Author Topic: Individual Responsibility - Theological Basis for Moral Adulthood  (Read 11776 times)

APEXABYSS

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Re: Individual Responsibility - Theological Basis for Moral Adulthood
« Reply #15 on: February 10, 2015, 06:24:59 pm »
That’s quite a statement, Battle. I would ask you to expand or explain why make such an accusation, but I’ve grown accustom to ambiguity on the HEF.

Anyway, any code of ethics & morality is an African concept. These codes pre-date all other religious texts.

michaelintp , I’m impressed by the (« Reply #14 on: Today at 09:47:49 am ») arguments/position you present. You have given me a few elements to review. Gracias.

BTW- they are all “Garveyites”

Offline michaelintp

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Re: Individual Responsibility - Theological Basis for Moral Adulthood
« Reply #16 on: February 10, 2015, 06:43:42 pm »
Thanks Apexabyss. Talking with you is always a blast. 😁
Thought provoking for sure.

Cha-ching! Another post, another quarter! Hahaha!  8)
The spirit of emptiness is immortal.
It is called the Great Mother
because it gives birth to Heaven and Earth.
It is like a vapor,
barely seen but always present.
Use it effortlessly.

Tao Te Ching, Ch. 6

Offline Battle

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Re: Individual Responsibility - Theological Basis for Moral Adulthood
« Reply #17 on: February 11, 2015, 03:09:30 am »
That’s quite a statement, Battle. I would ask you to expand or explain why make such an accusation, but I’ve grown accustom to ambiguity on the HEF.




You'll learn!

Offline michaelintp

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Re: Individual Responsibility - Theological Basis for Moral Adulthood
« Reply #18 on: February 11, 2015, 11:06:08 am »

Anyway, any code of ethics & morality is an African concept. These codes pre-date all other religious texts.


It makes sense that codes of ethics & morality are very ancient in Africa. For example, I read that the Australian Aborigines migrated from Africa to Australia 50,000 years ago. Who knows what codes of conduct they took with them?  All organized cultures have codes of conduct, and it would make sense that the oldest existed in Africa, since human culture originated in Africa.

Australian Aborigine Hair Tells a Story of Human Migration
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/23/science/23aborigines.html?_r=0

To the extent that all human beings are created in God's Image, and thus have a spark of Godliness within them, I'm sure codes of ethics & morality have arisen on multiple continents.  Or at least I would like to think so. Don't you think so? 

BTW- they are all “Garveyites”


Garveyites. Got it!  Heard of this at one point or another ... but like so many things the memory fell into some isolated synapse, haha. You've helped me "remember." Interesting to read about.
The spirit of emptiness is immortal.
It is called the Great Mother
because it gives birth to Heaven and Earth.
It is like a vapor,
barely seen but always present.
Use it effortlessly.

Tao Te Ching, Ch. 6

APEXABYSS

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Re: Individual Responsibility - Theological Basis for Moral Adulthood
« Reply #19 on: February 13, 2015, 06:47:53 am »
"On that day Israel shall be a third to Egypt and to Assyria; a blessing in the midst of the land.  Which the Lord of Hosts blessed them (Israel), saying, 'Blessed is My people, Egypt and the work of My hands Assyria, and my heritage Israel.'"

According to Rashi (based on the mesorah), Yeshayahu is saying that Israel would be humbled between the two superpowers Egypt and Assyria, but that through the miracle that would be performed for Hizkiyyahu (Hezekiah), the king of Judah, Israel's name would be greatly magnified and be a blessing. God blesses "My people" which is a reference to the Jews Whom God chose [in] Egypt, and the mighty deeds He performed against Assyria, "and through those miracles they (the Jews) will repent and be as though I just made them anew and they will be My heritage, Israel."

Hizkiyyahu witnessed the destruction of the Northern Kingdom of Israel by Sargon's Assyrians in 720 BC and was king of Judah during the invasion and siege of Jerusalem by Sennacherib in 701 BC. The righteous Hizkiyyahu enacted sweeping religious reforms, including a strict mandate for the sole worship of God and a prohibition on venerating other deities within the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.

