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Aaron was selected out of the sons of Kohath Both Moses and Samuel came from this clan, Num to operate the ohel moed. In the camps in the wilderness, the Kohathites were located to the south of the mishkan. Because of the temporary nature of the ohel moed the jobs of the Levites had to change over time. Historically, the career of the Levites can be analyzed into 8 periods. These are period of: 1 Elders Gen Ex. It would appear to be one of the many cases of a character having more than one name.

This study is mainly interested in the fourth, fifth, and sixth periods in testing its hypothesis. From Genesis to 1 Samuel the mention of the word nebiim, that is prophets in the plural, is when Moses expresses his desire that all of Israel were nebiim Num That reference coincided with the giving of the spirit which was on Moses to the 70 elders of Israel so that they began to prophesy. Before the time of Samuel, the word nabi was rarely used of individuals. It is used of Abraham Gen and Aaron Ex.

Apart from the Deuteronomist's 10 uses, whose dates are subject to dispute some scholars apply those uses to a later period Mowinckel , there is only one use of nabi in Judges The later prophets Hosea and Jeremiah also hold to a tradition that there were nebiim from Moses onwards. Although the term nebiim or nabi may have been rare, there was a continuous stream of messengers to Israel.

According to the same author, the prophetic writer, there was a terminology change in the time of Samuel. The term roeh as seer is first used in 1 Sam The writer of the end of Deuteronomy and the writer Joshua probably Joshua because he was probably Moses amanuensis [Ellicot , p. This can all only be seen as preparation for the coming of Samuel. With Samuel's arrival in Israel, chebel nebiim or companies, lines or groups of nebiim 1 Sam begin to be seen. Samuel tells Saul, after anointing him, to go and that he will meet a cheleb nebiim or company or line of nebiim coming down from a high place bamah.

These are a part of the plan of Samuel to get Saul anointed with the Spirit. He would meet them on the way down from Gibeath haelohim which could either mean the Hill of God or refer to a village of that name Bergen, It is shortened to Gibeah and is Saul's hometown Payne, ; Wevers, These nebiim would have four instruments with them: lyres nebel , tambourines tof , flutes chalil and harps kinor and they would be prophesying mitnabiim.

Samuel says that three things would happen to Saul on encountering the nebiim. From these three things, how quickly the lines of prophets might grow is seen. For Saul to come in the sound of their music and prophesying would be enough to change him into one of them. This experience indicated that from that time, God would be with him. This group of nebiim connected to Gibeath haelohim was spreading the presence of the Spirit of Yahuah.

They did not give a prophetic word to Saul or counsel him nor is it known from the report what they were singing or prophesying about. Why did Samuel have to send Saul to the nebiim to receive the Spirit? Who were they? The prophetic author of Samuel does not give this information. Wevers , p. The fact that in verse 11 people who knew Saul are surprised that perhaps Saul, a man of Kish and a Benjamite might be among the nebiim indicates that this looked strange. Payne , p. Faulstich dates this anointing to BC. And Elisha took over from Elisha around BC.

Here Moses although actually Aaron in the end speaks a word on behalf of Yahuah and on his authority. The fact that people who knew Saul saw him as he came across the prophetic procession suggests that this was indeed Saul's home town, Gibeah Payne, and secondly that there was a public procession going on with instruments and praise. Another indicator that this was a time of a feast or celebration is the fact that the girls who meet Saul on his way to Samuel say that the man of God has just arrived in town and the people were going to have a sacrifice at the high place but they would wait for Samuel to come to bless the sacrifice 1 Sam.

The word chebel can mean a line not just a company of prophets which can also suggest a procession. When Saul got there and im nebiim niba-with the prophets he prophesied, his acquaintances and neighbors saw him prophesying but knew that was not his place; he should rather have been with the public watching the procession. This lead to a conversation among those who knew Saul Person 1 mah zeh hayah What was this leben qish to the son of Kish Person 2 Shaul benebiim. Saul with the prophets? Person 3 Umi avihem And who is there father? Proverb Hagam shaul banebiim. Is Saul with the prophets?

He is not one of the prophets how then did he come to prophesy with them? How is it they let him join in? That is who is responsible for these prophets? These prophets were not people who could have come from any tribe but were connected to the Levite tribe and thus were an exclusive group who belonged to Yahuah and so had permission to prophesy.

But Saul did not belong to the Levite group; he belonged to the Benjamites. Saul was well known because his father was a man of standing; Kish the son of Abiel the son of Zeror 1Sam The author knows his genealogy going back five generations. His father was an eish gebor chayil a mighty man of honour. He was a mighty man of honor among the Benjamites but they were as Saul rightly points out to Samuel the smallest of the tribes in Israel due to the civil war in Judges 20, where Benjamin was almost wiped out.

Since Saul's father was an eish chayil he had the first qualification which in the Torah Jethro lays down for a man who would be a judge in Israel to help Moses Ex. He was one of the anshei chayil able men. The prophetic author argues that Saul came from a good and honorable family. The intention probably being to address the complaints of the people of Israel that Joel and Abijah sons of Samuel had turned aside to dishonest gain, bribes and the perversion of justice 1 Sam. Now Saul had been sent, by providence, to the Levite Samuel for anointing and training in judging Israel.

