Multiple Chiasms in Joshua 23

The entirety of Joshua 23 is a chiasm with embedded sub-chiasms. I will add them here as I find them.

A chiasm in Joshua 23:1-16 illustrates that God keeps his promises and expects us to keep ours too.

A chiasm in Joshua 23:1-3 is centered on Joshua summoning a congress of Israel's leadership.

A Meme Is Not Evidence

  • "King James personally supervised the translation of the KJV and he was a pervert."
  • "Francis Bacon translated the KJV or at least edited it, and he was a Freemason."
  • "The NIV deliberately removed X number of verses from the Bible."
  • "The Pope removed whole books from the Bible."

These are just a few examples of the many urban myths about Bibles and translations that have been circulating for decades and even centuries. They are all false--mostly if not totally--but people keep repeating them because these myths align with their notions of how the world works.

I don't have a lot of respect for the Pope or the Roman Catholic Church. I think the KJV has outlived its usefulness as a source of doctrine. I have issues with how the NIV translates some passages.

My prejudices aren't excuses for repeating lies.

If you see a claim about a conspiracy or if you see a meme that "exposes" some shocking truth, do some actual research before you repost it. See if you can verify the claims with primary sources.

You'll learn a lot and maybe save yourself some embarrassment at the same time.

Does the Bible Say that the Earth Doesn't Move?

Does the Bible say that the Earth never moves?

Tremble before him, all the earth; yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved.
1 Chronicles 16:30 
The LORD reigns; he is robed in majesty; the LORD is robed; he has put on strength as his belt. Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved.
Psalms 93:1 
He set the earth on its foundations, so that it should never be moved.
Psalms 104:5

I have heard some people quote these verses in support of the idea that the earth can't possibly be spinning through space, orbiting around the sun. "God says the earth doesn't move and God doesn't lie!"

If you read these verses in isolation without looking at the context or the underlying Hebrew, and if you squint just right, I can see why a person might think that, but if you take just a few minutes to understand what the authors were trying to communicate, you'll quickly see that it doesn't hold up.

For example, 1 Chronicles 16:30 is part of a prayer that David spoke after bringing the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem. It's poetic and demonstrative, and--like almost all poetry--uses some very picturesque language that wasn't meant to be understood literally. Other lines in this same prayer describe the land (Hebrew eretz, which can be translated "land", "ground", or "earth") singing to God and speaking to the nations and peoples. If verse 30 literally means that the world (Hebrew tebel) cannot physically move, then verses 23, 24, and 31 must literally mean that the land speaks in an audible, comprehensible voice. We all know that it doesn't. 

The Hebrew word translated as "moved" in these three verses is mot, which literally means to shake. It does not mean to move something from one place to another, as the earth orbiting the sun or a person moving from one room to another. It's used in Job 41:23 to describe the scales of the leviathan. I don't think anyone would seriously propose that the leviathan was in immobile statue, so it obviously doesn't mean that its scales can't move from one place to another. It's also used in Isaiah 41:7 to describe an idol that has been nailed to a base or other type of mount. Again, that doesn't mean the idol can't be moved. It only means that the idol won't wobble and fall over.

Clearly saying that the world or the earth can't be moved, does not have to mean that it is fixed in a static location within the universe or else we would have to say the same thing about finished idols and the leviathan. 

"The world shall never be moved" doesn't even mean that it won't be moved in the literal sense of being shaken. Earthquakes happen all the time, even in the Bible. More than that, the Bible says that entire mountain ranges and oceans have been rearranged over time and will be again.

So if it doesn't mean that the earth's location is permanently fixed in the universe, and it doesn't mean that the earth never trembles or moves around in any way, what does it mean?

"The world shall never be moved" is just a poetic way of saying "This stuff sure is dependable compared to you and me."

Suggested Apostolic Readings for Parsha V'zot HaBracha

New Testament passages related to Torah portion V'Zot HaBracha (Deuteronomy 33-34):
  • Deuteronomy 33:1-29
    • Matthew 25:14-30
    • Mark 14:3-9
    • Luke 21:10-28
    • Luke 22:24-30
    • 2 Corinthians 9:9-15
    • 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10
  • Deuteronomy 34:1-12
    • Luke 2:22-35
    • John 14:6-31
    • Hebrews 3:1-19
    • Jude 1:8-25

Did Miriam Author Part of the Bible?

There is an obvious chiasm in Exodus 1-2 in the story of Moses' birth and adoption into Pharaoh's house. The chiasm includes at least Exodus 1:22-2:9, and possibly as much as Exodus 1:5-2:15.

This image shows the clearest segment:

Here is the expanded chiasm, which I think is correct:

A .v8-19 - Egyptians oppress Hebrews. Midwives rescue. Answer demanded. Escape.
B ...v20-21 - God's favor on the Midwives and growth of their families.
C .....v22 - Pharaoh said, "Take the son away. Let the daughter live."
D .......v1 - Amram went and took his wife, Jochebed.
E .........v2 - Jochebed conceived and bore a son.
F ...........v2 - Jochebed saw that the child was fine, took pity on him, and hid him for 3 months.
G .............v3 - Jochebed went to the river and hid the child in a basket in the river.
H ...............v4 - Miriam stood at a distance to learn what would happen.
G .............v5 - The princess went to the river and found the basket in the river.
F ...........v6 - The princess revealed the child, saw him crying, took pity, and recognized him.
E .........v7 - Miriam found a woman who had born a child.
D .......v8 - Miram went and called the child's mother, Jochebed.
C .....v9 - The princess said, "Take the child away. Pay the woman her wages."
B ...v10-11a - The princess's favor on Moses and his growth into a man.
A .v11b-15 - Egyptians oppress Hebrews. Moses rescues. Answer demanded. Escape.

Chiasms are always fascinating. The most interesting part is usually at the center, and this one is no exception. Miriam is at the center of a chiasm on the birth, near death, and adoption of Moses, and not just Miriam, but her observing and studying the process of Moses' transformation from Hebrew to Egyptian and back again to Hebrew.

What does this mean?

It probably means that Miriam was the source of the first part of Exodus; it might even record her exact words. How do we know what happened with the midwives and Jochebed and the basket and Pharaoh's daughter? Miriam witnessed it all so that Moses could his story as seen through her eyes and possibly even her words.

Knowledgeable Bible students will recall that this isn't the only extended record of Miriam's words. Exodus 15:1-21 contains The Song of Miriam.

Suggested Apostolic Readings for Parsha Bechukotai

New Testament passages related to Torah portion Bechukotai (Leviticus 26:3-27:34):

  • Mark 5:25-34
  • Romans 5:1-6:5
  • Colossians 1:19-23
  • 1 Peter 1:13-25

Texas SB1978, the So-Called "Save Chick-Fil-A Bill"

Texas Senate Bill 1978 (SB1978) forbids the government from punishing people for their religious affiliations. Sounds like a First Amendment no-brainer to me.

It's not an pro-discrimination bill. It's an anti-discrimination bill.

In fact, it's really not much more than a restatement of section 4 of the Texas Bill of Rights, explicitly extending this basic protection to employees, contractors, and anyone else conducting official business with the state.

No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office, or public trust, in this State; nor shall any one be excluded from holding office on account of his religious sentiments, provided he acknowledge the existence of a Supreme Being.

From The Statesmen: House gives preliminary OK to ‘Save Chick-fil-A’ bill
From openstates: SB 1978 - Texas Senate (86)