Day 140 (May 20): Lord, show our enemies your power that they will be disgraced, Solomon becomes king, Solomon is wise to Adonijah’s plan to overthrow him, Adonijah, Joab and Shimei killed, Solomon sacrifices 1,000 burnt offerings, Solomon asks God for wisdom

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.

Psalm 83

1 Chronicles 29:23-25

2 Chronicles 1:1

1 Kings 2:13-46

1 Kings 3:1-4

2 Chronicles 1:2-6

1 Kings 3:5-15

2 Chronicles 1:7-13

Questions & Observations

Q. (Psalm 83): This may be our last psalm?

A. By my count, we did not get all of the Psalms (I think Psalm 72 is actually attributed to Solomon- maybe he tried his hand at his father’s hobby of poetry).  There are 150 Psalms in all, and I think we covered a bit more than half of them.

Q. (1 Chronicles 29:23-25): I am sure Solomon did a great job as it states here.  But, are we to apply how Chronicles made David seem like he could do no wrong to Solomon?

A. No.  David is the central figure of Chronicles, and though it will be rosy with parts of his story (as Kings is), it will be happy to show some of his downside at the end of his life, and the effect that it has on the kingdom.

Q. (1 Kings 2:13-25): Why would Adonijah’s request to marry Abishag seal his fate?

A. If you remember from the last “chapter” we read (1 Kings 1), Abishag was the beautiful woman who basically provided body heat to the elderly David as he was dying.  Though David never had sex with her (1:4), she would have been considered a part of his harem.  Adonijah’s — who remember is Solomon’s older brother — plan is really sneaky: he’s trying to play both sides to get another shot at the throne for himself.  Being married to part of the previous king’s harem would have been understood as a powerful sign of your right to the throne, basically that you had “inherited” the rights to these women.  But since she was a virgin, the move appears more innocent, since she wasn’t technically his concubine.  But make no mistake, he is once again trying to plot against Solomon, and he even uses Solomon’s MOTHER to do it!  No wonder Solomon was enraged.

Q. (2:36): Is Shimei back in the picture because he cursed David and Solomon wanted to rid Israel of the evil he inflicted?

A. Based upon the time frames involved (even if it’s a new book), Shimei’s offense would still have been “recent” news in Solomon’s mind.  From the passage as I see it, Solomon had no interest in killing Shimei at all, and basically gave him exile instead, which Shimei foolishly squandered.  Solomon offered him a way out: his death is on his own head.

Q. (2:13-46): I think four people died in this passage.  Death seems to be the punishment of choice for this time period.  Why so harsh?  Because they won’t listen to and respect God’s commands?

A. You don’t mess with the king in this era, especially one put in place by God as Solomon is.  We will see how this plays out in the rest of Kings, when prophets are sent to confront corrupt kings, and often fear for their lives!

Q. (1 Kings 3:1-4): Why did Solomon want to build an alliance with Egypt?  Did Egypt now follow God?  I guess Egypt has been rebuilt?  In verse 3, it sounds as if burning sacrifices was not honorable because of the word “except.”

A. Egypt surely has rebuilt from whatever havoc God wreaked upon it: the Exodus was hundreds of years ago.  While David was a warrior, Solomon is a master diplomat: he will prosper and make his nation great and incredibly wealthy through trade with other nations including Egypt, which would have been a valuable trading partner and also a powerful nation.  He will need these other nations to provide him with supplies for the massive temple building project he is about to undertake.  But don’t be misled: Solomon will regret making some of these decisions, notably marrying foreign wives in clear violation of the Law.

O. (1 Kings 3:5-15): How smart Solomon was to ask God for wisdom.  Something most of us could use, but don’t think to ask God for.  Sovereign Grace has a great kids’ album — I like it just as much as my kids — titled “Walking with the Wise” I have mentioned this album before.  It has a very catchy tune, “Make Me Wise,” that tells of Solomon’s request to God.  You can listen to it at http://sovereigngracemusic.org/Songs/Make_Me_Wise/4

Day 125 (May 5): David sacrifices belongings to build the temple, David praises God, Solomon anointed king, Solomon’s brother tries to claim throne, David informed of Adonijah’s plan, David quickly plans to put Solomon on throne

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 Chronicles 29:1

1 Kings 1:5-53

Questions & Observations

Q. (1 Chronicles 29:1-22): As we read this story, should we keep in mind that it is 1 Chronicles, where the author may have glorified the actual happenings to paint a prettier picture of King David’s rule?

