CLAM: Research, Notes, & Comments

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Re: CLAM: Research, Notes, & Comments

#31 Post by Bobcat » 7 months ago

The CLAM for the week of May 30 thru June 5, 2021 includes the Bible reading from Deut chapters 1 & 2. Deut 2:30 in the NWT speaks of Jehovah 'allowing' the spirit and heart of King Sihon of Heshbon to become obstinate.

What is interesting is to compare that verse (Deut 2:30) with other translations. (See here) (See the Hebrew of the text here)

Where the NWT has God passively 'allowing' this hardening, every other translation has God actively causing it.

This post has a video discussing the topic of God hardening Pharaoh's heart. (The video doesn't discuss the NWT rendering.)

For any interested, the w53 6/1 pp. 644-45 pars. 10-11 (viewable in the WT online library or the JWLibrary app) has a discussion of how Jehovah 'hardened' Pharoah's heart. It could be that the article was written before that part of the NWT was produced. That might explain why the article speaks of Jehovah actively 'hardening' Pharaoh's heart. But even the first edition of the NWT uses the passive tense in the verses that speak about Jehovah 'hardening' the hearts of others.

Apparently, as I understand it, the NWT in these verses is somewhat of a paraphrase. But it is curious that there are no footnotes explaining this.

Anyone who might be able to provide further to this subject (hardening vs. allowing to be hardened & the NWT rendering) please do.


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Re: CLAM: Research, Notes, & Comments

#32 Post by Stranger » 7 months ago

Bobcat wrote: 7 months ago Anyone who might be able to provide further to this subject (hardening vs. allowing to be hardened & the NWT rendering) please do.

Hi Bobcat,

Chock one up for the NWT, I like their unicorn style on this one. To me it makes more sense that Jehovah has never took away free will from anyone. He has made conditions bad enough at times to make one think about changing their mind (just ask Pharaoh), but in the end, free will has always been granted to an individual.

How do you feel? Don't be stubborn!

Stranger, (Ps 32:9)

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Re: CLAM: Research, Notes, & Comments

#33 Post by menrov » 7 months ago

Hi Bobcat and others, see also here:

The example from NWT shows how WT (and about most JW's and probably other devout Christians) cannot accept that something negative is attributed to their God. All good things are because of God and all negative things are because of yourself or Satan.

Anyway, just my view.

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Re: CLAM: Research, Notes, & Comments

#34 Post by Bobcat » 7 months ago

[Note for the reader: This particular discussion begins in post # 31 above.]

Hi Stranger and Menrov,

I agree with both of you to an extent. My real issue (if you will) was with the NWT changing the text in the Bible and not even notifying the reader of the change. They tout how accurate and faithful the NWT is to the original text, but then make these subtle changes without notifying the reader. Of course, they are not the first or the last to do such things, not just in religion, but in all walks of life.

I agree with you Stranger that Jehovah likely kept Pharaoh's (and King Sihon's) free will intact. The quote below is from the w53 6/1 pp. 644-45 pars. 10-11 where they are using the text of some other translation besides the NWT for their OT quotations. This is why the article speaks of Jehovah actively 'hardening' Pharaoh's heart. (And the WT explanation, at least in part, makes sense to me.)

(You can see at the end of paragraph 11 where they quote from the NT out of the NWT. The NT part of the NWT came out in 1950, but the rest came out in 5 parts over the next 10 years. Apparently, the Exodus part of the NWT was not yet available when this article was produced. The first edition of the NWT changes the related verses to say that God 'allowed' Pharaoh's (and Sihon's) heart to become hard or obstinate.)
10. How did God harden Pharaoh’s heart without violating free will?

