE and lasted until late summer of 70 CE, a span of four and one half years. Three and one half years can only work as an approximate time for the period of Vespasian’s and his son Titus’ involvement in the entire Judaean war, which for them actually got under way in May of 67 CE.

Jerome (early fifth century CE) gives the view of some of the Jewish scholars in his day that the last septennium of Daniel, 9:27, is to be divided between the siege of Vespasian and the siege of Hadrian. That is, three and one half years are to be allotted to each event. It is clear from Jerome that the underlying idea of some of the Jews in the Talmudic period was to apply the calculations of the end time prophecy of Daniel to the two destructions of Jerusalem, which occurred during the First and Second Revolts.
The figure of three and one half years, therefore, is a chronolographical interpretation. One can no more trust this calculation for the length of the Bar Kochba revolt until the fall of Beth Thera than he can for the supposed length of the siege of Jerusalem by Vespasian given in the same text. The rabbis may well have included the year before the formal declaration of war by all of Judaea as part of their calculation (i.e. the time when Bar Kochba had established his own power but prior to the major outbreak of hostilities in 133 CE). Then again, it may have arisen as pure speculation in an attempt to read prophecy into that important defeat in Jewish history.

It is also certain, by the fact that some of the variations of the Seder Olam Rabbah substituted three and one half years for two and one half years, that the rabbinic interpretation (of three and one half years) was used to replace the original calculation. At the same time, when faced with the credibility of the figure of three and one half years from the Palestinian Talmud (Taanim, 68d) and the Lamentations Rabbah, even Schurer was forced to admit that “these sources are not of great weight.” Yet after making this admission he then concludes:
“… it is in fact correct that the war lasted about three and a half years (the late sources confuse the durations of the war with that of the siege of Bether).”

The truth of the matter is that Schurer and those following systems “B”, “C”, and “D” have only “assumed” that the duration of the war for all Judaea until the collapse of Beth Thera was three and one half years. This assumption is necessary only because it is required if their respective calculations are to be upheld.

Conclusion
It is necessary for the proponents of systems “B”, “C”, and “D”, in order to accommodate their arrangements of the Sabbath cycle, to overlook the strong evidence for a two and one half year conflict for all Judaea during the Second Revolt. For their systems to work, they required that the war for all Judaea begin one year earlier than stated by Eusebius and the best editions of the Seder Olam. In an effort to find support for this view, they are forced to fall back on a late Talmudic interpretation, which tries to frame both the First and Second Revolt in such a way as to fulfill a prophecy found in Daniel, 9:24-27. System “A”, on the other hand, relies on the best and most reliable of the ancient source. These sources prove that the Second Revolt lasted only two and one half years for all of Judaea, from the spring of 133 until Ab (July/Aug) of 135 CE.

Here is one of the leading Christian teachers, John McArthur who is using the exact same teaching that Rabbi Yose used about the 483 years. Listen to his teaching on this 70 Weeks. You need to understand the Christian viewpoint and then the Rabbinic view. http://www.gty.org/resources/sermons/27-25/Israels-Future-Part-2 see if you can pick out how they arrive at the 70 X 7. Do you also see how they arrived at 490 years? To miss 70 Sabbaths is not 490 years. It is 398 years not 490 because you have to also count the Jubilee years and the Sabbatical ones.

Also note how he now goes to a 360 day years for his prophecy. But this is not kosher as we have explained in Ezekiel’s 30 days. http://www.sightedmoon.com/?page_id=140

Keep in mind the year Yehshua died was 31 AD due to the New Moon being sighted. Then note the gymnastics he has to go through to make this work. All Christians take flying leaps of faith here. It just does not work. Study this out and know why it does not work. You need to be able to explain to those deceived by people like John McArthur why they are deceived. This is why it is so important to understand the false teaching put forward as truth by the Rabbis from the time of the Bar Kochba revolt and the same false teachings are then reworked by Christians and it is still a false teaching.

The 70 Weeks of Daniel is not about the coming of the Messiah in 31 CE. It is about the coming of the Messiah in our time in this the last Jubilee cycle. It is a huge prophecy for us today. Those who will witness the utter destruction that is about to arrive in the middle of the Week; The Middle of the Shabua, when Israel, not the Messiah, but Israel, The USA and UK and her commonwealth countries will be cut off and destroyed. This time is just 8 years from 2012. This is a huge understanding to grasp a hold of.

