Posts Tagged 'War'

2 Kings Chapter 16

Israel and Judah had passed through the hands of many kings. Israel was typically led by those who were wicked and idolatrous. Judah was typically led by those who were trying to be good, but did not help the people to turn fully to the Lord. In Israel, Pekah ruled in wickedness, as the kings before him. A fair amount of the Israelite people had been captured and taken to Assyria. Meanwhile, Jotham ruled in Judah, and had done those things that were good in the sight of God. When he died, his son Ahaz became king. At this time, Pekah joined with Rezin, king of Syria, to go up against Judah.

1 In the seventeenth year of Pekah the son of Remaliah Ahaz the son of Jotham king of Judah began to reign.
2 Twenty years old was Ahaz when he began to reign, and reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem, and did not that which was right in the sight of the Lord his God, like David his father.
3 But he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, yea, and made his son to pass through the fire, according to the abominations of the heathen, whom the Lord cast out from before the children of Israel.
4 And he sacrificed and burnt incense in the high places, and on the hills, and under every green tree.

Ahaz began to rule during the seventeenth year of Pekah’s reign in Israel. He was twenty years old at the time, and he reigned for sixteen years. Unlike his father, Ahaz did not rule in righteousness. He reigned in wickedness and idolatry, going so far as to sacrifice his own son to false gods, as was done to Baal. He used the high places that had been left by the kings before him, and performed sacrifices and made offerings there and all over Judah. This depth of idolatry, was the type that existed in the nations that the Israelites cast out, when Moses and Joshua led them into the promised land.

5 Then Rezin king of Syria and Pekah son of Remaliah king of Israel came up to Jerusalem to war: and they besieged Ahaz, but could not overcome him.
6 At that time Rezin king of Syria recovered Elath to Syria, and drave the Jews from Elath: and the Syrians came to Elath, and dwelt there unto this day.
7 So Ahaz sent messengers to Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria, saying, I am thy servant and thy son: come up, and save me out of the hand of the king of Syria, and out of the hand of the king of Israel, which rise up against me.
8 And Ahaz took the silver and gold that was found in the house of the Lord, and in the treasures of the king’s house, and sent it for a present to the king of Assyria.
9 And the king of Assyria hearkened unto him: for the king of Assyria went up against Damascus, and took it, and carried the people of it captive to Kir, and slew Rezin.

Ahaz was beseiged by Rezin and Pekah, but they were unable to capture Judah. Elath was again taken from Judah by the Syrians, and the Jews were forced out of that area. Ahaz turned to Tiglath-pileser of Assyria, in hopes of being saved from his enemies. The Assyrians had already showed strength against Israel and had taken much of the people away, as mentioned above. Ahaz gave all the treasures of the temple and king’s house, and gave it as a gift to the king of Assyria, who decided to save Judah. Paying another country for help in times of war, was a normal thing. In a political sense, it meant that the Assyrians would have an allegiance from Judah, if not more. The Assyrians went against Damascaus, captured it and took the people to a place called Kir. They also killed Rezin.

10 And king Ahaz went to Damascus to meet Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria, and saw an altar that was at Damascus: and king Ahaz sent to Urijah the priest the fashion of the altar, and the pattern of it, according to all the workmanship thereof.
11 And Urijah the priest built an altar according to all that king Ahaz had sent from Damascus: so Urijah the priest made it against king Ahaz came from Damascus.
12 And when the king was come from Damascus, the king saw the altar: and the king approached to the altar, and offered thereon.
13 And he burnt his burnt offering and his meat offering, and poured his drink offering, and sprinkled the blood of his peace offerings, upon the altar.
14 And he brought also the brasen altar, which was before the Lord, from the forefront of the house, from between the altar and the house of the Lord, and put it on the north side of the altar.
15 And king Ahaz commanded Urijah the priest, saying, Upon the great altar burn the morning burnt offering, and the evening meat offering, and the king’s burnt sacrifice, and his meat offering, with the burnt offering of all the people of the land, and their meat offering, and their drink offerings; and sprinkle upon it all the blood of the burnt offering, and all the blood of the sacrifice: and the brasen altar shall be for me to inquire by.
16 Thus did Urijah the priest, according to all that king Ahaz commanded.

Ahaz went to meet the Assyrian king in Damascus, and seeing the altar their, decided he wanted to make a new altar in Judah. He sent a description to Urijah the priest, who built a new altar for Ahaz. Ahaz returned, saw the new altar and made an offering upon it. King Ahaz made the sacrifice himself, unlike the traditions of the past in which the priests made the sacrifices. Ahaz moved the brazen altar of the temple. Then he gave a commandment to Urijah to make offerings on the new, great altar, and he changed the way that sacrifices were made in the temple, reserving the brazen altar for his own use.

17 And king Ahaz cut off the borders of the bases, and removed the laver from off them; and took down the sea from off the brasen oxen that were under it, and put it upon a pavement of stones.
18 And the covert for the sabbath that they had built in the house, and the king’s entry without, turned he from the house of the Lord for the king of Assyria.

Then, Ahaz destroyed the brazen sea on the oxen, and he changed the things that had been built for the sabbath and king’s entrance. This brazen sea, would have been the baptismal font of the temple of Solomon, like those built in modern-day temples.

19 Now the rest of the acts of Ahaz which he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?
20 And Ahaz slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David: and Hezekiah his son reigned in his stead.

When Ahaz died, his son Hezekiah became king of Judah.

The adversary had a great hold upon the heart of Ahaz. This was a man who was saved by a powerful leader of a powerful nation. Then, when he went to see the king of Assyria, he saw the traditions of those who were more powerful then he was. He may have wanted greater power himself and coveted the same kind of things he saw. Because Ahaz was a powerful man himself, he was able to have what he wanted. A bigger altar and a more grand display when making sacrifices, was not going to bring Ahaz the true strength that he needed to be his greatest potential. Ahaz can be an example to us, for what we should not allow to happen in our lives. Seeing the traditions of those who are more powerful, may cause the prideful to seek after those traditions in order to be more powerful. In effect, turning away from God and what is right to seek after the honors of men. This is not the source of true power. Long-lasting power, even the eternal power of God, can only be given by God and only according to the faithfulness of the righteous. Ahaz might have been able to experience what he felt was great and satisfying, in making the changes to traditions and destroying things of the temple as they were, but that experience would have been fleeting. If we choose to follow after Christ and live his gospel now, even though it is without a lot of earthly honor or reward, we will have the greater reward eternally. This is what our loving Father in Heaven desires for all of His children.

