PM to Geoffrey Jackson ( with cc-s): Read the NWT, especially Judges Chapter 4 vs. 1-20 or so

by kepler 10 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • kepler

    Dear Sir:

    Regarding your recent testimony in Australia on the nature of judges and elders in scriptures being male:

    Read JUDGES 4, and if you can hang on, chapter 5. It is with regard to a judge who succeeded Ehud and performed similar services. To my knowledge, which is limited, no one has ever translated Deborah as being of the male gender. And I believe that the 1984 NWT translated her as "judging Israel" under her palm tree and the people of Israel came to her to seek judgment.

    I noticed as well that the NWT translates "spare the rod, spoil the rod" with "rod" in Proverbs. If you can interpret that into "discipline", then you can allow elders and judges to include women.

    It would save everyone some grief.

    By the way, when I you saw you in that suit, you reminded me of someone...

    Do you ever play monopoly and wear that suit? Do you wear it to give out "get out of jail free cards" or "advance to Park Place"?

    Do you play the game with the other board members?

    ...What do they wear?


    "Do you wear the suit when you meet with the other Don's on Wednesdays in the Most Holy?"

    "Shine your Shekinah Noo - Lite on Me "

  • steve2

    Nice blend of reasoning from the Scriptures and irreverence.

  • notsurewheretogo
    Who bought your Apple Watch Mr Jackson? Who paid for it?
  • millie210

    The Org. determinedly does NOT consider Deborah a judge, never mind what the Bible says, hang the Bible!

    Over and over if you search their literature they allow only for her being a prophetess.

  • kepler


    I think we are in agreement about that ( they do not consider her a judge, no matter what), but that does not mean anyone should make any concessions to them on that. Mr. Jackson presented himself as a member of the governing board, head of the writing committee. He SHOULD have expertise in such Biblical matters - and he cited certain parts of the Bible ( Acts, Deuteronomy and Timothy ) to support his view, presenting the Bible as a Constitutional document.

    OK, then let's look at it structurally. The Hebrew Scriptures as the WT likes to refer to the Old Testament, is referred to as the TaNaKh, an abbreviation that refers to Law, Prophets and Writings. Law is Torah, the first 5 books through Deuteronomy. Prophets (Nevi'im) begins with Joshua and proceeds to Judges, Samuel I & II, Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and the minor prophets. Daniel is in Writings, Kethuvim. But back to Prophets and Judges.

    The book of Judges divides into chapters and describes the reigns and activities of Judges.

    Admittedly, some translations of Judges try to obscure Deborah's role more than others, but the NWT of 1984 did not have the foresight to do so. It's pretty clear that in Chapter 3 Othniel and Ehud are judges. Same with Samgar. As much as they were judges they were warriors. In chapter 4, the story of Deborah is structurally the same and gives much more evidence that Deborah was a judge than it does that Shamgar was. "She judged Israel", they awaited her judgments. She led rebellion against Sisera and did him in much the same way that Ehud dispatched Eglon, make what you want of it, assassinations or executions.

    But the notion that Mr. Jackson as a governing board member, or the governing board itself, can declare that she was something else than what she was in the text, why should anyone play that game. If one were to believe that the Bible is everything Mr. Jackson claims it is, then one would have to take the prima facie evidence that it presents rather than his claims about it or third party interpretations.

    The result of accepting his claims is acceptance of a system that hides abusers, shuns their accusers and denies women of all ages any representation in councils studying these matters the presence, voice or judgment of women who might be sympathetic or understanding of their situation.

    Should I even get started on Jackson's constitutional concept of the Bible? HIs cherry picking approach is what WatchTowerism is all about. As structured above, it appears to be more like Common Law with precedents and re-interpretations since Mr. Jackson has not cited the Bible or Hebrew Scripture as a basis for prohibiting the consumption of pork. Nor has he offered us a definition of prophet vs. judge, save that judges have to be male...

    That's where I see the Lewis Carroll Humpty Dumpty aspect of conversations with WT authorities.

    If there is no intent to reform on any of the vital matters, the simple solution is to reject their authority. Instead, I see many still trying to rationalize the system of faithful and discreet slaves with 3-piece suits and (yes) Apple watches.

  • millie210

    I really like your post kepler! It is so well constructed and a joy to read.

    Angus Stewart could have picked up on Jacksons ruse and challenged him and yet he did not.


    That bothers me...

    not that he didnt challenge him but why didnt he?

    Is Deborahs true role as judge debatable among scholars?

    Would that be why Stewart "let it go"?

  • kepler

    Thanks, Millie210.

    I just want to keep up the pressure. Some people sound discouraged, figuring that the show is all over. But if we say it isn't over, then it's not.

    A lot might depend on whether Jackson is called again to testify. If Jackson hadn't been given an open podium where he could instruct the panel and the rest of us, then he might have been much more defensive and laconic.