We continue this weekend with our regular Triennial Torah reading which can be found at http://www.sightedmoon.com/files/TriennialCycleBeginningAviv.pdf

14/01/2012 Lev 11 Jer 44-46 Prov 23 Acts 20

Leviticus 11

Laws of Clean and Unclean Meat (Leviticus 11-12)
These dietary laws, repeated in Deuteronomy 14, were around long before the institution of the Levitical priesthood—indeed, long before Israel even existed. For even before the Flood of Noah’s day, almost 1,000 years earlier, we see the distinction between clean and unclean animals. At that time, God commanded Noah to take two of every unclean animal onto the ark and seven (or seven pairs) of every clean animal (Genesis 7:2-9). Regrettably, many today argue that the dietary laws were done away in the New Testament. However, there are no scriptures that support this view, even though some have misused certain verses to try to make the point. To counter one popular argument, the dietary laws were not done away by the ending of the Old Covenant initiated at Sinai, because, again, they were in force long before that covenant came into being. Nowhere does the New Testament abrogate God’s laws regarding clean and unclean animals. Indeed, frogs are still viewed as “unclean” at the very end of the Bible, along with certain birds (compare Revelation 16:13; 18:2).

While the Jewish people have preserved the dietary laws—along with some dietary traditions not enjoined by Scripture—the people of the “lost 10 tribes” of Israel, influenced by their gentile neighbors, gradually stopped observing them. And God remains very displeased about this fact. In Isaiah 65, speaking of the end time, He says: “I have stretched out My hands all day long to a rebellious people, who walk in a way that is not good, according to their own thoughts; a people who provoke Me to anger continually to My face… who eat swine’s flesh, and the broth of abominable things is in their vessels” (verses 2-4).

In fact, the next chapter of Isaiah prophesies that Christ, at His return, is going to punish such people for eating unclean meat as part of their willful ignorance of and disobedience to God’s instruction, even though they may not view it as such. Notice what God says: “For behold, the Lord will come with fire and with His chariots, like a whirlwind, to render His anger with fury, and His rebuke with flames of fire. For by fire and by His sword the Lord will judge all flesh; and the slain of the Lord shall be many. ‘Those who sanctify themselves and purify themselves, to go to the gardens after an idol in the midst, eating swine’s flesh and the abomination and the mouse, shall be consumed together,’ says the Lord. For I know their works and their thoughts. It shall be that I will gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come and see My glory” (66:15-18). Ultimately all nations will come to know God’s truth—including His laws regarding clean and unclean meats.

We will see more about clean and unclean meats as pertaining to holiness (see Leviticus 11:44-47) in the highlights for Leviticus 20:25-26.

Jeremiah 44-46

Jeremiah’s Final Warning (Jeremiah 44)
Jeremiah 44 is the last chapter the prophet wrote in his book. The chapters that follow were written earlier—except for the final chapter, 52, which appears to have been added by someone else in later years.

Jeremiah delivers his final warning to the Jewish remnant that had refused to heed God’s warnings. It is evident that some time has passed since the previous chapter—given that many of the Jews have returned to idolatry and have moved throughout the land of Egypt. It should also be mentioned that there were also colonies of Jews living in Egypt that had moved there previously, as mentioned in the Bible Reading Program comments on Jeremiah 24:8-10 (a passage that stated that the Jews in Egypt would be among those delivered to trouble and destruction). Some of the Jews in Egypt may have descended from those who had migrated in the days of Judah’s King Manasseh a century earlier.

As Jeremiah 44:1 shows, the Jews were spread out over a vast area in Egypt. Migdol is a Canaanite name meaning “watchtower” or “fortress” and is most likely a city on the northeastern border of Egypt. There are a number of references to Migdol in the Old Testament. The earliest was on the route of the Exodus (Exodus 14:2, Numbers 33:7) just before the Israelites crossed the Red Sea. There is a further reference to Migdol in Ezekiel’s prophecy concerning the destruction of Egypt (Ezekiel 29:10). We can’t be certain whether these all refer to the place, but Ezekiel’s reference as a key location in describing the extent of Egyptian destruction makes it a prominent city in the north.
Tahpanhes was also a prominent northern city and the location of the pharaoh’s northern palace. It was to be the place where Nebuchadnezzar would set up his throne when he invaded Egypt. The Egyptians were proud of this city, which Ezekiel also prophesied would be doomed (Ezekiel 30:18). Tahpanhes and Migdol were close to the northern end of what is now the Suez Canal, on the edge of Lake Manzala.

Noph is the city of Memphis, the ancient capital of Lower Egypt (northern Egypt). Memphis sits just outside modern Cairo, about five miles south of the pyramids.

“Pathros is Upper Egypt [southern Egypt], or the Nile Valley between Cairo and Aswan. The name appears in Assyrian inscriptions of the seventh century B.C… The Elephantine Papyri from the fifth century B.C. tell us that a Jewish colony settled there [in the area of Aswan]” (Expositor’s Bible Commentary, note on Jeremiah 44:1).

Historian Walter Kaiser sums up the chapter as “a message prepared for the Jewish diaspora living in Egypt, who had by now adopted the Egyptian lifestyle and syncretistically adopted many features of Egyptian religious life, Jeremiah reminded them that they would be the same ones who would suffer the judgment of God. Pharaoh Hophra…would be handed over to his enemies and the shelter the Judeans had sought would no longer exist” (A History of Israel, 1988, pp. 411).

