Other comments on this day's readings can be found here.
Reading 1 - Deu 20
"In this chapter rules are given to be observed in times of
war. When a battle was near, a priest was to address the soldiers, and encourage
them to fight (Deu 20:1-4), then the officers were to declare who might return
home (Deu 20:5-9). When an enemy's city was approached, peace was to be
proclaimed on certain conditions, which, if accepted, the inhabitants were to be
tributaries and servants, but if not, when taken, all were to be put to the
sword, excepting women, children, and cattle (Deu 20:10-15). However, those of
the seven nations were to be utterly destroyed (Deu 20:16-18), and, during a
siege, no trees bearing fruit fit for food were to be cut down (Deu 20:19)"
Reading 2 - Ecc 12:11
"The words of the wise are like goads" (Ecc 12:11).
Goads were used by the shepherds to guide the wandering sheep,
and also by farmers to stimulate the indolent farm animal (Act 9:5).
"...Their collected sayings like firmly embedded nails --
given by one Shepherd" (Ecc 12:11).
Saints are fastened securely to their hope (Isa 22:23; Zec
10:4), like the curtains of Solomon's temple are fastened securely to the God of
Israel (Song 1:5).
The reference to nails obviously points to the cross. As
firmly fixed as was Christ to the cross, so sure was our salvation! Hang your
hopes on a firm nail or peg... something that will not slip nor give
The "one shepherd" is plainly the Lord Jesus Christ. Man's
highest good is found in this "one Shepherd", who leads his flock in green
pastures and causes them to rest by still water, but who especially offers them
abundant life in himself (John 10:9,10).
Reading 3 - Acts 12:23
"Immediately, because Herod did not give praise to God, an
angel of the Lord struck him down, and he was eaten by worms and died" (Acts
"All flesh before Him is as nothing. He will not allow the
flesh to glory in His sight. Adam was banished from Eden for casting dishonour
on Him by disobedience. Moses was punished for taking to himself the credit of
the miracle at the rock of Meribah. David fell into the hands of God, in three
days' plague, for exalting in the numbers of his army. The Assyrian was brought
down for taking to himself the credit of what God did by him in the punishment
of Israel. Mighty and arrogant Nebuchadnezzar was sent to herd among the beasts
till he learnt that 'the heavens do rule.' Herod was eaten up by worms, because
he gave not God the glory; and salvation is by God in Christ, reconciling the
world to Himself -- not of works, lest any man should boast" (Robert Roberts,
"Seasons of Comfort" 62).