10 Now to consider the controversial text wherein Jehovah said: “I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt. But Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you.” (Ex. 7:3, 4) Now Jehovah did not actually harden the heart of Pharaoh so that Pharaoh lost his free will in the matter. His heart hardened because of the message declared to him by Moses and Aaron. It was what caused him to react in hard stubbornness and anger. But since the message Moses and Aaron declared was really Jehovah’s message, the account says Jehovah hardened his heart. The repeated extension of God’s mercy to him by the lifting of plague after plague did not soften the Egyptian ruler, but as is usual in the case of bullies and tyrants this forbearance only made Pharaoh more intolerable, brought to the fore all the more his bullying characteristics. At Exodus 8:15 the result of relief is shown: “When Pharaoh saw that there was respite, he hardened his heart.” And again after the lifting of one of the plagues: “Pharaoh hardened his heart at this time also.” (Ex. 8:32) Also 1 Samuel 6:6 states: “The Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened their hearts.” Does it not say Pharaoh hardened his own heart? Yes, because that was actually what happened. It only says Jehovah did it because that was how Pharaoh reacted to Jehovah’s message. Mercy shown to such arrogant men only serves to let them store up more wrath against themselves. (Rom. 2:4, 5) It is not unusual for wicked men to interpret Jehovah’s long-suffering as a sign of weakness and thus become more set in their evil ways, thinking the time of reckoning will never come: “Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.” (Eccl. 8:11) Pharaoh’s heart was so set in him.

11. How does the Bible itself interpret a similar situation, proving the viewpoint to be no private interpretation?

11 The charge that such a view of the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart is private interpretation cannot be proved, because the Bible itself so interprets a similar expression. At Isaiah 6:10 Jehovah tells Isaiah: “Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.” Now, God did not mean for Isaiah to actually go and fatten their hearts and stop up their ears and close their eyes to forestall any repentance; but he was predicting that that would be the effect of the message that Isaiah had been commanded to go and tell the people, that the people themselves would show closed eyes and unhearing ears and fatty hearts, that they would not repent and turn to Jehovah for healing spiritually. The message declared made these rebellious ones unreceptive because it did not please them, and since Isaiah delivered it he was said to have done these things to them. But that they did it to themselves is shown by no less an authority than Jesus himself, for in quoting this prophecy as having fulfillment upon rebellious ones in his day he said: “The heart of this people has grown thick, and with their ears they have heard with annoyance, and they have shut their eyes.” Years later Paul quoted it in the same words. Though in Isaiah’s prophecy it speaks of Isaiah as doing it, both Jesus and Paul show the people themselves did it, and not actually Isaiah.—Matt. 13:14, 15; Acts 28:25-27, NW.
[Underlining and bolding is Bobcat's]

I guess, in the big scheme of things, this is not earth changing. But it is one of those things that shows me that you can never take the WT's word for things without first making comparisons and doing research on your own. The WT wants JWs to simply take them at their word. But they are not worthy of that sort of trust.

For me, changing the active ("hardened his heart") to the passive ("allowed his heart to become hard") is not unlike food producers who process your food, and as a result, end up with less nutritional food. If God is willing to say that He 'hardened' someone's heart, why shouldn't translators leave it that way? And every translation I have seen (except for the NWT) does just that.

But that's me. I guess I'm stubborn like that. (The WT would probably agree with that!)

And thank you for the link Menrov.


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Re: CLAM: Research, Notes, & Comments

#35 Post by Stranger » 7 months ago

Bobcat wrote: 7 months ago The WT wants JWs to simply take them at their word. But they are not worthy of that sort of trust.
The WT has put a lot of their own wording into the scriptures and like you said they are not the only ones. What they rely on is that if something is said enough or spelled a certain way by enough people then it becomes true. Just like with a dictionary.

Isa 44:18 is another scripture that has a controversial nature, but they (the WT) are not a unicorn here, they have other tribes with their vibes, and then there are others that would proscribe.

Stranger, (Jer 23:36 KJV)

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Re: CLAM: Research, Notes, & Comments

#36 Post by Bobcat » 3 months ago

Some interesting wording the WT uses in the Pure Worship book regarding Babylon the Great. In Chapter 15, paragraph 4 says:
In the vision Jesus gave to the apostle John at the end of the first century C.E., a striking figure emerges. She is called “the great prostitute” and “Babylon the Great, the mother of the prostitutes.” (Rev. 17:1, 5) For centuries, her true identity has mystified religious leaders and Bible scholars. They have variously said that she represents Babylon, Rome, or the Roman Catholic Church. For many decades, however, Jehovah’s Witnesses have understood the true identity of this “great prostitute.” She is the world empire of false religion. How do we know that? [Bolding is Bobcat's]

Notice how "religious leaders and Bible scholars" have been "mystified" about Babylon the Great, but "Jehovah's Witnesses have understood the true identity" of this "great prostitute" for many decades.

