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Monday, April 16 2012

The Herds Of Abraham, Isaac And Jacob

The English word "herd" may be defined as "a group of cattle or sheep or other domestic mammals all of the same kind that are herded by humans," or "a group of wild animals of one species that remain together: antelope or elephants or seals or whales or zebra" (The WordWeb Dictionary by Princeton University). The definition is correct, according to the source of the word; "herd" originated from an Anglo-Saxon word, heord, which meant a herd or a flock (keeping in mind that the word "shepherd" is merely an abbreviation of sheep herd). The English word "flocks" also came to be used (for birds and sheep), however the original word for "herd" meant cattle and sheep.

"Herd" is used to translate the Hebrew word, pronounced baw-kawr, which originated from a root word which meant to plow, but came to be used to refer to cattle, because they were used for plowing - hence the reason that flocks (sheep weren't usually used for plowing) were spoken of separately e.g. "Abram had flocks and herds" (verses below).

Abram, later named Abraham by the LORD (see Appearances Of The LORD God and What Does Word of God Mean To You?) after he left Iraq (see The Journey From Ur Of The Chaldees; also The Garden In Eden), came to own great herds of cattle, as did his nephew Lot. It was a dispute over grazing land for their herds ("for their substance was great, so that they could not dwell together") that caused them to part company - with Lot (see also Why Did Lot's Wife Look Back?) making the unwise choice of the lush area around Sodom (in that case, "lush" accurately described not only the grazing land, but "characterized by extravagance and profusion" and "a person who drinks alcohol to excess habitually"; The WordWeb Dictionary by Princeton University).

Herd

"13:1 And Abram went up out of Egypt, he, and his wife, and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the south [i.e. The Negev Of Israel]. 13:2 And Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold.

13:3 And he went on his journeys from the south even to Bethel, unto the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Hai; 13:4 Unto the place of the altar, which he had made there at the first: and there Abram called on the name of the LORD.

13:5 And Lot also, which went with Abram, had flocks, and herds, and tents. 13:6 And the land was not able to bear them, that they might dwell together: for their substance was great, so that they could not dwell together. 13:7 And there was a strife between the herdmen of Abram's cattle and the herdmen of Lot's cattle: and the Canaanite [see also A History Of Jerusalem: Jebus Of Canaan] and the Perizzite dwelled then in the land.

13:8 And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren. 13:9 Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left.

13:10 And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar. 13:11 Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other. 13:12 Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom. 13:13 But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly." (Genesis 13:1-13 KJV)

Abraham's son Isaac also came to own great herds, but once again, competition for fresh water and grazing land caused strife - in Isaac's case, with the Philistines.

"26:12 Then Isaac sowed in that land, and received in the same year an hundredfold: and the LORD blessed him. 26:13 And the man waxed great, and went forward, and grew until he became very great: 26:14 For he had possession of flocks, and possession of herds, and great store of servants: and the Philistines envied him. 26:15 For all the wells which his father's servants had digged in the days of Abraham his father, the Philistines had stopped them, and filled them with earth.

26:16 And Abimelech said unto Isaac, Go from us; for thou art much mightier than we.

26:17 And Isaac departed thence, and pitched his tent in the valley of Gerar, and dwelt there. 26:18 And Isaac digged again the wells of water, which they had digged in the days of Abraham his father; for the Philistines had stopped them after the death of Abraham: and he called their names after the names by which his father had called them." (Genesis 26:12-18 KJV)

Jacob had fled to his uncle Laban in Syria after his conflict with his brother Esau reached a near-deadly extreme (see Pottage). Jacob arrived in Syria with nothing, but when he left twenty years later, he had great herds and flocks - as attested by his gift to Esau on his return journey (see Where Jacob Became Israel): "two hundred she goats, and twenty he goats, two hundred ewes, and twenty rams, Thirty milch camels with their colts, forty kine [i.e. "Domesticated bovine animals as a group regardless of sex or age"], and ten bulls, twenty she asses, and ten foals."

Herd

"32:1 And Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him. 32:2 And when Jacob saw them, he said, This is God's host: and he called the name of that place Mahanaim.

32:3 And Jacob sent messengers before him to Esau his brother unto the land of Seir, the country of Edom. 32:4 And he commanded them, saying, Thus shall ye speak unto my lord Esau; Thy servant Jacob saith thus, I have sojourned with Laban, and stayed there until now: 32:5 And I have oxen, and asses, flocks, and menservants, and womenservants: and I have sent to tell my lord, that I may find grace in thy sight.

32:6 And the messengers returned to Jacob, saying, We came to thy brother Esau, and also he cometh to meet thee, and four hundred men with him.

