Posts Tagged 'Integrity'

2 Samuel Chapter 21

David returned to leadership in Israel, with a divided nation between those in Judah and the rest of the tribes of Israel. However, they had managed to maintain a peace with their neighboring nations. The people in the land, were generally living according to their own desires and passions. It seems that the Israelite people would not have been considered devoted to the Lord at this time. Even David, had dealt with a lot of heartache and difficulty, because of his personal choices against the laws of the Lord. This chapter continues the story of David’s reign as king during this time of difficulty.

1 Then there was a famine in the days of David three years, year after year; and David inquired of the Lord. And the Lord answered, It is for Saul, and for his bloody house, because he slew the Gibeonites.
2 And the king called the Gibeonites, and said unto them; (now the Gibeonites were not of the children of Israel, but of the remnant of the Amorites; and the children of Israel had sworn unto them: and Saul sought to slay them in his zeal to the children of Israel and Judah.)
3 Wherefore David said unto the Gibeonites, What shall I do for you? and wherewith shall I make the atonement, that ye may bless the inheritance of the Lord?
4 And the Gibeonites said unto him, We will have no silver nor gold of Saul, nor of his house; neither for us shalt thou kill any man in Israel. And he said, What ye shall say, that will I do for you.
5 And they answered the king, The man that consumed us, and that devised against us that we should be destroyed from remaining in any of the coasts of Israel,
6 Let seven men of his sons be delivered unto us, and we will hang them up unto the Lord in Gibeah of Saul, whomthe Lord did choose. And the king said, I will give them.
7 But the king spared Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan the son of Saul, because of the Lord’s oath that wasbetween them, between David and Jonathan the son of Saul.
8 But the king took the two sons of Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, whom she bare unto Saul, Armoni and Mephibosheth; and the five sons of Michal the daughter of Saul, whom she brought up for Adriel the son of Barzillai the Meholathite:
9 And he delivered them into the hands of the Gibeonites, and they hanged them in the hill before the Lord: and they fell all seven together, and were put to death in the days of harvest, in the first days, in the beginning of barley harvest.

The kingdom of David had a famine that last three years. David asked God why they had this famine, and the Lord told him it was because Saul had killed the Gibeonites. The Gibeonites were a people that lived among the Israelites from the time that they first returned to the promised land. The Gibeonites were afraid that they would be killed by the great nation, and their mighty God, whom they had heard about, so they had promised to be their servants if they would allow them to live among them in peace. However, the Gibeonites had come to this agreement by deceiving the princes of Israel. This was not something that was an easy thing for the host of Israel to realize, and many of the congregation murmured against it. The Gibeonites were spared at that time, because of the oath made between them and the princes of Israel, but they were made servants of Israel because of their deceit. Apparently, Saul had try to kill them, even though they had an oath with the children of Israel. This wickedness had brought the famine upon the David’s kingdom.

This was in a day when oaths were taken so seriously by men, that breaking them could mean death. We do not hear of oaths made with this kind of weight behind them, in fact, it seems that more often than not, people make oaths with a back-up plan as to how they can get out of it. We have contracts signed, promises made, and word given, only to have several ways to back out afterwards. While, I am glad that we don’t have people fearing death at the breaking of a contract, I feel that their is great integrity in keeping promises and doing all that we can to fulfill contracts and oaths we have with one another. Truly strong character is shown in those who value promises with the same importance as those we read about in ancient times. Our world would be so much better today, if the words of another could more consistently be trusted and depended upon.

David went to the Gibeonites and asked what he could do to made amends for what Saul had done. In response, they said they did not want to be paid or have any Israelite killed. David offered to do anything they desired. The only thing they asked for, was for seven sons of Saul to be delivered to them for hanging, because he had been the man to go against them. David agreed, but he spared Mephibosheth, because he had made an oath with his father, Jonathan. Seven of the sons of Saul were given over to the Gibeonites, and they were hanged for the things that Saul had done. I cannot imagine how hard this would have been for David. It was not the custom of the Israelites to allow children to suffer for the sins of their parents (see Deuteronomy 24:16), but Saul himself was no longer there to make restitution for what he had done. This decision was probably not made lightly, and I can imagine that the families of those taken, would have been heartbroken.

