In my bible reading, I've come to the book of Judges. I must admit, a secular part of me is glad because I'm getting into what I'll call the "Bodacious, reads kinda like Conan The Barbarian, or something" part of the OT. I mean, 70 kings with their thumbs and big toes cut off under a table - Some fat dude getting stabbed so hard the sword disappears in his stomach - Poor Jepthath's daughter - that chick that got cut up into 12 pcs - it's a pretty brutal and probably accurate depiction of life in the time of City-States.
Strangely, what I consider the most tender book in the old testament - Ruth, is set in this time. Indeed it seems that Boaz may have been the Judge Ibzan.
Most biblical scholars are familiar with the pervading theme of a cycle of sin and righteousness this book communicates. It also (with a rough start and Abimelech killing 70 brothers all on one stone - which implies pagan sacrifice) describes the transition of the Jews from a federation of city-states to the kingdoms.
I'm a data-driven entity, I nerd out on spreadsheets - so I made the below depicted spreadsheet of the Judges, which I am in no way saying is accurate or complete.... Anyone think of any columns I should Add? What patterns do you see? I've attached a copy of the excel file for my fellow data lovers
tampering with the Word of God goes against everything the Hebrew Scribes stood for... I mean, they would burn any lambskin scroll that had even one error in letter, jot or tittle, and they had scholars proof-checking every copy to ensure it's accuracy
Thanks for the correction... they didn't burn the worn-out scrolls, they buried them in a cemetery...
Known by Christians as the "Old Testament," the 39 books of Scripture in Hebrew were carefully copied and passed down over the centuries. The Divine inspiration of these books was recognized from the time of their writing. God had inspired each writer in their selection of material and content of what they wrote. He kept their writings from error, and revealed to them new facts and ideas. Through these authors, God gave these divine writings to be widely distributed, carefully studied, taught, and understood. But the sacred books were also to be carefully guarded. In making copies from the original, copies from those copies, and so forth, great care had to be taken to ensure against errors in the text.
A Jewish man who embraced the responsibility of preserving the integrity of the Hebrew Scriptures was called a sofer, Hebrew for "scribe." These devout men were masters in the art of writing and calligraphy, and systematic in their methods for copying the Scriptures. Variants are almost non-existant in ancient Hebrew Scriptures because of the faithfulness of the scribes.
They could only use clean animal skins- "vellum" or "parchment."
To preserve the text of God’s Word from error, scribes also took numerous precautions. Even though most scribes had the Scriptures memorized, they were not allowed to write a single word from memory. They must use the "tikkun," or perfect text that was passed down from the generations before. Every word had to be checked against the older copy before and after it was written. Once the page of parchment was complete, the letters, words, and paragraphs had to be counted and be identical to the original document. Each letter had to be clear and legible, and no two letters could touch each other. If just one error occurred, the page had to be re-done.
Once a sheet of parchment was complete, it had to be checked by three rabbis before being sown with other parchment sheets into a complete Torah scroll. A complete torah scroll consists of about 250 parchment sheets and, if completely unrolled, can be up to 100 yards long! Even after the entire scroll was complete, however, it was reviewed again within thirty days. If one or two pages had errors, those errors could be corrected, and the scroll used, but if three or more parchment pages were found to contain errors, the entire scroll was unfit for use and had to be re-done!
An old and worn scroll was discontinued from use because of the possibility of someone using it to make a copy, and thereby making a mistake because of faded or smudged letters. Since the Jews never destroyed any document containing God’s Word, they were stored or buried in a special hiding place called a "genizah," usually under or within a synagogue or Jewish cemetery.
I know the tradition. It just didn't happen like you want it to have.
Just finished Jepthath and Starting on Samson.
One thing that tickles me about the Ephriamites in Judges.... When Gideon cleaned house on the enemy, Ephriam came out after the fact like "Hey, you didn't let us in on the action, you Jerk!", when they were kinda wusses to begin with. Gideon assuaged them and said "Oh, but you guys grow better grapes, and the final glory of the battle was yours"..... Enter Jepthath, who cleaned house on the enemy, and when Ephriam said the same thing to him, he was like "Excuse me?" and killed the snot out of them.
Samson to me seems radically different from all the other accounts. Gideon's account seems very realistic - almost Stonewall Jackson-like in it's military pragmatism and plausability.
Samson is a different story.
I think that is why the Historical Reconstructionists like to dismiss Samson as a fictitious character... I mean, it sounds far fetched in so many ways...
Thats the thing about the Bible though... Samson is a personified picture of the fall of man through the sin of Adam as well as the glory of the coming Messiah... I take a Literal AND Symbolic view of Scripture... I do believe that Samson was a real man who did actual things, yet unknowingly was a living example for us... Sampson did amazing things, yet he was all to human and that is what led to is downfall... Lust can do that to a man... despite that, he was able to overcome all of the consequences of his sin and in the end was able to bring salvation for his people through the sacrifice of his own life...