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 118 (April 28): Absalom plots against his father King David, David flees Jerusalem, Ziba (Mephibosheth’s servant) deceives David, Shimei curses David, David’s adviser Ahithophel trades sides, Adviser Hushai sent to spy

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 15-17:14

Questions & Observations

Q. (2 Samuel 15:1-12): Before Absalom’s killed his brother, Amnon, in vengeance for sleeping with his sister (also Amnon’s sister, right?), Absalom and his father, King David, had a great relationship?  Then, Amnon fled to his grandfather, so then there was anger from David toward Absalom.  But, he also must have understood Absalom’s reasoning for killing Amnon.  So is the rift between Absalom and his father just a huge psychological mess?

A. We don’t know what type of relationship David and Absalom had, but there is no reason to assume it was troubled.  Absalom lived a privileged life that few in the ancient world would have ever known: not only was he the son of a wealthy king, but our recent reading (I forget which one) told us that he was also handsome like his father.  Regarding Amnon and Absalom, what the passage is implying is that Absalom and Tamar shared a mother, so that they were full brother and sister.  Amnon was Tamar’s half brother.  Don’t forget that this is one of our places we see the polygamy he chose gets David in trouble or causes tragic results.

Q. (2 Samuel 15:7-12): There seems to be a strong deviousness characteristic than runs in the royalty back then.  Is that a psychological side-effect of having power?  Maybe they are always greedy for the power and then once they get it, they can live in fear of losing it.  Thus, there is deceit on all sides?  I don’t think God would appreciate Absalom using offering a sacrifice as a reason to conspire to overthrow King David.  There is also a story line here about free will.  You would think that children would obey and honor their parents who take care of them, yet, as we read here, Absalom turns and plots to challenge his father, King David, for the throne.  Is this another case of a person of notoriety — also seen in the sons of the priest Samuel —not raising his son in the right manner?

A. It’s a good question, but we don’t really have any way of knowing how David raised his many sons.  Regarding Absalom’s deceit: one thing the story makes clear is that David is doing his best to be obedient to God and honor Him (by, for example, NOT having Shimei killed for cursing him) while Absalom is not interested in honoring God, as seen in his sleeping with his father’s wives, and lying about making a sacrifice to the Lord.  As the text hints at the end, the Lord in this instance clearly favors David.

Q. (15:13-37): David runs without conferring with God.  You would think He would talk to him about battle plans.  I would think that this would anger the Lord.  I do see that he is asking God to help him throw off Absalom in verse 31.

A. The reference to the Ark in 15:24 would seem to imply that David did request some form of council of God or at least His blessings.

Q. (16:1-4): I didn’t see this coming.  So Mephibosheth is turning on David?  How would Absalom’s capture of Jerusalem help Mephibosheth get his grandfather Saul’s kingdom back?

A. Let’s hold off on this one and see what happens.

Q. (16:5-14): David seems to be so rational toward Shimei.  I wouldn’t think God would instruct Shimei to curse David, though.

A. Part of David’s humility in this story is his understanding that at some point, the Lord is going to be finished with him, and he will die, just as Saul did (though he will die much better than Saul).  An extension of that, in my opinion, is that he is seeing what Shimei is doing as a potential extension of God’s extinguishing of his rule.  The curse of Shimei might represent his own downfall.

Q. (16:21-22): These people had no privacy.  Absalom certainly does not seem to have the wisdom of a king.  Deceit yes, wisdom, uh uh.  I can’t imagine having respect for someone who has sex with another man’s wives … in public.  How could anyone look at a king when they have seen him in action in bed?  These times seem so barbaric compared to what we experience today.

A. I think you’re right.  We are much more private about our sex lives today, especially when it comes to our leaders.  Their private matters are hardly ever in the news.  (Leigh An: Rob, you got me on that one!)

O. (17:5-14): I want to read on!

Return tomorrow to find out how this story unfolds.