Monday, April 30, 2018

READ IT! - Introduction to 1st Samuel 6-12

Readings for this week

Monday: 1st Samuel 6
Tuesday: 1st Samuel 7
Wednesday: 1st Samuel 8
Thursday: 1st Samuel 9
Friday: 1st Samuel 10
Saturday: 1st Samuel 11
Sunday: 1st Samuel 12

Introduction to 1st Samuel 6-12

Chapter 6

Here we read about the return of the Ark to Israel. The Philistines present a guilt offering, admitting they were wrong. And they also make five golden replicas of the "tumors" and five golden replicas of the rats. And they put the Ark on a cart pulled by two milk cows, and the milk cows apparently head straight back to Israel. The Ark arrives in Israel, specifically to the field of Joshua. And some Israelites peek inside the Ark and drop dead.

Chapter 7

All of the people gathered at Mizpah and Samuel told them to get rid of all their idols so they did. Later the Philistines tried to attack Israel again. The text says that God “thundered” among the Philistines so that they were too frightened to do anything. The men of Israel chased the Philistines away and defeated them in battle. Samuel set up the “Ebenezer stone,” or “stone of help,” saying, “Thus far has the LORD helped us.”

Chapter 8

As Samuel got older, his sons did not follow in his ways and were not trusted by the people. The people went to Samuel and told him they wanted to have a king rule over them, just like their neighbors. Samuel was displeased that the people had asked for a king. God said to Samuel, “They are not rejecting you, but they are rejecting me.” God told Samuel to tell the people that if they chose the path of kingship, the king would be their master and he would make them work as slaves. The people told Samuel they wanted a king anyway. So God told Samuel to give them a king.

Chapters 9-12

Saul and his buddy wandered the countryside looking for his father’s missing donkeys, but unfortunately the donkeys outsmarted them. They decided to go ask “The Seer” if he knew where the donkeys were. Samuel was “The Seer.” Samuel already knew that Saul was on his way. God told Samuel that Saul was to be ruler of Israel.

Samuel told Saul to not worry about the donkeys, they had been found. Samuel told Saul that he was the “desire” of all Israel. Saul was confused and pointed out the low-rank of his Benjamite family. He was also from Gibeah, the scene of the nasty incident that sparked the civil war at the end of the Book of Judges. Samuel put together a feast for Saul and his friend. Samuel anoints Saul’s head with oil before sending him on his way.

Three signs are given to Saul to confirm his calling:

The donkeys are found
Saul meets three men; is given two loaves of bread
Saul meets band of prophets; is possessed by Spirit of God and prophesies

The text explains that this event is one reason why the Israelites had a saying: “Is Saul also among the prophets?”

Saul kept quiet to his family about his new role as king.

Later, Samuel had all of the people gather together for the inauguration of Saul as King of Israel. Saul was nowhere to be found. He was hiding because he was afraid. The people pulled him from his hiding place and shouted “Long live the king!”

The festivities were interrupted with word that Nahash king of the Ammonites had attacked the city of Jabesh Gilead. The people of Jabesh Gilead were Saul’s cousins. Nahash tried to gauge out the right eye of every man in the land. Saul came to the rescue and defeated Nahash in battle.

Some Israelites had previously mocked Saul, and after Saul’s victory the people wanted to kill them, but Saul spared their lives. At this point, Samuel officially sets Saul up as king over Israel.

Monday, April 23, 2018

READ IT! - Introduction to 1st Samuel 1-5

Readings for this week

Monday: 2nd Thessalonians 2
Tuesday: 2nd Thessalonians 3
Wednesday: 1st Samuel 1
Thursday: 1st Samuel 2
Friday: 1st Samuel 3
Saturday: 1st Samuel 4
Sunday: 1st Samuel 5

Introduction to 1st Samuel 1-5

Structure of 1st Samuel

1st Sam. 1:1–8:22 – The story of Samuel 
1st Sam. 9:1–15:35 – The story of Samuel and Saul 
1st Sam. 16:1–2nd Sam. 1:27 – The Story of Saul and David 

A continuation of the book of Judges 

Judges is the second book of the Deuteronomistic History. 
1st Samuel is the third book of the Deuteronomistic History. 

Begins with “There was a certain man…” 
Similar to Manoah and Micah in Judges. 

The book of Judges ends in Shiloh. 
1st Samuel begins in Shiloh. 

Chapter 1 

The book opens with the Birth Narrative of Samuel. It starts with Elkanah’s lineage. We don’t know anything about the people in his lineage. However, great prophets are usually introduced by their lineage in the Old Testament. 

