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Saturday, May 10, 2014

Day 66 - 90 Day Bible Reading Challenge - 2 Kings 13 - 16 Great Adventure A Journey Through the Bible

Day 66 

2 Kings 13 - 16

Bible Time Period:  Divided Kingdom 
Israel split into rival kingdoms and fell into idolatry:  Help me to choose your kingship over other loves. 

The son of King Ahaziah and Zibiah of Beer-sheba and king of Judah from around 835 to 796 BC.  The succession of Joash was a difficult one.  After the death of his father, Athaliah massacred the royal family and assumed rule herself.  Unbeknownst to her, Joash had survived through the efforts of the priest Jehoiada and Jehosheba, his aunt who hid the infant child in the Temple for six years.  Finally, at age seven, Joash revealed a part of a coup that toppled Athaliah and installed him as king of Judah.  His reign was taken up with repairing the Temple with the help of Jehoiada, but after the latter's passing Joash permitted a resurgence of idol worship in Judah and killed Zechariah for condemning his actions (2 Chronicles 24:20-22).  (Catholic Bible Dictionary, General Editor, Scott Hahn, page 450)

Reflection Hosea belongs to the northern kingdom and began his prophetic career during the last years of Jeroboam II (786 - 746BC)  

"The word of the Lord came to Hosea, the son of Beeri, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam II, son of Joash, king of Israel. (Hosea 1:1)

During the time of 2 Kings, Israel's infidelity took the form of idolatry and ruthless oppression of the poor.  No amount of mechanically offered sacrifices could atone for her serious sins.  God would have to strip her of the rich ornaments bestowed by her false gods and bring her back to Him, the one True God.  

The book bearing Hosea's name (which occurs around the same time as 2 Kings 14) consists of a prophetic parallel between the author's marriage and the Lords' relations with his people.  Just as the prophet was married to a faithless wife whom he would not give up, God was bound in covenant with an idolatrous and unjust Israel whom he would not desert but would chastise for purification. 

Hosea's purpose was to pronounce the divine judgment against Israel for its sin, comparing Israel's apostasy vividly to the adultery of a faithless wife.  

"So I will allure her, I will lead her into the desert and speak to her heart. From there I will give her the vineyards she had, and the valley of Achor as a door of hope.  She shall respond there as in the days of her youth,  when she came up from the land of Egypt.  On that day, says the LORD, she shall call me "My husband," and never again "My baal."  Then will I remove from her mouth the names of Baals, so that they shall no longer be invoked.  I will make a covenant for them on that day, with the beasts of the field, with the birds of the air, and with the things that crawl on the ground.  Bow and sword and war I will destroy from the land, and I will let them take their rest in security.  I will espouse you to me forever:  I will espouse you in right and in justice, in love and in mercy; I will espouse you in fidelity, and you shall know the Lord."  (Hosea 2:16 - 23) 
Today's Reading
2 Kings 13 - 16

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