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The Old Testament Explained: Discussion..

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posted on Apr, 14 2008 @ 07:24 AM
Hello ATSers,

I've seen so much confusion around the Old Testament, misquotation of the Old Testament, and misuse of the Old Testament verses in implying certain meanings. I have even seen it become a trend, the one thing you can quote in a clearly negative context, word for word, from Christianity's Holy Bible. This is understandable; If I read something that basically says, "go kill these people and take their land and items" in a religious context, I too would think "gee, that is awfully mean, where is the Holiness in this?". This is because the text is being grossly misunderstood, and I am here for the rescue.

When regarding the Christian Old Testament, or looking at it from this viewpoint (Christian), we are supposed to see one glaring, running theme of the Old Testament books. That is exactly what people are quoting and misrepresenting as God's will on Earth unto this day, and that is the verses regarding all of the foul things the early Israelites did to their brethren and neighbors, scratch neighbors.. their hosts! And even when they had claimed the land and driven out the Canaanites or killed them all, even then, they insisted into debauchery, sin and idolatry, and it is clearly chronicled throughout the entire Old Testament. Therein also includes the few righteous ones, the ones who fought against this sort of thing and were favored by God because they served God, and their accounts, but the entire book of Kings and the entire book of Chronicles, for instance, talks about 90% of the time about the Israelites doing evil in the sight of the Lord. When discussing Old Testament, there is no contention of whether God and Lord mean the same thing, they do, Yeshua(Jesus) had not walked the Earth in flesh yet.

So the idea is to read and learn from these wrong doings, mistakes, and these bad actions done from one brother to another, from one neighbor to another. Beyond this, it shows what happens to people who perpetually do such a thing, the judgment of God upon them, their exile and dispersing to the winds, their trials and tribulations, their plights unto this day with their neighbors. These all started millenia ago, and these people are brethren, related by blood. To show you, I will quote the repeated wrong doing of brother against brother, with the brother who did wrong being the one receiving the blessing! sometimes even through outright deception!

Gen 25:21 And Isaac prayed to Jehovah for his wife for she was barren. And Jehovah was entreated for him, and his wife Rebekah conceived.
Gen 25:22 And the sons struggled together within her. And she said, If this is right, why am I this way? And she went to ask Jehovah.
Gen 25:23 And Jehovah said to her, Two nations are in your womb; even two peoples shall break from your body. And one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.
Gen 25:24 And her days were fulfilled to bear. And behold! Twins were in her womb.
Gen 25:25 And the first came out, all of him red like a hairy robe; and they called his name Esau.
Gen 25:26 And afterward his brother came out, and his hand was holding to the heel of Esau; and his name was called Jacob. And Isaac was a son of sixty years when she bore them.
Gen 25:27 And the boys grew up. And Esau became a man knowing hunting, a man of the field. And Jacob was a simple man, living in tents.
Gen 25:28 And Isaac loved Esau, for game was in his mouth. And Rebekah loved Jacob.

Here we see the chronology of the brothers Jacob and Esau, who were born of Isaac and Rebekah as twins. Esau was the firstborn twin, and therefore by Semitic, Hebrew custom the heir to his Father as leader of the tribe. The tribe was an extended family which included various slaves and workers as well who tended livestock and the land for food and water. The tribe went to war at times. This is where the Semitic tribal foundation took root. But this is not my point, see what happens next:

Gen 25:29 And Jacob boiled soup. And Esau came from the field, and he was faint.
Gen 25:30 And Esau said to Jacob, Please let me eat of the red, this red soup, for I am faint. On account of this his name is called Edom.
Gen 25:31 And Jacob said, Sell me your birthright today.
Gen 25:32 And Esau said, Behold, I am going to die, and what good is this, a birthright to me?
Gen 25:33 And Jacob said, Swear to me today. And he swore to him and sold his birthright to Jacob.
Gen 25:34 And Jacob gave bread and soup of lentils to Esau. And he ate and drank, and rose up and left. And Esau despised the birthright.

The first thing we read about the relationship of these brothers is that Esau came back from hunting unsuccessfully, while Jacob had been making soup of lentils. Esau didn't like his Birthright, it says he despised it, he didn't want to be the heir of the tribe. The book does not go into detail as to why, but we can assume many reasonings for this, people often do not want to carry on leadership duties. So then, Jacob tricked Esau in a time of need to give over his Birthright for a mere bowl of soup! Is this honorable? What about in the sight of the Lord? It doesn't say the Lord was pleased or displeased, it did not say at all. You are left to draw that conclusion.

