Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Dispelling Popular Myths about “the Thief on the Cross”

      First of all, the two men who were crucified on either side of Jesus were not common thieves. A thief is someone who secretly removes an item from your pocket without your knowledge or approval, or one who sneaks into your house while you’re away on vacation and steals your possessions. The crimes of the men executed with Jesus were much more sinister. They are generically referred to as “criminals” (kakourgōn) in Luke 23:39, but in Mark 15:27 they are more specifically identified as lēstai, i.e. “robbers” or “bandits.” In other words, they had used brute force to carry out their crimes and were therefore violent criminals. In fact, the same word is used to describe Barabbas (John 18:40), who had been arrested “with his fellow rebels; they had committed murder in the rebellion” (Mark 15:7 NKJV). Seeing that Jesus took the place of Barabbas, it is reasonable to suspect that the other two men who were crucified with him were Barabbas’ partners in crime.
     While both convicted felons initially participated in the reviling of Jesus (Matthew 27:44), in the course of time one of them seems to have had a change of heart. He said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom” (Luke 23:42 NKJV). Now simply calling Jesus “Lord” is in itself insufficient (cf. Matthew 7:21; Luke 6:46), but the intriguing thing is that he knew about the Lord’s kingdom. We will consider this further below.
     Jesus’ reply to the penitent criminal’s request was as follows: “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43). The record pretty much speaks for itself. Nevertheless, for some curious reason, this account has been completely removed from its context by certain religionists in an attempt to establish a precedent for salvation devoid of obedience, particularly baptism. The argument goes something like this: “The thief on the cross was saved without having been baptized, therefore baptism is not essential to salvation.”
     An initial response is the simple fact that the scriptures clearly teach that baptism is a necessary step in the salvation process (see Acts 2:37-41; 22:16; Romans 6:3-5; 1 Peter 3:21; etc.), therefore any interpretation that suggests otherwise must be wrong. Furthermore, is it legitimate to confidently affirm that this man had never been baptized? From the biblical evidence what would be a more reasonable inference?
     The man clearly had knowledge of the Lord’s kingdom (Luke 23:42), so how was this knowledge attained? In all four Gospel accounts, of all the words recorded that Jesus spoke from the cross, nothing is said about the kingdom. However, John the baptizer had preached, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” (Matthew 3:2). In response, “Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him and were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins” (vv. 5-6). Further, Jesus himself had preached, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17). As He proclaimed “the gospel of the kingdom,” his influence reached as far north as Syria and as far south as Idumea, and great “multitudes followed Him – from Galilee, and from Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and beyond the Jordon” (Matt. 4:23-25; cf. Mark 2:7-8). Not only did baptisms result from his preaching, but they exceeded the numbers of those baptized by John (John 3:22-26; 4:1-2). The Lord’s reach had extended even further by sending out multiplied dozens of his disciples throughout the regions of Galilee and Judea, propagating the same gospel message (Matthew 9:35–10:7; Luke 10:1-11).
     Considering the evidence, can anyone say with full assurance that the man under consideration was definitely never baptized? An alleged precedent is not a genuine precedent when it is unprovable and even questionable. Admittedly no one can say for sure either way, even though it is certainly within the realm of plausibility that he was baptized. Notwithstanding deceptive claims to the contrary, at the end of the day it really doesn’t matter, especially when we consider this final point.
     Baptism is an integral part of the Christian system, which was not inaugurated prior to the Lord’s death and resurrection (Matthew 28:18-20; cf. Romans 6:3-5). The baptisms before the cross were preparatory for the approaching kingdom (Matthew 3:1-6; John 3:1–4:2) but not an established component of the preceding Mosaic system. In fact, Christ’s death on the cross was the transitional point between the old and the new (Colossians 2:14; Hebrews 9:15-17). Since Jesus had the power on earth to forgive sins (Mark 2:10), and the crucified robber was living under the old covenant system of the Jews, and the Lord’s eventual death covered the sins of those living prior to the new covenant (Hebrews 9:15), the account in Luke 23:39-43 is readily explicable and easily harmonizes with the rest of scripture. Any other interpretation creates unresolvable problems.
     Seeing that no one on earth today is in the physical presence of Jesus or is living at a time when the new covenant teachings were not in force, the so-called “thief on the cross” argument is irrelevant. There are numerous examples of conversions recorded in the book of Acts (inclusive of baptism) that set the precedent. When anything different is asserted by professed Bible-believers, it sure gives the impression of grasping at straws in order to justify a preconceived idea. “And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned’” (Mark 16:15-16).
--Kevin L. Moore



