An Obedient Heart or an Understanding Heart—Which Is It?

So grant your servant an obedient heart to judge your people,” Solomon asked in a dream, “to discern between good and bad, for who is able to judge this numerous people of yours?” (1 Kings 3:9)

Imagine such a request—for an ‘obedient heart.’ From a king!—who normally isn’t concerned with obedience to anything or anyone.

Furthermore, God equates this request for an obedient heart to ‘understanding:’

It was pleasing to Jehovah that Solomon had requested this. God then said to him: “Because you requested this and you did not request for yourself long life or riches or the death of your enemies, but you requested understanding to hear judicial cases, I will do what you asked. I will give you a wise and understanding heart, so that just as there has never been anyone like you before, there will never be anyone like you again. Furthermore, what you have not requested I will give you, both riches and glory, so that there will be no other king like you in your lifetime.” (vs 10-13)

I was just getting ready to comment on this at the midweek meeting when I thought I’d check how other translations put it. We have a handful of them on our own app, some mainstays like King James and American Standard Versions, some eclectic ones like Rotherham and Byington, and a few permutations of our own New World Translation. But for sheer scope, I like Enter your scripture, append “in all English translations” to the result, and you have a list of 54 translations to choose from. It is not “all English translations,” as they say. It is all they have. Rotherham and Byington aren’t there, nor is New World Translation. But it still is a lot. Let’s check how many render 1 Kings 3:9 as “obedient.”

Whoa! None of them do! Well—just one, the Holman Christian Standard Bible. 53 of the 54 translations have something different!

By far, the most frequent rendering is an ‘understanding heart’ that Solomon requested, as opposed to an ‘obedient heart.’ 31 of the 54 versions say ‘understanding,’ with two more saying, ‘a heart that understands’—almost the same thing. The next most common is ‘discerning.’ Some versions change the ‘heart’ to ‘mind,’ as though what Solomon wants is to be the smartest kid in class.

So the New World has an ‘obedient’ rendering that only one other translation has! Did they just write it in? You know how our people like to lay it on with obedience. I was just entertaining the notion that the Witnesses got it wrong when I noticed a handful of versions that suggested they were on to something after all—maybe something others had missed.

The New American Bible—Revised Edition, the one I employed as house Bible in I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses: Searching for the Why (because the New World Translation is there declared ‘extremist’) says ‘listening heart.’ The Names of God Bible says ‘heart that listens.’ Oh yeah? Listens to what? Or should it be who?

Indicating it is the ‘who’ to be listened to, the Wycliffe Version reads: “Therefore thou shalt give to thy servant an heart able to be taught, that is, enlightened of thee . . . And the Message Translation, which is sometimes so paraphrased as to veer into ludicrousness, here is spot-on. Solomon requests a ‘god-listening heart,’ it says.

So now I’m thinking that the brothers aren’t so daft after all, that they’re on to something that most miss and nobody but one says explicitly. Hmm. How to research this? Look up ‘obedience’ in the Insight book. There I find that the Hebrew word is ‘shama.’ Is 1 Kings 3:9 one of the places shama is used? The article doesn’t say.

Look up ‘understanding’ in that same encyclopediac work. Nothing.

Okay. Nothing remains than to hop on the great internet with the search terms, ‘1 Kings 9:3,’ ‘shama,’ and ‘obedient.’ This is a little risky because Witness apostates have peppered the internet with a gazillian tirades about how their former religion stinks to high heaven. But in this case, ‘obedient’ is the furthest thing from their minds, and nobody has bothered to weigh in on this particular verse. Instead an article by Daniel Hoffman is pulled up.

“When Solomon prayed for wisdom,” he says, “surprisingly, he did not use the word “wisdom.” What he prayed for, according to the ESV, [Easy-to-Read Version] was “an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil”

There is a Hebrew word for ‘wisdom.’ Solomon doesn’t use it! What word does he use? ‘Shama,’ the one that Insight on the Scriptures identifies as the root word of ‘obedience!’  Quickly the New World Translation has risen from ‘dog of the pack’ to ‘top dog!’

It is not that ‘understanding’ is wrong as a rendering. It’s fine as far as it goes. But it doesn’t go very far. If it does not convey the idea that ‘understanding’ comes from listening to God rather that simply being innately smart it does its readers a great disservice. Here’s how Hoffman puts it:

“So the ESV translation is not wrong. But I think maintaining the literal translation is better in this case. The more concrete “hear” reminds us that wisdom, discernment, or understanding, biblically conceived, is a matter first of all of hearing the word of the Lord. Wisdom in its biblical conception is not an abstract trait that some people just naturally have, but is a result of hearing the word of the Lord and digesting and embracing it.” (He says “hear” because shama has the connotation of hearing someone, in this case God.)

