Monday, 3 August 2020

Monday quote

Those mothers who aborted their baby girls are now looking for a girl for their son? They don't deserve us.

Tian Hong Bu

Monday, 27 July 2020

Monday quote

Rising expectations fuel resentment.

Steve Sailer

Friday, 24 July 2020

Numbering the 10 Commandments

God gives the ten commandments in Exodus and reiterates them in Deuteronomy. They are alluded to elsewhere in Scripture but they are not further listed, nor numbered.

Various people and groups have enumerated the commandments differently. A defense can be made for the Protestant divisions based on how the commandments are documented in the Bible.

God first gives his commandment to the Israelites at Mount Sinai after they had come out from Egypt. God had been speaking to Moses on the mountain and told the Israelites to consecrate themselves ready for God but not touch the mountain.
And God spoke all these words, saying,
“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
“You shall have no other gods before me.
“You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.
“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.
“You shall not murder.
“You shall not commit adultery.
“You shall not steal.
“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
“You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor's.” (Exo 20:1-17)
Later in Deuteronomy Moses reiterates these commandments. Moses states that God made a covenant at the mountain and Moses tells a new generation the commandments that God had given.
He [God] said
“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
“You shall have no other gods before me.
“You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.
“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.
“Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter or your male servant or your female servant, or your ox or your donkey or any of your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates, that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you. You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.
“Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may go well with you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.
“You shall not murder.
“And you shall not commit adultery.
“And you shall not steal.
“And you shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
“And you shall not covet your neighbor's wife. And you shall not desire your neighbor's house, his field, or his male servant, or his female servant, his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor's.” (Deu 5:5-21)
After speaking these commandments from God Moses says,
These words the Lord spoke to all your assembly at the mountain out of the midst of the fire, the cloud, and the thick darkness, with a loud voice; and he added no more. And he wrote them on two tablets of stone and gave them to me. (Deu 5:22)
From this we know that these words direct from God were written on tablets and that they end with his commands against coveting. And they clearly start with “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.”

Elsewhere Moses notes the covenant and refers to the tablets as containing the ten commandments (ten words).
And the Lord said to Moses, “Write these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.” So he was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights. He neither ate bread nor drank water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments. (Exodus 34:27-28)
These two passages in Exodus and Deuteronomy contain the words spoken by God, and they also tell us that the commandments that were written on tablets, and that there are 10 of them.

There are a limited number of ways that these commands can be divided up. Several of the commands are brief and are not variants of the commands either side. The prohibition against murder is distinct from the prohibition against adultery which is distinction from the prohibition against stealing.

The potential divisions proposed, in order, are:
  1. I am the Lord your God
  2. You shall have no other gods before me
  3. You shall not make for yourself a carved image
  4. You shall not bow down to them or serve them
  5. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain
  6. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy
  7. Honor your father and your mother
  8. You shall not murder
  9. You shall not commit adultery
  10. You shall not steal
  11. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor
  12. You shall not covet your neighbor's house
  13. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife
  14. [You shall not covet] or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor's
It seems clear that of the above items #6, #7, #8, #9, #10, #11 are 6 separate commands. All other proposals also separate #5 as a single command. The various proposals concern whether coveting is one or two commands (#12, #13, #14), and how to separate the first few commands (#1, #2, #3, #4).

The command not to covet specifies the verb "covet" twice in Exodus; it is prior to both neighbour's house and neighbour's wife; the other items of one's neighbour are also prohibited by inference of the prior verb. In Deuteronomy the order of the first two prohibitions is reversed. The command is first not to covet a neighbour's wife, then a neighbour's house; again the other items are inferred by the prior verb. Of note, the verb for "covet" in Exodus is "khamod." In Deuteronomy the same verb is used for coveting a wife, but a different verb for coveting a house: "示avah."

