Other comments on this day's readings can be found here.
Reading 1 - 2Sa 2:8-10
"Meanwhile, Abner son of Ner, the commander of Saul's army,
had taken Ish-Bosheth son of Saul..." --
(Ish-bosheth is only a weak puppet; Abner is the real power)
"...and brought him over to Mahanaim. He made him king over
Gilead, Ashuri and Jezreel, and also over Ephraim, Benjamin and all Israel.
Ish-Bosheth son of Saul was forty years old when he became king over Israel, and
he reigned two years. The house of Judah, however, followed David" (2Sa
Ish-Bosheth is a Hebrew name meaning "man of shame."
Comparison of several Old Testament passages indicates that this man was
referred to under several names. In 1Sa 14:49 the name is probably Ishvi (ASV)
or Ishui (KJV), unless this is another name for Abinadab (1Sa 31:2). In 2Sa 2:8
the name is Ishbosheth. In 1Ch 8:33 it is Esh-baal, a compound which was
probably the original name. Some think the name was intended to exalt Yahweh as
Lord (or 'baal'), but was changed to Ishbosheth (as apparently happened with
"Jerubbaal" of Jdg 6:32, altered to Jerub-Besheth of 2Sa 11:21) when the story
of his shameful murder was related (2Sa 4:1-12), in order to make it refer
prophetically to the manner of his death.
Reading 2 - Jer 8:12
"Are they ashamed of their loathsome conduct? No, they have no
shame at all; they do not even know how to blush. So they will fall among the
fallen; they will be brought down when they are punished, says the LORD" (Jer
"When they are punished" is, literally, "in the time of their
visitation" (AV). "If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring
you peace -- but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you
when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem
you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children
within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not
recognize the time of God's coming [or 'visitation'] to you" (Luk 19:42-44).
Compare also Jer 6:6 -- the city is "visited" -- as well as Jer 10:15;
The temple was a hypocritical symbol, and the people were
robbers and idolaters. As in Christ's day, the temple was incurably infected
with the "leprosy" of sin and uncleanness. And, after priestly "visitations"
showed no improvement, the Law of Moses required that the leprous house be taken
down and its stones carried forth (Lev 14:45; cp John 2:17).
Reading 3 - Mat 19:3-9
"Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, 'Is it
lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?' 'Haven't you
read,' he replied, 'that at the beginning the Creator made them male and female,
and said, "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united
to his wife, and the two will become one flesh"? So they are no longer two, but
one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate'" (Mat
God's purpose was clearly that man and woman joined together
in marriage should be joined together for life. Only the death of one of the
parties should terminate the bond. It is easy to see various reasons for this.
The very method of Eve's formation ("bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh")
laid the basis for this indissolubility; the mental and moral qualities of man
call for it; and the purposes of marriage in the increase and nurture of the
race demand it.
It is plain that estrangements and separations between
husbands and wives, whenever and wherever they exist, are incompatible with the
high standard of conduct which the Bible sets forth. In the light of this
exalted teaching, it is considered that where estrangement is threatened between
husband and wife it is a Christian duty to seek patiently and actively a renewal
or resumption of normal relationship.
Not only is this the duty of husband to wife and wife to
husband, but also of those who can offer wise counsel with patient
understanding. Where estrangement followed by separation has already happened,
and while reunion is still a possibility, the pursuit of divorce and remarriage
is a definite negation of the teaching of the Lord -- because the successful
pursuit of such a "solution" removes forever the possibility of reconciliation.
These considerations apply with added force where there are children to
"It has been said, 'Anyone who divorces his wife must give her
a certificate of divorce.' But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife,
except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to commit adultery, and anyone who
marries a woman so divorced commits adultery" (Mat 5:31,32).
" 'Why then,' they asked, 'did Moses command that a man give
his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?' Jesus replied, 'Moses
permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was
not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife,
except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery'"
Divorce obtained by a brother or sister on any ground except
that allowed by Jesus is a sin which cannot be overlooked. Nevertheless, the
ecclesia should not exclude the possibility of true repentance after the fact.
Furthermore, while remarriage by a divorced person, or
marriage with a divorced person, are contrary to the highest ideals as expressed
by Christ, it is possible to envision circumstances in which it would be unjust
for an ecclesia to lay down a course of action without discrimination.
In dealing with all who come short of the divine ideal, our
aim should be, not only to admonish and rebuke, but also to restore. While
trying to maintain to the fullest the high standards of Christ's teaching, we
must beware of slipping unconsciously into an attitude toward offenders which
the Lord would condemn. To achieve the right balance in these matters in the
spirit of our Lord's teaching, calls for prayerful and persistent effort and
humility of mind.