Is it really necessary to go so far as the New World Translation goes (and the Holman Christian Standard Bible) and say ‘obedient.’ No, I don’t think it is. But it just may be the best choice of renderings. After all, what is the point of ‘hearing’ God if you blow off what he says as nothing? Disobedience is afoot today. It is like what was said to Ezekiel: “Look! You are to them like a romantic love song, sung with a beautiful voice and skillfully played on a stringed instrument. They will hear your words, but no one will act on them.” (Ezekiel 33:32)

Ha! The words are a “romantic love song.” They are inspirational—the stuff of stirring song, moving poetry, rousing prose, but as to obeying them? No. And so Dee mentioned to me the other day how she had commented on someone’s ornate religious edifice he was carrying on about, that yes, people have built many beautiful things for God, “but I almost think it’s better when they find out what he wants and obey him instead.” That got her the fisheye from her recipient but I thought she hit the nail on the head. It’s not unlike what Samuel told Saul: “Look, to obey is better than sacrifice.”

That being the case, that obedience is important to God and we live in a time of marked disobedience, and we strive to avoid “the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience,” (Eph 2:2) you can make a case that ‘obedient heart’ is the best rendering of all.

This is not the first time I’ve spotted the New World Translation with a rendering that at first seems suspect but turns out to be superior. Ronald Sider, in his book ‘The Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience grumbles that Galatians 5:13 literally reads, “be slaves to each other,” yet most popular translations dilute the verse to a more independence-savoring “serve one another in love”—a rendering promoting disobedience that he says contributes to the deplorable state of his own people, whose overall moral conduct is identical to that of the greater world whereas it is supposed to be a notch above. The New World Translation, however, holds to the original Greek, with “through love slave for one another.”

I noted it here as well with Psalm 22:16, where the New World Translation stuck to the literal Hebrew whereas almost everyone else succumbed to an at least arguably fraudulent reading.

If the New World ranks with the best translations in these three instances, why is it sometimes said that it is the worst? In almost all cases it is because it does not render certain verses in the formalistic, even if less rigorous, way that they must be rendered to support the trinity doctrine—and adherents to the trinity take offense. There is such a thing as letting beliefs dictate scholarship, whereas it ought to be the other way around.….


Painting: ‘The Wisdom of Solomon”—James Tissot

(1 Kings 3:9, which this post expounds on, was included in the recently assigned week’s Bible reading. Therefore this post will fill in for that week’s meeting notes.)


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Tweeting the Meeting: Week of May 23, 2022, 1 Samuel 4-6

Public talk title: ‘Will YOu be a survivor of the last days?’

1F99FE10-CED8-49FE-8EB1-814F508F413DThey asked Dale Earnheart, ‘when you’re out on the highway do you drive the speed limit?’ ‘ Absolutely. When I’m on the racetrack I’ve got a pretty good idea of what those other drivers will do. But on the highway—those drivers are crazy! Opening remarks of the #publictalk

Titus challenged his soldiers—how fast can you level trees and build fortifications, they did it in a matter of days, so that “when you see Jerusalem surrounded by encamped armies, then know that the desolating of her has drawn near” (Luke 21:20) …1/2

and flee at first opportunity, which first-century Christians did when troops unexpectedly withdrew. #publictalk…Rest of the Jews perceived things differently, and they perished as a result.

The #publictalk speaker concludes with how he (and three others in the audience) had a chance to ride in a race car, Michigan international speedway, multifaceted harness—the driver “spent more time getting me into the harness than going twice around the speedway.” I found one of those persons later. ‘Was it scary?’ I asked. She said it was not.


#watchtowerstudy: True Worship Will Add to Your Happiness.   Theme scripture: “You are worthy, Jehovah our God, to receive the glory and the honor and the power.”​

Para 7: ps 141: 2 “May my prayer be as incense prepared before you, My uplifted hands like the evening grain offering.” One sis spoke of her back yard, drawn to aromas, lilac, she thinks. The intoxicating smell of the Linden tree does it for me. #watchtowerstudy

Para 8: recall the part of praising God even under adversity. (Ps 34)’ God’s wonderful works, yes, but ‘life for me stinks.’ sometimes we just say it, sometimes it truly does, even so we can praise god.

One sis speaks of how she listens to pre meeting chit-chat “and sometimes it’s not foolishness.”

Para 10 “Similarly, we should not allow concerns about the imperfections of our singing voice to prevent us from singing praises to Jehovah.” Well, I do remember how voices petered out for that final note in ‘Make the truth your own’ (because it was so high) …1/2

except for one, who mangled it spectacularly off-key. They changed the note to help everyone out!…2/2

Para 13: Love that phrase from Deuteronomy 16:16 “none of them should appear before Jehovah empty-handed.”  You can at least bring a bag of potato chips to the congregation picnic.

Pare 14 one sis comments on how Jehovah feel indebted to us when we do something good to others, his humility is highlighted: “The one showing favor to the lowly is lending to Jehovah, And He will repay him for what he does.” Proverbs 19:17


May 23-292 SAMUEL 4-6, #midweekmeeting  TREASURES FROM GOD’S WORD: Maintain a Healthy Fear of Displeasing Jehovah

There’s rings on the sides of that ark that you slip poles through to carry it! It’s not a piece of Tupperware.

That bro with the really flashy sports car? I told him we should install rings on the sides lest it has to be carted away someday. I don’t want to be struck dead by Ford.

So David became fearful of Jehovah on that day and said: “How can the Ark of Jehovah come to me?” (2 Samuel 6:8) How about carrying it right? You get the impression he’d neglected reading that Law in the undertone that they were supposed to.

