Posts Tagged 'Covenants'

2 Kings Chapter 23

Josiah was a righteous king of Judah. He had worked to repair the temple and in doing so, the book of the law had been found. He read the book and then mourned for the weakness of those who had come before and the future of his people because of their wickedness. He prayed about the book, and because of his faith, Josiah would be blessed with peace in his own life. This chapter continues to tell of how he led the people.

1 And the king sent, and they gathered unto him all the elders of Judah and of Jerusalem.
2 And the king went up into the house of the Lord, and all the men of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem with him, and the priests, and the prophets, and all the people, both small and great: and he read in their ears all the words of the book of the covenant which was found in the house of the Lord.

Josiah gathered the elders, the men of Judah, and the people of Jerusalem, including priests, prophets, and people of all walks of life. He read all the words of the book of the law, or the book of the covenant. This was the book that had been found in the temple, which had caused him to go to the Lord in mourning. The king could have read the words for himself and chosen to lead the people according to that, but he took it a step further when he invited the people of the land to share in coming to a knowledge of the word of the Lord. This was good, because it gave the people a chance to choose for themselves from their own understanding, whether they would want to follow the law or live as they had been living.

3 And the king stood by a pillar, and made a covenant before the Lord, to walk after the Lord, and to keep his commandments and his testimonies and his statutes with all their heart and all their soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people stood to the covenant.

Then, Josiah made covenants to the Lord, to be faithful, obedient to the commandments with all the heart and soul, and to perform all the rites and ordinances of the covenants in the book. The people agreed to the covenants.

4 And the king commanded Hilkiah the high priest, and the priests of the second order, and the keepers of the door, to bring forth out of the temple of the Lord all the vessels that were made for Baal, and for the grove, and for all the host of heaven: and he burned them without Jerusalem in the fields of Kidron, and carried the ashes of them unto Beth-el.
5 And he put down the idolatrous priests, whom the kings of Judah had ordained to burn incense in the high places in the cities of Judah, and in the places round about Jerusalem; them also that burned incense unto Baal, to the sun, and to the moon, and to the planets, and to all the host of heaven.
6 And he brought out the grove from the house of the Lord, without Jerusalem, unto the brook Kidron, and burned it at the brook Kidron, and stamped it small to powder, and cast the powder thereof upon the graves of the children of the people.
7 And he brake down the houses of the sodomites, that were by the house of the Lord, where the women wove hangings for the grove.
8 And he brought all the priests out of the cities of Judah, and defiled the high places where the priests had burned incense, from Geba to Beer-sheba, and brake down the high places of the gates that were in the entering in of the gate of Joshua the governor of the city, which were on a man’s left hand at the gate of the city.

Josiah commanded for all the items in the temple and around it, that were devoted to the worship of Baal and any other gods, to be removed from the temple. They were taken outside of Jerusalem to fields where they were burned. The ashes were then carried away to Bethel. The king, destroyed (or put down) the wicked or false priests, who had been ordained to serve in the idolatrous temples around the land of Judah, including those who served Baal and other gods. He removed the idol found in the temple and had it burned and ground into powder outside of Jerusalem. The powder was cast on the graves of their children, possibly all those who were sacrificed to that very idol. He destroyed the places where the sodomites were doing wicked acts, removed all the wicked priests in the land of Judah, and defiled their places of worship.

9 Nevertheless the priests of the high places came not up to the altar of the Lord in Jerusalem, but they did eat of the unleavened bread among their brethren.
10 And he defiled Topheth, which is in the valley of the children of Hinnom, that no man might make his son or his daughter to pass through the fire to Molech.
11 And he took away the horses that the kings of Judah had given to the sun, at the entering in of the house of the Lord, by the chamber of Nathan-melech the chamberlain, which was in the suburbs, and burned the chariots of the sun with fire.
12 And the altars that were on the top of the upper chamber of Ahaz, which the kings of Judah had made, and the altars which Manasseh had made in the two courts of the house of the Lord, did the king beat down, and brake them down from thence, and cast the dust of them into the brook Kidron.
13 And the high places that were before Jerusalem, which were on the right hand of the mount of corruption, which Solomon the king of Israel had builded for Ashtoreth the abomination of the Zidonians, and for Chemosh the abomination of the Moabites, and for Milcom the abomination of the children of Ammon, did the king defile.
14 And he brake in pieces the images, and cut down the groves, and filled their places with the bones of men.

Those priests that were removed, did not go to the temple in Jerusalem, but returned to their own people, as was part of the law of Moses. Josiah destroyed Topheth, which was the place of burning, or where the people sacrificed their own children to false gods. This sacrificing of children with fire, was strictly forbidden in the law of Moses. He took the chariots away, that were used to worship the sun, and he burned them. He destroyed the altars in the kings house, or on the roofs of the houses, as well as those in the temple. He ground them down and tossed the dust into a brook. Then, he destroyed the places of worship around Jerusalem and destroyed the wicked men there.

15 Moreover the altar that was at Beth-el, and the high place which Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin, had made, both that altar and the high place he brake down, and burned the high place, and stamped it small to powder, and burned the grove.
16 And as Josiah turned himself, he spied the sepulchres that were there in the mount, and sent, and took the bones out of the sepulchres, and burned them upon the altar, and polluted it, according to the word of the Lord which the man of God proclaimed, who proclaimed these words.
17 Then he said, What title is that that I see? And the men of the city told him, It is the sepulchre of the man of God, which came from Judah, and proclaimed these things that thou hast done against the altar of Beth-el.
18 And he said, Let him alone; let no man move his bones. So they let his bones alone, with the bones of the prophet that came out of Samaria.
19 And all the houses also of the high places that were in the cities of Samaria, which the kings of Israel had made to provoke the Lord to anger, Josiah took away, and did to them according to all the acts that he had done in Beth-el.
20 And he slew all the priests of the high places that were there upon the altars, and burned men’s bones upon them, and returned to Jerusalem.

Josiah continued to destroy all things related to idolatry in Bethel, which had been built by Jeroboam because Jerusalem had been too far for them to go to comfortably for their worship. He burned the place of worship and its grove. He burned the bones of the dead, found in the sepulchres, upon the altar. He saw a specific sepulchre and asked who was buried there. The men of Bethel told him it was the sepulcre of the man of God from Judah, who had prophesied of the things that Josiah had done to the altar (see 1 Kings 13). The prophecy had been fulfilled. Josiah commanded the men to leave the bones of the prophet, so none of the men touched them. The places of worship in Samaria were taken away, just as the place in Bethel. All the wicked priests were destroyed as well. Then, Josiah returned to Jerusalem.

21 And the king commanded all the people, saying, Keep the passover unto the Lord your God, as it is written in the book of this covenant.
22 Surely there was not holden such a passover from the days of the judges that judged Israel, nor in all the days of the kings of Israel, nor of the kings of Judah;
23 But in the eighteenth year of king Josiah, wherein this passover was holden to the Lord in Jerusalem.

The king gave a commandment that the people were to observe the passover, as they were commanded in the law of Moses. There had not been one observed like this, in all the days since the first time of the judges in Israel. This passover was observed in the eighteenth year of Josiah’s reign (see 2 Chronicles 35 for more on this observance of the passover).

