Alter Intermission III - The Story So Far

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Alter Intermission III - The Story So Far

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dec 26, 2012, 4:47pm

I tried to follow Dan's recommendations about the title. I chose this one because Chronicles seems to be mainly a recap of Israel's history, starting with Adam and until the return from the Babylonian exile. It doesn't bring much new info but puts the whole story under the perspective of a theological demonstration. It's also considered the last of the Bible's "historical" books, according to Wikipedia.

Previous threads:
Judges (same thread as Joshua, starts on post #69):
Ruth (same thread as Joshua, starts on post #142):
1 & 2 Samuel:
1 & 2 Kings:

And the Wikipedia entry on Chronicles is here:

dec 26, 2012, 5:47pm

I really have to start getting into this reading and threads. I can't believe I missed Ahab!

dec 26, 2012, 7:45pm

Awesome Flo. I'll catch-up, hopefully soon.

Sam - jump in! You haven't fully missed Ahab, I haven't posted on him yet.

dec 27, 2012, 4:34am

2> I'm afraid Ahab is not much to talk about, but his wife Jezebel is another matter. She killed hundreds of Israelite prophets and worshiped Baal. Guess that's what you get for marrying out of the Family.

dec 27, 2012, 4:36am

Right now I'm trying to follow the recap but all those genealogical lists are pretty confusing, and I'm easily confused to begin with. Starting chapter 5 I believe.

jan 24, 2013, 2:39pm

OK, I'm not as thorough as dchaikin, but I would like to throw a few comments on Chronicles while we wait for Dan's wonderful outlines and notes. To be honest, I was just trying to finish Chronicles as quickly as possible and move on to the prophets, because my Oxford history doesn't make many references to Chronicles, and at the point where I am in my reading is referring to the prophets more and more. That's because there is little original content in Chronicles, and what there is is so ideologically tainted that's it's not very useful as a historical source.

However, the way Chronicles retells the same events that were depicted in Samuel and Kings, but differently, is fascinating. I came across two striking examples these last few days.

The numbering. OK, so everyone agrees that it was a big mistake and it got the LORD extremely angry. But there are three different versions of it.

Version 1: 2 Samuel 23
The LORD gets annoyed at Israel (I don't remember if the preceding verses explain why) and inspires David to initiate a numbering of the people of Israel and Judah. Joab knows from the start that this is a bad idea, but David prevails and Joab goes through the whole land and comes back with numbers (unrealistically high: 800,000 men old enough to draw a sword in Israel, 500,000 in Judah). Then David realizes his mistake, but too late.

Version 2: 1 Chronicles 21
This time it's Satan who incites David to do the numbering. According to the Harper Collins notes, “The Chronicler was unwilling to assign temptation to the deity.”
Joab is much more vocal in his protests here, and he also doesn't carry out the order completely: he leaves out Levi and Benjamin. He does come back with numbers though, even higher than in the first version: 1,100,000 men for Israel and 470,000 for Judah. Then comes the punishment.

Version 3 is only a few words in 1 Chronicles 27:23. It simply says that Joab started the numbering but didn't finish it because of the LORD's wrath.

It seems to me that every new version tends to play down the horror of David's sin.

None of which explains why the numbering is an abomination (the word is in 1Ch21). Harper Collins says that “David’s census shows reliance on numerical might rather than on the Lord’s help”, but that is not enough to explain the horror. I remember (vaguely) another episode involving a numbering, and Alter mentioning that there was probably an ancient taboo against it.

The other example of a striking difference between Chronicles and the preceding books is the construction of the temple. In Samuel and Kings, we only learn that the LORD stopped David building the temple, and that Solomon did the job. But in Chronicles, the story is told very differently. We learn why David couldn't build the temple: he was a warrior and had blood on his hands. But he handed down very detailed instructions (received in writing from the LORD) on how to build it and the utensils in it, as well as provided enormous quantities (tons) of silver and gold as material for the building. This part mirrors the instructions handed down by Moses on how to build the tabernacle. Harper Collins is very useful in pointing out the many parallels. I haven't finished reading this part though, so maybe I shouldn't comment too much on it just now. I can't wait to see how Solomon's part is told.

jan 24, 2013, 4:26pm

It seems to me that every new version tends to play down the horror of David's sin.

And the LORD's--I mean, not his sin, of course, but the version with Satan is much simpler, more in keeping with our sensibilities, less Old Testament (dare I say?) than God having to trick David into acting out so he has the pretext to punish. The focus seems to be less on sin as an explanation for calamity (although that's still there) and more on free will--human, not divine, caprice.

Redigeret: jan 25, 2013, 12:43pm

Good point about Satan. As far as I can remember (but my memory is very bad for these things, so I may be wrong), this is his first appearance.

Could it be that at some point the notion that the LORD was responsible for both the good and the bad (and a lot of bad things happened to the Israelites around that time) got too uncomfortable, and a movement started to "split" him in two beings so to speak. While at the same time the texts keep insisting that the LORD is responsible for everything that happens, sometimes it can be a bit too much to assign everything to him.

I was going to refer to David's blessing in 1 Chronicles 29:11-14, but reading it now it insists mostly on the good things bestowed by the LORD.

Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty:for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and thou art exalted as head above all. Both riches and honour come of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all. Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name. But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? For all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee.

(Edited to finish an incomplete sentence, oops)

Redigeret: jan 25, 2013, 11:07am

Huh - wasn't Satan in Genesis? My knowledge of him stems almost entirely from reading Paradise Lost...

ETA Sorry to butt in - I have been lurking in these threads because it is very interesting to read you all's take on things and also the scholarly stuff you are reading.

jan 25, 2013, 12:40pm

No, I don't think Satan appears in Genesis. Are you thinking of the serpent?

I just made a search on Satan. In my French edition, I got 49 hits. The first one is the one I mentioned above in Chronicles. Then there are a few in Job, 2 in Zechariah, and the rest is in the New Testament. I don't know if Satan has other names in the Bible though. Beelzebub didn't bring anything up, but I'm not sure how it would be spelled.

jan 25, 2013, 12:44pm

And you're welcome to butt in any time Anna!

jan 27, 2013, 10:01am

Interesting comments Flo. I'm way behind now, but Martin's comment is along the lines of what I expect. Chronicles is written later, and a lot of the stuff that bothers us, especially god's willingness to do and cause bad things, bothered people then too. So, they had to explain it. One way was simply to rework the story and blame someone else - like Satan.

Anna, no Satan before this. Beelzebub is a New Testament corruption of one of the Baal god's names. Up till now the only evilness is the people who don't listen to god or Moses, and who pray to other gods. When god does bad, he either has a good reason, he's teaching a lesson, or, quite often, he is simply unpredictable and tends to turn fortunes upside down.

jan 27, 2013, 4:54pm

(although, obviously, the serpent has been associated with Satan since)

Redigeret: jan 27, 2013, 5:15pm

since Adam and Eve...

There are many other references to serpents (Here is a search) and to worship of serpents. The worship references are generally obscure enough that I haven't been marking them down. One example, from 2 Kings 18.4: He {Hezekiah} broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until those days the people of Israel had made offerings to it; it was called Nehushtan.

jan 27, 2013, 5:14pm

Several of the comments I read on Chronicles say that one of the main goals is to explain history in terms of punishment or rewards for good or bad (in religious terms) behavior of the kings. Another is obviously to establish the legitimacy of the Davidic dynasty. So of course it must have been a bit embarrassing to have David commit such a terrible sin and get punished.

About David and his legitimacy, there's a part I found interesting in 1 Ch 28:4-5:
for he (the LORD) hath chosen Judah to be the ruler; and of the house of Judah, the house of my father; and among the sons of my father he liked me to make me king over all Israel. And of all my sons, (for the Lord hath given me many sons,) he hath chosen Solomon my son to sit upon the throne of the kingdom of the Lord over Israel.