Rashi's commentaries usually focus on the plain meaning of passages, based on the traditional understanding. This applies to the Tanach (Five Books of Moses, the Prophets, and the Writings) and the Talmud.




Hmmm...
Here’s a image of the "Hizkiyyahu (Hezekiah) Seal". Clearly it’s Egyptian. The winged scarab (dung beetle) represents immaculate conception. The scarab can reproduce life without a mate. This is symbolic of Nun (mother of Osiris) & Isis (Ahset or YAHset= yep, Isis is also known as Yah). The wings are the “Horus-wings” & represents his flight into the heavens. Angels with wings & a halo are adaptations...     

Check-out the letters- it’s not the Hebrew of today, which shows the development of the language & alphabet. don't let me get into the tetragrammaton! 

Imagine MLK rocking a confederate flag. Why would Hezekiah represent former slave-owners? Egypt- my people? Obviously, the sentiment extended far beyond marriage customs. No? “Israel's name would be greatly magnified and be a blessing..” Why continue to magnify kemet if it’s Israel’s turn?

"The righteous Hizkiyyahu enacted sweeping religious reforms, including a strict mandate for the sole worship of God and a prohibition on venerating other deities within the Holy Temple in Jerusalem." Uh... "you got to coordinate..."
« Last Edit: February 13, 2015, 02:42:00 pm by APEXABYSS »

Offline michaelintp

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Re: Individual Responsibility - Theological Basis for Moral Adulthood
« Reply #20 on: February 13, 2015, 04:58:21 pm »
HEZEKIAH (Hebr.  = "my strength is Jah"; "Ḥizaḳiau"), was of the Davidic Dynasty.  He was the Son of Ahaz; ascended the throne at the age of twenty-five and reigned twenty-nine years (II Kings xviii. 1-2; II Chron. xxix. 1). Hezekiah was the opposite of his father. He was a righteous king of Judah, as described above.  He was an Israelite, a Jew. He was devoutedly monotheistic. No Egyptian would qualify to be a king of Judah.

And yes, archaic Hebrew letters were different from modern Hebrew letters.

Apexabyss, I'm curious. Do you or did you belong to a religious group that believes that anything positive in Jewish history, its principal biblical figures, or philosophy is really Egyptian?  Is there a racial impetus to this belief, based on the view that ancient Egyptians were black?  Or have you developed these views wholly on your own?  Because, honestly, these sorts of assertions are alien to mainstream archeology and views of history. Not just Jewish views, but mainstream secular scholars' views as well. As far as I know.

Needless to say, I find your views interesting.  :)
« Last Edit: February 13, 2015, 05:03:17 pm by michaelintp »
The spirit of emptiness is immortal.
It is called the Great Mother
because it gives birth to Heaven and Earth.
It is like a vapor,
barely seen but always present.
Use it effortlessly.

Tao Te Ching, Ch. 6

APEXABYSS

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Re: Individual Responsibility - Theological Basis for Moral Adulthood
« Reply #21 on: February 13, 2015, 07:33:54 pm »
Uh, yeh, michaelintp, I dig your insight, man! But! My reading comprehension? Your word-play? Be mindful navigating? Borderline protagonist! F*ckery? Fair dialogue? Less evolved interpretation?

You did not address the purpose of the Egyptian inspired “Seal!” no worries!

If you  re-word the personal questions, I may reiterate my views & distant support of religion. Obvious conclusions? BTW- absent of negatives!

Please,  I’ll end it here. A close friend gave me a riddle almost 20 yrs ago... i'll give it to the HEF... 

“I WENT TO HEAVEN & NEVER SAW GOD. I WENT TO HELL & NEVER SAW SATAN.”

If you’re in heaven- what does it matter? If you’re in hell- what does it matter? Are we lookin' for god (groupies) or paradise? Where are we looking? Are we sure we're looking in the right places? Answer to the riddle: what-does-it-matter?

Take care.

