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Week #14 and Week#15 Chronological Bible Reading – 2014

Covers from Monday April 7 to Sunday April 20

2014 Club – Here are week #14 and #15. I included both weeks due to Easter and many of you may be traveling and need your schedules.  Readings cover from Monday April 7th to Sunday April 20th. Information for Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel and 1 & 2 Chronicles is attached. Beginning Week 16 a bit more challenging reading happens as we move between 4 different books in our Bible. May God bless our readers abundantly!

Week 14 – 2014 April
Monday 07 Judges 6-8
Tuesday 08 Judges 9
Wednesday 09 Judges 10-12
Thursday 10 Judges 13-16
Friday 11 Judges 17-19
Saturday 12 Judges 20-21
Sunday 13 Book of Ruth
Week 15 – 2014 April
Monday 14 1 Samuel 1-3
Tuesday 15 1 Samuel 4-7
Wednesday 16 1 Samuel 8-10
Thursday 17 1 Samuel 11-13
Friday 18 1 Samuel 14-15
Saturday 19 1 Samuel 16-17
Sunday 20 1 Samuel 18-19, Psalm 59

 

JUDGES

Author: Anonymous. The Talmud suggests Samuel, and it is possible that he may have written portions.

Date: 1050-1000 B.C.   The events of this book cover the turbulent period in Israel’s history from about 1380 to 1050 B.C., from the conquests of Palestine to the beginnings of the monarchy.

Though the land had been generally conquered and occupied under Joshua, many important Canaanite strongholds had been bypassed, leaving their subjugation to individual Israelite tribes. Judges describes this warfare, as the Hebrews tried to complete their occupation of the land. The judges were military and civil leaders ruling during this time when the nation was a loose confederacy. Some of the judges ruled concurrently, since each one did not necessarily rule over the entire land.

Deuteronomy set out the blessings and curses of the covenant at Sinai—blessing for obedience to the will of Yahweh, and a curse for disobedience. The book of Joshua illustrates God’s blessing; Israel entered the land by faith and conquered it by God’s power. Judges, on the other hand, illustrates God’s curse.

Joshua begins and ends with a charge to the people of Israel to claim life and blessing by committing themselves to Yahweh as their only God and by committing themselves to the law as Yahweh’s design for success and prosperity. In Judges, Israel soon turns regularly to the gods of the nations, and the word law never occurs. Rather, “everyone did as he saw fit,” or “did that which was right in his own eyes” (17:6; 21:25 KJV)

The cycle of the book of Judges is outlines in 2:10-19: The people forsake Yahweh for other gods; Yahweh judges them, using an oppressive nation; the people repent and cry out for deliverance; Yahweh raises a judge (a military and political savior); the land and the people rest in peace. But the pattern is not just a cycle—it is a downward spiral. Each time the people come full circle they are a notch lower than the time before.

That declining state can also be seen in the judges. The line begins with Othniel, whose sole recorded contribution was a military victory that brought forty years of peace; it ends with Samson, who never responded to God’s commands. Though we sometimes glorify Samson in Sunday school stories, the only good he served Israel was to kill the many Philistines who had the bad sense to get in his way. Only twice did he pray, both times in his own interest (15:18-19; 16:28). Sampson’s epitaph, “he killed many more when he died than while he lived” (16:39), may say he was more useful dead than alive—a sobering reminder of squandered God-given potential.

The last five chapters of Judges, a nauseating account of Levitical idolatry, rape, murder, and intertribal war, bring us to the era of the early monarchy and I Samuel (about 1050 B.C.). But nestled between the disappointing ending of Judges and the dismal beginning of Samuel is the remarkable book of Ruth.

 

RUTH

Author: Uncertain. Some have suggested Samuel as a possible author.

Date: ca. 1000 B.C.

The book provides a glimpse into the lives of ordinary, though godly, people during the turbulent period of the judges. It shows an oasis of faithfulness in an age marked by idolatry and unfaithfulness. While Israel was forsaking the true God for false ones, the Baals of Canaan, a Moabitress named Ruth left her home, her country, and her gods because of her love for her mother-in-law; Naomi, and Naomi’s God, Yahweh.

