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Old Testament Interpretation XIII

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Question #1:

And so it was, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed; and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses’ hands became heavy; so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it. And Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.
Exodus 17:11-12 NKJV

Is there a lesson in this?

Response #1:

Twofold: 1) consistency and persistence are necessary; 2) we can't do anything without the Lord's help.

Question #2:

Then Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, took Zipporah, Moses’ wife, after he had sent her back, with her two sons, of whom the name of one was Gershom (for he said, “I have been a stranger in a foreign land”) and the name of the other was Eliezer (for he said, “The God of my father was my help, and delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh”); and Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, came with his sons and his wife to Moses in the wilderness, where he was encamped at the mountain of God.
Exodus 18:2-5 NKJV

Does this mean that Moses divorced Zipporah some time after he was called to deliver Israel? And that his father-in-law was there to sue for a reconciliation? Does this have anything to do with the later quarrel that Miriam and Aaron had with him that he had married a Cushite woman in Numbers 12? I used to think until maybe when I started reading Ichthys that he sent her away so that he wouldn't subject his family to the hardships ahead of him at the time. That was why I once thought that "Cushite woman" was another way of saying "Zipporah" in this case. But that is not correct, is it, sir?

Response #2:

From a previous posting:

As far as I know, scripture does not tell us whether or not Moses and Zipporah were officially divorced. However, it does seem to be clear that by leaving, she presented him with a de facto divorce. We don't know what happened when Jethro brought her and the children back (i.e., whether she stayed or left; whether the two were reconciled or not). What we do know is that Moses did marry the Ethiopian woman, and that when Aaron and Miriam found fault with Moses' action it was they who were reproved and (in Miriam's case) disciplined by the Lord, not Moses. The Law of that time did not prohibit polygamy (although the Bible makes it clear that polygamy is a sure road to unhappiness); but it's not clear that this is what we have in Moses' case.

Question #3:

“Now I know that the LORD is greater than all the gods; for in the very thing in which they behaved proudly, He was above them.” Then Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, took a burnt offering and other sacrifices to offer to God. And Aaron came with all the elders of Israel to eat bread with Moses’ father-in-law before God.
Exodus 18:11-12 NKJV

Does this mean that Jethro became a believer? If it does, is that why his advice later was good for Moses? If not, does that mean that even unbelievers can sometimes give good advice to believers even touching matters of ministry?

Response #3:

Jethro's words certainly give promise of him being a believer. We never completely know another's heart and so we can only go from what we hear from them and see of them – I would say yes. Unbelievers often give good advice (if they are good people operating on the basis of the essential truths of life which anyone can abide by if they so choose: Rom.2:14-15) while believers often give bad advice (if they are refusing to grow spiritually in the truth that God makes available to all His children).

Question #4:

“If you do this thing, and God so commands you, then you will be able to endure, and all this people will also go to their place in peace.”
Exodus 18:23 NKJV

What does Jethro mean here? Was he saying that his advice was God's command? Or was he saying that if God sanctions his advice, then Moses should follow it? In other words, was this a prophecy per his words or was he just subordinating his advice to God's command?

Response #4:

Adapted NIV: " If you do this and [IF] God so commands ..."; Jethro humbly accepts that perhaps his advice – though it seems good to him – might not be acceptable to God (but it was).

Question #5:

“I looked, and there was no one to help,
And I was astonished and there was no one to uphold;
So My own arm brought salvation to Me,
And My wrath upheld Me."
Isaiah 63:5 NASB

In verse 5 "I was astonished" seems to me a weird translation of anything the Lord could have said there. Is it correct, Sir?

Response #5:

This is an anthropopathism, that is, the attribution to the Lord of human emotions / sentiments that we can understand but which God in His deity does not actually possess (see the link). God uses the manner of speaking to us because of our weakness, but we are allowed to understand that in truth nothing has ever "astonished" God – how could it since He knows the end from the beginning and nothing could even happen without His decree?

Question #6:

In Isaiah 63:9, in "In all their affliction, He was afflicted", an alternative reading for the italicized part is "He was not an adversary". Which is more true to the original statement? Verse 10 makes me think the former is the more correct one. Am I right about that?

Response #6:

The former is correct; the essence of the issue is the Hebrew word l' which is rightly read lv, a very common alternative spelling in the Tanakh, the former meaning "no/not", and the latter meaning "to him". The genesis of the next difference is that "affliction" might be read as "the one who afflicts" = adversary, but that would be a stretch, even if we did not allow for the l' / lv issue.

Question #7:

On Isaiah 63:7 - 19. This is Israel of the Tribulation just before the Second Advent praying, Sir, is it not?

Response #7:

This is a retrospective of the deliverance of Israel from Egypt given to Isaiah's contemporaries in anticipation of the second advent and millennial regathering (a common sort of thing in prophecy and the Prophets, see the link).

Question #8:

The prayer which began in 63:7 continues in chapter 64, right, Sir?

Response #8:

The "meet" of the prayer, that is, the specific request itself, begins at Is.64:1, which is perhaps why those who did the dividing (in ca. the tenth century) put the chapter break here. But verses and chapters are not original in either testament.

Question #9:

Isaiah 64:11, "Our holy and beautiful temple, Where our fathers praised You, Is burned up with fire;". What does this mean? If I remember correctly, the third temple will not be destroyed: our Lord will "build it up" when He returns. So, does this refer to some other house? Or some other time?

Response #9:

This prophetically anticipates the destruction of the second temple.

Question #10:

In "Exodus 14" you wrote: "Being distressed at this report and the prospect of losing his Israelite slaves, Pharaoh then organizes a military expedition to retrieve them (Ex.14:6-7)."

I'm not entirely clear about this point, since in verse 3 you explained how Pharaoh would see it as advantageous that the desert has "shut them off" and the Israelites were demoralised - why would he be distressed?

