16 October 2014

EJ&T - Deuteronomy 6: Love God; swear by his name; talk about his laws; memorize them; write them on your hand, forehead, door posts, gates, etc.

In the Every Jot and Tittle project, I am listing all of the Bible's commandments from Genesis to Revelation, in accordance with Jesus's words in Matthew 5:18-19. I have no idea how many commandments I'll find, but Jewish tradition claims there are 613. See here for a list of those that I've found so far.

  1. Love God with all your heart, soul, and might.
  2. Thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. Deuteronomy 6:5

  3. Know all of God's laws by heart.
  4. These words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart. Deuteronomy 6:6

  5. Teach God's laws to your children.
  6. Thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children. Deuteronomy 6:7a

  7. Talk about God's laws when you're sitting in your house, when you're walking, when you lie down, and when you get up.
  8. Talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. Deuteronomy 6:7b

  9. Write God's laws on your hand and forehead.
  10. Thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. Deuteronomy 6:8

  11. Write God's laws on your door posts and gates.
  12. shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates. Deuteronomy 6:9

  13. Swear by God's name.
  14. Thou ... shalt swear by his name. Deuteronomy 6:13

  15. Don't tempt God.
  16. Ye shall not tempt the LORD your God. Deuteronomy 6:16

  17. Do what God considers to be right and good.
  18. Thou shalt do that which is right and good in the sight of the LORD. Deuteronomy 6:18

EJ&T - Deuteronomy 4: Don't add to or take away from God's laws

In the Every Jot and Tittle project, I am listing all of the Bible's commandments from Genesis to Revelation, in accordance with Jesus's words in Matthew 5:18-19. I have no idea how many commandments I'll find, but Jewish tradition claims there are 613. See here for a list of those that I've found so far.

  1. Don't add to or take away from God's laws
  2. Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you. Deuteronomy 4:2

13 October 2014

EJ&T Numbers 36: Inter-tribal marriages

In the Every Jot and Tittle project, I am listing all of the Bible's commandments from Genesis to Revelation, in accordance with Jesus's words in Matthew 5:18-19. I have no idea how many commandments I'll find, but Jewish tradition claims there are 613. See here for a list of those that I've found so far.

  1. A woman who receives an inheritance must not marry outside of her father's tribe.
  2. Every daughter, that possesseth an inheritance in any tribe of the children of Israel, shall be wife unto one of the family of the tribe of her father, that the children of Israel may enjoy every man the inheritance of his fathers. Numbers 36:8
    In Numbers 27, the daughters Zelophehad (the first feminists in the Bible?) told Moses that they should be able to inherit from their father since he had no sons. Moses asked God and God agreed with the daughters Zelophehad, issuing commandment 360.

    But now a new problem arose. What if a woman inherits from her father in accordance with commandment 360 (because her father had no sons) and then marries a man from another tribe? If that happens, then the inheritance will belong to her new husband, and her new husband's tribe.

    So Moses asked God what to do. To address the problem, God issued commandment 373.