Even as the Moses the Levite chose anshei chayil out of all Israel Ex. No doubt Kish's wife was a eshet chayil Prov. The example of Boaz gathering the ten elders of the city and telling them to sit there as witnesses to his legal transaction with the kinsman redeemer is pertinent Ruth Thus Saul is perhaps used to the ways of the justice, among the elders having seen his father in action; it was only when there were difficult cases they were supposed to consult the Levites Deu In that same chapter of Deuteronomy, which talks of the judges going to the kohen or the judge who was in office at that time, it notes that when Israel should ask for a king, they were to be sure to appoint the king Yahuah their God would choose.

Thus, in Ramah, Saul, being chosen of Yahuah, comes to Samuel. That king, according to the tradition of the Deuteronomist is to go to the kohanim leviim and write a copy of the Torah. Thus he is perhaps to receive some education among the kohenim leviim. Saul then comes to Samuel and he is anointed by the Levite prophet. Samuel had been recognized as a nabi Yahuah by all Israel many years before these activities with Saul Sam. The text says he was known as a confirmed prophet of Yahuah from Dan to Beersheba that is from the north to the south of Israel.

This reputation as nabi Yahuah was gained because his words always came to pass 1 Sa. This was thus a respectable position as nabi Yahuah was one whose words came to pass or did not fall to the ground. Samuel was at that time in Shiloh the central sanctuary of the alliance of tribes.

Fourth Book Of Kings (2 Kings)

If Israel were listening to the Torah, the males would visit that shrine three times a year and so Samuel's name would have spread out over all Israel Lev. As a man of God and a seer, Samuel did not charge set fees but received whatever offering the person coming to him to enquire of Yahuah gave 1 Sam Since Samuel was a nabi and well respected, he send Saul to the nebiim to complete his anointing and perhaps to confirm to him that what the man of God says comes true 1 Sam , 1 Sam. Since Samuel sent Saul to nebiim to confirm his call and to equip him for his service, it can be concluded that he approved of the ministry of the nebiim.

If Samuel was so highly respected as a nabi and these nebiim are respected by him, the idea of the comments of the people which were designed to cast aspersion on the nebiim is questionable. It is unlikely the man of God who is greatly respected would respect them so much as to send the future king of Israel to receive the spirit of prophecy from them if they had a questionable character. It is more likely that these nebiim were respected musicians and prophets.

The fact that Samuel sent Saul to them again suggests they were connected to the ministry of Samuel and thus probably Levites as he was, nebiim as he was nabi and leviim as he was levite. The fact that Samuel sent Saul to them would clearly indicate they were nebei Yahuah not from any el nekar. Nor would they be Philistines or Moabites. The process of deduction can perhaps be fruitful. Samuel would not send Saul to the goyim to be anointed by the spirit. He would not send Saul to an Israelite woman to be anointed.

Samuel would send Saul to the spiritual branch Israel to be anointed and the spiritual branch of Israel were the Levites and out of the Levites some were called to be nebiim, even as Miriam and Aaron and Moses had earlier been called. Thus the question: Mi avihem? Who is their father, can refer to who is responsible for this group of prophets? To get the answer to what the question refers to we need to turn to Saul's successor, David and the records of his ministry. Samuel even told Saul to send his attendant away. Then he revealed his message privately and secretly.

Samuel does the same thing in the first instance to David 1 Sam. This time however Samuel went looking for David. David's family were permitted to witness the anointing 1 Sam In this case, the Spirit of Yahuah came directly upon David, he did not need to be sent to the nebiim as a sign 1 Sam It would be seen that the Spirit of Yahuah followed the outward anointing by the Levite prophet Samuel. David then connects with Saul 1 Sam 16ff, defeats Goliath 1 Sam. Having told the story of Saul's assassination attempts on him, David and Samuel went to Naioth where Saul had many nebiim who were prophesying.

Samuel is leading the prophets in the prophesying 1 Sam David spent some time in Ramah with Samuel and his anonymous prophets. However whilst they were together it is clear that even as Samuel had taken Saul under his wing and tried to train him 1 Sam so he took David under his wing. When Samuel poured the qeren horn of oil on David the Spirit of Yahuah came on David and he never forgot the experience 2 Sam This movement of the spirit upon David and Saul indicates that if in general those who prophesied were nebiim the leaders of Israel were also given of the spirit of Yahuah.

The Chronicler in 1 Samuel indicates that David and Samuel were the ones who ordained the gatekeepers to their positions. According to 1Ch , the gatekeepers in the gates were two hundred and twelve. These were reckoned by their genealogy in their villages, whom David and Samuel the seer did ordain in their set office. One important gatekeeper was Obed Edom. It is clear from this report that in the Chronicler's tradition, David and Samuel had worked together in assigning the security for the mishkan whilst it was standing at Shiloh. The gatekeepers were Levites and the four chief security personnel were responsible for the treasuries and the rooms of God's temple.

This text makes it clear how close the two reigns were, the reign of David and the reign of Samuel. The relatives or extended family came from villages every seven days. The four senior security personnel slept in the temple area and opened it every morning. Some were responsible to account for the utensils some of which were made of gold. They counted them when taken into the temple and when they were taken out after use.

