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How To Read the Bible • Episode 36
Wisdom Q&R
72m • July 29, 2019
Welcome to our Q+R on the Wisdom Literature in the Bible!
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Wisdom Q+R

Welcome to our Q+R on the Wisdom Literature in the Bible! 
In this episode, Tim and Jon respond to seven questions. You can read those questions with their timestamps below.

Toonna from Canada (1:55):
Hi, Tim and Jon. My name is Toonna and I am calling from Canada. I'm Nigerian, but I currently live in Canada. I just got done listening to the podcast of the tree of knowing good and bad. Towards the end of the podcast, I was really interested in the conversation around the fear of the Lord and wisdom, how Adam and Eve were afraid of God after they ate of the fruit of the tree of good and bad but not afraid before, enough to not eat of the fruit. So I was curious if you have any thoughts on how we as Christians today can be possessed or consumed by the fear of the Lord enough to not commit sin today. Thank you very much.

Jan from Texas (21:10):
I was especially interested in your commentary on the role of the woman as the 'ezer, implying that she's someone provided for the adam to address the "not good" situation of his being alone and which then allows him to fulfill his mission "as designed" (so to speak). I'm curious, though, about how to reconcile this with Paul's statements in 1 Corinthians 7 regarding his wish that church members would remain unmarried (as he is). Typically, I've been taught that Paul was better able to fulfill his mission because of his single status, which seems a little at odds with the ideas discussed in these recent podcasts. So my question is: What's the best/most accurate way to handle Paul's teachings, especially viewed through the lens of the wisdom literature in particular? I feel like there's probably something my 21st-century Western mind is missing.

Wesley from California (45:45):
Hi, Tim and Jon, this is Wesley from Chowchilla, California. In your video on the Books of Solomon, you mentioned that Ecclesiastes is like Solomon as an old man reflecting on his life. In 1 Kings 11, Solomon dies apostate as king. I've been reading Tremper Longman's New International Commentary on Ecclesiastes, and in it he argues that Solomon did not write Ecclesiastes but that Collette is taking on Solomon's persona to make his point. And he seems to abandon this persona after three chapters. Can I get your thoughts on this idea? Also, I just want to say that I love The Bible Project. Thank you for everything you guys do.

Taylor from Tennessee (49:23):
Hey guys, this is Taylor from Knoxville, Tennessee. I'm trying to gain a better understanding of wisdom, and it appears that the opposite of wisdom is doing what is right in your own eyes. It seems that that's the underlying theme of the book of Judges, and I was curious to see if there was any correlation or relationship that the authors try to make there with wisdom.

Brad from Wisconsin (53:10):
My question came up about midway through the series, and it has to do with David. Does he play any role in the Wisdom Literature of the Bible, or is the major theme of wisdom attributed to Solomon exclusively? I see Solomon's portrayal of wisdom to be a piece of what it means to be an image bearer. Does King David share a similar motif?

Micah from Oregon (56:35):
Hi, my name is Micah Sharp. I'm from Newberg, Oregon. Here's my question. If we're switching from the wisdom literature to the classification of the books of Solomon, where does the book of Job now fit in the wider Hebrew Bible? Thank you.

Kayleigh from South Africa (1:02:47):
My question is about the Song of Songs. I was wondering if there's a connection between the two lovers in the Song of Songs who never get to fully consummate their love for each other and the New Jerusalem as a bride of the Lamb in Revelation? Could this be, in a sense, when the two lovers get to completely unite with each other in Revelation? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.

Thank you to all our supporters!

Find out more at www.thebibleproject.com

Show Resources: Our video on How to Read the Books of Solomon: https://youtu.be/WJgt1vRkPbI An Obituary for Wisdom Literature by Will Kynes

Show Music: Defender Instrumental by Tents

Show Produced by: Dan Gummel

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What is the Bible E1  –  1hr 3m
The Bible as Divine Literary Art
1hr 3m
What is the Bible E2  –  1hr 10m
What's in your Bible?
1hr 10m
What is the Bible E3  –  59m
What is the Story of the Bible?
59m
Reading the Bible Aloud in Community E1  –  59m
Ancient vs. Modern Ways of Reading Scripture
59m
Reading the Bible Aloud in Community E2  –  48m
Is Reading The Bible Together Just a Form of Group Think?
48m
Literary Styles of the Bible E1  –  1hr 1m
Literary Genres & the Stories We Tell Ourselves
1hr 1m
Literary Styles in the Bible E2  –  45m
Poetry, Narrative & Prose Discourse
45m
Literary Styles in the Bible E3  –  44m
Why isn't there more detail in Bible stories?
44m
Biblical Narrative E1  –  51m
Plot in Biblical Narrative
51m
Biblical Narrative E2  –  49m
Character in Biblical Narrative
49m
Biblical Narrative E3  –  35m
Setting in Biblical Narrative
35m
Design Patterns E1  –  1hr 16m
Live from Milpitas! Part 1
1hr 16m
Design Patterns E2  –  1hr 18m
Live from Milpitas! Part 2
1hr 18m
Design Patterns E3  –  51m
Crossing the Chaotic Waters
51m
Design Patterns E4  –  1hr 2m
Chaotic Waters & Baptism
1hr 2m
Poetry and Metaphor E1  –  1hr 18m
The Thunder of God
1hr 18m
Poetry and Metaphor E2  –  44m
God Speaks in Poetry
44m
Poetry and Metaphor E3  –  59m
Metaphor & Our Imagination
59m
Poetry and Metaphor E4  –  46m
The Mountain Garden & the Human Ideal
46m
Poetry and Metaphor E5  –  1hr 11m
Chaotic Waters
1hr 11m
Poetry and Metaphor E6  –  48m
Poetry Q&R
48m
Prophecy E1  –  58m
What Prophecy is For
58m
Prophecy E2  –  56m
Prophets as Provokers
56m
Law E1  –  1hr 13m
The Purpose of The Law
1hr 13m
1hr 13m
Law E3  –  1hr 2m
The Law as a Revolution
1hr 2m
Law E4  –  51m
God's Wisdom in the Law
51m
Law E5  –  48m
Jesus Fulfills the Law
48m
Law E6  –  56m
Law Q&R
56m
Wisdom E1  –  46m
The Quest for Wisdom
46m
1hr
45m
1hr 4m
1hr 5m
Wisdom E7  –  1hr 12m
Wisdom Q&R
1hr 12m
Gospel E1  –  1hr 11m
What Does the Word "Gospel" Mean?
1hr 11m
55m
1hr 8m

Podcast Date: July 29, 2019

(72.48)        

Speakers in the audio file:

Jon Collins     

Tim Mackie



Jon:    Hey, this is Jon. 

Tim:    And this is Tim. 

Jon:    This is a question and response episode...

Tim:    ...of The Bible Project podcast. 

Jon:    Oh, we're finishing each other sentences. 

Tim:    We are. We've been doing this together for that long. You know, something that the listeners can't see is that every single time we start a podcast, you smile and kind of squint your eyes and start speaking into the microphone as if you're imagining...

