Posts Tagged 'Keep the Commandments'

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.

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1 Kings Chapter 11

Solomon had been blessed to be given the kingdom of Israel to rule over. He had been visited by the Lord two times, in which the Lord had blessed him to be the wisest and wealthiest king of his time. He was well known by all nations, and greatly sought after for his wisdom. He had been blessed with these things, and with the promise that his family would continue to rule, if he would continue to remember the Lord and keep the commandments. This chapter begins with the following:

1 But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites;
2 Of the nations concerning which the Lord said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love.
3 And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart.
4 For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father.
5 For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites.
6 And Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord, and went not fully after the Lord, as did David his father.
7 Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon.
8 And likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods.

Solomon was married to the daughter of Pharaoh, and also married many women who were strangers, or not Israelite women. His marriage to many women was not forbidden by the Lord. However, he married women who belonged to nations that the Lord had forbidden the Israelites to marry. They were from nations who followed after false gods. The Israelites had been forbidden to go to them, because they would lead them away from the Lord and to following after their false gods. Solomon loved these many women, and they led his heart away from the Lord, who had given him so much to be grateful for. He no longer lived the commandments, but turned to Ashtoreth (worshipped with Baal) and Milcom (fire god, known for sacrificing children by fire), false gods of the Zidonians and Ammonites. In fact, it says here that he turned his heart to them, which shows that they became of great importance to him. He also built a place of worship for Chemosh (human sacrifices) and Molech (also known as Milcom), who were the gods of the Moabites and the children of Ammon. He built them in the “high places”, just as places of worship had been built to the Lord, before Solomon built the temple in Jerusalem.

I can see how someone who believed in the Lord and did so much to show his devotion, like building the grand temple to the Lord, would fall away like this. Solomon was exposed to all the great people of all the nations. They offered him the best they had as gifts, including their daughters and other women. He loved them. I can imagine him wanting them to be happy and feel of his love and acceptance. It may have started as simply allowing them to continue to worship as they wanted, but eventually he began to support them by giving them things in order to continue that worship. After time, his wives were able to lead him into following their beliefs instead of the beliefs he had been raised with by his father, David. This didn’t happen overnight, as it says he was old when he turned away. It took years. One of the tactics of the adversary, is to slowly lead away the righteous, so they don’t recognize that something is happening. This is why we must be continually on guard and follow commandments given. If Solomon had followed the commandment to stay away from marrying women of certain wicked nations, he would have been kept safe from this temptation and his own weakness with it.

9 And the Lord was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the Lord God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice,
10 And had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods: but he kept not that which the Lord commanded.
11 Wherefore the Lord said unto Solomon, Forasmuch as this is done of thee, and thou hast not kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy servant.
12 Notwithstanding in thy days I will not do it for David thy father’s sake: but I will rend it out of the hand of thy son.
13 Howbeit I will not rend away all the kingdom; but will give one tribe to thy son for David my servant’s sake, and for Jerusalem’s sake which I have chosen.

The anger of the Lord was upon King Solomon, because he turned his heart from Him and had broken the commandments. Since he had been privileged twice, to have a witness of the Lord, I am sure that the standard for King Solomon was set even higher than most people who have lived. Solomon was promised at this time, that his kingdom would be taken from his family and given to another, at the time his son was on the throne. Because of the promises given to David, the kingdom was not to be taken during Solomon’s reign, and one tribe would be left to their line, including Jerusalem.

14 And the Lord stirred up an adversary unto Solomon, Hadad the Edomite: he was of the king’s seed in Edom.
15 For it came to pass, when David was in Edom, and Joab the captain of the host was gone up to bury the slain, after he had smitten every male in Edom;
16 (For six months did Joab remain there with all Israel, until he had cut off every male in Edom:)
17 That Hadad fled, he and certain Edomites of his father’s servants with him, to go into Egypt; Hadad being yet a little child.
18 And they arose out of Midian, and came to Paran: and they took men with them out of Paran, and they came to Egypt, unto Pharaoh king of Egypt; which gave him an house, and appointed him victuals, and gave him land.
19 And Hadad found great favour in the sight of Pharaoh, so that he gave him to wife the sister of his own wife, the sister of Tahpenes the queen.
20 And the sister of Tahpenes bare him Genubath his son, whom Tahpenes weaned in Pharaoh’s house: and Genubath was in Pharaoh’s household among the sons of Pharaoh.
21 And when Hadad heard in Egypt that David slept with his fathers, and that Joab the captain of the host was dead, Hadad said to Pharaoh, Let me depart, that I may go to mine own country.
22 Then Pharaoh said unto him, But what hast thou lacked with me, that, behold, thou seekest to go to thine own country? And he answered, Nothing: howbeit let me go in any wise.

The Lord allowed Hadad the Edomite, to be stirred up against Solomon. Hadad had been a refuge from Israel to Egypt, as a little child. He had been given land in Egypt, and eventually found favor with Pharaoh. Hadad had married the sister of the queen of Egypt, and his son lived among the sons of Pharaoh. When David and Joab had both died, Hadad asked Pharoah if he could return to his own land. Pharaoh asked him what he was lacking in Egypt, that would cause him to return to his own land, and Hadad asked to return anyway.

23 And God stirred him up another adversary, Rezon the son of Eliadah, which fled from his lord Hadadezer king of Zobah:
24 And he gathered men unto him, and became captain over a band, when David slew them of Zobah: and they went to Damascus, and dwelt therein, and reigned in Damascus.
25 And he was an adversary to Israel all the days of Solomon, beside the mischief that Hadad did: and he abhorred Israel, and reigned over Syria.

Likewise, Rezon of Zobah, became stirred up against Solomon and Israel, because David had killed those in Zobah. Rezon lived in Damascus and reigned over Syria. He and Hadad did mischief against Israel.

26 And Jeroboam the son of Nebat, an Ephrathite of Zereda, Solomon’s servant, whose mother’s name was Zeruah, a widow woman, even he lifted up his hand against the king.
27 And this was the cause that he lifted up his hand against the king: Solomon built Millo, and repaired the breaches of the city of David his father.
28 And the man Jeroboam was a mighty man of valour: and Solomon seeing the young man that he was industrious, he made him ruler over all the charge of the house of Joseph.
29 And it came to pass at that time when Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem, that the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite found him in the way; and he had clad himself with a new garment; and they two were alone in the field:
30 And Ahijah caught the new garment that was on him, and rent it in twelve pieces:
31 And he said to Jeroboam, Take thee ten pieces: for thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel, Behold, I will rend the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon, and will give ten tribes to thee:
32 (But he shall have one tribe for my servant David’s sake, and for Jerusalem’s sake, the city which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel:)
33 Because that they have forsaken me, and have worshipped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, Chemosh the god of the Moabites, and Milcom the god of the children of Ammon, and have not walked in my ways, to do that which is right in mine eyes, and to keep my statutes and my judgments, as did David his father.
34 Howbeit I will not take the whole kingdom out of his hand: but I will make him prince all the days of his life for David my servant’s sake, whom I chose, because he kept my commandments and my statutes:
35 But I will take the kingdom out of his son’s hand, and will give it unto thee, even ten tribes.
36 And unto his son will I give one tribe, that David my servant may have a light alway before me in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen me to put my name there.
37 And I will take thee, and thou shalt reign according to all that thy soul desireth, and shalt be king over Israel.
38 And it shall be, if thou wilt hearken unto all that I command thee, and wilt walk in my ways, and do that is right in my sight, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as David my servant did; that I will be with thee, and build thee a sure house, as I built for David, and will give Israel unto thee.
39 And I will for this afflict the seed of David, but not for ever.
40 Solomon sought therefore to kill Jeroboam. And Jeroboam arose, and fled into Egypt, unto Shishak king of Egypt, and was in Egypt until the death of Solomon.

Additionally, the Lord allowed Jeroboam to be stirred up against Solomon. Jeroboam was of Zereda and a servant of Solomon. He was angry with Solomon because he had built up the defenses in Jerusalem and repaired the city of David. Jeroboam had been recognized as a mighty man, so he was placed in charge of the house of Joseph. One day, dressed in new clothing, he came upon the prophet Ahijah. Ahijah took his new clothes and tore them into twelve pieces. The prophet told Jeroboam to take ten of the pieces, because the Lord would take ten of the tribes of Israel and give them to Jeroboam, leaving the king with one tribe and Jerusalem. This was because the tribes had forsaken the Lord and turned to worshipped other gods, breaking the commandments and statutes that had been given to them. The footnote says that the Septuagint translation of the bible reads as two tribes. Considering Jeroboam was promised ten, and we know that the line of Joseph was split into two tribes, there would be one tribe missing. This seems to make more sense to me. Either way, Solomon the king, would be left a prince or ruler of this tribe, because of the promises to David. His son would rule over Jerusalem (Judah), which was the chosen city of the Lord and was the place of His temple. Solomon would not repent, as his father David had repented after falling into his own temptations (see footnote c of verse 33).

