Tuesday, July 4, 2017

A Simple Review of "War Room"

Introduction


Last year, my wife and I watched the 2015 Christian film War Room, made by Alex and Stephen Kendrick. Just the usual warning of any detailed review: there are gonna be lots and lots of spoilers here. If you haven't seen the movie, and you don't want to know how it ends, if there are any twists, etc., then don't read this review. If you don't care, continue on - just don't say I didn't warn you.

It should be noted that, before watching this movie, my wife and I were big Kendrick Brothers fans. We own FlywheelFacing the GiantsFireproof, and Courageous on DVD and Blu-Ray (depending on the availability). I'm not hugely fond of modern "Christian" films, but the Kendrick Brothers' movies were the rare exception. If you want an example of how highly I can praise one of their films, go and read my review of their first film, Flywheel. The point of me saying all this is we didn't go in ready to bash this movie - while we had heard some questionable things about it, we had an open mind, and a past experience of glowing opinions regarding the Kendrick Brothers' work. As it turned out, watching this film was a completely different experience for us entirely.

In the DVD commentary, the Kendrick Brothers say that the point of the movie is to teach that we fight our battles in prayer before anything else. Does it live up to that? Does it live up as a movie? Let's talk about this...



Plot Summary

The story centers around a couple by the name of Tony and Elizabeth Jordan, who have a young daughter, Danielle. Tony works for a pharmaceutical company, while Elizabeth handles real estate. Not all is rosy in the Jordan household: Tony and Elizabeth are constantly fighting, mainly because Elizabeth sends money to her deadbeat brother-in-law, to Tony's disapproval. Furthermore, Danielle feels ignored by both her parents, who seem to show no interest in her lifestyle. To make matters worse, a woman at Tony's job begins to show a blatant interest in him, and he reciprocates.


Then Elizabeth goes to appraise the house of an elderly woman named Clara Williams. Clara is a widow, whose husband Leo had served in the army during the Vietnam War. Clara takes a liking to Elizabeth and invites her over for coffee. While they have coffee, Clara confronts Elizabeth about her familial and spiritual situation, and tells her that she needs to fight back not against her husband, but what's harming her marriage. At this point, Clara presents her "war room," which is a regular closet she's transformed into a literal prayer closet. At first, Elizabeth doesn't take the idea of a "war room" seriously, but soon begins to post up Bible verses on the wall, praying in earnest for much of the day, etc. Suddenly she's alerted by a friend that Tony is at a restaurant with another woman. Elizabeth responds by praying for God to prevent Tony from doing anything drastic. This results in Tony having a stomachache that prevents him from sleeping with the adulteress.

Tony discovers, by looking in Elizabeth's texts, that she knows about the dinner with the woman, though he remains silent about it. He loses his job due to mishandling numbers and keeping some of the drugs for himself, but Elizabeth remains calm and understanding throughout. After reviewing his own life, Tony repents to Elizabeth and decides to be a better husband and father. This involves him getting involved in Danielle's jump rope competition, and admitting to his bosses that he had been making money on the side. The latter conflict is resolved because Coleman, one of the company heads, is overtaken with Tony's sincere repentance, and decides to overlook the crime. The former conflict is resolved when Danielle and Tony partake in the jump rope competition and come in second place. The film ends with Clara giving a long prayer asking God to raise up people who would be faithful to him; as she speaks, we see a montage of schools, sports fields, and even the Congress building. The End.



'Murica!

Storyline

As I watched, I couldn't help but think that everything we were witnessing had been done before. I started picking up things we had already seen in previous Kendrick Brothers movies. Some out there might give the "there's no actual 'original' story" argument, but my point here is that, if you've seen the other Kendrick Brothers movies, you'll notice a ton of rehashing in this one. As I watched with my wife, we both noticed many similarities with FlywheelFireproof, and Courageous. Don't believe me? Let me go through some of the things we noticed...

Here were some elements from Flywheel:

  • There's a business-minded dad who is disrespectful to his wife, ignores his kid, hates going to church, and commits dishonest tactics at his workplace.
  • The business-minded dad, after deciding to become a better Christian, wants to restore the wrong he did to those affected by his dishonest business practices. 
  • There's a scene where a parent overhears their child telling another kid how much they don't respect their parents.
Here were some elements from Fireproof:
  • An elderly person comes into the main character's life and saves the day with some practical idea.
  • Best buds are seen sitting around a weight room, exercising and talking about the facts of life, including marital difficulties.
  • The main character's best friend is a Christian that serves as his voice of reason and conscience.
  • There's a "plot twist" involving the background of the elderly person and how the practical idea was related to their own personal life.
And here are some elements from Courageous:
  • A character delivering drugs (in this case, legal drugs) keeps some to himself for profit, and later has to face up to the consequences for it.
  • A character is faced with a tough moral question about their job which might lead them to getting fired or worse. (Though in this case, the character already was fired.)
  • At the end of the movie, a character gives a big speech calling on people to action based on the moral of the film.
Ultimately, it comes across like the Kendrick Brothers wanted to promote "war room" theology, and just mixed plot elements from their previous films together to shoehorn it into a script. Indeed, much of the film feels like a bunch of ideas or elements strung together, with little time for the plot points to develop. This actually ends up hurting the movie, because you're constantly reminded that the previous films handled these issues better.

Here would be a good time to lament one of my biggest complaints about the movie: it just gets boring. It keeps dragging things out with one thing after another, to the point that you sit there wondering when it's going to end. The worst part is Danielle's jump rope competition - oh yeah, they show you all of it. It never felt like this important subplot that had to be resolved, and it doesn't offer anything for the characters other than for Danielle to proudly say "This is my dad!" (And even by then, we've already established she and her dad were on better terms, so it was completely unnecessary.) Even after this part is concluded, the film continues. I was seriously reminded of that episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000 where Tom Servo asks, "Shouldn't this be over?" Some internet reviews have opined that the film feels like they finished the main conflict twenty minutes early, then padded the rest of the movie with filler - that's not too far off a description. Even during the final speech, you'll be screaming, "Kendrick Brothers! Let my people go!"



Actual Photo: My wife and I waiting for War Room to end

If you want to know just how disinterested in the story I was, let me tell a little anecdote. Shortly after the mugging scene (see below), two policemen speak with Elizabeth and Clara. One of them is played by Ben Davies, who also played the rookie deputy in Courageous. I was reminded of that character's story, with the cheerleader he had gotten pregnant, and the little girl he now wanted to be daddy to. I started to talk to my wife about how I hope he and the woman ended up together, and he did become a real father to his daughter. I started talking about how awesome the final shot of him stretching out his arm to offer a present to the girl was. I then realized that I had become much more emotionally invested in another movie than the movie I was actually watching - and all because of a minor character who's in there for a few seconds.


Most interesting character in the whole movie...and he's barely in it

That's how bored I was.



Characters

Usually in a Kendrick Brothers movie, I can relate to the characters, or feel for them. Here, their usually strong delivery simply falls flat, or doesn't succeed at all.

Let's talk about Tony. What do we know about him early on? He yells at his wife, ignores his kid, and is committing adultery. True, the main character in Flywheel (sans the adultery bit) did that too, but there was still some humanity about him; you could tell he was an everyday man who was struggling to support a family and a business, but he had begun to forget the authority of God, and hence the rest of his life was falling apart. By contrast, Tony gets very little character development for most of the movie - heck, we have zero reason to believe he's even a true Christian. The only real character development he gets is in the last third of the film, and it comes across as incredibly forced. You're ultimately only supposed to like him because, hey, he repented, and this is an Evangelical movie, and you're supposed to like someone after they repent. This is especially unfortunate because TC Stallings, who plays Tony (and who played the gang leader in Courageous), can indeed act, and in the few parts of the film where he's allowed to let Tony breathe, he does a good job.


Now let's also talk about Elizabeth. We're supposed to sympathize with her for her struggles. We're supposed to care about her. We're supposed to feel bad for what her husband's doing, and how her family is. The truth is, as my wife and I watched the film, neither of us felt any sympathy for her. I can list two big reasons for this:

First, Priscilla Shirer, who plays Elizabeth, just isn't that great of an actress. Her delivery isn't believable, even in the scenes where she's supposed to be showing some subtlety. For example, when her daughter admits that she's unsure if Elizabeth loves her, Priscilla Shirer barely shows any change of reaction, whereas most parents would surely have been at least a little bit affected. (I know I would feel absolutely heartbroken.) In all her crying scenes, it basically amounts to her staring at the camera with a blank expression while a single tear goes down her cheek. In the more comedic moments, her delivery is deadpan, and warrants no laughs. In fact, the only laughs from scenes with her are given by other characters. (For example, the delivery man and his "take your breath away" line.) It's not that she's the worst actress ever; it's just that, since you're supposed to care for Elizabeth, her acting doesn't help the other problems. What astounds me is the Kendrick Bros. say she did a great job, and Shirer herself was happy with the results. Why either of them came to this conclusion, I don't know.

Second, Elizabeth's sins and faults are on blatant display, and yet are never really repented of or rebuked, either by herself or others. She's disrespectful to her husband, who does have legitimate concern for how she's using their money without telling him. Her daughter admits that she feels just as ignored by her mom as she does her dad. Elizabeth admits her and Tony aren't sexually active, suggesting she doesn't show any sexual interest in him (and it's not like Fireproof, where they establish the husband was unrepentantly looking at pornography, hence the wife's own physical disinterest). She acts bitter and selfish when upset, as shown by one scene where she frightens Danielle's friend at the dinner table by repeatedly slamming her fork down on the plate. Point is, she has a lot of character to change, and yet the only fault given to her directly is "You don't pray enough." That's basically it. The only thing that comes close to a repentance scene is when her daughter admits she's unsure of Elizabeth's love, and mother and daughter give each other a hug. By contrast, Tony repents to Elizabeth, repents to Danielle, and repents to his boss. It's not that Tony didn't have anything to repent of, it's just that War Room has the same fault that many cite against Fireproof: all the focus is on the sins of the husband, and it's he who must repent, while the wife gets off with a slap on the wrist.

Some here might protest that Elizabeth does change during the movie; and indeed, she shows Tony more respect after she begins her prayer closet, rather than ragging on them all the time. It won't be denied something goes on with her, but there's still no visible repentance from her. That's it - a character change. Tony could have simply done a character change as well, but instead he's made to be in tears and apologize for everything he's done the entire movie. Elizabeth, by contrast, gets to skirt all this. Heck, even Clara, when talking about her deceased husband, talks about all the things she had to forgive him for, yet never talks about any of her own sins or transgressions. It's all on the men: men are the sinners who need to repent; women just need to change their attitudes, and they're good.


(By the way, before anyone wants to respond to this with "Thanks for mansplaining," I want to point out that, as we watched, the harshest criticisms against Elizabeth came not from my own masculine lips, but from the lips of my wife. She, even more than me, thought Elizabeth had to repent, and was failing in her role as mother and wife.)

Yet the biggest offender regarding characters who fail is, ironically, Clara. I say ironic, because she's supposed to be this wise, elderly sage who helps Elizabeth with her marriage, but in the end it only works out that way because the script says it does. Otherwise, she comes across as either creepy or intrusive. When Elizabeth is presenting a quote for her house, Clara begins asking about personal details about Elizabeth's religious and marital life, and won't stop even after Elizabeth makes it clear she feels uncomfortable. I'm a Christian who believes in the resurrected Savior and salvation through Christ alone, and even I thought the old bat was being nosy. Plus, all her humor scenes involve her rambling and babbling, and come across as a woman on the verge of going insane. I have a feeling they were trying to make her like the black woman in Flywheel, except whereas that woman was actually funny and likable, Clara is just senile and annoying.

To be fair, it's not just Clara who comes across as creepy. In fact, many scenes with characters, played for laughs, just come across as weird. The biggest offender is the scene where Danielle finds her mom eating and drinking in the prayer room. You're supposed to laugh at it, but Shirer's delivery, the bizarre nature of the whole situation, and the look of shock on Danielle and her friend, make the entire scene more creepy than entertaining. Seriously, take out the background music and start playing something like the Nightmare on Elm Street theme, and tell me it has the same humor as before. My wife and I left that sequence more confused than amused. I was reminded of a line from Mystery Science Theater 3000 where a movie attempted to be funny, and Tom Servo remarked, "That was supposed to make me sad, right?"