Gen 27:3 And now please lift up your weapons, your quiver and your bow, and go to the field and hunt game for me.
Gen 27:4 And make for me delicious things, such as I love, and bring to me, and I will eat; so that my soul may bless you before I die.
Gen 27:5 And Rebekah heard when Isaac spoke to his son Esau. And Esau went to the field to hunt game, to bring it in.
Gen 27:6 And Rebekah spoke to her son Jacob, saying, Behold, I heard your father speaking to your brother Esau saying,
Gen 27:7 Bring game to me and make delicious things that I may eat, that I may bless you before Jehovah before my death.
Gen 27:8 And now my son hear my voice, that which I command you.
Gen 27:9 Go now to the flock and bring me from there two good kids of the goats. And I will make them into delicious things for your father which he loves;
Gen 27:10 and you shall bring it to your father and let him eat, so that he may bless you before his death.
Gen 27:11 And Jacob said to his mother Rebekah, Behold, my brother Esau is a hairy man, and I a smooth man.
Gen 27:12 Perhaps my father will feel me, and I shall be like a deceiver in his eyes, and I shall bring a curse on me, and not blessing.
Gen 27:13 And his mother said to him, Your curse be on me, my son; only listen to my voice and go, take for me.
Gen 27:14 And he went and took and came to his mother. And his mother made delicious things, such as his father loved.
Gen 27:15 And Rebekah took the clothing of her elder son Esau, the costly ones which were with her in the house. And she dressed her younger son Jacob;
Gen 27:16 and she put the skins of the kids of the goats on his hands, and on the smoothness of his neck.
Gen 27:17 And she put the delicious things and the bread which she had made in the hand of her son Jacob.
Gen 27:18 And he went in to his father and said, My father. And he said, Behold me. Who are you, my son?
Gen 27:19 And Jacob said to his father, I am your first-born, Esau. I have done as you said to me. Rise up now, sit and eat of my game, so that your soul may bless me.

Next up, we see that Isaac the father is dying. He sends for Esau, and tells him to go make some delicious food for him because he wants a good last meal, and in return, since Esau was Isaac's firstborn, favorite, and heir, he will bestow the final family blessing onto Esau to carry on leadership. But this isn't mere leadership .. this is a blessing carried from generation to generation, given from God at the direction of the giver to his preferred son. For instance, Abraham supposedly favored Isaac despite Ishmael being the firstborn. Here we see firstborn is not automatically getting you the blessing. So Jacob goes to his father after consulting with his mother as to how to deceive his father, her husband, upon death, to gain the blessing and the heir status. Jacob dresses up like Esau, and puts on fur to feel hairy, then outright lies to his father to gain the blessing! And the blessing was given. When Esau heard of this, he was fervently angry, and this started a conflict between the people's of the brothers, Jacob and Esau. So here the tribe split into two different, opposing tribes, all brothers.

So then, fast forward through Genesis a bit, Jacob's sons and other followers, who at this point were becoming the first "Jews", come into the land of Canaan, wherein a man named Hamor and his son Shechem own the place. They invite Jacob's people into their dwellings and land because they fancy Jacob's daughters, or the women of the tribe. And from here I quote:

Gen 34:13 And the sons of Jacob answered Shechem and his father Hamor, speaking with deceit because he had defiled their sister Dinah.
Gen 34:14 And they said to them, We are not able to do this thing, to give our sister to a man who is uncircumcised. For it is a reproach to us.
Gen 34:15 Only on this condition will we consent to you; If you will become like us, to have every male of you circumcised.
Gen 34:16 Then we will give our daughters to you, and we will take your daughters to us; and we will live with you and will become one people.
Gen 34:17 And if you do not listen to us, to be circumcised, then we will take our daughter, and we will go.
Gen 34:18 And their words pleased Hamor and the son of Hamor, Shechem.
Gen 34:19 And the young man did not hesitate to do the thing, for he delighted in Jacob's daughter. And he was more honorable than all the house of his father.

(to be continued...)

posted on Apr, 14 2008 @ 07:47 AM
So, Shechem gets circumcised like the Jewish people, of their custom, to marry into the Jewish tribe, the sons of Jacob. Jacob at his point had already wrestled with the angel on the night before Esau searched him out and found him (the climax of their conflict which you'd have to read for yourself because I can't post the entire book up here), the angel told Jacob, "your name shall be Israel, for you have wrestled with God and men, and overcame." So then, by all means we are dealing with the Israelites at this point. This is what the sons of Jacob do next, after the two tribes or families make the agreement, and the man gets circumcised to take the Jewish daughter.

