Precept: Recognizing the conflict that exists between the main characters from the beginning of the story to the end is essential to understanding the actions of the rest of the characters in the middle of the story.
Stepping stone on the path to eternal life: Position yourself on the right end of the sword.
“Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.” (Matthew 10:34)
Characters What do your characters want? Their desire can be simple or complex, tangible or concept…If your character doesn’t want something, they won’t be compelled to act.
Setting – when and where your story takes place.
Plot – the actual story–what happens, when, how, why, and what’s the result?
Conflict – a good practice is to look at each scene and ask if there is conflict within it.
- Does the scene add to the overall plot?
- Does the scene advance internal or inter-character relationships?
- Does the scene add to a subplot?
- Does the scene answer or bring about any plot-crucial questions?
The conflict could lend to the overall plot, a subplot, conflict between characters, or even a smaller conflict that is resolved within that scene. For a story to be interesting, there needs to be conflict. Scenes that don’t add to that are fluff.
Resolution – By the end of your story, all of your conflicts should have a resolution.
Theme – your story’s main takeaway. Your story can one theme or several. The theme(s) of your story helps to focus the narrative and answers the question: What’s the point? What have your characters learned? How are they changed, and what will they affect now that they are different? Some examples of themes include:
- Death – overcoming it, processing it, fearing it
- Good versus bad
As detailed in the post Redemption and Restoration, the plot of of the Bible is mankind retaking dominion over creation, resulting in war between the Seed of the Woman and his hosts and the Seed of the Serpent and his hosts.
“If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead…Then cometh the end…when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign [in a state of war, king against king], till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. And when all things shall be subdued unto him…God may be all in all.” (I Corinthians 15:21-28)
Surely we understand that any entity must do more that mind its own business to develop, grow and survive. Whether it’s a human body wearing a mask to guard against COVID or parents protecting their children from online predators and school drug dealers or a town with a police force protecting its residents from robbers and rapists or a nation with a military defending its borders from aggression, humans must constantly, actively fight to maintain freedom from those who would destroy us.
The same is true for the Kingdom of Heaven, the real “one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty, and justice for all.” This is due to the unavoidable reality of evil, regardless of efforts to write it off. And we know that…
God demands that his people do something. Like America going to war against Nazi Germany.
Honestly, most of us are civilians who think we are safe if we stay out of any conflict, but that’s just wishful thinking. Twice as many civilians as military personnel were killed in World War II. Civilians are defenseless. Combatants are supplied with weapons and other resources and are surrounded by other soldiers who have their backs. Think about it before becoming a draft dodger in spiritual warfare.
The use of volunteers explains why reclaiming God’s kingdom is taking so long. It’s much harder to recruit volunteers than to conscript slaves as the Adversary does.
For example, at the start of WWII the Germans were successful in their surprise blitzkrieg of France by feeding methamphetamine to their soldiers to keep them up and marching for days and nights on end.
And as biblical history narrows its focus from the Hebrews in Genesis to the Israelites in Exodus onward, notice how war against evil changes. God’s people transition from the Hebrews being mainly on the defensive in Genesis to the Israelites unmistakably going on the offensive in Exodus onward.
This can be explained, at baseline, by the exponentially rising population of all nations, including the Hebrews, pushing the bounds of available resources and providing manpower for ever larger armies and R&D for weaponry. As empires expand, pacifists simply disappear.
And here is where Bible antagonists run riot.
And Richard Dawkins is arguably the most jealous, proud, unjust, control-freak, hypocritical antagonist in his fictional rewrite of the Abrahamic God. Not to mention either a gross liar or utterly uneducated on the topic on which he promotes such hatred.
Richard Dawkins enjoys the freedom of speech in a country that has been at war for over a century fighting and killing the enemies of free speech.
Is there any evidence that the initial wars served a purpose besides giving Richard Dawkins the power to say anything he wants without so much as that inconvenience of having to back it up with evidence? Like peace and prosperity?
Or a massive reduction in genocide?
And how much of our War Against Terror is to prevent one’s own ethnicity from being “wiped off the face of the earth?” Remember the Holocaust, anyone? Anyone?
And just who is bloodthirsty??
65% of American adults…3 out of 5 people admit to playing on a daily basis…
The average gamer is 34 years old, owns a house and has children…
Guys love playing video games…its only natural…
56% of the most frequent gamers play multiplayer games..
35% of multiplayer gamers prefer shooter games.
I started thinking about who video games find it permissible to kill in large numbers. The focus is not on the big evil central antagonists which heroes must defeat to save the day. Instead I am examining the generic grunts of AAA Games and trying to figure out who is permitted to die at a hero’s hands without opening them up to moral judgement…
The one enemy that it is always permissible to kill is one that is standing in the way of your goals…Video game…players have been trained since the 80’s to shoot… just any given living organism that has become an obstacle…
How then could we make the situation better?
A good first step would be to remember to actually characterise enemies as being, you know, bad in some way. If your story revolves around a supposedly heroic protagonist, then the people they fight should be worse than them. Establishing the grunts as being ruthless, reckless, sadistic or seeking supremacy will go a long way to making the player character’s actions feel more heroic.
Another step would be to limit the body count…Having the hero only kill…when they pose a serious threat, would also be a good idea.
Lastly, and this might sound crazy, but maybe make it so every game does not revolve around violence. Again we can point to Undertale as an example of how a video game character being a pacifist can create really interesting problem solving mechanics. How about more stealth games were you really cannot kill anyone? How about more games like Journey where exploration is held above all else?
And if Richard Dawkins bothered reading about the God he so loves to libel and slander, he would discover these very tactics at play in the biblical battles.
I’m betting you weren’t pegging Moses as a great general, were you? How do you think that, like George Washington, he freed a people from an oppressive kingdom? Moreover, do we not understand that his roles as the lawgiver, the judge, and the king were to protect the subjects of the government from internal as well as external oppression?
“Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds. And when he was full forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren the children of Israel. And seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended him, and avenged him that was oppressed, and smote the Egyptian; For he supposed his brethren would have understood how that God by his hand would deliver them: but they understood not. And the next day he shewed himself unto them as they strove, and would have set them at one again, saying, Sirs, ye are brethren; why do ye wrong one to another? But he that did his neighbour wrong thrust him away, saying, Who made thee a ruler and a judge over us?…This Moses whom they refused, saying, Who made thee a ruler and a judge? the same did God send to be a ruler and a deliverer by the hand of the angel which appeared to him in the bush.” (Acts 7:22-35)
“The LORD…hath filled Zion with judgment and righteousness. And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times…Thine eyes shall see the king in his beauty…Thou shalt not see a fierce people…thine eyes shall see Jerusalem a quiet habitation…For the LORD is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king; he will save us.” (Isaiah 33)
The rest of this post goes into detail in some of the accounts, simply because I personally love a good story. A good story like Huckleberry Finn is true to human nature, a better story like Game of Thrones is true to historical facts, and the best stories are true documentaries.
But don’t fail to see the forest for the trees. Don’t let the fascinating details obscure the overriding theme in every single account, which is the how the current Melchizedek in the Order delivers God’s people from the Adversary.
Judges / Rulers / Deliverers
Recall that Jacob appointed Judah as his Melchizedekian priest-king successor – not his older sons, or even Joseph’s son Ephraim to whom he split off the Melchizedekian birthright of double resources.
“Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father’s children shall bow down before thee. Judah is a lion’s whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up? The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people [resurrection] be.” (Genesis 49:8-10)
However, Judah’s lineage temporarily lost its qualification to rule for ten generations because Judah had bastard, i.e. incestuous, heirs by his daughter-in-law.
“A bastard shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD; even to his tenth generation shall he not enter into the congregation of the LORD.” (Deuteronomy 23:2)
“Jacob begat Judas and his brethren; And Judas begat 1) Phares and Zara of Thamar; and Phares begat 2) Esrom; and Esrom begat 3) Aram; And Aram begat 4) Aminadab; and Aminadab begat 5) Naasson; and Naasson begat 6) Salmon; And Salmon begat 7) Booz of Rachab; and Booz begat 8) Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat 9) Jesse; And Jesse begat 10) David the king;
In the interim, leadership was developed within the tribe of Judah in a line of descent of heroes to David.
“And the LORD spake unto Moses in the wilderness of Sinai…with you there shall be a man of every tribe; every one head of the house of his fathers...Of Judah; Nahshon the son of Amminadab…These were the renowned of the congregation, princes of the tribes of their fathers, heads of thousands in Israel.” (Numbers 1)
After the death of Moses, Joshua became the general.
“And Joshua the son of Nun sent out of Shittim two men to spy secretly, saying, Go view the land, even Jericho. And they went, and came into an harlot’s house, named Rahab, and lodged there…And the young men that were spies went in, and brought out Rahab…and she dwelleth in Israel [with Salmon who, as her rescuer, became responsible for her] even unto this day; because she hid the messengers, which Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.” (Joshua 2-6)
After the death of Joshua, the LORD delegated judges to deliver various tribes of Israel.
“Now after the death of Joshua it came to pass, that the children of Israel asked the LORD, saying, Who shall go up for us against the Canaanites first, to fight against them? And the LORD said, Judah shall go up: behold, I have delivered the land into his hand.
And Judah said unto Simeon his brother, Come up with me into my lot, that we may fight against the Canaanites; and I likewise will go with thee into thy lot. So Simeon went with him.
and the LORD delivered the Canaanites and the Perizzites into their hand, and they slew of them in Bezek 10,000 men. And they found Adoni-bezek [my lord/god who works through me scatters like lightning?] in Bezek: and…and cut off his thumbs and his great toes. And Adonibezek said, Threescore and ten kings, having their thumbs and their great toes cut off, gathered their meat under my table: as I have done, so God hath requited me. And Judah went against the Canaanites that dwelt in Hebron...and they slew Sheshai, and Ahiman, and Talmai…the three sons of Anak…” (Judges 1)
Ironically, the social peace brought about by following God’s ways, which by natural law allows prosperity, by human nature relaxes one’s reliance on God, promotes a prideful conviction of achievement by one’s one efforts with a sense of entitlement, causes a breakdown of the social welfare embodied in God’s ways, and results in a cycle of political violence.
It’s the cycle of domestic violence on a grand scale.
“And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and…forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed…the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them…and served Baal and Ashtaroth.
And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and he delivered them into the hands of spoilers that spoiled them, and he sold them into the hands of their enemies round about, so that they could not any longer stand before their enemies.” (Judges 2)
At first glance it appears that the LORD God is taking out his anger on his children, doesn’t it?
Don’t mix up the LORD’s ways with our ways.
“Bargaining is an integral part of most Middle Eastern cultures…The key to being good at bargaining is understanding what purpose it serves – it is not about money… – but more about building relationships.”
When God “delivered” and “sold” his people to the enemy he was engaging in negotiations like those transacted by Chamberlain with Hitler to minimize the damage to his people!
Despite God’s people rejecting him, he never rejects them, but stays on the sideline waiting for his people to return to him after they’re hurting enough to call out for his help.
“(For the LORD thy God is a merciful God); he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them.” (Deuteronomy 4:31)
The following outline from the book of Judges highlights this principle. The reader is encouraged to enjoy the exciting details provided in the entire book of Judges.
Now these are the nations which the LORD left, to prove Israel by them…to teach them war…to know whether they would hearken unto the commandments of the LORD…And the children of Israel dwelt among the Canaanites, Hittites, and Amorites, and Perizzites, and Hivites, and Jebusites: And they took their daughters to be their wives, and gave their daughters to their sons, and served their gods…Therefore the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel:
- and he sold them into the hand of Chushanrishathaim king of Mesopotamia…
- And…raised up a deliverer…Othniel…Caleb’s [nephew]
- and the LORD strengthened Eglon the king of Moab against Israel…
- But the LORD raised them up a deliverer, Ehud the son of Gera…
- The Philistines
- Shamgar the son of Anath, which slew of the Philistines six hundred men with an ox goad: and he also delivered Israel.
- And the LORD sold them into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan…he had nine hundred chariots of iron; and twenty years he mightily oppressed the children of Israel.
- And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, she judged Israel at that time…the LORD shall sell Sisera into the hand of a woman...Jael Heber’s wife
- And the LORD delivered them into the hand of Midian…And they encamped against them, and destroyed the increase of the earth…and left no sustenance for Israel, neither sheep, nor ox, nor ass…And the Midianites and the Amalekites and all the children of the east lay along in the valley like grasshoppers for multitude; and their camels were without number, as the sand by the sea side.
- And the three hundred [Israelites] blew the trumpets, and the LORD set every man’s sword against his fellow, even throughout all the host: and the host fled…And the country was in quietness forty years in the days of Gideon.
- the children of Ammon
- Jephthah [son of Gideon], and he passed over…twenty cities, and unto the plain of the vineyards, with a very great slaughter. Thus the children of Ammon were subdued before the children of Israel.
