Posts Tagged 'Promises of God'

1 Kings Chapter 20

The Israelite nation had seen peace in the days of Solomon, when he ruled in wisdom. Then, he fell away from righteousness and the Lord, bringing the threat of other nations upon his people. When the nation split into two kingdoms, the people of Israel were led further away from the Lord, through idolatry and wickedness. The Lord’s protecting hand could not be over the people because of their choices. They had suffered greatly through drought and famine, and in this chapter it tells us of the struggle they would have with other nations.

1 And Ben-hadad the king of Syria gathered all his host together: and there were thirty and two kings with him, and horses, and chariots: and he went up and besieged Samaria, and warred against it.
2 And he sent messengers to Ahab king of Israel into the city, and said unto him, Thus saith Ben-hadad,
3 Thy silver and thy gold is mine; thy wives also and thy children, even the goodliest, are mine.
4 And the king of Israel answered and said, My lord, O king, according to thy saying, I am thine, and all that I have.
5 And the messengers came again, and said, Thus speaketh Ben-hadad, saying, Although I have sent unto thee, saying, Thou shalt deliver me thy silver, and thy gold, and thy wives, and thy children;
6 Yet I will send my servants unto thee to morrow about this time, and they shall search thine house, and the houses of thy servants; and it shall be, that whatsoever is pleasant in thine eyes, they shall put it in their hand, and take it away.
7 Then the king of Israel called all the elders of the land, and said, Mark, I pray you, and see how this man seeketh mischief: for he sent unto me for my wives, and for my children, and for my silver, and for my gold; and I denied him not.
8 And all the elders and all the people said unto him, Hearken not unto him, nor consent.
9 Wherefore he said unto the messengers of Ben-hadad, Tell my lord the king, All that thou didst send for to thy servant at the first I will do: but this thing I may not do. And the messengers departed, and brought him word again.
10 And Ben-hadad sent unto him, and said, The gods do so unto me, and more also, if the dust of Samaria shall suffice for handfuls for all the people that follow me.
11 And the king of Israel answered and said, Tell him, Let not him that girdeth on his harness boast himself as he that putteth it off.
12 And it came to pass, when Ben-hadad heard this message, as he was drinking, he and the kings in the pavilions, that he said unto his servants, Set yourselves in array. And they set themselves in array against the city.

The host of Syria surrounded the city of Samaria, which was the capital of Israel. The leader of the Syrians, Ben-hadad, sent a message in to Ahab, claiming all the treasures that belonged to Ahab, as well as his wives and children. Ahab responded with submission to the claim. Ben-hadad then threatened Ahab by saying that he would also send his servants to search and find anything with value to take away. Ahab told the elders of Israel that he had given all that the Syrians had asked from him, and their king was still trying to get more. The elders told Ahab that he should not hearken to him or give into the demands. Ahab followed their council and sent a reply to Ben-hadad, which said that he would hold up to the first agreement, but he would not allow the servants to search and take anything else. Their exchange continued with a threat from Ben-hadad to take the dust of Samaria for his people, and after Ahab said a man should not boast as much in putting on his armor as the man who causes it to come off of that man. Ben-hadad ended their exchange by commanding his servants to go against the city.

13 And, behold, there came a prophet unto Ahab king of Israel, saying, Thus saith the Lord, Hast thou seen all this great multitude? behold, I will deliver it into thine hand this day; and thou shalt know that I am the Lord.
14 And Ahab said, By whom? And he said, Thus saith the Lord, Even by the young men of the princes of the provinces. Then he said, Who shall order the battle? And he answered, Thou.
15 Then he numbered the young men of the princes of the provinces, and they were two hundred and thirty two: and after them he numbered all the people, even all the children of Israel, being seven thousand.
16 And they went out at noon. But Ben-hadad was drinking himself drunk in the pavilions, he and the kings, the thirty and two kings that helped him.
17 And the young men of the princes of the provinces went out first; and Ben-hadad sent out, and they told him, saying, There are men come out of Samaria.
18 And he said, Whether they be come out for peace, take them alive; or whether they be come out for war, take them alive.
19 So these young men of the princes of the provinces came out of the city, and the army which followed them.
20 And they slew every one his man: and the Syrians fled; and Israel pursued them: and Ben-hadad the king of Syria escaped on an horse with the horsemen.
21 And the king of Israel went out, and smote the horses and chariots, and slew the Syrians with a great slaughter.

A prophet went to Ahab with the word of the Lord. The Lord said that he would deliver the host of Syria into Ahab’s hands and Ahab would have a witness that He was the Lord. Ahab asked who would be able to do this, and the Lord said young men would fight. Ahab asked who was to start the battle, and the Lord said that Ahab was to start it. Ahab gathered 232 young men, who would lead the fight, with an army of 7,000 Israelites. The army went out while Ben-hadad was drunk along with 32 kings he had gathered to his side. Ben-hadad commanded his men to take the Israelites alive, whether they came out in peace or to make war. The Israelites fought, killing the Syrians, who began to flee. The army of Israel went after them, Ben-hadad escaped, and Ahab destroyed the horses and chariots, and killed a great number of Syrians.

22 And the prophet came to the king of Israel, and said unto him, Go, strengthen thyself, and mark, and see what thou doest: for at the return of the year the king of Syria will come up against thee.
23 And the servants of the king of Syria said unto him, Their gods are gods of the hills; therefore they were stronger than we; but let us fight against them in the plain, and surely we shall be stronger than they.
24 And do this thing, Take the kings away, every man out of his place, and put captains in their rooms:
25 And number thee an army, like the army that thou hast lost, horse for horse, and chariot for chariot: and we will fight against them in the plain, and surely we shall be stronger than they. And he hearkened unto their voice, and did so.
26 And it came to pass at the return of the year, that Ben-hadad numbered the Syrians, and went up to Aphek, to fight against Israel.
27 And the children of Israel were numbered, and were all present, and went against them: and the children of Israel pitched before them like two little flocks of kids; but the Syrians filled the country.

The prophet told Ahab, to take the time to gain strength and prepare for what he should do, because the Syrians would return in a year. The servants of Ben-hadad told him the Isrealites had strength because their gods were the gods of the hills, but if they fought them in the plains, the Syrians would be stronger than them. The Syrian servants suggested that he replace the kings he had gathered, with captains. Then, they suggested that he gather an army of the same size they had fought with the first time, even to the horse and chariot. They thought that they would then be stronger, if they took the fight to the plains. Ben-hadad listened to the council of his servants. When the year came again, he took his army to Aphek, to fight against the host of Israel. Israel went against them with a host that was much smaller than the Syrians.

28 And there came a man of God, and spake unto the king of Israel, and said, Thus saith the Lord, Because the Syrians have said, The Lord is God of the hills, but he is not God of the valleys, therefore will I deliver all this great multitude into thine hand, and ye shall know that I am the Lord.
29 And they pitched one over against the other seven days. And so it was, that in the seventh day the battle was joined: and the children of Israel slew of the Syrians an hundred thousand footmen in one day.
30 But the rest fled to Aphek, into the city; and there a wall fell upon twenty and seven thousand of the men that were left. And Ben-hadad fled, and came into the city, into an inner chamber.

A prophet came to Ahab again, saying that the Syrians said the Israelite God was God of the hills, but not the valleys or plains, so the Lord would deliver them into his hands and show Ahab that He was the Lord. The armies camped for seven days, and on the seventh day, the battle began. The Israelites destroyed 100,000 footmen in one day, and the rest of the Syrians fled towards the city of Aphek. A wall of the city fell on 27,000 of the Syrians and Ben-hadad fled into an inner chamber of the city.

