"This is the first time this has ever ." is the beginning of many statements around Washington these days as old-timers are struck by departure of the new administration from tradition. But everything jaw-dropping is not new. We were forewarned by King Solomon who offered his observations in Ecclesiastes around 950 B.C
Ecclesiastes I: 9 & 10: "What has been done will be done again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which one can say, "Look! There is something new"?
Tower of Babel
Once people figured out how to make bricks, they decided to build a Tower of Babel to heaven so they could make a name for themselves. God was not pleased so He confounded their languages. Today, observers are amazed at the variety of languages now being used to clarify statements around the Tower.
Beating the Establishment
As Moses was leading the Hebrew children out of Egypt, the Pharaoh changed his mind and rallied the chariots to bring him back. As the best of the chariot drivers closed in, Moses dashed through the Red Sea (yes, it was Red) leaving the establishment to be swept away in the water.
Beginning of giveaways
The children of Israel were grumblers. First, they grumbled about hunger so God gave them manna. Manna makes folks thirsty so they grumbled about thirst so God gave them water. Then they grumbled about manna without meat so God gave them quail. Giveaways are not of recent vintage; food stamps are not new.
Some are amazed to see a family government running Washington. That's not new. Moses appointed his brother Aaron to be the chief priest; next, he named Sister Miriam as a key adviser. Then he gave his father-in-law Jethro the job of management consultant.
Speaking in parables
The Bible offers a lot of provocative teaching with parables, furnishing centuries of discussion about their meaning. Today, we have the parable of a great wall. So we philosophize about it. While it is claimed that the purpose is to keep strangers out, almost everyone who wants in is already here so it will probably keep more in than out. Or is it really all about jobs the kind of jobs that only illegal immigrants will do. Or is it to trap the Mexican Olympic Pole-vaulting team?
We hear of new plans to merge Christianity and government. Jesus recommended separation of church and state when he advised us to render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's and unto God that which is God's. But that changed in the 300s when Emperor Constantine absorbed Christianity into the Roman Empire and secularized Christianity for centuries. So theocracy is nothing new.
Firing has been a part of human history, especially during the Reformation. As soon as a new denomination appeared, its adherents gathered wood to fire everyone who disagreed. Since there were many new denominations, all with nonnegotiable truths, many early believers were fired for their heresies. Today, we are back to the world of absolutes but it is not new.
Keeping bad promises
King Herod was so overcome with the dance of the daughter of Herodias that he promised her anything her little heart desired. He was shocked when she asked for the head of John the Baptist on a platter. It grieved him to do this outrageous thing but a promise, no matter how outrageous, must be kept, especially when others are watching.
So nothing is new
Solomon was right. There is nothing new under the sun not even in Washington in 2017.