Day 114 (April 24): David and God talk of temples and houses, David expresses his gratitude to God for his blessings, David’s many victories

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 7:1-17

1 Chronicles 17:1-15

2 Samuel 7:18-29

1 Chronicles 17:16-27

2 Samuel 8:1-14

1 Chronicles 18:1-13

Psalm 60

Questions & Observations

O. (2 Samuel 1:2): I am glad that David realized he was treating himself better than the Ark.

Q. (7:11b-16): At first, I thought God was telling Nathan about Solomon.  Because, I believe he builds a temple for God.  But then, verse 14 lets us know he is talking about Jesus, because it says, “I will be his father, and he will be my son.”  So, we know that Jesus is a descendant of David.  Right?  God also says that if He sins, God will discipline Him, just like a father would do.  But, as Christians, we believe in the Trinity.  Why would God punish himself?  He knows Jesus won’t sin anyway, right?  Also, this sounds as if the blessings should continue in Jesus’s descendants.  There are thoughts that Jesus was married and maybe had kids.  Do we get into this at all in the NT?  I think this is a question of curiosity, though, and not important to God’s message?  Back up to verse 13.  God says to Nathan, “He is the one who will build a house — a temple — for my name.  Are we talking about a literal house here, or is this a figure of speech?

A. This is a complicated passage, without a simple explanation.  What God is saying in this promise to David is that his line will never fail, but it does NOT say that the line itself will be eternal and we will see how this unfolds at the story moves into Kings.  So, because God is speaking of a dynasty of rulers, there are multiple ways to interpret the passage.  First, it is Solomon, David’s son, who will build the temple, but it is Jesus — also David’s son and descendent — who will replace the existing temple (that will be destroyed) with an eternal KINGDOM that will never fail.  So God CAN rebuke David’s sons when they go astray and rebuke them (and He will), without excluding the possibility of a son, Jesus, that will NOT NEED rebuking.  Now in the sense that Jesus is eternal, God is speaking of His plans for an eternal temple/kingdom/house in a metaphorical sense.  This sidesteps the ridiculous nonsense about Jesus having children: there was no longer a need for an heir, because Jesus is now eternally alive, having defeated death itself.  We will see numerous examples of this type of prophecy throughout the rest of the OT: in one sense it refers to temporal events and people, but in a deeper sense, God is speaking of things of His Kingdom and eternity.  It would be helpful if you approach passages without a singular idea in mind about “what this means”: prophecies regularly have multiple — and correct — interpretations that will only be seen in hindsight.

Q. Why does Chronicles copy 2 Samuel almost verbatim?

A. Because it very likely used Samuel (and Kings) as sources.  Part of what is hard to tell from the way this daily reader is setup is places where Chronicles deviates from the story to tell us some other detail- that would only occur if we were reading the books straight through.  Samuel and Kings tell very important parts of Israel’s history, so it is unsurprising that Chronicles would use this good source material to tell its own version of the story of this period.

Q. (8:1-2): This sounds like Hitler.  Did God command David to do all this killing?  God created the Moabites too.  Why does He not value their lives?

A. David is going into combat against nations that are acting as enemies of Israel.  And once these nations are defeated, oftentimes some of the people are executed, as in this case, if not all of them.  The author does not say whether God ordered the killing, only that He was with David and gave him victory.  It would seem unlikely to me that David would have been given these great victories if what he had done was outside of what God desired.  This isn’t total war: David is allowing members of all of these tribes to live, even if it is as his servants.  Requiring tribute of survivors in military victory was common practice then, and it continues to this day.

Q. (Psalm 60:10): Why is David doubting that God is with him after David and his soldiers have won battle after battle?

A. It looks to me like 60:10 is rhetorical, noting that without God, victory is not possible.  So in asking “are you with us, God?” what he’s really saying is, “if you’re not with us, we won’t win.”  Perhaps the question is asked in the midst of buildup to a great battle, where moments of doubt and trepidation are natural, even to a seasoned army and king like David.  It is hard to say.  The other thing I see is the poem’s structure is that it starts in a dark place in verse 1, but moves to one of victory around verse 5.  It might be that the writer is repeating this structure — dark to victory — at the end using poetic license.  Don’t forget, this is a poem, and we would not hold a poet to the same standards we would expect from a biographer.  Considering the genre of writing is crucial for understanding the various writings of scripture.

Thanks for reading along.  We welcome you to join us tomorrow and every day

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.

Day 64 (March 5): Purifying with water, Miriam dies, Moses strikes rock for water, Moses is punished for changing rock procedure, King Edom refuses to let Israel pass, Aaron dies, Canaanite victory, manna complaintes, bronze snake, travels to Moab, Beer, more victories

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.  Please join us!

Numbers 19-21

Questions & Observations

Q. (Numbers 19:1-22): We have talked about how Israelites would be ceremonially unclean if they touched a dead person and would need purification to become clean again.  We have said that the reason for this is a hygienic issue.   God did not want disease to enter the Tabernacle.  Is there anything more?

