1869.) Psalm 132

June 30, 2016
Artwork: Baruch Nachshon, Israel

Artwork: Baruch Nachshon, Israel

Psalm 132   (ESV)

The Lord Has Chosen Zion

A Song of Ascents.

We do not know who wrote this psalm. One possible viewpoint:  It was composed by Solomon when he brought the ark of the covenant to its proper place in the newly-constructed temple in Jerusalem. The first ten verses, then, are Solomon’s prayer that the Lord will descend in the Shekinah (the glory cloud) and dwell above the ark . . .

Remember, O Lord, in David’s favor,
    all the hardships he endured,
how he swore to the Lord
    and vowed to the Mighty One of Jacob,
“I will not enter my house
    or get into my bed,
I will not give sleep to my eyes
    or slumber to my eyelids,
until I find a place for the Lord,
    a dwelling place for the Mighty One of Jacob.”

Behold, we heard of it in Ephrathah;

Ephrathah is an ancient name for Bethlehem. In time, it came to refer to the district around Bethlehem.

    we found it in the fields of Jaar.
“Let us go to his dwelling place;
    let us worship at his footstool!”

Ps132 ark

Arise, O Lord, and go to your resting place,
    you and the ark of your might.

This is the only mention of the ark of the covenant in the Psalter.

Let your priests be clothed with righteousness,
    and let your saints shout for joy.
10 For the sake of your servant David,
    do not turn away the face of your anointed one.

. . . Verses 11 and 12 reaffirm the covenant that God made with David . . .

11 The Lord swore to David a sure oath
    from which he will not turn back:
“One of the sons of your body
    I will set on your throne.
12 If your sons keep my covenant
    and my testimonies that I shall teach them,
their sons also forever
    shall sit on your throne.”

. . . And the last six verses contain specific promises from God corresponding to Solomon’s specific requests. 
–William MacDonald

13 For the Lord has chosen Zion;
    he has desired it for his dwelling place:

Ps132 v13

14 “This is my resting place forever;
    here I will dwell, for I have desired it.
15 I will abundantly bless her provisions;
    I will satisfy her poor with bread.
16 Her priests I will clothe with salvation,
    and her saints will shout for joy.
17 There I will make a horn to sprout for David;
    I have prepared a lamp for my anointed.
18 His enemies I will clothe with shame,
    but on him his crown will shine.”

"Resplendent" acrylic on canvas by Canadian artist Melani Pyke

“Resplendent” acrylic on canvas by Canadian artist Melani Pyke

The head that once was crowned with thorns
Is crowned with glory now!
Heaven’s royal diadem adorns
The mighty Victor’s brow!

–Thomas Kelly

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Music:

Recently David and I spent some time with a dear friend, Carole McCutcheon. One morning as we had our devotions together, David read Psalm 132 and Carole mentioned this song. Thank you, Carole!

HERE  is Steve Fry and his musical version of Psalm 132, “O the Glory of Your Presence.”


1868.) Psalm 72

June 29, 2016

Psalm 72   (New International Version)

Of Solomon.

The title of this Psalm is, A Psalm of Solomon. It is possible to translate the Hebrew here (and in almost all the Psalms which reference an author) as “A Psalm to Solomon,” and some have regarded it as David’s Psalm to and about his son Solomon and his Greater Son the Messiah. Yet, the most natural way to take the title is as it is given, A Psalm of Solomon and that the line about David in 72:20 refers to the collection of Book Two of the Psalms, which is heavy with David’s Psalms, separating it from Book Three, which begins with 11 Psalms authored by Asaph.

It is possible that Solomon complied this second book of the Psalms (Psalms 42-72) and composed this Psalm as a fitting conclusion for the collection of mostly David’s Psalms. It is a fitting conclusion, because it unexpectedly does not focus upon David himself, but on the Messiah – the King of Kings and the Son of David.

–David Guzik

“The New Testament nowhere quotes it as Messianic, but this picture of the king and his realm is so close to the prophecies of Isaiah 11:1-5 and Isaiah 60-62 that if those passages are Messianic, so is this.”

–Derek Kidner

The King and the King of Kings

1 Endow the king with your justice, O God,
the royal son with your righteousness.

Solomon began this Psalm asking God to bless him as the monarch of Israel, and to bless him with wise judgments and a reign displaying God’s righteousness. This was the same heart behind is great request to God in 1 Kings 3:5-9.

–David Guzik

This psalm belongs to Solomon in part, but to Christ more fully and clearly. Solomon was both the king and the king’s son, and his pious father desired that the wisdom of God might be in him, that his reign might be a remembrance of the kingdom of the Messiah. It is the prayer of a father for his child; a dying blessing. The best we can ask of God for our children is, that God would give them wisdom and grace to know and to do their duty.

–Matthew Henry

2 May he judge your people in righteousness,
your afflicted ones with justice.

Psalm 36:6 (NLT)

Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains,
      your justice like the ocean depths.

3 May the mountains bring prosperity to the people,
the hills the fruit of righteousness.
4 May he defend the afflicted among the people
and save the children of the needy;
may he crush the oppressor.
5 May he endure as long as the sun,
as long as the moon, through all generations.

6 May he be like rain falling on a mown field,
like showers watering the earth.
7 In his days may the righteous flourish
and prosperity abound till the moon is no more.

Ps72 sun earth

Mark 13:31 (NLT)

Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear.

