Monday, July 5, 2010

July 5

OT: I Chronicles 1:1-2:17

This is going to be a problem, people.

Don't look now, but this genealogical stuff goes on until July 11! I am already kind of deflated that I actually have to read Chronicles, since I am feeling very "done" with the kings...and so it did not get off on the right foot with me with these ancestral lists.

Which is a shame, b/c I know the chronicler's number one aim was to get off on the right foot with me:).

Anyhow, I could not muster up anything but a "skimming" level of reading today. I will need to adjust my attitude by tomorrow, or this is going to be a long week...

NT: Acts 23: 11-35

Today, we have the first mention of one of Paul's family members! (I think--I have been known to declare "firsts" that aren't really firsts, but this is the only one I remember.) His nephew comes to warn him about a plot by the Jews to kill him. And the Jews aren't playing around. The text says that they took a "solemn oath" not to eat or drink until Paul is dead (14). Unfortunately, if they stick to their oath, it seems that they are going to starve to death, b/c Paul sticks around for quite a while after that. Anyhow, the nephew eventually reports the situation to the Roman commander, who acts quickly and decisively in the situation. He sends Paul on to Caesarea. I can't decide if I admire the Roman's leadership skills and orderly manner, or if I see the situation as indicative of a bloated bureaucracy. After all, two hundred soldiers? Does Paul really need two hundred soldiers? And what is Caesarea going to do? It seems like he is just dumping Paul on the next guy up the ladder. I don't know, though. I haven't studied much Roman history since 8th grade Latin, so I'm not sure how their military and/or judicial protocol works.

I also loved the commander's letter to Felix: "This man was seized by the Jews and they were about to kill him, but I came with my troops and rescued him, for I had learned that he is a Roman citizen" (27). Um, yeah...that's exactly what happened. I guess, "This man was seized by the Jews and they were about to kill him, so I grabbed him and was going to flog him b/c I'm so tired of these Jews and their stupid fights, only then he told me that he was a citizen, so I felt a little sheepish" didn't have the same ring to it.

Anyhow, now Paul is in Caesarea, staying in Herod's palace.

Psalm 3:1-8

It was interesting to read this psalm with the story of Absalom's rebellion fresh in my mind. I thought David's reaction was pretty inexplicable, so I liked getting even a small window into his thoughts. From this poem, it seems that he was basically, "letting go and letting God." He apparently viewed his flight as throwing himself on God's mercy. At least, that is what I deduced from the psalm. I did think it was weird that he asked God to "strike [his] enemies on the jaw" and to "break the teeth of the wicked," even though Absalom definitely qualified as both. And clearly, he was very attached to Absalom and did not want him to die. This makes me wonder if these violent fantasies have a figurative element to them. I mean, did David really want God to kick Absalom's teeth in? I keep thinking of his words, "O Absalom, my son, my son!" and I have to doubt it.

Proverbs 18:14-15

I loved both of these proverbs, especially the first one. I know this cheapens it and makes it a cliche, but when I read it, I thought of that phrase, "Attitude is everything." If you have the right attitude, you can make it through any physical adversity. But with a bad attitude, you can do nothing.

The second proverb is about acquiring and seeking knowledge.


  1. The significance of Caesarea was that it was the seat of Roman power in Israel. Thus, if Paul is going to be sent away from Jerusalem for his safety, the logical place, in terms of administrative centrality, is Caesarea.

    It's also awesome to visit. You can walk on top of the old Roman aqueduct and poke around all of the ruins of the city.

  2. I would LOVE to visit Caesarea sometime. I am dying to go to Greece and Italy (and so many other countries, as well). That is so cool that you got to go!