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stardust

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In Jesus Time - Welfare for the Poor Existed

I'm posting this information because its quite new to me. Is it true from what we know from that period in history in Jerusalem? The author is no slouch and seems to have done a lot of research....?? You can check him out on the link.

Long article for those interested.

http://www.kolumbus.fi/risto.santala/rsla/Paul/paul05.html

Quotes:

"In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenists among them complained against the Hebrews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food." The incipient Messianic movement had grown almost as large as the contemporary Pharisaic party. It may be that it was now the year 32, and the situation demanded internal organization.

The Jews' system of social welfare also provided a model for the organization of the first Christian congregations. In Jerusalem there was a special synagogue welfare system. Every Friday it distributed a week's supply of food to the poor of the city. Outsiders also received daily rations if they were considered entitled to them. The first Christians had also organized themselves separately, so that the needs of their widows and poor were taken into account. For this purpose the church arranged its own collections. We are told that believers "had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need" (Acts 2:44-45).

The Essenes had a similar system of relief. They did not forbid private property; their community defined what each person needed. The Damascus Document 14:10-15 tells that the Essenes gave "the salary of two days each month" for distribution to the poor. And if anyone "lies knowingly concerning goods" (yeshaqqer behon), he should be excluded from the community and sentenced to lose "a quarter of his bread." The story of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5:1-11 is comparable with the problems encountered by the Essenes.

In addition, it is good to know that at that time Israelite towns and villages then chose a group of seven persons to function as a kind of executive committee and represent their area before Roman civil servants. These local leaders were called "shivah tuvei ha-ir", that is, to translate freely, "the seven best of the city." When Josephus, as supreme commander of Galilee, was preparing for war against the Romans he also chose seventy subordinate commanders who were responsible for the defence of different villages and "seven individuals in each city to adjudicate upon petty disputes."

 

 

 

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stardust's picture

stardust

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Here is the author. There are a lot of articles about midrash etc. on his home page, see bottom of the pages. Is he credible and qualified?

 

Risto Santala

 "The Author Risto Santala was born on 18th of May 1929. He studied at the University of Helsinki and was ordained as a minister in the Finnish Lutheran Church in 1953. At the University of Jerusalem he attended 1959-60 a Greek Seminar and also one on the Dead Sea Scrolls. Afterwards he passed a course in classical and spoken Arabic. Rev. Santala has written over twenty books. The best known are his studies on "The Messiah in the Old and in the New Testament in the Light of Rabbinical Writings". He wrote them in modern Hebrew. These two books and the study "Paul The Man and the Teacher in the Light of Jewish Sources", have been published e.g. in English, Finnish, Estonian,  Chinese and Russian. The Author has lectured on this subject 1975-76 at Concordia Theological Seminar in Springrield, Illinois as well as 1980 and 1993 at The Free Theological Academy in Basel, Switzerland. In Jerusalem he worked between 1957-68 as a teacher and pastor in the Hebrew boarding school of the Finnish Mission. 1968 -75 he was principal of the Bible School of Helsinki returning after it to his literary challenges in Israel until the year 1987. After that he was a vicar of Joutjärvi parish in Lahti from where he retired on an active pension in 1992." 

Mail address: 
Kaivokatu 2 A 5 
FIN-18100 Heinola 
Finland

stardust's picture

stardust

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Bloopers re the  link info. given!

 

Oops...sorry....I've forgotten on what pages here I read these quotes, not on the given pages above.  They are long quite extensive articles. I was reading a lot on the website.
 

 

Maybe the info. is from here, not sure:
 
 
Midrash of the Messiah
 
 
 
home website
 
 
GordW's picture

GordW

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Welfare for the poor is a commandment within Judaism.  SO it has always existed within Jewish communities (doubtless some communities do better and some do worse). 

stardust's picture

stardust

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Thanks GordW

 

I guess I sort of always thought that  Jesus speaking on behalf of the poor in the NT was something new  or not commonly done. Now I know why he didn't arrange to feed the poor in a physical sense.

 

I get confused in the NT re whether Jesus is speaking to the Jews or to the pagans. The NT speaks of the poor having the gospel preached to them. Would this be Jews who couldn't afford to attend the synagogue or possibly a mixture of Jews and pagans? I understand that the times Jesus lived in were poor and poverty stricken or the peasants in general were poor. Yet, if there were some 450 synagogues in Jerusalem it would have taken a lot of money to support that number. The people paid by buying an animal to sacrifice and some couldn't even afford that? Only the rich would be able to attend regularly?

 

P.S. Oh I just read Mate's reply on my other thread. He said a synagogue could be a house or any place of  gathering. It would be the main temple that was expensive then.

boltupright's picture

boltupright

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stardust wrote:

Thanks GordW

 

I guess I sort of always thought that  Jesus speaking on behalf of the poor in the NT was something new  or not commonly done. Now I know why he didn't arrange to feed the poor in a physical sense.