Offline michaelintp

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Re: Individual Responsibility - Theological Basis for Moral Adulthood
« Reply #22 on: February 15, 2015, 08:47:29 am »
I think your friend is makin' things up ...  ;)

Maybe yes, maybe no.

The traditional view is that the highest form of Divine service is out of love and awe of God, not out of the childish desire for reward or childish fear of punishment.  Not everyone, however, is on that high level. At the end of the day, good deeds (the mitzvot) have their own independent significance (i.e., independent of the "level" of the person performing them).

Also, Apexabyss, in the Jewish tradition, there is a strong emphasis in citing your sources and giving credit to them.  That's why, for example, I attributed thoughts to Rashi and Rambam, and quoted them. So you would know where the interpretation or argument is from. Because the source of the position is also an important thing to know.

Anyway, its all cool.

Take care, my friend. 
The spirit of emptiness is immortal.
It is called the Great Mother
because it gives birth to Heaven and Earth.
It is like a vapor,
barely seen but always present.
Use it effortlessly.

Tao Te Ching, Ch. 6

Offline michaelintp

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Re: Individual Responsibility - Theological Basis for Moral Adulthood
« Reply #23 on: February 16, 2015, 03:37:25 pm »
Abexabyss, you are correct that I didn't address the seal of Hizkiyahu (Hezekiah). The reason was that the conclusion that Hizkiyahu "was an Egyptian" seemed so impossible, that initially I just wrote my reaction to that assertion, and why.

I have now looked into the seal.  Found a couple of articles (once I searched under "Hezekiah" instead of Hizkiyahu).  The first is from Biblical Archeological Review. The second is from a Christian fellow, a Professor of "Old Testament." It it appears there was no Christian ideological agenda involved, but that it was more a discussion of archeological/historical theory, citing scholars.   

Of course neither conclude that Hizkiyahu "was an Egyptian" ... as such an assertion is a leap of faith that, at least to me, is just not credible.  I was, however, curious about the seal and its origins, used by a the Jewish King of Judah.  The articles address this question.  It is interesting.  Particularly the possible role that ancient geopolitics may have played. See second article.

King Hezekiah's Seal Bears Phoenician Imagery
Frank Moore Cross
Biblical Archaeology Review
March-April, 1999

Not long ago, a clay impression of the seal of a Hebrew king came to light for the first time: The seal of 'Ahaz, king of Judah from about 734 to 715 B.C.E., had been pressed into a small bit of clay (called a bulla) that once sealed a papyrus roll.* On the back we can still see the impression of the strings that tied the roll and of the fabric of the papyrus. The seal, inscribed in Old Hebrew letters, reads simply: l'hz y/hwtm mlk /yhdh "Belonging to 'Ahaz (son of) Yehotam, King of Judah."**

     Now an even more astonishing bulla has come to light--that of 'Ahaz's son, the great Judahite monarch Hezekiah. I say more astonishing because unlike the seal of 'Ahaz, which is purely epigraphic, Hezekiah's seal is also iconic--it depicts a two-winged beetle (called a scarab) pushing a ball of mud (making it a dung scarab). Moreover, for reasons I will explain, there can be little or no doubt as to its authenticity.

     For some time we have possessed seals and bullae of the servants of Israelite kings, but of the more than twelve hundred West Semitic seals now published, only two bullae--those mentioned here--bear recognizable stamps made by the seals of the kings of Judah.

     The discoveries of the royal seals of Hezekiah and his father, 'Ahaz, are therefore quite remarkable. Both belong to Mr. Shlomo Moussaieff, who, being full of years, has decided to seek publication of important pieces in his private collection. I am in his debt for bringing the Hezekiah bulla to my attention and for providing photographs of it and permission to publish it.

     The Hezekiah bulla is very small, measuring only about .4 inches in diameter and a little less than .08 inches in thickness. The inscription on the bulla reads: lhzqyhw 'hdz mlk/ yhdh, "Belonging to Hezekiah, (son of) 'Ahaz, king of Judah."

