Posts Tagged 'Blessings'

1 Chronicles Chapter 17

David had moved the ark of the covenant and had called men of the priesthood to serve in the tabernacle and with the ark. The manner of worshipping the Lord had not been strictly according to what the Lord had commanded the Israelites when they entered the promised land. David was seeking to set things right, or to put things in order. David was devoted to the Lord and it seems that he knew that they would be a better nation if they worshipped the Lord properly. This chapter begins with the following:

1 Now it came to pass, as David sat in his house, that David said to Nathan the prophet, Lo, I dwell in an house of cedars, but the ark of the covenant of the Lord remaineth under curtains.
2 Then Nathan said unto David, Do all that is in thine heart; for God is with thee.

David felt that he was living well in the home built for the king, but that the ark of the covenant needed a permanent home as well. He consulted with the prophet Nathan, who told him that the Lord would be with David as he went forward with his plans.

3 And it came to pass the same night, that the word of God came to Nathan, saying,
4 Go and tell David my servant, Thus saith the Lord, Thou shalt not build me an house to dwell in:
5 For I have not dwelt in an house since the day that I brought up Israel unto this day; but have gone from tent to tent, and from one tabernacle to another.
6 Wheresoever I have walked with all Israel, spake I a word to any of the judges of Israel, whom I commanded to feed my people, saying, Why have ye not built me an house of cedars?
7 Now therefore thus shalt thou say unto my servant David, Thus saith the Lord of hosts, I took thee from the sheepcote, even from following the sheep, that thou shouldest be ruler over my people Israel:
8 And I have been with thee whithersoever thou hast walked, and have cut off all thine enemies from before thee, and have made thee a name like the name of the great men that are in the earth.
9 Also I will ordain a place for my people Israel, and will plant them, and they shall dwell in their place, and shall be moved no more; neither shall the children of wickedness waste them any more, as at the beginning,
10 And since the time that I commanded judges to be over my people Israel. Moreover I will subdue all thine enemies. Furthermore I tell thee that the Lord will build thee an house.

However, the word of the Lord came to Nathan that night and told him to tell David that he was not to build the temple. The Lord made it clear that the tabernacle was designed for its purposes and that it would suffice. The Lord had never asked the Israelites to build a house to him. The Lord told Nathan to remind David that he had been raised by the Lord to be the king, and that the Lord had been with him, protecting him and causing him to become a mighty man. The people of Israel had been given their place to dwell and the promise of their safety continued.

The prophets were and continue to be blessed with the Lord’s trust. When Nathan told David to go ahead, it was not the wrong thing to do. The Lord trusts those who lead his people, to make wise decisions, but if or when those things are not what the Lord would have his people do, He will make his will known to His prophet, as he did with Nathan. (see also 2 Samuel 7)

11 And it shall come to pass, when thy days be expired that thou must go to be with thy fathers, that I will raise up thy seed after thee, which shall be of thy sons; and I will establish his kingdom.
12 He shall build me an house, and I will stablish his throne for ever.
13 I will be his father, and he shall be my son: and I will not take my mercy away from him, as I took it from him that was before thee:
14 But I will settle him in mine house and in my kingdom for ever: and his throne shall be established for evermore.
15 According to all these words, and according to all this vision, so did Nathan speak unto David.

Once David was ready to pass away, his son would have the kingdom of Israel, and would then build a house for the Lord. The son would be blessed with the throne and with the blessings and mercy of God.

16 And David the king came and sat before the Lord, and said, Who am I, O Lord God, and what is mine house, that thou hast brought me hitherto?
17 And yet this was a small thing in thine eyes, O God; for thou hast also spoken of thy servant’s house for a great while to come, and hast regarded me according to the estate of a man of high degree, O Lord God.
18 What can David speak more to thee for the honour of thy servant? for thou knowest thy servant.
19 O Lord, for thy servant’s sake, and according to thine own heart, hast thou done all this greatness, in making known all these great things.
20 O Lord, there is none like thee, neither is there any God beside thee, according to all that we have heard with our ears.
21 And what one nation in the earth is like thy people Israel, whom God went to redeem to be his own people, to make thee a name of greatness and terribleness, by driving out nations from before thy people, whom thou hast redeemed out of Egypt?
22 For thy people Israel didst thou make thine own people for ever; and thou, Lord, becamest their God.
23 Therefore now, Lord, let the thing that thou hast spoken concerning thy servant and concerning his house be established for ever, and do as thou hast said.
24 Let it even be established, that thy name may be magnified for ever, saying, The Lord of hosts is the God of Israel, even a God to Israel: and let the house of David thy servant be established before thee.
25 For thou, O my God, hast told thy servant that thou wilt build him an house: therefore thy servant hath found in his heart to pray before thee.
26 And now, Lord, thou art God, and hast promised this goodness unto thy servant:
27 Now therefore let it please thee to bless the house of thy servant, that it may be before thee for ever: for thou blessest, O Lord, and it shall be blessed for ever.

David praises the Lord for blessing him and his house in raising him up to be the king and allowing his posterity to rule. Additionally, David was blessed to have these things revealed to him by the mouth of the prophet. David recognized that the Lord is the only true and living God, and that the nation of Israel was greatly blessed to be His people. The Lord had removed other nations for them, after delivering them from the land of Egypt. David was willing to do according to the will of the Lord for the blessings of the Lord to be with his family.

It would be such a blessing and honor to have the Lord tell me that my children and their families would be blessed after my time. What a sweet comfort that would be. David’s desire to build a temple, was sincere and a show of his devotion and love for the Lord. However, the Lord will do His work in His own time, and this work was not to be in the days of David. David would still be blessed for his desire to do good, even though he was not given the honor of building the temple. In meekness, David accepted that his son would be the one to do that work. He was a good king, who recognized that the honors belonged to God and those to whom God wanted to bless. Good and faithful people, should seek to have meekness as David did at this time. Even though we know we are capable of doing good, even great things, it is better to recognize when we should allow someone else the opportunity to learn, grow and be blessed by doing them. With meekness, all involved are uplifted and blessed.

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1 Chronicles Chapter 16

King David prepared the people to move the ark back to its resting place in Jerusalem. The Levites had carried the ark and they did so with praises to the Lord. David, himself, was among those who traveled with them. This chapter continues with the following:

1 So they brought the ark of God, and set it in the midst of the tent that David had pitched for it: and they offered burnt sacrifices and peace offerings before God.
2 And when David had made an end of offering the burnt offerings and the peace offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord.
3 And he dealt to every one of Israel, both man and woman, to every one a loaf of bread, and a good piece of flesh, and a flagon of wine.

The ark was placed in the tent which David had prepared for it. The people offered sacrifices to God. David made an offering and then blessed the people. He gave everyone a loaf of bread, meat and wine.

4 And he appointed certain of the Levites to minister before the ark of the Lord, and to record, and to thank and praise the Lord God of Israel:
5 Asaph the chief, and next to him Zechariah, Jeiel, and Shemiramoth, and Jehiel, and Mattithiah, and Eliab, and Benaiah, and Obed-edom: and Jeiel with psalteries and with harps; but Asaph made a sound with cymbals;
6 Benaiah also and Jahaziel the priests with trumpets continually before the ark of the covenant of God.

Certain men were given the call to serve as ministers before the ark, to keep records, and to give praises to God. Among those called, were Asaph (the choir leader), Zechariah, Jeiel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Mattithiah, Eliab, Benaiah, Obed-edom (also a door keeper), and Jeiel as musicians with harps and cymbals. Additionally, Benaiah and Jahaziel, the priests, were assigned to play trumpets continually before the ark.

7 Then on that day David delivered first this psalm to thank the Lord into the hand of Asaph and his brethren.
8 Give thanks unto the Lord, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people.
9 Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him, talk ye of all his wondrous works.
10 Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the Lord.
11 Seek the Lord and his strength, seek his face continually.
12 Remember his marvellous works that he hath done, his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth;
13 O ye seed of Israel his servant, ye children of Jacob, his chosen ones.
14 He is the Lord our God; his judgments are in all the earth.
15 Be ye mindful always of his covenant; the word which he commanded to a thousand generations;
16 Even of the covenant which he made with Abraham, and of his oath unto Isaac;
17 And hath confirmed the same to Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant,
18 Saying, Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance;
19 When ye were but few, even a few, and strangers in it.
20 And when they went from nation to nation, and from one kingdom to another people;
21 He suffered no man to do them wrong: yea, he reproved kings for their sakes,
22 Saying, Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.
23 Sing unto the Lord, all the earth; shew forth from day to day his salvation.
24 Declare his glory among the heathen; his marvellous works among all nations.
25 For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised: he also is to be feared above all gods.
26 For all the gods of the people are idols: but the Lord made the heavens.
27 Glory and honour are in his presence; strength and gladness are in his place.
28 Give unto the Lord, ye kindreds of the people, give unto the Lord glory and strength.
29 Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come before him: worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.
30 Fear before him, all the earth: the world also shall be stable, that it be not moved.
31 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice: and let men say among the nations, The Lord reigneth.
32 Let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof: let the fields rejoice, and all that is therein.
33 Then shall the trees of the wood sing out at the presence of the Lord, because he cometh to judge the earth.
34 O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.
35 And say ye, Save us, O God of our salvation, and gather us together, and deliver us from the heathen, that we may give thanks to thy holy name, and glory in thy praise.
36 Blessed be the Lord God of Israel for ever and ever. And all the people said, Amen, and praised the Lord.

