1 Timothy Jewish New Testament and comment David H. Stern

chapter 2
1. First of all, then, I counsel that petitions, prayers, intercessions and thanksgivings be made for all human beings,
2. including kings and all in positions of prominence; so that we may lead quiet and peaceful lives, being godly and upright in everything.
3. This is what God, our Deliverer, regards as good; this is what meets his approval.
4. He wants all humanity to be delivered and come to full knowledge of the truth.
Sha'ul, who was neither passive nor selfish, did not counsel prayers for quiet and peaceful lives for ourselves, but for the deliverance (v. 4) of all human beings, including government leaders and all in positions of prominence.

"Seek the peace of [Babylon, to which you have been exiled | and pray to the Lord for it. In the city's welfare you will find your welfare." (Jeremiah 29:7) "Rabbi Chanina, deputy cohen gadol, said, 'Pray for the welfare of the governing power; if people did not fear it they would swallow each other alive.'"(Mishna, Avot 3:2)

The Reform Jewish liturgy used in the United States contains the following prayer (in lieu of the traditional Sim shalom, on which see Ga 6:16N):

"Grant us peace. Thy most precious gift, О Thou eternal source of peace, and enable Israel to be its messenger unto the peoples of the earth. Bless our country that it may ever be a stronghold of peace, and its advocate in the council of nations. May contentment reign within its borders, health and happiness within its homes. Strengthen the bonds of friendship and fellowship among all the inhabitants of our land. Plant virtue in every soul, and may the love of Thy name hallow every home and every heart. Praised be Thou, О Lord, Giver of peace." {Union Prayer Book /, [Cincinnati:] Central Conference of American Rabbis, 1972, p. 140)

Also compare Ro 13:1-7. On God, our deliverer, see 1:1N.
'"I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked,' says Adonai, 'but that he should turn from his ways and live'"(Ezekiel 18:23). 

5. For God is one (Deuteronomy 6:4); and there is but one Mediator between God and humanity, Yeshua the Messiah, himself human,
The theme of salvation for Gentiles as well as Jews appears in most of Sha'ul's letters. See Ro 3:29-30N, where, as here, Sha'ul derives from the Sh'ma his teaching that Gentiles and Jews alike have salvation available to them through trusting in the one God and his Messiah. 

6. who gave himself as a ransom on behalf of all, thus providing testimony to God’s purpose at just the right time.
There is but one Mediator between God and humanity, Yeshua the Messiah, himself human. This idea is resisted by non-Messianic Jews who urge that no human mediator is needed between God and mankind. The two-covenant theorists mentioned in Yn 14:6N, where Yeshua said, "No one comes to the Father except through me," would offer the variant that Jews come to God without a mediator but Gentiles approach him through Jesus. Some, taking for granted that the very idea of a mediator is in principle un-Jewish, think Sha'ul brought it in from Gnosticism (see Ac 8: ION, Co 1:19N) in order to make his Gospel more palatable to Gentiles.

Although Gnosticism posits various beings between God and man, the idea of a mediator between God and mankind is not only Jewish but inseparable from the history of Israel recorded throughout the Tanakh. Quite apart from the Jewish tradition that angels mediated at the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai (Ac 7:53&N), Yeshua's role as mediator of the New Covenant (Mt 26:28; 1С 11:25; MJ 8:6. 9:15, 12:24) was foreshadowed by Moses, who is described as the mediator of the Torah not only at Ga 3:19&N, but also in the following extract from the fourth-century Midrash Rabbah:

"Rabbi Yhzchak said: Our rabbis learned that if a cask is broken [before being delivered to the buyer), it is the middleman who bears the loss. God said to Moses. 'You were the middleman between me and my children; you broke the Tables [of the Torah, Exodus 32:19], so you must replace them.' How do we know this? Because it is written, 'Hew two tables of stone like the first...' [Exodus 34:1]." (Deuteronomy Rabbah 3:12)

A 9th-century midrash says:
"Before Israel sinned, what does Scripture say of them? 'Before all Israel watching, the glory of the Lord appeared like a devouring fire on top of the mountain1 (Exodus 24:17). According to Rabbi Abba bar-Kahana, the phrase, 'devouring fire,' means that seven realms of fire seemed to be devouring one another on the mountaintop. And Israel looked and felt neither fear nor terror. But after sinning, they couldn't even look at the face of God's intermediary, fas we learn from Exodus 34:29-35]." (Pesikta Rabbati 15:3)

In a footnote to his translation of Pesikta Rabbati (Yale University Press, 1968, p. 309), William G. Braude relates the word "intermediary" (Hebrew sarsur, rendered "middleman" above) to Deuteronomy 5:5, where Moses said of himself: "I stood between you and Adonai to declare to you the word of Adonai, since you were afraid of the fire and would not go up the mountain." If this is not mediation, what is?