Response #10:

The first report (their leaving) is distressing (Ex.14:5), but the news that they are "hemmed in" is encouraging to Pharaoh.

Question #11:

I also wonder about this point - although Israel were still in the land, isn't it clear to Pharaoh that their intention was to leave permanently?

Response #11:

Yes, but Pharaoh is assuming that this is beyond their ability to accomplish – because they have turned back.

Question #12:

I am inclined to believe the opposite - they wanted the Israelites to leave permanently, rather than them being led to pursue Israel having confirmed that through spies.

Response #12:

If that were the case, Pharaoh never would have pursued them.

Question #13:

As above, I am wondering about this. Bush assumes that it must be flight, since "Pharaoh could not be ignorant that the Israelites had left Egypt", but I am not certain about this. Pharaoh could not see the entire land of Egypt, or probably even the boundaries of the city where he was, from his own palace or whichever place he was based. So to have someone tell him that the Israelites are finally gone and that they are finally free of this cause of all these disasters still seems a plausible option.

Response #13:

We know that there were reports because the scriptures say so. It may be possible that the ruler of a major empire had no standard means of being informed about massively important developments in his own country, but that would be unique in this case as far as my knowledge of standard procedure is concerned. The Assyrians, Persians, Greeks and Romans all had systematized means of reporting. In any case, scripture says that Pharaoh "was told" (Ex.14:5), so someone must have told him, even if it was not an official act of reporting. Both his reaction and that of his officials seems to prove that the events have gone contrary to his expectations: "What have we done? etc." (Ex.14:5ff.).

Question #14:

I think I'm misunderstanding you here or I am confused about the journey. I thought that the Israelites originally moved south when they left Egypt and then, after the Lord gave orders in Exodus 14:2, they turned aside to march north again - towards the Egyptians. But here you write that "having been ordered by the Lord to turn aside and march south".

Response #14:

What I mean by this is that the Lord had specifically prohibited the Israelites from entering the desert – which would technically place them outside of Pharaoh's authority:

After leaving Sukkoth they camped at Etham on the edge of the desert.
Exodus 13:20 NIV

For He had led them "toward the Red Sea", not directly south (Ex.13:18).

Question #15:

You wrote: "However, the report given to Pharaoh, was not entirely correct. According to Ex. 8:25-28, Pharaoh had given permission for a three days' journey into the desert. Actually, the Israelites have not set foot into it as yet, having been ordered by the Lord to turn aside and march south, and so are still technically within the parameters of Pharaoh's order. What prompted the false report is not entirely clear, but it is most likely that the watchers interpreted the preparations of the Israelites to move out from Etham as a clear indication that they were about to leave "the land" and enter "the desert". Actually, this would be the only logical thing to conclude as they saw the great camp packing up."

I see this as a possibility, but I don't know if we can assume that this is what most likely happened.

Response #15:

The report is clearly false. The Israelites journeyed toward the sea because that is what the Lord told Moses to do; the false report is the Lord's means in part of hardening Pharaoh's heart and bringing about this situation wherein Israel will be delivered but Pharaoh and his host destroyed.

Question #16:

On Exodus 14:15, I was wondering - since God here addresses Moses specifically, is it not possible that he did make a supplication to the Lord that has not been mentioned in the narrative? This is also how Keil and Delitzsch interpret:

The words of Jehovah to Moses, "What criest thou to Me?" imply that Moses had appealed to God for help, or laid the complaints of the people before Him, and do not convey any reproof, but merely an admonition to resolute action.

Response #16:

I disagree with KD on both points. In this context, tsa'ach is indicative of panic. Moses is demonstrating faith and attempting to convince the people to have it too. But as representative of the rebellious people, he has to "take the heat" of this reproof.

Question #17:

Exodus 14:20 (NASB)
20 So it came between the camp of Egypt and the camp of Israel; and there was the cloud along with the darkness, yet it gave light at night. Thus the one did not come near the other all night.

Do you think the Egyptians could see it? I thought that from their perspective it was just "cloud with the darkness" in a sense that the Israelites were supernaturally kept away from the Egyptians sight, but without the Egyptians actually perceiving the miracle.

Response #17:

The purpose was to "to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night" (Ex.13:21 NKJV). The visibility of the cloud and fire is a given wherever else it is mentioned. E.g.:

All the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the tabernacle door, and all the people rose and worshiped, each man in his tent door.
Exodus 33:10 NKJV

Question #18:

About Exodus 14:19-20, you wrote: "Understood in this way, verse twenty really is a necessary clarification. Without this sentence, the further activities of the Angel and his position would be unknown."

I understand your interpretation here, but it seems to me that the language allows us to take the cloud as the subject at the beginning of verse 20. The construction can be parallel, as you propose, with the angel being mentioned first in both verses, and the cloud second, but I thought that the narrative can equally continue with the cloud as the subject. In verse 19 Moses tells us it moved behind the Israelites and then in verse 20 describes its position more precisely - that it stood between the camp of Egypt and the camp of Israel.

Response #18:

It's certainly possible, but the questions that need to be explained that way are as numerous as the other way. I find the occurrence of "cloud" again in the second half of verse twenty to be a convincing indication that the subject has changed . . . back to the cloud from the Angel. The Lord is the one keeping the Egyptians off, not the cloud which represents Him, and the separation of the two here makes that point. Also, the cloud elsewhere does not depart from the camp and when it moves the people stay close to it, following. Here, if this refers to the cloud, it would be a departure from the normal situation on two counts, both the separation from the camp and the non-following of the people.