With the high value of the gold and silver utensils and furniture in the mishkan, this security regime had to be maintained throughout the period of the Judges and into the time when the Temple was established. Although the personnel were not named in the books of Joshua, Judges and 1 Samuel they were there and they were known. The jobs that centre on the cult were the responsibility of families or father's houses. Thus, although the this is perhaps where the tithes were paid. Even as David and Samuel worked together on security, it is reasonable to expect that they worked together on the organization of the other Levites.

The result of their work is recorded in 1 Samuel The regime of the prophets some of which was no doubt inherited from Samuel, even as that of the security personnel was not just an organizing but a recording of the families that were already in operation. The witness of the prophetic writer of 2 Kings in relation to the revival of Josiah is as follows Israel had just gone through two generations of idolatry since Hezekiah's great revival 2Kg Hezekiah, like his father David had done what is right in the sight of Yahuah.

According to the prophetic writer there was no one like him. When he fell sick at the age of about 39 after ruling fourteen years it was prophesied he would die 1 Kings , but he prayed and wept and Yahuah heard his voice. He was given 15 years more. In the third year he bore the son Manasseh. He began to reign at 12 years old. He did much evil in the sight of Yahuah. Yahuah prophesied judgement over Jerusalem on the same level as that which had happened to Samaria and the house of Ahab.

Manasseh's son Amon reigned for two years. He was also an idolater, like Manasseh. He reigned but two years in Jerusalem and was assassinated 2 Kg Then came Josiah who turned his heart to Yahuah. He assembled all Judah and Jerusalem to a covenant renewal ceremony. Present at this covenant renewal ceremony, according to the prophetic author, are seven groups of people including one group called nebiim. The Chronicler writing some time later, with 2 kings as a source, copied this section but made one very significant change in the text in terms of the groups of people.

Instead of writing nebiim, he wrote Levites. His text read: And the king went up into the house of Yahuah, and all the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and the priests, and the Levites, and all the people, great and small: and he read in their ears all the words of the book of the covenant that was found in the house of Yahuah 2Ch. Society is made up of 7 groups as shown in the Table 1.

Books of Samuel

Not only that but he actually understands that the nebiim have been omitted. On the other hand, Fritsch does pick up on part of the significance of the substitution. But the evidence indicates that it was not just in the days of the Chronicler but he is just clarifying something that may have been there for many generations 1 Sam 10, This reticence to accept or notice what the Chronicler has done in replacing nebiim with leviim is evidence that a great historical problem exists.

The attitude of the Chronicler can be observed in his uses of the word Leviim. Could he be implying that when he sees a nabi he sees a levi? If this is the case then the question asked at the beginning of the paper Mi avihem? Who is their father would take on more significance. The term Levite is used 3 times in the singular. All of Judah and Jerusalem were standing together in front of the new court when Jehoshaphat got up and prayed. It was a serious time as the nation was under threat from Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir and the nation needed to hear the voice of Yahuah.

For we do not have power to face this vast army that is attacking us. Then the tension is broken when the Spirit of Yahuah came on Jahaziel of beni Asaph. But who are these prophets of old Fritsch is referring to? Jehoshaphat ruled from BC. This Levite prophecy came before Amos and Hosea. Let us consider two things there: how little we deserve, and how much we enjoy.

Consider the state of the world around you. Blair, D. And when the child was grown. The Bible is the most perfectly natural and human book in the world. It deals not with philosophies and theories, but with real human life. The story of the Shunammite and her child is one of the most touching episodes in Scripture, and also one of the most beautiful and finished narratives in the whole range of literature. She dwelt in Shunem, in the plain of Jezreel, the richest and most fertile tract of land in Palestine. She was also a woman of large-hearted generosity. But this great woman was hiding in her heart a great disappointment: she had no child to cherish as her very own.

But this great woman was to pass through a great sorrow. But this great woman overcame by means of great trust in God. Webster, M. This was the sad occasion that suggested the above remark. The words were spoken tenderly, evincing no lack of heartfelt sympathy, showing no indisposition to administer comfort in the most substantial manner. The whole universe, without faith inspiring the soul, would, indeed, become a dreary chaos, a world distorted, meaningless. Laying aside all discussion of extraordinary events which befall those who are in rebellion against God--how far these events are under the supervision of that Almighty power which is so despised, consider that no catastrophe can possibly come to the living Christian.

He is not exposed to accident in any true sense. The severest revulsions may come; the sudden visitation of physical illness may change every earthly plan; even the throne upon which reason sits may be demolished; but not one nor all of these combined can touch that sacred relationship over which infinite love and power exercise perpetual guardianship. A living Christian has a living union with the Divine nature, enjoys a residence in the realm of faith, is upheld every moment by an arm that wearies not beneath the burden of universe. The child of our King--a victim of chance?

Sooner the covenants of God will be broken than this could be. Let every loyal heart rejoice in the absolute perpetuity of relationship with his Father, and in the consequent pledge on His part of unremitting care. There are times when everything goes on smoothly, and one day is like another. Again, there are times when changes come, and whole years of joy or sorrow may be concentrated into a single day.

