Before proceeding any further, I want to let you know ahead of time that the purpose of this post is to serve somewhat as a “gap fill” in your knowledge. It may seem a bit scattered in nature, but it will provide some much needed supplemental information in our quest to learn about the Strange Woman and how to avoid her.
We ended our last post discussing the various paradoxes surrounding Solomon’s warning to his son (presumably Rehoboam) regarding “sinners” who would attempt to entice him away from the path of obedience to the commands laid out in the Torah of Moses.
If you have not read the last post, it is imperative that you do so, otherwise this post may not make as much sense. Here is a link to the prior post.
There is still more to discuss about this group of “sinners.”
The Strange Path of the Sinner
In the last post, we found that the sinners described by Solomon not only wanted to rob their victim of goods, but to consume them “whole.”
If they say, “Come with us, let us lie in wait to shed blood; let us lurk secretly for the innocent without cause; let us swallow them alive like Sheol, and whole [tamiym], like those who go down to the Pit;”
Analyzing this passage, we proved that these sinners wanted the benefits of being righteous, without having to be righteous.
But there’s something else very strange going on here.
Solomon is describing a scenario where sinners are trying to persuade his son to join them – the allure being an equal share in the spoils.
Cast in your lot among us, let us all have one purse.
Notice that the sinners are looking to increase their ranks. This goes against all common sense in a “robbery” scenario and it goes against the selfish nature of a thief.
One would think that if you have fewer robbers, then each share would be greater for the individual, right?
But these sinners try to persuade the individual, in order to grow their numbers, knowing that the more of them there are, the less of a share in the spoils each will have.
Tell me, what kind of thieves (presumably members in a band of thieves) would be willing to increase their numbers in order to decrease the amount they received?
Think about this; it is not a “big heist” scenario. These thieves do not want to knock off a high-security castle or a well-guarded bank (if there even had been such a thing back then).
They are lying in wait for an individual, which should easily be a one-man (or if you’re a complete wuss, two-man) job.
No, something deeper has to be conveyed here.
In contrast to the offer of the thieves, Solomon’s father David once wrote:
Blessed is the man
Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
Nor stands in the path of sinners,
Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
In like manner, Solomon pleads with his son.
My son, do not walk in the way with them, keep your foot from their path;
(Why, Dad? Why should I not join these people?)
For their feet run to evil [ra’], and they make haste to shed blood.
We’re going to talk about this in depth, but first I want to throw a “parenthetical mini-rant” into the middle of this post.
Mini-rant About Bible Translations
People have asked me quite frequently:
- What translation do you use?
- What translation is your favorite?
And the question on every true seeker’s mind:
- What translation is the most reliable?
Let me go on record as saying that I use the New King James in most of my blog posts, not because I feel it is the most reliable, but because it tends to read the smoothest and gets the main points across.
I know people have their favorite translations and are very passionate about them, especially the “King James-only” crowd. I mean, good night!
Look, I like the King James Version, I honestly do. But it didn’t come floating down in a heavenly ray of light accompanied by the songs of an angelic choir, with a great big “authorized” stamp on it.
Like all modern-day translations, the King James Version was translated by fallible, not-so-holy men with their own little biases and agendas.
People (myself included) hate the idea that the translators were anything less than perfect and impartial, but I’m sorry, they just weren’t that great. I challenge anyone to find me proof of an impartial translator that wasn’t connected in some way to the Catholic church or the Church of England, and perhaps I’ll reconsider.
These imperfect people translated the Scripture according to their own worldview, and in some cases took the liberty of adding to, subtracting from and modifying whatever they wanted to.
You don’t have to be a scholar to figure this out. Just take a couple of different translations, lay them side-by-side and read. The differences are obvious, and if you compare the original Hebrew/Greek languages to the English translation, the differences become really obvious.
Seriously, we all need to get over this stupid, religious “my translation is perfect” hump, here.
In my personal studies, I use the Stone Edition Tanach, and when the occasion calls for it, the Scriptures (ISR) translation, when utilizing the New Testament.
Why would I use Stone’s Tanach, which is translated by the Jews and not Christians?
Because I feel the Jewish people do a better job of translating their own Scripture written in their own language than a bunch of 16th-century monks with a 16th-century agenda.
Almost everyone who translated the later translations (NIV, NLT, NASB, NKJV, etc.) had already had their thinking shaped by “modern” Christianity, and if we’re being honest here, probably used the KJV as their reference, in many instances.
And don’t even get me started on the Message and the Passion translations . . . if it’s even fair to call them “translations.”
