1. Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem,Magi

“Born” here is the Greek gennao, meaning generated or produced, related to genea as we had it in the first chapter. He was born in Bethlehem, meaning “House of Bread,” of Judea. This is not just to distinguish it from Bethlehem of Galilee, but to connect it with the line of David, for Bethlehem was the city of David.

Herod means “Heroic.” This particular King Herod was Herod the Great, the first of the line who got Rome to appoint him to this position. He was actually an Idumean, which means he was an Edomite. They had taken over the southern territory that used to belong to Judah when they were driven out of their own hill country to the east. Herod married multiple times and some of his wives were Israelites, so some of his later children did at least have some Jewish blood. Herod was a despot, and laid heavy taxes on Israel to fund his great building projects. Like most dictators he feared any uprising and kept a heavy hand on the people at all times. Imagine, then, the news of the birth of Messiah arriving in his days! These were also his last days before death, as he died not long after, so he was in the height of his paranoia and mania, having already murdered some of his own children and his wife. Read the rest of this entry »

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In our first two articles in this series, on “Spirits in Genesis” and “Spirits in Exodus to Deuteronomy,” we examined the word “spirit” in the Old Testament, and discovered that the Hebrew word is ruach, pronounced “roo’-akh,” with the emphasis upon the first syllable. We examined the eleven occurrences of this word in Genesis and the twenty-four occurrences of this word from Exodus to Deuteronomy and determined six different possible meanings for the word “spirit” to get the following list. Read the rest of this entry »

II Samuel 24 Part 3

16. And when the angel stretched out His hand over Jerusalem to destroy it, the LORD relented from the destruction, and said to the angel who was destroying the people, “It is enough; now restrain your hand.” And the angel of the LORD was by the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.

The pestilence seems to advance from every side like a besieging army until it surrounds Jerusalem. At last the angel bringing the plague stretches out his hand over Jerusalem to destroy it. His “hand” stands for his power, which was being put forth to cause this plague. Yet at this point the LORD relents and speaks to the angel, telling him to stop. The destruction that has happened so far is enough. He should let his hand drop and his power go idle. In this way Jerusalem is spared. So now we see that David was right in his thinking that led to his decision in verse 14. The LORD did show mercy in the end, as David anticipated. Read the rest of this entry »

II Samuel 24 Part 2

10. And David’s heart condemned him after he had numbered the people. So David said to the LORD, “I have sinned greatly in what I have done; but now, I pray, O LORD, take away the iniquity of Your servant, for I have done very foolishly.”

It seems that David’s heart, though it remained far too quiet at the beginning of this episode, once all is over finally acts to condemn him. This does not just mean his emotions, for the Hebrews thought of the “heart,” the Hebrew leb, as being the inner man, including the inner thoughts and opinions and values, not just the emotions. We would put it that David’s conscience smote him, because his conscience was part of his heart. Read the rest of this entry »

II Samuel 24

1. Again the anger of the LORD was aroused against Israel, and He moved David against them to say, “Go, number Israel and Judah.”

We read that again the anger of the LORD was aroused against Israel. This means it was hot against them. Why is this called “again”? I do not think this needs to trouble us too much, for they had done plenty of things to anger Him in their history! If we put the thing in context, He had recently brought a famine on Israel in II Samuel 21:1. In that case it was because of Saul and his bloody house who slew the Gibeonites. That time His anger was assuaged by David granting the Gibeonites’ request to get revenge on Saul and his bloody house. So He has been angry with them recently, and it is not too surprising that He is angry with them again now. Read the rest of this entry »

II Samuel 23 Part 3

24. Asahel the brother of Joab was one of the thirty; Elhanan the son of Dodo of Bethlehem,

Notice first of all that this verse does not list the third member of the second three, as we would expect it to. Instead, it goes right on to start listing the thirty and never mentions the name of the third member of this second three at all. Why might this be? Chronicles does not help us, as it does the same thing, listing only Abishai and Benaiah in the second three and omitting the name of the third.

We cannot tell for sure, since the Bible does not tell us who the third member of this three was, but I think we can make a very good guess, and that our guess will justify the omission. That is, we would guess that the third member of the second three was Joab, Abishai’s brother and David’s army commander. He certainly must have done valiant deeds himself to have been the captain of all David’s army and to have the loyalty of so many men in the army, as we can see he did in passages like II Samuel 20:11. The valiant would not follow a coward or an unworthy man, and Joab certainly must have been one of David’s mighty men. Read the rest of this entry »

I received the following question:

I have a problem and thought that maybe you could help.

Living in this world of growing distractions and confusion, I’m now having trouble with unbelief.
It bothers me to feel this way.

I think it comes down to the same reasons that others struggle with such doubt, such as…

“The Bible is just a bunch of old stories and ancient myths.”
“Why the need for God to create this long drawn-out story of planet earth?”
“An ark with all the animals?”
“Evolution”

Anyway, the list goes on, and I’m sure you’ve heard them all.

Have you written, or do you know of, any articles that could help give me some encouragement?

You have hit the nail on the head about the world with its distractions and confusion. This is the believer’s constant struggle: to swim against the flow of what “everyone” knows and believes to live a life of faith. The world cries out its ideas loud and strong, and if we are not careful we can easily start to listen. Read the rest of this entry »

I received the following question:

“Why is God a man (the father)?” My daughter asked me this. I didn’t have a good answer.

This answer is directly to your daughter.

You have asked a great question about God. Why is He called the Father? Why is He called “He” at all? I believe in the Bible, so I turn to the Bible and what I know about Bible times to try to find an answer. Read the rest of this entry »

II Samuel 23 Part 2

8. These are the names of the mighty men whom David had: Josheb-Basshebeth the Tachmonite, chief among the captains. He was called Adino the Eznite, because he had killed eight hundred men at one time.

Now we come to a list of David’s mighty men. It seems David had certain mighty men who fought in his army, warriors who depended on God. God responded by giving these men the ability to do marvelous and even superhuman feats. Like David, who killed Goliath by the power of God, these men also worked exploits by faith and trust in the God of David. Read the rest of this entry »

II Samuel 23

1. Now these are the last words of David.
Thus says David the son of Jesse;
Thus says the man raised up on high,
The anointed of the God of Jacob,
And the sweet psalmist of Israel:

Now we come upon David’s last words. These are a little out of order here, coming from later in David’s life than the historical record we are considering, just as the last chapter came from earlier in David’s life than the historical record. We might imagine that “David’s last words” means that he gasped these out as he was expiring. That may have been near to the case, but I think what is really meant is that this was his last revelation, his last prophetic utterance, his last inspired words from God. He might have said “bring me water,” or “I love you all” to his family, and such things after this, and yet these would still be his last, God-given words. This is what makes them very important, just like we would view Paul’s last words to believers today in II Timothy to be of special importance, since they were the last inspired words God recorded for us chronologically before falling silent. Read the rest of this entry »

II Samuel 22 Part 4

44. “You have also delivered me from the strivings of my people;
You have kept me as the head of the nations.
A people I have not known shall serve me.

Here begins the seventh stanza, which brings us forward to David’s coming rule in the kingdom of God, as the last stanza did into the tribulation battle against the forces of Satan. Here it declares that God also has delivered David from his own people striving against him. There are always divisions in nations. People will fight against the ruler because of their own jealousies, ambitions, and desires. David’s court in the past was no different. He had those who opposed him all his life. Thus we realize this verse must take us into the future kingdom of God, when David will finally be delivered for good from all such petty squabbling. Read the rest of this entry »