1 Chronicles, Judah to Levi

1 Chronicles chapter 2 begins with the 12 children of Jacob (Israel). It quickly begins to focus in on Judah, as this is the tribe of David, and it continues doing so in chapter 3 and chapter four all the way through to verse 23. Chapter 2 is a genealogy of David, and chapter 3 is a record of the descendants of David all the way up through the post-exilic period in which the Chronicles are written.

English: English translation of hebrew version...

English: English translation of hebrew version. Map of the twelve tribes of Israel, before the move of Dan to the North (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Chapter four then continues the genealogy of the other clans of the tribe of Judah until we reach verse 23. The rest of the fourth chapter is a record of the tribe of Simeon. Simeon is probably chosen next because its territory resided within the borders of Judah. In fact, it had largely been swallowed up by Judah, but there was still a genealogical and tribal identification that most Simeonites would hold on to.

Chapter five records the genealogy of the Trans-jordanian tribes – Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh. Although the tribes had been virtually wiped out by the Assyrian invasion in the eighth century B.C., there were still those who identified with these tribes. Verses 18-22 record an important victory in battle that occurred before the exile that we do not have recorded anywhere else in the Bible. It accentuates that they were still God’s people and the text says that “many fell, because the war was of God.”

Chapter six a is a very long chapter. It was especially important to get this genealogy just right, as this was about the tribe of Levi. Since the Levites were not allotted their own territory, it was also important to document various tribal territories where different Levite clans were settled, and what they were given in those areas. Verse 28 identifies the prophet Samuel as a Kohathite.

(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
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some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

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 can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.

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2 Kings 23 – Josiah’s Reforms

English: View of the Kidron Valley from the Ol...

English: View of the Kidron Valley from the Old City of Jerusalem. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As we read in 2 Kings 23 of more of Josiah’s reforms, we start to get a picture of how far the people had fallen.  Josiah broke idols into pieces, destroyed “high places” of worship to false gods from the Hinnon Valley to the Kidron Valley.  He broke down the houses of male cult prostitutes in the Temple, and used the Kidron Valley (a place of idol worship since the time of Solomon) as a place to remove and destroy the abominations, defiling their altars and the valley itself.  In verse 10, he defiled Topheth, a place where children were burned in sacrifice to Molech.  In verses 21-23, he commanded the people to keep the Passover, a practice that had been forgotten.

So with all this reform, why was God not appeased?  Why, in verses 26-27, did His anger still burn hot against Judah and determine that they suffer the same fate as Israel?  Notice that verse 21 says that Josiah commanded the people to keep the passover.  The other account of the these events that are written in 2 Chronicles 34  (particularly verse 32-33) tells us that Josiah had made the people turn from their idolatry and serve the Lord.  Their hearts had not changed.

In an attempt to prevent Egypt’s reinforcement of the Assyrians, Josiah was killed by Pharaoh Neco at Megiddo in 609 BC.   It was a battle that would be the last conflict with the Babylonians in which the Egyptians and Assyrians would unite.  The people of Judah made his son Jehoahaz king in his place, and verse 32 tells us that Jehoahaz turned back to the evil ways of his fathers.  His reign was short, as Pharaoh Neco of Egypt put him in bondage and made Josiah’s other son, Eliakim, the vassal king – changing his name to Jehoiakim.  Jehoiakim taxed the people in order to pay tribute to Egypt.

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.

2 Kings 18 – Hezekiah Reigns in Judah

Hezekiah removed the high places, tore down the pillars, and even destroyed the Bronze serpent that Moses had made in the wilderness (Numbers 21:4-9).  It had become an object of worship – an idol, probably because of the association of serpents with the “goddess” Asherah.  Verses 6-7 tells us that Hezekiah “held fast to the Lord” and that the Lord was with him.  He rebelled against the Assyrian king, and would not serve him.  Verse 8 declares his many victories in battle over the Philistines.  But verse 13 tells us that in the fourteenth year of his reign, Sennacherib took the fortified cities of Judah.

The Taylor Prism from the Neo-Assyrian empire ...

The Taylor Prism from the Neo-Assyrian empire tells the story of king Sennacherib’s third campaign and includes descriptions of his conquests in Judah, some of which are described from another point of view in the old testament of the Bible. This picture has been assembled from File:Taylor Prism-1.jpg and File:Taylor Prism-2.jpg. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hezekiah’s initial response was to bargain with the Assyrian king (verses 14-15), which at first seems effective.  But Sennacherib tires of his further rebellion; and sends his Rabshakeh, or (chief cupbearer) to deliver his message.  Eliakim tries to get him to speak to them in Aramaic, so that the people will not understand.  But that is exactly what the Assyrian wants – they want the people to hear and be dismayed  and frightened for their plight, in order to quash rebellion.

In verses 31-35, the cup-bearer, speaking for Sennacherib, tells them not to listen to Hezekiah, and even tells them that their God has sent the Assyrians Himself.  Then he makes the mistake of comparing the Lord to the impotent “gods” of other lands, saying that he will not deliver Jerusalem out of Sennacherib’s hand.

