Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Gentiles Exiled from Israel; Gentiles Exiled to Israel

A couple of interesting passages in 2 Kings 17 that I really hadn't noticed before.

First, a description that the Gentiles living in Israel before the Jews received the land were "exiled" by God from the land of Israel.

"[Israel] set for themselves sacred pillars and Asherim on every high hill and under every green tree, and there they burned incense on all the high places as the nations did which the LORD had carried away to exile before them; and they did evil things provoking the LORD. They served idols, concerning which the LORD had said to them, 'You shall not do this thing.'" (1 Kings 17.10-12)

This certainly sets up a parallel for Israel's exile. But just as important, one is "exiled" from where one belongs. There seems to be a suggestion here that the Gentile nations also belonged to God, or at least could have belonged to God, in the same way that Israel belonged to God.

Even more strange, is an Israeli priest was sent to teach the Gentile nations exiled to Israel during Israel's exile, so that God would not judge them. While the Gentiles were not fully converted, they nonetheless feared the Lord. The implication seems to be (or is it?) that they could have fully implemented Moses' teaching:

"The king of Assyria brought men from Babylon and from Cuthah and from Avva and from Hamath and Sephar-vaim, and settled them in the cities of Samaria in place of the sons of Israel. So they possessed Samaria and lived in its cities. At the beginning of their living there, they did not fear the LORD; therefore the LORD sent lions among them which killed some of them.

"So they spoke to the king of Assyria, saying, 'The nations whom you have carried away into exile in the cities of Samaria do not know the custom of the god of the land; so he has sent lions among them, and behold, they kill them because they do not know the custom of the god of the land.'

"Then the king of Assyria commanded, saying, 'Take there one of the priests whom you carried away into exile and let him go and live there; and let him teach them the custom of the god of the land.'

"So one of the priests whom they had carried away into exile from Samaria came and lived at Bethel, and taught them how they should fear the LORD." (1 Kings 17.24-28).

The practices of these Gentiles was clearly syncretistic. Nonetheless, the implication of the remainder of the chapter (vv. 29-41), is that the Gentiles could, and should, have "listened" to Israel's "statutes or their ordinances or the law, or the commandments which the LORD commanded the sons of Jacob, whom He named Israel" and served Israel's God alone.

I'm unsure what to make of all this. But it is all very interesting.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Jack, 15th in the Nation in 50-Meter Butterfly

I don't yet have a link, but according to Jack's coach, Jack's 50-meter butterfly time ranks him 15th in the nation among 8-year olds in USA Swimming. And he's in the top 100 for all of his other events.

That seems pretty cool to me.

Friday, September 19, 2008

This is pretty funny