Friday, February 10, 2017

Joshua 5

This chapter had a number of surprises for me. This is the entry to the land, when the manna ceases, where Gilgal, the hillock of foreskins is created. The scene is not like a hospital. There appears to be one Mohel, Joshua. He circumcises the nation, a gloss not used in some translations. As in the case of recent chapters of Jeremiah, there is a very careful statement and restatement of what happened. And here some recurring words in verses 2 to 8 of some interest in defining each of the sections of all the people, those who came out, and those who were born in the wilderness, and where they had been. Could one say that this records the making of the nation? Is nation positive or negative? The KJV had its agenda where גוי is rendered variously as nation, heathen, Gentile, and here people. In the case of people, KJV introduces ambiguity, for it is not העם, the people, but the nation. For heathen and Gentile, they are on more solid ground but using a different nuance for their painting, since there is no other Hebrew stem that they render as heathen or Gentile. Heathen has a different tone, then and now. If God reigns over the nations, this is to include all under one God, but if he reigns over the heathen, does it not exclude? Israel is not Gentile, but it is a nation like all nations. So I use nation when I gloss this word. And though I tell you of my flexible paint brush with some words, there are many glosses which are 'one to one onto' with the Hebrew in the mathematical sense.

And I was further surprised by the section that is very similar to that of Moses in Exodus 3. Similar but different: one sandal rather than sandals, and holy rather than holy ground. Given the emphasis on the land (ערץ), it is curious that the ground (אדם) is mentioned in the scene in Midian and not in the land itself. Perhaps there is a hint of inclusiveness here as elsewhere in TNK, in spite of the great need for a chosen people to form an example of a nation for all nations. The music has some similarity in the two places, but one is approaching the atnah, and the other is in the second half of the verse.

