04 July 2010

Jul 4

Reference links:
Old Testament

Today we finish 2 Kings and tomorrow we start the books of Chronicles. It is worth noting that while Christian Bibles place the books of Chronicles right after the books of Kings, it is believed to have been composed two to three hundred years later (see Wikipedia). This is significant because it means that the books of Kings are a more reliable historical source.

I mention this today because today we get the last bit of genealogy from 2 Kings. If we recall the genealogies of Jesus, we see that Luke's genealogy branches from the royal line right after David. Jesus is said to be descended from David's son Nathan. Nathan is not mentioned as a son of David in Kings, only in Chronicles.

Matthew's genealogy sticks with the royal line all the way up until the destruction of Jerusalem which we read about today. Jesus is said to be descended from Jehoiachin, a king we read about today, through his son Shealtiel. Shealtiel also does not show up in the books of Kings. However, since Jehoiachin was in exile for a long time after the events recorded in 2 Kings, this is, perhaps, not as surprising.

Now, the fact that these people are not mentioned in the books of Kings does not mean that they did not exist. the books of Kings were specifically concerned with the royal line, and any branches from that were, therefore, not particularly important. However, it should raise flags when characters who will become important in the future are not mentioned in the more historically reliable sources.

In any case, today Judah falls to Babylon, just as God is claimed to have decreed. Before this happens, Pharaoh Neco of Egypt imprisons King Jehoahaz. In his place he installs Eliakim, son of Josiah. The Pharaoh then decides that Eliakim needs to have his name changed to Jehoiakim. Why? Just to confuse us more, I suppose.

King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon invades Judah. Judah alternately submits and rebels, and the royal line becomes a line of puppet kings. Nebuchadnezzar eventually banishes all of the elites of Jerusalem from the land. Zedekiah, the last king, is forced to watch his sons being killed in front of him before having his eyes gouged out. The only glimmer of hope at this, the end of Israel's grand narrative of nationhood that has stretched from Genesis to now, is that the exiled king Jehoiachin is treated well, implying that the royal line has not been killed off completely.

New Testament

Paul's speech about his conversion fails to convince the crowd in Jerusalem. He plays the Roman citizenship card to get out of some torture. He gets put on trial before the Jewish High Council. Finally, he cleverly divides the High Council by playing off of the conflicting beliefs of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.

I continue to find it interesting how Paul's life story continues to have such parallels to Jesus. It really is as if the author of Acts is trying to convey importance of Paul for bringing the new covenant to the Gentiles just as Jesus brought it to the Jews without crossing the line and implying that Paul is equal with Jesus. It's a fascinating balancing act.

Psalms and Proverbs
Spouting off before listening to the facts
is both shameful and foolish.
Say that again!