Joash Becomes King – 2 Chronicles 23

English: Jehoiada was the High priest during t...

English: Jehoiada was the High priest during the reigns of Ahaziah, Athaliah, and Joash. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the seventh year after Athaliah took control, the high priest Jehoiada entered into a covenant with all of the commanders and gathered the Levites and introduced Joash as the rightful king. The covenant may have included a provision for Jehoiada to supervise the young king until he came of age. We do not know.

So the throne was restored to the Davidic line, according to God’s will. and the Levites and all of Judah did as Jehoiada commanded and prepared to crown Joash king. Jehoiada provided the captains with the spears and shields that were in the house of God, which had belonged to King David. And all the men stood watch while the king was crowned, ensuring his safety.

When Athaliah learned what was happening, she went into the house of the Lord and cried treason, tearing her clothes. Jehoiada would not let them execute her there. so they took her out to the entrance of the horse gate of the king’s house and put her to death there.

And Jehoiada made another covenant between himself and the people that they would be the Lord’s people. And they went to the house of Baal and tore it down, breaking all the images. They killed Mattan the priest of Baal before the altar. Then they offered burnt offerings to the Lord and the people returned to a time of service to God.

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week

/Bob’s boy
___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

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All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 


 

 

 

 

Who Is Beelzebul? – (Luke 11)

The subject of demons in the New Testament scriptures is one that tends to make us uncomfortable for many reasons. Not the least of those is that the subject is possibly more difficult to defend to an unbeliever than that of the other miracles that Jesus and His apostles performed. We tend to feel more comfortable even with the discussion of resurrection from the dead than with one centered around demon possession in the NT. We have addressed that fact here in this previous post, and there is an excellent article that deals extensively with the subject at ApologeticsPress.org. But it was a fact of life in the time around the first century, and make no mistake – the Bible does not confuse the condition with any sort of disease. We believe that such happenings ended with the age of the Apostles, as did miracles. Having said that, there is much that we do not know about the subject, and we would not care to open any doors to personal knowledge (tongue not so firmly planted in cheek).

English: ELIYAH VISITS KING AHAB AND THE BA'AL...

English: ELIYAH VISITS KING AHAB AND THE BA’AL PROPHETS 1 MELAKIM 21 KINGS (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In verse 14, Jesus casts out a demon that was causing a man to be mute – one of the many ways that they afflicted people. Some praised him and others said that he did this “by Beelzebul, prince of demons.”Your version may have the name as the more familiar “Beelzebub.” But where did this name come from?

It is probably an intentional, mocking Hebrew corruption of the name for the Canaanite God “Baal-zebul” (there were many Baals, not just one), which meant “god of the height, or high dwelling.” It is first mentioned in 1 Kings 2:2-3 by the Baal-worshiping son of king Ahab, Ahaziah. The name used here in Luke translates to “lord of the dunghill” or “lord of the flies” (yes, that was the title to the novel by William Golding).

The Jews had adapted this insulting name for the Baal god into another name for Satan. Some have said that the name’s association with the devil had been taken from the “Testament of Solomon” (not to be confused with the Old Testament book, “Song of Solomon”). But that non-inspired secular writing is traceable to the 1st or 2nd century A.D., more than 1,000 years after Solomon’s reign. But Beelzebul was used by the Jews as a name for Satan long before someone tried in vain to pass that literature off as God’s word. This was perhaps the most grievous accusation the Pharisees made against the Lord.

Jesus pointed out the illogical nature of their accusation by stating that if Satan was giving Him the power to cast out demons, He was fighting against himself; and a house (or kingdom) divided against itself cannot stand (no, that phrase was not original with Lincoln 🙂 ). We really like how Jesus finishes his answer, letting them know in no uncertain terms that He is mightier than Satan:

“When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are safe; but when one stronger than he attacks him and overcomes him, he takes away his armor in which he trusted and divides his spoil. Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.”

