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.

Location: Amherst, Virginia, United States

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Divine Appointment

Daily Readings
Sirach 22:1-26 + II Kings 9 + II Chronicles 2 + Jeremiah 43

Quote of the Day
“‘This battle is not for you to fight; take your position, stand still, and see the victory of the LORD on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.’ Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, and the LORD will be with you.”
II Chronicles 20: 17 --Jahaziel ben Zechariah

Daily Text: II Kings 9

Divine Appointment
The crowning of kings would not seem to be an everyday matter, but here two chapters in a row we see the declaration of kings—in both cases requiring treason to effectuate the transfer of power. Such a transfer, however, is not at all unknown in powerful military circles. Such coup’ de etat’s occur right up until the present. It is only in extremely stable societies that such is not an ever present possibility. But here a religious man, Elisha, stands behind the overthrow giving credence to military actions. Evidently, the military had little respect for the prophets for their comments about the one who met with Jehu were derogatory in the extreme. On the other, when they heard his words they lost no time in proclaiming Jehu king. Jehu secures the city of Ramoth Gilead where King Joram’s commanders are meeting to confer on the battle in progress. Instead of sticking with the battle they abandon it to allow Jehu to become king. He drives in his chariot to Jezreel, the site of their wounded king and shoots him along with the king of Israel. Assassination is the rule of the day. Jezebel is next. She gives Jehu audience at her window from an upper story and gives insult by calling him ‘Zimri’, the name of the man who assassinated Baasha of Israel a couple of generations earlier. Jehu simply calls on the eunuchs serving Jezebel to give him their loyalty and to throw her to the ground and they do so without hesitation. Amazing what people will do when ordered.

Song for the Clatter-Bones
F. R. Higgins

God rest that Jewy woman,
Queen Jezebel, the bitch
Who peeled the clothes from her shoulder-bones
Down to her spent teats
As she stretched out of the window
Among the geraniums, where
She chaffed and laughed like one half daft
Titivating her painted hair—

King Jehu he drove to her,
She tipped him a fancy beck;
But he from his knacky side-car spoke,
“Who will break that dewlapped neck?”
And so she was thrown from the window;
Like Lucifer she fell
Beneath the feet of the horses and they beat
The light out of Jezebel.

That corpse wasn’t planted in clover;
Ah, nothing of her was found
Save those grey bones that Hare-foot Mike
Gave me for their lovely sound;
And as once her dancing body
Made star-lit princes sweat,
So I’ll just clack: though her ghost lacks a back
There’s music in the old bones yet.


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