A. The hygiene is the underlying issue to consider when it comes to the purification, but ultimately, God is providing instructions for obedience, and part of it was not having the Tabernacle come in contact with things that were unclean because they had been in various forms of contact with the dead.  God WAS interested in helping the community not suffer from disease, especially among the priests, but the reason the people were required to obey didn’t just have to do with the spread of disease, but because God was teaching them to trust and follow His commands.  If God declared that contact with dead bodies (including animals, as this passage reminds us) caused people to be unclean, that was all they needed to know in order to obey.  We can see considerations of community hygiene, but they were simply expected to obey because that is what God told them.

Q. (20:1): Not much is made of Miriam’s death.

A. That is true.  Something that I read is that because of her proclamation of victory after crossing the Red Sea (Exodus 15), she became a figure associated with water.  Thus, the next section of the story, the provision of water in the wildnerness, even with the cost to Moses and Aaron, was a way of honoring her spirit.  Miriam remains an important figure to Jewish women, and one of the most well-known and commonly used Jewish names.  Mary, Jesus’ earthly mother, and what seems like a dozen other women in the New Testament, bear the same name, Mary.  Mary is the English version of the translation of the same name in Greek, the Hebrew name Miriam.  So while the story does not seem to honor her, she remains to this day a very revered Jewish figure.

Q. (20:2-5): In a reading a couple days ago, you mentioned that because of the disrespect and disbelief that this generation of Israelites had that God intentionally made them wander in the desert for 40 years, long enough for that rebellious generation to die off.  Here they are grumbling again.  Did God reveal to them why they keep wandering

A. I think the previous texts made the matter pretty clear (Numbers 14 tells them that their time in the desert matches the time in days the spies were in the Promised Land: 40 years for 40 days.  But it appears they didn’t get the message, and rather then seeking to repent, they tried to force God’s hand by going into the land anyway, and continuing to complain about Moses and God’s provision.  Some people learn hard.

Q. (20:6-13): I know this story, so I know that God was upset with Moses because Moses struck the rock instead of just speaking to it.  But, if you don’t know this story and are just reading along, you may be confused because Moses got water for the people from the rock as God told him to.  It’s the specific instructions that Moses does not follow.  Do we know if this is intentional on Moses part, or just a misunderstanding?  I guess we take it that Moses did it intentionally, because God knows his heart and Moses did write this book, as best to our knowledge.  Maybe Moses is upset with God: His sister just died?  So, now Moses and Aaron will not see Canaan, just like the rest of that generation of Israelites.

A. Moses will see the Promised Land, just not enter it.  You’ll see how.  I’m sure the death of his sister had something to do with his frustration, but ultimately he directly disobeys God, and joins his generation in being kept out of the Promised Land.  There’s a lot of speculation about what Moses actually did, clearly it wasn’t just a misunderstanding, but rather willful intent on his part.  He is clearly angry with the people, and very likely at the end of his rope in frustration with their complaining.  Personally, I think that what God reacts to is Moses claiming credit for the provision of water (“must I provide it for you”), when God was the one who had made the provision.  It is never a good thing when we claim personal credit for things that we know are the will and provision of God alone.

Q. (20:14-21): The descendants of Esau comprise Edom, right?  Jacob and Esau parted on good terms years ago.  Why would the king of Edom not let the Israelites pass through?  Do we know how other nations view the Israelites at this time?  They are a huge traveling group.  There must have been talk.

A. Remember that Esau’s other name was Edom, related to his red hair and foolish desire for red stew (Genesis 25:30).  We do not know exactly what motivated the king’s decision, but the antagonism between Jacob’s descendants and Esau’s is one of the things we noted back in Genesis was something we would follow throughout the narrative.  As you mention, the group was probably quite intimidating, so perhaps there is little surprise that various nations refused to let them enter their territory.

Q. (20:29): I wonder here if mourning means observance of death or actual mourning.  The reason I bring this up is that the Israelites yo-yo between respecting Moses and Aaron and rebelling against them.  To mourn for 30 days must mean they respected him at this time?  They also seem to be following in the next passage, Numbers 21:1-3.

A. Most ancient societies had standard operating procedures for honoring the dead, which appears to be what the text is describing.  I do think that it is a powerful tribute to the respect they had for Aaron, even as they refused to listen to him.  Aaron, along with Moses, certainly did a lot for the people in terms of, you know, keeping the people alive and out of God’s wrath, and I think the people knew it.

Q. (21:4-9): I must say, I would think that if I had the same thing to eat over and over again that I would complain about it.  Is the lesson that the Israelites are not getting that they have made bad choices (complaining, doubting, being envious) and thus have brought this long journey in the desert on themselves?  If they would have trusted in God, they may have already been enjoying the Promised Land?

A. I think you’ve put it well.  Note the tone of the complaint: we hate this horrible manna, the very provision God made for His people day after day.  No wonder God was angered!  This isn’t, “Moses can we have quail or something else”, this is, “I hate what you are providing for me God,”  That’s very dangerous territory for any of us!

Q. (21:35): So after the Israelites destroyed these cities (God was with them), they could settle in those houses instead of using their tents?

A. I honestly don’t know if they used the territory; the text doesn’t tell us.  I would say it is a fair assumption that they (temporarily- they would be moving soon) used some of the buildings they conquered.

Thanks for reading.  See you tomorrow!