Saturday, September 14, 2013

Onam 2013

May you enjoy this Onam with your family and friends, in a fun filled and fantastic, festive fashion.

Related Posts:

We had planned on taking a short break this weekend. 

Discovery of True Cross

The Discovery of the True Cross and St. Helena, by Giovanni Battista 1745

September 14th - It is believed that on this day, Queen Helena discovered the true cross upon which Jesus Christ was crucified. Many interesting stories are popular, regarding this cross. 

Related Posts:

Friday, September 13, 2013

1 Kings 12 - 16

Crowning of king Jeroboam

Dear Readers,
We are about to enter a major showdown between king Ahab, Jezebel and prophet Elijah. This is one of those interesting stories in the Bible.

1 Kings Chapter 12
King Rehoboam attempted to increase the work load of the Israelites. He followed the advice of the youngsters. The Israelites rebelled and anointed Jeroboam as their new king. Jeroboam established new religious centers in Dan and Bethel, for idol worship.

1 Kings Chapter 13
A prophet from Judea augured doom for Jeroboam. The prophet, was told by God not to eat on his journey. He, however, was tricked into eating at Bethel. He was killed by a lion and buried in Bethel.

1 Kings Chapter 14
Jeroboam sent his wife to prophet Ahijah to learn about their ill son. Prophet Ahijah broke bad news to Jeroboam’s wife and soon she learned that her son has died. King Rehoboam ruled in Judah, and idolatry was rampant. The Egyptian Pharaoh raided the temple built by king Solomon and the royal palace. King Rehoboam and Jeroboam were engaged in continuous battle.

1 Kings Chapter 15
King Asa replaced wicked Abijam in Judah, Meanwhile in Israel, Nadab was killed by Baasha who wiped out the house of Jeroboam according to prophet Ahijah's prophecy.

1 Kings Chapter 16
This chapter describes the reigns of Baasha, Elah, Zimri, Omri, and Ahab – all kings of Israel Baasha’s family was wiped out, Zimri committed suicide. Ahab married Jezebel, who is infamous for being one of the prominent "bad girls of the bible." Ahab and Jezebel embarked on a mission of committing sins with an ardor.

-----------------------BIBLE READING------------------
WARNING: Some of the actions performed in this book are dangerous and should only be attempted by professionals familiar with the action in question.



-------------------FOOD FOR THOUGHT----------------

Why God Never Received a Ph.D

1. He had only one major publication (The Holy Bible)
2. It was in Hebrew.
3. It had no references.
4. It wasn't published in a refereed journal.
5. Some even doubt he wrote it by himself.
6. It may be true that he created the world, but what has he done since then?
7. His cooperative efforts have been quite limited.
8. The scientific community has had a hard time replicating his results.
9. He never applied to the ethics board for permission to use human subjects.
10. When one experiment went awry he tried to cover it by drowning his subjects.
11. When subjects didn't behave as predicted, he deleted them from the sample.
12. He rarely came to class, just told students to read the book.
13. Some say he had his son teach the class.
14. He expelled his first two students for learning.
15. Although there were only 10 requirements, most of his students failed his tests.
16. His office hours were infrequent and usually held on a mountain top.
17. No record of working well with colleagues.


1 Kings 16

Jezabel enters our story

Baasha, king of Israel (continued...)
Baasha walked in evil ways and caused Israel to sin. The LORD became angry, and sent prophet Jehu with an augury. Baasha's house was to meet with similar end as that of Jeroboam. 

Elah, king of Israel
Elah was Baasha's son, who took up Baasha's role. He had no perceptions related to a king's responsibility. While his army was at siege against the Philistines, he was enjoying himself by getting drunk. One of his officials, Zimri plotted against him. While Elah was getting drunk and carousing, Zimri stuck him down and killed him. He then assumed position and killed Baasha's entire family. This fulfilled prophet Jehu's augury. 

Zimri, king of Israel
Zimri stayed as the king for only seven days. There was another person, Omri, who held a higher rank than Zimri in Elah's military. When people heard that Zimri murdered Elah and took over, they proclaimed Omri as the king of Israel. Zimri soon committed suicide by burning down the royal citadel around him. 

Omri, king of Israel
Soon Omri became the king, and there was another split - two factions contending for the highest chair. The other faction belonged to Tibni. Eventually, Tibni died (either murdered or died of natural causes) and that side weakened. Omri established his throne and went on a construction spree. Notable among them was a city called Samaria, about seven miles northwest of Shechem. 

Omri did evil in the eyes of the LORD. He sinned more than all before him, and walked in the ways of Jeroboam. 

Ahab, king of Israel
Ahab as Omiri's son. He did more evil than anyone before him. Sounds like a competition as to who could do more evil. He married Jezebel, the daughter of the Sidonian king. Jezebel is infamous for being the bad girl of Bible. If there is a contest for baddest bad girl, Jezebel would be a contender. 

