A gripped king – Agrippa !

26 09 2011

DAY ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY-SEVEN : 2 Kings 12 v. 1 – 14 v. 22; Acts 25 v. 1 – 22; Psalm 81 v. 1 – 7

Joash Repairs the Temple – Joash becomes king, when Jehu has been on the throne for seven years, and he reigns for forty years. ‘Joash did what was right in the eyes of the Lord all the years Jehoiada the priest instructed him.’
However, the ‘high places’ remained and people continued to offer their sacrifices there.
Joash instructed the priests to collect all the money offered at the temple through the census or personal vows, and to use the money to repair the damage to the temple.
However, twenty-three years on and the damage still hadn’t been repaired, the priests are summoned and are asked why the temple is still not repaired. The priests agree to take no more money from people, and to hand over the money they do have, and to let others repair the temple.
A special chest was created to gather the money in, and was placed alongside the altar. The money was overseen by the ‘royal secretary and the high priest’ who counted it, bagged it, and gave it to the ‘site supervisor’ to pay the workmen, and to buy materials for the repair of the temple.
‘The money brought into the temple was not spent for making silver basins….or any other articles of gold or silver for the temple…it was paid to the workmen, who used it to repair the temple.’
These workmen acted with complete honesty.
Only the money from the sin and guilt offerings remained for the priests.

Aram’s king Hazael attacked Gath and took control of it. Then he turned his attentions to Jerusalem.
Joash took all the sacred objects (previously dedicated by former kings), and all the gold found in the treasuries, and sent them to Hazael, who then withdrew from Jerusalem. Literally giving away the family silver, to avoid an attack by the enemy.
Other acts of Joash are written in the annals of the kings of Judah.
He was assassinated by his officials at Beth Millo (his assassins are named), and was buried in the City of David, and his son, Amaziah succeeds him.

Jehoahaz King of Israel – Joash has been king of Judah for 23 years when Jehoahaz becomes king of Israel, reigning for 17 years. ‘He did evil in the sight of the Lord…..so the Lord’s anger burned against Israel’. They suffer under the power of Aram’s king Hazael.
Jehoahaz seeks the ‘Lord’s favour’, and God hears him, sees Israel’s suffering and provides a ‘deliverer for Israel, and they escaped from the power of Aram’. However Israel still did not turn away from their sins, and the Asherah pole remained standing in Samaria.
Israel’s army had been decimated – only 50 horsemen, 10 chariots, 10,000 soldiers remained after Aram’s king had done his worst.
All Jehoahaz’s deeds are written in the annals of the kings of Israel. When he died, he was buried in Samaria and his son Jehoash succeeds him.

Jehoash King of Israel – Joash has been king of Judah for 37 years, when Jehoash becomes king in Israel (in Samaria). He reigns for 16 years. ‘He did evil in the eyes of the Lord’.
All the accounts of his deeds are written in the annals of the kings of Israel (including a war against Judah’s king Amaziah).
Jehoash died and was buried in Samaria, and he was succeeded by Jeroboam.
Then the story of Jehoash with Elisha:
Elisha is suffering an illness which will ultimately claim his life.
Jehoash visits him and weeps over the losses his army have sustained, and the small number remaining.
Elisha ‘puts his hands on the kings hands’, and instructs him to shoot arrows from his bow – firstly from the east window. Elisha said ‘The Lord’s arrow of victory…over Aram’, stating that Israel would conquer the Arameans of Aphek.
Next Jehoash is told to strike the ground with the arrows. Jehoash stops after three strikes, but Elisha wanted him to continue, ‘You should have struck the ground five or six times, then you would have defeated Aram and completely destroyed it’. The three times now signifies that Israel will only defeat Aram three times.
This is the last act of Elisha before he dies and is buried.

Another episode involves Moabite raiders who entered the country, and disturbed an Israelite burial. In their haste, the Israelites quickly threw the body into Elisha’s tomb. When the dead body touched the Elisha’s bones, it was revived – ‘the man came to life and stood up on his feet’.

Aram’s king Hazael oppressed Israel throughout Jehoahaz’s reign, but because of God’s covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and His grace and compassion, Israle was neither completely destroyed or banished. When Hazael dies, his son Ben-Hadad succeeds him. Jehoash defeats Ben-Hadad three times (as per the arrows striking the ground earlier), and reclaims some of the towns lost to his father, Hazael.