32:7 Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed: and he divided the people that was with him, and the flocks, and herds, and the camels, into two bands; 32:8 And said, If Esau come to the one company, and smite it, then the other company which is left shall escape.

32:9 And Jacob said, O God of my father Abraham, and God of my father Isaac, the LORD which saidst unto me, Return unto thy country, and to thy kindred, and I will deal well with thee: 32:10 I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which thou hast showed unto thy servant; for with my staff I passed over this Jordan; and now I am become two bands. 32:11 Deliver me, I pray thee, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau: for I fear him, lest he will come and smite me, and the mother with the children. 32:12 And thou saidst, I will surely do thee good, and make thy seed as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.

32:13 And he lodged there that same night; and took of that which came to his hand a present for Esau his brother; 32:14 Two hundred she goats, and twenty he goats, two hundred ewes, and twenty rams, 32:15 Thirty milch camels with their colts, forty kine, and ten bulls, twenty she asses, and ten foals. 32:16 And he delivered them into the hand of his servants, every drove by themselves; and said unto his servants, Pass over before me, and put a space betwixt drove and drove." (Genesis 32:1-16 KJV)

"Abram had flocks and herds and tents"

Despite (as well as because of it) the extreme weather that drove them to Egypt (see Why Did They Go To Goshen?), Jacob/Israel had herds that he brought with him to Egypt, along with his flocks i.e. "they have brought their flocks, and their herds, and all that they have."

Herd

"46:31 And Joseph [see Joseph, Prime Minister Of Egypt] said unto his brethren, and unto his father's house, I will go up, and show Pharaoh, and say unto him, My brethren, and my father's house, which were in the land of Canaan, are come unto me; 46:32 And the men are shepherds, for their trade hath been to feed cattle; and they have brought their flocks, and their herds, and all that they have. 46:33 And it shall come to pass, when Pharaoh shall call you, and shall say, What is your occupation? 46:34 That ye shall say, Thy servants' trade hath been about cattle from our youth even until now, both we, and also our fathers: that ye may dwell in the land of Goshen; for every shepherd is an abomination unto the Egyptians." (Genesis 46:31-34 KJV)

"47:1 Then Joseph came and told Pharaoh, and said, My father and my brethren, and their flocks, and their herds, and all that they have, are come out of the land of Canaan; and, behold, they are in the land of Goshen." (Genesis 47:1 KJV)

When the Israelites left Egypt four centuries later, one of the plagues upon the Pharaoh's kingdom was the destruction of his herds of cattle ("all the cattle of Egypt died"), while "there was not one of the cattle of the Israelites dead."

"9:1 Then the LORD said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh, and tell him, Thus saith the LORD God of the Hebrews, Let my people go, that they may serve me. 9:2 For if thou refuse to let them go, and wilt hold them still, 9:3 Behold, the hand of the LORD is upon thy cattle which is in the field, upon the horses, upon the asses, upon the camels, upon the oxen, and upon the sheep: there shall be a very grievous murrain. 9:4 And the LORD shall sever between the cattle of Israel and the cattle of Egypt: and there shall nothing die of all that is the children's of Israel.

9:5 And the LORD appointed a set time, saying, To morrow the LORD shall do this thing in the land. 9:6 And the LORD did that thing on the morrow, and all the cattle of Egypt died: but of the cattle of the children of Israel died not one. 9:7 And Pharaoh sent, and, behold, there was not one of the cattle of the Israelites dead. And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not let the people go." (Exodus 9:1-7 KJV)

While the Israelites "borrowed of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment" at the time of the Exodus, with only their own cattle then left alive in Egypt, they took none of the Egyptian cattle with them because there were none - Egypt had thereafter to restore their herds from imports.

"12:35 And the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses; and they borrowed of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: 12:36 And the LORD gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent unto them such things as they required. And they spoiled the Egyptians.

12:37 And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot that were men, beside children. 12:38 And a mixed multitude went up also with them; and flocks, and herds, even very much cattle. 12:39 And they baked unleavened cakes of the dough which they brought forth out of Egypt, for it was not leavened [see The Rising Of The Messiah's Unleavened People]; because they were thrust out of Egypt, and could not tarry, neither had they prepared for themselves any victual.

12:40 Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty years. 12:41 And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the selfsame day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt." (Exodus 12:25-41 KJV)

While Moses was up on Mount Sinai obtaining the Ten Commandments (see Paul's Geography Lesson and Moses Of Midian), the Israelites made for themselves their infamous "golden calf" idol. It was an inexplicable act of foolishness, considering the power of the LORD that they had just witnessed in the Exodus, as well as their direct experience with cattle - herds of cattle can be beautiful, but there is nothing worthy of worship about them, let alone to blasphemously call a calf idol a representation of the LORD. When Moses came down and saw their abomination, he smashed the original set of Ten Commandments and then destroyed the golden calf.

