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ISRAEL and HEBREW
LITERATURE
Capital: Jerusalem (disputed)
Financial Center: Tel Aviv
Currency: Israeli new shekel
Anthem: “Hatikvah” (The Hope)
Demonym: Israeli
Religion: Monotheistic (Jehovah)
Date of Establishment: May 14, 1948
Type of Government: Unitary Parliamentary Republic
Head of Government Prime Minister
Legislative Body: Knesset
Total Land Area: 8,019 / 8, 522 sq. miles
Fast Facts on
The State of
Israel
(Medinat
Yisrael)
The Map of
Israel
History of the Name
Israel
- New name of Jacob after he
wrestled with an angel
Memeptah stele
- First record of the name
“Israel”
- It said “Israel is laid waste.
His seed is no more”.
The Flag
Blue stripes – symbolizes the
stripes on the tallit (prayer
shawl)
Star of David (Magen David or
Shield of David) – symbol of the
Jewish people and of Judaism
Color white – Chesed (divine
benevolence)
Blue – Gevurah (God’s severity),
God’ glory and purity
The Tallit (Prayer shawl)
Some Tourist Spots
The Wailing
Wall or
Western Wall,
Jerusalem
Church of the
Nativity,
Bethlehem
Open Doors,
Rishon Lezion
Memorial Park
Interesting
Fact
Most
powerful
army in the
world (#11)
Some Key Figures in
Hebrew History
Abraham
Isaac (son of Abraham)
Jacob (Israel, son of Isaac)
The Patriarchs
Sarah (wife of
Abraham)
Rebekah (wife of
Isaac)
Leah and Rachel
(wives of Jacob)
The Matriarchs
First King of Israel
King Saul
- Second king of Israel
- United the people of
Judah and Israel
- Killed Goliath as a
shepherd boy
- Great poet and
musician
King David
- Great legislator
- Former Egyptian
prince
- Attributed to be the
author of the Torah
- 10 commandments
Moses
Hebrew Literature
The Language and Alefbet
-23 consonants, including which has a two-
fold sound
-4 have secondary vowel values
-Written from right to left
-Alef (first letter). Tav (last letter)
-Each letter has numerical values
Hebrew Literature
• consists of ancient, medieval, and modern writings in the Hebrew
language
• written by Jews on Jewish themes in any language; works of a
literary character written by Jews in Hebrew or Yiddish or other
recognized languages, whatever the theme; literary works written by
writers who were essentially Jewish writers, whatever the theme and
whatever the language
• Characterized by love of God, being emotional, showing great love
of the country and (poetry) having no rhyme or regularity of
rhythm
Ancient Hebrew Literature
- began with oral literature of the LeshonHaKodesh (‫ׁש‬ ֶ‫קֹוד‬ֲ‫ֶׁשֹוןה‬‫ל‬,
“The Holy Language”
Important works:
• Tanakh (the Hebrew Bible)
• Mishna - primary rabbinic codification of laws as derived from the
Torah
Foundations of Hebrew Literature
• Bible (Tanakh) – which are chiefly dedicated to the ancient history
of the Jews, their laws and social aspirations
- written Torah (Teachings of Law)
• Talmud - collection of numerous treatises which are chiefly
dedicated to the laws and legends of the Jews
- marked by it precise terminology and strict logic. It is
predominantly prosaic
- oral Torah
- codification of laws (Mishna)
- commentary on the Mishna (Gemara)
HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT
Biblical Period
• a union of legend and fact, imagination and speculation
• A great part is historical narrative which is interrupted by legal
narrative
• terse and written in rhythmic poetry; prophecy is written in the
parallelistic form of poetry.
Post-Biblical Period
• an extension of the Biblical period
• Apocyphal and apocalyptic books belong to a literature of epigones
a. Septuagint - the Greek version of the Hebrew Bible (or Old Testament)
- includes the Apocrypha (14 books of unknown authorship, or of
doubtful authenticity)
b. Halakah - the most popular Hebrew literature; came from the Hebrew
word “halak” (go or a rule to go by)
c. Haggadah - comes from the Hebrew word “higgid” (to tell); It is a
Jewish text that sets forth the order of the Passover Seder
The
Haggadah
Middle Ages
- intellectual models were patterned after Arab models, and later the
Western cultures
- latent and new poetic devices came to the form; rhymes and meters
were introduced, as well as European form, like the sonnet
- Arabic influence permeated even the themes of poetry – themes
such as wine, nature, sensual love and friendship.
Writers:
• N.R. Wesley (Mosiad, an epic poem)
• Shalom Cohem (Davidiad, an epic work on King David)
• J.M. Gordon, the most powerful poet of the period.
- After World War I, Lyric poetry reached its maturity in the works of
Slikine, Ginzburg, Bavli, Balkan, Boguizon, Efros, Lisitzky and Peril.
Famous Contemporary
Hebrew Writers
Shmuel Yosef Agnon
- foremost writer in modern Hebrew
literature
- Most important work:
• I havets mitt (In the Heart of the
Seas)
• HakhnasatKalah (The Bridal Canopy)
– a story, Jewish counterpart of Don
Quixote
• Oreach Nata Lalun (A Guest for the
Night) – his greatest achievement, a
novel
- first Jew to receive Nobel Peace Price
for Literature, 1966
Famous Contemporary
Hebrew Writers
Nelly Sachs
- outstanding lyrical and dramatic
writer, interpreting Israel's destiny
with touching strength
- Most important works:
• FahrtinsStaublose (Journey to the
Beyond), lyric poetry
• Zeichenim Sand (Signs in the
Sand), dramatic poetry
• Eli, mystery play
- first Jew to receive Nobel Peace Price
for Literature, 1966
The Bible
Jewish / Hebrew Bible
• includes only the books known to Christians as the Old Testament
• 39 books
The TANAKH
Ta –Torah (or Instruction)
Na – Nevi’im (or Prophets)
Kh – Khetuvim (or Writing)
The Hebrew Bible
Torah (Instruction)
5 books
Genesis Brʾeišyt
Exodus Šemot
Leviticus Wayiqra
Numbers Bəmidbar
Deuteronomy Devarim
Nevi'im (Prophets)
19 books
Former
Joshua Yehoshua
Judges Shofetim
Samuel Shemuel
Kings Melakhim
Latter
Isaiah Yeshayahu
Jeremiah Yirmeyahu
Ezekiel Yekhezqel
Minor
Hosea
Joel
Amos
Obadiah
Jonah
Micah
Nahum
Habakkuk
Zephaniah
Haggai
Zechariah
Malachi
Ketuvim (Writings)
11 books
Poetic
Psalms Təhillîm
Proverbs Mishlei
Job Iyov
Five Megillot (Scrolls)
Song of Songs ShirHashirim
Ruth Rut
Lamentations Eikhah
Ecclesiastes Qoheleth
Esther Ester
Historical
Daniel Daniyyel
Ezra–Nehemiah Ezra
Chronicles Dibh'reHayyamim
The Christian Bible
• “biblia” (Latin) and “biblos” (Greek)
• Holy Scriptures, Holy Writ, Scripture,
or the Scriptures (sacred writings)
• compilation of 66 books (72 for the
Catholics) and letters written by more
than 40 authors during a period of
approximately 1,500 years (c. 750 to
c. AD 100).
Sections:
• The Old Testament
• New Testament
• Apocrypha
Old Testament
• a collection of ancient writings of the Hebrew patriarchs,
the teachings of later prophets, as well as psalms and hymns
• our greatest and most lasting religious and moral heritage
from the Hebrews
• 39 books
• Classified into: History, Prophetic Books, Lyric Poetry,
Drama, Wisdom Literature and Tales
Classification according to Literature Title
History
Hexateuch
(first 6 books)
Pentateuch
(first 5 books)
Genesis
Exodus
Leviticus
Numbers
Deuteronomy
Joshua
Judges
I Samuel
II Samuel
I Kings
II Kings
Nehemiah
Classification according to Literature Title
Prophetic Books
Isaiah
Jeremiah
Ezekiel
Amos
Hosea
Micah
Lamentations
Habakkuk
Zephaniah
Nahum
Obadiah
Zechariah
Classification according to Literature Title
Lyric Poetry The Psalms
Classification according to Literature Title
Drama
Job
Song of
Songs
(Song of
Solomon)
Classification according to Literature Title
Wisdom Literature
Proverbs
Ecclesiastes
Classification according to Literature Title
Tales
Ruth
Jonah
Daniel
Esther
New Testament
• account of the origin and early development of
Christianity
• 27 books:
4 biographies of Jesus (The Gospels
1 church history
21 epistles
1 apocalypse
Classification according to Literature Title
Gospel
SynopticGospels
Matthew
Mark
Luke
John
Classification according to Literature Title
Church History
The Acts of the Apostles
Epistles
Epistles of Paul
Epistles (of Paul,
I Thessalonians
II Thessalonians
Galatians
I Corinthians
II Corinthians
Romans
By other authors
Hebrew
James
I John
Classification according to Literature Title
Apocalypse
The Revelation
to St. John The
Divine
The Apocrypha
• 14 books which were included in the Septuagint, not in the original
Hebrew
• Excluded from the Sacred Canon, but are included in the King James
version
• 4 books of history, five tales, and two books of wisdom, one epistle,
one song and one prayer
History
Not accepted I Esdras
Not accepted II Esdras
Accepted
I Maccabees
II MaccabeesAccepted
Tales
Accepted Judith
Accepted Susanna and the Elders
Accepted Tobit
Wisdom Literature
Accepted Ecclesiasticus or the Wisdom of Jesus, Son of Sirah
Accepted The Wisdom of Solomon
Additional Books of the Apocrypha
Not accepted
The Prayer of
Manasses
This work dates from the first century B.C. It was intended to be used in connection with the story of Manasseh's
Babylonian captivity (2 Chron. 33). Parts of the Prayer have found their way into Protestant liturgy.
Not accepted
The Song of the
Three Holy
Children
This addition to the Book of Daniel was written about 100 B.C. and was found inserted in his book, in the third
chapter, right after the 23rd verse.
Accepted Baruch
The greater part of this book was written in the 1st century A.D. under the assumed name of Baruch, the private
secretary of Jeremiah. The 6th chapter is known as the Epistle of Jeremiah. Both books contain a series of
exhortations, encouragements and severe denunciations.
Accepted
Esther (additional
verses)
This work, written about 100 B.C., consists of a number of additions to the Biblical book of Esther. The additions
were added for detail and to make up for some of the spiritual deficiencies of the canonical book. The added verses
greatly enhance the apocalyptic nature of the story and bring enormous symbolic understanding to it,
dramatically enhancing its relationship to God. It is replete with dragons, and images easily reminiscent of the
most important tenants and personages involved in the last-day warfare between Satan and Christ. The symbolism
it brings to the Book of Esther is powerful prophecy.
Accepted
Bel and the
Dragon
Written about 100 B.C., this story reveals Daniel's wisdom in exposing the falsehood of idolatry and those who
promote it. The book also reveals the existence in Babylon of a dragon-god. Information about this idol is
available from no other source, but it is particularly relevant in light of dragon prophecies relative to the last days,
scattered throughout the scriptures.
