Presentation on theme: "The Divided Kingdom The Bible Course Document #: TX001080."— Presentation transcript:
The Divided Kingdom The Bible Course Document #: TX001080
The Torn Kingdom One of old king Solomon’s top ministers was a young man named Jeroboam. When Solomon died, his son Rehoboam was set to succeed him. The elders, with Jerobaom, went to ask Rehoboam if he could take some of the weight off their shoulders. Rehoboam told them to come back in 3 days – when they did he said that he would add even more to them. The people rebelled and chose Jeroboam as their king. Civil war loomed but Rehoboam decided not to try to recover the north after the prophet Shemaiah told him that the division was God’s doing. The kingdom was divided, and it would never be united again.
Back to the Golden Calf Jeroboam, as the prophet Abijah had made clear, was made king only because it was part of God’s plan but he did not trust God’s promises. (1 Kgs 12:26-27) Instead of trusting in god, Jeroboam made a political decision that scared the new Kingdom of Israel for centuries. (1 Kgs 12:28-29) Israel had gone back to the Golden Calf! God had chosen Jerusalem as the place for his Temple. Jerusalem was in Judah. Jeroboam went back to the sin that had nearly destroyed Israel in the wilderness
Prophets and God’s Covenant At the heart of the message of the biblical prophets is a return to following God’s Covenant. –It was not necessarily a return to the “exact same” practices of the people as in prior days when they were faithful to the Covenant. –The message included a continued honoring of the principles of the Covenant, which were laws that fostered communal identity and practices that brought about God’s desire for peace; justice; human dignity; respect for creation; love of God, neighbor, and self; liberation from sin and bondage; and much more. –This was to be done in “new” ways based on the ways the community had grown and matured over time. Image in public domain
God creates or enters into a Covenant and it is good. Humanity falls into idolatry, resulting in disease, war, and grief. God sends teachers, kings, prophets, or others who lead the people to repentance. The people return to following the Covenant. Peace and God’s healing return to the people. Image in public domain
A Closer Look at Some of the Prophets The Bible Course Document #: TX001080
Jonah Jonah was a prophet in the norther kingdom of Israel at a time when the barbaric Assyrians were a constant threat. Story makes its point very clear: that God’s mercy overcomes the boundaries of Israel, and that God will be merciful even when his prophets would rather not be. (Jon 1:1-3) Jonah through he could somehow run away from God’s influence but that is not possible – God sent a “mighty tempest” to toss the ship. A great fish swallowed up Jonah and saved his life. He was in the belly of the whale for 3 days. God spoke to the fish, and the fish spit Jonah out onto land. God hadn’t given up on Jonah (Jon 3:1-3)
Jonah Jonah went to Ninevah and proclaimed to the people what God had told him to say: “Yet 40 days, and Ninevah shall be overthrown.” 40 day is symbolic time for serious repentance. (Jon 3:10) Jonah’s message had the effect it was supposed to have & that is what Jonah had been afraid of: (Jon 4:1-4) Jonah went to the hot desert to sulk. God gave him a tall plant with big, shady leaves to shade him from the burning sun. Next day, God sent a worm to eat the base of the plant & it withered. (Jon 4:9- 11) The book ends on that rhetorical question, but we know the answer: The people of Nineveh are worth much more than Jonah’s plant. Jonah shouldn’t have been angry when God decided to be merciful.
Homework Assigment Please read the following scripture passages: I Kings 17-19 2 Kings 2:1-14 2 Kings 17:1-18 Answer the following questions: 1. Describe two miracles God worked through Elijah. 2. What did Elijah do when Jezebel threatened his life? 3. Where did Elijah have his vision of God? 4. What did Elisha ask of Elijah? 5. What signs indicated that Elisha had inherited Elijah's spirit?
Elijah & Jezebel Of all the wicked kings of Israel, the most remembered is Ahab – he is remembered more for the woman he married (Jezebel) Jezebel persuaded her husband to worship Baal. Ahab had a temple of Baal put up in Samaria (the capital of the northern kingdom of Israel) Jezebel persecuted the prophets of the true God. The persecution was so terrible that 100 prophets hid in a cave (they were fed by Ahab’s ministers who still loved the true God) God sent one of the greatest of all prophets to respond to this wicked King (1 Kgs 17:1) Elijah (“The Lord is my God”) was able to stop the rain by his prayer.