Jon:    What it's going to sound like?

Tim:    Oh, no people. 

Jon:    Oh.

Tim:    What it looks like is you're looking at someone. But it's not me. You're never looking at me. You're looking through me into the corner of the room. But you smile, squint your eyes, and then you start talking.

Jon:    Wow. 

Tim:    Anyway. That's for everyone out there to imagine Jon smiling.

Jon:    I think that's how maybe I talk to people in general. It's like look past that them and in my own world. 

Tim:    Anyway, this is a Q&R episode that is interacting with your questions and responses to a multi-part podcast series on the wisdom literature in the Hebrew Bible. The books of Solomon, is what we ended up calling the video that we created out of all these conversations. There you go. 

    You guys sent in lots of questions. It was hard to pick. But as always, every question that we picked represents two to five people who asked the same basic thing. There you go. It should be interesting. There are great questions here.

Jon:    Thanks for joining us. Let's jump into it. 

Tim:    Great. The first question is from Toonna, who lives in Canada but is Nigerian, and you have a good question.

Toonna:    Hi, Tim and Jon. My name is Toonna and I am calling from Canada. I'm Nigerian, but I currently live in Canada. I just got done listening to the podcast of the tree of knowing good and bad. Towards the end of the podcast, I was really interested in the conversation around the fear of the Lord and wisdom, how Adam and Eve were afraid of God after they ate of the fruit of the tree of good and bad, but not afraid before, enough to not eat of the fruit. So I was curious if you have any thoughts on how we as Christians today can be possessed or consumed by the fear of the Lord enough to not commit sin today. Thank you very much.

Tim:    Yes, the fear of the Lord. 

Jon:    Fear the Lord. 

Tim:    I find that it's one of these themes in the Bible, that no matter how many times you make sense of it to yourself, the next day, it's as if you never made any progress.

Jon:    That's interesting.

Tim:    It just kind of keeps being a fresh tension or question. The fear of the Lord, whether it's a good thing, bad thing, both things.

Jon:    When I was in junior high, there was a Bible study. I don't remember if it was like between classes or it was...It must have been during lunch or something. So I volunteered to lead it one week and I chose the fear of the Lord as a topic. 

Tim:    Oh, really? 

Jon:    Yeah. 

Jon:    It was the first time I ever did any sort of leading a study or teaching in any way.

Tim:    Oh, really? I don't think I've heard you tell that story. 

Jon:    Yeah, no. 

Tim:    Wow. 

Jon:    And so I just remember having that NIV exhaustive concordance open and just reading about the fear of the Lord. 

Tim:    You were in junior high and using a fat print Bible concordance?

Jon:    Yeah. 

Tim:    Whoa. Who even told you that such a thing existed? How did you know that?

Jon:    My dad went to Bible School. 

Tim:    Did you have one around your house?

Jon:    There was one around the house I'm pretty sure. Am I misremembering this?

Tim:    I don't know. I can't tell you the answer to that. 

Jon:    Anyways.

Tim:    You were a youth leading a Bible study on the phrase fear of the Lord, and you did some Bible study? 

Jon:    I did. I remember reading about and I remember trying to make sense of it. And I agree with you, like, you can kind of start to feel like, "I'm making sense of this," but every time you come back to it, you're like, "Huh, should I really be afraid of God?" Is that the right word? Why do they use that word, fear?

Tim:    I know. Well, maybe let's come at it from a different angle. Toonna, you're linking to Jon and I's conversation about how that phrase actually begins in the garden narrative. The first time somebody fears the Lord is negative and it's after Adam and Eve take from the tree of knowing good and bad. But then that begins a motif about characters who either fear the Lord too late or they fear the Lord before they come to the moment of testing a decision. And then they make the right choice, like in the case of Abraham in the story of Abraham and Isaac. 

    Another way to approach it is, virtually every time someone has an encounter with God's divine power and royal presence...

Jon:    Freaks them out. 

Tim:    ...they are afraid. Moses in the bush, Isaiah, when he wakes up in the Holy of holies in that dream, Ezekiel and his dream and vision. Apparently, the kind of being, the kind of person who can generate the universe out of his creative power and imagination is a being who is frightening to encounter. It's pretty intuitive to me. 

    I'm not afraid when I see you at work, Jon. But it's like...

Jon:    I need to work on that.

Tim:    And you and I help create a nonprofit animation studio. We've created something, but I'm not afraid of you. But, you know, lightning makes me afraid, earthquakes make me afraid and sunset instills a deep sense of mystery, and awe and grander... 

Jon:    I think a lot of people want to often say, "Oh, the fear is just that. It's this sense of grandeur and mystery and awe." But I don't feel afraid of a sunset. 

Tim:    Sure. However, a sunset or looking up at the mountains, you do get a sense of your smallness...

Jon:    That's true. 

Tim:    ...a sense of like the shortness of my existence. At least I think a healthy person should think of those things when you look at a mountain. And then if you're a theist, you believe in a beautiful mind behind all of this, then whatever kind of being can generate all of this is so much more of everything than me, that encounter them would be a pretty frightening prospect. 

Jon:    Right.

Tim:    And I don't think that's bad. I think that's healthy. So when that being communicates with us and communicates the divine purpose, and will, there's a kind of fear around that about, I should listen, and I should do that, and I should not do the opposite of what that being is communicating to me because they can generate a universe and I can't. 

Jon:    But perfect love casts out all fear. 

Tim:    Yes, that's right. But what's the context of that statement? 

Jon:    I don't know. I’d have to look it up. 

Tim:    It's in 1 John. People often bring that line-up. There is whole train of thought there in 1 John. I'm pretty sure it's in chapter 4. That because of what Jesus has done for us in his life and his death, his resurrection, we can trust that God's purpose and love is for us and not against us. And because of Jesus, we don't have to fear facing him anymore, especially when it comes to being held to account for all the terrible things that I have done. 

Jon:    Is that different than fearing the Lord? Would you say that because of Jesus we don't have to fear the Lord?

Tim:    No, I don't think that. I think it's the opposite. It's actually because of Jesus that I fear the Lord even more. 

Jon:    Really? Because? 

Tim:    The biblical story portrays a being who generates the universe, and then narrates the human condition and shows all the ways that we pillage and hurt each other and the creation, and that that being’s ultimate response is to suffer along with his creatures precisely so that he can rescue them. That puts the fear of God in me. And then that God asked me to follow Him and do difficult things and be human in ways that don't seem natural to me. That puts the fear of God in me.

Jon:    I'm curious what you mean by that phrase "that puts the fear of God in me." The word "fear," the idea of being afraid, on its most basic level in English seems to be this emotional state where you're concerned about safety. And you have a physiological response to it. Your body goes into a mode of "I need to protect myself." 

Tim:    That's right. Your limbic system, right?

Jon:    Yeah, like blood starts flowing to your muscles and out of your digestive system, you could lose control of like your bladder because your body is just like, "Bladder is not important. We got to protect ourselves." So all this, your body just starts working to protect you - the state of fear. And so there's the one way to think about fear. And then when you use the word "fear of" that puts the fear of the Lord and me. I don't imagine you saying, I go into the state where my body thinks I need to go into survival mode.

