Sunday, 22 April 2018

"T.L.:D.R." DAVE SIM (YAWN) ON: Zechariah 4:11 to 4:14

Hi, Everybody!

So Dave sent this in:
1 April 18

Hi Matt!

You must be running out of my Biblical commentaries along about now. So…
Grab a Bible, and follow along...

The Gospel Lighthouse Bookstore just opened in the Frederick Street Mall across the way from Studio Comix Press -- talk about God meeting you halfway! -- and I was able to score two of the three volumes of a three-volume set of THE INTERLINEAR BIBLE HEBREW-ENGLISH.  Reading the translation of each word right to left takes some getting used to, but it was an opportune moment for me to find the books -- talk about God meeting you halfway! -- in that my Sunday Torah reading that week included Zechariah, the penultimate book in the Law & the Prophets and the "sons of oil" passage in 4:11 to 4:14.  Yeah, what DOES that actually say, I had often wondered.  Since I was pretty sure it was the Synoptic Jesus and the Johannine Jesus.

The King James Version has it as

11  Then answered I and said unto him, What these two olive trees upon the right of the candlestick and upon the left thereof? 

12  And I answered again, and said unto him, what be these two olive branches, which (Hebrew: by the hand) through the two golden pipes empty the golden (Hebrew: the gold) out of themselves. 

13  And he answered me and said, Knowest thou not what these be?  And I said, No, my Lord.

14  Then said he, These are the two anointed ones (annotated in the margin as Hebrew: sons of oil) that stand by the Lord of the whole earth.

The Interlinear Hebrew-English has it as:

11  Then I answered and said to him, What two olive trees these on the right of the lamp-stand and on its left? 

12   And I answered a second time and said to him, What the two clusters of olives which beside the two pipes of gold which are emptying from themselves the golden? 

13   And he spoke to me saying, Not do you know what these?  And I said, No my lord.

14 Then he said, these the two sons of fresh oil who are standing by the lord of all the earth. 

The lamp-stand makes a more sensible translation than the candlestick. Which is what I had suspected.  It's a menorah, right?  An iconic symbol of Judaism. You only get that inference indirectly in the KJV because of the plural "pipes" which makes little sense if you're talking about a candlestick. A candlestick doesn't have pipes (plural), a menorah does.

It also seems to me to make more sense with the olive trees reference succeeded by the clusters of olives reference, succeeded by the golden pipes reference.  Given that the Jewish Meschiach is referred to as The Branch, I think the KJV misses the point that The Branch is still at issue in this trifold progression. Yes, there are metaphorically two olive trees, yes there are metaphorically two clusters of olives, yes, there are metaphorically two golden pipes and yes, it can be successfully inferred, I think, (although I could be wrong) that the "golden" is both the oil from the clusters of olives and the pipes through which the oil passes.

The Branch, however, seems to me a much Larger Question.  Anointing oil seems to me a much Larger Question.  

I think the point of it is the compelled inference that I've personally drawn from the Gospels:  that the Synoptic Jesus and the Johannine Jesus are both "both emptying from themselves the golden _____".  Which implies an unknown noun which I infer is the respective teachings of their respective spirits as expressed through their respective ministries.  Two concepts which beggar the imagination to try and describe accurately (their teachings will transform the world) which is why, I infer, the noun is missing.  The noun expresses something of unimaginable value so the best that can be done in coming up with an adjective is "golden" or "gold".  But, a key point -- my personal inference and I'm the only one who believes this so, caveat emptor  -- is that the Synoptic Jesus occupies a place to the left (sinestram) of Judaism and the Johannine Jesus occupies a place to the right of Judaism (dextram). 

While I admire, in a way, the KJV's translators…enthusiasm…in leap-frogging to a "they're BOTH The Branch!  They're BOTH anointed!" conclusion, it seems to me to miss what I see as the implicit long-term lesson of Christianity:  you have to understand WHY the Johannine Jesus is on the right of Judaism, theologically, and why the Synoptic Jesus is on the left of Judaism, theologically.

They were both, I think, sons of FRESH oil.  Which is why it's odd, in a way, to me that the KJV completely overlooks the adjective.  And not odd in another way: if you don't "get" that The Branch is intentionally missing from the tree/clusters/pipes metaphor, then you really don't get how "fresh" this is.

Also, "lord of all the earth" is, I think, phrased specifically to allow the YHWH to, forensically, avoid blaspheming against God because it can be read as "lord of all the earth" or "lord of all, the earth" (my inference being that the YHWH IS the earth so, with the comma, it just means that the YHWH has jurisdiction over his/her/its self/selves. And since there is no punctuation in Hebrew, you're free to infer commas wherever it benefits you to do so).  "Lord of the whole earth", well only God is "Lord of the whole earth".  Which must have been gratifying for the YHWH.  The KJV translators will blaspheme against God on the YHWH's behalf so the YHWH doesn't have to!

I'm also forwarding my letters to Dr. Troy about the book THE GENESIS QUESTION which can be read as Commentaries and which segues into my Ezekiel Commentaries and then comes to an abrupt end when my wrist gave out in February of 2015.

And then if you want to run some Muslim commentaries, there's THE NECKLACE AND THE BURQA essay where I try to explain where I think the burqa came from.

Best,
Dave
Next Time: The Genesis Question thing...

4 comments:

David Birdsong said...

Having read Dave's commentary on THE GENESIS QUESTION (lots of different Bible verses) and his Ezekiel commentary (the entire book) I can say that there is a lot of interesting reading to come. The good news is that I can get it here and I don't have to dig through a LOT of letters to read it again. Thanks for keeping this going.

Mouse Skull Entertainment said...

Fair warning,

The Genesis Question commentary is 368 pages long. So it's gonna be going for awhile...

Matt

Travis Pelkie said...

All that for Peter Gabriel versus Phil Collins?

Tony Dunlop said...

Well, Travis, there's waaay more than 368 pages' worth of bickering and name-calling in the comments of any Genesis video on You Tube...with Ray Wilson in an appendix.