Select: First Reading Second Reading Bible Background
First Reading: Jeremiah Chapter 39 and 40 and 41
39:1 In the ninth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, in the tenth month, Nebuchadnezzar
king of Babylon marched against Jerusalem with his whole army and laid siege
to it. 2 And on the ninth day of the fourth month of Zedekiah's eleventh year,
the city wall was broken through. 3 Then all the officials of the king of Babylon
came and took seats in the Middle Gate: Nergal-Sharezer of Samgar, Nebo-Sarsekim
a chief officer, Nergal-Sharezer a high official and all the other officials
of the king of Babylon. 4 When Zedekiah king of Judah and all the soldiers saw
them, they fled; they left the city at night by way of the king's garden, through
the gate between the two walls, and headed toward the Arabah.
5 But the Babylonian army pursued them and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho. They captured him and took him to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon at Riblah in the land of Hamath, where he pronounced sentence on him. 6 There at Riblah the king of Babylon slaughtered the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes and also killed all the nobles of Judah. 7 Then he put out Zedekiah's eyes and bound him with bronze shackles to take him to Babylon.
8 The Babylonians set fire to the royal palace and the houses of the people and broke down the walls of Jerusalem. 9 Nebuzaradan commander of the imperial guard carried into exile to Babylon the people who remained in the city, along with those who had gone over to him, and the rest of the people. 10 But Nebuzaradan the commander of the guard left behind in the land of Judah some of the poor people, who owned nothing; and at that time he gave them vineyards and fields.
11 Now Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had given these orders about Jeremiah through Nebuzaradan commander of the imperial guard: 12 "Take him and look after him; don't harm him but do for him whatever he asks." 13 So Nebuzaradan the commander of the guard, Nebushazban a chief officer, Nergal-Sharezer a high official and all the other officers of the king of Babylon 14 sent and had Jeremiah taken out of the courtyard of the guard. They turned him over to Gedaliah son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, to take him back to his home. So he remained among his own people.
15 While Jeremiah had been confined in the courtyard of the guard, the word of the LORD came to him: 16 "Go and tell Ebed-Melech the Cushite, 'This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: I am about to fulfill my words against this city through disaster, not prosperity. At that time they will be fulfilled before your eyes. 17 But I will rescue you on that day, declares the LORD; you will not be handed over to those you fear. 18 I will save you; you will not fall by the sword but will escape with your life, because you trust in me, declares the LORD.'"
40:1 The word came to Jeremiah from the LORD after Nebuzaradan commander of
the imperial guard had released him at Ramah. He had found Jeremiah bound in
chains among all the captives from Jerusalem and Judah who were being carried
into exile to Babylon. 2 When the commander of the guard found Jeremiah, he
said to him, "The LORD your God decreed this disaster for this place. 3
And now the LORD has brought it about; he has done just as he said he would.
All this happened because you people sinned against the LORD and did not obey
him. 4 But today I am freeing you from the chains on your wrists. Come with
me to Babylon, if you like, and I will look after you; but if you do not want
to, then don't come. Look, the whole country lies before you; go wherever you
please." 5 However, before Jeremiah turned to go, Nebuzaradan added, "Go
back to Gedaliah son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, whom the king of Babylon
has appointed over the towns of Judah, and live with him among the people, or
go anywhere else you please."
Then the commander gave him provisions and a present and let him go. 6 So Jeremiah went to Gedaliah son of Ahikam at Mizpah and stayed with him among the people who were left behind in the land.
7 When all the army officers and their men who were still in the open country heard that the king of Babylon had appointed Gedaliah son of Ahikam as governor over the land and had put him in charge of the men, women and children who were the poorest in the land and who had not been carried into exile to Babylon, 8 they came to Gedaliah at Mizpah Ishmael son of Nethaniah, Johanan and Jonathan the sons of Kareah, Seraiah son of Tanhumeth, the sons of Ephai the Netophathite, and Jaazaniah the son of the Maacathite, and their men. 9 Gedaliah son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, took an oath to reassure them and their men. "Do not be afraid to serve the Babylonians," he said. "Settle down in the land and serve the king of Babylon, and it will go well with you. 10 I myself will stay at Mizpah to represent you before the Babylonians who come to us, but you are to harvest the wine, summer fruit and oil, and put them in your storage jars, and live in the towns you have taken over."
11 When all the Jews in Moab, Ammon, Edom and all the other countries heard that the king of Babylon had left a remnant in Judah and had appointed Gedaliah son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, as governor over them, 12 they all came back to the land of Judah, to Gedaliah at Mizpah, from all the countries where they had been scattered. And they harvested an abundance of wine and summer fruit.
13 Johanan son of Kareah and all the army officers still in the open country came to Gedaliah at Mizpah 14 and said to him, "Don't you know that Baalis king of the Ammonites has sent Ishmael son of Nethaniah to take your life?" But Gedaliah son of Ahikam did not believe them.
15 Then Johanan son of Kareah said privately to Gedaliah in Mizpah, "Let me go and kill Ishmael son of Nethaniah, and no one will know it. Why should he take your life and cause all the Jews who are gathered around you to be scattered and the remnant of Judah to perish?"
16 But Gedaliah son of Ahikam said to Johanan son of Kareah, "Don't do such a thing! What you are saying about Ishmael is not true."