Jeroboam was told that the would be made king and rule over Israel, and would be allowed to rule as he desired. If Jeroboam would obey the commandments given to him by the Lord, the Lord would be with him and his kingdom would remain. He was promised that the seed of David would be afflicted, but not forever. This was a continuation of the curse placed on David for his transgression against God. After Jeroboam received this promise, Solomon went after him and he fled into Egypt, remaining there until Solomon died.

41 And the rest of the acts of Solomon, and all that he did, and his wisdom, are they not written in the book of the acts of Solomon?
42 And the time that Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel was forty years.
43 And Solomon slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David his father: and Rehoboam his son reigned in his stead.

This was all that was recorded in this book, regarding Solomon. There may have been more recorded in other books, but they have been lost to us since then. After forty years of being the king of Israel, ruling in Jerusalem, Solomon died. His son, Rehoboam, reigned in his stead.

Time and time again, the rulers of Israel, were punished for turning from the Lord. This is because the adversary has great power among men. We are not free from this in our day either. Satan uses tactics today, just as he did to those in biblical times. In fact, this tactic of slowly leading good people into carnal security, can be seen throughout the world today. Even the best can fall, if they are not watchful. This is why it is important for disciples of Christ, to do those things each day that will guard them against the traps and snares of the adversary. It is vital that good people continue to be good, by searching the scriptures daily, praying daily, following the commandments of God, and turning to the Lord continually to repent and find the strength to endure in these difficult times. If these things are not done, we can also turn from God. The results will be the same in our lives, as they were for Solomon. The Lord will allow our own enemies, even ourselves, to come against us. Our safety comes in following the Lord and keeping His commandments. I am so grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ, because it helps me to remember the commandments and my covenants with God. It helps me to try harder to live more righteously, and gives me hope that I will be able to overcome the temptations of the adversary.

1 Kings Chapter 8

Temple

The temple was built in Jerusalem and was prepared to be dedicated to the Lord. This chapter tells of the final steps needed to take this grand building that Solomon had built and make it truly the House of the Lord rather than just a pretty bulding. It begins with the following:

1 Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel, and all the heads of the tribes, the chief of the fathers of the children of Israel, unto king Solomon in Jerusalem, that they might bring up the ark of the covenant of the Lord out of the city of David, which is Zion.
2 And all the men of Israel assembled themselves unto king Solomon at the feast in the month Ethanim, which is the seventh month.
3 And all the elders of Israel came, and the priests took up the ark.
4 And they brought up the ark of the Lord, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and all the holy vessels that were in the tabernacle, even those did the priests and the Levites bring up.
5 And king Solomon, and all the congregation of Israel, that were assembled unto him, were with him before the ark, sacrificing sheep and oxen, that could not be told nor numbered for multitude.
6 And the priests brought in the ark of the covenant of the Lord unto his place, into the oracle of the house, to the most holy place, even under the wings of the cherubims.
7 For the cherubims spread forth their two wings over the place of the ark, and the cherubims covered the ark and the staves thereof above.
8 And they drew out the staves, that the ends of the staves were seen out in the holy place before the oracle, and they were not seen without: and there they are unto this day.
9 There was nothing in the ark save the two tables of stone, which Moses put there at Horeb, when the Lord made a covenant with the children of Israel, when they came out of the land of Egypt.
10 And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the Lord,
11 So that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud: for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of the Lord.

The leaders of Israel were gathered together, so that the ark of the covenant could be brought to the temple, from where it had been placed prior to this. Once assembled, the elders had a feast. The priests and Levites brought the ark, as well as the tabernacle and all that went with it, and placed it within the holy place of the temple, just as they had been commanded in the tabernacle under the direction of Moses. The congregation of Israel made sacrifices in great number. It was placed under the wings of the cherubs, as it’s permanent location. There was no intention of it being moved again now that the there was a permanent structure instead of the portable tabernacle, so they removed the staves which were connected to the ark in order to carry it as they traveled. The two tablets of stone, brought down from the mount by Moses, which contained the words of the Lord regarding the covenants of Israel, remained in the ark. A cloud and the glory of the Lord filled the temple to the point where the priests were unable to stand and minister. The cloud showed the people that God accepted the temple.

The cloud was a physical representation of the presence of God among the Israelites. There was a cloud that led them from Egypt and was there when Moses received the law. There was a cloud with the tabernacle as they wandered in the desert. When they could see the cloud, they knew that God was there. Sometimes I wonder how people today, including myself, would behave if they were able to witness a physical representation of God in this way. I believe that we do not have this experience as a people, because we live in a time, even the latter days, when greater faith is required of us. In order to stand in the battle we have against evil, our faith must be strong. We can have our own personal witnesses after we act in faith. A personal witness has the power to convert our hearts and shape our character in ways that draw us nearer to God.

12 Then spake Solomon, The Lord said that he would dwell in the thick darkness.
13 I have surely built thee an house to dwell in, a settled place for thee to abide in for ever.
14 And the king turned his face about, and blessed all the congregation of Israel: (and all the congregation of Israel stood;)
15 And he said, Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, which spake with his mouth unto David my father, and hath with his hand fulfilled it, saying,
16 Since the day that I brought forth my people Israel out of Egypt, I chose no city out of all the tribes of Israel to build an house, that my name might be therein; but I chose David to be over my people Israel.
17 And it was in the heart of David my father to build an house for the name of the Lord God of Israel.
18 And the Lord said unto David my father, Whereas it was in thine heart to build an house unto my name, thou didst well that it was in thine heart.
19 Nevertheless thou shalt not build the house; but thy son that shall come forth out of thy loins, he shall build the house unto my name.
20 And the Lord hath performed his word that he spake, and I am risen up in the room of David my father, and sit on the throne of Israel, as the Lord promised, and have built an house for the name of the Lord God of Israel.
21 And I have set there a place for the ark, wherein is the covenant of the Lord, which he made with our fathers, when he brought them out of the land of Egypt.

King Solomon gave a blessing upon the congregation of Israel. He praised God for fulfilling the promise he made to his father, David. He spoke of the word of the Lord to David, telling him that his son would build the house to His name, which David desired to build. David spoke of building a place for the ark, which contained the words of the covenants made between God and the Israelites who were brought out of bondage in Egypt.

22 And Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in the presence of all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward heaven:
23 And he said, Lord God of Israel, there is no God like thee, in heaven above, or on earth beneath, who keepest covenant and mercy with thy servants that walk before thee with all their heart:
24 Who hast kept with thy servant David my father that thou promisedst him: thou spakest also with thy mouth, and hast fulfilled it with thine hand, as it is this day.
25 Therefore now, Lord God of Israel, keep with thy servant David my father that thou promisedst him, saying, There shall not fail thee a man in my sight to sit on the throne of Israel; so that thy children take heed to their way, that they walk before me as thou hast walked before me.
26 And now, O God of Israel, let thy word, I pray thee, be verified, which thou spakest unto thy servant David my father.
27 But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded?
28 Yet have thou respect unto the prayer of thy servant, and to his supplication, O Lord my God, to hearken unto the cry and to the prayer, which thy servant prayeth before thee to day:
29 That thine eyes may be open toward this house night and day, even toward the place of which thou hast said, My name shall be there: that thou mayest hearken unto the prayer which thy servant shall make toward this place.
30 And hearken thou to the supplication of thy servant, and of thy people Israel, when they shall pray toward this place: and hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place: and when thou hearest, forgive.

Solomon prayed to the Lord, giving praise to God. He asked that the Lord also continue to fulfill another promise made to David, which was that David’s line would continue on the throne according to their faithfulness. He asked if God would dwell among them, even though the house they build could not contain Him. He prayed that the temple would be watched over as His house, with His name, and that the prayer of Solomon would be heard, as well as the prayers of those who would turn towards the temple, that they might be forgiven.

31 If any man trespass against his neighbour, and an oath be laid upon him to cause him to swear, and the oath come before thine altar in this house:
32 Then hear thou in heaven, and do, and judge thy servants, condemning the wicked, to bring his way upon his head; and justifying the righteous, to give him according to his righteousness.

Solomon prayed that all their oaths would go before the altar of the Lord, and that they would be judged by them to the condemning of the wicked and blessing of the righteous.