Idol worship peaked during the time of Ahab. Baal worship was introduced into Israel. Ahab built Asherah poles, and set up Baal temples. 

The walls of Jericho were constructed - Joshua had laid a curse upon whoever attempting to rebuild the walls would lose his firstborn. 

1 Kings 15

For the next two chapters, we are going to look at few kings who ruled Judah and Israel. 

Abijam, king of Judah
Abijam committed all those sins his father committed and followed in his footsteps. His heart was not with the LORD. 

Asa, king of Judah
Asa, for a change, did what was right in the eyes of LORD. He took steps to expel those male shrine prostitutes, and got rid of all idols. In yet another bold move, he removed his grandmother Maacah from the role of 'queen mother.' Several Asherah poles were cut down and burned. 

In another smart move, he forged alliance with Damascus. He thus expanded his territory by fighting the Israelite king, Baasha. 

Nadab, king of Israel
Another evil king who walked in the ways of his father, Jeroboam. Baasha, a commander in Nadab's army secured military support and revolted against Nadab. He killed everyone in Jeroboam's family. The prophecy of Ahijah thus came true. 

Baasha, king of Israel
Walking in the ways of Jeroboam ad his sons, he commited evil in the eyes of LORD. He caused Israel to commit sin. There were constant wars between Israel and the kingdom of Judah. 

1 Kings 14

Jeroboam Offering Sacrifice for the Idol - Jean-Honoré Fragonard

Ahijah's Prophecy against Jeroboam
When Jeroboam's son Abijah became ill, he asked hi wife to disguise herself and go seek an answer with prophet Ahijah. Prophet Ahijah was the one who made a prophetic statement that Jeroboam will become king of Israel, after tearing his robes in chapter 11. He was old and had lost his eyesight. The LORD had pretold him about the arrival of Jeroboam's wife. When he heard the sound of her footsteps, he said, "Come in, Jeroboam's wife. Why this pretense?"

He then broke a string of bad news to her:
- Jeoboam has done lots of evil,
- Without exception, every Israeli male will be free from Jeroboam,
- Dogs will eat what belonged to Jeroboam,
- His house will be burnt up,
- her son will die upon her return home
- her son will be the only one in their family privileged for a burial,
- A king will cut off Jeroboam's family,
- Israel will be scattered due to idol worship.
17 Then Jeroboam’s wife got up and left and went to Tirzah. As soon as she stepped over the threshold of the house, the boy died. 
They buried him, and all of Israel mourned his death.

Rehoboam King of Judah
The passage gives a summary about king Rehoboam's rule. During the first few years, he was almost in line with king David and king Solomon. He then stirred up LORD's anger as he diverted towards idol worship. His mother was an Ammonite and it could be that with her influence, he set up Asherah poles on every hill, and under every spreading tree.
24 There were even male shrine prostitutes in the land; the people engaged in all the detestable practices of the nations the LORD had driven out before the Israelites.
The Egyptians attacked king Rehoboam. They plundered king Solomon's treasures from the temple as well as the royal palace. Notably, they took away those golden shields constructed by king Solomon. King Rehoboam replaced those shields with bronze shields.

Once he died, he was buried along with his ancestors. His son, Abijah, succeeded him.

1 Kings 13

Jeroboam's Sacrifice at Bethel by Gerbrand van den Eeckhout

The Man of God from Judah
One day when Jeroboam was offering sacrifices to the idols, LORD sent a prophet from Judah (let's call him Prophet from Judah - PJ) to Bethel  He came and shouted out, “Altar, altar! This is what the LORD says: ‘A son named Josiah will be born to the house of David. On you he will sacrifice the priests of the high places who make offerings here, and human bones will be burned on you.’”
3 That same day the man of God gave a sign: “This is the sign the LORD has declared: The altar will be split apart and the ashes on it will be poured out.”
King Jeroboam when he heard this, he stretched out his hand and said, "Seize him." His stretched out hand shriveled up and could not pull it back. Next his prophecy became a reality when the altar split up and the ashes poured out. Now the king had his attention and requested his hand to be restored. The prophet did so. When invited for a meal, the prophet from Judah refused.

The Prophet of Bethel Meets the Man of God from Judah - Lambert Jacobsz 1629

A certain old prophet from Bethel (let's call him OPB), heard about this incident and went chasing after this prophet from Judah, met him on the way and invited him home. At first, PJ refused it. Next, OPB told him a lie that he had a prophetic vision to invite him over.
18 The old prophet answered, “I too am a prophet, as you are. And an angel said to me by the word of the LORD: ‘Bring him back with you to your house so that he may eat bread and drink water.’” (But he was lying to him.) 
After the meal, PJ left for his home. On the way, a lion killed him and stood guard beside his dead body and PJ's donkey, without hurting the donkey. When OPB heard about this, he asked his sons to go get the body of PJ. OPB then buried PJ in his family tomb, and expressed interest in him being buried along with PJ, when he died.

