Prophet Pearls #25 – Tzav (Jeremiah 7:21-8:3; 9:22-23)

In this episode of Prophet Pearls, Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson discuss the Prophets portion of Tzav covering Jeremiah 7:21-8:3,  9:22-23. In this portion paralleling the sacrifices in Leviticus, Gordon traipses through millennia to offer explanations for the perplexing statement, “I didn’t command you to bring sacrifices.” So, were sacrifices allowed or commanded? Plan A or plan B? A remedy for idleness or a method for learning principles? Continue reading

Prophet Pearls #24 – Vayikra (Isaiah 43:21-44:23)

Prophet Pearls Vayikra, haftarah, isaiah, prophets, jeshurun, israel, poetic name, Keith Johnson, nehemia gordon, obedience, sacrifice, parashah, Parsha, parshas, parshat, vayikra, portionIn this episode of Prophet Pearls, Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson discuss the Prophets portion for Vayikra covering Isaiah 43:21-44:23. This portion parallels the Torah’s central section on sacrifices. Gordon and Johnson delve deep into the issues of sacrifice, obedience and idolatry.  Word studies include:  “blot out” (with its historical context of a debt certificate), “first father” (with Jewish and Christian perspectives on original sin), and “bow down” (with its exclusive connection to idolatry). Continue reading

Prophet Pearls #22-23 – Vayakhel-Pekudei (1 Kings 7:40-8:21)

Prophet Pearls Vayakhel Pekudei, 1 Kings, arafel, thick darkness, araphel, Beit HaMikdash, haftarah, hiram, Parsha, prophets, portion, torah, solomon’s temple, Yehovah, Vayakhel, PekudeiIn this episode of Prophet Pearls, Vayakhel-Pekudei (1 Kings 7:40-8:21), Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson examine the major concepts in this week’s double-header portion - primarily what the Tanakh calls the “House of Yehovah” and how history, tradition, and cultures have clouded the world’s view of the place where God chose to put His name forever. Continue reading

Prophet Pearls #21 – Ki Tisa (1 Kings 18:1-39)

Image courtesy of the Digital Image Archive, Pitts Theology Library, Candler School of Theology, Emory University, Prophet Pearls Ki Tisa, 1 Kings 18:1-39, 1 kings, ahab, Elijah, elijah confronts ahab, fire from heaven, haftarah, identity of obadiah, jezebel, Keith Johnson, nehemia gordon, obadiah, parashah, Parsha, parshas, parshat, Prophet PearlsIn this episode of Prophet Pearls, Ki Tisa (1 Kings 18:1-39), Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson convene in Jerusalem to examine the brassiest display of prophetic prowess in the Tanakh. We are drawn into Elijah’s confrontation with Ahab as if for the first time. Hebrew word-plays jump off the page and demand attention. Gordon connects puzzle pieces to propose a fascinating and completely plausible reading of Obadiah’s back story. Who was he and what great news for mankind does he represent? Continue reading

Prophet Pearls #20 – Tetzaveh (Ezekiel 43:10-27)

Prophet Pearls Tetzaveh (Ezekiel 43:10-27) with Nehemia Gordon and Keith JohnsonIn this episode of Prophet Pearls, Tetzaveh (Ezekiel 43:10-27), Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson discuss Ezekiel describing the sin offering and the building plan for the Temple. Nehemia and Keith consider whether a spiritual or literal interpretation fits best with the minute details of the plan. We learn the iniquity for which Ezekiel’s listeners were (and we are) to be ashamed of, as well as the literal meanings of “temple” and “synagogue” and that word choice indicates world view. Continue reading

Prophet Pearls #19 – Terumah (1 Kings 5:12[26]-6:13)

Prophet Pearls Terumah, 1 Kings, temple, d’veer, haftarah, hewn stones, Keith Johnson, month of ziv, mythical shamir worm, nehemia gordon, parashah, Parsha, parshas, parshat, prophets, shamir, shamir worm, solomon’s temple, terumah, terumah haftarah, terumah prophets, YehovahIn this episode of Prophet Pearls, Terumah (1 Kings 5:12[26]-6:13), Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson provide volumes of contextual insight into this seemingly straight-forward “How to Build a Temple” portion. We learn the importance of the “480 years” date given in this passage, that the forced labor used to build Solomon’s Temple compares favorably to modern practices, and how the coloring of the “hewn stones” beautified the Temple. Continue reading

Prophet Pearls #18 – Mishpatim (Jeremiah 34:8-22; 33:25-26)

Prophet Pearls Mishpatim, Jeremiah, deror liberty, haftarah, haftarah mishpatim, hebrew word play, hebrew word puns, indentured servants tanakh, Keith Johnson, mishpatim prophets, missing verses in Septuagint, nehemia gordon, parashah, Parsha, parshas, parshat, prophet jeremiah, prophets, slavery in tanakh, spelling Isaac in TanakhIn this episode of Prophet PearlsMishpatim Jeremiah 34:8-22; 33:25-26, ever obedient servants of context, Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson begin at the beginning—with two verses moved to the end of this Portion by the Rabbis.  In these two verses in which the unfailing laws of nature are equated with God’s promises to Israel, Gordon makes a connection between the theories of physicists and the views of pundits regarding the land of Israel.  Gordon and Johnson further explore why these two verses (and eight others) are missing from the Septuagint and why the spelling of Isaac differs here from elsewhere in the Tanakh. Continue reading

Prophet Pearls #17 – Yitro (Isaiah 6:1-7:6; 9:5-6)

In this episode of Prophet Pearls, Yitro (Isaiah 6:1-7:6; 9:5-60), Nehemia Gordon compares Isaiah’s succinct vision of heaven to accounts in Kings, Ezekiel and Daniel. We see a “real” Adonai in this Portion and learn about the importance of the Masoretic notes. Gordon and Johnson tackle the problematic issue of Isaiah actually seeing God and explain where Isaiah got the idea that fire cleanses. Continue reading