Exhortation, July 2

Zedekiah was the last Davidic king in Judah, and like many of his predecessors he “did evil in the sight of Yahweh.” We might imagine he oppressed the people, promoted idolatry, persecuted prophets, ignored God’s commandments and His prophets. We know from the book of Jeremiah . . . . Continue Reading »

Time and Being

Louis Dupre suggests that modern thought is riven by a fundamental tension. On the one hand, the real is still conceived, as it classically has been, as an unchanging order, while on the other hand the subject determines meaning and value. Modern thought, to put it otherwise, is caught between the . . . . Continue Reading »

House of Treasures

Proverbs 15:6, translated according to the original Hebrew order, reads: “In the house of the righteous treasure aplenty; but in the revenue of the wicked disturbance.” Two structures overlap and interact here. There is the chiastic order: A. house B. righteous C. treasure C’. . . . . Continue Reading »

Wise as serpents

Jesus said that we should be wise as serpents, but how are serpents wise? Genesis 3:1 says that the serpent was more “crafty” (ARUM) than any of the beasts of the field, and the same word is used a number of times in Proverbs, often translated as “prudent.” A crafty man . . . . Continue Reading »

Body, then Head

The logic of Scripture often moves from head to body: What Jesus did, His disciples are to do; we are to have the mind that was in Christ Jesus; we are to follow Him, not He us. Yet, the sequence of Matthew is inverted in several places. Before Jesus is delivered up, rejected, or cast out of the . . . . Continue Reading »

Jerusalem, Jerusalem

Jerusalem is named 13x in Matthew’s gospel, the last of them in 23:37 where the name is doubled in Jesus’ lament (the city’s name is spelled differently in 23:37). Both at the beginning and end, Jerusalem is troubled by the coming of Jesus: All Jerusalem is upset with Herod at the . . . . Continue Reading »

Reject Disciples, Reject Jesus

Matthew mentions Sodom three times - in 10:15 and twice in 11:23-24. In the second, He says that the cities that have refused to repent when He did miracles will be judged more harshly than Sodom; in the first, He says that those who reject His disciples will be subject to the same judgment. To . . . . Continue Reading »

Updike’s Terrorist

James Wood is always illuminating, but never more so than when he’s giving a book a sharply negative review, as he does with Updike’s recent Terrorist (reviewed in TNR July 3). My favorite line: “When Ahmad [the terrorist of the title] speaks, he sounds like V. S. Naipaul; but . . . . Continue Reading »

Rabbi Jesus?

It’s a commonplace of liberal theology that Jesus is a great teacher, but no more. Jesus is certainly a teacher in Matthew’s gospel, but David Bauer points out that the only people who call him rabbi are strangers or opponents (8:19; 12:38). Oh, yes, and Judas (26:25, 49). Disciples, . . . . Continue Reading »