Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Bible Challenge: Day 104

The scriptures read are 1 Samuel 22-24, Psalm 87 and Acts 1.

1 Samuel 22. These chapters are starting to feel like they are resorting to movie and TV tropes and yet, because the Bible predates them, God should be demanding royalties from them. Last chapter David tricks a priest out of sacred bread and Goliath's sword, like a conman, then pulls a Hamlet (pretends to be crazy so the king of Gath doesn't kill him), Now he's Robin Hood, living in the forest of Hereth and gathering a band of misfits and outlaws. And Saul has gone full-blown Sheriff of Nottingham, killing all the priests of God in Nob. One, Ahimelech, escapes and joins David as his friar Tuck. David drops his parents off with the sympathetic king of Moab to protect them.

1 Samuel 23. David, the good outlaw, rescues the town of Keilah from the Philistines and then has to flee Saul. Saul almost catches David and his band of men when he is called away to fight off some Philistines. This whole section has the feeling of a breathless chase scene, like the super-posse sequence in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.  

1 Samuel 24. David and his men are hiding in a cave and Saul picks that cave to use as a latrine. While he's doing his business, David creeps up and cuts off a piece of Saul's robe. When Saul leaves, David goes to the mouth of the cave and calls to Saul. He shows him the piece of his robe to prove he could have killed Saul but didn't. Saul bursts into tears and admits David is right and Saul is wrong. It really seems like Saul is suffering from bipolar disease. His story is tragic in the classical sense.

Psalm 87. A difficult psalm to translate, so I'm going with Peterson's idea. Jerusalem, God's chosen city, is the talk of the known world. Famous folks are born there and known even among the Gentiles. It's the source of God's blessings.

Luke1. The sequel to his gospel. It seems to have been planned as a 2-part work. We don't know who Theophilus is but my favorite theory is that he was an official of the Roman Empire and that Luke-Acts was written as a brief for Paul's defense before the Emperor.

Jesus ascends and the disciples go back to Jerusalem. First order of business: elect someone from their ranks to fill Judas' spot. (We get a different story of Judas' demise here than in Matthew. They can be harmonized. If Judas did hang himself and his body wasn't found in the hot climate of Judea, decomp would progress, gases would bloat his corpse and Luke's scenario would then kick in. If you have questions, watch enough C.S.I. episodes and you'll learn the gross truth.) The lot falls on Matthias, someone who was with Jesus from John's baptism and witnessed his resurrection. It's likely Matthias was one of the 70 Jesus sent out to heal and preach. The ranks of the apostles filled, they are waiting for the Holy Spirit.

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