A. That is always something to have in mind at this point.  We certainly get a “rosy” vision of David, but I would also say that there is not much going on here that is outside of the established character of David: He is willing to make great sacrifices on behalf of his God, and this is just one more instance of it.  It is quite clear why David is held up as an OT example for others to follow, even with his obvious shortcomings.

Q. (1 King 1:1-4): What?  I guess this is a “give the king his last dying wish?”  Whatever the reason is, I’m sure it’s not that important — as I have learned.  But, why include it here?  From the text, we never see David spending much time with his sons.  Maybe this is why they are so at odds.  The brothers didn’t have a strong family nucleus with their father or each other?

A. The historian Josephus mentions the “medical” practice of using a healthy person to keep the elderly warm, so it appears that this was an accepted practice in this day.  It appears to be part of the process of making David as comfortable as possible in his final days.  Verse 6 would seem to indicate that David was quite lax in his discipline of his boys, even where it was quite clear what he desired — for Solomon, not any of his other sons, to be king.  David excelled at many things, but it appears that being father of the year was not one of them — and just one more place where the king’s polygamy created unnecessary tension.

Q. (1:5-6): These people seem to be so fickle.  If there was such a huge celebration for Solomon to become king, then why is there an opposing side thinking that they can defeat the named king?

A. Both Solomon and his brother are powerful men, so it is most likely that many who joined Adonijah are hedging their bets as to who will be the “true” king.  They want to be in the good graces of such a powerful monarch, and one of the best ways was to be on his side and cheering for him, right up until the moment someone else prevails.  Fickle is right.

Q. (1:7): Joab sure is a hard one to figure out.  He has always stood beside King David, though he definitely wasn’t completely obedient.  But, if King David named Solomon the next king, then I would think Joab would support Solomon.  On a side note, Joab has to be getting very old too!

A. He is, and this decision to not follow Solomon will be a costly one for him.  Technically, Adonijah is probably, by society’s standards, the right choice for king. He was most likely the oldest surviving son, and the logical choice to be king.  So it is not especially a surprise that Joab followed him.  But as with David, man’s choice for king was not God’s choice.

Q. (1:31): This is a sideline question.  People bow before the king.  Is this OK with God?  I am not sure how God views bowing to anyone except him.  Some people around the world greet one another with a bow, showing a sign of respect.  This came up once when President Obama bowed to a foreign leader.  I was taking a martial arts class with my daughter and we were supposed to bow when you entered the dojo and when we left, I believe, as a sign of respect to the master.  I did not like this one bit.  I have never met the master who is in another part of the world.  I bow my head to God when I pray, but rarely a full-body bow.  I definitely don’t feel like bowing to someone that I don’t know, or moreover, someone who isn’t God.

A. I think there is a fine line between bowing in respect for a leader or another person, and “bowing your heart” to an idol.  Bowing your heart to anything other than God is obviously not what God desires, but I don’t see a particular problem with showing respect for others, as long as it is not worship.

Q. (1:34): Solomon has already been anointed.

A. Anointing is a public ceremony, so I’m not surprised that Solomon is anointed many times.  There wouldn’t have been any CNN covering the ceremony, so the repeated anointing might have had something to do with different people being involved in the process.  Part of the reason for this particular ceremony is David’s desire to publicly make it crystal clear who the king is going to be.

Q. (1:50): Adonijah was afraid of Solomon because he had David and the Lord backing him?  I would think that Adonijah would die from grabbing the horns of the altar.  Maybe he has learned from observing the Lord’s power and will be obedient to Solomon?

A. The horns of the altar are not the same as the Ark, which is what was not to be touched.  The horns of the alter were the place where sacrifices were made, and would have been seen as a place of mercy and surrender.  This is most likely what Adonijah is attempting to convey: I have sinned against the true king, my brother, and need his forgiveness and mercy.