“The Bible has not been good to me,” said on householder on the program, setting the stage for someone who will not lap up every word.

“Give me a second to find it. [searching for the Bible verse] My hand’s still shaking from talking about clowns.”  “Fear God and Give Him Glory” was the title of the talk. He had opened with things children may fear—dogs, heights, in his case clowns. Even Ronald McDonald worried him.

“When someone reported to me, ‘Here Saul is dead,’ [he had killed Saul himself] and he thought he was bringing me good news, I took hold of him and killed him in Zikʹlag. That was the messenger’s reward he received from me!” 2 Sam 4:10.   So much for the adage, ‘don’t kill the messenger.’

“David was dancing around before Jehovah with all his might…leaping and dancing around…” (2 Sam 6:14-16).   There was one bro in the previous congregation who used to throw himself so much into song, body language and all, that I used to compare him to David in that regard.

“If men wrote the Bible, why is it called the Word of God?” The hi-brow churches don’t call it this. It smacks too much of uneducated fundamentalism to them, as though embarrassing. But I like how this video deals with the topic.

William Tyndall died with his faith intact that the Bible was the Word of God.

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Tweeting the Meeting: Week of May 16, 2022

Human Rule—Weighed in the Balance, is the #publictalk title.

He reviews several forms of government: “anarchy, aristocrisy, communism, democracy plutocracy (gov’t by a Disney cartoon dog) [he says things like this] fascism, monarchy, totalitarianism, socialism, With some overlap

True some have worked very hard with limited positive results, ultimately unsuccessful, comes to Jer 10:23: “I well know, O Jehovah, that man’s way does not belong to him. It does not belong to man who is walking even to direct his step.”

Quotes, tendency not to solve problems but only to rearrange them, Oppressive government more to be feared to a tiger, Problems with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money, Tolstoy, others In its best state a necessary evil, in its worst, an intolerable one, Thomas Paine,

Speaker reads several quotes re gov’t from Tolstoy, Paine, Confucius, others. I like this beaut: “How can anyone govern a nation that has two hundred and forty-six different kinds of cheese?” DeGaule B06DA543-BAFE-402B-B449-B5EE071A82C4

Isaiah 40:15 a film of dust on the scales, a drip from a bucket. It can change overnight, as with Babylon under Belshazzar.

Propaganda: “They are, in fact, expressions inspired by demons and they perform signs, and they go out to the kings of the entire inhabited earth, to gather them together to the war of the great day of God the Almighty.”

Of the new system, “There are some that might want to cue that Beatles song—imagine,” the public speaker says. This guy is an incorrigible Beatles nut and forgets the line, “above us only sky,” “and no religion too.” Atheists take this song as an anthem.


“Do You See What Zechariah Saw?“ watchtower study,

Theme verse: ‘By my spirit,’ says Jehovah of armies.”​—ZECH. 4:6.

Said the WT conductor of the public talk: “You could have gone on for another half an hour, it would have been okay with me.”   No when they said that to Oscar Oxgoad, he did not go 1/2 hour into the conductor’s time on his next visit. Who told you that?

Para 2 Got that foundation in quick, just one year

Para 3: They told King Artaxerxes that, among other things, the Jews were planning to rebel against him. (Ezra 4:11-16) The king believed their lies and ordered a ban on the temple construction. (Ezra 4:17-23) came to a halt.

Ha! The conductor called on another sis with the name of my wife. He knows better. My wife is sitting next to me. I turned around to look. The other sis changed her hair and masked up does indeed look like my wife (but I know the difference)

Para 4: “He raised up a fearless prophet named Zechariah and gave him a series of eight thrilling visions, which he was to share with the Jews for their encouragement. Those reassuring visions helped them to see that they had nothing to fear from their opposers and urged them to press ahead with Jehovah’s work.”

Para 4: The enemies told lies which the king believed and the latter banned the Jews. Exactly parallels to that of the spiritual Jews today

“When i saw that image, I see maple syrup and I couldn’t get pancakes out of my head,” one bro says of Para 6—inexhaustible oil filling the lamp stands

Para 7: “In the second year of his reign, he discovered that the ban on the temple construction was illegal. Darius then gave royal approval to complete the work. (Ezra 6:1-3) That news alone was enough to surprise everyone​—but there was more. The king ordered the surrounding peoples to stop interfering in the rebuilding work and to provide funds and supplies to support it!” (Ezra 6:7-12)

Para 7 “And his house will be turned into a public latrine”, one sis quotes the verse. I hate it when that happens…Ezra 6:11…”I have also issued an order that if anyone violates this decree, a timber will be pulled out of his house and he will be lifted up and fastened to it, and his house will be turned into a public latrine for this offense.

Para 9: little one will become 1000. Choose your endpoints just right and that has more than come true. But in the last few dacades, no. So some like the Jews of old weeping at the rebuilt temple for they remember the old. …explosion of interest after 1991, those under persecution in Russia arn’t going away. ALl reports are that they are holding firm, perhaps another explosion of interest should the persecution let up.

