NBS – Solomon


Read 1 Kings 3

Below is a review of Solomon’s reign from my Power Bible CD.

peaceful, (Heb Shelomoh), David’s second son by Bathsheba, i.e., the first after their legal marriage (2Sa 12:1-31). He was probably born about B.C. 1035 (1Ch 22:5; 29:1). He succeeded his father on the throne in early manhood, probably about sixteen or eighteen years of age. Nathan, to whom his education was intrusted, called him Jedidiah, i.e., “beloved of the Lord” (2Sa 12:24,25). He was the first king of Israel “born in the purple.” His father chose him as his successor, passing over the claims of his elder sons: “Assuredly Solomon my son shall reign after me.” His history is recorded in 1KI 1-11 and 2CH 1-9. His elevation to the throne took place before his father’s death, and was hastened on mainly by Nathan and Bathsheba, in consequence of the rebellion of Adonijah (1Ki 1:5-40).

During his long reign of forty years the Hebrew monarchy gained its highest splendour. This period has well been called the “Augustan age” of the Jewish annals. The first half of his reign was, however, by far the brighter and more prosperous; the latter half was clouded by the idolatries into which he fell, mainly from his heathen intermarriages (1Ki 11:1-8; 14:21,31).  

Before his death David gave parting instructions to his son (1Ki 2:1-9; 1Ch 22:7-16; 28:1-21). As soon as he had settled himself in his kingdom, and arranged the affairs of his extensive empire, he entered into an alliance with Egypt by the marriage of the daughter of Pharaoh (1Ki 3:1), of whom, however, nothing further is recorded. He surrounded himself with all the luxuries and the external grandeur of an Eastern monarch, and his government prospered. He entered into an alliance with Hiram, king of Tyre, who in many ways greatly assisted him in his numerous undertakings. (See Hiram.)  For some years before his death David was engaged in the active work of collecting materials (1Ch 29:6-9; 2Ch 2:3-7) for building a temple in Jerusalem as a permanent abode for the ark of the covenant. He was not permitted to build the house of God (1Ch 22:8); that honour was reserved to his son Solomon. (See Temple.)  

After the completion of the temple, Solomon engaged in the erection of many other buildings of importance in Jerusalem and in other parts of his kingdom. For the long space of thirteen years he was engaged in the erection of a royal palace on Ophel (1Ki 7:1-12). It was 100 cubits long, 50 broad, and 30 high. Its lofty roof was supported by forty-five cedar pillars, so that the hall was like a forest of cedar wood, and hence probably it received the name of “The House of the Forest of Lebanon.” In front of this “house” was another building, which was called the Porch of Pillars, and in front of this again was the “Hall of Judgment,” or Throne-room (1Ki 7:7; 10:18-20; 2Ch 9:17-19), “the King’s Gate,” where he administered justice and gave audience to his people. This palace was a building of great magnificence and beauty. A portion of it was set apart as the residence of the queen consort, the daughter of Pharaoh. From the palace there was a private staircase of red and scented sandal wood which led up to the temple.  Solomon also constructed great works for the purpose of securing a plentiful supply of water for the city (Ec 2:4-6). He then built Millo (LXX., “Acra”) for the defence of the city, completing a line of ramparts around it (1Ki 9:15,24; 11:27). He erected also many other fortifications for the defence of his kingdom at various points where it was exposed to the assault of enemies (1Ki 9:15-19; 2Ch 8:2-6). Among his great undertakings must also be mentioned the building of Tadmor (q.v.) in the wilderness as a commercial depot, as well as a military outpost.  