33 When thy people Israel be smitten down before the enemy, because they have sinned against thee, and shall turn again to thee, and confess thy name, and pray, and make supplication unto thee in this house:
34 Then hear thou in heaven, and forgive the sin of thy people Israel, and bring them again unto the land which thou gavest unto their fathers.

He prayed that when the people fell away and were brought down by their enemies, repenting and praying to the Lord, they might be forgiven and restored to the land of promise.

35 When heaven is shut up, and there is no rain, because they have sinned against thee; if they pray toward this place, and confess thy name, and turn from their sin, when thou afflictest them:
36 Then hear thou in heaven, and forgive the sin of thy servants, and of thy people Israel, that thou teach them the good way wherein they should walk, and give rain upon thy land, which thou hast given to thy people for an inheritance.

He prayed that when times of drought, brought upon them by sin, caused that they returned to the Lord and to the temple, then God would hear them and forgive them, teaching them to walk in righteousness through the word of God and revelations, and allowing the rain to come upon the land of promise.

37 If there be in the land famine, if there be pestilence, blasting, mildew, locust, or if there be caterpiller; if their enemy besiege them in the land of their cities; whatsoever plague, whatsoever sickness there be;
38 What prayer and supplication soever be made by any man, or by all thy people Israel, which shall know every man the plague of his own heart, and spread forth his hands toward this house:
39 Then hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place, and forgive, and do, and give to every man according to his ways, whose heart thou knowest; (for thou, even thou only, knowest the hearts of all the children of men;)
40 That they may fear thee all the days that they live in the land which thou gavest unto our fathers.
41 Moreover concerning a stranger, that is not of thy people Israel, but cometh out of a far country for thy name’s sake;
42 (For they shall hear of thy great name, and of thy strong hand, and of thy stretched out arm;) when he shall come and pray toward this house;
43 Hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place, and do according to all that the stranger calleth to thee for: that all people of the earth may know thy name, to fear thee, as do thy people Israel; and that they may know that this house, which I have builded, is called by thy name.

He prayed that the prayers of those who suffered from any plague, whether upon the land or in one heart, would be heard. He prayed that God would forgive them and bless each man according to his heart. He prayed that as long as they live in the promised land, they would fear the Lord, and that any who left their own lands seeking for the Lord, praying towards the temple, could be blessed by having their prayers answered. He prayed that people all over the earth would know the Lord and fear Him as the people of Israel feared Him. He prayed that all would know that this temple was the Lord’s house.

44 If thy people go out to battle against their enemy, whithersoever thou shalt send them, and shall pray unto the Lord toward the city which thou hast chosen, and toward the house that I have built for thy name:
45 Then hear thou in heaven their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause.
46 If they sin against thee, (for there is no man that sinneth not,) and thou be angry with them, and deliver them to the enemy, so that they carry them away captives unto the land of the enemy, far or near;
47 Yet if they shall bethink themselves in the land whither they were carried captives, and repent, and make supplication unto thee in the land of them that carried them captives, saying, We have sinned, and have done perversely, we have committed wickedness;
48 And so return unto thee with all their heart, and with all their soul, in the land of their enemies, which led them away captive, and pray unto thee toward their land, which thou gavest unto their fathers, the city which thou hast chosen, and the house which I have built for thy name:
49 Then hear thou their prayer and their supplication in heaven thy dwelling place, and maintain their cause,
50 And forgive thy people that have sinned against thee, and all their transgressions wherein they have transgressed against thee, and give them compassion before them who carried them captive, that they may have compassion on them:
51 For they be thy people, and thine inheritance, which thou broughtest forth out of Egypt, from the midst of the furnace of iron:
52 That thine eyes may be open unto the supplication of thy servant, and unto the supplication of thy people Israel, to hearken unto them in all that they call for unto thee.
53 For thou didst separate them from among all the people of the earth, to be thine inheritance, as thou spakest by the hand of Moses thy servant, when thou broughtest our fathers out of Egypt, O Lord God.
54 And it was so, that when Solomon had made an end of praying all this prayer and supplication unto the Lord, he arose from before the altar of the Lord, from kneeling on his knees with his hands spread up to heaven.
55 And he stood, and blessed all the congregation of Israel with a loud voice, saying,
56 Blessed be the Lord, that hath given rest unto his people Israel, according to all that he promised: there hath not failed one word of all his good promise, which he promised by the hand of Moses his servant.
57 The Lord our God be with us, as he was with our fathers: let him not leave us, nor forsake us:
58 That he may incline our hearts unto him, to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and his statutes, and his judgments, which he commanded our fathers.
59 And let these my words, wherewith I have made supplication before the Lord, be nigh unto the Lord our God day and night, that he maintain the cause of his servant, and the cause of his people Israel at all times, as the matter shall require:
60 That all the people of the earth may know that the Lord is God, and that there is none else.
61 Let your heart therefore be perfect with the Lord our God, to walk in his statutes, and to keep his commandments, as at this day.

Solomon prayed that those faithful who prayed towards the temple would be blessed in the battles with their enemies (at least those who God would command them to fight). He prayed that sinners, who would be carried away captive by their enemies, but repent and turn their hearts back to God in prayer, would be forgiven and blessed that their enemies would have compassion on them. He asked that the Lord would remember them as His people when they had repented. When Solomon finished his prayer, he blessed the congregation, with a reminder that the Lord would be with them, if they would turn their hearts to God and keep the commandments. The Lord had fulfilled all that He had promised them regarding the rest among their people, and for this they should have been grateful. God always keeps his word and promises to mankind. He asked that all the earth would come to know that the Lord was the true and only God, as they strived to keep the commandments.

62 And the king, and all Israel with him, offered sacrifice before the Lord.
63 And Solomon offered a sacrifice of peace offerings, which he offered unto the Lord, two and twenty thousand oxen, and an hundred and twenty thousand sheep. So the king and all the children of Israel dedicated the house of the Lord.
64 The same day did the king hallow the middle of the court that was before the house of the Lord: for there he offered burnt offerings, and meat offerings, and the fat of the peace offerings: because the brasen altar that was before the Lord was too little to receive the burnt offerings, and meat offerings, and the fat of the peace offerings.
65 And at that time Solomon held a feast, and all Israel with him, a great congregation, from the entering in of Hamath unto the river of Egypt, before the Lord our God, seven days and seven days, even fourteen days.
66 On the eighth day he sent the people away: and they blessed the king, and went unto their tents joyful and glad of heart for all the goodness that the Lord had done for David his servant, and for Israel his people.

The people then made sacrifices at the dedication of the temple. Solomon held a feast and the people were worshipping there for fourteen days. Then Solomon sent the people back to their homes, and they were full of joy and gladness because of the blessings that the Lord had given to David and all Israel. The completion of the temples today, followed by the sacred dedications, also bring much joy and gladness to the hearts of disciples of Christ.

There is great importance in having dedicatory prayers. When we want the Lord to accept our sacrifices and offerings, we need to commit them through our words to Him. When we want to serve the Lord in our personal lives, we need to dedicate our time to Him through prayer. The spirit can attend us, just as it can be in the house of the Lord, after we dedicate our bodies, hearts, minds and time to Him.

This chapter is an indication of the love that Solomon had for the Lord. He clearly desired to do the will of God and lead his people to do the same. He showed gratitude and praise for God, and recognized His hand in the lives of his predecessors as well as his own life. Solomon did not take credit for the peace of his people, but owed that to the Lord. He feared God and loved his people.

One other thing that this chapter causes me to ponder on, is the need to pray towards the temple. The children of Israel were told to physically turn towards Jerusalem and pray towards the temple. We have not been told to do this physically in our day, but we too must face ourselves towards the temple if we desire to have the Spirit as our companion. This means that we pray with the intent to keep our covenants and the commandments of God. It means that we will strive to live the gospel, with a continued prayer in our hearts. It means that we will live worthy of the temple, even when we are not in the walls of the temple. I am grateful for the temple and the figure of holiness it is in my life. It is a constant reminder of my personal desire to draw nearer to God.

The temple is truly the house of the Lord. I know that the Lord continues to command His people to build temples today. I have seen the dedication and rededication of a handful of temples and I have felt the spirit there. I know that this prayer of Solomon is much like the dedicatory prayers of the temples today. And like the people of Israel, the Lord will bless those who repent of their sins, turn to Him, worship Him, and serve in His holy house.

1 Kings Chapter 6

Temple

In the previous chapter, King Solomon began preparations to build the temple of the Lord. Chapter 6 tells more about the process and experience.

1 And it came to pass in the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, in the month Zif, which is the second month, that he began to build the house of the Lord.
2 And the house which king Solomon built for the Lord, the length thereof was threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof twenty cubits, and the height thereof thirty cubits.
3 And the porch before the temple of the house, twenty cubits was the length thereof, according to the breadth of the house; and ten cubits was the breadth thereof before the house.
4 And for the house he made windows of narrow lights.

