3243.) 1 Kings 16

September 22, 2021

In this chapter we will look at five successive kings of Israel:  Baasha, Elah, Zimri, Omri, and Ahab.

1 Kings 16   (NIV)

1 Then the word of the LORD came to Jehu son of Hanani concerning Baasha: 2 “I lifted you up from the dust and appointed you ruler over my people Israel, but you followed the ways of Jeroboam and caused my people Israel to sin and to arouse my anger by their sins. 3 So I am about to wipe out Baasha and his house, and I will make your house like that of Jeroboam son of Nebat. 4 Dogs will eat those belonging to Baasha who die in the city, and birds will feed on those who die in the country.”

5 As for the other events of Baasha’s reign, what he did and his achievements, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Israel? 6 Baasha rested with his ancestors and was buried in Tirzah. And Elah his son succeeded him as king.

7 Moreover, the word of the LORD came through the prophet Jehu son of Hanani to Baasha and his house, because of all the evil he had done in the eyes of the LORD, arousing his anger by the things he did, becoming like the house of Jeroboam—and also because he destroyed it.

Psalm 103:8 (ESV)

The LORD is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.

–which is to say, it would take quite a bit of wickedness to arouse to anger Someone who is slow to anger!

Elah King of Israel

8 In the twenty-sixth year of Asa king of Judah, Elah son of Baasha became king of Israel, and he reigned in Tirzah two years.

9 Zimri, one of his officials, who had command of half his chariots, plotted against him. Elah was in Tirzah at the time, getting drunk in the home of Arza, the palace administrator at Tirzah. 10 Zimri came in, struck him down and killed him in the twenty-seventh year of Asa king of Judah. Then he succeeded him as king.

1K16 wine

Proverbs 23:29-35 (CEV)

Who is always in trouble?

Who argues and fights?

Who has cuts and bruises?

Whose eyes are red?

Everyone who stays up late,

having just one more drink.

Don’t even look

at that colorful stuff

bubbling up in the glass!

It goes down so easily,

but later it bites

like a poisonous snake.

You will see weird things,

and your mind

will play tricks on you.

You will feel tossed about

like someone trying to sleep

on a ship in a storm.

You will be bruised all over,

without even remembering

how it all happened.

And you will lie awake asking,

“When will morning come,

so I can drink some more?”

11 As soon as he began to reign and was seated on the throne, he killed off Baasha’s whole family. He did not spare a single male, whether relative or friend. 12 So Zimri destroyed the whole family of Baasha, in accordance with the word of the LORD spoken against Baasha through the prophet Jehu— 13 because of all the sins Baasha and his son Elah had committed and had caused Israel to commit, so that they aroused the anger of the LORD, the God of Israel, by their worthless idols.

14 As for the other events of Elah’s reign, and all he did, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Israel?

Zimri King of Israel

15 In the twenty-seventh year of Asa king of Judah, Zimri reigned in Tirzah seven days.

Remember that strange TV show in the 50’s called “Queen for a Day”? Well, Zimri gets to be King for a Week! And it turns out to be a pretty bad week at that . . .

The army was encamped near Gibbethon, a Philistine town. 16 When the Israelites in the camp heard that Zimri had plotted against the king and murdered him, they proclaimed Omri, the commander of the army, king over Israel that very day there in the camp. 17 Then Omri and all the Israelites with him withdrew from Gibbethon and laid siege to Tirzah. 18 When Zimri saw that the city was taken, he went into the citadel of the royal palace and set the palace on fire around him. So he died, 19 because of the sins he had committed, doing evil in the eyes of the LORD and following the ways of Jeroboam and committing the same sin Jeroboam had caused Israel to commit.

Zimri is one of the few suicides in the Bible. The Bible never approves of suicide. It is sin; the sin of self-murder. Yet, we are wrong if we regard it as the unforgivable sin, and anyone who does commit suicide has given in to the lies and deceptions of Satan, whose purpose is to kill and destroy (John 10:10).

–David Guzik

20 As for the other events of Zimri’s reign, and the rebellion he carried out, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Israel?

Omri King of Israel

21 Then the people of Israel were split into two factions; half supported Tibni son of Ginath for king, and the other half supported Omri. 22 But Omri’s followers proved stronger than those of Tibni son of Ginath. So Tibni died and Omri became king.

23 In the thirty-first year of Asa king of Judah, Omri became king of Israel, and he reigned twelve years, six of them in Tirzah. 24 He bought the hill of Samaria from Shemer for two talents of silver and built a city on the hill, calling it Samaria, after Shemer, the name of the former owner of the hill.

I remember reading about the building of Brazil's new planned capital city, Brasilia, in our "Weekly Reader" pamphlets in elementary school.

I remember reading about the building of Brazil’s new planned capital city, Brasilia, in our “Weekly Reader” pamphlets in elementary school.

Omri’s new capital, Samaria, offered some political advantages. The city was his personal property, so he had total control over it. Samaria also commanded a hilltop position, which made it easy to defend. Omri died before completing the city. So his son, Ahab, completed it, building not only the beautiful ivory palace (1 Kings 22:39; Amos 3:13-15), but also a temple to the god Baal. Samaria served as the capital city for the rest of Israel’s dynasties until it fell to the Assyrians in 722 BCE (2 Kings 17:5).

–a footnote from the Life Application Bible

25 But Omri did evil in the eyes of the LORD and sinned more than all those before him. 26 He followed completely the ways of Jeroboam son of Nebat, committing the same sin Jeroboam had caused Israel to commit, so that they aroused the anger of the LORD, the God of Israel, by their worthless idols.

27 As for the other events of Omri’s reign, what he did and the things he achieved, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Israel? 28 Omri rested with his ancestors and was buried in Samaria. And Ahab his son succeeded him as king.

The Mesha Stele was discovered in Jordan in 1868. It bears an inscription that mentions “Omri, king of Israel” as well as a reference to the sacred Hebrew name of God — YHWH. The black basalt stone is now in the Louvre Museum.

Omri was a powerful king, who conquered and colonized northern Moab, and who established a dynasty which lasted through three descendants. Here is a report of some of the extra-biblical records which mention Omri (from  http://www.biblearchaeology.org):

732 BC, Annalistic Record of Tiglath-Pileser III

In 732 BC, the Assyrian king Tiglath-Pileser III campaigned in Israel, taking many captives. In their record of that event, the Assyrian scribes referred to Israel as “Omri-Land,” over 100 years after the end of the Omride dynasty: “Omri-Land… and its inhabitants and their possessions I led to Assyria” (Oppenheim 1969:284).

721 BC, Annalistic Record of Sargon II

Finally, because of their failure to follow God’s ways, Samaria was captured and its citizens taken into captivity by the Assyrian king Sargon II. As with Tiglath-Pileser before him, his record of the event refers to the land of Israel as “Omri-Land”:

I conquered and sacked the towns of Shinuhtu and Samaria, and all Omri-Land (Oppenheim 1969:285).

Although Omri was a great military leader, administrator, and builder, and accumulated vast wealth, the Bible gives him low marks. Why? Because he failed in his spiritual responsibilities. He “walked in all the ways of Jeroboam” (1 Kgs 16:26). In other words, he continued to foster the pagan worship Jeroboam, the first king of the Northern Kingdom, instituted at Dan and Bethel (1 Kgs 12:28-33). Omri, in fact, outdid Jeroboam, because he “sinned more than all those before him” (1 Kgs 6:25).

Ahab Becomes King of Israel

1K16 chart

29 In the thirty-eighth year of Asa king of Judah,

Asa reigned for 41 years in total (1 Kings 15:10). During his 41 years there were seven different kings of Israel!

Ahab son of Omri became king of Israel, and he reigned in Samaria over Israel twenty-two years. 30 Ahab son of Omri did more evil in the eyes of the LORD than any of those before him. 31 He not only considered it trivial to commit the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, but he also married Jezebel daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and began to serve Baal and worship him. 32 He set up an altar for Baal in the temple of Baal that he built in Samaria. 33 Ahab also made an Asherah pole and did more to arouse the anger of the LORD, the God of Israel, than did all the kings of Israel before him.

1K16 uh-oh

Ahab is trouble, and it starts with him marrying Jezebel, a woman who had a rich evil streak in her. In order to please her, Ahab built a temple to her god, Baal, in the new capital city.

34 In Ahab’s time, Hiel of Bethel rebuilt Jericho. He laid its foundations at the cost of his firstborn son Abiram, and he set up its gates at the cost of his youngest son Segub, in accordance with the word of the LORD spoken by Joshua son of Nun.

Joshua 6:26 (ESV)

Joshua laid an oath on them at that time, saying, “Cursed before the LORD be the man who rises up and rebuilds this city, Jericho.

“At the cost of his firstborn shall he
lay its foundation,
and at the cost of his youngest son
shall he set up its gates.”

This should have been a warning to Ahab to pay attention to the Lord!

_________________________

Music:

All these kings of Israel mentioned here. But only one I want to follow!  “Jesus, King of My Heart”  sung  HERE  by Rebecca St. James.

Jesus, King of my heart
Father, my peace and my light
Spirit, the joy of my soul You are

Jesus, to you none compare
Father, I rest in Your care
Spirit, the hope of my heart You are

The heavens declare You are God
And the mountains rejoice
The oceans cry Alleluia
As we worship You Lord
For this is our Song of Love

Jesus, You save my soul
I’ll thank You forevermore
Jesus, the love of my life You are

Jesus, I am in awe
Of the love that You have shown
Jesus, how precious You are to me

_________________________

New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2010 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
five crowns.    http://static-p3.fotolia.com/jpg/00/14/34/90/400_F_14349093_P9JMXiNWZWRUjm1ExT90fJjIAG4Is4U7.jpg
wine in glass.    http://thelipstickchronicals.blogspot.com/2011/03/why-are-there-no-persian-cook-shows-on.html
Queen for a Day.    http://www.fiftiesweb.com/tv/queen-for-a-day.jpg
Brasilia.    https://c2.staticflickr.com/6/5178/5562942295_c4f284723f_b.jpg
the Mesha Stele.    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Mesha_Stele_%28511142469%29.jpg
chart of kings of Israel and Judah.   http://image.slidesharecdn.com/journey12-140216034453-phpapp02/95/journey-through-the-bible-part-12-1-kings-1622-the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly-4-638.jpg?cb=1392522901
uh-oh.   http://jo-cerrudo.blogspot.com/2012/04/uh-oh.html
Jericho walls falling.   https://completejoy.files.wordpress.com/2008/09/p00057fall_of_the_jericho_s_wall-793×796.jpg

3242.) 1 Kings 15

September 21, 2021

“King Asa of Judah Destroys the Idols” by Francois de Nome (Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, UK)

1 Kings 15   (NIV)

Abijah King of Judah

The two new kings whom we meet in 1 Kings 15 represent, respectively, the two main kinds of kings we will read about during the age of Judah’s kings. On the one hand, we have the wicked Abijah, who “walked in all the sins that his father did before him, and his heart was not wholly true to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father” (1 Kgs. 15:3). Then, on the other hand, we have Asa, who “did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, as David his father had done.…the heart of Asa was wholly true to the LORD all his days” (1 Kgs. 15:11, 14). These stories are not merely historical trivia—the biblical narrator has much deeper theological principles to teach us.

