We've arrived at the narrative of the different kings of Judah (which now includes the smaller tribe of Benjamin) and the kings of Israel (consisting of the 10 other tribes, sometimes called the Northern Kingdom). The kings on Israel’s side changed more rapidly and were 100% bad, while there was a mixed record among the kings of Judah. It will help your understanding to observe the section headings (which I normally do not read), and to try to remember which kingdom is being talked about. Note in yesterday's reading how prophecy was fulfilled again and again. And although Baasha fulfilled the murderous prophecy against the house of Jeroboam, in chapter 16 verse 7, in God’s view the murders he committed were still counted against Baasha as sin. God’s sovereignty and omniscience do not conflict with our own personal responsibility for sin.
Psalm 120 is the first of the Songs of Ascent. The HCSB Study Bible says this about the Songs of Ascent:
These psalms were designed for pilgrimage processions to celebrate seasonal feasts in Jerusalem. The hymns contain numerous references to Jerusalem or Zion, the temple, Israel, peace, and adversity. The 15 songs, adapted from ancient hymns heralding the blessings and salvation of Zion, may have been sung on the 15 steps leading up to the temple.
Ever since I was in high school this has been my favorite chapter of the Bible. This dates from the time that I found a track from the American Bible Society in the rack in the foyer of our church. So in Indonesia also, I have made this chapter into a little book containing our translation. I like giving this chapter out to people I meet. Why? It is not because it answers people’s questions. It is because this chapter makes people ask the most important questions.
GNT Translation note:
1Kings 18:31 He took twelve stones, one for each of the twelve tribes named [after//for] the sons of Jacob, the man to whom the Lord had given the name Israel.
John 9:7 and told him, “Go and wash your face in the Pool of Siloam.” ([The name of the pool//This name] means “Sent.”) So the man went, washed his face, and came back seeing.
22 His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jewish authorities, who had already agreed that anyone who said he believed that Jesus was the Messiah would be expelled from the synagogue[s].
34 They answered, “You were born and brought up in sin—and you are trying to teach us?” And they expelled him from the synagogue[s].
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