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August 19: 1Ki 14 | Jer 40 | Mk 14

Updated: Aug 16, 2021

Reading 1 - 1Ki 14

"The sin of Jeroboam was that he perverted the divine worship -- and not that he directly opposed it. He neutralised the spirit of David and Solomon within the nation, by tampering with and weakening the principle of worship. The festivals, sacrifices, sabbaths, etc, of the Law continued in the northern kingdom (Hos 2:11; 6:6; 8:13; 9:4). Tithes, etc, were brought to the temple at Bethel (Amos 4:4; 5:21-22). The Psalms of David were heard (Amos 5:23; 6:5), but the people were deterred from worshipping at Jerusalem (Deu 12:11). There was an encouragement to ignore the fundamentals of Faith, and to ignore those who were valiant for the Truth in times past. There was a deliberate change of policy to allow a greater liberty of expression, and political pressure on those who desired to uphold the things of the past. Now sickness and death strike at Jeroboam's family, the premonition of greater tragedy to come.

"So the prophet Ahijah was instructed to convey the divine warning to Jeroboam (vv 1-16); but the appeal of the king was to no avail, for the child died (vv 17,18), and this was followed by the death of Jeroboam (vv 19,20). Meanwhile, in Judah to the south, Rehoboam's reign brought an evil environment (vv 21-24). Then came the invasion of Shishak of Egypt (vv 25-28), concluding with the death of Rehoboam (vv 29-31). It was a sad story of failure by a nation that ignored its pioneer spirit of former times" (GE Mansfield).

Reading 2 - Jer 40

Gedaliah became governor of Judah, appointed by Nebuchadnezzar after the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 BC (2Ki 25:22-26; Jer 40:6--41:18). Gedaliah was a member of a prominent and powerful family. His grandfather was Shaphan, probably the one who served as state secretary under King Josiah and reported the discovery of the book of the law to the king (2Ki 22:10). Shaphan's son, Gedaliah's father, Ahikam, became Jeremiah's protector after the famous temple proclamation (Jer 26:24).

Gedaliah set up his government at Mizpah, which was about five miles north of Jerusalem. However, before too much time passed, Ishmael, a leader of a fanatic nationalist band and a member of the exiled royal family, murdered Gedaliah while he was a guest in the official residence in Mizpah (Jer 41:2).

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