Someone recently asked what difference it makes which is the original language of the NT. One of the answers was that it matters what language we do our word studies from for exegesis.
Recently while doing such a word study I found a unique insight that opened my understanding of the original Aramaic of 1Cor. 10:25.
Before I explain the word study in question let me preface this with a brief explanation of what Paul is discussing in this section of 1Cor. 8 & 10:
Now in 1Cor. 8:1-13; 10:7, 14-28 Paul agrees that one may not knowingly eat meat offered up to idols. The halachic issue Paul questions, is whether or not one must ask, when purchasing meat, whether or not it has been offered to idols. Paul argues (based on Ps. 24:1=1Cor. 10:26, 28) that meat is not actually altered by the idol but that eating such meat appears to others to endorse the idol to which it was offered. If meat is advertised as having been offered to idols, then believers may not eat it, since this would appear to endorse the idol. However, since the idol has no real power over the meat, believers are not required to ask, since this would imply that the believer believed that the idol had power over the meat, thus ascribing power to the idol and endorsing idolatry by acknowledging the idol's alleged power.
A basis for Paul's argument can be found by comparing Paul's summation of his argument in 1Cor. 10:28 to the story of the martyr Eleazar in 2Maccabbes 6:1-29. Eleazer was a prominent Jew under the Helene rule. A day came when all of the Jews were to show their loyalty by eating meat offered to idols at a public feast. Eleazar was not willing to do so, but because of his prominence, the authorities offered to allow him to sneak kosher meat into the feast and eat it instead, thus only appearing to eat meat offered up to idols. Eleazer refused, knowing that this would appear to endorse idolatry, despite the fact that the meat would be kosher. As a result Eleazar was executed. This story demonstrates that eating meat offered to idols is wrong, not because of the meat itself, but because of the implied endorsement of the idolatry. Thus, Paul's interpretation does not conflict with Acts 15 but actually implies a very strict interpretation, by which eating kosher meat would also be forbidden, if the meat were falsely advertised as having been offered to an idol.
OK now to the Aramaic word study. 1Cor. 10:25 says:
Whatever is sold in the shambles, that eat,
asking no questions for conscience sake:
The question has been posed: why would these people be buying meat from anything other than a Kosher butcher? Why would they be buying meat at the gentile market-place anyway?
The answer lies in the Aramaic word which appears in 1Cor. 10:25 where the KJV has “shambles”. The Aramaic word is MAKLON. This Aramaic word appears in the Talmud in b.Hullin 95a. The Talmud uses this word to describe meat-stands run by Gentiles but where Jewish butchers are used. This section of Talmud proposes several hypothetical situations involving such markets and lays out debates by various Rabbis as to whether the meat from this market should be presumed kosher or not.
The use of this word in the Aramaic keys us in on the fact that the “shambles” in 1Cor. 10:25 are Gentile run meat-markets that use Jewish butchers as we also see in b.Hullin 95a.
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