David tells Solomon to walk in the ways of the Lord and keep his decrees so that he may prosper. He tells Solomon to deal with Joab, Barzillai of Gilead, and Shimei accordingly. Then he died. Adonijah asked Bathsheba to ask Solomon for Abishag to be his wife (David’s concubine). He refused and had Adonijah put to death. Solomon banished Abiathar the priest, killed Joab despite fleeing to the tent of the Lord for protection, and killed Shimei after he disobeyed him and left the city.
Summary of 1 Chronicles 29:21-25:
All of Israel celebrated the coronation of King Solomon in place of David. They sacrificed to the Lord and ate and drank. The Lord exalted Solomon and bestowed on him royal splendor as no king in Israel had had before.
BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 23, Day 5: 1 Kings 2 with 1 Chronicles 29:21-25:
12) Be strong, observe God’s ways, keep God’s decrees, commandments, laws, and requirements, and use wisdom with dealing with Joab, Barzillai, and Shimei.
13) Personal Question. My answer. This question is too broad because every situation is different. Mainly if the counsel is good or not in your eyes and God’s.
14) Part personal Question. My answer: Solomon had bestowed on him royal splendor as no king in Israel ever had. God answers in his own time about work to do. God provides way to accomplish His work.
Conclusions BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 23 Day 5: 1 Kings 2 with 1 Chronicles 29:21-25:
A great example of a peaceful transfer of power like in the United States — something very rare in ancient times when battles mostly decided succession. Solomon is set up for success.
End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 23, Day 5: 1 Kings 2 with 1 Chronicles 29:21-25:
Commentary 1 Kings 2:
Be strong and prove yourself a man: The same expression was used by the Philistines in 1 Samuel 4:9 as they encouraged one another in their battle against what they assumed to be insurmountable odds.
No matter what the Assyrians or the Egyptians or the Babylonians did, as long as David’s sons were obedient and followed God with their heart and with all their soul, God would establish their kingdom. He would take care of the rest.
TAKE AWAY: God promises that if we put Him first, He will take care of the rest.
Joab in the Bible
Joab is one of the more complex characters of the Old Testament. He was fiercely loyal to David, yet not strongly obedient. He disobeyed David when he thought it was in David’s best interest, and he was cunning and ruthless in furthering his own position.
David didn’t mention Joab’s killing of Absalom, which David commanded him not to do (2 Samuel 18). Perhaps by this time David recognized that Absalom did in fact have to die for his treason and attempted murder against David.
David vowed that he would not kill the obnoxious rebel Shimei (2 Samuel 16:5-13). It was right for David to keep his vow, but it was also right for him to make sure that Shimei received justice without David breaking his vow.
The death of King David
David rested with his fathers, which was a phrase that become common throughout 1 and 2 Kings to describe the passing of a king from this world. Truly, David passed from this life to eternal rest and reward.
So ended the earthly life of one of the greatest men ever to walk the earth. So he died in a good old age, full of days and riches and honor. (1 Chronicles 29:28) “Of his adultery and murder we hear not a word, because he had made a thorough peace with God for those sins in his lifetime” (Trapp).
“David was a shepherd, a soldier, an outlaw, a king, a fugitive, a sinner, a saint, a poet… His experiences were the writing of God on his life, making him into a man after God’s own heart.” (Redpath)
“In general David lived well, and it is most evident that he died well; and as a king, a general, a poet, a father, and a friend, he has had few equals, and no superior, from his own time to the present day.” (Clarke)
The tomb of David
The tomb of David was known in the time of Jesus and the apostles, according to Acts 2:29. Afterwards, the Christian writer Jerome speaks of it being known in his time. What is currently known in Jerusalem as David’s Tomb is almost certainly not the genuine one that was known in ancient times.
“According to 2 Kings 11:10, David’s weapons were preserved as relics in the sanctuary, while, according to Josephus, other representative treasures of his reign were buried with him in his tomb.” (Dilday)
Solomon as king was the fulfillment of the promise made to David in 2 Samuel 7:12-16. That promise was ultimately fulfilled in Jesus, the Son of David; but it also had a definite and partial fulfillment in Solomon.
