(Here are pages 342-375 of CBR.17 of Samuel-Esther, and the details of the Kings, Chronicles, Ezra-Nehemia, and Esther. PDF of CBR from Genesis to Esther, 375 pages. mjm) PDF 375 pages: CBR.ChristianBiblicalReflections.mjmselim.05062018
Some reflections on the Books of Kings preliminary to the final Books of the Old Testament History, namely Chronicles, Ezra-Nehemiah, and Esther:
First, we will lists the Kings of the Kingdoms, the Northern and the Southern, of Israel and Judah, that is of Samaria and Jerusalem. There are 19 Kings in each, all judged or evaluated or measured by King David, and the last King (20th) to rule in each Kingdom was the Gentile King of their Captivity and Exile. The 3 Kings before the Division of the Monarchy: Saul, David, and Solomon, each ruled 40 years.
Kings of Judah: Southern Kingdom: Jerusalem:
1. Rehoboam: First King. (did evil) 17 yrs
2. Abijah (or Abijam or Abia): Son of Rehoboam. (did evil) 3 yrs
3. Asa: Probably son of Abijah. (did right) 41 yrs
4. Jehoshaphat: Son of Asa. (did right) 25 yrs
5. Jehoram (or Joram): Son of Jehoshaphat; husband of Athaliah. (did evil) 8 yrs
6.a. Ahaziah: Son of Jehoram and Athaliah. (did evil) 1 yr
6.b. Athaliah: Daughter of King Ahab of Israel and Jezebel; wife of Jehoram; only queen to occupy the throne of Judah. (did evil) 6 yrs
7. Joash (or Jehoash): Son of Ahaziah. (did right young, did evil older) 40 yrs
8. Amaziah: Son of Joash. (did right young, did evil older) 29 yrs
9. Uzziah (or Azariah): Son of Amaziah. (did right) 52 yrs
10. Jotham: Regent, later King; son of Uzziah. (did right) 16 yrs
11. Ahaz: Son of Jotham. (did evil) 16 yrs
12. Hezekiah: Son of Ahaz; husband of Hephzi-Bah. (did right) 29 yrs
13. Manasseh: Son of Hezekiah and Hephzi-Bah. (did evil) 55 yrs
14. Amon: Son of Manasseh. (did evil) 2 yrs
15. Josiah (or Josias): Son of Amon. (did right) 31 yrs
16. Jehoahaz (or Joahaz): Son of Josiah. (did evil) 3 mnths
17. Jehoiakim: Son of Josiah. (did evil) 11 yrs
18. Jehoiachin: Son of Jehoiakim. (did evil) 3 mnths
19. Zedekiah: ben-Josiah (at 21); kingdom overthrown by Nebuchadnezzar. (did evil) 11 yrs (d.32)
20. Nebuchadnezzar: King of Babylon destroyed Jerusalem in 11th yr of Zedekiah; & exiled Judah.
Kings of Israel: Northern Kingdom: Samaria:
1. Jeroboam I: Led secession of Israel. (evil) 22 yrs
2. Nadab: Son of Jeroboam I. (evil) 2 yrs
3. Baasha: Overthrew Nadab. (evil) 24 yrs
4. Elah: Son of Baasha. (evil) 2 yrs
5. Zimri: Overthrew Elah. (evil) 7 days
6. Omri: Overthrew Zimri. (evil) 12 yrs
7. Ahab: Son of Omri; husband of Jezebel. (evil) 21 yrs
8. Ahaziah: Son of Ahab. (evil) 1 yr
9. Jehoram (or Joram): Son of Ahab. (evil) 11 yrs
10. Jehu: Overthrew Jehoram. (good and evil) 28 yrs
11. Jehoahaz (or Joahaz): Son of Jehu. (evil) 16 yrs
12. Jehoash (or Joash): Son of Jehoahaz. (evil) 16 yrs
13. Jeroboam Il: Son of Jehoash. (evil) 40 yrs
14. Zechariah: Son of Jeroboam II. (evil) ½ yr
15. Shallum: Overthrew Zechariah. (evil) 1 mnth
16. Menahem: Overthrew Shallum. (evil) 10 yrs
17. Pekahiah: Son of Menahem. (evil) 2 yrs
18. Pekah: Overthrew Pekahiah. (evil) 20 yrs
19. Hoshea: Overthrew Pekah; kingdom overthrown by Assyrians under Sargon II. (evil) 9 yrs
20. Shalmaneser: King of Assyria in 9th yr of Hoshea deported and exiles Israel to Assyria.
20 High-Priests & Priests from the Exodus to the Captivity: Aaron benAmram, Eleazar benAaron, Phinehas benEleazar, Abishua benPhinehas, Bukki benAbishua, Uzzi benBukki, Zerahiah benUzzi, Meraioth benZerahiah, Azariah benMeraioth, Amariah benAzariah, Ahitub benAmariah, Zadok benAhitub, Hilkiah benShallum, Azariah benHilkiah, Seraiah benAzariah, and Ezra benSeraiah. Joshua benJehozadak, Joiakim benJoshua, Eliashib benJoiakim, and Joiada benEliashib.
We have 600 years of history from Samuel to Malachi, from the establishment of the Monarchy to the close of the Old Testament in the return exiles from Babylon. The Temple had a 500-year history from Solomon to Zerubbabel. During the Monarchy the Prophetic Office developed into the primary instrumentation of Israel’s divine transformation and continuance. God continued to leave room for Israel’s repentance and recommitment to the Mosaic covenant, and by such obedience and renewal He would intervene on their behalf to keep and fulfill all His promises made to them and their forefathers. Messiah must still come, ass the Seed and as Shiloh, and in the Incarnation take up humanity from Adam to the New Testament and eternity. Israel in His dispensational dealing would secure the Gentiles’ participation in His divine and eternal plans for man. Though they were His chosen, favored, and special people, the Elect of God, yet His judgment and chastisement of the nation showed Him to be an impartial and equitable God. His providential allowance of His people’s disobedience displayed His greater and larger concerns with mankind. In His redemptive and convictive work and dealings the nations as excluded Gentiles without special covenant relations, except those of Adam and Noah, would often share the covenant blessings and curses with Israel. Egypt, Babylon, Assyria, and others would become His servants and messengers. Cyrus the Persian would become His son and anointed. Mankind was enlarging and maturing at an enormous rate, with new ways of living, working, surviving, understanding, and may such things. The Lord as God to Israel was ever involved in human affairs, both nationally and with individuals.
As we have seen the Book as the Word was gradually and increasingly displacing human and natural government and authority. And as the Dispensation of Israel began with Moses and the Law, so it ends with Ezra the Priest and Scribe of the Book, the Torah and the Tanakh, the Pentateuch and the Old Testament. It was not God’s proper will to institute the Monarchy as a substation of His Headship federally of the nation, but rather to continue to use Judges and Saviors and Heroes raised up as needed to rule and guide His people, as a Shepherd does His flock. The insanity of Saul compared to the zeal and devotion of David displays the Lord’s rejection of the one and the attraction to the other. As the King is the highest authority on earth, and as such, represents Divine Authority of heaven, God must deal with the nation as a Body through the King as its Head. As with Adam, Noah, Abraham, Jacob as Israel, Moses and Aaron, so too the Judges and the Kings. The King’s court with the nation’s elders constituted the government of the people. The Law and the Sacrifice, the Elders and the Priests, together constituted the Testimony and Example of the People. In the individual Kings of both Kingdoms, the evaluation and measurement is a comparison of the ideal, and changes with the degree that ideal is attained or failed. The love of God and fellow man, the Creator and His creatures, the Father and His children, would be examined in Israel’s leadership; and thus religious purity, social responsibility, and family provisions would determine the King’s good or evil, and so too with each and every man. We see the Law was not kept in full national or tribal obedience, in many of its details, and the Book itself was lost and neglected as an essential guidance or rule. In divine judgment, Israel suffering wrath and pain, the rediscovery and the renewal of the Book would again surface or emerge. Such was the picture of the Kings of the Northern Kingdom of Israel and Samaria, from Jeroboam departure from the Law of Moses and the Worship of God, that Kingdom was doomed to failure, and so all its Kings were bad and evil and wicked, because they continued in the apostasy. Only in the negative could any of the Northern Kings be good as Jehu, who exterminated the House of Ahab and Jezebel, but continued apostate like Jeroboam. Not so with the Southern Kingdom of Judah and Jerusalem, where not only the negative was manifest, but also the positive good and right things were displayed in about half of the Kings. The 3 most exceptional were Jehoshaphat, Hezekiah, and Josiah; yet none of these could surpass David; and all of them, David and Solomon included, could not approach the excellency of Messiah, the Christ. Even in Samuel the Seer the defect of human nature is seen in his sons whom he appointed as Judges of the people, but who were more wicked than most of the people, as it was also with Eli the High Priest and his sons.
