Showing posts from October, 2008

A voice crying in the wilderness?

It was the practice of John the Baptist to live in, and preach (call out) in the wilderness that has led us to understand Isaiah 40:3 to be a reference to John and his preaching of repentance, declaring to the people of Israel to “prepare ye a way for the Lord.” Most interpretations understand John himself to be the "voice crying in the wilderness," and that he was preparing something special for (or on behalf of) Yahweh.

Isa 40:3 The voice of him that cries in the wilderness, Prepare the way of Yahweh, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

But, a clear understanding of Hebrew coupled with a fair reading of the Bible indicates otherwise. First of all it is not the voice that cries “in the wilderness.” It is “in the wilderness” that the "way" (or "roadway") should be prepared. Also, the roadway was to be prepared not "for our God," but "to our God."

kOl kovra` - "A cry cries!" bamid'bar panu De…

You are the salt of the earth...

There has been much confusion regarding Matthew 5:13:

You are the salt of the earth: but if the salt has lost its savor, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.

Many have interpreted this reference by first interpreting the use of the word salt to mean “to season,” explaining that to “loose saltiness” renders salt unable to season. Likewise, some have said that salt is to be understood as meaning “to preserve,” and that salt that can no longer preserve is useless. Both of these interpretations miss the point by interpreting the word “salt” in modern terms rather than ancient Hebrew terms.

To complicate this matter, there is quite a bit of misunderstanding surrounding the ancient meaning of the Hebrew word for salt, melach. Brown defines the term as having derived from the similar word malach (to tear away), and for many reasons, this is quite reasonable. The two words are often confused in the Bible. …