My daily exploration of the Bible, taking it one chapter at a time. If I do it everyday, it'll take 1189 days.



Wednesday, November 30, 2005

2 Chronicles 12

King Shishak attacks

Summary:
Rehoboam and Judah then turned against God. They were then attacked by King Shishak of Egypt. They took the fortified cities, and got to Jerusalem, when a prophet told Rehoboam that God had judged them. Rehoboam and Israel humbled themselves, so God spared Jerusalem and Judah, but they were subject to Shishak for a time, so that they'd see the difference between being ruled by God, and being ruled by foreign kings. Shishak took the wealth of the temple. Rehoboam reigned for 17 years.

Key verse:
12. Because Rehoboam humbled himself, the Lord's anger turned from him, and he was not totally destroyed. Indeed, there was some good in Judah.

My thoughts:
It's quite simple. If you do wrong, God will not forget you if you turn back to him.

Despite what I said in the previous chapter, Rehoboam is clearly a bad king.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

2 Chronicles 11

Rehoboam

Summary:
Rehoboam amassed an army to attack Israel, but God told him to stop, so everyone went home.

Rehoboam built Judah up and fortified her cities. Judah acquired the Levites, because Jeroboam rejected them. Things went ok for Judah for a bit.

Rehoboam had 18 wives, and he set up his son, Abijah, to be chief prince. He acted wisely.

Key verse:
17. They strengthened the kingdom of Judah and supported Rehoboam son of Solomon three years, walking in the ways of David and Solomon during this time.

My thoughts:
So far, Rehoboam isn't too bad. He listens to God, and attracted the priests and Levites. But things will change soon. Chronicles in general has a more positive view of Judah than Kings.

Monday, November 28, 2005

2 Chronicles 10

Israel splits

Summary:
Rehoboam went up to Israel to be made king there, but a man, Jeroboam, had returned from hiding in Egypt, and he and all of Israel stood before Rehoboam telling him to lighten the workload. Over three days, he consulted with old men, whose advice he rejected, and young men, who told him to refuse the Israelites.


He took the young men's advice, and told the Israelites to do more work. Israel rebelled, saying that they had no part in David's line. So Israel was split into Israel and Judah.

Key verse:
19. So Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David to this day.

My thoughts:
The focus of this chapter is how Israel becomes rejected from God's people, and David's line. They are in rebellion. In Kings, it is more of the dualistic nationhood, rather than the true Judah, and the rebelling Israel.

Israel gets no focus from now on. To the Chronicler, it's all about Judah and David's line.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

2 Chronicles 9

Le Queen de Sheba

Summary:
The Queen of Sheba heard of Solomon's fame, and so came to 'test' him with 'hard' questions. She came with great wealth and spoke with him all that was 'on her mind' ;) She was 'overwhelmed'. She said great things of him, saying that he was 'better' than she ever expected, and she gave him gifts. Solomon gave her everything she desired ;)

Solomon received 666 (!) talents of gold each year, and he made some great shields and a throne and things from the gold. He had great wealth, and everyone came to visit him.

Solomon died, and his son Rehoboam succeeded him.

Key verse:
12. King Solomon gave the queen of Sheba all she desired

My thoughts:
That Queen o' Sheba's a keen ol' minx. She sounds hot. She probably looked something like this. Well probably not, but it's probably closer than this. I'm pretty sure Solomon and the Queen weren't around during the Renaissance.

Anyway, there's a lot of 'mythology' around the Queen of Sheba. Sheba's probably around modern Ethiopia. The Rastafarians believe that the Queen of Sheba had Solomon's child back in Ethiopia, and they are that child's descendants. They are then the lost tribe of Judah - God's people. Black Jews. It's pretty cool. And they smoke weed for that reason. Or something. And this crazy guy claims to be the protector of the ark of the covenant in that church behind him. He seems trustworthy to me.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

2 Chronicles 8

Stuff Solomon did

Summary:
Solomon built up the cities he had and captures some more. He enslaved those of the land who were still around, and he invited the Pharoah's daughter to live in a palace he had built for her. He followed Moses' commands in regards to sacrifice at the tabernacle. Solomon and Hiram's men sailed to Ophir and got lots of gold from there.

Key verse:
11. My wife must not live in the palace of David king of Israel, because the places the ark of the Lord has entered are holy.

My thoughts:
Now that the very large segment focussing on the temple is largely over, we hear of Solomon's other acheivements. Israel was wealth and large in Solomon's day.

