Friday, November 14, 2014

Acrostics in the Old Testament

One of the curiosities in our Standard works is found in Psalm 119. Open there in a current edition of Gospel Library on your phone or iPad or just go old school and turn there in a hard copy of the scriptures. You will notice the uniqueness immediately. The very long meandering psalm is divided into 22 segments of 8 verses each labeled with a Hebrew letter followed by a bad spelling of its name. If you know some Hebrew you will notice the letters are in alphabetical order and run through the entire length of the alphabet Aleph to Tav (or ALEPH to TAU sic.). What is this all about and why is it arranged this way. Continue reading for a bit more background.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Colossians 2:14 Nailing Smeared Handwriting


Today's post is based on another verse by Paul. A friend requested me to have a look at this verse and see if I could parse out any additional meaning from the translation.

Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;

Colossians 2:14

The notable word that jumps out from this verse is handwritng. This is the only place in the King James Version where this word is used. I also noted the word ordinances as interesting and probably the reason this verse is cross referenced in the LDS version with Ephesians 2:5. This word occurs only a handful of times in the New Testament.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

On the Symbolism of Girdles

Jeremiah and Baruch by Gustave Dore
This post is an unusual one in its subject as it is a response to a well thought out post I read recently authored by Michaela Stephens at her blog Scriptorium Blogorium In it she discusses an interesting symbolic act by the prophet Jeremiah found in Jeremiah 13:1-11. In this section Jeremiah is told to get an item of clothing and wear it, but not wash it, then bury it in the earth and display its corruption. He then explains several symbolic meanings of the garment and his act.

The garment is translated by KJV as "girdle" which in the English of that day indicated a belt. The Hebrew word is אזור (Ezor) and could possibly indicate a belt or other type of outer wrapped garment but does not seem to mean such here. I find an interesting commentary in the Pulpit Commentary that is worth quoting at length: