Old Testament Summary Lesson 8: “Living Righteously In A Wicked World”
- Dead Sea Scroll People Move to the “Great Salt Lake”: The Dead Sea Scrolls people moved away from wickedness to establish a singular community of righteousness. Their leader was called the “Teacher of Righteousness” and he had two assistants. There was also a council of “Twelve Overseers.” They had an order following the ‘righteous king’, which is said in Hebrew, “Melech Zedek.” The Dead Sea sect shunned others, and probably evoked one of the Savior’s comments in the Sermon on the Mount.
- Savior Teaches “Love Your Enemies” in the Beatitudes: “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? Do not even the publicans the same?” (Matthew 5:43-46)
- Jewish Thought on “Free Will:” “Most Jewish philosophers considered the idea of free will essential to moral responsibility.” “. . . expressed by Maimonides: every person may choose to be good or evil. God does not determine in advance whether a particular man will be righteous or wicked.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
- Prayer Alone is Not Enough: “. . . Prayer teaches us what to aspire to . . .” “However, pray¬er is no substitute for action.” Through prayer we deepen our commitment to righteous living.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
- Jewish Tradition of a Special Society of Righteous: “The rabbis of the Talmud described the righteous as individuals whose behavior went beyond merely fulfilling the letter of the law, and as those who were scrupulous in monetary matters . . . in each generation there are exactly 36 righteous men — Lamed Vav Zaddikim — who received the Divine Presence and whose righteousness sustains the world . . . They were believed to be anonymous saints who remained unnoticed by other men because of their humble nature and vocations.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)