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Wednesday, January 04, 2006

How Socrates taught Grasshopper to think Hebrew

Genesis 10. Geneology city. Boring, right? Well, if you glossed over it, then you missed something really cool. Moses was inspired to tell us who begat whom from Noah’s sons. Right?

“Yes, but why is this important?”

Did you see the part that said of Japheth’s family: “From these the coastlands of the nations were separated into their lands, every one according to his language, according to their families, into their nations.”[1]

"Yes, but . . ."

And, “These are the sons of Ham, according to their families, according to their languages, by their lands, by their nations.”[2]

"Yes, but . . ."

And, “These are the sons of Shem, according to their families, according to their languages, by their lands, according to their nations.”[3]

"Yes . . ."

Then finally, “These are the families of the sons of Noah, according to their genealogies, by their nations; and aout of these the nations were separated on the earth after the flood”.[4]
Didja read Genesis 11:1? “Now the whole earth used the same language and the same words”.

“Genesis 10 says that everybody spread out into their lands according to their families and languages, but Genesis 11 says the whole earth used the same language.”

Right.

“What does that mean? Is the Bible wrong? Is this one of those places where the Bible contradicts itself?”

Hardly. This is where we need to remember that all literature is not the same. See, we read linearly, from right to left, from start to finish. That’s the way we think. The Hebrew mind (the original audience) does not think like that, thus, they did not write like that. They use (for the sake of imagery) overlapping ideas.

Remember Genesis 1? Verse 1 is the story the writer wants to tell. Verses 2-2:3 is the story itself. 2:4 is the story he just told. Now that you understand this, he is going to zero in on one particular part of the story you now know and expand on it.

Genesis 2:5 is the retelling of the same story with a sharper focus. 2:5 starts in Day 5 of creation and he is going to give the details of one event in Day 6 (the creation of man) in the rest of the chapter. End of story.

Now that you understand all this, Chapter 3 tells what happened to man. Chapter 4 describes what happened as a result of what happened in Chapter 3. Following me?

“Cha!”

Chapter 5 starts back in Day 6 of creation and fast-forwards to the next significant events in history.

“Cool!”

Flip back to Chapters 10 and 11.

“(crinkle, crinkle)”

Chapter 11:1-9 tells how the divisions of Chapter 10 came to be, how the people were divided according to their families, nations and language.

“Awesome!”

Now that you understand this, you can go ahead and read about Abram, starting with his family line in 11:10 and following.

“I have a question, what’s the lesson in all this? What does God want me to learn?”

Remember that God promised that He was going to put an enmity between the serpent and the woman, raise up a seed (Gen 3:15). Biblical history shows how desperately man’s sinful activity needs God's remedy for the situation. But also see how God’s activity is threatened and that God, no matter what, is going to see that His purpose comes to pass. When I look at the text so far I see God doing a number of things such as the way He sees the wicked and He sees the righteous, how He judges and saves, how He uses one person to do His work (preposterous, is it not?), and how He keeps His promises and makes even more.

Again, we are being given a look into things that we should not be able to see, though, we are being prepared for what is coming by given things that get us accustomed to the idea.

What does salvation look like? Look at Noah.

What do the wages of sin look like? Look around Noah.

What do God’s promises entail? Listen—“spread out, I want to do something.” Man screwed it up by taking matters into his own hands and God said, “SPREAD OUT!” and by confusing the languages He preserves the name He made for Himself.

“Do think this is why Abram was a descendent Shem, because in Hebrew, doesn’t “shem” mean, “name”?”

Ahhhhh, yes. Grasshopper learn very quickly.

************
[1]New American Standard Bible : 1995 Update, Ge 10:5. LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995.
[2]New American Standard Bible : 1995 Update, Ge 10:20. LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995.
[3]New American Standard Bible : 1995 Update, Ge 10:31. LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995.
a Gen 9:19
[4]New American Standard Bible : 1995 Update, Ge 10:32. LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995.

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