Tuesday 10 October 2017

Comments on Loving Rebuke vs. Hateful Invective



I am unsure of the purpose for your comment.  I would like to say this, however, that it is dangerous for us as non-Jews (which I assume you are, like myself) to judge Israel harshly.  It is true that throughout Tanach, the prophets reprimand Israel.  But it is also clear that this is for their betterment, not for outsiders to forge an opinion about Jewish sinfulness.  In fact, when a non-Jew is given a prophecy regarding Israel, Balaam, he is not given a message regarding Israel’s sins.  Instead he speaks like this: “He [God] observed no falsehood in Jacob, and saw no vexation in Israel.  Hashem, his God, is with him, and the shout of the King is with him” (Numbers 23:21)."

Judging the Jewish people as a whole based on their history isn't a good idea, there have been faithful remnants of Jews over the centuries. It is true that the prophets did reprimand the people and call them to repentance. Jeremiah even says comforting things to Israel even in the midst of Israel while bringing the message of God's judgement (Jim mentions comfort and praise later on):

"Jeremiah 29:10 “For thus says the Lord: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare[b] and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile."

Read here for the context: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Jeremiah+29

"I consider it like this: at times, I must correct my children.  And someone from the outside, hearing me reprimand one of them might come to the conclusion that my children are rather ill behaved.  But it is not so.  Both of my daughters are quite wonderful.  They are really developing into quite kind-hearted people, but like all children, they have their moments.  A stranger, hearing me correct one or both of them, might assume the opposite.  But he would be wrong.  And if I am telling someone about my children, I do not speak of their mistakes; I tell them how great my children are and how much I love them."

I won't dive into the issue of original sin as that is an issue for another time but putting that aside, there isn't much to disagree with. There are cases in the TANAKH when the Gentiles ask "What happened to this place?", they would say "Israel disobeyed God and thus destruction happened" (I'm paraphrasing of course). First impressions do count and that is important.

"Now sometimes with non-Jews, they read Tanach, and they see the reprimands of God and they take it as a sign that the Jews are in some way bad.  They are mistaken.  Not only does he reprimand them; he tells them of his great love for them.  And that is ignored.  When he gives a message regarding Israel to non-Jews, he tells them how good Israel is, just like I would talk about my children."

The Jews' history with idolatry in the TANAKH hasn't done their testimony favors lets say (Don't misunderstand me, Christians are guilty of damaging their testimony as well also throughout the centuries, what happened to the Jews can happen to Christians as well). That being said, God's love for the Jews is not to be ignored as Jim rightly points out. Even in Leviticus 26:40-46 despite the Jews' disobedience and being in the land of their enemies, God will not reject them.

"I think we cannot ignore one other thing.  The prophets did give over some difficult words to Israel.  But what did He have to say to the other nations?  Many of those words are even harder.  And what is often overlooked is that God gives correction to Israel, but He also gives words of comfort and promise.


Correct, the things said to the Gentile nations around Israel were worse. While Israel were promised restoration to their land and reconciliation to God, the other nations not so. Where are Edom, Moab, Ammon and the other semitic nations that surrounded Israel, all of them are gone because of what they did to Israel and have either assimilated into other cultures or have been wiped out, the latter being the most likely. God does use other nations to discipline his people but will punish the other nations if they become too harsh or cruel.

I'll leave it at that.

Answering Judaism.

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