II Chronicles 6

After the Ark was installed, Solomon gave a long speech/prayer, dedicating the Temple to God and affirming that the Temple would be the proper location for all ceremonies and sacrifices and the most appropriate place to beg for forgiveness when God showed Its displeasure through natural disasters and war.

II Kings 22

Amon’s son Josiah inherited the throne when he was 8 years old, and he reigned for 31 years. When Josiah was in his twenties, he ordered the Temple to be repaired, and I guess someone decided to look inside the Ark or maybe they found a copy in a cobwebby pigeonhole, but in any case, an old copy of the Mosaic Laws was discovered–you know, the ones that Moses had ordered that every future king should be given a copy of–and that no one remembered existed? Well the high priest gave a copy to Josiah’s secretary, who read them to the king, who then sent his priest, his secretary, and some other dudes to ask his wardrobe keeper’s grandson’s wife, who was said to be a prophet, how God felt about all this Law stuff and the fact that no one had followed it for, um centuries? God sent back the message that It was pissed. So pissed in fact, that It could never forgive the Judaeans for cheating on It for so long. However, since Josiah was sorry and promised never to do it again, It supposed It could forbear Its wrath for a little longer and spare Judah during Josiah’s lifetime.

I Kings 8

When the Temple was completed, Solomon held a long and elaborate ceremony to install the Ark of the Covenant in the sanctum sanctorum. During this ceremony, Solomon made an elaborate prayer in which he asked God to always forgive the Hebrews when they sinned or cheated on God, if they repented because It was that sort of awesome, omnipotent deity.

II Samuel 15: Absalom Causes More Trouble

Restored to his father’s graces, Absalom started going about Jerusalem again. Before too long, however, Absalom’s pride made him want to stand out–his father was a king and his mother a princess, after all. So he bought one of those new-fangled chariot things and horses to pull it and hired fifty men to act as a body guard and to move people out of the way of his chariot.

Eventually Absalom’s thoughts began wandering toward the throne itself. But Absalom knew the Hebrews adored his father, so before he could sit upon the seat of glory, he’d have to win the people’s love. So he started hanging out by the city gates and intercepting petitions going to the king. He would always ask who they were, where they were from, and what their complaint was–and no matter what it was, he always told them their cause was just and if he were a judge in Israel, he would rule for them. And when people would try to bow and do obeisance, Absalom would raise them up and hug them like they were old friends. Soon everyone in Israel loved the handsome young man with the magnificent hair.  Continue reading “II Samuel 15: Absalom Causes More Trouble”

II Samuel 7

After the Ark of the Covenant had been in Jerusalem for awhile, and there was relative peace in the kingdom, David called for the prophet Nathan and was all, Nate, I’ve been thinking. It looks really bad for me to live in a palace of cedar while our God lives in a bunch of tents. I’d like to build God a house of cedar. Do you think It’d be cool with that?

Nathan was all, Do what seems best! God tells me It’s so happy with you for thinking of building It a house that It promises to renew Its covenant with you forever and always. Your offspring will always be the rulers of Israel and God promises never to leave them or break up with them, even if they backslide and cheat on It. It might get angry and punish them, but It will never forsake them!

So David offered up a profuse prayer of thanksgiving.

II Samuel: Michal and David’s Unhappy Reunion

After all these victories, David decided to bring the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem. So he took his army, 30,000 strong, to the priest’s house where it was kept, so they could form the processional guard for its long march to Jerusalem.

The army and worshipers made a grand parade around the Ark, singing and playing lyres and harps, castanets, cymbals, and tambourines. The Ark itself was loaded onto a cart that was driven by the priest’s sons, Uzzah and Ahio. Unfortunately, the oxen stumbled over a rut, causing the cart to jolt. Uzzah reached out a hand to steady the Ark, and this unseemly touch angered God so much that It smote him right there for his impertinence.

The parade stopped in fear and confusion. David was angry that God disrupted his celebration, but also terrified that God might smite him too. He also totally decided that the Ark was a dangerous thing, and maybe it wasn’t a great idea to have it anywhere near Jerusalem. So he told Ahio to store it nearby, at the house of some guy named Obed-edom. Continue reading “II Samuel: Michal and David’s Unhappy Reunion”