Tuesday, July 05, 2022

Amnon and Selfish Desire (Modified Talk)

Due to imperfection, we all have a tendency to be selfish or to look out for ourselves to an excessive degree (Proverbs 27:20). If we don't control our selfish desires and safeguard our figurative hearts, the outcome could be dire (Proverbs 4:23; James 1:13-15). The biblical account regarding Amnon illustrates the danger of not controlling our improper desires. King David's son did not safeguard his heart, he did not get the mastery over himself, and the consequences were drastic.

If you would turn in your Bible to 2 Samuel 13:1-2, let's read about Amnon's selfish desire.

Amnon "fell in love" with his beautiful half-sister Tamar, but this love was erotic and improper, not wholesome. It was perverse. He also was infatuated with Tamar; Amnon's so-called love for her actually was a form of selfishness. Amnon longed for Tamar so much that he became lovesick. However, what did this selfish attitude produce?

Read 2 Samuel 13:10-15

What bad consequences did Amnon's selfishness bring about? He wound up raping or sexually violating Tamar, and he humiliated her by committing this disgraceful act of violence against his half sister. As Tamar said, such a thing was not done in Israel, nor should it have been done; furthermore, not only was Tamar humiliated, but so was Amnon as he performed a forbidden incestuous act. Yet there were more consequences that he would face.

Read 2 Samuel 13:28-29

About two years went by, then Absalom (Tamar's full brother) arranged for a feast. He invited David's sons and even King David himself, but the king decided not to attend. However, Amnon attended the feast, and when his heart "was in a merry mood" from the wine, Absalom had his servants to slay Amnon. The other sons of David returned to Jerusalem, but Absalom fled into exile to stay with his Syrian grandfather. The foretold "sword" of 2 Samuel 12:10 now took effect: David would have family trouble and civil conflict for the rest of his life (internecine warfare). Yet an important lesson we learn from Amnon is the need to safeguard our heart, and resist selfish desires. If we let selfishness predominate, the outcome will be dire.

[Discuss the image]

Closing question and comments:

Couples currently dating can avoid sad consequences if they meet in public places, with other people, and have chaperones.


Sunday, July 03, 2022

2 Samuel 13:1, 15 (LXX) and the Use of ἠγάπησεν

2 Samuel 13:1 (LXX): καὶ ἐγενήθη μετὰ ταῦτα καὶ τῷ Αβεσσαλωμ υἱῷ Δαυιδ ἀδελφὴ καλὴ τῷ εἴδει σφόδρα καὶ ὄνομα αὐτῇ Θημαρ καὶ ἠγάπησεν G25 αὐτὴν Αμνων υἱὸς Δαυιδ

2 Samuel 13:15 (LXX): καὶ ἐμίσησεν αὐτὴν Αμνων μῗσος μέγα σφόδρα ὅτι μέγα τὸ μῗσος ἐμίσησεν αὐτήν ὑπὲρ τὴν ἀγάπην ἣν ἠγάπησεν G25 αὐτήν καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῇ Αμνων ἀνάστηθι καὶ πορεύου

Compare Genesis 29:20; 24:67; Hosea 12:7; Ezekiel 16:37; John 3:16; 2 Timothy 4:10.

It's long fascinated me how 2 Samuel uses a verbal form of agape instead of using eros to describe the way that Amnon felt toward Tamar. Why employ
ἠγάπησεν?

I don't think LSJ fully touches on this question, but after discussing LXX occurrences of agapao, the lexicon states the following:

:—seldom of sexual love, for ἐράω, Arist.Fr.76, Luc.JTr.2; ἀγαπάω ἑταίραν Anaxil.22.1 (but ἀγαπάω ἑταίρας = to be fond of hetairai, X.Mem.1.5.4; ἐρωτικὴν μέμψιν ἡ ἀγαπωμένη λύει dub. in Democr.271):—of brotherly love, Ev.Matt.5.43, al.
See https://foundinantiquity.com/2013/08/17/greek-words-for-love-in-context/comment-page-1/

https://jamesbradfordpate.wordpress.com/2012/02/02/carson-on-agape-and-some-word-fallacies/

From the Greek-English Lexicon of the Septuagint by T. Muraoka, page 3 (Entry for
ἀγαπάω):

Friday, July 01, 2022

Words of the Month (July 2022)

My words for this month are Greek and English.

