Friday, October 15, 2010

John 1 Shall be Continued

I have not forgotten to continue in John 1, I'm just a bit slow in grasping the importance of the next section. I'll state my questions, and perhaps my readers shall proffer opinions (ideally helpful ones: please refrain from criticizing my parent's failings in the contraceptive department; they knew not who they spawned).

Not surprisingly, John 1:35-51 is a chiasm. However, there is an absolutely fascinating shift that takes place between the first half (preceding John 1:43 "follow me", which I hold to be the chiastic center) and the second, and I don't yet understand what John is telling us with it.

1. The most notable shift is in the language: in the first half he translates both "Rabbi" and "Messiah" from the Hebrew into Greek, but in the second half, he doesn't bother: he simply leaves them in Hebrew, and they are from this point assimilated into the Greek vocabulary.

2. Also, he translates Simon Peter's name in the first half: Σιμον becomes Κεφας, which means Πετρος: (Simon, Cephas, Petros), but in the second Simon and Cephas simply disappear, and we are left with the translation of Cephas from Hebrew into Greek: Peter. This is another pregnant ("is that the word I'm looking for, Jeeves?" "Yes, sir.") shift. And, I think it is significant that Christ refers to Peter (in the first half) as Simon the son of Jonah, but I'm already swimming in my time-honored tradition of one nostril above the surface, so I'm not pushing any further: I've got enough that I don't understand already.

My understanding of the significance of this, and my current overall thesis for John chapter one is twofold, and is as follows:

1). John 1 begins in a Jewish perspective, aimed almost solely at the Jews, but... 2). ends in a Jewish/Greek perspective, aimed at the Jews in particular, but also inclusive of the Greek world.

Defense for this thesis:

1.a. The language solidly links John 1 to Genesis 1, as any Jew would know and as no one unfamiliar with the Jewish Scriptures would realize: "εν αρχε εν ο λογος" ("en arche en ha logos:" in the beginning was the word, which is obviously a reference to "בְּרֵאשִׁ֖ית בָּרָ֣א אֱלֹהִ֑ים" ("bereshit bera elohiym:" in the beginning, created God).
1.b. The order links John to the creation account in Genesis 1, as any Jew would know and as no one unfamiliar with the Jewish Scriptures would realize: God/Word, then God/Light: "וַיֹּ֥אמֶר אֱלֹהִ֖ים יְהִ֣י אֹ֑ור" (Said God, let there be light).

2. The shift in the narrative focus from a Jew speaking to an audience of Jews (John 1:1-1:43) to a Greek-friendly narration (John 1:38-51). You will notice the overlap, but I feel that it's accurate.


1. This is obviously extremely rough and oversimplified with an almost blasphemous nescient nonchalance: the entire text is for the entire world. However the author is telling us something important not only with what he says, but also with how he says it.

More posts will follow as I continue to dig; in the meantime, feel free to give me whatever input you like, if you like. At the moment I'm mostly trying to assemble my thoughts cogently, but nothing serves to tighten a shield-wall like a light arrow-fire from the opposition, so please: let them fly.

Jesse Broussard

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Ahithophel as Judas, 2 of 2

This post is the (much shorter) second of two, and is simply meant to demonstrate the similarities between Ahithophel and Judas, and their respective betrayals. I was expecting to find more than this, but didn't.

First, the obvious: each betrayed God's anointed king to those who desired his death, and each committed suicide (by hanging) rather than repent and seek mercy. However, each was ultimately foiled. So far as Absalom and the Pharisees: each hated the true king out of jealousy and sought to take his place, and each had grievances against the true king (whether real or imagined).

Well, that's all for now; on to the next question, which I'll invent sometime soon.


Ahithophel and Judas

Ahithophel seems to be--almost--a mixed character. He is wise, which would intimate godly, especially when his counsel is said to be as the very words of God, and his betrayal of David is a just betrayal, if such a thing exists, in light of the offense done to him by David. He is also a parallel to Judas, as will be shown a bit more later on.

To begin with, Uriah was one of David's mighty men, and his wife was Ahithophel's granddaughter (2 Samuel 11:3, 23:24, 23:39, 1 Chronicles 11:41). (On a side note that I may pursue later, the fact that Uriah's home could be seen from the palace suggests that the most loyal/mighty men were given homes surrounding the palace in which the king dwelled, which could possibly mirror the guard of the Tabernacle in which God dwelt, Num. 3:38 among others. And anyone that doesn't immediately embrace this is a heretic.) Due to the wisdom of Ahithophel and the public nature of David's sin (2 Samuel 12:14), there is no conceivable way that Ahithophel was not aware of what David had done, and no doubt had some feelings about it that could be described as "less than ecstatic." His granddaughter's husband, a very prominent, noble and godly man, was murdered, and his granddaughter was getting married to the murderer.

So, when Absalom rebelled, how would that look to a wise man who was well acquainted with the justice of God, and had explicit and personal knowledge of David's gross sin? Obviously, God had judged David unfit to be king, and was replacing him. After all, David's decline, which is brutally marked, began with Bathsheba. He is never again portrayed in a kingly fashion. His weakness is what is noted, his lack of leadership, his lack of strength, his lack of initiative, his lack of knowledge of the affairs of his kingdom, his lack of foresight, even his lack of sexual interest, in bitter irony: through grasping for sex he loses his taste for sex (which is a pattern of God's judgment: we follow an evil desire with an evil action, and God lets us, but our judgment is the natural result of that action). Or, should we wish a less favorable light for Ahithophel, when Absalom rebelled, Ahithophel had the only chance he would ever get for revenge.

In either case, he betrayed David (who had horrifically betrayed him), and aimed to kill him with counsel: blood for blood. As a result of betraying God's anointed, he is overthrown and chooses to kill himself. This draws an illuminating parallel to Judas, which gives us a new angle on the well-known story of Judas' betrayal, as shown in the next post.

Wodehousian Fun