Adonijah in the Bible
Adonijah had reason to wish revenge on Bathsheba since it was Nathan and Bathsheba who warned King David of Adonijah’s attempt for the throne.
In 2 Samuel 16:20-23 Absalom, the brother of Adonijah, asserted his rebellious claim on David’s throne by taking David’s concubines unto himself. Adonijah wants to declare a claim to Solomon’s throne by taking David’s widowed concubine as his wife.
Among the ancient Persians and Arabs, the new king took the harem of the previous king.
Bathsheba agreed to take Adonijah’s request, so Solomon would know Adonijah was still working against him.
Abiathar in the Bible
Abiathar deserved death because he supported Adonijah as the next king, in defiance of the will of God and the will of King David (1 Kings 1:7). This was treason against both God and the King of Israel.
Solomon showed mercy and wisdom to Abiathar by sparing Abiathar’s life because of his past standing as a chief priest and supporter of David.
This refers to the prophecies found in 1 Samuel 2:27-36 and 1 Samuel 3:11-14. In removing Abiathar from the priesthood, Solomon, without direct intention, fulfilled the promise of judgment against the house of Eli, made some 100 years before Solomon took the throne.
Solomon breaks no rules in killing Joab at the altar. But if a man acts with premeditation against his neighbor, to kill him by treachery, you shall take him from My altar, that he may die(Exodus 21:14)
Shimei died out of pure forgetfulness and fault on his part by disobeying Solomon.
Solomon’s throne was secure at an early date, not like the reign of David or Saul. Saul and David had faced a measure of suspicion or opposition from their own countrymen; both had met this problem with resolute action, coupled with understanding and leniency. Solomon, however, eliminated his potential enemies swiftly and ruthlessly.
Commentary 1 Chronicles 29:21-25:
This was a special day, probably celebrated after the death of David when Solomon formally took the throne and after the rebellion of Adonijah had been defeated (1 Kings 1-2) and the private coronation had been held (1 Kings 1:32-40)
On the throne of the Lord, i.e. on the throne of Israel, which is called the throne of the Lord, either more generally, as all thrones are the Lord’s, by whom kings reign, Proverbs 8:15
David has paved the way for Solomon to have such splendor.
David escaped Gath and went to a cave of Adullam. All the misfits of the world heard of his plight and how he was there, so they all gathered around him — about 400 in total.
Then David went to Mizpah in Moab and asked the king if his father and mother could come and stay with him until he know what God would do with him, which the king agreed. However, the prophet Gad told David to go to Judah, so David went to the forest of Hereth.
Saul learns of David’s whereabouts and takes officials to the tree of Gibeah. He rants about how everyone has conspired against him — even his own son (Jonathan) made a covenant with David. It’s a pity party to say the least.
Doeg the Edomite (1 Samuel 21:7) tattles that he saw David go to Ahimelech the priest at Nob who gave David provisions and Goliath’s sword. Saul sends for the priest and his family and asks him why he conspired against him. Ahimelech said he merely did what he was asked, knowing nothing of the inner workings of politics between them. David is a loyal servant to the king. Why wouldn’t he inquire of the Lord for him?
Saul orders the priests killed because, in his mind, they conspired against him as well. The officials refused, but Doeg agreed to do it. 85 priests were killed and Nob was destroyed — all who lived inside it.
One priest escaped named Abiathar. He fled to David and told him what happened. David felt responsible for the deaths and promised to protect Abiathar.
Summary Psalm 52:
Written about Doeg, David is angry, but knows God is just and will deal with Doeg. He knows Doeg is a disgrace and evil, God will bring him down, and the righteous will know God is not his stronghold. David trusts in God’s unfailing love, praising Him and hoping in Him.
BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 13, Day 3: 1 Samuel 22 and Psalm 52:
6) Part personal question. My answer: Saul is a madman. Saul is throwing a pity party and, blinded by his own pride, kills innocent people. When Saul finds out the truth about the priest, he still accuses him of wrong doing and acts on this knowledge — killing them. How often do we do this as well? Throw a pity party, twist things in our minds — what others do or say — and then don’t believe the truth and still hold grudges against others? It’s definitely a warning to us to not get so caught up in ourselves and our conceived hurts and injustices, to find out the truth, and to act on the truth — not distort the truth.
7) Part personal question. My answer: David is sympathetic to the priests and blames himself for their deaths. He knew Doeg was evil and would tell Saul about him, but he did nothing (he probably thinks he should have killed Doeg — a sin of itself — to spare the priests). He also knows he lied to the priests, which made them vulnerable when Saul shows up, and they have no idea that Saul hates David and wants him dead.
David takes responsibility for the deaths of the priests. He knows his actions indirectly resulted in their deaths. He offers to protect the one remaining priest. Taking responsibility here for your role in how life plays out is the lesson I see here. So often we dismiss how our actions influenced others or caused this or that friction between others and deny it’s our fault. We need to be more like David — compassionate and willing to admit when we caused something as well as take into account how the lies we tell affects others.
8 ) Part personal Question. My answer: David understands that God will deal with evil and those who are good, God will bless. My views are the same. God is the judge not me, and evil He allows for His own purposes, and I trust God will deal with it. I also know if you obey the Lord, He will bless you, and you will flourish.
Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 13, Day 3: 1 Samuel 22 and Psalm 52:
What a fascinating look into the mind of a madman and how people will twist whatever they hear to suit their needs. Saul is throwing a pity party and, blinded by his own pride, kills innocent people. It’s scary because we all do this on some level, especially when we read into situations or don’t have all the information. But here, when Saul finds out the truth about the priest, he still accuses him of wrong doing. How often do we do this as well? Don’t believe the truth and then still hold grudges against others?
The second lesson we see is how our lies affect others — even white lies. We never know how it plays out. It’s always best to tell the truth no matter the consequences than tell a lie and watch the consequences explode.
Great analysis of David and Saul here and great contrast. You gotta love the writer here who perfectly juxtaposes these stories for us so we can see how to act and how not to act. God is good!
End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 13, Day 3: 1 Samuel 22 and Psalm 52:
Commentary 1 Samuel 22:
What a whirlwind of a life David has led! David rose to fame killing a Giant, married the king’s daughter, defeated the Philistines, avoided repeated attempts on his life, and said goodbye to his best friend, Jonathan, and his family and began a life as a fugitive for who knows how long. Then David had a brief, but intense period of backsliding, a dramatic turn to the Lord, and deliverance from a life-threatening situation.
What was the cave of Adullam?
Adullam means refuge
The cave became David’s physical refuge
God was David’s spiritual refuge
Most archaeologists believe that the cave of Adullam was not too far from the place where David defeated Goliath, in the hills of Judah.
Psalm 142 is David’s discouragement in the cave of Adullam. Psalm 57 describes David as the Lord strengthened him in the cave and prepared him for what was next.
Who were the people in the cave of Adullam?
First, David’s family came to him. This is a precious gift from God because previously all David had was trouble and persecution from his father and his brothers (1 Samuel 16:11 and 1 Samuel 17:28). Now they join him at the Adullam cave.
God called an unlikely and unique group to David in the Adullam cave. These were not the men David would choose for himself, but they were the ones God called to him. They were distressed, in debt, and discontented with life.
These are the people you want around you: those who come to you when you are in distress — not when life is going great. These men all came to David when he was down and out, hunted and despised. Once David came to the throne, there were a lot of people who wanted to be around him. But it’s the 400 men in the cave who are the loyal ones.
These are the people who come to Jesus — the forlorn, the distressed, the ones seeking something more from life.
This was not a mob. This was a team that needed a leader, and David became that leader. God doesn’t work through mobs. He works through called men and women.