Question #19:

Some follow-ups on our recent discussion on Exodus:

1) "The agreement" - I agree that the difference in the interpretations is effectively not significant. Pharaoh's repentance was never really genuine in any of the earlier cases and was dictated only by the desire to gain relief - and it was no different this time. So whether we say that he never really let the Israelites go or that he did let them go for good, but this was only a temporary proclamation which was going to change as soon as he was back to his normal attitude after receiving the report - is not a major issue.

2) As for the directions, I understand your points, but cannot comprehend why you wrote that the Lord ordered them to march south ("Actually, the Israelites have not set foot into it as yet, having been ordered by the Lord to turn aside and march south"), since marching south would take them to the desert - and the Lord wanted them to turn back towards the Egyptians. At least that's who I understand it at the moment.

3) "High hand" - understood, I was just wondering what the origin could have been, given that the explanation from Childs points to the blow and I always thought it is more to do with the gesture of triumph. But this is not a major issue either, it's just that the footnote made me think.

4) On Moses being singled out - here I still find difficulty with your interpretation. It is a hard passage, as the Lord addresses Moses in this way immediately after His words of encouragement to the people. We can either take it the way you do, or we can think that the account of events doesn't give us all the details of what went on in this particular situation which makes the Lord's words difficult to comprehend.

5) On the cloud - I think I probably do envisage it the same way as you.

6) On the swamp - understood, I didn't know there was an apologetic purpose in that remark when I was reading the text.

Response #19:

On Exodus 14 and “break the agreement”, a good many of the following questions have to do with this; I'm not really sure the disagreement between us is significant. However read, first the Israelites are allowed to leave, but then they are pursued, and the Lord uses a report to generate the change just as He had told Moses and Aaron He would (Ex.14:3-5). Here is what I read about the last dismissal:

And he called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, "Rise up, and get you forth from among my people, both ye and the children of Israel; and go, serve the LORD, as ye have said. Also take your flocks and your herds, as ye have said, and be gone; and bless me also."
Exodus 12:31-32 KJV

In spite of all that has happened, I only see Pharaoh here as allowing the last demand in Exodus chapter 10:8-11 when he had allowed only the men to go and not the entire nation with their flocks. So from Pharaoh's point of view, he is still in his blind arrogance not anticipating a complete loss. The next question is along the same lines. The rest of the Egyptians, who are not hardened as Pharaoh is, did indeed want Israel gone never to return:

And Pharaoh's servants said unto him, "How long shall this man be a snare unto us? let the men go, that they may serve the LORD their God: knowest thou not yet that Egypt is destroyed?"
Exodus 10:7 KJV

And the Egyptians were urgent upon the people, that they might send them out of the land in haste; for they said, "We be all dead men."
Exodus 12:33 KJV

The "thrusting out" was complete (cf. Ex.11:1), but when the reports came in -- of Israel direction of march -- the Lord led Pharaoh to pursue.

So in regard to:

1) Egyptians wanted Israel to leave for good: that is true, but they changed their minds when Pharaoh did.

2) Through hardening of heart they changed their mind and that’s why they pursued them: that was clearly the key factor, and Pharaoh's leadership was clearly key to that change.

So I don't really see us at odds here. Clearly, there is a change of heart; what I'm unwilling to do is suggest that Pharaoh ever completely "let it go" even though he was forced to let the people go; he doesn't need much prodding when he sees that he has the opportunity (so he thinks) to recover them.

On the route, "in the land" means "not yet in the desert"; the people had gone south but then turned towards the Red Sea instead of continuing south into the Nubian desert; so they were still within "striking range" of an Egyptian force.

On restrictions: this was not a legal contract. Most of the Egyptians wanted them gone entirely but his advisors changed their mind when Pharaoh wished to pursue. The purpose of Moses, for example, speaking of a "three day journey" is merely a ploy to get the people and all they have moving. Once at the Red Sea, the Lord had a plan to take care of what else was going to happen.

On "high hand", it seems to me to mean "boldly" wherever it is used in scripture.

Moses singled out: he is here as well, as the leader.

On the cloud: this is a unique situation; but for it to produce light "on one side" and darkness "on the other side" it would seem to have to be in-between the two camps. The (Angel of the) Lord is the One who prevents the advance; the cloud is the symbol of His presence (and here has tactical role to play as well).

On the swamp, this is because the most famous de-mythologizing interpretation of the exodus is the canard that the story is an exaggeration of a retreat directly into Sinai north of the Red sea, through swampy areas near lake Suez where the Egyptian chariots became mired through no miraculous means at all.  You cannot in any way square such an "interpretation" with what the Bible actually teaches (obviously).

Question #20:

There is no speech nor language
Where their voice is not heard.
Psalm 19:3 NKJV

What does verse 3 mean in light of the context?

Response #20:

This is teaching "natural revelation", the truth (explained by Paul in the first chapter of Romans) that everyone in the world comes to a knowledge of God and His goodness from simple observation of what He has made – so that all are without excuse for not expressing a desire to come to Him. My translation:

(1) The heavens recount the glory of God, and the firmament tells of the work of His hands. (2) One day after another pours forth [His] words, and one night after another declares [His] knowledge. (3) There is no tongue or culture that cannot understand their voice (i.e., of the heavens/firmament). (4) Their design has gone out into (i.e., "is visible throughout") the entire earth, and their words to the end of the world.
Psalm 19:1-4a

. . . and here's a link to one place where this is discussed.

Question #21:

In light of verse 13 ("Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins"), is it then right to ask God to keep one from sin even though it is our responsibility to stay away from sin?

