Wednesday, May 06, 2009

1 Sam 11-12; Acts 16:35-17:15

1 Samuel 11-12

In ch 11, Saul proves his qualifications as king by victory in battle. Thus, as the monarchy is established in Israel, there is a four-fold series that proves the king. The first step is private anointing by a prophet. The second step is public acclamation. The third step is proof in battle. The fourth is proof in godliness. The first three steps are accomplished at the beginning of his reign, as here in chs 9-11 with Saul. The fourth is established over time. Hence, at the end of ch 11, there is the public acceptance of Saul as the first king of Israel at Gilgal. The events of ch 11 take us back to the entry into the land under Joshua (Josh 5), and provide a stark contrast with the events of Judges 19-21. In the latter, Israel fell into civil war through their sin, and almost destroyed one of the tribes. In 1 Sam 9-11, a man from the tribe that was almost destroyed brings Israel together once again in successful warfare against its enemies.

Ch 12 brings the cycle of judges to an end and starts the monarchy, with Samuel handing over his leadership to Saul. Though the people sinfully demanded a king, Samuel assures them that if they will remain faithful, the monarchy will not be to their evil, but God will be pleased to use it for their good. This call to faithfulness Samuel ties into the history of Israel up to this point, from Egypt through the time of the judges. The chapter ends with both the promise and the warning that is characteristic of the prophetic ministry.

Acts 16:35-17:15

This section shows first Paul's demand that justice be observed in the Philippian treatment of him and Silas. It also introduces the direct and forceful opposition from the Jews that then follows them into Thessalonica, Berea, and Athens. This material also includes one of my favorite phrases from the KJV (17:5): certain lewd fellows of the baser sort." None of the modern translations can compare to that for being clear, forceful, and funny all at the same time.

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