Looking ahead at the next few readings, we are getting heavy into the Psalms of David.  For background information on Psalms, check out http://biblesummary.org/psalms/1.htm

Day 120 (April 30): Barzillai honors David, David is kind to Barzillai, Israelites and Judah argue over king, Sheba’s revolt, Joab kills Amasa, wise woman delivers head of Sheba, David’s song against evil, David settles conflict with Gibeonites

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 Samuel 19:31-20:26

Psalm 7

2 Samuel 21:1-22

1 Chronicles 20:4-8

Questions & Observations

Q. (2 Samuel 20:10): So, Amasa was stabbed because he took more than 3 days to notify Judah?  What’s the big deal?  His slowness stalled their plans or they may think he was up to something besides notifying Judah?

A. No, David had no knowledge about Joab’s plans: Joab killed Amasa to ensure that he remained commander of David’s army.

Q. (20:16-22): What?  This woman’s actions do not follow protocol.  This is quite a little story.  She is quite wise and how did she get Sheba’s head?

A. It is quite a story.  She was apparently a town elder who had great influence.  Sheba and his men were likely under the protection of the city (they probably agreed to terms before Sheba’s men came into the city).  This woman apparently was able to convince the townspeople that they had gotten a bad deal — there was no way Sheba was going to stop Joab — and they turned on him.

Q. (21:1-14): I don’t see a correlation between Saul and his family murdering the Gibeonites and a famine.  I thought God had little concern for Saul and the Gibeonites are not Israelites.  So, why a focus on this conflict?  This story is confusing to me.  I thought a while back, David had asked if any of Saul’s descendants were still living.  I thought Mephibosheth was the only one.  And, he came to live with David … or eat at his table anyway.  So, where did all of these other children come from?  So, Saul had both a son and a grandson with the name Mephibosheth?

A. Let’s untangle this: we do not know about where these other sons of Saul came from — the Chronicler doesn’t mention any other descendants — so I don’t have a good answer for that.  They may have been more distant relatives of his or the children of slaves/concubines and therefore “lesser” children (I know that sounds horrible).  Regarding the famine, back in Joshua 9 (from Day 83), the Gibeonites were the clever tribe who tricked the Israelites into signing a treaty of protection, which the people swore in God’s name.  Saul’s efforts to eliminate tribe violated this vow, and God was apparently not pleased.

Q. (21:15-22): Why are the giants important?  Are the four that were killed here the last of them?  It’s interesting that the Israelites would battle with Goliath’s brother.

A. The significance of their story is really about their defeat by David’s men.  This is a bit of sabre rattling in which the writer is saying, like their king who killed Goliath, David’s men were so fearsome in battle that they could kill giants too.

Day 117 (April 27): David seizes Rabbah, Amnon rapes Tamar, Absalom takes revenge on Amnon, Joab arranges Absalom’s return, David and Absalom reconcile

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 Samuel 12:26-14:33

1 Chronicles 20:2-3

Questions & Observations

Q. (2 Samuel 12:27-28): This sounds like Joab is threatening David.  He is the army commander, but can we say here that he thinks David is not doing his job?  Also, back to Joab having leprosy.  I don’t see how he can stay in battle given he has such a debilitating disease.

A. You could see this as a threat, but also as a general humbly asking his king to not deny himself credit for a victory.  I leave it to you.  As I mentioned when we addressed “leprosy” in Leviticus, the word in Hebrew covers a variety of skin ailments, which may have been much less debilitating as the leprosy we know today.  Also, if I recall correctly, the curse applied to his family, not merely Joab himself.  He may never have suffered the skin disease personally.

Q. (12:30): How could anyone where a crown weighing 75 pounds?

A. A crown of that weight would mostly have been for display, and would only have been worn in “crowning” ceremonies like the one described in the story which most likely lasted only seconds.  The easiest way for the crown to be “worn”: having your servant(s) hold it in place on your heat.

Q. (14:33): Joab must personally feel the rift between Absalom, Amnon, and David since Joab killed Abner in revenge for murdering his brother.  Absalom held this vengeance in his heart for two years, so it must have festered into a huge hatred of his brother Amnon.  And, David must feel some sin from all sides — having committed adultery, having his soldier and wife of Bathsheba killed, losing a great friend Jonathan who was like a brother, being on the run from Saul like Absalom is from him.  He practically had to have his son thrown in front of him to give in to his love for him.  I guess this just goes to show that even the most devout can fall from God.  But, he is there to take us back into the fold.  But, I think we are about to see a black sheep?

A. You bet we see a black sheep.  Don’t forget this was as predicted: David’s family has now begun to fall apart.  And one member of his family has already died “by the sword” as predicted.  It will get much worse.