24 Moreover the workers with familiar spirits, and the wizards, and the images, and the idols, and all the abominations that were spied in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem, did Josiah put away, that he might perform the words of the law which were written in the book that Hilkiah the priest found in the house of the Lord.
25 And like unto him was there no king before him, that turned to the Lord with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the law of Moses; neither after him arose there any like him.

Josiah continued to follow all the laws in the book of the law, by getting rid of any involved in witchcraft and sorcery that were discovered in all the land of Judah (see Deuteronomy 18). No other king in the land of Israel, had completely given himself to following after the law of Moses.

It is amazing to be described like this in the history of the kings of Israel. Josiah was like no other king because he was loyal to the Lord, trusted Him, and stood up for those things which he knew to be true. His choices to cleanse all of Judah, were bold and courageous. He is an example of “standing up and being all in“, not wavering in his faith, and being a force for good in the lives of those under his influence.

26 Notwithstanding the Lord turned not from the fierceness of his great wrath, wherewith his anger was kindled against Judah, because of all the provocations that Manasseh had provoked him withal.
27 And the Lord said, I will remove Judah also out of my sight, as I have removed Israel, and will cast off this city Jerusalem which I have chosen, and the house of which I said, My name shall be there.
28 Now the rest of the acts of Josiah, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?

However, Manasseh had done such wickedness and the people with him, especially with sacrificing so many lives to his evil ways, that the Lord would still hold the people of Judah accountable for their actions. Judah would be scattered, just as Israel had been scattered, including all that were in the city of Jerusalem. The temple had been desecrated by wicked acts, and the Lord would no longer be among the people there.

29 In his days Pharaoh-nechoh king of Egypt went up against the king of Assyria to the river Euphrates: and king Josiah went against him; and he slew him at Megiddo, when he had seen him.
30 And his servants carried him in a chariot dead from Megiddo, and brought him to Jerusalem, and buried him in his own sepulchre. And the people of the land took Jehoahaz the son of Josiah, and anointed him, and made him king in his father’s stead.

Egypt came up against the Assyrains, and Josiah went against him. Josiah was killed in Megiddo and was taken back to Jerusalem and buried there (see also 2 Chronicles 35). Jehoahaz, the son of Josiah, was anointed king by the people.

31 Jehoahaz was twenty and three years old when he began to reign; and he reigned three months in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Hamutal, the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah.
32 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his fathers had done.
33 And Pharaoh-nechoh put him in bands at Riblah in the land of Hamath, that he might not reign in Jerusalem; and put the land to a tribute of an hundred talents of silver, and a talent of gold.
34 And Pharaoh-nechoh made Eliakim the son of Josiah king in the room of Josiah his father, and turned his name to Jehoiakim, and took Jehoahaz away: and he came to Egypt, and died there.
35 And Jehoiakim gave the silver and the gold to Pharaoh; but he taxed the land to give the money according to the commandment of Pharaoh: he exacted the silver and the gold of the people of the land, of every one according to his taxation, to give it unto Pharaoh-nechoh.

At the age of 23, Jehoahaz began his reign in Jerusalem. He only reigned in wickedness for three months, then Pharoah-nechoh took him captive and made the land of Judah subject to Egypt. Judah had to pay Egypt 100 silver talents and a talent of god. Pharoah made Eliakim the king instead and calld him Jehoiakim. Jehoahaz was taken into Egypt and died there (see also 2 Chronicles 36). Jehoiakim paid tribute to Egypt by taxing the people.

36 Jehoiakim was twenty and five years old when he began to reign; and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Zebudah, the daughter of Pedaiah of Rumah.
37 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his fathers had done.

Jehoiakim reigned for 11 years in Jerusalem, from the age of 25 to about 36. He led the people in wickedness. Sadly, all the work that Josiah had done, to help the people return to righteousness, was quickly undone by two unrighteous kings that followed after him. This is a testimony and a witness to me, of the importance of heeding the warnings and preparing ourselves to withstand temptations in our own lives. The Lord had warned the children of Israel, that any amount of idolatry, would bring their entire nation down to destruction. Over a short amount of time, some of the people chose to allow other nations to influence them and turned to the wickedness of idolatry. Once the temptation had been allowed to be a part of the land, it was nearly impossible to go back to following strictly after the Lord. Josiah worked hard to bring as many back to following the commandments as possible, but even his own sons were not willing to continue in righteousness. There are warnings that have been given in our own time. We need to heed the warnings of modern-day prophets, so that we may avoid temptations, remain safe spiritually, and have the kind of peace that Josiah was able to have in his life. (A good talk on warnings in our time, as it relates to our children is “Watching with All Perseverance“.)

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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 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.

1 Kings Chapter 9

Solomon had been a good king for Israel so far to this point. He had reorganized his kingdom, wiping out those who would have brought strife from within. He had established peace with their neighboring nations. He had built the temple, as the Lord desired. And he was living as a righteous leader of the people, who trusted in God. He ruled with wisdom and desired to do right. This chapter continues the story of Solomon, after the building and dedication of the temple.

Temple

1 And it came to pass, when Solomon had finished the building of the house of the Lord, and the king’s house, and all Solomon’s desire which he was pleased to do,
2 That the Lord appeared to Solomon the second time, as he had appeared unto him at Gibeon.
3 And the Lord said unto him, I have heard thy prayer and thy supplication, that thou hast made before me: I have hallowed this house, which thou hast built, to put my name there for ever; and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually.
4 And if thou wilt walk before me, as David thy father walked, in integrity of heart, and in uprightness, to do according to all that I have commanded thee, and wilt keep my statutes and my judgments:
5 Then I will establish the throne of thy kingdom upon Israel for ever, as I promised to David thy father, saying, There shall not fail thee a man upon the throne of Israel.
6 But if ye shall at all turn from following me, ye or your children, and will not keep my commandments and my statutes which I have set before you, but go and serve other gods, and worship them:
7 Then will I cut off Israel out of the land which I have given them; and this house, which I have hallowed for my name, will I cast out of my sight; and Israel shall be a proverb and a byword among all people:
8 And at this house, which is high, every one that passeth by it shall be astonished, and shall hiss; and they shall say, Why hath the Lord done thus unto this land, and to this house?
9 And they shall answer, Because they forsook the Lord their God, who brought forth their fathers out of the land of Egypt, and have taken hold upon other gods, and have worshipped them, and served them: therefore hath the Lord brought upon them all this evil.

The Lord appeared again to Solomon, as he did in a dream when He offered him wisdom. He told Solomon that he had heard his prayers and accepted the house built in His name. More specifically, in verse 3, the Lord told Solomon that he hallowed the temple. To hallow is to make holy, to consecrate, to purify or to sanctify. Without this act by the Lord, the temple could not have been a place where sacred rituals and promises could have been made by the children of Israel. It would have just been a beautiful building made by men. The Lord makes temples the places of holiness that they are, by the sanctifying power of his Holy Spirit.

