Tribes of Israel – Judah

Judah is the fourth son of Jacob and Leah and became the family leader. His name means “praise” because Leah decided to praise God at the birth of this son. The tension in this family that is reflected in the names of the sons is astonishing; the lesson here is don’t marry sisters:-)

His first recorded act after being tapped to be family leader was to sell Joseph to the Ishmaelites; so that they would profit from the loss of a brother. I read the story in chapter 38 as occurring quickly but Er, the first born, would have been only thirteen when Joseph became ruler of Egypt so the incident with Tamar must have been around the beginning of the famine. (a movie made an interesting point that he moved out to get away from a grieving Jacob) Remember Tamar is a grandmother of Jesus which is why this part is included in Scripture. He does seem to take a positive lead of the family in chapter 43 when he repeats the deal Reuben tried to make with Joseph. He is the main spokesman in chapter 44:16 and Jacob sent him for directions in 46:28.

Jacob at the end of Genesis leaves this blessing for Judah: Genesis 49:“Judah, your brothers will praise you; your hand will be on the neck of your enemies; your father’s sons will bow down to you.
You are a lion’s cub, O Judah; you return from the prey, my son. Like a lion he crouches and lies down, like a lioness—who dares to rouse him?
10 The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,
until he comes to whom it belongs and the obedience of the nations is his.
11 He will tether his donkey to a vine, his colt to the choicest branch; he will wash his garments in wine, his robes in the blood of grapes. 12 His eyes will be darker than wine, his teeth whiter than milk.

That blessing pretty well covers everything: family leadership, authority over his enemies, personal wealth and good looks.

The two main people from Judah in the Exodus story are Bezalel, the artist, found in Exodus 35:30 and Caleb, the faithful spy, first mentioned in Numbers 13:6. Both of these men are again mentioned in 1 Chronicles 2 where the clans of Judah and the family of Jesse, David’s father, and David’s sons are discussed. This family history goes to chapter 4:23 and covers Jabez and his pray. It also covers the rulers after the Exile. This family tree is repeated again in Matthew 1, which is Joseph’s line, and again in Luke 3:23, which is Mary’s family line.

Deuteronomy 33:And this he (Moses) said about Judah: “Hear, O Lord, the cry of Judah; bring him to his people. With his own hands he defends his cause.
Oh, be his help against his foes!”

Jesus is from Judah through David’s son Nathan, brother of Solomon. In one sense much of the Old Testament is about that family; 1 & 2 Samuel, much of 1 Chronicles and the books of the Kings and 2 Chronicles covers that family. While the prophets spend many of their words talking about Jesus and His coming.

Pictures are from http://www.freebibleimages.org/illustrations/http://www.biblepicturegallery.com/Pictures/David.htm

Comparing Psalm 135 and 136

Even though I do not think these were written by the same person or even in the same time period it is interesting that Psalm 135 and 136 have similar elements. Please image David in 1 Chronicles 15:11 instructing his Praise Team to sing Psalm 135 as they carry the Ark to Jerusalem. Then image Ezra in Chapter 3:11 separating the congregation into halves and having one group singing the first part of each verse while the other group responds with “His love endures forever.

These Psalms are included in the section of the “songs of ascents” which were traditionally sung as people went up to the Temple in Jerusalem. Psalm 115 and 118 share the idea of verse 19 and 20 of Psalm 135; the house of Israel, Aaron, Levi and those who fear Him. Psalm 135:4 talks about Jacob and Israel giving each a different emphasis. They also have a historical component remembering God’s great deliverance from Egypt and the defeat of Og and Sihon which marked the beginning of the conquest of the Promised Land. The blue sections highlight His control over nature and thus being in charge of their daily lives.

See the studies on Psalm 14 and 53  and Psalm 60 and 108.

Thanks to BibleGateway.com they are a great resource.

Judas in the Old Testament

Finding foreshadowing of the New Testament hidden in the Old Testament has been a study I always enjoy. This year I marked out months just for that in my study plan so here is the first. What I would attribute to Judas being like is found in several Psalms. I will mention the Psalm but also where I think the inspiration for that Psalm came from in scripture and who was the shadow of Judas.

