Archive for the ‘1 Kings 2’ Category

The Reigns of Kings Baasha, Elah, and Zimri of Israel   Leave a comment

Above:  King Zimri of Israel

Image in the Public Domain

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READING 1-2 SAMUEL, 1 KINGS, 2 KINGS 1-21, 1 CHRONICLES, AND 2 CHRONICLES 1-33

PART LXIX

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1 Kings 15:32-16:20

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Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, he will also reap.

–Galatians 6:7, Revised Standard Version–Second Catholic Edition (2002)

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King Baasha of Israel (Reigned 906-883 B.C.E.)

King Elah of Israel (Reigned 883-882 B.C.E.)

King Zimri of Israel (Reigned 882 B.C.E.)

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Baasha became the King of Israel by rebelling against King Nadab, son of King Jeroboam I.  The fate of the House of Baasha was a repeat of that of the House of Jeroboam I.  The author made clear that God had judged King Jeroboam I, Nadab, Baasha, and Elah–four kings in two dynasties–for their sins.

King Zimri, who came to power in a coup, reigned for a week.  Then Omri, another army commander, challenged him.  King Zimri, his fate sealed, burned down the palace with himself in it.  Omri became the next King of Israel and the founder of a new, notorious dynasty.

One can almost hear the tone in the author’s voice.

This is what you get for not having a monarch from the Davidic Dynasty,

one can read between the lines.  That is one of the biases of the Deuteronomic History.  That bias glosses over the sins of King David while simultaneously acknowledging them.  Whenever I read in the Bible that King David did only what was just and that he had a heart after God’s heart, I ask,

Really?

I recall certain Biblical stories from 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, and 1 Kings 1-2 that belie those claims.  I am not theologically and emotionally invested in engaging in nostalgia for King David.  Besides, nostalgia entails remembering the past as being better than it was.

As for the theme of punishment for sins…

Perhaps the operative principle is that we reap what we sow.  God may not have actively deposed any of the monarchs named in this post.  The author did, however, believe that God had done so.  Maybe a particular monarch simply made enemies, who turned on him.  Those who live by the sword die by it, after all.  

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 25, 2020 COMMON ERA

PROPER 25:  THE TWENTY-FIRST SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST, YEAR A

THE FEAST OF PHILIPP NICOLAI, GERMAN LUTHERAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT PROCLUS, ARCHBISHOP OF CONSTANTINOPLE; AND SAINT RUSTICUS, BISHOP OF NARBONNE

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The Wisdom of King Solomon   Leave a comment

Above:  The Judgment of Solomon, by William Blake

Image in the Public Domain

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READING 1-2 SAMUEL, 1 KINGS, 2 KINGS 1-21, 1 CHRONICLES, AND 2 CHRONICLES 1-33

PART LV

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1 Kings 3:1-28

1 Kings 4:29-34 (Protestant)

1 Kings 5:9-14 (Jewish and Roman Catholic)

3 Kingdoms 5:9-14 (Eastern Orthodox)

2 Chronicles 1:2-17

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Give the King your justice, O God,

and your righteousness to the King’s Son;

That he may rule your people righteously and the poor with justice;

That the mountains may bring prosperity to the people,

and the little hills bring righteousness.

He shall defend the needy among the people;

he shall rescue the poor and crush the oppressor.

–Psalm 72:1-4, The Book of Common Prayer (1979)

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One should read scripture in various contexts.  The historical record is such a context.  Other contexts include geography, cultural anthropology, and human psychology.  And other scripture provides essential contextualization, too.

Both 1 Kings and 2 Chronicles tell the story of the dream encounter between Solomon and God.  The petition for wisdom, to rule justly, sounds good, does it not?  One could forget the bloody purge in 1 Kings 2.  One could also ignore the foreshadowing of trouble and idolatry evident in King Solomon’s marriage to an Egyptian princess.  Furthermore, 1 Kings 5 and 2 Chronicles 2 refer to the use of forced labor to construct the First Temple.  The account in 2 Chronicles 2 minimizes this problem by stating that the burdens of forced labor fell solely on foreigners.  However, 1 Kings 5:13/27 (depending on versification) tells us that the monarch imposed forced labor on “all Israel.”

