Bible Reading Plan

Being connected to God is important. Diving into the Word daily is a great way to ensure that you are continually developing a relationship with your creator. Join us as we read through the Bible.

This is a Two-Year Bible Reading Plan.  We are currently in Year 1 of the Study.  
 
A prayer for when you read the Scriptures:
 

“Take away, O Lord, the veil of my heart while I read the Scriptures.  Blessed art thou, O Lord:  O teach me thy statutes!  Give me a word, O Word of the Father: touch my heart:  enlighten the understandings of my heart:  open my lips and fill them with thy praise.”

-Lancelot Andrewes (1755-1626), quoted in the Oxford Book of Prayer, 285

September 

 

1 Judges 10 – 11:11; Luke 21:5 – 19
 

2 Judges 11:12 – 40; Luke 21:20 – 28

3 Judges 12; Luke 21:29 – 38

4 Judges 13; Luke 22:1 – 6

5 Judges 14; Luke 22:7 – 13

6 Judges 15; Luke 22:14 – 23

7 Judges 16; Luke 22:24 – 34

8 Judges 17, 18; Luke 22:35 – 46

9 Judges 19; Luke 22:47 – 53

10 Judges 20; Luke 22:54 – 62

11 Judges 21; Luke 22:63 – 71

12 Ruth 1; Luke 23:1 – 12

13 Ruth 2; Luke 23:13 – 25

14 Ruth 3; Luke 23:26 – 43

15 Ruth 4; Luke 23:44 – 56

 

16 1 Sam. 1 – 2:11; Luke 24:1 – 12

17 1 Sam. 2:12 – 36; Luke 24:13 – 35

18 1 Sam. 3; Luke 24:36 – 53

19 1 Sam. 4; Acts 1:1 – 11

20 1 Sam. 5-7:1; Acts 1:12 – 26

21 1 Sam. 7:2 – 8:22; Acts 2:1 – 13

22 1 Sam. 9:1 – 24; Acts 2:14 – 21

23 1 Sam. 9:25 – 10:16; Acts 2:22 – 36

24 1 Sam. 10:17 – 11:15; Acts 2:37 – 47

25 1 Sam. 12; Acts 3:1 – 10

26 1 Sam. 13; Acts 3:11 – 26

27 1 Sam. 14:1 – 23; Acts 4:1 – 12

28 1 Sam. 14:24 – 52; Acts 4:13 – 22

29 1 Sam. 15; Acts 4:23 – 31

30 1 Sam. 16; Acts 4:32 – 5:11

 

 

 

September 10-16

Below are some questions and study notes to help you in your reading.

 

 
 

Judges 20

20.1-3.  The Israelites gather in response to the message sent out by the Levite. 

20.1.  From Dan to Beer-sheba is equivalent to “from north to south.”  Gilead represents the tribes on the east side of the Jordan River.  Mizpah (cf. 10.17; 11.11)  means “witness” or “watchtower.”  This Mizpah is probably 8 miles north of Jerusalem. 

20.2.  The word translated “thousand” could refer to divisions or clans.  “Forty Thousand (or divisions) were at Jericho (Joshua 4.13) and were available to Deborah (5.8).

20.3.  The absence of the entire tribe of Benjamin spells trouble. 

20.4-7.  The Levite gives his story.  Of course, the Levite omits his part in surrendering his concubine.

20.8-11.  The men of Israel respond unanimously.  The inclusion of “tents” (v. 8) suggests that “Israel was not far removed from the stage of transition in its settlement in the land” (Arthur E. Cundall, “Judges” in Judges and Ruth, TOTC.  (Downer’s Grove, IL:  IVP, 1968), , 200).  They choose ten percent of the troops to provide the supply lines.

20.12-17.  Despite having a much smaller force, “the Benjamites choose tribal loyalty over moral principle and mobilize for war in defense of the men of Gibeah” (Andrew C. Bowling, “Judges,” Evangelical Commentary on the Bible, ed. Walter A. Elwell (Grand Rapids:  Baker Book House, 1989), 176).  The Benjamites’ willingness to fight this battle may be a result of their confidence in their seven hundred select troops (v. 16).

20.18-23.  The first encounter between the “confederation” of tribes and the Benjamites does not go well for the confederation.  “The hilly terrain in the vicinity of Gibeah favored a defensive force rather than an attacking force…In such a situation superior numbers were of limited value…and a determined group of men armed with slings could inflict heavy casualties on an attacking force” (Cundall, 201f.).

           

20.22-23.  These two verses have possibly been “reversed” in copying.  The NRSV actually reverses them in its translation.  If so, the Israelites “take courage” after consulting the LORD.

 

20.24-28.  The second encounter also goes poorly for the confederation.  “Why is God once more offering them guidance that will lead to their defeat?  Is it because they have been asking the wrong question in presupposing they should make war on Benjamin?  And/or is the civil war and the misleading guidance all part of God’s judgment on the people as a whole, who have no reason to be acting as they are and who are not so much better than Benjamin” (John Goldingay Joshua, Judges, and Ruth for Everyone (Louisville:  Westminster/John Knox, 2011), 158)?

           

20.26-27.  Bethel is the site of the central sanctuary since it houses “the ark of the covenant.”, 

           

20.28Phineas (cf.  Numbers 25.1-15) could suggest that this story occurred earlier than the other stories in Judges.  The biblical writers often organize their material thematically rather than chronologically.  Or, the reference could be to a later Phineas, “son of Aaron” being a synonym for “descendant of Aaron.”

