Exile Ends \ Week 27 summary posted

This week, we move to the end of Babylonian captivity, as Cyrus of Persia sends people home after conquering the empire  So, God’s people go home.  But home to what?  The Temple was destroyed, as was the wall that protected the city from invaders.  What will become of God’s people?  Let’s find out this week, starting with Ezra.

Perspective on the captivity…
Destruction of Jerusalem under the Babylonian ...

Destruction of Jerusalem under the Babylonian rule. Illustration from the Nuremberg Chronicle (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The warnings from God concerning their idolatry began much earlier than the Books of Kings.  God gives clear warning that it would happen in Leviticus 26:33-39, and again in Deuteronomy 4:27.  Despite his own guilt in idolatry, Solomon knew of it for certain, as the Lord told him after he built the Temple in 1 Kings 9:1-7.  In his prayer of dedication in the previous chapter (specifically 1 Kings 8:46-50), Solomon had asked that if they are carried away captive and repent, that God will hear their plea, and “maintain their cause.”  As for how God will maintain their cause, we read some last week – the promise of the Messiah.  This week, we will see what is in their immediate future.

Summing Up

Each weekend, I am now posting a small PDF of one week of chapter summaries (on the website’s “Summaries” page), current to the beginning of the previous week.  I have posted the summary for Week 27 (July Week 1) of the schedule I am following.  This short PDF document contains condensed comments about 2 Kings 23, 24, 25, and Daniel 1 and 2, with hyperlinks to the ESV version of each chapter for listening or reading, and joins the summaries for other weeks already posted there.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
image © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

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1 Kings 18 – The Prophets of Baal Defeated

Verse one says it has been three years since it rained (James confirms in James 5:17) since Elijah proclaimed that the Lord would shut the heavens up; and the Lord sent word to Elijah to go to Ahab and he would make it rain.  Obadiah was the head of the house of Ahab and Jezebel, but he feared the Lord, and had hidden a hundred prophets from them.  But he is afraid that Elijah is setting a trap for him.  Elijah reassures him, and Obadiah tells Ahab of Elijah’s requested meeting.  Elijah lets him know in verse 18 that the crisis they are in is the result of his abandonment of the Lord to worship Baal.  He then challenges Ahab to meet him at Carmel with their Baal prophets.

University of Haifa atop Mount Carmel in 1996

University of Haifa atop Mount Carmel in 1996 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At Mount Carmel Elijah challenges the people and the prophets of Baal, as he points out that it only he against the 450 of them.  The challenge is for each side to be given a bull and some wood but they may use no fire themselves.  Instead, Elijah will call upon the Lord, and they will call upon Baal; and the God who answers by fire is God.  The people agree that this is a worthy challenge, and they begin.  Notice Elijah’s rebuke of the people “limping” between serving God and Baal (trying to hedge their bets?) in verse 21.  Then in verse 26, the Baal prophets were described as “limping” their altar, as they call out to a god that does not exist.  Elijah’s mockery and taunting of the false prophets efforts in verses 26-27 is amusing.

Elijah builds an altar with twelve stones (for the twelve tribes of Israel that God would rather be still united), and digs a trench around it.  Then he has the people pour water from 4 jars onto the sacrifice three times, filling the trench with water.  Then, Elijah called upon God and fire consumed the bull, the wood, the stones, and the water (verse 38).  The people fell on their faces as they realized the true God was the Lord, and Elijah had them seize all the prophets. The fact that Elijah slaughtered the prophets of Baal in verse 40 was necessary, and is best explained by the law in Deuteronomy 13:13-15.

(Side note: There are good photos of the area around Mount Carmel in this article at Ferrell’s Travel Blog)

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.3

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1 Kings 16:30-17:24 – Elijah and the Widow of Zarephath

English: Elijah Resuscitating the Son of the W...