So it was with the household at Shunem. It was a hallowed day when Elisha first entered the house 2 Kings It was a joyous day when a man-child was born 2 Kings But most memorable of all was that day when the only son was lost and found; was dead, and received back to life again verse Morning joys. It is the harvest time. We see mother and child at home. This implies not greatness in wealth, but in character Proverbs ; Proverbs The next scene is in the harvest field. Here, too, all is joy. The father is glad at sight of his boy. His coming is not the result of command, but of his own choice.

There is such love between him and his father as makes their meeting and intercourse a joy to both. They are happy together. Darkness, at noon. How soon may the brightest sky be clouded. How quickly may the happiest home be darkened by sorrow and the shadow of death. It is a cry raised in the midst of innocent labour. The work going on is good and not evil. It is wholesome and pure.

Old and young may join in it freely. Such, at least, it was in the olden time, when the simplicity and purity of pastoral life were still known in the land Ruth And yet here death comes. There is no place safe. There is no people or work with immunity from trouble. Picture the sad home-coming. What a change. He came out full of life and frolic; he is borne back helpless as a clod. Alas, how dreadful the awakening! Mark her gentleness. Light at evening time. All is not lost, since God liveth. This woman, like her countrywoman of Gospel times, was great in faith. Therefore, instead of giving way to despair, she strengthens her heart in God.

Mark the preparation. What promptitude and decision! The long ride to Carmel. The passionate appeal to the prophet verses Nothing will satisfy her but Elisha. The return and restoration verses Hope has sprung up again in her breast. Nothing is too hard for the Lord. Trials will come. In the darkest hour God can help.

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Here the child cries to his father, the father sends to the mother, the mother appeals to the prophet, and the prophet casts himself on God. William Forsyth, A. He sat on her knees till noon, and then died. Let us inquire what proportion of mankind die before they arrive to years of maturity. What purposes God may design to answer by the early death of children. Though there is no reason to doubt whether God has some wise and good purpose to promote by cutting short the lives of so many of mankind; yet it is not to be supposed that we can discover all the reasons which influence the kind Parent of the universe in bereaving fathers and mothers of their young and lovely children.

But some of His purposes in such dispensations of Providence are plain and obvious. He may intend, by taking away so many at an early age, to make this appear as a dying world. Though He has told us in His Word that it is appointed unto all men once to die, and that dust they are and unto dust they must return, yet these declarations generally fail of making mankind realise their frail and mortal state. The eye affects the heart, and the bare sight of death makes a deeper impression on the minds of the living, than any human or even Divine declarations concerning it.

The frequency of death seems necessary to keep up a lively sense of it in the minds of dying creatures. A very dying time we know is always very alarming to the living. And by so many deaths of the young, God makes it appear to all, that they live in a dying world and are dying creatures. The frequent instances of mortality, not only from year to year, but from month to month, and from week to week, make it appear that death is continually carrying mankind to their long home, and causing mourners to go about the streets.

If it be necessary, then, that the world should appear as a dying world, what wiser course could God take to produce this solemn and instructive appearance, than to cut off such a large proportion of mankind in their earliest days? God may design, by the great mortality of children, to teach mankind His sovereign right to take away any temporal favours He has bestowed upon them. They are very apt to consider their children as their own property, and their own most precious property. They value them more than all their other earthly enjoyments, and claim a higher right to them.

They possess many things which they do not consider as their own. They dwell in houses, and cultivate lands which are not their own. They borrow many comforts and conveniences from one another; but their children they hold by a stronger claim, and practically deny human or Divine right to take them away. But they ought to consider, that God has given them these desirable objects and precious blessings, and therefore that He has an original and sovereign right to do what He will with His own.

This is a matter of so much importance, that God may, with propriety, take the most effectual method to display His sovereignty. And we can hardly conceive of any more effectual way to make mankind see, and feel, and acknowledge His sovereignty, than His stripping them of those blessings which they are most apt to claim, most apt to prize, and most reluctant to part with. By going into their families, and tearing from them the objects which lie nearest to their hearts, He gives them the most sensible and affecting evidence, that He has a right to dispose of them and of all they have.

God may design, by the death of some little children, to take them away from the evil to come, and give them cause to adore His sovereign goodness in early and safely conducting them to His heavenly kingdom. We are told that God sometimes takes away the godly from the evil to come; and why may He not do the same by some who die in infancy and childhood?

God may design, by the death of little children, to moderate the affections of their parents towards them. They are extremely prone to love their children too much. Jacob was too fond of Joseph and Benjamin. David was too fond of Absalom. Aaron and Eli were too fond of their sons. And parents in general are too fond of their children. And sometimes they are partial in their affections, and dote upon some son or daughter, who has the more promising appearance or talents.

Now, God knows the feelings of parents better than they do themselves, and there is reason to think that He often takes away some of their darlings, to teach them to moderate their affections towards them that survive. God may intend, by the death of children, to prevent parents from being too much engaged to provide for them in this life.

Their great fondness for them often creates a worldly spirit, and an anxiety to lay up for them rich and large possessions. They are ready to think that they cannot do too much for them. They give themselves no rest, but employ their time and exhaust their strength and expose their own lives, for the sake of putting their children into the most easy and flourishing situations. God may bereave parents of some of their children, on purpose to teach them to do their duty to the rest. God may bereave pious parents of their young and tender offspring, in order to try and purify their hearts.

