Ahab Covets & God Knows the Beginning to the End

What happened to Elijah?  Did Jezebel have him killed? 

Ahab, Jezebel, Naboth’s Vineyard, Archaeological Digs in Jezreel.
Naboth ,”the Jezreelite,” is the central figure of a story from the Old Testament.

According to the story, Naboth was the owner of a plot on the eastern slope of the hill of Jezreel. Described as a small “plot of ground”, the vineyard seems to have been all he possessed and lay close to the palace of Ahab, who wished to acquire it to “have it for a garden of herbs” (probably as a ceremonial garden for Baal worship).

The king promised compensation, based upon the assumption that Naboth’s vineyard was owned in fee simple; Naboth, however, had inherited his land from his father, and, according to Jewish law, could not alienate it.

Accordingly, he refused to sell it to the king.

Ahab became deeply dejected at not being able to procure the vineyard.

Returning to his palace, he collapsed with depression, lying on his bed, his face to the wall, and refused to eat.

His wife, Jezebel, after learning the reason for his depression, (in addition to being irritated at the king’s emotional state urging him to return to his entertainment saying mockingly, “Are you the king or aren’t you?”) promised that she would obtain the vineyard for him.

Jezebel had Naboth the Jezreelite stoned to death, so that Ahab might have a vegetable garden.

“And it came to pass after these things, that Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard, which was in Jezreel, hard by the palace of Ahab king of Samaria.

And Ahab spake unto Naboth, saying, Give me thy vineyard, that I may have it for a garden of herbs, because it is near unto my house: and I will give thee for it a better vineyard than it; or, if it seem good to thee, I will give thee the worth of it in money.

And Naboth said to Ahab, The Lord forbid it me, that I should give the inheritance of my fathers unto thee”(1 Kgs 21:1-3).

Ahab came into the house and he was greatly unhappy because he had said,

“I will not give thee the inheritance of my fathers. And he laid him down upon his bed, and turned away his face, and would eat no bread.

But Jezebel his wife came to him, and said unto him, Why is thy spirit so sad, that thou eatest no bread?

And he said unto her, Because I spake unto Naboth the Jezreelite, and said unto him, Give me thy vineyard for money; or else, if it please thee, I will give thee another vineyard for it: and he answered, I will not give thee my vineyard.

And Jezebel his wife said unto him, Dost thou now govern the kingdom of Israel? arise, and eat bread, and let thine heart be merry: I will give thee the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.

So she wrote letters in Ahab’s name, and sealed them with his seal, and sent the letters unto the elders and to the nobles that were in his city, dwelling with Naboth.

And she wrote in the letters, saying, Proclaim a fast, and set Naboth on high among the people:

And set two men, sons of Belial, before him, to bear witness against him, saying, Thou didst blaspheme God and the king. And then carry him out, and stone him, that he may die” (1 Kgs 21:4-10).

And they did exactly as Jezebel told them to do.  Two men, children of Belial, showed up and after a discussion they took him out of the city and stoned him to death. Since Naboth was dead Jezebel told Ahab to take possession of the vineyard.

 “And the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying,

Arise, go down to meet Ahab king of Israel, which is in Samaria: behold, he is in the vineyard of Naboth, whither he is gone down to possess it.

And thou shalt speak unto him, saying, Thus saith the Lord, Hast thou killed, and also taken possession? And thou shalt speak unto him, saying, Thus saith the Lord, In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick thy blood, even thine.

Jezreel Valley
The spacious Jezreel Valley spreads out to the north and east from Mount Carmel, providing convenient passage for international travelers in ancient times.

The fertile alluvial soil makes this the country’s breadbasket as well.

The Bible speaks of the gathering of armies in this valley at the place of Armageddon.

And Ahab said to Elijah, Hast thou found me, O mine enemy? And he answered, I have found thee: because thou hast sold thyself to work evil in the sight of the Lord.

Behold, I will bring evil upon thee, and will take away thy posterity, and will cut off from Ahab him that pisseth against the wall, and him that is shut up and left in Israel,

And will make thine house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha the son of Ahijah, for the provocation wherewith thou hast provoked me to anger, and made Israel to sin.

And of Jezebel also spake the Lord, saying, The dogs shall eat Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel.

Him that dieth of Ahab in the city the dogs shall eat; and him that dieth in the field shall the fowls of the air eat.

Jezreel Tel
Jezreel was an ancient Israelite city and fortress originally within the boundaries of the Tribe of Issachar, and later within the northern Kingdom of Israel. Prior to the division of the United Kingdom of Israel, the city was the hometown of Ahinoam, third wife of King David, Michal, Saul’s daughter being the first and Abigail, widow of Nabal being his second.

According to the First Book of Kings, the royal palace of King Ahab, “one of the most famous of the royal residences of the kings of Israel”, was in Jezreel, adjacent to the vineyard of Naboth. Ahab’s capital remained in Samaria.

The modern archaeological site is located on a low hill on the southern edge of the Jezreel Valley’s eastern edge in northern Israel. Archaeologists David Ussishkin and John Woodhead believe that Jezreel was a fortress that served as a cavalry base for King Ahab.

History
The “breathtaking views” that the site commands to the north and east are considered to have been of strategic importance in Israelite times because the commercial and military highway from Egypt to Syria and Mesopotamia passed through Megiddo, Beth Shean and along the Jezreel Valley.

Water was supplied by cisterns inside the walls and by the spring of ‘En Jezreel northeast of the fortress. Because of the strategic location, ample water supply, and excellent grazing in the Jezreel Valley, archaeologists David Ussishkin and John Woodhead believe that Jezreel was the base for King Ahab’s chariot corps and cavalry.

Jezreel was a 9th-century BCE fortress possibly built during the reign of King Omri but certainly active in the reigns of King Ahab and his consort Queen Jezebel and their son King Jehoram. It was destroyed soon afterward, possibly by the Arameans in the late 9th-century. The pottery found in the fortress during the dig all dates to this brief period.

The fortress was built on the site of a small village that existed in the Early Bronze Age (c. 2750-2300 BCE) and Late Bronze Age (c. 1550-1150 BCE).

The anonymous Bordeaux Pilgrim who visited the site in 333 CE calls it by its Latinised name, Stradela, a word derived from the Greek form Ésdráila (Greek: Έσδράηλα). The fourth-century Christian nun and pilgrim Egeria visited Jezreel and reported that “the tomb of Jezebel is stoned by everyone to this very day.”

Jezreel was the site of a Byzantine-era village, a Crusader-period village belonging to the Knights Templar, and an Arab period village named Zir’in (derived from the ancient name Jezreel). A “beautiful Crusader church still stands largely intact. Benjamin of Tudela visited Jezreel in 1165 CE and reports that a Jewish man “a dyer by profession” lived there.

It was the site of a large Ottoman-era fortified tower. During the Israeli War of Independence the village of Ze’rin “became a central base for Arab forces” and was therefore conquered and the site cleared.

But there was none like unto Ahab, which did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight of the Lord, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up.

And he did very abominably in following idols, according to all things as did the Amorites, whom the Lord cast out before the children of Israel.

And it came to pass, when Ahab heard those words, that he rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his flesh, and fasted, and lay in sackcloth, and went softly.

And the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying,

Seest thou how Ahab humbleth himself before me? because he humbleth himself before me, I will not bring the evil in his days: but in his son’s days will I bring the evil upon his house (1 Kgs 21:17-29).

And they continued three years without war between Syria and Israel.

And it came to pass in the third year, that Jehoshaphat the king of Judah came down to the king of Israel.

And the king of Israel said unto his servants, Know ye that Ramoth in Gilead is ours, and we be still, and take it not out of the hand of the king of Syria?

And he said unto Jehoshaphat, Wilt thou go with me to battle to Ramothgilead? And Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, I am as thou art, my people as thy people, my horses as thy horses (1 Kgs 22:1-4).

There hadn’t been anymore wars for three years, and at the end of the three, King Jihsohat came down to the king of Israel.  The king of Israel then gathered around 400 prophets and asked if she should attack Ramoth-gilead, and they said,

Go up; for the Lord shall deliver it into the hand of the king.

And Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the Lord besides, that we might enquire of him?

And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, There is yet one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may enquire of the Lord: but I hate him; for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil. And Jehoshaphat said, Let not the king say so (1 Kgs 22:6-8).

Mount Gilboa
Mount Gilboa is on the southeastern side of the Jezreel Valley.

King Saul felt forced to commit suicide on these slopes when facing certain defeat by the Philistines.

In light of Saul and Jonathan’s deaths, David cursed the mountain:

“O mountains of Gilboa, may you have neither dew nor rain, nor fields that yield offerings” (2 Sam 1:21).

The king of Israel then told an officer to bring the Prophet Hasten to him.  At this time, the king of Israel and King Jehoshaphat sat in their thrones wearing robes and all the prophets prophesied before them.

And Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah made him horns of iron: and he said, Thus saith the LORD, With these shalt thou push the Syrians, until thou have consumed them (1 Kgs 22:11). 

Then the messenger he had sent to obtain Micaih came back and said, Behold now, the words of the prophets declare good unto the king with one mouth: let thy word, I pray thee, be like the word of one of them, and speak that which is good.

And Micaih said, As the LORD liveth, what the LORD saith unto me, that will I speak (1 Kgs 22:13-14).

And the king asked Micaiah the same thing he had asked the other prophets, and only of what he said was the same of what the others said.

 And the king said unto him, How many times shall I adjure thee that thou tell me nothing but that which is true in the name of the Lord?

And he said, I saw all Israel scattered upon the hills, as sheep that have not a shepherd: and the Lord said, These have no master: let them return every man to his house in peace.

Harod Valley
This fantastic view is filled with biblical history.

From this location on Tel Jezreel looking east, one can almost picture the anointed (but not yet crowned) Jehu “driving like a madman,” on his way to killing the kings of Israel and Judah.

900 years later, Jesus healed the 10 lepers, probably somewhere in this valley.

And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, Did I not tell thee that he would prophesy no good concerning me, but evil?

And he said, Hear thou therefore the word of the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him on his right hand and on his left.

And the Lord said, Who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramothgilead? And one said on this manner, and another said on that manner.

And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the Lord, and said, I will persuade him.

And the Lord said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said, Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also: go forth, and do so.

Now therefore, behold, the Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the Lord hath spoken evil concerning thee.

But Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah went near, and smote Micaiah on the cheek, and said, Which way went the Spirit of the Lord from me to speak unto thee?

And Micaiah said, Behold, thou shalt see in that day, when thou shalt go into an inner chamber to hide thyself.

Ein Harod
At the foot of Mount Gilboa is Ein (the spring of) Harod.

Judges 7 describes Gideon’s actions in thinning his army out. He brought the men to the spring and sorted them on the basis of how they drank from the water.

Today the swimming pool sits just in front of the cave where the spring emerges.

And the king of Israel said, Take Micaiah, and carry him back unto Amon the governor of the city, and to Joash the king’s son;

And say, Thus saith the king, Put this fellow in the prison, and feed him with bread of affliction and with water of affliction, until I come in peace.

And Micaiah said, If thou return at all in peace, the Lord hath not spoken by me. And he said, Hearken, O people, every one of you (1 Kgs 22:16-28).

The two kings went up to Ramoth-gilead, and the king of Israel said,

I will disguise myself, and enter into the battle; but put thou on thy robes. And the king of Israel disguised himself, and went into the battle.

But the king of Syria commanded his thirty and two captains that had rule over his chariots, saying, Fight neither with small nor great, save only with the king of Israel.

And it came to pass, when the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, that they said, Surely it is the king of Israel. And they turned aside to fight against him: and Jehoshaphat cried out.

And it came to pass, when the captains of the chariots perceived that it was not the king of Israel, that they turned back from pursuing him.

Mount Tabor
From the Nazareth ridge, Mt. Tabor looms large to the east.

While some tradition ascribes the transfiguration of Jesus to this place, it more likely occurred in the area around Caesarea Philippi.

Deborah and Barak camped on Mt. Tabor with the Israelite army before attacking and defeating Sisera’s Canaanite force.

And a certain man drew a bow at a venture, and smote the king of Israel between the joints of the harness: wherefore he said unto the driver of his chariot, Turn thine hand, and carry me out of the host; for I am wounded.

And the battle increased that day: and the king was stayed up in his chariot against the Syrians, and died at even: and the blood ran out of the wound into the midst of the chariot.

And there went a proclamation throughout the host about the going down of the sun, saying, Every man to his city, and every man to his own country.

So the king died, and was brought to Samaria; and they buried the king in Samaria.

And one washed the chariot in the pool of Samaria; and the dogs licked up his blood; and they washed his armour; according unto the word of the Lord which he spake.

Ruins atop Tel Megiddo
Armageddon (from Ancient Greek: Ἁρμαγεδών Harmagedōn,

Late Latin: Armagedōn will be, according to the Book of Revelation, the site of gathering of armies for a battle during the end times, variously interpreted as either a literal or symbolic location.

The term is also used in a generic sense to refer to any end of the world scenario.

The word “Armageddon” appears only once in the Greek New Testament, in Rev 16:16.

The word may come from Hebrew har məgiddô (הר מגידו), har meaning “[at the] Mountain” and Megiddo – Strong מְגִדּוֹן /meg-id-do’/ “place of crowds”.

“Mount” Tel Megiddo is not actually a mountain, but a tell (a hill created by many generations of people living and rebuilding on the same spot) on which ancient forts were built to guard the Via Maris, an ancient trade route linking Egypt with the northern empires of Syria, Anatolia and Mesopotamia.

Megiddo was the location of various ancient battles, including one in the 15th century B.C. and one in 609 B.C.

Modern Megiddo is a town approximately 25 miles (40 km) west-southwest of the southern tip of the Sea of Galilee in the Kishon River area.

According to one premillennial Christian interpretation, the Messiah will return to earth and defeat the Antichrist (the “beast”) and Satan the Devil in the Battle of Armageddon.

Then Satan will be put into the “bottomless pit” or abyss for 1,000 years, known as the Millennium.

After being released from the abyss, Satan will gather Gog and Magog from the four corners of the earth.

They will encamp surrounding the “holy ones” and the “beloved city” (this refers to Jerusalem).

Fire will come down from God, out of heaven and devour Gog and Magog.

The Devil, death, hell, and those not found written in the Book of Life are then thrown into Gehenna (the lake of fire burning with brimstone).

Now the rest of the acts of Ahab, and all that he did, and the ivory house which he made, and all the cities that he built, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?

So Ahab slept with his fathers; and Ahaziah his son reigned in his stead.

And Jehoshaphat the son of Asa began to reign over Judah in the fourth year of Ahab king of Israel.

Jehoshaphat was thirty and five years old when he began to reign; and he reigned twenty and five years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Azubah the daughter of Shilhi.

Archaeology in Israel: Megiddo
Tel (mound) Megiddo, known as Tel-el-Mutesellim (Hill of the Ruler) has been identified as one of the most important cities of biblical times.

Located on a hill overlooking the fertile Jezreel Valley,

Megiddo was of great strategic importance, as it commanded the eastern approaches of Nahal Iron (nahal, a dry river bed), part of the international highway which led from Egypt, along the coastal plain to the Jezreel Valley, and thence to Damascus and Mesopotamia (the highway became known later as Via Maris, Way of the Sea).

Numerous battles fought for control of the city are recorded in ancient sources; in the New Testament (Rev 16:16), Armageddon (believed by some to be a corruption of Har Megiddo – the hill of Megiddo) is named as the site of the “Battle of the End of Days”.

The Bible says the Battle of Armageddon will take place in Megiddo. It’s ironic that this place which looks so peaceful will one day be the battleground of the biggest battle of human history.

And he walked in all the ways of Asa his father; he turned not aside from it, doing that which was right in the eyes of the Lord: nevertheless the high places were not taken away; for the people offered and burnt incense yet in the high places.

And Jehoshaphat made peace with the king of Israel.

Now the rest of the acts of Jehoshaphat, and his might that he shewed, and how he warred, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? (1 Kgs 22:45).

Ahab’s son, Ahaziah, reigned for two years, and he began after Jehoshaphat had reigned for 17 years.  He did evil in the sight of the Lord, like his parents.  He served and worshipped Baal, which angered the Lord.

God Knows the Beginning to End:
The Rise and Fall of Ancient Israel

God can reveal the future. Nowhere is this more evident than in the remarkable prophecies of what would happen to Abraham’s descendants through Jacob’s offspring, the 12 tribes of Israel.

One of God’s most remarkable claims is found in the Book of Isaiah:

Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me,

Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure” (Is 4:9-10).

Here God not only says that He can reveal the future; He also claims the power to bring it to pass!

God’s promises to Abraham, while astounding in their magnitude, nevertheless started small—with the promise of a son, Isaac, to be born to him and Sarah, which was Isaac (Gen:17:19-21; 21:1-3).

Isaac, in turn, had two sons, Jacob and Esau (Gen25:19-26).

Jacob had 12 sons, from whom the 12 tribes of Israel are descended.

Prophesied Birth of a Nation

But long before this, before Abraham even had a son at all, God revealed to Abraham the fact that his descendants would go through one of the most remarkable “birth processes” a people could go through—they would be enslaved in a foreign land before emerging as a nation.

We find this prophesied in the Book of Genesis:

The Kingdom of Israel was the kingdom proclaimed by the Israelite nation around 1030 B.C.E. – 1020 B.C.E., enduring until it fell to the Assyrian empire in 722 B.C.E.. Traditionally, the nation of Israel formed as the Israelites left Egypt during the Exodus and conquered Canaan under Joshua’s leadership. An alternative theory based on recent archaeological evidence suggests a more gradual evolution of a national identity as semi-nomadic Hebrew-Canaanite clans affiliated and became the nation of Israel.

In the biblical account, the Hebrew people, were led by the Patriarchs and later by Judges prior to the establishment of the kingdom. The notion of kingship was for a long time resisted, viewed as putting a man a position of reverence and power reserved for God. The people appealed to the prophet-judge Samuel for a king, after Samuel’s sons misused their inherited offices. The United Kingdom of Saul, David, and Solomon endured for a period of 120 biblical years and then split into two nations. This article will focus on the Northern Kingdom, or Israel. For information on the Southern Kingdom, please consult the article on the Kingdom of Judah.

Jerusalem was the capital of the United Kingdom. The first capital of Northern Kingdom was Shechem (1 Kings 12:25), then Tirza (14:17), and finally Samaria (16:24), which endured until the destruction of the kingdom by the Assyrians (17:5).

There are no contemporary extra-biblical references to the leaders of the United Kingdom. Contemporary scholars are supscious of the biblical story’s historical accuracy, seeing it as an glorified account with numerous exaggerations and anachronisms. Our primary sources for the history of the Northern Kingdom are the biblical books of Samuel, Chronicles, and especially Kings, together with occasional historical references in the prophets and other biblical books. These are histories with a religious agenda and are not accepted uncritically by historians. However, beginning with Jeroboam I, several neighboring rulers left records that confirm some of the historical details of the biblical chronicle, while of course differing in political slant and religious outlook.

The area of the Northern Kingdom of Israel fluctuated greatly, and scholars disagree as to it actual borders at any given time. Neighboring peoples such as the Judahites, Amonites, Moabites, Aramean-Syrians, and Phonecians often lived within Israel’s “borders” and vice versa. The Northern Kingdom is thought to have encompassed as many as 9,400 square miles, and as few as 2,400 or less. A similar problem arises with regard to population. The biblical numbers regarding the size of cities and armies are generally much larger than those suggested by the archaeological evidence.

And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years;

And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance (Gen 15:13-14).