31 And his servants said unto him, Behold now, we have heard that the kings of the house of Israel are merciful kings: let us, I pray thee, put sackcloth on our loins, and ropes upon our heads, and go out to the king of Israel: peradventure he will save thy life.
32 So they girded sackcloth on their loins, and put ropes on their heads, and came to the king of Israel, and said, Thy servant Ben-hadad saith, I pray thee, let me live. And he said, Is he yet alive? he is my brother.
33 Now the men did diligently observe whether any thing would come from him, and did hastily catch it: and they said, Thy brother Ben-hadad. Then he said, Go ye, bring him. Then Ben-hadad came forth to him; and he caused him to come up into the chariot.
34 And Ben-hadad said unto him, The cities, which my father took from thy father, I will restore; and thou shalt make streets for thee in Damascus, as my father made in Samaria. Then said Ahab, I will send thee away with this covenant. So he made a covenant with him, and sent him away.

The servants of Ben-hadad told him, that they heard of the mercy of the kings of Israel, so they would go to him in humility, begging to save the life of their king. They did this and asked that Ahab spare his life. Ahab called Ben-hadad his brother and told the servants to bring him. They brought Ben-hadad forth, and Ahab had him come into the chariot. Ben-hadad promised to return cities to Ahab, which had been taken by his father. Ahab made a covenant with Ben-hadad and let him go free, even though the Lord had delivered the king into his hands.

35 And a certain man of the sons of the prophets said unto his neighbour in the word of the Lord, Smite me, I pray thee. And the man refused to smite him.
36 Then said he unto him, Because thou hast not obeyed the voice of the Lord, behold, as soon as thou art departed from me, a lion shall slay thee. And as soon as he was departed from him, a lion found him, and slew him.
37 Then he found another man, and said, Smite me, I pray thee. And the man smote him, so that in smiting he wounded him.
38 So the prophet departed, and waited for the king by the way, and disguised himself with ashes upon his face.
39 And as the king passed by, he cried unto the king: and he said, Thy servant went out into the midst of the battle; and, behold, a man turned aside, and brought a man unto me, and said, Keep this man: if by any means he be missing, then shall thy life be for his life, or else thou shalt pay a talent of silver.
40 And as thy servant was busy here and there, he was gone. And the king of Israel said unto him, So shall thy judgment be; thyself hast decided it.
41 And he hasted, and took the ashes away from his face; and the king of Israel discerned him that he was of the prophets.
42 And he said unto him, Thus saith the Lord, Because thou hast let go out of thy hand a man whom I appointed to utter destruction, therefore thy life shall go for his life, and thy people for his people.
43 And the king of Israel went to his house heavy and displeased, and came to Samaria.

A man, who was one of the prophets, told another to strike him. The other refused. The prophet said to the other, that because he had not listened, he would be killed by a lion once the prophet had left him. As he left, a lion found the man and killed him. Again, the prophet found a man and told him to hit him, which the man did and wounded him. He left wounded and waited for Ahab on the side of the road, in disguise. When Ahab went by, he cried out to him that he was a servant who had gone into the middle of battle. The prophet told Ahab that a man turned to him and brought another man to him, telling him to keep the man with him. If the man went missing, his life would be taken for the other, or he would have to pay a talent of silver. He said that as he was going here and there, the other man was gone. Ahab told the disguised prophet that he would have to fulfill his agreement with that other man, because he had made that choice. The prophet quickly took the disguise off of his face, and Ahab recognized the man. The prophet told him, that because he let the king of Syria go free, when the Lord had appointed him to destruction, his life would be taken for the life of Ben-hadad, and the people of Israel for the Syrian people. Ahab returned to him home with a heavy heart.

Ahab was a king who wanted to have it both ways. He wanted to rule in wickedness, causing that his people should turn away from the Lord. At the same time, he wanted to be a blessed king, ruling over a strong, and wealthy nation. He followed the council of the prophet and elders, only to let the enemy go when he should have destroyed him. This, because the enemy offered him the things he wanted. He was not expecting to be told that this had brought the promise of destruction upon himself and his people. We likewise, cannot choose to live a life away from the Lord and his promises, expecting to have all the blessings of heaven to come to us.

The Lord continued to look after his people. He gave them an opportunity to listen to His council, witness His power, and return to Him. He will give all of His children, many opportunities to turn to Him. We can use our agency to follow the council given by his prophets, or follow after our own desires. On the one hand, we can have the blessings attached to obedience and coming unto Christ. While on the other hand, we can be promised eventual destruction to our souls, should we choose to make covenants with the enemy. This weekend is general conference again, and the perfect opportunity to hear the council of the Lord’s chosen servants. I am looking forward to hearing their words and I hope that I can be a true disciple of Jesus Christ, by applying the teachings to my life.

1 Kings Chapter 16

Baasha was the king of Israel and ruled unrighteously over the people. He ruled at the time that Asa ruled in righteousness over the people of Judah. They had continual war against one another. Baasha had become king, by conspiring against Nadab and killing him. Then, he destroyed the entire house of Jeroboam, in fulfillment of prophesy. This next chapter begins:

1 Then the word of the Lord came to Jehu the son of Hanani against Baasha, saying,
2 Forasmuch as I exalted thee out of the dust, and made thee prince over my people Israel; and thou hast walked in the way of Jeroboam, and hast made my people Israel to sin, to provoke me to anger with their sins;
3 Behold, I will take away the posterity of Baasha, and the posterity of his house; and will make thy house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat.
4 Him that dieth of Baasha in the city shall the dogs eat; and him that dieth of his in the fields shall the fowls of the air eat.
5 Now the rest of the acts of Baasha, and what he did, and his might, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?
6 So Baasha slept with his fathers, and was buried in Tirzah: and Elah his son reigned in his stead.
7 And also by the hand of the prophet Jehu the son of Hanani came the word of the Lord against Baasha, and against his house, even for all the evil that he did in the sight of the Lord, in provoking him to anger with the work of his hands, in being like the house of Jeroboam; and because he killed him.

Jehu received a revelation and prophesied against Baasha. Since Baasha had been wicked and followed after the ways of Jeroboam, leading the people in sin, his posterity would be destroyed just as the house of Jeroboam. The footnotes for sin in verse 2, references unrighteous dominion. The Lord had allowed Baasha to rule over the people, but Baasha had likely taken this to mean that he could rule in unrighteousness without accountability to God for his choices. When given a stewardship over others, a person should consider what is best for those they serve, not for themselves. Baasha died and his son Elah became king. Again, Jehu prophesied against the house of Baasha, because of the wickedness of Baasha in his leadership.

8 In the twenty and sixth year of Asa king of Judah began Elah the son of Baasha to reign over Israel in Tirzah, two years.
9 And his servant Zimri, captain of half his chariots, conspired against him, as he was in Tirzah, drinking himself drunk in the house of Arza steward of his house in Tirzah.
10 And Zimri went in and smote him, and killed him, in the twenty and seventh year of Asa king of Judah, and reigned in his stead.

Elah ruled for only two years, before his captain, Zimri, conspired against him and killed him when he was drunk. Then Zimri became king.

11 And it came to pass, when he began to reign, as soon as he sat on his throne, that he slew all the house of Baasha: he left him not one that pisseth against a wall, neither of his kinsfolks, nor of his friends.
12 Thus did Zimri destroy all the house of Baasha, according to the word of the Lord, which he spake against Baasha by Jehu the prophet,
13 For all the sins of Baasha, and the sins of Elah his son, by which they sinned, and by which they made Israel to sin, in provoking the Lord God of Israel to anger with their vanities.
14 Now the rest of the acts of Elah, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?

Zimri destroyed the house of Baasha, just as had been prophesied by Jehu. This was because of the wickedness of Baasha and his son Elah, which led the people to continue in sin.

15 In the twenty and seventh year of Asa king of Judah did Zimri reign seven days in Tirzah. And the people were encamped against Gibbethon, which belonged to the Philistines.
16 And the people that were encamped heard say, Zimri hath conspired, and hath also slain the king: wherefore all Israel made Omri, the captain of the host, king over Israel that day in the camp.
17 And Omri went up from Gibbethon, and all Israel with him, and they besieged Tirzah.
18 And it came to pass, when Zimri saw that the city was taken, that he went into the palace of the king’s house, and burnt the king’s house over him with fire, and died,
19 For his sins which he sinned in doing evil in the sight of the Lord, in walking in the way of Jeroboam, and in his sin which he did, to make Israel to sin.
20 Now the rest of the acts of Zimri, and his treason that he wrought, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?