10 And Rizpah the daughter of Aiah took sackcloth, and spread it for her upon the rock, from the beginning of harvest until water dropped upon them out of heaven, and suffered neither the birds of the air to rest on them by day, nor the beasts of the field by night.
11 And it was told David what Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, the concubine of Saul, had done.

The mother of two of those who were taken, laid on the rock where they had been hung, making sure that nothing happened to the bodies for several weeks. David learned of this thing she did, while she was in mourning.

12 And David went and took the bones of Saul and the bones of Jonathan his son from the men of Jabesh-gilead, which had stolen them from the street of Beth-shan, where the Philistines had hanged them, when the Philistines had slain Saul in Gilboa:
13 And he brought up from thence the bones of Saul and the bones of Jonathan his son; and they gathered the bones of them that were hanged.
14 And the bones of Saul and Jonathan his son buried they in the country of Benjamin in Zelah, in the sepulchre of Kish his father: and they performed all that the king commanded. And after that God was entreated for the land.

Perhaps, because of learning what Rizpah had done for the bodies of those when loved, or perhaps for some unknown reason, David took the bones of Saul and Jonathan from Jabesh-gilead, and gathered them with the bones of those who had been given over to the Gibeonites. Saul and Jonathan were buried in the grave of Saul’s father, Kish. I expect that the bodies of the seven sons were allowed to be placed where their families wanted them to be. After these things were done, they asked God for the land, which I think might mean that they may have asked a blessing upon the grave sites, or the land where they were buried.

15 Moreover the Philistines had yet war again with Israel; and David went down, and his servants with him, and fought against the Philistines: and David waxed faint.
16 And Ishbi-benob, which was of the sons of the giant, the weight of whose spear weighed three hundred shekels of brass in weight, he being girded with a new sword, thought to have slain David.
17 But Abishai the son of Zeruiah succoured him, and smote the Philistine, and killed him. Then the men of David sware unto him, saying, Thou shalt go no more out with us to battle, that thou quench not the light of Israel.
18 And it came to pass after this, that there was again abattle with the Philistines at Gob: then Sibbechai the Hushathite slew Saph, which was of the sons of the giant.
19 And there was again a battle in Gob with the Philistines, where Elhanan the son of Jaare-oregim, a Beth-lehemite, slew the brother of Goliath the Gittite, the staff of whose spear was like a weaver’s beam.
20 And there was yet a battle in Gath, where was a man ofgreat stature, that had on every hand six fingers, and on every foot six toes, four and twenty in number; and he also was born to the giant.
21 And when he defied Israel, Jonathan the son of Shimea the brother of David slew him.
22 These four were born to the giant in Gath, and fell by the hand of David, and by the hand of his servants.

Then, Israel went to war again with the Philistines. David became faint from battle, which I imagine may have been caused by his age or health at this time. Knowing David was not able to fight, the son of Goliath, Ishbi-benob, wanted to kill David, but Abisahi helped David and killed the Philistine. The men of David told him he was not to go out to battle again, because they did not want to lose their king, the “light of Israel”. The battles with the Philistines continued, and the men of David continued to kill those who were the sons and family of Goliath.

The promises of God that were made to David after he had the man named Uriah killed, continued to effect his life. In this chapter, we can see that the sword would not depart from the house of David (see 2 Samuel 12:10). Not knowing how soon after the famine that these battles with the Philistines started again, it is possible that the Israelites were forced into battles while still dealing with the effects of it. These times must not have been great for the people of Israel, and I am sure it would have been hard to be their leader at this time. David, who could have turned to his own wisdom or that of his counselors, turned to the Lord. He knew that God could help him to know how to stop the famine and help his people. He continues to be an example of the importance of going to the Lord, and each time he did, he and his people were blessed by following the direction and counsel given. We too, should continually turn to the Lord for guidance and direction. When we do, trusting in the will of God, we can also be blessed with those things that we stand in need of at that time.

