Showing posts with label 1 Kings. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 1 Kings. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

1 kings 21 - 22

Elijah meets Ahab and Jezebel - Frederic Leighton

Dear Readers,
This concludes the book of 1 Kings.

1 Kings Chapter 21
Ahab, in him mind coveted Naboth's vineyard to build a vegetable garden. Jezebel murdered Naboth to get possession of this vineyard. LORD, through prophet Elijah spoke about annihilating Ahab’s family. Ahab repented when he heard this. LORD saw Ahab's repentance and postponed his punishment.

1 Kings Chapter 22
Ahab joined forces with Jehoshaphat king of Judah, to fight Ben-Hadad. Ahab was killed by a stray arrow, and bled to death. The next two sections describe the reigns of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, who walked in the ways of the LORD, and Ahaziah king of Israel, who did evil as his parents.

-----------------------BIBLE READING------------------
WARNING: Some of the actions performed in this book are dangerous and should only be attempted by professionals familiar with the action in question.



-------------------FOOD FOR THOUGHT----------------



1 Kings 22

Ahab's death

Micaiah Prophesies Against Ahab
While Ahab was the king of Israel, Jehoshaphat was the king of Judah. Ahab gave his daughter in marriage to Jehoram and forged a peaceful alliance between the two countries. Ben-Hadad had not yet returned the city of Ramoth Gilead as part of previous agreement. Ahab therefore went and met with Jehoshaphat to together go fight against Ben-Hadad.

Jehoshaphat wanted to consult with prophets prior to making such a move. Ahab of Israel consulted with his four hundred (400) prophets and all of them gave an affirmative answer. These Baal's and Asherah's prophets would always twist their answers in favor of the kings.
7 But Jehoshaphat asked, “Is there no longer a prophet of the LORD here whom we can inquire of?”
Ahab, then mentioned about prophet Micaiah, who always gave unfavorable answers. Micaiah was accordingly summoned. When questioned, he made a sarcastic comment, "Attack and be victorious" (this is how verse 15 should be interpreted).

Ahab knew that Micaiah was making fun of him. and asked him firmly. To this, Micaiah said that in the upcoming battle, Israelites will be scattered and depicted Ahab's death. He also said that these prophets of Baal and Asherah are lying. One prophet slapped Micaiah on his face, and Ahab finally had him imprisoned.

Ahab Killed at Ramoth Gilead
Against the warnings of Micaiah, both kings went on to fight Ben-Hadad. In those days, if the leader of a certain side was captured or killed, the army usually fell apart. Ben-Hadad was targeting Ahab. Therefore, to deceive Ben-Hadad's men, Ahab wore the armor of a common soldier and made Jehoshaphat wear royal robes. A random arrow hit Ahab between his armor and he started bleeding severely. In the evening, the war was lost and Ahab's chariot was brought for washing, where dogs licked his blood - to fulfill Elijah's prophecy.

Jehoshaphat King of Judah
Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, like his father, Asa. He was at peace with Israel. He removed those existing male prostitutes from the land, but did not remove those "high places." Jehoram, his son succeeded him as the king.

Ahaziah, King of Israel
Ahaziah, Ahab's son, ruled only for two years. He walked in his parents' ways and did evil. He worshiped Baal and provoked the LORD.

1 Kings 21

Ahab and Jezebel meeting Elijah in Naboth's vineyard

Naboth’s Vineyard
Ahab maintained multiple palaces, and one was situated in Jezreel. Adjacent to his palace, there was a vineyard that belonged to Naboth. Ahab wanted to take possession of Naboth's vineyard and turn it into a vegetable garden. Naboth refused to give away his ancestral property in exchange for money or alternate land. Ahab became angry and depressed at this rejection. He then went and lay down in his palace without eating or drinking. Jezebel heard about this.
7 Jezebel his wife said, “Is this how you act as king over Israel? Get up and eat! Cheer up. I’ll get you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.”

She then forged documents using the king's seal and sent letters to the elders. In it, she asked them to hold a feast to honor Naboth, who should be seated between two wicked men. Then, the wicked men were to (falsely) testify against Naboth that he cursed LORD and the king. For this, he should be taken out of the city and stoned to death.

The elders did so, and shared the news with Jezebel. She then told Ahab, “Get up and take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite that he refused to sell you. He is no longer alive, but dead.” Ahab was excited to do so.

