10 October 2010

Oct 10

Reference links:
Old Testament

We'll keep this quick since I have caught my husband's cold.

The dialog Jeremiah sets up between himself and God is an interesting one. In this conversation, Jeremiah is the merciful one; he wants to pray for the people to be spared, but God will not let him. God, on the other hand, is bent on punishing the people.

Off the top of my head, I can think of two reasons for this. The obvious and boring one is that Jeremiah wants to defend himself against his attackers. He wants to be able to say something like, "I did all I can; I want to save you all, but God won't listen." The more interesting reason I have thought of is that this is a literary device. Each time Jeremiah asks for God to spare the Judah, God can emphasize the degree to which Judah has failed him. Essentially, the dialog between Jeremiah and God acts as a frame for the explanation of Judah's sins.

In any case, after some more back and forth about the coming doom and gloom (including a pronouncement that Jeremiah should not get married or have children since they will just suffer), there is a bit of hope. The exiled, punished people will someday be brought home again.

New Testament

1 Thessalonians continues to be very personal. Paul talks about the persecution of the believers and his inability to visit them.

Psalms and Proverbs

Today we get some insight about the likely authenticity of these so called proverbs of Solomon:
These are more proverbs of Solomon, collected by the advisers of King Hezekiah of Judah.
Remember that, if we take the Biblical record of kings somewhat seriously, there was something like a couple hundred years (or more?) between Solomon and Hezekiah. Given that period of time, it seems unlikely that all, or even most, of these proverbs are authentic. Instead, it seems more likely that statements of wisdom were attributed to Solomon over the years because he had a reputation for wisdom.

Also, amusingly, all of the proverbs today are about the awesomeness of the king. If this actually was the kind of wisdom Solomon was sharing, it was rather self serving.