11 October 2014

Alma 26: I'm not bragging, I'm just really happy about how awesome my God is

After their great success converting the Lamanites, Aaron and his brothers (Ammon, Omner and Himni) were pretty happy. Ammon started to give a little speech, rejoicing and HooRah-ing about their triumph of converting so many Lamanites. (There isn't a whole lot to this chapter besides Ammon's boring speech, and a small argument between Aaron and Ammon.)
And now, these are the words of Ammon to his brethren, which say thus: My brothers and my brethren, behold I say unto you, how great reason have we to rejoice; for could we have supposed when we started from the land of Zarahemla that God would have granted unto us such great blessings?  26.1 
And now, I ask, what great blessings has he bestowed upon us? Can ye tell? 26.2  
Behold, I answer for you; for our brethren, the Lamanites, were in darkness, yea, even in the darkest abyss, but behold, how many of them are brought to behold the marvelous light of God! And this is the blessing which hath been bestowed upon us, that we have been made instruments in the hands of God to bring about this great work.  26.3 
Behold, thousands of them do rejoice, and have been brought into the fold of God. 26.4 Behold, the field was ripe, and blessed are ye, for ye did thrust in the sickle, and did reap with your might, yea, all the day long did ye labor; and behold the number of your sheaves! And they shall be gathered into the garners, that they are not wasted. 26.5 
Yea, they shall not be beaten down by the storm at the last day; yea, neither shall they be harrowed up by the whirlwinds; but when the storm cometh they shall be gathered together in their place, that the storm cannot penetrate to them; yea, neither shall they be driven with fierce winds whithersoever the enemy listeth to carry them. 26.6 
But behold, they are in the hands of the Lord of the harvest, and they are his; and he will raise them up at the last day. 26.7 
Blessed be the name of our God; let us sing to his praise, yea, let us give thanks to his holy name, for he doth work righteousness forever. 26.8 
For if we had not come up out of the land of Zarahemla, these our dearly beloved brethren, who have so dearly beloved us, would still have been racked with hatred against us, yea, and they would also have been strangers to God. 26.9
 Aaron was getting sick of Ammon's speech, so he accused him of bragging.

And it came to pass that when Ammon had said these words, his brother Aaron rebuked him, saying: Ammon, I fear that thy joy doth carry thee away unto boasting. 26.10

It didn't get Ammon to shut up, though. Ammon deflected it, saying that he was just rejoicing in God. He'd be nothing without the big guy.
But Ammon said unto him: I do not boast in my own strength, nor in my own wisdom; but behold, my joy is full, yea, my heart is brim with joy, and I will rejoice in my God. 26.11 
Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever. 26.12
Ammon continues on for the rest of the chapter, singing praise to God, and talking about how great He is for enabling the Lamanite conversion. It seems like he could go on forever.

Behold, how many thousands of our brethren has he loosed from the pains of hell; and they are brought to sing redeeming love, and this because of the power of his word which is in us, therefore have we not great reason to rejoice? 26.13 
Yea, we have reason to praise him forever, for he is the Most High God, and has loosed our brethren from the chains of hell. 26.14 
Yea, they were encircled about with everlasting darkness and destruction; but behold, he has brought them into his everlasting light, yea, into everlasting salvation; and they are encircled about with the matchless bounty of his love; yea, and we have been instruments in his hands of doing this great and marvelous work. 26.15 
Therefore, let us glory, yea, we will glory in the Lord; yea, we will rejoice, for our joy is full; yea, we will praise our God forever. Behold, who can glory too much in the Lord? Yea, who can say too much of his great power, and of his mercy, and of his long-suffering towards the children of men? Behold, I say unto you, I cannot say the smallest part which I feel. 26.16
Who could have supposed that our God would have been so merciful as to have snatched us from our awful, sinful, and polluted state? 26.17
 