480 years had passed since Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt towards the promised land. Solomon began to build the temple four years after he became king over the land. A description of the size is given. I think that the temple was not only built for the Lord, but as the Lord would have it built. It is not stated specifically, but just as Solomon was inspired in his duties as the king, I think he was inspired to know how to build the temple.

5 And against the wall of the house he built chambers round about, against the walls of the house round about, both of the temple and of the oracle: and he made chambers round about:
6 The nethermost chamber was five cubits broad, and the middle was six cubits broad, and the third was seven cubits broad: for without in the wall of the house he made narrowed rests round about, that the beams should not be fastened in the walls of the house.
7 And the house, when it was in building, was built of stone made ready before it was brought thither: so that there was neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron heard in the house, while it was in building.
8 The door for the middle chamber was in the right side of the house: and they went up with winding stairs into the middle chamber, and out of the middle into the third.
9 So he built the house, and finished it; and covered the house with beams and boards of cedar.
10 And then he built chambers against all the house, five cubits high: and they rested on the house with timber of cedar.

In this part of the description, we learn that there was a center part of the building, with rooms around it. The temple was built of stones that were prepared by cutting and shaping them before they were laid at the site of the building of the temple. This was so that no man-made tool was used directly on the building. I don’t think that this was the standard way of building at the time, but it was much like the instruction given when they were preparing the tabernacle over 400 years earlier.

11 And the word of the Lord came to Solomon, saying,
12 Concerning this house which thou art in building, if thou wilt walk in my statutes, and execute my judgments, and keep all my commandments to walk in them; then will I perform my word with thee, which I spake unto David thy father:
13 And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will not forsake my people Israel.
14 So Solomon built the house, and finished it.
15 And he built the walls of the house within with boards of cedar, both the floor of the house, and the walls of the ceiling: and he covered them on the inside with wood, and covered the floor of the house with planks of fir.
16 And he built twenty cubits on the sides of the house, both the floor and the walls with boards of cedar: he even built them for it within, even for the oracle, even for the most holy place.
17 And the house, that is, the temple before it, was forty cubits long.
18 And the cedar of the house within was carved with knops and open flowers: all was cedar; there was no stone seen.
19 And the oracle he prepared in the house within, to set there the ark of the covenant of the Lord.
20 And the oracle in the forepart was twenty cubits in length, and twenty cubits in breadth, and twenty cubits in the height thereof: and he overlaid it with pure gold; and so covered the altar which was of cedar.
21 So Solomon overlaid the house within with pure gold: and he made a partition by the chains of gold before the oracle; and he overlaid it with gold.
22 And the whole house he overlaid with gold, until he had finished all the house: also the whole altar that was by the oracle he overlaid with gold.

The Lord made promises to Solomon. If Solomon and his people would keep the commandments and be obedient to the Lord, the Lord would dwell among them and he would not abandon them. Solomon finished the building of the temple and the size and ornamental materials and designs are described in these verses. Much was made of or covered in gold. The house of the Lord was prepared to hold the ark of the covenant.

23 And within the oracle he made two cherubims of olive tree, each ten cubits high.
24 And five cubits was the one wing of the cherub, and five cubits the other wing of the cherub: from the uttermost part of the one wing unto the uttermost part of the other were ten cubits.
25 And the other cherub was ten cubits: both the cherubims were of one measure and one size.
26 The height of the one cherub was ten cubits, and so was it of the other cherub.
27 And he set the cherubims within the inner house: and they stretched forth the wings of the cherubims, so that the wing of the one touched the one wall, and the wing of the other cherub touched the other wall; and their wings touched one another in the midst of the house.
28 And he overlaid the cherubims with gold.
29 And he carved all the walls of the house round about with carved figures of cherubims and palm trees and open flowers, within and without.
30 And the floor of the house he overlaid with gold, within and without.

Large gold plated cherubims were made and placed inside the temple. Then the floor was overlaid with gold as well.

31 And for the entering of the oracle he made doors of olive tree: the lintel and side posts were a fifth part of the wall.
32 The two doors also were of olive tree; and he carved upon them carvings of cherubims and palm trees and open flowers, and overlaid them with gold, and spread gold upon the cherubims, and upon the palm trees.
33 So also made he for the door of the temple posts of olive tree, a fourth part of the wall.
34 And the two doors were of fir tree: the two leaves of the one door were folding, and the two leaves of the other door were folding.
35 And he carved thereon cherubims and palm trees and open flowers: and covered them with gold fitted upon the carved work.

Gold, cherub, and plant ornamentations were throughout the temple.

36 And he built the inner court with three rows of hewed stone, and a row of cedar beams.

There was stone and cedar that made up the inner court.

37 In the fourth year was the foundation of the house of the Lord laid, in the month Zif:
38 And in the eleventh year, in the month Bul, which is the eighth month, was the house finished throughout all the parts thereof, and according to all the fashion of it. So was he seven years in building it.

The foundation of the temple was laid in the forth year of Solomon’s reign and then the temple was completed in the eleventh year. This was a seven year process to build the temple of the Lord, which was the greatest that had ever built.

It is so interesting to me, to read of just how beautifully built the temple of Solomon was. It was of great importance, that it be built in a manner that would please the Lord and show the great reverence to God. A year ago I went on a little trip where I visited 10 modern day temples. They were all grand and beautiful. I had the opportunity to serve in the Salt Lake Temple. I can’t help but think of the beauty of that temple in all the areas that I was able to be in. It is majestic and the ornamentation seems so much like the description of the temple built by Solomon. However, the beauty of the temple would not have been the greatest part of it, in my opinion. Even greater, was the promise that the presence of the Lord would be within his temple, if the Israelites would live worthy of it. He would not leave them. He would remain with them so long as they remained righteous. We have these same promises made with each temple that is built in modern times. I know this is true and have felt the spirit of God in each temple I have been able to attend. I am so grateful for the spirit that can be there as I serve and how it blesses my life both in the temple and when I leave it.

1 Kings Chapter 2

When King David was getting nearer to the end of his life, he passed his kingdom to his son, Solomon. Solomon’s older brother, Adonijah, had desires to be king, and had attempted to claim the throne before anyone else had taken it. Is plans were thwarted by David, when Solomon took the throne. Adonijah had made a promise to Solomon and the newly appointed king had allowed him to go in peace. However the plans of Adonijah, did not end there. This chapter begins as follows:

1 Now the days of David drew nigh that he should die; and he charged Solomon his son, saying,
2 I go the way of all the earth: be thou strong therefore, and shew thyself a man;
3 And keep the charge of the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and his testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, that thou mayest prosper in all that thou doest, and whithersoever thou turnest thyself:
4 That the Lord may continue his word which he spake concerning me, saying, If thy children take heed to their way, to walk before me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul, there shall not fail thee (said he) a man on the throne of Israel.
5 Moreover thou knowest also what Joab the son of Zeruiah did to me, and what he did to the two captains of the hosts of Israel, unto Abner the son of Ner, and unto Amasa the son of Jether, whom he slew, and shed the blood of war in peace, and put the blood of war upon his girdle that was about his loins, and in his shoes that were on his feet.
6 Do therefore according to thy wisdom, and let not his hoar head go down to the grave in peace.
7 But shew kindness unto the sons of Barzillai the Gileadite, and let them be of those that eat at thy table: for so they came to me when I fled because of Absalom thy brother.
8 And, behold, thou hast with thee Shimei the son of Gera, a Benjamite of Bahurim, which cursed me with a grievous curse in the day when I went to Mahanaim: but he came down to meet me at Jordan, and I sware to him by the Lord, saying, I will not put thee to death with the sword.
9 Now therefore hold him not guiltless: for thou art a wise man, and knowest what thou oughtest to do unto him; but his hoar head bring thou down to the grave with blood.
10 So David slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David.
11 And the days that David reigned over Israel were forty years: seven years reigned he in Hebron, and thirty and three years reigned he in Jerusalem.

David was upon his death bed, and so he gave parting words to Solomon. David told Solomon to keep the commandments of the Lord, so that he would prosper in all he did and wherever he went. David had been promised by the Lord, that so long as his children would walk in righteousness, his posterity would remain on the throne in Israel. David also told Solomon to remember the things that Joab had done against David and his captains, which was to kill the captains and cause unnecessary bloodshed. David charged Solomon to not allow Joab to die in peace. David told Solomon to show kindness to the family of Barzillai, who had helped him during his time in hiding from Absalom. He also told Solomon to deal with Shimei, who had cursed David and had received a promise that the king would not kill him. After giving counsel to Solomon, David died and was buried in the city of David after 40 years of ruling in Hebron and Israel. He was about 70 years old at this time.

