Exile Ends \ Week 27 summary posted

This week, we move to the end of Babylonian captivity, as Cyrus of Persia sends people home after conquering the empire  So, God’s people go home.  But home to what?  The Temple was destroyed, as was the wall that protected the city from invaders.  What will become of God’s people?  Let’s find out this week, starting with Ezra.

Perspective on the captivity…
Destruction of Jerusalem under the Babylonian ...

Destruction of Jerusalem under the Babylonian rule. Illustration from the Nuremberg Chronicle (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The warnings from God concerning their idolatry began much earlier than the Books of Kings.  God gives clear warning that it would happen in Leviticus 26:33-39, and again in Deuteronomy 4:27.  Despite his own guilt in idolatry, Solomon knew of it for certain, as the Lord told him after he built the Temple in 1 Kings 9:1-7.  In his prayer of dedication in the previous chapter (specifically 1 Kings 8:46-50), Solomon had asked that if they are carried away captive and repent, that God will hear their plea, and “maintain their cause.”  As for how God will maintain their cause, we read some last week – the promise of the Messiah.  This week, we will see what is in their immediate future.

Summing Up

Each weekend, I am now posting a small PDF of one week of chapter summaries (on the website’s “Summaries” page), current to the beginning of the previous week.  I have posted the summary for Week 27 (July Week 1) of the schedule I am following.  This short PDF document contains condensed comments about 2 Kings 23, 24, 25, and Daniel 1 and 2, with hyperlinks to the ESV version of each chapter for listening or reading, and joins the summaries for other weeks already posted there.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
image © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

2 Kings 25 – Fall and Captivity of Judah

The events of this chapter are recounted in Jeremiah 52, as God’s judgment on Judah comes to pass.  Nebuchadnezzar and his army besieged Jerusalem for two years.  There was severe famine, and no food was left.  So Zedekiah and his men of war managed to escape through the exit in the wall that is probably referred to as the “Fountain gate” in Nehemiah 3:15.  But the Chaldeans overtook him in the plain s of Jericho.  They slaughtered his sons in front of him, put out his eyes, put him in chains, and took him to Babylon.

Two panels of Babylon gate relief by Nebuchadn...

Two panels of Babylon gate relief by Nebuchadnezzar II (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Then, a servant of the king of Babylon, Nebuzaradan (the captain of the bodyguard) came to Jerusalem.  He burned the house of the Lord, the Kings house, and all the great houses down (verse 9).  Verse 10: “And all the army of the Chaldeans, who were with the captain of the guard, broke down the walls around Jerusalem.” The rest of the people were carried into exile, leaving the poorest as vinedressers and plowmen.  They took the majestic pillars of bronze that Solomon had made; and many were slaughtered.  Nebuchadnezzar made Gedeliah his vassal governor over those left behind in Judah, but he was murdered.  A more complete account of Gedeliah and the circumstances connected with his murder can be found in Jeremiah 40-41.

We close out the Books of Kings with verses 27-30.  After 37 years, Nebuchadnezzar’s son (Evil-merodach) freed Jehoiachin.  He dined at the king’s table and was given a regular allowance.   Thereby, there was hope for the Davidic line and the promises of God to David in 2 Samuel 7:15-16.

Side note: Excavations of Babylon have yielded thousands of inscribed tablets with a wealth of information for scholars. Among many other things, they list the kings of other nations who were captured and living at the palace of the Babylonian king.  Four of those tablets list “Jehoiachin, king of Judah” and his family as receiving rations from the king.  An excellent article with photos, originally posted in the Summer 2007 issue of “Bible and Spade” can be found at this link.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

2 Kings 24 – Jerusalem Captured

English: A hilltop view of the ancient city of...

English: A hilltop view of the ancient city of Babylon, where King Nebuchadnezzar II, whose life spanned 630-562 B.C., built his hanging gardens, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, had defeated and taken enough from Egypt, that its king “did not come again out of his land” any more.  So, in verse 1, we find that Jehoiakim has switched his allegiance from Egypt to Babylon – then he rebelled against that king.  So God sent bands against him from the Chaldeans, Moabites, Syrians and Ammonites to destroy Judah for the evils of Manasseh and the innocent blood he shed (verses 3-4).    Jehoiakim died and his son, Jehoiachin, became king in his place in 597 BC.  Nebuchadnezzar’s people besieged Jerusalem; and when Nebuchadnezzar himself came to the city, Jehoiachin surrendered to him and was taken captive.

