Old Testament Summary Lesson 11: “How Can I Do This Great Wickedness?”
- Joseph, Known and Unknown: The account of ancient Joseph is truly a chiasmas paralleled by the modern story of Joseph. It is a prefiguring of the Savior’s mission. In slavery, his identity is really unknown, yet he serves and saves those around him. Later, he serves and saves his brothers before identifying himself.
- Latter-day Messiah Preceded by a Joseph Messiah? “According to the Talmud, the Messiah will be a descendant of the House of David and will be preceded by a secondary Messiah, from the House of Joseph . . .” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.) When the Chief Rabbi, Avraham HaKohen Kook was appointed in Palestine in the 1920’s, he was asked if the Jews could now build the Temple (destroyed since year 70 A.D.). His response was that the priestly rights were gone and referred to the great 12th century rabbi Moses Maimonides. Maimonides said, in effect, “We are waiting for a Messiah Ben-Joseph, to him will be given the keys of the gathering of Israel, he will restore Temple worship.”
- Jewish Reflections on Gentiles Laws: “Gentiles were expected to practice at least the seven Noachide Laws. . . prohibitions against idolatry, blasphemy, bloodshed, sexual sins, theft (including the taking of booty in war and dishonesty in economic life), and eating flesh from live animals, as well as the command to establish a legal system, presumably to enforce the prohibitions. The gentile was not obliged to acknowledge God, but was at least obliged to abandon the worship of false gods . . . required to choose martyrdom rather than shed human blood. In some instances gentiles were also required to observe Sabbath and the festivals, and to fast on the Day of Atonement.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
- Re-directing, Drives into Power for Good: “Feelings of hatred, envy, self indulgence, sexual drives, greed are woven into man’s nature as God created him. But these impulses can be redirected by the yezer ha-tov, (the good inclination) guided and disciplined by the laws of the Torah, so that instead of destructive forces they become creative powers for good.” “Detailed legislation concerning sexual behavior can be found in the Bible as well as in the Talmud and subsequent rabbinic literature. Celibacy (complete abstinence from all sexual activity) is discouraged as an unnatural state and detrimental to the human personality.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)