02 August 2010

Aug 2

Reference links:
Old Testament

Hezekiah is threatened by Sennacherib of Assyria but the Lord intervenes and the Assyrians are defeated. It probably didn't hurt that Hezekiah reinforced defenses and prepared for the siege. I suppose the lesson is trust but don't forget to prepare as much as you can.

After this, Hezekiah falls ill, is healed by the Lord, becomes proud (we are not told what he becomes proud of), encounters the Lords anger, repents, receives honor, and makes an unspecified mistake with the Babylonians (showing off his wealth? was that Hezekiah? I'm too tired to look it up).

After that, we read about the reign of Manasseh. The author of Chronicles quickly lets us know how terrible Manasseh was. More interesting to the author is Manasseh's repentance, which we heard nary a peep about in the books of Kings.

This conversion does not pass the sniff test in a couple ways. It was never mentioned in the books of Kings. Maybe that is because the books of Kings had a simplified view of history where good kings were successful and bad kings were failure, and Manasseh was supposed to be a bad king. But then, you would think the author of the books of King would be more than happy to have something they could use to explain the fact that Manasseh, the terrible king, had a reign longer than any other king of Judah.

The second part that does not pass the sniff test is the circumstances surrounding Manasseh's repentance:
So the Lord sent the commanders of the Assyrian armies, and they took Manasseh prisoner. They put a ring through his nose, bound him in bronze chains, and led him away to Babylon.
Why would the Assyrians take Manasseh to Babylon? As far as I can tell, Babylon was constantly in revolt and would not, I think, be a place where prisoners were taken.

Those things together lead me to think this episode was made up, either by the author of the books of Chronicles or by the author of some earlier tradition that this author was drawing from.

New Testament

We're winding down on Romans. Paul describes his travel plans and then sends his regards to a number of people. According to Harris's Understanding the Bible, many scholars believe that chapter 16, where the greetings begin, was actually from a different letter.

Psalms and Proverbs

Nothing strikes me as particularly interesting today.