 

20.29-36.  The third encounter results in a massive victory for the “confederation.”  The confederation chooses a battle plain nearly identical to the one used by Joshua at Ai (Joshua 8.8-28).  The Benjamites are flush with the confidence that came from their two previous victories.  The Israelites use that confidence to their advantage by setting up an ambush.  The main force retreats as in the previous encounters.  The Benjamites are drawn out of Gibeah, a smaller force of elite troops capture the city, and then catch the Benjamites in a vise.

 

20.27-44.  Though repeating some of the account of the battle, this portion of the narrative focuses on the capture of Gibeah and the response of the Benjamites.  It also gives new detail regarding the use of “a smoke signal.”  Such repetition is common in Hebrew narrative though it’s not out of the question that the “editor” of Judges utilized two accounts of the same battle.

20.45-48.  The final results of the battle are given along with an account of 600 surviving Benjamites who fled to the “rock of Rimmon.”  Since the vast majority of the men of Benjamin had been killed, the Israelites had no opposition in destroying the women, children, men too old for war, and animals who were left.  “This bitterness is probably due more to revenge for the losses of the earlier two battles than to zeal for righteousness” (Bowling, “Judges,” 177).

 

Judges 21

 

It’s important to note that throughout the latter part of Judges, “Various people have talked to God and reckoned that they knew what God was saying, but the story has not told us that God was actually involved in events or that God said anything.”  The exception is when God speaks in chapter 20, but on two of those occasions, “it did not lead to the expected result.  It looks as if God has withdrawn from Israel and speaks more as an act of judgment than as an act of grace” (Goldingay, 161).

 

21.1-7.  As with Jephthah (11.29-40), the Israelites will regret their rash vows.  The first vow mentioned is Not one of us will give his daughter in marriage to a Benjamite

21.1-3.  “The same Israelites who asked Yahweh, ‘Who will go up first to fight against Benjamin?’ now wail ‘Why should one tribe be missing from Israel’ (Stone, accessed at http://www.biblegateway.com/resources/asbury-bible-commentary/Perverted-Covenant)?

            “When Israelites ask God, ‘Why?’ it is usually not a request for information but an implied plea for God to do something about it” (Goldingay, 161).

21.4-7.  A second oath is mentioned.  This one involves putting to death any of the tribes which did not come join the forces at Mizpah.  Of course, this will lead to more violence.  “Perhaps a prayerful release from a rash oath would have been better than the continued violence which actually occurs” (Bowling, “Judges,” 177).

 

21.8-12.  It is determined that no one from Jabesh Gilead had come to the camp for the assembly

.  The confederation sends 12,000 men to kill the residents of Jabesh and kidnap the teen-age daughters. 

Jabesh-Gilead is located approximately two miles east of the Jordan.  The town will figure prominently in the story of Saul (cf. 1 Samuel 11.1ff; 31.11-13).  Perhaps the links between Jabesh and the Benjamite Saul began as a result of the (eventual) inter-marriage between the women of Jabesh and the remaining men of Benjamin.

 

21.13-15.  A delegation is sent to the 600 remaining Benjamites at rock of Rimmon.  They are still 200 “brides” short.

 

21.16-24.  The solution to the shortage of brides is to give the Benjamites permission to kidnap brides during a yearly festival at Shiloh.  “It is plausible that this particular area, like the area of Shechem, was a Canaanite enclave within Israel” (Cundall, 212).  Though it’s another of a series of horrific solutions, the plan accomplishes its purpose.

21.25.  Cf. 17.6; 18.1; 19.1.  In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit

.  A fitting ending to the book of Judges, especially the final five chapters.  Fortunately, “It is the end of the book, but it is just as well that it is not the end of the larger story” (Goldingay, 162).
 

Ruth 1

 

Ruth is considered by both biblical and literary scholars one of the greatest short stories ever written.

1.1-2.  Ruth takes place in the time of the Judges.  A famine in the land causes Elimelech (which means, “My God is King”) to move from Bethlehem (the irony is that Bethlehem means “house of bread”) with his wife Naomi and two sons. This is intended to be a temporary arrangement. The family moves to Moab, just across the Jordan River, even though Moab had been a traditional enemy. 

 

1.3-5.  The unexpected happens.  Elimelech dies and Naomi (the emphasis is on Naomi) is left with her two sons who both marry Moabite women.  Then, both sons die (their names, Mahlon and Kilion, may have meant “sickly” and “failing”)!

 

1.6-7.  Naomi hears in Moab that the famine is over because “Yahweh (the LORD) has visited his people” (Cf. Genesis 21.1; 50.24; Luke 1.78; 7.16; Acts 7.23).

1.8-10.  Orpah and Ruth head back with her, apparently with the intention of moving to Naomi’s native land with her.  But, Naomi has a change of heart.  She tells her daughters-in-law to go back to their mothers’  homes.  The phrase is unusual.  The Old Testament usually refers to the father’s home.  Perhaps their fathers have died as well.  But, more likely, the phrase is used by the narrator because this story revolves around women.  The daughters-in-law insist on returning to Bethlehem with Naomi.

 

1.11-13.  When her daughters-in-law refuse, Naomi turns up the heat.  She reminds Orpah and Ruth that their prospects are much better in Moab.  What Naomi is saying makes perfect sense in her world where a widow in a rural area had almost no way to make a living. In addition, the prospects of marriage for two Moabitess widows in Israel would have been slim (cf. the story in Numbers 25 where Moabite women lead Israel astray).

1.11.  Behind Naomi’s reference to having more sons is the Old Testament law regarding levirate marriage.  The word comes from the Latin levir  meaning brother-in-law or husband’s brother.  The law was intended to protect the family line.  See Deuteronomy 25.5-10.).