- List of unremarkable judges / defenders
- the Philistines forty years…
- Samson…found a new jawbone of an ass, and put forth his hand, and took it, and slew a thousand men therewith…Now the house was full of men and women; and all the lords of the Philistines were there; and there were upon the roof about three thousand men and women…And Samson called unto the LORD, and said, O LORD God, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God…And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars…And Samson said, Let me die with the Philistines. And he bowed himself with all his might; and the house fell upon the lords, and upon all the people that were therein. So the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life.
We can trace how, during their hiatus from government, that Judah’s descendants were, like Joseph in the Ministry of Resources, actively training in their designated role in the kingdom, and proving their just promotion into the highest military post in the land – Protector of the Realm and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces.
“Boaz said unto the elders, and unto all the people, Ye are witnesses this day, that I have bought…Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of Mahlon, have I purchased to be my wife, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance, that the name of the dead be not cut off...and she bare a son…and they called his name Obed, he is the father of Jesse, the father of David.” (Ruth 4)
“And the LORD said unto Samuel…fill thine horn with oil, and go, I will send thee to Jesse the Bethlehemite: for I have provided me a king among his sons.” (I Samuel 16:1)
Undivided Kingdom of Israel
As the last ruler-priest from the tribe of Levi, Samuel opens a new era in Israel’s history, transitioning Israel into Judah’s king-dom. Any time of transition is chaotic, stressful, uncertain. For believers, the word of the LORD is all the more precious during these times. The account of Samuel’s rule labeled I and II Samuel are worth much more than the children’s Sunday School stories for which they are usually consigned.
“And [the child] Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him, and did let none of his words fall to the ground [fail to come to pass]. And all Israel from Dan [northern border] even to Beersheba [southern border] knew that Samuel was established to be a prophet of the LORD…And the LORD…revealed himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the word of the LORD.” (I Samuel 3:19-21)
During Samuel’s rule, the primary enemy was the dreadnaught Philistines, in battle after battle after battle.
“And the Philistines put themselves in array against Israel: and when they joined battle, Israel was smitten before the Philistines:” (I Samuel 4:2)
Saul was the first king of Israel, but when he chose to ally himself with the enemy he lost his capacity to defend his people and was replaced.
“Samuel also said unto Saul, The LORD sent me to anoint thee to be king over his people, over Israel: now therefore hearken thou unto the voice of the words of the LORD. Thus saith the LORD of hosts / armies, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt. Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.
But Saul and the people spared Agag [undoubtedly to ransom, see Ahab and Benhaddad below], and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good [again the profit motive], and would not utterly destroy them: but every thing that was vile and refuse, that they destroyed utterly.
- Problem #1, rebellion / disobedience: And Samuel came to Saul…Wherefore then didst thou not obey the voice of the LORD?
- Problem #2, stubbornly denying he did wrong, which is even worse, because we can be forgiven and restored only when we confess our sin. And Saul said unto Samuel, Yea, I have obeyed the voice of the Lord, and have gone the way which the Lord sent me…
- Problem #3, blame shifting: But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the chief of the things which should have been utterly destroyed,
- Problem #4, dissociating himself from God: and have brought Agag the king of Amalek to sacrifice unto the LORD thy – THY!!! – God in Gilgal.
And Samuel said…rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king…The LORD hath rent the kingdom of Israel from thee this day, and hath given it to a neighbour of thine, that is better than thou.” (I Samuel 15)
“Then Saul, (who is also called Paul)..said, Men of Israel, and ye that fear God, .give audience. The God of this people of Israel…gave unto them Saul the son of Cis, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, by the space of forty years. And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king… ” (Acts 13)
I can’t help but sidebar here to note that the Apostle Paul had a reason for mentioning his namesake King Saul in his first recorded sermon. Being from the same tribe of Benjamin, he may have been a direct descendant. He certainly had much in common with him. It does lead me to wonder if both Paul and God didn’t have a soft spot in his heart for King Saul. Certainly Samuel did. For certain God must have mourned being forced to set Jonathan aside.
Perhaps a thousand years later Jesus recruited Saul of Tarsus so persistently in order to restore kingship to this family, and once again enjoy the eternal love that his Spirit had experienced in David with Jonathan, surviving through the ages in their descendants. This concept is nicely presented in the movie Cloud Atlas.
Both Jonathan and the Apostle Paul were grounded in the word of God so were able to recognize the Promised Savior when they saw him in action. For Paul it was Jesus’ resurrection. For Jonathan it was his battlefield faith.
As you read the following account, bear in mind that David of the tribe of Judah had already been anointed to be the next king. He not only had his forefathers as proof that God supernaturally empowers his leaders, he could believe the spoken word of God through Samuel because it was consistent with the written word of God, that God was going to do the impossible through Shiloh, at the gathering of the people. (Genesis 49:10)
“Now the Philistines gathered together their armies to battle…And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered together.
And there went out a champion out of the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, of Gath, And the Philistine said, I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together…
And all the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him, and were sore afraid…And David said to Saul, thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine…
Keep in mind that the heroic epics of fabulous deeds known to us were being circulated at that time as well. Saul could believe such things were possible with David because he had heard it had happened before.
The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the LORD be with thee…
Then said David to the Philistine…This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; that all the earth may know that there is a [singular] God in Israel… [Purpose for nation of Israel!] (I Samuel 17)
David’s first heir to his dynasty was known for his wisdom, documented in the collection of Proverbs. Yet, in a process well known to psychology, he let his physical desires overwhelm his better judgment, experiencing first his self judgment, documented in his journal Ecclesiastes, then God’s judgment, pronounced by God’s prophets.
“Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon. And likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods…Wherefore the Lord said unto Solomon, Forasmuch as this is done of thee, and thou hast not kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy servant…(I Kings 11)
Israel rebelled against the house of David [AKA YHVH’s Savior/King ergo against YHVH] unto this day. And… made Jeroboam king over all Israel.” (I Kings 12)
Despite the fulfillment of the prophecy that God would hand over to him the majority of the kingdom of Israel without a fight, Jeroboam failed to trust God for an everlasting kingdom.
“And Jeroboam said in his heart…If this people go up to do sacrifice in the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, then shall the heart of this people turn again unto their lord, even unto Rehoboam king of Judah, and they shall kill me…
Whereupon the king…made two calves of gold, and said unto them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt… And this thing became a sin: for the people went to worship before the one, even unto Dan. And he made an house of high places, and made priests of the lowest of the people, which were not of the sons of Levi…which he had devised of his own heart; and ordained a feast unto the children of Israel: and he offered upon the altar, and burnt incense.”
- The natural consequence of distrust is a never-satisfied need to control to feel safe, leading to tyranny.
- The natural consequence of rejecting the worship / unity with the merciful God at Jerusalem, with its rules of social justice, is constant social turmoil.
- The natural result of a king without power behind the throne is constant scheming preventing government’s handing of problems with social unrest and civil war leading inevitably, as with the better known rise and fall of the Roman empire, to self destruction.
“Rehoboam slept with his fathers, And Abijam his son reigned in his stead…And he walked in all the sins of his father. For they also built them high places, and images, and groves, on every high hill, and under every green tree. And there were also sodomites in the land: and they did according to all the abominations of the nations which the Lord cast out before the children of Israel.” (I Kings 13)
This term “sodomite” is currently narrowly interpreted to be “homosexual” for the purpose of using the Bible as a weapon in the conflict between liberals and conservatives. However, the biblical references expand our understanding. At the most basic level, sodomy is mistreatment of the vulnerable, and God’s condemnation of it reflects his fundamental requirement that mankind’s dominion is to be loving and merciful as a reflection of his likeness.
When Jesus instructs his disciples to preach in the towns of Israel, Jesus warns that those who do not receive them peacefully will be judged more harshly than the people of Sodom and Gomorrah (Matt. 10: 5-15).
Jesus joins other ancient authorities in viewing the sins of the Sodomites as the abuse of strangers, neglecting the poor and needy, and the stigmatizing of outsiders. For example, Ezekiel says that the people of Sodom and Gomorrah “had pride, surfeit of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and the needy” (16:49-50); and the Wisdom of Solomon says that they “refused to receive strangers when they came to them” (19.14). On the other hand, an early Christian book I Clement states that Lot was saved “because of his hospitality and piety” (11.11)…
The narrow interpretation known today comes from an ancient minority report from thinkers such as Philo of Alexandria… [who] condemned the Sodomites for “forbidden forms of intercourse”… The odd point about this charge is that the object of Sodomitic lust is not male humans but…angels!
This brings out the sexual aspect for which Sodom is famous – empowerment through sexual union with spirit beings. This theme also runs through the Bible. so shouldn’t be overlooked.
Moving on with the history lesson…
“Go, tell Jeroboam, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Forasmuch as I exalted thee from among the people, and made thee prince over my people Israel…and yet thou…has done evil above all that were before thee…Therefore, behold, I will bring evil upon the house of Jeroboam…till it be all gone.” (I Kings 14)
Baasha…smote all the house of Jeroboam; he left not to Jeroboam any that breathed, until he had destroyed him, according unto the saying of the LORD…And he / Baasha did evil in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the way of Jeroboam…Then the word of the LORD came to Jehu the son of Hanani against Baasha, saying, Forasmuch as…thou hast walked in the way of Jeroboam, and hast made my people Israel to sin, to provoke me to anger with their sins; Behold, I will…make thy house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat.
Elah the son of Baasha reigned…two years. And his servant Zimri, captain of half his chariots, conspired against him, as he was…drinking himself drunk …and smote him and killed him…
And the people that were encamped heard say, Zimri hath…slain the king: wherefore all Israel made Omri, the captain of the host, king over Israel that day in the camp…Zimri…went into the palace of the king’s house, and burnt the king’s house over him with fire, and died...
Then were the people of Israel divided into two parts: half of the people followed Tibni…But the people that followed Omri prevailed…so Tibni died, and Omri reigned. And he bought the hill…and built on the hill, and called the name of the city which he built, after the name of Shemer, owner of the hill, Samaria.
Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the Lord above all that were before him...as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he took to wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Zidonians, and went and served Baal, and worshipped him. And he reared up an altar for Baal in the house of Baal, which he had built in Samaria. And Ahab made a grove; and Ahab did more to provoke the Lord God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel that were before him.” (I Kings 15-16)
And the following account gives a very clear description of how God feels about government mistreating the vulnerable.
And it came to pass after these things, that Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard, which was in Jezreel, hard by the palace of Ahab king of Samaria. And Ahab spake unto Naboth, saying, Give me thy vineyard, that I may have it for a garden of herbs, because it is near unto my house: and I will give thee for it a better vineyard than it; or, if it seem good to thee, I will give thee the worth of it in money. And Naboth said to Ahab, The LORD forbid it me, that I should give the inheritance of my fathers unto thee. And Ahab came into his house heavy and displeased…And he laid him down upon his bed, and turned away his face, and would eat no bread. But Jezebel his wife came to him, and said unto him…Dost thou now govern the kingdom of Israel? arise, and eat bread, and let thine heart be merry: I will give thee the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite. So she wrote letters in Ahab’s name, and sealed them with his seal, and sent the letters unto the elders and to the nobles that were in his city, dwelling with Naboth. And she wrote in the letters, saying, Proclaim a fast, and set Naboth on high among the people: And set two men, sons of Belial, before him, to bear witness against him, saying, Thou didst blaspheme God and the king. And then carry him out, and stone him, that he may die. And the men of his city, even the elders and the nobles who were the inhabitants in his city, did as Jezebel had sent unto them. And the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, Arise, go down to meet Ahab king of Israel, which is in Samaria: behold, he is in the vineyard of Naboth, whither he is gone down to possess it. And thou shalt speak unto him, saying…Thus saith the LORD, In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick thy blood, even thine…I will make thine house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat…for the provocation wherewith thou hast provoked me to anger, and made Israel to sin. And of Jezebel also spake the LORD, saying, The dogs shall eat Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel. Him that dieth of Ahab in the city the dogs shall eat; and him that dieth in the field shall the fowls of the air eat.” (I Kings 21)
Jezebel brings down the prototypical reign of terror that recurs to Israel throughout its history. But as much as we hate the idea of experiencing great tribulation, it is when we need God the most that we experience his power and appreciate his salvation. Elijah is the prototypical prophet during great tribulation, but personally I think Obediah’s undercover work is underappreciated by pastors and teachers.
“And Ahab called Obadiah, which was the governor of his house. (Now Obadiah feared the Lord greatly: For it was so, when Jezebel cut off / eliminated by whatever means the prophets of the LORD, that Obadiah took an hundred prophets, and hid them by fifty in a cave, and fed them with bread and water….
The showdown between Elijah the prophet of God and Jezebel’s prophets of Baal is a repetition of David’s championship over Goliath, and sends a powerful message to those who are willing to get into the fight.
And it came to pass after many days, that the word of the LORD came to Elijah in the third year, saying, Go, shew thyself unto Ahab…when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said unto him, Art thou he that troubleth Israel? And he answered, I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father’s house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the LORD, and thou hast followed Baalim.
