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Vanity

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In modern English ‘vanity’ means ‘being vain’. That is, thinking a lot about oneself or one’s appearance..

In the Bible the meaning is more like emptiness or meaningless. Perhaps insignificant could be used to translate it in some contexts.

King Solomon was famous for his wisdom, wealth and less so for world-weariness. “What’s the point?” might sum up some of his later writing.

He is the probable (co-)author of three books of the Old Testament. Many of the Proverbs are his work. He wrote the Song of Songs, which is also known as the Song of Solomon. It is thought that he also wrote Ecclesiastes, in which the narrator calls himself the Preacher. It is in this book that the word, “Vanity” occurs many times.  “Of the making of many books there is no end.” is also from Ecclesiastes.

Solomon was the son of King David. He began his rule well, building the Temple for the Lord, which his father had planned. King David would have liked to build the temple, but God did not allow him to, because he had shed blood. At first Solomon followed God’s ways. However he later disobeyed God’s instructions both by marrying many foreign women for political gain and by accumulating many horses. These events are written in the books of 1 Kings and 2 Chronicles.

Perhaps it was because of his disobedience that he felt that there was little of value from a human life. Or perhaps he believed that by putting forward various ideas about human existence, he would generate useful discussion.

Whatever his reasons, he could hardly expect people to be discussing his words, life and motivation thousands of years after his death. Had he believed that, he would have been vain in the modern sense of the word!

This year for the A to Z Challenge I have taken my 2013 Challenge as a starting point for most of the posts. I have written a post based around something or usually someone from the Bible. Sometimes it is a fictional story, for example when I have added some back stories (as a writing exercise). Sometimes it is a summary.

 I hope my readers will be challenged to consider the original texts in more depth. (If only to discover what liberties I have taken with them!)

My V post from 2013 gives my view of KIng Solomon.

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Uzziah

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One of the best known passages in the Old Testament is in the book of the prophet Isaiah. It begins, “In the year that King Uzziah died”. Isaiah 6:1

Who was King Uzziah?

He is referred to by three different names. He was King Azariah, crowned at the age of sixteen years. 2 Kings 14:21. He is also known as Ozias, the name by which he is listed in the genealogy of Christ in Matthew 1:8-9 in the KIng James Version of the New Testament..

What else is known about Uzziah?

His reign was over Judah during the time that Israel and Judah were separate kingdoms.

He was one of the “good” kings, recorded as having rebuilt Elath and restored it to Judah.  He also carried out other building projects.

He reigned for 52 years. At first he looked to the Lord for guidance and God gave him success. However, his success in war made him powerful and proud. 2 Chronicles 26 gives a potted history of his life. His disobedience had physical consequences. He had leprosy from the time of his disobedient act to the end of his life.

His reign overlapped with the life of prophet Isaiah. (Isaiah prophesied during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah.)

This year for the A to Z Challenge I have taken my 2013 Challenge as a starting point for most of the posts. I have written a post based around something or usually someone from the Bible. Sometimes it is a fictional story, for example when I have added some back stories (as a writing exercise). Sometimes it is a summary.

 I hope my readers will be challenged to consider the original texts in more depth. (If only to discover what liberties I have taken with them!)

My U post for 2013 ends with Uzziah. For more about Kings and Questions, please see my earlier posts for this year’s challenge.

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Timothy and Titus

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Three of the letters written by Paul (formerly Saul of Tarsus) were to men with names beginning with T. Paul considered each of them to be his “true son in the faith”.

Timothy was a young man serving in a church. He received two letters, which have survived to become part of the New Testament.

Titus’ name only appears on one surviving letter. He was serving in Crete, where Paul had left him. Paul intended to send someone to Titus so that they could travel back to rejoin Paul together.

These three letters are chiefly concerned with explaining how leaders (and everyone else) in the fellowship of believers should conduct themselves (behave).

There is much encouragement to Timothy that he should not be deterred from ministering to others because of his youth. He is also encouraged to drink a little wine for his stomach and to exercise his gift. There is no explanation of what his particular gift was – perhaps preaching. He would have known, as would the members of his fellowship, to whom the letter was probably read aloud.

This year for the A to Z Challenge I have taken my 2013 Challenge as a starting point for most of the posts. I have written a post based around something or usually someone from the Bible. Sometimes it is a fictional story, for example when I have added some back stories (as a writing exercise). Sometimes it is a summary.

 I hope my readers will be challenged to consider the original texts in more depth. (If only to discover what liberties I have taken with them!)

My T post from 2013 mentions Timothy, Titus and Thessalonians.