Discovering the Bible’s Interconnected Narratives

Jan. 24 2023

The opening verse of the book of Esther states that the Persian king Ahasuerus ruled over an empire of 127 provinces. The number 127 occurs in only one other place in the Hebrew Bible: it is the age at which Sarah dies. To Alastair Roberts, this small detail invites readers to see various similarities between the matriarch and the book’s titular heroine. Likewise, the story of David has numerous parallels to that of Jacob, a comparison that, Roberts argues, can illuminate the story’s complex political message. Although Roberts is a Protestant theologian and scholar, his method of reading the Bible by examining similarities among its passages has much in common with the approaches of ancient, medieval, and modern rabbis. In conversation with Rabbi Ari Lamm, he investigates some of these readings. (Audio, 78 minutes.)

Read more at Good Faith Effort

More about: Esther, Hebrew Bible, King David

American Aid to Lebanon Is a Gift to Iran

For many years, Lebanon has been a de-facto satellite of Tehran, which exerts control via its local proxy militia, Hizballah. The problem with the U.S. policy toward the country, according to Tony Badran, is that it pretends this is not the case, and continues to support the government in Beirut as if it were a bulwark against, rather than a pawn of, the Islamic Republic:

So obsessed is the Biden administration with the dubious art of using taxpayer dollars to underwrite the Lebanese pseudo-state run by the terrorist group Hizballah that it has spent its two years in office coming up with legally questionable schemes to pay the salaries of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), setting new precedents in the abuse of U.S. foreign security-assistance programs. In January, the administration rolled out its program to provide direct salary payments, in cash, to both the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and the Internal Security Forces (ISF).

The scale of U.S. financing of Lebanon’s Hizballah-dominated military apparatus cannot be understated: around 100,000 Lebanese are now getting cash stipends courtesy of the American taxpayer to spend in Hizballah-land. . . . This is hardly an accident. For U.S. policymakers, synergy between the LAF/ISF and Hizballah is baked into their policy, which is predicated on fostering and building up a common anti-Israel posture that joins Lebanon’s so-called “state institutions” with the country’s dominant terror group.

The implicit meaning of the U.S. bureaucratic mantra that U.S. assistance aims to “undermine Hizballah’s narrative that its weapons are necessary to defend Lebanon” is precisely that the LAF/ISF and the Lebanese terror group are jointly competing to achieve the same goals—namely, defending Lebanon from Israel.

Read more at Tablet

More about: Hizballah, Iran, Israeli Security, Lebanon, U.S. Foreign policy