The fact that these two “translations” are widely accepted prove that most people really don’t care about who is doing the translating or what the ancient texts really say, just as long as it satisfies their religious perception and makes them feel good.
But that’s my own flawed opinion.
I acknowledge that Stone’s Tanach is not the “perfect” translation. It is not without its own mistakes and biases, but I believe it’s more accurate than what you can buy in a Christian bookstore.
The bottom line is that you really have no choice but to stick with the translation that appeals the most to you – but have the humility to accept that your translation is not the “be-all-end-all.”
I think the best thing for all of us to do is to learn how to read Hebrew, and I’m sure we all have time for that, right? <wink>
What’s the reason for this mini-rant? You’ll soon find out.
What is “Ra’?”
Let’s go back to Proverbs 1:16. Why would Solomon want his son to make great efforts to avoid walking the same path as these sinners who would entice him?
For their feet run to evil [ra’], and they make haste to shed blood.
In my opinion, one of the worst mistranslations in our Bible is the word “evil” in place of the Hebrew word “ra’.” Every time we read the word “evil,” we instantly think of the vilest sins imaginable.
Murder, rape, torture, witchcraft, and sodomy all come to mind . . . because, in my Western thinking, they have become associated with “evil.”
But the word “ra'” encompasses so much more.
There are many verses in the Bible that translate the word “ra'” as something other than the vilest of sins. Sure, these words may be a translation for something “bad,” but it hardly measures up to murder, rape and pillage.
Then behold, seven other cows came up after them out of the river, ugly [ra’] and gaunt, and stood by the other cows on the bank of the river.
Like one who takes away a garment in cold weather,
And like vinegar on soda,
Is one who sings songs to a heavy [ra’] heart.
In Proverbs 1:16, when Solomon pleads with his son to stay away from this group of people, he gives him two reasons:
- Their feet run to evil [ra’]
- They make haste to shed blood
Interestingly enough, Solomon doesn’t say “because they rob people,” which seems to be a main focus of the passage.
What is Solomon trying to get across?
Before we answer that question, we need to explore another question.
Who is Ra’?
Long before Moses walked the earth, during the Second Dynasty (c. 2890 – c. 2686 BC), “Ra” was the name of the Egyptian god of the sun. He was often considered to be the “King of the Gods.” 
By the Fifth Dynasty (2465-2323), Ra’ had merged with the god Amun to become Amun-Ra. While “Ra” was known as the “King of the Gods,” “Amun” or “Amon” was known as “the hidden one.”
So, when an Egyptian in the Fifth Dynasty heard “Amun-Ra’,” they thought of an invisible god who was king above all the gods.
According to a Wikipedia entry, citing the Oxford Guide: The Essential Guide to Egyptian Mythology, Amun-Ra “held the position of transcendental, self-created creator deity ‘par excellence’; he was the champion of the poor or troubled and central to personal piety.” 
To the average Egyptian, Amun-Ra was believed to be the father of the pharaohs and pharaohs were believed to be the incarnation of Amun-Ra. So close was the relationship between the pharaohs and Amun-Ra, they were considered one and the same – the creator god in human form. 
Look, don’t shoot the messenger. Check the sources.
Let us fast forward to the 19th Dynasty, when the historic clash between Moses and Pharaoh was believed to have occurred, during the reign of Ramses II. 
Like his predecessors, Ramses II also enjoyed the worship of the people as being the incarnation of Amun-Ra. In fact, the name “Ramses” (from “Ra-Moses”) means “born/son of Ra.” 
When we compare the name “Moses” (which means “drawn out/born”) to “Ramses” (“born/son of Ra”), it is easy to deduce that these two not only opposed each other in action, their very names stood in direct opposition.
Adding another facet to this scenario, the word “Pharaoh” (or “Par-oh”) means “great house.” 
So we have the “great house” ruled by a god/man opposing a people destined to become “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” (Exodus 19:6)
Let My People Go!
Ramses II, aka “the son of Ra,” aka “the god/man,” became the embodiment of everything that stood in the way of the purposes of the YHWH, the God of Israel.
When Moses approached Pharoah the first time, his response was not very cooperative.
Afterward Moses and Aaron went in and told Pharaoh, “Thus says the LORD God of Israel: ‘Let My people go, that they may hold a feast to Me in the wilderness.'”
Please, don’t gloss over this passage.
What we’re seeing here is YHWH commanding Pharaoh – “the son of Ra'” – to release his people to obey His commands. Pharaoh responds by saying (paraphrased) “I don’t recognize your ‘god’ so I won’t obey his command. Israel is to remain a part of Egypt.”
