On Creation Week’s Day 1, How Intensively did God Work?

On Creation Week’s Day 1, How Intensively did God Work?

Dr. James J. S. Johnson

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”   (Genesis 1:1)

Galaxy.Tarantula-photo

The Bible teaches us that everything and everyone (except God Himself) was made by God, so He is called the “Creator”; that means that God made everything that is (including ourselves) out of nothing, by His command!

That is so powerful that we cannot fully understand that power to create something (or someone) out of nothing. The Bible teaches us that God did His creation work “in the beginning”, staring with the heavens and the earth on Day #1. Although doing this is impossible for us to do, or even to fully understand, it was quite easy for God to do!

RosettaNebula-galaxy.Pinterest

Hebrew philology (i.e., word studies) demonstrate their value in the Bible’s first verse: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”

The subject noun is “God,” translating the Hebrew text’s plural noun Elohîm. The action verb is “created,” translating the Hebrew text’s singular verb bara’.  What a grammar teacher’s conundrum! A plural subject noun with a singular verb!  Yet what better way to foreshadow the Bible’s Trinitarian theology of God’s being? This is clarified later in Scripture, of course, as the Great Commission illustrates, but the doctrine of God’s Tri-unity is actually introduced in Genesis 1:1. The universe’s Maker is plural, yet one

Genesis 1:1 has more to say about God’s first action as Creator—informing us about what God’s action of creating was and what it was not.

Hebrew verbs usually appear in one of these seven basic forms: qal (simple active), niphâl (simple passive), piêl (intensive active), puâl (intensive passive), hiphîl (causative active), hophâl (causative passive), hithpaêl (active and passive combined—i.e., your action directly impacts yourself, like combing your own hair).

Genesis 1:1 uses a singular 3rd person masculine qal verb, bara’ (“He created”).  So what does that tell us about God’s action on Day 1?

From God’s perspective, His action of creating (on Day 1 of Creation Week) was “simple”; it was not “intensive” work!  Astoundingly, God did not work very hard to decree into existence, from nothing, all “the heavens and earth” (i.e., all of the physical matter-energy that now exists)!  Also, notice that God’s work of creating was not merely “causative.” God then acted directly, not merely as a first cause instigator triggering a long series of dominoes.  (Specifically, it was God the Son, i.e., Christ, Who was most directly involved in doing this creation work  — see John 1, Colossians 1, Hebrews 1.)

Furthermore, because the verb bara’ is a perfect verb, the action of creating is reported as completed—finished! That specific work of creation (i.e., creating physical matter-energy into being), that God did on Day 1, needed no further ex nihilo (out-of-nothing) creating.

And that was just the beginning! The next five days involved developmental use of Day 1’s creation, providing us with many more biblical word study opportunities in Genesis.

galaxy-w-stars.reddish-tone


 

GOD’S HEAVENLY LEIKARRINGEN, AS NOTED IN ISAIAH 40:22

GOD’S HEAVENLY LEIKARRINGEN, AS NOTED IN ISAIAH 40:22

Dr. James J. S. Johnson

It is He Who sits upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; it is He Who stretches out the heavens as a curtain, and spreads them out as a tent to dwell in. (Isaiah 40:22)

What is “the circle of the earth”? Just because an interpretation seems to “help” win arguments does not make it right—it’s the truth that really counts.  (Sad to say, quite a few creation scientists, employing superficial review of the Scriptures, are guilty of this.)

For decades some creation scientists have suspected (and/or assumed) that Isaiah 40:22 refers to Earth’s spherical shape, because Earth is round like a ball.  But is that what the phrase “circle of the earth” refers to, in Isaiah 40:22?  As a matter of Biblical creation apologetics (as opposed to deistic science practices), it is important to take a philological “magnifying glass” to the Biblical Hebrew text’s details, in order to see what this verse is actually describing.

The foundational question — if truth is the priority — is whether the Hebrew noun chûg, used in Isaiah 40:22 (and translated as “circle” by the King James Bible translators), means “round” like Earth’s spherical shape, as opposed to some other kind of “circle”.

The noun “ball” is used to translate the Hebrew noun dûr in Isaiah 22:18. So, if God had wanted to describe Earth as a globe (i.e., a ball), in Isaiah 40:22, why not use the Hebrew noun dûr? Obviously that noun was part of Isaiah’s vocabulary, because Isaiah used that noun (dûr) in Isaiah 22:18.

