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Today's Readings: 1 Chronicles 21 | Ezekiel 31 | Ephesians 2

Reading 1 - 1Ch 21:25

"So David paid Araunah six hundred shekels of gold for the site" (1Ch 21:25).

Is there a discrepancy between 2Sa 24:24 and 1Ch 21:25? No. The difference in prices may be resolved in this way: the price of the threshing floor alone was 50 shekels of silver (2Sa 24:24), while the price of the entire "site" or "place" (that is, the holy place or sanctuary) of mount Moriah -- where the threshing floor was located -- was 600 shekels of gold (1Ch 21:25).

Reading 2 - Eze 31:3-9

"Consider Assyria, once a cedar in Lebanon, with beautiful branches overshadowing the forest; it towered on high, its top above the thick foliage. The waters nourished it, deep springs made it grow tall; their streams flowed all around its base and sent their channels to all the trees of the field. So it towered higher than all the trees of the field; its boughs increased and its branches grew long, spreading because of abundant waters. All the birds of the air nested in its boughs, all the beasts of the field gave birth under its branches; all the great nations lived in its shade. It was majestic in beauty, with its spreading boughs, for its roots went down to abundant waters. The cedars in the garden of God could not rival it, nor could the pine trees equal its boughs, nor could the plane trees compare with its branches -- no tree in the garden of God could match its beauty. I made it beautiful with abundant branches, the envy of all the trees of Eden in the garden of God" (Eze 31:3-9).

Assyria is compared to a cedar of Lebanon, which is an emblem of earthly magnificence. It is the favorite tree in Bible imagery to express splendor. In this respect it could be taken as a symbol of a great triumphant empire such as that of Assyria. There is a "splendor" of this world; we should not be surprised when we see the wicked flourishing like green