During his reign Palestine enjoyed great commercial prosperity. Extensive traffic was carried on by land with Tyre and Egypt and
Arabia, and by sea with Spain and India and the coasts of Africa, by which Solomon accumulated vast stores of wealth and of the produce of all nations (1Ki 9:26-28; 10:11,12; 2Ch 8:17,18; 9:21). This was the “golden age” of Israel. The royal magnificence and splendour of Solomon’s court were unrivalled. He had seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines, an evidence at once of his pride, his wealth, and his sensuality. The maintenance of his household involved immense expenditure. The provision required for one day was “thirty measures of fine flour, and threescore measures of meal, ten fat oxen, and twenty oxen out of the pastures, and an hundred sheep, beside harts, and roebucks, and fallow-deer, and fatted fowl” (1Ki 4:22,23).
 Solomon’s reign was not only a period of great material prosperity, but was equally remarkable for its intellectual activity. He was the leader of his people also in this uprising amongst them of new intellectual life. “He spake three thousand proverbs: and his songs were a thousand and five. And he spake of trees, from the cedar tree that is in Lebanon even unto the hyssop that springeth out of the wall: he spake also of beasts, and of fowl, and of creeping things, and of fishes” (1Ki 4:32,33).  His fame was spread abroad through all lands, and men came from far and near “to hear the wisdom of Solomon.”

Among others thus attracted to Jerusalem was “the queen of the south” (Mt 12:42), the queen of Sheba, a country in Arabia Felix. “Deep, indeed, must have been her yearning, and great his fame, which induced a secluded Arabian queen to break through the immemorial custom of her dreamy land, and to put forth the energy required for braving the burdens and perils of so long a journey across a wilderness. Yet this she undertook, and carried it out with safety.” (1Ki 10:1-13; 2Ch 9:1-12.) She was filled with amazement by all she saw and heard: “there was no more spirit in her.” After an interchange of presents she returned to her native land.  But that golden age of Jewish history passed away. The bright day of Solomon’s glory ended in clouds and darkness. His decline and fall from his high estate is a sad record. Chief among the causes of his decline were his polygamy and his great wealth. “As he grew older he spent more of his time among his favourites. The idle king living among these idle women, for 1,000 women, with all their idle and mischievous attendants, filled the palaces and pleasure-houses which he had built (1Ki 11:3), learned first to tolerate and then to imitate their heathenish ways. He did not, indeed, cease to believe in the God of Israel with his mind. He did not cease to offer the usual sacrifices in the temple at the great feasts. But his heart was not right with God; his worship became merely formal; his soul, left empty by the dying out of true religious fervour, sought to be filled with any religious excitement which offered itself. Now for the first time a worship was publicly set up amongst the people of the Lord which was not simply irregular or forbidden, like that of Gideon (Jg 8:27), or the Danites (Jg 18:30,31), but was downright idolatrous.” (1Ki 11:7; 2Ki 23:13.)  This brought upon him the divine displeasure. His enemies prevailed against him (1Ki 11:14-22,23-25,26-40), and one judgment after another fell upon the land. And now the end of all came, and he died, after a reign of forty years, and was buried in the city of David, and “with him was buried the short-lived glory and unity of Israel.” “He leaves behind him but one weak and worthless son, to dismember his kingdom and disgrace his name.”

Published in: on April 2, 2007 at 12:10 pm  Leave a Comment  

NBS – David & Goliath

Read 1 Samuel 15-17

Here is a short bio on David and Goliath from the dictionaries on my PowerBible program.   

great. (1.) A famous giant of Gath, who for forty days openly defied the armies of Israel, but was at length slain by David with a stone from a sling (1Sa 17:4). He was probably descended from the Rephaim who found refuge among the Philistines after they were dispersed by the Ammonites (De 2:20,21). His height was “six cubits and a span,” which, taking the cubit at 21 inches, is equal to 10 1/2 feet. David cut off his head (1Sa 17:51) and brought it to Jerusalem, while he hung the armour which he took from him in his tent. His sword was preserved at Nob as a religious trophy (1Sa 21:9). David’s victory over Goliath was the turning point in his life. He came into public notice now as the deliverer of Israel and the chief among Saul’s men of war (1Sa 18:5), and the devoted friend of Jonathan.
(2.) In 2Sa 21:19 there is another giant of the same name mentioned as slain by Elhanan. The staff of his apear “was like a weaver’s beam.” The Authorized Version interpolates the words “the brother of” from 1Ch 20:5, where this giant is called Lahmi.