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2 Samuel Chapter 9

David became the king of Israel after the death of their first king, Saul. Saul had been jealous of David for many years before his death, and had tried to kill David many times. David was Saul’s son-in-law, a loyal servant and subject to his king. During his time with the family of Saul, he had come to have a sincere and abiding brotherly love towards Jonathan. Jonathan died during the same battle as Saul, and David had mourned greatly for the loss of his dear friend and brother. This chapter begins with:

1 And David said, Is there yet any that is left of the house of Saul, that I may shew him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?
2 And there was of the house of Saul a servant whose name was Ziba. And when they had called him unto David, the king said unto him, Art thou Ziba? And he said, Thy servant is he.
3 And the king said, Is there not yet any of the house of Saul, that I may shew the kindness of God unto him? And Ziba said unto the king, Jonathan hath yet a son, which is lame on his feet.
4 And the king said unto him, Where is he? And Ziba said unto the king, Behold, he is in the house of Machir, the son of Ammiel, in Lo-debar.

David desired to honor the family of Saul, because he had made a covenant with Jonathan to do so. When seeking to know if any of the family remained, a servant named Ziba was brought before David. Ziba told King David, about Jonathan’s lame son who was in Lo-debar with the family of Machir.

5 Then king David sent, and fetched him out of the house of Machir, the son of Ammiel, from Lo-debar.
6 Now when Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, was come unto David, he fell on his face, and did reverence. And David said, Mephibosheth. And he answered, Behold thy servant!

David sent for the son, named Mephibosheth, and when he was brought before him, he worshiped David. When his name was called by David, he offered himself a servant to the king. It almost seems as though he was afraid for what might be done with him.

I wonder what age he was at this point, because when his father died, he was only 5 years old (see 2 Samuel 4:4). David had ruled in Judah for seven and a half years, which means that Mephibosheth was at least twelve and a half when David took the throne of Israel. David remained in Hebron for 3 years, before relocating to Jerusalem (see 2 Samuel 5:5), so the boy was likely to be older than fifteen. We do not know how long it was after that point, when David asked for Mephibosheth to be brought before him, so he could have been a young man still. This hearkens back to David being a young boy when he was brought into the house of Saul to play for him and be his servant.

7 And David said unto him, Fear not: for I will surely shew thee kindness for Jonathan thy father’s sake, and will restore thee all the land of Saul thy father; and thou shalt eat bread at my table continually.
8 And he bowed himself, and said, What is thy servant, that thou shouldest look upon such a dead dog as I am?

David told him not to fear, because he wanted to show kindness towards him as he had promised his father. He offered Mephibosheth all the land of Saul and a seat at his own table continually. David probably felt as though this young man was family to him. Mephibosheth seems to have said that he was not worthy of all that was offered to him by the king.

9 Then the king called to Ziba, Saul’s servant, and said unto him, I have given unto thy master’s son all that pertained to Saul and to all his house.
10 Thou therefore, and thy sons, and thy servants, shall till the land for him, and thou shalt bring in the fruits, that thy master’s son may have food to eat: but Mephibosheth thy master’s son shall eat bread alway at my table. Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants.
11 Then said Ziba unto the king, According to all that my lord the king hath commanded his servant, so shall thy servant do. As for Mephibosheth, said the king, he shall eat at my table, as one of the king’s sons.
12 And Mephibosheth had a young son, whose name was Micha. And all that dwelt in the house of Ziba were servants unto Mephibosheth.
13 So Mephibosheth dwelt in Jerusalem: for he did eat continually at the king’s table; and was lame on both his feet.

David called Ziba to him and told him all that he gave to Mephibosheth. He commanded the servant and his household, to work for the son of Jonathan and his family. He said that Mephibosheth would eat at his table as one of his own sons. Ziba and his household became the servants of Mephibosheth, just as the king had commanded. Mephibosheth moved back to Jerusalem and was treated like family of the king.

David was a man of honor and integrity. He had made a covenant with Jonathan, and even at a time when he could have gone on without doing anything, he searched out how he could fulfill his covenant to the house of Jonathan. We will have opportunities in our lives, when we can make the choice not to follow through on a promise, but to go on without anyone on earth knowing the difference, or to do the thing that shows our own honor and integrity. These choices will be most important in the covenants we make with God. I know that God will always know what we choose, and when we live with integrity, we will be greatly blessed. If not, we will be held accountable for our choices and the eventual consequence may far outweigh the effort to have lived with integrity in this life.