So David and Solomon's dynasty has been specifically chosen by the LORD. Nothing of course is said of the less savory things they had to do to get there...

feb 5, 2013, 10:19am

So now, for the second time, I come to Athaliah. She has a special importance in French culture because of Racine's play bearing her name, Racine being one of the three major playwrights of the 17th century in France. Athalia's dream is one of the classic texts that schoolboys and girls were supposed to memorize back in the days of my parents (who will be 80 this year).

So this time I decided to read (or possibly re-read) the play, and since it's such a classic and in the public domain it wasn't very hard to find it in e-book form. Last night I read Racine's introduction to the play, which made lots of things finally clear.

I have always been very bad at keeping track of characters in books (and people in real life to be honest), but with the Bible it's especially difficult, with information being scattered in different books (in this case, Kings and Chronicles) and some characters being referred to by different names, not to mention the different translations of the names in my various French and English versions. So I do have a few excuses for not getting this without the help of the Harper Collins notes and Racine.

Juda's Jehoram, son of Jehosaphat, married Athaliah, daughter of Israel's Ahab and the Phoenician Jezebel, Baal worshipper and persecutor of Yahwist prophets. This marriage between Jehoram and Athaliah sealed the alliance between Judah and Israel, which meant in fact that Judah was Israel's vassal. You can see already that it could only lead to trouble, from the Chronicler's point of view. And indeed Jehoram saw all his sons killed by Arabs during a raid, except Ahaziah, the youngest. When Jehoram died from a painful and humiliating illness (all because of his sins of course), Ahaziah was only 22. He was killed one year later by Jehu along with Ahab (again for the sin of associating with Israel), and so were the sons of his brothers. So there were no adult males left to rule Judah, which left the door open to Athaliah to seize power.

Athaliah tried to remove the last obstacles to her power by killing all her grandsons, the children of Ahaziah. But one of them, Joash, was saved by her half-sister Jehoshabeath, who in Chronicles is also the wife of Jehoiada the priest, who later reinstored Joash to the throne, and presumably exercised power in his stead since the king was only 7 or 8 years old.

What happened here is that David's lineage came within a hair's breadth of becoming extinct. Which is important to the Chronicler because David's lineage was specifically chosen by the LORD to rule Israel. And it's also important to Racine because apparently Jesus was a direct descendant of David? I didn't know about that belief.

In France we tend to forget how the Catholic faith and the Bible shaped our culture and history. I have heard those lines from Athaliah thousands of times, but I had no idea the story came from the Bible.

"C'était pendant l'horreur d'une profonde nuit.
Ma mère Jézabel devant moi s'est montrée,
Comme au jour de sa mort pompeusement parée."

I could only find this English translation, which unfortunately feels terribly inadequate:

"It was
During the horror of the night profound,
My mother, Jezebel, before me stood,
Apparelled gorgeously, as on the day
Of her decease."

I hope I didn't bore you guys to death with all this... Now back to reading the play. And Chronicles.

feb 5, 2013, 5:43pm

In France we tend to forget how the Catholic faith and the Bible shaped our culture and history.

I am reading a lot of the French Idéologues and German "Romantic Nationalists" on language right now, and one thing that always strikes me is the, like, thoroughness, I guess, of the French rational tradition. Someone like Condillac, an abbot under the ancien regime, can talk about the origin of language and treat God basically as an irrelevance, whereas even fifty years later writers like Wilhelm von Humboldt are trying to find a way to salvage the idea that language can have a divine origin in the face of great advances that have been made since Condillac's time in the empirical treatment of human languages. I know that's all part of the stereotypical division, but it makes me start to wonder, when and how did this association of France and rationality begin? With Descartes and Montaigne? It's interesting to think about a stronger church and a more devoutly Catholic France surviving into the modern era--as, of course it did in Iberia, Italy, Austria, et al.--and the effects on literature

feb 6, 2013, 12:44am

Flo - that was fascinating and thanks for posting the translation.

Martin - that just brings up a world of stuff I know nothing about.

feb 6, 2013, 8:43am

17> Good question about the French rational tradition. I don't know. We often use the term "cartésien" when referring to that stereotype of the Rational French, so I guess I assumed that Descartes invented it, but I don't know.

Or course, in everyday life we are just as irrational as the next guy. But we do have a tradition of at least pretending to use logic in our reasoning. Which we love to do (reasoning and argumenting). Isn't argumenting a word? My spell checker doesn't seem to approve of it.

feb 6, 2013, 8:47am

Also, a side note about the story in post 16. According to the HarperCollins notes, having many wives and children is a sign of the LORD's blessing on a king. Conversely, having your children killed (as Jehoram does) is a sign of the removal of that blessing.

Another sign of blessing is building (fortresses, cities, the Temple).

feb 6, 2013, 11:41am

19: I think in English we tend to use "debating" to mean that style of argument. Lots of us like to do that, too. :) The only word we use from "argue" is "arguing"

feb 6, 2013, 1:12pm

Or "argumentation."

It's interesting how the things that demonstrate the LORD's blessing are largely, but not completely, within the control of he that is to be shown to be so blessed. Foreshadowing the Calvinist Elect!

feb 6, 2013, 5:14pm

Ah! Time to read Racine! The things that happen when you read the bible!

feb 7, 2013, 2:08am

Actually the play is pretty boring. Lots of talk about God and how he is good and will protect the faithful. I am tempted to root for Athaliah, just because I am contrarian, but I have to admit she doesn't have a very nice personality. She is impressive though, just like her mother who dressed up and put on makeup to face defeat and death.

feb 7, 2013, 2:12am

Interestingly, Racine explains the murder of her grandchildren as a revenge on David's lineage for the death of her parents. But Judah and David's lineage had nothing to do with Ahab and Jezebel's death, did they? That makes it sound like she's taking revenge on God.

feb 7, 2013, 7:12am

#22: Foreshadowing the Calvinist Elect. And the Calvinist Damned! Part of Chapter III of the Westminister Confession says;- "By the decree of God, for the manifestation of His glory, some men and angels are predestinated unto everlasting life; and others foreordained to everlasting death." Think I'd take issue with it manifesting his glory but I guess these people (Calvinists)have no problem at all with some of the things that God does in the Bible.

feb 7, 2013, 1:59pm


#24 - She needs some fan support, she gets a bad rap.

#25 - It does sound that way... Ahab was killed in battle with Aram, Jezebel by Jehu (who also killed much of Athaliah's Judah-connected family, clearing her way to power). The bible blames their failures on their lack of fidelity to The Lord...

PossMan - : ) It's maybe not the meaning of glory that you think it is.

feb 9, 2013, 3:10pm

the Bible is a library of books from diverse times and places rather than a single, unified book; biblical narratives contain complex themes and realistic characters and are not "pious parables" about saintly persons; the Bible is a literarily sophisticated narrative not for children; the Bible is an account of the odyssey of a people rather than a book of theology; and finally, the Bible was written by many human contributors with diverse perspectives and viewpoints.

From the Yale online course here. Italics are mine

feb 9, 2013, 5:07pm

Wow, thank you for that link, the course sounds very interesting. I just watched the introduction. I think I'll try to follow the whole course.

Is it really a popular conception that the bible is a book for children?

feb 9, 2013, 5:50pm

Flo, I suspect the word "indoctrination" may be enough of an answer. Or, at least many of the through processes that word is likely to lead you to should also help answer the question

Redigeret: feb 9, 2013, 8:51pm

The Yale Tanakh synopsis led me to put this list together. Purpose is that it seems each prophet fills in a key historical niche. Note in some cases there are synchronous northern and Judah prophets.

