It took a year to read the Bible, then almost 9 months to read the Apocrypha. Now, I'm going to try to offer reflections on the Narrative Lectionary. But, I won't be posting daily--at least, for a while.

Monday, August 17, 2015

1 Esdras 4, Pick your prize

In the contest to name what's the strongest thing in which the first bodyguard named wine, the second bodyguard said, "The king is the strongest because people have to do what he says. Soldiers have to go to war and whatever they win, they have to give to the king Those who aren't in the army have to give the king a portion of their crops. Whatever he tells anybody, they have to do it. Furthermore, while the king is lying around eating and drinking, somebody has to keep watch over him. Is not the king the strongest thing since he has to be obeyed in everything?"

The third bodyguard asked, "Who is it who has mastery over kings and over wine? Nobody--king, all other rulers, and everybody who plants the vineyards--nobody would exist unless a woman gave them birth. Moreover, they are the ones who make clothes for men. Men must thing women bring them glory because if a man has gold or silver and sees a lovely woman, he'll let that gold and silver go. A man will leave his own father to cling to his wife. He'll work, face danger, give all his valuables to the woman he loves. Even the king allows his concubine to be disrespectful to him. Therefore, of course, women are the strongest thing.

Then the third bodyguard shifted to a new answer. Truth is the greatest thing because unlike wine, the king, or women, it is righteous. Truth shows no partiality. Everyone approves its deeds. To it belongs all power and majesty. Great is truth, and strongest of all.

In response, the king said, "Ask for anything, and I'll give it to you." He also promised him that he would named one of the close associates, the Kinsmen.

What the winner of the contest named what he wanted: "Remember that when you became king, you promised to restore Jerusalem, send back what was looted, and to rebuild the temple. I'm asking you now to fulfill that vow."

The king started the rebuilding project.

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