This chapter causes me to reflect on lessons learned about dependence upon the arm of the flesh to be saved. In this instance, Ahaz was able to be rescued by Assyria, but at what cost? He gave great amounts of money, which was normal to do and really didn’t matter in the long run. The greater cost was that of becoming indebted to another country for that rescue. In our own lives, we cannot rely on the strength of men to continually be there for us. Men will eventually fail, but God does not and will not ever fail us. If we are in need, and are humble, we can turn to God and with faith, he will be our strength. Help may not come immediately, which can be seen all throughout the scriptures, but with patience and hope in the Lord, it will eventually come. Ahaz must have had the records of the kings before him. I wonder if there had been some knowledge of times long past to him, which showed that miracles happened to those who depended on the God of Israel. I can only guess that he would have looked at these miracles as legends and turned to what he could see was there for him physically in his own life. Yet, the stories of the bible are real history of men on earth. Ahaz did exist and he did depend on men and false gods. We can know that these things are true and that God is there for us, waiting to bless us for our faith, through sincere prayer and the choice to live faithful to the commandments. I am grateful for the blessings that I have received those times that I have turned to the Lord, rather than depending first on the wisdom and strength of men.

Advertisements

2 Kings Chapter 14

Joash had been raised to be the king of Judah, through the words of the high priest, Jehoiada. He had ruled in righteousness and had also made repairs the temple. When his servants killed him, his son, Amaziah became the king. This chapter begins with the rule of Amaziah.

1 In the second year of Joash son of Jehoahaz king of Israel reigned Amaziah the son of Joash king of Judah.
2 He was twenty and five years old when he began to reign, and reigned twenty and nine years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Jehoaddan of Jerusalem.
3 And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, yet not like David his father: he did according to all things as Joash his father did.
4 Howbeit the high places were not taken away: as yet the people did sacrifice and burnt incense on the high places.

While Joash was king in Israel, Amaziah began to rule in Judah. He reigned for twenty-nine years, or until he was almost fifty-five years old. Like his father, he did those things that were right by the Lord. However, he continued to allow the people of Judah to make sacrifices and offerings in the high places.

5 And it came to pass, as soon as the kingdom was confirmed in his hand, that he slew his servants which had slain the king his father.
6 But the children of the murderers he slew not: according unto that which is written in the book of the law of Moses, wherein the Lord commanded, saying, The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, nor the children be put to death for the fathers; but every man shall be put to death for his own sin.
7 He slew of Edom in the valley of salt ten thousand, and took Selah by war, and called the name of it Joktheel unto this day.

When Amaziah became king, he immediately killed the servants who had killed his father. This was not against the law of Moses, which taught that those who murdered another, were to be sentenced to death by the family of the victim. And seeing as the law of Moses, does not call for the children of murderers to be killed for the crime of their fathers, Amaziah did nothing to their children. While we generally do not judge who is worthy of being sentenced to death, those of the LDS faith, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, do believe in living by this second principle. In Article of Faith 1:2, it reads, “We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression.” No one should punish a child for the sins of their father. Likewise, no parent should be punished for the sin of their child. We all will be judged independent of one another.

Amaziah went to war with Edom and took Selah, the capital city, renaming it Joktheel. Edom was the land of the children of Esau, or the kindred of the Israelites. Since, there is no record here of a reason for the fight, this may not have been a victory for Judah, that looked good in the eyes of the people of Israel, even though their had been times of fighting with them in the past.

8 Then Amaziah sent messengers to Jehoash, the son of Jehoahaz son of Jehu, king of Israel, saying, Come, let us look one another in the face.
9 And Jehoash the king of Israel sent to Amaziah king of Judah, saying, The thistle that was in Lebanon sent to the cedar that was in Lebanon, saying, Give thy daughter to my son to wife: and there passed by a wild beast that was in Lebanon, and trode down the thistle.
10 Thou hast indeed smitten Edom, and thine heart hath lifted thee up: glory of this, and tarry at home: for why shouldest thou meddle to thy hurt, that thou shouldest fall, even thou, and Judah with thee?
11 But Amaziah would not hear. Therefore Jehoash king of Israel went up; and he and Amaziah king of Judah looked one another in the face at Beth-shemesh, which belongeth to Judah.
12 And Judah was put to the worse before Israel; and they fled every man to their tents.
13 And Jehoash king of Israel took Amaziah king of Judah, the son of Jehoash the son of Ahaziah, at Beth-shemesh, and came to Jerusalem, and brake down the wall of Jerusalem from the gate of Ephraim unto the corner gate, four hundred cubits.
14 And he took all the gold and silver, and all the vessels that were found in the house of the Lord, and in the treasures of the king’s house, and hostages, and returned to Samaria.

Amaziah sent messengers to the king of Israel, Jehoash, to tell him that they meet one another. This seems to have been a call to fight him. The reply of Jehoash, was that Amaziah had fought with Edom and gloried in hurting them. He felt that Amaziah was taking unnecessary pride in his victory. Furthermore, he said that he should stay in Judah, so that no harm would come to him and therefore bring the destruction of Judah. Amaziah did not want to listen to the words of Jehoash, so Jehoash went to Beth-shemesh in Judah. Jehoash made war against Judah, and the men of Judah fled. Jehoash took Amaziah to Jerusalem, broke down the walls, took the treasures found in the temple and the king’s house, took hostages, and then went back to Samaria.

15 Now the rest of the acts of Jehoash which he did, and his might, and how he fought with Amaziah king of Judah, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?
16 And Jehoash slept with his fathers, and was buried in Samaria with the kings of Israel; and Jeroboam his son reigned in his stead.

After much fighting with Amaziah, Jehoash died and his son, Jeroboam ruled in Israel.

17 And Amaziah the son of Joash king of Judah lived after the death of Jehoash son of Jehoahaz king of Israel fifteen years.
18 And the rest of the acts of Amaziah, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?
19 Now they made a conspiracy against him in Jerusalem: and he fled to Lachish; but they sent after him to Lachish, and slew him there.
20 And they brought him on horses: and he was buried at Jerusalem with his fathers in the city of David.

Amaziah outlived Jehoash, for another fifteen years, even with the loss that had come to Judah. A conspiracy was led against him in Jerusalem, so he feld. Men followed after him and killed him in Lachish.

21 And all the people of Judah took Azariah, which was sixteen years old, and made him king instead of his father Amaziah.
22 He built Elath, and restored it to Judah, after that the king slept with his fathers.

Azariah, the sixteen-year-old son of Amaziah, became the king of Judah. After the king had died, Azariah restored to Judah a town in Edom called Elath.

23 In the fifteenth year of Amaziah the son of Joash king of Judah Jeroboam the son of Joash king of Israel began to reign in Samaria, and reigned forty and one years.
24 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord: he departed not from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin.
25 He restored the coast of Israel from the entering of Hamath unto the sea of the plain, according to the word of the Lord God of Israel, which he spake by the hand of his servant Jonah, the son of Amittai, the prophet, which was of Gath-hepher.
26 For the Lord saw the affliction of Israel, that it was very bitter: for there was not any shut up, nor any left, nor any helper for Israel.
27 And the Lord said not that he would blot out the name of Israel from under heaven: but he saved them by the hand of Jeroboam the son of Joash.

Jeroboam was king for forty-one years in Israel. He was not a righteous king, but did evil and was idolatrous, as the kings before him had been. He regained the borders of Israel according to prophecies by Jonah, the prophet. Israel stood alone, but the Lord would not let them be completely destroyed. Rather, the Lord allowed them to be saved by Jeroboam.