2 Samuel Chapter 1

This is the beginning of a new book in the Old Testament, which is otherwise known as the Second Book of the Kings. According the the Bible Dictionary, this was part of the same book in the Hebrew version of the Old Testament, but has been split in the version which is used in the King James version. I believe the split has to do with it being the record of two kings in Israel. In the narrative of the first book of Samuel or the First Book of the Kings, the people of Israel chose to have an earthly king rather than follow the prophets under the direction of the Lord. The first king, anointed by the Lord, was Saul. Saul allowed the influences of the world and the temptations of the adversary, to creep into his heart. He became a wicked man and the Lord withdrew from Him. David was chosen and anointed to be the next king, though he did not become the king right away. King Saul feared David and after several attempts at killing him, David showed his good character, and spared Saul’s life more than once. David trusted in the timing of the Lord. Eventually, Saul met his end in a battle against the Philistines. This second book will tell of the reign of David and it begins as follows:

1 Now it came to pass after the death of Saul, when David was returned from the slaughter of the Amalekites, and David had abode two days in Ziklag;
2 It came even to pass on the third day, that, behold, a man came out of the camp from Saul with his clothes rent, and earth upon his head: and so it was, when he came to David, that he fell to the earth, and did obeisance.
3 And David said unto him, From whence comest thou? And he said unto him, Out of the camp of Israel am I escaped.
4 And David said unto him, How went the matter? I pray thee, tell me. And he answered, That the people are fled from the battle, and many of the people also are fallen and dead; and Saul and Jonathan his son are dead also.
5 And David said unto the young man that told him, How knowest thou that Saul and Jonathan his son be dead?
6 And the young man that told him said, As I happened by chance upon mount Gilboa, behold, Saul leaned upon his spear; and, lo, the chariots and horsemen followed hard after him.
7 And when he looked behind him, he saw me, and called unto me. And I answered, Here am I.
8 And he said unto me, Who art thou? And I answered him, I am an Amalekite.
9 He said unto me again, Stand, I pray thee, upon me, and slay me: for anguish is come upon me, because my life is yet whole in me.
10 So I stood upon him, and slew him, because I was sure that he could not live after that he was fallen: and I took the crown that was upon his head, and the bracelet that was on his arm, and have brought them hither unto my lord.
11 Then David took hold on his clothes, and rent them; and likewise all the men that were with him:
12 And they mourned, and wept, and fasted until even, for Saul, and for Jonathan his son, and for the people of the Lord, and for the house of Israel; because they were fallen by the sword.

David had been in his home in Ziklag, for just two days, when a man from Saul’s army, came mourning and he bowed down to David. The man told him that he was from the camp of Israel, and that he had escaped. He told David that the Israelites had fled and that many had died, including Saul and his son, Jonathan. When asked how he knew these things, the man said that he had seen Saul leaning upon his spear, as the Philistines came upon him. Saul saw the man and asked who he was. The man told him he was an Amalekite. He said that Saul told him to kill him, and so he did. The man took his crown and bracelet and brought them to David. David rent his clothes and fasted, in mourning for their king and for Jonathan, as well as all those who they had lost in that battle.

It seems that the Amalekite was making a claim to something happening in a way that the previous chapter told differently. It is my guess that the Amalekite hoped that in claiming to kill Saul, he would find favor in the sight of David, because it was known that Saul had made himself an enemy to David.

13 And David said unto the young man that told him, Whence art thou? And he answered, I am the son of a stranger, an Amalekite.
14 And David said unto him, How wast thou not afraid to stretch forth thine hand to destroy the Lord’s anointed?
15 And David called one of the young men, and said, Go near, and fall upon him. And he smote him that he died.
16 And David said unto him, Thy blood be upon thy head; for thy mouth hath testified against thee, saying, I have slain the Lord’s anointed.

David asked the man where he was from, and the man told him he was an Amalekite stranger. Then David asked how he was able to kill the anointed of the Lord without any fear. I think in saying these things to the man, he was telling him that he was wrong to think that David would have been pleased to hear these tidings. Instead, David was prepared to punish the man for it. David commanded one of his men to kill this man who claimed to have killed Saul and he told him that he had brought this upon himself by his own testimony.