This is referring, of course, to the Exodus. The remarkable chain of circumstances leading to the fulfillment of this prophecy is spelled out in Genesis 37-50 and Exodus 1-14.

While the Exodus itself is one of the Bible’s best-known stories, the events that led up to it aren’t so well understood.

This leads all the way to King Solomon.

The Kingdom Divides

Solomon’s love for women, evil women, he walked away from God and started worshiping pagan gods.

Solomon’s ill-chosen path set the kingdom on a road from which there would be no recovery. Because of Solomon’s sins, God announced that He would tear the kingdom away from him and give it to one of Solomon’s subjects (1 Kgs 11: 11-13).

Indeed, most of the kingdom would split away to follow a rival; only a minority would remain to follow Solomon’s son and the kings of David’s line.

This prophecy was fulfilled a few years later at Solomon’s death when most of the tribes broke away to follow Jeroboam, leader of the northern kingdom, Israel.

The rest remained with Solomon’s successor, Rehoboam, leader of the southern kingdom of Judah (1 Kgs 12; 2 Chr 10-11).

The two kingdoms would become rivals—and sometimes enemies—for the next two centuries.

Jews and Israelites

Most people assume that the Jews and Israelites are one and the same. But this is clearly not true.

Any look at history and these relevant Bible chapters shows they were two separate kingdoms, the kingdom of Israel and the kingdom of Judah (from which the term Jew is derived).

As an interesting historical note, the first time the word Jews appears in the Bible, it is in 2 Kgs 16:5-6) where Israel is allied with another king and at war with the Jews.

Finally, in 722 B.C. the northern kingdom was crushed and its people carried away into captivity at the hands of the Assyrians—”beyond the River” as God had warned their first king two centuries earlier.

Judah Follows in Israel’s Footsteps

The story of Judah, the southern kingdom, is somewhat different though equally tragic.

Both kingdoms quickly abandoned the true God and sank into moral and spiritual depravity.

Assyria was a cruel and harsh empire.
Its kings recorded its conquests on elaborately carved stone reliefs and were placed upon their palace walls.

Assyrian troops storm a city’s walls (above) while its defeated inhabitants being their long march into exile.

Today, Obama wouldn’t call it exile, but Martial Law and what happened in Boston could happen across the country – see video.

While the northern kingdom never once had a righteous king, Judah at least had a handful that turned to God and instituted religious reforms aimed at turning the people to proper worship of the true God.

They should have listened to God, but just like most people today, they were consumed with their own greed.

The Prophet Isaiah

The prophet Isaiah told King Hezekiah,

…Hear the word of the Lord.

Behold, the days come, that all that is in thine house, and that which thy fathers have laid up in store unto this day, shall be carried into Babylon: nothing shall be left, saith the Lord.

And of thy sons that shall issue from thee, which thou shalt beget, shall they take away; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon (2 Kgs  20:16-18).

God sent many other prophets—including Micah, Zephaniah, Habakkuk and Jeremiah—to warn Judah, but to no avail.

As the Assyrians vanquished the Israelites in several waves of invasions and deportations, so the Babylonians took away the Jews in several deportations before and after the fall of Jerusalem in 586 B.C.

Many details of the biblical accounts of the downfalls of Israel and Judah are confirmed by Assyrian and Babylonian records from the time, demonstrating again the accuracy of the biblical record.

Judah’s Exile and Return

The outcome of Judah’s exile, however, was far different from that of the northern kingdom.

Israel was deported to the far reaches of the Assyrian Empire and its people lost their national and ethnic identity (for more details and to understand who they are today, request a free booklet The United States and Britain in Bible Prophecy”).

But God gave Judah an encouraging promise through this prophecy from Jeremiah:

For thus saith the Lord, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you.

And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.

And I will be found of you, saith the Lord: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the Lord; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive  (Jeremiah:29:10-14).

Here, too, we find a remarkable prophecy that was fulfilled to the letter.

This 70-year period appears to have begun with the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of Solomon’s temple—the center of Jewish worship—in 586 B.C. and to have concluded with the completion of a new Jerusalem temple in 516 B.C.

The biblical books of Ezra and Nehemiah record the return of many of the Jewish exiles from Babylon.

Elisha and The Call of Elijah & The Ministries of Elijah

I bet Ahab is scarred now. What’s up with Jezebel, I’ve heard that name, but nothing good.

The “Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III” is a black limestone Neo-Assyrian bas-relief sculpture from Nimrud (ancient Kalhu), in northern Iraq, commemorating the deeds of King Shalmaneser III (reigned 858-824 BC).

It is the most complete Assyrian obelisk yet discovered, and is historically significant because it is thought to display the earliest ancient depiction of a biblical figure – Hoshea King of Israel.

The traditional identification of “Yaw” as Jehu has been questioned by some scholars, who proposed that the inscription refers to another king, Jehoram of Israel.

Its reference to ‘Parsua’ is also the first known reference to the Persians.

Tribute offerings are shown being brought from identifiable regions and peoples.

It was erected as a public monument in 825 B.C. at a time of civil war.

It was discovered by archaeologist Sir Austen Henry Layard in 1846 and is now in the British Museum.

Description
The obelisk features twenty reliefs, five on each side.

They depict five different subdued kings, bringing tribute and prostrating before the Assyrian king.

From top to bottom they are:

(1) Sua[disambiguation needed] of Gilzanu (in north-west Iran),

(2) “Hoshea of Bit Omri” (Jehu of the House of Omri),

(3) an unnamed ruler of Musri (probably Egypt),

(4) Marduk-apil-usur of Suhi (middle Euphrates, Syria and Iraq), and

(5) Qalparunda of Patin (Antakya region of Turkey).

Each scene occupies four panels around the monument and is described by a cuneiform script above them.

On the top and the bottom of the reliefs there is a long cuneiform inscription recording the annals of Shalmaneser III.

It lists the military campaigns which the king and his commander-in-chief headed every year, until the thirty-first year of reign.

Some features might suggest that the work had been commissioned by the commander-in-chief, Dayyan-Assur.

“And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and withal how he had slain all the prophets with the sword.

Then Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah, saying, So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by to morrow about this time.

And when he saw that, he arose, and went for his life, and came to Beersheba, which belongeth to Judah, and left his servant there” (1 Kgs 19:1-3).

Omride Dynasty
Following the death of King Solomon, the United Monarchy dissolved and split into the Divided Kingdoms of Israel in the north and Judah in the south. The Omride dynasty was the most infamous family to rule Israel, especially in the view of the biblical writers, but then the expansionist ambitions of the Neo-Assyrians from Mesopotamia in the eighth century BCE spelled an end to the Kingdom of Israel and gave rise to the tradition of the Ten Lost Tribes.

Five Assyrian records, some of which with known duplicates, are known to refer to either “Land of Omri” or “House of Omri.” An archaeological reference to Omri and his unnamed son is found in the Mesha Stele, the only Northwest Semitic inscription known to reference this name.

Biblical Account
The Bible generally portrays the Omrides unfavorably, stressing their apostasy from the religion of Yahweh in favor of Baal. It devotes little attention to Omri aside from noting his establishment of the dynasty and foundation of Israel’s new capital of Samaria.

In contrast, his son Ahab is the subject of an extended narrative focusing on his troubled relations with the prophets Elijah and Elisha. He is depicted as a weak personality allowing himself to be led by his strong-willed wife Jezebel of Tyre, who advocated Baal worship.

Note is also made of the dynasty’s diplomacy, which connected it by marriage to Tyre and Judah and brought about a rapprochement with the latter after a long series of wars. The Biblical account of the later Omrides concerns the revolt of Moab, their conflict with Damascus over Ramoth-Gilead, the dynasty’s extinction in Israel at the hands of Jehu, and Athaliah’s usurpation of the throne of Judah on the death of her son King Ahaziah.

Elijah walked into the wilderness for a day before he sat down under a juniper tree and felt that he was going to die.  He then said to God,

“It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.

And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat.

And he looked, and, behold, there was a cake baken on the coals, and a cruse of water at his head. And he did eat and drink, and laid him down again.

And the angel of the Lord came again the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee.

And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God.

And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the Lordcame to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah?

And he said, I have been very jealous for the Lord God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.

And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, theLord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake:

And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.

And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah? (1 Kgs 19:4-13).

Elijah then explained to God how upset he was with Israel, what he did, and that Jezebel said she was going to kill him.

And the Lord said unto him, Go, return on thy way to the wilderness of Damascus: and when thou comest, anoint Hazael to be king over Syria:

And Jehu the son of Nimshi shalt thou anoint to be king over Israel: and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abelmeholah shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy room.

And it shall come to pass, that him that escapeth the sword of Hazael shall Jehu slay: and him that escapeth from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha slay.

Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him” (1 Kgs 19:15-18).

Relief from the Black Obelisk
Possibly Hoshea, or Jehu’s ambassador, bows before Shalmaneser III.
The second register from the top of the Obelisk is thought to include the earliest surviving picture of a biblical figure.

The name appears as mIa-ú-a mar mHu-um-ri-i.

Rawlinson’s original translation in 1850 seminal work “On the Inscriptions of Assyria and Babylonia” stated:

“The second line of offerings are said to have been sent by Yahua, son of Hubiri, a prince of whom there is no mention in the annals, and of whose native country, therefore, I am ignorant.”

Over a year later, a connection with the bible was made by Reverend Edward Hincks, who wrote in his diary on 21 August 1851:

“Thought of an identification of one of the obelisk captives — with Hoshea, king of Israel, and satisfying myself on the point wrote a letter to the Athenaeum announcing it”.

Hincks’ letter was published by Athenaeum on the same day, entitled “Nimrud Obelisk”.

Hincks’ identification is now the commonly held position by biblical archaeologists.

The name is now commonly read as

“Yaw, son of Omri (Bit-Khumri”, understood by Hincks as the Biblical Jehu, king of Israel.

The identification of “Yaw” as Jehu has been questioned, based on the fact that Jehu was not an Omride, as well as transliteration and chronology issues.

The stele describes how Hoshea brought or sent his tribute in or around 841 B.C.

Hoshea severed Israel’s alliances with Phoenicia and Judah, and became subject to Assyria.

The caption above the scene, written in Assyrian cuneiform, can be translated:

“The tribute of Hoshea, son of Omri: I received from him silver, gold, a golden bowl, a golden vase with pointed bottom, golden tumblers, golden buckets, tin, a staff for a king [and] spears.”

So Elijah left and found Elisha plowing the 12 yoke of oxen before him and cast his 1 mantle upon him.  Elisha left the oxen and ran after Elijah, and said,

“..Let me, I pray thee, kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow thee.  And he said unto him, Go back again: for what have I done to thee? 

And he returned back from him, and took a yoke of oxen, and slew them, and boiled their flesh with the instruments of the oxen, and gave unto the people, and they did eat. Then he arose, and went after Elijah, and ministered unto him” (1 Kgs 19:20-21).

Kulturkampf
The German term About this sound Kulturkampf (help·info) (pronounced [kʊlˈtuːɐ̯kampf], literally “culture struggle”) refers to German policies in relation to secularity and reducing the role and power of the Roman Catholic Church in Prussia, enacted from 1871 to 1878 by the Prime Minister of Prussia,

Otto von Bismarck.

Bismarck accelerated the Kulturkampf, which did not extend to the other German states such as Bavaria.

As one scholar put it,

“the attack on the church included a series of Prussian, discriminatory laws that made Catholics feel understandably persecuted within a predominantly Protestant nation.”

Jesuits, Franciscans, Dominicans and other orders were expelled in the culmination of twenty years of anti-Jesuit and antimonastic hysteria.

In 1871, the Catholic Church comprised 36.5% of the population of the German Empire, including millions of discriminated Poles.

In this newly founded Empire, Bismarck sought to appeal to liberals and Protestants (62% of the population) by reducing the political and social influence of the Catholic Church and attempting to eradicate the Polish nationality.

Priests and bishops who resisted the Kulturkampf were arrested or removed from their positions.

By the height of anti-Catholic legislation, half of the Prussian bishops were in prison or in exile, a quarter of the parishes had no priest, half the monks and nuns had left Prussia, a third of the monasteries and convents were closed, 1800 parish priests were imprisoned or exiled, and thousands of laypeople were imprisoned for helping the priests.

Bismarck’s program backfired, as it energized the Catholics to become a political force in the Center party and revitalized Polish resistance.

The Kulturkampf ended about 1880 with a new pope willing to negotiate with Bismarck, and with the departure of the anti-Catholic Liberals from his coalition.

By retreating, Bismarck won over the Center party support on most of his conservative policy positions, especially his attacks against Socialism.

King Ben-hadad of Syria gathered all his men and 32 other kings and attacked Samaria.  He then sent messengers to King Ahab that said, Thy silver and thy gold is mine; thy wives also and thy children, even the goodliest, are mine. 

“And he sent messengers to Ahab king of Israel into the city, and said unto him, Thus saith Benhadad,

Thy silver and thy gold is mine; thy wives also and thy children, even the goodliest, are mine.

And the king of Israel answered and said, My lord, O king, according to thy saying, I am thine, and all that I have.

And the messengers came again, and said, Thus speaketh Benhadad, saying, Although I have sent unto thee, saying, Thou shalt deliver me thy silver, and thy gold, and thy wives, and thy children;

Yet I will send my servants unto thee to morrow about this time, and they shall search thine house, and the houses of thy servants; and it shall be, that whatsoever is pleasant in thine eyes, they shall put it in their hand, and take it away” (1 Kgs 20:3-6).

The King of Israel called on the elders of the land and asked what he should do and they told him not to do that.  So the king of Israel sent the messengers back with…

“…All that thou didst send for to thy servant at the first I will do: but this thing I may not do. And the messengers departed, and brought him word again.

And Benhadad sent unto him, and said, The gods do so unto me, and more also, if the dust of Samaria shall suffice for handfuls for all the people that follow me.

And the king of Israel answered and said, Tell him, Let not him that girdeth on his harness boast himself as he that putteth it off.

And it came to pass, when Ben-hadad heard this message, as he was drinking, he and the kings in the pavilions, that he said unto his servants, Set yourselves in array. And they set themselves in array against the city.And, behold, there came a prophet unto Ahab king of Israel, saying, Thus saith theLord, Hast thou seen all this great multitude? Behold, I will deliver it into thine hand this day; and thou shalt know that I am the Lord.

And Ahab said, By whom? And he said, Thus saith the Lord, Even by the young men of the princes of the provinces. Then he said, Who shall order the battle? And he answered, Thou” (1 Kgs 20:9-14). 

Ahab then counted his soldiers, 232,000, then he numbered the people and there were 7,000.  And at noon they travelled towards Syria. 

And some of Ben-hadad’s men came and told him that men from Samaria were coming.  And he told them that it didn’t matter if they came in peace or war, to take them alive. 

The men and their army approached Ahad and they were killed, and the other Sryians fled, so Israel pursued them.

“And the king of Israel went out, and smote the horses and chariots, and slew the Syrians with a great slaughter, but king Ben-hadad escaped” (1 Kgs 20:21).

“And the prophet came to the king of Israel, and said unto him, Go, strengthen thyself, and mark, and see what thou doest: for at the return of the year the king of Syria will come up against thee.

And the servants of the king of Syria said unto him, Their gods are gods of the hills; therefore they were stronger than we; but let us fight against them in the plain, and surely we shall be stronger than they.

And do this thing, Take the kings away, every man out of his place, and put captains in their rooms:

And number thee an army, like the army that thou hast lost, horse for horse, and chariot for chariot: and we will fight against them in the plain, and surely we shall be stronger than they. And he hearkened unto their voice, and did so.

And it came to pass at the return of the year, that Benhadad numbered the Syrians, and went up to Aphek, to fight against Israel.

And the children of Israel were numbered, and were all present, and went against them: and the children of Israel pitched before them like two little flocks of kids; but the Syrians filled the country.

And there came a man of God, and spake unto the king of Israel, and said, Thus saith the Lord, Because the Syrians have said, The Lord is God of the hills, but he is not God of the valleys, therefore will I deliver all this great multitude into thine hand, and ye shall know that I am the Lord.

Archaeological dig at Tel Dan
In the Tel Dan inscription, a Syrian king (probably Hazael) admits that “the kings of Israel entered my father’s land,” indicating that the Omride dynasty controlled territory in Syria, stretching south through Moab.

A sizable army is also evidenced, as shown in the inscription of the Assyrian leader Shalmaneser III (858–824 B.C.) who refers to an opposing force of 2,000 chariots and 10,000 foot soldiers belonging to Omri’s son, “Ahab the Israelite.”

Assyrian sources referred to Israel as the “land of the house of Omri,” or the “land of Omri” for nearly 150 years.

Even Jehu, who ended the Omride dynasty, was mistakenly called “the son of Omri” by Shalmaneser II.

Archaeological evidence regarding the construction of palaces, stables, and store cities indicates that Israel under the Omrides had surpassed its southern neighbor.

The site of Omri and Ahab’s impressive palace at Samaria has been uncovered for more than a century.

Moreover, recent investigations have reassigned the dates of several important structures formerly attributed to Solomon to the time of Omri and Ahab.

Impressive fortifications, administrative centers, and other improvements at Megiddo and Hazor led Finklestein and others to conclude that “The Omrides, not Solomon, established the first fully developed monarchy in Israel.”

And they pitched one over against the other seven days. And so it was, that in the seventh day the battle was joined: and the children of Israel slew of the Syrians an hundred thousand footmen in one day.

But the rest fled to Aphek, into the city; and there a wall fell upon twenty and seven thousand of the men that were left. And Benhadad fled, and came into the city, into an inner chamber.

And his servants said unto him, Behold now, we have heard that the kings of the house of Israel are merciful kings: let us, I pray thee, put sackcloth on our loins, and ropes upon our heads, and go out to the king of Israel: peradventure he will save thy life” (1 Kgs 19:22-31).

Ben-hadad agreed with his servant, and he said to Israel,

“I pray thee, let me live. And he said, Is he yet alive? he is my brother.

Now the men did diligently observe whether any thing would come from him, and did hastily catch it: and they said, Thy brother Benhadad. Then he said, Go ye, bring him. Then Benhadad came forth to him; and he caused him to come up into the chariot.

And Ben-hadad said unto him, The cities, which my father took from thy father, I will restore; and thou shalt make streets for thee in Damascus, as my father made in Samaria. Then said Ahab, I will send thee away with this covenant. So he made a covenant with him, and sent him away.

And a certain man of the sons of the prophets said unto his neighbour in the word of the Lord, Smite me, I pray thee. And the man refused to smite him.

Moabite Stone – The Mesha Stele – 930 BC
I am Mesha, son of Kemoshmelek, the king of Moab, the Dibonite. My father was king over Moab for thirty years, and I became king after my father.

And I made this high place for Kemosh in Qarhar . . . because of the deliverance of Mesha, and because he has saved me from all the kings and because he caused me to see [my desire] upon all who hated me. Omri, king of Israel — he oppressed Moab many days, because Chemosh was angry with his land.

And his son succeeded him, and he also said I will oppress Moab. In my day he spoke according to this word, but I saw my desire upon him and upon his house, and Israel utterly perished forever.

Now Omri had possessed all the land of Medeba and dwelt in it his days and half the days of his son, forty years, but Chemosh restored it in my day. And I built Baal-meon and I made in it the reservoir and I built Kiryathaim. And the men of Gad had dwelt in the land of Ataroth from ofold and the king of Israel had built for himself Ataroth. And I foutht against the city and took it, and I slew all the people of the city, a sight pleasing to Chemosh and to Moab.