The Temple is allowed to be built in response to David’s heart, patterned after the Lord’s own heart, but it too was not intended. The temporary and mobile Sanctuary was adequate for a people going through transformation, and strategically needed to adapt to their enemies’ movements against them. The City of David and the Temple of Solomon would establish the local and central government and worship in a way that it could be attacked and subverted in a much more decisive manner, often undetected. It’s true both David and Solomon, and a few other Kings, did enlarge and adorn the Temple as the Lord’s House in worship, praise, celebration, etc. The enemy saw in the Temple gold, silver, brass, and many special and precious objects that they wanted, and so attacked the City and stripped the House of those valuables, and in the end destroyed both City and Temple. The true Temple was not clearly seen, and all the glory of which it spoke and displayed would need await better times and another age to be written in the Scroll of a new covenant and testament.
We must also examine Chronicles in relations to Kings and Samuel. For this we will turn to a work that has given us the details in comparisons.
A Harmony of the Books of Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles in the Text of the Version of 1884 by William Day Crockett. A.M. Professor of English Literature in the State Normal School, Mansfield, Pa. With an Introduction by Willis Judson Beecher, D.D. Professor of the Hebrew Language and Literature in the Auburn Theological Seminary New York Chicago Toronto Fleming H. Revell Company London and Edinburgh. (Andover-Harvard Theological Library 1890 Cambridge, Massachusetts) Copyright, 1897, William Day Crockett. (Analytical Outline & Harmony of the Books of Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles.)
Many and many a time during the latter years of my College course, as I had taken up my Bible for the daily chapter, had I thought of the time in the near future of my Seminary days, when the Book of Books itself would be my constant study. But the ideal was never realized; for there were ever a hundred other volumes claiming one’s attention: Greek and Hebrew, and Theology and History, and Homiletics and Church Polity, and a score of allied subjects besides. And while the Bible was back of them all, while the Bible inspired them all, there was not in my own life the deep, earnest study of God’s Word for which I had longed for years. Without doubt, it was all my own fault; at any rate, the Bible study was not there.
It was at this juncture that the idea came for a Harmony of the Books of Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles. I had begun, for my own private Bible study, a Harmony of the Four Gospels. A long walk succeeded the first two hours’ work on the Gospel narratives; and with it came the thought: A thousand men have done this work before; why not accept some of the work that they have done—at least for a while—and try your skill in unplowed fields? The result of that thought was the conception of the present volume.
Until the completion of the first draft of the manuscript, I was not aware that such a work had ever been undertaken before. Since then I have learned that there are certain works, out of date and out of print, that have embodied the conception, more or less fully. But so far as it has been possible to learn, the present work is the only one of its kind. The volume as it stands to-day is the outgrowth of its first conception, in its general outline. The six books of the Old Testament that have been used as material, have been subjected to the most careful analysis; and the result is a “Harmony,” divided into five books, under the general name of “The Books of the Kings of Judah and Israel “—which, by the way, happens to be the title, with the exception of the addition of one letter, of one of the thirty and more Books of Old Testament times now lost to the world —which Books, in their turn, have been, more or less, the original material from which the six books under consideration have been compiled. The question of the compilation or the editing of the said books, however, does not fall within the province of this work.
The result of our study is something more than simply a Harmony of the Books of First and Second Samuel, First and Second Kings, and First and Second Chronicles; it embodies a careful analytical outline, the value of which, it is thought, will be as great as those sections displaying the Harmony idea—an outline, toward the perfection of which every verse of the six books in question has contributed its share —an outline, in which books, parts, divisions, sections, subsections, and even the subdivisions of the subsections, all have their own individual ‘raison d’itre’.
From the very nature of the case, the Harmony involves a study of the chronology. Such study, while it has been one of the most fascinating features of the whole work, has likewise been the most difficult. In the matter of Biblical chronology, the basal law seems to be, “Every man for himself, and the critic take the hindermost.” In conformity with the workings of this law, the author of the present work does not profess to agree with any one among the many different authorities on Bible chronology —that is, in detail; though it would be here proper to state that all the material available for chronological study has been used, and where traditional views and interpretations have been departed from, it has been only after the maturest consideration and the most careful weighing of evidence.
It would simply be an impossibility, in a volume of this size, to give all the reasons for adopting the particular order in the disputed cases; for those reasons are oftentimes purely internal. A full discussion of the reasons for the particular order of events in Elisha’s life, for example, would occupy many pages. The same may be said of the interpretation of the life and history of David; but where it has been
feasible, attention has been called to such reasons in the footnotes.
For the merits of the chronology, my especial thanks are due to Dr. Willis J. Beecher, of Auburn Theological Seminary, whose study and system of chronology have not only been of inestimable value, but whose personal suggestions have always been most helpful. For a few felicitous phrases in the Analytical Outline, I am indebted to the translators of Lange’s Commentaries.
The text is that of the Revised Version of 1884, which, for purposes of historical study, is confessedly the best English version to be had. The footnotes are, to a great extent, the marginal readings of the Revised Version; though from the natural requirements of the Harmony, several hundred of these have been omitted as needless, and a few others for other reasons. Many have been slightly changed, or added to, for the convenience of the student. The remaining notes are inserted for chronological or other explanatory reasons.
The Four Gospels, as the original material for the study of the life of Christ, must ever be the ground of absorbing and supremist interest to the Bible student. What those four books are to the New Testament, as the field for historical study, the six books of Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles are to the Old: they are the principal sources of Old Testament history and chronology, and are the books most under discussion to-day. A Harmony of the Gospels has already become the indispensable aid to every student of the life of Christ, or even of the literature of the New Testament. It is hoped that this work will meet a long-felt want for some such study of the principal historical books of the Older Revelation. A “Harmony,” the volume has been called, though, as already stated above, it is much more than a mere Harmony. On the other hand, it is to be remembered that much that is arranged in parallel columns in it is not harmonious—cannot be made harmonious. And yet, in this very connection, it is also to be remembered, that the parallel passages are valuable, not so much for their perfect correspondences as for their many differences; for God’s Word and we are the richer far for every such difference. It is hoped that the careful study of these pages will help to reconcile some of these divergencies. Many will probably never be solved until we come to stand before the Great White Throne. But if this volume will aid in any way to a clearer knowledge of some of the many knowable things, and by that knowledge, aid —though but indirectly —in the fulfilling of the loving Master’s greatest prayer, that the Kingdom may come, it will accomplish that whereunto it is sent.
William D. Crockett.
By Professor Willis J. Beecher, D.D.,
Of the Theological Seminary of Auburn in the State of New York.
I Gladly accept the invitation to write a few words of introduction to the volume which my friend Mr. Crockett has prepared. Not many words are needed. The plan of the book speaks for itself.
In Old Testament study, at present, the thing that most demands investigation is the Old Testament itself. This fact is so obvious as to be accepted by all and understood by only a very few. By studying the Old Testament itself, some mean the looking up of points therein for illustrating current religious doctrine and experience. Others mean the repeating of the interpretations of the history, as these have been handed down to us from the time of Josephus. Others mean the examination of the new knowledge concerning the Bible derived from travels and surveys and explorations. Yet others understand the mental unraveling of the literary work done by the men who wrote the books of the Old Testament, the analyzing of these into certain real or supposed original documents, with conjectures as to the authorship of the original documents, and the processes by which they were combined until they assumed the form in which we now have them.
