Thoughts for Saturday 29th August 2020

Psalm 26:1-8; Jeremiah 15:10-14; Matthew 8:14-17
 
Saturday 29 August
 
Verse 12 of chapter 15 of the Book of Jeremiah is enigmatic: (No one can break iron, especially the iron from the north that is mixed with bronze.) There are a number of theories as to its meaning, the best I am able to do today being to say that it’s a reminder to us that Old Testament history all the way from the time of the patriarchs and matriarchs right through to that of the Persian Empire (i.e. the beginning of the 12th century BC to the middle of the 6th century BC) is actually almost exactly contiguous with what archaeologists have classified as the Iron Age in the Ancient Near East.
 
And so we have references to iron (as well as to an earlier Bronze Age) scattered throughout scripture. The earliest can be found in the 4th chapter of the Bible, and the latest in the 4th to last chapter. Genesis 4:22 mentions Tubal Cain as someone who made all kinds of tools out of bronze and iron; and Revelation 19:15 speaks of Jesus as ‘King of Kings and Lord of Lords’: and ‘He will rule over them with a rod of iron,’ John tells us . . .
 
. . . Revelation 18 speaking of all the goods people with money are able to buy such as precious stones, scarlet cloth, spices, ivory, marble (and even human lives!) as well as both bronze and iron.
 
One observation: if we were to work our way through such references as there are we can notice 1) when these are to actual artefacts and when the references are metaphorical, and 2) when iron (and bronze) are used for tools or weapons – or indeed both, as in:
 
Isaiah 2:4: ‘He will settle disputes among great nations. They will hammer their swords into ploughs:’

Let us pray (and our prayer today is a photograph)

 

Amen.


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