Friday, November 25, 2005

2 Chronicles 7

God hears Solomon's prayer

Summary:
After Solomon had prayed, fire came down and consumed the burnt offerings. Everyone worshipped him, and made sacrifices and played music. Solomon consecrated the temple, and they observed a festival.

Later, God appeared to Solomon again, and said that he had accepted Solomon's temple, and that he would fulfil Solomon's prayer, and hear people's prayers and forgive them. He then challenged Solomon to follow him, or else Israel would be rejected.

Key verse:
14. if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.


My thoughts:
The language that God uses here is parallel to Solomon's prayer in the previous chapter. It is a direct response. Today's key verse is very famous.

It is interesting that it appears that Solomon builds this temple uncertain that God will accept it. The temple becomes such a focus for Jewish worship that it is strange to think that maybe, just maybe, it was a human idea that God chose to accept.

Anyway, my challenge for today is to actually believe that Chronicles is history. It's so tempting to see it as a retrospective well-wishing to justify the Jewish faith, temple, and dynasty after/during the exile. However in faith we must believe that fire truly came down from heaven to burn up the offerings on that day.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

2 Chronicles 6

Solomon prays

Summary:
So Solomon offered the temple to God, and he and his people praised God, thanking him for fulfilling his promise. Solomon knelt before the temple, and prayed. He prayed for God to keep his promises to David - that he would always have a son on the throne. He prayed that God would inhabit his lowly temple, and he would hear people when they came to his temple to pray. He asked that God would heal and restore no matter what trouble his people get into. Lord, do not reject your anointed one.

Key verse:
30. then hear from heaven, your dwelling place. Forgive, and deal with each man according to all he does, since you know his heart (for you alone know the hearts of men)

My thoughts:
Man, this prayer is quite awesome. Though it is at its time simple a request, it is such a powerful statement of God's character. He forgives and heals. He knows our hearts. But most of all he hears.

This is extremely relevant to a nation in exile. It is comforting to know that God has not forgotten you. Especially verses 36-39.

My Bit:
I'm really quite behind. That's because of starting full-time work (for the first time since starting the blog), and because our internet hasn't been on for a couple of days. I'll catch up over the next couple of days.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

2 Chronicles 5

The cloud

Summary:
Solomon put all the objects David had dedicated into the temple. He then called together all the leaders of Israel and the brought the ark, containing Moses' tablets, into the temple with countless sacrifices. The ark had really long poles.

Then everyone sang together, praising God, and God came in a cloud so powerfully that the priests had to stop.

Key verse:
14. the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the temple of God.

My thoughts:
This chapter talks of the ark's poles 'still being here today'. This is a bit confusing. Chronicles is certainly postexilic, so either this part of Chronicles is a carbon-copy of an older text, or the author is speaking of the existence of the poles in the new temple (I'm pretty sure the ark was lost by the time of the new temple). Or, the Chronicler is lying, which I don't really accept.

God's power is awesome. Destabilising. You'd think God wouldn't stop his people from worshipping him, but his power is so awesome that even our worship ceases because of it.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

2 Chronicles 4

The temple furnishings

Summary:
There were a bunch of basins and tables and lampstands and pillars which Solomon had made for the temple. They were mostly made of gold. There were a lot of figures of bulls and things.

Key verse:
11. So Huram finished the work he had undertaken for King Solomon in the temple of God

My thoughts:
There were many images of living things in the temple. This could be an indication that God's command not to make idols and graven images is not an all out ban on representing living creatures.

Monday, November 21, 2005

2 Chronicles 3

The temple is built

Summary:
So Solomon began building the temple on Araunah's threshing floor in the fourth year of his reign. He built it a something like this.

Key verse:
1.
Then Solomon began to build the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the Lord had appeared to his father David. It was on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite, the place provided by David.

My thoughts:
The stucture of the temple is significant. I just can't be bothered writing about it. Google it or something.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

2 Chronicles 2

Help from Tyre

Summary:
Solomon ordered for the temple to be built. He got a total of 153,600 foreigners doing the hard work on it. He asked the king of Tyre for cedar, and described to him how great God was and how he would do his best to create a temple pleasing to him to sacrifice from. He asked for resources and skilled men, who he would pay generously.

Hiram, king of Tyre, had a lot of respect for Solomon, and gave him what he asked for, picking out his most skilled men.

Key verse:
12. Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, who made heaven and earth! He has given King David a wise son, endowed with intelligence and discernment, who will build a temple for the Lord and a palace for himself.