Joshua 5 Fn Min Max Syll
וַיְהִ֣י כִשְׁמֹ֣עַ כָּל־מַלְכֵ֣י הָאֱמֹרִ֡י אֲשֶׁר֩ בְּעֵ֨בֶר הַיַּרְדֵּ֜ן יָ֗מָּה וְכָל־מַלְכֵ֤י הַֽכְּנַעֲנִי֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר עַל־הַיָּ֔ם אֵ֠ת אֲשֶׁר־הוֹבִ֨ישׁ יְהוָ֜ה אֶת־מֵ֧י הַיַּרְדֵּ֛ן מִפְּנֵ֥י בְנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל עַד־עָבְרָ֑ם
וַיִּמַּ֣ס לְבָבָ֗ם וְלֹא־הָ֨יָה בָ֥ם עוֹד֙ ר֔וּחַ מִפְּנֵ֖י בְּנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵֽל
1 And it happened as all kings of the Amorites that were across the Jordan seaward heard, and all the kings of the Canaanite by the sea, that Yahweh had dried up the waters of the Jordan before the children of Israel until they crossed over,
their heart melted and spirit was not among them any more in the presence of the children of Israel.
3c 4C 57
20
בָּעֵ֣ת הַהִ֗יא אָמַ֤ר יְהוָה֙ אֶל־יְהוֹשֻׁ֔עַ עֲשֵׂ֥ה לְךָ֖ חַֽרְב֣וֹת צֻרִ֑ים
וְשׁ֛וּב מֹ֥ל אֶת־בְּנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל שֵׁנִֽית
2 At that time Yahweh said to Joshua, Make for yourself rock knives,
and turn, circumcise the children of Israel a second time.
3d 4C 21
11
וַיַּעַשׂ־ל֥וֹ יְהוֹשֻׁ֖עַ חַֽרְב֣וֹת צֻרִ֑ים
וַיָּ֙מָל֙ אֶת־בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל אֶל־גִּבְעַ֖ת הָעֲרָלֽוֹת
3 And Joshua made for himself rock knives,
and he circumcised the children of Israel at the hillock of foreskins.
3e 4B 12
16
וְזֶ֥ה הַדָּבָ֖ר אֲשֶׁר־מָ֣ל יְהוֹשֻׁ֑עַ
כָּל־הָעָ֣ם הַיֹּצֵא֩ מִמִּצְרַ֨יִם הַזְּכָרִ֜ים כֹּ֣ל ׀ אַנְשֵׁ֣י הַמִּלְחָמָ֗ה מֵ֤תוּ בַמִּדְבָּר֙ בַּדֶּ֔רֶךְ בְּצֵאתָ֖ם מִמִּצְרָֽיִם
4 And this is the thing that made Joshua circumcise.
All the people who came forth from Egypt, the males, all the warriors, died in the wilderness, in the way, in their coming forth from Egypt.
3e 4C 12
34
כִּֽי־מֻלִ֣ים הָי֔וּ כָּל־הָעָ֖ם הַיֹּֽצְאִ֑ים
וְכָל־הָ֠עָם הַיִּלֹּדִ֨ים בַּמִּדְבָּ֥ר בַּדֶּ֛רֶךְ בְּצֵאתָ֥ם מִמִּצְרַ֖יִם לֹא־מָֽלוּ
5 For circumcised were all the people who came forth,
And all the people, those born in the wilderness, in the way, at their going out from Egypt they had not circumcised.
3d 4B 10
22
כִּ֣י ׀ אַרְבָּעִ֣ים שָׁנָ֗ה הָלְכ֣וּ בְנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵל֮ בַּמִּדְבָּר֒ עַד־תֹּ֨ם כָּל־הַגּ֜וֹי אַנְשֵׁ֤י הַמִּלְחָמָה֙ הַיֹּצְאִ֣ים מִמִּצְרַ֔יִם אֲשֶׁ֥ר לֹֽא־שָׁמְע֖וּ בְּק֣וֹל יְהוָ֑ה
אֲשֶׁ֨ר נִשְׁבַּ֤ע יְהוָה֙ לָהֶ֔ם לְבִלְתִּ֞י הַרְאוֹתָ֣ם אֶת־הָאָ֗רֶץ אֲשֶׁר֩ נִשְׁבַּ֨ע יְהוָ֤ה לַֽאֲבוֹתָם֙ לָ֣תֶת לָ֔נוּ אֶ֛רֶץ זָבַ֥ת חָלָ֖ב וּדְבָֽשׁ
6 B For a forty year span the children of Israel meandered in the wilderness, until all the nation was completed, the warriors who came forth from Egypt, who did not hear with the voice of Yahweh,
to whom Yahweh had sworn that he would not show them the land which Yahweh swore to their ancestors to give to us, a land gushing with milk and honey.
3d 4C 43
40
וְאֶת־בְּנֵיהֶם֙ הֵקִ֣ים תַּחְתָּ֔ם אֹתָ֖ם מָ֣ל יְהוֹשֻׁ֑עַ
כִּי־עֲרֵלִ֣ים הָי֔וּ כִּ֛י לֹא־מָ֥לוּ אוֹתָ֖ם בַּדָּֽרֶךְ
7 And their children, he placed instead of them. Them Joshua circumcised,
for fore-skinned they were, for they did not circumcise them in the way.
3d 4B 16
13
וַיְהִ֛י כַּאֲשֶׁר־תַּ֥מּוּ כָל־הַגּ֖וֹי לְהִמּ֑וֹל
וַיֵּשְׁב֥וּ תַחְתָּ֛ם בַּֽמַּחֲנֶ֖ה עַ֥ד חֲיוֹתָֽם
8 And it happened that as they completed the circumcision for all the nation,
that they settled their nether parts in the camp, until they lived.
3d 4A 14
13
וַיֹּ֤אמֶר יְהוָה֙ אֶל־יְהוֹשֻׁ֔עַ הַיּ֗וֹם גַּלּ֛וֹתִי אֶת־חֶרְפַּ֥ת מִצְרַ֖יִם מֵעֲלֵיכֶ֑ם
וַיִּקְרָ֞א שֵׁ֣ם הַמָּק֤וֹם הַהוּא֙ גִּלְגָּ֔ל עַ֖ד הַיּ֥וֹם הַזֶּֽה