Then, David delivered a psalm of thanksgiving to the those he assigned to play. It praised the Lord. It was a message to the children of Israel, to continue in thanksgiving to the Lord, to pray to him and to let all know of the wondrous works of God. It spoke of singing to the Lord and to glory and rejoice in seeking after him and his strength continually. It called for the people to remember the covenants and commandments of the Lord to their ancestors, which were an everlasting covenant to Israel. The Lord had given them their lands of inheritance and had kept them safe from other kings and nations. It spoke of the greatness of the Lord, and that He should be known as the true god who created the heavens, while all other gods were idols. All people should glory the Lord and worship him. The Lord was to come to judge the earth, and the things of nature were to rejoice. And the faithful should always call upon God for their deliverance from the temptations of the world, and that they would not turn away from God. Those who heard the psalm praised the Lord.

37 So he left there before the ark of the covenant of the Lord Asaph and his brethren, to minister before the ark continually, as every day’s work required:
38 And Obed-edom with their brethren, threescore and eight; Obed-edom also the son of Jeduthun and Hosah to be porters:
39 And Zadok the priest, and his brethren the priests, before the tabernacle of the Lord in the high place that was at Gibeon,
40 To offer burnt offerings unto the Lord upon the altar of the burnt offering continually morning and evening, and to do according to all that is written in the law of the Lord, which he commanded Israel;
41 And with them Heman and Jeduthun, and the rest that were chosen, who were expressed by name, to give thanks to the Lord, because his mercy endureth for ever;
42 And with them Heman and Jeduthun with trumpets and cymbals for those that should make a sound, and with musical instruments of God. And the sons of Jeduthun were porters.
43 And all the people departed every man to his house: and David returned to bless his house.

David left Asaph and his brethren to minister continually at the ark each day. Obed-edom and his 68 brethren were to be porters. Zadok and his brethren were to be the priests of the tabernacle in Gibeon, where they were to make burnt offerings to the Lord continually as the Lord had commanded. Heman, Jeduthun and the remaining who had been called by name, were to continue in praise to the Lord, along with those musicians who had been called. The sons of Jeduthun were called to be porters. Then David and all the people returned to their own homes.

I am sure that relocating the ark and calling men of the priesthood to attend to it continually, brought peace to the heart of David and those covenant people of Israel. Proper worship of the Lord, had been a message of the law of Moses and the teachings of Israel. Now, the people could return to a proper worship with the promised presence of the spirit of the Lord among them. There was great reason to give thanks to the Lord, to sacrifice and give offerings, and to praise with song and words. Likewise, when something is out of place in our own lives, and we have the wisdom and follow the promptings of the spirit to put it right, we also have great reason to do these same things–give thanks, sacrifice, give offerings, and praise. Our Father in Heaven and His Son, Jesus Christ, have blessed us far beyond measure. We owe our every devotion and praise to God, for all that we have and all that we are.

1 Chronicles Chapter 13

At this point in the books of Chronicles, David was anointed as the King of Israel and the people of Israel recognized that he was the next leader of Israel chosen by God. David led in righteousness and felt the need for the ark to be moved to the tabernacle where it belonged. In the beginning of his reign, the ark was located in a place called Kirjath-jearim. It had come to be there, because the Philistines had stolen it when they defeated the Israelites in the time that Eli judged Israel (see 1 Samuel 4). Word of loosing the ark was so awful, that it had brought the death of Eli. The Philistines removed the ark to one of their temples, where it brought trouble on them. They decided to move it to Gath, where again, it brought destruction to the Philistines. They moved it then to Ekron, where the people begged for it to be sent back to the Israelites (see 1 Samuel 5). After about seven months of it being in the hands of the Philistines, they took it by cart to the border of Beth-shemesh in the land of the Israelites (see 1 Samuel 6). The Israelite men in Beth-shemesh were tempted to look into the ark, and had been cursed by the Lord, so they asked the men of Kirjath-jearim to retrieve the ark from them. The ark was finally moved to Kirjath-jearim until this time in David’s reign (see 1 Samuel 7). It had remained there for about 20 years.

1 And David consulted with the captains of thousands and hundreds, and with every leader.
2 And David said unto all the congregation of Israel, If it seem good unto you, and that it be of the Lord our God, let us send abroad unto our brethren every where, that are left in all the land of Israel, and with them also to the priests and Levites which are in their cities and suburbs, that they may gather themselves unto us:
3 And let us bring again the ark of our God to us: for we inquired not at it in the days of Saul.
4 And all the congregation said that they would do so: for the thing was right in the eyes of all the people.
5 So David gathered all Israel together, from Shihor of Egypt even unto the entering of Hemath, to bring the ark of God from Kirjath-jearim.
6 And David went up, and all Israel, to Baalah, that is, to Kirjath-jearim, which belonged to Judah, to bring up thence the ark of God the Lord, that dwelleth between the cherubims, whose name is called on it.
7 And they carried the ark of God in a new cart out of the house of Abinadab: and Uzza and Ahio drave the cart.
8 And David and all Israel played before God with all their might, and with singing, and with harps, and with psalteries, and with timbrels, and with cymbals, and with trumpets.

David called for the men of Israel to be gathered together and for the ark of the covenant to be brought from Kirjath-jearim (a city not too far from Jerusalem by today’s standards, about 7 1/2 miles). The congregation of Israel agreed that they should do this, so they gathered together and prepared to move the ark. David went to Kirjath-jearim and had it brought out by a cart driven by Uzza (Uzzah) and Ahio. The musicians played and sang for the Lord as they went.

Reading that David gathered the Israelites together to ask for their consent to move the ark to the tabernacle, is an example of his efforts to lead as the Lord wanted instead of by his own design. It is the way of the Lord, for there to be common consent among his people. If the voice of the people were to choose wickedness, the Lord would not force them otherwise. The voice of the people had chosen to be led by a king rather then judges as was prescribed by the Lord, and then the Lord allowed for a king to be their leader. When the voice of the people choose to sustain the Lord’s chosen leader and then follow that leaders inspired course, they will be blessed. This is true in these modern days as well as it was in ancient times.

9 And when they came unto the threshingfloor of Chidon, Uzza put forth his hand to hold the ark; for the oxen stumbled.
10 And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzza, and he smote him, because he put his hand to the ark: and there he died before God.
11 And David was displeased, because the Lord had made a breach upon Uzza: wherefore that place is called Perez-uzza to this day.
12 And David was afraid of God that day, saying, How shall I bring the ark of God home to me?
13 So David brought not the ark home to himself to the city of David, but carried it aside into the house of Obed-edom the Gittite.
14 And the ark of God remained with the family of Obed-edom in his house three months. And the Lord blessed the house of Obed-edom, and all that he had.

In the area of Chidon, the oxen stumbled and Uzza tried to steady the ark. Uzza was smitten by the Lord and died (see also 2 Samuel 6:6-7). This was against strict commandment to the men of the priesthood, that no one (unauthorized by God) was to touch anything holy from the tabernacle, or they would die (see Numbers 4:15). David was concerned for how they could move the ark if this could happen to his men, so he decided to leave the ark there, at the house of Obed-edom, who was a Gittite or a levite of Gath-rimmon. The ark was left there for three months, and brought the blessings of the Lord to the house and family of Obed-edom. (see also 2 Samuel 6)

This story seems like such a strong act of God against one who thought he was doing something good, but it is more important to see that the Lord keeps His word with strictness. They had been given the commandment long before, and as men of the priesthood they knew these things. The promise had been death and the Lord had to keep that word or men would doubt the power and actions of God. The Lord would have protected the ark as needed and it was to be kept completely holy, but sometimes men use their own wisdom and act upon it instead of trusting completely in the Lord. I am sure we all do this at times, and there are always consequences of some type. The ways of men are not the ways of God, but if we can learn to place complete trust in Him, our ways can become more like His and we will see amazing blessings in our lives.

1 Chronicles Chapter 4

A Family Tree

A genealogy of the children of Israel, was started in 1 Chronicles chapter 2, with the sons of Jacob and a focus on the family of Judah. It continued to list this line through the kings of Judah in 1 Chronicles chapter 3. In this chapter, some of the families of Judah are listed, along with Simeon and others. (Note: These verses can seem a bit confusing as to who belongs to whom, and so this is my best understanding of what is recorded.) It begins:

1 The sons of Judah; Pharez, Hezron, and Carmi, and Hur, and Shobal.
2 And Reaiah the son of Shobal begat Jahath; and Jahath begat Ahumai, and Lahad. These are the families of the Zorathites.
3 And these were of the father of Etam; Jezreel, and Ishma, and Idbash: and the name of their sister was Hazelelponi:
4 And Penuel the father of Gedor, and Ezer the father of Hushah. These are the sons of Hur, the firstborn of Ephratah (the ancient name for Bethlehem), the father of Beth-lehem.

As written in 1 Chronicles 2, included in the descendants of Judah were Pharez, Hezron, Carmi, Hur, and Shobal. Shobal was the father of Reaiah, the father of Jahath, the father of Ahumai and Lahad. These made up the families of the Zorathites. The children of Etam, which may have been a location, included Jezreel, Ishma, Idbash, and Hazelelponi, his daughter. Penuel was the father of Gedor. Ezer was the father of Hushah. These are the families of Hur, who was the firstborn of Ephratah and the father of Beth-lehem.

5 And Ashur the father of Tekoa had two wives, Helah and Naarah.
6 And Naarah bare him Ahuzam, and Hepher, and Temeni, and Haahashtari. These were the sons of Naarah.
7 And the sons of Helah were, Zereth, and Jezoar, and Ethnan.
8 And Coz begat Anub, and Zobebah, and the families of Aharhel the son of Harum.

Ashur was the father of Tekoa. Ashur had two wives named Helah and Naarah. With Naarah, he became the father of Ahuzam, Hepher, Temeni, and Haahashtari. With Helah, he became the father of Zereth, Jezoar, and Ethnan. Coz was the parent of Anub, Zobebah, and the families of Aharhel, who was the son of Harum.

9 And Jabez was more honourable than his brethren: and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, Because I bare him with sorrow.
10 And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested.

Jabez was an honourable man, more so than those in his generation, who prayed for blessings from God, that the borders of his land would be enlarged, that he would have the protecting hand of God with him and not against him. God, who had promised this to the children of Israel if they would keep the commandments, blessed him with the things he asked for in prayer.

