A Monotonous Cycle Revisited, Part 2

Moses wrote (Genesis 3:22-24 Tanakh):

And HaShem (yehôvâh, יהוה) G-d (ʼĕlôhı̂ym, אלהים) said: ‘Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil; and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever.’  Therefore HaShem (yehôvâh, יהוה) G-d (ʼĕlôhı̂ym, אלהים) sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.  So He drove out the man; and He placed at the east of the garden of Eden the cherubim, and the flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way to the tree of life.

John wrote in the revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must happen very soon.  He made it clear by sending his angel to his servant John, who then testified to everything that he saw[1] concerning the word of God and the testimony about Jesus Christ[2] (Revelation 22:1, 2 NET):

Then the angel showed me the river[3] of the water of life – water as clear as crystal – pouring out from the throne of God and of the Lamb, flowing down the middle of the city’s main street.  On each side[4] of the river is the tree of life producing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding[5] its fruit every[6] month of the year.  Its leaves are for the healing of the nations.

Placing the cherubim and the flaming sword to keep (shâmar, לשמר; Septuagint: φυλάσσειν, a form of φυλάσσω) the way to the tree of life from Adam and Eve was never about withholding life from humanity.  Though Adam and Eve knew (yedaʽ, וידעו; Septuagint: ἔγνωσαν, a form of γινώσκω) that they were naked,[7] yehôvâh ʼĕlôhı̂ym knew what it meant when sin entered the world through one man.[8]  Consider Jesus’ teaching (John 8:31, 32 NET):

Then Jesus said to those Judeans who had believed him, “If you continue to follow my teaching, you are really my disciples and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

Jesus addressed those Judeans (KJV: Jews) who had believed him, arguably the best of the best.  Though they were hardened they were among the most spiritually cultivated (Romans 9-11) people to have walked the earth to that time, and they had begun to believe Jesus, and Jesus told them to continue to follow his teaching (μείνητε ἐν τῷ λόγῳ τῷ ἐμῷ).  Now hear with faith how He described these most spiritually cultivated people who had believed Him (John 8:44 NET):

You people are from your father[9] the devil, and you want to do what your father desires.  He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not[10] uphold the truth, because there is no truth in him.  Whenever he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, because he is a liar and the father of lies.

Spiritually cultivated they were and they had begun to believe Jesus but they were not yet born from above, not yet led by the Spirit of God, not yet the sons of God: For all who are led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God.[11]  No one born of Adam, whether confessing some sin or not, wants to hear, you people are from your father the devil, or you want (θέλετε, a form of θέλω) to do what your father desires (ἐπιθυμίας, a form of ἐπιθυμία).  But I’ll consider the story of Abel, a keeper of sheep and his elder brother Cain, a tiller of the ground in this light (Genesis 4:2b-5 Tanakh).

And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto HaShem.  And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof.  And HaShem had respect unto Abel and to his offering; but unto Cain and to his offering He had not respect.  And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.

It seems that Cain got the bright idea to bring yehôvâh an offering.  His little brother Abel just tagged along.  Each brought the fruit of his labor.  Who does yehôvâh think he is, discriminating this way between them?  After all, it’s the thought that counts![12]  That, by the way, was not my thought.

Oh, I wrote it.  Yes, I heard the thought in my mind.  But by faith I no longer recognize such thoughts as me (Galatians 2:20, 21) or mine.  I recognize—again, by faith in the word of God—that there is something in me—call it what you will, sin in the flesh, the old man—something that hates yehôvâh, everything He says, everything He does.  He can do nothing right.  Paul described this phenomenon in his letter to believers in Rome (Romans 7:21-25 NET Table1 Table2).

So, I find the law that when I want to do good (καλόν, a form of καλός), evil (κακὸν, a form of κακός) is present with me.  For I delight in the law of God in my inner being (ἄνθρωπον, a form of ἄνθρωπος).  But I see a different law in my members waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that is in my members.  Wretched man (ἄνθρωπος) that I am!  Who will rescue me from this body of death?  Thanks[13] be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!  So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.

Then the Lord (yehôvâh, יהוה) said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why is your expression downcast?[14]  I’ve approached the next verse incidentally, tangentially, judgmentally and, curiously enough in retrospect, lawfully in other essays.  Here, I wanted to approach it directly.

Genesis 4:7 (Tanakh)

Genesis 4:7 (NET)

If thou doest well, shall it not be lifted up? and if thou doest not well, sin coucheth at the door; and unto thee is its desire, but thou mayest rule over it.’ Is it not true that if you do what is right, you will be fine?  But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at the door.  It desires to dominate you, but you must subdue it.”

Another version of the Tanakh reads: Is it not so that if you improve, it will be forgiven you?  If you do not improve, however, at the entrance, sin is lying, and to you is its longing, but you can rule over it.[15]  In another essay I wrote, “you must subdue it looks and sounds to me like a religious mind trying to turn a word into a law long before the law was given.”  That wasn’t quite fair.

Hebrew Tanakh (Jewish Virtual Library) Tanakh (Chabad.org)

NET

לפתח (pethach) at the door at the entrance at the door
חטאת (chaṭṭâʼâh) sin sin sin
רבץ (râbats) coucheth is lying is crouching
ואליך (ʼêl) and unto thee and to you to dominate you
תשוקתו (teshûqâh) is its desire is its longing It desires
ואתה (ʼattâh) but thou but you but you
תמשל (mâshal) mayest rule can rule must subdue
בו (bōw)[16] over it over it it

I was surprised that תמשל (mâshal)—translated mayest rule, can rule (Tanakh), must subdue (NET), BibleHub.com offers should rule—was so uncertain.  It makes sense to me that knowing good and evil makes each of us individually responsible for choosing good, but mayest rule and especially can rule imply the ability to do so as well.  Struggling with this I perused the commentariesAlexander MacLaren pointed out the similarity here to what yehôvâh had said to Eve after she had led Adam astray (Genesis 3:1-6): and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.[17]

Hebrew

Tanakh (Jewish Virtual Library) Tanakh (Chabad.org)

NET

ואל (ʼêl) and…to And to to control
אישך (ʼı̂ysh) thy husband your husband your husband
תשוקתך (teshûqâh) thy desire shall be will be your desire You will want
והוא (hûʼ) and he and he but he
ימשל (mâshal) shall rule will rule will dominate
בך (bāḵ)[18] over thee over you you

There was no equivocation here, no wiggle room in the translation of ימשל (mâshal).  Surely man’s experience ruling over a wife has been at least as perplexing as ruling over sin.  Of course, male Bible expositors present the latter part of yehôvâh’s word to Eve as a rule for women to obey.  I haven’t heard the latter part of his word to Cain abstracted that way.   The translations divide here along party lines: those who have accepted Jesus as the Christ hear responsibility (must subdue, should rule), those who have not hear a promise of ability (mayest rule, can rule).

I thought at first that the rabbis who translated the Septuagint eschewed any personification of sin lying, crouching, desiring or longing.

Genesis 4:7 (Septuagint BLB)

Genesis 4:7 (Septuagint Elpenor)

οὐκ ἐὰν ὀρθῶς προσενέγκῃς ὀρθῶς δὲ μὴ διέλῃς ἥμαρτες ἡσύχασον πρὸς σὲ ἡ ἀποστροφὴ αὐτοῦ καὶ σὺ ἄρξεις αὐτοῦ οὐκ ἐὰν ὀρθῶς προσενέγκῃς, ὀρθῶς δὲ μὴ διέλῃς, ἥμαρτες; ἡσύχασον· πρὸς σὲ ἡ ἀποστροφὴ αὐτοῦ, καὶ σὺ ἄρξεις αὐτοῦ.

Genesis 4:7 (NETS)

Genesis 4:7 (English Elpenor)

If you offer correctly but do not divide correctly, have you not sinned?  Be still; his recourse is to you, and you will rule over him.” Hast thou not sinned if thou hast brought it rightly, but not rightly divided it? be still, to thee shall be his submission, and thou shalt rule over him.

I had rejected the Septuagint here because it seemed to refer back to AbelCharles Ellicott offered a similar interpretation in his commentary:

“At present thou art vexed and envious because thy younger brother is rich and prosperous, while thy tillage yields thee but scanty returns.  Do well, and the Divine blessing will rest on thee, and thou wilt recover thy rights of primogeniture, and thy brother will look up to thee in loving obedience.”

I can’t assume that Abel was “rich and prosperous” while Cain’s “tillage yields…but scanty returns,” or that yehôvâh was concerned with Cain’s “rights of primogeniture” from what is written in the text.  I’ve assumed that HaShem had respect unto Abel and to his offering because yehôvâh foreknew that a Passover lamb would become important to his people rather than a Passover kumquat.  (No, I have no idea what kind of produce Cain offered Him.)  But if I consider now that the referent of his and him was sin rather than Abel, I get a different picture.

The rabbis understood רבץ (râbats) as an imperative ἡσύχασον (Be still) directed to Cain rather than as a description of sin lying or crouching.  Had Cain believed yehôvâh’s command to be still, he would have realized yehôvâh’s promise—you will rule (NETS), thou shalt rule (Elpenor) over sin—without equivocation.  I called this “yehôvâh at his most aloof,”[19] relative to the time and attention He lavishes on me.  (The philosophical bent of my mind still longs for a thousand page discourse where yehôvâh sits down with Cain and explains his understanding of sin, righteousness and redemption.)  Be still as yehôvâh’s command to Cain reminds me of Peter (Matthew 14:28 NET).

Peter said to [Jesus], “Lord, if it is you, order me to come to you on the water.”

Here is an example of what I meant by the spiritual cultivation of Israel.  Peter wasn’t a priest, a scribe or a religious professional of any sort.  He was a fisherman.  But he believed that if Jesus the Christ ordered or commanded him to come to Him on the water it would be so.  But this is probably too facile an explanation.  Peter’s lack of religious sophistication may have enhanced his spiritual cultivation.  Of his more religiously sophisticated (Philippians 3:5-7) brethren, Paul wrote (Romans 10:2, 3; 9:31, 32 NET Table):

…I can testify that [my fellow Israelites] are zealous for God, but their zeal is not in line with the truth (ἐπίγνωσιν, a form of ἐπίγνωσις).  For ignoring the righteousness that comes from God, and seeking instead to establish their own righteousness, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.

Israel even though pursuing a law of righteousness did not attain it.[20]  Why not?  Because they pursued it not by faith but (as if it were possible) by works.[21]  They stumbled over the stumbling stone…

In my zeal for God,[22] Paul wrote of his own religious sophistication, I persecuted the church.[23]

I wondered if be still here had any relationship to, Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.[24]  But the Hebrew word translated Be still there was הרפו (râphâh), translated σχολάσατε (a form of σχολάζω) in the Septuagint.  As I contemplated the definition of σχολάζω in the Greek Lexicon online I was lifted out of the weeds, so to speak, fussing over the meaning of word strings in the Bible, and into that eternal life of knowing the only true God, and Jesus Christ.  The definition of σχολάζω reads:

to devote oneself; to have leisure; to devote, have spare time, be at leisure, take a vacation; to take it easy; to have time to be busy with one’s interests apart from work; to take time to devote to study

This accurately describes the life I’ve received from Him, received in that same active sense that Jesus’ disciples accepted the words He gave them.  And, yes, σχολάσατε is an active form of σχολάζω.  This active stillness is how I pursue (ζητεῖτε, a form of ζητέω) his kingdom and righteousness: But above all, Jesus commanded, pursue his kingdom and righteousness, and all these things [food, drink, clothing] will be given to you as well.[25]  The definition of ζητέω in the Greek Lexicon online reads:

to seek, search, look for; to inquire, investigate, examine, consider, deliberate; to try to obtain, desire to possess; to strive for, aim for, desire, wish; to ask for, request, demand (something); to claim (as entitlement); to appeal to someone for guidance

Back again in the weeds, the rabbis who translated the Septuagint offered no Greek counterpart for לפתח (pethach; translated at the door, at the entrance [Tanakh], at the door [NET]).  Why would they ignore לפתח (pethach) before Jesus was revealed to Israel?  Why would Masoretes add it afterward?  Frankly, I can’t imagine any plausible scenarios at the moment.  So as far as understanding what yehôvâh said to Cain, I’m more uncertain now than when I began this study.  I have, however, encountered many provocative ideas ripe for further study.  And what He said hardly mattered to the narrative.  Cain ignored it (Genesis 4:8 Tanakh).