Gen 34:24 And all those going out of the gate of the city listened to Hamor, and to his son Shechem. And every male was circumcised, all those going out of the gate of the city.
Gen 34:25 And it happened on the third day, they being pained, that the two sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, Dinah's brothers, each took his sword. And they came on the city in its security, and killed every male.
Gen 34:26 And they killed Hamor and his son Shechem with the sword. And they took Dinah from the house of Shechem, and went out.
Gen 34:27 The sons of Jacob came on the slain and plundered the city, because they had defiled their sister.
Gen 34:28 They took their flocks and their herds and their asses, and whatever was in the city, and whatever was in the field.
Gen 34:29 And they took all their wealth, and all their little ones, and their wives, and looted all that was in the house.
Gen 34:30 And Jacob said to Simeon and to Levi, You have troubled me, to make me stink among those living in the land, among the Canaanites, and among the Perizzites. And I being few in number, and they gathering against me, they will strike me, and I and my house shall be wasted.
Gen 34:31 And they said, Should he treat our sister like a harlot?

This just blew me away. These people, Hamor's people, Shechem's people, invited them into the land to live and prosper there, then make a formal agreement to get circumcised, not an easy feat as a grown man in the ancient times (can you imagine?), just to marry this Jewish girl. And then all the tribe gets circumcised, and then what? The sons of Jacob just rush in, killing everyone, taking everything? But the key is, does it say that God told them to do this? No it does not, they made this choice to kill their hosts. Moving right along to the next major incident of note..

Gen 37:11 And his brothers were jealous of him. But his father observed the word.
Gen 37:12 And his brothers went to feed the flock of their father in Shechem.
Gen 37:13 And Israel said to Joseph, Are not your brothers feeding the flock in Shechem? Come, and I will send you to them. And he said to him, Behold me.
Gen 37:14 And he said to him, Now go, see the welfare of your brothers, and the welfare of the flock, and bring word back to me. And he sent him out of the valley of Hebron. And he came to Shechem.
Gen 37:15 And a man found him. And, behold, he was wandering in the field. And the man asked him, saying, What do you seek?
Gen 37:16 And he said, I am looking for my brothers. Please tell me where they are feeding the flock.
Gen 37:17 And the man said, They have left here, for I heard them say, Let us go towards Dothan. And Joseph went after his brothers and found them in Dothan.
Gen 37:18 And they saw him from a distance. And before he came near to them, they plotted against him, to kill him.
Gen 37:19 And they said, each to his brother, Behold, this master of dreams is coming.
Gen 37:20 And, Come now, and let us kill him, and throw him into one of the pits. And let us say, An evil beast has eaten him. And let us see what will become of his dreams.
Gen 37:21 And Reuben heard, and he delivered him from their hands, and said, Let us not smite his soul.
Gen 37:22 And Reuben said to them, Do not shed blood. Throw him into this pit in the desert, but do not lay a hand on him; so that he might deliver him from their hands, to return him to his father.
Gen 37:23 And it happened when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped his robe which was on him, from Joseph, the robe reaching to the soles of his feet.
Gen 37:24 And they took him and threw him into the pit, the pit being empty, no water in it.
Gen 37:25 And they sat down to eat bread. And they lifted up their eyes and looked. And, behold, a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead! And their camels were bearing spices, and balsam gum, and myrrh, going down to take them to Egypt.
Gen 37:26 And Judah said to his brothers, What gain is it that we kill our brother and conceal his blood?
Gen 37:27 Come, let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, and do not let our hand be on him. For he is our brother, our flesh. And his brothers listened.
Gen 37:28 And men, Midianites, traders, passed. And they drew up and took Joseph out of the pit, and they sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver. And they brought Joseph into Egypt.
Gen 37:29 And Reuben came back to the pit. And, behold, Joseph was not in the pit; and he tore his clothes.
Gen 37:30 And he returned to his brothers and said, The child, he is not. And I, where shall I go?
Gen 37:31 And they took Joseph's robe, and killed a ram of the goats, and dipped the robe in the blood.
Gen 37:32 And they sent the robe reaching to the soles of his feet, and they took it to their father, and said, We have found this. Now look, is it your son's robe?
Gen 37:33 And he knew it, and said, My son's robe! An evil beast has eaten him. Being torn Joseph is torn in pieces.

