4Q246: 4QAramaic Apocalypse

4Q246 Manuscript

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Transcription of 4Q246

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Translation of  4Q246

Col. I 

1. [   ] rested upon him, he fell befor the throne

2. [… k]ing, rage is coming to the world, and your years

3. […]. . . your vision, all of it is about to come unto the world.

4. [… mi]ghty [signs], distress is coming uopn the land

5. […]  great slaughter in the provinces

6. […] king of Assyria [ and E]gypt

7. […] he will rule over the land

8. […] will do and all will serve

9. [… gr]eat will be called and he will be designated by his name.

Col II

1. He will be called the Son of God, and they will call him the Son of the Most High like a shooting star.

2. that you saw, so will be thier kingdom, they will rule several years over

3. the earth and crush everything, a people will crush another people and nation (will crush) nation.

4. Blank (space left balnk in the manuscript) Until the people of God arises and makes everyone rest from warfare.

5. Their kingdom will be an eteranl kingdom, and their paths will be righteous. They will judge

6. the earth with truth, and all (nations) will make peace. The warfare will cease from the land,

7. and all (nations) will worship him. The great God will be their help,

8. He Himself will fight for them, putting peoples into their power, all of them

9. He will cast them away before him, His dominion will be an everlasting dominion and all the abysses

The main question of 4Q246 (Aramaic Apocalypse) is the personage designated the “Son of God.” Who is the “Son of God”? Is this a positive figure or a negative figure? J. T. Milik insists that the “Son of God” refers to a Seleucid king, referring Antiochus IV Epiphanes (Milik 1992, 383). Florentino Garcia Martinez suggests that it is an angelic savior as Michael, Melchizedek, and the Prince of Light (Martinez 1992, 162-79). Most scholars view the figure as a messianic redeemer who will overthrow God’s enemies and establish the kingdom of God’s people (Cross 1996, 1-13). But Joseph A. Fitzmyer argues that the reference of the Son of God is not a messiah, but a coming Jewish ruler, perhaps a member of the Hasmonean dynasty (Fitzmyer 1993, 173-74). According to the scholars, therefore, the title “Son of God” would be either a heavenly figue or a human being.

Martin Hengel suggests that the figure is similar to “the one like a Son of Man” in Daniel 7:13-14 (Hengel 1976, 45), and argues that the tiles may be interpreted collectively “of the Jewish people.” I also argue that the author of 4Q246 was influenced by Daniel 7. The two texts reveal such an extensive degree of verbal, thematic, and structural correspondence. The most striking parallels between the two texts are the two phrases שלטנה שלטן עלם (“whose dominion is an everlasting dominion” [Dan 7:14; cf. 4Q246 2:9]) and מלכותה מלכות עלם (“his/its kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom” [Dan 7:27; cf. 4Q246 2:5]). Karl A. Kuhn argues that the verb דוש (crush) supplements these two verbal correspondences (Dan 7:23; 4Q246 2:3) in terms of the thematic parallels (Kuhn 2007, 28). In addition to these parallels, Kuhn suggests that the two texts present a transition of the dominion from the beasts/provinces to an individual figure/the people of God:

1. Following the prologue, both begin with a description of distress and destruction resolved by God’s intervention and the coming of God’s agent: in Daniel, the “one like a son of man,” and in 4Q246, the “Son of God, Son of the Most High” (Dan 7:4-14; cf. 4Q246 1:4-2:1ab).

2. The first account is followed by a second, again depicting the dominion of the evil beast(s)/peoples until the people of God arise and gain possession of the kingdom (Dan 7:15-22; cf. 4Q246 2:1c-7a).

3. Both texts conclude with still another rehearsal of the overthrow of the beast(s)/peoples who oppose God’s people (Dan 7:23-28; cf. 4Q246 2:7b-9).

Reference List

Cross, Frank Moore. 1996. “Notes on the Doctrine of the Two Messiahs at Qumran and the Extracanonical Daniel Apocalypse (4Q246).” in Current Research and Technological Developments on the Dea Sea Scrolls: Conference on the Texts from the Judean Desert, Jerusalem. 30 April 1995. Edited by W. Parry and Stephen D. Rick. STDJ 20. Leiden: Brill. 