Elijah & Jezebel Elijah often demonstrated the power of God by miracles (Zarephath – food during the drought, raising her son & contest on Mount Carmel) Elijah is the “father” of the prophets (CCC 2582) Looked like a complete triumph for Elijah, but Jezebel was still the real power in the land and she was not pleased that her god’s prophets had been killed. She sent a message telling Elijah he would die like them the next day. Elijah did the only sensible thing: he ran for his life.
Elijah at Sinai Hiding out in the desert, Elijah prayed to God to take away his life – God still had plans for him. Twice an angel brought him food to eat – on the strength of that heavenly food he went 40 days and 40 nights to Horeb, the mountain in Sinai where Moses had also spent 40 days & 40 nights. And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. (1 Kgs 19:11-13) There he saw a vision of God – People thought of God in terms of fire & earthquakes & mighty winds, this revelation was something new. God was all-powerful, but the truth about God was in that “still small voice”
Elijah and Elisha At Horeb, God told Elijah to anoint a new prophet to take his place. Elijah found Elisha plowing the field. He tossed his mantle over Elisha, showing that Elisha would take over his prophetic call. Elisha took a hasty leave of his people and followed. Time came for Elijah to be taken away. Elisha asked for “double share of your spirit” – a “double share” was the inheritance of a first-born son. Elisha was asking to be made Elijah’s heir and successor. When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask what I shall do for you, before I am taken from you.” And Elisha said, “I pray you, let me inherit a double share of your spirit.” And he said, “You have asked a hard thing; yet, if you see me as I am being taken from you, it shall be so; but if you do not see me, it shall not be so.” And as they still went on and talked, behold, a chariot of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Elisha saw it and he cried, “My father, my father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!” And he saw him no more. (2 Kgs 2:9-12) Elisha inherited Elijah’s spirit: confirmation in the miracles done through Elisha: dividing the Jordan, making oil last indefinitely, and raising a young man from the dead.
The Assyrian Threat Even with prophets like Elijah & Elisha, the people of Israel still went after false gods. They never came back to the true worship of God. The Assyrians were rapidly expanding their empire and setting their sights on Israel. Assyrian conquests were more horrible & bloody than others. The Assyrians would uproot the whole population of a conquered province and send everyone off to live in some foreign land. The people of Israel & Judah lived in constant fear of an Assyrian attack & Nineveh was the symbol of everything that was evil in the world.
The End of Israel Hoshea, the last king of Israel, tried to play the Assyrians off against the Egyptians. It was a big mistake!! After losing a battle with the Assyrians, Hoshea had been forced to pay annual tribute to Nineveh. But 1 yr the tribute didn’t arrive. The Assyrian king, Shalamaneser, found out that Hoshea had been sending messengers to Egypt, suggesting a secret alliance that would help Israel break free of Assyria. The last thing the Assyrians wanted was an Egyptian foothold in Israel. Shalamaneser came down with a huge army and besieged Samaria, the capital of Israel. For 3 yrs the city held out, but at last it fell. The Assyrians carried off everyone they could find and resettled them. And this was so, because the people of Israel had sinned against the Lord their God, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt from under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and had feared other gods and walked in the customs of the nations whom the Lord drove out before the people of Israel, and in the customs which the kings of Israel had introduced… Yet the Lord warned Israel and Juday by every prophet and every seer, saying, “Turn from your evil ways and keep my commandments and my statutes, in accordance with all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you by my servants and prophets.” But they would not listen, but were stubborn, as their fathers had been, who did not believe in the Lord their God. (2 Kgs 17:7-8, 13-14)
After the Conquest With the Assyrian conquest the story of the northern kingdom of Israel came to an end. Some of the poor farmers were probably left in the land, but all the leading citizens were gone, and the tribal structure of most of the northern 10 tribes was dissoved. Assyrians brought people from faraway corners of their empire to resettle the empty cities of central Israel – brought their own gods, but after a while they decided to learn to worship the God of Israel. New settlers gradually intermarried with remainder of Israelite population that had been left behind. They worshiped God, but also continued to worship foreign gods. Because they had settled in the towns around Samaria, they were called Samaritans.
The Great Prophet Isaiah The Bible Course Document #: TX001080
Isaiah All that was left of David’s kingdom was Judah (included the large tribe of Judah, the little tribe of Benjamin & the Levites who had not lived in Israel) While Israel was coming to an end, Judah was going through a rebirth with a good king Hezekiah who was determined to what was right in the sight of God. King Hezekiah’s guide was one of the greatest of all of the prophets: Isaiah, the son of Amoz.