 Beloved, the youngest son of Jesse, of the tribe of Judah, born in Bethlehem B. C. 1085; one of the most remarkable men in either sacred of secular history.  His life is fully recorded in 1Sa 16:1; 1Ki 2:46.  He was “the Lord’s anointed,” chosen by God to be king of Israel instead of Saul, and consecrated to that office by the venerable prophet Samuel long before he actually came to the throne, 1Sa 16:1-13, for which God prepared him by the gift of his Spirit, and a long course of vicissitudes and dangers.  In his early pastoral life he distinguished himself by his boldness, fidelity, and faith in God; and while yet a youth was summoned to court, as one expert in music, valiant, prudent in behavior, and comely in person.  He  succeeded in relieving from time to time the mind of king Saul, oppressed by a spirit of melancholy and remorse, and became a favorite attendant; but on the breaking out of war with the Philistines he seems to have been released, and to have returned to take care of his father’s flock.  Providence soon led him to visit the camp, and gave to his noble valor and faith the victory over the giant champion Goliath.  He returned to court crowned with honor, received a command in the army, acquitted himself well on all occasions, and rapidly gained the confidence and love of the people.  The jealousy of Saul, however, at length drove him to seek refuge in the wilderness of Judea; where he soon gathered a band of six hundred men, whom he kept in perfect control and employed only against the enemies of the land.  He was still pursued by Saul with implacable hostility; and as he would not lift his hand against his king, though he often had him in his power, he at length judged it best to retire into the land of the Philistines.  Here he was generously received; but had found the difficulties of his position such as he could not honorably meet, when the death of Saul and Jonathon opened the way for him to the promised throne.
He was at once chosen king over the house of Judah, at Hebron; and after about seven years of hostilities was unanimously chosen king by all the tribes of Israel, and established himself at Jerusalem-the founder of a royal family which continued till the downfall of the Jewish state.  His character as a monarch is remarkable for fidelity to God, and to the great purposes for which he was called to so responsible a position.  The ark of God he conveyed to the Holy City with the highest demonstrations of honor and of joy.  The ordinances of worship were remodeled and provided for with the greatest care.  He administered justice to the people with impartiality, and gave a strong impulse to the general prosperity of the nation.  His wisdom and energy consolidated the Jewish kingdom; and his warlike skill enabled him not only to resist with success the assaults of invaders, but to extend the bounds of the kingdom over the whole territory promised in prophecy-from the Red sea and Egypt to the Euphrates, Ge 15:18; Jos 1:3.  With the spoils he took in war he enriched his people, and provided abundant materials for the magnificent temple he purposed to build in honor of Jehovah, but which it was Solomon a privilege to erect.
David did not wholly escape the demoralizing influences of prosperity and unrestricted power.  His temptations were numerous and strong; and though his general course was in striking contrast with that of the kings around him, he fell into grievous sins.  Like others in those days, he had embittered by the evil results of polygamy.  His crimes in the case of Uriah and Bathsheba were heinous indeed; but on awaking from his dream of folly, he repented in dust and ashes, meekly submitted to reproof and punishment, and sought and found mercy from God.  Thenceforth frequent afflictions reminded him to be humble and self-distrustful.  There were discords, profligacy, and murder in his own household.  The histories of Tamar, Amnon, and Absalom show what anguish must have rent their father’s heart.  The rebellions of Absalom, Sheba, and Adonijah, the famine and plague that afflicted his people, the crimes of Joab, etc., led him to cry out, “O that I had wings, like a dove; then would I fly away, and be at rest.”  Yet his trials bore good fruit.  His firmness and decision of character, his humility, nobleness, and piety shine in his last acts, on the occasion of Adonijah’s rebellion.  His charge to Solomon respecting the forfeited lives of Joab and Shimei, was the voice of justice and not of revenge.  His preparations for the building of the temple, and the public service in which he devoted all to Jehovah, and called on all the people to bless the Lord God of their fathers, crown with singular beauty and glory the life of this eminent servant of God.  After a reign of forty years, he died at the age of seventy-one.
The mental abilities and acquirements of David were of a high order; his general conduct was marked by generosity, integrity, fortitude, activity, and perseverance; and his religious character eminently adorned by sincere, fervent, and exalted piety.  He was statesman, warrior, and poet all in one.  In his Psalms he frankly reveals his whole heart.  They are inspired poems, containing many prophetic passages, and wonderfully fitted to guide the devotions of the people of God so long as he has a church on earth.  Though first sung by Hebrew tongues in the vales of Bethlehem and on the heights of Zion, they sound as sweetly in languages then unknown, and are dear to Christian hearts all around the world.  In introducing them into the temple service, David added an important and edification to the former ritual.
In his kingly character, David was a remarkable type of Christ; and his conquests foreshadowed those of Christ’s kingdom.  His royal race was spiritually revived in the person of our Savior, who was descended from him after the flesh, and who is therefore called “the Son of David,” and is said to sit upon his throne.

