How difficult is it to live in the shadow of a famous parent? How do you make your mark as an individual when your father or mother is a famous musician, artist, or actor? And worse, if you go into the same field as them– can you ever really escape the comparison? Could you ever live up to that? I am not sure I could. But that was the story for the first Joseph in this series, the son of Asaph: a musician and prophet of God, overshadowed by his much more famous father.
But who was Asaph? He was a Levite, a priest of David during the period before the First Temple, when the Tabernacle still sat on the Temple Mount. But he was not just any priest, he was the John Lennon of the priests. He was the very first musician-priest to say a blessing over the Tabernacle in Jerusalem, not to mention the writer of twelve of our psalms in the Book of Psalms– second only to King David in authorship. I am sure that almost no one has heard of him today, but in biblical terms is was a Big Deal.
Asaph the Psalmist and his son, the first among the musician-prophets of Jerusalem. Read on for more.
Continue reading Asaph the Psalmist, and His Son Joseph
The Book of Psalms is one of the most beautiful in our bibles. In its 150 chapters, we find wisdom, comfort, hope, and a poetic appreciation of God that is nearly unique in the Hebrew Bible. It is no wonder that Jews and Christians have read and studied it for hundreds of years. After reading stories of law and prophets and of the Jewish ancestor’s struggles to accept and obey God, turning to psalms is frequently a relief and a comfort.
Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
A full study of the psalms would take a lifetime, but there is much that we can say about this amazing book. Who wrote the psalms? What are they for? Scholars still debate these questions, but there is so much that we can learn about the psalms from the psalms themselves. Read on for more.
Continue reading Our Amazing Book of Psalms
The situation was desperate: a small group of Jewish soldiers were surrounded. The year was 72 AD, only two years after the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem and eight years into a rebellion that pitted Jewish soldiers against the Romans. The Romans were winning, Jerusalem had been captured, and this may have been the last stand. The place was Masada, a fortress on a plateau on the edge of the Judean Desert overlooking the Dead Sea.
This is the first in a short series I’m calling “Biblical Tourist”, pictures and commentary on a recent trip to Israel. This was my third trip so I didn’t see all of the typical things, but I took a lot of pictures. Each entry in this series will connect to bible passages in some way.
So, what happened? And where are the pictures? And how does a fort built more then thirty years after Jesus figure into the bible? Read on for more!
Continue reading Masada in the Bible
It’s no mystery that I love all the “begats” in the bible and I’ve built complex charts and relationship maps to tease out interesting details. (My family tree of every named individual in the Torah is completed, but I have to make it presentable and write up explanations for some of my choices.) I am now trying to pay more attention to the places in the bible and their connections.
Using my previous post on the Binding of Isaac as an example, the fact that Isaac lived at Beer-lahai-roi after his near-sacrifice deepens the text. Now, we as readers can connect that as where Hagar first met God and ponder its significance. While the book does not provide easy answers, we can ask new questions. Did he go there because it was hallowed ground? Was there a connection between him and Hagar or Ishmael at that spot? Could Isaac have gone there in search of God himself, as Hagar did when she ran away? There are no answers to these questions, but asking them brings us closer to Isaac and closer to the text.
As important as Beer-lahai-roi is, undoubtedly the most important place mentioned in the Binding of Isaac is Moriah, the region where he was to be offered to God. It may be the most important place in the while bible.
Read on for more.
Continue reading Isaac at Moriah and the Temple Mount