28 Now the rest of the acts of Jeroboam, and all that he did, and his might, how he warred, and how he recovered Damascus, and Hamath, which belonged to Judah, for Israel, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?
29 And Jeroboam slept with his fathers, even with the kings of Israel; and Zachariah his son reigned in his stead.

Jeroboam did things like recovering Damascus and Hamath. He was mighty and fought wars. After forty-one years, he died and his son Zachariah became king of Israel.

This chapter does not include much in the way of positive experiences for the people of Israel or Judah. The continuous blessings of peace and prosperity were not found, because they were not consistently following after good men or righteous leaders. The Israelite people were becoming ripe for destruction. The Lord had promised that the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob would continue and would bless the earth, so complete and utter destruction was not coming to them. There would be times of being saved, even when their hearts were not completely turned to Him. But much destruction would come. We will come to see that the promises to their fathers did not mean they would be blessed with lives that were free from war, destruction, and bondage. Likewise, we may have moments of being saved and preserved, even blessed by God, in our lives, but if we do not follow after those things that are good and lead us to Christ, we will be setting ourselves up for our own failure and destruction in ways both physical and spiritual.

2 Kings Chapter 8

Elisha was the prophet in the Northern Kingdom of Israel during the time of the king Jehoram. He had performed several miracles which have been recorded. One of those miracles was to bring a child back to life (see 2 Kings 4:18-37). His mother was a Shunammite woman who had provided a bed and food for Elisha out of the kindness of her heart. This chapter tells more of her, and begins:

1 Then spake Elisha unto the woman, whose son he had restored to life, saying, Arise, and go thou and thine household, and sojourn wheresoever thou canst sojourn: for the Lord hath called for a famine; and it shall also come upon the land seven years.
2 And the woman arose, and did after the saying of the man of God: and she went with her household, and sojourned in the land of the Philistines seven years.
3 And it came to pass at the seven years’ end, that the woman returned out of the land of the Philistines: and she went forth to cry unto the king for her house and for her land.
4 And the king talked with Gehazi the servant of the man of God, saying, Tell me, I pray thee, all the great things that Elisha hath done.
5 And it came to pass, as he was telling the king how he had restored a dead body to life, that, behold, the woman, whose son he had restored to life, cried to the king for her house and for her land. And Gehazi said, My lord, O king, this is the woman, and this is her son, whom Elisha restored to life.
6 And when the king asked the woman, she told him. So the king appointed unto her a certain officer, saying, Restore all that was hers, and all the fruits of the field since the day that she left the land, even until now.

Elisha told the Shunamite woman to take her family and leave the land to dwell anywhere else, because there was going to be a famine for seven-years. She heeded the prophet and took her family and all who lived in her house, to the land of the Philistines. They remained there for seven years and then she returned and desired of the king, to reclaim her home and land. The king asked Gehazi, who served with Elisha, to tell him the miracles and work of Elisha. Gehazi told him about the time when Elisha brought the woman’s son back to life. It was at this time, that the woman asked for her home and land to be restored to her. Gehazi told the king that this was the woman and her son, whom Elisha had raised. The king asked the woman about this, and when she told him, he had one of his officers restore all that was hers, including all the crops that had grown during her time in the land of the Philistines.

7 And Elisha came to Damascus; and Ben-hadad the king of Syria was sick; and it was told him, saying, The man of God is come hither.
8 And the king said unto Hazael, Take a present in thine hand, and go, meet the man of God, and inquire of the Lord by him, saying, Shall I recover of this disease?
9 So Hazael went to meet him, and took a present with him, even of every good thing of Damascus, forty camels’ burden, and came and stood before him, and said, Thy son Ben-hadad king of Syria hath sent me to thee, saying, Shall I recover of this disease?
10 And Elisha said unto him, Go, say unto him, Thou mayest certainly recover: howbeit the Lord hath shewed me that he shall surely die.
11 And he settled his countenance steadfastly, until he was ashamed: and the man of God wept.
12 And Hazael said, Why weepeth my lord? And he answered, Because I know the evil that thou wilt do unto the children of Israel: their strong holds wilt thou set on fire, and their young men wilt thou slay with the sword, and wilt dash their children, and rip up their women with child.
13 And Hazael said, But what, is thy servant a dog, that he should do this great thing? And Elisha answered, The Lord hath shewed me that thou shalt be king over Syria.
14 So he departed from Elisha, and came to his master; who said to him, What said Elisha to thee? And he answered, He told me that thou shouldest surely recover.
15 And it came to pass on the morrow, that he took a thick cloth, and dipped it in water, and spread it on his face, so that he died: and Hazael reigned in his stead.

Elisha traveled to Damascus. Ben-hadad, the king of Syria, was sick and heard that Elisha was in Damascus. He told his servant, Hazael, to take a gift to Elisha and to ask if the king would ever recover from his sickness. His servant obeyed and Elisha told him to return and tell the king that he would recover, but the Lord had revealed that he would die. Then Hazael had to compose himself, and Elisha cried. Hazael asked why he cried and Elisha told him that he knew the evil that the man would do to the people of Israel. He knew that he would destroy the protection of their cities with fire and kill their children and pregnant women. Hazael was taken back by this and asked how this would be, as he was a servant. Elisha told him that it had been revealed that he would become king of Syria. The revelation that he would become king, had been given to Elijah (see 1 Kings 19:15, 17) and Elisha had been made known of horrible things that would eventually come to his people by the work of Hazael. Hazael left and went to Ben-hadad. He told him that he would recover. Then the next day, Hazael covered the king’s face with a cloth dipped in water, and he died. Hazael became the king, just as Elisha had said.

16 And in the fifth year of Joram the son of Ahab king of Israel, Jehoshaphat being then king of Judah, Jehoram the son of Jehoshaphat king of Judah began to reign.
17 Thirty and two years old was he when he began to reign; and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem.
18 And he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, as did the house of Ahab: for the daughter of Ahab was his wife: and he did evil in the sight of the Lord.
19 Yet the Lord would not destroy Judah for David his servant’s sake, as he promised him to give him alway a light, and to his children.

As Joram reigned in Israel, Jehoshaphat of Judah died and his son Jehoram reigned in Judah. He was king for 8 years. He ruled in wickedness, just a Ahab and his family, because he married Ahab’s daughter. However, the Lord did not destroy Judah, because of the covenant made with David.

20 In his days Edom revolted from under the hand of Judah, and made a king over themselves.
21 So Joram went over to Zair, and all the chariots with him: and he rose by night, and smote the Edomites which compassed him about, and the captains of the chariots: and the people fled into their tents.
22 Yet Edom revolted from under the hand of Judah unto this day. Then Libnah revolted at the same time.
23 And the rest of the acts of Joram, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?
24 And Joram slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David: and Ahaziah his son reigned in his stead.

The land of Edom separated from Judah and raised their own king. This was the fulfillment of another revelation, which had been given through the patriarchal blessing of Esau (see Genesis 27:40). Joram took an army with him by night, and fought the Edomites. They fled to their homes, but there continued to be wars between them and Judah. In the Bible Dictionary, it says that the land of Edom had a great hatred for Israel and vice versa. Also at this time, Libnah revolted. Joram died and Ahaziah became king.

