The Bible in a Year – 27 September

If this is your first viewing, please see my Introduction before reading this.

27 September 2017. 2 Chronicles chapters 8-10

Chapter 9 records the extent to which Solomon became not only wise, but rich and powerful.  The written record makes no apologies in explaining that he achieved this at least in part by enslaving the remaining indigenous people in the land, and conquering adjoining territories.  The following chapter shows how, soon after his death, most of his own people ‘came out’ to complain about how he had ruled them harshly, too, and they rebelled against the rule of his son Rehoboam who stated his intent to rule even more harshly.

The visit of the Queen of Sheba is an interesting tale.  Her name is never given in the few biblical accounts of her visit, but she is apparently also mentioned in the Koran, and it is believed that even if the queen herself is a mythical figure, Sheba may refer to the Sabean kingdom in what is now Yemen (today a very poor country, rather than a rich one).

The royal visit, be it mythical or historical, was for several purposes.  The queen is said to have come to test Solomon’s wisdom, and was impressed by it.  She was also impressed by his wealth; and yet brought large amounts of gold as a gift, that Solomon certainly did not need, and probably far more even than would have been customary for a state visit.  This suggests that she actually feared her country being taken over by the growing kingdom of Israel/Judah, and was actually paying a heavy tribute to avoid this – protection money, you might say.

So although Solomon is remembered mainly as a good and wise ruler, it is clear even from accounts that you might expect to be favourable (having found their way into the Jewish and Christian scriptures) his approach to governing was not welcomed by the people of his day, nor would his actions be seen as acceptable by most people today.  His wisdom may have been a gift from God, but he misused it in failing to rule justly.


The Bible in a Year – 10 April

If this is your first viewing, please see my Introduction before reading this.

10 April. 2 Samuel chapters 19-21

There is a lot in these few chapters, in which David’s fortunes wax and wane.  It is no wonder that by the time of the several battles against the Philistine ‘giants’ in chapter 21, which must have reminded him of his own defeat of Goliath when he was much younger, David ‘grows weary’ and is advised no longer to take on active military service. All those who have been energetic in youth must sooner or later recognise that their sporting or  fighting days are over and they must find fulfilment in other ways.


Along the way, we see once again David’s genius for reconciliation, making peace with Shimei who not long ago had opposed him, as well as rewarding loyal supporters.  But in the argument between the men of Judah and those of the other ten tribes about who was most loyal to David, we see the beginnings of the split between the ‘north’ and ‘south’ that would come to dominate the next few centuries.


Between these two incidents comes the brief rebellion of Sheba, another failed coup attempt in which heavy casualties on both sides are avoided by the cunning of one unnamed woman of Abel, who persuades the besieging army commander Joab that having someone inside the city to murder Sheba and prove it by giving up his head, would be better than holding out against the siege.  This is far from the first time in the Bible that a woman has been key to stopping a conflict.