January 12, 2012

The Bible - Part II

It’s been a while since I posted on my Bible progress. Never fear; I have not been slacking. I just finished what is labeled as the Historical Books in my Bible: Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings, 1 and 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther.

Very briefly, this part of the Bible tells about the time from the death of Moses, through the split of Israel into two kingdoms, through the downfall of Israel and the peoples’ capture by King Nebuchadnezzar, to the return of the Jews to Israel and the rebuilding of Jerusalem. Phew!

These books really are historical. They are also a little repetitive, so I read about the same events a couple of times. When you’re reading it from the comfort of your 21st century bedroom it’s hard to see why the kings kept ignoring God’s will when every time they did really bad things happened. Then somebody would reform and really good things would happen. Then that person’s son would be all, “Things are great! I don’t need God.” Then bad things would happen again.

I found it sort of interesting that after the detail with which we went over the rule of every king, the time the Jews were in captivity in Babylon was skipped over. We don’t really catch up with them until God relents and sends them back. I wonder if this will be touched on in some other part of the Bible, or if maybe during this time the Jews were so scattered that nothing really was written.

Considering how bad a job the Jews did following the rules set down by Moses, it’s sort of amazing that there are any Jews even left by the time they come back to Jerusalem. Even at that point, Ezra and Nehemiah do a lot of house cleaning and get rid of foreign wives and such. (I thought that was rather harsh. Couldn’t they convert?) Perhaps it shows that God is very patient.

The Book of Esther actually made me a little sad because I felt like it was a foreshadowing of all the hate and genocide that would be directed at the Jews for centuries to come. It seems like they are one group that just attracts hate. One religion book I read suggested that it’s because the Jewish faith creates tightly knit groups that tend to be economically successful and also exclusive. They are looked on with jealous eyes by the majority. Whatever the case, I was glad they were spared and then immediately saddened that they took the opportunity to kill 75,000 people. Very Old Testament of them.

I’m now up to the Poetical and Wisdom Books: Psalms, Song of Solomon, Lamentations, Job, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes. These seem like they might be slightly more exciting.

As always, I fully admit to being a Bible novice and gladly welcome any advice or explanations if I’ve missed something.

1 comment:

  1. Esther was my favorite book of the Bible when I was little. I was so encouraged by the faith and courage Esther had "for such a time as this." As I got older, I started to see it the way you did. So sad that their reaction was to kill a bunch of people after this huge blessing from God. Very confusing. So glad you have made it so far! These next few books should read a little more quickly for you!


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