Zimri reigned for seven days, when the Israelites were in encamped against the Philistines in Gibbethon. The people in the camp heard that Zimri had killed the king, so they made Omri the king of Israel. Omri was the captain of their army.

21 Then were the people of Israel divided into two parts: half of the people followed Tibni the son of Ginath, to make him king; and half followed Omri.
22 But the people that followed Omri prevailed against the people that followed Tibni the son of Ginath: so Tibni died, and Omri reigned.

The people of Israel became divided between wanting a man named Tibni to rule, and wanting Omri to rule. Those who wanted Omri for their king, prevailed. Tibni died and Omri became the king of Israel.

23 In the thirty and first year of Asa king of Judah began Omri to reign over Israel, twelve years: six years reigned he in Tirzah.
24 And he bought the hill Samaria of Shemer for two talents of silver, and built on the hill, and called the name of the city which he built, after the name of Shemer, owner of the hill, Samaria.

Omri reigned for twelve years. The first six, he ruled in Tirzah where the previous kings had ruled. Then, he built a city, which he called Shemer, on the hill Samaria.

25 But Omri wrought evil in the eyes of the Lord, and did worse than all that were before him.
26 For he walked in all the way of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and in his sin wherewith he made Israel to sin, to provoke the Lord God of Israel to anger with their vanities.
27 Now the rest of the acts of Omri which he did, and his might that he shewed, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?
28 So Omri slept with his fathers, and was buried in Samaria: and Ahab his son reigned in his stead.

Omri was worse then all the kings before him, and ruled in great wickedness. He continued to lead the people in the idolatrous ways of Jeroboam, as well as what these verses describe as vanities. After twelve years, Omri died, and his son Ahab ruled in Israel.

29 And in the thirty and eighth year of Asa king of Judah began Ahab the son of Omri to reign over Israel: and Ahab the son of Omri reigned over Israel in Samaria twenty and two years.
30 And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the Lord above all that were before him.
31 And it came to pass, as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he took to wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Zidonians, and went and served Baal, and worshipped him.
32 And he reared up an altar for Baal in the house of Baal, which he had built in Samaria.
33 And Ahab made a grove; and Ahab did more to provoke the Lord God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel that were before him.

Ahab ruled in Samaria, for twenty-two years. He also ruled in wickedness, just as his father Omri. He added to his wickedness, by marring Jezebel, the daughter of the Zidonian king. Ahab served and worshipped Baal, building a temple and altar to Baal in Samaria. He built a grove and led the people in great wickedness and sin, worse than all those who had ruled in Israel before him.

34 In his days did Hiel the Beth-elite build Jericho: he laid the foundation thereof in Abiram his firstborn, and set up the gates thereof in his youngest son Segub, according to the word of the Lord, which he spake by Joshua the son of Nun.

Meanwhile, Hiel built the city Jerico again. Joshua, who had been the first leader of the Israelites when they had first entered the promised land, had spoken a curse upon any who would build up Jerico. The curse that would be laid in that man’s children, from the foundation to the gates. Hiel fulfilled the prophecy of Joshua.

Israel was engrossed in great wickedness. The Israelites served and worshipped idols, conspired and killed their kings, and committed sins of all kinds. The kings angered the Lord against them, because the Lord had allowed them to rule over his people, but they led them further from Him. In Mosiah 29:17 we read, “For behold, how much iniquity doth one wicked king cause to be committed, yea, and what great destruction!” Israel was falling further away from the Lord because of the wickedness of their leadership. Meanwhile Asa ruled righteously in Judah, attempting to lead the people back to the Lord. This chapter shows again, that rulers who lead in wickedness, cause their people to sin. Eventually, their wickedness brings their own destruction. I know that leaders have the power and influence to bring entire nations down to destruction. I don’t doubt this, because I have seen homes where the influence of a parent who leads with unrighteous dominion, can destroy a family. It is also happening in businesses, schools, and governments around the world. Only in those places where leaders hold themselves to a moral standard, recognizing that they will be held accountable to a higher power for the choices they make, caring for those who they have been chosen to lead, do we see continued blessings and prosperity that brings lasting happiness.

Once again, we see from this chapter, that the prophecies of the Lord, will be fulfilled. The scriptures are full of signs that the Lord will keep His word. While in this case it meant destruction for wickedness, I have hope that the great and marvelous things that have been prophesied for our day, will also come to pass. I believe they will and I hope to be a part of the blessings that will come.

1 Kings Chapter 15

Jeroboam and Rehoboam had been the leaders over the promised land and the Lord’s people. Both had chosen to rule in wickedness, in particular, leading there people in idolatry. Jeroboam, would die and leave his son, Nadab, to rule over the ten tribes of Israel, but Rehoboam, who had ruled over Judah, or the Southern Kingdom, passed away first. His son, Abijam, became the ruler of the people of the Southern Kingdom. The chapter begins:

1 Now in the eighteenth year of king Jeroboam the son of Nebat reigned Abijam over Judah.
2 Three years reigned he in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Maachah, the daughter of Abishalom.
3 And he walked in all the sins of his father, which he had done before him: and his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father.
4 Nevertheless for David’s sake did the Lord his God give him a lamp in Jerusalem, to set up his son after him, and to establish Jerusalem:
5 Because David did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord, and turned not aside from any thing that he commanded him all the days of his life, save only in the matter of Uriah the Hittite.
6 And there was war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam all the days of his life.
7 Now the rest of the acts of Abijam, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? And there was war between Abijam and Jeroboam.
8 And Abijam slept with his fathers; and they buried him in the city of David: and Asa his son reigned in his stead.

Abijam began to rule over Judah during the reign of Jeroboam. He was in Jerusalem for three years and continued to rule in the same wickedness ways that his father had ruled. He did not follow after the ways of the Lord, but because of the promises given to David, he was allowed to continue his leadership in Jerusalem. During his reign, there was continual fighting between Judah and Israel, who continued to be led by Jeroboam. He died and his son, Asa, ruled over Judah.

9 And in the twentieth year of Jeroboam king of Israel reigned Asa over Judah.
10 And forty and one years reigned he in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Maachah, the daughter of Abishalom.
11 And Asa did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord, as did David his father.
12 And he took away the sodomites out of the land, and removed all the idols that his fathers had made.
13 And also Maachah his mother, even her he removed from being queen, because she had made an idol in a grove; and Asa destroyed her idol, and burnt it by the brook Kidron.
14 But the high places were not removed: nevertheless Asa’s heart was perfect with the Lord all his days.
15 And he brought in the things which his father had dedicated, and the things which himself had dedicated, into the house of the Lord, silver, and gold, and vessels.

Asa, unlike his father, did those things that the Lord wanted him to do. In the forty-one years he reigned, he got rid of the sodomites and the idols, which had brought great wickedness into the land. He removed his mother from being the queen because she had led the people in idolatry. He did not destroy the temples that had been built, but he did rule in righteousness and placed the dedicated things back in the temple of the Lord.

16 And there was war between Asa and Baasha king of Israel all their days.
17 And Baasha king of Israel went up against Judah, and built Ramah, that he might not suffer any to go out or come in to Asa king of Judah.
18 Then Asa took all the silver and the gold that were left in the treasures of the house of the Lord, and the treasures of the king’s house, and delivered them into the hand of his servants: and king Asa sent them to Ben-hadad, the son of Tabrimon, the son of Hezion, king of Syria, that dwelt at Damascus, saying,
19 There is a league between me and thee, and between my father and thy father: behold, I have sent unto thee a present of silver and gold; come and break thy league with Baasha king of Israel, that he may depart from me.
20 So Ben-hadad hearkened unto king Asa, and sent the captains of the hosts which he had against the cities of Israel, and smote Ijon, and Dan, and Abel-beth-maachah, and all Cinneroth, with all the land of Naphtali.
21 And it came to pass, when Baasha heard thereof, that he left off building of Ramah, and dwelt in Tirzah.
22 Then king Asa made a proclamation throughout all Judah; none was exempted: and they took away the stones of Ramah, and the timber thereof, wherewith Baasha had builded; and king Asa built with them Geba of Benjamin, and Mizpah.
23 The rest of all the acts of Asa, and all his might, and all that he did, and the cities which he built, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? Nevertheless in the time of his old age he was diseased in his feet.
24 And Asa slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David his father: and Jehoshaphat his son reigned in his stead.