8 May he rule from sea to sea
and from the River to the ends of the earth.
9 May the desert tribes bow before him
and his enemies lick the dust.

“Tongues which rail at the Redeemer deserve to lick the dust.”

–Charles Haddon Spurgeon (British “Prince of Preachers,” 1834-1892)

10 May the kings of Tarshish and of distant shores
bring tribute to him.
May the kings of Sheba and Seba
present him gifts.
11 May all kings bow down to him
and all nations serve him.

12 For he will deliver the needy who cry out,
the afflicted who have no one to help.

13 He will take pity on the weak and the needy
and save the needy from death.
14 He will rescue them from oppression and violence,
for precious is their blood in his sight.

15 Long may he live!
May gold from Sheba be given him.

Matthew 2:10-11 (NL)

When they saw the star, they were filled with joy!  They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

May people ever pray for him
and bless him all day long.
16 May grain abound throughout the land;
on the tops of the hills may it sway.
May the crops flourish like Lebanon
and thrive like the grass of the field.
17 May his name endure forever;
may it continue as long as the sun.

Philippians 2:6-11 (NLT)

  Though he was God,
      he did not think of equality with God
      as something to cling to.
  Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
      he took the humble position of a slave
      and was born as a human being.
   When he appeared in human form,
    he humbled himself in obedience to God
      and died a criminal’s death on a cross.

  Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor
      and gave him the name above all other names,
  that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
      in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
  and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
      to the glory of God the Father.

Then all nations will be blessed through him,
and they will call him blessed.
18 Praise be to the LORD God, the God of Israel,
who alone does marvelous deeds.
19 Praise be to his glorious name forever;
may the whole earth be filled with his glory.
Amen and Amen.

Jude 1:24-25 (NLT)

Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault.  All glory to him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time! Amen.

20 This concludes the prayers of David son of Jesse.

The prayers of David: We take this as Solomon’s postscript on the collection of Psalms gathered into Book Two. David authored most of the Psalms in Book Two, and Asaph composed the first 11 Psalms of Book Three, so this is a good marking point. We also note that these are not only songs, but also prayers.

David the son of Jesse: Because this Psalm so exalts the King of Kings, Solomon properly did not refer to David with any royal title, though deserved. David happily takes the lower place before the Greater Son of David and is simply the son of Jesse, a simple farmer of Bethlehem.

–David Guzik

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Music:

The hymn “Jesus Shall Reign,” by Isaac Watts, is a lyrical adaptation of Psalm 72.  HERE  it is, performed by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Singers.

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Images courtesy of:
Ps. 72.5.  http://www.turnbacktogod.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/Psalm-72-5-Wallpaper.jpg
misty mountains.  http://media-cdn.tripadvisor.com/media/photo-s/01/be/5a/bc/the-misty-mountains.jpg
earth and sun.    http://freesoftwarekit.com/server13/photos/X9oQrDl0zrK5sM~/122946_light-sun-shining-behind-planet-Earth_1600x1000.jpg
Persian nativity.    http://media.photobucket.com/image/recent/Patrap_2006/magi.jpg
Jesus crosses.  http://i2.squidoocdn.com/resize/squidoo_images/250/draft_lens5895372module46665122photo_1248705236Jesus_Crosses.jpg
rainbow.    http://www.wunderground.com/data/wximagenew/r/RevMac/280.jpg

1867.) 1 Kings 4

June 28, 2016

President Ronald Reagan and his cabinet, 1981. I use this picture solely as an example of a leader and his team; I intend no political endorsement.

1 Kings 4 (New International Version)

Solomon’s Officials and Governors

1 So King Solomon ruled over all Israel. 2 And these were his chief officials:

This long list shows that Solomon understood the value of strong people under him; he was a leader of leaders. He achieved greatness in part because he had the right persons on each job, people who were skilled and competent. We have all seen various organizations and ministries in which the leader brings in weak people to work for him because they are no threat to him. Such leaders make themselves, and their organizations, weaker! Ah, but Solomon was wiser.

Azariah son of Zadok—the priest;

3 Elihoreph and Ahijah, sons of Shisha—secretaries;

Jehoshaphat son of Ahilud—recorder;

4 Benaiah son of Jehoiada—commander in chief;

Zadok and Abiathar—priests;

5 Azariah son of Nathan—in charge of the district governors;

Zabud son of Nathan—a priest and adviser to the king;

6 Ahishar—palace administrator;

Adoniram son of Abda—in charge of forced labor.

7 Solomon had twelve district governors over all Israel, who supplied provisions for the king and the royal household. Each one had to provide supplies for one month in the year. 8 These are their names:

Ben-Hur—in the hill country of Ephraim;

9 Ben-Deker—in Makaz, Shaalbim, Beth Shemesh and Elon Bethhanan;

10 Ben-Hesed—in Arubboth (Sokoh and all the land of Hepher were his);

11 Ben-Abinadab—in Naphoth Dor (he was married to Taphath daughter of Solomon);

12 Baana son of Ahilud—in Taanach and Megiddo, and in all of Beth Shan next to Zarethan below Jezreel, from Beth Shan to Abel Meholah across to Jokmeam;

13 Ben-Geber—in Ramoth Gilead (the settlements of Jair son of Manasseh in Gilead were his, as well as the region of Argob in Bashan and its sixty large walled cities with bronze gate bars);

14 Ahinadab son of Iddo—in Mahanaim;

15 Ahimaaz—in Naphtali (he had married Basemath daughter of Solomon);

16 Baana son of Hushai—in Asher and in Aloth;

17 Jehoshaphat son of Paruah—in Issachar;

18 Shimei son of Ela—in Benjamin;

19 Geber son of Uri—in Gilead (the country of Sihon king of the Amorites and the country of Og king of Bashan). He was the only governor over the district.

