Archive for the ‘2 Chronicles 10’ Tag

The Superscription and First Epigram of the Book of Amos   2 comments

Above:  Map of the Kingdoms of Judah and Israel during the Reigns of Kings Azariah (Uzziah) of Judah and Jeroboam II of Israel

Image Scanned from an Old Bible

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READING AMOS, PART I

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Amos 1:1-2

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The superscription (1:1) provides information useful in dating the original version of the Book of Amos.  Jeroboam II (r. 788-747 B.C.E.; 2 Kings 14:23-29) was the King of Israel.  Azariah/Uzziah (r. 785-733 B.C.E.; 2 Kings 15:1-17; 2 Chronicles 26:1-23).  In a seismically-active region, the “big one” of circa 770 or 760 or 750 B.C.E. was apparently a memorable natural disaster.  (Ironing out wrinkles in the chronology of the era from Uzziah to Hezekiah has long been difficult, as many Biblical commentaries have noted.  For example, reputable sources I have consulted have provided different years, ranging from 742 to 733 B.C.E., for the death of King Uzziah.)  Centuries later, after the Babylonian Exile, Second Zechariah recalled that cataclysm in the context of earth-shaking events predicted to precede the Day of the Lord–in Christian terms, the establishment of the fully-realized Kingdom of God:

And the valley in the Hills shall be stopped up, for the Valley of the Hills shall reach only to Azal; it shall be stopped up as a result of the earthquake in the days of King Uzziah of Judah.–And the LORD my God, with all the holy beings, will come to you.

–Zechariah 14:5, TANAKH:  The Holy Scriptures (1985)

The original version of the Book of Amos, then, dates to circa 772 or 762 or 752 B.C.E.

The final version of the Book of Amos, however, dates to the period after the Babylonian Exile.  The prophecies of Hosea, Amos, Micah, and First Isaiah, in their final forms, all do.  So do the final versions of much of the rest of the Hebrew Bible, from Genesis to the two Books of Kings.  The final version of the Book of Amos indicates a pro-Judean bias, evident first in the listing of Kings of Judah before King Jeroboam II of Israel.

“Amos,” the shorter version of “Amasiah,” derives from the Hebrew verb for “to carry” and means “borne by God.”

Amos was a Judean who prophesied in the (northern) Kingdom of Israel.  He was, by profession, a breeder of sheep and cattle, as well as a tender of sycamore figs (1:1, 7:14).  The prophet was wealthy.  In 2 Kings 3:4, King Mesha of Moab was also a sheep breeder.  Amos hailed from the village of Tekoa, about eight kilometers, or five miles, south of Bethlehem, and within distant sight of Jerusalem (2 Samuel 14:2; Jeremiah 6:1).  King Rehoboam of Judah (r. 928-911 B.C.E.; 1 Kings 12:1-33; 1 Kings 15:21-31; 2 Chronicles 10:1-12:16; Ecclesiasticus/Sirach 47:23) had ordered the fortification of Tekoa (2 Chronicles 11:6).  Although Amos prophesied in the (northern) Kingdom of Israel, “Israel” (Amos 1:1) was a vague reference.

Since the prophetic office as manifested in Amos was a function of Yahweh’s lordship over his people, the political boundary that had been set up between Judah and Israel was utterly irrelevant.  Amos was concerned with Israel in their identity as the people of the Lord; the sphere of his activity was the realm of the old tribal league, all Israel under Yahweh, and not the state cult with its orientation to the current king and his kingdom.

–James Luther Mays, Amos:  A Commentary (1969), 19

I wonder if the vagueness of “Israel” in Amos 1:1 is original or if it is a product of subsequent amendment and editing.  The later editing and amendment do present questions about how to interpret the edited and amended texts.  Anyhow, I recognize that the message of God, via Amos of Tekoa, received and transmitted faithfully in a particular geographical and temporal context, remains relevant.  That message remains germane because human nature is a constant force, often negatively so.

The reference to the cataclysmic earthquake (Amos 1:) may do more than help to date the composition of the first version of the book.  One may, for example, detect references to that earthquake in Amos 2:13, 3;14f, 6:11, and 9:1.  One may reasonably speculate that the Book of Amos, in its final form, at least, may understand the earthquake of circa 770 or 760 or 750 B.C.E. as divine punishment for rampant, collective, persistent, disregard for the moral demands of the Law of Moses.  This presentation of natural disasters as the wrath of God exists also in Joel 1 and 2 (in reference to a plague of locusts) and in Exodus 7-11 (in reference to the plagues on Egypt).  This perspective disturbs me.  I recall certain conservative evangelists describing Hurricane Katrina (2005) as the wrath of God on New Orleans, Louisiana, allegedly in retribution for sexual moral laxity.  I wish that more people would be more careful regarding what they claim about the divine character.  I also know that earthquakes occur because of plate tectonics, swarms of locusts go where they will, and laws of nature dictate where hurricanes make landfall.

Amos seems to have prophesied in the (northern) Kingdom of Israel briefly, perhaps for only one festival and certainly for less than a year, at Bethel, a cultic site.  Then officialdom saw to it that he returned to Tekoa, his livestock and sycamore figs, and the (southern) Kingdom of Judah.