The fighting continued between Judah and Israel. Baasha became the king of Israel, after Nadab. He went up against Judah and built a wall to keep his people from going to see Asa. Asa took all of the treasure and sent them with his servants, to Ben-hadad, the king of Syria. He asked Ben-hadad to support him in the fight against Israel. Ben-hadad sent his army to join Judah against Israel. Baahsa retreated to Tirzah, and Asa had his people break down the wall built by Baahsa. Asa ruled as a mighty man, and died in his old age. Jehoshaphat became the king of Judah.

25 And Nadab the son of Jeroboam began to reign over Israel in the second year of Asa king of Judah, and reigned over Israel two years.
26 And he did evil in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the way of his father, and in his sin wherewith he made Israel to sin.

Prior to Baasha ruling over Israel, Nadab was king. He only ruled for two years, and he continued to rule in wickedness, just as his father did.

27 And Baasha the son of Ahijah, of the house of Issachar, conspired against him; and Baasha smote him at Gibbethon, which belonged to the Philistines; for Nadab and all Israel laid siege to Gibbethon.
28 Even in the third year of Asa king of Judah did Baasha slay him, and reigned in his stead.
29 And it came to pass, when he reigned, that he smote all the house of Jeroboam; he left not to Jeroboam any that breathed, until he had destroyed him, according unto the saying of the Lord, which he spake by his servant Ahijah the Shilonite:
30 Because of the sins of Jeroboam which he sinned, and which he made Israel sin, by his provocation wherewith he provoked the Lord God of Israel to anger.

Baasha, of the tribe of Issachar, conspired against Nadab. He killed him in a placed called Gibbethon, which the Isrealites had besieged from the Philistines. Baasha became king, and destroyed all the house of Jeroboam. He probably did this so that no one of that line would attempt to come against him to reclaim the kingdom, but in doing so, he fulfilled the word of the Lord against Jeroboam, which were spoken by the prophet Ahijah.

31 Now the rest of the acts of Nadab, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?
32 And there was war between Asa and Baasha king of Israel all their days.
33 In the third year of Asa king of Judah began Baasha the son of Ahijah to reign over all Israel in Tirzah, twenty and four years.
34 And he did evil in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the way of Jeroboam, and in his sin wherewith he made Israel to sin.

So, Nadab ruled over Israel, followed by Baasha. The fighting between Israel and Judah, continued during the reign of Baasha. He reigned for 24 years, and led the people in wickedness just as the kings before him.

It was a tender mercy of the Lord, that he allowed Abijam to continue to rule unrighteously, because of the promises made to David. The Lord could have allowed him to be destroyed, just as the family of Jeroboam. Thankfully, He did not destroy him, and there would be one from his line, Asa, who would lead righteously. The scriptures do not tell us why Asa did not grow up to follow in the ways of his father, but we know that for many years, he ruled as the Lord would have him rule. This is a story that shows that no one is absolutely going to live the traditions of their fathers. We all have agency and can choose for ourselves if we will follow the Lord or follow the path of temptation. Sadly, there were many leaders over the Israelite people, who would not lead righteously. This would be their undoing, and the Israelites would eventually be scattered. It is so vital for people to be led by those who are trying to do good. When nations are led by good men and women, they are blessed and prosper. I pray that those who are rulers today, in this nation I live in specifically, will be influenced to do good and be a blessing to the people who live in the land.

1 Kings Chapter 14

Jeroboam was the idolatrous leader of the ten tribes of Israel after the nation of Israel was split into two kingdoms. Ahijah was a prophet of the Lord, who had prophesied that Jeroboam would become the king of the ten tribes. The prophesy also contained the promise of maintaining the kingdom, if Jeroboam was faithful to the Lord, but he had not been faithful. When the threat of loosing subjects was a possibility, he turned to false gods. Another prophet had told of death and destruction that would come at the altar of a temple of Jeroboam, to which Jeroboam was offended. The Lord had cursed him for trying to stop that prophet, and he still did not repent of his wicked ways. In the southern kingdom, Rehoboam ruled. Rehoboam had been the ruler of all of Israel, but in his pride and foolishness, he had tried to place greater burdens upon the people. His people had revolted and he had the majority of his kingdom taken from him. Rehoboam was left to rule over Judah. He did not rule in righteousness. This chapter begins a follows:

1 At that time Abijah the son of Jeroboam fell sick.
2 And Jeroboam said to his wife, Arise, I pray thee, and disguise thyself, that thou be not known to be the wife of Jeroboam; and get thee to Shiloh: behold, there is Ahijah the prophet, which told me that I should be king over this people.
3 And take with thee ten loaves, and cracknels, and a cruse of honey, and go to him: he shall tell thee what shall become of the child.
4 And Jeroboam’s wife did so, and arose, and went to Shiloh, and came to the house of Ahijah. But Ahijah could not see; for his eyes were set by reason of his age.

The son of Jeroboam became sick, so he sent his wife in disguise, to the prophet Ahijah. He sent her with a gift offering of bread and honey, and she was to ask what would happen to their son, Abijah. She went to Ahijah, but he was blind in his old age.

5 And the Lord said unto Ahijah, Behold, the wife of Jeroboam cometh to ask a thing of thee for her son; for he is sick: thus and thus shalt thou say unto her: for it shall be, when she cometh in, that she shall feign herself to be another woman.
6 And it was so, when Ahijah heard the sound of her feet, as she came in at the door, that he said, Come in, thou wife of Jeroboam; why feignest thou thyself to be another? for I am sent to thee with heavy tidings.
7 Go, tell Jeroboam, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Forasmuch as I exalted thee from among the people, and made thee prince over my people Israel,
8 And rent the kingdom away from the house of David, and gave it thee: and yet thou hast not been as my servant David, who kept my commandments, and who followed me with all his heart, to do that only which was right in mine eyes;
9 But hast done evil above all that were before thee: for thou hast gone and made thee other gods, and molten images, to provoke me to anger, and hast cast me behind thy back:
10 Therefore, behold, I will bring evil upon the house of Jeroboam, and will cut off from Jeroboam him that pisseth against the wall, and him that is shut up and left in Israel, and will take away the remnant of the house of Jeroboam, as a man taketh away dung, till it be all gone.
11 Him that dieth of Jeroboam in the city shall the dogs eat; and him that dieth in the field shall the fowls of the air eat: for the Lord hath spoken it.
12 Arise thou therefore, get thee to thine own house: and when thy feet enter into the city, the child shall die.
13 And all Israel shall mourn for him, and bury him: for he only of Jeroboam shall come to the grave, because in him there is found some good thing toward the Lord God of Israel in the house of Jeroboam.
14 Moreover the Lord shall raise him up a king over Israel, who shall cut off the house of Jeroboam that day: but what? even now.
15 For the Lord shall smite Israel, as a reed is shaken in the water, and he shall root up Israel out of this good land, which he gave to their fathers, and shall scatter them beyond the river, because they have made their groves, provoking the Lord to anger.
16 And he shall give Israel up because of the sins of Jeroboam, who did sin, and who made Israel to sin.

