January 29, 2012 – En route to Antarctica
Sailing from the Falklands we headed south toward Antarctica.
Time for more Life at Sea – The Minister’s daily lectures.
The Windows on the Biblical World lecture series contrasting the culture, habits, and traditions during the time of Christ, with those of today. Jack Giguere and his wife Joyce are from Michigan; a retired Methodist Minister, with his last pastorate in Gross Pointe. After retirement they joined Holland American and sail on cruises to serve the protestant passengers. We also have a rabbi, and priest aboard. Jack speaks every sea day and his topics really give you a new insight as to some of the stories of the Bible. He has spoken on child bearing, circumcision, children and their lack of worth, and today on the education of the day. The high death rate of children, among those lost in birth, the first few months, and the low percentage that made it to teenage years, had the affect of cheapening the value of children. Jesus gave children worth by instructing his disciples not to hinder them coming to him. Because of poor diet, poor sanitation, poor food preparation, and disease the odds of a person living to an old age (50 or 60) was rare. With the hope of help, and possible healing, the crowds pushed to the point of crushing just to touch Jesus, in an effort to extend their lives and those of their loved ones.
As to the education, when the Assyrians scattered the 10 lost tribes and the Babylonians took Judah into captivity a new form of education came into being. Up to that point, it was the parents’ sole job to education the children in the faith. As captives they came together as small groups and became known as synagogues. When Cyrus, the Mede Persian, allowed the Jews to return home, those that did return took the synagogue concept when with them. This and the parental teachings continued. Only the boys were sent to the synagogue to learn to read and write. They had to memorize because no pencils, paper, black boards etc., were available. The teacher had a slate and as an incentive to learn would sometimes write with honey and flour and if a boy could recite correctly he was allowed to lick the slate clean. Girls learned vicariously through preparing the foods for the festivals and traditional meals.
Since Jesus was raised in a traditional Jewish home, he could read and write. Because of this upbringing it has been deduced that the hymn they sung at the Last Supper was from Psalms 116,117, or 118. Psalms 113, 114, and 115 were praise hymns sung at the beginning of the Passover feast and 116,117, and 118 were sung at the end of the Passover Meal, coinciding with the Last Supper. Also, Christ’s last words were a prayer that children were taught to say before they went to sleep each night. “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”
In discussing child birth, it was the father’s choice as to whether a child was allowed to live or die. When a child was born, the father decided whether a child was allowed to live. If it was a boy, of course, it was allowed to live. If it was a girl it would depend on what the economic situation of the family was. He had to consider if he could feed, clothe, and provide a dowry for her to be married. If they were poor, and could not afford another child they would take the baby, placenta and all, and put it out in the field to die. If a child had any defects it was put out to die regardless of sex as they had no way to care for a defective child. Far different than today, given modern medicine.
Another lecture covered the Arab honor killings mentioned on the news today in Canada. Three sisters were murdered by their father, mother, and brother because they dishonored them by socializing, dressing in western attire, and using the internet. We looked at what the Old Testament says in Det.22:14 about the rules of honor for a young woman’s virginity in relation to her family/clan in Jesus’ day. It will help us better understand the pressure on Joseph to disavow Mary because of the shame she brought on her family and Joseph. Fortunately Christ changed the rule regarding honor killings replacing it with mercy.