Archive for the ‘Fifth Commandment’ Category

Jesus Obeyed the Fifth Commandment – Therefore Mariolatry is ok?

December 7, 2010

Jesus explicitly repudiated people who singled out his mother for special attention. For example:

Luke 11:27-28
And it came to pass, as he spake these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked. But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.

When we bring up the fact that Jesus explicitly repudiated people who singled out his mother for special attention, however, we sometimes get a zinger like this one: “Our Lord obeyed all the commandments including ‘honor your mother and father’ and did not repudiate her.” (Sean Patrick)

This zinger is faulty for a couple of reasons:

1) Of course, no one is arguing that Jesus sinned. Jesus could say that his flesh and blood relationships with his physical siblings and mother are basically insignificant compared to the relationship every believer has by faith in Christ, without breaking the fifth commandment.

2) The zinger assumes that Jesus was under Mary’s authority. It’s tempting to make this argument because Mary was – as to his humanity – his mother. But Jesus was unlike every other child – he was his own mother’s creator. She owed her existence to him in a much more important way than the way in which he owed his existence (i.e. only the existence of his human nature – and only by choice) to her. It is no dishonor to her, therefore, for Him to repudiate the idea of her having either special devotion or any special privileges with respect to him in the Kingdom of Heaven.

3) The Mariolaters are actually in good company in making this error in reasoning. Peter (who Jesus called Simon here, demonstrating to us that the name “Peter” was a surname, not a change in name) made a similar mistake.

Matthew 17:24-27
And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free. Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee.

Jesus was Jewish and within the realm of the Roman empire, but whether this was the temple tax or the Roman tribute, Christ was not required to pay. And remember that tribute and honor are different, but fall within the same general category of duties of the fifth commandment.

Romans 13:7 Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.

4) Moreover, Mary herself repudiates this error. Remember that Mary herself describes herself as the “handmaid of the Lord” (ἡ δούλη Κυρίου) not as His mistress. What a strange thing it would be to assert (without divine authority) that it is the handmaid who has authority over the Lord!

5) The only times we have Mary acting in something like an authoritative way toward Jesus, we see her getting shot down:

a) The attempts to get Jesus to come out from the midst of the crowd:

Matthew 12:46-50
While he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his brethren stood without, desiring to speak with him. Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee. But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.

Mark 3:20-35
And the multitude cometh together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread. And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself. And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casteth he out devils. And he called them unto him, and said unto them in parables, How can Satan cast out Satan? And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand. And if Satan rise up against himself, and be divided, he cannot stand, but hath an end. No man can enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man; and then he will spoil his house. Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme: but he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation: because they said, He hath an unclean spirit. There came then his brethren and his mother, and, standing without, sent unto him, calling him. And the multitude sat about him, and they said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren without seek for thee. And he answered them, saying, Who is my mother, or my brethren? And he looked round about on them which sat about him, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.

Luke 8:19-21
Then came to him his mother and his brethren, and could not come at him for the press. And it was told him by certain which said, Thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to see thee. And he answered and said unto them, My mother and my brethren are these which hear the word of God, and do it.

And – of course – his comments in Luke 11:27-28 (quoted above) fit right in with his other teachings about who his true mother and brethren are in contrast to his physical mother and brethren (sorry if the idea of Mary having children with her husband offends you).

b) The attempt to get Jesus to perform a miracle:

John 2:1-5
And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: and both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage. And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come. His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.

Some people say that because Jesus nevertheless obliged his mother, that it proves he was under some sort of duty to do so. But if you really follow that reasoning, you should note that the servants also did what Mary suggested. Do you think they considered themselves under an obligation to obey her? Surely not.

c) The scolding of Jesus for staying in Jerusalem when his family went home:

Luke 2:42-52
And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast. And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it. But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day’s journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him. And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers. And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business? And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them. And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.

6) On the contrary, Jesus both ordered his mother and handed off his filial relationship / responsibilities to one of his disciples.

John 19:25-27
Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.

Conclusion

This zinger to which we’ve responded to is simply one response that Rome’s apologists offer. One of the zinger’s co-bloggers tried to come to his assistance with this:

That being said, on the surface it might appear that Jesus is doing what you say Our Lord is doing, repudiating devotion to His mother. But, let us remember Luke as a whole.

(Tom Reillo)

But this gets a similar response to the response we’ve given above. The whole of Luke (and of the gospels generally) supports our position regarding Jesus and his attitude toward to his biological mother.

The commenter continued:

As a reader of the Gospel, we have already learned that Mary is one who has received the Word of God, namely at the Annunciation, “may it be done according to thy word.” And she, we are told, kept the things concerning Her Son in her heart. As Pope John Paul II pointed out in his beautiful reflections on Mary, rather than being repudiated, the reader would already know that Mary is the model of discipleship, she receives the Word of God and she holds that Word deep within her and ponders and cherishes them in her heart.

