Lost and Found


Last Thursday, a construction engineer digging up a bog in the Irish Midlands uncovered an ancient Psalter dated to AD 800-1000. Hailed as a "miracle find" by the National Museum of Ireland, the 20-page vellum manuscript was found opened to Psalm 83.

Authorship of Psalm 83 is attributed to Asaph, a Levite and choir leader who lived during the time of David (1 Chronicles 15:16-17). In Psalm 83, Asaph describes Judah's neighbors conspiring against her and beseeches the Lord to stop these enemies:

3 With cunning they conspire against your people; they plot against those you cherish.
4 "Come," they say, "let us destroy them as a nation, that the name of Israel be remembered no more."
5 With one mind they plot together; they form an alliance against you —
6 the tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites, of Moab and the Hagrites,
7 Gebal, Ammon and Amalek, Philistia, with the people of Tyre.
8 Even Assyria has joined them to lend strength to the descendants of Lot. Selah
The locations of those neighboring tribes can be found today in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, Iraq, as well as southern Lebanon and the Gaza Strip. Bible scholars believe the confederacy described by Asaph did not exist in antiquity and remains an unfulfilled prophecy. Islam, the single most plausible unifying force for such a coalition, did not come along until the 7th century, some 1,500 years after Asaph's time. As the fighting in Lebanon prepares to enter its third week, any existing tolerance for Israel in the Middle East (e.g. the recent split in the Arab League) will diminish badly.

Update: The National Museum of Ireland clarified Thursday that Psalm 83 of this Latin Psalter corresponds to Psalm 84 in today's Bible translations. Certainly less dramatic, yes. However, worldwide exposure of Psalm 83 in light of current events is the real story here.

Trial Balloon


While the world community publicly recoils at Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's stated desire to push Israel into the sea, secular humanists are nodding their heads with discreet approbation....

The worst-kept secret in the West is the growing anti-Israelism and/or anti-Semitism among the ranks of academics, media, and other assorted intellectual elite. Usually couched in terms of "measured concern for the stability of the Middle East (i.e. Israel is the real problem)," the rhetoric got a little less subtle this past week when Richard Cohen of the Washington Post dropped this trial balloon in his column:

The greatest mistake Israel could make at the moment is to forget that Israel itself is a mistake. It is an honest mistake, a well-intentioned mistake, a mistake for which no one is culpable, but the idea of creating a nation of European Jews in an area of Arab Muslims (and some Christians) has produced a century of warfare and terrorism of the sort we are seeing now. Israel fights Hezbollah in the north and Hamas in the south, but its most formidable enemy is history itself.
Many capable counterpoints have been made to Cohen's assertions, including Eric Rosenman's response at CAMERA.org (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East reporting in America). Obviously, the secular media has found in Richard Cohen a perfect spokesperson for criticizing Israel without appearing anti-Semitic. In this case, Cohen pulls it off. But the fact remains, secularists still can't see beyond their materialistic worldview. Religions (and especially their spiritual underpinnings) are still a puzzling mystery to them.

Cohen was surely echoing the water-cooler chatter of like-minded colleagues. Was it newsworthy? Not really. This kind of pandering to moral equivalency and the Islamic Middle East is very much unsurprising these days.

The worst part is, these kinds of sentiments are heard more and more in Christian circles. Watch out.

Upside Down


For the most part, the secular Western media's been relatively silent on the sickening genocide (tens of thousands dead in three years) taking place in Darfur, Sudan. They took notice when George Clooney and Angelina Jolie — two big Hollywood stars with decidedly globalist, leftist agendas — recently made separate tours of the war-torn region. Even then, the media focused on the victims, relief efforts, Western politicking, and everything but the perpetrators of the genocide.

That's because said perpetrators — the Sudanese government and its proxy militia the Janjaweed — are Arab and Muslim, and the genocide is most definitely about race (the victims are black Africans) and religion (Islamic jihad). The thing is, these killers aren't white, European, and Christian (or Jewish, for that matter).

Speaking Wednesday to The New York Times, the secular left's de facto mouthpiece, UN human rights commissioner Louise Arbour implied that Israel is committing war crimes as it fights Hezbollah along the Lebanese border: “The scale of killings in the region, and their predictability, could engage the personal criminal responsibility of those involved, particularly those in a position of command and control."

The Arab Muslim government in Khartoum has repeatedly rejected calls for UN peacekeeping forces to intervene in Darfur as the genocide there continues. Meanwhile, the secular media pummels Israel's "disproportionate" retaliation against Hezbollah, an Islamic terrorist organization which, not unlike the criminals in Khartoum, views human life (i.e. non-combatants) as fodder for the advancement of its religious ideology. (This same media would like us to believe such "religious imperialism" also describes current U.S. foreign policy. Hence their confusion.)

In National Review Online this week, conservative commentator Lawrence Kudlow wrote: "When the dust clears the world will applaud Israel for its courage." If the world hasn't gone completely insane.

See also Samaritan's Purse Sudan page.

Checking In


Back in March, Dan at With Christ wrote, "It's hard to know what to write about. Too many choices! The world, while never 'stable,' seems to have come really unhinged." Four months later, these words couldn't be truer.

"Rumors of wars" reached a fevered pitch this past week as the Israel Defense Force (IDF) struck back at the terrorist group Hezbollah. By killing eight Israeli soldiers and kidnapping two on July 12, Hezbollah and Iran appear to have rolled the dice and gotten the predictable responses they were hoping for: an all-out Israeli retaliation followed by a supportive American (and British) response and then European/Russian handwringing. Their objective? Accelerate increasingly negative world opinion against Israel and prick U.S. resolve concerning Israel and the Middle East. Hezbollah and Iran stand to lose a few thousand outmoded rockets and maybe a few square miles of strategic real estate while gaining serious leverage in the (appeasement-minded) court of world opinion. Western media reinforces the Islamist meme by referring to Hezbollah terrorists as "militants," "guerrillas," or "Lebanese resistance."

For the mainstream media, the "story within the story" is the United States' supposedly delayed response to American evacuees in Beirut. Facile comparisons to last year's Hurricane Katrina disaster ignore the logistics, threat level, and simple insurance nightmare (these days) of extracting thousands of civilians from a war zone. Reporters filed stories on complaining Americans — largely ignoring the grateful ones — which, depending on your political point of view, reinforced the prevailing attitude that a) the current U.S. administration is callous/inept, or b) Americans today are just really spoiled.