Psalm 58: Commentary

Seed-Pickers Exposed

So here I am just minding my own business, calling myself a seed-picker’ same as Paul’s derisive Greek critics said of him—he picks up a seed here and poops it out there, thus giving only the facade of wisdom, not the real thing—when along comes that know-it-all brother to say I am using the word wrong!

“Aristophanes once wrote an award-winning play called ‘The Birds,’ he says. The play mentions birds as ‘seed-pickers’ more than once, and uses this same word ‘spermologos’ [seed-picker-sayer].

“Aristophanes' play also mentions defecation and such private matters, but . . . and this is a big but . . . it doesn't ever tie the idea of seed-picking to ‘pooping.’ I have never seen a place where the word "spermologos" was tied to anything scatalogical.”

Brother Know-it-All even adds the useful tidbit that Luke, the Bible writer who recorded Paul’s trip to the Athens marketplace where they called him seed-picker, manages to return the insult: “In fact, all Athenians and the foreigners staying there would spend their leisure time doing nothing else but telling or listening to something new.” (Acts 17:21)

In other words, they don’t really do anything. Updated to the modern age, it would be, “They just fart away all their time scrolling on the internet,” same as my wife says of me.

8B77960A-A2F5-4273-B474-740DDA8753A3I have to admit, I just made it up—the pooping part. But I’m sticking to it. (not literally) I mean, what becomes of that seed after it is ingested? It’s not as though the bird is simply OCD reorganizing like a neurotic file clerk. I can’t think of any better way for the big boys to deride a Jewish philosopher than to say he picks up a tidbit here and poops it out there.

I’ll take on the whole ancient Greek world if I have to. They’re wrong. I’m right. Though I suppose I ought to explain I’m changing space and time. Thanks for the clarification, (smart-ass!)

Moreover, I’ll stick with seed-picker. No surprise here that I distrust intellectualism. It’s not how Jesus taught. It’s okay as a spice, even as a semi-staple. “Bring your gift to the altar” if that is your gift. But when people carry on as though it is the be-all and end-all I smell a rat. I think of those reveling in heady matters “which end up in nothing, but which furnish questions for research rather than a dispensing of anything by God in connection with faith.” (1 Timothy 1:4) As though the truth within us all resides in the brain and not the heart.

And just who is “that know-it-all brother?” Since I am a Witness doing the Witness thing, I don’t do names (or I provide my own). Aristophanes will be “one worldly author,” same as Elon Musk will be “one wealthy businessman.”

There are three ways to spin HQ’s avoidance of names:

The pious way: ‘Give all glory to God; men are but dust on the scales.’

The derisive Greek philosopher way: ‘Yeah, it’s because they have no idea who these people are.’

The third way I think I have invented myself; if it copies anyone, I’m not aware of it: ‘It is the play we are watching, not the actors in the play. You don’t have to know the names of the actors to follow the play; it can even be a distraction if you do. Besides, as soon as you name a villain, you create the impression that removing that villain remedies things. Instead, another actor who has all the lines down pat instantly steps on stage and the play continues with barely a hiccup.’ 

Nobody gains dignity in any of my writings, including myself. Always they lose a little, in keeping with us all being but dust on the scales who do well not to take ourselves too seriously. It’s a little dicey to know how much to ‘credit’ people. The introduction to Tom Irregardless begins standard boilerplate and then expands a little: 

“All persons with names like ‘Irregardless’ are real though generally composite. You can meet them in my circuit or even yours. Events related are faithfully depicted except for a few that I’ve made up. Persons with names recognizable from history or current events—you’re nuts!—it’s not those people at all!”

***  The bookstore

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the book ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the book, 'In the Last of the Last Days: Faith in the Age of Dysfunction'


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