Other comments on this day's readings can be found here.
Reading 1 - Neh 12:27-43
"At the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem, the Levites were
sought out from where they lived and were brought to Jerusalem to celebrate
joyfully the dedication with songs of thanksgiving and with the music of
cymbals, harps and lyres" (Neh 12:27).
Vv 27-43 describe a great procession and dedication service.
One large choir mounted the city wall and walked around it counterclockwise,
evidently beginning at the Valley Gate (vv 31-37). Another choir mounted it,
probably at the same place, and proceeded in a clockwise direction (vv 38,39).
They appear to have sung as they walked (v 42). The songs of thanksgiving which
they sang probably included Psalms 48, 122, 127, 147, and 150.
The two groups met at the temple (vv 40-42). There the priests
offered many sacrifices and the people rejoiced greatly (v 43). This was the
same wall that Tobiah had earlier claimed would be so weak that even a fox
walking on it would break it down (Neh 4:3)!
The final consummation of Nehemiah's work had been reached.
The city was protected by a wall and could resist any attempt of the neighboring
nations to attack it. This was one of the main reasons for the joy. The other
was that the people had demonstrated that they could perform a major task as a
unit, and this proved to be a great stimulus to their morale.
Reading 2 - Amos 4:1-3
"Hear this word, you cows of Bashan on Mount Samaria, you
women who oppress the poor and crush the needy and say to your husbands, 'Bring
us some drinks!' " (Amos 4:1).
HEAR THIS WORD, YOU COWS OF BASHAN: Amos addressed the wealthy
women of Samaria, calling them "cows of Bashan". Bashan was a very luxuriant
region of Transjordan east and northeast of the Sea of Chinnereth (Galilee)
where cattle had plenty to eat and grew fat (cp Psa 22:12; Jer 50:19; Eze 39:18;
ON MOUNT SAMARIA: The mountain is mentioned, as though it
afforded them some kind of security -- which surely it didn't.
YOU WOMEN WHO OPPRESS THE POOR AND CRUSH THE NEEDY: These
women, by the silly and selfish demands they made upon their husbands, were in
effect oppressing the poor and crushing the needy.
AND SAY TO YOUR HUSBANDS: There is a sharp irony here: the
word "husbands" is "adonim" -- LORDS, or MASTERS! But who were the "masters" in
these households? Certainly not the men!
"BRING US SOME DRINKS!": In the heights of laziness and
self-indulgence, they were even ordering their husbands to wait on them and
bring them drinks.
"The Sovereign LORD has sworn by his holiness: 'The time will
surely come when you will be taken away with hooks, the last of you with
fishhooks' " (v 2).
An enemy would cart them off as butchers carry beef with large
meat hooks and as fishermen carry fish with hooks. They would become so much
"meat on the hoof"! This description may imply that the enemy would tie them in
lines with ropes and lead them away -- since this is how fishermen strung their
fish on lines. Alternatively it may mean that their bodies would be treated as
nothing but "dead meat"!
" 'You will each go straight out through breaks in the wall,
and you will be cast out toward Harmon [or the "mountain of oppression"],'
declares the LORD" (v 3).
YOU WILL EACH GO STRAIGHT OUT THROUGH BREAKS IN THE WALL: The
enemy would carry the bodies of these women (living or dead) off through
breaches in Samaria's walls. The women would be carried off without any
complications; each one would go straight ahead to captivity or to burial
through any one of the many passageways made through the broken walls.
TOWARD HARMON: There are two possibilities: (1) Mount Hermon,
toward the north, the direction the Assyrians took the Israelite captives as
they deported them to Assyria; or (2) Heb "harmon" signifies "oppression" -- as
though the mount of Samaria, in which they trusted (v 1), would instead be a
mount of oppression for them!
Reading 3 - 2Ti 1:2
"To Timothy, my dear son: Grace, mercy and peace from God the
Father and Christ Jesus our Lord" (2Ti 1:2).
Compare the same greeting in 1Ti 1:2; 2Jo 1:3.
Grace is for the worthless; it is God giving me what I don't deserve.
Mercy is for the helpless; it is God withholding from me what I do deserve.
Peace is for the restless; it is the assurance that whatever happens to me
will work out for God's glory.