Para 12:    Eccles 7:10 Do not say, “Why were the former days better than these?” for it is not out of wisdom that you ask this. It is a meme of old codgers doing this. Who would have thought the Bible says it is a snare?

Para 13: “started to rebuild the house of God.” (Ezra 5:1, 2) That decision may have seemed ill-advised to some Jews. The work of temple building could not be hidden from the enemy, who would use every means available to make trouble.”

Para 16 Yeah, I love the pandemic example given. You can almost feel a little silly masked up in the Hall because they’re not masked anywhere else. They are optional…but we have a way of leaning into people. Ah well, the bros set at the outset that they’d be a a bit more cautious than the general world. This too will pass.





Opening prayer of the #midweekmeeting included mention of helping bros withstand in Russia, Ukraine, or anywhere else where “trouble is framed by decree.”


Gems: “Abner grew very angry over the words of Ishbosheth and said: ‘Am I a dog’s head from Judah? Until this very day, I have shown loyal love toward the house of your father Saul and to his brothers and his friends, and I have not betrayed you into the hand of David; yet today you call me to account for an error concerning a woman [Saul’s concubine, Rizpah]. (2 Samuel 3:8)…


This becomes more understandable with the explanatory comment that having relations with the king’s concubines, even a deceased king, was tantamount to treason. [Insight; Ishbosheth]




SOME PEOPLE SAY: “There’s only one God, so it doesn’t matter what you call him.”


“So what do you think about THAT?” says the 8-year old, giving her first talk 4. “Next question is…” and she adds some of her own.



“ Take care not to be scared out of your wits,” says another translation of Matt 24:6. GB Update.


High brow professor type says since Jews find pronouncing aloud God’s name offensive, he thinks its very disrespectful for others to say it. Well, who are you going to kiss up to, humans or God? Many scriptures make it inescapable that God wants his name made known.


And even Jews, though they don’t say the name, never removed it from translations. Churches come along and do just that.—KJB takes 7000 occasions of the name and reduces it to 4.


She didn’t even know his name, but she knew he couldn’t be so mushy as not to have an identity, in praying and searching for “the true god”


“Those who hate expect the worst. but those who love never lose hope.”



“Today I am weak, although anointed as king, and these men, the sons of Ze·ruʹiah, are too brutal for me. May Jehovah repay the evildoer according to his own evil.”


How come this tree that needs trimming is leaning into the wind, now away as you would expect. ‘Leaning into the light,’ the tree surgeon said. Okay, got it. Light trumps wind. A good analogy for withstanding persecution?


Often I would say of the LDC bro in our congregation, “yeah—don’t kid yourselves. Pete’s gonna make us all live in dormitories.”


At a small Pa town, we stood on the corner as a dozen woman bikers rumbled by at the intersection. ‘Sorry to interfere with your crossing,’ one in the lead said. Bikers who apologize! ‘It’s because they’re women,’ my wife said.


Everyone else at least a little disturbed. Either myriad conspiracy thermoses are waiting to be verified ar the crème of the crop of human wisdom produces a system that instantly frays under stress.

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'

Tweeting the Meeting: Week of May 9, 2022

There’s new mount for gadgets at the Kingdom Hall, to keep track of Zoom participants I think, and it looks like the side view mirror on a car.


WatchtowerStudy: Continue Putting On “the New Personality” After Baptism.   theme scripture: “Clothe yourselves with the new personality.”​—COL. 3:10.

Para 1: one sis comments on neuroplasticity and calls it “science catching up tot the Bible.” in this instance, physical changes in the brain, corresponding to molding our brain with thoughts….. “To be that type of person, we need to control our thinking. Why? Because our personality is largely shaped by our thoughts,” says WT.

Para 2: pull out the weeds & they come back, pull them out again—part of stripping off the old personality. As for putting on the new, the landscape person said letting the grass grow long is in itself good weed control, since it crowds them out from getting light.

Para 9: reminds me of the householder who kept saying I had no need to call since he loved Jesus. Several times repeated. Then whirled around to his wife, who’d been nagging at him to get away from the door, “Will you shut up!?” he yelled, and then resumed telling me about his love for Jesus. …20If anyone says, “I love God,” and yet is hating his brother, he is a liar. For the one who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.

Para 12: when a Phoenician woman begged him to heal her child, he declined her request at first, but when she showed great faith, he kindly healed her child.   A lot of times when you push the rules you risk an explosion.


 The ones who objected to David’s ‘all will share’ plan were described as ‘bad and worthless.’ Be tightfisted toward your bros and sis you could go down in history that way. (1 Samuel 30:22) #midweekmeeting

Equalizing across borders, within the same border. Goal of same reward for unequal contributions. Parallel situation of 1 Samuel 30:22-24, objected to by “bad and worthless” men. (David had some bad and worthless men!) Who would like to go down in history as a bad and worthless man?

Sell an underperforming Hall in the West and fund the building of 50 in developing lands where they are badly needed. A longer drive twice a week so that 50X friends overseas have a place to meet? Who would object to that?…1/3

The “bad and worthless” men objected when David proposed a similar scheme for equalizing: “However, every bad and worthless man among those who had gone with David said: “Since they did not go with us, we will not give them any of the spoil that we recovered …2/3

except that each one may take his wife and his sons and go away.”  But David said: “You must not do this, my brothers, with what Jehovah has given us. He protected us and gave into our hand the marauder band that came against us. “…3/3

okay okay sometimes not ‘underperforming.’ Sometimes just consolidation. When we built the Halls, the plan was to fill them to the rafters. 

