August 2011


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Jeremiah 36:1-2  The Lord spoke to Jeremiah in the fourth year that Jehoiakim son of Josiah was ruling over Judah. 2 “Get a scroll. Write on it everything I have told you to say about Israel, Judah, and all the other nations since I began to speak to you in the reign of Josiah until now. … 4 So Jeremiah summoned Baruch son of Neriah. Then Jeremiah dictated to Baruch everything the Lord had told him to say and Baruch wrote it all down in a scroll. (NET)

In 1975 approximately 200 clay bullae turned up in the hands of a Palestinian antiquities dealer.  One of those bullae (measuring 0.67” x 0.63”) contained an inscription in Paleo-Hebrew on three lines: “Belonging to Berechiah (Baruch) son of Neriah the scribe.”  Berechiah is the name Baruch with the abbreviated divine name (yah) attached at the end.  The bulla is dated to the late 7th or early 6th century BC.

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2 Chron 32:9a  Afterward King Sennacherib of Assyria, while attacking Lachish with all his military might, sent his messengers to Jerusalem. (NET)

Jer 34:6-7  The prophet Jeremiah told all this to King Zedekiah of Judah in Jerusalem. 7 He did this while the army of the king of Babylon was attacking Jerusalem and the cities of Lachish and Azekah. He was attacking these cities because they were the only fortified cities of Judah which were still holding out. (NET)

In the 1930s archaeologists discovered 21 ostracons in a guard room next to the outer gate at Lachish(~25 miles southwest of Jerusalem).  The ostracons were written by Hoshaiah (Nehemiah 12:32, Jeremiah 42:1, 43:2), a military officer stationed near Jerusalem, and addressed to Joash, the commanding officer at Lachish.

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One way to avoid self-righteousness when your brother falls is to keep in mind that each of us is capable of the worst evil, because we are all equally fallen. That’s why Paul said, “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted” (Gal 6:1) and “Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor 10:12).  See also 1 Cor 9:27.

2 Kings 24:12; 25:27-30  King Jehoiachin of Judah, along with his mother, his servants, his officials, and his eunuchs surrendered to the king of Babylon. The king of Babylon, in the eighth year of his reign, took Jehoiachin prisoner. [597 BC] … 27 In the thirty-seventh year of the exile of King Jehoiachin of Judah, on the twenty-seventh day of the twelfth month [March 22, 561 BC], King Evil-Merodach [Amel-Marduk] of Babylon [son of Nebuchadnezzar, 562-560 BC], in the first year of his reign, pardoned King Jehoiachin of Judah and released him from prison. 28 He spoke kindly to him and gave him a more prestigious position than the other kings who were with him in Babylon. 29 Jehoiachin took off his prison clothes and ate daily in the king’s presence for the rest of his life. 30 He was given daily provisions by the king for the rest of his life until the day he died.

During his excavation of Babylon in 1899-1917, Robert Koldeway discovered a royal archive room of King Nebuchadnezzar near the Ishtar Gate.  It contained tablets dating to 595-570 BC.  The tablets were translated in the 1930s by the German Assyriologist, Ernst Weidner. Four of these tablets list rations of oil and barley given to various individuals—including the deposed King Jehoiachin—by Nebuchadnezzar from the royal storehouses, dated five years after Jehoiachin was taken captive.

One tablet reads:

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Just up at the Institute for Biblical Studies: “The (In)adequacy of Darwinian Evolution.”

Recently I was listening to the July 23, 2011 broadcast of Unbelievable, a great UK radio program that faces off Christians and non-Christians on a range of theological, philosophical, and moral/social topics.  The July 23rd broadcast addressed the issue of abortion.  Representing the pro-abortion side was Wendy Savage, and representing the anti-abortion side was Madeleine Flannagan.  While much could be said concerning the dialogue, I want to focus on one particular comment from Ms. Savage.  Ms. Flannagan was arguing that it was just as wrong to kill a baby in the womb as it is to kill a baby outside the womb.  Ms. Savage responded to the effect, ‘It’s not a baby, it’s a fetus.”

Pro-choicers often make this sort of “argument.”  The problem is that it commits a categorical error.  “Fetus” is not a type of life distinct from a “baby” or “human being,” but the name we give a particular stage of human development—on the same level of “adolescence, toddler, adult,” etc.  So to say “it’s not a baby, it’s a fetus” is only to say “it’s a younger human being, not an older one.”  But that observation does not tell us whether or not it is morally acceptable to kill younger human beings.  That’s the million dollar question, and one pro-abortion advocates like to skirt.

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2 Kings 24:1,6,8a,10-17  During Jehoiakim’s reign, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon attacked. Jehoiakim was his subject for three years, but then he rebelled against him. 6 He passed away and his son Jehoiachin replaced him as king. … 8 Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he became king, and he reigned three months in Jerusalem. … 10 At that time the generals of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon marched to Jerusalem and besieged the city. 11 King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came to the city while his generals were besieging it. 12 King Jehoiachin of Judah, along with his mother, his servants, his officials, and his eunuchs surrendered to the king of Babylon. The king of Babylon, in the eighth year of his reign, took Jehoiachin prisoner. 13 Nebuchadnezzar took from there all the riches in the treasuries of the Lord’s temple and of the royal palace. He removed all the gold items which King Solomon of Israel had made for the Lord’s temple, just as the Lord had warned. 14 He deported all the residents of Jerusalem, including all the officials and all the soldiers (10,000 people in all). This included all the craftsmen and those who worked with metal. No one was left except for the poorest among the people of the land. 15 He deported Jehoiachin from Jerusalem to Babylon, along with the king’s mother and wives, his eunuchs, and the high-ranking officials of the land. 16 The king of Babylon deported to Babylon all the soldiers (there were 7,000), as well as 1,000 craftsmen and metal workers. This included all the best warriors. 17 The king of Babylon made Mattaniah, Jehoiachin’s uncle, king in Jehoiachin’s place. He renamed him Zedekiah. (NET)

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