Reading for Today: 2 Kings 7:1–8:29

Reading for Today:
2 Kings 7:1–8:29
Psalm 72:8-16
Proverbs 18:12-13
John 18:19-40

2 Kings 7:6 the Hittites and…Egyptians. Sometime before the arrival of the lepers, the Lord had made the Syrians hear the terrifying sound of a huge army approaching. They thought the Israelite king had hired two massive foreign armies to attack them. The Hittites were descendants of the once-great Hittite Empire who lived in small groups across northern Syria (1 Kin. 10:29). Egypt was in decline at this time, but its army would still have represented a great danger to the Syrians.

2 Kings 8:10 recover…die. Ben-Hadad wanted to know whether or not he would recover from his present illness. In response, Elisha affirmed two interrelated things: 1) Ben-Hadad would be restored to health; his present sickness would not be the means of his death. 2) Ben-Hadad would surely die by some other means.

2 Kings 8:11 he was ashamed. With a fixed gaze, Elisha stared at Hazael because it had been revealed to him what Hazael would do, including the murder of Ben-Hadad (v. 15). Hazael was embarrassed, knowing that Elisha knew of his plan to assassinate the Syrian king.

Psalm 72:10 Tarshish…Seba. Countries near and far which brought tribute to Solomon (1 Kin. 4:21; 10:1, 23, 24; Is. 60:4–7; Jer. 6:20). Tarshish is probably in Spain; Sheba, a kingdom in southern Arabia (modern Yemen); and Seba, a North African nation.

John 18:36 My kingdom is not of this world. By this phrase, Jesus meant that His kingdom is not connected to earthly political and national entities, nor does it have its origin in the evil world system that is in rebellion against God. If His kingdom was of this world, He would have fought. The kingships of this world preserve themselves by fighting with force. Messiah’s kingdom does not originate in the efforts of man but with the Son of Man forcefully and decisively conquering sin in the lives of His people and someday conquering the evil world system at His Second Coming when He establishes the earthly form of His kingdom. His kingdom was no threat to the national identity of Israel or the political and military identity of Rome. It exists in the spiritual dimension until the end of the age (Rev.11:15).

DAY 10: Why was the trial of Jesus conducted by the Romans rather than the Sanhedrin?

Jesus was led from the trial before Caiaphas to the Praetorium in John 18:28.This was the headquarters of the commanding officer of the Roman military camp or the headquarters of the Roman military governor (i.e., Pilate). Pilate’s normal headquarters was in Caesarea, in the palace that Herod the Great had built for himself. However, Pilate and his predecessors made it a point to be in Jerusalem during the feasts in order to quell any riots. Jerusalem became his praetorium or headquarters. It was “early morning.” The word is ambiguous. Most likely, it refers to around 6:00 a.m. since many Roman officials began their day very early and finished by 10:00 or 11:00 a.m. Those who brought Jesus did not go into the Praetorium “lest they should be defiled.” Jewish oral law gives evidence that a Jew who entered the dwelling places of Gentiles became ceremonially unclean. Their remaining outside in the colonnade avoided that pollution. John loads this statement with great irony by noting the chief priests’ scrupulousness in the matter of ceremonial cleansing, when all the time they were incurring incomparably greater moral defilement by their proceedings against Jesus.

“What accusation…?” (v. 29). This question formally opened the Roman civil phase of proceedings against Jesus. The fact that Roman troops were used at the arrest proves that the Jewish authorities communicated something about this case to Pilate in advance. Although they most likely had expected Pilate to confirm their judgment against Jesus and order His death sentence, Pilate ordered instead a fresh hearing in his presence.

When Pilate told them to take Jesus back and try Him themselves, the Jews objected on the basis that “It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death” (v. 31). When Rome took over Judea and began direct rule through a prefect in A.D. 6, capital jurisdiction (i.e., the right to execute) was taken away from the Jews and given to the Roman governor. Capital punishment was the most jealously guarded of all the attributes in Roman provincial administration.

By a Roman crucifixion, it also fulfilled “the saying of Jesus” (v. 32) that He would die by being lifted up (3:14; 8:28; 12:32, 33). If the Jews had executed Him, it would have been by throwing Him down and stoning Him. But God providentially controlled all the political procedures to assure that, when sentence was finally passed, He would be crucified by the Romans and not stoned by the Jews, as was Stephen (Acts 7:59).


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