Dedicated to the writings of Saint Luke.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Isaac blesses Jacob, Ant. 1.272-273; cf. Gen. 27:27-29

Isaac not realizing his wife Rebecca and his son had deceived him, Jacob, ate the meal prepared for him by Jacob and offered his prayers to God. Isaac prayed: “"O Lord of all ages, and Creator of all substance; for it was thou that didst propose to my father great plenty of good things, and hast vouchsafed to bestow on me what I have; and hast promised to my posterity to be their kind supporter, and to bestow on them still greater blessings; do thou therefore confirm these thy promises, and do not overlook me, because of my present weak condition, on account of which I most earnestly pray to thee. Be gracious to this my son; and preserve him and keep him from every thing that is evil. Give him a happy life, and the possession of as many good things as thy power is able to bestow. Make him terrible to his enemies, and honorable and beloved among his friends."

Someone reading Whiston’s translation would not realize that Josephus begins this prayer, and most of his prayer, with an invocation to God as “master” (despotes). The use of this term can be found in the NT in Luke 2:29; Acts 4:24; 2 Peter 2:1; and Rev. 6:10. Likewise, someone reading, “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word; for mine eyes have seen thy salvation which thou hast prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to thy people Israel" would not realize that Luke begins this prayer with an invocation to God as “master” (despotes). I can tell you that this finding surprise me and I need to think about its significance.

The benediction of Isaac in Antiquities concludes with the petition “make him terrible to his enemies, and honorable and beloved among his friends." Compare this with the conclusion recorded in Genesis: “Cursed be every one who curses you, and blessed be every one who blesses you!"

copyrighted 2005


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