The Lord promised Solomon that his kingdom would be established forever, if Solomon (and his people) would live righteously and keep the commandments. Likewise, if Solomon, or his descendants, turned from the Lord to other gods, Israel would be taken from the land of promise, and the temple would no longer be found acceptable to the Lord. Instead, Israel would be made an example to all the people, of consequences that happen when those who are blessed by the Lord, turn from Him to other gods.

10 And it came to pass at the end of twenty years, when Solomon had built the two houses, the house of the Lord, and the king’s house,
11 (Now Hiram the king of Tyre had furnished Solomon with cedar trees and fir trees, and with gold, according to all his desire,) that then king Solomon gave Hiram twenty cities in the land of Galilee.
12 And Hiram came out from Tyre to see the cities which Solomon had given him; and they pleased him not.
13 And he said, What cities are these which thou hast given me, my brother? And he called them the land of Cabul unto this day.
14 And Hiram sent to the king sixscore talents of gold.

Solomon finished building the temple and the palace after twenty years. When he was done, he gave Hiram, king of Tyre, twenty cities in Galilee, for all the work he had done. Hiram did not find the cities acceptable, and they became known as the land of Cabul, which means something like dirty. He sent gold to Solomon. I don’t know why he sent gold, when he found the cities as undesirable as he did, but it seems he did not having anything against Solomon for this.

15 And this is the reason of the levy which king Solomon raised; for to build the house of the Lord, and his own house, and Millo, and the wall of Jerusalem, and Hazor, and Megiddo, and Gezer.
16 For Pharaoh king of Egypt had gone up, and taken Gezer, and burnt it with fire, and slain the Canaanites that dwelt in the city, and given it for a present unto his daughter, Solomon’s wife.
17 And Solomon built Gezer, and Beth-horon the nether,
18 And Baalath, and Tadmor in the wilderness, in the land,
19 And all the cities of store that Solomon had, and cities for his chariots, and cities for his horsemen, and that which Solomon desired to build in Jerusalem, and in Lebanon, and in all the land of his dominion.
20 And all the people that were left of the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites, which were not of the children of Israel,
21 Their children that were left after them in the land, whom the children of Israel also were not able utterly to destroy, upon those did Solomon levy a tribute of bondservice unto this day.
22 But of the children of Israel did Solomon make no bondmen: but they were men of war, and his servants, and his princes, and his captains, and rulers of his chariots, and his horsemen.
23 These were the chief of the officers that were over Solomon’s work, five hundred and fifty, which bare rule over the people that wrought in the work.

Solomon had used a levy on those who were not Israelites, to build the temple, his palace, fortifications and the wall of Jerusalem, and to build and restore several cities, including Gezer. Gezer had previously been destroyed by fire when taken by Pharaoh of Egypt. Pharaoh had given the land to his daughter, the wife of Solomon, as a gift. The levy was not something new, especially to those who lived among them when they could have been destroyed by the Israelites. They had previously been spared and allowed to remain, so long as they gave service to the Israelites. Cities were built by Solomon, to store and maintain all that he had, such as chariots and horses. The men of Israel, became his army, his servants, and rulers of the land. He had 550 men, who ruled over the people who served him.

24 But Pharaoh’s daughter came up out of the city of David unto her house which Solomon had built for her: then did he build Millo.

Pharaoh’s daughter went to live in the house that Solomon built for her. Then, Solomon began work on the fortifications.

25 And three times in a year did Solomon offer burnt offerings and peace offerings upon the altar which he built unto the Lord, and he burnt incense upon the altar that was before the Lord. So he finished the house.

Three times a year, Solomon went to the temple and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings.

26 And king Solomon made a navy of ships in Ezion-geber, which is beside Eloth, on the shore of the Red sea, in the land of Edom.
27 And Hiram sent in the navy his servants, shipmen that had knowledge of the sea, with the servants of Solomon.
28 And they came to Ophir, and fetched from thence gold, four hundred and twenty talents, and brought it to king Solomon.

Solomon built a navy of ships, with some of the men of Hiram as shipmen along with the servants of Solomon. They brought Solomon gold from Ophir.

I think the important part of this chapter, is that the Lord made a covenant with Solomon, as he had with his father, David. This promise is often repeated in the scriptures, which is that the righteous followers of the Lord, will be blessed in the land, and those who choose to harden their hearts and turn away, will be cursed and cast off. I believe this promise holds true for all disciples of Christ today. If we are truly striving to come unto Christ and live as He would have us live, he will bless our lands, our places of worship, and our lives individually. I have a great hope in these promises, as the time we live in seems to be more and more wicked. I know that if more people could see the value in coming unto Christ, and try to turn away from worldly things, this world would be a better place. I also know that the scriptures teach us things will continue to get harder and more wicked as we grow closer to the time of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. I pray that I may continue to love the word of God and strive to follow the teachings of the Lord, so that I will not be cut off from Him, but receive the blessings offered by my own covenants with the Lord.

2 Samuel Chapter 9

David became the king of Israel after the death of their first king, Saul. Saul had been jealous of David for many years before his death, and had tried to kill David many times. David was Saul’s son-in-law, a loyal servant and subject to his king. During his time with the family of Saul, he had come to have a sincere and abiding brotherly love towards Jonathan. Jonathan died during the same battle as Saul, and David had mourned greatly for the loss of his dear friend and brother. This chapter begins with:

1 And David said, Is there yet any that is left of the house of Saul, that I may shew him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?
2 And there was of the house of Saul a servant whose name was Ziba. And when they had called him unto David, the king said unto him, Art thou Ziba? And he said, Thy servant is he.
3 And the king said, Is there not yet any of the house of Saul, that I may shew the kindness of God unto him? And Ziba said unto the king, Jonathan hath yet a son, which is lame on his feet.
4 And the king said unto him, Where is he? And Ziba said unto the king, Behold, he is in the house of Machir, the son of Ammiel, in Lo-debar.

David desired to honor the family of Saul, because he had made a covenant with Jonathan to do so. When seeking to know if any of the family remained, a servant named Ziba was brought before David. Ziba told King David, about Jonathan’s lame son who was in Lo-debar with the family of Machir.

5 Then king David sent, and fetched him out of the house of Machir, the son of Ammiel, from Lo-debar.
6 Now when Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, was come unto David, he fell on his face, and did reverence. And David said, Mephibosheth. And he answered, Behold thy servant!

David sent for the son, named Mephibosheth, and when he was brought before him, he worshiped David. When his name was called by David, he offered himself a servant to the king. It almost seems as though he was afraid for what might be done with him.

I wonder what age he was at this point, because when his father died, he was only 5 years old (see 2 Samuel 4:4). David had ruled in Judah for seven and a half years, which means that Mephibosheth was at least twelve and a half when David took the throne of Israel. David remained in Hebron for 3 years, before relocating to Jerusalem (see 2 Samuel 5:5), so the boy was likely to be older than fifteen. We do not know how long it was after that point, when David asked for Mephibosheth to be brought before him, so he could have been a young man still. This hearkens back to David being a young boy when he was brought into the house of Saul to play for him and be his servant.