All these ways of study have their value, but none of them is, properly speaking, the study of the Old Testament as it now exists. The first is the study of certain matters in the Old Testament, and not of the Old Testament itself. One might pursue it for a lifetime without acquiring anything like a connected idea as to either the books or their contents. The second, except indirectly, is not a study of the Old Testament at all. From babyhood we have been familiar with the current superficial understanding of the events recorded; it is time that we turn from this and ask what the Old Testament actually says concerning these events. The third is indissolubly connected with the second. If through our traditional mistakes we misinterpret the statements made in the Scriptures, this will lead us equally to misinterpret what the monuments have to say on the same subjects. And the fourth form of study above mentioned is not a study of the Old Testament, but of the real or supposed sources of the Old Testament. As far as it is based upon an inadequate understanding of the Old Testament as it stands, so far is it necessarily crude and misleading.
What we need is something different from these four forms of study, something that is presupposed by each of the four, something that is demanded as the basis of each of the four, namely, the study of the contents and the form of the books of the Old Testament as they stand. When we thoroughly understand the things which the existing Old Testament says, and the literary form in which it says them, we shall be better prepared to analyze our existing Scriptures into their primary component parts, and to understand those parts; and we shall be qualified to perceive the true bearing of the information gained by recent discoveries, to estimate traditional interpretations rightly, to appreciate more fully the religious teachings.
It is a thing especially commendable in the work of my friend Mr. Crockett that he has labored in this part of the field, here where labor is needed. He has set himself to understand, and to help others understand, a portion of the contents of the Old Testament itself.
In large sections of the volume he has done nothing more than print parallel accounts in parallel columns for ready reference. So far, the value is merely mechanical —a mere bit of convenient machinery. This by itself was worth the doing, but he has done far more than this. He has himself attained to a firm grasp upon the history as a whole, and has attempted, by a careful analysis, to show others how to take the same grasp. In traversing three fourths of the path this was relatively simple. It was the remaining fourth, lying in separate sections at half a dozen different points, that taxed his skill and industry and patience. The larger half of the value of his work is that which appears, in comparatively small bulk, in these difficult sections.
Of course, not all his results will at once be accepted as final. Every scholar will think him correct to the extent to which he agrees with him, and no further. It is for these best parts of Mr. Crockett’s work that fault is most likely to be found with him. The reader will occasionally miss the confusing but familiar landmarks of the Josephan interpretation of the history, and will be ready at once to exclaim that Mr. Crockett has lost his way. In such instances, however, he will do well to take the trouble to understand the offered interpretation before absolutely rejecting it.
I have enough confidence in the intelligence and industry of the present generation of students of the Bible to lead me to expect that this volume will have wide acceptance and usefulness.
Auburn, New York, June 1897.
Books of the Kings of Judah and Israel:
Book I: Until the Founding of the Monarchy. 1. Genealogical Tables, with Brief Historical Statements. 2. Close of the Theocracy.
Book II: Reign of Saul: 1. Establishment by Samuel of Saul as 1st King of Israel. 2. Saul’s Reign until his Rejection. 3. Decline of Saul and Rise of David.
Book III: Reign of David: 1. 7 1/2 Years in Hebron. 2. Period of David’s Wars. 3. Period of Rest. 4. Period of Internal Dissensions.
Book IV: Reign of Solomon: 1. Beginning of Solomon’s Reign. 2. Solomon’s Glory. 3. Solomon’s Fall and End.
Book V: Kingdoms of Judah and Israel: 1. From Year of Disruption to Rise of Jehu. 2. From Rise of Jehu to Fall of Kingdom of Israel. 3. Kingdom of Judah after Fall of Kingdom of Israel.
Genealogies of Patriarchs (1st Chron. 1): Genealogy: Adam to Noah. Descendants of Noah’s Sons. Shem to Abraham. Descendants of Abraham. Kings and Dukes of Edom. Twelve Sons of Israel
Genealogies of Tribes of Israel (1st Chron. 2 – 9):
Tribe of Judah (1st Chron. 2 – 4). General Genealogies of the Tribe. 3 Accounts of Descendants of Caleb. Family of David. Line of David through Solomon.
Tribe of Levi (1st Chron. 6). Line of Aaron. Descendants of Gershom, Kohath, and Merari. Ancestors of the Songmasters, Heman, Asaph, and Ethan. Cities of the Levites.
Tribe of Reuben (1st Chron. 5).
Tribe of Gad (1st Chron. 5).
Half-Tribe of Manasseh (east of Jordan) (1st Chron. 5).
Tribe of Simeon (1st Chron. 4).
Tribe of Issachar (1st Chron. 7).
Tribe of Naphtali (1st Chron. 7).
Half-Tribe of Manasseh (west of Jordan) (1st Chron. 7).
Tribe of Ephraim (1st Chron. 7).
Tribe of Asher (1st Chron. 7).
Tribe of Benjamin (1st Chron. 8 – 9; 1st Sam. 14). General Genealogies of the Tribe. House of Saul.
Appendix: Additional Historical Statements (1st Chron. 5 & 9). War of the 3 Transjordanic Tribes with Arab Nations. Inhabitants of Jerusalem.
Close of Theocracy: (1st Sam. 1 – 7)
Early Life of Samuel. (1st Sam. 1 – 3)
20. Samuel’s Birth and Infancy. Answer to Prayer. Consecration to the Lord. Hannah’s Song of Thanksgiving.
21. Samuel at Shiloh. Faithless Priests. Eli’s Expostulation with his Sons. Samuel’s Ministry before the Lord. Fall of Eli’s House foretold. Samuel’s Call. Samuel established as Prophet.
Period of National Disaster. (1st Sam. 4 – 7)
22. Israel’s Defeat and Loss of Ark.
23. Fall of House of Eli.
24. Ark of God. Chastisement of Philistines for Removal of the Ark. Restoration of Ark with expiatory Gifts. Reception and Settlement of Ark in Israel.
25. 20 Years of Waiting.
Samuel, Last of Judges. (1st Sam. 7)
26. National Repentance through Samuel’s Labors.
27. Israel’s Victory over Philistines.
28. Summary Statement of Samuel’s Work as Judge.
Reign of Saul: (1st Sam. 8 – 15)
Establishment by Samuel of Saul as 1st King of Israel. (1st Sam. 8 – 10)
29. Persistent Demand of the People for King.
30. Samuel meets Saul, who is destined by Jehovah to be King over Israel.
31. Saul is privately anointed by Samuel.
32. Signs of Divine Confirmation.
33. Choice of Saul by Lot at Mizpeh.
34. Installation of Saul as King.
35. Saul’s brief Retirement to private Life.
Saul’s Reign until his Rejection. (1st Sam. 11 – 15)
36. Generic Account of the Whole of Saul’s Reign. (1st Sam. 14)
37. Confirmation and general Recognition of Saul as King. Saul’s Victory over the Ammonites. Confirmation of Saul as King at Gilgal. Samuel’s last Transaction with People at Gilgal.
38. Beginnings of Royalty.
39. War against Philistines. Jonathan’s Exploit in Gibeah. Saul summons Israel to Gilgal. Philistines encamp in Michmash. Distress of Israel. Saul wrongly offers Sacrifice. Samuel’s Prophecy of Retribution. Saul moves his Headquarters to Gibeah. 3 marauding Bands of the Philistines. Jonathan’s bold Attack on Philistines. Flight and Overthrow of Philistines. Saul’s rash Curse and its Consequences.
40. Jehovah’s Rejection of Saul. Commission to destroy Amalek. Saul’s Disobedience. Penalty of Disobedience. Fate of Agag. Samuel and Saul part.
