Questions From Readers
● How are we to understand Job 3:14 about kings and counselors who build “desolate places for themselves”?
These words appear in a context of lying down in the sleep of death. (Job 3:13) According to a correction of the Masoretic text, the expression “desolate places” could be rendered “pyramids.” As large tombs, the pyramids certainly were “desolate places” without any human inhabitants.
● Why did the Mosaic law prescribe capital punishment for anyone who called down evil on his parents?
God’s law stated: “In case there should be any man who calls down evil upon his father and his mother, he should be put to death without fail. It is his father and his mother upon whom he has called down evil. His own blood is upon him.” (Lev. 20:9) For a man to curse his parents, to want some dire calamity to befall them, would give indication of a hateful, murderous disposition. It would be a shocking lack of gratitude for the care and attention given him by his parents. While not personally using a weapon to strike them down, such a man, at heart, desired that their death come about through another means. In the eyes of God, such a vicious spirit constitutes murder. (Compare Matthew 5:21, 22; 1 John 3:15.) Therefore, in his law to Israel, the Most High prescribed the same penalty for reviling parents as for actually killing them.
● The parentage of the skilled craftsman sent by Hiram to assist with the temple-building work during Solomon’s reign is described differently in 1 Kings from what it is in 2 Chronicles. Why is this?
First Kings 7:14 reads: “He was the son of a widowed woman from the tribe of Naphtali, and his father was a Tyrian man.” At 2 Chronicles 2:14, this craftsman is described as “the son of a woman of the sons of Dan but whose father was a man of Tyre.” When these statements are viewed as complementary, the seeming discrepancy is readily resolved. His mother was a “widowed woman from the tribe of Naphtali” in the sense that she had been married to a man from that tribe. Her own tribe, however, was Dan. After her husband’s death, she married a Tyrian, and from this union sprang the son who became a skilled craftsman.