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The Bible In A Year: Day 131

2 Samuel 6-7
Psalm 144-145
Acts 16:16-40

2 Samuel 6-7

After capturing Jerusalem, David decided to bring the Ark up to his new capital. On the journey one of the oxen stumble and a man named Uzzah put out his hand to steady the Ark and keep it from falling. He died instantly on the spot.

Apparently Uzzah was not a Levite, and according to the law given to Moses, only the Levites were allowed to touch the Ark. Also the manner of transportation for the Ark was outside of what God had prescribed, it was supposed to be carried with special poles by the Levites and not just loaded onto an ox cart like regular cargo.

David is unnerved by this and so he had the Ark left in the house of Obededom in a town just outside Jerusalem rather than bring it into his city. But after several months he hears reports of this man’s house being blessed because of the presence of the Ark. So he eventually brings it to Jerusalem after a three month stay. Interestingly enough, tradition says that the town where the Ark stayed for three months was the same town that our blessed mother went to when she visited her cousin Elizabeth, and stayed for three months.

When the procession gets to Jerusalem, Michal is upset to see David dancing in front of the Ark. She allows her jealousy to cloud her judgement and misinterpret David’s intentions.

David has an idea to build a temple to God, because the Ark still resides in a tent while David is living in a palace, and his intention is to put his priority into honoring God over himself. He approaches Nathan the prophet with this idea and he thinks it sounds good too. But Nathan gets a dream that evening to tell David not to build it.

Instead, God promises to build a house for David. This “house” is the davidic dynasty that endured through until the Babylonian captivity and then laid dormant until Jesus claimed the throne as the Son of David.

Acts 16:16-40

Paul and Sila were preaching when a girl that was demonically possessed followed them, attesting to the truth of what they were preaching. This might seem odd to do but she was probably being a distraction and keeping people at a distance. Whatever was going on, Paul had enough of it and exercised the demon out of her. The owners of this slave girl were enraged because they used her malady for monetary gain.

They riled up a crowd and handed them over to the authorities who had them beaten with rods and thrown into prison. In the middle of the night, after being beaten with rods, they’re up singing hymns and praying. All of a sudden there’s an earthquake and the doors open to the cells and their chains fall off.

The reason the jailer thinks to kill his self when he woke up was that the punishment for falling asleep on duty was usually to be beaten to death by other guards, and the punishment he’d receive for escaped prisoners was also severe. So all these prisons had presumably escaped while he slept, meaning he was looking at a shameful and painful death, possibly a good measure of torture before hand too.

That’s why Paul immediately calls out to him, and he was probably shocked to see none had escaped. Paul assures him of salvation through Jesus Christ and the whole demeanor of the jailer changes in that moment. He tends to their wounds and is baptized, and even brings them to his house for a meal.

At daybreak the jailer received word to release them from the city authorities, but Paul being Paul, he refused to leave without proper procedures. You see as a citizen of Rome, Paul was entitled to certain civil rights (as limited as they may be) that non citizens were not entitled to. One of these was that it was unlawful to subject a citizen to humiliation in public, like beating him with a rod, and no citizen could receive any serious punishment without at least an investigation and possibly a trial. But the magistrates had beaten and imprisoned them on the testimony of one or two men.

The magistrates knew they messed up when they heard this and came to release them from prison personally. I’d bet there was a fair amount of apologies in there too.

Tomorrow’s Readings:
2 Samuel 8-9
Psalm 146-147
Acts 17

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