October 31, 2011

Jonah 4

But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was angry.

And he prayed to the Lord, and said, "I pray Thee, Lord, is not this what I said when I was yet in my country? That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I know that Thou art a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, repenting of evil.

"Therefore, oh Lord, take my life from me, I beseech Thee, for it is better for me to die than to live!"

And the Lord said, "Do you do well to be angry?"

Then Jonah went out of the city and sat to the east of the city, and made a booth for himself there. He sat under it in the shade, til he should see what would become of the city.

And the Lord God appointed a plant, and made it come up over Jonah, that it might be a shade ove his head, to save him from his discomfort. So Jonah was exceedingly glad because of the plant.

But when dawn came the next day, God appointed a worm which attacked the plant, so that it whithered. When the sun rose, God appointed a sultry east wind, and the sun beat upon the head of Jonah so that he was faint; and he asked that he die; and he said, "It is better for me to die than to live."

But God said to Jonah, "Do you do well to be angry for the plant?"

And he said, "I do well to be angry, angry enough to die!"

And the Lord said, "You pity the plant, for which you did not labor, nor did you make it grow, which came into being in a night, and perished in a night.

"And should I not pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?"

October 30, 2011

Luke 10.38->

While they were on their way, Jesus came to a village where a woman named Martha made him welcome in her home. She had a sister, Mary, who seated herself at the Lord's feet and stayed there listening to his words.

Now Martha was distracted by her many tasks, so she came to him and said, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to get on with the work by myself? Tell her to come and lend me a hand."

But the Lord answered, "Martha, Martha, you are fretting about so many things, but one thing is necessary. The part that Mary has chosen is best; and it shall not be taken away from her."

October 29, 2011

Jonah 3

Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying "Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim to it the message that I tell you."

So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, three days journey in breadth. Jonah began to go into the city, going a day's journey.

And he cried, "Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!"

And the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least of them.

Then tidings reached the King of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, removed his robe, and covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes.

And he made proclamation and published throughout Nineveh, "By decree of the King and his nobles; let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything. Let them not feed, or drink water; but let mand and beast be covered with sackcloth, and let them cry mightily to God. Yea, let every one turn from his evil way and from the violence which is in his hands. Who knows, God may yet repent and turn from His fierce anger, so that we perish not!"

When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God repented of the evil which He had said He would do to them; and he did not do it.

October 28, 2011

Luke 10.25-37

But [the lawyer] wanted to vindicate himself. So he said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?"

Jesus replied, "A man was on his way from Jerusalem down to Jericho when he fell in with robbers who stripped him, beat him, and went off leaving him half dead.

"It so happened that a priest was going by on the same road; but when he saw him, he went by on the other side. So, too, a Levite came to the place, and when he saw him, went past on the other side.

"But a Samaritan who was making the journey came upon him, and when he saw him, was moved to pity. He went up and bandaged his wounds, bathing them with oil and wine. Then he lifted him on his own beast, brought him to an inn, and looked after him there. Next day, he produced two silver pieces and gave them to the innkeeper, and said, 'Look after him; and if you spend any more, I will repay you on my way back.'

"Which of those three do you think was neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?"

He answered, "The one who showed him kindness."

Jesus said, "Go and do as he did."

October 27, 2011

"The Sign of Jonah"

About that previous passage. Jesus (or his early followers) knew this story and associated it with "the belly of Sheol" and

"the land
whose bars closed upon me forever;
[yet Thou didst bring up my life from the Pit,]

that is, with death.

Jesus is quoted as having said ~These people are asking me for a sign, but the only sign they're going to get is "the sign of Jonah."

If this "sign" is 'spending time in death, then coming back,' it's an odd sort of evidence for Jesus to claim for his contemporary detractors. Odd, for one thing, because it arrives too late to prevent his execution, and also because it seems to be only his followers, those Jews who already love him, who see him as a resurrected person.

So I've felt for a long time that the real "sign of Jonah", to Jesus, would have been the fact that Nineveh, that most wicked of Wicked Cities, repents in this story.

For Jesus and his contemporaries, that would have symbolized the repentance of the Romans, in particular-- and of course, also those of his followers who'd been considered most sinful under the proto-Judaism of the time.

But here we have also a strong association with death, both literally and as a symbol.