Jeroboam never changed his ways, and he always had 'vacant positions' for priests. People from any background were consecrated to the office of high places. This led to the downfall and destruction of Jeroboam's house.

1 Kings 12

Rehoboam - Fragment of Wall Painting from Basel Town Hall Council Chamber - Hans Holbein the Younger.

Israel Rebels against Rehoboam
King Solomon's son, Rehoboam, was crowned the next king of Israel. Remember Jeroboam, from chapter 11, the one who rose against king Solomon? When he heard about king Rehoboam assuming power, he reached out to him asking to lighten the taxes and labor. King Rehoboam consulted with those elders, instead took the advice of those youngsters to increase the taxes and labor. He behaved in a rude and harsh manner. All of Israel heard about it and were displeased.

King Rehoboam went to meet Adoniram, who served both king David and king Solomon. He was in charge of forced labor was now stoned to death. King Rehoboam managed to escape the scene.

When Israelites heard that Joroboam had arrived from Egypt, they crowned him king of Israel. Only the territory of Judah remained loyal to king Rehoboam.

Golden Calves at Bethel and Dan
Jeroboam fortified Shechem and lived there. He was afraid that people would go to Jerusalem and offer sacrifices there. This, in turn would improve their allegiance towards king Rehoboam. To prevent this from happening, Jeroboam built two golden calves - Bethel and Dan, which was a sin. He promoted idol worship and offered sacrifices at high places. All sorts of people were made priests, even though they were not Levites. Jeroboam even instituted a festival in the 8th month, according to his convenience, to keep the people of Israel happy.

Back home

Happy Friday.

Got back home last night almost midnight after flight delays. Early morning at 6:00 AM, I had a bible study group at a nearby church. Am back home and working on publishing content for today. 

Enjoy your Friday. 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

1 Kings 8 - 11

Queen Sheba offering Gifts - Luca Giordano

1 Kings Chapter 8
The Ark of the Covenant was brought to the newly built Temple. King Solomon blessed the entire Israelites. King Solomon prayed before the people and they celebrated the dedication ceremony for two weeks.

1 Kings Chapter 9
LORD exhorted king Solomon to obey Him. Trade was conducted with king Hiram. Many foreigners were enslaved for construction projects. The king fortified his cities.

1 Kings Chapter 10
The Queen of Sheba visited king Solomon. She was quite impressed by his wisdom. King Solomon’s fame and fortune grow. He was then visited by many kings from around the world.

1 Kings Chapter 11
King Solomon married numerous foreign women who led him towards idolatry and dragged him into an endless pit. LORD became angry at him and decided to tear his kingdom apart. Few men started rising in power against king Solomon. This chapter documents his death.

-----------------------BIBLE READING------------------
WARNING: Some of the actions performed in this book are dangerous and should only be attempted by professionals familiar with the action in question.



-------------------FOOD FOR THOUGHT----------------



1 Kings 11

Idolatry of king Solomon

Solomon's Wives
One of the weakness that king Solomon inherited from his father, king David was women. He went way beyond other people of his times with regard to securing women companions. Love was not the reason for his marriages, and he knew about Torah's prohibitions on how many wives one can have.
3 He had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray. 
 During his old age, his wives turned his heart towards other gods. He followed his foreign wives to the worship of Ashtoreth, Molek and Chemosh. He also built temples for them and burned incense and offered sacrifices. The LORD became angry at king Solomon, and said his kingdom will be torn apart during the time of his son.

A great leader like king Solomon was held to an incredible level of accountability. For king Solomon, prophet, wisest of all men, king of Israel, to worship idols is an inexcusable mistake that LORD held king Solomon directly accountable for. Bible criticizes king Solomon quite harshly for not managing his wives well, with regard to idol worship.

Solomon's Adversaries
The LORD raised up two men, Hadad and Rezon, against king Solomon. Hadad used to live in Egypt. He came back to Israel and started causing trouble for king Solomon. Rezon was hostile towards Israel and added his share of troubles.

Jeroboam Rebels Against Solomon
One of king Solomon's officials, Jeroboam was skilled at building terraces. He was so skilled that king Solomon put the entire workforce from the tribes of Joseph under his command. Once while on his way out of Jerusalem, he met Ahijah, the prophet of Shiloh. Ahijah then emblematically tore his new cloak into twelve pieces and gave ten pieces to Jeroboam, indicating that ten tribes of Israel will be handed over to him, after the death of king Solomon.
40 Solomon tried to kill Jeroboam, but Jeroboam fled to Egypt, to Shishak the king, and stayed there until Solomon’s death.
Solomon's Death
After forty years of reign, king Solomon died at a young age of fifty two (52). During his reign, Israel was at it's pinnacle of prosperity and peace. He composed Song of Songs, the Book of Ecclesiastes, the Book of Proverbs, and Wisdom of Solomon. He was buried in the City of David along with his ancestors. Rehoboam, his son succeeded him as the king.

