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What did the Israelites mean by God?


Ron Beron

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I was reading some articles tonight about Psalms and I started asking my self, "Self, what did the Israelites mean by God?" In some ways this is a germane question since we, i.e., humans have equated ourselves with God in someways.

After all, the OT refers to 'god' for all lesser supernatural beings such as the ghost in I Sam. 28:13, a demon of illness in Job 19:22 and, of course, the bene elohim or god-sons of Elohim. (Pss. 29.1; 89.7; Gen. 6.2, 4; Job 1.6; 2.1; 38.7.) Even man in Ps. 8:6 is referred to as having been "appoint(ed)...to rule over your creation; you have placedeverything under their authority."

So what is the difference? Then I read Ps. 82:6-7 where God passes judgement on all of us..."I thought,â??You are gods; all of you are sons of the Most High.â??Yet you will die like mortals;you will fall like all the other rulers.â? God is telling us the difference. We are like God in that we share in his soverignty and power over other living creatures or as the article I read states,

What characterizes a 'god' is a superhuman and supernatural power, wisdom and insight. A 'god' is in a special degree a 'holy' being
and partakes of all the faculties and attributes of 'holiness' (cf. above, pp. 54f.). The 'godlikeness' of man in Ps. 8 consists above all in his sovereignty and power over all other beings, in his godlike 'honour and glory' compared to them. T
he Psalms in Israel's Worship Vol. 1
by Sigmund Mowinckel, D. R. Ap-Thomas; Abingdon Press, 1962

What we don't share is our mortality and our inability to rule over space and time of nature and history. Only God is immortal and does not die (Hab. 1:12, "Lord, you have been active from ancient times; my sovereign God,you are immortal.Lord, you have made themyour instrument of judgment.Protector,you have appointed them as your instrument of punishment.") and does, indeed rule over all time and space.

Any comments?

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I was reading some articles tonight about Psalms and I started asking my self, "Self, what did the Israelites mean by God?" In some ways this is a germane question since we, i.e., humans have equated ourselves with God in someways.

After all, the OT refers to 'god' for all lesser supernatural beings such as the ghost in I Sam. 28:13, a demon of illness in Job 19:22 and, of course, the bene elohim or god-sons of Elohim. (Pss. 29.1; 89.7; Gen. 6.2, 4; Job 1.6; 2.1; 38.7.) Even man in Ps. 8:6 is referred to as having been "appoint(ed)...to rule over your creation; you have placedeverything under their authority."

So what is the difference? Then I read Ps. 82:6-7 where God passes judgement on all of us..."I thought,â??You are gods; all of you are sons of the Most High.â??Yet you will die like mortals;you will fall like all the other rulers.â? God is telling us the difference. We are like God in that we share in his soverignty and power over other living creatures or as the article I read states,

What characterizes a 'god' is a superhuman and supernatural power, wisdom and insight. A 'god' is in a special degree a 'holy' being
and partakes of all the faculties and attributes of 'holiness' (cf. above, pp. 54f.). The 'godlikeness' of man in Ps. 8 consists above all in his sovereignty and power over all other beings, in his godlike 'honour and glory' compared to them. T
he Psalms in Israel's Worship Vol. 1
by Sigmund Mowinckel, D. R. Ap-Thomas; Abingdon Press, 1962

What we don't share is our mortality and our inability to rule over space and time of nature and history. Only God is immortal and does not die (Hab. 1:12, "Lord, you have been active from ancient times; my sovereign God,you are immortal.Lord, you have made themyour instrument of judgment.Protector,you have appointed them as your instrument of punishment.") and does, indeed rule over all time and space.

Any comments?

Ron.....buddy...... you never cease to stimulate me ole cranium. You always have wonderful research and books you share from. Now that I have gotten the niceness out of the way, CHANGE YOUR FACEBOOK PROFILE COMMENT ALREADY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It's depressing! You simply HAVE to get feeling better, so there. :P:crazy:;)

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Ron.....buddy...... you never cease to stimulate me ole cranium. You always have wonderful research and books you share from. Now that I have gotten the niceness out of the way, CHANGE YOUR FACEBOOK PROFILE COMMENT ALREADY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It's depressing! You simply HAVE to get feeling better, so there. :P:crazy:;)

Did you check out Questia? There's good stuff out there.

