Gift wrapping for men – a further response

Murray replies:

Hi Mal,

Personally I don’t go in much for the suggestion that string might have been used.

The point was, however, debated in the Rabinnical literature.

In the “Gift Midrash” – an as yet unpublished document only recently discovered at the back of an old filing cabinet at East Camberwell Baptist Church and to which only I have access – we find the following;

“Rabbi Jehoahin denied that the gifts of the Messiah would be tied with string because Messiah would be a prince of peace, but string is the symbol of war because it is written ‘he will bend and string his bow’ (Psalm 7:12).He further taught that string could not have been used because it is written ‘on the day you were born your cord was not cut’ (Ezekiel 16:4) meaning that a gift wrapped in string could not have been opened. But Rabbi Ebenezer insisted that the gifts must be wrapped in string because it is written ‘your cord’. Commenting on the same passage – ‘your cord was not cut’ -Rabbi Saul of Arimathea taught that the presents were wrapped with string and tied in such that they a way as to be easily removed. He further argued that the presents were wrapped with string in such a way as to be secure – for it is written ‘a cord of three strands is not quickly broken’ (Ecclesiasties 4:12) – but easily untied – for it is written ‘untie the cords’ (Isaiah 58:6). Rabbi Barzabalus joined his voice to that of Rabbi Jehoanhin saying string is only used by the unrighteous to tie their presents because it is written “the wicked bind me with ropes” (Psalm119:61). But because only the righteous would present gifts to Messiah, therefore their gifts could not be bound with string.”

As you can see the Rabbinical teaching is quite contradictory. In fact, some of what they say (and this is merely a personal view) borders on utter fantasy. That’s only to be expected given that they knew nothing of the sort of modern scientific approaches to Biblical exegesis I am employing in my own study. Because of this uncertainty I don’t think they can help us to settle the discussion. Regards,

MH.

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