Theology

Putting cinematic themes and motifs aside, one of the biggest complaints lodged against the film was the theology found within. Much has been written on this already by men who are much more learned and godly than I (for example, an excellent commentary from Justin Peters), but I feel this to be an important topic to cover if we're going to review this movie in detail.

Let me quickly clarify, before I get into any theological criticism, that I firmly believe prayer is important. I don't think any Christian reading this post is going to deny that. We're commanded by scripture to pray, as a way of giving thanks, offering praise, or making requests to God. It is a duty of all Christians, and part of a healthy spiritual life should be a healthy prayer life. The only problem lies, as with any theological doctrine, in how far we take the power and means of prayer. Can we change God's mind with our prayer? Do we, as some Word of Faith heretics claim, give God permission to act on earth by prayer? Can God only do things if we pray for Him to do it, as some Hyper-Charismatic heretics teach?

If we're going to talk specifically about War Room and its theology of prayer, then we need to get to the big elephant in the room: the infamous devil rebuking scene. This scene happens shortly after Elizabeth begins her prayer room in earnest, and after she receives a text that Tony is with another woman. She steps out of her prayer room, then begins to directly address the devil, telling him that he no longer has power in this house. She then (I swear I'm not making any of this up) walks the devil out of her house, and tells him not to come back. (My wife literally responded with, 
"She freakin' walked the devil out of her house? What the freakin' crap!")

The problem is that this scene, and many others involving prayer, takes what is God's power and makes it ours. The Kendrick Bros., in the DVD commentary, defend this scene by saying that all Elizabeth is doing is what Jesus does in rebuking the devil. Yet why could Christ rebuke the devil, as he did during his temptations? This was because he was divine. He was God the Son incarnate. Contrast this with what Jude tells believers to do:
But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” [Jude v. 9]
The best comparison I might make is with a retail employee dealing with an irate customer. If a customer gets super upset to the point of becoming insulting or derisive, the employee doesn't say "Get out of my store!" Rather, the employee says "Talk to my manager," and the manager can kick the person out of the store - a store which he, not the employee, manages. Likewise, if we feel temptations from Satan, we rest on the authority and power of God, not by any personal commands from ourselves (even if "in Jesus' name"). I don't have any authority to rebuke the devil - I pray to God that He save me from such times, just as Michael the archangel did before Satan. In fact, the idea that we can go around fighting Satan while tossing in Christ's name reminds me of the counter-rebuke from the demoniac in Acts: "I recognize Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you?"

Some might try to appeal to the verse appealed to in the movie: just before her meltdown, Elizabeth reads James 4:7, which reads (in the NASB): "Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you." The script interprets this verse quite literally, as if we're supposed to get up and start attacking Satan. The truth of the matter is the film takes the verse out of context and applies it in too broad a way, as often happens in Pop Evangelicalism. Here is a fuller context for verse 7 (the verse itself is in bold):

What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose: “He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us”? But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you. [James 4:1-10]
James is not talking about prayer closets. He's not talking about jumping up and running around the house screaming at the devil. Rather, James is talking about personal sin struggles. James is addressing those who might be creating quarrels and conflicts because of their personal sins and desires. By doing so, the people had been creating two authorities in their life: the world (which gave them what they wanted), and Christ. You cannot, however, have two masters; as James himself says, friendship with the world is enmity with God. James, however, gives hope to the convicted Christian reading these verses: God gives grace to the humble - that is, those who can see their errors. Therefore, he commands them to "submit to God" (rather than to the world). Of course, submitting to the world will bring about temptations from our previous worldly desires. When this happens, we then "resist the devil" - that is, submit further to God, and fight against these temptations. God will not abandon us in this struggle. With this in mind, James gives the commands for believers to "cleanse their hands," "purify their hearts," etc.

The point of this is that War Room not only forgets the model scripture plainly gives us in dealing with the devil, but it misinterprets a verse about personal struggles and applies it to a much larger meaning. As a result, the film tells Christians that they can, by an extended authority, go around cussing out the devil and kicking him out of places. The fact is, the only authority we have is God's, and we rely on that and not our own. Likewise, James 4:7 does not give us a right to engage in such spiritual warfare, but to turn to God in our more troubling moments of sanctification.

Another problematic scene, directly related to this, is the mugger scene. When confronted by a man with a knife, Clara tells him, "Put the knife down, in the name of Jesus." What happens next? Without any hesitation, the mugger lowers his knife. End scene. That's it. My wife and I had to pause the DVD a moment because of how dumbfounded we were. The Kendrick Brothers claim that such situations really do happen, and can be verified with news stories. I'm aware of such stories, and while certainly people have driven off muggers by witnessing, it's been a lot more complicated than simply demanding they put the knife down. Yet here, by a mere command, a man with a knife just gives up.

Putting this aside, there's the whole issue of the importance of a prayer closet. The Kendrick Brothers clarify in the DVD commentary that the idea of a "war room" is not to say you need a prayer room in the house, but merely a private place to pray. The problem is, such a general teaching isn't taught in the movie itself. Everything happens, and the blessings pour out, because of the "war room" used by the characters. The causal effect is not a more God-centered life, but the "war room" all the characters participate in. Even Danielle starts to have her own "war room," and finds her wishes fulfilled. Near the end of the movie, a pastor walks into Clara's prayer room and says he knows it's a prayer room because it "feels like it's baked in" - in other words, this film makes a connection between prayer closets and what one might call "Evangelical mysticism."

In fact, there's so much mysticism or psychic-like ability given to the Clara character that one expects her to be turned into an Eastern Orthodox icon by the end of the film. One scene even jokingly acts like Clara can see things though she's not there. She's given this aura like she has some sixth sense thanks to her extensive prayer life.

There is likewise the ending of the movie, which feeds into the Evangelical mentality of how we need to in essence pray our problems away. Again, I'm not minimizing the importance of prayer, but God doesn't expect us to pray and then wait for things to happen. The medieval Poles, upon approaching Vienna, were definitely praying to Christ... they were also readying their spears to charge headlong into the Muslim hordes. The problem is modern Christianity treats prayer as if by doing so there'll be another outpouring of the Spirit, or God is going to miraculously do something while we sit back and twiddle our fingers. This is why you have Evangelicals who on the one hand want revival in America, and yet on the other hand want lots of Muslims to invade America so we can convert them. While the Kendrick Brothers would probably accuse me of misrepresenting how they were trying to represent prayer, that's nonetheless how it comes across in the film. Even the movie poster advertises itself with "Prayer is a powerful weapon." No - God's a powerful weapon, and our prayers are an appeal to Him to utilize Himself given the circumstances.

These aren't the only theological problems with the film. One problem I didn't expect was in regards to submission. Obviously, we've established the disrespect shown by Elizabeth towards her husband, both in her attitude, how she speaks to others about him, and how she handles their finances. Another problem in her character's attitude of a relationship to her husband is heard in a scene with Beth Moore. Yes, that Beth Moore. If you don't know who Beth Moore is, you just need to know she's a heretical Evangelical pastrix who thinks God gives her private revelations, and who literally teaches women to read themselves into Bible passages about other women. If you don't know what she looks like, or just how crazy she is, here's a hint:




But returning to War Room, Beth Moore plays Elizabeth's boss. While they're talking about her marital problems, Beth Moore delivers this line:

"Sometimes submission is learning to duck so God can hit your husband."
I shared this line with someone else, who promptly responded with, "That is smug as heck!" Want to know something even more astounding? The Kendrick Brother told Beth Moore to just be herself in that role... and it was her who made up that "submission" line. Yes, that's right - the line wasn't originally in the script, but they let it stay in the film. This, despite the fact that the line is absolutely terrible. It's an example of the soft feminism so rampant in Evangelicalism today, which otherwise likes to pretend it's free of any form of feminism. It's just a Christian version of the tendency among secular women to laugh at their husbands and treat them like idiot manchildren.

Let me put it this way. Suppose you had a scene where some Christian men were hanging around the office, complaining about how disrespectful their wives are. Imagine one of the men saying with a smirk, "Sometimes 'nurturing' is stepping back and letting God make an ass out of your wife." Of course, all the soft feminists in modern Evangelicalism would be in an uproar - "Boo hoo that's mean be nice to women blah blah blah." Yet here the Kendrick Brothers (who emphasized the need for husbands to be respected in their DVD commentary for Flywheel) have permitted that kind of terrible theology to seep into their film.

And such an erroneous line was sourced to a heretic - who would've thought?


(Once again, let me do a little "mansplaining" here. After that line was delivered, the most vociferous reaction came not from my own XY-chromosome lips, but from my wife. She was utterly horrified by that line, and found it offensive.)


How It Should Have Been

It's easy to rant and rave against a movie, but it's another to suggest how problems can be fixed. The sad thing is that, as I pondered on the movie after watching it, I realized that somewhere in here is a good movie. Let me present how I think it should have gone down instead...

We start with Elizabeth and Tony Jordan. Tony works for a pharmaceutical company, while Elizabeth works in real estate. They have a daughter, Danielle, who is working on a jump rope competition. Tony and Elizabeth are having struggles, both in balancing their careers and family time, as well as Elizabeth sending money to her deadbeat brother. This leads the two to fight. Meanwhile, at work, Tony is receiving praise and attention from a woman, who is clearly showing interest in him. 
Elizabeth meets Clara, and the two share coffee over the appraising. They start to bond, and Elizabeth opens up more and more about her family. Meanwhile, Tony and the office woman are bonding more emotionally as well. Tony is starting to struggle with how far he takes this connection, given problems at home. At home, Danielle starts begging Tony to help her with jump rope practices, but he continually refuses, because of his work schedule. 
While walking about, Elizabeth and Clara are mugged at knife-point. Clara shows absolutely no fear, despite the mugger's attempts to frighten her. She begins to witness to the mugger, about his sin and the death due to him for it. The mugger eventually feels guilty and leaves in a hurry. Clara explains to Elizabeth that she is strong in her faith and life eternal with Christ, and hence she isn't afraid of death. This makes Elizabeth more interested in Clara's religious life, and she begins to reflect on her own. She comes to a realization that she has forgotten about God's authority in her life, and she tearfully submits to God, praying for renewed strength in her life. 
The Jordan home environment starts to change. Elizabeth tries to help Danielle out for her jump rope competition, although she makes it clear she wants her daddy to help. Elizabeth repents to Tony for how she had been treating him, and promises to be include him in their decision-making. Tony isn't sure yet how to respond to this, and still struggles with temptations to commit adultery. Elizabeth's humility, in fact, creates a spiritual struggle of his own, making him want to become more involved with his family. One night, while Tony works late, he is texted by both Elizabeth and the other woman, both of whom are in essence offering to give him late-night company. Tony struggles in his office, torn between marital loyalty and his fleshly desires...but finally decides to go home to his wife. He arrives and they cuddle, showing affection for the first time in the movie. 
When he goes in the next day, Tony is laid off from his job. He becomes a broken man, feeling useless without the one thing that he had found purpose in. Elizabeth gives him tenderness, promising to stay by his side. Moved by her kindness and love, Tony apologizes for how he had been treating her, and asks for forgiveness for his attitude. He then goes to Danielle and promises to assist her with her jump rope competition. After much practice, Danielle, Tony, and the rest of the jump rope team perform at the competition, with Elizabeth and Clara in attendance. They win first place, and head home, where they have a special dinner, and give a prayer of thanks to God for all that has happened recently, good or bad. Roll credits.
Alright, I'll be the first to admit this may not be the most perfect story idea ever written. However, I'm sure others who share my view on the film would agree it's at least a much better delivery than what was offered in War Room. The ironic thing is that, as I thought more and more on how to make the story better, I realized that any idea completely removed the "prayer room" subplot.

There was plenty more in the movie that seemed like a drive-by concepts that could have been expanded upon. For example, a nightmare sequence has Tony trying to save his wife from a mugger, only to turn the mugger around and see it's actually him. This sequence comes out of nowhere and feels like a forced attempt to build on Tony's character after an hour-and-a-half of no development. What the Kendrick Bros. could have done instead was show that Tony was concerned about Elizabeth's mugger episode, but was trying to act tough to hide his sincere concern. Throughout the film, Tony could have nightmares about Elizabeth and the mugger, and every time he has the dream, he gets closer and closer to the mugger. The next-to-last dream has him waking up just before the mugger's identity is revealed. Then, with the last dream, he sees that the thing harming his wife is actually him. It would make the sequence feel less disjointed, and it would show that Tony does indeed care for his wife, even if he's trying to conceal it.