Decline of Saul and Rise of David: (1st Sam. 16 – 28; 2nd Sam. 4; 1st Chron. 10 – 12)
Early History of David. (1st Sam. 16)
41. David chosen and anointed as Saul’s Successor by Samuel.
42. David’s Introduction to Court of Saul.
David’s Advancement and Saul’s growing Jealousy. (1st Sam. 17 – 20; 2nd Sam 23;1st Chron.11)
43. The Story of David and Goliath. Invasion of the Philistines. The Challenge of Goliath. David is sent by his Father to his Brethren in the Army. David accepts Goliath’s Challenge. David’s Contest with Goliath. David once more in the royal Presence. The Deed of Shammah. The Rout of the Philistines.
44. David at the Court of Saul. Saul attaches David to his Suit. Jonathan’s Friendship for David.
David’s Popularity. Saul’s Hatred toward David. Saul’s artful Attempt against David’s Life. David’s increasing Popularity. Jonathan proves his Friendship for David.
45. David is forced to leave Court. David escapes by Michal’s Help. David’s Flight to Ramah and Saul’s Pursuit. Conference between David and Jonathan. Jonathan learns his Father’s Intentions towards David. Parting between David and Jonathan.
David’s Outlaw Life. (1st Sam. 21 – 27; 1st Chron. 12)
46. David’s Flight. To Nob, to Ahimelech, High Priest. To Achish, King of Gath. To Cave of Adullam. To Mizpeh of Moab, where he finds Asylum for his Parents. To Forest of Hereth, in Judah.
47. Saul’s Vengeance on Priests of Nob.
48. David in Keilah. David rescues Keilah. Abiathar joins David. David escapes from Keilah.
49. David’s last Meeting with Jonathan.
50. David’s Betrayal by Ziphites.
51. David’s Escape from Saul in Wilderness of Maon.
52. David in Wilderness of En-gedi: He spares Saul in Cave.
53. Death of Samuel.
54. David in Wilderness of Paran: History of Nabal and Abigail.
55. David’s matrimonial Relations.
56. David, betrayed again by Ziphites, spares Saul 2nd Time.
57. David again in Land of Philistines. David once more flees to Achish, King of Oath. Achish grants Ziklag to David. David’s Operations while at Ziklag. List of Men who came to David at Ziklag.
Saul’s Downfall in War with Philistines. (1st Sam. 28 – 30; 2nd Sam. 4; 1st Chron. 10 &12)
58. Philistines prepare for Campaign against Israel.
59. David and Philistine Invasion of Israel. Achish places Confidence in David. David encamps with Philistines in Aphek: Israelites pitch in Jezreel. David, dismissed from Philistine Army, starts for Ziklag. Philistines march toward Jezreel. List of Men who joined David on his Way to Ziklag.
60. David’s Victory over Amalekites who had destroyed Ziklag.
61. Philistines pitch in Shunem: Israelites in Gilboa.
62. Saul’s Visit to Witch of Endor.
63. Fall of House of Saul. Battle of Mount Gilboa. Accident to Mephibosheth.
Reign of David. (2nd Sam.; 1st Kings 1 – 2; 1st Chron. 3 & 29)
7 1/2 Years in Hebron. (2nd Sam. 1 – 4)
David’s Behavior on Hearing of Saul’s Death.
64. News of Saul’s Death is brought to David.
65. David’s Lamentation for Saul and Jonathan.
Rival Kingdoms. (2nd Sam. 2 – 3)
66. David is anointed King over Judah.
67. David’s Message to the Men of Jabesh-gilead.
68. Ish-bosheth is made King of Israel.
69. Civil War.
70. David’s Family in Hebron.
Events leading to David’s Elevation to Throne of Israel. (2nd Sam. 3 – 4)
71. Abner’s Quarrel with Ish-bosheth.
72. Abner’s Desertion to David: Michal restored to David.
73. Joab’s Murder of Abner: David’s Lamentation.
74. Murder of Ish-bosheth.
75. David punishes Murderers of Ish-bosheth.
Period of David’s Wars. (2nd Sam. 5; 8; 10 – 12; 21; 23; 1st Chron. 11 – 12; 14; 18 – 20; 1st Kings 11)
76. David is made King over Israel.
77. Data concerning Number of Warriors who made David King.
78. Jerusalem captured and made the Capital.
79. Defensive Wars against Philistines. 1st Campaign. David goes “down to the Hold.” Gadites who “separated themselves unto David.” Deed of “3 mighty Men.” David’s Victory at Baal-perazim. 2nd Campaign.
80. David’s Alliance with Hiram of Tyre.
81. Offensive Wars against Philistines. Summary of these Wars.1st Campaign. Withdrawal of David from active military Service. 2nd Campaign. 3rd Campaign. 4th Campaign.
82. Ammonite-Syrian Campaign. David’s Ambassadors insulted by Ammonites. Israelitish Victory under Leadership of Joab.
83. Syrian Campaign.
84. 2nd Ammonite Campaign. Joab lays Siege to Rabbah. David’s Fall. David’s Repentance. Capture of Rabbah.
85. Campaign against Moab. Conquest by David. Exploit of Benaiah.
86. Decisive Campaign against Hadadezer.
87. Subjugation of Damascus.
88. Submission of Hamath.
89. Subjugation of Edom.
90. Summary of David’s Wars: Nations conquered.
91. List of David’s Heroes. “1st 3.” Jashobeam. Eleazar. Shammah. The “3 mighty Men.” Their Exploit at Bethlehem. Abishai. Benaiah. Remaining Heroes.
92. Administration and Officers of Kingdom during this Period.
93. David’s Song of Thanksgiving.
Period of Rest. (2nd Sam. 6 – 7; 9; 12; 1st Chron. 13 – 17)
94. Removal of Ark from Kirjath-jearim. To House of Obed-edom. To Jerusalem. David’s Hymn of Praise. Concluding Statements.
95. Promise of eternal Dominion to House of David. David’s Purpose to build Temple to Jehovah. The Lord’s Answer through Nathan. David’s Prayer and Thanksgiving. David’s Kindness towards Jonathan’s Son, Mephibosheth. Birth of Solomon. David’s Family in Jerusalem.
Period of Internal Dissensions. (2nd Sam. 13 – 15; 21; 24; 1st Chron. 21)
Family Troubles. (2nd Sam. 13 – 15)
99. Amnon’s Crime.
100. Absalom’s Vengeance.
101. Absalom’s Flight and Sojourn in Geshur.
102. Recall of Absalom. Joab’s Stratagem. Absalom’s Return. Absalom and his Family. Absalom’s Waiting in Jerusalem. Absalom’s Readmission to Court.
103. Absalom stealing Hearts of Men of Israel.
National Calamities. (2nd Sam. 21; 24; 1st Chron. 21)
104. 3 Years’ Famine. Execution of Saul’s Grandsons. Burial of Saul and his Sons.
105. 3 Days’ Pestilence. David’s Sin in numbering the People. Choice of Punishments. Pestilence. David purchases Araunah’s Threshing-floor and erects Altar.
David’s Final Arrangements. (1st Chron. 22 – 29)
106. Preparations for Building of Temple. Temple Site chosen. David’s Plans and Foresight. David’s Charge to Solomon. David’s Charge to Princes.
107. National Convention. Convention summoned. Data concerning the Officials “gathered.” Number and Distribution of the Levites. 24 Houses of the Levites. Duties of the Levites. 24 Courses of Priests. 24 Classes of Singers. Courses of Doorkeepers. Officers of Treasuries of “House of God.” Officers and Judges “for outward Business. 12 Captains of Army. Chiefs of 12 Tribes. Overseers of King’s Treasuries and Possessions. Officers of State. Convening into Assembly of the secular Officials “gathered.” Public Acts in National Convention. David causes Solomon to be made King (1st Time). David’s Address. David directs Solomon concerning the Building of Temple. Contributions of David and the Officials for Building of Temple. David’s Thanksgiving and Prayer. Close of Convention.
