[CS-FSLUG] A Bible-study question

Don Parris parrisdc at gmail.com
Sat Sep 1 11:12:16 CDT 2007

On 8/31/07, Tim Young <Tim.Young at lightsys.org> wrote:
> Hi there,
> Not sure how many Bible Scholars we have out there.  I have a question I
> have been pondering for a while.
> In short.  Many people in the Bible have their names changed for one
> reason or other.
> Abraham was Abram.  For a short period he was called Abram, but for the
> rest of the Bible he is called Abraham.
> Saul becomes Paul, and is from that point referred to as Paul...
> The one that intrigues me, however, was Jacob, who became "Israel."  The
> reason this intrigues me is that Jacob is still referred to as "Jacob"
> at times after his re-naming.  There are times when he is referred to
> Jacob and others when he is referred to as Israel.  My suspicion is that
> it has something to do with the promise that "Israel" reflects.
> Sometimes "Israel" refers to the individual, some times to the nation.
> I was just wondering if anyone has any thoughts as to if there is a
> reason one is used over the other?  (I have some pretty neat examples
> for when God's many manes are used in the Bible.  Which name was used
> when adds a little bit of spice to reading the Bible)
>     - Tim Young

Hi all, I think some of the responses here miss the point.  Yeah, there
likely multiple scribes, and even a few possible inaccuracies in the
scriptural text (vis a vis, Luke's account of the Gerasene demoniac).  My Pa
(a long-time minister) has never accepted the argument for Biblical
Inerrancy, and makes no bones about being able to maintain his faith
nonetheless.  I accept Biblical Inerrancy, albeit with a grain of salt, but
I refuse to believe some of the "scholarly assessments" I've seen on the
major news channels when they try to dethrone the King of Kings (one
minister claimed that Jesus' entrance into Jerusalem involved, at most a few
dozen people).

But I think Tim simply found it interesting that, while most of the people
whose names were changed were never (or rarely) called by their old name
again, Jacob was frequently referred to as both, Jacob and Israel.  I think
we can ponder the point without engaging in second guessing or trying to
read too much into the logic.  I tend to agree with his general assessment,
though that may not be the full explanation.  It may have simply been due to
scribal variances, but I agree that it's interesting beyond that.  I find it
difficult to accept that scribal variations are to blame for this point.

D.C. Parris
Minister, Editor, Free Software Advocate
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