Wednesday, April 20, 2011

1 Kings 1-3 Solomon Moves In and Cleans House

1 Kings 1-3

When I read chapter one, when Adonijah assumed he was getting the throne, this popped into my head.

I had surgery to repair a hernia last friday.  All is well but the Vicodin is making it near impossible to read more then two sentences without completely zoning out.

What was I saying?

Anyway, Let's start on Kings so we don't get any further behind.  It stars Solomon, a very wise man who liked to chop up babies.
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Thursday, April 14, 2011

2 Samuel 10-12, 13-16, 17-20, 21-24

I'm out of commission until Monday.

Please keep reading and I'll repost these sections so we can discuss in detail.

Consider this a biblical spring break!

Monday, April 11, 2011

2 Samuel 5-9

2 Samuel 5-9

David puts a hit out on the blind and lame.
David goes to war against, well, almost everyone.

The ark is moved and, while trying to steady it is touched my a mere mortal.  The do-gooder is of course killed for trying to help.

Friday, April 8, 2011


I've been asked by many people over the years, most recently by commenter Edward what proof would I need to accept that the Christian god, or any god actually exists.
Well, I'll tell you, kind of.

Back in collage I took a class where religion and atheism were compared.  We discussed this question frequently amongst ourselves.  Everyone pretty much agreed that if Jesus descended from the skies on a beam of light for all the world to see that would be enough proof.  But we are taught that the lord does not work in such garish ways.  He's not going to show himself in public.  We just have to have faith.

So I thought, If god won't show himself to the masses anymore (he was constantly showing up unannounced in the OT), would he give me a "personal" sign of his existence?  If so, I'm sure he would allow me to pick my proof because I would have to know the sign beforehand so that I knew it was God contacting me.

So I set out to create a set of rules.
1) I had to rule out mental illness as a possibility so it would have to be verifiable by others.  Others would have to be able to see the sign but not need know what it meant.
2) It would have to be something  very personal.  Something only I would understand as a sign.
3) It would have to be something that occurred in the the natural world.  The sun couldn't "dance in the sky", the trees couldn't start talking and the  stars in the night sky could spell out BRUCE IS AWESOME (although that would be nice, and true).
4) I can't tell anyone what that sign would be to rule out the possibility that someone would try to trick me into believing.

I have my sign and have been waiting almost 25 years for a higher power to show it to me.
If/When I see it I will spend the rest of my life trying to convince the rest of the world that they need to praise this god as well.

Atheists, what proof do you require?  Did you believe and now you don't?  Do you have a plan?  Is mine sound?

Believers, What made you believers?  Did you have an experience that changed you?  Could you apply the above rules to your experience?    Are those rules even relevant to your faith?
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2 Samuel 1-4 How the mighty have fallen

2 Samuel 1-4

Book two starts off just where book one ends.  Any reason for splitting them up?  Different authors?

David kills the messenger when he finds out that Saul and Jonathan are dead.

There is an interesting quote from David about the man that was trying to kill him for several years.
"Saul and Jonathan were lovely and pleasant in their lives"

David then goes to Hebron and is crowned King of Judah.  Abner crowns Ishbosheth the king of all Israel.  This causes a civil war (and why is any war called "civil"?)

People get smote under the fifth rib, we get a bunch of begats from the seed of David and he is reunited with Michal.

Abner and David make peace but unfortunately, Joab learns about it too late and does some fifth rib smoting on Abner.

Finally, Rechab and Baanah learn that surprise gifts aren't always appreciated.
How would you react if someone handed you the head of Ishbosheth?

Reminds me of the ending of the movie Se7en.  Spoiler Alert and NSFW.
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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

1 Samuel 28-31

1 Samuel 28-31

Man this is one harsh way to end a book!  I've complained that some of the previous books had weak endings.  1 Samuel makes up for it in spades!

Saul goes to a witch/psychic to talk to the dead Samuel.  Even though this is a parable, it says allot about what the Israelites believed.
A) They believed that people survived in some form after death.
B) They believed that the living could communicate with the dead.
C) The dead could predict the future.

Saul doesn't like what Samuel has to say but his fate is sealed,  along with his sons and the army of Israel in general.

Meanwhile, David isn't allowed to fight the Israelites with the Philistines, lest he become a turncoat during the battle.  To make matters worse, the previously "utterly destroyed" Amalekites have invaded and taken David's wives.  David chases them down and destroys them once again (except for the 400 that escape on camels).

We finish with Saul and his sons being defeated in battle, Saul, not wanting the Philistines to have the honor of taking his life does it himself.  Is this the first literary instance of someone "falling on his sword"?  The Philistines don't treat the dead very well.

Again, I have to comment that this feels very Shakespearian to me.  I think it would be a safe assumption to say that he used the Bible as an influence.  I've also seen pieces that say the Bard helped translate the KJ Bible but there seems to be debate on the amount of involvement.

The sequel starts tomorrow.  David's revenge?
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Book of Judges Podcast

Our own Abbie, better known as אביגיל was on a podcast last week talking about the Book of Judges.

Go to her site to find the links.

You can find the Oklahoma Atheists website here.

They conduct the "Godcast"  in a very casual style and there is drinking involved but they drill down way deeper into the books then I do here.  I found it very entertaining and informative.

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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Early Christian Writings Found?

Not directly related to what we're doing here but I thought it was interesting enough to pass along.