In Abijah, we read a description of what will become a pattern for Judah’s wicked kings. Abijah walks in the sins of his father, Rehoboam, rather than obeying Yahweh with a whole heart as David had done (1 Kgs. 15:3). Just as Israel’s kings all drag the northern ten tribes down toward their eventual exile at the hands of the Assyrians, so kings like Rehoboam and Abijah pave the way for Judah’s exile into Babylon.

In Asa, however, we find hope that Yahweh can raise up another king after his own heart. It is important to understand, however, that Yahweh provides godly kings to his people not out of obligation but out of grace. The critical line for understanding the theology of the books of Kings comes in 1 Kings 15:4–5: “Nevertheless, for David’s sake the LORD his God gave him a lamp in Jerusalem, setting up his son after him, and establishing Jerusalem, because David did what was right in the eyes of the LORD and did not turn aside from anything that he commanded him all the days of his life, except in the matter of Uriah the Hittite.”

1K15 lamp

Justice would have required Yahweh to wipe out Judah at the first sign of kings like Rehoboam and Abijah, but Yahweh nevertheless remembers the covenant he had promised David, and so he remains faithful to his people for the sake of David, his servant.

Ultimately, this covenant logic takes on more importance as we see Yahweh continue to be faithful to his people, even now. It is not because we deserve God’s kindness that we continue to receive the gracious provision of a godly ruler. Instead, it is that God treats us kindly for the sake of the Son of David, Jesus Christ. No matter what sins we have committed or what idols we surround ourselves with, Jesus Christ stands ready through sheer grace to save his people and to preserve them for the day when he will return to establish his kingdom on this earth.

–Jacob D. Gerber

1 In the eighteenth year of the reign of Jeroboam son of Nebat, Abijah became king of Judah, 2 and he reigned in Jerusalem three years. His mother’s name was Maakah daughter of Abishalom.

3 He committed all the sins his father had done before him; his heart was not fully devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his forefather had been.

1K15 heart

This was the real problem with Abijam’s reign — his lack of a real personal relationship with God. What choice are we making and displaying day by day with the words we speak and the things we do?

4 Nevertheless, for David’s sake the LORD his God gave him a lamp in Jerusalem by raising up a son to succeed him and by making Jerusalem strong. 5 For David had done what was right in the eyes of the LORD and had not failed to keep any of the LORD’s commands all the days of his life—except in the case of Uriah the Hittite.

6 There was war between Abijah and Jeroboam throughout Abijah’s lifetime.

2 Chronicles 13 (we will read this chapter tomorrow) fills in more interesting details about the reign of Abijah. It tells us how there was war between Jeroboam of Israel and Abijah of Judah, and how Abijah challenged Jeroboam on the basis of righteousness and faithfulness to God. Jeroboam responded with a surprise attack, and victory seemed certain for Israel over Judah — but Abjiah cried out to the Lord, and God won a victory for Judah that day. 2 Chronicles 13:18 says of that war, Thus the children of Israel were subdued at that time; and the children of Judah prevailed, because they relied on the Lord God of their fathers.

–David Guzik

7 As for the other events of Abijah’s reign, and all he did, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Judah? There was war between Abijah and Jeroboam. 8 And Abijah rested with his ancestors and was buried in the City of David. And Asa his son succeeded him as king.

Asa King of Judah

9 In the twentieth year of Jeroboam king of Israel, Asa became king of Judah, 10 and he reigned in Jerusalem forty-one years. His grandmother’s name was Maakah daughter of Abishalom.

11 Asa did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, as his father David had done.

“His father David”  is actually Asa’s great-great-grandfather. In Hebrew, “his father” is a term which can be used to mean ancestor, a loose use of the word, according to our Western minds.

12 He expelled the male shrine prostitutes from the land and got rid of all the idols his ancestors had made. 13 He even deposed his grandmother Maakah from her position as queen mother, because she had made a repulsive image for the worship of Asherah. Asa cut it down and burned it in the Kidron Valley. 14 Although he did not remove the high places, Asa’s heart was fully committed to the LORD all his life. 15 He brought into the temple of the LORD the silver and gold and the articles that he and his father had dedicated.

1K15 Reformation_under_Asa

Finally a good king for Judah! Asa banished prostitutes from worship, removed his idolatrous grandmother from the throne, and burned the idols. He also restored the silver and gold items to the temple. He is off to a good start, doing right in the Lord’s eyes!

16 There was war between Asa and Baasha king of Israel throughout their reigns. 17 Baasha king of Israel went up against Judah and fortified Ramah to prevent anyone from leaving or entering the territory of Asa king of Judah.

18 Asa then took all the silver and gold that was left in the treasuries of the LORD’s temple and of his own palace. He entrusted it to his officials and sent them to Ben-Hadad son of Tabrimmon, the son of Hezion, the king of Aram, who was ruling in Damascus. 19 “Let there be a treaty between me and you,” he said, “as there was between my father and your father. See, I am sending you a gift of silver and gold. Now break your treaty with Baasha king of Israel so he will withdraw from me.”

But here he falters. Asa used this treasure to buy the favor of Ben-Hadad of Syria, so that he would withdraw support from Israel. Apparently, Baasha of Israel could not stand against Judah by himself – he needed the backing of Syria. And evidently Asa did not trust God enough to rely on the Lord’s protection for Judah.

20 Ben-Hadad agreed with King Asa and sent the commanders of his forces against the towns of Israel. He conquered Ijon, Dan, Abel Beth Maakah and all Kinnereth in addition to Naphtali. 21 When Baasha heard this, he stopped building Ramah and withdrew to Tirzah. 22 Then King Asa issued an order to all Judah—no one was exempt—and they carried away from Ramah the stones and timber Baasha had been using there. With them King Asa built up Geba in Benjamin, and also Mizpah.

1 Corinthians 9:24 (New Living Translation)

Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win!

2 Chronicles 16 says that the Lord was not pleased with Asa for relying on the king of Syria for relief, rather than turning to God. So it seems that Asa started well, but did not finish well.

Eugene Peterson wrote a book on discipleship called,  “A Long Obedience in the Same Direction.” The title is actually a quote from Friedrich Nietzsche who wrote, “The essential thing ‘in heaven and earth’ is . . . that there should be long obedience in the same direction; there thereby results, and has always resulted in the long run, something which has made life worth living.”

The Bible speaks of “a long obedience in the same direction,” calling it steadfastness, or faithfulness, or perseverance. It means to hang in there, through it all, to the end. As Asa, it seems, did not quite do. We understand, do we not?  God grant us all grace to render him a long obedience, and God give us mercy when we do not.

23 As for all the other events of Asa’s reign, all his achievements, all he did and the cities he built, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Judah? In his old age, however, his feet became diseased. 24 Then Asa rested with his ancestors and was buried with them in the city of his father David. And Jehoshaphat his son succeeded him as king.

_________________________

Music:

“When It’s All Been Said and Done”  sung  HERE  by Don Moen.

_________________________

Nadab King of Israel

25 Nadab son of Jeroboam became king of Israel in the second year of Asa king of Judah, and he reigned over Israel two years. 26 He did evil in the eyes of the LORD, following the ways of his father and committing the same sin his father had caused Israel to commit.

27 Baasha son of Ahijah from the tribe of Issachar plotted against him, and he struck him down at Gibbethon, a Philistine town, while Nadab and all Israel were besieging it. 28 Baasha killed Nadab in the third year of Asa king of Judah and succeeded him as king.

29 As soon as he began to reign, he killed Jeroboam’s whole family. He did not leave Jeroboam anyone that breathed, but destroyed them all, according to the word of the LORD given through his servant Ahijah the Shilonite. 30 This happened because of the sins Jeroboam had committed and had caused Israel to commit, and because he aroused the anger of the LORD, the God of Israel.

1K15 Jeroboam__sin

This was the end of the dynasty of Jeroboam, the man who made Israel to sin by building idols for them to worship. Had Jeroboam remained obedient to the Lord, God promised him a lasting dynasty like the house of David (1 Kings 11:38). Because of Jeroboam’s sin, though he enjoyed a long reign, his son only reigned two years before assassination of Nadab and the murder of all Jeroboam’s descendants.

“Thus God made use of one wicked man to destroy another” (Clarke).

–David Guzik

31 As for the other events of Nadab’s reign, and all he did, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Israel? 32 There was war between Asa and Baasha king of Israel throughout their reigns.

Baasha King of Israel

33 In the third year of Asa king of Judah, Baasha son of Ahijah became king of all Israel in Tirzah, and he reigned twenty-four years. 34 He did evil in the eyes of the LORD, following the ways of Jeroboam and committing the same sin Jeroboam had caused Israel to commit.

Who is surprised?  He assassinated his way to the throne.

_________________________

New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2010 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
de Nome.    http://www.wga.hu/art/n/nome/king_asa.jpg
Nevertheless, for David’s sake.   https://freedailybiblestudy.com/october-12th-bible-meditation-for-1-kings-15/
My heart belongs to Jesus.  https://krausekorner.wordpress.com/2012/04/16/jesus-into-the-heart/
Asa pulls down idols.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2016/09/584c4-12bkings2b152breformation_under_asa.jpg
finishing the race.    https://homeschoolingindetroit.com/2013/06/13/2013-mach-cross-country/
Jeroboam-who-made-Israel-to-sin.   http://bibleencyclopedia.com/picturesjpeg/jeroboam_leads_israel_into_sin_2.jpg

3241.) 1 Kings 14

September 20, 2021

“Jeroboam and Rehoboam” by Jack Pittman

1 Kings 14   (NIV)

Ahijah’s Prophecy Against Jeroboam

1 At that time Abijah son of Jeroboam became ill, 2 and Jeroboam said to his wife, “Go, disguise yourself, so you won’t be recognized as the wife of Jeroboam. Then go to Shiloh. Ahijah the prophet is there—the one who told me I would be king over this people.

Again we see that Jeroboam has no faith in his golden calves. Instead, in times of sickness and need he turns to the God of Israel. So he leads his nation to worship “gods” that he knows are false!

3 Take ten loaves of bread with you, some cakes and a jar of honey, and go to him. He will tell you what will happen to the boy.” 4 So Jeroboam’s wife did what he said and went to Ahijah’s house in Shiloh.

Now Ahijah could not see; his sight was gone because of his age. 5 But the LORD had told Ahijah, “Jeroboam’s wife is coming to ask you about her son, for he is ill, and you are to give her such and such an answer. When she arrives, she will pretend to be someone else.”