And Cain spoke unto Abel his brother.  And it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.[26]

Cain was from [his] father the devil, and wanted to do what [his] father desires.  As Jesus said to those Judeans who had believed him…[the devil] was a murderer from the beginning, and does not uphold the truth (ἀληθείᾳ), because there is no truth (ἀλήθεια) in him.  There was no ritual or intentionality required for Cain to be from his father the devil.  It is the natural condition of those born of the flesh of Adam and Eve.  “What is born of the flesh is flesh,” Jesus told Nicodemus, “and what is born of the Spirit is spirit.  Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must all be born from above.’”[27] 

Those who are in the flesh cannot please God,[28] Paul wrote to believers in Rome (Romans 8:5-7 NET).

For those who live according to the flesh have their outlook shaped by the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit have their outlook shaped by the things of the Spirit.  For the outlook of the flesh is death, but the outlook of the Spirit is life and peace, because the outlook of the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to the law of God, nor is it able to do so.

You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, Paul continued, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you.  Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, this person does not belong to him.  But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is your life because of righteousness.  Moreover if the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, the one who raised Christ from the dead will also make your mortal bodies alive through his Spirit who lives in you.[29]

As a child trusting Jesus for a place in heaven I comforted myself and fell asleep many nights planning the perfect murders of my neighbor and his entire family.  My plan was never quite perfect.  I feared I would be caught.  Then people would misunderstand and call me names like “murderer” when I was the hapless victim balancing the scales of justice.  So I never murdered my neighbor or his entire family.

My fear—that I would be caught and my motives would be misunderstood—was not the righteousness of Godrevealed in the gospel.[30]  It was not the love that does no wrong to a neighbor, not the love that is the fulfillment of the law.[31]  It was not the love that is the fruit of his Spirit (Galatians 5:22, 23).  Not murdering my neighbor and his entire family was indisputably better than murdering them would have been.  And clearly, it was possible for me to avoid committing murder apart from the righteousness of God.  But imagine standing face to face with Jesus and offering Him the fact that I did not murder my neighbor and his entire family as a righteousness of my own derived from the law after having rejected the gift He offered, the gift of God Himself (Acts 2:36-41).

It is inevitable, I suppose, that a reader wonders what my neighbor did to me: It was nothing in particular.  He was a year younger than I and didn’t treat me with the deference I felt I deserved.  And he got away with it.  My god failed to punish him for his sin.  This was not a singularly low point in my childhood, certainly not a turning point.  My darkness deepened into my teens until atheism became my only “rational” choice.

This kind of self-awareness might crush the spirit in any other form of life.  In this eternal life of yehôvâh’s Holy Spirit it encouraged me to stay the course when I had begun to waver.  I had begun to judge some as undeserving of “my persistent prayer for justice.”  At least I had confessed in prayer that I was embarrassed to bring them before the Lord again.  But now in the light of his utmost patience and mercy toward the boy who consoled himself with murder, I pray with renewed vigor:

My persistent prayer for justice (Luke 18:1-8) is for the mercy on which everything depends, for it does not depend on human desire or exertion, but on [You] who shows mercy.[32]  And You have consigned all people to disobedience so that [You] may show mercy to them all.[33]

The love of Christ that surpasses knowledge[34] is not some vague affection (1 Corinthians 13:4-13) He hoards for us but the omnipotent engine of righteousness He gives to us in the person of his own Holy Spirit.  No one is good except God alone.[35]

The tables I made to write this essay comparing Genesis 3:22-24; 4:2b-5; 4:6, 7; 3:16; Psalm 46:10 and Genesis 4:8 in the Tanakh and NET, and the tables comparing Genesis 3:22; 3:23; 3:24; 4:2b; 4:3; 4:4; 4:5; 4:6; 4:7; 3:16; Psalm 46:10 and Genesis 4:8 in the Septuagint (BLB and Elpenor) follow.  Following those are tables comparing Revelation 1:2; 22:1, 2; John 8:44; Romans 9:31; Philippians 3:6 and Romans 8:9 in the NET and KJV.

Genesis 3:22-24 (Tanakh)

Genesis 3:22-24 (NET)

And HaShem G-d said: ‘Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil; and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever.’ And the Lord (yehôvâh, יהוה) God (ʼĕlôhı̂ym, אלהים) said, “Now that the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil, he must not be allowed to stretch out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.”
Therefore HaShem G-d sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So the Lord (yehôvâh, יהוה) God (ʼĕlôhı̂ym, אלהים) expelled him from the orchard in Eden to cultivate the ground from which he had been taken.
So He drove out the man; and He placed at the east of the garden of Eden the cherubim, and the flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way to the tree of life. When he drove the man out, he placed on the eastern side of the orchard in Eden angelic sentries who used the flame of a whirling sword to guard the way to the tree of life.

Genesis 3:22 (Septuagint BLB)

Genesis 3:22 (Septuagint Elpenor)

καὶ εἶπεν ὁ θεός ἰδοὺ Αδαμ γέγονεν ὡς εἷς ἐξ ἡμῶν τοῦ γινώσκειν καλὸν καὶ πονηρόν καὶ νῦν μήποτε ἐκτείνῃ τὴν χεῗρα καὶ λάβῃ τοῦ ξύλου τῆς ζωῆς καὶ φάγῃ καὶ ζήσεται εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα καὶ εἶπεν ὁ Θεός· ἰδοὺ ᾿Αδὰμ γέγονεν ὡς εἷς ἐξ ἡμῶν, τοῦ γινώσκειν καλὸν καὶ πονηρόν· καὶ νῦν μή ποτε ἐκτείνῃ τὴν χεῖρα αὐτοῦ καὶ λάβῃ ἀπὸ τοῦ ξύλου τῆς ζωῆς καὶ φάγῃ καὶ ζήσεται εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα.

Genesis 3:22 (NETS)

Genesis 3:22 (English Elpenor)

Then God said, “See, Adam has become like one of us, knowing good and evil, and now perhaps he might reach out his hand and take of the tree of life and eat, and he will live forever.” And God said, Behold, Adam is become as one of us, to know good and evil, and now lest at any time he stretch forth his hand, and take of the tree of life and eat, and [so] he shall live forever–

Genesis 3:23 (Septuagint BLB)

Genesis 3:23 (Septuagint Elpenor)

καὶ ἐξαπέστειλεν αὐτὸν κύριος ὁ θεὸς ἐκ τοῦ παραδείσου τῆς τρυφῆς ἐργάζεσθαι τὴν γῆν ἐξ ἧς ἐλήμφθη καὶ ἐξαπέστειλεν αὐτὸν Κύριος ὁ Θεὸς ἐκ τοῦ παραδείσου τῆς τρυφῆς ἐργάζεσθαι τὴν γῆν, ἐξ ἧς ἐλήφθη.

Genesis 3:23 (NETS)

Genesis 3:23 (English Elpenor)

And the Lord God sent him forth from the orchard of delight to till the earth from which he was taken. So the Lord God sent him forth out of the garden of Delight to cultivate the ground out of which he was taken.

Genesis 3:24 (Septuagint BLB)

Genesis 3:24 (Septuagint Elpenor)

καὶ ἐξέβαλεν τὸν Αδαμ καὶ κατῴκισεν αὐτὸν ἀπέναντι τοῦ παραδείσου τῆς τρυφῆς καὶ ἔταξεν τὰ χερουβιμ καὶ τὴν φλογίνην ῥομφαίαν τὴν στρεφομένην φυλάσσειν τὴν ὁδὸν τοῦ ξύλου τῆς ζωῆς καὶ ἐξέβαλε τὸν ᾿Αδὰμ καὶ κατῴκισεν αὐτὸν ἀπέναντι τοῦ παραδείσου τῆς τρυφῆς καὶ ἔταξε τὰ Χερουβὶμ καὶ τὴν φλογίνην ρομφαίαν τὴν στρεφομένην φυλάσσειν τὴν ὁδὸν τοῦ ξύλου τῆς ζωῆς.

Genesis 3:24 (NETS)

Genesis 3:24 (English Elpenor)

And he drove Adam out and caused him to dwell opposite the orchard of delight, and he stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword that turns, to guard the way of the tree of life. And he cast out Adam and caused him to dwell over against the garden of Delight, and stationed the cherubs and the fiery sword that turns about to keep the way of the tree of life.
Genesis 4:2b-5 (Tanakh)

Genesis 4:2b-5 (NET)

And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. Abel took care of the flocks, while Cain cultivated the ground.
And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto HaShem. At the designated time Cain brought some of the fruit of the ground for an offering to the Lord (yehôvâh, ליהוה).
And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof.  And HaShem had respect unto Abel and to his offering; But Abel brought some of the firstborn of his flock – even the fattest of them.  And the Lord (yehôvâh, יהוה) was pleased with Abel and his offering,
but unto Cain and to his offering He had not respect.  And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. but with Cain and his offering he was not pleased.  So Cain became very angry, and his expression was downcast.

Genesis 4:2b (Septuagint BLB)

Genesis 4:2b (Septuagint Elpenor)

καὶ ἐγένετο Αβελ ποιμὴν προβάτων Καιν δὲ ἦν ἐργαζόμενος τὴν γῆν καὶ ἐγένετο ῎Αβελ ποιμὴν προβάτων, Κάϊν δὲ ἦν ἐργαζόμενος τὴν γῆν.

Genesis 4:2b (NETS)

Genesis 4:2b (English Elpenor)

And Habel became a herder of sheep, but Kain was tilling the earth. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.

Genesis 4:3 (Septuagint BLB)

Genesis 4:3 (Septuagint Elpenor)

καὶ ἐγένετο μεθ᾽ ἡμέρας ἤνεγκεν Καιν ἀπὸ τῶν καρπῶν τῆς γῆς θυσίαν τῷ κυρίῳ καὶ ἐγένετο μεθ᾿ ἡμέρας ἤνεγκε Κάϊν ἀπὸ τῶν καρπῶν τῆς γῆς θυσίαν τῷ Κυρίῳ,

Genesis 4:3 (NETS)

Genesis 4:3 (English Elpenor)

And it came about after some days that Kain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruits of the earth, And it was so after some time that Cain brought of the fruits of the earth a sacrifice to the Lord.

Genesis 4:4 (Septuagint BLB)

Genesis 4:4 (Septuagint Elpenor)

καὶ Αβελ ἤνεγκεν καὶ αὐτὸς ἀπὸ τῶν πρωτοτόκων τῶν προβάτων αὐτοῦ καὶ ἀπὸ τῶν στεάτων αὐτῶν καὶ ἐπεῗδεν ὁ θεὸς ἐπὶ Αβελ καὶ ἐπὶ τοῗς δώροις αὐτοῦ καὶ Ἄβελ ἤνεγκε καὶ αὐτὸς ἀπὸ τῶν πρωτοτόκων τῶν προβάτων αὐτοῦ καὶ ἀπὸ τῶν στεάτων αὐτῶν. καὶ ἐπεῖδεν ὁ Θεὸς ἐπὶ ῎Αβελ καὶ ἐπὶ τοῖς δώροις αὐτοῦ,

Genesis 4:4 (NETS)

Genesis 4:4 (English Elpenor)

And Habel, he also brought of the firstlings of his sheep and of their fat portions.  And God looked upon Habel and upon his gifts, And Abel also brought of the first born of his sheep and of his fatlings, and God looked upon Abel and his gifts,

Genesis 4:5 (Septuagint BLB)

Genesis 4:5 (Septuagint Elpenor)

ἐπὶ δὲ Καιν καὶ ἐπὶ ταῗς θυσίαις αὐτοῦ οὐ προσέσχεν καὶ ἐλύπησεν τὸν Καιν λίαν καὶ συνέπεσεν τῷ προσώπῳ ἐπὶ δὲ Κάϊν καὶ ἐπὶ ταῖς θυσίαις αὐτοῦ οὐ προσέσχε. καὶ ἐλυπήθη Κάϊν λίαν, καὶ συνέπεσε τῷ προσώπῳ αὐτοῦ.

Genesis 4:5 (NETS)

Genesis 4:5 (English Elpenor)

but on Kain and on his offerings he was not intent.  And it distressed Kain exceedingly, and he collapsed in countenance. but Cain and his sacrifices he regarded not, and Cain was exceedingly sorrowful and his countenance fell.

Genesis 4:6, 7 (Tanakh)

Genesis 4:6, 7 (NET)

And HaShem said unto Cain: ‘Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? Then the Lord (yehôvâh, יהוה) said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why is your expression downcast?
If thou doest well, shall it not be lifted up? and if thou doest not well, sin coucheth at the door; and unto thee is its desire, but thou mayest rule over it.’ Is it not true that if you do what is right, you will be fine? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at the door.  It desires to dominate you, but you must subdue it.”