Why is Jonah dead 'for three days and three nights'? Because he's been evading a divine call to give his message to the wicked foreigners: Change your ways or be destroyed. Jonah prefers to have God follow the second option; it's just what they deserve; while if they repent he knows God really will forgive them.

Look at how this resonates with the Jews of Jesus' day. Their nation has come to be politically dominated by pagans, who are systematically looting, oppressing, and corrupting their country. While their leaders are adopting Roman ways (much to the detriment of their own poor classes) there is also a widespread feeling that "God will get them for that, and serves them right." And that, people hope, will be their "return from exile," the restoration of Israel to its rightful relation with God.

And while Jesus is serving as a prophet specifically to his own people, he's been pointing out stories in which prophets found a sympathetic hearing among the wicked foreigners. And this has aroused strong hostility even in his own home village!

His nation (like any other nation!) wants to enjoy a uniquely blessed relation to God-- like Jacob before he repented and was renamed 'Israel', they want to steal their brothers' birthright and keep it for themselves. As the followers of a great many religions are tempted to do, to comfortably assume that "We've been given the straight truth, the outsiders weren't; isn't that nice!?" But there's this persistent refrain in their tradition about obligations coming with a blessed status; and they don't (like followers of any other religion) enjoy hearing that nearly as much. Friends (Quakers) come to mind in this connection.

And so this symbol of "death" also symbolizes that state, of being content to be "religious" in isolation. "Those people just wouldn't be suited to our way of worship" (as I've heard several Quakers say, in discussions of "outreach.")

The result of this kind of attitude, for any religion, is death. The religion becomes an ingrown sect, loses much of the spiritual value it used to offer its own members. (Not to all its members-- but to those content with that spiritual condition.)

October 25, 2011

Jonah 2

Then Joan prayed to the Lord his God from the belly of the fish, saying:

I called to the Lord, out of my distress,
and He answered me.
Out of the belly of Sheol I cried,
and Thou didst hear my voice.

For Thou didst cast me into the deep,
into the heart of the seas;
and the flood was round about me;
all Thy waves and billow passed over me.

Then I said, "I am cast out from Thy presence;
how shall I again look upon Thy holy Temple?"

The waters closed in over me;
the deep was round about me.
Weeds were wrapped about my head
at the roots of the mountains.

I went down to the land
whose bars closed upon me forever;
yet Thou didst bring up my life from the Pit,
oh Lord my God.

When my soul fainted within me,
I remembered the Lord
and my prayer came to Thee,
into Thy holy Temple.

Those who pay regard to vain idols
forsake their true loyalty.
But I with the voice of thanksgiving
will sacrifice to Thee.

What I have vowed I will pay;
deliverance belongs to the Lord!

And the Lord spoke to the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the land.

October 24, 2011

Luke 10.23-24

On one occasion a lawyer came forward to put this test question to him: "Master, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"

Jesus said, "What is written in the Law? What's your reading of it?"

He replied, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind-- and your neighbor as yourself."

"That is the right answer," Jesus said. "Do that and you will live."

October 18, 2011

Jonah 1.4->

But the Lord hurled a great wind upon the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship threatened to break up.

Then the mariners were afraid, and each cried to his god; and they threw the wares that were on the ship into the sea, to lighten it for them.

But Jonah had gone down into the inner part of the ship and had lain down, and was fast asleep.

So the captain came and said to him, "What do you mean, you sleeper? Arise, call upon your god! Perhaps the god will give a thought to us, that we do not perish!"

And they said to one another, "Come, let us cast lots, that we may know on whose account this evil has come upon us!" So they cast lots, and the lot fell upon Jonah. Then they said to him, "Tell us, on whose account has this evil come upon us? What is your occupation? And whence do you come? What is your country? And of what people are you?"

And he said to them, "I am a Hebrew; and I fear the Lord, the God of Heaven, who made the sea and the dry land."

Then the men were exceedingly afraid, and said to him, "What is it that you have done?" For the men knew that he was fleeing from the presence of the Lord, because he had told them. Then they said to him, "What shall we do with you, that the sea may quiet down for us?" For the sea grew more and more tempestuous.

He said to them, "Take me up and throw me into the sea; then the sea will quiet down for you; for I know it is because of me that this great tempest has come upon you."