Solomon’s Daily Provisions

20 The people of Judah and Israel were as numerous as the sand on the seashore;

Genesis 22:17 (ESV)

I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore.

they ate, they drank and they were happy. 21 And Solomon ruled over all the kingdoms from the Euphrates River to the land of the Philistines, as far as the border of Egypt. These countries brought tribute and were Solomon’s subjects all his life.

map of the kingdom of Solomon

22 Solomon’s daily provisions were thirty cors (that is, five and a half tons) of the finest flour and sixty cors (that is, eleven tons) of meal, 23 ten head of stall-fed cattle, twenty of pasture-fed cattle and a hundred sheep and goats, as well as deer, gazelles, roebucks and choice fowl. 24 For he ruled over all the kingdoms west of the Euphrates River, from Tiphsah to Gaza, and had peace on all sides. 25 During Solomon’s lifetime Judah and Israel, from Dan to Beersheba, lived in safety, everyone under their own vine and under their own fig tree.

All that food! Every day was Thanksgiving!

26 Solomon had four thousand stalls for chariot horses, and twelve thousand horses.

ancient stables in Morocco

Ancient stables in Meknes, Morocco. Photo by JAR from Gdansk, Poland

 

27 The district governors, each in his month, supplied provisions for King Solomon and all who came to the king’s table. They saw to it that nothing was lacking. 28 They also brought to the proper place their quotas of barley and straw for the chariot horses and the other horses.

Solomon’s Wisdom

29 God gave Solomon wisdom and very great insight, and a breadth of understanding as measureless as the sand on the seashore. 30 Solomon’s wisdom was greater than the wisdom of all the people of the East, and greater than all the wisdom of Egypt. 31 He was wiser than anyone else, including Ethan the Ezrahite—wiser than Heman, Kalkol and Darda, the sons of Mahol. And his fame spread to all the surrounding nations. 32 He spoke three thousand proverbs and his songs numbered a thousand and five. 33 He spoke about plant life, from the cedar of Lebanon to the hyssop that grows out of walls. He also spoke about animals and birds, reptiles and fish. 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.

Islam holds Solomon in very high regard for his wisdom.  The Qur’an states that Solomon ruled not only people, but also hosts of Jinn (genies of Arabic folklore); that he was allowed to see some of the hidden glory in the world that was not accessible to most other human beings; and — that he was able to understand the language of the birds and ants. Which made it easy for me to choose the song for the day!

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is Louis Armstrong and “Talk with the Animals.”

If we could talk to the animals, just imagine it,
Chattin’ with a chimp in chimpanzee,
Imagine talking to a tiger, chatting with a cheetah,
What a neat achievement it would be!

If we could talk to the animals, learn their languages,
Maybe Take an animal degree,
We’d study elephant and eagle, buffalo and beagle,
Alligator, guinea pig, and flea!

We would converse in polar bear and python,
And we would curse in fluent kangaroo,
If people ask us, “can you speak rhinoceros?”
We’d say “of courserous! Can’t you?”

If we conferred with our furry friends, man to animal,
Think of all the things wew could discuss.
If we could walk with the animals, talk with the animals,
Grunt and squeak and squawk with the animals,
And they could talk to us!

If I consult with the quadrupeds
Think what fun we’d have,
asking for the crocodiles for tea!
Or maybe lunch with three lions, walruses and sea lions
What a lovely place the world would be!

If I spoke slang to orangutans
The advantages any fool on earth could plainly see!
Discussing Eastern art and dramas
With intellectual llamas
That’s a big step forward, you’ll agree!

We’d learn to speak in antelope and turtle
And our Pekinese would be extremely good
If we were asked to sing in hippopotamus
We’d say whynotamous? and would!

If we could walk with the animals
Talk with the animals
Grunt and squeak and squawk with the animals
And they could  talk to us!

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New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2010 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
the Reagan cabinet.   https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/9e/1981_US_Cabinet.jpg
Abraham looking at the stars.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/abraham_stars.jpg
map of Solomon’s kingdom.     http://abrahams-legacy.org/images/solomon-kingdom-map.gif
Jar photo of stables.   https://www.flickr.com/photos/jarhtc/8247978168
mosque in Malaysia.   https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/1221/9418/files/Malaysia_Mosques_02_81174bb3-7f7e-4e08-b47d-c30121f77e99.gif?10352758661559046851

1866.) 2 Chronicles 9

June 27, 2016

“Solomon and the Queen of Sheba” by Giovanni Demin (1789-1859)

2 Chronicles 9   (New Living Translation)

Visit of the Queen of Sheba

1 When the queen of Sheba heard of Solomon’s fame, she came to Jerusalem to test him with hard questions.

“Hard questions” may refer to riddles, which were a popular part of the entertainment at feasts and special occasions in the ancient world. We remember that Samson, in Judges 14, presented a riddle to his Philistine guests at his wedding; only his wife’s betrayal enabled them to guess the correct answer. 

