An Old Woman Reading the Bible
The daily lectionary for July 1 includes 2 Kings 18:13-19:37

Where does the choice between life and death lie? What is the way to life?

People have to decide about this!

In 2 Kings 18, “King Sennacherib of Assyria came to attack the fortified towns of Judah and conquered them” (2 Kings 18:13, NLT) and moves on to besiege Jerusalem. He sends a trio of high officials to parlay with the representatives of King Hezekiah. And then the “Rabshakeh,” or “chief of staff” monologues and tries to shake the confidence of the people guarding the wall in Jerusalem. “Don’t trust Hezekiah and his loser god! Y’all are bound to lose! Don’t fight – surrender! Open the gates! Come on out! Everything will be OK! Choose life and not death!” (2 Kings 18:32, NLT)

Maybe he didn’t say it exactly this way – OK, we know he didn’t, he wasn’t speaking English, but Hebrew. Maybe he said something more like “that you may live and not die” (NRSV). Or maybe the composer of 2 Kings word-smithed the narrative a little.

Whatever. Surely readers of 2 Kings are meant to think here of Deuteronomy 30:19-20

Choose life so that you and your descendants may live, loving YHWH your God, obeying him and holding fast to him; for that means life to you and length of days, so that you may live in the land that YHWH swore to give to your ancestors, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.

Readers of 2 Kings like Jesus.

So that Christian readers of 2 Kings are bound to think here of Jesus saying

For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.
(Matthew 16:25; cf. Mark 8:35, Luke 9:24, 17:33

And of Paul saying

As for those who in the present age are rich, command them not to be haughty, or to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but rather on God who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, generous, and ready to share, thus storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of the life that really is life. (1 Timothy 6:17-19)

L’chaim.


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