1.12.  Note Naomi’s hopelessness.  Her prospects are slim though she may not have been completely beyond the child-bearing years.  Goldingay (164) estimates that Naomi was 40 and her sons were 20 when the sons marry.  The statement in verse 4, “After they had lived there about ten years,” is interpreted by some to refer to the length of the marriages but it could refer to the length that Naomi and her two sons had been in Moab.

1.13.  Not only does Naomi feel hopeless, she is convinced that Yahweh is against her.  The word “bitter” will appear again in verse 20 when Naomi returns home.

1.14.  Though sometimes criticized, Orpah does what most people in her day would have expected her to do.  She heads back to the most security that an unmarried woman could have in that world, her family’s home.  “The narrator “contrasts her with Ruth (only) to heighten the surpassing love and commitment of Ruth” (Bill T. Arnold, “Ruth,” in the Asbury Bible Commentary (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1992), accessed at  http://www.biblegateway.com/resources/asbury-bible-commentary/Ruths-Determination).

 

1.15-18.  These words of Ruth are often quoted in weddings but they are the words of a daughter-in-law to her mother-in-law!  Ruth’s commitment to Naomi is complete.  Instead of returning to her gods (v. 15), she swears her commitment in the name of Naomi’s god, Yahweh (v. 17).  She makes her commitment “until death does us part.” 

1.19-22.  Naomi and Ruth head back to Bethlehem.  When met by the women of Bethlehem, Naomi’s response is, “Don’t call me Naomi (which means “Pleasant” or “Lovely”) but call me “Mara” (“bitter”) because the LORD (Yahweh) has made me bitter (see v. 13).   In verse 21, she contrasts going away “full” with coming back “empty” (a theme that will be repeated in the story).

           

1.22.  The barley harvest would be in late spring.

 

Ruth 2

 

2.1.  We are introduced to Boaz, “a prominent rich man,” who was related to Naomi’s husband.  In biblical times, the only welfare system was the family.  The narrator is hinting that maybe things will get better for Naomi and Ruth.

 

2.2.  Ruth decides to go to work to help support herself and Naomi.  Naomi is so depressed that the best she can do in response to Ruth’s request is to give a two word:  “Go daughter.”

2.3.  “As it turned out…” (NIV).  Ruth, without any intention of doing so, winds up in the part of the field which belongs to this unknown relative named Boaz.  Ruth needed to have the initiative to go, but it’s God who is guiding her to this field.

 

2.4  “Just then…”  See above!  One commentator translates it, “AND WOULDN’T YOU KNOW IT?”  One of the major themes of Ruth is that no matter how bad things look, God is still working on our behalf. 

            Note Boaz’s greeting of the reapers.  “Maybe the mutual blessing was a conventional greeting, but I would think it is mentioned here as an indication of Boaz’s relationship with God and his good relationship with his employees” (Goldingay, 171).

 

2.5.  “Who does that young woman belong to” (NIV)?  “It was family connection, rather than an individual’s name, that served as identification” (Adele Berlin, Harper Collins Study Bible). 

            Ruth wasn’t even an employee of Boaz, and yet he notices her. 

 

2.6-7.  The servant’s response emphasizes that Ruth is a Moabite!  But he also acknowledges “the content of her character.”

 

2.8-9.  Note that Boaz refers to Ruth as “my daughter” just as Naomi did in 2.2.   Boaz is showing extraordinary kindness to Ruth.  Ordinarily, the harvesters went through a field and picked the stalks.  Then, the women workers followed behind and bundled the stalks into bundles called sheaves.  Then, only after the sheaves had been taken out of the field to the threshing floor, the gleaners were allowed to come through the field and pick up what was left behind.  It insured that the owner of the field got everything he was supposed to get.  Boaz tells Ruth that she can follow immediately after the women, without waiting for the sheaves to be taken from the field.  She can glean in the portion of the field that was usually off limits to gleaners.  She can also drink from the company water jars rather than needing to go to the well.

2.10.  Ruth responds to Boaz’s kindness with gratitude.  Ruth, like Boaz’s servant, also emphasizes the fact that she is “a foreigner.”  Boaz looks beyond Ruth’s ethnic background to her heart.  Do we do the same?

2.11.  The kindness that Ruth had shown to her mother-in-law Naomi, her taking responsibility in working, and her willingness to work hard despite less than ideal conditions, all generated respect from Boaz.

2.12-13.  Once again, Boaz blesses another in the name of the LORD (Yahweh).  There may be the recognition that Ruth, though a Moabite, has accepted Yahweh as her God (cf. 1.16-17).

2.14-16.  Boaz continues his extraordinary kindness to Ruth, feeding her lunch, and then instructing his employees to allow her to glean from the stalks as well as the fields.

2.17-18.  The amount which Ruth “gleaned” was an exceptional amount for a day of gleaning.  “Under ordinary circumstances a gleaner would have been well satisfied with about half that amount for a day’s work” (R. K. Harrison, “Ruth,” Evangelical Commentary on the Bible, ed. Walter A. Elwell (Grand Rapids:  Baker Book House, 1989), 184).She generously shares with Naomi.

2.19-20.  Naomi discovers that Ruth gleaned in Boaz’s field.  Ruth discovers that Boaz is a go’el, a word translated as “kinsman-redeemer” in some modern translations.  The most recent edition of the NIV translates the word as “guardian-redeemer.”  Goldingay (175) suggests “guardian,” “redeemer,” or “restorer” as possible translations.  “A restorer is a person in a position to take action on behalf of someone within his extended family who is in need, in order to restore the situation to what it should be” (Goldingay, 195).  Cf. Deuteronomy 25.5-10; Numbers 35.19-21; Leviticus 25.25-28; 47-49.  The first Leviticus passage applies most directly to this situation.

