I Samuel 7

1. Then the men of Kirjath Jearim came and took the ark of the LORD, and brought it into the house of Abinadab on the hill, and consecrated Eleazar his son to keep the ark of the LORD.

The men of Kirjath-jearim accept the task of keeping the ark of the LORD. They come to Beth Shemesh and take it, bringing it back to their city. They put it in the house of a man named Abinadab, which means “Noble Father.” His house was on the hill in Kirjath Jearim. They take his son Eleazar, which means “God Has Helped,” and set him apart to “keep” or guard the ark.

2. So it was that the ark remained in Kirjath Jearim a long time; it was there twenty years. And all the house of Israel lamented after the LORD.

The ark remains there a long time. It was not just there twenty years either, as this seems to indicate. It was there twenty years, until the events we are now going to read about took place. Then, it was there all during Samuel’s tenure as judge. Then, it was there during the forty years of Saul’s reign as king. Finally, it was there during the first part of David’s reign, until he brought it up from there. If we add all this time together, we will see that the ark was in this place for the better part of a century.

Twenty years pass, and the house of Israel finally laments after Jehovah. They had to be oppressed by the Philistines a long time before they finally turned back to their God! Read the rest of this entry »

I Samuel 6

1. Now the ark of the LORD was in the country of the Philistines seven months.

So for seven months the Philistines try to keep the ark of the LORD, but they are plagued the whole time. As we said before, the Philistines were not ready to dwell in the presence of the holy God.

2. And the Philistines called for the priests and the diviners, saying, “What shall we do with the ark of the LORD? Tell us how we should send it to its place.”

At last, the Philistines realize that they are beaten. They have no choice but to send the ark of Jehovah back to Israel where it belongs. However, the question now arises how they are to do this. What if by sending it back in the wrong way they anger Jehovah even further? So they call for those they feel are expert at such things, their own priests and diviners, and ask them how they should go about doing this. Read the rest of this entry »

I Samuel 5

The book of Samuel does not record for us the sequel to the Philistines’ victory at Ebenezer. If we would learn what happened next, we must turn to Psalm 78. Starting in verse 56, we read:

56. Yet they tested and provoked the Most High God,
And did not keep His testimonies,
57. But turned back and acted unfaithfully like their fathers;
They were turned aside like a deceitful bow.
58. For they provoked Him to anger with their high places,
And moved Him to jealousy with their carved images.
59. When God heard this, He was furious,
And greatly abhorred Israel,

This describes Israel’s sin of unfaithfulness to the LORD that apparently was going on during Eli’s tenure as high priest and judge. No wonder, when God’s tabernacle was so despised even by its priests, that the people turned to other gods! Yet this was no excuse, and we read of the God’s actions in respond to this in the next verse.

60. So that He forsook the tabernacle of Shiloh,
The tent He had placed among men,
61. And delivered His strength into captivity,
And His glory into the enemy’s hand.
62. He also gave His people over to the sword,
And was furious with His inheritance.
63. The fire consumed their young men,
And their maidens were not given in marriage.
64. Their priests fell by the sword,
And their widows made no lamentation. Read the rest of this entry »

arkjones02I Samuel 4

We had moved the first part of verse 1 of this chapter to the end of the last chapter last time, so now we take up verse 1 in the middle.

1. Now Israel went out to battle against the Philistines, and encamped beside Ebenezer; and the Philistines encamped in Aphek.

The Philistines were Israel’s neighbors on the southwest along the Mediterranean Sea. Their name means “Immigrants.” They were descended from Ham, but not from Canaan, but from his son Mizraim. Since they were not actually Canaanites, they were not one of the seven nations whom the Israelites were supposed to destroy. Nevertheless, they were usually enemies of Israel, and often tried to conquer them. Israel was supposed to drive them out in order to possess their land, although they were not required to destroy them, like they were the Canaanites. However, the LORD had not driven them out at first by the Israelites, as He explains in Judges 3:1-4.

1. Now these are the nations which the LORD left, that He might test Israel by them, that is, all who had not known any of the wars in Canaan 2. (this was only so that the generations of the children of Israel might be taught to know war, at least those who had not formerly known it), 3. namely, five lords of the Philistines, all the Canaanites, the Sidonians, and the Hivites who dwelt in Mount Lebanon, from Mount Baal Hermon to the entrance of Hamath. 4. And they were left, that He might test Israel by them, to know whether they would obey the commandments of the LORD, which He had commanded their fathers by the hand of Moses.

So the five lords of the Philistines were left in their land, and they were not yet driven out by Israel. Therefore, they became a constant thorn in Israel’s side, and their incessant enemies. They first fought against them in the days of the judge Shamgar (Judges 3:31.) In Judges 10:6-7, we learn that they were oppressed by the Philistines again, yet this oppression seems to have been mostly the doing of the Ammonites, and Jephthah’s war to free Israel from them is mostly against Ammon. It does not seem that the Philistines became major aggressors against Israel until the days of Samson. Yet as far as we can tell, Samson was immediately before Eli as judge over Israel, so that at this time they are one of the most serious enemies the nation faces. Read the rest of this entry »

soulmaybe02I received the following question:

Well I know I haven’t written to you in a while with questions but lately I’ve been having discussions with others that are getting me thinking but stuck.  What’s the difference between spirit and soul?

A complete study of the word “spirit” should be undertaken to get the exact use of the word that the Spirit of God makes of it in the Scriptures. I will not take the time to do that here, but I think a quick concordance of the first 10 occurrences of the word for “spirit” in the Old Testament Scriptures, which is the Hebrew word “ruach,” should demonstrate for us its basic uses.

