Thursday, May 28, 2015

Second Chronicles part one

Second Chronicles picks up with the story of Solomon - the first nine chapters cover his reign and particularly the building of the temple in Jerusalem.

After the death of Solomon we get the series of kings of Israel and Judah that we read about in 2 Kings.

Chapter 17 and 18 bring us to the reigns of Jehoshaphat and Ahab.  There is a great story of Jehoshaphat being called to account by the prophet Micaiah and then becoming a wise and good king.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Second part of First Chronicles

The reign of David

All of this week's half of First Chronicles is devoted to chronicling David's reign.

We pick up the story with moving the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem.  We get the story of why David did not build the temple.  We get the stories of David's battles and wars.

David takes a census, and gets the site where the temple will eventually be built.

The book ends with the divisions of all of the people who will work at the temple: priests and gate keepers and musicians.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

First Part of First Chronicles

First and Second Chronicles where originally one book and originally they were the end of the Hebrew Scriptures.  But in the Greek version it got separated into two books and put with Samuel and Kings.

Chronicles is not actually a continuation of the story begun in 1 & 2 Samuel and 1 & 2 Kings.  It is a retelling of the story of Israel from Adam through to the rise of the Persian empire.

This week's portion is mostly a series of genealogies which trace the line from Adam to King Saul.  If you feel like all that you were reading this week was a lot of Hebrew names, you are right.

Beginning in Chapter 10 (and if you just can't take the genealogies, you can skip to chapter 10) we get the story of King David's reign.  The story of David's reign is 19 chapters, and most of the second half of First Chronicles, so I will talk more about that next week.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Bible Challenge - Second half of second Kings

We finish up the book of second Kings this week.

We pick up with chapter 13 which runs us through the reigns of two kings (who do what is evil in the sight of the Lord) to get to the main feature, the death of Elisha.

Elisha dies and is buried, with a little coda.  Sometime after Elisha's death another man is being buried, his body touches Elisha's body and he comes to life again.

The next several chapters are the the reigns of some unremarkable kings.

Eventually the Assyrians capture Israel and carry the people of Israel away in captivity.  This leaves the kingdom of Judah with no allies (and also continuing to do what is evil in the sight of the Lord)

But hope is coming.  King Hezekiah ascends to the throne and he reforms the kingdom of Judah and returns the people to following the ways of the Lord.

After the death of Hezekiah, kings reign who return to evil ways until King Josiah becomes king and again reforms the people.

The reforms don't last, kings fall into evil ways and Jerusalem falls, several times and more and more people are deported into exile.  The book ends with the carrying of the majority of the people away to exile in Babylon.  This is the Babylonian captivity.  Nearly all of the practices of the time of Jesus are in some way connected to the captivity in Babylon and the return from exile and the rebuilding that followed.