A Question About Rehoboam

The question about Rehoboam was really on who his mother was. The problem for the questioner was the fact that she was an Ammonite and not a native Israelite. I have two posts on Naamah. Post #1 and Post #2. I will guess Deuteronomy 23 is the scripture the question stems from. I am not going to wade through the jots and tittles of Hebrew Law about marrying foreigners.

But I had to stop and think about all of the times that Hebrew men married foreign women. Moses, Salmon, Boaz, and probably David, and the men who returned to Jerusalem with Ezra and Nehemiah are the ones I thought of. Moses married a Cushite (Numbers 12), Salmon married Rahab (1 Chronicles 2:13, Matthew 1:5), Boaz married Ruth, David married Bathsheba (possibly a Hittite, 2 Samuel 11), and the men with Nehemiah (13:23) seemed to be marrying who was available. You may argue with God about the first four. I will try to contrast and compare the women of these two groups.

Group 1 – We know very little about the Cushite and Naamah, just that they had yoked themselves to the Israelite community. Rahab hid the spies in Jericho after acknowledging God and the things He had done. Ruth pledged to Naomi that she would follow her and accept Jehovah as her God. Bathsheba was part of the community and I guess David offered sacrifices for her when the first baby died. It seems to me that all of these women chose to follow God when they married into Israel.

Group 2 – These women were from Ashdod (Philistine), Ammon, and Moab, not that different from Group 1. Nehemiah 13: 23 and 24 paint a different picture of how they lived. They married the men but did not choose the God of Israel. To be fair to them their husband may not have been on fire for Jehovah either. They were not even taught to speak Hebrew, which met that they could not read Torah or participate in festivals with the Hebrew community.

A great, well-learned Pharisee wrote a New Testament commentary on this subject in 2 Corinthians 6:14-do not be unequally yoked to unbelievers. I am not sure if any of the women in Group 1 could enter the “temple” and worship God with their husbands. I have read that the Hebrew husband would “cover” the children of these marriages, but that finer point of the Law is above my paygrade. It does seem that these women did yoke themselves to the God of Israel.

Since much of the lineage of Jesus was mentioned in Group 1, I will let you question if Rehoboam should have had an Ammonite for a mother.

Homework-What did the people (men) of Israel yoke themselves to in Numbers?

A Word to Live by-Salvation

Logos is a new category of study that is starting with the word salvation.  Since this is a Bible study blog you will need to be ready with your Word, a concordance, or at least a Bible study site like biblegateway.com.    

This post started by doing a search on the term “salvation”, where I went to the New Testament.  First, I noticed that the word salvation is not used in Matthew or Mark. (You may notice that number counts don’t match! Gateway does a verse count while a concordance does a word count. Throw in titles and modern word replacements, counts will vary between websites and concordances.)

You can focus on one verse, book, or writer and have a meaningful study.  I noticed in looking at the uses of salvation in the New Testament an interesting pattern.  In Luke 1: 69, 71, and 77, these verses are part of the prophecy of Zechariah about Jesus and John.  Luke 2:30 and 3:6 are “seeing” salvation.  Luke 19:9 and John 4:22 (only use) is Jesus talking to people about salvation – Zacchaeus, the hated tax collector, and the Samaritan woman at the well. 

Luke starts again in Acts 4:12 with salvation for mankind and his next three mentions (concordance please) have the Gentiles included in receiving salvation.  The Holy Spirit continues the inclusion of Gentiles in Romans 1:16 and 11:11. 

Romans 13:11 starts another facet of material that presents things and ideas associated with salvation.  Paul includes two different verses about salvation being our “helmets” – Ephesians 6:17 and 1 Thessalonians 5:8. Hebrews and Peter (1+2) include many verses about salvation.  The last verse about salvation is Revelations 19:1 where “salvation, glory, and power belong to God”.

Hebrews 2:10 I found interesting because it is about Jesus.  He is the pioneer of our salvation that was made perfect by what He suffered (most of that thought is from the NIV).  “Perfect” in the thinking of the Old Testament would be one who is complete.  That may cause a bump in our modern thoughts about the term perfect.

FYI – biblegateway.com has forty verses with salvation in the New Testament NIV.  I found the ordering of the word salvation in the Logos interesting because it makes a logical presentation on the topic starting in Luke and going to Revelations.

The First Direction

The first cardinal direction mentioned in the Bible is East. Genesis 2:8 has God in the east planting a garden, so He must have come from the west.  I know this is a simple thought, but directions come in pairs – west and east, and north and south.  This simple thought is also important – where is the east?  You can face the east, something can come from the east, go to the east, or be of the east.  