Response #21:

To a very great degree, this is the essential question on prayer generally. We know God provides. So how is it that we ask for His provision? Doesn't that demonstrate lack of faith? Not at all. In fact our Lord told us to be persistent in prayer (Lk.18:1-8). Clearly, whenever we pray we need to do so in faith that our prayer has already been answered (e.g., Mk.11:24), and not with any doubt whatsoever (Jas.1:6-8). And in this case, we need to accept that it is our responsibility to stay away from sin – but that does not mean we cannot ask for help. We need to accept both things as true: our part and God's part. They may seem to overlap – and, indeed, we have really gotten somewhere when they overlap perfectly and His WILL is also our will (1Jn.5:14). He doesn't take away our free will ever, but He does empower us to do His WILL whenever we are of a mind to do so.

Question #22:

"As at Adam, they have broken the covenant; they were unfaithful to me there."
(Hosea 6:7)

Is this a reference to the failure of the first Adam to keep God's law?

Response #22:

This translation with "at" responds to the "there" in the second half of the verse, interpreting that Adam is a place (a town on the Jordan river). The Hebrew adverb sham ("there") is definitely locative. But I think this is Hosea producing a deliberate double-entendre, with "like Adam" (the correct translation, rather than "at") being first in the mind of the reader/listener and recalling his fall. The other part of the allusion is to the repetition of the covenant by Moses in Deuteronomy (chapters 29-34 in particular), which now the Israelites have broken and for which Hosea has been called to castigate them.

Question #23:

Did Moses first proclaim the covenant at Adam?

Response #23:

The covenant was renewed before crossing the Jordan (so the reference is general); cf.:

The water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap a great distance away, at a town called Adam in the vicinity of Zarethan, while the water flowing down to the Sea of the Arabah (that is, the Dead Sea) was completely cut off. So the people crossed over opposite Jericho.
Joshua 3:16 NIV

Question #24:

What's the meaning of this cryptic verse in Hosea?

"Then they will say, 'We have no king
because we did not revere the Lord.
But even if we had a king,
what could he do for us?'"
Hosea 10:3

Response #24:

For Hosea 10:3, NKJV is better:

For now they say,
“We have no king,
Because we did not fear the LORD.
And as for a king, what would he do for us?”
Hosea 10:3, NKJV

This anticipates the fall of the kingdom. Lacking fear/respect for the Lord, their true King, they lost the kingdom through attack by the Assyrians, and so they lost their human king. But under those oppressive circumstances, it was not as if a king could do them any good any longer (as in warding off the Assyrians after the conquest was complete).

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #25:

Hi Bob,

"He took his brother by the heel in the womb, and by his strength he had power with God. Yea, he had power over the angel, and prevailed: he wept, and made supplication unto him: he found him in Bethel, and there he spake with us. Even the Lord God of hosts; the Lord is his memorial. Therefore turn thou to thy God: keep mercy and judgment and wait on thy God continually."
(Hosea 12:3-6)

What about this synopsis of what happened in Genesis caused the writer to say "Therefore turn to God"? What is the logical connection?


Response #25:

You have to go back to the first two verses of Hosea chapter twelve (not quoted) which prophesy the coming judgment. Israel and Judah should have looked to their patriarchs as examples of those who trusted the Lord and did what was right in His eyes, repented, and then they would not have had to suffer the Assyrian invasion.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #26:

Hi Bob,

The Golden Calf is a very important story in the Bible. It teaches us that there are times when almost every nominal believer will go and actively band together united in purpose to do evil against God. It teaches us that the Kingdom of Heaven is not a democracy where the most evil of evil beliefs and agendas are glorified. And it teaches us that just because 99% of believers do something doesn't mean that God has given his approval or that the Holy Spirit led them to do it. It also reminds us that many children of the Devil masquerade as children of Abraham (John 8:37) but are really nothing more than worthless murderers (John 8:44).


Response #26:

A good lesson indeed to learn before antichrist's religion gets up and running!

Question #27:

"I will send fire on Moab
that will consume the fortresses of Kerioth.
Moab will go down in great tumult
amid war cries and the blast of the trumpet."
(Amos 2:2)

Is this a reference to that Karioth as in Judas Is-cariot ("man of Karioth")?

Response #27:

Hebrew קִרְיָה (kariah) means "city" and this word is the plural, "cities", literally. So it's pretty generic; and as the context makes clear, this place in Amos is in Moab (cf. Jer.48:24). Multiple places with the same name is common in scripture (and in the US: 39 states have a "Washington" county!).

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #28:

Another thing, Sir. I have been working through the chapters in Exodus that describe the construction of the Tabernacle and the development of the systems of worship of that time. I had already read through it but I wanted to try and actually get it clearly in my head. So I've been going slowly through it to try to get a correct picture of everything. At the point where I am (beginning of chapter 28), it seems that the first Holy of Holies was not cubic. The West side seems to have measured 9 cubits (approximately 13.5ft) where the height was 10 cubits (approx 15ft). So far I haven't got an idea what the South and North measured for it. The whole Tabernacle measured 30 cubits (approx 45ft) on the North and South sides but the inner chamber of the Holiest is not yet described as to those lengths. I expect that I will find the measurements as I read on. But it seems remarkable to me that the Holiest was not cubic although in 1 Kings 6:20, in Solomon's Temple, it was: 20 cubits x 20 cubits x 20 cubits (approx 30ft x 30ft x 30ft) in a house that was much larger than the Tabernacle. I had thought that Moses' pattern was to be followed exactly perhaps even in the construction of the Temple. But later on in Revelation, clearly the New Jerusalem is cubic like in Solomon's design. So, was it that God was communicating something by giving Moses a design that would later change or am I the one missing something about Moses' design here?

Response #28:

As to the most holy place, in my reading of scripture it was a perfect cube. What verses exactly did you have in mind? I can't find the "nine cubit" reference you refer to.

Question #29:

Dear Teacher

Thank you very much, Sir. I'm confident that the Lord has a perfect plan and will lead me aright in these things. I used to worry that I didn't hear Him too good so I couldn't rely on His guidance but I am sure now that He will guide me and even when I don't really understand where He may be wishing me to go, He will correct my steps as I do my best to follow His Truth.