We are then introduced to Elkanah’s family. He has two wives: Peninnah and Hannah. Peninnah bears children, and her name means “prolific.” Hannah is the favorite wife, but she is barren. Hannah means “favor.” This is similar to previous stories (e.g., Jacob’s wives, Leah and Rachel). In the Old Testament, if a woman is barren and gives birth, something important will happen with that child. 

Peninnah is cruel to Hannah. But Elkanah is clueless, and the best he can do to comfort Hannah is to state that being married to him is a much greater blessing than ever having kids. 

The next part of the story is about Hannah’s vow at the Shiloh shrine. The Septuagint translation of the Old Testament says that Hannah vows to give her son to God as a Nazirite if He would give her a son. Eli the priest hears Hannah praying and thinks she is drunk – ironic since Nazirites don't drink. Hannah then offers her response, saying that she is “not drinking” but “pouring out her soul” – this language sounds like “pouring” a blood sacrifice. Eli then offers his blessing, which contains a note of promise that God has heard Hannah's plea.

After this, the family returns home, and the text says that Elkanah “knows” her, and also that the LORD “remembers” her. She has a son and names him Samuel. “Samuel” means “God heard.” We then read about Hannah’s offering, and we see that Samuel is her offering, which is not traditional sacrifice, but a “living sacrifice.” 

Chapter 2 

This chapter contains Hannah’s Song. It is a very old section of the Old Testament – one of the oldest. The song praises God, and it makes a reference to a barren woman having seven kids. It also contains a reference to a king, which points to the beginnings of monarchy in Israel. 

The New Testament figure of Mary, the mother of Jesus, has very much in common with Hannah. 

The narrative then focuses on Eli’s Sons: Hophni and Phinehas. We learn that they’re no good scoundrels, and the text lays out three indictments against them: 

Inappropriate sacrifice – robbing God 
Sex at the sanctuary 
Becoming fat off the offerings 

A “man of God” condemns Eli’s family, and he chastises Eli for doing nothing about his sons. He also predicts that Eli’s house will be “cut off.” And he predicts a faithful priest will be brought up 

Chapter 3 

This chapter opens with Samuel’s Dream Theophany. We first get to hear about the conditions at Shiloh: That the “The word of the LORD was rare,” and that there were “Not many visions.” We also learn that Eli is going “blind.” 

The text then focuses on Samuel’s dream. We learn that Samuel sleeps near the Ark at night. But God calls to Samuel, not Eli. Samuel goes to Eli, thinking that Eli is calling him. And it takes Eli three times before he realizes what’s going on. It is here when Samuel becomes a prophet. Eli demands to know what the LORD said. And Samuel is honest and faithful to God’s word. God’s Message: I will destroy Eli’s family. And the word of the LORD keeps on appearing to Samuel at Shiloh. 

Chapter 4 

The next section of narratives focus on the Ark. The Philistines go to war with Israel. Israel is camped at Ebenezer, which means “stone of help.” But they receive no help and are defeated by the Philistines. And they ask “why?” The Conclusion: “we didn’t bring the Ark with us so we lost.” We then see Israel attempting to battle the Philistines with the Ark. The Ark has become an idol. And the Ark ends up being captured by Philistines. Eli’s sons are killed in battle, and Eli faints and breaks his neck because he’s so fat. Also, Eli’s daughter-in-law gives birth and dies, names her son “Ichabod,” meaning “The glory has departed.” 

Chapters 5 

We then get to hear about the Ark among the Philistines. The Ark arrives at Ashdod. And the Philistines take the Ark to the temple of their god Dagon. But Dagon lays prostrate in front of Yahweh. And Yahweh humiliates Dagon and eventually decapitates him (opposite of Samson’s story). 

We then read about the complete humiliation of the Philistines. There is a rat infestation at Ashdod because of the presence of the Ark of God. Also, the people begin to develop some sort of tumors or hemorrhoids …we're not exactly sure, but either way, it was a pain in the butt. 

And the Philistines begin to play Hot Potato with the Ark. Ashdod sends the Ark to Gath, and plagues break out at Gath. Gath sends the Ark to Ekron, and plagues break out at Ekron. And the people “cry out” because the “hand of God was heavy” upon them. 