Syncretism or mixing religious customs—in this case blending the traditions and superstitions of other nations in with the ways God revealed He wanted His people to worship Him—was a historical weakness of Israel. And, it was directly contrary to God’s warning in Deuteronomy 12:29-32. Remarkably, Israelites make the same mistake today!

Jeremiah reminds them that the reason for the calamity on Jerusalem and all the other Jewish cities is their rebellion against Him in serving false gods (verses 2-14). The response of the men says a great deal about their spiritual condition. And it was evidently the women who were now leading the push to incorporate pagan customs as part of their own religious practices, worshiping the so-called “queen of heaven” and dragging the whole population down. But while the women may have been the driving force in this apostasy, the men were in full agreement. Then the women reaffirmed their embracing of what was actually spiritual adultery—unfaithfulness to the true God who “was a husband to them” (31:32). They basically “reasoned that when they stopped worshiping the queen of heaven in the days of Josiah’s reform, their king was killed and their land was overrun and destroyed” (Nelson Study Bible, note on 44:18). They looked back at the time of pagan worship as a time of blessing and prosperity. Because of their rebellious natures, they chose the simplistic and false reasoning that any rewards or punishments from God would come immediately. Amazingly, then, after all they had seen and experienced, they had learned nothing. Their reasoning seems utterly bizarre. Yet people today still reject biblical religion with similar arguments: “I haven’t noticed any problems for not worshiping God; in fact, things have been better for me since I stopped.” Or, “I think that trying to follow the Bible and its laws is what hurts people and that being free from all those restrictions is much better.”

“The Jews maintained that when they had offered incense to other gods and had poured out libations to the queen of heaven, all went well. When they ceased to do these things, circumstances worked against them. Somehow they refused to realize that it was the doing of these things which had first occasioned the invasion of Judah by Nebuchadnezzar. Wicked people will always find excuses to evade guilt and justify illicit actions” (Harper Study Bible, note on verse 18).

Their shallow approach to religion is almost on the level of superstition or of those who follow horoscopes today—who read generically written “prophecies” that are so ambiguous that they can be interpreted any number of ways. Of course, that’s the idea. For then people can still direct their own lives rather than submit to the authority of a Supreme Being.

Walter Kaiser provides some insight into the Queen of Heaven cult that has a lot of significance for today. “Jeremiah, like several of the other prophets (e.g. Ezek 8:14-15) indicted Judah for her adoption and practice of the cultic rituals of the pagans around them. One apostasy that was particularly repugnant was the ancient cult of ‘the Queen of Heaven.’ In two separate passages, Jeremiah 7:16-18 and 44:15-19, 25, the prophet lamented the fact that the women were ‘making cakes’ [Hebrew kawwanim] for her, ‘like her image’ [Hebrew leha’asibah], and ‘pouring out drink offerings to her.’

“Now the interesting fact is that the Hebrew word for ‘cakes,’ which occurs in Hebrew only in these two passages, is a loan-word from Akkadian, an East Semitic Language, spoken in Mesopotamia from 2000 to 500 B.C. Kawwanim were sweetened cakes used in the Mesopotamian cult of the mother goddess Ishtar. Archaeologists discovered in the palace kitchen at the site of Mari, an ancient city located in the Middle Euphrates region, as many as forty-seven clay molds that may have been used for very similar purposes to those opposed by the prophet. Mold number 1044 seems to represent the nude goddess Ishtar, seen seated with her hands supporting her breasts, thus possessing the image of the goddess that Jeremiah had warned against.

“The exact identity of the Queen of Heaven has not been finally solved, with candidates ranging from the West Semitic Astarte [Hebrew Ashtaroth or Ashtoreth], Anat and Asherah to the East Semitic Ishtar. However, the title ‘Queen of Heaven’ was found at Hermopolis in 1945 (and published in 1966). Since the Mesopotamian goddess Ishtar is identified with the planet Venus, and has as her symbol an eight-pointed star, it would seem Ishtar, and perhaps one or more of the West Semitic deities could be associated with her as this so-called Queen of Heaven” (The Old Testament Documents: Are They Reliable and Relevant?, 2001, pp. 163-164). It may be that the Jews in Egypt worshiped her as the Egyptian mother goddess Isis or perhaps Hathor.

God said that we are not to incorporate pagan worship practices into our worship of Him (Deuteronomy 12:29-32, Jeremiah 10:2-5). Yet popular Christianity continues elements of the worship of Ishtar (from which we get the word “Easter”), such as baking “cakes” (or buns) emblazoned with ancient pagan symbols and using fertility symbols such as rabbits and eggs in its major springtime religious celebration. “God wants us to worship Him ‘in spirit and truth’ (John 4:23-24)—not in corrupted, vile practices rooted in worship of other gods.

