Friday, December 9, 2011

William Penn and the Indians

The more I read about William Penn, the more I want to understand him. I encountered an interesting tidbit on Hall and Joan Worthington’s website where they have compiled four different earlier biographies of William Penn into one.

The interesting tidbit? One of the reasons that William Penn treated the Indians so well came from his idea that they descended from the nation of Israel. Yes, in other words, Mr. Penn believed them to be of Jewish origin.

He had studied their language and observed their physical looks. With what he knew of Hebrew and the physical characteristics of Jews, he believed that the natives in America at the time he arrived, looked and sounded like Jewish people.

William Penn valued Jewish people. For one thing, Penn’s moral state caused him to treat all people well. As a student of the Bible and what it says, he realized God’s value of people. God asks us to value all men as He does.

Second, Penn knew what the Bible says. I would venture that he knew the verse that asks those who read it to bless the Jews. Psalm 122:6 says, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.”

Remember the story of Balaam? Balak, the king of Moab, feared the numerous nation of Israel when they arrived in the plains of Moab on their journey to the Promised Land. Balak sent for Balaam. Balak thought Balaam could call spiritual forces to come against Israel. “Curse that nation,” Balak commanded.

Despite the fact that the true and living God spoke to Balaam and told him not to curse His people, Balaam insisted on going. An angel waited to kill Balaam. The donkey saved his life and God used the donkey’s voice to startle Balaam. After that, He showed Balaam the angel that intended to kill him.

The sum is that God is on Israel’s side. If any one is going to punish or rebuke them, it is going to be Him. We are to pray for the nation and stand up for them. William Penn believed in valuing all people. Each of us need to do the same.