They also carried off all the treasures from the house of the Lord and from the king’s house, just as Isaiah had told Hezekiah would happen in 2 Kings 20:16-18.  The king of Babylon took thousands captive back to Babylon; and made Mattaniah, Jehoiachin’s uncle, king, changing his name to Zedekiah.  He did evil in the sight of the Lord as well (verse 19), and then rebelled against Babylon, as the chapter closes.  But rebellion would be futile.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

2 Kings 23 – Josiah’s Reforms

English: View of the Kidron Valley from the Ol...

English: View of the Kidron Valley from the Old City of Jerusalem. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As we read in 2 Kings 23 of more of Josiah’s reforms, we start to get a picture of how far the people had fallen.  Josiah broke idols into pieces, destroyed “high places” of worship to false gods from the Hinnon Valley to the Kidron Valley.  He broke down the houses of male cult prostitutes in the Temple, and used the Kidron Valley (a place of idol worship since the time of Solomon) as a place to remove and destroy the abominations, defiling their altars and the valley itself.  In verse 10, he defiled Topheth, a place where children were burned in sacrifice to Molech.  In verses 21-23, he commanded the people to keep the Passover, a practice that had been forgotten.

So with all this reform, why was God not appeased?  Why, in verses 26-27, did His anger still burn hot against Judah and determine that they suffer the same fate as Israel?  Notice that verse 21 says that Josiah commanded the people to keep the passover.  The other account of the these events that are written in 2 Chronicles 34  (particularly verse 32-33) tells us that Josiah had made the people turn from their idolatry and serve the Lord.  Their hearts had not changed.

In an attempt to prevent Egypt’s reinforcement of the Assyrians, Josiah was killed by Pharaoh Neco at Megiddo in 609 BC.   It was a battle that would be the last conflict with the Babylonians in which the Egyptians and Assyrians would unite.  The people of Judah made his son Jehoahaz king in his place, and verse 32 tells us that Jehoahaz turned back to the evil ways of his fathers.  His reign was short, as Pharaoh Neco of Egypt put him in bondage and made Josiah’s other son, Eliakim, the vassal king – changing his name to Jehoiakim.  Jehoiakim taxed the people in order to pay tribute to Egypt.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Captivity \ Week 25 summary posted

English: The Flight of the Prisoners, c. 1896-...

English: The Flight of the Prisoners, c. 1896-1902 , gouache on board, 8 15/16 x 11 5/8 in. (22.7 x 29.7 cm), Jewish Museum, New York, NY. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We’ve just about wrapped up the second book of Kings in our year-long quest to get the big picture of the whole Bible story; and as the prophets have warned, punishment is coming for Judah.  What will become of God’s people?

Summing Up

Each weekend, I am now posting a small PDF of one week of chapter summaries (on the website’s “Summaries” page), current to the beginning of the previous week.  I have posted the summary for Week 25 (June Week 3) of the schedule I am following.  This short PDF document contains condensed comments about 2 Kings 4, 5, 9, 10, 17, with hyperlinks to the ESV version of each chapter for listening or reading, and joins the summaries for other weeks already posted there.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
image © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Judah Remains \ Week 24 summary posted

The genealogy of the kings of Israel and Judah...

The genealogy of the kings of Israel and Judah. Based on a literal interpretation of 1 and 2 Kings. Note: In the kings of Israel, a horizontal arrow can indicate a change of dynasty (lack of known genealogical connection). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tomorrow, we move to the reign of Hezekiah in Judah, and his troubles with the Assyrian king, Sennacherib.  Sennacherib’s great mistake of his own pride is compounded by insulting the Lord, which will be his undoing.  Then we will start to read of the miserable reign of Manasseh (possibly the worst of any of the kings of Judah); and finish the week on a better note with Josiah.

