How would a Jew view a Scripture- let’s talk!

Most of us view the Bible from our native language viewpoint. We have found some scriptural references that give a clearer understanding when our Jewish Rabbis and Jewish friends explain it to us.

Some of the friends have Jewish friends and would like to share some of the things they have learned from a Jewish perspective.

Perhaps you have something to share also on what a Jew might have thought when He heard, for instance, the Lake of Fire in Revelation.

Use the comment section to start the conversation, please.


3 Responses to How would a Jew view a Scripture- let’s talk!

  1. jacqueline says:

    By Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

    Two Gospels record a meeting between Judean Jesus and a Greek woman (Mk.7:24-29; Matt.15:21-28). Jesus goes to Tyre and Sidon (allotment territory of the tribe of Asher that was never fully taken over by Israelite). There he meets a desperate mother willing to do anything for her suffering child: “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely tormented by a demon.” (Mat. 15:21-22)

    As we continue reading we see that Jesus first gave her the silent treatment. Then, when his Jewish disciples demanded he answer her, he responded: “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” However, the woman was relentless. “She came, knelt before him, and said, “Lord, help me!” He answered her: “It isn’t right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” (Mat. 15:23-26)

    The most offensive statement, of course, has to do with Jesus’ comparison of Greek Gentiles to dogs. The key to understanding this text is found in realization that only in the modern Western world dogs are thought to be part of the family. Dogs (often) live inside and not outside of the family home, but it was not so in the ancient times in the East. In other words, the comparison to dogs was not meant to dehumanize the Greek woman but to emphasize that Jesus’ primary mission was to Israel – to those inside of God’s family, not outside of it.

    Understood this way, we see that there was nothing dehumanizing in Jesus’ response. It is no different from what Apostle Paul would later write: “…the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek.” In spite of some misunderstood statements about his seeming disregard for the physical family, Jesus here says – family first!

    But what made Jesus act differently towards her now? Clearly it was her response: “Yes, Lord,” she said, “yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus replied to her, “Woman, your faith is great. Let it be done for you as you want.” (Matthew 15:27-28)

    This Sidonian woman displayed the true faith of Israel exemplified in the Torah by both Abraham and Moses. Just like them, she was willing to argue with God, believing with unwavering faith that He is just, good, and merciful.

  2. Rene says:

    We need to understand that everything that is written in scripture is there for a reason. The conversation that Jesus had with his mother is very controversial and it has been altered from the original account in John to accommodate Christian aversion to believing that Jesus was disrespectful in the way in which he spoke to his mother.

    I think that Jesus was not only respectful of his mother but was also assertive as an adult who viewed God as his head in perfect balance. In the account in John speaking of the wedding feast at John 2:1 there is an indication that this was an Orthodox Jewish festival as evident from the water purification jars that Jesus instructed the attendants to fill with water and draw water from. This is an important point to mention because there was likely a pharisee presiding over the ceremony and it would have fallen to him first to see to the needs of the guests. Jesus made mention of the fact that the Pharisees in his day liked the prominence of their position but did not like to do the real work involved in shepherding the flock.

    A historian well versed in Jewish customs brought to my and others’ attention that Jesus was likely pointing out to his mother that he was simply a guest and was not immediately responsible for providing additional wine to the attendees of the feast. Since Jesus’ mother was in a supervisory capacity it was more appropriate that she go first to the head of the feast whose job it was to see to (or buy himself) the things needed for the guest and it was not disrespectful for Jesus to point this out.

    Jesus also mentioned that his time had not yet come and I interpreted this to mean that he was recognizing the limits of his authority and even in this small situation did not assume control that had not been expressly given him.

    When Jesus did make the decision to assist, it was likely because he had been given leave to by the spirit that resided in him to direct the spirit to miraculously provide what was needed at the feast but only with God’s permission to do so. Jesus was obedient to God and respectful of his parents in all things and understanding why he responded the way that he did is important because it illustrated his willingness to wait on God in all things.

    Another interesting point about the feast. The water jars that were used to make the wine, were purification jars. The Pharisees believed in ritual handwashing to an obsessive degree and the jars themselves would be considered impure. God did not require this of his people, but the Pharisees created laws designed to honor the Pharisees and magnify not God’s power but their own when people were forced to obey them. If the Pharisees knew that they were drinking wine from those purification jars they would have spit out the wine believing it to be unclean even though God had created this miracle and nothing unclean could come from him. God was demonstrating through this miracle a clarification of what he required and what could be ignored of the doctrines of men.

  3. jacqueline says:

    Rene, you shared with us how your Jewish friend explained Jesus’ encounter with his mother at the marriage feast.
    Would you like to share it with us, please?

    Lee Anthony has a Jewish perspective also on some scriptures.

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