Here are two more ancient riddles. Can you guess them? Answers are at the end of this blog entry!

1)   “At night they come without being fetched,
And by day they are lost without being stolen.”  

2)   “I never was, am always to be,
No one ever saw me, nor ever will,
And yet I am the confidence of all
Who live and breathe on this terrestrial ball.”

She arrived with a large group of attendants and a great caravan of camels loaded with spices, large quantities of gold, and precious jewels.

_________________________

Music:

“In 1931 Italian composer Ottorino Respighi (1879-1936) began the composition of the music for the epic-ballet Belkis, Regina di Saba. One of his most ambitious stage works, it employed an enormous orchestra including such unconventional instruments as sitars and wind-machines, off-stage brass, a chorus, several vocal soloists and a narrator who related the legendary story in verse. The exoticism of the biblical legend of Solomon and Sheba greatly appealed to Respighi. He emulated the melodic characteristics of ancient Hebrew songs; and stressed oriental rhythms with a vast assortment of native percussion instruments.

“The ballet tells of the journey undertaken in the year 1000 B.C. by Belkis, Queen of Sheba, in response to an imperial message from Solomon, the King of Israel. The birds and the winds had told him that he is loved from afar by this beautiful young Queen of the South so he sends for her so that he may render her great honour and homage. Belkis travels across the desert in a huge treasure-laden caravan with warriors and slaves, elephants and camels, and her union with Solomon is celebrated by tumultuous rejoicing.

“Two years later Respighi preserved the best of his opulent 80-minute score in an orchestral suite of four movements. The first movement, ‘Dream of Solomon,’ is set in Solomon’s torch-lit harem in Jerusalem. The opening music broods as he gazes at the starry skies. A solemn march, with heavy bass tread and magisterial brass and vivid oriental colouring follows. The beautiful King enters, his bearing religious and majestic, lost in profound thoughts.

“The next movement is ‘The Dance of Belkis at Dawn.’ It represents Respighi’s music at its most sensual and voluptuous — an erotic picture of Belkis, as first seen in the ballet, reclining on a ruby-studded divan of green malachite watched over by four black slaves, in the luxuriant hanging gardens of Kitor. Belkis awakens, and raising her hands to salute the light of the world, dances in barefoot honour of the newly risen sun.”

http://www.musicweb-international.com/respighi/ballet.htm

HERE  is Movement 1 — The Dream of Solomon.

HERE  is Movement 2– The Dance of Belkis at Dawn.

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When she met with Solomon, she talked with him about everything she had on her mind. 2 Solomon had answers for all her questions; nothing was too hard for him to explain to her. 3 When the queen of Sheba realized how wise Solomon was, and when she saw the palace he had built, 4she was overwhelmed.

"King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba," by Piero della Francesca

“Meeting between the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon,” by Piero della Francesca, 1460 (Basilica di San Francesco, Arezzo, Italy)

Luke 11:31   (NIV)

The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with the people of this generation and condemn them, for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom; and now one greater than Solomon is here.

She was also amazed at the food on his tables, the organization of his officials and their splendid clothing, the cup-bearers and their robes, and the burnt offerings Solomon made at the Temple of the Lord.

5 She exclaimed to the king, “Everything I heard in my country about your achievements and wisdom is true! 6 I didn’t believe what was said until I arrived here and saw it with my own eyes. In fact, I had not heard the half of your great wisdom! It is far beyond what I was told. 7 How happy your people must be! What a privilege for your officials to stand here day after day, listening to your wisdom! 8 Praise the Lord your God, who delights in you and has placed you on the throne as king to rule for him. Because God loves Israel and desires this kingdom to last forever, he has made you king over them so you can rule with justice and righteousness.”

This Queen of Sheba doll features authentic Ethiopian fabric and jewelry designs.

9 Then she gave the king a gift of 9,000 pounds of gold, great quantities of spices, and precious jewels. Never before had there been spices as fine as those the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon.

10 (In addition, the crews of Hiram and Solomon brought gold from Ophir, and they also brought red sandalwood and precious jewels. 11 The king used the sandalwood to make steps for the Temple of the Lord and the royal palace, and to construct lyres and harps for the musicians. Never before had such beautiful things been seen in Judah.)

12 King Solomon gave the queen of Sheba whatever she asked for—gifts of greater value than the gifts she had given him. Then she and all her attendants returned to their own land.

"Solomon and the Queen of Sheba," by Konrad Witz, 1434 (Kunstmuseum Basel, Basel, Switzerland)

“Solomon and the Queen of Sheba,” by Konrad Witz, 1434 (Kunstmuseum Basel, Basel, Switzerland)

Solomon’s Wealth and Splendor

13 Each year Solomon received about 25 tons of gold.

2 Chronicles 9:13   (English Standard Version)

Now the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was 666 talents of gold.

This is a vast amount of gold, which came to Solomon yearly. One commentator sets the value of the 666 talents of gold at $281,318,400. This speaks not only to the great wealth of Solomon, but it also makes him the only other person in the Bible associated with the number 666.

 The other Biblical connection to 666 is the end-times world dictator and opponent of God and His people often known as the Antichrist (Revelation 13:18). In fact, the Revelation passage specifically says that the number 666 is the number of a man, and the man may be Solomon.

 This isn’t to say that Solomon was the Antichrist or that the coming Antichrist will be some weird reincarnation of Solomon. But it may indicate that the Antichrist may not be someone purely evil from the very beginning. Instead, he may be like Solomon — a good man corrupted.