Now therefore send, and gather to me all Israel unto mount Carmel, and the prophets of Baal four hundred and fifty, and the prophets of the groves four hundred, which eat at Jezebel’s table…
Let them therefore give us two bullocks; and let them choose one bullock for themselves, and cut it in pieces, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under: and I will dress the other bullock, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under: And call ye on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the Lord: and the God that answereth by fire, let him be God.
And all the people answered and said, It is well spoken…And they took the bullock which was given them, and they dressed it,
- and called on the name of Baal from morning even until noon, saying, O Baal, hear us. But there was no voice, nor any that answered.
- And they leaped upon the altar which was made…
- and cut themselves after their manner with knives and lancets, till the blood gushed out upon them….
- and they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that there was neither voice, nor any to answer, nor any that regarded.
And Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, unto whom the word of the LORD came, saying, Israel shall be thy name [for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed]:
- and he made a trench about the altar, as great as would contain two measures of seed.
- And he put the wood in order, and cut the bullock in pieces, and laid him on the wood,
- and said, Fill four barrels with water, and pour it on the burnt sacrifice, and on the wood.
- And he said, Do it the second time. And they did it the second time. And he said, Do it the third time. And they did it the third time.
- And the water ran round about the altar; and he filled the trench also with water.
And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word. Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the LORD God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again.
Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.
And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The LORD, he is the God; the LORD, he is the God.
And Elijah said unto them, Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape. And they took them: and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there.
And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and withal how he had slain all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah, saying, So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by to morrow about this time.
And when he saw that, he arose, and went for his life.
and came to Beersheba, which belongeth to Judah, and left his servant there. But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness...and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life.” (I Kings 18-19)
As a psychiatric provider, I often remind biblically knowledgeable persons of this passage. Elijah was a superlative prophet who channeled immense spiritual power. But like any other human, it drained him. We are body, soul and spirit and need to care appropriately for all three aspects.
And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat. And he looked, and, behold, there was a cake baken on the coals, and a cruse of water at his head. And he did eat and drink, and laid him down again. And the angel of the LORD came again the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee. And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb AKA Sinai the mount of God.
Are you catching the signs? Elijah is one of the Melchizedekian Yeshua Messiah successors to Moses, which is a chosen / anointed position that doesn’t require David’s bloodline. Jesus Christ fit both, the Priesthood appointment is not dependent on the Kingship lineage.
And…the word of the LORD came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah? And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away. And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by,
- and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind:
- and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake:
- And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire:
- and after the fire a still small voice…
And the LORD said unto him, Go, return on thy way to the wilderness of Damascus: and when thou comest,
- anoint Hazael to be king over Syria
- And Jehu the son of Nimshi [not of the line of David] shalt thou anoint to be king over Israel:
- Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abelmeholah shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy room / place.
And it shall come to pass, that him that escapeth the sword of Hazael shall Jehu slay: and him that escapeth from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha slay. Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.” (I Kings 19)
Unnamed prophets of God are shown to continue prophesying / preaching to Ahab, who, under duress, in fact believes and acts on some, but tragically not all, of their messages. Notice how Ahab “lets go”, which is the opposite of “let be / make it happen“, and the consequence is transfer of power, to the other side, exactly like a game of tug-of-war.
“And Ben-hadad i.e. son / human representative of the god of Thunder and War the king of Syria gathered all his host together: and there were thirty and two kings with him, and horses, and chariots; and he went up and besieged Samaria, and warred against it. And he sent messengers to Ahab king of Israel into the city, and said unto him…I will send my servants unto thee to morrow about this time, and they shall search thine house, and the houses of thy servants; and it shall be, that whatsoever is pleasant in thine eyes, they shall put it in their hand, and take it away.
And, behold, there came a prophet unto Ahab king of Israel, saying, Thus saith the LORD, Hast thou seen all this great multitude? behold, I will deliver it into thine hand this day; and thou shalt know that I am the LORD.
And Ahab said, By whom? And he said, Thus saith the LORD, Even by the young men of the princes of the provinces. Then he said, Who shall order the battle? And he answered, Thou. Then he numbered the young men of the princes of the provinces [trained to lead, i.e. captains], and they were 232: and after them he numbered all the people [able to go to war], even all the children of Israel, being 7,000.
And they went out at noon. But Benhadad was drinking himself drunk in the pavilions, he and the kings, the thirty and two kings that helped him…So these young men of the princes of the provinces came out of the city, and the army which followed them. And they slew every one his man: and the Syrians fled…And the king of Israel went out, and smote the horses and chariots, and slew the Syrians with a great slaughter.
And the prophet came to the king of Israel, and said unto him, Go, strengthen thyself…for at the return of the year the king of Syria will come up against thee…And it came to pass at the return of the year…and the children of Israel pitched before them like two little flocks of kids; but the Syrians filled the country.
And there came a man of God, and spake unto the king of Israel, and said, Thus saith the Lord, Because the Syrians have said, The LORD…is not God of the valleys, therefore will I deliver all this great multitude into thine hand, and ye shall know that I am the LORD…and the children of Israel slew of the Syrians an hundred thousand footmen in one day. But the rest fled to Aphek, into the city; and there a wall fell upon twenty and seven thousand of the men that were left. And Benhadad fled, and came into the city, into an inner chamber. And his servants said unto him, Behold now, we have heard that the kings of the house of Israel are merciful kings…So they…came to the king of Israel, and said, Thy servant Benhadad saith, I pray thee, let me live….Then said Ahab, I will send thee away with this covenant. So he made a covenant with him, and sent him away.
And a certain man of the sons of the prophets…waited for the king by the way…And as the king passed by, he cried unto the king…Thus saith the LORD, Because thou hast let go out of thy hand a man whom I appointed to utter destruction, therefore thy life shall go for his life, and thy people for his people.” (I Kings 20)
“And they continued three years without war between Syria and Israel. And it came to pass in the third year, that…the king of Israel said unto his servants, Know ye that Ramoth in Gilead is ours, and we be still, and take it not out of the hand of the king of Syria? And he said unto Jehoshaphat, Wilt thou go with me to battle to Ramothgilead? And Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, I am as thou art, my people as thy people, my horses as thy horses.
As a good king, it is quite possible that Jehoshaphat was trying to carry out God’s purpose for his nation, which is to draw other nations to the God of Israel. However, putting himself and his people under an unrighteous king’s control is not the way to go about it. (Ahem, get it? Any unrighteous political leader. Ringing a bell, anyone?)
And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, I will disguise myself, and enter into the battle; but put thou on thy robes.
Clearly this was to take the brunt of the fighting, aimed at the king! The natural reaction is to wonder what is wrong with Jehoshaphat! The answer is “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death…” (Romans 6:16)
And the king of Israel disguised himself, and went into the battle…And it came to pass, when the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, that they said, Surely it is the king of Israel. And they turned aside to fight against him: and Jehoshaphat cried out…when the captains of the chariots perceived that it was not the king of Israel…they turned back from pursuing him…..And a certain man drew a bow at a venture [under God’s control], and smote the king of Israel between the joints of the harness…and the king was stayed up in his chariot against the Syrians, and died at even: and the blood ran out of the wound into the midst of the chariot. So the king died, and was brought to Samaria; and they buried the king in Samaria. And one washed the chariot in the pool of Samaria; and the dogs licked up his blood…according unto the word of the Lord which he spake.” (I Kings 22)
Jezebel is readily acknowledged to be the prototypical Whore of Babylon, the Woman who rides the Beast during the greatest tribulation ever. As such, we should expect to find a future Ahab as well. We have more records on Ahab and Jezebel than on any other kings besides David and Solomon for a reason. When we take the time to study these precursor events referenced by future prophecies, we find that, despite doing more to provoke the LORD God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel that were before him, God gave him plenty of time and rope to hang himself.
One reason, surely, is for chastening of his people. Certainly many Israelites fled south to Judah, as we find that many years later when King Josiah celebrates Passover for the first time in many generations, that it is recorded that “And there was no passover like to that kept in Israel from the days of Samuel the prophet; neither did all the kings of Israel keep such a passover as Josiah kept, and the priests, and the Levites, and all Judah and Israel that were present, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem.” (II Chronicles 35:17-19)
But there is undoubtedly more to it. When I read that Ahab remained propped up in his chariot all day after he was mortally wounded, bleeding to death, my first reaction is that he was a fighter, rather heroic. But he wasn’t being heroic when he asked Jehoshaphat to cover for him, so another explanation for his behavior is that he was simply being stubborn. Reminds me of Pharaoh. And that fits.
When God sent Moses to deliver his people from Egypt’s tribulation, he showed his superior power through an escalating series of wonders. His power over death would not have been shown if Pharaoh hadn’t been so stubborn. We can conclude the same circumstances occurred when he sent Elijah to deliver his people from Ahab/Jezebel’s tribulation. We can again apply this pattern of behavior when God sent John the Baptist / Elijah to deliver his people from Rome’s tribulation during Christ’s first coming. Once we take into account historic patterns of behavior we are able to recognize its future recurrence.
“I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed. These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.” (Revelation 11:3-6)
Ahaziah the son of Ahab began to reign over Israel in Samaria…And he did evil in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the way of his father, and in the way of his mother…And Ahaziah…was sick: and he sent messengers, and said unto them, Go, enquire of Baalzebub the god of Ekron whether I shall recover of this disease. But the angel of the LORD said to Elijah the Tishbite, Arise, go up to meet the messengers of the king of Samaria, and say unto them, Is it not because there is not a God in Israel, that ye go to enquire of Baalzebub the god of Ekron? Now therefore thus saith the LORD, Thou shalt not come down from that bed on which thou art gone up, but shalt surely die…
- Then the king sent unto him a captain of fifty with his fifty. And he went up to him: and, behold, he sat on the top of an hill. And he spake unto him, Thou man of God, the king hath said, Come down…And there came down fire from heaven, and consumed him and his fifty.
- Again also he sent unto him another captain of fifty with his fifty. And he answered and said unto him, O man of God, thus hath the king said, Come down quickly…And the fire of God came down from heaven, and consumed him and his fifty.
- And he sent again a captain of the third fifty with his fifty. And the third captain of fifty went up, and came and fell on his knees before Elijah, and besought him, and said unto him, O man of God, I pray thee, let my life, and the life of these fifty thy servants, be precious in thy sight. And the angel of the LORD said unto Elijah, Go down with him…So the king died according to the word of the LORD which Elijah had spoken…And J(eh)oram reigned in his stead.” (II Kings 1)
At this, Elijah gets his wish to end his tumultuous earthly existence, and passes his mantle to Elisha, whose request for a double portion of Elijah’s spirit shouldn’t be seen as greed. It was based on awareness of the escalating battle against evil, and the need for more weaponry.
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)” (II Corinthians 10:3-4)
“be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand…having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;” (Ephesians 6:10-18)
Elisha and his sons / students kept the destruction of Israel at bay for many generations.
“Iking Jehoram…sent to Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, saying…wilt thou go with me against Moab to battle? And he said, I will go up: I am as thou art, my people as thy people, and my horses as thy horses. So the king of Israel went, and the king of Judah, and the king of Edom:
And king Jehoram went out of Samaria…against Moab to battle…through the wilderness of Edom…and they fetched a compass [arc] of seven days’ journey [clearly for a surprise assault through an unprotected border, like Hitler into France]: and there was no water for the host, and for the cattle that followed them. And the king of Israel said, Alas! that the LORD hath called these three kings together, to deliver them into the hand of Moab!
But Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the LORD, that we may enquire of the LORD by him [for salvation from this mess we’re in]? And one of the king of Israel’s servants answered and said, Here is Elisha the son of Shaphat, which poured water on the hands of Elijah. And Jehoshaphat said, The word of the LORD is with him. So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat and the king of Edom went down to him.
And Elisha said, As the LORD of hosts liveth, before whom I stand, surely, were it not that I regard the presence of Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, I would not look toward thee, nor see thee. But now bring me a minstrel. And it came to pass, when the minstrel played, that the hand of the LORD came upon him.
Demonstrating the effectiveness of music to access the spirit dimension…
The biblical account of the fall of the house of Ahab meets the high standards of any episode of Game of Thrones. I dare you to be bored with this historical account in the Bible.
And king Joram went back to be healed in Jezreel of the wounds which the Syrians had given him at Ramah, when he fought against Hazael king of Syria.”
Just as Elijah anointed successors, so does Elisha. “For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.” (Romans 13:1)
“And Elisha the prophet called one of the children [trainees] of the prophets, and said unto him, Gird up thy loins, and take this box of oil in thine hand, and go to Ramothgilead: and when thou comest thither, look out there Jehu the son of Jehoshaphat the son of Nimshi, and go in, and make him arise up from among his brethren, and carry him to an inner chamber; Then take the box of oil, and pour it on his head, and say, Thus saith the LORD, I have anointed thee king over Israel. Then open the door, and flee, and tarry not [this is going to be wild]. So the young man, even the young man the prophet, went to Ramothgilead.