Genesis 4:6 (Septuagint BLB)

Genesis 4:6 (Septuagint Elpenor)

καὶ εἶπεν κύριος ὁ θεὸς τῷ Καιν ἵνα τί περίλυπος ἐγένου καὶ ἵνα τί συνέπεσεν τὸ πρόσωπόν σου καὶ εἶπε Κύριος ὁ Θεὸς τῷ Κάϊν· ἵνα τί περίλυπος ἐγένου, καὶ ἵνα τί συνέπεσε τὸ πρόσωπόν σου;

Genesis 4:6 (NETS)

Genesis 4:6 (English Elpenor)

And the Lord God said to Kain, “Why have you become deeply grieved, and why has your countenance collapsed? And the Lord God said to Cain, Why art thou become very sorrowful and why is thy countenance fallen?

Genesis 4:7 (Septuagint BLB)

Genesis 4:7 (Septuagint Elpenor)

οὐκ ἐὰν ὀρθῶς προσενέγκῃς ὀρθῶς δὲ μὴ διέλῃς ἥμαρτες ἡσύχασον πρὸς σὲ ἡ ἀποστροφὴ αὐτοῦ καὶ σὺ ἄρξεις αὐτοῦ οὐκ ἐὰν ὀρθῶς προσενέγκῃς, ὀρθῶς δὲ μὴ διέλῃς, ἥμαρτες; ἡσύχασον· πρὸς σὲ ἡ ἀποστροφὴ αὐτοῦ, καὶ σὺ ἄρξεις αὐτοῦ.

Genesis 4:7 (NETS)

Genesis 4:7 (English Elpenor)

If you offer correctly but do not divide correctly, have you not sinned?  Be still; his recourse is to you, and you will rule over him.” Hast thou not sinned if thou hast brought it rightly, but not rightly divided it? be still, to thee shall be his submission, and thou shalt rule over him.

Genesis 3:16 (Tanakh)

Genesis 3:16 (NET)

Unto the woman He said: ‘I will greatly multiply thy pain and thy travail; in pain thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.’ To the woman he said, “I will greatly increase your labor pains; with pain you will give birth to children.  You will want to control your husband, but he will dominate you.”

Genesis 3:16 (Septuagint BLB)

Genesis 3:16 (Septuagint Elpenor)

καὶ τῇ γυναικὶ εἶπεν πληθύνων πληθυνῶ τὰς λύπας σου καὶ τὸν στεναγμόν σου ἐν λύπαις τέξῃ τέκνα καὶ πρὸς τὸν ἄνδρα σου ἡ ἀποστροφή σου καὶ αὐτός σου κυριεύσει καὶ τῇ γυναικὶ εἶπε· πληθύνων πληθυνῶ τὰς λύπας σου καὶ τὸν στεναγμόν σου· ἐν λύπαις τέξῃ τέκνα, καὶ πρὸς τὸν ἄνδρα σου ἡ ἀποστροφή σου, καὶ αὐτός σου κυριεύσει.

Genesis 3:16 (NETS)

Genesis 3:16 (English Elpenor)

And to the woman he said, “I will increasingly increase your pains and your groaning; with pains you will bring forth children.  And your recourse will be to your husband, and he will dominate you.” And to the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy pains and thy groanings; in pain thou shalt bring forth children, and thy submission shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

Psalm 46:10 (Tanakh)

Psalm 46:10 (NET)

Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. He says, “Stop your striving and recognize that I am God (ʼĕlôhı̂ym, אלהים)!  I will be exalted over the nations!  I will be exalted over the earth!”

Psalm 46:10 (Septuagint BLB)

Psalm 45:11 (Septuagint Elpenor)

σχολάσατε καὶ γνῶτε ὅτι ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ θεός ὑψωθήσομαι ἐν τοῗς ἔθνεσιν ὑψωθήσομαι ἐν τῇ γῇ σχολάσατε καὶ γνῶτε ὅτι ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ Θεός· ὑψωθήσομαι ἐν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν, ὑψωθήσομαι ἐν τῇ γῇ.

Psalm 45:11 (NETS)

Psalm 45:11 (English Elpenor)

“Relax, and know that I am God!  I will be exalted among the nations; I will be exalted in the earth.” Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.

Genesis 4:8 (Tanakh)

Genesis 4:8 (NET)

And Cain spoke unto Abel his brother.  And it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him. Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.”  While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.

Genesis 4:8 (Septuagint BLB)

Genesis 4:8 (Septuagint Elpenor)

καὶ εἶπεν Καιν πρὸς Αβελ τὸν ἀδελφὸν αὐτοῦ διέλθωμεν εἰς τὸ πεδίον καὶ ἐγένετο ἐν τῷ εἶναι αὐτοὺς ἐν τῷ πεδίῳ καὶ ἀνέστη Καιν ἐπὶ Αβελ τὸν ἀδελφὸν αὐτοῦ καὶ ἀπέκτεινεν αὐτόν καὶ εἶπε Κάϊν πρὸς ῎Αβελ τὸν ἀδελφὸν αὐτοῦ· διέλθωμεν εἰς τὸ πεδίον. καὶ ἐγένετο ἐν τῷ εἶναι αὐτοὺς ἐν τῷ πεδίῳ, ἀνέστη Κάϊν ἐπὶ ῎Αβελ τὸν ἀδελφὸν αὐτοῦ καὶ ἀπέκτεινεν αὐτόν.

Genesis 4:8 (NETS)

Genesis 4:8 (English Elpenor)

And Kain said to his brother Habel, “Let us go through into the plain.”  And it came about when they were in the plain, that then Kain rose up against his brother Habel and killed him. And Cain said to Abel his brother, Let us go out into the plain; and it came to pass that when they were in the plain Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.

Revelation 1:2 (NET)

Revelation 1:2 (KJV)

who then testified to everything that he saw concerning the word of God and the testimony about Jesus Christ. Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.

NET Parallel Greek

Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

ὃς ἐμαρτύρησεν τὸν λόγον τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ τὴν μαρτυρίαν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ ὅσα εἶδεν ος εμαρτυρησεν τον λογον του θεου και την μαρτυριαν ιησου χριστου οσα τε ειδεν ος εμαρτυρησεν τον λογον του θεου και την μαρτυριαν ιησου χριστου οσα ειδεν
Revelation 22:1, 2 (NET)

Revelation 22:1, 2 (KJV)

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life – water as clear as crystal – pouring out from the throne of God and of the Lamb, And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.

NET Parallel Greek

Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

Καὶ ἔδειξεν μοι ποταμὸν ὕδατος ζωῆς λαμπρὸν ὡς κρύσταλλον, ἐκπορευόμενον ἐκ τοῦ θρόνου τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ τοῦ ἀρνίου και εδειξεν μοι καθαρον ποταμον υδατος ζωης λαμπρον ως κρυσταλλον εκπορευομενον εκ του θρονου του θεου και του αρνιου και εδειξεν μοι ποταμον καθαρον υδατος ζωης λαμπρον ως κρυσταλλον εκπορευομενον εκ του θρονου του θεου και του αρνιου
flowing down the middle of the city’s main street.  On each side of the river is the tree of life producing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month of the year.  Its leaves are for the healing of the nations. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

NET Parallel Greek

Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

ἐν μέσῳ τῆς πλατείας αὐτῆς καὶ τοῦ ποταμοῦ ἐντεῦθεν καὶ ἐκεῖθεν ξύλον ζωῆς ποιοῦν καρποὺς δώδεκα, κατὰ μῆνα ἕκαστον ἀποδιδοῦν τὸν καρπὸν αὐτοῦ, καὶ τὰ φύλλα τοῦ ξύλου εἰς θεραπείαν τῶν ἐθνῶν εν μεσω της πλατειας αυτης και του ποταμου εντευθεν και εντευθεν ξυλον ζωης ποιουν καρπους δωδεκα κατα μηνα ενα εκαστον αποδιδουν τον καρπον αυτου και τα φυλλα του ξυλου εις θεραπειαν των εθνων εν μεσω της πλατειας αυτης και του ποταμου εντευθεν και εντευθεν ξυλον ζωης ποιουν καρπους δωδεκα κατα μηνα εκαστον αποδιδους τον καρπον αυτου και τα φυλλα του ξυλου εις θεραπειαν των εθνων

John 8:44 (NET)

John 8:44 (KJV)

You people are from your father the devil, and you want to do what your father desires.  He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not uphold the truth, because there is no truth in him.  Whenever he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, because he is a liar and the father of lies. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do.  He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him.  When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

NET Parallel Greek

Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

ὑμεῖς ἐκ τοῦ πατρὸς τοῦ διαβόλου ἐστὲ καὶ τὰς ἐπιθυμίας τοῦ πατρὸς ὑμῶν θέλετε ποιεῖν. ἐκεῖνος ἀνθρωποκτόνος ἦν ἀπ᾿ ἀρχῆς καὶ ἐν τῇ ἀληθείᾳ οὐκ ἔστηκεν, ὅτι οὐκ ἔστιν ἀλήθεια ἐν αὐτῷ. ὅταν λαλῇ τὸ ψεῦδος, ἐκ τῶν ἰδίων λαλεῖ, ὅτι ψεύστης ἐστὶν καὶ ὁ πατὴρ αὐτοῦ υμεις εκ πατρος του διαβολου εστε και τας επιθυμιας του πατρος υμων θελετε ποιειν εκεινος ανθρωποκτονος ην απ αρχης και εν τη αληθεια ουχ εστηκεν οτι ουκ εστιν αληθεια εν αυτω οταν λαλη το ψευδος εκ των ιδιων λαλει οτι ψευστης εστιν και ο πατηρ αυτου υμεις εκ του πατρος του διαβολου εστε και τας επιθυμιας του πατρος υμων θελετε ποιειν εκεινος ανθρωποκτονος ην απ αρχης και εν τη αληθεια ουχ εστηκεν οτι ουκ εστιν αληθεια εν αυτω οταν λαλη το ψευδος εκ των ιδιων λαλει οτι ψευστης εστιν και ο πατηρ αυτου

Romans 9:31 (NET)

Romans 9:31 (KJV)

but Israel even though pursuing a law of righteousness did not attain it. But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness.

NET Parallel Greek

Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

Ἰσραὴλ δὲ διώκων νόμον δικαιοσύνης εἰς νόμον οὐκ ἔφθασεν ισραηλ δε διωκων νομον δικαιοσυνης εις νομον δικαιοσυνης ουκ εφθασεν ισραηλ δε διωκων νομον δικαιοσυνης εις νομον δικαιοσυνης ουκ εφθασεν

Philippians 3:6 (NET)

Philippians 3:6 (KJV)

In my zeal for God I persecuted the church.  According to the righteousness stipulated in the law I was blameless. Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.

NET Parallel Greek

Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

κατὰ ζῆλος διώκων τὴν ἐκκλησίαν, κατὰ δικαιοσύνην τὴν ἐν νόμῳ γενόμενος ἄμεμπτος κατα ζηλον διωκων την εκκλησιαν κατα δικαιοσυνην την εν νομω γενομενος αμεμπτος κατα ζηλον διωκων την εκκλησιαν κατα δικαιοσυνην την εν νομω γενομενος αμεμπτος
Romans 8:9 (NET)

Romans 8:9 (KJV)

You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you.  Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, this person does not belong to him. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you.  Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

NET Parallel Greek

Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

ὑμεῖς δὲ οὐκ ἐστὲ ἐν σαρκὶ ἀλλὰ ἐν πνεύματι, εἴπερ πνεῦμα θεοῦ οἰκεῖ ἐν ὑμῖν. εἰ δέ τις πνεῦμα Χριστοῦ οὐκ ἔχει, οὗτος οὐκ ἔστιν αὐτοῦ υμεις δε ουκ εστε εν σαρκι αλλ εν πνευματι ειπερ πνευμα θεου οικει εν υμιν ει δε τις πνευμα χριστου ουκ εχει ουτος ουκ εστιν αυτου υμεις δε ουκ εστε εν σαρκι αλλ εν πνευματι ειπερ πνευμα θεου οικει εν υμιν ει δε τις πνευμα χριστου ουκ εχει ουτος ουκ εστιν αυτου

 

[1] The Stephanus Textus Receptus had τε (KJV: and) preceding he saw.  The NET parallel Greek text, NA28 and Byzantine Majority Text did not.

[2] Revelation 1:1, 2 (NET)

[3] The Stephanus Textus Receptus had καθαρον (KJV: pure) preceding river.  The Byzantine Majority Text had καθαρον following river.  The NET parallel Greek text and NA28 did not.

[4] The NET parallel Greek text and NA28 had ἐντεῦθεν καὶ ἐκεῖθεν here, where the Stephanus Textus Receptus and Byzantine Majority Text had εντευθεν και εντευθεν (KJV: on either side).

[5] The NET parallel Greek text, NA28 and Stephanus Textus Receptus had ἀποδιδοῦν here, where the Byzantine Majority Text had αποδιδους.

