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August 20: 1Ki 15 | Jer 41 | Mk 15

Updated: Aug 16, 2021

Reading 1 - 1Ki 15:17

"Baasha king of Israel went up against Judah and fortified Ramah to prevent anyone from leaving or entering the territory of Asa king of Judah" (1Ki 15:17).

"We read of a very early king of Israel, Baasha, making his iron curtain. He fortified the border, 'that he might not suffer any to go out or come in to Asa, king of Judah' (1Ki 15:17).

"Why did he do that? Other books of the Old Testament supply the answer. Like the builders of the Berlin wall he was not concerned about keeping an enemy out, but with keeping his own people in. All the God-fearing people in the idolatrous north wanted to emigrate to the south, where the Temple in Jerusalem kept true worship alive.

"Baasha's iron curtain was inefficient. He lacked the barbed wire and minefields beloved of modern dictators. The Second Book of Chronicles tells us that when good king Asa purged all the idols out of the Kingdom of Judah, this was the result: 'He gathered all Judah and Benjamin, and them that sojourned with them out of Ephraim and Manasseh and out of Simeon. For they fell to him out of Israel in abundance, when they saw that the Lord his God was with him' (2Ch 15:9)" (Alan Hayward, "God's Truth" ch 10).

Reading 2 - Jer 41:16-18

"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. And they went on, stopping at Geruth Kimham near Bethlehem on their way to Egypt to escape the Babylonians" (Jer 41:16-18).