And when he came, behold, the captains of the host were sitting; and he said, I have an errand to thee, O captain. And Jehu said, Unto which of all us? And he said, To thee, O captain. And he arose, and went into the house; and he poured the oil on his head, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I have anointed thee king over the people of the LORD, even over Israel. And thou shalt smite the house of Ahab thy master, that I may avenge the blood of my servants the prophets, and the blood of all the servants of the Lord, at the hand of Jezebel. For the whole house of Ahab shall perish…And the dogs shall eat Jezebel in the portion of Jezreel, and there shall be none to bury her. And he opened the door, and fled.
Then Jehu came forth to the servants of his lord: and one said unto him, Is all well? wherefore came this mad fellow to thee? And he said unto them, Ye know the man, and his communication. [Figuring they were listening at the door.] And they said, It is false [no we didn’t!]; tell us now. And he said…Thus saith the LORD, I have anointed thee king over Israel.
Then they hasted, and took every man his [protective battle] garment, and put it under him [like a bullet proof vest] on the top of the stairs, and blew with trumpets, saying, Jehu is king. So Jehu the son of Jehoshaphat the son of Nimshi conspired against Joram…
And Jehu said, If it be your minds, then let none go forth nor escape out of the city to go to tell it in Jezreel. So Jehu rode in a chariot, and went to Jezreel; for Joram lay there…
And there stood a watchman on the tower in Jezreel, and he spied the company of Jehu as he came, and said, I see a company. And Joram said, Take an horseman, and send to meet them, and let him say, Is it peace? [Expecting a coup d’etate.] So there went one on horseback to meet him, and said, Thus saith the king, Is it peace? And Jehu said, What hast thou to do with peace? turn thee behind [to follow / join] me. And the watchman told, saying, The messenger came to them, but he cometh not again.
Then he sent out a second on horseback…And the watchman told, saying, He came even unto them, and cometh not again: and the driving is like the driving of Jehu the son of Nimshi; for he driveth furiously.
And Joram said, Make ready. And his chariot was made ready. And Joram king of Israel…went out against Jehu, and met him in the portion of Naboth the Jezreelite [foreshadowing here!]. And it came to pass, when Joram saw Jehu, that he said, Is it peace, Jehu? And he answered, What peace, so long as the whoredoms of thy mother Jezebel and her witchcrafts are so many?
And Joram turned his hands [on the reigns], and fled…And Jehu drew a bow with his full strength, and smote Jehoram between his arms, and the arrow went out at his heart, and he sunk down in his chariot.
Some fantastic shooting from a bouncing chariot or else another “guided missile” like the one that hit Ahab.
Then said Jehu to Bidkar his captain, Take up, and cast him in the portion of the field of Naboth the Jezreelite: for remember how that, when I and thou rode together after Ahab his father, the LORD laid this burden upon him; Surely I have seen yesterday the blood of Naboth, and the blood of his sons, saith the LORD; and I will requite thee in this plat, saith the LORD. Now therefore take and cast him into the plat of ground, according to the word of the LORD.
And when Jehu was come to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it; and she painted her face, and tired her head, and looked out at a window. And as Jehu entered in at the gate, she said, Had Zimri peace, who slew his master?
And he lifted up his face to the window, and said, Who is on my side? who? And there looked out to him two or three eunuchs. And he said, Throw her down. So they threw her down: and some of her blood was sprinkled on the wall, and on the horses: and he trode her under foot. And when he was come in, he did eat and drink, and said, Go, see now this cursed woman, and bury her: for she is a king’s daughter. And they went to bury her: but they found no more of her than the skull, and the feet, and the palms of her hands. [How do I know she was tattoed? Because it was a pagan practice at that time.]
Wherefore they came again, and told him. And he said, This is the word of the LORD, which he spake by his servant Elijah the Tishbite, saying, In the portion of Jezreel shall dogs eat the flesh of Jezebel: And the carcase of Jezebel shall be as dung upon the face of the field in the portion of Jezreel; so that they shall not say, This is Jezebel. (2 Kings 9)
What emerges at this time is a pattern of half-hearted faith by the next rulers, neither hot nor cold, crying out for help under duress but not fully allying with the God who saves. Sound familiar? God is long suffering, but his patience does run out.
“But Jehu took no heed to walk in the law of the LORD God of Israel with all his heart: for he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam, which made Israel to sin. In those days the LORD began to cut Israel short: and Hazael king of Syria smote them in all the coasts of Israel;” (II K 10:3-33)
“Jehoahaz the son of Jehu…reigned seventeen years. And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, and followed the sins of Jeroboam…the LORD…delivered them into the hand of Hazael king of Syria, and into the hand of Benhadad the son of Hazael, all their days. And Jehoahaz besought the LORD…And the LORD gave Israel a saviour, so that they went out from under the hand of the Syrians.” (II Kings 13:1-5)
“Jehoash the son of Jehoahaz…reigned sixteen years. And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD; he departed not from all the sins of Jeroboam...Jehoash…took again out of the hand of Benhadad the son of Hazael the cities, which he had taken out of the hand of Jehoahaz his father by war. Three times did Joash beat him, and recovered the cities of Israel.” (II Kings 13:10-11, 25)
“Jeroboam the son of J[eh]oash king of Israel…reigned forty and one years. And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD: he departed not from all the sins of Jeroboam…He restored the coast of Israel from the entering of Hamath unto the sea of the plain, according to the word of the Lord God of Israel, which he spake by the hand of his servant Jonah, the son of Amittai, the prophet, which was of Gathhepher [undoubtedly just one of the many prophecies that were not included in the final archive for the sake of limiting the size]. For the LORD saw the affliction of Israel, that it was very bitter: for there was not any shut up, nor any left, nor any helper for Israel. And the LORD said not that he would blot out the name of Israel from under heaven: but he saved them by the hand of Jeroboam the son of Joash.” (II Kings 14:23-27)
But despite the LORD’s salvation in the days of Jehoahaz, Jehoash, and Jeroboam, this dynasty refused to give him his due credit, honor and worship. And suffered the consequences of their disrespect. Israel’s powerful protective military fractured into militias waging civil war.
“Zachariah the son of Jeroboam reign over Israel in Samaria six months. And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, as his fathers had done: he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam…And Shallum the son of Jabesh conspired against him, and smote him and reigned in his stead.” (II Kings 15:8-10)
“Shallum the son of Jabesh…reigned a full month in Samaria. [Does anyone besides me find that “full” a sarcastic commentary?] For Menahem the son of Gadi…slew him, and reigned in his stead.” (II Kings 15:13-14)
“Menahem the son of Gadi…reigned ten years in Samaria.And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD: he departed not all his days from the sins of Jeroboam…Menahem smote Tiphsah…and the coasts thereof from Tirzah: because they opened not to him…and all the women therein that were with child he ripped up…And Pul the king of Assyria came against the land: and Menahem gave Pul a thousand talents of silver, that his hand might be with him to confirm the kingdom in his hand. And Menahem exacted the money of Israel, even of all the mighty men of wealth, of each man fifty shekels of silver, to give to the king of Assyria. So the king of Assyria turned back, and stayed not there in the land.” (II Kings 15:16-20)
“Pekahiah the son of Menahem…reigned two years. And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD: he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam. But Pekah the son of Remaliah, a captain of his, conspired against him, and smote him in Samaria, in the palace of the king’s house, with Argob and Arieh, and with him fifty men of the Gileadites: and he killed him, and reigned in his room.” (II Kings 15:23-25)
“Pekah the son of Remaliah…reigned twenty years. And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD: he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam…In the days of Pekah king of Israel came Tiglathpileser king of Assyria, and took Ijon, and Abelbethmaachah, and Janoah, and Kedesh, and Hazor, and Gilead, and Galilee, all the land of Naphtali, and carried them captive to Assyria. And Hoshea the son of Elah made a conspiracy against Pekah the son of Remaliah, and smote him, and slew him, and reigned in his stead.” (II Kings 15:27-30)
“Hoshea the son of Elah…reign in Samaria over Israel nine years. And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, but not as the kings of Israel that were before him. Against him came up Shalmaneser king of Assyria; and Hoshea became his servant, and gave him presents [euphemism for tribute]. And the king of Assyria found conspiracy in Hoshea: for he had sent messengers to So king of Egypt, and brought no present to the king of Assyria, as he had done year by year: therefore the king of Assyria shut him up, and bound him in prison…and went up to Samaria, and besieged it three years. In the ninth year of Hoshea the king of Assyria took Samaria, and carried Israel away into Assyria, and placed them in Halah and in Habor by the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes...So was Israel carried away out of their own land to Assyria unto this day…And the king of Assyria brought men from Babylon, and from Cuthah, and from Ava, and from Hamath, and from Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the children of Israel: and they possessed Samaria, and dwelt in the cities thereof…And so it was at the beginning of their dwelling there, that they feared not the LORD: therefore the LORD sent lions among them, which slew some of them. Wherefore they spake to the king of Assyria, saying, The nations which thou hast…placed in the cities of Samaria, know not the manner of the God of the land: therefore he hath sent lions among them, and, behold, they slay them, because they know not the manner of the God of the land. Then the king of Assyria commanded, saying, Carry thither one of the priests whom ye brought from thence; and let them go and dwell there, and let him teach them the manner of the God of the land. Then one of the priests whom they had carried away from Samaria came and dwelt in Bethel, and taught them how they should fear the LORD. Howbeit every nation made gods of their own, and put them in the houses of the high places which the Samaritans had made, every nation in their cities wherein they dwelt.
- And the men of Babylon made Succothbenoth,
- the men of Cuth made Nergal,
- the men of Hamath made Ashima,
- And the Avites made Nibhaz and Tartak,
- the Sepharvites burnt their children in fire to Adram-melech and Anam-melech.
So they feared the LORD, and…served their own gods, after the manner of the nations whom they carried away from thence. Unto this day they do after the former manners: they fear not the Lord, neither do they after their statutes, or after their ordinances, or after the law and commandment which the LORD commanded the children of Jacob, whom he named Israel; With whom the LORD had made a covenant, and charged them, saying, Ye shall not fear other gods, nor bow yourselves to them, nor serve them, nor sacrifice to them…as did their fathers, so do they unto this day.” (II Ki 17:1-41)
The following history is drawn from the parallel records (like the Gospels) of the kings in Kings and Chronicles.
Flashback in time to the beginning of the breakaway kingdom of Israel under Jeroboam.
In the eighteenth year of king Jeroboam began Abijah [son of Rehoboam] to reign over Judah. And there was war between Abijah and Jeroboam.
- Abijah set the battle in array with an army of…400,000 chosen men:
- Jeroboam also set the battle in array against him with 800,000 chosen men…
And Abijah stood up upon mount Zemaraim, which is in mount Ephraim, and said…ye think to withstand the kingdom of the LORD in the hand of the sons of David; and ye be a great multitude, and there are with your golden calves, which Jeroboam made you for gods. Have ye not cast out the priests of the Lord, the sons of Aaron, and the Levites, and have made you priests after the manner of the nations of other lands? so that whosoever cometh to consecrate himself with a young bullock and seven rams, the same may be a priest of them that are no gods.
But as for us, the LORD is our God, and we have not forsaken him; and the priests, which minister unto the LORD, are the sons of Aaron, and the Levites wait upon their business…for we keep the charge of the LORD our God; but ye have forsaken him. And, behold, God himself is with us for our captain, and his priests with sounding trumpets to cry alarm against you. [Referencing Joshua’s documented experience.]
O children of Israel, fight ye not against the LORD God of your fathers; for ye shall not prosper. [Standard offer to repent and convert prior to judgment.]
But Jeroboam caused an ambushment to come about behind them: so…they cried unto the LORD, and the priests sounded with the trumpets. Then the men of Judah gave a shout: and as the men of Judah shouted, it came to pass, that God smote Jeroboam and all Israel before Abijah and Judah…and God delivered them into their hand. And Abijah and his people slew them with a great slaughter: so there fell down slain of Israel five hundred thousand chosen men.
Thus the children of Israel were brought under at that time, and the children of Judah prevailed, because they relied upon the LORD God of their fathers.
And Abijah…waxed mighty, and married fourteen wives, and begat twenty and two sons, and sixteen daughters. And the rest of the acts of Abijah, and his ways, and his sayings, are written in the story of the prophet Iddo.
So Abijah slept with his fathers…Asa his son reigned in his stead.
- And Asa had an army of men that bare targets and spears…580,000
- Zerah the Ethiopian with an host of a 1,000,000 and 300 chariots…
and they set the battle in array…And Asa cried unto the LORD his God, and said, LORD, it is nothing with thee to help, whether with many, or with them that have no power: help us, O LORD our God; for we rest on thee, and in thy name we go against this multitude. O LORD, thou art our God; let no man prevail against thee. So the LORD smote the Ethiopians before Asa, and before Judah; and…the Ethiopians were overthrown, that they could not recover themselves; for they were destroyed before the LORD, and before his host; and they carried away very much spoil.
