Day 169 (June 18): Queen Athaliah rules in Judah, Johoiada organizes revolt, Athaliah killed, Jehoiada moves people to tear down Baal’s temple, 7-year-old Joash now ruler of Judah, Joash repairs temple, Jehoiada diess, Joash turns to idols, Jehu dies

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 11:1-3

2 Chronicles 22:10-12

2 Kings 11:4-12

2 Chronicles 23:1-11

2 Kings 11:13-16

2 Chronicles 23:12-15

2 Kings 11:17-21

2 Chronicles 23:16-21

2 Kings 12:1-16

2 Chronicles 24:1-16

2 Chronicles 24:17-22

2 Kings 10:32-36

Questions & Observations

Q. (2 Kings 11:1): By killing all of Ahaziah’s (except for one) family, Athaliah was making herself the only choice for the throne?  So, not only did greed for the throne cause discord, jealousy and rivalry, it fostered murder!  Was Athaliah a descendant of David?  She’s the first queen in all of Judah and Israel?  There’s nothing to say a woman couldn’t be queen, right?

A. She is the first recorded sole female ruler for either kingdom, and yes, her plan is to kill all the other “options” for king.  She is basically ruling for the position of “queen mother,” which is a recognized position in most courts (its where Jezebel was serving when she got what she deserved).  As far as I can tell, she is related to David only by marriage, not blood.

Q. (11:12): Jehosheba saved Joash.  We don’t know if she was worried about the kingdom not having a king or if she was simply saving a baby from imminent death.  Nevertheless, do we know if Joash was chosen by God?

A. I suspect that those who protected Joash felt that because he had survived his grandmother’s onslaught, he was the one God had chosen to be king.  The other important thing to remember is that as the son of the (dispatched) king, his right to rule was assumed — he was the rightful heir to the throne.  Only without a known heir was the queen mother allowed to rule Judah.

Q. (2 Chronicles 23:1-3): This version sounds more trusting than the 2 Kings 11:4 version.  In Chronicles, Jehoiada the priest said that he summoned the Levites and charged them with helping him seat Joash as king.  But, 2 Kings said he summoned commanders, Carite mercenaries and palace guards.  I would think that some of them may have loyalties to the queen.  So, which version is correct?  It’s probably of no importance.  What’s important is that Joash was anointed king of Judah.

A. There is no reason to assume that both versions of the story are not accurate: it is quite possible that Jehoiada worked with both groups (that would be your ruling parties: the priesthood and the royal guardians) to get the proper king installed.  Remember, as we discussed in the previous question, Joash was the legitimate ruler, not his grandmother.

Q. (2 Chronicles 23:7): I wonder what this boy thought about being king at 7 years old?  He had guards surrounding him wherever he went.  I wonder if he knew why he was surrounded.  Athaliah must have not had a strong, loyal military because she did not muster any resistance to Jehodiada’s movement.

A. Jehoiada appears to have talked to the right group of people.  I suspect that Athaliah thought she was safe because she believed that she had killed all the other relatives and would be unchallenged for the throne.

Q. (2 Kings 11:16): Why do the dethroned rulers have to be killed?  Most of them die in battle.  But, I would think Athaliah could have been exiled.

A. Since she had demonstrated a willingness to kill family to get her throne, it is little surprise that she was killed.  It can be dangerous for a young king to have bloodthirsty relatives who might make an attempt to get the throne back.  The only thing between her and being the legitimate ruler is a seven year old boy.  That’s dangerous!

Q. (11:18): Baal was already destroyed by Jehu, but that was in Israel, right?  This is Judah.  It’s getting difficult to keep it all straight.

A. Yes, this is Judah.  Honestly, the “choppiness” of the readings between Kings and Chronicles is not helping me keep it straight either.

Q. (12:3): Why is it so hard to get rid of all of the pagan shrines?  Several kings have done really well in the eyes of God, except for leaving a little bit of materials for worshipping false gods.

A. I don’t have a good answer for that.  My notes indicate that the regions where this pagan worship is taking place are supposed to be places of worship of God, but the people in these areas keep “slipping” back into pagan worship.  I don’t know why.

Q. (2 Chronicles 24:7): Is the Temple of the Lord the same temple that Solomon built?

A. Yes, the temple in Jerusalem.  It was apparently being plundered by Athaliah’s followers to generate funding for pagan worship.

Q. (24:21): What happened to that verse about if you “raise someone up in the Lord, he/she will always return to the Lord” or something like that.  Joash was raised and taught by Jehoiada and yet, as soon as he dies, he is swayed to false gods.