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Wednesday, 16 December 2015

The Single Missionary Woman (Part 3): Joy Miller Allen

     Jule LeGrose Miller (1925-2000) produced a series of filmstrips in 1956 known as the “Visualized Bible Study” (a.k.a. “Jule Miller Filmstrips”), later transferred to VHS and then to DVD. This series has been effectively used around the world to lead more souls to Christ than probably any other evangelistic tool. On the Sunday before his death, Jule Miller reportedly said to his family, “there are millions of people today who are dying in their sins. If we will take the gospel of Christ to them, millions can be saved. We’ve got to tell them about Jesus! …. I want all of you to spread the gospel and bring others to Christ” <Sketch of the Life of Jule Miller>.
     Jule Miller and his wife Judy had 32 grandchildren. Following is the story of one of them – their granddaughter Joy.
The Preparatory Years
     Rebecca Joy Miller Allen is the oldest daughter of Robin and Ellen Miller of Columbia, Tennessee. Joy attended Freed-Hardeman University, where she met her husband Kyle Spencer Allen. Kyle served as president of Evangelism Forum (a club on campus for mission-minded students), and Joy was the secretary for the missions studies department. They both graduated with degrees in Bible and missions.
The Missionary Family
     In September of 2004, while living in Columbia, TN, Joy gave birth to their first child, a precious little girl named Celia Joy. In 2006 the young family moved to the nation of India to serve as long-term missionaries in the region of Delhi. While in language school in Mussoorie, Uttarakhand, they agreed to care for a frail baby girl whose mother was dying in a nearby village. At nearly 4-months old, the infant weighed only about 5 lbs. (2.5 kilograms), severely malnourished and not expected to live. When the mother died, the baby’s destitute father asked the Allens if they would adopt the sickly child. He had four other children, and he simply could not take care of her. They agreed, and the little girl who seemed to have little chance of survival was aptly named Asha, meaning “hope.”
     With the loving care of a loving family, Asha did survive, and she grew, and she thrived. As the Allens sought legal guardianship of Asha, which is a very slow and arduous process in India, they welcomed a third child into their family in 2012, a baby boy named Ephraim.
Challenges, Struggles, and Tragedy
     Due to extreme prejudice against Christians in North India, the bureaucratic red tape seemed endless for the Allens, especially since converting to Hinduism was not an option for them. Their case went through five different judges; before a ruling was made by one judge, another was appointed and the grueling process had to start all over again. Then frustration turned to tragedy.
     On 17 Feb. 2013, after six and a half years of missionary service in India, Kyle Allen unexpectedly died at the age of 35 from what appears to have been diabetic complications. At the time Celia was 8, Asha was 6, and Ephraim was 11 months. The petition for Asha’s guardianship was in Kyle’s name and now had to be transferred into Joy’s name, hindering the lengthy proceedings even more. Finally, in October 2014, legal guardianship was granted. Now Joy was a widow, left in India to care for three young children on her own.
Missionary Service Continues
     With guardianship attained, the laborious adoption procedure begins. As far as Joy is concerned, just because of a tough environment and bitter circumstances, faithfulness to the Lord does not end, even as a single mother with three small children. There was never a thought of leaving India with her other two kids without her daughter Asha.
     Joy carries on the work that she and Kyle started together. She regularly hosts traveling Christians and non-Christians in her home, both Indians and foreigners. Despite persecutions and other risks that result from converting Hindus, she leads or is involved in a number of ladies classes and meetings around Delhi and other areas of India. She meets several times each month with Hindus and denominationalists for individual and group studies. She travels with her children throughout the year to places like Mussoorie, Mumbai, Pune, and Gujarat, visiting Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus, and members of the Lord’s church, influencing the unbelievers and encouraging the brethren. As she teaches women’s classes, Celia and Asha lead short devotionals for younger ladies. Joy also assists a Christian elementary school in the village of Arunanchal, organizing curriculum, securing supplies, and helping plan day-to-day operations.
What Does the Future Hold?
     Will the Joy Allen family eventually return to the United States, or will they remain in India? According to Indian law, Joy is required to take Asha to the States within two years of obtaining legal guardianship to fully adopt her. However, American immigration law requires Joy to remain in India for the same two-year period because, in their view, she has only recently been recognized as Asha’s legal guardian. While the aim is to prevent child trafficking, they have reached a proverbial stalemate. Joy and the kids are now waiting to hear from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services for a ruling on whether or not Asha will be granted a visa. In the meantime, here is how Joy views the situation:
I have been so blessed to raise the kids in India. Raising them as third culture kids has, of course, been an adventure, but every day we have all been blessed to have opportunities to shine all our lights. I cannot say enough of the experiences that we have had here to grow in the Father and to share Him as we live our lives with the beautiful Asian people. We have seen His love, hope, and strength every day here in our home and on the streets of India. We continue to rely on Him in this journey and we know as [we] make plans to leave that He loves the Indian people even more than we do. It is very difficult to think of leaving India and her people, that we have come to think of as our family, behind. We have not only worked here for almost a decade but we have LIVED here, truly lived, and we are so honored to have had this experience. <Our Story
      Joy’s earnest prayer is that God’s will be done. If the door opens for their return to the United States, she plans to find a job and be as self-sufficient as possible as quickly as possible so that church funds can remain invested in world evangelization. If the door opens for them to stay in India, she will feel blessed and consider it a privilege to continue raising her children in an atmosphere of service.
     Please pray for Joy, Celia (11), Asha (9), and Ephraim (3), not necessarily for a specific outcome to their uncertain predicament, but for the will of God to be accomplished in their lives. From a missionary perspective, it is not simply a matter of “coming home.” They are already home. It is about seeking what is in the best interest of the family and their service to Christ. Let us encourage, support, and thank God for such champions of faith, of whom the world is not worthy (Heb. 11:39).
--Kevin L. Moore