[Amos] proclaimed:

The LORD roars from Zion,

Shouts aloud from Jerusalem;

And the pastures of the shepherds shall languish,

And the summit of Carmel shall wither.

–Amos 2:2, TANAKH:  The Holy Scriptures (1985)

The theological understanding in Amos 2:2 holds that God was resident in Zion.  The reference to Mount Carmel, on the Mediterranean coast and in the (northern) Kingdom of Israel makes plain that the message was, immediately, at least, for the Northern Kingdom.  Looking at a map, one can see the geographical setting.  For the divine voice, shouted in Jerusalem, to make the summit of Mount Carmel writhe, poetically, God really is a force with which to reckon.

God is near, but he is also far–immeasurably exalted, inexpressively different.  He is the king who does not die.

–R. B. Y. Scott, The Relevance of the Prophets, 2nd. ed. (1968), 121

How we mere mortals think, speak, and write about God depends largely on our theological and social contexts–how well we understand science, how we define moral parameters, and how wide or narrow our theological imagination may be.  How we mere mortals think, speak, and write about God must also include much poetry, even prose poetry.  If we are theologically, spiritually, and intellectually honest, we will acknowledge this.  How we mere mortals think, speak, and write about God may or may not age well and/or translate well to other cultures.

Despite certain major differences from the pre-scientific worldview of the eighth-century B.C.E. prophet Amos and the world of 2021 B.C.E., the social, economic, and political context of the Book of Amos bears an unfortunate similarity to the world of 2021.  Economic inequality is increasing.  The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the numbers of poor people while a relative few already extremely wealthy people have become richer.  God still cares deeply about how people treat each other.  God continues to condemn institutionalized inequality.  Many conventionally pious people–religious leaders, especially–are complicit in maintaining this inequality.

Amos of Tekoa continues to speak the words of God to the world of 2021.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 19, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JACQUES ELLUL, FRENCH REFORMED THEOLOGIAN AND SOCIOLOGIST

THE FEAST OF SAINT CELESTINE V, BISHOP OF ROME

THE FEAST OF SAINT DUNSTAN OF CANTERBURY, ABBOT OF GLASTONBURY AND ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY

THE FEAST OF SAINT IVO OF KERMARTIN, ROMAN CATHOLIC ATTORNEY, PRIEST, AND ADVOCATE FOR THE POOR

THE FEAST OF GEORG GOTTFRIED MULLER, GERMAN-AMERICAN MORAVIAN MINISTER AND COMPOSER

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The Reigns of Kings Abijah/Abijam and Asa of Judah   Leave a comment

Above:  King Abijah/Abijam of Judah

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 LXVIII

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1 Kings 15:1-24

2 Chronicles 13:1-16:14

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O LORD, your word is everlasting;

it stands firm in the heavens.

Your faithfulness remains from one generation to another;

you established the earth, and it abides.

By your decree these continue to this day,

for all things are your servants.

–Psalm 119:89-91, The Book of Common Prayer (1979)

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King Rehoboam of Judah (Reigned 928-911 B.C.E.)

King Abijah/Abijam of Judah (Reigned 911-908 B.C.E.)

King Asa of Judah (Reigned 908-867 B.C.E.)

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The reign of King Rehoboam of Judah (1 Kings 12:1-15; 1 Kings 14:21-31; 2 Chronicles 10:1-12:16) was undistinguished, to be polite.  It included the division of the united monarchy and humiliation by a Pharaoh.

The brief reign of King Abijah/Abijam of Judah was also undistinguished, except by sin and warfare, mainly.  Yet the author of 2 Chronicles emphasized that the divine promise to King David remained in effect, and that God granted Judah victory over Israel and King Jeroboam I in combat.

The evaluation of King Asa of Judah is somewhat positive, in contrast to those of his two immediate predecessors.  We read of his long reign, of his faithfulness to God, of his religious reforms, of his war against King Baasha of Israel, and of his failure to trust God during that war.  We also read of King Asa’s unjust actions in reaction against a prophetic critique in 2 Chronicles 16.

We read:

…yet Asa’s heart was undivided as long as he lived.

–2 Chronicles 15:17b, The New American Bible (1991)

Really?  We also read:

“Because you relied on the king of Aram and did not rely on the LORD, your God, the army of the king of Aram has escaped your hand.”

–2 Chronicles 16:7, The New American Bible (1991)

Furthermore, we read:

But even in his sickness he did not seek the LORD, but only the physicians.

–2 Chronicles 16:12b, The New American Bible (1991)

Make up your mind, Chronicler!

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 Beginning of the Reign of King Rehoboam of Judah, with the Division of the Kingdom of Israel   3 comments

Above:  Jeroboam’s Sacrifice at Bethel, by Gerbrand van den Eeckhout

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 LXV

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1 Kings 12:1-33

2 Chronicles 10:1-11:23

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He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind;

And the foolish shall be servant to the wise of heart.

–Proverbs 11:29, The Holy Scriptures (1917)

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King Rehoboam of Judah (Reigned 928-911 B.C.E.)