41:1 In the seventh month Ishmael son of Nethaniah, the son of Elishama, who
was of royal blood and had been one of the king's officers, came with ten men
to Gedaliah son of Ahikam at Mizpah. While they were eating together there,
2 Ishmael son of Nethaniah and the ten men who were with him got up and struck
down Gedaliah son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, with the sword, killing the
one whom the king of Babylon had appointed as governor over the land. 3 Ishmael
also killed all the Jews who were with Gedaliah at Mizpah, as well as the Babylonian
soldiers who were there.
4 The day after Gedaliah's assassination, before anyone knew about it, 5 eighty men who had shaved off their beards, torn their clothes and cut themselves came from Shechem, Shiloh and Samaria, bringing grain offerings and incense with them to the house of the LORD. 6 Ishmael son of Nethaniah went out from Mizpah to meet them, weeping as he went. When he met them, he said, "Come to Gedaliah son of Ahikam." 7 When they went into the city, Ishmael son of Nethaniah and the men who were with him slaughtered them and threw them into a cistern. 8 But ten of them said to Ishmael, "Don't kill us! We have wheat and barley, oil and honey, hidden in a field." So he let them alone and did not kill them with the others. 9 Now the cistern where he threw all the bodies of the men he had killed along with Gedaliah was the one King Asa had made as part of his defense against Baasha king of Israel. Ishmael son of Nethaniah filled it with the dead.
10 Ishmael made captives of all the rest of the people who were in Mizpah the king's daughters along with all the others who were left there, over whom Nebuzaradan commander of the imperial guard had appointed Gedaliah son of Ahikam. Ishmael son of Nethaniah took them captive and set out to cross over to the Ammonites.
11 When Johanan son of Kareah and all the army officers who were with him heard about all the crimes Ishmael son of Nethaniah had committed, 12 they took all their men and went to fight Ishmael son of Nethaniah. They caught up with him near the great pool in Gibeon. 13 When all the people Ishmael had with him saw Johanan son of Kareah and the army officers who were with him, they were glad. 14 All the people Ishmael had taken captive at Mizpah turned and went over to Johanan son of Kareah. 15 But Ishmael son of Nethaniah and eight of his men escaped from Johanan and fled to the Ammonites.
16 Then Johanan son of Kareah and all the army officers who were with him led away all the survivors from Mizpah whom he had recovered from Ishmael son of Nethaniah after he had assassinated Gedaliah son of Ahikam: the soldiers, women, children and court officials he had brought from Gibeon. 17 And they went on, stopping at Geruth Kimham near Bethlehem on their way to Egypt 18 to escape the Babylonians. They were afraid of them because Ishmael son of Nethaniah had killed Gedaliah son of Ahikam, whom the king of Babylon had appointed as governor over the land.
120:1 A song of ascents.
I call on the LORD in my distress,and he answers me. 2 Save me, O LORD, from
lying lips and from deceitful tongues.
3 What will he do to you,and what more besides, O deceitful tongue? 4 He will punish you with a warrior's sharp arrows,with burning coals of the broom tree.
5 Woe to me that I dwell in Meshech,that I live among the tents of Kedar! 6 Too long have I lived among those who hate peace. 7 I am a man of peace;but when I speak, they are for war.
121:1 A song of ascents.
I lift up my eyes to the hills where does my help come from? 2 My help
comes from the LORD,the Maker of heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot slip he who watches over you will not slumber; 4 indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The LORD watches over you the LORD is your shade at your right hand; 6 the sun will not harm you by day,nor the moon by night.
7 The LORD will keep you from all harm he will watch over your life; 8 the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.
CHRIST IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
JESUS CHRIST THE FOUNDATION STONE
Part 1 of 4
SECTION I - "LORD, WILL YOU AT THIS TIME RESTORE THE KINGDOM TO ISRAEL?"
The question that the disciples asked Jesus just before he ascended to heaven seems almost out of context with our understanding of the events of Jesus' life. What did Jesus have to do with restoring a kingdom that was at it's height almost a thousand years before?
King David reigned for 40 years. After his death, Solomon his son became king for another 40 years. During the reign of Solomon the kingdom of Israel become powerful, rich, and influential. When Solomon became King, he asked God for wisdom in ruling the people. God gave him wisdom but also gave him riches, honor, and a long life. The Bible tells us that the kingdom spread from the Euphrates River to the River of Egypt to the land of the Philistines. Many countries brought tribute and Israel became wealthy. The wealth and wisdom of Solomon was legendary then and still is.
Solomon followed through with the plan of his father and built the house for God in Jerusalem. It was built on the plan of the tabernacle but as a permanent building. Unchiseled quarry stones were used with beams of cedar. The inner sanctuary was overlaid with pure gold. Finally, the original ark of the Lord was placed in the Most Holy Place. When the priest withdrew after placing the ark, a cloud filled the temple: the glory of the LORD filled the temple.
Solomon praised the LORD and blessed the people. This was certainly a time of glory for Israel. But history follows on and the Nation of Israel followed the same road as Solomon. Solomon became enchanted with "foreign wives" and their foreign gods. He who had built the temple for God also built temples for other gods and Israel followed him. The history of Israel shows the downfall of Israel and their captivity at the hands of others.
Were the disciples, when they asked the question of Jesus, looking for a restoration
to the time of Solomon? Did they, even after the resurrection of Jesus, understand
the full import of what the Messiah was to accomplish?
Select: First Reading Second Reading Bible Background