Amaziah King of Israel – Jehoash had been king of Israel for two years, when Amaziah became king of Judah. He was 25 years old and reigned for 29 years. ‘He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord’. The high places remained and people offered their sacrifices there.
Once he had established himself, Amaziah executed the officials who had finished off his father, Joash. The officials’ children were not executed though, in accordance with Mosaic law.
He defeats 10,000 Edomites in Salt Valley. He sends messengers to king Jehoash of Israel – ‘Come, meet me face to face’.
Jehoash’s reply is somewhat strange – ‘a thistle sends a message to a cedar in Lebanon asking for his son to be given in marriage to the cedar’s daughter…a wild beast tramples the thistle underfoot…You have indeed defeated Edom and are arrogant. Glory in your victory, but stay at home!’
Amaziah doesn’t listen so he and Jehoash do meet and attack each other at Beth Shemesh. ‘Judah was routed by Israel’, and Amaziah is captured by Jehoash, who then goes to Jerusalem and breaks a 600 foot length of the wall (from the Ephraim Gate to the Corner Gate). He takes all the gold and silver and sacred items from the temple, and he takes hostages too, and returns to Samaria.
All his other deeds are recorded in the annals of the kings of Israel. Jehoash dies and is buried in Samaria, and his son, Jeroboam, succeeds him.
Amaziah lived for 15 years beyond Jehoash’s death – all his deeds are written in the annals of the kings of Judah.
He had fled to Lachish from Jerusalem, but they sent men to kill him there, which they did. His body was buried in Jerusalem (the City of David).
The people of Judah take his son, Azariah, a mere sixteen year old, and make him their king. He rebuilds Elath.

The Trial Before Festus – after only three days waiting, Festus went to Jerusalem from Caesarea, to hear the charges the Jewish leaders brought against Paul. They wanted Festus to transfer Paul back to Jerusalem, as they had prepared an ambush and wished to kill him. Festus, however, urges some of the their leaders to return with him, to press charges against Paul in the right way.
After ten days with them, Festus returns to Caesarea, and calls the court together to hear the charges the Jews brought. They brought ‘many serious charges against him, which they could not prove’.
Paul defends himself, claiming to have done nothing to harm the law, the Jews, the temple or Caesar.
Festus asks if he is willing to go to Jerusalem to face charges there….

a strange request – there is no way Paul would want to face charges in Jerusalem, surely – Festus wanted to please the Jews, but seemed unable to ‘order’ that the trial happen in Jerusalem..

Paul asks, now, that his case be heard before Caesar, himself. ‘I have not done any wrong to the Jews, as you yourself know very well…no-one has the right to hand me over to them. I appeal to Caesar.’
Festus confers with council and declares that Paul will go before Caesar.

Festus Consults King Agrippa – Festus is visited by King Agrippa and Bernice, and so he took the time to talk through Paul’s case with the king. It’s a problem Felix left for him to sort out. The Jews have asked / demanded that Paul be condemned.
Festus tells of the courtroom drama when the Jews came to Caesarea with him to face Paul with their charges :
‘they did not charge him with any of the crimes I had expected. Instead, they had some points of dispute with him about their own religion and about a dead man named Jesus whom Paul claimed was alive’.
King Agrippa is gripped by this story, and asks if he can meet Paul and hear what he has to say.
Festus agrees to make this happen, even the very next day.

PSALM (from ‘My Psalms’)
Come on everyone!
Sing joyful songs to our God, our strength.
Shout loud praise to our Lord, the God of the generations before us.
Play your music, shake your tambourines.
Strike up beautiful tunes with harps, with guitars.
Blast the trumpet month by month,
to herald the start of the new moon feasts.
What a delightful law, a God-given command,
a rule passed down by the God of our ancestors, Jacob and Joseph,
as they moved out of their oppression in Egypt.
A command to worship gladly, joyfully.
I heard our God speak to me – in a language I did not recognise

I lifted the burden from their shoulders.
I helped them leave their heavy loads.
I rescued you from danger when you called out to me.
I spoke to you through thunder,
I met with you at Meribah’s waters.




One response

26 09 2011

Which Agrippa? There are four generations of Herods in the NT, two of them are called Agrippa, and most people get confused.

This one is Herod Agrippa II, son of Agrippa I, the Herod who features in ‘I Claudius’ for those who know it. He was a religious Jew, but like many wealthy Jews, he supported Rome throughout the First Revolt. He also provided them with military assistance.

Bernice was his sister, who spent years at his court after a series of failed marriages. There was a scandal when they were accused of having an incestuous affair, and later she became the lover of the future emperor Titus, who sacked Jerusalem in AD 70. He dumped her on becoming emperor due to her notoriety and unpopularity in Rome.

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