Sunday, April 22, 2018

READ IT! - Introduction to 2nd Thessalonians

Introduction to 2nd Thessalonians

An increasing number of scholars are skeptical about the genuineness of 2nd Thessalonians. If Paul actually composed it, why does he repeat – almost verbatim – so much of what he has already just written to the same recipients? More seriously, why does the author present an eschatology so different from that presented in the first letter? In 1st Thessalonians, the Parousia will occur stealthily, “like a thief in the night.” In 2nd Thessalonians, a number of apocalyptic “signs” will first advertise its arrival.

Scholars defending Pauline authorship advance several theories to explain the writer’s apparent change of attitude toward the Parousia. In the first letter, Paul underscores the tension between the shortness of time the world has left and the necessity of believers’ vigilance and ethical purity as they await the Second Coming. In the second letter, Paul writes to correct the Thessalonians’ misconceptions about or misuses of his earlier emphasis on the nearness of the End Time. If Paul is in fact the author, he probably wrote 2nd Thessalonians within a few months of his earlier letter.

Some converts, claiming that “the Day of the Lord is already here,” were upsetting others with their otherworldly enthusiasms.  In their state of apocalyptic fervor, some even scorned everyday occupations and refused to work or support themselves. It is possible that the visionary Spirit of prophecy that he encouraged the Thessalonians to cultivate had come back to haunt him. Empowered by private revelations, a few Christian prophets may have interpreted the Spirit’s presence – made possible by Jesus’ resurrection and ascension to heaven – as a mystical fulfillment of the Parousia. Paul, however, consistently emphasizes that Jesus’ resurrection and the Spirit’s coming are only the first stage in God’s plan of cosmic renewal. God’s purpose can be completed only at the apocalyptic End of history

Chapter 1

The letter claims to be written by Paul, Silas, and Timothy who offer a blessing of grace and peace upon the church of the Thessalonians. They then offer comfort in affliction, and encourage perseverance in the midst of persecutions. They state that they always thank God for them because their faith is growing more and more and the love they have for one another is increasing. And they say that they boast about their perseverance in persecution.

They then speak about the vindication of God’s Righteousness – that he is a just judge who will find them worthy of the Kingdom and who will punish their persecutors.

When will this happen?

When the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels

How will they be punished?

Everlasting destruction in being shut out from the Lord’s presence

When this happens…

He will be glorified in his holy people and be marveled at among all who have believed

They then discuss the preparation of the Saints for the Kingdom. They state that with this in mind, they pray that…

God may make them worthy of his calling
Their every good desire will be made fruitful by God’s power
Their every deed prompted by faith will be made fruitful by God’s power
The name of the Lord Jesus may be glorified in them
They may be glorified in Jesus by God’s grace

Chapter 2

Paul then offers a correction concerning the Day of the Lord. The Thessalonians were faced with a false teaching, saying that Christ had already returned. Paul corrects this, telling them not to be alarmed by such reports. He states that this message, whether it came by prophesy, by word of mouth, or by letter, is not apostolic

He then states that the Day of the Lord will not come until…

The rebellion occurs
The man of lawlessness is revealed

The man of lawlessness will…

Be doomed to destruction
Will oppose all gods
Will exalt himself above all that is worshiped
Will set himself up in God’s Temple, proclaiming himself to be God

Here, Paul asks the Thessalonians if they have forgotten how he already told them all this before

Paul then discusses the unveiling of the “Man of Lawlessness.” He says that the secret power of lawlessness is already at work, but at the proper time the man of lawlessness will be revealed, and the one who now holds this lawlessness at bay will be removed.

At that time, the Lord Jesus will…

Overthrow this man with the breath of his mouth
Destroy this man with the splendor of his coming

Paul also states that the lawless one’s coming will be accompanied by…

The works of Satan
Displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie
All the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing

Why do they perish?

Because they refuse to love the truth and so be saved

Because they hate the truth…

God sends them a delusion to believe in

Why does God give them a lie?

To punish them for hating the truth and loving wickedness

Paul then reminds the Thessalonians of their future hope. He says that they thank God for them because God chose them as first fruits to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and belief in the truth.

Why did God call them to this?

So that they might share in the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ
Paul then summarizes his point, saying to stand firm and hold to the teachings they passed on to them by word of mouth and letter.

He then offers a Benediction:

“May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.”

Chapter 3

Paul then offers some exhortations concerning practical matters. He first requests prayer that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, and that they may be delivered from wicked people.

He says that the Lord…

Is faithful
Will strengthen them
Will protect them from the evil one
Gives confidence that they will continue to do as instructed
Will direct their hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance

Paul then offers a rebuke of those who are idle. He says to keep away from believers who are idle, disruptive, and who do not live according to their teachings.

