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Is THAT in the Bible?

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Is THAT in the Bible?

Session 1

David had how many wives?
Abigail (1 Sam. 25:39-42), Michal (2 Sam. 3:13-16), Maacah, Haggith, Abital, Eglah (2 Sam. 3:2-5), more wives and concubines (2 Sam. 5:13-15), Bathsheba (2 Sam. 11:26-27), and ten concubines (2 Sam. 15:16; 16:22; 20:3)


Solomon had how many wives?
“King Solomon loved many foreign women along with the daughter of Pharaoh: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women . . . . Among his wives were seven hundred princesses and three hundred concubines”     (1 Kings 11:1,3).”
Did Elhanan slay Goliath?
“Then there was another battle with the Philistines at Gob; and Elhanan son of Jaare-oregim, the Bethlehemite, killed Goliath the Gittite, the shaft of whose spear was like a weaver's beam”           (2 Samuel 21:19).
Compare 1 Samuel 17, where David is the valiant Israelite warrior that kills Goliath.


Was Jesus born four years before 
Christ (4 B.C.)?

“In the time of King Herod [died 4 B.C.], . . . Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea” (Matthew 2:1).
A fifth century Roman monk, Dionysius Exiguus, who was responsible for the chronological system which dates events from before or after the birth of Jesus, miscalculated the date of Herod’s death (by about four years).
Jesus was born during the reign of Herod the Great; but Herod died in 4 B.C.; therefore, Jesus was born in 4 B.C. or earlier.


A Myth in Genesis 6?
How did this find its way into the Bible?
When people began to multiply on the face of the ground, and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that they were fair; and they took wives for themselves of all that they chose.  . . . The Nephilim were on the earth in those days . . . when the sons of God went in to the daughters of humans, who bore children to them. These were the heroes that were of old, warriors of renown (Genesis 6:1-2, 4).


Why is God named YaHWeH?
The holy name YaHWeH  י ה ו ה  identifies the God of the Exodus, thus the God of Israel.
YaHWeH, according to the narrative in Exodus 3, was revealed to Moses at the burning bush.
In Hebrew the phrase I am (Y-HY-H) is similar to Y-HW-H, perhaps a traditional play on words (Exodus 3:14).
The word YaHWeH is not pronounced by Jews (Exodus 20:7); Adonai (LORD) is used instead.


Why is God named YaHWeH?
“But Moses said to God, ‘If I come to the Israelites and say to them, “The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,” and they ask me, “What is his name?” what shall I say to them?’ 14God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM.’ He said further, ‘Thus you shall say to the Israelites, “I AM has sent me to you”’” (Exodus 3:13-14) 


Isn’t henotheism an improvement?
Clarifying terms:
Polytheism = the belief in many gods
Henotheism = the worship of one God without denying the existence of other gods (YaHWeh only is to be worshiped)
Monotheism = the belief in only one God (YaHWeH, the only God); denying the existence of other gods
Is there a development here?


Isn’t henotheism an improvement?
A Development?
Hebrew belief before Moses is obscure; it is doubtful that the Hebrews were yet henotheistic
The Mosaic Ten Commandments (by about 1250 B.C.) exclude the worship of other gods, but do not deny their existence; only YaHWeH is to be worshiped.
“I am the LORD (YaHWeH)your God . . . you shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:2-3).
Monotheism (by about 540 B.C.)


So, What’s a “Heavenly Council”?
“God has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods he holds judgment . . . . I say, ‘You are gods, children of the Most High, all of you; nevertheless, you shall die like mortals, and fall like any prince’” (Psalm 82:1,6-7).
Who’s the CEO? “There is none like you among the gods, O Lord [= Yahweh], nor are there any works like yours” (Psalm 86:8). 


Is “Heavenly Council” in the Old Testament?

"Heavenly Council"

Yahweh, CEO

God A

God B

God C

God D

God E


Examples: So, What’s a “Heavenly Council”?
Then God said, ‘Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness’ (Genesis 1:26).
Then the LORD God said, ‘See, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil’ (Genesis 3:22).
Then Micaiah said, "Therefore hear the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on his throne, with all the host of heaven standing beside him to the right and to the left of him. And the LORD said, 'Who will entice Ahab, so that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?' Then one said one thing, and another said another, until a spirit came forward and stood before the LORD, saying, 'I will entice him.‘” (1 Kings 22:19-21).
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" (Isaiah 6:8)


Why did it take the prophets so long to arrive at monotheism?
If monotheism is the belief in only one God (the denial of the existence of other gods), why was it such a long road between Moses (1250 B.C.) and the prophet of the exile seven centuries later, who first proclaimed it?
Was it a steep learning curve for God, or for his people?
There were obstacles along the way:
The persistence of the “heavenly council” notion
The pervasiveness of Baal worship, to which the worship of YaHWeH had largely been assimilated (Baal and his consort Asherah were fertility figures; their union was thought to provide rain and ensure the fertility of fields, vineyards and flocks)
The people would worship YaHWeH as the God of the Exodus, and Baal for fruitful crops.


The prophet married a what?
Yes, Virginia, the prophet married a woman of ill repute: 
“The LORD said to Hosea, ‘Go, take for yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the LORD.’ 3So he went and took Gomer daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son… (Hosea 1:2-3).
She conceived again and bore [whom?] a daughter. Then the LORD said to him, "Name her Lo-ruhamah [Not Pitied], for I will no longer have pity on the house of Israel or forgive them… (Hosea 1:6).
When she had weaned Lo-ruhamah, she conceived and bore [whom?] a son. Then the LORD said, "Name him Lo-ammi [Not my people], for you are not my people and I am not your God“ (Hosea 1:8-9).
”Plead with your mother, plead-- for she is not my wife, and I am not her husband … (Hosea 2:20.
“The LORD said to me again, ‘Go, love a woman who has a lover and is an adulteress, just as the LORD loves the people of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love raisin cakes.’ 2So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and a homer of barley and a measure of wine” (Hosea 3:1-2).


1. Prophet chooses a harlot to marry
2. Wife is faithful
3. Wife, unfaithful
4. Divorce
5. Reconciliation


1. YaHWeH chooses Israel
2. Israel faithful to YaHWeH (40 years)
3. In Canaan, Israel worships the Baals
4. Israel, exiled
5. YaHWeH’s love for his people, not deserved


Why did it take the prophets so long to arrive at monotheism?
The road to monotheism led through two “gates:”
  1) the affirmation that YaHWeH was creator; he, not Baal, controlled nature (as in Elijah’s triumph against the prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel, 1 Kings 18; it is YaHWeH who brings, and then breaks, the drought)
   2) the affirmation that YaHWeH controlled history, not only in the Exodus, but as shown in bringing foreign invasion, and exile, to Babylon—and return from exile!


Click for Session 2


Is THAT in the Bible?

Revised October 18, 2003


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