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Week 8 Day 2 Genesis 38 Mark 9

18 March, 2015

Genesis 38

There Judah saw and met a daughter of Shuah, a Canaanite; he took her as wife and lived with her.

And she became pregnant and bore a son, and he called him Er.

And she conceived again and bore a son and named him Onan.

Again she conceived and bore a son and named him Shelah. [They were living] at Chezib when she bore him.  One thing I don’t get with the bible – and this is possibly the feminist in me rising up – but where are the mention of the girl’s births?  Why is it the boys are celebrated in this culture and girls seemingly not?

Now Judah took a wife for Er, his firstborn; her name was Tamar.

And Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord slew him.

Then Judah told Onan, Marry your brother’s widow; live with her and raise offspring for your brother.

But Onan knew that the family would not be his, so when he cohabited with his brother’s widow, he prevented conception, lest he should raise up a child for his brother.

10 And the thing which he did displeased the Lord; therefore He slew him also.  The men in this family then disgraced Tamar.  There is a beautiful story by Francine Rivers which covers the life of Tamar – The Scarlet Thread – well worth the read to personalise the story a bit more and understand the culture.

11 Then Judah said to Tamar, his daughter-in-law, Remain a widow at your father’s house till Shelah my [youngest] son is grown; for he thought, Lest perhaps [if Shelah should marry her] he would die also, as his brothers did. So Tamar went and lived in her father’s house.  More trickery and reluctance to commit.  Judah must have wondered what his children were doing to be so unfortunate and didn’t want his last son falling into the same fate.

12 But later Judah’s wife, the daughter of Shuah, died; and when Judah was comforted, he went up to his sheep shearers at Timnath with his friend Hirah the Adullamite.

13 Then it was told Tamar, Listen, your father-in-law is going up to Timnath to shear his sheep.

14 So she put off her widow’s garments and covered herself with a veil, wrapped herself up [in disguise], and sat in the entrance of Enaim, which is by the road to Timnath; for she saw that Shelah was grown and she was not given to him as his wife. Tamar could justifiably have been angry and resentful over Judah’s treatment but she was also told (it doesn’t say by whom) to dress in such a way as to provoke possible contact with Judah.

14 So she put off her widow’s garments and covered herself with a veil, wrapped herself up [in disguise], and sat in the entrance of Enaim, which is by the road to Timnath; for she saw that Shelah was grown and she was not given to him as his wife.

15 When Judah saw her, he thought she was a harlot or devoted prostitute [under a vow to her goddess], for she had covered her face [as such women did].

16 He turned to her by the road and said, Come, let me have intercourse with you; for he did not know that she was his daughter-in-law. And she said, What will you give me that you may have intercourse with me? So the woman is dressed in a way promoting herself as a prostitute – temple or otherwise.  Regardless she was offering herself for sex and Judah – widowed – was looking for sex.

17 He answered, I will send you a kid from the flock. And she said, Will you give me a pledge (deposit) until you send it?

18 And he said, What pledge shall I give you? She said, Your signet [seal], your [signet] cord, and your staff that is in your hand. And he gave them to her and came in to her, and she became pregnant by him.

19 And she arose and went away and laid aside her veil and put on the garments of her widowhood. So she was promised payment but wanted something of Judah’s as a promise and something that would uniquely identify him. 

24 But about three months later Judah was told, Tamar your daughter-in-law has played the harlot, and also she is with child by her lewdness. And Judah said, Bring her forth and let her be burned!

25 When she was brought forth, she [took the things he had given her in pledge and] sent [them] to her father-in-law, saying, I am with child by the man to whom these articles belong. Then she added, Make out clearly, I pray you, to whom these belong, the signet [seal], [signet] cord, and staff.

26 And Judah acknowledged them and said, She has been more righteous and just than I, because I did not give her to Shelah my son. And he did not cohabit with her again. Tamar brought evidence of Judah’s pledge with here – now there was nothing to stop him being able to blame another man for falling into her trick I suppose but it certainly put him in the awkward position with his things given to a prostitute – and being his daughter-in-law made it more shameful as he hadn’t fulfilled his duty and promise.