Perhaps we would all feel better if we were to focus on the dream vision and on how King Solomon determined which prostitute was lying to him about being the baby’s mother.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 21, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF GEORGE MCGOVERN, U.S. SENATOR AND STATESMAN; AND HIS WIFE, ELEANOR MCGOVERN, HUMANITARIAN

THE FEAST OF DAVID MORITZ MICHAEL, GERMAN-AMERICAN MORAVIAN MUSICIAN AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF JAMES W. C. PENNINGTON, AFRICAN-AMERICAN CONGREGATIONALIST AND PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER, EDUCATOR, AND ABOLITIONIST

THE FEAST OF SAINT LAURA OF SAINT CATHERINE OF SIENA, FOUNDRESS OF THE WORKS OF THE INDIANS AND THE CONGREGATION OF MISSIONARY SISTERS OF IMMACULATE MARY AND OF SAINT CATHERINE OF SIENA

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The Accession of King Solomon   Leave a comment

Above:  King Solomon

Image in the Public Domain

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READING 1-2 SAMUEL, 1 KINGS, 2 KINGS 1-21, 1 CHRONICLES, AND 2 CHRONICLES 1-33

PART LIV

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1 Kings 2:13-46

2 Chronicles 1:1

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The king rejoices in your strength, O LORD;

how greatly he exults in your victory.

–Psalm 21:1, The Book of Common Prayer (1979)

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2 Chronicles depicts the accession to the throne and the consolidation of power by Solomon as having been orderly and neat.  1 Kings 1-2 reveal the ugly truth, though.  Farewell, Adonijah, Joab, and Shimei.

Royal successions have frequently been bloody.  Intrigues related to that much concentrated power have often ended in body counts.  Solomon was neither the first nor the last monarch to order the execution of a relative to secure a hold on power.

I am a cinephile.  These deaths remind me of the climaxes of all three Godfather movies.  The unseemly combination of violence and professions of piety remind me of The Godfather (1972), in particular.  The memory of Michael Corleone standing as godfather to his nephew and renouncing Satan while Corleone family hit men murder people fits the scene in 1 Kings 2:13-46 thematically.

I dislike David.  I also dislike Solomon.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 15, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT TERESA OF AVILA, SPANISH ROMAN CATHOLIC NUN, MYSTIC, AND REFORMER

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The Death and Legacy of King David   Leave a comment

Above:  David and Solomon with the Madonna and Baby Jesus

Image in the Public Domain

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READING 1-2 SAMUEL, 1 KINGS, 2 KINGS 1-21, 1 CHRONICLES, AND 2 CHRONICLES 1-33

PART LIII

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2 Samuel 23:1-7

1 Kings 2:1-12

1 Chronicles 29:26-30

Sirach/Ecclesiasticus 47:2-11

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In all his activities he gave thanks

to the Holy One Most High in words of glory;

he put all his heart into his songs

out of love for his Creator.

–Ecclesiasticus 47:8, The New Jerusalem Bible (1985)

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After reigning for about forty years and six months, David died.  His record was mixed–more mixed than some Biblical authors admitted.  Other Biblical sources, however, were honest about David’s moral failings as a man and a monarch.

David’s final advice to Solomon in 1 Kings 2 combines piety with orders for executions.  One reads of plans to punish (by killing) Joab and Shimei, both of whom David had spared in 2 Samuel–Shimei in Chapters 16 and 19, and Joab in Chapters 2, 18, 19, and 20.  The Corleone family–er, Davidic Dynasty–was about to settle accounts.

To repeat myself from a previous post, I do not like David.  I even have strong sympathies for Saul.  I perceive unduly negative press regarding the first King of Israel.  I perceive a pro-Davidic filter in accounts of Saul.  I conclude that Saul was not as bad as we are supposed to think, and that David was much worse than we are supposed to think, according to the texts.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 15, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT TERESA OF AVILA, SPANISH ROMAN CATHOLIC NUN, MYSTIC, AND REFORMER

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King David Names Solomon His Successor   Leave a comment

Above:  He Charged Solomon His Son

Image in the Public Domain

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READING 1-2 SAMUEL, 1 KINGS, 2 KINGS 1-21, 1 CHRONICLES, AND 2 CHRONICLES 1-33

PART LII

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1 Kings 1:1-53

1 Chronicles 22:1-23:1

1 Chronicles 28:1-29:25

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For the king puts his trust in the LORD;

 

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The arrangement of material regarding the final days of King David and the accession of King Solomon differs in 1 Kings 1-2 and 1 Chronicles 22, 23, 28, and 29.  The account of the Chronicler adds material about plans for the First Temple.  The version from 1 Kings 1-2 does not.  Likewise, 1 Chronicles omits King David’s Corleone-like counsel and the plot of son Adonijah to succeed to the throne.  This omission is consistent with the Chronicler’s approach.

