1 Samuel 5 – 8
I’ve been absent for a long time. Sickness, stolen horses and all sorts of other stuff is on my mind at the moment. People have been showing some concern about me abondoning this project. I’m not abandoning it, I’ve simply been busy, I hope to get this moving properly again.
Why not convert
Although there are no glaring contradictions here, there are a few I’ve covered before, like “who hardened the Pharaoh’s heart?” And, “how many gods are there?”
I still find todays passages somewhat problematic. If the Philistines saw the power of God, and believed in it enough to justify their actions regarding the Ark, why not convert?
I don’t think there’s any easy answer to this. Perhaps they were all so evil that they were hardened against conversion. Since they reference the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart, and acquiesced to what they believed to be God’s will, one has to wonder if this is plausible. But this would be the quick answer to take all blame off God.
This opens up many questions regarding the access to salvation, during the Old Testament period. Could foreigners convert? (Later we get the impression they can.) Without access to the Mosaic books, how could a civilisation so hated by God’s people get the information they’d needed to start worshipping God? Since marriage to foreigners was forbidden, could converts marry Jews? Or did acceptance of the religion make one a Jew?
I don’t think these are easy questions to answer, and will leave them with you.
Please give the reading through the Bible page a look if you haven’t already, there are some background posts and the index to this reading plan. Share it with others who you think can benefit from Reading the Bible.