25 In the twelfth year of Joram the son of Ahab king of Israel did Ahaziah the son of Jehoram king of Judah begin to reign.
26 Two and twenty years old was Ahaziah when he began to reign; and he reigned one year in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Athaliah, the daughter of Omri king of Israel.
27 And he walked in the way of the house of Ahab, and did evil in the sight of the Lord, as did the house of Ahab: for he was the son in law of the house of Ahab.

Ahaziah only reigned for one year over Judah, at the age of 22. He ruled in wickedness, just as Ahab had done, because he was married into the family of Ahab.

28 And he went with Joram the son of Ahab to the war against Hazael king of Syria in Ramoth-gilead; and the Syrians wounded Joram.
29 And king Joram went back to be healed in Jezreel of the wounds which the Syrians had given him at Ramah, when he fought against Hazael king of Syria. And Ahaziah the son of Jehoram king of Judah went down to see Joram the son of Ahab in Jezreel, because he was sick.

Joram and Ahaziah gathered together, to go to war against the Syrians, but the Syrians wounded Joram. He left to heal from his wounds, and Ahaziah went to see him.

There does not seem to be much in the way of positive happenings in this portion of the story of Israel and Judah. There are lessons to be learned from the wars and contentions that wicked leadership brings upon a people. Both of these kingdoms were dwelling in unrighteousness and neither was at peace with other nations. In the past, those rulers who feared the Lord and served in righteousness, had been blessed with times of peace and prosperity. However at this point, Israel suffered from famine which would have been hard to bear. The famine was called by the Lord, or allowed to be something that was inflicted upon the people, possibly because of their wickedness and need for humbling and turning back to the Lord. The only positive thing, was the example of the Shunammite woman who continued to have faith in the words of the prophet. She had the blessing of being warned of life-changing difficulties, and heeded the warning. Through this choice, her family was preserved and eventually able to return to their land without suffering the ill effects of famine. We too can experience the blessings, such as with the Shunammite woman, or the difficulties of a contentious life, based on the choices we make to live righteously or unrighteously.

2 Kings Chapter 6

Elisha was the prophet in Israel, and had been blessed with the power and authority of God to do many miracles among the people. He had the authority to receive revelation for Israel and to guide and protect the people according to the will of the Lord. He had with him several men who are called the sons of the prophets. I imagine that these were much like the men today, who serve with the prophet each day, to carry out the work of the Lord. This chapter begins as follows:

1 And the sons of the prophets said unto Elisha, Behold now, the place where we dwell with thee is too strait for us.
2 Let us go, we pray thee, unto Jordan, and take thence every man a beam, and let us make us a place there, where we may dwell. And he answered, Go ye.
3 And one said, Be content, I pray thee, and go with thy servants. And he answered, I will go.
4 So he went with them. And when they came to Jordan, they cut down wood.
5 But as one was felling a beam, the axe head fell into the water: and he cried, and said, Alas, master! for it was borrowed.
6 And the man of God said, Where fell it? And he shewed him the place. And he cut down a stick, and cast it in thither; and the iron did swim.
7 Therefore said he, Take it up to thee. And he put out his hand, and took it.

The sons of the prophets were not able to continue living where they were because they were cramped in a narrow space, so they asked Elisha if they could go to Jordan, so that they could work together to make a new home for them. Elisha told them to go, and when they asked that he go along he said he would go. They cut wood near the Jordan and while doing this, one of the men dropped the head of the axe he was using. It fell into the water, and he was upset because he had borrowed it. It was not his ax to loose and moreover, in the law of Moses, which they followed, anything borrowed was to be returned and held a weight of responsibility to take care of that thing or great consequences would follow. Elisha asked where it had fallen. Elisha cut down a stick and threw it into the water where the axe head had gone down. Then the iron floated to the surface. Elisha told him to pick it up, which he did. This thing does not make logical sense, but it was another small miracle to be witnessed.

8 Then the king of Syria warred against Israel, and took counsel with his servants, saying, In such and such a place shall be my camp.
9 And the man of God sent unto the king of Israel, saying, Beware that thou pass not such a place; for thither the Syrians are come down.
10 And the king of Israel sent to the place which the man of God told him and warned him of, and saved himself there, not once nor twice.
11 Therefore the heart of the king of Syria was sore troubled for this thing; and he called his servants, and said unto them, Will ye not shew me which of us is for the king of Israel?
12 And one of his servants said, None, my lord, O king: but Elisha, the prophet that is in Israel, telleth the king of Israel the words that thou speakest in thy bedchamber.

The Syrians were prepared for war against Israel again, and their king counseled with his servants to decide where they would camp. Elisha sent word to the king of Israel, and warned him not to go to a certain part of the land, where the Syrians were coming down to fight. The king of Israel had reason to go to the place twice, but did not go because of the words of Elisha. The king of Syria worried about why his plan was not working, and asked his servants to reveal who had gone against them and told the Israelites where they would be. One of the servants told the king of Syria, that none of them had betrayed him, but that there was a prophet named Elisha who revealed the king’s secrets to the king of Israel.

13 And he said, Go and spy where he is, that I may send and fetch him. And it was told him, saying, Behold, he is in Dothan.
14 Therefore sent he thither horses, and chariots, and a great host: and they came by night, and compassed the city about.
15 And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do?
16 And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.
17 And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.
18 And when they came down to him, Elisha prayed unto the Lord, and said, Smite this people, I pray thee, with blindness. And he smote them with blindness according to the word of Elisha.

The servant of the Syrian king was told to find out where Elisha was so that he could be brought to the king. They told him that he was in Dothan. The king sent a large group of men with chariots and horses, and they encircled the city by night. When Elisha’s servant woke in the morning, he saw that they were surrounded by horses and chariots. He told Elisha and asked what they should do. Elisha told him not to fear, because they had more in number than those against them. Then Elisha prayed to God that the eyes of his servant might be opened to see what he meant. The servant’s eyes were opened by the Lord, and he saw that Elisha was surrounded by horses and chariots of fire. When the Syrians came down to take Elisha, he prayed that the Lord would cause them to be blind, and his prayer was answered by the Lord.

19 And Elisha said unto them, This is not the way, neither is this the city: follow me, and I will bring you to the man whom ye seek. But he led them to Samaria.
20 And it came to pass, when they were come into Samaria, that Elisha said, Lord, open the eyes of these men, that they may see. And the Lord opened their eyes, and they saw; and, behold, they were in the midst of Samaria.
21 And the king of Israel said unto Elisha, when he saw them, My father, shall I smite them? shall I smite them?
22 And he answered, Thou shalt not smite them: wouldest thou smite those whom thou hast taken captive with thy sword and with thy bow? set bread and water before them, that they may eat and drink, and go to their master.
23 And he prepared great provision for them: and when they had eaten and drunk, he sent them away, and they went to their master. So the bands of Syria came no more into the land of Israel.

Elisha told the blind men that they were in the wrong place, and the man they sought was not there. He led the blind men to Samaria. Then Elisha prayed for the eyes of the host to see where they were, and the Lord opened their eyes. They saw that they were in Samaria. The king of Israel asked Elisha if they were to smite the Syrians, and he said they were not to smite them. They were like those who surrender to captivity in war, and Elisha told them instead to feed them and send them away to their master. They ate and left, and the Syrians bands did not come against Israel.