–David Guzik

14This did not include the additional revenue he received from merchants and traders. All the kings of Arabia and the governors of the provinces also brought gold and silver to Solomon.

15 King Solomon made 200 large shields of hammered gold, each weighing more than 15 pounds. 16 He also made 300 smaller shields of hammered gold, each weighing more than 7½ pounds. The king placed these shields in the Palace of the Forest of Lebanon.

A model of the ceremonial gold shield of Achilles, the Greek hero of the Trojan War and the central character in Homer’s “Iliad.”  Beautiful! — but only for show.  Gold is too heavy and too soft to be useful as a shield in battle.

17 Then the king made a huge throne, decorated with ivory and overlaid with pure gold. 18 The throne had six steps, with a footstool of gold. There were armrests on both sides of the seat, and the figure of a lion stood on each side of the throne. 19 There were also twelve other lions, one standing on each end of the six steps. No other throne in all the world could be compared with it!

20 All of King Solomon’s drinking cups were solid gold, as were all the utensils in the Palace of the Forest of Lebanon. They were not made of silver, for silver was considered worthless in Solomon’s day!

21 The king had a fleet of trading ships manned by the sailors sent by Hiram. Once every three years the ships returned, loaded with gold, silver, ivory, apes, and peacocks.

Do you remember the first time you saw a real live peacock fan its tail feathers?  Imagine that moment for Solomon and the other Israelites!

22 So King Solomon became richer and wiser than any other king on earth. 23 Kings from every nation came to consult him and to hear the wisdom God had given him. 24 Year after year everyone who visited brought him gifts of silver and gold, clothing, weapons, spices, horses, and mules.

25 Solomon had 4,000 stalls for his horses and chariots, and he had 12,000 horses. He stationed some of them in the chariot cities, and some near him in Jerusalem. 26 He ruled over all the kings from the Euphrates River in the north to the land of the Philistines and the border of Egypt in the south. 27 The king made silver as plentiful in Jerusalem as stone. And valuable cedar timber was as common as the sycamore-fig trees that grow in the foothills of Judah. 28 Solomon’s horses were imported from Egypt and many other countries.

King Solomon:  Wealthy?  Yes.  Important?  Yes.  Obedient to God?  No.

Deuteronomy 17:14-20   (NIV)

The King

When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving you and have taken possession of it and settled in it, and you say, “Let us set a king over us like all the nations around us,”  be sure to appoint over you the king the LORD your God chooses. He must be from among your own people. Do not place a foreigner over you, one who is not an Israelite.  The king, moreover, must not acquire great numbers of horses for himself or make the people return to Egypt to get more of them, for the LORD has told you, “You are not to go back that way again.” He must not take many wives, or his heart will be led astray. He must not accumulate large amounts of silver and gold.

When he takes the throne of his kingdom, he is to write for himself on a scroll a copy of this law, taken from that of the Levitical priests.  It is to be with him, and he is to read it all the days of his life so that he may learn to revere the LORD his God and follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees  and not consider himself better than his fellow Israelites and turn from the law to the right or to the left. Then he and his descendants will reign a long time over his kingdom in Israel.

Summary of Solomon’s Reign

29 The rest of the events of Solomon’s reign, from beginning to end, are recorded in The Record of Nathan the Prophet, and The Prophecy of Ahijah from Shiloh, and also in The Visions of Iddo the Seer, concerning Jeroboam son of Nebat. 30 Solomon ruled in Jerusalem over all Israel for forty years. 31 When he died, he was buried in the City of David, named for his father. Then his son Rehoboam became the next king.

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Riddles:   1) stars   and   2) tomorrow.

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New Living Translation (NLT)   Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Demin.    http://www.artrenewal.org/pages/artwork.php?artworkid=10389&size=large
riddle – question.    http://triplecrownleadership.com/assets/Stick-Figure-in-Question-Mark.jpg
doll.     http://www.ethidolls.com/site_images/fullMakeda.jpg
Witz.   http://www.wikiart.org/en/konrad-witz/king-solomon-and-the-queen-of-sheba?utm_source=returned&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=referral
gold shield.     https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/achilles-gold-shield-flaxmanshield.gif
peacock.     http://www.itsnature.org/wp-content/uploads/2008/02/peacock-baby.jpg
Egyptian horse.   http://media.photobucket.com/image/horses%20from%20Egypt/etc_trvl/festival/ed1abcb805547ac4daad1fd7614ccd76.jpg

1865.) Psalm 95

June 24, 2016

Psalm 95 (New International Version)

A call to exuberant praise to the Lord!

1 Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD;
let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
2 Let us come before him with thanksgiving

Thanksgiving:  A “confession, praise” of God’s character and works. The verb is used to express one’s public proclamation or declaration (confession) of God’s attributes and his works.

–Ralph F. Wilson (and all following in green)

and extol him with music and song.

Ps95 created

The reason to praise — the Lord’s greatness as Creator and King!

3 For the LORD is the great God,
the great King above all gods.
4 In his hand are the depths of the earth,
and the mountain peaks belong to him.
5 The sea is his, for he made it,
and his hands formed the dry land.

Ps95 sheep

A call to bow down in humble worship before our God our Shepherd!

6 Come, let us bow down in worship,
let us kneel before the LORD our Maker;
7 for he is our God
and we are the people of his pasture,
the flock under his care.