And I brought back from there the altar-hearth of Duda and I dragged it before Chemosh in Kiryoth. And I caused to dwell in it the men of Sharon and the men of Meharoth (?).

And Chemosh said to me: “Go take Nebo against Israel”; and I went by night and fought against it from break of dawn till noon, and I took it and slew all, seven thousand men, boys (?), and women, and girls, for I had devoted it to Ashtar-Chemosh.

And I took from there the altar-hearths of Yahweh, and I dragged them before Chemosh. And the king of Israel built Jabaz and dwelt in it while he fought with me and Chemosh drove him out from before me. And I took from Moab two hundred men, all its chiefs, and I led them against Jahaz and took it to add unto Dibon.

And I built Qarhar (?), the wall of the forests and the wall of the hill; and I built its gates and I built its towers, and I built the kings house, and I made the sluices (?) for the reservoir of water in the midst of the city.

And there was no cistern in the midst of the city, in Qarhar (?); and I said to all the people: “Make you each a cistern in his house;” and I cut the cuttings for Qarhar (?) with the help of the prisoners of Israel. I built Aroer and I made the highway by the Arnon. And I built Beth-bamoth, for it had been destroyed. And I built Bezer, for it was in ruins….(Chi) of Dibon wer fifty, for all Dibon was obedient. And I ruled. And I ruled a hundred….in the cities which I had added to the land. And I built [Mede]ba dnd Beth-diblathan. And [as for] Beth-baal-meon, there I placed sheep-raisers….sheep of the land… And [as for] Horonaim there dwelt in it….and…..Chemosh said unto me: “Go down, fight against Horonaim,” and I went down and….Chemosh in my day, and from there…..and I…….

Then said he unto him, Because thou hast not obeyed the voice of the Lord, behold, as soon as thou art departed from me, a lion shall slay thee. And as soon as he was departed from him, a lion found him, and slew him.Then he found another man, and said, Smite me, I pray thee. And the man smote him, so that in smiting he wounded him.

So the prophet departed, and waited for the king by the way, and disguised himself with ashes upon his face.

And as the king passed by, he cried unto the king: and he said, Thy servant went out into the midst of the battle; and, behold, a man turned aside, and brought a man unto me, and said, Keep this man: if by any means he be missing, then shall thy life be for his life, or else thou shalt pay a talent of silver.

And as thy servant was busy here and there, he was gone. And the king of Israel said unto him, So shall thy judgment be; thyself hast decided it.

And he hasted, and took the ashes away from his face; and th’ed to utter destruction, therefore thy life shall go for his life, and thy people for his people.

And the king of Israel went to his house heavy and displeased, and came to Samaria” (1 Kgs 19:32-43).

1 There are at least four Hebrew terms for mantel.  Is this case it is probably a sole garment, and probably made of sheepskin, such as is worn by the modern dervishes.

The Ministries of
Elijah and Elisha

The considerable power and wealth the Omride Dynasty brought to Israel also rent the fabric of Israelites society.  Phoenician influence at the court in Samaria proved troubling.  This was best symbolized by the marriage of Ahab to Jezebel, a Phoenician princess of Tyre.

Omri was the sixth king of Israel after Jeroboam, a successful military campaigner, and the founder of the House of Omri, an Israelite royal house which included other monarchs such as Ahab, Ahaziah, Joram, and Athaliah.

Mentioned in the Bible as well as other extra-biblical sources such as the Mesha stele and the Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III, Omri is also credited with the construction of Samaria and establishing it as his capital.

Struggle for the Succession
Omri was “commander of the army” of king Elah when Zimri, “commander of half the king’s chariots”, murdered Elah and made himself king.

Instead, the troops at Gibbethon chose Omri as king, and he led them to Tirzah where they trapped Zimri in the royal palace.

To avoid the certain tortures of capture, Zimri set fire to the palace and died after a reign of only seven days.

Although Zimri was eliminated, “half of the people” supported Tibni in opposition to Omri.

It took Omri four years to subdue Tibni and at last proclaim himself undisputed king of Israel.

Nothing is said in Scripture about the lineage of Omri.

His name is either Amorite or Arabic, suggesting he was a foreign mercenary.

Social and economic tensions built up within Israel society between the privileged classes favored by the royal court, mostly city dwellers whose lifestyles grew increasingly luxurious, and those distrustful of foreign influences, mainly rural elements isolated from political and perhaps economic power. 

An additional source of tension was the official patronage of Baal worship by the royal court.  Ahab built a temple of Baal at Samaria (1 Kgs 18:19). 

In addition, Jezebel ruthlessly suppressed the prophets of Yahweh in Israel.  These policies prompted a major crisis of the soul for Israel. 

In response, God sent two unique prophetic figures – Elijah and Elisha – to minister to the nation.  Both prophets remain enigmatic due to the paucity and nature according to these resources, yet each guided Israel at critical junction.

Elijah was a dour, solitary figure who hailed from Tishbe in Gilead (major references to Elijah are found in 1 Kgs 17-19, 21; 2 Kgs 1-2).

He appeared suddenly and mysteriously when least expected.  An implacable foe of Baalism, Elijah opposed both Ahab and Jezebel publicly as the “troubler of Israel.”

He announced God was sending a drought upon the land, a tactic aimed at the heart of Baalism, whose chief deity brought the rain.  Having made the announcement, Elijah retreated to the brook Cherith, east of the Jordan (1 Kgs 17:1-7).

Next, he traveled to Zarephath near Sidon, where he stayed with a widow and raised her son from death (1 Kgs 17:8-24). 

Elijah found Elisha, presumably at his home village, Abel-meholah. The exact location of Abel-meholah is uncertain, but it seems to have been west of the Jordan River, perhaps near the eastern part of the Jezreel Valley.

Elisha left his fields to become the devoted disciple of Elijah.   Sometime after the death of Ahaziah (850 B.C.), Elisha followed Elijah from Gilgi through Bethel and Jericho to the Jordan River.

Elisha differed in some respects from Elijah.  He appeared frequently in the company of the “sons of the prophets” and functioned more often as a counselor to kings.  The Bible records numerous miracles Elisha performed, among them (2 Kgs 2:19-22, 4:8-37, 4:38-41, 5).

Like Elijah, it is difficult to plot the movements of Elisha, though he often appeared at Mount Carmel and Samaria.   The most prominent role Elisah played was kingmaker.

He was the instrument of political revolution in Damascus and Israel (2 Kgs 8:7-15).  The main difference between the two prophets is that Elijah didn’t die, God took him to heaven, as He had done with Enoch.

Ministry of Elijah & Elijah

I wouldn’t want to be president of the United States because you have to live in Washington D.C. and hang out with the politicians.  That would be like going to prison and hanging out with the snitches.

But heck, I certainly wouldn’t want to be a king back then, you have no idea when you’re going to be executed, even by family.  I haven’t seen any more good, or powerful kings.  Are there anymore 1 prophets that were like Moses? 

Back to the president, we haven’t had a real president since Reagan, and I know You can do anything, so would You mind giving us one? 

I mean right now we have Allah’s little brother and he doesn’t know if he’s coming or going.  If Romney would have won the only thing that would have been different is the skin color.

An icon of Elijah from Saint Catherine’s Monastery, Mount Sinai
Elijah was a prophet and a wonder-worker in the northern kingdom of Israel during the reign of Ahab (9th century B.C.), according to the biblical Books of Kings.

According to the Books of Kings, Elijah defended the worship of Yahweh over that of the Canaanite god Baal (which was considered as idol worship); he raised the dead, brought fire down from the sky, and was taken up in a whirlwind (either accompanied by a chariot and horses of flame or riding in it).

In the Book of Malachi, Elijah’s return is prophesied “before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord,”making him a harbinger of the Messiah and the eschaton in various faiths that revere the Bible.

“And 2 Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As theLord God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word.

And the word of the Lord came unto him, saying,

Get thee hence, and turn thee eastward, and hide thyself by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan” (1 Kgs 17:1-3).

So Elijah did what God told him to do and everything worked out as God said it would.

“And it came to pass after a while, that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land.

And the word of the Lord came unto him, saying,

Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee.

So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, the widow woman was there gathering of sticks: and he called to her, and said, Fetch me, I pray thee, a little water in a vessel, that I may drink.

And as she was going to fetch it, he called to her, and said, Bring me, I pray thee, a morsel of bread in thine hand.

And she said, As the Lord thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die.

And Elijah said unto her, Fear not; go and do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son.

For thus saith the Lord God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the Lord sendeth rain upon the earth.

And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah: and she, and he, and her house, did eat many days.

And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the Lord, which he spake by Elijah.

And it came to pass after these things, that the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, fell sick; and his sickness was so sore, that there was no breath left in him.

And she said unto Elijah, What have I to do with thee, O thou man of God? art thou come unto me to call my sin to remembrance, and to slay my son?

And he said unto her, Give me thy son. And he took him out of her bosom, and carried him up into a loft, where he abode, and laid him upon his own bed.

And he cried unto the Lord, and said, O Lord my God, hast thou also brought evil upon the widow with whom I sojourn, by slaying her son?

The Cave of Elijah, Mount Carmel, Israel.
Elijah’s Cave is nestled at the base of Cape Carmel in Haifa, below the lighthouse and Stella Maris Carmelite Monastery.

An important shrine to many religions, the chapel includes the very cave in which the Hebrew prophet Elijah is believed to have lived and taught.

History of Elijah’s Cave

Many important events in the life of the Prophet Elijah (9th century B.C.) are said to have happened in this revered cave: he lived and meditated here before defeating the pagan prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel; he hid here when fleeing the wrath of King Ahab and his wife, Jezebel; and Elijah established his school here upon his return from exile.

The cave is sacred to Jews, Christians, Muslims, and Druze, all of whom venerate the prophet Elijah.

There was a mosque here until 1948.

Tradition also has it that the Holy Family (Mary, Joseph and Jesus) found shelter in this cave for a night on their return from Egypt.

And he stretched himself upon the child three times, and cried unto the Lord, and said, O Lord my God, I pray thee, let this child’s soul come into him again.

And the Lord heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived.

Stele Showing the Storm-God Baal
This sandstone sculpture from Ugarit depicts Baal the Storm-God.

“The god is shown brandishing a mace and a spear, the extremity of which is tipped with vegetation; this is an allusion to the beneficial effects of the rain released by the storm.

A young and popular god, celebrated in beautiful mythological texts discovered at Ugarit,

Baal is also the tutelary god the dynasty: the king of Ugarit is shown in prayer beneath the arms of Baal.

The style is both attentive to anatomical detail and nobly hieratic.

This stele of Baal is one of the finest pieces of sculpture that has come down to us from Oriental antiquity.”

And Elijah took the child, and brought him down out of the chamber into the house, and delivered him unto his mother: and Elijah said, See, thy son liveth.

And the woman said to Elijah, Now by this I know that thou art a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in thy mouth is truth” (1 Kgs 17:7-24).

“And it came to pass after many days, that the word of the Lord came to Elijah in the third year, saying, Go, shew thyself unto Ahab; and I will send rain upon the earth.

And Elijah went to shew himself unto Ahab. And there was a sore famine in Samaria.

And Ahab called Obadiah, which was the governor of his house. (Now Obadiah feared the Lord greatly:

For it was so, when Jezebel cut off the prophets of the Lord, that Obadiah took an hundred prophets, and hid them by fifty in a cave, and fed them with bread and water.)

And Ahab said unto Obadiah, Go into the land, unto all fountains of water, and unto all brooks: peradventure we may find grass to save the horses and mules alive, that we lose not all the beasts” (1 Kgs 18:1-5).

So Ahab went one way and Obadiah the other and he ran into Elijah, and he knew who he was and fell on his face and said,

“…Art thou that my lord Elijah?

And he answered him, I am: go, tell thy lord, Behold, Elijah is here.

And he said, What have I sinned, that thou wouldest deliver thy servant into the hand of Ahab, to slay me?

As the Lord thy God liveth, there is no nation or kingdom, whither my lord hath not sent to seek thee: and when they said, He is not there; he took an oath of the kingdom and nation, that they found thee not.

Challenge to Baal
When Ahab confronts Elijah, he refers to him as the “troubler of Israel.”

Elijah responds by throwing the charge back at Ahab, saying that it is Ahab who has troubled Israel by allowing the worship of false gods.

Elijah then berates both the people of Israel and Ahab for their acquiescence in Baal worship.

“How long will you go limping with two different opinions?

If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal then follow him” (1 Kgs 18:21).

And the people were silent.

The Hebrew for this word, “go limping” or “waver”, is the same as that used for “danced” in verse 26, where the prophets of Baal frantically dance.

Elijah speaks with sharp irony: in the religious ambivalence of Israel, she is engaging in a wild and futile religious “dance”.

At this point Elijah proposes a direct test of the powers of Baal and Yahweh.

The people of Israel, 450 prophets of Baal, and 400 prophets of Asherah are summoned to Mount Carmel.

Two altars are built, one for Baal and one for Yahweh.

Wood is laid on the altars.

Two oxen are slaughtered and cut into pieces; the pieces are laid on the wood.

Elijah then invites the priests of Baal to pray for fire to light the sacrifice.

They pray from morning to noon without success.

Elijah ridicules their efforts.

They respond by cutting themselves and adding their own blood to the sacrifice (such mutilation of the body was strictly forbidden in the Mosaic law).

They continue praying until evening without success.

Elijah now orders that the altar of Yahweh be drenched with water from “four large jars” poured three times (1 Kgs 18:33–34).

He asks God to accept the sacrifice.

Fire falls from the sky, consuming the water, the sacrifice and the stones of the altar itself as well. Elijah seizes the moment and orders the death of the prophets of Baal.

Elijah prays earnestly for rain to fall again on the land.

Then the rains begin, signaling the end of the famine.

And now thou sayest, Go, tell thy lord, Behold, Elijah is here.

And it shall come to pass, as soon as I am gone from thee, that the Spirit of the Lordshall carry thee whither I know not; and so when I come and tell Ahab, and he cannot find thee, he shall slay me: but I thy servant fear the Lord from my youth.

Was it not told my lord what I did when Jezebel slew the prophets of the Lord, how I hid an hundred men of the Lord‘s prophets by fifty in a cave, and fed them with bread and water?

And now thou sayest, Go, tell thy lord, Behold, Elijah is here: and he shall slay me.

And Elijah said, As the Lord of hosts liveth, before whom I stand, I will surely shew myself unto him to day” (1 Kgs 18:7-15).

So Obadiah went an told Ahab and he came and met Elijah.  And Elijah said,

“…Art thou he that troubleth Israel?

And he answered, I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father’s house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the Lord, and thou hast followed Baalim.

Now therefore send, and gather to me all Israel unto mount Carmel, and the prophets of Baal four hundred and fifty, and the prophets of the groves four hundred, which eat at Jezebel’s table” (1 Kgs 18:17-19).

So Ahab brought all the prophets to Mount Carmel, and Elijah said,

“…How long halt ye between two opinions? if the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.

Then said Elijah unto the people, I, even I only, remain a prophet of the Lord; but Baal’s prophets are four hundred and fifty men.

“Chair of Elijah” used during the brit milah (circumcision) ceremony. The Hebrew inscription reads “This is the chair of Elijah, remembered for Good.”

This chair was created by the Jews. This makes no since to me because the Jews do not believe in Jesus, but they worship Elijah.

Let them therefore give us two bullocks; and let them choose one bullock for themselves, and cut it in pieces, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under: and I will dress the other bullock, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under:

And call ye on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the Lord: and the God that answereth by fire, let him be God. And all the people answered and said, It is well spoken” (1 Kgs 18:21-24).

Elijah told him Ahab to go first so they did as Elijah had said and the people called on Baal from morning until noon, saying,

“…And they took the bullock which was given them, and they dressed it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even until noon, saying, O Baal, hear us. But there was no voice, nor any that answered. And they leaped upon the altar which was made.

And it came to pass at noon, that Elijah mocked them, and said, Cry aloud: for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked.

And they cried aloud, and cut themselves after their manner with knives and lancets, till the blood gushed out upon them.

And it came to pass, when midday was past, and they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that there was neither voice, nor any to answer, nor any that regarded” (1 Kgs 18:26-30).

Elijah called the people over and gathered 12 stones in reference to the 12 tribes of Israel, and made his altar. 

He then made a trench big enough that could hold two measures of seed, and the trench went all around it. 

He then put the wood in order, cut the bullock up, laid it on the wood, and then poured four barrels of water on the bullock and on the wood three times so that the water filled the trench.  Elijah then said,

“Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word.

Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the Lord God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again.

The upper part of the Transfiguration (1520) by Raphael, depicting Elijah, Jesus, and Moses (holding the Tablets of the Law).
Elijah makes an appearance in the New Testament during an incident known as the Transfiguration.

At the summit of an unnamed mount, Jesus’ face begins to shine.

The disciples who are with Him hear the voice of God announce that Jesus is “My beloved Son.”

The disciples also see Moses and Elijah appear and talk with Jesus.

Peter is so struck by the experience that he asks Jesus if they should build three “tabernacles”: one for Elijah, one for Jesus and one for Moses.

There is agreement among some Christian theologians that Elijah appears as a witness of the prophets and Moses as a witness of the law for the divinely announced “Son of God.”

Then the fire of the Lord fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.

And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The Lord, he is the God; the Lord, he is the God.

And Elijah said unto them, Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape. And they took them: and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there.

And Elijah said unto Ahab, Get thee up, eat and drink; for there is a sound of abundance of rain” (1 Kgs 18:36-41).

1 God did raise a prophet like Moses, Jesus Christ, as He promised in Deuteronomy:

“The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken;

According to all that thou desiredst of the LORD thy God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not.

And the LORD said unto me, They have well spoken that which they have spoken.

I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.

And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.

But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die.

And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken?

When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him” (18:15-22).

The sinuous hill stretching north from the village is Tsoungiza, the site of the main prehistoric settlement in the valley.

“Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.

If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.

He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him” (Jn 7:16-18).

“Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things” (Jn 8:28).

“For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.

And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak” (Jn 12:49-50)

“For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you.

And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people” (Acts 3:22-23).

This is that Moses, which said unto the children of Israel, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear (Acts 7:37).

2 As Moses was more-or-less the Jesus Christ of the Old Testament, Elijah was John the Baptist of the Old Testament. 

Yet, he was practically identical to John the Baptist, and possibly did have the same spirit (Mal 4:5, Matt 11:12-14, Lk 1:14-14-17, Jn 1:19-24), especially since Elijah never died. 

Also, John the Baptist and Elijah wore the exact type of clothing, lived in the wilderness, and their personalities and heart were the same. 

Also, John the Baptist was Jesus’ cousin and six months older, and during Jesus’ transfiguration Moses and Elijah appeared (Matt 17:2-3, Mk 9:2-4, Lk 9:28-31).

Elijah

A statue of prophet Elijah slaughtering the false prophets of baal, at the Carmelite “Muhraqa” monastery, on Mt Carmel, Israel

Elijah, a Tishbite from the region of Gilead, was a prophet in Israel during the reigns of Ahab, Ahaziah and Jehoram.  All his life Elijah was active in the defense of God.    His teachings brought him into constant conflict with the Kings of Israel, and on one occasion had to flee for his life.  He fought against the cult of Baal, and clashed frequently with Ahab’s wife Jezebel, who had introduced the pagan cult in Israel.

Elijah performed some extraordinary miracles as a prophet of God, he brought the dead son of a widow back to life (1 Kings 17:22-23), caused a jar of meal and a jar of oil to constantly refill during a drought, caused fire to come out of the sky and consume a burnt offering, ended a drought, and ran faster than King Ahab’s chariot.