 

2.21-23.  These verses indicate that Ruth continues to glean in Boaz’s fields for several weeks.  Naomi’s outlook changes considerably from the beginning of the chapter where she is despondent and embittered.  Hope has come into Naomi’s life (as well as Ruth’s) due to the kindness of Boaz (and the direction of the LORD).

Ruth 3

3.1-2.  Naomi has been rejuvenated by Boaz’s kindness to Ruth.  She moves beyond her self-centeredness and moves to find Ruth “a home” (literally, “rest.”  Cf. 1.9).  Ruth had made a commitment to Naomi and had left her home and family.  Now, Naomi realizes that it’s time for her to repay Ruth.  It’s time for Ruth to have the security that only a husband could provide in their society. 

3.3-4.  Naomi instructs Ruth on what to do.  While it’s difficult to know for sure, it appears that Naomi knows this custom as a way for a woman to request the protection of marriage, and she knows that Boaz will know the custom also.  The reason Ruth doesn’t know the custom is because Ruth is from Moab.

3.5-6.  The threshing floor is where the good grain was separated from the chaff.  At harvest time, people would camp out in the fields in order to keep others from stealing the grain. 

3.7.  The end of the harvest was a time for feasting and drinking.

3.8.  The verse says literally, “it was the middle of the night, and the man shuddered awake, and he turned over.”  And there was a woman!  There is clearly the opportunity for sexual immorality but both Boaz and Ruth act responsibly. 

3.9.  Ruth doesn’t take advantage of Boaz while his defenses are down; instead, she reminds Boaz of Scripture and of his own moral responsibility.  A foreign woman is calling an Israelite man to responsibility. 

Ruth tells Boaz, “Spread the corner of your garment over me.”  The word translated corner (or “skirts”) is the same word translated “wings” in Boaz’s prayer in 2.12: May you be richly rewarded by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.
 

3.10.  Boaz responds by blessing Ruth.  He honors Ruth because she did the right thing by keeping her family responsibility when she could have gone to a younger man (One tradition says that Boaz was 80 years old). 

 

3.11.  Ruth is “a woman of noble character” making her an “equal” to Boaz who is described in 2.1 as “a man of noble standing” (the phrases in Hebrew are very close). 

3.12-13.  Boaz is such a man of integrity that he points out that there is another relative who is nearer than Boaz, and that relative has the right of first refusal. 

3.14-15.  Ruth leaves “discreetly” before dawn so as not to compromise Boaz’s character” (or her own) (Harrison, 186).  Once again, Boaz blesses Ruth by giving her a considerable amount of barley.

3.16-17.  In response to Naomi’s question, Ruth tells her everything and notes that Boaz did not want her to go back to Naomi “empty-handed”  (cf. 1.21).

3.18.  How good are you at “waiting?”

 

Ruth 4

 

4.1-2.  The town gate was where the official business of the city was conducted.  If Boaz was going to fulfill his promise to Ruth, he needed witnesses.  In a culture which didn’t depend on writing in the same way as our culture, these witnesses were a way of recording the event if there were ever a dispute.

            “My friend” (NIV) is more literally “ a certain one” or “Mr. So and So.”  The nearer relative remains anonymous in the story.

 

4.3-4.  Boaz brings the opportunity to “redeem” the land to the attention to the nearest “kinsman-redeemer.”  Though most translations have Naomi “selling” the land, in Israel law and tradition “land cannot be bought and sold…The land belongs to God and by God’s will comes under the stewardship of families who can farm it and use what they grow…Naomi does not have the resources to pay back the loan on the land and redeem it, so she is undertaking to surrender that right to someone else…” (John Goldingay Joshua, Judges, and Ruth for Everyone (Louisville:  Westminster/John Knox, 2011), 183).

            This seems to be a “no-lose” deal for “Mr. So and So.”  By the end of verse 4, it doesn’t look good for Boaz and Ruth.

 

4.5-6.  Cf. Deuteronomy 25.5-10 for the principle that Boaz invokes.  “Mr. So and So” is put in a very awkward position.  Does he run the risk of being “shamed” by not carrying out his obligations as a kinsman-redeemer?  Or, does he redeem the land knowing that he will be required to marry Ruth and have his own line and property holdings threatened should a son be born to Ruth?  He chooses not to redeem the property.

4.7-8.  Boaz gladly redeems the property and agrees to marry Ruth.

 

4.9-10.  Boaz finalizes the contract with an official announcement.   Notice the use of the preposition, his:  “His property, his name, his family.”  Boaz brings blessing into the life of a man who has already died (cf. 2.20).

 

4.11-12.  The witnesses pray that the women be like the wives of Israel, Rachel and Leah, who bore him twelve sons (counting the sons who were bore by their servants who would have been “counted” as Rachel’s and Leah’s sons).

           

4.12.  Perez was Boaz’s ancestor.  Cf. Genesis 38.27-30 for the story of his birth.  Behind the story of Perez’s birth lies the “levirate” principle which is invoked here.

4.13-15.  After Ruth has the son, the women of Bethlehem go running to tell Naomi.  Notice that in verse 14, Boaz is no longer Naomi’s redeemer—the child is.           

4.15.  Ruth “is better to you than seven sons.”  Seven was the ideal number.  And sons were expected to take care of you when you got old.  Blessing has come to the life of Naomi, even in the midst of despair.

4.16-17.  The child, Obed, and Naomi take center stage.  It is Obed, the son, not Boaz, who will “renew Naomi’s life and sustain her life.”  And it isn’t Ruth who has the son according to the women of Bethlehem.  It is Naomi who has the son.