     There is some damage to the initial letter, lamed, but there is no question that's what it is, the familiar "to," meaning "belonging to." The spelling of Hezekiah does raise a question, however. In the Bible the name is spelled in two ways: hzqyhw and yhzqyhw, with an initial y. The former is used mostly in the older texts (Kings and Isaiah) and the latter mostly in the later texts (Chronicles), though even within books, the spelling is not consistent. I think the former is the reading in the Hezekiah bulla: There is very little space after the lamed, and I cannot read a yod there. In the occurrences of his name on sealings of the servants of Hezekiah, his name is spelled hzqyhw, without the initial y.(1) The name means "Yahweh has strengthened." Yahweh, of course, is the personal name of the Israelite God.

     At top center, above the head of the winged beetle, yhdh (Judah) is inscribed. The inscription lhzqyhw 'hz mlk, "Belonging to Hezekiah (son of) 'Ahaz," circles under the beetle beginning below the right wing. Note that "son of" (ben in Hebrew) has been omitted. The same is true of the 'Ahaz bulla, where the name 'Ahaz is followed by the patronymic Yehotam, without the ben. This is not infrequently the case on seals. It is, however, contrary to what one would expect on formal royal seals. Yet this very feature points to the genuineness of these bullae, as a forger would want his forgery to look as typical as possible.

     A second feature of the Hezekiah bulla points to its genuineness. Another bulla impressed with the same seal was published some time ago by the dean of Israeli epigraphers, the late Nahman Avigad.(2) But the inscription on that bulla was so indistinct that none of the names could be recognized. Only one full letter and part of another letter of "Judah" are there. The four last letters of "Hezekiah" are on the bottom of the bulla, immediately followed by the first (and only) letter of "'Ahaz." There is no space or dot to indicate the beginning of a new word. In this condition, it was impossible to reconstruct any of the names. When Robert Deutsch recently saw the more complete bulla that is being published here, he recognized it as a duplicate of the fragmentary bulla published by Avigad, which Deutsch was then able to reconstruct based on the more complete exemplar.(3)

     Since both exemplars are burnt, it would not be surprising if they came from the remnants of the same burnt archive. Because they surfaced on the antiquities market, however, their provenance cannot be established with any certainty. But it seems very likely that they came from an archive in Jerusalem.

     All the features of the script are in agreement with a date in the reign of Hezekiah (c. 715-687 B.C.E.).(4) The script is almost identical to that on the royal jar handles known from the inscriptions stamped on them as l'melekh (belonging to the king) handles. These handles date to the reign of Hezekiah, as shown by David Ussishkin's excavations at Lachish.(5) The script on the bulla is also similar to that of the Siloam Tunnel inscription, which is also attributed to Hezekiah's reign.(6)

     Interestingly, the two-winged beetle on the seal is seen more clearly on the Hezekiah bulla with the more fragmentary inscription. The dung beetle pushes the circular ball of dung, which symbolizes the movement of the rising sun.(7) The meaning of the symbol is clear from Malachi 4:2: "For you who revere my Name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings." In other words, the winged sun disk is a symbol of the deity bringing salvation.( 8 )

     Two- and four-winged sun disks also appear on Hezekiah's l'melekh handles, so the two-winged scarab with the sun disk is wholly appropriate on Hezekiah's seal. There appears to have been a tendency to solarize Yahweh in Judah in the eighth century and later.(9)
 
   This tendency, however, did not last very long. In the seventh century B.C.E., the makers of Hebrew seals appear to have eschewed any iconography. In the burnt archive from the time of Jeremiah, which Avigad published,* very few of the bullae exhibit iconographic motifs, but among them is the seal of Hezekiah. Both Hezekiah and Josiah (640-609 B.C.E.) instituted religious reforms to centralize worship in the Jerusalem Temple and to purify the cult. From the evidence thus far available, it appears that the reforms of Josiah were more rigorous in their aniconic thrust than those of Hezekiah.

     In any event, it is quite extraordinary to be able to look at original impressions formed by the seal of one of Judah's most important monarchs 2,700 years ago.
 