Nevertheless the men rowed hard to bring the ship back to land, but they could not, for the sea grew more and more tempestuous against them. Therefore they cried to the Lord, "We beseech you, oh Lord; let us not perish for this man's life; and lay not on us innocent blood, for Thou, oh Lord, has done as it pleased Thee." So they took up Jonah and threw him into the sea; and the sea ceased its raging. Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord, and made vows.

And the Lord appointed a great fish to swallow up Jonah; and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

October 17, 2011

Luke 10.23-24

Turning to his disciples in private, he said, "Happy the eyes that see what you are seeing! I tell you, many prophets and kings wished to see what you now see, yet never saw it-- to hear what you hear, but never heard it."

October 16, 2011

Jonah 1-1.3

Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, "Arise, and go to Ninevah, that great city, and cry against it-- for their wickedness has come up before Me."

But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid his fare, and went on board, to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the Lord.

October 15, 2011

Luke 10.22

Then turning to his disciples he said, "Everything is entrusted to me by my Father; and no one knows who the Son is but the Father, or who the Father is but the Son. (And those to whom the Son may reveal him.)"

October 13, 2011

2 Kings 19.8->

The Rabshakeh returned, and found the King of Assyria fighting against Libnah; for he heard that the King had left Lachish.

And when the King heard concerning Tirhakah, King of Ethiopia, "Behold, he has set out to fight against you," he sent messengers again to Hezekiah, saying, "Thus shall you speak to Hezekiah King of Judah: 'Do not let your god on whom you rely deceive you by promising that Jerusalem will not be given into the hand of the King of Assyria.

"'Behold, you have heard what the Kings of Assyria have done to all lands, destroying them utterly. And shall you be delivered? Have gods of other nations delivered them?-- the nations which my fathers destroyed, Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, and the people of Eden who were in Telassar? Where is the King of Hamath, the King of Arpad, the king of the city of Sepharvaim, the King of Hena, or the King of Ivvah?'"

Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers, and read it; and Hezekiah went up to the House of the Lord, and spread it before the Lord. And Hezekiah prayed before the Lord, and said, "Oh Lord the God of Israel, who art enthroned above the cherubim, thou art the God, Thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the Earth; Thou has made Heaven and Earth.

"Incline Thy ear, oh Lord, and hear; open Thy eyes, oh Lord, and see. And hear the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to mock the Living God.

"Of a truth, oh Lord, the kings of Assyria have laid waste other nations and their lands, and have cast their gods into the fire; for they were no gods, but the work of men's hands-- wood and stone-- and therefore they were destroyed.

"So now, oh Lord, save us-- I beseech Thee-- from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the Earth may know that Thou, oh Lord, art God alone."

Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah, saying, "Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Your prayer to me about Sennacherib King of Assyria I have heard. This is the word that the Lord has spoken concerning him:

"She despises you; she scorns you--
the virgin daughter of Zion;
she wags her head behind you--
the daughter of Jerusalem!

Whom have you mocked and reviled?
Against Whom have you raised your voice
and haughtily lifted your eyes?
Against the Holy One of Israel?

By your messengers you have mocked the Lord,
and you have said, 'With my many chariots
I have gone up the heights of the mountains
to the far reaches of Lebanon.

I felled its tallest cedars,
its choicest cypresses;
I entered its farthest retreat,
its densest forest.

I dug wells
and drank foreign waters
and I dried up with the sole of my foot
all the streams of Egypt.'

Have you not heard that I determined it long ago?
I planned from days of old, what now I bring to pass:

that you should turn fortified cities into heaps of ruins
while their inhabitants, shorn of strength
are dismayed and confounded

and have become like plants of the field
and like tender grass--
like grass on the housetops,
blighted before it is grown.

But I know your sitting down
and your going out and coming in,
and your raging against me.

Because you have raged against me
and your arrogance has come into my ears
I will put my hook in your nose
and my bit in your mouth,

and I will turn you back
on the way by which you have come.

"'And this shall be the sign for you: This year you shall eat what grows of itself; and in the second year, what springs of the same. Then in the third year, sow and reap; and plant vineyards, and eat their fruit. And the surviving remnant of the house of Judah shall again take root downward, and bear fruit upward-- for out of Jerusalem shall go forth a remnant, and out of Mt Zion a band of survivors. The zeal of the Lord will do this!