But, to understand this part of Isaiah 40:22, the most focal question is what does chûg (“circle”) mean? To answer this question, we should compare Scripture with Scripture, i.e., especially by reviewing how that same Hebrew word is used elsewhere within Scripture.

First, consider that the noun chûg is used only 2 other times, in Job 22:14 and Proverbs 8:27.

Job 22:14 says: “Thick clouds are a covering to Him, that He seeth not; and He walketh in the circuit [chûg] of heaven.”  Question: is this “circuit” an orbit-like pattern or a spherical ball?

Proverbs 8:27 says: “When He prepared the heavens, I was there; when He set a compass [chûg] upon the face of the depth.” Question: is this “compass” an orbit-like pattern or a spherical ball?

Next, consider the root verb (that this Hebrew noun derives from), which is the Hebrew verb chûg, spelled that same as the noun (similar to how our English words “report” and “record” are either verbs or nouns, depending upon context).

As a verb, chûg appears in Job 26:10 (“He hath compassed the waters…”), denoting cloud-contained rainwaters, being part of Earth’s water cycle dynamics. The idea here is cyclical or circuitous movements, not sphericity.

Furthermore, we can review other Hebrew words that utilize the consonantal stem CHG (also transliterated ḤG), such as the verb châgag that uses the extended stem CHGG (also transliterated ḤGG). By doing this we acquire more relevant data for identifying the core meaning of chûg. Consider, therefore, these Scriptures that employ some form of the verb châgag, and/or a noun derived from that verb: Leviticus 23:9 (“feast”); Leviticus 23:34 (“celebrate”, “feast”); Leviticus 23:41 (“celebrate”, “feast”, “celebrate””); and 1st Samuel 30:16 (“dancing”).(1) Do the concepts of celebratory feasts—or “dancing”—fit the idea of Earth’s spherical roundness? Or, do “dancing” and cyclical celebrations compare better with Earth’s orbit-motions, while circling the sun, within our solar system that itself orbits within the Milky Way Galaxy?

The best English word, to picture the core idea here, is choreography—an amazingly well-ordered, orchestrated, festive, happy, harmonious DANCE.(1),(2) Like King David, even the heavenly bodies “dance” unto God’s glory!(2)

References

(1)The Hebrew noun chûg (“circle” in Isaiah 40:22, KJV) is related to the verb châgag, which is translated “celebrate” in Leviticus 23:9 & 23:41. The Hebrew noun chûg shares the same root verb as chag, another Hebrew noun, which is translated “feast” (referring to the Feast of Tabernacles) in Leviticus 23:34 & 23:9 & 23:41. The concept of celebratory dancing is illustrated in 1st Samuel 30:16, where the Hebrew verb châgag (in participle form) is translated “dancing”.

(3)See 2 Samuel 6:14 & Psalm 149:3. Notice that the festively cosmic choreography of Isaiah 40:22 is like the mathematically blended and harmonious interactive movements of a perfectly performed Norwegian Leikarringen folk dance (see photograph above), as opposed to a frenzied solo dancer’s break-dancing gyrations.

><> JJSJ    profjjsj@aol.com


In AD1982, at Wake Forest University, Dr. Johnson received the American Bible Society Award for scholarship in Biblical languages, especially Hebrew and Aramaic. However, despite many repeated efforts (and repeated encouragement from Kermit and Glenda Anderson), Johnson has unquestionably failed to learn the memory-challenging choreographic artistry of Norwegian folk dancing.


 

WHEN GALILEO WAS PUT ON TRIAL, WHO WAS RIGHT?

When Galileo was Put on Trial, Who was Right?

Dr. James J. S. Johnson

solar-system-heliocentric

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork. (Psalm 19:1)

Galileo Galilei, in AD1633, faced hostile Inquisitors who threateningly opposed his astronomical discoveries.  Galileo taught that Earth moves around the sun, while the sun stays “stationary”, but his opponents taught vice versa, and put Galileo on trial for “heresy”.(1) This historic confrontation is often labeled as a “religion-versus-science” trial, because it involved a disagreement about what Psalm 93:1 teaches — and it came close to getting him killed!  (Yet, as shown below, the odd conflict was a display of both sloppy religion and sloppy science.)