[6] The Stephanus Textus Receptus had ενα preceding every.  The NET parallel Greek text, NA28 and Byzantine Majority Text did not.

[7] Genesis 3:7b (Tanakh)

[8] Romans 5:12a (NET)

[9] The NET parallel Greek text, NA28 and Byzantine Majority Text had the article τοῦ preceding father.  The Stephanus Textus Receptus did not.

[10] The NET parallel Greek text and NA28 had οὐκ here, where the Stephanus Textus Receptus and Byzantine Majority Text had ουχ.

[11] Romans 8:14 (NET)

[12] “Even when people do things for you and give you things that you don’t actually want, you must always remember that it’s the thought that counts.” Cambridge Dictionary

[13] The NET parallel Greek text and NA28 had χάρις here, where the Stephanus Textus Receptus and Byzantine Majority Text had ευχαριστω (KJV: I thank).

[14] Genesis 4:6 (NET)

[15] Genesis 4:7 (Tanakh)

[16] Genesis 4:7 Hebrew

[17] Genesis 3:16b (Tanakh)

[18] Genesis 3:16 Hebrew

[19] Condemnation or Judgment? – Part 11

[20] The Stephanus Textus Receptus and Byzantine Majority Text had νομον δικαιοσυνης (KJV: the law of righteousness) here, where the NET parallel Greek text and NA28 had νόμον.

[21] The Stephanus Textus Receptus and Byzantine Majority Text had νομου (KJV: of the law) following works.  The NET parallel Greek text and NA28 did not.

[22] The NET parallel Greek text and NA28 had ζῆλος here, where the Stephanus Textus Receptus and Byzantine Majority Text had ζηλον (KJV: zeal).

[23] Philippians 3:6a (NET)

[24] Psalm 46:10 (Tanakh)

[25] Matthew 6:33 (NET) Table

[26] The NET had “Let’s go out to the field” here, as did the Septuagint [Table of Genesis 4:8 in this essay].

[27] John 3:6, 7 (NET)

[28] Romans 8:8 (NET)

[29] Romans 8:9-11 (NET) Table

[30] Romans 1:17a (NET)

[31] Romans 13:10 (NET)

[32] Romans 9:16 (NET) Table

[33] Romans 11:32 (NET)

[34] Ephesians 3:19b (NET)

[35] Luke 18:19b (NET)

To Make Holy, Part 5

The next form of ἁγιάζω I want to consider is found in Jesus’ prayer to his Father: Set them apart (ἁγίασον, a form of ἁγιάζω) in the truth; your word is truth.[1]  But I’m making a slow pilgrimage through his prayer because I believe I can know his holiness here.  I have revealed your name, Jesus prayed, to the [people] you gave me out of the world.  They belonged to you, and you gave them to me, and they have obeyed (τετήρηκαν, a form of τηρέω) your word.[2]

Jesus came into the world to be despised and rejected by people.[3]  And though the Greek word κόσμου (a form of κόσμος), translated of the world, does not exclude the larger Gentile world necessarily, at this particular time He was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel[4] rather than Gentile sinnersYou people are from your father the devil,[5] Jesus said of Israel’s religious leaders.  A disciple is not greater than his teacher, but everyone when fully trained will be like his teacher[6] serves as a fair assessment of those who followed Israel’s teachers.  You cross land and sea to make one convert, and when you get one, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves[7] is certainly more explicit.  This gives me some context, how precious the people you gave me out of the world were to Jesus.

He came to what was his own (ἴδια, a form of ἴδιος), but his own people (ἴδιοι, another form of ἴδιος) did not receive him.[8]  He knew this would happen.  Isaiah prophesied it: He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.[9]  And in a very real sense their rejection was part of the plan and purpose of salvation (Romans 11:11-33 NET).

I ask then, they did not stumble into an irrevocable fall, did they?  Absolutely not!  But by their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles (ἔθνεσιν, a form of ἔθνος), to make Israel jealous.  Now if their transgression means riches for the world and their defeat means riches for the Gentiles (ἐθνῶν, another form of ἔθνος), how much more will their full restoration bring?

Now I am speaking to you Gentiles (ἔθνεσιν, a form of ἔθνος).  Seeing that I am an apostle to the Gentiles (ἐθνῶν, another form of ἔθνος), I magnify my ministry, if somehow I could provoke my people to jealousy and save some of them.  For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?  If the first portion of the dough offered is holy (ἁγία, a form of ἅγιος), then the whole batch is holy, and if the root is holy (ἁγία, a form of ἅγιος), so too are the branches.

Now if some of the branches were broken off, and you, a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among them and participated in the richness of the olive root, do not boast over the branches.  But if you boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you.  Then you will say, “The branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.”  Granted!  They were broken off because of their unbelief (ἀπιστίᾳ), but you stand by faith (πίστει, a form of πίστις).  Do not be arrogant, but fear!  For if God did not spare the natural branches, perhaps he will not spare you.  Notice therefore the kindness and harshness of God – harshness toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness toward you, provided you continue in his kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off.  And even they – if they do not continue in their unbelief (ἀπιστίᾳ)– will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.  For if you were cut off from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these natural branches be grafted back into their own olive tree?

For I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: A partial hardening has happened to Israel until the full number of the Gentiles (ἐθνῶν, another form of ἔθνος) has come in.  And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “The Deliverer will come out of Zion; he will remove ungodliness from Jacob.  And this is my covenant with them, when I take away their sins.”

In regard to the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but in regard to election they are dearly loved for the sake of the fathers.  For the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable.  Just as you were formerly disobedient (ἠπειθήσατε, a form of ἀπειθέω) to God, but have now received mercy due to their disobedience (ἀπειθείᾳ), so they too have now been disobedient (ἠπείθησαν, another form of ἀπειθέω) in order that, by the mercy shown to you, they too may now receive mercy.  For God has consigned all people to disobedience (ἀπείθειαν, a form of ἀπείθεια) so that he may show mercy to them all.

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God!  How unsearchable are his judgments and how fathomless his ways!

I’m ignoring for the moment the more traditional interpretation of this verse, the importance and instrumentality of the eleven apostles carrying on Jesus’ message and building the church, in favor of the comfort God the Father gave to Jesus on a mission of rejection.  My current focus is Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus.  She comforted Him in a way the apostles could not.

She has kept it for the day of my burial,[10] Jesus said of the three quarters of a pound of expensive aromatic oil from pure nard[11] she had “wasted” on his feet.  She had sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he said[12] and apparently believed Him while the eleven (all twelve, in fact) were still full of their own understanding, hoping for (or fearing) the overthrow of the Roman government and their own domination of the world.  Taking Jesus at his word is still a great comfort in a world full of rejection as He draws all to Himself.

They belonged to you (KJV: thine they were), Jesus’ prayer continued.  I don’t want to speculate too much about this beyond Jesus’ own words: No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.[13]  Most translators have understood the next clause καμοὶ αὐτοὺς ἔδωκας as a reiteration of people the Father gave to Jesus.  But consider the following table:

King James Version Darby Bible Translation

American King James Version

…and thou gavest them me… …and thou gavest them me… …and you gave them me…

Here it sounds reciprocal: the Father also gave Jesus to them.  But I admit it is possible, probably likely, that this is just King James’ English for a reiteration of the Father gave them to Jesus.  You gave them to Me, the NKJV reads.  The Greek word καμοὶ (and me, me also) is a dative pronoun according to the Koine Greek Lexicon as is μοι (me) in the phrase you gave me out of the world:

Dative Case
The dative is the case of the indirect object, or may also indicate the means by which something is done. The dative case also has a wide variety of uses, with the root idea being that of “personal interest” or “reference”. It is used most often in one of three general categories: Indirect objectInstrument (means), or Location. Most commonly it is used as the indirect object of a sentence. It may also indicate the means by which something is done or accomplished. Used as a dative of location, it can show the “place”, “time”, or “sphere” in which something may happen. 
For example: (Indirect object): “Jesus said to them“, or “he will give the Holy Spirit to those who ask” (Luke 11:13). 
(Instrument or Means): “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by (by means of) prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6). In this sentence, there is a single Greek word translated into the phrase “by prayer” showing the means by which to let our requests be made known to God. 
(Location): “… and on the third day He will be raised up” (Matt 20:19). The phrase “the third day” is in the dative case, showing the time in which Jesus will be raised. In this sentence, there is no Greek word present that is translated into the English word “on”; it is added to show the meaning of the dative of location.

The Greek word αὐτοὺς (them) is an accusative pronoun as is οὓς the untranslated relative pronoun which precedes you gave in the prior phrase:

Accusative Case
The accusative case is the case of the direct object, receiving the action of the verb. Like the other cases, the accusative has a wide variety of uses, but its main function is as the direct object of a transitive verb. The direct object will most often be in the accusative case. 
For example: “As newborn babes, long for the guiless milk of the word” (1 Peter 2:2). The word “milk” is in the accusative case and is functioning as the direct object of the transitive verb “long for” (or “desire”).

The only reason I want this giving to be reciprocal is to make it clearer that God the Father gave them Jesus and thus they have kept[14] his word, rather than too appear as if they obeyed his word so God the Father gave them to Jesus.

Now they understand, Jesus’ continued, that everything you have given me comes from you.[15]  In other words, Jesus relied on his Father’s supply, not his own godliness.  And those who had been given to Him knew (ἔγνωκαν, a form of γινώσκω; translated understand) this.  The verb ἔγνωκαν is in the perfect tense: “The basic thought of the perfect tense is that the progress of an action has been completed and the results of the action are continuing on, in full effect.  In other words, the progress of the action has reached its culmination and the finished results are now in existence.”[16]  And though it is obvious to me here and now that everything you have given me comes from you means that Jesus relied on his Father’s supply rather than his own godliness, it just became obvious to me here and now.

“It’s axiomatic to me,” I wrote in another essay, “that Jesus didn’t utilize his own godliness, but trusted the Holy Spirit that descended like a dove from heaven, and…remained on him.[11] Otherwise, Jesus’ invitation and command, Follow me,[12] is little more than a cruel joke.”

“As I’ve written before it is axiomatic to me that the way Jesus loved us,” I wrote in another essay, “was through that same love He received from the Holy Spirit that descended like a dove from heaven, and…remained on him.[43] He prayed as much to his Father if one has ears to hear: I made known your name to them, and I will continue to make it known, so that the love (ἀγάπη) you have loved (ἠγάπησας, a form of ἀγαπάω) me with may be in them, and I may be in them.”[44]

“As I’ve written before,[20] it is axiomatic to me that Jesus’ holiness was from the Holy Spirit rather than his own divine nature” I wrote elsewhere.  “Otherwise, his command and invitation, Follow me, would be meaningless to sinful human beings.”

I acknowledged that my axiom in the beginning was little more than a confidence that “Jesus wasn’t commanding us to follow Him somewhere we couldn’t go…Over time,” I confessed, “my ‘axiom’ has come to mean so much more: When I am anything less than Christlike I no longer think: ‘Oh, He is God and I am not.’  Instead, I know that I am living according to the flesh (Romans 8:5-11), that I’ve fallen away from grace.  One would think I would know better by now but apparently I do not.  It alerts me that it is time to stop relying on myself and get back to trusting Jesus, relying on his Spirit.  But that weight deserves something weightier than an axiom.”[17]  But when did it become axiomatic?  It wasn’t axiomatic when I turned again to obey his rules in my own strength.

I asked a friend I knew from church to sing this prayer as a demo after I had set it to music.  It was beyond his vocal ability.  Twice in the piece Jesus strikes a dissonant pedal tone until the rest of the music resolves and conforms to that note.  My friend recommended a better trained singer, a younger man nearer my age.  And he did this without criticizing my living arrangements or commenting on my unworthiness to write an opera about Jesus.

As this younger more skilful singer and I rehearsed we talked.  I acknowledged the trouble I was having not sinning.  He said that whatever was too difficult for him became easy when he “turned it over to the Lord.”  It was apparent to me that he was describing actual experience, but I failed to ask what he meant by turning it over to the Lord.  I assumed he meant prayer.  When I prayed for Jesus’ help to overcome my sin I got nothing.  (Or I got everything one reads about in these essays.)  At the time I assumed I wasn’t holy enough to merit God’s help.

So I strove with all my might to make myself holy enough to earn his blessing, by which I meant becoming a famous (and hopefully rich) composer.  I clearly didn’t grasp that since Jesus is holy everyone who abides (John 15:1-8) in Him is holy (Romans 11:16-24).  I saw my task as one of becoming holy rather than one of allowing Jesus’ holiness to shine through me; namely, the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control that is the fruit of his Holy Spirit.[18]  And I didn’t understand that Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit.