11 And Chelub the brother of Shuah begat Mehir, which was the father of Eshton.
12 And Eshton begat Beth-rapha, and Paseah, and Tehinnah the father of Ir-nahash. These are the men of Rechah.
13 And the sons of Kenaz; Othniel, and Seraiah: and the sons of Othniel; Hathath.
14 And Meonothai begat Ophrah: and Seraiah begat Joab, the father of the valley of Charashim; for they were craftsmen.
15 And the sons of Caleb the son of Jephunneh; Iru, Elah, and Naam: and the sons of Elah, even Kenaz.
16 And the sons of Jehaleleel; Ziph, and Ziphah, Tiria, and Asareel.
17 And the sons of Ezra were, Jether, and Mered, and Epher, and Jalon: and she bare Miriam, and Shammai, and Ishbah the father of Eshtemoa.
18 And his wife Jehudijah bare Jered the father of Gedor, and Heber the father of Socho, and Jekuthiel the father of Zanoah. And these are the sons of Bithiah the daughter of Pharaoh, which Mered took.
19 And the sons of his wife Hodiah the sister of Naham, the father of Keilah the Garmite, and Eshtemoa the Maachathite.
20 And the sons of Shimon were, Amnon, and Rinnah, Ben-hanan, and Tilon. And the sons of Ishi were, Zoheth, and Ben-zoheth.

If understanding these verses correctly, than Shuah had a brother named Chelub. He was the father of Mehir, who was the father of Eshton, the father of Beth-rapha, Paseah, and Tehinnah. Tehinnah was the fatherof Ir-nahash. These were the families of Rechah. Kenaz was the father of Othniel and Seraiah. Othniel was the father of Hathath. Meonothai was the father of Ophrah. Seraiah was the father of Joab, who was over the valley of Charashim, where they were craftsmen. Caleb was the son of Jephunneh of Judah. Caleb had been one of the men sent by Moses to spy on the promised land before the Children of Israel entered the land. He and Joshua had returned with a good report and faith to conquer with the Lord’s help, while others gave a report that caused fear and doubt in the Lord. Caleb and Joshua were the only people of their generation, that were allowed to live long enough to enter the promised land. Caleb was given the land of Hebron. He was the father of Iru, Elah, and Naam. Elah was the father of Kenaz. Jehaleleel was the father of Ziph, Ziphah, Tiria, and Asareel. Ezra was the father of Jether, Mered, Epher, and Jalon. Jalon was the mother of Miriam, Shammai, and Ishbah, who was the father of Eshtemoa. Ezra also had a wife named Jehudijah, and they had Jered, the father of Gedor; Heber the father of Socho; and Jekuthiel the father of Zanoah. Mered has a wife named Hodiah, the sister of Naham, and they had Keilah the Garmite, and Eshtemoa the Maachathite. Shimon was the father of Amnon, Rinnah, Ben-hanan, and Tilon. Ishi was the father of Zoheth and Ben-zoheth.

21 The sons of Shelah the son of Judah were, Er the father of Lecah, and Laadah the father of Mareshah, and the families of the house of them that wrought fine linen, of the house of Ashbea,
22 And Jokim, and the men of Chozeba, and Joash, and Saraph, who had the dominion in Moab, and Jashubi-lehem. And these are ancient things.
23 These were the potters, and those that dwelt among plants and hedges: there they dwelt with the king for his work.

The sons and families of Judah, were Er, who was the father of Lecah; Laadah, who was the father of Mareshah; those who were makers of fine linens from the house of Ashbea; Jokim; the men of Chozeba; the men of Joash; the men of Saraph, who ruled in Moab; and the men of Jashubi-lehem. These families were potters and those who lived with plants, and were possibly the farmers who lived near the king and served him.

24 The sons of Simeon were, Nemuel, and Jamin, Jarib, Zerah, and Shaul:
25 Shallum his son, Mibsam his son, Mishma his son.
26 And the sons of Mishma; Hamuel his son, Zacchur his son, Shimei his son.
27 And Shimei had sixteen sons and six daughters; but his brethren had not many children, neither did all their family multiply, like to the children of Judah.
28 And they dwelt at Beer-sheba, and Moladah, and Hazar-shual,
29 And at Bilhah, and at Ezem, and at Tolad,
30 And at Bethuel, and at Hormah, and at Ziklag,
31 And at Beth-marcaboth, and Hazar-susim, and at Beth-birei, and at Shaaraim. These were their cities unto the reign of David.
32 And their villages were, Etam, and Ain, Rimmon, and Tochen, and Ashan, five cities:
33 And all their villages that were round about the same cities, unto Baal. These were their habitations, and their genealogy.
34 And Meshobab, and Jamlech, and Joshah the son of Amaziah,
35 And Joel, and Jehu the son of Josibiah, the son of Seraiah, the son of Asiel,
36 And Elioenai, and Jaakobah, and Jeshohaiah, and Asaiah, and Adiel, and Jesimiel, and Benaiah,
37 And Ziza the son of Shiphi, the son of Allon, the son of Jedaiah, the son of Shimri, the son of Shemaiah;
38 These mentioned by their names were princes in their families: and the house of their fathers increased greatly.

Then, there were the families of Simeon, the second son of Jacob. His sons were Nemuel (Jemuel) the father of the Nemuelites, Jamin the father of the Jaminites, Jarib (possibly Ohad or Jachin, the father of the Jachinites), Zerah (Zohar) the father of the Zarhites, and Shaul, the son of a woman from Canaan and father of the Shaulites. (see Genesis 46, Exodus 6, and Numbers 26) Shaul was the father of Shallum, Mibsam, and Mishma. Mishma was the father of Humuel, Zacchur, and Shimei. Shimei was the father of sixteen sons and six daughters, while his brothers did not have many children. The family of Simeon did not multiply significantly and were nowhere near the size of the tribe of Judah. The tribe of Simeon lived in Beer-sheba (where Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had lived), Moladah, Hazar-shual, Bilhah, Ezem, Tolad, Bethuel, Hormah, Ziklag (a city that was transferred from the tribe of Judah), Beth-marcaboth, Hazar-susim, Beth-birei, and Shaaraim. The lived in these placed until the reign of king David. They had five villages or cities: Etam, Ain, Rimmon (also originally of Judah), Tochen, and Ashan. They also had the land around those cities, which belonged to their families.

The princes of Simeon were Meshobab, Jamlech, and Joshah the son of Amaziah. Also, Joel, Jehu the Josibiah, the son of Seraiah, the son of Asiel, Elioenai, Jaakobah, Jeshohaiah, Asaiah, Adiel, Jesimiel, Benaiah, Ziza the son of Shiphi, the son of Allon, the son of Jedaiah, the son of Shimri, the son of Shemaiah. It is written to read that Jehu was the son of Josibiah who was the son of Seraiah who was the son of Asiel; and Ziza was the son of Shiphi, the son of Allon, the son of Jedaiah, the son of Shimri, the son of Shemaiah; but both of these lines seem unclear. In any case, these princes increased the house of their fathers greatly.

39 And they went to the entrance of Gedor, even unto the east side of the valley, to seek pasture for their flocks.
40 And they found fat pasture and good, and the land was wide, and quiet, and peaceable; for they of Ham had dwelt there of old.
41 And these written by name came in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah, and smote their tents, and the habitations that were found there, and destroyed them utterly unto this day, and dwelt in their rooms: because there was pasture there for their flocks.
42 And some of them, even of the sons of Simeon, five hundred men, went to mount Seir, having for their captains Pelatiah, and Neariah, and Rephaiah, and Uzziel, the sons of Ishi.
43 And they smote the rest of the Amalekites that were escaped, and dwelt there unto this day.

The families of Simeon went to the entrance of Gedor, at the east side of the valley, in order to find pasture for their flocks. While there, they found good and fat plentiful pasture, where the land was wide and peaceful. It was where Ham had dwelt long before. In the days of Hezekiah of Judah, the families and their homes were destroyed for the pasture. Five hundred of the sons of Simeon, went to mount Seir. Their captains were Pelatiah, Neariah, Rephaiah, Uzziel, who were the sons of Ishi. They destroyed the Amalekites there and made mount Seir their new home.

I love that, almost hidden in this chapter, there is a story of Jabez. It is a little story that shows us once again, that the Lord will keep his word when we are faithful. In Deuteronomy 19:7-9, the Lord gave instruction regarding the cities of refuge, which applies to the increase of the borders of the land. “Wherefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt separate three cities for thee. And if the Lord thy God enlarge thy coast, as he hath sworn unto thy fathers, and give thee all the land which he promised to give unto thy fathers; If thou shalt keep all these commandments to do them, which I command thee this day, to love the Lord thy God, and to walk ever in his ways; then shalt thou add three cities more for thee, beside these three.” This was a promise of growth and in a sense prosperity, to those who kept the commandments of the Lord. This promise is ours as well, as it has been to all people throughout history. In Mosiah 2, we read the words of King Benjamin to his people. He said, “And behold, all that he requires of you is to keep his commandments; and he has promised you that if ye would keep his commandments ye should prosper in the land; and he never doth vary from that which he hath said; therefore, if ye do keep his commandments he doth bless you and prosper you.” We can follow the example of the honorable men of the scriptures, such as Jabez, by striving to keep the commandments and praying for the blessings of prosperity to be upon us and our families.

2 Kings Chapter 17

Israel had a king named Pekah, who began his rule while Azariah was king in Judah. Shortly after Pekah became king, Jotham began to rule in Judah. This lasted well over a decade, when Jotham died and Ahaz became king of Judah. Then, a man named Hoshea conspired against Pekah, killed him, and became the king of Israel. This chapter begins at this point in the history of Israel.