Jeremiah then tells them of their final punishment. It may seem harsh, but they couldn’t say they weren’t warned. At the end of God’s punishment, there will be no Jews left alive in Egypt. A few will escape to act as witnesses to the truth—witnesses to whose word stands, theirs or God’s (verse 28)

Jeremiah’s final warning ends with a prophecy against Pharoah Hophra (also known as Apries). Even he wouldn’t be able to save the Jewish remnant in Egypt. “In 569 b.c. Pharaoh Hophra went to aid the Libyans against the Greeks, who had established themselves on the African coast at Cyrene. He was defeated and a rebellion broke out in his army, a part of which elevated Amasis as Pharaoh. in a battle fought between the opposing groups in 569 b.c. Amasis prevailed over Hophra. The latter was able to co-exist with his rival for some time but then was put to death” (Emil Kraeling, Rand McNally Bible Atlas, p. 318). And, of course, Nebuchadnezzar’s invasion followed soon after Hophra’s overthrow.

What, then, of Jeremiah? This is not the end of his story. We leave him and his secretary Baruch in Egypt with more yet to do. Jeremiah still has his commission “to build and to plant” (1:10). Recall that Ezekiel had prophesied the transfer of the throne of David from Judah to Israel (Ezekiel 17:22-24). How interesting, then, that possible heirs to the Davidic throne, King Zedekiah’s daughters, are with Jeremiah in Egypt at this time.

The Battle of Carchemish (Jeremiah 46:1-12)
Jeremiah 46:1 introduces a section of prophecies against other nations (Jeremiah 46-51), starting with Egypt. Though grouped together, these various prophecies were actually delivered at different times, as some of them are clearly dated. Jeremiah 46 contains two prophecies against Egypt, but we are reading only the first one, relating to the battle of Carchemish. (The second prophecy appears to have been given in a later context.)

Recall that in 609 B.C., just after the death of Josiah, Babylonian-led forces under King Nabopolassar “repelled the Assyrians and their Egyptian allies [under Pharaoh Necho] who attempted to recapture Haran, and drove them west across the Euphrates River. For the next three years the Babylonians were preoccupied with the task of dealing with Urartu [Armenia] in order to open trade routes and secure the northern frontiers. [It was during this time that Syria and Judah became Egyptian-controlled territories, Jehoiakim of Judah serving as a vassal king under Necho.] At last Nabopolassar turned to the only remaining Assyrian stronghold, Carchemish, and in 605 defeated Assyria once and for all and forced Egypt to withdraw from north Syria. This major blow at Carchemish was struck not by Nabopolassar personally, but by his young son and commander in chief, Nebuchadnezzar [who would very shortly become king of Babylon]. Not satisfied with the defeat of Neco and his Egyptian hosts, the energetic prince pursued them across the Euphrates and all the way to Hamath” (Merrill, Kingdom of Priests: A History of Old Testament Israel, p. 450).

This is the historical context of the events described in the first prophecy of Jeremiah 46. It appears to have been recorded here after the fact (compare verse 2) but originally spoken or written by Jeremiah at the very time the battle of Carchemish was being engaged (compare verses 3-10). Perhaps God gave the prophet a vision of what was actually occurring far away.

Until 1956, the “battle of Carchemish” rested entirely on biblical evidence, although Greek records indicated a major struggle. Then, in 1956, J.D. Wiseman discovered a Babylonian tablet that gave details of the battle, confirming the Biblical account. “In [Leonard] Woolley’s excavations at Carchemish a large private house was examined and produced finds bearing on these times. Bronze figurines of Egyptian gods…[and] clay seals…bearing the name of Necho himself came to light, thus giving mute evidence of the presence of the Egyptians there” (Emil Kraeling, Rand McNally Bible Atlas, 1956, p. 312).

Verses 3-4 show the proud, well-armed force of Necho coming forward only to turn and flee in verse 5. In verse 6, God orders pursuit by the Babylonians of the fleeing force. Verses 7-10 then recap the scene. Egypt’s army surges forward like a flooding river (verses 7-8). “The figure is appropriate in addressing Egyptians, as the Nile, their great river, yearly overspreads their lands with a turbid, muddy flood. So their army, swelling with arrogance, shall overspread the region south of Euphrates; but it, like the Nile, shall retreat as fast as it advanced” (Jamieson, Fausset & Brown’s Commentary, note on verse 7). Verse 9 mentions foreign mercenary forces serving in the Egyptian army.

Verse 10 declares that the Egyptian defeat is God’s vengeance—perhaps for the death of Josiah. The “day of the LORD” reference here is also interesting to consider. While it applied to the immediate situation of Necho’s defeat, perhaps it also referred to events far in the future. We know from other prophecies that Egypt, Ethiopia and Libya of the end time will be devastated by an invading force from the north, the final successor of ancient Babylon (see Daniel 11:40-43).