This seems to have been the primary purpose of God, in taking away for a time the child of the Shunammites. Every circumstance was directly suited to try the hearts of those professed friends of God. They were not fond of the world. They were amiable and exemplary persons, and much engaged in religion, and warmly attached to its friends.

But it is probable that they idolised their only child. Accordingly, God meant to take away their idol, try their sincerity, and recall their supreme affections to Himself. Another reason why God sometimes bereaves parents of their little children, is because He intends to make their bereavement the means of their own conversion.

Such sensible and severe strokes of Providence have led thoughtless, careless, and prayerless parents to attend to the things of their everlasting peace. If so great a proportion of mankind die in childhood and youth, as has been stated, then all adult persons have great reason of gratitude for the preservation of life. If God so often takes away infants and little children by death, then those parents have peculiar reason for gratitude to God, who have never suffered a single breach in their young and rising families.

If God so often and so early takes away children from their parents, then it is of very serious importance that parents should be truly religions. If God may answer many wise and benevolent purposes by the death of little children, then those who are lamenting the sudden and surprising death of their lovely and only child, ought to be cordially submissive to the bereaving and afflictive hand of God.

This subject calls upon all to inquire whether the bereavements and afflictions they have experienced have been instructive and beneficial to them. Emmons, D. Princess Alice had just returned from her Italian trip, into which she had thrown herself with true enjoyment, and was still resting after the fatigue of the long journey. The two little princes had been playing by her sofa; Prince Ernest ran into the next room followed by the Princess, and in her brief absence Prince Fritz fell out of the window upon the stone pavement below.

One moment in the most vivid radiant life and health, the next he lay senseless and crushed. In her agony she sounded, as it were for the first time, the depths of scepticism. She searched in vain through the various systems of philosophy, but found no foothold. What should we be, what would become of us if we had no faith--if we did not believe that there is a God who rules the world and each single one of us?

The dead child. Beautiful: innocent, and pure. His death was sudden. Although sufficiently grown to have passed the usual dangers of the infant age, he is not old enough to go out to the field to the reapers. In the death of this child there is one of the hardest providences to understand. The believing mother. In reality she is the central figure in this story. She manifested her faith by her determination. She tells no one of her plans, but prepares to go to find the prophet, and bring him to the chamber where the child has been placed.

She showed her faith again in not making known her errand until she met the prophet himself. Her faith came out still stronger in her refusing to leave the prophet unless he would return with her. Her intuition seemed to tell her that it would not restore the child, and Elisha must return with her. He stretched himself upon the child. This effort was a manifestation of the earnestness of the prophet.

Elijah did the same. In both cases there was such an earnest longing for the accomplishment of the purpose that they would willingly give their own lives to restore the dead. Is it well with thee? When may it be said to be really well with any persons? Many would think it to be well with us when we have food and raiment, when our flocks and herds increase. In this sense, it was well with Dives.

For it to be really well with us, we must come to things which concern the soul, and which have a reference to that eternal state whither we are going. Mark, then, what follows: It is well with us if our souls have been awakened--if we have found forgiveness--if the Lord Jesus Christ be precious to us--and if we be now walking in newness and righteousness of life. Whether it be thus well with you?

You may, as we have seen, be well as it respects this world and your abiding in it. But, is it well with your souls? Would it be well with you, do you think, if God were now to require your souls of you? Inquire, I pray you. Felt you ever your need of mercy? Has a sensibility of your guiltiness ever constrained you to cry for mercy? What do you love most? Christ or the world? What is your chief joy? In what way are you living? Mudge, B. In view of the unsatisfactory nature of life.

In view of the home prepared for the saved. Appeal to the living. Is it well with your soul? Homiletic Review. It is well. Jones, M. She answered, It is well. The trial which the woman endured. The palace is as much accustomed to the visits of sorrow as is the cottage. The robe of honour cannot ward off the touch of pain any more than the garment of beggary. The glittering diadem often encircles an aching brow, and the silken robe often covers a bleeding heart. In her trial there was the disappointment of a strong desire. She seems to have had only one strong desire ungratified.

The desire to be a mother was peculiarly strong in the heart of a Hebrew wife, from the national relationship to the promise, that of the seed of a woman would come the Destroyer of the serpent and the Deliverer of Jacob. Who can blame her if her heart swelled with a joyful pride and a proud joy, as she clasped her baby to her breast, and pictured for him a future of happiness and honour?

What sweet and sacred hopes cluster round every cradle! We all know the power of hope, and to how large a degree hope constitutes the beauty and blessedness of human life. Her child has been taken from her. She had lost her first-born--nay, she had lost her only child. Her conduct under the trial.

Notice, first:. She is filled with the most pungent sorrow. When trial is sent, it is designed we should feel it. There may be sorrow, there must be sorrow, under the afflictions and bereavements of life; only it should not be despondent sorrow, nor rebellious sorrow, nor murmuring sorrow, but sorrow submissive and sanctifying, like that of this woman. She acquiesces in the will of God.

In her trial this woman cleaves to God. The grounds which may produce and sustain such a course of conduct as this woman pursued.


There are three grounds which may contribute to this desirable result. A consideration Of what we are who endure the trial;. Affliction comes to call our sin to our remembrance, and to humble us for it beneath the cross of Jesus. Another end for which God sends His heavy hand upon His children is to loose them from the world--to make them cease from the idolatry of the creature.