Paul says to follow their example, saying…

We were not idle when we were with you
We didn’t eat anyone’s food without paying for it
We worked night and day so as not to be a burden to you

Why did we do these things?

Not because we didn’t have the right to such help
To model for you how to live

He then says that they applied to themselves the proverb they gave to them: “The one who will not work will not eat.”

He says that they’ve heard that some among them are idle, disruptive, and are not busy, but are busybodies. He says they command and urge these people in the name of Christ to settle down and earn the food they eat.

What should the rest of you do about these folks?

Take special note of the ones who disobey this letter
Don’t associate with them, so that they will be ashamed of themselves
Don’t treat them as an enemy
Warn them as fellow believers

Paul then offers the Thessalonians his final greetings:

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.
I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand, which is the distinguishing mark in all my letters. This is how I write.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

Monday, April 16, 2018

READ IT! - Introduction to 1st Thessalonians

Readings for this week

Monday: Ruth 4
Tuesday: 1st Thessalonians 1
Wednesday: 1st Thessalonians 2
Thursday: 1st Thessalonians 3
Friday: 1st Thessalonians 4
Saturday: 1st Thessalonians 5
Sunday: 2nd Thessalonians 1

Introduction to 1st Thessalonians

Context of 1st Thessalonians


Paul, missionary Apostle to the Gentiles.


About A.D. 50.

Place of composition

Probably Corinth or nearby Athens.


Mostly Gentile members of a newly founded congregation in Thessalonica, Greece.

Themes of 1st Thessalonians

The Parousia and the Resurrection

Apparently, some Thessalonians believed that Jesus’ reappearance would occur so swiftly that all persons converted to Christianity would live to see the Second Coming. That belief was shaken when some believers died before Jesus had reappeared. What would become of them? Had the dead missed their opportunity to join Christ in ruling over the world? Paul explains that the recently dead are not lost but will share in the glory of Christ’s return.

To denote Jesus’ arrival from heaven, Paul uses the term Parousia, a Greek word meaning “presence” or “coming,” a word the Thessalonians associated with the public appearance of a Roman Emperor.

On Not Calculating “Dates and Times”

Although he eagerly expects Jesus’ reappearance “soon,” Paul has no patience with those who try to predict the exact date of the ParousiaHe discourages speculation and notes that calculating “dates and times” is futile because “the Day of the Lord will come like a thief at midnight.”

Is Sex Sin?

In 1st Thessalonians 4:3-8, Paul’s exhortation to get a wife in holiness and honor and not in the passion of desire ‘is not a denial of the role of sexual desire in marriage. Instead, it gives advice on how to select a mate, suggesting that one should look beyond a prospective mate’s physical appeal to broader issues of character.’”

The Role of the Spirit

Paul reminds the Thessalonians that the Holy Spirit’s visible activity among them is also evidence of the world’s impending transformation. Paul believes that Christian prophets should play a significant role in the churches, but he is aware that enthusiastic visionaries can cause trouble. Believers are to distinguish between “good” and “bad” inspirations, avoiding the latter, but they are not to inhibit charismatic behavior.

Chapter 1

The letter claims to be written by Paul, Silas, and Timothy. At the beginning is a brief blessing of grace and peace upon the Thessalonians. Paul then speaks of his relation to the Thessalonians. First, he gives thanks for the Thessalonians and commends them before God. Paul then provides evidence of the Thessalonians’ Salvation saying that they have received the Gospel message as a proclamation in Power, and that they received the joy of the Holy Spirit in the midst of severe suffering, becoming a model to all believers.

He then says that it’s hard to brag about them because everyone already knows how awesome they are because they turned from idols to serve God and wait for his Son from heaven who was raised from the dead to save us from wrath

Chapter 2

Paul then gives a defense of his apostleship and discusses the Thessalonians’ conversion. He mentions how badly they had been treated in Philippi and so they were afraid to share the Gospel with the Thessalonians, but they realized their goal was not to please people but to please God.

He says that they never used flattery or put on a mask to cover up greed or were looking for praise from people, but instead they were like young children among them, caring for them like a nursing mother cares for her child. Paul says that they urged them to live a life worthy of God, who called them into his kingdom and glory.

Paul then thanks God because they received the working Word and became imitators of God’s churches in Judea. He then ironically states that on the other hand the Jews he tried to work with…

Persecuted the church
Killed the Lord Jesus
Killed the prophets
Drove out the apostles
Displease God
Are hostile to everyone
Try to prevent the Gospel from reaching the Gentiles
Always heap up their sins to the limit

And he adds that the wrath of God has come upon them at last.

