Category: Appropriate use of power

Abuse of Power and Influence

In his book, Principle-Centred Leadership, Stephen Covey wrote about the difference between the power and influence that come from coercion and structures, and what can come from character. It appears that in his time on earth Jesus waived his structural...

Hophni and Phinehas: Violence, and Flying Monkeys

Yesterday we started looking at Hophni and Phinehas’s behaviour with the women who served at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting. Was it sexual assault? The strong power imbalance made consent unlikely. If you missed it, you can read about it here. Hophni and Phinehas...

Did Hophni and Phinehas commit sexual assault?

Did Hophni and Phinehas commit sexual assault? The writer of 1 Samuel tells us: Now Eli, who was very old, heard about everything his sons were doing to all Israel and how they slept with the women who served at the entrance to the tent of meeting.1 Samuel...

Eli, Hophni, and Phinehas

Today we start a series looking at Eli, and his two sons, Hophni and Phinehas.

When we read 1 and 2 Samuel, and look for what it has to say to us about abuse, we are flooded with stories and examples. This makes sense because what we now categorise broadly as abuse is a grouping of different harmful or toxic behaviours: different sins.

Is Jesus safe to allow in?

Experiences of trauma can make it difficult to be confident: is Jesus safe to allow in? We have been looking at the story of Martha, Mary, Lazarus, and Jesus, and to remind ourselves of Lazarus’s perspective: he believed Jesus could heal him. He counted Jesus as a...

Why didn’t Jesus help Lazarus sooner?

Why didn't Jesus help Lazarus sooner? We have been looking over the last few days at the story of Martha, Mary, Lazarus, and Jesus. We've looked at the shock of Jesus not turning up in time to help, and at his deep respect for boundaries. So far, the focus has largely...

Jesus shows deep respect for boundaries

One of the beautiful things we see in the gospels is that Jesus shows deep respect for boundaries. Yesterday we started looking at the story of Martha, Mary, Lazarus, and Jesus and got as far as Lazarus’s death, and Jesus’ failure to arrive. You might like to read...

Hannah and the Sons of Eli

We aren’t given much detail about the background of Hannah’s story, but it seems most likely her and her family were at Shiloh to celebrate the Passover. It is common to associate the Passover with freedom from slavery, but less common to think about slavery in terms...

Wicked people will not oppress them anymore

When God spoke to David about building a temple, 3000 years ago, he promised to make a place of sanctuary for his people. “Wicked people will not oppress them anymore,” he said.

In that passage, the name God uses is still “Yahweh”, given at the time of the Exodus. The mission hasn’t changed either. He also calls himself “the LORD Almighty”, or, Yahweh/Lord of Hosts. It’s the same name Hannah uses when she cries out to God in the agony of her domestic violence: yet another person crying out against oppression.

I wait for Yahweh, my whole being waits

Out of the depths I cry to you, Yahweh.

It is so easy to rush through a psalm without imagining the tone of voice. Even the phrase, “tearful prayers”, might significantly miss the depth of this person’s distress.

Again, out of the many names for God, the writer of Psalm 130 has chosen the name God suggested to Moses – when Moses was struggling to accept the task of bringing hope to a group of people who had been trapped in slavery. Trapped, for generations. These were people who suffered ongoing systemic, physical, financial, reproductive, and emotional abuse. Probably more.

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