Tuesday, October 18, 2011

II Tim 3 - who the heck are Jannes and Jambres?


is the best description for these two. The scriptures are full of people who have lost their way and oppose the Spirit of God (whether they recognize Him as such or not). Haman, the Sons of Korah, Alexander the silversmith..... Mostly they are about as well remembered as the losers of the World Series or the presidential elections. How many Americans know who James Blaine, Alf Landon, Al Smith, and Adlai Stevenson were? Maybe the names Grover Cleveland, FDR, and Eisenhower are better known? They say that history is written by the winners. The Spirit of God wrote the scriptures. They are history of God triumphing through His people.

Through His People.
Including - Me!

Hallelujah, Jesus.

So when I go to a press conference in Montpelier and find that the architect of gay marriage has been appointed to the Vermont Supreme Court.....it is helpful to remember the Big Picture of history. (I might also add that the appointee is an accomplished lawyer and a very intelligent, personable person, and for all I know is qualified in many ways to serve on the bench. Perhaps my implied comparison is unfair and should serve for illustration purposes only.)

The following is from the Jewish Virtual Library......

JANNES AND JAMBRES, two legendary Egyptian sorcerers whose names appear in various sources as the adversaries of *Moses. Jewish tradition seems to identify them with the sorcerers mentioned in Exodus 7:11ff. (cf. Targ. Jon., ibid.). They are also mentioned as the sons of Balaam (Targ. Jon., Num. 22:22; Yal., Ex. 168, 176) and as having played a part in the incident of the *golden calf after joining the mixed multitude that accompanied Israel in the exodus from Egypt (Tanḥ., Ki Tissa, 19). The sources of the legends surrounding the activities of Jannes and Jambres go back at least to the time of the Second Temple. They are mentioned in the "Damascus Document" (Zadokite Fragments, line 17ff.) as "Jannes and his brother" and in the New Testament (11 Tim. 3:8). Mention is also made by the Church Fathers of an apocryphal book dealing with Jannes and Jambres.

The names also appear in pagan Greek and Roman literature. Both Pliny (Natural History, 30:11) and Apuleius (Apologia, 90) mention the name of Jannes only, the former including him in a list of Jewish sorcerers the first of whom is Moses, while the latter names him immediately after Moses in a list of famous magicians. Both Jannes and Jambres, however, are mentioned and discussed in detail by Numenius, the neo-Pythagorean philosopher (quoted in Eusebius, Praeparatio Evangelica, 9:8; cf. Origines, Contra Celsum, 4:51). They are described as Egyptian priests who excelled in wizardry at the period of the "expulsion" of the Jews from Egypt and as having been considered by the Egyptians capable of rescuing their country from the disasters brought upon it by Musaeus (Moses). Jannes (Iannis), with slight variations, is the most common form in which the name appears in Greek sources, as well as in the Palestinian Targum and in the main midrashic references. The Babylonian Talmud, however, gives the name as Yoḥana (cf. Yal., Ex. 235 – Yoḥane). There appears therefore to be justification for retaining the reading Johannes as it appears in the best-preserved manuscript of Apuleius.

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