But actually:

Luke 2:48-52
And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business? And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them. And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.

a) Note that Jesus “was subject to them.” Not to “her,” meaning to Mary, but to them – both Mary and Joseph (whom Mary referred to as Jesus “father”). Of course, Joseph has no paternal authority over Jesus now – and people should realize that Mary likewise has no maternal authority over Jesus now either.

b) Note that Jesus “was subject to them.” The Greek is “ἦν ὑποτασσόμενος” which is a periphrastic pluperfect. The sense of the verb conveys to us that there was a then existing state of obedience of Jesus to his earthly parents. It was, however, a then-existing state. At that time, he submitted to his earthly parents’ request and left Jerusalem.

c) Note most of all “they understood not the saying which he spake unto them.” Mary remembered all the things that Jesus said, but she did not understand them. That she kept them in her heart makes her valuable as Luke’s eyewitness, but not particularly admirable as a disciple – especially when Mary herself understood the manner in which Jesus had been conceived.

Likewise:

Luke 2:17-19
And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

Again, Mary is apparently Luke’s eyewitness to the events, but she “wondered at those things which were told … by the shepherds,” meaning (it appears) that she did not really understand.

d) “Ponders and cherishes(?) them in her heart” – Notice that this commenter has gone beyond the text in a significant way. He adds in the idea that Mary loved the things that she pondered. The text does not say this, nor does it imply it. It’s simply an addition.

e) “receives the Word of God and she holds that Word deep within her” – Like many unauthorized typographies, this one breaks down in a rather dramatic way, namely that after nine months of holding Jesus deep within her, Mary pushed him out, never to return! That would make for a terrible illustration of what it means to be a disciple, so naturally the extremely selective mariolater cannot mention that detail. And, of course, there’s no connection between that typology and Mary’s pondering the things that the shepherds and Jesus said, although the commenter makes it sound as though the two ideas are connected.

In short, while the commenter is right that we need to look at Luke and the gospels as a whole, the whole does not change the perspective we gained from Luke 11:27-28. Jesus repudiated Mariolatry. The fact that Mary was, according to the flesh, Jesus’ mother does not change anything. Indeed, in the kingdom of heaven anyone who believes is Jesus’ brother and sister and mother. Could Jesus have said it more clearly? I certainly don’t think so.

-TurretinFan

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June – Sexual Depravity "Pride Month" – Introduction

June 4, 2009

Isaiah 5:20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

America’s president Obama has declared June to be a month in celebration of sexual sin. While Obama ought to be respected in accordance with the high office he holds, we cannot full join in the spirit of his celebration. Nevertheless, to give some honor to the king (as Scripture commands) even while fearing God (which is our greater duty), this blog will beginning tomorrow and continuing through the end of the month commemorate sexual sin with resort to Scriptural commentary on such. Not every passage will relate directly to the sorts of sexual perversions and wickedness that the president wishes to honor, but instead all manner of sexual sin will be addressed.

We cannot, of course, call these things good or celebrate them in any positive way, for to do so would be to violate the Word of God at the mouth of the prophet Isaiah, whose word will serve as a preface to each of these posts, as it was for this post.

-TurretinFan

Word of Caution for Children of all Ages

April 15, 2009

Micah 7:6 For the son dishonoureth the father, the daughter riseth up against her mother, the daughter in law against her mother in law; a man’s enemies are the men of his own house.

Proverbs 30:11 There is a generation that curseth their father, and doth not bless their mother.

Ezekiel 22:7 In thee have they set light by father and mother: in the midst of thee have they dealt by oppression with the stranger: in thee have they vexed the fatherless and the widow.

Proverbs 30:17 The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it.

Exodus 21:17 And he that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death.

Leviticus 20:9 For every one that curseth his father or his mother shall be surely put to death: he hath cursed his father or his mother; his blood shall be upon him.

Proverbs 20:20 Whoso curseth his father or his mother, his lamp shall be put out in obscure darkness.

Deuteronomy 27:16 Cursed be he that setteth light by his father or his mother. And all the people shall say, Amen.

Proverbs 3:1-10

February 6, 2009

Proverbs 3:1-10
1 My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments: 2 For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee. 3 Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart: 4 So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man. 5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. 7 Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. 8 It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones. 9 Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: 10 So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.

This passage is a second parental lecture. The first two verses essentially restate the fifth commandment.

First they declare the command using a parallel:

forget not my law || but let thine heart keep my commandments

Then they declare the promise:

For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee.

What is particularly interesting here is the use of the term “peace.” This provides a parallel to the phrase “that it may go well with thee,” in the second giving of the Ten Commandments (Deuteronomy 5). A blessed life is one in which peace and longevity are combined.

“Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart:”

Here “mercy and truth” are an internal parallel to speak figuratively of Scripture. They are speaking of Scripture in its essence and its reward. Recall that the Psalm tells “All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies.” (Psalm 25:10) These two concepts are often found paired in Scripture – in Samuel’s blessing (2 Samuel 15:10) and in Psalm 85 (Psalm 85:10 “Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.”) to give two examples. Lord willing, we will see it again later in these very proverbs.

We can see more clearly that these refer to the commands of God, because the parallels to “let not [them] forsake thee” are “bind them about thy neck” and “write them upon the table of thine heart.” To bind them about your neck or write them on your heart, is to put them in a secure place where you won’t lose them. If something is around your neck, it won’t come off unless you lose your head. If something is engraved into the tablet of your heart, it’s a permanent record that goes with you wherever you go.

Furthermore, we see that we are speaking of them as to their result, for the result is described as:

“So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man.”

The commandments of God are universally beneficial to you. If you live a life of following them, not only will God look favorably upon you, but men will recognize your morality as well.

Solomon then draws a distinction between God’s ideas and our ideas, with a repetition of promised favor:

Trust in the LORD with all thine heart // lean not unto thine own understanding
In all thy ways acknowledge him || he shall direct thy paths.
Be not wise in thine own eyes // fear the LORD, and depart from evil.
It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.

Notice the elegant structure of this section of the proverb. There is a positive command, a parallel negative command, a positive command and its parallel positive result, and finally a negative command and a parallel positive command.

Trusting in the LORD with all of one’s heart is contrasted with leaning on one’s own understanding. We must be careful to commit ourselves wholly to God. If we only think of God on Sundays (or worse yet, only on Sunday mornings), we are not trusting in the LORD with all of our heart.

Notice how we are to acknowledge God in all our ways, and as a result he will direct our paths. This is just a natural result. When we do what he says, he is guiding our paths. If you read the instructions, you are being led by the author of the instructions. If you want to know how to live your life, read the Bible.

The proverbs continues to point out the absolute necessity of humbling ourselves before God’s Word. If we are wise in our own eyes, and think we can do it on our own, we are not following God. This contrasts with the person who fears God and stays away from evil and sin.

And the proverb goes on to explain that doing so is in our best interest:

“It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.”

Obviously there is a bit of cultural reference there, which is lost on folks today, but the basic idea is that you will be comfortable and provided for. Your bones will be comfortable, not dried out and aching. Your stomach will be full, not empty.

Is this the “health and prosperity” message? No, not really. This is just an encouragement to obedience. God does not promise everyone that they will have a 100 camels, but enough to eat, with peace, is an enormous blessing.

The next parallel is one that is, of course, constantly used in those “prosperity” calls:

Cause: Honour the LORD with thy substance || [Honor Him] with the firstfruits of all thine increase
Effect: thy barns [shall] be filled with plenty || thy presses shall burst out with new wine.

The point is that God does reward obedience. If we give to God, he will give to us. It’s not rigid formula, and its not an absolute promise. God is not an ATM from which we demand money. We need to honor God with our physical possessions. That means giving to the church, to the poor, to widows and orphans as God gives you the ability. It also means showing hospitality as you are able.

Look at all the things that come from obedience as set forth in this paternal lecture! Long life, peace, favour and good understanding, health and wellbeing, and more than enough food and wine. But we should be humble, realizing that even if God were like an ATM, and even if we could “demand” these things for having done what we were commanded, we would be unable to demand, because we so inadequately obey.

Nevertheless, whether drawn by the “carrot” of this lecture, or the “stick” of the one that is about to follow, let us seek to learn what God has commanded by reading His Word, memorizing it, and following it diligently.

-TurretinFan

Respect Old People

October 14, 2008

It is not just common courtesy, it is part of every human’s obligation under the fifth commandment.

Leviticus 19:32 Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man, and fear thy God: I am the LORD.

The phrase “hoary head” is essentially the concept of a head covered by frost – i.e. a head with white or gray hair. The concept of “rise up before” means to stand when they enter the room, which was a sign of respect in those times – and continues to be a sign of respect in many places even to the present day. Likewise, to honor the face of the old man means to be respectful and to show that respect.

The “Western” societies all too often forget about this command. Increasingly, the old are disrespected and even disdained. This is contrary to the law of God. As Christians, we are called to show respect for the elderly and to honor them. This is a general relation between the young and old, which (like the distinction between the sexes) has a heightened emphasis within the family unit. One’s elderly father or mother is especially to be honored, just as a woman is to show a particular respect to her own husband. The same goes for children and adults. Children are to be deferential to adults, but they show a particular degree of deference to their own parents.

Finally, let me provide a reminder to any of my readers who happen to be old:

Proverbs 16:31 The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness.

May I encourage you so to be found!