In verses 11-12 of Jeremiah 46, the Egyptian army is told to go to Gilead for its famous healing balm. Perhaps this was telling the Egyptians to retreat south (where Gilead was in relation to Carchemish) and nurse their wounds, as they actually did in a way, fleeing south to Hamath, their Syrian headquarters. But there was no cure for them as God was behind their defeat. The Egyptian forces were unable to hold out at Hamath and again fled south. The reference to the balm of Gilead is similar to the one in Jeremiah 8:22, where God uses it as an illustration to His own people that there is no healing for those who rebel against Him. Certainly God is no respecter of persons, so the Egyptians would suffer the same humiliation that Judah had. And so will the enemies of God’s people in the end time.

Jehoiakim’s Rebellion (Jeremiah 46:13-47:7; 2 Kings 24:1b-7; 2 Chronicles 36:6-8)
A historical context for this section is helpful. Biblical historian Eugene Merrill writes: “As the author of Kings indicates, Jehoiakim remained a loyal subject to the Babylonians for…three years (605-602 [B.C.]). He then rebelled for some unexpressed reason…. Nebuchadnezzar had undertaken several western campaigns against Judah’s neighbors. It may have been his preoccupation with these states…that gave Jehoiakim the courage to break his alliance with Nebuchadnezzar” (Kingdom of Priests: A History of Old Testament Israel, 1987, p. 451).

One source “associates Jehoiakim’s rebellion with the Babylonian conflict with Egypt in the winter of 601/600 B.C., which is attested to by a letter written in Aramaic from the town of Saqqarah” (p. 451, footnote). Another source “points out that the campaign against Jehoiakim is not mentioned in the Babylonian records…because Nebuchadnezzar’s main objective was Egypt and not Judah” (p. 451, footnote). The reference here is to Nebuchadnezzar’s fourth year, when “he engaged Neco II in a great battle near the border of Egypt, a contest which evidently ended in a draw. Perhaps the Babylonian was not altogether unsuccessful, however, for he may have brought Judah back under his control in the course of this campaign” (p. 451).

This seems likely, especially given what Scripture says right after describing the Babylonian response to Jehoiakim’s rebellion: “And the king of Egypt did not come out of his land anymore…” (2 Kings 24:7). This makes it appear that the king of Egypt coming out of his land had something to do with Jehoiakim’s rebellion. Jeremiah 47, in the current reading, mentions an Egyptian pharaoh of Jeremiah’s time attacking Gaza, the southernmost of the major Philistine cities, right near the border with Egypt. We have no parallel record of this event in secular history, which makes the dating of it difficult. But it would seem to tie into these events, and certainly occurred before 2 Kings 24:7.

Perhaps Necho attacked Gaza sometime in 602 B.C., which would have been an incursion into Babylonian territory—Nebuchadnezzar having subdued the Philistines in 604. This may well have prompted Jehoiakim to rebel against Babylon, declaring Judah’s reaffiliation with Egypt. “Retribution was swift and sure (2 Kings 24:1-2). Nebuchadnezzar sent troops from Babylonia and from some of his western vassal states such as Aram, Moab, and Ammon, and forced Jehoiakim to submit. The chronicler says that Nebuchadnezzar went as far as to bind Jehoiakim with shackles in order to take him as a prisoner of war to Babylon (2 Chronicles 36:6). Apparently he relented [as Jehoiakim remained as king for a few more years] but as punishment stripped the temple of many of its sacred articles [as he had before] and took them to his own pagan temples in Babylon. Thereafter until his death in 598 Jehoiakim remained in subservience to the Babylonian overlord” (p. 451). After dealing with Jehoiakim, Nebuchadnezzar apparently continued on to his engagement with Necho, in which the pharaoh was pushed back into Egypt.

While Jehoiakim’s death is recorded, none of the details regarding it are given. We do know from Jeremiah’s prophecies that this wicked ruler was to die without lamentation from the people, being cast out and buried as a donkey (see Jeremiah 22:18-19; 36:30). His lineage would not continue to rule, as his son’s reign would last but a few months.

Prophecies Against Egypt and Philistia (Jeremiah 46:13-47:7; 2 Kings 24:1b-7; 2 Chronicles 36:6-8)
Before the Egyptian attack on Gaza, Jeremiah prophesied against Egypt (Jeremiah 46:13-26). While Babylon is the one coming against Egypt (verse 26), God is the one bringing the punishment (see verses 15, 18, 25). The prophecy concludes with “an effective contrast, a sound of an incredible weakness where the roar as of a lion is necessary: the snake, Egyptian symbol of royalty, creeping back into its hole. The hiss of enmity is ineffective, as the Babylonians come on as an army of woodcutters levelling Egypt as a forest appointed for timber felling” (New Bible Commentary, note on 46:22-24). This prophecy speaks of far more than what Nebuchadnezzar did in his campaign against Egypt of 601. Rather, it looks a number of years forward, beyond even the fall of Judah in 586 B.C., to the time when Nebuchadnezzar invaded Egypt “in 568 and laid waste a great part of the Nile valley” (Merrill, p. 475). In fact, Egypt was made part of the Babylonian Empire. And Jeremiah foresaw it all, at least 34 years in advance. For more prophecies against Egypt, see Ezekiel 29-32.