6 So when Ahijah heard the sound of her footsteps at the door, he said, “Come in, wife of Jeroboam. Why this pretense? I have been sent to you with bad news. 7 Go, tell Jeroboam that this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘I raised you up from among the people and appointed you ruler over my people Israel. 8 I tore the kingdom away from the house of David and gave it to you, but you have not been like my servant David, who kept my commands and followed me with all his heart, doing only what was right in my eyes. 9 You have done more evil than all who lived before you. You have made for yourself other gods, idols made of metal; you have aroused my anger and turned your back on me.

10 “‘Because of this, I am going to bring disaster on the house of Jeroboam. I will cut off from Jeroboam every last male in Israel—slave or free. I will burn up the house of Jeroboam as one burns dung, until it is all gone. 11 Dogs will eat those belonging to Jeroboam who die in the city, and the birds will feed on those who die in the country. The LORD has spoken!’

We will see this prophecy fulfilled in the next chapter.

12 “As for you, go back home. When you set foot in your city, the boy will die. 13 All Israel will mourn for him and bury him. He is the only one belonging to Jeroboam who will be buried, because he is the only one in the house of Jeroboam in whom the LORD, the God of Israel, has found anything good.

We will see this prophecy fulfilled in just a few verses.

14 “The LORD will raise up for himself a king over Israel who will cut off the family of Jeroboam. Even now this is beginning to happen. 15 And the LORD will strike Israel, so that it will be like a reed swaying in the water. He will uproot Israel from this good land that he gave to their ancestors and scatter them beyond the Euphrates River, because they aroused the LORD’s anger by making Asherah poles. 16 And he will give Israel up because of the sins Jeroboam has committed and has caused Israel to commit.”

We will see this prophecy fulfilled in the book of 2 Kings.

17 Then Jeroboam’s wife got up and left and went to Tirzah. As soon as she stepped over the threshold of the house, the boy died. 18 They buried him, and all Israel mourned for him, as the LORD had said through his servant the prophet Ahijah.

“Visitation” by Mariotto Albertinelli, 1503 (Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence, Italy)

The quick fulfillment of one prophecy serves to indicate that the remaining prophecies will also come true. Another example:  The angel Gabriel comes to Mary and tells her she will bear the Son of God, and that her cousin Elizabeth is pregnant. When Mary visits Elizabeth and sees that she is no longer barren, Mary can be certain that her child is in fact the Messiah.

19 The other events of Jeroboam’s reign, his wars and how he ruled, are written in the book of the annals of the kings of Israel. 20 He reigned for twenty-two years and then rested with his ancestors. And Nadab his son succeeded him as king.

1K14 Jeroboam bottle

Trivia for you! A Jeroboam (pictured above) is the name for a size of wine bottle, used for Champagne and Burgundy, that holds 3 liters, which is four times the amount of a standard wine bottle. (It is also known as a Double Magnum.) A Rehoboam is slightly larger, holding 4.5 liters.

Rehoboam King of Judah

21 Rehoboam son of Solomon was king in Judah. He was forty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city the LORD had chosen out of all the tribes of Israel in which to put his Name. His mother’s name was Naamah; she was an Ammonite.

22 Judah did evil in the eyes of the LORD. By the sins they committed they stirred up his jealous anger more than those who were before them had done. 23 They also set up for themselves high places, sacred stones and Asherah poles on every high hill and under every spreading tree. 24 There were even male shrine prostitutes in the land; the people engaged in all the detestable practices of the nations the LORD had driven out before the Israelites.

25 In the fifth year of King Rehoboam, Shishak king of Egypt attacked Jerusalem.

Egypt and Israel had been allies in Solomon’s day; the king had married Pharaoh’s daughter. How quickly things change!

26 He carried off the treasures of the temple of the LORD and the treasures of the royal palace. He took everything, including all the gold shields Solomon had made.

Some scholars theorize that Rehoboam gave Shishkak the treasures as a ransom to spare the city of Jerusalem. Regardless of how it happened, the treasures are now gone.

27 So King Rehoboam made bronze shields to replace them and assigned these to the commanders of the guard on duty at the entrance to the royal palace.

1K14 Bronze_Age_Shield

a bronze shield from 1200-900 BCE, recovered from the River Thames

The gold is replaced with bronze. The precious is replaced with the usual. The valuable is replaced with the ordinary.

That’s how Rehoboam did it. Now let’s see how I do it. I am too busy for personal devotions and a golden hour with the Lord, but I have time to watch an hour of television. I am too occupied to call a friend who is in a tough situation and pray with him or her to God on His golden throne, but I have time to check my email and Facebook and watch a couple things on YouTube. I can’t find the energy to write that encouraging letter/make that hospital visit/volunteer for that ministry/pray for things beyond my own little world, but I can complain about how busy and stressed I am. Oh, I am pretty good at replacing gold with bronze.

28 Whenever the king went to the LORD’s temple, the guards bore the shields, and afterward they returned them to the guardroom.

29 As for the other events of Rehoboam’s reign, and all he did, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Judah?

The “book of the annals of the kings” of both Israel and Judah are unknown to us now. Perhaps they were the official court records. Or perhaps they were accounts of the reigns of the various kings compiled by prophets. Clearly the writer refers to them to attest to the veracity of his report.

30 There was continual warfare between Rehoboam and Jeroboam. 31 And Rehoboam rested with his ancestors and was buried with them in the City of David. His mother’s name was Naamah; she was an Ammonite.

So the blame goes back, in part, to Solomon and his unwise marriages to foreign women.

And Abijah his son succeeded him as king.

_________________________

Music:

Not a very cheerful chapter. So let’s listen to something uplifting — a lovely and encouraging song by one of my favorite artists.  HERE  Twila Paris praises the Lord in “I Can Do All Things.” The promise is sure in Christ!

_________________________

New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2010 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
Pittman.    http://www.jptoonist.com/portfolio/Jeroboam-Rehoboam.htm
worshiping the golden calf.     https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/goldencalfworshipers.gif
Albertinelli.    http://www.wga.hu/art/a/albertin/visitat.jpg
Jeroboam bottle.    https://www.thedrinksbusiness.com/2014/10/the-week-in-pictures-98/10/
Egypt-Israel flags.   http://www.crossed-flag-pins.com/Friendship-Pins/Egypt/Flag-Pins-Egypt-Israel.jpg
bronze shield.    https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bronze_Age_Shield_from_the_River_Thames_in_the_Museum_of_London.jpg
Solomon and some of his wives.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/solomonwives1.jpg

3240.) 1 Kings 13

September 17, 2021

“Jeroboam Offering Sacrifice for the Idol” by Jean-Honore Fragonard

1 Kings 13   (NIV)

The Man of God From Judah

1 By the word of the LORD a man of God came from Judah to Bethel, as Jeroboam was standing by the altar to make an offering. 2 By the word of the LORD he cried out against the altar: “Altar, altar! This is what the LORD says: ‘A son named Josiah will be born to the house of David. On you he will sacrifice the priests of the high places who make offerings here, and human bones will be burned on you.’” 3 That same day the man of God gave a sign: “This is the sign the LORD has declared: The altar will be split apart and the ashes on it will be poured out.”

4 When King Jeroboam heard what the man of God cried out against the altar at Bethel, he stretched out his hand from the altar and said, “Seize him!” But the hand he stretched out toward the man shriveled up, so that he could not pull it back. 5 Also, the altar was split apart and its ashes poured out according to the sign given by the man of God by the word of the LORD.

Since the prophecy of the man from Judah about the birth of Josiah would not be fulfilled for over three hundred years, God gave an immediate sign to prove his word. The altar did, in fact, split apart and the ashes were poured out, as the man had said. Such a direct rebuke to the idolatry going on at that altar! And God also struck Jeroboam for his violence against a man of God. Anyone present that day should have clearly seen the truth — including King Jeroboam!

6 Then the king said to the man of God, “Intercede with the LORD your God and pray for me that my hand may be restored.”

Funny — why didn’t Jeroboam pray to the golden calf ???

So the man of God interceded with the LORD, and the king’s hand was restored and became as it was before.

God did this, “Partly, to assure him that the stroke was from God; partly, because he repented of that violence which he intended against the prophet, for which God inflicted it; and partly, that the goodness of God to him might have led him to repentance; or if he continued impenitent, leave him without all excuse” 

— Matthew Poole

7 The king said to the man of God, “Come home with me for a meal, and I will give you a gift.”

8 But the man of God answered the king, “Even if you were to give me half your possessions, I would not go with you, nor would I eat bread or drink water here. 9 For I was commanded by the word of the LORD: ‘You must not eat bread or drink water or return by the way you came.’” 10 So he took another road and did not return by the way he had come to Bethel.

11 Now there was a certain old prophet living in Bethel, whose sons came and told him all that the man of God had done there that day. They also told their father what he had said to the king. 12 Their father asked them, “Which way did he go?” And his sons showed him which road the man of God from Judah had taken. 13 So he said to his sons, “Saddle the donkey for me.” And when they had saddled the donkey for him, he mounted it 14 and rode after the man of God. He found him sitting under an oak tree and asked, “Are you the man of God who came from Judah?”

“I am,” he replied.

15 So the prophet said to him, “Come home with me and eat.”

16 The man of God said, “I cannot turn back and go with you, nor can I eat bread or drink water with you in this place. 17 I have been told by the word of the LORD: ‘You must not eat bread or drink water there or return by the way you came.’”

18 The old prophet answered, “I too am a prophet, as you are. And an angel said to me by the word of the LORD: ‘Bring him back with you to your house so that he may eat bread and drink water.’” (But he was lying to him.)

What kind of prophet lies to another prophet? This is just wrong, and things will go wrong . . .

19 So the man of God returned with him and ate and drank in his house.

20 While they were sitting at the table, the word of the LORD came to the old prophet who had brought him back. 21 He cried out to the man of God who had come from Judah, “This is what the LORD says: ‘You have defied the word of the LORD and have not kept the command the LORD your God gave you. 22 You came back and ate bread and drank water in the place where he told you not to eat or drink. Therefore your body will not be buried in the tomb of your ancestors.’”

Death and the wrong place for burial! It strikes me as a strict punishment for what was more a misunderstanding born out of deceit, rather than disobedience. Really, it was only some bread and water (or for Eve, an apple), for crying out loud! — Then I realize, that is exactly how I rationalize my own sins, too. Not really a “sin”  — not that big of a deal — he/she made me do it — given the circumstances I really had no other choice . . . May the Lord grant us all eyes to see what is true (and obedient) and what is false (and disobedient) in our own lives.

Psalm 119:5-7 (CEV)

I don’t ever want to stray

from your laws.

Thinking about your commands

will keep me from doing

some foolish thing.

