Thursday, April 23, 2009

Big House

The 6th graders love Hebrew, they love Latin, and they really love Greek. Just ask them. Many of the kids are already learning word stems in school, so the prior sentence may not be an exaggeration. Learning what words originally meant can help the kids understand and retain concepts covered in the course material.

For example, in discussing "You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain" and "Honor Thy Father & Mother," among other examples I use the word Pharaoh:
Hey who saw Prince of Egypt? What was the bad guy's name? Ramses.

Yes...what was his job? He was the Pharaoh.

Mmmm, that was what people called him. What was his job? Being the king, ruling Egypt.
Yes. Now if we were speaking to the king could we say, hey Ramses, howya doin'? Sure is hot today in Egypt isn't it, Ramses? Laughter: no that wouldn't be right.

Why not? Well, he's the king. Yeah, so? So you have to show respect.

OK, so one way we show respect for someone's authority is to show respect for his name. By the way, Pharaoh doesn't actually mean King. Egyptians had another word for king (Nisut, if you must know). Pharaoh means Big House. (פרעה Par`oh)

Why would Ramses be called Big House? Because he lived in a big house, a palace.

Yes. And the point is that the Egyptians and the Hebrew slaves had so much respect for Ramses that they wouldn't call him Ramses, or even call him King, but only refer to him by where he lived.

And it's that same way with God, except we owe God way more respect than Pharaoh. That's also why we don't call our parents, or priests, or other people with authority by their first names.

And in Jesus' day nobody would even say God's name, which we know is YHWH (written on the board, not said), so we're not going to say it out loud, either. They'd say the "LORD," or the "Blessed One" to avoid saying His name, just in case they might accidentally show disrespect, such as by belching in the middle of saying it. Imagine Moses saying, "All praise & honor to thee, oh Yah...brraAAACK...weh, oops, sorry."

So when you think about the 2nd & 4th Commandments, try to show respect for everyone, but especially your parents and God. And what is a simple way to honor someone, especially your mom, dad or God?
By using their names respectfully.