24 And it came to pass after this, that Ben-hadad king of Syria gathered all his host, and went up, and besieged Samaria.
25 And there was a great famine in Samaria: and, behold, they besieged it, until an ass’s head was sold for fourscore pieces of silver, and the fourth part of a cab of dove’s dung for five pieces of silver.
26 And as the king of Israel was passing by upon the wall, there cried a woman unto him, saying, Help, my lord, O king.
27 And he said, If the Lord do not help thee, whence shall I help thee? out of the barnfloor, or out of the winepress?
28 And the king said unto her, What aileth thee? And she answered, This woman said unto me, Give thy son, that we may eat him to day, and we will eat my son to morrow.
29 So we boiled my son, and did eat him: and I said unto her on the next day, Give thy son, that we may eat him: and she hath hid her son.

Ben-hadad gathered his army and besieged Samaria. A famine hit the land of Samaria, and things got so bad that the price of simple things became great. At one point, the king was walking when a woman cried to him for help. The king said he could not help if the Lord was not even there to help her. He asked what was wrong with her and she told him that a woman had come to her and begged her to sacrifice her son for food, and promised her that they would do the same to her own son the next day. The first woman sacrificed her son, but when they went to the woman the next day, she had hid her son.

30 And it came to pass, when the king heard the words of the woman, that he rent his clothes; and he passed by upon the wall, and the people looked, and, behold, he had sackcloth within upon his flesh.
31 Then he said, God do so and more also to me, if the head of Elisha the son of Shaphat shall stand on him this day.
32 But Elisha sat in his house, and the elders sat with him; and the king sent a man from before him: but ere the messenger came to him, he said to the elders, See ye how this son of a murderer hath sent to take away mine head? look, when the messenger cometh, shut the door, and hold him fast at the door: is not the sound of his master’s feet behind him?
33 And while he yet talked with them, behold, the messenger came down unto him: and he said, Behold, this evil is of the Lord; what should I wait for the Lord any longer?

When the king heard her story, he tore his clothes in a sign of mourning and paraded himself in front of the people. The king wanted Elisha dead. Elisha was in his house when the king sent a messenger to him. Elisha told the elders that the king sent this man to take his head. He told them to shut the door when the man came, and hold onto the man at the door. The messenger came down and said that the famine was caused by the Lord, so why should they wait upon the Lord any more. He had no hope in the Lord and felt strongly that Elisha was to be blamed for this, or be held accountable for it.

Things learned from this chapter include that their are blessings in doing those things that the prophet asks of us, even if they don’t make sense to us, or may seem to go against those things that we believe because of our own learning and wisdom. Plus, I love that this thing was such a small thing and yet it is a story that we can read in the bible. There have been many times in my life, where I have broken or misplaced something and it seems such a little thing, of little or no importance to anyone else, but it means so much to me personally. The Lord knows this and if we ask in faith, He will help us because He loves us and wants us to have happiness. There is nothing of importance to us, that is too small or insignificant for the Lord.

Additionally, we all have an army around us, waiting to help us fight the good fight. When we are faced with great opposition, there are loved ones cheering for us and helping us from the ‘other side’. In Doctrine and Covenants 84:88, the Lord speaks to the faithful, saying, “And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.” I am certain that if we, like the servant, had our own spiritual eyes opened to see, we would be overwhelmed by the things that are there to help us, but that we just can’t see with our mortal eyes. I believe that in our own times when the opposition is upon us, we can pray for our eyes to be opened to find the way to safety, and that they Lord will answer that prayer according to His will and our faith in the Savior.

Finally, even though the last part of this chapter is not a finished story at this point, it teaches that in our moments of desperation, we might turn to those things that are wrong and against all that is good. This story is a bit horrifying to me, as a mother who loves her children beyond what seems possible. I believe that in the deepest parts of our trials, the adversary may cause us to believe there is no hope and that the only way out is to give in to the darkest parts of the natural man within us, but there is always hope. I know that there is always a better way, and that way is to turn to the Lord and rely on Him. I know that the answer will not always be a miracle to be saved, but I believe that it will always be the way to a better, more amazing blessing. I believe that we can turn to the Lord in our trials and always, and eventually through these things, we will become like Him.

2 Kings Chapter 3

The Moabites were one of the neighboring nations of Israel. They were the descendants of Lot and had been in continual conflict with the Israelites since their arrival in the promised land. When David was the king, he had subdued the Moabites and they had become servants to Israel, paying tribute to David. Israel was under the rule of Ahaziah, son of Ahab, when the Moabites rebelled against them. Ahaziah died from injuries resulting from a fall, and his brother, Jehoram began to rule in his place. This was during the reign of Johoshaphat in Judah. This chapter begins as follows:

1 Now Jehoram the son of Ahab began to reign over Israel in Samaria the eighteenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and reigned twelve years.
2 And he wrought evil in the sight of the Lord; but not like his father, and like his mother: for he put away the image of Baal that his father had made.
3 Nevertheless he cleaved unto the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which made Israel to sin; he departed not therefrom.

Jehoram reigned for twelve years in Israel. He did not rule in righteousness, but he also did not follow after Baal like his parents, Ahab and Jezebel. He led his people in wickedness in his own way.

4 And Mesha king of Moab was a sheepmaster, and rendered unto the king of Israel an hundred thousand lambs, and an hundred thousand rams, with the wool.
5 But it came to pass, when Ahab was dead, that the king of Moab rebelled against the king of Israel.

As tribute to Israel, the Moabite king, Mesha, had regularly given 100,000 lambs and 100,000 rams, but when Ahab had died, he rebelled decided to stop paying tribute to Israel. The death of a king, and the establishment of a new ruler, is a change and a time when leadership seems weaker, or at least unprepared, and rebellions are more common. The Moabites took this opportunity to attempt to be free of their situation and to possibly place them in a position of power over the Israelites.

6 And king Jehoram went out of Samaria the same time, and numbered all Israel.
7 And he went and sent to Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, saying, The king of Moab hath rebelled against me: wilt thou go with me against Moab to battle? And he said, I will go up: I am as thou art, my people as thy people, and my horses as thy horses.
8 And he said, Which way shall we go up? And he answered, The way through the wilderness of Edom.
9 So the king of Israel went, and the king of Judah, and the king of Edom: and they fetched a compass of seven days’ journey: and there was no water for the host, and for the cattle that followed them.
10 And the king of Israel said, Alas! that the Lord hath called these three kings together, to deliver them into the hand of Moab!
11 But Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the Lord, that we may inquire of the Lord by him? And one of the king of Israel’s servants answered and said, Here is Elisha the son of Shaphat, which poured water on the hands of Elijah.
12 And Jehoshaphat said, The word of the Lord is with him. So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat and the king of Edom went down to him.
13 And Elisha said unto the king of Israel, What have I to do with thee? get thee to the prophets of thy father, and to the prophets of thy mother. And the king of Israel said unto him, Nay: for the Lord hath called these three kings together, to deliver them into the hand of Moab.
14 And Elisha said, As the Lord of hosts liveth, before whom I stand, surely, were it not that I regard the presence of Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, I would not look toward thee, nor see thee.
15 But now bring me a minstrel. And it came to pass, when the minstrel played, that the hand of the Lord came upon him.
16 And he said, Thus saith the Lord, Make this valley full of ditches.
17 For thus saith the Lord, Ye shall not see wind, neither shall ye see rain; yet that valley shall be filled with water, that ye may drink, both ye, and your cattle, and your beasts.
18 And this is but a light thing in the sight of the Lord: he will deliver the Moabites also into your hand.
19 And ye shall smite every fenced city, and every choice city, and shall fell every good tree, and stop all wells of water, and mar every good piece of land with stones.
20 And it came to pass in the morning, when the meat offering was offered, that, behold, there came water by the way of Edom, and the country was filled with water.