The death of the wisest man of all times - king Solomon, is a sorrowful and depressing event. Even to document his death is a melancholy. May the soul of king Solomon rest in peace.

1 Kings 10

Arrival of queen of Sheba

The Queen of Sheba Visits Solomon
The Queen of Sheba was a wise woman, and Sheba was a very wealthy country as well. When she heard about king Solomon's wisdom, she wanted to test his wisdom. She arrived with a very great caravan. Then she asked king Solomon numerous questions, to which king Solomon was able to answer all to her satisfaction.

The queen had never met a wise person like king Solomon. She expressed her happiness in meeting such a person in reality, who executed justice and righteousness. Along with several other precious gifts, she also gifted him 4.5 tons of gold.

In turn, king Solomon showered her with valuable gifts as well.

Solomon's Splendor
Every year, king Solomon received about 25 tons of gold plus profits from merchants and traders. Many artifacts were made with gold.

Queen Sheba meets King Solomon

One of the most priced item was his throne itself. The above painting tries to capture it almost according to the scripture.
18 Then the king made a great throne covered with ivory and overlaid with fine gold. 19 The throne had six steps, and its back had a rounded top. On both sides of the seat were armrests, with a lion standing beside each of them. 20 Twelve lions stood on the six steps, one at either end of each step. Nothing like it had ever been made for any other kingdom. 21 All King Solomon’s goblets were gold, and all the household articles in the Palace of the Forest of Lebanon were pure gold. Nothing was made of silver, because silver was considered of little value in Solomon’s days.
He had the greatest wisdom in the entire earth, and everyone sought his advice.

Among other collectibles, king Solomon had a great collection of horses and chariots, which were imported from all over.

Few Rare paintings to share with you:
Embarkation of Queen of Sheba - Claude Lorrain 1648

The Queen of Sheba in Jerusalem Salomon De Bray

My Thoughts
This is fascinating story and I could narrate almost hundreds of stories related to king Solomon. Many of them belong to the riddles between queen of Sheba. I'll attempt to post them on this blog later on, when I get some free time.

1 King 9

King Solomon writing

The LORD Appears to Solomon

After the temple and the palace was built, the LORD appeared to king Solomon a second time.
3 The LORD said to him:
“I have heard the prayer and plea you have made before me; I have consecrated this temple, which you have built, by putting my Name there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.
Which is a big relief. However, there was one conditional clause, which depended upon the behavior or king Solomon. If he walked in LORD'S ways, business was as normal. On the other hand, there were consequences for following other gods, the LORD continued:
8 This temple will become a heap of rubble. All who pass by will be appalled and will scoff and say, ‘Why has the LORD done such a thing to this land and to this temple?’ 9 People will answer, ‘Because they have forsaken the LORD their God, who brought their ancestors out of Egypt, and have embraced other gods, worshiping and serving them - that is why the LORD brought all this disaster on them.’”
Unfortunately, that is what happened, which we will see further along.

Solomon's Other Activities
King Solomon rewarded Hiram, king of Tyre for helping him build the temple. Hiram had supplied with cedar and juniper, and about 4.5 tons of gold. Canaan in itself did not have gold or silver deposits, and was acquired by means of trade from external parties. King Solomon rewarded him twenty towns, but he was not pleased, because Hiram was not used to toiling with the land.

Forced labor was used to fortify the walls of Jerusalem, and for other construction projects. Those non-Israelites whom the Israelites could not exterminate - Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites were used as slave force.

To please his wife, the Pharaoh's daughter, he built a palace with terrace. He offered sacrifices at the temple three times a year.

On the sea shore of Red Sea, king Solomon commissioned ship-building. Hiram sent his experienced men to serve as sailors and to do trade with external countries. About 16 tons of gold was transported using these ships.

My Thoughts
If you read the proverbs, king Solomon keeps referring to the power of wisdom. According to him, wisdom is worth more than gold and silver (see below). King Solomon did not have any gold or silver in his country. With his wisdom, he was able to form strategic trade alliances with the rest of the world, and hence acquired that vast majority of gold and silver.

