2 Kings 2 – Elijah Taken To Heaven

For the most part, the Old Testament speaks very little about life after death, at least compared to the New Testament.  Some take that to mean that God’s people knew nothing about it then.  But how much the people of God knew or thought about it is actually pure (and often, I believe, incorrect) speculation.  It is clear from God’s word that His people were told something about, and had been given hope for, some sort of fellowship with God after death.  Among the notable places in scripture where this is evident are Genesis 5:24, where Enoch was “taken” by God, Psalm 23:6, Ecclesiastes 12:7, and certainly here in 2 Kings chapter 2, where Elijah is taken up in a whirlwind.

The Ascent of Prophet Elijah, a northern Russi...

The Ascent of Prophet Elijah, a northern Russian icon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We know little about most of the prophets of the Old Testament because God gave us what we need to know through the prophets that gave us His word in the scriptures.  But there were many more than most people think (remember Obadiah hiding 100 of them from Ahab in caves in 1 Kings 18:4).    Here, Elijah has been preparing Elisha to be his successor as God told him in 1 Kings 19:15-18; and some of the prophets make it clear that God has revealed to them what is about to happen to Elijah (verse 5). Clearly, Elijah is in some way their leader, and is held in reverence. When Elijah asks him what he would have Elijah do for him, Elisha asks for a double portion of his spirit.  Though God had already declared that Elisha would be Elijah’s successor, this could have symbolic meaning as Elijah is like a father to him (verse 12).  He has already left his old life behind and an inheritance with it; and a first son would expect a double portion in his inheritance.

Elisha tearing his clothes before he takes the cloak that Elijah left behind (verse 12-14)appears to have a double meaning.  The tearing of ones own clothing in the Old Testament was an act of mourning or deep dismay, but it also seems to symbolize the transformation of Elisha to Elijah’s role.  Upon Elisha’s return, the other prophets can tell that Elijah’s spirit “rests on Elisha” (verse 15).  And in verses 19-22, he makes it clear that he has the favor of the Lord.  The fate of the “boys” in verses 23-24 when they were disrespectful to Elisha may seem harsh, but remember that Bethel was at the center of Israel’s apostasy; and traveling in a gang of around 50 (or possibly many more), their behavior and intentions were likely more threatening than mere taunts.

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.

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1 Kings 11 – Solomon Turns From the Lord

English: Judgement of Solomon

English: Judgement of Solomon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Lord’s warning in 1 Kings 9:6-9 seems pretty straightforward, and one would think that Solomon would have heed it.  But chapter 11 makes it clear that he did not.  God’s warnings concerning the king in Deuteronomy 17:14-17 were ignored, as well as what God said in Deuteronomy 7:3-5.  Solomon took 700 wives and 300 concubines (verse 3), and seemed to have married princesses from every Canaanite nation.  And just as warned over and over, they turned his heart to serving other “gods” (verse 5-8).  He even built places of worship to these idols, including Molech, whom the Bible writers associated with child sacrifice in, as we are told in Leviticus 18:21 and other passages.

The Lord’s anger with Solomon was great, and he told him that he would tear the kingdom away from him and give it to his servant (we meet him – Jeroboam – in verse 26) and he will indeed be the next king of Israel.  But God will not do this until Solomon dies, and he will leave one tribe with Solomon’s son for the sake of David (verse 13).  So God raises up adversaries against Solomon – Rezon rises up from the north, and Hadad rises up from the south.  Solomon now finds enemies on all sides. In verse 40, we find Solomon’s reaction to the promise of Jeroboam’s rise to king – he seeks to kill him, just as Saul did with David!  How far he has fallen.  Solomon dies in verse 43.  Verse 42 says that he reigned as king for 40 years.  Some believe that he wrote the book of Ecclesiastes in his later years

 

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.

Elijah’s Entrance \ Week 22 Summary Posted

Solomon and the Queen of Sheba.

Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We are moving along in the Books of Kings.  Like the Books of Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings were actually considered one book at one time.  It’s just sort of hard keeping scrolls that large :-).  More expedient to divide it up.  This week, we will skip over the visit of the Queen of Sheba in chapter 10 to read about Solomon’s greatest sins.  Then, we will move through the division of the kingdom, and Elijah defeating the prophets of Baal.  We will be in the 2nd book of Kings by weeks end.  Hope you are learning as much as I am in this “big picture” study of God’s word.

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 22 (May Week 4) of the schedule I am following.  This short PDF document contains condensed comments about 2 Samuel 15, 16, 17, 18, and 19, 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.

1 Kings 8:1 – 9:9 – Ark Brought Into Temple

Sometime after the completion of construction of the temple, Solomon has the ark of the covenant, the tent of meeting (tabernacle), and all the holy vessels within brought from the old city of David so that the ark could be brought into the temple.  Like in the tabernacle (see Exodus 40), the inner sanctuary – or most holy place – is where the ark would be kept.  Only the priests could enter there (verse 6), and only they could “take up” the ark (verse 3).  Missing from the description of the contents of the ark are Aaron’s rod (Numbers 17:10-11) and the jar of manna (Exodus 16:32-34) that we are told were kept there at one time (Hebrews 9:1-5).  We are not told what had become of them.  After the priest’s came out, a cloud filled the temple as the glory of the Lord described in Exodus 40:34-38 – so that the priests were not able to even stand (verses 10-11).

English: image of Solomon and the covenant of ...