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I was reading some articles tonight about Psalms and I started asking my self, "Self, what did the Israelites mean by God?" In some ways this is a germane question since we, i.e., humans have equated ourselves with God in someways.

After all, the OT refers to 'god' for all lesser supernatural beings such as the ghost in I Sam. 28:13, a demon of illness in Job 19:22 and, of course, the bene elohim or god-sons of Elohim. (Pss. 29.1; 89.7; Gen. 6.2, 4; Job 1.6; 2.1; 38.7.) Even man in Ps. 8:6 is referred to as having been "appoint(ed)...to rule over your creation; you have placedeverything under their authority."

So what is the difference? Then I read Ps. 82:6-7 where God passes judgement on all of us..."I thought,â??You are gods; all of you are sons of the Most High.â??Yet you will die like mortals;you will fall like all the other rulers.â? God is telling us the difference. We are like God in that we share in his soverignty and power over other living creatures or as the article I read states,

What characterizes a 'god' is a superhuman and supernatural power, wisdom and insight. A 'god' is in a special degree a 'holy' being
and partakes of all the faculties and attributes of 'holiness' (cf. above, pp. 54f.). The 'godlikeness' of man in Ps. 8 consists above all in his sovereignty and power over all other beings, in his godlike 'honour and glory' compared to them. T
he Psalms in Israel's Worship Vol. 1
by Sigmund Mowinckel, D. R. Ap-Thomas; Abingdon Press, 1962

What we don't share is our mortality and our inability to rule over space and time of nature and history. Only God is immortal and does not die (Hab. 1:12, "Lord, you have been active from ancient times; my sovereign God,you are immortal.Lord, you have made themyour instrument of judgment.Protector,you have appointed them as your instrument of punishment.") and does, indeed rule over all time and space.

Any comments?

The generally accepted perspective about this chapter is that Elyon is judging the other gods in the divine council. In this council sat the gods over the individual nations. Deut 32:8-9 speaks of Elyon dividing up the nations according to the numbering of the children of God (the original text says "God," not "Israel"). Yahweh is one of these children of El. The gods over the other nations were unwise stewards, so Elyon berates them and decrees their death. After that he installs Yahweh, the God of Israel (see Deut 32:9), as the God over all the nations, replacing the gods he has just dismissed. This is looked upon as the justification for viewing Yahweh as the God of all the earth, rather than just of the Israelite. Some time prior to this El and Yahweh were conflated to one God, but it appears to many that Yahweh Elohim is not yet identified with the Elyon of this passage and of Deut 32:8.

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The generally accepted perspective about this chapter is that Elyon is judging the other gods in the divine council. In this council sat the gods over the individual nations. Deut 32:8-9 speaks of Elyon dividing up the nations according to the numbering of the children of God (the original text says "God," not "Israel"). Yahweh is one of these children of El. The gods over the other nations were unwise stewards, so Elyon berates them and decrees their death. After that he installs Yahweh, the God of Israel (see Deut 32:9), as the God over all the nations, replacing the gods he has just dismissed. This is looked upon as the justification for viewing Yahweh as the God of all the earth, rather than just of the Israelite. Some time prior to this El and Yahweh were conflated to one God, but it appears to many that Yahweh Elohim is not yet identified with the Elyon of this passage and of Deut 32:8.

Mak, would you share in the belief that this has no reference to the divine nature that we believe is in all of us?

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Mak, would you share in the belief that this has no reference to the divine nature that we believe is in all of us?

I do not believe it was the intention of the author to refer to our own divine nature. That has long been a traditional interpretation, based partly on the work of James Talmage, but the discovery of the Ugaritic texts and several other archaeological discoveries have provided a much more clear context for the theology represented in the text. During the Second Temple Period there were two traditional interpretations of the text. One held that Israel at Sinai overcame the power of Satan as a result of accepting the law, and therefore were participants in a divine immortality, but lost that power as a result of the sin involving the golden calf. The second holds that the reference is to Adam and Eve, who were immortal before transgressing God's commandments, and so became mortal. Christ in John 10 seems to be appealing to the first interpretation.

