My parents sent my wife and me some calla lilies for Easter. In contrast to most of the plants we try to grow, they’re still pretty and blooming today, and that’s reason to celebrate. We’ve been fortunate enough to finish our vaccine regimen, too, and that’s another reason. It seems a bit late this year, but spring is here, and there’s hope around. My prayer is that you too have some of that hope today.
Recently on VerseNotes
If you’ve been around Versenotes for a while, you already know I love numbers. I did a whole series on numbers in Revelation, and I built an infographic to help me understand why the number and order of the tribes of Israel changed. The author of Esther is a kindred spirit; he built in a number of numbers to help us make sense of the book. This post attempts to collect and understand them.
I noticed something weird about the tribes of Caleb and Joshua and the split kingdoms after King Solomon’s death.
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.
Hanani the seer plays a sadly common role for prophets: informing kings when they have strayed from God. King Asa of Judah had ruled for thirty-five good years. Not all of them were peaceful, but he followed God. But then, in the thirty-sixth year, King Baasha of Israel invaded Judah. Asa sent treasures from the Temple to King Ben-hadad of Syria as a bribe to break his allegiance to Baasha and join Asa. Ben-hadad agreed, and Baasha retreated.
Hanani came to Asa to remind him that God had previously been faithful in Asa’s wars against Ethiopia and Libya. He prophesied that because Asa depended on Syria instead of God, Asa will be at war “from now on” (2 Chronicles 16:9).
Asa, no longer the God-seeking man he had been, threw Hanani into prison. Ignoring God’s prophets is never a good idea; the Chronicler records that “at that time Asa also began to oppress some of his people.” Six years later, Asa died from a fatal foot disease.