Some Biblical
Pieces
The Creation (Genesis 1:1-2:3)
• Day 1 - God created light and separated the light from the darkness, calling light "day" and darkness
"night.“
• Day 2 - God created an expanse to separate the waters and called it "sky."
• Day 3 - God created the dry ground and gathered the waters, calling the dry ground "land," and the
gathered waters "seas." On day three, God also created vegetation (plants and trees).
• Day 4 - God created the sun, moon, and the stars to give light to the earth and to govern and
separate the day and the night. These would also serve as signs to mark seasons, days, and years.
• Day 5 - God created every living creature of the seas and every winged bird, blessing them to
multiply and fill the waters and the sky with life.
• Day 6 - God created the animals to fill the earth. On day six, God also created man and woman
(Adam and Eve) in his own image to commune with him. He blessed them and gave them every
creature and the whole earth to rule over, care for, and cultivate.
• Day 7 - God had finished his work of creation and so he rested on the seventh day, blessing it and
making it holy.
Psalm 23
(Psalm of
David / The
Lord Is My
Shepherd)
Ecclesiastes
• 12 chapters
• Wisdom literature, Old Testament
• Ketuvim (Tanakh)
• Written by Koheleth (a pseudonym, “teacher” / “preacher” /
“gatherer”
• “all is vanity”
Story of Joseph (starting from Gen. 37)
• 17 yr old shepherd-boy; Isaac’s favorite, 2nd to the youngest ( of 13
siblings)
• Dreamed that he will eventually have dominion over his brothers
• Was plotted against by his brothers (due to jealousy), left him in a pit,
and bringing home to Jacob Joseph’s blood-stained many-colored coat
• Merchants lifted Joseph out of the pit and sold Joseph for 20 silvers
• Joseph was brought to Egypt
• In the slave market, Potiphar, an officer of the Pharaoh, bought him
• Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce Joseph but he refused
• Joseph was imprisoned on the wrong account that he slept with
Potiphar’s wife
• While in prison, Joseph interpreted correctly the dreams of the chief
butler and the chief baker
cont. Story of Joseph
• Pharaoh’s dream was interpreted correctly by Joseph (7 years of bounty then 7 years
of famine)
• Because of that, he became ruler of Egypt
• During the famine, Jacob asked his sons to go to Egypt to buy corn
• 10 went (except Benjamin, the youngest)
• Joseph, the governor of the land, recognized his brothers but pretended to be
otherwise
• He did not allow them to return to Canaan unless Benjamin will be brought to him
• After 3 days, he allowed them to go home, leaving one man behind, and to return
with Benjamin with them
• Without their knowing, Joseph returned their money to them along with the corn
they bought
• Arriving home, they asked Jacob to allow them to bring Benjamin to Egypt.
cont. Story of Joseph
• When their corn was finished, they needed to return to Egypt to buy more.
• Though hesitating, he eventually allowed Benjamin to go with his brothers to
Egypt
• Joseph received them well in his house, feasting with them
• After the feast, he instructed his servant to “fill their sacks with as much food as
they can carry. Place my silver cup into the sack of their youngest.
• In the morning, the brothers left but were soon stopped because they were
accused of stealing
• Upon checking their sacks, Joseph’s silver cup was found inside Benjamin’s sack
• Being that Benjamin will be punished, Judah pleaded that he will take
Benjamin’s place instead
• Eventually, Joseph revealed himself.
The Story of Ruth (Book of Ruth)
• Elim’e-lech and Naomi, sons Mah’lon and Chil’i-on moved from
Bethlehem-Judah to the country of Moab due to famine
• Elim’e-lech died and his sons married Moabite women Orpah and Ruth
• After 10 years, the sons died leaving Naomi, Orpah and Ruth
• Naomi decided to return to the land of Judah and asked her daughters in
law to return to their families
• Orpah and Naomi said they will go back with Naomi to her land but
Naomi insisted that she doesn’t have anymore sons for them to marry
• Orpah returned to her family
• Ruth did not leave Naomi, “Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return
from following thee; for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou
lodgest, I will lodge; thy people shall be my people, and thy God my
God.”
• Ruth eventually married Boaz and from them came the great
grandparents of David (and Jesus)
Parable of the Talents (Mt 25: 14-30)
• A man who was travelling called his servants and left one of them with 5 talents, the
other 2 talents and to another 1.
• The man with the 5 talents went and traded it, getting 5 more
• The man with 2 talents, gained also another 2
• The man with 1 talent, buried his talent
• The lord of the servants eventually returned and called his servants
• The came and brought their talents with them
• The man with 10 talents was eventually made a ruler of the land, as well as the man who
have 4
• “You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no
seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming
I should have received what was my own with interest.”
• The man who buried his talent was told to give his talent to the man who has 10
• For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from
the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless
servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of
teeth.”

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Israel and Hebrew Literature

  • 2. Capital: Jerusalem (disputed) Financial Center: Tel Aviv Currency: Israeli new shekel Anthem: “Hatikvah” (The Hope) Demonym: Israeli Religion: Monotheistic (Jehovah) Date of Establishment: May 14, 1948 Type of Government: Unitary Parliamentary Republic Head of Government Prime Minister Legislative Body: Knesset Total Land Area: 8,019 / 8, 522 sq. miles Fast Facts on The State of Israel (Medinat Yisrael)
  • 4. History of the Name Israel - New name of Jacob after he wrestled with an angel Memeptah stele - First record of the name “Israel” - It said “Israel is laid waste. His seed is no more”.
  • 5. The Flag Blue stripes – symbolizes the stripes on the tallit (prayer shawl) Star of David (Magen David or Shield of David) – symbol of the Jewish people and of Judaism Color white – Chesed (divine benevolence) Blue – Gevurah (God’s severity), God’ glory and purity
  • 8. The Wailing Wall or Western Wall, Jerusalem
  • 12. Some Key Figures in Hebrew History
  • 13. Abraham Isaac (son of Abraham) Jacob (Israel, son of Isaac) The Patriarchs
  • 14. Sarah (wife of Abraham) Rebekah (wife of Isaac) Leah and Rachel (wives of Jacob) The Matriarchs
  • 15. First King of Israel King Saul
  • 16. - Second king of Israel - United the people of Judah and Israel - Killed Goliath as a shepherd boy - Great poet and musician King David
  • 17. - Great legislator - Former Egyptian prince - Attributed to be the author of the Torah - 10 commandments Moses
  • 19. The Language and Alefbet -23 consonants, including which has a two- fold sound -4 have secondary vowel values -Written from right to left -Alef (first letter). Tav (last letter) -Each letter has numerical values
  • 20.
  • 21. Hebrew Literature • consists of ancient, medieval, and modern writings in the Hebrew language • written by Jews on Jewish themes in any language; works of a literary character written by Jews in Hebrew or Yiddish or other recognized languages, whatever the theme; literary works written by writers who were essentially Jewish writers, whatever the theme and whatever the language • Characterized by love of God, being emotional, showing great love of the country and (poetry) having no rhyme or regularity of rhythm
  • 22. Ancient Hebrew Literature - began with oral literature of the LeshonHaKodesh (‫ׁש‬ ֶ‫קֹוד‬ֲ‫ֶׁשֹוןה‬‫ל‬, “The Holy Language” Important works: • Tanakh (the Hebrew Bible) • Mishna - primary rabbinic codification of laws as derived from the Torah
  • 23. Foundations of Hebrew Literature • Bible (Tanakh) – which are chiefly dedicated to the ancient history of the Jews, their laws and social aspirations - written Torah (Teachings of Law) • Talmud - collection of numerous treatises which are chiefly dedicated to the laws and legends of the Jews - marked by it precise terminology and strict logic. It is predominantly prosaic - oral Torah - codification of laws (Mishna) - commentary on the Mishna (Gemara)
  • 24. HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT Biblical Period • a union of legend and fact, imagination and speculation • A great part is historical narrative which is interrupted by legal narrative • terse and written in rhythmic poetry; prophecy is written in the parallelistic form of poetry.
  • 25. Post-Biblical Period • an extension of the Biblical period • Apocyphal and apocalyptic books belong to a literature of epigones a. Septuagint - the Greek version of the Hebrew Bible (or Old Testament) - includes the Apocrypha (14 books of unknown authorship, or of doubtful authenticity) b. Halakah - the most popular Hebrew literature; came from the Hebrew word “halak” (go or a rule to go by) c. Haggadah - comes from the Hebrew word “higgid” (to tell); It is a Jewish text that sets forth the order of the Passover Seder
  • 27. Middle Ages - intellectual models were patterned after Arab models, and later the Western cultures - latent and new poetic devices came to the form; rhymes and meters were introduced, as well as European form, like the sonnet - Arabic influence permeated even the themes of poetry – themes such as wine, nature, sensual love and friendship. Writers: • N.R. Wesley (Mosiad, an epic poem) • Shalom Cohem (Davidiad, an epic work on King David) • J.M. Gordon, the most powerful poet of the period. - After World War I, Lyric poetry reached its maturity in the works of Slikine, Ginzburg, Bavli, Balkan, Boguizon, Efros, Lisitzky and Peril.
