Fr. James' Lectionary

The Lectionary is both a reading program for completing all of Holy Scripture on a one year schedule, and a daily comment on a portion of the day's reading wedded to a poem to give an added perspective on the theme.

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Location: Amherst, Virginia, United States

Monday, August 29, 2005

Land of Peace and Plenty

Daily Readings
Psalm 119:81-96 + I Kings 4 + I Chronicles 22:2-19 + Jeremiah 17

Quote of the Day
See, a son shall be born to you; he shall be a man of peace. I will give him peace from all his enemies on every side; for his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace and quiet to Israel in his days. I Chronicles 22:9 --the LORD to David

Daily Text: I Kings 4

Lectio What one word or phrase from the Daily Text leaps out at you? ‘Comment’ below.

Land of Peace and Plenty
David established the kingdom; Solomon ruled it and the people benefited. This image of David as a man of war and Solomon as a man of peace is a metaphor for our own day, as well as that of every other time. Solomon, though there is evidence that he was not a good administrator, turned his hand to administration as is evidenced from the official’s lists in this chapter. Construction boomed, agriculture thrived and Israel continued its place as a power in the Fertile Crescent, from the Euphrates to the Nile, from East of the Jordan to the Mediterranean coastal plain. That he used widespread patronage in his governing may be criticized or praised depending on one’s point of reference. Certainly, two of his sons-in-law are named as administrators. On the other hand, Solomon was of an educated and scribal bent. His children and their spouses may also have reflected that ability, a rare ability in that time. Scribes tended to pass their trade on to their sons and grandsons for generations reflecting not patronage, but needed and necessary skills [ff. Cogan 437:217]. Actually, this is partially confirmed in that some of the names come from David’s court, indicating that they were kept in place by Solomon, surely a wise and stable decision.

The reference to the nature of Solomon’s wisdom in 4:32, 33 suggest that his knowledge of plants and animals rather than of a scientific nature was woven into proverbs and songs, two major examples of venerable poetic production [437:222], that delighted and perhaps inspired his admirers. An example of this may be seen in Proverbs 30:24-28

Four things on earth are small,
yet they are exceedingly wise:
the ants are a people without strength,
yet they provide their food in the summer;
the badgers are a people without power,
yet they make their homes in the rocks;
the locusts have no king,
yet all of them march in rank;
the lizard can be grasped in the hand,
yet it is found in kings’ palaces.

If this is so, then the characterization of Solomon’s ability as ‘wisdom’, rather than ‘knowledge’, remains accurate and quite descriptive. All the evidence points in this direction: son of a musical and poetic father, considered to be the author of proverbs, philosophical texts (eg. Ecclesiastes) and sensual poetry (eg. Song of Solomon). All point to this creative type of wisdom.

Meditatio What would you add to this commentary on the Daily Text? ‘Comment’ below.

Solomon’s Wisdom
Richard Wilton

Not only for high uses which belong
To kings, or private solace of his mind,
Or delectation of all human kind
With thoughtful proverb and with holy song,
Was wisdom giv’n; but that the goodly throng
Of creatures might a royal scholar find—
Beasts, reptiles, fish, birds borne on wave or wind,
And plants from hyssop frail to cedar strong.
May I in God’s least works high purpose see
And with intelligent observance greet
Each careless bird that flits from tree to tree,
Each thriftless flower that sheds its incense sweet
About my path. Thus be it given to me
To find true wisdom scattered at my feet.
411:210

(Alternative poem? Include under ‘comment’ below.)

Oratio Conspire to respond with an act of kindness for someone you encounter today. Make it loving, low key and low risk. Hold a door, clean a car, give a flower, notice the unnoticed, make Christ’s love real. Write your experience below under ‘Comment.’

Contemplatio Enjoy what God is doing through you.

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