-TurretinFan

Proverbs 2

October 8, 2008

Proverbs 2
1My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; 2So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; 3Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; 4If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; 5Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God. 6For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding. 7He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly. 8He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of his saints. 9Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; yea, every good path. 10When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul; 11Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee: 12To deliver thee from the way of the evil man, from the man that speaketh froward things; 13Who leave the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness; 14Who rejoice to do evil, and delight in the frowardness of the wicked; 15Whose ways are crooked, and they froward in their paths: 16To deliver thee from the strange woman, even from the stranger which flattereth with her words; 17Which forsaketh the guide of her youth, and forgetteth the covenant of her God. 18For her house inclineth unto death, and her paths unto the dead. 19None that go unto her return again, neither take they hold of the paths of life. 20That thou mayest walk in the way of good men, and keep the paths of the righteous. 21For the upright shall dwell in the land, and the perfect shall remain in it. 22But the wicked shall be cut off from the earth, and the transgressors shall be rooted out of it.

The entire chapter of Proverbs is a parental lecture explaining the value of listening to the parental advice.

Condition Precedent

The parent exhorts listening using an “if … then …” formulation. For the “If” portion, the parent provides four related parallel couplets:

1) If thou wilt receive my words || [if thou wilt] hide my commandments with thee
2) So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom || [so that thou] apply thine heart to understanding
3) If thou criest after knowledge || [if thou] liftest up thy voice for understanding
4) If thou seekest her as silver || [if thou] searchest for her as for hid treasure

The first couplet emphasizes possession of the information. “Receive my words” is placed in parallel to “hide my commandments.” Notice the much deeper and yet clear sense that “hide my commandments” has. If it stood alone, one might wonder whether it referred to ignoring the commandments, but in parallel with “receive my words,” we see that it refers to planting the seed of Scripture in one’s heart.

Psalm 119:11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

The second couplet emphasizes the acquisition of the information. “Incline thine ear” and “apply thine heart” are actions taken by the listener. It is not simply a passive reception of the Word of God, but an active pursuit. One is not only the flowerbed for the seed of God’s word, but one tries to help plant it there in the first place.

The third couplet emphasizes the intensity of pursuit for the information. “Criest after” and “liftest up thy voice.” The picture is of someone shouting to get attention. It’s like the man calling “TAXI!” because he’s running late for the airport. It’s like a broker shouting out “BUY BUY” from the floor of the exchange. It’s the voice of someone who wants to be heard, and who is seeking to make his request clear.

The fourth couplet emphasizes the valued placed on the information. “Seekest her as silver” and “searchest for her as for hid treasure.” This is not a casual search that one might make, but a search into which one will put all of one’s effort. Jesus provided the same kind of analogy to make a different point:

Luke 15:8-9
8Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it? 9And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost.

The reward for this search energetic search for the acquisition and possession of precious information is spelled out as the “then” part of the “if … then …” format of this lecture.

The short version of this bounty is expressed in a parallel couplet:

thou shalt understand the fear of the LORD || [thou shalt] find the knowledge of God

The reward for the search is that one gets one is looking for, an understanding of the fear of the LORD and a knowledge of God. This is theology: to understand the fear of the LORD and to know God. The fear of the LORD here stands for a proper reverence of God, and the associated worship of our Creator and Provider. Likewise, the “knowledge of God,” is not simply intellectual knowledge, but it is an intimate knowledge, a true love of God.

As the Apostle John explains:

1 John 4:16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.

And the Apostle Paul states:

1 Corinthians 13:12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

And Jesus said:

John 10:14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.

Obviously, our knowledge and love of God is a reflection of God’s love for and knowledge of us, and consequently is never as strong as his, especially since we are merely creatures created in his image.

1 John 4:19 We love him, because he first loved us.

And again:

1 John 3:16 Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

And further:

John 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

But contrast:

Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

The lecture itself provides a great deal of explanation of what is involved, using essentially the “because … therefore …” form presented as “for … then …”.

In the “for” section, it is explained how/that the Lord brings us this this knowledge using three couplets:

1) the LORD giveth wisdom || out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding
2) He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous || he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly.
3) He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of his saints.

The knowledge of God comes from God, he gives it. This is the first point to be seen. The second point is related. Not only does he give it, he puts it in firmly. He “layeth up” the wisdom and is a “buckler” or shield for the person who is following God’s law. The shield or buckler is a defensive weapon – it guards from attacks. The third point is that God goes beyond protecting from external attacks, and also even essentially guides the feet of his people: keeping them on the path.

This last couplet is, of course, one of the classic proofs for the doctrine of perseverance of the saints. God is the author of our faith, he is the one who puts wisdom into us, like someone hiding something important.

The word translated “layeth up” here is the word צפן (tsaphan) which is the same word used, for example, to speak of how Moses’ mother “hid” him three months after he was born. God takes his word and puts it in us in a secure place.