The following verses are where I got the 9 cubits from...

Exodus 26:15-16,22-25
[15]"Then you shall make the boards for the tabernacle of acacia wood, standing upright.
[16]Ten cubits shall be the length of each board and one and a half cubits the width of each board.
[22]For the rear of the tabernacle, to the west, you shall make six boards.
[23]You shall make two boards for the corners of the tabernacle at the rear.
[24]They shall be double beneath, and together they shall be complete to its top to the first ring; thus it shall be with both of them: they shall form the two corners.
[25]There shall be eight boards with their sockets of silver, sixteen sockets; two sockets under one board and two sockets under another board.

From verses 15 and 16, the height of the Tabernacle was 10 cubits since the boards are standing upright. But from verse 22, the West side had six boards with a doubling of boards at both corners, if my reading is correct. The length of the sides is formed from the widths of the boards, so to find out how long any side is, I multiply the width of the board by the number of boards that form that side. But then I have to assume that that side is solid with no gaps between the boards. I know that much of the East side is open by I didn't see any indication that the West is.

Each board measured 1½ cubits in width. There were six boards effectively forming the width for the West. That means that the total length was 6 x 1½. That is 9 cubits.

That is what I can figure so far. I still don't know where the inner chamber ended along the South and North lengths but if my math and assumptions as well as reading are all correct, the West side is smaller than the height which already means that regardless what the length of the South and North end up being, the inner chamber was not cubic.

But if it is a principle that the Holiest is cubic, then I will assume that the information is deliberately incomplete and I should assume that regardless what I see in Exodus 26, the Holiest is always a cube. But is it a principle? Or was the Lord making a point here? Or have I read things wrong here somehow?

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ

Response #29:

I told you I was no good at math problems, my friend. So you have thoroughly confused me here (lol).

. . . thus did he make for all the boards of the tabernacle (i.e., 10 cubits long).
Exodus 36:22 KJV

Since all of the boards are identical in length, and since some are used for height (so the height would be 10 cubits) and since some are used for the back/width of the tabernacle (so the width would be ten cubits), and since the whole order of the two spaces is thirty cubits with the holy place being twice the size of the holy of holies, that would leave ten cubits of depth for the latter = it is a cube.

The inner sanctuary was twenty cubits long, twenty cubits wide, and twenty cubits high. He overlaid it with pure gold, and overlaid the altar of cedar.
1st Kings 6:20 NKJV

The above is instructive because the temple Solomon built is a permanent form of the tabernacle which it represents in every important way – and the holy of holies here is clearly a cube (albeit twice as large as in the tabernacle).

I do understand that the "how" it is that all these dimensions and details of everything else given in Exodus work is not so easy to put together. One reason for that is that the language which seems on the face of it straightforward in an English translation may not represent exactly what the Hebrew says or means; it is in fact somewhat problematic and the same is true of the dimensions and specifications given in Ezekiel, especially of the temple et al. in the final chapters.

Keeping you and your business in my prayers, my friend!

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #30:

"This is what the Lord says:
'For three sins of Moab,
even for four, I will not relent.
Because he burned to ashes
the bones of Edom’s king,"
(Amos 2:1-2)

Why does God care so much about the fate of Edom's king...when Edom was pure evil?

Response #30:

Edom / Esau was Isaac's seed, and, in any case, this is a dastardly thing to do for anyone who believes in the resurrection – although we understand that 1) God doesn't need surviving bones to perform resurrection, and 2) unbelievers will not "attain unto the resurrection" of the righteous. So this is a mark of their presumption and a symptom of their arrogance – which demands / invites judgment.

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #31:

What is the meaning of this verse?

"If ten people are left in one house, they too will die. And if the relative who comes to carry the bodies out of the house to burn them asks anyone who might be hiding there, 'Is anyone else with you?' and he says, 'No,' then he will go on to say, 'Hush! We must not mention the name of the Lord.'"
Amos 6:10

Response #31:

This is looking forward to the Great Tribulation in Israel and the dangers that will befall any and all who failed to heed the command to flee to the desert sanctuary and yet are still unwilling to serve the beast.

The contemporary event Amos refers to (which is the counterpart of the "Day of the Lord paradigm" eschatological event; link) will be the similar situation for Israelites caught between the Assyrian siege and the Baal worship of the northern kingdom – they should have fled to the south (as some in fact did).

Question #32:

Hello my dear brother and teacher in Christ, as always, and please remember you are in my prayers. I have just finished reading Zephaniah chapters 1-3, is Zephaniah looking forward to, what you have so rightly named, the foreshortening of the time and events, the state of mind of mankind, prior to, during, and after the tribulation?

Robert, one day I will hear your voice and see your face, shake your hand; I want to tell you to your face, thank you for being a faithful and able minister of God our Father

Yours in Christ

Response #32:

Wonderful to hear from you, my friend, and thank you so much for your kind words!

You are indeed correct. Here is what I have posted in CT 1 on that:


chapter 1: the future "Day of the Lord" employed as a contemporary warning
chapter 2: prophecies against the nations: near and far term application [see Isaiah 14-21]
chapter 3: the [T]ribulation and the restoration of the remnant [near and far term]

Meaning, in chapter one the "day of the Lord paradigm" whereby through the Spirit the prophet is warning his contemporaries of coming judgment by comparing it to the Tribulation; we see that also in chapter two where the nations are prophesied to be judged in anticipation of the battle of Armageddon where their armies are destroyed; and in chapter three, the Tribulation brought on by the unfaithfulness of the nations and its leaders is rescued by the Lord, the faithful few are rescued, and the millennial reign of the King restores the nation and her captives. There is much similar between the "now" and the "then", and comparing the two is what prophets often (see the link: "The Day of the Lord Paradigm").