*If you are interested in keeping up with the Allen’s extraordinary adventure, visit “Keep up with the Allen Family Adoption” <here>. 

**Since this article was posted, Asha's adoption has been finalized, and the family has moved back to the USA.

Works Consulted:
Allen, Joy Miller, “Our Story,” Facebook (18 Nov. 2015), <Link>.
---. Correspondence with Earl D. Edwards (13 Nov. 2015).
Allen, Kathryn, Celia’s Story Through the Eyes of Texas Grandma (Xlibris.com, 2014), <Link>.
“Judith Miller Obituary,” The Pasadena Citizen (Oct. 21–Nov. 3, 2013), <Link>.
McKune, Katie, “Adopting Asha,” YouCaring (10 March 2014), <Link>.
Matheny, J. Randal, “Missionary Kyle Allen,” Brotherhood News (28 Feb. 2013), <Link>. 
“Kyle Spencer Allen,” The Daily Herald (5 March 2013), <Link>.
“Sketch of the Life of Jule Miller,” Restoration History, <Link>.



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Wednesday, 9 December 2015

The Ancient City of Corinth

     Ancient Corinth was built at the foot of the large hill of Acrocorinth on the narrow isthmus connecting the Peloponnesus peninsula with the mainland of Greece. The city was strategically located, linking the principal land route between East and West, while several sea lanes converged on its two harbors. Its crowning era as a Greek city-state was from the 8th century BC until its destruction by the Romans in 146 BC.
     Rome rebuilt and repopulated Corinth in 44 BC, designating it the capital of the Roman province of Achaia and the seat of the Roman proconsul. The city was also a center of industry and commerce, with a socially, economically, religiously, and culturally diverse populace. It appears to have been one of the larger municipalities of Roman Greece, with an estimated 30,000 to 50,000 urban residents and a rural population of approximately 40,000 to 60,000.1
     The apostle Paul arrived in Corinth from Athens around autumn of 50. If he traveled by land, he would have approached the capital from the north on the Lechaion road. To the left of the pavement lined with walkways, porticos, and administrative buildings was the public fountain of Peirene, a potential site for baptizing the first converts (Acts 18:8; 1 Cor 1:14-16), and the nearby Jewish synagogue was a good place to start (Acts 18:4, 7).2 Further along was the agora (marketplace), where a prominent space was occupied by the marble-covered bema (elevated platform) upon which Paul would later stand accused before the proconsul Gallio (Acts 18:12-16). The numerous shops in the vicinity would have provided a suitable location for manufacturing and/or selling tents (Acts 18:2-3), while pagan temples and shrines permeated the city’s landscape (1 Cor 8:1-10; 10:14).
     The apostle labored diligently with Aquila, Priscilla, Silas and Timothy until spring of 52, leaving behind an established Christian community (Acts 18:1-18). Subsequently Gaius is referenced as the host of “the whole church” (Rom 16:23 ESV), an apparent allusion to the assemblies in his home. A typical upper class Roman-style house was centered around a columned courtyard with an open room (atrium), large enough to accommodate about 30 to 50 people.
     Since initiating his second missionary campaign, Paul had encountered violent opposition and expulsion from every Macedonian community he targeted. Venturing south into the province of Achaia, he faced a general lack of receptivity in Athens as his eager attempts were largely met with amusement and disregard. Moving on to Corinth, although dejected and fearful (Acts 18:9-10; 1 Cor 2:3), his resolve remained intact. Eighteen months of sowing the gospel seed with extensive follow up resulted in the Lord of the harvest reaping a bounty of souls (1 Cor 3:6-9). In the most unlikely of places there now existed “the church of God that is at Corinth, with all the saints who are in the whole of Achaia” (2 Cor 1:1).
     Nearly two millennia later the commission and the One who gave it remain unchanged. And there is still no scarcity of unlikely places.
-- Kevin L. Moore

Endnotes:
     1 Available evidence does not corroborate the inflated estimates of up to half a million or more.
     2 In 1898 along the Lechaion road the limestone lintel of the doorway of Corinth’s synagogue was discovered near the entrance to the forum.

Works Consulted:
Aune, David E. The New Testament in Its Literary Environment. LEC. Philadelphia: Westminster, 1987.  
Fee, Gordon D. The First Epistle to the Corinthians. NICNT. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1987.
Malherbe, Abraham J. Social Aspects of Early Christianity. 2nd ed. Philadelphia: Fortress, 1983.
Moore, Kevin L. A Critical Introduction to the New Testament: Study and Lecture Notes. Henderson, TN: Hester, 2009.
Murphy-O’Connor, Jerome. St. Paul’s Corinth: Texts and Archaeology. 3rd ed. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical, 2002.
Willet, Rinse. “Whirlwind of Numbers: Demographic Experiments for Roman Corinth,” AncSoc 42 (2012): 127-58.

*First appearing in the Freed-Hardeman University Graduate School of Theology newsletter, Reflections on Theology and Ministry 1:3 (1 Dec. 2015): 2-4.


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Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Isaiah 7:14