Day 116 (April 26): Joab captures Rabbah, David’s lust for Bathsheba gets him in big trouble, David orders Bathsheba’s husband — his soldier —killed, Nathan reveals David’s sin, David asks God to restore him, David’s son 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.

1 Chronicles 20:1

2 Samuel 11-12

Psalm 51

2 Samuel 12:15-23

2 Samuel 5:14-16

1 Chronicles 14:3-7

1 Chronicles 3:5-9

Questions & Observations

Q. (2 Samuel 11:1-27): So, it sounds like David took a break from war and a break from focusing on God.  He is away from the battle lines and maybe, thus, away from God’s goals?  He sees Bathsheba bathing and wants her.  He gets her and impregnates her.  (Does Bathsheba have a say in this or must she submit to the king?) Then, he tries to cover it up by calling her husband back from battle to take a break and enjoy his wife — sleeping with her.  He resists, saying that he does not deserve the break when his countrymen are out fighting.  So, David sends him back and puts him on the front lines to have him killed.  This is David’s first major mistake toward God.

A. It is his first major mistake as king and it will not be his last.  It is very likely that Bathsheba did not have a say in her submission to the king who could have had her killed if she did not submit to him.  The passage implies that David stayed behind out of laziness, and that this entire mess would not have occurred if he had simply gone to war as other kings do.  David’s sin(s) here are monumental: he gets a married woman pregnant — a wife of one of his soldiers — and then has the husband murdered when he would not, unintentionally, cover for David’s sins.  It was considered derelict of duty for a solider to have sexual relations with his wife while actively serving.  So Uriah’s unwillingness to sleep with his wife is literally out of desire to please his king and be a good soldier!  In other words, this is really awful by David.

Q. You play, you pay.  That’s what my high school friend’s aunt, whom she lived with, said after breaking curfew or some other rule despised by teenagers.  David got a big reality check here.  What does God mean when he tells David that his family will “live by the sword?”

A. Oh, I don’t want to spoil that, but it will become abundantly clear.  This story represents the beginnings of the “fall” for David.  His story, especially with his family, will become an increasing nightmare.

Q. (12:23): David is making a reference to seeing his deceased son in heaven?  God hasn’t really told us much about heaven yet, right?

A. Yes.  I don’t think even David knows what he means in this statement.  All he is clear about is that the child will never return to him, but some day, in some way, he believes that he will see the child again.

Q. (12:25): God said David should name his son (with wife Bathsheba) Jedidiah, but the son is normally referred to as Solomon, not Jedidiah.  Why?

A. It’s a good question, and I don’t have a good answer.  It may have also merely been a nickname, but that name is never used in the Bible again.  I’m sorry, that’s all I’ve got.

Day 115 (April 25): David takes in Jonathan’s crippled son, new Ammonite king turns on David, David defeats Ammonites

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 Samuel 8:15-18

1 Chronicles 18:14-17

1 Chronicles 6:16-30

1 Chronicles 6:50-53

1 Chronicles 6:31-48

2 Samuel 9-10

1 Chronicles 19:1-19

Questions & Observations

Q. (2 Samuel 9:1-13): I love this story.  It mimics how God took care of the descendants of the ones he loved: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

A. Me too.  This story is also one that is held up by Christians and Jews throughout the ages as symbolic of God’s mercy and grace.  As a crippled person, which would have disqualified Mephibosheth from being king, Mephibosheth would have had no place at the king’s table, but he is welcomed out of the kindness of the king’s heart.  In the same way, we as sinners, the spiritually crippled, would have no place at God’s table on our own accord, but are welcomed as God’s own children through the King’s mercy.

Q. (10:3): There seems to be a theme in the Bible of the sons of great leaders making huge mistakes and not learning from their fathers.

A. You have touched upon a major theme of scripture: the passing of wisdom — or the lack there of it — down from generation to generation.  We will see clearly how this task succeeds or fails as we move through rapid succession of kings in our next volume.