A. As we discussed in Proverbs, such wisdom (Proverbs 22:6) is generally true, but not ironclad law.  The biggest problem, the story tells us, is that this young man stopped listening to the right advice.  If he had just stayed with what he already knew, he probably would have been all right, but he chose to follow the path of his corrupt advisors.

Day 168 (June 17): Judgment for Judah during Jehoram’s reign, Ahaziah takes over Judah, Jehu anointed king of Israel, Jehu kills Joram and Ahaziah, Jezebel dies!, Jehu kills Ahab’s family, Jehu kills priests of Baal

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 Chronicles 21:8-20

2 Kings 8:23-10:17

2 Chronicles 22:1-7

2 Kings 10:18-31

Questions & Observations

Q. (2 Chronicles 21:8): The Edomites were not a part of Israel or Judah, right?  Were they a vassal state also, like Moab?  They wanted freedom from paying tributes to Judah?

A. Yes.  Israel/Judah became powerful during David and Solomon’s reigns, and took on several vassal states.  But as the power decreased down the line, these servant peoples began to revolt against their ruling nation.

Q. (21:16): It seems ironic that God is waging a war against His Own people.  But, if we want to think deeper, He is actually trying to rid them of evil and reestablish himself.  He needs to show them who is king and who will provide for them.  Are the wicked kings too proud to admit someone is more powerful than them?  They shouldn’t, they are worshipping other idols.  I don’t understand if they are going to worship something, which they do, why deny God?  They know of His power, yet they belittle it.

A. In Israel, this whole mess began, as the end of the reading told us, with Jeroboam building the golden calves in order to prevent the people from worshipping God Himself.  Every king since then has followed suit, either by doing evil, or like Jehu, not correcting the original error of having set up idols.  Essentially, this is really an issue of control and power.  These kings are capable of controlling these other “gods” and using their “power” for their own purposes, but God will not be so easily manipulated.  The unwillingness to submit to the true God’s demands is at the heart of the corruption you have been seeing.

Q. (2 Kings 9:3): Why should this prophet have to run after anointing Jehu as king of Israel?  This scene is humorous.

A. He was telling the commander of a king’s army to commit treason against that king, and could not know for sure how he would react.  If the commander refused the order, he likely would have killed the prophet.

O. (9:13): We don’t see any deliberation here from Jehu about being anointed.  He took the task by the horns and ran with it.

Q. (9:19): Jehu is saying, “Follow me and you’ll see peace?”

A. He is stalling for time and not lying about his intent by saying he comes in peace when he really does not.

O. (9:30-37): The witch is dead!  And the people said, “AMEN!”

Q. (2 Chronicles 22:9): Jehu was Ahaziah’s uncle?

A. Nope.  Jehu was unrelated to Ahaziah.

O. (2 Kings 10:27): A toilet?  Now that’s some humor!

Q. (10:31): What, after all of that work for God he is going to follow Jeroboam?  I thought Jehu was going to be a really good king.

A. Relative to the other kings of Israel at the time, he was.  That’s why his family got to rule for the next three generations.

Day 90 (March 31): Judah and Simeon are victorious, some tribes fail to drive out Canaanites because they disobeyed God’s command, Joshua dies, Israelites turn to Baal, God raises up judges to rescues Israelites, Othniel and Ehud become judges

Good day.  If you have been reading along with us, we have just completed Joshua and moving on to Judges.  Tomorrow we are officially one-fourth the way through the Bible. And, I have a feeling that the lessons and wisdom is going to get more plentiful as we go.  If you are reading BibleBum for the first time, WELCOME.  This is a blog 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.  For background information on Judges, go to http://www.biblestudytools.com/nlt/judges/ Enjoy!

Judges 1-3:30

Questions & Observations

Q. (Judges 1:6): What is the practice of cutting off thumbs and big toes?  I remember something with priests and some kind of ceremony where toes or feet were included.  Another thought: To be a leader takes a good amount of risk of your own life, even today.  But a point that might be worth noting is did any of the leaders who followed God ever get killed?

A. The act of cutting off toes and thumbs was a common mutilation of this era.  This disfigurement caused the man to be no longer fit for military service, as he could not march or carry a weapon such as a sword or spear.

Regarding Israel’s leaders, we will see some of them get into trouble, but only those who are unfaithful.  The first king of the nation, Saul, dies in combat, and we will see how Samson’s unfaithfulness to God causes his downfall later in this text.

