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Re Mike's remark about:
"Below is a painting titled " The sending of the Twelve" by Duccio di Buoninsegna from the early 14th century - (looks to me like Duccio only painted in 11 here... )"

Looks to me there was maybe a twelfth on the right but someone rubbed him out. People were "PhotoShopping" long before we had computers!

Re Mike's question about Biblical fiction:
I very much enjoyed Gene Edward's "The Divine Romance" http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0312195516/

Also, on the subject of fiction and the Gospel of Jesus, I was very impressed recently with the way John Eldredge uses fiction in his book "Waking the Dead: The Glory of a Heart Fully Alive" http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0785261656/ He quotes C.S. Lewis:
"But as Lewis wrote, 'The value of ... myth is that it takes all the things we know and restores to them the rich significance which has been hidden by "the veil of familiarity."' You are not what you think you are. There is a glory to your life that your Enemy fears, and he is hell-bent on destroying that glory before you act on it. ... But once you begin to see with those eyes, once you have begun to know it is true from the bottom of your heart, it will change everything."

If you really have nothing else to do my notes on John Eldredge's book are at:

Does anyone have any background info on this business of wives giving their maidservants to their husbands (as wives it seems - so they're not illegitimate children?) and then calling the resulting children their own in some cases?

A Song I Knew By Heart, by Bret Lott is a modern re-telling of the Ruth story. It isn't historical fiction, it really explores the relationship between the daughter and mother in law so wonderfully.



Amen to Roslyn...reading your blog really helps me with the daily readings. thanks a lot Mike.

Regarding books like The REd Tent. I have just purchased the book "Christ is Lord" by Anne Rice, the 'vampire'novelist who has converted to Christ via the Catholic church. The book is a fictitious look at life through the eyes of a 9 year old Jesus. She has done a superb job (I think) of giving lots of historical and cultural background. The book is worth the $35 (canadian) price tag just for her 'author's note' at the end of the book where she tells her spiritual journey. She comes out very strong on the conservative perspective of the New Testament accounts.

I think it would be a good book to use in a secular reading club and open up conversation, much like the Da Vinci code has done. Although errant on many many points I have had some good conversations with 'lost people'who are really asking questions.

OOO - my favorite type of reading - Biblically based fiction. There is Francing Rivers - Redeeming Love - which is the story of Hosea - in the 'west'. Her first trilogy is also amazing! Then there is a group by a couple: Thoene - which lit a fire in my for the disabled. I will try to get exact titles - I have them loaned out, or they are back in the church library.

Today's contribution:

"I chose this verse as today’s notable verse as well. Though, the connotation of the NIV’s translation as “shrewd as snakes” seems to have more emphasis than the NLT’s translation as “wary as snakes.” The ESV and Youngs Literal Translation translate this phrase as “wise as serpents”, Darby translates as “prudent as serpents”, Wycliffe translates as “sly as serpents.” The original Greek word used here is phronimos, which means “practically wise, sensible” and is derived from phroneo, which means “to have understanding, to think.” Perhaps this understanding brings much more clarity, eh? Jesus is telling his disciples to think and to understand; to be wise, practical, and sensible with respect to the world around them, and the people with whom they interact. The term in, but not of applies here, since Jesus also tells his disciples to be “blameless as doves.” Indeed, it is a fine line to walk - to learn enough of the world and of people to understand them, yet to keep ourselves set apart from the world, and from worldly people. If we separate ourselves from the world, we don’t risk being influenced by the world - but we also have no opportunity to influence the world for Christ, as salt and light. I would rather face my own failure to set myself apart from the world and risk sinning than isolate myself from the world and risk the opportunity to help one who is lost in the world to find Christ. You know what, either way, I’m going to sin. I do, every day! But on the one hand, God can use me; on the other, I am useless. I would much rather be a useful sinner than useless sinner. Either way, my salvation is secure; but, oh, that I would hear, “Well done, my good and faithful servant!”"

I am a little confused. The Bible said that Rebekah was Rachel's aunt. I thought Rebekah and Rachel were sisters, maybe half sisters at that. Please explain.

