28 April 2010

Apr 28

Reference links:
Old Testament

There's so much in this little story!
Then Gideon asked Zebah and Zalmunna, “The men you killed at Tabor—what were they like?”
“Like you,” they replied. “They all had the look of a king’s son.”
“They were my brothers, the sons of my own mother!” Gideon exclaimed. “As surely as the Lord lives, I wouldn’t kill you if you hadn’t killed them.”
First, Zebah and Zalmunna are clearly sucking up to Gideon. He's from the least important clan in his tribe. I doubt he and his family actually had the look of a king's sons. Second, Gideon claims that he would not have killed the enemy leaders if they had not killed his family. Are we really supposed to believe that Mr. I'll-kill-all-the-men-in-your-town-since-you-didn't-give-me-food would have spared these two if they had not killed his family members? Instead, I am guessing that the killing of Gideon's brothers provides something of a casting of legitimacy on his leadership, since he was the youngest (and, perhaps, it is foreshadowing what comes up next).

After this incident, Gideon lives a long and prosperous life.
Throughout the rest of Gideon’s lifetime—about forty years—there was peace in the land.
Then Gideon son of Joash returned home. He had seventy sons born to him, for he had many wives. He also had a concubine in Shechem, who gave birth to a son, whom he named Abimelech.
After Gideon's death, the Israelites start worshiping foreign gods again (of course). Gideon's son by a concubine decided he wanted to be king so killed most of his brothers. Side note: anyone know of good references for the roles of women in this time period and the significance of being concubine verses being one of many wives? We can infer from the context of the story that the former is of lower status, but it is hard to tell what else was being implied. But back to Abimelech, he killed his brothers, all 70 of them,
He went to his father’s home at Ophrah, and there, on one stone, they killed all seventy of his half brothers, the sons of Gideon. But the youngest brother, Jotham, escaped and hid.
Jothan goes on to rant against Abimelech. I am sure that tomorrow we will be reading about what a terrible ruler Abimelech turned out to be.

New Testament

Jesus dies. Joseph of Arimathea buries Jesus in his personal tomb. A bunch of women ("Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and several other women") find the empty tomb and tell the disciples about it (note that it was two women in Matthew and three in Mark). The disciples do not believe them except for Peter, who goes to look at the tomb and finds that it is empty.

Psalms and Proverbs

One of today's psalms actually contains some wisdom!
Each heart knows its own bitterness,
and no one else can fully share its joy.
No one can ever really fully comprehend the feelings of others. Perhaps this is part of the reason ideas like Jesus and God appeal to some people. People want to be understood. The idea of being understood perfectly might be appealing.