  • 28. Famous Contemporary Hebrew Writers Shmuel Yosef Agnon - foremost writer in modern Hebrew literature - Most important work: • I havets mitt (In the Heart of the Seas) • HakhnasatKalah (The Bridal Canopy) – a story, Jewish counterpart of Don Quixote • Oreach Nata Lalun (A Guest for the Night) – his greatest achievement, a novel - first Jew to receive Nobel Peace Price for Literature, 1966
  • 29. Famous Contemporary Hebrew Writers Nelly Sachs - outstanding lyrical and dramatic writer, interpreting Israel's destiny with touching strength - Most important works: • FahrtinsStaublose (Journey to the Beyond), lyric poetry • Zeichenim Sand (Signs in the Sand), dramatic poetry • Eli, mystery play - first Jew to receive Nobel Peace Price for Literature, 1966
  • 31. Jewish / Hebrew Bible • includes only the books known to Christians as the Old Testament • 39 books The TANAKH Ta –Torah (or Instruction) Na – Nevi’im (or Prophets) Kh – Khetuvim (or Writing)
  • 32. The Hebrew Bible Torah (Instruction) 5 books Genesis Brʾeišyt Exodus Šemot Leviticus Wayiqra Numbers Bəmidbar Deuteronomy Devarim
  • 33. Nevi'im (Prophets) 19 books Former Joshua Yehoshua Judges Shofetim Samuel Shemuel Kings Melakhim Latter Isaiah Yeshayahu Jeremiah Yirmeyahu Ezekiel Yekhezqel Minor Hosea Joel Amos Obadiah Jonah Micah Nahum Habakkuk Zephaniah Haggai Zechariah Malachi
  • 34. Ketuvim (Writings) 11 books Poetic Psalms Təhillîm Proverbs Mishlei Job Iyov Five Megillot (Scrolls) Song of Songs ShirHashirim Ruth Rut Lamentations Eikhah Ecclesiastes Qoheleth Esther Ester Historical Daniel Daniyyel Ezra–Nehemiah Ezra Chronicles Dibh'reHayyamim
  • 35. The Christian Bible • “biblia” (Latin) and “biblos” (Greek) • Holy Scriptures, Holy Writ, Scripture, or the Scriptures (sacred writings) • compilation of 66 books (72 for the Catholics) and letters written by more than 40 authors during a period of approximately 1,500 years (c. 750 to c. AD 100). Sections: • The Old Testament • New Testament • Apocrypha
  • 36. Old Testament • a collection of ancient writings of the Hebrew patriarchs, the teachings of later prophets, as well as psalms and hymns • our greatest and most lasting religious and moral heritage from the Hebrews • 39 books • Classified into: History, Prophetic Books, Lyric Poetry, Drama, Wisdom Literature and Tales
  • 37. Classification according to Literature Title History Hexateuch (first 6 books) Pentateuch (first 5 books) Genesis Exodus Leviticus Numbers Deuteronomy Joshua Judges I Samuel II Samuel I Kings II Kings Nehemiah
  • 38. Classification according to Literature Title Prophetic Books Isaiah Jeremiah Ezekiel Amos Hosea Micah Lamentations Habakkuk Zephaniah Nahum Obadiah Zechariah
  • 39. Classification according to Literature Title Lyric Poetry The Psalms
  • 40. Classification according to Literature Title Drama Job Song of Songs (Song of Solomon)
  • 41. Classification according to Literature Title Wisdom Literature Proverbs Ecclesiastes
  • 42. Classification according to Literature Title Tales Ruth Jonah Daniel Esther
  • 43. New Testament • account of the origin and early development of Christianity • 27 books: 4 biographies of Jesus (The Gospels 1 church history 21 epistles 1 apocalypse
  • 44. Classification according to Literature Title Gospel SynopticGospels Matthew Mark Luke John
  • 45. Classification according to Literature Title Church History The Acts of the Apostles Epistles Epistles of Paul Epistles (of Paul, I Thessalonians II Thessalonians Galatians I Corinthians II Corinthians Romans By other authors Hebrew James I John
  • 46. Classification according to Literature Title Apocalypse The Revelation to St. John The Divine
  • 47. The Apocrypha • 14 books which were included in the Septuagint, not in the original Hebrew • Excluded from the Sacred Canon, but are included in the King James version • 4 books of history, five tales, and two books of wisdom, one epistle, one song and one prayer
  • 48. History Not accepted I Esdras Not accepted II Esdras Accepted I Maccabees II MaccabeesAccepted Tales Accepted Judith Accepted Susanna and the Elders Accepted Tobit Wisdom Literature Accepted Ecclesiasticus or the Wisdom of Jesus, Son of Sirah Accepted The Wisdom of Solomon
  • 49. Additional Books of the Apocrypha Not accepted The Prayer of Manasses This work dates from the first century B.C. It was intended to be used in connection with the story of Manasseh's Babylonian captivity (2 Chron. 33). Parts of the Prayer have found their way into Protestant liturgy. Not accepted The Song of the Three Holy Children This addition to the Book of Daniel was written about 100 B.C. and was found inserted in his book, in the third chapter, right after the 23rd verse. Accepted Baruch The greater part of this book was written in the 1st century A.D. under the assumed name of Baruch, the private secretary of Jeremiah. The 6th chapter is known as the Epistle of Jeremiah. Both books contain a series of exhortations, encouragements and severe denunciations. Accepted Esther (additional verses) This work, written about 100 B.C., consists of a number of additions to the Biblical book of Esther. The additions were added for detail and to make up for some of the spiritual deficiencies of the canonical book. The added verses greatly enhance the apocalyptic nature of the story and bring enormous symbolic understanding to it, dramatically enhancing its relationship to God. It is replete with dragons, and images easily reminiscent of the most important tenants and personages involved in the last-day warfare between Satan and Christ. The symbolism it brings to the Book of Esther is powerful prophecy. Accepted Bel and the Dragon Written about 100 B.C., this story reveals Daniel's wisdom in exposing the falsehood of idolatry and those who promote it. The book also reveals the existence in Babylon of a dragon-god. Information about this idol is available from no other source, but it is particularly relevant in light of dragon prophecies relative to the last days, scattered throughout the scriptures.
  • 51. The Creation (Genesis 1:1-2:3) • Day 1 - God created light and separated the light from the darkness, calling light "day" and darkness "night.“ • Day 2 - God created an expanse to separate the waters and called it "sky." • Day 3 - God created the dry ground and gathered the waters, calling the dry ground "land," and the gathered waters "seas." On day three, God also created vegetation (plants and trees). • Day 4 - God created the sun, moon, and the stars to give light to the earth and to govern and separate the day and the night. These would also serve as signs to mark seasons, days, and years. • Day 5 - God created every living creature of the seas and every winged bird, blessing them to multiply and fill the waters and the sky with life. • Day 6 - God created the animals to fill the earth. On day six, God also created man and woman (Adam and Eve) in his own image to commune with him. He blessed them and gave them every creature and the whole earth to rule over, care for, and cultivate. • Day 7 - God had finished his work of creation and so he rested on the seventh day, blessing it and making it holy.
  • 52. Psalm 23 (Psalm of David / The Lord Is My Shepherd)
  • 53. Ecclesiastes • 12 chapters • Wisdom literature, Old Testament • Ketuvim (Tanakh) • Written by Koheleth (a pseudonym, “teacher” / “preacher” / “gatherer” • “all is vanity”
  • 54.
  • 55. Story of Joseph (starting from Gen. 37) • 17 yr old shepherd-boy; Isaac’s favorite, 2nd to the youngest ( of 13 siblings) • Dreamed that he will eventually have dominion over his brothers • Was plotted against by his brothers (due to jealousy), left him in a pit, and bringing home to Jacob Joseph’s blood-stained many-colored coat • Merchants lifted Joseph out of the pit and sold Joseph for 20 silvers • Joseph was brought to Egypt • In the slave market, Potiphar, an officer of the Pharaoh, bought him • Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce Joseph but he refused • Joseph was imprisoned on the wrong account that he slept with Potiphar’s wife • While in prison, Joseph interpreted correctly the dreams of the chief butler and the chief baker
  • 56. cont. Story of Joseph • Pharaoh’s dream was interpreted correctly by Joseph (7 years of bounty then 7 years of famine) • Because of that, he became ruler of Egypt • During the famine, Jacob asked his sons to go to Egypt to buy corn • 10 went (except Benjamin, the youngest) • Joseph, the governor of the land, recognized his brothers but pretended to be otherwise • He did not allow them to return to Canaan unless Benjamin will be brought to him • After 3 days, he allowed them to go home, leaving one man behind, and to return with Benjamin with them • Without their knowing, Joseph returned their money to them along with the corn they bought • Arriving home, they asked Jacob to allow them to bring Benjamin to Egypt.
  • 57. cont. Story of Joseph • When their corn was finished, they needed to return to Egypt to buy more. • Though hesitating, he eventually allowed Benjamin to go with his brothers to Egypt • Joseph received them well in his house, feasting with them • After the feast, he instructed his servant to “fill their sacks with as much food as they can carry. Place my silver cup into the sack of their youngest. • In the morning, the brothers left but were soon stopped because they were accused of stealing • Upon checking their sacks, Joseph’s silver cup was found inside Benjamin’s sack • Being that Benjamin will be punished, Judah pleaded that he will take Benjamin’s place instead • Eventually, Joseph revealed himself.
  • 58. The Story of Ruth (Book of Ruth) • Elim’e-lech and Naomi, sons Mah’lon and Chil’i-on moved from Bethlehem-Judah to the country of Moab due to famine • Elim’e-lech died and his sons married Moabite women Orpah and Ruth • After 10 years, the sons died leaving Naomi, Orpah and Ruth • Naomi decided to return to the land of Judah and asked her daughters in law to return to their families • Orpah and Naomi said they will go back with Naomi to her land but Naomi insisted that she doesn’t have anymore sons for them to marry • Orpah returned to her family • Ruth did not leave Naomi, “Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following thee; for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge; thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God.” • Ruth eventually married Boaz and from them came the great grandparents of David (and Jesus)
  • 59. Parable of the Talents (Mt 25: 14-30) • A man who was travelling called his servants and left one of them with 5 talents, the other 2 talents and to another 1. • The man with the 5 talents went and traded it, getting 5 more • The man with 2 talents, gained also another 2 • The man with 1 talent, buried his talent • The lord of the servants eventually returned and called his servants • The came and brought their talents with them • The man with 10 talents was eventually made a ruler of the land, as well as the man who have 4 • “You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest.” • The man who buried his talent was told to give his talent to the man who has 10 • For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Editor's Notes

  1. Date of Establishment (when they were officially recognized as a country, a state) : May 14, 1948 Capital: Jerusalem (disputed) Financial Center: Tel Aviv Currency: Israeli new shekel Anthem: “Hatikvah” (The Hope) Demonym: Israeli Religion: Monotheistic (Jehovah) Type of Government: Unitary Parliamentary Republic Head of Government: Prime Minister Legislative Body: Knesset Total Land Area: 8,019 / 8, 522 sq. miles   Fast facts Israel is an independent republic in Southwest Asia. It is situated between the Eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea and the head of the Gulf of Aqaba, an arm of the Red Sea.   It is the only world’s only Jewish-majority state. It also has the highest standard of living in the Middle East and the fifth highest in Asia. Israel also has one of the highest life expectancies in the world.   Israel is located on an area considered to be the Holy Land for Christians, Jews and Muslims. From 1920, the whole region was known as Palestine (under British Mandate) until the Israeli Declaration of Independence in 1948.
  2. It is bordered on by : Lebanon (north) Syria (northeast) Jordan (east) Palestinian territories (West Band and Gaza Strip, east and west) Egypt (southwest) Gulf of Aqaba (Red Sea, south)
  3. The terms “Land of Israel and “Children of Israel” were used historically to denote the biblical Kingdom of Israel (and the entire Jewish nation). The name “Israel” refers to Jacob, who was given the name Israel (which means struggle with God) after he successfully wrestled with an angel of the Lord. His 12 sons became the ancestors of the Israelites, also known as the Twelve Tribes of Israel (or Children of Israel).   Jacob and his sons lived in Canaan but were forced to go to Egypt because of a famine. For four generations they stayed there, until Moses, a great, great grandson of Jacob, led the Exodus.   The area known as the Holy Land was known by a variety of other names such as Judea, Samaria, Syria Palaestina, Kingdom of Jerusalem and Canaan.   The first record of the name Israel was in the Memeptah stele, erected for the Egyptian Pharaoh Memeptah c. 1209 BCE. It said “Israel is laid waste. His seed is no more”.
  4. The flag of Israel was adopted on October 28, 1948, five months after the establishment of the State of Israel. It depicts a blue hexagram on a white background, between two horizontal blue stripes. The blue stripes are intended to symbolize the stripes on a tallit, the traditional Jewish prayer shawl. The portrayal of a Star of David on the flag of the State of Israel is a widely-acknowledged symbol of the Jewish people and of Judaism. The color white symbolizes Chesed (divine benevolence), while the blue color symbolizes God’s glory, purity and Gevurah (God’s severity).
  5. Jews and many other people consider the wall to have been part of a Jewish temple, also called the Second Temple, which stood for hundreds of years. Jews from all countries, and as well as tourists of other religious backgrounds, go to pray at the wall, where many people believe that one immediately has the "ear of God." People who cannot pray at the wall can send in prayers or ask for the Kaddish, a specific Jewish prayer, to be said for departed loved ones. Prayers that are sent in are placed into the cracks of the walls and are called kvitelach.