7 And David said unto him, Fear not: for I will surely shew thee kindness for Jonathan thy father’s sake, and will restore thee all the land of Saul thy father; and thou shalt eat bread at my table continually.
8 And he bowed himself, and said, What is thy servant, that thou shouldest look upon such a dead dog as I am?

David told him not to fear, because he wanted to show kindness towards him as he had promised his father. He offered Mephibosheth all the land of Saul and a seat at his own table continually. David probably felt as though this young man was family to him. Mephibosheth seems to have said that he was not worthy of all that was offered to him by the king.

9 Then the king called to Ziba, Saul’s servant, and said unto him, I have given unto thy master’s son all that pertained to Saul and to all his house.
10 Thou therefore, and thy sons, and thy servants, shall till the land for him, and thou shalt bring in the fruits, that thy master’s son may have food to eat: but Mephibosheth thy master’s son shall eat bread alway at my table. Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants.
11 Then said Ziba unto the king, According to all that my lord the king hath commanded his servant, so shall thy servant do. As for Mephibosheth, said the king, he shall eat at my table, as one of the king’s sons.
12 And Mephibosheth had a young son, whose name was Micha. And all that dwelt in the house of Ziba were servants unto Mephibosheth.
13 So Mephibosheth dwelt in Jerusalem: for he did eat continually at the king’s table; and was lame on both his feet.

David called Ziba to him and told him all that he gave to Mephibosheth. He commanded the servant and his household, to work for the son of Jonathan and his family. He said that Mephibosheth would eat at his table as one of his own sons. Ziba and his household became the servants of Mephibosheth, just as the king had commanded. Mephibosheth moved back to Jerusalem and was treated like family of the king.

David was a man of honor and integrity. He had made a covenant with Jonathan, and even at a time when he could have gone on without doing anything, he searched out how he could fulfill his covenant to the house of Jonathan. We will have opportunities in our lives, when we can make the choice not to follow through on a promise, but to go on without anyone on earth knowing the difference, or to do the thing that shows our own honor and integrity. These choices will be most important in the covenants we make with God. I know that God will always know what we choose, and when we live with integrity, we will be greatly blessed. If not, we will be held accountable for our choices and the eventual consequence may far outweigh the effort to have lived with integrity in this life.

1 Samuel Chapter 20

David was forced to run away from his home and his wife, because king Saul desired to kill him. His wife, the daughter of Saul, helped him to escape. Jonathan, the son of Saul, was a close friend to David. They loved one another as brothers, and were described earlier as having souls knit together. David had done nothing to deserve the treatment he had received from Saul, in fact, he had been a loyal and hard-working servant to the king. Saul hated David because he was jealous of they way others loved him and praised him. In his envy and jealousy, Saul had gone after David, to find him and kill him. David had found Samuel and was hiding among the prophets. This chapter begins as follows:

1 And David fled from Naioth in Ramah, and came and said before Jonathan, What have I done? what is mine iniquity? and what is my sin before thy father, that he seeketh my life?
2 And he said unto him, God forbid; thou shalt not die: behold, my father will do nothing either great or small, but that he will shew it me: and why should my father hide this thing from me? it is not so.
3 And David sware moreover, and said, Thy father certainly knoweth that I have found grace in thine eyes; and he saith, Let not Jonathan know this, lest he be grieved: but truly as the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, there is but a step between me and death.
4 Then said Jonathan unto David, Whatsoever thy soul desireth, I will even do it for thee.
5 And David said unto Jonathan, Behold, to morrow is the new moon, and I should not fail to sit with the king at meat: but let me go, that I may hide myself in the field unto the third day at even.
6 If thy father at all miss me, then say, David earnestly asked leave of me that he might run to Beth-lehem his city: for there is a yearly sacrifice there for all the family.
7 If he say thus, It is well; thy servant shall have peace: but if he be very wroth, then be sure that evil is determined by him.
8 Therefore thou shalt deal kindly with thy servant; for thou hast brought thy servant into a covenant of the Lord with thee: notwithstanding, if there be in me iniquity, slay me thyself; for why shouldest thou bring me to thy father?
9 And Jonathan said, Far be it from thee: for if I knew certainly that evil were determined by my father to come upon thee, then would not I tell it thee?
10 Then said David to Jonathan, Who shall tell me? or what if thy father answer thee roughly?

Saul had gone to the place where David had hidden with the prophets. David fled and went to Jonathan to ask why his father was trying to kill him. Saul had made a promise to Jonathan before, that he would not kill David, so when Jonathan heard this from David, he did not believe it. He felt his father would not do such a thing, without his knowing. David told him, that Saul must have seen how much Jonathan cared for him, which is why he would have kept his desire from him. David promised him, that he was not mistaken, but that he knew his life was in danger. Jonathan told him, he would do anything David wanted. This was because he loved David. David knew that according to tradition, he should have dinner with the king the next day, but he asked Jonathan to allow him to hide for three days. If Saul missed him or mentioned him not being there, David asked Jonathan to tell Saul that David had asked to be excused in order to return to his home of Bethlehem to make a yearly sacrifice with his family. If Saul was accepting of this excuse, then David would know everything was fine, but if Saul got mad about it, Jonathan would know that David had been right about the desires of his father. David asked that Jonathan deal kindly with him, if this be the case, because they had made a covenant with one another. But, if Jonathan learned that David had misled him, he could kill David himself rather than take him to Saul. Jonathan said that if he knew his father’s plans were to kill him, he would tell David. David asked him how he would know if Jonathan learned of his father’s plans, or how he would know if Saul mistreated Jonathan.

11 And Jonathan said unto David, Come, and let us go out into the field. And they went out both of them into the field.
12 And Jonathan said unto David, O Lord God of Israel, when I have sounded my father about to morrow any time, or the third day, and, behold, if there be good toward David, and I then send not unto thee, and shew it thee;
13 The Lord do so and much more to Jonathan: but if it please my father to do thee evil, then I will shew it thee, and send thee away, that thou mayest go in peace: and the Lord be with thee, as he hath been with my father.
14 And thou shalt not only while yet I live shew me the kindness of the Lord, that I die not:
15 But also thou shalt not cut off thy kindness from my house for ever: no, not when the Lord hath cut off the enemies of David every one from the face of the earth.
16 So Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, Let the Lord even require it at the hand of David’s enemies.
17 And Jonathan caused David to swear again, because he loved him: for he loved him as he loved his own soul.
18 Then Jonathan said to David, To morrow is the new moon: and thou shalt be missed, because thy seat will be empty.
19 And when thou hast stayed three days, then thou shalt go down quickly, and come to the place where thou didst hide thyself when the business was in hand, and shalt remain by the stone Ezel.
20 And I will shoot three arrows on the side thereof, as though I shot at a mark.
21 And, behold, I will send a lad, saying, Go, find out the arrows. If I expressly say unto the lad, Behold, the arrows are on this side of thee, take them; then come thou: for there is peace to thee, and no hurt; as the Lord liveth.
22 But if I say thus unto the young man, Behold, the arrows are beyond thee; go thy way: for the Lord hath sent thee away.
23 And as touching the matter which thou and I have spoken of, behold, the Lord be between thee and me for ever.

