Not to Bow

Not to Bow


“And all the servants of the King that were in the gate of the King kneeled and bowed to Haman but Mordechai would not kneel nor would he bow” (Esther 3:2)

Mordechai’s refusal to bow infuriated Haman. It infuriated him to the degree that he was moved to destroy all of Mordechai’s people.

It seems that the Jewish refusal to bow does not sit well with God’s enemies. These people see the Jewish refusal to bow as legalistic, arrogant, and self-centered. Why can’t you be like everyone else? Everyone else is inspired by the wealth of Haman, by the power of Caesar or by the mystery of Jesus. Why does the Jew have to stand apart?

This is the question that fueled the fires of hate for generations. This question was in the mind of the Crusaders, the Inquisitors and the propagandists who inspired their crimes. They see the Jewish refusal to bend to the allures of finite existence as a smug disdain for the rest of humanity. Everyone else sees the reason that we need to bend and kneel to Jesus, why can’t the Jew just join us?

But nothing could be further from the truth. The Jews refusal to bend is not rooted in a disdain for humanity, it is rooted in a deep belief in humanity. You see the Jew believes that no human should bend to the beauty, the wealth, the mystery, the righteousness or the power that is contained in finite existence. The Jew believes that humans have a greater calling than submitting themselves to servants. The Jew looks forward to the day when all of mankind will bend to the One Creator of all (Isaiah 2:17).

While God’s absolute sovereignty is hidden from the hearts of men the Jew is called to be God’s witness (Isaiah 43:10). It is our duty toward God and man not to kneel and not to bow. It is our duty to testify that every last man woman and child can approach the Father without the services of another subject of God. Our testimony is that the happiness of man will be found when we recognize that we are all recipients of God’s love and that our deepest joy is to acknowledge this simple truth with every breath of life.

The Jew’s refusal to bow is not a reflection of arrogance or disdain; it is a reflection of love and reverence. It is an invitation to see every facet of finite existence as a recipient of God’s love. And it is a declaration of God’s absolute mastery over all.

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Thank You

Yisroel C. Blumenthal

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23 Responses to Not to Bow

  1. CP says:

    Honest Question;
    Are Jews expected to bow before the son of man from Daniel 7?

    • Eleazar says:

      Daniel was very puzzled by the dream/vision and did not know what it meant. The language, all of it, is symbolic not literal. You might be interested in this tidbit that accompanied the text on Biblegateway:

      “The Aramaic phrase bar enash means human being. The phrase son of man is retained here because of its use in the New Testament as a title of Jesus, probably based largely on this verse.” :

      In other words,according to the CHRISTIAN website, the phrase “son of man” was a mistranslation of the Aramaic used by NT authors as a way to revert back to this verse as an apologetic tying Jesus to the Tanakh as the one being spoken of in the dream.

      Anyway, the dream is then explained to him, including the identity of “one like the son of man”, or more accurately, “one like a human being”-

      “7:15 – I, Daniel, was troubled in spirit, and the visions that passed through my mind disturbed me. 16 I approached one of those standing there and asked him the meaning of all this….”

      One of Daniel’s guides reveals the identity of the beasts and horns, and then speaks of this transferring of power to “one like a human being”-

      7:21 “As I watched, this horn was waging war against the holy people ( PLURAL) and defeating them, 22 until the Ancient of Days (God) came and pronounced judgment in favor of the holy people (PLURAL) of the Most High, and the time came when THEY (PLURAL) possessed the kingdom.”
      “‘But the court will sit, and his power will be taken away and completely destroyed forever…. 27 Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of all the kingdoms under heaven will be handed over to the holy people ( PLURAL) of the Most High ( God). His (God’s) kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him (God).’

      You see, CP. I discovered during my time as a Bible teacher and a pastor that Christian apologists/preachers are very easily tempted to read out of context to make a point, and once they do are not afraid to reach and write based on that. They fully understand that 99.999% of their audience will NOT study the text critically or question their knowledge. They will accept the point, commit it to memory and move on.

      Be honest, have you ever read the entire thing through to see the interpretation of the dream? If so, how did you miss this?

      • Eleazar says:

        Now, apply this to “My Servant” of Isaiah 53 and maybe a light bulb will appear above your head.

      • CP says:

        Thank you for the great answer.
        Yes, I do understand what you are saying in regards to this and Isaiah 53, I just wonder if this is the correct interpretation(s)?

        Even if it is, I’d wonder if the son of man could be considered a representative or leader (king) of his people.

        The use of “human being” is an idiomatic translation (interpretation) of the literal Aramaic “son of Adam”

        Btw, notice in verse 9; “Thrones” are set up, (plural) – there again is imagery of the divine council of gods I’ve been talking about in other posts.

        • Eleazar says:

          “I just wonder if this is the correct interpretation(s)?”

          If its not, then Daniel’s guide was wrong? You see, I just posted what the text said. Not a single word is anything but scripture. The plain meaning is given in Daniel, not by me or anyone else. Nowhere in the explanation of the dream , 7:21-27, is the “son of man” figure EVER referred to as a single person. Only as “the people of God”, not the person. And this is the exact same visioned scenario as Isaiah 53 and Zechariah 8:23:

          1- Israel suffers at the hands of the nations.
          2- God decrees “enough” and comes to Israel’s rescue, making us the head and not the tail.
          3- World leaders who previously persecuted Israel are blown away by it and finally see that the Jews are God’s people.