Early writings found

While the find is intriguing, we have to remember that counterfeit relics and forgeries are very common in the middle-east.
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1 Samuel 24-27 LORD lord Lordy

1 Samuel 24-27

Does anyone else have to re-read passages over and over because of the frequent uses of LORD and lord?

Some times I don't know who's command who to do stuff!

Chapter 24 is one of my favorite readings this year.  David and Saul have an impassioned talk about their relationship, with David pleading with Saul to stop his unwarranted aggression.
The golden nugget from this chapter has to be at 24:4 when David's servants remind him that the LORD will one day deliver your enemy to you and you will do what you see fit unto them.  David's action is compassion.  But how did Saul not know that David cut a piece from his robe?!?!
I found this to be one of the best written pieces we've read so far.  How about you?

And Samuel dies.  This is VERY glossed over, almost literally "Oh, by the way, Samuel's dead".  These books are named after him for christ's sake!

We then get a mini-story that seems to be inserted form another author.  In it, David acts more like Saul, being less tolerant and aggressive.
THe interesting part is the strong role of the woman (one of David's future wife and the namesake of our star commenter) Abigail.
It was very much filler, perhaps to put some time between the David/Saul encounters?

Unfortunately, David still doesn't trust Saul, and why should he!  I like the sneaking into a sleeping camp and David having a discussion with Abishai about Saul's fate.  Felt very Shakespearian.

This of course sets up another dialogue betwixt the king and king to be.  Could this be a different version of the previous story?

David then decides that his only chose is to live amongst the Philistines and smote people.
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Sunday, April 3, 2011

1 Samuel 19-23 David and Jonathan sitting in a tree...

1 Samuel 19-23

David and Jonathan seem to be a couple.  Thought God frowned on the gays.

Saul continues to hate David and David is fearful of Saul.

It doesn't stop either of them from killing scores of Philistines during the chase.

My question is; What is this story trying to tell us?  David is not looking very "kingly" at this point.
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Saturday, April 2, 2011

1 Samuel 15-18 Davey and Goliath

1 Samuel 15-18

Just for fun

The LORD commands Samuel/Saul to lay waste to the Amalaks
"lay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass."
But Saul once again proves to be a lousy king when he kills all of the humans but only most of the livestock, saving the best for an offering to the LORD. 
Samuel does have a great line here, saying "Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.  Translation;  Be a good soldier and do what you're told.  Faith is better then action?
Samuel (once again) has to tell Saul he can't be king of the Israelites and sends him home to think about what he's done.  Saul of course feels horrible for not killing EVERYTHING and begs forgiveness.  It's not to come.

So now God wants Samuel to "choose" another king.  I found this amusing since God had obviously already chosen David, the youngest son of Jesse.  This is were things get very interesting and soap opera-ish!

Samuel meets with Jesse's six oldest son's but the LORD doesn't care for them.  They send for the young David and lo and behold, he's the one.  Samuel anoints him with oil and he is filled with the spirit of God, which means the spirit of God has departed from Saul, making him cranky.

Someone suggest that music will sooth him (is this where the saying 'music soothes the savage beast' comes from?) so they send for the best harp player in the land.  DAVID!  Saul loves David and asks him to stick around. David agrees.  Jonathan also loves David but that's a different story for a later time.

But, the Philistines come calling.  Their most bad-ass soldier, Goliath demands that the Israelites send out their best to face him in one on one combat.
David, who has since left Saul to feed his sheep, and who is now delivering food to his brothers, hears Goliath's taunts and decides he'll be the one to take the giant.  Laughter ensues.  

David, of course slays Goliath, cuts off his head and brings it back to Saul who doesn't seem to recognize him.  Some have pointed to this as an inconsistency in the story but  I think it's more an illustration that David has grown into his role as the future king and is ready to assume control.
The current king, Saul, is jealous and tries to bring David into the family by offering his daughters up for marriage.  Things will go down hill from there.

Another great parable.  Probably one of the best known to the common man.  How often has this story been retold in different forms?  What other civilizations have a version of this story?
The movie Achilles starts off with a David vs. Goliath moment but I don't know if that is actually in the Iliad or not.
Once again we get a humble man chosen by God and thrust into the leadership role.  Will David do better then Moses and Saul?

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Friday, April 1, 2011

1 Samuel 12-14

1 Samuel 12-14

Samuel and God impress the Israelites with thunder and lightning.  They're back in the god business.

Samuel deems Saul unworthy of being king after he made a burnt offering to the LORD instead of rushing into battle.  This bit confuses me a little.  Why is Samuel so displeased?  Saul has not turned from God.

Still, Saul and his son Jonathan raise up an army to smite some more Philistines but seem to be the only ones with weapons.  The Israelites are rightly reluctant to follow and we know that Samuel doesn't seem to like Saul's skills as a commander.

Jonathan isn't to impressed either and goes off on his own.  He immediately shows skill with a sword (I would totally have him in my WOW guild!), and his servant is bad either.

The Israelites drive the Philistines back but God seems to get the credit.  Why is this?  Must be like football where the coach gets the credit for a victory and the player points to the sky and thanks God when HE just scored.

Anyway, Saul commands his people not to eat for the rest of the day after victory (Why?)  Jonathan doesn't here this order and eats honey and is therefore condemned.  The people recognize that Jonathan is a hero and shouldn't be blamed for his tasting of the honey and they save him.  I'm putting my money on God killing him somewhere down the road.

We end chapter 14 with Saul victorious over the Philistines.
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