A list of Prophets and other key popular leaders
(Minor prophets have "---" before their names)

Abraham, Isaac, Jacob (not prophets)- the Genesis story, c1950 bce

Moses - Exodus story, c1300 bce

Joshua (not a prophet)- invasion of Canaan

Judges doesn't have a key prophet (Deborah?, Gideon?) 1150 - 1025 bce

Samuel - last judge, first kings in 1 Samuel - with Saul (1025-1007 bce)
Nathan - associated with David (1010-970 bce)

Elijah - in 1 Kings, and associated with Ahab (869–850 bce)
Elisha - mainly 2 Kings, northern kingdom - 892-832 bce

---Amos - northern kingdom, mid-700's bce
---Jonah - Judah & Nineveh, mid-700's bce

Isaiah - from the fall of northern kingdom in 722 bce
---Hosea - northern kingdom, late 700's
---Micah - Judah, late 700's

---Nahum, fall of Nineveh - late 600's
---Habbakuk, late 600's
---Zephaniah, late 600's

Jeremiah - from the fall of Judah in 586 bce (655-586 bce)

Ezekiel - from Babylonian Exile (622-570 bce)

---Haggai - return from exile, late 500's
---Zechariah - composite, return from exile and post exile

---Joel - post exile
---Obadiah - post exile
---Malachi - 400's
---Ezra - 400's

Redigeret: feb 10, 2013, 4:54am

30: But what they tell children is not from the Bible! It's a dumbed down (and biased) rewriting. Don't people know that?
I get really annoyed by this rewriting of old myths in politically correct, and-they-lived-happily-ever-after ways for children. Children are not these pure innocent beings that must be protected from any contact with evil. They know about evil. Just watch a group of children for a minute. They are just as ruthless and cruel as adults, with less social polish. And rewriting old stories is just wrong when you show this to children and let them believe it's the original story, not a contemporary creation.

31: I can't wait till we get to the prophets. But I'm starting to get confused about the order of the books. After the Torah/Pentateuch, the order starts to differ significantly between the Jewish and Christian traditions, and there are also smaller differences between the different Christian traditions. I started on Chronicles after Kings because it came next in the bible translations I have, and also because, in the Oxford history, Kings and Chronicles are constantly mentioned together (and some of the prophets too) since they mostly cover the same events. But maybe you were planning to follow the Jewish order? Chronicles is at the very end in the Jewish tradition apparently.

Edited to add pic:

feb 10, 2013, 9:05am

I was following KJV order, but somehow I thought Chronicles was followed by Isaiah...anyway. I'll follow the order of that picture. (Although order isn't a big deal to me)

Redigeret: feb 10, 2013, 2:17pm

#28 Thank you for the link to the Yale course. I've had a quick look and like FlorenceArt I'm hoping to follow the course.
#32 And Florence that's a very useful chart of the books of the Bible although I'm not up to reading the Hebrew characters.

feb 10, 2013, 2:54pm

I can sound them out. : ) Most person's names are identical in Hebrew and as listed, although 'j's are a bit odd. Samuel is the first straight forward one - if you can find online pronunciation guide.

Redigeret: feb 11, 2013, 4:14pm

Actually I find the chart very confusing myself, and not just because I can't read Hebrew. But it looks nice :-P

Redigeret: feb 10, 2013, 9:47pm

Actually it's more confusing the more I look at it. KJV is same order as the table, without the lighter oranges or lighter greens. That is the order I intend to follow. But I can do it differently if anyone prefers.

KJV Order:

Historical books
1 Samuel
2 Samuel
1 Kings
2 Kings
1 Chronicles
2 Chronicles
Song of Solomon
Twelve Minor Prophets

feb 11, 2013, 4:32am

KJV order is fine by me.

I just finished reading Racine's Athaliah on the train to work. It wasn't as boring as I said earlier, although the parts about the glory of God (including exhortations to kill his enemies) made me uneasy. It made the characters of the Bible alive and it did seem pretty close to the Chronicler's tale. There were also some other Biblical references that made me go back and check the text, and even a reference to Christ, a bit anachronistic but hey, with all those prophets in Israel, why not.

It also included some mandatory groveling and also, interestingly, some warnings to Louis XIV that God is watching him. The thinking at the time was that kings held power by the grace of God and were answerable only to Him, but they were definitely answerable.

feb 11, 2013, 2:14pm

One last note about Racine, then I'll stop steering this thread off topic. Here are the last lines of the play:

« Par cette fin terrible, et due à ses forfaits,
Apprenez, roi des Juifs, et n'oubliez jamais
Que les rois dans le ciel ont un juge sévère,
L'innocence un vengeur, et l'orphelin un père. »

My translation:

“Through this terrible end, brought by her crimes,
Know, king of the Jews, and never forget
That in heaven kings have a stern judge,
The innocent an avenger, and the orphan a father.”

Sorry for this rather awkward translation. I tried to convey somehting of the form as well as the meaning. I read the French Wikipedia article on Racine today, where his mastery of the alexandrin (twelve syllable verse) and skill at conveying meaning with few words are mentioned.

The address, as you may have guessed, is to Joash, from his adoptive father Jehoiada (Joad in the play), and rings like a somber warning if you remember, as Racine reminds us in his foreword, that after Jehoiada's death Joash reneged on his faith and even went as far as having Jehoiada’s son Zechariah (who also features in the play) killed in the temple.

Redigeret: feb 11, 2013, 4:43pm

This reminds me of reading "Phèdre" in college. I think we read one other Racine but don't remember it - it definitely was not Athalie. (Did I do the right kind of accent? It's been a while.)

ETA: I think we read "Andromaque" and "Britannicus" as well.

feb 12, 2013, 3:58am

Yes, the accent is correct :-)

I don't think I studied Racine at school, or maybe just a few excerpts, not whole plays as we had to study EVERY YEAR for Molière, which almost ruined him for me. I wonder if they still do that in schools, probably not.

Racine is hard to read because of the form. It's very hard for me to concentrate on the meaning because I get distracted by the music of the alexandrins.

feb 12, 2013, 1:54pm

Yes, they are even more singsongy to me than Shakespeare, which also distracts me because it is all in iambic pentameter (10 syllable verse).

Redigeret: feb 18, 2013, 10:47pm

1 Chronicles 1-9 begats

First some quick notes.

Structure : 4 Sections in Chronicles
1 Chronicles 1-9 : genealogies
1 Chronicles 10-29 : David (skips most of 2 Samuel 9-20)
2 Chronicles 1-9 : Solomon
2 Chronicles 10-36 : Davidic monarchy to Babylonian exile (mostly Kingdom of Judah)

The last verses are identical to the first verses in Ezra

Date: My Harper Collins Study Bible dates composition to "probably" the 4th century (bce)

Chapter 1 Adam to Jacob/Israel

probably restating this but:
Shem - leads to Mesopotamia & Arabia
Ham - Northeast Africa and Syro-Palestine
Japeth - Europe and Asia (gets lot of mentions in a book on English Antiquarians that I'm reading)

Chapter 2 Judah lineage

At one point this is simply a list of cities in southern Judah surrounding Hebron.

Achar, the troubler of Israel, who transgressed in the matter of the devoted thing; - that is Achan, the guy took booty from Shinar, in Joshua, during what was supposed to be holy war, or the ban. See Joshua 7:1 and 7:24

Chapter 3 Davidic line

I was confused that Jehoazaz (here Shallum) was Josiah's fourth son, but his immediate successor.

HCSB notes claim the lineage may extend to ~400 bce, dating Chronicles composition.

Chapter 4 Judah (again) & Simeon

HCSB notes make a little excited fuss over the different guilds mentioned - linen workers, potters...

Chapter 5 Reuben, Gad & (the half-tribe of) Manasseh

Note Reuben's land was lost to Moab in the late 800's (based on the Mesha Stelle) and to Tilgath-pilneser in 733 bce

Chapter 6 Levi

Samuel, an Ephraimite in his own book, becomes a Levite here.