  6. The Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem is a major Christian holy site as it marks the place of Jesus’ birth. It is also one of the oldest Christian surviving churches. The church was originally commissioned in 327 AD by Constantine and his mother Helena over the site that is still traditionally considered to be located over the cave that marks the birthplace of Jesus of Nazareth. The site of the Church of the Nativity is a World Heritage Site, and was the first to be listed under Palestine by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
  7. Open Doors is the first Philippine monument in Israel symbolizing the people’s hospitality when the Philippines opened its doors to the Jewish refugees fleeing Europe during the Holocaust.
  8. Israel is well known for their military policy and might. Apart from possessing between 80-200 nuclear warheads, they also hold almost 4000 tanks, and [practically everyone is military trained.
  9. When taken broadly, the Patriarchs will refer to the 24 ancestor-figures between Adam and Abraham. The first ten were called the Antediluvian Patriarchs because they lived before the flood (during the time of Noah).   The three most significant are Abraham, his son Isaac and Isaac’s son, Jacob. According to the Torah, God has made a covenant to these three and has promised the Land of Israel to them. They were also used as a significant marker by God in revelations and promises. They have been referred to as the Three Patriarchs, Patriarchs of the Jewish Nation or the Father of the Jewish Nation. The term “Abot” (the Jewish equivalent for Patriarch) is applied only to these three. The origin of divine devotion can be traced back to these three. Hence the "'Amidah" prayer begins with the patriarchal benediction "Birkat abot". (The God of our fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob"); but it concludes with "Praised be the Lord, the shield of Abraham," as a special reference to God's promise to make for Abraham a "great name". Abraham (Ibrahim in Islam) is considered to be the father of the Prophets in Islam because all subsequent prophets were his descendants (the Israelite prophets through Isaac and Muhammad through Ismā'īl). The Patriarchs are considered to be the first rulers of the Hebrews.
  10. The Matriarchs are the wives of the biblical Patriarchs. They are Sarah, the wife of Abraham, Rebekah, the wife of Isaac and Leah and Rachel, the wives of Jacob.
  11. Saul became the first king of Israel when he was 30 years old after being chosen by God himself. He reigned for 42 years. He defeated many of the enemies of his country, including the Ammonites, Philistines, Moabites, and Amalekites and united the scattered tribes. However, he can also be impulsive and unwise.
  12. David is the second King. He made Jerusalem as the capital and religious center after having truly united the people of Judah and Israel. He was a young shepherd boy when he killed Goliath, the giant of the Philistines, using only a sling and a pebble. He is depicted as a courageous warrior and military leader, a poet and musician (he plays the harp) credited for composing much of the psalms contained in the Book of Psalms. He is described as 'a man after God's own heart' in the books of I Samuel and Acts. He was succeeded by his son Solomon, one of Israel’s greatest kings.
  13. Name means from the river According to the Book of Exodus, Moses was born in a time when his people, the Israelites, an enslaved minority, were increasing in numbers and the Egyptian Pharaoh was worried that they might ally with Egypt's enemies.[7] Moses' Hebrew mother, Jochebed, secretly hid him when the Pharaoh ordered all newborn Hebrew boys to be killed in order to reduce the population of the Israelites. Through the Pharaoh's daughter (identified as Queen Bithia in the Midrash), the child was adopted as a foundling from the Nile river and grew up with the Egyptian royal family. After killing an Egyptian slavemaster (because the slavemaster was smiting a Hebrew), Moses fled across the Red Sea to Midian, where he encountered the God of Israel speaking to him from within a "burning bush which was not consumed by the fire" on Mount Horeb (which he regarded as the Mountain of God). God sent Moses back to Egypt to demand the release of the Israelites from slavery. Moses said that he could not speak with assurance or eloquence,[8] so God allowed Aaron, his brother, to become his spokesperson. After the Ten Plagues, Moses led the Exodus of the Israelites out of Egypt and across the Red Sea, after which they based themselves at Mount Sinai, where Moses received the Ten Commandments. After 40 years of wandering in the desert, Moses died within sight of the Promised Land.
  14. LANGUAGE   Hebrew was the language spoken by the ancient Israelites, and in which were composed nearly all of the books of the Old Testament. It is also referred to adverbially as the "Jews' language”. Among Bible scholars, it is referred to as “ancient” or “classical” Hebrew.   Hebrew belongs to the great Semiticfamily of languages, the geographical location of which is principally in South-Western Asia, The Alefbet The Hebrew alphabet comprises twenty two letters, but as one of these ( ) is used to represent a twofold sound, there are equivalently twenty-three. These letters are all consonants, though a few of them ( ) have secondary vowel values analogously with our w and y. Hebrew is written from right to left, rather than left to right as in English, so Alef is the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet and Tav is the last. The Hebrew alphabet is often called the "alefbet," because of its first two letters. Each letter in the alefbet has a numerical value. These values can be used as numerals, similar to the way Romans used some of their letters (I, V, X, L, C, D, M) as numerals.
  15. Ancient Hebrew Literature The TANAKH   Ta – is from TORAH (or Instruction) Na – Nevi’im (or Prophets) Kh – Khetuvim (or Writing) Literature in Hebrew begins with the oral literature of the LeshonHaKodesh (לֶשׁוֹןהֲקוֹדֶשׁ), "The Holy Language", since very ancient times and with the teachings of Abraham, the first of the biblical patriarchs of Israel, (c. 2000 BCE). Beyond comparison, the most important work of ancient Hebrew literature is the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh). The Mishna, compiled around 200 CE, is the primary rabbinic codification of laws as derived from the Torah. It was written in Mishnaic Hebrew, but the major commentary on it, the Gemara, was largely written in Aramaic. Many works of classical midrash were written in Hebrew.
  16. Two of the earliest pieces of Hebrew Literature are the Bible and the Talmud. The Hebrew Bible then is a collection of 39 books which are chiefly dedicated to the ancient history of the Jews, their laws and social aspirations. The Talmud is a collection of numerous treatises which are chiefly dedicated to the laws and legends of the Jews.   Critics usually regard the Bible and the Talmud as formless. However, this formlessness is necessitated by the passionate expression of deeply felt insight. Still, others say that there is form especially in the poetic books of the Bible. It is simple with endless variations, a form cherished by the Canaanites. It relies on symmetry of members, syntactic units of verse, rather than symmetry of form and content. It is also the cherished ideal of Hebrew poets. The Talmud’s form is marked by it precise terminology and strict logic. It is predominantly prosaic.   The Bible and the Talmud are both Teachings of Law; the Bible is the written Torah while the Talmud is the oral Torah
  17. This is merely an extension of the Biblical period. Many apocryphal and apocalyptic books were patterned after the Biblical prototype. These books belong to a literature of epigones. Its newness consisted in a radical departure from pagan philosophy.   Septuagint- the Greek version of the Hebrew Bible (or Old Testament), including the Apocrypha, made for Greek-speaking Jews in Egypt in the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC and adopted by the early Christian Churches. This is the cornerstone of Hellenistic literature of the Jews. It may be regarded as a work of apologetics, perhaps the first and noblest work of Jewish apologetics, and symbolic of the spirit of the Jewish nation. Apocrypha usually refers to a set of texts included in the Septuagint but not in the Hebrew Bible. They are usually written works (14 books), that are of unknown authorship, or of doubtful authenticity, or spurious, or not considered to be within a particular canon and were rejected by the authorities. The word's origin is the Medieval Latin adjective apocryphus, "secret, or non-canonical".   Halakah – the most popular Hebrew literature, came from the Hebrew word “halak” which means “go” or “a rule to go by”. In these, academics, masses or oral traditions, customs, folklore and interpretation of old laws were ordered, discussed and systematized. These were finally collected into Palestinian and Babylonian Talmud. Halakah is a set of Jewish rules and practices.There are 613 unchangeable mitzvoth (commandments).Halakhah comes from the Torah, the rabbis, and custom.     Haggadah - comes from the Hebrew word “higgid” meaning “to tell”.It is a Jewish text that sets forth the order of the Passover Seder. Reading the Haggadah at the Seder table is a fulfillment of the Scriptural commandment to each Jew to "tell your son" of the Jewish liberation from slavery in Egypt as described in the Book of Exodus. It embraces folklore, theology, ethics, history, poetry, and science and extra non-legal material. It uses biblical verse as a point of departure. It is essentially investigative; its didacticism, subtle.
  18. Shmuel Agnon's reputation as the foremost writer in modern Hebrew literature has gradually penetrated linguistic barriers which, in this case, are particularly obstructive. His most important works are now available in Swedish under the title I havets mitt (In the Heart of the Seas).
  19. Shm
  20. The Christian Bible consists of the Old Testament and the New Testament, with the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox versions of the Old Testament being slightly larger because of their acceptance of certain books and parts of books considered apocryphal by Protestants. The Jewish Bible includes only the books known to Christians as the Old Testament. The arrangements of the Jewish and Christian canons differ considerably. The Protestant and Roman Catholic arrangements more nearly match one another. Talmuh is the oral torah
  21. Torah Level: Basic • Torah in the narrowest sense refers to the first five books of the Bible • In a broader sense, Torah includes all Jewish law and tradition • Torah was given to Moses in written form with oral commentary • The oral component is now written in the Talmud • There are additional important writings The word "Torah" is a tricky one, because it can mean different things in different contexts. In its most limited sense, "Torah" refers to the Five Books of Moses: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. But the word "torah" can also be used to refer to the entire Jewish bible (the body of scripture known to non-Jews as the Old Testament and to Jews as the Tanakh or Written Torah), or in its broadest sense, to the whole body of Jewish law and teachings The first eleven chapters of Genesis provide accounts of the creation (or ordering) of the world and the history of God's early relationship with humanity. The remaining thirty-nine chapters of Genesis provide an account of God's covenant with the Biblical patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (also called Israel) and Jacob's children, the "Children of Israel", especially Joseph. It tells of how God commanded Abraham to leave his family and home in the city of Ur, eventually to settle in the land of Canaan, and how the Children of Israel later moved to Egypt. The remaining four books of the Torah tell the story of Moses, who lived hundreds of years after the patriarchs. He leads the Children of Israel from slavery in Ancient Egypt to the renewal of their covenant with God at Mount Sinai and their wanderings in the desert until a new generation was ready to enter the land of Canaan. The Torah ends with the death of Moses.[29] The Torah contains the commandments of God, revealed at Mount Sinai (although there is some debate among traditional scholars as to whether these were all written down at one time, or over a period of time during the 40 years of the wanderings in the desert, while several modern Jewish movements reject the idea of a literal revelation, and critical scholars believe that many of these laws developed later in Jewish history).[30][31][32][33] These commandments provide the basis for Jewish religious law. Tradition states that there are 613 commandments (taryag mitzvot).