Point is, there was definitely potential in this film, and much of it was wasted on prayer room silliness and plot points that are introduced but not developed enough.



Concluding Thoughts

At this point, I'm not certain what else to say about the film that I've already clarified. It's boring, poorly written, shoddily acted, unoriginal, and presents dangerous theology. Oh yeah, and it has Beth Moore.

As I wrote at the beginning, my wife and I started out as big Kendrick Brothers fans... but by the end of this, we were both feeling disappointed. I'm not going to sit here and claim all their films are absolutely perfect (I doubt they would, either), but compared to most films in the "American Christian" market, they were of a higher quality than what you would find on late-night TBN or Daystar. This film, by comparison, was just weak. If the Kendrick Brothers decide to make another movie, good on them - but I hope they'll put far more effort and time into it than they did with War Room.

Then again, considering this movie apparently made triple its budget back, maybe bad theology is much more marketable...

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Rahab and Kinism - Part 2

Introduction

This is the second part in a brief series on Kinist claims regarding the ethnic identity of Rahab. In this section, we will be responding to an article entitled Kinist Orthodoxy: A Response to Brian Schwertley, Part 4, which is written by David Carlton. Although it touches on various Biblical personalities, it also speaks on the same subject as the previous article we looked at (that is, whether or not Rahab was a Gentile). However, it makes different arguments, mostly due to this particular article being in and of itself a response to someone else. Nonetheless, because this may be an issue a brother or sister in Christ will have to tackle, it will be worth confronting.

If anyone is reading this before the first part, I suggest reading that blog post first. At the beginning of that post, I define Kinism and the various levels of it; I also deal with certain arguments throughout the post that will be referenced here. As before, all quotations from the article itself will be in purple.

Who is Matthew's Rachab?

In the section dealing with Rahab, Mr. Carlton presents this initial argument:
First, the Rachab of Matthew 1:5 is possibly not the same “Rahab the harlot” mentioned in the book of Joshua, Hebrews 11:31, and James 2:25. Certainly, it is possible for there to be more than one woman named Rahab, and biblically, we hear nothing of what occurs with Rahab following her inclusion into Israel in Joshua 6. She could have very well lived as a resident foreigner in Israel until her death. If this connection does not hold, then the entire case falls apart before anything else is to be considered; we would have no reason to suppose that she was made a member of the nation (rather than church) of Israel, and we would have no reason to suppose she intermarried. Yet for the sake of argument, and because of the strong attestation of tradition, let’s assume that these two Rahabs are one and the same.
I literally laughed out loud when I first read this - not out of empty dismissal, but because the argument was so incredibly absurd. We are told that there is nothing to make us immediately assume that the Rahab of Matthew 1:5 is the same as the Rahab in Joshua, other than "the strong attestation of tradition."

Indeed, there's a very strong attestation to tradition. Among Patristic sources, Jerome says "Rahab the harlot is reckoned among our Lord's ancestors" (source). John Cassian wrote that she was "inserted in the progenitors of our Lord’s nativity" (source). John Chrysostom, in his commentary on Matthew, identified her as Rahab the harlot (source). Ephraim the Syrian seems to have had this section of Matthew in mind for his Hymn 7 on the Nativity, where he mentions Tamar, Ruth, and Rahab the harlot together (source). Pseudo-Chrysostom (believed to have lived about the fifth century) identified this Rahab as the prostitute (Kellerman, 9). Thomas Aquinas likewise identified this Rahab as the harlot (source).

This "strong attestation of tradition" goes well beyond antiquity. Great men of the church who have affirmed Rahab from Joshua is the Rahab in Matthew include Martin Luther (Luther, 137), the Geneva Bible translators, John Gill, Adam ClarkeJonathan Edwards, George Haydock, Joseph Benson, Charles Ellicott, William Barclay, Arno Gaebelein, John MacArthur (MacArthur, 1119), and David Guzik. Similar to how there was never really a question whether or not Rahab was a Gentile, neither is there any question that the Rahab mentioned in Matthew 1:5 is the same Rahab mentioned in Joshua. I would put forward that there is as much a "strong attestation of tradition" for Matthew's Rahab being the Rahab of Joshua as there is for the Trinity and the divinity of Christ.

Let's now present the entire genealogy found in Matthew. I've put in bold and underlined the sections where a woman is named.
The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham: Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers. Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, Perez was the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram. Ram was the father of Amminadab, Amminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon. Salmon was the father of Boaz by Rahab, Boaz was the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse. Jesse was the father of David the king. David was the father of Solomon by Bathsheba who had been the wife of Uriah. Solomon was the father of Rehoboam, Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asa. Asa was the father of Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah. Uzziah was the father of Jotham, Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah. Hezekiah was the father of Manasseh, Manasseh the father of Amon, and Amon the father of Josiah. Josiah became the father of Jeconiah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon. After the deportation to Babylon: Jeconiah became the father of Shealtiel, and Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel. Zerubbabel was the father of Abihud, Abihud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor. Azor was the father of Zadok, Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud. Eliud was the father of Eleazar, Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob. Jacob was the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, by whom Jesus was born, who is called the Messiah. [Matthew 1:1-16; NASB]
Over the course Matthew's genealogy, he mentions a handful of women: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba, and Mary. Scripture attests to the clear identity that these women are the wives and mothers Matthew lists them as: Tamar is recorded as having had physical relations with Judah (Gen 38:18), later bearing him Perez and Zerah (Gen 38:27-30); Ruth is the wife of Boaz (Ruth 4:13), and mother of Obed (Ruth 4:17); Bathsheba was the wife of Uriah (2 Sam 11:3), later the wife of David (2 Sam 11:27), with whom she bore Solomon (2 Sam 12:24); and Mary is, quite obviously, the wife of Joseph, and the mother of Jesus.

In all the genealogies regarding Salmon and Boaz, Rahab is not mentioned (cf. Ruth 4:21; 1 Chr 2:11; see also Luke 3:32); Matthew is the only one who mentions Boaz's mother. From this, Mr. Carlton presents an argument from silence, telling us that we don't know if the Rahab in Matthew 1:5 is the same Rahab in Joshua because "we hear nothing of what occurs with Rahab following her inclusion into Israel in Joshua 6." Nonetheless, we see from the previous passage that Matthew - a Jewish Christian, writing a Gospel which makes more references to the Jewish Laws and Traditions than any other Gospel - is clearly using women with whom his readers would have been familiar. According to Mr. Carlton, however, Matthew decided, in the midst of referencing well known women from the Old Testament, to namedrop a woman that nobody would have been able to identify. What would have been the purpose of including a woman named "Rahab" in the genealogy unless Matthew expected his readers to presume this was the Rahab mentioned in Joshua?

Furthermore, the feminine article τῆς is placed before Ῥαχάβ in Matthew 1:5. A definite article, in fact, is placed before all the names in the genealogy, so that verse 5 would literally read: "Salmon begat the Boaz from the Rahab, Boaz begat the Obed from the Ruth, etc." The reason English translations never translate the definite articles is because it serves a grammatical, rather than literal, purpose. That is, Matthew inserted them to emphasize the uniqueness of the persons mentioned, and the fact they would be well known to the readers of the genealogy. In other words, Matthew is telling us that, yes, this is the Rahab, and she married the Salmon and gave birth to the Boaz.

Aside from Mary, what is the purpose of mentioning Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Bathsheba? Matthew essentially had two purposes for including these women, which divides them into two groups. The first group consist of those who were involved in sin: Tamar had pretended to be a harlot and had conceived with her father-in-law, Judah; Bathsheba and David both committed adultery, and hence David had betrayed the trust and loyalty of Uriah (in fact, the original Greek does not include her name, but refers to her simply as "she of Uriah"). The second group were made up of Gentiles initially outside the nation of Israel: Rahab was a Canaanite; Ruth was a Moabite. (John MacArthur suggests that Mary could be seen as being under the "perceived stigma" of having a child out of wedlock, and hence in league with Tamar and Rahab, [ibid] but I am not certain how strongly one can make this case.)

Jerome likewise presents perhaps the best reason for these women being included:
In the Savior's genealogy it is remarkable that there is no mention of holy women, but only those whom Scripture reprehends, so that [we can understand that] he who had come for the sake of sinners, since he was born from sinful women, blots out the sins of everyone. [Jerome, 59]
The point of all this discussion is that there's absolutely zero reason for us, upon coming across the name Rahab in Matthew 1:5, to ask ourselves whether or not this is the same Rahab found in Joshua 2 and 6, Hebrews 11:31, and James 2:25. The clarity of Rahab's identity is found within the context of the passage itself, as well as the interpretation of the passage throughout history. Indeed, nobody has ever had an issue identifying this woman as Rahab the harlot until the rise of Kinism and the need to explain how it was possible a Canaanite woman ended up in Christ's family tree.

Rahab's Use of "Us" and "You"

We return to the article.
Schwertley believes that Rahab’s religious language contrasting “us . . . the inhabitants of the land” (Joshua 2:9) with “you” Israelites and “the Lord your God” (v. 11) demonstrates conclusively that she was not an Israelite, for she evidently did not belong to God’s covenant people at that time. This is true in one sense: regardless of her ancestry, Rahab was clearly not a member of the visible church, and hence she could speak of herself and her fellow inhabitants of Jericho as religious outsiders to Israel. But the whole Alienist case depends on Rahab’s ancestry being sufficiently foreign from Israel, so that her assimilation constitutes miscegenation and discredits ethnonationalism. We can grant that the notion of an Israelite residing in Jericho is rather far-fetched, but the more relevant question is whether, as so many attest, Rahab was a Canaanite.
In my previous post, I had brought up the words of Rahab to the spies that clearly isolated her from the people of Israel. Mr. Carlton's response is that Rahab's wording is purely theological in nature, not theological and ethnic. In other words, she's merely speaking as someone who is "not a member of the visible church." This forgets that, for that time period, gods and peoples were often tied together. For example, when Rabshakeh mocks the Judean faith in God, he refers to the gods of other lands - each one with their own gods - and asks how YHWH will deliver Jerusalem from the Assyrians' hands (2 Kings 18:33-35). This is likewise seen in the dialogue with Pharaoh, where God is often referred to as "the God of the Hebrews" (Ex 3:18; 5:3; 7:16; 9:1, 13; 10:3), as well as with later references to "the gods of Egypt" (Ex 12:12) and "the gods of the peoples who were around them" (Jdg 2:12). This is seen in other accounts of scripture, such as when the people of Israel are said to worship "the gods of Aram, the gods of Sidon, the gods of Moab, the gods of the sons of Ammon, and the gods of the Philistines" (Jdg 10:6).

I have noticed that this seems to be a tactic found within Kinist interpretation of scripture. They'll claim someone is not a Gentile, then when the person clearly speaks in a language of someone who wasn't an ethnic Jew, they immediately commit a form of special pleading in order to say that the person is, in their specific circumstance, and only for themselves, speaking another way. (For example, in another article, Mr. Carlton argues that Ruth's identification of "Moabitess" was in reference to nationality rather than ethnicity.)

Was Rahab a nomadic Semite?

