Thursday, July 8, 2010

July 8

OT: I Chron. 5:18-6:81

I must say, I Chronicles seems like such a hodgepodge so far. I don't quite "get" the order of the genealogy, and I certainly don't understand why certain stories are interspersed where they are. If I were some kind of Bible scholar, I think I might have to draw out this family tree so that I could have a visual. I am all about drawing family trees. Often when I am talking to a person about various members of their extended family, it is all I can do not to stop them and say, "Do you mind if I draw out your family tree while you talk?" I have never actually said that b/c I try to function in normal society as well as possible. But the point is, family trees are great visuals!

And I need one right now.

But on the plus side, we did get to see the 2 1/2 again! In relating a (seemingly) random story about one of their military victories, the author of Chronicles gives us a little insight into his character and purpose. I thought the author of Kings' purpose was to tell history from God's perspective, but he has nothing on the Chronicles guy! The author of Chronicles makes it extremely clear that everything that happened was the result of God's will and of His interaction with the people (5:20, 22, 25, 26).

Amidst the rest of today's genealogy, I managed to spot ol' Asaph, the psalm-writer. In verses 31-32, the chronicler (there we go! I'm going to go with that from now on) tells us who he is about to list:

"These are the men David put in charge of the music in the house of the Lord after the ark came to rest there. They ministered with music before the tabernacle, the Tent of Meeting, until Solomon built the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem. They performed their duties according to the regulations laid down for them."

It gets a little confusing after that, b/c the chronicler lists not only the men, but their ancestry, as well. But the two men from the Kohathites were "Heman, the musician," and "Heman's associate Asaph, who served at his right hand" (33, 39). As we know, Asaph went on to write a number of psalms.

And that's all I have for the OT.

NT: Acts 26: 1-32

Today, Paul speaks to Agrippa about his beliefs. His own testimony again features prominently in his speech, and I was struck by the small tweaks he makes to it. For one thing, this time (as opposed to Acts 9 and 22), he adds to the earlier recordings of Jesus' words to him. This time, Jesus says, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads." What the what? I am familiar with the phrase and have a vague picture of the meaning, and so I had to google it to get the full picture.

The answer I got, according to whatever random websites google showed me, is that the phrase was a Greek proverb, and that Paul probably threw it in for his Greek audience. According to...let's see...the Christadelphian Advocate (who?), "A goad is a stick with a pointed piece of iron fastened to the end of it. This instrument is used to prod the oxen on when they are plowing. When a stubborn ox attempted to kick back against the goads (pricks), he would actually wound himself. The proverb was often used to teach the lesson that it is foolish to rebel against a powerful authority. Any attempt to do so would result in much greater difficulties."

Yeah, let's go with that. Regardless, I thought it was interesting that Paul threw that in there.

And I have to note for myself that in Paul's rendition of the gospel, he still does not mention that Christ's death atoned for the sins of the world. He simply says, "I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen--that the Christ would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would proclaim light to his own people and to the Gentiles" (22b-23).

Clearly, Paul's speech did not have its intended effect on King Agrippa, who interrupts at this point with the exclamation, "You are out of your mind, Paul! Your great learning is driving you insane!" Apparently, the suffering servant motif struck Agrippa as ridiculous.

I must say, I didn't expect that reaction at all the first time I read it.

Psalm 6: 1-10

A psalm of great pain from David, asking God, "How long must I suffer?"

Proverbs 18: 20-21

Two very interesting proverbs that equate a man's words with food. I understand the basic concept, but the metaphor loses me a little bit.


  1. According to the translation I read (New Living Translation), it was Festus who called Paul insane. Which translation do you read?

  2. Thanks for the catch, Erika. It was Festus.

    I read the NIV, btw.