The Lord revealed to the prophet, that the wife of Jeroboam was coming to ask about her child, but that she would be in disguise. He was told to tell her he knew who she was. So when he heard her footsteps, he said to come in, announcing her as the wife of Jeroboam, then asked her why she hid her true identity, as he was a prophet who had heavy tidings to tell her. She must have recognized this was a man of God, since he was able to know who she was even though he could not see her and she was in a disguise. Ahijah told her to tell Jeroboam that God had chosen him to rule over his people, but instead of following after the Lord, he had made false idols. Since he had been an unrighteous leader, the house of Jeroboam was cursed to be cut off and taken away from Israel, or rather, destroyed completely. He was promised that the dead of his family would be eaten by the animals, possibly as a curse that showed they would have no respect given to their dead. The wife was told to return home, and as she did, her child would die. Also, that the people of Israel would mourn and bury him. This child would be the only one, or the last one of their family to be buried in a grave, because there was good in him. The prophecy continued, saying that a new king would rise up and cut off the house of Jeroboam, and the Lord would smite Israel and scatter them from the promised land, because they had done evil with their false gods and places of worship. The Lord would do these things to Israel, because Jeroboam had been a wicked ruler who led his people into this great sin.

17 And Jeroboam’s wife arose, and departed, and came to Tirzah: and when she came to the threshold of the door, the child died;
18 And they buried him; and all Israel mourned for him, according to the word of the Lord, which he spake by the hand of his servant Ahijah the prophet.
19 And the rest of the acts of Jeroboam, how he warred, and how he reigned, behold, they are written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel.
20 And the days which Jeroboam reigned were two and twenty years: and he slept with his fathers, and Nadab his son reigned in his stead.

So, the wife of Jeroboam went home and as she entered the threshold, her child died. Then, just as was foretold, he was buried and all of Israel mourned for him. Here it says that any more about Jeroboam is told in other records. He ruled for 22 years and then died, leaving his son, Nadab, to rule in his place.

21 And Rehoboam the son of Solomon reigned in Judah. Rehoboam was forty and one years old when he began to reign, and he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city which the Lord did choose out of all the tribes of Israel, to put his name there. And his mother’s name was Naamah an Ammonitess.
22 And Judah did evil in the sight of the Lord, and they provoked him to jealousy with their sins which they had committed, above all that their fathers had done.
23 For they also built them high places, and images, and groves, on every high hill, and under every green tree.
24 And there were also sodomites in the land: and they did according to all the abominations of the nations which the Lord cast out before the children of Israel.

Rehoboam was king of Judah, the southern kingdom, for 17 years. The people of Judah were not righteous, but were worse in sins then any of their ancestors. The land was full of idols and places for worship of their false gods. They had also been influenced by wicked nations and all the gross sins, including prostitution, that existed in the land before it was cleansed for the Israelites, had returned through this generation.

25 And it came to pass in the fifth year of king Rehoboam, that Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem:
26 And he took away the treasures of the house of the Lord, and the treasures of the king’s house; he even took away all: and he took away all the shields of gold which Solomon had made.
27 And king Rehoboam made in their stead brasen shields, and committed them unto the hands of the chief of the guard, which kept the door of the king’s house.
28 And it was so, when the king went into the house of the Lord, that the guard bare them, and brought them back into the guard chamber.

Solomon had built a grand and glorious temple and palace in Jerusalem. It was likely a tempting place for any other nation to attack. The Egyptians, under king Shishak, came against Judah, and took all the treasures of the temple and the king’s house. He took all of the golden armor that Solomon had made during his reign. So, Rehoboam made brass sheilds and gave them to the guards of the palace. They used them to protect the king.

29 Now the rest of the acts of Rehoboam, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?
30 And there was war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam all their days.
31 And Rehoboam slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David. And his mother’s name was Naamah an Ammonitess. And Abijam his son reigned in his stead.

Again, these verses say that the rest of the actions of Rehoboam were recorded in the chronicles of the kings. In short, Rehoboam and Jeroboam fought one another for the rest of their days. Rehoboam died and was buried in the city of David, where his fathers were laid to rest. His son, Abijam, reigned after him.

This is such a depressing chapter to me. Two men who loved wickedness more than God, led their people into great wickedness. The entire land of promise, was full of wickedness and becoming ripe for destruction. The once strong and prosperous land of Israel, was divided and falling into the hands of other nations. Prophecies were made against the people, which were of destruction and death, and these prophecies were being fulfilled as the Lord withdrew his protecting hand from his people. The promise given to the children of the Lord was that they would prosper in the land so long as they worshipped the Lord and turned not from Him and His ways. Additionally, they had been promised that if they turned away, the Lord would allow others to remove them from the land of promise. There are similar promises made to the disciples of the Lord today. If we choose to follow the example of Christ, we will be blessed to prosper in our own promised land, and if we fall away into temptation, God will allow us to have the blessings removed from us. Greater things come to those who choose to turn their hearts towards the Lord.

1 Kings Chapter 9

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

Temple

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

2 Samuel Chapter 21

David returned to leadership in Israel, with a divided nation between those in Judah and the rest of the tribes of Israel. However, they had managed to maintain a peace with their neighboring nations. The people in the land, were generally living according to their own desires and passions. It seems that the Israelite people would not have been considered devoted to the Lord at this time. Even David, had dealt with a lot of heartache and difficulty, because of his personal choices against the laws of the Lord. This chapter continues the story of David’s reign as king during this time of difficulty.

1 Then there was a famine in the days of David three years, year after year; and David inquired of the Lord. And the Lord answered, It is for Saul, and for his bloody house, because he slew the Gibeonites.
2 And the king called the Gibeonites, and said unto them; (now the Gibeonites were not of the children of Israel, but of the remnant of the Amorites; and the children of Israel had sworn unto them: and Saul sought to slay them in his zeal to the children of Israel and Judah.)
3 Wherefore David said unto the Gibeonites, What shall I do for you? and wherewith shall I make the atonement, that ye may bless the inheritance of the Lord?
4 And the Gibeonites said unto him, We will have no silver nor gold of Saul, nor of his house; neither for us shalt thou kill any man in Israel. And he said, What ye shall say, that will I do for you.
5 And they answered the king, The man that consumed us, and that devised against us that we should be destroyed from remaining in any of the coasts of Israel,
6 Let seven men of his sons be delivered unto us, and we will hang them up unto the Lord in Gibeah of Saul, whomthe Lord did choose. And the king said, I will give them.
7 But the king spared Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan the son of Saul, because of the Lord’s oath that wasbetween them, between David and Jonathan the son of Saul.
8 But the king took the two sons of Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, whom she bare unto Saul, Armoni and Mephibosheth; and the five sons of Michal the daughter of Saul, whom she brought up for Adriel the son of Barzillai the Meholathite:
9 And he delivered them into the hands of the Gibeonites, and they hanged them in the hill before the Lord: and they fell all seven together, and were put to death in the days of harvest, in the first days, in the beginning of barley harvest.

The kingdom of David had a famine that last three years. David asked God why they had this famine, and the Lord told him it was because Saul had killed the Gibeonites. The Gibeonites were a people that lived among the Israelites from the time that they first returned to the promised land. The Gibeonites were afraid that they would be killed by the great nation, and their mighty God, whom they had heard about, so they had promised to be their servants if they would allow them to live among them in peace. However, the Gibeonites had come to this agreement by deceiving the princes of Israel. This was not something that was an easy thing for the host of Israel to realize, and many of the congregation murmured against it. The Gibeonites were spared at that time, because of the oath made between them and the princes of Israel, but they were made servants of Israel because of their deceit. Apparently, Saul had try to kill them, even though they had an oath with the children of Israel. This wickedness had brought the famine upon the David’s kingdom.

This was in a day when oaths were taken so seriously by men, that breaking them could mean death. We do not hear of oaths made with this kind of weight behind them, in fact, it seems that more often than not, people make oaths with a back-up plan as to how they can get out of it. We have contracts signed, promises made, and word given, only to have several ways to back out afterwards. While, I am glad that we don’t have people fearing death at the breaking of a contract, I feel that their is great integrity in keeping promises and doing all that we can to fulfill contracts and oaths we have with one another. Truly strong character is shown in those who value promises with the same importance as those we read about in ancient times. Our world would be so much better today, if the words of another could more consistently be trusted and depended upon.