Fitzmyer, Joseph A. 4Q246: The “Son of Gpd” Document from Qumran. Biblica 74 (1993): 153-74.

Hengel, Martin. 1976. The Son of God: The Origin of Christology and the History of Jewish-Hellenistic Religion. Translated by John Bowden. Philadelphia: Fortress. 

Kuhn, Karl L. 2007. “The ‘One like a Son of Man’ Becomes the ‘Son of God'” CBQ 69: 222-42.

Martinez, Florentino Garcia Martinez. 1992. Qumran and Apocalyptic: Studies on the Aramaic Texts from Qumran. STDJ 9. New York: Brill.   

Milik, J. T. 1992. “Les modeles aramaeens du livre d’Esther dans la grotte 4 de Qumran.” RevQ 15: 321-406.

An Adopted Korean Student at Wartburg

I met an adopted Korean student here at Wartburg about three weeks ago. His name is Joshua Kim Dockum. When I met him for the first time, I was confused by his last name. We met several times over the next two weeks.

I wanted to know how he identifies himself. He started to talk about his bio-parents, and he expressed that he is eager for a meet with his bio-parents. Then he identifies himself as an adopted Korean-American and gave me a short article that he posted on Wartburg Trumpet entitled “Life Enrichment found through Adoption Process” (October 24, 2006). He is proud of his parents and encourages people to consider adopting as follows:

My name is Joshua Kim Dockum, and I am adopted. Furthermore, I am not ashamed. I am proud of my parents, and I encourage people to consider adopting.

U.S. citizens adopted 265,677 children between 1971 and 2001 from other countries, according to the Adoption Institute.

United States citizens tend to adopt more children from foreign countries following wars, periods of extreme poverty and social upheaval.

Sixty-four percent of internationally adopted children are girls, and 36 percent are boys. Most are girls from China. The Chinese government actually restricts births. Parents who have more than one child are encouraged to place girls for adoption.

Experts say that almost 90 percent of internationally adopted children are younger than 5. In 2001, nearly 75 percent of all children came from five countries; China, South Korea, Russia, Guatemala and Ukraine.

Seminary Teachers as Scholars for the Church

What would be the most expected question when you have a job interview for a faculty position in the theological school? The question woul be, accrdong to Bonnie J. Miller-McLemore and Ted A. Smith who teach at Vanderbilt University Divinity School in Nashville, “How would your introductory course in your field help prepare students for ministry?” Or “What do you think ministers really need to know about your subject in order to lead people in lives of faith and action?” These questions are not new at all, but many scholars stumbled when they were asked, Miller-McLemore and Smith said in The Christian Century (Feb. 26, 2008). They introduced a survey, which has done by a Vanderbilt study group in 2003, how academic deans and presidents disappointed by the candidates coming out of top graduate programs:

One dean said that ‘at least two-thirds of applicants’ for positions in his school ‘give not evidence of understanding what it takes to prepare people for ministry.’ . . . Too many candidates in the so-called classical disciplines – like biblical studies and church history – demonstrate neither the desire nor the ability to connect their scholarship to the work of ministry and the lived religion of existing communities.

Vanderbilt launched a Program in Theology and Practice in the fall of 2006 that brings faculty members together and advanced Ph.D. students for conversations. As I am a doctoral student at Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (LSTC) in biblical studies, I also realize the gap between seminary and ministry. How can I be better conneted to the work of ministry and the life of congregations? It would be good to have a monthly teaching and research colloquy as Vanderbilt Divinity School does.

Last weeks I heard that Seabury-Western Theological Seminary will immediately suspend recruitment and admissions to all degree and certificate programs in this time of discernment. My current roommate Kevin Wilson, as an Episcopalian and a scholar, was very sad by the decisions. I got an email from the Academic Dean Kadi Billman at LSTC and shared a letter of SWTS President Gary Hall. President Hall pointed out that one of the reasons of their decisions is a lack of communication between seminaries and churches as follows:

We believe that the church does not need Seabury in its present form; there are a number of other schools who do what we have traditionally done as well as we do. But we also believe that the church very much needs a semianry animated by and organized around a new vision of theological education-one that is centered in a vision of Baptism and its implications for the whole church, one which is flexible and adaptive and collaborative in nature (SWTS President Gary Hall’s Letter, “To the Seabury Community,” February 20, 2008).

