A guide to who the Jews were

Introducing the Jews preluding the restoration prophecy

The Promises to Abraham: One of them was in Genesis 12:1-3, as we see that he will be made a great nation and will be blessed so that the name is great. He shall be a blessing, and will bless them that bless him and curse them that curse him – and in this, all families of the earth will be blessed. The second one was in Genesis 13:15, where we see that all the land, which he sees, it will be given to him and his seed forever. A third one would be in Genesis 17:2-7, where we see that a covenant will be made that he will be a father of many nations, making them exceedingly fruitful. A fourth one would be in Genesis 22:18, which we see that by his seed that all the nations of the earth would be blessed.

Jacob was born as the son of Isaac, and had a brother named Esau. Isaac and Rebekah gave the second of these twin sons the name “Jacob,” which means, “to hold the heel.” At birth, Jacob’s hand grabbed the heel of Esau (Genesis 25:24-26). When they grew, Jacob proved his name by taking what belonged to Esau – which was the family birthright and the father’s blessing (Genesis 27:36). God was clear that Jacob was chosen, and through him, God would fulfill the promises to Abraham. God used this man to continue the line of descent from Abraham, to Isaac, and then to Jacob. The nation that God wanted was one that would be a passage of blessing. That nation was commonly called Israel, which was after the name God called him in Genesis 32:28.

For Israel, the Prince then… Israel means, “God’s fighter, God’s hero, wrestler with God, ruler with El (God), Prince of God.” The Disciples asked, “…Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom of Israel?” (Acts 1:6). Jesus answered them in a way that He said in other places about End Times, restoration, etc. that it is not of their concern when the time shall come for the restoration. In a way, He is saying that only God knows when the true restoration of Israel shall come, and that there is work to be done until then.

There was a great prophecy concerning the restoration of Israel given by Isaiah, as he says in 49:6, “And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.” Then in 63:17, “O LORD, why hast thou made us to err from thy ways, and hardened our heart from thy fear? Return for thy servants’ sake, the tribes of thine inheritance.” The word, “restoration,” in the Old Testament is taken from the Hebrew word, “shalam,” which means, “to be safe, completed, to finish, to give again, to recompense, to make restitution.” In the New Testament, it comes from the Greek word, “apokathistemi,” which means, “to reconstitute in health, home, and organization.”

Malachi prophesied a restoration as well in 4:5-6, “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.” Jesus then said in Matthew 17:11, “…Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things.” In the last days, the days of restoration, when the Lord will fulfill the prophecy of Joel and send us the former rain and the latter rain together (Joel 2:23), we will have that double-portion-anointed company of saints who will be raised up as deliverers with both the anointing of Elijah and of John. They will finish the old kingdom and bring in the new kingdom of God. Elijah’s ministry was to judge the system of idolatry and John’s ministry was to proclaim, “The Kingdom of God is at hand,” and to call all men to repentance. This will be the double-portion, end-time ministry.

Israel would be a people who were peculiar, holy, and above all nations that are upon the earth (Deuteronomy 7:6; 14:2). A Redeemed and chosen people (2 Samuel 7:10-11, 23). A People with a special ministry (Exodus 6:6-8; Luke 9:60). A People whom God has blessed (Exodus 23:11, 20). A People who cannot be destroyed (Numbers 23:23-24). A perfect People (Numbers 24:3-9, 17-20). A People whose King is the Star of Jacob and the Sceptre of Israel (Numbers 24:17). Paul says in Colossians 2:17 that all the laws and rituals of Israel’s past are only a shadow of things to come. We have now come to that hour when all things are about to be fulfilled. Are you a Jew?

The Tribes of Israel

Oh Reuben… Genesis 49:3-4, “Reuben, thou art my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power: Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel; because thou wentest up to thy father’s bed; then defiledst thou it: he went up to my couch.” Moses’ prophecy for Reuben was found in Deuteronomy 33:6, “Let Reuben live, and not die; and let not his men be few.” Reuben’s great sin was laying with Bilhah, his father’s concubine, as we see in Genesis 35:22, “And it came to pass, when Israel dwelt in that land, that Reuben went and lay with Bilhah his father’s concubine: and Israel heard it. Now the sons of Jacob were twelve.” As Reuben reverted back to the way he used to be – as we see in Judges 5:15-16. But, they were called to come back out and help, and Deborah sent it to them also. However, when the call came, they just mocked and hissed, saying, “Ha, who is going to battle? Not me. No thanks! I don’t want to be involved.” Reuben was a “curser,” Deuteronomy 27:13, “And these shall stand upon mount Ebal to curse; Reuben, Gad, and Asher, and Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali.”

Hello Simeon! Genesis 49:5, “Simeon and Levi are brethren; instruments of cruelty are in their habitations.” There were two great revivals in the Old Testament days, on under King Asa and one under Josiah. The one that Simeon was involved in was in 2 Chronicles 15:9, “And he gathered all Judah and Benjamin, and the strangers with them out of Ephraim and Manasseh, and out of Simeon: for they fell to him out of Israel in abundance, when they saw that the LORD his God was with him.”

A portion of that tribe was located within Judah, but they were already subjects of the southern kingdom. A small body of Simeonites formed in the norther kingdom, but many returned of their own free will. The prophecies were fulfilled when the Lord, “divided them in Jacob and scattered them in Israel,” for when the land was divided among the tribes in the days of Joshua, Simeon did not receive an independent territory in the Promised Land, but obtained his portion within the inheritance of Judah. Overall, Simeon and Levi were “divided and scattered.”

Well Levi then… Genesis 49:5-7, “Simeon and Levi are brethren; instruments of cruelty are in their habitations. O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honour, be not thou united: for in their anger they slew a man, and in their selfwill they digged down a wall. Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce; and their wrath, for it was cruel: I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel.” The purpose of this tribe was to become the priestly family of Israel – those that would stand and offer sacrifices on behalf of the bride (Israel). How it differs from the rest of the Tribes is that the Tribe of Levi were specifically chosen to represent the priestly family due to their zeal against idolatry, and due to the significance of being born third and given the name that means “unity.” The most important, however, is that there were three different sections of this tribe, and the Aaronic Line was the one chosen for High Priest duties. Other Levites were responsible for cleansing of the temple and preparing of sacrifices, but those of the Aaronic Priesthood were responsible for conducting the sacrifices, especially of carrying the blood into the Mercy Seat and surrendering unto God in atonement for the people’s sins.

Other Tribes could not accomplish the duty given unto the Tribe of Levi, because God created their tribe as a special tribe – one called for His Service in the Temple. This is based on Moses’ prophecy found in Deuteronomy 33:8-11, “And of Levi he said, Let thy Thummim and thy Urim be with thy holy one, whom thou didst prove at Massah, and with whom thou didst strive at the waters of Meribah; Who said unto his father and to his mother, I have not seen him; neither did he acknowledge his brethren, nor knew his own children: for they have observed thy word, and kept thy covenant. They shall teach Jacob thy judgments, and Israel thy law: they shall put incense before thee, and whole burnt sacrifice upon thine altar. Bless, LORD, his substance, and accept the work of his hands: smite through the loins of them that rise against him, and of them that hate him, that they rise not again.”

The Levites were unpermitted to be numbered, because the Lord had chosen them as His Firstfruits Company – as we see in Numbers 1:47-49. He chose Levi as His Priestly Family, to which, was His Firstborn Family out of Israel. They represented all of Israel before the Lord. Their time of service was 25 years from age 25 to 50. After that, other ministry could conduct. We see these things detailed in Numbers 8:23-26.

Remember Judah… Genesis 49:9, “Judah is a lion’s whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up?” Jacob’s prophecies on Judah were in Genesis 49:8-12, “Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father’s children shall bow down before thee. Judah is a lion’s whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up? The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be. Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass’s colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes: His eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk.”

We see here in the context of Genesis 37:26 that the brothers sold Joseph to some traders who took him to Egypt. This verse is speaking that it would be no advantage to them to conceal his blood – for if it was discovered, they would be responsible for his blood and God would take vengeance upon them, therefore, it would be more profitable to sell Joseph instead of destroying him. Judah reveals his gift as an advocate and intercessor as we see in Genesis 37:27. Judah has a good influence with his brothers and is a gifted mediator. He is seen as settling crucial and difficult problems, including crises. He also speaks and others agree with him. His brothers support him well, and he makes a great international statesman. His sin is detailed in Genesis 38:1-30, however, the most important pieces of information are from… Verses 11-19, where we see that Judah did not want to give another son to daughter of Shuah, therefore, Tamar thought of a plan to disguise herself as a prostitute, which would succeed in seducing Judah. Since this was his daughter-in-law, he saw later that she was pregnant, and hoped to get rid of her, until she revealed that he was the source of the pregnancy – therefore, she shamed him.

