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Emet m'Tsiyon

Monday, September 25, 2006

PEACE: The Prophets' View of the Misuse of the Word "peace"

They offer easy healing for the wounds of My people, saying:
"Peace, Peace"
and there is no peace! [Jeremiah 6:14]

And they offered easy healing for the Daughter of My people, saying:
"Peace, Peace"
and there is no peace! [Jeremiah 8:11]

These quotes from Jeremiah just go to show that politicians haven't changed all that much in the last 2500 years. The prophets of Israel sniffed out the hypocritical misuse of the word "peace" more than 2,500 years ago. Today, people are not always so smart, not even in Israel.

Inasmuch as they have misled My people, saying:
and there is none. [Ezekiel 13:10; the word shalom here is translated as "It is well," in the New Jewish Version of the Jewish Publication Society]

. . . the prophets of Israel who prophesy about Jerusalem and foresee a vision of peace for her and there is no peace, declares the Lord God. [Ezekiel 13:16; again the NJV translates shalom as "well being"].

Whether shalom is translated as "peace" or "well being," it is obvious that politicians and their hired spokesmen [nowadays called "journalists" or "correspondents"] have not changed since the days of Jeremiah and Ezekiel. The American poet John Greenleaf Whittier [19th century] caught the spirit of the Biblical prophets on the subject of peace:
"Great peace in Europe! Order reigns
From Tiber's hills to Danube's plains!"
So say her kings and priests; so say
The lying prophets of our day.
Speak, Prince and Kaiser, Priest and Czar!
If this be Peace, pray, what is war?
[JGW, The Peace of Europe]
Time magazine ran a wonderfully heartwarming cover story on peace not so many years ago. Time believed that acts of war were needed to bring peace:

[Time, 11 September 1995, on cover]

It's funny, isn't it, that when Israel very modestly and demurely tries to implement the same robust method for bringing peace against Arab warmongers, Time is not very happy and argues that such a method cannot bring peace. Oh, well.

This quote just goes to show that just about everybody wants peace and wants to bring it about, although some do it more robustly than others. Al Capone, the famous gangster, who was compelled by business necessity to wipe out dozens of gangland rivals and commercial enemies, wanted peace too. He took part in a gangsters' convention in Atlantic City, New Jersey, in 1929, with the purpose of bringing peace. After peace had been achieved, he told the world:
I'm tired of gang murders. I'm willing to live and let live. It was with the idea of making peace amongst gangsters that I spent a week in Atlantic City and got the word of each leader that there will be no more shootings. [Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, 21 February 1981; by Vicki Gold Levi, "The Way It Was"]
Capone's words of 1929 sound so much like the politicians of our day that it is astounding. Each leader promised peace. The universal love of peace is truly uplifting and inspiring.
- - - - - - - -
Coming: More on the deep and diverse meanings of peace, peace movements, peace processes, the Temple of Peace in Rome and the fate of the Jerusalem Temple Menorah


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