In 1st Kings 19 the Lord revealed Himself to Elijah. Elijah parted the waters of the Jordan River, by striking it with his mantle, and crossed on dry ground with his understudy, Elisha.  “As they continued walking and talking, a chariot of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them, and Elijah ascended in a whirlpool into heaven” (2 Kings 2:11).

Elisha then picked up Elijah’s mantle and became a prophet of God.  Elijah remains one of the most intriguing of the prophets.  In the New Testament, the angel Gabriel tells Zechariah that his wife Elizabeth will bear a son “with the spirit and power of Elijah” (Luke 1:17).

Many have identified John the Baptist with Elijah the forerunner of the Messiah.  Some thought Jesus to be Elijah but Jesus rejected this, attributing the roll to John the Baptist.  Elijah, with Moses appears with Jesus at the Transfiguration.  The story of Elijah is found in 1 and 2 Kings, and in 1 and 2 Chronicles.  The name Elijah means “Yah is my God”

Prophecy Against Baasha & Comparative Size of Temples

These are some blood thirsty people, are there going to be any more good kings like David?

King Baasha reigned in Israel for about 23 years.

During his reign he continued the ongoing conflict with Judah and he encouraged the continuation of the Golden Calf Cult started by King Jeroboam.

Baasha’s name means boldness, wicked, usurper among other words and it is a perfect way to describe his time in power.

He appears on the Bible Timeline with World history starting in 967 B.C.

Baasha Becomes King
Baasha was a military commander in the service of King Nadab who was the son of the former King Jeroboam.

When King Nabad was attacking a Philistine town named Gibbethon, Bashaa assassinated him.

After assassinating the king he then took over the throne.

Apparently, he had some of the key members of the army behind him in order to accomplish this feat.

God uses Baasha
God then used King Bassha to wipe out Jeroboam’s line as prophesized through Ahijah the prophet.

He killed all of Jeroboams family members and not one relative was left breathing.

King Bashaa was successful at exterminating Jeroboam’s line because God used him to carry out this particular judgment.

Baasha’s Evil Reign
King Baasha didn’t learn from King Jeroboam’s mistakes.

Ultimately, Jeroboam lost the kingdom of Israel because of his sins and King Baasha was following in his foot steps.

Instead of bringing the people back to the true worship of God he continued with the false practices that they were accustomed to performing.

King Bashaa had grown up in an environment of pagan worship and probably didn’t believe that it was all that bad to worship in this manner.

Baasha’s name also means “Baal hears” and it was probably given to him in honor of the pagan god Baal.

Jehu‘s Prophecy Against King Baasha

God sent a message to a prophet named Jehu and he told him to inform Baasha that he was going to wipe out his dynasty for the same reasons that he destroyed Jeroboam’s.

Jehu explained the reasons for God’s judgment and they include arousing God’s anger by causing the people to sin and by disregarding the serious commitment that is needed to govern and lead God’s people.

He also said that dogs would eat Baasha’s dead family members in the city and birds would devour their flesh in the country.

King Bashaa didn’t turn away from his evil practices even after receiving this prophecy from Jehu.

End of Baash
God always keeps His promise, but He does it in His time, not ours.

Eventually Baasha’s reign had come to an end and his son Elah succeeded his rule.

God then made His promise come true.

“Then the word of the Lord came to Jehu the son of Hanani against Baasha, saying,

Forasmuch as I exalted thee out of the dust, and made thee prince over my people Israel; and thou hast walked in the way of Jeroboam, and hast made my people Israel to sin, to provoke me to anger with their sins;

Behold, I will take away the posterity of Baasha, and the posterity of his house; and will make thy house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat.

Him that dieth of Baasha in the city shall the dogs eat; and him that dieth of his in the fields shall the fowls of the air eat.

Now the rest of the acts of Baasha, and what he did, and his might, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?” (1 Kgs 16:1-5). 

In the 26th year that Asa reigned over Judah, Baasha died and was buried in Tirzah, and his son Elah reigned.

“And his servant Zimri, captain of half his chariots, conspired against him, as he was in Tirzah, drinking himself drunk in the house of Arza steward of his house in Tirzah.

And Zimri went in and smote him, and killed him, in the twenty and seventh year of Asa king of Judah, and reigned in his stead.

And it came to pass, when he began to reign, as soon as he sat on his throne, that he slew all the house of Baasha: he left him not one that pisseth against a wall, neither of his kinsfolks, nor of his friends” (1 Kgs 16:9-11).

Baasha and Elah sinned greatly, so the Israelites did as well, and this angered the Lord.  Zunru destroyed all the house of Baasha as God told him to do so through the prophet Jehu.

Zimri had reigned in Tirzah for seven days and the people encamped against Gibbethon and the people of Israel made Omri king over Israel, but Zimri’s son, Elah, reigned over Tirzah.

“Now the rest of the acts of Elah, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel? (1 Kgs 16:14).

And Omri went up from Gibbethon, and all Israel with him, and they besieged Tirzah.

18 And it came to pass, when Zimri saw that the city was taken, that he went into the palace of the king’s house, and burnt the king’s house over him with fire, and died.

19 For his sins which he sinned in doing evil in the sight of the Lord, in walking in the way of Jeroboam, and in his sin which he did, to make Israel to sin.

20 Now the rest of the acts of Zimri, and his treason that he wrought, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?” (1 Kgs 16:17-20).

Omri was the sixth king of Israel after Jeroboam, a successful military campaigner, and the founder of the House of Omri, an Israelite royal house which included other monarchs such as Ahab, Ahaziah, Joram, and Athaliah.

Mentioned in the Bible as well as other extra-biblical sources such as the Mesha stele and the Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III.

Omri is also credited with the construction of Samaria and establishing it as his capital.

Israel was now divided, half followed King Tibni, the son of Ginath, and the others followed King Omri.  But the armies of Omri fought against and killed King Tibni so in the 31st year that Asa was king over Judah, Omri reigned over all of Israel, 12 years in Tirzah.

Omri bought the hill Samaria of Shemer for two talents of silver and built the city of Shemer, which he had named after the owner of the hill Samaria.

 “But Omri wrought evil in the eyes of the Lord, and did worse than all that were before him.

For he walked in all the way of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and in his sin wherewith he made Israel to sin, to provoke the Lord God of Israel to anger with their vanities.

Now the rest of the acts of Omri which he did, and his might that he shewed, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?” (1 Kgs 16:25-27). 

When Omri died he was buried in Samaria, and his son Ahab reigned over Israel in Samaria for 22 years.  He married Jezebel, the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Zidonians, served and worshipped Baal, and built an altar for Baal in the house of Baal in Samaria, as well as make a grove.

“In his days did Hiel the Beth-elite build Jericho: he laid the foundation thereof in Abiram his firstborn, and set up the gates thereof in his youngest son Segub, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake by Joshua the son of Nun” (1 Kgs 16:34).

Comparative Size of Temples

The temple of Solomon wasn’t large compared with other temples of antiquity.  But to some degree, it made up for lack of size with quality and expense of decoration. 

Its dimensions were 75 feet long, 30 feet wide, and 45 feet high.  Its measurements were somewhat influenced by divine instructions,  being double those of the tabernacle, which had been built according to God’s specific directions.

By comparison, the well-known Parthenon in Athens was 238 feet long, 111 feet wide, and 65 feet high.  The nearby temple of Jupiter was 354 feet long, 135 feet wide, and over 90 feet high.

At Baalbek in Lebanon, the great temple of Jupiter measured 290 by 160 feet; its 64-foot columns were the tallest in the Greco-Roman world.  Of course, the top of the roof would have raised almost double that height. 

The adjacent temple of Bacchus was 87 feet long by 75 feet wide and had columns 57 feet high.

Babylon had many temples.  Three of those excavated include the  Ishtar (111 by 102 feet), and Marduk, patron deity of the city. 

The main building of this temple measured 281 feet by 262 feet.  It was joined by a larger building (380 by 293 feet), of which only the outlines are known.

Accession of Abijam and Asa & The House of Omri

You would think that after all You have done people would know not to mess with You.  Whatever You say You mean.

But even today people don’t believe.  I guess people are stupid, I was.  But I have the picture now, if we don’t have 2 faith in Jesus, we’ll spend 3 eternity in the Lake of Fire with the devil, his demons, as well as most politicians and people like Oprah. 

“Now in the eighteenth year of king Jeroboam the son of Nebat reigned Abijam over Judah (1 Kgs 15:1).

Asa was the third king of the Kingdom of Judah and the fifth king of the House of David.

He was the son of Abijam, grandson of Rehoboam, and great-grandson of Solomon.

The Bible gives the period of his reign as 41 years.

His reign is dated between 913-910 B.C. to 873-869 B.C.

He was succeeded by his son by Azubah, Jehoshaphat.

According to Thiele’s chronology, when Asa became very ill, he made Jehoshaphat coregent.

Asa died two years into the coregency.

Asa was zealous in maintaining the traditional worship of God, and in rooting out idolatry, with its accompanying immoralities.

After concluding a battle with Zerah of Egypt in the 10th year of his reign, there was peace in Judah (2 Chr 14:1,9) until the 35th year of Asa’s reign (2 Chr 16:1). In his 36th year he was confronted by Baasha, king of Israel.

He formed an alliance with Ben-Hadad I, king of Aram Damascus, and using a monetary bribe, convinced him to break his peace treaty with Baasha and invade the Northern Kingdom (2 Chr 16:2-6).

It is also recorded of Asa that in his old age, when afflicted with a foot disease, he “sought not to the Lord, but to the physicians”.

He died greatly honored by his people, and was considered for the most part a righteous king.

However, his reign was said to have been marred by his reliance on Ben-Hadad.

Abijam was the second king of Judah, the son of Rehoboam, and the grandson of Absalom, who was David’s son that tried to take over the kingdom (2 Sam 15) and his mother, Maacah, was the daughter of Absalom. 

Abijam was evil, but even so, for David’s sake, God let him reign over Jerusalem.  If you remember, David had sinned here and there, such as committing adultery with Bath-sheba and having her husband, Uriah, killed. 

Yet, his heart was right (Act 13:22), it was not his desire to sin, but we are 4 born into sin and live in a sinful world with Satan always around to help us do so.  I, even without never being a devil worshiper or messing around with magic, have experience in this.

Because David did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord, and turned not aside from any thing that he commanded him all the days of his life, save only in the matter of Uriah the Hittite.

And there was war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam all the days of his life.

Now the rest of the acts of Abijam, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? And there was war between Abijam and Jeroboam” (1 Kgs 15:5-7).

Abijam had reigned for 41 years before he died and was buried in the city of David, and his son, Asa, reigned.

 “And Asa did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord, as did David his father.

And he took away the sodomites out of the land, and removed all the idols that his fathers had made.

And also Maachah his mother, even her he removed from being queen, because she had made an idol in a grove; and Asa destroyed her idol, and burnt it by the brook Kidron.

Abijam was, according to the Bible, the fourth king of the House of David and the second of the Kingdom of Judah.

He was the son of Rehoboam, the grandson of Solomon and the great-grandson of David.

The Chronicler refers to him as Abijah .

His mother’s name was Maacah, or Micaiah, the daughter of Uriel of Gibeah, and the granddaughter of the infamous Absalom (Abishalom).

Abijah married fourteen wives, and had 22 sons and 16 daughters.

But the high places were not removed: nevertheless Asa’s heart was perfect with theLord all his days.

And he brought in the things which his father had dedicated, and the things which himself had dedicated, into the house of the Lord, silver, and gold, and vessels.

And there was war between Asa and Baasha king of Israel all their days.

And Baasha king of Israel went up against Judah, and built Ramah, that he might not suffer any to go out or come in to Asa king of Judah.

Then Asa took all the silver and the gold that were left in the treasures of the house of the Lord, and the treasures of the king’s house, and delivered them into the hand of his servants: and king Asa sent them to Benhadad, the son of Tabrimon, the son of Hezion, king of Syria, that dwelt at Damascus, saying,

There is a league between me and thee, and between my father and thy father: behold, I have sent unto thee a present of silver and gold; come and break thy league with Baasha king of Israel, that he may depart from me.

So Benhadad hearkened unto king Asa, and sent the captains of the hosts which he had against the cities of Israel, and smote Ijon, and Dan, and Abelbethmaachah, and all Cinneroth, with all the land of Naphtali” (1 Kgs 15:11-20).

When Baash heard about this he left Ramah and went to Tirzah (the town where God killed Jeroboam’s child).

“Then king Asa made a proclamation throughout all Judah; none was exempted: and they took away the stones of Ramah, and the timber thereof, wherewith Baasha had builded; and king Asa built with them Geba of Benjamin, and Mizpah.

The rest of all the acts of Asa, and all his might, and all that he did, and the cities which he built, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? Nevertheless in the time of his old age he was diseased in his feet(1 Kgs 15:22-23).

Jehoshaphat was the fourth king of the Kingdom of Judah, and successor of his father Asa.

His children included Jehoram, who succeeded him as king.

His mother was Azubah. Historically, his name has sometimes been connected with the Valley of Jehosaphat, where, according to Joel 3:2, the God of Israel will gather all nations for judgment.

Asa was buried in the city of David and his son, Jehoshaphat, replaced him.  Nadab, Jeroboam’s son, reigned for two years over Israel in the second year that Asa was king of Judah. 

But he was evil in the sight of God and as he sinned he made Israel sin.  Baash, the son of Ahijah, conspired against him and killed him at Gibbethon, which belonged to the Philistines at the time.  He then took over the throne.  During his reign he smote all of Jeroboam’s people.

1 “That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us” (Heb 6:18).

2 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Heb 11:1 & 6).

The Valley of Josaphat (variants: Valley of Jehoshaphat and Valley of Yehoshephat) is a Biblical place mentioned by name in Joel 3:2 and Joel 3:12:

“I will gather together all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Josaphat: and I will plead with them there for my people, and for my inheritance Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations”;

“Let the nations be roused; let them advance into the Valley of Jehoshaphat, for there I will sit to judge all the nations on every side”.

3 And he said unto me, It is done.  I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.  I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely” (Rev 1:8).

“He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.

But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death” (Rev 21:6-8).

“And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night forever and ever.

And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (Rev 20: 15 & 10).

4For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.

For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace” (Rom 8:5-6).

Bust of Christ between Alpha and Omega, painting mid 4C on ceiling of Commodille cemetery, Rome. Photo by Andre Held.

Jesus proclaimed Himself to be the “Alpha and Omega” in Rev 1:8, 11; 21:6; and 22:13.

Alpha and omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet.

Among the Jewish rabbis, it was common to use the first and the last letters of the Hebrew alphabet to denote the whole of anything, from beginning to end.

Jesus as the beginning and end of all things is a reference to no one but the true God.

This statement of eternality could apply only to God.

It is seen especially in Rev 22:13, where Jesus proclaims that He is “the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”

One of the meanings of Jesus being the “Alpha and Omega” is that He was at the beginning of all things and will be at the close.

It is equivalent to saying He always existed and always will exist.

It was Christ, as second Person of the Trinity, who brought about the creation:

“Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made” (Jn 1:3).

And His Second Coming will be the beginning of the end of creation as we know it (2 Pet 3:10).

As God incarnate, He has no beginning, nor will He have any end with respect to time, being from everlasting to everlasting.

“For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. 

But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. 

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,

Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,

Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (Gal 5:17-21).

Don’t be confused with this, David committed adultery and murder, but it was not in his heart to do so.  He committed the sins against God because flesh is powerful and if we live by the flesh we are weak. 

To understand this better read what Paul says in Rom 7:15-25 & 8:1. 

The House of Omri

Jehu of the House of Omri, an Assyrian name.
The kingdom of Israel was known to the Assyrians after its founder as Bit-Humri, ‘House of Omri’. Together with the kingdoms of Hamat and Damascus, it dominated the political landscape of Syro-Palestine in the 9th and 8th centuries BC and, like them, it eventually fell victim to the Assyrian expansion to the Mediterranean.

By about 860 B.C., during the reigns of Omri and his son Ahab, Israel emerged as a leader among the small states of the Levant.

The Omride Dynasty brought political stability to the nation for four decades (ca. 876-842 B.C.) before coming to an end in the bloody coup led by Jehu in 842 B.C.

Omri and his successors pursued policies that brought material property, military strength, and international stature to the nation.  Assyrian records referred to Israel as the “House of Omri” even after the fall of the dynasty. 

The policies that produced the wealth and power also deeply divided Israelite society.  The new wealth benefited the privileged few, creating tensions between the court at Samaria and ordinary citizens. 

Ahab and Jezebel’s plot to seize Naboth’s vineyard that resulted in his murderillustratesthe of the aristocracy (1 Kgs 21). 

Moreover, Baalism reared its ugly head once again, this time under official patronage of Ahab’s wife, Jezebel.   

The Bible says remarkably little about Omri; we are dependent upon Assyria sources and archaeology to evaluate his reign.  Omri came to power in a military coup, occupying Tirzah as a temporary “capital for six years.

Later, he purchased a hill from Shemer and along with his son Ahab, built a magnificent new capital named Samaria from which he guided Israel’s fortune.

Policies of Omri and Ahab

Naboth’s Vineyard
Naboth “the Jezreelite,” is the central figure of a story from the Old Testament.

According to the story, Naboth was the owner of a plot on the eastern slope of the hill of Jezreel.

Described as a small “plot of ground”, the vineyard seems to have been all he possessed and lay close to the palace of Ahab, who wished to acquire it to “have it for a garden of herbs” (probably as a ceremonial garden for Baal worship).

The king promised compensation, based upon the assumption that Naboth’s vineyard was owned in fee simple; Naboth, however, had inherited his land from his father, and, according to Jewish law, could not alienate it.

Accordingly, he refused to sell it to the king.

Three distinct policies pursued by Omri and his successors brought Israel to her zenith.  

First, Omri renewed a close alliance with the Phoenicians, sealed by the marriage of his son Ahab to Jezebel. Ahab was a weasel to Jezebel and she was one of the great heathens and the daughter of Ethbaal (Itto-baal), king of Tyre.

Second, he sought peace with Judah. 

Third, he exercised hand in the Transjordan.

Omri And The Phoenicians

Economic cooperation between Israel and Phoenicia can be traced from the time of David and Solomon.  During the United Monarchy.

Israel was a source for agricultural products and controlled the major trade routes that flowed through the southern Levant, both of which appealed to the Phoenicians.  

In addition, Solomon jointly sponsored with the Phoenicians a Red Sea fleet based at Ezion-geber.  The fleet plied both the Arabian and African coasts, bringing back exotic woods and other luxury goods, including gold from the land of Ophir (the Somalian Coast? southern Arabian Peninsula?).

Omri and Ahab continued this close economic cooperation with Phoenicia.  This alliance provided Israel with an outlet for her agricultural surplus and gave the Phoenicians access to key trade routes and, quite possibly the Red Sea trade initiated in the days of Solomon.  

However, the alliance introduced a militant Baalism promoted by Jezebel with her husband’s support.

Ahab and Jezebel, Samaria’s most famous residents.
Jezebel was a Phoenician princess, later the wife of King Ahab of Israel.

She became known for putting on makeup before her death and being a wicked woman.

Ahab was the seventh King of Israel. He reigned for 22 years (871-852 BC). He was the son of Omri. He married Jezebel, daughter of Ethbaal, the king of the Sidonians. Ahab, under Jezebel’s influence, built a pagan temple, and allowed idols into Samaria. Elijah the prophet warned Ahab that the country would suffer from drought if the cult of Baal was not removed from the land of Israel.