Tim:    Yeah, got it. However, when I'm in a moment of decision between something I know like, yep, this the right thing or the wrong thing, I've had moments where my body kicks into that mode in the moment of decision, like, what am I going to do? Let's go back to the garden narrative - and I think we talked about this. I can't remember - what God puts before them as a choice. He says, "Eat from all the trees, but not from this one, it will kill you." And then what you see is they eat from that tree and what God doesn't do is kill him. He doesn't kill them. But He does give them over. He exiles them to the consequences of their decisions, which ultimately leads to death. We did talk about this. 

    I think the logic of that narrative is the fear of the Lord before the decision is fearing a God who will honor my decision and give me the fruits of my choice. He won't hold back the consequences of my choice, necessarily. Sometimes He might, sometimes He does, but not always. So in that sense, it's fearing the consequences of my choices, but it's fearing God and as much as He will give me what I want. And if what I want is what will kill me, then He will get that to me. So I guess you're right. That's what actually is going on in my mind. I'm fearing...

Jon:    It's much more cerebral.

Tim:    I'm fearing that God will give me what I want.

Jon:    That seems different than this physiological fear of like, I see a snake, my body panics. 

Tim:    Yeah, sure. 

Jon:    Or, you know, I'm standing on a ledge and my body's like, "Step away, step away." Well, maybe it's similar to that. But the way you talked about that, it seemed a very, like, intellectual kind of like, there's something more I should care about. I see this thing. And it's not like your body starting to say like, "But Yahweh is watching." Or maybe you feel that way? I don't know. 

Tim:    Yeah, I hear that. 

Jon:    I guess the reason why I'm trying to pick at this is the fear of the Lord supposed to...is it an emotion? Because emotion seems to be almost like outside of my control? Like my body just...

Tim:    Generates them.

Jon:    There's also I can develop an appreciation and a respect for something that then begins to override.

Tim:    If the fear of the Lord is anything in the Bible, it's that - that second thing. Because the whole point of the wisdom literature is that you need to cultivate your fear of the Lord so that you can have true wisdom. Because you can have wisdom without the fear of the Lord and things will not go well.

Jon:    Basic physiological fear, you don't cultivate, it just happens. 

Tim:    Yeah. So it's cultivating almost a second nature, a kind of fear that you have to initiate. And you do that by telling yourself stories that reinforce that a vision of the world where honoring and even fearing the Creator, and the fact that he will honor the dignity of my choices and give me what I want, that should instill a fear in me. That should motivate certain kinds of choices. I have often wished that I could have a burning bush experience. 

Jon:    Really? 

Tim:    Yes, even though I actually don't want that. But another part of me kind of does because I think it would put the fear of God in me. But the whole point of the Sinai narrative is, here's a whole group of people who had that experience, and 40 days later, they're making a golden calf. So odds are, it wouldn't stick. I would need to have one on average of every two years probably but...

Jon:    How often do you need a burning bush experience?

Tim:    Yea, but sometimes I do. Here's a recent experience. There's a Thai restaurant down the street from here. I was having lunch there with someone else from the studio, and one of the servers came up, and she knows that our work has something to do with Jesus and he started talking about it. And so she shared a need that she had - a lot of financial, physical need. And she kind of went out on a limb share with us. So I walked away from that just going like, "Oh, okay, what am I supposed to do with that?" Oh, my family was out of town that following weekend, and I had 48 hours to be by myself in my own house.

Jon:    Which is not something that happens normally?

Tim:    No. It was so incredible. So I just got a stack of books and Hebrew Bible, and it was amazing. So when the Sunday morning came, and I was debating on whether or not to go to church, because I was like, "I'm having a great time in my house. I'm going to read the Bible all morning." But I felt like I should go to church and I couldn't tell you why. I just felt like I should. So I did. 

    Every Sunday there's like a sharing time for needs in the congregation. And all of a sudden, my body was flushed full of the feeling you just described.

Jon:    Fear?

Tim:    Fear, yeah. Well, it hit me. I was like, "Oh, I think I'm supposed to share that lady story because I think maybe someone in the room here at church has what that lady needs." And what struck my body was fear. It was crazy, Jon. It was so bizarre. And it was like, it's not a huge room and it's like, "What's big deal? Stand up, raise your hand and share." But yeah, my heart started beating, my face got flushed. I was afraid. 

    I shared the lady story, and seriously three people three seats down from me is a couple who has exactly what the lady needs and had extra of what the lady needs. So that all came together. But I've reflected on that experience of like, that was a unique Holy Spirit moment in my life. I don't have those very often. And I found myself asking God, like, "I think I would like to experience more of that." But then I went back on it. I was like, "Oh, but I did not like how I felt." Because I felt uncomfortable, I felt vulnerable, I felt like what if...I don't know what I was afraid of, but I was afraid. Anyway, it was my version of a divine encounter of God, I think...

Jon:    God's telling you to do something and you going, "That sounds scary."

Tim:    Correct. Correct. There was a moment where I was like, "I think I'm supposed to do something right now and I'm afraid to do it."

Jon:    Is that a fear of the Lord?

Tim:    I don't know. I don't know. It was just a powerful experience I had recently. It was an encounter with God's grace trying to work through the body Christ from one person to another. And I was apparently supposed to make the connection, and my body was filled with fear and I don't know why. Even right now explaining it to you, I don't know why.

Jon:    This so interesting about fear, like sometimes you need to just push past the fear, but other times, man, fear is such an ally. 

Tim:    Yes, it can motivate you. 

Jon:    If your house is on fire, you get out of there, fear will help you. 

Tim:    Correct. That's right. 

Jon:    So it's an interesting thing where it's kind of neutral, like you have to use it wisely. Fear of the Lord...

Tim:    Well, we've had a good conversation. 

Jon:    Did we figure it out? 

Tim:    No. 

Jon:    I was just reading Chronicles of Narnia with my boys, and there's that classic Lewis' lines, "Is he safe?" It's the Beaver I think or...

Tim:    That's Mrs. Beaver. 

Jon:    Mrs. Beaver?

Tim:    Yeah. 

Jon:    She's "Oh, no, no, he's not safe but he's good." And when we're afraid, we're afraid for our safety, generally. But that's not the kind of fear we should have around God.

Tim:    I think Moses and Isaiah we're afraid for their safety.

Jon:    They were afraid for their safety.

Tim:    They thought they were going to die. But then what they discover is that God is good-natured and has goodwill towards them, but has a short temper...That's not true. He has a long temper according to Exodus 34:6-7, He's long of nose. It takes a long time to flare His nostrils and make Him angry. But when He does, it's also good. His anger is good because what He gets angry at is what defaces His creation and His image-bearing humans. But that anger, even though it's good-natured, puts fear in you - at least in me. It ought to at least. I wish it did more. 

Jon:    But the apostle John says, "Look at what Jesus did, how good that is."

