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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Bible Quiz on Friendship

The Book of Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) is one of my favorite pieces of wisdom literature. I especially love it's description of friendship:
A faithful friend is a strudy shelter;
              he who finds one finds a treasure.
A faithful friend is beyond price,
              no sum can balance his worth.
A faithful friend is a life-saving remedy
              such as he who fears God finds;
For he who fears God behaves accordingly,
              and his friend will be like himself.
The Bible is filled with stories of faithful friends and some who were not such faithful friends. So here's a Lenten challenge. St. Jerome said "Ignorance of scripture means ignorance of Christ." Make the Bible your friend this Lent. You can start by answering these questions and looking up the Bible references. Answers at the end after the break.

1) At his lowest moment, while he sat in jail falsely accused of attacking his master's wife, Jacob's son Joseph, was released because this fair weather friend he met in jail finally (after two years) told Pharoah about Joseph's gift for interpreting dreams. (Genesis Chapter 40)

2) This faithful follower of Moses received from him the responsibility of leading the people into the promised land with the secure knowledge that the Lord would never forsake him. (Deuteronomy 31)

3) Ruth was such a faithful friend to her mother-in-law Naomi that, when her husband died, she left her own country to follow Naomi back to Judah and support her by gleaning in the fields. Because of her faithfulness, Ruth found a second husband and friend and became one of only a few women (besides Mary) mentioned in Matthew's geneology of Jesus. Who was her second husband? (Ruth 2 and 3)

4) This prophet was not afraid to speak truth to power. When King David sinned by committing adultery with Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah, and having him killed, he went to David with a story about a rich man with great flocks who stole the one sheep of his neighbor. He so touched the heart of David that when he revealed it was a parable about David's own actions, the king immediately repented. Who was this courageous prophet and true friend of the king? (2 Samuel 12)

5) This poor man had so many troubles he is still referred to today when people are experiencing pain, suffering, and trials. A bunch of fair weather friends assailed him in his suffering insisting he must have done something bad to deserve what he got. In the end, his faithfulness was vindicated, but he got a good scolding from God for his questioning. The book that tells his story is named after him.

6) Elijah the prophet threw his cloak over this friend passing the mantle of his prophetic ministry on to the younger man. (2 Kings 2)

7) These three apostles were special friends of Jesus. They were with him at the Transfiguration. In the garden, they failed to keep watch with Jesus, falling asleep instead. (Matthew 17 and 26)

8) St. Paul went on his first missionary journey with this friend, but later they had a falling out and went their separate ways. (Acts 13)

9) Pontius Pilate tried to save Jesus but lost his nerve and sent him to the cross knowing He was innocent. This treachery resulted in his embracing friendship with the man Jesus called "that fox." (Luke 23:12)

10) This heavenly friend accompanied Tobiah on his journey to seek a wife and cured his father Tobit of blindness. (Book of Tobit)

11) And here's a bonus question. It's hard and if you get it without looking it up give yourself a big pat on the back. These two kings showed themselves to be special friends of the Israelites! After the Babylonian exile, two pagan kings (who ruled over 100 years apart) helped the Israelites rebuild the temple of Jerusalem and the city walls. One returned all the utensils from the house of the Lord that King Nebuchadnezzar stole.  The other allowed Nehemiah to go up to Jerusalem to rebuild the wall around the city because it was undefended. Who were these two pagan kings of Persia? (Books of Ezra and Nehemiah)

1. The Pharaoh's cub bearer.

2. Joshua

3. Boaz

4. Nathan

5. Job

6. Elisha

7. Peter, James, and John

8. Barnabas

9. Herod

10. Raphael

11. Cyrus of Persia (c. 576-530 BC) and Artaxerxes of Persia (465-424 BC)

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