I’m participating in Disciple Bible Study, a 34 week intensive. For five days, we have different readings. I have decided to document my initial noticings from a close reading of the scripture. Well, an attempt at a close reading.
Week 11 Theme: God Punishes the People
Readings: 2 Kings 17-20
- A reminder that the people need reasons why they lose in battle that are attributable to G*d. For example, Hoshea "did what was evil in the sight of the Lord." (17:2). That is why G*d removes favor from the people. Not because the Assyrians have a stronger army! (wink)
- 17:4 – Hoshea playing off Assyria against Egypt
- 17:7 – Israel loses to Assyria because they sinned against G*d. Reminder that Israel equals the Northern Kingdom here.
- 17:9 – the people did "secret" things like built watchtowers, pillars, and sacred poles. :-/
- 17:13 – G*d warns Israel and Judah
- 17:16 – cast images of two calves. Reminiscent of Aaron and Jeroboam. Note that the Tabernacle altar table had horns on it. I don't know if they are reminiscent of each other, but it always connects in my mind.
- 17:18 – G*d so angry with Israel that they are removed. Only Judah is left. Note that the main sin in the eyes of the priests of Jeroboam is that he built a place to worship in the Northern Kingdom that was not Jerusalem. So this is worship wars on steroids, perhaps. The talk between Judah and Israel, that is. The Southern Kingdom was the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. The Levites, though, were territory-less folks. I imagine they went with Jerusalem and the Southern Kingdom?
- 17:32 – appointed all kinds of people as priests
- 18:3 – Hezekiah seems like a righteous dude
- 18:4 – Wow! He broke into pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made. (Jeroboam made, perhaps?). This seems outrageous. You'd think it would be considered holy and this was the reminder not to worship idols, yes? Maybe that's the message. The evidence against worhsiping idols is gone.
- 18:5 – Hezekiah was the most awesome leader ever! According to this verse. Why don't we learn more about him, I wonder.
- 18:21 – talk about Egypt again as a buffer between Judah and invaders
- 18:22 – another stab at the right place wo worship. only at the altar in Jerusalem.
- 18:32 – Assyrian king making a lot of promises to try and get the people to leave Hezekiah
- 19:4 – Hezekiah consulting Isaiah about Assyrians
- 19:14-19 – What a passionate prayer from Hezekiah.
- 19:30 – Hope
- 19:35 – G*d helps Hezekiah by striking down 185,000 Assyrians J
- 20:5 – Hezekiah will be healed on the third day. I find it interesting that third day pops up in scripture quite frequently and figures prominently in Christianity. A little research shows me that the third day was a ritual cleansing day (Numbers 19:12) and that the third day of creation was when there was evening and then morning (in that order). Like the sun going down on uncleanness and rising in purity.
- 20:14 – cue scary music. The Babylonians have arrived.
- 20:16-19 – G*d won't let anything happen during Hezekiah's reign because he was so awesome. And Hezekiah says, "why not." The problem here is that he & G*d are willing to inflict the pain caused by past kingly failures onto future generations that haven't even done anything! (yet).