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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Israelis in the Living Bible

I have a copy of The Living Bible – the 1971 paraphrase of the bible written by Kenneth Taylor.  I don’t read from it often, but I keep it around – mostly because it was a gift when I was a teenager, and it was the first bible that I read all the way through completely, from cover to cover.  Sentimental or something….

But I was reading through it this morning and I noticed something that I thought was a little odd.

Exodus 1: 9 in the Living Bible (LB) reads: “He told his people, “The Israelis are becoming dangerous to us because there are so many of them…”

Israeli is a modern term used to refer to the people of the modern nation state of Israel.  Israelite is the term used to describe the people of Israel in biblical matters.  The Living Bible used the term Israeli several times – Exodus 1:12, 2:23, 9: 7, 19: 1, Numbers 1: 2 … (I didn’t check any further, I’m sure it’s used more …)

The LB also used other various and roughly synonymous terms like “descendants of Israel,” “people of Israel,” “Hebrews,” “my people,” “them /they,” “Sons of Jacob,” “Tribes of Israel,” and “Israelites”  without any discernible rhyme or reason.  

But “Israeli” in a biblical text is problematic because it continues the misunderstanding that the people of the modern nation state of Israel are equivalent to the Israelites of the Bible.  

The New Living Bible, by the way, (which began as a project to revise and update the Living Bible but became a fully-fledged translation in its own right…) doesn’t use the term “Israeli.” 

Red Zinnias (I Think)

A photograph of a Red Zinnia (I think it's a Zinnia.  I'm not a trained botanist...)

Photograph Red Zinnia by Jeff Carter on 500px

Biblical Limericks: Do Not Have Sexual Relations with your Father’s Sister

Hey, hey wait! There’s something amiss here:
Amram married his father’s sister,
but by Torah you can’t
copulate with your aunt,
even to produce Moses, mister!

Exodus 6: 20, Leviticus 18:12

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

“The Government”- with Scare Quotes

I’m often confused by some of my more politically conservative friends who believe “The Government” isn’t to be trusted with anything. When they speak of “The Government” you can almost hear the scare quotes and capital letters in their voice. They view anything it does with a deep and hostile suspicion. “The Government,” in their view is, if not evil then at the very least, wasteful and dangerous, filled with crooks and liars, and should have as much funding as is possible cut from its budgets…

…That is, until you begin talking about the military and the police (which these days seem all but indistinguishable.)  Then “The Government” should be loyally supported without question and given as much money as it requests.  Nothing “The Government” – the military or police – does should be doubted or examined; they are honorable men and women dutifully serving their country.

And many of my more politically conservative friends seem to be completely unaware of this inconsistency. 

“The Government” does need watched and questioned; fraud and injustice need to be constantly rooted out.  Yes, we should Question Authority. But the military and police cannot be given a free pass. If anything, they should be examined with an even greater scrutiny considering the power and authority they wield and the resources they consume. 

Biblical Limericks: No Excuse for Papyrus

That Jochabed did use papyrus
to make an ark for her son Moses
is not a good excuse
for the continued use
of that foul font by the rest of us.

Exodus 2:3 


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