Thank you also so much for your prayers – you and your family are in mine daily as well.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #33:

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

All is well, and the Bible Study and Chapel Services are being blessed by His presence. Precious Lord is always with us. I have the following question concerning these two quoted verses of scripture:

In Genesis 35:18-19 says that Rachel, Joseph's mother has died.
In Genesis 37:9-10 Joseph relates the dream to his father Jacob.

Jacob replies to Joseph as follows: Shall I and your mother and your brothers actually come to bow ourselves down before you to the ground? In the dream he sees the sun, the moon, and the starts bowing to Joseph. Why does Joseph have this dream depicting the moon as his mother when she has already died? Why does Jacob respond like he does knowing that Rachel has already died?

Thanks so much for your help and putting up with my questions.

I also have a prayer request for my Granddaughter, that she will come to a personal knowledge of Jesus and begin to live a Christian life pleasing Him and not herself. She lost her father some years ago in a tragic accident, and I believe she is regretting some decisions she made concerning her father. She really is a very gentle and affectionate person, very, very, tender hearted. My wife and I were instrumental somewhat in trying to teach her, while her mother was always too busy to pay much attention to her. I went out of my way to always give her as much attention as I could. She loved for me to read the Bible story about Daniel from her little Bible Book we got for her. It grieves me so very much about the things which have already happened her life, so much sorrow. She is a blessing from God I know, and I cherish her so much. I just want her to be in love with Jesus. I could write so much more, but I can't because I am crying so much. I want only that she come to know Him as her Lord and Savior. Please pray for her (and for my other granddaughter with whom we've lost contact but who had addiction problems). Please, please pray for me and my dearest wife also.

Your friend always in Jesus,

Response #33:

As to your question, it is true that Jacob says "your mother", but what does he mean by that? There is only one moon in Joseph's dream, but the sons of Jacob had FOUR mothers, after all, not just one, and three of them were still alive at this point as far as we know. So in terms of the actual interpretation of the dream I don't think we can say that the moon represents Rachel; rather it seems that "sun and moon and stars" represents the whole family of Jacob acknowledging Joseph when he is de facto ruler of Egypt. How did Jacob take the dream? Not well! He rebuked his son (even though the dream was truly from God), and his reply was given in complete exasperation:

"Shall your mother and I and your brothers indeed come to bow down to the earth before you?"
Genesis 37:10b NKJV

Since this is an exasperated reply of rebuke, we need not take it as a correct interpretation. Jacob in saying this no doubt did mean Rachel by "your mother", but that is part of the rebuke: Rachel was no longer alive, so how could she possibly do Joseph obeisance? Why, in Jacob's eyes, that was just heaping the offensively ridiculous on the offensively ridiculous! Except that it was true (in terms of the correct interpretation of the whole family being meant).

It should also be pointed out that our Lord gave Joseph these dreams to sustain him through the very difficult times ahead. True, he would be sold into slavery. True, he would be thrown into prison. But as a man who trusted God completely, Joseph new in his heart of hearts that the Lord would in time bring about the fulfillment of those blessed dreams. And so He did.

I have been praying for the granddaughter you mentioned who was having such trouble with drugs, and will pray for your other one as well.

Keeping you and yours in my prayers daily, my friend.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #34:

Hi Bob,

What's the meaning of this passage? It is definitely one of the most unique sections of the Bible that I read.

Then the cover of lead was raised, and there in the basket sat a woman! 8 He said, “This is wickedness,” and he pushed her back into the basket and pushed its lead cover down on it. Then I looked up—and there before me were two women, with the wind in their wings! They had wings like those of a stork, and they lifted up the basket between heaven and earth. “Where are they taking the basket?” I asked the angel who was speaking to me. He replied, “To the country of Babylonia to build a house for it. When the house is ready, the basket will be set there in its place.”
Zechariah 5:7-11

I think you mentioned somewhere in either your eschatology and tribulation sequence something about "the basket being set there in its place" but I can't find it. Could you provide a link?

I was encountering an interesting claim made by a skeptic that "God is an idea." However, this doesn't make any sense if you think about it. What are some typical examples of ideas? Property rights, realtime ride-sharing, and justice are all examples of ideas. Does God look similar to any of these entries? No, and I think that if you were to do a survey on people, they would all say that God does not resemble any of these things. So God is not an idea.

There is a principle in philosophy that God's nature is equivalent to either truth, beauty, or righteousness. So because God is not an idea, we can also say that truth is not an idea, beauty is not an idea, and righteousness is not an idea. That also means that moral relativism (e.g. the proposition that righteousness is just an idea) is false.

Response #34:

On the passage, excerpt from CT 3B:

Unequaled Commerce: Apart from the fact of her great wealth and luxury, Babylon will also be a trading nation, known for her commercial activities. In an entirely prophetic context, Zechariah 5:11 tells us that "wickedness" is to be taken to the land of Shinar (i.e., Babylonia). This passage refers primarily to the centralizing of satanic evangelism in mystery Babylon (treated below), but the fact that wickedness is carried in a "measuring basket" gives a clear coincidence of hyper-commercialism and evil.

Welcome to the basket.

On ideas, I've always abhorred Platonism, but of course Plato's philosophy was not only highly influential in the development of historical secular philosophy but among many of the church fathers as well. It's a case of having one foot in the truth and the other outside of it. Academics embrace the one foot in. Those who put the truth first abhor the one foot out which taints the entire picture and fatally so.

I hope you are doing well, my friend. I'm keeping you in my prayers daily.

In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #35:

"Then Abraham spoke up again: 'Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord [Yahweh], though I am nothing but dust and ashes.'"
(Genesis 18:27)

But then

"I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as God Almighty, but by my name Yahweh I did not make myself fully known to them."
(Exodus 6:3)

How could Abraham address God by his name if he never knew it?