The Lord reigneth, He is clothed with majesty; the LORD is clothed with strength, wherewith He hath girded Himself: the world also is stablished, that it cannot be moved.

The latter part of Psalm 93:1 allegedly clashed with Galileo’s analysis of our solar system. Why? Galileo’s telescopic measurements of movements in the heavens (i.e., sun, moon, planets, etc.) “proved” that it was Earth that “moved” (i.e., regularly cycled) around the stationary sun, not vice versa! However, Roman Catholic interpretations of Scripture, during AD1633 (in Italy, where Galileo lived), disagreed with Galileo’s astronomic analysis.(1)

Actually both sides were part wrong, because both sides relied on errors:

(a) both the sun and Earth are moving, in very predictable orbits, yet when described contextually, both are moving in relation to one another (and to the Milky Way galaxy, as well!)—plus all motion must be described with respect to a frame-of-reference (i.e., relative motion), anyway, so it is most practical for observers to use their own positons as the standard locational indices;(1),(2) and

(b) the Hebrew phrase translated “it cannot be moved”, in Psalm 93:1, means that Earth cannot be yanked away from its divinely prescribed (“established”) program of movements—as opposed to describing a state of absolute motionlessness.(2)

The lesson? When “religion” clashes with “science”, expect to see examples of sloppy religion (inaccurate Bible interpretations), or sloppy science (inaccurate scientific observations and/or analysis), or both.(3)

But this is not new. During the heyday (AD1700s-AD1800s) of the so-called “Enlightenment”, there flourished a fad called deism. Deism was—and still is—an “free-thinking”-dominated theism that exalts human reason (ignoring how fallen reason really is) while keeping the Bible closed whenever “science” is discussed.

Prioritizing popularity with secular culture, deists strive to retain some (sometimes many) aspects of Biblical Christianity—but the ecumenical deists’ fondness for unbiblical compromise unbalances and over-tips their epistemological boat, eventually sinking their ship under an ocean of self-contradictions.

Accordingly, deism was (and is today) artificially “cherry-picking” fashionable Bible teachings, while ignoring and discarding other (undesirable or inconvenient) Biblical teachings.(1)  How so?

Modern-day deists (e.g., so-called “Intelligent Design Movement” proponents) often react to apparent “religion-versus-science” conflicts by siding with “science” over whatever the Bible teaches.  (For example, IDM deists routinely refuse to affirm the Biblical details of Genesis Flood history, IDM deists routinely imagine an evolutionary  “Big Bang”  cosmogony that includes imagined billions of years, and most IDM deists favor the Darwinian genes-in-magic animism called “natural selection”, etc.).

Consequently, in their reckless haste, to favor humanistic “science” over the authoritatively accurate and relevant Scriptures, deists (including IDM deists of today) illegitimately employ straw-man caricatures of Biblical truth, erring — like Sadducees — because they ignorantly under-value both the holy Scriptures and the power of God (Matthew 22:29).

Dembski justifies his Scriptura sub scientia approach (i.e. Scripture [ranked] under science) by raising the tired old canard about geocentrism. …

        Dembski: Yet, during that time [of Galileo’s trial, for teaching heretical science], church teaching also held that the earth was stationary.

Unfortunately, this [ecclesiastical error] is because they kowtowed to the prevailing Aristotelian science of the day, which included the Ptolemaic cosmology. …

        Dembski: Psalm 93 [verse 1] states that the earth is established forever and cannot be moved. … A literal interpretation of Psalm 93 seems to require geocentrism.(4)

 Pity Galileo. If only he had today’s Newtonian astrophysics (and geokinetics), a good Bible concordance, and a Bible in his own language!  Galileo could have seen that the  Bible’s descriptions of God’s choreographed heavens are corroborated—not opposed—by true science.