We worship, we bow down, because we recognize both God’s ownership of us and his responsibility to care for us. As Jesus put it, he is not a hireling, but the owner of the sheep. Therefore, he is willing to lay down his life for the sheep — and did! He is the Shepherd, we are the sheep, the flock. He cares for us.

Ps95 obey

A warning and exhortation to obey the Lord!

Today, if only you would hear his voice,
8Do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah,
as you did that day at Massah in the wilderness,
9 where your ancestors tested me;
they tried me, though they had seen what I did.
10 For forty years I was angry with that generation;
I said, ‘They are a people whose hearts go astray,
and they have not known my ways.’
11 So I declared on oath in my anger,
‘They shall never enter my rest.’”

Why did the psalmist insert this warning right after high praise and prostrate submission in Psalm 95? The topic of the psalm is worship. His point is that worship not only consists of praise, thanksgiving, and outward submission, but also submissive hearts before the Lord. This is not an outward worship, but inward. Too often our worship is empty words, rather than a submissive spirit full of faith in God and a readiness to obey him. The Apostle Paul reminds us:

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” (Romans 12:1)

The way we live our lives comprises our worship of God, not just what we say with our mouths on “worship days.”

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Music:

Psalm 95 is a favorite for singers and composers!

HERE  is the oldest piece offered to you today, “Venite, exultemus Domino,” by William Byrd, an English composer of the Renaissance, 1607.

HERE  the psalm is put to music by the Sons of Korah, an Australian folk band.

HERE  is John Michael Talbot and “Come Worship the Lord.”

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New International Version (NIV)   Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
Psalm 95:1.   http://oneyearbibleimages.com/psalm95_1.jpg
Psalm 95:3-4.   http://kellydavenport.zenfolio.com/img/s/v-3/p587217046-3.jpg
Psalm 95:6-7.     http://www.xarisxpressions.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Psalms-9567.jpg
obey.    https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/d1/70/08/d17008d7307ad9dd79c2643b8943c582.jpg

1864.) 1 Kings 10

June 23, 2016

In December 1959 Hollywood released the movie “Solomon and Sheba,” starring the Italian actress Gina Lollobrigida and a young Yul Brynner.

1 Kings 10   (New International Version)

The Queen of Sheba Visits Solomon

1 When the queen of Sheba

Ancient Sabea is modern-day Yemen.

heard about the fame of Solomon and his relationship to the LORD, she came to test Solomon with hard questions. 2 Arriving at Jerusalem with a very great caravan—with camels carrying spices, large quantities of gold, and precious stones—

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Music:

HERE  is “The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba”  from the oratorio Solomon (written in 1749) by George Frideric Handel.

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she came to Solomon and talked with him about all that she had on her mind. 3 Solomon answered all her questions; nothing was too hard for the king to explain to her.

“The hard questions were not just riddles, but included difficult diplomatic and ethical questions . . . The test was not an academic exercise but to see if he would be a trustworthy business party and a reliable ally capable of giving help.”

–Donald J. Wiseman

4 When the queen of Sheba saw all the wisdom of Solomon and the palace he had built, 5 the food on his table, the seating of his officials, the attending servants in their robes, his cupbearers, and the burnt offerings he made at the temple of the LORD, she was overwhelmed.

1K10 rose_bee

Solomon and the Bees

by John Godfrey Saxe

When Solomon was reigning in his glory,
Unto his throne the Queen of Sheba came;
(So in the Talmud you may read the story)
Drawn by the magic of the monarch’s fame,
To see the splendours of his court, and bring
Some fitting tribute to the mighty King.

Nor this alone:  much had Her Highness heard
What flowers of learning graced the royal speech;
What gems of wisdom dropped with every word;
What wholesome lessons he was wont to teach
In pleasing proverbs; and she wished in sooth
To know if rumor spake the simple truth.

Besides, the Queen had heard (which piqued her most)
How through the deepest riddle he could spy;
How all the curious arts which women boast
Were quite transparent to his piercing eye;
And so the Queen had come—a royal guest—
To put the Sage’s cunning to the test.

And straight she held before the monarch’s view
In either hand a radiant wealth of flowers;
The one, bedeckt with every charming hue,
Was newly culled from Nature’s choicest bowers.
The other, no less fair in every part,
Was the rare product of divinest art.

“Which is the true, and which the false?” she said.
Great Solomon was silent.  All amazed,
Each wondering courtier shook his puzzled head;
While at the garlands long the Monarch gazed,
As one who sees a miracle, and fain,
For very rapture ne’er would speak again.

“Which is the true?”  Once more the woman asked,
Pleased at the fond amazement of the King;
“So wise a head is scarcely to be tasked,
Most learned Liege, with such a trivial thing!”
But still the Sage was silent; it was plain
A deep’ning doubt perplexed his royal brain.

While thus he pondered, presently he sees,
Close by the casement—so the story goes—
A little band of busy bustling bees,
Hunting for honey in a withered rose.
The monarch smiled, and raised his royal head:
“Open the window!”—that was all he said.

The window opened at the King’s command.
Within the room the eager insects flew
And sought the flowers in Sheba’s out-stretched hand;
And so the King and all the courtiers knew
That wreath was Nature’s—and the baffled Queen
Returned to tell the wonders she had seen.