Chapter 7 Issachar, Benjamin, Napthali, Manasseh, Ephraim, Asher

HCSB notes Ir is maybe Dan. They get a one sentence mention just before Naphtali's one sentence mention.

HCSB notes these lists appear to be military censuses.

Chapter 8 Benjamin again

Saul's lineage included.

Chapter 9 post-exile inhabitants of Israel, plus other miscellaneous stuff.

HSCB notes that the post-exile lists come from Nehemiah.

feb 18, 2013, 10:49pm

Not much to say here, except to wonder who decided to that the most important thing to cover, when recapturing Israel's pre-Davidic history, was begats.

feb 19, 2013, 4:24am

I don't think the book was supposed to be read alone. It didn't include all the material already present in other books, but was meant as a recap. The genealogy was important to establish the legitimacy the Davidic dynasty, I guess. That and divine will.

feb 24, 2013, 7:18pm

I've finished 1 Chronicles. I will try to type up my notes over the next few days...although, outside chapter 21, I don't have much to offer.

Redigeret: feb 25, 2013, 11:04pm

1 Chronicles 10-20 recapping Samuel

This feels like a more laconic version of David's story. All the color and character development is removed, the story is simplified to basic facts and lists. Almost everything negative or questionable about David is left out.

Chapter 10 Saul's fall at Gilboa
from 1 Samuel 31

Chapter 11 David's early history
skips 2 Samuel 1-4
David king in Hebron & taking Jerusalem, from 2 Samuel 5 - 10
David's 30, from 2 Samuel 23

Chapter 12 The growth of Davids army and the unanimous support of him by Israelites.
David's army in Ziklag, then in Hebron.
The farther from Hebron, the larger the military numbers sent to support David (339,600 Soldiers)

Chapter 13 David moves Ark from Kiriath-jearim to Obed-edom.
from 2 Samuel 6

Chapter 14 David's military Success
Parts are from 2 Samuel 5, parts are new
Hiram of Tyre sends Cedar to Jerusalem
David beats Philistines twice, after God's blessing (Baal-perazim & Geba)

Chapter 15 David moves Ark from Obed-edom to the tent in Jerusalem
from 2 Samuel 6
Extensive list of Levites, including musicians.
Michal despising David gets a mention

Chapter 16 The Ark is finally placed in David's tent, and David speaks psalms of thanksgiving.
lines 8-22 are from Psalm 105, musical praise
lines 23-33 are from Psalm 96, international praise & cosmic praise
lines 43-36 are a small part of Psalm 106
list of Levite ministers to the Ark.

note: This left me afraid to read Psalms.

Chapter 17 David & Nathan and postponing the temple
from 2 Samuel 7
David fretting over living in a nice cedar house while the arc lies in tent.
Nathan first says (ambiguously??): "Do all the you have in mind..."
Then Nathan has the prophecy
- god OK with the tent
- god will build David a house (meaning dynasty)
- an offspring will build a house for god and the arc
David says : "let it be established for ever."...god did not say that.

Chapter 18 David's empire
from 2 Samuel 8
Over Philistines, Moab, Edom, Aram.... (actually Ahab's empire )

Chapter 19 King Hanum of Ammon revolts, with help from Aram
from 2 Samuel 10, 11 & 12
This is where Joab splits the army with Abisha. Joab defeats Aram, and then Ammon flees. Later David defeats Aram extras under Shophack.
Skips a lote
- skips all 2 Samuel 9
- skipps Mephibosheth, Bathsheba, Tamar's rape, Amon's murder, Absalom's revolt.

Chapter 20 Siege and capture of Rabbah and other battles.
from 2 Samuel 21

Redigeret: feb 26, 2013, 4:39am

I'm getting curious about the psalms myself, but they do seem to present an image of God that is rather warlike (and not unlike Baal in his earthly manifestations. There is an interesting chapter in the book I'm reading about parallels between Yahweh and El, Yahweh and Baal). Is that why you're afraid?

feb 26, 2013, 8:22am

No, afraid I won't get them.

What book are you reading?

feb 26, 2013, 10:02am

Oh. Well, you've got the Harper Collins notes! And has Alter translated that part yet?

The book is De Sumer à Canaan which is mainly about the parallels between the Bible and contemporary or older Mesopotamian texts.

Redigeret: feb 26, 2013, 11:54am

French only... : ( I was looking at the book from the online Yale class... The Ancient Near East : An Anthology of Texts and Pictures by James B. Pritchard...but there is a lot there. I did read Gilgamesh, which was fun.

Alter has notes on Psalms...I'm hoping they offer a lot!

ETA a missing 'm

feb 26, 2013, 11:47am

Yes, sorry... I'll try to post some of the things I learned, if I find the time.

Redigeret: feb 28, 2013, 1:14pm

I came across this and thought of the census:
The French ethnographer Levi Strauss asserts that the rise of handwriting was immediately related to the establishment of cities and empires, the organization of men into political systems, and the formation of classes and castes. Its main function was to make possible the enslavement of man rather than the enlightenment of man.
*From an essay by Frank Waters titled "Words", which I found in the Spring 1991 issue of RE:AL. The whole essay (which dates from 1968) is available here:

mar 5, 2013, 8:01pm

Recovering from a stomach flu from last night...which gives me a little time to post here...

1 Chronicles 21

This seems to me the most important chapter in Chronicles so far. It's the only one that I've had reason to think much about, and it's also the only one with significant original information (that I've read so far), and the only one that foregrounds criticism against David (or Solomon). For the most part, these authors simply skipped over the flaws. Finally, it's the only chapter so far that has what I would consider some drama.

Three different stories here:

1. The evil census

It really seems like these authors are more angry about the census than those in Samuel. Not sure what to make of that except that it must be associated with bad consequences. One the government has the numbers taxes change, and probably go way up, and military expectations change, and probably more men are forced to serve - whether in the Israelite army under David (in myth?) or within what ever imperial power the Judahists were dealing with in the 4th century when this was put together (Persian Empire? Alexandrian Empire?).

The other version is 2 Samuel 24. Here in Chronicles the blame gets shifted from the LORD to Satan...which is interesting. Joab, otherwise silent, has one comment here that is heavily critical of David.

2 Sam 24:3 But Joab said to the king, 'May the Lord your God increase the number of the people a hundredfold, while the eyes of my lord the king can still see it! But why does my lord the king want to do this?’

1 Chrn 21:3 But Joab said, ‘May the Lord increase the number of his people a hundredfold! Are they not, my lord the king, all of them my lord’s servants? Why then should my lord require this? Why should he bring guilt on Israel?

2. Punishment

In both versions Gad gives David three choices (3 years famine, 3 months military reverse, or 3 days pestilence) and David chooses the third hoping for mercy (let me fall into the hand of the Lord, for his mercy is very great; but let me not fall into human hands). Pestilence comes, and angle approaches Jerusalem...

2 Sam 24:16-17 15 So the Lord sent a pestilence on Israel from that morning until the appointed time; and seventy thousand of the people died, from Dan to Beer-sheba. 16But when the angel stretched out his hand towards Jerusalem to destroy it, the Lord relented concerning the evil, and said to the angel who was bringing destruction among the people, ‘It is enough; now stay your hand.’ The angel of the Lord was then by the threshing-floor of Araunah the Jebusite. 17When David saw the angel who was destroying the people, he said to the Lord, ‘I alone have sinned, and I alone have done wickedly; but these sheep, what have they done? Let your hand, I pray, be against me and against my father’s house.’