Published in: on March 26, 2007 at 12:05 pm  Leave a Comment  

Where Have I been?

For those who have been following along, I just wanted to say that I should be continuing with Mark in a couple weeks. I have been teaching this session and have been actually been reading a lot more than my 1 chapter a day preparing for class. See you soon.

Have a great day,

Published in: on March 24, 2007 at 2:13 pm  Leave a Comment  

Mark 7

Mark 7, the chapter starts with the Pharisees questioning Jesus as to why the disciples were breaking the traditions of the elders by eating without washing their hands.  Jesus then teaches that it is not what you eat that condemns you but what comes out of your heart.  A gentile woman comes to Jesus and asks him to remove the demon from her daughter.  Jesus refers to the woman as a dog yet the woman’s faith is unmoved and Jesus grants her request.  Jesus then goes to Tyre and heals a deaf mute.

This is another chapter packed full of great teachings.  The whole issue with the eating of food with out washing the hands, apparently along with many other issues, was about the Pharisees holding their traditions above the intent of God’s laws.  WoW, does this problem still exist today?  YES!! 

I am so impressed with the Gentile woman who has such a great faith in Jesus. 

Have a great day,


Published in: on March 13, 2007 at 12:11 pm  Leave a Comment  

Mark 6

Mark 6, Jesus comes to his hometown and is teaching in the synagogue and it is like they are suspicious of him because they knew him as a child.  Jesus states that a prophet is not without honor except in his home town and with his family.  Jesus calls the 12 and sends them out two by two and instructs them to take nothing with them for their journey, not even a change of clothes.  They are given power over demons and the power to heal the sick.  The story of the beheading of John the baptizer is told.  Then Jesus tries to take the disciples to an isolated place for some rest, but the crowd followed them and they feed the 5,000 men plus women and children with the 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish.  Jesus then sends the disciples across the water and he retreats to the mountain to pray.   The disciples were paddling against a head wind and made little progress through out the night.  Jesus was walking on the water across to the other side when the disciples saw him and were afraid.  Jesus got into the boat with them and the wind stopped and they then proceeded to the other side.

Wow, this chapter is packed with good stuff.  I especially like the reliance on God that the apostles had.  If we go somewhere to stay the weekend, we take a truck load of stuff.  They were to take nothing for their journey except for a staff.  What awesome faith.  I don’t have this faith.  As I go through my daily life, I don’t generally have the trust in God to dismiss all the distractions and be about his work. 

Have a great day,

Published in: on March 8, 2007 at 10:15 am  Leave a Comment  

NBS – Daniel

Read the book of Daniel.  It is only 12 chapters and it is very easy to read.  It is a collection of familiar stories that are very interesting and meaningful.

Below is a background prepared by Jeff Williams.  Thanks Jeff.

