Other comments on this day's readings can be found here.
Reading 1 - 2Ki 21:13
" I will stretch out over Jerusalem the measuring line used
against Samaria and the plumb line used against the house of Ahab. I will wipe
out Jerusalem as one wipes a dish, wiping it and turning it upside down" (2Ki
As one wipes a dish clean, turning it over so that no drop is
left, so Jerusalem's destruction would be total. None would remain. Yet the dish
is not destroyed, "signifying hereby the emptying of Jerusalem of its palaces
and houses, wealth and riches and of all its inhabitants; and yet the empty dish
being preserved, seems to denote the restoration of Jerusalem after the seventy
years' captivity" (John Gill).
Or... -- an alternative: " 'I will blot out Jerusalem as
tablets are wont to be blotted out' [Vulgate]. This is a metaphor taken from the
ancient method of writing: they traced their letters with a stylus on boards
thinly spread over with wax; for this purpose one end of the stylus was sharp,
the other end blunt and smooth, with which they could rub out what they had
written, and so smooth the place and spread back the wax, as to render it
capable of receiving any other word. Thus the Lord had written down Jerusalem,
never intending that its name or its memorial should be blotted out. It was
written down The Holy City, The City of the Great King; but now God turns the
stylus and blots this out; and the Holy Jerusalem, the City of the Great King,
is no longer to be found! This double use of the stylus is pointed out in this
ancient riddle: 'I am flat at the top, but sharp at the bottom; I turn either
end, and perform a double function: One end destroys what the other end has
made' " (Adam Clarke).
This may be contrasted with Rev 14:1; 3:10-12: God's name
written on the foreheads of the righteous. Also a contrast with Rev 3:5: "I will
never blot out his name from the book of life."
Reading 2 - Eze 11:23
"The glory of the LORD went up from within the city and
stopped above the mountain east of it" (Eze 11:23).
The Cherubim of the Glory of God is seen departing from the
Temple and its precincts, in several stages:
"Now the glory of the God of Israel went up from above the cherubim, where
it had been [that is, in the Most Holy Place], and moved to the threshold of the
temple" (Eze 9:3).
"Then the glory of the LORD rose from above the cherubim
and moved to the threshold of the temple. The cloud filled the temple, and the
court was full of the radiance of the glory of the LORD" (Eze 10:4).
the glory of the LORD departed from over the threshold of the temple and stopped
above the cherubim. While I watched, the cherubim spread their wings and rose
from the ground, and as they went, the wheels went with them. They stopped at
the entrance to the east gate of the LORD'S house, and the glory of the God of
Israel was above them" (Eze 10:18,19).
"The glory of the LORD went up from
within the city and stopped above the mountain east of it" (Eze
This, apparently, is the last time the Glory of God was seen
in Ezekiel's day. Thus, in preparation for the judgments soon to fall on the
city, Yahweh was -- by stages -- removing the Glory of His Presence from the
doomed city. The stages of removal, and the intervening periods of waiting, were
surely intended to offer a final witness to the people.
The final time Ezekiel sees this Glory is in his vision of the
restoration: "The glory of the LORD entered the temple through the gate facing
east. Then the Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court, and the
glory of the LORD filled the temple" (Eze 43:4,5).
It is remarkable that, 600 years later, when the Lord Jesus
Christ (who was the Glory of Yahweh in human form: John 1:14; 17:6,22) addressed
his farewell to the city of Jerusalem, he said: "Look, your house is left to you
desolate" (Mat 23:38). The glory was departing from Israel, again, in
anticipation of another destruction of a city and a temple which had turned its
back on its God. And this it did, in reality, when Jesus took his leave from his
disciples and was taken up from the Mount of Olives, on the east side of the
city (Acts 1:9; cp Eze 11:23).
But, of course, as with the final vision seen by Ezekiel in
Eze 43 -- the Glory embodied in Jesus Christ will also return to its city in the
Last Days: "This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come
back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven" (Acts 1:11). "Then the
LORD will go out and fight against those nations, as he fights in the day of
battle. On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of
Jerusalem..." (Zec 14:3,4).
Reading 3 - Luk 7:3-6
"The centurion heard of Jesus and sent some elders of the Jews
to him, asking him to come and heal his servant. When they came to Jesus, they
pleaded earnestly with him, 'This man deserves to have you do this, because he
loves our nation and has built our synagogue.' So Jesus went with them. He was
not far from the house when the centurion sent friends to say to him: 'Lord,
don't trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof' "
The Jewish elders had said, "This man DESERVES to have you do
this" (Luk 7:4). But of course he did not deserve it on merit, and HE knew it:
"I do not deserve..."
Yet, by a strange but Biblically explainable paradox, he
became worthy in the very act of declaring his "unworthiness"! The one who
thinks himself worthy is NOT worthy, and the one who thinks himself unworthy IS
The Jews clearly believe that a man is justified by his works,
but they are wrong. The centurion seems to understand that a man is justified
only by his faith! And he is right.