King Jeroboam I of Israel (Reigned 928-907 B.C.E.)

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“My father imposed a heavy yoke on you, and I will add to your yoke; my father flogged you with whips, but I will flog you with scorpions.”

–Rehoboam in 1 Kings 12:11, TANAKH:  The Holy Scriptures (1985)

With that attitude, no wonder a rebellion succeeded!  No wonder Jeroboam, back from exile in Egypt (see 1 Kings 11:40), became King Jeroboam I of Israel!

Jeroboam I’s golden calves at Bethel and Dan were political and religious.  He did not want his subjects making sacrifices in Jerusalem, in the Kingdom of Judah.  These golden calves influenced the telling of the story in Exodus 32.  The words of Aaron in Exodus 32:8 and those of Jeroboam I in 1 Kings 12:28 are even identical.  The agenda in both passages was pro-Temple:  making sacrifices elsewhere constituted idolatry.  Exodus 32 projected the story of Jeroboam I’s cultic sites backward in time.

Both Jeroboam I and Rehoboam consolidated their power and went on to receive negative reviews from Biblical authors.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 24, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF ROSA PARKS, AFRICAN-AMERICAN CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST

THE FEAST OF FRITZ EICHENBERG, GERMAN-AMERICAN QUAKER WOOD ENGRAVER

THE FEAST OF HENRY CLAY SHUTTLEWORTH, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

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The Visit of the Queen of Sheba   Leave a comment

Above:  The Tomb of King Hiram of Tyre, by Charles William Meredith von de Velde

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 LXII

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1 Kings 10:1-29

2 Chronicles 9:1-28

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The earth, O LORD, is full of your love;

instruct me in your statutes.

–Psalm 119:64, The Book of Common Prayer (1979)

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I intend the quote from Psalm 119 partially as a counterpoint to the texts from 1 Kings and 2 Chronicles.

Sheba was Sabea, on the southwestern corner of the Arabian peninsula.  The strategically-located Sabea controlled access to the Sea of Aden from the Red Sea.  The queen was in Jerusalem to meet a potential trading partner. The story of her state visit flows from the end of 1 Kings 9 and 2 Chronicles 8, and flows into accounts of extreme wealth late in 1 Kings 10 and 2 Chronicles 9.  The story of the state visit also builds up King Solomon’s reputation before the turmoil of 1 Kings 11 and 12 and 2 Chronicles 10 and 11.

In ancient societies without a strong middle class, one could not accumulate extreme wealth without exploiting people and perpetuating their exploitation.  Biblical authors have already told us that King Solomon used slavery and forced labor.

King Solomon’s court does not impress me.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 22, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF FREDERICK PRATT GREEN, BRITISH METHODIST MINISTER, POET, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF EMILY HUNTINGTON MILLER, U.S. METHODIST AUTHOR AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF KATHARINA VON SCHLEGAL, GERMAN LUTHERAN HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF PAUL TILLICH, GERMAN-AMERICAN LUTHERAN THEOLOGIAN

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Pretenses of Knowledge   5 comments

Above:  Jesus Tempted in the Wilderness, by James Tissot

Image in the Public Domain

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Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning:

Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them,

that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of life,

which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ,  who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

The Book of Common Prayer (1979), page 236

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2 Chronicles 10:1-11, 19 or Joshua 2

Psalm 75

Ephesians 1:1-14

Luke 4:1-13

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The Gospel reading for today is one account of the temptation of Jesus.  I have written of those temptations and their implications for people and institutions today in other blog posts.  (Just follow the germane tags, O reader.)  I am not included to repeat myself today–at least not regarding that point.

Perhaps the main temptation I face is to pretend to know more than I do.  This is an error of King Rehoboam of Israel/Judah in 2 Chronicles 10.  We read of the disastrous consequences for his realm in that chapter.  Perhaps one would judge a prostitute harshly.  Yet Joshua praises Rahab, who saved the lives of Israelite spies and won a place in Israelite society for herself and her family (Joshua 6:22-25).  We even read of her place in the family tree of Jesus (Matthew 1:5).

In God, in Christ, our pretenses prove to be worthless.  That which we know is inadequate, and we do not know as much as we imagine.  Besides, salvation is not a matter of knowledge.  If it were, learning would constitute a saving work.  God is sovereign.  God knows much more than we do.  If we approach God with humility, we will learn more than we can imagine.  We will certainly learn how little we know.  Perhaps this humility will lead us to become more cautious about judging others.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 15, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE THIRD SUNDAY IN LENT, YEAR A

THE FEAST OF SAINT ZACHARY OF ROME, BISHOP OF ROME

THE FEAST OF SAINTS JAN ADALBERT BALICKI AND LADISLAUS FINDYSZ, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIESTS IN POLAND

THE FEAST OF OZORA STEARNS DAVIS, U.S. CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER, THEOLOGIAN, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF VETHAPPAN SOLOMON, APOSTLE TO THE NICOBAR ISLANDS

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Adapted from this post:

https://adventchristmasepiphany.wordpress.com/2020/03/15/devotion-for-the-second-sunday-after-the-epiphany-year-c-humes/

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