1 In the twelfth year of Ahaz king of Judah began Hoshea the son of Elah to reign in Samaria over Israel nine years.
2 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, but not as the kings of Israel that were before him.

Ahaz had ruled in Judah for twelve years, when Hoshea became king of Israel. He only ruled for nine years. He was not a righteous leaders, but ruled in ways that went against the ways of the Lord. However, he was not as bad as some who had been kings before him.

3 Against him came up Shalmaneser king of Assyria; and Hoshea became his servant, and gave him presents.
4 And the king of Assyria found conspiracy in Hoshea: for he had sent messengers to So king of Egypt, and brought no present to the king of Assyria, as he had done year by year: therefore the king of Assyria shut him up, and bound him in prison.

The Assyrians came against Israel, led by Shalmaneser. Hoshea allowed Israel to become servants to the Assyrians, and paid tribute to their king. Shalmaneser found out that Hoshea had sent messengers to Egypt, but had not brought tribute to him in Assyria as he had done each year, so Shalmaneser had Hoshea captured and put in prison.

5 Then the king of Assyria came up throughout all the land, and went up to Samaria, and besieged it three years.
6 In the ninth year of Hoshea the king of Assyria took Samaria, and carried Israel away into Assyria, and placed them in Halah and in Habor by the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes.

Shalmaneser went throughout Israel and besieged the capital of Samaria for three years. Then, he captured it and carried the people of Samaria into Assyria, to places like Halah, Habor and the cities of the Medes.

7 For so it was, that the children of Israel had sinned against the Lord their God, which had brought them up out of the land of Egypt, from under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and had feared other gods,
8 And walked in the statutes of the heathen, whom the Lord cast out from before the children of Israel, and of the kings of Israel, which they had made.
9 And the children of Israel did secretly those things that were not right against the Lord their God, and they built them high places in all their cities, from the tower of the watchmen to the fenced city.
10 And they set them up images and groves in every high hill, and under every green tree:
11 And there they burnt incense in all the high places, as did the heathen whom the Lord carried away before them; and wrought wicked things to provoke the Lord to anger:
12 For they served idols, whereof the Lord had said unto them, Ye shall not do this thing.

The Israelites had sinned against God, even though He had saved them from the Egyptians. They chose to fear other gods, such as Baal, before they feared the Lord, becoming like those other nations who had been in the promised land before they lived there. The nations that their ancestors had worked hard to destroy from out of the land, under the direction of God. The Israelite people had done much wickedness in secret, and had built temples in each city, where they made sacrifices and offerings to their made-up gods. They built idols to worship and placed them all through the land. The Lord had commanded the Israelites not to do these wicked, idolatrous things.

13 Yet the Lord testified against Israel, and against Judah, by all the prophets, and by all the seers, saying, Turn ye from your evil ways, and keep my commandments and my statutes, according to all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you by my servants the prophets.
14 Notwithstanding they would not hear, but hardened their necks, like to the neck of their fathers, that did not believe in the Lord their God.
15 And they rejected his statutes, and his covenant that he made with their fathers, and his testimonies which he testified against them; and they followed vanity, and became vain, and went after the heathen that were round about them, concerning whom the Lord had charged them, that they should not do like them.
16 And they left all the commandments of the Lord their God, and made them molten images, even two calves, and made a grove, and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served Baal.
17 And they caused their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire, and used divination and enchantments, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to anger.
18 Therefore the Lord was very angry with Israel, and removed them out of his sight: there was none left but the tribe of Judah only.

Many prophets and seers were raised in Israel, to testify the word of the Lord against them and against Judah. The Isarelites were called to repent and return to following the commandments of God. The people would not hearken to the prophets, and they rejected them. They would not believe their words, and many generations in turn, refused to turn away from wickedness. They became a vain people, following after the traditions of the other nations around them. The Israelites made idols to worship Baal, including two calves in one high place. They had done this, so that it was convenient for people, who were far away from the temple, to worship often. There they built a grove or a place to worship where many acts of evil were committed in the name of Baal. This included the act of sacrificing their own children. They also used divination and enchantments. All these things caused the Lord to be provoked to anger against them. Because of these things, the Lord had them removed from the land of promise, leaving only the tribe of Judah. This was the main part of the scattering of the ten tribes of Israel.

19 Also Judah kept not the commandments of the Lord their God, but walked in the statutes of Israel which they made.
20 And the Lord rejected all the seed of Israel, and afflicted them, and delivered them into the hand of spoilers, until he had cast them out of his sight.
21 For he rent Israel from the house of David; and they made Jeroboam the son of Nebat king: and Jeroboam drave Israel from following the Lord, and made them sin a great sin.
22 For the children of Israel walked in all the sins of Jeroboam which he did; they departed not from them;
23 Until the Lord removed Israel out of his sight, as he had said by all his servants the prophets. So was Israel carried away out of their own land to Assyria unto this day.

Ahaz ruled in great wickedness, and when he died, his son, Hezekiah, became ruler of Judah. The people of Judah were then a wicked people, who created their own laws to live by. As a result, the Lord rejected them along with Israel. Over the course of time, and because they had allowed the influence of evil to cause them to walk in sin, the Israelite nation was left to the hands of enemy nations, and God allowed them, specifically the ten tribes, to be carried captive into Assyria.

24 And the king of Assyria brought men from Babylon, and from Cuthah, and from Ava, and from Hamath, and from Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the children of Israel: and they possessed Samaria, and dwelt in the cities thereof.
25 And so it was at the beginning of their dwelling there, that they feared not the Lord: therefore the Lord sent lions among them, which slew some of them.
26 Wherefore they spake to the king of Assyria, saying, The nations which thou hast removed, and placed in the cities of Samaria, know not the manner of the God of the land: therefore he hath sent lions among them, and, behold, they slay them, because they know not the manner of the God of the land.
27 Then the king of Assyria commanded, saying, Carry thither one of the priests whom ye brought from thence; and let them go and dwell there, and let him teach them the manner of the God of the land.
28 Then one of the priests whom they had carried away from Samaria came and dwelt in Beth-el, and taught them how they should fear the Lord.

The Assyrian king placed men from several foreign cities, in Samaria and the land of the Isarelites. As a side note, I have studied some of the practices of ancient times and one of them was to take a conquered people and remove them from their own land to an unknown place. When the kings did this, some believed it would cause the people to become more loyal to them, since they would not have any comforts or anything familiar to fall back on. They would need to rely on the government to know what to do in their new life. This act would also lower the chances for rebellion, because a conquered people were not left to gather together and rise up against an unwanted leader. So, the Assyrian king removed the Israelites from their familiar lands and from the common society and they became servants of a new land and king. Then, the king took others from different places and put them together in Samaria, creating a new society of people who were more likely to be loyal to him and easier to manage or control.

The foreigners were not a god-fearing people, and were not acceptable to the Lord, so He sent lions into the land and some of the men were killed. The people told the king that those who were there did not know the ways of the God of the land, so they were being killed by lions. The king commanded that an Israelite priest be returned to Israel, or Samaria, to live there and teach the people about the Lord. They did as he commanded, and the priest lived in Beth-el.

29 Howbeit every nation made gods of their own, and put them in the houses of the high places which the Samaritans had made, every nation in their cities wherein they dwelt.
30 And the men of Babylon made Succoth-benoth, and the men of Cuth made Nergal, and the men of Hamath made Ashima,
31 And the Avites made Nibhaz and Tartak, and the Sepharvites burnt their children in fire to Adrammelech and Anammelech, the gods of Sepharvaim.
32 So they feared the Lord, and made unto themselves of the lowest of them priests of the high places, which sacrificed for them in the houses of the high places.
33 They feared the Lord, and served their own gods, after the manner of the nations whom they carried away from thence.
34 Unto this day they do after the former manners: they fear not the Lord, neither do they after their statutes, or after their ordinances, or after the law and commandment which the Lord commanded the children of Jacob, whom he named Israel;
35 With whom the Lord had made a covenant, and charged them, saying, Ye shall not fear other gods, nor bow yourselves to them, nor serve them, nor sacrifice to them:
36 But the Lord, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt with great power and a stretched out arm, him shall ye fear, and him shall ye worship, and to him shall ye do sacrifice.
37 And the statutes, and the ordinances, and the law, and the commandment, which he wrote for you, ye shall observe to do for evermore; and ye shall not fear other gods.
38 And the covenant that I have made with you ye shall not forget; neither shall ye fear other gods.
39 But the Lord your God ye shall fear; and he shall deliver you out of the hand of all your enemies.
40 Howbeit they did not hearken, but they did after their former manner.
41 So these nations feared the Lord, and served their graven images, both their children, and their children’s children: as did their fathers, so do they unto this day.

Nevertheless, these people were from many nations who had their own gods, so they used the high places to worship their gods. Each group of people followed after their own traditions of worship, even including human sacrifices. They learned to fear the Lord as well, but they did not worship Him alone, much like the people who had already been carried away from the land. Their manner of worship and their lifestyles became a mixture of all types and continued from generation to generation in a land where the Lord had made covenants with the people of Israel. They lived according to their own interpretations of what God wanted, and therefore were never fully committed to following the Lord. The Lord has given men strict commandments in order to provide safety and assurance of greater blessings to come. When we pick and choose which commandments we will keep, or begin to put our own interpretations into those commandments, we forfeit that safety and assurance in favor of our own wisdom and the consequences will follow.

