Saturday, June 27, 2009

Corruption in Public Office

Corruption is not not new among today's public officials. It seems that temptation placed in the path of our United States congressmen and senators is impossible for many of them to resist. This is not a new scenario for us to observe and be shocked. "Political Bozos" have always been on the scene. For several years we have been studying the Cuneiform writings. We have on display at the Library in the Palms Research Center several clay tablets. One is a medical record. One is a legal document. One is a student' learning tablet. We also have many fragments of ancient writings and biblical coins on display. In our research, we have learned that the ancient Horites in their elaborately developed culture northeast of the Persian Gulf left a record of a civic swindle that occurred around 1500 BC. At the recently discovered site of the city of Nuzu, Edward Chiera came across an ancient villas loaded with thousands of clay tablets. He recovered more than twenty thousand clay tablets in the year, 1925 AD. Translators were immediately called in to decipher and translate the ancient clay tablets in order to obtain a more complete idea of their culture. New light was thrown upon the life of these people that lived at the emergence of the Israelites as a distinct people. As the Nuzu clay tablets were observed and categorized, many were recognized as legal documents, court records and legal struggles over ethics and morals. One of the tablets recorded the actions of the city's mayor, Kushshiharbe. He was so abusive of his office that citizens brought charges against him and convicted him of all charges. You see, Kushshiharbe used civic workers for his personal projects and had close ties with organized crime. He was convicted of kidnapping and living in immorality. Obtaining money and covering it up in secret was at the top of his list. He accepted bribes and charged big dollars for his approval of city activity. Can we say again, "Nothing is new under the sun."

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Literal Translation?

Street Language
In 1960, I took with me several former drug addicts back into the concrete jungle of Houston’s drug culture. I listened as my group begin to explain what had happened to them. "High on Jesus" was one of the terms used. "Jesus is my joint" (I’m fixed on Jesus) and "my stash" (where my stuff is located) is now the Bible. I could only listen as they they communicated with each other. Two of my guys, Joe Lee Kirkpatrick and Bobby Mankin were amazing witnesses for Jesus as they brought their friends and others into our "Big House" that housed about 15 guys at a time. There seemed to be no obstacles to these boys in the words used to communicate the salvation of God. Bible translators have always had great problems finding equivalents for words used in some languages. Martin Luther had a difficult time translating from Hebrew, Greek and Latin into German. For Luther, many animals in the older languages were obscure or confusing. He could not figure out what a tragelaphus was. He had trouble with oryx, mygale, pygargus and camelopardus. So, he substituted the names of familiar creatures for the ones of which he was not acquainted. His era, the 1600th century, knew nothing about the chameleon. So, he translated it "weasel. The Bulu (of Africa) have no words for "trust’ and "holy." Also "righteous" is rendered "straight" and "grace" is translated "kind." The Valiente tribesmen of Panama have no word for "Holy Spirit." So, they use their references to the tree spirit, house spirit and the long-armed monkey spirit. Looking further we find that the Oceania’s Ponape tongue has no reference to "father." However, it does have four or five different ways to say "brother." Since the Barrow Eskimos do not tend sheep, Psalm 100:3 is translated: "We are his people, and the woolly goats of his pasture." They do not call Jesus "the Lamb of God." To them He is a "Seal Pup." Well, so much for literal translations. Who would have thought?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Books the Bible Mentions

In our class at the Library in the Palms Research Center, we are studying the numerous Christian writings that were not placed into our canon of scripture. We have these writings because of the discovery of the Nag Hammadi Library and the Dead Sea Scrolls. There have also been other discoveries that have given us the ideas and thoughts of the writers of the canon. However, numerous ancient chronicles that are mentioned in the Bible have been lost. As Ezra and his committee in Babylon brought together the ancient stories, many books were not included in the canon. Many of the recorded stories had been transmitted orally from generation to generation by memory rather than by means of clay tablets or leather scrolls. Many holes and gaps in the scriptures would be filled in or completed if these books could be recovered or discovered. We only have brief quotations from some of them in the Old Testament. In most instences only the titles and names are mentioned. For example, the Prophecy of Enoch (Jude 14); the Book of the Wars of the Lord (Numbers 21:14); the Book of Jasher (Joshua 10:13; 2 Samual 1:18); the Book of Iddo the Seer (2Chron. 9:29; 12:15); the Book of Nathan the Prophet and the Prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite (2 Chron. 9:29); the Acts of Rehoboam in the Book of Shemaiah (2 Chron. 12:15); and the Book of Jehu the Son of Hanani (2 Chron. 20:34).

Monday, June 22, 2009

Words in the Bible

As many English Bibles are read, one reads (several hundred times) the title or name, "Jehovah." Was this title or name revealed to Moses at the time of the Exodus? To be exact, "Jehovah" is not found in the Hebrew Old Testament. The name was written as a tetragrammaton or grammatical form made up of four Hebrew consonants, JHWH or YHWH. Many modern translators have inserted vowels for pronunciation... Yahweh. The "NAME" of God held great sacredness equal to God Himself. "Adonai" (my Lord) was pronounced in prayer and reading orally from the Law or Prophets. JHWH could not be pronounced. This problem persisted for a hundred generations when in 1520 AD Petrus Galatinus mixed the two titles of God. He took JHWH and put the vowels of the Hebrew word, Adonai and formed a new name, JeHoVaH. This was completely artificial and never had any part of Hebrew speech or worship. However, the name, Jehovah is firmly established in our minds like concrete as His Holy Name.