          Zechariah 8:23- “This is what the LORD Almighty says: “In those days ten people from all languages and nations will take firm hold of one Jew by the hem of his robe and say, ‘Let us go with you, because we have heard that God is with you.'”

          It all comes together.

        • RT says:

          “Even if it is, I’d wonder if the son of man could be considered a representative or leader (king) of his people. ”

          This is possible, some interpret it as such. Regardless, I would discard Yeshua, as he is dead already. Saying that Yeshua will come back literally in the clouds of heaven is to take the passage away from what it really means. This is indeed a vision and should not be taken literally. Furthermore, to take the context of a future prophecy and conclude that it talks about Jesus is a bit foolish. As we both know, it has not happened yet and even if Jesus said he was that man, we have no reason to believe him. You see, Christians are so found of using second coming prophecies as proofs, but the truth is; it has not happened yet.

    • CP The Jews ARE the son of man from Daniel 7 1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources wrote: >

      • RT says:

        Just as the beasts represent kingdoms, so the human being also represented a kingdom. That makes sense. As it was a vision, the Jewish People were represented as a human being to show their attributes. They were in the clouds of heavens as they were G-d’s emissary to the rest of the world. The other kingdoms were fierce and merciless and the best image that G-d could use was ferocious beast who do not mind to tear apart his pray. It’s a vision and what is seen should not be taken literally. You are missing the point if you imaging a “son of man” (Jesus) standing in the clouds of heaven speaking to G-d the Father.

        • CP says:

          No disrespect intended, Yeshua has been a far better emissary to the world than the Jewish people. The fact “son of man” was Yeshua’s favorite term for himself suggests a major point just by itself. However as much as Jews and Christians desire and try to separate Yeshua from the Jewish people, the reality is this cannot ever be done, truth is unchangeable.

          Therefore, I think Yeshua being the son of man in Daniel 7 is worth looking into..

          • RT says:

            So were the Romans who force everybody to believe in the New Testament. They were such great emissaries, spreading the “old” testament and righteousness through torture and so forth… Yeshua had 12 disciples and a few ladies following him. I would not say it is a great emissary. The Romans, in the other hand, spread it quite well throughout the whole world. In fact, in you did not agree, they would just make you agree. Or through torture or else, you wouldn’t stay too long. How do you think your new testament was spread? I actually think that looking into Christianity being one of the Beast would be something to look onto. Look onto the way they acted, and it sounds like a possible explanation, waging wars against the saints of the Most High and tearing them into pieces. Can you put yourself out of the last 50 years and see Christianity for what it really is?

          • CP says:

            I agree there is a great apostate Church; “the whore of Babylon”, but there has been much more than just that going on through history, admittedly she has taken center stage.

          • CP I beg to differ. The only way you could count Jesus as a better emissary is if you discount the negative impact. 1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources wrote: >

      • CP says:

        I wish it were that simple. While I agree it is a plausible interpretation, there are other plausible interpretations of who the “Holy ones of the Most High” are: Pious Jews of Daniels circle or the angelic host.

        The son of man is depicted as a celestial being / messiah figure fulfilling past predictions (b. Sanh. 97b) or future (Gen. Rab. 98.2). It wasn’t until later (after Christianity) the son of man was interpreted as Israel (Ibn Ezra, Rashi).

        • Eleazar says:

          So I take that as you have not read the rest of the chapter. You know, the part where it is explained to Daniel what the dream means and what the things symbolize. The part where it is explained that “one like the son of man” is a group of people. Is reading the rest of the chapter too painful? Rav B is not interpreting anything. The interpretation is given plainly in the remaining verses of the same chapter.

          • CP says:

            Yes friend, I’ve read the rest over and over. It doesn’t explicitly say the son of man = the people, although I am agreeing with you it is a plausible interpretation. However, it could also be the son of man is the leader of the people.

        • RT says:

          Where do you see that in Sanhedrin 97B? Please show me the text…

          Do you have the Gen. Rab. 98.2 text as well?

          Did you check the source?

          • CP says:

            I’d like to say I did, but I did not, I just summarized notes from a Jewish Study Tanach, hoping R’B had these resources at his finger tips and would discuss them.

          • RT says:

            What Jewish Study Tanach are you using?

        • CP The holy exalted ones are a nation – no mystery here. Sanhedrin and Genesis Raba are not providing “interpretations,” the angel is providing an interpretation. 1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources wrote: >

          • CP says:

            Since the text vacillates between an individual and a people, do you think it plausible the individual is the leader,a representative or ‘king’ of the same people?

          • CP The text does not “vacillate.” In the vision its an individual, in the interpretation it is a nation. Just like every other figure in the vision was a single entity (beast) representing a nation. 1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources wrote: >

          • CP says:

            I agree my poor choice of words exaggerates the text.
            Therefore to rephrase my question;
            I assume you view the “man” as a representing the nation metaphorically. Is there any reason to rule out this man as a literal representative of the nation?

          • CP You could view the man as a literal representative of the nation – but that is a choice you are making – the text doesn’t force you into that choice. In other words – even if it was true – the Author didn’t bother making it clear. 1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources wrote: >

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