The command is: do not covet. Coveting is the primary issue. And Paul says that the vice is effectively the vice of idolatry; interestingly earlier prohibited.
Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. (Col 3:5)
Further, the order in Exodus, which was when the commandments were first given by God, has the coveting of a wife after that of a house. If we are to enumerate coveting as two different commands then God is saying,
  1. Command 9: Do not covet a house
  2. Command 10: Do not covet a wife
  3. Corollary: And command 9 also includes other items that belong to one's neighbour.
While God gives reasons for a command within the command, it seems less likely that he would return to an earlier command after given a subsequent one.

Not coveting along with the other commands already mentioned totals 8 commands. Divisions #1 through #4 are also variously divided. Making images to act as gods and bowing to those same gods is in principle a similar action. While one can worship a false god without an image, the command is assuming images that are made in order to be worshipped. It was not against God's law to draw, sew or carve pictures of creatures. So the question is whether having no other god is distinct from setting up a physical idol to worship. One could group the command into a general anti-idolatrous command: Don't worship foreign gods; don't make images of gods; don't worship images. Nevertheless, these commands are more distinct than commands not to covet various things. If we group the directly idolatrous commands as a single commandment then we have a total of 9 commandments. The tenth commandment is variously identified as coveting or as the preamble. We have discussed coveting, and the preamble is hardly a commandment.
I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
The ten commandments are therefore as follows:
  1. You shall have no other gods before me
  2. You shall not make for yourself a carved image; you shall not bow down to them or serve them
  3. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain
  4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy
  5. Honor your father and your mother
  6. You shall not murder
  7. You shall not commit adultery
  8. You shall not steal
  9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor
  10. You shall not covet

Monday, 20 July 2020

Monday quote

People have a strange tendency to accept bramble-leadership, a fact which continues to baffle us.

Dale Ralph Davis, Such a Great Salvation.

Monday, 13 July 2020

Monday quote

A science that still accepts exclusively force and matter at the start of the information age is medieval.

Reinhard Eichelbeck, The Darwin Conspiracy. Rise and fall of a pseudo-scientific worldview. (Das Darwin-Komplott. Aufstieg und Fall eines pseudowissenschaftlichen Weltbildes.)

Monday, 6 July 2020

Monday quote

Call me old fashioned, but I still maintain there is a critical difference between climbing out of stupid and climbing into it.

Doug Wilson

Monday, 29 June 2020

Monday quote

When being the most oppressed victim gives you the highest status, then it’s a race to the bottom.

Jordan Peterson

Monday, 22 June 2020

Monday quote

As regards sexual morality, we have reached a point at which it is no longer sufficient for us to criticize modernity’s poor answers. Like our Lord in the gospel narratives, we must also correct its terribly impoverished questions.

Michael W. Hannon

Monday, 15 June 2020

Monday quote

‘What is truth’ to ‘There is no absolute truth’ to ‘It’s true if it’s true for you’ to ‘If you deny this is true you are a hater’

Matthew Hoiser.

Monday, 8 June 2020

Monday quote

You don’t get to assume his intent and chastise him for your imagination.

Justin Parris

Tuesday, 2 June 2020

Zayit stone abecedary

In 2005 an abecedary was found on the Zayit Stone at Tel Zayit. It is believed to date from about 1000 BC. Below is the order of letters as inscribed on the stone. I have included the early Hebrew glyphs in the table as they most closely match the stone glyphs. There are some caveats as mentioned below.



Modern order Zayit stone
Order Name square early Latin Name square early Latin Comment
1 Alef 饜‎ Alef 饜‎
2 Bet 饜‎ b Bet 饜‎ b
3 Gimel 饜‎ g Gimel 饜‎ g
4 Dalet 饜‎ d Dalet 饜‎ d
5 He 饜‎ h Waw 饜‎ w
6 Waw 饜‎ w He 饜‎ h
7 Zayin 饜‎ z Het 饜‎ kh
8 Het 饜‎ kh Zayin 饜‎ z
9 Tet 饜‎ t Tet 饜‎ t
10 Yod 饜‎ y Yod 饜‎ y
11 Kaf 饜‎ k Lamed 饜‎ l ?
12 Lamed 饜‎ l Kaf 饜‎ k ?
13 Mem 饜‎ m Mem 饜‎ m
14 Nun 饜‎ n Nun 饜‎ n
15 Samekh 饜‎ s Samekh 饜‎ s
16 Ayin 饜‎ Pe 饜‎ p faint
17 Pe 饜‎ p Ayin 饜‎ faint
18 Tsadi 饜‎ ts Tsadi 饜‎ ts faint
19 Qof 饜‎ q Qof 饜‎ q faint
20 Resh 饜‎ r Resh 饜‎ r faint
21 Shin 饜‎ s Shin 饜‎ s
22 Tav 饜‎ t Tav 饜‎ t faint