12 Then sat Solomon upon the throne of David his father; and his kingdom was established greatly.

Solomon began to reign in his father’s stead.

13 And Adonijah the son of Haggith came to Bath-sheba the mother of Solomon. And she said, Comest thou peaceably? And he said, Peaceably.
14 He said moreover, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And she said, Say on.
15 And he said, Thou knowest that the kingdom was mine, and that all Israel set their faces on me, that I should reign: howbeit the kingdom is turned about, and is become my brother’s: for it was his from the Lord.
16 And now I ask one petition of thee, deny me not. And she said unto him, Say on.
17 And he said, Speak, I pray thee, unto Solomon the king, (for he will not say thee nay,) that he give me Abishag the Shunammite to wife.
18 And Bath-sheba said, Well; I will speak for thee unto the king.

Adonijah continued his plans to get the kingdom, by going to Bath-sheba and after pointing out his desires to have the kingdom, but acknowledging that it was given to Solomon by the Lord, he asks her to give him Abishag to wife. Abishag was the last wife of David who had been given to him in his old age. Bath-Sheba said she would bring it up with the king.

19 Bath-sheba therefore went unto king Solomon, to speak unto him for Adonijah. And the king rose up to meet her, and bowed himself unto her, and sat down on his throne, and caused a seat to be set for the king’s mother; and she sat on his right hand.
20 Then she said, I desire one small petition of thee; I pray thee, say me not nay. And the king said unto her, Ask on, my mother: for I will not say thee nay.
21 And she said, Let Abishag the Shunammite be given to Adonijah thy brother to wife.
22 And king Solomon answered and said unto his mother, And why dost thou ask Abishag the Shunammite for Adonijah? ask for him the kingdom also; for he is mine elder brother; even for him, and for Abiathar the priest, and for Joab the son of Zeruiah.
23 Then king Solomon sware by the Lord, saying, God do so to me, and more also, if Adonijah have not spoken this word against his own life.
24 Now therefore, as the Lord liveth, which hath established me, and set me on the throne of David my father, and who hath made me an house, as he promised, Adonijah shall be put to death this day.
25 And king Solomon sent by the hand of Benaiah the son of Jehoiada; and he fell upon him that he died.

Bath-Sheba took the matter to king Solomon. She asked for Abishag to be given to Adonijah. Solomon responded by pointing out that this desire was a way to try to gain the kingdom from Solomon. As his older brother, allowing him to marry the wife of King David, would be a way to give him the kingdom. He saw this attempt by Adonijah, as going against the king, and worthy of punishment by death. Solomon called for the death of Adonijah, and it was done.

26 And unto Abiathar the priest said the king, Get thee to Anathoth, unto thine own fields; for thou art worthy of death: but I will not at this time put thee to death, because thou barest the ark of the Lord God before David my father, and because thou hast been afflicted in all wherein my father was afflicted.
27 So Solomon thrust out Abiathar from being priest unto the Lord; that he might fulfil the word of the Lord, which he spake concerning the house of Eli in Shiloh.

Abiathar was sent away, spared from death that he deserved for his acts of rebellion, because he had been one to serve the Lord while King David had reigned. He had served Solomon’s father, through all his trials. Solomon showed mercy to Abiathar, but was cast out from his service as high priest to the Lord. In their time and in his life of service, this consequence probably felt worse than death itself. There must have been so much shame in no longer being able to serve, which was his life’s calling.

28 Then tidings came to Joab: for Joab had turned after Adonijah, though he turned not after Absalom. And Joab fled unto the tabernacle of the Lord, and caught hold on the horns of the altar.
29 And it was told king Solomon that Joab was fled unto the tabernacle of the Lord; and, behold, he is by the altar. Then Solomon sent Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, saying, Go, fall upon him.
30 And Benaiah came to the tabernacle of the Lord, and said unto him, Thus saith the king, Come forth. And he said, Nay; but I will die here. And Benaiah brought the king word again, saying, Thus said Joab, and thus he answered me.
31 And the king said unto him, Do as he hath said, and fall upon him, and bury him; that thou mayest take away the innocent blood, which Joab shed, from me, and from the house of my father.
32 And the Lord shall return his blood upon his own head, who fell upon two men more righteous and better than he, and slew them with the sword, my father David not knowing thereof, to wit, Abner the son of Ner, captain of the host of Israel, and Amasa the son of Jether, captain of the host of Judah.
33 Their blood shall therefore return upon the head of Joab, and upon the head of his seed for ever: but upon David, and upon his seed, and upon his house, and upon his throne, shall there be peace for ever from the Lord.
34 So Benaiah the son of Jehoiada went up, and fell upon him, and slew him: and he was buried in his own house in the wilderness.

Joab learned what had happened, because he had conspired with Adonijah. In fear, he went to the tabernacle and held onto the horns of the altar. Solomon sent Benaiah to fall upon Joab. Joab was commanded by the words of the king, to come forth, but he refused and said he would die there. Solomon was told what Joab said, and told Benaiah to kill Joab and bury him, so that justice for the innocent, would be had. This was because Joab had killed Abner and Amasa by his own design and they had been good men who had served David faithfully. The Lord had commanded Israel to purge themselves of those who had guilt of innocent blood, or who had killed the innocent (see Deuteronomy 19:13). Since Solomon needed to start his reign free of the damage done by Joab, he needed to follow through on the instructions of his father. So, Benaiah did as he was commanded by the king.

35 And the king put Benaiah the son of Jehoiada in his room over the host: and Zadok the priest did the king put in the room of Abiathar.

Benaiah became the captain over the host of Israel, and Zadok became the new high priest.

36 And the king sent and called for Shimei, and said unto him, Build thee an house in Jerusalem, and dwell there, and go not forth thence any whither.
37 For it shall be, that on the day thou goest out, and passest over the brook Kidron, thou shalt know for certain that thou shalt surely die: thy blood shall be upon thine own head.
38 And Shimei said unto the king, The saying is good: as my lord the king hath said, so will thy servant do. And Shimei dwelt in Jerusalem many days.
39 And it came to pass at the end of three years, that two of the servants of Shimei ran away unto Achish son of Maachah king of Gath. And they told Shimei, saying, Behold, thy servants be in Gath.
40 And Shimei arose, and saddled his ass, and went to Gath to Achish to seek his servants: and Shimei went, and brought his servants from Gath.
41 And it was told Solomon that Shimei had gone from Jerusalem to Gath, and was come again.
42 And the king sent and called for Shimei, and said unto him, Did I not make thee to swear by the Lord, and protested unto thee, saying, Know for a certain, on the day thou goest out, and walkest abroad any whither, that thou shalt surely die? and thou saidst unto me, The word that I have heard is good.
43 Why then hast thou not kept the oath of the Lord, and the commandment that I have charged thee with?
44 The king said moreover to Shimei, Thou knowest all the wickedness which thine heart is privy to, that thou didst to David my father: therefore the Lord shall return thy wickedness upon thine own head;
45 And king Solomon shall be blessed, and the throne of David shall be established before the Lord for ever.
46 So the king commanded Benaiah the son of Jehoiada; which went out, and fell upon him, that he died. And the kingdom was established in the hand of Solomon.

Shimei, the man who had cursed David, was commanded to build a house in Jerusalem and remain there. Solomon told him that if he was to leave the house, he would surely die. So, Shimei did as he was commanded and lived for a while in Jerusalem. After three years, a few of his men left the house and ran away to Gath. Shimei learned that his servants were in Gath, and he went himself to get them. Solomon learned that Shimei had gone to Gath and back, and so Shimei was called before Solomon. Solomon reminded him that he had made an agreement with the king, that if he was to leave, he would die. He had not kept the oath made to the king, and because of those things which he had done to King David, Solomon commanded Benaiah to kill him. Benaiah did as he was commanded. The kingdom was established with Solomon.

With the death of David, it was necessary for Solomon to put his kingdom in order. This meant that he had to do away with those who had caused rebellion and disloyalty under the reign of his father, David. The decisions to be rid of men, such as Joab and Abiathar, were necessary for the line of David to remain on the throne in Israel, which had been promised by the Lord. Unity, peace, success and happiness, are not fostered in a place where dissenters, rebels, and those without loyalty, are left to influence and persuade others to join them. It was time to ‘clean the inner vessel’ of Israel, so that the nation could be strong. A lesson in this, is that it is good to take a look at our own house (those things which we have stewardship over, as Solomon had stewardship over Israel) and see that it is in order. What are those things that should be done away with in order to keep us strong? If we were preparing to leave this mortal life, what would be the things we would ask of our own family members? Knowing those things, what could we do now? If we desire to be like our Father in Heaven, following after the Lord, we should have a desire to have a house of order, because God’s house, is a house of order as well.

