Tuesday, November 15, 2005

On Close Reading Of The Text

Did the prophet Samuel have a family? I never gave it a thought until I was doing my daily devotions using the ESV One Year Bible online. And in 1 Chronicles 6:33,34 I found this:

"Of the sons of the Kohathites: Heman the singer the son of Joel, son of Samuel, son of Elkanah..."

If you are like me, often, when we come to certain books of the Bible, like Chronicles, Leviticus and Kings we tend to glaze over the names and the words. We enjoy Psalms, the Gospels and Genesis, but lose interest in the geneologies and long prophetic passages about Assyria. Yet we are told that ALL scripture is God-breathed and useful...

Maybe it is a minor thing that Samuel had a family, but maybe it helps us better understand certain aspects of his ministry.

Certainly it reminds me that I need to pay closer attention to the text and context of God's Word, lest one jot or tittle be lost in haste.

Update: Seems I should also play closer attention to the cross-references because if I did I would have found this in 1 Samuel 8:1-3...

"When Samuel became old, he made his sons judges over Israel. The name of his firstborn son was Joel, and the name of his second, Abijah; they were judges in Beersheba. Yet his sons did not walk in his ways but turned aside after gain. They took bribes and perverted justice."

This, taken along with the similar abuses of Eli's sons, offers us some very important lessons on fatherhood, passing on the faith and accountability.

So my point seems more valid. We must pay closer attention to the text. As Peter reminds us:

"And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts." (2 Peter 1:19)

As also does the writer of Hebrews 2:1

"We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away."

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