Day 228 (Aug. 16): God makes Ezekiel a messenger/watchman for Israel, Ezekiel only to speak when he has message from God, Ezekiel bears sins of Israel and Judah as he’s force to experience devastation of siege, Judah urged to submit to Babylon, Ignore false prophets, Jeremiah condemns Hananiah, Jeremiah prophecies that Babylon will be empty

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.

Ezekiel 3:16-4:17

Jeremiah 27-28

Jeremiah Wears an Ox Yoke

Questions & Observations

Q. (Ezekiel 3:24, 4:4-7, 12): This isn’t a literal description right?  Ezekiel’s hands weren’t really tied so he couldn’t move?  It gets worse in Ch. 4.  Why such harsh treatment for someone who is to spread God’s messages?  And dung for fuel to bake his bread.  This is unbearable!

A. I believe that the being tied was symbolic.  It did not imply that he could not move, but should be understood as God restricting his movements metaphorically.  As to the rest of the requirements, it appears that God meant this literally as he made provision for Ezekiel’s needs, though scantily, of food and shelter.  The idea here is that Ezekiel will act out the siege that is befalling Jerusalem on various levels: being trapped within the “walls,” given meager rations, and forced to improvise fuel.  Dried manure was commonly used as fuel in this era, and is still used in parts of the world today.  I cannot imagine it is a pleasant fuel to use, but I believe that that was an intentional choice on God’s part: the unpleasantness was meant to be part of the symbolic penance.

Q. (4:5-6): What is the significance of the length of time Ezekiel was required to rest on his left and then right side?

A. Based upon the model he built, having Ezekiel lie on his left side would have meant he was on the “north” side of Jerusalem, which would have symbolized Israel.  Having him lay on his right side would have caused him to be on the south side, representing Judah and its sins.  The 390 years appears to be the length of time that has taken place since Solomon’s turning away from God, and all the Northern kings who followed down this path away from God.  The 40 years is a bit trickier, but is probably a reference to Manasseh’s long reign before his repentance.

Q. (Jeremiah 28:1-17): Why were there false prophets?  Were they appointed by the king to say what he wants them to say much like the king creates man-made idols to help him in the way he wants help?

A. That’s one possible explanation.  Another is that this man thought he was hearing from God but was simply mistaken as Jeremiah is told.  Telling people what they want to hear is surely a way to make oneself popular, so perhaps this man became a “prophet” because he liked being the center of attention for sharing positive messages that the king and others would have liked to hear.  Those are my guesses.

Day 84 (March 25): Israel defeats southern towns, Joshua kills five southern kings, Southern towns destroyed, northern armies destroyed, kings east of Jordan defeated

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.  Take the challenge.  You won’t regret it.

Joshua 10-12:6

Questions & Observations

Q. (Joshua 10:9-10): So, although the Gibeonites had tricked Israel into giving them favor and thus protecting them, the Lord, through Joshua, showed them grace because they acknowledged His power?

A. Once the oath of allegiance had been sworn, the matter was settled, and Israel would at that point be responsible for the safeguarding of their servants.  That is likely why the Gibeonites had the expectation of Israel coming to their rescue.

Q. (10:26): Is there anything more discuss about impaling the kings other than it’s a sign of victory and warning to the Israelites’ enemies?

A. The execution involved being hung on a tree, even though technically they were impaled (isn’t the Bible fun!), which would have been a demonstration of their cursed nature, as mentioned in Deuteronomy 21:22.

Q. (10:28-42): This is a lot of bloodshed.  Were these towns’ residents evil or was the destruction just part of God’s wishes to clear the area and give it to the Israelites?  Are any of the towns that were destroyed connected to any Biblical character we have studied thus far?

A. The implication is that the people in this area had grown evil and corrupt.  God is telling Israel, “here’s the deal: your job is to purify this land for me, and then it is yours. Just be careful, because if you become corrupt (and they will), I’m going to bring an invading force to destroy you just like you destroyed these people.”  The areas mentioned, such as Jerusalem, have some passing reference: Jerusalem is where Abraham met with Melchizedek (Genesis 14), and will be the future capital under David and the subsequent kings.  Some of the tribes have been referred to in previous lineages, but there is nothing that is especially important for us to note.

Q. (11:20): So the Lord hardened the hearts of the kings in order to bring out rivalries, and, in turn, battle with them so the Lord can show His power?

A. It appears He did not want the other kings making terms of surrender in order to stay in the land.  It actually gives some credence to the idea that you suggested yesterday, that God desired the Gibeonites to be Israel’s servants, because otherwise He would have hardened their king’s heart as well.

Q. (11:21): Why is mentioning Anak important?   I don’t remember him mentioned from any previous reading.

A. There were references to them in Deuteronomy (1, 2, and 9).  They were the people who were, according to the 12 spies, so huge that they could not be conquered which caused Israel to flee instead of trusting God.  There are references to Genesis 6:4 here, and the creation of some sort of half human giants, for which we don’t exactly know what they mean.  But the Genesis account and these verses indicate that their descendant was Anak, which is probably the reason that he is mentioned here.