Psalm 80

I have been looking at the names that describe God so as I read Psalm 80 it’s three repeating verses caught my eye. The verses are #3,7 and 19; the verses add a name of God each time it repeats and part of my study was to look at body parts and it talks about the face of God.

The three names that are added are:

1. God – Elohim it means great or mighty one

2. Almighty – Saba focus on power to conquer or means commander of the army (host)

3. Lord – Yahweh implies a personal covenant relationship of the true God

Different translations handle these verses differently so checking several will be a good study. (I used the NIV.) I did a definition study of the other words in the verse and a loose translation without the names would be:  Physical bring us back O (different names) establish favorable circumstances as a sign of favor so that we can be rescued from earthly enemies.

If you now read the verse adding the definitions for the names it really adds a new depth to the verse.

I like how Asaph added another name as the Psalm proceeded. Now there are three other sets of names in Psalm 80 the first is “Shepherd of Israel” and then in verse 4 and 14 and these are combinations of Lord, God and Almighty; if numerology interest you that is six times names of God are used and a total of twelve individual uses.

Asaph starts the Psalm by calling on the Shepherd of Israel who led Joseph.  I like that title – Shepherd of Israel.  I read several ideas about why he would start off with Joseph and then mention Ephraim, Benjamin and Manasseh so know that you will find many ideas. So here is mine; Joseph is actually the “first born heir” which was an important position in a Hebrew family.  Benjamin was his brother by the same mother and Ephraim and Manasseh are his children; that would make them Rachel’s (the “loved wife”) children. Jacob was making Joseph the “ruler” of the family when the brothers got rid of him. One sign of this was the coat of many colors. He actually was a first-born son just not the first-born son but Reuben lost the birthright of the first-born (Genesis 35:22).

Here are a few other “nuggets” that I found in doing this study.

  1. “Restore” carries the idea of return or repent; it is different from the New Testament “repent” or metanoia. Metanoia is a mental change while shoob or restore usually refers to a physical return.
  2. The word for face is paneh which comes from panah; it means to turn or look. Another word is paniym and it refers to the “face bread” or shewbread that was put into the Tabernacle.  They did not have a physical image of God but they had the bread. I am not an etymologist so I do not know if they are related but the Spanish word for bread is pan.
  3. I read in my Bible Glow app; that the psalms in Book 1 (#1-41) more often use Yahweh (the Lord) and Book 2 (#42-72) uses Elohim (God) more often, there is no apparent reason for this grouping.
  4. A little background – this is in the Third Book of Psalms and most of these are attributed to Asaph (means gather or collector). He was a Levite and part of King David’s praise team.

I used my Strong’s Concordance with Vines Dictionary as a reference book. pic of bread from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Challah

The Number 10

After I wrote the Number 13 blog someone asked about the number 10. Things happened and I lost the comment without replying. So here is an answer.

Ten is a complete number; it shares that title with several other numbers according to my Bible dictionary. That may be why there were ten specific commands written on Moses’ tablets.  It is also a natural number – ten fingers. Now if you put those two ideas together it is a great training aid; one command for each finger.

The other number tens that I always think of are in the Book of Revelations and are connected with the Beast-ten horns/kings in Revelation 17:10.

Waiting on God

Isaiah 40: 27 – 31. This is a great Bible verse and people will frequently turn to this passage when they are tired and not sure they can go on.  We focus on verse 30 and 31 and seldom read it in context; we read #31 and start to hope so we can get strength.  I also have done this but one day I started looking up some key words; I don’t think what I found changes the reality of the verse but it changes where we should put our emphasis.

One thing that I always suggest in studying any verse is to look at it in different translations and look it up in a concordance so you get the meaning of the words in their original usage.  For this study I used the King James, so I looked in my Strong’s Concordance that, has the Vine’s Dictionary incorporated into it.

I feel that it is God speaking here and in verse 27 scolds and comforts by asking,” Why do you think I may ignoring your cries.” In 28 He reminds us that He is not the problem and in 29 states He is always ready to help us. But verse 31 is where I got a whole new meaning in this passage. Hope, here is and can be translated “wait” and renew does not carry the English meaning I thought it would.  Renew is chalaph in Hebrew and it carries the meaning of letting something “slide by or hasten away or change.”  One concordance even suggested the idea of losing something.