Side notes:

Now residing in the private collection of Shlomo Moussaieff of London, a bulla (clay seal) was found bearing Hezekiah’s name. It reads, “Belonging to Hezekiah [son of Ahaz], king of Judah.”

Archaeologists at the site of Beersheba unearthed a horned altar from the late 8th century  B.C. made of hewn stones, with a serpent carved into one of the stones.  More information on the site can be found in this article at BiblePlaces.com.

This link to the British Museum about the Sennacherib Relief details the siege and capture of Lachish by the Assyrian king.  At the southwestern corner of Lachish, Sennacherib built a siege ramp and used archers, infantry, and siege machines. The Judeans constructed a counter-siege ramp. But it failed – Sennacherib conquered Lachish. Both of the actual ramps have been uncovered.  The victory was important enough to Sennacherib to devote an entire wall at his palace to it.  Had he been able to capture Jerusalem, that victory would undoubtedly have over-shadowed the one at Lachish.

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.

Genesis 44 – Joseph Tests His Brothers

When Joseph sends them away, he has his steward once again place their money in their sacks.  But this time, he has his silver cup placed in Benjamin’s bag and he has them followed, accused of theft, and brought back.  The brothers who have carried the burden of their guilt for so long are convinced that God himself has brought this on them for what they did to Joseph so many years ago.

Joseph tells them that the rest of them can go, but Benjamin will remain as his slave.  The brothers are purposely placed in the position of losing their younger brother – and facing Jacob’s (Israel’s) devastation.  Judah begins a passionate plea of repentance in verse 18, offering himself in his younger brother’s place.  Remember, it was Judah’s idea to have Joseph sold instead of killing him in Gen 37:26-28.

The change that has taken place in his brothers is no doubt what Joseph was looking (and hoping) for.

(Side note: Here is a link to a lengthy, but very interesting article from the publishers of “Bible and Spade” magazine calledThe Joseph Narrative (Genesis 37, 39–50)that includes information about Egyptian captives from Canaan)

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

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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.
/Robert

Genesis 43 – Joseph’s Brothers Return to Egypt

The grain that Joseph’s brothers brought back from Egypt has run out.  Jacob (who is referred to as “Israel” more times in this chapter than previously) knows that the brothers must go back for more, but it is Judah who speaks up convinces his father to entrust Benjamin to him (verse 9).  In stark contrast to Reuben, he places the responsibility for the boy’s safety on his own shoulders; and Israel is resigned that there just is no choice, and fears he may not see them again (verse 14).  So he sends them with gifts and a double portion of money, and they return to Joseph.

When they are brought to Joseph’s house, their fears mount (verse 18), but instead of harsh treatment, they are fed and treated well.  Joseph’s love and compassion for his younger brother is great, and Benjamin receives five times the amount of food that his brothers get.  Joseph has plans for little brother.

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

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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 “Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.
/Robert

Genesis 39 – Joseph and Potiphar’s Wife

We move past Genesis 38 and the story of Judah and Tamar, who are related (pun intended) in the genealogy of Jesus Christ, as told in Mt 1:3 – and into chapter 39.  Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh and captain of the guard, had bought Joseph from Ishmaelites.  Joseph was successful in this Egyptians master’s home because the Lord was with him; and because of that,  Potiphar enjoyed prosperity (v 5).  Verse 6 says “Joseph was handsome in form and appearance” (exactly as his mother, Rachel was described in Gen 29:17); and Potiphar’s wife would not leave him alone, trying to persuade him to “lie with” her. Unable to slip her grasp, Joseph just leaves her holding the garment and puts some “gone” between him and the master’s wife.

Considering her behavior, it’s not too surprising that she makes up the story that gets Joseph thrown in prison (v 17-18).  She places an interesting play on the term “laugh” in this chapter to drive the stake in deep.  She first uses the contempt that the men of the household would have for Joseph both as a slave, and by not being Egyptian of birth, to make the “attack” on her personal to them (v 14 “See, he has brought among us a Hebrew to laugh at us”).  Since the “he” in that statement is Potiphar, the whole thing then becomes partly his fault – further pushing any suspicion from herself.  In verse 17, she uses “laugh” in the intimate form as when Abimilech discovered “Isaac laughing with Rebekah his wife” in Gen 26:8,  and knew she was not his sister.

Joseph again goes from a “most favored” status to fellowship with the king’s prisoners. But the Lord showed him steadfast love (v 21) and he succeeded in whatever he did there as he again won favor, this time with the prison keeper.

Two things are remarkable about Joseph in this chapter. The first is obvious – a young man being seduced by a desirable woman, yet he does the right thing.  Contrast his character with his brothers (Reuben with his father’s concubine in ch 35, and Judah with his own daughter-in-law – thinking he was visiting a prostitute as her face was covered in ch 38).  The other notable thing about Joseph is his statement to Potiphar’s wife that he could not do “this great wickedness and sin against God.” It is his recognition of what sin really means that has meaning for us today.  We sometimes hurt ourselves when we sin, and we often hurt other people because of it.  But it always hurts the Lord.

Notice as was the case with Potiphar, Joseph’s success with the Lord’s help was such that the prison keeper did not have to think about any of the things he was in charge of.

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

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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 “Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.
/Robert