Again, another object of the trials which God sends His children is to make himself more dear to them. A further end God has in view in laying crosses on His people is that He may conform them to their Saviour, by admitting them into the fellowship of His sufferings. But, when God makes His children acquainted with affliction, He has a purpose in His view, beyond any of the objects we have yet enumerated. He intends by it His own glory. Eminently is that glory promoted and set forth by the patience of His people in the hour of trial, and by their cheerful acquiescence in His will.

The world is then compelled to see that there is truth, that there is power, in His Gospel. For look at the issue of these things! These afflictions are not everlasting. The Shunammite spoke truth when she uttered that saying in the midst of her affliction. Christian brethren, are any of us her fellow-sufferers? Roberts, M. An artist asked a friend to come to his studio to see a painting just completed.

He came at the time appointed, but was shown into a dark room, and there left alone. He waited for fifteen minutes, when his friend came in, greeted him cordially, and then took him to the studio. So I left you in the dark room till the glare had worn out of your eyes. Gird up thy loins, and take my staff in thine hand. There are no less than five instances wherein the prophet exemplifies the man of faith and the man of love witnessing to the faith of God by his grateful deeds.

This weakness and this failure is to be seen at the very dawn of the trial now coming upon the prophet. He is evidently greatly put out, not so much by the outward event itself, but at the circumstance of his friend being afflicted without his knowledge. How difficult it is to be honoured and lifted up, and yet to remain contented and humble! How many a follower of a great man upon earth is spoiled instead of improved by even just and moderate rewards of honour and confidence, and his previously gratified Lord has to take him down again!

So it was with Elisha.

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He has a lesson to learn of dependent humility--and the Lord is going to teach it him. Here is no prayer no earnest seeking, no humble inquiry of the Lord, What must I do? On the power of faith and its success, as exemplified by the prophet. What is the working of faith in us? Have we faith? Mark the weakness of faith and its consequent failure in Elisha. This weakness, we have seen, consisted in a self-confidence approaching presumption. And Gehazi passed on before them, and laid the staff upon the face of the child.

Here is a remarkable thing in Bible history--nothing less than that a miracle should miscarry. Here is an attempt to work a miracle, which ends in failure. This is strange and most painful. Who knows what may fail next? Are there any purposed miracles suddenly broken in failure? Does the staff ever come back without having done its work? We are bound to ask these sharp and serious questions. Do not let us hasten perfunctorily oyez the melancholy fact of our failure; let us face it and wisely consider it, and find out whether the blame be in Elisha, or Gehazi, or the staff, or whether God Himself may be working out some mystery of wisdom in occasionally rebuking us in the use of means and instrument.

Elisha was not a man likely to make vain experiments. We had, therefore, better know, with all frankness and simplicity, exactly what the case is, for in faithfulness may be the beginning of success. There is neither sight, nor hearing, nor sound of returning voice; the child is not awaked. Who was this Gehazi? An undeveloped hypocrite. There were three or four different men in that Gehazi figure. There are three or four different men in you and in me.

Which man is it to whom I speak; who is it that announces the hymn, that offers the prayer, that reads the Scriptures, that proclaims the Word? The bad man spoils whatever he touches.

Notes and Commentary on Isaiah 36–47

In the fall of man, everything with which man has to do must also fall. There is law in that deterioration; there is a whole philosophy in that mysterious depletion of virtue, and we ought to understand somewhat of its operation. Sin impoverishes everything. The universe is but a gigantic shell gleaming with painted fire to the bad man. To him there are no flowers in the garden; there may be some diversity of colour, but flowers as tabernacles in which God reveals Himself, creations of the supreme power, there are none, there can be none.

A man cannot go down in his highest religious nature without going down all round. Whatever his pretence of interest may be in things beautiful and musical, and pure and noble, it is only a skilful hypocrisy. You cannot be theologically wrong, and yet morally and socially right. We know what it is to have done the evil deed, and then to have seen all the sunshine run away from the universe like a thing affrighted.

Thus we may be coming nearer to the reason why the staff failed. The staff is good, the hand that wielded it was bad; there was no true sympathy or connection between the hand and the staff. The staff was only in the hand, it was not in the heart. There was a merely physical grasp, there was no moral hold of the symbol of prophetic presence and power. Gehazi had already stolen from Naaman, and already there had gone out from the court of heaven the decree which blanched him into a leper as white as snow. Now, let us come home. We have an inspired Book as our staff, our symbol, but are we inspired readers?

An inspired Book should have an inspired perusal: like should come to like. How stands the case now? You read the Bible and get nothing out of it. No, because you read it without corresponding inspiration on your part. No bad man can preach well. He may preach eloquently, learnedly, effectively. What can the bad man preach? Can he preach salvation by the blood of Christ, he who knows not what it is to shed one drop of blood for any human creature? Can he speak nobly who never felt nobly? Personality is the one thing of real value. The other day I stood looking at ten or fifteen pounds of clay.

It was valued at one thousand dollars. But this clay bore upon it the impress of personality. Whenever we purchase an article of any kind, in any store, we buy manhood, and not materials; personality, and not things. What we buy would be worthless without the impress of the human soul. Material things take their value from man. They rise in value as he rises in intelligence and moral power. The only thing of real value in the world is the human soul.

