Father Francisco’s Bible Study class on the Prophets


Father Nahoi led Thursday’s Old Testament study class at our Cathedral in Reno Nevada. Father Francisco Nahoi passed out literature giving a basic timeline of the Middle East covering the time we were covering in class. This included a discussion of the New Kingdom in Egypt of around 1300-1250 B.C., which included Akhenaton, the Pharaoh who worshiped the single god he called Rah. It also included the famous King Tut.

Akhenaten

Father mentioned it is likely that this is the time with the Hebrews came to Egypt. With their single God, El, Akhenaton and his priests would have found a kindred spirit. With the death of Akhenaton and the rise of Pharaoh Ramses, a new king rose in Egypt who did not know Joseph, or his one god. He enslaved the Hebrews.

Many scholars believe that some of the modern Jews escaped from Egypt, and other peoples joined them when they crossed the Jordon into Israel proper, including some at Jericho.

Joshua 24:11 states, “You went over the Jordan, and came to Jericho; the men of Jericho fought against you, the Amorite, the Perizzite, the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Girgashite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite; I delivered into your hand.”

Joshua 6:5 states, “The wall of the city will fall down flat.” This shows a wall for protection and before they knew, the Hebrews were coming. The website, Jericho, states the Amorites were one of the earlier tribes. The Canaanites came, and later the Hittites came, conquering each preceding tribe. There was a need for a wall.

Tel of Jericho

Each tribe conquered, subjugated, the preceding tribe. Here is a motivation for earlier tribes to rise up with the Jewish people to overthrow the tribe conquering them. We read the story of Rahab, “Only Rahab the harlot will live, she and all that are with her, as she hid the messengers we sent.” Joshua 6:17.

The moral in this history? Jericho was a pluralistic society, as America is a pluralistic society. The predominant tribe at present is the Anglo-Saxons. The minority tribes include Hispanics, from Africa: Igbo, Congo, Somali, Tutsi, Ameru, and from America, Lakota, Sioux, and Lenape. If we do not treat our minorities well, our Rahab may well be among us.

We notice Rahab was a prostitute. This reminds us of the story in Luke 7:36-50 and in particular Luke 7:44, “Do you see this woman?” The question? “Do you see this woman, or do you see an occupation?” The same issue comes up in Genesis and Exodus. From Genesis 46:34 we learn, “All shepherds are abhorrent to the Egyptians.”

Bronze age sword

From Exodus 1:10, “Pharaoh said, ‘Come, let us deal shrewdly with them.” The question is, “What did Pharaoh say?” The text does not say, but it is fair to conclude he reminded the Hebrews they were shepherds, people of the wrong vocation, something to abuse. The Jews, through the action of God, get even with Pharaoh, and Rahab, through the action of the Hebrews, and the action of God, gets even with the Canaanites and the Hittites. The lesson is that in all people, regardless of race, or vocation, are people, just like us.

Joshua 10 has the story of Gideon, telling how the various tribes listed as present at Jericho were not always at peace. Gideon was a tribe making peace with Israel and becoming part of the Jewish people. Not all people living in Eretz Israel after the Jewish conquest of Canaan escaped from Egypt. There were the relatives of Rahab and the tribe of Gibeon, among others.

One of the important features of this period of the Jewish Exodus and the Early Prophets and first kings was the transition from the Bronze Age to the Iron Age and other factors of terrain that affected the movement of Jewish and other peoples. Saul had a hard time fighting Philistines. They had iron weapons. The Israelis used the far softer bronze, giving the Philistines a distinct advantage. The Philistines had superior chariots as well.

Iron age Philistine sword

The people of Israel lived in the mountains. Chariots function much like the modern tank, great in the open field they tend not to function well elsewhere. This gave the Israelis a distinct advantage when fighting in the rugged mountains. Americans are learning the same lesson as they fight the Taliban in the mountains of Afghanistan. This gives us another lesson, not to think that our weapons will save us. No single weapon is perfect for all theaters of defense.

This being the case, our moral in today’s presentation was that we need to trust less in our technology, and more in each other, regardless of race, color, creed, national origin, or prior vocation. We need to define our enemies and define them well. If we do not, we may well make people who should be our friends into the enemies who destroy us.

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One thought on “Father Francisco’s Bible Study class on the Prophets

  1. Pingback: At Mass do we know the the symbols around us, the person beside us? « The stories of Curtis and Salvador

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