Daniel Background Material

In 606-605 BC, the two rival powers for the region were Egypt, under Pharaoh Necho, and Babylon, under King Nebuchadnezzar. The King of Judah had been paying tribute to Pharaoh, but was under pressure to switch alliance to Babylon, and ended up with his counselors and administrators split between which to choose. Necho and Nebuchadnezzar were bound to have a showdown, and this occurred in 606 when they led their great armies to near the city of Carchemish. Necho went up the coast and Nebuchadnezzar went across the Fertile Crescent; crossing the Arabian Desert would have been impossible for either group due to the harsh conditions. So, they clashed at Carchemish in a spectacular battle, and Nebuchadnezzar not only defeated Necho, but his army chased Necho’s Army all the way back to Egypt, insuring that all the lands they passed along the way knew that the Babylonians were now the rulers of those lands. Since the King of Judah had insulted Nebuchadnezzar by not sending enough tribute, he besieged Jerusalem and the Babylonian Army plundered the city after it surrendered. It is here that the book of Daniel begins, where Nebuchadnezzar orders that the best and brightest young relatives of the king be brought as hostages back to the city of Babylon. There, they would be taught to serve as specialists for the king, knowing both their native culture, history, and religion, as well as Babylonian culture and language. In this way, Nebuchadnezzar not only had trophies of his exploits, but smart people with a unique ambition to excel and please him. It was an ingenious strategy that paid off by keeping down rebellions in the conquered lands through giving the people from those lands authority and responsibility in their new home. It was in
Babylon that the Hebrews began to build places to worship and study and sing on the Sabbath day, since they could not go to the temple and the Levitical priesthood and daily sacrifices were impossible to continue. These buildings were called synagogues. 

The former Mesopotamian power, the Assyrians, had been much more barbaric and ruthless in their policy of subduing new territories, which ultimately led to their downfall. The Assyrians preferred sheer terror as a tool of control. Their writings and artwork show us image after image of mass mutilations and executions of nations they invaded. These writings and illustrations were posted throughout their domain to frighten people into submission. They also began the policy of removing the most able-bodied and intelligent people, those who might resist, from their native lands and transporting them to a different place that did not have the same language or customs. By thus breaking up the population, there was no sense of unity or national pride that could result in a rebellion. That is what happened to the northern 10 tribes of Israel. They were led into far away lands, and others were brought in to Israeli lands to live. This is why the people in Jesus’ time despised their neighbors to the north; because they were not pure Hebrew, but had intermingled and married into the foreign people who had been put there by the Assyrians. They were called Samaritans.

When the Assyrians led away captives, they often stuck metal hooks through the noses or cheeks of the prisoners and tied them all together in a line to prevent escape. Every so often they would stop to impale a captive on a long pole, or behead someone and hoist the head atop a tall spear, so that everyone around could see what would happen if they fought back. One ancient illustration shows a great heap of hands that had been chopped off of captives, both to prevent their resistance and be seen as a warning to others. Other mutilations, such as cutting off a prisoner’s nose or ears or blinding them was very common. Such brutality was their eventual downfall, because everyone hated the Assyrians exceedingly.

The Babylonians lived among the Assyrians as a distinct ethnic group, much like the Kurds, Iranians, and Iraqis of today; other races see them as very similar (and they were all Semitic people, the descendents of Shem, like the Hebrews), but they saw themselves as a completely different race. Many Babylonians held positions of authority in the Assyrian government, but there was also a group that wanted independence from Assyrian rule. After an uprising and some display of opposition from some Babylonian dissidents, the Assyrian king overreacted and brutally killed hundreds of Babylonians to teach them a lesson. This infuriated one powerful General of the Assyrian army who just happened to be Babylonian. His name was Nabopolasser, and he organized a resistance force among Babylonians and Medes and led a rebellion against the Assyrians. They conquered the Assyrian capital of Nineveh and burned it to the ground, thus ending Assyrian dominance forever. 

