Day 252 (Sept. 9): Exiles who returned to Israel with Zerubbabel, altar is rebuilt, people begin to rebuild temple but face opposition, Zerubbabel’s descendants

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.

Ezra 2-4:5

1 Chronicles 3:19-24

Questions & Observations

O. If you are curious about who Ezra is, go to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ezra

Q. (Ezra 2:1-70): How did all of these exiles know to return?

A. As the first chapter of Ezra noted, the decree from Cyrus went out among his entire empire, so the Jews likely received notice either by messenger or by public posting of the decree.  It appears that the Jews in the story were quite prepared for this event, as they appear to have kept land records and family genealogies that helped them settle claims and redistribute the recovered land.

Q. (3:12): The ones who had seen the old Temple wept when they saw the new Temple because they were reminded of it’s grandeur and felt ashamed for not upholding the law to honor God?

A. Yes, and for all of the anguish the people had been through.  No doubt they were grateful for God’s provision and restoration, but they could not hold back the tears in crying aloud for their former glory.

Q. (4:4-5): Why did the local residents discourage the Judeans from building the Temple?

A. The area that had been the Jewish Promised Land was now controlled by a number of outside forces that centered in the region of Samaria (part of the Northern Kingdom that was destroyed by the Assyrians).  Having a Jewish state with any sort of clout (which the Temple would certainly provide) would be a threat to their rule, so they were opposed to this move.  We will see more about this in Nehemiah, which these same forces would oppose his efforts to rebuild the wall around the city.

Q. (1 Chronicles 3:19b-24): Is there anything in these family lines we need to make note of?

A. Other than them being lines of David’s distant descendants (via Jehoiachin), not really.

Day 144 (May 24): Temple is dedicated with a big celebration, God fills temple with glory, God is pleased with temple, God tells Solomon the fate of his descendants, Hiram disappointed with towns Solomon gave him

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.

1 Kings 8:54-66

2 Chronicles 7:1-10

1 Kings 9:1-9

2 Chronicles 7:11-22

1 Kings 9:10-14

Questions & Observations

Q. (1 Kings 8:54-66): I can’t imagine a festival this big or long.  Not to mention the clean-up and exhaustion. It doesn’t tell us how many people attended, but I would imagine it was a bunch.  President Obama’s inaugurations were estimated at 1.8 million for his first term and 1 million for his second.

A. I’m sure the nation’s event planners made a fortune.  No, seriously, there were regular gatherings like this one to Jerusalem (the story tells us that the people would have been coming to the city anyway to celebrate the Festival of Shelters/Tabernacles, described in Leviticus 23).  So this basically was an expanded version of an already existing festival.  Since David had established Jerusalem as his throne, it was very likely that people had been coming to the city in large numbers for many years.  The same will be true in Jesus’ day: one of the things that historians tell us about the Passover that was being celebrated during Jesus’ last week was that there were probably close to a million pilgrims in and around the city for the festival.  There is no reason to assume it didn’t also happen in a more ancient time.

Q. (1 Kings 9:1-9): So we find out that God is very pleased with the Lord’s temple that Solomon built.  God follows this praise with a challenging charge.  Solomon has a pretty tall order:  If he obeys God and keeps His commands, a descendant of David will always be on the throne.  That is a lot of weight for one man to carry.  Solomon has a good start.

A. Yes he does.  (Not going to tell you here).

Q. (1 Kings 9:10-14): This seems to be another foreshadowing of consequences Solomon will face from not giving his best or better to Hiram who had given so much of himself to build the temple.

A. That does seem to be a pretty nasty move, doesn’t it?  Not a good sign.