I always thought I would get my strength boosted; instead it seems that I will get rid of my strength and get NEW strength – God’s strength. Then we can soar like an eagle.

Isa 40:27 Why do you say, O Jacob, and complain, O Israel, “My way is hidden from the LORD; my cause is disregarded by my God”?

Isa 40:28 Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.

Isa 40:29 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.

Isa 40:30 Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;

Isa 40:31 but those who hope (wait) in the LORD will renew (lose, hasten away, change) their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (NIV)

Another interesting numerological idea about Isaiah 40 is that if you look at Isaiah as having 66 chapters like the Bible has 66 books then chapter 40 relates to the beginning of the New Testament and it is the chapter that transitions to the hopeful part of Isaiah.

The Holy Bible, New International Version®. Pradis CD-ROM:Isa 40:27. Grand Rapids: The Zondervan Corporation, © 1973, 1978, 1984.

The Number Thirteen in the Bible

Numerology is part of studying the Bible; there are certain numbers that have been assigned certain meanings.  Three, seven, six, twelve, eight and forty are just a few numbers that most Christians will be able to give you as having an important significance in the Bible. Three is a “God” number for the three persons of the Trinity.  Seven represents completeness from the seven days of the week. Six is the number of man this comes from the fact that we were made on the sixth day and the number 666 from the Book of Revelation.  Twelve represents government as shown by the twelve disciples and the number of the tribes of Israel (the sons of Jacob). Forty is the number testing or trail as shown in the years spent by Israel in the wilderness and the length of days Jesus was tested after He received the Holy Spirit. Eight is the number of new beginnings given that the eight day of Creation started a new week.  The number fourteen is also an interesting study if you would like to see mine you may click this address https://ificouldteachthebible.wordpress.com/2013/07/21/the-number-fourteen-in-the-bible/  A study of the number fifteen is available at Cleaning Up to Celebrate.

A study on the number twenty is available at The Number Twenty in the Bible

Unfortunately, people and Christians in particular start to focus on the number instead of the God of the numbers. So we get people with triskaidekaphobia which is the fear of the number thirteen. Beliefs about this number are varied and separating fact from fiction is about impossible. Some early ideas on this number and its “significance” to bring bad luck are hinged on the assumption that there were only 13 people at the Last Supper and that Jesus died on a Friday the 13th. (World Book Encyclopedia)

I would like to offer a different look at the number 13 from a Biblical perspective. I already know that this does not fit into most numerological frameworks but I will ask you to follow through my reasons and then you make up your mind.  I will show that a possible meaning for the number thirteen is the signal for the “start of or the beginning of something new.”  I am not trying to mix this with the number eight in any way.

These are a few of the instances that there is thirteen of something and each of these represent the “start of a new thing.”

1. In Genesis 17:25 Ishmael is circumcised at the age of thirteen which is when God made the promise to Abraham; this contrast with Isaac being circumcised at eight days old.

2. 1 Kings 7:1 Solomon took 13 years to complete his palace.

3. Genesis 14: 4 Sodom rebelled after 13 years of servitude to Chedorlaomer king of Elam (Babylon) and Abraham rescued Lot.  This brought on Melchizedek’s blessing and Abraham’s covenant with God.

4. Esther 3: 12 Haman had orders written on the 13 day of the first month about the 13 day of last month to kill all Jews.  They have to defend themselves and so put an end to the threats of Haman the Agagite an Amalekite and a new time of freedom for the Jews.

5. Jeremiah starts his ministry in the 13th year of Josiah (Jeremiah 1:2).  Josiah had started purifying the land in his 12th year of being a king.  Jeremiah may have been 13 years old when his ministry started.  The term for his age shows a child up to the age of becoming a young man.

6. Joseph was 17 years old when he was taken as a slave. He was 30 when Pharaoh put him in charge of Egypt (13 years). Genesis 37:2 to 41:46.

7. The Children of Israel went around Jericho 13 times before they yelled and the walls fell down.

There are many more “13’s” in the Bible but I hope you get my point about it showing a “new start.”

My personal feeling about thirteen/Friday the 13 and other lucky things is summed up in this: It is bad luck to be superstitious!  ← (This is another post in my blog.)

So I look at it this way.

 Number 13

graphic by Ryan Johanningmeier

http://about.me/ryanjo