"'Therefore thus says the Lord concerning the King of Assyria: He shall not come into this city or shoot an arrow there, or come before it with a shield or cast up a siege mound against it. By the way that he came, by the same he shall return; and he shall not come into this city, says the Lord. For I will defend this city to save it, for my own sake and for the sake of my servant David.'"

And that night the angel of the Lord went forth, and slew a hundred and eighty-five thousand in the camp of the Assyrians; and when men arose early in the morning, behold, these were all dead bodies!

Then Sennacherib King of Assyria departed, and went home, and dwelt at Ninevah. And as he was worshiping in the House of Nisroch his god, Adram-melech and Sharezer, his sons, slew him with the sword, and escaped into the land of Ararat. And Esarhaddon his son reigned in his stead.

October 11, 2011

Prophets, Next...

I do intend to finish the story we left off, halfway through, with 2 Kings 18 etc...

But I see we've already reached Isaiah, putting us out of strict chronological order.

That order is a bit elusive, and I'm not a competent authority on it. Trying to google this, I get chronologies by Swedenborg and a group of atheists... which are actually in fair agreement so far as they overlap.

I am proposing (& open to correction) that after we finish Isaiah's first appearance here, we go on in this order:

Jonah (fictitious but quite relevant to prophecy in general)
Daniel (fictitious, later, but set about this time)
Isaiah (2nd etc)

Suggested changes?

October 10, 2011

Luke 10.21

At that moment, Jesus exulted in the Spirit and said, "I thank Thee, Father, Lord of Heaven and Earth, for hiding these things from the learned and wise, and revealing them to the simple. Yes, Father, such was Thy choice."

October 07, 2011

Luke 10.17-20

The seventy-two came back jubilant. "In your name, Lord," they said, "even the devils submit to us."

He replied, "I watched how Satan fell, like lightning out of the sky.

"And now you see that I have given you the power to tread underfoot snakes and scorpions and all the forces of the Enemy; and nothing will ever harm you.

"None the less, what you should rejoice over is not that the spirits submit to you, but that God has enlisted you for His kingdom." [I have changed the wording slightly, from "your names are enrolled in Heaven"-- to de-emphasize the pie-in-sky interpretation & bring out something closer to what I think was meant...]

October 06, 2011

2 Kings 18+

[We get lots & lots of ~not doing right by the Lord, which mostly seems to mean 'letting people ignore the monopoly on religion that the Jerusalem priesthood would like to impose'-- but also some actual bad stuff, like alleged child sacrifice. "Yet the Lord warned Israel and Judah by every prophet and every seer, saying 'Turn from your evil ways and keep my commandments...'" We get lots of regime change in Israel, one murderous conspirator after another.

Assyria becomes powerful and conquers Israel-- and puts foreigners in charge of Israel's cities. "At the beginning of their dwelling there, they did not fear the Lord; therefore the Lord sent lions among them, which killed some of them... Then the King of Assyria commanded, 'Send there one of the priests whom you carried away thence; and let him go and dwell there, and teach them the law of the god of the land.'" (This later becomes the rationale for the hostility between Judeans and Samaritans, although the Samaritans themselves claimed to be descended mainly from Israelites who had opposed the Judean monarchy from the beginning.) Hezekiah becomes King of Judah and starts 'doing what was right in the eyes of the Lord': closing down high places, cutting down the Asherah, breaking a serpent statue said to have come down from Moses... ]

2 Kings 18.9:
And the Lord was with him; wherever he went forth, he prospered. He rebelled against the King of Assyria, and would not serve him. He smote the Philistines as far as Gaza and its territory, from watchtower to fortified city.

In the fourth year of King Hezekiah... Shalmaneser King of Assyria came up against Samaria and besieged it; and at the end of three years he took it. In the sixth year of Hezekiah... Samaria was taken. The King of Israel carried the Israelites away to Assyria, and put them in Halah, and on the Habor, the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes, because they did not obey the voice of the Lord their God but transgressed His covenant, even all that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded; they neither listened nor obeyed. ["We told you so!"]

In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, Sennacherib King of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and took them.

And Hezekiah King of Judah sent to the King of Assyria at Lachish, saying, "I have done wrong; withdraw from me; whatever you impose on me I will bear."