Proceeding to the result of this activity of God, we see the “then” clause:

Then shalt thou understand:
righteousness || judgment || equity || every good path

These four concepts are generally of overlapping scope. Judgment and equity are specific examples of righteousness, and “every good path” is a catch-all for righteous behavior. What is interesting that each of the examples is behavior: it is doing what is right. What will be understood by the person whom God blesses with Wisdom is the way in which he should live.

The lecture continues by providing more detail regarding this blessing:

When wisdom entereth into thine heart || [when] knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul

[then] Discretion shall preserve thee || [then] understanding shall keep thee

Notice emphasis on the preservative effect of wisdom. When you obtain wisdom – when it enters your heart, when it becomes pleasant to your soul, then you are preserved. It’s a bit like salt that entering into meat preserves it. But the corruption preserved against is not only rotting – but also the corruption of falling, tripping, or stumbling.

This preservation is explained further negatively and positively. Negatively, a set of parallels is used:

To deliver thee from the way of the evil man || To deliver thee from the strange woman

The evil man is described with the following parallels:

from the way of the evil man || from the man that speaketh froward things || who leave the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness || who rejoice to do evil, and delight in the frowardness of the wicked || whose ways are crooked, and they froward in their paths:

Notice how there are even further parallels within the parallels. This is a most beautiful and complex structure. We’ve noted above that the whole description of deliverance from the evil man is parallel to deliverance from the strange woman. Within that parallel are the descriptions of the evil man. Within those, in three instances there are further internal parallels:

a) leave the paths of uprightness || walk in the ways of darkness
b) rejoice to do evil || delight in the frowardness of the wicked
c) ways are crooked || froward in their paths

Notice that the first and last of these three are focused on staying on the figurative straight path of righteousness. Furthermore, for these wicked men, the second parallel emphasizes that they love to do evil – their departure from the straight path is something they love. Having God’s word in one’s heart preserves one from those sorts of desires.

The second negative image is that of deliverance from the strange woman. Again, multiple parallel images are used:

from the strange woman || from the stranger which flattereth with her words || which forsaketh the guide of her youth, and forgetteth the covenant of her God || For her house inclineth unto death, and her paths unto the dead || none that go unto her return again, neither take they hold of the paths of life.

Notice that the picture of the strange woman here, is essentially that of a prostitute or even simply an adulterous woman who lures in men through flattering words. If the evil man is simply someone who loves wickedness, the adulterous woman is a step further: she loves wickedness in a way that destroys not only herself but others. As with the pictures of the evil man, three of the depictions of the strange woman have internal parallels:

a) which forsaketh the guide of her youth || [which] forgetteth the covenant of her God
b) her house inclineth unto death || her paths unto the dead
c) none that go unto her return again || neither take they hold of the paths of life

Here, the latter two parallels focus on the ultimate demise of her and those who accompany her. The former parallel emphasizes the fact that her wickedness is a departure. Those raised in Christian homes should take this warning particularly to heart.

Having presented these negative warnings, a positive presentation is finally provided with a single parallel:

That thou mayest walk in the way of good men || [that thou mayest] keep the paths of the righteous

This is no surprise. One is being protected against going off the path and from following the prostitute to destruction. So, naturally, the positive characteristic of the word of God in one’s heart is to keep on on the path of righteousness.

Finally, the lecture is concluded with a pair of contrasting parallels, positive, then negative using a “for … but …” layout:

Positive (For): the upright shall dwell in the land || the perfect shall remain in it
Negative (But): the wicked shall be cut off from the earth || the transgressors shall be rooted out of it

Notice the contrast, the righteous man lives, but the wicked dies – the perfect remains, but the transgressors are plucked out by the roots, completely removed. It is a very stern warning to be righteous.

Furthermore, it is essentially the same warning/promise we see in the fifth commandment:

Exodus 20:12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

Deuteronomy 5:16 Honour thy father and thy mother, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

Ephesians 6:2-3
2Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) 3That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.

Thus, the parental lecture of this chapter can be seen as an elaborate, beautiful argument for and explanation of the 5th commandment.