Tamar would give birth to twins. The elder of the twins began the line of descent from Judah to David, and finally Jesus the Messiah! What is said on them? Genesis 38:26, “And Judah acknowledged them, and said, She hath been more righteous than I; because that I gave her not to Shelah my son. And he knew her again no more.” Judah was declared a chief ruler in 1 Chronicles 5:2. Further down the line, we see in Micah 5:2 that a ruler shall be in Israel that will come forth from the Tribe of Judah, and from of old and unto everlasting (Jesus was, is, and always will be King, to which, Micah is talking about here). For Moses’ prophecy in Deuteronomy 33:7, we see that Judah was the most powerful tribe, but besides protecting itself from enemies, it should help other tribes when in trouble. This tribe was also a praying and praising people (Judah’s name means, “Now will I praise the Lord” Genesis 29:35). Sadly, Moses did not speak anything of priesthood, but we know that Jesus did spring up from Judah (Hebrews 7:14). We see in Matthew 1:1-6/Luke 3:31-34, that Jesus is a member of the Tribe of Judah by lineage. We also see in Revelation 5:5 the apocalyptic vision of the Tribe of Judah – wherein we see Jesus described as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the Root of David, who prevailed to open the book and loose the seven seals! Oh Glory to the Lion of the Tribe of Judah!

Do you remember Dan? Jacob’s prophecy in Genesis 49:16-18, “Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel. Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward. I have waited for thy salvation, O LORD.” Moses’ prophecy in Deuteronomy 33:22, “And of Dan he said, Dan is a lion’s whelp: he shall leap from Bashan.” The Danites were characterized as switch and ruthless in their actions, especially when they slaughtered the people of Laish and seized the town for themselves and renaming it Dan (Judges 18:7-10, 27-29). In Genesis 46:23; Numbers 26:42; 1:38-39; 1 Chronicles 2-8… We see that the Tribes are detailed except for Dan’s Tribe.

It appears that this tribe was left out of noting down info about it. Even in Revelation 7:4-8, there is no mention of the Tribe, as if the Holy Spirit is leaving the info out about them. Dan would be at the end of different lists as well – wherein, this all remains a mystery nonetheless. We see “warlike Dan” in Judges chapters 17-18 – The Israelite Nation at the time of this story had no central government and the people in the various tribes did what they pleased, which caused problems overall. In short, people of the Tribe of Dan had never won complete control over their tribal inheritance on the Philistine coast, therefore, they were clutched between Judah and Ephraim – and pressed back from the coast by the Philistines and Amorites. The Tribe of Dan became sore, because there wasn’t much expanse to call their own. The spies from Dan set out looking for land to claim, and found a suitable area in the far north of Palestine (Laish). The spies returned with good news that the place they explored had well fertile land and quiet people – so an attack would definitely be unexpected.

The people of Dan made their way then to conquer Laish and make it theirs. Micah had been kind to them earlier in the chapter as we see, however, they ignored that and decided to raid his shrine, rob him of his images, and bribe his priest to go with them. When Micah protested, he was threatened. Meanwhile, the tribe voyaged to Laish where they brutally slaughtered the people and scorched the town to crisp. They rebuilt the town soon after, renamed it Dan, and used Micah’s priest and images to establish their own idolatrous religion. In 2 Kings 10:18-36, Jehu is seen killing off members of Ahab’s family as well as breaking down the image of Baal and his temple. However, the golden calves stayed in Bethel and Dan, which caused the heart of Dan to become the heart of idolatry. We see in Ezekiel 27:19, for example, that Dan was worldly. Yes, skillful, but worldly – to the point that the love of nice things was a great temptation to Dan.

Worldly things even caused Dan’s greatest hero to fall, and their downfall is their idolatrous activity. Dan was one to know that Samuel was anointed to be a prophet (1 Samuel 3:20). God fought for Israel in the domain of Dan, because He was fighting for Dan’s property (Joshua 10:12-14). Jacob’s prophecy for Dan (Genesis 49:18): “I have waited for thy salvation, O LORD.” Jacob intercedes so intensely more than the other tribes that Dan would be saved, restored, and redeemed.

Naphtali… Jacob’s prophecy: “Naphtali is a hind let loose: he giveth goodly words” (Genesis 49:21). There are many similarities between Naphtali and Zebulun, for they always get along very well together. Naphtali has the ability to “scribe” the words God gives her, which in this way and in her gift of light, she is close to Zebulun. Moses’ prophecy: “And of Naphtali he said, O Naphtali, satisfied with favour, and full with the blessing of the Lord: possess thou the west and the south” (Deuteronomy 33:23).

The west speaks of the land that lay to the west of Naphtali, which was the mighty Mediterranean Sea, and was the gateway to new lands and adventures – for God wants Naphtali to possess the nations and move out across the waters in new places in God both spiritually and naturally. The south speaks of the pleasant things at the foot of Naphtali, for just west of Naphtali was Zebulun. God wants the uniting of Naphtali and Zebulun, for it was in the southern coast of Naphtali that Jesus preached most of his life. God wants Naphtali to even possess the message of the Sermon on the Mount. Judges 1:33 refers to a problem… Naphtali did not complete their God-given task of driving out the enemies.

They dwelt among the Canaanites; claiming taxes from people. Nonetheless, he dwelt among the inhabitants in cowardice and sloth. Instead of collecting tribute, they should have expelled them. Because of her backsliding, God began to punish Naphtali. It began against Naphtali when King Asa of Judah leagued with King Benhadad of Syria to invade Israel (1 Kings 15:20). Eventually, the Naphtalites would be taken captive (2 Kings 15:29). More details, such as the listing of her sins was done in 2 Kings 17:6-23. Isaiah 9:1 will one day apply to Naphtali, as this verse shows God’s wonderful end-times promise to Naphtali and Zebulun, which was partially fulfilled when Jesus came preaching in their borders – but it will be completely fulfilled in the future, for Naphtali is able to travail herself through to victory. She knows the key to redemption and will cry and travail. She needs to praise, sing, prophesy, fight, leap over the hills, and trust in God as her covering. One day she shall be made glorious!

Now is Gad… The prophecies concerning Gad given by Jacob included in Genesis 49:19, “Gad, a troop shall overcome him: but he shall overcome at the last.” Gad on the east of Jordan, was more open to attack than the western tribes, but its men were fierce fighters who drove back the invaders. Gad, however, is overcome with self, the independence and strong will – God will help him overcome himself so that he may be redeemed.

Moses’ prophecy to Gad is found in Deuteronomy 33:20-21, “And of Gad he said, Blessed be he that enlargeth Gad: he dwelleth as a lion, and teareth the arm with the crown of the head. And he provided the first part for himself, because there, in a portion of the lawgiver, was he seated; and he came with the heads of the people, he executed the justice of the LORD, and his judgments with Israel.” God promises a blessing to those who bless Gad. Moses also sees Gad as a “lion” – the king of beasts, resting in confidence and strength. This depicts the ferociousness also of this tribe. Overall, they kept their promise to help other tribes conquer Canaan and they were fierce fighters. God will enlarge Gad, expand his territories, and keep him safe and secure from his enemies. He destroys his enemies at the head and the seat of the crown – hurting the subject of their strength.

Meet Asher… in Judges 1:31, that they failed to drive out whom God told them to (inhabitants), but rather, the Asherites just dwelt with the Canaanites as if nothing was wrong. They had the chance to take the whole land! We see what enables Asher to rise up in anointing to take their place as a soldier of the Lord in 1 Chronicles 7:40, “All these were the children of Asher, heads of their father’s house, choice and mighty men of valour, chief of the princes. And the number throughout the genealogy of them that were apt to the war and to battle was twenty and six thousand men.”

These men were eminent in courage and valor, willing to rise up as the heads of their fathers’ families. They had a large militia and were equipped of the Lord to battle! We see the information about the revival that occurred in 726 BC in 2 Chronicles 30:10-11, “So the posts passed from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh even unto Zebulun: but they laughed them to scorn, and mocked them. Nevertheless divers of Asher and Manasseh and of Zebulun humbled themselves, and came to Jerusalem.” They were seen confessing their sin and expressing sorrow and repentance – and then they were willing to obey God and attend his worship and ordinances.