One of my favorite parts in the Bible: 
Proverbs 3:14 Wisdom is worth more than silver; it brings more profit than gold. 15 Wisdom is more precious than rubies; nothing you could want is equal to it. 16 With her right hand wisdom offers you a long life, and with her left hand she gives you riches and honor. 17 Wisdom will make your life pleasant and will bring you peace. 18 As a tree produces fruit, wisdom gives life to those who use it, and everyone who uses it will be happy. 19 The LORD made the earth, using his wisdom. He set the sky in place, using his understanding. 20 With his knowledge, he made springs flow into rivers and the clouds drop rain on the earth. 21 My child, hold on to wisdom and good sense. Don't let them out of your sight. 22 They will give you life and beauty like a necklace around your neck. 23 Then you will go your way in safety, and you will not get hurt. 24 When you lie down, you won't be afraid; when you lie down, you will sleep in peace.

(That above painting cannot be king Solomon - he appears quite aged)

1 Kings 8

King Solomon praying before the Temple of Jerusalem by Giuseppe Bonito - 1750

The Ark Brought to the Temple
The temple built by king Solomon was magnificent. It was now like a body without the soul. The Ark of the Covenant would fulfill that gap. In the presence of all elders, the Ark was brought publicly into the holy of holies under the cherubim. A cloud filled up the place and priests could not minister. King Solomon then blessed the entire congregation.

Solomon's Prayer of Dedication
Standing before the altar of the LORD, in front of the entire Israelites, king Solomon raised his hands and begins an invocation, followed by praise. He then petitioned to the LORD the following:
  • Pardon people who pray here at this  temple
  • Execute righteousness
  • Help Israel defeat its enemies
  • Deliver Israel from drought
  • Deliver Israel from plagues and famine
  • Listen to those foreigners
  • Listen to the Israelite army even while they are on foreign soil
  • Listen to those in captivity
He then blessed the entire assembly and made few petitions and concluded,
1 Kings 8:61 And may your hearts be fully committed to the LORD our God, to live by his decrees and obey his commands, as at this time.”
The Dedication of the Temple
All of Israel and the king offered prayers and sacrifices to the LORD. It was a festival season, which lasted fourteen days and all of Israel participated in it. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

1 Kings 3 - 7

Solomon's Theophany

1 Kings Chapter 3
King Solomon married the Pharaoh’s daughter. After offering 1,000 burnt offerings in Gibeon, LORD appeared to him in the dream. LORD promises king Solomon wisdom, glory, wealth, and long life. Solomon demonstrated his new found wisdom by deciding a court case between two disputing mothers.

1 Kings Chapter 4
Solomon’s cabinet members are listed in this chapter. The reign of king Solomon was peaceful and everything was plentiful.

1 Kings Chapter 5
King Solomon continued to enjoy days of peace and prosperity. He becomes world renowned for his wisdom and allocated more than 180,000 Israelites for the contruction of LORD'S temple.

1 Kings Chapter 6
King Solomon built the temple. The edifice contained three rooms, and the innermost chamber, which housed the Ark of the Covenant and the cherubim.

1 Kings Chapter 7
The next project kin Solomon undertook was building a palace for himself. He hired Huram of Tyre to design the temple’s vessels. He then deposited king David’s gold and silver into the temple treasury.

-----------------------BIBLE READING------------------
WARNING: Some of the actions performed in this book are dangerous and should only be attempted by professionals familiar with the action in question.



-------------------FOOD FOR THOUGHT----------------



1 Kings 7

King Solomon

Solomon builds his palace
It took thirteen years to complete his place. Much of the architectural design is described in chapter 7. Points to note are the throne hall, the Hall of Justice where we would rule. He made a similar palace with such hall for his wife, the Pharaoh's daughter. Only high grade stone was used for construction.

The Temple's Furnishings
King Solomon got a man by name Huram from Tyre, who was filled with wisdom. Huram turned out to be the master builder of the temple. Anyone who has a thirst for engineering, creative mind to appreciate design and a beauty to enjoy artwork will get absorbed in these details.

The two brazen pillars in the porch of the temple, were to remind people to worship only the LORD and to depend only upon Him for strength and establishment. Wreaths of golden chain work hung from the capitals, while lily-work adored the heads of these columns.

Then there were ten portable vessels, or vases, which were on wheels, so that they could be pushed across the level marble floor to any part of the court where fresh cleansing water was required for ceremonial washing.

As we move towards the holy of holies, we see costly and magnificent items within the temple. Vessels of brass and gold, are plentiful. In one word, the entire temple declares and shouts out, "Glory."

David's gold and silver were placed in the temple's treasury.

1 Kings 6

King Solomon's Temple - Exterior

The temple built by king Solomon was 90 feet long, 30 feet wide and 45 feet high. The interior walls were lined with cedar wood and covered them with juniper wood. None of the stone was visible as it was covered by wood. 

The inner sanctuary was inlaid with pure gold, and gold chains were extended across the front of the sanctuary. A pair of cherubim were made out of olive wood. On the outside walls, palm trees, cherubim and open flowers were carved. The floors of inner and outer rooms were covered with gold. Doors were made of olive wood and overlaid with gold and carved with palm trees, cherubim and open flowers. 