Yikes. When it happens to the churches, it’s because they’re going under. When it happens to us, it’s because of wise stewardship. ‘Yeah, I see you closed that Hall on route 300’ one fellow ribbed me at the coffee shop. ‘It’s on account of our great growth,’ I told him.


And gas prices rose . David was very distressed, because the men were talking of stoning him, for all the men had become very bitter over their KH sold to build 50 in developing lands, making them drive further…1/2

But David strengthened himself by Jehovah his God. (1 Samuel 30: 5-6) #freewheelingversion. 2/2


Job 26: 7He stretches out the northern sky over empty space, Suspending the earth upon nothing;

Job 26:27He draws up the drops of water; They condense into rain from his mist;28Then the clouds pour it down; They shower down upon mankind.

Despite its location Babylon became a pile of stones and remains that way.   (Will rise again?). Saddam bragged he was going to rebuild it.


“Why do you Witnesses always have to think the world is getting worse? What does that belief do for you?”     “It helps me to explain why the Doomsday clock is set at 90 seconds to midnight and not 10:30,” a bro replied.


Nobody else knew it. If you want rain, you had to dance to the rain god


However, every bad and worthless man among those who had gone with David said: “Since they did not go with us, we will not give them any of the spoil that we recovered except that each one may take his wife and his sons and go away.”  23 But David said: “You must not do this, my brothers, with what Jehovah has given us. He protected us and gave into our hand the marauder band that came against us.  24 Who would agree with you on this? The share of the one who went down into the battle will be the same as the share of the one who sat by the baggage. All will have a share.  1 Samuel 30:22-24.     Sometimes you have to reign in your bad and worthless men.

How come this tree that needs trimming leans into the wind, not away as you would expect? ‘It’s leaning into the light,’ the tree surgeon said. Got it. Light trumps wind. (a good metaphor for withstanding persecution?)


******  The bookstore

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Tweeting the Meeting: May 2, 2022

#watchtowerstudy today is entitled, You Can “Strip Off the Old Personality.” Theme verse: “Strip off the old personality with its practices.”​—COL. 3:9.

Para 4, “We dress up in clean clothes “and then we stop at McDonalds and get ourselves all dirty again,’ says one sis speaking of struggles to be “without spot, and maybe giving away more than she realizes. #watchtowerstudy

Para 5, It didn’t happen in our congregation: “I just explained the rainbow flag attached to paragraph 5 to my mum. Everybody! come and see this woman exclaiming loud in the hall”…1/2   I barely noticed it. Figured it was some national flag. I mean, it was pretty small and in the background. You could have fit 100 of them in that huge liquor bottle up front….2/2

Para 6: “It pains him to see us hurt ourselves and others.” Like watching a creature harm itself trying to get out of a trap? 57F4B6CE-8EA0-43C4-BFB4-67D679F448B5

Para 7: In the quest for “independence”— the king can always persuade his people that they are the victims, that they are the good guys, be they in America, Russia, or China? And there these folks think they are “independent?”

Para 9: Exit the parking garage at night, see that sign, “Are your lights on?” No they’re not! says the dodo, who keeps on driving. Just like looking in the mirror and not acting on the mess revealed. Who would do such a thing?

Para 17, Bible with her. started to make serious changes. “Some of my vices were easy for me to give up,” Nabiha says. “But quitting smoking was another story. ….one bro speaks of a coworker who threw his pipe down the embankment—-“but he watched where it landed.”


“Then “Samuel” said to Saul: “Why have you disturbed me by having me brought up?” (1 Samuel 28:15)    ‘I thought I told you to buzz off’ is what he would have said were it actually possible to bring him back. If he wouldn’t speak with him while living…. #midweekmeeting

“I was so looking forward to taking my mask off and I totally forgot,” said the masked Gems conductor at end of questions after he totally forgot.

Then there’s that duo of younger and older elder, both good speakers, but both love to be teased, and so I rise to the occasion.    “Gary has struck down his thousands, And Greg his tens of thousands’?”(1 Samuel 29:5) I mean, no matter what opening songs they select, the chairman substitutes ‘We Need to Have Endurance’

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'

Tweeting the Meeting: Week of April 25, 2002

Imitate Jesus by Serving Others is the #watchowerstudy article. “There is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving.”​—ACTS 20:35, the theme verse.