            When Naomi first returned to Bethlehem in Chapter One, the women had come out and said, “Isn’t this Naomi?”  And she had said, “Don’t call me Naomi (which means pleasant).”  “Call me Mara (which means bitter) because the Almighty has made my life very bitter.”  Then she said, “I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty.”  But now, Naomi’s life is again pleasant, and her arms are full. 

4.18-22.  Because Ruth honored her commitment to Naomi; because Boaz did what he said he would do, even though he had to sacrifice to do it, they became the great-grandparents of the greatest king that their little nation ever had, and ancestor of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (cf. Matthew 1.3-6).

1 Samuel 1.1-2.11

 

“Samuel’s importance can be seen in the lengthy account of his birth” (Herbert M. Wolf, “1-2 Samuel,”

Evangelical Commentary on the Bible, ed. Walter A. Elwell (Grand Rapids:  Baker Book House, 1989), 193).

 

1.1-2.  “Ramathaim” is known as “Arimathea” in the New Testament (cf. Luke 23.51).

            Hannah’s inability to conceive a child would have been a reason for shame as is made clear in numerous Old Testament stories (cf. Sarah and Rachel in Genesis).  It’s possible that Elkanah had married Peninnah only because of Hannah’s infertility.

 

1.3-8.  Despite his affection for her, Elkanah is clueless concerning Hannah’s shame.  His attempts to alleviate her sadness only make it worse.           

1.3. Shiloh is twenty miles north-northeast of Jerusalem and was the central sanctuary of the Israelites at the time of Samson’s birth (Kyle McCarter, “1 Samuel,” Harper Collins Study Bible).  In the Hebrew Bible, 1 Samuel follows immediately after Judges which ends with the Israelites at Shiloh.            

1.6.  Peninnah is not only Elkanah’s wife but Hannah’s “rival.”  Cf.  Leah and Rachel in Genesis 30.

1.9-11.  Hannah goes to the sanctuary in Shiloh.   In a time of feasting, Eli most likely sat at the entrance of “the LORD’s house” in order to keep drunks and others from defiling the holy area.  Hannah goes in to make a “vow” to the LORD.  Making a “vow” had dangerous ramifications in the book of Judges for Jephthah and Samson.  Should the LORD give Hannah a son, she will offer him up as a nazirite (cf. Numbers 6.1-21 and Samson in Judges 13.2-5).

1.12-20.  Eli, like Elkanah, doesn’t understand Hannah’s distress.  Hannah doesn’t speak audibly until she defends herself against Eli’s accusation of drunkenness.  She is not drunk.  Rather, she has been “pouring out her soul before the LORD.” 

           

1.16.  The word translated “wicked” woman is the Hebrew word belial which “implies a marked degree of godlessness…1 Samuel will soon use the word to describe Eli’s own sons” (John Goldingay 1 & 2 Samuel for Everyone (Louisville:  Westminster/John Knox, 2011), 14). 

           

1.17-18.  Eli responds by assuring Hannah that her prayer will be answered positively.  Hannah’s response indicates that she believes Eli’s assurance.            

1.19-20.  When Hannah returns home, “’the LORD remembered her’ as he had remembered the barren Rachel earlier (Genesis 30.22).  ‘Remembered’ does not mean that God ‘forgot’ her but that he now intervenes in a specific way on her behalf” (Wolf, 194).  “In due time

1.21.  Elkanah goes up to fulfill a vow.  Perhaps a vow having to do with Hannah giving birth?  We’re not told.  Cf. Leviticus 7 for “fellowship offerings.”

1.22.  Hannah will “present” Samuel  when he is “weaned.”  In ancient Israel, children would have been nursed longer than is normally done in our culture.  Samuel would be at least 2-3 years old before weaning.

 

1.23-25.  Cf. Numbers 15.8-10 for Hannah’s sacrifice in fulfillment of her vow.

 

1.26-28.  Hannah’s ultimate sacrifice is in giving Samuel to the LORD (not to Eli though Eli would be his guardian).

 

2.1-11.  Like Miriam in Exodus 15, Hannah “prophecies.”

           

2.1-2.  Hannah’s song begins with the acknowledgement that her security is found in the LORD, the rock.

           

2.3.  “The LORD pays attention to human circumstances, weighs them, and…sets them in balance” (McCarter, Harper Collins Study Bible).

           

2.4-8.  A series of “reversals.”  Cf. Mary’s song in Luke 1.51-53.

           

2.9-10.  The “song” ends with an emphasis on the LORD’s strength and towards “the LORD’s anointed” (Saul?  David?)  Ultimately, these words are fulfilled most completely in Jesus “Christ” (Christ is Greek for “anointed.”).

 

Luke 22.54-62

Cf. Matthew 26.57, 69-75; Mark 14.53/ 66-72; John 18.13-18, 25-27.

 

Luke tells the entire story of Peter’s denials at once while the other gospel writers interrupt the story with the account of Jesus’ hearing before the high priest (cf. Luke Timothy Johnson,The Gospel of Luke.  Sacra Pagina 3 (Collegeville, MN:  Liturgical Press, 1991), , 357).
 

22.54.  Luke does not identify the high priest.  “Since Matthew 26:57 names Caiaphas’s house here and John 18:13 mentions Annas’s residence, there is a question whether the same locale or a different locale is intended.  If two locales are in view, then the first meeting leads very quickly into a second” (Darrell Bock, LukeVolume 3, IVP New Testament Commentary, IVP, Downer’s Grove, IL, 1994, accessed at http://www.biblegateway.com/resources/ivp-nt/Trials-Denials).

