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Thursday, October 27, 2016

Daily Devotion for May 11, 2013

Solomon Sheba by Poynter
The Visit of the Queen of Sheba to King Solomon by Edward Poynter, ca. 1890. When one thinks of polygamy in the Bible, Solomon is the superstar. One would imagine that the many women seated to his right are not his sisters! (See full-size.)



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lessons and scripture

Lord's Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.


Prayer to Find God in Nature

Morning and evening, Lord, I beseech Thee,
suffer my cry from this wood to reach Thee;
these are Thy presents, Thy heart I find
in the dark forest in sleet and wind.

As on the sea Thou sailest before,
a cloud, that our ship might see this shore,
so now Thou walkest, these trees
Thy feet, and in this brook Thy heart doth beat.

Lord, I am fearless, Thy mercy shown,
for where Thou art there is nought unknown;
what are these seemings save Thine own? O grant Thy servant his grace of days,
whose hours shall all be filled with praise:
here Thy new works must numb’red be and fair names fitted to beast and tree.

All to be learned, all to be loved,
thus ever fresh Thy kingdom proved.


(based on The Kid by Conrad Aiken)

A Prayer of Repentance

O  Lord our God, good and merciful, I acknowledge all my sins which I have committed every day of my life, in thought, word and deed; in body and soul alike. I am heartily sorry that I have ever offended you, and I sincerely repent; with tears I humbly pray to you, O Lord: of your mercy forgive me all my past transgressions and absolve me from them. I firmly resolve, with the help of your grace, to amend my way of life and to sin no more; that I may walk in the way of the righteous and offer praise and glory to the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.



Now God himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, I pray that you direct my way unto you, and make me and all of us to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you; to the end that we may establish our hearts unblameable in holiness before you, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.


(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.

Stained glass rose window, art nouveau

Proverbs 22:12 (ESV)

The eyes of the Lord keep watch over knowledge,
but he overthrows the words of the traitor.

Blue Latin Cross

Exodus 21:7-11 (ESV)

Laws About Female Servants

“When a man sells his daughter as a handmaid, she shall not go out as the male servants do. If she does not please her master, who has designated her for himself, then he shall let her be redeemed. He shall have no right to sell her to a foreign people, since he has broken faith with her.

If he designates her for his son, he shall deal with her as with a daughter.

If he takes another wife to himself, he shall not diminish her food, her clothing, or her marital rights. And if he does not do these three things for her, she shall go out for nothing, without payment of money.”

Notes on the Scripture

We have used the word servant instead of slave today, but neither is accurate. We simply do not have an English word: "servant" is inaccurate, because the servitude might be partially or entirely involuntary, but "slavery" is also inaccurate, because the daughter had rights and expectations.

Marriages were of two kinds, both of them arranged and involving the payment of money by the groom or groom's family to the bride and/or her family. This seems unthinkable in modern Western society, but it was the general rule in history even for the highest-born; marriages of crown princes and princesses in Europe were still strongly influenced by parental permission well into the 20th century.

Christian family minimalist

The primary wife had more status; she could propose or refuse a match and it was her children who would be the heirs. Remember, when Abraham's servant sought to obtain Rebekah as Issac's wife, his first order of business was to charm Rebekah herself.

Men would often took a second wife when their first wife passed childbearing age or died, or even more (as did Abraham); or, in some cases, as a subordinate wife. The institution was flexible. But today's verses govern the potentially harshest case, a woman bought outright as a servant.

A woman "bought as a handmaid", brought into the household without her assent, was not a slave as we think of the term. She could not be sold, nor could her children. She could not be treated as a prostitute; if a male member of the family wanted to have intimate relations with her, he had to treat her as a wife.

On the other hand, a servant woman's bondage could be lifelong, if she was allowed to remain a maiden. If she became a concubine or "wife", however, and was mistreated, she would have a right to break the bond, without regard to how long she had served. So the rules regarding male and female indentured service were very different. Men would go free automatically after six years, whereas women could go free at any time, but only if they were mistreated.

A very odd fact: multiple marriage is not forbidden anywhere in the New Testament. Indications are that men with multiple wives were church members. One can infer, however, that it was frowned upon, from Paul's statement in his first epistle to Timothy: "Deacons must have only one wife." (1 Timothy 3:12) This would appear to prohibit both divorced men and polygamists from serving as church officials.

endless knot

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Today in Daily Prayer

Memory Verse

Philippians 4:6-7: Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

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