Jehoram gathered the army of Israel and went to Jehoshaphat of Judah, to ask for his help to fight against the rebellious Moabites. Jehoshaphat, who knew they were brothers and a kindred nation, joined forces with the army of Israel. They decided they would travel through the wilderness of Edom. The leader of Edom, who were a people that were also subject to the Israelites, joined with them and they traveled for seven days. They had no water for themselves or their cattle. Jehoram felt that this was the Lord’s way of delivering them to the Moabites. Jehoshaphat asked if there was a prophet they could ask, and a servant told him of Elisha, who had served Elijah. The kings went to Elisha. Elisha, who knew that the Lord was not worshipped as God by Jehoram, told him to go ask his own prophets, but Jehoram said no, because he felt they had been brought together to be delivered into the hands of the Moabites. Elisha knew that the king could not receive help from the false gods that he worshipped. Only the true and living God could assist them.

Elisha said that he would not give him help if it had not been for Jehoshaphat being there with him. Elisha told them to have a musician come, which they did. The spirit came upon the man and, possibly through his performance, he said that they were to make ditches in the valley. (At first, I thought that the minstrel spoke here, but I think that this could also be describing Elisha prophesying as the man played by the spirit.)
The men would not see where the water came from, because they wouldn’t see any wind or rain, but that they valley would be filled with water for all their hosts and their herds of animals. But that was not all, the Lord would deliver the Moabites, and the combined host of Israel would be able to destroy them and their land. God has the power to give and take every blessing or curse men would experience. The idea that God would deliver a nation, was a regular thing to the Israelite people, while there is nothing simple about it. It is a testimony that God is a God of miracles. The next morning, the Israelites made the meat offering according to the law of Moses, and water came and filled the valley, just as Elisha had prophesied.

21 And when all the Moabites heard that the kings were come up to fight against them, they gathered all that were able to put on armour, and upward, and stood in the border.
22 And they rose up early in the morning, and the sun shone upon the water, and the Moabites saw the water on the other side as red as blood:
23 And they said, This is blood: the kings are surely slain, and they have smitten one another: now therefore, Moab, to the spoil.
24 And when they came to the camp of Israel, the Israelites rose up and smote the Moabites, so that they fled before them: but they went forward smiting the Moabites, even in their country.
25 And they beat down the cities, and on every good piece of land cast every man his stone, and filled it; and they stopped all the wells of water, and felled all the good trees: only in Kir-haraseth left they the stones thereof; howbeit the slingers went about it, and smote it.

The Moabites heard that the kings were coming against them, so they gathered together to the border or their land. The Moabites got up in the morning and saw the sun shining on the water. The water on the other side, looked like blood. They thought that the men who came against them had been killed by one another, so they went forward to gather the spoil left behind. When they got to the Israelite camp, the host of Israel surprised them, rose up and killed the Moabites. The men of Moab fled, but the Israelites pursued them into their country, destroying them and the land just as they had been told they would.

26 And when the king of Moab saw that the battle was too sore for him, he took with him seven hundred men that drew swords, to break through even unto the king of Edom: but they could not.
27 Then he took his eldest son that should have reigned in his stead, and offered him for a burnt offering upon the wall. And there was great indignation against Israel: and they departed from him, and returned to their own land.

The Moabite king saw that they were loosing the battle, so he took 700 swordsmen with him to try to break through the line of the men of Edom, but he was not successful. Then, King Mesha sacrificed his son who was meant to be his successor. The Moabites had been defeated, and the Israelites returned to their lands.

God blessed the Israelites with the water they needed after their march in such a miraculous way. I am sure that this would have renewed some of the much needed faith in the men who were fighting for Israel. Then, the delivering of the Moabites was also a great miracle for the people. It would have been such a testimony of the power of God to save people, if they turn to Him. Moreover, this would have been another witness that Elisha was a true prophet of God. The people of Israel had so many witnesses of God’s majesty and power.

1 Kings Chapter 22

Jehoshaphat was the son of Asa, both of whom followed after the Lord and ruled in righteousness over Judah. On the other hand, Ahab had ruled in wickedness in Israel, along with his wife Jezebel. Earlier in his reign, Ahab had fought against the Syrians and defeated them twice (see 1 Kings 20). Then, he made a deal with the leader of Syria. The king of Syria promised to return all the lands that had been taken from Israel, and Ahab allowed him to go free, against the will of the Lord. This had brought the promise of destruction upon Ahab’s people. This chapter begins as follows:

1 And they continued three years without war between Syria and Israel.
2 And it came to pass in the third year, that Jehoshaphat the king of Judah came down to the king of Israel.
3 And the king of Israel said unto his servants, Know ye that Ramoth in Gilead is ours, and we be still, and take it not out of the hand of the king of Syria?
4 And he said unto Jehoshaphat, Wilt thou go with me to battle to Ramoth-gilead? And Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, I am as thou art, my people as thy people, my horses as thy horses.
5 And Jehoshaphat said unto the king of Israel, Inquire, I pray thee, at the word of the Lord to day.
6 Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, about four hundred men, and said unto them, Shall I go against Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall I forbear? And they said, Go up; for the Lord shall deliver it into the hand of the king.
7 And Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the Lord besides, that we might inquire of him?
8 And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, There is yet one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may inquire of the Lord: but I hate him; for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil. And Jehoshaphat said, Let not the king say so.
9 Then the king of Israel called an officer, and said, Hasten hither Micaiah the son of Imlah.
10 And the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah sat each on his throne, having put on their robes, in a void place in the entrance of the gate of Samaria; and all the prophets prophesied before them.
11 And Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah made him horns of iron: and he said, Thus saith the Lord, With these shalt thou push the Syrians, until thou have consumed them.
12 And all the prophets prophesied so, saying, Go up to Ramoth-gilead, and prosper: for the Lord shall deliver it into the king’s hand.
13 And the messenger that was gone to call Micaiah spake unto him, saying, Behold now, the words of the prophets declare good unto the king with one mouth: let thy word, I pray thee, be like the word of one of them, and speak that which is good.
14 And Micaiah said, As the Lord liveth, what the Lord saith unto me, that will I speak.