1 See Ruth Hestrin and Michal Dayagi, "A Seal Impression of a Servant of King Hezekiah," Israel Exploration Journal 24 (1974), pp. 27-29; see also Nahman Avigad and Benjamin Sass, Corpus of West Semitic Stamp Seals (Jerusalem: Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, Israel Exploration Society, Hebrew University Institute of Archaeology, 1997), no. 407. A duplicate of this bulla (that is, a bulla stamped by the same seal) has been published recently by Robert Deutsch, in Messages from the Past: Hebrew Bullae from the Time of Isaiah Through the Destruction of the First Temple (in Hebrew) (Tel Aviv: Archaeological Center Publication, 1997), p. 31, no. 2; two other bullae of a servant of Hezekiah are published in the same volume, pp. 52-53, nos. 3 and 4. In the annals of Sennacherib, the transcription of the Judahite king's name is written ha-za-qi-a-u or ha-za-qi-ya-a-u (hazaq'iyahu). (Back)
2 See Avigad, Hebrew Bullae from the Time of Jeremiah (Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society, 1986), p. 110, no. 199. (Back)
3 See the discussion in Deutsch, Messages from the Past, p. 163, no. 199. I am indebted to him for photographs of the two bullae and for two drawings made with access to the original bullae. In his drawing of the new Hezekiah bulla, he has seen some detail I do not have on my own drawing, which was made from poor photographs. Hence I have substituted his drawing for mine. His reconstruction of the Avigad bulla is bold but I believe accurate. (Back)
4 Downward ticks on the lower horizontal strokes of the zayin are probably present, though the traces are faint (Deutsch has not shown them on his drawing). The curved, lowest horizontal of the he of hzqyhw is characteristic of the Siloam script. The yod is large, with no tendency to suppress or elevate the lowest horizontal (as in seventh- and sixth-century scripts). The het is a box form, as occasionally seen in the l'melekh handles, with little breakthrough of the verticals. (Back)
5 See David Ussishkin, "The Destruction of Lachish by Sennacherib and the Dating of the Royal Judean Storage Jars," Tel Aviv 4 (1977), pp. 28-60. (Back)
6 See Jo Ann Hackett et al., "Defusing Pseudo-Scholarship: The Siloam Inscription Ain't Hasmonean," BAR, March/April 1997 (Order this issue). (Back)
7 For a discussion of the scarab (dung beetle) iconography popular in Israel, see Sass, in Studies in the Iconography of Northwest Semitic Inscribed Seals, ed. Sass and C. Uehlinger (Fribourg: University Press, 1992), pp. 214-219. On the significance of the scarab in Egypt, see H. Bonnet, "Skarabaeus," in Reallexikon der ägyptischen Religionsgeschichte (Berlin: DeGruyter, 1952), pp. 720-722 and references. (Back)
8 My colleague Lawrence Stager called this passage and its application to the winged sun disk to my attention. (Back)
9 Discussion and literature may be found in E. Lipinski, Theologisches Wörterbuch zum Alten Testament 8 (Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 1994), pp. 306-314.

Dr. Claude Mariottini – Professor of Old Testament

The Seal of Hezekiah

August 5, 2014

Last Sunday, Jeff Griffin, the pastor at The Compass Church in Naperville, preached a sermon on Hezekiah’s seal. Jeff is my pastor and The Compass is the church where my family and I worship every Sunday.

What is so interesting about Jeff’s sermon is that very few pastors use archaeology to illustrate their sermons. I have already mentioned one of Jeff’s previous sermons, a sermon in which he used Sennacherib’s letter to Hezekiah as the background of his sermon.

In the introduction to his sermon last Sunday, Jeff presented the purpose and significance of Hezekiah’s seal. The sermon was the first in a series of sermons entitled “Awakening.” A beautiful graphic (pictured above) based of Hezekiah’s seal was prepared to illustrate the sermon series.

Since most Christians are not familiar with Hezekiah’s seal, I have decided to provide an introduction to this significant archaeological discovery because it illustrates the mind of King Hezekiah during his reign.

