Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Daily Old Testament and Early Christian Writings: 1 Samuel 14:1-23, Proverbs 12-13 and Augustine's Confessions 20

1 Samuel 14:1-23 – Jonathan goes down to the Philistine garrison without telling his father.  Back in the camp Saul has about 600 soldiers along with Ahijah, Eli's great-grandson.

Jonathan has, in many ways, the same virtues as we will later find in the young David.  He thinks even though the odds are against him, “it may be that the Lord will act for us; for nothing can hinder the Lord from saving by many or by few” (14:6). 

No one in the camp knows he has gone off on his own. Jonathan makes up this sign in his mind.  If they show themselves and the Philistines hail them to them, then it will mean God is going to turn them over to them. They do hail them, and Jonathan and his armor bearer go—they kill about 20 men, causing a panic in the garrison (14:15).  When the men in Saul’s camp see the uproar, Saul calls for the ark to be brought forth.

The Jerusalem Bible note says that the word “ephod” here was changed to “ark” by a scribe who may have thought the ephod to be an idolatrous article.  As the priest is about to draw lots from the ephod, Saul stops him and goes out to battle without consulting the oracle.

The text says at this point some of the Israelites who had previously gone over to the Philistines return and join with Saul (14:21). They all go out and do battle.  The men in hiding come out and fight, so the Lord gives Israel a great victory.

Proverbs 12 – Again, a few:

“To learn, you must love discipline; it is stupid to hate correction” (12:1).

“Wickedness never brings stability, but the godly have deep roots” (12:3).

“Thieves are jealous of each other’s loot, but the godly are well rooted and bear their own fruit” (12:12).

“Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others” (12:15).

“There are some whose thoughtless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing” (Jerusalem Bible 12:18).

“The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in those who tell the truth” (12:22).

“The idle man has no game to roast; diligence is a man’s most precious possession” (Jerusalem Bible 12:27).

Proverbs 13 – More wise words:
“He keeps his life who guards his mouth, he who talks too much is lost” (Jerusalem Bible 13:3).

“A sudden fortune will dwindle away, he grows rich who accumulates little by little” (Jerusalem Bible 13:11).

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, desire fulfilled is a tree of life” (Jerusalem Bible 13:12).

“Make wise your companions and you grow wise yourself; make fools your friends and suffer for it” (13:20).

And this famous one: “Those who spare the rod of discipline hate their children. Those who love their children care enough to discipline them (13:24).

Augustine (354-439)
20 - But what was the cause of my dislike of Greek literature, which I studied from my boyhood, I cannot even now understand. For the Latin I loved exceedingly—not what our first masters, but what the grammarians teach; for those primary lessons of reading, writing, and ciphering, I considered no less of a burden and a punishment than Greek. Yet whence was this unless from the sin and vanity of this life? For I was "but flesh, a wind that passes away and comes not again." For those primary lessons were better, assuredly, because more certain; seeing that by their agency I acquired, and still retain, the power of reading what I find written, and writing myself what I will; while in the others I was compelled to learn about the wanderings of a certain Æneas, oblivious of my own, and to weep for Biab dead, because she slew herself for love [Dido’s sister Anna dies for love - not sure who Biab is] ; while at the same time I brooked with dry eyes my wretched self dying far from you, in the midst of those things, O God, my life.

He had not yet learned to SEE in the characters and people he studied examples of his own life.

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