Flubbing Mephibosheth

Just look at this monstrosity I’m assigned to read!

So Mephibosheth ate at David’s table like one of the sons of the king.  Now Mephibosheth also had a young son named Miʹca; and all those who lived in Ziʹba’s house became servants of Mephibosheth. And Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, for he always ate at the table of the king; and he was crippled in both feet.

I mean, can they say it any more? FOUR times that unpronounceable name! What was wrong with Jonathan his dad? Why couldn’t he have named the kid Jon Jr? Throw in the middle name Albatross while you’re at it! And he was crippled in both feet? I’ll be crippled in my mouth after this talk!

Yes yes, I admire the optimism, I said to someone who assured me I could do it, but tell me true: did you name any of your kids Mephibosheth?

Maybe you can go with Mephie, another said.

Good idea. Just like Andy Taylor used to call his nephew Opie when the kid’s real name was Opilakimommaoctolibiario.

Look at it as an opportunity to pronounce it differently seven times, Stephen said.

 

Mission accomplished (sort of). Seven times the unpronounceable name read, including a veritable minefield of 4 at the very end.  He sells seashells by the seashore. “And if I ever have a son, I think I’m gonna name him . . . Bill or George, anything but Mephibosheth.”

 

I flubbed it!  just before the minefield and then laughed at myself for flubbing it. It’s just a tongue twister of a name to say fast and repeatedly. “I’ve never actually seen a brother chuckle at such times,” said one bro as he braced himself to see if anyone would be smited like Urijah grabbing the ark.

“I think the angels chuckled with you and were proud of your effort as well as all the others who gave this assignment around the world 🌎.   Even when you think you are losing, you’re winning in our eyes, especially Jehovah’s eyes,” said one sympathizer. I admit I had not thought of myself that way, as sort of a Geico lizard mascot to everyone else assigned that reading.

Said Murray: ‘You are not alone my brother. I did not have any dealings with that part this week. I was householder on the study portion, but two of the brothers who had to use the name had serious muble with their trouths & got their murds wixed up. He will need a name change upon his ressurection I reckon.’

“Is there anyone remaining of Saul’s house to whom I can extend loyal love, perhaps by giving them a name change in case it is Mephibosheth?” David probably said in a beta version of the Bible that has vanished. 

Yikes! No sooner do I flub the Meshibosheth minefield (2 Samuel 9) then I see this week’s Watchtower study title: “Are You “an Example . . . in Speaking”?  Theme scripture: Become an example to the faithful ones in speaking.”​—1 TIM. 4:12.

Way to rub it in.

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“Do Not Say ‘The King of the Jews,’ but ‘He SAID ‘I am King of the Jews!’”

Then two robbers were put on stakes alongside him, one on his right and one on his left. And those passing by spoke abusively of him, shaking their heads and saying: “You who would throw down the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! If you are a son of God, come down off the torture stake!” In the same way also, the chief priests with the scribes and the elders began mocking him, saying: “Others he saved; himself he cannot save! He is King of Israel; let him now come down off the torture stake, and we will believe in him....In the same way, even the robbers who were on stakes alongside him were reproaching him. (Matthew 27:38-44)

The theme of the midweek meeting was ‘don’t dish dirt on people, don’t speak injuriously of others, don’t follow the crowd to evil ends.’ Since the assigned Bible reading for the week was Exodus 23 and 24, verses such as 23:1 and 2 were discussed: 1– “You must not spread a report that is not true. Do not cooperate with a wicked one by becoming a malicious witness,” and 2–“You must not follow after the crowd to do evil, and you must not pervert justice by giving testimony to go along with the crowd.”  Even Aaron fell victim to this, being leaned upon by the crowd to make the golden calf, being leaned upon by his sister to speak against Moses, and I think there was something else he screwed up by yielding to the crowd—the speaker mentioned three—but I forget what it was.

The finest example at that meeting content of not going along with the crowd was the one set by the wrongdoer hanging next to Jesus! At first he did go with the crowd—carried along with how everyone on the ground below was reviling him—but he reached a point of saying: ‘Enough!’ He broke ranks and rebuked the other criminal: “Do you not fear God at all, now that you have received the same judgment? ...We are getting back what we deserve for the things we did; but this man did nothing wrong....Jesus, remember me when you get into your Kingdom.” And he said to him: “Truly I tell you today, you will be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:40-43)

(It is completely translator’s choice as to where to put the comma—before the ‘today’ or after—and it hugely changes the meaning of the sentence. Since Jesus is said to be resurrected on the third day (1 Corinthians 15:4), he plainly was dead until then, which is why the NWT places the comma after the ‘today,’ though most translations place it before.)

It’s hard to believe how rotten were the chief priests and elders in mocking the tortured Jesus, but their previous cunning left them almost no choice. Pilate was set to release Jesus—he tried hard to do it, and would have, until those chief priests said ‘we’ll have your job if you do it—and maybe your head!’ What they actually said was: ““If you release this man, you are not a friend of Caesar. Everyone who makes himself a king speaks against Caesar.” (John 19:12) It was enough to make Pilate cave.

So what does he have written to post over Jesus’ head? “Jesus the Nazareneʹ the King of the Jews,” says John 19:19. “Many of the Jews read this title,” says the very next verse, so did the chief priests not have to keep the crowd in a froth, lest those ones reflect upon how their leaders had killed their king? “The chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate: ‘Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but that he said, ‘I am King of the Jews.’” Pilate answered: “What I have written, I have written.” (21-22) I’ll bet they didn’t push him very hard on that one. He had had it with that bunch of liars—furious at being used by them once, he was going to turn the tables on them.

See Part 2–Sticking up for Pilate.

 

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