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Saturday, June 17, 2017

1 Kings 9; 2 Chronicles 8


This is a complete side by side story.  Again, Kings is longer.  But also, God appears to Solomon in Kings, no explicitly in a dream this time, but it is implied, and makes a covenant with Solomon that his line will stay in power unless they fall out of line and fail to keep the commandments.  This is much more of a contract.

The two sources disagree about the role the Pharaoh's daughter played in some land to the South.  First From Kings.

15 Here is the account of the forced labor King Solomon conscripted to build the Lord’s temple, his own palace, the terraces,[f] the wall of Jerusalem, and Hazor, Megiddo and Gezer. 16 (Pharaoh king of Egypt had attacked and captured Gezer. He had set it on fire. He killed its Canaanite inhabitants and then gave it as a wedding gift to his daughter, Solomon’s wife. 17 And Solomon rebuilt Gezer.) He built up Lower Beth Horon, 18 Baalath, and Tadmor[g] in the desert, within his land, 19 as well as all his store cities and the towns for his chariots and for his horses[h]—whatever he desired to build in Jerusalem, in Lebanon and throughout all the territory he ruled.

. . .

After Pharaoh’s daughter had come up from the City of David to the palace Solomon had built for her, he constructed the terraces.
She's pretty important here.  Solomon is getting a nice bit of territory as a gift to her, right?  The Chronicler has a different view.  
Solomon then went to Hamath Zobah and captured it. 4 He also built up Tadmor in the desert and all the store cities he had built in Hamath. 5 He rebuilt Upper Beth Horon and Lower Beth Horon as fortified cities, with walls and with gates and bars, 6 as well as Baalath and all his store cities, and all the cities for his chariots and for his horses[b]—whatever he desired to build in Jerusalem, in Lebanon and throughout all the territory he ruled.
. . .

Solomon brought Pharaoh’s daughter up from the City of David to the palace he had built for her, for he said, “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.”
Not only does her pop lose credit for conquering and gifting some land to her, the moving her into her own palace is made to be explicitly due to her unworthiness as a foreigner, I presume.  Also, this passage makes clear that Solomon only enslaved foreigners.  Hmm.  So we won't look here for Biblical guidance on immigration policy.

Psalm 134, 146-150

This passage is of uplifting psalms of praise.  They focus on how God is the God for everyone.  As I have mentioned elsewhere, this notion is not found in all parts of Scripture.

Here is Psalm 148's cosmic, space-time take on the subject.
Praise the Lord from the heavens;
praise him in the heights above.

Praise him, all his angels;
praise him, all his heavenly hosts.
Praise him, sun and moon;
praise him, all you shining stars.
Praise him, you highest heavens
and you waters above the skies.

Let them praise the name of the Lord,
for at his command they were created,
and he established them for ever and ever—
he issued a decree that will never pass away
Ours is a big god, okay.  

There is lots of use of "Zion" in this passage, psalm 147 includes, "The Lord builds up Jerusalem;
he gathers the exiles of Israel."  Which raises a question for the creators of the reading list.  This psalm--and according to the NIB Commentary all of Book V--reflects a post-exile sentiment.  So, why am I reading it in the middle of King Solomon's reign?


Thursday, June 15, 2017

1 Kings 8; 2 Chronicles 5-7; Psalm 136

The reading plan split Kings' & Chronicles' description of Solomon's moving the arc of the covenant to the Temple and blessing the Temple  into two days.  So, I waited until today to blog about them.

Solomon really is the greatest King of Israel.  He unifies the territory from Gaza to the Euphrates.  He unifies power by defeating the various people who had believed themselves to be heir to the throne.  And in this passage, he seems to finally bring the mystical power of the ancient religion under civil authority.

Recall that the prophets opposed the creation of a king, and at first God opposes the building of a temple.  Even after David had built a palace.  Nonetheless, by the end, God acquiesces and comes into the Temple, as indicated by a dark cloud so thick that the priests cannot complete their rituals.  And Solomon, the king, no any prophet or priest dedicates the Temple.

It really is a magnificent story of unification.  Of course, like Camelot, it will be a relatively brief moment.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

1 Kings 7; 2 Chronicles 4

We have two stories of dressing up the temple. Once again, we see tremendous similarity between the two passages. And, it seems plain to me that Chronicles is referencing Kings. 

So Huram finished all the work he had undertaken for King Solomon in the temple of the Lord:
41 the two pillars;
the two bowl-shaped capitals on top of the pillars;
the two sets of network decorating the two bowl-shaped capitals on top of the pillars;
42 the four hundred pomegranates for the two sets of network (two rows of pomegranates for each network decorating the bowl-shaped capitals on top of the pillars);
43 the ten stands with their ten basins;
44 the Sea and the twelve bulls under it;
45 the pots, shovels and sprinkling bowls.
All these objects that Huram made for King Solomon for the temple of the Lord were of burnished bronze.

The above is from Kings, the below from Chronicles.
So Huram finished the work he had undertaken for King Solomon in the temple of God:
12 the two pillars;
the two bowl-shaped capitals on top of the pillars;
the two sets of network decorating the two bowl-shaped capitals on top of the pillars;
13 the four hundred pomegranates for the two sets of network (two rows of pomegranates for each network, decorating the bowl-shaped capitals on top of the pillars);
14 the stands with their basins;
15 the Sea and the twelve bulls under it;
16 the pots, shovels, meat forks and all related articles.
All the objects that Huram-Abi made for King Solomon for the temple of the Lord were of polished bronze.

Pretty close.  It is interesting because there are differences between the Spanish and English translations too.  So, I end up feeling like I am reading four translations during these sections.

Monday, June 12, 2017

1 Kings 5-6; 2 Chronicles 2-3

Today's reading is about Solomon building the temple.  The passages in 1 Kings & 2 Chronicles are very similar but not identical.  They each provide different, seemingly small details.

This picture, from Wikipedia Commons, matches the Scripture quite well it seems.





CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Proverbs 22-24

In this selection are Thirty Wise Sayings, a collected of 30 wise sayings.  Interestingly enough, the Spanish and English translations number them differently. 

Here is a paraphrase of the 30 sayings from the English numbering.  Most of these are a handful of stanzas, so are only two lines and some are a dozen lines or so.  But here's my summary:
  1. Pay attention to what I've said
  2. Don't exploit the poor
  3. Don't hang out with thugs
  4. Don't get into debt
  5. Don't move the boundary stone
  6. People with a marketable skill will be valued
  7. If you eat with a ruler, don't pick up his fancy habits
  8. Don't obsess over obtaining wealth
  9. Don't eat with a begrudging host
  10. Don't talk to fools
  11. Don't move the boundary stone
  12. Seek wisdom
  13. Discipline your children
  14. Wisdom makes you glad
  15. Don't envy sinners
  16. Don't be a drunk or glutton
  17. Listen to your parents
  18. Beware of adulterous women
  19. Don't be a drunk
  20. Don't envy sinners
  21. Wisdom is your foundation
  22. The Wise will prevail
  23. Fools cannot understand wisdom
  24. Evil plans will be disturbed
  25. You are measure by your response to trouble
  26. Wisdom is a sweet for your soul as honey for your lips
  27. The righteous will get up in response to trouble, but the evil are destroyed
  28. Don't rejoice when your enemies fail
  29. Don't fret the plans of evildoers, they will fail
  30. Fear the LORD and your King; rebels will be destroyed.

It feels like a good summary of Proverbs in pace and content.