Response #35:

The NIV's "fully known" is correct and is the key here: The Lord explained the meaning of His Name to Moses, something He had not done before.

Question #36:

Hi Bob,

What are these strange plants that Reuben is gathering in Genesis 3:14?

Response #36:

Mandrakes are plants with odd shaped roots (sometimes thought to resemble people) and for that reason no doubt also thought to have magical properties (in this case, stimulating pregnancy). It's fair to say that as with other human efforts, it is the Lord who actually makes things happen when they happen (as in Rachel's later pregnancy). We may compare Jacob's setting of the branches with bark stripped before the mating sheep – it wouldn't have worked without the Lord making it work. Such things merely show people trying to "get into the act". It's always better to be patient and trust the Lord – completely.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #37:

Hi Bob,

I recall a while back that you had said that Adam fell probably around 47 years after he was created. Someone had suggested that could not have been the case because God told Adam to be fruitful and multiply (Gen. 1:28) from the beginning of his creation, and so Adam would be sinning by not obeying this command from God. Therefore, this would imply that it was a short time before he fell. He further said that since Adam and Eve were mature adults at creation, it couldn't have been long before they would be able to conceive. What are your thoughts on these arguments?

God Bless,

Response #37:

This person is incorrect, obviously. By that logic, Abraham, for example, should have had Isaac about seventy years earlier than he did. But God delayed the birth for many reasons. Nothing can happen without God decreeing it, and there were obviously reasons why He prevented Eve from becoming pregnant before the fall.

Yours in Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #38:

Hi Bob,

Do you agree with the interpretation that when God is delivering the plagues on Egypt that he is "refuting" each one of the false Egyptian gods?


Response #38:

"For I will go through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments—I am the LORD."
Exodus 12:12 NASB

I certainly cannot endorse the theory you ask about (it may have the verse above as its "jump off point"). The Lord does not bother responding to the devil's lies in detail (cf. Christ's three responses to Satan in the desert); what is clear is that the Lord most definitely did refute and lay low all satanic lies and opposition in His deliverance of Israel from Pharaoh and Egypt.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #39:

Hi Dr,

I hope all is well. Quick question. I know the tabernacle was built in the wilderness and the Israelites started sacrificing in the wilderness so why did the Lord admonish them in Deut 12:8? I know the actual temple was not built until Solomon built so they did not have a permanent location to sacrifice but in the wilderness when they parked for a period of time, were they not supposed to sacrifice where the tabernacle was setup for that duration?

Your help in this exegesis is appreciated.

In Christ Jesus our Lord

Response #39:

"You are not to do as we do here today, everyone doing as they see fit, since you have not yet reached the resting place and the inheritance the LORD your God is giving you."
Deuteronomy 12:8-9 NIV

This verse has to be seen in the context of the whole chapter which is looking forward to the entry of Israel into the land. The whole book of Deuteronomy – the second giving of the Law – is concerned with similar issues. The recipients are the generation that grew up during the 40 years in the desert, the very ones who would go into the land and, eventually, establish a temple. Before they did so, the tabernacle would serve in that capacity, and, obviously, it could only be in one place at a time, the place the Lord would determine (Shilo).

No doubt such admonitions were very necessary. In historical terms, the people of Israel never came close to carrying out even a small fraction of the Law, and it was only after the return from captivity that they became scrupulous about it – but they quickly perverted that care and concern into dead, Pharisaical legalism.

So, yes, they were supposed to be offering sacrifices to God alone and before the tabernacle alone, but there were many things even under Moses that they weren't doing that they should have been doing. So it is not surprising for Moses to say . . .

For I know your rebellion and your stiff neck. If today, while I am yet alive with you, you have been rebellious against the LORD, then how much more after my death?
Deuteronomy 31:27 NKJV

In terms of sacrifice in the wilderness, I also read this:

"Did you offer Me sacrifices and offerings
In the wilderness forty years, O house of Israel?
You also carried Sikkuth your king
And Chiun, your idols,
The star of your gods,
Which you made for yourselves.
Amos 5:25-26

Your friend in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #40:

Was Laban an unbeliever? I don't think so. Laban was neither the greatest nor kindest human that lived (but who knows? Maybe according to the 21st century man he would have looked like Mister Rogers), but at the same time he is in the lineage of Jesus Christ through Leah. That would be quite the honor, and one that I don't believe the Lord would have given to an unbeliever.

Response #40:

It's a good observation. After all, the twelve patriarchs, aside from Joseph, do not from the biblical record give sufficient evidence of being believers for us to be certain about it – aside from their lineage and importance in it. That is actually an argument for comfort for those of us with family members or others near and dear whose expression of the truth and visible manifestations of "believer behavior" leave much to be desired. If they have been exposed to the same truth we have and have at least not visibly rejected it, there may be more hope than our worst fears indicate.

Your friend in Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #41:

Hi Bob,

Mount Sinai is not where you think it is.

"Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children."
(Galatians 4:25)

In Ancient Rome, nobody categorized the Sinai peninsula as part of Arabia. Here is the REAL Mount Sinai.


And the Israelites went in a straight line from the Red Sea to Kadesh-Barnea.

Response #41:

Geographic descriptions in the modern day vs. ancient times may be different. "Asia" today is more inclusive than it was in antiquity (where it meant Turkey); the opposite is the case with the word "Arabia" which in the ancient world meant the entire desert expanse from Sinai to the Euphrates (wherever "Arabs" wander in the 'arabah or desert region).

I don't believe I've ever identified Horeb with what today is called Mt. Sinai, but I find no reason whatsoever to make this identification you link to (n.b., there are others who wish to find it Saudi Arabia).