  22. Nevi'im (Hebrew: נְבִיאִים Nəḇî'îm‎, "Prophets") is the second main division of the Tanakh, between the Torah and Ketuvim. It contains two sub-groups, the Former Prophets (Nevi'im Rishonim נביאים ראשונים, the narrative books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings) and the Latter Prophets (Nevi'im Aharonim נביאים אחרונים, the books of Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel and the Twelve Minor Prophets). The Nevi'im tell the story of the rise of the Hebrew monarchy and its division into two kingdoms, ancient Israel and Judah, focusing on conflicts between the Israelites and other nations, and conflicts among Israelites, specifically, struggles between believers in "the LORD God"[34] and believers in foreign gods,[35][36] and the criticism of unethical and unjust behavior of Israelite elites and rulers;[37][38][39] in which prophets played a crucial and leading role. It ends with the conquest of the Kingdom of Israel by the Assyrians followed by the conquest of the Kingdom of Judah by the Babylonians and the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. Former Prophets The Former Prophets are the books Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings. They contain narratives that begin immediately after the death of Moses with the divine appointment of Joshua as his successor, who then leads the people of Israel into the Promised Land, and end with the release from imprisonment of the last king of Judah. Treating Samuel and Kings as single books, they cover: Joshua's conquest of the land of Canaan (in the Book of Joshua), the struggle of the people to possess the land (in the Book of Judges), the people's request to God to give them a king so that they can occupy the land in the face of their enemies (in the Books of Samuel) the possession of the land under the divinely appointed kings of the House of David, ending in conquest and foreign exile (Books of Kings) Latter Prophets The Latter Prophets are divided into two groups, the "major" prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel, and the Twelve Minor Prophets, collected into a single book: Hosea, Hoshea (הושע) Joel, Yoel (יואל) Amos, Amos (עמוס) Obadiah, Ovadyah (עבדיה) Jonah, Yonah (יונה) Micah, Mikhah (מיכה) Nahum, Nahum (נחום) Habakkuk, Havakuk (חבקוק) Zephaniah, Tsefanya (צפניה) Haggai, Khagay (חגי) Zechariah, Zekharyah (זכריה) Malachi, Malakhi (מלאכי)
  23. Ketuvim or Kəṯûḇîm (in Biblical Hebrew: כְּתוּבִים "writings") is the third and final section of the Tanakh. The Ketuvim are believed to have been written under the Ruach HaKodesh (the Holy Spirit) but with one level less authority than that of prophecy.[40] The poetic books In Masoretic manuscripts (and some printed editions), Psalms, Proverbs and Job are presented in a special two-column form emphasizing the parallel stichs in the verses, which are a function of their poetry. Collectively, these three books are known as Sifrei Emet (an acronym of the titles in Hebrew, איוב, משלי, תהלים yields Emet אמ"ת, which is also the Hebrew for "truth"). These three books are also the only ones in Tanakh with a special system of cantillation notes that are designed to emphasize parallel stichs within verses. However, the beginning and end of the book of Job are in the normal prose system. The five scrolls (Hamesh Megillot) The five relatively short books of Song of Songs, Book of Ruth, the Book of Lamentations, Ecclesiastes and Book of Esther are collectively known as the Hamesh Megillot (Five Megillot). These are the latest books collected and designated as "authoritative" in the Jewish canon even though they were not complete until the 2nd century CE.[41] Other books Besides the three poetic books and the five scrolls, the remaining books in Ketuvim are Daniel, Ezra–Nehemiah and Chronicles. Although there is no formal grouping for these books in the Jewish tradition, they nevertheless share a number of distinguishing characteristics: Their narratives all openly describe relatively late events (i.e., the Babylonian captivity and the subsequent restoration of Zion). The Talmudic tradition ascribes late authorship to all of them. Two of them (Daniel and Ezra) are the only books in the Tanakh with significant portions in Aramaic.
  24. The English word "Bible" comes from bíblia in Latin and bíblos in Greek. The term means book, or books, and may have originated from the ancient Egyptian port of Byblos (in modern-day Lebanon), where papyrus used for making books and scrolls was exported to Greece. Other terms for the Bible are the Holy Scriptures, Holy Writ, Scripture, or the Scriptures, which mean sacred writings. The Bible is a compilation of 66 books (72 for the Catholics) and letters written by more than 40 authors during a period of approximately 1,500 years (c. 750 to c. AD 100). The Bible remains to be the most widely read book, the bestseller among all the books published in the world. It is also the most translated. It is divided into three sections: the Old Testament which was written for the most part in Hebrew (with a small percentage in Aramaic), New Testament which was originally written in Koine Greek and the Apocrypha. There are 14 Apocrypha books, 5 of which can only be found in the Septuagint. The Bible remains to be the most widely read book, the bestseller among all the books published in the world. It is also the most translated Originally, the Holy Scriptures were written on scrolls of papyrus and later parchment, until the invention of the codex. A codex is a handwritten manuscript formatted like a modern book, with pages bound together at the spine within a hard cover.
  25. The OLD TESTAMENT The Old Testament, the sacred scripture of the Jews, is a collection of ancient writings of the Hebrew patriarchs, the teachings of later prophets, as well as psalms and hymns. This literature, with its idea of one god, is our greatest and most lasting religious and moral heritage from the Hebrews. The Old Testament forms the literary inheritance of the nations of Europe, Philippines and the Western countries. It is also widely known in Asia and Africa. The Old Testament is made up of 39 books. Traditionally, the Jews have divided their scriptures into three parts: the Torah (the “Law,” or the Pentateuch), the Nevi’im (“Prophets”), and the Ketuvim (“Writings,” or Hagiographa). The Christian Bible that we know now can be classified conveniently into 6 groups: History, Prophetic Books, Lyric Poetry, Drama, Wisdom Literature and Tales.
  26. History   These books traces the history of the Hebrews from the creation of the world down through the rebuilding of Jerusalem after the return from the Babylonian exile. Pentateuch These has been erroneously attributed to Moses for a very long time; its present form dates back to c.350 BC with some parts written perhaps as early as 950 BC. It is based on 4 principal sources, the so called J, E, P and D Documents.   Genesis Story of Creation: Chapter 1 -11 1-2: Creation of the world and man 3: the fall of Adam and Eve 4: Cain’s murder of Abel 5-10: Noah’s flood 11: Tower of Babel Cycles of Legend (revolves around central figures) Chapter 12-23: Abraham 24-26: Isaac 26-36: Jacob 37-50: Joseph Other interesting passages Chapter 19: how Lot’s wife is turned into salt 22: Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac 29: Jacob’s marriages to Leah and Rachel 28: Jacob’s Ladder 37: The sale of Joseph into Egypt 39: Joseph’s temptation by Potiphar’s wife 41: Pharaoh’s dreams 45: Jacob’s moving to Egypt Exodus This book deals with the Hebrew’s escape from Egypt and their journey back to Palestine under the able leadership of Moses. Chapter 2: Discovery of Moses in the bulrushes 7-11: Plagues of Egypt 12: The Origin of the Passover 15: Moses’ song 16: The sending of manna 20: The Ten Commandments Most of the last half of the book is devoted to laws and their interpretations, rites and ceremonies. Leviticus This document embodies a legal and religious system of laws, codes, rites and sacrifices Chapter 17-26: Holiness Code (of Exilic origin); it emphasizes righteousness and goodness of motive as opposed to ritualistic details. Numbers Contains an unreliable census, more religious laws and customs and some narratives concerning Moses. Chapter 20: Moses’ smiting of the rock 22: Balaam’s ass Deuteronomy Based on “Book of Law” found in the Temple at Jerusalem in 621 BC. It repeats much of Leviticus but it contains some original narrative material concerning the wandering of the Hebrews in the wilderness Chapter 34: Death of Moses Joshua Deals with Joshua’s assuming leadership of the Hebrews after the death of Moses. It tells of the entry into Canaan and of the battles against hostile tribes, it is a deliberate attempt to create a national military hero. Chapter 6: Fall of the Walls of Jericho 10: The standing still of the sun and the moon Judges (earliest form, c. 850 BC; present form, c 550 BC) This is the saga of the Hebrews soon after the death of Joshua. It recounts the life and the battles of the Jews under the Judges. Chapter 4-5: The exploits and song of Deborah (possibly written 1100BC) 6-8: Gideon’s battles 9: Story of Abimelech 11: Story of Jephthah’s daughter 13-16: Story of Samson I Samuel (c. 550 BC) A continuation of Hebrew history under the judges and under Saul, the first King. Chapter 3: The call of Samuel 9-10: The choosing and anointing of Saul 17: David’s battle with Goliath 18-19: The friendship of David and Jonathan 20-27: Saul’s attempt on David’s life II Samuel (c. 550 BC) The reign of David Chapter 11-12: David’s marriage to Bathsheba 13-18: Absalom’s rebellion I Kings (c. 550 BC) A history written for the purpose of proving that God rewarded His worshipers and punished His enemies. It covers the period from the death of David to the accession of Ahaziah of Israel. Chapter 12: The building division of the kingdom 17-22: The prophecies and miracles of Elijah II Kings (c. 550 BC) Written for the same purpose as I Kings, it continues the history through the fall of the kingdom of Israel (721 BC) and of Judah (586 BC). Chapter 1-8: Miracles of Elisha 17: The Fall of Israel 18-19: Sennacherib’s raid 22-23: The reforms of Josiah 25: The Fall of Judah Nehemiah (c. 300 BC) This is a personal memoir by the political leader of the Hebrews on their return from exile in Babylon. It tells of the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem and of the religious reforms effected by Nehemiah.
  27. Prophetic Books   The Old Testament Prophet was not primarily a soothsayer; rather, he was a religious and social reformer. He was a spokesman for God who pointed out the people’s evil to them and who often threatened the nation with disaster and destruction unless it repented. Elijah and Elisha wrote nothing but are considered the first two prophets. Their successors varied widely in approach and point of view. But all of them were endowed with a vision and eloquence which led to the production of superb poetry. Isaiah (c. 740 – 701 BC) Composed of 39 chapters. Generally recognized as the greatest of the prophets, Isaiah was a statesman as well as a religious leader. He advocated collaboration with Assyria. Tradition holds that he was executed by being sawed in half during the reign of the wicked King Manasseh of Judah. Isaiah had no illusion about the complete moral regeneration of the people but placed his hope in a “saving remnant” from whom eventually will spring the Messiah; this leader would be strong enough to establish the righteousness in the land. Jeremiah (c. 600 - 586 BC) A book of gloomy prophecy. Jeremiah opposed rebellion against Babylon and was later carried off as a prisoner by refugees who fled to Egypt when Jerusalem fell in 586 BC. He held no hope for the survival of his nation but placed his only reliance on personal righteousness. Ezekiel (c. 585 BC) Written in Babylon by an exiled priest. This document helped maintain Hebrew morale by emphasizing the importance of ritualistic practices. Paradoxically, however, the author rejects the doctrine of vicarious righteousness and of the visitation upon the sons of the sins of the fathers; instead he stresses personal individual responsibility. He is visionary and mystic. The book had great influence on Daniel, Dante, Milton, Blake and others. Amos (c. 765 – 750 BC, the oldest complete book in the Bible) Amos voices a stern and uncompromising warning to the Kingdom of Israel – a warning of utter annihilation unless social reforms are immediately effected. Amos is often considered the first to emphasize the justness of God. Hosea (c. 740 BC) This book of prophecy contains a far milder message than that of Amos. Hosea stresses God’s mercy and forgiveness rather than His justice and he entreats instead of denouncing. He emphasizes God’s love and willingness to forgive. Micah (c. 720 BC) Micah foretells not only the punishment of the wicked but also an era of redemption and prosperity. He is probably the first author to express the hope for universal peace. Lamentations (c. 586 BC) Erroneously attributed to Jeremiah, prophetic only in spirit, this poem bemoans the fall of Jerusalem. It is extremely artificial in form; in the original Hebrew it is “an acrostic, each line beginning with a different letter of the alphabet and the lines are arranged in regular triplets or couplets, the whole carefully divided to form a series of dirges within a dirge.” Habakkuk (c. 600 BC) Contains perhaps the earliest Hebrew discussion of the problem of evil. Foreseeing that the tyranny of Babylon would succeed that of Assyria, Habakkuk wonders whether the wicked will really be punished and the righteous rewarded but he soon answers confidently in the affirmative – though the course of justice may be long. Not vehement but sincere, he attacks social and religious evils. Zephaniah   Nahum   Obadiah   Zechariah   Joel   Malachi   The Unknown Prophets (Second or Deutero-Isaiah; c. 540 BC) Chapters 40-66 of the Book of Isaiah as it appears in the King James translation. Of exilic authorship this book is exuberant and rapturous. Its author suggests a new interpretation of Jewish history; the sufferings of the people are not divine punishment for sins but vicarious sufferings for the instruction and redemption of mankind. He suggests a Messiah of Peace – the personification of the Hebrews – who, through his sufferings, will atone all human beings.