There is some truth in the statement that the WT has consistently identified Babylon the Great the same way since the 1963 book, Babylon the Great Has Fallen."

But their statement is somewhat hypocritical in that the WT has had different published understandings of Babylon the Great in times previous to that. The second footnote in this post has some of what they used to believe about Babylon the Great.

And one of the interesting things about their previous interpretation was how they say they came to that understanding. It says a lot about how the WT operates.


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Re: CLAM: Research, Notes, & Comments

#37 Post by Bobcat » 2 months ago

The CLAM book study material (considered on 11/22/21) made the argument that there is no anti-typical Jerusalem. The reader is invited to consider this thread. (Rev 11:8; 16:19)


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Re: CLAM: Research, Notes, & Comments

#38 Post by Bobcat » 1 month ago

The CLAM for this week (week of 12/6/21), in the book study discusses the WT's 'new light' that "Gog" is a "coalition of nations.'

For a dissenting view on this, see this post.


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Re: CLAM: Research, Notes, & Comments - Jdg 16:1-3

#39 Post by Bobcat » 2 weeks ago

The CLAM for this week (1/3/22) has a WT reference in the Treasures From God's Word part of the meeting.

It references Jdg 16:1-3 and asks, "How are we to understand these verses?" It then references w05 3/15 p. 27 ¶ 6.

Right away, the question raises a question. "How are WE to understand ..." No need here for any JWs to start thinking for themselves.

At any rate, the WT reference goes on to say:
Samson was single-minded in the pursuit of his objective, his fight against the Philistines. His staying at the house of a prostitute at Gaza was for the purpose of fighting against God’s enemies. Samson needed a lodging place for the night in an enemy city, and it could be found in the house of a prostitute. Samson had no immoral purpose in mind. He left the woman’s house at midnight, grabbed the city gates and the two side posts, and carried them to the top of a mountain near Hebron, which was some 37 miles [60 km] away. This was done with divine approval and God-given strength.​—Judges 16:1-3.

The WT has to point this out because the wording of Jdg 16:1 clearly indicates that Samson visited the prostitute for the same reason most men who visit prostitutes do. Here is BibleHub's listing of various renderings of Jdg 16:1.

And here is a literal word-for-word rendering of Jdg 16:1. The last phrase of the verse reads,
"... and saw there a woman a harlot and went in to her."
One can compare a couple of other verses to see how the text of Jdg 16:1 is clearly describing Samson's intent. For example, the latter portion of Gen 6:4 (here) reads,
"and also after that when came in (Strong's 935; same as in Jdg 16:1) the sons of God to the daughters of men and they bore (children) to them"
The construction is the same as in Jdg 16:1. The sons of God "came in" to the daughters of men. Samson "went in" to the prostitute. Where the subject (sons of God and Samson) "came/went in" (verb) to the object (daughters of men and her [the harlot]).

Gen 38 is another good example:
Gen 38:2 Judah sees Shua, acquires her as a wife, and "went into her" (same verb, which is a euphemism for having sex relations).

Gen 38:9 Whenever Onan "went into" (same verb) his brother's wife he would waste his semen on the ground.

Gen 38:16 Judah sees Tamar (dressed like a harlot) and says, "let me come into you" (same verb).

Now, contrast the two spies in Josh 2:1 (here) and how the Hebrew words their lodging at Rahab's house:
"So they went and came to (Same verb, # 935) the house of a harlot and named Rahab and lodged there"

The Hebrew text makes the house of Rahab the object that they "come into."

Constable's Notes, commenting on Jdg 16:1-3, opines:

To this point in his history Samson had demonstrated some faith in God even though, “the exploits of Samson read like the actions of an uncontrollable juvenile delinquent.”[299] However his unwillingness to remain dedicated to God resulted eventually in his loss of strength, his enslavement, and his death.