Original (Hebrew)
Proverbs 2
1 בני אם־תקח אמרי ומצותי תצפן אתך׃
2 להקשׁיב לחכמה אזנך תטה לבך לתבונה׃
3 כי אם לבינה תקרא לתבונה תתן קולך׃
4 אם־תבקשׁנה ככסף וכמטמונים תחפשׂנה׃
5 אז תבין יראת יהוה ודעת אלהים תמצא׃
6 כי־יהוה יתן חכמה מפיו דעת ותבונה׃
7 וצפן לישׁרים תושׁיה מגן להלכי תם׃
8 לנצר ארחות משׁפט ודרך חסידו ישׁמר׃
9 אז תבין צדק ומשׁפט ומישׁרים כל־מעגל־טוב׃
10 כי־תבוא חכמה בלבך ודעת לנפשׁך ינעם׃
11 מזמה תשׁמר עליך תבונה תנצרכה׃
12 להצילך מדרך רע מאישׁ מדבר תהפכות׃
13 העזבים ארחות ישׁר ללכת בדרכי־חשׁך׃
14 השׂמחים לעשׂות רע יגילו בתהפכות רע׃
15 אשׁר ארחתיהם עקשׁים ונלוזים במעגלותם׃
16 להצילך מאשׁה זרה מנכריה אמריה החליקה׃
17 העזבת אלוף נעוריה ואת־ברית אלהיה שׁכחה׃
18 כי שׁחה אל־מות ביתה ואל־רפאים מעגלתיה׃
19 כל־באיה לא ישׁובון ולא־ישׂיגו ארחות חיים׃
20 למען תלך בדרך טובים וארחות צדיקים תשׁמר׃
21 כי־ישׁרים ישׁכנו־ארץ ותמימים יותרו בה׃
22 ורשׁעים מארץ יכרתו ובוגדים יסחו ממנה׃

LXX (Greek)
Proverbs 2
1Υἱέ, ἐὰν δεξάμενος ῥῆσιν ἐμῆς ἐντολῆς κρύψῃς παρὰ σεαυτῷ, 2ὑπακούσεται σοφίας τὸ οὖς σου, καὶ παραβαλεῖς καρδίαν σου εἰς σύνεσιν, παραβαλεῖς δὲ αὐτὴν ἐπὶ νουθέτησιν τῷ υἱῷ σου. 3ἐὰν γὰρ τὴν σοφίαν ἐπικαλέσῃ καὶ τῇ συνέσει δῷς φωνήν σου, τὴν δὲ αἴσθησιν ζητήσῃς μεγάλῃ τῇ φωνῇ, 4καὶ ἐὰν ζητήσῃς αὐτὴν ὡς ἀργύριον καὶ ὡς θησαυροὺς ἐξερευνήσῃς αὐτήν, 5τότε συνήσεις φόβον κυρίου καὶ ἐπίγνωσιν θεοῦ εὑρήσεις. 6ὅτι κύριος δίδωσιν σοφίαν, καὶ ἀπὸ προσώπου αὐτοῦ γνῶσις καὶ σύνεσις· 7καὶ θησαυρίζει τοῖς κατορθοῦσι σωτηρίαν, ὑπερασπιεῖ τὴν πορείαν αὐτῶν 8τοῦ φυλάξαι ὁδοὺς δικαιωμάτων καὶ ὁδὸν εὐλαβουμένων αὐτὸν διαφυλάξει. 9τότε συνήσεις δικαιοσύνην καὶ κρίμα καὶ κατορθώσεις πάντας ἄξονας ἀγαθούς. 10ἐὰν γὰρ ἔλθῃ ἡ σοφία εἰς σὴν διάνοιαν, ἡ δὲ αἴσθησις τῇ σῇ ψυχῇ καλὴ εἶναι δόξῃ, 11βουλὴ καλὴ φυλάξει σε, ἔννοια δὲ ὁσία τηρήσει σε, 12ἵνα ῥύσηταί σε ἀπὸ ὁδοῦ κακῆς καὶ ἀπὸ ἀνδρὸς λαλοῦντος μηδὲν πιστόν. 13ὦ οἱ ἐγκαταλείποντες ὁδοὺς εὐθείας τοῦ πορεύεσθαι ἐν ὁδοῖς σκότους, 14οἱ εὐφραινόμενοι ἐπὶ κακοῖς καὶ χαίροντες ἐπὶ διαστροφῇ κακῇ, 15ὧν αἱ τρίβοι σκολιαὶ καὶ καμπύλαι αἱ τροχιαὶ αὐτῶν 16τοῦ μακράν σε ποιῆσαι ἀπὸ ὁδοῦ εὐθείας καὶ ἀλλότριον τῆς δικαίας γνώμης. 17υἱέ, μή σε καταλάβῃ κακὴ βουλὴ ἡ ἀπολείπουσα διδασκαλίαν νεότητος καὶ διαθήκην θείαν ἐπιλελησμένη· 18ἔθετο γὰρ παρὰ τῷ θανάτῳ τὸν οἶκον αὐτῆς καὶ παρὰ τῷ ᾅδῃ μετὰ τῶν γηγενῶν τοὺς ἄξονας αὐτῆς· 19πάντες οἱ πορευόμενοι ἐν αὐτῇ οὐκ ἀναστρέψουσιν οὐδὲ μὴ καταλάβωσιν τρίβους εὐθείας· οὐ γὰρ καταλαμβάνονται ὑπὸ ἐνιαυτῶν ζωῆς. 20εἰ γὰρ ἐπορεύοντο τρίβους ἀγαθάς, εὕροσαν ἂν τρίβους δικαιοσύνης λείους. 21χρηστοὶ ἔσονται οἰκήτορες γῆς, ἄκακοι δὲ ὑπολειφθήσονται ἐν αὐτῇ, ὅτι εὐθεῖς κατασκηνώσουσι γῆν, καὶ ὅσιοι ὑπολειφθήσονται ἐν αὐτῇ· 22ὁδοὶ ἀσεβῶν ἐκ γῆς ὀλοῦνται, οἱ δὲ παράνομοι ἐξωσθήσονται ἀπ᾿ αὐτῆς.