  28. Lyric Poetry   Ancient Hebrew poetry employs some of the same poetic devices found in Germanic verse – parallelism of structure and idea, repetition and balance. There is no rhyme and no regular meter but usually there is a distinct rhythm. Bits of lyric poetry are, of course, to be found scattered through many of the prose books (e.g. the Song of Deborah in Judges) and some of the prophetic books are almost entirely poetic. The Psalms (compiled c. 150 BC) An anthology of 150 hymns. A few of the hymns were probably written by David (c. 1000 BC); some were written during the periods of the Kingdom and of the Exile, most were post-Exilic. These psalms vary widely in tone, content and style. Some are personal (Chapters 23, 121), others antiphonal and liturgical (Chapter 24), some are vindictive and violent (Chapter 137), others lofty and noble (Chapter 19, 42). It is doubtful that any other comparable anthology has ever equaled the Psalms in sincerity, fervor and passion.
  29. Job (c. 350 BC) The Book of Job is a philosophical drama, principally in poetic form; it was probably influenced by Greek tragedy – in content as well as in form. It was not intended to be acted. Theme: The problem of evil Summary: Satan persuades God to let him try Job, a righteous and prosperous man, by afflicting him with boils, the death of his children and the loss of his wealth. Job’s friends, Zophar, Eliphaz and Bildad (known as Job’s comforters”), suggest God is testing Job’s love and loyalty. Job protests that he is innocent; he is steadfast in his love for God but he questions God’s motives in making the innocent suffer. The real philosophic conclusion is presented by the voice out of the whirlwind *Chapters 38-41); the question of why the innocent suffer is unanswerable by man and man is presumptuous to question the motives of God. Job is humbled. Two passages have been interpolated into the original drama: Chapter 32-37: made up of speeches of Elihu, a fourth comforter. These tedious speeches add little to the philosophical discussion and break the dramatic action Chapter 42: Contradicted the conclusion found in Chapters 38-41: Job’s health and possessions are restored. Song of Songs or Song of Solomon (c. 350 BC) A semidramatic poem intended to be presented with songs and dances as part of a wedding ceremony. Beautiful, sensuous and sometimes highly erotic, the poems comprising this book are supposed to be spoken by the groom (in the role of King Solomon), the bride (the Shulamite) and choruses. Few scholars today accept the old beliefs that the book is an allegory of Christ’s love for the Church, that Solomon was its authors and that the love described is spiritual.
  30. Job (c. 350 BC) The Book of Job is a philosophical drama, principally in poetic form; it was probably influenced by Greek tragedy – in content as well as in form. It was not intended to be acted. Theme: The problem of evil Summary: Satan persuades God to let him try Job, a righteous and prosperous man, by afflicting him with boils, the death of his children and the loss of his wealth. Job’s friends, Zophar, Eliphaz and Bildad (known as Job’s comforters”), suggest God is testing Job’s love and loyalty. Job protests that he is innocent; he is steadfast in his love for God but he questions God’s motives in making the innocent suffer. The real philosophic conclusion is presented by the voice out of the whirlwind *Chapters 38-41); the question of why the innocent suffer is unanswerable by man and man is presumptuous to question the motives of God. Job is humbled. Two passages have been interpolated into the original drama: Chapter 32-37: made up of speeches of Elihu, a fourth comforter. These tedious speeches add little to the philosophical discussion and break the dramatic action Chapter 42: Contradicted the conclusion found in Chapters 38-41: Job’s health and possessions are restored. Song of Songs or Song of Solomon (c. 350 BC) A semidramatic poem intended to be presented with songs and dances as part of a wedding ceremony. Beautiful, sensuous and sometimes highly erotic, the poems comprising this book are supposed to be spoken by the groom (in the role of King Solomon), the bride (the Shulamite) and choruses. Few scholars today accept the old beliefs that the book is an allegory of Christ’s love for the Church, that Solomon was its authors and that the love described is spiritual.
  31. Tales   Several stories (once considered true, bow generally recognized as fictional) are included in the Old Testament. Each one has a special purpose or message. Ruth (c. 350 BC) A short story containing a tactful protest against the forbidding of racial intermarriage. Ruth, a Moabitess, is revealed as the ancestor of David, the greatest king of the Hebrews. It is famous for Ruth’s declaration of love for her mother-in-law: “Entreat me not to leave thee.” Jonah (c. 275 BC) A widely misunderstood tale about an early Jewish missionary who rebels when sent to Nineveh, who repents and carries out his mission, but who rebels a second time when God forgives Nineveh. Often the religious and ethical reasons – the wickedness of the rebelliousness and selfishness of Jonah, the universality and mercifulness of God, the virtue of repentance and the need for religious and racial tolerance – are disregarded in favor of an inconsequential argument over whether a man could exist for three days in a whale’s belly. Daniel (c. 150 BC) An allegorical tale written for the purpose of encouraging the Jews during the Maccabean struggle. The story is based partially on old legends about an Exilic prophet. It has an apocalyptic ending. Chapter 3: Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in a fiery furnace 5: Belshazzar’s feast 6: Daniel in the lion’s den Esther (c. 150 BC)   Probably the latest of all the Old Testament books and also the least moral. Its purpose was the supplying of a historical basis for the Jewish Feast of Purim. The tale is bloodthirsty and revengeful but artistic and effectively written. Esther, queen of King Ahasuerus (Xerxes), saves her uncle Mordecaii, as well as other Jewish people, y exposing the plot of the wicked Haman who has sought to destroy the Jews.
  32. New Testament   The News Testament is an account of the origin and early development of Christianity. It is made up of four biographies of Jesus (the Gospels), a Church history, 21 epistles concerning religious matters and an apocalypse – 27 books in all. Most (or perhaps all) of these were written originally in Greek; perhaps the Gospels appeared first in Aramaic. All the books were composed in the period AD 40-125.
  33. Gospel   There are four accounts of the life of Christ. They agree inmost essentials but differ in minor details. Matthew (Greek version, c. AD 80; perhaps Aramaic version, c. AD 55) Attributed to Apostle Matthew; based to a large extent on the Gospel according to Mark. Addressed to the Hebrews, the book has to main purpose: To prove to the Jews that that Christ was a fulfillment of the old prophecy – that He was the Messiah To record the ethical teachings of Jesus It begins with the genealogy of Joseph, husband of the mother of Jesus, and it gives the birth, life, crucifixion, resurrection and ascension of Christ. It contains the only account of the Wise Men and the flight of Joseph, Mary and Jesus to Egypt. This Gospel is more carefully and purposefully written than that by Mark. Mark (Greek version, c. AD 70-100; Perhaps in lost Aramaic version, c. AD 40-70) It is the earliest, shortest and perhaps most authentic of the Gospels. Mark is a source book for Matthew and Luke. The book of Mark is attributed to John Mark, companion of the Apostle Peter in Rome. It tells of only the last three years of the life of Christ – his ministry, death and resurrection. The author of this fast-moving narrative delights in the story for its own sake and in the miracles. He is careless in workmanship and is guilty of confusing repetitions. Chapter 16:9-20: The last portion of the book is generally considered an interpolation by a later editor. Luke (Greek version, c. AD 90; Perhaps Aramaic version, c. AD 65) Written by Luke, a physician and the companion of Paul on some missionary journeys. Luke uses Mark and Matthew as sources but draws on other materials as well. The book was written for the Greeks and the Romans. Its author stresses the humanity of Jesus. Luke delights in poetry Chapter 1:46-55 : The Magnificat, songs of Mary 2:29-32 : The NuncDimittis, songs of Simeon The tone of this Gospel is gentle, tolerant and humanitarian. Chapter 2:1-20 : The entire life of Jesus and the famous account of His birth John (c. AD 100-125 in its present form) Attributed, probably erroneously, to the Apostle John; the extant form of the book is much too late for such authorship. The book shows the influence of Greek and Alexandrian philosophy, especially the doctrine of the Logos. Its emphasis is on the divinity of Christ, His personification of the logos, faith (as opposed to works), and the identification of the love for God with the love for man and a mystical union with the Deity. After a prologue, the book begins with John the Baptist’s baptizing of Jesus; then it tell of Jesus’ ministry, death and resurrection. It does not mention the ascension.
  34. Epistles   These are letters written to a person or group of persons. It is usually an elegant and formal didactic letter.   In the New Testament, there are 8 epistles besides those of Paul.   Only three are given major importance.   The others are: I and II Peter, II and III John and Jude.   The Acts of the Apostles (c. AD 60-90) By Luke, the author of the third Gospel. The Acts is a vivid and moving narrative of the spread of Christianity over Asia Minor, the islands of the Mediterranean, Greece and Rome. It tells of the Pentecost; the stoning of Stephen, the first Christian martyr; many early miracles; the struggles of the young Church and the conversion and missionary journeys of Paul. Epistles (of Paul, all written AD 50-65) Of the 13 letters attributed to Paul, 6 are of major significance. Although topical and addressed to specific congregations or individuals, these letters have proved to be the most universal influential letters ever written as an account of later Christian doctrine and practice. The tone and style of the epistles vary with the occasion and with the emotion of the moment. Some are cool, clear and rational; others are eloquent, passionate or even rhapsodic. Many parts are very closely reasoned and make difficult reading. I Thessalonians Written at Athens to the young Church at Thessalonica. In these letters, Paul expounds his beliefs that Christ’s Second Coming is near and that therefore all men should make haste to be righteous and devout so that they may be able to rise with Christ and inherit eternal life. II Thessalonians Galatians Written at Rome; called by Goodspeed “a chapter of religious freedom”. Here Paul energetically denounces the tendency of the Church at Galatia to emphasize Mosaic law and ritualism. This epistle is expressive of Paul’s liberalism and his concept of Christianity as a universal rather than a local religion. I Corinthians Written at Philippi. Here Paul answers many questions which had been troubling the Church at Corinth. He inveighs against personal pride and ambition and he proclaims the vanity of all gifts and accomplishments not motivated by charity. He repeats his conviction that Christ’s Second Coming will soon take place and he advocates, therefore, that people remain unmarried so that they may devote more attention to religious endeavors. Chapter 13: The Love Chapter 15: He states his belief in Christ’s resurrection and in personal immortality (“O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?”) II Corinthians Written at Philippi.; probably a combination of two other letters, the earlier one constituting the last four chapters. Chapter 10-13: Author’s memorable but rather bitter defense of himself – a defense which seems to have been the result of the revolt of a faction of the Corinthian Church against Paul’s leadership. The defense was successful and the first nine chapters of the letter indicate that a reconciliation had been made. Romans Written at Corinth. This epistle is the most thorough expression of Paul’s doctrine of salvation by faith – a supplement to his belief about sympathetic understanding found in I Corinthians. The Epistle to the Romans is the most profound and most theoretical of Paul’s writings; it represents the very center of his theology – “All roads lead to Romans”.   Hebrew (c. AD 70-80) An anonymous sermon once erroneously attributed to Paul. This document is in the Paulin tradition but is smoother, more flowing and gentler than Paul’s writing. Addressed to the Christian Jews, it puts a great deal of stress on Paul’s doctrine of justification by faith. James (c. AD 40-90) Attributed to James, the brother of Jesus. This is an open letter or sermon addressed to the “twelve tribes which are scattered abroad”. It seems to be the deliberate result of the author’s reaction against by works: “Be ye doers of the Word and not hearers only”. James also makes an eloquent plea against social injustice. I John ( c. AD 100-125) By the author of the Gospel according to John. Addressed to “a pious matron”, this letter is an answer to Gnostic heresies concerning the nature of Christ. John finds no difficulty in in recognizing in Christ the mystical unity of the human and the divine.  