Fool's Idol

"32:1 And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.

32:2 And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden earrings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them unto me. 32:3 And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron. 32:4 And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.

32:5 And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, To morrow is a feast to the LORD. 32:6 And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play." (Exodus 32:1-6 KJV)

"32:19 And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moses' anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount. 32:20 And he took the calf which they had made, and burnt it in the fire, and ground it to powder, and strowed it upon the water, and made the children of Israel drink of it." (Exodus 32:19-20 KJV)

Moses then returned to the LORD upon Mount Sinai where he received the second set of Ten Commandments (identical to the first - see the Fact Finder question below). Notice also an added instruction before Moses went up: "neither let the flocks nor herds feed before that mount."

"34:1 And the LORD said unto Moses, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first: and I will write upon these tables the words that were in the first tables, which thou brakest. 34:2 And be ready in the morning, and come up in the morning unto mount Sinai, and present thyself there to me in the top of the mount. 34:3 And no man shall come up with thee, neither let any man be seen throughout all the mount; neither let the flocks nor herds feed before that mount.

34:4 And he hewed two tables of stone like unto the first; and Moses rose up early in the morning, and went up unto mount Sinai, as the LORD had commanded him, and took in his hand the two tables of stone. 34:5 And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. 34:6 And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, 34:7 Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.

34:8 And Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshipped." (Exodus 34:1-8 KJV)

Fact Finder: Did the LORD carve the first set of stones, upon which the LORD wrote the Ten Commandments? Did Moses carve the second set of stones, upon which the LORD wrote the Ten Commandments - identical words to the first set, but the appearance of the stones would have been different?
See The Stones Of Mount Sinai


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This Day In History, April 16

1457 BC: A Battle of Megiddo (an ancient "battle of Armageddon") between Thutmose III of Egypt and a Canaanite coalition under the King of Kadesh.

69: Roman emperor Otho committed suicide at age 37 after being defeated by Vitellius' troops at Bedriacum (see A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars and Ancient Empires - Rome).

73: Masada fell to the Romans after several months of siege, ending the Jewish Revolt (see A History Of Jerusalem: Titus And The Zealots).

1065: The Norman Robert Guiscard took Bari, ending 5 centuries of Byzantine rule in southern Italy.

1175: Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I ended the siege of Alessandria and signed the Treaty of Montebello with the Lombard League (see The Holy Roman Empire).

1521: Martin Luther, 34, arrived at the Diet of Worms (i.e. "Worms" is the English rendering for Vorms, a city in Germany), where he defended his "Ninety-Five Theses," first advanced in 1517. At the Diet (a term for a legislative assembly used some countries, "Diet" derived from the Latin word for day), Luther refused to recant his rebellion against the Papacy (while at the same time, Luther kept nearly all of the Papacy's antichrist doctrines, as do most "Protestants" to this day - see Antichristians and Is Your Religion Your Religion?; also The Cross Of Christ, Or The Cross Of Men? and Christ Died For Repentant Sinners).

1542: The Sieur de Roberval, France's first viceroy in Canada, sailed for the New World with 3 ships and 200 colonists. He explored the St. Lawrence as far as Montreal Island, searching for the legendary kingdom of Saguenay. The expedition returned to France in 1543.

1705: Queen Anne knighted Isaac Newton at Trinity College.

1746: Forces under the Duke of Cumberland fought the Jacobite Scots under Prince Charles Edward at the Battle of Culloden, near Inverness, Scotland.

1856: The Declaration of Paris was signed. It recognized the principle of free ships and free goods and defined contraband and blockade.

1912: Harriet Quimby became the first woman to fly across the English Channel, from Dover to Hardelot.

1942: The Island of Malta was awarded the George Cross in recognition for heroism under constant German air attack during the Second World War. It was the first such award given to any part of the British Commonwealth.

1953: The British royal yacht Britannia was launched, just months before Queen Elizabeth's coronation. The ship served the monarchy for 45 years before being decommissioned in 1998.

1982: Queen Elizabeth proclaimed Canada's new constitution, ending the last colonial links with Britain.

1995: Canada and the European Union settled a dispute over fishing rights in the north Atlantic after weeks of tense negotiations. The incident began when a Canadian Coast Guard ship fired upon and arrested a Spanish ship on the high seas.





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