LORD told Elijah to go rebuke Ahab and Jezebel. "Dogs will lick the blood of Ahab, and dogs will devour Jezebel by the walls of Jezreel," Elijah said. When Ahab heard this, he put on sack clothes and mourned.

When LORD saw Ahab mourning, he postponed his punishment.

Additional Info
According to the law of Moses, at least two people should testify against someone to implement capital punishment.

Monday, September 16, 2013

1 Kings 17 - 20

Elijah and the Widow of Zarephath by BREENBERGH, Bartholomeus 1630

King Ahab was under the evil dominion of his wife, Jezebel, who was a fanatical idol worshiper - especially that of Baal. Altars of Baal were built and regular sacrifices were offered. There were over four hundred fifty (450) prophets of Baal alone. Another four hundred (400) prophets of Asherah sat at Jezebel's table as daily guests. While entertaining the prophets of Baal and Asherah, she fiercely persecuted all of LORD'S prophet and anyone who spoke was sure to fortify his life.

This is when prophet Elijah was sent by LORD to vigorously oppose Baal worship. Elijah is another superhero of the Bible, who ascended into the heaven alive. Prophet Elijah was LORD'S representative, just like how Moses was.

1 Kings Chapter 17
Elijah went and spoke to king Ahab that there will be no rains. He then went and stayed at a widow's place. He then performed two miracles for the widow - by granting her an unlimited supply of food and healing her dead son.

1 Kings Chapter 18
Elijah held a duel with four hundred fifty prophets of Baal on top of Mount Carmel. Baal was proved to be an inefficacious deity and LORD's power consumed Elijah’s sacrifice. People then killed all those prophets of Baal. Elijah brought rains back to Israel, ending the drought. He then outran Ahab's chariot to Jezebel.

1 Kings Chapter 19
Jezebel threatened to kill Elijah. With the help of an angel, Elijah traveled to Horeb after forty days and forty nights. He then encountered the LORD. Elijah then returned to Israel and accepted Elisha as his apprentice.

1 Kings Chapter 20
After laying siege to Samaria, Ben-Hadad was defeated by Ahab’s small army. A second battle erupted and Ahab is once again victorious. Ahab was rebuked by an unnamed prophet for letting Ben-Hadad go free.

-----------------------BIBLE READING------------------
WARNING: Some of the actions performed in this book are dangerous and should only be attempted by professionals familiar with the action in question.



-------------------FOOD FOR THOUGHT----------------



Michael D Waters.,

1 Kings 20

Israelites slaughter Syrians

Ben-Hadad Attacks Samaria
Syria gathered a large army consisting of thirty three (33) kings and under the leadership of Ben-Hadad, challenged Ahab. They asked for his silver, gold, women and children. At first, Ahab obliged to give everything that belonged to him, as he felt weak and cowardly.

Ben-Hadad then provoked Ahab to war by sending a second message that was even more insolent than the first. To this, the elders of Israel rejected Ben-Hadad's demands. This led towards war between Israel and Ben-Hadad.

Ahab Defeats Ben-Hadad
A certain prophet appeared before the king and provided courage. Many believe this prophet to be Micaiah. He told Ahab to be courageous as LORD would deliver the enemies into his hands. While Ben-Hadad and other kings were getting drunk around noon-time in their tents, on the mountains, while Ahab's army made a forary - by total surprise. This confused the combined army and everyone including Ben-Hadad fled the scene.

The following Spring, Ben-Hadad attacked Ahab once again. The battle was planned on the plains of Aphek, rather than mountains. Once again, the prophet (Micaiah) came to Ahab and assured victory.
28 The man of God came up and told the king of Israel, “This is what the LORD says: ‘Because the Arameans think the LORD is a god of the hills and not a god of the valleys, I will deliver this vast army into your hands, and you will know that I am the LORD.’”
After seven days, the armies clashed and on one day, one hundred thousand (100,000) causalities were inflicted on the Syrian army. Another seventy thousand (70,000) fell under a collapsed wall.
Ben-Hadad wearing sack clothes came pleading to Ahab. Ahab felt sad and agreed on a peace treaty.