9 And said Yahweh to Joshua, Today I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from off you.
And he called the name of that place, Gilgal, to this day.
3d 4C 24
16
וַיַּחֲנ֥וּ בְנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל בַּגִּלְגָּ֑ל
וַיַּעֲשׂ֣וּ אֶת־הַפֶּ֡סַח בְּאַרְבָּעָה֩ עָשָׂ֨ר י֥וֹם לַחֹ֛דֶשׁ בָּעֶ֖רֶב בְּעַֽרְב֥וֹת יְרִיחֽוֹ
10 And the children of Israel encamped in Gilgal,
and they undertook the Passover on the fourteenth day of the month, in the evening, in the steppes of Jericho.
3d 4B 12
27
וַיֹּ֨אכְל֜וּ מֵעֲב֥וּר הָאָ֛רֶץ מִמָּֽחֳרַ֥ת הַפֶּ֖סַח מַצּ֣וֹת וְקָל֑וּי
בְּעֶ֖צֶם הַיּ֥וֹם הַזֶּֽה
11 And they ate the mature corn of the land after the Passover, unleavened bread and parched grain,
in the numerous instances of this day.
3d 4B 21
7
וַיִּשְׁבֹּ֨ת הַמָּ֜ן מִֽמָּחֳרָ֗ת בְּאָכְלָם֙ מֵעֲב֣וּר הָאָ֔רֶץ וְלֹא־הָ֥יָה ע֛וֹד לִבְנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל מָ֑ן
וַיֹּאכְל֗וּ מִתְּבוּאַת֙ אֶ֣רֶץ כְּנַ֔עַן בַּשָּׁנָ֖ה הַהִֽיא
12 And the manna ceased afterwards, when they had eaten from the mature corn of the land, and there was no longer manna for the children of Israel,
and they ate from the income of the land of Canaan in that year.
3d 4B 28
16
וַיְהִ֗י בִּֽהְי֣וֹת יְהוֹשֻׁעַ֮ בִּירִיחוֹ֒ וַיִּשָּׂ֤א עֵינָיו֙ וַיַּ֔רְא וְהִנֵּה־אִישׁ֙ עֹמֵ֣ד לְנֶגְדּ֔וֹ וְחַרְבּ֥וֹ שְׁלוּפָ֖ה בְּיָד֑וֹ
וַיֵּ֨לֶךְ יְהוֹשֻׁ֤עַ אֵלָיו֙ וַיֹּ֣אמֶר ל֔וֹ הֲלָ֥נוּ אַתָּ֖ה אִם־לְצָרֵֽינוּ
13 And it happened when Joshua was in Jericho, and he lifted up his eyes, and he stared, and behold, a man standing before him, and his sword drawn in his hand,.
And Joshua went to him and he said to him, Are you for us and not for our adversaries?
3e 4C 36
23
וַיֹּ֣אמֶר ׀ לֹ֗א כִּ֛י אֲנִ֥י שַׂר־צְבָֽא־יְהוָ֖ה עַתָּ֣ה בָ֑אתִי
וַיִּפֹּל֩ יְהוֹשֻׁ֨עַ אֶל־פָּנָ֥יו אַ֙רְצָה֙ וַיִּשְׁתָּ֔חוּ וַיֹּ֣אמֶר ל֔וֹ מָ֥ה אֲדֹנִ֖י מְדַבֵּ֥ר אֶל־עַבְדּֽוֹ
14 And he said, No. For I am the chief of the host of Yahweh. Now I have come.
And Joshua fell to his face earthward and prostrated himself, and said to him, What does my Lord speak to his servant?
3d 4B 16
30
וַיֹּאמֶר֩ שַׂר־צְבָ֨א יְהוָ֜ה אֶל־יְהוֹשֻׁ֗עַ שַׁל־נַֽעַלְךָ֙ מֵעַ֣ל רַגְלֶ֔ךָ כִּ֣י הַמָּק֗וֹם אֲשֶׁ֥ר אַתָּ֛ה עֹמֵ֥ד עָלָ֖יו קֹ֣דֶשׁ ה֑וּא
וַיַּ֥עַשׂ יְהוֹשֻׁ֖עַ כֵּֽן
15 And the chief of the host of Yahweh said to Joshua, Take off your sandal from your foot, for the place that you are standing on, holy it is.
And Joshua did so.
3d 4B 37
8

Also there seems to be a care that circumcision be understood as a once only thing, like Christian baptism. The sign is for ever and unrepeatable. It is also like baptism, clearly a death and a resurrection to life. Note the wording of verse 8. Sure one could come up with a workaround, but why would a translator with an axe to grind do that? There is no need to confuse חיה, life, and שׁלם, wholeness, and רפא, healing. In Colossians, circumcision is used as a type of the death of Jesus (=Joshua). By this act Jesus sanctifies his people, and all who are in this incorporation are 'circumcised' in him, the stripping off of the whole body of flesh. 

It is more than curious that the text of Joshua supports my thesis that circumcision is a type of death. (See my novel, Seen from the Street). This figure gives great power to the sign for those who follow it. They may in turn put to death in the Spirit what in them is hurtful to others, and they may expect in faith to be 'restored to life' (a touch of Dickens). 


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