17 And David lamented with this lamentation over Saul and over Jonathan his son:
18 (Also he bade them teach the children of Judah the use of the bow: behold, it is written in the book of Jasher.)
19 The beauty of Israel is slain upon thy high places: how are the mighty fallen!
20 Tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the streets of Askelon; lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice, lest the daughters of the uncircumcised triumph.
21 Ye mountains of Gilboa, let there be no dew, neither let there be rain, upon you, nor fields of offerings: for there the shield of the mighty is vilely cast away, the shield of Saul, as though he had not been anointed with oil.
22 From the blood of the slain, from the fat of the mighty, the bow of Jonathan turned not back, and the sword of Saul returned not empty.
23 Saul and Jonathan were lovely and pleasant in their lives, and in their death they were not divided: they were swifter than eagles, they were stronger than lions.
24 Ye daughters of Israel, weep over Saul, who clothed you in scarlet, with other delights, who put on ornaments of gold upon your apparel.
25 How are the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle! O Jonathan, thou wast slain in thine high places.
26 I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan: very pleasant hast thou been unto me: thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women.
27 How are the mighty fallen, and the weapons of war perished!

David lamented over the death of Saul and Jonathan with a song to go with an instrument. This would have been fitting, since David had first served Saul in playing for him. I find it interesting that it says it was written in the book of Jasher, which is not one that we currently have in our Bible. This must be among the lost scriptures. It is always a wonder to me, all the things that we possibly do not know, because they are in the lost scriptures of the prophets of old.

The song of David tells the Israelites to not give the Philistines more opportunities to boast of how they had killed the mighty men of Israel. He sang of the mountains receiving no moisture where Saul, the anointed, had fallen. He praised both Jonathan and Saul and told Israel to weep for Saul who had brought them good fortune. He hints to the loyalty of Jonathan to his father, in spite of the things that we know Saul did to him, by saying that they were not divided in death. Jonathan was there to fight under the command of his king and his father. David mourned for the loss of Jonathan, whom he loved more dearly than he loved any woman. The Israelites had lost much in this fight.

It is good to know that, even though Saul had brought a lot of trials and tribulations into David’s life, he did not rejoice in his death. He knew that Saul had done many good things in his life, and that he had done a lot of good for Israel. He honored Saul, because Saul was his king, anointed by the Lord to be such, and he deserved great respect for it. David was not seeking after the throne or power. He was a man of honor and integrity, and at least at this point in his life, he was a great example to Israel.

Exodus Chapter 23

The Israelites are being led by the Lord, through the prophet Moses. They have been led to Mount Sinai, where they have had a witness of the Lord. At this point in the book of Exodus, the Lord is giving them laws and judgments to follow in order to be an obedient and happy people. These things continue as follows:

1 Thou shalt not raise a false report: put not thine hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness.

As I mentioned in the previous two posts, this is purely my understanding of these things and as I did not live then, there may be some things I don’t understand fully. Anyway, the Lord tells them that they are not to lie about what they have witnessed. They are to be honest in their dealings with others. They are not to speak against one another in an evil way. The footnotes references the word slander from the Topical Guide, which says to see also backbiting, deceit, gossip and lying. Any of these things are unrighteous and should not be a part of the lives of those who follow the Lord.

2 Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil; neither shalt thou speak in a cause to decline after many to wrest judgment:

I think they were not to raise riots and uproars according to wickedness. In the footnote we read, “Thou shalt not follow the crowd to do evil, neither speak up in a lawsuit, being influenced by the majority, to subvert justice.” The people were not to influence the judgment in an unjust way, by allowing the crowd of people to make false statements. This is another verse reminding them that honesty is of great importance, no matter what the situation.

3 Neither shalt thou countenance a poor man in his cause.

The Joseph Smith translation says that the word poor is actually wicked. That changes the meaning of this, which I was not understanding previously. They were not to favor a wicked man in his cause to do evil. I think that sometimes today, our courts will side with someone who has a lot of money or influence, instead of giving them just rewards for their crimes. I think that this is what the Lord was telling them not to do. Those who placed judgment on others, were to do so justly and not according to the ways of man. In addition, the Lord may have been telling them that they were not to take from others unjustly because they had something they wanted. I think this is a lot like placing an heavy burden of tax or judgment on someone who was undeserving of that, just to have more themselves.