Omri And Judah

Omri sought peace with Judah, ending the border conflict that sapped the resources of both kingdoms.  Eventually, the two royal families of Israel and Judah were united in marriage.  

Athaliah, a daughter of Ahab, married Jehoram of Judah.  The alliance likely favored Israel as the stronger partner.  On two occasions Judean kings committed their troops to Israel, once to repulse an Aramean threat and again to quell a Moabite rebellion (1 Kgs 22:-2 Kgs 3:7).  

Yet, Judah surely benefited economically.  The godly of Judah sought peace with Israel and controlled the port of Ezion-geber.

This fact implies that the troublesome Edomites were temporarily held in check, although Jehoshaphat’s attempt to open the route to the gold mines of Ophir was thwarted (1 Kgs. 22:44-48; 2 Chr. 20:25-37).

However, the alliance injected Baalism into the court at Jerusalem, fostered by Athaliah and her husband.  Paganism, intrigue, and murder dogged both royal houses in this unhappy period.

Mesha Stele
King Mesha of Moab was a king of Moabites around the 9th century B.C., known most famous for writing the Mesha stele.

The books of Samuel record that Moab was conquered by David (floruit c.1000-970 B.C.) and retained in the territories of his son Solomon (d. 931 B.C.).

Later, King Omri of Israel reconquered Moab after Moab was lost subsequent to King Solomon’s reign.

The Mesha Stele, erected by Mesha, indicates that it was Omri, king of the northern kingdom of Israel, who conquered his land.

The Mesha Stele records Mesha’s liberation of Moab c.850 B.C.

2 Kings 3:4 reports the same events from the point of view of the Israelites, stating that

“King Mesha of Moab … used to deliver to the king of Israel one hundred thousand lambs, and the wool of one hundred thousand rams”, before rebelling against Jehoram (the Mesha Stele does not name the king against whom Mesha rebelled).

2 Kings and the Mesha Stele differ in their explanation for the success of the revolt: according to Mesha,

“Israel has been defeated”, but 2 Kings says the Israelites withdrew when Mesha sacrificed the eldest son of the Edomite king to his god Chemosh, causing Edom to withdraw from the coalition.

Aside from these attestations, references to Mesha are scanty, if extant.

The name “Mesha” is based on the Hebrew root meaning “to save”, but some scholars have suggested that it seems to have been etymologically equivalent to the Hebrew “Moshe” (Moses).

Omri And The Transjordan

The Omrides attempted to maintain a strong hand in the Transjordan.  We learned from the Mesha Stele that Omro conquered Moab, although Mesha regained Moabite independence shortly after the death of Ahab.

For at least part of the time Edom was held in check, possibly through Judean rule (1 Kgs 22:47), although later the Edomites rebelled (2 Chr 21:8-10).

The most serious threat came from the kings of Damascus, who, during the reign of Baasha, attacked Israel’s northern border at the request of Asa (1 Kgs 15:18-20). 

At stake was control of lucrative trade routes, principally the King’s Highway and subsidiary caravan routes.  Ahab fought several battles against Ben-hadad II (the Hadad-ezer of Assyrian records). 

Ahab repelled an Aramean invasion aimed at Samaria (1 Kgs 20:1-25) and engaged Aramean forces several times near the strategic Transjordan fortress Ramoth-gilead (1 Kgs 20:2-43; 22:1-40). 

Neither Ben-hadad nor Ahab could deliver a final blow, and the war between Israel and Damascus ebbed and flowed during the Omride era.

Samaria ruins of Iron Age Acropolis
Samaria was an ancient city in the Land of Israel.

It was the capital of the Kingdom of Israel in the 9th century B.C. and 8th century B.C.

The ruins of the city are located in the Samaria mountains and are under the jurisdiction of Israel National Park Authority.

The Omrides’ Building Achievements

Recent excavations now yield an impressive picture of the material culture crated by Omri and Ahab. 

These two kings of Israel engaged in massive building projects throughout the kingdom, improving defenses, creating royal administrative centers, and ornamenting buildings both public and private with luxury items.

Phoenician and older Canaanite craftsmanship can be detected in architectural and ornamental styles from this period.  The archaeological evidence suggests that the building program sponsored by Omri and Ahab surpassed that of Solomon.

Omri and his son Ahab built a new capital six miles northwest of Shechem on a hill purchased from Shemer (1 Kgs 16:23-24).  

Omri selected the site because it was easily defended and stood near a junction of roads that radiated out in all directions.

The new city, Samaria, stood on top of a hill 430 meters above sea level.  

Crowning the hill was a royal acropolis built by Omri and Ahab covering four acres, an area that was as large as an average village of that time.

Ruins of the walls of the ancient capital of Samaria,
Built by Omri and Ahab, husband of Jezebel

Samaria – the Ivory House

‘It was in the thirty-first year of Asa king of Judah that Omri became king of Israel and he reigned twelve years, six of them in Tirzah.

He bought the hill of Samaria from Shemer for two talents of silver and built a city on it which he named Samaria after Shemer the owner of the hill.’

With this purchase, the hill became the personal possession of the king, and was subject to his power and will.

Whatever its previous history, Samaria now belonged to the family of Omri and their successors.

For the stories of the two kings Omri and Ahab who built the ‘Ivory House’ at Samaria.

The acropolis consisted of a large rectangular platform (89 x 178 meters) defended by two types of walls; a palace, storage facilities, and administrative buildings stood inside the walls.

The construction techniques used at Samaria show Phoenician influence, not surprising given the close ties the House of Omri maintained with Phoenicia – Ahab’s wife Jezebel was a Phoenician princess.

The stonecutting and craftsmanship at Samaria were exceptional.  Walls were set in rock-cut trenches, with each stone dressed at the site to ensure a precise fit.  Little remains of the palace, but scattered fragments of Proto-Aeolic capitals preserve a glimpse of the royal splendor of Samaria.  

A hoard of ivories recovered from the citadel are the finest surviving examples of art from the Iron II era.

The ivories display Phoenician, Syrian, and Egyptian motifs and demonstrate both the cosmopolitan society and luxury of the royal court.  

The Bible mentions “the ivory house” built by Ahab (1 Kgs 22:39); Amos condemned the ivory beds of luxury-loving Israelite kings (Amos 6:4).  

Excavators also recovered from an administrative building 63 ostraca (inscribed broken potsherds) containing records of shipments of oil and wine. These shipments probably record taxes paid in kind to support the royal court.

The city of Samaria spread out below the royal acropolis, but little is known of this lower city during the Iron Age.  

The location of the temple of Baal and an altar of Asherah ascribed to Ahab are not known (1 Kgs 16:32-33; 2 Kgs 10:21), although Samaria certainly was the center of a militant Baalism in the time of Elijah.  

The Origin of the Sea Peoples
This presentation is based on the ideas expressed in my thesis “The Early Minoan Colonization of Spain” and discusses the evidence that directly associates the catastrophic fall of the Aegean El Argar culture in southeastern Iberia in about 1350 B.C. with the complex phenomenon known as the Sea Peoples that over the next 175 years would rain apocalyptic devastation on the entire eastern Mediterranean.

Almost every culture in the eastern Mediterranean including the Hittites in Anatolia would become engulfed in destruction by 1175 B.C.

Egypt would barely survive their repeated attacks but was so severely weakened it finally collapsed later during the reign of Ramesses VI (1145 – 1137 B.C.).

Only the Phoenicians in the Levant were apparently spared any destruction throughout this period.

The Sea Peoples’ raids and invasions from the land and sea would put an end to an era, but it was immediately followed by the “Age of the Phoenicians”.

A pool (10 x 5 meters), thought to be the one where Ahab’s bloody chariot was cleaned – at his death – has been located inside the casemate walls of the acropolis (1 Kgs 22:34-38).

Samaria’s most prosperous era came during the long rule of Jeroboam II when Israel reconquered Aramean territories to the north in the absence of any Assyrian threat (2 Kgs 14:25-27).

During these years Amos condemned the rich aristocratic bureaucrats and royal family members for their opulent lifestyle supported by oppressing the poor (Amos 4:1-3; 5:10-13).

An overview of the water system at Hazor.
The first settlement of Hazor, in the third millennium B.C. (Early Bronze Age), was confined to the upper city.

The lower city was founded in approximately the 18th century B.C. (Middle Bronze Age) and continued to be settled until the 13th century (the end of the Late Bronze Age) when both the upper and lower city were violently destroyed.

Canaanite Hazor is mentioned on several occasions in external records: it is first mentioned in the 19th century B.C. in the Egyptian Execration texts and is the only Canaanite site mentioned in the archive discovered in Mari (18th century B.C.).

The Mari documents clearly demonstrate the importance, wealth and far-reaching commercial ties of Hazor.

There are also several references to Hazor in records of the military campaigns conducted by the Egyptian Pharaohs, during the 15th – 14th centuries B.C.

Water System
Hazor contains one of the most elaborate water systems in ancient Israel.

Located at southeastern edge of the city,

Hazor’s water system is dated to the time of King Ahab in the 9th century B.C.

A huge shaft leads to wide stairway with 35 steps descending into a 25 meter long tunnel.

The width of the steps lead archaeologists to surmise that mules were used for the transport of transport of water by mules.

Though not as wide or large, the water systems at Megiddo and Gezer are very is similar in structure and design.

However, Samaria’s glory faded quickly when Assyria conquered the city in 722 B.C. and made it the district capital in a new Assyrian province.

Hazor and Megiddo underwent transformations during the Omride era.  The Omrides doubled the size of Hazor and strongly fortified the site. Fortifications and water supplies were a major concern as threats from Assyria and Damascus increased.

Solid walls, often with offsets and insets, replaced the older casemate walls built during Solomon’s reign.  The new wall ranged from two to seven meters thick and were composed stone foundations supporting a brick superstructure.

Strong gates with four or more chambers protected the cities.  Occasionally the gate complex included a second outer gate built at right angles to the inner gate, making an attack on this vulnerable spot even more difficult.

Megiddo provides examples of this fortification technique.  Water supplies always were of concern, especially as armies became more adept at siege warfare.  

Engineers devised ingenious means to protect the water supply of large cities.  At Megiddo, workmen constructed a tunnel from inside the city to a spring lying outside the city walls.

A vertical shaft lined with steps, dug inside the city, provided access to the tunnel.  Citizens of Hazor did not have to city to leave their city to get water.  Engineers cut a huge vertical shaft down to the water table inside the city walls.

Similar systems are from other sites – Gezer and Gibeon – in both Israel and Judah.

Substantial buildings inside the fortifications housed local governors and other governmental officials.  Some of these complexes were, in effect, well-defended small palaces. 

Numerous fragments of Proto-Aeolic capitals demonstrate that the craftsmanship found in the capital – Samaria – spilled over into other major administrative centers.

Open courtyards provides space for convocations and troop formations are characteristic of larger cities. The Dan temple, almost certainly the one built by Jeroboam I, was rebuilt on an enlarged scale, probably by Ahab after its destruction shortly after 900 B.C. 

To judge from the Israelite temple at Dan, major buildings also stood in large open spaces.

The Merciless Face of Ashurnasirpal II
King of Assyria (883-859 B.C.), whose name (Ashur-nasir-apli) means, ‘the god Ashur is the protector of the heir’, came to the Assyrian throne in 883 B.C.

He was one of a line of energetic kings whose campaigns brought Assyria great wealth and established it as one of the Near East’s major powers.

Ashurnasirpal mounted at least fourteen military campaigns, many them were to the north and east of Assyria.

Several pillared buildings found at many sites, including Megiddo and Hazor, have been variously interpreted as storage facilities or perhaps stables that housed chariots and horses. 

Undoubtedly, the cities served as collection and distribution points for the royal administration; many of these pillared structures served to store food surpluses and other materials. 

The possibility that some of these buildings were used to support the large chariot corps of Ahab’s army cannot be dismissed.

Omri and Assyria

A sinister menace threatened Israel around 850 B.C.  Under the energetic kings Ashurnasirpal II (883-859 B.C.) and Shalmaneser III (859-824 B.C.), Assyria awakened, casting her shadow westward from her homeland in annual tribute-collecting campaigns.

Ashurnasirpal II rebuilt Calah (Nimrud), making it the staging center for his ambitious military expeditions that would soon gain control of northwestern Mesopotamia and northern Syria.

His son and successor, Shalmaneser III, probed southward along the Mediterranean coast six times between 853 and 838 B.C.

Assyrian records inform us that the campaign of 853 B.C. encountered a coalition of Levantine kings led by Hadad-ezer of Damascus, Irhuleni of Hamath, and Ahab the Israelite of Qarqar.

The Assyrian threat forced the cessation of local squabbles, causing Israel and Damascus to join forces for mutual protection.  Though Shalmaneser III claimed a victory, the battle at Qarqar temporarily stalled the Assyrian advance.

Interestingly, Judah is not listed among the coalition members; perhaps Judean troops fought under the leadership of Ahab, whose forces included 2,000 chariots and 10,000 soldiers.  

The respite was temporary, though, and the kings of Israel and Judah would be forced to deal with Assyria. 

Prophecy Against Jeroboam: Partial Fulfillment & The Armeans and the Kingdom of Aram- Damascus

I see that when You say something, whether it’s a blessing or a curse, it happens (Is 55:11).

Strabo (born 63 BC or 64 B.C., died ca. 24 A.D.), a Greek historian, geographer and philosopher is mostly famous for his

Geographika (“Geography”)

“Poseidonius conjectures that the names of these nations also are akin; for, says he, the people whom we call Syriacs are by the Syriacs themselves called Arameans.”

(The Geography of Strabo, translated by Horace Leonard Jones and published in Vol. I of the Loeb Classical Library edition, 1917, Book I, Chapt. 2, 34).

“At that time Abijah the son of Jeroboam fell sick.

And Jeroboam said to his wife, Arise, I pray thee, and disguise thyself, that thou be not known to be the wife of Jeroboam; and get thee to Shiloh: behold, there is Ahijah the prophet, which told me that I should be king over this people.

And take with thee ten loaves, and cracknels, and a cruse of honey, and go to him: he shall tell thee what shall become of the child”  (1 Kgs 14:1-3).

So his wife went, and God said unto Ahijah,

“…Behold, the wife of Jeroboam cometh to ask a thing of thee for her son; for he is sick: thus and thus shalt thou say unto her: for it shall be, when she cometh in, that she shall feign herself to be another woman.

And it was so, when Ahijah heard the sound of her feet, as she came in at the door, that he said, Come in, thou wife of Jeroboam; why feignest thou thyself to be another? For I am sent to thee with heavy tidings.

Go, tell Jeroboam, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, For as much as I exalted thee from among the people, and made thee prince over my people Israel,

And rent the kingdom away from the house of David, and gave it thee: and yet thou hast not been as my servant David, who kept my commandments, and who followed me with all his heart, to do that only which was right in mine eyes;

But hast done evil above all that were before thee: for thou hast gone and made thee other gods, and molten images, to provoke me to anger, and hast cast me behind thy back:

Therefore, behold, I will bring evil upon the house of Jeroboam, and will cut off from Jeroboam him that pisseth against the wall, and him that is shut up and left in Israel, and will take away the remnant of the house of Jeroboam, as a man taketh away dung, till it be all gone.

Eusebius of Caesarea (c. 275 – May 30, 339), was a bishop of Caesarea in Palestine and is often referred to as the father of church history because of his work in recording the history of the early Christian church.

“And from Aram the Arameans, which are also called Syriacs”

(Sebastian Brock, “Eusebius and Syriac Christianity,” in Harold W. Attridge and Gohei Hata, eds., Eusebius, Christianity, and Judaism (Leiden 1992), p. 226).

Him that dieth of Jeroboam in the city shall the dogs eat; and him that dieth in the field shall the fowls of the air eat: for the Lord hath spoken it.

Flavius Josephus (c. 37 – c. 100 A.D. (or CE)) was a 1st century Jewish historian and apologist of priestly and royal ancestry who survived and recorded the Destruction of Jerusalem in 70 and later settled in Rome.

“Aram had the Arameans, which the Greeks called Syriacs.”

(Antiquities of the Jews, translated by William Whiston in 1737, Book I, Chapt. 6).

Arise thou therefore, get thee to thine own house: and when thy feet enter into the city, the child shall die.

And all Israel shall mourn for him, and bury him: for he only of Jeroboam shall come to the grave, because in him there is found some good thing toward the Lord God of Israel in the house of Jeroboam.

Moreover the Lord shall raise him up a king over Israel, who shall cut off the house of Jeroboam that day: but what? Even now.

For the Lord shall smite Israel, as a reed is shaken in the water, and he shall root up Israel out of this good land, which he gave to their fathers, and shall scatter them beyond the river, because they have made their groves, provoking the Lord to anger.

And he shall give Israel up because of the sins of Jeroboam, who did sin, and who made Israel to sin” (1 Kgs 14:5-16).

So she left and as she entered Tirzah and was standing at the door of her home the child died.

“And the rest of the acts of Jeroboam, how he warred, and how he reigned, behold, they are written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel.

And the days which Jeroboam reigned were two and twenty years: and he slept with his fathers, and Nadab his son reigned in his stead.

And Rehoboam the son of Solomon reigned in Judah. Rehoboam was forty and one years old when he began to reign, and he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city which the Lord did choose out of all the tribes of Israel, to put his name there. And his mother’s name was Naamah an Ammonitess.

Prof. Dietrich Hermann Hegewisch born Dec. 15, 1746 in Quakenbrück [Germany] and died April 4, 1812 in Kiel, was a prolific german historian at the University of Kiel with a wide span of interests.

“Do not the Syriacs, as they are usually called, or the Arameans, as they in fact are termed, deserve more attention in world history than they are usually given?”

(D.H. Hegewisch: Die Aramäer oder Syrer; ein kleiner Beitrag zur allgemeinen Weltgeschichte, Berlinische Monatschrift, 2, 1794, p. 193).

Later, partly because of continuing ignorance and partly because of convenience despite having accurate knowledge, they persisted in using them since it would have required something of an effort to give up the old, familiar names and divisions of the countries and switch to the new ones, even if they were more accurate.

“The Syriacs or Arameans were not merely a numerous and large people, they were also a much cultivated people” (ibid, p. 307).

And Judah did evil in the sight of the Lord, and they provoked him to jealousy with their sins which they had committed, above all that their fathers had done.For they also built them high places, and images, and groves, on every high hill, and under every green tree.

Prof. Theodor Mommsen born Nov. 30, 1817, Garding, Schleswig [now in Germany] died Nov. 1, 1903,

Charlottenburg, near Berlin, was a German historian and writer, famous for his masterpiece about the History of Rome.

He received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1902.

“The history of the Aramaean or Syriac nation which occupied the east coast and extended into the interior of Asia as far as the Euphrates and Tigris”

(The History of Rome, written between 1854 and 1856, Leipzig, by Theodor Mommsen, Book First, Chapter One).

And there were also sodomites in the land: and they did according to all the abominations of the nations which the Lord cast out before the children of Israel.

And it came to pass in the fifth year of king Rehoboam, that Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem:

And he took away the treasures of the house of the Lord, and the treasures of the king’s house; he even took away all: and he took away all the shields of gold which Solomon had made.

And king Rehoboam made in their stead brasen shields, and committed them unto the hands of the chief of the guard, which kept the door of the king’s house.

And it was so, when the king went into the house of the Lord, that the guard bare them, and brought them back into the guard chamber.

Now the rest of the acts of Rehoboam, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?

And there was war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam all their days.

And Rehoboam slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David. And his mother’s name was Naamah an Ammonitess. And Abijam his son reigned in his stead” (1 Kgs 14:19-31).

1 “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it” (Is 55:11).