     The book of Isaiah is a collection of four decades of prophecies communicated through Isaiah the son of Amoz during the reigns of four kings of Judah (ca. 740-698 BC).1 The Kingdom of Assyria was rising in power, attempting to dominate the world through widespread conquest. God’s covenant people had shamefully divided into two dysfunctional kingdoms, desiring to be like the nations around them, adopting immoral and idolatrous lifestyles, and forming political alliances with their pagan neighbors rather than trusting and obeying the LORD.
     God was preparing the way for a new, spiritual world-order via his universal kingdom and messianic king.2 But would the people of Judah cooperate in fulfilling their divine purpose, or would they follow Israel’s digression into apostasy? The prophet Isaiah is called to issue warnings of impending judgment along with a message of hope for the future.
Historical Setting of Chapter 7
     During the sixteen years that King Ahaz rules the Southern Kingdom of Judah (732-716 BC), Syria and the Northern Kingdom of Israel join forces against him. The Syrians have taken captive “a great number” from Judah, and Israel has killed 120,000 men and captured 200,000 women and children (2 Chron. 28:1-8). When Syria and Israel’s capital and military power Ephraim make war against Ahaz, he is understandably overtaken by fear (Isa. 7:1-2). Is this the end? The LORD graciosly sends Isaiah the prophet to reassure Ahaz that his enemies will not be victorious (vv. 3-9). Isaiah’s son Shear-Jashub, whose name means “a remnant shall return,” accompanies his father as a living symbol of hope (v. 3).
The Sign
     Ahaz is instructed to ask for “a sign” from above but refuses (Isa. 7:10-12), presumably because he is relying on the Assyrians instead (2 Chron. 28:16-21). Isaiah then directs the prophetic message to the entire “house of David,”3 seeing that they have persistently wearied men with corruption and oppression and wearied God with skepticism, disobedience, and contempt (Isa. 7:13). “Therefore,” the prophet declares, “the Lord himself will give you [plural] a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (v. 14).4
     It is not without significance that this prophecy is directed to the “house of David” (v. 13), seeing that the future messianic king was to be of Davidic descent (9:6-7; 11:1-2, 10; 55:3; Gen. 49:10; Ezek. 37:18-28; cf. John 7:42). Ahaz and his posterity (cf. Isa. 7:2) are given divine assurance that the messianic lineage will not be terminated by Syria, Ephraim, or anyone else, but will endure until God’s purpose is fulfilled.
     The sign involves one described as almah, a word appearing only seven times in the Hebrew scriptures.5 In every occurrence it refers to an unmarried young woman of marriageable age. Virginity is assumed, albeit not implicit in the term. The pressing question, then, is whether the English expression “young woman” is a satisfactory rendering of almah in this text (cf. N/RSV, NET, NLV).
     There is no exact term for “virgin” in the Hebrew language. Isaiah could have employed betulah, but if virginity is the intended meaning, even this word lacks the desired precision (cf. Joel 1:8). Since almah is never used in the Hebrew Bible for a married person, and a young Jewess of marriageable age was presumed sexually pure, the term almah expresses “virgin” as definitively as it can be stated with a single word.6
     Long before there was a “Christian interpretation” of Isa. 7:14, the Jewish translators of the Septuagint considered the Hebrew almah in this text equivalent to the Greek parthenos (“virgin”). A couple of centuries later Matthew understands it the same (Matt. 1:23). Parthenos, used fifteen times in the Greek New Testament,7 refers explicitly to one who has never had sexual relations. Moreover, this was to be “a sign” from the Lord himself. Since there is nothing extraordinary about a young woman conceiving and bearing a child, evidently the sign was to be miraculous – implying a virginal conception (cf. Matt. 1:18-25; Luke 1:26-38). Note also that the prophecy concerns “the virgin,” i.e., not just any but one in particular.
