“They took copies of the Book of the Law of the Lord and traveled around through all the towns of Judah, teaching the people (v. 17).” Wow. Did this verse ever jump off the page at me today. I hope as a writer, it hit you smack in the face, too. I hope, also, that you envisioned how those copies of the Book of the Law of the Lord got made, too! If you didn’t, you should imagine it now. Cool, huh? All those dudes hunched over sheepskins reading and transcribing from the the Book of the Law of the Lord by candlelight. Maybe your daydream was different, but the point is, the copies got made somehow, and Gutenberg hadn’t arrived on the scene yet. So, most likely, the copies were written out by hand, one by one, by a few (most likely) guys who could a) read and b) write. I’m not going to pretend that I know what the literacy rates were for the general population back in the day of King Jehoshaphat, but I’m betting they weren’t stellar, which is another reason why the priests had to physically go out, with the copies, and teach the people what the copies said. I mean, obviously, they couldn’t make copies for everyone anyway, but I’m wondering how many people could have read them if they did. (I’m drifting into thoughts about what a huge impact Gutenberg made on the world. Thoughts for later! Now back to the priests!)
Another thing I am noticing about this book is that it gives a few more details about the kings of Judah than we got in the books of 1 and 2 Kings. Those books seemed to focus more heavily on the kings of Israel. So, while Ezra is recapping a lot of things we learned from previous readings, he also is adding in lots of details we didn’t get before. I love how history is piling onto history. These stories give so much depth to books that have reputations for being boring and hard to understand. Quite the contrary when you get into the nitty-gritty of them, huh?
Writing prompt: ascribe
Write an uplifting message to someone today and mail it to that person (or send it in an email or direct message or whatever). Think about how nice it is to get actual mail, though, and consider going the extra mile to make someone smile. (Ha. I’m a poet and didn’t even know it!)