The Inexhaustible Word


Ira the Jairite was David’s priest.

~2 Samuel 20:26, REB


The Bible is an inexhaustible fountain of all truths and the greatest blessing which humanity ever experienced.

~Robert Murry M’Cheyne

Be honest; have you every noticed the above verse in the Bible? I am astounded; every time I read through the Bible, I notice things I’ve never noticed before. I have even preached through the entire bible verse by verse and I do not remember this verse. I’m sure that a lot of this can be attributed to my forgetfulness but I am totally convinced that the Bible is an inexhaustible book and that anyone who reads it carefully will discover new truth with each reading.

I did a little research on the verse and was fascinated by the outcome. It turns out that Jair may not have been of the line of Aaron and thus Ira was not technically a priest. Literally in Hebrew, The Complete Jewish Bible renders this verse…‘Ira the Ya’iri was David’s Cohen. Cohen is generally translated priest and is often used in connection with the sons of Aaron. But it can also be translated “chief ruler.” The American Standard Version renders it…Ira the Jairite was chief minister unto David. The KJV will read chief ruler. The NLT reads…And Ira, a descendant of Jair, was David’s personal priest. Eugene Peterson may have nailed it in the Message…Ira the Jairite was David’s chaplain. This had been the role of Ahithophel and then Hushai. Ahithophel committed sucicide when his advice was ignored by Absalom. Hushai gave David advice during coup d’etat but he goes silent after this. It is believed by some that Ira becomes David’s chief counselor in the later part of his life.

To David’s credit, we all need good council. We need someone who loves us enough to tell us the truth but does it in the right way. No man is an island, not even a king.

I had a friend in seminary name Ira {watchful}. Ironically, the Ira I knew was legally blind. His wife had to do all the driving. Ira pastored the First Baptist Church in Maroquin, Louisiana. You may or may not want to read this story: it really has nothing to do with the blog above, it simply came to mind with the name Ira. When we attended seminary in the early 70’s, every student had to have a MISSION ASSIGNMENT. Those who pastored churches could count that as their mission but those of us who did not had a choice between about four things. I choose the Rescue Mission on Magazine Street. I did this every Sunday for almost a year and I was absolutely thrilled when Ira ask me to fill in for him one Sunday. I was going to preach at a First Baptist Church for the first time in my life. I pictured it like all the first Baptist churches here {Athens, Decatur, Cullman, Hartselle, etc.}. Well, I was wrong. It was a tiny framed building with white siding. It wasn’t even underpinned and it had one step going into the front door. We had 18 that morning and that included June and myself. Not one soul smiled, nor did we get a red carpet welcome. I preached and nothing happened, absolutely nothing. One by one they just got up and walked out. No one said anything to either June or myself. Ira had given us a key to the pastorium which was right beside the church but there was nothing in the kitchen to eat. The cabinets and refrigerator were bare. We had one five dollar bill and it was to buy gas to get us home. We had a 6 hour wait for the night service. June can function without food but I had never fasted in my life and didn’t plan to start that day. We came to a quick decision about the gas money, we definitely didn’t want to spend the night there so we laid down to rest but of course, I was not tired, I was hungry. There was no TV, no radio, no nothing and after an hour or so, I was about to go crazy.

Then a car pulled up outside and a man came to the door. We recognized him as one of the members. He said, “My wife and I were talking and she said, “I bet those kids don’t have anything to eat.” He went on to say, “She is not that good of a cook but we will be glad to share what we have if you want to follow me?” I said, “We will follow.” It is hard to mess a chicken up but the surest way is to use shake and bake. Yep, we had shake and bake chicken with mashed potatoes and English peas but it was good because I was hungry. The evening crowd was about the same and believe it or not, a couple of them spoke to us. We almost had fellowship. In those days, 5$ would fill up our Chevy II and so after church we filled up and headed back to New Orleans. We drove in on I-10 from the West side and I think it is the first time and perhaps the only time, I’ve ever been glad to see New Orleans. I have one more story about Ira but I will save it and spare you.

Didn’t seem that cold to me this morning but I guess the bad stuff is on the way. Don says that we have this cold spell right before Easter to remind us of how badly we treated Jesus.

I got to see Vellene yesterday. She is very weak. It takes a lot of effort for her to talk so I didn’t stay long. I would have never gotten in if Joanie hadn’t come down to escort me. Vellene’s heart is working at 15% and they cannot do surgery. They have gone to comfort care. I’m not sure if she will stay at Decatur Morgan or return to Priceville.

Kathy Livingstone is meeting with Peck this morning at 10:00. Preliminary arrangements are Saturday at 2:00, graveside at Johnson’s Chapel. Our deepest sympathy to Kathy.

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