References

(1) Russell Grigg, “The Galileo ‘Twist’”, CREATION EX NIHILO, 19(4):30-32 (September 1997); Jonathan Sarfati, “ID Theorist Blunders on Bible:  Reply to Dr William Dembski”, posted February 7, 2005 at http://creation.com/id-theorist-blunders-on-bible-response-to-dembski (accessed March 2, 2017); Jonathan Sarfati, “The Sun:  Our Special Star”, CREATION EX NIHILO, 22(1):27-31 (December 1999); Robert Carter & Jonathan Sarfati, “Why the Universe Does Not Revolve Around the Earth (Refuting Absolute Geocentrism)”, posted February 12, 2015 at http://creation.com/refuting-absolute-geocentrism/  .  Galileo’s writings were controversial and public—he wrote in Italian, not scholarly Latin. Galileo was stigmatized by his own church (i.e., the Roman Catholic church) as a “heretic”, sentenced to prison/house arrest, and his publications were censored—a very lenient punishment by Roman Catholic Inquisition standards!  Ironically, Lutherans (e.g., the astronomer-genius Johannes Kepler) — whom Galileo opposed — were not theologically opposed to Galileo’s astronomical theories.

(2) The Hebrew verb môṭ appears often in contexts that portray a pulling-away motion (e.g., Proverbs 24:11; Psalm 82:5 [“foundations of the earth are out of course”]; Isaiah 54:10); also, the related noun môṭâh is routinely translated as “yoke” (e.g., Leviticus 26:13 [“the bands of your yoke”]; Jeremiah 27:2 [“bonds and yokes”]). See George V. Wigram, The Englishman’s Hebrew Concordance to the Old Testament. Peabody, MA: Hendricksen Publishers (2001 reprint of 1874 3rd edition), page 670.  Regarding interrelated positons and predictable motions of the sun and earth, see also Psalm 19:1-6 (19:2-7 BH); Psalm 104:2-5; Ecclesiastes 1:5; & Isaiah 40:22.

(3) For another example of how sloppy theology and sloppy science can easily lead to a misunderstanding of both Scripture and nature, see James J. S. Johnson, “A Hart for God”, ACTS & FACTS, 43(7):17 (July 2014), posted at http://www.icr.org/article/8184 .

(4) Quoting Jonathan Sarfati (see note #1 above).


Solar System (fair use) image credit:  ScienceABC.com

Does Psalm 58:3 Teach that Babies are “Estranged from the Womb”?

Does Psalm 58:3 Teach that Babies are “Estranged from the Womb”?

James J. S. Johnson, JD, ThD

baby-in-the-womb

The wicked are estranged [zōrû] from the womb; they go astray [ta‘û] as soon as they be born, speaking [dōbrî] lies.  (Psalm 58:3)

Among other Scriptures that deal with original sin (i.e., the sin nature that we inherit automatically from Adam, our ultimate forefather), there is Psalm 58:3. Yet those who disagree with the notion of inherited sin find ways to dodge what is (otherwise) obvious in Scripture.

Here is one example, “Does Psalm 58:3 Support the Doctrine of Original Sin?”, by Jason Hoag, who begins his critique by quoting a modern English translation of that Old Testament verse:

Psalm 58:3 (ESV)   The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray from birth, speaking lies.

When we are interpreting scripture, we first need to recognize what type of literature we are looking at. The Psalms are a book of poetry and they need to be viewed differently than a book of history, law or prophecy. Poetry is a style of writing that says a lot with very few words. In doing this poetry often uses figurative language to make a point. With this in mind, let’s evaluate Psalm 58:3.

Is Psalm 58:3 figurative, or is it to be taken literally? This verse is clearly figurative and is meant to be taken that way. For us to take this verse literally we would have to assume that babies come out of the womb talking. Clearly this is not the case. Babies do not speak lies as soon as they are born because as everyone knows, babies are not born talking. [emphasis added]

[Quoting Jason Hoag, “Does Psalm 58:3 Support the Doctrine of Original Sin?”, at https://journeytochampel.wordpress.com/tag/psalm-583/ .]

REBUTTAL:  Jason Hoag fails to appreciate that the verbs involved (in Psalm 58:3, which is numbered as Psalm 58:4 in the Hebrew Bible) are Hebrew verbs, so a detailed analysis of the verse should not ignore whatever precise information is built into the words and phrases of the Hebrew text (of that verse).

To clarify what verbs we are here analyzing, Psalm 58:3 is quoted below, again, this time from the King James Bible translation, with insertions to show the specific Hebrew verbs involved. (Immediately after that, the Hebrew text (of that verse ) is reprinted, to show the overall context of Psalm 58:3.)