 

22.55.  Peter gathers around a fire in the courtyard.  Though Peter’s denial is highlighted, it is important to note that of the Twelve, only he and John (cf. John 18.18) follow Jesus this far.

22.56-57.  Peter’s first denial is due to the response of a “servant-girl” who sees him due to the light of the fire.  “The slave girl would recognize that Peter and the guards are not from the household; further, Peter was not dressed like one of the guards” (Craig Keener,

The IVP Bible Background Commentary (Downers Grove, IL:  IVP, 1993),, 251).

 

22.58.  “Luke identifies the second challenger as a man, while Mark 14:69 and Matthew 26:71 mention a woman.  It is likely that the woman’s initial effort received wide attention” (Bock, ibid.).  There is also increased pressure on Peter:  “You are from among them.”

 

22.59.  Note the passage in time.  After an hour, Peter is still in the courtyard.  It’s possible that Peter’s Galilean accent gave him away. 

 

22.60-62.  Two events happen at the exact same time of Peter’s third denial.  The cock crows (cf. 22.34), AND Jesus turns and looks at Peter.  Only Luke gives us the detail of Jesus looking at Peter.  Both events jog Peter’s memory though it’s too late.  Peter responds in the only way he can—he goes outside and weeps bitterly.

            How often do we remember what the Lord has told us “too late?”  What is our response?

 

Luke 22.63-71

 

22.63-65.  Cf. Matthew 26.67; Mark 14.65.  “Jewish law permitted public flogging of a condemned person; it did not permit the treatment described here…” (Keener, 252).

           

22.63The men who were guarding Jesus most likely consist of the “temple guard.”

           

22.64.  “Prophesy.”  Jesus has already “prophesied” that he would be beaten.  Cf. 18.32; also, Isaiah 53.3-5.

           

22.65.  A more literal translation is rendered by the NASB:  And they were saying many other things against Him, blaspheming

.  The Greek word blasphemeo can be translated “slander” or “insult” when directed towards human; when directed towards God, the word is translated usually translated “blasphemy.”  Luke may well intend the second meaning hearing considering his use of “Lord” for Jesus.

 

22.66-71.  cf. Matthew 26.63-65; 27.1; Mark 14.61-64; 15.1; John 18.19-24.

           

22.66-68.  The “council” was known as “the Sanhedrin.”  “The full Sanhedrin was made up of seventy-one members, who sat in a semi-circle.” It’s likely that the entire council is not present.  “Jesus’ answer is deflective.  They obviously will not listen to an affirmative answer on his terms, but will insist on interpreting any claim to be “anointed one” on their own terms…” (Johnson, 359). 

           

22.69.  Jesus’ answer combines Daniel 7.13 and Psalm 110.1.  cf. 21.27 and the comments there regarding “the son of man.” 

           

22.70.  “Jesus’ answer is both a positive reply and a type of circumlocution; in effect, he says, ‘I will not deny it, but I would mean it a little differently from the way you mean it.’ So Jesus says, ‘You say that I am’” (Bock, ibid.).

           

22.71.  “The judgment’s irony is that Jesus will be crucified for being who he is” (ibid.).

Luke 23.1-12

 

23.1.  Cf. Matthew 27.1; Mark 15.1. John 18.28.  Pilate was governor of Judea from AD 26-36.  Cf. 3.1; 13.1; Acts 3.13: 4.27; 13.28.  “The leadership needs the Roman government’s support…A death penalty could not be executed unless Rome issued it (Josephus Jewish Wars 2.8.1 117; John 18:31).  So the leadership takes Jesus to Pilate.  The charges must be formulated in a way that causes Pilate, as procurator and protector of Roman regional concerns, to be worried about his future as governor if he does not stop Jesus” (Bock, accessed at http://www.biblegateway.com/resources/ivp-nt/Trial-Before-Pilate).

 

23.2-5.  Cf. Matthew 27.11-14; Mark 15.2-5. John 18.33-38. 

           

23.2.  The religious leaders intentionally twist Jesus’ words from Luke 20.25.

           

23.3.  Jesus’ response is similar to his response in 22.70, “not a denial but neither a straightforward acknowledgement” (Johnson, 365).

           

23.4.  For the first time, Luke includes “the crowd” in the process.  Pilate, who was perfectly willing to slaughter innocent Galileans (cf. 13.1), finds no reason to kill Jesus.

           

23.5But they insisted (NIV) is literally, “they kept growing strong in saying.”  Note the increased urgency on the part of the religious leaders.                       

He stirs up the people “creates a new situation for Pilate.  Whether or not Jesus claimed personally to be a king, if his teaching created unrest against Rome, he would be practicing (treason)…In that politically charged atmosphere, anyone encouraging such revolt could be executed simply as a warning to others” (Johnson, 365). 

23.6-12.  Luke is the only gospel writer to record this trial before Herod Antipas (the son of Herod the Great).  Cf. 3.1 where Herod is listed as the “tetrarch” of Galilee.

           

23.6-7.  Upon hearing that Jesus is a Galilean, and thus (literally) “under the authority of Herod,” Pilate “passes the buck.”  Herod, like Pilate (whose regular seat of government is Caesarea, on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea), is in Jerusalem because of the Passover.

           

23.8.  Herod “rejoices greatly” at the prospect of seeing Jesus.  Cf. 9.7-9.  For those who want to see “a sign,” cf. 11.16; 29-30.

           

23.9.  Herod was no doubt shocked that Jesus refused to “defend” himself.  In the Greek world to which Luke is writing, “philosophers” were expected “to give expression in some fashion, verbal or symbolic, to his convictions at the end.”  It is a credit to Luke as an historian, and an affirmation of the historicity of the account, that Luke resists “the temptation to elaborate a defense speech for Jesus” (Johnson, 367).