Three years of peace followed the fighting between Israel and Syria. Ahab saw that the Syrians still held a place called Ramoth, which belonged to Israel. He met with Jehoshaphat and asked him to combine forces against Syria. Jehoshaphat told him his people and army were the same people as the Israelites, so he would join with him. Jehoshaphat wanted to know the will of the Lord, so Ahab turned to the prophets and asked if they should go to battle against the Syrians. The prophets returned with the response, which was to go to battle and the Lord would deliver the land of Ramoth-gilead into their hands. Jehoshaphat asked Ahab if there was a prophet of the Lord, who could pray to ask the Lord. Ahab told him of Micaiah, whom he hated for not prophesying of anything good about Ahab and only the bad. Jehoshaphat wanted to hear from the prophet still, so Ahab called for him and the kings sat and heard the prophesies of the prophets. A prophet named Zedekiah gave them iron horns and said that the Lord said they would help them defeat the Syrians. The many prophets continued to say that the Lord would deliver the Syrians into their hands. The servant who had been sent to get the prophet Micaiah, told him to speak only that which was good to the king, but Michaiah told him that he would speak the word of the Lord.

There are many who hate those that would tell the truth, if the truth is not pleasing to hear. I think there are few who have the integrity to tell the truth when it is hard for others to hear. Micaiah was a man of integrity, who clearly feared or honored God more than man. Even though it might be difficult to hear, the truth is always the better way and it will keep the faithful on the path that God wants for them, if they hearken to it.

15 So he came to the king. And the king said unto him, Micaiah, shall we go against Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall we forbear? And he answered him, Go, and prosper: for the Lord shall deliver it into the hand of the king.
16 And the king said unto him, How many times shall I adjure thee that thou tell me nothing but that which is true in the name of the Lord?
17 And he said, I saw all Israel scattered upon the hills, as sheep that have not a shepherd: and the Lord said, These have no master: let them return every man to his house in peace.
18 And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, Did I not tell thee that he would prophesy no good concerning me, but evil?
19 And he said, Hear thou therefore the word of the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him on his right hand and on his left.
20 And the Lord said, Who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead? And one said on this manner, and another said on that manner.
21 And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the Lord, and said, I will persuade him.
22 And the Lord said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said, Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also: go forth, and do so.
23 Now therefore, behold, the Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the Lord hath spoken evil concerning thee.
24 But Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah went near, and smote Micaiah on the cheek, and said, Which way went the Spirit of the Lord from me to speak unto thee?
25 And Micaiah said, Behold, thou shalt see in that day, when thou shalt go into an inner chamber to hide thyself.
26 And the king of Israel said, Take Micaiah, and carry him back unto Amon the governor of the city, and to Joash the king’s son;
27 And say, Thus saith the king, Put this fellow in the prison, and feed him with bread of affliction and with water of affliction, until I come in peace.
28 And Micaiah said, If thou return at all in peace, the Lord hath not spoken by me. And he said, Hearken, O people, every one of you.

The king asked Micaiah if they should go up against the Syrians at Ramoth-gilead. Micaiah told him that the Lord would deliver it into his hand. The king wanted to know more. Micaiah told him that he had a revelation that Israel was scattered without a leader, and that they should return to their homes in peace. Ahab told Jehoshaphat that he knew Micaiah would prophesy of something bad and not good. Micaiah said that he had seen a vision of the Lord with the host of heaven about him. The Lord asked who would persuade Ahab to go against the Syrains and fall. After some discussion, a spirit stood and said that he would go and convince (or had gone and convinced) the prophets to tell him to go fight the Syrians. The Lord allowed the spirit to go and persuade Ahab, because Ahab had sinned against the Lord. So, Micaiah told Ahab that the Lord had allowed his prophets to persuade him. Zedekiah smote Micaiah, asking why the Lord would do this to him, and yet speak to Micaiah. Micaiah told him he would know this was true when he went into a room to hide. Ahab commanded that Micaiah be put in prison until he returned, but Micaiah said the Lord had not said Ahab would return in peace. Micaiah told all the people to listen or be a witness to his word.

29 So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah went up to Ramoth-gilead.
30 And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, I will disguise myself, and enter into the battle; but put thou on thy robes. And the king of Israel disguised himself, and went into the battle.
31 But the king of Syria commanded his thirty and two captains that had rule over his chariots, saying, Fight neither with small nor great, save only with the king of Israel.
32 And it came to pass, when the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, that they said, Surely it is the king of Israel. And they turned aside to fight against him: and Jehoshaphat cried out.
33 And it came to pass, when the captains of the chariots perceived that it was not the king of Israel, that they turned back from pursuing him.
34 And a certain man drew a bow at a venture, and smote the king of Israel between the joints of the harness: wherefore he said unto the driver of his chariot, Turn thine hand, and carry me out of the host; for I am wounded.
35 And the battle increased that day: and the king was stayed up in his chariot against the Syrians, and died at even: and the blood ran out of the wound into the midst of the chariot.
36 And there went a proclamation throughout the host about the going down of the sun, saying, Every man to his city, and every man to his own country.

The kings went to Ramoth-gilead. Ahab decided he would disguise himself and enter the battle, while Jehoshaphat remained as he was. The captains of the Syrians were commanded to fight only with Ahab. They thought Jehosahphat must be the king of Israel, so they went to fight him. Jehoshaphat yelled, and when the captains figured out that he was not the king of Israel, they turned from fighting him. Meanwhile, another man wounded Ahab in the battle, and he told the driver of his chariot to take him away from the battle. While the battle went on, Ahab was propped up and in his chariot and died. Word was sent to the host, for the men to return home.

37 So the king died, and was brought to Samaria; and they buried the king in Samaria.
38 And one washed the chariot in the pool of Samaria; and the dogs licked up his blood; and they washed his armour; according unto the word of the Lord which he spake.
39 Now the rest of the acts of Ahab, and all that he did, and the ivory house which he made, and all the cities that he built, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?
40 So Ahab slept with his fathers; and Ahaziah his son reigned in his stead.

Ahab’s body was taken to Samaria, where he was buried. His chariot was washed and the dogs licked up the blood, as was prophesied by Elijah (see 1 Kings 21:19). This was according to the word of the Lord. The rest of the actions of King Ahab, were recorded in another record of the kings, including the building of an ivory house. Ahaziah, the son of Ahab, reigned after him.

41 And Jehoshaphat the son of Asa began to reign over Judah in the fourth year of Ahab king of Israel.
42 Jehoshaphat was thirty and five years old when he began to reign; and he reigned twenty and five years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Azubah the daughter of Shilhi.
43 And he walked in all the ways of Asa his father; he turned not aside from it, doing that which was right in the eyes of the Lord: nevertheless the high places were not taken away; for the people offered and burnt incense yet in the high places.
44 And Jehoshaphat made peace with the king of Israel.
45 Now the rest of the acts of Jehoshaphat, and his might that he shewed, and how he warred, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?
46 And the remnant of the sodomites, which remained in the days of his father Asa, he took out of the land.
47 There was then no king in Edom: a deputy was king.
48 Jehoshaphat made ships of Tharshish to go to Ophir for gold: but they went not; for the ships were broken at Ezion-geber.
49 Then said Ahaziah the son of Ahab unto Jehoshaphat, Let my servants go with thy servants in the ships. But Jehoshaphat would not.