David went to the Gibeonites and asked what he could do to made amends for what Saul had done. In response, they said they did not want to be paid or have any Israelite killed. David offered to do anything they desired. The only thing they asked for, was for seven sons of Saul to be delivered to them for hanging, because he had been the man to go against them. David agreed, but he spared Mephibosheth, because he had made an oath with his father, Jonathan. Seven of the sons of Saul were given over to the Gibeonites, and they were hanged for the things that Saul had done. I cannot imagine how hard this would have been for David. It was not the custom of the Israelites to allow children to suffer for the sins of their parents (see Deuteronomy 24:16), but Saul himself was no longer there to make restitution for what he had done. This decision was probably not made lightly, and I can imagine that the families of those taken, would have been heartbroken.

10 And Rizpah the daughter of Aiah took sackcloth, and spread it for her upon the rock, from the beginning of harvest until water dropped upon them out of heaven, and suffered neither the birds of the air to rest on them by day, nor the beasts of the field by night.
11 And it was told David what Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, the concubine of Saul, had done.

The mother of two of those who were taken, laid on the rock where they had been hung, making sure that nothing happened to the bodies for several weeks. David learned of this thing she did, while she was in mourning.

12 And David went and took the bones of Saul and the bones of Jonathan his son from the men of Jabesh-gilead, which had stolen them from the street of Beth-shan, where the Philistines had hanged them, when the Philistines had slain Saul in Gilboa:
13 And he brought up from thence the bones of Saul and the bones of Jonathan his son; and they gathered the bones of them that were hanged.
14 And the bones of Saul and Jonathan his son buried they in the country of Benjamin in Zelah, in the sepulchre of Kish his father: and they performed all that the king commanded. And after that God was entreated for the land.

Perhaps, because of learning what Rizpah had done for the bodies of those when loved, or perhaps for some unknown reason, David took the bones of Saul and Jonathan from Jabesh-gilead, and gathered them with the bones of those who had been given over to the Gibeonites. Saul and Jonathan were buried in the grave of Saul’s father, Kish. I expect that the bodies of the seven sons were allowed to be placed where their families wanted them to be. After these things were done, they asked God for the land, which I think might mean that they may have asked a blessing upon the grave sites, or the land where they were buried.

15 Moreover the Philistines had yet war again with Israel; and David went down, and his servants with him, and fought against the Philistines: and David waxed faint.
16 And Ishbi-benob, which was of the sons of the giant, the weight of whose spear weighed three hundred shekels of brass in weight, he being girded with a new sword, thought to have slain David.
17 But Abishai the son of Zeruiah succoured him, and smote the Philistine, and killed him. Then the men of David sware unto him, saying, Thou shalt go no more out with us to battle, that thou quench not the light of Israel.
18 And it came to pass after this, that there was again abattle with the Philistines at Gob: then Sibbechai the Hushathite slew Saph, which was of the sons of the giant.
19 And there was again a battle in Gob with the Philistines, where Elhanan the son of Jaare-oregim, a Beth-lehemite, slew the brother of Goliath the Gittite, the staff of whose spear was like a weaver’s beam.
20 And there was yet a battle in Gath, where was a man ofgreat stature, that had on every hand six fingers, and on every foot six toes, four and twenty in number; and he also was born to the giant.
21 And when he defied Israel, Jonathan the son of Shimea the brother of David slew him.
22 These four were born to the giant in Gath, and fell by the hand of David, and by the hand of his servants.

Then, Israel went to war again with the Philistines. David became faint from battle, which I imagine may have been caused by his age or health at this time. Knowing David was not able to fight, the son of Goliath, Ishbi-benob, wanted to kill David, but Abisahi helped David and killed the Philistine. The men of David told him he was not to go out to battle again, because they did not want to lose their king, the “light of Israel”. The battles with the Philistines continued, and the men of David continued to kill those who were the sons and family of Goliath.

The promises of God that were made to David after he had the man named Uriah killed, continued to effect his life. In this chapter, we can see that the sword would not depart from the house of David (see 2 Samuel 12:10). Not knowing how soon after the famine that these battles with the Philistines started again, it is possible that the Israelites were forced into battles while still dealing with the effects of it. These times must not have been great for the people of Israel, and I am sure it would have been hard to be their leader at this time. David, who could have turned to his own wisdom or that of his counselors, turned to the Lord. He knew that God could help him to know how to stop the famine and help his people. He continues to be an example of the importance of going to the Lord, and each time he did, he and his people were blessed by following the direction and counsel given. We too, should continually turn to the Lord for guidance and direction. When we do, trusting in the will of God, we can also be blessed with those things that we stand in need of at that time.

2 Samuel Chapter 18

An Israelite army, led by Absalom, was prepared to fight against David and his people. David had fled Jerusalem and gone into the wilderness for safety. Absalom was following the counsel of Hushai, a friend of David who was secretly helping to stop Absalom from destroying the king. This chapter begins with:

1 And David numbered the people that were with him, and set captains of thousands and captains of hundreds over them.
2 And David sent forth a third part of the people under the hand of Joab, and a third part under the hand of Abishai the son of Zeruiah, Joab’s brother, and a third part under the hand of Ittai the Gittite. And the king said unto the people, I will surely go forth with you myself also.
3 But the people answered, Thou shalt not go forth: for if we flee away, they will not care for us; neither if half of us die, will they care for us: but now thou art worth ten thousand of us: therefore now it is better that thou succour us out of the city.
4 And the king said unto them, What seemeth you best I will do. And the king stood by the gate side, and all the people came out by hundreds and by thousands.
5 And the king commanded Joab and Abishai and Ittai, saying, Deal gently for my sake with the young man, even with Absalom. And all the people heard when the king gave all the captains charge concerning Absalom.

David sent Joab, Abishai, and Ittai, as captains of part of his army, each with one-third of his people as their army. David was willing to go and fight along side of them, but the people told him no, because he was of so much greater value than they. Instead, they told him that he would be better helping them from the city, which he did. David commanded his captains to deal gently with Absalom, who was, after all, his son, whom he loved. It really seems as though David would have made any other choice, than to go to battle against his son. This was not a worthwhile battle against some outside enemy, but a fight against his own blood and his own people. This must have been extremely difficult for him as a leader, and especially as a father. Sometimes in life, we are forced into our own battles against things that we had no intention of fighting. It can be hard and heartbreaking, just as it was for David.

6 So the people went out into the field against Israel: and the battle was in the wood of Ephraim;
7 Where the people of Israel were slain before the servants of David, and there was there a great slaughter that day of twenty thousand men.
8 For the battle was there scattered over the face of all the country: and the wood devoured more people that day than the sword devoured.

A battle began in the woods of Ephraim, and thousands of the army of Israel were slain. I think it is interesting that is says the woods were the reason for more deaths than the sword. The Lord, was once again on David’s side and blessing those who had been loyal to him and allowing other forces to be the reason for the deaths of so many of their own people, instead of their own hand.

9 And Absalom met the servants of David. And Absalom rode upon a mule, and the mule went under the thick boughs of a great oak, and his head caught hold of the oak, and he was taken up between the heaven and the earth; and the mule that was under him went away.
10 And a certain man saw it, and told Joab, and said, Behold, I saw Absalom hanged in an oak.
11 And Joab said unto the man that told him, And, behold, thou sawest him, and why didst thou not smite him there to the ground? and I would have given thee ten shekels of silver, and a girdle.
12 And the man said unto Joab, Though I should receive a thousand shekels of silver in mine hand, yet would I not put forth mine hand against the king’s son: for in our hearing the king charged thee and Abishai and Ittai, saying, Beware that none touch the young man Absalom.
13 Otherwise I should have wrought falsehood against mine own life: for there is no matter hid from the king, and thou thyself wouldest have set thyself against me.
14 Then said Joab, I may not tarry thus with thee. And he took three darts in his hand, and thrust them through the heart of Absalom, while he was yet alive in the midst of the oak.
15 And ten young men that bare Joab’s armour compassed about and smote Absalom, and slew him.
16 And Joab blew the trumpet, and the people returned from pursuing after Israel: for Joab held back the people.
17 And they took Absalom, and cast him into a great pit in the wood, and laid a very great heap of stones upon him: and all Israel fled every one to his tent.

