More OT difficulties

Discussions about the Bible, and any issues raised by Scripture.
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smiley
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More OT difficulties

#1

Post by smiley » Sat Jul 10, 2010 1:02 pm

What is the logic behind descendants being punished for their predecessors' sins?

And no, I'm not talking about Adam's "original sin", but all the other various instances in the OT where we see this taking place.
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Re: More OT difficulties

#2

Post by narnia4 » Sat Jul 10, 2010 3:20 pm

I think for the most part that's simply the way things were done back then. You can see children being blamed for "the sins of the father" and looked down upon because of their ancestors today as well. In a Biblical sense, generational curses are more a "like father like son" or "the apple doesn't fall far from the tree" type of thing. An evil father had an evil son, and both were punished.

Exodus 18:20- "The soul who sins is the one who will die. The son will not share the guilt of the father, nor will the father share the guilt of the son."

Exodus 20:5 is sometimes used to talk about or justify intergenerational punishment, but as the link below says, it's referring to consequences of a father's actions, not that a father sins and God blames the entire family.

http://www.gotquestions.org/parents-sin.html

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Re: More OT difficulties

#3

Post by smiley » Sat Jul 10, 2010 4:42 pm

narnia4 wrote:I think for the most part that's simply the way things were done back then. You can see children being blamed for "the sins of the father" and looked down upon because of their ancestors today as well.
Flawed people do, indeed, do that. But why would an all-loving and all-knowing God blame people for something someone else did?
n a Biblical sense, generational curses are more a "like father like son" or "the apple doesn't fall far from the tree" type of thing. An evil father had an evil son, and both were punished.
I find this position to be incosistent with all the instances in the Bible where we are specifically told that it is precisely the sin of the previous generation that the present one is experiencing punishment, not for their own transgressions.

For example, the entire Israel was punished with famine for something the long-dead Saul had done. Clearly, this isn't simply because of the Israelities' own evil deeds.

Further, there are instances where little children are punished for their parents' sins (for example, in the second book of Samuel, David's son was punished with death for David's sin). The Bible says children can not distinguish between good and evil, so this is a clear instance of an innocent individual being punished for someone else's actions.
Exodus 20:5 is sometimes used to talk about or justify intergenerational punishment, but as the link below says, it's referring to consequences of a father's actions, not that a father sins and God blames the entire family.

http://www.gotquestions.org/parents-sin.html
I find it interesting how the author of that article says that the verse speaks "not so much about punishment" when it specifically says that God punishes children for their fathers' sins:

"You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me.”
"Imagine if we picked the wrong god. Every time we go to church, we're just make him madder and madder." - Homer Simpson

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Re: More OT difficulties

#4

Post by narnia4 » Sat Jul 10, 2010 5:28 pm

We have to keep Exodus 18:20 in mind, which specifically says that the won does not share the guilt of the father. This verse and ones like Deuteronomy 24:16 have to be kept in mind when trying to read verses like Exodus 20:5. Keep the whole thing in context and it becomes more obvious how the verse should be interpreted. Punishment in the sense of Exodus 20:5 would mean "pay the price of x" instead of actually meaning "guilty of x" or "judged for x". I should dig out what the the word "punish" is exactly in the original language (in that verse).

An example- imagine a drunk father driving his son, crashing his car, and the son ultimately dying. The son is "punished" for his father driving while intoxicated, but he's not "guilty" of driving while intoxicated.

I think the same is true in the death of David's son. It's one of the haunting realities that makes sin so painful- it doesn't just hurt the guilty, it hurts the innocent as well. In that way the innocent are ALWAYS "punished" because of the guilty. We also have to remember the "ultimate" truths here. That God is ultimately just and ultimately loving and ultimately good, AND that he has an ultimate plan. Even if a son dies for his father's sin, he will not suffer condemnation for that sin. In the grand scheme of things, those who die because of the sins of others won't be "punished eternally". There are things worse than death and plagues, after all.

