What we are reading this week (beginning Wednesday, December 30, 2020):
• 2 Samuel 7-13
• Esther 1-7
• Proverbs 13-19
We are at week 40!!
Notes on 2 Samuel
David begins his kingly tenure in full. Jerusalem has been identified as the “one place” where the Lord God is to be worshiped. David is anxious to build the Temple, but God says, no, your son will.
But the Messiah is identified as his direct heir (7.16). His prayer in response is worthy of some consideration and meditation (7.18-29).
David had been a hugely successful warrior before he was king; he continued on afterward, including the defeat of Israel’s perennial enemies Moab, Aram, and Edom (8.1-14).
Mephibosheth is called before the king. David was looking for someone to bless in proxy for his fallen friend Jonathan. Mephibosheth undoubtedly expected the worst when called before the king who had been relentlessly pursued by his grandfather Saul. However, he was pleasantly surprised to find favor and a lifelong provision in the presence of the king (9.13).
David did not take well to false accusation. In reaching out to the Ammonites, he and his men are insulted and humiliated, for which they will pay dearly. In chapter ten, we see Joab—a very indecent person—to be a very capable military leader. It’s hard to understand why David put up with him so long. But perhaps in thinking about his past relationship with Saul he didn’t want to fall into the same kind of false judgement. However, Joab was most ungodly, possessing none of the character of David.
The unfortunate incident with Bathsheba and Uriah is told in chapter 11. David had become lax (sending out Joab and staying behind during battle), and complacent. This was a defining moment in his life. Before now, everything generally fell his way. After this, his life will be full of unpleasant personal events.
It does illustrate God’s grace. A lesser person would have probably been struck down dead by God. David would live, but with strong consequences flowing from God’s disciplining hand.
Nathan was extremely brave to confront David in chapter 12. For though the king had a good heart, he was currently in a very bad spiritual place. He had just committed a murder to cover up adultery. What would keep him from one more little murder to cover his tracks yet again?
God’s grace and his mysterious ways are on full display here. Bathsheba gives birth to Solomon, who will become David’s heir to the throne. Out of all of the wives and sons David already had, why would God choose the one born to the wife that he never should have had?
The ramifications upon David and his family begin in earnest in chapter 13, with rape, murder, accusations, total family disarray.
Notes on Esther
This is a book, as many of you know, that I like to read in its entirety. It’s not really very long (even though 9.1 is the longest verse in the Bible!). And the story is quite engaging. Esther is read every year in synagogues during Purim. Whenever the name “Haman” is mentioned, there is spitting and stomping et al.
The time frame of Esther is following the return from the Babylonian exile. There are obviously many Jews who remained behind and did not return to Israel and Jerusalem when they were allowed to. This was during the time of the book of Ezra, while the Temple was being rebuilt, but before the time of Nehemiah.
One of the subtle lessons of the book of Esther is the deceptive nature of power. This king had no one to answer to, and became extremely rash, making a number of huge decisions that he would live to regret. It was probably a pattern with him, and his advisors must have had a hard time keep everything together while he bounced from one impetuous decision to another.
Her uncle Mordecai, and most likely Hadassah herself (2.7), were of the tribe of Benjamin (2.5), normally known as the renegade, wild tribe.
In 2.13 and 15, there is mention of the young ladies bringing something of their choosing to see the king. Even though it tells us that she choose something, what Esther picked out remains a mystery.
The most satisfying part of this story, IMHO, is the humiliation of Haman in 6.1-11. Even Haman’s wife saw that he was fighting against God, a battle he would most surely lose (6.13).
The tables turning on Haman in chapter six is easier to enjoy than actually seeing him impaled in chapter seven.
Notes on Proverbs
The proverbs we find in our chapters this week are random. There is no kind of organization or structure, just one line after another.
Here are a few that I highlighted:
One person pretends to be rich, yet has nothing another pretends to be poor, yet has great wealth (13.7)
Hope deferred makes the heart sick but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life (13.12)
Whoever spares the rod hates their children but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them (13.24)
The mocker seeks wisdom and finds none but knowledge comes easily to the discerning (14.6)
The wise fear the Lord and shun evil, but a fool is hotheaded and yet feels secure (14.16)
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger (15.1)
All a person’s ways seem pure to them but motives are weighed by the Lord (16.2)
Gray hair is a crown of splendor it is attained in the way of righteousness (16.31)
I like this one more and more as I get older!
Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife (17.1)
Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions (18.2) The Social Media Proverb
The name of the Lord is a fortified tower the righteous run to it and are safe (18.10)
Happy New Year!