Nabopolasser’s son was Nebuchadnezzar, who made the Babylonian
Kingdom a true empire from Egypt to Asia Minor (Turkey) to the
Far East. He was a brilliant military strategist and leader of men, very clever in his new policies, choosing smartness over brute force. He was much more interested in education, architecture, and cultural advancement than were the Assyrian kings in general. His rule was bloody and harsh at times, but much kinder and gentler by comparison to the vile Assyrians. He is responsible for one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world, the hanging gardens of Babylon, an ingenious project incorporating manmade lakes and rivers surrounding a tall structure thought to resemble a step-pyramid, from which waterfalls, beautiful vegetation, trees, vines, and flowers from all over the world cascaded over the sides of each layer of the building. It is commonly thought among most scholars that he built this for the enjoyment of his queen, who had come from a mountainous region and missed her native hills, rivers and greenery.

Nebuchadnezzar had weaknesses for being hot-tempered, vain and thinking highly of himself for his accomplishments instead of realizing that God had used him to destroy Assyria and allowed him to become great. He believed in God, but it took him many years and many lessons to finally humble himself in realization that Jehovah was the only real and almighty power over the entire world and universe. Daniel chapter 4 is King Nebuchadnezzar’s own testimony to Jehovah God’s power and glory, after God punished him by causing to be temporarily insane and live outside eating grass like an animal till his finger and toenails looked like animal claws and his beard and hair were a matted mess of dread-locks.  

Nebuchadnezzar elevated Daniel, Hananiah, and Mishael to such powerful positions in his kingdom that they continued to be important rulers in the Babylonian empire after Nebuchadnezzar died, his son became king, and even after the Persians and Medes overthrew the Babylonians and became the new world power. It was under a Persian king, Cyrus the great, when Daniel was at least in his eighties, that the people of Judean lineage were allowed to return and rebuild their homeland and home city, Jerusalem. 

Many of these Judeans (and this is where the distinction between an Israelite and a Jew came about; to be a Jew meant you were from Judah, or had lived in the land of Judah. Not all Israelites were Jews, but all Jews were Israelites or Hebrews) had never even seen the land of Judah or Jerusalem, such as Nehemiah, who was born in Babylon. Daniel knew from reading his fellow prophet, Jeremiah, that the stay in
Babylon was supposed to be for 70 years, and that time had elapsed. That is why he prayed the great confessional, pleading prayer of Daniel chapter 9.

Daniel was quite a character, capable of endearing himself to Kings and rulers of the foreign country in which he lived. He was well known for his wisdom, humility, fearlessness, honesty, integrity, and relentless devotion and faith to his Great God, to whom he always gave the glory and thanks for his success. More than that, he endeared himself to God, who enabled him with miraculous powers of understanding visions, signs and dreams concerning the immediate and distant future, and allowed him to speak with Angels. 

Published in: on March 7, 2007 at 1:24 pm  Comments (3)  

NBS – Elisha

Please read 2 Kings 5 & 6.  We will mainly cover the stories of Naaman and the King of Aram in these two chapters.   Below is some background information on Elisha.   