We continue:
Ehud Would has written an excellent article providing argumentation against the thesis of Canaanite ancestry, arguing instead for her Hebrew (and most likely Midianite) roots.
This article we responded to in our previous blog post, so I won't repeat myself here. Instead, we'll skip to the arguments specific for Mr. Carlton.
So if we can conclusively rule out a Canaanite ancestry, what can we say Rahab actually was? Per Schwertley’s own admission, “It is likely that Jericho was a rag-tag combination of Canaanite with perhaps some nomadic Semitic blood,” but he nevertheless believes his argument holds weight, even if he must concede that Rahab was Semitic, for “the point is that Rahab was absorbed into the tribe of Judah, even though she was not a Jew.” This does not follow. We Kinists concede that a reasonable immigration policy for a nation can permit certain ethnic kin to be assimilated, just as Edomites were permitted in Israel (Deut. 23:7-8), and just as many nations in history have permitted individuals from near-kin nations to be naturalized. Sufficiently closely-related nations can immigrate, within certain numbers, to kin-nations. This means that Rahab need not have been an ethnic Israelite (“Jew”) herself; she could have been of “nomadic Semitic blood” and likely satisfied ethnonationalist concerns. But in any case, the onus is upon the Alienist to prove that Rahab was of an ancestry incompatible with Israelite integration, not upon the Kinist to prove the opposite.
Mr. Carlton states "Rahab need not have been an ethnic Israelite...she could have been of 'nomadic Semitic blood' and likely satisfied ethnonationalist concerns." I must say it's astounding that the spies of Jericho were able to identify Rahab as someone of "near-kin" blood by merely hanging out with her for a few hours. (Though Mr. Carlton's associate, Mr. Would, argues that they may have known she was a Hebrew because she knew how to speak Hebrew - it was as easy as that!) Earlier, Mr. Carlton had admitted "the notion of an Israelite residing in Jericho is rather far-fetched." He is quite right there: it is most far-fetched to believe, in the midst of a largely Canaanite region, there would be at least one family of Israelites there. It's also far-fetched to believe, even with some others of Semitic blood present, and to maintain a consistent Kinist standard, that this same family had never intermingled with other Canaanites during their entire time in Canaan.

Mr. Carlton concludes that "the onus is upon the Alienist to prove that Rahab was of an ancestry compatible with Israelite integration, not upon the Kinist to prove the opposite." As I believe I have demonstrably shown, the testimony of scripture and the vast majority of church history concludes that Rahab was considered a Gentile. The Kinist must therefore, in order to remain consistent with their own position, either admit that there is a contradiction found in scripture regarding intermingling, or there has been a great misunderstanding of Rahab (indeed, a great misunderstanding of the Gospel and the true Christ, according to Mr. Would) throughout the entirety of church history - until, that is, the rise of Kinism.

Conclusion

As with the previous article, let's review what we covered:

It was argued that there is nothing to immediately presume the Rahab of Matthew 1 has any connection with the Rahab of Joshua 2 and 6. As we saw, this is not only completely illogical, but contextually incorrect. Likewise, literally nobody in the history of the Christian church has ever questioned the identity of Rahab in Matthew's version of Christ's lineage.

It was argued that when Rahab included herself among the people in Canaan, it was more from religious identity than ethnic. This is likewise erroneous. As scripture continually shows, religion and ethnicity were often tied together, and there is nothing to make us presume that Rahab is breaking from this mindset, other than the Kinist having to deal with a dilemma brought about by their own theology.

It was argued that there is a possibility Rahab may have had Semitic origins, and the burden of proof is upon the individual who wishes to argue Rahab didn't have Semitic origins. The possibility Rahab may have been Semitic is far, far less than the probability that she wasn't. Given this reality, as well as the already established strong testimony of tradition and the historical Christian teaching, the burden of proof is actually upon the Kinist to prove otherwise.

There is little else that I can add to this which I did not already say in the conclusion to my previous post. The only thing I might add was a comment made during the part of Mr. Carlton's article referencing Mr. Would's article:
Are we then to expect that Christ, the trueborn King of Israel hailing from the tribe of Judah, had Canaanite ancestry – that both He and His ancestors ought to have been separated from Israel for having a forbidden admixture? The notion is heretical and absurd.
In the previous article, we discussed how Kinism redefines and adds to the Gospel, making it dependent not upon Christ's being free of the stain of sin, but on Christ's being free of the stain of Gentile blood. Here, to suggest that Christ had any Canaanite ancestry at all is deemed not only absurd, but heretical. If this is the case, one must assume that the vast majority of Church Fathers, Reformers, and great men of the Christian church have, throughout time, been heretics. Whether or not one would want them to be full blown heretics or "material heretics" is probably something the individual Kinist would decide.

In either case, all this demonstrates not only how detached Kinism is from historical Christianity, but orthodoxy and biblical doctrine as well.

***

Work Cited

Jerome, and Thomas P. Scheck. Commentary on Matthew (The Fathers of the Church, Volume 117). N.P.: Catholic U of America Press, 2008. Print.

Kellerman, James A., and Thomas C. Oden. Incomplete Commentary on Matthew. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2010. Print.

Luther, Martin, Joel R. Baseley, and Stephan Roth. Festival Sermons of Martin Luther. Dearborn, MI: Mark V Publications, 2005. Print.

MacArthur, John. The MacArthur Bible Commentary. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Inc, 2005. Print.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Rahab and Kinism - Part 1

Introduction

A Kinist argument I've come across recently is that Rahab was not a Canaanite, but one of Hebrew lineage (or, at the very least, a close kinswoman of the Hebrews genetically.) This is most expressly outlined in the online article Rahab the Hebrew: The Royal Genealogy Vindicated, written by Ehud Would. In this article, it is argued that Rahab is actually a close kinsman to the Hebrews, rather than a Canaanite or Gentile. It is likewise argued that Christ being one of mixed genetics would have invalidated His Messianic status, and given credence to His enemies.

Before we begin, let's offer some definitions regarding Kinism and its beliefs.

Kinism, simply defined, is a belief that Christians should emphasize ethnic and racial differences between people, and that a Christian is not at fault for having a preference for one's own people and culture over another. From one Kinist source:
The universal beliefs among Kinists are a recognition that ethnic and racial differences are real and Providential. A preference for one’s own people and culture is healthy and natural. [source]
Most Christians (at least those not affected by progressive thought) would probably have no problem with mere pride about one's identity. Whether one is a proud Brit, a proud American, or a proud Namibian won't be a big deal to them. Whether one wishes to "connect" (so to speak) with their lineage, such as embracing one's Hungarian ancestry or celebrate their Japanese culture, probably won't turn any heads, provided this does not usurp the Gospel or one's more important identity as a Christian.

Kinists, however, take this a step further, to the point that interracial marriage is seen as improper. Kinists claim "miscegenation is unnatural and works against God’s purposes," and hence "its default status is one of moral wrongness" (source). Within Kinism itself, there are two schools concerning this specific topic: Weak Kinism, and Strong Kinism. These two views are more properly outlined here:
Weak Kinism: a Weak Kinist believes that interracial marriage is at best very unwise. At worst, it is sinful if it involves disobedience to the father’s authority to veto specific suitors for his daughter (a father does not have the authority, however, to forbid his daughter to marry at all, or by implication to be so restrictive in approving suitors that marriage is nigh impossible). A Weak Kinist also believes that, whatever the moral or wisdom status of an interracial marriage, once formed it is a legitimate marriage and ought to be respected. The difficulties associated with such marriages, and any ill effects on children of the union, are simply the consequences of a sinful and/or foolish decision. Weak Kinists also believe that if the government passes an anti-miscegenation law, such a law should be respected as a lawful law in that it does not proscribe something God commands.

Strong Kinism: Strong Kinists take things a bit further, insisting that interracial marriage is always a sin based on their reading of OT law (Rushdoony, at least early in life, held to this position). The division between Weak and Strong Kinists is the most significant division. [ibid]
Some Kinists add to this list Stronger Kinism, which says married people in interracial marriage who become Christian should immediately "put away" their spouses, and that such marriage is seen as null and void in the Christian faith, similar to homosexual marriages.

(Little Aside: I pointed out these distinctions on Twitter, and received criticism for this from certain individuals - some of whom even went behind my back and told others I was a racist. However, to point out differences within the Kinist camp makes one no more a racist than pointing out differences in the King James Only camp makes one close-minded to translation history.)

As said before, love for one's people or culture is not in and of itself wrong. Kinists, however, take this a step forward, so that, in application, the love of one's ethnic or cultural people becomes paramount to the Law of God and the Christian's very doctrine. This will become even more clear here, as we continue on. It will especially be much more clear at the very end.

On a side note, all direct quotes from the article will be in purple.

Christ's Pure Genes

Here Ehud Would writes:
Christians were once content to say without reservation that the royal genealogies proved Christ’s hereditary claim to the throne. This claim rested by itself, for little more was needed on the subject. After all, if the genealogies didn’t prove His lawful descent from Jacob and claim to the heritage of David, their inclusion to that end in the text would be a work of sublime futility – undermining the whole of the gospel and, thereby, revelation in general. None save the first-century Pharisees seriously questioned the purity of Christ’s heritage … until recently. But the modern challenge to Christ’s genealogy comes, most shockingly, from many who actually claim to follow Him, otherwise known as Alienists. They allege that Rachab of the royal genealogy was no Hebrew, but a Canaanite.

At this point their argument is identical to that of the first-century Pharisees, who denied Jesus’s ethnic claim to the purple by alleging that His lineage did not conform to the national insularity codes, as found in Deuteronomy 1:13; 17:15; 23:2. The Pharisees accused Him of being a Samaritan (John 8:48), one of the “mixed-race peoples” (cf. Zech. 9:6) like those who settled in Samaria after being deported from Israel in the great restoration under Ezra and Nehemiah. Rather than upbraiding the Jews for their very “racist” interpretation of the law, Jesus replied that such an accusation of mixed blood “dishonored” Him (John 8:49). Rather than taking issue with their interpretation of the codes in question, He took umbrage with the falsity of their accusation itself. Rather than correcting their nomology or identifying any false assumption on this point, Christ rebuked their slander and called them liars (John 8:55, cf. v. 44). He rebuked them for their false witness, and even impugned their heritage as sons of the Father of Lies, the Devil.
Actually, Jesus doesn't refer to the mixed blood accusation at all, but rather the charge that he had a demon: "I do not have a demon; but I honor My Father, and you dishonor Me" (John 8:49). He seems to gloss over the Samaritan charge, not because it was true, but (like any good debater) to focus on the more important charge of demonic activity. Likewise, the charge of lying in verse 55 is not from a mixed-race accusation, but rather because of their claim to worship and honor God (see John 8:54-55 for the fuller context).

John 8:48 is, in fact, the only time where Jesus is ever referred to as a Samaritan, though the language of the Pharisees suggest that it had been going on for a while. Some commentators suppose it might have been a snide remark concerning his visit to Samaria earlier (John 4:4). More likely, it's a reference to a common rabbinical insult at the time. This insult, however, did not refer to one as a mixed-breed - it referred to someone as a heretic. John Gill, who quoted and cited Jewish traditions and writings in his biblical commentary, tells us:
...they meant by this expression, that he was an irreligious man, and one that had no regard to the law of Moses; or at least played fast and loose with religion and the law, and was for any thing, as times served: the Jews had a very ill opinion of the Samaritans, on these accounts and to call a man a Samaritan, was all one as to call him an heretic, an idolater, or an excommunicated person; for such were the Samaritans with the Jews; they charged them with corrupting the Scriptures, and with worshipping idols, which were hid in Mount Gerizim... And hence, because the Samaritans were had in such abhorrence by the Jews, they would not ask a blessing over food in company with them, nor say Amen after they had asked one; nor indeed, after the better sort of them had asked, unless the whole blessing was distinctly heard, that so they might be sure there was no heresy in it... [source]
This is spoken of in the Jewish Encyclopedia as well.
From the fifth century B.C. onward the relations between the Jews and the Samaritans were, as shown above, undoubtedly hostile. The opposition was, however, essentially political, the old rivalry between Israel and Judah persisting; personal relations must have been mutually tolerant, as appears from the Gospels, where, in spite of their contemptuous attitude, the disciples buy food in a Samaritan city (John iv. 8)... In the Mishnah it is evident that the differences have already become purely religious. [source]
This makes the accusation against Jesus make much more sense, and likewise connects the Samaritan insult with the rest of the dialogue. When the Pharisees accuse him of being a Samaritan and having a demon, they are saying (in Hebrew parallelism) that he is a heretic, and hence following demonic doctrine. This also explains why, in the verses that follow, Christ focuses solely on the demon charge, and keeps the matter strictly theological. Nowhere do we see the Pharisees attacking Christ's ethnic claim - He does not bring it up, they do not mention it specifically, and when He labels them liars, it is not based on any accusation stemming from his genealogy.

At this point, the entire basis for the argument presented in the article falls apart. The sole place cited where Christ's lineage is called into question is not even related to His genetic lineage; this is reading far too much into the use of the word "Samaritan," and then eisegeting it across the entire chapter. There is no evidence from the text that the Pharisees were attacking "Jesus's ethnic claim to the purple" (He wasn't making any) by "alleging that His lineage did not conform to the national insularity codes" (no such codes are ever brought up). One imagines we could therefore end the discussion at this point, but for the sake of touching upon this subject in greater depth, we will continue.