Besides Moses, the cohanim were middlemen who presented the people's sacrifices to God; the prophets were middlemen who spoke God's words to the people; and the kings of Israel were middlemen in a more limited sense, ruling the people on God's behalf and representing them before God. Far from being "un-Jewish," human mediation between God and Israel is the norm in the Tanakh.

But none of this makes God any "farther away." Apparently the motivation of those who object that the concept of the Messiah as mediator between God and mankind is not Jewish is to affirm that a Jew need not "go through channels" to get to God. Agreed! — there are no Gnostic "aeons" or levels of attainment involved; nor need one approach God through saints, priests, a church hierarchy, or through rabbis. God is near to all who call on him.

Still, there is but one Mediator. One must address God through Yeshua; only then is there assurance that God is near, hearing our prayers. Why Yeshua? Because, on the one side, being himself human he is "near" our humanity; but being himself also divine, he is "near" the Father in a way that we are not. "No one has ever seen God; but the Only One, identical with God, the one at the Father's side" — Yeshua — "he has made him known" (Yn 1:18). He and the Father are one (Yn 10:31), in him lives the fullness of all that God is (Co 2:9), and he is right now "at God's right hand" interceding for his people (MJ 7:25-8:2).

In at least five ways is Yeshua a middleman for mankind. Jews and Gentiles alike. Besides being
(1) prophet,
(2) priest,
(3) king and
(4) mediator of the new covenant with Israel, he is
(5) the ransom on behalf of all, as he himself said (Mk 10:45), bridging the gap we human beings have created between ourselves and God by our sins, the gap spoken of in Isaiah 59:1-2:

"See, the hand of Adonai is not shortened, so that it cannot save; nor is his ear heavy, so that it cannot hear. Rather, your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear." Middlemen ease the way for others. Because Yeshua is without sin, so that Isaiah 59:2 does not apply to him as it does to us, he eases our way into the presence of God. We can approach God because he accepts us as if we had not sinned, provided we have put our trust in Yeshua, who ransomed us. The other mediators were "types," indicators pointing to him.

Testimony to God's purpose that all humanity should be delivered (v. 4). At just the right time in history. Compare Ga 4:4. 

7. This is why I myself was appointed a proclaimer, even an emissary — I am telling the truth, not lying! — a trustworthy and truthful teacher of the Goyim.
Till now I have been defending the idea that Jews as well as Gentiles are to be included in the "all" for whom Yeshua the Messiah is "mediator" and "gave himself as a ransom" (vv. 5-6NN). But Sha'ul's own object was exactly the opposite: no one questioned that Yeshua the Messiah was a mediator for Jews; rather, they disputed Sha'ul's right to be a teacher of the Goyim, a proclaimer of the Good News that "God's purpose" (v. 6) was to deliver Gentiles too. Sha'ul was divinely appointed to be a proclaimer, even an emissary of Yeshua (Ac 9:15,13:47,22:21). He frequently finds it necessary to defend this authority of his, nowhere more fully than in Galatians (see Ga 1:1N).

I am telling the truth, not lying! Compare similar protests at Ro 9:1, 2C 11:31, Ga 1:2(). His point is that he, unlike those who spread "myths and genealogies" (1:4), is trustworthy and truthful when he teaches the Gentiles. 

8. Therefore, it is my wish that when the men pray, no matter where, they should lift up hands that are holy — they should not become angry or get into arguments.
9. Likewise, the women, when they pray, should be dressed modestly and sensibly in respectable attire, not with elaborate hairstyles and gold jewelry, or pearls, or expensive clothes.
10. Rather, they should adorn themselves with what is appropriate for women who claim to be worshipping God, namely, good deeds.
Advice to both the men and women (or: "wives"; see 3:1 IN) for public prayer (compare 1С 14:34-35&N). As at Ep 5:22-25&N, Sha'ul selects areas of likely failing in each of the sexes. Men must avoid hypocrisy (letting the work of one's hands not match one's holy words) and hostility (the inconsistency of hands lifted in prayer and in anger is like the inconsistency of curses and blessings coming from the same tongue, Ya 3:9-11); praying with uplifted hands is found in the Tanakh (Psalms 63:5(4), 134:2). Women will be able to pray better if they concentrate on good deeds, not external appearances (much the same teaching is found at 1С 11:3-16&NNand 1 Ke 3:1-6&NN).