And they smote all the cities round about Gerar; for the fear of the Lord came upon them: and they spoiled all the cities; for there was exceeding much spoil in them. They smote also the tents of cattle, and carried away sheep and camels in abundance, and returned to Jerusalem.
And the Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded: And he went out to meet Asa, and said unto him, Hear ye me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin; The LORD is with you, while ye be with him; and if ye seek him, he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you…Be ye strong therefore, and let not your hands be weak: for your work shall be rewarded.
And when Asa heard these words, and the prophecy of Oded the prophet, he took courage, and put away the abominable idols out of all the land of Judah and Benjamin, and out of the cities which he had taken from mount Ephraim, and renewed the altar of the Lord, that was before the porch of the Lord. And he gathered all Judah and Benjamin, and the strangers with them out of Ephraim and Manasseh, and out of Simeon: for they fell to him out of Israel in abundance, when they saw that the LORD his God was with him…And they entered into a covenant to seek the LORD God of their fathers with all their heart and with all their soul…with shouting, and with trumpets…And also concerning Maachah the mother of Asa the king, he removed her from being queen, because she had made an idol in a grove: and Asa cut down her idol, and stamped it, and burnt it at the brook Kidron….
And there was no more war unto the 35th year of the reign of Asa…And at that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah, and said unto him, Because thou hast relied on the king of Syria, and not relied on the LORD thy God…from henceforth thou shalt have wars. Then Asa was wroth with the seer, and put him in a prison house; for he was in a rage with him because of this thing. And Asa oppressed some of the people the same time.
And Jehoshaphat his son reigned in his stead, and strengthened himself against Israel…
And the Lord was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the first ways of his father David, and sought not unto Baalim; But sought to the LORD God of his father, and walked in his commandments, and not after the doings of Israel…he took away the high places and groves out of Judah.
Also…he sent to his princes…to teach in the cities of Judah. And with them he sent Levites…and with them Elishama and Jehoram, priests….And they had the book of the law of the LORD with them, and went about throughout all the cities of Judah, and taught the people.
And the fear of the LORD fell upon all the kingdoms of the lands that were round about Judah, so that they made no war against Jehoshaphat. Also some of the Philistines brought presents, and tribute silver; and the Arabians brought him flocks…And Jehoshaphat waxed great exceedingly; and he built in Judah castles, and cities of store.
And he had much business in the cities of Judah…and joined affinity with Ahab…And Jehu the son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him, and said to king Jehoshaphat, Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the LORD? therefore is wrath upon thee from before the LORD.
Then there came some that told Jehoshaphat, saying, There cometh a great multitude against thee from beyond the [Dead] sea on this side Syria; and, behold, they be in Hazazontamar, which is Engedi.
And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the LORD, and…Judah gathered themselves together…And Jehoshaphat…said, O LORD God of our fathers, art not thou God in heaven? and rulest not thou over all the kingdoms of the heathen?…Art not thou our God, who didst drive out the inhabitants of this land before thy people Israel, and gavest it to the seed of Abraham thy friend for ever?…And now, behold, the children of Ammon and Moab and mount Seir, whom thou wouldest not let Israel invade, when they came out of the land of Egypt, but they turned from them, and destroyed them not; Behold, I say, how they reward us, to come to cast us out of thy possession, which thou hast given us to inherit. O our God, wilt thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee.
Then upon Jahaziel…a Levite of the sons of Asaph, came the Spirit of the LORD in the midst of the congregation; And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the LORD unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s…Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the LORD with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the LORD will be with you…
And they rose early in the morning, and went forth into the wilderness of Tekoa: and as they went forth, Jehoshaphat stood and said, Hear me, O Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem; Believe in the LORD your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper…And when they began to sing and to praise, the LORD set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab, and [Edomites of] mount Seir, which were come against Judah; and they were smitten. For the children of Ammon and Moab stood up against the inhabitants of mount Seir, utterly to slay and destroy them: and when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, every one helped to destroy another…And when Jehoshaphat and his people came to take away the spoil of them…and they were three days in gathering of the spoil, it was so much. And the fear of God was on all the kingdoms of those countries, when they had heard that the Lord fought against the enemies of Israel. So the realm of Jehoshaphat was quiet: for his God gave him rest round about. Now the rest of the acts of Jehoshaphat, first and last, behold, they are written in the book of Jehu the son of Hanani, who is mentioned in the book of the kings of Israel…
after this did Jehoshaphat king of Judah join himself with Ahaziah king of Israel…to make ships to go to Tarshish…Then Eliezer the son of Dodavah of Mareshah prophesied against Jehoshaphat, saying, Because thou hast joined thyself with Ahaziah, the LORD hath broken thy works. And the ships were broken, that they were not able to go to Tarshish.
Now Jehoshaphat slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David. And Jehoram his son reigned in his stead…because he was the firstborn…
Now…he strengthened himself, and slew all his brethren with the sword, and divers also of the princes of Israel…And he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, like as did the house of Ahab: for he had [Athaliah] the daughter of Ahab to wife: and he wrought that which was evil in the eyes of the LORD….Moreover he made high places in the mountains of Judah and…compelled Judah thereto.
And there came a writing to him from Elijah the prophet, saying, Thus saith the LORD God of David thy father, Because thou hast not walked in the ways of Jehoshaphat thy father…But hast walked in the way of the kings of Israel, and hast made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to go a whoring, like to the whoredoms of the house of Ahab, and also hast slain thy brethren of thy father’s house, which were better than thyself: Behold, with a great plague will the LORD smite thy people, and thy children, and thy wives, and all thy goods: And thou shalt have great sickness by disease of thy bowels, until thy bowels fall out by reason of the sickness day by day…
the LORD stirred up against Jehoram the spirit of the Philistines, and of the Arabians, that were near the Ethiopians…And they came up into Judah…and carried away all the substance that was found in the king’s house, and his sons also, and his wives; so that there was never a son left him, save Jeho-ahaz / Jehovah has taken possession of, the youngest of his sons.
And after all this the LORD smote him in his bowels with an incurable disease….after the end of two years, his bowels fell out by reason of his sickness: so he died of sore diseases. And his people made no burning for him, like the burning of his fathers…he reigned in Jerusalem eight years, and departed without being desired…they buried him…not in the sepulchres of the kings…Jehoram was 32 years old when he began to reign, and he reigned 8 years in Jerusalem, dying at the age of 40
- Ahaziah the son of Jehoram king of Judah was 42 years old when he began to reign, and he reigned one year in Jerusalem. His mother’s name also was Athaliah the daughter of Omri. (II Chronicles 22:21-23)
- Ahaziah Jehoram’s son was 22 years old when he began to reign; and he reigned one year in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Athaliah, the daughter of Omri king of Israel. (II Kings 8:24-26)
When there is an inconsistency – like 20 years’ difference in age – it is easy to overlook or dismiss as a mistake. But this is where it’s important to do the detective work. We have to back up to find the beginning of the trail of evidence that brings us to a conclusion. When does something that is really out of place first surface in a king of Judah?
- Jehoshaphat…joined affinity with Ahab.
Intermarriage between royal dynasties has been a political strategy as far back as the Late Bronze Age...It avoided the inevitable border conflicts and promoted peace and trade between nations, secured a military alliance…against a third dynasty, and provided a legal claim of inheritance to expand into the allied territory whenever the allied monarch failed to leave an undisputed heir. (Emphasis added.)
All these strategies are in evidence with Jehoshaphat’s and Ahab’s alliance, especially the plan to eventually absorb the other’s territory into their own.
For Jehoshaphat, it would bring honor and glory by accomplishing the noble restoration of the entire nation of Israel under YHVH. This had been attempted but failed in military skirmishes over the short course of the last 61 years by his father Asa, grandfather Abijah, and great-grandfather Rehoboam.
[When] Isabella was announced to all the courts of Europe as the successor to the thrones of Castile and Leon…Richard, Duke of Gloucester, renowned in the annals of crime, brother of Henry IV. of England, sought, it is said, the ambitious alliance… The…heir-presumptive to the French monarchy, was eager, by marriage with Isabella, to unite the crowns of Castile and Leon with that of France…Isabella…turned her eyes to her kinsman, Ferdinand of Aragon. The union of these two contiguous realms would indeed constitute a magnificent kingdom, homogeneous in language, manners, and religion. (Emphasis added.)
For Ahab, it would complete the Adversary’s takeover YHVH’s Chosen People and destruction of the Seed of the Woman through the promised lineage of David.
- in the fifth year of J(eh)oram the son of Ahab king of Israel…J(eh)oram the son of Jehoshaphat king of Judah began to reign… and slew all his brethren with the sword, and divers also of the princes of Israel…And he walked in the way of…the house of Ahab: for [Athaliah] the daughter of Ahab was his wife:
- And Joram slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David: and Ahaziah his son reigned in his stead. His mother’s name…was Athaliah the daughter of Omri. He also walked in the ways of the house of Ahab: for his mother was his counsellor to do wickedly. Wherefore he did evil in the sight of the Lord like the house of Ahab: for they were his counsellors
Culturally, at least, although not yet by covenant, Judah is being absorbed by Israel. Notice that, ever since the marriage alliance, David’s lineage of Judah and Omri’s lineage of kings have the same names, simply with or without “h” like in our use as Rebecca or Rebeckah (Jehoram = Joram). Now, the same Canaanite bloodline has been introduced into the seed of David. Conspiracy? Absolutely!
And here we’ve reached the king with the discrepancy in age. We need numerical data to account for the 20 years’ discrepancy.
Begin counting years from the time Jehoshaphat ascended the throne of Judah and began the misbegotten alliance with Ahab of Israel.
- 1 Jehoshaphat ascends the throne at age 35.
- Jehoram ibn Jehoshaphat married to Ahab’s sister Athaliah
- 21 Jehoram ibn Ahab takes the throne of Israel, reigns 12 years. I cannot find out how old he was from any source.
- 25 Jehoram ibn Jehoshaphat takes the throne of Judah at the age of 32 for 8 years.
- 33 Ahaziah, son of Athaliah, either 22 or 42 years old, with known blood ties to House Ahab, ascends the throne of Judah, allies for war with his cousin Jehoram of Israel, but both are killed by Jehu within the year.
One possible explanation for the different ages reported is that II Kings documents the publicly proclaimed age, and II Chronicles documents the secret true age. By this I mean that that the true heir was switched with an older changeling pretender.
This would mean that the 22 year old Ahaziah was born when Jehoram was 10 years old and married to Athalia. This is not unbelievable, neither that Jehoram reached sexual development at age 10 and Athaliah was sexually mature, nor that the two families rushed a royal alliance with young children where lineage is of supreme importance. The youngest British monarch to marry was 4 years 134 days old in 1328.
It is also not unbelievable a switch could be made with a boy 20 years older than the true Ahaziah without key stakeholders being unaware of it. King’s sons were commonly raised in other households, not only kinsfolk but the households of allies with vested interests in maintaining close bonds between families.
Fostering in the past was a form of child-rearing chosen and upheld for positive reasons…a lifelong contract. Intimate bonds created through fostering carried immediate and long term consequences. Fostering helped to mould the…child, and its enduring character…
the maternal and paternal kin had a say in where the child was placed, thus the kin group as a whole took an active interest in the future of the child…—as heir, succour in life, support in old age…
Seven years was traditionally regarded as the suitable age for the commencement of fostering. A child of that age was generally regarded as having reached the age of learning and reason. There is evidence, however, for fostering commencing at a much earlier stage, through the practice of wet-nursing.
Fostering is specifically stated as a practice among Ahab’s, ergo Athaliah’s, culture.
And Ahab had seventy sons in Samaria (not just the three shown in the chart above]…with the great men of the city, which brought them up.
There is evidence that Ahaziah age 22, heir to the kingdom of Judah, was fostered in Israel along with Ahab’s sons.
when Jehu was executing judgment upon the house of Ahab, and found
- the princes of Judah, and [a separate group]
- the sons of the brethren / maternal kinsmen of Ahaziah, that ministered to Ahaziah [regarding his vested interests in Israel]
There are also both textual and contextual indications that the Ahaziah who inherited the throne of Israel at age 42 is secretly not the son of Joram at all, but a changling son of Ahab who was switched with the true heir to the throne of Judah while being fostered in Israel. In that case, the above line would mean that Jehu found
- the sons of the [biological] brethren of Ahaziah.
And Jehu wrote letters, and sent to…them that brought up Ahab’s children [including grandchildren], saying…Look even out the best and meetest of your master’s sons, and set him on his father’s throne, and fight for your master’s house. But they were exceedingly afraid, and said, Behold, two kings stood not before him: how then shall we stand…and the bringers up of the children, sent to Jehu, saying…we will not make any king: do thou that which is good in thine eyes. Then he wrote a letter the second time to them, saying…take ye the heads of the men your master’s sons, and come to me to Jezreel by to morrow this time. Now the king’s sons, being seventy persons, were with the great men of the city, which brought them up. And it came to pass, when the letter came to them, that they took the king’s sons, and slew seventy persons, and put their heads in baskets, and sent him them to Jezreel…
So Jehu slew all that remained of the house of Ahab in Jezreel… until he left him none remaining.
he went out, and stood, and said to all the people...Know now that there shall fall unto the earth nothing of the word of the LORD, which the LORD spake concerning the house of Ahab: for the LORD hath done that which he spake by his servant Elijah.