27 Now when the time came for her to be delivered, behold, there were twins in her womb.

28 And when she was in labor, one baby put out his hand; and the midwife took his hand and bound upon it a scarlet thread, saying, This baby was born first.

29 But he drew back his hand, and behold, his brother was born first. And she said, What a breaking forth you have made for yourself! Therefore his name was called Perez [breaking forth].

30 And afterward his brother who had the scarlet thread on his hand was born and was named Zerah [scarlet]. Hence Francine Rivers’ title

Mark 9

Six days after this, Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John and led them up on a high mountain apart by themselves. And He was transfigured before them and became resplendent with divine brightness.

And His garments became glistening, intensely white, as no fuller (cloth dresser, launderer) on earth could bleach them.

And Elijah appeared [there] to them, accompanied by Moses, and they were [a]holding [a protracted] conversation with Jesus.

And [b]Peter took up the conversation, saying, Master, it is good and suitable and beautiful for us to be here. Let us make three booths (tents)—one for You and one for Moses and one for Elijah.

For he did not [really] know what to say, for they were in a violent fright ([c]aghast with dread). This kind of thing is something I just can’t even begin to imagine – the glory of God – *spoilers* Moses had to cover his face after he spent time with God.  There were no sunglasses back then and even snow is glaringly bright – this would have been even more so and it’s not surprising Peter says what might seem as stupid comments to try and be useful around such a spectacle.  

Moses, Elijah and Jesus have a protracted conversation together. A drawn out and detailed conversation, no doubt about what was to follow.  How fantastic to be in on a discussion with these men, who would have been wise leaders having done the journey but also that they were even with Jesus – *spoliers* Elijah didn’t die but was swept up into the clouds but Moses died and was buried before he made it to the promised land. So something happened to these men that they spent time with Jesus probably before He became man but certainly now.

And a cloud threw a shadow upon them, and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is My Son, the [[d]most dear worthy] Beloved One. Be [e]constantly listening to and obeying Him!

And looking around, they suddenly no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus only.

And as they were coming back down the mountain, He admonished and [f]expressly ordered them to tell no one what they had seen until the Son of Man should rise from among the dead.

10 So they carefully and faithfully kept the matter to themselves, questioning and disputing with one another about what rising from among the dead meant. At least they had each other that they could discuss this happening with – you would doubt yourself alone.  What a privilege that they got to see Moses and Elijah – two great men of faith and historical importance and also hear God make this announcement.

11 And they asked Him, Why do the scribes say that it is necessary for Elijah to come first?

12 And He said to them, Elijah, it is true, does come first to restore all things and [g]set them to rights. And how is it written of the Son of Man that He will suffer many things and be utterly despised and be treated with contempt and rejected?

13 But I tell you that Elijah has already come, and [people] did to him whatever they desired, as it is written of him. Now it’s possible that Jesus is referring to John the Baptist here

17 And one of the throng replied to Him, Teacher, I brought my son to You, for he has a dumb spirit.

18 And wherever it lays hold of him [so as to make him its own], it dashes him down and convulses him, and he foams [at the mouth] and grinds his teeth, and he [[i]falls into a motionless stupor and] is wasting away. And I asked Your disciples to drive it out, and they were not able [to do it]. Today we might not believe that this is governed by spirits – the medical world would likely have us believe that it is instead epilepsy – so is a medical problem a spiritual problem? Do we mislabel what is spiritual now? I wonder this as I battle with major depression and can see behaviours and reactions during any episode get me down more than it might a “reasonable person”.

19 And He answered them, O unbelieving generation [without any faith]! How long [j]shall I [have to do] with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him to Me.

20 So they brought [the boy] to Him, and when the spirit saw Him, at once it completely convulsed the boy, and he fell to the ground and kept rolling about, foaming [at the mouth]. Now Jesus had left the 9 disciples – they didn’t see His transfiguration (change of countenance/look) but they did see the state of him when He returned with the other three men.  The thing that strikes me is Jesus’ impatience with us stoopid folk who just don’t seem to understand the how or why to heal they way He is able to.