See you Wednesday,

III. GENERAL ESTIMATE LITERATURE  A prophet, the disciple and successor of Elijah. He was the son of Shaphat, lived at Abel-meholah, at the northern end of the Jordan valley and a little South of the Sea of Galilee. Nothing is told of his parents but the father’s name, though he must have been a man of some wealth and doubtless of earnest piety. No hint is given of Elisha’s age or birth-place, and it is almost certain that he was born and reared at Abel-meholah, and was a comparatively young man when we first hear of him. His early life thus was spent on his father’s estate, in a god-fearing family, conditions which have produced so many of God’s prophets. His moral and religious nature was highly developed in such surroundings, and from his work on his father’s farm he was called to his training as a prophet and successor of Elijah.  I. His Call and Preparation.  The first mention of him occurs in 1Ki 19:16. Elijah was at Horeb, learning perhaps the greatest lesson of his life; and one of the three duties with which he was charged was to anoint Elisha, the son of Shaphat of Abelmeholah, as prophet in his stead.  1. His Call:  Elijah soon went northward and as he passed the lands of Shaphat he saw Elisha plowing in the rich level field of his father’s farm. Twelve yoke of oxen were at work, Elisha himself plowing with the twelfth yoke. Crossing over to him Elijah threw his mantle upon the young man (1Ki 19:19). Elisha seemed to understand the meaning of the symbolic act, and was for a moment overwhelmed with its significance. It meant his adoption as the son and successor of Elijah in the prophetic office. Naturally he would hesitate a moment before making such an important decision. As Elijah strode on, Elisha felt the irresistible force of the call of God and ran after the great prophet, announcing that he was ready to follow; only he wished to give a parting kiss to his father and mother (1Ki 19:20). Elijah seemed to realize what it meant to the young man, and bade him “Go back again; for what have I done to thee?” The call was not such an urgent one as Elisha seemed to think, and the response had better be deliberate and voluntary. But Elisha had fully made up his mind, slew the yoke of oxen with which he was plowing, boiled their flesh with the wood of the implements he was using, and made a farewell feast for his friends. He then followed Elijah, making a full renunciation of home ties, comforts and privileges. He became Elijah’s servant; and we have but one statement describing their relationship (2Ki 3:11): he “poured water on the hands of Elijah.”  2. His Preparation:  They seem to have spent several years together (1Ki 22:1; 2Ki 1:17), for Elisha became well known among the various schools of the prophets. While ministering to the needs of his master, Elisha learned many deep and important lessons, imbibed much of his spirit, and developed his own religious nature and efficiency until he was ready for the prophetic service himself. It seems almost certain that they lived among the schools of the prophets, and not in the mountains and hills as Elijah had previously done. During these years the tie between the two men became very deep and strong. They were years of great significance to the young prophet and of careful teaching on the part of the older. The lesson learned at Horeb was not forgotten and its meaning would be profoundly impressed upon the younger man, whose whole afterlife shows that he had deeply imbibed the teaching.  3. The Parting Gift of Elijah:  The final scene shows the strong and tender affection he cherished toward his master. Aware that the end was near, he determined to be with him until the last. Nothing could persuade him to leave Elijah. When asked what should be done for him, before his master was taken away, he asks for the elder son’s portion, a double portion, of his master’s spirit (2Ki 2:9). He has no thought of equality; he would be Elijah’s firstborn son. The request shows how deeply he had imbibed of his master’s spirit already. His great teacher disappears in a whirlwind, and, awestruck by the wonderful sight, Elisha rends his clothes, takes up the garment of Elijah, retraces his steps to the Jordan, smites the waters to test whether the spirit of Elijah had really fallen upon him, and as the water parts, he passes over dry shod. The sons of the prophets who have been watching the proceedings from the hills, at once observe that the spirit of Elijah rested upon Elisha, and they bowed before him in reverence and submission (2Ki 2:12-15). Elisha now begins his prophetic career which must have lasted 50 years, for it extended over the reign of Jehoram, Jehu, Jehoahaz and Joash. The change in him is now so manifest that he is universally recognized as Elijah’s successor and the religious leader of the prophetic schools. The skepticism of the young prophets regarding the translation of Elijah found little sympathy with Elisha, but he is conciliatory and humors them (2Ki 2:16-18).  (7) The next incident is the healing of Naaman, the leprous commander of the Syrian army (2Ki 5:1-19). He is afflicted with the white leprosy, the most malignant kind (2Ki 5:27). A Jewish maiden, captured in one of their numerous invasions of Eastern Palestine, and sold into slavery with a multitude of others, tells her mistress, the wife of Naaman, about the wonder-working Elisha. The maiden tells her mistress that Elisha can heal the leprosy, and Naaman resolves to visit him. Through the king he obtains permission to visit Elisha with a great train and rich presents. The prophet sends his servant to tell him to dip seven times in the Jordan and he will be healed. Naaman is angered at the lack of deference on the part of Elisha and turns away in a rage to go home. Better counsels prevail, and he obeys the prophet and is cured. Elisha absolutely refuses the rich presents Naaman offers, and permits the Syrian to take some earth from Yahweh’s land, that he may build an altar in
Syria and worship Yahweh there. The idea was that a God was localized and could be worshipped only on his own land. Elisha grants Naaman permission apparently to worship Rimmon while avowedly he is a worshipper of Yahweh. The prophet appreciates the difficulties in Naaman’s path, believes in his sincerity, and by this concession in no way proves that he believes in the actual existence of a god named Rimmon, or that Yahweh was confined to his own land, or in any way sanctions idolatrous worship. He is conciliatory and tolerant, making the best of the situation.  