Absalom’s Rebellion. (2nd Sam. 15 – 16)
108. Outbreak of Rebellion.
109. David’s Flight. He hastily leaves Jerusalem. Ittai’s Fidelity. Priests and Ark. Hushai is sent back to City. Lying Ziba [here WDC is mistaken about Ziba, it is Mephibosheth that was lying] and his Present. Cursing of Shimei.
110. Absalom in Jerusalem. His Entrance into the City. Hushai meets Absalom. Counsels of Ahithophel.
Ahithophel’s Counsel is thwarted by Hushai. Hushai’s Message to David. Ahithophel’s Suicide.
111. Civil War. Absalom’s Pursuit. Reception of David at Mahanaim. Battle of Mount Ephraim. Absalom is murdered by Joab. Tidings brought to David: his Grief for Absalom.
Restoration of David’s Authority. (2nd Sam. 19 – 20)
112. Joab’s Reproval of David’s unworthy Grief.
113. Negotiations for David’s Recall.
114. David’s Return. Homeward March begins. Shimei is pardoned. Meeting with Mephibosheth.
Barzillai’s Farewell. Strife between Judah and Israel
115. Sheba’s Insurrection. Outbreak of the Revolt. David re-enters Jerusalem. Joab, after murdering Amasa, pursues Sheba. Siege of Abel of Beth-maacah, Death of Sheba, and End of Rebellion.
116. Officers of State after the Restoration.
Closing Days of David’s Life. (1st Kings 1 – 2; 2nd Sam. 5; 1st Chron. 3; 29)
117. David’s failing Health: Abishag the Shunammite.
118. Solomon is made King “2nd Time.” Adonijah attempts to seize Kingdom. Nathan and Bath-sheba’s counter Coup d’ ‘etat. Solomon’s 2nd Anointing. Adonijah’s Alarm and Submission.
119. David’s last prophetic Words.
120. David’s last Words to Solomon.
121. Death of David.
Reign of Solomon. (1st Kings 2 – 11; 1st Chron. 29; 2nd Chron. 1 – 9)
Beginning of Solomon’s Reign. (1st Kings 2 – 3; 2nd Chron. 1)
122. Solomon’s Accession to Throne.
123. Solomon’s Removal of his Adversaries. Adonijah, asking Abishag to Wife, is put to Death.
Abiathar is degraded from Priesthood. Joab’s Flight and Death. Elevation of Benaiah and Zadok. Shimei meets with his Deserts.
124. Solomon marries Pharaoh’s Daughter.
125. Spiritual Condition of Solomon and his Kingdom.
126. Solomon’s Sacrifice at Gibeon.
127. Solomon’s Dream and Prayer for Wisdom.
128. God’s Gift of Wisdom manifest by Solomon’s Judgment on Harlots
Solomon in all his Glory: (1st Kings 5 – 10; 2nd Chron. 1 – 9)
129. Preparations for Building of Temple. League with Hiram, King of Tyre. Solomon’s Levy of Laborers.
130. Building of Temple. Commencement of Temple. God’s Promise to Solomon. Dimensions of Temple. Materials of Temple. Porch. Windows. Stories. Most Holy Place. Cherubim. Veil. Walls. Floor. Doors.
131. Completion of Temple. Building of Royal Palace. Thirteen Years in Building. House of Forest of Lebanon. Porch of Pillars. Porch of Throne. King’s own Dwelling House. House of Pharaoh’s Daughter. Materials of Buildings. Great Court.
132. Making of Vessels, etc., pertaining to Temple. Hiram Artisan of Tyre. Two Pillars. Altar of Brass. Molten Sea. Ten Bases. Ten Lavers. Courts. Summary of Hiram’s Work in Brass. Summary of golden Vessels, etc. Completion of Work.
133. Dedication of Temple. Removal of Tabernacle and its Contents from Zion to Temple. Solomon’s opening Address and Blessing. Solomon’s dedicatory Prayer. God’s constant Care invoked. When an Oath is made at Altar. In Defeat. In Drouth. In Famine and Pestilence. For Stranger. In Battle. In Captivity. Close of the Prayer. Solomon’s closing Benediction. Divine Confirmation. Sacrifice and public Festival. God’s second Appearance to Solomon.
134. Solomon’s Activity and Fame. Solomon’s and Hiram’s Exchange of Cities. Subjugation of Hamath. Removal of Pharaoh’s Daughter to her own House. Building of Millo: Affair with Jeroboam. Levy of forced Labor. Building of the Cities. Solomon’s Worship. Navies of Solomon and Hiram. Visit of Queen of Sheba.
135. Glory of Solomon. Princes. Commissaries. Solomon’s Wisdom. Solomon’s Revenue and Splendor.
Solomon’s Chariots, Horsemen, and Traffic. Extent and Security of Kingdom.
Solomon’s Fall and End: (1st Kings 11; 1st Chron. 9)
136. Strange Wives turn away Solomon’s Heart.
137. God’s Anger and Threatening.
138. Solomon’s Adversaries. Hadad the Edomite. Rezon Son of Eliada. Jeroboam Son of Nebat.
139. Death of Solomon
Kingdoms of Judah and Israel: (1st Kings 12 – 22; 2nd Kings 1 – 25; 1st Chron. 5; 2nd Chron. 11 – 36)
Year of Disruption to Rise of Jehu: (1st Kings 12 – 22; 2nd Kings 1 – 10; 1st Chron. 11 – 22)
Kingdom of Judah [Southern] & Kingdom of Israel [Northern]:
Kingdom of Judah [Southern]:
140. Introduction: Accession of Rehoboam and Revolt of 10 Tribes.
141. Reign of Rehoboam. Rehoboam’s Plans against Israel frustrated by Prophet Shemaiah. Adherence of Levites in all Israel to Rehoboam. Rehoboam is further strengthened by Immigration of other pious Israelites. Rehoboam’s Fortifications. Rehoboam’s Family. Judah’s Apostasy under Rehoboam. Invasion of Shishak. (Constant Warfare between Rehoboam and Jeroboam.) Death of Rehoboam.
Kingdom of Israel [Northern]:
142. Reign of Jeroboam. Jeroboam is made King over Israel. Jeroboam takes Measures to establish his Kingdom. “Man of God out of Judah.” Prophecy against Jeroboam’s Altar in Beth-el. Withering and Restoration of Jeroboam’s Hand. Disobedience of the Man of God. Man of God is slain. “Old Prophet ” buries Man of God, and confirms his Words. Jeroboam’s Persistence in Evil. Ahijah’s Prophecy against House and Kingdom of Jeroboam. Jeroboam’s Inquiry concerning his sick Child. Ahijah’s Prophecy and its partial Fulfillment. (Constant Warfare between Rehoboam and Jeroboam.) (War between Abijah and Jeroboam.) Death of Jeroboam.
Kingdom of Judah [Southern]:
143. Reign of Abijah. Abijah’s Accession to Throne. War between Abijah and Jeroboam. Family of Abijah.
Character of Abijah. Death of Abijah.
144. Reign of Asa. Asa’s Accession Throne. Ten Years of Peace. (Death of Jeroboam.) Character of Asa: His first Reforms. Asa’s Policy of Defense. Asa’s Victory over Zerah the Ethiopian. Warning of Prophet Azariah. Second Reformation under Asa. 4 Years of Peace. Reforms in Worship. Renewal of the Covenant. Removal of Maacah, Queen Mother. War between Asa and Baasha. Warning of the Prophet
Hanani. Asa’s Transgression. Asa’s Illness. Death of Asa.