21 And [Jesus] asked his father, How long has he had this? And he answered, From the time he was a little boy.
22 And it has often thrown him both into fire and into water, intending to kill him. But if You can do anything, do have pity on us and help us.
23 And Jesus said, [You say to Me], If You can do anything? [Why,] all things can be (are possible) to him who believes!
24 At once the father of the boy gave [an [k]eager, [l]piercing, inarticulate] cry with tears, and he said, Lord, I believe! [Constantly] help my [m]weakness of faith!
25 But when Jesus noticed that a crowd [of people] came running together, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, You dumb and deaf spirit, I charge you to come out of him and never go into him again.
26 And after giving a [hoarse, clamoring, fear-stricken] shriek of anguish and convulsing him terribly, it came out; and the boy lay [pale and motionless] like a corpse, so that many of them said, He is dead.
27 But Jesus took [[n]a strong grip of] his hand and began lifting him up, and he stood. So even the father had doubt but he willingly admitted it. 
 

28 And when He had gone indoors, His disciples asked Him privately, Why could not we drive it out?

29 And He replied to them, This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer [o]and fasting. Yet here He seems more forgiving of their failure 

 

30 They went on from there and passed along through Galilee. And He did not wish to have anyone know it,

31 For He was [engaged for the time being in] teaching His disciples. He said to them, The Son of Man is being delivered into the hands of men, and they will put Him to death; and when He has been killed, after three days He will rise [[p]from death].32 But they did not comprehend what He was saying, and they were afraid to ask Him [what this statement meant]. Here is a lesson for us – don’t ever be afraid to ask the dumb questions – there is always someone nearby who is also wondering (something I learned in training days.

33 And they arrived at Capernaum; and when [they were] in the house, He asked them, What were you discussing and arguing about on the road?

34 But they kept still, for on the road they had discussed and disputed with one another as to who was the greatest.

35 And He sat down and called the Twelve [apostles], and He said to them, If anyone desires to be first, he must be last of all, and servant of all. Another lesson in bluffing Jesus – we have no hope of doing it successfully.

36 And He took a little child and put him in the center of their group; and taking him in [His] arms, He said to them,

37 Whoever in My name and for My sake accepts and receives and welcomes one such child also accepts and receives and welcomes Me; and whoever so receives Me receives not only Me but Him Who sent Me. We need to be aware of how innocently kids accept people and how unassuming they can be.  Sure there are times when they crave attention but they accept everything initially and even in abusive situations they continue to come back for more.

41 For I tell you truly, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to and bear the name of Christ will by no means fail to get his reward.

42 And whoever causes one of these little ones (these believers) who [r]acknowledge and cleave to Me to stumble and sin, it would be better (more profitable and wholesome) for him if a [huge] millstone were hung about his neck, and he were thrown into the sea. Some very uncompromising words here

43 And if your hand puts a stumbling block before you and causes you to sin, cut it off! It is more profitable and wholesome for you to go into life [[s]that is really worthwhile] maimed than with two hands to go to hell (Gehenna), into the fire that cannot be put out.[t]

45 And if your foot is a cause of stumbling and sin to you, cut it off! It is more profitable and wholesome for you to enter into life [that is really worthwhile] crippled than, having two feet, to be cast into hell (Gehenna)[u].

47 And if your eye causes you to stumble and sin, pluck it out! It is more profitable and wholesome for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell (Gehenna),

48 Where their worm [[v]which preys on the inhabitants and is a symbol of the wounds inflicted on the man himself by his sins] does not die, and the fire is not put out.

49 For everyone shall be salted with fire.

50 Salt is good (beneficial), but if salt has lost its saltness, how will you restore [the saltness to] it? Have salt within yourselves, and be at peace and live in harmony with one another. This passage goes on and on – it is some rant but do we (I) understand it? Do I actually want to admit to actually understanding it and therefore being accountable or do I remain dumb and hide my own sin (from others but also from myself) – do I justify my own actions and my own failings?

Selah

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