This was a solid beginning to a rebel army if David wanted it. An unprincipled leader might make these 400 men into a gang of rebels or cutthroats, but David did not allow this to become a rebel army against King Saul.
David made them into the kind of men described in 1 Chronicles 12:8: Mighty men of valor, men trained for battle, who could handle the shield and spear, whose faces were like the faces of lions, and were as swift as gazelles on the mountains.
What do we learn from the men called at the cave of Adullam?
David was the one anointed by God to be the next king over Israel, and he became Israel’s greatest earthly king. But just as much as God called David, God called these four hundred to come beside David.
God leads through a called and anointed man (Noah and the ark, Moses and Egypt).
God rarely calls that man to work alone. David needed these 400 men, even if he never thought so before. There are those called to lead and those called to support the leader. Each is just as important as the other.
David took his parents to Moab because his great-grandmother Ruth was a Moabite (Ruth 4:18-22, 1:4). He wanted his parents to be safe in whatever battles he may face in the future, and he feared Saul might retaliate against him and kill his parents.
David doesn’t know the whole story. He knew he was called and anointed to be the next king of Israel, but he had no idea how God would get him there. David had to trust and obey when he didn’t know what God would do.
Gad counseled David to leave his own stronghold and to go back to the very stronghold of Saul. This probably wasn’t what David really wanted to hear, but he obeyed anyway. David had to learn to trust God in the midst of danger, not on the other side of danger.
Saul enters the picture
When we see Saul with a spear, we know he’s out to kill. He calls David “the son of Jesse”, refusing to acknowledge his achievements.
In his fleshly, self-focused world, everything revolved around Saul. He became paranoid and whiny, and he led through guilt and accusation. He lied about Jonathan, and thus constructed elaborate lies and conspiracies in his own head against him.
Doeg the Edomite
Here’s an ambitious man out to take full advantage of Saul’s paranoia to advance himself. We last saw him in 1 Samuel 21:7 in Nob, at the tabernacle at the same time David came there.
Doeg implicated the priest Ahimelech as David’s accomplice. “Look at all the help Ahimelech gave David. Surely, they are working together against you Saul, and Ahimelech probably knows exactly where David is and where he is going.”
He knew how to divert Saul’s anger and suspicion from himself onto the priests.
Saul continues in his paranoia, thinking everyone is out to get him.
Why even white lies are dangerous
Here we see the effect David’s lies had on Ahimelech (that ultimately resulted in his death).
Ahimelech told the exact truth. When David came to Ahimelech, the priest questioned him carefully (Why are you alone, and no one is with you, 1 Samuel 21:1). Instead of telling Ahimelech the truth, David lied to him. This put Ahimelech in a very vulnerable position.
Ahimelech was unaware of the hatred Saul has for David, partly due to the lie David told him (1 Samuel 21:2).
Saul has turned to murdering in cold blood. Many scholars think Saul is angry at God for abandoning him and stripping him of his crown and, being unable to carry out his anger on the Lord, strikes out at the innocent such as Ahimelech and his family. This was the worst act Saul will commit.
To their credit, Saul’s servants feared God more than Saul and they refused to murder the priests. Doeg, who was not a Jew but an Edomite, didn’t hesitate to murder the priests and their families.
How did David cause the death of Ahimelech and his family?
David’s mere presence with Ahimelech that made Ahimelech guilty in Saul’s eyes, and there really wasn’t anything David or anyone could do about that.
David’s lying to Ahimelech made the priest vulnerable before Saul.i. David’s lies did not directly kill Ahimelech and the other priests. But at the very least, he kept Ahimelech from dying with greater honor. If Ahimelech knew of the conflict between David and Saul, he could have chosen to stand with David and die with greater honor.ii. We know from both 1 Samuel and the Psalms that David turned his heart back to the LORD and asked forgiveness after his lies to Ahimelech. David was restored, but there was still consequences to come of the lies, and now David sees those consequences.
David could not do anything about the priests who were already murdered. He confessed his guilt in the matter and sought forgiveness from the LORD. Now, all he can do is minister to the need in front of him – Abiathar, the surviving priest.