The wicked are estranged [zōrû] from the womb; they go astray [ta‘û] as soon as they be born [no Hebrew verb here – it’s literally written as “from belly”], speaking [dōbrî] lies.

זֹ֣רוּ           QAL perfect 3rd person masculine plural [root verb: zûr]
רְשָׁעִ֣ים     adjective masculine plural (quasi-noun substantive use)
מֵרָ֑חֶם       preposition + masculine singular noun
תָּע֥וּ           QAL perfect 3rd person common plural [root verb: tâ‘âh]
מִ֝בֶּ֗טֶן         preposition + feminine singular noun
דֹּבְרֵ֥י          QAL active participle/masculine plural construct [root: dâbar]
כָזָֽב            masculine singular noun

In other words, the actions portrayed by the verbs (in Psalm 58:3, which is numbered as 58:4 in the Hebrew Bible) denote 2 actions that are described as completed, plus one action that is continuing.

Let us consider those philological details – and what those details show that the verse is teaching, theologically.

It is noteworthy that Jason Hoag assumes that the phrase “from birth” means that the baby is speaking on his or her date of “birth”, if taken literally – so Hoag (recognizing that babies don’t speak intelligible language on their birthday) concludes that the verse must be “figurative” – and thus Hoag dismisses any literal approach to that verse’s meaning.

In fact, Hoag apparently never checked a Young’s Analytical Concordance (much less the Hebrew text) to see where the English phrase “as soon as they be born” came from – actually it’s a “dynamic equivalence” translation (which occurs rarely in KJV) for a compound word meaning “from belly” (or “from womb”).

So the continuing action of “speaking [of] lies” was not a change of habit that occurred sometime after birth, when a supposedly “sin-free” baby chose — sometime after birth (perhaps as a toddler) to avoid telling the truth, as he or she made the (supposedly) radical decision to speak a lie. Rather, the idea here is that the baby’s predisposition to be deceitful, when doing so appears to further a selfish desire, is built-in — even from BEFORE BIRTH.  (Obviously that selfish predisposition must be expressed later, in order for us to see it in action.)

In fact, other Scriptures indicate that babies who are sinful-from-the-start is not a category limited to those who grow up to be “wicked” as “wicked” is defined by worldly norms; rather, it is everyone who is natural born as a descendant of Adam, as is clarified by Psalm 51 (which chronicles David’s agony about his own sins that manifested his own sinful-from-the-start nature, as well as Romans chapter 3, where Paul pronounced the tragic reality that “all” are sinners, as is exhibited by sin-manifesting attitude and action.

Consider how the first Hebrew verb in this verse [zōrû] is a perfect verb, denoting action that is complete. Likewise, the second Hebrew verb [ta‘û] is a perfect verb, denoting action that is complete. What exactly does that mean?

The phrase “The wicked are estranged [zōrû] from the womb” refers to the fact that “from the womb” the wicked alienated themselves from God – the spiritual alienation is not a continuing process, it’s a completed reality — even inside the womb.  Likewise, the phrase “they go astray [ta‘û] from birth” refers to the fact that “from the [mother’s] belly” the wicked are have erred, i.e., separated from God.  Again, it’s not a continuing process of separation, it’s a completed reality — even inside the mother’s belly.  (Alienation?  Sounds a lot like Ephesians 2:1.)

This does not fit well with the notion of “no original sin” because only inherited sin can explain how an unborn child can be alienated from God, in light of Romans 9:11, which says:

For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil — that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth. (Romans 9:11)

Also, because Sepher Tehillim (the book of Psalms) is Hebrew poetry, its meaning must ALWAYS take into account that meaning is conveyed by parallelism in meaning (not paralleled in sound, as in English poetry).

Thus, to understand Psalm 58:3b it is needful to understand Psalm 58:3a, plus it is needful to understand how both of them parallel one another (in meaning).

In this case, the parallelism (in meaning) is a form of synonymous parallelism – because both “halves” of the parallelism are saying pretty close to the same thing.

Here, the baby’s completed estrangement “in the womb” is the same thing as the baby’s completed separation “in the belly” — and Romans 9:11 informs us that unborn babies cannot individually commit right or wrong inside the womb.