A Prophet Condemns Ahab
The prophet (Micaiah) disguised as wounded and injured went near Ahab and staged a drama. He was not happy that Ben-Hadad was left free. He then removed his disguise.
42 He said to the king, “This is what the LORD says: ‘You have set free a man I had determined should die.Therefore it is your life for his life, your people for his people.’”

1 Kings 19

Angel provides prophet Elijah

Elijah Flees to Horeb
Ahab told Jezebel all that he witnessed at Mount Carmel, including the death of prophets of Baal. Jezebel raged with fear, and she wanted to put prophet Elijah to death. Hearing this, Elijah fled to the desert of Judah. He was too tired and so disappointed that he was willing to die. An angel appeared and provided him food and water. Elijah ate, drank and fell asleep. An angel appeared a second time and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” Elijah ate and drank and prepared for the journey - which lasted forty days. He then went and spent time in a cave.

The Cave believed to be used by Elijah for hiding. 

The Lord Appears to Elijah
Elijah complained about his sufferings to the LORD, and mourned the assassinations of LORD's prophets at the hands of Jezebel. The LORD was about to appear to Elijah outside the cave.

Elijah stood on the mountainside and the LORD manifested Himself to him. At first there was a great and strong wind that rocked the mountain, but LORD was not in the wind. Then came an earthquake, in which the LORD was not in. A fire followed the earthquake, but LORD was not in the fire even. Then Elijah heard a still, soft whisper, and he covered his face with his mantle and stood at the entrance of the cave.

LORD gave few commands to Elijah:
- To go to Damascus and anoint Hazael, as king over Syria,
- To anoint Jehu, to be king over Israel.
- To anoint Elisha, as the prophet in Elijah's place.

Elijah summons Elisha

The Call of Elisha
Prophet Elijah went and met Elisha when he was plowing in the field. In a symbolic gesture, Elijah threw his cloak around Elisha. Understanding the meaning of this, Elisha was excited and rushed home to take leave from them. He took the oxen and sacrificed them and held a feast. From then on, Elisha became Elijah's assistant.

1 Kings 18

Elijah and Obadiah
The drought had become so severe yet Ahab and Jezebel had not changed their evil ways serving Baal and Asherah. Obadiah was a LORD fearing palace administrator who had hidden one hundred of LORD'S prophets in two caves and fed them with food and water.

LORD asked Elijah to go present himself to Ahab. On the way, he met Obadiah. Elijah asked Obadiah to go tell his master, king Ahab, that Elijah was here. Obadiah was afraid to do so, as Ahab had been searching for Elijah since the day he went hiding. If Obadiah said Elijah was here, it would appear as if he was hiding Elijah; hence he was scared. Elijah agreed to present himself in front of Ahab on the same day.

Elijah on Mount Carmel
This is mount carmel - most chocolate loves read it as car-a-mel.

Obadiah though he was scared, went and told Ahab that Elijah was at a certain location. Ahab then went met Elijah and addressed him as the "troublemaker of Israel." prophet Elijah shotback that it was Ahab's deeds which caused troubles in Israel. The two argued for sometime.

Prophet Elijah then challenged Ahab to stage a contest upon Mount Carmel. This would be between Elijah alone against four hundred and fifty (450) prophets of Baal. Ahab agreed for the contest. Remember that Baal was the god of rain in canaan, and Asherah was the goddess of fertility. The two had to be 'happy' for a productive season.

On the agreed day, the entire Israel along with prophets of Baal were summoned. They prepared two altars - one for Elijah, and for the Lord the God of Israel - and one for the priests of Baal. Elijah then asked the people how long they will waver between LORD and Baal - if they felt LORD was the God, follow Him, if they felt it was Baal, then follow Baal.

Two altars were set and two bulls were cut and set for sacrifice, without the fire. Both parties would call upon their gods. The god who answered by fire was the god - to which the people agreed.

The priests of Baal prepared the bull, and called out to Baal all morning till noon. "O Baal, answer us!" but the so-called "Baal" made no reply at all - and the prophets grew weary and discouraged. Elijah, however, was pleased, and he teased them. So they shouted even louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears wildly, as was their custom, until the blood flowed from their wounds.

It was Elijah's turn and he prepared the sacrifice, and ordered to pour water on the offering and upon on the wood three times till there was so much water it ran down the trench. He then stepped forward and prayed out to the LORD. Soon, the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench.