Tim:    And because of that, we don't have to fear that God is going to pull a bait and switch on us. You can trust that God's will and love is towards you because of what Jesus did in his life, death, and resurrection. That's his point. So there is no fear in love. Perfect love casts out fear. Fear pertains to punishment.

Jon:    You know, isn't that wisdom in general, just being afraid of the right things? 

Tim:    Yeah. 

Jon:    I mean, maybe that's too simple, but that's part of wisdom, being afraid of the right things. 

Tim:    That's right. 

Jon:    You know how everyone's using this face app thing right now that makes them look old? 

Tim:    I don't know what you're talking about. 

Jon:    There's this app that everyone's sharing, and it's really...I mean, they've had these apps before, but this one is particularly good at taking a photo of you and making you look like you're 90. 

Tim:    Oh, wow, fascinating. 

Jon:    So everyone's sharing them. I think it's really great to imagine yourself as 90. Because we make so many decisions throughout our life that's horrible for our 90-year-old self.

Tim:    That's right.

Jon:    Like you said, like telling stories to yourself and imagining a different way being able to look at, this is where my body's heading and that's going to be me, and I'm going to be...hopefully, I'll be able to be an old person, what kind of life do I want when I'm old? What kind of relationships do I want? How do I want my body to feel? And then be afraid of the things that I'm doing now that will prevent that. That's just not typically how we think. We don't think in the future. We don't have the ability to imagine ourselves as a 90-year-old, until the face app.

Tim:    There you go. 

Jon:    All right. 

Tim:    Thank you for that great question, Toonna. I hope we're pronouncing your name correctly. Good question always. Ask it again another year and we'll talk about it.

Jon:    Keep asking it. 

Tim:    The next question from Jan Roberts in Tyler, Texas.

Jan:    Hi, Tim and Jon. This is Jan Roberts from Tyler, Texas. Thanks for taking this deeper dive into wisdom literature in Scripture. I was especially interested in your commentary on the role of the woman as the 'ezer, implying that she's someone provided to the adam to address the "not good" situation of his being alone and which then allows him to fulfill his mission "as designed", so to speak. I'm curious, though, about how to reconcile this with Paul's statements in 1 Corinthians 7 regarding his wish that church members would remain unmarried as he is. Typically, I've been taught that Paul was better able to fulfill his mission because of his single status, which seems a little at odds with the ideas discussed in these recent podcasts. So my question is: What's the best or most accurate way to handle Paul's teachings, especially viewed through the lens of the wisdom literature in particular? I feel like there's probably something that my 21st-century Western mind is missing. Thanks for all you do. I really appreciate the way that your insights satisfy my curiosity and make me hungrier for scripture at the same time.

Tim:    Great question. Really insightful, and opens up so many fascinating features of the biblical story. 

Jon:    I'm excited to hear you respond to this question.

Tim:    Oh, wow. Well, I guess I am too. There are multiple parts of the biblical story that you could go to address this. Let's first start where your question started, Jan, was in Genesis 2, where we had, I think it was a whole episode - I don't remember - talking about God's wisdom, to provide what is good to resolve the not good situation, and how in God's wisdom He provides another. So he takes from the side, one of the sides of the man or the human and provides a savior. 

Jon:    An 'ezer. 

Tim:    An 'ezer. The essential other? Was that the phrase you started using?

Jon:    Yeah. 

Tim:    The essential other. 

Jon:    The essential other.  

Tim:    I liked that. It's a synonym with salvation, deliverance, and rescue - the word 'ezer is like in the book of Psalms always. So the one without which I cannot be or do what God's called me to be or do. So that relationship of male and female is essential. And when the guy wakes up, and he sees this essential other, now he can do what God destined humanity to do, which is to be fruitful and multiply here. Before he couldn't. He sings a little poem about it, he says, "This time, bone from my bone, flesh from my flesh, this one will be called ishah (woman), for from iysh (from man), she was taken.

Jon:    Iysh means man?

Tim:    Iysh is man. Ishah is woman or wife. An iysh is man or husband can be used. So the phrase "bone from my bone, flesh from my flesh," this is kinship family language. When Jacob has to run from Esau later in Genesis, and his uncle Laban sees him coming into town, he says, "Bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh. We are brothers." So the bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh is primarily like a kinship oneness. "We are one flesh, bloodline," he would say. Then whole logic to that narrative is for God's purposes to be carried forward in the world, there must be more than one. But those others who come from one are two others now, and yet they must become one again.

Jon:    One become two, two become one. 

Tim:    One become two so that two can become one. And the two that become one is then a covenantal or relational unity. Harmony, we would call it. So what you get in Genesis 2 and 3 is male and female harmony, and then disharmony because of what happens with the tree of knowing good and bad. So you have Genesis 3 there, male and female disharmony. That's meant to be harmony. Then the mirror story that comes along with the story of the next generation with Cain and Abel, and this time, it's two others again. But these two others are bone of bone and flesh. But they're not male and female, they're brothers. 

    We've talked about this. The Cain and Abel narrative is giving you another fall narrative but played out with a different set of characters as another foundation story. Now, it's two brothers, one of the brothers has a choice of whether he will do good or do not good, which mirrors his parents’ choice in the tree of knowing good and bad. He makes the wrong choice. He murders his brother. Poor choice. Gods come asking, saying, "Where is your brother?" Just like he came asking in the garden. "Where are you?" he says to the man and the woman. We've talked through this you. I showed you my nice chart.

Jon:    All the parallels.

Tim:    Actually, we had a whole discussion in our design patterns conversation. That's way back in the podcast. They both blame shift or make poor excuses, right? The woman and the man both say, "Hey, it was them. They're the problem." And Cain says, "Hey, am I my brother's keeper? Who made me my brother's keeper?" The ground is cursed and the serpent's curse in Genesis 3. Cain is cursed from the land in Genesis 4. God says to the human in Genesis 3, "You're going to go work the ground." God says to Cain, "You go work the ground." God banishes Adam and Eve, God banishes Cain. 

    So very clearly, someone wants me to see Genesis 3 and 4 as mirrors two aspects of now the broken human condition. One is male and female, one is family - brother and brother. Bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh, that becomes a way of talking about both. Here's why this is relevant to Jan's question is Genesis 2, the blessing of abundance in Genesis 1 is be fruitful and multiply. So male and female...

Jon:    They got the equipment to make that happen. 

Tim:    Right. But also for there to be true flourishing, you also need a brother and brother, sister and sister unity - family unity. In other words, for the creation, project, and blessing to move forward, you need both to work in harmony. 

Jon:    Not just multiply. It's multiply with unity. 

Tim:    Correct. In other words, Genesis 2 isn't only talking about marriage. It's saying that every male and female must be married, to fulfill the creation project. What it also requires is for you to be at one with your brother or for sisters to be one with...Think Rachel and Leah later on in the story, sisters, rival sisters, rival brothers. That's why most of the biblical narratives that imitate the fall pattern are about either two family members at odds with each other, or men and women at odds with each other. And they're all mirroring back either to Genesis 3 or to Genesis 4. But it's the fundamental broken human condition. However, the multiplication of seed is really crucial to the spreading of God's blessing in the Hebrew Bible. 