The same could apply for the nation of Israel suffering for the deeds of Saul, but I also think there's more at play here with Saul as the leader of that nation. He represents Israel, and anything he does as the representative of that will have (or I should say "had") drastic effects on the innocent. What a leader chooses to do will definitely effect an entire nation. What Hitler does effects all of Germany.

I'm sure there's articles out there that have some better answers and I'm sure theologians have addressed this as well, but those are some of my early thoughts.
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Re: More OT difficulties

#5

Post by smiley » Sat Jul 10, 2010 5:36 pm

I understand what you're saying. Just because they are punished does not mean they are "guilty".

But still, it seems quite difficult to understand why not punish the guilty instead of the innocent (yes I know no one is technically "innocent", but in that case, they should be punished for their own sins, not for someone else's - they are innocent with respect to the sin of their predecessor).

Thanks for your input.
"Imagine if we picked the wrong god. Every time we go to church, we're just make him madder and madder." - Homer Simpson

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Re: More OT difficulties

#6

Post by narnia4 » Sat Jul 10, 2010 6:56 pm

Yeah, it is difficult. I wouldn't claim to "really" understand it, and nobody can understand it completely.

The Bible is pretty clear that each person is only guilty of his own sin, but there is also a definite connection between family members that goes beyond flesh and blood. A father is a head of a household (and a King the head of a nation), and although his family is not guilty of his sin the impact of that sin can go far, far beyond an immediate punishment for the sinner. People can be punished at the expense of family members. How that all works, I'm not sure. Should definitely look to dig up some articles on it (or see what the other members here have to say).

One other thought that's really complete speculation. Punishment at times means direct action by God against a person, but it can also be inaction or a removal of protection. Today, but especially back then, children died and famines occurred naturally very often. Through God's protection Israel was spared of many of those things, but God being all-knowing could have removed that protection. This doesn't necessarily "remove" some of these difficulties, but so often we picture God as smiting someone with lightening or something when it's much deeper than that.
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Re: More OT difficulties

#7

Post by truthman » Sat Jul 10, 2010 11:45 pm

smiley wrote:
narnia4 wrote:I think for the most part that's simply the way things were done back then. You can see children being blamed for "the sins of the father" and looked down upon because of their ancestors today as well.
Flawed people do, indeed, do that. But why would an all-loving and all-knowing God blame people for something someone else did?
n a Biblical sense, generational curses are more a "like father like son" or "the apple doesn't fall far from the tree" type of thing. An evil father had an evil son, and both were punished.
I find this position to be incosistent with all the instances in the Bible where we are specifically told that it is precisely the sin of the previous generation that the present one is experiencing punishment, not for their own transgressions.

For example, the entire Israel was punished with famine for something the long-dead Saul had done. Clearly, this isn't simply because of the Israelities' own evil deeds.

Further, there are instances where little children are punished for their parents' sins (for example, in the second book of Samuel, David's son was punished with death for David's sin). The Bible says children can not distinguish between good and evil, so this is a clear instance of an innocent individual being punished for someone else's actions.
Exodus 20:5 is sometimes used to talk about or justify intergenerational punishment, but as the link below says, it's referring to consequences of a father's actions, not that a father sins and God blames the entire family.

http://www.gotquestions.org/parents-sin.html
I find it interesting how the author of that article says that the verse speaks "not so much about punishment" when it specifically says that God punishes children for their fathers' sins:

"You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me.”
You raise a good question and hopefully are open minded to receive an answer.
First, you are unfortunately quoting from a poor translation. It reads in the AV:
Exodus 20:5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
The word translated "punish" in your version is translated "visiting" here.
The Hebrew word is paqad which has the basic meaning "attend to" or "pay attention to", then it has many meanings derived from it including visiting and even punishment, but that is a less common usage and meaning for the word.
The meaning of the passage if you read it carefully and think about it is that God will allow consequences of the decisions and actions of the fathers to affect the children to the third and fourth generation. God does not isolate individuals so that when they sin they only hurt themselves: they inevitably hurt others. Fathers especially hurt their children by their wrong actions. This should be a further deterrent to sin along with personal suffering of punishment for sin.

