Other comments on this day's readings can be found here.
Reading 1 - Num 31
"Balaam predicted that a scepter will arise to destroy 'all
the sons of tumult' (Num 24:17). As a token of this, Moses is now ordered to
wage war against the Midianite men of strife. He does so thus foreshadowing the
coming day of vengeance (Isa 26:9; 61:2; 63:4; Rev 11:18). This fulfills the
instructions earlier given him to 'vex the Midianites and smite them; for they
vex you with their wiles' and have 'beguiled you' (Num 25:17,18). The
Midianites, having enticed the Israelites to unfaithfulness, now must be
punished. The key verse of this chapter is v 3, with the word 'avenge'. It is
significant that in the battle, not an Israelite is lost" (HP Mansfield,
Reading 2 - Pro 22:6
"Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he
will not turn from it" (Pro 22:6).
"A statement of general tendencies and not of an inexorable
law. Human beings are neither machines nor plants. They have a power of choice;
they can respond to good influences or they can be rebellious. Some very good
men have had a bad early training and some very bad men were given every
opportunity in the instruction of their early days. One of the surprising
discoveries made by each successive generation is that children differ from the
very cradle" (Islip Collyer, "Principles and Proverbs").
Reading 3 - John 4
Jesus and the Samaritan woman (John 4): "At the beginning of
the conversation he did not make himself known to her... but first she caught
sight of a thirsty man [v 7], then a Jew [v 9], then a rabbi [vv 13,14],
afterwards a prophet [vv 17-19], last of all the Messiah [vv 25,26]. She tried
to get the better of the thirsty man, she showed her dislike of the Jew, she
heckled the rabbi, she was swept off her feet by the prophet, and finally she
adored the Messiah" (Tatian).