Isaiah’s background Had been a prophet through the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham & Ahaz (during this time the people of Judah were progressively seduced by the evil practices of the Canaanites. Uzziah: worshiper of the True God, but his pride made him try to take over the priests’ function as well. Jotham: worshiper of the True God, but he allowed many of the people to slip into idolatry. Manasseh: was a pagan; he even burned his own son as an offering to one of the horrible Canaanite idols. Isaiah was sent to call Judah to repentance, and to warn of the destruction to come if Judah didn’t repent. Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool. If you are willing to be obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword: for the mouth of the Lord has spoken (Is 1:18-20
Book of Isaiah Many scholars think that the book of Isaiah, as we have it, is compiled from the writings of three or possibly more prophets. Chapters 1-39 mostly the work of Isaiah himself Remaining was compiled later on by those responsible for collecting prophecies attributed to Isaiah (especially for the sake of the exiles living in foreign lands) Whole book has been put together by a talented editor, and the same themes run all through it. Main theme: idea of repentance & the judgment that will come unless Judah repents. God will chasten his people, but in spite of that punishment a time will come when the most impossible-sounding promises will all come true (remember God’s promises to David were unconditional) A remnant of Judah – the remnant that has been truly faithful to God – will return to establish a new kingdom in Jerusalem.
Book of Isaiah It might seem impossible but the Davidic kingdom would be restored more glorious than ever before: There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord… In that day the root of Jesse shall stand as an ensign to the peoples; him shall the nations seek, and his dwellings shall be glorious. In that day the Lord will extend his hand yet a second time to recover the remnant which is left of his people, from Assyria, from Egypt, from Pathros, from Ethiopia, from Elam, from Shinar, from Hamath and from the coastlands of the sea (Is 11:1-2, 10-11) The line of David, son of Jesse, might seem to be chopped down like a dead tree, but in that time to come, the ideal ruler – the Lord’s Anointed, the Messiah or Christ – would rule Israel with ideal righteousness.
Book of Isaiah In the reign of Ahaz, the Assyrians attacked Jerusalem, and it looked like the end for Judah. God sent Isaiah with a message for Ahaz. “Ask for a sign of the Lord your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven.” But Ahaz said, “I will not ask, and I will not put the Lord to the test.” And he [Isaiah] said, “Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary men, that you weary my God also? Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign. Behold, a young woman shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel [that is, God-Is-With-Us]. He shall eat curds and honey when he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good. For before the child knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land before those two kings are in dread will be deserted (Is 7:10-16) Ahaz has a son (Hezekiah) and it seemed like the beginning of the fulfillment of the promise. Hezekiah was a great reformer and defended Jerusalem against the Assyrians but he was not the ideal ruler God had promised (after his reign things got worse for Judah so the faithful remnant began to understand that the real fulfillment of God’s promise was still to come.
Jeremiah Sees the End of the World The Bible Course Document #: TX001080
Jeremiah After Josiah, Judah went downhill fast. Josiah’s sons were all worthless, leading Judah back to paganism. One by one the sons of Josiah were taken away by more powerful kings (God’s judgment) Egyptian pharaoh carried off Jehoahaz (Jehoiakim took his place) Nebuchadnezzar (king of Babylon) carried the 2 nd brother away to Babylon (Jehoiakim’s 8yr old son left) Nebuchadnezzar takes the boy 3 months later along with what was left in the Temple & soldiers, etc. Josiah’s son Zedekiah was only one left to be king as Nebuchadnezzar’s vassal. There was no repentance. False prophets were telling the king that prosperity was just around the corner. Being a true prophet was difficult because all the news was bad and no one wanted bad news. Jeremiah was imprisoned, beatened by thugs, thrown down a well & repeatedly threatened with death. (Jeremiah’s stubbornness was the best witness to the truth of his prophecies.
Jeremiah Zedekiah decided to rebel against Nebuchadnezzar (relying on help from Egypt) – he didn’t learn from the mistakes of Hoshea) The false prophets promised him that Egypt would save Judah – Jeremiah told him that Egypt would do him no good (God had already determined the fate of Jerusalem) Thus says the Lord, Do not deceive yourselves, saying “The Chaldeans will surely stay away from us,” for they will not stay away. For even if you should defeat the whole army of Chaldeans who are fighting against you, and there remained of them only wounded men, every man in his tent, they would rise up and burn this city with fire. (Jer 37:9-10) Jeremiah was a powerful figure in spite of his unpopularity (he was known for giving prophecies against the reigning authority, yet the king felt compelled to consult him rather than a compliant prophet. Jeremiah had the truth, and the king & people recognized it, even when they didn’t want to Jeremiah told the people of Judah that there would soon be destruction so terrible, so total that words could hardly describe it.