Summing Up

Each weekend, I am now posting a small PDF of one week of chapter summaries (on the website’s “Summaries” page), current to the beginning of the previous week.  I have posted the summary for Week 24 (June Week 2) of the schedule I am following.  This short PDF document contains condensed comments about 1 Kings 11, 12, 16:30-17, 18, and 2 Kings 2, with hyperlinks to the ESV version of each chapter for listening or reading, and joins the summaries for other weeks already posted there.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
image © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

2 Kings 10 – Jehu Strikes Down the Prophets of Baal

Jehu-on-black-obelisk

Jehu-on-black-obelisk (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ahab had seventy sons in Samaria.  So Jehu sent letters to the rulers of the city to prepare to fight him.  But after he had killed the two kings, they were afraid and so he told them to send him the heads of Ahab’s sons.  After this was done, he struck down all that remained in the house of Ahab at Jezreel (verse 11).  On the way to Samaria, he did the same with all the relatives of Ahaziah; and after reaching Samaria, he dealt with the remainder of the house of Ahab.  So now it was fulfilled as Lord had spoken to Elijah (verse 17).

Verses 18-26 detail brilliant planning and execution (literally) on Jehu’s part to exterminate the prophets of Baal in the land.  But although verse 28 says that he wiped out Baal from Israel, but verse 29 says that he left the golden calves in Bethel and Dan and “did not turn aside from the sins of Jeroboam.” And as Assyria grows stronger, the Lord had already begun (verse 32) to “cut of parts of Israel.”  After the demonstration in the last few chapters of the Lord’s power and His will always coming to pass, it is no surprise to see Hazael of Syria beginning to defeat them throughout Israel territory, as prophesied in 1 Kings 19:15-18. verse 38 tells us that Jehu reigned 28 years before his death, and then Jehoahaz, his son, reigned in his place.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

2 Kings 9 – Jehu Anointed King of Israel

English: Jezabel and Ahab Meeting Elijah in Na...

English: Jezabel and Ahab Meeting Elijah in Naboth’s Vineyard Giclee. Print by Sir Frank Dicksee. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

God has ordained that Elisha will anoint Jehu (son of Jehoshaphat, son of Nimshi) as king over Israel.  The servant of the prophet, at Elisha’s instructions, anointed him in secret chambers (reminiscent of Samuel’s anointing of Saul in 1 Samuel 9:27-10:1).   As he anointed him, the servant gave him the instructions of the Lord as given to Elisha (verses 6-10).  He is to carry out the prophecy of 1 Kings 21:21-4 that Elijah had spoken to Ahab, declaring the death and destruction of Ahab’s house, that Jezebel would be eaten by dogs (we learn later that this is for killing the Lord’s prophets), and that Ahab’s blood would be shed in the very same place where he and Jezebel had caused Naboth to be stoned to death for his vineyard (1 Kings 21:19).  Because of Ahab’s repentance in 1 Kings 21:25-29, the Lord relents on Ahab himself, and has Elijah wait for his son to come to power.

Jehu wastes no time in assuming power (verses 12-13), and heads to Jezreel to deal with Ahab’s son, Joram and his mother Jezebel.   The tension of the story mounts while Jehu furiously approaches, as one by one, messengers sent to inquire of Jehu’s intentions fail to return – instead turning to ride with Jehu!    Ahaziah, the king of Judah, had come to visit Joram, so at first reading, one might think that it was just his bad luck to be there.  But another account of this event with more details is in 2 Chronicles 22 (especially 2 Chronicles 22:7-9), making it clear that Ahaziah’s death was ordained by God.

English: Jehu was king of Israel, the son of J...

English: Jehu was king of Israel, the son of Jehoshaphat [1], and grandson of Nimshi. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After Jehu, kills Joram, he has his body taken to be thrown on the ground of Naboth’s vineyard.  He then pursues Ahaziah and has him shot near Ibleam; and Ahaziah makes it to Megiddo before dying.   Back in Jezreel, he had Jezebel tossed out the window; and when he sat down to eat, he gave instructions to have her buried.  But when they went to get her, there was not much left of her body (verses 35-37), just as God had said.