Hi I am a first time poster but I wanted to answer the question regarding Rebekah and Rachel. Rebekah is Rachel's aunt.

[23] And Bethuel begat Rebekah: these eight Milcah did bear to Nahor, Abraham's brother.
[15] And it came to pass, before he had done speaking, that, behold, Rebekah came out, who was born to Bethuel, son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham's brother, with her pitcher upon her shoulder.
[29] And Rebekah had a brother, and his name was Laban: and Laban ran out unto the man, unto the well.
[67] And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah's tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her: and Isaac was comforted after his mother's death.
[20] And Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah to wife, the daughter of Bethuel the Syrian of Padan-aram, the sister to Laban the Syrian.
[46] And Rebekah said to Isaac, I am weary of my life because of the daughters of Heth: if Jacob take a wife of the daughters of Heth, such as these which are of the daughters of the land, what good shall my life do me?
[5] And Isaac sent away Jacob: and he went to Padan-aram unto Laban, son of Bethuel the Syrian, the brother of Rebekah, Jacob's and Esau's mother.
[10] And it came to pass, when Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother's brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother's brother, that Jacob went near, and rolled the stone from the well's mouth, and watered the flock of Laban his mother's brother.
[12] And Jacob told Rachel that he was her father's brother, and that he was Rebekah's son: and she ran and told her father.

Just an additional thought about RAchel. She probably stopped praying a long time ago for a child, but God remembered and answered His "yes" even though she felt and experienced God's "no" for a season. Brings to mind a time when someone in my family wanted a baby, too and for years and years nothing happened. Then when she and her husband made the decision to adopt and go through the red tape of it, God "remembered" and she became pregnant. Yes, God is faithful. His "no" today could be a "yes" tomorrow.

Genesis 30:1-31:16

Betty, I too think today’s Old Testament reading is not only funny, but also shows us how human nature is the same yesterday and today. And boy or boy isn’t Jacob a wimp! And the goings on between Leah and Rachael, with a dash of two hand-maidens would probably fill up a years worth of programming for Jerry Springer, Oprah and Judge Judy, something for everyone. I think the reason we find this episode funny is that we recognize their behavior in either ourselves or other folk that shall remain nameless to protect the innocent and the guilty. Woman for ages have been trying to secure the love, affection and support of a man by way of children. It did not work then and it sure aint’ working today.

On my first read-though this morning I had wanted to post up about Jacob and how exemplary of husband he was, taking responsibility for his actions, NOT! But, when I read this through a second, then a third time something else caught my eye that totally sobered my train of thought. Both Rachael and Leah were bitter about how they were married off. The writer of Proverbs stats in the 30th chapter that there are four things that make the earth tremble, one is an unloved woman when she marries or an unloved married woman [Prov. 30 21-23 (depends on the translation)]. So you have a woman that was given as a “Booby” prize by her father (who wants to be second choice, you have another woman who was the first choice but became the second choice in the marriage ceremony. She did not even get a party. Neither were happy campers and resented what their father did. This is documented by the last couple of verses in today’s passage:

14Rachel and Leah said, "That's fine with us! There is nothing for us here--none of our father's wealth will come to us anyway. 15He has reduced our rights to those of foreign women. He sold us, and what he received for us has disappeared. 16The riches God has given you from our father are legally ours and our children's to begin with. So go ahead and do whatever God has told you."

There father had sold them for his benefit. Abraham and Isaac had offered up their wives out of a perceived fear that a ruling king would desire them for their beauty and kill them. Although not as overt as Abraham and Isaac, Laban married off his daughters in a sale that benefited him financially, what a lovely man. Unlike us, God gave His Son to bring us back to Him. We have this tendency to give up the ones we proclaim we love to benefit self. God love, so He gives. We lust so we can get. Love desire to benefit others at the expense of self. Lust desires to benefit self at the expense of others.

Grace and peace,

An interesting exercise is whenever you see "wisdom" in Proverbs - replace it with "Jesus".