Jonathan took David to a field, and made a covenant with him. He would seek out the feelings and desires of his father. If things were good, and he didn’t let David know, the Lord could deal with him. If Saul desired to do evil against David, Jonathan would let him know and send him away in peace and a blessing that the Lord be with him. Jonathan asked that David covenant to show friendship and kindness towards him and his family forever, even when the Lord had cut off all of David’s enemies. They made a covenant with one another, because they loved each other so much. Jonathan would go along with the plan that David had laid out. When the three days had passed, without word from Jonathan, David was to hide himself by the stone Ezel. Jonathan would go there, and shoot three arrows on the side of the stone, as he pretended to shoot at a mark. He would send a young man to gather the arrows. If the young man was told that the arrows were beside the stone, David would know that things were alright and he could come out of hiding. If he told the young man that the arrows were beyond the stone, David would know to go away in peace. Either way, their covenant would be between them forever.

24 So David hid himself in the field: and when the new moon was come, the king sat him down to eat meat.
25 And the king sat upon his seat, as at other times, even upon a seat by the wall: and Jonathan arose, and Abner sat by Saul’s side, and David’s place was empty.
26 Nevertheless Saul spake not any thing that day: for he thought, Something hath befallen him, he is not clean; surely he is not clean.
27 And it came to pass on the morrow, which was the second day of the month, that David’s place was empty: and Saul said unto Jonathan his son, Wherefore cometh not the son of Jesse to meat, neither yesterday, nor to day?
28 And Jonathan answered Saul, David earnestly asked leave of me to go to Beth-lehem:
29 And he said, Let me go, I pray thee; for our family hath a sacrifice in the city; and my brother, he hath commanded me to be there: and now, if I have found favour in thine eyes, let me get away, I pray thee, and see my brethren. Therefore he cometh not unto the king’s table.
30 Then Saul’s anger was kindled against Jonathan, and he said unto him, Thou son of the perverse rebellious woman, do not I know that thou hast chosen the son of Jesse to thine own confusion, and unto the confusion of thy mother’s nakedness?
31 For as long as the son of Jesse liveth upon the ground, thou shalt not be established, nor thy kingdom. Wherefore now send and fetch him unto me, for he shall surely die.
32 And Jonathan answered Saul his father, and said unto him, Wherefore shall he be slain? what hath he done?
33 And Saul cast a javelin at him to smite him: whereby Jonathan knew that it was determined of his father to slay David.
34 So Jonathan arose from the table in fierce anger, and did eat no meat the second day of the month: for he was grieved for David, because his father had done him shame.

David hid in the field while king Saul had his meal. There was an empty place where his son-in-law, David, should have been seated. Assuming that David was not well enough to be there, Saul did not say anything on the first day. David’s seat was empty on the second day, and Saul asked Jonathan why David had not been there for two days. Jonathan told Saul the words that he and David had planned. Saul was angry with Jonathan, and spoke against him, for his support of David. Saul told Jonathan that he would never have the kingdom. He commanded him to bring David to him, to be killed. Jonathan asked what David had done to deserve being killed. In response, Saul attempted to hit Jonathan with his javelin. Jonathan knew that the words of David had been true, and he left without eating with the king. Jonathan grieved for David.

35 And it came to pass in the morning, that Jonathan went out into the field at the time appointed with David, and a little lad with him.
36 And he said unto his lad, Run, find out now the arrows which I shoot. And as the lad ran, he shot an arrow beyond him.
37 And when the lad was come to the place of the arrow which Jonathan had shot, Jonathan cried after the lad, and said, Is not the arrow beyond thee?
38 And Jonathan cried after the lad, Make speed, haste, stay not. And Jonathan’s lad gathered up the arrows, and came to his master.
39 But the lad knew not any thing: only Jonathan and David knew the matter.
40 And Jonathan gave his artillery unto his lad, and said unto him, Go, carry them to the city.

Jonathan went to the field as they had planned, and shot the arrow beyond the stone, to show David that he was right and could leave in peace. Jonathan gave his bow and arrows to the young man that was with him and told the boy to take it back to the city.

41 And as soon as the lad was gone, David arose out of a place toward the south, and fell on his face to the ground, and bowed himself three times: and they kissed one another, and wept one with another, until David exceeded.
42 And Jonathan said to David, Go in peace, forasmuch as we have sworn both of us in the name of the Lord, saying, The Lord be between me and thee, and between my seed and thy seed for ever. And he arose and departed: and Jonathan went into the city.

After the boy had left, David came out of hiding. He honored Jonathan, kissed him, and cried with him. Jonathan told David to go, with a reminder of their covenant. David left him, and Jonathan returned to the city.

Jonathan had hoped that his father would not do evil against his cherished friend. After all, Saul had already made him a promise. But, Saul’s anger and jealousy had blinded him to anything else, and he did not care about anything that had happened in the past, other than praises going to David instead of to himself. All he desired at this point, was for David to be killed. I am sure that parting under these circumstances was incredibly sad for these friends. One of the things I learn from this chapter, is the good character found in Jonathan. It would have been easy for Jonathan to turn against David and give him up. If he had, he possibly could have secured greater power in the kingdom from his father. But, Jonathan was a trustworthy and loyal friend, who knew that the things his father wanted, were wrong. He did not care for greater power or the honors of the king. I am sure that he also recognized that God was with David and not with his father. He would have been choosing to follow after something other than what God wanted, if he had chosen to help his father. Jonathan did not weaken under the pressures of threat against his own personal safety. He loved David and was faithful to their covenant of friendship. It would be a huge blessing to anyone, to have a friend like Jonathan. Friends can have a great impact on the choices we make and the path we choose to follow. Our lives may not be threatened as David’s was, but we all our fighting our way through this life each and every day. True loyalty and love are very important in our relationships with others. Any person could know that a friend like Jonathan, would never seek their own interests without loving and supporting them first. I know this kind of friendship and it has been an amazing blessing in my life. I hope that I am now, or that I can become, a truly loyal and loving friend in my own relationships.

1 Samuel Chapter 18

David defended Israel and had fought and killed Goliath, the giant who fought as the champion for the Philistine army. Once Goliath had been slain, the Israelites were able to have victory over their enemy. Afterwards, King Saul had called for David to come and speak to him. This chapter begins after David had told Saul that he was the son of Jesse of Bethlehem. It starts as follows:

1 And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.
2 And Saul took him that day, and would let him go no more home to his father’s house.
3 Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul.
4 And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was upon him, and gave it to David, and his garments, even to his sword, and to his bow, and to his girdle.

Jonathan, was the son of Saul. Up to this point, Jonathan has shown he was a man of faith and courage. When David had finished speaking to Saul, Jonathan loved David. Jonathan being a good man, probably recognized the righteous spirit in David. Saul took David in as his own family, and did not allow him to return to his father’s home. Jonathan and David had a strong bond and made a covenant with one another. Jonathan gave David his robe, garments, sword, bow and girdle.