My story teaches (every tale should bear
A fitting moral) that the wise may find,
In trifles light as atoms of the air,
Some useful lesson to enrich the mind—
Some truth designed to profit or to please—
As Israel’s King learned wisdom from the bees.

*                *               *

6 She said to the king, “The report I heard in my own country about your achievements and your wisdom is true. 7 But I did not believe these things until I came and saw with my own eyes. Indeed, not even half was told me; in wisdom and wealth you have far exceeded the report I heard. 8 How happy your people must be! How happy your officials, who continually stand before you and hear your wisdom! 9 Praise be to the LORD your God, who has delighted in you and placed you on the throne of Israel. Because of the LORD’s eternal love for Israel, he has made you king to maintain justice and righteousness.”

10 And she gave the king 120 talents (that is, four and a half tons) of gold, large quantities of spices, and precious stones. Never again were so many spices brought in as those the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon.

Isaiah 60:5-7 (NLT)

Your eyes will shine,
and your heart will thrill with joy,
for merchants from around the world will come to you.
They will bring you the wealth of many lands.
Vast caravans of camels will converge on you,
the camels of Midian and Ephah.
The people of Sheba will bring gold and frankincense
and will come worshiping the Lord.
The flocks of Kedar will be given to you,
and the rams of Nebaioth will be brought for my altars.
I will accept their offerings,
and I will make my Temple glorious.

In Christian iconography, Solomon represents Jesus and Sheba represents the gentile Church. Thus Sheba’s meeting with Solomon bearing rich gifts foreshadows the adoration of the Magi.

11 (Hiram’s ships brought gold from Ophir; and from there they brought great cargoes of almugwood and precious stones. 12 The king used the almugwood to make supports for the temple of the LORD and for the royal palace, and to make harps and lyres for the musicians. So much almugwood has never been imported or seen since that day.)

13 King Solomon gave the queen of Sheba all she desired and asked for, besides what he had given her out of his royal bounty. Then she left and returned with her retinue to her own country.

The Queen of Sheba, painted by Rita Ria

 

Many traditions point to the Queen of Sheba as a black woman.

1K10 map Ethiopia

And here is another interesting tradition! A large part of the history of Ethiopia is centered on the legend of the Queen of Sheba of Ethiopia and King Solomon of Israel. Many Ethiopians believe that the relationship between Sheba and Solomon resulted to a son who founded the Solomonic Dynasty in Aksum. Read more  HERE.

Solomon’s Splendor

14 The weight of the gold that Solomon received yearly was 666 talents (that is 25 tons), 15 not including the revenues from merchants and traders and from all the Arabian kings and the governors of the territories.

16 King Solomon made two hundred large shields of hammered gold; six hundred shekels (that is, 15 tons) of gold went into each shield. 17 He also made three hundred small shields of hammered gold, with three minas (that is, three and three-fourth pounds) of gold in each shield. The king put them in the Palace of the Forest of Lebanon.

a model of the ceremonial gold shield of Achilles, the Greek hero of the Trojan War and the central character in Homer’s “Iliad”

These were display models only. Gold is too heavy and too soft to be useful as a shield in battle.

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. 22 The king had a fleet of trading ships at sea along with the ships of Hiram. Once every three years it returned, carrying gold, silver and ivory, and apes and baboons.

23 King Solomon was greater in riches and wisdom than all the other kings of the earth. 24 The whole world sought audience with Solomon to hear the wisdom God had put in his heart. 25 Year after year, everyone who came brought a gift—articles of silver and gold, robes, weapons and spices, and horses and mules.

26 Solomon accumulated chariots and horses; he had fourteen hundred chariots and twelve thousand horses, which he kept in the chariot cities and also with him in Jerusalem. 27 The king made silver as common in Jerusalem as stones, and cedar as plentiful as sycamore-fig trees in the foothills. 28 Solomon’s horses were imported from Egypt and from Kue—the royal merchants purchased them from Kue at the current price. 29 They imported a chariot from Egypt for six hundred shekels of silver, and a horse for a hundred and fifty (that is, three and three-fourth pounds). They also exported them to all the kings of the Hittites and of the Arameans.

When we think of Solomon’s great wealth, we also consider that he originally did not set his heart upon riches. He deliberately asked for wisdom to lead the people of God instead of riches or fame. God promised to also give Solomon riches and fame, and God fulfilled His promise.

We also consider that Solomon gave an eloquent testimony to the vanity of riches as the preacher in the Book of Ecclesiastes. He powerfully showed that there was no ultimate satisfaction through materialism. We don’t have to be as rich as Solomon to learn the same lesson.

–David Guzik

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New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2010 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
Solomon and Sheba.   http://lh6.ggpht.com/-jo8GFdMEL0g/TjpmvFtz3xI/AAAAAAAAdJQ/7ikJ6B84fZQ/movie_queen_of_sheba2_thumb3.jpg?imgmax=800
bee on a wild rose.    https://deborahsmall.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/rose_bee_xcu_8643.jpg
the three kings and their offerings of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.   http://bridlington.seasidevoices.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/417-801.jpg
Ria.    http://img14.deviantart.net/f5b8/i/2015/127/d/d/queen_of_sheba_by_rita_ria-dre14r.jpg
map of Ethiopia.    http://ichef-1.bbci.co.uk/news/304/media/images/87044000/gif/_87044077_c4e4781e-48f6-44fd-8971-f157bad9d748.gif
gold shield of Achilles.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/achilles-gold-shield-flaxmanshield.gif
horse in Egypt.    http://media.photobucket.com/image/horses%20from%20Egypt/etc_trvl/festival/ed1abcb805547ac4daad1fd7614ccd76.jpg

1863.) 2 Chronicles 8

June 22, 2016

David and Solomon at dinner when Sol was in high school .