Gaza lay on the sunny Mediterranean coast in the heart of Philistine territory. It was probably a popular vacation site for compromising Israelites as well as the Philistines. Perhaps Samson went there to enjoy the amusements that flourish in such places and to show off his physique on the “muscle beach” of his day. As the judge assigned to destroy the Philistines, his presence there for recreational purposes was inappropriate to say the least. It also reveals his great self-confidence since after 20 years of judging Israel he was undoubtedly a wanted man in Philistia. In contrast, Samuel, who was only a few years younger than Samson, was at this time ministering as a faithful circuit-riding judge in Israel’s heartland (1 Sam. 7:15-17). Samson’s birth was probably close to 1123 B.C. and Samuel’s about 1121 B.C.[300]

Samson’s weakness for women stands out in the record of his evening with the Gaza prostitute (v. 1). This was unquestionably inappropriate behavior for a Nazirite whom God had called to deliver Israel from the very enemy he was romancing. Any reference to the leading of the Lord is notably absent here (cf. Jdg 14:4). Samson’s weakness contrasts with his strength throughout this chapter. Here we see his moral and spiritual weakness.

Why did God continue to use Samson since he was so morally impure? Part of the answer has to be that God had chosen to use him and was patient with him. God’s patience allowed Samson the opportunity to repent and to experience God’s blessing instead of His judgment (cf. 2 Pet. 3:9; 1 Cor. 11:31). Unfortunately Samson responded to God’s patience by taxing it to its limit. While the heavenly Father is patient, He is not permissive. That is, He does not allow unacceptable behavior to continue indefinitely without discipline.

This is what you get with WT commentary: A few men in New York trying to make their own fanciful opinions to become your opinion also.


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Re: CLAM: Research, Notes, & Comments - Delilah

#40 Post by Bobcat » 2 weeks ago

Just adding a little more research based on the CLAM discussion for the week of 1/3/22.

What used to be called the Instruction Talk (what is now the first part of the CLAM) was on Delilah and how disloyal her actions were in connection with Samson. The speaker, based on his WT outlined part, droned on and on about Delilah's disloyalty and how we should be loyal to our mates and the "Organization" and should shun DFed ones. But all the while it appeared that the speaker was missing the elephant in the room.

The account (Jdg 16:4-22) never says that Samson married Delilah, or that she was his wife. In Jdg 14:1-2, the first woman in Samson's life (based on the Bible's account), he takes as a wife, although the marriage is never consummated. But the Bible account specifically says that he wanted her and takes her as a wife.

The second woman mentioned in connection with Samson is the prostitute mentioned in Jdg 16:1-3. See the post just above in connection with her and how the Hebrew text of Jdg 16:1 lends itself to the idea that Samson "went into" the prostitute the same way the "sons of God" went into "the daughters of men" in Gen 6:4, and Judah "went into" Tamar when she dressed as a prostitute. (Gen 38:16)

The third (and last) woman in Samson's life is Delilah, discussed in Jdg 16:4-22. The passage never says that they become husband and wife. It also doesn't say whether Delilah is Philistine, Jewish or something else. Nor does it give any family background in connection with her. Only that she is from Sorek, which is on the border between Philistia and Israel.

The real problem in the account is Samson's lack of morals. He desires this woman. And even though she attempts to trick him the first three times (Jdg 16:6-14), Samson foils the attempts. Yet, he still stays with her. His desire for her is stronger than any good sense that he can muster up. And, eventually, his moral shortcomings catch up with him.

And finally, the Judges account never says whatever eventually happens to Delilah. She just disappears from Biblical history. This is a good indication that the account is not about her, but about Samson and his shortcomings.

Too bad that the WT, in attempting to conjure up some sort of hero image of Samson, loses sight of some really good lessons that could be learned from the account. Instead, they put their focus on what is really important to the WT, themselves, and the need for JWs to put all their loyalty in the organization.

What a waste.

Here are some other references regarding Delilah:
Who was Delilah? (and see also the included link "Somewhere in between")

Wikipedia article on Delilah


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