1 Chrn 21:14-17 14 So the Lord sent a pestilence on Israel; and seventy thousand persons fell in Israel. 15And God sent an angel to Jerusalem to destroy it; but when he was about to destroy it, the Lord took note and relented concerning the calamity; he said to the destroying angel, ‘Enough! Stay your hand.’ The angel of the Lord was then standing by the threshing-floor of Ornan the Jebusite. 16David looked up and saw the angel of the Lord standing between earth and heaven, and in his hand a drawn sword stretched out over Jerusalem. Then David and the elders, clothed in sackcloth, fell on their faces. 17And David said to God, ‘Was it not I who gave the command to count the people? It is I who have sinned and done very wickedly. But these sheep, what have they done? Let your hand, I pray, O Lord my God, be against me and against my father’s house; but do not let your people be plagued!’

Chronicles has a entire extra line, notably this comment: David looked up and saw the angel of the Lord standing between earth and heaven, and in his hand a drawn sword stretched out over Jerusalem.

3. David buys Mount Moriah from Araunah/Ornan the Jebusite

In Chronicles this comes alive. Ornan sees the angel with this sword (20 Ornan turned and saw the angel; and while his four sons who were with him hid themselves, Ornan continued to thresh wheat.). And while David discusses with Ornan, buys the land and makes the sacrifice, the angel hovers. Finally, the sacrifice done, the Lord commanded the angel, and he put his sword back into its sheath. . In Samuel we only get and the plague was averted from Israel.

mar 5, 2013, 9:06pm

One extra note - the angel of the LORD over Jerusalem with drawn sword is included in the Dead Sea scrolls version of 2 Samuel.

mar 5, 2013, 9:35pm

1 Chronicles 22-29

The Levite stuff - chapters 23-26 were some of the most boring stuff I've read in this book. I'm sure the Levite stuff is interesting in what it hints about the evolution of Levites and priests...

Chapter 22
This one chapter wasn't so bad. David collects all the materials needed to build the temple...he just can't build it because he has shed too much blood. Salomon (Hebrew Shelomah, or שְׁלֹמֹה), who will be a man of peace (Hebrew shalom, or שָׁלוֹם), will build it.

Chapter 23 Levite begats and functions
This chapter is likely a late addition. It introduces Levite organization. Boring boring boring.

Chapter 24 more Levite stuff...Aarons descendent, etc.

Chapter 25 Temple Musicians
Asaph, Heman & Jeduthun who were to prophesy with lyres, harps, and cymbals
Jeduthun is elsewhere listed as Ethan

Chapter 26
Gatekeepers, Treasurers, Officers and Judges - all Levites here (Gatekeepers aren't Levites elsewhere)

Chapter 27
Commanders of monthly military divisions (late addition to emphasize order during David's era)
Leaders of Tribes
Various treasurers and officials...

Chapter 28
David assembles officials and pledges Solomon will build the temple and publicly addresses Solomon with instructions (Be strong and of good courage, and act). Here Solomon is simply chosen by god. There is nothing about David's feebleness, his Shumanite or the games Nathan and Bathsheba play to get Solomon in place.

Chapter 29
- Still at the same public assembly David announces offerings of the temple and then requests that others make their offerings. (The make their "freewill-offerings")
- Then David gives a long blessing to God (all this abundance that we have provided for building you a house for your holy name comes from your hand and is all your own.
- Solomon is publicly anointed
- The book ends with a quick summary of David's reign.

Redigeret: mar 6, 2013, 8:25am

2 Chronicles 1-9

The Chronicles version of Solomon. It's not that different from Kings, except that much of the criticism is left out.

Chapter 1
Solomon at the Tent of Meeting in Gibeon, where he speaks to God and asks for wisdom, and God then grants him wisdom and riches. This is from 1 Kings 3, but in Kings Solomon goes by himself and speaks to god in a dream. Here he goes with an assembly and publicly speaks to god.

The chapter also includes Solomon's chariots, riches and trade - from 1 Kings 10

Chapter 2 Solomon plans the building of the temple
from 1 Kings 5, 7 and one line from 1 Kings 6:18

King Hiram of Tyre becomes Huram. And while in Kings he contacts Solomon, this chapter has two letters, the first coming from Solomon. Also the skilled bronzeman, Hiram, son of the Naphtali widow becomes Huram-abi, now has a variety of skills (not just bronze), and now has a Danite mother and Tyrian father. He becomes a lot like the Danite Oholiab in Exodus.

All aliens in Israel become Solomon's workforce.

Chapter 3 Building of the temple
from 1 Kings 6 & 7

Chapter 4 Temple furnishings
from 1 Kings 7

Chapter 5 The temple is finished and the ark is brought in.
from 1 Kings 8

In Kings the priest carry the ark, here the Levites carry the ark...

The music is a Chronicles addition.

Chapter 6 Dedication of the temple and Solomon's prayer of dedication
from 1 Kings 8

The prayer has a few changes from Kings. For example, the closing, lines 41-42, which are from Psalm 132:8-10, do not appear in Kings.

I noticed this line:
28 ‘If there is famine in the land, if there is plague, blight, mildew, locust, or caterpillar; if their enemies besiege them in any of the settlements of the lands; whatever suffering, whatever sickness there is; 29whatever prayer, whatever plea from any individual or from all your people Israel, all knowing their own suffering and their own sorrows so that they stretch out their hands towards this house; 30may you hear from heaven your dwelling-place, forgive, and render to all whose heart you know, according to all their ways, for only you know the human heart. 31Thus may they fear you and walk in your ways all the days that they live in the land that you gave to our ancestors

Kings does it this way:
37 ‘If there is famine in the land, if there is plague, blight, mildew, locust, or caterpillar; if their enemy besieges them in any of their cities; whatever plague, whatever sickness there is; 38whatever prayer, whatever plea there is from any individual or from all your people Israel, all knowing the afflictions of their own hearts so that they stretch out their hands towards this house; 39then hear in heaven your dwelling-place, forgive, act, and render to all whose hearts you know—according to all their ways, for only you know what is in every human heart— 40so that they may fear you all the days that they live in the land that you gave to our ancestors.

I know I'm comparing translations, but still, I really like "all knowing their own suffering and their own sorrows", whereas I find the line "all knowing the afflictions of their own hearts" forgettable.

Redigeret: mar 6, 2013, 8:26am

Chapter 7
Offerings and rejoicing for temple dedication - from 1 Kings 8
God speaks to Solomon - from 1 Kings 9. But new here is that God responds to prayer.

My Study Bible notes say that Chronicles has a theme that humble repentance forces god to hear, forgive and heal.

Chapter 8
From 1 Kings 9, Solomon does a bunch of stuff around Israel. The towns given to Hiram in Kings become towns Huram gives to Solomon here. Also, the Pharaoah's daughter is finally mentioned when Solomon moves her out of Jerusalem...but no mention of a marriage is made.

Chapter 9
The Queen of Sheba visit - from 1 Kings 10
Solomon's gold and wealth and wisdom - from 1 Kings 10
Solomon's summary paragraph - from 1 Kings 11

Chronicles skips all Solomon's wives and all the rebellions, including Jeroboam's

In the summary, Kings refers simply to the "Book of the Acts of Solomon". Chronicles refers instead to the history of the prophet Nathan, and in the prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite, and in the visions of the seer Iddo concerning Jeroboam son of Nebat

mar 6, 2013, 6:12am

I finished Chronicles last night. I'm also almost at the end of the French book I'm reading, De Sumer à Canaan, and your posts reminded me of some of the parallels the book is drawing between the Bible and the contemporary traditions of the region.

David's reference to the people as sheep implicitly pictures him as a shepherd. This is an epithet frequently attributed to kings, especially the great kings of the past that are a model and ancestor of more recent kings. The king guides his flock and is charged with its welfare. It's also a reminder of the nomadic origins of the nation.

The role of dreams as a means of contact between gods and kings is also something that is often found. Dreams are especially useful to confirm the legitimacy of a king who starts a new dynasty, in this case Solomon, whose father is a king but who is not the first in the line of succession. This is also a frequent occurrence. Kings are elected by gods, and the gods can select the firstborn son of the previous king, but they can also select someone else. My book even cites one extreme case of a king who claims that his father, by appointing him as an heir, only followed the god's dictate.

mar 6, 2013, 8:26am

Flo - my goal is to finish Chronicles this month.

