Genesis 23, Matthew 22, Nehemiah 12, Acts 22

DateVersionReading Plan
@January 22, 2024ESV (2016)M’Cheyne Plan 2024

Genesis 23

Genesis 23:16 (ESV) 16 Abraham listened to Ephron, and Abraham weighed out for Ephron the silver that he had named in the hearing of the Hittites, four hundred shekels of silver, according to the weights current among the merchants.

The exchange between Abraham and Ephron over the burying place of Sarah is an interesting event. A surface-level reading seems to suggest that Ephron was willing to give Abraham the land at no cost, but in digging deeper, it is likely this was merely a polite gesture and that he expected compensation. The takeaway is to be mindful of context and of cultural behaviors relevant to the time period.

Matthew 22

Matthew 22:5–7 (ESV) 5 But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, 6 while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them. 7 The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.

Jesus gave a parable of a wedding feast that was prepared for the wedding of his son. Those invited paid no attention and instead conducted themselves in very poor ways. This was meant to be an illustration of the kingdom of heaven in which many will refuse the invitation and reject the gospel, but worth noting is how quickly things escalate. It goes from paying no attention to shamefully killing the servants of the king and the king’s response to destroy the murderers and burn their city. There seems to be an intentionally harsh tone here that speaks to the seriousness of rebellion against God and of its resulting consequences.

Nehemiah 12

Nehemiah 12:8, 27, 46 (ESV) 8 And the Levites: Jeshua, Binnui, Kadmiel, Sherebiah, Judah, and Mattaniah, who with his brothers was in charge of the songs of thanksgiving. … 27 And at the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem they sought the Levites in all their places, to bring them to Jerusalem to celebrate the dedication with gladness, with thanksgivings and with singing, with cymbals, harps, and lyres. … 46 For long ago in the days of David and Asaph there were directors of the singers, and there were songs of praise and thanksgiving to God.

It seemed good to notice how important singing, worship and its production through instruments were in regards to temple activities. Neh. 12:46 seems to capture the reason well in that they wanted to remain faithful to the practices that had been previously established through David and Asaph. For us, it models and underscores the need to continue this tradition, to sing songs and hymns and spiritual songs, raising our voices to the Lord in praise.

Acts 22

Acts 22:19–21 (ESV) 19 And I said, ‘Lord, they themselves know that in one synagogue after another I imprisoned and beat those who believed in you. 20 And when the blood of Stephen your witness was being shed, I myself was standing by and approving and watching over the garments of those who killed him.’ 21 And he said to me, ‘Go, for I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’ ”

Something that emerged from these verses in Paul’s recounting of his exchange with Jesus on the road to Damascus was how God responded to his questions. Paul went into an explanation of his previous dealings with believers, how he imprisoned them and approved of their killing, but God does not address these things. Instead, He gives Paul a command and the next step he was to take as His ambassador. It seems important to see here how God always provides the direction we need from Him rather than giving us the answer to our every question.

Carson on Matthew 22

Jesus is citing Psalm 110, identified by the superscription as a psalm of David. If a mere courtier had written the psalm, then when he wrote “The LORD says to my Lord,” he would have been understood to mean “The Lord [God] said to my Lord [the King].” In fact, that is the way many liberal scholars interpret the psalm—which means, of course, that they must ignore what the superscription says. But if David wrote the psalm, then the “my Lord” whom he addresses must be someone other than himself. The explanation offered by many students of the Bible, both Jewish and Christian, over the centuries, is correct: David, “speaking by the Spirit” (22:43), writing what is called an oracular psalm (i.e., an oracle, a prophecy immediately prompted by the Spirit), is referring to the Messiah who was to come: “The LORD [God] said to my Lord [the Messiah].” And what he said, in the rest of the psalm, establishes him as both universal king and perfect priest.

Carson’s analysis on the hermeneutical contrast between traditional and liberal scholarship here in Matt. 22:41-46 is incredibly helpful for understanding these passages. We are certainly not to miss how David was referring to the coming Messiah when he said, “my Lord”.