I will do right and praise you

by learning to respect

your perfect laws.

23 When the man of God had finished eating and drinking, the prophet who had brought him back saddled his donkey for him. 24 As he went on his way, a lion met him on the road and killed him, and his body was left lying on the road, with both the donkey and the lion standing beside it. 25 Some people who passed by saw the body lying there, with the lion standing beside the body, and they went and reported it in the city where the old prophet lived.

“The Disobedient Prophet” by Benjamin West, 1793 (National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.)

26 When the prophet who had brought him back from his journey heard of it, he said, “It is the man of God who defied the word of the LORD. The LORD has given him over to the lion, which has mauled him and killed him, as the word of the LORD had warned him.”

27 The prophet said to his sons, “Saddle the donkey for me,” and they did so. 28 Then he went out and found the body lying on the road, with the donkey and the lion standing beside it. The lion had neither eaten the body nor mauled the donkey. 29 So the prophet picked up the body of the man of God, laid it on the donkey, and brought it back to his own city to mourn for him and bury him. 30 Then he laid the body in his own tomb, and they mourned over him and said, “Alas, my brother!”

31 After burying him, he said to his sons, “When I die, bury me in the grave where the man of God is buried; lay my bones beside his bones. 32 For the message he declared by the word of the LORD against the altar in Bethel and against all the shrines on the high places in the towns of Samaria will certainly come true.”

Such an odd and disturbing story!  “Though he lied to him, led him into sin, and prophesied judgment against him, the prophet from Bethel still respected the man of God from Judah. Perhaps he understood that the word he spoke against Jeroboam required a courage he did not have; therefore he confirmed the word of the man of God against Jeroboam and the altar at Bethel.”

–David Guzik

33 Even after this, Jeroboam did not change his evil ways, but once more appointed priests for the high places from all sorts of people. Anyone who wanted to become a priest he consecrated for the high places. 34 This was the sin of the house of Jeroboam that led to its downfall and to its destruction from the face of the earth.

Jeroboam set a pattern that virtually all of the kings of the Northern Kingdom followed.  We will read over and over again:

He did evil in the eyes of the LORD, following the ways of Jeroboam and committing the same sin Jeroboam had caused Israel to commit.

_________________________

Music:

Reading these chapters that show people so flagrantly disobeying the Lord inspires me to cling more tightly to Christ, to “delight in your will and walk in your ways.”  HERE  is Willie Nelson and “Where He Leads Me, I Will Follow.”

“Nelson (b. 1933 in Texas) is widely recognized as an American icon. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1993, and he received the Kennedy Center Honors in 1998. In 2011, Nelson was inducted to the National Agriculture Hall of Fame for his labor in Farm Aid and other fund risers to benefit farmers. In 2015 Nelson won the Gershwin Prize, the lifetime award of the Library of Congress. He was included by Rolling Stone on its 100 Greatest Singers and 100 Greatest Guitarists lists.”

–wikipedia

_________________________

New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2010 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
Fragonard.   http://www.lib-art.com/imgpainting/0/7/10170-jeroboam-offering-sacrifice-for-the-jean-honore-fragonard.jpg
King Josiah.    http://www.eden.co.uk/images/300/9780758614537.jpg
apple with a bite out of it.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/apple-with-bite.jpg
West.   https://www.nga.gov/collection/art-object-page.63051.html
follow the leader.   http://fc05.deviantart.net/images/i/2002/43/6/1/Follow_the_Leader.jpg

3239.) 1 Kings 12

September 16, 2021

After Solomon’s death, the northern tribes revolt and form the Northern Kingdom.  Since they were larger, they kept the name Israel.  The Southern Kingdom, with only two tribes, went by the name of the larger tribe, Judah.  This map shows the Divided Kingdom and the surrounding nations.

1 Kings 12   (NIV)

Israel Rebels Against Rehoboam

1 Rehoboam went to Shechem, for all Israel (that is, the entire kingdom, all twelve tribes) had gone there to make him king. 2 When Jeroboam son of Nebat heard this (he was still in Egypt, where he had fled from King Solomon), he returned from Egypt. 3 So they sent for Jeroboam, and he and the whole assembly of Israel went to Rehoboam and said to him: 4 “Your father put a heavy yoke on us, but now lighten the harsh labor and the heavy yoke he put on us, and we will serve you.”

5 Rehoboam answered, “Go away for three days and then come back to me.” So the people went away.

The negotiation at Shechem:

Although prophets, acting on instructions from God, might anoint individuals as kings, the authority of any persons so anointed had to be publicly acclaimed by those over whom they ruled, as in the case of Saul (1 Samuel 11:14-15), David over Judah (2 Sam. 2:4-7), David over all the tribes (2 Sam. 5:1-5), and Solomon (1 Kings 1:39-40). The northern tribes were ready to acclaim Rehoboam as their king, but only if he agreed to certain general conditions. The text has a clear critical slant, and makes Rehoboam look foolish, thereby justifying the establishment of the Northern Kingdom.

–Ziony Zevit, The Jewish Study Bible

6 Then King Rehoboam consulted the elders who had served his father Solomon during his lifetime. “How would you advise me to answer these people?” he asked.

7 They replied, “If today you will be a servant to these people and serve them and give them a favorable answer, they will always be your servants.”

1K12 board_meeting

Off to a good start!  Rehoboam goes first to his father’s wise men in the conference room, and they give him sound advice. But . . .

8 But Rehoboam rejected the advice the elders gave him.

Men drinking in a bar

. . . then he goes out for pizza and beer with his buds. Guess which advice will appeal to our young Rehoboam.

Then he consulted the young men who had grown up with him and were serving him. 9 He asked them, “What is your advice? How should we answer these people who say to me, ‘Lighten the yoke your father put on us’?”

10 The young men who had grown up with him replied, “These people have said to you, ‘Your father put a heavy yoke on us, but make our yoke lighter.’ Now tell them, ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s waist. 11 My father laid on you a heavy yoke; I will make it even heavier. My father scourged you with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions.’”

12 Three days later Jeroboam and all the people returned to Rehoboam, as the king had said, “Come back to me in three days.” 13 The king answered the people harshly. Rejecting the advice given him by the elders, 14 he followed the advice of the young men and said, “My father made your yoke heavy; I will make it even heavier. My father scourged you with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions.” 15 So the king did not listen to the people, for this turn of events was from the LORD, to fulfill the word the LORD had spoken to Jeroboam son of Nebat through Ahijah the Shilonite.

16 When all Israel (that is, the northern ten tribes only) saw that the king refused to listen to them, they answered the king:

“What share do we have in David,
what part in Jesse’s son?
To your tents, Israel!
Look after your own house, David!”

Here’s how The Message has this verse:

When all Israel realized that the king hadn’t listened to a word they’d said, they stood up to him and said,
Get lost, David! We’ve had it with you, son of Jesse! Let’s get out of here, Israel, and fast! From now on, David, mind your own business.

So the Israelites went home. 17 But as for the Israelites who were living in the towns of Judah, Rehoboam still ruled over them.

Rehoboam says — “I’ll do it my way!’
We could ask — “How’s that working for you?!”

18 King Rehoboam sent out Adoniram, who was in charge of forced labor, but all Israel stoned him to death. King Rehoboam, however, managed to get into his chariot and escape to Jerusalem. 19 So Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David to this day.

20 When all the Israelites heard that Jeroboam had returned, they sent and called him to the assembly and made him king over all Israel. Only the tribe of Judah remained loyal to the house of David.

It looks as if Jeroboam got the better deal — more land and more people. BUT (and this is hugely important!) Rehoboam has the Temple in Jerusalem, the center of Jewish life. It will stand the Southern Kingdom in good stead for several centuries.

_________________________

We come to the idea of leadership again.

Rehoboam shows himself a poor leader by not taking the good advice he was given by people who knew both him and the situation very well. And Jeroboam sets up a way to keep his kingdom in good shape in the short term, while losing its true direction in the long term. Think of how many times you have seen these very same mistakes in leaders, both in the church and in the world. Christ showed us the best way to lead:  by doing the Father’s will, by being a true servant, by giving His life for others.

21 When Rehoboam arrived in Jerusalem, he mustered all Judah and the tribe of Benjamin—a hundred and eighty thousand able young men—to go to war against Israel and to regain the kingdom for Rehoboam son of Solomon.

22 But this word of God came to Shemaiah the man of God: 23 “Say to Rehoboam son of Solomon king of Judah, to all Judah and Benjamin, and to the rest of the people, 24 ‘This is what the LORD says: Do not go up to fight against your brothers, the Israelites. Go home, every one of you, for this is my doing.’” So they obeyed the word of the LORD and went home again, as the LORD had ordered.

Golden Calves at Bethel and Dan

1K12 map NK

King Jeroboam sets up two idols in the Kingdom of Israel, one far north in Dan, the other far south in Bethel.

25 Then Jeroboam fortified Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim and lived there. From there he went out and built up Peniel.

26 Jeroboam thought to himself, “The kingdom will now likely revert to the house of David. 27 If these people go up to offer sacrifices at the temple of the LORD in Jerusalem, they will again give their allegiance to their lord, Rehoboam king of Judah. They will kill me and return to King Rehoboam.”

28 After seeking advice, the king made two golden calves. He said to the people, “It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.” 29 One he set up in Bethel, and the other in Dan. 30 And this thing became a sin; the people came to worship the one at Bethel and went as far as Dan to worship the other.

Holy cow!!  Choices and convenience for the people of Israel!

31 Jeroboam built shrines on high places and appointed priests from all sorts of people, even though they were not Levites. 32 He instituted a festival on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, like the festival held in Judah, and offered sacrifices on the altar. This he did in Bethel, sacrificing to the calves he had made. And at Bethel he also installed priests at the high places he had made. 33 On the fifteenth day of the eighth month, a month of his own choosing, he offered sacrifices on the altar he had built at Bethel. So he instituted the festival for the Israelites and went up to the altar to make offerings.

Such a telling phrase — “a month of his own choosing”:  To think that we can determine what is right in God’s eyes!

From the 1985 book Habits of the Heart:  Individualism and Commitment in American Life, by Robert N. Bellah, et al :

Sheila Larson is a young nurse who has received a good deal of therapy and describes her faith as “Sheilaism.” This  suggests the logical possibility of more than 235 million American religions, one for each of us. “I believe in God,” Sheila says “I am not a religious fanatic. [Notice at once that in our culture any strong statement of belief seems to imply fanaticism so you have to offset that.] I can’t remember the last time I went to church. My faith has carried me a long way. It’s Sheilism. Just my own little voice.” Sheila’s faith has some tenets beyond belief in God, though not many. In defining what she calls “my own Sheilaism,” she said:  “It’s just to try to love yourself and be gentle with yourself. You know, I guess, take care of each other. I think God would want us to take care of each other.”