This chapter shows us once again that when God’s will is made known, you can count on it coming to pass – in His time.

Side notes:

This link to an interesting article about excavations in Tel Jezreel has a lot of great information and pictures, and interesting bits of history, such as a reference that “shortly before Jehu’s revolt in 842 BCE King Joram and the dowager Queen Jezebel were in residence in Jezreel.”

Also, this link to the British Museum is about an Assyrian exhibit of a find in an 1846 excavation containing the Black Obelisk of Shalmanesar III (a public monument erected about 825 BCE), which both mentions and pictures Jehu (the earliest known picture made of an Israelite) and Ahab’s father Omri.  It has an inscription about tribute the Assyrian king received from Jehu when he was king (dated about 841 BCE) written in Assyrian cuneiform:

“The tribute of Jehu, 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.”

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

2 Kings 4 – God’s Power in Elisha’s Deeds

English: Elisha raising the Shunammites Son

English: Elisha raising the Shunammites Son (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The creditors are about to take the children of a widow of a prophet as slaves for debt she cannot pay.  Elisha becomes her redeemer, as she has no kin to do so for her.  In verses 2-7, the oil God provides in abundance from the little that she has is enough to pay her debts and provide for her and her sons.

The kindness of the Shunnamite woman in providing food and generous shelter for Elisha whenever he came her way (verses 8-10) prompts him to desire to do something for her.  She was wealthy, and needed no help in the same regard as the widow.  When Elisha’s servant, Gehazi, tells him that the woman has no son and that her husband is old, he tells the disbelieving woman that she will embrace a son the next year; and it was so.  Some years passed, as the child had grown, was struck ill, then died (verse 18-20).  So the woman went to Mount Carmel to appeal to Elisha, “the man of God” she had befriended.  Elisha sends Gehazi with his staff, and instructions to raise the boy; but the woman stayed with him, sure that no less than Elisha’s own intervention would do.  That did turn out to be the case; and Elisha’s healing of the boy reminds us of the similar deed of Elijah for the widow in 1 Kings 17:17-22.

Then in verses 38-44, Elisha purifies a pot of stew that the famine-stricken prophets had perceived to have been poisoned by the wild gourds one of them had added; and then provides in abundance for a hundred more men, using meager resources (this latter, on a smaller scale, being similar to Jesus feeding the multitude in Matthew 14:13-21). This chapter is intended to once again demonstrate God’s awesome power; and that His will is going to be done.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Trouble in the Northern Kingdom \ Week 23 summary posted

We will begin this weeks reading tomorrow with Elisha demonstrating God’s sovereign power, while a succession of kings in the northern kingdom accompanies trouble because of the wickedness and idolatry of the people.  Change is in the air.

English: Kurkh stela of Shalmaneser that repor...

English: Kurkh stela of Shalmaneser that reports battle of Karkar, of 853 BC. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As or schedule has left first 1 Kings behind and has skipped over some of the wicked king Ahab’s story (some will be revisited next week), we thought it appropriate to include another interesting bit of archaeological evidence of Ahab’s rule from the Assyrian empire, which was on the rise at the time.  This article from Bible and Spade contains a picture and account of a monolith found in 1861 in southeastern Turkey, which inscriptions record the Assyrian kings first six military campaigns.  The battle in 853 BCE listing 2,00 chariots and 10, 000 soldiers received as aid from “Ahab, the Israelite” is not mentioned in the Bible because it is not relevant.  A bit ironic that Israel provided aid to the rise of an empire that would come to crush them later.

Summing Up

Each weekend, I am now posting a small PDF of one week of chapter summaries (on the website’s “Summaries” page), current to the beginning of the previous week.  I have posted the summary for Week 23 (June Week 1) of the schedule I am following.  This short PDF document contains condensed comments about 1 Kings 1, 2, 3, 6, and 8:1 – 9:9, with hyperlinks to the ESV version of each chapter for listening or reading, and joins the summaries for other weeks already posted there.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
image © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.