My thoughts:
Israel is going mostly to plan. No only does it glorify God, but it is a light to the gentiles, causing others to praise God.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

2 Chronicles 1

Solomon's request

Summary:
Solomon was firmly set as king. He called together all the leaders of Israel and went to the ark and sacrificed a thousand animals.

That night God came to him, offering him whatever he wanted. Solomon asked for wisdom. God was pleased that he didn't asked for riches and power, but God gave them to him anyway, along with the wisdom. Solomon had a great army of chariots.

Key verse:
12. therefore wisdom and knowledge will be given you. And I will also give you wealth, riches and honor, such as no king who was before you ever had and none after you will have.

My thoughts:
In this one book of 2 Chronicles we follow Judah's history from Solomon til the exile. That's a lot of history to cover!

God truly loves Solomon. The kingdom is in a good place under his rule. He's not exactly a model Jew or Christian but he is loved by God.

Solomon asks for wisdom here, and is remembered in Jewish history as the wisest person ever. There is a wisdom tradition that forms around him, and it is interesting to compare this concept of wisdom with Genesis 2 and 3 and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

Friday, November 18, 2005

1 Chronicles 29

The end of David's reign

Summary:
David told the people that he had put all his resources into the temple, and asked who would be willing to help. All the leaders gave resources and helped willingly.

David then praised God and said how everything came from God's hand, and how insignificant these gifts were because God gave them all in the first place.

Solomon was set up as king with many sacrifices, and Zadok as priest. David then died.

Key verse:
15. Our days on earth are like a shadow, without hope.

My thoughts:
So this is the end of the David's reign. The focus, as opposed to the Samuel narrative, has been the temple and records. The story of Bathsheba is completely omitted.

There are some quite interesting cosmoslogical-like statements by David here about God, including the insignificance of human life, but like a lot of ancient Jewish writings, it lacks the hope of salvation and eternal life that Christianity has.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

1 Chronicles 28

David charged Solomon

Summary:
David called together all of his officials and told them that he had plans for a house for God, but that he would not build it, but that his son Solomon would build it. He charged them to follow God's will. He charged Solomon not to turn away from God. David gave his son all the detailed plans for the temple, and said that the plans were written by God's hand, and told him that all people would obey him to build the temple.

Key verse:
19. I have in writing from the hand of the Lord upon me, and he gave me understanding in all the details of the plan.

My thoughts:
David says here that the plans are written specifically by God. This shows how the temple, and it's exact structure are all part of God's plan and his desire to be worshipped. This temple is vastly different from the 'glorious' temple that Herod built before Jesus, but that temple's human glory proved it useless, compared to follow God's command.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

1 Chronicles 27

David's divisions

Summary:
David divided up his army into twelve groups of 24,000, each with a leader. He also set up officers for each tribe of Israel. He also set up people to look after the produce and livestock. Joab was the commander of the army

Key verse:
24. Joab son of Zeruiah began to count the men but did not finish. Wrath came on Israel on account of this numbering, and the number was not entered in the book of the annals of King David.

My thoughts:
It appears that a lot of this information in Chronicles derives from the census which David took as a sin against God. That would be a very interesting original source.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

1 Chronicles 26

Gatekeepers and other officials

Summary:
Gatekeepers from the Levites were appointed, and given positions by lot. There were six guards at a time on the east wall, and four on the north, four on the south, two in the storehouses, and six guarding the west.

Treasurers, genealogy-keepers, and other positions were filled by people, so that the king's and God's affairs could be seen to.

Key verse:
20. Their fellow Levites were in charge of the treasuries of the house of God and the treasuries for the dedicated things.

My thoughts:
So the Levites pretty much ran the country. They were the ones working in the government. Like me. I've decided that I don't envy their jobs anymore.

Monday, November 14, 2005

1 Chronicles 25

Singers of prophecy

Summary:
David appointed a bunch of people of give prophecy accompanied by music. They were of the descendants of Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun. They were all musicians and David ordered them by lot.

Key verse:
1. David, together with the commanders of the army, set apart some of the sons of Asaph, Heman and Jeduthun for the ministry of prophesying, accompanied by harps, lyres and cymbals.

My thoughts:
It's interesting that in David's world, prophecy goes hand-in-hand with music. Maybe we could read the Prophets in a much similar way to how we read the Psalms.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

1 Chronicles 24

The divisions of the Priests

Summary:
Aaron had four sons, Nabab, Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. Nabab and Abihu died young, so Eleazar and Ithamar were priests. In David's time, Zadok was a descendant of Eleazar, and Ahimelech was a descendant of Ithamar.

David cast lots to which order the priests would minister in. The other Levites were also cast lots for.