His Name Immanuel
     The prophecy also affirms that the name of the virgin-born son would be called “Immanuel,” although no one in the biblical record is so designated. In fact, the one born to the virgin in the New Testament is named “Jesus” (Matt. 1:21, 25; Luke 1:31). Nevertheless, usage of the word “name” goes beyond a mere designation or identifying moniker. It can also represent the individual himself (Matt. 6:9) or stand for one’s authority (Matt. 7:22; 10:22; 18:5, 20), character (Matt. 10:41, 42), or reputation (Luke 6:22; Rev. 3:1). The Hebrew “Immanuel,” meaning “God with us” (cf. Isa. 8:8, 10), conveys the sense of comfort and assurance that inevitably accompanies divine presence.8 Jesus is in fact recognized as God dwelling among men (John 1:1, 14; 20:28). Isaiah had also stated that descriptively “his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (9:6).
He Shall Eat Curds and Honey
     The prophecy continues in Isa. 7:15, “He shall eat curds and honey when he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good.” This offers further hope to Ahaz and the house of David, in that the virgin-born child would have a normal upbringing and reach maturity in the very land they feared would soon be lost. Abraham’s descendants through Isaac and Jacob were promised “a land flowing with milk and honey.”9 The expression “flowing” indicates a fertile terrain, and the abundance of curds (a dairy product) and honey (incl. fruit nectar?) suggests that the land will still be fruitful and inhabited by Judah’s descendants when the prophecy is fulfilled (cf. v. 22).  
Meanwhile, in the Near Future …
     The focus of the prophecy then switches from the distant future to the near future. Isaiah proclaims to the house of David: “For before the boy knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land whose two kings you dread will be deserted. The Lord will bring upon you and upon your people and upon your father's house such days as have not come since the day that Ephraim departed from Judah—the king of Assyria” (Isa. 7:16-17).
     This passage has caused a great deal of confusion and generated varying interpretations because of its close proximity to vv. 14-15. However, in the broader context there are two boys in view: Isaiah’s son Shear-Jashub (v. 3) and the prophetic virgin-born child (v. 14). When reading the printed account, the tendency is to look to the nearest spatial antecedent in the text and forget that there is a boy physically present on this occasion who is a visual representation of the point being made. Isaiah’s children actually serve as “signs” for his prophetic utterances (8:18).
     We don’t know if Isaiah is holding his son, or looking at him, or pointing to him as these words are spoken, but the same terminology (“the boy” = this boy) is used in 8:4 in reference to Isaiah's infant son (cp. Mark 9:36-37). The most obvious meaning of a biblical prophecy is revealed in its fulfillment. Within about ten years of this declaration (ca. 722 BC), the kings of Syria and Ephraim were deposed and the Assyrians were the dominating force in the region, just as the LORD foretold (see 2 Kgs. 15:29-30; 16:9). Yet the prophetic sign of the virgin birth was still seven centuries from its fulfillment. 
In the Fullness of Time ...
     The seventh chapter of Isaiah offers absolute reassurance to King Ahaz and the people of Judah that, despite overwhelming odds, the land would not be permanently lost, Judah would not be destroyed, the house of David would not cease to exist, and the messianic seed-line would not be severed until the divine purpose has come to fruition. God is faithful, and his word is sure.
     The family tree of Ahaz continues through the centuries to a small village in the land of Judah (Matt. 1:9; Luke 2:4-5). “Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit…. All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: ‘Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel’ (which means, God with us)” (Matt. 1:18-23).
--Kevin L. Moore