In antiquity, seals or signet rings were used to make impressions on clay that were then used to sign and authenticate official documents. The clay impression marked by the seal was called a bulla. Once the clay with the seal impression dried, the contents of the document could not be read without breaking the bulla. Thus, the recipient would know that the document had not been opened or read by another person.

There are several references to seals and signet rings in the Old Testament. For instance, when Judah promised to pay Tamar for her services as a prostitute, she asked as a pledge, his signet ring and his cord (Genesis 38:18). These words indicate that Judah’s signet ring was on a cord around his neck.

When Joseph was promoted to a position of authority in Egypt, during his investiture, Pharaoh said to Joseph: “See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.” Then Pharaoh removed his signet ring from his hand and placed it on Joseph’s hand, thus giving Joseph authority over the affairs of Egypt (Genesis 41:41-42).

Below is a reproduction of Hezekiah’s seal. The Hebrew inscription on the seal reads as follows:


 
l’hzqyhw ’hz mlk yhdh.
Translation: “Belonging to Hezekiah [son of] Ahaz, King of Judah.”

A most impressive aspect of Hezekiah’s seal is the image portrayed on the seal. The image on the seal is a two-winged beetle pushing a ball of mud or dung. The presence of an Egyptian image on the seal of a Hebrew king raises many questions, the most important of which is the reason a Judean king chose to use an Egyptian symbol in a royal seal.

The Egyptian dung beetle was also known as a scarab. The scarab was an Egyptian sacred symbol associated with the journey of the sun across the sky. In Egyptian mythology, the dung beetle symbolized resurrection because the Egyptians believed the beetle was born without procreation.

The two-winged beetle was popular in Egyptian iconography. The two wings symbolized Egyptian unity; they represented Upper and Lower Egypt. The ball in the mouth of the beetle represents the sun as it moves in the sky. The scarab received its name “dung beetle” because it used dung to feed its offspring.

The scarab was a symbol of Egypt. When the prophet Isaiah referred to Egypt, he called it “the land of winged insects” (Isaiah 18:1 HCSB). Kristin Swanson has shown that the presence of two-winged scarab beetles in Judah in the eighth century B.C. reflects the use of solar imagery in the worship of Judah.

The archaeological evidence indicates that the iconography on Hezekiah’s seal came from Egypt. However, the reason Hezekiah adopted an Egyptian religious motif for his royal seal is debatable.

In his article, “King Hezekiah’s Seal Revisited: Small Object Reflects Big Geopolitics,” published in the Biblical Archaeology Review, Meir Lubetski proposed that Hezekiah had a political motive in selecting the Egyptian scarab for his royal ring.

According to Lubetski, when Hezekiah became king of Judah, his goal was to reunify the Northern Kingdom of Israel with the Kingdom of Judah and revive the united kingdom that existed in the days of Solomon.

One evidence that Lubetski uses to support his view was Hezekiah’s celebration of the Passover: “Hezekiah sent word to all Israel and Judah, and wrote letters also to Ephraim and Manasseh, that they should come to the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, to keep the passover to the LORD the God of Israel” (2 Chonicles 30:1). Lubetski wrote:

I believe that Hezekiah consciously chose the Egyptian design, laden with symbolic content, to promote his own lofty ambitions. He borrowed the beetle icon from his southwestern neighbor and ally to convey the concept of permanence. The ball the beetle pushes represents the rejuvenation of the kingdom; the set of wings signifies the unification of the north and south of the Land of Israel under a scion of the House of David, just as they characterized the union of Upper and Lower Egypt under the pharaoh.

According to Lubetski, Hezekiah removed the religious symbolism of the scarab and infused it with nationalist sentiments in order to promote his desire to reunite the two kingdoms under his leadership.

However, there may be another reason for the use of a scarab in the royal signet. The prophet Isaiah provides ample evidence that during the reign of Hezekiah, the king entered into a covenant with Egypt in order to confront the Assyrian menace under Sennacherib, king of Assyria. Two oracles in Isaiah seem to indicate this alliance between Judah and Egypt.