In my ignorance I attempted to use Him as my personal demon to achieve my own purposes.  I was a lot like Nikolai (Adam Brody), the lead singer of the band Low Shoulder, in Jason Reitman’s and Diablo Cody’s movie Jennifer’s Body.  “Do you know how hard it is to make it as an indie band these days?” he asked Jennifer (Megan Fox).  “There’s so many of us, and we’re all so cute, and it’s like, if you don’t get on Letterman or some retarded soundtrack, you’re screwed, okay?  Satan is our only hope.  We’re in league with the beast now, and we have to make a really big impression on him.  And to do that, we’re going to have to butcher you and bleed you.”  And he does.

Granted, I tried to make an impression on Jesus by attempting to obey his laws in my own strength, laws that included not butchering or bleeding young women.  So what would I say to myself now about overcoming sin by turning it over to the Lord?

It was a bit like being caught in Devil’s Snare from the movie Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.  Hermione (Emma Watson), who “pays attention in Herbology” at Hogwarts school of Witchcraft and Wizardry, recognizes the plant and knows how to escape it.  “Stop moving, both of you,” she yells to Ron (Rupert Grint) and Harry (Daniel Radcliffe).  “You have to relax.  If you don’t, it will only kill you faster.”

For when we were in the flesh, (as opposed to being led by the Holy Spirit) Paul wrote believers in Rome, the sinful desires, aroused by the law, were active in the members of our body to bear fruit for death.  But now we have been released from the law, because we have died to what controlled us, so that we may serve in the new life of the Spirit and not under the old written code.[19]  My striving to obey rules only strengthened sin’s hold on me: the power of sin is the law.[20]  Rather than living in the flesh, striving to obey laws, I should have given more heed to Paul’s explanation: So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you could be joined to another, to the one who was raised from the dead, to bear fruit to God.[21]

In the movie Ron doesn’t respond well to Hermione’s words: “Kill us faster?” he exclaims.  “Oh, now I can relax.”  But Hermione relaxes and falls through the bottom of the plant.  Harry is able to follow her example and disappears as well.  Poor Ron is left alone, struggling, thinking his friends have been swallowed whole by the Devil’s Snare.

Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen (gôy, בגוים; Septuagint: ἔθνεσιν, a form of ἔθνος), I will be exalted in the earth.[22]  In that quiet place of trust I began to find that seemingly inexhaustible supply of God’s own love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control like a fountain of water springing up to eternal life.[23]  Ironically, even my striving to obey laws was fueled by his Holy Spirit channeled through my own ignorance of Him, my ignorance of the Bible which reveals Him to all who have ears to hear.

[1] John 17:17 (NET)

[2] John 17:6 (NET)

[3] Isaiah 53:3a (NET)

[4] Matthew 15:24 (NET)

[5] John 8:44a (NET)

[6] Luke 6:40 (NET)

[7] Matthew 23:15b (NET)

[8] John 1:11 (NET)

[9] Isaiah 53:3 (Tanakh)

[10] John 12:7b (NET)

[11] John 12:3 (NET)

[12] Luke 10:39b (NET)

[13] John 6:44 (NET)

[14] I have written enough about forms of τηρέω (τετήρηκαν is a form of τηρέω) elsewhere: Everyone Fathered by God Does Not Sin; Antichrist, Part 2; Son of God – 1 John, Part 3; Fear – Deuteronomy, Part 3; My Deeds, Part 1; My Deeds, Part 2; My Deeds, Part 3

[15] John 17:7 (NET)

[16] https://www.ntgreek.org/learn_nt_greek/verbs1.htm#TENSE

[17] Who Am I? Part 6

[18] Galatians 5:22, 23 (NET)

[19] Romans 7:5, 6 (NET)

[20] 1 Corinthians 15:56b (NET)

[21] Romans 7:4 (NET)

[22] Psalm 46:10 (Tanakh)

[23] John4:14b (NET)

Father, Forgive Them – Part 4

I have attempted to cleanse Jesus’ words of the crime/punishment motif I think the translators of the NET and NASB superimposed upon them, so that his mercyplanning the offspring of vipers’ escape from being condemned to hell—shines through (Matthew 23:33-35 NET; Matthew 23:36 NASB):

You snakes, you offspring of vipers!  How will you escape being condemned to hell?

For this reason I am sending you prophets and wise men and experts in the law, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town, so that on you will come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar.

Truly I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.

It is possible that the translators shaded Matthew’s Gospel account some to make it conform better to Luke’s parallel account:

Luke 11:46-48 (NET) Luke 11:46-48 (NASB)

Luke 11:46-48 (KJV)

But Jesus replied, “Woe to you experts in religious law as well!  You load people down with burdens difficult to bear, yet you yourselves refuse to touch the burdens with even one of your fingers! But He said, “Woe to you lawyers as well!  For you weigh men down with burdens hard to bear, while you yourselves will not even touch the burdens with one of your fingers. And he said, Woe unto you also, ye lawyers! for ye lade men with burdens grievous to be borne, and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers.
Woe to you!  You build the tombs of the prophets whom your ancestors killed. Woe to you!  For you build the tombs of the prophets, and it was your fathers who killed them. Woe unto you! for ye build the sepulchres of the prophets, and your fathers killed them.
So you testify that you approve of the deeds of your ancestors, because they killed the prophets and you build their tombs! So you are witnesses and approve the deeds of your fathers; because it was they who killed them, and you build their tombs. Truly ye bear witness that ye allow the deeds of your fathers: for they indeed killed them, and ye build their sepulchres.

NET Parallel Greek

Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

ἄρα μάρτυρες ἐστε καὶ συνευδοκεῖτε τοῖς ἔργοις τῶν πατέρων ὑμῶν, ὅτι αὐτοὶ μὲν ἀπέκτειναν αὐτούς, ὑμεῖς δὲ οἰκοδομεῖτε αρα μαρτυρειτε και συνευδοκειτε τοις εργοις των πατερων υμων οτι αυτοι μεν απεκτειναν αυτους υμεις δε οικοδομειτε αυτων τα μνημεια αρα μαρτυρειτε και συνευδοκειτε τοις εργοις των πατερων υμων οτι αυτοι μεν απεκτειναν αυτους υμεις δε οικοδομειτε αυτων τα μνημεια
Luke 11:49 (NET) Luke 11:49 (NASB)

Luke 11:49 (KJV)

For this reason also the wisdom of God said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and persecute,’ For this reason also the wisdom of God said, ‘I will send to them prophets and apostles, and some of them they will kill and some they will persecute, Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they shall slay and persecute:

NET Parallel Greek

Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

διὰ τοῦτο καὶ ἡ σοφία τοῦ θεοῦ εἶπεν· ἀποστελῶ εἰς αὐτοὺς προφήτας καὶ ἀποστόλους, καὶ ἐξ αὐτῶν ἀποκτενοῦσιν καὶ διώξουσιν δια τουτο και η σοφια του θεου ειπεν αποστελω εις αυτους προφητας και αποστολους και εξ αυτων αποκτενουσιν και εκδιωξουσιν δια τουτο και η σοφια του θεου ειπεν αποστελω εις αυτους προφητας και αποστολους και εξ αυτων αποκτενουσιν και εκδιωξουσιν
Luke 11:50, 51 (NET) Luke 11:50, 51 (NASB)

Luke 11:50, 51 (KJV)

so that this generation may be held accountable (ἐκζητηθῇ, a form of ἐκζητέω) for the blood of all the prophets that has been shed since the beginning of the world, so that the blood of all the prophets, shed since the foundation of the world, may be charged against this generation, That the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation;
from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the sanctuary.  Yes, I tell you, it will be charged (ἐκζητηθήσεται, another form of ἐκζητέω) against this generation. from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the house of God; yes, I tell you, it shall be charged against this generation.’ From the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, which perished between the altar and the temple: verily I say unto you, It shall be required of this generation.
NET Parallel Greek Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

ἀπὸ αἵματος Ἅβελ ἕως αἵματος Ζαχαρίου τοῦ ἀπολομένου μεταξὺ τοῦ θυσιαστηρίου καὶ τοῦ οἴκου· ναὶ λέγω ὑμῖν, ἐκζητηθήσεται ἀπὸ τῆς γενεᾶς ταύτης απο του αιματος αβελ εως του αιματος ζαχαριου του απολομενου μεταξυ του θυσιαστηριου και του οικου ναι λεγω υμιν εκζητηθησεται απο της γενεας ταυτης απο του αιματος αβελ εως του αιματος ζαχαριου του απολομενου μεταξυ του θυσιαστηριου και του οικου ναι λεγω υμιν εκζητηθησεται απο της γενεας ταυτης
Luke 11:52 (NET) Luke 11:52 (NASB)

Luke 11:52 (KJV)

Woe to you experts in religious law!  You have taken away the key to knowledge!  You did not go in yourselves, and you hindered those who were going in.” Woe to you lawyers!  For you have taken away the key of knowledge; you yourselves did not enter, and you hindered those who were entering.” Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered.
NET Parallel Greek Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

Οὐαὶ ὑμῖν τοῖς νομικοῖς, ὅτι ἤρατε τὴν κλεῖδα τῆς γνώσεως· αὐτοὶ οὐκ εἰσήλθατε καὶ τοὺς εἰσερχομένους ἐκωλύσατε ουαι υμιν τοις νομικοις οτι ηρατε την κλειδα της γνωσεως αυτοι ουκ εισηλθετε και τους εισερχομενους εκωλυσατε ουαι υμιν τοις νομικοις οτι ηρατε την κλειδα της γνωσεως αυτοι ουκ εισηλθετε και τους εισερχομενους εκωλυσατε

Here the crime/punishment motif wasn’t superimposed upon ἥξει (a form of ἥκω), translated will be held responsible (See: Table), or ἔλθῃ (a form of ἔρχομαι), translated may fall the guilt (See: Table).  Rather, the Greek words ἐκζητηθῇ, translated may be held accountable, and ἐκζητηθήσεται, translated it will be charged, are both forms of ἐκζητέω (See Table1 below).  And again this subject matter was spun by translating a word in a unique way, radically different from any of its other occurrences in the New Testament.

According to the Koine Greek Lexicon online ἐκζητηθῇ is an aorist passive subjunctive 3rd person singular verb.  Since αἷμα, translated for the blood, is a nominative / accusative singular neuter noun according to the Koine Greek Lexicon and γενεᾶς (a form of γενεά), translated generation, is a genitive singular feminine noun according to the same lexicon, I assume that blood is the more likely subject of the sentence: “so that the blood of all the prophets that has been shed since the beginning of the world may be sought by this generation.”

Perhaps one could take it to mean that God sought the blood of all the prophets that has been shed since the beginning of the world against this generation—in other words, He would hold them accountable for sins they didn’t commit—but I don’t see that in the text, and the verb is passive.  To my ear the translations—may be held accountable (NET), may be charged (NASB) and even may be required (KJV)—sound more like interpretations.  So I offer the following alternative interpretation.

The experts in the law and the Pharisees didn’t think building tombs for the prophets meant that they approved of their fathers’ deeds: And you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have participated with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.[1]  For this reason also the wisdom of God said, ‘I will send to them prophets and apostles, and some of them they will kill and some they will persecute[2]  God gave them their own prophets to do with as they pleased, to demonstrate to themselves how sinful they actually were.  So that the blood of all the prophets that has been shed since the beginning of the world may be sought by this generation in the persons of the prophets and apostles sent to them in their own time.

I can dispense with the word may: “if the subjunctive mood is used in a purpose or result clause, then the action should not be thought of as a possible result, but should be viewed as a definite outcome that will happen as a result of another stated action.”[3]  And the Greek word ἐκζητηθήσεται, translated it will be charged, is a future passive indicative 3rd person singular verb according to the Koine Greek Lexicon.  And so Jesus stated empahtically, “it will be sought by this generation.”  They would seek the blood of the prophets of their generation just as their fathers before them had done to the prophets of their time.

Consider Paul’s lament in his letter to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 4:9-13 NET):

For, I think, God has exhibited us apostles last of all, as men condemned to die, because we have become a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to people.  We are fools for Christ, but you are wise in Christ!  We are weak, but you are strong!  You are distinguished, we are dishonored!  To the present hour we are hungry and thirsty, poorly clothed, brutally treated, and without a roof over our heads.  We do hard work, toiling with our own hands.  When we are verbally abused, we respond with a blessing, when persecuted, we endure, when people lie about us, we answer in a friendly manner.  We are the world’s dirt and scum, even now.