I love the word knit when used as a description for the love and heart between these two men. I can imagine two hearts, with the kind of love and unity that makes one unable to see where one ends and the other begins. Jonathan and David had the kind of friendship where their souls were united one with another and love abounded. I know this kind of friendship and love. It is stronger than any other and it sees beyond faults and appearances, to the spirit within. This would have been a true blessing in both of their lives. This kind of friendship is eternal and it reminds me a lot of the relationship that the Savior desires to have with each of us. The Savior taught of this friendship:

12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.

We can be knit together in love with the Savior, if we are willing to covenant with him to keep his commandments. He has already extended his loving friendship to us, by giving of his own life for us. His love for us, is eternally forgiving, and without a doubt it can look beyond our faults and appearances to the soul that we truly are.

5 And David went out whithersoever Saul sent him, and behaved himself wisely: and Saul set him over the men of war, and he was accepted in the sight of all the people, and also in the sight of Saul’s servants.
6 And it came to pass as they came, when David was returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, that the women came out of all cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet king Saul, with tabrets, with joy, and with instruments of musick.
7 And the women answered one another as they played, and said, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.
8 And Saul was very wroth, and the saying displeased him; and he said, They have ascribed unto David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed but thousands: and what can he have more but the kingdom?
9 And Saul eyed David from that day and forward.

David followed the directions given to him by Saul, and did so with wisdom. Saul made him the leader of his armies, and all the people accepted him, including Saul’s servants. Women sang and danced to honor David and Saul for the success against the Philistines. They gave greater honor to David, and Saul became very jealous of David. Had Saul been a man of God, he would not have been more interested in the praising of the Lord, for his guiding hand in their battles, than in the greater praise going to David. But Saul was not a man of God, so he became wary of David and what might become of him, from that time forward. I am sure that somewhere inside, Saul remembered Samuel’s promise that the kingdom would not remain his. He was probably continually looking for who might be chosen to replace him, though he did not know that David had already been anointed to become the king.

10 And it came to pass on the morrow, that the evil spirit from God came upon Saul, and he prophesied in the midst of the house: and David played with his hand, as at other times: and there was a javelin in Saul’s hand.
11 And Saul cast the javelin; for he said, I will smite David even to the wall with it. And David avoided out of his presence twice.

After this time, Saul had temptations of an evil spirit come upon him, giving him a prophecy. In the Joseph Smith Translation of verse 11, it reads, “that the evil spirit [which was not of God] came upon Saul…” In his prophecy, David played the harp, as he had many times before, and Saul had a javelin in his hand. Saul said he would kill David with the javelin, but David got away two times. I think that Saul was being persuaded by an evil spirit, to have a greater fear of David, which would drive his desire to want him dead.

12 And Saul was afraid of David, because the Lord was with him, and was departed from Saul.
13 Therefore Saul removed him from him, and made him his captain over a thousand; and he went out and came in before the people.
14 And David behaved himself wisely in all his ways; and the Lord was with him.
15 Wherefore when Saul saw that he behaved himself very wisely, he was afraid of him.
16 But all Israel and Judah loved David, because he went out and came in before them.

Saul was afraid of David, knowing that the Lord was with David, but not with him. Saul decided to send David away from his presence, by having him lead at the front of his army. David continued to do what he was told and continued to have the Lord with him. This made Saul afraid of him, but the people loved David because he protected them.

As a side note, it is interesting to see that there has been a shift in reference to the people. In the records of the bible, the people were referred to as Israelites, or the people of Israel. There has been a shift to referring to the people as Israel and Judah. Instead of being one nation, they were two groups of people associated because of God. Eventually, these two groups will be divided into two kingdoms.

17 And Saul said to David, Behold my elder daughter Merab, her will I give thee to wife: only be thou valiant for me, and fight the Lord’s battles. For Saul said, Let not mine hand be upon him, but let the hand of the Philistines be upon him.
18 And David said unto Saul, Who am I? and what is my life, or my father’s family in Israel, that I should be son in law to the king?
19 But it came to pass at the time when Merab Saul’s daughter should have been given to David, that she was given unto Adriel the Meholathite to wife.
20 And Michal Saul’s daughter loved David: and they told Saul, and the thing pleased him.
21 And Saul said, I will give him her, that she may be a snare to him, and that the hand of the Philistines may be against him. Wherefore Saul said to David, Thou shalt this day be my son in law in the one of the twain.

Saul wanted to be rid of David, but felt he could not kill him. He wanted instead, for David to die in battle against the Philistines. Saul offered his oldest daughter’s hand in marriage, if David would continue to fight valiantly for the Lord’s army. David thought this honor too much for someone of such a humble background as he was. So, when it was time for him to be married to Merab, Saul gave her to another man. Saul’s other daughter, Michal, loved David and she told Saul. Saul was happy with this, because he felt that she would be a snare to David. As the son-in-law to the king, it could bring the Philistines down upon him.

22 And Saul commanded his servants, saying, Commune with David secretly, and say, Behold, the king hath delight in thee, and all his servants love thee: now therefore be the king’s son in law.
23 And Saul’s servants spake those words in the ears of David. And David said, Seemeth it to you a light thing to be a king’s son in law, seeing that I am a poor man, and lightly esteemed?
24 And the servants of Saul told him, saying, On this manner spake David.
25 And Saul said, Thus shall ye say to David, The king desireth not any dowry, but an hundred foreskins of the Philistines, to be avenged of the king’s enemies. But Saul thought to make David fall by the hand of the Philistines.
26 And when his servants told David these words, it pleased David well to be the king’s son in law: and the days were not expired.
27 Wherefore David arose and went, he and his men, and slew of the Philistines two hundred men; and David brought their foreskins, and they gave them in full tale to the king, that he might be the king’s son in law. And Saul gave him Michal his daughter to wife.

Saul told his servants to talk David into becoming his son-in-law. David wondered if the servants thought that being the son-in-law to the king was a simple or insignificant thing, but he was too lowly for this privilege. They went back to Saul and told him. Saul had them return and tell him he did not need to offer a dowry for marriage, but he could instead offer a sacrifice of part of 100 Philistines, so that Saul could be avenged of his enemies. Saul had an ulterior motive in this, and that was that he hoped David would be killed in battle. David was glad to hear what Saul asked of him, and he desired to marry his daughter. So, David took him men and killed 200 of the Philistines, bringing the offering back to Saul with the story of what had happened. Saul gave Michal to David.

28 And Saul saw and knew that the Lord was with David, and that Michal Saul’s daughter loved him.
29 And Saul was yet the more afraid of David; and Saul became David’s enemy continually.
30 Then the princes of the Philistines went forth: and it came to pass, after they went forth, that David behaved himself more wisely than all the servants of Saul; so that his name was much set by.

This did not please Saul, because he knew that his daughter loved David and that the Lord continued to be with him. Saul grew in animosity towards David. David become the wisest among all of the servants of Saul, and became well-known and loved for his service.