                        Cf. Isaiah 53.7 for Jesus’ silence; also 1 Peter 2.22-25.

           

23.10.  Again, the religious leaders increase their efforts in their attempt to have Jesus executed. 

           

23.11.  For “mocked,” cf. 22.63 (also, 18.32).  Though Herod and those with him mock Jesus, Herod also chooses to not view Jesus as worthy of death (though he had had John the Baptist beheaded.  Cf. 9.9).

           

23.12.  “Friends.”  More of a political relationship (“allies”) rather than personal.  “Giving the ambitious Herod Antipas a sign of influenced in Jerusalem would certainly create a ‘friendship,’ which in upper classes often meant a political alliance” (Keener, 253).

 

Luke 23.13-25

 

23.13-17.  Pilate calls together a meeting of the leaders AND the people.  Until now, Luke has made clear that the people were not in opposition to Jesus.  Pilate intends this meeting “to be an announcement of his decision and a dismissal.  But the crowd turns it into another situation” (Johnson, 370).

           

23.14.  Pilate repeats his statement from verse 4 that he finds “no guilt in this man” (NASB).

           

23.15.  Herod, too, found nothing in Jesus “worthy of death.”

           

23.16.  Pilate chooses to “punish” Jesus and to release him.  The verb translated “punish” by the NIV literally means “to educate” (paideuo—cf. the English word “pedagogy”).  Again, Pilate no doubt assumed that his punishment (whipping) would appease the religious leaders and the crowd.

           

23.17.  This verse, included in the King James Version, is missing in the earliest manuscripts.  Since it introduces the concept of releasing a prisoner, it was probably added by a later copyist.   The verse is similar to Matthew 27.15 and Mark 15.6.

 

23.18-23.  Cf. Matthew 27.20-23; Mark 15.11-14. John 18.40. 

           

23.18-19.  Pilate had planned to “release” Jesus (v. 16) but the crowd shouts for Barabbas’s release instead.  Having taken part in an “insurrection” and “murder,” Pilate would be slow to release Barabbas (the name means “son of the father”).

           

23.20-21.  Pilate endeavors to release Jesus a second time but the crowd keeps shouting “Crucify.”  The words translated “appealed” in verse 20 and “shouted” in verse 21 share the same root.

           

23.22.  For a third time, Pilate attempts to release Jesus.  The phrase no grounds for the death penalty is literally “no cause for death.”  The word “cause” is repeated from verses 4 and 14 where it is translated by the NIV as “basis” (for the charges).  Pilate repeats his plan to “punish and release” Jesus from verse 16.

           

23.23-25.  Pilate gives in to the demands of the crowd.  He releases Barabbas and he delivers Jesus to their will

.  “Romans were known for their emphasis on justice, but Romans were also politicians concerned with crowd control…Efficiency in ruling provinces and keeping peace took precedence over individual justice…” (Keener, 253). 
 

Luke 23.26-43

 

23.26. For Simon, cf. Matthew 27.31-32; Mark 15.20-21.  Cyrene was a town in North Africa which had a large Jewish population.

 

23.27-28. Cf. the warnings in 19.41-44 and 21.23.  “Jesus turned” (towards the women) much as he had “turned” towards Peter in 22.61.  For “daughters of Jerusalem,” cf. Micah 1.8, 13, 15; 4.8; Zephaniah 2.10; 9.9; Isaiah 3.16).

 

23.29.  “For a tradition in which having children is the quintessential blessing of God (Genesis 15.5; Deuteronomy 30.5-10), a situation in which the barren are blessed is indeed grievous” (Johnson, 373).

 

23.30.  A quotation from Hosea 10.8.  See, also, Isaiah 2.10, 19-21.

 

23.31.  “The green wood is Jesus, while the dry wood is Jerusalem in judgment.  If this situation is bad, it is nothing compared to what is to come.  But there is debate as to who “they” are that treat the live (or green) wood this way: Rome, the Jews, humanity or God” (Bock, accessed at http://www.biblegateway.com/resources/ivp-nt/Crucifixion).  Bock views the “they” (“men” is supplied by the NIV) as being an indirect reference to God who will judge the people of Jerusalem harshly.  Johnson (373) sees the reference as to the people of Jersusalem who will turn on themselves in the days of the Roman siege (AD 66-70).

 

23.32.  The word “criminal” is literally “evil-doers,” a very broad word which could be applied to those guilty of multiple crimes.  Most likely, the two are “insurrectionists” (cf. Barabbas).

 

23.33-34.  “Those who were executed were supposed to say, ‘May my death atone for all my sins’; but Jesus confesses instead the sin of those who falsely convicted him” (Keener, 254).

            For the last line of verse 34, cf. Psalm 22.18.

 

23.35.  Luke distinguishes between the people who are “watching” and the leaders who are “sneering” (or “mocking;” cf. 16.14).  Again, the leaders provide the majority of the opposition to Jesus and bear the majority of the responsibility for Jesus’ death.

            Of course, there is irony in the leaders’ statement, “He cannot save himself.”  This will be the first of three slurs involving the word “save.”

 

23.36-37.  The soldiers join in the mocking.  This time, the slur involves the admonition to Jesus “to save himself” which he cannot do if he is to save people from their sins.

 

23.38.  Such a written notice was typical of crucifixions.  All four gospels include the charge that Jesus was “the king of the Jews.”

 

23.39.  One criminal joins in with those who are mocking Jesus.  The word translated “hurled insults” is the Greek verb blasphemo which can be translated as “slander” or “blaspheme.”  See 22.65.