And consider how this lament became his battle cry in his letter to the Romans (Romans 8:36-39 NET):

As it is written, “For your sake we encounter death all day long; we were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”  No, in all these things we have complete victory through him who loved us!  For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor heavenly rulers, nor things that are present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

My aim is to know him, Paul wrote the Philippians, to experience the power of his resurrection, to share in his sufferings, and to be like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.[4]  But the religious mind covets a place of honor at banquets, the best seats in the house, respectful greetings in public places and to be revered as teacher (Matthew 23:6, 7).  Anything less it considers “persecution” and “affliction.”  The suggestion that God might hand his redeemed one over to others, to be abused by them, that the others in turn might recognize their own sinfulness, is anathema to the religious mind.  It is not too hard to imagine that the temptation to cover or disguise anything, even Scripture, which suggests such a thing would be difficult to resist.  I suspect, however, that most of us suffer from our own sins[5], and that far fewer of us are considered worthy to suffer dishonor directly from the sins of others for the sake of the name.[6]

Granted, once the serpents, the brood of vipers, sought the blood of the prophets of their generation, all the righteous blood shed on earth came upon them and their people.  So there is a judicial aspect to these events, but reducing them to crime and punishment alone smears all of the vibrant colors of God’s mercy, love and grace through Jesus Christ until they become a murky gray.  Besides, their “punishment,” if you will, was not mystical, magical or supernatural in any way, but all too human.

While their leaders were preoccupied killing and persecuting the prophets who brought them the knowledge Jeremiah prophesied (Jeremiah 31:31-34) and the desire of Moses (Numbers 11:25-29) prophesied by Ezekiel (Ezekiel 36:22-27), virulent strains of Judaism fought for ascendency.  By brute force and political manipulation most in Jerusalem accepted this murderous faith in fact and action whether they believed it in their hearts or not.  The devil, after all, seeks compliance not faith.  Robert A. Dahl’s definition of power—“A has power over B to the extent that he can get B to do something that B would not otherwise do”[7]—was still taught in political science classes as of 2014,[8] and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one[9] (1 John 5:18-21; Ephesians 2:1-3; 2 Timothy 2:24-26).

The zealots and sicarii were anything but those with Jesus’ fountain of water—his own love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control[10]springing up to eternal life[11] inside of them.  “I don’t need to punish people,” Papa (Octavia Spencer) said in the movie The Shack.  “Sin is its own punishment.”  But it seems to be part of the human condition to deny Jesus’ insight: You people are from your father the devil, and you want to do what your father desires.  He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not uphold the truth, because there is no truth in him.[12]  Even when our sinfulness is self-evident we search for other explanations.

Before I began this study I tacitly assumed this devious plot that led to the destruction of Jerusalem was the wisdom (σοφία) of God rather than an easily anticipated trajectory of human sinfulness filtered through a particular brand of the religious mind.  Hear Paul on the subject of God’s wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:18-25; 2:6-16; 3:18-20; Colossians 4:5, 6 NET).

For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.  For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom (σοφίαν, another form of σοφία) of the wise, and I will thwart the cleverness of the intelligent.”  Where is the wise man?  Where is the expert in the Mosaic law?  Where is the debater of this age?  Has God not made the wisdom (σοφίαν, another form of σοφία) of the world foolish?  For since in the wisdom (σοφίᾳ) of God the world by its wisdom (σοφίας, another form of σοφία) did not know God, God was pleased to save those who believe by the foolishness of preaching.  For Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks ask for wisdom (σοφίαν, another form of σοφία), but we preach about a crucified Christ, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles.  But to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom (σοφίαν, another form of σοφία) of God.  For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.

Now we do speak wisdom (Σοφίαν, another form of σοφία) among the mature, but not a wisdom (σοφίαν, another form of σοφία) of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are perishing.  Instead we speak the wisdom (σοφίαν, another form of σοφία) of God, hidden in a mystery, that God determined before the ages for our glory.  None of the rulers of this age understood it.  If they had known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.  But just as it is written, “Things that no eye has seen, or ear heard, or mind imagined, are the things God has prepared for those who love him.”  God has revealed these to us by the Spirit.  For the Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.  For who among men knows the things of a man except the man’s spirit within him?  So too, no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.  Now we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things that are freely given to us by God.  And we speak about these things, not with words taught us by human wisdom (σοφίας, another form of σοφία), but with those taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual things to spiritual people.  The unbeliever does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him.  And he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.  The one who is spiritual discerns all things, yet he himself is understood by no one.  For who has known the mind of the Lord, so as to advise him?  But we have the mind of Christ.

Guard against self-deception, each of you.  If someone among you thinks he is wise in this age, let him become foolish so that he can become wise.  For the wisdom (σοφία) of this age is foolishness with God.  As it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness.”  And again, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.”

Conduct yourselves with wisdom (σοφίᾳ) toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunities.  Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you should answer everyone.

And James wrote (James 3:13-18 NET):

Who is wise and understanding among you?  By his good conduct he should show his works done in the gentleness that wisdom (σοφίας, another form of σοφία) brings.  But if you have bitter jealousy and selfishness in your hearts, do not boast and tell lies against the truth.  Such wisdom (σοφία) does not come from above but is earthly, natural, demonic.  For where there is jealousy and selfishness, there is disorder and every evil practice.  But the wisdom (σοφία) from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, accommodating, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial, and not hypocritical.  And the fruit that consists of righteousness is planted in peace among those who make peace.

James contrasted wisdom from above (ἄνωθεν) to that which is not from above (ἄνωθεν) with the same word Jesus used to describe the birth of the new human: I tell you the solemn truth, unless a person is born from above (ἄνωθεν), he cannot see the kingdom of God.[13]  Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must all be born from above (ἄνωθεν).’[14]

Tables of forms of ἐκζητέω and occurrences of σοφία follow with their translations in the KJV and NET.  If the parallel Greek of the NET differed from the Textus Receptus I broke the table to contrast them along with the Byzantine Majority Text.

Form of ἐκζητέω Reference KJV

NET

ἐκζητήσας Hebrews 12:17 …though he sought it carefully with tears. …although he sought the blessing with tears.
ἐκζητήσωσιν Acts 15:17 That the residue of men might seek after the Lord… …so that the rest of humanity may seek the Lord…
NET Parallel Greek Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

ὅπως ἂν ἐκζητήσωσιν οἱ κατάλοιποι τῶν ἀνθρώπων τὸν κύριον καὶ πάντα τὰ ἔθνη ἐφ᾿ οὓς ἐπικέκληται τὸ ὄνομα μου ἐπ᾿ αὐτούς, λέγει κύριος ποιῶν ταῦτα οπως αν εκζητησωσιν οι καταλοιποι των ανθρωπων τον κυριον και παντα τα εθνη εφ ους επικεκληται το ονομα μου επ αυτους λεγει κυριος ο ποιων ταυτα παντα οπως αν εκζητησωσιν οι καταλοιποι των ανθρωπων τον κυριον και παντα τα εθνη εφ ους επικεκληται το ονομα μου επ αυτους λεγει κυριος ο ποιων ταυτα παντα
ἐκζητηθῇ Luke 11:50 may be required of this generation… …so that this generation may be held accountable for the blood…

NET Parallel Greek

Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

ἵνα ἐκζητηθῇ τὸ αἷμα πάντων τῶν προφητῶν τὸ ἐκκεχυμένον ἀπὸ καταβολῆς κόσμου ἀπὸ τῆς γενεᾶς ταύτης ινα εκζητηθη το αιμα παντων των προφητων το εκχυνομενον απο καταβολης κοσμου απο της γενεας ταυτης ινα εκζητηθη το αιμα παντων των προφητων το εκχυνομενον απο καταβολης κοσμου απο της γενεας ταυτης
ἐκζητηθήσεται Luke 11:51 It shall be required of this generation. it will be charged against this generation.
NET Parallel Greek Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

ἀπὸ αἵματος Ἅβελ ἕως αἵματος Ζαχαρίου τοῦ ἀπολομένου μεταξὺ τοῦ θυσιαστηρίου καὶ τοῦ οἴκου· ναὶ λέγω ὑμῖν, ἐκζητηθήσεται ἀπὸ τῆς γενεᾶς ταύτης απο του αιματος αβελ εως του αιματος ζαχαριου του απολομενου μεταξυ του θυσιαστηριου και του οικου ναι λεγω υμιν εκζητηθησεται απο της γενεας ταυτης απο του αιματος αβελ εως του αιματος ζαχαριου του απολομενου μεταξυ του θυσιαστηριου και του οικου ναι λεγω υμιν εκζητηθησεται απο της γενεας ταυτης
ἐκζητῶν Romans 3:11 …there is none that seeketh after God. …there is no one who seeks God.
ἐκζητοῦσιν Hebrews 11:6 …he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. …he rewards those who seek him.
ἐξεζήτησαν 1 Peter 1:10 …the prophets have inquired and searched diligently… searched and investigated carefully.
NET Parallel Greek Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

περὶ ἧς σωτηρίας ἐξεζήτησαν καὶ ἐξηραύνησαν προφῆται οἱ περὶ τῆς εἰς ὑμᾶς χάριτος προφητεύσαντες περι ης σωτηριας εξεζητησαν και εξηρευνησαν προφηται οι περι της εις υμας χαριτος προφητευσαντες περι ης σωτηριας εξεζητησαν και εξηρευνησαν προφηται οι περι της εις υμας χαριτος προφητευσαντες

σοφία

Reference KJV

NET

σοφία Matthew 11:19 wisdom is justified of her children… wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.
NET Parallel Greek Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

ἦλθεν ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐσθίων καὶ πίνων, καὶ λέγουσιν· ἰδοὺ ἄνθρωπος φάγος καὶ οἰνοπότης, τελωνῶν φίλος καὶ ἁμαρτωλῶν. καὶ ἐδικαιώθη ἡ σοφία ἀπὸ τῶν ἔργων αὐτῆς ηλθεν ο υιος του ανθρωπου εσθιων και πινων και λεγουσιν ιδου ανθρωπος φαγος και οινοποτης τελωνων φιλος και αμαρτωλων και εδικαιωθη η σοφια απο των τεκνων αυτης ηλθεν ο υιος του ανθρωπου εσθιων και πινων και λεγουσιν ιδου ανθρωπος φαγος και οινοποτης τελωνων φιλος και αμαρτωλων και εδικαιωθη η σοφια απο των τεκνων αυτης
σοφία Matthew 13:54 Whence hath this man this wisdom Where did this man get such wisdom
NET Parallel Greek Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

καὶ ἐλθὼν εἰς τὴν πατρίδα αὐτοῦ ἐδίδασκεν αὐτοὺς ἐν τῇ συναγωγῇ αὐτῶν, ὥστε ἐκπλήσσεσθαι αὐτοὺς καὶ λέγειν· πόθεν τούτῳ ἡ σοφία αὕτη καὶ αἱ δυνάμεις και ελθων εις την πατριδα αυτου εδιδασκεν αυτους εν τη συναγωγη αυτων ωστε εκπληττεσθαι αυτους και λεγειν ποθεν τουτω η σοφια αυτη και αι δυναμεις και ελθων εις την πατριδα αυτου εδιδασκεν αυτους εν τη συναγωγη αυτων ωστε εκπληττεσθαι αυτους και λεγειν ποθεν τουτω η σοφια αυτη και αι δυναμεις
σοφία Mark 6:2 …what wisdom is this which is given unto him… …what is this wisdom that has been given to him?