Issachar… Prophecies first: Jacob’s, found in Genesis 49:14-15, “Issachar is a strong ass couching down between two burdens: And he saw that rest was good, and the land that it was pleasant; and bowed his shoulder to bear, and became a servant unto tribute.” We see that Issachar gained good prosperity from the good farming area they were part of, to which, they sadly submitted too often to the powerful Canaanites that controlled most of the area. Moses’, found in Deuteronomy 33:18-19, “And of Zebulun he said, Rejoice, Zebulun, in thy going out; and, Issachar, in thy tents. They shall call the people unto the mountain; there they shall offer sacrifices of righteousness: for they shall suck of the abundance of the seas, and of treasures hid in the sand.” We see that Issachar would prosper (as well as Zebulun) through the agricultural success of their region. They were shown, during the great big feast in 1 Chronicles 12:40, to have brought many provisions for the feast. They are very generous people, to which, God needs, who will give their home and supplies, and even love. They are filled with such joy and rejoicing because of their wise investment in His Kingdom.

Hello there Zebulun… Prophecy of Jacob, Genesis 49:13, “Zebulun shall dwell at the haven of the sea; and he shall be for an haven of ships; and his border shall be unto Zidon.” The Tribe of Zebulun that settled near the Mediterranean Coast was enriched with trade that passed through its territory to the sea. In addition, the burden for souls will motivate the life of Zebulun. They will go and go when she cannot go any longer to help those shipwrecked souls crying for help. Prophecy of Moses, Deuteronomy 33:18-19, “And of Zebulun he said, Rejoice, Zebulun, in thy going out; and, Issachar, in thy tents. They shall call the people unto the mountain; there they shall offer sacrifices of righteousness: for they shall suck of the abundance of the seas, and of treasures hid in the sand.”

Just as Issachar, they will also prosper through their agricultural activities. You may not get to the mission field, but you will always have a burden and call for missions overall in your life. Zebulun shall dwell in the light and attract others to her. They did serve with King David, 1 Chronicles 12:33, “Of Zebulun, such as went forth to battle, expert in war, with all instruments of war, fifty thousand, which could keep rank: they were not of double heart.” They likely had around 50,000 noted in the verse. In Judges 12:11-12, we read about the judge, Elon, a Zebulunite, “And after him, Elon, a Zebulonite, judged Israel; and he judged Israel 10 years. And Elon the Zebulonite died, and was buried in Aijalon in the country of Zebulon.” Elon means, “the prominent, elated, exalted, noble one; oak, strong one.”

He is named after one of the sons of Zebulun. In Deuteronomy 27:13, we read that Zebulun stands with Reuben, Gad, Asher, Dan, and Naphtali to utter the warnings to the people of God. We read about a revival in Zebulun in 2 Chronicles 30:10, “So the posts passed from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh even unto Zebulun: but they laughed them to scorn, and mocked them.” We see the immaturity of a Zebulonite here, as there is mocking going on, laughing, and deriding. We see in Isaiah 9:1-5 the five good prophetic verses about Zebulun, which are full of promise. Out of the darkness of the conquered regions of the north, the Messiah, the one to lead His People to victory is coming to introduce an era of light, of joy, and of peace. Oppressors will be overthrown and war will be banished (which is good news for all of the tribes, especially those aiming for peace – such as Zebulun).

Oh yes, Joseph: The unusual part about these blessings was that Jacob pronounced them over Joseph (which factored in Manasseh and Ephraim). We see the blessings as follows in Genesis 48:13-20: Let Jacob/Israel’s name be named on them, and the name of his fathers Abraham and Isaac. Let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth. Become a people, become great – a seed shall become a multitude of nations. Make him as Ephraim and Manasseh. In Genesis 49:22-26, “Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall: The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him: But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; (from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel:)

Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb: The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills: they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren.” We see at the time of Jacob’s prophecy, Joseph was very important and may have been attacked in the past – but only for God to strengthen and bless him. The two tribes descended from Joseph were likewise blessed, and though large in number, the regions they occupied were the best. Moses’ prophecy to Joseph is found in Deuteronomy 33:13-17, “And of Joseph he said, Blessed of the LORD be his land, for the precious things of heaven, for the dew, and for the deep that coucheth beneath, And for the precious fruits brought forth by the sun, and for the precious things put forth by the moon, And for the chief things of the ancient mountains, and for the precious things of the lasting hills, And for the precious things of the earth and fulness thereof, and for the good will of him that dwelt in the bush: let the blessing come upon the head of Joseph, and upon the top of the head of him that was separated from his brethren. His glory is like the firstling of his bullock, and his horns are like the horns of unicorns: with them he shall push the people together to the ends of the earth: and they are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they are the thousands of Manasseh.” The Joseph tribes, Manasseh and Ephraim, were to inherit the best part of Canaan, and the God who once appeared in the burning bush to Moses would give them special power, so that they would become the leading tribes in the northern kingdom. In Judges 7:24, we see that Gideon sent to war against the Midianites, and sent the messengers through all the mount of Ephraim.

The Ephraimites had great victory, but then they wondered why he wanted to war with the Midianites. They blamed Gideon (a Manassite), for what God had not enabled them to do. There seemed to be quite a brotherly jealousy between the two. In Judges 12:1, we see envy and contention, as the men of Ephraim were preparing to fight with Jephthah. When they fought, the men of Gilead smote Ephraim. The Gileadites captured the fords of Jordan behind the army of Ephraim and whenever a fugitive of Ephraim tried to cross the river, the Gilead guards challenged him asking if he was a member of the Tribe of Ephraim. If he was not, they wanted him to say, “Shibboleth.” If he couldn’t pronounce it correctly, he was dragged away and killed. 42,000 of them died just then, which was of great humiliation and tragedy.

Then we see Benjamin… Jacob’s prophecy was in Genesis 49:27, “Benjamin shall ravin as a wolf: in the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night he shall divide the spoil.” Benjamin seems to have been declared too warlike for his own good, and brought trouble upon itself that it was almost wiped out. Jacob did not like calling his son this, however, there are two stages to this prophecy: One, in the morning, he ravin’s like a wolf, where he devours his prey. He looks for food, and fights for it (ravin means “tear to pieces.” He had to tear through and make his way into the world from his mother’s womb. It was at a great price he was born. This stage he was immature and youthful. In the second stage, he is seen as the one at night dividing his spoil, to which, he will share with others and reach a place of maturity willing to make sacrifices and give out the good things that God has given him.

The only time wolves share the carcass or other “spoils” is with family. God can do wonderful acts of maturity for Benjamin and the Benjaminites. For Moses’ prophecy, found in Deuteronomy 33:12, “And of Benjamin he said, The beloved of the LORD shall dwell in safety by him; and the LORD shall cover him all the day long, and he shall dwell between his shoulders.” We see that Benjamin had its special blessing when the Temple in Jerusalem was built in its territory, even though the rest of Jerusalem was in Judah’s territory. The Lord will always watch over and protect them, though, and this is definitely a promise that God will be with them, for that’s what is said for the Benjaminites that a special protection is given to them. They became mighty soldiers of Israel and they shall ask, “Lord, where do you need me on the front lines today?” What is interesting about the history of Benjamin, is that, like the other tribes did, they did not drive out the Jebusites, but rather, inhabited with them (Judges 1:21) – which was disobedience to God. They were likely lazy, and of course due to spoilage, too comfortable. When Deborah called for help certain of the tribes did not come down, but in Judges 5:14, Benjamin is noted as coming to the aid of the warriors. They don’t mind working together with a woman, and he will be happy to cooperate. It was terrible for Benjamin that he didn’t drive out the Jebusites, for the Jebusites were sinful, full of sodomy, and every kind of evil. Benjamin fell into the same sins, and in Judges 19-21, the story involves these sins.

