"Psalm 23," John August Swanson. Used by permission from the artist.
Image © by John August Swanson. Artwork held in the Luther Seminary Fine Arts Collection, St. Paul, Minn.
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1 Kings 12:1-17, 25-29 Commentary
by Roger Nam
Power. Oppression. Rivalry. These interrelated themes are universal across time.
Pretty much every known culture develops such narratives couched in royal settings. These themes emerge most dramatically during periods of monarchic succession. For ancient Israel, the installation of their fourth king, Rehoboam, was expectedly tortuous matching the inaugurations of Saul, David and Solomon. Jeroboam begins by gathering the people and listening to their sufferings because of the heavy “yoke” placed upon them. This “yoke” originally referred to the heavy work of oxen in the field, though the Bible also uses it to describe imposed labor whether from Egypt (Leviticus 26:13) or Assyria (Isaiah 14:25) or, in this case, Israel under Rehoboam.
Because of the oppressive nature of the forced labor, the people’s request for relief appears reasonable to the older advisors of the king. But instead, Rehoboam listens to the “young men,” and promptly rejects the simple request. At this point, several thematic and linguistic parallels between Rehoboam ...
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Summer 2020 Readings
2020-21 Readings (Year 3)
The narrative lectionary is a four-year cycle of readings. Read more.
NL194: Kingdom Divided
November 01, 2015
This podcast discusses 1 Kings 12:1-17, 25-29, the Narrative Lectionary readings for Nov. 1, 2015.