NET Parallel Greek

Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

καὶ γενομένου σαββάτου ἤρξατο διδάσκειν ἐν τῇ συναγωγῇ, καὶ  πολλοὶ ἀκούοντες ἐξεπλήσσοντο λέγοντες· πόθεν τούτῳ ταῦτα, καὶ τίς ἡ σοφία ἡ δοθεῖσα τούτῳ, καὶ αἱ δυνάμεις τοιαῦται διὰ τῶν χειρῶν αὐτοῦ γινόμεναι και γενομενου σαββατου ηρξατο εν τη συναγωγη διδασκειν και πολλοι ακουοντες εξεπλησσοντο λεγοντες ποθεν τουτω ταυτα και τις η σοφια η δοθεισα αυτω οτι[15] και δυναμεις τοιαυται δια των χειρων αυτου γινονται και γενομενου σαββατου ηρξατο εν τη συναγωγη διδασκειν και πολλοι ακουοντες εξεπλησσοντο λεγοντες ποθεν τουτω ταυτα και τις η σοφια η δοθεισα αυτω και δυναμεις τοιαυται δια των χειρων αυτου γινονται
σοφίᾳ Luke 2:40 …filled with wisdom …filled with wisdom

NET Parallel Greek

Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

Τὸ δὲ παιδίον ἠύξανεν καὶ ἐκραταιοῦτο πληρούμενον σοφίᾳ, καὶ χάρις θεοῦ ἦν ἐπ᾿ αὐτό το δε παιδιον ηυξανεν και εκραταιουτο πνευματι πληρουμενον σοφιας και χαρις θεου ην επ αυτο το δε παιδιον ηυξανεν και εκραταιουτο πνευματι πληρουμενον σοφιας και χαρις θεου ην επ αυτο
σοφίᾳ Luke 2:52 And Jesus increased in wisdom And Jesus increased in wisdom

NET Parallel Greek

Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

Καὶ Ἰησοῦς προέκοπτεν [ἐν τῇ] σοφίᾳ καὶ ἡλικίᾳ καὶ χάριτι παρὰ θεῷ καὶ ἀνθρώποις και ιησους προεκοπτεν σοφια και ηλικια και χαριτι παρα θεω και ανθρωποις και ιησους προεκοπτεν σοφια και ηλικια και χαριτι παρα θεω και ανθρωποις
σοφία Luke 7:35 wisdom is justified of all her children. wisdom is vindicated by all her children.
Luke 11:49 Therefore also said the wisdom of God… For this reason also the wisdom of God said…

NET Parallel Greek

Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

διὰ τοῦτο καὶ ἡ σοφία τοῦ θεοῦ εἶπεν· ἀποστελῶ εἰς αὐτοὺς προφήτας καὶ ἀποστόλους, καὶ ἐξ αὐτῶν ἀποκτενοῦσιν καὶ διώξουσιν δια τουτο και η σοφια του θεου ειπεν αποστελω εις αυτους προφητας και αποστολους και εξ αυτων αποκτενουσιν και εκδιωξουσιν δια τουτο και η σοφια του θεου ειπεν αποστελω εις αυτους προφητας και αποστολους και εξ αυτων αποκτενουσιν και εκδιωξουσιν
σοφίᾳ Acts 6:10 …the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake. …the wisdom and the Spirit with which he spoke.
Acts 7:22 …Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians… …Moses was trained in all the wisdom of the Egyptians…

NET Parallel Greek

Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

καὶ ἐπαιδεύθη Μωϋσῆς [ἐν] πάσῃ σοφίᾳ Ἀιγυπτίων, ἦν δὲ δυνατὸς ἐν λόγοις καὶ ἔργοις αὐτοῦ και επαιδευθη μωσης παση σοφια αιγυπτιων ην δε δυνατος εν λογοις και εν εργοις και επαιδευθη μωσης παση σοφια αιγυπτιων ην δε δυνατος εν λογοις και εργοις
σοφίᾳ 1 Corinthians 1:17 …not with wisdom of words… …and not with clever speech…

NET Parallel Greek

Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

οὐ γὰρ ἀπέστειλεν με Χριστὸς βαπτίζειν ἀλλὰ εὐαγγελίζεσθαι, οὐκ ἐν σοφίᾳ λόγου, ἵνα μὴ κενωθῇ ὁ σταυρὸς τοῦ Χριστοῦ ου γαρ απεστειλεν με χριστος βαπτιζειν αλλ ευαγγελιζεσθαι ουκ εν σοφια λογου ινα μη κενωθη ο σταυρος του χριστου ου γαρ απεστειλεν με χριστος βαπτιζειν αλλ ευαγγελιζεσθαι ουκ εν σοφια λογου ινα μη κενωθη ο σταυρος του χριστου
σοφίᾳ 1 Corinthians 1:21 For after that in the wisdom of God… For since in the wisdom of God…
σοφία 1 Corinthians 1:30 …who of God is made unto us wisdom …who became for us wisdom from God…
σοφίᾳ 1 Corinthians 2:5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men… …that your faith would not be based on human wisdom
σοφία 1 Corinthians 3:19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For the wisdom of this age[16] is foolishness with God.
σοφίᾳ 2 Corinthians 1:12 …not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God… …not by human wisdom but by the grace of God…

NET Parallel Greek

Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

Ἡ γὰρ καύχησις ἡμῶν αὕτη ἐστίν, τὸ μαρτύριον τῆς συνειδήσεως ἡμῶν, ὅτι ἐν |ἁπλότητι| καὶ εἰλικρινείᾳ τοῦ θεοῦ, [καὶ] οὐκ ἐν σοφίᾳ σαρκικῇ ἀλλ᾿ ἐν χάριτι θεοῦ, ἀνεστράφημεν ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ, περισσοτέρως δὲ πρὸς ὑμᾶς η γαρ καυχησις ημων αυτη εστιν το μαρτυριον της συνειδησεως ημων οτι εν απλοτητι και ειλικρινεια θεου ουκ εν σοφια σαρκικη αλλ εν χαριτι θεου ανεστραφημεν εν τω κοσμω περισσοτερως δε προς υμας η γαρ καυχησις ημων αυτη εστιν το μαρτυριον της συνειδησεως ημων οτι εν απλοτητι και ειλικρινεια θεου ουκ εν σοφια σαρκικη αλλ εν χαριτι θεου ανεστραφημεν εν τω κοσμω περισσοτερως δε προς υμας
σοφίᾳ Ephesians 1:8 …hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence… …lavished on us in all wisdom and insight.
σοφία Ephesians 3:10 …might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God… … through the church the multifaceted wisdom of God should now be disclosed…
σοφίᾳ Colossians 1:9 …in all wisdom and spiritual understanding… …in all spiritual wisdom and understanding…
Colossians 1:28 …teaching every man in all wisdom …teaching all people with all wisdom

NET Parallel Greek

Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

ὃν ἡμεῖς καταγγέλλομεν νουθετοῦντες πάντα ἄνθρωπον καὶ διδάσκοντες πάντα ἄνθρωπον ἐν πάσῃ σοφίᾳ, ἵνα παραστήσωμεν πάντα ἄνθρωπον τέλειον ἐν Χριστῷ ον ημεις καταγγελλομεν νουθετουντες παντα ανθρωπον και διδασκοντες παντα ανθρωπον εν παση σοφια ινα παραστησωμεν παντα ανθρωπον τελειον εν χριστω ιησου ον ημεις καταγγελλομεν νουθετουντες παντα ανθρωπον και διδασκοντες παντα ανθρωπον εν παση σοφια ινα παραστησωμεν παντα ανθρωπον τελειον εν χριστω ιησου
σοφίᾳ Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom …teaching and exhorting one another with all wisdom

NET Parallel Greek

Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

Ὁ λόγος τοῦ Χριστοῦ ἐνοικείτω ἐν ὑμῖν πλουσίως, ἐν πάσῃ σοφίᾳ διδάσκοντες καὶ νουθετοῦντες ἑαυτοὺς, ψαλμοῖς ὕμνοις ᾠδαῖς πνευματικαῖς ἐν [τῇ] χάριτι ᾄδοντες ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ὑμῶν τῷ θεῷ ο λογος του χριστου ενοικειτω εν υμιν πλουσιως εν παση σοφια διδασκοντες και νουθετουντες εαυτους ψαλμοις και υμνοις και ωδαις πνευματικαις εν χαριτι αδοντες εν τη καρδια υμων τω κυριω ο λογος του χριστου ενοικειτω εν υμιν πλουσιως εν παση σοφια διδασκοντες και νουθετουντες εαυτους ψαλμοις και υμνοις και ωδαις πνευματικαις εν χαριτι αδοντες εν τη καρδια υμων τω κυριω
σοφίᾳ Colossians 4:5 Walk in wisdom toward them that are without… Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders…
σοφία James 3:15 This wisdom descendeth not from above… Such wisdom does not come from above…

NET Parallel Greek

Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

οὐκ ἔστιν αὕτη ἡ σοφία ἄνωθεν κατερχομένη ἀλλὰ ἐπίγειος, ψυχική, δαιμονιώδης ουκ εστιν αυτη η σοφια ανωθεν κατερχομενη αλλ επιγειος ψυχικη δαιμονιωδης ουκ εστιν αυτη η σοφια ανωθεν κατερχομενη αλλ επιγειος ψυχικη δαιμονιωδης
σοφία James 3:17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure… But the wisdom from above is first pure…

NET Parallel Greek

Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

ἡ δὲ ἄνωθεν σοφία πρῶτον μὲν ἁγνή ἐστιν, ἔπειτα εἰρηνική, ἐπιεικής, εὐπειθής, μεστὴ ἐλέους καὶ καρπῶν ἀγαθῶν, ἀδιάκριτος, ἀνυπόκριτος η δε ανωθεν σοφια πρωτον μεν αγνη εστιν επειτα ειρηνικη επιεικης ευπειθης μεστη ελεους και καρπων αγαθων αδιακριτος και ανυποκριτος η δε ανωθεν σοφια πρωτον μεν αγνη εστιν επειτα ειρηνικη επιεικης ευπειθης μεστη ελεους και καρπων αγαθων αδιακριτος και ανυποκριτος
σοφία Revelation 7:12 Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving… Praise and glory, and wisdom and thanksgiving…
Revelation 13:18 Here is wisdom. This calls for wisdom

NET Parallel Greek

Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

Ωδε ἡ σοφία ἐστίν ὁ ἔχων νοῦν ψηφισάτω τὸν ἀριθμὸν τοῦ θηρίου, ἀριθμὸς γὰρ ἀνθρώπου ἐστίν, καὶ ὁ ἀριθμὸς αὐτοῦ ἑξακόσιοι ἑξήκοντα ἕξ ωδε η σοφια εστιν ο εχων τον νουν ψηφισατω τον αριθμον του θηριου αριθμος γαρ ανθρωπου εστιν και ο αριθμος αυτου χξς ωδε η σοφια εστιν ο εχων νουν ψηφισατω τον αριθμον του θηριου αριθμος γαρ ανθρωπου εστιν και ο αριθμος αυτου εστιν χξς

[1] Matthew 23:30 (NET)

[2] Luke 11:49 (NET)

[3] https://www.ntgreek.org/learn_nt_greek/verbs1.htm#SUBJUNCTIVE

[4] Philippians 3:10, 11 (NET)

[5] The Greek word translated meddler (NIV), busybody in other men’s matters (KJV), or troublemaker (NET) was ἀλλοτριεπίσκοπος, and is notable for its mention along with a murderer or thief or criminal.

[6] Acts 5:41b (NET)

[7] Robert A. Dahl, “The Concept of Power

[8] Michael Valdivieso, “Three dimensions of power,” September 28, 2014, International Association for Political Science Students

[9] 1 John 5:19b (NET)

[10] Galatians 5:22, 23 (NET)

[11] John 4:14b (NET)

[12] John 8:44a (NET)

[13] John 3:3 (NET)

[14] John 3:7 (NET)

[15] The word οτι (τούτῳ may have the same effect as αυτω οτι) in the Stephanus Textus Receptus relates the δυναμεις to the σοφια: …that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands (KJV); What are these miracles that are done through his hands? (NET)  Consider this in relation to deeds being the children of wisdom.

[16] Matthew 24:3

Antichrist, Part 4

Back at Eden in Lars Von Trier’s “Antichrist” she explained an incident that happened the past summer.  She heard her son Nic crying.  She searched everywhere for him.  When she found him, he was playing contentedly, but the crying persisted for a time in the air in Eden.

“What you’re experiencing is panic, nothing more,” he said.  “The screaming wasn’t real.”

She took that in as he walked away.  Then she jumped him and started hitting him.  He wrestled her to the ground.

“You’re just so damn arrogant,” she said.

Later she shared her own conclusion about hearing Nic cry:  “Now I could hear what I couldn’t hear before,” she said, “the cry of all things that are to die.”

“That’s all very touching,” he said, “if it was a children’s book….That’s what fear is.  Your thoughts distort reality, not the other way around.”  But he had already experienced some of the “reality” distortion of Eden, and his words had begun to ring hollow.

“Satan’s church,” she said later.

“Satan!? Jesus!” the rationalist psychologist, who believed in neither, exclaimed.

“Nature is Satan’s church,” she asserted.

The earth was ruined in the sight of God, the book of Genesis reads, the earth was filled with violence.  God saw the earth, and indeed it was ruined, for all living creatures on the earth were sinful.[1]  We accept the violence of animals (and even that of human beings sometimes) as “natural,” because fallen nature is natural to us.  But the Creator did not: God said to Noah, “I have decided that all living creatures must die, for the earth is filled with violence because of them.  Now I am about to destroy them and the earth.”[2]

In “Antichrist” her husband couldn’t tolerate her conclusion about fallen nature being Satan’s church.  He began to talk to her about nature.

“The kind of nature that causes people to do evil things against women?” she asked.  He agreed.