 

I get confused in the NT re whether Jesus is speaking to the Jews or to the pagans. The NT speaks of the poor having the gospel preached to them. Would this be Jews who couldn't afford to attend the synagogue or possibly a mixture of Jews and pagans? I understand that the times Jesus lived in were poor and poverty stricken or the peasants in general were poor. Yet, if there were some 450 synagogues in Jerusalem it would have taken a lot of money to support that number. The people paid by buying an animal to sacrifice and some couldn't even afford that? Only the rich would be able to attend regularly?

 

P.S. Oh I just read Mate's reply on my other thread. He said a synagogue could be a house or any place of  gathering. It would be the main temple that was expensive then.

This is good Stardust.

 

Isn't this what Jesus was making referance to the law? & where the law could not reveal, Jesus was sent to set the OT record straight. He is the fulfillment of the law in no small way. Which is why I find it so unfathomable, as to why the Jewish community, still don't see Christ as Messiah.

 

But I guess I can't expect all to have this within one's mind.

 

 

Bolt

seeler's picture

seeler

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Stardust - from the beginning books of the Hebrew Scriptures we can find provisions for the poor - for the widow, orphan, and the stranger or visiter, as well as the commandment to love and respect (and care for) parents.  The book of Ruth contains reference to 'Gleaning'.  Landowners were expected to leave a part of their fields (the edges) for the poor - and as the labourers were carrying in the bundles of grain they were to leave behind any that fell.  Ruth, and others who had no other means of support, could go into the fields behind the labourers and gather this grain for themselves.  There were olther laws as well to provide for those unable to provide for themselves.  Perhaps the tithe of one tenth of the flock, and harvest, that was presented to the temple was first sacrificed, then used to support the priest, and distributed to the poor. 

 

At times the system broke down or corruption set in.  During the time of warfare, building and expansion under the kings:  Saul, David, Solomon, and their heirs, heavy taxes were levied.  The divisions between rich and poor grew greater.  Peasants fell into debt in order to pay their taxes, and then lost their ancestoral lands because of debt - although this was forbidden in the law.  The early prophets raged about corruption in the temples and the courts, and about forgetting the covenant relationship tht required that the poor be cared for.

 

The situation may have been worse by the time of Jesus.  Now, instead of their own kings, the Jewish people were ruled by Rome - a foreign government backed by a foreign army.  More and more people were being forced off their lands to become day labourers, beggars, and thieves.  Malnutritian was the norm - starvation happened.  The law which was intended to help and protect the people had become complicated and a burden to these oppressed people. 

 

No, Jesus didn't need to introduce something new. It was already there in the ancient scriptures, including the commandment to Love the Lord with all your heart . . . and your neighbour as yourself.   The difference was that instead of preaching the law, Jesus lived a life dedicated to his fellow men (and women and children).  He shared his bread with them and encouraged them to do the same.  He didn't worry about who was unclean.  He broke bread with fishermen, labourers, and beggers.  He talked about charity, and love, and caring for one another - but he did more than talk.  He was an example. 

 

The early church was following Jesus' example, as well as the ancient laws, when it set up means to ensure that the poor were taken care of. 

 

Ichthys's picture

Ichthys (not verified)

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It is not new. Guess why we have invented churches in the first place. They are all about welfare and solidarity.

stardust's picture

stardust

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seeler

Good information. Thanks!

boltupright's picture

boltupright

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seeler wrote:

Stardust - from the beginning books of the Hebrew Scriptures we can find provisions for the poor - for the widow, orphan, and the stranger or visiter, as well as the commandment to love and respect (and care for) parents.  The book of Ruth contains reference to 'Gleaning'.  Landowners were expected to leave a part of their fields (the edges) for the poor - and as the labourers were carrying in the bundles of grain they were to leave behind any that fell.  Ruth, and others who had no other means of support, could go into the fields behind the labourers and gather this grain for themselves.  There were olther laws as well to provide for those unable to provide for themselves.  Perhaps the tithe of one tenth of the flock, and harvest, that was presented to the temple was first sacrificed, then used to support the priest, and distributed to the poor. 

 

At times the system broke down or corruption set in.  During the time of warfare, building and expansion under the kings:  Saul, David, Solomon, and their heirs, heavy taxes were levied.  The divisions between rich and poor grew greater.  Peasants fell into debt in order to pay their taxes, and then lost their ancestoral lands because of debt - although this was forbidden in the law.  The early prophets raged about corruption in the temples and the courts, and about forgetting the covenant relationship tht required that the poor be cared for.

