Monday, 14 October 2019

Monday quote

Do you brighten a room just by entering or just by leaving?

Monday, 7 October 2019

Monday quote

Christian values praise voluntary self-sacrifice for the benefit of other people, because even if we die in the process, the duration and quality of our eternal reward greatly exceeds the "light and momentary afflictions" of this present life. Pagan ethics praise coerced sacrifice from people.

Tom Pittman.

Monday, 30 September 2019

Monday quote

Never confuse the will of the majority with the will of God.

Monday, 23 September 2019

Monday quote

This is the final test of a gentleman: his respect for those who can be of no possible service to him.

William Phelps

Monday, 16 September 2019

Monday quote

Better to illuminate than merely to shine, to deliver to others contemplated truths than merely to contemplate.

Thomas Aquinas

Monday, 9 September 2019

Monday quote

The motto of chivalry is also the motto of wisdom; to serve all, but love only one.

Honore de Balzac

Monday, 2 September 2019

Monday quote

...prosperity foregone is invisible. In other words, we can never tell how much richer we would have been.

Walter Williams

Monday, 26 August 2019

Monday quote

No matter how cynical you become, it's never enough to keep up.

Lily Tomlin

Monday, 19 August 2019

Monday quote

…medicine is not just about fixing. Sometimes it is about being compassionately honest.

Susan White (geneticist).

Monday, 12 August 2019

Monday quote

Risk becomes meaningless when profits are private, but losses are socialized.

Mark Call

Monday, 5 August 2019

Monday quote

A leader can be said to be doing his best – when he is willing to surrender tasks to those who are more adept.

Kenneth Boa

Tuesday, 30 July 2019

70 or 50070 men struck dead?

There is a textual and translational debate concerning the number of men slain in 1 Samuel 6:19 after the ark of the covenant was returned from the Philistines.

The Philistines and Israel battled between Aphek and Ebenezer. The Philistines killed 4000 Israelites. So the elders requested that the Ark be brought to the camp. The Israelites were still defeated, this time losing 30000 men, and the Philistines took the ark to Ashdod and placed it in the temple of Dagon. Dagon fell before the ark twice, the second time losing his head and hands. There was a plague in the land causing swelling in the body and killing many people. So the Ark was taken from Ashdod to Gath where the plague continued, then from Gath to Ekron and the plague continued there. The men of Ekron asked for the ark to be taken away because of the plague.

After 7 months the ark was returned to Israel on a cart pulled by two milk cows, previously unyoked. This was to provide evidence that Yahweh had sent the plague. Alongside the ark were 5 golden figurines of mice and 5 of swellings (tumours). When the ark arrived in Israel the men of Beth-shemesh broke up the cart for wood and offered the cows as a sacrifice to Yahweh. Then the men placed the ark on a rock and took down the box with the golden figurines.

The Greek of the passage differs in places.

The 5 golden swellings are for the 5 cities, though they probably represent the rulers of the cities (1 Samuel 6:4-5); the Greek has golden seats. The 5 golden mice are for the 5 cities. The swellings were probably outbreaks on the body due to the plague. Some commentators suggest haemorrhoids, others tumours in the groin. Mice (or rats) clearly infested the region,
So you must make images of your tumors and images of your mice that ravage the land, and give glory to the God of Israel. (1 Samuel 6:5)
Though it is not clear whether the rodents carried the plague or that they destroyed the crops.

Which brings us to verse 19.
And he struck some of the men of Beth-shemesh, because they looked upon the ark of the LORD. He struck 70 men of them, and the people mourned because the LORD had struck the people with a great blow. (1 Samuel 6:19 ESV).
And the descendants of Jechoniah were not pleased with the men of Beth-shemesh because they saw the ark of the Lord, and he struck among them 70 men and 50000 men, and the people mourned because the Lord struck with an exceedingly great plague among the people. (1 Samuel (1 Kingdoms) 6:19 Greek).
The Hebrew has 50070 men, though some Hebrew manuscripts have 70 men. Josephus has 70 (Antiquities 6.1.4). Yet the Greek shows that the larger number has an ancient pedigree. Syriac and Arab versions have 5070. The Vulgate has 70 men and 50000 common people.

The large number is also more likely because the term "great blow" is used here and the same term in 1 Samuel 4:10 for the death of 30000 men.

Translators note that the town of Beth-shemesh could not have contained 50000 people and many think this is a textual error, numerical variants being quite common in biblical manuscripts. There are various other explanations including,

  1. 70 men, 50 of a thousand (implying 1 in 20 from a total of 1400)
  2. 70 elders: having the importance of 50000 common men (Rabbinical tradition)
Others have noted that the Hebrew has an unusual construction. Numbers in Hebrew, like in English, usually have the larger units first: thousands before hundreds before tens before units. However there are exceptions. As Ashby notes, exceptions repeat the item the number is qualifying and include the word "and" between the items.

At the end of thirty years and four hundred years (Exodus 12:41).

Except that the number in 1 Samuel 6:19 does not have the word "and". A literal translation is,
he struck some of the people, 70 men, 50000 men.
A very literal translation of the Hebrew, maintaining word order,
And he struck some of the men of Beth-shemesh, because they looked upon the ark of Yahweh, and he struck some of the people (nation): 70 men; 50000 men. And mourned the people (nation) because had struck, Yahweh, the people (nation) a blow great.
God's judgment had killed the Philistines; that same plague then killed 70 men of Beth-shemesh, then killed 50000 people in Israel.

Monday, 29 July 2019

Monday quote

The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing at the right place but also to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.

Dorothy Neville.

Monday, 22 July 2019

Monday quote

If your income is dependent on you not understanding something, it is very easy not to understand something.

Otis Brawley.

Monday, 15 July 2019

Monday quote

A weak conscience is an over-scrupulous conscience. And although, even when mistaken, it is not to be violated, it does need to be educated.

Stott, Between Two Worlds.

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