So, the tribe of Israel move to Bethel and "Reform" if you will after the brutal slaying of the Hamor's people, I guess to find redemption or something, and threw away their idols. Then Joseph was born. His brothers hated him, and were jealous of him, and as we see here, traded him off to Ishmaelite slave traders headed to Egypt for some pieces of silver, then came up with a lie and told their Father he was dead! Did God tell them to do any of this? The answer is no. They clearly were acting of their own. So to summarize, Joseph goes into captivity in Egypt, but through his dream interpretation skills, becomes popular with the Pharaoh, who elevates him to a high status. Joseph has two sons, Ephraim and Mannasseh. Mannasseh was firstborn, yet Joseph attempts to elevate Ephraim above Mannasseh in status by receiving the blessing instead in a deceitful fashion. From here I quote:

Gen 48:17 And Joseph saw that his father was putting his right hand on the head of Ephraim; and it was evil in his eyes. And he took hold of his father's hand to turn it from Ephraim's head to the head of Manasseh.
Gen 48:18 And Joseph said to his father, Not so, my father! For this one is the first-born; put your right hand on his head.
Gen 48:19 And his father refused and said, I know, my son, I know. He also shall be a people, and he shall become great. But his younger brother shall become greater than he, and his seed shall become the fullness of the nations.
Gen 48:20 And he blessed them in that day, saying, In you shall Israel bless, saying, May God make you like Ephraim and like Manasseh.
Gen 48:21 And Israel said to Joseph, See, I am dying; and God will be with you, and will return you to the land of your fathers.
Gen 48:22 And I will give to you one spur of land beyond your brothers, which I took from the hand of the Amorite with my sword and with my bow.

Even here Joseph attempts to dupe Israel, aka Jacob, into giving the blessing to his second born Ephraim instead of Mannasseh! So here we see that Jacob knew that Joseph was trying to trick him, because he himself had tricked his own father Isaac in the exact same way, and did not want his sons to feud such as he did with Esau. Learning from this, he catches Joseph in the act of deception. Even Joseph, a Godly man .. attempting deception against his Father on his very own deathbed. What kind of actions are these? Sheesh.

And this is just the book of Genesis. There's alot more to the Old Testament. But I wanted to run through this to show you that indeed these are evil actions, and more evil actions abound throughout the Old Testament. But these are not sanctioned by God, and while some violent actions ARE sanctioned by God later in the Old Testament, if you look at it, the "victims" are indeed evildoers and idolaters and sometimes even are related to evil characters from earlier in the texts, the evil descendants of evil people. But it doesn't tell you this each time .. it simply calls them by their name, like Amorites for example. How are you supposed to know why God sanctioned the violence on a certain people unless you know the actions of that people? They were likely performing human sacrifice of children for all that you know, where do you think the Israelites learned to do that, as they commit that sin later on in the Book of Kings, under the reigns of Kings after David and Solomon, such as Jeroboam, who claimed his pinky finger was larger than all of the loins of his father Solomon. Surely a sign of respect to thy father. And that was AFTER the Ten Commandments were issued to Moses. Genesis, and the actions from it in this thread I have quoted, occurred before the Commandments had ever been given, this factors into things as well.

I hope I have expanded your mind to the concepts of the Old Testament, and that it is not something to follow word for word, but something to learn from. These texts are open for contention and discussion, and I encourage it because it helps find the deeper meaning of the texts, which there always is. I'll give you one. It said when Joseph was traded as a slave his father said, "Joseph is torn in pieces" or some such. And this was symbolic, a prophecy, of his sons, Ephraim and Mannasseh, of which Mannasseh ends up doing evil.

posted on Apr, 17 2008 @ 07:14 AM
Aww gee, I was hoping to get some opinions on this observation, and maybe even some disagreements from those who are convinced YHWH is a hateful God.

The saying is so true .. that one generation follows another, and even if we do not know our birth mother or father, we end up walking in their footsteps anyways, doing what they did anyways often times, and it's really quite strange. Does the sins of the Father visit his children for generations over? This would be one of the hardest to swallow of the concepts of Judeo-Christian theology.

posted on Apr, 17 2008 @ 08:14 AM
The Pentateuch is, as far as I can tell, the most important section of the Old Testament. It lays out the Laws that God requires his people to follow. These books are Genesis, Exodus, Levidicus, Numbers and Deuteronomy and are what really matters since they outline the Covenant or agreement between God and the Israelites. This is the Torah, I believe (not Jewish myself, correct me if I'm wrong).

The Covenant is expressed in Leviticus 26:46, Deuteronomy 6:1, and Exodus 19:8,24:3,24:7. These are the laws which are then interpreted throughout the rest of the bible as well as those books not included. Interpretations are everything.