And the King of Assyria required of Hezikiah 300 talents of silver, and 30 talents of gold.

And Hezekiah gave him all the silver that was found in the House of the Lord, and in the treasuries of the King's House. At that time Hezekiah stripped the gold from the doors of the Temple, and from the doorposts which Hezekiah King of Judah had overlaid, and gave it to the King of Assyria.

And the King of Assyria sent [the Rabshakeh & two other officials] with a great army to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem... And when they called for the King, there came out to them Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, who was over the household, and Shebnah the secretary, and Jah the son of Asaph, the recorder.

And the Rabshakeh said to them, "Say to Hezekiah, 'Thus says the Great King, the King of Assyria: On what do you rest this confidence of yours? Do you think that mere words are strategy for war? On whom do you now rely, that you have rebelled against me? Behold, you are relying on Egypt, that broken reed of a staff, which will pierce the hand of any man who leans on it. Such is Pharaoh King of Egypt to all who rely on him.

"'But if you say to me, "We reply on the Lord our God"-- Is it not he whose high places and altars Hezekiah has removed, saying to Judah and Jerusalem: "You shall worship before this altar in Jerusalem."?

"'Come now, make a wager with my master the King of Assyria: I will give you 2000 horses, if you are able on your part to set riders upon them! How, then, can you repulse a single captain among the least of my master's servants, when you rely on Egypt for chariots and for horsemen?

"'Moreover, is it without the Lord that I have come up against this place to destroy it? The Lord said to me, Go up against this land, and destroy it.'"

Then Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, and Shebnah, and Joah, said to the Rabshakeh, "Pray, speak to your servants in the Aramaic language, for we understand it. Do not speak to us in the language of Judah within the hearing of the people who are upon the wall."

But the Rabshakeh said to them, "Has my master sent me to speak these words to your master and to you, and not to the men sitting on the wall, who are doomed with you to eat their own dung and to drink their own urine?

Then the Rabshakeh stood and called out in a loud voice in the language of Judah, "Hear the word of the Great King, the King of Assyria! Thus says the King, 'Do not let Hezekiah decieve you, for he will not be able to deliver you out of my hand. Do not let Hezekiah make you to rely on the Lord by saying, The Lord will surely deliver us, and this city will not be given into the hand King of Assyria. Do not listen to Hezekiah; for thus says the King of Assyria: 'Make your peace with me, and come out to me; then every one of you will eat of his own vine, and every one of his own fig tree; and every one of you will drink the water of his own cistern, until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of grain and wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of olive trees and honey-- that you may live, and not die. And do not listen to Hezekiah when he misleads you by saying, The Lord will deliver us. Has any of the gods of the nations ever delivered his land out of the hand of the King of Assyria? Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah? Have they delivered Samaria out of my hand? Who among all the gods of the nations have delivered their countries out of my hand, that the Lord should deliver Jerusalem out of my hand?'"

But the people were silent, and answered him not a word, for the King's command was, "Do not answer him."

Then Eliakim the son of Hilkia, who was over the household, and Shebna the secretary, and Joah the son of Asaph, the recorder, came to Hezekiah with their clothes rent, and told him the words of the Rabshakeh.

When King Hezekiah heard it, he rent his clothes, and covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the Lord. And he sent Eliakim, who was over the household, and Shebna the secretary, and the senior priests, covered with sackcloth, to the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz.

They said to him, "Thus says Hezekiah, This day is a day of distress, of rebuke, and of disgrace. Children have come to the birth, and there is no strength to bring them forth!

"It may be that the Lord your God heard all the words of the Rabshakeh, who his master the King of Assyria has sent to mock the living God, and will rebuke the words which the Lord your God has heard; therefore, lift up your prayer for the remnant that is left."

Isaiah said to them, "Say to your master, 'Thus says the Lord: Do not be afraid o the words that you have heard, with which the servants of the King of Assyria have reviled me. Behold, I will put a spirit in him, so that he shall hear a rumor and return to his own land; and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land."

October 05, 2011

Luke 10.0-16

After this the Lord appointed a further 72 and sent them on ahead in pairs to every town and place he was going to visit himself. He said to them: "The crop is heavy, but laborers are scarce; you must therefore beg the owner to send laborers to harvest his crop. Be on your way!