Regarding David's son's death: the innocent child was not punished. The baby was given the gift of life by God, however it was a short life. There is no evidence the baby suffered: he escaped suffering when he died and went to be with God. (2 Samuel 12:23)

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Re: More OT difficulties

#8

Post by narnia4 » Sun Jul 11, 2010 10:11 am

truthman wrote:
The word translated "punish" in your version is translated "visiting" here.
The Hebrew word is paqad which has the basic meaning "attend to" or "pay attention to", then it has many meanings derived from it including visiting and even punishment, but that is a less common usage and meaning for the word.
The meaning of the passage if you read it carefully and think about it is that God will allow consequences of the decisions and actions of the fathers to affect the children to the third and fourth generation. God does not isolate individuals so that when they sin they only hurt themselves: they inevitably hurt others. Fathers especially hurt their children by their wrong actions. This should be a further deterrent to sin along with personal suffering of punishment for sin.

Regarding David's son's death: the innocent child was not punished. The baby was given the gift of life by God, however it was a short life. There is no evidence the baby suffered: he escaped suffering when he died and went to be with God. (2 Samuel 12:23)
Good post, I had a hunch that "punish" may not be the best translation of the word in question, as in context that doesn't seem to be what it's saying "exactly".
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Re: More OT difficulties

#9

Post by warhoop » Sun Jul 11, 2010 1:04 pm

...clear instance of an innocent individual being punished for someone else's actions.
Kinda like the cross.

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Re: More OT difficulties

#10

Post by Kristoffer » Mon Jul 12, 2010 2:38 am

samsons death was more epic. (sorry)

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Re: More OT difficulties

#11

Post by zoegirl » Mon Jul 12, 2010 3:52 am

Have you studied death by crucifixion? Do you realize the pain (where we get the word excruciating...out of/from the cross) from the spikes being driven into the wrists and ankles? The asphyxiation that would have occurred because he couldn't draw breath?
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Re: More OT difficulties

#12

Post by jlay » Mon Jul 12, 2010 9:00 am

The meaning of Christ's suffering has nothing to do with how epic it was. Don't get drawn into that Zoe.
Christ's died the death of a peasant criminal. There was nothing remarkable about the act of crucifixion itself. The man on the cross is the remarkable one. Tens of thousands died similar deaths of suffering at the hands of Rome. It is not the type of death per se as much as it was the One who took the death. The cross has no meaning in and of itself. It is the one who was on the cross, that even gives it meaning or value. We don't celebrate a hangman's noose or electric chair. But this is essentially what we are doing. The cross is not seen by us as a method of execution. It is seen as a glorious reminder of what Christ did for us.

People go on and on about how painful the cross was. Yes it was. As it was for everyone that faced it. Yes, He took our punishment, and we should not neglect that He died as the death of the lowest criminal. But nothing can compare to the sins of the world being transferred to the Savior at the moment of his death. No strike of the whip, no hammer of the nail can compare to the piercing of the perfect One when the sins of the world were laid on Him.

The crucifixion was a humilating, gruesome event. It wasn't epic like Samsons. Nor should it have been. That is not the point of it.
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Re: More OT difficulties

#13

Post by Kristoffer » Sun Jul 25, 2010 5:59 pm

jlay wrote:...No strike of the whip, no hammer of the nail can compare to the piercing of the perfect One when the sins of the world were laid on Him...was a humilating, gruesome event.
Humiliation is the light that shows up humility then, although I have experienced humiliation and I do know the wrong and right way to take it. The wrong way is to lash out and knock someone's lights out...I've done so in the past, but also I have quietly accepted it as well.

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