Para 2 “We, though, who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those not strong, and not to be pleasing ourselves.Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For even the Christ did not please himself, but just as it is written: “The reproaches of those reproaching you have fallen upon me.” (Rom 15:1-3)

Para 6– I never realized this: Jesus was likely grieving when called on to give what would become the ‘sermon on the mount.’  “At hearing [of John’s death], Jesus departed from there by boat into an isolated place to be alone.” Matthew 14:13 #watchtowerstudy….1/2

so we may give talks, and afterward people say ‘good talk, good talk,’ and maybe they are tolerable—but none of us were grieving just before…..2/2

Oops. It was not the sermon on the mount, though it was one just like it in which he fed multitudes. My bad—but effectively it is the same….3/3

Para 6: I related the story, not mentioning the name, of a well-known bro in the circuit who suffered an auto accident on the way to the Hall. He must have been in shock. A motorist offered to help—he said, ‘yes’—run him to the KH, 1/4 mile away, ….1/2 4C3208CA-E9A3-473C-B8DC-FC79A43E49EF

where he entered and said he could not give his talk that night, then had the fellow run him back!….2/2

Look, he did it. That doesn’t mean I’d do it. Let us not try to outholy each other. I’d leave the brothers hanging, just having been in an accident. Someone can pinch hit.

(Of course, the accident was not as bad as the one pictured. If if had been he would have come to the Hall on the end of a spatula.


Para 11: I like the point about being honest with self. ‘Yeah, but I don’t want to’ is a perfectly understandable human response. I mean, much of the good things people do is not necessarily their first instinct.

Foreshortened Watchtower. This was the week of the circuit assembly, streamed as the really large gatherings haven’t yet resumed.


The assembly program began with the song ‘We Must Have the Faith.’ It has staccato very distinct notes and I will forever remember our two-year-old, ages ago, turning to us with eyes aglow, exclaiming, “It’s dah da da da DAH!’


Here I am reading about Abigail, Nabal, and David. Pity the woman who must deal with good for nothing men. Even the guy’s own servants called him good for nothing. #midweekmeeting

Look how Abigail got her entire household out of a spot and saved them all from the retribution of a hothead. Had she not, maybe Nathan would have rebuked David earlier and then God not been so patient over his lusting over that hottie on the rooftop and offing her significant other to cover his tracks. 

“About ten days later, Jehovah struck Naʹbal, and he died.” 1 Samuel 25:38. Sometimes I think that the reason it says Jehovah struck Nabal dead, and we go into tortured explanations to explain he didn’t , is that the Bible writer thinks he did. ‘Truth is established progressively as the day dawns’ and so forth.

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'

Tweeting the Meeting: Week of April 18, 2022

Ha! ‘Turn Your Eyes Away from Worthless Things’ is the #publictalk title. The speaker opens with the appeal of a garage sale. ‘One person’s junk is another person’s….I know it’s alluring because I live with two of you,” he says of his wife and daughter.

The speaker today I first met when he was 13, then didn’t see him for many years, then serves with him many years, then again didn’t see him for many years. It’s been awhile. ‘Huh! He looks just like his dad!’ I thought today for the first time. Not just like him. But a lot.

An illustration of contaminating mind and heart with wrong stuff, in this case internet porn: Can you imagine farmer sowing corn, then realizing he has sown beans by mistake, getting down on all fours trying to pick it out and replace?

The candy in the checkout line is there because the store knows it is going to end up in your cart, the speaker says. 


#watchtowerstudy Does Your Counsel “Make the Heart Rejoice”?

Theme scripture: “Oil and incense make the heart rejoice; so does sweet friendship springing from sincere counsel.”​—PROV. 27:9.


Para 6. They used to call it a ‘counsel sandwich’—encase it in praise.

‘Bro, you are so loving, faithful, zealous, a pure joy to be around always, an example to all the flock.’

‘You’ve got breath that would fell an ox. Wanna try brushing your teeth more?

‘It is so pleasurable to…..” 529C4CC2-254A-41E5-97D0-AF0FCFA0FA26

Para 8:Just because a scripture can be attached to speech does not make it scripture counsel to be heeded. Some counsel is not necessary. Some frustration last week at the implication all counsel is golden. Corrected this week. Enough? Love believes all things, hopes all things,

Para 10: We do well to realize that two mature Christians may make different choices, both of which are acceptable. We should not impose our own standards of right and wrong on fellow believers.​—Rom. 14:10.

Para 11-12: Anzious times & some of our bros are hurting. The bro who has never worried a day in his life may not be the best one to give counsel on ‘stop being anxious.’

Para 14: ‘foolish and humiliating’ to reply before you hear all the facts….Proverbs 18:13 reminds us: “When anyone replies to a matter before he hears the facts, it is foolish and humiliating.”

Para 17: Sobering thought, Regarding Jesus, it was prophesied: “No bruised reed will he crush, and no smoldering wick will he extinguish.” (Matt. 12:20) Anxous times and there are a lot of bruised reeds, smoldering wicks

Para 19. “Make sure that the counsel is given with the right motive. Also, be sure that the counsel is really needed and that you are the right person to give it. Before offering counsel, ask questions and listen carefully so that you can understand what the person is facing. …1/2

Try to see things from his perspective. Be gentle, cultivating a warm friendship with your brothers and sisters. Remember the goal: We want our counsel not only to be effective but also to “make the heart rejoice.”​—Prov. 27:9….2/2


I’m not so sure that new ‘Bob’s Bible Translation’ [BBT] doesn’t take too many liberties with the text: #midweekmeeting.   