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from Luke here
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from 1 Chronicles here

/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.  

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Minor Prophets Part 1 – Hosea

As the Book of Hosea tells us in the opening verses, Hosea was called by God as a prophet during the time of Jeroboam II (whose last year of reign was ~753 BC) and Hezekiah (who reigned from about 729-687 BC, the first 14 years of which were as a co-regent with his father, Ahaz). Hosea was a prophet from the northern kingdom, prophesying to the people of the northern kingdom. It was a time of rampant and wanton idolatry that was beyond control, leading to Hezekiah’s reforms (2 Chronicles 29-32).

Temple of Baal at Palmyra, Syria. (III)

Temple of Baal at Palmyra, Syria. (III) (Photo credit: isawnyu)

The message in this book is about the betrayal and grief that God feels because of the unfaithfulness to him (idolatry) by the people of Israel. Hosea lived the message, as the Lord commanded him to marry a temple prostitute. Verse 2 of chapter 1 summarizes God’s feeling on that very well: “When the Lord first spoke through Hosea, the Lord said to Hosea, ‘Go, take to yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the Lord.'” And again in Hosea 3:1: “And the Lord said to me, ‘Go again, love a woman who is loved by another man and is an adulteress, even as the Lord loves the children of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love cakes of raisins.'” Raisin cakes were used in fertility rites during idol worship, The cakes were sometimes molded into the shape of a female goddess.

To make Israel’s betrayal of the Lord worse, their idolatry had become so much a part of the culture that they mixed their worship of the “god” Baal with their worship of God, referring to the Lord Himself as Baal, and crediting Baal with all of the things that God had done for them (see, for example, Hosea 2:16-20).   Both Paul and Peter cite Hosea 2:23 to illustrate the inclusion of Gentiles in Christianity (Romans 9:25-26 and 1 Peter 2:9-10). Even their sacrifices to the lord had become so ceremonially polluted that they were offensive, rather than pleasing God. Hosea 6:6 sums up the Lord’s attitude toward their sacrifice: “for I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.”

Hosea ministered during the latter half of the eighth century. This was a very volatile time in Israel’s history, and saw the rise of the Assyrian king Tiglath-pileser III, followed by several other kings that would bring Assyrian dominance. Israel had a succession of kings until Hoshea (732-722 BC), whose rebellion against the Assyrians led to the end of the northern kingdom (2 Kings 17). Hosea’s message centered on the worship of Baal which he obviously believed to be the reason for Israel’s doom. Baal was the weather god that idolaters believed to have control over agriculture, fertility, and rainfall. Israel being a largely agricultural society, they were always ripe for Baal worship.

Hosea and Gomer, from the Bible Historiale. De...

Hosea and Gomer, from the Bible Historiale. Den Haag, MMW, 10 B 23 426r (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Baal was worshiped at various shrines where he was called by names such as Baal-peor (Hosea 9:10) and Baal-gad (Joshua 11:17). Sometimes the scripture refers to “them” as “the Baals” (Judges 2:11, 3:7, and 8:33). Beyond the supposed fertility and weather aspects, such worship had a tremendous appeal to sexuality (hence the ritual prostitution), and also such things as drunkenness, incest, bestiality, and even human sacrifice. Sexual acts were believed to make Baal respond favorably to the subject.

The Book of Hosea helps us view idolatry from God’s perspective, so we can apply it to our lives. Today, our “gods” do not seem much like the gods and goddesses of those days. But Idolatry is the act or lifestyle that places someone or something in the central and prominent place in our lives that rightly belongs to God. Our betrayals hurt the Lord just as much. The prophet in this book, makes it clear that God will punish such idolatry, and illustrates Israel’s unfaithfulness in many different ways. Hosea portrays Israel as an adulterous wife, an ungrateful son, a stubborn heifer, and more. But the book shows us as well that even Israel’s unfaithfulness and stubbornness are no match for God’s capacity for redeeming love.

/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.  

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.