How was Israel a part of Egyptian society?
Egypt was using Israel as a support structure to build the “great house” of the god/man.
The Egyptians wanted the blessing of having Israel be a part of their society. They wanted the benefit of their assimilation and the benefit of all their hard labor.
But when the rubber met the road, in the eyes of the “great house” (Egypt), Israel was just a means to an end.
As the tale progresses, we read about the many compromises the god/man makes with the God of Israel, always promising a release, but never following through.
Even in our modern day, the “great house” always looks for ways around obedience to what God originally commanded His people.
What did Ra’ mean to an Israelite?
Let’s wrap this back around.
When we read the word “evil” in our Bibles, we associate it with “murder, rape and pillage,” and of course these actions SHOULD be associated with “evil,” but the Hebrew word “ra” carries with it so much more depth.
Since we know that the Tanach (Old Testament) was written after the exodus from Egypt, it’s not unreasonable to assume that, every time an Israelite heard the word “ra,” they hearkened back to the “great house” of Egypt and the sun god (Ra) that they had served (along with his god/man son).
On that day I raised My hand in an oath to them, to bring them out of the land of Egypt into a land that I had searched out for them, “flowing with milk and honey,” the glory of all lands.
Not only were the Israelites enslaved by the Egyptians, they had assimilated into their society and worshiped their gods, including Amun Ra (the sun god) and his god/man son (Pharaoh Ramses II).
Solomon warns his son about these sinners who would (like the “great house”) take from those who want to follow the Torah of YHWH.
My son, do not walk in the way with them, keep your foot from their path; for their feet run to evil (Ra) . . .
This warning carried with it more than just an admonition to stay away from those who murder, rape and pillage.
When Solomon talks of feet that run to evil . . . or feet that run to “ra’,” he’s describing to his son a person who is all-too-eager to do the things that are opposed to the path of Wisdom in order to further their own satisfaction in this life.
It was a warning to stay away from those who run to the influence of a society that an Israelite was miraculously rescued from!
Those who do run to “Ra” are hated by the God of Israel.
These six things the LORD hates . . .
Feet that are swift in running to evil [ra’] . . .
But Wait, There’s More!
The second reason why Solomon does not want his son to keep company with this group of people is that “they make haste to shed blood.”
For their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed blood.
This sure sounds like “murder” to me, but is this all about murder?
No, and we will figure out why in the next post.
For the truth,
-  “The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt : Shaw, Ian, 1961- : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming.” Internet Archive, Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 1 Jan. 1970, archive.org/details/oxfordhisto00shaw/page/480.
-  “Ra.” Ancient Egypt Online, ancientegyptonline.co.uk/ra/.
-  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fifth_Dynasty_of_Egypt#CITEREFLehner2008 citing Lehner, Mark (2008). The Complete Pyramids. London: Thames & Hudson Ltd. ISBN 978-0-500-05084-2.
-  Ra. (n.d.). Ancient Egypt Online. https://ancientegyptonline.co.uk/ra/
-  The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. (2020, February 5). Amon. Retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/topic/Amon
-  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amun#cite_note-Vincent_Arieh_Tobin_p20-3 citing Arieh Tobin, Vincent (2003). Redford, Donald B. (ed.). Oxford Guide: The Essential Guide to Egyptian Mythology. Berkley, California: Berkley Books. p. 20
-  Amun | Amon-Ra | The King Of The Egyptian Gods. (n.d.). ANCIENT EGYPT ONLINE | History, Gods, Pharaohs & Daily Life. https://www.ancient-egypt-online.com/amun.html
-  It is worthy to note here that this statement is not believed by ALL experts in the field. There are a few who believe that the timeline is off by around 300 years, which would place the Exodus around the time of Amenhotep I. If this is the case, then Moses would not have been facing off with Ramses II and some of the associations in this post may be reasonably contradicted. Nonetheless, the pharaohs were still believed to be incarnations of the sun god Ra’, so I believe my associations are still legitimate. If you want to watch a great show expounding upon this alternative view of the Exodus timeline, I highly recommend “Patterns of Evidence.” My wife and I loved this show!
-  New Kingdom of Egypt. (2016, October 7). Ancient History Encyclopedia. https://www.ancient.eu/New_Kingdom_of_Egypt/
-  pharaoh | Origin and meaning of pharaoh by Online Etymology Dictionary. (n.d.). Online Etymology Dictionary | Origin, history and meaning of English words. https://www.etymonline.com/word/pharaoh