    Jesus comes onto the scene, and he's saying, "Yeah, the image of God, the kingdom of God is being restored. He's restarting a new Israel, which is the seed of a new humanity." But what he does is he's paid attention to themes in the book of Isaiah that say that God's plan to multiply the family of Abraham will not always be limited to procreation. There's a whole theme, especially in the latter part of Isaiah that says God's going to multiply the family of Abraham, and even eunuchs in Isaiah 56.

Jon:    People who can't reproduce. 

Tim:    Even people who can't procreate will be incorporated into the family of Abraham and part of the servant community of the new humanity in the latter part of the book of Isaiah. God's going to launch a plan to birth a new creation human family that's not dependent on procreation. 

Jon:    Wait, where's this at in Isaiah? 

Tim:    Isaiah 56. But then it's the whole theme about how the nation to going to be incorporated into the family of Abraham, which is the whole thread of an argument going on throughout the whole book of Isaiah. The incorporation of the nations into the family of Abraham, it's a big theme in the book of Isaiah. Isaiah 56 highlights eunuchs.

Jon:    Yeah, being incorporated. If you were born into the family of Israel and you couldn't reproduce, you're still...

Tim:    You're still in the family.

Jon:    So what's the point of calling it eunuchs, then?

Tim:    People who can't have their body reproduce new family members of the family of Abraham. 

Jon:    And that means that disqualifies you from being in the family?

Tim:    No. But in most traditional cultures, especially rural, agricultural, tribal traditional cultures, your ability to reproduce...

Jon:    Is crucial.

Tim:    Yeah. Because it's not just about the size of your family. It's social safety web, it's your economic security. You're providing security for your whole community by having sons primarily, and then also daughters. Ancient Israel was that kind of family, was that kind of culture. And so Isaiah comes along, saying, "God's going to keep multiplying His family, but He's not going to be bound to the bloodline in the way that Israel story has been up to that point." And it seems that Jesus took that theme really, really seriously because he hits the public stage announcing kingdom of God, and he's sitting around one-day teaching, and someone says, "Hey, your mom and your brothers are here." And he publicly...well, a charitable way to say is like he relativizes the value of his family. 

Jon:    Right. 

Tim:    But essentially, he says, "Who are they? I don't know. Who are those people? Who's my mom and my brothers?" And then he points to the whole group. He says, "It's all of you who are doing the will of God and following me. You all are my family."

Jon:    That's a pretty rough thing to say to your family even in modern-day. But then being in a society where families so much more crucial to your safety and flourishing, it's just would seem absurd to say that.

Tim:    Yeah, that's right. New Testament scholars, especially who like to incorporate vocabulary of sociology into New Testament studies, call this Jesus is creating fictive kinship communities.

Jon:    Yeah, I've heard you say that.

Tim:    Fictive kinship. In other words, it's reinventing the boundaries of the family. That the family is now the group of people who give their allegiance to Jesus. That is how Paul conceived of what he was doing when he would go start new Jesus communities around ancient world. 

Jon:    So he saw himself as multiplying.

Tim:    Multiplying the new humanity. Being fruitful and multiplying. In Colossians 1, Paul says, "The Gospels been out there being fruitful and multiplying." It's what he says. He uses the language in Genesis 1 to talk about the gospel populating the family of the Messiah but no longer bound by bloodlines. I think that's why Paul can say marriage is crucially important. And when he does talk about it like in Ephesians where his mind actually starts going is what the symbol of marriage points to, which is about the oneness between the Messiah and his people. 

    But on just the pragmatic level, Paul thinks that our covenant relationships with my community of Jesus followers is totally sufficient to fulfill my calling as a human being. In fact, it gives me more advantages to not be married, because then I can serve my brothers and sisters, and my Jesus family with even more freedom and so on. That answer made sense in my mind. 

Jon:    No, it makes sense to me. But what I'm thinking about is there's some shift from "be fruitful and multiply" being a literal have babies.

Tim:    Family. Procreate.

Jon:    Procreate. Two, there's a shift of thought of like, well, also, there is a sense of there's lots of people now, and there needs to be unity. And so being fruitful and multiplying is creating that unity around the Creator. And that's a different type of being fruitful and multiplying. 

Tim:    Correct. Let's say it this way. This is why I brought up the Cain and Abel stuff. Being fruitful and multiplying and ruling the earth and all that and caring for the garden and spreading it, in Genesis 2 is tied to physical procreation - man and woman being unified in one. Genesis 4 comes along and contributes to that portrait and says, "Another aspect of humanity's bone from bone and their need for unity with each other is with people who are not your spouse, but who are part of your broader family. 

Jon:    It's part of the way of being fruitful is that unity. 

Tim:    Another part of being fruitful and multiplying and ruling the land is unity with...

Jon:    It's interesting because that's the story of subtracting, not multiplying. 

Tim:    Oh, yeah. That's right. That's the point. 

Jon:    Because he kills them. 

Tim:    The brokenness of male and female is also as catastrophic as the brokenness between brother and brother and sister and sister. Both of those together need to be healed. What happens in the Jesus part of the story, and what Paul represents is saying, "Yeah, both of them have been healed. The procreation can now happen through husbands and wives, but not exclusively." In fact, that may not always be the best way. The unity of brother and brother and sister and sister, which is the common human family needing to become one together through the Messiah, that's what Paul is after. And that's what I think Jesus is after creating new kinship groups, whose boundary lines are drawn around allegiance to Jesus. 

    So I think that's why Paul can relativize marriage as important just like Jesus did. Both were single and both advocated, or at least, elevated singleness as an equally honorable way to fulfill your allegiance to Jesus as... 

Jon:    Your calling as a human. 

Tim:    As a human, yeah. You can fulfill the human calling to be fruitful and multiply...

Jon:    As a single person.

Tim:    ...as whether married or single according to Jesus and to Paul.

Jon:    It's so interesting, just to take a step back, that this is a story of a being so much grander than we can imagine deciding to create in his image, these humans, and He wants them to multiply rule with him. What a dumb idea! 

Tim:    When you say dumb, unpack the word "dumb" in that sentence.

Jon:    Well, I mean, just read Genesis 3 and 4. 

Tim:    Oh, I see. It comes with great liabilities on God's part. 

Jon:    Man. There's a sentiment in the air in the modern world of there are enough humans. Maybe overpopulated. And then there's the argument that like, well, no, if you actually put all the humans in the density of like New York, we could fit in a pretty small space. Probably all live on Vancouver Island or something and just enjoy. And if we did live in unity and love, there's an enough. We don't have to fight over resources. We don't have to. But yeah, God wants us, His creatures to some multiply and subdue the earth.

Tim:    To learn how to imitate the divine nature, which is self-giving love.

Jon:    So we need to reproduce. Man, we also need people who are helping us live in unity.

