[b-hebrew] yorenu (teach US)

Harold Holmyard hholmyard3 at earthlink.net
Wed Jul 2 15:58:18 EDT 2008

> To explain again as briefly as possible: the Israelites could be saying 
> "teach us" because they seek God, seek to repent, despite their feeling 
> that they will be unable to do so without God's help. This fits in with 
> the general idea that "contesting with God" has a positive as well as a 
> negative form (the contextual theme). The other reason they say "us" is 
> because they recognize that the "he" or "it" that is the Evil 
> Inclination is itself an aspect of themselves (of all of US). --Does 
> this not at least make sense, even if it is wrong?

HH: I think it makes sense if you view the Israelites as unbound in time 
to Isaiah (dealing with the question why they are always backslidden) 
and looking at the circumstances of Isaiah's Israel as indicative of the 
role divine discipline has to amend the nation's ways, due to the sinful 
nature (evil inclination). You quoted one pious comment from Sanhedrin 
105 that might go along with the idea.

HH: Let me remind you, though, on the other side, of the comment made by 
Isaiah's Israel to the prophet that was characterized by cynical, 
unbelieving rebellion but which nonetheless used pious-sounding words:

Is. 5:19 who say, “Let him make haste,
let him speed his work
that we may see it;
let the plan of the Holy One of Israel hasten to fulfillment,
that we may know it!”

HH: The context shows that this was rebellious unbelief. Ahaz reflected that
spirit of false piety when he said:

Is. 7:12 But Ahaz said, I will not ask, and I will not put the LORD to 
the test.

HH: And Isaiah speaks of the false words elsewhere:

Is. 29:13 The Lord said:
Because these people draw near with their mouths
and honor me with their lips,
while their hearts are far from me,
and their worship of me is a human commandment learned by rote;

Harold Holmyard

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