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Advent 4

This site provides something different: many sites and books provide a brief summary of the reading – so that people read out or have in their pew sheet an outline of what they are about to hear. They are told beforehand what to expect. Does this not limit what they hear the Spirit address them? This site provides something different – often one cannot appreciate what is being read because there is no context provided. This site provides the context, the frame of the reading about to be heard. It could be used as an introduction, printed on a pew sheet (acknowledged, of course), or adapted in other ways. This is an experimental venture and I will see how useful it appears.

2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16

The king in this passage is David. There are two other places where Nathan’s oracle is recorded: Psalm 89 and 1 Chronicles 17. There is wordplay on “house” בַּיִת (bayith). 2 Sam 7:6-7 may be reworking by the final editor of 2 Samuel of an earlier oracle which seems to advocate that the ark should be housed in a tent rather than a permanent building. The final editor reworks material into the Deuteronomistic History from Deuteronomy through 2 Kings. 2 Samuel is part of the prophetic grouping of Nevi’im in the Hebrew Bible. Wether the work is anti monarchy is open to discussion.

Romans 16:25-27

This passage is missing from many manuscripts – it is likely an addition later when Paul’s letters were collected together. This passage appears sourced from liturgy.

Luke 1:26-38

Houses were constructed to have an inner room or courtyard – the proper place unmarried women. Mary is betrothed (μεμνηστευμένην mnēsteuō) a term found only in this story and in Matthew 1:18. In this Mediterranean shame culture, signs of virginity need to be produced (Deut 22:13-21). Mediterranean artists acknowledge this by separating Mary from the angel by an object. In the scene in the story, Mary understands that this will have consequences for both families involved in the betrothal in the first century culture that this story is set in.

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