This chapter is about war against the Philistines. Other than Jonathan killing the Philistine commander, this chapter contains mostly bland details about various troop movements and armaments.
One of the Bibles on my shelf, the Good News Bible, provides additional headings to describe the various sections of any particular chapter. Today’s random chapter contains the headings:
The Descendents of Ahab Are Killed
The Relatives of King Ahaziah Are Killed
All Remaining Relatives of Ahab Are Killed
The Worshipers of Baal Are Killed
The Death of Jehu
The heading for the first section, in which 70 of Ahab’s descendants are beheaded, is a little deceptive, as the section also includes a description of how all of Ahab’s officers, close friends, and priests are also killed.
This chapter is the one with the prophecy about how the Messiah would come from Bethlehem. However, the prophecy goes on to describe the Messiah as a sword wielding soldier of the Lord who would defeat the Assyrians, like a lion among sheep, ripping them to shreds. (Note: Sorry the Daily Chapter was down for a little bit. I promise to keep it up as best I can.)
Happy New Year! Today’s chapter has instructions from God about how to properly sacrifice a perfect red cow. Detailed instructions are provided about how to spatter the blood and burn the intestines, etc. The second half of the chapter describes how to deal with a human corpse.
For today, be inspired by the Laws found in this random chapter: If a man is to be flogged, he should not be flogged more than 40 times, or he will be humiliated. Do not muzzle an ox when threshing grain. If a man dies without a son, his brother must marry his widowed sister-in-law and if she bears a son, it will belong to the dead brother. If the brother does not wish to marry his dead brother’s wife, she will go to him, remove his sandal and spit in his face. He will forever be known as The Unsandaled. Finally, if two men are fighting and the wife of one of the men reaches out and grabs the other man’s balls, her hand is to be chopped off.
God, speaking through his prophet Ezekiel, really lets Israel have it. I’m paraphrasing, but He basically says, “You dirty filthy whore! I found you as a bloody dumpster baby. I raised you to be a beautiful woman and I gave you clothes and jewels and food and I married you. How do you repay me? By sleeping with every guy you see. You are even worse than a whore because you give yourself away for free. Now I’m going to destroy you! I will bring all your enemies together and they will stone you to death, and then chop your body up into little pieces. You are just like your mother. You are worse than your sisters, who are also whores, but you are worse. I will forgive you, but you will be ashamed forever.”
In this, the first chapter of the second book of Kings, we hear the story of how the King of Israel, Ahaziah, is not happy about the prophet Elijah’s prediction that he will die. The King sends a hundred men out to meet Elijah on a mountain, but Elijah summons the fire of God and all 100 men are killed. Finally, Elijah comes off the mountain and delivers God’s message directly to Ahaziah. Then Ahaziah dies. Prophecy fulfilled!