This reminds me of that infamous verse in Judges:  “Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” You know this strategy will not have a happy ending, for Jeroboam or for the Sheilas of the world. Praise God that while we are wandering, he seeks us out!

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is a better way than the ones chosen by Rehoboam, Jeroboam, the Israelites who worshiped the golden calves, Shiela, etc. “O Love that Will Not Let Me Go”  by Indelible Grace. I have read that this was the favorite hymn of Oswald Chambers (author of My Utmost for His Highest).

_________________________

New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2010 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
map of the Divided Kingdom.    http://www.solarnavigator.net/geography/geography_images/Middle_East_Levant_map.png
crown.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/ja15694_hat_full_king_crown.jpg
Corona Typewriter Company board meeting, 1912.   http://www.typewritermuseum.org/_ills-library/_photos/_arc/corona_board_meeting_1912.jpg
guys drinking.   http://www.jclimonow.com/uploads/4/8/1/2/48123893/2977621_orig.jpg
leadership.    http://psychologyataglance.blogspot.com/2013_12_21_archive.html
map of Northern Kingdom.   http://www.rapturechrist.com/mapisrael3g.gif
“Holy Cow!”  Photograph by John Lund.     http://www.johnlund.com/ArticleImages/Artcl15-cows/holycow2cp.jpg
My Way Way.    http://www.schteingart.com/MyWay.jpg

3238.) 1 Kings 11

September 15, 2021

“The Idolatry of Solomon” by Frans Francken II, 1622 (Getty Museum)

1 Kings 11   (NIV)

Solomon’s Wives

We are back in the Old Testament and at a critical time. David’s son King Solomon is finessing his legacy before his death, and it is not a pretty sight. Because of his unfaithfulness, there will soon be calamitous change for the nation of Israel.

1 King Solomon, however, loved many foreign women besides Pharaoh’s daughter—Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians and Hittites. 2 They were from nations about which the LORD had told the Israelites, “You must not intermarry with them, because they will surely turn your hearts after their gods.” Nevertheless, Solomon held fast to them in love. 3 He had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray.

Deuteronomy 17:17 (New Living Translation)

The king must not take many wives for himself, because they will turn his heart away from the Lord.

1K11 smooch

Solomon Sore Lips
by Calvin Miller

King Solomon of Israel
Had seven hundred wondrous wives,
And when he kissed them all good night
He puckered seven hundred times.

Although he kissed them at the rate
Of two-o-three-point-five per hour,
It still took three-point-four long hours—
Before his last wife was in bed,
And Solomon was nearly dead,
Overwhelmed by halitosis,
Lip-fatigued by puckerosis!

When Solomon first married them
He really didn’t have a clue
(Although it made an awful racket
When the great horde said, “I do!”)
All seven hundred nagging wives
Meant just as many pairs of jaws
And several million gripes and groans
And quite a lot of mom-in-laws!

At first he kissed frenetically,
But soon just alphabetically.
He’d kiss his way from Abigail
To Zelpha of Judea,
Taking two ten-minute breaks
At Bilpah and at Leah.

He mostly hated Thursdays,
For that was “concu-night.”
That night besides his hordes of brides
He had to kiss the concubines.
While “concues” were less favored,
He owned two hundred fifty-one,

So kissing them required an hour
If he kissed them on the run.

As Solomon grew very old,
He left his alphabet technique
And tried a different way to go
That he believed was quite unique.
And started with the ugliest
(To get the worst out of the way).
Then he kissed the sick ones
(Who had been in bed all day).
And then he kissed the ones with colds
And those with nasal hair,
Smooching rapidly along
Until he gladly reached the fair.

But kissing all the wives goodnight
Gave Solomon his greatest strain:
He kissed and kissed and kissed and kissed
Until his whole mouth felt the pain!

Each evening when his job was done,
Somewhere near three o’clock a.m.,
He always went straight to his bed,
Because he had to wake at five
To kiss them all good morn again.

I’ve heard that when he finally died
And went up to his home on high,
His welcome wasn’t quite divine;
It made a chill run down his spine
To see a thousand concubines,
Standing puckered in a line.
He cried, “I’m doomed, alas, poor me!
I wish I’d married sensibly!”

4 As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father had been. 5 He followed Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molek the detestable god of the Ammonites. 6 So Solomon did evil in the eyes of the LORD; he did not follow the LORD completely, as David his father had done.

7 On a hill east of Jerusalem, Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the detestable god of Moab, and for Molek the detestable god of the Ammonites. 8 He did the same for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and offered sacrifices to their gods.

“Solomon Sacrifices to Idols” by Sebastien Bourdon (The Louvre, Paris)

9 The LORD became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the LORD, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice. 10 Although he had forbidden Solomon to follow other gods, Solomon did not keep the LORD’s command. 11 So the LORD said to Solomon, “Since this is your attitude and you have not kept my covenant and my decrees, which I commanded you, I will most certainly tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your subordinates. 12 Nevertheless, for the sake of David your father, I will not do it during your lifetime. I will tear it out of the hand of your son. 13 Yet I will not tear the whole kingdom from him, but will give him one tribe for the sake of David my servant and for the sake of Jerusalem, which I have chosen.”

1K11 one tribe

God promised the entire kingdom of Israel to the descendants of David forever, if they only remained obedient. David reminded Solomon of this promise shortly before his death (1 Kings 2:4). Yet they could not remain faithful even one generation.

–David Guzik

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is “Find Us Faithful”  by Steve Green.

_________________________

Solomon’s Adversaries

Two foreign adversaries . . .

14 Then the LORD raised up against Solomon an adversary,

In 1 Kings 5:4, Solomon says to King Hiram, who is helping him build the temple, “But now the LORD my God has given me rest on every side, and there is no adversary or disaster.” Yet here we read, “the LORD raised up an adversary.” God will try various methods to get our attention when we stray away from his ways. Heavenly Father, help us follow you in all things.

Hadad the Edomite, from the royal line of Edom. 15 Earlier when David was fighting with Edom, Joab the commander of the army, who had gone up to bury the dead, had struck down all the men in Edom. 16 Joab and all the Israelites stayed there for six months, until they had destroyed all the men in Edom. 17 But Hadad, still only a boy, fled to Egypt with some Edomite officials who had served his father. 18 They set out from Midian and went to Paran. Then taking people from Paran with them, they went to Egypt, to Pharaoh king of Egypt, who gave Hadad a house and land and provided him with food.

19 Pharaoh was so pleased with Hadad that he gave him a sister of his own wife, Queen Tahpenes, in marriage. 20 The sister of Tahpenes bore him a son named Genubath, whom Tahpenes brought up in the royal palace. There Genubath lived with Pharaoh’s own children.

21 While he was in Egypt, Hadad heard that David rested with his ancestors and that Joab the commander of the army was also dead. Then Hadad said to Pharaoh, “Let me go, that I may return to my own country.”

22 “What have you lacked here that you want to go back to your own country?” Pharaoh asked.

“Nothing,” Hadad replied, “but do let me go!”

23 And God raised up against Solomon another adversary, Rezon son of Eliada, who had fled from his master, Hadadezer king of Zobah. 24 When David destroyed Zobah’s army, Rezon gathered a band of men around him and became their leader; they went to Damascus, where they settled and took control. 25 Rezon was Israel’s adversary as long as Solomon lived, adding to the trouble caused by Hadad. So Rezon ruled in Aram and was hostile toward Israel.

Jeroboam Rebels Against Solomon

. . . and an Israelite adversary.

26 Also, Jeroboam son of Nebat rebelled against the king. He was one of Solomon’s officials, an Ephraimite from Zeredah, and his mother was a widow named Zeruah.

27 Here is the account of how he rebelled against the king: Solomon had built the terraces and had filled in the gap in the wall of the city of David his father. 28 Now Jeroboam was a man of standing, and when Solomon saw how well the young man did his work, he put him in charge of the whole labor force of the tribes of Joseph.

29 About that time Jeroboam was going out of Jerusalem, and Ahijah the prophet of Shiloh met him on the way, wearing a new cloak. The two of them were alone out in the country, 30 and Ahijah took hold of the new cloak he was wearing and tore it into twelve pieces.

“Jeroboam” by Gabriel Picart.  In Who’s Who in the Bible”(1994). Reader’s Digest.

31 Then he said to Jeroboam, “Take ten pieces for yourself, for this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘See, I am going to tear the kingdom out of Solomon’s hand and give you ten tribes. 32 But for the sake of my servant David and the city of Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, he will have one tribe. 33 I will do this because they have forsaken me and worshiped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, Chemosh the god of the Moabites, and Molek the god of the Ammonites, and have not walked in obedience to me, nor done what is right in my eyes, nor kept my decrees and laws as David, Solomon’s father, did.

34 “‘But I will not take the whole kingdom out of Solomon’s hand; I have made him ruler all the days of his life for the sake of David my servant, whom I chose and who obeyed my commands and decrees. 35 I will take the kingdom from his son’s hands and give you ten tribes. 36 I will give one tribe to his son so that David my servant may always have a lamp before me in Jerusalem, the city where I chose to put my Name.

The image of a lamp becomes a special metaphor for David and for the continuity of his line.

Psalm 132:17 (Amplified Bible)

There will I make a horn spring forth and bud for David; I have ordained and prepared a lamp for My anointed [fulfilling the promises of old].

37 However, as for you, I will take you, and you will rule over all that your heart desires; you will be king over Israel. 38 If you do whatever I command you and walk in obedience to me and do what is right in my eyes by obeying my decrees and commands, as David my servant did, I will be with you. I will build you a dynasty as enduring as the one I built for David and will give Israel to you. 39 I will humble David’s descendants because of this, but not forever.’”

What a magnificent and astonishing opportunity is knocking at Jeroboam’s door! He can follow the Lord, and God promises to make him an illustrious dynasty, like that of David! (Now guess what he will actually do . . .)

40 Solomon tried to kill Jeroboam, but Jeroboam fled to Egypt, to Shishak the king, and stayed there until Solomon’s death.

Solomon’s Death

1K11 3 kings

41 As for the other events of Solomon’s reign—all he did and the wisdom he displayed—are they not written in the book of the annals of Solomon? 42 Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel forty years. 43 Then he rested with his ancestors and was buried in the city of David his father. And Rehoboam his son succeeded him as king.

_________________________

New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2010 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
Francken.    http://www.getty.edu/art/gettyguide/artObjectDetails?artobj=656&handle=li
kisses.   http://clipart-library.com/clipart/562040.htm
Bourdon.    http://www.culture.gouv.fr/Wave/image/joconde/0002/m503604_91de2069_p.jpg
I will give one tribe.   https://ocbf.ca/2019/1kings_1_1-14/
Picart.    http://www.gabrielpicart.com/english/illustration.htm
ancient Canaanite lamp.    http://www.victorie-inc.us/images/Oil-Lamps/CananiteOilLamp.jpg
Opportunity knocking.     https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2016/09/b1251-opportunity_knocking.jpg
3 kings.    http://images.slideplayer.com/20/5991929/slides/slide_3.jpg

3237.) 1 Kings 10

September 14, 2021

In December 1959 Hollywood released the movie “Solomon and Sheba,” starring the Italian actress Gina Lollobrigida and a young Yul Brynner.