People who witnessed this were awed, and they "fell prostrate" and repented. They then seized all those prophets of Baal, as Elijah had told them to, and slaughtered them at Kishon Valley. Later, Elijah informed Ahab to go home, as a huge rainstorm was approaching, marking the end of drought.

Ahab rushed into his chariot and raced home. Then the Power of the LORD came upon Elijah and, he ran ahead of Ahab all the way to Jezreel, ahead of his chariot. The journey was sixteen (16) miles long.

1 Kings 17

Elijah fed by ravens - Coninxloo, Gillis van (1544-1607)

Arrival of Prophet Elijah
Another superhero of the Bible has entered the scene - Prophet Elijah. He was LORD'S representative, just how Moses was. Elijah was sent to vigorously oppose the idol worship practiced by Israelites.

Elijah Fed by Ravens
Prophet Elijah bravely want to Ahab and proclaimed, “As the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word.”

The LORD then asked Elijah to go stay in Kerith Ravine. There, he was fed by ravens - bread and meat, both mornings and evenings. He drank from the brook.

Elijah reviving the Son of the Widow of Zarephath by Louis Hersent

Elijah and the Widow at Zarephath
The drought took it's toll and there was no water. Even the brook from which Elijah was drinking, dried up. He was then asked to go to Zarephath, near a widow. At the outskirts of the city, he met a widow gathering firewood and asked her to make him some bread. She had very little flour and olive oil left for herself and her son. Elijah asked her to bake him a bread first and then she could cook for her son and herself. He assured her that the flour and oil in her house will never run out until the drought was over.
15 She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family. 16 For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah.
One day, the widow's son fell ill, and he got to a point where he was not breathing at all. The woman grieved and reached out to Elijah for help. Elijah took the lifeless body of her son and went upstairs and put him upon his bed.
21 Then he stretched himself out on the boy three times and cried out to the LORD, “LORD my God, let this boy’s life return to him!”
And the boy became alive!!  He then returned him to the widow, who was overwhelmed with joy. She said, “Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the LORD from your mouth is the truth.”

Friday, September 13, 2013

1 Kings 12 - 16

Crowning of king Jeroboam

Dear Readers,
We are about to enter a major showdown between king Ahab, Jezebel and prophet Elijah. This is one of those interesting stories in the Bible.

1 Kings Chapter 12
King Rehoboam attempted to increase the work load of the Israelites. He followed the advice of the youngsters. The Israelites rebelled and anointed Jeroboam as their new king. Jeroboam established new religious centers in Dan and Bethel, for idol worship.

1 Kings Chapter 13
A prophet from Judea augured doom for Jeroboam. The prophet, was told by God not to eat on his journey. He, however, was tricked into eating at Bethel. He was killed by a lion and buried in Bethel.

1 Kings Chapter 14
Jeroboam sent his wife to prophet Ahijah to learn about their ill son. Prophet Ahijah broke bad news to Jeroboam’s wife and soon she learned that her son has died. King Rehoboam ruled in Judah, and idolatry was rampant. The Egyptian Pharaoh raided the temple built by king Solomon and the royal palace. King Rehoboam and Jeroboam were engaged in continuous battle.

1 Kings Chapter 15
King Asa replaced wicked Abijam in Judah, Meanwhile in Israel, Nadab was killed by Baasha who wiped out the house of Jeroboam according to prophet Ahijah's prophecy.

1 Kings Chapter 16
This chapter describes the reigns of Baasha, Elah, Zimri, Omri, and Ahab – all kings of Israel Baasha’s family was wiped out, Zimri committed suicide. Ahab married Jezebel, who is infamous for being one of the prominent "bad girls of the bible." Ahab and Jezebel embarked on a mission of committing sins with an ardor.

-----------------------BIBLE READING------------------
WARNING: Some of the actions performed in this book are dangerous and should only be attempted by professionals familiar with the action in question.



-------------------FOOD FOR THOUGHT----------------

Why God Never Received a Ph.D

1. He had only one major publication (The Holy Bible)
2. It was in Hebrew.
3. It had no references.
4. It wasn't published in a refereed journal.
5. Some even doubt he wrote it by himself.
6. It may be true that he created the world, but what has he done since then?
7. His cooperative efforts have been quite limited.
8. The scientific community has had a hard time replicating his results.
9. He never applied to the ethics board for permission to use human subjects.
10. When one experiment went awry he tried to cover it by drowning his subjects.
11. When subjects didn't behave as predicted, he deleted them from the sample.
12. He rarely came to class, just told students to read the book.
13. Some say he had his son teach the class.
14. He expelled his first two students for learning.
15. Although there were only 10 requirements, most of his students failed his tests.
16. His office hours were infrequent and usually held on a mountain top.
17. No record of working well with colleagues.