Naomi provides the key for understanding the book in 1:20-21. She and her husband, Elimelech, deserted Yahweh and His land to make themselves “full” in Moab, but Yahweh brought her back bereft of family. She was “empty” and “bitter.”  But He also brought her back with Ruth, who—because of her character, her love for Naomi, and her trust in Yahweh—is made “full” by Boaz. Ruth becomes not only full with food (chapter 2), but also full with child (4:13). And Ruth’s fullness overflows to Naomi (4:14-17).

Names are instrumental to the plot of Ruth. As to names of God, note especially in Ruth 1:21-22 that Shaddai, the Almighty, normally a source of refuge and provision, brings bitterness and misfortune, and that Yahweh, the saving Covenant God, brings emptiness and affliction. Note also that Boaz and his workers greet each other in the name of Yahweh (2:4)—an amazing declaration of faith in the dark days of the judges.

This beautiful love story leads to the throne of Israel, for Ruth gives birth to Obed, the grandfather of David.

 

SAMUEL AND CHRONICLES

Authors:  1 and 2 Samuel were written by Samuel himself, along with addition authors. 1 and 2 Chronicles probably were written by Ezra the scribe.

Date:  1 and 2 Samuel were written approximately 930 B.C., and parts were written some years later. Meanwhile 1 and 2 Chronicles were written between 450 and 425 B.C.

Samuel emerged as the last judge in the 350-year span of the judges. His books cover a period of about 115 years, from the childhood of Samuel to the beginning of the reign of King David. Appearing on the scene during one of the darkest periods of Israel’s history, Samuel called the people to a revival of the true worship of Yahweh. He was also a kingmaker, anointing both Saul (! Sam. 10:1) and David (1 Sam. 16:13). Thus Samuel forms the link between the judges and the monarchy.

Looking at 1 and 2 Chronicles, we know that Ezra lead a group of exiles back to Palestine in 458  B.C. and was concerned about building a true spiritual foundation for the people. To further that purpose, the author evidently compiled the Chronicles in order to emphasize the importance of racial and religious purity, the proper place of the law, the temple, and the priesthood. Thus he omits detailed activities of the kings and prophets, stressing instead the rich heritage of the people and the blessing of their covenant relationship with God.

Our Bible reading thus far, with the exception of Job, has taken us in the traditional, canonical order. Now the page-flipping will begin, as we integrate the “parallel passages” of Samuel and 1 Chronicles with Psalms.

The books of Samuel begin with Samuel’s birth (about 1105 B.C.) and end with the last year of David’s reign (about 970 B.C.). As you read, note the character contrasts: Elkanah’s two wives—the nag versus the woman of faith; the godly Samuel versus the wicked sons of Eli; spiritual David versus physical Saul; even David’s godliness versus David’s fleshly passions.

Also note conflicts on the theological level. In Judges 2:11 we were introduced to the conflict of Yahweh, the God of Israel, and Baal, the god of Canaan. This conflict grows in Samuel, peaks at the Mount Carmel incident recorded in Kings, and is finally cut off by the exile. Though Israel continually forgot the reality of Yahweh’s power, even to the point of losing the Ark of the Covenant (1 Sam. 4). Yahweh displayed His power among the Philistines by demolishing their gods and inflicting plagues on the people.

Many scholars believe Samuel and Kings were written by prophets, who drew on the court annals of Judah and Israel to put together a history that explained how Israel worked its way into exile. They show Israel’s kings, especially David, “warts and all.” That demonstrates that while God both rewarded their faith and judged their rebellions, He never gave them up.

Chronicles on the other hands, emphasizes the acts of faith without totally overlooking the sins. The books of Chronicles were written by Ezra or the priests, who together were encouraging the people to rebuild Jerusalem and realign themselves with God’s plan for His people. They emphasize successes rather than failures, to the degree that the sins of David and the rebellious northern kingdom are hardly mentioned at all. Samuel and Chronicles differ in what they include from the life of David.

Though Samuel does not gloss over David’s sins, David’s heart for God is clearly seen. That is especially true in the magnificent Psalms of the wilderness which have been interwoven into the readings. As you read these hymnic treasures, rejoice in the fact that God who loved, protected, and forgave David does the very same for us through Jesus the Messiah.

 

 

NOTE: if you are vacationing during school break and need to take Week 17 with you, please let me know.

 

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