2 Samuel Chapter 17

Ahithophel was the former counselor to King David, who joined the conspiracy of Absalom, to overthrow David. Once David had fled Jerusalem, Ahithophel had become Absalom’s counselor. He had advised Absalom to take his father’s concubines, which had been left to take care of David’s home. Absalom had followed his counsel. Meanwhile, David had sent his friend Hushai to pretend to serve as a counselor to Absalom, and instead to spy on him. He was to report back to the priests, who would let David know all that he said. Additionally, Hushai was there to defeat the counsel of Ahithophel, so that it was seen as foolishness.

1 Moreover Ahithophel said unto Absalom, Let me now choose out twelve thousand men, and I will arise and pursue after David this night:
2 And I will come upon him while he is weary and weak handed, and will make him afraid: and all the people that are with him shall flee; and I will smite the king only:
3 And I will bring back all the people unto thee: the man whom thou seekest is as if all returned: so all the people shall be in peace.
4 And the saying pleased Absalom well, and all the elders of Israel.
5 Then said Absalom, Call now Hushai the Archite also, and let us hear likewise what he saith.
6 And when Hushai was come to Absalom, Absalom spake unto him, saying, Ahithophel hath spoken after this manner: shall we do after his saying? if not; speak thou.
7 And Hushai said unto Absalom, The counsel that Ahithophel hath given is not good at this time.
8 For, said Hushai, thou knowest thy father and his men, that they be mighty men, and they be chafed in their minds, as a bear robbed of her whelps in the field: and thy father is a man of war, and will not lodge with the people.
9 Behold, he is hid now in some pit, or in some other place: and it will come to pass, when some of them be overthrown at the first, that whosoever heareth it will say, There is a slaughter among the people that follow Absalom.
10 And he also that is valiant, whose heart is as the heart of a lion, shall utterly melt: for all Israel knoweth that thy father is a mighty man, and they which be with him are valiant men.
11 Therefore I counsel that all Israel be generally gathered unto thee, from Dan even to Beer-sheba, as the sand that is by the sea for multitude; and that thou go to battle in thine own person.
12 So shall we come upon him in some place where he shall be found, and we will light upon him as the dew falleth on the ground: and of him and of all the men that are with him there shall not be left so much as one.
13 Moreover, if he be gotten into a city, then shall all Israel bring ropes to that city, and we will draw it into the river, until there be not one small stone found there.
14 And Absalom and all the men of Israel said, The counsel of Hushai the Archite is better than the counsel of Ahithophel. For the Lord had appointed to defeat the good counsel of Ahithophel, to the intent that the Lord might bring evil upon Absalom.

Ahithophel gave counsel to Absalom, that he should allow him to take 12,000 men and go after David. His plan was to surprise David in his weakness and kill him alone. Then, he said that he would gather all the people back to Absalom and there would be peace. Absalom and the other leaders thought this sounded like a pleasing idea. They asked for Hushai to come to them and give them counsel as well. They told him of Ahithophel’s counsel, and he told Absalom it was not a good time to do it. He told him that the men of David were not weak men, but men of war. That they were bitter because of what had happened to them, and also, that David would not be with his people, but that he would be hiding elsewhere. Hushai said that when they began to go against the people of David, others would say that those that follow Absalom were being salughtered. He told Absalom that valiant men would be afraid, because of David and his men. Instead, he counseled Absalom to gather Israel to him, and for Absalom to go to battle himself. He said that they would find David and be able to defeat him and the men with him. That, they could defeat any city David would go into. Absalom and the elders agreed that this counsel was better than the counsel of Ahithophel. So, with help of the Lord, Husahi had defeated the counsel of Ahithophel. This was an answer to the prayers of David as he had fled Jerusalem.

15 Then said Hushai unto Zadok and to Abiathar the priests, Thus and thus did Ahithophel counsel Absalom and the elders of Israel; and thus and thus have I counselled.
16 Now therefore send quickly, and tell David, saying, Lodge not this night in the plains of the wilderness, but speedily pass over; lest the king be swallowed up, and all the people that are with him.
17 Now Jonathan and Ahimaaz stayed by En-rogel; for they might not be seen to come into the city: and a wench went and told them; and they went and told king David.
18 Nevertheless a lad saw them, and told Absalom: but they went both of them away quickly, and came to a man’s house in Bahurim, which had a well in his court; whither they went down.
19 And the woman took and spread a covering over the well’s mouth, and spread ground corn thereon; and the thing was not known.
20 And when Absalom’s servants came to the woman to the house, they said, Where is Ahimaaz and Jonathan? And the woman said unto them, They be gone over the brook of water. And when they had sought and could not find them, they returned to Jerusalem.
21 And it came to pass, after they were departed, that they came up out of the well, and went and told king David, and said unto David, Arise, and pass quickly over the water: for thus hath Ahithophel counselled against you.
22 Then David arose, and all the people that were with him, and they passed over Jordan: by the morning light there lacked not one of them that was not gone over Jordan.

Hushai went back to the priests, Zadok and Abiathar, and told them what had been counseled by Ahithophel and by himself. He sent warning to David, to flee over the Jordan, so that he would not be destroyed. The sons of the priests, Jonathan and Ahimaaz, went in secret to warn David. A young man saw them and told Absalom. They hid in a well in the court of a man named Bahurim. The woman of the house helped them hide by covering the well and hiding it. The servants of Absalom asked her where they had gone and she told them that they had passed over the brook. The servants were unable to find them, so they went back to Jerusalem. The sons came out of the well and found David to deliver their message to him. David quickly fled with all of his people, and were gone from the wilderness by morning.

23 And when Ahithophel saw that his counsel was not followed, he saddled his ass, and arose, and gat him home to his house, to his city, and put his household in order, and hanged himself, and died, and was buried in the sepulchre of his father.
24 Then David came to Mahanaim. And Absalom passed over Jordan, he and all the men of Israel with him.

Ahithophel learned that Absalom had not followed his counsel, so he went home to Giloh, and hung himself. I am guessing that he felt great shame in not being able to cousel his leader. He may have felt that he would never be listened to again, and so there was nothing else to live for. Absalom took his men and passed over the Jordan as well.

25 And Absalom made Amasa captain of the host instead of Joab: which Amasa was a man’s son, whose name was Ithra an Israelite, that went in to Abigail the daughter of Nahash, sister to Zeruiah Joab’s mother.
26 So Israel and Absalom pitched in the land of Gilead.

Amasa was made captain of the hosts of Absalom and they made their camp in Gilead. Absalom was prepared for war against David.

27 And it came to pass, when David was come to Mahanaim, that Shobi the son of Nahash of Rabbah of the children of Ammon, and Machir the son of Ammiel of Lo-debar, and Barzillai the Gileadite of Rogelim,
28 Brought beds, and basins, and earthen vessels, and wheat, and barley, and flour, and parched corn, and beans, and lentiles, and parched pulse,
29 And honey, and butter, and sheep, and cheese of kine, for David, and for the people that were with him, to eat: for they said, The people is hungry, and weary, and thirsty, in the wilderness.

As David went to Mahanaim, many of the leaders around, had provisions brought to David, to help him and his people.

In the course of events that had transpired, David had not continued in the path of sin he had found himself on, but was trying to live according to the will and commandments of God. Even though he had made some bad decisions while in Jerusalem, the Lord was willing to hear his prayers and give him help. We all make mistakes. We all sin, and when we feel godly sorrow for the things we have done, God will also be there for us. He will allow us the opportunity to repent and make up for the things we have done. There is very little that would not be forgiven by God, and I don’t think that many people would do those things. So, we should follow David’s example in continuing to turn to the Lord. He did this, even though he knew that there were things he could not make up for during his life time. God will bless those who are trying to become better each day. God will hear our sincere prayers and will be there for us as we strive to improve and serve.

2 Samuel Chapter 10

David ruled in Judah and Israel for forty years. With the strength of the Lord, he was able to keep the people of Israel safe and living in relative peace. He had this strength, because he remained faithful to God. This chapter continues a description of his reign.

1 And it came to pass after this, that the king of the children of Ammon died, and Hanun his son reigned in his stead.
2 Then said David, I will shew kindness unto Hanun the son of Nahash, as his father shewed kindness unto me. And David sent to comfort him by the hand of his servants for his father. And David’s servants came into the land of the children of Ammon.
3 And the princes of the children of Ammon said unto Hanun their lord, Thinkest thou that David doth honour thy father, that he hath sent comforters unto thee? hath not David rather sent his servants unto thee, to search the city, and to spy it out, and to overthrow it?
4 Wherefore Hanun took David’s servants, and shaved off the one half of their beards, and cut off their garments in the middle, even to their buttocks, and sent them away.
5 When they told it unto David, he sent to meet them, because the men were greatly ashamed: and the king said, Tarry at Jericho until your beards be grown, and then return.