Thus saith the LORD, In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick thy blood, even thine. Behold, I will…take away thy posterity, and will cut off from Ahab him that pisseth against the wall [out and about away from bathrooms in buildings], and him that is shut up [in hiding] and left in Israel,” (II Kings 17:19-21)
And he arose and departed [Jezreel], and came to Samaria. And as he was at the shearing house in the way, Jehu met with the brethren of Ahaziah king of Judah, and said, Who are ye? And they answered, We are the brethren of Ahaziah…And they…slew them at the pit of the shearing house, even two and forty men; neither left he any of them.
And he sought Ahaziah: and they caught him, (for he was hid in Samaria,) and brought him to Jehu: and when they had slain him, they buried him: Because, said they, he is the son of Jehoshaphat, who sought the LORD with all his heart. So the house of Ahaziah had no power to keep still the kingdom.
This report is highly suggestive of Ahaziah, unbeknownst to all except the conspirators and the LORD, being a changeling prince. He was quite possibly born of incest between Athaliah and her brother Ahaziah who, with forethought and malice, bequeathed his identity to both his biological son and his incestuous lover’s intended switch born 20 years later to Jehoram of Israel.
Speaking of which, that name Jehoram shared between the sons of Jehoshaphat and Ahab indicates a planned alliance made years before being sealed by marriage.
None of their ages are given, just the length of the reigns, with a total cumulative dynastic era of 48 years. With this we can calculate that it is possible for Ahaziah to have fathered his namesake at the age of 26, 4 years into grandfather Omri’s reign. This is consistent with his death at age 58, and the stated age at death of 42 yrs old of Ahaziah.
There is another possible explanation for the discrepancy in ages, that is, that Ahaziah was physically 22 years old, but II Chronicles documents the age of an individual 20 years older from whom a spirit transfer was made. This was common in cultures rooted in paganism.
The use of magic and deceit by both the J(eh)orams of Judah and Israel under control of Queens Jezebel and Athaliah to transfer a spirit / god / Baal from the Canaanite dynasty to YHVH’s dynasty is not only possible, but more likely than not. While accepting that the Spirit of God enters and controls his people, most Bible readers aren’t as familiar with the parallel occurrence of evil spirit control of people.
Anthropology researchers believe the West African religion of Voodoo (Vodun) is over 6,000 years old with 60 million people practicing this ancient form of spirituality…
the idea of possession in Voodoo isn’t so different from the ideology of the Holy Ghost or Spirit entering and taking possession of a Christian believer…
Each spirit has his or her own personality, just as a human with very specific likes and dislikes…
Most of the possessed experience glossolalia (speaking in tongues)….to communicate…
The spirit world in Voodoo is invited…to eat the foods prepared and to impart wisdom…
And the transfer of the kingdom from David’s righteous lineage to Omri’s evil lineage is exactly what happened, even after the death of the seed royal.
when Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the seed royal [from other wives] of the house of Judah.
And Athaliah did reign over the land.
But Jehosheba, the daughter of king Joram, [would have been half-] sister of Ahaziah, took Joash the son of Ahaziah [from a different wife]…And his mother’s name was Zibiah of Beersheba…and stole him from among the king’s sons which were slain; and they hid him, even him and his nurse, in the bedchamber from Athaliah, so that he was not slain. And he was with her hid in the house of the LORD six years.
And YHVH keeps his promises.
And the seventh year Jehoiada sent and fetched the rulers over hundreds, with the captains and the guard, and brought them to him into the house of the LORD, and made a covenant with them, and took an oath of them in the house of the Lord, and shewed them the king’s son. And to the captains over hundreds did the priest give king David’s spears and shields, that were in the temple of the LORD.
And he brought forth the king’s son, and put the crown upon him, and gave him the testimony; and they made him king, and anointed him; and they clapped their hands, and said, God save the king.
And when Athaliah heard the noise of the guard and of the people, she came to the people into the temple of the LORD…and Athaliah rent her clothes, and cried, Treason, Treason.
But Jehoiada the priest commanded the captains of the hundreds, the officers of the host, and said unto them, Have her forth without the ranges: and him that followeth her kill with the sword. For the priest had said, Let her not be slain in the house of the Lord.
And Jehoiada made a covenant between the LORD and the king and the people, that they should be the LORD‘s people; between the king also and the people. And all the people of the land went into the house of Baal, and brake it down; his altars and his images brake they in pieces thoroughly, and slew Mattan the priest of Baal before the altars. And all the people of the land rejoiced, and the city was in quiet…
Seven years old was Jehoash when he began to reign…And Jehoash did that which was right in the sight of the LORD all his days wherein Jehoiada the priest instructed him..” (II Kings 11:1-12:1)
the sons of Athaliah, that wicked woman, had broken up the house of God; and also all the dedicated things of the house of the LORD did they bestow upon Baalim…And at the king’s commandment they made a chest, and set it without at the gate of the house of the LORD…to bring in to the LORD the collection that Moses the servant of God laid upon Israel in the wilderness...to mend the house of the LORD…And when they had finished it…made vessels for the house of the LORD…And they offered burnt offerings in the house of the Lord continually all the days of Jehoiada.
But Jehoiada [very likely earning the honorable title of Barachiah / Blessed of YHVH]…died; an hundred and thirty years old was he when he died. And they buried him in the city of David among the kings, because he had done good in Israel, both toward God, and toward his house. [Recognize another Melchizedek?]
Now after the death of Jehoiada came the princes of Judah, and made obeisance to the king. Then the king hearkened unto them. And they left the house of the LORD God of their fathers, and served groves and idols: and wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem for this their trespass. Yet he sent prophets to them, to bring them again unto the LORD; and they testified against them: but they would not give ear.
And the Spirit of God came upon Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest, which stood above the people, and said unto them, Thus saith God, Why transgress ye the commandments of the LORD, that ye cannot prosper? because ye have forsaken the LORD, he hath also forsaken you. And they conspired against him, and stoned him with stones at the commandment of the king in the court of the house of the LORD. Thus Joash the king remembered not the kindness which Jehoiada his father had done to him, but slew his son. And when he died, he said, The LORD look upon it, and require it.
And…at the end of the year…the host of Syria came up…and destroyed all the princes of the people from among the people, and sent all the spoil of them unto the king of Damascus…with a small company of men, and the LORD delivered a very great host into their hand. And…his own servants conspired against him for the blood of the sons of Jehoiada the priest, and slew him on his bed, and he died: and they buried him…not in the sepulchres of the kings.
And Amaziah his son reigned in his stead.
when the kingdom was established to him…he slew his servants that had killed the king his father. But he slew not their children, but did as it is written in the law in the book of Moses…The fathers shall not die for the children, neither shall the children die for the fathers, but every man shall die for his own sin.
Moreover Amaziah…numbered them from twenty years old and above, and found them 300,000…able to go forth to war…He hired also an 100,000 mighty men of valour out of Israel for an hundred talents of silver. But there came a man of God to him, saying, O king, let not the army of Israel go with thee; for the LORD is not with Israel…But if thou wilt…do it…God shall make thee fall before the enemy: for God hath power to help, and to cast down. And Amaziah said to the man of God, But what shall we do for the hundred talents which I have given to the army of Israel? And the man of God answered, The LORD is able to give thee much more than this.
Then Amaziah separated…the army that was come to him out of Ephraim, to go home again: wherefore their anger was greatly kindled against Judah, and they returned home in great anger [bc lost out on the spoils of war]…
Now it came to pass, after that Amaziah was come from the slaughter of the Edomites, that he brought the gods of the children of Seir, and set them up to be his gods, and bowed down himself before them, and burned incense unto them. Wherefore the anger of the Lord was kindled against Amaziah, and he sent unto him a prophet, which said unto him, Why hast thou sought after the gods of the people, which could not deliver their own people out of thine hand?
And it came to pass, as he talked with him, that the king said unto him, Art thou made of the king’s counsel? forbear; why shouldest thou be smitten? Then the prophet forbare, and said, I know that God hath determined to destroy thee, because thou hast done this, and hast not hearkened unto my counsel.
Then Amaziah king of Judah took advice, and sent to Joash, the son of Jehoahaz, the son of Jehu, king of Israel, saying, Come, let us see one another in the face. And Joash king of Israel sent to Amaziah king of Judah, saying, Lo, thou hast smitten the Edomites; and thine heart lifteth thee up to boast: abide now at home; why shouldest thou meddle to thine hurt, that thou shouldest fall, even thou, and Judah with thee? But Amaziah would not hear; for it came of God, that he might deliver them into the hand of their enemies, because they sought after the gods of Edom…And Joash the king of Israel…brake down the wall of Jerusalem from the gate of Ephraim to the corner gate, four hundred cubits. And he took all the gold and the silver, and all the vessels that were found in the house of God with Obededom, and the treasures of the king’s house, the hostages also, and returned to Samaria. And…they made a conspiracy against him in Jerusalem; and he fled to Lachish: but they sent to Lachish after him, and slew him there.
Then all the people of Judah took Uzziah, who was sixteen years old, and made him king in the room of his father Amaziah…
Sixteen years old was Uzziah when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty and two years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name also was Jecoliah of Jerusalem…And he sought God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding in the visions of God: and as long as he sought the LORD, God made him to prosper...And God helped him against the Philistines, and against the Arabians that dwelt in Gurbaal, and the Mehunims. And the Ammonites gave gifts to Uzziah: and his name spread abroad even to the entering in of Egypt; for he strengthened himself exceedingly.
Moreover Uzziah built towers in Jerusalem at the corner gate, and at the valley gate, and at the turning of the wall, and fortified them… Moreover Uzziah had…an army, 307,500…that made war with mighty power, to help the king against the enemy….And he made in Jerusalem engines, invented by cunning men, to be on the towers and upon the bulwarks, to shoot arrows and great stones withal. And his name spread far abroad; for he was marvellously helped, till he was strong.
But when he was strong, his heart was lifted up to his destruction: for he transgressed against the LORD his God, and went into the temple of the Lord to burn incense upon the altar of incense. And Azariah the priest went in after him, and with him fourscore priests of the Lord, that were valiant men: And they withstood Uzziah the king, and said unto him, It appertaineth not unto thee, Uzziah, to burn incense unto the LORD, but to the priests the sons of Aaron, that are consecrated to burn incense: go out of the sanctuary; for thou hast trespassed; neither shall it be for thine honour from the Lord God. Then Uzziah was wroth, and had a censer in his hand to burn incense: and while he was wroth with the priests, the leprosy even rose up in his forehead before the priests in the house of the Lord, from beside the incense altar. And…they thrust him out from thence; yea, himself hasted also to go out…And Uzziah the king was a leper unto the day of his death, and dwelt in a several house, being a leper; for he was cut off from the house of the LORD: and Jotham his son was over the king’s house, judging the people of the land.
Jotham was twenty and five years old when he began to reign,
and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name also was Jerushah, the daughter of Zadok / Righteous, as in Melchi -zedek. And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD…He built the high gate of the house of the LORD, and on the wall of Ophel he built much. Moreover he built cities in the mountains of Judah, and in the forests he built castles and towers. He fought also with the king of the Ammonites, and prevailed against them…So Jotham became mighty, because he prepared his ways before the LORD his God..the rest of…all his wars, and his ways, lo, they are written in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah.
Ahaz was twenty years old when he began to reign,
and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem: but he…
- walked in the ways of the kings of Israel,
- and made also molten images for Baalim.
- Moreover he burnt incense in the valley of the son of Hinnom,
- and burnt his children in the fire, after the abominations of the heathen whom the LORD had cast out before the children of Israel.
- He sacrificed also and burnt incense in the high places, and on the hills, and under every green tree.