The Armeans and
the Kingdom of Aram-Damascus

Israel’s northern neighbors were the various Aramean kingdoms that emerged about the same time Israel settled in Canaan.  The Arameans occupied Syria and the regions of the Habor and Balikh Rivers in northwest Mesopotamia, the areas from which Abraham migrated.  

Evidence of the Arameans
Arameans were the indigenous people of Syria and Mesopotamia, which the Hebrews called Aram-Naharaim (Aram of the two Rivers).

They established several important kingdoms, spread the knowledge of the alphabet, and generally exercised a great influence on the advance of civilization.

Their language spread to the neighboring peoples. It survived the fall of Niniveh (612 B.C.) and Babylon (539 B.C.) and remained the official language of the Persian empire (538-331 B.C.).

There is evidence to show that Aramaic was widely used in Palestine in Roman times. Hence, Jesus and his direct followers spoke Aramaic, and words in that language have been preserved in the New Testament in transliteration as well as translation.

Israel recalled an ancestral connection with the Arameans: “a wandering Aramean was my father” (Deut 26:5).  In the biblical genealogies the Arameans are described as descendants of Aram, grandson of Abraham’s brother Nahor (Gen. 22:20-21; cf. 25:20; 31:24).

The Arameans

The Arameans first appear in Egyptian records about 1200 B.C. as tribal pastoral nomads. Their language was a West Semitic dialect similar to Hebrew.  Adopted later by other groups, Aramaic became the major language of the Western Persian Empire.  

Prof. Theodor Nöldeke born March 2, 1836 in Harburg near Hamburg, died December 25, 1930 in Karlsruhe, was the leading german semitic scholar, who studied at Göttingen, Vienna, Leiden and Berlin.

“The main body of the population of all these wide landscapes from the Mediterranean Sea to beyond the Tigris belonged to a certain nationality, that of the Arameans.”

(Th. Nöldeke: Assyrios Syrios Syros, in Zeitschrift für klassische Philologie, Hermes 5, Berlin 1871, p. 460).

Although some scholars believe the Arameans invaded Upper Mesopotamia and Syria from the desert fringes, more recent research suggests they may have been part of the general West Semitic population of these areas who took advantage of the collapse of the great powers about 1200 B.C. to establish themselves more firmly.  For the next 200 years the Arameans consolidated their claims on tribally held lands. 

By 1000 B.C. the Arameans, like Israel, formed kingdoms – some large, many others small – often bearing the name Bit (“House”) and the name of the chief tribe (Bit-Zamani, Bit-Adini [the Beth-eden of Amos 1:5]) or Aram plus the major city of the region (Aram-Zobah, Aram- Damascus).

In northern Syria and Upper Mesopotamia, the Aramean states competed with Neo-Hittite states such as Que, Kummuhu, and Carcherrish. 

Because of their proximity to Israel, the Aramean states of central and southern Syria appear most prominently in the Bible.  Hamath, the most northerly of the Aramean cities mentioned frequently in the Bible, was located on the Orontes River more than one hundred miles north of Damascus (2 Sam. 8:9-10).

The Bible uses the phrase “entrance to Lebo-hamath” to describe the northern limits of Israel (Num. 34:8; 1 Kgs. 8:65; 2 Kgs. 14:25-28). 

Aram-Zobah stretched across central Lebanon (the Beqa Valley) into the Plain of Homs.  Saul and David fought the kings of Aram-Zobah (1 Sam 14:47; 2 Sam 8:3). 

Other Aramean kingdoms close to Israel included Beth-rehob, Maacah, and Geshur.  However, by far the most important Aramean state for Israel was her powerful near neighbor, Aram-Damascus.

Aram-Damascus

Damascus is an oasis city on the edge of the desert watered by two rivers, the Abana and Pharpar.  A great caravan center, Damascus was located at the intersection of two international trade routes, the International Coastal Highway and the King’s Highway.

Since the end of the Aramean kingdom of Osrhoene, the peaceful-minded Arameans have been without any state of their own.

They have been constantly victimized for different religious massacres, discrimination, ethnic cleansing and persecutions for hundreds of years, so that they became a minority in the area, which was called by themselves Aram, Aram-Nahrin and Beth Aramaye.

The King’s Highway brought the riches of the Arabian Peninsula northward to Damascus, while the International Coastal Highway connected with traffic flowing from Egypt and Mesopotamia.  Because Damascus has been continuously inhabited over the millennia, no thorough investigation of earlier remains has been possible.  

After converting to Christianity the East and West-Arameans adopted the term “Syrian” which became both a lingual and a group designation.

But they continued to call themselves Arameans and used this Greek term as a synonym for their original name.

Despite their common language, culture and history the Arameans of today are divided into various groups (Syriacs, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Maronites, Melkites, Mandeans).

Some of the Arameans insist on calling themselves “Assyrians”; other prefer the term “Chaldean”.

There are no descendants of the historical ancient Assyrians and the Chaldeans of Antiquity were just a group of Arameans.

There is no reason for the present-day Arameans to name their nation “Assyrian” or “Chaldean”- the names given to them by unknown western missionaries in the 16th and 19th century.

The only historically correct name for these groups is Aramean, as it is testified by many historians and the great scholars of the Arameans, who enlightened the entire Mankind.

However, the Ebla Texts (2000 B.C.) mention Damascus.  Assyrian sources and the Bible provide considerable information on the relationship between Israel and Aram-Damascus during the pivotal era between 1000 and 700 B.C.

Israel and Damascus were natural rivals due to their proximity to one another and their mutual desire to control the King’s Highway.  David defeated the king of Aram-Damascus and garrisoned the city (2 Sam 8:5-6), but Solomon lost Damascus when the Aramean upstart Rezon seized the city (1 Kgs 11:23-24).

Following the death of Solomon and the division of his kingdom, the interplay between Damascus and Israel became more complex. Several Damascus kings are mentioned in the Bible, some of who bore the title.

“Ben-hadad” – “son of the storm god Hadad.

Ben-hadad I attacked Israel on behalf of Asa, king of Judah, who was pressured by Baasha of Israel (1 Kgs 15:16-22).  Ahab fought Benr-hadad (II?), according to the Bible (1 Kgs 20; 22), but joined with his enemy in 853 in a coalition opposing the Assyrian king Shalmaneser III’s Qarqar.

Assyrian records name the king of Damascus “Hadad-iri.”  Damascus was the most powerful state of the southern Levant between 850 and 800 B.C. and became a formidable threat to Israel’s security. 

The Historians Poseidonios from Apamea (ca. 135 B.C. – 51 B.C.), was a Greek Stoic philosopher, politician, astronomer, geographer, historian, and teacher.

“The people we Greek call Syriacs, they call themselves Arameans”.

(See J.G. Kidd, Posidonius (Cambridge Classical Texts and Commentaries, 1988), vol. 2, pt. 2, pp . 955-956).

Israel suffered greatly under Aramean domination when Hazael and a later Ben-hadad ruled Damascus (2 Kgs 10:32-33; 13:1-5).  Jehoash (Joash) paid Hazael tribute to save his kingdom when the Aramean king threatened Judah while conquering Gath (2 Kgs 12:17-18).

New light on the relations between Israel and Damascus comes from a fragmentary stele recently found at Dan.  Dating about 830 B.C., the partial inscription seems to suggest Aramean control of northern Israel and mentions the “House of David,” an apparent reference to the dynasny line of Judah.  

The stele illustrates the changing fortunes in the relations between Israel and Damascus throughout the 800s.

Jehoash broke the grip of Ben-hadad over Israel and regained several Israelite cities (2 Kgs 13:22-25).  After  the power of Damascus waned temporarily following a defeat inflicted by Adad-nirari III, Jeroboam took advantage of the situation by extending Israelite control northward to Damascus and Hamath, matching David’s previous exploits (2 Kgs 14:28).

Tiglath-pileser III renewed Assyrian expansion in 745 B.C. at the expense of the small states of the Levant. Damascus may have recovered some of its former power since it led a coalition aimed at stopping the Assyrian advance.  

Aram-Damascus ceased to exist as an independent kingdom; instead her territories were incorporated into an Assyrian province.  

Despite this disaster, Damascus endured as a major caravan center throughout the Roman period, when the city appears in some lists of the Decapolis on the border of the Nabatean Kingdom.  Aretas IV, king of Nabatea, apparently controlled Damascus at the time of Saul’s conversion (2 Cor. 11:32).

Disobedience and the Death of the Man of God & Conflicts and Invasions

So who’s going to be king, Jeroboam or Rehoboam?

Jeroboams Danite Pagan altar and high place: 1340-723 B.C.
Contrary to popular opinion, Jeroboam was merely a side-show and a “Johnny-come-lately”, in the idolatry at tel Dan.

It all started hundreds of years before he was born in 1340 B.C. when Micah’s idolatry was transplanted to Dan (Jdg 17-19) and the Jonathan, the grandson of Moses founded a dynastic pagan priesthood which endured until the tribe of Dan went extinct in 723 B.C. (Jds 18:30).

So evil was the tribe of Dan in leading all Israel into idol worship, that they are not listed as one of the 12 tribes in heaven in the book of Revelation.

“And, behold, there came a man of God out of Judah by the word of the Lord unto Bethel: and Jeroboam stood by the altar to burn incense.

And he cried against the altar in the word of the Lord, and said, O altar, altar, thus saith the Lord; Behold, a child shall be born unto the house of David, Josiah by name; and upon thee shall he offer the priests of the high places that burn incense upon thee, and men’s bones shall be burnt upon thee.

And he gave a sign the same day, saying, This is the sign which the Lord hath spoken; Behold, the altar shall be rent, and the ashes that are upon it shall be poured out.

And it came to pass, when king Jeroboam heard the saying of the man of God, which had cried against the altar in Bethel, that he put forth his hand from the altar, saying, Lay hold on him. And his hand, which he put forth against him, dried up, so that he could not pull it in again to him.

The altar also was rent, and the ashes poured out from the altar, according to the sign which the man of God had given by the word of the Lord.

And the king answered and said unto the man of God, Intreat now the face of the Lordthy God, and pray for me, that my hand may be restored me again. And the man of God besought the Lord, and the king’s hand was restored him again, and became as it was before.

And the king said unto the man of God, Come home with me, and refresh thyself, and I will give thee a reward.

And the man of God said unto the king, If thou wilt give me half thine house, I will not go in with thee, neither will I eat bread nor drink water in this place:

For so was it charged me by the word of the Lord, saying, Eat no bread, nor drink water, nor turn again by the same way that thou camest.

So he went another way, and returned not by the way that he came to Bethel.

Now there dwelt an old prophet in Bethel; and his sons came and told him all the works that the man of God had done that day in Bethel: the words which he had spoken unto the king, them they told also to their father.

And their father said unto them, What way went he? For his sons had seen what way the man of God went, which came from Judah.

And he said unto his sons, Saddle me the ass. So they saddled him the ass: and he rode thereon,

And went after the man of God, and found him sitting under an oak: and he said unto him, Art thou the man of God that camest from Judah? And he said, I am.

Then he said unto him, Come home with me, and eat bread.

The Bamah platform: The Sacred Area or temenos at Dan is a large complex over a half-acre in size.

The central open-air platform of the Sacred Area went through three phases during the Israelite period.

Biran has identified the three phases of the platform as Bamah A of Jeroboam 931 B.C., Bamah B Ahab 874-853 B.C., and Bamah C of Jeroboam II 780-742 B.C.

In any event it is clear that this entire area at Tel Dan was an important Israelite cultic center.

Whether it is the beth bamoth referred to in 1 Kgs 12:31, as Biran believes, will no doubt continue to be debated by scholars for years to come.

Although the Biblical record is silent concerning the specific cultic acts performed at Dan and does not even specify what use was made of the Golden Calf which Jeroboam made, the archaeological evidence suggests that a large, open-air platform was used, that there were altars, incense offerings, votive offerings involving figurines, and some kind of water purification or libation rituals.”

And he said, I may not return with thee, nor go in with thee: neither will I eat bread nor drink water with thee in this place:

For it was said to me by the word of the Lord, Thou shalt eat no bread nor drink water there, nor turn again to go by the way that thou camest.

He said unto him, I am a prophet also as thou art; and an angel spake unto me by the word of the Lord, saying, Bring him back with thee into thine house, that he may eat bread and drink water. But he lied unto him.

So he went back with him, and did eat bread in his house, and drank water.

And it came to pass, as they sat at the table, that the word of the Lord came unto the prophet that brought him back:

And he cried unto the man of God that came from Judah, saying, Thus saith the Lord, Forasmuch as thou hast disobeyed the mouth of the Lord, and hast not kept the commandment which the Lord thy God commanded thee,

“The Gate” Judgment Seat
The stunning Judgment seat was unearthed that dates back to the time of Jeroboam I.
Ps 69:12; Ruth 4:1-2; Prov 31:23.
“Now Boaz went up to the gate and sat down there, and behold, the close relative of whom Boaz spoke was passing by, so he said, Turn aside, friend, sit down here.

And he turned aside and sat down. He took ten men of the elders of the city and said,

Sit down here. So they sat down (Ruth 4:1–2).

But camest back, and hast eaten bread and drunk water in the place, of the which the Lord did say to thee, Eat no bread, and drink no water; thy carcase shall not come unto the sepulchre of thy fathers.

And it came to pass, after he had eaten bread, and after he had drunk, that he saddled for him the ass, to wit, for the prophet whom he had brought back.

And when he was gone, a lion met him by the way, and slew him: and his carcase was cast in the way, and the ass stood by it, the lion also stood by the carcase.

And, behold, men passed by, and saw the carcase cast in the way, and the lion standing by the carcase: and they came and told it in the city where the old prophet dwelt.

And when the prophet that brought him back from the way heard thereof, he said, It is the man of God, who was disobedient unto the word of the Lord: therefore the Lord hath delivered him unto the lion, which hath torn him, and slain him, according to the word of the Lord, which he spake unto him.

And he spake to his sons, saying, Saddle me the ass. And they saddled him.

And he went and found his carcase cast in the way, and the ass and the lion standing by the carcase: the lion had not eaten the carcase, nor torn the ass.

And the prophet took up the carcase of the man of God, and laid it upon the ass, and brought it back: and the old prophet came to the city, to mourn and to bury him.

And he laid his carcase in his own grave; and they mourned over him, saying, Alas, my brother!

And it came to pass, after he had buried him, that he spake to his sons, saying, When I am dead, then bury me in the sepulchre wherein the man of God is buried; lay my bones beside his bones:

For the saying which he cried by the word of the Lord against the altar in Bethel, and against all the houses of the high places which are in the cities of Samaria, shall surely come to pass.

The Canaanite arched gate 2200 B.C.
This unique arched gate is one of the two oldest arched mud brick gates in the world that dates to immediately after the tower of Babel in 2200 B.C.

Another mud brick gate just as old can be seen at Ashkelon.

Abraham possibly walked through this gate.

It seems to have been filled-in shortly after (50-100 years) it was created because the mud bricks began to deteriorate.

After this thing Jeroboam returned not from his evil way, but made again of the lowest of the people priests of the high places: whosoever would, he consecrated him, and he became one of the priests of the high places.

And this thing became sin unto the house of Jeroboam, even to cut it off, and to destroy it from off the face of the earth” (1 Kgs 13:1-34).

Conflicts and Invasions

The division of the kingdom produced immediate problems for both Israel and Judah.  Both kingdoms were now considerably smaller and weaker than the kingdom of David and Solomon.

Bas relief on the wall of the Temple of Amon, Karnak.
The relief lists 138 conquered towns in Palestine.
“And it came to pass, that in the fifth year of king Rehoboam Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem, because they had transgressed against the Lord,

With twelve hundred chariots, and threescore thousand horsemen: and the people were without number that came with him out of Egypt; the Lubims, the Sukkiims, and the Ethiopians.

And he took the fenced cities which pertained to Judah, and came to Jerusalem” (2 Chr 12:2-4).

Unfortunately, no single Egyptian document gives us a narrative equivalent to that found in Kings and Chronicles.

At the Karnak temple of the god Amun in Thebes, however, Shishak (Shoshenq I) left a vast triumphal relief–possibly unfinished–to celebrate his military campaign that brought to Egypt loot from Solomon’s Temple.

The Amun temple relief lists many towns in Palestine and gives both more and less information about this Egyptian military campaign than do the Biblical accounts.

Damage to several sections of the hieroglyphic list regrettably robs us of the mention of a number of place-names, particularly in Judah, while, on the other hand, the list includes many places in Israel, showing that Shishak also brought Jeroboam, king of Israel, to heel, a point that did not interest the Jerusalem-based Biblical annalists.

The relief includes rows of heads with hieroglyph-fitted ovals for bodies which name many places in Judah and Israel.

Conflict broke out in the area of Benjamin as the two nations struggled to establish new borders.  Benjamin had greater tribal ties with Israel, but its proximity to Jerusalem made control of Benjamin vital to Judah’s interest.  

Skirmishes between Israelite and Judean troops continued intermittently shortly before and after 900 B.C.  Ramah, Geba, and Mizpah were key fortified points, alternated won or lost in the attempt to define the limits of the two kingdoms (1 Kgs. 15). 

The Egyptian Threat

The campaign of the Egyptian pharaoh Shishak I in the 5th year of Rehoboam (918 B.C.) reveals the relative weakness of both Israel and Judah.  

The Egyptians had been nonaggressive in the Levant for several centuries, partly due to their own weakness, but also in response to the strength of the United Monarchy.

Shishak, founder of the 22nd Libyan Dynasty attacked Judah first and then pillaged Israel (1 Kg 14:25-26) and his own inscription carved on the doorway of the temple of Amon at Thebes.

Shishak did not intend to occupy Palestine, only to plunder and perhaps gain con­trol of the lucrative caravan routes of the Negeb and wilderness south of Judah. 

Several fortified settlements in the Negeb built between 1000 and 900 B.C. were destroyed shortly before 900 B.C., probably as a result of Shishak’s campaign.  That neither Judah nor Israel effectively resisted Shishak underscores their weakness.

Moreover, when Rehoboam fortified his kingdom either shortly before or after the attack by Shishak, his lines of fortification covered a much-reduced territory when compared to the area controlled by Judah during Solomon’s kingdom (2 Chr. 11:5-12). 

A later Egyptian campaign led by the obscure Zerah (perhaps an officer in Shisak’s army) was beaten back (2 Chr. 14:9-15).

Israel fared little better in the aftermath of the division of the kingdom.  Israel’s territorial holdings in the Transjordan melted away.  Moab, Ammon, Edom gained their independence. 

We are especially well informed about Israel’s relationship to Moab through the famous Moabite Stone found in 1868, now in the Louvre in Paris, Mesha, king of Moab (2 Kgs. 1:1; 3:4-27), described how his ancestors struggled against Israel, at times gaining their freedom, at other periods remaining under an Israelite yoke.

The Aramean Threat

More menacing were the Aramean states northeast of Israel, especially Aram-Damascus, whose kings coveted the King’s Highway that crossed the Transjordan.  

Whatever authority Solomon had exercised over these kingdoms now was gone. Asa, king of Judah, appealed to Ben-hadad I for help in his border war with his Israelite rival, Baasha (1 Kgs. 15:16-21).  

Ben-hadad’s attack on Israel relieved the pressure on Judah’s northern border and initiated conflict between Israel and Damascus.  

Wars between Israel and Damascus continued throughout the 9th century with only occasional respites.

Accession and Folly of Rehoboam & The Kingdoms of Israel and Judah

I understand that You want people to be monogamous (Gen 2:24, Matt 19:4-6), but even though Solomon had 100’s of wives and concubines Your anger was because he was committing idolatry (Ex 20:4). 