The child is not awaked. No doubt even in the youngest of you there are evil germs which may unfold themselves by and by, until you too die, or fall asleep, to God and goodness. No doubt even you often do wrong, and know that it is wrong while you do it.

You are not so ashamed of doing wrong as you were; it may be even that there are some things which you know your masters or parents would think wrong that you take a foolish pride in hiding from them. Perhaps you are getting greedy, selfish, hard to please; or, like Gehazi, covetous of the good things which others have, but you have not. Yes: I have often seen a most gruesome sight. I have seen a dead boy inside a living boy, and a dead girl inside a living girl!

That is to say, I have seen girls and boys who had lost their sensibility to spiritual things, their love of goodness, truth, kindness, and gentleness, and were nevertheless quite content with themselves so long as they could get nice food to eat, nice clothes to wear, and plenty of pocketmoney and amusement. Is it too much to say that such boys and girls are dead? You are dreaming, and pursuing dreams. Thousands of men pass into this outward world, and pass out of it every day; and they can only take with them what they have stored up within themselves.

So that it is this inner world which is the real world to us, the world in which alone true and enduring treasures are to be found. And if any of you think the outside world--in which you only stay for a few years at most--to be the real one, and are living only or mainly for that, while the inward and spiritual world, in which you are to abide for ever, is unreal and unattractive to you;--what can we say of you except that you are fast asleep, and do not see things as they are, and mistake dreams for realities, and realities for dreams?

You have eyes, but they are not open. There are faculties in you capable of apprehending the true realities, but as yet they are not in exercise. What is it to be awake, and alive, toward God? What do you want us to be and to do? What I want is that you should set yourselves to become good, useful, and happy men and women, by placing the best and highest aims before you, by acting on right motives, because you know that God loves you, and is bent on making you good.

How are you to know whether you are alive and awake, or asleep and dead? In a hundred different ways--such ways as these. If you are at school, and set yourself to learn your lessons well and to get on fast--you may have very different motives for doing your duty in school. You may care only to beat your class-fellows, to stand above them, to get on in your little world and be looked up to; and if that be your aim or motive, it is a selfish one, and you are asleep and dead to the true motives and aims by which you ought to be inspired.

But if you are eager to learn because you wish to do your duty, and to fit yourselves for larger duties by and by, because you want to become wiser, better, more useful, or because you want to please your parents and show that you are not unmindful of how much they have done for you, or because you want to please God and to prove that you thankfully remember how much He has done for you and given you, then you are alive and awake: for, now, your motives reach up out of and beyond this present world, which will soon pass away, and you are trying to prepare yourselves for any life, or any world, to which it may please God to call you.

And, lastly, some of you are growing up into men and women, and have to go out into the world to earn your daily bread. Are you diligent, thoughtful, eager to advance? Why, so far, well. But you may be diligent, observant, quick to seize every advantage and opportunity, mainly because you hate work and hope to get free from it the more quickly; or because you want to lay by money, to get rich, to make a fortune; or because you are bent on distinction, reputation, applause.

And, in that case, you are dead and asleep; you are not alive and awake to the best things, the most satisfying, the most enduring. For this life, for which alone you are living, will soon be over, and the riches which have wings soon use them and fly away. And if you should live to be never so old, still all your life will be a useful and happy preparation for the better life to come. Cox, D. God has made us for wakefulness, and in all the departments of our life the wakeful man receives the surprises of the Almighty.

How much the wakeful man can see in the country lane! There are uncounted numbers of village people who are still asleep, and whose senses have never begun to discern the transient glories of their own surroundings. I have just been staying with a man who makes it part of his ministry of life to open the senses of young villagers whose lives are cast in these entrancing spots. He tells me that they are entering into the unknown world with all the fascination exercised by a fairy tale. Birds and flowers have become the fairies in their once commonplace world, and now that they am awake they find it surpassingly interesting.

Hartley Aspen. He went therefore, and shut the door upon them twain.

Books of the Bible - 1 Kings

The story of the Shunammite and her son is one of the most charming idyls in the Bible. It abounds in the most beautiful touches of nature; and though the mould in which it is cast is peculiarly Eastern, its simple pathos appeals to the universal human heart.

Looking at the incidents of the miracle of Shunem in this light, they seem to me to afford admirable illustrations of the two prevailing methods of doing good, both on a large scale, as affecting the highest interests of the whole human race; and on a small scale, as affecting the spiritual and temporal interests of individuals. The one method of doing good, which may be called the impersonal, is illustrated by Gehazi putting the staff of the prophet upon the face of the dead child; the other, or personal method, is illustrated by the prophet stretching himself upon the dead body, and by his own exertions and sacrifices restoring the life that had fled.

The impersonal method. His action was impersonal; it was wrought by another, by a mere servant; it did not proceed from a true knowledge of the case, and it did not contain the requisite amount of faith. For these reasons it did not succeed. Death would not release his prey at the bidding of such a feeble and inadequate instrumentality. He knew by the result that he had committed an error in judgment. It will be lawful, in the first place, to apply this incident to the mode of salvation that existed in the time of Elisha--the method of imparting life to the dead body of humanity by the dispensations previous to the gospel.

