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View Diary: Show Them No Mercy (D'var Torah: Vaetchannan) (39 comments)

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  •  Absolutely, and I totally agree. (7+ / 0-)

    Dale Cassidy actually states this: that very few people function exclusively as "Knights" or "Gardeners". Some function one way in certain circumstances (home, work, politics, religion, etc..) and another way in different circumstances. Also, most Knights recognize that there are times and places when a Gardener mentality is required, and vice versa.

    There's definitely a tension, not just in Deuteronomy but throughout the Hebrew Scriptures, of Gardeners' longing for peace (swords beaten into ploughshares, sitting beneath your vine and fig tree, creating a just and prosperous society) and the Knights' longing for purity (subduing the enemy, creating a "holy nation" for God, fulfilling the law to the letter.)

    Stepping out on a limb here as a Christian, I would argue that Jesus combined the two in a novel way: by inspiring people to fight, not an external enemy, but the evil within themselves (greed, hypocrisy, hatred, coldness of heart, etc) -- and thus contribute to the work of creating a just society (by helping others, healing the sick, feeding the hungry, eliminating prejudice and judgmentalism, etc.)

    "We are stardust, we are golden, and we've got to get ourselves back to the garden." (Joni Mitchell)

    by Eowyn9 on Fri Jul 19, 2013 at 10:36:22 AM PDT

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    •  That turned out well nt (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ramara, david78209

      WE must hang together or we will all hang separately. B.Franklin

      by ruthhmiller on Fri Jul 19, 2013 at 04:19:59 PM PDT

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    •  And don't forget (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JDsg, Eowyn9, Navy Vet Terp

      there's a passage in Joel that admonishes the people to turn their plowshares into swords.

      The Deuteronomists were dealing with a world turned upside down - the Northern Kingdom had been conquered and dispersed, there were threats from Egypt and Babylon, and the people had reverted to idol worship even in the Temple. Among other things, Jeremiah warns that an alliance with Egypt against Babylon will fail, and that it will never do to trust Egypt.

      In 2 Kings: 22, the scroll most scholars believe was a version of Deuteronomy is found and inspires Josiah to start a religious revival - and he not only burns the idols on their altars, but also the priests of those idols.

      It used to bother me that Moses is addressing the wrong people in Deuteronomy. He is scolding the new generation that survived the wilderness for their fathers' and mothers' sins, and also for the sins their descendants will commit - though I have no idea how they can be held responsible for that. Only the historical perspective allows me to read this with some understanding. Passages like this attempt to inspire resistance to backsliding.

      The book and the six books that follow are a product of the late kingdom, and all the chaos of that time.

      Being attentive to the needs of others might not be the point of life, but it is the work of life. It can be ... almost impossibly difficult. But it is not something we give. It is what we get in exchange for having to die. - Jonathan Safran Foer

      by ramara on Fri Jul 19, 2013 at 07:08:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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