If you continue to follow my teaching, Jesus said to those who had believed him, you are really my disciples and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.[3]

We are descendants of Abraham, they protested, and have never been anyone’s slaves![4]

I tell you the solemn truth, Jesus answered, everyone who practices sin is a slave of sin.[5]  I know that you are Abraham’s descendants.[6]  But now you are trying to kill me, a man who has told you the truth I heard from God.  Abraham did not do this!  You people are doing the deeds of your father.[7]

We were not born as a result of immorality (πορνείας, a form of πορνεία)! They protested again.  We have only one Father, God himself.[8]

If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come from God and am now here.[9]  You people are from your father the devil, Jesus continued, and you want to do what your father desires.  He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not uphold the truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, because he is a liar and the father of lies.[10]  The one who belongs to God listens and responds to God’s words.  You don’t listen and respond, because you don’t belong to God.[11]

“That kind of nature interested me a lot when I was up here,” she continued.  “That kind of nature was the subject of my thesis.  But you shouldn’t underestimate Eden….I discovered something else in my material than I expected.  If human nature is evil then that goes as well for the nature of…”

“…of the women,” he finished her thought, “female nature.”

“The nature of all the sisters,” she agreed.  “Women do not control their own bodies.  Nature does.  I have it in writing in my books.”

“The literature that you used in your research was about evil things committed against women,” he clarified for her.  “But you read it as proof of the evil of women?  You were supposed to be critical of those texts.  That was your thesis.  Instead you’re embracing it.  Do you know what you’re saying?”

“Forget it,” she said.  “I don’t know why I said it.”

Later he attempted to drive his point home.  But by that moment in the film it seemed like he was trying to persuade himself, more than her, that the strange visions and dreams he was having in Eden weren’t real.

“Good and evil have nothing to do with therapy,” he assured her.  “Do you know how many innocent women were killed in the 16th century alone just for being women?  I’m sure you do—many—and not because they were evil.”

“I know.  It’s just sometimes I forget,” she said without conviction.

“The evil you talk about is an obsession.  Obsessions never materialize.  It’s a scientific fact.”

She caught up with him in the shed later and attacked him.  She feared that he would leave her.  As he wrestled with her and fended off her blows he protested that he loved her.  Just as it seemed that their fighting would become fucking, she hit him in the groin with a heavy object (a toolbox, I think, by the sound of it; I winced both times I saw it).  Though he lost consciousness from the pain, he still had an erection.  She massaged it to a bloody ejaculation.  Nature, it seems, also controlled his body.

I, too, have nothing but a woman’s word for the way my body responded when I was unconscious from driving all night to get home to her.  I awoke refreshed and whole.  In “Antichrist” he awoke to find a whole drilled through his calf and a heavy grinding stone bolted to his leg.  While she was outside disposing of the wrench under the shed, he attempted to escape, dragging his hobbled leg.

She found him hiding in a fox’s lair and dug him out.  She dragged him back to the shed.  She grabbed scissors and hid them from him as she began to masturbate with his hand.  I expected that he was about to be emasculated.  But she exposed and put her own clitoris in between the scissor’s blades instead.

I remember the Sunday afternoon during my first divorce when I considered cutting off my penis according to Jesus’ command.  He said, “You would need to cut off your head.”  It was the way He knew my thoughts from afar that persuaded me He was speaking.  I had gotten well beyond the act to its aftermath in my mind.  There was no way I would call for help and have to explain why I cut off my own penis.  I had considered cauterizing the wound because stitching seemed out of the question.  I wasn’t sure if I could stop the blood flow or not.

“That will kill me for sure,” I said.

His answer was “precisely” or “exactly,” something to that effect.  I had been studying Romans.  At that moment I began to take Jesus’ command to cut off my penis (literally, a hand or a foot)[12] more figuratively, and Paul’s insight—we have been buried with [Christ] through baptism into death, in order that just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too may live a new life[13]—more literally.

“Antichrist” is a horror movie.  She was not studying Paul’s letter to the Romans.  No still small voice intervened to enlighten her.  She snipped off her clitoris with the scissors.  As she writhed in pain, he recovered the wrench and freed himself from the grinding stone.  And though he didn’t believe in Satan’s church, he joined her in worship.  He choked her to death with his bare hands, after he silenced her voice by crushing her larynx.

As he limped away, the last man standing, he had a vision.  He was surrounded by women, the victims of gynocide, I think.  When asked at Cannes to account for “Antichrist,” Lars Von Trier resisted.  But if the featurette on the DVD was edited honestly, eventually he said something to the effect that it was the hand of God.

Though Trier claimed not to know, the closing scene of “Antichrist” reminded me of a scene Jesus described: The people of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented when Jonah preached to them – and now, something greater than Jonah is here!  The queen of the South will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon – and now, something greater than Solomon is here![14]  The people of Ninevah and the queen of the South were portrayed by the victims of gynocide, while he, the rationalist psychologist, was this generation.


[1] Genesis 6:11, 12 (NET)

[2] Genesis 6:13 (NET)

[3] John 8:31, 32 (NET)

[4] John 8:33 (NET)

[5] John 8:34 (NET)

[6] John 8:37a (NET)

[7] John 8:40, 41a (NET)

[8] John 8:41b (NET)

[9] John 8:42a (NET)

[10] John 8:44 (NET)

[11] John 8:47 (NET)

[13] Romans 6:4 (NET)

[14] Matthew 12:41, 42 (NET)

Romans, Part 2

By the time he wrote his letter to the Romans Paul was back.  He abandoned all pretense of being concerned about nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified.[1]  His letter began with a history lesson like those he preached at Pisidian Antioch and Athens.  It was the history of sin since the flood.  For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of people who suppress the truth by their unrighteousness[2]

I think it is important not to confuse ungodliness here with sinful acts.  The word is ἀσέβειαν (a form of ἀσέβεια)[3] in Greek from ἀσεβής,[4] a compound word, the negation of σέβομαι[5] (to revere).  This ἀσέβεια is something in people that causes them not to revere God in truth.  What I am calling the religious mind is surely part of this ἀσέβεια (ungodliness).  Because of this ἀσέβεια people either ignored or denied the obvious truths that were made plain to them by the creation itself, because what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.  For since the creation of the world his invisible attributes – his eternal power (δύναμις)[6] and divine nature – have been clearly seen, because they are understood through what has been made.  So people are without excuse.[7]

So people are culpable for their failure to worship Him in truth, and his wrath was visited upon them as they worshiped after their own inclinations (not unlike Nadab and Abihu in some cases).  For although they knew God, they did not glorify him as God or give him thanks, but they became futile in their thoughts and their senseless hearts were darkened.  Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for an image resembling mortal human beings or birds or four-footed animals or reptiles.[8]

In other words both people and the rest of creation were made in such a way by God that it should have been plain to us that no human being, bird, mammal or reptile made everything that had been made.  But this ἀσέβεια in human beings makes our thoughts futile, our hearts senseless, and though it may flatter us that we are wise, ultimately it makes fools of us before God.  And so God’s wrath against our ἀσέβειαν (a form of ἀσέβεια) and our unrighteous worship was revealed (Ἀποκαλύπτεται, a form of ἀποκαλύπτω)[9] from heaven.

Unrighteous Worship

The Wrath of God Revealed from Heaven

For although they knew God, they did not glorify (ἐδόξασαν, a form of δοξάζω)[10] him as God or give him thanks, but they became futile in their thoughts and their senseless hearts were darkened.  Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for an image resembling mortal human beings or birds or four-footed animals or reptiles.

Romans 1:21-23 NET

Therefore God gave (παρέδωκεν, a form of παραδίδωμι)[11] them over in the desires (ἐπιθυμίαις, a form of ἐπιθυμία)[12] of their hearts to impurity (ἀκαθαρσίαν, a form of ἀκαθαρσία),[13] to dishonor (ἀτιμάζεσθαι, a form of ἀτιμάζω)[14] their bodies (σώματα, a form of σῶμα)[15] among themselves.

Romans 1:24 NET

The desires of their hearts were not necessarily evil because of the Greek word ἐπιθυμίαις (a form of ἐπιθυμία).  Jesus said, I have earnestly (ἐπιθυμίᾳ, another form of ἐπιθυμία) desired (ἐπεθύμησα, a form of ἐπιθυμέω)[16] to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.[17]  But ἀσέβεια (ungodliness) even in religious people nudges those desires toward evil.  You people are from your father the devil, Jesus said to those who were trying to kill him,[18] and you want to do what your father desires (ἐπιθυμίας, a form of ἐπιθυμία).  He was a murderer from the beginning[19]

So the idea here is that when God gave those who exchanged the glory of the immortal God for an image resembling mortal human beings or birds or four-footed animals or reptiles over to impurity (ἀκαθαρσίαν, a form of ἀκαθαρσία), this was their own desire (ἐπιθυμίαις τῶν καρδιῶν, “desire of the heart”).  In other words, He stopped restraining their urges.  Later, Paul wrote the believers in Ephesus (Ephesians 4:17-19 NET):

So I say this, and insist in the Lord, that you no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking.  They are darkened in their understanding, being alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardness of their hearts.  Because they are callous, they have given themselves over (παρέδωκαν, a form of παραδίδωμι) to indecency for the practice of every kind of impurity (ἀκαθαρσίας, a form of ἀκαθαρσία) with greediness.

The Greek word ἀκαθαρσίας (a form of ἀκαθαρσία) comes from the word ἀκάθαρτος,[20] (unclean), used extensively in the Gospels to describe unclean[21] spirits.  I mean, Paul wrote the Corinthians, that what the pagans sacrifice is to demons and not to God.[22]  Paul was not the originator of this explanation of the gods, he paraphrased Moses’ prophecy to Israel: They made him jealous with other gods, they enraged him with abhorrent idols.  They sacrificed to demons, not God, to gods they had not known; to new gods who had recently come along, gods your ancestors had not known about.[23]

So God gave them—who exchanged the glory of the immortal God for an image resembling mortal human beings or birds or four-footed animals or reptiles—over in the desires of their hearts to the impurity of demon worship, to dishonor (ἀτιμάζεσθαι, a form of ἀτιμάζω) their bodies (σώματα, a form of σῶμα) among themselves.  The word ἀτιμάζω is from ἄτιμος,[24] the negation of τιμή.[25]  Paul wrote the Thessalonians (1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 NET):

For this is God’s will (θέλημα):[26] that you become holy, that you keep away from sexual immorality (πορνείας, a form of πορνεία),[27] that each of you know how to possess his own body in holiness and honor (τιμῇ, a form of τιμή), not in lustful (ἐπιθυμίας, another form of ἐπιθυμία) passion (πάθει, a form of πάθος)[28] like the Gentiles who do not know (εἰδότα, a form of εἴδω)[29] God.

These Gentiles did not know (εἰδότα, a form of εἴδω) or see God because they were not born from above.  I tell you the solemn truth, Jesus explained to Nicodemus, unless a person is born from above, he cannot see (ἰδεῖν, another form of εἴδω) the kingdom of God.[30]  So I know the cure, or antidote, Paul proposed to this ἀσέβειαν (ἀσέβεια, ungodliness) that caused the Gentiles not to εἰδότα (εἴδω) God.  And I am beginning to get a fairly clear picture of how the demon worshippers dishonored their bodies among themselves.  They were in this fix because they did not glorify (ἐδόξασαν, a form of δοξάζω) him as God or give him thanks.  Paul wrote the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 6:18-20 NET Table):

Flee sexual immorality (πορνείαν, another form of πορνεία)! “Every sin a person commits is outside of the body (σώματος, another form of σῶμα)” – but the immoral person (πορνεύων, a form of πορνεύω)[31] sins against his own body (σῶμα).  Or do you not know that your body (σῶμα) is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?  For you were bought at a price.  Therefore glorify (δοξάσατε, another form of δοξάζω) God with your body (σώματι, another form of σῶμα).

I’m convinced the ἀτιμάζεσθαι (ἀτιμάζω) Paul referred to was πορνείας (πορνεία), the cultic worship practices that even descendants of Israel followed before (and after) they were liberated from Egypt.  (And as I mentioned before I hope that Paul used the word πορνείας in 1 Thessalonians 4:3 to describe adultery rather than cultic worship practices.)  So where my religious mind may have conceived of God’s wrath as punishment (even as atonement) for sin, Paul’s Christ mind conceived God’s wrath as God releasing people to even more sinfulness—the desires of their hearts—because it is God who makes people righteous, not people themselves.


[1] 1 Corinthians 2:2 (NET)

[2] Romans 1:18 (NET)

[7] Romans 1:19, 20 (NET)

[8] Romans 1:21-23 (NET)

[17] Luke 22:15 (NET)

[19] John 8:44 (NET)

[21] Matthew 10:1; 12:43; Mark 1:23, 26, 27; 3:11, 30 (said of Jesus); 5:2, 8, 13; 6:7; 7:25; 9:25; Luke 4:33, 36; 6:18; 8:29; 9:42; 11:24

[22] 1 Corinthians 10:20a (NET)

[23] Deuteronomy 32:16, 17 (NET)

[30] John 3:3 (NET)