1 Kings 16

Jezabel enters our story

Baasha, king of Israel (continued...)
Baasha walked in evil ways and caused Israel to sin. The LORD became angry, and sent prophet Jehu with an augury. Baasha's house was to meet with similar end as that of Jeroboam. 

Elah, king of Israel
Elah was Baasha's son, who took up Baasha's role. He had no perceptions related to a king's responsibility. While his army was at siege against the Philistines, he was enjoying himself by getting drunk. One of his officials, Zimri plotted against him. While Elah was getting drunk and carousing, Zimri stuck him down and killed him. He then assumed position and killed Baasha's entire family. This fulfilled prophet Jehu's augury. 

Zimri, king of Israel
Zimri stayed as the king for only seven days. There was another person, Omri, who held a higher rank than Zimri in Elah's military. When people heard that Zimri murdered Elah and took over, they proclaimed Omri as the king of Israel. Zimri soon committed suicide by burning down the royal citadel around him. 

Omri, king of Israel
Soon Omri became the king, and there was another split - two factions contending for the highest chair. The other faction belonged to Tibni. Eventually, Tibni died (either murdered or died of natural causes) and that side weakened. Omri established his throne and went on a construction spree. Notable among them was a city called Samaria, about seven miles northwest of Shechem. 

Omri did evil in the eyes of the LORD. He sinned more than all before him, and walked in the ways of Jeroboam. 

Ahab, king of Israel
Ahab as Omiri's son. He did more evil than anyone before him. Sounds like a competition as to who could do more evil. He married Jezebel, the daughter of the Sidonian king. Jezebel is infamous for being the bad girl of Bible. If there is a contest for baddest bad girl, Jezebel would be a contender. 

Idol worship peaked during the time of Ahab. Baal worship was introduced into Israel. Ahab built Asherah poles, and set up Baal temples. 

The walls of Jericho were constructed - Joshua had laid a curse upon whoever attempting to rebuild the walls would lose his firstborn. 

1 Kings 15

For the next two chapters, we are going to look at few kings who ruled Judah and Israel. 

Abijam, king of Judah
Abijam committed all those sins his father committed and followed in his footsteps. His heart was not with the LORD. 

Asa, king of Judah
Asa, for a change, did what was right in the eyes of LORD. He took steps to expel those male shrine prostitutes, and got rid of all idols. In yet another bold move, he removed his grandmother Maacah from the role of 'queen mother.' Several Asherah poles were cut down and burned. 

In another smart move, he forged alliance with Damascus. He thus expanded his territory by fighting the Israelite king, Baasha. 

Nadab, king of Israel
Another evil king who walked in the ways of his father, Jeroboam. Baasha, a commander in Nadab's army secured military support and revolted against Nadab. He killed everyone in Jeroboam's family. The prophecy of Ahijah thus came true. 

Baasha, king of Israel
Walking in the ways of Jeroboam ad his sons, he commited evil in the eyes of LORD. He caused Israel to commit sin. There were constant wars between Israel and the kingdom of Judah. 

1 Kings 14

Jeroboam Offering Sacrifice for the Idol - Jean-Honoré Fragonard

Ahijah's Prophecy against Jeroboam
When Jeroboam's son Abijah became ill, he asked hi wife to disguise herself and go seek an answer with prophet Ahijah. Prophet Ahijah was the one who made a prophetic statement that Jeroboam will become king of Israel, after tearing his robes in chapter 11. He was old and had lost his eyesight. The LORD had pretold him about the arrival of Jeroboam's wife. When he heard the sound of her footsteps, he said, "Come in, Jeroboam's wife. Why this pretense?"

He then broke a string of bad news to her:
- Jeoboam has done lots of evil,
- Without exception, every Israeli male will be free from Jeroboam,
- Dogs will eat what belonged to Jeroboam,
- His house will be burnt up,
- her son will die upon her return home
- her son will be the only one in their family privileged for a burial,
- A king will cut off Jeroboam's family,
- Israel will be scattered due to idol worship.
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. 
They buried him, and all of Israel mourned his death.