Accordingly, whatever estrangement the unborn baby has, from God, inside the womb, cannot be caused by the baby’s personal wrongdoing – it must be (somehow) inherited from Adam. As Romans chapter 5 (and 1st Corinthians chapter 15) inform us, the original sin of Adam is imputed – and thus applied – unto all of Adam’s natural descendants (and that obviously excludes Christ Himself, since He was supernaturally conceived apart from the normal procreation process (Isaiah 7:14).

Yet, thankfully, those same Scriptures — Romans chapter 5 and 1st Corinthians chapter 15 – wonderfully promise us that those who trust Christ for redemption have Christ’s own righteousness (and many other aspects of the salvation He provides to those who believe in Him), which is the remedy for the problematic sin nature that we inherited from our first forefather, Adam.

So, the application of Adam’s original sin, unto us his descendants, occurred completely (and automatically) in the womb, where we were created as individuals (see Psalm 102:18), long before we could commit any wrongdoing of our own – yet the application of Christ’s redemption-provided righteousness can also be applied, at the individual level, unto “whosoever believeth” in the Lord Jesus Christ, to Whom be praise forever!

><> JJSJ

romans9-11-nasv

photo credit:  Babies Daily News

(https://babiesdailynews.com/2016/05/18/5-things-your-baby-would-learn-in-the-womb/ )

Proverbs 22:6 – is it a promise, or a command, or a description of a general trend in human behavior?

Proverbs 22:6 – is it a promise, or a command, or a description of a general trend in human behavior?

James J. S. Johnson, JD, ThD

fork-in-the-road-forest

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6).

What does that verse look like under a “Hebrew microscope”? Are there any details, in the Hebrew, that can clarify our understanding of this amazing verse?

For starters, consider whether the verbs involved (i.e., in Proverbs 22:6) are descriptive or imperative: is the verse telling us what to do, or is the verse describing to us how life works, or both?

The verb translated “train up” is the same verb that the noun “Hanukkah” is derived from – the root verb (ḥanak) means to “dedicate”. In this verse it is an imperative (in fact, the only imperative form of ḥanak in the Bible), commanding us what to do – it is not a descriptive verb, describing what occurs. Specifically, this command is a 2nd person masculine qal imperative verb, effectively indicating that the verse is a command directed at the child’s father. (More on the importance of that to follow.) So the child’s father is hereby commanded to “dedicate” the child in some way.

But in, or into, what “way” — is the child to be dedicated? In English translation the next verb is “go” but there is no such verb in the Hebrew text! Actually, the English phrase “way he should go” is a translation of one Hebrew word, pî (pronounced “pea”, like the small round green vegetable), as if pî was a noun meaning “way-he-should-go”. The noun pî is a construct form of the Hebrew noun peh (usually translated “mouth”), sometimes translated “entry” or “opening” – the idea being a mouth-like entrance to something, such as the earth’s “mouth” (Genesis 4:11; Numbers 16:30 & 16:32) or the “mouth” of a grain-sack (Genesis 42:27; 43:12; 43:21; etc.).

In this context (i.e., in Proverbs 22:6), the construct noun pî is directly linked to a form of the noun derek (“way”, i.e., pathway) that immediately follows pî in that sentence, in what is called a construct-absolute relationship. (Specifically the noun derek, meaning “way”, has a possessive pronoun suffix attached, producing the word darkô to convert the noun’s meaning to “his way”.) The meaning of these 2 nouns, as a noun coupling unit, is that the first noun (pî) is a “construct” noun, linked to the second noun (darkô), which is the “absolute” noun. In Hebrew grammar, a construct noun is built onto (i.e., appended or attached to) an absolute noun, so the idea is that the construct noun belongs to the absolute noun. An illustration of how pî is the construct form of the noun peh (meaning “mouth” or entry) occurs in Genesis 29:2-3, where the phrase “well’s mouth” is a translation of pî-habeêr (i.e., “mouth of the well”). Thus, the literal translation of the construct-absolute noun coupling pî-darkô (in Proverbs 22:6) is “mouth of his pathway”, i.e., the entrance of his path (in life) – i.e., whichever of the two destinies that the child takes in life.

Another important observation, to avoid the error of “adding to the Word”, when analyzing the absolute noun darkô, is to recognize that the verse does not specify what is “his way”, i.e., which pathway (of the child) is the one that the child’s parent is being told to dedicate (and thus direct) his child into. (Answering that question must involve other Scriptures.)