King Solomon spent seven years building the temple. 

King Solomon's Temple - cross sectional interior

------------------------------Additional Info
Gold in Temple
I did a quick math on how much gold was used up in king Solomon's temple. 8,100,187 pounds. At today's rate, gold is worth 19,889 per pound, which amounts to a staggering $161,110,734,298 ($161 Billion - just the gold). Then there was silver, and bronze. Will share that calculation sometime later. 

King Solomon' Temple 
Isaac Newton,* considered by many to be the greatest and most influential scientist who ever lived, spend sometime learning the architecture of king Solomon's temple. His was simply 'blown away' by the architecture and finally concluded. "The temple was designed by King Solomon with privileged eyes and divine guidance." 

After the death of Isaac Newton, in 1728, , his book “The Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms” was published. In it, he dedicated an entire chapter describing King Solomon’s Temple. 

*Isaac Newton - the renowned English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, alchemist, and theologian. 

1 Kings 5

Cedars of Lebanon

Preparations for building the Temple
King Hiram was an ally of king David and now king Solomon reached out for help. King Hiram agreed to provide cedars of Lebanon and juniper logs required for the building project. They were transported by floating them as rafts by sea. The two maintained peaceful relationships and signed a treaty. Thirty thousand (30,000) men were recruited for this purpose, and ten thousand (10,000) worked at one time, and spend one month in Lebanon and two months at home.

In return, king Solomon provided over three thousand (3,000) tons of wheat and almost similar quantity of pressed olive oil, year after year.

Apart from that, there were seventy thousand (70,000) carriers, eighty thousand (80,000) stone-cutters in the hills, and thirty-three hundred (3,300) supervisors.

Stone cutting and dressing was performed outside at the quarry.

1 Kings 4

Solomon's Officials and Governors
The first part of this chapter talks about king Solomon's officials and governors. Am sure none who is reading this really cares about it. Notable point is that there were twelve governors over Israel, each supplied provisions for the king and royal household one month in a year.

Solomon’s Daily Provisions
The time when king Solomon ruled, Israel enjoyed a time of abundant prosperity. Those items to note here are that there was a sense of unity among people. Next, there was a sense of safety everywhere. Five (5) metric tons of flour and ten (10) tons of meal was used up daily, and nothing was lacking at the king's table. He also had four thousand stalls of horses and twelve thousand horses.

Solomon’s Wisdom
Anything I pen under this section will never match up the wisdom king Solomon possessed. In one sentence, he was wiser than everyone else at that time. He could talk to, and talk about any living creature.
34 From all nations people came to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, sent by all the kings of the world, who had heard of his wisdom.

My Thoughts
If I was alive during the time of king Solomon, somehow I would have organized a trip to go meet him!

1 Kings 3

Judgement of King Solomon

Solomon Asks for Wisdom
King Solomon married the Pharaoh's daughter and brought her to Israel. He continued to walk in the ways of the LORD as suggested by king David. He offered sacrifices at Gibeon.
5 At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.”
King Solomon asked for a discerning heart to govern the people and to distinguish between right and wrong. In response, LORD gave him wisdom, wealth and honor, plus a long life if he kept LORD's decrees. He returned to Jerusalem and held a large feast to celebrate the occasion.

A Wise Ruling
This is a well known story where two prostitutes came to the king with a child, both claiming it to be it's mother. One of them lay over the child and it died. She then swapped her dead child with the other who was alive. Now, both mothers claimed ownership of the live child. The king studied the situation for sometime.
24 Then the king said, “Bring me a sword.” So they brought a sword for the king. 25 He then gave an order: “Cut the living child in two and give half to one and half to the other.”
He asked the child to be cut from head to toe into two equal parts so that each mother could an have identical piece of the child. To this, the real mother objected, and the imposter agreed to. The king then asked not the kill the child and gave it to the real mother.

All of Israel was in awe for such wisdom in matters of justice.


Remembering 9/11

Taking a moment to remember the anniversary of 9/11. Those events which changed the lives of many, forever.

May those who endured pain and suffering, find comfort in the presence of our LORD.

My Thoughts
Life in the US, was totally different, prior to the events of 9/11 - it used to be a whole another world. This single event brought me from California to the shores of Atlanta, back in 2001. Am ready any-day to get back - wonder when I'll get that chance, or am I stuck here forever?

Judas Bible

Thank you for those who proof-read and bring errors to my attention. My sincere thanks to many of you, who read every single word and pay attention to every alphabet, along with all those punctuation. You then make a list of those typographical errors and send it to me so that we can incorporate corrections at the earliest.

I do not know how to express my gratitude - but keep saying , "Thank you... and thank you" in my mind. May LORD shower blessings upon you!