4 If thou meet thine enemy’s ox or his ass going astray, thou shalt surely bring it back to him again.
5 If thou see the ass of him that hateth thee lying under his burden, and wouldest forbear to help him, thou shalt surely help with him.
6 Thou shalt not wrest the judgment of thy poor in his cause.
7 Keep thee far from a false matter; and the innocent and righteous slay thou not: for I will not justify the wicked.

They were to be honest when they came upon someone else’s livestock wandering. They were not to take it for themselves or let it continue to wander even, but were to return it to the owner, even if they were an enemy. They were to help their enemy with their burdens and not to harass the poor beggars. In short, they were to be charitable and serve those who needed help, no matter who they were. They were not to hurt the righteous or innocent, or their acts would not be justified by God. Those who judged, were to do it justly and with honesty.

8 And thou shalt take no gift: for the gift blindeth the wise, and perverteth the words of the righteous.

The footnote for the word gift, references the word bribe. They were not to allow bribery, because it blinded those who were wise and would go against righteousness.

9 Also thou shalt not oppress a stranger: for ye know the heart of a stranger, seeing ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.
10 And six years thou shalt sow thy land, and shalt gather in the fruits thereof:
11 But the seventh year thou shalt let it rest and lie still; that the poor of thy people may eat: and what they leave the beasts of the field shall eat. In like manner thou shalt deal with thy vineyard, and with thy oliveyard.
12 Six days thou shalt do thy work, and on the seventh day thou shalt rest: that thine ox and thine ass may rest, and the son of thy handmaid, and the stranger, may be refreshed.
13 And in all things that I have said unto you be circumspect: and make no mention of the name of other gods, neither let it be heard out of thy mouth.

It was said to not oppress any stranger, in the last chapter I believe, so this must have been an important rule to live by. The Israelites are reminded that they were not always in their own land and knew what it was like to be strangers in a land. They were to treat strangers as they had wanted to be treated themselves.

Also, they were given instruction on how to take care of their land. They were told to plant and harvest fruits and grains for six years, and then on the seventh year, they were to leave the land alone (sabbatical year) for the poor and the animals to eat. They were to do the same with their vineyards and such as well. They were to provide welfare to those in need. Likewise, they were to work only six days of the week and then have a day of rest on the seventh day, the Sabbath. This was wisdom, so that all would be rested and refreshed for another week of work. Again they are reminded to follow after these things of the Lord and nothing from any other god. There is a footnote in verse 13, which references Joshua 23:7. In this verse, it talks about not causing others to swear to their gods. If we believe that we are not to worship false Gods, then we should not push others to go to their gods, but instead we should help to bring them to the Lord.

14 Three times thou shalt keep a feast unto me in the year.
15 Thou shalt keep the feast of unleavened bread: (thou shalt eat unleavened bread seven days, as I commanded thee, in the time appointed of the month Abib; for in it thou camest out from Egypt: and none shall appear before me empty:)
16 And the feast of harvest, the firstfruits of thy labours, which thou hast sown in the field: and the feast of ingathering, which is in the end of the year, when thou hast gathered in thy labours out of the field.
17 Three times in the year all thy males shall appear before the Lord God.
18 Thou shalt not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leavened bread; neither shall the fat of my sacrifice remain until the morning.
19 The first of the firstfruits of thy land thou shalt bring into the house of the Lord thy God. Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother’s milk.

There were to be three feasts during the year, the feast of unleavened bread, the feast of the harvest, and the feast of ingathering. (Deuteronomy 16:16 calls the feasts, the feast of unleavened bread, the feast of weeks, and the feast of tabernacles.) The feast of unleavened bread was a reminder of their deliverance from Egypt, also called the passover feast. The feast of harvest happened when they had harvested from their fields. The feast of ingathering was when all those who worked in the fields were given their break from field labor because the harvest was done. They were to bring the first fruits as an offering to the Lord at three times in a year. Then all the men of the Israelites were to sanctify themselves and make sacrifice to the Lord.

