Saturday, March 3, 2012

2 Samuel 17-18

2 Samuel 
17.23  Then he put his house in order...  A sad end to a very shrewd and wise man.
18.2  Joab, Abishai, and Ittai the Gittite
18.12  This man is one who did get the memo about killing kings, etc.

Friday, March 2, 2012

2 Samuel 10-16

2 Samuel
10.6  had made themselves repulsive... The text makes this sound like the result might have been a surprise for them, but what did they expect.
10.12  In addition to Joab's othter talents it appears that he had a flair for the dramatic.
11.11 Uriah was an officer's officer.
11.27  the thing that David had done displeased the LORD
12.6  no pity... implies that that we should not only avoid theft, but also be full of pity toward an unfortunate neighbor.
13.12-13  four reasons given by Tamar that Ammon shouldn't do this evil.
     1. It is not done in Israel.  We should have a sense of honor in our conduct as God's people.
     2. It was foolish (or disgraceful) in the sense of Nabal, Abigail's first husband.
     3.  Her shame.  (We are loosing our shame in this country at an alarming rate.)
     4.  His reputation would be sullied.  And when our personal pleasure becomes more important than our reputation, we are in a bad place.
15.37  David's friend...  and a friend in need.
16.12  It may e that the LORD will look on my affliction.  Instead of why o why is God doing this to me. Make it stop!


Thursday, March 1, 2012

Setting of a parable

 One of the important things for interpreting a parable is understanding the cultural setting of the story.  A few resources specifically address these issues. 

One is the Manners & customs of the Bible.  It gives the cultural background of items mentioned in passages throughout the Scriptures.
Matthew 18:34 Tormentors
    “In anger his master turned him over to the jailers (tormentors, KJV) to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.”
The “tormentors” are the jailers, who were allowed to scourge and torture the poor debtors in their care in order to get money from them for the creditors, or else to excite the compassion of friends and thereby obtain the amount of the debt from them. Trench states in Notes on the Parables: “In early times of Rome there were certain legal tortures, in the shape, at least, of a chain weighing fifteen pounds, and a pittance of food barely sufficient to sustain life, which the creditor was allow to apply to the debtor for the purpose of bringing him to terms; and no doubt they often did not stop there.”
Freeman, J. M., & Chadwick, H. J. (1998). Manners & customs of the Bible (Rev. ed.].) (444–445). North Brunswick, NJ: Bridge-Logos Publishers.
 2. Another great resource is The Intervarsity Press Bible Backround Commentary.  It has many helpful notes about customs and cultures that are helpful.
18:21–22.  Seventy times seven (some interpreters read seventy-seven) does not really mean exactly 490 here; it is a typically graphic Jewish way of saying “Never hold grudges.” Because true repentance should involve turning from sin, some later rabbis limited opportunities for forgiveness for a given sin to three times; Peter might have thought his offer of seven times was generous.
18:23.  On “the kingdom may be compared” see comment on 13:24. The story here is about a Gentile king, perhaps one of the Greek rulers of Egypt before the Romans conquered it. “Servants” here could mean his upper-level slaves—who were better off than nearly all the free people of Egypt, most of whom were peasants. In this case, however, “servants” probably refers to free provincial satraps, who functioned as the ruler’s tax farmers in various regions; they too were vassals of the king. The ruler would allow them to collect taxes for him at a profit, but he demanded efficiency; this was the time of year when he was going to settle their accounts with him.
18:24.  Many peasant agricultural workers struggled to pay taxes, but this difficulty did not mitigate the tax collectors’ responsibility to submit the requisite amount to the king. Some of the disciples and perhaps Jesus himself could have smiled as the master storyteller told how far the king had let one of his servants get in debt: ten thousand talents probably represented more than the entire annual income of the king, and perhaps more than all the actual coinage in circulation in Egypt at the time! In one period, the silver talent represented six thousand drachmas, or six thousand days’ wages for an average Palestinian worker; ten thousand talents would thus be roughly sixty million days’ wages (in another period, 100 million). Although taxes were exorbitant in those days, especially for rural peasants, Josephus reports the annual tribute from Galilee and Perea under wealthy Herod to be only two hundred talents; it was thus inconceivable that one official could get so far in debt.
Ancient Judaism often viewed sins as debts before God (see comment on 6:12).
18:25.  Ptolemaic rulers (kings who ruled Egypt in the Greek period) never accepted excuses. Enslaving family members for the man’s debt was a Gentile practice that the Jewish people in this period found abhorrent. The math does not work here; the price of an average slave was between five hundred and two thousand days’ wages, hence the king cannot recoup even one-thousandth of his losses on this sale. But a king with better math skills would not have let the man get so far in debt to begin with!
18:26.  “I will repay” was a standard promise in ancient business documents. But in the light of 18:24, this promise is patently impossible.
18:27.  Given the ruthlessness of ancient Near Eastern kings and the greatness of the debt, that this ruler would forgive his servant is almost as impossible in the real world as the size of the debt. Sometimes rulers had to forgive Egyptian peasants’ past tax debts when failed crops rendered them simply unable to pay, but the sums involved were comparatively small.
18:28.  One hundred denarii represented one hundred days of a common worker’s wages, which would be a small sum for his fellow tax farmer, after he had finished his accounting with the king (18:23). It was also a ridiculously minuscule sum compared to what the first servant had owed the king. But apparently the forgiven slave, instead of internalizing the principle of grace, had decided to become ruthlessly efficient in his exacting of debts henceforth. Such extreme actions as choking are reported of angry creditors elsewhere in antiquity as well.
18:29–30.  Someone in prison could not pay back what he owed (v. 34), unless friends came to his aid with the requisite funds.
18:31–33.  The king is naturally angry; the forgiven servant has put another of his servants out of active commission, hence costing the king more lost revenues. The king had gained more advantage by convincing his people of his benevolence than he would have gained profit from the sale of the first servant; but once it was rumored that this first servant, his agent, was acting mercilessly, it reflected badly upon his own benevolence.
18:34.  Jewish law did not permit torture, but Jewish people knew that Gentile kings (as well as Herod) practiced it. Because this servant had fallen from political favor, he would have no allies who would dare come to his aid; and even if he had, given the sum he owed, his situation would have remained hopeless. He would never be released.
18:35.  The great contrasts of the parable are humorous and effective in relaxing the ancient listener’s guard, but the horrifying details of debt slavery, torture and so forth bring home the point forcefully. This story would have grabbed the ancient hearer.
Keener, C. S., & InterVarsity Press. (1993). The IVP Bible background commentary : New Testament (Mt 18:21–35). Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

2 Samuel 7-8

2 Samuel
7.3  I find it a little curious that Nathan would tell David that "the LORD is with you when he hadn't checked to see He was.  Sloppy preaching for sure.
7.15  as I took it from Saul...  Saul didn't ust mess up and loose control, God intervened in and with those events.
7.26  let your servant be established before you...  Things being done before the Lord is a common theme in the OT.  I don't just want, etc. power but want to live in His light.
7.28 You are God and your words are true...  Since He is God, it follows that His word would be true.
8.16-18  David's cabinet
Joab, secretary of defence
Ahulid, recording secretary
Zadok and Ahimelech, priests
Benaiah, Secret Service
The Cherethites and the Pelethites were David's bodyguards (1 Sam. 30:14; 2 Sam. 8:18; 20:7, 23; 23:23).   --Web Bible Encyclopedia