Most Bibles: “[Saul] said to David: “You have treated me well and I have repaid you with evil. ..what man finds his enemy and sends him on his way unharmed? Jehovah will…1/2

reward you with good because of what you have done for me today.” (1 Samuel 24: 17-21)

‘Bob’s Bible Translation:’ “Saul shot back, “Yeah, and you’re gonna buy me a new coat too!”…2/2


Give this bro top prize for pithiness: “They weren’t going to stop their marching to help preach the good news of the kingdom so we weren’t going to stop preaching the good news of the kingdom to help with their marching.”


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'

Tweeting the Meeting: Week of April 11, 2022

#publictalk “On Whose Promises do you Rely?”     um—a little dated here, methinks. A reference to promises to spring loved ones from purgatory in return for payments. Is that still a thing?

Eccles 5:4 “Whenever you make a vow to God, do not delay to pay it, for he finds no pleasure in the stupid ones.” Well, you don’t HAVE to vow, is the point, so if you do…… “Do not allow your mouth to cause you to sin, and do not say before the angel that it was a mistake.”

“O Jehovah, who may be a guest in your tent? …The one who is …speaking the truth in his heart. He does not slander …does nothing bad to his neighbor…does not defame his friends…rejects anyone who is contemptible…honors those fearing Jehovah…1/2

does not go back on his promise, even when it is bad for him.” (Ps 15) The speaker illustrates ‘bad for him’ with the bro who has agreed to help another move, then is floored by how much STUFF the fellow has. #publictalk …2/2



“Jehovah has never let me down. People have let me down, but Jehovah has never let me down,” my father-in-law used to say.

“Do not put your trust in princes…” Psalm 146:3    The reason?   “His spirit goes out, he returns to the ground. On that very day his thoughts perish.”   So you look to somewhere that doesn’t happen.


#watchtowerstudy article: “Listen to the Words of the Wise”

Theme scripture: “Incline your ear and listen to the words of the wise.”​—PROV. 22:17

Para 2: “in my profession (a branch of medicine) we have a saying, you can’t learn something that you already know,” one sis says. “And these people are dangerous,” she adds. #watchtowerstudy

Para 4: always liked this one at Eccl 7:9    “Do not be quick to take offense, for the taking of offense lodges in the bosom of fools.”

Para 5: It might be reading something into the picture that is not intended, but the bro is looking in direction of direct counsel. People bristle at counsel today. It is just the world we live in. He does not.

Para 6: A great disrespect for age in the overall world that is not undeserved. The old have originated ideas that have not worked out. The young are always on the lookout for the latest idea.

Para 12: On people bristling at counsel, one bro likened how you tell someone that a tire on his car is almost flat. “Oh yeah!? he shoots back, “well, your car has a dent in the fender.”

Para 14: It’s like when you ask God for advice and he says ‘yeah, I’ve got people to handle that.’ Complain that some of those people are a bit rough and he says, ‘well, you’re no cream puff yourself. Do you have any idea how you try me? You’ll just have to work it out.”


No #midweekmeeting this week due to the Memorial. (April 15) …referred to here:


***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'

Tweeting the Meeting: April 4, 2022

Remember when you were young and used to record the ballgames, says the #publictalk speaker, and would play them back even if you afterward had heard the final score. B322D8D9-7223-4EF3-951C-184C34EADBEEHe likened that situation to when people uneasily enter the tribulation but it helps they know the final score.

The angel that ‘strengthened’ Jesus in Gethsemane immediately after prayer, that he hadn’t seen in 33 years—what do you suppose they talked about? posed the speaker.

Speaker calls ‘ridiculous’ that saying that ‘experience is the best teacher.’ Is it? The ‘best?’ You may learn the lesson but get bruised in the process since it puts the test before the lesson. Anyone care to take the test in school before the lesson?

Ha! Speaker compares those who say ‘As long as I am a member of a religion [referring to ours] I am okay’ to those who think ‘As long as I have a bank account, I am rich.’

Now the departing CO fesses up that when assigned our circuit 4 years ago, he and his wife didn’t want to come. They loved their prior circuit. But ‘Jehovah fooled us’ he says, and now we have become his ‘Covid circuit’ and he and his wife our ‘Covid CO couple.’


#watchtowerstudy Do You Trust in Jehovah’s Way of Doing Things?“The Rock, perfect is his activity, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness who is never unjust; righteous and upright is he.”​—DEUT. 32:4.

Para 2: Judas maybe thought he and God were tight—he afterward went to the chief priests, after all—it this character claiming to be the ‘messiah’ he had an issue with

Para 5–Yeah, that picture of the guy with fogged-up glasses works pretty well in this age of masks

Para 14: Flee to the mountains. Which mountains? There were many mountains, one bro says. Apparently Jehovah used appointed men at the time to provide specifics. (Luke 21: 20-21)

Para 18: Inconveniences at first in the new system, like in the Sinai wilds. Regarding the LDC bro in our congregation, I said he’ll probably make us live in dormitories.