This is a significant challenge to the semianry educational system; seminaries need to think of thier vocation in relation to the church. An expert warns in The Christian Century of this week that twenty seminaries will be out of business in the next five to seven years.

The Center for the Study of Korean Christianity

fianl-logo.jpgThere are twelve theological schools located in Chicago area (The Association of Chicago Theological Schools, know as ACTS). In the ACTS, Korean students are majority among other international students. Some Korean studetns in the ACTS with Dr. Bo-Myung Seo, who teaches at Chicago Theological Seminary, launched a center so-called The Center for the Study of Korean Christianity (CSKC) in last June 2007. One year anniversary is just around the corner.

The CSKC is a research and outreach institute founded to promote the study of Korean christianity and its theology in North America. The center is particuarly interested in the progressive tradition that has struggled with the Korean-ness of christianity in Korea. The activities of the center are translations of Korean theological texts into English, academic seminars, and community lectures for the Korean-american churches in Chicago area. The website is currently running by me.

F. M. Cross’ Reconstruction of 4Q242

4q242-4qprnab-ar-4qprayer-of-nabonidus-ar-copy.jpgThere are five fragments in the Prayer of Nabonidus (4Q242 [The Prayer of Nabonidus]) as you can see the picture: 1, 2a, 2b, 3, and 4. In 1984, however, Frank Moore Cross discussed a problem of reconstruction of four fragments: 1, 2a, 2b, 3 (“Fragments of the Pryaer of Nabonidus,” IEJ 34 [1984]: 260-64). He reconstructed a proper replacement of the fragments of 4Q242 with the aid of facsimile. I would like to review how Cross’ reconstructs the fragments and then provide the lexical analysis of 4Q242.

The Facsimile of 4Q242 Fragments 1, 2a, 2b, 3

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Transcription of 4Q242 of Fragments 1, 2a, 2b, 3

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 Translation by Frank Moore Cross (Fragment 1, 2a, 2b, and 3)

1. The words of the p[ra]yer which nabonidus, king of [Ba]bylon, the great king, pray[ed] when he was stricken]

2. with an evil disease by the decree of G[o]d in Teman. [I Nabonidus] was stricken with [an evil disease]

3. for seven years, and from [that] (time) I was like [unto a beast and I prayed to the Most High]

4. and, as for my sin, he forgave it (or: my sin he forgave). A diviner – who was a Jew o[f the Exiles – came to me and said:]

5. ‘Recount and record (these things) in order to give honour and great[ness] to the name of the G[od Most High.’ And Thus I wrote: I]

6. was stricken with an evil disease in Teman [by the decree of the Most High God, and, as for me,]

7. seven years I was praying [to] gods of silver and gold, [bronze, iron,]

8. wood, stone (and) clay, becuase [I was of the opini]on that the[ey] were gods [       ].

In Cross’ transcription of the reconstruction of the prayer, I highlight what he adds to the older reconstruction of other scholars, such as J. T. Milik. Cross argues that the reconstruction of lines 6, 7, and 8 is important.

(1) Line 6: Fragment 1 ends with the expression ]בש̇חנא ב (evil disease). Fragment 2b locked in above and below with Fragment 2a and 3, reads in line בתימן (Teman). Cross suggests that if these two reconstructions are correct, then all reconstructions of lines 1-5 are incorrect. He argues that Fragments 2a and 2b must be moved much closer to Fragment 1 than in Milik’s reconstruction (J. T. Milik: Piere de Nabonide et autres ecrits d’un cycle de Daniel, RB 63 [1956]: 407-15).

(2) Line 7: Both for the overall length of the lines in the column and for judging the distance separating the fragments. Cross sussgests the most natural reading of the line 7 is 7 …[קדם]‬ שנין שבע מצלא (seven years I was praying [to] gods of silver and glod). This reconstruction is compared to Daniel 6:11 and Daniel 5:4.

(3) Line 8: This line has been reconstructed quite generally as follows: אעא אבנא חספא מן די(wood, stone, and clay, becuase. . .).

