Thursday, April 12, 2018

Malachi (Extra Credit)

Read all of Malachi. What is the condition of the Jewish people as he writes? What are the particular problems he addresses? How is the situation different from that addressed by earlier prophets, e.g., Isaiah and Jeremiah? What keys to Jewish survival do you see here?

Haggai and/or Zechariah (extra credit)

Skim through Haggai and/or Zechariah. Note the problems in the Jewish community that these two prophets address. How would their prophetic message have helped in rebuilding Jerusalem and in helping reforms among the Jewish people? What aspects of their teachings might have helped the Jewish people survive even after the temple was destroyed and the Jews were removed from their land again?

You may turn this into two "extra credit" blogs if you like: one entry on each book.

Ezra (Extra Credit)

Read Ezra Ch. 1 and Ch. 3-7. What difficulties do the Jews face as they try to rebuild Jerusalem and the temple? What helps them overcome these difficulties? Note especially the role of leaders like Zerubbabel, Jeshua, Haggai, Zechariah, and Ezra himself. Also note the contrasting attitudes of Persian leaders, e.g., Cyrus and Artaxerxes.

Nehemiah (extra credit)

Skim through Nehemiah. Note that much of this book is Nehemiah’s account of his own role in helping the rebuilding of Jerusalem and in restoring the Jewish people. Note the problems he faces. What does Nehemiah seem proud of in terms of his own record/conduct? What obstacles does he face? What seems to be his motivation?

Habbakuk (Extra Credit)

The Septuagint translation contains some extra material not in the Hebrew text of Daniel. Daniel Chapter 14 of the LXX (see link below) has a story about a very brief meeting of Daniel and Habakkuk while Daniel is in the lion's den.

Suppose Habakkuk really did have a chance to visit Daniel very briefly--long enough only to leave him a verse or two as advice. Cite a couple of verses from Habakkuk that might have been particularly good for Daniel to hear while he was in the Lion's den. Explain why these verses would be good for Daniel, or for others in similar difficulties.

Link: Daniel vs. Bel and the Dragon (and the visit from Habakkuk).

Daniel and the Problem of Evil (Reading for April 19)

For Thursday, April 19, please read Chapters 1-7 and 12 of Daniel carefully. Skim the rest.

Daniel is a favorite "Sunday school" book, a book filled stories the lend themselves well to teaching children. But Daniel is an adult book as well. What do you think is the most important or most interesting lesson Daniel teaches to adults?

The Book of Job (Reading for April 17)

For Tuesday, April 17, please read through Chapters 1-5, 19 and 37-42 of the Book of Job. In addition to addressing the problem of evil, what other wisdom does Job offer? Cite a verse or two you think would be particularly good to include in an anthology of ancient wisdom, and explain why you think this verse or these verses are particularly worth including.