Many important things in the Bible face east – the Temple (especially the one in Ezekiel), the Tabernacle, and I believe the throne of God.  The etymology of the word east deals with where the light comes from and how we orient our position on earth.  Like many other things in the Bible “modern man” picks and chooses why something is important by current standards.  My example here is the direction north – we choose that to be the top of the map or the best/positive direction to go, and it gets the biggest letter on the compass.  A study of “east” in the Bible will include many things, with each bring a different significance to the table for discussion. Several examples are:

  • In Exodus, the children of Israel went east from Egypt to the Promised Land, and the east wind blew in locust, and the east wind parted the Red Sea. The locust became a plague while at the Red Sea the wind provided deliverance. 
  •  In Israel, east winds are a problem, they come in from the desert and dry the land out.
  • The camp around the Tabernacle was laid out with an east/west axis as its prominent feature.  The position of a tribe around the Ark showed birthrights and importance.  I started a study of that in the post – Marching Order.
  • The Christmas star and the Magi also bring east into the discussion.  The star “was in” or “it rose in” the east which joins it to Jesus in many ways.  The Magi came from the east to worship the newborn King.
  • Scripture shows several west to east movements – God to the Garden, Israel leaving Egypt going to the Promised Land, and Jesus, as a young boy, returning to Nazareth. 

An important feature of the east/west axis is the light.  Starting with Genesis 2 we see the metaphor of west (darkness) and going to the east (light).  (No, there is not a problem with the west and it is not a negative “area”.  The little cloud that Elijah’s servant saw would have come from the west – it ended the drought.  In Israel most rain showers come from west or northwest.)  God started in the west heading to the light to plant the Garden.  The two trees in the center of that Garden can carry a dark/light context.  Knowledge of good and evil led to darkness while the tree of life would have led to the light.  Like the study of numbers, the study of directions can add much to your Bible reading, but be sure you are looking EAST.  

Earthquakes in the Bible 

This post, Earthquakes in the Bible, grew out of my study of Amos. I took a look at the faults and volcanoes in the area and will mention several of the “major” quakes in the Bible. If you want to do your own study and are using a Bible app search tool, adding these terms will increase your hits. I used the NIV-earthquake, quake, earth open, shook, shake, melt, trembled, split, and mountain moving. 

A little science first. (Names have been an interesting problem and are different depending on what map you look at.) The main crack in the crust is called the Levant Fault and seems to follow the Jordan River. There are many smaller faults on the east and west sides of the Levant. This fault line is a border between the Arabian Plate (east) and the plate under the Mediterranean Sea (west). This is a transform fault (it moves laterally). The Arabian Plate also has a divergent line (spreads apart) in the Red Sea, and a convergent zone (comes together or is pushing into or under another plate) that runs through the Arabian or Persian Gulf. The divergent zone is associated with the fault that runs through the eastern side of Africa. Earthquakes in this region are numerous and would not have been anything new to the people of the Bible. There are also several volcanoes in the area, though none seem to have erupted in the last four thousand years.  

Korah, Dathan, and Abiram 

Numbers 16: 30 is the story of a rebellion against God and Moses. God stops it by removing the conspirators. For the location, this was on the east side of the Jordan and Dead Sea. “The earth opening up and swallowing” is something that can happen during a quake. Korah was a Levite and Dathan, and Abiram is from Ruben. In the layout of the camp around the Tabernacle, these two families/groups would have been next to each other in the heart of the camp on the south side. This just adds an extra level to the story, for me; God opened that hole in the middle of a busy “city” and did not harm anyone else. This power and judgment were talked about for a long time, it made a “second-level” telling in Psalm 106:17.  

Elijah also records a specific earthquake in 1 Kings 19:12. The man of God, was about to meet his Lord in a one-on-one encounter. I have heard it preached many ways, but I do not think God was pleased with Elijah being in that cave. This meeting has some parallels with Moses on the mountain when God came to him. God’s entrance also has wind and fire. When you study other mentions of quakes; severe weather, storms, landslides, and violent waves are talked about several times. 

Amos 1:1 tells of a quake that occurred during the reign of Uzziah. Zechariah uses that earthquake to tell a future quake that will happen when the Messiah returns and touches the Mount of Olives. Isaiah has many references to earthquakes (I counted 6x), the references in Isaiah 5:25 and 29:6 could be speaking of the one mentioned by Amos. The one in Isaiah 29 has thunder, great noise, windstorms, and fire, it may also talk of the one I mentioned in Zachariah and/or the quake in Revelations 16. 

