Biblical Principle #239: Israel to Not Speak Ill of Rulers

Biblical Principles List

Principle

Under the Law of Moses, God commanded Israel to neither curse gods nor curse or speak badly against a ruler of Israel.

Explanation

This principle is based upon Exodus 22:28, which in most English Bibles, reads something like:

28 “You shall not curse God, nor curse a ruler of your people.

Exodus 22:28 NASB

This simple statement seems so straightforward.

  1. Don’t curse GOD.
  2. Don’t curse a ruler of Israel.

Got it!

Only … there’s a slight problem here. And that problem leads to a larger problem.

And this situation offers a perfect illustration for the reason for this Biblical Principles series: By missing one simple truth upstream, we create a much larger problem for ourselves downstream. That’s what we’re trying to prevent!

We have previously established that:

  1. The Bible is a collection of individual writings.
  2. The biblical texts were copied by scribes.
  3. There are multiple text families.
  4. A translation’s accuracy is important.
  5. The Septuagint is the most accurate translation of the “Old Testament” writings that we currently possess.

The Septuagint translates the verse as:

28 “‘You shall not verbally abuse gods, and you shall not speak badly of the rulers of your people.

Exodus 22:28 LES

Even if we rely on the Hebrew Masoretic Text, from which the above NASB passage is translated, the word translated “God” is “elohim,” which is literally translated, “gods.” The English NASB translators inferred from the context that Moses must have meant Jehovah rather than all gods.

We have previously established that:

  1. ‘God’ is a title, not a name.
  2. Elohim is a title used to refer to a number of real spirit beings, and carved images representing those beings.
  3. After the flood, GOD divided the nations and placed angels over each nation, but kept Israel for Himself to rule over. (This is The Second World.)

The Septuagint makes clear what the English translations of the Hebrew Masoretic Text hide: Exodus 22:28 is comprehensively covering not cursing or speaking badly, both against a ruler of Israel, and any other nation (aka, the gods of the Gentiles).

In fact, not long after writing Exodus 22:28, Moses would write an even stricter statement:

13 You shall observe all the things that I have said to you, and you shall not bring the name of other gods to mind; it will not even be heard coming out of your mouth.

Exodus 23:13 LES

The real-ness of numerous living “gods” (elohim) and that these beings ruled the Gentile nations under The Second World prior to Jesus’ conquest are two of the most impactful truths in Scripture for many modern day Christians—at least they have been for me.

And you really can’t see these truths clearly without the Septuagint, unless you can read Hebrew, because the English translations of the Hebrew MT mask or blur these things in their translations.

But when you do see these truths, the Scriptures begin to make sense in new and exciting ways like this Principle. The resulting outcome is a deeper understanding of GOD and His will so that we can grow to look more like Jesus in how we think and behave.

Biblical Principles List

Comments

6 responses to “Biblical Principle #239: Israel to Not Speak Ill of Rulers”

  1. Roger Walters Avatar
    Roger Walters

    I pray for your continued health and that your ministry delves into and propers the truth of Holy Scripture.

    1. Tim Harris Avatar

      Thank you for your kindness, Roger! I deeply appreciate and solicit your continued prayers. Blessings.

  2. Matt gause Avatar
    Matt gause

    What is meant by Elohim?
    A group of gods? Spiritual beings?

    A pantheon?

    Hmmmm 🤔

    1. Tim Harris Avatar

      Hi Matt, thanks for reading and for the question.

      To clarify, are you asking about the use of “elohim” in Exodus 22:28 specifically, or about the general meaning of the word as found in the Hebrew Old Testament? (Or something else?)

      Blessings.

  3. Karen Avatar
    Karen

    It is so exciting reading these principles! It has opened up a whole new world for me in terms of who God is and what He wants from us. I think what most Christians miss (and what I missed) is the Elohim refers to real gods and not just one God. In researching mythology, I have found it makes much more sense why ancient people believed these so-called myths. Maybe because many people today across the world still think the story of Jesus is but another myth. This type of confusion is possibly why God warns us continually not to worship false gods. Not only is He a jealous God, He knows how easily we are confused and easily destroyed we are by their influence.

    1. Tim Harris Avatar

      Thanks for the feedback, Karen! I agree that these truths are exciting, especially considering their downstream impact upon other teachings.

      As for “elohim” in the Hebrew Old Testament, as I noted in this post (https://chasingalion.com/god-is-a-title/), the word is used to describe Jehovah, gods of Gentile nations, carved / man-made idols, and human spirits, as in Samuel’s case with Saul and the soothsayer.

      Realizing how Scripture teaches not just the existence of these spirit beings but the role they played in the First World and Second World governments, we gain significant insight, just as you noted regarding GOD’s character.

      This understanding unlocks many doors and provides tremendous clarity in our search for understanding Scripture and the eternal plan of GOD.

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