Other comments on this day's readings can be found here.
Reading 1 - 1Kings 2:28
"When the news reached Joab, who had conspired with Adonijah though not with Absalom, he fled to the tent of the LORD and took hold of the horns of the altar" (1Ki 2:28).
Joab must have thought that, as Adonijah had done this successfully before, he -- that is, Joab -- might repeat it, and have some hope of being spared. Joab was an old man by now, who had about thirty years earlier committed two atrocious murders, and now those "chickens" have finally come home to roost.
And so he retreated to the horns of the altar in the LORD's house, which -- so far as we can tell -- he had very seldom approached before. He seems to have had little respect for religion during his lifetime. He was a coarse man of war, and had taken little or no time to think of God, or the tabernacle, or the priests, or the altar... until he was in danger. But then, he fled to that which he had avoided, and sought to take refuge in that which he had neglected.
Joab is not the only man to seek for help in such a way. But it was of no use: it was too little, and too late. God will not be mocked, and a man will reap what he has sown (Gal 6:7).
Reading 2 - Jeremiah 29
"It was important that a message be received by the exiles taken to Babylon in the captivity of Jehoichin, so that they might understand the true nature of their circumstances. Those exiles were in a similar position to the believers of today -- separated from their true homeland, and dwelling in the country of the Gentiles. Many might have considered that the day of release was at hand, and keenly anticipated a return to Jerusalem. But Jeremiah's letter confirmed that the desolation of Jerusalem would continue for a long period. Many of the captives would not see the return, though the following generation would. It is therefore an important communication, similar to that of the apostle Paul to the Thessalonians (2Th 2):
An introduction: vv 1-3.
Then an appeal: "Seek the peace of Babylon, for the captivity will be long": vv 4-7.
And a warning: Be not deluded by false prophets: vv 8-9.
An exposition: In Yahweh's love the captivity is limited to seventy years: vv 10-14.
A comment about the signs of the times: Further trouble impending for Jerusalem: vv 15-19.
A second letter: Denunciation against Ahab and Zedekiah: vv 20-23.
Indictment against Shemaiah: vv 24-29.
Fate of the apostate Shemaiah: vv 30-32.
"The 70 years captivity involved three 'captivities' by Nebuchadnezzar. In Jer 25:11 it is apparently dated from the servitude in the 4th year of Jehoiakim, being the first year of Nebuchadnezzar (Jer 25:1). The captivity is dated by Ezekiel as commencing in the 8th year of Nebuchadnezzar (Jer 1:1-2). The desolation commenced with the invasion and destruction of the temple in 18th year of Nebuchadnezzar (2Chr 36:21)" (GE Mansfield).
Reading 3 - Mark 3:1-4
"Another time he went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath" (Mar 3:1,2).
They were men with shriveled HEARTS! It was easier to heal the man with the shriveled hand than to heal the men with the shriveled hearts!
"Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, 'Stand up in front of everyone.' Then Jesus asked them, 'Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?' But they remained silent" (Mar 3:3,4).
In one moment of sullen silence they passed the verdict upon themselves. In their dry and shriveled little hearts they were all murderers (v 6)!