2 Chronicles 8   (New Living Translation)

Solomon’s Many Achievements

1 It took Solomon twenty years to build the Lord’s Temple and his own royal palace.

Bob the Builder? Not in this chapter! SOLOMON the Builder! He energetically settled new cities and built storage cities, fortifications, chariot cities, and cities of the cavalry.

At the end of that time, 2Solomon turned his attention to rebuilding the towns that King Hiram had given him, and he settled Israelites in them.

A problem comes in reconciling the mention of the cities that Hiram gave to Solomon, because 1 Kings 9:11-14 indicates that they were given by Solomon to Hiram. “While textual disturbance is possible, it seems more probable that they had been returned to Solomon, either because they were unacceptable (1 Kings 9:12-13) or because they had been collateral for a loan (1 Kings 9:14).” (Selman)

–David Guzik

3 Solomon also fought against the town of Hamath-zobah and conquered it. 4 He rebuilt Tadmor in the wilderness and built towns in the region of Hamath as supply centers. 5 He fortified the towns of Upper Beth-horon and Lower Beth-horon, rebuilding their walls and installing barred gates. 6 He also rebuilt Baalath and other supply centers and constructed towns where his chariots and horses could be stationed. He built everything he desired in Jerusalem and Lebanon and throughout his entire realm.

7 There were still some people living in the land who were not Israelites, including the Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. 8 These were descendants of the nations whom the people of Israel had not destroyed. So Solomon conscripted them for his labor force, and they serve in the labor force to this day. 9 But Solomon did not conscript any of the Israelites for his labor force. Instead, he assigned them to serve as fighting men, officers in his army, commanders of his chariots, and charioteers. 10 King Solomon appointed 250 of them to supervise the people.

Solomon used the people of neighboring conquered nations as slave labor in his building projects. Israelites were used in the building of the temple and the king’s palace, but usually as the overseers of the forced labor.

11 Solomon moved his wife, Pharaoh’s daughter, from the City of David to the new palace he had built for her. He said, “My wife must not live in King David’s palace, for the Ark of the Lord has been there, and it is holy ground.”

“To build a house for Pharaoh’s daughter outside the Holy City is to open its gates sooner or later to Pharaoh’s gods.”

–G. Campbell Morgan (English evangelist and scholar, died in 1945)

12 Then Solomon presented burnt offerings to the Lord on the altar he had built for him in front of the entry room of the Temple. 13 He offered the sacrifices for the Sabbaths, the new moon festivals, and the three annual festivals—the Passover celebration, the Festival of Harvest, and the Festival of Shelters—as Moses had commanded.

14 In assigning the priests to their duties, Solomon followed the regulations of his father, David. He also assigned the Levites to lead the people in praise and to assist the priests in their daily duties. And he assigned the gatekeepers to their gates by their divisions, following the commands of David, the man of God. 15 Solomon did not deviate in any way from David’s commands concerning the priests and Levites and the treasuries.

16 So Solomon made sure that all the work related to building the Temple of the Lord was carried out, from the day its foundation was laid to the day of its completion.

2Chron8 keep-on

After reading much in these chapters prior about the extraordinary celebration as the temple was dedicated, this portion brings us round to the on-going regular worship. No community can exist on great occasions alone. The temple was built to be the center of routine worship for Israel. Solomon is meticulous and makes sure all the ordinary, daily activities are done correctly. This orderly organization was a reflection of his great wisdom and an answer to his prayer for help in leading the kingdom of Israel (1 Kings 3).

So much of our lives is lived in the routine! Up — work — home — dinner — bed. Yet even in these “days of small things” (Zechariah 4:10), our hearts can be praising and thanking God for the blessings of the day, and we can be witnessing to those in our circle of influence about the kindness of our Lord Jesus.

“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”
—Mother Teresa

17 Later Solomon went to Ezion-geber and Elath, ports along the shore of the Red Sea in the land of Edom. 18 Hiram sent him ships commanded by his own officers and manned by experienced crews of sailors. These ships sailed to Ophir with Solomon’s men and brought back to Solomon almost seventeen tons of gold.

A Phoenician ship from the general era of Solomon.

This is new for Israel. Although we think of their land as bordering the Mediterranean, ancient Israelites were not known as sailors or sea faring people. That skill belonged to the Phoenicians. Ezion-geber and Elath have often been identified as ports at the north end of the Gulf of Aqaba; from there ships could sail to the Red Sea and beyond. Modern scholars are uncertain as to the location of Ophir and all its gold.

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Music:

HERE.  This song was popular in Israel during Solomon’s building phase!  Maybe it can encourage us today!

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New Living Translation (NLT)   Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
most likely to succeed cartoon.    http://www.cartoonstock.com/newscartoons/cartoonists/kmh/lowres/kmhn325l.jpg
Bob the Builder.     http://www.infobarrel.com/media/image/15873.jpg
Keep on.    http://skinnywrapgirls.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/keep-on-keepin-on.jpg
Phoenician ship.    http://www.kidspast.com/images/Phoenician-ship.jpg