Rehoboam King of Judah
The passage gives a summary about king Rehoboam's rule. During the first few years, he was almost in line with king David and king Solomon. He then stirred up LORD's anger as he diverted towards idol worship. His mother was an Ammonite and it could be that with her influence, he set up Asherah poles on every 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.
The Egyptians attacked king Rehoboam. They plundered king Solomon's treasures from the temple as well as the royal palace. Notably, they took away those golden shields constructed by king Solomon. King Rehoboam replaced those shields with bronze shields.

Once he died, he was buried along with his ancestors. His son, Abijah, succeeded him.

1 Kings 13

Jeroboam's Sacrifice at Bethel by Gerbrand van den Eeckhout

The Man of God from Judah
One day when Jeroboam was offering sacrifices to the idols, LORD sent a prophet from Judah (let's call him Prophet from Judah - PJ) to Bethel  He came and shouted out, “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.”
King Jeroboam when he heard this, he stretched out his hand and said, "Seize him." His stretched out hand shriveled up and could not pull it back. Next his prophecy became a reality when the altar split up and the ashes poured out. Now the king had his attention and requested his hand to be restored. The prophet did so. When invited for a meal, the prophet from Judah refused.

The Prophet of Bethel Meets the Man of God from Judah - Lambert Jacobsz 1629

A certain old prophet from Bethel (let's call him OPB), heard about this incident and went chasing after this prophet from Judah, met him on the way and invited him home. At first, PJ refused it. Next, OPB told him a lie that he had a prophetic vision to invite him over.
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.) 
After the meal, PJ left for his home. On the way, a lion killed him and stood guard beside his dead body and PJ's donkey, without hurting the donkey. When OPB heard about this, he asked his sons to go get the body of PJ. OPB then buried PJ in his family tomb, and expressed interest in him being buried along with PJ, when he died.

Jeroboam never changed his ways, and he always had 'vacant positions' for priests. People from any background were consecrated to the office of high places. This led to the downfall and destruction of Jeroboam's house.

1 Kings 12

Rehoboam - Fragment of Wall Painting from Basel Town Hall Council Chamber - Hans Holbein the Younger.

Israel Rebels against Rehoboam
King Solomon's son, Rehoboam, was crowned the next king of Israel. Remember Jeroboam, from chapter 11, the one who rose against king Solomon? When he heard about king Rehoboam assuming power, he reached out to him asking to lighten the taxes and labor. King Rehoboam consulted with those elders, instead took the advice of those youngsters to increase the taxes and labor. He behaved in a rude and harsh manner. All of Israel heard about it and were displeased.

King Rehoboam went to meet Adoniram, who served both king David and king Solomon. He was in charge of forced labor was now stoned to death. King Rehoboam managed to escape the scene.

When Israelites heard that Joroboam had arrived from Egypt, they crowned him king of Israel. Only the territory of Judah remained loyal to king Rehoboam.

Golden Calves at Bethel and Dan
Jeroboam fortified Shechem and lived there. He was afraid that people would go to Jerusalem and offer sacrifices there. This, in turn would improve their allegiance towards king Rehoboam. To prevent this from happening, Jeroboam built two golden calves - Bethel and Dan, which was a sin. He promoted idol worship and offered sacrifices at high places. All sorts of people were made priests, even though they were not Levites. Jeroboam even instituted a festival in the 8th month, according to his convenience, to keep the people of Israel happy.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

1 Kings 8 - 11

Queen Sheba offering Gifts - Luca Giordano

1 Kings Chapter 8
The Ark of the Covenant was brought to the newly built Temple. King Solomon blessed the entire Israelites. King Solomon prayed before the people and they celebrated the dedication ceremony for two weeks.

1 Kings Chapter 9
LORD exhorted king Solomon to obey Him. Trade was conducted with king Hiram. Many foreigners were enslaved for construction projects. The king fortified his cities.

1 Kings Chapter 10
The Queen of Sheba visited king Solomon. She was quite impressed by his wisdom. King Solomon’s fame and fortune grow. He was then visited by many kings from around the world.

1 Kings Chapter 11
King Solomon married numerous foreign women who led him towards idolatry and dragged him into an endless pit. LORD became angry at him and decided to tear his kingdom apart. Few men started rising in power against king Solomon. This chapter documents his death.

