David’s poetry calls it out beautifully. This poem is another piece or feature of these concluding chapters. It’s hard to say when it was written, but it certainly honors God. Fun fact: much of this song is also found in Psalm 18.
Who does David see the Lord to be? What wonderful images David gives us of the Lord being his rock of protection, fortress, savior, shield, place of safety, refuge, and warrior. Let’s take a look at a few of these for our own purposes. When we think of God’s glory and awesomeness, which of these descriptors fit for you? For me, I most resonate with savior, refuge, and warrior.
If at first you don’t succeed…you know the drill. We don’t give up, we try again! And that’s what the Israelites did with great success. Whose victory was it really? Here’s a clue. “So the Lord helped Israel defeat Benjamin.”
God didn’t raise up a spiritual or military leader to fight this battle. The Israelites banded together for a common goal. From the sounds of it, their tactics were a bit crafty and worked well. The warriors from Benjamin were afraid. “The Israelites surrounded the men of Benjamin and chased them relentlessly, finally overtaking them east of Gibeah.”
Don’t let the reference to Ahaz’s death fool you. It appears its purpose is simply to set a date context for us. It is not talking about King Ahaz’s son when it says, “For from that snake a more poisonous snake will be born, a fiery serpent to destroy you!” Like Israel, Philistia had also been ravaged by the king of Assyria. That king also died near the time of the death of Ahaz.
This little snippet of Scripture points to a great doom yet to fall. Could it be Isaiah again is referring to the rise of Babylon? Is it Babylon who will be the “powerful army [that] comes like smoke from the north.” With the placement of this oracle in proximity to both Babylon and Assyria, I just wonder. I’m not a Bible scholar but have taken a look at a couple different commentaries. If the people thought Assyria was ruthless, the rise of the Babylonians will be worse.
Oops! There are no do-overs where death is concerned. When you’re dead, you’re dead. We hear often of people cleaning their guns and accidentally killing themselves or others. Or hunting accidents with some mishap where a friend is killed instead of the coveted deer. In times like those, there is not only guilt and anguish, but often times jail time or a tarnished record to deal with. Today’s passage has a solution for those situations where no malice or evil intent is present.
God wanted three cities in a “district” or region to be set aside as safe havens for those types of offenders. God did not see these people as guilty of murder, and he wanted to provide the a refuge of safety. You can imagine the loved ones of those killed would not be so full of grace and mercy. By protecting the “not guilty” one, he was also protecting others from acting in a fury of revenge which would make them guilty of murder.
Our dear Ruth isn’t one to sit back and let the dust settle on herself. She has arrived in a new land, and she is ready to experience it, to meet new people, and to work hard. We see a woman with a perky spirit and a good work ethic. She is not afraid to get her hands dirty. She seeks to please.
This text says, “as it happened” in verse 3, she came into the field of Boaz, a wealthy man of good reputation in the town who was also a relative of her father-in-law. Having lived in a small town, I was always amazed at the “hidden” family connections that would often surprise me. It is pretty typical to have many relatives in a small town. However, “as it happened,” God has now orchestrated something beautiful for Ruth. Continue reading “Ruth 2:1-13 – Please the Boss”