The first passage is found in Isaiah 30:1-2: “Oh, rebellious children, says the LORD, who carry out a plan, but not mine; who make an alliance, but against my will, adding sin to sin; who set out to go down to Egypt without asking for my counsel, to take refuge in the protection of Pharaoh, and to seek shelter in the shadow of Egypt.”

The second passage in found in Isaiah 31:1-3: “Alas for those who go down to Egypt for help and who rely on horses, who trust in chariots because they are many and in horsemen because they are very strong, but do not look to the Holy One of Israel or consult the LORD! . . . The Egyptians are human, and not God; their horses are flesh, and not spirit.”

Hezekiah had sent ambassadors to the “land of winged insects” in vessels of papyrus (Isaiah 18:1-2) to make a covenant with Egypt, a covenant which Isaiah said was “a covenant with death” (Isaiah 28:15). Thus, it is possible that the presence of the scarab on Hezekiah’s signet ring was to declare his covenant with Egypt.

In preparing to revolt against Assyria, Hezekiah embarked on a series of religious and political reforms in Judah. You can find more information on Hezekiah and his reforms by reading my “Studies on Hezekiah, King of Judah.”

Hezekiah’s religious reform was a success. Hezekiah probably was influenced by the preaching of the prophet Micah and, as a result, he removed the high places of Judah, smashed the sacred pillars used in the worship of pagan gods, cut down the Asherah, and destroyed other items of pagan worship. Hezekiah’s desire was to establish the exclusive worship of Yahweh in Judah.

But the political reality did not allow Hezekiah to accomplish all his goals. When Sennacherib invaded Palestine in 701 B.C., he attacked and conquered forty-six fortified cities of Judah. Hezekiah was forced to pay a heavy tribute to Sennacherib and he became a vassal of Assyria.

Although Hezekiah sought Egyptian help to deal with Assyria, in the end, the words of Isaiah came true: “The protection of Pharaoh shall become your shame, and the shelter in the shadow of Egypt your humiliation” (Isaiah 30:3). “When the LORD stretches out his hand, the helper [Egypt] will stumble, and the one helped [Judah] will fall, and they will all perish together” (Isaiah 31:3).

Claude Mariottini
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary
The spirit of emptiness is immortal.
It is called the Great Mother
because it gives birth to Heaven and Earth.
It is like a vapor,
barely seen but always present.
Use it effortlessly.

Tao Te Ching, Ch. 6

Offline Curtis Metcalf

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Re: Individual Responsibility - Theological Basis for Moral Adulthood
« Reply #24 on: February 24, 2015, 11:27:50 am »
As to God, and our role ... to be honest, it is very complex.  Absent God, I don't know where the source of morality comes from. Just whatever feels good?  Whatever the chunk of meat between our ears tells us at any given moment? Given our ability to err and rationalize just about anything, can we really place supreme confidence in our ability to go it alone?
Here's my question (sincerely) - with God (whatever your conception of that is), aren't you required to use your brain/heart/spirit to discern God's will? So what really is the difference? Is it what feels right? In the eyes of whom?

As you point out, there have always been those who point to their religion to justify atrocities. It seems to me that the ability to err and rationalize applies to perceiving and carrying out God's will also.

Do any of us truly go it alone? How can anyone define themselves independently of the world and society they live in?
"No man is an island" and all.

So finally, is "individual responsibility" meaningful only in the context of service to others, i.e. a society? Responsible to whom after all?

Quick response:  Play the "Why?" Game.  Whatever answer you give, ask "Why?" While one can object to the Theological end-point ... the alternative is, I believe, to conclude that there is no "Why" and ... a rather miserable prognosis for the future.  I've concluded the two logical possibilities are absolute Nihilism or Divine Purpose.

So while we may need to rely on that chunk of meat between our ears, or as some would more grandly refer to as "the Intellect," to ask questions to their ultimate conclusions (or lack thereof), there is a practical difference.  Relying on the mind, heart, and groin to resolve every moral issue, on a case-by-case basis, is (I believe) more likely to lead to moral lapse, as the heart and groin are powerful motivators, and the mind as a powerful rationalizer.  In contrast, once you accept an entire religious framework that directs desirable conduct in all circumstances, the opportunity for case-by-case self-service is diminished. If one is serious about it.