-----------------------BIBLE READING------------------
WARNING: Some of the actions performed in this book are dangerous and should only be attempted by professionals familiar with the action in question.



-------------------FOOD FOR THOUGHT----------------



1 Kings 11

Idolatry of king Solomon

Solomon's Wives
One of the weakness that king Solomon inherited from his father, king David was women. He went way beyond other people of his times with regard to securing women companions. Love was not the reason for his marriages, and he knew about Torah's prohibitions on how many wives one can have.
3 He had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray. 
 During his old age, his wives turned his heart towards other gods. He followed his foreign wives to the worship of Ashtoreth, Molek and Chemosh. He also built temples for them and burned incense and offered sacrifices. The LORD became angry at king Solomon, and said his kingdom will be torn apart during the time of his son.

A great leader like king Solomon was held to an incredible level of accountability. For king Solomon, prophet, wisest of all men, king of Israel, to worship idols is an inexcusable mistake that LORD held king Solomon directly accountable for. Bible criticizes king Solomon quite harshly for not managing his wives well, with regard to idol worship.

Solomon's Adversaries
The LORD raised up two men, Hadad and Rezon, against king Solomon. Hadad used to live in Egypt. He came back to Israel and started causing trouble for king Solomon. Rezon was hostile towards Israel and added his share of troubles.

Jeroboam Rebels Against Solomon
One of king Solomon's officials, Jeroboam was skilled at building terraces. He was so skilled that king Solomon put the entire workforce from the tribes of Joseph under his command. Once while on his way out of Jerusalem, he met Ahijah, the prophet of Shiloh. Ahijah then emblematically tore his new cloak into twelve pieces and gave ten pieces to Jeroboam, indicating that ten tribes of Israel will be handed over to him, after the death of king Solomon.
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
After forty years of reign, king Solomon died at a young age of fifty two (52). During his reign, Israel was at it's pinnacle of prosperity and peace. He composed Song of Songs, the Book of Ecclesiastes, the Book of Proverbs, and Wisdom of Solomon. He was buried in the City of David along with his ancestors. Rehoboam, his son succeeded him as the king.

The death of the wisest man of all times - king Solomon, is a sorrowful and depressing event. Even to document his death is a melancholy. May the soul of king Solomon rest in peace.

1 Kings 10

Arrival of queen of Sheba

The Queen of Sheba Visits Solomon
The Queen of Sheba was a wise woman, and Sheba was a very wealthy country as well. When she heard about king Solomon's wisdom, she wanted to test his wisdom. She arrived with a very great caravan. Then she asked king Solomon numerous questions, to which king Solomon was able to answer all to her satisfaction.

The queen had never met a wise person like king Solomon. She expressed her happiness in meeting such a person in reality, who executed justice and righteousness. Along with several other precious gifts, she also gifted him 4.5 tons of gold.

In turn, king Solomon showered her with valuable gifts as well.

Solomon's Splendor
Every year, king Solomon received about 25 tons of gold plus profits from merchants and traders. Many artifacts were made with gold.

Queen Sheba meets King Solomon

One of the most priced item was his throne itself. The above painting tries to capture it almost according to the scripture.
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.
He had the greatest wisdom in the entire earth, and everyone sought his advice.

Among other collectibles, king Solomon had a great collection of horses and chariots, which were imported from all over.

Few Rare paintings to share with you:
Embarkation of Queen of Sheba - Claude Lorrain 1648

The Queen of Sheba in Jerusalem Salomon De Bray

My Thoughts
This is fascinating story and I could narrate almost hundreds of stories related to king Solomon. Many of them belong to the riddles between queen of Sheba. I'll attempt to post them on this blog later on, when I get some free time.

1 King 9

King Solomon writing

The LORD Appears to Solomon

After the temple and the palace was built, the LORD appeared to king Solomon a second time.
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.
Which is a big relief. However, there was one conditional clause, which depended upon the behavior or king Solomon. If he walked in LORD'S ways, business was as normal. On the other hand, there were consequences for following other gods, the LORD continued:
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.’”
Unfortunately, that is what happened, which we will see further along.