Commentary Psalm 52:
Though the condemnation of Doeg in this Psalm is strong, we sense it would be stronger in light of the mass-murder he committed. Yet this is David’s contemplation upon the incident, a careful examination of the root and end of Doeg’s evil.
Doeg took pride in his lies and murder.
“The thought conveyed in this Hebrew word (boast) is not necessarily that of a person strutting around making extravagant claims to others about his or her abilities. Rather it is that of a smug self-sufficiency that does not parade itself openly simply because it is so convinced of its superiority.” (Boice)
Doeg murdered 85 civilians, mostly priests who were not trained for battle – hardly the work of a true mighty man. Like several other commentators, Poole thought this was used in an ironic sense: “O mighty man! he speak ironically. O valiant captain! O glorious action! to kill a few weak and unarmed persons in the king’s presence, and under the protection of his guards! Surely thy name will be famous to all ages for such heroical courage.” (Poole)
Spurgeon puts this more succinctly: “A mighty man indeed to kill men who never touched a sword! He ought to have been ashamed of his cowardice.”
David earnestly believed that Doeg’s way would fail. God’s goodness would outlast his evil. It’s true that Doeg was a mighty man, but that was nothing compared to God and His never-ending goodness.
When David wrote the goodness of God, he used the word El to refer to deity instead of the more common Elohim. Some commentators believe the use of El emphasizes the strength and might of God.
David mentions the destruction and deaths that came from what Doeg reported (1 Samuel 22:18-19).
Some people love evil, and some people love to lie. Doeg fulfilled both aspects. He loved the destruction his devouring words brought.
Boice believes Doeg was just as calculating as evil as there is reason to believe there was a gap in time between David visiting the tabernacle at Nob and Doeg’s report to King Saul. “He knew he had a piece of valuable information and kept it to himself until it would best serve his interests to divulge it.” How many times do we do this?
Because the goodness of God endures forever (Psalm 52:1), Doeg and his kind would be destroyed forever.
When the coming judgment against Doeg happens, the people of God will notice it, and it will cause them to honor and revere God. It will also make them laugh in satisfaction at the destruction of such an evil man. This is righteous joy — something acceptable. This is not laughing at people because you are better than them.
Note it is the righteous that learn from this; not the evil who don’t care.
What can we learn from Doeg?
He fails to trust God and instead trusts riches (often what happens to people when you glean the favors of a king)
We often are drawn to evil and lying because we fail to trust God can and will work through goodness and truth. We lie to ourselves, saying that we have to lie, do evil, or deceive because it’s the only way. It’s never the way.
The significance of the olive tree
“The olive is one of the longest-living trees; here the point is doubly reinforced, for he pictures an olive ‘in full sap’ and one that grows in a sacred courtyard.” (Kidner)
Psalm 92:13 may indicate that there were trees at or near the house of God.
“Hope” is also translated “wait”. Our strength is to wait on God and His will. Therein lies our honor.
Summary of passage: Everyone who believes in Christ will be saved.
12) Part personal Question. My answer: Your heart is where your treasure is. The Holy Spirit is within the heart and the heart leads to the words you speak. My heart is growing and expanding in His ways, not mine. I’m becoming kinder, gentler, and more compassionate to all those around me.
13) Everyone who trusts in the Lord will be saved and will have their guilt/shame washed away forever. Salvation is for all those who believe in Christ.
14) Personal Question. My answer: As a child. As an adult. I thank him continually for my saved state and pray for others to find the same.
Conclusions: Not a lot to work with here. In essence, believe with all your heart in Christ and what he has done for you and you will be saved.
End Notes: Belief and confession result in righteousness and salvation. Paul states once again to be clear: this is open to all despite nationality.
We must call on Him. Again, note the emphasis on human responsibility. From Romans 9 alone we might think that salvation is God’s doing, but from Romans 10 we might think that salvation is man’s doing – together we see the matter from each perspective.