Cross argues that if these reconstruction of the three lines is correct, then the fragments must be placed with a gap of one letter in line 5 and the reading יקר ור֯[בו] לשם (honor and greatness of the name) imposes itself. In line 4 the gap becomes so narrow that there is room only for the space between words: והוא̇ יהודי (He is a Jew). The reading reconstructed, והוא̇ [גזר] יהודי  (He is a Jewish diviner), is odd, since גזר is not needed after הוא̇. Cross argues that the gap in line 3 has spawned almost as many implausible proposals as there have been scholars who reconstructed the text. Cross suggests to read the gap “from that time” after “for seven years.” Cross suggests to reconstruct line 2 as בשחנא באישא בפתגם א֯[לה‏]א בתימן (with an evil disease by the decree of G[o]d in Teman), comparing to Daniel 4:21 so that Cross prefers to read “God of Most High.” It is interesting that אלהא (God) may be used only of the god of Israel in Daniel (Daniel 5:2b). Cross argues that the usual reading of line 1‎the great king when he was striken” is too short. Cross adds “the pronoun הוא̇ (He) between the conjuction and the passive participle in comparison with lines 6-7. Comparing Daniel 4:1 Cross follows Grelot’s reconstruction in restoring [אנה נבני בשחנא באישא]. In line 3, Cross has restored [א[נה לחיוא וצלית קדם עליא .The Aramiac “Most High” (עליא) alone is about as frequent as “God of Most High” אלהא עליא      

In general, Cross’ reconstruction of the lines 1-5 is much closer to the syntax of the Aramaic in Daniel. But both the sentences and the meaing of the prayer in which Cross reconstructs differ little from others, such as Milik.

Lexicon

צ[ל]ת : comm fem sing deter “prayer.”

צליpael perf 3 masc sing  “to incline, turn; pray.”

כתיש: peal passive part masc sing “to hit, strike.”

שחנ: comm masc sing deter “boil.”

באיש: comm masc sing deter “evil.”

פתגם: comm masc sing const “word.”

א֯[לה‏]א בתימן̇: “God of Teman.”

הוית‎‪: peal perf 1 comm sing  “to be, become.”

שוי: peal perf 3 masc sing  “to be like; to put, place.” 

אנפו: comm masc plur const  “face, nose.”

אסא: aph perf 3 masc sing “to heal.”

חטא: comm masc sing const “sin.”

שבק: peal perf 3 masc sing “to leave.”

גזר: comm masc sing “cut or diviner.” Perhaps determining the future; perhaps making decisions regarding spirits; perhaps cutting the way off for evil spirits.  

החוי̇‎‪: haph imper masc sing “to declare.”

כתב: peal imper masc sing “to write.”

מעבד‎‪: peal infinitive const “to make, do.”

יקר‎‪: comm masc sing “honor.”

לשם א[להא עליא: “to the name of the God of Most High.‎”

כתיש : peal passive part masc sing “to hit, strike.”

מצלא: pael part masc sing “to incline, turn; pray.”

כספא ודהבא:”silver and gold.”‎

אעא אבנא חספא: “wood stone, and clay.”

סב]ר: peal part masc sing “to think, suppose.”

Dr. Ralph W. Klein’s Retirement Patry

klein.jpgI heard that there was a party in February 14 at LSTC while I’m here at Wartburg, but the party neither delighted me nor LSTC; our great teacher Dr. Klein has retired from his lifetime teaching. Yes, the party was for Dr. Klein’s retirement. I am very sad with his retirement. May May Latt, one of my colleagues, asked me for writing a tribute to his retirement. She gathered all tributes together from Dr Klein’s students and read them at that night. I would like to share the tributes:

Scott Chalmers (graduated in 2005); now teaching at Judson College and also teaching on-line course from LSTC. He says, first he was assigned to Prof. Klein as an advisor, he wasn’t sure what to expect. He had always heard such amazing things about him as a scholar, but it wasn’t until he sat and worked with him that he really experienced what a gracious, challenging and inspiration person he really is. Scott says, he will always be indebted to Prof. Klein for what he taught him.

Gilbert Ojwang (graduated in 2007) and now he is an assistant professor at Oakwood University, Huntsville, AL, says there are 4 things that he is deeply indebted to Prof. Klein.

1)      Prof. Klein is a kindhearted and very gracious person

2)      Even in his busy schedule, Prof. Klein is an excellent advisor who always gives feedback within days of handing in work.

3)      Prof. Klein is flexible to allow him to research in areas that were sometimes not necessary of his primary interest.

