Biblical Quizzes for Really Smart People
Quiz III--Movies II
Quiz VII--X rated
Quiz VIII--X rated
Quiz X- The Numbers
Quiz XXIX (Messiah)
Quiz XXX (Messiah II)
Quiz XXXI (Mess. III)
Quiz XXXII (Mess. IV)
Quiz XL--vivid images
Quiz LIX--weird doct.
Quiz LXV--doctrine II
Bible Quizzes for Smart People LIII
Bill Long 2/18/07
1. "How the mighty have fallen!" NRSV. The KJV is similar, "How are the mighty fallen!"
This sentiment, uttered in a particular context after a specific battle in Israel's history, is a useful statement for all kinds of situations today. When high-flying politicians, seemingly impregnable in their positions of authority, are defeated, we can say "How are the mighty fallen!" When Enron collapsed about seven years ago, after seemingly taking the energy services sector by storm and building a dizzingly complex array of subsidiaries, we say "How are the mighty fallen!" We might also want to get our pension money or our stock money from them, but I am afraid that many little folks will be the great loser on that score. Something in the nature of people often leads us to vaunt itself after a signal victory or series of victories. A biblical story which illustrates this neatly is a speech of Herod to the people (where is this one found?). On a certain day "Herod put on his royal robes, took his seat on the platform and delivered a public address." What was the people's response, 'The voice of a god, and not of a mortal!" In other words, 'How mighty is Herod. Then, the Scriptures say, "And immediately, becasue he had not given the glory to God, an angel of the Lord struck him down, and he was eaten by worms and died." Dust to dust (where is that?) indeed. So, where do you find this bolded verse and can you apply it to any situation you know?
2."for ye are like unto whited sepulchres," KJV. The NRSV, desiring to 'update' the language, has "for you are like white-washed tombs."
There are more than 32,000 hits in a Google search for "whited sepulchres." One of them even kindly defines the phrase: "a person who is inwardly evil but outwardly professes to be virtuous." In other words, a hypocrite. But "whited sepulchres" has always had a more potent meaning for me than "hypocrite." Now I suppose it has a quaint ring to it. I am sure if you called a colleague a "whited sepulchre," he/she might, not knowing what you mean, thank you. I found this interesting interview with David Crystal online. Crystal is an expert on the history of the English language, and suggests in this interview how the KJV phraseology entered deeply into the daily use of people's speech. In fact, he suggests that "no other text (other than the KJV) in the history of the English language has done as much as the Bible to shape our modern idiom, and that's its claim to linguistic fame." Let me provide a few examples, from the same Biblical book where the phrase "whited sepulchres" appears. The following phrases have become common cultural property: "eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth," "turn the other cheek," "the salt of the earth," "our daily bread," "O ye of little faith," "don't cast your pearls before swine," "seek and ye shall find," "straight...and narrow," "wolves in sheep's clothing," "built his house upon the sand," "lost sheep," "the blind shall lead the blind," "the sign of the times," "suffer little children," "den of thieves," "out of the mouths of babes," "render..unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's," "thirty pieces of silver." I could go on and on, as you probably realize. So, on your way to mastering these other phrases, where do you find "whited sepulchre?" Can you think of anyone to whom it particularly applies?
3. "The ox knows its owner,/ and the donkey its master's crib;/ but Israel does not know,/ my people does not understand."
People are stubborn. I am stubborn. In the face of overwhelming evidence of some reality, we often deny its truth or impact on our lives. To make matters worse, we "forget" the ones who have given gifts to us. In fact, the Book of Deuteronomy (where specifically?) warns the Israelites to avoid this kind of arrogance. "When the Lord your God has brought you into the land that he swore to your ancestors, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give you--a land with fine, large cities that you did not build, houses filled with all sorts of goods that you did not fill, hewn cisterns that you did not hew, vineyards and olive groves that you did not plant....take care that you do not forget the Lord, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery." Deuteronomy handles this human tendency to forget by telling us to look around at our surroundings and realize that we have really contributed nothing to the building of them. The mountains were put there by another; the trees grew of their own accord; the buildings were not designed or constructed by us. Yet we act arrogantly, forgetting the true source of our daily sustenance. One of my former professors gave a welcoming address to new students, using these words from Deuteronomy (changed for 20th century realities), in order to try to impress upon students their dependence on others for the fortune they enjoy today. Thus, this verse is quite important in order for us to get a proper view of ourselves. Where do you find it?
4. "How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?"
This oft-repeated Biblical sentiment really goes to the heart of religious faith. I venture to say that there are few people I know who haven't felt at one time or another than God has forgotten them...maybe even for a long, long time. Even the saints under the altar, in the Book of Revelation (where?), complain about God's delay in saving them. Their precise words are: "Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long will it be before you judge an davene ou blood on the inhabitants of the earth?" So, everyone is complaining about delays. Actually, the picture of saints under the altar, which I first learned about in my early 20s, has more than once excited the risibilities, so to speak. Can't you just imagine a heavenly priest celebrating mass or whatever they celebrate there leaning over to open one of the drawers in the altar (all altars have lots of drawers in them) and up pops a slaughtered saint or two complaining about delay? I would tend to take one of those little mallets that kids use and hit those furry heads back into submission. Well, that is really not a very nice picture, is it? So, returning to the issue at hand, where do you find the bolded verse? And, have you felt the same over the years?