My keynote for this post comes from 1 Chronicles 22 and 28.  The exhortations to keep the Law of God and govern wisely, therefore rule successfully, comes with bitter hindsight.  We who read these stories closely remember what Solomon became and how certain policies damaged the kingdom and paved the way for its division.  We know that Solomon left the united Kingdom of Israel worse than he inherited it.

Solomon had much wasted potential.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 15, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT TERESA OF AVILA, SPANISH ROMAN CATHOLIC NUN, MYSTIC, AND REFORMER

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Planning for the Temple   Leave a comment

Above:  David’s Love for God’s House

Image in the Public Domain

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READING 1-2 SAMUEL, 1 KINGS, 2 KINGS 1-21, 1 CHRONICLES, AND 2 CHRONICLES 1-33

PART L

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1 Chronicles 22:2-26:32

1 Chronicles 28:1-21

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The LORD is the strength of his people,

a safe refuge for his anointed.

Save your people and bless your inheritance;

shepherd them and carry them for ever.

–Psalm 28:10-11, The Book of Common Prayer (1979)

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This long reading relates thematically to the end of 2 Samuel 24, in which King David built an altar to the LORD on a threshing floor the monarch purchased from Araunah.  This threshing floor became the site of the First Temple.  In the version from 1 Chronicles 21, Ornan owned the threshing floor.  Even if one accepts that Araunah and Ornan were the same man, one cannot reconcile the differing monetary amounts in 2 Samuel 24 and 1 Chronicles 21:  50 shekels of silver (2 Samuel 24) versus 600 shekels of gold (1 Chronicles 21).

The account from 1 Chronicles also overlaps with 1 Kings 1:1-2:12.  I will return to 1 Chronicles 22:1-23:2; 28:1-21 shortly.

King David, of course, was not to oversee the construction of the First Temple. (Read 2 Samuel 7, O reader. )  That task fell to Solomon, né Yedediah.  Yet David played some role in making plans for the Temple.

Nothing was too good for the Temple.  No price was too high for the threshing floor. Only the best materials were suitable for the Temple.  Only the most devout service was acceptable from the priests, Levites, singers, gatekeepers, treasurers, and magistrates.

God deserves our best in everything, individually and collectively.  We ought to love God most of all.  Our love for our fellow human beings flows from our love for God.  Our love for the natural world flows from our love for God.  Our attention to liturgical details flows from our love for God.  That is why it should be.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 15, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT TERESA OF AVILA, SPANISH ROMAN CATHOLIC NUN, MYSTIC, AND REFORMER

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Another Revolt in Israel   Leave a comment

Above:  Joab Slays Amasa

Image in the Public Domain

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READING 1-2 SAMUEL, 1 KINGS, 2 KINGS 1-21, 1 CHRONICLES, AND 2 CHRONICLES 1-33

PART XLVII

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2 Samuel 20:1-26

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Repay them according to their deeds,

and according to the wickedness of their actions.

–Psalm 28:4, The Book of Common Prayer (1979)

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Chronology is not always the organizing principle for material in 2 Samuel.  2 Samuel 20, for example, leads into 1 Kings 1.  2 Samuel 21-24 constitute an appendix.  I, trained as a historian, think about the arrangement of material.  Chronology is not always the best organizing material.  One can often make a case for moving chronologically within one theme at a time.  Appendices are also legitimate.

Joab!  Joab slew Abner (2 Samuel 3:27).  Joab ordered the death of Absalom, against David’s commands (2 Samuel 18).  Then David demoted Abner and promoted Amasa (2 Samuel 19).  (Aside:  I would have fired Joab.)  Next, some time later, Joab slew Amasa (2 Samuel 20:10) and became the commander again.  (Aside:  Why did David keep Joab around so long?)  Joab also threatened the town of Abel of Beth-maacah and accepted an offer to save the population in exchange for the head of Sheba son of Bichri, the most recent rebel leader.  David, dying, advised Solomon to order the execution of Joab (1 Kings 2:5-6).  Solomon did (1 Kings 2:28f).