I wonder about the meaning of Solomon. If he is the son of David, then he shouldn't need all this stuff to confirm his legitimacy. Of course, he's not the eldest son. But I wonder if he doesn't mark some kind of change in the monarchy.

The other obvious example is Jehu, who is anointed by a prophet (sent by Elisha).

mar 6, 2013, 9:34am

Well Solomon is the son of the first king (OK, Saul was first, technically, but David is the founder of the dynasty) and maybe he does need a little divine help to establish the dynasty firmly. Or maybe I'm misreading all this. Needing confirmation of your legitimacy is probably not a prerequisite, you can still have a dream chat with God if you're a perfectly legitimate king. But you have to admit it looks good on a CV.

mar 6, 2013, 10:26am

Well, probably not on my cv. : )

maj 21, 2013, 10:03am

So, I think I'm ready to start Ezra within the next couple of weeks or so. How about you guys? Dan?

maj 21, 2013, 9:04pm

I need a kick to get me going again. How about we start around June 1...

maj 21, 2013, 10:38pm


maj 22, 2013, 2:22am

I'm down.

maj 22, 2013, 3:41am

I fell off the wagon after Kings. What's next?

maj 22, 2013, 5:18am

The list of books is in post 37. We finished Chronicles, the next one is Ezra. Return to Jerusalem and reconstruction of the temple.

maj 22, 2013, 12:50pm

Aha! Thanks.

maj 31, 2013, 11:46am

Tomorrow's the big day!

Of course, continuing my theme of lateness, I will probably be reading and commenting on the Chronicles threads soon, if that is okay. :)

maj 31, 2013, 2:11pm

I still have a lot to say on Chronicles...well actually only a lot chapters to cover, not that much to say.

I will try to find time to kick off a thread tonight for Ezra.

jun 1, 2013, 12:38am

Redigeret: jun 3, 2013, 12:01pm

So I have just started I Chronicles 1. I am interested in Peleg. My version says "it was in his days that the earth was parted," which to me sounds like some kind of earthquake or conflagration (obviously not the Flood, since he is several generations removed from Noah). But wikipeda tells me that:

"According to Genesis 10:25 and 1 Chronicles 1:19, it was during the time of Peleg that "the earth was divided" – traditionally, this is often assumed to be just before, during, or after the failure of Nimrod's Tower of Babel. The meaning of the earth being divided is usually taken to refer to a patriarchal division of the world, or possibly just the eastern hemisphere, into allotted portions among the three sons of Noah for future occupation, as specifically described in the Book of Jubilees, Biblical Antiquities of Philo, Kitab al-Magall, Flavius Josephus, and numerous other antiquarian and mediaeval sources, even as late as Archbishop Ussher, in his Annals of the World. One account, the Conflict of Adam and Eve with Satan, states that "In the days of Phalek (Peleg), the earth was divided a second time among the three sons of Noah; Shem, Ham and Japheth" — it having been divided once previously among the three sons by Noah himself.

"A theory current in some modern creationist schools of thought interprets this verse to suggest that Peleg lived at the time the continent of Pangaea split into modern continents, although some other creationist geologists contend that such an event had happened during the Flood, five generations before Peleg."

So there is a physicalist interpretation (Pangaea), tho kind of a weird one. The use of "divided" certainly makes me feel better about the Tower of Babel, although we need Biblical lifespans to account for the difference in generations (Ham-->Cush-->Nimrod versus Shem-->Arpachshad-->Shelah-->Eber-->Peleg). But what I don't get is the need for a second division. Does that have to do with Babel too? Like, Noah divided the people but then they all spoke the same language and stayed together and worked together, and it was only after the confounding of tongues that we couldn't handle being around strangers and their gibberish and spread out again according to our groups, necessitating a kind of reiteration of the old division but for real this time? This is, in fact, Jean-Jacques Rousseau's argument in Essay on the Origin of Language--that we spread out and colonized the earth only after our language divided us, and that if we all spoke the same language we'd all be crammed into the same corner of the globe. (I mean, it's a dumb argument.)

Redigeret: jun 3, 2013, 2:48pm

Nothing from the bible should exceed 10000 bc

jun 3, 2013, 3:28pm

That's creationism!

jun 4, 2013, 12:31am

Just thinking of pacing...

Time - 10,000 years
Distance - width of the Atlantic Ocean - varies from 2848 km to 6400 km. I'll go with 5000 km...
Speed = 5000 km / 10,000 yr = 0.5 km/yr ...or, if you prefer, 1.2 meters per day.

Might cause a few earthquakes here and there.

jun 4, 2013, 2:37pm

I Chron 2: more genealogy. It is nice, though, because I am remembering and looking back on some of the episodes referred to (e.g. Tamar) and reminding myself of the details.

Dan, geology question for you: What do you think that would actually look like, a wave of earth at 1.2 m/day? Earthquakes for sure, but beyond that? I guess we'd end up with the tallest mountains in the world? Or a huge rigt in the earth's crust and the formation of a new continent? Or I guess more likely the seas boiling and the crust melting from the heat of the movement? I just think it's good to know these things.

jun 4, 2013, 2:45pm

And also a Bible question: In my cellphone version of the Divrei Hayamim, which is still on begats, a lot of people in chapter 3 suddenly have numbers after their names, like "Eliphalat-nine" or "Solomon-four." (Bathsheba is "Bath Shua," incidentally.) What's that about?

jun 4, 2013, 11:58pm

Martin - My Harper Collins Study Bible doesn't have those numbers. I don't know what they are.

As for the geology question - in plate tectonics, plates move about the speed finger nails grow, somewhere around 10 cm a year, give or take. That is roughly ...0.0003 m per day. So, 1.2 m a day, four orders of magnitude faster, would be like hyper-turbo-drive plates skidding around the earths surface like little bumper cars.

jun 6, 2013, 3:52pm

Imagine surfing tectonic plates on waves of magma !

jun 6, 2013, 3:54pm

Dc , i love that pic of you and your kids on that black (volcanic ?) sand

jun 10, 2013, 12:21am

Love Hawaii...too bad it's so darn far away...well, but that's the point, I guess. It's is a black sand beach in Hawaii, and was an amazing experience. Two years ago now...

jun 10, 2013, 12:28am

You could go to st Pierre in Martinique, it is closer I guess.
Black sand too there, from the Mount Pelee

jun 13, 2013, 10:34pm

Mac - it never even occurred to me to go to Martinique...never thought about it may have planted a seed...

Redigeret: jun 13, 2013, 11:23pm

2 Chronicles 10-??

It's time to wrap this up. How far can I get in the 30 minutes...

Chapter 10
Rehoboam & Jeroboam's revolt, & Ahijah's prophecy - see 1 Kings 12
Didn't realize immature Rehoboam was 41 at succession
Skips details on Jeroboam. We won't be reading much about Israel. This book is about Judah.

Side note - wondering if we have lost the affect of Chronicles. It's a manipulation of the Samuel and Kings, but that would only work if Samuel and Kings were lost or hidden, right? So, maybe they were lost or hidden locally or widely at some points, and then Chronicle would have authority. But now, we read Kings first, then Chronicles never gets to stand on it's own. It's kind of a dead book, good only for a few curiosities and textual history...