Q. (1:20): I remembered you said that Anak’s people where the “giants” who scared the Israelite scouts because of their size.  I just looked up Anak and my Bible dictionary said that he and his descendants were part of the Nephilim that we talked about in Genesis.  They were ancient heroes, a product of sexual relations between heavenly beings and humans.  I am surprised this came up again.

A. Honestly, I suspect part of the reason it is mentioned in Genesis at all is because the descendants of this Anak settle in the land of Canaan.  If you look back at it, you can see a bit more clearly now why the author of Genesis (whoever it was) spent all that time looking at family lines: they keep coming up because the descendants are still around.

Q. (1:21-36): Several of the tribes failed to clear their land of Canaanites.  Is there a reason? 2:1-5 gives us the answer, right?

A. You got it.

Q. (2:10): I think we see a pattern here of one Israelite generation following the word of God and then the next generation falls from obedience.  Thank goodness we have the Bible to show us that following the Lord has to be a constant practice.  We have to teach it to our kids, so if they stray, they have Christianity as their foundation and will likely come back.  Then, they teach their kids the same thing.  Any comments on the patterns?

A. It appears what keeps happening is that these “next” generations are taking for granted what God had provided to their families, and just as God (through Moses) warned them (Deuteronomy 6:12 and 8:11), when they forgot God, they tended to make bad decisions.  That appears to be the pattern.

I think we can see this in the lives of our own families.  People who started with nothing and worked their way into wealth would be much more likely to appreciate what they have, but their children, who do not know poverty, are much more likely to take the wealth for granted, even if the parents warn them not to.  I do think that teaching our kids to trust in Christ is, obviously, a worthwhile goal, but we have to ensure that we are really trusting in Him, and not just our wealth or possessions, because kids see through facades like that.  If we try to fake it, or don’t give God our whole heart, I think our children will be much more susceptible to the types of corruption that we see in this story and throughout the Bible.

Q. (2:11): Why were the false idols so attractive to the Israelites.  Is it because they could see the idols, where God is not visible?

A. That certainly would have something to do with it.  I think a majority of the problem is that the gods such as Baal and Asherah had their power related to things such as crop growth and fertility, both of which were crucial to the survival of the people.  Just like us today, the people were seduced by the voices of others telling them that all they had to do was put this faith in this product or this god, and they would be taken care of.  In a way, it is remarkable how close we are to that very pattern in our consumeristic thoughts today.

Q. (2:16): Will we find out who the judges are?

A. I guess I don’t understand the question.  The point of the book is to reveal the way that God raised up leaders from the people (which the book calls judges, but they are more like tribal warlords at this point) to deal with the series of crises that arise during the book.  If you’re dying to know right now, the introduction at the top of the page lists the major judges and what they did.

O. (2:21-23): I love when the answer to a question is right there in plain sight, “I did this (no longer drive out nations that Joshua left unconquered) to test Israel — to see whether or not they would follow the ways of the Lord as their ancestors did.”  I think that many times, I need wait a little longer for answers.  I get impatient.

Q. (3:15): Why is someone being left-handed important enough to mention?

A. My notes indicate two reasons this was noticeable.  First, the tribe Ehud is from, Benjamin, means “son of my right hand,” so the reference is somewhat ironic, and is perhaps a bit of humor on the authors part.  The other thing that IS crucial is that being left-handed, Ehud could conceal his dagger on the opposite side where it would commonly be searched for on his right side.  This is probably what allowed him to sneak the dagger into the king’s chamber and assassinate him.

Q. (3:21-23): This scene sounds like something from South Park.  (I have not watched it in 14-15 years, but what I remember is that it’s pretty vile humor.)  Why is this in the Bible?  I don’t mind.  It offers some comedy.  Also, this version says that he escaped through the latrine, which has a footnote that it could be a porch and that the Hebrew translation is uncertain.  Maybe it was through the bathroom window, onto the porch? Ha.

A. I don’t really have a good answer to this question.  The author is recounting what he was (I assume) told happened.  Ehud skillfully assassinates the king, and even if it is (sort of) humorous, he deals a major blow to the enemy and then brings peace to the entire nation for almost 100 years.

Q. (3:25): Can we assume that he committed suicide?  Not important, right?

A. I think you’ve misread the passage.  Ehud killed him, but (morbidly) lost his dagger in the process.

Q. (3:30): So there was peace for 80 years.  Because of the calm, we can assume that Ehud was a follower of God?

A. Yes.  When the story tells us that God raised a person up, it is a person who follows Him faithfully.  That’s the pattern that is set and will be followed.