Bible Readings 4/18/2022

Joshua 20

Psalms 79

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Isaiah 18

2 Samuel 14

Mike’s Notes

Joshua 20 – Cities of Refuge. The cities of refuge were designed to protect people who although having been responsible for the death of someone, did so by accident. This would or should have precluded a family member from taking revenge without first hearing the case. In the Middle Eastern culture, “honor” is everything so killing a family member means the death must be avenged (Revenge). The problem with vengeance is that when we do not know all of the facts, we cause wars to occur and those are very difficult to end. The person who committed the murder accidentally would have his case heard by an unbiased third party and jury who would hear the case and render a verdict. The person who ran to the city would be required to stay where they are until the death of the High Priest.

Psalms 79 – How Long, O Lord? This Psalm was most likely written during the 70-year exile in Babylon. This was an intolerable situation because the people no longer lived in Beaulah land, no longer had their temple to sacrifice, and no longer dressed in finery. Instead, they were a defeated and deflated nation with no hope and no idea when the situation would change. The thing is, no one in the known world of that time had things better or worst than Judah all of the exiles got treated the same. So why were they complaining? The answer is, that they were used to better circumstances. The problem is that when these people were in their land and the Temple was still erected, it was “G-d who?”. The thing is, what happen to Jerusalem wasn’t a “one-off” situation as many of us have also had our “G-d who?” moments and when we had a change of fortune we did exactly as the people of Judah did. You see, while it may seem to be “unfair”, the Lord knows how to humble us so if we won’t humble ourselves, He will do it for us and we won’t like it.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 – A Time for Everything. This segment of chapter 3 is quoted at funerals, songs, and greeting cards. There’s an inherent problem with time and that although its cadence never changes, people perceive it differently. To the hired worker and the prisoner, time ticks by slow and painfully. To the one who has been given six months to a year to live, time passes by quickly. When things do happen according to our time clock, we as humans become impatient and that is where we get into trouble. Consider the case of David and Absalom, how murder separated David from his son. Joab, although most likely for selfish reasons, contrived a way to get the two linked up again and it failed miserably. The Lord has his time and He will not move faster just to appease mankind. So mankind takes it upon themselves to make G-d’s will come to fruition which causes the problem to be bigger than the initial problem and will take much longer to resolve.

Isaiah 18 – An Oracle Concerning Cush. The Cushites were the inhabitants of the Lower Nubia or Ethiopia which means “Burnt of face”. Present-day, this nation is in Sudan. The Cushites were in constant conflict with Egypt in the 8th and 7th centuries BC. By the end of the 4th century BC, the Cushites ceased to exist as a ruling kingdom. In the time of Hezekiah, the Cushites were called upon to help the Judites conquer the imposing army. The problem is, that the Judites would end up being committed to a vassal relationship with Cush which would continue to be a problem until about the beginning of the exile and would not become an autonomous nation until the time of the Maccabean revolt (Cushites).

2 Samuel 14 – Absalom Returns to Jerusalem. Absalom had been in his hometown of Geshur in a self-imposed exile in the wake of killing his brother Amnon. While we are given a specific answer why Joab cared if Absalom ever returned, it is surmised that the young man had not paid restitution according to the law for the death of his brother (Commentary). To solve his dilemma, Joab used a convoluted scheme in the same way that Nathan had used to confront David. So Joab was given permission to bring Absalom back the problem is, this was one of those situations where things should have been left well enough alone. The provision was that Absalom was never to come into the King’s presence. Absalom was most likely happy in Geshur so coming back home again and sitting in isolation, he took matters into his hands and burned Joab’s field. While it most certainly got Joab’s attention, it was the wrong type and set the stage I believe for Absalom’s untimely death. Absalom was forgiven by David but it wasn’t the end of the issue, it was the beginning of the next chapter.

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