Lent is one of my favorite times of the Christian year. Like Advent, it’s a time of reflection: looking backward to Jesus to look forward to Jesus. The past year bears more reflection than most, and I hope you have the time to sit and see and savor the presence of God throughout the troubles we’ve seen.
Meanwhile, about those cookies…
Recently on VerseNotes
This week, I discovered the Jewish treat hamantaschen, shortbread cookies with a sweet filling traditionally eaten at Purim (which was last week, by the way). I started doing some research, and I realized the origins of this well-known dessert are not in the Bible—in fact, nobody knows what the name even means. But I found some good theories…
Delight in the Details
Each newsletter, I’m going to highlight a little detail I’ve enjoyed. Recently, I’ve been enamored with what I’m calling “Very Minor Prophets”: the ones who show up in Scripture, but don’t get their own books.
Shemaiah the Prophet lived in the time of Rehoboam, Solomon’s son. Just after the schism between the northern kingdom of Israel, led by Jeroboam, and the southern kingdom of Judah, led by Rehoboam, Rehoboam gathered an army of 180,000 men to re-unite the kingdom. God sent Shemaiah to warn him that the schism was from God, that the Israelites were family, and that war would end badly for him (2 Chronicles 11:1–4). He returns home.
Later, after Egypt swept across Judah, God sent Shemaiah again to explain what happened: “You abandoned me [God], so I have abandoned you to the hand of Shishak [King of Egypt]” (2 Chronicles 12:5). Rehoboam and the leaders repent, and Shemaiah announces that as a result, Jerusalem would be conquered, but not destroyed. And so it is. Like Iddo, Shemaiah wrote the story of Rehoboam in a lost book called The Record of Shemaiah the Prophet (2 Chronicles 12:15).