What we are reading this week (beginning Wednesday, January 27, 2020):
• 1 Kings 11-17
• Job 19-25
• 1 Chronicles 10-16
Week 44. We can almost see the end from here!
Notes on 1 Kings
“Seven hundred wives of noble birth” (11.1) Wow! You have to think there were a lot of these wives that Solomon never actually met ever. He understood political alignment, but forgot the biblical command that the king was not to take on many wives. Seven hundred is “many” in anyone’s definition. This was a fatal error, for the influence of his foreign, pagan wives eventually turned him (11.3).
“Three hundred concubines” (also 11.3). Why in the world would a guy with 700 wives need even one concubine, not to mention three hundred of them? I’m guessing that on top of his political arrangements, there was quite a bit of ego involved, as well. It’s just the fact that he could. However, how possible would it be to find some other man with whom even to compete?
After building the Temple in all of its glory, he then proceeded built high places for Chemosh and Molek I deference to these heathen wives (11.7). What a disgrace!
This flagrant disobedience was in the face of God, who had granted Israel eighty years of peace and prosperity. The seeds were sown for the coming downfall (11.14, 21). Israel would never again experience this level of blessing.
Jeroboam was one of Solomon’s officials (11.26), God himself would raise him up to oppose Solomon’s son, taking ten of the dozen tribes with him in seceding from the nation (11.29-31).
The nation splits in chapter 12. The northern kingdom immediately builds two golden calves. They also build altars on the high places. They will never experience a time of righteousness before the Lord.
The account of the two prophets in 13 is intriguing and unusual.
Jeroboam sends his wife to “sneak up” on a prophet. This account does not end well.
The first of many military losses for Judah is found at the last half of chapter fourteen. The first of many, many pillages of the Temple—sometimes by the invaders, sometimes by wimpy kings giving things away in an attempt to appease others—is also found here (14.25-27).
In chapter 15, we begin to see the accounts—some short, some long—of tenures of kings of both north and south (Israel and Judah). Timelines are given in terms of the king on the other side (“In the eighteenth year of the reign of Jeroboam…Abijah became king of Judah…”); the length of each reign; and whether or not they followed the Lord. Often, a king’s heart performance would be measured against the standard: David. See 15.3.
There was much animosity and fighting between Israel and Judah at this time (e.g., 15.6). Through the course of time, the kings of the respective kingdoms would sometimes be hostile, sometimes allies.
As the line of Judah proceeded through the family line of Judah, Israel had the traditional political assassinations and power plays to wrest control of the throne. As David was the poster boy for righteousness, Omri would be the standard-bearer for evil (16.25-26). He would bear a son, Ahab, who would be in a league of his own for bad behavior and leadership. His marriage to Jezebel would lead to some of the most outrageous acts that we find in any of the royal portfolios.
The prophet Elijah is introduced to us in chapter 17. He prophesied almost exclusively to the kings of the northern kingdom. He will be the archetype of the prophet.
Notes on Job
The dialogue continues. The words of 19.23 are ironic! In 19.26, there is an allusion to resurrection, a theme that is very rarely found in the Old Testament.
Zophar gets offended by Job’s responses (20.3). He goes on with platitudes and cliches. Keep in mind that all of these words will be dissed by God at the end.
Job’s response to this is classic: “Bear with me while I speak, and after I have spoken, mock on” (21.3). And, “So how can you console me with your nonsense?” (21.34).
The common human theme of “Why do the wicked prosper, and I get punished for my faithfulness?” runs through this chapter, especially 21.7-16.
Eliphaz remains clueless (22.4) and makes some serious allegations against Job (22.6-11) which seem to come out of nowhere. Job will later state his case, showing his actual behavior to be the exact opposite.
Job utters words that are very much worthy of meditation and memorization in 23.12: “I have not departed from the commands of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread.”
Job’s amazing understanding of the power of God over the universe is on full display in chapter 26.
Notes on 1 Chronicles
We finally emerge from the genealogies!
Saul dies in chapter 10. His death is a direct result of his unfaithfulness to the Lord (10.13-14).
David comes to the throne in chapter eleven. We do not find the hanging resistance of Saul’s leftover contingent here. We find how David chose Joab in 11.6. This is one of the few really bad decisions that David makes as a leader. Joab was a highly capable military man, but had a very, very bad heart attitude.
Many lists of David’s administration and team are given in the books of the Chronicles.
The ark of the covenant was the representation of the very presence of God. His actual presence was in and around it. David highly valued the things of God, so this was at the top of his list. The ark belonged in the Temple, which was yet to be built. Nevertheless, David wanted it close to himself, and one of his first acts as king was to have it brought to Jerusalem (chapter 13).
As king, he began to acquire many wives and fathered many sons (14.3). This was another unwise move.
The Philistines came looking for him (never forgetting their humiliation regarding Goliath). Instead of running away or being afraid, David went right after them, handing them another humiliating defeat (14.8-16).
The ark was finally brought to Jerusalem with shouts, singing, and music. David was so fired up spiritually that he danced wildly before the Lord.
Lacking the Temple, David pitched a tent for the ark. An ongoing worship service in the tent was initiated.