How are we supposed to evaluate Joab?  Was he an overzealous patriot who occasionally violated David’s orders?  Perhaps.  Maybe David should not have permitted Joab to get away with such actions.  Or maybe Joab was correct vis-á-vis Sheba.  If had David had consented to the beheading of Shimei in 2 Samuel 16:9, the rebellion of Chapter 20 would never have occurred, according to a note in The Jewish Study Bible.  If we agree with that note, the dying David was correct to order the execution of Shimei (1 Kings 2:8-9), which Solomon made happen several years later (1 Kings 2:39-46).  Or maybe one agrees with me and disagrees with that note in The Jewish Study Bible.

Nobody is right or wrong all of the time.  One is, however, either right more often that one is wrong or wrong more often than one is right.  Even a broken clock is right twice a day, to quote a cliché.  

So, was Joab right more often than he was wrong?  Or was he wrong more often than he was right?

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 14, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS CALLIXTUS I, ANTERUS, AND PONTIAN, BISHOPS OF ROME; AND SAINT HIPPOLYTUS, ANTIPOPE

THE FEAST OF SAINT ROMAN LYSKO, UKRAINIAN GREEK CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR, 1949

THE FEAST OF SAMUEL ISAAC JOSEPH SCHERESCHEWSKY, EPISCOPAL BISHOP OF SHANGHAI, AND BIBLICAL TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF THOMAS HANSEN KINGO, DANISH LUTHERAN BISHOP, HYMN WRITER, AND “POET OF EASTERTIDE”

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David’s Attempts to Restore Unity   Leave a comment

Above:  King David

Image in the Public Domain

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READING 1-2 SAMUEL, 1 KINGS, 2 KINGS 1-21, 1 CHRONICLES, AND 2 CHRONICLES 1-33

PART XLVI

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2 Samuel 19:1-43 (Protestant)/19:2-44 (Jewish and Roman Catholic), or, as the Eastern Orthodox call the text, 2 Kingdoms 19:2-44

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Turn to me and have pity on me,

for I am left alone and in misery.

The sorrows of my heart have increased;

bring me out of my troubles.

Look upon my adversity and misery

and forgive me all my sin.

–Psalm 25:15-17, The Book of Common Prayer (1979)

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David was victorious and relatively magnanimous following the events of 2 Samuel 15-18 (the rebellion of Absalom).  The King, for example, demoted Joab, who had committed insubordination, caused the death of Absalom, and behaved insensitively toward the grieving David.  But David let Joab live.  David promoted Amasa to take Joab’s place.  The King even rejected another suggestion to have Shimei (who had cursed him 2 Samuel 16) executed.  Unfortunately, David changed his mind years later (1 Kings 1:8-9) and Solomon ordered the death of Shimei (1 Kings 2:36-46).

Unity remained elusive in the immediate wake of the rebellion of Absalom, however.  There was no way David could unfry that egg.

2 Samuel 19 presents David favorably.  He stands in contrast to the lying, insensitive Joab and the pitiful yet loyal Mephibosheth.  The narrative also presents David as a broken, humbled man not eager to shed more blood immediately after a bloody rebellion.

This was the first rebellion.  The second one followed in Chapter 20.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 3, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF GEORGE KENNEDY ALLEN BELL, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF CHICHESTER

THE FEAST OF ALBERTO RAMENTO, PRIME BISHOP OF THE PHILIPPINE INDEPENDENT CHURCH

THE FEAST OF SAINT GERARD OF BROGNE, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT

THE FEAST OF JOHN RALEIGH MOTT, U.S. METHODIST LAY EVANGELIST, AND ECUMENICAL PIONEER

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Absalom in Jerusalem and David in Flight   Leave a comment

Above:  Shimei Curses David

Artist = William Hole

Image in the Public Domain

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READING 1-2 SAMUEL, 1 KINGS, 2 KINGS 1-21, 1 CHRONICLES, AND 2 CHRONICLES 1-33

PART XLIII

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2 Samuel 16:1-23

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Trouble and distress have come upon me,

yet your commandments are my delight.

The righteousness of your decrees is everlasting;

grant me understanding, that I may live.

–Psalm 119:143-144, The Book of Common Prayer (1979)

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David was in deep trouble.  He was on the run from Absalom, who had claimed the throne and the royal concubines.  David, verbally abused, accepted that abuse.  He refused to permit Abishai to behead Shimei.  Unfortunately, David changed his mind years later (1 Kings 1:8-9) and Solomon had Shimei executed (1 Kings 2:36-46).

