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The Bible In A Year: Day 130

2 Samuel 3-5
Psalm 141-143
Acts 16:1-15

2 Samuel 3-5

Abner, something like a chief of staff to king Saul and now to his son, has a falling out with his new king in the midst of this ongoing civil war. Ishbosheth accuses Abner of sleeping with one of his father’s concubines, an accusation that enrages Abner, but curiously he never denies it. He acts incensed at the accusation and eventually turns to David’s side in the war, but it’s possible that the allegations are true and he’s not upset about being falsely accused but maybe he feels he was entitled to take the concubine and doesn’t like being called out on his actions. It’s hard to say.

But the consequences here for Ishbosheth is he was afraid to push the issue any further because Abner was so vital to him, and in fact Abner was more important in his struggle for the crown than he was himself. Abner defects to David’s camp and tells him he’s going to go gather all the other tribes and tell them to pledge themselves to David as the rightful king. But just as Abner was right hand man to Saul, David’s right hand man is Joab, and he is not at all pleased that Abner is coming over to their side. In the opening battle of this war, Abner killed Joab’s brother with a spear to the abdomen, and so Joab takes Abner aside by the city gate and stabs him in the stomach and he dies.

David is enraged by this murder and chews Joab out over it. He mourns Abner and gives him a dignified burial. Interestingly he doesn’t sack Joab or have him put to death, possibly because even though it was an unsanctioned action he had taken, it was also somewhat understandable in a time when family members avenged crimes regularly. Though to be fair to Abner, he had killed Joab’s brother in a battle, so it wasn’t like he was a murderer. Also Joab was just to important to David at this point and he couldn’t easily replace him.

At the death of Abner the cause for Ishbosheth was dealt a fatal blow, and so while he slept one day he was assassinated by two soldiers in his employ. They took his head and went to David proclaiming the death of Ishbosheth. As anyone who knew David could’ve told them, this was a bad move. They were executed for murdering this man in his sleep, and David had Ishbosheth’s head buried in Abner’s tomb.

After these blows to the claims of the house of Saul, there’s only one male left to inherit the throne but he is a young boy and is seemingly crippled by an injury from when his grandfather Saul was killed in battle and his nurse grabbed him to flee. The supporters of Saul and his family see the writing on the wall and they meet David in Hebron to declare him king over all the tribes of Israel.

David then takes and establishes his Capitol in Jerusalem after capturing it from the Jebusites. This city situated on a hill had already been the center of some very interesting stories in the age of the patriarchs, and would from this day forward be at the center of almost every major event in the rest of the Old Testament and the New Testament.

Acts 16

Paul and Timothy begin their partnership in evangelism, but first Paul circumcises Timothy. Now seeing how this immediately follows after the apostles in Jerusalem just declared that circumcision wasn’t necessary this seems like a strange turn of events. There could be a couple of reasons for this though, one being that Paul wanted to appeal to as many people as possible, and since Timothy was born of a Jewish mother, the Jews of the synagogues they preached in would’ve expected him to be circumcised. Not that circumcision was at all necessary for salvation under the new covenant, but more of a cultural reason. Also it could be because his father was a Greek, most likely meaning a pagan, and so they wanted to show that he rejected paganism and was a faithful follower of the God of Israel and his revealed messiah.

Paul has a vision while they’re preaching on the Asian side of the Dardanelles of a man on the European side, in Macedonia, asking for them to bring the gospel to his land. So they set out for Greece. In Macedonia they come to a town called Phillipi, where they meet a God fearing gentile woman named Lydia (because this was a Roman built colony and apparently had a small Jewish population, there was no synagogue for them to go to and preach as Paul usually did).

When Lydia hears the gospel she believes and is baptized, along with her whole household.

Tomorrow’s Readings:
2 Samuel 6-7
Psalm 144-145
Acts 16:16-40

This post first appeared on Now That I’m Catholic, please read the originial post: here

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The Bible In A Year: Day 130


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