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I write as a Christian from Jerusalem, Israel about Biblical subjects.

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With every good wish - Samuel Martin

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Original Order of the Old Testament Books and how this relates to Feminine Scripture themes

Announcement: As of May 4, 2012, Samuel Martin's book "Thy Rod and Thy Staff, They Comfort Me: Christians and the Spanking Controversy" is now available for free

Download it here - http://parentingfreedom.com/samuelmartin.pdf

The Original Order of the Old Testament Books
and how this relates to Feminine Scripture themes 

In my own book, “Thy Rod and Thy Staff, They Comfort Me: Christians and The Spanking Controversy”, I’ve talked about this issue of the correct order of the saying the following:

“the order of the books of the Hebrew Bible is different than that of the modern Protestant Bible versions. Let us be clear and exact when we understand without any ambiguity, that only the order is different. We are not talking about different or fewer or more books, we are only speaking about the arrangement of the books and how they were organized in ancient times (the order of which has been preserved today in Hebrew Bible versions). This information is referred to exactly by Jesus in Luke 24:44,45 when he mentioned the reference to “the Law, the Prophets and the Psalms.” Let us look at this order. It is most instructive because it represents the divinely inspired order transmitted from antiquity.

Protestant Bible Version Order                                  Hebrew Bible Order
The Law
Genesis                                                                       Genesis
Exodus                                                                        Exodus
Leviticus                                                                      Leviticus
Numbers                                                                      Numbers
Deuteronomy                                                              Deuteronomy

Protestant Bible Version Order                       Hebrew Bible Order

The Prophets
Joshua                                                              Joshua/Judges
Judges                                                              I & II Samuel & I & II Kings
I Samuel                                                          Isaiah
II Samuel                                                         Jeremiah
I Kings                                                             Ezekiel
II Kings                                                            The Twelve Minor Prophets
I Chronicles                                                     (From Hosea to Malachi as in
II Chronicles                                                     Protestant Bible Versions)
Song of Songs

Note: In the original Hebrew versions of the Bible, the books Joshua and Judges were originally reckoned as only one book as were the books I & II Samuel and I & II Kings. The same is the case for twelve Minor Prophets from Hosea to Malachi.

Protestant Bible Version Order                                               Hebrew Bible Order

The Psalms -  (or Holy Writings as they are also called)

Isaiah                                                                                       Psalms
Jeremiah                                                                                  Proverbs
Lamentations                                                                           Job
Ezekiel                                                                                    Song of Songs
Daniel                                                                                      Ruth
Hosea                                                                                      Lamentations
Joel                                                                                          Ecclesiastes
Amos                                                                                       Esther
Obadiah                                                                                  Daniel
Jonah                                                                                       Ezra/Nehemiah
Micah                                                                                      I & II Chronicles
Note: In the original Hebrew versions of the Bible, the books of Ezra and Nehemiah were originally reckoned as only one book as were I & II Chronicles.

In the original order of the books and the proper divisions spoken of by Christ in Luke 24:24,45 and maintained by Hebrew versions today, the information provided in chapter four comes through when one takes into consideration the inspired order of the Hebrew Bible. This interpretation cannot make sense utilizing the Protestant Bible versions and the chronological order adopted over the last 1,600 years. (Martin, pgs. 71-74)- Note that the book in question here is Dr. Ernest L. Martin Restoring the Original Bible - ASK Publication: Portland: 1994)

The Biblical collection devoted to feminine themes

As I mentioned, the Hebrew order of the books, which is different from our Protestant Bible versions only in the order of the books (not the content) features a number of books that are in order and feature decidedly feminine themes. We have looked at the masculine focus of Psalms, Proverbs and Job. Now, the books that feature this feminine focus are the next five books that we find after Job. They are known in by the Hebrew term Megillot[1][1] which is itself expressed in the feminine gender. They are Songs of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes and Esther. Let us look at the evidence for this feminine focus.
            First, note the opening to the Song of Songs. The first voice in the book (after the introduction) speaking is a woman. She says: “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth.”[2][2] This book is a romantic poem between a woman and a man. This is a very romantic volume that was read as a dramatic opera. This volume constantly refers to feminine themes.
            Next, comes the book of Ruth. Ruth was the great grandmother of King David.[3][3] The feminine orientation of Ruth is obvious. It is the story of a woman, a foreigner who embraced the Jewish faith, who became one of the most important women in the history of ancient Israel. Her story was so important that a book was written about it and placed in the Bible. In this book, we find numerous customs and rituals associated with male/female relationships, but it is written in a decidedly feminine orientation.
Following Ruth, we find the book of Lamentations. It is not often recognized as a book oriented towards the feminine, but look at the first few verses of the book itself. “How does the city sit solitary, that was full of people! How is she become as a widow, she who was great among the nations, was a princess among the provinces, how is she become a vassal. She weeps sore in the night, and her tears are upon her cheek. Among all her lovers she has none to comfort her. All her friends have betrayed her, they have become her foes.”[4][4]
Can a text be any clearer to illustrate this feminine orientation? [5]
The next book in the Hebrew order is Ecclesiastes. It may stick out as an unfeminine book, but we must look under the surface here to see the femininity of this book. When one truly analyses this work, this is a treatise dealing with the deep mysteries and life from the highest of philosophical aspects. The author was without question supremely equated with the virtue of wisdom. Wisdom, as demonstrated numerous times in Proverbs, is a feminine virtue.[6][6] Some scholars point out that this term “kohelet” is in the feminine gender in Hebrew and literally translated it means “Congregation of Women.”[7][7] Could this essay, while being given by a man [8], have been inspired from the highest of feminine virtues, Wisdom? It could be. We do find this work among other books exhibiting feminine characteristics.
            The last book of this feminine section is the book of Esther. This book is the story of a young Jewish woman whose wisdom and femininity saved the whole of Jewish civilization during the time of the Persian Empire. This story must be considered an inspiration to all women no matter where they are or what social position in which they find themselves.
            Now that we have seen the masculinity exhibited in the books of Psalms, Proverbs and Job and the femininity of Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes and Esther, we can now see the importance and consideration of these gender issues that must be taken into account when interpreting these books. This is especially the case for the book of Proverbs. This is because the book of Proverbs is an extremely masculine book. If we do not take this fact into account, our whole conception of the book as a whole could be misguided. By taking into consideration where among the collection of books that we find this book, this will assist us greatly in interpreting the data found in that book. Seeing the larger context of the book, let us now listen to the tone of Proverbs itself. This will have a decided impact on how we further consider the statements given in this most difficult book. (Martin, Appendix Five)

Now, when we consider this information, we start to get the skeleton of information that we can work with.

[1][1] The Hebrew word Megillot in English means “Scrolls.” In this case, it refers to these five scrolls that we read at the festival times of ancient Israel. These festival periods were Passover when the Song of Songs was read, Ruth which was read at Pentecost, Lamentations which was read on the destruction date of the Temple, the ninth of the Hebrew month of Ab, Ecclesiastes was read at the feast of Tabernacles and finally, Esther was read at Purim.
[2][2] Song of Songs 1:2
[3][3] Ruth 3:17-18
[4][4] Lamentations 1:1-2
[5][5] Note Mark 16:10 which is one example of many that could be given concerning women and lamenting.
[6][6] See Proverbs 1:20,24; 8:1;32-36; 9:1-11)
[7][7] See Restoring the Original Bible, Ernest L. Martin (ASK Publications: Portland: 1994), pg. 131.

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