The next verb in the verse is translated “he is old”; it is a form of the Hebrew verb zakên (“to age”, i.e., to be or to become old, as used in Genesis 18:12-13; 19:31; 24:1; 27:1-2; Proverbs 23:22; etc.). Specifically, however, this verse uses a hiphîl imperfect form of zakên, i.e., a causative form that denotes action that is not completed – he is causing oldness. (The only other instance in Scripture, of a hiphîl imperfect use of zakên, is Job 14:8, which refers to the roots of a chopped-down tree aging and dying.) In other words, this use of zakên indicates the scenario of the child causing oldness, i.e., making old – but who is becoming old, the child or the parent (or both)?

The third (and last) verb in this verse, which is qualified by a negative (“not”), is translated “depart”, so combining the negative to the verb produces the phrase “not depart”. The root verb here is sûr, usually translated “to depart” (e.g., Numbers 12:10; 2nd Samuel 12:10) or “to turn aside” (e.g., Exodus 3:4; Judges 14:8; Ruth 4:1; 1st Kings 20:39). The action described (when the verb sûr is used) is turning aside, turning away, changing direction to avoid someone or something. So the idea here is that the time will come when the child will not “turn aside” from “his way” in life. (But, we wonder, what is “his way” that the child will eventually not “turn aside” from?)

But what is the relationship between the action of dedicating (a child) and the outcome of that child’s life? The linking particles are 2 Hebrew words, gam kî (translated in KJV as “and when”). The word gam is a conjunctive particle, often translated “and” or “again” or “also”. It is the second particle (kî) that is trickier to translate, because it can mean “because”, “in order that”, “when”, etc., depending on the words and phrases that contextualize it. To get the context it is necessary to look at whatever contiguous verse has a parallel meaning, because Proverbs uses Hebrew poetry format, and that involves message parallelism — sometimes identifying similarities, sometimes identifying contrasts.

(For more on that Hebrew grammar concept, consult “Genesis is History, Not Poetry” http://www.icr.org/article/genesis-history-poetry-exposing-hidden — as well as the analysis of Psalm 42:1-2 within http://www.icr.org/article/hart-for-god — and the analysis of Proverbs 26:4-5 within http://www.icr.org/article/how-do-we-answer-fools .)

Therefore, as a logic-linked couplet, consider the parallel messages of Proverbs 22:5-6, as if the pair were “twins”, providing together a linked unit of meaning:

5 Thorns and snares are in the way of the froward; he that doth keep his soul shall be far from them. 6 Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Notice various parallelism themes that link these two verses. Verse 5 refers to the soul-keeping person as avoiding the “thorns and snares” that are “in the way”. As a contrast, Verse 6 refers to the child not avoiding “his way” after aging occurs. In order to understand Verse 6 we need to understand what Verse 5 is saying, because the meaning of both is discerned by understanding their messages as a package, a unit of wisdom about living life.

Accordingly, Verse 5 defines 2 different pathways in life – the way of the “froward” and the way of one who “keeps his soul”. These are 2 basic choices in life. These 2 pathways can be compared to the 2 paths mentioned in Psalm 1 (q.v.), which are really the same 2 pathways mentioned by the Lord Jesus Christ, when He defined that choice between the “strait gate” and the “broad way”:

13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat; 14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. (Quoting Matthew 7:13-14.)

Therefore, the “froward” is unlike the one who “keeps his soul”. The “froward” person will live life with “thorns and snares”, but not so the one who “keeps” (i.e., guards) his soul. Matthew 7:13-14, like Proverbs 22:5, is a general description of universal realities regarding human destinies. It is upon this description, about how human life works, that Verse 6 follows.

In effect, Verse 5 reminds the reader that human destinies are the built-in result of cause-and-effect dynamics: namely, a froward personality has a thorns-and-snares life to look forward to; however, a soul-guarding personality will avoid living a life dominated by thorns and snares. These twin principles are a framework upon which Verse 6 builds, adding a practical application. Unlike Verse 5, which is descriptive only, Verse 6 is “dominated” by an imperative verb – the command to “dedicate” a child to the entrance of “his way”. But Verse 6 does not subtract the message of Verse 5!

