Thursday, September 12, 2019

The battle belongs to the LORD

The section 1 Sam 14:6–15 thus reveals Jonathan’s rationale for his courageous action and its outcome. He relies on YHWH, for whom the smallness and ill-equipped nature of Israel’s army presents no problem. Accompanied by his faithful armor-bearer, Jonathan devises a sign that assures him of God’s favor and as a result he attacks the Philistines. While Jonathan’s attack was a blow to the Philistine camp, the panic created by God is what provided the key difference in the ensuing battle.—The Unfavored, page 138

Monday, September 09, 2019

Nothing new under the sun

Indeed, rural abandonment has often been a serious and significant consequence of urban agglomeration throughout human history.… This decline in rural lifeways may have critically affected agricultural production, diminishing returns, placing further stress on an inflexible multitiered settlement system, which then ultimately collapsed under its own overmilitarized weight and a deteriorating natural environment.—Melissa Kennedy, "Horizons of Cultural Connectivity: North-South Interactions During the Early Bronze Age IV," in New Horizons in the Study of the Early Bronze III and Early Bronze IV of the Levant, edited by Suzanne Richard (Eisenbrauns, forthcoming).

<idle musing>
Nope. It's not describing Rome, although it could be. And it's not describing the Hittite Empire, although it could be. And, it's not a prophecy about the United States, although it could be. It's describing the decline of urban life in the southern Levant in the Early Bronze Age—wich predates all of those by at least a thousand years.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it. And those of us who do, are doomed to watch others repeat it while we watch on, trying vainly to warn others of their folly. No wonder Qohelet (the preacher in Ecclesiastes) said all is vanity. : (
</idle musing>

Thursday, September 05, 2019

A Good Beginning

Saul is a suitable candidate for Israel’s throne not only from a human point of view, but he is also chosen by God. Samuel, having been instructed by YHWH, anoints Saul and sends him on a peculiar journey full of unusual signs—an excursion which also places the newly anointed leader under Samuel’s tutelage. These signs gradually locate Saul within the sphere of divine activity and in the end seem to transform him into a different kind of man (1 Sam 10:6, 9). The Spirit’s empowerment he experiences among a circle of prophets in 10:10–13 seems to be a foretaste of his Spirit-prompted action in ch. 11, where he rescues the inhabitants of Jabesh-Gilead from their Ammonite oppressors (11:6).—The Unfavored, page 120

Tuesday, September 03, 2019

Is this the one?

Saul’s name (שָאוּל [šāʾûl) means “asked for,” which may immediately raise the reader’s expectation that Saul could be the person for whom the elders had asked in 1 Sam 8:10, in terms of their plea for a king. The verb also occurs seven times in chs. 1 and 2, during the episode in which the barren Hannah asks for a child—then receives, and later gives up again, Samuel (1:17 [×2], 20, 27, 28 [×2]; 2:20).—The Unfavored, page 120 n. 5

Friday, August 30, 2019

Conditional chosenness

There are a number of parallels between the rejection of the Elides in 1 Sam 2–3 and Saul’s rejection in 1 Sam 13–15. Both Saul’s and Eli’s family are initially chosen, yet they are rejected by YHWH through the prophetic word because of an issue involving sacrifice. Their rejection is final, which in turn brings severe consequences for both their families and Israel as a whole. Simultaneously, a person better suited for the task is appointed in their place.—The Unfavored, page 117 n. 4

<idle musing>
Reminds me of Rev 2:5:

5 So remember the high point from which you have fallen. Change your hearts and lives and do the things you did at first. If you don’t, I’m coming to you. I will move your lampstand from its place if you don’t change your hearts and lives.
</idle musing>

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

The evolving nature of being chosen

Unchosenness, at least when it occurs within the elect group, may be dynamic rather than static, and the Joseph story, with the rivalry between these two brothers pointing beyond its horizon, may testify to this dynamic, unseen elsewhere in the Genesis material. As far as the Joseph story is concerned, Joseph does not lose his favored status, yet Judah seems to achieve a place that goes well beyond his unfavored position at the beginning of the narrative, which is later actualized in the stories of Judah’s descendants. If the topic of election in the closing chapters of Genesis also revolves around the notion of kingship, then the situation in subsequent Old Testament narratives changes even more. Although Gen 48 may suggest that the future monarch will be an Ephraimite, Israel’s most enduring dynasty will come from Judah.—The Unfavored, page 114

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Thought for the day

27 Like a cage full of birds,
so their houses are full of loot.
No wonder they are rich and powerful
28 and have grown fat and sleek!
To be sure, their evil deeds
exceed all limits,
and yet they prosper.
They are indifferent
to the plight of the orphan,
reluctant to defend the rights of the poor.
29 Shouldn’t I punish such acts?
declares the LORD.
Shouldn’t I repay that nation
for its deeds?
30 An awful, a terrible thing
has happened in the land:
31 The prophets prophesy falsely,
the priests rule at their sides,u
and my people love it this way!
But what will you do when the end comes? (Jer 5:27–31 CEB)

<idle musing>
Sure sounds like the rich and powerful of the US today, doesn't it?

Let those who have ears to hear, hear and repent of their ways!
</idle musing>