Because of this, all Israel joined to go to warfare against Benjamin, and although they fought bravely and won two battles, in the end the tribe was almost obliterated. Six hundred were left that fled to the wilderness. Later, they found women to be with and the Tribe of Benjamin was saved. This humbled them overall, so that God may move them in the direction according to His Will. In 1 Chronicles 12:16, 18, 29, we read that the Benjaminites and the children of Judah were the very first to go down into the wilderness to David while he was still a fugitive. They were indeed of the same tribe as the King, and it proves they were willing to leave their own family connections and loyalty to join David in the wilderness – even though he was of the Tribe of Judah. The warriors had one unique thing about them, they were left-handed, as we see in Judges 20:16, “Among all this people there were seven hundred chosen men lefthanded; every one could sling stones at an hair breadth, and not miss.” They did so well shooting stones on a sling with their left hand. We see in Psalm 68:27, “There is little Benjamin with their ruler, the princes of Judah and their council, the princes of Zebulun, and the princes of Naphtali.” Little Benjamin will be important, especially in the last days! Psalm 80:2, “Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh stir up thy strength, and come and save us.” The writer of this psalm is pleading for God to stir up His Power and save Benjamin, which shall be a fulfillment in the last days that God will save Benjamin!

Jeremiah 6:1, “O ye children of Benjamin, gather yourselves to flee out of the midst of Jerusalem, and blow the trumpet in Tekoa, and set up a sign of fire in Bethhaccerem: for evil appeareth out of the north, and great destruction.” Jeremiah seemed closely connected to this tribe and seemed to have warned them of the coming judgment for Benjamin. God wants the Benjaminites in the last days of coming judgment to flee out of the midst of the cursed thing, blow the trumpet, and set up signs of warning through the fire of the Holy Ghost, for evil is again coming from the north for great destruction. Jeremiah 33:13, “In the cities of the mountains, in the cities of the vale, and in the cities of the south, and in the land of Benjamin, and in the places about Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah, shall the flocks pass again under the hands of him that telleth them, saith the LORD.” No matter how hard things get, he knows there is a time of rest and peace coming again. Jeremiah 37:12, “Then Jeremiah went forth out of Jerusalem to go into the land of Benjamin, to separate himself thence in the midst of the people.” Jeremiah wanted to leave the doomed city of Jerusalem to find a place of refuge in Benjamin because he remembered the promises of God to Benjamin, but he was arrested at the city gate and put in a dungeon. In 726 B.C., we saw the great revival under King Hezekiah (2 Chronicles 31:1), and that Benjamin was in the middle of a new move of God. They went out with Judah and said, “Come and repent.” They pulled down the high places where idols were worshipped and burned up the devil’s idols, and tore up satan’s temples. There were many tribes that did move with revival, and even some mocked and scoffed – however, the Benjaminites were ready for battle, which was similar under the revival of Josiah (2 Chronicles 34:9).

Who are the Jews today then?

There are three main types of Jews as we see in the Bible that reflect what we also see today: 1. Orthodox Jews (Also called Hebrews or Mosaic Jews)(Genesis 14:13; 32:28; 46:1; Exodus 19:5-6;); 2. Messianic Jews (Jews that believe in Christ Jesus)(John 12:11; Romans 1:16; 9:27; Jeremiah 31:31; 1 Corinthians 5:7); 3. Grafted Jews (Gentile believers in Christ who have been grafted into Israel)(Acts 28:28; Romans 11:11-24; Ephesians 2:11-22). The Tribes of Israel that were originally sworn in as we see in Numbers 26:53-55, “Unto these the land shall be divided for an inheritance according to the number of names. To many thou shalt give the more inheritance, and to few thou shalt give the less inheritance: to every one shall his inheritance be given according to those that were numbered of him. Notwithstanding the land shall be divided by lot: according to the names of the tribes of their fathers they shall inherit.” This origination makes up the Natural Israel.

The Natural Israel appears to be the Israelites/Israelis (former Israel inhabitants and current inhabitants) as we see in the Bible in the verses mentioned in the previous paragraph (“The land shall be divided…the land shall be divided by lot: according to the names of the tribes of their fathers they shall inherit”). All of the physical descendants of Jacob were God’s chosen People, Israel, in the physical and national sense (natural Israel). Not all were God’s People in the inward and spiritual sense, however. The Spiritual Israel appears to be the New Israel, the one that God’s People are part of, to which, we are new Creatures in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17) (Therefore, only Messianic Jews and Grafted Jews). Those who have turned from their sins and trusted in the saving mercy and grace of God could be called the true Israel.

Those that believe upon Jesus Christ will be saved, and there is no difference to the Lord between Jew and Greek, for He is Lord of all; therefore, the both deserve equal treatment (Romans 10:12-14; Galatians 3:28-29; 1 Peter 2:9; John 1:12). Many Orthodox Jews will not be saved, as they cannot accept Christ (see John 4-5 for example). It is best to explore the difference between Mount Sinai and Mount Zion, because we learn of the two different stages of God’s People: Those under the Law of Moses, and those under the Law of Love (Jesus Christ).

Mount Sinai is the place where the Law was given to Moses (Exodus 19:12-21; Deuteronomy 4:11-12; 5:4, 23-26). It was a place where His People would not trace, it seared with fire and was full of blackness, darkness, and tempest, there was a sound of the Trumpet and the full voice of God, they could not endure what was said from the mountain, and so terrible was the sight that Moses said, “I exceedingly fear and quake!” Mount Zion (Sion) is where Grace is extended to us, for out of Zion came the Deliverer who shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob (Romans 11:26). The 144,000, that is, the elect, shall stand on the mountain with Him, having the Father’s name written in their foreheads (Revelation 14:1). It is the Capital City of the Living God (Revelation 3:12; chapter 21), it is the Heavenly Jerusalem filled with an innumerable amount of angels (Revelation 5:11-14), it is the Church of the Firstborn, those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life (Colossians 1:18), where God is the judge of all, where the Spirits of just men are made perfect (Revelation 6:9-11), unto Jesus, the Mediator of our Covenant (Matthew 26:38; Hebrews 9:15), and where the Blood of Jesus has been offered, for it speaks better things than that of humanity (Colossians 1:20; 1 Peter 1:18-23).

1 Chronicles: A retelling

“Be of good courage, and let us behave ourselves valiantly for our people, and for the cities of our God: and let the LORD do that which is good in his sight.” -1 Chronicles 19:13

The warriors that came to David in Ziklag

The chief was Ahiezer. Then, Joash, the sons of Shemaah the Gibeathite, Jeziel, Pelet, the sons of Azmaveth, Berachah, Jehu the Antothite, Ismaiah the Gibeonite, Jeremiah, Jahaziel, Johanan, Josabad the Gederathite, Eluzai, Jerimoth, Bealiah, Shemariah, Shephatiah the Haruphite, Elkanah, Jesiah, Azareel, Joezer, Jashobeam, Korhites, Joelah, Zebadiah, the sons of Jeroham of Gedor, Ezer, Obadiah, Eliab, Mishmannah, Jeremiah, Attai, Eliel, Johanan, Elzabad, Jeremiah, and Machbanai.

These men appeared and acted as David’s friends/warriors, which was upon the death of Saul, in order to bring about the revolution. All of the forces were around 600 men. They claim to be ones helping God. Gradually, David was preparing to take the throne. These are the men who helped David become King of Judah. This gathering was about him getting ready to take the throne.

The first priests to return from Babylon were Jedaiah, Jehoiarib, and Jachin. It goes on… Azariah the son of Hilkiah, the son of Meshullam, the son of Zadok, the son of Meraioth, the son of Ahitub, Adaiah the son of Jeroham, the son of Pashur, the son of Malchijah, Maasiai the son of Adiel, the son of Jahzerah, the son of Meshullam, the son of Meshillemith, and the son of Immer. More were noted in large numbers but not listed here.

The first Levites to return from Babylon were Shemaiah the son of Hasshub, the son of Azrikam, the son of Hashabiah, of the sons of Merari, Bakbakkar, Heresh, Galal, Mattaniah the son of Micah, the son of Zichri, the son of Asaph, Obadiah the son of Shemaiah, the son of Galal, the son of Jeduthun, Berechia the son of Asa, and the son of Elkanah.

Saul asked the armor-bearer plainly to kill him by drawing his sword and thrusting it into him, but the armor-bearer refused, therefore, Saul took the sword and fell upon it instead. His armor-bearer was likely so dedicated to him that he didn’t want to kill Saul, but when Saul killed himself, the armor-bearer did it the same way unto himself. It says after that, that Saul and his three sons died (all his house overall) together. The Philistines had already slew Jonathan and the sons of Saul, so Saul probably became hopeless because all those that were close to him had died, therefore, Saul didn’t want to live on, it seems.

Three of David’s mighty men broke through the battle line of the Philistines in order to bring David a drink of water from the well at Bethlehem. However, David doesn’t drink the water, because of the danger that the men had gone through just to give it to him, so David poured the water out to the Lord.