Kingdom of Israel [Northern]:
145. Reign of Nadab. Nadab’s Accession to Throne. Character of Nadab. Death of Nadab.
146. Reign of Baasha. Baasha’s Accession to the Throne. (War between Asa and Baasha.)
147. Reign of Elah.
148. Reign of Zimri.
149. Reigns of Tibni and Omri. Civil War. Omri marries his Son Ahab to Jezebel of Zidon. Omri becomes sole King.
150. Reign of Omri. 1st 6 Years in Tirzah. Omri makes Samaria his Capital. Character of Omri. Death of Omri.
151. Reign of Ahab. Ahab’s Accession to Throne. Character of Ahab. Rebuilding of Jericho. (Jehoshaphat marries his Son Jehoram to Athaliah, Daughter of Ahab.) Persecution of the Prophets. Elijah the Tishbite. Famine foretold. Elijah hides by the Brook Cherith. Elijah in Zarephath. Elijah raises the Widow’s Son. Elijah goes to meet Ahab. Elijah’s Challenge. Jehovah versus Baal. Baal’s Priests are slain. Promise of Rain. Elijah’s Flight to Horeb. God’s Revelation to Elijah. Call of Elisha. Ahab’s first Syrian Campaign. Ben-hadad besieges Samaria. Ben-hadad’s arrogant Claims. God’s Promise of Victory. Ahab’s Victory over the Syrians. Ahab’s second Syrian Campaign. Prophet’s Warning. Ahab again victorious. Ahab spares Ben-hadad. Prophet’s Rebuke. 3 Years of Peace. Story of Naboth. Naboth ‘s Vineyard is coveted by Ahab. Jezebel causes Naboth’s Death. Ahab’s Doom pronounced by
Elijah. Ahab’s Repentance gains him a Respite. Ahaziah becomes co-regnant with Ahab. (Jehoshaphat joins Ahab in his third Syrian Campaign. Ahab resolves to recover Ramoth-gilead. Ahab’s Prophets promise him the Victory. Micaiah’s Prophecy. Battle of Ramoth-gilead: Defeat and Death of Ahab.)
Kingdom of Judah [Southern]:
152. Reign of Jehoshaphat. Jehoshaphat’s Accession to the
Throne. Character of Jehoshaphat. Jehoshaphat strengthens his Kingdom. Mission of the Princes, Levites, and Priests. Jehoshaphat’s increasing Power. Jehoshaphat marries his Son Jehoram to Athaliah, Daughter of Ahab. Jehoshaphat joins Ahab in his third Syrian Campaign. Ahab resolves to recover Ramoth-gilead. Ahab’s Prophets promise him the Victory. Micaiah’s Prophecy. Battle of Ramoth-gilead: Defeat and Death of Ahab. Prophet Jehu’s Judgment on Jehoshaphat. Jehoshaphat’s further Reforms in Worship and Law. Wondrous Deliverance from Children of Moab and Ammon and Mount Seir. Invasion. Jehoshaphat’s Prayer. Jehovah’s Answer through Jahaziel. Annihilation of the Invading Armies. Spoil. Triumphant Return to Jerusalem. Jehoshaphat’s Shipping Alliance with Ahaziah. Jehoram becomes co-regnant (co-regent) with Jehoshaphat. Jehoram ‘s sixfold Fratricide. Jehoshaphat joins Jehoram of Israel in an Expedition against Moabites. March. Elisha’s Promise of Water and Victory. Morning brings Water. Moabites defeated by the allied Armies. Death of Jehoshaphat.
Kingdom of Israel [Northern]:
153. Reign of Ahaziah. Ahaziah becomes sole King. Character of Ahaziah. Revolt of Moab.
(Jehoshaphat’s Shipping Alliance with Ahaziah.) Ahaziah’s Illness. Jehovah’s Message by Elijah.
Death of Ahaziah.
154. Reign of Jehoram. Jehoram’s Accession to Throne. Character of Jehoram. Elisha Son of Shaphat. Translation of Elijah. Elijah’s Spirit rests upon Elisha. Elisha heals the noxious Waters at Jericho. Cursing of the Children. Elisha’s Journeying. Increase of the Widow’s Oil. Elisha promises Son to
hospitable Shunammite. Elisha heals the noxious Pottage at Gilgal. Elisha feeds one hundred Men
with twenty Loaves. Elisha restores Life of the Shunammite’s Son. 7 Years’ Famine Foretold. Recovery of lost Ax. (Jehoshaphat joins Jehoram of Israel in an Expedition against the Moabites.) Elisha and Syrians. Elisha reveals Ben-hadad’s Plans. Syrian Bands smitten with Blindness at Dothan. Elisha leads blinded Syrians to Samaria. Jehoram restores Shunammite’s Land because of Elisha’s Miracles. Story of Naaman. Healing of Naaman’s Leprosy. Naaman’s Gratitude. Gehazi’s Sin and Punishment. Siege of Samaria. Ben-hadad besieges Samaria. Suffering from Famine. King’s Messenger of Vengeance and Elisha’s Promise of Plenty. Discovery of the four Lepers. Lepers’ Report confirmed, and Elisha’s Promises fulfilled. Elisha’s Interview with Hazael. (Ahaziah aids Jehoram in the Defense of Ramoth-gilead.) Jehoram goes for Healing to Jezreel. (Jehu’s Successful Conspiracy. Ahaziah visits Jehoram in Jezreel.) At Elisha’s Command, Jehu is anointed King over Israel, at Ramoth-gilead. Jehu is proclaimed King by his Brother Officers. (Jehu proceeds to Jezreel and slays Jehoram. Ahaziah is, in turn, also slain by Jehu’s Command.) Fate of Jezebel. Judgment on House of Ahab. Massacre of the Princes Royal of Judah. Jehu attaches Jehonadab to his Support. Complete Success of the Usurper.
155. Reign of Jehoram. Jehoram becomes sole King. Character of Jehoram. Revolt of Edom. Revolt of Libnah. Posthumous Message from Elijah. Invasion of the Philistines and Arabians. Jehoram’s Illness. Death of Jehoram.
156. Reign of Ahaziah. Ahaziah’s Accession to the Throne. Character of Ahaziah. Ahaziah aids Jehoram in the Defense of Ramoth-gilead. Jehu’s Successful Conspiracy. Ahaziah visits Jehoram in Jezreel. Jehu proceeds to Jezreel and slays Jehoram. Ahaziah is, in turn, also slain by Jehu’s Command. (Massacre of the Princes Royal of Judah.)
Rise of Jehu to Fall of Kingdom of Israel: (2nd Kings 10 – 17; 2nd Chron. 22 – 31)
Kingdom of Israel [Northern]:
157. Reign of Jehu. Jehu’s Destruction of Baal. Jehovah’s Promise to Jehu and his House. Jehu walks in the Sins of Jeroboam. “Cutting short ” of Israel. Death of Jehu.
Kingdom of Judah [Southern]:
158. Reign of Athaliah. Having slain all Seed Royal save Joash, Athaliah usurps Throne. Rescue of Joash. Jehoiada elevates Joash to Throne. Athaliah meets with her Deserts.
159. Reign of Joash. Joash’s Accession to Throne. Covenant made by Jehoiada. Joash’s Character as influenced by Jehoiada. Spiritual Condition of the Kingdom. Joash’s matrimonial Affairs. Joash’s Commands to repair Temple. Repairing of Temple. Temple Worship. Death of Jehoiada. Sins of Joash. Stoning of Zechariah. Hazael’s Operations in Judah. Reverses of Judah. Hazael subdues Gath. Hazael bought off by Joash. Death of Joash.
Kingdom of Israel [Northern]:
160. Reign of Jehoahaz. Accession of Jehoahaz. Character of Jehoahaz. Oppression of the Syrians. Repentance of Jehoahaz. Jehoash becomes co-regnant with Jehoahaz. Hazael reduces Israel low. Death of Jehoahaz.
161. Reign of Jehoash. Jehoash becomes sole King. Character of Jehoash. Encouraging Prophecy of
Elisha on his Deathbed. Death of Elisha. Miracle in Elisha’s Tomb. Fulfillment of Elisha’s Prophecy: Success of Jehoash over Benhadad. (Amaziah hires 100,000 Mercenaries out of Israel, but subsequently dismisses them.) (Dismissed Israelitish Mercenaries pillage the Cities of Judah.) (War between Amaziah and Jehoash.) Death of Jehoash.