Sadly, the people of the Lord had forgotten Him and turned to false gods and unholy acts in the name of those gods. Nonetheless, the Lord had not forgotten them and had given them chances time and time again, to repent and return to righteousness. They did not, and so the Lord allowed them to deal with the consequences of their choices. The ten tribes of Israel were scattered among foreign lands and another people were placed in the land that had been promised to the faithful people of the Lord. We are also given the opportunity to be the Lord’s people. Those who are faithful today, can receive promises of God by making covenants, just as the Israelites had done. If we have made covenants with God, we have a need to remember Him. We will face the same challenges of the temptation towards idolatry in our own lives, though we may not recognize the things we choose as gods. Anytime we willfully turn from the Lord in an effort to worship something else, or raise something else to a place above the Lord, we are in fact doing what the Israelites did in ancient times. The adversary knows this and is working hard to draw us away with all types of distractions and temptations. If we can remember the Lord, especially when faced with temptation, we will be blessed beyond anything we can imagine. If we make choices to turn from the Lord, without repentance, we will deal with the consequences of our choices, and be scattered. To keep the Lord in our remembrance, the modern prophets and apostles have taught us that we need to pray, study the scriptures, repent, attend church and partake of the sacrament to renew our covenants with the Lord, and serve those in need. I am so grateful for the blessings of remembrance. I know that if we have a remembrance of the Lord and the things that He has done for us, especially that of the Atonement, we will not be put in bondage and scattered like the Israelites, but will have freedom and the blessings of eternity.

2 Kings Chapter 15

This section of the bible is appropriately named the books of kings, as the list of the kings of the people of Israel continues. Jeroboam was the son of Joash (Jehoash), who became the king of Israel. The previous chapter teaches that he did evil and was a wicked, idolatrous leader. When he died, his son Zachariah became the king. Meanwhile in Judah, during the first portion of the reign of Jeroboam, Amaziah ruled. He was described as a king who ruled in righteousness, but some of his actions brought the destruction and capture of much of Jerusalem. When he died, his young son, Azariah, became king of Judah. The list of the kings continues:

1 In the twenty and seventh year of Jeroboam king of Israel began Azariah son of Amaziah king of Judah to reign.
2 Sixteen years old was he when he began to reign, and he reigned two and fifty years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Jecholiah of Jerusalem.
3 And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his father Amaziah had done;
4 Save that the high places were not removed: the people sacrificed and burnt incense still on the high places.

Azariah ruled from the age of sixteen, for fifty-two years. He ruled in righteousness, though he never removed the places where the people continued to make sacrifices and offerings.

5 And the Lord smote the king, so that he was a leper unto the day of his death, and dwelt in a several house. And Jotham the king’s son was over the house, judging the people of the land.
6 And the rest of the acts of Azariah, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?
7 So Azariah slept with his fathers; and they buried him with his fathers in the city of David: and Jotham his son reigned in his stead.

The king became a leper and remained that until his death. While he lived in a separated place, his son Jotham, was acting as the judge of the land. Azariah died and Jotham became the king of Judah.

8 In the thirty and eighth year of Azariah king of Judah did Zachariah the son of Jeroboam reign over Israel in Samaria six months.
9 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, as his fathers had done: he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin.
10 And Shallum the son of Jabesh conspired against him, and smote him before the people, and slew him, and reigned in his stead.
11 And the rest of the acts of Zachariah, behold, they are written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel.
12 This was the word of the Lord which he spake unto Jehu, saying, Thy sons shall sit on the throne of Israel unto the fourth generation. And so it came to pass.

During the reign of Azariah, Zachariah became king of Israel. He ruled in wickedness and idolatry. A man named Shallum conspired against him and killed him. Shallum became king of Israel. This was fulfillment of the words of the prophet given to Jehu. Jehu was the man, who had destroyed the house of Ahab and all that was connected to the following of Baal. Because he had done this, the Lord had promised him that his family would rule for four generations (see 2 Kings 10:30).

13 Shallum the son of Jabesh began to reign in the nine and thirtieth year of Uzziah king of Judah; and he reigned a full month in Samaria.
14 For Menahem the son of Gadi went up from Tirzah, and came to Samaria, and smote Shallum the son of Jabesh in Samaria, and slew him, and reigned in his stead.
15 And the rest of the acts of Shallum, and his conspiracy which he made, behold, they are written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel.

At some point after Jotham was king in Judah, Uzziah (Azariah) became king. Uzziah had ruled for thirty-nine years, when Shallum became king of Israel. He was king for a month and was killed by Menahem, who then became king himself.

16 Then Menahem smote Tiphsah, and all that were therein, and the coasts thereof from Tirzah: because they opened not to him, therefore he smote it; and all the women therein that were with child he ripped up.
17 In the nine and thirtieth year of Azariah king of Judah began Menahem the son of Gadi to reign over Israel, and reigned ten years in Samaria.
18 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord: he departed not all his days from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin.
19 And Pul the king of Assyria came against the land: and Menahem gave Pul a thousand talents of silver, that his hand might be with him to confirm the kingdom in his hand.
20 And Menahem exacted the money of Israel, even of all the mighty men of wealth, of each man fifty shekels of silver, to give to the king of Assyria. So the king of Assyria turned back, and stayed not there in the land.

Menahem attacked Tiphsah and all its borders, because they did not serve him. He killed every pregnant woman there. Menahem was a wicked and idolatrous king, who led for ten years. The Assyrians came against Israel, and Menahem gave money the king of the Assyrians, that he could retain the kingdom of Israel. The king of Assyria took the money and left Israel. This would not be the last of them seeing the Assyrians come against them.

21 And the rest of the acts of Menahem, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?
22 And Menahem slept with his fathers; and Pekahiah his son reigned in his stead.

Menahem died and left the kingdom to his son, Pekahiah.

23 In the fiftieth year of Azariah king of Judah Pekahiah the son of Menahem began to reign over Israel in Samaria, and reigned two years.
24 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord: he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin.
25 But Pekah the son of Remaliah, a captain of his, conspired against him, and smote him in Samaria, in the palace of the king’s house, with Argob and Arieh, and with him fifty men of the Gileadites: and he killed him, and reigned in his room.
26 And the rest of the acts of Pekahiah, and all that he did, behold, they are written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel.

When Azariah had been king in Judah, for fifty years, Pekahiah became king in Israel. He was king for two years, continuing the traditions of his father in wicked, idolatrous leadership. His captains son, Pekah, conspired against him and killed him in the palace. Pekah became king.

27 In the two and fiftieth year of Azariah king of Judah Pekah the son of Remaliah began to reign over Israel in Samaria, and reigned twenty years.
28 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord: he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin.
29 In the days of Pekah king of Israel came Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria, and took Ijon, and Abel-beth-maachah, and Janoah, and Kedesh, and Hazor, and Gilead, and Galilee, all the land of Naphtali, and carried them captive to Assyria.
30 And Hoshea the son of Elah made a conspiracy against Pekah the son of Remaliah, and smote him, and slew him, and reigned in his stead, in the twentieth year of Jotham the son of Uzziah.
31 And the rest of the acts of Pekah, and all that he did, behold, they are written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel.

Pekah became king during the fifty-second year of Azariah’s reign in Judah. He was king for twenty years. He was an idolatrous king who ruled in wickedness. The Assyrians began to carry away Israelites from several cities, captive to Assyria. A man named Hoshea conspired against Pekah and killed him. He became king during the reign of Jotham in Judah.

32 In the second year of Pekah the son of Remaliah king of Israel began Jotham the son of Uzziah king of Judah to reign.
33 Five and twenty years old was he when he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Jerusha, the daughter of Zadok.
34 And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord: he did according to all that his father Uzziah had done.
35 Howbeit the high places were not removed: the people sacrificed and burned incense still in the high places. He built the higher gate of the house of the Lord.

Jotham was king at the age of twenty-five, and he ruled for sixteen years. He was a righteous king, as his father. However, he also did not remove those places where the people made sacrifices and offerings. Jotham did, however, add a higher gate to the temple.

36 Now the rest of the acts of Jotham, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?
37 In those days the Lord began to send against Judah Rezin the king of Syria, and Pekah the son of Remaliah.
38 And Jotham slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David his father: and Ahaz his son reigned in his stead.

Rezin of Syria and Pekah of Remaliah, king of Israel, began to stand against Judah. Jotham died and his son Ahaz became king of Judah. A bit of the story of Ahaz and Isaiah and how they dealt with Rezin and Pekah at this time, has been recorded in other scriptures (see Isaiah 7). The portion found in this record, continues in the next chapter. This is important to understanding the time when Israel was scattered.

This chapter is a list of kings who ruled in wickedness in Israel and those who ruled in righteousness in Judah. Nothing good is recorded of those who ruled in wickedness and followed after the evil, idolatrous ways of their fathers. All that seems to be written here of them, was death and destruction. While those who tried to rule in righteousness, seemed to have been blessed to rule for longer. The Israelite nation, both the northern and southern kingdom, were under attack by other nations, because they had not lived to be worthy of the promises of protection given to those who had first entered the promised land and were a covenant people of the Lord.

When we make covenants and strive to keep them completely, the Lord cannot hold back the blessings that are part of that promise. The covenant people of Israel, had been promised peace and safety. They had been promised to be a mighty nation, even the mightiest among nations. When they followed after righteousness, they were blessed with peace and prosperity in great abundance. Covenant, commandment-keeping people today, are promised with prosperity, and the perfect peace that can only come through the companionship of the Spirit of God. But, we must be vigilant in living the commandments to their fullest. We must put aside all that is wicked and evil in our lives. The people of Judah were led in righteousness, but not fully. There remained those things that could easily lead them away from God, because the high places were not removed from the land. Because they held back their full commitment to God, they were not blessed with the protection they truly needed. God will not force man to follow Him and He will justly allow for men to receive the consequences of their choices.

2 Kings Chapter 13

Jehu ruled in Israel during the reign of Joash in Judah. When Jehu died, his son, Jehoahaz, began to rule in Israel. Each of these ruled the nation, while Elisha was the prophet. Jehu had not ruled in the same wickedness of the kings before him, but he still worshipped other gods and did not follow after the ways of the Lord. This chapter continues the story of those who ruled in Israel in the days of Elisha.

1 In the three and twentieth year of Joash the son of Ahaziah king of Judah Jehoahaz the son of Jehu began to reign over Israel in Samaria, and reigned seventeen years.
2 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, and followed the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which made Israel to sin; he departed not therefrom.