Solomon's Other Activities
King Solomon rewarded Hiram, king of Tyre for helping him build the temple. Hiram had supplied with cedar and juniper, and about 4.5 tons of gold. Canaan in itself did not have gold or silver deposits, and was acquired by means of trade from external parties. King Solomon rewarded him twenty towns, but he was not pleased, because Hiram was not used to toiling with the land.

Forced labor was used to fortify the walls of Jerusalem, and for other construction projects. Those non-Israelites whom the Israelites could not exterminate - Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites were used as slave force.

To please his wife, the Pharaoh's daughter, he built a palace with terrace. He offered sacrifices at the temple three times a year.

On the sea shore of Red Sea, king Solomon commissioned ship-building. Hiram sent his experienced men to serve as sailors and to do trade with external countries. About 16 tons of gold was transported using these ships.

My Thoughts
If you read the proverbs, king Solomon keeps referring to the power of wisdom. According to him, wisdom is worth more than gold and silver (see below). King Solomon did not have any gold or silver in his country. With his wisdom, he was able to form strategic trade alliances with the rest of the world, and hence acquired that vast majority of gold and silver.

One of my favorite parts in the Bible: 
Proverbs 3:14 Wisdom is worth more than silver; it brings more profit than gold. 15 Wisdom is more precious than rubies; nothing you could want is equal to it. 16 With her right hand wisdom offers you a long life, and with her left hand she gives you riches and honor. 17 Wisdom will make your life pleasant and will bring you peace. 18 As a tree produces fruit, wisdom gives life to those who use it, and everyone who uses it will be happy. 19 The LORD made the earth, using his wisdom. He set the sky in place, using his understanding. 20 With his knowledge, he made springs flow into rivers and the clouds drop rain on the earth. 21 My child, hold on to wisdom and good sense. Don't let them out of your sight. 22 They will give you life and beauty like a necklace around your neck. 23 Then you will go your way in safety, and you will not get hurt. 24 When you lie down, you won't be afraid; when you lie down, you will sleep in peace.

(That above painting cannot be king Solomon - he appears quite aged)

1 Kings 8

King Solomon praying before the Temple of Jerusalem by Giuseppe Bonito - 1750

The Ark Brought to the Temple
The temple built by king Solomon was magnificent. It was now like a body without the soul. The Ark of the Covenant would fulfill that gap. In the presence of all elders, the Ark was brought publicly into the holy of holies under the cherubim. A cloud filled up the place and priests could not minister. King Solomon then blessed the entire congregation.

Solomon's Prayer of Dedication
Standing before the altar of the LORD, in front of the entire Israelites, king Solomon raised his hands and begins an invocation, followed by praise. He then petitioned to the LORD the following:
  • Pardon people who pray here at this  temple
  • Execute righteousness
  • Help Israel defeat its enemies
  • Deliver Israel from drought
  • Deliver Israel from plagues and famine
  • Listen to those foreigners
  • Listen to the Israelite army even while they are on foreign soil
  • Listen to those in captivity
He then blessed the entire assembly and made few petitions and concluded,
1 Kings 8:61 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
All of Israel and the king offered prayers and sacrifices to the LORD. It was a festival season, which lasted fourteen days and all of Israel participated in it. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

1 Kings 3 - 7

Solomon's Theophany

1 Kings Chapter 3
King Solomon married the Pharaoh’s daughter. After offering 1,000 burnt offerings in Gibeon, LORD appeared to him in the dream. LORD promises king Solomon wisdom, glory, wealth, and long life. Solomon demonstrated his new found wisdom by deciding a court case between two disputing mothers.

1 Kings Chapter 4
Solomon’s cabinet members are listed in this chapter. The reign of king Solomon was peaceful and everything was plentiful.

1 Kings Chapter 5
King Solomon continued to enjoy days of peace and prosperity. He becomes world renowned for his wisdom and allocated more than 180,000 Israelites for the contruction of LORD'S temple.

1 Kings Chapter 6
King Solomon built the temple. The edifice contained three rooms, and the innermost chamber, which housed the Ark of the Covenant and the cherubim.

1 Kings Chapter 7
The next project kin Solomon undertook was building a palace for himself. He hired Huram of Tyre to design the temple’s vessels. He then deposited king David’s gold and silver into the temple treasury.

-----------------------BIBLE READING------------------
WARNING: Some of the actions performed in this book are dangerous and should only be attempted by professionals familiar with the action in question.



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