9/9 Reading (Deuteronomy 16-18; Psalms 32-34)

Deuteronomy 16: Three festivals: feast of Passover and unleavened bread, feast of weeks, and feast of booths. Pretty interesting note from the CEB study bible on the first one:

“Before the book of Deuteronomy, Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread were two separate feasts. Passover was celebrated at home, and the blood of the lamb was wiped on the doorframe. The Feast of Unleavened Bread was a pilgrimage feast held at a sanctuary. From earliest times it celebrated the exodus from Egypt. In Deuteronomy Passover is transformed into a pilgrimage festival and combined with the Feast of the Unleavened Bread.” (P. 290 OT; CEB Study Bible)

Big question here: WHY? Why the change? I guess it’s because the people are now supposed to do sacrifices in one place.

The people are then told to select judges and officials for each city and to be fair to the people.

Deuteronomy 17: The end of chapter 16 and beginning of chapter 17 address rules for worship. Making sure they don’t plant anything special next to the altar, don’t set up any sacred stones, and don’t sacrifice defective sheep or oxen.

Next topic discussed is how to deal with any Israelite who worships or bows to a different God, thus breaking the covenant. They are to be stoned to death.

Now we learn how to solve legal disputes that are too complicated. Go to the place God chose, ask for help from the judge there, then follow his/her (most likely his) orders.

Finally, we see information on establishing a king. The king is not the most powerful. That is assigned to the judges. This person must remember to pretty much stay humble. This is from the notes in the NRSV study bible:

Deuteronomy greatly restricts royal authority. Generally Near Eastern monarchs promulgated law; here the monarch is subject to the law and required to read it daily (v. 19). Deuteronomy even denies the king his typical judicial role as court of last appeal (cf. Ps 72.1–4; 2 Sam 12.1–14; 14.1–24; 1 Kings 3.16–28). This law far more emphasizes what the king cannot do than what he may do. (P. 279)

Deuteronomy 18: We learn what Levites are supposed to get and what priests are supposed to get when it comes to food, sacrifices, etc. The chapter then shifts into how the people are to communicate with God, especially since God won’t let Moses enter the promised land (kind of a raw deal). They are told to follow the words of the next prophet completely because they are the word of God.

Psalm 32: Notes from the CEB Study Bible revealed this following tidbit: “…it is the second of the church’s seven Penitential Psalms (see Ps 6)” (p. 873 OT). According to the notes from Psalm 6, penitence means sorrow for sin and the other Psalms that fall in this category are numbers 38, 51, 102, 130, and 143.

Overall this Psalm recognizes the importance of seeking forgiveness for your sins and to pray to God for support during difficult times.

Psalm 33: Subheading in the notes to the NRSV version says this one is about “praise of the Lord who created the universe” (p. 799). Overall this psalm is a psalm of praise. It is a pretty psalm. Not much else to say.

Psalm 34: Subheading in the notes to the NRSV version says this one is about “praise and acknowledgment of deliverance from danger” (p. 800). I also saw that this psalm is an alphabetic acrostic poem. This means that each verse begins with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet. To me this psalm is saying that pretty much if we continue to honor God, we will be ok.  

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