Egypt’s desolation, we are told, would not last forever (Jeremiah 46:26). Furthermore, hope is then given to Israel (verses 27-28). Even though Israel was being rightly punished, it too would not suffer forever. Speaking to Jacob and Israel rather than Judah, this is a prophecy to all 12 tribes, which will be brought back to the Promised Land after Christ’s return. Perhaps this prophecy is placed here because both Israel and Judah had pinned their hopes on Egypt, which provided them no help. Indeed, trusting in such allies rather than God is part of the reason they are being punished. The end-time context of this prophecy’s fulfillment may indicate some duality in the prophecy against Egypt—that part of it may be for the end time as well, when Egypt will again fall to a northern invader (see Daniel 11:40-43).

Egypt may seem an insignificant nation to the casual observer of world affairs, but it is a leading nation among the Muslim nations of North Africa and the Middle East. Additionally, radical Muslim terrorist cells thrive there (one of which assassinated Anwar Sadat in 1981). The Bible indicates that Egypt will figure prominently in the international politics of the end time.

In Jeremiah 47, we see God’s judgment on Philistia. The Philistines were quite often an enemy of Israel. Their close proximity made them a dangerous thorn in Israel’s side, somewhat like the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip are to the nation of Israel today.

The Philistines (Jeremiah 47:1) and Caphtorim (verse 4) were closely related (Genesis 10:4) and probably intermingled. Of the original Philistine pentapolis—Gaza, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Gath and Ekron (see Joshua 13:3, NIV)—only Gaza and Ashkelon are mentioned in Jeremiah 47. Among all the biblical prophecies of the Philistines, mention is made of four of these cities. “It is noteworthy that Gath is not mentioned in these prophecies, from which it may be inferred that Gath ceased to be of any major significance after the time of Uzziah” (”Philistines,” The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, 1986, p. 843).

In verse 2 we read of a flood of waters from the north. Generally, as we have repeatedly seen, invasions from Mesopotamia followed a route that brought them into Canaan and Philistia from the north. “Waters sometimes signify multitudes of people and nations (Rev. 17:15), sometimes great and threatening calamities (Ps. 69:1); here they signify both” (Matthew Henry’s Commentary, note on verse 2).

Nebuchadnezzar attacked Ashkelon in 604 B.C., as earlier mentioned. But the prophecy in Jeremiah 47 appears to have been delivered after that time. Indeed, there is a hint of that in the fact that a “remnant” of Ashkelon is here mentioned (verse 5). The Philistines, which have already been attacked, are going to be hit again. Notice the specific reason here: “To cut off from Tyre and Sidon every helper who remains” (verse 4). This provides us with the time of the destruction mentioned. “Within a year of the conquest of Jerusalem [in 586 B.C.] Nebuchadnezzar laid siege to the island portion of Tyre, having already brought Sidon, Arvad, and the mainland portion of Tyre under his control [shortly before]. The siege lasted for thirteen years” (Merrill, p. 475). So this prophecy refers to the overrunning of Philistia by Nebuchadnezzar’s armies around the time of the fall of Judah. As with Egypt, though Babylon is the agent of destruction, God is the one who brings it (verses 6-7).

But the prophecy may have another fulfillment that is yet future. Almost certainly a small percentage of today’s Palestinians, especially those in the Gaza Strip, are descendants of the Philistines. Interestingly, “the Greek name [for the land of Israel], Palestine, was derived from the name Philistia” (”Philistines,” Unger’s Bible Dictionary, 1970, p. 859). The next three nations mentioned in the book of Jeremiah—Moab, Ammon and Edom in chapters 48-49—are also represented in today’s Palestinian population in both Israel and Jordan. So it may be that Jeremiah 47-49 refers, at least in part, to end-time calamity to come upon the Palestinians—again from out of the north.

Other prophecies of the Philistines may be found in Isaiah 14:29-31, Ezekiel 25:15-17, Amos 1:6-8, Zephaniah 2:4-7 and Zechariah 9:5-7.

Proverb 23

The Words of the Wise: Introduction and Sayings About Wealth and Station (Proverbs 22:17?23:11)
Proverbs 22:17 marks a clear change in the book. Instead of the one-verse units of the major Solomonic collection, we now have multiple-verse units. With a new section, we would expect a new title or subheading. And verse 17 appears to give us just that in referring to what follows as “the words of the wise”?a general distinction for collected wisdom. This section appears to continue until 24:22, as 24:23 denotes yet another section, possibly an appendix to this section, with the words “These things also belong to the wise.” Furthermore, this section of sayings from the wise (22:17?24:22)?mainly the first part (22:17?23:11)?bears some striking similarity to the Egyptian “Instruction of Amenemope.” Amenemope, sometimes spelled Amen-em-opet, was a superintendent of agriculture and taxation writing to his youngest son on keys to success in life and in profession as a court official.