1 Kings 10   (New International Version)

The Queen of Sheba Visits Solomon

1 When the queen of Sheba

Ancient Sabea is modern-day Yemen.

heard about the fame of Solomon and his relationship to the LORD, she came to test Solomon with hard questions. 2 Arriving at Jerusalem with a very great caravan—with camels carrying spices, large quantities of gold, and precious stones—

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is “The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba”  from the oratorio Solomon (written in 1749) by George Frideric Handel.

_________________________

she came to Solomon and talked with him about all that she had on her mind. 3 Solomon answered all her questions; nothing was too hard for the king to explain to her.

“The hard questions were not just riddles, but included difficult diplomatic and ethical questions . . . The test was not an academic exercise but to see if he would be a trustworthy business party and a reliable ally capable of giving help.”

–Donald J. Wiseman

4 When the queen of Sheba saw all the wisdom of Solomon and the palace he had built, 5 the food on his table, the seating of his officials, the attending servants in their robes, his cupbearers, and the burnt offerings he made at the temple of the LORD, she was overwhelmed.

1K10 rose_bee

Solomon and the Bees

by John Godfrey Saxe

When Solomon was reigning in his glory,
Unto his throne the Queen of Sheba came;
(So in the Talmud you may read the story)
Drawn by the magic of the monarch’s fame,
To see the splendours of his court, and bring
Some fitting tribute to the mighty King.

Nor this alone:  much had Her Highness heard
What flowers of learning graced the royal speech;
What gems of wisdom dropped with every word;
What wholesome lessons he was wont to teach
In pleasing proverbs; and she wished in sooth
To know if rumor spake the simple truth.

Besides, the Queen had heard (which piqued her most)
How through the deepest riddle he could spy;
How all the curious arts which women boast
Were quite transparent to his piercing eye;
And so the Queen had come—a royal guest—
To put the Sage’s cunning to the test.

And straight she held before the monarch’s view
In either hand a radiant wealth of flowers;
The one, bedeckt with every charming hue,
Was newly culled from Nature’s choicest bowers.
The other, no less fair in every part,
Was the rare product of divinest art.

“Which is the true, and which the false?” she said.
Great Solomon was silent.  All amazed,
Each wondering courtier shook his puzzled head;
While at the garlands long the Monarch gazed,
As one who sees a miracle, and fain,
For very rapture ne’er would speak again.

“Which is the true?”  Once more the woman asked,
Pleased at the fond amazement of the King;
“So wise a head is scarcely to be tasked,
Most learned Liege, with such a trivial thing!”
But still the Sage was silent; it was plain
A deep’ning doubt perplexed his royal brain.

While thus he pondered, presently he sees,
Close by the casement—so the story goes—
A little band of busy bustling bees,
Hunting for honey in a withered rose.
The monarch smiled, and raised his royal head:
“Open the window!”—that was all he said.

The window opened at the King’s command.
Within the room the eager insects flew
And sought the flowers in Sheba’s out-stretched hand;
And so the King and all the courtiers knew
That wreath was Nature’s—and the baffled Queen
Returned to tell the wonders she had seen.

My story teaches (every tale should bear
A fitting moral) that the wise may find,
In trifles light as atoms of the air,
Some useful lesson to enrich the mind—
Some truth designed to profit or to please—
As Israel’s King learned wisdom from the bees.

*                *               *

6 She said to the king, “The report I heard in my own country about your achievements and your wisdom is true. 7 But I did not believe these things until I came and saw with my own eyes. Indeed, not even half was told me; in wisdom and wealth you have far exceeded the report I heard. 8 How happy your people must be! How happy your officials, who continually stand before you and hear your wisdom! 9 Praise be to the LORD your God, who has delighted in you and placed you on the throne of Israel. Because of the LORD’s eternal love for Israel, he has made you king to maintain justice and righteousness.”

10 And she gave the king 120 talents (that is, four and a half tons) of gold, large quantities of spices, and precious stones. Never again were so many spices brought in as those the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon.

Isaiah 60:5-7 (NLT)

Your eyes will shine,
and your heart will thrill with joy,
for merchants from around the world will come to you.
They will bring you the wealth of many lands.
Vast caravans of camels will converge on you,
the camels of Midian and Ephah.
The people of Sheba will bring gold and frankincense
and will come worshiping the Lord.
The flocks of Kedar will be given to you,
and the rams of Nebaioth will be brought for my altars.
I will accept their offerings,
and I will make my Temple glorious.

In Christian iconography, Solomon represents Jesus and Sheba represents the gentile Church. Thus Sheba’s meeting with Solomon bearing rich gifts foreshadows the adoration of the Magi.

11 (Hiram’s ships brought gold from Ophir; and from there they brought great cargoes of almugwood and precious stones. 12 The king used the almugwood to make supports for the temple of the LORD and for the royal palace, and to make harps and lyres for the musicians. So much almugwood has never been imported or seen since that day.)

13 King Solomon gave the queen of Sheba all she desired and asked for, besides what he had given her out of his royal bounty. Then she left and returned with her retinue to her own country.

The Queen of Sheba, painted by Rita Ria

Many traditions point to the Queen of Sheba as a black woman.

1K10 map Ethiopia

And here is another interesting tradition! A large part of the history of Ethiopia is centered on the legend of the Queen of Sheba of Ethiopia and King Solomon of Israel. Many Ethiopians believe that the relationship between Sheba and Solomon resulted to a son who founded the Solomonic Dynasty in Aksum. Read more  HERE.

Solomon’s Splendor

14 The weight of the gold that Solomon received yearly was 666 talents (that is 25 tons), 15 not including the revenues from merchants and traders and from all the Arabian kings and the governors of the territories.

16 King Solomon made two hundred large shields of hammered gold; six hundred shekels (that is, 15 tons) of gold went into each shield. 17 He also made three hundred small shields of hammered gold, with three minas (that is, three and three-fourth pounds) of gold in each shield. The king put them in the Palace of the Forest of Lebanon.

a model of the ceremonial gold shield of Achilles, the Greek hero of the Trojan War and the central character in Homer’s “Iliad”

These were display models only. Gold is too heavy and too soft to be useful as a shield in battle.

18 Then the king made a great throne covered with ivory and overlaid with fine gold. 19 The throne had six steps, and its back had a rounded top. On both sides of the seat were armrests, with a lion standing beside each of them. 20 Twelve lions stood on the six steps, one at either end of each step. Nothing like it had ever been made for any other kingdom. 21 All King Solomon’s goblets were gold, and all the household articles in the Palace of the Forest of Lebanon were pure gold. Nothing was made of silver, because silver was considered of little value in Solomon’s days. 22 The king had a fleet of trading ships at sea along with the ships of Hiram. Once every three years it returned, carrying gold, silver and ivory, and apes and baboons.

23 King Solomon was greater in riches and wisdom than all the other kings of the earth. 24 The whole world sought audience with Solomon to hear the wisdom God had put in his heart. 25 Year after year, everyone who came brought a gift—articles of silver and gold, robes, weapons and spices, and horses and mules.

26 Solomon accumulated chariots and horses; he had fourteen hundred chariots and twelve thousand horses, which he kept in the chariot cities and also with him in Jerusalem. 27 The king made silver as common in Jerusalem as stones, and cedar as plentiful as sycamore-fig trees in the foothills. 28 Solomon’s horses were imported from Egypt and from Kue—the royal merchants purchased them from Kue at the current price. 29 They imported a chariot from Egypt for six hundred shekels of silver, and a horse for a hundred and fifty (that is, three and three-fourth pounds). They also exported them to all the kings of the Hittites and of the Arameans.

When we think of Solomon’s great wealth, we also consider that he originally did not set his heart upon riches. He deliberately asked for wisdom to lead the people of God instead of riches or fame. God promised to also give Solomon riches and fame, and God fulfilled His promise.

We also consider that Solomon gave an eloquent testimony to the vanity of riches as the preacher in the Book of Ecclesiastes. He powerfully showed that there was no ultimate satisfaction through materialism. We don’t have to be as rich as Solomon to learn the same lesson.

–David Guzik

_________________________

New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2010 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
Solomon and Sheba.   http://lh6.ggpht.com/-jo8GFdMEL0g/TjpmvFtz3xI/AAAAAAAAdJQ/7ikJ6B84fZQ/movie_queen_of_sheba2_thumb3.jpg?imgmax=800
bee on a wild rose.    https://deborahsmall.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/rose_bee_xcu_8643.jpg
the three kings and their offerings of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.   http://www.threewisemengifts.com/threekings.htm
Ria.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/queensheba.jpg
map of Ethiopia.    http://ichef-1.bbci.co.uk/news/304/media/images/87044000/gif/_87044077_c4e4781e-48f6-44fd-8971-f157bad9d748.gif
gold shield of Achilles.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/achilles-gold-shield-flaxmanshield.gif
horse in Egypt.    http://etc-travel.blogspot.com/2008/06/16th-sharkeya-arabian-horses-festival.html

3236.) 1 Kings 9

September 13, 2021

King Solomon

1 Kings 9   (New International Version)

The LORD Appears to Solomon

1 When Solomon had finished building the temple of the LORD and the royal palace, and had achieved all he had desired to do,

The task Solomon had had before him the entire time of his reign (commentators say he had ruled 24 years by now) was completed. At last he could relax! But that attitude can be dangerous to one’s faith walk . . .

2 the LORD appeared to him a second time, as he had appeared to him at Gibeon. 3 The LORD said to him:

“I have heard the prayer and plea you have made before me; I have consecrated this temple, which you have built, by putting my Name there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.

4 “As for you, if you walk before me faithfully with integrity of heart and uprightness, as David your father did, and do all I command and observe my decrees and laws, 5 I will establish your royal throne over Israel forever, as I promised David your father when I said, ‘You shall never fail to have a successor on the throne of Israel.’

Matthew 7:24-25 (NLT)

“Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock.  Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock.”

6 “But if you or your descendants turn away from me and do not observe the commands and decrees I have given you and go off to serve other gods and worship them, 7 then I will cut off Israel from the land I have given them and will reject this temple I have consecrated for my Name. Israel will then become a byword and an object of ridicule among all peoples. 8 This temple will become a heap of rubble. All who pass by will be appalled and will scoff and say, ‘Why has the LORD done such a thing to this land and to this temple?’ 9 People will answer, ‘Because they have forsaken the LORD their God, who brought their ancestors out of Egypt, and have embraced other gods, worshiping and serving them—that is why the LORD brought all this disaster on them.’”