The first occurrence of the word “spirit” is in the very second verse of the Bible, Genesis 1:2. Read the rest of this entry »

jobblame02I received the following question:

So I thought that your prophecy of Jonah was pretty insightful.

It seemed to possibly give insight into the whole aspect the story of Job.  I have been contemplating what these guys (Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar, and Elihu) had said.  They have their thoughts right on certain issues like Sheol, but they are wrong about what happened to Job.  I am puzzled at this and wondering if there is another answer or situation that they are actually talking about.  It seemed like nobody has ever touched this aspect in Job.  Everybody is just willing to say these men were wrong.  If that be so then we can’t quote from Job to prove the aspect of Sheol.  I could explain further but I’ve been at a computer too long.

Thanks!  I’m glad you enjoyed it.

You have to remember that these men were not living in the atmosphere we live in.  At the time, what happens to men after death was much better understood than it is today, when such a cloud of tradition and superstition has arisen to obscure the truth of God.  It was probably common knowledge what happened to people after death at that time, and so Job’s three friends, though they were not inspired and often were wrong, did at least know the truth regarding this.

There was a lot of knowledge in what Job’s three friends said, for they were aged and wise men.  Yet it was wisdom according to human knowledge, not according to God’s truth.  They spoke from the perspectives of human experience, human tradition, and human merit. They did not speak from the wisdom of God.

As for using their words regarding what happens after death, Mr. Sellers wrote concerning Job 34:14-15, “We are forced to regard with some suspicion all statements made by Job’s friends, yet I will challenge anyone to prove that Elihu’s statement is not the truth. Man’s continuance in life, his continuance among the living, is dependent upon God continuing to give him life.”  (Word of Truth Volume 6 page 136)

I hope this helps you consider the issue.

samuel02I Samuel 3

1. Now the boy Samuel ministered to the LORD before Eli. And the word of the LORD was rare in those days; there was no widespread revelation.

Contrasting once more to the wickedness of Eli’s family is the boy Samuel, who is serving the LORD before Eli. Eli and his family were serving poorly, but Samuel was serving wholeheartedly and honestly, and the LORD did not fail to notice this.

Now we are informed that the word of the LORD was rare in those days. This word “rare” means precious, costly, special, or unusual. It is used for precious, rare, and costly stones. The word of the LORD is always a precious thing, but it being a rare thing was not always the case in Israel. Prophets, visions, and revelations were not unusual among God’s people, and He was often communicating with them. Yet at this time, the LORD was speaking only rarely, for whatever reason.

We live in a day when widespread revelation is not just rare, but in a time when it does not happen at all. We only have the written Word, and are tied down to that. Yet the Bible that we have is indeed a precious and rare thing, for it is the only book that God has given us. No book has been written to be added to it in over 1900 years. Therefore, we should view this book as precious, and treat it so. Yet few in our day view it as valuable enough to even take the time to read it! Read the rest of this entry »

I Samuel 2 Continued

19. Moreover his mother used to make him a little robe, and bring it to him year by year when she came up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice.

Now we read again of Hannah. It seems Jehovah wants to suggest a contrast to us between this godly family of Samuel and the wicked and corrupt family of Eli, and the contrast is a striking one!

Every year Hannah makes Samuel a new little robe, bringing it to him when she comes up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice at Shiloh. Though far from her boy in Shiloh, she continues to have great care for him. Doubtless she misses him being so far away, yet is proud of him at the same time for his faithful service to Jehovah. So she brings him this yearly present, no doubt making each robe a little bigger as he grew. Read the rest of this entry »

riptiger02I received the following question:

One topic for now. The idea of death before the fall is important to many YEC (Young Earth Creationists.) Some will say that none occurred before the fall and others will limit death to smaller organisms. My thinking is that there is room biblically to accept the concept of physical death occurring before the fall. This would involve all of the animal kingdom and possibly even Adam and Eve. My thoughts concerning Adam and Eve include that they needed to eat. What would have happened if they didn’t eat? The most obvious explanation is that they would eventually die. There was the tree of life. As evidenced by their expulsion from the garden, it seemed to specifically provide immortality which was not acceptable after the fall. Why was it there if no the presence of death was not there.

On a non-human level, it seems that if there is the capacity for reproduction, there is an assumption of death. If one were to apply exponential growth to any number of life forms, one would see rapid overcrowding within days or weeks. It also seems likely that many life form’s daily life activities result in the death of many smaller creatures. How does an elephant walk through the woods without stepping on something?

While none of these arguments trump scriptural authority, they do give a wise student of God’s word, in my opinion, ample reason to consider the possibility that death mentioned in the Bible is spiritual death coming upon the human race. Looking at Romans 5 one also gets the idea that the effect of sin was directed primarily at the human race. While I don’t consider this the only reasonable interpretation, I do consider it a possible interpretation.

Let me know what you think.

The issue of death for animals is a tricky one, since one cannot see a scientific reason why Adam eating poison fruit would affect any of the animal creation other than man. One could argue that man was given stewardship over the animals, so had the right to choose life or death for the animals, and by choosing death for himself, chose death for them as well. But while that works well philosophically, it does not provide any scientific explanations. Read the rest of this entry »

I received the following question:

May I ask you a Biblical question concerning eternal torment?
 
The key word to the question is ‘Tolerable’   found in Matt. 10:15, 11:22 and 11:24  also same in Mark 6:11 and Luke 10;12, 14 Referencing cities that it will be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city…

Can you get the Greek and Hebrew meaning of Tolerable – Is there going to be degrees of punishment or suffering? The scriptures above seem to indicate that.

Certainly, you may ask. I am happy to answer questions. So, go ahead and ask!

The word “tolerable” is anektos, which has to do with that which is bearable or endurable, or through which one can be sustained. Read the rest of this entry »

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