Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
The Psalms are songs or hymns – poems – that have been ascribed to David. About 73 of the 150/151 Psalms are attributed to him, and whether they truly are his or not, they do seem to reflect the thoughts of one who is charged with leadership of a nation or peoples. The reading schedule is very difficult to follow through the psalms because the schedule sometimes requires that one read four or five psalms and they seem easier to absorb one at a time like all…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 12th mo. 1, 2012 at 8:44am — No Comments
Wisdom 13 – Those who worshipped the beautiful things in nature – fire, wind, stars, etc – rather than their creator are next addressed. They are less to blame:
“Small blame, however, attaches to these men, for perhaps they only go astray in their search for God and their eagerness to find him; living among his works, they strive to comprehend them and fall victim to appearances, seeing so much beauty (13:6-7). Still, if they are so intelligent, they should be…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 8th mo. 25, 2012 at 6:55am — No Comments
Wisdom 3 – The souls of the virtuous are in God’s hand. It is true their death seems like annihilation, but they are at peace. “Their hope was rich with immortality” (3:4) The New Jerusalem note says this is the first use of the word “immortality” in the Old Testament. It means the abiding unity of the soul with God and does not yet mean resurrection of the body. “Those who are faithful will live with him in love; for grace and mercy await those he has…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 8th mo. 19, 2012 at 9:21pm — No Comments
Sirach 51 – A beautiful psalm of thankfulness and praise – thankfulness for God’s (Wisdom’s) interventions in the writer’s life, praise for all the good that flows from “her.”
“I am determined to put her [God’s wisdom] into practice, I have earnestly pursued what is good, I will not be put to shame. My soul has fought to possess her, I have been scrupulous in keeping the Law; I have stretched out my hands to heaven and bewailed my ignorance of her; I have directed my…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 8th mo. 16, 2012 at 6:43am — No Comments
Sirach 50 – High Priest Simon II, son of Onias III (220-195 BC) is celebrated. He repaired the Temple. His portrayal of this High Priest seems filled with sensual images that indicate he has actually seen him emerge from the Sanctuary. So perhaps we could put the writer in this 3rd-2nd century period. He is a “youthful cedar of Lebanon” (50:12). He is not a famous historical figure, so he must just be a man respected by the author in his time.
“And now bless…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 8th mo. 15, 2012 at 6:54am — No Comments
Sirach 48 – Elija – A prophet who “arose like a fire” brought famine on the land for the sins committed. He was “taken up in the whirlwind of fire, in a chariot with fiery horses” (48:8-9). And there is an allusion to immortality for those who fall asleep “in love” [of God]. They “too will have life” (48:11).
Then Elisha – He was filled with Elijah’s spirit. “No task was too hard for him, and even in death his body prophesied” (48:13) for that the dead were…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 8th mo. 14, 2012 at 6:45am — No Comments
Sirach 37 – On False Friendships: “[S]ome friends are only friends in name. Is it not a deadly sorrow, when a comrade or a friend turns enemy?” (37:2)
On Advisers: “Any adviser will offer advice, but some are governed by self-interest” (37:7). You should always know what the interests of your advisers are, so you can properly judge their advice.
“Do not consult a woman about her rival, or a coward about war, a merchant about prices, or a buyer…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 8th mo. 4, 2012 at 6:41am — No Comments
Sirach 34 – On Dreams: “As well clutch at shadows and chase the wind as put any faith in dreams. Mirror and dream are similar things: confronting a face, the reflection of that face” (34:2-3).
“[D]reams have led many astray, and those building their hopes on them have been disappointed” (34:7).
On the Happiness of Those Who Fear the Lord: “Happy the soul of the man who fears the Lord. On whom does he rely? Who supports him? The eyes of the Lord…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 8th mo. 2, 2012 at 7:06am — No Comments
Sirach 30 – On raising children: While the spirit of wanting one’s children to grow up well and not be spoiled or self-centered is here, the advice runs so against the modern sense of what is wise it is remarkable. So while usually I include quotes here that I like, her I am including them just to show how utterly alien they seem.
“A man who loves his son will beat him frequently so that in after years the son may be his comfort”…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 7th mo. 30, 2012 at 8:09am — No Comments
Lamentations 4 – This section of Lamentations is about what it was like to be in Jerusalem after its fall in 586 BC. As much misery as we may have experienced, it is not anywhere near the desolation that affected the inhabitants of this city. There are places in the world where life is as terrible, but I have not known anything like this.
“Happier were those killed by the sword, than those pierced by hunger, whose life drains away, deprived of the produce of the field.…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 3rd mo. 31, 2012 at 7:53am — No Comments
Jeremiah 51 – Oracle Against Babylon Again – Jeremiah here repeats that the “moral arc” of God’s dealing with Israel and Babylon will be long, but in the end Babylon whom God used to punish the unfaithfulness of His people, will also be brought low by its “kingdom from the north” [Persia].
“The Lord made the earth by his power; by his wisdom he created the world and stretched out the heavens. At his command the waters above the sky roar; he brings clouds from…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 3rd mo. 27, 2012 at 8:00am — No Comments
Jeremiah 29 - Jeremiah writes a letter to the exiles in Babylon and tells them to settle there, take wives, have families; it will be a long time (70 years), but he encourages them: “I know the plans I have in mind for you, . . . plans for peace, not disaster, reserving a future full of hope for you” (29:11). I will let you find me. Do not be deceived by false prophets there, in Babylon, or people who interpret dreams. The King who remained…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 3rd mo. 9, 2012 at 7:39am — No Comments
Jeremiah 11 – A curse lies over the heads of those who do not observe the terms of God’s covenant, the Lord says to Jeremiah. “Urgently and constantly I warned your fathers to obey my voice, from the day I brought them up out of the land of Egypt even to this day” (11: 7). He tells Jeremiah not to try to intercede for them. It is too late. Outward observance alone is not enough: “Can vows and sacred meat turn away your misfortune from you?” (11:15). Jeremiah then learns that…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 2nd mo. 22, 2012 at 8:30am — No Comments
Historical Information: To review very briefly the history of the people Moses and Josiah established in the “Promised Land” – we have, after all, just flipped from the end of Deuteronomy where Moses had brought the people of the Exodus to the borders of that promised land – to the very end of the monarchical period, some 600+ years later - VERY BRIEF:
Joshua, who received his appointment as leader from Moses, led the people into the land Moses had led them to. Under his…Continue
Deuteronomy 31 – The next four chapters bring the Torah to a close. The Schocken version points out that they end not with achievement of the goal—entry into the Promised Land but with a people filled with hope and commitment and readiness; and he says, furthermore that the very end of the Hebrew Bible—II Chronicles 36 parallels this with Cyrus vowing to build a house for YHWH in Jerusalem and inviting the people to “go up.”
Moses is 120; he will not cross over the…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 2nd mo. 9, 2012 at 6:09am — No Comments
Deuteronomy 21 – The laws we are reading about in this section of Deuteronomy are among the 613 that make up the full “Law of Moses” – the “mitzvoth.” Some very odd laws are put into place in this code, none stranger than the few here described: the concerns are understandable but the methods of dealing with them are hard to understand. If a dead body is found – a murdered person – you need to go to the leaders of the town nearest to where it’s found, get a young cow (under a year)…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 2nd mo. 1, 2012 at 9:39am — No Comments