Tim:    Live in unity, yeah. Psalm 133 is one of the first lines that I learned to sing in Hebrew when I was learning Hebrew. It's just the opening line. "Hine ma tov u’ma-nayim, shevet ach-im gam ya-chad." You kind of repeat it over and over. But behold, how good and pleasant. And that word "pleasant" is both a synonym with and associated with the word "Eden" - delight. Behold, how good and Eden like it is when brothers dwell together in oneness. And dude, that poem goes on to say that unity or oneness it's like oil coming down from Mount Hermon. Dude, Psalm 133, what a perfect way to end this question.

Jon:    That image sounds really important to you, but not important to me. 

Tim:    Oil and dew from Mount Hermon. Sorry, I mix it together. It's like precious oil poured upon your head. And remember, oil is Eden image. It's the fruit of the garden here Olives, olive oil. But oil on the head is anointing.

Jon:    What you do to a king...

Tim:    King or a high priest. The priest kind of symbolizes both. So it's like a human being anointed as God's representative, oil running down the beard, even the beard of Aaron coming down his robes. Aaron is the high priest who is a new Adam. He's a high priest. He's Adam figure. So how good it is when humans dwell together in unity, for example, it's like the anointing of a high priest of one representative human in whom all representative humans are unified in one. It's also like the dew of Mount Hermon coming down on the mountains of Zion. So Herman's the highest mountain up north, but dew is the Eden image because it's divinely provided water that just magically appears in the morning. 

Jon:    So it seems. 

Tim:    Yes. For the ancient biblical authors, it just appears. It didn't rain.

Jon:    It's a layer of water on the ground.

Tim:    It didn't rain, it just appears. That blow your mind before you know about evaporation and moisture, and temperature and all that. So it's like dew. It's like heaven sent magic water. It comes from the highest hills and comes down here to Zion. The last line is, "Here on Mount Zion, that's where Yahweh commanded the blessing." What is the blessing? Eternal life. Psalm 133 is this compact little biblical theology of the significance of Eden and of the significance of God's purpose to unify once again the human family into one anointed Messiah that receives eternal life from God's heavenly temple. Psalm 133. I think that's why Paul says what he says in 1 Corinthians 7. You can be married, you cannot be married, you can realize God's calling being fruitful and multiplying. 

Jon:    Being married and having kids doesn't make you off the hook for the love and unity.

Tim:    Unity of the human family.

Jon:    But it does distract you from doing it in a way outside of your family. 

Tim:    Exactly. 

Jon:    You got to focus on...I mean, you don't have to, but you get to focus on these little creatures that are now roaming around your house. And you don't have as much energy otherwise.

Tim:    Yeah, that's definitely true for me. It takes all I have to invest in these little humans, so much time and energy. And I love it, but it doesn't leave very much for anything else. And that's what Paul's talking about.

Jon:    Did you ever imagine yourself being a single guy your whole life?

Tim:    Oh, before I met Jessica, I remember having many long walks, praying, thinking about like, "Okay, I'm open. I'm open to it. That's my calling." But then I met Jessica. Then it was like, "Okay, this is my path." But yeah, I was, in theory, trying to prepare myself. Because, I mean, we both went to a Christian college, and so that was the first time I met people in middle age who had chosen singleness - people in middle or late age, chosen singleness were like incredibly fruitful, fulfilled human beings, having amazingly productive lives impacting so many people. It was the first people I ever met like that, and I was just like, "Wow, that's what Paul and Jesus were talking about. That kind of life." Yeah, it's fascinating. 

    Our culture is so soaked in sexual idolatry that it is difficult to imagine a fulfilled life apart from actively having sex a lot with a lot of people or with one person - a spouse. It's hard for many of us to imagine that being a fulfilling life.

Jon:    Oh, yeah. When I've thought experiments about the single life, which I do, that's the one thing. It's like, how do you control that? Because that is such a... it's so pervasive in culture. It feels all-encompassing. But other things you think about of like the freedom and being able to do things, not going to cash in the chips and switch over to single life, but like, there's something there. 

Tim:    Yeah, totally. On days when I'm building my 10th Lego set and it's raining outside and I'm trying to find ways to engage my kids, because we all wish that we could be outside - Portland winter, basically - I'm constantly daydreaming about my alternate life, how I could be hiking Mount Hood right now, or doing something, taking a road trip. There you go. But we all have our own stories and callings and it's okay. 

Jon:    Hiking Mount Hood is not really multiplying. 

Tim:    No. I mostly think of selfish things that I wish I could be doing. Paul would imagine like serving the poor. 

Jon:    He'd be like hiking Mount Hood to go to government camp to preach the gospel.

Tim:    All right. Thank you, Jan for that question. We talked about it and a bunch of other things too. 

Jon:    Is that Jan who came to the...?

Tim:    You know, that just struck me. Jan Roberts from Tyler, Texas I think is Jan who came to one of The Bible Project Classroom classes. 

Jon:    Oh, hey, Jan. 

Tim:    Hey Jan. 

Jon:    Hey Jan. Hope you're doing well. 

Tim:    The next question is from Wesley in Chowchilla, California.

Wesley:    Hi, Tim and Jon, this is Wesley from Chowchilla, California. In your video on the Books of Solomon, you mentioned that Ecclesiastes is like Solomon as an old man reflecting on his life. In 1 Kings 11, Solomon dies apostate as king. I've been reading Tremper Longman's New International Commentary on Ecclesiastes, and in it, he argues that Solomon did not write Ecclesiastes but that Qoheleth is taking on Solomon's persona to make his point. And he seems to abandon this persona after three chapters. Can I get your thoughts on this idea? Also, I just want to say that I love The Bible Project. Thank you for everything you guys do. 

Tim:    All right, thanks, Wesley. Insightful question. If you listen to the podcast conversation we had about Ecclesiastes, the conversation Jon and I had, actually, the whole point was that it's not Solomon individually, who's speaking to us through this book. 

Jon:    Very unlikely. 

Tim:    Very unlikely. It's a Solomon like persona. It's a representative Solomon who contains within himself actually the whole line of David, which is why so many of the little poems and episodes or parables later in the book are hyperlinks, or summaries of stories from the Kings from the line of David in the books of Kings and Chronicles, leading up to the exile. So in the video, I just wanted to keep it simple. I did hedge a little bit in saying it's as if we're hearing from Solomon to it's like we're hearing from Solomon in his old age. I do think that's the persona. It's as if through Solomon we're hearing the aged line of David that's aged out, sitting in exile, reflecting back over the handful of successes, but mostly failed history of the monarchy in Judah. 

    Tremper Longman's view about the authorship of the book, I agree with and that I don't think historical Solomon wrote the book as we have it. I do think he was a really wise guy, and I think wrote a lot of Proverbs and handed down and began what you could call a wisdom tradition. But the book is definitely written by a later author who's got the whole a lot of the Hebrew Bible in front of him and is creating a persona that is Solomon-like, but also the whole line of David. 

Jon:    And you talked about that word, Colette.

Tim:    Oh, Qoheleth. 

Jon:    Qoheleth. 

