15 October 2011

"Gedaliah swore to them and their men, saying, 'Do not be afraid because of the Chaldean officials; live in their land, serve the king of Babylon, and it shall be well with you." (v. 24)


Regular readers may have noticed that today's passage continues the story of the fall of Jerusalem, but from a different source: the book of 2 Kings.

The story is somewhat involved. The Babylonian general in charge of the siege of the city has clearly become impatient, and he sacks the city and burns its principal buildings to the ground. Those of the population who have expressed support for Babylon are deported; the poorest of the remainder are left as agricultural labourers, and any who had resisted Babylonian influence make good their escape to Egypt. A man named Gedaliah is put in charge of Jerusalem, and he makes a speech to the leaders of the population assuring them that everything will be well for them provided they serve the king of Babylon.

Gedaliah's good standing does not endure. A mere seven months into his administration, his compatriots assassinate him.

To Ponder

Gedaliah accepted power, presumably because he thought he could do some good with it. How do you exercise power? And how does the Church exercise power?

We always hope that our exercise of power will achieve some good purpose. Is this hope always realistic? How do you respond when your best efforts end in failure?

In conflict situations loyalty is often cheap. Where do you place your loyalty? How secure is that loyalty? Can anything override that loyalty?

Bible notes author: The Revd Dr John Ogden

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