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

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Jehoshaphat: Bible Comment on II Chronicles 17 with poem by Walt Whitman, The Necessity of Religion

Daily Readings
Sirach 5, I Kings 19, II Chronicles 17, Jeremiah 18

Daily Text: II Chronicles 17

Jehoshaphat by his third year of reigning, as recorded in II Chronicles 17, had organized a team of officials, Levites and priests to go throughout the nation and teach the Torah. This was an unusual commitment to the Lord of his fathers. It is likely that he was co-regent with Asa for those first three years, being really free to implement his vision for leadership only after his father’s death. He is also credited with tearing down the high places. Fascinatingly, the Chronicler often claims this, for example with Asa in his early reign, only to note almost immediately that he fails to destroy the high places. These contradictions within the text are obviously meant to stand. There is no hiding or prevaricating. Obviously, multiple views are possible without the same compulsive connections that are present in contemporary writing. Perhaps though he tore down many of the high places some continued to stand and used actively. A man is who he is and even though the Chronicler has an agenda of seeing the Lord as one who blesses the faithful and holding accountable the faithless, he does not spare his primary figures, usually the kings. Jehoshaphat is one of his special figures in that he is given more space than almost any one else. And his faithfulness, like that of Asa, early in his reign, is made very plain. He saw its necessity.

The Necessity of Religion
from “Starting From Paumanok”
Walt Whitman,

I say the whole earth, and all the stars in the sky, are for Religion’s sake.

I say no man has ever yet been half devout enough;
None has ever yet adored or worship’d half enough;
None has begun to think how divine he himself is, and how certain the future is.
I say that the real and permanent grandeur of These States must be their Religion;
Otherwise there is no real and permanent grandeur:
(Nor character, nor life worthy the name, without Religion;
Nor land, nor man or woman, without Religion.)

Collect for the Day
Mourn not the dead that in the cool earth lie—
Dust unto dust—
The calm sweet earth that mothers all who die
As all men must;

Mourn not your captured comrades who must dwell—
Too strong to strive—
Each in his own steel-bound coffin of a cell, buried alive;
But rather mourn the apathetic throng—
The coward and the meek—
Who see the world’s great anguish and its wrong
And dare not speak.



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