Key verse:
3. With the help of Zadok a descendant of Eleazar and Ahimelech a descendant of Ithamar, David separated them into divisions for their appointed order of ministering.

My thoughts:
Maybe it was instead this Zadok who is remembered in later Jewish history as the true heir of the priestly line of Aaron. In other posts I have thought it was a high priest who comes in later in Israel's history.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

1 Chronicles 23

The Levites

Summary:
So David made Solomon king in his old age. He also counted the Levite, and found there to be 38000. Most of them served the temple, but some were judges and gatekeepers and musicians. The Levites were split into three clans - the Kohathites, the Merarites, and the Gershonites. They did all the work of the temple.

Key verse:
32. And so the Levites carried out their responsibilities for the Tent of Meeting, for the Holy Place and, under their brothers the descendants of Aaron, for the service of the temple of the Lord.

My thoughts:
Yea... the Levites. You gotta wonder how there could be work for tens of thousands of people on one temple. Sounds like a sweet job to me!

Friday, November 11, 2005

1 Chronicles 22

David prepares for the temple

Summary:
David got some foreigns to prepare materials for the temple. He knew that Solomon was only young, so he prepared for the temple now. He told Solomon that it would be him who would build the temple, and that God would bless him. He told him to follow God, and that he had prepared materials for him, but that he had to continue. So Solomon began to build the temple

Key verse:
1. The house of the Lord God is to be here, and also the altar of burnt offering for Israel.

My thoughts:
This proves my suspicions that the threshing floor was the place of the temple.

Here we have a conversation between David and Solomon which is not recorded in Samuel. The temple construction starts in David's reign, which does not seem to be the case in Samuel's narrative.

There is a large focus on the temple, because it, along with David's dynasty, are probably the two great sources of national pride for Judah.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

1 Chronicles 21

The census

Summary:
David, urged on by Satan, held a census of his troops. Joab disagreed, but it happened anyway. There were 1,100,000 fighting men in Israel, and 470,000 in Judah. David realised he had sinned, and God gave him three options - three years of famine, three months of war or three days of plague. David chose the plague, so that they would suffer at God's hand, not at the hand of others.

So God sent an angel to kill in Jerusalem. After three days, God stopped. David saw the angel with his sword over Jerusalem. David complained that others had to suffer for his sin, and God told him to set buy Araunah's land and build an altar there, so David did and paid full price. David set up a sacrifice, and God burnt it up. Then the angel put his sword back.

Key verse:
30. But David could not go before it to inquire of God, because he was afraid of the sword of the angel of the Lord.

My thoughts:
An interesting thing is that here Satan inspires David to sin, whereas in the Samuel narrative, it is God who cause David to sin. Chronicles is written later, and so a theology of Satan was much more developed. However, in the absence of a evil power, all things come from God, as in the Samuel narrative.

David's sin was pride. By taking a census, he was indulging in his own success.

I think Araunah's threshing flood, which David bought, is the later site of the temple. If this is so, then this story is also significant because God tells David to set up an altar on Mount Zion, where all sacrifices are later made. God's desire for Zion to be holy predates the temple.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

1 Chronicles 20

More battles

Summary:
David and Joab took over Rabbah, enslaved their people, and took their kings crown.

Three mighty descendants of Rapha were killed by the Israelites, including one man with six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot, who was killed by David's brother Jonathan.

Key verse:
8. These were descendants of Rapha in Gath, and they fell at the hands of David and his men.

My thoughts:
Only eight verses in this. Rapha is probably a mythical character who was a son of a god or something. The 'descendants of Rapha' were either just massive and powerful men, or actual descendants of a man named Rapha around whom a mythology formed.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

1 Chronicles 19

Hanun insults David

Summary:
Hanun's father died, and he became king of the Ammonites. David sent men to him in kindness, but Hanun shaved them and shamed them. David let them recover and grow their hair back in privacy. The Ammonites then amassed an army with the help of the Arameans. With God's help, David and Joab defeated the Ammonites.

Key verse:
13. The Lord will do what is good in his sight.

My thoughts:
Another victory for David. What a surprise.

Monday, November 07, 2005

1 Chronicles 18

David's victories

Summary:
David beat the Philistines, taking Gath, and got tribute from Moab, and controlled right up to the Euphrates river by beating Hadadezer and all his allies. Many people started giving him gifts. HE had many officials.

Key verse:
3. Moreover, David fought Hadadezer king of Zobah, as far as Hamath, when he went to establish his control along the Euphrates River.