Matthew 7:26-27 (NLT)

“But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand.  When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.”

Solomon — Which will you choose?

Solomon’s Other Activities

10 At the end of twenty years, during which Solomon built these two buildings—the temple of the LORD and the royal palace— 11 King Solomon gave twenty towns in Galilee to Hiram king of Tyre, because Hiram had supplied him with all the cedar and juniper and gold he wanted. 12 But when Hiram went from Tyre to see the towns that Solomon had given him, he was not pleased with them. 13 “What kind of towns are these you have given me, my brother?” he asked. And he called them the Land of Kabul (Kabul sounds like the Hebrew for good-for-nothing), a name they have to this day. 14 Now Hiram had sent to the king 120 talents (that is, about 4 1/2 tons) of gold.

from Peculiar Treasures, A Biblical Who’s Who,
by Frederick Buechner

HIRAM

Hiram, King of Tyre, was in the lumber business, and when Solomon, King of Israel, decided he wanted to build the Temple in Jerusalem, Hiram let him have all the cedar and cypress he needed. He also charged such a cutthroat price for it that in order to pay up, Solomon had to tax his people blind and increase tolls on all the major highways.

Twenty years later, however, when the job was done and Hiram submitted his final bill, Solomon got a little of his own back by paying it in the form not of cash but of twelve Galilean cities whose turn-in value is suggested by the fact that when Hiram saw them, he called the Cabul, which means No Place. According to the historian Josephus, Solomon followed this up by proposing a riddle contest which Hiram lost hands down. As a result he had to give Solomon an enormous prize.

Josephus reports that Hiram bided his time for a while but then got hold of a friend named Abdemon who made hash of Solomon’s riddles in about twenty-five minutes, and at the end of that round it was Solomon who had to cough up an enormous prize for Hiram.

Unfortunately neither Josephus nor the Book of Kings reports what new heights the friendship rose to after that.

15 Here is the account of the forced labor King Solomon conscripted to build the LORD’s temple, his own palace, the terraces, the wall of Jerusalem, and Hazor, Megiddo and Gezer.

aerial view of Tel Hazor

Hazor, Megiddo, and Gezer were three prominently fortified cities in the days of Solomon. “Recent work has demonstrated that these three cities had certain characteristics in common with regard particularly to their fortifications attributable to the Solomonic era . . . Most distinctive are the gate complexes, which are identical in plan and virtually of the same dimensions in all three cities.” (Patterson and Austel)

i. “Hazor was strategically placed in the north (c. three miles north of the Sea of Galilee), being situated at the juncture of the two major highways approaching from the north. It became Israel’s chief bulwark against northern invaders until it was destroyed in the eighth century by Tiglath-pileser III.” (Patterson and Austel)

ii. “Megiddo was the great fortress that controlled on the major passes from the Plain of Sharon on the coast into the Valley of Jezreel through the Carmel range. It figures in prophecy as the staging area for the last great battle (Armageddon) in which Christ will defeat the forces of the Antichrist.” (Patterson and Austel)

iii. “Gezer, on the road from Joppa to Jerusalem, had been a powerful Canaanite city. Though it was included in the tribal territory of Ephraim, it was not occupied by the Israelites until the time of Solomon. Then it was given to Solomon as a wedding gift by Pharaoh to his daughter.” (Patterson and Austel)

–David Guzik

10th century BCE “Solomonic Gate” at Tel Gezer

16 (Pharaoh king of Egypt had attacked and captured Gezer. He had set it on fire. He killed its Canaanite inhabitants and then gave it as a wedding gift to his daughter, Solomon’s wife. 17 And Solomon rebuilt Gezer.) He built up Lower Beth Horon, 18 Baalath, and Tadmor in the desert, within his land, 19 as well as all his store cities and the towns for his chariots and for his horses—whatever he desired to build in Jerusalem, in Lebanon and throughout all the territory he ruled.

20 There were still people left from the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites (these peoples were not Israelites). 21 Solomon conscripted the descendants of all these peoples remaining in the land—whom the Israelites could not exterminate—to serve as slave labor, as it is to this day. 22 But Solomon did not make slaves of any of the Israelites; they were his fighting men, his government officials, his officers, his captains, and the commanders of his chariots and charioteers. 23 They were also the chief officials in charge of Solomon’s projects—550 officials supervising those who did the work.

24 After Pharaoh’s daughter had come up from the City of David to the palace Solomon had built for her, he constructed the terraces.

25 Three times a year Solomon sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings on the altar he had built for the LORD, burning incense before the LORD along with them, and so fulfilled the temple obligations.

26 King Solomon also built ships at Ezion Geber, which is near Elath in Edom, on the shore of the Red Sea. 27 And Hiram sent his men—sailors who knew the sea—to serve in the fleet with Solomon’s men. 28 They sailed to Ophir and brought back 420 talents (that is, about 16 tons) of gold, which they delivered to King Solomon.

Ophir . . . a true mystery. No one knows where exactly it was in ancient times, although various Biblical scholars, archaeologists, and others have suggested places:  southern Arabia, Africa (Vasco de Gama’s exploring companion thought it was Zimbabwe; John Milton in Paradise Lost placed Ophir in Mozambique), the Solomon Islands (named thus because Alvaro Mendana, who discovered them in 1568, believed them to be Ophir), even Peru or the Philippines or Australia!

_________________________

Music:

I get tired just reading about all the work that Solomon had his people do — building temples and palaces and stables and cities, constructing terraces and city walls, working with wood and stone, laboring in ships and in gold mines —

Think I’ll put my feet up — it is Friday soon, isn’t it??

HERE  are Alan Jackson and Jimmy Buffet, “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere.”

_________________________

New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2010 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
King Solomon.   https://brentkuhlman.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/king-solomon.jpg
It’s 5:00 somewhere.     https://www.knoxvilleneonusa.com/fullscreen-page/comp-jizau54d/1f989f37-cb52-403d-be09-2ec9e5eb2eb9/8/%3Fi%3D8%26p%3Did1oi%26s%3Dstyle-jizau50s
house built on a rock.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/house-on-rock.jpg
house built on the sand.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/house-sand.jpg
King Hiram choosing which cedar trees to be cut down.  https://www.chronologicalbibleblog.com/2012/05/page/2/
Tel Hazor.    https://biblepaedia.wordpress.com/2012/07/25/the-book-of-joshua-and-the-destruction-of-hazor-part-4/
Tel Gezer.    https://www.123rf.com/photo_60530103_ancient-remains-in-tel-gezer-israel.html
globe with question mark.  https://crisisboom.files.wordpress.com/2011/01/earth.jpg

3234.) 1 Kings 8:22-66

September 9, 2021

The Western Wall is the oldest visible portion remaining of Herod’s Temple (from the time of Christ), which was built on the site of Solomon’s temple. No archaeological remains of Solomon’s temple have been positively identified, according to anything I have read. Perhaps as excavations continue!

1 Kings 8:22-66  (New International Version)

Solomon’s Prayer of Dedication

22 Then Solomon stood before the altar of the LORD in front of the whole assembly of Israel, spread out his hands toward heaven

1K8 Solomon_dedicates_temple

This was a common posture of prayer in Old Testament times. Whereas we close our eyes, fold our hands, and bow our heads, people in the Old Testament would often have lifted their hands to heaven in a gesture of surrender and openness to God.

23 and said:

“LORD, the God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth below—you who keep your covenant of love with your servants who continue wholeheartedly in your way. 24 You have kept your promise to your servant David my father; with your mouth you have promised and with your hand you have fulfilled it—as it is today.

25 “Now LORD, the God of Israel, keep for your servant David my father the promises you made to him when you said, ‘You shall never fail to have a successor to sit before me on the throne of Israel, if only your descendants are careful in all they do to walk before me faithfully as you have done.’ 26 And now, God of Israel, let your word that you promised your servant David my father come true.

27 “But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built!

“Will God really dwell on earth?”  Yes!  Yes!  Yes!

John 1:14 says, “The Word became flesh, and made his dwelling among us.” Matthew 18:20 says, “Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.” And 1 Corinthians 3:16 reminds us that we are God’s temple, and God’s spirit lives in us!

28 Yet give attention to your servant’s prayer and his plea for mercy, LORD my God. Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is praying in your presence this day. 29 May your eyes be open toward this temple night and day, this place of which you said, ‘My Name shall be there,’ so that you will hear the prayer your servant prays toward this place. 30 Hear the supplication of your servant and of your people Israel when they pray toward this place. Hear from heaven, your dwelling place, and when you hear, forgive.

Now Solomon gives seven examples of what the Lord might hear as prayers from his people:

1.  that God would judge the guilty and acquit the innocent.

31 “When anyone wrongs their neighbor and is required to take an oath and they come and swear the oath before your altar in this temple, 32 then hear from heaven and act. Judge between your servants, condemning the guilty by bringing down on their heads what they have done, and vindicating the innocent by treating them in accordance with their innocence.

2.  that God would deliver them from captivity.

33 “When your people Israel have been defeated by an enemy because they have sinned against you, and when they turn back to you and give praise to your name, praying and making supplication to you in this temple, 34 then hear from heaven and forgive the sin of your people Israel and bring them back to the land you gave to their ancestors.

3.  that God would send good weather for the crops.

35 “When the heavens are shut up and there is no rain because your people have sinned against you, and when they pray toward this place and give praise to your name and turn from their sin because you have afflicted them, 36 then hear from heaven and forgive the sin of your servants, your people Israel. Teach them the right way to live, and send rain on the land you gave your people for an inheritance.

4.  that God would deliver them from all kinds of evil — from nature, from enemies, from their own sinful hearts.

37 “When famine or plague comes to the land, or blight or mildew, locusts or grasshoppers, or when an enemy besieges them in any of their cities, whatever disaster or disease may come, 38 and when a prayer or plea is made by anyone among your people Israel—being aware of the afflictions of their own hearts, and spreading out their hands toward this temple— 39 then hear from heaven, your dwelling place. Forgive and act; deal with everyone according to all they do, since you know their hearts (for you alone know every human heart), 40 so that they will fear you all the time they live in the land you gave our ancestors.

5.  that God would accept the foreigners who come to Israel blessing the Lord’s name.

41 “As for the foreigner who does not belong to your people Israel but has come from a distant land because of your name— 42 for they will hear of your great name and your mighty hand and your outstretched arm—when they come and pray toward this temple, 43 then hear from heaven, your dwelling place. Do whatever the foreigner asks of you, so that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you, as do your own people Israel, and may know that this house I have built bears your Name.

6.  that God would bless their efforts when God sends them out to war.

44 “When your people go to war against their enemies, wherever you send them, and when they pray to the LORD toward the city you have chosen and the temple I have built for your Name, 45 then hear from heaven their prayer and their plea, and uphold their cause.

