10 August 2010

Aug 10

Reference links:
Old Testament

We finish Ezra today which means that it is the second shortest book we have read so far (by number of days spent reading it).

Ezra ends with the destruction of families and yet another list (of those people whose families were destroyed). When we left Ezra yesterday, he was dramatically mourning the fact that some of the returned exiles had married the locals. On the advice of Shecaniah, who had not been introduced as anyone of note as far as I can tell, Ezra tells the people to divorce their pagan wives and send away any children they had by their wives.

I think this is pretty terrible. First, families are being broken up, and it is likely that the members of many of these families loved each other. Second, women and children, the weakest members of this society, are being sent away from their source of support. Now, the women who had not had children may have been able to find new husbands without too much difficulty, but the women with children may very well have been seen as a burden by potential new husbands. Even if those women did remarry, it is likely that many of those children pretty much lost out on everything since they would not necessarily share in the inheritance of their new family.

And all this because of Ezra's mourning. Note that Ezra did not get any sort of explicit vision or message from God. He was just using his own interpretation of the law (which he may very well have been the one to compile) and applying it to the people who had returned to Judah.

At least the text makes it clear that not everyone supported these cruel actions:
Only Jonathan son of Asahel and Jahzeiah son of Tikvah opposed this course of action, and they were supported by Meshullam and Shabbethai the Levite.

New Testament

Christians should not sue each other in courts judged by non-believers. Furthermore, they should not be bringing suit in the first place; they should just accept the injustice done to them and take comfort in knowing that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

This passage also implies that not only will everyone eventually be judged, but it will be the believers themselves doing the judging. I do not believe we have seen this idea in our readings before and it brings up some very interesting issues about the idea of judgment.

Paul also discusses how sexual sin is particularly terribly because it is done to the body and the body of a believer is part of Christ.

Psalms and Proverbs

Nothing of particular note.