Let's now look at the "national insularity codes" mentioned before:
"Choose wise and discerning and experienced men from your tribes, and I will appoint them as your heads." [Deuteronomy 1:13]
This, however, is but one verse in a large section where Moses is explaining that he had appointed leaders over the various tribes of Israel, since he couldn't manage them all by himself (Deu 1:9-15). This is no way says that a leader of Israel must be a pure, 100% Jew.
You shall surely set a king over you whom the Lord your God chooses, one from among your countrymen you shall set as king over yourselves; you may not put a foreigner over yourselves who is not your countryman. [Deuteronomy 17:15]
This verse is part of a larger section dealing with God's rules for the eventual establishment of a Jewish monarchy (Deu 17:14-20), something that would be seen with Saul, though with much more fulfillment with the Davidic line. Certainly it commands the Jews to place in line a king from among their own people, rather than a foreign king (as would be experienced throughout the book of Judges). However, it does not necessarily put forward a strong case that a ruler must be a genetically 100% Jew, and hence cannot be considered a sedes doctrinae for a "national insularity code."
No one of illegitimate birth shall enter the assembly of the Lord; none of his descendants, even to the tenth generation, shall enter the assembly of the Lord. [Deuteronomy 23:2]
This passage presents a greater case in regards to the need for a pure line, although this would expand it out to the entire church, not merely church leadership. Because Mr. Would goes into this verse later on, we will forgo a response until then, and continue with the rest of the article.

Was Rahab a Hebrew?

Here, Mr. Would begins to argue that Rahab was actually a woman of Hebrew origin:
Linguistically, the name Rahab is definitively Hebrew. Of course, the Alienist will likely retort that the name might have found acceptance in Israel because of the precedent set by the woman herself; but this is proven false by the fact that the word rahab well predates its appearance in Joshua. In fact, it appears in the very oldest book of the Bible, Job:

God will not turn back His anger; beneath Him bowed the helpers of Rahab (Job 9:13).

And:

By His power He stilled the sea; by His understanding He shattered Rahab (Job 26:12).

Due to its context above, the ancient Hebrews popularly regarded a rahab as a sea monster. King David would even go on to incorporate the word into Psalm 89:9-10, which reads: “You rule the raging sea; You still its swelling waves. You crush Rahab with a mortal blow; with Your strong arm You scatter Your foes.” Most commentators note that, aside from being a sea monster, the word rahab is emblematic of the seafaring empire of Egypt, and can be taken to mean “large,” “broad,” “haughty,” or “proud.” Remember now: this, we are told, is the name of one of David’s own ancestors. No, Rahab the harlot cannot be the origin of the word rahab in the Hebrew language, as the word far predates the convert herself, and its denotations of infamy, pride, and general malevolence only further prove that the word did not enter the language by reference to the virtuous woman. Really, it suggests the inverse – that she was a Hebrew woman appropriately named in keeping with the ignoble profession of her pre-conversion life.
It is true that the word rahab, and its similar renditions in the Hebrew, are used in Job 9:13 and 26:12, as well as Isaiah 30:7 (where it refers to a storm or sea monster). It can be found in other places as well: Psa 87:4; 89:10; Isa 51:9 (where it means "storm"); Psalm 138:3; Proverbs 6:3; Song of Songs 6:5; Isaiah 3:5 (where it means "to act boisterously, angrily").

However, to immediately presume the word to be of Hebrew origin, and hence Rahab the person must be a Hebrew, is a massive jump. Not only because the word itself has a broad range of meanings, based on its root, but for the reason that it's not uncommon for things not directly Hebrew in nature to have Hebrew connotations. For example, the very city Jericho, obviously a Canaanite, non-Hebrew city, has its Hebrew name (yeriho) name tied to the Canaanite term for "moon, month" (yerah). (Clines, 13) The meaning of Rahab's name may have similar Canaanite connotations.
The etymology of the name Rahab reflects a verb meaning "to open wide, to broaden." Originally, it might have been connected to a divine name or title (probably some Canaanite fertility god), for instance rahab'el, "the god has widened (the bosom?)." Other similar names would be Rehoboam, Solomon's son, and Rehabiah (1 Chr 23:17), the last one being a theophoric name derived from the same root. [Clines, 12]
In any case, to argue "Rahab was a native Hebrew" based merely on the fact that the root for her name is seen in other words in Hebrew, is a superfluous connection at best.

Continuing on:
Taking just this issue of her name into account, any assumption of her being a non-Hebrew seems quite a stretch. But we parenthetically note that while most commentators accept Rahab of Joshua chapter 2 to be the same Rachab of the royal genealogy, the altered form of her name in the genealogy and the conspicuous absence of her otherwise ubiquitous title, “the harlot,” do seem to leave the question of whether they are the same person as a matter of conjecture. The above linguistic evidence might tilt towards this conclusion as well, if we surmise that David would not purposefully utilize his grandmother’s name as a byword for God’s enemies. Assuming, however, that they are one and the same, it may be that she underwent a covenantal re-naming like Abram (Abraham), Sarai (Sarah), and Jacob (Israel). It is not a necessary implication for the Kinist, though possibly so for any who insists that Rahab the harlot and Rachab must be the same person.
The suggestion here is that Rahab's name in Matthew 1:5 is Ῥαχάβ, as opposed to the other spelling of Ῥαάβ (Heb 11:31; Jas 2:25). In the Septuagint, Rahab's name is likewise spelled Ρααβ. This, combined with Matthew leaving out the title of "the harlot" (ἡ πόρνη) as she's called by James and the author of Hebrews, makes Mr. Would suggest she underwent a covenantal renaming like Abram or Jacob, or she may not even be the same Rahab.

However, the fact that Rahab is at one point named Ῥαχάβ, and at another point named Ῥαάβ, can be no more a concern for us than the fact that other names in the Bible at times face different spellings. For example, the Salmon of Matthew 1:4 is likewise the same Salma of 1 Chronicles 2:11. Matthew may have been attempting to convey the light guttural sound in the original Hebrew pronunciation of Rahab's name. (Listen to this audio recording of the second chapter of Joshua to hear the sound.)

Likewise, that Matthew does not refer to her as "the harlot" does not diminish her identity any more than the fact Matthew does not refer to Ruth by her title "the Moabitess" (cf. Ruth 1:22; 2:2, 21; 4:5, 10). Bathsheba is not even directly named, but merely referred to in the original Greek as "she of Uriah" (τῆς τοῦ Οὐρίου) - yet there is no doubt here that Matthew is referring to Bathsheba, and not some other, heretofore unknown, wife of Uriah.

There is also the question as to why Matthew would mention other well known Old Testament names (Tamar, Ruth, Bathsheba) to his readers, and yet drop a name which no one would have known (not-Rahab), but this we will get to in an upcoming post. 

For now, we continue with the article, getting to the point where Mr. Would presents a supposed contention to Rahab's Hebrew origins:
In any case, the Alienist position raises the question: why would a Canaanitess (absent any connection to the patriarch, Heber) bear such a Hebrew name, even if a term of infamy? The Alienist here might argue that it were a mere coincidence, or that the name may have meant something entirely different in some Hamitic tongue. But that, then, would seem at odds with the fact that the Israelite spies enjoyed such easy conversation with her. Not only was her name Hebrew, she likely spoke Hebrew as well, which, in the linguistic sense at least, would make her a Hebrew.
That Rahab apparently spoke the language of the Hebrews, and hence must have been of Hebrew lineage, is reading far too much into an incidental part of the narrative. In other biblical narratives, it's almost taken for granted that two people can speak, or understand to some degree, the same language. For example, when Abram travels to Egypt, no one questions why he's able to converse with Pharaoh (Gen 12:18-19); certainly no one uses this to presuppose Abram was secretly Egyptian. In fact, it's very rare in scripture when linguisitic differences become a matter of concern; for example, when Rabshakeh is told to speak Aramaic rather than the Judean (2 Kings 18:22). Point being, that Rahab found it easy to converse with the Hebrew spies does not prove in any way she had Hebrew lineage.

We continue on:
Yet independently of this positive evidence that she bore a Hebrew ancestry, we have further negative evidence that she could not have been Canaanite. Hebrews 11:31 tells us directly that the reason Rahab and her house were spared was due to the fact that she “received the spies with peace.” But the terms of her clemency would be out of the question had she been a member of one of the seven Canaanite nations, because Israel was commanded to strike no covenant with Canaanites, and to neither seek nor accept their peace under any circumstances, showing absolutely no mercy (Deut. 7:1-3). Recall that it was the spies themselves who, without any reticence concerning the violation of this divine law, agreed to spare Rahab (Josh. 2:12-14). There is no sign of God’s rescinding His own commandment here, and hence every reason to believe that this law forbidding mercy unto Canaanites would have been operative and even at the forefront of the spies’ minds. Nor is there any attempt within Israel to prevent her integration or intermarriage, which we would expect at the very least if the spies’ allowance of her life were an absent-minded violation of the standing order to slay all Canaanites. Her assimilation is simply assumed to occur without obstacle.

Even on the occasion when Israel inadvertently found themselves in covenant with a Canaanite tribe, upon discovery that they were Gibeonites, Joshua enslaved them all (Josh. 9). None were ever allowed to intermarry with Israel; they remained forever a slave class within Israel’s borders – which is to say that the terms of Rahab’s clemency were expressly denied the Gibeonites. Though she was spared because she “received the spies with peace,” the desperate pursuit of peace on the part of the Gibeonites was not accepted so. (Indeed, if Rahab truly were a Canaanite, her story would be remembered with even more infamy than the Gibeonites, for at least the Israelites were deceived by the Gibeonites, not willfully neglectful of their ancestry.) This sort of covenantal consecration of Rahab’s family (father, brothers, and others) was not even extended to the surrogate family of Moses: “By faith Moses, when he came of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter” (Heb. 11:24).
The passage regarding the forming of covenants with Canaanites we will look at here, but we will take it out to verse 6 for a broader context:
"When the Lord your God brings you into the land where you are entering to possess it, and clears away many nations before you, the Hittites and the Girgashites and the Amorites and the Canaanites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and stronger than you, and when the Lord your God delivers them before you and you defeat them, then you shall utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them and show no favor to them. Furthermore, you shall not intermarry with them; you shall not give your daughters to their sons, nor shall you take their daughters for your sons. For they will turn your sons away from following Me to serve other gods; then the anger of the Lord will be kindled against you and He will quickly destroy you. But thus you shall do to them: you shall tear down their altars, and smash their sacred pillars, and hew down their Asherim, and burn their graven images with fire. For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth." [Deuteronomy 7:1-6]
The instructions regarding the seven nations that lived in Canaan had a few particulars.
  • The seven nations shall be destroyed, by the power of God (vv. 1-2a).
  • No covenant made and no favor shown to those seven nations (v. 2b).
  • They shall not intermarry with the men or women in those seven nations (v. 3), the reason being "they will turn your sons away from following Me to serve other gods," which will bring judgment upon the nation (v. 4).
  • In contrast to the idea of worshiping false gods, the Hebrews must take the idols and altars of the seven nations and burn them (v. 5), for the Hebrews are "a holy people to the Lord your God," and "the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession" (v. 6).
The point of the command by God in this section of the Law is to ensure that the seven nations would be destroyed, and their idolatry would not continue, as the land and the Hebrews were a people set aside, with the land, for God. The agreement between the spies and Rahab does not violate these commands for two reasons:

First, Rahab was an individual, not one of the seven nations as whole. Mr. Would rightfully brings up the case of the Gibeonites as a contradiction of the Deuteronomy command, yet this was a covenant (as it is specifically said to be in Joshua 9:6-7, 11, 14, 16) made between the Hebrews as a people, and the Gibeonites as a people. Rahab was an individual who was not seeking to make a covenant between her people and the Hebrews, but rather was interceding for her family before God. Some might argue this was still showing favor to a Canaanite, yet nonetheless, it's quite obvious that this is a separate situation from how the Hebrews were to deal with the seven nations as a collective group.