Summary of passage: All are sinners and are justified freely through God’s grace through Jesus’s work on the cross.
6) We are all sinners. No one’s perfect. Paul is a great example. I think everyone knows they are sinners. This is not the hurdle to Christianity. The hurdle is admitting you need someone to save you from the sins we all commit. Overcoming pride and self-reliance.
7a) According to Webster’s Dictionary, justified means, “to prove or show to be just, right or reasonable; to judge, regard, or treat as righteous and worthy of salvation, to show sufficient.” Zondervan’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary has the definition as “judicial act of God by which, on the basis of the meritorious work of Christ, imputed to the sinner and received through Faith, God declares the sinner absolved from sin, released from its penalty, and restored as righteous. Simply put, being placed by God in a right relationship with himself.”
Justification is accomplished through faith in Jesus Christ as Savior when he died on the cross for our sins. The Good News is you get to spend eternity with God!
b) Part personal Question. My answer: We were all fallen into Hell until Jesus came to pull us out with his death and bloodshed. He is full of grace and mercy.
8 ) Personal Question. My answer: We didn’t do anything to earn His gift. He has to have infinite love to bestow this upon us. Deeper gratitude.
Conclusions: Because Romans is such a short book we will probably be studying few verses every day. Which is good and bad. We will probably be answering several similar personal questions as well such as how these verses impact your thinking, response, etc.
End Notes: Paul uses 3 major themes in Romans which we see here in one verse: 1) Justification or the law 2) Redemption from slavery 3) Propitiation or atonement from the religious need for sacrifice.
Justification rids us of guilt. Redemption saves us from slavery. Propitiation ensues we don’t offend our Creator.
Justification is free. It is given to us as a gift by the desire of God.
Freely is the ancient Greek word dorean. It means with no strings attached.
We are only righteous through Jesus. Period.
Redemption: Jesus bought us with the cost of his life. Thus, we belong to God (1 Corinthians 6:20).
Fun Fact: Paul uses the Greek verb for “justified” 27 times, mostly here in Romans and Galatians. It is translated “justify” in all cases except 2 (2:13; 3:20 where it is translated “declared righteous.” This describes what happens when people believe in Christ as their Savior: God declares them to be not guilty and righteous. He debits the guilt of their sin and credits righteousness (for all you accountants/finance/math people out there!).
Paul’s points: 1) No one lives a perfectly, good, holy, righteous life. (v 10). All have sinned (v 23).
2) Even though we are sinners, God declares those who trust in Jesus righteous. This is valid because Christ died to pay the penalty for our sin and because he lived a life of perfect righteousness he imputes (ascribes) that to us. THIS IS THE CENTRAL THEME OF ROMANS AS STATED IN 1:17.
Justification: the central thought of justification is albeit people clearly and totally deserve to be declared guilt (v 9-19), God declares them righteous because of their faith in Christ. Paul states this idea in several ways: freely by his grace (v 24) and faith (v 25).
Redemption: This word is from the slave market–basically obtaining release by payment of a ransom. It refers to release from guilt, judgement, and delivery from slavery to sin, because Christ in his death paid our ransom to set us free. Etymology: mid-14c., “deliverance from sin,” from Old French redemcion (12c.) and directly from Latin redemptionem (nominative redemptio) “a buying back, releasing, ransoming” (also “bribery”), noun of action from past participle stem of redimere “to redeem, buy back,” from red- “back” + emere “to take, buy, gain, procure”. The -d- is from the Old Latin habit of using red- as the form of re- before vowels.
Fun Fact: Paul is the one who formulates the doctrine of justification mainly in Galatians and Romans.
Breakdown of Justification:
A declarative act by which the sinner is declared to be free from guilt and the consequences of sin
A judicial act in which the idea of judgement and salvation are combined to represent Christ fulfilling the law on behalf of the sinner
A remissive act in which God remits sin in complete forgiveness
A restorative at by which the forgiven sinner is restored to favor through the imputation of Christ’s righteousness.
