26 March 2010

Mar 26

Reference links:
Old Testament

About half of today's reading repeats the 10 commandments. In the preface to that, Moses makes the following declaration,
The Lord our God made a covenant with us at Mount Sinai. The Lord did not make this covenant with our ancestors, but with all of us who are alive today.
This statement implies, or at least possibly implies, that the people receiving this speech are the same as the people who were at Mount Sinai. But this speech is being given after the forty years of wandering, so we know that the people Moses is addressing are nearly a completely different group than before. Maybe the Hebrew phrasing implies distant ancestors?

Getting back to the commandments, this list pretty much provides a straight repeat of the list in Exodus. Since then, I have learned that the use of the word "covet" in the passage below is probably completely wrong,
You must not covet your neighbor’s wife. You must not covet your neighbor’s house or land, male or female servant, ox or donkey, or anything else that belongs to your neighbor.
The word translated as covet probably means "take." It seems to be a word for taking that had certain unrecoverable implications, but still, analyzing the Hebrew in context makes for a fairly strong case that it is an action that is being condemned, not thought crime.

The other half of today's reading contains an admonition to the Israelites to remember the Lord's commands and live a life faithful to his will. This passage summarizes as good as any,
Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children.
This part of the reading describes the land God is giving to the Israelites,
It is a land with large, prosperous cities that you did not build. The houses will be richly stocked with goods you did not produce. You will draw water from cisterns you did not dig, and you will eat from vineyards and olive trees you did not plant.
As I read that I could not help but think, "You know, that is not exactly something I would go around bragging about."

New Testament

Today's reading relates the story of Jesus raising a widow's son from the dead. The Wikipedia article on Jesus' miracles points out, that three of the gospels have stories of Jesus raising someone from the dead, but all of the stories are quite different. Given that descriptions of other miracles seem to overlap a lot, this makes me wonder if, by the time the gospels were written, there was a tradition of Jesus having the power to raise the dead, but there was no single story commonly associated with that miracle. Thus, each gospel author either drew from a different tradition or made up their own story to work in that aspect of Jesus' power.

In other news, Jesus more or less tells John the Baptist,  "Yes, I am the the Messiah."

Psalms and Proverbs

Today's reading from the psalms has some rather icky imagery.
But God will smash the heads of his enemies,
crushing the skulls of those who love their guilty ways.
You, my people, will wash your feet in their blood,
and even your dogs will get their share!”
I feel like the first two of today's proverbs must have lost something in translation.
Those who bring trouble on their families inherit the wind.
The fool will be a servant to the wise.
The seeds of good deeds become a tree of life;
a wise person wins friends.
Neither quite makes sense as a two line unit.