Second, by intermarrying, Rahab did not promote idolatry. Rahab became a believer in God during the episode with the spies, for it is said "by faith" Rahab "did not perish along with those who were disobedient" (Heb 11:31). The banning of marrying the Canaanites was out of a theological fear, not a racial one. Consider the parallel passage in Exodus 34:11-16, which elucidates this further:
"Be sure to observe what I am commanding you this day: behold, I am going to drive out the Amorite before you, and the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Perizzite, the Hivite and the Jebusite. Watch yourself that you make no covenant with the inhabitants of the land into which you are going, or it will become a snare in your midst. But rather, you are to tear down their altars and smash their sacred pillars and cut down their Asherim —for you shall not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God— otherwise you might make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land and they would play the harlot with their gods and sacrifice to their gods, and someone might invite you to eat of his sacrifice, and you might take some of his daughters for your sons, and his daughters might play the harlot with their gods and cause your sons also to play the harlot with their gods." [Exodus 34:11-16; emphases mine]
Again, the fear from marrying the Canaanite women was not to keep a Jewish bloodline pure, but to keep the influence of heathen wives from turning the Jewish men away from God. With Rahab, this was not a concern - any man who married her would not "play the harlot" with foreign gods.

Mr. Would appeals to the "covenantal consecration of Rahab's family," citing Hebrews 11:24 and saying such consecration wasn't even "extended to the surrogate family of Moses." This, however, forgets why scripture says Moses spurned being connected to Pharaoh's family.
By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward. [Hebrews 11:24-26]
To be in the family of Pharaoh was to "enjoy the passing pleasures of sin" and embrace earthly riches. Moses shunned that and chose to "endure ill-treatment" with God's people instead. It was not over an issue of "covenantal consecration" regarding ethnic non-Jews.

While discussing the nature of whether or not Rahab was an ethnic Hebrew, and how this relates to her role in the Jericho narrative, let's also consider the speech Rahab gives to the spies:
"I know that the Lord has given you the land, and that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before you. For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed. When we heard it, our hearts melted and no courage remained in any man any longer because of you; for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath." [Joshua 2:9-11]
How does Rahab speak? The Lord has given you the land. The terror of you has fallen on us. We have heard. When we heard it, our hearts melted, because of you, because of the authority of the Lord your God. Rahab identifies two groups: the Hebrews, and the Canaanites. She places herself alongside the Canaanites, and identifies herself along with them. (Other Kinists have a response to this, but we'll cover that in the second part.)

One might also consider the wording later on in Joshua, before the destruction of Jericho:
At the seventh time, when the priests blew the trumpets, Joshua said to the people, "Shout! For the Lord has given you the city. The city shall be under the ban, it and all that is in it belongs to the Lord; only Rahab the harlot and all who are with her in the house shall live, because she hid the messengers whom we sent. But as for you, only keep yourselves from the things under the ban, so that you do not covet them and take some of the things under the ban, and make the camp of Israel accursed and bring trouble on it. But all the silver and gold and articles of bronze and iron are holy to the Lord; they shall go into the treasury of the Lord." [Joshua 6:16-19]
And again, after the destruction of Jericho:
They burned the city with fire, and all that was in it. Only the silver and gold, and articles of bronze and iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the Lord. However, Rahab the harlot and her father’s household and all she had, Joshua spared; and she has lived in the midst of Israel to this day, for she hid the messengers whom Joshua sent to spy out Jericho. [Joshua 6:24-25]
In both of these instances are a clear reference to the instructions of the Lord in Deuteronomy - however, in both of these instances, Rahab is mentioned as an exception.

Note especially the wording "she has lived in the midst of Israel to this day" (Jos 6:25). To be "in the midst" of Israel is to in essence be made "in the presence of God's people." Origen, in his homilies on Matthew, saw Rahab's dwelling among Israel as a shadow of the eventual grafting in of the Gentiles (cf. Rom 11:17). (Origen, 7:5) Clement of Rome saw it as well, even identifying Rahab's story as a prophecy of the matter:
Moreover, they gave her a sign to this effect, that she should hang forth from her house a scarlet thread. And thus they made it manifest that redemption should flow through the blood of the Lord to all them that believe and hope in God. Ye see, beloved, that there was not only faith, but prophecy, in this woman. [First Epistle to the Corinthians, 12; source]
Cyril of Jerusalem likewise saw the metaphor here (although he erroneously attributes her name to a similar word in the psalms):
For inquire how she was saved: this only she said: For your God is God in heaven and upon earth [Psa 2:11]. Your God; for her own she did not dare to say, because of her wanton life. And if you wish to receive Scriptural testimony of her having been saved, you have it written in the Psalms: I will make mention of Rahab and Babylon among them that know me [Psa 87:4]. O the greatness of God’s loving-kindness, making mention even of harlots in the Scriptures: nay, not simply I will make mention of Rahab and Babylon, but with the addition, among them that know me. There is then in the case both of men and of women alike the salvation which is ushered in by repentance. [Lecture II; source]
Justin Martyr certainly thought so as well:
For the sign of the scarlet thread, which the spies, sent to Jericho by Joshua, son of Nave (Nun), gave to Rahab the harlot, telling her to bind it to the window through which she let them down to escape from their enemies, also manifested the symbol of the blood of Christ, by which those who were at one time harlots and unrighteous persons out of all nations are saved, receiving remission of sins, and continuing no longer in sin. [Dialogue with Trypho, Ch. 111; source; emphasis mine]
John Calvin, while not necessarily arguing like Origen and others did, likewise affirmed that Rahab's family dwelling among Israel meant she was a Gentile now considered, spiritually, a Hebrew:
For it is added shortly after, that they dwelt in the midst of the people; in other words, having been purged from their defilement’s, they began to be regarded in the very same light as if they had originally belonged to the race of Abraham. In short, the meaning is, that after they had made a confession of their previous impurity, they were admitted indiscriminately along with others. By this admission, Rahab gained one of the noblest fruits of her faith. [John Calvin, Commentary on Joshua; source; emphasis mine]
In fact, it might be worth detracting here a moment to point out that, besides Clement of Rome, Justin Martyr, Origen, Cyril of Jerusalem, and John Calvin, many other Church Fathers and great theologians considered her a Gentile. Irenaeus outright said she was a Gentile:
...and by means of the Ethiopian bride, the Church taken from among the Gentiles was made manifest; and those who do detract from, accuse, and deride it, shall not be pure. For they shall be full of leprosy, and expelled from the camp of the righteous. Thus also did Rahab the harlot, while condemning herself, inasmuch as she was a Gentile, guilty of all sins, nevertheless receive the three spies, [sic] who were spying out all the land, and hid them at her home... And when the entire city in which she lived fell to ruins at the sounding of the seven trumpets, Rahab the harlot was preserved, when all was over [in ultimis], together with all her house, through faith of the scarlet sign... [Against Heresies, Book IV, 20:12; source; emphasis mine]
Augustine identified her as being originally outside Israel:
And Rahab, indeed, delivered out of Jericho, made transition into the people of God, where, being proficient, she might attain to eternal and immortal prizes which are not to be sought by any lie. [Against Lying, 33; source; emphasis mine]
In his commentary for Psalm 87 Augustine (like other Church Fathers) erroneously applies the harlot Rahab to the use of the word rahab in verse 4, and adds "Rahab belongs not to the Jewish people." (source) The writer of the Incomplete Commentary on Matthew, also known as Pseudo-Chrysostom (and believed to have lived about the fifth century), likewise identified her as a Gentile (Kellerman, 9). The Glossa Ordinaria agrees:
Christ Himself espouses Rahab, i.e. the Gentile Church; for Rahab is interpreted either ‘hunger’ or ‘breadth’ or ‘might;’ for the Church of the Gentiles hungers and thirsts after righteousness, and converts philosophers and kings by the might of her doctrine [quoted from Thomas Aquinas' Golden Chain; source]
This goes beyond Patristics. Besides John Calvin, the belief that Rahab was a Gentile was likewise upheld by Martin Luther (Luther, 22), John GillAdam Clarke, Jonathan EdwardsGeorge HaydockJoseph BensonAlbert Barnes, John Darby, Charles Ellicott, William BarclayArno Gaebelein, John MacArthur (MacArthur, 1119), and David Guzik.

Remember earlier that Mr. Would said "none save the first-century Pharisees seriously questioned the purity of Christ’s heritage...until recently." Yet as we've just seen, this was a belief upheld among the earliest Church Fathers (Irenaeus, Justin Marytr) all the way through the Reformation and into today. One might say that to believe Rahab was a Gentile has as much basis in historical Christianity as does belief in the deity of Christ or the Trinity. Therefore, it would seem that nearly everyone throughout church history has inadvertently "questioned the purity of Christ's lineage," which means nearly everyone - until the rise of Kinism, that is - questioned the purity of Christ's lineage.

The Prohibition of Interracial Marriage

Our author continues:
The denial of all mercy to Canaanites obviously entails the denial of any intermarriages as well, as Deuteronomy 7:2-3 attests. But remarkably, this marital prohibition not only made all such couplings sinful to enact, but rendered all such unions entirely invalid. Israelite-Canaanite marriages were not truly albeit sinfully formed; rather, they were impossible to form. According to Ezra, any intermarriage with Canaanites (9:1-2) required the annulment of the families via the expulsion of the wives and the mixed children (10:3-5, 10-11). The infallible prophetic application of these laws forbidding Canaanite amalgamation required the annulment of invalid Israelite-Canaanite unions, not simply repentance for marriages sinfully formed but nevertheless binding. Moreover, this prophetic law was evidently ethnic, as it was applied along national lines as such; it cannot be assigned purely religious, non-ancestral grounds. Contrast it with St. Paul’s teachings concerning the abiding validity of interreligious marriages between Christians and unbelievers (1 Cor. 7:12), whom he elsewhere likens to followers of Belial (2 Cor. 6:15). Paul explicitly describes the children of these marriages as holy (1 Cor. 7:14), no matter the religious affiliation of the unbelieving spouse, yet he does not command their expulsion, while Ezra does. Hence the ethnic basis for this law is both momentous and severe: if Jesus were, as these Alienists allege, of Canaanite admixture, both the law and the prophets would conclusively rule Him out as a legal citizen, let alone King.
We went over the section in Deuteronomy 7, and showed why it wasn't a complete denial of any intermarriages for Israel.

The case in Ezra 9:1-2, and 10:3-5, 10-22 present a stronger case for us to deal with. We will look at those passages in detail:
Now when these things had been completed, the princes approached me, saying, “The people of Israel and the priests and the Levites have not separated themselves from the peoples of the lands, according to their abominations, those of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians and the Amorites. For they have taken some of their daughters as wives for themselves and for their sons, so that the holy race has intermingled with the peoples of the lands; indeed, the hands of the princes and the rulers have been foremost in this unfaithfulness.” [Ezra 9:1-2]
Note that the people, priests, and Levites were said to have "not separated themselves" from, in addition to this marriage with the Canaanites: "according to their abominations" (NASB); "with their abominations" (ESV); "who practice detestable things" (NET); "with their detestable practice" (NIV); "whose detestable practices are like those of" (HCSB); "they have taken up the detestable practices" (NLT); "doing according to their abominations" (KJV; ASV). It is clear from this detail that the crime of marriage with these Gentiles was not based upon genetic lines, but rather theological. These is seen later on in the chapter, with Ezra's prayer to God.
"Now, our God, what shall we say after this? For we have forsaken Your commandments, which You have commanded by Your servants the prophets, saying, ‘The land which you are entering to possess is an unclean land with the uncleanness of the peoples of the lands, with their abominations which have filled it from end to end and with their impurity. So now do not give your daughters to their sons nor take their daughters to your sons, and never seek their peace or their prosperity, that you may be strong and eat the good things of the land and leave it as an inheritance to your sons forever.’ After all that has come upon us for our evil deeds and our great guilt, since You our God have requited us less than our iniquities deserve, and have given us an escaped remnant as this, shall we again break Your commandments and intermarry with the peoples who commit these abominations? Would You not be angry with us to the point of destruction, until there is no remnant nor any who escape?" [Ezra 9:10-14; emphases mine]
The issue was not merely that these were non-Jewish peoples, but that these were non-Jewish peoples committing abominations - toebah in Hebrew. (Keep in mind that this word is used for such abominations as homosexuality in Leviticus 18:22.) It was not an "ethnic basis," as Mr. Would argues, which caused Ezra to be disturbed and demand an end to the marriages, but a theological one tied into the ethnic identity. Hence Mr. Would's contention that this annulment "cannot be assigned purely religious, non-ancestral grounds" is completely erroneous according to the text.

