Day 177 (June 26): God’s forgiving love for unfaithful Israel, Hosea’s wife is redeemed, God charges Israel with wickedness, Israel’s leaders judged hard, call to repetance, Israel’s love for wickedness, Israel harvests the whirlwind

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.

Hosea 2:14-8:14

Questions & Observations

Q. (Hosea 2:14-23, Hosea 3:5): I can guess that this is a metaphorical story for Christ coming?

A. I suppose you could make that argument, but I think that most likely it is about the restored nation of Israel that will be established after the captivity.

O. (4:12): I see humor in this that God is accusing them of making an idol out of wood and thinking it can help them.

O. (5:15): God points out how Israel and Judah are predictable in their pattern of sin and punishment, followed by crying to God to bring them out of their despair.

Q. (6:10): God calls Israelites prostitutes, referring to their attitude toward Him.  They should be like a bride and groom or husband and wife with God.  It’s a sacred relationship and when the Israelites seek another God, it’s like cheating on a spouse (God being the spouse), prostituting themselves out to a false god (a prostitute who can only give you one thing you desire).  I see more relationship comparisons.  In a marriage, the relationship may not always provide everything we want.  There are times that the romance is gone, sometimes for a reason, but we have to stick with it and wait for it to come back around.  If we can’t wait and seek something else to fill that void, then the marriage will be ruined.  Same with God.  If we do not abide by his rules, then our life goes down the wrong path because we are not including Him in the relationship.  We may seek other things, work, alcohol, possessions, luxury that get in the way.  Then when we realize that the void cannot be filled with other things and return to God, He may wait for us to show mercy before He returns to our life.

A. The idea of Israel and Judah being required to “earn” its way back to a proper relationship with her Husband is a good one for what is going to happen.

Q. (8:4): I wondered if this was a problem.  Because, starting with Saul, God told whom He wanted to be king.  Then, after Solomon, we seldom heard God telling who He wanted to be king.  And, He led very few of the revolts to dethrone a king.  The leaders were acting out their own desires.  I doubted that all of the kings were David’s descendants.  Were Judah’s kings all from David’s line?

A. Yes they were (as best I can tell).  When God spoke of Himself being faithful to David’s line (via Solomon and Rehoboam), He really meant it.

Q. (8:13b): Is returning to Egypt a metaphor, like they will be in the same despair as they were in Egypt?

A. The only part that is a metaphor is the location.  The people will once again be slaves to another nation (not Assyria), and will have to begin all over again with God.  But God knows what He is doing here, and the results will be interesting to say that least.

Day 166 (June 15): Whirlwind takes Elijah to heaven, Elisha gives double spirit of Elijah, Elisha starts miracles right away, Elisha saves widow’s sons, Elisha helps Shunem woman’s son, Elisha feeds thousands with little flour

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 2:1-25

2 Kings 4:1-44

Questions & Observations

Q. (2 Kings 2:1-6): How far is it from Bethel to Jericho to the Jordan River?  Could Elijah and Elisha made it to all three places in one day?

A. Don’t forget where they started, at Gilgal, so they didn’t even start in Bethel.  The notes that I have say that this is a total journey of between 25 and 30 miles.  That’s a long way, but not outside the realm of possibility.  My notes also say that we tend to assume, but it doesn’t say, that they walked the entire distance.  They might have had transportation for some portion of the trip.

Q. (2:9-10): Is Elisha being greedy here, asking for a double share of Elijah’s spirit?  Elijah said it would be a difficult thing to get.

A. Apparently God didn’t think so, because He granted the request, as confirmed with the cloak parting the Jordan.

Q. (2:17): Is Elisha showing weakness here by allowing the men to go search for Elijah?  Apparently Elisha was the only one that witnessed Elijah going up in the chariot?

A. I think he just wanted to stop hearing about it, he knew Elijah was gone, but couldn’t convince his companions until they couldn’t find him on their own.  The story implies Elisha was the only one to see Elijah being taken.

Q. (2:24): I would think that a more proper response for this situation would be for Elisha to influence the youth in a positive way without having them killed.  They are youth and kind of expected to make unwise choices, but instruction could set them straight.  But I am not a prophet.

A. The cultural gist of the insult — calling him bald — that the boys/young men use (these aren’t children we’re talking about here!) is that Elisha is diseased and unclean.  That is most likely why he cursed them.  I’m not really clear on why he reacts the way he does either, but, as you said, he is a man of God.

O. (4:8-37): The faith of the woman from Shunem is strong and true!

Q. (4:42-44): This story mirrors Jesus feeding the 5,000 with fish and bread.  The olive oil story (4:1-7) is also used at least one more time.  Is there some message the authors intended for readers today with the repetition of these stories, like “God WILL provide?”

A. While the idea of God’s provision is a major theme of scripture — think of the manna and water in the Exodus — these texts were not written with “modern” audiences in mind at all.  They were written to tell the history of the Jewish people, including the fact that God was indeed faithful, to future generations of Jews.  We are “eavesdropping,” if you will, on that conversation.  One of the ways that this occurs, however, is that the Spirit of God works in the hearts of people today to remind them of things that we can learn by studying books like Kings.  So there can be great benefit to us, even if it wasn’t “for” us.

As to the stories matching with things in the gospels, that is not a coincidence.  One of the things that Jesus taught his followers is that He was, and is, the fulfillment of the Law, associated with Moses, and the Prophets — including Elijah and Elisha, see Matthew 11:13 and Luke 16:16.  So it is no surprise to me that the gospel writers would share with their audience places where they saw Jesus doing things that Moses (trials in the wilderness, Matthew 4), or the Prophets did (like feeding people where there didn’t seem to be enough food, Mark 6).  Part of that is emphasis, but part of it also is that understanding of the NT that Jesus is the fulfillment of all the best of old way, the OT, while establishing the NEW one.