[b-hebrew] Hb 1:13

Bryant J. Williams III bjwvmw at com-pair.net
Wed Sep 21 12:32:26 EDT 2011

Dear Pere,

What is happening is that when TSADDIQ + cognates are looked at it is
automatically assumed that "forensic" righteousness is the meaning. If one looks
at the uses of TSADDIQ + cognates one will find that it refers to "conformity to
a norm," i.e. forensic/legal, ethical, cultural, national.  In this instance it
refers to the "conformity to the norm of God's (YHWH) as revealed in the Torah."
If one looks at Genesis 38:26 (RSV), "Then Judah acknowledged them and said,
'She is more righteous than I, inasmuch s I did not give her to my son Shelah.'"
This incident of Judah and Tamar shows that Judah had NOT conformed to the
cultural/ethical requirements of what was later called "levirate marriage."
Tamar took the matter into her own hands and forced the issue with Judah. Thus,
Tamar "was more righteous."She had conformed to the norm NOT Judah.

Habakkuk 1:13 (RSV),
    "Thou who art purer eyes than to behold evil
                        and canst not look on wrong,
    why dost thou look on faithless men,
             and art silent when the wicked
        swallows up the man more righteous than he?"

The contrast with the "the faithless men, ...the wicked" and "the man more
righteous" is the key here. The Babylonian, the wicked, faithless, who is wrong,
who is evil" is what is being looked at in contrast to the Israelite, in this
instance the Judahite, who is looked upon by Habakkuk as "more righteous, less
wicked, less faithless, etc." When looking this from man's point of view, then
there is a tendency to give degrees of righteousness. But, when looking at it
from God's point of view, there is no degree of righteousness. All mankind is
unrighteousness. That then leads to the statement in 2:4, "the just shall live
by faith." The Babylonian who is more wicked is being used by God to punish
Judah for their wickedness.

Rev. Bryant J. Williams III

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Pere Porta" <pporta7 at gmail.com>
To: <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Tuesday, September 20, 2011 9:48 PM
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Hb 1:13

> Regarding Hb 1:13
> To center the question I paste the version NET for the last part of the
> verse:
> Why do you say nothing when the wicked devour those more righteous than they
> are?
> My first question is:
> Does it make sense saying that someone is "more righteous" than a wicked?
> Can someone wicked be (even) somewhat, a little righteous?
> Is the last part of the verse really comparing the righteousness of a
> righteous with the righteousness of a wicked?  Or....... it rather says
> something different?
> And another question (Karl Randolph, do you have, as a lexicographer, an
> answer to it?): what does here BL(  (devour) mean in our today language?
> What does it mean that a wiched "devours" a righteous?
> 1. That the wicked kills the righteous?
> 2. That the wicked in some way oppresses the righteous?
> 3. That the wicked steals from the righteous?
> 4. The precedent concepts taken together?
> 5. Anything else? (other possibilities)
> Pere Porta
> (Barcelona, Catalonia, Northeastern Spain)
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3:19 PM

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