Tim:    That's right. Oh, that's right. The word "Solomon" never appears in the book. It's beginning, "The words of the convener." 

Jon:    Yes, a convener. Usually translated teacher?

Tim:    Usually translated teacher or preacher, but it doesn't mean that. What it means is someone who gathers a group of people. And the people who do this verb to all Israel...There's only a shortlist of people who convene, who qahal all of Israel. It's Moses, and then kings from line of David. So it's a collective persona that we're hearing. 

    Longman is correct that that Solomon-like persona is most present in the first three chapters. That's true. However, the meditations on the exploits of the kings from the line of David continues on throughout the whole book. And that's why I found Jenny Barbour's work that I brought up in that episode really helpful. Because the meditation on the line of David and its fate goes throughout the entire book. There you go. Thanks, Wesley.

Jon:    Thanks, Wesley. This question is from Taylor Ogle from Knoxville, Tennessee. 

Tylor:    Hey guys, this is Taylor from Knoxville, Tennessee. I'm trying to gain a better understanding of wisdom, and it appears that the opposite of wisdom is doing what is right in your own eyes. It seems that that's the underlying theme of the book of Judges, and I was curious to see if there was any correlation or relationship that the authors try to make there with wisdom. Thank you. 

Jon:    Cool. Great question.

Tim:    It is a great question. As you move out of Genesis, the vocabulary of the garden narrative about people seeing what is good in their eyes - the woman sees that the tree is good, that is desirable for gaining wisdom, she takes, she eats, and she gives to her husband, he eats and so on - that develops into a design pattern of narratives. When people are having their Genesis 3 moment in a narrative, often that narrative will be filled with vocabulary about the words "good" or "bad" tov and ra', about eyesight, people seeing, people desiring, people taking something that they shouldn't be taking, and then giving it. That's the key vocabulary of the fall pattern. 

    Once you get the Judges which is way down the line, you can just trigger the whole...

Jon:    The whole theme. 

Tim:    ...the whole theme by beginning and narrative. And the sons of Israel did what was bad in the eyes of the Lord and he gave them over into the hands of their enemies. And it's the narrative way of saying, they replay Genesis 3. And then the narrative moves on. In the book of Judges, actually, there are 10 cycles of fall narratives in the book that begins with the phrase "and the sons of Israel did evil", did ra' in the eyes of Yahweh.

    Then what it will go on to tell you is the main judges who get big narratives like Ehud, or Gideon, or Jephthah, or Samson, each of those characters undergoes their own Genesis 3 moment too, but always in creative and in different ways. And Samson, dude, Samson is just this massive repetition of Genesis 3 through 11.

Jon:    And a massive man. 

Tim:    And a massive man. But the whole thing is about this guy with great potential that has the spirit of Yahweh accessible to him, and what he perpetually does is marry women who tried to deceive him. So it's all these Adam and Eve cycles of this guy who gets taken in by deceptive women. And all those narratives feature the vocabulary of Genesis 3. So not only does Israel do what's evil in the eyes of Yahweh, those narratives are all about a man being deceived, but then he himself is completely self-deceived. And it ends with him being blinded. He loses his eyesight at the end of the Samson's story. 

Jon:    He can't see.

Tim:    His eyes are gouged out. Instead of Adam and Eve, whose sin leads them to having their eyes opened.

Jon:    Oh, yeah, right. 

Tim:    Samson said leads him to having his eyes closed.

Jon:    In one of the design motifs is that the human sees something desirable. 

Tim:    Yeah, correct. 

Jon:    So there this eyesight thing.

Tim:    That's right. So whenever Samson sees women, he wants to take them. 

Jon:    See and take. 

Tim:    Yeah. And then they deceive him, leading to him losing his eyesight instead of gaining it. Anyway. So yes, the...

Jon:    Judges screams of this theme.

Tim:    Judges is all over this theme in a big way. 

Jon:    This question is from Bradley Gilmer from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Brad:    Hi, my name is Brad Gilmer from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. My question is, how does David relate to the wisdom literature and that he is Solomon's father and a contributor to the Psalms, but we didn't seem to talk about him that much? Appreciate all you guys do. Thank you. 

Tim:    Thoughtful question. It was actually perceptive. I never quite thought to ask it this way. Solomon's mainly associated with wisdom because it's the big feature of the stories. He asked for wisdom as this first thing he does as a king. And then the narrative is all about playing up this wisdom, and then how it leads into a fall with many women and so on. 

    David, has his own cycle of being a new Adam, given great opportunity and authority, but he's more developed as the rescuer, deliverer, overcomer of evil - portrait of Adam and Eve, not so much the wisdom portrait of Adam and Eve. Specifically, after David brings the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem, and he creates Jerusalem as a New Eden, he brings there and then God's presence is there filling the hilltop in Jerusalem, right after that narrative, God appears to David, or God appears to David's prophet, in a dream. 

    David wants to make a temple, and God says, "No, that's okay. But I'm going to make a temple for you, namely, your family. It will be a house." And you repeat the blessing of Abraham. "I'm going to make your name great, give you a land, your seed. But then a new element, your seed is going to build asn eternal kingdom." That's David's like receiving the Eden blessing moment. And then follows that are three chapters of him going out, subduing the land. He uses the vocabulary of Genesis 1 of rule the earth and subdue it. And he goes out and He rules the Canaanites and subdues them. It's the same verbs. 

    Then comes the story of, "Now the kings were out to war, but David stayed in Jerusalem. And he was up on the high place on his roof, and he saw a woman bathing and he took her for himself." And then that's the Genesis 3 moment. So he's more of like the failed victor, whereas Solomon is more of the failed wise ruler. So each narrative kind of fills out different parts of the Genesis 1-3 pattern. 

Jon:    It's a good differentiation. 

Tim:    They're both failures, but they fail in different ways, and both are instructive for the reader.

Jon:    Both fill out the portrait of the wise human ruler who subdues the earth,

Tim:    Yes. And then together, their portraits merge into one, saying, "Oh, okay." So whenever the ultimate snake crusher comes, he's going to need to both be victorious overpowers of chaos and evil, and also supremely wise to bring about the New Eden. He'll need to be what David and Solomon weren't by themselves, but what they could have been together. 

Jon:    Cool. Micah Sharp down in the valley from us - Newberg, Oregon. 

Micah:    Hi, my name is Micah Sharp. I'm from Newberg, Oregon. Here's my question. If we're switching from the wisdom literature to the classification of the books of Solomon, where does the book of Job now fit in the wider Hebrew Bible? Thank you. 

Tim:    Good question. We ended up not covering Job in our video because it's not associated with Solomon. Man, I learned a lot of why we left Job and got me thinking in a lot of these new paths, was a recent book by a scholar Will Kynes cleverly called "An Obituary for 'Wisdom Literature"'. So we talked about this in our first episode of the conversation I think. 

Jon:    He, I think was following...at least was aware of our podcast. 