Now, about that jealous, mean-spirited nasty God idea which you went to great length to outline in your opening posts. If you look at Deuteronomy 30:13-20, you'll find the 'Model of the Two Ways'. We have the choice to either follow the laws of the Covenant or not... as simple as that. We study and try to interpret what God is really saying when He asks a father to sacrifice his son and then attempt to apply those interpretations to our own way of living.

The Pentateuch is about how God and his people worked things out between each other. Ever since the Ten Commandments were 'carved in stone', we've been interpreting them... even today.

Thou shalt not kill (except in times of war, self defence, butchering cattle, swatting a mosquito, drowning gophers, catching fish, executing criminals, trators, child molesters... on and on).

Thou shalt not steal (except for times of war, taxation, usury... well, you get the idea)

Always interpretations slanted according to the needs of the times.

And it's so easy to interpret Eve's predeliction towards the Tree of Knowledge and the purdy apples that are so tasty (probably Golden Delicious). The Fall is a great story to interpret. If God created everything, then why did He create that bloody Tree of Knowledge in the first place, hmmm? Was it to show that we have within us the ability to choose right from wrong...and that the whole scene of the expulsion was a little parable played out in a form that portrays our weakness to greed, avarice, etc.? There really wasn't a Garden of Eden, Tree of Knowledge or Expulsion any more than a rabbit running a race with a tortouise, a batch of sour grapes just out of reach or a pair of glass slippers that figured prominently in the story of Cinderella... but we all know the stories and what they MEAN.

BTW, I have to ask... why is this posted in Conspiracies in Religion? I don't see any conspiracy here, only more biblical interpretation.

[edit on 17/4/08 by masqua]

[edit on 17/4/08 by masqua]

posted on Apr, 17 2008 @ 08:43 AM
Starred and Flagged!
Thank You!
I never saw that part about Joseph before!

posted on Apr, 17 2008 @ 09:26 AM
Very good post, great work. However in Joseph issue, Menashe WAS the first born, the passage may show "prophetic" behavior of Yaakov.
Joshua (aid of Moses) was from Ephraim,as far as i recall from the school days.

My mistake, did not read your post correctly. Here is explanation:

Joseph is not trying to trick Jakob, he thinks that since his father can not see very well, he placed right hand on the younger son by mistake, and tries to correct it. But Jakob says that he knows what he is doing. Nobody tricking anyone in this passage.

[edit on 17-4-2008 by ZeroKnowledge]

posted on Apr, 17 2008 @ 01:38 PM
reply to post by ZeroKnowledge

I think you got confused with what I had said.

Gen 48:17 And Joseph saw that his father was putting his right hand on the head of Ephraim; and it was evil in his eyes. And he took hold of his father's hand to turn it from Ephraim's head to the head of Manasseh.
Gen 48:18 And Joseph said to his father, Not so, my father! For this one is the first-born; put your right hand on his head.
Gen 48:19 And his father refused and said, I know, my son, I know. He also shall be a people, and he shall become great. But his younger brother shall become greater than he, and his seed shall become the fullness of the nations.
Gen 48:20 And he blessed them in that day, saying, In you shall Israel bless, saying, May God make you like Ephraim and like Manasseh.
Gen 48:21 And Israel said to Joseph, See, I am dying; and God will be with you, and will return you to the land of your fathers.
Gen 48:22 And I will give to you one spur of land beyond your brothers, which I took from the hand of the Amorite with my sword and with my bow.

What I am seeing here is a repetition:

Abraham fathered Isaac and Ishmael, Ishmael was first born, Isaac was the one who was favored.

Isaac had two sons, Esau and Jacob, Jacob was second born, Esau first, and Jacob receives the favor, the blessing.

Jacob births Joseph, who was nowhere near the 1st born, but the favored one.

Joseph births Ephraim and Mannasseh. Ephraim is the second born, Mannasseh the first. Joseph tries to change Jacob's blessing from Ephraim to Mannasseh, but Jacob gives Ephraim the blessing.

See something in common here? The firstborn NEVER gets the blessing, and often gets demonized or scorned to some extent, and later in the texts their offspring are known as bad people and idolaters, enemy of Israelites. Weird huh?

The most "righteous" Jews tend to trace their spiritual lineage back to Jacob, Joseph, then Ephraim, not Mannasseh. Out of Ephraim came two, one was Benjamin tribe, who went with Judah, the other i forgot the name but went with the Northern Kingdom Israelites.

[edit on 4/17/2008 by runetang]

posted on Apr, 17 2008 @ 01:46 PM
reply to post by runetang

OK,my bad.
There is a first born issue in old testament. And one of the Egyptian plagues is also death of first born. I think you are onto something.

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