Showing posts from June, 2014

The Fourth Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 9, 6 July 2014

The Fourth Sunday after Pentecost, 6 July 2014 Genesis 24:34-38, 42-49, 58-67 Psalm 45:11-18 or Song of Solomon 2:8-13 Or Zechariah 9:9-12 Psalm 145:8-15 Romans 7:15-25a St. Matthew11:16-19, 25-30 Background: Women and Marriage in Ancient Israel With the continuance of the Abraham story, we come to the marriage of Isaac and Rebekah.   It is natural, as we read these verses to wonder about the status of women in the ancient world, especially in regard to marriage.   It is also clear that we should not extrapolate the provisions of the Mesopotamian legal codes (say the Code of Hammurabi) to the customs of a non-urban and nomadic people.   Some provisions might be the same, and some not thought of in the nomadic context.   Here is what we do no from the models in the patriarchal history.   Marriage was styled as “taking a wife”, and it always involved sexual intercourse (for that was the goal of marriage – the provision of descendants).   Adultery was viewe

The Third Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 8, 29 June 2014

The Third Sunday after Pentecost, 29 June 2014 Genesis 22:1-14 Psalm 13 Or Jeremiah 28:5-9 Psalm 89:1-4, 15-18 Romans 6:12-23 St. Matthew10:40-42 Background: Child Sacrifice The subject matter of the first reading in Track 1 leads us to ask the question of how prevalent was child sacrifice in the ancient near east.   My recent reading of Joan Breton Connelly’s book The Parthenon Enigma , made me realize that it was not only prevalent in the ancient near east but in Greece as well.   It was also practiced in Carthage and Phoenicia.   But what about Israel?    We have evidence in the Torah itself of instances, (see II Kings 3:26f . or Micah 6:7f .). Other references talk about the practice in the land of the Ammonites.   It is distinctly banned in Leviticus and Deuteronomy .   That it is mentioned in these texts implies that it was a practice to be actively condemned.   Isaiah 30:27-33 mentions a “tophet”, a place outside of Jerusalem where children were s