Chapter 11
Rehoboam's rule - see 1 Kings 12
There are bits from 1 Kings 14 here too, but a lot of info here is new.
The 15 fortified cities are new information, but not supported by the archeology (Beth-zur was destroyed before this time)

Chapter 12
Shishak sacks Israel - see 1 Kings 14
After prophet Shemaiah speaks, the unfaithful Rehoboam becomes humble and Judah is spared. And it probably was. Egyptian records indicate Shoshenq (same as biblical Shishak - 945-925 bce) passed over Judah to hit the Kingdom of Israel. Anyway, Judah was a backwater area at this time.
Rehobam-Jeroboam wars - see 1 Kings 15

Chapter 13
Abijah here is a good successful king. In 1 Kings 15 he was a failure.
Note the Rehoboam also came out OK in Chronicles, with his crimes in his "youth" (er, 40's). Point here is to remove any justification of the rebellion of the Kingdom of Northern Israel

Chapter 14
Asa as king where he does good things including religious reform and military success against Ethiopians. All this is new in Chronicles.
Asa is in 1 Kings 15

Chapter 15
Asa is still king and leads a new covenant
This has Azariah, son of Oded's prophecy, which is new in Chronicles. My notes point out that the prophecy seems to resemble Judges, and also note that it cites Jeremiah (31:16) & Zephaniah (3:16)

Chapter 16
Complicated politics where Baasha of Israel fortifies Ramah. Asa makes an alliance with Ben-hadad of Aram where Ben-hadad attacks, drawing away the Kingdom of Israel soldiers, exposing Ramah, which Asa takes and tears down the fortifications. All this is in 1 Kings 15.
New here is the Seer Hanani - who criticizes Asa for making the alliance. He gets tortured for his critique.

Chapter 17
Jehoshaphat does good stuff and leads more religious reform. This chapter is mostly new stuff - lists of commanders, Levites, priests and other teachers. There are some parallels in 1 kings 15 and 1 Kings 22.

Chapter 18
Jehoshaphat with Ahab and Ahab's death - see 1 Kings 22
Ahab is covered a little here, and my notes tell me this is the only Chronicles chapter that covers the Kingdom of Israel in any detail. But, a lot is skipped, like all of 1 Kings 16 to 21.
Other stuff:
---debate among the prophets - Zedekiah vs Micaiah
---Jehoram marries Athaliah - who is either Ahab's daughter or sister....

Chapter 19
Jehoshaphats reforms are new in Chronicles, and include a split of "matters of the Lord" from "King's matters" - a biblical separation of church and state.
Jehu's mixed prophecy is also new in Chronicles. He kindly tells Jehoshaphat, "Nevertheless, some good is found in you." Such a nice guy.

Chapter 20
I think this is all new. But you can check 1 Kings 22.
---Jehoshaphat wins some battles with divine help of sorts.
---Prophecy from Jahaziel

jun 14, 2013, 12:30am

84 That is what friends are for !

Redigeret: jun 24, 2013, 12:20pm

2 Chronicles 21-??

wrap-up attempt, take 2

Chapter 21
Jehoram is the first actual bad king in Chronicles, probably because he married an Omri (It's Athaliah, but she isn't named here). "He departed with no one’s regret."

Elijah's whole story is skipped, but a curse from Elijah on Jeroram is added: "and you yourself will have a severe sickness with a disease of your bowels, until your bowels come out, day after day, because of the disease." (biblical potty humor?)
See 1 Kings 22 & 2 Kings 8

Chapter 22
Covers Ahazhiah's short reign, his mother, Athaliah's, reign, and her killing of Ahaziah's sons, and the saving of Jehoash (Joash). Ahaziah almost marked the end of the Davidic line, but one surviving son, Jehoash (Joash), is saved by his sister Jehoshabeath and her husband(!), the priest Jehoiada. This was good stuff in Kings. All that is interesting here are the differences.

- For some reason Ahaziah's nephews are killed here before he is killed (by Jehu, whose story is skipped). In Kings it's the reverse.
- Ahaziah is 42 years old here, but only 22 in Kings
- His death is a little different
- And, of course, Jehoiada is now Jehoshabeath's spouse, which must make us wonder whether the authors intended us to wonder whether Jehoash (Joash)was really the son of Jehoiada...anyway, too many J's for any clarity there.
- See 2 Kings 8 & 11

Chapter 23
Jehoiada manuevers Athaliah's fall and Jehoash's (Joash's) succession. This leaves Jehoiada regent, the first priest to rule. See 2 Kings 11.

Several interesting changes here:
- In kings this was basically a military led thing. Here the Levites are given prominence, the who population of Jerusalem is involved.
- The whole story is given a religious reform coloring. This is marked by a new covenant, and the taking down of the usual suspects...Baal idols and whatnot.
- So, if you like this story, then we could envision Jehoiada as the true beginning of Judaism.

Chapter 24
Jehoiada's death, followed by Jehoash's (Joash's) failed rule. This is from 2 Kings 12, but the story is different here.
With Jehoiada ruling, the religious reform expands past some resistance. Once he dies, there is a religious drift. Jehoiada's son Zechariah becomes priest and begins to become a prominent prophet and religious critic. Jehoash (Joash) has Zechariah stoned to death. Later Jehoash (Joash) is killed by servants

A lot of these details are new and, together, provide an explanation of Jehoash's (Joash's) assassination, which was missing in Kings. It's worth noting that Jehoiada gets a royal burial, but Jehoash (Joash) does not.

Redigeret: jun 24, 2013, 12:15pm

Chapter 25
Amaziah's failed rule. He did what was right in the sight of the Lord, yet not with a true heart. See 2 Kings 14.

I don't recall what is new. In brief:
- Kills fathers killers
- slaughters Edomites, then worships their god, Seir (huh?)
- Hires an Israelite army, then sends them home, leading to much looting of Judah
- Pisses off the Kingdom of Israel, who, under their Joash, invade and loot Judah more.
- gets heavily criticized by two prophets who he doesn't listen to.
- Last 15 years of his life are in Lachish, not Jerusalem.

Chapter 26
The story of Uzziah. Compare to 2 Kings 14 & 15, but there is a lot of new information here

in brief:
First it's all good. He does good religious stuff, has big victories (all toward the south) and a huge army (which he does NOT have in Kings). "In Jerusalem he set up machines, invented by skilled workers, on the towers and the corners for shooting arrows and large stones." My notes tell me this does not refer to catapults, anyway this is surely all fiction, right? Whatever calling this fiction means at this point

Then it's all bad. He enters the house of the Lord where he is not permitted, argues with the priest Azariah and for this he becomes leprous (all this is not in Kings) and then retires to let his son, Jotham, rule.

Interesting that this chapter references the Book of Isaiah.

Chapter 27
Jotham gets good marks and a victory over Ammonites (which my brain insists on picturing as the fossil ammonites instead of as people). See 2 Kings 15, and note that the attack by the kingdom of Israel gets postponed from here (in Kings) to Ahaz's rule (in Chronicles)

Chapter 28
Ahaz's reign marks the end of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. See 2 Kings 16.

Lots of politics here, but note that Ahaz is bad and takes lots of military defeats and has a long list of bad religious stuff, and closes the temple. He also is credited with requesting Assyrian help, under Tilgath-pilneser, against the northern kingdom, leading to the end of that kingdom.

Chronicles has an extra story after a defeat of Ahaz by the northern kingdom. The northern kingdom took 200,000 captives. But one prophet, Oded, argues against the taking of captives and all 200,000 are returned. What's significant here is that this story influences something in the New Testament about good Samaritans. (I don't know that NT story, but the center of the northern kingdom was in Samaria)

Keep in mind that Ahaz ruled a long time and kept Judah intact...and that this is before Hezekiah's & Joshiah's fanaticism. So, he dealt with a lot of practical ruling concerns, and, possibly, nascent Judaism was just that, one of many wonky religious sects.

jun 24, 2013, 12:16pm

eight more chapters to go. Later...

jun 24, 2013, 3:36pm

Don't ask what kind of Wikipedia vision quest I had to go on to get to this page (I started on "Uzziah"), but has anyone heard of this weird thing?

jun 26, 2013, 12:02am

Martin - I should be entertained by the extent and variety of human belief...

jul 1, 2013, 11:46pm

2 Chronicles, Chapter 28

Was hoping to get a couple chapters in cat thought otherwise.