 

The situation may have been worse by the time of Jesus.  Now, instead of their own kings, the Jewish people were ruled by Rome - a foreign government backed by a foreign army.  More and more people were being forced off their lands to become day labourers, beggars, and thieves.  Malnutritian was the norm - starvation happened.  The law which was intended to help and protect the people had become complicated and a burden to these oppressed people. 

 

No, Jesus didn't need to introduce something new. It was already there in the ancient scriptures, including the commandment to Love the Lord with all your heart . . . and your neighbour as yourself.   The difference was that instead of preaching the law, Jesus lived a life dedicated to his fellow men (and women and children).  He shared his bread with them and encouraged them to do the same.  He didn't worry about who was unclean.  He broke bread with fishermen, labourers, and beggers.  He talked about charity, and love, and caring for one another - but he did more than talk.  He was an example. 

 

The early church was following Jesus' example, as well as the ancient laws, when it set up means to ensure that the poor were taken care of. 

 

 

Just for the record, I don't in any way support a notion that Jesus "introduced" anything new, just a fulfillment,  clarification, & expression with both word & action, the old, in a way that revealed something new,  for most, & for the most part.

 

Just like I don't proclaim to offer anything new.

I can only hope to be a fraction, of the example of that which is Christ like.

 

 

Bolt

unsafe's picture

unsafe

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    Great post stardust-

     Very interesting reading and information

  

                   

seeler's picture

seeler

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Bolt - I understand and didn't wish to imply otherwise.

 

boltupright's picture

boltupright

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I just like clarifying things if by chance they are misinterpreted.

 

 

Bolt

stardust's picture

stardust

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unsafe

Glad you like it. I do too. Its written quite simple so I can understand it.

 

I have two more threads perhaps of interest to you.  One is Jesus Town of Capharnaum. This is of interest to me because Jesus spent a lot of time there where he also performed miracles, healings etc. We hear so often about the  carpenter Jesus  from a small village, Nazareth, who  lived a very primitive existence. It seems that Capharnaum was quite a thriving town in its time.

 

The other thread is In Jesus Time Corporal Punishment  ( in the synagogue).  I didn't realize that anyone questioning or not agreeing with the teachings and/or protocol of the synagogue could be punished. Its a little bit like the Catholic church today excommunicating  members  for various reasons. So....it wasn't something entirely  new  re Paul/Jesus being persecuted for their beliefs by the synagogue.

 

 

Floribunda's picture

Floribunda

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Hi boltupright!

 

"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""Which is why I find it so unfathomable, as to why the Jewish community, still don't see Christ as Messiah.

But I guess I can't expect all to have this within one's mind."""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""

 

 

If memory serves me right (sometimes?!) Jesus just didn't meet the requirements set out in Jewish scripture.  And then if the followers of Jesus In Jesus' time were going around calling him the messiah or the son of God  - holy crap! - that would be heresy.  I remember seeing pictures of an excavated Jewish villa from the Holy Land built during the time of Jesus.  The Roman villas had beautiful frescos, mosiacs etc. adorning their properties but the Jewish property - zip, zero, nothing.  Nothing to distract them from their focus on God.

 

boltupright's picture

boltupright

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Floribunda wrote:

Hi boltupright!

 

"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""Which is why I find it so unfathomable, as to why the Jewish community, still don't see Christ as Messiah.

But I guess I can't expect all to have this within one's mind."""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""

 

 

If memory serves me right (sometimes?!) Jesus just didn't meet the requirements set out in Jewish scripture.  And then if the followers of Jesus In Jesus' time were going around calling him the messiah or the son of God  - holy crap! - that would be heresy.  I remember seeing pictures of an excavated Jewish villa from the Holy Land built during the time of Jesus.  The Roman villas had beautiful frescos, mosiacs etc. adorning their properties but the Jewish property - zip, zero, nothing.  Nothing to distract them from their focus on God.

 

Thanks for sharing that interesting info.

I get your point.

 

 

Bolt

stardust's picture

stardust

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Bolt

Jewish beliefs are diversified so we shouldn't really stereotype. Here's a link that may throw some light on the Jesus Jewish problems although it is a bit orthodox meaning not all Jews would agree with it.

 

boltupright's picture

boltupright

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stardust wrote:

Bolt

Jewish beliefs are diversified so we shouldn't really stereotype. Here's a link that may throw some light on the Jesus Jewish problems although it is a bit orthodox meaning not all Jews would agree with it.

 

You are absolutely correct on that, thanks for the link.

 

Bolt

Arminius's picture

Arminius

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In Jewish belief, the Messiah is supposed to free them from bondage. In Jesus' time, this would have meant meant freedom from Roman bondage.

 

Jesus clearly did not accomplish that, and therefore could not be their Messiah.

 

To me, "freedom from bondage" means freedom from conceptual bondage.

 

Unfortunately, hardly anyone sees it that way, not then and not now.

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