Wherefore the Lord his God delivered him into the hand of the king of Syria; and they smote him, and carried away a great multitude of them captives, and brought them to Damascus. And he was also delivered into the hand of the king of Israel, who…slew in Judah an 120,000…in one day…carried away captive of their brethren 200,000 women, sons, and daughters, and took also away much spoil from them, and brought the spoil to Samaria. But a prophet of the LORD was there, whose name was Oded: and he went out before the host…and said unto them, Behold, because the LORD God of your fathers was wroth with Judah, he hath delivered them into your hand, and ye have slain them in a rage that reacheth up unto heaven. And now ye purpose to keep under the children of Judah and Jerusalem for bondmen and bondwomen unto you: but are there not with you, even with you, sins against the LORD your God? Now hear me therefore, and deliver the captives again, which ye have taken captive of your brethren: for the fierce wrath of the LORD is upon you. Then certain of the heads of the children of Ephraim, Azariah the son of Johanan, Berechiah the son of Meshillemoth, and Jehizkiah the son of Shallum, and Amasa the son of Hadlai, stood up against them that came from the war, And said unto them, Ye shall not bring in the captives hither: for whereas we have offended against the LORD already, ye intend to add more to our sins and to our trespass: for our trespass is great, and there is fierce wrath against Israel. So the armed men left the captives and the spoil before the princes and all the congregation. And the men which were expressed by name rose up, and took the captives, and with the spoil clothed all that were naked among them, and arrayed them, and shod them, and gave them to eat and to drink, and anointed them, and carried all the feeble of them upon asses, and brought them to Jericho, the city of palm trees, to their brethren…
At that time did king Ahaz send unto the kings of Assyria to help him. For again the Edomites had come and smitten Judah…The Philistines also had invaded the cities of the low country…And Tilgathpilneser king of Assyria came unto him, and distressed him, but strengthened him not…
And in the time of his distress did he trespass yet more against the LORD: this is that [infamous] king Ahaz. For he sacrificed unto the gods of Damascus, which smote him: and he said, Because the gods of the kings of Syria help them, therefore will I sacrifice to them, that they may help me.
And this is the first, but not the last time we find the utter corruption of YHVH’s sanctuary. This becomes a repeating pattern in Jerusalem requiring cleansing by fire.
“And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate. And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits. And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days…to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed. And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done.” (Daniel 11:31-36
And king Ahaz went to Damascus to meet Tiglathpileser king of Assyria, and saw an altar that was at Damascus: and king Ahaz sent to Urijah the priest the fashion of the altar, and the pattern of it, according to all the workmanship thereof. And Urijah the priest built an altar according to all that king Ahaz had sent…the king approached to the altar, and offered thereon. [See above with his father Ahaz’ transgression of just offering incense.] And he burnt his burnt offering and his meat offering, and poured his drink offering, and sprinkled the blood of his peace offerings, upon the altar.
And he brought also the brasen altar, which was before the LORD, and put it on the north side of the [new] altar. And king Ahaz commanded Urijah the priest, saying, Upon the great altar burn the morning burnt offering, and the evening meat offering, and the king’s burnt sacrifice, and his meat offering, with the burnt offering of all the people of the land, and their meat offering, and their drink offerings; and sprinkle upon it all the blood of the burnt offering, and all the blood of the sacrifice: and the brasen altar shall be for me to enquire by.
And king Ahaz…took down the sea from off the brasen oxen that were under it, and put it upon the pavement of stones. And…the king’s entry…turned he from the house of the Lord for the king of Assyria. (II Kings 16)
And Ahaz…cut in pieces the vessels of the house of God, and shut up the doors of the house of the LORD, and he made him altars in every corner of Jerusalem. And in every several city of Judah he made high places to burn incense unto other gods, and provoked to anger the LORD God of his fathers.
And Ahaz slept with his fathers, and they buried him in…Jerusalem: but they brought him not into the sepulchres of the kings…
Hezekiah began to reign when he was five and twenty years old, and he reigned nine and twenty years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Abijah, the daughter of Zechariah.
And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that David his father had done…in the first year of his reign, in the first month, opened the doors of the house of the LORD, and repaired them. And he brought in the priests and the Levites, and…said unto them, Hear me, ye Levites, sanctify now yourselves, and sanctify the house of the LORD God of your fathers, and carry forth the filthiness out of the holy place….Now it is in mine heart to make a covenant with the LORD God of Israel, that his fierce wrath may turn away from us…so they sanctified the house of the LORD in eight days…
And he set the Levites in the house of the LORD with cymbals, with psalteries, and with harps, according to the commandment of David, and of Gad the king’s seer, and Nathan the prophet: for so was the commandment of the LORD by his prophets…And when the burnt offering began, the song of the LORD began also with the trumpets, and with the instruments ordained by David king of Israel…
And Hezekiah sent to all Israel and Judah, and wrote letters also to Ephraim and Manasseh, that they should come to the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, to keep the passover unto the Lord God of Israel…So the posts went with the letters from the king and his princes throughout all Israel and Judah, and according to the commandment of the king, saying, Ye children of Israel, turn again unto the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, and he will return to the remnant of you, that are escaped out of the hand of the kings of Assyria…Now be ye not stiffnecked, as your fathers were, but yield yourselves unto the LORD, and enter into his sanctuary, which he hath sanctified for ever…For if ye turn again unto the LORD, your brethren and your children shall find compassion before them that lead them captive, so that they shall come again into this land: for the LORD your God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn away his face from you, if ye return unto him…Then they killed the passover on the fourteenth day of the second month…according to the law of Moses the man of God…And
Notice, please! Who is in attendance here? A multinational gathering, fulfilling YHVH’s purpose for Israel!
- all the congregation of Judah, with the priests and the Levites
- and all the congregation that came out of Israel
- and the strangers that came out of the land of Israel
- and [the strangers] that dwelt in Judah
rejoiced…for since the time of Solomon the son of David king of Israel there was not the like in Jerusalem. Then the priests the Levites arose and blessed the people: and their voice was heard, and their prayer came up to his holy dwelling place, even unto heaven.
Isaiah is the key prophet in the southern nation of Judah who successfully kept his flock from being destroyed by first the Israelite / Syrian alliance, then by Tiglathpileser of Assyria even after King Ahaz had everything prepared in readiness for the man of sin, the son of perdition, to sit himself in the temple of God, showing himself to be God. Isaiah continued to exert a profound influence on all succeeding generations through his written words.
“The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah…
the LORD hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me…Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger…Your country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire: your land, strangers devour it in your presence, and it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers…Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool…And I will restore thy judges as at the first, and thy counsellors as at the beginning: afterward thou shalt be called, The city of righteousness, the faithful city. Zion shall be redeemed with judgment, and her converts with righteousness. And the destruction of the transgressors and of the sinners shall be together.” (Isaiah 1)
And it came to pass…the king of Assyria…a great host against Jerusalem…And Rabshakeh said unto them, Speak ye now to Hezekiah, Thus saith the great king, the king of Assyria, What confidence is this wherein thou trustest?…if ye say unto me, We trust in the LORD our God…? The LORD said to me, Go up against this land, and destroy it…Hath any of the gods of the nations delivered at all his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria?…Who are they among all the gods of the countries, that have delivered their country out of mine hand, that the LORD should deliver Jerusalem out of mine hand…
And Hezekiah prayed before the LORD…Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah, saying, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, That which thou hast prayed to me against Sennacherib king of Assyria I have heard. This is the word that the Lord hath spoken concerning him…Whom hast thou reproached and blasphemed? and against whom hast thou exalted thy voice, and lifted up thine eyes on high? even against the Holy One of Israel…Because thy rage against me and thy tumult is come up into mine ears, therefore I will put my hook in thy nose, and my bridle in thy lips, and I will turn thee back by the way by which thou camest…For I will defend this city, to save it, for mine own sake, and for my servant David’s sake. And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the Lord went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses. So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed, and went and returned, and dwelt at Nineveh. And it came to pass, as he was worshipping in the house of Nisroch his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer his sons smote him with the sword” (II Ki 18-19)
At that time Merodachbaladan, the son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a present to Hezekiah…And Hezekiah was glad of them, and shewed them the house of his precious things [demonstrating the value of an alliance with him], the silver, and the gold, and the spices, and the precious ointment, and all the house of his armour, and all that was found in his treasures: there was nothing in his house, nor in all his dominion, that Hezekiah shewed them not. Then came Isaiah the prophet unto king Hezekiah, and said unto him…Hear the word of the LORD of hosts: Behold, the days come, that all that is in thine house, and that which thy fathers have laid up in store until this day, shall be carried to Babylon: nothing shall be left, saith the LORD. And of thy sons that shall issue from thee, which thou shalt beget, shall they take away; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon. [Trust only in YHVH!]
And Manasseh his son reigned in his stead.
Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty and five years in Jerusalem: But…he built again the high places which Hezekiah his father had broken down, and he reared up altars for Baalim, and made groves, and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served them…And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the Lord. And he caused his children to pass through the fire in the valley of the son of Hinnom: also he observed times, and used enchantments, and used witchcraft, and dealt with a familiar spirit, and with wizards…And he set a carved image, the idol which he had made, in the house of God…So Manasseh made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem…to do worse than the heathen, whom the Lord had destroyed before the children of Israel…Wherefore the LORD brought upon them the captains of the host of the king of Assyria, which took Manasseh among the thorns, and bound him with fetters, and carried him to Babylon. And when he was in affliction, he besought the LORD his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers,..and he was intreated of him, and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord he was God. Now after this he built a wall without the city of David, on the west side of Gihon, in the valley, even to the entering in at the fish gate, and compassed about Ophel, and raised it up a very great height, and put captains of war in all the fenced cities of Judah. And he took away the strange gods, and the idol out of the house of the LORD, and all the altars that he had built in the mount of the house of the Lord, and in Jerusalem, and cast them out of the city. And he repaired the altar of the Lord, and sacrificed thereon peace offerings and thank offerings, and commanded Judah to serve the LORD God of Israel.
And Amon his son reigned in his stead.
But he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, as did Manasseh his father: for Amon sacrificed unto all the carved images which Manasseh his father had made, and served them; And humbled not himself before the LORD, as Manasseh his father had humbled himself; but Amon trespassed more and more. And his servants conspired against him, and slew him in his own house. But the people of the land slew all them that had conspired against king Amon;
and the people of the land made Josiah his son king in his stead.
Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem one and thirty years. And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the ways of David his father, and declined neither to the right hand, nor to the left…while he was yet young, he began to seek after the God of David his father: and in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem from the high places, and the groves, and the carved images, and the molten images…in the eighteenth year of his reign, when he had purged the land, and the house, he sent…to repair the house of the LORD his God…And Hilkiah answered and said to Shaphan the scribe, I have found the book of the law in the house of the Lord…And Shaphan read it before the king..And it came to pass, when the king had heard the words of the law, that he rent his clothes. And the king commanded Hilkiah…Go, enquire of the LORD…concerning the words of the book that is found: for great is the wrath of the LORD that is poured out upon us, because our fathers have not kept the word of the LORD, to do after all that is written in this book. And Hilkiah, and they that the king had appointed, went to Huldah the prophetess…And she answered them…Thus saith the LORD…Because they have forsaken me, and have burned incense unto other gods, that they might provoke me to anger with all the works of their hands; therefore my wrath shall be poured out upon this place, and shall not be quenched. And as for the king of Judah, who sent you to enquire of the Lord, so shall ye say unto him…Because thine heart was tender, and thou didst humble thyself before God, when thou heardest his words against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof…I have even heard thee also…Behold, I will gather thee to thy fathers, and thou shalt be gathered to thy grave in peace, neither shall thine eyes see all the evil that I will bring upon this place, and upon the inhabitants of the same. So they brought the king word again. Then the king…went up into the house of the LORD, and all…the people, great and small: and he read in their ears all the words of the book of the covenant that was found in the house of the Lord. And the king stood in his place, and made a covenant before the LORD, to walk after the Lord, and to keep his commandments, and his testimonies, and his statutes, with all his heart, and with all his soul, to perform the words of the covenant which are written in this book. And he caused all that were present in Jerusalem and Benjamin to stand to it…And all his days they departed not from following the LORD, the God of their fathers…Moreover Josiah kept a passover unto the Lord in Jerusalem…And there was no passover like to that kept in Israel from the days of Samuel the prophet; neither did all the kings of Israel keep such a passover as Josiah kept, and the priests, and the Levites, and all Judah and Israel that were present, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
After all this…Necho king of Egypt came up to fight against Charchemish by Euphrates: and Josiah went out against him. But he sent ambassadors to him, saying, What have I to do with thee, thou king of Judah? I come not against thee this day, but against the house wherewith I have war: for God commanded me to make haste: forbear thee from meddling with God, who is with me, that he destroy thee not.
The Assyrian and Egyptian empires were henceforth demolished, and the Babylonian Empire took over.
Nebuchadnezzar, after the victory at Carchemish, succeeded to the throne and founded an empire stretching from Egypt to Persia, through Palestine and Syria, from Lydia (Asia Minor) to the Persian Gulf. He control Media, as husband of the daughter of the king Ciassarre and, as a guarantor of a peace agreement between this latter and Lydia, even the same Lydia was under his control. This kingdom will be rich and famous for its culture and science. Moreover, the Babylonian king did not subjected the conquered peoples, but left to the local kings to control the people and their customs and traditions.
Nevertheless Josiah would not turn his face from him, [doubtless due to the alliance formed with Babylon by his grandfather Hezekiah] but disguised himself, that he might fight with him [and that didn’t work for Ahab either], and hearkened not unto the words of Necho from the mouth of God, and came to fight in the valley of Megiddo. And the archers shot…and he died, and was buried in one of the sepulchres of his fathers. And all Judah and Jerusalem mourned for Josiah. And Jeremiah lamented for Josiah:
Not only did he experience the horrors of war, starvation, siege, and captivity, he was called upon to tell the people of it, urging them to repent. Worst of all, they didn’t listen.