When Joash had ruled for twenty-three years, Jehoahaz became king of Israel. He was king for seventeen years, and ruled in wickedness. He continued to lead the people with idolatry, as the kings before him.

3 And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he delivered them into the hand of Hazael king of Syria, and into the hand of Ben-hadad the son of Hazael, all their days.
4 And Jehoahaz besought the Lord, and the Lord hearkened unto him: for he saw the oppression of Israel, because the king of Syria oppressed them.
5 (And the Lord gave Israel a saviour, so that they went out from under the hand of the Syrians: and the children of Israel dwelt in their tents, as beforetime.
6 Nevertheless they departed not from the sins of the house of Jeroboam, who made Israel sin, but walked therein: and there remained the grove also in Samaria.)
7 Neither did he leave of the people to Jehoahaz but fifty horsemen, and ten chariots, and ten thousand footmen; for the king of Syria had destroyed them, and had made them like the dust by threshing.

As promised, the Israelites were not protected in their wickedness, and the Lord allowed for them to fall into the hands of the Syrians under both Hazael and Ben-hadad, the kings. Then, when they were being destroyed by their enemies, Jehoahaz began to see what was happening to his people, and turned to the Lord and hearkened to Him. Israel was eventually delivered from the Syrians and returned to their normal lives, which included continuing to live with idolatry and the like. But at this time the Israelites were left with very little in order to protect themselves against their enemies, because of the oppression and destruction by the Syrians.

Sometimes men become so engrossed in their own wickedness, that God has a need to bring them down into humility. Then blessings can be given to them, as with Jehoahaz, who turned to the Lord when destruction was upon his people. In Alma 32:13, we read, “And now, because ye are compelled to be humble blessed are ye; for a man sometimes, if he is compelled to be humble, seeketh repentance; and now surely, whosoever repenteth shall find mercy; and he that findeth mercy and endureth to the end the same shall be saved.” But the book of Alma teaches us also, that it would be better to become humble on our own and not wait to be compelled by God. In that same chapter we read, “And now, as I said unto you, that because ye were compelled to be humble ye were blessed, do ye not suppose that they are more blessed who truly humble themselves because of the word? Yea, he that truly humbleth himself, and repenteth of his sins, and endureth to the end, the same shall be blessed—yea, much more blessed than they who are compelled to be humble because of their exceeding poverty. Therefore, blessed are they who humble themselves without being compelled to be humble; or rather, in other words, blessed is he that believeth in the word of God, and is baptized without stubbornness of heart, yea, without being brought to know the word, or even compelled to know, before they will believe.” (Alma 32:14-16) Greater blessings come to those who seek God before the difficulties become too hard to bear.

8 Now the rest of the acts of Jehoahaz, and all that he did, and his might, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?
9 And Jehoahaz slept with his fathers; and they buried him in Samaria: and Joash his son reigned in his stead.

Jehoahaz died and his son, Joash began to rule in Israel.

10 In the thirty and seventh year of Joash king of Judah began Jehoash the son of Jehoahaz to reign over Israel in Samaria, and reigned sixteen years.
11 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord; he departed not from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel sin: but he walked therein.
12 And the rest of the acts of Joash, and all that he did, and his might wherewith he fought against Amaziah king of Judah, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?
13 And Joash slept with his fathers; and Jeroboam sat upon his throne: and Joash was buried in Samaria with the kings of Israel.

Joash or Jehoash ruled for sixteen years. He continued the line of unrighteous leadership in Israel. During his reign, he fought against Amaziah of Judah. After sixteen years of being king, he died and his son Jeroboam became king of Israel.

14 Now Elisha was fallen sick of his sickness whereof he died. And Joash the king of Israel came down unto him, and wept over his face, and said, O my father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof.
15 And Elisha said unto him, Take bow and arrows. And he took unto him bow and arrows.
16 And he said to the king of Israel, Put thine hand upon the bow. And he put his hand upon it: and Elisha put his hands upon the king’s hands.
17 And he said, Open the window eastward. And he opened it. Then Elisha said, Shoot. And he shot. And he said, The arrow of the Lord’s deliverance, and the arrow of deliverance from Syria: for thou shalt smite the Syrians in Aphek, till thou have consumed them.
18 And he said, Take the arrows. And he took them. And he said unto the king of Israel, Smite upon the ground. And he smote thrice, and stayed.
19 And the man of God was wroth with him, and said, Thou shouldest have smitten five or six times; then hadst thou smitten Syria till thou hadst consumed it: whereas now thou shalt smite Syria but thrice.

Elisha became sick and was near death. Joash of Israel, went to see him and cried over him. Elisha told Joash to get a bow and arrow. He did and Elisha told him to put his hand on the bow. Then Elisha put his hands on the hands of Joash as they held the bow. Elisha told him to open the east window. When he did, Elisha told him to shoot. He did this, and then Elisha prophesied that the people would be delivered from Syria by the hand of the Lord. Elisha told Joash to hit the ground, which he did three times and then stopped. Elisha told him that he should have done it five or six times, because now he would only be able to smite Syria three times. If he had hit the ground as many as five or six times, he would have been able to consume Syria.

20 And Elisha died, and they buried him. And the bands of the Moabites invaded the land at the coming in of the year.
21 And it came to pass, as they were burying a man, that, behold, they spied a band of men; and they cast the man into the sepulchre of Elisha: and when the man was let down, and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived, and stood up on his feet.

Elisha died. The Moabites began to invade the land of Israel as the year ended. There was who had died. As he was being buried, a band of men were seen. Those who were burying the man, threw the body into the sepulchre of Elisha. When the dead man’s body touched the bones of Elisha, he came back to life. That is a witness to the power of God that had been with Elisha, that even his dead body held the power to raise a man.

22 But Hazael king of Syria oppressed Israel all the days of Jehoahaz.
23 And the Lord was gracious unto them, and had compassion on them, and had respect unto them, because of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and would not destroy them, neither cast he them from his presence as yet.
24 So Hazael king of Syria died; and Ben-hadad his son reigned in his stead.
25 And Jehoash the son of Jehoahaz took again out of the hand of Ben-hadad the son of Hazael the cities, which he had taken out of the hand of Jehoahaz his father by war. Three times did Joash beat him, and recovered the cities of Israel.

Hazael continued to oppress Israel during the reign of Jehoahaz, but the Lord continued to keep the Israelites from destruction, because of the promises given to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Hazael of Syria died. His son, Ben-hadad, became king, and Jehoash was able to regain the lands taken by the Syrians. Joash or Jehoash was able to beat Ben-hadad three times in order to get the Israelite cities back.

Again, it can be seen in this chapter, that unrighteous rulers lead their people in unrighteousness. Those who willing choose to be disobedient to the laws of God, are not blessed with His protection against their enemies. Rather, the disobedient are allowed to fall into the hands of their enemies. This is so that they might be brought back to a remembrance of God, and also because the blessing of protection is reserved for the faithful.

2 Kings Chapter 11

The destruction of the house of Ahab had occurred in Israel, following the death of Joram at the hand of Jehu. When Joram had been killed, Jehu had also killed Ahaziah, king of Judah. Ahaziah had married the daughter of Ahab, and had led in the wicked ways of his father-in-law. This chapter details what happened in Judah, after his death.

1 And when Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the seed royal.
2 But Jehosheba, the daughter of king Joram, sister of Ahaziah, took Joash the son of Ahaziah, and stole him from among the king’s sons which were slain; and they hid him, even him and his nurse, in the bedchamber from Athaliah, so that he was not slain.
3 And he was with her hid in the house of the Lord six years. And Athaliah did reign over the land.

The mother of Ahaziah, Athaliah, learned of the death of her son, and took it upon herself to destroy all the children of Ahaziah and destroyed them. Her decision to destroy the children of the king, would not have been a big shock for someone who chose to follow Baal, because one of the wicked acts was to sacrifice their children. All but one of the children of Ahaziah was destroyed, because Ahaziah’s sister, Jehosheba, took one of the sons and hid him from Athaliah. That son was Joash. Joash was taken to the temple as an infant, and hidden for six years while Athaliah ruled over Judah.

4 And the seventh year Jehoiada sent and fetched the rulers over hundreds, with the captains and the guard, and brought them to him into the house of the Lord, and made a covenant with them, and took an oath of them in the house of the Lord, and shewed them the king’s son.
5 And he commanded them, saying, This is the thing that ye shall do; A third part of you that enter in on the sabbath shall even be keepers of the watch of the king’s house;
6 And a third part shall be at the gate of Sur; and a third part at the gate behind the guard: so shall ye keep the watch of the house, that it be not broken down.
7 And two parts of all you that go forth on the sabbath, even they shall keep the watch of the house of the Lord about the king.
8 And ye shall compass the king round about, every man with his weapons in his hand: and he that cometh within the ranges, let him be slain: and be ye with the king as he goeth out and as he cometh in.
9 And the captains over the hundreds did according to all things that Jehoiada the priest commanded: and they took every man his men that were to come in on the sabbath, with them that should go out on the sabbath, and came to Jehoiada the priest.
10 And to the captains over hundreds did the priest give king David’s spears and shields, that were in the temple of the Lord.
11 And the guard stood, every man with his weapons in his hand, round about the king, from the right corner of the temple to the left corner of the temple, along by the altar and the temple.
12 And he brought forth the king’s son, and put the crown upon him, and gave him the testimony; and they made him king, and anointed him; and they clapped their hands, and said, God save the king.