My thoughts:
Man, David's empire is pretty massive. The Euphrates is very far away from Jerusalem, and after David and Solomon, Israel never extends to the Euphrates, right up until this day. Here Israel really is an Empire. Those living in Damascus, though under David's control, are not Israelites. They are probably Arameans.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

1 Chronicles 17

The eternally established throne

Summary:
David realised that he lived in a palace, but that the ark lived in a tent. But God told him to not worry, it wasn't on His priority list. He would make David's name great and protect Israel. His house would be built in the time of David's son, and God would never leave David's son, and his throne will last forever.

David prayed saying "Why have you been so good to me? There is no god like God, no nation like Israel. Do as you have promised"

Key verse:
14. I will set him over my house and my kingdom forever; his throne will be established forever.

My thoughts:
This is a key verse in Chronicles. Chronicles follows David's royal line, and so this here - David's forever-established throne - is the central concept to Chronicles.

As I said in Samuel, this word from God can be seen in two lights. Firstly, it is fulfilled in Solomon, who builds the temple. But secondly, and more importantly it is fulfilled in Jesus. David's throne is now occupied by Jesus, and will so for all eternity. Jesus builds God's house, and God will never leave him. He is a son of David.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

1 Chronicles 16

David's psalm of thanks

Summary:
And so David brought the ark into Jerusalem, and set it up in the tent. He appointed Levites to minister within it. He sang a psalm of thanks for the occasion. It was a psalm singing of how God had led Israel into the promised land, and of the wonder of his covenant. It sang of how he was greater than all other gods, and his love endures for ever.

Key verse:
36. Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel,
from everlasting to everlasting.

My thoughts:
This is quite a cool psalm with some common phrases in it. It truly captures the admiration someone like David had for his God.

Friday, November 04, 2005

1 Chronicles 15

The ark brought to Jerusalem

Summary:
After David had built stuff for himself, he made a tent for the ark, and brought it up to Jerusalem, but this time he told the Levites to do it. They brought the ark in with great sacrifices and music. David danced before it without much on, and Michal, Saul's daughter, saw his dancing and despised him.

Key verse:
15. And the Levites carried the ark of God with the poles on their shoulders, as Moses had commanded in accordance with the word of the Lord.

My thoughts:
We can see here that David has learnt from his mistakes. He has realised that his problem in trying to bring the ark up last time is that he did not follow God's law. Here, when he is careful to follow God's law, then it is successful and celebrated.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

1 Chronicles 14

David's power

Summary:
David was powerful because of God and had many wives and children. The king of Tyre built him a palace.

The Philistines attacked him wen he became king, but David defeated them twice, both times consulting God first and doing what God said.

Key verse:
10. The Lord answered him, "Go, I will hand them over to you."

My thoughts:
It's a pretty sweet time for Israel. Later it is them paying tribune to others, but for now, others are trying to get on Israel's good side.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

1 Chronicles 13

David tries to bring the ark

Summary:
David and all his advisors with all of Israel decided to bring the ark to Jerusalem so it could be the focus of his decisions. However, as they were bringing it on a cart, the oxen stumbled, and Uzzah touched the ark so that it wouldn't fall, and God killed him.

David was angry at God for doing it, and was a afraid and did not bring the ark into Jerusalem, and left it at a house, and that household was blessed.

Key verse:
10. The Lord's anger burned against Uzzah, and he struck him down because he had put his hand on the ark. So he died there before God.

My thoughts:
Firstly, it is comforming to know that we can be angry with God, as David was. David is understandly angry and afraid. God is dangerous, unpredictable.

I heard a good message on this passage just a couple of weeks ago. The preacher pointed out that it was clear, and God's commandment, that the ark was to be transported by priests using poles. It was made so that that would happen. So David disobeyed God by using a cart in the place. He compromised the holiness of the item, and someone else paid the price.

Because of this, David becomes stuck with his relationship with God. He cannot bring the ark in, and he needs to get over than. He must be scathing that that household is being blessed, when he's in a bad place.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

1 Chronicles 12

David's army

Summary:
Many men defected as warriors to David when he was banished by Saul. There were the fearless Gadites, who were commanders, and Benjamites, who by the Spirit came in peace. Men also came from the other tribes, and for a while David fought with the Philistines, and David had a great army. A great multitude from every tribe came to set him up as king in Hebron against Saul's house. They were volunteers, and gave to David's cause.

Key verse:
22. Day after day men came to help David, until he had a great army, like the army of God.

My thoughts:
Notice the military language used in terms of heaven. Using such imagery builds up our image of God's majesty and power.