"And look, I am sending you as lambs among wolves. Carry no purse nor pack, and travel barefoot. Exchange no greetings on the road.

"When you go into a house, let your first words be, 'Peace to this house.' If there is a man of peace there, your peace will rest upon him; if not, it will return and rest upon you. Stay in that one house, sharing their food and drink-- for the worker earns his pay. Do not move from house to house.

"When you come into a town and they make you welcome, eat the food provided for you; heal the sick there, and say, 'The Kingdom of God has come close to you.' When you enter a town and they do not make you welcome, go out into its streets and say, 'The very dust of your town that clings to our feet we wipe off to your shame. Only take note of this: the kingdom of God has come close.' I tell you, it will be more bearable for Sodom on the great Day than for that town.

"Alas for you , Chorazin! Alas for you, Bethsaida! If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. So it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon at the Judgement than for you. And as for you, Capernaum, will you be exhalted to the skies? No, brought down into the depths!

"Whoever listens to you listens to me; whoever rejects you rejects me. And whoever rejects me, rejects the One who sent me."

October 04, 2011

2 Kings 13.14->

Now when ELisha had fallen sick with the illness of which he was to die, Joash King of Israel went down to him and wept before him, crying, "My father, my father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!"

And Elisha said to him, "Take a bow and arrows;" so he took a bow and arrows.

Then he said to the King of Israel, "Draw the bow," and he drew it.

And Elisha laid his hands upon the King's hands. And he said, "Open the window eastward;" and he opened it.

Then Elisha said, "Shoot!" and he shot.

And he said, "The Lord's arrow of victory, the arrow of victory over Syria. For you shall fight the Syrians in Aphek until you have made an end of them." And he said, "Take the arrows;" and he took them. And he said to the King of Israel, "Strike the ground with them."

And he struck three times, and stopped.

Then the man of God was angry with him, and said, "You should have struck five or six times; then you would have struck down Syria and made an end of it; but now you will strike down Syria only three times."

So Elisha died, and they buried him.

Now bands of Moabites used to invade the land in the spring of the year. And as a man was being buried, lo, a marauding band was seen-- So the man was cast into the grave of Elisha; and as soon as the man touched the bones of Elisha, he revived and stood on his feet.

Now Hazael King of Syria oppressed Israel all the days of Jehoahaz. But the Lord was gracious to them and had compassion on them; and He turned toward them, because of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and would not destroy them; nor has He cast them from His presence until now.

When Hazael King of Syrian died, Ben-hadad his son became King in his stead.

Then Jehoash the son of Jehoahaz took again from Ben-hadad the son of Hazael the cities which he had taken from Jehoahaz his father in war.

Three times Joash defeated him, and recovered the cities of Israel.

October 03, 2011

Luke 9.57->

As they were going along the road a man said to him, "I will follow you wherever you go."

Jesus answered, "Foxes have their holes, the birds their roosts; but this son of Adam has no place to lay his head."

To another he said, "Follow me," but the man replied, "Let me go and bury my father first." Jesus said, "Leave the dead to bury their dead; you must go and announce the kingdom of God."

Yet another said, "I will follow you, sir; but first let me say goodbye to my people at home."

To him Jesus said, "No one who sets his hand to the plough and then keeps looking back is fit for the kingdom of God."

October 02, 2011

2 Kings 8.25-[etc.]

[Summary: Ahaziah King of Judah and Joram the King of Israel are both descendants (Ahaziah through his mother) of Omri, Ahab's father. Both went to war together against Hazael King of Syria.]

And King Joram returned to be healed in Jezreel of the wounds which the Syrians had given him... and Ahaziah... went down to see [him]... because he was sick.

Then Elisha the prophet called one of the sons of the prophets and said to him, "Gird up your loins, and take this flask of oil in your hand, and go to Ramoth-gilead. And when you arrive, look there for Jehu the son of Jehoshaphat, son of Nimshi; and go in and bid him rise from among his fellows, and lead him to an inner chamber.

"Then take the flask of oil, and pour it on his head, and say, 'Thus says the Lord, I anoint you King over Israel.' Then open the door and flee; do not tarry!"

So the young man, the prophet, went to Ramoth-gilead. And when he came, behold, the commanders of the army were in council; and he said, "I have an errand to you, O commander."