During the seventh year, Jehoiada, the high priest, sent for the rulers and captains of the land. He had them come to the temple, where he made a covenant with them. Once they had made an oath to him, he revealed the king’s son, Joash. Then, he told them what they were to do at this point. Part of them were assigned to watch the king’s house, others were to stand at the gate of Sur and still others were to go to the gate behind the guard. They were to make sure that the house of the king would remain intact. Others were to watch over the temple and protect the king with weapons. Anyone who came to close, was to be killed. They were to guard him wherever he went. The men did as they were told to do, and reported back to Jehoida. The men were armed with the weapons of king David, which were found in the temple. Then, once a guard was set around Joash, Jehoida crowned him and anointed him as the king. Those who witnessed this, cheered for the king.

13 And when Athaliah heard the noise of the guard and of the people, she came to the people into the temple of the Lord.
14 And when she looked, behold, the king stood by a pillar, as the manner was, and the princes and the trumpeters by the king, and all the people of the land rejoiced, and blew with trumpets: and Athaliah rent her clothes, and cried, Treason, Treason.
15 But Jehoiada the priest commanded the captains of the hundreds, the officers of the host, and said unto them, Have her forth without the ranges: and him that followeth her kill with the sword. For the priest had said, Let her not be slain in the house of the Lord.
16 And they laid hands on her; and she went by the way by the which the horses came into the king’s house: and there was she slain.

Athaliah heard and went to the temple. She saw king Joash, standing as the king would, with princes, trumpeters, and people of Judah, rejoicing. Athaliah tore her clothes and claimed this act as treason. Jehoiada commanded that she be removed, and anyone that followed after her was to be killed. She was not to be killed while in the temple. The men took her out of the temple to the king’s house and killed her there.

17 And Jehoiada made a covenant between the Lord and the king and the people, that they should be the Lord’s people; between the king also and the people.
18 And all the people of the land went into the house of Baal, and brake it down; his altars and his images brake they in pieces thoroughly, and slew Mattan the priest of Baal before the altars. And the priest appointed officers over the house of the Lord.
19 And he took the rulers over hundreds, and the captains, and the guard, and all the people of the land; and they brought down the king from the house of the Lord, and came by the way of the gate of the guard to the king’s house. And he sat on the throne of the kings.
20 And all the people of the land rejoiced, and the city was in quiet: and they slew Athaliah with the sword beside the king’s house.
21 Seven years old was Jehoash when he began to reign.

A covenant was made between the Lord and the king and the people, to be the Lord’s people. Also, a covenant was made between the king and the people. The people broke down the house of Baal, including the altars and idols. The priest of Baal was killed. Jehoiada appointed officers over the temple. Then, the king was brought down from the temple to the king’s house and he sat on the throne. The people rejoiced and there was peace. This was all done when Joash was seven years old.

Here was a moment in ancient Israel, when both kingdoms had destroyed all the evil things associated with Baal. In the kingdom of Israel, they still worshipped false gods, but in Judah, they returned to worshipping the Lord. Covenants were made with the Lord. While the scriptures say that Israel was made to suffer at the hand of their enemies, Judah had quiet. The Lord was there for the entire nation of Israel, but only in Judah, did the people receive Him and accept Him as their God. Because of this, Judah was able to be blessed with quiet, which I think means they were at peace. When we choose to make covenants with the Lord, we allow Him the opportunity to bless our own lives with peace and quiet.

2 Kings Chapter 7

During the time of Elisha the prophet, there was a famine in the land of Samaria. The hosts of Syria had sieged Samaria and the people were in desperate times. The king of Israel had sent a man to kill Elisha, because it would seem to him, that Elisha and his God had caused their trouble. Elisha had the man stopped and held in place at the door. The servant of the king openly blamed the Lord. This chapter goes on to say:

1 Then Elisha said, Hear ye the word of the Lord; Thus saith the Lord, To morrow about this time shall a measure of fine flour be sold for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel, in the gate of Samaria.
2 Then a lord on whose hand the king leaned answered the man of God, and said, Behold, if the Lord would make windows in heaven, might this thing be? And he said, Behold, thou shalt see it with thine eyes, but shalt not eat thereof.

Elisha prophesied that things would turn around quickly for the people in Samaria. In fact, he said that within a day, the price of their goods would fall. A lord, or an officer of the king, doubted that this would happen and Elisha said that the lord would see it happen, but would not experience it himself.

3 And there were four leprous men at the entering in of the gate: and they said one to another, Why sit we here until we die?
4 If we say, We will enter into the city, then the famine is in the city, and we shall die there: and if we sit still here, we die also. Now therefore come, and let us fall unto the host of the Syrians: if they save us alive, we shall live; and if they kill us, we shall but die.
5 And they rose up in the twilight, to go unto the camp of the Syrians: and when they were come to the uttermost part of the camp of Syria, behold, there was no man there.
6 For the Lord had made the host of the Syrians to hear a noise of chariots, and a noise of horses, even the noise of a great host: and they said one to another, Lo, the king of Israel hath hired against us the kings of the Hittites, and the kings of the Egyptians, to come upon us.
7 Wherefore they arose and fled in the twilight, and left their tents, and their horses, and their asses, even the camp as it was, and fled for their life.
8 And when these lepers came to the uttermost part of the camp, they went into one tent, and did eat and drink, and carried thence silver, and gold, and raiment, and went and hid it; and came again, and entered into another tent, and carried thence also, and went and hid it.
9 Then they said one to another, We do not well: this day is a day of good tidings, and we hold our peace: if we tarry till the morning light, some mischief will come upon us: now therefore come, that we may go and tell the king’s household.
10 So they came and called unto the porter of the city: and they told them, saying, We came to the camp of the Syrians, and, behold, there was no man there, neither voice of man, but horses tied, and asses tied, and the tents as they were.
11 And he called the porters; and they told it to the king’s house within.

Four men with leprosy, who had been living at the entrance of the city, wondered why they would stay there until they died, since the city was in a time of famine. They would die from famine in the city or die where they were, so they had nothing to loose. They decided to go against the Syrians and see if they remained alive with the Syrians or died at their hands. When they arrived at the center of the camp of the Syrians, they found it deserted. The Lord had caused the Syrians to flee from the sounds of chariots, horses and a great army, possibly an army much like the one that had been surrounding Elisha when he had reassured his servant (see 2 Kings 6). Thinking that a large host of men of other nations was upon them, they ran away, leaving everything behind. The lepers went into one of the tents, ate and drank what was there, and took the spoil from the tent and hid it. After doing this a second time, they realized that this was not the right thing to do. They had good tidings to bring to their people, but they kept it to themselves. They knew that if they kept it secret, something bad would happen to them, so they knew they needed to get word to the king. They returned to the city and passed word along of what they had found.

12 And the king arose in the night, and said unto his servants, I will now shew you what the Syrians have done to us. They know that we be hungry; therefore are they gone out of the camp to hide themselves in the field, saying, When they come out of the city, we shall catch them alive, and get into the city.
13 And one of his servants answered and said, Let some take, I pray thee, five of the horses that remain, which are left in the city, (behold, they are as all the multitude of Israel that are left in it: behold, I say, they are even as all the multitude of the Israelites that are consumed:) and let us send and see.
14 They took therefore two chariot horses; and the king sent after the host of the Syrians, saying, Go and see.
15 And they went after them unto Jordan: and, lo, all the way was full of garments and vessels, which the Syrians had cast away in their haste. And the messengers returned, and told the king.
16 And the people went out, and spoiled the tents of the Syrians. So a measure of fine flour was sold for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel, according to the word of the Lord.

The king suspected that the Syrians were going to trick them. He told his servants that since they were a starving people, when they went out to the Syrian camp, they would be caught by the Syrians, who were most assuredly in lying in wait for them. They the Syrians would take over the city. A servant of the king suggested that they have a few men take five of their remaining horses and see what happened. So, two chariot horses and a few men went by the direction of the king. As they headed towards Jordan, they found all the things that the Syrians had left behind as they fled. The men returned to the king and told him what they saw. The people of Samaria, went out and gathered the spoils of the Syrians, and the words of the Lord were fulfilled, as they had been spoken by Elisha.

17 And the king appointed the lord on whose hand he leaned to have the charge of the gate: and the people trode upon him in the gate, and he died, as the man of God had said, who spake when the king came down to him.
18 And it came to pass as the man of God had spoken to the king, saying, Two measures of barley for a shekel, and a measure of fine flour for a shekel, shall be to morrow about this time in the gate of Samaria:
19 And that lord answered the man of God, and said, Now, behold, if the Lord should make windows in heaven, might such a thing be? And he said, Behold, thou shalt see it with thine eyes, but shalt not eat thereof.
20 And so it fell out unto him: for the people trode upon him in the gate, and he died.

The lord, or officer, who had doubted the prophecy, was placed in charge of the entrance of the city. The people trampled upon him where he worked and he died before eating of the spoils, just as Elisha had prophesied.

In this chapter, the Lord blessed the people in Samaria. When they had ‘hit rock bottom’ and had nothing left to loose, he spared them from a fight against the Syrians. Moreover, He blessed them with the things they stood in desperate need of having, such as food. It was yet, another miracle, and because Elisha had prophesied of their prosperity, it was another witness that the Lord was the God of Israel. It took a measure of faith in the prophesies of Elisha, small as it was, for the king of Israel to allow any men to go and see if the word of the lepers was the truth. Because he allowed his men to check, all of his people were blessed. The Lord blesses people today with many things, even miracles such a this. He continues to give us opportunities to witness that He is the Lord of all the earth. I am so grateful for the blessings and miracles, both those seen and those that have been hidden from my natural eyes, that have been a part of my life. I know that I am the woman of faith and testimony that I am today, because of the trials of my faith and the resulting blessings and miracles of the Lord.

