Monday, February 25, 2013
Politics in the Bible
I caught this on CNN.com today. A very interesting look at the Cyrus Cylinder, an ancient clay cylinder, on which is written a declaration in Akkadian cuneiform script in the name of the Achaemenid king Cyrus the Great.
In this TED talk, Neil MacGregor, the director of The British Museum, talks about how the cylinder symbolizes tolerance as it plays its role over history from the time of Cyrus up to when the cylinder was found in the 19th century as evidence to the Cyprus event in the Hebrew Scripture, to when Israel becomes a state, to now in the political history of the Middle East.
What does all this mean to us?
I had Genesis 14:1-24 for devotion today and I have to admit that I skimmed through the reading of the passage. I don't even understand contemporary politics very well let alone who Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer king of Goiim, Bera king of Sodom, Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, Shemeber king of Zeboiim and Zoar king of Bela were. I have read through the entire Bible before and I don't even remember there are these kings mentioned in the book of Genesis!
And as I read -- or skimmed through rather -- the passage, I began to wonder why Moses was so detailed here when he was so brief in the other accounts? I have come to learn that as much as I am not so drawn to politics, it is one of the most important things that shaped our lives. It is politics and history of the nations as we have it that shaped the lives of our biblical forefathers. It is how Jesus has stepped into our confused and troubled world as he came as a helpless babe, as a saviour of all mankind.
Our story that is our history, is laden with politics. And I need to pay more attention to it, past and present.