As noted in our introduction, it is not clear which writing came first, whether this section of Proverbs or the Egyptian work. In any case, one seems to have influenced the other. We will note some similarities along the way. In doing so, we should realize that the Egyptian wisdom text, mired in pagan references, is not inspired literature, as is the book of Proverbs. Nevertheless, the Egyptian text helps to demonstrate the ancient provenance of the biblical book as well as the relationship between Israelite wisdom and that of the wider region, just as the Bible describes of Solomon (see 1 Kings 4:29-34).

The introductory call to attention in Proverbs 22:17-21 “is laid out with the exhortation to learn and pass on the teaching (v. 17), followed by three motivations: (1) there will be a pleasing store of wisdom (v. 18); (2) there will be a deeper trust in the Lord?a distinctively Israelite aspect of wisdom literature (v. 19); and (3) it will build reliability?he will grasp the truth (v. 20) and see himself as a special envoy to keep wisdom in his heart and on his lips (v. 21)” (Expositor’s Bible Commentary, note on verses 17-21).

The latter point here is stated in verse 21 this way: “That I may make you know the certainty of the words of truth, that you may answer words of truth to those who send to you [or ‘to him who sent you,’ NIV].” Likewise the purpose of Amenemope is: “To know how to refute the accusation of [or ‘to return an answer to’] the one who made it, and to send back a reply to the one who wrote [or ‘to the one who sent you’]; to set one straight on the paths of life” (intro., 1:5-7, William Simpson, editor, The Literature of Ancient Egypt: An Anthology of Stories, Instructions, and Poetry, 1973, p. 242). Within brackets here are alternate translations as footnoted in the cited source. (The complete “Instruction of Amenemope,” same translation but without footnotes, is online at http://touregypt.net/instructionofamenemope.htm.)

In verse 20, “excellent things” in the KJV and NKJV is apparently incorrect. The Hebrew word here, difficult because of the uniqueness of form, is shlshwm (consonants only), which some take to be a poetic or plural form of “three” (shlsh) or “third” (shlyshy). Most scholars, though, emend the text or consider the word another form of “thirty” (shlshym or shlwshym)?compare “thirty sayings” in the NIV. This is mainly because of the affinity of the text with Amenemope, which consists of an introduction followed by 30 short chapters, coupled with the fact that Proverbs 22:17?24:22 can reasonably be divided into an introduction followed by 30 sayings. It should be noted, though, that it is also possible to divide the text into three sections?the first, resembling Amenemope in content (22:17?23:11), and two other sections marked by the use of “My son.” Some claim that “third” is meant to introduce the third section of the book?following the prologue (Proverbs 1?9) and Solomon’s major collection (10:1?22:16). Still, 30 seems reasonable. Note the following apparent divisions, which should not be considered definitive (others group them slightly differently). Most of the 30 subject titles are from Expositor’s:(View Table of “Thirty Sayings of the Wise”).

Words of the Wise Cont’d: An Obedient Son (Proverbs 23:12?24:4)
Saying 11: Attend to Learning (23:12). Some see this verse as a call to attention to hear the instruction in the next verse or in this section, which is cast as parental instruction. Yet this imperative likely applies to instruction generally throughout one’s whole life.

Saying 12: Necessity of Discipline (23:13-14). As with other such verses, this one establishes the need for parental discipline but does not mandate the rod as a first recourse. Yet it does reassure parents that this can be an acceptable means of correction. The point ultimately is to save the child from wrong ways leading to death?the Hebrew word for “hell” in verse 14 being sheol, the grave. The Assyrian “Words of Ahiqar,” written around 700 B.C. (in the time of King Hezekiah of Judah) as noted in our introduction, follows with similar instruction: “Spare not your son from the rod; otherwise, can you save him?” (quoted by Longman, p. 69).

Saying 13: Wise and Joyful Speech (23:15-16). Parents rejoice in their children’s right words and conduct (see also verses 24-25). And pleasing parents is a good motivator for the young. The four lines in verses 15-16 are arranged in a chiastic structure?the outer lines parallel and the inner lines parallel (a-b-b-a), so that a wise heart equates to speaking right things. As Jesus said, “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34).

Saying 14: Fear the Lord (23:17-18). A major concern of parents is their instruction being undermined by wayward peers or bad role models. So parents must, as in this verse, instruct their children in the fear of the Lord, which will keep them in the right way “all the day”?even when the parents aren’t around. If in spite of the obstacles we develop this proper reverence for God, a wonderful future awaits us. Where the KJV has “end,” the NKJV specifies “hereafter”?implying life in God’s Kingdom. Other versions have “future,” the translators arguing that Proverbs speaks of blessed life now, not in the hereafter. Perhaps both ideas are included?a great life in this age and on into the age to come.