English: Elijah Resuscitating the Son of the Widow of Zarephath (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Since Jeroboam, there were a few other kings in the scripture since chapter 12.  At the end of chapter 16, Ahab is king; and he marries a foreign woman, Jezebel.  Then he erects an altar for the idol Baal, and worships it.    So under his reign, the people are turned from the perverse worship of the Lord through idols into the outright worship of Baal.  The lines of loyalty to the Lord have gone from blurred to blind, and worse.  Baal worship was appealing in the dry regions of Canaan when the Israelites first came because Baal was the “god” of rain.  This is fitting, just as the plagues in Egypt in Exodus were a mockery of their gods (see blog on Exodus 7).

In chapter 17, we meet the prophet Elijah – arguably the most important prophet since Samuel.  Right away, in verse 1, we find him telling Ahab “there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word” because of this Baal worship.  This is exactly what God had told them would happen in Deuteronomy 11:16-17.  God then sends Elijah to the brook at Cherith, where he commanded the ravens to feed him; and he remained there until the brook dried up from the lack of rain.  He then sends him to Zarephath, where he has commanded a widow to feed Elijah.

But Elijah finds that the widow is expecting that she and her son will die, saying that she only has a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug.  Elijah tells her that until it rains, the jar and the jug both will never be empty, and God made it so (verse 16).  Then, her son becomes so severely ill “that there was no breath left in him,” and she believes that Elijah has brought that upon her because of her sins.  In verse 21, it is Elijah’s prayer to God that revives the boy – not the physical ritual described that the prophet did.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

1 Kings 12 – The Kingdom Divided

Solomon’s son Rehoboam becomes king, but makes huge mistakes.  The life under Solomon had become hard labor – so much so that it seemed not much different from the slavery to Pharoah.  So the people come to Rehoboam asking him to lighten their load.  He foolishly listens to the counsel of the young men who had grown up with him, and ends up telling the people who had complained that he would make things harder for them (verses 13-14).  This also reminds of Pharoah’s response to Moses and Aaron in Exodus 5:1-21.

The United Kingdom of Solomon breaks up, with ...

The United Kingdom of Solomon breaks up, with Jeroboam ruling over the Northern Kingdom of Israel (in green on the map). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This leads to the division of the kingdom (verse 16).  Rehoboam tries to recover using his taskmaster, Adoram, but he is stoned to death and Rehoboam flees to Jerusalem.  Rehoboam assembles Judah and the tribe of Benjamin to try to regain the rest of the kingdom, but God sends word through Shemaiah for all the people not to fight against their relatives because “this thing is from me.”  So war is averted, and the people return to their homes.

But Jeroboam was fearful because the temple was in Jerusalem that people would return there to worship, and their hearts would be swayed to serve the house of David – Rehoboam.  So he fashioned golden calves and worship places at Dan and Bethel, telling the people (just as Aaron did in Exodus 32:4) “Behold your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt” (verse 28).  He also appointed priests who were not Levites.  This idol worship would be their downfall, and lead to their later exile, as the their minds had already begun to confuse the one true God with the rites of idol worship.  Many perversely saw themselves as worshiping Jehovah through these idols!  He even instituted his own feast in verse 33.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

1 Kings 11 – Solomon Turns From the Lord

English: Judgement of Solomon

English: Judgement of Solomon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Lord’s warning in 1 Kings 9:6-9 seems pretty straightforward, and one would think that Solomon would have heed it.  But chapter 11 makes it clear that he did not.  God’s warnings concerning the king in Deuteronomy 17:14-17 were ignored, as well as what God said in Deuteronomy 7:3-5.  Solomon took 700 wives and 300 concubines (verse 3), and seemed to have married princesses from every Canaanite nation.  And just as warned over and over, they turned his heart to serving other “gods” (verse 5-8).  He even built places of worship to these idols, including Molech, whom the Bible writers associated with child sacrifice in, as we are told in Leviticus 18:21 and other passages.