Benaiah was the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man of Kabzeel, who had done many acts, such as slaying two lionlike men of Moab and slew a lion in a pit in a snowy day, as well as many other acts of slaying. He was among the three mighties as well.

David is made king, by which the government was happy about. Care is taken about religion in chapter 13, where David consults with the representatives of the people about bring the ark out of obscurity and into a public place. When the ark finally arrives after the trouble that was caused, guardians were appointed over the ark to watch it. David appointed various officials to lead worship.

David proposed to build a house for God, however, God disapproved it, for David was not the right man to build it. This is all in preparation of the Davidic Covenant, to which, the house of David shall be established for ever, and he was blessed. The Davidic line shall be eternal, and I believe Jesus is at the forefront.

David seemed to end his good kingship with glory, so to speak, because he had a praise and prayer speech, people offered gifts and sacrifices to God, and then his own son, Solomon is sworn in as new King. That would be a fitting ceremony, and an excellent way to end a kingly reign.

Synopsis

The Book of First Chronicles, most guess that Ezra (or an unknown chronicler) wrote it around 450-420 BC. It talks richly about Israel’s redemptive history, especially along the lines of the genealogies of Adam to the post-exilic restoration, and then about David’s reign as king. The idea behind the Chronicles being written was for the Jews, so they would have a record of their ancestry and redemptive history. A “chronicle” is defined simply as “a record of events.” The Books of the Chronicles were written many years after Israel and Judah had been taken into captivity.

The book begins with the genealogies of the tribes of Israel, which includes a long list of names – which is basically a detailed ancestry overall. So, the ones listed for example were from Adam to Abraham, from Abraham to Jacob, from Jacob to David, from David to the Babylonian Exile, then of the Twelve Tribes, of the Remnant (tribes, priests, and Levites that returned), and Saul. Saul is mentioned, but nothing much is said about him, as it appears the writer is more concerned with the reign of David – especially since judgment came upon Saul for his unfaithfulness and disobedience.

The reign of David was strongly detailed in First Chronicles, as David was able to endure significantly in his reign, and that God had made a covenant with David that his family line would endure for generations, even unto eternity (as Jesus was a descendant of the line of David). This showed the importance of David, and his huge role that was played in the history of redemption, particularly for Israel. The writer must first, though, count the death of Saul – because that was how the ushering in of David became, was resulting from the fallout and death of Saul.

It seems like many of the events are not recorded, so it appears the writer is telling of the major events in David’s reign. The writer targets talking about the beginning of the reign of David over Jerusalem, and that the mighty men group that David created played a big role in establishing the kingdom. Many people who fought alongside David are also mentioned, including the Benjaminites who joined him at Ziklag while he fled from Saul, the fearless soldiers from Gad, and Benjamin and Judah who joined him in Adullum. The writer also notes how all of the tribes in Israel had sent a representative force of troops to Hebron to present themselves to David.

The next part that’s detailed is that the Ark of the Covenant was brought to Jerusalem, a setback occurred because of a lack of reverence for it, but then it was brought with success – in which the people celebrated over it. Feasting and sacrifices were done at the arrival of the Ark, as people were glad it was finally in a proper place.

After that, the writer details the psalm of thanksgiving that was sung in the celebration of the Ark in Jerusalem. In this, we read about the Abrahamic Covenant being remembered, and that God’s faithfulness has lasted for so long in that covenant. God miraculously preserved the descendants – which he could’ve easily removed. Therefore, in all of this, it brought praise and glory unto the Lord. His unfailing mercy brought the Israelites an assurance that they could always depend on this mighty and just God.

When the Ark was brought, David had it placed in a temporary tent, while he could make plans and execute them for a temple to be built. However, God wanted David to build up his house first, because God wanted to build an eternal dynasty of David, and that one of his descendants would build the temple. After that, the listing of a number of David’s victories was done, and how he had great success/fame in war. Then, he speaks to Solomon about the temple plans, and that it should be built soon. He then encouraged Solomon to seek wisdom from God and obey his commands, so he could govern the nation according to God’s Law.

David was also interested in preparing the Levites for temple ministry among other administrative organizing – for he wanted the temple to be successful in being built. But more than that, he wanted his successor to be successful also in ruling Israel. So, in preparing to promote Solomon to the throne (since Solomon was the next heir, after all), his other son, Adonijah, was attempting to seize the throne for himself – therefore, David hurriedly promoted Solomon.

The anointing was quick and rather unceremonious – as the writer details – and that a second anointing had followed with a big ceremony (appropriate for new kings). David presented Solomon as king and the one who would build the temple of God. So then, God gave Solomon the plans that he had prepared for the temple and its service. In addition to the provisions that David gave for the temple project, David also gave a big offering from his savings – which prompted people to give their own generous offerings. This brought great joy to David and made him glad for his successor.

2 Kings paves the road to Kingdoms

“But the LORD your God ye shall fear; and he shall deliver you out of the hand of all your enemies.” -2 Kings 17:39

Some other key verses:

  • 2:1-2: This shows that Elijah shall be taken up into heaven by a whirlwind, and therefore, he told Elisha to stay with him, because the Lord had sent Elijah to Bethel. Elisha promised not to leave him, but to go with him.
  • 2:7-11: Elijah is seen taking the mantle, wrapping it together, smiting the waters, and they were divided – so that him and Elisha could proceed on dry ground. Elijah offered to do something for Elisha before he was to part, and Elisha requested a double portion of his spirit. Elijah acknowledge it would be difficult, but it would be dependent (on the Lord’s power?) on whether Elisha saw him afterward or not. Elijah then ascends into a whirlwind to heaven.
  • 9:30-35: Jezebel is shown here mocking in fear, for her heart was hardened against God. She planned to continue braving it, seducing others to wickedness. However, her attendants delivered her up to be put to death, and it was the end of pride and cruelty.

List of dynasties noted in 2 Kings

  • Of Israel:
    • Ahaziah
    • Joram
    • Jehu
    • Jehoahaz
    • Jehoash
    • Jeroboam II
    • Shallum
    • Menahem
    • Pekah
    • Pekahiah
    • Hoshea
    • (Zechariah was one of them, but we don’t see info on him in 2 Kings.)
  • Of Judah:
    • Jehoram
    • Ahaziah
    • Athaliah
    • Joash
    • Amaziah
    • Azariah
    • Jotham
    • Ahaz
    • Hezekiah
    • Manasseh
    • Amon
    • Josiah
    • Jehoahaz
    • Jehoiakim
    • Jehoiachin
    • Zedekiah.

Background

The authorship of 2 Kings is credited to Jeremiah. After the death of Jehoram, Jehu succeeded him and destroyed the wicked house of Ahab but not all idol worship. The restoration of the Temple took place during Joash’s reign, but later he was despised by the people for trying to buy peace by giving the Temple treasure to the Syrians. The King who was remembered “as one of Judah’s better kings” and was affected by “leprosy” was  Azariah.

Israel experienced a series of six kings in a very short period, only Menahem was not violently slain and then Israel fell into the hands of the Assyrians. During the reign of Ahaz in Judah, all manner of restoration and extension were restored, and the prophet Isaiah ministered in Jerusalem during his days. In 721 B.C. the Northern Kingdom of Israel made up of ten tribes came to an end and they were taken into captivity in the area now known as Persia.

The prophet Isaiah was at the right hand of King Hezekiah of Judah. While Sennacherib, King of Africa made war with Judah, Micah wrote his Book of the Bible. The great Babylonian Empire builder was Nebuchadnezzar II and Judah fell into his hands in 606 B.C. when Judah as a state ended. Bad Kings reigned for about 373 years, and Good Kings reigned for 383 years.

Synopsis

Second Kings, a book written by an unknown author in 560-550 BC; details the ministry of Elisha, and the continual division & multiples reigns of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. In addition, we see the single kingdom arisen as Judah after Israel’s collapse.

First, it’s best to detail the entire reign of all of the kings. Ahaziah had continued to reign in Israel, and then it was Joram. Jehoam, then Ahaziah took over the throne in Judah. Jehu was next in line for Israel, and Athaliah and Joash were next in Judah. Jehoahaz and Jehoash followed for Israel, before Amaziah took over in Judah. Then, it was Jeroboam II in Israel and Azariah in Judah. Azariah lasted for quite a while, while Israel had new reigns from Zechariah, Shallum, Menahem, Pekahiah, and Pekah. After that, we see Jotham and then Ahaz in Judah, and Hoshea in Israel. After Hoshea was imprisoned, Israel had collapsed, especially when Israel was taken into captivity. The land of Israel, after that, was resettled, for Judah was now the single kingdom, which would come under the reign of Hezekiah.