20 Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared.
21 Beware of him, and obey his voice, provoke him not; for he will not pardon your transgressions: for my name is in him.
22 But if thou shalt indeed obey his voice, and do all that I speak; then I will be an enemy unto thine enemies, and an adversary unto thine adversaries.
23 For mine Angel shall go before thee, and bring thee in unto the Amorites, and the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Canaanites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites: and I will cut them off.
24 Thou shalt not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor do after their works: but thou shalt utterly overthrow them, and quite break down their images.
25 And ye shall serve the Lord your God, and he shall bless thy bread, and thy water; and I will take sickness away from the midst of thee.

The Lord would send an angel, or a guide, before them, so that they would be led in the way the Lord desired for them. He was to guide them to the promised land. He would be holy and on the errand of the Lord, to be obeyed and not trifled with. They would loose him as their guide, as we loose the gift of the Holy Ghost, if there is any transgression of the laws of God. If they would follow this angel, they would be protected and delivered from all their enemies, with the Lord on their side. This was a promise also given to Abraham if he would be faithful. All his kindred would be blessed to have the Lord on their side, to protect them from their enemies. We can also be blessed with safety from our enemies, if we remain faithful and worthy of the companionship of the Holy Ghost. The Israelites would be protected from sickness, if they would hearken to all the direction of the Lord. They were told not to worship other gods, or do the works of those who worshipped false gods, but instead they were to destroy those images and overtake those people who worshipped them.

26 There shall nothing cast their young, nor be barren, in thy land: the number of thy days I will fulfil.
27 I will send my fear before thee, and will destroy all the people to whom thou shalt come, and I will make all thine enemies turn their backs unto thee.
28 And I will send hornets before thee, which shall drive out the Hivite, the Canaanite, and the Hittite, from before thee.
29 I will not drive them out from before thee in one year; lest the land become desolate, and the beast of the field multiply against thee.
30 By little and little I will drive them out from before thee, until thou be increased, and inherit the land.
31 And I will set thy bounds from the Red sea even unto the sea of the Philistines, and from the desert unto the river: for I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hand; and thou shalt drive them out before thee.
32 Thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor with their gods.
33 They shall not dwell in thy land, lest they make thee sin against me: for if thou serve their gods, it will surely be a snare unto thee.

The women would not be barren, or unable to have children. It seems also that the children would not die from miscarriage during this time. The people would live to their age of fulfillment. Others would fear the name of the Israelites, because of their strength in the Lord. I can just imagine hearing of the destruction the Israelites brought as they regained their land, and how other nations would fear and tremble over that. The other nations would be driven out of their land a little at a time, so that the land would still be good for them and their flocks. Then they would be able to inherit the land the Lord had promised to their ancestors. They were not to make any agreements or promises with those of other nations, and any others who remained in the promised land would be sinning against God. The Lord tells them that if others remained, their worship of false gods would be a temptation for the Israelites.

The laws of the Lord, given to the Israelites, may seem strange or different to us today. We live in a different time, but the reason for these things is the same. We are given laws of God, in order to help us stay worthy of His presence in our lives. We cannot worship other gods, we cannot be dishonest in our dealings with others, we cannot take advantage of others and so on. We may not be required to give feasts, but we do need to partake of the sacrament regularly so that we can be reminded of the Lord and His atonement. All of our men are expected to take on the mantel of the holy priesthood of God and then be diligent in the responsibilities that come with it. If we are faithful to these things, we will be worthy of our own angel of the Lord, or rather, the Holy Spirit of God. He will be our guide and lead us to the eternal promise land that we are striving towards. I am glad that we have laws to follow, so that we can know if we are on the right path back to our Father in Heaven. I look forward to returning to his presence again one day and I hope to be worthy of all He has promised to me.

Genesis Chapter 39

Joseph is one of the younger sons of Jacob (Israel). He had eleven brothers. He had been blessed with dreams by the Lord, which his brothers saw as a threat. There were also feelings of envy due to his being their father’s favorite. In response, they cast him into a pit and then sold him to some Ishmeelites on their way to Egypt. The story of Joseph continues:

1 And Joseph was brought down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him of the hands of the Ishmeelites, which had brought him down thither.
2 And the Lord was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian.
3 And his master saw that the Lord was with him, and that the Lord made all that he did to prosper in his hand.
4 And Joseph found grace in his sight, and he served him: and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he had he put into his hand.
5 And it came to pass from the time that he had made him overseer in his house, and over all that he had, that the Lord blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; and the blessing of the Lord was upon all that he had in the house, and in the field.
6 And he left all that he had in Joseph’s hand; and he knew not ought he had, save the bread which he did eat. And Joseph was a goodly person, and well favoured.