Jeremiah In his search for words to describe the horror to come, Jeremiah reached all the way back to the beginning of time. Gen 1 describes how the earth was waste and void before creation began, and God’s first act was to create light. Now, is Jeremiah’s vision: I looked on the earth, and lo, it was waste and void; and to the heavens, and they had no light. I looked on the mountains, and lo, they were quaking, and all the hills moved to and fro. I looked, and lo, there was no man, and all the birds of the air had fled. I looked, and lo, the fruitful land was a desert, and all its cities were laid in ruins before the Lord, before his fierce anger. (Jer 4:23-26) Creation will not be entirely undone (As with the Flood, God will preserve a remnant & creation will begin anew) All the disasters will be reversed, and Israel will be brought back together under the ideal Davidic king. Then I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them, and I will bring them back to their fold, and they will be fruitful and multiply. I will set shepherds over them who will care for the, and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall any be missing, says the Lord. Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: “The Lord is our righteousness. (Jer 23;3-6)
Enter Ezekiel The Bible Course Document #: TX001080
Ezekiel Ezekiel lived at the same time as Jeremiah. He also foresaw terrible destruction ahead but no matter how terrible the destruction might seem, in the more distant future God would redeem his people. For I will take you from the nations, and gather you from all the countries, and bring you into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will take out of your flesh the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to observe my ordinances. You shall dwell in the land which I gave to your fathers; and you shall be my people, and I will be your God. (Ez 36:24-28) The terrible punishment to come was not revenge, but the discipline of a loving Father. The redemption to come after that would not come because Israel deserved it, but purely become of God’s love. Then you will remember your evil ways, and your deeds that were not good; and you will loathe yourselves for your iniquities and your abominable deeds. It is not for your sake that I will act, says the Lord God; let that be known to you. Be ashamed and confounded for your ways, O Israel. (Ez 36:31-32) The Prophet Ezekiel will be among the Jews who will be deported from Jerusalem to Babylon. God uses Ezekiel to convey a message of hope and future restoration to the exiles.
The Exodus Reversed The destruction finally came – it must have seemed as terrible as Jeremiah had predicted Nebuchadnezzar finally took Jerusalem. He burned down the Temple, the king’s palace, and every important house in the city. He took most of the important citizens away to Babylon, leaving a governor to supervise the ones who were left. Jeremiah was also left – he managed to hide the Ark of the Covenant when Nebuchadnezzar was making off with the rest of the loot from Jerusalem. Ark not found again until all the people of Israel were back together. (2Mac 2: 4-8) The Jews that were left felt the Babylonians would retaliate, so they made plans to flee to Egypt – Jeremiah warned them against it but they dragged him along against his will So the remnant of Judah went back into exile in Egypt – the ultimate curse that had been predicted in the Book of Law: And the Lord will bring you back in ships to Egypt, a journey which I promised that you should never make again; and there you shall offer yourselves for sale to your enemies as male and female slaves, but no man will buy you (Dt 28:68)
The Babylonian Exile Jerusalem had meant everything to the people of Judah (God’s chosen dwelling out of all the earth) – now the city was burned, and the Promised Land had been taken away. The Temple was gone. Babylon was a huge city, a place where Nebuchadnezzar sat among immense palaces and temples and ruled the world, and a place where all the vices of the world were collected. (magnificent & terrible) Difficult for the people of Judah who had been carried away yet a strange thing happened: depriving them of everything they owned, helped them remember God. (surrounded by all these false gods they began to understand the value of what they lost – they began to remember they were the chosen people of God) Many of the books of the Old Testament were edited in their final forms during the Babylonian Exile – Thrown out of their homes, carried away to foreign slavery, they wrote the history of how their people lost everything – they knew why they had lost it they had been unfaithful to their God.
Daniel: Heroic Stories of the Exile The book of Daniel tells some memorable stores about faithful Jews in the Babylonian Exile, and how they stayed faithful to the True God. Daniel was legendary for his wisdom, and he earned a very high position in the Babylonian court. Story of Shadrach, Meshach & Abednego – stories like this encouraged the Jews to be faithful to their own God. The Jews were exiled in Babylon for a half-century. During this time they lived in the capital of the pagan world, the Jews kept their distinct identity and culture – they never forgot Jerusalem.
End of First Semester The Bible Course Document #: TX001080