Before the reign of Hezekiah is detailed, Elisha’s ministry should be detailed separately – for the things that Elisha did were part of God’s plan, of course. Elijah knew his time had come, where he would have to pass on his work to Elisha. A test was given for Elisha, who was able to pass the test. Since he knew that he was Elijah’s spiritual heir, he had to remain with Elijah to the end so that he would receive the spiritual power to carry on his work. When Elijah was supernaturally carried away, Elisha gained power from God to go and do the Lord’s work. Elisha’s first two miracles involved blessing and cursing. At Jericho, he brought healing, and at Bethel, he brought God’s curse on those who rejected his message.

Elisha continued his miracles; he helped preserve the small body of believers in Israel who remained faithful to God. The collection of stories from chapters four through six show the supernatural powers that Elisha had to help preserve this small remnant of believers. The second collection of stories in chapters six through eight deals with the part of his work, which was concerned with the judgment on the nation of Israel. In the first collection of stories, some of the things that were detailed included Elisha moving around the schools of the young prophets, where he would instruct and encourage the faithful people. Foods were scarce in one school, but God provided for them through Elisha. On another occasion, we see God’s care for the faithful shown, when a farmer had brought an offering of food that was miraculously multiplied to feed Elisha and a hundred of his followers. This was a prophetic picture of Christ’s miracles to multiply food.

Some of Elisha’s remaining work was concerned with his dealings with the rulers of Israel and Syria, because God was going to use Syria to punish Israel for its sin (in the period of the Omri dynasty). However, Elisha, first, was to teach the two nations. Elisha had repeatedly warned the Israelite king of the ambushes that were coming from Syria. When Syria’s king heard of the failings of his ambushes, he had found out Elisha was doing such things to impede the success of the ambushes.

Therefore, the Syrian king sent out capture for Elisha; however, Elisha controlled the Syrian soldiers and led them to the Israelite capital (which was Samaria). Israel’s king thought it was a good idea to just kill them, but Elisha directed him to just feed them, and then release them. Peace was temporarily restored between Syria and Israel. Elisha, later, had one final responsibility, and that was to anoint Israel’s army commander, Jehu, as king. Jehu needed to rid Israel of the entire family of Ahab and Jezebel (especially because of the Baalism spread unto Judah). That closed Elisha’s good and helpful work.

After Elisha’s work, we read of anti-Baal movements being done and other chaos that was occurring throughout Israel. Then, Hezekiah was ushered in as new king. Hezekiah ruled for quite a while, which would bring a revival and reform in Israel. However, later Hezekiah would become quite ill and then be healed, before his foolishness caused death. Babylon started increasing in power, and this brought trouble for the nation.

This would sadly usher in an evil reign for Manasseh. After the reign of Manasseh, we would see the reigns of Amon, Josiah, Jehoahaz, and Jehoiakim. Josiah, when he reigned, had his own revival and reformation, to which he wanted extensive repairs to be done for the temple, because it had been damaged during the reigns of Manasseh and Amon. His biggest part of reform, it seems, was that he re-established the worship of Yahweh by keeping the Passover. He also tried to control idolatry, by forcing people to remove their private gods (in their households) and prohibiting spiritism and fortune telling. However, his reforms, mainly on idolatry, were unsuccessful.

Later, God prepared Babylon as a tool to punish Judah. Judah would soon lose its independence, as Pharaoh Necho considered himself the controller of Judah, where he wouldn’t accept a king that was chosen by the people of Judah. Soon, we read about the reign of Jehoiachin and Zedekiah, before we see the fall of Jerusalem, destruction of the temple and city walls, and the final deportation of the people to Babylon.

Your guide to 1 Kings

We see in the first chapter that there is an account of the infirmities of David, as he gets older. The preparation of his son Adonijah was made to seize the throne. Bathsheba addresses the king upon this, which was in favor of her son, Solomon, to which Nathan the prophet, seconded the notion. When Solomon was confirmed to succeed in the kingdom, Nathan the prophet and Zadok the priest were commanded to anoint him, which was done with a great ceremony. The news was brought to Adonijah and his friends, which caused them to have terror in the situation, and therefore, they went away. Adonijah made a promise that he would behave well to Solomon, so he was pardoned and dismissed.

In chapter 2, we see that David gives a charge to Solomon, which was before his death, to walk in the ways of the Lord. Some instructions were also given to him concerning people that he should respect or disregard.

We see in chapter 8 the account of the introducing of the Ark into the Temple, to which the glory of the Lord would fill it. Solomon gave a speech to the people concerning the building of the Temple, as well as prayers and defining of provisions for it. He hopes the people of Israel would be blessed, so he exhorts them, and throws a feast.

We see in 1 Kings 12 the sins that Jeroboam caused for Israel involved corrupting the worship of God by instituting golden calves as objects of divine ordination. Next, he changed the place of service from Jerusalem to Bethel and Dan, so it was more convenient. After that, he appointed priests from among tribes other than Levi (which was unauthorized, because the Law did not “cover it.” Lastly, he changed the time of the Feast of Tabernacles from the seventh month, fifteenth day, to the eighth month, fifteenth day. To sum it up, Jeroboam changed the object, place, priesthood, and time of worship for Israel, which was all part of an idolatrous sin.

We see the start of the narrative of Elijah in 1 Kings 17, where there is a prophecy of Elijah that there should be want of rain for many years, and he is directed to go first to Cherith (a brook), where he should be fed by ravens. After that, he is sent to a widow, which was at Zarephath, where he, she, and her son are supported with provisions of meal and oil. The son of the woman is falling sick and dying, but then he is restored to life through Elijah.

In chapter 18, we see that Elijah has an order from the Lord to appear before Ahab, who is meeting with a servant of his named Obadiah, to which he charges him to tell his master his whereabouts, so that he can meet him. Upon meeting him, he desires that all Israel and the prophets of Baal be convened, to which he rebukes them for their idolatry, mockery, and troubling of Israel. God is the true God, as declared, on which all the prophets of Baal were slain (they killed in the name of God…how troubling that is too). Rain in great abundance was given at the prayer of Elijah.

Going forward to chapter 19, Elijah is fleeing for his life per the threats of Jezebel; however, the Lord took care of him, provided for him, and gave him strength so he could get to Horeb. The Lord appeared there and talked to him, to whom he gave instructions to anoint a king over Syria, another over Israel, and a prophet in his room. When he finds Elisha, he is to throw his mantle over Elisha, who becomes a servant.

Lastly, in chapter 21, we see Elijah meeting with Ahab in the vineyard, to which, Elijah denounced the judgments of God upon him and Jezebel for his injustice, however, Ahab humbled himself and dropped manner of evil.

1 Kings covers about 125 years of Israel’s History, from the time of Solomon to the captivity by Babylon. Adonijah was the one who wanted to be king, for he attempted to take advantage of his father, David’s debilitating condition. He marked himself as a great successor to David and had hoped to be chosen. Even Joab and Abiathar left David’s side to join Adonijah. Solomon had Adonijah put to death because he tried to take the kingdom away from him.

Choices Solomon was given for a Godly blessing

  • Wisdom
  • Long life
  • Riches
  • The lives of his enemies

What was good about Solomon choosing wisdom (which was probably what God wanted him to choose), was that God gave him the rest of the gifts. Of course, naturally speaking (in our understanding), wisdom makes the most sense; because with wisdom, you can obtain riches and long life, as well as know how to deal with your enemies. It was a “wise choice” for Solomon to choose wisdom!

The wives of Solomon became Solomon’s downfall (especially because they were strange women), because he submitted to the heathen religions that these wives were following. He went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, as well as Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. This was the appearance of evil in the site of the Lord. He even went as far as building a high place for Chemosh, the abomination of moab, for Molech as well, who was the abomination of the children of Ammon, and lastly for all his strange wives. God threatened his reign, as Solomon had fallen into idolatry.

Synopsis

First Kings, a book written by an unknown author in 560-550 BC; details the background of the reign of Solomon (David’s successor), and the division of the kingdom of Israel and Judah.

The book begins with Solomon being the successor of David as king of Israel. David was quite old, and his oldest surviving son, Solomon, established himself as king while David was still alive. Solomon worked soon to solidify his position as king. David advised Solomon of a couple things. One thing was the reminder to be faithful unto God and be obedient to His Will. The second piece of advice to Solomon was to remove/execute those who were likely to rebel against him, and then to reward those who remained loyal to him. Soon, David died. Solomon continued in his reign with wisdom, for David’s power came through war and conquest.

