Fr. James' Lectionary

The Lectionary is both a reading program for completing all of Holy Scripture on a one year schedule, and a daily comment on a portion of the day's reading wedded to a poem to give an added perspective on the theme.

Location: Amherst, Virginia, United States

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Version Two--Josephus

Daily Readings
Psalm 70 + Numbers 17 + Deuteronomy 10 + Matthew 26

Verse for the Day
• He is your praise; he is your God, who has done for you these great and awesome things that your own eyes have seen. Deuteronomy 10:21

Daily Text Numbers 17:1-5, 8

The LORD spoke to Moses, saying: 2Speak to the Israelites, and get twelve staffs from them, one for each ancestral house, from all the leaders of their ancestral houses. Write each man's name on his staff, 3and write Aaron's name on the staff of Levi. For there shall be one staff for the head of each ancestral house. 4Place them in the tent of meeting before the covenant, where I meet with you. 5And the staff of the man whom I choose shall sprout; thus I will put a stop to the complaints of the Israelites that they continually make against you.
8 When Moses went into the tent of the covenant on the next day, the staff of Aaron for the house of Levi had sprouted. It put forth buds, produced blossoms, and bore ripe almonds.

Version Two—Josephus
“Now Moses, upon his hearing for a good while that the people were tumultuous, was afraid that they would attempt some other innovation, and that some great and sad calamity would be the consequence. He called the multitude to a congregation, and patiently heard what apology they had to make for themselves, without opposing them, and this lest he should imbitter the multitude: he only desired the heads of the tribes to bring their rods, with the names of their tribes inscribed upon them, and that he should receive the priesthood in whose rod God should give a sign. This was agreed to. So the rest brought their rods, as did Aaron also, who had written the tribe of Levi on his rod. These rods Moses laid up in the tabernacle of God. On the next day he brought out the rods, which were known from one another by those who brought them, they having distinctly noted them, as had the multitude also; and as to the rest, in the same form Moses had received them, in that they saw them still; but they also saw buds and branches grown out of Aaron’s rod, with ripe fruits upon them; they were almonds, the rod having been cut out of that tree. The people were so amazed at this strange sight, that though Moses and Aaron were before under some degree of hatred, they now laid that hatred aside, and began to admire the judgment of God concerning them; so that hereafter they applauded what God had decreed, and permitted Aaron to enjoy the priesthood peaceably. 412:118 (Antiquities IV:4:2)

And Now in Age
from The Flower
George Herbert

And now in age I bud again,
After so many deaths I live and write;
I once more smell the dew and rain,
And relish versing: O, my only Light,
It cannot be
That I am he
On whom Thy tempests fell all night.


Blogger Norm said...

As I understand it, the Hebrew words for “almond” and “chosen” have a common root.

9:54 AM  
Blogger Fr. James said...

I could be wrong, but I don't think they have the same root. "Almonds" is the Hebrew word 'shakarim' and 'chosen' is 'bahor.' There are a couple of other possibilities for 'chosen' but they don't seem to have anything to do with almonds or its root. Fr. James

8:56 PM  
Blogger Norm said...

Thanks Fr. James. You are correct.

Naturally, I did not footnote my source of this erroneous information, so I researched the word "almond" a little more. Here's what I found:

It appears that Hebrew word for "almond" 'shaqad' means to be "alert" or "expecting". The almond tree is the first tree to spring to life after the winter. It is the first to bud, flower, and bear fruit. It survives the death of winter and comes to life with bud, flower, and fruit before any other tree. It is sometimes called the "Awakening tree."

The Hebrew word 'luz' means "light". Some sources state that this is another Hebrew word for "almond".

As you have already discussed, the almond tree figured prominently in the design of the menorah, which depicts the three stages of the almond: the bud, the flower and the ripened fruit.

9:40 AM  

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