The Lord’s anger with Solomon was great, and he told him that he would tear the kingdom away from him and give it to his servant (we meet him – Jeroboam – in verse 26) and he will indeed be the next king of Israel.  But God will not do this until Solomon dies, and he will leave one tribe with Solomon’s son for the sake of David (verse 13).  So God raises up adversaries against Solomon – Rezon rises up from the north, and Hadad rises up from the south.  Solomon now finds enemies on all sides. In verse 40, we find Solomon’s reaction to the promise of Jeroboam’s rise to king – he seeks to kill him, just as Saul did with David!  How far he has fallen.  Solomon dies in verse 43.  Verse 42 says that he reigned as king for 40 years.  Some believe that he wrote the book of Ecclesiastes in his later years

 

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Elijah’s Entrance \ Week 22 Summary Posted

Solomon and the Queen of Sheba.

Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We are moving along in the Books of Kings.  Like the Books of Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings were actually considered one book at one time.  It’s just sort of hard keeping scrolls that large :-).  More expedient to divide it up.  This week, we will skip over the visit of the Queen of Sheba in chapter 10 to read about Solomon’s greatest sins.  Then, we will move through the division of the kingdom, and Elijah defeating the prophets of Baal.  We will be in the 2nd book of Kings by weeks end.  Hope you are learning as much as I am in this “big picture” study of God’s word.

Summing Up

Each weekend, I am now posting a small PDF of one week of chapter summaries (on the website’s “Summaries” page), current to the beginning of the previous week.  I have posted the summary for Week 22 (May Week 4) of the schedule I am following.  This short PDF document contains condensed comments about 2 Samuel 15, 16, 17, 18, and 19, with hyperlinks to the ESV version of each chapter for listening or reading, and joins the summaries for other weeks already posted there.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
image © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

1 Kings 8:1 – 9:9 – Ark Brought Into Temple

Sometime after the completion of construction of the temple, Solomon has the ark of the covenant, the tent of meeting (tabernacle), and all the holy vessels within brought from the old city of David so that the ark could be brought into the temple.  Like in the tabernacle (see Exodus 40), the inner sanctuary – or most holy place – is where the ark would be kept.  Only the priests could enter there (verse 6), and only they could “take up” the ark (verse 3).  Missing from the description of the contents of the ark are Aaron’s rod (Numbers 17:10-11) and the jar of manna (Exodus 16:32-34) that we are told were kept there at one time (Hebrews 9:1-5).  We are not told what had become of them.  After the priest’s came out, a cloud filled the temple as the glory of the Lord described in Exodus 40:34-38 – so that the priests were not able to even stand (verses 10-11).

English: image of Solomon and the covenant of ...

English: image of Solomon and the covenant of the ark, painted in 1747 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Solomon’s speech and his prayer to the Lord make up the rest of the chapter.  The prayer is beautiful and significant in that the people would eventually need all of the petitions of this prayer to be granted.  Solomon acknowledges in verses 27 and 29-30 that  God cannot be contained in an earthly dwelling, but that as the Lord had said, His name shall dwell there – the word “name” in biblical terms meaning all that constitutes the character and essence of all that He is.  And in place toward which His eyes are open.

The prayer consists of several petitions concerning granting mercy to the people when they repent of their sins during and after times including war, famine, drought, exile, and captivity – that the Lord would once again regard them as His people after repentance and “maintain their cause” (verse 49).  The Lord answers Solomon in 9:1-9 with a promise and a warning of what would happen if they turn aside, with a particular emphasis on warning against idolatry in verse 9.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

1 Kings 6 – Solomon Builds the Temple

The significance of verse one is that it gives us the ability to date the time of the Exodus – 480 years prior to the fourth year of Solomon’s reign.  The accepted date for that year of Salomon’s  reign is 966-967 BCE.  Although there is some argument for the application of the number of years, the more credible date for the Exodus seems to be about 1466-1467 BCE.  The detail of the temple’s construction is pretty specific, and was quite expensive (not all the gold used – most of it captured in the victorious the Israelites had over the various Canaanite cities).

English: Solomon and the Plan for the Temple, ...

English: Solomon and the Plan for the Temple, as in 1 Kings 6, illustration from a Bible card published by the Providence Lithograph Company (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The exact dimensions are somewhat disputed due to the variance of the length of a cubit at different time, but as temple’s go, it would not have been the huge building that some of us might imagine. But the description is of a grandly beautiful temple for the Lord’s house.  God restates (in verse 11-13) the promises He made to David in 2 Samuel 7:11-16, but it is not an unconditional promise.  Note in verse 12, that God makes no promise to “hang around” if they are disobedient.