Vulgate (Latin)
Proverbs 2
1fili mi si susceperis sermones meos et mandata mea absconderis penes te 2ut audiat sapientiam auris tua inclina cor tuum ad noscendam prudentiam 3si enim sapientiam invocaveris et inclinaveris cor tuum prudentiae 4si quaesieris eam quasi pecuniam et sicut thesauros effoderis illam 5tunc intelleges timorem Domini et scientiam Dei invenies 6quia Dominus dat sapientiam et ex ore eius scientia et prudentia 7custodiet rectorum salutem et proteget gradientes simpliciter 8servans semitas iustitiae et vias sanctorum custodiens 9tunc intelleges iustitiam et iudicium et aequitatem et omnem semitam bonam 10si intraverit sapientia cor tuum et scientia animae tuae placuerit 11consilium custodiet te prudentia servabit te 12ut eruaris de via mala ab homine qui perversa loquitur 13qui relinquunt iter rectum et ambulant per vias tenebrosas 14qui laetantur cum malefecerint et exultant in rebus pessimis 15quorum viae perversae et infames gressus eorum 16ut eruaris a muliere aliena et ab extranea quae mollit sermones suos 17et relinquit ducem pubertatis suae 18et pacti Dei sui oblita est inclinata est enim ad mortem domus eius et ad impios semitae ipsius 19omnes qui ingrediuntur ad eam non revertentur nec adprehendent semitas vitae 20ut ambules in via bona et calles iustorum custodias 21qui enim recti sunt habitabunt in terra et simplices permanebunt in ea 22impii vero de terra perdentur et qui inique agunt auferentur ex ea

Proverbs 1:8-9

October 4, 2008

Proverbs 1:8-9
8My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother: 9For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck.

The first commandment of the second table of the law is “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.” (Exodus 20:12) (Deuteronomy 5:16 Honour thy father and thy mother, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.)

To God, this is of enormous importance. Recall Jesus’ own summary of the law in this regard: “For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death.” (Matthew 15:4) Failure to honor father OR mother was a capital crime under the Old Testament civil law, and that was just because it is dishonoring to God when we dishonor our parents.

But notice the more specific instruction in this parable. The commands/instructions of one’s parents are compared to ornaments on the head and chains around the neck. The picture is essentially one of the commands and instructions being jewelry. Something of incredible intrinsic value as well as beauty.

The word “grace” here is also significant. These are not just gaudy baubles or priceless treasures, they are good for you. The commandments of one’s parents are for one’s good. By following the instructions, one benefits. This is not only clear from the proverb, but also from the commandment itself, “that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee ….” Of course, this should be understood as a general rule, not an absolute promise, and certainly not as an algorithm for longevity.

This couplet provides a few additional interesting points from a grammatical view. Notice that “hear” and “do not forsake” are paralleled, just as “instruction” and “law” are paralleled, and just as “ornament … unto thy head” and “chains about thy neck” are paralleled. These parallel constructions help us understand what is meant.

On the one hand, if it simply said, “chains about thy neck,” we might be unsure whether that was referring to golden chains (like a necklace) or to iron chains (like a slave collar). The use of two similar statements together can help to make the intended concept clearer.

It should be noted that not only the father, but the mother is mentioned. Partly this is for the sake of make an elegant parallel, but at the same time it indicates that a young man needs to honor not only the law of his father, but also the subordinate law of his mother. Husband and wife are not equals within the family, but both are over the children, and both must be obeyed (Ephesians 6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Colosians 3:20 Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.).

Furthermore, such a parallel structure can give us insight into the meaning of the words involved. “Instruction” (מוּסר – musar) and “law” (תּרה – torah) have a similar sense to one another. In some cases, finding parallel structures like this can help to illustrate the overlapping semantic ranges of the words used.

The same principle applies to “hear” (שׁמע – shama) and “forsake not” (ואל־תטשׁ – al natash). The point is not just not to fall asleep when you parents are talking but to obey. Do what is commanded of you by your parents.

Ultimately, this proverb is not only generally commending the instructions of all parents to their children, but is commending the Word of God in Scripture to the child of God.

Recall the parallel that Jesus made:

Matthew 7:11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

So then how much better is it for us to follow the law of our Heavenly Father than to follow the law of our earthly fathers. They may mean us well, but they are fallible humans. Sometimes they make mistakes, and they may not always know what is best for us (even though they desire to give us the best).

