Online Midweek May 27

The Stranger
& the Man with the Measuring Line

An overlapping of the two men:

The would both stay inside the walls of Ancient Jerusalem.
The same month, the same week, the same days.
They would stay in the same lodging place.


Neither would be aware of the other
Both were signs of the mystery God was beginning to unfold

The Parasha

What this is:

It is a Scripture appointed in ancient times to be read every Sabbath day in every Jewish Synagogue around the world. It repeats on an annual basis.

Knowing the itinerary of the travels of Mark Twain (the stranger) in the Holy Land we know that he was in Jerusalem on Saturday, September 28, 1867.

The “stranger’s” itinerary:

September 23 He would enter the gates of Jerusalem

September 27 After an excursion in the land would return to Jerusalem

September 28 His last full day and night in Jerusalem

The appointed Scripture for the day that Twain would have heard as he walked through the ancient city of Jerusalem was Deuteronomy 29:22-23:

Future generations of your children who follow you and the foreigner who comes from a distant country will see the plagues of that land and the sicknesses the Lord has inflicted on it.

23 All its soil will be a burning waste of sulfur and salt, unsown, producing nothing, with no plant growing on it, just like the fall of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboiim, which the Lord demolished in his fierce anger. (CSB)

That Saturday this Scripture would have been read in Jewish Synagogues, not just in Jerusalem, but around the world, with them never knowing that the words were being fulfilled. Nor to the best of our knowledge would Twain have been aware of it.

There was a prayer that the Jewish people had prayed virtually every day for the then nearly 2000 years of their exile. It said:

Have mercy O God…on Jerusalem, Your City;
and on Zion, the resting place of Your Glory
Rebuild Jerusalem, the city of holiness, speedily in our days.

Bring us up into it and gladden us in its rebuilding and let us eat from its fruit
and be satisfied with its goodness
and bless You upon it in holiness and purity.

That prayer had been prayed for centuries and it would have seemed to the Jewish people that God had not heard their prayers. But the stranger would be the sign that their exile was in the process of ending.

There is even something significant in the name of the stranger. We know him as Mark Twain. Various theories abound as to why he chose that name; the most common being that it came from his days as a Riverboat Captain on the Mississippi River. “Mark Twin was a depth sounding, meaning that the riverboat had two fathoms. Whatever the case his real name, given to him by his parents, was Samuel Clemens.

Samuel is a Hebrew word meaning God has heard.
Clemens is a Latin word meaning to show mercy

Next weeks study will deal with Charles Warren, the “man with the measuring line”

Warren came to the Holy Land, believing the Bible and for the express purpose of measuring Jerusalem

– But he had no idea what was waiting to be revealed – and had been waiting since ancient times.