Friday, September 13, 2013

Daily Old Testament and Early Christian Writings: 2 Chronicles 24 and Augustine's Treatise on Profit of Believing 26

2 Chronicles 24 – Joash of Judah is seven when he is crowned king. It says that his mother was Zibiah of Beer-sheba. He is a good king, does what is right in the sight of the Lord throughout the lifetime of Jehoida, the priest (24:2). Jehoiada gets him two wives, and with them he has sons and daughters.

One of the good things he does is restore the Temple. The Levites are supposed to see to the raising of the money, but they neglect it. So the king demands that Jehoiada make sure they collect the taxes they need and to set to work on it. They set a chest “outside the gate of the house of the Lord” (24:8). People rejoice and bring their tax to the chest. They hire masons and carpenters to do the work.
Jehoiada gets old and finally dies at the age of 130. He is buried among the kings. With him gone, Joash’s zeal for the Lord diminishes. Sacred poles are erected again. God’s wrath comes down on Judah. The Lord sends prophets “to bring them back to the Lord. . .but they would not listen” (24:19).

The spirit of God takes hold of Zechariah, Jehoiada’s son and he reproaches the people. They conspire against him and on the king’s command, he is stoned. “King Joash did not remember the kindness that Jehoiada, Zechariah’s father, had shown him, but killed his son” (24:22). Zechariah asks for the Lord to avenge him. At the end of the year, the army of Aram attacks with few men, but the Lord puts them into their hands “because they had abandoned the Lord . . . Thus they executed judgment on Joash” (24:24). He is severely wounded but it is his own people who kill him. His servants kill him to avenge the death of Jehoiada’s son.  His son Amaziah becomes king.

Augustine’s Treatise on the Profit of Believing
26 - For I ask, if what is not known must not be believed, in what way may children do service to their parents, and love with mutual affection those whom they believe not to be their parents? For it cannot, by any means, be known by reason. But the authority of the mother comes in, that it be believed of the father; but of the mother it is usually not the mother that is believed, but midwives, nurses, servants. For she, from whom a son may be stolen and another put in his place, may she not being deceived deceive? Yet we believe, and believe without any doubt, what we confess we cannot know. For who but must see, that unless it be so, filial affection, the most sacred bond of the human race, is violated by extreme pride of wickedness? For what madman even would think him to be blamed who discharged the duties that were due to those whom he believed to be his parents, although they were not so? Who, on the other hand, would not judge him to deserve banishment, who failed to love those who were perhaps his true parents, through fear lest he should love pretended. Many things may be alleged, whereby to show that nothing at all of human society remains safe, if we shall determine to believe nothing, which we cannot grasp by full apprehension.

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