Summary: Idioms are figures of speech that are found in every culture. The Bible has several idioms that can be misinterpreted. An idiom found in the book of Joshua is the “harlot” Rahab. Was she a harlot as some have proposed?
Shalom, shalom; peace, peace in the name of Yeshua. This is Crystal Sharpe and welcome to the Ancient Scrolls program.
I do have a website called ancientscrollsonline.com. I post prophetic words, visions, dreams; ancientscrollsonline.com.
WAXS in Oak Hill may not have aired last Sunday’s episode because of their having to perform a maintenance procedure; but it is posted on my website if anyone of you would want to listen it. I apologize for any inconvenience that may have caused.
So last week I began a series of speaking on idioms that are found in the Eastern culture that will help in understanding some passages in the Word and I will continue looking at a few today.
Shema Deuteronomy 6
Shema, O Israel, the LORD God, the LORD is One.
You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.
The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof; the world and those who dwell therein.
Numbers 10:35, Psalm 68:1
Arise, O Lord, and let Your enemies be scattered; and let those who hate You flee before you.
You are the King of the Universe, King over heaven and earth. We continue to pray for Your righteousness and justice to permeate the earth. We pray for the exposure of the unjust in the high places of this nation; those that hold public offices, those that loathe Your name in these positions of power.
Today I am going to speak on idioms in the Eastern culture that will aid in understanding what can be thought upon as puzzling by some. The Bible is in ancient text that possesses an ancient culture and an ancient perspective on life. A minister once said, and I am hoping to remember it correctly, that the Bible is something like 40 percent idioms. If we do not understand them correctly, we misinterpret what is being said in the Word.
I mentioned this last week, but I will repeat it once more in case the audio was not aired last Sunday.
I came across a book called Eastern Customs and Idioms of the Bible: The Teachings of Orientalisms. The author is Bishop K.C Pillai.
The book is not copyrighted so I am going to take some liberties with it.
Idioms . . ., so, everyone has used at one time or another figurative speech to describe certain situations or experiences. Idioms are often exaggerated expressions that are non-literal in meaning.
A couple of examples: someone may exaggerate the weather by saying it is raining cats and dogs. Someone who is nervous may say they have butterflies in their stomach. We know that kick the bucket means death. If one buys something quite expensive, they will say they paid an arm and a leg for it. There is an idiom I have heard in Uganda, when one becomes a pest by begging continually, they will tell the beggar: “You have become stones in my shoes.” That conjures a painful image in our minds of that person.
Let us begin by looking at Rahab who is said to have been a harlot and examine her from an ancient perspective.
And Joshua the son of Nun sent out of Shittim two men to spy secretly, saying: Go view the land, even Jericho. And they went, and came into an harlot’s house (the Artscroll translated it to a woman innkeeper), named Rahab, and lodged there.
Jericho was walled around high with stones. The people were confident in their strong stone wall that nobody could break it. They had a lot less confidence in the God of Abraham. The width of the wall could hold three chariots running side by side.
When Perry Stone visited the remains of Jericho, he said mixed in the structure of the wall were the remains of babies and children that had been sacrificed. There is some debate on the meaning of the word Jericho, but some say it means “moon.” Pagans in the ancient past worshiped the god of the moon. The symbol or the “accursed thing” (Joshua 7:24-26) that caused Israel to lose a battle was the accursed thing–the crescent moon. This god of the moon would be known as Sin or Yareakh, which evolved into other names like Ishtar, Isis, Ishtarte and finally Diana which is the goddess of fortresses.
The city’s inhabitants placed its confidence in the arm of flesh rather than in the living God. They thought that no power on earth could take the city of Jericho.
The two spies that were sent to scout out Jericho lodged in Rahab, the harlot’s house. Rahab, the harlot ran a public inn. Rahab was not a prostitute. A harlot can mean three different things: a prostitute, someone who worships something other than the true God, or an innkeeper.
Rahab was an innkeeper. Travelers could stay and eat in inns without paying anything. There are two parts to the inn. In one part, anyone can go to eat and sleep. In the other part, the ten virgins go to wait for the bridegroom whenever there is a wedding. The man or woman who is in charge of the inn is the harlot.
Why is the term harlot used? Thousands of years ago in India, travelers had to stay in the streets. The Indians wanted to alleviate the problem of the tired, hungry travelers with nothing to eat and no place to stay, so they built inns for them on the roadsides and at the entrance of the town walls. There was a need for one person to be in charge of each inn to do the accounting, etc.
In one village, no man stepped forward for the responsibility, so a woman did so. The elders of the gate asked if she knew the consequences: she would have to take away her veil and look at everyone face to face, and she would to talk to anybody and everybody. The custom was that women could only talk only to their husbands, fathers, brothers, children and grandchildren, and to no other men. A woman who removed her veil and talked to all men would be called a harlot for serving anybody and everybody. It had nothing to do with morals. She was taking a respectable position.
A harlot is also a person who serves not God alone, but also the Devil and the flesh—anyone and everyone.
Rahab is listed among the believers in Hebrews 11:31. The king of Jericho sent for her also. Joshua 2:3. She is known and respected. The title harlot has become official. Even male innkeepers are called harlots.
Get ready to break…..
So when the word says not to be a harlot, it means serve only Christ, do not serve everybody.
Let us talk about the woman and ten silver coins (Luke 15)
At the opening of this chapter, the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to Him, Yeshua, to hear Him. As sometimes happens, the religious folks become upset, the Pharisees and the scribes complain that Yeshua receives sinners and eats with them. In this chapter Yeshua communicates to them His mission by using three parables, the lost sheep, the lost coin and the prodigal son to illustrate that He has come to save the lost.
Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? 9. And when she has found it, she calls her friends and neighbors together, saying: “Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I lost!”
The ten pieces of silver are part of a dowry the bride-groom gives to the bride at the time of their marriage. Each piece is about the size of an American quarter. It is not money; it is a gift which is very precious. On one side of the piece of silver is the husband’s coat of arms. On the other side is the year in which it was made.
Women wear them on their heads. They have little hooks at the top and they hook them right into their hair. The women wear five on one side of the forehead and five on the other side. They are worn only on very precious and special occasions. In the East, women get a lot of jewelry at the time of marriage, etc.; all the jewelry is her property. She has all the legal rights to it; the husband has none. He can’t take it away from her, with the exception of one. The husband has claim to only one jewel and that jewel is call the “ten pieces of silver.” She must hand over th eten pieces of silver to her husband’s family if her husband should die.
If a wife should lose one of the ten pieces of silver, the wife must get out of the house until the wife finds it, because the husband will expel the wife—but not divorce her. He won’t be mad, but the wife has disgraced him and his house because the ten pieces of silver have a tremendous sentimental value, no economical value. The losing of it means the withdrawal of God’s favor; that is why the woman is put out of the house if she does not find it. It is looked upon as a curse for one to lose a piece of this silver.
He has no spitefulness for her, neither do the parents; but the girl will have no sympathy from her husband. It hardly ever happens that a woman loses one of the ten coins or pieces of silver. If she does lose it, there is no amount of money that could redeem it. She is to care for what has been given to her. So, it becomes the concern of the whole town if she does not find it, for if she does not, she will endure the consequences of being expelled and being looked upon and dishonored in the entire city. But since she has found it, she is safe, and she calls in the whole city and they rejoice with her that she has found it. She is now received into her husband’s home and her honor is restored.
In this example the woman represents God
The ten coins of course represent Israel
The lost coin represents the sinners and tax collectors
The nine coins are the religious and pious
Finding the coin is the repentant sinner
The rejoicing is the celebration in the presence of the angels (verse 10)
Yeshua came to bring the sinner to repentance, not the religious.
First Fruits of Zion Luke 15
Here is another figurative passage found in Deuteronomy 33:12
This chapter has Moses blessing the children of Israel. He comes to Benjamin and says: The beloved of the LORD shall dwell in safety by Him, who shelters him all the day long; and he (Benjamin) shall dwell between (Yah’s) shoulders.
Here we have the love language of God being expressed in such an intimate way to the tribe of Benjamin.
This passage refers to the oriental or Bible Lands’ hammock or cradle, made of camel’s hair, and used by the village mothers and the mothers of the tent dwellers. It is a hammock about two by two and half feet, with a strong cord at either end, so that it may be carried on the mother’s shoulders, with the cords passing along her forehead.
In the field the mother suspends the little hammock from the limb of a tree, or if there is no tree, she erects a tripod of sticks from which the hammock hangs, covering the baby’s face with one of her own garments to protect the child from the sun and flies.
And often would be seen a tiny hand, or the face of the baby peeking out from the side of the hammock.
When the mother carries the child, she will draw a part of her large white veil over the hammock as a protection against the hot sun, either partly or completely covering it.
This is the picture referred to in Deuteronomy 33:12, The beloved of the Lord shall dwell safely by him; and the Lord shall cover him all the day long, and he shall dwell between His shoulders.
A perfect illustration of being carried by the Lord.
Strange Scriptures That Perplex The Western Mind, Barbara M. Bowen
We will look at one more and I am going to end the program.
Moab is my washpot; over Edom I will cast My shoe; Philistia, shout in triumph because of Me.
This psalm or song is an urgent prayer for the restored favor of God.
In the portion it said: “Over Edom I will cast My shoe.”
The Orientals considered shoes to be unclean, like dogs or pigs. In Palestine houses there is always a threshold called the mastaby, where the people of the house and all guests remove their shoes and enter barefoot. Shoes are never worn in a mosque or in well-to-do homes where they have rugs over the floors. Shoes are never spoken of with respect, but in terms of great disrespect.
President Bush was at a press conference in Iraq and an Iraqi took his shoes and threw them at Bush. This was a sign of great disrespect he displayed for the president. President Bush ducked both times. This was around 2004-2005.
The angel of the Lord said to Moses (Exodus 3:5), “Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.”
In Joshua 5:15, it is the same: “Then the Commander of the Lord’s army said to Joshua: ‘Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy.’ And Joshua did so.’”
David (in this Psalm or song), speaking by inspiration, was deriding Edom and said: : “Over Edom I will cast (or throw my shoe) My shoe.”
David equals Edom (nations/Rome/Greece) to the mastaby, to the place where one casts unclean shoes. The show in ancient days was always associated with everything that was low or filthy, and contemptible. It was only made and worn to protect the feet from the filth and vile things over which the person had to walk. To unloose the shoe was the work of a slave (he handled the unclean). John the Baptist said that he was not worthy to unloose the shoes of Christ.
I am at the end of the program.
If it is God’s will I will be here next program. Remember to walk by faith and not by sight. Do two things this week: love and forgive. Ask God to cleanse you from all unrighteousness every day. Keep your spiritual garments clean from spots, wrinkles and blemishes. Love God and love your neighbor.
Rico Cortes will sing the Aaronic priestly blessing.