Paul then expresses his desire to visit them again but that Satan has hindered this. He adds that when Jesus comes the Thessalonians will be the apostles’…


Chapter 3

He then explains why they decided to send Timothy to them… so that he could encourage them and report back about their faith. And he adds that Timothy has returned to them with a good report which has encouraged them in their persecution

The letter then contains a transitional Benediction:

“Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus clear the way for us to come to you. May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.”

Chapter 4

Paul then discusses the Lord’s return as a motive for sanctification. He tells them to keep learning how to please God more and more every day, and specifically tells them not to lust like the pagans who don’t know God, and to not take advantage of a brother or sister.


God will punish all those who commit such sins
God did not call us to be impure
God called us to live a holy life
Anyone who rejects this instruction, rejects God’s Holy Spirit

But he then says that they don’t need to talk to them about love because God has taught them to love one another, and they love all of God’s family throughout Macedonia.

He urges them…

To keep loving more and more
To make it their ambition to lead a quiet life
To mind their own business
To work with their hands


Because we told you to
So that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders
So that you will not be dependent on anybody

Paul then discusses the imminent return of the Lord. First, he discusses Resurrection, saying that he doesn’t want them to be uninformed about those who sleep in death or to grieve like the rest of mankind who have no hope.

He presents the first piece of evidence of the resurrection… the Resurrection of Christ. He says, ”For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.”

He then presents the second piece of evidence of the resurrection… the New Revelation given to Paul. He says, “According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep.”

He then provides specific details and a succession of eschatological events:

"For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God"
"And the dead in Christ will rise first."
"After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air."

He says that the result of all this will be living life forever with Christ, and he says to encourage each other with these words.

Chapter 5

He states that the Day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night, and that while people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But he adds that the Day of the Lord will be no surprise to believers because they are children of light and that is their responsibility to stay alert. He says not to be like those who get drunk and pass out but to be sober and to live in the day, putting on faith and love as a breastplate and the hope of salvation as a helmet

Paul then speaks of the promises of God. The first promise is that God has appointed us to escape from wrath through salvation in Jesus. The second promise is resurrection for all believers. He then offers a final eschatological encouragement, instructing them to continue building each other up.

Paul then calls for proper hierarchical relations within the Body, saying to acknowledge those leaders who…

Work hard among you
Care for you in the Lord
Admonish you

He says to hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work, and to live in peace with each other.

Paul then discusses responsible action toward “imperfect” saints, saying:

Warn those who are idle and disruptive
Encourage the disheartened
Help the weak
Be patient with everyone
Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong
Always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else

He also calls for reverence toward God, saying that God’s will for you in Christ Jesus is to…

Rejoice always
Pray continually
Give thanks in all circumstances

He then speaks about critical receptiveness of prophecy, saying:

Do not quench the Spirit
Do not treat prophecies with contempt

But also to test all prophesy in order to…

Hold on to what is good
Reject every kind of evil

Paul then asks for prayer and instructs that this letter be read to all the brothers and sisters, and he makes some concluding remarks, including a benediction:

“May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.”

Friday, April 13, 2018

READ IT! - Introduction to Ruth

Introduction to Ruth

The story of Ruth is set in the time of the Judges. Christians place the book of Ruth immediately after the book of Judges for this reason. Jews place Ruth near the end of their canon. The story of Ruth was written much later than the book of Judges, most likely during the post-exilic period. The main character of the book, Ruth, is from Moab. The book of Ruth tells the story of King David’s ancestors.

Chapter 1

There was a famine in Israel, so Elimelek, his wife Naomi, and their two sons, Mahlon and Chileon, leave Israel and settle in Moab. Mahlon and Chileon marry two Moabite women - Ruth and Orpah. The three men die right away. “Mahlon” means “sickly,” and “Chileon” means “bound-to-go,” so their deaths are no surprise.

Naomi decides to return home and takes Ruth and Orpah with her. As they are leaving, she tells them to go back to Moab. Orpah leaves, but Ruth refuses to go.

She says, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.”

When they arrive in Bethlehem, Naomi tells everyone that her new name is “Marah” because the LORD has dealt bitterly with her. "Marah" means "bitter," showing how Naomi has become a bitter person.

Chapter 2

Ruth gleaned in the fields of Boaz with the other poor women of Bethlehem. Boaz provided protection for her. Boaz also told his servants to leave extra grain behind for Ruth to pick up. Boaz also let Ruth eat lunch with him and his servants.

