Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Daily Bible Reading: Nahum 1 and John 8:1-30

Introductory Information for Nahum:  A poem celebrating the fall of Nineveh, the capital city of Israel’s ancient enemy, Assyria. The fall of Nineveh was seen as the judgment of God upon a cruel and arrogant nation.

The Assyrian state arose sometime in the 25th- 24th century BC; beginning in the 10th c. BC, it grew strong, conquering even Egypt and eventually the entire Middle East. It was eventually brought low by prolonged civil war and the rise of Chaldeans or Neo- Babylonians. In 605 BC, the Babylonians and Medes defeated the Assyrians, allied now with Egypt, at the Battle of Carchemish.

Nahum 1 – “The Lord God tolerates no rivals; he punishes those who oppose him . . . The Lord does not easily become angry, but he is powerful and never lets the guilty go unpunished” (1:2-3).

“Mountains quake in the presence of the Lord; hills melt before him. The earth shakes when the Lord appears; the world and all its people tremble” (2:5).

The Lord is good; he protects his people in times of trouble; he takes care of those who turn to him” (1:7). But he will destroy you if you plot against Him. Such plotters arose in Nineveh, but the prophet assures us, “Even though the Assyrians are strong and numerous, they will be destroyed and disappear. My people, I made you suffer, but I will not do it again” (1:12). The people of Judah should celebrate their festivals and give God what they promised him. These wicked men will “never invade your land again. They have been totally destroyed!” (1:15). 

John 8:1-30  – Jesus goes to the Mt of Olives and in the morning goes back to the temple. While he is teaching, the scribes and Pharisees bring a woman caught in adultery to him.  They ask Jesus what to do with her, suspicious that he will treat the law loosely as he has been wont to do in other cases.  "But Jesus bent down and started writing on the ground with his finger" (8:7) - a mysterious gesture, the significance of which is "doubtful" according to the note. 

When he says that the one among them who is without sin should throw the first stone, they slowly drift away, and he is left alone with the woman.  He dismisses her without condemnation but with an admonition to avoid this sin in the future.
Jesus goes back to his teaching: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life” (8:12). The Pharisees contest the validity of Jesus’ claims. He insists they are valid because he “knows where [he has] come from and where [he is] going” (8:14). They are judging everything by “human standards” but he is judging no one (8:15). Also his testimony is supported by the testimony of his Father.

He is not arrested because his time has not yet come (8:20). He tells them they will search for him but not be able to find him. They puzzle over what he is talking about. He tells them they are from below while he is from above, “you are of this world, I am not of this world” (8:23).

“Who are you?” they ask. He answers, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He and that I do nothing of myself: what the Father has taught me is what I preach; he who sent me is with me” (8:28-29).

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