Jeremiah’s family turned against him and even plotted to kill him (Jeremiah 1:8, 11:21-23, 12:6). Over the years, he was whipped and put in the stocks (Jeremiah 20:1-3), attacked by a mob (Jeremiah 26:1-9), threatened by the king (Jeremiah 36:26), and ridiculed (Jeremiah 28). Some of Zedekiah’s princes had Jeremiah arrested, beaten, accused of treason, and thrown in jail (Jeremiah 37:1-15), from whence he was then thrown in a deep empty well (Jeremiah 38:1-6). He lived through the siege of Jerusalem along with the rest and was there as the people were taken away as captives.
Perhaps worst of all, Jeremiah was alone. He was not allowed to marry (Jeremiah 16:2), and his family abandoned him. The people turned against him and didn’t believe him. He was alone with the knowledge of the horrors coming for Judah.
Then the people of the land took Jehoahaz the son of Josiah, and made him king in his father’s stead in Jerusalem.
Jeho- ahaz / YHVH has grasped was twenty and three years old when he began to reign, and he reigned three months in Jerusalem. And the king of Egypt put him down at Jerusalem, and condemned the land in an hundred talents of silver and a talent of gold. [For Josiah interfering in his march towards Euphrates and possibly costing him victory over Babylon.] And Necho took Jehoahaz…and carried him to Egypt [typically to hold as a hostage for prompt tributes and peacekeeping].
One has to seriously wonder if Necho was one of the unrealized Hebrews who trusted YHVH, even to the point of attempting to straighten out Jehoiakim. But, to no avail.
Jehoiakim was twenty and five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem: and he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord his God. Against him came up Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and bound him in fetters, to carry him to Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar also carried of the vessels of the house of the Lord to Babylon, and put them in his temple at Babylon.
Jehoiachin was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned three months and ten days in Jerusalem: and he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord.
And when the year was expired, king Nebuchadnezzar sent, and brought him to Babylon, with the goodly vessels of the house of the Lord, and made
Zedekiah his brother king over Judah and Jerusalem.
Zedekiah was one and twenty years old when he began to reign, and reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord his God, and humbled not himself before Jeremiah the prophet speaking from the mouth of the LORD. And he also rebelled against king Nebuchadnezzar, who had made him swear by God: but he stiffened his neck, and hardened his heart from turning unto the Lord God of Israel. Moreover all the chief of the priests, and the people, transgressed very much after all the abominations of the heathen; and polluted the house of the LORD which he had hallowed in Jerusalem. And the LORD God of their fathers sent to them by his messengers, rising up betimes, and sending; because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling place: But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against his people, till there was no remedy. Therefore he brought upon them the king of the Chaldees, who slew their young men with the sword in the house of their sanctuary, and had no compassion upon young man or maiden, old man, or him that stooped for age: he gave them all into his hand. And all the vessels of the house of God, great and small, and the treasures of the house of the Lord, and the treasures of the king, and of his princes; all these he brought to Babylon. And they burnt the house of God, and brake down the wall of Jerusalem, and burnt all the palaces thereof with fire, and destroyed all the goodly vessels thereof. And them that had escaped from the sword carried he away to Babylon; where they were servants to him and his sons until the reign of the kingdom of Persia: To fulfil the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths: for as long as she lay desolate she kept sabbath, to fulfil threescore and ten years.
So Judah returned to the land. What happened to the northern Ten Tribes of Israel?
The most popular theory is British-Israelism which claims the ten tribes went north from Assyria and became the Scythians who became the Germanic Tribes who migrated into western Europe, particularly the British Isles.
Ever since the Assyrians exiled the Lost Tribes of Israel in the eighth century B.C., the mystery of what happened to the ten tribes has deepened inexorably with time. Where did they go? Are the claims by contemporary groups who say they are descended from the Lost Tribes legitimate? Here, we present an abbreviated history of the Lost Tribes and modern-day claims of descent.
Certainly not all Israelites returned to their homeland. It is estimated that only about 6% of the world’s population of Jews lived in Israel in 1948. No doubt most remained in foreign countries and spread out as opportunities or persecution arose.
But there are also biblical references to Israelites who merged with the southern nation of Judah to 1) escape civil turmoil and religious heresy, 2) escape Assyrian captivity, and 2) return after the Babylonian Exile.
Based on the references provided in the following passage, we can deduce that at the time Hezekiah opened his kingdom to God-fearing Israelites, some of their loved ones had already gone into captivity under Tiglathpilezer king of Assyria, and calculate that it was only a year or so before Shalmenezer king of Assyria beseiged the nation of Israel preparatory to taking the entire nation into captivity.
“Now it came to pass in the third year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel that Hezekiah the son of Ahaz king of Judah began to reign….And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that David his father did…He trusted in the LORD God of Israel; so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor any that were before him…And the LORD was with him; and he prospered whithersoever he went forth: and he rebelled against the king of Assyria, and served him not.” (II Kings 18:1-7)
“And Hezekiah sent to all Israel and Judah, and wrote letters also to Ephraim and Manasseh, that they should come to the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, to keep the passover unto the Lord God of Israel…they established a decree to make proclamation throughout all Israel, from Beersheba even to Dan, that they should come to keep the passover unto the LORD God of Israel at Jerusalem: for they had not done it of a long time in such sort as it was written. So the posts went with the letters from the king and his princes throughout all Israel and Judah, and according to the commandment of the king, saying, Ye children of Israel, turn again unto the LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, and he will return to the remnant of you, that are escaped out of the hand of the kings of Assyria. And be not ye like your fathers, and like your brethren, which trespassed against the LORD God of their fathers, who therefore gave them up to desolation, as ye see. Now be ye not stiffnecked, as your fathers were, but yield yourselves unto the LORD, and enter into his sanctuary, which he hath sanctified for ever: and serve the LORD your God, that the fierceness of his wrath may turn away from you.
- For if ye turn again unto the LORD
- your brethren and your children shall find compassion before them that lead them captive,
- so that they shall come again into this land:
- for the LORD your God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn away his face from you, if ye return unto him.
So the posts passed from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh even unto Zebulun: but they laughed them to scorn, and mocked them. Nevertheless divers of Asher and Manasseh and of Zebulun humbled themselves, and came to Jerusalem…
And all the congregation of Judah, with the priests and the Levites, and all the congregation that came out of Israel, and the strangers that came out of the land of Israel, and that dwelt in Judah, rejoiced. So there was great joy in Jerusalem: for since the time of Solomon the son of David king of Israel there was not the like in Jerusalem.
Then the priests the Levites arose and blessed the people: and their voice was heard, and their prayer came up to his holy dwelling place, even unto heaven.” (II Chronicles 30)
The preceding account of Israelites who turned to the LORD is just one witness that the LORD did bring Israelites back into the land.
“The LORD said also unto me [Jeremiah] in the days of Josiah the king [i.e. after Israel had gone into Assyrian captivity], Hast thou seen that which backsliding Israel hath done? she is gone up upon every high mountain and under every green tree, and there hath played the harlot…And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also…And the LORD said unto me, The backsliding Israel hath justified herself more than treacherous Judah. Go and proclaim these words toward the north [place of captivity], and say, Return, thou backsliding Israel, saith the LORD; and I will not cause mine anger to fall upon you: for I am merciful, saith the LORD, and I will not keep anger for ever. Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the LORD thy God, and hast scattered thy ways to the strangers under every green tree, and ye have not obeyed my voice, saith the LORD. Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion:…In those days the house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel, and they shall come together out of the land of the north to the land that I have given for an inheritance unto your fathers…
A voice was heard upon the high places, weeping and supplications of the children of Israel…Behold, we come unto thee; for thou art the LORD our God…truly in the LORD our God is the salvation of Israel…We lie down in our shame, and our confusion covereth us: for we have sinned against the LORD our God, we and our fathers, from our youth even unto this day, and have not obeyed the voice of the LORD our God.” (Jeremiah 3)
Sound familiar? It should.
“In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans…I Daniel understood by…Jeremiah the prophet…And I set my face unto the LORD God, to seek by prayer and supplications…And I prayed unto the LORD my God, and made my confession, and said…We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments…O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto thee, but unto us confusion of faces, as at this day; to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and unto all Israel, that are near, and that are far off, through all the countries whither thou hast driven them, because of their trespass that they have trespassed against thee…and to our fathers, because we have sinned against thee. To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against him; Neither have we obeyed the voice of the LORD our God, to walk in his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets. Yea, all Israel have transgressed thy law, even by departing, that they might not obey thy voice; therefore the curse is poured upon us, and the oath that is written in the law of Moses the servant of God, because we have sinned against him…” (Daniel 9)
Pay attention to the geographical clues provided.
“in the sixth year of Hezekiah, that is in the ninth year of Hoshea king of Israel, Samaria was taken…And the king of Assyria did carry away Israel unto Assyria, and put them 1) in Halah and in Habor [a fairly close tributary of the Euphrates River] by the river of Gozan, and [farthest away] 2) in the cities of the Medes:” (II Kings 18:10-12)
The farthest land to which the Israelites were relocated by Assyria is the same land ruled by the Medo-Persians permitting the return of the captives. Isn’t that convenient?
“Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth [including those previously ruled by Assyria]…Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord God of Israel, (he is the God,) which is in Jerusalem…Then rose up the chief of the fathers of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests, and the Levites, with all them whose spirit God had raised, to go…Now these are the children of the province that went up out of the captivity… Israel in their cities.”(Ezra 2:1-5, 70)
It is significant that the post-exile prophets refer to the inhabitants of the land of Judah as “Israel”.
“In the…second year of Darius, came the word of the LORD unto Zechariah…say thou unto them…thus saith the LORD; I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies: my house shall be built in it…Cry yet, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; My cities through prosperity shall yet be spread abroad; and the LORD shall yet comfort Zion, and shall yet choose Jerusalem. Then lifted I up mine eyes, and saw, and behold four horns…. These are the horns which have scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem. And the LORD shewed me four carpenters…but these are come to fray them, to cast out the horns of the Gentiles…” (Zechariah 1)
“Thus saith the LORD of hosts; If it be marvellous in the eyes of the remnant of this people in these days, should it also be marvellous in mine eyes?…Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Behold, I will save my people from the east country, and from the west country…And it shall come to pass, that as ye were a curse among the heathen, O house of Judah, and house of Israel; so will I save you, and ye shall be a blessing: fear not, but let your hands be strong.” (Zechariah 8)
“The burden of the word of the Lord for Israel…Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem...” (Zechariah 12)
“And my God put into mine heart to gather together the nobles, and the rulers, and the people, that they might be reckoned by genealogy. And I found a register of the genealogy of them which came up at the first, and found written therein, These are the children of the province, that went up out of the captivity…Who came with Zerubbabel, Jeshua, Nehemiah, Azariah, Raamiah, Nahamani, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispereth, Bigvai, Nehum, Baanah. The number, I say, of the men of the people of Israel was this;” (Nehemiah 7:5-7)
“Now in the twenty and fourth day of this month the children of Israel were assembled with fasting, and with sackclothes, and earth upon them. And the seed of Israel separated themselves from all strangers, and stood and confessed their sins, and the iniquities of their fathers. And they stood up in their place, and read in the book of the law of the Lord their God one fourth part of the day; and another fourth part they confessed, and worshipped the Lord their God. Then stood up upon the stairs, of the Levites, Jeshua, and Bani, Kadmiel, Shebaniah, Bunni, Sherebiah, Bani, and Chenani, and cried with a loud voice…Stand up and bless the LORD your God for ever and ever: and blessed be thy glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise. Thou, even thou, art LORD alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and thou preservest them all; and the host of heaven worshippeth thee. Thou art the LORD the God, who didst choose Abram, and broughtest him forth out of Ur of the Chaldees, and gavest him the name of Abraham; And foundest his heart faithful before thee, and madest a covenant with him to give the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Jebusites, and the Girgashites, to give it, I say, to his seed, and hast performed thy words; for thou art righteous:” (Nehemiah 9)
“The burden of the word of the LORD to Israel by Malachi...And your eyes shall see, and ye shall say, The LORD will be magnified from the border of Israel.” (Malachi 1)
This post has been one long list of battles. How is it so hard for current followers of YHVH’s savior to grasp that all his followers must follow him into battle? Jesus defeated the devil by applying the writings of Moses.
“And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost…was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, Being forty days tempted of the devil… the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it; If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” (Luke 4:5-8)
Why aren’t the claimant followers of YHVH’s Chosen Savior following the extremely well documented and proven strategy for deliverance from evil?
“After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.” (Matthew 6:9-13)
It would appear that the simple answer is that they aren’t really followers of Jesus Christ.
“From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?…Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the LORD, and he shall lift you up.” (James 4)