Nevin on the church

A couple of quotations from Hart’s biography of Nevin: “The force of the question in the end is nothing less than this, whether the original catholic doctrine concerning the Church, as it stood in universal authority through all ages before the Reformation, is to be received and held . . . . Continue Reading »

Calvinism and Chosenness

John Milbank’s opening essay in the recently-released Radical Orthodoxy and the Reformed Tradition (edited by James KA Smith and James Olthuis) is a challenging critique of Calvin and the Reformed tradition, one that I hope to interact with more in the future. One particularly striking . . . . Continue Reading »

Trickster God

Yahweh is the trickster God of 1-2 Kings. He tricks the Moabites into thinking that the three kings have slaughtered each other (2 Kings 3), and Israel rises from their camp and slaughters them. He tricks the Arameans in the opposite way: chasing them away from their camp so that Israel can plunder . . . . Continue Reading »

Delayed Parousia

Why the delay of judgment throughout 1-2 Kings? Two reasons: First, judgment is passed, but Yahweh waits for the sin of the Amorites to come to completion, for sin to ripen to be utterly sinful. Second, Yahweh gives time for the declaration of judgment to work repentance among a remnant. Hence: . . . . Continue Reading »

Before kings, before prophets

Another aspect of the “satire” of royal power in 1-2 Kings comes out when we examine scenes of womena appealing for help before an authority. Early in Kings, women appeal to Kings and receive what they need (Bath-sheba and David; prostitutes and Solomon). Sheba is overwhelmed by . . . . Continue Reading »

Geography of Elijah and Elisha

Why does Yahweh send two prophets to the Omrides? Two witnesses no doubt. But their ministries are so similar in many respects; why double it? And what, if any, are the differences between them? One difference is geography. Elijah spends a good bit of the narrative on the far side of the Jordan. He . . . . Continue Reading »

Jehoram and Elisha

The history of the Omrides during the ministry of Elisha takes a curious turn. Instead of confronting the king with his sin, as Elijah generally did, Elisha instead repeatedly gives assistance to the son of Ahab (2 Kings 3; 6-7). Jehoram wavers, sometimes whining, sometimes hostile to Elisha, . . . . Continue Reading »

New Joseph

Dothan is mentioned in only two places in the Old Testament: Gen 37, at the beginning of the Joseph narrative, and 2 Kings 6, the place where the Aramean king attempts to find Elisha. Jacob sends Joseph to take food to his brothers, and he initially does not find them at Shechem where he expected . . . . Continue Reading »

Things that are not

Jacques Ellul helpfully points out that God frightens away the Arameans in 2 Kings 7 by a mere sound, and it is a sound that has no physical cause. God overcomes things that are, Ellul says, through things that are not. . . . . Continue Reading »

Food in 1-2 Kings

A critical issue throughout 1-2 Kings is the question of who provides bread. Early on, it’s Solomon, whose table overflows with good things and who rules an Israel that is continuously rejoicing and feasting. Kings continue to supply tables after the division of the kingdom, but they are . . . . Continue Reading »