English: image of Solomon and the covenant of the ark, painted in 1747 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Solomon’s speech and his prayer to the Lord make up the rest of the chapter.  The prayer is beautiful and significant in that the people would eventually need all of the petitions of this prayer to be granted.  Solomon acknowledges in verses 27 and 29-30 that  God cannot be contained in an earthly dwelling, but that as the Lord had said, His name shall dwell there – the word “name” in biblical terms meaning all that constitutes the character and essence of all that He is.  And in place toward which His eyes are open.

The prayer consists of several petitions concerning granting mercy to the people when they repent of their sins during and after times including war, famine, drought, exile, and captivity – that the Lord would once again regard them as His people after repentance and “maintain their cause” (verse 49).  The Lord answers Solomon in 9:1-9 with a promise and a warning of what would happen if they turn aside, with a particular emphasis on warning against idolatry in verse 9.

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.

1 Kings 6 – Solomon Builds the Temple

The significance of verse one is that it gives us the ability to date the time of the Exodus – 480 years prior to the fourth year of Solomon’s reign.  The accepted date for that year of Salomon’s  reign is 966-967 BCE.  Although there is some argument for the application of the number of years, the more credible date for the Exodus seems to be about 1466-1467 BCE.  The detail of the temple’s construction is pretty specific, and was quite expensive (not all the gold used – most of it captured in the victorious the Israelites had over the various Canaanite cities).

English: Solomon and the Plan for the Temple, ...

English: Solomon and the Plan for the Temple, as in 1 Kings 6, illustration from a Bible card published by the Providence Lithograph Company (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The exact dimensions are somewhat disputed due to the variance of the length of a cubit at different time, but as temple’s go, it would not have been the huge building that some of us might imagine. But the description is of a grandly beautiful temple for the Lord’s house.  God restates (in verse 11-13) the promises He made to David in 2 Samuel 7:11-16, but it is not an unconditional promise.  Note in verse 12, that God makes no promise to “hang around” if they are disobedient.

A beautiful structure indeed, but that obedience is more important to Him than the grandest of temples.  Remember that people (including the apostles) were very impressed with the temple that existed when Jesus was in Jerusalem.  But he foretold its utter destruction (as in Luke 21:5-6).

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.

1 Kings 3 – Solomon’s Wisdom

English: Solomon's Wealth and Wisdom, as in 1 ...

English: Solomon’s Wealth and Wisdom, as in 1 Kings 3:12-13, illustration from a Bible card published 1896 by the Providence Lithograph Company (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are some questionable events – some apparently foretelling, as well – in 1 Kings chapter 3.  The marriage alliance in verse 1 with Egypt does show the power that Solomon and his kingdom commanded now (Egypt rarely made such alliances),  but what about the command not to intermarry with foreigners because they will lead the people to serve other gods (Deuteronomy 7:3-4)?  The Hebrew verb in verse 1 is translated “intermarry” in Deuteronomy.

Then there is the matter of the people sacrificing at the “high places” in verse 2.  These are simply publicly accessible places to worship or sacrifice, and likely had been used in idol worship.  This is in direct conflict with what is commanded in Deuteronomy 12:1-5.  Allowing this to happen is certainly not what David meant when he admonished Solomon to “keep the charge of the Lord your God…” in 1 Kings 2:1-5.  And it foreshadows the great fall Solomon would take to idol worship in 1 Kings 11:4-8.

This is so far from the Solomon that we know and that pleased God so much in verse 9 by asking for an understanding mind to govern God’s people – to be able to discern between good and evil, when God had said “Ask what I shall give you.”  He could have asked for anything, but he chose that kind of wisdom – for an honorable purpose; and as a result, God gave him the riches and honor he did not ask for (verse 13).

As verse 3 says, “Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of David his father, only…”.  It is the exception in the rest of that verse that speaks of his heart being turned the wrong way.   Even the greatest wisdom, and starting out with your heart in the right place are not enough without the determination to “stay the course”  and always keep God first.

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.

1 Kings 2 – David’s Death \ Solomon Reigns

As David drew near to death, he gave Solomon his final instructions.  The first part, in verses 2-4, contains instructions on how to conduct himself, and on remaining faithful to God.  The words are just as God spoke to Joshua in his charge in Joshua 1:6-9.  The second part contains specific instructions on housekeeping.  Some of this concerned the fact that Abiathar must be dealt with, as well as Joab.  Both had been treasonous concerning Adonijah, and could not be trusted.  Then there was Shimei, the Benjaminite of the house of Saul that had cursed David so grievously during his flight from Absalom (2 Samuel 16:5-8).  David had promised that he would not kill him, but that promise is not inherited by Solomon, so David leaves his fate in Solomon’s hands.  David dies in verse 10; and verse 11 says that he had been king for 40 years.  In verse 12, Solomon’s “kingdom was firmly established.”

In verses 26-27, Solomon does deal with Abiathar, and he is removed from the priesthood.  As he was in the line of Eli, through Ithamar, this fulfills the prophecy to Eli in 1 Samuel 2:31-33 that his house and priestly line would be done away with.  Joab fled to the tent, grabbing the horns of the altar – thinking he would be safe there (verses 28-30).  But Exodus 21:12-14 makes it clear that is not the case for someone who had done willful murder, as Joab had done in the cases of Amasa (2 Samuel 20:10) and Abner (2 Samuel 3:27).  Solomon commands Shimei not to ever leave Jerusalem, or else he would be put to death.  This was presumably to keep him from returning to incite the Benjaminites to rebellion.  But verses 39-40 tell us that he violated that oath, and Solomon had him killed.

Adonijah had his mother request Abishag for his wife.  But Solomon sees what his mother apparently chose not to.  Abishag was technically part of David’s royal harem.  Adonijah had clearly not given up on his quest for the throne, and likely never would.  So Solomon wisely had him done away with (verses 22-25).

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.