Joseph was bought by Potiphar and he prospered, even as a servant in Egypt. Joseph was righteous and had the Lord’s blessings. Potiphar recognized that Joseph was blessed by God and he made him his overseer or ruler of all his house and belongings. Potiphar was blessed for having Joseph in his household. I find it interesting that the footnote for the word “goodly”, references talents. I think this means that Joseph was a talented man who was able to help Potiphar to be more prosperous.

7 And it came to pass after these things, that his master’s wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, Lie with me.
8 But he refused, and said unto his master’s wife, Behold, my master wotteth not what is with me in the house, and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand;
9 There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?
10 And it came to pass, as she spake to Joseph day by day, that he hearkened not unto her, to lie by her, or to be with her.
11 And it came to pass about this time, that Joseph went into the house to do his business; and there was none of the men of the house there within.
12 And she caught him by his garment, saying, Lie with me: and he left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out.
13 And it came to pass, when she saw that he had left his garment in her hand, and was fled forth,
14 That she called unto the men of her house, and spake unto them, saying, See, he hath brought in an Hebrew unto us to mock us; he came in unto me to lie with me, and I cried with a loud voice:
15 And it came to pass, when he heard that I lifted up my voice and cried, that he left his garment with me, and fled, and got him out.
16 And she laid up his garment by her, until his lord came home.
17 And she spake unto him according to these words, saying, The Hebrew servant, which thou hast brought unto us, came in unto me to mock me:
18 And it came to pass, as I lifted up my voice and cried, that he left his garment with me, and fled out.
19 And it came to pass, when his master heard the words of his wife, which she spake unto him, saying, After this manner did thy servant to me; that his wrath was kindled.
20 And Joseph’s master took him, and put him into the prison, a place where the king’s prisoners were bound: and he was there in the prison.

Potiphar’s wife made advances towards Joseph, which he refused both because it would be wrong to do to Potiphar when he had made him ruler of his house, and because it would be a sin against God. Potiphar trusted Joseph and I don’t think he even watched over the things Joseph did in his house, because of the level of trust. She continued her advances towards him, until one day when no one else was around. She took hold of him and asked him again to be with her. He ran away, leaving part of his clothes that she held on to. She decided to use this to her advantage and called in other servants to tell them that Joseph had tried to take advantage of her. It takes a bold and unrighteous woman to be the kind of person to want to cheat on her husband and then can turn around and ruin the reputation of a man that has been so trusted and is known to be a righteous man. Potiphar’s wife repeated this story to Potiphar, who believed her and was angry with Joseph. Joseph, was then taken and put into prison with the prisoners of Pharaoh.

21 But the Lord was with Joseph, and shewed him mercy, and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison.
22 And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph’s hand all the prisoners that were in the prison; and whatsoever they did there, he was the doer of it.
23 The keeper of the prison looked not to any thing that was under his hand; because the Lord was with him, and that which he did, the Lord made it to prosper.

Joseph was an innocent man and still favored of the Lord. The Lord blessed him to find favor with the guards of the prison. The keeper of the prison, made Joseph in charge of all the prisoners. The Lord blessed the prison for Joseph’s sake. It is interesting to note that some of the best of men in the scriptures, are often cast into prison. With each of them that are righteous, the Lord continues to bless them and be with them.

This is a great example of standing up for our own virtue in the face of great adversity. Joseph was a righteous man, who loved God and would not commit this awful sin against Him. I am sure that he had a love for his master, Potiphar, and that losing that position in his household was extremely difficult. Because of his integrity, he was blessed and others were blessed because of him. I know that we will also be blessed if we hold fast to our own virtue and strive to have integrity. In Mosiah 2:41 we read, “And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it.” The Lord will take care of us, when we stand firm in our faith and are obedient to His commandments.


About My Scripture Study Buddy

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the scriptures, but I am not a scriptorian. I've been told that I'm too "deep" for some, but if you are willing, I'd love to have others join me in my quest for a greater understanding of the gospel. Please feel free to leave me comments and hopefully we can help each other to learn.
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