Likewise, the women, when they pray. The last three words translate Greek prosevchesthai ("to pray") a second time, even though this term appears only in v. 8 and is not repeated in v. 9. The majority interpretation, that Sha"ul allows only men to pray and instructs women only about clothing, conflicts with his teaching at 1С 11:5. Although synagogue prayer is required of men and not women (Ga 3:28N, 1С 14:34-35N), the silence enjoined upon women in v. II applies to a specific kind of learning (see below), not to praying. 

11. Let a woman learn in peace, fully submitted;
12. but I do not permit a woman to teach a man or exercise authority over him; rather, she is to remain at peace.
Greek manthaneto does not mean learn in the modern sense of acquiring information but is related to maihetis, disciple. Thus the context is the pattern of discipling and being discipled which existed in Judaism and was exemplified by Yeshua and his lalmulim (on this word see Mt 5:IN). Orthodox Jews use the word "learn" to mean "studying Torah" not merely to gain knowledge but to become more holy. This is close to the sense here. One who disciples others has responsibility for their spiritual life and growth; women are not to have that kind of responsibility for men. Nevertheless, Timothy is to let a woman learn (be discipled) in peace (Greek esuchia, "silence, restfulness"), without her being disturbed. The sense is not "in silence," as in most translations, implying she should keep her mouth shut, but "at rest"; compare Ac 22:2 and 2 Th 3:12, where the word is translated, "settle down." On the other hand, IC 14:34-35 does teach against disturbing chatter by wives at congregational meetings. Although women may learn equally with men, Sha'ul does not permit a woman to teach (to disciple) a man or exercise a discipler's authority over him.

But in a well-led congregation (criteria for leaders is the topic of the next chapter) women may be given much authority and responsibility, including the discipling of women and the teaching of men; Sha'ul himself offers many examples — Lydia, the businesswoman who opened her home to him (Ac 16:14, 40), Priscilla, who taught Apollos(Ac 18:26), and Phoebe, who held a leadership position (Ro 16:1,and see 3:11N below) — to name but three. 

13. For Adam was formed first, then Havah.
14. Also it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman who, on being deceived, became involved in the transgression.
15. Nevertheless, the woman will be delivered through childbearing, provided that she continues trusting, loving and living a holy life with modesty.
The two reasons given for women's not being disciplers of men are Adam's chrono-logicaJ priority (compare 1С 11:8-9) and Eve's propensity for being deceived. Sha'ul does not say that Eve sinned, but that she became involved in the transgression (literally, "has become in transgression"), which I take to mean that she became mixed up in Adam's transgression. At Ro 5:12-21 Sha'ul teaches that it was Adam who sinned through directly disobeying God's command to him (Genesis 2:17, 3:1-7), and therefore he bears the primary responsibility for the "Fall" — the introduction of sin into human life. Although the Apocrypha gives us the verse, "Sin began with a woman, and thanks to her we must all die" (Sirach 25:24), the New Testament presents a different piciure. Eve was not the sinner, Adam was, since it was he who disregarded God's command. Eve, rather, was "deceived" (2C 11:3) — when the serpent duped her, she became involved in Adam's transgression.

Sha'ul sees a role difference for men and women rooted in God's purpose. The eye of faith can accept this difference as not demeaning to women. Also, in the framework of faith, women's self-fulfillment is not limited. It must be admitted that Sha'ul's manner of argument does not appeal to the modern mind. But he was not writing for the modem mind. We owe it to the text to place ourselves in the shoes of his readers and not to measure his style against the assumptions of our age. For a broad discussion of the New Testament's teaching about the roles of the sexes which takes modern sociological observations and ideological movements such as feminism into account, see Stephen B. Clark, Man and Woman in Christ.

An obscure verse. Possibly Sha'ul is reducing the severity of vv. 11-14 (compare 1С 11:11-12) by mitigating the punishment Genesis 3:16 decreed for Eve's role in the Fall. There God said to her, "I will greatly multiply ihepain of yourchildbearing — in pain will you bring forth children. You will turn away toward your husband, but he will rule over you." Verses 11-14 state that he still rules her. But now she is spared much of the emotional pain of motherhood (of "bringing forth" or raising children) — if not the physical pain of childbearing — through trusting and loving God and living a holy life. Another possible meaning: God's purpose for women is motherhood; a woman who devotes herself to this is in harmony with God's plan. In any case, the verse certainly does not intend to teach that childbearing is an alternate "plan of salvation" for women, making trust in Yeshua unnecessary! 

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