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I do not believe it was the intention of the author to refer to our own divine nature. That has long been a traditional interpretation, based partly on the work of James Talmage, but the discovery of the Ugaritic texts and several other archaeological discoveries have provided a much more clear context for the theology represented in the text. During the Second Temple Period there were two traditional interpretations of the text. One held that Israel at Sinai overcame the power of Satan as a result of accepting the law, and therefore were participants in a divine immortality, but lost that power as a result of the sin involving the golden calf. The second holds that the reference is to Adam and Eve, who were immortal before transgressing God's commandments, and so became mortal. Christ in John 10 seems to be appealing to the first interpretation.

A few years ago on ZLMB this is the interpretaion I gave Psalms 82. Several posters roundly smirked at the idea.

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I do not believe it was the intention of the author to refer to our own divine nature. That has long been a traditional interpretation, based partly on the work of James Talmage, but the discovery of the Ugaritic texts and several other archaeological discoveries have provided a much more clear context for the theology represented in the text. During the Second Temple Period there were two traditional interpretations of the text. One held that Israel at Sinai overcame the power of Satan as a result of accepting the law, and therefore were participants in a divine immortality, but lost that power as a result of the sin involving the golden calf. The second holds that the reference is to Adam and Eve, who were immortal before transgressing God's commandments, and so became mortal. Christ in John 10 seems to be appealing to the first interpretation.

While I am not prepared to back it up at this time I would suggest that that there is a pattern within the writings of the ancients that show all humans have a potentiality for the divine. I think there are many of these patterns available within the OT and Pseudipigraphal writings.

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While I am not prepared to back it up at this time I would suggest that that there is a pattern within the writings of the ancients that show all humans have a potentiality for the divine. I think there are many of these patterns available within the OT and Pseudipigraphal writings.

Oh, I agree that that's a pattern within a number of OT and (more clearly) Pseudepigraphical texts.

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I was reading some articles tonight about Psalms and I started asking my self, "Self, what did the Israelites mean by God?" In some ways this is a germane question since we, i.e., humans have equated ourselves with God in someways.

After all, the OT refers to 'god' for all lesser supernatural beings such as the ghost in I Sam. 28:13, a demon of illness in Job 19:22 and, of course, the bene elohim or god-sons of Elohim. (Pss. 29.1; 89.7; Gen. 6.2, 4; Job 1.6; 2.1; 38.7.) Even man in Ps. 8:6 is referred to as having been "appoint(ed)...to rule over your creation; you have placedeverything under their authority."

So what is the difference? Then I read Ps. 82:6-7 where God passes judgement on all of us..."I thought,â??You are gods; all of you are sons of the Most High.â??Yet you will die like mortals;you will fall like all the other rulers.â? God is telling us the difference. We are like God in that we share in his soverignty and power over other living creatures or as the article I read states,

What characterizes a 'god' is a superhuman and supernatural power, wisdom and insight. A 'god' is in a special degree a 'holy' being
and partakes of all the faculties and attributes of 'holiness' (cf. above, pp. 54f.). The 'godlikeness' of man in Ps. 8 consists above all in his sovereignty and power over all other beings, in his godlike 'honour and glory' compared to them. T
he Psalms in Israel's Worship Vol. 1
by Sigmund Mowinckel, D. R. Ap-Thomas; Abingdon Press, 1962

What we don't share is our mortality and our inability to rule over space and time of nature and history. Only God is immortal and does not die (Hab. 1:12, "Lord, you have been active from ancient times; my sovereign God,you are immortal.Lord, you have made themyour instrument of judgment.Protector,you have appointed them as your instrument of punishment.") and does, indeed rule over all time and space.

Any comments?

confusious say; when addressing our "self" we will find no answer. :P

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The generally accepted perspective about this chapter is that Elyon is judging the other gods in the divine council. In this council sat the gods over the individual nations. Deut 32:8-9 speaks of Elyon dividing up the nations according to the numbering of the children of God (the original text says "God," not "Israel"). Yahweh is one of these children of El. The gods over the other nations were unwise stewards, so Elyon berates them and decrees their death. After that he installs Yahweh, the God of Israel (see Deut 32:9), as the God over all the nations, replacing the gods he has just dismissed. This is looked upon as the justification for viewing Yahweh as the God of all the earth, rather than just of the Israelite. Some time prior to this El and Yahweh were conflated to one God, but it appears to many that Yahweh Elohim is not yet identified with the Elyon of this passage and of Deut 32:8.

For those interested, here is Mark Smith on it:

http://lehislibrary.wordpress.com/2009/04/...ehs-ascendency/

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Interesting, Sargon, but how did you copy from Google Books? I can't do it.