2 Kings Chapter 5

Elisha was a man of God. He had been blessed with a double portion of the same spirit that rested upon Elijah, and he had the power and authority given by the Lord, to perform mighty miracles. He had parted the Jordan waters, healed water that was not drinkable, filled empty vessels with oil, blessed an older woman to bear a child, raised that child from the dead, made bad (poisonous) food into good food again, and he multiplied food, among other things I am sure. This chapter continues his miracles with the following:

1 Now Naaman, captain of the host of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master, and honourable, because by him the Lord had given deliverance unto Syria: he was also a mighty man in valour, but he was a leper.
2 And the Syrians had gone out by companies, and had brought away captive out of the land of Israel a little maid; and she waited on Naaman’s wife.
3 And she said unto her mistress, Would God my lord were with the prophet that is in Samaria! for he would recover him of his leprosy.
4 And one went in, and told his lord, saying, Thus and thus said the maid that is of the land of Israel.
5 And the king of Syria said, Go to, go, and I will send a letter unto the king of Israel. And he departed, and took with him ten talents of silver, and six thousand pieces of gold, and ten changes of raiment.
6 And he brought the letter to the king of Israel, saying, Now when this letter is come unto thee, behold, I have therewith sent Naaman my servant to thee, that thou mayest recover him of his leprosy.
7 And it came to pass, when the king of Israel had read the letter, that he rent his clothes, and said, Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man doth send unto me to recover a man of his leprosy? wherefore consider, I pray you, and see how he seeketh a quarrel against me.

The captain over the Syrian host was named Naaman. He was a great, honorable, and mighty man, who, through the blessings of the Lord, had led the Syrians to be delivered from enemies. At this point, Naaman was a leper. When the Syrians had taken some of the Israelites captive, there was a woman who became a maid for Naaman’s wife. She told her mistress that she wished they were near the prophet in Samaria, because he would heal Naaman. Someone who had heard this, went and told Naaman what had been said. The king told Naaman to go to the prophet and that he would send a letter to the king of Israel along with him. Naaaman left with money and clothing, as gifts I believe, and with the letter from the king of Syria. The letter told the king of Israel, that Naaman had been sent there to be healed. When the king of Israel had read it, He tore His clothes for being asked to do something he did not have the power to do. The king felt like this would give the Syrians a reason to fight the Israelites.

8 And it was so, when Elisha the man of God had heard that the king of Israel had rent his clothes, that he sent to the king, saying, Wherefore hast thou rent thy clothes? let him come now to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel.
9 So Naaman came with his horses and with his chariot, and stood at the door of the house of Elisha.
10 And Elisha sent a messenger unto him, saying, Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean.
11 But Naaman was wroth, and went away, and said, Behold, I thought, He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the Lord his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper.
12 Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? may I not wash in them, and be clean? So he turned and went away in a rage.
13 And his servants came near, and spake unto him, and said, My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean?
14 Then went he down, and dipped himself seven times in Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God: and his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.

Elisha heard that the king had rent his clothes and asked of him why he had done this. He told the king, to send Naaman to him, to show that there was a prophet in Israel. Naaman arrived at Elisha’s door with a chariot and horses, and a messenger was sent to him by Elisha. The messenger told him to go to the Jordan and wash seven times. If he would do this, then he would be clean from leprosy. Naaman was offended by Elisha for sending a servant to speak to him instead of going out to meet Naaman himself and also for not performing some great miracle by healing him. He said that the rivers in Damascus were better than the waters of Israel, as if it was beneath him to be told to wash in the Jordan. In anger, he left, but then his servant went to him and asked if he would have done it if he had been asked to do some greater task. Why wouldn’t he do this simple thing to be made clean? So, Naaman went to the Jordan and washed seven times, just as Elisha had told him. When he did this, a miracle occurred and his skin was as smooth as the skin of a child, and he was made clean.

15 And he returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and came, and stood before him: and he said, Behold, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel: now therefore, I pray thee, take a blessing of thy servant.
16 But he said, As the Lord liveth, before whom I stand, I will receive none. And he urged him to take it; but he refused.
17 And Naaman said, Shall there not then, I pray thee, be given to thy servant two mules’
burden of earth? for thy servant will henceforth offer neither burnt offering nor sacrifice unto other gods, but unto the Lord.
18 In this thing the Lord pardon thy servant, that when my master goeth into the house of Rimmon to worship there, and he leaneth on my hand, and I bow myself in the house of Rimmon: when I bow down myself in the house of Rimmon, the Lord pardon thy servant in this thing.
19 And he said unto him, Go in peace. So he departed from him a little way.

Naaman went back to Elisha, honoring the Lord by recognizing He was the only God on earth. He offered a gift to Elisha, but Elisha refused the reward. Elisha was not being a prophet so that he could benefit from it. He was a true man of God. Naaman offered two mules to the servant of Elisha, or Naaman asked for two mules himself. Naaman would no longer offer sacrifice to any other god, but he asked for forgiveness for the times when he would need to go with his master into the place where his master worshipped his gods. He would expect that he would have to bow down with the command of his master. Elisha told him to go in peace. Naaman left and went from him just a little way.

20 But Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said, Behold, my master hath spared Naaman this Syrian, in not receiving at his hands that which he brought: but, as the Lord liveth, I will run after him, and take somewhat of him.
21 So Gehazi followed after Naaman. And when Naaman saw him running after him, he lighted down from the chariot to meet him, and said, Is all well?
22 And he said, All is well. My master hath sent me, saying, Behold, even now there be come to me from mount Ephraim two young men of the sons of the prophets: give them, I pray thee, a talent of silver, and two changes of garments.
23 And Naaman said, Be content, take two talents. And he urged him, and bound two talents of silver in two bags, with two changes of garments, and laid them upon two of his servants; and they bare them before him.
24 And when he came to the tower, he took them from their hand, and bestowed them in the house: and he let the men go, and they departed.
25 But he went in, and stood before his master. And Elisha said unto him, Whence comest thou, Gehazi? And he said, Thy servant went no whither.
26 And he said unto him, Went not mine heart with thee, when the man turned again from his chariot to meet thee? Is it a time to receive money, and to receive garments, and oliveyards, and vineyards, and sheep, and oxen, and menservants, and maidservants?
27 The leprosy therefore of Naaman shall cleave unto thee, and unto thy seed for ever. And he went out from his presence a leper as white as snow.

The servant of Elisha, Gehazi, was not satisfied with how the exchange between Elisha and Naaman had gone. He questioned Elisha’s choice to refuse the gift from Naaman. Gehazi decided that he would go after Naaman and take some of the gift that had been offered. Naaman saw Gehazi approaching him, and so he got down from his chariot and asked if everything was alright. Gehazi told him that everthing was indeed fine, and that he had been sent to him by Elisha to accept talents of silver and some of the garments that had been offered, to be given to two sons of the prophets that were supposedly on their way. Naaman gave freely to Gehazi and then left. Gehazi went before Elisha and was asked where he had been. Gehazi denied ever leaving, but Elisha knew this was not true. He asked him if it was the right time to receive gifts from Naaman, and knowing that Gehazi had done this thing, he cursed him and his posterity with the leprosy of Naaman. Gehazi left Elisha as a leper.

There are a couple of lessons I can think of when I read the story of Naaman. He was a man who was unwilling to do a simple task in order to receive a great blessing. I believe this was because he thought more of himself. His pride nearly caused him to live in the same state for the remainder of his days. It reminds me so much of the story of the brass serpent. In that story, the Israelites were plagued by poisonous snakes who blocked the way of travel for them. Many were dying and Moses, who was given direction by the Lord, gave them a way out. He made a serpent of brass and put it on a staff. If the Israelites would look to the serpent after being bitten, then by the power of God, they would be healed. If they chose not to look, they would die. Many thought the act of simply looking at the staff, was beneath them. Something so simple, could not save them.
Their pride caused them to die from the serpents’ bites. We live in a time of great spiritual death. Many are choosing to turn from God and separate themselves from him. In an effort to save us from this death, the Lord has given us several simple things to do that can strengthen us and keep us from turning away. Some of these simple things are prayer, scripture study, family home evenings, attending church regularly, partaking of the sacrament, and so on. If we let our pride stop us from believing in the power of something so simple as eating a bite of bread and drinking a small sip of water, we too will die in a spiritual sense. It is so important to put aside our pride and to believe that great things will come from small and simple acts.

Additionally, Naaman teaches me the lesson that I must act in faith for the miracles to happen. The Lord was not going to heal him just because he wanted to be healed, or even because he felt he should be healed. The Lord could have done this, but what would that have done for him? What would that do for us? Our physical, mortal trials and difficulties, are just that, physical and mortal. However, they are not without purpose.
They are part of this mortal existence for a reason. We came here for the opportunity to learn from experience. If the Lord simply healed us without effort on our part, we would never learn anything. We would not have opportunities to choose and to progress. Naaman needed to learn the attributes of humility and faith. The choice to act upon the direction given to him, was an act of humility and faith in words of the prophet. Naaman needed to learn for himself, that the Lord was the only true and living God able to do things that seemed impossible. He did learn that there was no other God “in all the earth”. Because he acted upon the direction with faith, even though it was very little faith, he was blessed by a great miracle. If we take even the tiniest steps of faith, we will be greatly blessed and eventually we will see the miracles of change in our own lives.

While Naaman had to experience humility and follow the words of the prophet, in order to be healed, Gehazi allowed himself to be overcome by his pride. He felt that he knew better than the prophet and took it upon himself to get what he felt was better. He added to that pride, lying and deciept, when he lied to Elisha about where he had been and hid those things which he had received from Naaman. In the end, he got what he deserved for the pride he demonstrated and he would be reminded of that every day for the rest of his life, I am sure. In this story, we can learn how much better off we will be if we put aside our pride and become a humble follower of the words of the prophets. I am grateful for this knowledge and the strong desire in me, to avoid the kind of spiritual disease that pride, lying and deceiving will bring upon me.


About My Scripture Study Buddy

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the scriptures, but I am not a scriptorian. I've been told that I'm too "deep" for some, but if you are willing, I'd love to have others join me in my quest for a greater understanding of the gospel. Please feel free to leave me comments and hopefully we can help each other to learn.
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