A beautiful structure indeed, but that obedience is more important to Him than the grandest of temples.  Remember that people (including the apostles) were very impressed with the temple that existed when Jesus was in Jerusalem.  But he foretold its utter destruction (as in Luke 21:5-6).

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

1 Kings 3 – Solomon’s Wisdom

English: Solomon's Wealth and Wisdom, as in 1 ...

English: Solomon’s Wealth and Wisdom, as in 1 Kings 3:12-13, illustration from a Bible card published 1896 by the Providence Lithograph Company (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are some questionable events – some apparently foretelling, as well – in 1 Kings chapter 3.  The marriage alliance in verse 1 with Egypt does show the power that Solomon and his kingdom commanded now (Egypt rarely made such alliances),  but what about the command not to intermarry with foreigners because they will lead the people to serve other gods (Deuteronomy 7:3-4)?  The Hebrew verb in verse 1 is translated “intermarry” in Deuteronomy.

Then there is the matter of the people sacrificing at the “high places” in verse 2.  These are simply publicly accessible places to worship or sacrifice, and likely had been used in idol worship.  This is in direct conflict with what is commanded in Deuteronomy 12:1-5.  Allowing this to happen is certainly not what David meant when he admonished Solomon to “keep the charge of the Lord your God…” in 1 Kings 2:1-5.  And it foreshadows the great fall Solomon would take to idol worship in 1 Kings 11:4-8.

This is so far from the Solomon that we know and that pleased God so much in verse 9 by asking for an understanding mind to govern God’s people – to be able to discern between good and evil, when God had said “Ask what I shall give you.”  He could have asked for anything, but he chose that kind of wisdom – for an honorable purpose; and as a result, God gave him the riches and honor he did not ask for (verse 13).

As verse 3 says, “Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of David his father, only…”.  It is the exception in the rest of that verse that speaks of his heart being turned the wrong way.   Even the greatest wisdom, and starting out with your heart in the right place are not enough without the determination to “stay the course”  and always keep God first.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

1 Kings 2 – David’s Death \ Solomon Reigns

As David drew near to death, he gave Solomon his final instructions.  The first part, in verses 2-4, contains instructions on how to conduct himself, and on remaining faithful to God.  The words are just as God spoke to Joshua in his charge in Joshua 1:6-9.  The second part contains specific instructions on housekeeping.  Some of this concerned the fact that Abiathar must be dealt with, as well as Joab.  Both had been treasonous concerning Adonijah, and could not be trusted.  Then there was Shimei, the Benjaminite of the house of Saul that had cursed David so grievously during his flight from Absalom (2 Samuel 16:5-8).  David had promised that he would not kill him, but that promise is not inherited by Solomon, so David leaves his fate in Solomon’s hands.  David dies in verse 10; and verse 11 says that he had been king for 40 years.  In verse 12, Solomon’s “kingdom was firmly established.”

In verses 26-27, Solomon does deal with Abiathar, and he is removed from the priesthood.  As he was in the line of Eli, through Ithamar, this fulfills the prophecy to Eli in 1 Samuel 2:31-33 that his house and priestly line would be done away with.  Joab fled to the tent, grabbing the horns of the altar – thinking he would be safe there (verses 28-30).  But Exodus 21:12-14 makes it clear that is not the case for someone who had done willful murder, as Joab had done in the cases of Amasa (2 Samuel 20:10) and Abner (2 Samuel 3:27).  Solomon commands Shimei not to ever leave Jerusalem, or else he would be put to death.  This was presumably to keep him from returning to incite the Benjaminites to rebellion.  But verses 39-40 tell us that he violated that oath, and Solomon had him killed.

Adonijah had his mother request Abishag for his wife.  But Solomon sees what his mother apparently chose not to.  Abishag was technically part of David’s royal harem.  Adonijah had clearly not given up on his quest for the throne, and likely never would.  So Solomon wisely had him done away with (verses 22-25).

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.