1.
Greek word, παράκλητος:

D.A. Carson (The Farewell Discourse and Final Prayer of Jesus) Commenting on John 14:

"This is the first of several passages in the Farewell Discourse that discuss the Holy Spirit; and all of them refer to him as the Paraclete (14:15–21, 25–27; 15:26–27; 16:7–15). The word Paraclete is a rough transliteration of the Greek word parakelētos, variously translated 'Comforter,' 'Counselor,' 'Advocate,' 'Helper.' ”

Later in the book, Carson explains that "
a Paraclete may be a legal advisor or counselor, or perhaps on occasion a prosecuting attorney. This legal usage of the term predominates in extrabiblical literature."

For more information, see https://lsj.gr/wiki/paracletus


2. One website lists thirty occurrences of the English word "oblation" in the KJV. For instance, "All the oblation shall be five and twenty thousand by five and twenty thousand: ye shall offer the holy oblation foursquare, with the possession of the city" (Ezekiel 48:20).

The Phrontistery gives this definition for oblation: "act of offering; a sacrifice; anything offered in worship."

See https://phrontistery.info/o.html

NWT 2013: “The whole contribution is 25,000 cubits square. You should set it aside as the holy contribution along with the possession of the city."

NET:
"The whole allotment will be 8¼ miles[a] square; you must set apart the holy allotment with the possession of the city."

Ftn:
tn Heb “25,000 cubits” (i.e., 13.125 kilometers).

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Psalm 55:22: A Discussion in the Light of Brueggemann's and Bellinger's Commentary

ASV: "Cast thy burden upon Jehovah, and he will sustain thee: He will never suffer the righteous to be moved."

The NET Bible states that the Hebrew word translated "burden" (
yehab) appears in the Hebrew Bible only in this verse; the singular pronoun "thee" (i.e., you) within the expression yə-ḵal-kə-le-ā indicates the psalmist was addressing his audience as individuals. While that may be true, one thing I'd like to do is explore a suggestion I once read about Psalm 55, namely, how David could have been addressing himself--he might have been reminding himself of the need to rely on Jehovah. Moreover, when we consider the setting for this psalm, it might illuminate David's reason for penning these words.

Psalm 55 is addressed to the leader with stringed instruments: the superscription describes the song as a "maskil of David" (possibly involving "complex antiphony"). Walter Brueggemann and William H. Bellinger, Jr. explain that readers encounter the traditional cadences of lamentation and complaint within this psalm (New Cambridge Bible Commentary on Psalms, page 250). Not every point that Brueggemann/Bellinger make salient pertains to this blog entry, but it's worth mentioning three prominent motifs contained in Psalm 55: the discourse of complaint, the language of petition to YHWH (Jehovah), and assurance language from the writer (David).

Brueggemann/Bellinger takes note of David's "candor" and use of hyperbole in Psalm 55 (page 251). The psalm is a personal prayer, but it's written such that others may rightly appropriate the words as their own. See Romans 8:26-27.

One thing that truly depresses David is that his intimate friend has betrayed him (Psalm 55:12-14). The friend practiced deception and used rank trickery to deceive David: this friend turns out to be
Ahithophel, the king's trusted counselor. The hurt that David expresses in this psalm is palpable, heartrending, and poignant. Brueggemann/Bellinger insists that the song contains retaliatory language so that the writer wishes YHWH (Jehovah) would act to bring eternal harm on his former friend (Psalm 55:15). No doubt David felt great anger, and maybe he wanted God to retaliate against his new enemy, but I'm not sure if retaliate is the right word to describe his wishes.

Despite painful experiences and the use of potentially imprecatory language, David concludes Psalm 55 on a high note--he displays trust in Jehovah, and he instructs others to place their trust in the living God (Ibid.). See Psalm 55:22-23. Although it's grammatically clear that David is addressing others and teaching them via this psalm, I still find the idea that he is reminding himself to throw his burdens on YHWH, a plausible suggestion.

Nancy L. deClaissé-Walford (The Book of Psalms): "The one praying now offers advice directly to the audience, but not about being betrayed by a friend. Again an abrupt shift in thinking takes the audience by surprise. The speaker is now back to assurance and the certainty that God will sustain and not let the righteous fall. One wonders if the assurance is really for the audience, or is it another way of convincing the soul that God’s promises are sure? It is the heart of what the person crying out to God is depending on — it is a wish expressed as an affirmation."

See 1 Peter 5:6-7.