Typographical error can creep into any literature. Here is a classic example: 

The 'Judas' Bible in St Mary's Church, Devon, UK was printed back in 1613, and was given to the church for use. This edition is known as the 'Judas' Bible because in Matthew c26 v36 'Judas' appears instead of 'Jesus'. In this copy the mistake (in red circle) is corrected with a slip of paper pasted over the misprint.

Matthew 26:36 was how it got it's name, Judas' Bible.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

2 Samuel 23 - 1 Kings 2

King David in Prayer - Pieter de Grebber

2 Samuel Chapter 23
King David related a message that he once received from the LORD. This is his last poetic message. King David’s mighty men, warriors and their military exploits are enumerated in this chapter.

2 Samuel Chapter 24
Against the wish of the LORD, king David took a census of his people. LORD was enraged and a plague came upon the land that killed seventy thousand (70,000) Israelites. King David then purchased a land, built and altar and offered sacrifices.

1 Kings Executive Summary
Follow the link to get a high level info on 1 Kings.

1 Kings Chapter 1
David becomes bedridden and his son Adonijah pronounces himself the next king. However, Nathan and Bathsheba convince David to appoint Solomon as the next ruler. Adonijah’s followers disperse once they hear that Solomon has been anointed with David’s approval.

1 Kings Chapter 2
David orders Solomon to exact vengeance on his enemies. David dies and Solomon kills Adonijah, Joab, and Shimei. He also exiles Abiathar.

-----------------------BIBLE READING------------------
WARNING: Some of the actions performed in this book are dangerous and should only be attempted by professionals familiar with the action in question.



-------------------FOOD FOR THOUGHT----------------


A first grade Sunday school teacher was asking students what their parents did for a living.

Sunny shyly stood up, scuffed her feet and said, “My father is a mailman.”

“Thank you, Sunny,” said the teacher.

“John, you be next,” she said. “What does your father do all day?”

John stood up and proudly said, “He’s a doctor.”

“That’s wonderful. How about you, Billy?”

Billy proudly stood up and announced, “My dad smells stinky armpits to test deodorant.”

The teacher was aghast and promptly changed the subject to songs. Later that day she went to Billy’s house and rang the bell. Billy’s father answered the door. The teacher explained what his son had said and asked if there might be some logical explanation.

Billy’s father said, “I’m actually a criminal defense attorney. But how can I explain a thing like that to a seven-year-old?”

Utilized my lunch hour to wrap this up. 

1 Kings 2

King Solomon seeking advice from King David

David’s Charge to Solomon
King David gave his last advice to King Solomon from his deathbed. Such advice is supposed to be sincere and honest.

  • Be Strong; Act like a Man,
  • Be obedient to LORD,
  • Be faithful to the LORD,
  • Punish Joab for his two murders,
  • Reward Barzillai for his support,
  • Punish Shimei.
Soon king David went to the heavenly abode. 
1 Kings 2;10 Then David rested with his ancestors and was buried in the City of David. 11 He had reigned forty years over Israel—seven years in Hebron and thirty-three in Jerusalem. 

May the soul of king David live in peace.

Solomon’s Throne Established
Adonijah went to Bathsheba, King Solomon's mother and made a request. She was supposed to go plead to king Solomon. Adonijah wanted to marry Abishag, the girl who provided warmth to king David during his old age.

First of all , this was contrary to LORD's law. Next, there was a meaning to it. We saw Absalom sleeping with king David's concubines in the plain view of all Israelites. It meant as an appropriation of the royal harem, and a complete trespass of the throne. Marrying one's father's wives or concubines means that he was a tough man, who conveyed the message in a firm manner that he was assuming his father's role and is now using what once belonged once to him.

Bathsheba approached king Solomon and made the request. King solomon was infuriated.
22 King Solomon answered his mother, “Why do you request Abishag the Shunammite for Adonijah? You might as well request the kingdom for him—after all, he is my older brother—yes, for him and for Abiathar the priest and Joab son of Zeruiah!”
He then put Adoniijah to death, because Solomon knew what his intentions were.

Abiathar deserved to die, but escaped death at the hands of king Solomon, as he once carried the Ark of the Covenant. However he was stripped of his priesthood and asked to go to the fields.

When this news reached Joab, he knew that he was next in line for conspiracy. To escape king Solomon, he fled to the tent of the LORD and took hold of the horns of the Altar. King Solomon showed no mercy and asked Benaiah to go strike him down. Joab has murdered two army commanders without the knowledge of king David.

Shimei, who pelted stones on king David was on the black list of king Solomon. He was placed under house arrest and was to stay in Jerusalem. He did for a long time. Three years later, two of Shimei's slaves ran off and he followed them out of Jerusalem to Gath and returned. When this news arrived king Solomon's ears, he asked Benaiah to go strike him down.

Now, after the death of all these people, the kingdom was established in King Solomon's hands.