Kingdom of Judah [Southern]:
162. Reign of Amaziah. Amaziah ‘s Accession to the Throne. Character of Amaziah. Amaziah plans an Expedition against Edom. Amaziah hires 100,000 Mercenaries out of Israel, but subsequently dismisses them. Amaziah’s Success in Edom. Dismissed Israelitish Mercenaries pillage the Cities of Judah. Amaziah’s further Wickedness. War between Amaziah and Jehoash. Last 15 Years of Amaziah’s Reign. Death of Amaziah. Interregnum of 11 Years.
Kingdom of Israel [Northern]:
163. Reign of Jeroboam II. Accession of Jeroboam II. Character of Jeroboam II. Jehovah saves Israel by the Hand of Jeroboam II. Continued Apostasy of Israel. Death of Jeroboam II. Interregnum of 22 Years.
Kingdom of Judah [Southern]:
164. Reign of Uzziah. Uzziah’s Accession to Throne. Character of Uzziah. Spiritual Condition of Kingdom. Uzziah’s prosperous Years. Building of Eloth. Uzziah’s Success in War. Uzziah’s Building and Husbandry. Uzziah’s Army. Uzziah’s Fame. Uzziah’s Sin and Punishment. Regency of Jotham. Death of Uzziah.
Kingdom of Israel [Northern]:
165. Reign of Zechariah. Zechariah’s Accession to Throne. Character of Zechariah. Death of Zechariah.
Fulfillment of Jehovah’s Promise to Jehu.
166. Reign of Shallum.
167. Reign of Menahem. Menahem’s Accession to Throne. Character of Menahem. Invasion of Pul, King of Assyria. Death of Menahem.
168. Reign of Pekahiah. Pekahiah’s Accession to Throne. Character of Pekahiah. Death of Pekahiah. 169. Reign of Pekah. Pekah ‘s Accession to Throne. Character of Pekah. Beginning of the Captivity. (War between Jotham and Rezin and Pekah.) (War between Ahaz and Rezin and Pekah. Ahaz is defeated by the allied Kings. Oded the Prophet procures Release of Jewish Captives.) Tiglath-pileser captures many
Cities in northern Israel, and deports many Captives. Death of Pekah.
Kingdom of Judah [Southern]:
170. Reign of Jotham. Jotham’s Accession to the Throne. Character of Jotham. Spiritual Condition of the People. Jotham’s Building. Subjugation of the Ammonites. War between Jotham and Rezin and Pekah. Death of Jotham.
171. Reign of Ahaz. Accession of Ahaz. Character of Ahaz. War between Ahaz and Rezin and Pekah. Ahaz is defeated by the allied Kings. Oded the Prophet procures Release of Jewish Captives. Edomite and Philistine Invasions. Ahaz seeks Help from Tiglathpileser. Tiglath-pileser captures Damascus. Ahaz becomes Tributary to Tiglath-pileser. Ahaz continues in his wicked Ways. Death of Ahaz. Interregnum of 9 Years.
Kingdom of Israel [Northern]:
172. Reign of Hoshea. Hoshea’s Accession to Throne. Character of Hoshea. (Many of Subjects of Hoshea unite with the People of Judah in Keeping Passover. Preparations for the Passover. Keeping of the Passover. Keeping of “other 7 Days.” Enthusiasm aroused results in widespread Iconoclasm.) Hoshea becomes Tributary to Shalmaneser. Secret Alliance with Egypt. Shalmaneser besieges Samaria. Fall of Samaria. Imprisonment of Hoshea.
Kingdom of Judah [Southern]:
173. The Reign of Hezekiah (first 6 years). Hezekiah’s Accession to Throne. Character of Hezekiah.
Cleansing of Temple. Reconsecration of Temple. Many of the Subjects of Hoshea unite with People of Judah in Keeping Passover. Preparations for Passover. Keeping of Passover. Keeping of “other 7 Days Enthusiasm aroused results in widespread Iconoclasm. Hezekiah’s further religious Reforms.
Kingdom of Israel [Northern]:
174. Appendix to the History of Kingdom of Israel. Sins for which Israel was carried into Captivity. Peoples that were brought to inhabit Samaria. Plague of the Lions. Mixed Character of the Samaritans’ Religion.
Kingdom of Judah after Fall of Kingdom of Israel: (2nd Kings 18 – 25; 2nd Chron. 32 – 36)
175. Reign of Hezekiah (last 23 years) Hezekiah throws off Assyrian Yoke. Hezekiah’s successful Philistine Campaign. Sennacherib’s first Invasion of Judah. Hezekiah’s Illness and Recovery. Hezekiah’s Reception of Babylonian Embassy. Hezekiah’s Wealth and Building. Sennacherib’s second Invasion of Judah. Sennacherib enters Judah. Hezekiah’s Precautions. Advance against Jerusalem: Rabshakeh’s Message. Reply of Hezekiah’s Ministers. Further Insolence of Rabshakeh. Despair of Hezekiah’s Ministers. Hezekiah’s Message to Isaiah. Isaiah’s Answer. Rabshakeh’s Departure. Sennacherib’s Letter to Hezekiah. Hezekiah’s Prayer. Jehovah’s Answer through Isaiah. Overthrow of the Assyrians. Hezekiah once more prosperous. Death of Hezekiah.
176. Reign of Manasseh. Manasseh’s Accession to Throne. Manasseh’s excessive Idolatries. Death of Sennacherib. Accession of Esar-haddon as King of Assyria. Jehovah’s Message “by His Servants the Prophets.” Manasseh’s further Crimes. Manasseh’s Captivity. Acts of Manasseh after his Restoration. Spiritual Condition of People. Death of Manasseh.
177. Reign of Amon. Amon’s Accession to Throne. Character of Amon. Death of Amon.
178. Reign of Josiah. Josiah ‘s Accession to Throne. Josiah’s godly Character. Josiah’s Life and Character not sufficient to atone for Judah’s Sins. Josiah’s early Reformations. Repairing of Temple. Book of Law. Finding of Book of Law. Effect of Discovery on Josiah. Words of Huldah the Prophetess. Reading of Book of Law. Making of Covenant. Josiah’s further Reformations. Fulfillment of Prophecy of “Man of God out of Judah.” Keeping of the Passover. Death of Josiah.
179. Reign of Jehoahaz. Accession of Jehoahaz. Character of Jehoahaz. Jehoahaz is deposed by Pharaoh-necoh.
180. Reign of Jehoiakim. Jehoiakim is made King by Pharaoh-necoh. Captivity of Jehoahaz. Character of Jehoiakim. Jehoiakim Tributary to Pharaoh-necoh. Jehoiakim Tributary to Nebuchadnezzar. Jehoiakim’s Rebellion. Jehoiakim’s many Adversaries. Death of Jehoiakim.
181. Reign of Jehoiachin. Jehoiachin’s Accession to Throne. Character of Jehoiachin. Jehoiachin is taken Captive by Nebuchadnezzar,
182. Reign of Zedekiah. Zedekiah is made King by Nebuchadnezzar. Great Deportation to Babylon. Character of Zedikiah. Zedekiah’s Rebellion. Wickedness of People the Cause of their Ruin. Siege of Jerusalem. Zedekiah is taken Captive by Nebuchadnezzar.
183. Appendix to the History of the Kingdom of Judah. Overthrow of Jerusalem. Remaining Nobles Slain.
Treasure taken by the Chaldeans. Last Deportation to Babylon. Length of the Captivity. Gedaliah is made Governor of Judah. Murder of Gedaliah and Flight of People. Jehoiachin is set at Liberty. Proclamation of Cyrus permitting Return from Captivity.
(From: Ezra, Nehemia and Esther with Introductions, Notes, and Comments on the Authorized and Revised Versions. By George Carter (1901), Relfe Brothers, LTD. London)
Preface. In compiling the Introductions and Notes, the Author begs to acknowledge his indebtedness to the following books: The Speaker’s Commentary; the Pulpit Commentary; Keil’s Commentaries; Dr. Ryle’s Ezra and Nehemiah (Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges); and Glazebrook’s Lessons from the Old Testament.