Saying 15: Poor Associations (23:19-21). Drunkenness and gluttony are both condemned, representing the epitome of a lack of discipline. Wine and other alcoholic beverages in moderation are approved of in Scripture, but drunkenness is a sin?as is gluttony, though the former is certainly worse because of the impact it has on the brain and on others. Drunkards and gluttons are both bad influences and will most likely not cease to bring trouble and grief to associates, even those who disapprove of their behavior. If we are already friends with such people, we should try to help them to overcome their problem. But if they refuse or falsely repent again and again, particularly in the case of drunkards, it would be wiser to sever the friendship.

Saying 16: Learn and Keep Truth (23:22-25). Some take verse 22 as an independent verse on listening to parents, but the context here appears to continue until verse 25. Listening to parents corresponds to, in verse 23, striving for truth (including wisdom, instruction and understanding) and holding on to it. “Buy the truth, and do not sell it” is sometimes seen as a prohibition against selling religious books, even Bibles. But this is not the point of the verse. The meaning is that we are to expend all we must to gain true knowledge and, once gained, never sell it away?for any price. The New Century Version paraphrases this as “Learn the truth and never reject it.” The Contemporary English Version renders the whole verse this way: “Invest in truth and wisdom, discipline and good sense, and don’t part with them.” Those who follow this counsel will bring great joy to parents?again given here as a motivator to do what’s right (verses 24-25; compare verses 15-16).

Saying 17: Shunning the Temptress (23:26-28). Parental instruction continues here regarding sexual immorality. Compare similar warnings in the prologue of Proverbs (chapters 1?9) and 22:14, where the harlot’s mouth is called a “deep pit.” Some commentators believe the third and last section of the Words of the Wise begins with this saying or the next one?regarding the last section as miscellaneous in content.

Saying 18: Excessive Drinking (23:29-35). Saying 15 (verses 19-21) warns against associating with drunkards and gluttons. This saying warns against being a drunkard oneself. The New American Commentary says on this unit: “This poem is a small masterpiece; it is surely the most effective combination lampoon and lament over the sorry state of the drunkard….The text describes with profound accuracy and bite the pathetic physical and emotional decline of those addicted to alcohol. Wine [in excess] (and in modern society, illicit drugs) brings physical pain and debilitation, exhausts one’s resources, takes away mental acuity, and yet leaves one craving for more of the same. ‘Lingering over’ alcohol (vv. 30-31) describes those who derive comfort and security in knowing that a glass of wine is at hand, ready to deaden the senses. In the end, however, it only leaves people more confused and in deeper pain than ever before (vv. 32-35a).”

Acts 20

Sha’ul is now travelling to and through Macedonia, then Greece where he spends three months. He was going to go to Syria, but heard of a plot against him by the Pharisees and so he returned to Macedonia. Many were with him to include: Sopater of Beroia, Aristarchos and Sekundos of Thessalonians, Gaios of Derbe, and Timothy, and Tuchikos and Trophimos of Asia. There was quite a group! These went ahead to Troas as Sha’ul and the author of Acts sailed from Philippi after the Days of Unleavened Bread and then joined the group in Troas after five days.

Sha’ul was teaching and reasoning with an assembly there into the wee hours of the night and lights were on by candle in the upper room where they all were. A man named Eutuchos was sitting there and listening until he became so sleepy, that he fell asleep and fell out of the window he was sitting in. People thought he was dead. But Sha’ul ran to him and fell on him and found him still alive and breathing. They continued in their eating and discussion way into the early morning hours and some sailed from there in the morning to Assos, although we are told Sha’ul walked to Assos. At Assos, they picked up Sha’ul and sailed on to Mitulene and then to Chios, to Samos, and Trogullion and Miletos. They sailed past Ephesos because Sha’ul was in a hurry to get to Jerusalem for the Feast of Weeks.

As they sailed and came close to Ephesos, Sha’ul called for the elders of the Assemblies to come to him and he shared with them the warnings he is receiving from the Holy Spirit that chains and pressures are awaiting him in Jerusalem. He told them that he is not fearful for he has done what he was supposed to do in proclaiming the Good News of the Master, and repentance. He told the elders they would see his face no more and that he had no blood upon his hands. He encouraged them to continue in this good work, empowered by the Set apart Spirit and that to be on guard for wolves that will most assuredly come into the flock to seek to destroy them.

He also warned them of men who will come speaking distorted teachings, to draw away the taught ones after themselves. He reminded them to not be obsessed with silver, gold, or garments, to continue to work to supply their own needs but to help others according to the words of Yeshua Messiah “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” They prayed together and much weeping, then they saw him off to the ship.

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