Posts Tagged ‘Chronicles’

The Chronicler of Israel/Judah is often faulted for a tendentious and rigid view of his nation’s history. To be fair, one resorts to brief summaries of any complex reality when a word count is in the mix. And an ancient manuscript imposes hard-wired volume limits on any writer.

Read sympathetically, neither of the two great biblical histories of Israel requires the conclusion that their authors were beady-eyed ideologues. (more…)

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Power turns the heart of those we would never expect capable of using it wrongly. Power moves hands that had previously been clean in darting, surreptitious ways. Power corrupts good men and good women.

When Jehoshaphat was reforming the kingdom of Judah, he set the bar high for those who would wield power in the context of local disputes. He seemed to anticipate both the blessing and the bane that come with distributing power among men who are but flesh and therefore susceptible to its distorting force. (more…)

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In the judgement of the Hebrew Bible’s two great histories of Israel and Judah, these kingdoms were dismally served by their kings. When the reader happens upon a noble king in the chronology of monarchs, he breathes fresh air. For a moment, the sky clears itself of its gray steel. (more…)

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The Hebrew Bible’s core claim about YHWH is that ‘there is no one like you’. He is incomparable.

Nowhere is YHWH’s singularity more apparent than when nothing and on one but YHWH could possible save his people from their proximate peril. (more…)

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It is not immediately clear, even for those with the most solid theology of creation, that this world deserves our allegiance.

If it is only a clearing in the woods where the most unaccountable and vicious violence can be visited with impunity upon the innocent, then we ought to turn our backs on it, shake its pathetic dust off our sandals, and long for another place. (more…)

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The biblical literature laments few losses so frequently as wasted opportunity. A leader emerges with something like a clean slate in his hand. Instead of noble lines, he scrawls the moral equivalent of excrement across the tablet.

It would have us develop an instinct for the same.

The Bible knows a thousands ways to spell such loss. It rues what might have been. (more…)

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Israel’s biblical historians are often taciturn in the face of behavior we might have expected them to condemn.

It is their way of respecting the reader. Not every moral, not every lesson need be spelled out. The listener is expected to arrive at his or her own conclusions based on instruction that is both prior and ongoing.

One of the sad features of both David’s and Solomon’s reigns is the unfortunate and even chaotic manner in which they lurch to their conclusion. We should probably suspect that Solomon’s amassing of both riches and retinue as a consequence of his fabled wisdom is not an entirely promising trend. The Queen of Sheba was impressed to the point of breathlessness. We should not be. (more…)

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