And Jehu said, "To which of us all?"

And he said, "To you, O commander."

So he arose, and went into the house; and the young man poured oil on his head, saying, "Thus says the Lord the God of Israel, I anoint you King over the people of the Lord, over Israel. And you shall strike down the house of Ahab your master, that I may avenge on Jezebel the blood of my servants the prophets, and the blood of all the servants of the Lord. For the whole house of Ahab shall perish; and I will cut off from Ahab every male, bond or free, In Israel. And I will make the house of Ahab like the house of Jeoboam the son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha the son of Ahijah. And the dogs shall eat Jezebel in the teritory of Jezreel; and none shall bury her."

Then he opened the door, and fled.

When Jehu came out to the servants of his master, they said to him, "Is all well? Why did this mad fellow come to you?"

And he said, "You know this mad fellow, and his talk."

And they said, "That is not true; tell us now."

And he said, "Thus and so he spoke to me, saying 'Thus says the Lord, I anoint you King over Israel.'"

Then in haste every man of them took his garment, and put it under him on the bare steps; and they blew the trumpet, and proclaimed, "Jehu is King!"

Thus Jehu the son of Jehoshaphat the son of Nimshi conspired against Joram. [recap]... So Jehu said, "If this is your mind, then let no one slip out of the city to go and tell the news in Jezreel." Then Jehu mounted his chariot, and went to Jezreel, for Joram lay there. And Ahaziah King of Judah had come down to visit Joram.

Now the watchman was standing on the tower in Jezreel, and he spied the company of Jehu as he came, and said, "I see a company."

And Joram said, "Take a horseman, and send to meet them, and let him say, 'Is it peace?'"

So a man on horseback went to meet him, and said, "Thus says the King, 'Is it peace?'"

And Jehu said, "What have you to do with peace? Turn round and ride behind me."

And the watchman reported, saying, "The messenger reached them, but he is not coming back." Then he sent out a second horseman, who came to them and said, "Thus the King has said, 'Is it peace?'"

And Jehu answered, "What have you to do with peace? Turn round and ride behind me."

Again the watchman reported, "He reached them, but he is not coming back. And the driving is like the driving of Jehu the son of Nimshi, for he drives furiously."

Joram said, "Make ready." And they made ready his chariot. Then Joram King of Israel and Ahaziah King of Judah set out, each in his chariot, and went to meet Jehu, and met him at the property of Naboth the Jezreelite.

And when Joram saw Jehu, he said, "Is it peace, Jehu?"

He answered, "What peace can there be, so long as the harlotries and sorceries of your mother Jezebel are so many?"

Then Joram reined about and fled, saying to Ahaziah, "Treachery, O Ahaziah!"

And Jehu drew his bow with his full strength, and shot Joram between the shoulders, so that the arrow pierced his heart, and he sank in his chariot.

Jehu said to Bidkar his aide, "Take him up, and cast him on the plot of ground belonging to Naboth the Jezreelite; for remember, when you and I rode side by side behind Ahab his father, how the Lord uttered this oracle against him: 'As surely as I saw yesterday the blood of Naboth and the blood of his sons-- says the Lord-- I will requite you on this plot of ground.' Now therefore take him up and cast him on the plot of ground, in accordance with the word of the Lord."

When Ahaziah the King of Judah saw this, he fled in the direction of Beth-haggan.

And Jehu pursued him, and said, "Shoot him also." And they shot him in the chariot at the ascent of Gur, which is by Ibleam. And he fled to Megiddo, and died there.

[After this we have a pretty thorough massacre, starting with Jezebel & including all of Ahab's friends & relatives. You had to be there to appreciate it... Ahaziah's mother seizes power in Jerusalem, over Judah, and rules until there's a coup in favor of his last surviving son, who has been hidden away for the six years of her reign.]

October 01, 2011

Luke 9.51-56

As the time approached when he was to be taken up to Heaven, he set his face resolutely towards Jerusalem, and sent messengers ahead. They set out and went into a Samaritan village to make arrangements for him; but the villagers would not have him, because he was making for Jerusalem.

When the disciples James and John saw this, they said: "Lord, may we call down fire from Heaven to burn them up?"

But he turned and rebuked them, and they went on to another village.