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The Bible In A Year: Day 135

2 Samuel 15
Song of Solomon 2
Acts 19

2 Samuel 15

After he and his father reconciled, Absalom starts doing things that were a red flag for any ruler. He starts to make a name for himself and starts to try building a loyal power base. He’s already shown himself as someone who will do whatever he thinks is necessary, not just killing his brother because it could be argued that he was right there, but when Joab wouldn’t answer his summons he burned his fields down.

Absalom is power hungry and he’s ruthless, that’s a dangerous combo for a prince, especially one that’s not likely to be the heir himself.

After four years of building alliances and garnering the support of people all over the country, Absalom makes his play. He tells David he’s going to Hebron to fulfill a vow, but he’s really about to stage a coup.

David gets word that his son is staging a coup, and rather than stay and have Absalom lay siege to the city, he decamps and heads off into the wilderness.

A few things to note in his departure; the Levites and priests of the tabernacle know that David is the anointed King and God’s chosen ruler, so they pick up the The Ark of The Covenant and follow the procession out of the city, but David stops them and says they are to stay and to bring him news in the wilderness when they can. He said he’ll pray that if God wills it he will see the Ark once again, but if not then he shall never see it again.

Another thing was the loyalty shown by Ittai the Gittite. He was not an Israelite, but was from the city of Gath which was one of the five cities of the Philistines and he was the leader of a band of 600 men. He’d been with David all the way back to before his time as king, when he was hiding from Solomon in Gath. The loyalty and love shown by this foreigner would’ve been much appreciated by David, but would also make the sting of betrayal by his own son that much worse. Ittai said to David that he was going with him, to live on or to die with him, but either way he wasn’t abandoning his king.

As the reached the top of the Mount of olives David sees a friend and advisor of his coming up the road, he confirms the news about Absalom and also says that he’s took on one of David’s chief counselors, so David sends this friend back to Jerusalem to await Absalom’s arrival and to be his man on the inside.

Acts 19

Paul returns to Ephesus while Apollos is in Corinth being catechized by Pricilla and Aquila. When he arrives he asks some of the believers if they’ve received the Holy Spirit, and they say they didn’t even know who or what the Holy Spirit is. This was the early to mid 50s, and most scholars believe the first Gospels were either just being written or even had not been written yet. These men were also from the same group as Apollos and so had been baptized by John but only had an extremely rudimentary understanding of the gospel and the teachings of the apostles.

Paul baptizes them and then lays hands on them and gives them the sacrament of confirmation. When they receive the Holy Spirit they have a mini Pentecost event where they have visible evidence of the Holy Spirit like speaking in other tongues.

Where we read that Paul did extraordinary miracles, so much so that he’d have a handkerchief and send it to a sick person and when it touched them they would be healed. This is where the concept of a second class relic comes from in the Catholic tradition. The saints were so holy that they exuded holiness and just touching an item to them would impart some of that, which ultimately comes from God, and bring healing or cast out demons, or a number of other things.

The end of this chapter has an event in it where the city stirs against Paul and the Christians in town, it is so far the largest of the upheavals that he’s seen in his missions. A silversmith seems to realize, after seeing many practitioners of witchcraft burning their magic books, that if the paganism of Ephesus is replaced by Christianity, he’ll be out of a job. He, and many of the craftsmen of the city, was in the idol making industry, especially idols of Artemis, who’s temple in Ephesus was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. People came from all around the Mediterranean to worship Artemis, also known as Diana in Rome and most of the Greek world, and there was even a festival that lasted for weeks and drew pilgrims to town. These pilgrims would buy idols of their own to take home with them.

So he rightly realizes that of people stop worshiping idols, he’ll have to find another line of work. But he tactically doesn’t mention the economic angle to anyone but the other craftsmen, he just says that these Christians are an affront to their traditions and to their patronal goddess. This whips enough of the more fervent worshipers of Artemis into a frenzy and a riot ensued.

Eventually after several hours of chanting in favor of Artemis the crowd is dispersed by the local officials.

Tomorrow’s Readings:
2 Samuel 16-19
Song of Solomon 3

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