David wanted to show kindness to Hanun, the new king of the Ammonites, because his father, Nahash, had shown kindness to David. He sent some of his servants, to comfort Hanun, but the princes of the Ammonites said that David sent the men in to spy on them. Hanun believed the words of the princes and took the servants and abused them. Then they sent David’s servants away, ashamed. Word reached David, he asked for the servants to meet him after their beards had grown back.

6 And when the children of Ammon saw that they stank before David, the children of Ammon sent and hired the Syrians of Beth-rehob, and the Syrians of Zoba, twenty thousand footmen, and of king Maacah a thousand men, and of Ish-tob twelve thousand men.
7 And when David heard of it, he sent Joab, and all the host of the mighty men.
8 And the children of Ammon came out, and put the battle in array at the entering in of the gate: and the Syrians of Zoba, and of Rehob, and Ish-tob, and Maacah, were by themselves in the field.
9 When Joab saw that the front of the battle was against him before and behind, he chose of all the choice men of Israel, and put them in array against the Syrians:
10 And the rest of the people he delivered into the hand of Abishai his brother, that he might put them in array against the children of Ammon.
11 And he said, If the Syrians be too strong for me, then thou shalt help me: but if the children of Ammon be too strong for thee, then I will come and help thee.
12 Be of good courage, and let us play the men for our people, and for the cities of our God: and the Lord do that which seemeth him good.
13 And Joab drew nigh, and the people that were with him, unto the battle against the Syrians: and they fled before him.
14 And when the children of Ammon saw that the Syrians were fled, then fled they also before Abishai, and entered into the city. So Joab returned from the children of Ammon, and came to Jerusalem.

The Ammonites hired the Syrians and prepared for battle against David and the Israelites. Joab led men against the Syrians, and Abishai led men against the Ammonites. Joab was prepared to fight for the Lord and his people, so he rallied the Israelites to courage. The Syrians fled from before Joab and his men. When the Ammonites saw that they fled, they also ran away. Joab returned to Jerusalem.

15 And when the Syrians saw that they were smitten before Israel, they gathered themselves together.
16 And Hadarezer sent, and brought out the Syrians that were beyond the river: and they came to Helam; and Shobach the captain of the host of Hadarezer went before them.
17 And when it was told David, he gathered all Israel together, and passed over Jordan, and came to Helam. And the Syrians set themselves in array against David, and fought with him.
18 And the Syrians fled before Israel; and David slew the men of seven hundred chariots of the Syrians, and forty thousand horsemen, and smote Shobach the captain of their host, who died there.
19 And when all the kings that were servants to Hadarezer saw that they were smitten before Israel, they made peace with Israel, and served them. So the Syrians feared to help the children of Ammon any more.

The Syrians decided to gather together again. David learned of it and he went up against the men of Syria. The Syrians fled, and David and his men defeated them. The kings made peace with Israel and chose to serve them. The Syrians were afraid to give the Ammonites any help after that point.

The promises of God to Israel, had been that they would be a strong nation. As David led his people with faith and trust in the Lord, they had defeated many nations and gained the strength they were promised. Men are much stronger with the Lord on their side, than they are without. This is true in the battles to defend nations, as well as in the much smaller battles of life. When we face trials, temptations, and enemies of all kinds in our own lives, we can find the strength we need if the Lord is on our side. The Lord promises to be with those who choose to follow and love Him. We do this, by striving to keep the commandments, making and keeping covenants with Him, and doing our best to be good people in this fallen world.

Ponderizing – Week 11 Thoughts

The verse I have chosen to ponderize this week, is 2 Nephi 10:24.

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, reconcile yourselves to the will of God, and not to the will of the devil and the flesh; and remember, after ye are reconciled unto God, that it is only in and through the grace of God that ye are saved.

I know there something beyond this life. I have had personal experiences in my life and have heard stories of family members and friends who have experienced things, that have taught me there is life after we die. My understanding and belief of what that life is, comes from the gospel of Jesus Christ, which teaches me that there are great blessings awaiting me there, beyond anything I can imagine. However, the blessings will not be the same for everyone. This is because, in this life we make choices and every choice has a consequence. These consequences do not only come in this life, but they will also come in our life after death. Every choice that is wrong, separates us from God. Because of the eternal laws of justice, all of us would be separated from God after this life. If this was the consequence we all were to receive, without any hope of changing it, there would have been no point in God’s plan to send us to this earth. We would be lost. God, however, made a plan, which allowed for a Savior, to be sacrificed to answer the law and to show mercy to all of us, if we would choose to accept it. This sacrifice was made by the Lord, Jesus Christ, and is called the atonement. With the atonement, Christ provides mercy and grace, which are the only reason any of us can be saved and hope to receive the blessings of God after this life.

How then, do we choose to accept this gift of sacrifice, which the Lord has provided for us? This verse gives us the answer. We must “reconcile [ourselves] to the will of God”. We have to choose the right way. Everyday we make choices. No matter what the world may tell us, there are choices that are morally right and those that are morally wrong. Not every decision we have to make, will be either right or wrong, but a lot of them will be. Those things that are right, will always be aligned with the things that God wants for us. Those things that are wrong, will always be aligned with the things that the devil wants for us, or those things of the flesh. To be reconciled is to settle differences or to bring harmony into our relationship with God. We can only do this by doing the things that He asks of us. Throughout the scriptures, their is a repeated phrase, that teaches us He wants us to keep His commandments. We become reconciled to the will of God, when we make the choice to keep the commandments of God. If we choose to do those things that we know to be morally wrong, we choose to put ourselves in harmony with the devil and his plan to destroy the work of God.

Sadly, there are things in this world, that confuse what is right and wrong. In order to know that we are doing what is right, we must know the expectations that God has set for us. We must know the commandments, expectations, and statutes of God. We can come to know these through prayerful study of the gospel as found in the holy scriptures, as well as from the mouths of His modern prophets. In order to be reconciled to God, we need to study the scriptures and pray for guidance from the Lord.

Finally, when we make mistakes, we reconcile ourselves with God by repenting of those things we have done wrong. Repentance means recognizing we’ve done wrong, asking for forgiveness, making restitution, turning away from sin, and allowing God to change our hearts through the atonement. When we repent, we settle the differences between our choices and what God wants for us. Reconciliation requires repentance.

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, reconcile yourselves to the will of God, and not to the will of the devil and the flesh; and remember, after ye are reconciled unto God, that it is only in and through the grace of God that ye are saved.

I know that God is real. I know that the gospel of Jesus Christ is true. Knowing this helps me to know that we can either choose to stand with God, or stand with Satan. I believe that Satan offers me nothing in return for choosing to follow him, while the Lord offers me everything he has if I choose to follow Him. I know that families can be together forever and that is what I desire as my future. This blessing is only offered to me by God, and can only be made a reality if I become reconciled to God. I know that repentance is real. I know that the atonement is real. Grace is the offering that will save me, but I need to do my best to live as God wants me to live, so that I will want to accept His offering. Knowing and believing these things, gives me direction in this life and I am so grateful for that.

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.

1 Samuel Chapter 15

Saul has been king of Israel for a couple of years at this point. In pride, he had tried to assume the duties of the priesthood, and his actions had been rejected by the Lord. As a result, the prophet Samuel, had told Saul that he would no longer reign with the Lord’s blessing upon his leadership. The Lord was still leading his people through direction given to the prophet. This chapter begins with Samuel speaking to King Saul.

1 Samuel also said unto Saul, The Lord sent me to anoint thee to be king over his people, over Israel: now therefore hearken thou unto the voice of the words of the Lord.
2 Thus saith the Lord of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt.
3 Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.
4 And Saul gathered the people together, and numbered them in Telaim, two hundred thousand footmen, and ten thousand men of Judah.
5 And Saul came to a city of Amalek, and laid wait in the valley.

Saul was reminded that his calling as the king, had been extended to him by the Lord, and Samuel was going to reveal the word of the Lord to Saul. Saul was given instruction, to attack the Amalakites. God had told Moses that the Israelites would continue to war with the men of Amalak, for generations after his time. At this point, Saul was told specifically to destroy all of the Amalakites, along with all of their flocks and herds. Saul began to follow the instructions by gathering 210,000 men to battle and then lying in wait in the valley near Amalek.

