22 October 2010

Oct 22

Reference links:
Old Testament

Oh no! Jerusalem falls to Babylon in today's reading. Nebuchadnezzar attacks the city and destroys it. He kills the nobles of Jerusalem and the sons of the king and then gouges out King Zedekiah's eyes. This should seem familiar because we read it in the earlier histories.

After that, we get some content that is, if I remember correctly, new to Jeremiah. The other histories end when the exile begins and then pick up again as it is ending. Jeremiah talks a bit about what happened in Judah following its fall.

Jeremiah gets off pretty well. Apparently the Babylonians know of him, so they treat him well. He is given the option to stay in Judah or go to Babylon, and he is provided with food and water. It makes one wonder whether they heard about Jeremiah after conquering Jerusalem or if there was more to the claim that Jeremiah was defecting than the author of this book wants us to believe.

Other folks are not doing so well. As you would expect of a country that has just been destroyed, had its leadership killed and taken away, and was left with a government put in place by the conquering king, the situation in Judah is chaotic. Leaders of a guerrilla movement come to Jerusalem to see Gedaliah, the governor appointed by King Nebuchadnezzar. Some of the guerrilla leaders seem to be on his side. Others plot to murder Gedaliah. They eventually succeed.

This causes the leaders to split. Johanan's group, the ones that were loyal to the governor, chase after the group led by the murderer, Ishmael. They free the captives and Ishmael and his companions flee.

What is interesting about this story is that if Ishmael had succeeded in his rebellion, he would now be considered a hero, possibly of stature of King David. Like David, he was engaging in guerrilla warfare against the leadership. He opponent, Johanan, is cooperating with the leader installed by the invading king. However, since Ishmael is being presented as a murderer and a rebel, I am guessing he fails.

New Testament

New letter! 2 Timothy. Most of the background for 1 Timothy also apply to this letter. The additional information that Harris gives is that of the three pastoral letters, 2 Timothy has a tone that is closest to the rest of Paul's letters. However, scholars still think that it was probably written by the author of the other pastorals rather than Paul.

Today's reading is noteworthy mainly for the number of personal details it contains. It mentions Timothy's mother and grandmother, the fact that Phygelus and Hermongenes have abandoned Paul, and praise for Onesiphorus. A large part of the content is centered around Paul's imprisonment.

One bit that seems somewhat unlike Paul is this:
Timothy, I thank God for you—the God I serve with a clear conscience, just as my ancestors did.
The bit about "just as my ancestors did" seems at odds with the break Paul usually made between his new self and his Jewish heritage.

Psalms and Proverbs

Nothing of particular note except for the implication that curses are real.