I wish I could cut and paste from it, but I can't either. I typed it.

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The Midrash Numbers Rabba 16:24 relates a tradition that the Lord made the Children of Israel immortal (he warns death not to touch them), but they feared and would not accept the higher things, so the Lord made them as mere men.

"They saw the counsel which the Lord decreed for them and straightaways ruined the counsel 40 days, for it is said (Proverbs 1): ye have set at nought all my counsel.

Said unto them The Holy One, Blessed is He said unto them: I said, that ye are not sinning and ye shall live and be as I am, as I liveth and am for Eternity and for Eternity of Eternities, I decreed (Ps 82) gods are ye and sons of the Most High (Elyon) are ye all, as the ministering angels, which die not and ye request after this great thing to die, then die as man ye shall as the First Man (Adam) whom I commanded one commandment for to do and shall live and be for Eternity, as it is said (Gen 3): for the man was as one of us. And also: and created God the man in his own image, to live and be as he is, but he transgressed and nullified my decree, and ate from the tree, and I said unto him: for dust thou art.

So too are ye, I saith: gods are ye, yet have carried yourselves as man, so verily as man shall ye die."

I couldn't find an online version, so I translated a bit myself.

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You need some background in Hebrew language, history, and culture to understand this Psalm properly. If you will start at the beginning, you will see that God is talking to the judges. The judges were raised up by God to guide Israel during the rocky period following the death of Joshua until the establishment of the monarchy under Saul around 1100 BC.

Verse 1 (New International Version): God (Elohim) stands in the great assembly, he gives judgement among the gods (Elohim).

Verse 2 (New International Version): How long will you (plural in Hebrew) defend the unjust and show partiality to the wicked?"

Many contemporary translations render the second "Elohim" judges. Why is God calling them "gods"? They were called to speak the words of God, with the wisdom of God, and preside over Israel as God would. The word "Elohim" is also used in reference to idols and people in high positions of government.

Verse 5 (New International Version): "they know nothing, they understand nothing, they walk about in darkness, all the foundations of the earth are shaken".

Verses 6-7 (New International Version): "I said, you are gods, you are all sons of the Most High, but you will die like mere men, you will fall like every other ruler (some translations say princes)."

Verse 8 (New International Version): "Rise up, O God, judge the earth, for all the nations are Your inheritance."

In summary: God is calling the judges to the carpet. They were called to judge rightly, as God would. However, they were not. Therefore, because they are not God, never were God, they will fall and die like mere men. Rise up O God, for you alone are God, and judge the earth, for the nations are Your inheritance.

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You need some background in Hebrew language, history, and culture to understand this Psalm properly. If you will start at the beginning, you will see that God is talking to the judges. The judges were raised up by God to guide Israel during the rocky period following the death of Joshua until the establishment of the monarchy under Saul around 1100 BC.

Verse 1 (New International Version): God (Elohim) stands in the great assembly, he gives judgement among the gods (Elohim).

Verse 2 (New International Version): How long will you (plural in Hebrew) defend the unjust and show partiality to the wicked?"

Many contemporary translations render the second "Elohim" judges. Why is God calling them "gods"? They were called to speak the words of God, with the wisdom of God, and preside over Israel as God would. The word "Elohim" is also used in reference to idols and people in high positions of government.

Verse 5 (New International Version): "they know nothing, they understand nothing, they walk about in darkness, all the foundations of the earth are shaken".

Verses 6-7 (New International Version): "I said, you are gods, you are all sons of the Most High, but you will die like mere men, you will fall like every other ruler (some translations say princes)."

Verse 8 (New International Version): "Rise up, O God, judge the earth, for all the nations are Your inheritance."

In summary: God is calling the judges to the carpet. They were called to judge rightly, as God would. However, they were not. Therefore, because they are not God, never were God, they will fall and die like mere men. Rise up O God, for you alone are God, and judge the earth, for the nations are Your inheritance.

There are various reasons to believe that these elohim are not mortal human judges, but are in fact gods.

Our own Maklelan describes some of those reasons quite nicely here.

Evangelical scholar Michael Heiser describes it here also.

One reason is that as a result of the unrighteousness of the "gods" the whole Earth is in turmoil. Such would not be the case for simply human Israelite judges.

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