Published in: on March 5, 2007 at 3:35 pm  Leave a Comment  

Mark 5

Mark 5, Jesus crosses the sea to Gerasenes and met a man who lived in the graveyard and had a legion of unclean sprits in him.  The spirits acknowledged that Jesus was the son of God and ask him not to run them out of the country and ask if they could go into a herd of pigs that was near by.  Jesus gave them permission and once they entered the pigs the whole herd runs off a cliff into the sea and drowns.  Jesus crosses the sea again and there is a crowd that gathers around him including Jairus, a leader in the Synagogue, who’s daughter was near death and he ask Jesus to come heal her.  The girl dies before Jesus gets there and Jesus brings her back to life.

I have so many questions about unclean spirits and demons possession.  Do they exist today?  It sure seems that some people are so evil that they are demon possessed.

On of my favorite humorous events of the bible is recorded in this chapter.  Jesus has a mob that is following him and the way it is described it is as crowded as a New York City sidewalk at rush hour.  People are touching him from all sides.  The lady who had been hemorrhaging for 12 years comes up behind him to touch him because of her awesome faith she believed that if she could just touch him that she would be healed, which actually happened.  Jesus sensing the power transfer asks “who touched me?”  The disciples had to have been thinking, is he joking?  Anyway, I think that the disciples reaction and facial expressions had to have been a hoot.

Have a great day,

Published in: on March 5, 2007 at 7:40 am  Leave a Comment  

Mark 4

Mark 4, Jesus is in a boat and the crowd is on the land as he begins teaching them in parables.  He starts with the parable of the sower after which the disciples ask him to explain what it means.  After more parable teaching, Jesus and those in the boat with him set off for the other side and a storm arose and Jesus stopped the storm by saying Peace! Be Still!  The disciples were amazed at his power.

As I grow older I am amazed at the ingeniousness of parables as teaching tools.  To me parables are like onions (or Shrek) in that they have layers.  As a child, parables have a basic meaning that you can understand.  As you grow in your faith and knowledge you keep getting additional lessons that are deeper in their meanings.

Today we are under a tornado watch.  The weather is very threatening.  If the Messiah were here he could speak it away.  WOW!  That is real power. 

Have a great day,


Published in: on March 1, 2007 at 3:08 pm  Leave a Comment  

Mark 3

Mark 3, this chapter starts with Jesus entering the synagogue and there was a man there with a withered hand.  The Jews were watching him to “catch” him breaking the traditions of the Sabbath by healing the man on this day.  Jesus departed to the sea and a crowd so large follows him that he has to retreat into the sea a short distance to keep from getting crushed as everyone was pushing into him to touch him.  Jesus went upon the mountain and called the 12 Apostles.  He confronts that scribes that said that his power was from Satan.  He also stated that those who do the will of God is his brother, sister, and mother.

Yet again, the scribes appear to be waiting in the synagogue in ambush to catch him breaking their tradition of the Sabbath and were paying no attention to the fact that Jesus was performing a miracles right in front of there eyes.  John 9 the Pharisees were trying to get the blind man to testify against Jesus saying that he was a sinner.  This former blind man gives a great defense of the Messiah.  It is worth reading this account again to see someone that was blind now stands boldly before the church leaders to defend Jesus. 

Have a great day,

Published in: on February 28, 2007 at 3:30 pm  Leave a Comment