Continuing on with the passage, Mr. Would reminds us that they are not seeking simply to "locate a Bible verse which happens to deny that Rahab could have been a Canaanite," but rather a "principle by which Canaanite ancestry could not enter Christ's bloodline" without completely tainting it.
Nehemiah directly cites Deut. 23:3-6 in separating all Ammonites and Moabites from Israel (Neh. 13:1-3), but the more fundamental law around which this entire exchange principally revolves is Deuteronomy 23:2: “A bastard shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord; even to his tenth generation shall he not enter into the congregation of the Lord.” [...] “[B]astard” is, in the Hebrew (Masoretic) text, the word mamzer, which is a compound of mum (defect) and zar (strange/alien). It is the same word which appears in Zechariah 9:6, where our modern Bible translators routinely render the term “mixed people,” “mongrel people,” “mongrel race,” “mixed race,” etc. The standard works of lexicography affirm the same: namely, Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance lists this Hebrew term as coming from “a root meaning to alienate; a mongrel.” The Brown-Driver-Briggs Lexicon confirms it as a reference to a “mixed population.”
Nehemiah 13:1-3 likewise presents a stronger case for the Kinist position, which they argue was used by Nehemiah to expel "the entirety of the mixed multitude – children included...from Israel." Hence the Kinist position is that the word "bastard" in Deuteronomy 23:2 ("one of illegitimate birth" in the NASB and NET) was part of the expulsion of the Ammonites and Moabites from Israel.

Here is the quotation from Nehemiah in full:
On that day they read aloud from the book of Moses in the hearing of the people; and there was found written in it that no Ammonite or Moabite should ever enter the assembly of God, because they did not meet the sons of Israel with bread and water, but hired Balaam against them to curse them. However, our God turned the curse into a blessing. So when they heard the law, they excluded all foreigners from Israel. [Nehemiah 13:1-3]
Since it is relevant to the discussion, here we will return to Deuteronomy 23 passage, but will look at verses 1-8 for fuller context:
"No one who is emasculated or has his male organ cut off shall enter the assembly of the Lord. No one of illegitimate birth shall enter the assembly of the Lord; none of his descendants, even to the tenth generation, shall enter the assembly of the Lord. No Ammonite or Moabite shall enter the assembly of the Lord; none of their descendants, even to the tenth generation, shall ever enter the assembly of the Lord, because they did not meet you with food and water on the way when you came out of Egypt, and because they hired against you Balaam the son of Beor from Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse you. Nevertheless, the Lord your God was not willing to listen to Balaam, but the Lord your God turned the curse into a blessing for you because the Lord your God loves you. You shall never seek their peace or their prosperity all your days. You shall not detest an Edomite, for he is your brother; you shall not detest an Egyptian, because you were an alien in his land. The sons of the third generation who are born to them may enter the assembly of the Lord." [Deuteronomy 23:2-8]
In this section, various groups of people are spoken of an told about entering the congregation of the Lord.
  • Eunuchs (v. 1) - They were banned from entering the assembly. A practice which was practiced often in pagan practices. Obviously if someone lost their private parts in an accident, this law wouldn't apply to them.
  • Those "of illegitimate birth" (v. 2) - Or, people born from "illegitimate marriages" (NET). They also were banned from entering the assembly.
  • Ammonites and Moabites (v. 3) - They were banned from entering the assembly; the phraseology "to the tenth generation" simply means forever, or for a long, long time. The reason given was their cruelty against the Jews and their conspiring with Balaam (vv. 4-6).
  • Edomites and Egyptians (v. 7) - They were not banned from entering the assembly after "the sons of the third generation" (v. 8), the reasons given being that the Edomites are kin to the Israelites, and the Egyptians were once their hosts.
The mention of those born of "illegitimate birth" is worth discussing, as Mr. Would argues that this term refers to a racial "mongrel." In fact, the word refers more so to someone born from an immoral relationship. From the Keil and Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary:
So also with the ממזר, i.e., not persons begotten out of wedlock, illegitimate children generally (lxx, Vulg.), but, according to the Talmud and the Rabbins, those who were begotten in incest or adultery (cf. Ges. thes. p. 781). The etymology of the word is obscure. The only other place in which it occurs is Zechariah 9:6; and it is neither contracted from מוּם and זר (according to the Talmud, and Hitzig on Zechariah 9:6), nor from זר מעם (Geiger Urschr. p. 52), but in all probability is to be derived from a root מזר, synonymous with the Arabic word "to be corrupt, or foul." [source]
And likewise from John Gill, quoting Jewish traditions and interpretations:
That is born of whoredom, as the Targum of Jonathan; and for the sake of avoiding whoredom and deterring from it was this law made, according to Maimonides, that adulterers might see, as he observes, that they affect their whole family with an irreparable stain, should they commit such an infamous action; though the Jews commonly interpret it of one that is born of any of those incestuous copulations forbidden in Leviticus 18:1 which they gather from this following upon, and being near unto one of those incests mentioned in the last verse of the preceding chapter; and it is a rule with them, that persons born of such copulations were reckoned bastards; now such an one, according to Jarchi, might not marry an Israelitish woman, or rather might not be admitted into the assembly of elders, or bear any public office. Jephthah may seem to be an objection to this, who was the son of an harlot, Judges 11:1 which might be owing to the badness of the times, the laws of God being neglected, or to the providence of God so ordering it, who is not bound by his own laws, though men are; nor was he the son of a common harlot, nor of an incestuous person, but of his father's concubine; besides some think such only are intended who were born of strangers and not Israelites [source]
And likewise, from the Jewish Encyclopedia:
The mamzer, rendered "bastard" in the A. V., is something worse than an illegitimate child. He is the offspring of a father and mother between whom there could be in law no binding betrothal: issuing either from adultery between a married woman and a man other than her husband, or from incest within the forbidden degrees of kinship or affinity defined in Lev. xviii. and xx. The child of a marriage simply forbidden, as that between a cohen and a divorced woman, is legitimate but "profane"; that is, a son can not officiate as a priest, a daughter is not eligible to marry a priest. But a mamzer, according to Deut. xxiii. 3, must not "enter the congregation of the Lord," that is, marry an Israelite woman, "nor shall his tenth generation enter," etc., which includes also the female mamzer (Ḳid. iii. 12; Mak. iii. 1). The older Halakah, however, was more rigorous, Akiba declaring any child of a forbidden connection a mamzer (Yeb. iv. 12, 13; Yer. ib. 6b; Bab. ib. 44a, 49a). [source]
In fact, the Jewish Encyclopedia contends whether or not the word accurately applies to those born in an interracial marriage.
Whether the child of a daughter of Israel and of a Gentile or bondman is a mamzer or not, was hotly disputed both among the early sages, down to Rabbi Judah the Patriarch, and among the later teachers in Palestine and in Babylonia (Yeb. 23a, 45a). But the rule finally adopted is that such a child is not a mamzer, even when the mother is a married woman. This is the decision in the modern code (Shulḥan 'Aruk, Eben ha-'Ezer, 4. 19), though it is admitted that the child is unfit for the priesthood. Maimonides decides to the same effect (Issure Biah, xv. 3). [ibid]
And again, from the same source:
Where incest or adultery takes place among Gentiles, and the offspring embraces Judaism, the flaw in his descent is ignored. He is not deemed a mamzer (Shulḥan 'Aruk, Eben ha-'Ezer, 4, 21). The child of an Israelite by an unconverted Gentile mother is a Gentile, and when converted becomes an Israelite to all purposes, without regard to his father. [ibid]
From another source:
Mamzer, pl. mamzerim (Ashkenazi: Mamzer, pl. mamzerim)
Offspring of gravely illicit relationship; son of a ____ [Glinert]
And another:
MAMZER (Hebrew 'Bastard'). The child of an adulterous or incestuous union. Children of unmarried mothers are not manzerim. [Cohn-Sherbok, 89]
And another
BASTARDS, children begotten out of the state of matrimony. The law forbade the admission of bastards into the congregation of Israel, to the tenth generation, Deut. xxiii. 2. The rabbins distinguish bastards into three kinds; (1.) those born in marriage, of parents contracted in cases prohibited by the law; (2.) those born from a criminal conjunction, punishable by the judges, as are the children of adulterers; (3.) those born in incest, and condemned by the law. They also distinguish between bastards certain and uncertain. The first are those whose birth is notoriously corrupted, and who without difficulty are excluded from the congregation of the Lord. Doubtful bastards are those whose birth is uncertain. These could not be excluded in strictness, yet the Scribes would not admit them, for fear that any certain bastards should slip in among them. But the Vulgate, the LXX, and the authors of the canon law, take the Hebrew mamzer, (Deut. xxiii, 2.) for the child of a prostitute; while some interpreters take it for a generic term, which signifies illegitimate children, whose birth is impure in any manner whatever. [Calmet, 151]
In fact, around the time of Christ, some interpreters considered children from lusting after other women to be mamzer, as one account from the time period tells us:
R' Eliezer ben Hyrcanos, a 1st/2nd century CE Palestinian sage, is having intercourse with his wife in the middle of the night. He is anxious, the text informs us through the wife, and behaves as if possessed by a demon! Why such anxiety, the wife asks? The answer to this question is most fascinating. The rabbi, a known strict interpreter of Jewish Law, is afraid that he may be tempted to imagine another woman while having coitus with his wife and thus his children born from such a union would be legally bastards (Hebrew mamzer)! He, therefore, chose to have intercourse during the time when there would be the least amount of distraction, in the middle of the night. [Michaelides, 200]
Hence the mamzer of Deuteronomy 23:2, which Mr. Would believes refers to someone of a mixed lineage is, in fact, more broadly to mean someone descended from an illegitimate relationship.

(A brief aside. In a footnote, Mr. Would contends against an appeal by John Gill and Matthew Henry to rabbinical traditions for non-ethnic explanations, as the rabbinical traditions often utilize "unintended contrasts to permit various loopholes which the text's spirit forbids." While this can be true, we must remember that the crux of Mr. Would's argument rested upon the opinion of first century Jewish teachers (the Jews in John 8); hence, if it can be demonstrably proven what the first century Jewish beliefs regarding topics such as how Samaritans were viewed or the word mamzer was understood can be found to be actually contradictory to the Kinist interpretation, then rabbinical interpretation becomes very relevant to the discussion.)

A fair question might be why, then, Zechariah 9:6 is interpreted by many translators as something similar to "mixed children." It's especially important as Zechariah 9:6 is the only other use of the word mamzer in the Old Testament. The verse in full reads:
And a mongrel race will dwell in Ashdod, and I will cut off the pride of the Philistines. [Zechariah 9:6]
This verse is part of a larger series of prophecies regarding God's judgment on nations surrounding Israel, pointing to the various conquests, including those of Alexander the Great, over the course of the next few centuries. Many commentators have suggested that the idea that mamzer will dwell in Ashdod is merely to emphasize that strangers or foreigners will dwell there instead of its natural inhabitants. Certainly the Assyrians, under Nebuchadrezzar, deported both the Philistine rulers and people, and repopulated it with a variety of cultures from across the empire. This not only robbed the Philistines of their independence, but took away the long-time Philistine identity from the region (Baldwin, 161).

In either case, it is not a very strong sedes doctrinae passage for Kinists to appeal to. Certainly it is not enough to read backwards into the use of mamzer into Deuteronomy, and conclude first century opinion regarding the word as a "mongrel" when contemporary sources do not even collude with this.

Returning to the Law, Mr. Would argues that Deuteronomy 23 has "racialist implications" because "whether every group was banned for racial reasons or not," the "effect" of ban is racial. It's true that, because these groups were identified as a whole, or were to be treated corporately, the effect might be racial. However, something being ethnicity-based as a consequence is different than something being ethnicity-based as a premise. The dilemma for the Kinist is that he wishes to appeal to the former in order to justify the latter. In the case of scripture's plain teachings, Israel was not to ban the Ammonites or the Moabites simply because weren't ethnic Jews (otherwise the Egyptians would have been banned), nor because God didn't want Ammonite or Moabite genes in their lineage; rather, it was because of what the Ammonites and Moabites had done against Israel, and hence God had passed judgment. This is similar to the case with the Canaanites: God did not order their deaths because He saw them as a sub-species, nor because He didn't want any Jewish blood to be mixed with them; rather, it was because of their idolatry and the sins they had committed in the land.

