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The Bible In A Year: Day 139

1 Kings 1-2:12
Song of Solomon 6
Acts 21

1 Kings 1-2:12

David is getting old and one of his sons decides to start making behind the scenes plays to set himself up to rule after his father’s death. Into this plan he recruits two of the most powerful men in the kingdom, Joab the commander of the army and Abiathar the high priest. He makes his play for the throne while David was still alive, but his plan didn’t include some key players and one of them was Nathan the prophet.

Nathan goes to Bathsheba, and reminds her that David promised Solomon her son the throne. I’m sure if your son was promised the throne you wouldn’t need to be reminded, more of him moving her to action. He tells he to go to David and tell him what his son Adonijah was doing, and then he’d come and confirm what she said.

David declares that they anoint and crown Solomon as king before he dies so that all the people know who the chosen successor is. We have to remember that David is only the second king of Israel, and that there hasn’t been a hereditary succession as of yet, so there’s no set line of succession. It’s easy to assume the oldest would get the crown and then to his son, and so on like we see in modern monarchies, but they hadn’t wrote those rules yet and everything was kinda up in the air.

When Solomon is crowned it puts a damper on the coronation party his brother was having with his supporters. And they all knew what danger they were now in, because even though the rules of succession hadn’t been written yet, the rules of power struggles were as old as time. Back the wrong person and you’d usually find yourself in an early grave. Adonijah’s party attendees knew this and they all went home to presumably contemplate their own fate.

As for the pretender Adonijah, he fled to the tabernacle and held onto the altar until he got assurances from the new king that he wouldn’t be harmed. Solomon promised him that he’d be safe as long as he didn’t do anything like try to make another play for the crown. We’ll see if he can stay out of trouble.

David gives some final instructions to his son Solomon before his passing, and he imparts some hard earned wisdom to his successor. He also lets slip a little bit of the bitterness he holds for Joab, first for killing Abner and then for killing Amasa to secure his own position. He also gives instructions on how to deal with a couple of people we met during Absalom’s rebellion. One to be treated with honor, and one to be put to death.

Acts 21

Luke recounts their journey back from Ephesus to Jerusalem with plenty of stops along the way, including spending a week in Tyre. That city would be just south of modern Beirut in Lebanon, and from there they had a shot sail down the cost to their final stop in Caesarea where they stayed with Philip who we met a while back when he was preaching in Samaria and baptizing the Ethiopian eunuch.

A prophet from Judaea visits them and prophesied that Paul would be bound by the Jews and handed over to the gentiles. This coupled with the Holy Spirit warning him about going to Jerusalem back when he spent the week in tyre puts a foreboding feeling over the others and they beg him not to go. But Paul is determined to suffer for Christ if called to it. By this point he’s been in and out of sticky situations and even beaten to the point that people thought him dead, but with all the suffering Paul has left to do maybe a quick death in Jerusalem would’ve been the more merciful option. That’s not how his story ends though, but he is ready for that if it’s his time.

When Paul arrived he meets with James, the bishop of Jerusalem, but by this time all the other apostles had departed on missions themselves. James related to Paul some false rumors that had spread back to Jerusalem that Paul was teaching Jewish Christians to forsake the customs and cultural norms of the mosaic law, but that wasn’t what Paul had done at all. He’d even circumcised Timothy so they’d be more acceptable to Jews in the synagogues when they preached. He had only taught that these ceremonial laws were not necessary to be placed upon gentile converts and that they weren’t necessary for salvation. To smooth things over, James suggested that Paul make an appearance doing some ritual cleansing at the temple with some men who had recently finished a vow.

It’s not that James thought Paul needed ritual cleansing, it’s just that he wanted to maintain peace in the community and doing the cleansing would cause no harm and wasn’t a sinful act. If it was a pagan community and the act was a pagan sacrifice then it wouldn’t even be considered, because we can’t just appease everyone. There’s some people who can’t differentiate between a sinful act that appeases the crowd and a harmless one that does the same.

Paul is spotted in the temple and a mob beats him and even tried to kill him, but the Roman soldiers swoop in and place him in what we’d today call protective custody. It seems that James had underestimated the ill will that had already brewed against Paul, and no act would have appeased this enraged crowd. As he’s led away by the Roman soldiers he asks to first address the crowd. We’ll see what he had to say tomorrow…

Tomorrow’s Readings:
1 Kings 2:13-3:28
Song of Solomon 7
Acts 22

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