  35. The Revelation to St. John The Divine (c. AD 90) This book was almost certainly written by some unidentified Ephesian mystic instead of by the Apostle John, to whom it has been ascribed. It is addressed, in epistolary form, to the seven Churches in Asia. Though nominally a revelation of Jesus Christ, the book is more Hebraic than Christian in tone and represents a continuation of a Jewish longing for freedom from oppression- the same longing found in many of the Old Testament prophets and in the book of Daniel. It was written soon after widespread persecution of the Christian began under the Roman emperor Domitian. This apocalypse foretells the fall of Rome (the whore of Babylon), the Second Coming of Christ, the resurrection of the saints, the chaining of Satan, the Millennium, and the final battle (of Armageddon) between the powers of Good and Evil – with the triumph of the former, the Judgment Day and the establishment of the New Jerusalem. Ethically inferior to the other books of the New Testament, the Revelation, is nevertheless a literary masterpiece. Its mystical symbolism, its graphic account of the battle between Good and Evil and its terrifying picture of the end of the world place it high in the realm of descriptive writing.
  36. The Apocrypha   This is a collection of 14 books which were included in the Septuagint (Greek) of the Vulgate (Latin) version of the Old Testament, but which were not considered by the Palestinian Jews to have been genuinely inspired and which were not in the original Hebrew. During the Reformation, these were excluded from the Sacred Canon by the Protestants but they were included in the King James version and placed between the Old and New Testaments. The Church of England admitted them into the Canon for the purpose of “edification” rather than for the “establishment of doctrine”. From a literary point of view, it is regrettable that these books have been dropped from most Protestant Bibles since about 1890.   The Apocrypha consists of 4 books of history, five tales, and two books of wisdom, one epistle, one song and one prayer. The books listed below has been marked whether they have been accepted or not accepted as scriptures by the Roman and Greek churches.
  37. I Esdras (c. 390 BC) An account of the Jew’s return after the Babylonian captivity. It is mainly a reworking of II Chronicles, Ezra and Nehemiah and therefore has little original literary value. It does, however, contain the delightful story of Zorobabel, who wins from Darius aid in rebuilding Jerusalem and the Temple. The favor is granted when Zorobabel competes in a contest to name the strongest force in the world. His opponents nominate, respectively, wine and the king. Zorobabel said that woman is stronger than either wine or king but that truth is the strongest of all II Esdras (c. 380 BC) This sequel is less historical than I Esdras but more interesting as a piece of literature. It consists chiefly of visions, angelic revelations and prophecies of the downfall of the wicked and of the salvation of the righteous. I Maccabees II Maccabees (c. 130 BC) These books give a history of the Jews in Palestine during the middle of the second century BC. Book II covers approximately the period 185-168 BC – the years preceding the rebellion of the Jews against the Syrian King Antiochus Epiphanes who attempted to suppress the Jewish religion. Book I recounts the rebellion itself, Judas Maccabeus and in the establishment of the dynasty of Hebrew priest-kings who ruled until 40 BC. The history is highly colored by the author’s imagination and religious bent but it abounds in exciting events and startling pictures. Judas is held up as hero who wins not only – or even primarily – because he is brave and strong but because he is a devout worshipper of Jehovah. I Maccabees, written by a Jew in Palestine, is perhaps the best historical source on the period from 175 to 135 B.C. Well written, it reveals deep insight into the root causes of the Maccabean rebellion and details the rebellion itself down to the death of Simon in 135 B.C. This book is essential to both Christians and Jews. It gives detailed information relative to Antiochus Epiphanes and his desecration of the Jerusalem Temple, an action which Jesus said would be repeated at the time of the end. The book also contains a wealth of details relative to the Jewish feast of Hannukah (which celebrates the re-dedication of the Temple Antiochus debased). That information is available from no other source, Jewish or otherwise, and without it there would be no Hannukah celebration. Judith (c. 150 BC) A fictitious story of a God-fearing Jewess, who, when her native Bethulia is besieged by Nebuchadnezzar’s men, makes her way (by means of her beauty and wisdom) into the tent of Helofernes, the leader of the Assyrian expeditionary force. She pretends willingness to submit to his desired, lulls him into a feeling of security and succeeds in beheading him in his drunken slumber. Judith is a favorite heroine of the Hebrews and has been the subject of many poems and paintings. Susanna and the Elders (c. 1l30 BC) An excellent little story about a beautiful and righteous matron whom two wicked elders attempt to seduce. Her obstinacy leads the elders to accuse her of infidelity. She is condemned to death at first but is later exonerated when Daniel proves by cross-examination that the elders are perjuring themselves. The elders are put to death. The story is told with admirable economy of words and with suspense. Tobit (date uncertain, 350 BC – AD 75) A wildly romantic tale which shows Egyptian and Persian influence. Tobit, who has lost his property and his eyesight, sends his son Tobias to Medea to recover some silver which he (Tobit) has formerly left there. The angel Raphael, disguised as a fellow countryman, accompanies Tobias. By burning various parts of a fish, they succeed in driving away Asmodeus, a devil who has killed seven successive bridegroom of Sara, a cousin of Tobias. Tobias and Sara marry, receive half the property of Sara’s father and return to fetch the silver from Medea, reveals his identity and exhorts the other principals of the story to worship God for his goodness to them. The book was based on two well-known Egyptian stories. Ecclesiasticus or the Wisdom of Jesus, Son of Sirah (c. 150 BC) This is a group of poetic, pithy proverbs. Like the Book of Proverbs in the Sacred Canon, its wisdom is shrewd rather than deep or noble; its burden is that obedience to God will bring prosperity and happiness – a favorite Old Testament sentiment. The book contains, however, some lofty and majestic passages. It represents one of the most valuable records of early Rabbinical thought. It was translated into Greek in 132 B.C. by a grandson of the author. The Wisdom of Solomon (c. 50 BC, written in Alexandra) Another collection of maxims and wise sayings. Its moral tone, partially, a result of Greek influence is on a higher level than that of either Proverbs of Ecclesiasticus and it actually approaches the nobility found in Christian ethics.
  38. Origins / beginning Genesis 1:1-2:3 The Creation Story Summary: The opening chapter of the Bible begins with these words, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." (NIV) This summarizes the drama that was about to unfold. We learn from the text that the earth was formless, empty, and dark, and God's Spirit moved over the waters preparing to perform God's creative Word. And then God began to speak into existence his creation.s
  39. EXPLANATION The setting for the psalm. King David, who wrote the psalm, grew up and worked as a shepherd, so he knew a lot about sheep and shepherding. He loved the metaphor of seeing God, or the Lord, as a shepherd. The shepherd’s job is to care for his flock, making sure they are safe, nourished, calm and happy at all times. Sheep are vulnerable to danger from wolves and other predators because they cannot run very fast, and they are not always smart enough to avoid danger. To care for them correctly and safely, sheep require a shepherd to take them to the fertile areas to graze, protect them from predators and other hazards, and keep them together so they don’t stray from the group. This is the job of the shepherd. One can extend this idea and say that God does this for us, if we submit to His will. Let us now explore Psalm 23 line by line and phrase by phrase:     The Lord is my shepherd. This proclaims the metaphor of the psalm, that god is like our shepherd. That is, he helps us to find food, water, work, love, friends and all that we need. He also protects us from evil. He also gently or firmly prods us when we step out of line and deviate from the way of living set down in the Bible as being correct.   I shall not want. This is a very powerful statement, although it is not explained in detail in the psalm until later. I interpret it to mean that I will have everything I need if I allow God to be my shepherd. I may not have everything the ego wants, but I will be cared for, loved, and provided for very well, indeed. This line is one of the most powerful in the prayer. It is a blunt and frank statement or affirmation. I shall not want means I will be okay. I will have health, money, friends, family, respect, love and all else. That is how I interpret it. The line sort of wakes one up from the dead and says you can have it all, at least what you need, when you elect to have God run your life. Later in the prayer this idea is explored more. I shall be free of want also expresses or is an affirmation that my life will not be controlled by ‘wanting’ all the time. Always wanting thins is a miserable way to live, but a common one. The same idea is expressed in the Tenth Commandment given to Moses in the Old Testament: “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” So this is another way of understanding this line of the psalm. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures. Sheep require plenty of green pasture on which to graze or to eat. So at one level, this line means that God will provide all of my food and other needs. It deepens and repeats the idea that I shall not want for anything, and that God takes care of me. At a deeper level, it means that God provides nourishment for the body, the mind and the soul that is wholesome, healthful, and appetizing for me. It does not say I must struggle to make ends meet. It says God will lead me to the green pastures, which means all things go. Notice that it says he maketh me to lie down. It does not say he suggests that I lie down. At times, we are forced to just rest. This is an aspect of retracing.   He leadeth me besides the clear waters. This continues the theme of the previous line in the psalm. The still waters may represent peace, love, harmony and beauty.   He restoreth my soul. When someone is retracing old traumas to restore health and joy, one often feels that the soul has been somehow lost or stolen or destroyed. This line is extremely comforting for those who have this feeling about their lives.   He leadeth me in paths of righteousness for his namesake. When one is healing and retracing, often one does not know in what direction to turn and to go. This assures one that the Lord will lead you in directions of righteousness, meaning paths that are wholesome and with full integrity.   Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for though art with me. For many people undergoing the journey of healing and retracing, this is the most important line in the psalm, though certainly not the only important one. It tells us that yes, you may need to walk in difficult territory in your life. However, you need not fear, for the Lord is with you. When one retraces, one indeed often needs to move back into issues and health conditions that need correcting, healing and perhaps reframing or a different understanding. Anyone who has done it know this to be the case.   Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me. Traditionally, shepherds carried a rod and a staff to guide the sheep and to ward off wolves or other predators that would harm the sheep. The metaphor is that the Lord also has his rod and his staff. You may get prodded or pushed, at times, and it is for your good. It may be for your protection and to keep you on your path. The rod and the staff in fact are there to comfort you and know that you are cared for and loved. This is a critical concept when one is on a nutritional balancing program that often pushes the body in certain directions that may not seem pleasant, at times.   Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies. This is a very interesting line. It implies that you will encounter “enemies”, or forces that do not want you to continue your healing and your retracing. It also says that you will be taken care of even in the midst of your opponents. It does not just say you will survive. It says that a table or a feast will be spread before you, even while you are in the presence of those forces that oppose you. This, indeed, is a wonderful thought to be contemplated.   Thou anointest my head with oil. This is another surprising line. Anointing the head with oil was a practice in biblical days that was used to honor a person and to dignify a person. It means that not only will you be fed or cared for in the presence of your enemies or opposers, but you will be honored and dignified or deeply respected, as well. In fact, there is something very holy and special about going through the retracing process, which eventually takes us all back to God and perfection. It is far better than just using remedies, whether they be drugs, vitamins, herbs or others. This is not easy to understand, but it is true.   My cup runneth over. This phrase means that I am given even more than I need or can use. The words form a very powerful image of a cup of elixir that overflows as there is so much of it. It means I am truly abundant, abundantly loved and cared for beyond even my needs or wants.   Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me, all the days of my life. This can be interpreted many ways. What is meant by goodness and mercy shall follow me? To me it means that goodness and mercy shall go with me wherever I go, and whatever I do, even if I am in unfamiliar areas or places. It is a statement of future protection. The use of the word mercy is interesting. It implies that at times I will sin, or I will not think, act or speak correctly. So this prayer or psalm does not say we will be perfect. Quite the opposite. However, it means that if we allow the Lord to be our shepherd, or guide and overseer, we will be treated mercifully or leniently. Perhaps our past mistakes will be forgiven, or at least their importance diminished. Retracing has something very profound to do with forgiving the self and letting go of old problems on physical, mental and emotional levels. It is truly merciful and good in this respect, going much more deeply into healing than most of us are accustomed to.   I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Here one re-affirms where one wants to live and have one’s being or consciousness. This line is an affirmation that one chooses to dwell in a particular state of consciousness forever – the “house of the Lord”. To me, this is not a physical house, but rather it means to keep one’s attention focused on the Lord, live by the rules set down by the Lord, submit the will to God’s will, and stay with this forever. The words “to dwell” may also be thought or as “to abide”, which means to embrace, to follow, to be one with. This topic is explored in another article on this website entitled Feeling Connected To God.   The power of this prayer may be due in part to the fact that millions of people have used it over the past three or four thousand years. However, it is also a very profound statement of the process that human beings often go through as they heal at deep levels. If this prayer seems helpful for you, use it often and learn to appreciate that when you truly embrace the concept of God as your shepherd and guide, you will be protected and helped in ways you cannot imagine.    