Faith is the condition of justification by which the meritorious work of Christ is accepted by the sinner. Christ’s work on the cross is sufficient.
Summary of passage: The Sabbath was the next day and the Jews did not want bodies hanging around so they asked Pilate to take the bodies down. The soldiers went around and broke the legs of the two criminals who were still alive. Jesus had already died so they did not break his legs. Instead, a Roman soldier pierced his side, fulfilling Scripture once again.
6) He was pierced in the side and water and blood flowed from his insides. This proves Jesus was a man and discounts the Gnostics who say Jesus was never a man and was only a Spirit. Jesus has to die for us physically in order to take our physical sins away.
7) Here one lamb (Jesus) sufficed as a sacrifice for all. There was no cooking involved or sprinkling of blood. Jesus’ blood spilled and covered all believers’ sins. Jesus’ bones remained intact according to Jewish tradition of the Passover lamb.
8 ) Personal Question. My answer: He was pierced for our sins. His punishment/death brought us peace with God. Our spiritual wounds are healed by his wounds. When Jesus rises again all will experience God’s grace and supplication and mourning of Jesus’ death as they will be cleansed of all sin and impurity. It deepens my worship.
Conclusions: Good lesson as we look forward to Jesus’ resurrection and just exactly what it means. Can’t wait!
End Notes: The day of Preparation again gives scholars problems as to the exact date of Jesus’ death. The special Sabbath was Passover. Most scholars believe the Passover meal had been eaten on Thursday. The day of Preparation was Friday. The Sabbath would be Saturday.
As we’ve discussed LAST WEEK, the bodies of those crucified would normally hang on the crosses and rot as a sign to others not to break the law. However, the Jewish leaders, concerned about ceremonial pollution on the Passover, requested the bodies removed early. Breaking the legs (known as crucifragium in Latin) would bring asphyxiation on quickly. Men had to push themselves up with their legs in order to breathe while hanging suspended by their hands. Unable to do this, they would die.
Could you imagine? You are suffering on a cross and a guy comes up and wracks you on the legs with a club? The pain! In one sense, it’s a good thing cause you’ll pain will end sooner through death but still…
Mark 15:44-45 tells us that Pontius Pilate asked for confirmation that Jesus was dead. These were seasoned Roman soldiers who knew the look of death. The customary way to confirm death on the cross was to break the legs. However, this centurion did not. Instead, he pierced Jesus, probably meant to be a death blow, and fulfilled prophecy. This could have been out of cruelty as well.
Blood and water flowed and doctors today think this proves Jesus died of a burst heart since the water would come from the watery sack that surrounds the heart known as the pericardium and possibly the heart itself. Typically, in the Old Testament, water and blood was used to cleanse the people. Spurgeon compares this to Adam and Eve who came from his side. From Jesus’ side comes the church.
John tells us he was there to testify to what he saw. Later in one of his letters (1 John 5:6–which we studied in Lesson 21) he described Jesus as He who came by water and blood. This description has puzzled many commentators, unsure if John meant the waters of baptism or the water mentioned in John 19:34.
The not breaking of the legs prophecy of Psalm 34:20, Exodus 12:46, and Numbers 9:12 was unknowingly and accidently (on man’s part) fulfilled. Nevertheless, its exact fulfillment shows the providence and guidance of God, and leads us to believe.
This piercing prophecy of Zechariah 12:10 and 13:6 was unknowingly and accidently (on man’s part) fulfilled. Nevertheless, its exact fulfillment shows the providence and guidance of God, and leads us to believe.
Zechariah also says Jesus will be looked upon, mourned, and petitioned. This is to still to come.
Summary of passage: Moses takes one tribe at a time and blesses them. Let Reuben live and grow. Judah help with his foes. Levi bless him and his skills and strike his foes. Benjamin rest in Him. Joseph (Ephraim and Manasseh) bless him in all ways. Zebulun and Issachar rejoice for they will prosper. Blessed is Gad. Dan is a lion’s cub. Naphtali is blessed. Asher is blessed.
