Friday, May 4, 2012

Today is Brought to You by . . .

Today is brought to you by the second Hebrew letter, bet, and the second book in the Bible, Exodus.
The name of the second letter is based on the word for house and is found in over 2000 verses. Its shape in the ancient script represented a tent, the typical house of the Hebrews as they wandered in the wilderness. It looks a lot like our letter b if you tip it up.

The Hebrew word for father is “av”, made up of the first letter, aleph (leader), and the bet (house): symbolically and literally the father is the leader of the house. 

The Midrash (Rabbinic literature commentating and clarifying biblical texts) asks the question: Why does the Bible begin with the letter bet? The answer is that since bet is closed in all directions except forward (reading right to left), it implies that there was nothing before. We can know only what comes from that point on.

The second book of the Bible gets its name from the exodus that occurred. In Hebrew this book is not called Exodus, but rather “Sh’mot”, which means names.  Look at your Bible and see how the book starts with the names of the sons of Israel. This book was written by Moses and records the redemption out of Egyptian bondage. Other major themes are the giving of the Law and the provisions of sacrifice and priesthood. You could divide the book into three sections: 1st, Israel in Egypt and under bondage for 400 years; 2nd, moving from the Red Sea to Sinai and God making the covenant with Israel through the Ten Commandments; 3rd, Israel at Sinai and the construction and consecration of the Tabernacle, the house of the Lord. Three “bet” words are evident in each section – son (ben), covenant (brit) and house (bet).

(Learn more cool stuff in Crossing the Scriptures.)

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