Day 111 (April 21): Ishbosheth accuses Abner, Abner joins David, Joab takes revenge on Abner, David sings at Abner’s funeral, Ishbosheth murdered, Murderers killed

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 Samuel 3:6-4:12

Questions & Observations

Q. (2 Samuel 3:6-21): I am surprised that Abner is aligning with David after being at Saul’s right hand for so many years.  Being at the helm with Saul, Abner should know everything that went on between Saul and David.  He should know both of their motives.  Maybe he could see that David was the more righteous and Ishbosheth’s accusation of Abner sleeping with one of Saul’s concubines was the last straw?  It’s nice to see Michal back, but it would be nice if she could choose whom she wants to call her husband.  No. 2 obviously cared for her deeply.

A. We can certainly read into the story that tensions between Ishbosheth and Abner rose, and this was a breaking point.  Ishbosheth accusation is a strong one: it would have been a great insult to Saul’s memory for one of his generals/leaders to sleep with one of his wives/concubines.  So it is unsurprising that Abner reacts the way he does.  Regarding Michal, we don’t know much about her situation, but I can tell you the next time she appears on the scene, it will not be a pleasant encounter with David.  Perhaps she really did miss hubby #2.

Q. (3:30): So, all is fair in war, but killing someone after the fact is not?  Sounds good to me, but I’m sure that Joab still felt a lot of anger toward Abner for killing his brother.

A. Joab is acting as a family avenger for his brother, which was the reality of the world that the ancient Israelites lived in.  David obviously does not approve of this action, even though Joab is acting in what would have been seen as a proper incidence of the taking of vengeance.  It was a brutal world, and in many places, it still is.

Q. (3:31): David is called king now?

A. David has been king of Judah for some time; we saw reference to it in our reading from yesterday (2 Samuel 2:4).  And though God has declared him king of all Israel, it is clear that the entire nation is not ready to follow him yet, but it won’t take long.

Q. (4:1-3): I don’t know what “paralyzed with fear” means.

A. Oftentimes the writer of these volumes — and ancient societies in general — will use actions of one person — in this case the king — to describe the situation for an entire group of people (Israel).  So basically, the writer is referring to Ishbosheth’s fear and using the image as a representation of the mindset of the entire people.  Ishbosheth is greatly fearful after Abner’s death — don’t forget it was Abner who put him on his throne — and like his father, Ishbosheth appears to be succumbing to fear-based decision making — in this case, making no decisions.  Ishbosheth was so fearful that he could not decide how to act, so in this sense he was “paralyzed” with fear.

Q. (4:5-12): And we think Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are bad.  I think David needs to make an order that there will be no more killing out of vengeance.  I’ve read about enough decapitations for a while.

A. Um, don’t hold your breath that the killing will stop.  David’s rule will be peaceful for a while, but will quickly turn bloody, even within his own house.

Day 110 (April 20): Judah anoints David, David reaches out to Saul supporters, Abner proclaimed Saul’s son Ishbosheth king, Israel and Judah go to war, Abner kills Asahel, David’s sons born in Hebron, Descendants of David, Three of David’s warriors heralded

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 Samuel 2-3:5

1 Chronicles 3:1-4

2 Samuel 23:8-39

1 Chronicles 11:10-19

1 Chronicles 11:20-47

Questions & Observations

Q. (2 Samuel 2:31): It seems that the tribe of Benjamin keeps taking a beating.  They were the ones that went to war with the rest of Israel in a reading a week or two ago, right?  Is Benjamin cursed?

A. Yes, they were involved in the war against the other tribes (Judges 20, Day 96).  I would not say they were cursed, but rather they are making bad choices.  They sided against the other tribes in the previous story, and they have sided with Saul’s side (the losing side) in this current battle.  The reason in this case is obvious: Saul was from the tribe of Benjamin, and it is unsurprising that his tribe would “lead” the fighting on behalf of Saul’s son, who in their eyes is the rightful heir to the throne.  Don’t worry too much about Benjamin, they will be on the right side of the conflict that will really have a lasting impact.  You’ll see.

O. (3:2-5): David has added to his wives collection.

Q. (23:8) What was the significance of the Three?

A. I wouldn’t read anything more into it then the story presents: David had an “inner circle” of warriors, his very best men.  These men had such impressive records of war, that they actually warrant mentioning THEIR exploits in the midst of David’s story.  The writer is giving some love to normally unsung heroes.  David will be in some hairy situations — some of which he causes — in the next few chapters, and these men will go a long way toward bailing him out.

O. (23:15-17): How awesome that although David was thirsty and longed for water, he gave it to the Lord.