5) Simeon is missing in Moses’s blessings. Moses’s blessings is out of birth order.
6) Let Reuben live and grow. Judah help with his foes. Levi bless him and his skills and strike his foes. Benjamin rest in Him. Joseph (Ephraim and Manasseh) bless him in all ways. Zebulun and Issachar rejoice for they will prosper. They will feast on the abundance of the seas and on the treasures hidden in the sand. Blessed is Gad. Dan is a lion’s cub. Naphtali is blessed. Asher is blessed.
7) Personal Question. My answer: I’d take any blessings to be quite honest especially if they were pronounced by Moses. I liked Levi’s to have his skills blessed and for the Lord to be pleased with his work. I liked Benjamin’s to rest secure in Him. Peace is hard to come by in this world. And I want to do the Lord’s work in this world and I constantly wonder if I am or not. That is what I want for my family as well–to do His will and not theirs. That is so very hard in today’s culture. Fighting selfishness.
Conclusions: I liked BSF brought in the Genesis 49 passage. Interesting to see God’s love for his people.
End Notes: Verses 6-25 is the blessing of the 12 Tribes.
Reuben: Jacob said “you shall not excel” (Genesis 49:4). This blessing is similar. Reuben produced no leaders nor anything beyond the normal.
Judah: The name Judah means “praise”. Moses prays God hears the cry of praise. Moses knew the Messiah would come from Judah (Genesis 49:10) and prays for them to survive.
Levi (and Simeon not mentioned here): Moses recounts the favored status of the Levites. Genesis 49:7 says the tribe will be scattered. Levi’s was a blessing–they spread the Good News. Simeon was a curse–they disappeared as indicated here when they are not mentioned (although they are given a portion of the promised land–this prophecy was still many centuries to come).
Scholars debate whether Simeon was originally mentioned here or not. Some ancient manuscripts have Simeon here; some don’t, which say “Let Judah live and not die and let the men of Simeon be few.” Recall Simeon lost the most men in the second census (63%), which seems to support the idea Simeon was mentioned here.
Benjamin: As the only surviving son of Rachel when Jacob thought Joseph had died, he was sheltered, protected, and favored. This is echoed here when he is called “the beloved of the Lord”. Benjamin was blessed with the city of Jerusalem as their inheritance, which became the center of the nation. Genesis 49:27 called them “a ravenous wolf”. They were fierce and loved.
Joseph: Joseph’s two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, which received a double inheritance when Jacob adopted both as his own in Genesis 48 were the most numerous tribes. This was Jacob’s prophecy as well in Genesis 49:22.
“Him who dwelt in the burning bush” refers to the covenant God made with Moses.
Zebulun and Issachar: They were given land by the Sea of Galilee and thus became fishermen. Jacob said this as well in Genesis 49:13.
Gad: Gad turns into a war-like tribe with many soldiers. 1 Chronicles 12:14 says they have many good soldiers. Genesis 49:14 says Gad will attack.
Dan: Bashan is in northern Israel but if you look at a map of where the tribes ended up, Dan is in the South. Judges 18 tells us that the tribe immigrated to the North centuries later.
Dan was a troublesome tribe. They were the tribe to introduce idolatry into Israel (Judges 18:30). Jeroboam set up an idolatrous golden calf in Dan (1 Kings 12:26-30). Dan became a center of idol worship in Israel (Amos 8:14). Jacob predicts this of Dan in Genesis 49:17, “Dan will be a serpent by the roadside, a viper along the path that bites the horse’s heels so that its rider tumbles backwards.”
Naphtali: Naphtali was also given land around the Sea of Galilee. Here Jesus would do a lot of his teachings. Jacob describes Naphtali as “a doe set free, bearing beautiful fawns”(Genesis 49:21) as we were set free by Jesus.
Asher: Jacob describes Asher in Genesis 49:20 as “food will be rich and he will provide delicacies fit for a king”. Moses echoes this saying his feet shall be bathed in oil–something reserved for the rich of the time.