Day 174 (June 23): Jotham rules in Judah, sorrow for Samaria and Jerusalem, Ahaz rules in Judah, Isaiah delivers message to Ahaz, sign of virgin birth

Welcome to BibleBum where we are exploring the entire Bible in one year to better learn how to follow God’s instructions and discover the purpose for our lives.  The BibleBum blog uses The One Year Chronological Bible, the New Living Translation version.  At the end of each day’s reading, Rob, a cultural history aficionado and seminary graduate, answers questions from Leigh An, the blogger host, about the daily scripture.  To start from the beginning, click on “Index” and select Day 1.

2 Kings 15:32-38

2 Chronicles 27:1-9

Micah 1

2 Kings 16:1-9

Isaiah 7:1-25

Questions & Observations

Q. (2 Chronicles 27): Did the Amonites get anything back from paying this tribute?

A. Technically, as a “vassal” state, the Amonites got the protection of Judah’s troops if needed.  Other than that, tribute is a one way street: the mightier one gets the gold.

Q. (Micah 1:1): Do we know anything about Micah?  Just another prophet?

A. We do not know much outside of what he tells us with in the text.  And there is a reference to him in Jeremiah 26:18.  He was most likely from the tribe of Judah, and lived in the Southern part of the kingdom.  He was a contemporary of both Isaiah and Hosea, which I presume we will continue reading in parallel.

Q. (1:5): But Jotham was following God, so I would assume that the people of Judah were too.  Or, do we not know if Jotham was ruling when Micah wrote this?

A. We don’t exactly know, but the story tells us our answer anyway.  The problem was not whether the king was following God (even if he represented the people), but that the people were still worshipping idols, in both capitals, Jerusalem and Samaria.  None of the kings mentioned in Micah did enough to combat this heresy.

Q. (1:6-7): We keep hearing of this looming destruction.  Is this a ploy to warn the nation of Judah and hopefully they will turn toward God to avoid the destruction?  Just a small side question: Do we call the Israelites in Judah “Judeans?”

A. Yes, Judeans is correct.  It’s not a ploy, and Isaiah in particular will reach a point, after Israel is destroyed, of basically telling Judah, “be careful, or you’re next!”

O. (2 Chronicles 28:12): I like seeing Israel react to this warning.  This means they acknowledge His power.

Q. (Isaiah 7:13-16): Isaiah is speaking of Jesus here, right?  What is the purpose of Isaiah revealing the virgin birth to King Ahaz?  The two kingdoms that v. 16 is talking about is Aram and Israel?

A. The verses here establish a “type” or format for this prophecy.  In the contemporary sense of these words, Isaiah is telling the king that God is faithful and will be “with them.”  So in that sense, it does refer to Jesus, but not exclusively.  The NT writers understood that Jesus was “God with us” in the fullest sense, not just as an ally or close at hand, but God made flesh, so they connect this prophecy from ancient times to our understanding of the way that God chose to go about being “with us” in multiple senses of the word.

Q. (Isaiah 7:17-20): So, in 2 Kings 16:5, Ahaz calls on Assyria to fight Aram and Israel, but here Assyria is wiping out Jerusalem?

A. Assyria will not destroy Jerusalem, for reasons that will be explained later, but yes, the king of Judah is encouraging Assyria to conquer Israel.

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