One must also point out that no ban like that placed on the Moabites or Ammonites was placed on the Egyptians. According to both Jewish rabbinical tradition and the works of Christ's contemporaries (see my post here), the Egyptians were descendants of Mizraim, who was a son of Ham, and hence the Egyptians were far from being genetic siblings with Hebrews like the Edomites were. Yet the reason given for the lack of any ban on the Egyptians is because the Egyptians were once the hosts of Israel, referencing the time between Joseph and Moses. Again, we see that genetics or racial purity are not on the mind of God with the verses in Deuteronomy 23. Hence Mr. Would's appeal to a "racial effect" of the ban runs into problems, both on the grounds of being logically fallacious, and likewise on the grounds that a plain reading of the passage's context contradicts this.

With all this in mind, let's now return to the Nehemiah 13 passage. Was it strictly race-based, because they didn't want the Ammonites and Moabites to intermix? Actually, it was, once again, a matter of sin and idolatry. See this passage later on, after the expulsion of the Ammonites and Moabites:
So I contended with them and cursed them and struck some of them and pulled out their hair, and made them swear by God, "You shall not give your daughters to their sons, nor take of their daughters for your sons or for yourselves. Did not Solomon king of Israel sin regarding these things? Yet among the many nations there was no king like him, and he was loved by his God, and God made him king over all Israel; nevertheless the foreign women caused even him to sin." [Nehemiah 13:25-26; emphasis mine]
Fittingly enough, some Jewish traditions interpret this to mean Ammonite or Moabite men, and not a believing Ammonitess and Moabitess. As John Gill writes in his commentary, this was seen in the Jarchi and Targum, as well as some rabbinical sources:
Or marry an Israelitish woman, as Jarchi, and so the Targum of Jonathan,"the male Ammonites and Moabites are not fit to take a wife of the congregation of the Lord;''for the Jews restrain this to men, because it is, as Aben Ezra observes, an Ammonite, not an Ammonitess, a Moabite, not a Moabitess; they allow that females of those nations might be married to Israelites, that is, provided they were proselytesses, as Ruth was... [source]
On the other hand, the Jewish Encyclopedia suggests that the Jews interpreted it, over time, into a "priestly restriction":
Since the Moabites had opposed the invasion of Palestine, they, like the Ammonites, were excluded from the congregation unto the tenth generation (Deut. xxiii. 3-4; comp. Neh. xiii. 1-3). This law was violated during the Exile, however; and Ezra and Nehemiah sought to compel a return to the ancient custom of exclusion (Ezra ix. 1-2, 12; Neh. xiii. 23-25). The exilian usage had had royal sanction; the harem of Solomon included Moabite women (I Kings xi. 1). On the other hand, the fact that the marriages of the Beth-lehem-judah Ephrathites Chilion and Mahlon to the Moabite women Orpah and Ruth (Ruth i. 2-4), and the marriage of the latter, after her husband's death, to Boaz (ib. iv. 10, 13), who was the great-grandfather of David, are mentioned with no shade of reproach, shows that the law had fallen into abeyance at a comparatively early period and had become a mere priestly restriction. [source]
An amusing section sees Mr. Would quote Matthew Henry in favor of his argument:
Matthew Henry contends that Deuteronomy 23 is the legal basis for Ezra and Nehemiah’s deportation of the mixed children from Israel, and that their prophetic adjudication of the matter, amounting to an infallible enactment, grants us a flawless interpretation of the law and its appropriate administration: 
1. Some think they [non-Israelites] are hereby excluded from communicating with the people of God in their religious services. . . . 2. Others think they are hereby excluded from bearing office in the congregation: none of these must be elders or judges, lest the honour of the magistracy should thereby be stained. 3. Others think they are excluded only from marrying with Israelites. Thus the learned bishop Patrick inclines to understand it; yet we find that when this law was put in execution after the captivity they separated from Israel, not only the strange wives, but all the mixed multitude, see Neh. xiii. 1-2. [italics and emphasis in original]
Cross-examining sources will show that Mr. Would has changed some of the wording around a bit. Here is the quote from Matthew Henry in full:
Interpreters are not agreed what is here meant by entering into the congregation of the Lord, which is here forbidden to eunuchs and to bastards, Ammonites and Moabites, for ever, but to Edomites and Egyptians only till the third generation. 1. Some think they are hereby excluded from communicating with the people of God in their religious services. Though eunuchs and bastards were owned as members of the church, and the Ammonites and Moabites might be circumcised and proselyted to the Jewish religion, yet they and their families must lie for some time under marks of disgrace, remembering the rock whence they were hewn, and must not come so near the sanctuary as others might, nor have so free a communion with Israelites. 2. Others think they are hereby excluded from bearing office in the congregation: none of these must be elders or judges, lest the honour of the magistracy should thereby be stained. 3. Others think they are excluded only from marrying with Israelites. Thus the learned bishop Patrick inclines to understand it; yet we find that when this law was put in execution after the captivity they separated from Israel, not only the strange wives, but all the mixed multitude, see Neh. 13:1-2. With the daughters of these nations (though out of the nations of Canaan), it should seem, the men of Israel might marry, if they were completely proselyted to the Jewish religion; but with the men of these nations the daughters of Israel might not marry, nor could the men be naturalized otherwise than as here provided. [source]
Note firstly Matthew Henry did not say "non-Israelites," but rather eunuchs and bastards, Ammonites and Moabites, Edomites and Egyptians; he recognized that there were different laws applied to different groups - some of them non-Israelites, some of them possibly Israelites. Note also at the very end that he believed there were ways Ammonite and Moabite men and women could be a part of Israel. (Mr. Would actually admits this in a footnote, but shrugs it off as a "curious" belief of Matthew Henry's.) The point is, we do not see Matthew Henry applying Deuteronomy 23:2 into Nehemiah 13:1-2. Consider that in Matthew Henry's commentary on Nehemiah 13:1-3, he cites Deuteronomy 23:3-5 as the cause - without mentioning Deuteronomy 23:2. (See here.) In Matthew Henry's mind, a "mongrel" law wasn't the inspiration for Israel's expulsion of the Ammonites and Moabites, but rather the injustice done to them in the past - just as we saw earlier when we examined the passages.

Concluding Thoughts

We have seen a few claims examined and refuted:

It was argued that the Pharisees questioned Christ's pure lineage. In fact, we see the Pharisees did no such thing. This was taught by distorting John's gospel and abusing the meaning of the insult "Samaritan." Neither would the Pharisees of Christ's time have seen mamzer in the way pushed for by Kinists, as seen from contemporary sources.

It was argued that, for Christ to be Messiah, he had to fulfill "national insularity codes." In fact, the so-called "national insularity codes" were shown to not be codes pushing for a pure, undefiled genetic lineage at all; this had been read into the texts.

It was argued that Rahab was most likely of Semitic lineage. As we saw, this was based on flimsy arguments, whether it be "her name might have Hebrew origins, therefore she must be Hebrew," or "there weren't any problems with her and the spies interacting, therefore she must be Semitic."

It was argued that scripture forbid intermarrying Canaanites and Moabites, and the actions of Ezra and Nehemiah show that such unions were forbidden. What we discovered, from within the texts themselves - whether by order in the Law or by application through the prophets - was that the ban on intermarrying came from theological than racial grounds. Whenever marriage betwen Hebrews and non-genetic Hebrews happened, the shock from others came not from the mere fact that such a marriage had taken place at all, but that the marriage had produced hypocrisy in the life of the believer. Rahab marrying a Hebrew man did not violate these principles, as there were no danger of Rahab turning her future husband away from the true God.

I post here the final thoughts from Mr. Would:
If there is no necessity for the Alienist interpretation of Rahab as a Canaanite, but rather every reason to regard it as an impossibility, the Alienist’s position can only be regarded as a willful distortion of the royal genealogy at the expense of Christ’s honor. This evinces something significant: in their zeal to supplant the Christian World Order in exchange for the Marxian New World Order, they swear service to a different gospel – a nebulous gospel of equality. For they regard Christ as essentially beholden to egalitarianism, and will accept no Christ who does not bow the knee to what is, in their minds, the ultimate good. They unequivocally reject the blood-heir, Jesus Christ, in favor of a bastard-christ, a usurper, little different from the Idumean Herods who usurped the throne in the first century. They have little else to say of the biblical Christ, it seems, but, “Crucify Him!” We traditional Christians continue to reply in the words of St. Paul, that “we could wish that we ourselves were accursed from Christ for the sake of our kinsmen according to the flesh” (Rom. 9:3). May God open their eyes.
I want to likewise hearken back to one quote of Mr. Would's earlier:
...if the genealogies didn’t prove His lawful descent from Jacob and claim to the heritage of David, their inclusion to that end in the text would be a work of sublime futility – undermining the whole of the gospel and, thereby, revelation in general.
These are all dramatic, strong words to charge against Non-Kinist Christians. If we accept that Rahab was a Gentile, then we reject the "blood-heir" Christ in favor of a "bastard-Christ," and hence we are like those who screamed "Crucify Him!" Also, to deny a pure, "undefiled" lineage of Christ is not only to worship a false Christ, but to "undermine the whole of the gospel"?

This is shown even further from another Kinist article, where this is extended even to the doctrine of the incarnation:
It is impossible to deny the purity of Christ’s pedigree and yet retain any Christian doctrine of the Incarnation. Christ, quite simply, had to be the pure-blood heir apparent in order to be the prophesied Messiah without spot or blemish. [source]
Let's take a look at one of the clearest expositions of what the Gospel is, as found in scripture:
Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also. [1 Corinthians 15:1-8]
The Gospel rests upon the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, performed before witnesses, and all for the purpose of the redemption of sins, in fulfillment of the scriptures. Nowhere is it ever implied that, if Christ were to take an Ancestry DNA test and find he was 1% Gentile, the entire Gospel would crumble and fall apart. I would hence put forward that it is actually the Kinist (at least the "hard" versions of it) that are teaching another Christ, and by extension, another Gospel entirely. They are teaching a Christ that will have no Gentile blood - not one droop - within His blood. They are teaching a Gospel which is reliant not upon sinlessness of our Lord on the cross, but upon the genetic purity of our Lord human nature. This is what is so dangerous about Kinism, and why it is a heresy. Those who may be considering it, or maybe even might consider themselves "weak" or "soft" Kinists, I urge and exhort to turn away and realize what scripture truly teaches. One side can simply quote scripture and church history and not play games; the other side must ignore the entirety of church history and play fast and loose with scripture. Which side is truly honoring He who is Truth?

We will, God willing, touch upon other contentions which Kinists make regarding Rahab, in a following blog post. God bless.

***

Work Cited

Baldwin, Joyce. Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi: An Introduction and Commentary. Downers Grove: Inter-Varsity Press, 1972. Print.

Calmet, Augustin. Calmet's Dictionary of the Holy Bible. New York: Crocker and Brewster, 1835. Print.

Clines, David J. A., J. K. Aitken, Jeremy M. S. Clines, and Christl M. Maier. Interested Readers: Essays on the Hebrew Bible in Honor of David J.A. Clines. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2013. Print.

Cohn-Sherbok, Lavinia, and Dan Cohn-Sherbok. A Popular Dictionary of Judaism. Richmond: Curzon, 1997. Print.

Glinert, Lewis. The Joys of Hebrew. New York: Oxford U Press, 1993. Print.

Kellerman, James A., and Thomas C. Oden. Incomplete Commentary on Matthew. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2010. Print.

Luther, Martin and Helmut T. Lehmann. Luther's Works: Lectures on Genesis; Vol. 7. Concordia Publishing House, 1986. Print.

MacArthur, John. The MacArthur Bible Commentary. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Inc, 2005. Print.

Michaelides, D. Medicine and Healing in the Ancient Mediterranean. London: Oxbow , 2014. Print.

Origen, Barbara J. Bruce, and Cynthia White. The Fathers of the Church: Origen, Homilies on Joshua. Washington, D.C: Catholic U of America Press, 2002. Print.