Don't get caught up in the feminine pronouns attached to "wisdom". Biblical Hebrew automatically gave a "role or an attribute" a feminine gender. Jesus incarnate would not have that feminine gender but when you replace "wisdom" with "Jesus" also change the pronouns to masculine equivalents.

Later on in Proverbs 8 it is a thrilling read when you do this substitution.

Actually, I think a better substitution for "wisdom" (especially in Proverbs 8) is "Spirit"...

CB, I can understand that way of thinking. My use of "Jesus" in place of wisdom is based on some reasons used by Catholics and others studying "Christology". I realize some of the below sources are peculiar to Catholics, but the concept transcends sect differences.

Note: I am not Catholic

The Word was in the beginning (John 1:1)
Wisdom was in the beginning (Prov. 8:22-23, Sir. 1:4, Wis. 9:9)
The Word was with God (John 1:1)
Wisdom was with God (Prov. 8:30, Sir. 1:1, Wis. 9:4)
The Word was cocreator (John 1:1-3)
Wisdom was cocreator (Prov. 3:19, 8:25; Is. 7:21, 9:1-2)
The Word provides light (John 1:4, 9)
Wisdom provides light (Prov. 8:22, Wis. 7:26, 8:13; Sir. 4:12)
Word as light in contrast to darkness (John 1:5)
Wisdom as light in contrast to darkness (Wis. 7:29-30)
The Word was in the world (John 1:10)
Wisdom was in the world (Wis. 8:1, Sir. 24:6)
The Word was rejected by its own (John 1:11)
Wisdom was rejected by its own (Sir. 15:7)
The Word was received by the faithful (John 1:12)
Wisdom was received by the faithful (Wis. 7:27)
Christ is the bread of life (John 6:35)
Wisdom is the bread or substance of life (Prov. 9:5, Sir. 15:3, 24:21, 29:21; Wis. 11:4)
Christ is the light of the world (John 8:12)
Wisdom is light (Wis. 7:26-30, 18:3-4)
Christ is the door of the sheep and the good shepherd (John 10:7, 11, 14)
Wisdom is the door and the good shepherd (Prov. 8:34-5, Wis. 7:25-7, 8:2-16; Sir. 24:19-22)
Christ is life (John 11:25)
Wisdom brings life (Prov. 3:16, 8:35, 9:11; Wis. 8:13)
Christ is the way to truth (John 14:6)
Wisdom is the way (Prov. 3:17, 8:32-34; Sir. 6:26)

The letters of Paul continue the identification of Jesus with God's Wisdom. 1 Corinthians 1:24, 30 is the most clear: Christ is explicitly identified as "the power of God and the wisdom of God."

John-There are two or three other verses that can be used to support your replacing Jesus with the word Wisdom. In fact the Amplified translators capitalize the word wisdom throughout Proverbs (See the notes written after the first chapter of Proverbs in an Amplified bible) because of what the Apostle Paul wrote in the 1st chapter of 1st Corinthians.

But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men… But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:
(1 Corinthians 1:24, 30 KJV)

And also here:

That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
(Colossians 2:2-3 KJVR)

If you go to Biblegateway.com you and pull up chapter one of Proverbs in the Amplified version you can click on verse two’s placement note, or scroll down to the end of the chapter, and you will see this as well (also found in the hardcopy or paperback Amplified as I stated previously)
Here is what that note says:
Proverbs 1:2 A key term in the book of Proverbs, "Wisdom" is capitalized throughout, as God's design for living and as a reminder of Christ, Whom the apostle Paul calls "the wisdom of God... in Whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge"

But the bottom line is no matter how you read, replacing wisdom with Jesus or not, it, Proverbs, still is a great read and contains wonderful principals to incorporate into one’s core values. In fact, I have concluded that Proverbs is the first written book of Profiling, like the F.B.I. (Federal Bureau of Investigation-USA) has an office that exclusively profiles a heinous crime’s perpetrator so to better aid in their capture, Proverbs was first.

Oops, I didn't read John's last paragraph when I made my support of his replacing wisdom with Jesus. Note to myself, "Must read everything!"

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