4)      Gilbert was a teaching assistant in Hebrew class for Porf. Klein for 4 years. And he learned from him so much. He has adopted much of his teaching methods, especially Prof. Klein’s “recognition point” approach.

Zaihita (graduated in 2004 with ThM from Madagascar), but now he is in South Africa finishing up his PhD program, also writes that Prof. Klein is a passionate person. He always values students insights and experiences, and he also expects students to work hard and expects students to contribute our scholarly discussion. He wish Prof. Klein all the best and probably he will see Prof. Klein in the future in this globe which is not too large.

Ahida Palaski (is going to graduate this year May-2008) is now teaching in NH, says, Prof. Klein is a great professor, advisor and mentor. She wishes you all of God’s blessings in your future plans.

Jin Yang Kim (is still a student here) but now is teaching at Wartburg College for 1 Semester. He is recommended for this position by Prof. Klein. He says, he gives many thanks to Prof. Klein, who has enriched his understanding of the Hebrew Bible and the ancient Near East, and recommended him for teaching at Wartburg. He would never enjoy his academic journey so much without Prof. Klein. He believes that, although Prof. Klein retires from the offline teaching here, he will never retire from the online teaching at www.ot-studies.com.

May May Latt: Prof. Klien is an amazing Prof. in my life. He is very kind and very challenging. With Gilbert’s 4 things to thank Prof. Klein, I like to add 3 more things that I will never forget in my life.

1)  I was teaching assistant to Prof. Klein for only last semester. I consider that it is such a grateful opportunity being teaching assistant to him. I learned so much in this year. I remember that in the beginning of my LSTC academic journey, I was sitting in Hebrew reading group which was lead by Prof. Klein. The first thing I learned from him is “Niphal Triangle”; Gilbert uses Prof. Klein’s “recognition point approach;” enlightened my life of Hebrew learning system.

2)  Like Jin Yang, I am also recommended for teaching at Northern Seminary by Prof. Klein. I’ve been using what I have learned from Prof. Klein. Especially, reading the text deeply and reflecting the text in our life, our experiences and our cultures.

Megillot: What do These Five Stories Make?

BHQThe Biblia Hebraica Quinta is the fifth version of the Biblia Hebraica. The first volume was published in 2004. As the first volume of the BHQ series, it is a collection of the five Jewish storeis entitled Biblia Hebraica Quinta: General Introduction And Megilloth. I asked myself: “Why?”

The five stories (Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, and Esther) are scattered around in English translatons: Ruth after Judges, Esther after Nehemiah, Ecclesiastes and Song of Songs after Proverbs, and Lamentations after Jeremiah. But in the Hebrew Bible, the five books were gathered together as a separate collection. It is also attested in the Babylonian Talmud in Baba Bathra 14b. 

The five scrolls tell us the deeper issues of life: love, loyalty, freedom, destiny, and death. Some of these stories are delighful whereas some are utterly depress. What do these five stories reveal? The five stories reveal the human conditions; but they have little form and content in common. The Song of Songs (Solomon) is love poetry, Ruth is a romantic story, Lamentations is a collection of dirges, Ecclesiastes is a philosophical treatise, and Esther is an historical novella. Why were they gether together into one collection? In his introductory book, Barry L. Bandstra answer the question as follows:

(1) The collection of five books may imitate the five books of the Torah and the five books of the Psalter; (2) The collection is attested in the Babylonian Talmud (Baba Bathra 14b); (3) Each book of the books was used by the Jewish community in connection with a yearly commemoration; and (4) These five books should be intepreted in light of the theological and sociological issues of the age, which is either the post-exilic (6th century B.C.E) or thereafter, specifically the reconstruction of a Jewish community and the emergance of religious Judaism (Bandstra 2004, 472).

Thus, the Megilloth offers distinct windows to understand the postexilic Jewish community which is different community, such as inclusive community and exclusive community.

Reference

Bandstra, Barry L. 2004. Reading the Old Testament: An Introduction to the Hebrew Bible. 3rd Edition. Thomas Wadsworth.

Orthography of DSS

The Dead Sea Scrolls were written by hundreds of diffrent hands. For example, the scribe of 1QS is slightly different from that of 1QH. The Table of Scribal Alphabets (orthography-dss.pdf) by Malachi Marin (The Scribal Character of the Dead Sea Scrolls, Vol. 1) helps us to compare and contrast between scrolls.

Pentateuch: A Collection Stories or Sources?

In his book, The Pentateuch: An Introduction to the First Five Books of the Bible (New York: Doubleday, 1992), Joseph Blenkinsopp points the way of a turning point of the Pentateuch. Where his predecessors concentrate on either the historical or the literary character of the text, he attends to both. He first reviews two centuries of critical study of the Pentateuch, discussing some provisional conclusions and then presents a new reading of the Pentateuch in terms of the New Criticism:

(1) there is no longer a consensus on the existence of identifiable, continuous narrative sources covering the entire range of the Penpateucvh from the pre-exilic period. . . (2) Criticism of the standard paradigm has taken aim at the J source, and it is difficult to see how the hypothesis could survive its displacement to a much later date, a fortiori, its complete elimination. . . (4) Much less attention has been paid in recent years to the other document postulated by the hypothesis. We have seen that E has long been problematic, and there is no longer much enthusiasm for retaining it. Deuteronomy stands apart, of course, but several of the authors surveyed have pursued clues to D editing in the first four books. . .  The old issue of the origin of Deuteronomy and the related quesiton of its dating are still debated, ans seem likely to be forever debatable. P has stood up best to scrutiny, because of its more distinctive vocabulary, style, and ideology. An origin in the Babylonian diaspora is till favored by most, though the followers of Yehezkel Kaufmann date it earlier and some others date it later. Debate continues as to whether P stands for a distinct narrative source or a stage in the redaction of an existing narrative corpus; and there are also different ways of explaining the relation of the P narrative to the extensive corpus of cultic and ritual legislation. (5) This brings us to the final point. The reader will have noticed that the discussion so far has focused almost exclusively on narrative. Over the last two centuries relatively little attention has been paid to the legal material, in spite of its preponderant bulk and importance. Pending a more thorough account of the development of the legal tradition in a later chaper, it will suffice at this point to say that the bracketing of laws with the early narrative sources, especially the so-called covenant law book (Exodus 20-23) with E and the so-called ritual decalogue (Ex 34:11-26) with J, has never been successfully demonstrated. The entire issue of the relation between law ans narrative still remains to be clarified (Blenkinsopp 1992, 25-28).

As a new reading of the Pentatuech, Blenkinsopp reads the Pentatuech as a whole looking at chronological and thematic elements extending from creation to exile. Blenkinsopp suggests that the Pentatuech is “an ambitious national history” as a form of historiographical essays from antiquity and focuses on “the building of the Second Temple and the reestablishment of the cult after the return from exile” (Blenkinsopp 1992, 51).

The Pentateuch begins with creation and ends with the death of Moses. Based upon this plot, Blenkinsopp unfolds the sequence of events of the Pentateuch as follows. He did an excellent job to tell the sequence of events as a storyteller:

God (Elohim) created the world and everything in it in six days and rested on the seventh. The earth, however, was uncultivated, and there was no raonwater and no one to put it to use. God (now YHWH elohim) therefore formed a man and set him in the garden of Eden, giving him access to everything in it with the exception of a certain tree. Since the animals, also formed out of the earth, did not provide suitable companionship for the man, YHWH Elohim made out of the man’s body a woman whom he joyfully acknowledged as a suitable companion. But a snake skillful in speech persuaded her, and through her the man, to eat fruit from the tree from which they were forbidden to eat, resulting in their expulsion from Eden. Children were born, one son killed the other, and th initial eveil flowered throughout the wider society, leading to the desctruction of all like in a great deluge with the exception of Noah, his immediate family, and the species taken with him into the ark. A new order was establised, but another aberration within Noah’s family tainted the new humanity, and the confusion of tongues at Babel the nations were dispersed over the earth.