These modes were all impersonal. God Himself did not come into closest contact with men, did not identify Himself with their interests, did not assume their nature or tabernacle with them. As Elisha sent his servant to restore the dead child, so He sent His prophets and priests and godly men, and spoke to mankind at sundry times and in divers manners. He sent His servants with His commission, and gave them His staff, the red of His power. He entered into covenant with Israel, and gave them laws and institutions for their guidance and blessing.

Some good indeed was done. If you want to be oriented to right and wrong, to be oriented to God is the best orientation there could possibly be for having all the other orientations fit. But still this can work. If you have got a youth group or a children's ministry or a Christian education ministry with a lot of kids who are not yet converted you can still use this material. It does not require for its applicability and its value that they have really made a decision to follow Christ.

Of course that is ideal, of course it is perfect, but there is a lot you can do without that. I really encourage this. One of the things that sometimes we do at home is that as we are eating dinner I will just grab the Bible and I will read a Proverb. I will just pick a Proverb at random. Often times it is just a Proverb that my eye falls on, I will do it now, I will give you a proverb like I do it at home. I will say to the kids, "It says here a wicked messenger falls into trouble, but a trustworthy envoy brings healing.

Then I will turn to some of the older kids and say, "What do you think it means? Here is a statement about somebody who is a gossip or who is somehow giving false information or conveying things in a way that is harmful that gets people in trouble as opposed to the faithful, trustworthy envoy who can bring healing. When you handle the truth correctly and diplomatically huge amounts of good can happen.

You want to hurt people, boy can you hurt them by just the way you say, "Do you know what so and so said about you the other night at Bible study? Make it up. You could start a thing that would take years to die down. One little detail, proverbs are essentially puzzles. This is important to get. A proverb is not intended to be simple to understand the minute you read it or hear it. It is supposed to soluble so it is not a puzzle that just makes you say, "I don't know; I have no idea what this says.

It is important to appreciate, however, in the way Proverbs are written--it is much more visible in the Hebrew, by the way, than it is in the English because the English often does kind of half explain it in the translation. English translators look for clarification, but in the original they are like puzzles. They are so terse and they have such unusual expressions and themes and metaphors that often they make no sense. Some of you who have learned English as a second language or have come from other cultures know this.

You have heard many things that people say and you say, "What does that mean? We use it that way because it rhymes, it has a nice sense to it. What is the meaning? It has very little to do with sewing. It is not really a sewing proverb at all. You do not have to watch the Sewing Channel to understand this proverb. It is about the fact that from a literal point of view, a literalistic point of view, when a garment starts to unravel if you can quickly stitch it then much more unraveling will be stopped and one stitch in time saves nine stitches.

  • Lecture 19: Proverbs.
  • Old Testament: Proverbs.
  • Bible in Poetry.

Does it also save fourteen? Does it save thirty-eight? Does it save two? So it is not just nine. But it sort of rhymes to say, "A stitch in times saves nine," so that is the way it is put together to make it memorable but the real point of that proverb is that there are many kinds of situations that will get worse and worse and worse if you let them go but if you act quickly you can often prevent it from getting really bad.

The sooner you act with many problems the easier they will be to solve. That is what a stitch in time really means. We say it in kind of a puzzle way. I sure that most kids as they are growing up, even kids who have heard that all their life, the first time they heard it said, "What, I don't get it. Proverbs are like that. We believe that when people taught proverbs to kids, again and again and again they would say, "Teacher, would you explain that one too please? But you know what is wonderful, if you have something you have to puzzle out, we find this at the dinner table whenever we do it with our kids, it makes an impact because you are repeating it.

You say, "Now listen to that first part again. What do you think that means? This is what helps commit it to memory. Something that is easy to solve just sort of goes in one ear and out the other, which is also a kind of an English proverb; an expression for it does not last in your memory. A thing that you have to work on, think about, analyze. What is the point of that? I don't get it. Why is it stated that way? That is just great in terms of helping you to get the concept and likely remember it.

In the Hebrew the proverbs are very, very memorizable. They are like "a stitch in time saves nine" or "look before you leap. Like, "Roses are red, violets are blue, sugar is sweet and who are you. There are a lot of those things that we do not have in English but we still have the puzzle factor, the need to go over it, the concept and the tremendous value for believer and nonbeliever alike, which is a great thing.

One does have to be careful in the genre. I think in the wisdom literature, the warnings against prostitution, harlotry and so on are basically warnings in favor of sexual fidelity and purity. In the prophets the term harlotry, prostitution is usually metaphorical referring to polytheism. Where you use a term makes a very big difference in its applicability. I was giving the illustration in another class today--suppose you saw in a newspaper the following: Pittsburgh eliminates Detroit.

If that were not on a sports page or a sport story it could be real serious. It has another kind of a meaning; it is using language in the context of the field of sports and it is not the city of Pittsburgh at all, it is the Pittsburgh Penguins or whoever it is. It is some particular team, a very small organization, a very small number of people from Pittsburgh actually who work in Pittsburgh. They are from Canada if they are Penguins. The context is a huge part of the meaning of something. In the prophets a word is going to have this kind of value in that context whereas over in the proverbs or wisdom literature in general it will have another.

One of the big issues in wisdom literature is sexual purity and so Proverbs ends with the advice about how wonderful it is to make the right choice about life's biggest choice from a human point of view.