  • Letters he and waw are reversed, this has not been seen previously.
  • Letters zayin and het are reversed, this may have been noted elsewhere.
  • Letters kaf and lamed are reversed. The authors believe this to be a mistake because there is a gap following the kaf and what appears to be a cross (X) suggesting an error was made then recognised by the scribe.
  • Letters ayin and pe are reversed. The letters are faint and difficult to see. This inversion has been seen elsewhere.


Tappy et al. An Abecedary of the Mid-Tenth Century B.C.E. from the Judaean Shephelah. Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research. 2006.

Monday, 1 June 2020

Monday quote

If man had his way, the plan of redemption would be an endless and bloody conflict. In reality, salvation was bought not by Jesus' fist, but by His nail-pierced hands; not by muscle but by love; not by vengeance but by forgiveness; not by force but by sacrifice.

AW Tozer.

Friday, 29 May 2020

Early oral tradition about Jesus

It has been said that Paul includes an early oral tradition about Jesus in his first letter to the Corinthians. Paul reiterates in his letter what he had already told them in person
  • That Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures,
  • And that he was buried,
  • And that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,
  • And that he appeared to Cephas,
  • Then to the twelve,
  • Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep,
  • Then he appeared to James,
  • Then to all the apostles. (1 Corinthians 15:3-5)
Paul concludes with his own encounter
Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
Paul's encounter is probably his addendum to the prior account. Note also that the parenthetical comment, "most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep," may also be an addition. Some place all of the material from the 500 brothers onward as Paul's addition.

Paul prefaces this list with
For I delivered (paradidomi) to you as of first importance what I also received (paralambano) (1 Corinthians 15)
Apparently the combination of paradidomi with paralambano was understood by a the ancients to mean that the speaker is passing on an oral tradition that has been received from others. I am uncertain as to whether there is an implied expectation in these two words for the hearer to also memorise. The earlier use of this phrase by Paul directly to the Corinthians, and then his repetition in the letter seems to suggest so in this instance.

1 Corinthians was authored in the early 50s. However there are apparently clues that this phrase maybe an oral history originating several years earlier. Paul was writing in Greek though he also knew Hebrew and Aramaic*. The saying as recorded in 1 Corinthians has marks of translation from Hebrew/ Aramaic into Greek as it is written. Paul likely had the saying memorised in Hebrew/ Aramaic and translated it to his secretary.

These clues are possibly the use of the Semitic "Cephas" rather than the Greek "Peter", though Paul does use "Cephas" consistently in 1 Corinthians and uses it more than "Peter" in his other letters. And the construction "And that" (kai hoti), which is the Greek translation of the waw consecutive, a Semitic construction.

So recorded in 1 Corinthians is a very early oral tradition about Jesus that antedates all the New Testament documents probably within a few years of the resurrection of Jesus, in the Hebrew/ Aramaic language.
Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures,
And that he was buried,
And that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,
And that he appeared to Cephas,
Then to the twelve,
Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time,
Then he appeared to James,
Then to all the apostles.


*Many scholars suggest that the language in Judea at the time of Christ was Aramaic, a language from Babylon (and Assyria) closely related to Hebrew. Others claim they spoke Hebrew.