Absalom was riding on a mule and got caught up on an oak tree. His mule left him there, and a man of David’s side of the fight saw it, and went to tell Joab. He told him that Absalom was hanging in an oak tree, and Joab asked him why he did not killed him right then and there, because he would have been rewarded for it. The man would not take any amount of money in order to kill the son of the king, because David had commanded them not to touch him. He knew that the king would have known what he had done and his own life would have been at risk, even from Joab himself. Joab left the man, taking three darts with him, and went and shot Absalom in the heart. Men of Joab’s army, made sure that Absalom was dead. The fighting was stopped at the sound of a trumpet, and the body of Absalom was thrown into a pit with a pile of stones on his body. The men of Israel then fled back to their own tents.

18 Now Absalom in his lifetime had taken and reared up for himself a pillar, which is in the king’s dale: for he said, I have no son to keep my name in remembrance: and he called the pillar after his own name: and it is called unto this day, Absalom’s place.

Absalom, who said he had no son to remember him, had built a memorial to himself, which was called Absalom’s place. I believe Absalom had had three sons, but I am guessing that at some point he had either lost them by death, or they had chosen to follow David and be with other family members, in essence, abandoning their father and his cause.

19 Then said Ahimaaz the son of Zadok, Let me now run, and bear the king tidings, how that the Lord hath avenged him of his enemies.
20 And Joab said unto him, Thou shalt not bear tidings this day, but thou shalt bear tidings another day: but this day thou shalt bear no tidings, because the king’s son is dead.
21 Then said Joab to Cushi, Go tell the king what thou hast seen. And Cushi bowed himself unto Joab, and ran.
22 Then said Ahimaaz the son of Zadok yet again to Joab, But howsoever, let me, I pray thee, also run after Cushi. And Joab said, Wherefore wilt thou run, my son, seeing that thou hast no tidings ready?
23 But howsoever, said he, let me run. And he said unto him, Run. Then Ahimaaz ran by the way of the plain, and overran Cushi.
24 And David sat between the two gates: and the watchman went up to the roof over the gate unto the wall, and lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold a man running alone.
25 And the watchman cried, and told the king. And the king said, If he be alone, there is tidings in his mouth. And he came apace, and drew near.
26 And the watchman saw another man running: and the watchman called unto the porter, and said, Behold another man running alone. And the king said, He also bringeth tidings.
27 And the watchman said, Me thinketh the running of the foremost is like the running of Ahimaaz the son of Zadok. And the king said, He is a good man, and cometh with good tidings.
28 And Ahimaaz called, and said unto the king, All is well. And he fell down to the earth upon his face before the king, and said, Blessed be the Lord thy God, which hath delivered up the men that lifted up their hand against my lord the king.
29 And the king said, Is the young man Absalom safe? And Ahimaaz answered, When Joab sent the king’s servant, and me thy servant, I saw a great tumult, but I knew not what it was.
30 And the king said unto him, Turn aside, and stand here. And he turned aside, and stood still.
31 And, behold, Cushi came; and Cushi said, Tidings, my lord the king: for the Lord hath avenged thee this day of all them that rose up against thee.
32 And the king said unto Cushi, Is the young man Absalom safe? And Cushi answered, The enemies of my lord the king, and all that rise against thee to do thee hurt, be as that young man is.

Ahimaaz, wanted to return to David and tell him that the Lord had avenged him, but Joab refused and told him that the king’s son was dead. Instead, Joab told Cushi to bear tidings to David, of what he had done, and Cushi obeyed. Ahimaaz also wanted to go with Cushi, but Joab asked why, when he would have no message to take. Ahimaaz still asked to go after Cushi, so Joab allowed him to go. Ahimaaz took a shortcut and got to David first. The watchman of David saw Ahimaaz and Cushi coming from afar off, and told David they were coming. David knew they bore tidings from the fighting. They recognized Ahimaaz and David told them that he was a good man who would bring good tidings to him. Ahimaaz greeted David and David asked about Absalom. Ahimaaz told him that when he had been sent by Joab, he had seen a large amount of confusion, but that he did not know why. David told him to stand aside, to let Cushi come. Cushi told him that the lord had avenged him, and when David asked about Absalom, Cushi told him that he was killed with those that had risen against the king.

33 And the king was much moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept: and as he went, thus he said, O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son!

David left to his room and mourned for his son Absalom. It is horrible to suffer the loss of your own child. Even for some of the worst souls, who do horrific things in their lifetime, a good parent will still love them and want them to have peace and happiness. This was not how David had wanted things to turn out, and David cried that he would have rather died himself, than to lose Absalom.

Absalom was not blessed for his own choices to go against his father and to do wicked things to gain power. The Lord allowed the forest to stop Absalom from pursuing his course against David, just as the forest had caused the death of many others, and I wonder how likely it would have been for Absalom to have eventually been found dead from hanging where he was. I don’t know why Joab decided to go against David’s command, other than that he felt this was an enemy worthy of death. I think we will see what consequences came from this choice. And I don’t think that David would be glad to know that Joab had seen to the death of his son. David’s life continued to get harder and be full of heartache and loss, as he had been promised. However, because there was goodness in him, he continued to rely on the Lord through his difficulties, and he continued to lead his people as he had been called to do. We can follow this example through our own difficulties. Blessings come to those who rely on God and endure through the challenges of life.

2 Samuel Chapter 13

David had many wives and concubines during his life. His first wife named Michal, who was the daughter of Saul, was not able to have children with him, but with his other wives he had several sons, namely Amnon, Chilean, Absalom, Shammua, Shobab, Nathan, Solomon, Ibhar, Elishua, Nepheg, Japhia, Elishama, Eliada, Eliphalet, and Solomon (See chapters 3, 5, and 12 of 2 Samuel). He had at least one daughter as well, but I cannot recall if she was not mentioned in the previous chapters. This chapter is about two of his sons who were born before he ruled in Israel, Amnon, his firstborn, and Absalom. These two were half-brothers, who only shared David as their father. The chapter begins:

1 And it came to pass after this, that Absalom the son of David had a fair sister, whose name was Tamar; and Amnon the son of David loved her.
2 And Amnon was so vexed, that he fell sick for his sister Tamar; for she was a virgin; and Amnon thought it hard for him to do any thing to her.
3 But Amnon had a friend, whose name was Jonadab, the son of Shimeah David’s brother: and Jonadab was a very subtil man.
4 And he said unto him, Why art thou, being the king’s son, lean from day to day? wilt thou not tell me? And Amnon said unto him, I love Tamar, my brother Absalom’s sister.
5 And Jonadab said unto him, Lay thee down on thy bed, and make thyself sick: and when thy father cometh to see thee, say unto him, I pray thee, let my sister Tamar come, and give me meat, and dress the meat in my sight, that I may see it, and eat it at her hand.

Amnon loved the daughter of David, Tamar, who happened to be the fair virgin sister of Absalom. He desired to have her so much that he became sick over it. His friend and cousin, Jonadab, the nephew of David, saw that he was sick and possibly loosing weight, and asked why. Amnon told him his problem, and Jonadab, who is described as a subtil, or clever man, told him to lay in his bed sick. When his father would come to see him, he planned to ask him for his Tamar to bring food to his bedside, and then prepare it for him and feed him. I don’t think that the love Amnon felt for Tamar, was real love, but rather a physical attraction and a desire to be with her. He knew this was not right.

6 So Amnon lay down, and made himself sick: and when the king was come to see him, Amnon said unto the king, I pray thee, let Tamar my sister come, and make me a couple of cakes in my sight, that I may eat at her hand.
7 Then David sent home to Tamar, saying, Go now to thy brother Amnon’s house, and dress him meat.
8 So Tamar went to her brother Amnon’s house; and he was laid down. And she took flour, and kneaded it, and made cakes in his sight, and did bake the cakes.
9 And she took a pan, and poured them out before him; but he refused to eat. And Amnon said, Have out all men from me. And they went out every man from him.
10 And Amnon said unto Tamar, Bring the meat into the chamber, that I may eat of thine hand. And Tamar took the cakes which she had made, and brought them into the chamber to Amnon her brother.
11 And when she had brought them unto him to eat, he took hold of her, and said unto her, Come lie with me, my sister.
12 And she answered him, Nay, my brother, do not force me; for no such thing ought to be done in Israel: do not thou this folly.
13 And I, whither shall I cause my shame to go? and as for thee, thou shalt be as one of the fools in Israel. Now therefore, I pray thee, speak unto the king; for he will not withhold me from thee.
14 Howbeit he would not hearken unto her voice: but, being stronger than she, forced her, and lay with her.

