Good morning! With this reading, we are 1/3rd of the way through the entire Bible! I know it’s a long slog sometimes, but together we are accomplishing something that most people never do, and those of us who have read through before are picking up so much more this time because of our communal insights. I certainly am! Whether you are able to read all or only part, whether you comment or simply observe, thank you for your dedication to this effort. We’ll get all the way through—one day at a time! 🙂
Good morning! Today in 2 Kings 21-23 we trace several generations more in the lineage of kings of Judah. Yesterday King Hezekiah heard portents of destruction from Babylon against Judah within the next generation. While this doesn’t come to pass in the time frame described, Hezekiah’s descendants vacillate from great wickedness to great righteousness and back again, facing a growing threat from Egypt and other surrounding powers.
Good morning! Though we’ve been cruising through various kings, and bouncing between Judah and Israel multiple times in a chapter, today’s passage (2 Kings 18-20) slows down to focus on Hezekiah, the king in Judah at the time that Israel falls, who then fends off an assault by the same Assyrians on Jerusalem.
Good morning! For the last week or so we have seen why this section of Hebrew history is called “Kings”. One monarch follows another—sometimes peacefully and sometimes with violence, but none of whom make the sort of impact that Saul, David or Solomon had. That pattern continues today in 2 Kings 15-17, perhaps at an even faster pace, but we reach the final breaking point for northern Israel. The foreign power of Assyria gains more and more influence over Israel in these chapters, and then conquers Israel outright in chapter 17.
Good morning! Today’s passage (2 Kings 11-14) will please Game of Thrones fans and those who fancy royal succession history, but the rest of us might feel lost in a forest of palace intrigue, rivalries and near-identical names. These four chapters track the highs and lows of leaders in both Judah and Israel, as well as describe the passing of Elisha, the prophet who has been so influential in this book. As we read, consider how the southern kings are almost always described as more righteous than the northern kings? I take this as a sign of the writers’ allegiance to David’s lineage, and further vilification of those who sit on the rival throne created by Jeroboam son of Nebat (still blamed for the split with Rehoboam after Solomon’s death).
Good morning! Today’s passage (2 Kings 8-10) catalogues the life and times of Jehu, who overthrows the northern kingdom of Israel under Joram, and then destroys Jezebel plus all the descendants of Ahab. Throughout, these three chapters are stories of powerful men behaving badly, and of God allowing the success of the least unrighteous among them, Jehu.
Good morning! Today’s passage (2 Kings 3-7) is all about the prophet Elisha. If he were a magician (which he sounds like from the stories here), his stage title would be The Unmatched and Unbelievable Elisha! Carnival copy almost writes itself: Watch Elisha win the war with Moab! See miracles with Elisha too—never-ending oil! resuscitation! food multiplied before your very eyes! Witness Elisha’s victories over Aram! And in the middle of all this spectacle, there’s a wonderful story about the healing of Naaman, where small actions and overlooked people lead to healing.
Good morning! We finish the book of 1 Kings today, but the stories continue seamlessly into the next book, so today’s passage also includes 2 Kings 1-2. The focus is squarely on prophets, with stories of prophets disagreeing, trumping the will of kings, transferring leadership, and misusing their power. Like kings, sometimes prophets too can abuse their power when they are not mindful of doing God’s will rather than their own.
Good morning! Today’s passage (1 Kings 20-21) gives us further examples of divine deliverance of Israel, King Ahab’s royal conduct displeasing to God, and the role of prophets like Elijah in holding kings accountable to God’s righteousness.
Good morning! Today in 1 Kings 18-19 we have several impressive and memorable stories about the prophet Elijah—his challenge to the prophets of Baal, and his experience of God in “the sound of sheer silence.” The first story shows us an attempt to win people’s loyalty through proof, and the second shows God’s presence not in that which is fearsome but in that which is intimate.