6 And Saul said unto the Kenites, Go, depart, get you down from among the Amalekites, lest I destroy you with them: for ye shewed kindness to all the children of Israel, when they came up out of Egypt. So the Kenites departed from among the Amalekites.
7 And Saul smote the Amalekites from Havilah until thou comest to Shur, that is over against Egypt.
8 And he took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword.
9 But Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them: but every thing that was vile and refuse, that they destroyed utterly.

Saul allowed the Kenites to flee, so that they would not be destroyed along with the Amalekites. The Kenites were family to the wife of Moses, and Saul’s army were not going to harm them because they had been kind to the Israelites. Saul destroyed the Amalekites, but he took King Agag and the best of the flocks, herds, and their belongings, and he did not destroy them.

10 Then came the word of the Lord unto Samuel, saying,
11 It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following me, and hath not performed my commandments. And it grieved Samuel; and he cried unto the Lord all night.
12 And when Samuel rose early to meet Saul in the morning, it was told Samuel, saying, Saul came to Carmel, and, behold, he set him up a place, and is gone about, and passed on, and gone down to Gilgal.
13 And Samuel came to Saul: and Saul said unto him, Blessed be thou of the Lord: I have performed the commandment of the Lord.
14 And Samuel said, What meaneth then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?
15 And Saul said, They have brought them from the Amalekites: for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen, to sacrifice unto the Lord thy God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed.
16 Then Samuel said unto Saul, Stay, and I will tell thee what the Lord hath said to me this night. And he said unto him, Say on.
17 And Samuel said, When thou wast little in thine own sight, wast thou not made the head of the tribes of Israel, and the Lord anointed thee king over Israel?
18 And the Lord sent thee on a journey, and said, Go and utterly destroy the sinners the Amalekites, and fight against them until they be consumed.
19 Wherefore then didst thou not obey the voice of the Lord, but didst fly upon the spoil, and didst evil in the sight of the Lord?
20 And Saul said unto Samuel, Yea, I have obeyed the voice of the Lord, and have gone the way which the Lord sent me, and have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and have utterly destroyed the Amalekites.
21 But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the chief of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice unto the Lord thy God in Gilgal.
22 And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.
23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee from being king.

Samuel received a revelation from the Lord. The Lord had continued to allow Saul to lead, but Saul continued to be disobedient to the commandments given to him. (The Joseph Smith translation of verse 11 reads, “I have set up Saul to be a king, and he repenteth not that he hath sinned, for he is turned back from following me, and hath not performed my commandments. And it grieved Samuel; and he cried unto the Lord all night.”) Saul felt sorrow for Saul, and he continued to pray to the Lord through the night. Samuel woke early to go out and meet Saul, but Saul had gone down to Gilgal. Samuel went down to meet him. Saul greeted him and told him he had done the things which the Lord had given him as a commandment. Samuel asked why he heard the noises of animals with him, which was the physical proof that Saul had not followed the commandment given to him. Saul told him that his men had kept the best animals, in order to make a sacrifice to the Lord.

Samuel caused that Saul should stay with him a while, so that he could tell him what the Lord had revealed to him. He talked of how Saul had been raised up by the Lord to be the king, when he was still young, and that the Lord had sent him on a journey to destroy all the Amalekites. Samuel asked Saul, why then, he had disobeyed and taken spoil of the Amalekites, which was evil in the sight of the Lord. Saul said that he had done what the Lord wanted, and had taken the king captive, but that the people had taken the spoil in order to give sacrifice. It sounds here, like Saul blamed the people for his disobedience. Samuel asked Saul if he thought it better to make sacrifice, then to be obedient to the Lord. Then Samuel told him, that it was better to obey then to make sacrifices, and that hearkening to the Lord was better than giving the fat of rams. His disobedience had led the people to rebellion against the commandments of the Lord, which was equal to witchcraft, iniquity and idolatry. As a result of his choice to reject the word of the Lord, the Lord now rejected Saul as the king.

24 And Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord, and thy words: because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice.
25 Now therefore, I pray thee, pardon my sin, and turn again with me, that I may worship the Lord.
26 And Samuel said unto Saul, I will not return with thee: for thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord hath rejected thee from being king over Israel.
27 And as Samuel turned about to go away, he laid hold upon the skirt of his mantle, and it rent.
28 And Samuel said unto him, The Lord hath rent the kingdom of Israel from thee this day, and hath given it to a neighbour of thine, that is better than thou.
29 And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for he is not a man, that he should repent.
30 Then he said, I have sinned: yet honour me now, I pray thee, before the elders of my people, and before Israel, and turn again with me, that I may worship the Lord thy God.
31 So Samuel turned again after Saul; and Saul worshipped the Lord.

Saul realized that he had been too concerned with what the people thought, and had sinned against God. Saul asked for forgiveness, and wanted Samuel to return with him, so that he could worship the Lord. Samuel refused because Saul had been rejected by the Lord. Samuel left to leave, and rent his clothes, saying that the kingdom of Israel had been torn from Saul and given to another who was more worthy of it. Samuel had great sorrow for the choice that Saul had made. Saul acknowledged his sin and begged for Samuel to allow him to worship the Lord. I do not believe Saul’s sorrow for his sin, had reached the kind of godly sorrow necessary for true repentance, because his desire was to worship before men. Even still, Samuel allowed Saul to worship.

32 Then said Samuel, Bring ye hither to me Agag the king of the Amalekites. And Agag came unto him delicately. And Agag said, Surely the bitterness of death is past.
33 And Samuel said, As thy sword hath made women childless, so shall thy mother be childless among women. And Samuel hewed Agag in pieces before the Lord in Gilgal.

Samuel had Agag, the king of the Amalekites, brought to him. Agag was destroyed, just as he had destroyed many of the Israelites. Samuel needed to make right, what Saul had not done. In this, Saul, as well as all of Israel, would see that their leaders needed to obey God. Samuel stood firmly on the Lord’s side.

34 Then Samuel went to Ramah; and Saul went up to his house to Gibeah of Saul.
35 And Samuel came no more to see Saul until the day of his death: nevertheless Samuel mourned for Saul: and the Lord repented that he had made Saul king over Israel.

Samuel left and went to Ramah. Saul returned to his home and was not visited by Samuel again, until the day he died. Samuel mourned for the loss of Saul.

God is no respecter of persons. He had extended a calling to a man, who could have chosen to live his life in harmony with the will of the Lord, and he would have been blessed. When he made choices based on the words and actions of his subjects, rather than following the strict instructions given by the Lord, he had placed his desires before the Lord. In effect, he had chosen to worship another before God. He forfeited the honor to be called of God. We cannot expect that the Lord will favor us in our own choices of disobedience. The Lord blesses those who follow his commandments with faith and trust in Him. He will not bless those who willfully choose to go against his commandments, whether they are a king or a beggar. How sad it must have been for Samuel to see the loss of the potential in Saul. I believe that God is a loving Father in Heaven, and It makes me wonder about the kind of mourning that God experiences when his children make foolish decisions and turn away from him. I think that as Samuel mourned, the Lord must have mourned as well.

The main lesson I think we are to learn from this chapter, is that it is better to be obedient than to make sacrifices. This was something that the Lord would try to teach the men during his mortal ministry as well. Often times the Israelites and those that would follow them, were overly concerned with living the letter of their laws. They focused so hard on it, that they began to make additions to it. Soon, there was no distinction between the original law of Moses in its purity, and the laws of men which had been added to it. Men became so focused on living their laws that they missed the purpose for those original laws. They strictly observed the part of the law regarding sacrifices, but they refused to be pure in heart. The problem with this, is that being obedient will change our hearts and draw us nearer to the Lord, while the simple act of sacrifice, is only an outward symbol. Without the right frame of mind and heart, it is only something done. With an obedient soul, sacrifice becomes a sign of true worship of the Lord.

We, likewise, need to remember that it is better to be obedient than to sacrifice. For example, we can go to church every Sabbath and partake of the sacrament, which is much like going to make sacrifices in ancient times. We sacrifice our time to worship the Lord through this ordinance. We show God, with this action, that we are doing what we have been told to do, but if we are not living a life of obedience, it means nothing. In fact, it makes us unworthy in our hearts, and we will be judged accordingly. Obedience to the Lord, and to the direction He gives us through our living prophets and apostles, will draw us nearer to God. Obedience is what will allow the spirit to work in our hearts, to cause us to change. Obedience is what allows Christ the opportunity to sanctify us through his atonement. Then, when we make the sacrifices that we are asked to make, of a broken heart and a contrite spirit, we will be made clean and become more like our Savior. Alone, obedience is better than sacrifice. Together, obedience and sacrifice help us to become perfected through Christ.


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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