Later, Ruth showed Naomi all the grain. Noami told Ruth that Boaz was their “kinsman-redeemer,” meaning that he was next in line to lead the family after the death of Elimelek.

Chapter 3

Noami told Ruth to wash herself and then go to the threshing floor where Boaz slept that night and “uncover his feet” once he fell asleep and lay by him.

"Uncovering his feet" is a euphemism for exposing his private parts. However, this is not necessarily meant as a sexual act, but rather as a blunt reminder of Boaz's circumcision, which was the sign of the covenant he had sworn to uphold, including his role as kinsman-redeemer.

Ruth did as she was told. Boaz woke up and was startled to find a woman in his bed. Ruth told him to “spread his garment over her.” Boaz praised her for not chasing after younger men and choosing him instead. Boaz agreed to be her “kinsman-redeemer” and let her stay the night with him.

She left before dawn to avoid a scandal. Before she left, Boaz told her to spread out her garment, and he poured grain into it for her to carry. So after this night, Ruth carries the seed of Boaz…

Chapter 4

In the morning, Boaz found the man who was actually in line ahead of him to be the kinsman-redeemer and offered him the property of Alimelek’s sons which belonged to this man by right…but the property also included Ruth. The man didn’t want a Moabite wife, so he refused to be the kinsman-redeemer, and the job fell to Boaz who was next in line.

Boaz and Ruth were married. The elders blessed them and said, “May the Lord make the woman who is coming into your home like Rachel and Leah, who together built up the family of Israel. May you have standing in Ephrathah and be famous in Bethlehem. Through the offspring the Lord gives you by this young woman, may your family be like that of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah.”

Boaz was a descendant of Perez, Judah’s son through Tamar. The story of Ruth ends with a brief genealogy:

Boaz and Ruth had a son named Obed
Obed was the father of Jesse
Jesse was the father of King David, the greatest king of Israel

Monday, April 9, 2018

READ IT! - Introduction to Judges 18-21

Readings for this week

Monday: Judges 18
Tuesday: Judges 19
Wednesday: Judges 20
Thursday: Judges 21
Friday: Ruth 1
Saturday: Ruth 2
Sunday: Ruth 3

Introduction to Judges 18-21

Chapter 18

Micah is from Ephraim, but his association with the Danites may be implying that Micah was Samson’s illegitimate son. The Danites move north and take Micah’s priest and idol with them. Later, Moses’ own grandson becomes the idolatrous priest of the Danites.

Chapters 19-21

Later, a second Levite arrives on the scene in order to retrieve his wife who has fled from him to the house of her father in Bethlehem. On their way back, they spend the night in the town of Gibeah in the territory of Benjamin. The men of Gibeah come out to commit “sodomy” with the Levite, but instead the Levite offers them his wife/concubine and they brutally rape her all night.

In the morning, the Levite sees her lying on the doorstep and cuts her body up into twelve pieces. He sends a piece of her to each of the twelve tribes. A civil war then erupts against Benjamin, with Judah leading the way in battle, and all but 600 men of Benjamin are killed.

The end of the book deals with the eleven tribes attempting to avoid the complete extinction of Benjamin by providing the remaining 600 men with wives. They do so by staging a giant kidnapping of several hundred girls from the towns that refused to participate in the civil war.

The book closes by echoing the words of Samson, saying, “At that time, there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in their own eyes.”

It would seem that in the book of Judges the tribe of Judah is the favored one. In chapter one, the model judge, Othniel, is from Judah. The victories ascribed to Moses, Joshua, and Caleb elsewhere in the Bible are given to Judah in the book of Judges. It would also seem that book of Judges is indicating that the North is bad. According to Judges, it was the northern tribes who failed to drive out the Canaanites in the land. Othniel is the good judge and hails from Judah, but other judges are from the North and are portrayed as being not as good. This helps to set up the Saul/David conflict that comes later in the Deuteronomistic History.

As Judges progresses it begins to show the tribes besides Judah to be growing worse and worse, especially the tribe of Benjamin from where Saul later comes. More specifically, Saul comes from Gibeah of Benjamin, the location of the attempted sodomy, gang-rape and murder of the Levite’s wife/concubine, and the scene of the great civil war at the end of the book. The Deuteronomistic History intentionally portrays Saul negatively by showing his association with Benjamin among other things, while at the same time portraying David positively by showing his association with the more faithful tribe of Judah. The narrative is asking, “Which is the legitimate leadership? David of Judah? – Or Saul of Benjamin?”