Chapter 28
Ahaz - he's still bad here. First there are lots of bad religious stuff he does, then their are a series of military defeats, then he is credited with inviting the Assyrians under Tilgath-pilneser, which leads to end of the Northern Kingdom. Finally the chapter ends with a long list of bad religious stuff, Apostasy and finally the closing the temple.

New in Chronicles here is the story of the prophet Oded. When the Northern Kingdom takes 200,000 Judah captives, Oded argues against taking captives and the captives are returned. One interesting thing about this story is that the Northern king is not mentioned, and the HarperCollins notes say this may reflect that this happened after the end of the Northern kingdom. Another interesting thing is that this story influences a famous good Samaritan story in the New I'm not familiar with. (Northern Kingdom was based in Samaria)

See 2 Kings 16

jul 4, 2013, 11:39am

2 Chronicles, 29-??- hopefully 32

Optimism prevails - maybe I can get through Hezekiah.

Chapter 29
Hezekiah gets four chapters, 29-32 (in Kings he get three - 2 Kings 18-20). This chapter covers his first month.
- Temple is re-opened and cleaned, with much sacrifice and dashing of blood.
- Levites are given Chronicle-ish prominence. 29:34"But the priests were too few and could not skin all the burnt-offerings, so, until other priests had sanctified themselves, their kindred, the Levites, helped them until the work was finished—for the Levites were more conscientious than the priests in sanctifying themselves."

note the edits:
- Chronicles downplays the Assyrian invasion of Judah and the Hezekiah's weird illness
- references Jeremiah, although the timing in a century earlier here:
2 Chron 29:8 "Therefore the wrath of the Lord came upon Judah and Jerusalem, and he has made them an object of horror, of astonishment, and of hissing, as you see with your own eyes."
Jeremiah 29:18 "I will pursue them with the sword, with famine, and with pestilence, and will make them a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth, to be an object of cursing, and horror, and hissing, and a derision among all the nations where I have driven them"

Chapter 30
A big passover where all Israel is invited.
My HarperCollins notes tell me
- that Hezekiah is associated with Solomon here
- Northern Kingdom is already in exile.
- Hezekiah's letter to the North is worth quoting: "So couriers went throughout all Israel and Judah with letters from the king and his officials, as the king had commanded, saying, ‘O people of Israel, return to the Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, so that he may turn again to the remnant of you who have escaped from the hand of the kings of Assyria. 7Do not be like your ancestors and your kindred, who were faithless to the Lord God of their ancestors, so that he made them a desolation, as you see. 8Do not now be stiff-necked as your ancestors were, but yield yourselves to the Lord and come to his sanctuary, which he has sanctified for ever, and serve the Lord your God, so that his fierce anger may turn away from you. 9For as you return to the Lord, your kindred and your children will find compassion with their captors, and return to this land. For the Lord your God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn away his face from you, if you return to him."

Chapter 31
A wholesale religious reform after the Passover. Note that the Nehushtan comment is skipped. See 2 Kings 18.

Chapter 32
Sennecherib's invasion and ransacking of Hezekiah's Judah. Note the Hezekiah comes out better here than in Kings and some things are polished over. There are several subtle changes. See 2 Kings 18, 19 & 20.

jul 4, 2013, 1:15pm

I always liked Hezekiah.

jul 4, 2013, 8:00pm

Martin, he had a good PR crew.

Redigeret: jul 5, 2013, 12:22pm

2 Chronicles, 33-??

At this point my patience with Chronicles was past. I was done with the repetition and ready to move-on to something, anything besides more history (which led to...Ezra...sigh...)

Chapter 33
Manasseh, see 2 Kings 21
There is such an interesting twist here. Whereas in Kings Manasseh is the bad guy, the most evil of Judah's kings (but not worse than Athaliah, of course), here the hatred rested on Ahaz. Manasseh repents! After his reversal of reforms, allowing all the old religions to continue again, he is captured by Assyria, but, with the help of prayer, he is released, returns to Jerusalem a new man and undoes his evil reforms, or at least partially undoes them. None of that capture and reform stuff is in Kings.

Chapter 34
Josiah gets two chapters here and in Kings - 2 Kings 22 & 23.
This chapter is about Josiah's reforms, with the help of Hilkiah the priest and Shaphon.
first a purging:
"In his presence they pulled down the altars of the Baals; he demolished the incense altars that stood above them. He broke down the sacred poles and the carved and the cast images; he made dust of them and scattered it over the graves of those who had sacrificed to them. He also burned the bones of the priests on their altars, and purged Judah and Jerusalem."
Then the book
"The priest Hilkiah has given me a book." - Are we being told that Hilkiah was the author of Deuteronomy?
Then Huldah damns Judah with prophecy:
"Thus says the Lord: I will indeed bring disaster upon this place and upon its inhabitants, all the curses that are written in the book that was read before the king of Judah."
Then, despite this prophecy, Josiah leads a new covenant.

My HarperCollins notes tell me:
In Chronicles Josiah repeats Hezekiah's actions, making Hezekiah look like an innovator. In Kings Josiah is more original.
In Chronicles Josiah's covenant leads to a purging, in Chronicles it leads to a Passover.

Chapter 35
Josiah's Passoever, with chronicle-ish prominence given to Levites and singers.
Josiah's death, merely curious side note in Kings, is elaborated here. He fights the Egyptian Pharaoh Neco against God's wishes, and of course, is killed.
For the death of the tragic(?) hero of Kings & Chronicles: "Jeremiah also uttered a lament for Josiah, and all the singing-men and singing-women have spoken of Josiah in their laments to this day. They made these a custom in Israel; they are recorded in the Laments. " - alas, this lament is NOT preserved in the books of Lamentations.

Thoughts - have I said this before, I don't think so. Anyway, Josiah is the story of the post-Judges Israelites in the bible. His failure is their failure.

Chapter 36
Jehoahaz - Jehoiakim - Jehoiachin - Zedekiah - oh my...and the fall of Judah. See 2 Kings 23, 24 & 25
Jehoahaz lasted three months after Josiah, and was deposed by Egypt, ending Judah's independence.
Jehoiakim was installed by Neco, but later captured by Nebuchadnezzar and send to Babylon - beginning the exile
Jehoiachin was next, but was only 8 yrs old and lasted 3 months before being sent to Babylon (in Kings he was 18)
Zedekiah rebelled - Babylonians destroy the temple, and the exile lasts until Cyrus of Persia takes down Babylon some 55 years later (listed at 70 yrs here)- "to fulfill the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah

The End.

jul 5, 2013, 1:05pm

It's kind of cool that the Levite version of history is a little more nuanced and forgiving than the Kingly version (this is how I've come to think of Chronicles and Kings, respectively, no doubt reductively and doing violence to the texts). You'd not necessarily expect that in this "weak theocracy," with the priests aware of the need to maintain their position. Tho the writers of Joshua–Kings were Levites too, of course. I guess all I'm saying is the "Chronicler" seems like a nicer guy than the "Deuteronomist."

jul 5, 2013, 7:56pm

I don't know, MM. There seems to be a wide range of possible ways to interpret all this, and still honor the existing text. There is a lot of room for personal impressions and out-right guesses. It's a curious pair of texts, and, I guess I should be less jaded an appreciate more that two variations are preserved, Kings and Chronicles, giving us two otherwise unavailable impressions of the era. I'm still coming to terms with this on an emotional level, I'm still annoyed I had to read the history twice. I'll need to get over that before I can give an intelligent response.

jul 5, 2013, 11:07pm

Ezra's got new stuff! It's a party in the holy land.

Redigeret: jul 6, 2013, 1:36pm

My "review" of Chronicles is here (post #60):