[reaction to OYB’s Oct. 22-25 readings]
Today’s readings include Jeremiah speaking to the remnant of Judah left behind after the exile. It sounds like the twist will be the promise land is left for the regular people. “But Nebuzaradan the commander of the guard left behind in the land of Judah some of the poor people, wo owned nothing; and at that time he gave them vineyards and fields.” (39:10) “When all the Jews in Moab, Ammon, Edom and all the other countries heard . . . they all came back to the land of Judah.” (40:11-12) But then, it appears the remnant decides to head to Egypt following the murder of their leader, and God is not happy. (42:19-20) Once in Egypt they succumb to the ways of the foreign land, and thus, Jermiah treats us to long passages about how God will destroy the Egyptians, the Moabites (no love for Ruth, I guess), the Ammonites (at first but then they come back) and the Edomites. Quite specifically, Jeremiah 46:25 says, “The LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “I am about to bring punishment on Amon god of Thebes, on Pharaoh, on Egypt and her gods and her kings, and on those who rely on Pharaoh.” I point this out for my friend Matt who has directed me from time to time to authors speculating that the ties between Israel & Egypt are stronger than we might think, including some cultural borrowing. Amon–per Wikipedia–was the king of Egyptian gods whose dominance border on monotheism wherein other gods were seen as manifestations of Amon-Ra. Interesting.
In Second Timothy, Paul suggests dealing with competiting theologies more gently. “Those who oppose [God’s servant] he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.” (2:25-26) But, most strange is the reason Paul believes folks like Hymeneaus and Philetus have “wandered away from the truth.” “They say that the resurrection has already taken place, and they destroy the faith of some.” (1:18)(emphasis added). Was Paul’s talk of the Second Coming in the Epistle transformed into the resurrection stories in the Gospels? Probably not. Amon-Ra is also probably not the origin of YHWH. Seriously, these ideas are both probably wrong, and may illustrate the danger of reading the Bible without the aid of commentary.