    As for myself, if I had met the man socially without knowing he was a member of the governing board, I think his tales of life in Tasmania or the South Seas at the end of the 20th century would have been very interesting...

    But that is not what this situation is all about. He was testifying as someone in charge of a very reprehensible set of operating procedures, procedures that allowed terrible abuses of women and children or most anyone who turned to KH for refuge or help. It has been going on for decades mirroring much of what it has criticized in other religious groups .

    I have my own reasons to be alienated by the JW organization, discussed in other threads, but my own experience with the JW movement did not turn on this particular issue. So those who have more direct knowledge of these abuses I defer to their judgment on how to treat the matter.

    Still, my interjection is that people on this forum or JWs in general should not be cowed by this man based on all this drum beat about FDS and governing board. The man's evasions, contradictions, and insistences reveals he and the rest of the magnificent 7 have feet of clay.

    Your question about scholars and what they think about Deborah taps into that wider issue of what you or I or any other reader might think can be drawn from a reading of the Bible. In the case of Deborah, since I brought it up, for me it was a matter of memory more than an absolute conviction of some sort about who was a judge and who was not. Several books I have read seeking insight into the Bible have commented on Deborah, not so much dwelling on whether or not she was a judge, but noting that the Song of Deborah could be the oldest original writing contained in the Bible.

    Now that idea might be controversial in and of itself from one religious group to another, depending on how the Bible is perceived. Unfortunately we do not have analogs to carbon dating for the Bible, but we can see varying stylistic forms. Looking at the Deborah episode in Judges and being aware of a "documentary hypothesis", I can for myself note a recurring chronicler convention in Judges, speaking of "the Israelites did what is evil in Yahweh's eyes"...Chapters 3 and 4 begin with such words, but chapter 5 is simply a song about Deborah. Then chapter 6 goes back to the same convention that is used in the book of Kings to describe many of them, in totality or particular deed... I don't think this expression shows up in the Pentetuch. It was more like "Yahweh saw that wickedness was great on the earth" Gen 6:5. or "God saw that it was good." Gen 1:22. Just clues of many writers and editors, sometimes in the same books.

    Judges has a style similar to Kings, true enough; but whatever the level of historicity Kings might have, one would have to say that Judges does not share it. If one were to take the stories and chapters as sequential in Judges, as we are led to believe, it would be several hundred years. It results in great discrepancies with events going on with sources written in stone in Egypt, Asia Minor and Mesopotamia. More likely the events described, if they happened at all proceeded in parallel.

    According to the editor of the Jewish Study Bible ( "How to Read the Jewish Bible - Marc Brettler - Oxford Press), the title "shofetim" is translated as judges, but this is something of a "misnomer" since the principals acted more like chieftains, local or tribal leaders responding to crises, often leading their tribes to battle.

    Nothing said about Deborah at all, though he translates from the Hebrew thus:

    "Deborah, wife of Lappidoth, was a prophetess; she led Israel at this time. She used to to sit under the Palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites would come to her for decisions"

    Brettler's translation actually obscures the matter more than the NWT does; but it is unavoidable. It's just that Jackson's documentation puts him out on a much longer limb considering what he is now trying to say.

    Chapter 5 verse 15 from the Song: "And Issachar's chiefs were with Deborah..." It appears to me that Deborah did not strike the Canaanite king dead in the tent, but rather another woman named Jael after Sisera fled from fixed battle to her tent. But Deborah led troops into the fray.

  • sir82

    A lot might depend on whether Jackson is called again to testify.

    Isn't the testimony part of the RC completely over now?

    I don't think anyone is going to testify any more, regarding JWs, anyway.

  • kepler


    I think you're right.

    But I did neglect to mention the very important point that Angus Stewart et al brought up:

    Mr. Jackson claims his appointment to the governing board is in accordance with a tradition originating with the early church congregation appointing elders.

    Q. Do correct me, Mr Jackson, if I misunderstand this,

    29 but this does seem to me to suggest, in the use of the

    30 words "brothers select for yourselves seven reputable men",

    31 that a broader congregation of believers would make the

    32 selection, rather than the seven themselves?

    Mr. Jackson, of course, retorted to this:

    33 A. Well, this is one of the difficulties we have when

    34 a secular Commission is trying to analyse a religious

    35 subject. I humbly would like to mention that point. Our

    36 understanding of the scriptures is these ones were

    37 appointed by means of the apostles. Your point is well

    38 taken. Let's assume, hypothetically, that others selected

    39 these seven men, but it was at the direction of the

    40 apostles.

    If anyone listening to that video thinks he Jackson got off the hook with that explanation ( contemplating him and his associates)... well, indoctrination just does wonders.

    Maybe he could explain the parenthetical nature of the eight or twelve GB members as well?

    As close to an actual explanation I ever found was Fred Franz appointing his nephew...

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