David had placed the Ark of the Covenant in a special tent in Jerusalem, the tabernacle, and the remainder of its articles was still at Gibeon. After being crowned king in Jerusalem, Solomon went to Gibeon for a celebration/ceremony, which was a public exhibit of his devotion to God. In celebration as well, God offered Solomon anything he wished. Solomon chose to ask for wisdom; to judge between moral rightness and wrongness, as he showed concern for God’s People. God fulfilled this request beautifully. Solomon soon began putting his wisdom to good use. Because of his wisdom, especially in administration, Solomon had fame far and near. People made collections of his proverbs and songs. People were drawn to his wisdom quite well.

His fame prospered far, but he had a big plan to focus on. That plan involved the preparation and construction of the temple. God emphasized the dynasty building to David before a temple should be built, because he wanted David’s house in order. This is the way ministers and leaders should be is to first have their house in order before they try to create a house for God. Therefore, Solomon had a great program prepared for the building of the temple. It would last for more than twenty years, and included an expensive palace, among other pricy buildings. God later reminded Solomon that the temple being built should be a blessing to him and his people only if he was obedient to God.

So, we see the construction of the temple and Solomon’s palace laid out and done. Soon, we see all the provisions being put into place, and other miscellaneous furnishings. This included carefully furnishing the ark, to be brought into the temple. Once the ark was in place, God showed the sign of His presence by filling the temple with the cloud of glory. A dedication ceremony commenced, and God demonstrated the acceptance for the sacrifices and for the temple overall. Solomon aimed and assured to keep the covenant requirements for the annual religious festivals. Scripture details other results of Solomon’s fame and wealth, before we see the downfall of Solomon. Much of his wealth had been gained through (excessive) taxing.

We soon see detailed Solomon’s downfall, which included the trouble that was brought by Solomon’s polygamy and idolatry. Through this downfall, God placed judgment on Solomon and Israel by bringing a long-lasting division between the northern and southern tribes, which would divide them into two kingdoms. God had raised adversaries against Solomon. The prophet Ahijah revealed that Jeroboam would be the next king, so Jeroboam wanted power almost immediately. This caused a ruckus between him and Solomon, so Solomon tried to kill him. When he did that, Jeroboam escaped to Egypt and stayed there until Solomon died. Once Solomon died, he would come back and seize control of the throne.

As we move along, especially with the death of Solomon, we see the judgment of division occur. Jeroboam would take over the northern kingdom, which was Israel; comprised of ten tribes. Rehoboam ruled the southern kingdom; which was Judah – two tribes comprised Judah. Throughout time, we see multiple reigns of both of these kingdoms. Abijah and Asa would be next in succession for Judah’s throne, before Nadab, Baasha, Elah, Zimri, Omri, and Ahab would rule for Israel’s throne. Ahab was important, in which he married Jezebel – who practiced Baalism. This brought official status of Baalism in Israel by Ahab. Israel’s religion was in danger, because of this.

God then intervened with a large number of miracles and judgments. The prophet Elijah was sent to announce a three-year drought through the land. This would display the powerlessness of Baal. The power of Yahweh was great, but Elijah became unpopular because of his prophecy of the drought. God’s power was then shown to be greater than Baal’s power, even in Baal’s home. This proved that faith was part of God’s blessing, not nationality, as we see in chapter seventeen. God told Elijah that Ahab (and Israel overall) had to decide whether they would follow Baal or Him.

Soon, we see detailed that Baal was defeated in a victory by God in lightning, fire, and water. People acknowledged the victory of God, and Elijah took advantage of the situation to destroy the prophets of Baal. God would then later end the drought. When Jezebel heard that Elijah killed her prophets, she threatened to kill him. Her influence over people became a great threat to Elijah, but God sustained him and enabled him to go to Mount Sinai. Elijah doubted God’s covenant with Israel, because Israel kept disobeying Him. Elijah figured that they were unaffected spiritually by the drought. But, God showed Elijah that some events (violent or not) had some use, but there would be lasting benefits only if people would listen to God’s voice in their hearts. These events (violent and spectacular) fell on Israel as punishment. But, there still needed to be people who heard from God and were faithful unto Him.

After this, Elijah returned to Israel, where Elisha showed his willingness to succeed Elijah through the killing of his oxen and then using them to provide a supper of farewell for his friends and family. Soon, we would see the death of Ahab in his fatal battle with Aram. After that, Judah welcomed in the reign of Jehoshaphat and Israel would welcome in the reign of Ahaziah. This marked the new kingdom reigns and a hopeful prosperity for Israel. A shipping line was created as a partnership between Jehoshaphat and Ahaziah, but when ships were wrecked, Jehoshaphat realized that God didn’t want him associating with the wicked Ahaziah. Ahaziah was found to worship Baal and provoking God to anger, just like his father did. This may have marked a short reign for Ahaziah for the future.

The Judges tried to overcome oppressors but sin got in the way

The main cause of Israel not having peace and prosperity was because of apostasy in the land. During the Book of Judges, Israel had 13 different judges to rule them and had 2 more in 1 Samuel. “In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.”  -Judges 17:6

The book covers about 450 years, covering the era between the death of Joshua and the Crowning of Saul. The main failure of Israel while dealing with the Canaanites was to press for a complete victory when they were strong; they put the Canaanites to tribute and did not utterly drive them out. God left the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, Jebusites, and Philistines to teach Israel war and prove them. Also, so they would learn to obey the commandments of the Lord.

The Judges

#JudgeYearsCaptivity/Servitude
1Othniel40The children of Ammon and Amalek served Eglon for 18 years.
2Ehud18none
3ShamgarN/Anone
4DeborahAbout 40Shortly after the 40 years of peace after her reign, the Israelites were allowed to be oppressed by the Midianites, Amalekites, and children of the East. God chose Gideon to free the people and condemn their idolatry.
5Gideon40none
6Abimelech3none
7Tolah23none
8Jair22none
9Jephthah18none
10Ibzan7none
11Elon10none
12Abdon8none
13Samson20none

Synopsis

Judges, written by an unknown author or authors, was a big historical link between Joshua and the time of Israel’s kings. It was written somewhere around 1050-1000 BC. It deals with events in Israel during the two hundred years following Joshua’s conquest of Canaan. The Canaanites that still existed in Canaan were proved trouble for Israel, and therefore, deliverance needed to come.

Much of the events after Joshua’s death were detailed, as the author outlined Israel’s conquest of Canaan under Joshua. Firstly, the attack led by Judah and Simeon is summarized, as they took the Southern area. In bringing Israel into Canaan, God was indeed faithful to his covenant promises. However, the Israelites were not faithful to their promises, therefore, just as God used Israel to punish Canaan – the reverse happened: Canaan was used to punish Israel. After Joshua’s death, Israelites had turned away from God, which brought a lot of suffering and loss for them. When the people of Israel fell away from God and began to worship Baal among other gods, God had punished them. After many years of suffering, they finally turned back to God.

Deliverers came and overthrew the enemy, and had restored independence to Israel. Sadly, once peace was restored, people had gotten prideful and started living without God once again. We see the pattern repeated generation after generation, in which the enemy that wasn’t destroyed became a lot of trouble unto them. God had used the enemies around the Palestinian area to test the faithfulness of Israel, since it’s been unstable for years as well as the disobedience displayed by the Israelites. He used them also to give each new generation of Israelites an experience in combat.

Next, we find detailed a history of Israel’s foreign oppression and delivering of the judges. All of the oppression was detailed and who was delivered. In the Mesopotamian oppression, Othniel was delivered. In the Moabite oppression, Ehud was delivered. In the Philistine oppression, Shamgar was delivered. In the Canaanite oppression, Deborah-Barak was delivered. In the Midianite oppression, Gideon was delivered. Midway, we see the details of the hard times under Abimelech, Tola, and Jair.

After that, in the Ammonite oppression, Jephthah was delivered. Then, the minor judges were noted, and they were Ibzan, Elon, and Abdon. Next, we see in the Philistine oppression, Samson’s life was detailed, such as his birth and calling, his marriage to an unbeliever, his exploits, and his downfalls and restoration. After all of this, we see the illustrations of Israel’s spiritual, moral, and social chaos, such as idolatry, immorality, and tribal strife.