-------------------------------------------Additional Info
Deathbed is one place we look at our own lives. Advice given from the deathbed is considered to be very crucial - especially the one to own children. Regrets are another thing.

The top five regrets on deathbed are:
1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
This was the most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people have had not honored even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.

It is very important to try and honor at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realize, until they no longer have it.

2. I wish I didn't work so hard.
Almost every male patient regretted that they worked very hard by missing their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
Often they would not truly realize the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.

My Thoughts
I should pay attention to any dying person as they are so important. King David's advice to king Solomon here summarizes everything he had to say.

One by one, he took care of his father's advice - way to go king Solomon!

1 Kings 1

Young king Solomon

Adonijah Sets Himself Up as King
King David is in his old age and no matter how many blankets he uses, he still does not feel warmth. His family then comes up with a plan - to hire an extremely beautiful young virgin to sleep with him. Her name was Abishag and the king did not have any intimate relationship with her.

Adonijah, king David's son decided to proclaim himself as the next king. He used similar tactics like his brother Absalom by having fifty men run ahead of him wherever he went. A great feast went on to celebrate this occasion. Joab, the kings' commander was with Adonijah as well. Several other prominent members including prophet Nathan, Bathsheba and Solomon were not invited to this party.

Prophet Nathan approached BathSheba and devised a plan to crown Solomon as the next king. She was to go and speak to king David. At that time, Prophet Nathan would pitch in the idea as well. They worked out the plan and asked king David if Adonijah was made king with his blessings to which he did not answer. Instead, he decided to make Solomon his successor.

David Makes Solomon King
The king called Bathsheba and promised to make Solomon the next after him.
1 Kings 1:32 King David said, “Call in Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet and Benaiah son of Jehoiada.” When they came before the king, 33 he said to them: “Take your lord’s servants with you and have Solomon my son mount my own mule and take him down to Gihon. 34 There have Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet anoint him king over Israel. Blow the trumpet and shout, ‘Long live King Solomon!’ 35 Then you are to go up with him, and he is to come and sit on my throne and reign in my place. I have appointed him ruler over Israel and Judah.”
Everyone was in agreement and they followed those instructions.
39 Zadok the priest took the horn of oil from the sacred tent and anointed Solomon. Then they sounded the trumpet and all the people shouted, “Long live King Solomon!” 
When Adonijah's celebration camp heard the sound of the trumpet along with people shouting, they inquired about the matter and learned about Solomon being crowned with king David's backing. By now, King Solomon had taken possession of the throne and people were coming to meet him and king David. Adonijah became scared of his life and took refuge in the temple. King Solomon spared him saying, as long as his intentions were good and not evil, no harm will come over him.

(From now on, we should address Solomon as King Solomon).

My Thoughts
King David does not seem to be keen in disciplining his sons. He is busy at other things and appears that no time is spent within his family. Adonijah wants to be the king, but does not want to express his desire to the king. Instead, he holds secret meetings and conspires with people.

A certain group of people seem to be intentionally omitted from Adonijah's coronation celebration. Isn't this the case today as well? Whenever there is a conspiracy and when like-minded people get together, they take special care to avoid others. Nathan, Bathsheba, Zadok, Benaiah, and Solomon, all were left out, not innocently, but on purpose. How true that the saying, "Birds of a feather flock together."

Am wondering if I have been part of any conspiracy so far. Will I get excited in being part of such 'secretive meetings?'

Adonijah knew where to run as soon as he heard about Solomon's coronation. He did not have the boldness to go face king Solomon.

1 Kings - An Executive Briefing

The Book of 1 Kings 
This post provides a high level summary of the book of 1 kings.

Twenty two interesting chapters.

Jeremiah the prophet is credited as the author.

This begins with the final days of king David. We see a shift in power from king David to Solomon.

Solomon started of on a very good note. He received extraordinary wisdom from the LORD, build a magnificent temple for the LORD, a palace for himself. During his reign, Israel was viewed as the true promised land; economics peaked and he became the richest person alive. Solomon accumulated several wives and concubines. Eventually, women led him towards idol worship, away from the LORD.

After the death of Solomon, Israel was led by a series of evil, weak and idolatrous kings. Idol worship peaked and attained new heights in Israel. The unified kingdom broke down into north and south. Ahab was the notorious king, who ruled with one of the most wicked biblical woman - Jezebel. The couple favored Baal and Asherah. Prophet Elijah tried to stop them, and they clashed each other.

Prophet Elijah challenged a showdown on Mount Carmel against the Baals. The false prophets were killed and Elijah became their target. He then ran away into the wilderness. LORD took care of Elijah in the wilderness.

The wise will draw two lessons from this book:
1 - The company good or bad, whichever we choose keep, will have heavy influence upon us,
2 - Idol worship, though it may sound interesting and attractive, leads to disaster.