Tim:    Yeah. Essentially, he's trying to help us see that limiting Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Job as a kind of Island within the Hebrew Bible, and dedicated to the themes of wisdom and the fear of the Lord that we're actually we're short selling the real potential of these books and their contribution to the Hebrew Bible. We're limiting it. I was actually thinking of an analogy this morning as I was walking in, because...When we talked about Job, we talked about how Job is like in the wisdom verse. 

Jon:    Yeah, the wisdom verse. 

Tim:    Like, welcome to the spider-verse. He's like an alternate Abraham or an alternate Adam, from the alternate line family of Abraham over in the east. Here's what it's like. When you only read Job, especially Job as a wisdom book, but you don't follow up and take seriously the connections to the Torah, how Job's portrayed as a new Adam has a new Abraham undergoing his own test, his own Genesis 3 in Mountain Moriah, Genesis 22 type of tests, when you don't see him as an image for Israel and exile, the boils from his head to his toes, there's a whole line about the sores that he gets from the top of his head, this body, the bottom of his toes, that whole line is copy verbatim and pasted out of the covenant curses in Deuteronomy 28 for what Israel will experience in exile.

Jon:    He's getting the curse. 

Tim:    He's getting the covenant curses even though he's never disobeyed.

Jon:    Wow.

Tim:    There's a whole section in Job speeches where he inverts Psalm 8. Psalm 8 is, what is human that you pay attention to him, you made him crowned him with glory and honor. And Job says, "Yeah, what are humans that you pay attention to us. You make us miserable." It's this amazing inversion of Psalms. So Will Kynes' point is, the book of Job is interacting with almost the entirety of the rest of the Hebrew Bible. It's as much a prophetic book and interacting with the Psalms and the Torah as it is with the wisdom book.

Jon:    We're creating this category of wisdom literature, and then disconnecting it and saying, "Hey, these books are good for like being a wise person." Then don't see as much the connection.

Tim:    Yeah, you'll miss out on all of its rich interconnection with other parts of the Hebrew Bible that will enrich the reading of the book. And that helps you see it's scandalous and challenging role in the Hebrew Bible, which is to problematize the simplicity of follow God, and things will go get for you. It's explicitly trying to problematize all of that. 

    So an analogy would be, if you're thinking about the spider-man, welcome to the spider-verse movie. And if you go out for coffee with your friends, and you have a whole discussion about it purely on the level of its animation quality. We work with animators here at The Bible Project, and I remember hearing them talk about the movie. 

Jon:    Oh, man.

Tim:    It was so amazing. 

Jon:    I just watched it again last weekend.

Tim:    Oh, did you watch it? I watched it a couple of weeks ago, too for the second time.

Jon:    I paid a lot more attention to the art the second time. Incredible. 

Tim:    Incredible. 

Jon:    Every frame, you could stop and it's like a beautiful panel. 

Tim:    Totally, totally. Incredible. So you could analyze it simply for its aesthetic and animation style. And that's there. The creators put a lot of time and effort into that. But that's only one dimension of what's going on. There's also a whole layers of social commentary happening. Because who is Spider-Man? Is it the middle-class white male? Actually, no, he's a young black man and a woman and then a pig. An animal. Right? So there's all this commentary happening on gender and ethnic diversity in the storyline. And so you could sit down and have whole conversation about that. 

    But if you did that at the expense of the art, talking about the art, you could sit down and talk about it, how it relates to the Marvel comic universe. It's a multi-faceted piece of art. And to fully appreciate it, you need to see all the angles. So similar to the book of Job, I think this is Will Kynes' point. And it's really well taken. The book of Job is so sophisticated. It's interacting with all of the themes of the Hebrew Bible simultaneously, and we shouldn't just consider it as a wisdom. 

Jon:    It wasn't just some story that was floating around and they were like, "You know, that's a really good story. Let's add it to the Bible." It's woven into the entire way that the Hebrew Bible thinks.

Tim:    It's a sustained reflection on almost every other book and theme in the Hebrew Bible contained in one book. So there you go. Where does Job now fit in the Hebrew Bible? It's a book of the Hebrew Bible. I don't know what else. There you go. 

Jon:    This will be the last question then?

Tim:    Yeah, yeah. I think we've been talking for a long time. This is a question about Song of Songs from Kayleigh in South Africa.

Kayleigh:    Hi, Jon and Tim. My name is Kayleigh and I'm from South Africa. My question is about the Song of Songs. I was wondering if there's a connection between the two lovers who never get to fully consummate their love for each other and the New Jerusalem as a bride of the Lamb in Revelation? Could this, in a sense, be when the two lovers get to completely unite with each other in Revelation? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this. Thank you.

Tim:    Yes, the Song of Songs. That was our first conversation about most of those themes in the Bible. Sex, basically. I enjoyed that conversation. Kayleigh your question is about these two lovers in the Songs, male and female lover. My discovery was the simultaneous layers of meaning that are all legitimate. So it is passionate poetry between a male and female lover and their cycles of longing to be together, but never quite, always searching, and sometimes finding but never consummating. And that this itself is reflecting on all these fraught, unfulfilled relationships of Adam and Eve. All these characters, Abraham and Sarah, and Jacob and Rachel, David and Bathsheba, Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. This is all Adam and Eve imagery so that when you get into the Song of Songs, it's working on that theme. 

    But back to our conversation about the stuff from Paul about marriage and singleness, this ultimate fulfillment of the man and the woman is itself an image by parallelism with Cain and Abel of just the unity of the human family all in one. Lo and behold, when you get the book of Revelation, there are two women, two contrasting women who symbolize the two different fates of creation and the future of the human project. One is Babylon. The process...

Jon:    Lady Babylon.

Tim:    She sits on the dragon, she's writing on the snake, and she's the economic heartbeat of corrupt human city. And so she represents the Lady Folly. She's a continuation of Lady Folly in Proverbs and of the foreign woman in the Solomon stories, and so she's got to be brought down. But in her place is the true fulfilled Eve figure who is the New Jerusalem - the bride prepared for her husband who is Messiah and Creator. So the male and female and the two alternate female contrast figures of the wisdom literature. 

    So really, it's more that both the wisdom literature and the revelation are reflecting on the symbolism of these two roles for Eve - the deceiver Eve that leads to death, and then like the righteous Eve who will lead to life. 

Jon:    It's interesting how in Proverbs we're kind of more identifying with the man who's trying to pursue the Lady Wisdom and not Lady Folly. Pursue the woman - the right woman. In Revelation, we identify as the woman who...

Tim:    Either inhabitants of Babylon or inhabitants of the New Jerusalem. 

Jon:    Then who want the bridegroom to come. 

Tim:    Correct. 

Jon:    Which is also kind of what Song of Songs is doing. 

Tim:    Yes, it is. That's exactly right. So God's people are symbolized by the New Jerusalem, and they are the bride that's been prepared by the lamb awaiting the arrival of their beloved to come so that creation can be consummated in love.

Jon:    And you mentioned this earlier in this conversation, that when Paul was talking about marriage, quickly just shifts over into that way of thinking of this unity between...

Tim:    He sees marriage as a symbol.

Jon:    ...God and humans.

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