The Bible Text
- For this series we are using throughout, the Lexham English Bible, a registered trade mark of Logos Bible Software. It is used consistently within the terms of its published licence.
- The verses of scripture are displayed with each verse on a separate line.
- Verses are numbered [set in square brackets] at the end of each verse.
- We hope this will allow a reading that is undistracted by the reference system (not itself part of the revelation). It was added very much later, as a convenient aid to locating passages.
- Any other numberings and markings have been put in place by Lexham and we recommend visiting their site for further information.
- Below each portion of Scripture, you will find our questions/comment on the passage of the day.
- The Headlines are our own, not part of the revelation either and in fact part of our commentary on the Scripture text.
- Returning to Lexham, their site makes clear that they want to maintain and make available a transparent translation of the Bible. We have, so far, four opinion Pieces on the Bible. These comments link to a book review on another translation effort.
Several things we do to help the reader approach the story in a fresh way
- We have already mentioned the Lexham translation.
- Conventionally, Proper Names in particular, are not translated. However, they do have to be placed in the text in a form that enables the reader to form a pronunciation. We use Hebrew transliterations of Proper Names. And we assume English is your first language. For instance, Yisra’el is the correct transliteration of the Hebrew into English. For simplicity sake we have dropped the Y. Isra’el is the name of the descendants of Yakov, Moshe is the correct transliteration rather than Moses and similarly Par’o for Pharaoh. We have chosen to pursue this course partly in a reaching for authenticity and as one way of reminding readers that they are reading a very old text from the Ancient Near East rather than a contemporary English/American tale, albeit translated for our convenience. We do not intend to offer you a course in Hebrew.
- The use of God’s name rather than one of the many euphemisms. Throughout we have used the Yhwh/Yahweh transliteration of the name of God, though without pronunciation markings. We have not used the Hebrew text of the name of God for reasons of technical limitations. It should be noted that Jews at the time of Jesus/Yeshua probably did not speak the name of God aloud for reasons of tradition and still do not use his name in speech. Orthodox Jews today, generally use the word HaShem meaning: the The Name. However, most Jews and Christians use the expression The Lord for convoluted reasons and habit. The availability of the Septuagint will have been another factor. This does not seem appropriate to us because Yhwh asked that His Name be spoken throughout the world (ie His creation)[eg Psalm 66:1-4]. The Lexham English Bible uses Yahweh. Using more direct transliterations help the reader get closer to the culture of the times, especially its foreignness. Church-going Christians are over-familiar with their Bibles to the extent that they forget that it is set long ago in the Ancient Near East. For instance, the name Jesus was formed via several transliterations from the Hebrew Yeshua to Greek to Latin to old English to modern American practice today.
- Highlighting the narrative rather than imposing doctrinal opinions on the text.
- Using a translation intended for the on-line environment (Lexham).
- Avoiding questions of application; (that is your task each day) while staying as close as possible to the narrative drive of the text. Let the writer have his integrity.
- We do not skip chunks of the text; the whole of the narrative is intact from 1:1 to 15:23. It is a common habit among preachers today to pick and choose portions of the narrative in some mistaken view that getting to the end quickly is the most important thing; that and not boring the listener.
- God inspired it all. He meant it all. Let’s take it seriously; all of it.
- We avoid the practice of “proof texting” we hope. When we slip up let us know, please
- Christian readers will generally be unaware of the chronological dis-continuities in Exodus. Among Orthodox Jews it is standard practice to acknowledge these discontinuities in the narrative. Keep a weather eye out for these and send us a note if you think you have spotted one such. If you read closely you may get the sense, from time to time, that the narrative is starting again, rather in the manner of “reprise”.
- Although scholars do debate the status of the King of Egypt, ie was the Pharaoh/Par’o, King of Egypt regarded as a human, a God, part God-part man? How were they perceived among their people, how did they understand themselves, how were they treated by other sovereigns? For the time being, we have settled on the position that they believed themselves to be Gods in human flesh for a time. Whereas Roman Emperors were to be acknowledged God’s (August) this was likely for the purpose of social control.
- Be aware that there is no evidence from archaeology or history that Isra’el was ever in Egypt. There are two sources for their presence: The Bible and the ancient Jewish people. Over three thousand years on, Jews still keep the ancient festivals of Yhwh (Leviticus 23), notably Passover, see here.
- We can say also, that the writer was very familiar with the landscape in which the story is set. Some of the arguments for this view are used again by Richard Baukham (Jesus and the Eyewitnesses, Eerdmans) in respect of the Gospel accounts.
- Dr James Hoffmeier, an Egyptologist, is a teacher at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and has worked hard to track down the route out of Egypt taken by Isra’el. He has located numerous features mentioned in the story; sufficient to say look here. Incidentally,you will find a very local egyptologist mentioned in the introductions to this lecture. It has led me to the view that, at the very least, we have to acknowledge that the writer of the Exodus knew the territory at that point in history.
- We intend to embellish this series next year and there are many features we shall find a way to make accessible.
- For a fuller account of Moshe and his likely upbringing, see The Books of Moses Revisited, Paul Lawrence, Wipf & Stock Publishers. Further helpful material may be found in Dr Lawrence’s Lion Atlas of Bible History, the 2006 edition. Get the Hardback, large format edition if possible.
- We have already noted that the apostle Stephen reflects on these matters (Acts 6:8 – 8:3) about a thousand years later, in his own struggle with “authorities”.
- Another two thousand years later, another Hebrew, a Russian Jew this time, writes on the matter of Tyranny & Terror and the power of freedom to overcome it. See: The Case for Democracy by Natan Sharansky, Public Affairs (Perseus Books Group). Read/watch them all.
- Isra’el is spelt Isra’el to distinguish it from the 21st century Nation State of Israel. This spelling also focuses attention on the way Hebrew names conveyed meaning. In the case of Isra’el; ‘el is the short form of elOhim which means God (Yhwh is God’s name). Isra’el conveys: one who contends with God & humanity.
- We hope you find these comments and indications useful to you as you follow these readings.
May Yhwh bless you and keep you close to Himself and help you learn more of the God whose only begotten, Yeshua, sent His emissaries to invite us Gentiles into His Commonwealth of Isra’el. See you at the Banquet!