One of the things that comes to mind as I ponder on this chapter, is that there is a need to be watchful of the choices we make and the influences in our lives. When we make choices that drive the spirit out of our lives, just as Saul had done in moments of fear and pride, we make a space in our lives for something else. Saul allowed that space to be filled with an evil spirit, which persuaded him into fear. This kind of spirit attaches itself to a person’s soul, bringing temptations to them to do wrong, and binding that person to wickedness. Pretty soon, all that that person is able to think about is their own selfish desires, as was the case with Saul. His greater desire became wanting to see David dead, instead of wanting to accept the honors that David was bringing to his king. Sadly, these feelings were never provoked by David himself, only by others who gave honor to him. David did not seek to make himself better than the king, in fact, he felt he was not even worthy of the honor of even becoming the king’s son-in-law.

It is sad to see the kind of effect this had on the relationship between Saul and David. When Saul first met David, he adored him. He took him in as if his own son, because he was a talented young man. Saul gave David honors by setting him over a portion of his army. While the relationship between Jonathan and David grew stronger out of love, the relationship between Saul and David became weakened out of envy and hatred. However, through all of this, David remained a loyal servant and son-in-law, because he was a good man who was faithful and blessed with the spirit. This causes me to consider my own life. What kind of friend am I? Do I allow feelings of self-doubt to creep in and bring along the partners of envy and jealousy? Or do I rejoice in the accomplishments of my friends and show greater gratitude to God for the things that he blesses others with? It is better to be humble, faithful, loyal and wise like David, rather than prideful, envious and yet, powerful like Saul.

Ponderizing – Week 9 Thoughts

The verse I have chosen to ponderize this week, is
Doctrine and Covenants 90:24.

Search diligently, pray always, and be believing, and all things shall work together for your good, if ye walk uprightly and remember the covenant wherewith ye have covenanted one with another.

This promise is amazing. I love this verse, because it is a reminder that no matter what I am experiencing, it will all work out. If I can remember the covenants I have made with God and do the little things that I have been taught to do each day, things will be for my good. Scripture study (ancient and modern), continual prayer, believing in the Lord, keeping the commandments and covenants, are the things I must do. Earlier in my life, I looked at that simple list as daunting. I thought I would never be able to do all that was required of me each day. I have learned and continue to learn, that as we do these specific things, God blesses us with the capacity to do them and so much more. When we make the time to study the scriptures, diligently and with purpose and dedication, we begin to truly understand the purposes of prayer. Then finding the time to formally pray often, and to keep a prayer in our hearts throughout the day, becomes easier and even something we have a natural desire to do. Experiencing the results of regular study and prayer, helps to build our faith and belief in Jesus Christ and our Father in Heaven. The more we believe in Them, the greater desire we have to live in a manner that is pleasing to God. Likewise, we will think more often about the promises, or covenants, that we have made and the blessings hoped for by keeping them. For myself, doing these things has blessed me with a greater perspective in my life. It is awesome to me, how something that could have broken me in the past, becomes something I can not only handle, but also something that I can see good in. This does not mean that it always works out the way I want it to, or may have thought it would, but it does work out. God’s ways are better than my own, in fact, they are the best ways for where who I will ultimately become from this life experience. Through following these steps, I can see that my experiences provide opportunities for growth and learning, help me to have greater empathy and compassion towards others, and give me strength to do more and become more like the Savior.

Ponderizing- Week 5 Thoughts

I have chosen a verse this week, which was referenced in a talk called “The Sabbath is a Delight“, given by Elder Russel M. Nelson in the April 2015 General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It a great talk for anyone looking to improve their Sabbath day observance. The verse I chose to ponderize, is Exodus 31:13, which says the following:

Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you.

Observance of the Sabbath day is an eternal principal, which was established during the work of the creation of the world. I believe it is one of the most commonly ignored commandments worldwide, which is incredibly sad and telling. In 1991, President James E. Faust said, “In this day of increasing access to and preoccupation with materialism, there is a sure protection for ourselves and our children against the plagues of our day. The key to that sure protection surprisingly can be found in Sabbath observance”. I hope for this kind of protection for my family. This scripture teaches us that our choices to either keep or not keep the Sabbath, are a sign from us to God. Our choices show how we are willing to keep this commandment, or how we are willing to live our covenant with God.

For years, I have been considering this idea and changing the things that I choose to do. I have tried hard to set this day apart from the rest of the week, which is hard considering my daily labor is taking care of my children and home. But there are simple things that can be done. I turn on beautiful, uplifting music as we prepare for the day. We spend time reading the words of the modern prophets and apostles as a family. My husband and I have chosen to replace our normal nightly t.v. shows, with couples study of the scriptures. We try to talk to our extended family members more often. These things, among others, have helped myself and my family to remain focused on those things that matter most, especially our relationship with our Savior. We are blessed when we consider what sign we are choosing to give to God, and do those things that bring us closer to Christ instead of seeking after our own pleasures.

I saw a video this week, on the lds.org blog based on a post by Linda Clyde called, “My Heart-to-Heart with God about the Sabbath”. It is a great example of how we can consider our observance of the Sabbath day. You can watch it at this link: My Heart-to-Heart with God about the Sabbath

One of the things that I have thought about more this week, is the end of the verse, which teaches us that through our Sabbath day observance, we “may know that [He is] the Lord that doth sanctify [us].” Keeping the Sabbath day holy, brings us closer to Christ. It helps us to remember that we become better through Him and the gift of the atonement. He is the one who has the ability to make us pure and clean. He is the way to our personal perfection or to becoming whole in both body and spirit. He has the power to make us the best version of ourself. This verse promises us, that if we desire to know the Lord better, to become better, to be healed, or to feel clean, then we can, by keeping the Sabbath.

Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you.

I love the Sabbath day. It is my favorite day of the week. It is the gift of rest from every day labor. It is the opportunity to feel enriched, uplifted, and unburdened from worldly cares. It is a special time to focus more on family relationships. It is a time to renew covenants and show God that I am willing to remember Christ and to put Him first in my life. I love the feeling of renewed energy, peace of mind, and comfort, that I feel when I have done my best to reverence the Sabbath day. I hope that more people can experience the wonderful blessings of the gift of the Sabbath day.

What sign will you give on this Sabbath day?

Judges Chapter 19

During the period of judges in Israel, the people were without kings and generally without prophets. As the Lord’s people, they were expected to live righteously by following the laws given to them by God. If they would follow God’s law, they would receive blessings and protection. If they did not, the Lord would allow bondage and greater trials to come upon them. This chapter begins as follows:

1 And it came to pass in those days, when there was no king in Israel, that there was a certain Levite sojourning on the side of mount Ephraim, who took to him a concubine out of Beth-lehem-judah.
2 And his concubine played the whore against him, and went away from him unto her father’s house to Beth-lehem-judah, and was there four whole months.
3 And her husband arose, and went after her, to speak friendly unto her, and to bring her again, having his servant with him, and a couple of asses: and she brought him into her father’s house: and when the father of the damsel saw him, he rejoiced to meet him.
4 And his father in law, the damsel’s father, retained him; and he abode with him three days: so they did eat and drink, and lodged there.

A Levite, who was from the side of mount Ephraim, had a concubine. His concubine left her husband and committed adultery. She went to the home of her father and lived there for four months. The Levite went to her father’s house to bring her back, and when he arrived there, his father-in-law was pleased to see him. The father-in-law kept him there as a guest for three days.