Psalm 52David was writing this about Doeg the Edomite from 1 Samuel 22. He was the instrument of destruction for an entire branch of the priestly family; this was part of the sentence handed down from the Lord because of Eli and his wicked sons in 1 Samuel 2.  The final part of the story is found in 1 Kings 2:27.  Psalm 52:1 – 4 gives a look at what I think he was like: boasted of evil, practiced deceit, loved evil and spoke harmful words. Verses 5 -7 talks of his downfall and how he is remembered: in everlasting ruin, uprooted from the living, destroyed others.

Psalm 55 – Verses 12 – 14, 20 and 21 also talks about Judas’ character. “My companion, my close friend, with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship as we walked to the house of God”, Psalm 55:13,14 (NIV). And in verse 20 +21, “My companion attacks his friends; he violates his covenant.”  A possible point when this was birthed is 1 Samuel 22:3 when David is hiding his parents from King Saul.  But as I thought about it, it could be referring to his cousin Joab the commander of the army and a consistent problem for David or even his son Absalom.

Psalm 41:9 Even my close friend, whom I trusted, he who shared my bread, has lifted up his heel against me. This verse is quoted in John 13:18.

Psalm 109:1 – 20 – verse 8 is quoted in Acts 1:20 May his days be few; may another take his place of leadership. (Matthias) I think this Psalm was written because of Nabal in 1Samuel 25:35. The reason for this is in vs. 16 – 20 and describes both Nabal and Judas – never thought of doing a kindness, hounded the poor, needy and broken hearted, loved to pronounce curses and wore them like a garment.

Psalm 69:25 is also quoted in Acts 1:20 “let there be no one to dwell in their tents.”

Zechariah 11:12 – If you think it best, give me my pay; but if not keep it. So they paid me thirty pieces of silver. (Matt. 26:15)

So as expected Judas has some of the worst guys in the Bible providing his foreshadowing: Doeg the Edomite (priest killer), Nabal (the selfish fool) and possibly Joab (under minding cousin) and Absalom (son with ambition).

Where/When I Think Psalms Were Written

I think David and the other writers of Psalms wrote as a reaction to what was going on in their life. Even though my list is very subjective (and not complete) it has helped me to locate psalms with other scriptures. I had to save this as a picture because of how I typed it many years ago, so please click here to view my list, I hope it will be a blessing and a help in your Bible studies.  psalm position  This is also in David the Writer.

Fights and Wars/Battles – Psalm 144

After writing about Attacks , Test , Storms and then revisiting Test and Storms I realized that I was not finished and that the attacks and storms part seemed lop-sided.  I guess when you are in them it seems one-sided and that you are always the one getting beat-up and there is little you can do about it.

We know that is not true but we still need to be reminded of the fact that part of the Christian life is battling against the works and deeds of Satan. Three verses that help me are:

1.  1 Samuel 30:6 But David found strength in the Lord his God. (NIV)

2.  Proverbs 21:30 + 31 The horse is made ready for the day of battle but victory rests with the Lord (see Lord). (NIV)

3. Psalms 144:1 Blessed be the Lord my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight. (KJV)

To just read one of David’s psalms is good but I like to put them into his story; read them in context where they may have been written. (see The Writer)  I put Psalm 144 somewhere in 1 Samuel 21 & 22.  This is a very trying time for David (he is running from Saul, did not kill Doeg the Edomite and is worried by the King of Gath) but he reminds himself and God that he has been trained to do battle.  He sees a big picture, which is hard when you are attacked, that God is his fortress and ask for help from God in verse 5 – 7.                     (see Storms Revisited)

The King James reads differently than the New International Version in that the words are war and fight and not war and battle.  Using my Strong’s Concordance I looked up these words.  War/battle is used over “three hundred times in the Old Testament, indicating how large a part military life was to an Israelite.”  And the word fight (used 149x) comes from a primary root word that means to feed or consume and the implication is to battle or destroy. There is a separation of the idea between battle, a single encounter, and war, a series of encounters. You can draw some interesting parallels from hands being matched to war/battle and fingers with fight.  The hand is the larger/stronger part and yet the fingers are part of the hand.

Wars/battles can include storms, trials and attacks and go on for a long time where battles are those single attacks or pesky trials that hit quick and are over.

But I have to remind myself (the three verse), we are to be attacking, trying and storming the enemy’s work also.  God trains us for war, gives us tools and resources to confront evil and its work and will even fight with/for us if the battle gets to big.