The city of Jericho is one of the oldest cities that we currently have records of. Jericho was a big strong city for its time and had a large stone wall surrounding it.
“And Abraham journeyed from there to the South, and dwelt between Kadesh and Shur, and stayed in Gerar. Now Abraham said of Sarah his wife, ‘She is my sister.’ And Abimelech king of Gerar sent and took Sarah. But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, ‘Indeed you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is a man’s wife.’
“Now Adonijah the son of Haggith came to Bathsheba the mother of Solomon. So she said, ‘Do you come peaceably?’ And he said, ‘Peaceably.’ Moreover he said, ‘I have something to say to you.’ And she said, ‘Say it.’ Then he said, ‘You know that the kingdom was mine, and all Israel had set their expectations on me, that I should reign. However, the kingdom has been turned over, and has become my brother’s; for it was his from the Lord. Now I ask one petition of you; do not deny me.’ And she said to him, ‘Say it.’ Then he said, ‘Please speak to King Solomon, for he will not refuse you, that he may give me Abishag the Shunammite as wife.’” 1 Kings 2:13-17
Shalom literally means peace. We use this when saying hello or goodbye. It is a nice way of wishing peace onto the other person. If someone wants to wish you a happy Sabbath they would say Shabbat Shalom meaning Sabbath peace or Sabbath blessing.
Israel had a common problem. They needed food to eat and they were getting pretty upset about it. “In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The Israelites said to them, ‘If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.’” Exodus 16:2-3
Joash, who was only 7 when he became king, was the youngest king that ever reined in Jerusalem. This story is very interesting. Joash's great grandfather, Jehoshaphat, was a very good king, following the ways of God. When Jehoshaphat, died. His son Jehoram became king. He was so wicked that he killed all his brothers. He reigned 8 years and then died of a terrible disease. All of his sons, except Ahaziah, were killed by the Arabians. So Ahaziah became king. But he was wicked, too, and wouldn’t follow God. Ahaziah reigned one year and then was killed.
In the Torah we read, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth…Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.” Genesis 1:1-31. Now when we look around us we may wonder where all the good went because a lot seems bad. We do know that God didn’t make anything that was bad because everything God made was good. So what happened?
Giving is very important in Jewish culture and the Torah gives is some examples to follow. “When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, ‘Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.’ Aaron answered them, ‘Take off the gold earrings that your wives, your sons and your daughters are wearing, and bring them to me.’ So all the people took off their earrings and brought them to Aaron. He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, ‘These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.’” Exodus 32:1-4