5 And it came to pass on the fourth day, when they arose early in the morning, that he rose up to depart: and the damsel’s father said unto his son in law, Comfort thine heart with a morsel of bread, and afterward go your way.
6 And they sat down, and did eat and drink both of them together: for the damsel’s father had said unto the man, Be content, I pray thee, and tarry all night, and let thine heart be merry.
7 And when the man rose up to depart, his father in law urged him: therefore he lodged there again.
8 And he arose early in the morning on the fifth day to depart: and the damsel’s father said, Comfort thine heart, I pray thee. And they tarried until afternoon, and they did eat both of them.
9 And when the man rose up to depart, he, and his concubine, and his servant, his father in law, the damsel’s father, said unto him, Behold, now the day draweth toward evening, I pray you tarry all night: behold, the day groweth to an end, lodge here, that thine heart may be merry; and to morrow get you early on your way, that thou mayest go home.
10 But the man would not tarry that night, but he rose up and departed, and came over against Jebus, which is Jerusalem; and there were with him two asses saddled, his concubine also was with him.
11 And when they were by Jebus, the day was far spent; and the servant said unto his master, Come, I pray thee, and let us turn in into this city of the Jebusites, and lodge in it.
12 And his master said unto him, We will not turn aside hither into the city of a stranger, that is not of the children of Israel; we will pass over to Gibeah.
13 And he said unto his servant, Come, and let us draw near to one of these places to lodge all night, in Gibeah, or in Ramah.
14 And they passed on and went their way; and the sun went down upon them when they were by Gibeah, which belongeth to Benjamin.
15 And they turned aside thither, to go in and to lodge in Gibeah: and when he went in, he sat him down in a street of the city: for there was no man that took them into his house to lodging.

They stayed for a meal on the forth day, because the father begged him to stay. Then the father-in-law asked him to stay again, because he wanted the Levite to be content. He asked him to remain again on the fifth day, so they stayed for a good part of the day. The father-in-law asked him to stay again, but the man refused and went on his way. They stopped in Jebus, but the Levite would not stay there because it was not an Israelite city. The Levite decided they would continue on to Gibeah, of the tribe of Benjamin, and stay there. When they arrived, they did not have a place to stay, so they sat in the street.

16 And, behold, there came an old man from his work out of the field at even, which was also of mount Ephraim; and he sojourned in Gibeah: but the men of the place were Benjamites.
17 And when he had lifted up his eyes, he saw a wayfaring man in the street of the city: and the old man said, Whither goest thou? and whence comest thou?
18 And he said unto him, We are passing from Beth-lehem-judah toward the side of mount Ephraim; from thence am I: and I went to Beth-lehem-judah, but I am now going to the house of the Lord; and there is no man that receiveth me to house.
19 Yet there is both straw and provender for our asses; and there is bread and wine also for me, and for thy handmaid, and for the young man which is with thy servants: there is no want of any thing.
20 And the old man said, Peace be with thee; howsoever let all thy wants lie upon me; only lodge not in the street.
21 So he brought him into his house, and gave provender unto the asses: and they washed their feet, and did eat and drink.

An old man, who was also from mount Ephraim, but lived in Gibeah, saw the man in the street and asked him where he was coming from and where he was going. The Levite told him they were returning to mount Ephraim, where they were from, from Beth-lehem-judah. The Levite was returning to the house of the Lord. He told him that no one would give them a place to stay for the night. The man asked them to stay with him for the night.

22 Now as they were making their hearts merry, behold, the men of the city, certain sons of Belial, beset the house round about, and beat at the door, and spake to the master of the house, the old man, saying, Bring forth the man that came into thine house, that we may know him.
23 And the man, the master of the house, went out unto them, and said unto them, Nay, my brethren, nay, I pray you, do not so wickedly; seeing that this man is come into mine house, do not this folly.
24 Behold, here is my daughter a maiden, and his concubine; them I will bring out now, and humble ye them, and do with them what seemeth good unto you: but unto this man do not so vile a thing.
25 But the men would not hearken to him: so the man took his concubine, and brought her forth unto them; and they knew her, and abused her all the night until the morning: and when the day began to spring, they let her go.
26 Then came the woman in the dawning of the day, and fell down at the door of the man’s house where her lord was, till it was light.
27 And her lord rose up in the morning, and opened the doors of the house, and went out to go his way: and, behold, the woman his concubine was fallen down at the door of the house, and her hands were upon the threshold.
28 And he said unto her, Up, and let us be going. But none answered. Then the man took her up upon an ass, and the man rose up, and gat him unto his place.

As they were in the home, merrily eating and drinking, the sons of Belial encircled the house and came asking for the man that had entered the old man’s home. They planned to abuse the man. The old man begged for the men not to do this wicked thing to his guest. Instead, the old man offered his daughter and the Levite’s concubine to the men. The men would not listen to the old man, so the Levite gave them his concubine. The men of the city abused the concubine all night and then let her go the next morning. She went back to the old man’s house, to her husband. When the Levite went to leave, he saw her on the ground. He told her to get up, but she did not answer him, because she had died. He lifted her body onto a donkey and he left with her.

29 And when he was come into his house, he took a knife, and laid hold on his concubine, and divided her, together with her bones, into twelve pieces, and sent her into all the coasts of Israel.
30 And it was so, that all that saw it said, There was no such deed done nor seen from the day that the children of Israel came up out of the land of Egypt unto this day: consider of it, take advice, and speak your minds.

He brought her to his home, cut her into twelve pieces and sent them to each of the tribes of Israel. Those who witnessed it, said that nothing like it had been done in Israel since they had come out of Egypt.

The people of Benjamin, specifically in the city of Gibeah, had become a wicked and perverse people. This way of coming after a visitor or stranger, to abuse them and have their way with them, was truly wicked. It reminds me of the things that happened to Lot in the city of Sodom, just before the Lord destroyed the entire city for its wickedness. I think that the wickedness of the people of Gibeah, was likely the result of allowing other nations to remain in the area of Benjamin when they had been given instruction to destroy the nations in the land. This is quite possibly the outcome of other nations being an influence on the Israelites.

There are places in the world today, which are set apart by the world for unrighteous and unholy activities. There are men and women in the world who are like the men of Gibeah and Sodom, who sought wicked ways to find pleasure. These types of places and people can influence our own lives in negative ways. This is why we need to be watchful always. I don’t think that the men of Gibeah were influenced to do this wickedness over night, but that over time they were lulled into this behavior. At one time, the men of Gibeah had been blessed people of the Lord. The world had influenced them. The idea that the righteous of the world need to change their ways to be more accepting of the behavior of others, is how this influence starts. If, at first, we think that the choices of others will never effect us and we begin to allow things to happen willingly around us, it will not be long before we are expected to accept that wickedness as a way of life, to condone it in the lives of others, and then even begin to allow it into our own lives. Those who desire to be disciples of Christ and righteous people of God, must stand for what is right and shun those things they know to be against the commandments of God. Our covenants and promises to God, are more important than pleasing men.


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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