Jehoshaphat, who had started his reign four years after Ahab when he was 35 years old, reigned for 25 years in Jerusalem. He ruled as his father had ruled, and reigned in righteousness. However, he had not removed the places where the people made offerings and burned incense. Jehoshaphat had made peace with the king of Israel, Ahaziah. All the rest of his actions were recorded in the record of the kings of Judah. He had been a mighty man, and had removed the sodomites from the land. A deputy was the king of Edom at the time. Jehoshaphat had made ships to get gold, as Solomon had done, but the ships were broken before they could get to their destination. Ahaziah asked if his men could go along with the men of Judah, but Jehoshaphat refused.

50 And Jehoshaphat slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David his father: and Jehoram his son reigned in his stead.

Then Jehoshaphat died and his son Jehoram reigned.

51 Ahaziah the son of Ahab began to reign over Israel in Samaria the seventeenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and reigned two years over Israel.
52 And he did evil in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the way of his father, and in the
way of his mother, and in the way of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin:
53 For he served Baal, and worshipped him, and provoked to anger the Lord God of Israel, according to all that his father had done.

Ahaziah ruled over Israel from Samaria during the reign of Jehoshaphat. He ruled for two years in wickedness, serving Baal and provoking God to anger.

Ahab had been enticed to go and take back the land that belonged to Israel, since the king of Syria had promised to return all of the land to him. This was at the time that Ahab made a deal with the king of Syria, when the will of the Lord was that the Syrians be destroyed. Ahab had been promised that his own demise would come because of this choice, and so it was. The Lord allowed him to be enticed and counseled to go forward with it, because this was the curse he had for going against the will of God previously. Because Ahab allowed their king to go free, his own life was taken in another fight against that same nation.

Ahab chose not to listen to the prophet of the Lord. His own prophets told him those things he wanted to hear, and he was willing to listen to their words, but was angered by the words of the prophets of God. Elijah and Micaiah were prophets who told Ahab the truth, and if he had listened to their words of warning, he would not have been led into this destruction. Those who willing turn away from the words of the prophets, set themselves us for their own personal destruction. This was true then, and it is true for us today, because we have living prophets of the Lord, who are given revelation that applies to us in this day. I am grateful for the living prophets and the blessing of continuing revelation from 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.

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 8

David was the king of Israel, and had been promised to defeat their enemies and have peace in the land. This promise was only made possible through his obedience to the commandments of the Lord. He, as the leader of Israel, needed to be righteous, in order to have the Lord as his support in the kingdom. This chapter begins:

1 And after this it came to pass, that David smote the Philistines, and subdued them: and David took Metheg-ammah out of the hand of the Philistines.
2 And he smote Moab, and measured them with a line, casting them down to the ground; even with two lines measured he to put to death, and with one full line to keep alive. And so the Moabites became David’s servants, and brought gifts.

David led the Israelites to bring peace with the Philistines and after destroying the larger, he caused the smaller, and likely weaker, Moabites to serve them and bring tribute.

3 David smote also Hadadezer, the son of Rehob, king of Zobah, as he went to recover his border at the river Euphrates.
4 And David took from him a thousand chariots, and seven hundred horsemen, and twenty thousand footmen: and David houghed all the chariot horses, but reserved of them for an hundred chariots.
5 And when the Syrians of Damascus came to succour Hadadezer king of Zobah, David slew of the Syrians two and twenty thousand men.
6 Then David put garrisons in Syria of Damascus: and the Syrians became servants to David, and brought gifts. And the Lord preserved David whithersoever he went.
7 And David took the shields of gold that were on the servants of Hadadezer, and brought them to Jerusalem.
8 And from Betah, and from Berothai, cities of Hadadezer, king David took exceeding much brass.

He continued to stand against the nations at their borders. He defeated the men of Zobah and Damascus, making a portion of the Syrians (known then as the Arameans) subjects to him. He took a lot of spoil from their battles. He was able to do these things because he had the help of the Lord.

9 When Toi king of Hamath heard that David had smitten all the host of Hadadezer,
10 Then Toi sent Joram his son unto king David, to salute him, and to bless him, because he had fought against Hadadezer, and smitten him: for Hadadezer had wars with Toi. And Joram brought with him vessels of silver, and vessels of gold, and vessels of brass:
11 Which also king David did dedicate unto the Lord, with the silver and gold that he had dedicated of all nations which he subdued;
12 Of Syria, and of Moab, and of the children of Ammon, and of the Philistines, and of Amalek, and of the spoil of Hadadezer, son of Rehob, king of Zobah.
13 And David gat him a name when he returned from smiting of the Syrians in the valley of salt, being eighteen thousand men.

Since other nations benefitted from his victories, he began to receive gifts from others, such as the king of Hamath. David dedicated these gifts to the Lord. David had subdued the Syrians, Moabites, Ammonites, Philistines, Amalekites, and the men of Hadadezer.

14 And he put garrisons in Edom; throughout all Edom put he garrisons, and all they of Edom became David’s servants. And the Lord preserved David whithersoever he went.
15 And David reigned over all Israel; and David executed judgment and justice unto all his people.
16 And Joab the son of Zeruiah was over the host; and Jehoshaphat the son of Ahilud was recorder;
17 And Zadok the son of Ahitub, and Ahimelech the son of Abiathar, were the priests; and Seraiah was the scribe;
18 And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was over both the Cherethites and the Pelethites; and David’s sons were chief rulers.

David caused that the people of Edom would be servants of Israel. He executed judgement and justice to all his people. Those who served directly with David, were Joab as captain of his hosts, Jehoshaphat as recorder, Zadok as a priest, Ahimelech aslo as a priest, Seraiah as scribe, Benaiah as ruler of the Cherethites and Pelethites, and finally, his sons were chief rulers in the land of Israel.

I love that twice in this chapter, it is mentioned that David did these things with the Lord. His success came from depending on the strength of the Lord in their battles. David knew that the Lord was with him and he recognized that the people of Israel, especially the host that went to fight, needed the Lord in order to be victorious. We can learn from his example, as we recognize that our blessings come to us from the Lord. When we are asked to serve, it is the work of the Lord and He will be there to be our strength as well. Likewise, we should recognize that we are nothing without the Lord. He can do all things and we have an amazing opportunity to learn and grow by standing with Him.


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.
Testimony

Testimony

I made an album with my dad in 2011. Check it out!

Testimony

NEW!!! Digital Downloads (mp3) available directly from the site.

Current Study

Currently I am studying the The Old Testament. I will be studying from the LDS - King James Version of the Bible (see link below). I am studying along with the book, Scripture Study for Latter-day Saint Families: The Old Testament by Dennis H. Leavitt and Richard O. Christensen.

Learn More:

I'm a Mormon

The Book of Mormon

You can order a free copy of the Book of Mormon here:

Book of Mormon Request

Archives

Follow me on Facebook:

My Wonderful Husband and Artist


%d bloggers like this: