Archive for December, 2009

A friend recently inquired of me:

“Hey, [Ehud], on Deuteronomy 23:3, does that have anything to do with race? I was reading on stormfront where someone mentioned it but I’d like to get your commentary.”

Here’s my brief response:

Absolutely. The word “Illegitimate” in Deut. 23:2 used to be translated “Bastard”. In the Septuagint (Grk.) the word is “Nothos”, meaning generally, “a mongrel”. So too did the Vulgate (Latin) use the related term “Nothus”, meaning “Mongrel”. And In the Masoretic text (Heb.) its “Mamzer”, meaning, among other things, “a mongrel” as well.

Even Luther picked up on this by translating it as “Mischling” (German), which has only one definition: “A Mongrel, one of mixed race”. And I think he very appropriately translates “assembly” as “the body politic” because mongrels weren’t banned from heaven, only from the Israelite nation.

If one studies enough he sees that this is really the only position one can take on the topic of the Mamzer because the bible itself forces you into a corner on this subject:

First, if someone hopes to say a Mamzer is one born of an un-wed union or other forms of illicit sex, we find that though Jephthah was born of a harlot (Judges 11:1), the Law in nowise impeded his ascension to the highest office in Israel. And no one suggests that it should have.

And on the other side of the issue we find that the Prophets Ezra and Nehemiah banished the mixed-children along with the foreign wives from the body politic. Matthew Henry says that this can only be explained by the case Law of Deuteronomy 23:2 and that the Prophets have given us the perfect interpretation of that Law by divine authority.

So if the Law didn’t lock out children of harlots but DID lock out mixed-race children, we are forced to accept that ‘Mamzer’ is in fact correctly defined as ‘a mixed-race Mongrel’.

And the truth is that most translators know this … but are unwilling to admit the fact. How do we know that they know it? Look at Zechariah 9:6; the same word (Mamzer/Nothos) is therein translated by our modern bibles as “mixed-race”, “mongrel-people”, etc. Its the SAME WORD but they translate it in a radically different way when the matter of ethnic exclusion is on the line.

And besides, the Septuagint (Grk.) gets pretty specific about what was going on in Ezra 9 where we read: “…they have not separated themselves from the allogenes (‘other races’) of this land, nor the akatharsia (‘both physical and mental impurity’) from the ethnoi (‘ethnicities’): the Canaanites, and Hittites, and Pheresites, and Jebusites, and Moabites, and Egyptians, and Edomites. For both they and their sons have lived with their daughters, and the separated seed is mixed with this ethne (‘ethnicity’) of allogenes (‘another race’) of this land…”

Ezra goes on and on in this sort of language, denouncing mixture with “allogenes”. Its important to note that Linguists agree that the word ‘allogenes’ is a composite of two other Greek words, allos (“other”) and genos (“races, lines of descent”).

and its also important to note that the list of ethnicities with which they are said to have mixed themselves includes many non-Canaanite peoples. This is important because people often argue that Israel was only supposed to remain separate from people “under the ban” of Canaan but that clearly isn’t true. Ezra states that Israelites mingling (maritally or nationally) with ANY other race was illicit.

That’s the best I can do off the top of my head – I hope it helps.

According to His Law, by His Grace,
~Ehud would

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