Trying to figure what to do with this gem from the weekly Bible reading. There has to be a perfect application somewhere, but I just haven’t yet hit on it? Any suggestions?  You see that this man is crazy! Why bring him to me?  Do I have a shortage of crazy men that I need to have this one acting crazy before me? Should this man enter my house?” (1 Samuel 21:14-15)

“What can we learn from David’s actions?” asks the #midweekmeeting. That you can’t go wrong playing the crazy card. …2/2

Jonathan had children the same age as David, age, skin color, nationality “not barriers for us—they’re bridges,” says the speaker, commenting on 30-year age difference between Jonathan and David. …1/2

Saul to Jonathan (the bro summarizes): “What’s wrong with you? Are you stupid? This kid is going to take your throne,” ( Samuel 20:30)…2/2

“Maybe you’ve been passed over for a privilege. Some bros call it ‘passover season.” Hmm. This bro is a little quirky, but he can turn a phrase.

“And all those who were in trouble and in debt and who had a grievance gathered to him, and [David] became their chief. There were about 400 men with him.” (2 Samuel 22:2) Thus collects Robin Hood his band of merry men.

We live in a world where everyone says, it’s not my fault. Unexpected change, therefore, when David says “I am personally responsible for the death of everyone in your father’s house” due to an incautious action of his. (2 Samuel 22:22)

Ooh ooh. I got to say my modification of Romans 3:4, “Every man online is a liar,” after they played that ‘Be Social Network Smart’ youth video.


***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'

Tweeting the Meeting: Week of March 28, 2022

Where can you find real hope?’ is the title of the #publictalk today. This one is uniform, given to all congregations through local or visiting speakers. The speaker explains early he will address three questions: ….1/2

1) Why so much suffering today?

2)What hope does the Bible give?

3) Why can the Bible’s hope be trusted?….2/2

“For the creation was subjected to futility, not by its own will, but through the one who subjected it, on the basis of hope,” he develops the thought from Romans 8:20 starting with who was the one who did the subjecting.

“We don’t need you, we can rule ourselves, we’re better off on our own,” he how the speaker quantifies that early Genesis scene. “God gave them what they asked for,” he adds, with a future reconciliation at hand when “creation itself will be set free.”

“For centuries human governments have tried to make the car run on water, so to speak,” he says, referring back to a previous illustration.


#watchtowerstudy today is ‘Make “the Best Use of Your Time”“ Theme scripture: “Keep strict watch that how you walk is not as unwise but as wise persons, making the best use of your time.”​—EPH. 5:15, 16.

Para 2: Good. The Zoom tie-in works seamlessly. You just can’t see the commenter—that’s all.

Para 3 “It is not good to eat too much honey,” says the proverb, I was brought up in a household where all-evening watching TV might easily take place. When rec has assumed such prominance, it may seem crazy to dial it back, but you sure gain time if you do.

Para 5: one sis likens something or other to “trying to buy a house while it’s on fire.”

Para 8: all good suggestions on finding a quiet place to pray. Alas, when I was in my twenties, i got it in my head that I could pray while driving—it’s kind of an automatic activity, but I almost got into a accident. ‘Forget that!” I said, and never did it again.

Para 10: one bro mentions Jesus kindness in that he didn’t say: “Great. Now when I really need you, THIS is what you do?!” He came pretty close: “Could you not so much as keep on the watch for one hour with me?” though allowed, “The spirit, of course, is eager, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:40-41)




Para 13: “Before assemblies and conventions, we are often told to adjust our electronic devices to a setting that will not disturb others.” I never knew how to do that and just relied on the fact that no one wanted to talk to me. ….1/2

Scammers do, though. They should just say, ‘Put it in airplane mode.”….2/2


“We’re back and so is George,” says the conductor about the bro who never comments without inserting a pun or similar joke—and just did so.

Para 18: I like that this writer is called an “anxious man.” I guess he was: “You hold my eyelids open; [he can’t sleep] I am agitated and cannot speak.” Psalm 77;4 There’s anxious people today. It’s good to see someone in scripture they can identify with.

“When David and the others would return from striking down the Phi·lisʹtines, the women would come out from all the cities of Israel with song and dances” (1 Samuel 18:6) #midweekmeeting….1/2

Not just his mom and sisters, the speaker says, but all the women of the land. More popular with the ladies than Saul, he was…..2/2

“The women who were celebrating would sing: “Saul has struck down his thousands, And David his tens of thousands.”  Saul became very angry, and this song displeased him.” (1 Samuel 18:6)

Upstaged by an underling. I mean, who doesn’t want accolades from the women?


At that Saul said…‘The king does not want any bride price except 100 foreskins of the Phi·lisʹtines, to take revenge on the enemies of the king.’ (1 Samuel 18:25)


Not to be too crude here, but this was a common way of verifying kills during battle, so as not to be suckered by tall tales of braggarts  and to safeguard against ‘cheating’ by killing women.  (not recommended today. Just snap a battlefield photo with your smartphone).. 2/3

No, I didn’t say this at the meeting……3/3

(Bonzo put it the best I have heard. Making the axis lords send golden images of their piles is just the ultimate example of Jehovah doing something “in style”—the ultimate humiliation of those who resolutely put their trust in false gods. (1 Samuel 6:4)….1/2

The question is whether he, with such a grasp of biblical realism, will begin ‘behaving as a prophet’ after consideration of 1 Samuel 19:24…..2/2

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'