Judaism is very much about right conduct. As evidenced by the Rambam's writings, such as the Mishnah Torah, the various Codes of Jewish Law, and the like.

That is, in general terms, my broad thinking on the topic.  ;)

Sure, I'm a huge fan of Why? My point is that no matter what, one has to think. This is so whether you are applying a theological framework to the particular situation facing you or another set of values. To attempt to answer any series of Why questions is to apply discernment and judgment, sound or otherwise. Life is a series of case-by-case situations. Even if you think you know "what's right", there aren't many simple answers. Only experience and hopefully, wisdom gained from that experience, as an individual or group.

Now applying a series of Whys? to the basis of Divine Purpose or other moral code guiding behavior, well, that gets interesting...
"Seek first to understand, then to be understood."
"Be hard on systems, but soft on people."

Offline michaelintp

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Re: Individual Responsibility - Theological Basis for Moral Adulthood
« Reply #25 on: February 24, 2015, 06:11:33 pm »
Now applying a series of Whys? to the basis of Divine Purpose or other moral code guiding behavior, well, that gets interesting...

Yeh.  ;)
The spirit of emptiness is immortal.
It is called the Great Mother
because it gives birth to Heaven and Earth.
It is like a vapor,
barely seen but always present.
Use it effortlessly.

Tao Te Ching, Ch. 6

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Re: Individual Responsibility - Theological Basis for Moral Adulthood
« Reply #26 on: February 26, 2015, 08:00:50 am »
kemites never depicted the scarab beetle pushing dung. Why? Because it’s a beetle. That particular brand of insect was sacred, because it’s related to the “fire-fly.” Yes, the fire-fly isn’t a fly (or on fire). It’s a beetle. So yeah, pushing dung?



I believe that Hezekiah consciously chose the Egyptian design, laden with symbolic content, to promote his own lofty ambitions. He borrowed the beetle icon from his southwestern neighbor and ally to convey the concept of permanence. The ball the beetle pushes represents the rejuvenation of the kingdom; the set of wings signifies the unification of the north and south of the Land of Israel under a scion of the House of David, just as they characterized the union of Upper and Lower Egypt under the pharaoh.






michaelintp, lots of great stuff ! Worthy read! Interesting, indeed. "Nature's Night-Life..." 

     Interestingly, the two-winged beetle on the seal is seen more clearly on the Hezekiah bulla with the more fragmentary inscription. The dung beetle pushes the circular ball of dung, which symbolizes the movement of the rising sun.(7) The meaning of the symbol is clear from Malachi 4:2: "For you who revere my Name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings." In other words, the winged sun disk is a symbol of the deity bringing salvation.( 8 )

     Two- and four-winged sun disks also appear on Hezekiah's l'melekh handles, so the two-winged scarab with the sun disk is wholly appropriate on Hezekiah's seal. There appears to have been a tendency to solarize Yahweh in Judah in the eighth century....
 
 


"solarize"

Yeah! That would change the overall concept & narrow-down the purpose.  The fire-fly can produce its own light.  The scarab beetle can reproduce life. Light=life- synonymous words for a synonymous species of insects. The 'circle' on the seal has to be light, the sun- or else it’s a misrepresentation of the image. Hezekiah would’ve known that. Right?

It’s lame to pay homage to silly bugs. Who would do such a thing? 

What is this? Israel & Egypt- allies? My People? Fun! 




Offline michaelintp

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Re: Individual Responsibility - Theological Basis for Moral Adulthood
« Reply #27 on: February 26, 2015, 06:39:02 pm »
Cool fireflies!   ;D
Yeh, all this stuff is interesting.
The spirit of emptiness is immortal.
It is called the Great Mother
because it gives birth to Heaven and Earth.
It is like a vapor,
barely seen but always present.
Use it effortlessly.

Tao Te Ching, Ch. 6