Endnotes:
     1 On the authorship of Isaiah, see Matt. 3:3; 4:14; 8:17; 12:17; 13:14; 15:7; Mark 7:6; Luke 3:4; 4:17; John 1:23; 12:38, 39, 41; Acts 8:28, 30; 28:25; Rom. 9:27, 29; 10:16, 20; 15:12.
     2 See The Kingdom of God-Part 2, -Part 3.
     3 In the Hebrew text, “you” is plural in vv. 9, 13, and 14, and singular in vv. 11, 16, and 17.
     4 Unless otherwise noted, all scripture quotations are from the English Standard Version, with added words [in square brackets].
     5 Gen. 24:43; Ex. 2:8; Psa. 68:25; Prov. 30:19; Song 1:3; 6:8; Isa. 7:14. The obscure alamoth also appears in 1 Chron. 15:20 and the title of Psa. 46.
     6 Robert Cole, “Isaiah 7.14–Why Matthew Was Right,” a lecture presented at the 67th Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society (18 Nov. 2015), Atlanta, GA.
     7 Literally in Matt. 1:23; 25:1-11; Luke 1:27; Acts 21:9; 1 Cor. 7:25, 28, 34-38; metaphorically in 2 Cor. 11:2; Rev. 14:4.
     8 Gen. 21:20, 22; 26:3, 24, 28; 28:15, 20; 31:3, 5, 42; 35:3; 39:2, 3, 21-23; 46:4; 48:21; Ex. 3:12; Deut. 20:1; Psa. 23:4; et al.
     9 Ex. 3:8, 17; 13:5; 33:3; Lev. 20:24; Num. 13:27; 14:8; 16:13, 14; Deut. 6:3; 11:9; 26:9, 15; 27:3; 31:20; Josh. 5:6; Jer. 11:5; 32:22; Ezek. 20:6, 15; cf. 2 Sam. 17:29; Song 4:11; 5:1.



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