Matthew tells of a quake and its aftershock in chapters 27 and 28 that occurred during the Passover when Jesus was sacrificed and reborn. The first quake occurred when Jesus breathed His last breath (verses 50-54). The thick curtain in the Temple was torn revealing the empty Holy of Holies and tombs around Jerusalem were opened. The timing convinced the centurion and soldiers that Jesus was the Son of God. The aftershock was provided by an angel who rolled the sealing stone out of the way, so the women could not find the body.  

There is a movie/documentary called the Crucifixion Quake. I saw three strands in this movie. The main strand was a geologist trying to find evidence of the earthquake talked about by Matthew, he did. He used fieldwork, lab work, and some impressive studying of ancient text to confirm that the quake actually happened. Strand two was a priest and several scientists that supported the Bible and the Christian beliefs of this quake and other events of that day. Strand three had a New Age pundit and several “New Testament experts” that did not believe Matthew’s account or spun the story to neutralize Jesus and that day. Okay, I did a lot of fast-forwarding because strand three was giving me a headache. I may try watching it again and doing a better review, but.   

In my study I used this link for the word seismos. σεισμός | billmounce.com 

Luke records a specific earthquake that set Paul and Silas free from chains and helped to get the jailor and his family saved. Philippi is far removed from the Levant but is no stranger to fault lines, earthquakes, and volcanoes. 

Metaphors, Prophecy, and Quakes 

Many writers talk about earthquakes in the Bible. Jerusalem and the Land are the epicenter of these really and predicted quakes. There are several references to the hills and mountains melting like wax. Of course our modern minds go to lava. But active volcanoes near the Holy Land are few, so may I suggest that a landslide or rockslide could be described like that. 

  • Debroah-Judges 5: 4+5 
  • Micah 1:4 
  • Nahum 1:5  
  • Jesus – Matthew 24:7, Mark 13, and Luke 21 
  • David – Psalm 68:8 this echoes Deborah, Psalm 18:7, 2 Samuel 22:8 
  • Moses – Psalm 97: 5 (I think he wrote this psalm) 
  • Asaph and the sons of Korah – Psalm 77:18, 75: 3, 46: 3  
  • Isaiah14:16 (a reference to Satan); 29:6; 5:25; 24:18,19; 42:15; 45:8 
  • Zechariah 14:4,5 
  • Ezekiel 38:19 
  • John – Revelations 16:18,19; chapters 6, 8, and 11 also reference earthquakes 

Seismos is a Greek word that references more than earthquakes. What other events does it talk about? 

Many of the earthquakes mentioned by the prophets talk about a great earthquake that will happen on the “Day” of His return. This may not be all of the references to earthquakes in the Bible, but it should get you started in your studies. 

Book Three in Psalms 

“Book Three in Psalms” may be a new concept for some people depending on your personal Bible and the translation you read. At some point in the distant past someone gathered psalms and organized them into five separate books (It may have been under King David’s watch and could have been his praise team.) There are theories that the five books shadow the Five Books of Moses. I personally have been exploring this idea by trying to match the content of the books in Psalms by content, ideas, or themes with what is in the books of Moses. I am still working on that.  

Book Three (# 73 to 89) is an easy match on one level. Leviticus contains many of the 613 laws you always hear about, but it is for the Levites (priests) to do their ministry. I will take a different approach in my matching. Most of the psalms in Book Three are attributed to Asaph, followed by the sons of Korah, then individually named Levities. Psalm 86 begins with “A prayer of David” and is the only psalm written by a non-Levite. Please see my Sons of Korah post here on WordPress. Asaph and Korah are descended from Levi, thus the association. 

An idea I am still working with is many of these psalms carry the thought in 74:1, “Why have You rejected us”. Psalm 74 does not place well in the life of David, so I am not sure why this idea is repeated several times in this collection of Psalms. I know that there are scholars who think there may have been two Asaphs. One is with David and the other one is after Jeremiah, but I have not found the second one in the Scriptures. I have no doubt that he may have existed because repeating names within a family was/is a big deal. (PS, I like and use the NIV.) This thought of rejection may come from the sin/judgments mentioned in Deuteronomy 28: 15 – 68; it could be a reminder to follow the Law. 

Because the sons of Korah are musicians (and gatekeepers), it is not surprising that many psalms in Book Three have titles with directions for who and how they are to be played. Terms like maskil and selah are unknown to us today but were important then. Psalm 75 is a “cover” for another tune, probably with words, but it does say “tune”. 

David’s music team in 1 Chronicles 15: 19, Heman, Asaph, and Ethan have several jobs and are highlighted to play certain instruments. There are other names like Jeduthun that appear as leaders; a study to hunt them down in Scripture is always good.   

My study to link the Five Books of Psalms with the Five Books of Moses is on-going but Book Three is a nice start for me.