Amnon went through with his plan, and when Tamar followed the instructions of her father, Amnon refused to eat the cakes she had made. Instead, he asked all the men to leave him and told Tamar to bring the food into his room. When she did, he took hold of her and told her to lie with him. She refused and told him not to force her because it would bring her shame, and he would look like a fool. It was strictly against the statutes of God, for a man to be with the daughter of his father. Tamar pleaded with him to ask their father, David, if he could have her, but Amnon would not listen and using his strength against her, forced Tamar to be with him.

15 Then Amnon hated her exceedingly; so that the hatred wherewith he hated her was greater than the love wherewith he had loved her. And Amnon said unto her, Arise, be gone.
16 And she said unto him, There is no cause: this evil in sending me away is greater than the other that thou didst unto me. But he would not hearken unto her.
17 Then he called his servant that ministered unto him, and said, Put now this woman out from me, and bolt the door after her.
18 And she had a garment of divers colours upon her: for with such robes were the king’s daughters that were virgins apparelled. Then his servant brought her out, and bolted the door after her.

After this, Amnon’s love turned into an even stronger hatred for her. He told her to leave him, and even though she told him sending her away was worse than he had already done to her, he forced her out. Amnon took a bad situation and made it worse by doing this.

19 And Tamar put ashes on her head, and rent her garment of divers colours that was on her, and laid her hand on her head, and went on crying.
20 And Absalom her brother said unto her, Hath Amnon thy brother been with thee? but hold now thy peace, my sister: he is thy brother; regard not this thing. So Tamar remained desolate in her brother Absalom’s house.

Tamar mourned the unholy loss of her virginity. Her brother, Absalom, asked what had happened with Amnon, as she was crying over it. He told her not to regard this thing, because this was her brother. She stayed in Absalom’s house, and remained desoloate, or in a state of emptiness. Being a worthy and holy woman for your possible future husband, was mainly what a woman had to live for in the times of the bible. Amnon, had taken that from Tamar and then refused to keep her as his own. In effect, I think he made her feel worthless and likely very hopeless in her situation. Perhaps Absalom’s words were a way of saying that he would take care of things for her.

21 But when king David heard of all these things, he was very wroth.
22 And Absalom spake unto his brother Amnon neither good nor bad: for Absalom hated Amnon, because he had forced his sister Tamar.

King David heard what had happened and it made him angry. Not only had his son ruined the life of his daughter, but he had brought shame to his name as well. Absalom, hated his brother for doing this, and would not speak to him.

23 And it came to pass after two full years, that Absalom had sheepshearers in Baal-hazor, which is beside Ephraim: and Absalom invited all the king’s sons.
24 And Absalom came to the king, and said, Behold now, thy servant hath sheepshearers; let the king, I beseech thee, and his servants go with thy servant.
25 And the king said to Absalom, Nay, my son, let us not all now go, lest we be chargeable unto thee. And he pressed him: howbeit he would not go, but blessed him.
26 Then said Absalom, If not, I pray thee, let my brother Amnon go with us. And the king said unto him, Why should he go with thee?
27 But Absalom pressed him, that he let Amnon and all the king’s sons go with him.

Two years passed and Absalom invited all his brothers, the sons of king David, to the sheepshearers. Absalom went to David and told him of the sheepshearers, asking him to join them. David refused, saying they should not all go. After trying hard to persuade him, and David still refusing, he blessed him instead. Then, Absalom asked that Amnon go with them, but David did not want to allow it. Absalom asked again, for David to allow all of his sons to go along.

28 Now Absalom had commanded his servants, saying, Mark ye now when Amnon’s heart is merry with wine, and when I say unto you, Smite Amnon; then kill him, fear not: have not I commanded you? be courageous, and be valiant.
29 And the servants of Absalom did unto Amnon as Absalom had commanded. Then all the king’s sons arose, and every man gat him up upon his mule, and fled.

Absalom had made a plan, which is probably why he had pressed the king so hard to allow Amnon to join his brothers. Absalom told his servants by his command, to kill Amnon when he was drunk. He told them to have courage and be valiant, when he himself was not being a man of courage. If he truly felt this was an act of courage, he should have been willing to do it with his own hand, but he asked others to do it instead. The servants obeyed, and when the sons of David got up, everyone fled. The reason may have been different, but I think that they may have felt that their own lives were in danger, so they hurried to get away from Absalom.

I don’t think that revenge and planned murder of another person, could ever be considered a courageous thing. I think it would have been more courageous for the servants to stand up for what was right and tell Absalom that this thing was not right, but that there were better ways to handle the situation. And yet, the servants were obedient to his command and followed through with his plan.

30 And it came to pass, while they were in the way, that tidings came to David, saying, Absalom hath slain all the king’s sons, and there is not one of them left.
31 Then the king arose, and tare his garments, and lay on the earth; and all his servants stood by with their clothes rent.
32 And Jonadab, the son of Shimeah David’s brother, answered and said, Let not my lord suppose that they have slain all the young men the king’s sons; for Amnon only is dead: for by the appointment of Absalom this hath been determined from the day that he forced his sister Tamar.
33 Now therefore let not my lord the king take the thing to his heart, to think that all the king’s sons are dead: for Amnon only is dead.
34 But Absalom fled. And the young man that kept the watch lifted up his eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came much people by the way of the hill side behind him.
35 And Jonadab said unto the king, Behold, the king’s sons come: as thy servant said, so it is.
36 And it came to pass, as soon as he had made an end of speaking, that, behold, the king’s sons came, and lifted up their voice and wept: and the king also and all his servants wept very sore.

David heard that all of his sons were dead at the hand of Absalom, and he mourned for his sons. Jonadab, David’s nephew, who had helped Amnon come up with his original idea to be with Tamar, told him that only Amnon was dead and that Absalom had had his heart set on this since Amnon had taken advantage of Tamar. Absalom had fled, and the king’s sons returned. David and his servants wept at their return, along with David’s sons.

37 But Absalom fled, and went to Talmai, the son of Ammihud, king of Geshur. And David mourned for his son every day.
38 So Absalom fled, and went to Geshur, and was there three years.
39 And the soul of king David longed to go forth unto Absalom: for he was comforted concerning Amnon, seeing he was dead.

Absalom fled to Geshur for three years. Geshur was where his mother was from, and Talmai was family to him. Meanwhile, David had received comfort over Amnon, and so he mourned for his son and desired to go to Absalom.

I think this may have been a beginning to the fulfillment of promises made to David through the prophet Nathan. He had said that the sword would never depart from his family (see chapter 12). Here we have fighting and death among his family members and also continued mourning for David.

There is, has been, and will continue to be, times of drama within families. We are all human and we will make mistakes, especially with those whom we love the most. That is the nature of families. Even our eternal family has a bit of drama in it, with a great war and an eternal separation between family members. In this life, the hope is that as individuals, we can rely more on help from the Lord. This applies especially when we have temptations, difficulties, sorrows and struggles. In this story, things would have been different for everyone if they had relied upon God rather than seek for solutions from men. Amnon had temptation and sickness that could have been healed by turning to the Lord, rather than listening to the plan of a friend. Tamar had pain that though hard and really not her fault, could have been healed by God. Absalom had anger and temptations that could have been calmed, had he turned to God, rather than to his own plan to kill another. It would not have been easy for them. It will not always be easy for us, and it is not meant to be, but relying on the Lord, can keep families whole and intact. I believe that families which are whole, are our greatest hope for having the strength to return to our Father in Heaven and receive the eternal rewards prepared for us there.


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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