Behold, we went forth even in wrath, with mighty threatenings to destroy his church. 26.18 
Oh then, why did he not consign us to an awful destruction, yea, why did he not let the sword of his justice fall upon us, and doom us to eternal despair? 26.19 
Oh, my soul, almost as it were, fleeth at the thought. Behold, he did not exercise his justice upon us, but in his great mercy hath brought us over that everlasting gulf of death and misery, even to the salvation of our souls. 26.20 
And now behold, my brethren, what natural man is there that knoweth these things? I say unto you, there is none that knoweth these things, save it be the penitent. 26.21 
Yea, he that repenteth and exerciseth faith, and bringeth forth good works, and prayeth continually without ceasing -- unto such it is given to know the mysteries of God; yea, unto such it shall be given to reveal things which never have been revealed; yea, and it shall be given unto such to bring thousands of souls to repentance, even as it has been given unto us to bring these our brethren to repentance. 26.22 
Now do ye remember, my brethren, that we said unto our brethren in the land of Zarahemla, we go up to the land of Nephi, to preach unto our brethren, the Lamanites, and they laughed us to scorn? 26.23 
For they said unto us: Do ye suppose that ye can bring the Lamanites to the knowledge of the truth? Do ye suppose that ye can convince the Lamanites of the incorrectness of the traditions of their fathers, as stiffnecked a people as they are; whose hearts delight in the shedding of blood; whose days have been spent in the grossest iniquity; whose ways have been the ways of a transgressor from the beginning? Now my brethren, ye remember that this was their language. 26.24 
And moreover they did say: Let us take up arms against them, that we destroy them and their iniquity out of the land, lest they overrun us and destroy us.  26.25 
But behold, my beloved brethren, we came into the wilderness not with the intent to destroy our brethren, but with the intent that perhaps we might save some few of their souls. 26.26 
Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success. 26.27 
And now behold, we have come, and been forth amongst them; and we have been patient in our sufferings, and we have suffered every privation; yea, we have traveled from house to house, relying upon the mercies of the world -- not upon the mercies of the world alone but upon the mercies of God. 26.28 
And we have entered into their houses and taught them, and we have taught them in their streets; yea, and we have taught them upon their hills; and we have also entered into their temples and their synagogues and taught them; and we have been cast out, and mocked, and spit upon, and smote upon our cheeks; and we have been stoned, and taken and bound with strong cords, and cast into prison; and through the power and wisdom of God we have been delivered again. 26.29 
And we have suffered all manner of afflictions, and all this, that perhaps we might be the means of saving some soul; and we supposed that our joy would be full if perhaps we could be the means of saving some. 26.30 
Now behold, we can look forth and see the fruits of our labors; and are they few? I say unto you, Nay, they are many; yea, and we can witness of their sincerity, because of their love towards their brethren and also towards us. 26.31 
For behold, they had rather sacrifice their lives than even to take the life of their enemy; and they have buried their weapons of war deep in the earth, because of their love towards their brethren. 26.32 
And now behold I say unto you, has there been so great love in all the land? Behold, I say unto you, Nay, there has not, even among the Nephites. 26.33 
For behold, they would take up arms against their brethren; they would not suffer themselves to be slain. But behold how many of these have laid down their lives; and we know that they have gone to their God, because of their love and of their hatred to sin. 26.34 
Now have we not reason to rejoice? Yea, I say unto you, there never were men that had so great reason to rejoice as we, since the world began; yea, and my joy is carried away, even unto boasting in my God; for he has all power, all wisdom, and all understanding; he comprehendeth all things, and he is a merciful Being, even unto salvation, to those who will repent and believe on his name. 26.35

But then, suddenly he ends the speech, right after dealing a final blow to Aaron for interrupting him earlier and accusing him of boasting. (That asshole has a lot of nerve...)
Now if this is boasting, even so will I boast; for this is my life and my light, my joy and my salvation, and my redemption from everlasting wo. Yea, blessed is the name of my God, who has been mindful of this people, who are a branch of the tree of Israel, and has been lost from its body in a strange land; yea, I say, blessed be the name of my God, who has been mindful of us, wanderers in a strange land. 26.36 
Now my brethren, we see that God is mindful of every people, whatsoever land they may be in; yea, he numbereth his people, and his bowels of mercy are over all the earth. Now this is my joy, and my great thanksgiving; yea, and I will give thanks unto my God forever. Amen. 26.37



EJ&T: Leviticus 33-35: Canaanites, Cities of Refuge, Revengers of Blood, and the two-witness rule

In the Every Jot and Tittle project, I am listing all of the Bible's commandments from Genesis to Revelation, in accordance with Jesus's words in Matthew 5:18-19. I have no idea how many commandments I'll find, but Jewish tradition claims there are 613. See here for a list of those that I've found so far.

