Friday, March 29, 2013

The Bible Challenge: Day 88

The scriptures read are Judges 4-6, Psalm 74 and John 8.

Judges 4. The story of Deborah, the only woman (that we know of) who was a judge over Israel. She calls Barak to lead the army against Jabin the king of Hazor. But Barak won't go into battle without Deborah. Barak routs the enemy but the coup de grace is delivered by Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite. She nails Jabin, literally, in what has to be considered a major feat of strength plus hand and eye coordination. (You try hammering a tent peg through someone's head. On second thought, don't.) It is also, it seems to me, a serious breach of the Middle Eastern ettiquette of hospitality. All's fair in war, apparently. The upshot is 2 women triumph over the enemy.

Judges 5. A long song about the victory, giving everyone who participated credit. Kind of a sad coda with Jabin's mom waiting for him to return. If they had dramatized this in the Bible mini-series, I would have had Emily Lou Harris sing Deborah's part. Not sure who should sing Barak's part. Seriously, though, I would love to have heard what the original song sounded like.

Judges 6. Gideon sure is a cautious fellow. Totally ignores the "Do not put God to the test" idea.  Today Gideon would be a scientist, running multiple trials to confirm his work. But God is patient and works with him.

Psalm 74. The Jews were in exile in Babylon for 70 years. This lament seems to have come out of that. The psalmist asks if God has abandoned them forever? Will he let the actions of blasphemers go on? When will he remember his covenant and act?

John 8. This only qualifies as a trap if you figure Jesus is merciful, which evidently even his enemies acknowledged. They figure they can catch him trying to wiggle out of the requirements of the law. I always wonder what Jesus was writing in the dirt. A list of the sins of her accusers? The relevant passage in Deuteronomy 19 where it says the false witness shall receive the punishment the accused would have gotten? The words "Where is the man?" since if she was caught in the act a guy should be standing before Jesus as well? Whatever, Jesus' answer stifles the urge to stone her. Not one person in the crowd would claim to be sinless. Jesus doesn't excuse her behavior; he just doesn't pass sentence on her. He tells her to "sin no more." 

Jesus declares himself to be the light of the world. They just don't see it. Then the dialogue turns to paternity and they are offended by Jesus' suggestion that they are children of the devil. Oh, and that Jesus is the son of God. Jesus drops an "I Am" statement and the folks get the reference. Jesus absents him from their presence before it gets ugly,

No comments:

Post a Comment