29 April 2010

Apr 29

Reference links:
Old Testament

Yesterday, Abimelech killed all his brothers and started ruling over the Israelites. He accomplished this with the help of the people of Shechem. Today, we read about how the people of Shechem eventually rebel against him and, in the process, they both end up destroying each other. First, Abimelech destroys the people of Shechem:

Abimelech and his group stormed the city gate to keep the men of Shechem from getting back in, while Abimelech’s other two groups cut them down in the fields. The battle went on all day before Abimelech finally captured the city. He killed the people, leveled the city, and scattered salt all over the ground.
Then the people of another town, Thebez, kill him:
But there was a strong tower inside the town, and all the men and women—the entire population—fled to it. They barricaded themselves in and climbed up to the roof of the tower. Abimelech followed them to attack the tower. But as he prepared to set fire to the entrance, a woman on the roof dropped a millstone that landed on Abimelech’s head and crushed his skull.
We then read about a couple more minor judges, Tola and Jair. Jair is interesting mostly for this bit:
His thirty sons rode around on thirty donkeys, and they owned thirty towns in the land of Gilead, which are still called the Towns of Jair.
However, this seems inconsistent with earlier mentions of the "Towns of Jair". In particular, both Numbers and Deuteronomy imply that they were called that because they were conquered by a person or clan named Jair before the Israelites crossed the Jordan. From Numbers:
Then the descendants of Makir of the tribe of Manasseh went to Gilead and conquered it, and they drove out the Amorites living there. So Moses gave Gilead to the Makirites, descendants of Manasseh, and they settled there. The people of Jair, another clan of the tribe of Manasseh, captured many of the towns in Gilead and changed the name of that region to the Towns of Jair. Meanwhile, a man named Nobah captured the town of Kenath and its surrounding villages, and he renamed that area Nobah after himself.
It seems reasonable to suppose that Jair was a known legendary figure to the authors of all of these books, but it seems no one actually quite knew who he was.

Also, the Israelites fall into sin again, get oppressed again, and ask God for help again. After some hemming and hawing, he agrees to help them.

New Testament

Guess what! We finish Luke today. That means tomorrow, we move on to the Gospel of John. But before that, we get to read what happens after the resurrection. If you remember, Matthew and Mark only had a little to say after Jesus came back to life. Luke has a fair bit more.

There are a number of stories about Jesus' disciples meeting with him. These stories emphasize the fact that he had a physical body. The stories show him eating and asking the disciples to touch him to remove their doubt.
“Why are you frightened?” he asked. “Why are your hearts filled with doubt? Look at my hands. Look at my feet. You can see that it’s really me. Touch me and make sure that I am not a ghost, because ghosts don’t have bodies, as you see that I do.” As he spoke, he showed them his hands and his feet.
Still they stood there in disbelief, filled with joy and wonder. Then he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he ate it as they watched.
Although I cannot find a reference at the moment, I believe I read once (not on Wikipedia) that the author of Luke added these passages to emphasize that Jesus' resurrection was a bodily one, not just a spiritual one, in response to people who were claiming that it was a spiritual resurrection.

Jesus then explained the scriptures to them and ascended into heaven. The End.

Psalms and Proverbs

Psalm 100! It is a psalm of praise to the Lord. One of the relatively few that could appear in a modern church service without editing.