Yet, if Solomon would have walked with You like he should have, he probably would have stayed only with Pharaoh’s daughter?

Rehoboam. Illustration for Old Testament Portraits by Cunningham Geikie (Strahan, 1878). Portraits drawn by A Rowan and engraved by G Pearson.

Rehoboam means “he who enlarges the people”.

He was, according to the Bible, initially king of the United Monarchy of Israel but after the ten northern tribes of Israel rebelled in 932/931 B.C. to form the independent Kingdom of Israel he was king of the Kingdom of Judah, or southern kingdom. He was a son of Solomon and a grandson of David.

His mother was Naamah the Ammonite.

As a result of an Egyptian incursion to control the Philistia coast, the Kingdom of Judah became tributary to Egypt.

“And Rehoboam went to Shechem: for all Israel were come to Shechem to make him king.

And it came to pass, when Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who was yet in Egypt, heard of it, (for he was fled from the presence of king Solomon, and Jeroboam dwelt in Egypt;)

That they sent and called him. And Jeroboam and all the congregation of Israel came, and spake unto Rehoboam, saying,

Thy father made our yoke grievous: now therefore make thou the grievous service of thy father, and his heavy yoke which he put upon us, lighter, and we will serve thee.

And he said unto them, Depart yet for three days, then come again to me. And the people departed.

And king Rehoboam consulted with the old men, that stood before Solomon his father while he yet lived, and said, How do ye advise that I may answer this people?

And they spake unto him, saying, If thou wilt be a servant unto this people this day, and wilt serve them, and answer them, and speak good words to them, then they will be thy servants for ever” (1 Kgs 12:1-7).

Shechem, from the Hebrew word for shoulder, was a city and district in central Israel, in the hill country of Ephraim.

Built on the slope, or shoulder, of Mount Ebal, the city was the site of the first capital of the northern kingdom of Israel.

Shechem was the location of numerous events of Bible History:
* The place is first mentioned when Abram (see Abraham) arrived in what would become the land of Israel. The Lord appeared to him there and promised the land to his descendants. Abram then built an altar there (Gen 12:6-7).

* When Jacob returned from Paddan-Aram with Leah and Rachel, after his meeting with Esau, he purchased land from the sons of Hamor at Shechem (Gen 33:18-19).

* The incident involving Dinah and Shechem, the son of Hamor the Hivite who had the same name as the city, occurred around Shechem, and it was there that her brothers Levi and Simeon took their revenge (Gen 34:1-31).

* Joseph’s brothers were herding sheep near Shechem before they sold him away to Egypt (Gen 37:12).

* In the time of Joshua, the area was allotted to the tribe of Ephraim (Josh16:1-10, 17:1-18) .

* Joseph’s remains, that the Israelites under Moses and Aaron had brought out of Egypt with them in the Exodus, was buried at the plot of ground that Jacob had purchased there (Josh 24:32).

* After the death of Solomon, Rehoboam was made king of Israel at Shechem (1 Kgs 12:1, 2 Chr 10:1).

* After the Israelites split into two kingdoms, Jeroboam became the first king of the new northern kingdom of Israel at Shechem (1 Kgs 12:25).

* Shechem is not mentioned by name in the New Testament, however Jesus Christ would have often traveled through the city. His conversation with the Samaritan woman occurred in the area (Jn 4:1-26).

But Rehoboam ignored what they had said, and asked the men that had grown up with him, and they said, 

“Thus shalt thou speak unto this people that spake unto thee, saying, Thy father made our yoke heavy, but make thou it lighter unto us; thus shalt thou say unto them, My little finger shall be thicker than my father’s loins.

And now whereas my father did lade you with a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke: my father hath chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.

So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam the third day, as the king had appointed, saying, Come to me again the third day” (1 Kgs 12:10-11).

And he did what they suggested.

After three days the people came to Jeroboam as he had told them what his friends had told him to tell them, and they said,

“…What portion have we in David? neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse: to your tents, O Israel: now see to thine own house, David. So Israel departed unto their tents.

But as for the children of Israel which dwelt in the cities of Judah, Rehoboam reigned over them” (1 Kgs 12:16-17).

Jehoboam then sent Adoram, who was the head of the taskmasters, to the Israelites in Jerusalem and they stoned him to death, so King Rehoboam  jumped into his chariot and fled. The only Israelites that lived the way David had them live for God were those in Judah. 

Later, Jeroboam returned to Jerusalem and they asked him to become their king again, over all of Israel.  So he assembled the house of Judah, the tribe of Benjamin, and 480,000 warriors to fight against the house of Israel, so he could be king again.

“But the word of God came unto Shemaiah the man of God, saying,

Speak unto Rehoboam,

the son of Solomon, king of Judah, and unto all the house of Judah and Benjamin, and to the remnant of the people, saying,

Thus saith the Lord, Ye shall not go up, nor fight against your brethren the children of Israel: return every man to his house; for this thing is from me. They hearkened therefore to the word of the Lord, and returned to depart, according to the word of theLord” (1 Kgs 12:22-24).

Jeroboam then built Shechem in mount Ephraim and then built Penuel.

And Jeroboam said in his heart, Now shall the kingdom return to the house of David:

If this people go up to do sacrifice in the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, then shall the heart of this people turn again unto their lord, even unto Rehoboam king of Judah, and they shall kill me, and go again to Rehoboam king of Judah.

Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold, and said unto them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.

And he set the one in Bethel, and the other put he in Dan.

And this thing became a sin: for the people went to worship before the one, even unto Dan.

And he made an house of high places, and made priests of the lowest of the people, which were not of the sons of Levi.

And Jeroboam ordained a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, like unto the feast that is in Judah, and he offered upon the altar. So did he in Bethel, sacrificing unto the calves that he had made: and he placed in Bethel the priests of the high places which he had made.

So he offered upon the altar which he had made in Bethel the fifteenth day of the eighth month, even in the month which he had devised of his own heart; and ordained a feast unto the children of Israel: and he offered upon the altar, and burnt incense” (1 Kgs 12:26-33).

The Kingdoms of Israel and Judah

The death of Solomon in 922 B.C. marked the end of an era in which one king exercised authority over all the tribes of Israel.  Henceforth, two independent nations emerged: Judah in the south and Israel in the north, each with distinct governments and national character.  

The Kingdom of Judah was the nation formed from the territories of the tribes of Judah, Simon, and Benjamin after the United Kingdom of Israel was divided. It was named after Judah, son of Jacob. The name Judah itself means Praise of God.

It is thought to have occupied an area of about 3,435 square miles, although its borders fluctuated. Map of the southern Levant, ca. 800 B.C.E. The territory of the Kingdom of Judah is colored burgundy.

Judah is often referred to as the Southern Kingdom to distinguish it from the Northern Kingdom (the Kingdom of Israel) after the two entities divided. Its capital was Jerusalem. It endured as an independent kingdom, with intermittent periods of vassalage to foreign powers, from the reign of Rehoboam until the fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonians in 586 B.C.E.

Israel survived the complex international changes of the Iron Age for 200 years (922-722 B.C.), while Judah managed to maintain her identity until 586 B.C.  

In the end both Israel and    Judah succumbed to the great powers of Mesopotamia – Assyria and Babylon – whose spreading tentacles engulfed the smaller states of the Levant. 

This period from 922 to 586 B.C., often called the Divided Monarchy, forms the background of much of the Old Testament.  Many of Israel’s writing prophets –Amos, Isaiah, Hosea, Micah, Jeremiah, and others – preached in these crucial times.   

First Kings 12 to Second Kings 25, complemented by Second Chronicles 10-36, covers events of this era.  Several of the Psalms and perhaps other portions of the Wisdom Literature reflect this period.  

All in all, the Divided Kingdom represents a complex but crucial background for understanding much of the Old Testament. 

Israel the Northern Kingdom

The two kingdoms of Israel and Judah, though originating in the empire of David and Solomon, were fundamentally different in character.  Israel, also called Ephraim by the prophets, normally was the wealthier, more powerful, and larger of the two.  

Her borders extended from Bethel northward to Dan, encompassing the Galilee, the hills of Samaria, and portions of the Transjordan, including Gilead and northern Moab.  

Portions of the two major international highways – the International Coastal Highway and the  g’s Highway – transversed Israel’s territories.   Control of these trade routes meant commercial wealth and access to luxury items.

The wealthy Phoenician cities on the northwestern border provided powerful commercial allies to boost the economy.  Israel’s geographical openness to other cultures fostered a cosmopolitanism in her cities and villages, not only in material culture and social customs, but even in religion.  

The Phoenician connection stirred the epidemic of Baalism that Elijah and Elisha so bitterly opposed about 850 B.C.  Politically, Israel centered on the old tribal territories of Ephraim and Manasseh. 

Shechem, Tirzah, and finally Samaria – all located close together in Manasseh – served as capitals. From about 850 B.C. onward, Samaria became the nerve center of Israel until its fall to Assyria in 722 B.C.  

The kings of Israel came from nine different families (see chart below), only two of which survived beyond the second generation.  Kings were selected by prophetic designation and popular assent, but could be removed violently when popular support waned.  

This political instability coupled with the Northern Kingdom’s vulnerability to attack were key factors in Israel’s downfall.

Judah, the Southern Kingdom

Judah’s borders stretched from the territory of Benjamin southward to Kadesh-barnea, although she often controlled much less territory. 

No international route crossed her borders, and natural barriers gave Judah a measure of protection lacking in Israel.  This isolation meant that Judah’s commercial ties were more limited than Israel’s.

King Jeroboam I of Israel (reigning from c.931 to c.911BC) fortifies Shechem to provide himself with a stronghold in the hill country of Ephraim. He also fortifies Penuel, a town across the Jordan near the River Jabbok (see Map 58).

Jeroboam turns away from the LORD and makes golden bull calves for the people to worship Baal in new temples in Bethel and Dan so they will not need to travel to Jerusalem (in the southern rival kingdom of Judah) to worship there;

Tell Dan is located north of Kibbutz Dan. To reach the site, pass the Kibbutz going north, and turn left on the next road following the signs to the Nature Reserve.

The most important commercial ties led southward to the Red Sea port of Ezion-geber and important caravan links through the Negeb.  Only when Judah was strong could these routes be exploited. 

The Edomites persistently battled Judah for these trade opportunities.  Still, the relative isolation of Judah had the important benefit of a more homogeneous population less susceptible to outside influences.

The kingdom of Judah was founded on Jerusalem and the royal house of David.  Jerusalem was both the religious and political center of the nation; the temple housing the Ark of the Covenant was the most prestigious shrine in all the land, giving Judah a political stability that was the envy of other states.

Thus, although militarily and economically weaker than Israel, Judah possessed an innate stability based on her tribal traditions and loyalties, which permitted her to survive more than 130 years longer than her powerful northern rival.

The Division of the Kingdom

When Solomon died in 922 B.C., the tribe of Judah readily accepted his son Rehoboam as heir to the Davidic throne.

Leaders of the northern tribes balked at the prospects of a new king who would follow the social and economic policies of the old regime, policies that they believed favored Judah and placed a heavy burden on their own tribes.

Provisioning the lavish court in Jerusalem with their taxes and providing laborers for Solomon’s building projects sapped thes trength of the northern the tribes.  The result was deep dissatisfaction toward the leadership in Jerusalem.

The emergence of older tribal allegiances compounded the problem.  Both of these troubling issues fanned rebellious sentiment. 

A fateful meeting between Rehoboam and the elders of the tribes occurred at Shechem.  As a condition of their allegiance (1 Kg 12) the elders demanded concessions on the part of Rehoboam – relief from what relief from what they regarded as the harsh excesses of Solomon.  

The volatile situation deteriorated rapidly when Rehoboam rejected outright the elders’ request and threatened stricter measures as a fitting antidote to sedition.  

King Jeroboam I of Israel (reigning from c.931 to c.911BC) fortifies Shechem to provide himself with a stronghold in the hill country of Ephraim. He also fortifies Penuel, a town across the Jordan near the River Jabbok (see Map 58). Jeroboam turns away from the LORD and makes golden bull calves for the people to worship Baal in new temples in Bethel and Dan so they will not need to travel to Jerusalem (in the southern rival kingdom of Judah) to worship there.

Like a flash of Rehoboam’s foolish response struck the heart of the northern tribal elders, who in turn voiced a cry of rebellion against the house of David.

A disgruntled Ephraimite named Jeroboam, a former overseer of Solomon’s forced labor gangs recently returned from exile in Egypt, emerged as the leader of the northern tribes.  

The point of no return had been reached; the kingdom of Solomon vanished, conquered not from without but from within by the passions of older, deeper tribal loyalties. In its place two weaker kingdoms struggled for survival.

Jeroboam quickly consolidated his control over the northern tribes, establishing a capital at Shechem.  However, religious loyalties of his subjects presented a difficult dilemma.  His rival Rehoboam controlled Jerusalem and along with it the temple of Yahweh, which housed the most sacred object of ancient Israel, the Ark of the Covenant.

Jeroboam ordered the building of two temples – one at Dan and the other at Bethel – in which golden bulls were erected, apparently to offset the place of Jerusalem (1 Kg 12:25-33).  Both sites were centers of ancient Israelite tradition and marked the limits of the new kingdom’s borders.

Jeroboam’s new temples seemed well suited to rival the temple of Jerusalem.  The choice of the bull images, however, had fatal consequences.  The bull had long been associated with pagan gods, especially the Canaanite deities El and Baal.

A recently discovered bronze bull figurine from Askelon (from ca. 1400 B.C.) and another found near Shechem (from ca. 1100 B.C.) confirm the idolatrous associations of the image.

Probably Jeroboam intended only to offer Israel a visible alternative to the Ark – upon which the invisible presence of Yahweh was enthroned – when he erected the golden bulls.

Regardless of motives, the effect was disastrous: the golden calves became a focus for idolatry and pagan religion.

Solomon’s Heart Turned Away from God & Rare Earthquake Warning Issued for Oklahoma

Warren Buffet, Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos don’t have anything on Solomon, other than I think they are all going to hell.

So is Solomon going to stay on the straight and narrow with you?

Rabbah Moab Roman Temple
The modern town of er-Rabbah preserves the ancient name of Rabbah Moab.

In the Roman and Byzantine period, the city was known as Areopolis (City of [the god] Mars).

According to an inscription, this Roman temple was dedicated to the emperors Diocletian and Maximian, who ruled jointly from 286-305 A.D.

“But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians (also known as the Amalekites), and Hittites:

Of the nations concerning which the Lord said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love.

And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart” (1 Kgs 11:1-3).

“God didn’t want Solomon to have one of them as his wife, nor did he want him to have more than one wife” (Deut 17:17).

“For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father.

For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites.

And Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord, and went not fully after the Lord, as did David his father.

Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon.

And likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods.

And the Lord was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the Lord God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice,

The Ammonite Fort on Jabal Amman beside the Ministry of Antiquities.
Ammon, also referred to as the Ammonites and children of Ammon, was an ancient nation best known from the Old Testament, which describes Ammon as located east of the Jordan River, Gilead, and the Dead Sea, in present-day Jordan.

The chief city of the country was Rabbah or Rabbath Ammon, site of the modern city of Amman, Jordan’s capital. Milcom and Molech (who may be one and the same) are named in the Bible as the gods of Ammon.

And had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods: but he kept not that which the Lord commanded.

Wherefore the Lord said unto Solomon, For as much as this is done of thee, and thou hast not kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy servant.

Notwithstanding in thy days I will not do it for David thy father’s sake: but I will rend it out of the hand of thy son.

Edom
The name Edom was given to Esau, the first-born son of Isaac and twin brother of Jacob, when he sold his birthright to the latter for a meal of lentil pottage.

The country which the Lord subsequently gave to Esau was hence called the country of Edom and his descendants were called Edomites. Edom was called Mount Seir and Idumea also.

Edom was wholly a mountainous country. It embraced the narrow mountainous tract (about 100 miles long by 20 broad) extending along the eastern side of the Wadi Arabah from the northern end of the Gulf of Elath to near the southern end of the Dead Sea.

The ancient capital of Edom was Bozrah.

Petra appears to have been the principal stronghold in the days of Amaziah (B.C. 838).

Elath and Ezion Geber were the seaports.

Howbeit I will not rend away all the kingdom; but will give one tribe to thy son for David my servant’s sake, and for Jerusalem’s sake which I have chosen”  (1 Kgs 11:4-13).

This is why God always told His people to stay away from the Canaanites and the like, He knew this would happen.  All of God’s commandments, statutes, rules, laws, regulation, and so forth are for 2 our benefit.  The righteous and the evil are like 3 water and oil.

“For it came to pass, when David was in Edom, and Joab the captain of the host was gone up to bury the slain, after he had smitten every male in Edom;

(For six months did Joab remain there with all Israel, until he had cut off every male in Edom:)

That Hadad fled, he and certain Edomites of his father’s servants with him, to go into Egypt; Hadad being yet a little child.

And they arose out of Midian, and came to Paran: and they took men with them out of Paran, and they came to Egypt, unto Pharaoh king of Egypt; which gave him an house, and appointed him victuals, and gave him land” (1 Kgs 11:14-18).

Pharaoh liked Hadad and gave him his sister-in-law to marry, and she gave birth to his son, Genubath.  And when Hadad heard that David and Joab were dead he asked Pharaoh to let him go to Israel.

“And God stirred him up another adversary, Rezon the son of Eliadah, which fled from his lord Hadadezer king of Zobah” (1 Kgs 11:23). 

“And he was an adversary to Israel all the days of Solomon, beside the mischief that Hadad did: and he abhorred Israel, and reigned over Syria” (1 Kgs 11:25).

Jeroboam also lifted up his hand against Solomon, and God made him ruler over all the house of Joseph.  When he left Jerusalem the prophet, Ahijah, caught up with him and tore the garment into 12 pieces and gave 10 of them to Jeroboam and said, 

“Take thee ten pieces: for thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, Behold, I will rend the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon, and will give ten tribes to thee” (1 Kgs 11:31).

And God said, 

Hittite Libation Scene
Ancient Hittite god facing right, bearded and with long, curled pig tail, wearing pointed, horned helmet, short sleeved, belted, bordered tunic and boots with upturned toes, curved sword with crescent pommel in belt, holding in right hand raised behind him an object like a boomerang, in left hand before him a 3-pronged object (a beam of lightnings).

A similarly god, facing right, in a 2-wheeled cart, with body in form of a bird,

“Because that they have forsaken me, and have worshiped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, Chemosh the god of the Moabites, and Milcom the god of the children of Ammon, and have not walked in my ways, to do that which is right in mine eyes, and to keep my statutes and my judgments, as did David his father.

Howbeit I will not take the whole kingdom out of his hand: but I will make him prince all the days of his life for David my servant’s sake, whom I chose, because 4 he kept my commandments and my statutes:

But I will take the kingdom out of his son’s hand, and will give it unto thee, even ten tribes.

City of the Negev
Like many cities in the Holy Land, Arad was repeatedly settled because of its strategic geographical location.

Though situated in an area with little rainfall, Arad was inhabited frequently in ancient times because of its position along the routes coming from the east and southeast.

And unto his son will I give one tribe, that David my servant may have a light alway before me 5 in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen me to put my name there.

And I will take thee, and thou shalt reign according to all that thy soul desireth, and shalt be king over Israel.

And it shall be, if thou wilt hearken unto all that I command thee, and wilt walk in my ways, and do that is right in my sight, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as David my servant did; that I will be with thee, and build thee a sure house, as I built for David, and will give Israel unto thee.