  40. Ecclesiastes (c. 150 BC) The author "Koheleth" uses a literary device to introduce himself as "son of David, king in Jerusalem" (i.e., Solomon), and proceeds to discuss the meaning of life and the best way of life. He proclaims all the actions of man to be inherently hevel, meaning "vain", "futile", "empty", "meaningless", "temporary", "transitory", "fleeting", or "mere breath," as the lives of both wise and foolish people end in death. While Koheleth clearly endorses wisdom as a means for a well-lived earthly life, he does not ascribe eternal meaning to it. In light of this senselessness, one should enjoy the simple pleasures of daily life, such as eating, drinking, and taking enjoyment in one's work, which are gifts from the hand of God. The book concludes with the injunction: "Fear God, and keep his commandments; for that is the whole duty of everyone" (12:13). Wrongly ascribed to Solomon, this is a series of heretical essays of profound pessimism, fatalism and skepticism (except for many proverbs and pious passages interpolated by later editors). The tone is that of a disillusioned old man who has found existence to be futile and meaningless. “All is vanity”. American novelist Thomas Wolfe wrote: "[O]f all I have ever seen or learned, that book seems to me the noblest, the wisest, and the most powerful expression of man's life upon this earth — and also the highest flower of poetry, eloquence, and truth. I am not given to dogmatic judgments in the matter of literary creation, but if I had to make one I could say that Ecclesiastes is the greatest single piece of writing I have ever known, and the wisdom expressed in it the most lasting and profound."[5] The book is even popular among atheists. The Teacher tries many earthly pleasures. He drinks, becomes wealthy, acquires power, buys property, experiences sexual gratification, and views artistic entertainment. However, none of these experiences satisfies him. Although the Teacher originally assumes that wisdom is better than folly, he realizes that achieving wisdom is a frustrating and elusive pursuit, for the wise and the foolish both die the same death. He hypothesizes that the best humans can do is to honor God and to eat, drink, and enjoy themselves. The Teacher also surveys the general trends of human activity. He notes that just as there is time for each good thing in life, such as birth or love, there is always a time for its opposite, such as death or hate. It is often hard for mortal humans to understand the difference between wickedness and justice, but God distinguishes between the two. The Teacher notes that human labor is marked by competition, envy, and oppression. The Teacher praises the virtues of human cooperation, noting the advantages that a team of two or three individuals has over one person alone. Next, the Teacher discusses various foolish actions, such as gluttony, the love of money, and excessive talking. The Teacher provides a series of instructions for avoiding such foolhardiness. Each saying extols negative experiences over positive ones: mourning, he claims, is better than feasting, and the end of things is better than the beginning. He also encourages people to be neither too righteous nor too wicked but to remain moderate. Still, the Teacher remains bothered by the fact that both evil and good people meet the same fate. He grows tired of discussing the distinctions between good and bad, clean and unclean, obedient and disobedient. He ultimately decides that the only factors in determining the outcome between life’s opposing forces are time and chance. The Teacher gives positive exhortations. He encourages humans to enjoy their vain lives and activities to the fullest. People must embrace the unforeseen chances of life, since caution only impedes God’s providence. He urges young people to remain happy and to follow their inclinations, reminding them to always remember God. The things of earth are only temporary, and life is a cycle that eventually returns to God (12:7). The Teacher also warns the reader against heeding too many wise sayings, for the study of wisdom never ends. The “end of the matter,” he concludes, is for humans to fear God and to obey his commandments (12:13). Ecclesiastes chapter 1 1:1-3 - What can people achieve during their lives? 1:4-7 - Who can change the world? 1:8-11 - Can our desires ever satisfy us? 1:12-15 - Why is life so hard? 1:16-18 - Does wisdom improve a person’s life? Ecclesiastes chapter 2 2:1-3 - Is there a worthwhile way to live? 2:4-8 - Is it foolish to please yourself? 2:9-11 - Why do our feelings of satisfaction not last? 2:12-16 - How does a person benefit if he is wise? 2:17-21 - Can a person’s efforts achieve anything that lasts? 2:22-26 - Without God, can anyone have a good life? Ecclesiastes chapter 3 3:1-8 - A time for everything 3:9-15 - Time and eternity 3:16-17 - God is the perfect judge 3:18-22 - Life after death Ecclesiastes chapter 4 4:1-3 - The power of wealthy people 4:4-6 - Jealous and lazy attitudes 4:7-8 - Work that never satisfies 4:9-12 - Advantages of love and friendship 4:13-16 - The weakness of people’s support Ecclesiastes chapter 5 5:1-3 - Foolish and wise prayers 5:4-7 - Promises to God 5:8-9 - Responsibilities towards poor people 5:10-12 - Love of money 5:13-17 - Things that lose their value 5:18-20 - Wrong reactions to God’s kindness Ecclesiastes chapter 6 6:1-2 - A rich person who cannot enjoy his wealth 6:3-6 - What is a good life? 6:7-9 - Rest for the soul 6:10-12 - Who would argue against God? Ecclesiastes chapter 7 7:1-2 - When the truth is unpleasant 7:3-4 - Serious thoughts 7:5-6 - Foolish songs and laughter 7:7 - The danger of money 7:8-10 - The reward for patience 7:11-12 - The best gift for your children 7:13-14 - Why we need troubles 7:15-18 - Wrong attitudes about goodness and wicked behaviour 7:19-20 - Wisdom and goodness 7:21-22 - Am I good enough? 7:23-24 - What is wisdom? 7:25-26 - Why people constantly do foolish things 7:27-28 - Is anyone completely good? 7:29 - Why we do wrong things Ecclesiastes chapter 8 8:1 - Wisdom is wonderful 8:2-4 - When you appeal to a king 8:5-6 - When we must wait for judgement 8:7-8 - Nobody can prevent his own death 8:9-10 - The fate of powerful wicked people 8:11 - How countries become evil 8:12-13 - Is it better to be good or evil? 8:14-15 - Who should enjoy life most? 8:16-17 - The greatness of God’s work Ecclesiastes chapter 9 9:1 - Are God’s people different from other people? 9:2 - Can religion save people from their troubles? 9:3-4 - Does hope, or chance, rule this world? 9:5-6 - What happens to wicked people after death? 9:7-10 - How people waste their opportunity to know God 9:11 - Time and chance 9:12 - The right reaction to trouble 9:13-15 - How one man’s wisdom saved his city 9:16 - Why people will not listen to wise advice 9:17-18 - Quiet words of wisdom Ecclesiastes chapter 10 10:1 - A fly in the ointment 10:2-3 - Wise and foolish behaviour: is it just a matter of opinion? 10:4 - Reasons to behave calmly 10:5-7 - When rulers make wrong decisions 10:8-9 - Lessons about danger 10:10 - Why everyone needs wisdom 10:11 - Get-rich-quick schemes 10:12-15 - A foolish person’s words ruin his own life 10:16-17 - Wrong desires ruin people’s lives 10:18 - Reasons not to be lazy 10:19 - Is money the answer for everything? 10:20 - When even your thoughts can be dangerous Ecclesiastes chapter 11 11:1 - Future troubles are certain 11:2 - A friend in trouble 11:3 - Troubles that nobody can do anything about 11:4 - Troubles that nobody can avoid 11:5 - God’s work astonishes us 11:6 - Can our work succeed? 11:7-8 - The light of life and the days of darkness 11:9 - Enjoy life – but remember God’s judgement 11:10 - Is there any advantage to be young and strong? Ecclesiastes chapter 12 12:1 - Remember God, who created you 12:2-5 - The problems of old age 12:6 - Life and death 12:7 - What happens at death? 12:8 - All is vanity 12:9-10 - King Solomon, the great teacher 12:11-12 - Advice about books 12:13 - Respect God and obey his commands 12:14 - God is the judge of all our deeds
  41. A Time for Everything 3 There is a time for everything,     and a season for every activity under the heavens: 2     a time to be born and a time to die,     a time to plant and a time to uproot, 3     a time to kill and a time to heal,     a time to tear down and a time to build, 4     a time to weep and a time to laugh,     a time to mourn and a time to dance, 5     a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,     a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, 6     a time to search and a time to give up,     a time to keep and a time to throw away, 7     a time to tear and a time to mend,     a time to be silent and a time to speak, 8     a time to love and a time to hate,     a time for war and a time for peace.