 

23.40-41.  The second criminal “rebukes” the first (cf. 4.35, 39, 41; 8.24; 9.21, 41; 18.39; 19.39).  “It could be said that the injustice of the entire crucifixion is summed up in this short commentary. Other men die justly, but Jesus hangs on the cross as a matter of injustice. To mock Jesus is to support injustice at its worst. Those who fear God had better realize what it means to taunt him” (Bock, ibid.).

 

23.42.  He asks to be “remembered” (Cf. 22.19).  In  a sense the criminal utters a version of the Lord’s Prayer, ‘Your kingdom come’” (Johnson, 378).

 

23.43. In Jewish literature, “paradise” was “the abode of the righteous after death or after the resurrection” (Keener, 255).

 

Luke 23.44-56

 

23.44-46. cf. Matthew 27.45, 50; Mark 15.33, 37. 

 

23.44.  Luke literally says, “from the sixth hour…to the ninth hour.”  For “hour,” cf. 2.38; 7.21; 10.21; 12.12, 39, 40, 46; 13.31; 20.19; 22.14.  For “darkness” as a sign of judgment, cf. Joel 2:10, 30-31; Amos 8:9.

 

23.45.  The word translated as “stopped shining” is the Greek word ekleipo from which we get our English word eclipse

.
            “The ‘curtain’ is probably the one between the holy of holies—inhabited only by God, and where no mortal could enter except the high priest once each year—and the sanctuary where the priests ministered (Exodus 26.33)” (Craig Keener,The IVP Bible Background Commentary (Downers Grove, IL:  IVP, 1993), 255).  Also, see Hebrews 9.11-14; 23-28.
            Bock gives five possible interpretations to the splitting of the curtain (Darrell Bock,Luke,
Volume 3, IVP New Testament Commentary, IVP, Downer’s Grove, IL, 1994, accessed at http://www.biblegateway.com/resources/ivp-nt/Crucifixion).

 

23.46.  Jesus quotes Psalm 31.5, a psalm which “breathes throughout a quiet confidence in God’s saving power” (Luke Timothy Johnson, The Gospel of Luke.  Sacra Pagina 3 (Collegeville, MN:  Liturgical Press, 1991), 379).

            The fact that Jesus cried out “with a loud voice” indicates that Jesus exercises control over his own death.

 

23.47-48. Cf. Matthew 27.54; Mark 15.39.  A Roman soldier and “all the crowds” bear witness to the injustice of Jesus’ death.

 

23.49.  Jesus’ followers “stood at a distance.”  Cf. Peter in 22.54.  Importantly, Luke is clear that Jesus’ followers included women (from Galilee—cf. 8.1-3).

 

23.50-54.  Cf. Matthew 27.57-60; Mark 15.40; John 19.25.

           

23.50-51.  Luke gives us several important details concerning Joseph of Arimathea.  He notes that Joseph was “good” and “righteous,” echoing the statement by the centurion concerning Jesus in 23.47.  Though a member of the Council, he “had not consented to their decision and action.”  The fact that Joseph was “waiting for the kingdom of God” puts him in company with Simeon (2.25). 

           

23.52-53.  “Condemned criminals did not normally receive such honorable burials; but exceptions seem to have been made on the intercession of well-to-do family or friends….” (Keener, 256).  Cf. Deuteronomy 21:22-23 for the urgent need for Joseph’s action.

           

23.54.  “Preparation Day” likely means Friday before the Sabbath begins at 6 PM, Friday evening.  It was important that the body not hang on the cross overnight.

 

23.55-56.  Cf. Matthew 27.61; Mark 15.47.  The women watch carefully to see where Jesus is buried so that they can return and anoint his body.  But, since they are faithful Jews, they rest on the Sabbath.

 

Luke 24.1-12

Matthew 28.1-8; Mark 16.1-8; John 20.1-13.

 

“The resurrection of Jesus is the starting point of Christian faith” (Johnson, 389).

 

24.1.  All four gospels note that the women went to the tomb very early.  Dawn would have been about 6 AM.

 

24.2-3.  None of the gospels say what the moment of resurrection was like but they all give the results of the resurrection.

 

24.4.  Luke calls the two “men;” in 24.23, they will be referred to as “angels.”

           

in clothes that gleamed like lightning.  Cf. 9.29.

 

24.5-6.  The “men” call the women to “remember” the words Jesus spoke while the disciples were still in Galilee.  Not only does it remind us that Jesus has predicted his death and resurrection early on, but it’s another indication that these women had been Jesus’ disciples who had followed him since early on in his ministry (cf. 8.1-3).

 

24.7-8.  Cf. the prediction in 9.22.

 

24.9.  “Even though they were not ordered to do so, the women report their experience” (Johnson, 388).  Luke further notes that “the Twelve” are now “the Eleven” (with the departure of Judas Iscariot) and that there are other disciples beyond “the Eleven” whom Luke calls here “the rest.”

 

24.10.  Along with the women named, there are “others.”

 

24.11.  The word translated by the NIV “nonsense” is the Greek word leros which forms the root for our English word “delirious.”  “Jewish officials considered the witness of women nearly worthless, because they regarded women as unstable and undependable” (Keener, 256).  The disciples’ unwillingness to believe “these words” of the women hearkens back to their inability to believe Jesus’ words in 9.45.

 

24.12.  Peter runs to the tomb.  In the gospel of John, he’s joined by “the other disciple” (usually thought to be John).  Peter’s response is to “wonder to himself.”  The word “wonder” is sometimes translated as “be amazed” (cf. 1.21, 63; 2.18, 33; 4.22; 7.9; 8.25; 11.4, 38; 20.26; Acts 2.7; 4.13).