And I will for this afflict the seed of David, but not forever” (1 Kgs 11:33-39).

After that Solomon sought to kill Jeroboam so he ran to King Shishak in Egypt and stayed there until Solomon died.  Solomon reigned 40 years.

Solomon asked for forgiveness and made peace with God near the end of his life in when he wrote The Preacher (Ecclesiastes).

2For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?

But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.

Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?

For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.

Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

The “Arad House”
The houses at this site had very similar features (not unlike today’s suburban tracts in the U.S.).

The “Arad House” was found at other sites in the Early Bronze, but nowhere more than here.

The features include a broad-room style house, benches lining the walls, a stone pillar base in the center to support the roof, and a door socket on the left-hand side of the entrance.

Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees;

And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.

Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:

Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled” (Heb 12:6-15).

3 “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?

And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you” (2 Cor 6:14-17).

“And he spake also a parable unto them; No man putteth a piece of a new garment upon an old; if otherwise, then both the new maketh a rent, and the piece that was taken out of the new agreeth not with the old.

Early Bronze City
Arad was 30 acres in size in the Early Bronze period (3000-2300 B.C.) and never reached this size again.

Its importance at this time was because of trading expeditions which traveled from here – to Sinai in the south to mine copper, and to the east for extracting bitumen from the Dead Sea.

And no man putteth new wine into old bottles; else the new wine will burst the bottles, and be spilled, and the bottles shall perish.

But new wine must be put into new bottles; and both are preserved” (Lk 5:36-38).

4 David had sinned, but he never worshipped other gods or thought his fame came from his own doings, as you will see later that some do that and it is against God.  None of David’s sins were against God Himself.  Read what the Apostle Paul says in Romans 7:15-25 & 8:1.

5 These statements are a reflection of the New Jerusalem that Jesus talks about in Revelations: 

“Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is New Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name” (Rev 3:12). 

“And John is a witness of the New Jerusalem: And I John saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (Rev 21:2). 

The husband is Jesus Christ.

Rare Earthquake Warning
Issued for Oklahoma, 2014

A powerful earthquake (7.0 on Richter scale) in 363 C.E., which caused widespread havoc throughout ancient Israel, destroyed Antipatris (Tel Afek) and Tzippori.

Bet Shean, one of the major Roman cities known from Hellenistic times as Scythopolis, suffered major damage in 363 C.E. and was devastated in the Golan earthquake (6.6 on Richter scale) on January 18, 749 C.E. and never recovered.

Mile for mile, there are almost as many earthquakes rattling Oklahoma as California this year. This major increase in seismic shaking led to a rare earthquake warning today (May 5) from the U.S. Geological Survey and the Oklahoma Geological Survey.

In a joint statement, the agencies said the risk of a damaging earthquake – one larger than magnitude 5.0 – has significantly increased in central Oklahoma.

Geologists don’t know when or where the state’s next big earthquake will strike, nor will they put a number on the increased risk.

“We haven’t seen this before in Oklahoma, so we had some concerns about putting a specific number on the chances of it,” Robert Williams, a research geophysicist with the USGS Earthquake Hazards Program in Golden, Colorado, told Live Science.

“But we know from other cases around the world that if you have an increasing number of small earthquakes, the chances of a larger one will go up.”

That’s why earthquakes of magnitude 5 and larger are more frequent in states such as California and Alaska, where thousands of smaller temblors hit every year.

This is the first time the USGS has issued an earthquake warning for a state east of the Rockies, Williams said. Such seismic hazard assessments are more typically issued for Western states following large quakes, to warn residents of the risk of damaging aftershocks, he said.

The city of Hippos-Sussita, which was founded in the second century BCE, experienced two strong and well-documented earthquakes, says Eisenberg. The first was in the year 363 CE and it caused heavy damage but the city recovered. The great earthquake of 749 CE destroyed the city.
Evidence of the extensive damage caused by the earthquake of 363 was found during digs in earlier seasons. None, however, was “as violent, thrilling and eerie as the evidence discovered this year,” says Eisenberg.
To the north of the basilica, the largest building in town that served as the commercial, economic and judicial center of the city, the dig’s senior area supervisor Haim Shkolnik and his team unearthed the remains of several skeletons that had been crushed by the weight of the collapsed roof. Among the bones of one of the women lay the gold dove-shaped pendant.
According to Dr. Eisenberg, the evidence found so far shows that the earthquake was so powerful it completely destroyed the city, which took some 20 years to be rebuilt.

The geological agencies took action after the rate of earthquakes in Oklahoma outpaced that of even California for the first few months of 2014. (California regained the lead in April.)

“The rate of earthquakes increased dramatically in March and April,” Williams said. “That alerted us to examine this further and put out this advisory statement.”

While Oklahoma’s buildings can withstand light earthquakes, the damage from a magnitude-5 temblor could be widespread.

Oklahoma’s last major earthquake was in November 2011, when a magnitude-5.6 earthquake centered near Prague, Oklahoma, destroyed 14 homes and injured at least two people.

“Building owners and government officials should have a special concern for older, unreinforced brick structures, which are vulnerable to serious damage during sufficient shaking,” Bill Leith, a USGS senior science adviser for earthquakes and geologic hazards, said in the joint statement.

While scientists haven’t ruled out natural causes for the increase, many researchers suspect the deep injection wells used for the disposal of fracking wastewater could be causing the earthquake activity. Fracking, short for hydraulic fracturing, is a method of extracting oil and gas by cracking open underground rock.

Ongoing studies have found a link between Oklahoma’s high-volume wastewater injection wells and regions with an uptick in earthquakes.

According to the USGS, the number of quakes magnitude-3 and stronger jumped by 50 percent in the past eight months in Oklahoma. Some 183 earthquakes of magnitude 3 or greater struck between October 2013 and April 14, 2014.

The state’s long-term average from 1978 to 2008 was only two earthquakes of magnitude 3.0 or larger per year.

If the earthquakes are caused by wastewater injection, then the activity could continue or decrease with future changes in well usage in the state.

“We don’t know if this earthquake rate is going to continue,” Williams said. “It could go to a higher rate or lower, so the increased chances of a damaging quake could change in the future.”

Is God finally fed up with all the murders, homosexual behavior, and deceitful actions in America?

Solomon and Queen Sheba & Earthquake Proofing the Temple

These are the same people, or relatives of the people, that were with Moses and David. Are they going to do better with Solomon?

What did you say to Solomon?  

Queen of Sheba From an Ethiopian Fresco
According to the Bible, the purpose of her visit was to test Solomon’s wisdom by asking him to solve a number of riddles.

The story of Bilqīs, as the Queen of Sheba is known in Islāmic tradition, appears in the Qurʾān, though she is not mentioned by name, and her story has been embellished by Muslim commentators; the Arabs have also given Bilqīs a southern Arabian genealogy, and she is the subject of a widespread cycle of legends.

According to one account, Solomon, having heard from a hoopoe, one of his birds, that Bilqīs and her kingdom worshiped the Sun, sent a letter asking her to worship God.

She replied by sending gifts, but, when Solomon proved unreceptive to them, she came to his court herself.

The king’s demons, meanwhile, fearing that he might be tempted into marrying Bilqīs, whispered to him that she had hairy legs and the hooves of an ass.

Solomon, being curious about such a peculiar phenomenon, had a glass floor built before his throne, so that Bilqīs, tricked into thinking it was water, raised her skirts to cross it and revealed that her legs were truly hairy.

Solomon then ordered his demons to create a depilatory for the queen.

Tradition does not agree as to whether Solomon himself married Bilqīs or gave her in marriage to a Hamdānī tribesman; she did, however, become a believer.

The story of Sheba, which was probably derived from Jewish tradition, also appears among the Persians, where she is considered the daughter of a Chinese king and a peri.

According to Ethiopian tradition, Sheba (called Makeda) bore Solomon a son, Menilek I, who founded the royal dynasty of Ethiopia.

“…I have heard thy prayer and thy supplication, that thou hast made before me: I have hallowed this house, which thou hast built, to put my name there for ever; and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually.

And if thou wilt walk before me, as David thy father walked, in integrity of heart, and in uprightness, to do according to all that I have commanded thee, and wilt keep my statutes and my judgments:

Then I will establish the throne of thy kingdom upon Israel for ever, as I promised to David thy father, saying, There shall not fail thee a man upon the throne of Israel.

But if ye shall at all turn from following me, ye or your children, and will not keep my commandments and my statutes which I have set before you, but go and serve other gods, and worship them:

Then will I cut off Israel out of the land which I have given them; and this house, which I have hallowed for my name, will I cast out of my sight; and Israel shall be a proverb and a byword among all people:

And at this house, which is high, every one that passeth by it shall be astonished, and shall hiss; and they shall say, Why hath the Lord done thus unto this land, and to this house?

And they shall answer, Because they forsook the Lord their God, who brought forth their fathers out of the land of Egypt, and have taken hold upon other gods, and have worshipped them, and served them: therefore hath the Lord brought upon them all this evil “(1 Kgs 9:3-9).

Twenty years later, after the houses were built, because King Hiram had furnished Solomon with cedar and fir trees he gave Hiram 20 cities in the land of Galilee, but when Hiram saw them he wasn’t pleased.

“And he said, What cities are these which thou hast given me, my brother? And he called them the land of Cabul unto this day.

And Hiram sent to the king sixscore talents of gold.

And this is the reason of the levy which king Solomon raised; for to build the house of the Lord, and his own house, and Millo, and the wall of Jerusalem, and Hazor, and Megiddo, and Gezer.

Archaeologist Louise Schofield stands in front of the mine, believed to have belonged to the Queen of Sheba, in northern Ethiopia

A British excavation has struck archaeological gold with a discovery that may solve the mystery of where the Queen of Sheba of biblical legend derived her fabled treasures

Almost 3,000 years ago, the ruler of Sheba, which spanned modern-day Ethiopia and Yemen, arrived in Jerusalem with vast quantities of gold to give to King Solomon. Now an enormous ancient goldmine, together with the ruins of a temple and the site of a battlefield, have been discovered in her former territory. Louise Schofield, an archaeologist and former British Museum curator, who headed the excavation on the high Gheralta plateau in northern Ethiopia, said: “One of the things I’ve always loved about archaeology is the way it can tie up with legends and myths.

The fact that we might have the Queen of Sheba’s mines is extraordinary.” An initial clue lay in a 20 ft stone stele (or slab) carved with a sun and crescent moon, the “calling card of the land of Sheba”, Schofield said. “I crawled beneath the stone – wary of a 9ft cobra I was warned lives here – and came face to face with an inscription in Sabaean, the language that the Queen of Sheba would have spoken.” On a mound nearby she found parts of columns and finely carved stone channels from a buried temple that appears to be dedicated to the moon god, the main deity of Sheba, an 8th century B.C. civilization that lasted 1,000 years.

It revealed a victory in a battle nearby, where Schofield excavated ancient bones. Although local people still pan for gold in the river, they were unaware of the ancient mine. Its shaft is buried some 4 ft down, in a hill above which vultures swoop. An ancient human skull is embedded in the entrance shaft, which bears Sabaean chiseling.

For Pharaoh king of Egypt had gone up, and taken Gezer, and burnt it with fire, and slain the Canaanites that dwelt in the city, and given it for a present unto his daughter, Solomon’s wife” (1 Kgs 9:13-16).

“Pharaoh, king of Egypt and Solomon’s daughter’s husband, killed the Canaanites that dwelt in Gezer and then burnt it down.

Solomon built Gezer, Beth-horon, Baalath, and Tadmor in the wilderness.  And cities in Jerusalem and Lebanon to store his chariots and for his horsemen to live in.  The Amorites, Hitites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites that were still alive were turned into slaves. 

The children of Israel  were men of war, servants, princes, captains, rulers of his chariots, and horseman, never a slave.

But Pharaoh’s daughter came up out of the city of David unto her house which Solomon had built for her: then did he build Millo.

And three times in a year did Solomon offer burnt offerings and peace offerings upon the altar which he built unto

the Lord, and he burnt incense upon the altar that was before the Lord. So he finished the house.

And king Solomon made a navy of ships in Eziongeber, which is beside Eloth, on the shore of the Red sea, in the land of Edom.

And Hiram sent in the navy his servants, shipmen that had knowledge of the sea, with the servants of Solomon.

And they came to Ophir, and fetched from thence gold, four hundred and twenty talents, and brought it to king Solomon” (1 Kgs 9:24-28).

“And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the Lord, she came to prove him with hard questions.

And she came to Jerusalem with a very great train, with camels that bare spices, and very much gold, and precious stones: and when she was come to Solomon, she communed with him of all that was in her heart.

And Solomon told her all her questions: there was not any thing hid from the king, which he told her not.

And when the queen of Sheba had seen all Solomon’s wisdom, and the house that he had built,

And the meat of his table, and the sitting of his servants, and the attendance of his ministers, and their apparel, and his cupbearers, and his ascent by which he went up unto the house of the Lord; there was no more spirit in her.

And she said to the king, It was a true report that I heard in mine own land of thy acts and of thy wisdom.

Howbeit I believed not the words, until I came, and mine eyes had seen it: and, behold, the half was not told me: thy wisdom and prosperity exceedeth the fame which I heard.

Famed “Lucy” Fossils Discovered in Ethiopia, 40 Years Ago

On November 24, 1974, scientists in Africa unearthed the skeleton of one of humanity’s oldest ancestors, a pint-sized Australopithecus they nicknamed “Lucy.”

Archaeologists found dozens of intact pieces of leg, pelvis, hand and arm bones as well as a lower jawbone, teeth and part of the skull. All told, the pieces amounted to about 40 percent of what appeared to be at least a three million-year-old hominid skeleton. A more ancient or complete specimen had never been discovered.

When pieced together, the small bits of brown bone painted a stunning picture of what Lucy would have looked like. She was surprisingly small—slightly less than 4 feet tall—and would have tipped the scales at roughly 60 pounds. Her larger pelvic opening suggested she was female, and wear on her wisdom teeth hinted she was probably around 20 years old when she died (more recent estimates suggest she may have been closer to 12 or 13).

She would have appeared more ape-like than human, with long arms and a protruding belly. Unlike knuckle-dragging apes, however, the structure of her bones showed that she walked upright on two legs.

In this regard, Lucy was like nothing the researchers had ever seen. Anthropologists had often speculated that erect posture had developed as hominids evolved larger brains, but Lucy’s brain was only the size of a grapefruit—roughly as big as a chimpanzee’s. This suggested that upright walking had developed long before larger brains.

She “had a tiny brain,” Johanson later wrote in his 1981 book on Lucy, “and yet walked erect…here was an ape-brained little creature with a pelvis and leg bones almost identical in function with those of modern humans.”

Happy are thy men, happy are these thy servants, which stand continually before thee, and that hear thy wisdom.

Blessed be the Lord thy God, which delighted in thee, to set thee on the throne of Israel: because the Lord loved Israel for ever, therefore made he thee king, to do judgment and justice.

And she gave the king an hundred and twenty talents of gold, and of spices very great store, and precious stones: there came no more such abundance of spices as these which the queen of Sheba gave to king Solomon.

And the navy also of Hiram, that brought gold from Ophir, brought in from Ophir great plenty of almug trees, and precious stones.

And the king made of the almug trees pillars for the house of the Lord, and for the king’s house, harps also and psalteries for singers: there came no such almug trees, nor were seen unto this day.

And king Solomon gave unto the queen of Sheba all her desire, whatsoever she asked, beside that which Solomon gave her of his royal bounty. So she turned and went to her own country, she and her servants.

Now the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was six hundred threescore and six talents of gold,

Beside that he had of the merchantmen, and of the traffick of the spice merchants, and of all the kings of

Arabia, and of the governors of the country.

And king Solomon made two hundred targets of beaten gold: six hundred shekels of gold went to one target.

And he made three hundred shields of beaten gold; three pound of gold went to one shield: and the king put them in the house of the forest of Lebanon.

Moreover the king made a great throne of ivory, and overlaid it with the best gold.

The throne had six steps, and the top of the throne was round behind: and there were stays on either side on the place of the seat, and two lions stood beside the stays.

And twelve lions stood there on the one side and on the other upon the six steps: there was not the like made in any kingdom.

And all king Solomon’s drinking vessels were of gold, and all the vessels of the house of the forest of Lebanon were of pure gold; none were of silver: it was nothing accounted of in the days of Solomon.

For the king had at sea a navy of Tharshish with the navy of Hiram: once in three years came the navy of Tharshish, bringing gold, and silver, ivory, and apes, and peacocks.

So king Solomon exceeded all the kings of the earth for riches and for wisdom.

And all the earth sought to Solomon, to hear his wisdom, which God had put in his heart.

And they brought every man his present, vessels of silver, and vessels of gold, and garments, and armor, and spices, horses, and mules, a rate year by year.

And Solomon gathered together chariots and horsemen: and he had a thousand and four hundred chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen, whom he bestowed in the cities for chariots, and with the king at Jerusalem.

The Parthenon
Still standing: The Parthenon, built in the 5th century B.C., is being probed by engineers for quake-proof elements of its design.

“The Parthenon had great resilience to earthquakes, as did most classical Greek temples,” said Maria Ioannidou, the archaeologist in charge of conservation of the ancient Acropolis citadel where the Parthenon stands.

The Parthenon has sustained significant damage in its long history but most of it was caused by man.

The temple is partly built on solid rock but also has stone foundations going 12 meters deep, and its walls were held together by metal joints coated in lead to prevent rust, Ioannidou said.

It withstood a 373 B.C. quake that destroyed the city of Elike in the Peloponnese and a subsequent 226 B.C. temblor that toppled the Colossus of Rhodes, a gigantic bronze statue numbered among the Seven Wonders of the ancient world.

More recently, a 5.9-Richter earthquake in 1999 that killed 143 people around Athens shifted some of the Parthenon’s architectural elements, but caused no major damage.

And the king made silver to be in Jerusalem as stones, and cedars made he to be as the sycomore trees that are in the vale, for abundance.

And Solomon had horses brought out of Egypt, and linen yarn: the king’s merchants received the linen yarn at a price.

And a chariot came up and went out of Egypt for six hundred shekels of silver, and an horse for an hundred and fifty: and so for all the kings of the Hittites, and for the kings of Syria, did they bring them out by their means” (1 Kgs 10:1-29).

Earthquake Proofing the Temple

Sticky Rice
Sticky rice, which has been a staple of the Chinese diet for centuries, also played a huge role in the construction of their ultra-durable cities and walls.

The glutinous side dish has been used since the Ming Dynasty to create a super-strong mortar that has helped keep ancient buildings intact and resisted earthquakes.

The effort to make the temple more earthquake proof by using three courses of cut stone and one of cedar beams – enabling the building to absorb more shock – was a wise one. 

The whole Mediterranean region is earthquake prone, and Palestine is no exception.  Serious earthquakes occur in Palestine about once every 50 years.  A great geological fault extends from Mount Hermon through the Gulf of Aqaba down into the East Africa.

The Bible frequently mentions earthquakes.  For instance, a great earthquake in the days of King Uzziah was remembered long afterward (Amos 1:1, Zech 14:5). 

Matthew mentions an earthquake at the time of the crucifixion when the curtain of the temple was ripped in two, the earth shook, and the rocks were split (Matt 27:51).

Interestingly, the temple area is on a line of structural weakness.  The El-Aqsa Mosque, which stands there today, has been damaged by earthquakes more than once in history. 

The last serious earthquake occurred in 1927.  Some tremors have been strong enough to cause damage to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and the building in the temple area.

That was the last serious earthquake when this article was written, but tomorrow we’ll look at the one in Oklahoma, 2014.