Rather, the reality of what Verse 5 describes should motivate the parent (who is assumed by the 2nd person masculine singular in Verse 6, as Verse 6’s intended audience) to “dedicate” the child, because the child’s destiny alternatives are already known from Verse 5. Of course, only the child can choose – from the age of moral accountability onward – whether he (or she) will be “froward” or “soul-guarding” in character. The parent can (and should) provide early guidance, such as boundaries and consequences, to teach the child about these alternative destinies. This is leading the child unto the entrance of “his way”.

The parent’s duty is to lead the child to the choice, with sufficient training (and explanations) to ensure that the child’s choice is an informed decision. Yet having done so, the choice made (and thus the life chosen) by the child is still “his way” – not the parent’s way.  Thus, the (well-informed) choice — about how to live life, etc. – is and remains the child’s choice, not the parent’s!  Personal moral accountability before God is the essential key to understanding Proverbs 22:6, because Proverbs 22:5 is the very foundation whereupon Proverbs 22:6 provides a parental imperative.

And what about the aging aspect of Proverbs 22:6? Recall that it uses a causative verb form (of zakên) that also appears in Job 14:8. Consider how trees might “make a comeback” in life, if the root system obtains water at the right time.

7For there is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the tender branch thereof will not cease. 8 Though the root thereof wax old [same form of zakên as appears in Proverbs 22:6] in the earth, and the stock thereof die in the ground; 9 yet through the scent of water it will bud, and bring forth boughs like a plant.   (Quoting Job 14:7-9.)

Thus, just as a chopped-down tree’s root system can again revive, producing above-ground maturity (aging, growing, developing) in a tree, the child’s pathway through life can experience a revival, using his own parentally-provided “root system” to support a “comeback” in life, so long as the right kind of spiritual “water” (i.e., the “water of life – see John 7:37-39) is obtained (i.e., accepted by the spiritually accountable child) at the right time.

(One way or another, God is honored, ultimately, in the child’s life – either by displaying God’s glory in redemption — or by showing His glory in judgment.)

Bottom line: parents can (and should) lead their children to “water” (escorting them to the right “doorway” for a “soul-guarded” life), but parents can’t make those children “drink”. However, each child will choose his (or her) own “way” in life, and time will tell what the child is really rooted to, sooner or later.

The above analysis may not clear up all of the questions that parents have about Proverbs 22:6, but hopefully it helps.                  ><> JJSJ     profjjsj@aol.com

GOD’S PROVIDENTIAL JUDGMENTS REVEAL HIS WILL (AND SOMETIMES HIS MERCY, TOO)

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Donald Trump’s victory speech (11-9-AD2016)       CNN photo

When in history the LORD acts, He speaks,
Yet speaking not like pollster geeks;
As one God demotes,
Another He promotes,
With help, sometimes, from WikiLeaks!

COMMENTARY:   See Psalm 75:7 (“But God is the Judge; He puts down one, and He sets up another”) & Daniel 2:21.   God rules in the affairs of mankind, regardless of whether or when humans notice and/or admit it.   See also Daniel 4:17 & 4:37.   The word “judgments” [often as  mishpateka = “Thy judgments”] appears at least 20 times in Psalm 119, a psalm that focuses on how God reveals His truth to mankind.  Of course, the Holy Bible is the ultimate, most authoritative, and most perspicuous revelation of God’s truth to mankind;  however, God’s providential workings in history can also reveal His will to those “with eyes to see” it — and, when God so, His Providential history-communicated truth produces moral accountability (as Daniel reminded Belshazzar, especially in Daniel 5:21-23).

Though many don’t value pigeons, doves are important in the Holy Bible.

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The rock dove (a/k/a “pigeon”) is perhaps the most under-appreciated yet ubiquitous birds of the world.  Yet God the Holy Spirit descended upon the Lord Jesus Christ “like a dove” (Matthew 3:16-17) at the Lord’s baptism, and examples of the dove family were used as sacrificial offerings in Mary’s purification ceremony,  after Christ’s circumcision (Luke 2:22-24, following Leviticus 12:8).  Moreover, in the Old Testament Noah used a dove to determine when to leave the Ark (after the Flood — see Genesis 8:8-12), and there is even a prophet named “dove”, because “Jonah” (jonah) is the Hebrew word for dove.