II Kings 20:10-11. How much time is being described in this passage? What actually happened?
Once more I must yield to the commentating scholars of the church. Here is Benson. As he says, it is not the only way to look at this miracle, but it is one way that seems both true to the text and true to the Power of God.
“And he brought the shadow ten degrees backward — ‘The dial in use among the Jews,’ says Dr. Dodd, ‘was a kind of stairs; the time of the day was distinguished, not by lines, but by steps, here called degrees; and the shade of the sun moved forward a new degree every half hour.’
“ The Jewish doctors and the ancient Christian fathers were of opinion, that the sun actually went backward. They endeavour to support this opinion by showing that Merodach-baladan was incited, by the view of this miracle, to send his messengers to Hezekiah, see 2 Chronicles 32:31; and, as a further confirmation, they add, that it is really taken notice of by Herodotus, in his Euterpe, chap. 142, where he expressly asserts, that the Egyptians had observed strange alterations in the motions of the sun, it having arisen four times out of its usual course.
“Though this observation should be allowed to be true, yet from hence we are under no necessity to admit that the sun itself, or the earth, was retrograde, that is to say, that either of them went backward; all that the Scriptures require of us is, to admit the fact of the shadow’s going backward; and this may be accounted for without supposing any uncommon motion, either in the sun or in the earth.
“Nothing more was required to effect this phenomenon, than a reflection of the sun’s rays, and this might have been caused by an alteration in the density of the atmosphere. To this it may be added, that the original mentions nothing of the sun, but only of its beams or shadow; and how its beams might be inflected by a change made in the atmosphere, may easily be conceived by any person conversant in natural philosophy.
“This endeavour to account for the phenomenon, by no means lessens the miracle; for we assign the alteration of the atmosphere to the immediate and extraordinary operation of Providence, and every extraordinary interposition of Providence is essentially and properly a miracle. Let it further be observed, we by no means offer this solution in exclusion of others; and if any one thinks that the miracle can be better accounted for in any other way, we shall very readily subscribe to that opinion.”
II Kings 23:27. So, has God cast off His people that He foreknew and chose?
I’m sure my readers recognize this as a trick question, the answer to which is clearly defined by the Apostle Paul in Romans 11:1-2. No, God did not cast off His people Israel forever. His plan is intact. Eventually, when Christ came on the scene and was rejected by them, they were hardened to the point where the great apostle also “cast them off” so that the Gentiles could be brought in.
But Paul says that one day “All Israel shall be saved.” The hardening will soften. Christ will reveal Himself to the Jewish elect after bringing the last Gentile into the fold.
One other thing to add to this mix: “They are not all Israel who are of Israel…” The nation shall survive. The Kingdom shall survive. But many individuals who considered themselves Jewish because of their circumcision will learn, mostly too late, that circumcision is of the heart, not the body. Only the spiritually circumcised partakers of Israel will be permitted to wear the name given to that Kingdom on that day.
In summary, there have been many castings off of Israel, but they have all been temporary. God is not finished with this people He foreknew, not by a long shot.
II Kings 24:4. Are not all sins forgivable?
There is a sin unto death. Jesus, perhaps, spoke of it as the sin against the Holy Ghost, His constant prodding within, His invitation to come and be saved. Speak against this Spirit and you will not be saved.
Israel has been, by this time in its history, invited, pled with, wooed, blessed, provided for, all with stupendous demonstrations of power and grace. But still Israel goes after the false gods. It is an evidence of a hardened heart, and God says of that sort of sin, I can no longer forgive this. You are confessing nothing, showing no repentance. You have sealed your own fate.
II Kings 16:10-18 Why was King Ahaz so enamored with the altar in Damascus? What alterations did he make to the altar in the Temple, and why? Perhaps Ahaz was simply trying to please the Assyrian king, or could it be that he actually was...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
II Kings 7:13-14. A very difficult passage. What is being proposed? The King of Israel (Jehoram) has just been informed that the Syrian camp, besieging Samaria for some time, to the point of awful starvation and even cannibalism, has abandoned...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
II Kings II Kings 4:31. Why do you think Elisha had to come personally to heal the child in this story? Several contradictory explanations are offered by the commentators. It is always a matter of controversy to explain why a person is not...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
I Kings 16:34. Here, the prophecy of Joshua 6:26 is fulfilled. What does the prophecy mean, and how is it fulfilled? Joshua had never said that Jericho would not be rebuilt, only that the person who built it would suffer great loss. What God has...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
I Kings 12:8-15. It was of the Lord (v. 15) to give a major portion of the Kingdom to Jeroboam. Humanly speaking, what was it that motivated the young men to be so harsh, and Rehoboam to listen to them? The younger are characteristically not the...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
I KINGS I Kings 1:2. Why could none of the King’s many wives be called upon to be nurse and source of warmth? Unfortunately his wives were not that young either. David needed the warmth that only youth can provide. It is affirmed in every...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
2 Samuel 15:1. How long has Absalom had to get bitter enough to rebel against his father? Two years passed between the rape and the murder of the rapist(13:23). Three years he stayed an exile in Geshur (13:38). Two years he lived in Jerusalem...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
2 Samuel 11. Why? After all the victories, the success, the acceptance. Why the story of 2 Samuel 11? Everyone who has been a believer for even a little while knows the answer to this question. The human heart is deceitful above all things, and...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
I SAMUEL concluded... 1. I Samuel 31 and II Samuel 1. How does the historian in I Samuel know the outcome of the story here, if both men died? Does the Amalekite (II Samuel 1) help finish Saul’s suicide? Or is he lying to impress David? Saul...[ abbreviated | read entire ]