Our Father in heaven, however, is able to give good commands and laws to us. Let us then seize for ourselves these divine ornaments of grace by hearing not forsaking the instructions and laws of God – for the communication of the law of God to us is favor, and it is to our benefit to obey.

Original (Hebrew)
Proverbs 1:8-9
8שׁמע בני מוסר אביך ואל־תטשׁ תורת אמך׃
9כי לוית חן הם לראשׁך וענקים לגרגרתיך׃

LXX (Greek)
Proverbs 1:8-9
8ἄκουε, υἱέ, παιδείαν πατρός σου καὶ μὴ ἀπώσῃ θεσμοὺς μητρός σου· 9στέφανον γὰρ χαρίτων δέξῃ σῇ κορυφῇ καὶ κλοιὸν χρύσεον περὶ σῷ τραχήλῳ.

Vulgate (Latin)
Proverbs 1:8-9
8audi fili mi disciplinam patris tui et ne dimittas legem matris tuae 9ut addatur gratia capiti tuo et torques collo tuo

-TurretinFan

Christ’s Objection to the Corban Exception

February 9, 2008

In Jesus days, the leaders of the Jews had developed a tradition whereby a child could refuse to assist his parents. In the following pericope, Jesus addresses that tradition:

Mark 7:9-13
9And he [Jesus] said unto them [the Pharisees and scribes], Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. 10For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death: 11But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free. 12And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother; 13Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.

Let us see first the commandments that Jesus identifies:

Exodus 20:12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

Deuteronomy 5:16 Honour thy father and thy mother, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

Exodus 21:17 And he that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death.

Deuteronomy 27:16 Cursed be he that setteth light by his father or his mother. And all the people shall say, Amen.

Jesus has identified both the positive and negative ordinances that are relevant. The first ordinance was: honor your parents, the second, if you dishonor your parents, capital punishment.

Nevertheless, despite these commandments, the Jews (meaning the leaders, the Pharisees and Scribes) sought to find exceptions.

Scripture states only that the way to meet the exception was to say “it is a gift,” by which we understand that they meant a gift to God. Scripture does not specify how they justified such a tradition.

According to one person with whom I was recently discussing the matter, the justification was an appeal to:

Numbers 30:2 If a man vow a vow unto the LORD, or swear an oath to bind his soul with a bond; he shall not break his word, he shall do according to all that proceedeth out of his mouth.

In other words, the justification would be that Numbers 30:2 can be used to trump paternal requests by vowing to give the item to God, and consequently tying ones own hands from granting one’s parents request. This is a rather ironic interpretation, when one considers the context of the verse.

Likewise, this same person suggested that Leviticus 27:28 might be used to justify the tradition:

Leviticus 27:28 Notwithstanding no devoted thing, that a man shall devote unto the LORD of all that he hath, both of man and beast, and of the field of his possession, shall be sold or redeemed: every devoted thing is most holy unto the LORD.

The point is that if you give it to God, it is God’s, and consequently you cannot sell it or redeem it. How could you sell it if you had already given it to God? Well, one might give some fraction of the fruit of the land to God. For example, someone might swear an oath to God that if God will give him a son, he will give God a third of the wheat that his land produces. The result is that every year, at harvest time, he needs to give that wheat to God, and not sell it.

So, how might someone seek to set those two verses against the first five? The answer is this, when your parents come to you for help, you swear an oath to give the things to God, which then prevents you from giving them to your parents. See? Ah, but wouldn’t that mean you had to give them to God? Oh, no. You see, you just give them to God conditionally, upon the condition that you live 200 years, or you promise to given them to God in 200 years. You see? Now, you never have to give up your stuff, either to God or your parents. Amazing, eh?

But, of course, such an interpretation of the latter two verses is plainly wrong, not only because it is so patently absurd (since the person has no real intent to fulfill his vow to God), but because it contradicts the commands to honor one’s parents. In other words, the interpretation is clearly wrong because it sets Scripture against Scripture. God authorized men to swear to Him and to devote things to him, but not in order to violate His commandments. A man may not lawfully swear an oath to kill an innocent man, although the Jews sometimes tried this:

Acts 23:12 And when it was day, certain of the Jews banded together, and bound themselves under a curse, saying that they would neither eat nor drink till they had killed Paul.

Nor would God honor such an oath. Those who make such foolish oaths place themselves under inescapable shame. So also with those who make oaths to avoid honoring their parents, or to steal, or to commit adultery.

God cannot be set against himself, but men are fond of trying to find ways to do so. The “Corban” exception was one such example, and (as noted above) Jesus pointed out that the Jews did many things like that.

May God give us grace not to elevate the traditions of men to the level of the Word of God,

-Turretinfan


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