In the tenth generation after the deluge, Abram (later Abraham) was called by God to emigrate from Mesopotamia to Canaan with the promise that from him would spring a great nation. After various difficulties Abraham and his wife Sarah bore children in old age; first Ishmael, through Sarah’s proxy Hagar, then Isaac. After surviving an attempted ritual sacrifice, the latter obtained a Mesopotamian wife, rebekah, who in her turn bore him two sons, Esau and Jacob, later renamed Israel. Conflict between these two sons, begining, remarkably, in the womb, led to the securing of the birthright and blessing by Jacob, the younger. At the cost of a twenty year exile in Mesopotamia as a hired hand of his uncle Laban, Jacob won two wives, Leah and Rachel, who with the help of proxy-wives gave him twelve sons and a daughter. Upon his return to Canaan there occurred a reconcilation of sorts with Esau and a last meeting with Isaac before the latter’s death.

In the course of time Joseph, second youngest of the sons and Jacob’s favorite, aroused the jealousy of his brothers, who conspired to kill him. The plot miscarried; Joseph survived, and after traders had carried him as a slave to Egypt he rose to the hisghest position in the service of the Pharaoh. The rest of Jacob’s family were meanwhile compelled by famine to emigrate to Egypt, where eventually a reconciliation took place and they were permitted to settle. The original seventy settlers grew into a numerous and powerful people until a new Pharaoh ascended the throne and, for reasons that are not entirely clear, launched a genocidal campaign against them.

One of these Israelites in Egypt, son of Levite parents, survived under remarkable circumstances- the massacre of Hebrew infants ordered by the tyrant- and was brought up in the palace as an Egyptian. Chancing one day to see an Egyptian beating a Hebrew worker, Moses killed the Egyptian and buried the body in the sand. Word of the homicide nevertheless spread, and he was forced to flee for his life to Midian, where he married Zipporah, daughter of the priest of Midain, and fathered the first of two sons named Gershom. While guarding his father-in-law’s sheep in the wilderness, he had an extraordinary experience in which a deity revealed himself as YHWH, God of the Hebrews, and sent him on a mission to lead his oppressed people out of bondage. With the help of his brother Aaron, Moses eventually succeeded in this mission, but only after the Egyptians experienced a series of disasters culminating in the death of the firstborn children. After celebrating a spring festival, the Israelites headed out onto the wilderness and the pursing Egyptians were providentially destroyed as they attempted to follow them across a body of water.

The Israelite horde, reported to be 600,000 strong, not counting women and children, continued to plot an erratic course which led them, after several crises and setbacks, to a mountain in the Sinai. There Moses recieved a revelation from YHWH: first, tehn commandments which were promulgated at once, then a collection of laws communicated to Moses alone. There followed a covenant ceremony and revelation to Moses of the paln for a mobile sanctuary, together with detailed specifications for how worship was to be conducted in it. During Moses’ absence on the mountain, howver, and act of apostasy led to the breaking and rewriting of the law tablets and the issuing of further statutes. The cult was then set uo as prescribed, the priesthood was inaugurated, and after the lapse of about a year, the Israelites were able to proceed on their way.

After further difficulties, including an abortive attempt to invade Canaan, they arrived in Moab, on the east bank of the Jordan. The hostility of the Moabite king was deflected by an inspired seer hired to curse them, and those who succumbed to the allure of orgaistic rites practiced in the region were summarily dispatched. More statues were issued, and preparations were made for occupying the land on the west bank of the Jordan. On the last day of his life Moses reminded the people of the providential events that had transpired and the obligations thereby incurred. HIs valedictory address included a new collection of laws and norms for living in the land about to be occupied. Joshua was installed as Moses’ sucessor, whereupon Moses died at the age of 120 and was buried in an unmarked grave.

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Sungnyemun: Korea’s National Tresure No.1 Destroyed in Fire

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It was on the way to Wartburg Theological Semianry at Dubuque, Iowa (February 12). Dr. Bouzard told me that a Korea’s national tresure was burned out. I was shocked, then I looked up the news through internet. OhmyNews international news site posted the news entitled “Remember Namdaemun: South Korea’s National Treasure No. 1 Destroyed in Fire.”  The news reports:

Namdaemun is considered a national treasure by the government. I was informed that the Great South Gate was once used to protect the city. During the Joseon Dynasty, Seoul was surrounded by walls. I saw glimpses of the wall at war memorial museum. Namdaemun was the southern gate of the original walls. . . It was damaged during the Korean War. On Dec. 20, 1962, it was awarded the status of ‘National Treasure No. 1.’

The original name of Namdaemu is Sungnyemun, which means “adoration of culture.”  This fire was caused by arson.