Thursday, 28 May 2020

The Word became flesh and dwelt among us

God gives Habakkuk a vision, he says
“Write the vision;
make it plain on tablets,
so he may run who reads it.” (Hab 2:2 ESV)
The last line being difficult to translate: make the vision plain on the tablets:
  • so that it might be read quickly. (LEB)
  • so he may run who reads it. (ESV)
  • so that a herald may run with it. (NIV)
  • so the one who announces it may read it easily. (NET)
  • That the one who reads it may run. (NASB)
more literally
  • so that one who reads in it may run; or
  • it might run reading/proclaiming upon it; or
  • so the one who reads/proclaims it might run; or 
  • so that he running, he reading/proclaiming, from this [tablet]
The NET gives the meaning that it is easy to read such that one can run his eyes through the text. Another interpretation is that it is easy enough to read so that someone can read from the tablet even while he is running. One could paraphrase the last line: so that he can read it while he is running. I side with a person running interpretation which is the meaning given in the ESV and NASB. The ancients usually read out loud so the idea is probably that of one proclaiming, that is a herald as per the NIV.

But note 3 aspects:
“Write the vision;
make it plain on tablets,
so that he who proclaims it may run.”
This describes a message: the vision; a medium: tablets; and a messenger: the person proclaiming. All information has this: content, a carrier medium, and communication (speaking, reading, etc).

Compare John's introduction to his gospel.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. (Joh 1:14)
We have a message: the Word; a medium: flesh (the incarnation); and a messenger: him dwelling with us. Yet Jesus is all these 3 things. Jesus is the message; Jesus is what the message is written on, that is, the incarnation; and Jesus is the messenger.
Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.” (Joh 7:37).

Tuesday, 26 May 2020

Jude and 2 Peter

The similarities in content between the letters of Jude and 2 Peter are well known.

Further, some dispute that 1 Peter and 2 Peter were written by the same individual due to differences in vocabulary, grammar, and style.

In his Redating the New Testament Robinson makes an argument that Peter's comment about his departure (2Pe 1:15) references a literal departure from a region rather than his impending death. He also notes that Jude takes off from writing another letter to mention other urgent issues (Jud 1:3). Further 2 Peter makes mention of an earlier letter. Johnson argues that if Jude was Peter's agent in writing the letter of 2 Peter then the "I" of 2 Peter 3:1 refers to Jude and not Peter; and the letter Jude left off to write the Epistle of Jude was the letter he was writing for Peter. Consequently he dates both Jude and 2 Peter early and makes 2 Peter antedate 1 Peter!

I think the reconstruction by Robinson is faulty. The ESV translates Jude 1:3 thus,
Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.
This does not require leaving off another actual letter, rather that the circumstances require that Jude's original topic needs to be deferred by reason of more urgent matters.

Further, Peter's departure is clearly his death,
Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have. I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder, since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me. And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things. (2Pe 1:12-15)
But if the similarity of style between Jude and 2 Peter remains strong this could have authorship implications. There is clearly similarity of topic such that 2 Peter is dependent on Jude or vice versa (or both dependent on a common source). But there are enough differences to suggest borrowing of concepts rather than a quotation. If the same author wrote both Jude and 2 Peter this would both explain the similarity and allow for the variation of a person writing about the same topic on different occasions.

Assuming this solution, which was written first? It seems to me that the better style would reflect the later version and I will need to defer to Greek readers as to whether Jude or 2 Peter is more polished (at least in the parts of the letters that overlap). If, however, Jude was writing 2 Peter very near the end of Peter's life, were Jude to write a second letter to another church in the months following Peter's martyrdom to warn of the same dangers, he would write in his own name.

Further, Jude's reference to being James' brother means Jude was likely written prior to James' death c. 69*.

Interestingly, Jude is thought to be less likely to be pseudonymous than 2 Peter because why would an anonymous author attach the name "Jude" of all options? Only Jude would use Jude. However, if Jude also wrote 2 Peter as an amanuensis it would increase the authenticity of 2 Peter as Jude had no reason to attach Peter's name unless Peter were the author. Were Jude to falsely add Peter's name to 2 Peter then why would he write a different letter in his own name?

If we accept that Jude was the amanuensis for 2 Peter then he subsequently wrote his letter after Peter's death, then 2 Peter and Jude would be written c. 64†.


*This is dispute concerning when James was put to death. It may have been as early as 62.
†Peter was put to death during Nero's reign 54–68. Exact date is uncertain but c. 64–67.

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