Mephibosheth, a grandson of King Saul, was also in trouble.  Back in 2 Samuel 9, Ziba had brought Mephibosheth to David’s attention.  David had taken Mephibosheth into the court and granted him privileges.  In 2 Samuel 16, Ziba lied–told “alternative facts,” to quote Kellyanne Conway regarding mathematics in January 2017–about Saul’s grandson.  Mephibosheth had designs on the throne, Ziba claimed.  That was a lie.  “Alternative facts” have always been objectively false.  Ziba’s statement was a lie, according to 2 Samuel 19.  Mephibosheth, by breathing and having a pulse, posed at least a theoretical threat to David’s claim to the throne.  Yet the grandson of Saul seemed not to want to become the King of Israel.

No, the main threat to David’s kingship came from Absalom, one of his sons.  Absalom’s rage against his father ran deep.  It must have been building up since long before the rape of Tamar by Amnon (2 Samuel 13).  Despite David’s flaws, his maturity in 2 Samuel 16 contrasted with Absalom’s rage.

I wish that David’s maturity had continued all way to his death, and that he had advised the continued sparing of Shimei.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 3, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF GEORGE KENNEDY ALLEN BELL, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF CHICHESTER

THE FEAST OF ALBERTO RAMENTO, PRIME BISHOP OF THE PHILIPPINE INDEPENDENT CHURCH

THE FEAST OF SAINT GERARD OF BROGNE, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT

THE FEAST OF JOHN RALEIGH MOTT, U.S. METHODIST LAY EVANGELIST, AND ECUMENICAL PIONEER

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The Decline of the House of Eli   Leave a comment

Above: Hophni and Phinehas (Above), and Elkanah, Hannah, Samuel, and Eli (Below)

Image in the Public Domain

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READING 1-2 SAMUEL, 1 KINGS, 2 KINGS 1-21, 1 CHRONICLES, AND 2 CHRONICLES 1-33

PART III

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1 Samuel 2:12-36

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The law of the LORD is perfect and revives the soul;

the testimony of the LORD is sure and gives wisdom to the innocent.

The statutes of the LORD are just and rejoice the heart;

the commandment of the LORD is clear and gives light to the eyes.

The fear of the LORD is clean and endures for ever;

the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.

More to be desired are they than gold, more than much fine gold,

sweeter far than honey, than honey in the comb.

–Psalm 19:7-10, The Book of Common Prayer (1979)

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Hophni and Phinehas, sons of Eli, were scoundrels.  Claiming the choicest cuts of sacrificial meat (properly reserved for God) for themselves was just one of their sins.  They were the biological heirs of Eli.  They were unworthy.  The faithful priest (vs. 35-36) was Zadok (see 1 Kings 2:35), not Samuel (see 1 Samuel 8:1-3).

In a different family, Elkanah and Hannah had five more children.  And Samuel served God faithfully.

For I honor those who honor Me, and those who spurn Me shall be dishonored.

–1 Samuel 2:30c, TANAKH:  The Holy Scriptures (1985)

One can dishonor God via sins of commission and sins of omission.  By that standard, Eli had committed sons of omission when he permitted Hophni and Phinehas to get away with their bad behavior.  All these men received punishment for their sins, although Eli got off more lightly than his sons did.

Divine judgment and mercy exist in balance in both the Old and New Testaments.  Hellfire-and-damnation people err on one side.  The opposite error is also commonplace.  Standards exist.  Violating them carries consequences.  Yet divine judgment is never capricious, and mercy is ever-present.  People condemn themselves; chickens come home to roost.  That may be more terrifying than the judgment of God, as hellfire-and-damnation preachers proclaim it.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 14, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM CROFT, ANGLICAN ORGANIST AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF JOHN BAJUS, U.S. LUTHERAN MINISTER AND HYMN TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF JOHN HENRY HOPKINS, JR., EPISCOPAL PRIEST AND HYMNODIST; AND HIS NEPHEW, JOHN HENRY HOPKINS, III, EPISCOPAL PRIEST AND MUSICIAN

THE FEAST OF SAINT MAXIMILIAN KOLBE, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR, 1941; AND JONATHAN MYRICK DANIELS, EPISCOPAL SEMINARIAN AND MARTYR, 1965

THE FEAST OF SARAH FLOWER ADAMS, ENGLISH UNITARIAN HYMN WRITER; AND HER SISTER, ELIZA FLOWER, ENGLISH UNITARIAN COMPOSER

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