7.  that God would forgive them when they turn away from the Lord.

46 “When they sin against you—for there is no one who does not sin—and you become angry with them and give them over to their enemies, who take them captive to their own lands, far away or near; 47 and if they have a change of heart in the land where they are held captive, and repent and plead with you in the land of their captors and say, ‘We have sinned, we have done wrong, we have acted wickedly’; 48 and if they turn back to you with all their heart and soul in the land of their enemies who took them captive, and pray to you toward the land you gave their ancestors, toward the city you have chosen and the temple I have built for your Name; 49 then from heaven, your dwelling place, hear their prayer and their plea, and uphold their cause. 50 And forgive your people, who have sinned against you; forgive all the offenses they have committed against you, and cause their captors to show them mercy; 51 for they are your people and your inheritance, whom you brought out of Egypt, out of that iron-smelting furnace.

52 “May your eyes be open to your servant’s plea and to the plea of your people Israel, and may you listen to them whenever they cry out to you. 53 For you singled them out from all the nations of the world to be your own inheritance, just as you declared through your servant Moses when you, Sovereign LORD, brought our ancestors out of Egypt.”

54 When Solomon had finished all these prayers and supplications to the LORD, he rose from before the altar of the LORD, where he had been kneeling with his hands spread out toward heaven.

At some time during the prayer, it would seem that Solomon had fallen to his knees in reverence before the Lord.

Ezra prayed on his knees (Ezra 9:5), the Psalmist called us to kneel (Psalm 95:6), Daniel prayed on his knees (Daniel 6:10), people came to Jesus kneeling (Matthew 17:14, Matthew 20:20, Mark 1:40), Stephen prayed on his knees (Acts 7:60), Peter prayed on his knees (Acts 9:40), Paul prayed on his knees (Acts 20:36, Ephesians 3:14), and other early Christians prayed on their knees (Acts 21:5). Most importantly, Jesus prayed on His knees (Luke 22:41). The Bible has enough prayer not on the knees to show us that it isn’t required, but it also has enough prayer on the knees to show us that it is good.

–David Guzik

55 He stood and blessed the whole assembly of Israel in a loud voice, saying:

56 “Praise be to the LORD, who has given rest to his people Israel just as he promised. Not one word has failed of all the good promises he gave through his servant Moses.

Isaiah 54:10 (KJV)

For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee.

57 May the LORD our God be with us as he was with our ancestors; may he never leave us nor forsake us. 58 May he turn our hearts to him, to walk in obedience to him and keep the commands, decrees and laws he gave our ancestors. 59 And may these words of mine, which I have prayed before the LORD, be near to the LORD our God day and night, that he may uphold the cause of his servant and the cause of his people Israel according to each day’s need, 60 so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other. 61 And may your hearts be fully committed to the LORD our God, to live by his decrees and obey his commands, as at this time.”

The Dedication of the Temple

1K8 Solomon-dedicates-temple

62 Then the king and all Israel with him offered sacrifices before the LORD. 63 Solomon offered a sacrifice of fellowship offerings to the LORD: twenty-two thousand cattle and a hundred and twenty thousand sheep and goats. So the king and all the Israelites dedicated the temple of the LORD.

Enough meat to feed a vast multitude for two weeks!

64 On that same day the king consecrated the middle part of the courtyard in front of the temple of the LORD, and there he offered burnt offerings, grain offerings and the fat of the fellowship offerings, because the bronze altar that stood before the LORD was too small to hold the burnt offerings, the grain offerings and the fat of the fellowship offerings.

65 So Solomon observed the festival at that time, and all Israel with him—a vast assembly, people from Lebo Hamath to the Wadi of Egypt. They celebrated it before the LORD our God for seven days and seven days more, fourteen days in all. 66 On the following day he sent the people away. They blessed the king and then went home, joyful and glad in heart for all the good things the LORD had done for his servant David and his people Israel.

_________________________

Music:

“Better Is One Day in Your Courts” — sung  HERE  by Kutless, a Christian rock band founded in 2000 in Portland, Oregon. Such a singable song!

_________________________

New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2010 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
Western Wall.    http://www.theodora.com/wfb/photos/israel/western_wall_jerusalem_israel_photo_gov.jpg
Solomon prays.     http://bibleencyclopedia.com/picturesjpeg/Solomon_dedicates_temple_BP-108.jpg
The Lord is faithful.  http://cangi.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/the-lord-is-faithful.jpg
Solomon dedicates the temple.    https://eastdailyoffice.wordpress.com/2021/08/29/morning-prayer-30-8-21-margaret-ward-margaret-clitherow-anne-line-martyrs-1588-1586-1601/solomon-dedicates-temple-seedsoffaith/#main

3233.) 1 Kings 8:1-21

September 8, 2021

the ark of the covenant and the cloud of Shekinah glory

1 Kings 8:1-21   (New International Version)

The Ark Brought to the Temple

1 Then King Solomon summoned into his presence at Jerusalem the elders of Israel, all the heads of the tribes and the chiefs of the Israelite families, to bring up the ark of the LORD’s covenant from Zion, the City of David. 2 All the Israelites came together to King Solomon at the time of the festival in the month of Ethanim, the seventh month.

The temple was finished in the eighth month, but Solomon had the festival 11 months later, during the seventh month. It could be because at that time the harvest was in and people were more free to come to Jerusalem. Some scholars have also suggested that the seventh month was part of a Jubilee year. At any rate, the temple was not complete until the ark of the covenant was put in place in the Most Holy Place.

So bringing the ark to the temple was a big occasion! Think of a beautiful public spectacle — like the opening ceremony for the Olympic Games!

3 When all the elders of Israel had arrived, the priests took up the ark, 4 and they brought up the ark of the LORD and the tent of meeting and all the sacred furnishings in it. The priests and Levites carried them up,

Remember in 2 Samuel 6, when David moved the ark with ordinary people and one of them touched the ark and died? Solomon does not make that mistake! He moves the ark and the temple furnishings the way God commanded them to be moved.

5 and King Solomon and the entire assembly of Israel that had gathered about him were before the ark, sacrificing so many sheep and cattle that they could not be recorded or counted.

Solomon went far beyond custom and expectation in his effort to honor and praise God on this great day.

_________________________

Music:

Aren’t we glad that we do not need to bring sheep and cattle to sacrifice as part of worship! Christ’s sacrifice on the cross is all sufficient, so I am grateful to bring my sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving.  HERE  is “We Bring the Sacrifice of Praise”  by the Maranatha! Singers.

_________________________

6 The priests then brought the ark of the LORD’s covenant to its place in the inner sanctuary of the temple, the Most Holy Place, and put it beneath the wings of the cherubim. 7 The cherubim spread their wings over the place of the ark and overshadowed the ark and its carrying poles. 8 These poles were so long that their ends could be seen from the Holy Place in front of the inner sanctuary, but not from outside the Holy Place; and they are still there today. 9 There was nothing in the ark except the two stone tablets that Moses had placed in it at Horeb, where the LORD made a covenant with the Israelites after they came out of Egypt.

What happened to the container of manna (Exodus 16:33) and Aaron’s rod that budded (Numbers 17:6-11)? These items were formerly in the ark, along with the two stone tablets. The reason is lost to history.

10 When the priests withdrew from the Holy Place, the cloud filled the temple of the LORD.

This was the cloud of glory, seen often in the Old and New Testaments, sometimes called the cloud of Shekinah glory. It is hard to define the glory of God; we could call it the radiant outshining of His character and presence. Here it is manifested in a cloud.

  • This is the cloud that stood by Israel in the wilderness (Exodus 13:21-22)
  • This is the cloud of glory that God spoke to Israel from (Exodus 16:10)
  • This is the cloud from which God met with Moses and others (Exodus 19:9, 24:15-18, Numbers 11:25, 12:5, 16:42)
  • This is the cloud that stood by the door of the Tabernacle (Exodus 33:9-10)
  • This is the cloud from which God appeared to the High Priest in the Holy Place inside the veil (Leviticus 16:2)
  • This is the cloud of Ezekiel’s vision, filling the temple of God with the brightness of His glory (Ezekiel 10:4)
  • This is the cloud of glory that overshadowed Mary when she conceived Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35)
  • This is the cloud present at the transfiguration of Jesus (Luke 9:34-35)
  • This is the cloud of glory that received Jesus into heaven at His ascension (Acts 1:9)
  • This is the cloud that will display the glory of Jesus Christ when He returns in triumph to this earth (Luke 21:27, Revelation 1:7)

–David Guzik

11 And the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled his temple.

The sense of the presence of the Lord was so intense, the priests could not continue their work! The presence of our holy God is not a “warm and fuzzy” feeling. Men like Peter (Luke 5:8), Isaiah (Isaiah 6:5), and John (Revelation 1:17) felt stricken in the presence of God. This was not because God forced an uncomfortable feeling upon them, but because they simply could not be comfortable sensing the difference between their sinfulness and the holiness of God.

–David Guzik

This glory remained at the temple until Israel utterly rejected God in the days of the divided monarchy. The prophet Ezekiel saw the glory depart the temple (Ezekiel 10:18).

12 Then Solomon said, “The LORD has said that he would dwell in a dark cloud; 13 I have indeed built a magnificent temple for you, a place for you to dwell forever.”

14 While the whole assembly of Israel was standing there, the king turned around and blessed them. 15 Then he said:

“Praise be to the LORD, the God of Israel, who with his own hand has fulfilled what he promised with his own mouth to my father David. For he said, 16 ‘Since the day I brought my people Israel out of Egypt, I have not chosen a city in any tribe of Israel to have a temple built so that my Name might be there, but I have chosen David to rule my people Israel.’

17 “My father David had it in his heart to build a temple for the Name of the LORD, the God of Israel. 18 But the LORD said to my father David, ‘You did well to have it in your heart to build a temple for my Name. 19 Nevertheless, you are not the one to build the temple, but your son, your own flesh and blood—he is the one who will build the temple for my Name.’

20 “The LORD has kept the promise he made: I have succeeded David my father and now I sit on the throne of Israel, just as the LORD promised, and I have built the temple for the Name of the LORD, the God of Israel. 21 I have provided a place there for the ark, in which is the covenant of the LORD that he made with our ancestors when he brought them out of Egypt.”

1K8 Home sweet home

Out of Egypt, out of the wilderness — there is a sense in which the Exodus is finally finished this day:  in the Promised Land, the Lord has a permanent home among his people.

_________________________

New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2010 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
the ark of the covenant.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/ark_covenant.jpg
contents of the ark.    http://trivialdevotion.blogspot.com/2013_05_12_archive.html
“Tabernacle at Sunset.”    Pat Marvenko Smith, copyright 2000 .  https://revelationillustrated.com/product/the-tabernacle-at-sunset-16×20-print/
Home sweet home.   https://www.posterlounge.co.uk/p/619009.html