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

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Adversaries

Daily Readings
Sirach 2 + I Kings 11 + I Chronicles 29 + Jeremiah 24

Quote of the Day
“But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able tomake this freewill offering? For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you.” I Chronicles 29:14 --David

Daily Text: I Kings 11

Adversaries
In this the final chapter of Solomon’s life we are suddenly reading of the demise of his hegemony. The reason given by the Deuteronomist is Solomon’s pandering to his wives—all 1000 of them! Anyone so enamoured of women would undoubtedly give them what they wanted, and as was the case what they wanted was a place to worship the family gods, and until late in his life Solomon created for them worship places around Jerusalem. This according to the Deuteronomist editor was why God actively worked to take the kingdom from him.

His adversaries were natural ones—three are mentioned. Hadad, an Edomite, whose countrymen were slaughtered by Joab during David’s rule, Rezon an Aramean who likewise hated all that was Israel and from a marauding band in and around Damascus make lightning forays against Solomon all his days, and finally, Jeroboam, an Israelite who alienated by Solomon and in his rebellion was promised part of the kingdom by the prophet Ahijah. Fascinating that the LORD promised Jeroboam the same future he had promised Saul and David and Solomon if he would but walk in YHWH’s ways. We suspect only that Solomon’s oppressive impressment of Israelites sparked Jeroboam’s rebellion. W do not know the nature of his rebellion, other than that he fled Jerusalem and his responsibility as one of Solomon’s supervisors. Whatever he did it was significant enough for Solomon to seek his life [cf. 12:3, 4]. None of these adversaries were effective in ending Solomon’s rule, but they were each ready to oppose Solomon’s heir, Rehoboam.

Solomon’s obituary is appended to these accounts, but is in itself normal enough to require little comment. It does reflect the reality that these ‘adversary’ accounts were drawn from multiple sources and inserted between the account of Solomon’s sin and his death.

Solomon
Thomas S. Jones, Jr.

They hewed him cedar trees of Lebanon,
And in his golden courts the people bowed
When through the seraphim a burning cloud
Covered the Temple of great Solomon;
But now the glory of the Lord is gone—
Moloch and Astoreth, the ivory-browed,
Feast on the holy mountain which he vowed
To Javeh* from the horns of Gibeon.

Yet he whose wisdom turns to weariness
Had heard once more the mighty Voice that came
When Javeh* held the King’s heart in His hand;
And though about the throne his tribesmen press,
Over their heads he sees the sword of flame
And Israel scattered through an alien land.
377:378

*Javeh is the sacred Hebrew word for Jehovah, God.

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