Now, going back to Gideon, he was a special one chosen by God that many take note. God chose Gideon, as we see in chapter 6, even though Gideon was unsure of His call at first. Gideon began a reformation of Israel in his homeland. Smashing the altar of Baal, its wooden pillar, and then building a new altar on which holy sacrifices are offered to Israel’s God were all ways that the reformation occurred. Men of the town were angry with Gideon, but when a fighting army was formed by Gideon to take down the Midianites, they supported Gideon. People of other tribes followed his example and then joined him. However, as soon as people prepared to fight, Gideon lacked faith in God – but God gracefully reassured him of his victory. Gideon gathered many men, but God urged Gideon to narrow them down to 300, which was small in Gideon’s eyes, but enough in God’s eyes, because He was talking about 300 great soldiers.

This would also show that the victory would be more by God’s power rather than mere military strength. After some insight from the Lord, Gideon knew the victory was imminent for them. Through all of the battling, God wanted deliverance. Gideon refused to rest until he’d killed the enemy kings. But even through doubts about Gideon, God still strengthened the men to do the work. Gideon pursued the two kings and captured them, and then killed them. After this, Gideon refused to take kingship, but when he died, the people slipped back into idolatry (worship of Baal). They forgot the God who delivered them.

In the closing thoughts of the book, the Israelites had a battle with the Benjaminites. This would bring Israel to rely on God for help, especially for planning attacks properly. Through the plan, everything worked out, because the men did as they were told and victory occurred. The children of Israel had departed, with every man going to his tribe and family, and there wasn’t a king in Israel, yet. People kept going back to their old ways of following their own will instead of God’s Will as well, which kept the cycle of problems going on and on for Israel.

Joshua led the Israelites through the 7 years in the conquest

“And it shall come to pass, that when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when ye hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him.” -Joshua 6:5

Joshua was 80 years old when he  took office, and he died at the age of 110. The command given to Joshua in 1:2 was, “Since Moses is now dead – arise, go over the Jordan with all the people; unto the land given unto you.” Joshua built Two Memorials unto God to show his appreciation at the crossing of the Jordan: one was Gilgal and the other stood in the Jordan River where the priests had stood.

Two spies were sent to look over Jericho, who were originally from Shittim, as we see in Joshua 2:1. Joshua was the one who sent the spies, and therefore, he had them hide in the house of the prostitute, who was called Rahab (Joshua 2:1). She was spared, because she did not know them or why they were at her house. When the feet of the priests touched the brim of the water, the River Jordan rose up in a heap (even at the flooding time of the year), as we see in the text and in Scripture 3:3,13,16. Joshua built Two Memorials unto God to show his appreciation at the crossing of the Jordan: one was Gilgal and the other stood in the Jordan River where the priests had stood.

According to the text, The Israelites sampled a victory by God’s supernatural power in the battle for Ai, however, they were not allowed to retain any spoils. This meant that no one was allowed to keep anything from Jericho, but rather to destroy it except the Vessel for the Treasury of the Lord’s House. Well, going into Ai in their first battle, 36 men had died because of sin in the camp: Achan, a soldier in the army had kept some of the spoils from Jericho (and he was the one who caused Israel to lose their first battle). (Thankfully, for them though, after destroying Achan and his household, The Israelites conquered Ai.)

Synopsis

Joshua wrote his own Book of Joshua, which was around 14th century BC. This book is normally served as a continuation of the Pentateuch (first five Books of the Bible written by Moses). The largest concern of this book has to do with Israel’s conquest of Canaan, as well as the division of land among the tribes. He writes about God’s faithfulness in fulfilling His covenant promises in Israel concerning Canaan.

The book starts out with the preparation for entering Canaan, to which Joshua is commissioned by God. This command is brief and upfront; which involved taking the land of Canaan. Though Israel would not win the land without a fight, the people had God’s assurance that they would gain possession where they trod. Joshua was given assurance that God was with him, but Joshua still needed courage and wisdom from God to endure. Anyway, they were given instructions to cross the Jordan River next.

The idea of crossing the Jordan River is to conquer the Western area. The first city to conquer was Jericho, for it blocks the passage through the mountain. Therefore, they work their way across the Jordan River, to come upon the camp at Gilgal, where some of the talk was about circumcision, and that through completion of it, people could celebrate the Passover. God had a special messenger come unto Joshua to remind him that God was the commander of Israel’s army; therefore, Joshua fell at his feet to worship him, because he believed it was God in human form.

Next, we see the conquering of the Promised Land, where the Israelites are in their conquest of Canaan. A division was created between the northern and southern regions so the Canaanite tribes would be prevented from joining forces. The idea is to destroy and conquer Canaan – first to conquer the South (as we see in chapter 10) and then the North (as we see in chapter 11). This was part of God’s plan, which had given the Canaanites time to repent. Their wickedness was so great that the time of judgment has now come.

God used His People, Israel, to complete the destruction of the Canaanites. So, we see the defeat of Jericho detailed in chapter 6. Over the next six days, the Israelites marched around Jericho once a day, and then returned unto the camp at Gilgal. On the seventh day, the Israelites were to march around the city seven times. When the walls of the city fell, they were to destroy all people except for Rahab and her household, and all of the good except for the precious metals. The Israelites were not to keep anything for themselves in this process.

God had planned that the victory in Jericho would bring glory unto Him, which was in response by faith from His People. God wanted Jericho to be left in ruins; a permanent monument of its destruction by His curse. If anyone were to rebuild the city, the curse would pass onto him, and he would suffer the loss of his own sons. After this, we see the defeat and victory at Ai, and then the worship and covenant renewal at Shechem. Then, Scripture details the conquest to Southern Canaan, where they made the treaty with the Gibeonites, and then the destruction of the Amorite Coalition.

Soon, we read about the victory in Southern Canaan, where it was Joshua’s biggest battle so far. God pressed assurance of victory on Joshua nonetheless, and so when the victory occurred, Joshua led his forces further into the southern regions of Canaan conquering the key cities. Therefore, the conquered cities would include Libnah, Lachish, Gezer, and Eglon, as well as other cities, such as Hebron and Debir. It reached as far South as Kadesh-barnea and as far West as Gaza. Israel had now conquered and controlled almost the entirety of Southern Canaan, as we see at the end of chapter 10.

The Southern conquer was difficult, but not as difficult as the Northern side of things appeared, for a large army had been prepared and equipped, which intimidated Joshua and his army. However, God continued to encourage Joshua in his lack of faith, and made sure that he had strength. All of northern Canaan then, was soon in the hands of Israel. So, then Joshua summarizes all of the conquest, because now Israel has controlled all of the territory that was to become its homeland. From receiving their inheritance, to gaining control of territory, and then listing the kings of the Canaanite city-states in whom the Israelites had defeated.

Now that the territory has been controlled by Israel, the leaders began the task of dividing the land among the tribes. Throughout the country, many areas were still occupied by the Canaanites, because either they had escaped the Israelites or it was just too difficult to conquer the area. With the people weary of battle, the Canaanites became big trouble for Israel. Anyway, the land conquered was divided among the tribes, and the plans were mapped out for the divisions in chapters 13-14. The largest portions of Canaan went to the chief tribes, which were Judah and Joseph. Judah received almost the entirety of Southern Canaan, and Joseph almost the entirety of Central Canaan. So, overall, Joshua detailed much of the division of the inheritance, whether sorting the tribes to the West or East of the Jordan River. After this, he details special allotments, which included six cities of refuge and the cities of the Levites.

Soon, we learn of the return of the Eastern Tribes, as we see in chapter 22. Now that the territory West of Jordan was conquered and divided among the nine and a half tribes, the other two and a half tribes were free to return to their inheritance that was east of the Jordan River. They were commended for being faithful to helping their brothers conquer Canaan and then warned them to remain true to God in their new home. Peace was also restored for the Western tribes, and the Eastern tribes gave the altar a special name. They were all bound to God, who was their covenant Lord. This was wonderful for them that they were able to finally get to Canaan and conquer, which moved God’s Will further.

Then, we see Joshua’s farewell messages, especially addressing Israel’s rulers and all of Israel. He noted some info on the covenant renewal at Shechem, before we finally see the conclusion. The conclusion involved the death and burial of Joshua, the burial of the bones of Joseph, and the death and burial of Eleazar. Three good men in the conquest to Canaan had passed away, but Israel had a hopeful future: Joshua helped them to a great inheritance and made a legacy that any man would want to leave – and that’s accomplishing God’s Will!