  1. Drive out the Canaanites and destroy all of their religious objects.
  2. (If the Israelites refuse, God will treat them as badly as he planned to treat the Canaanites.)
    Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye are passed over Jordan into the land of Canaan; Then ye shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, and destroy all their pictures, and destroy all their molten images, and quite pluck down all their high places: And ye shall dispossess the inhabitants of the land, and dwell therein: for I have given you the land to possess it. And ye shall divide the land by lot for an inheritance among your families: and to the more ye shall give the more inheritance, and to the fewer ye shall give the less inheritance: every man's inheritance shall be in the place where his lot falleth; according to the tribes of your fathers ye shall inherit. But if ye will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you; then it shall come to pass, that those which ye let remain of them shall be pricks in your eyes, and thorns in your sides, and shall vex you in the land wherein ye dwell. Moreover it shall come to pass, that I shall do unto you, as I thought to do unto them. Numbers 33:41-56

    In Ezekiel, however, God changes his mind, telling the Israelites to share the land in peace with the Canaanites.

    And it shall come to pass, that ye shall divide it by lot for an inheritance unto you, and to the strangers that sojourn among you, which shall beget children among you: and they shall be unto you as born in the country among the children of Israel; they shall have inheritance with you among the tribes of Israel. Ezekiel 47:22
    See How should the Canaanites be treated?

  3. Make six cities of refuge (three on each side of the Jordan River), where accidental murderers can flee.
  4. Ye shall appoint you cities to be cities of refuge for you; that the slayer may flee thither, which killeth any person at unawares. And they shall be unto you cities for refuge from the avenger; that the manslayer die not, until he stand before the congregation in judgment. And of these cities which ye shall give six cities shall ye have for refuge. Ye shall give three cities on this side Jordan, and three cities shall ye give in the land of Canaan, which shall be cities of refuge. These six cities shall be a refuge, both for the children of Israel, and for the stranger, and for the sojourner among them: that every one that killeth any person unawares may flee thither. Numbers 35:11-15

    Then Moses severed three cities on this side Jordan toward the sunrising; That the slayer might flee thither, which should kill his neighbour unawares, and hated him not in times past; and that fleeing unto one of these cities he might live: Namely, Bezer in the wilderness, in the plain country, of the Reubenites; and Ramoth in Gilead, of the Gadites; and Golan in Bashan, of the Manassites. Deuteronomy 4:41-43

  5. Murderers must be killed by "the revenger of blood" (the victim's nearest male relative).
  6. And if he smite him with an instrument of iron, so that he die, he is a murderer: the murderer shall surely be put to death. And if he smite him with throwing a stone, wherewith he may die, and he die, he is a murderer: the murderer shall surely be put to death. Or if he smite him with an hand weapon of wood, wherewith he may die, and he die, he is a murderer: the murderer shall surely be put to death. The revenger of blood himself shall slay the murderer: when he meeteth him, he shall slay him. But if he thrust him of hatred, or hurl at him by laying of wait, that he die; Or in enmity smite him with his hand, that he die: he that smote him shall surely be put to death; for he is a murderer: the revenger of blood shall slay the murderer, when he meeteth him. Numbers 35:16-21

  7. If someone kills another person accidentally, then the congregation sends him to a city of refuge, where he shall live until the high priest dies.
  8. (If the killer leaves the city of refuge before the high priest dies, the revenger of blood can kill him.)
    But if he thrust him suddenly without enmity, or have cast upon him any thing without laying of wait, Or with any stone, wherewith a man may die, seeing him not, and cast it upon him, that he die, and was not his enemy, neither sought his harm: Then the congregation shall judge between the slayer and the revenger of blood according to these judgments: And the congregation shall deliver the slayer out of the hand of the revenger of blood, and the congregation shall restore him to the city of his refuge, whither he was fled: and he shall abide in it unto the death of the high priest, which was anointed with the holy oil. But if the slayer shall at any time come without the border of the city of his refuge, whither he was fled; And the revenger of blood find him without the borders of the city of his refuge, and the revenger of blood kill the slayer; he shall not be guilty of blood: Because he should have remained in the city of his refuge until the death of the high priest: but after the death of the high priest the slayer shall return into the land of his possession. Numbers 35:22-28

  9. It takes two witnesses to kill a murderer.
  10. Whoso killeth any person, the murderer shall be put to death by the mouth of witnesses: but one witness shall not testify against any person to cause him to die. Numbers 35:30