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #42:


Greetings again Dr.Luginbill, I again thank you for all your hard work and study you so graciously share with the body of Christ. I so much enjoy studying God's word and His awesome creation as well.

Early in my study of scripture I became intrigued with the possibility that the division described in Genesis 10:25 during the days of Peleg was actually referring to a land division. Until we get to Gen.10:25 the reader of the scripture is left with the impression from Gen.1:9 that the earth and water remained as described in Genesis.1:9, that is "Then God said, 'Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear'; and it was so' ". It is reasonable and scriptural to conclude that if all the water is in "...one place" then all the land can only be in one place as well, similar to the theory of Pangea the supercontinent. I recently ran across the above article that best communicates what I suspected years ago. There is one point in the article that differs from a portion of Part 5 of the Satanic Rebellion. You write "Secondly, Nimrod...is the grandson of Ham...while Peleg, the great-grandson of Shem..." whereas the above article rightly points out that Luke used the Septuigent which adds Cainan and Shelah to the generations between Peleg and Arphaxad making Peleg Arphaxad's great, great, great, great grandson. Is it possible in your view that indeed the division in the days of Peleg could be referring to a geological rift a few hundred years after the dividing of tongues and nation's?

Response #42:

Happy to help.

On your question, I don't know what difference the (hypothetical) insertion of an additional generation based upon the Septuagint (and occurring erroneously in some – but not all – mss. of the gospel of Luke) would make to this question. God can do things quickly, after all: He created the entire universe in an instant of time.

What the world looked like before the great flood we cannot say. It is probable that the flood changed things enormously, shifted the magnetic field of the earth, tilting the earth on its axis and producing seasons which previously did not exist (see the link: "the origin of the seasons"). If there were any major continental shifts, these would have been occasioned by the flood and would therefore have nothing to do with the "dividing of the earth" in Genesis chapter ten. Genesis 10:32 makes it clear that the "division" is speaking about the dividing of the nations over the face of the earth, not the physical earth itself. That is also clear from the detailed account of the tower of Babel in the next chapter:

Therefore its name is called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of all the earth; and from there the LORD scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth.
Genesis 11:9 NKJV

The picture on the blog you link to and all such massive stonework in antiquity dates to the postdiluvian era, not the antediluvian. A flood of the proportions the Bible describes, one which occasioned the dramatic changes it did, would no doubt have wiped out all the physical relics of the pre-flood civilization along with its inhabitants – or buried them so deep in silt so as never to be found again. Modern people wonder at the marvels of ancient construction – and well we should. The tolerances in the stone work of the Parthenon, for example, are beyond what we can accomplish today, and I dare say that is also beyond modern capabilities to build the like of the pyramids. But we know for certain that these were all built well after the flood. It's just that people in the ancient world were smarter and more capable than people today in most respects and to a great degree – even if they didn't have computers and smart phones.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #43:

I apologise for not making the point of my question clear Dr. Luginbill. As the blogger points out, the addition by Luke of a few extra generations has the effect of distancing Nimrod and the Tower of Babel division of tongues from the division of the earth during the days of Peleg by at least two hundred years. This lends credence, at least in my understanding, to the notion that the dividing of nation's began with Nimrod and the division of the land are not the same event, as the blogger explains.

Response #43:

I stand by what I had to say on this. Nimrod was the one who drove the process in terms of the tower of Babel (so that is an anchor to the correct chronology as well; see the link).

There are no "two hundred years", since this addition in Luke is extra-biblical and not part of scripture: the Hebrew MT is correct both here, in Genesis eleven, and in the first chapter of Chronicles as well (where the LXX does NOT have any additional "Kainan" in that genealogy).

Only the great flood could have done something like this without destroying all life on earth anew. There is no record of any such breaking apart of the continents in the Bible. Also, the population of earth at this time was concentrated entirely in the Tigris-Euphrates valley – so there wouldn't have been any construction elsewhere until such time as the peoples journeyed to new locations. But as I say, rightly understood, Peleg is contemporaneous (absent fanciful additions in the LXX) with the division of the earth into its individual nations subsequent to the confusion of the prior universal language. That is why he is named what he is named, "divider", as the Bible tells us.

Not only is the hypothetical additional two-hundred years in the genealogy inconsistent with other data (see the link), but even if we were to entertain it we would have to admit that such an addition would not necessitate a further hypothetical splitting of the continents (which is also problematic for the reasons discussed).

Hope this is helpful, my friend!

In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #44:

Dr. Luginbill when you say "only the great flood could do something like this" are you referring to the dividing of the earth? So you do believe that Genesis 1:9 paints a picture of one super continent such as in the theory of Pangea but instead of the land dividing in the days of Peleg you believe the land divided during the 120 days or so that the waters covered all the earth?


Above is a research paper done by George Dodwell the former Astronomer of South Australia. I agree with your comments concerning the tilt of the axis of the earth being linked to the great flood for it was after the flood in Genesis 9 where the seasons of the earth are first mentioned. The unique study by Dodwell based upon data collected by astronomers and historians over the millennium of the obliquity of the ecliptic pinpoints the date of the flood to the year 2345 BC. Although I would definitely go with your biblical chronological date for the flood which you posit to be in the year 2456 BC, I find Dodwel's research very interesting.

Response #44:

I don't think the biblical record has anything to say one way or another about super-continents (so I have no opinion about whether or not there ever was one). I'm only saying that the flood was the one event which could have produced something like a dividing of a hypothetical super-continent – if a hypothetical super-continent had existed before the flood (which is not clear to me – it's certainly not in the Bible).

The original Mt. Moriah, the site of Jerusalem, does seem to have been much higher than it is today (it will be very tall during the Millennium), because the rivers of Eden flowed downhill from it (see the link).

In Jesus,

Bob L.

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