With the book of Esther, we end the linear narrative of the Hebrew Scriptures. And if we can draw one lesson from Genesis through Esther, it is this: "If we do what God says, all will go well; if we don't, it won't." And then we turn the page to Job. Job does everything God wants, and his life is a disaster! As we know from our own experience: bad things often happen to good people, even when they are fully aligned with God. So what gives? Job explores this paradox, calling into question the fundamental lessons we learn in the first 700 pages of Scripture. Each book after Esther in the Christian canon of the Hebrew Scriptures is a recapitulation into the main narrative. Job takes us back to the start, to the time of Abraham, and it raises serious questions.
The Psalms have been the prayer book of Israel for the past 3,000 years and the prayer book of the Church for the past 2,000 years. In addition to being world-class poetry, the Psalms take us deeply into the heart of King David and explore every possible response he - and we - can have to God, from the highest awe to the deepest love, from the darkest despair to icy anger. In this series, Dr. Creasy examines all 150 psalms, bring to them the insight of a literary scholar, a lifetime steeped in poetry, and the skill of a world-class teacher.
As the Psalms take us into the heart of David, so do Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Songs take us into the heart of Solomon. The book of Proverbs fits squarely into the genre of "advice to a son" literature. In this book, Solomon offers advice to his son, advice to a young man going out into the world for the first time. We're told in 1 Kings that Solomon wrote 3,000 proverbs; in the book of Proverbs we have 375 of them: pithy sayings that state traditional wisdom in a striking and memorable fashion. In this study, Dr. Creasy explores the three categories of Solomon's advice to his son: (1) choose your friends carefully; (2) manage your finances wisely; and (3) don't get involved with someone else's wife!
If we were to choose an epitaph for David, it would be the closing verse of Psalm 23: "And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever"; if we were to choose an epitaph for Solomon it would be from the opening lines of Ecclesiastes: "Meaningless, meaningless, everything is meaningless." Although remembered as a stunningly successful king, in the end Solomon stands in sharp contrast to his father David as the Bible's greatest failure. And in Ecclesiastes, he admits it.
As Proverbs fits squarely into the genre of "advice to a son" literature, so the Song of Songs fits squarely into the genre of erotic love poetry. Traditionally read as an allegory of God's love for Israel or of Christ's love for the Church, Dr. Bill Creasy explores the Song of Songs as what it is, first and foremost: an erotic love poem written by Solomon in the final years of his life, a poem tinged with deep regret and longing.
Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Songs comprise the poetical books of Scripture, and combined they stand shoulder to shoulder with the world's greatest poetry. In this series, Dr. Bill Creasy brings to the Bible's poetry the insight of a top-tier literary scholar and the skill of a world-class university teacher. This is an outstanding performance!
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Good as usual but missing the Song of Solomon.
- Joshua Batchelor