The Book of Ezra. Introduction.
1. Title and Authorship of the Book. The two books bearing the name of “Ezra” and “Nehemiah” were in the Hebrew Canon of Scripture one book, with the title of “The Book of Ezra.” But although there is a striking similarity in the style of the two books, yet the general opinion is that the books are the composition of two distinct writers.
The Christian Church has been unanimous in its opinion that the book which bears the title of “The Book of Ezra” in the Christian Canon of Scripture, was written by Ezra himself. Some modern critics, however, assert that only a portion of the book was written by Ezra, and they base their belief on the fact of the varying transitions from the first to the third person which occur in the course of the narrative. But this theory has not much weight when we consider that such changes of persons were common in ancient writers.
2. Life and Character of Ezra. The only information we possess about Ezra is obtained from his own book, and that of Nehemiah. His life, as gathered from these sources, falls
naturally under two headings:
(1) His Life as Governor of Judaea. Ezra was of the sacerdotal order, being descended from Hilkiah, the High Priest in the reign of Josiah. During the reign of Artaxerxes he held a high and important position in the Persian Court, since we find he had easy access to the king, but how he acquired that position we are not told. His great aim was to bring about a religious reformation among his countrymen in Jerusalem by teaching them the “statutes and judgements of God,” and he was well fitted for the task, since we read that he was “well read in the Law, and skilful and ready in its exposition.” Accordingly, he obtained a commission from his royal master allowing him to go to Jerusalem and take with him all those Jews that wished to return to their native land, investing him with full powers to carry out certain social and religious reforms, and granting him many privileges. In the seventh year of Artaxerxes he set out, accompanied with a band of adult males, numbering 1,773, and their families, and after a journey of four months reached Jerusalem in safety. He then handed over to the custody of the priests the sacred vessels, which he had received from Artaxerxes, and gave the king’s commissions to the different satraps of the province.
His first step was to compel the Jews to give up the heathen wives that they had married. Shortly after his arrival at Jerusalem the princes of the people complained to him about the mixed marriages. His grief and indignation were intense. “I rent my garment and my mantle,” he says, “and plucked off the hair of my head and of my beard, and sat down astonied.” But he applied himself earnestly to the task, and in six months all the Jews had discarded their heathen wives. After this he returned to Babylon.
(2) His Life as the Leading Priest under the rule of Nehemiah. About B.C. 444 he returned to Jerusalem, and occupied a position, purely ecclesiastical, under the governorship of Nehemiah. In the discharge of his priestly duties only two facts are recorded of him: (a) That he made arrangements for regular reading and expounding of the Law to the people, he himself taking the lead; (b) That he headed one of the processions formed to perambulate the walls on the day of their dedication. Ezra is the most prominent figure in the Story of the Return of the Exiles. He was in such high favour with King Artaxerxes that he made him governor of Judaea, and in the performance of the duties connected with that high office he was remarkable for his integrity, his moderation, his earnestness of purpose and his patriotism. His use of “persuasion rather than force” is contrasted favourably with the “fiery and intrepid zeal” of his successor, Nehemiah. As a priest and minister of God’s word his piety, his zeal for God’s service, and his anxious care for the spiritual welfare of his countrymen are most conspicuous.
Analysis of the Book of Ezra.
Part I. (Chapters 1 – 6)
The First Return of the Exiles, under Zerubbabel.
1. The Decree of Cyrus, addressed to all the Jews living throughout his dominions: (1) Giving them permission ” to go up to Jerusalem and rebuild the house of the Lord God of Israel; (2) Calling upon all his subjects to facilitate their journey with gifts of gold and silver, goods, boasts of burden and freewill-offerings for the building of the Temple.
2. The Response to the Decree. (1) The chiefs of the houses of Judah and Benjamin, and a band of men numbering 42,360, together with their families and their servants, set out on their journey to Jerusalem; many of the Ten Tribes also accompany them; (2) All the sacred vessels of the Temple which Nebuchadnezzar had carried to Babylon are committed to the care of Zerubbabel.
Note —No doubt a great number of the exiles preferred to remain in the land of their captivity for the following reasons: (a) They were in a very prosperous condition; (b) They lacked patriotism and religious enthusiasm; (c) They feared the long and perilous journey from Babylon to Jerusalem. Those who remained are called “The Jews of the Dispersion.”
3. The Religious Services are restored, and the Foundation of the Temple laid. The Altar of Burnt Sacrifice is set up on the site of the old one; the Feast of Tabernacles is kept; the Daily Sacrifice and the Set Feasts are permanently established. The Foundation of the Temple is also laid.
4. Opposition made by the Samaritans to the Building of the Temple. (1) Zerubbabel refuses the help of the Samaritans. They hire counsellors against the Jews and frustrate their purpose all the days of Cyrus. (2) At the beginning of the reign of Ahasuerus they hinder the work by sending an accusation against the Jews to that king. (3) When Artaxerxes ascended the throne, Bishlam, Mithredath and Tabeel wrote a letter to him laying the most grievous charges against the Jews as a nation. Artaxerxes sends an answer to the effect that the work of building the Temple should be discontinued.
5. The Prophets Haggai and Zechariah urge the people on to finish the work, whereupon the old enemies of the Jews inform King Darius that the work was again commenced, and that the Jews referred to the Decree of Cyrus as their authority for so doing.
6. The Decree of Darius. Darius orders a search to be made, and the Decree of Cyrus is discovered at Achmetha, and confirmed by him. The Temple is then completed, and its dedication follows.
Note —Here a break occurs in the narrative, extending from B.C. 516, the date of the Dedication of the Temple, to B.C. 458, when Ezra undertook his commission.
Part II. (Chapters 7 – 10)
The Second Return of the Exiles, under Ezra.
1. Ezra’s Commission. Ezra receives a commission from Ahasuerus, the details of which are as follows: (1) That permission should be given to all those Jews who were so minded to go up with Ezra to Jerusalem; (2) That Ezra should convey to Jerusalem all the gold and silver which the king and his counsellors freely offered unto the God of Israel; (3) That he should buy bullocks, rams and lambs for the sacrifices in the Temple; (4) That he should draw on the royal treasury for the expense of keeping up the services of the Temple; (5) That all priests, Levites, and other officers connected with the Temple Service should he exempt from every kind of taxation; (6) That Ezra should be empowered to appoint magistrates and judges to instruct the people and to punish evil-doers with death, banishment, confiscation or imprisonment. The number of adult males who accompanied Ezra (including Levites and Nethinims) was 1,773.
2. The Journey to Jerusalem. (1) On reaching the river Ahava Ezra finds that there are no Levites in his company, but through the influence of Iddo a number of Levites and Nethinims are induced to join; (2) He then proclaims a fast with a view to entreat God’s protection for the journey, and consigns the sacred vessels and gifts of the king and his nobles to the safe custody of the priests; (3) In spite of the opposition of enemies and robbers he arrives safely at Jerusalem, after a journey of about four months, and hands over the king’s commissions to the different satraps, and the sacred vessels to the care of the priests of the Temple.
3. The Religious Reforms carried out by Ezra. The Marriages with Heathen Women are Annulled.
The princes of the people complain to Ezra about the marriages of their countrymen with the heathen women. Ezra is filled with indignation and horror, and in the name of the people makes a public confession of sin to God. The people repent and, on the recommendation of Shechauiah, make a covenant to put away their strange wives and they confirm the covenant with an oath. Ezra then orders a general fast to be kept, and issues a proclamation summoning all the people to Jerusalem. At Ezra’s request the people agree to put away their strange wives. Only four showed any opposition to this arrangement; all the rest followed Ezra’s advice. Then follows a list of the names of those who had married strange wives. Here the book closes somewhat abruptly.
Chronology of Events in Ezra & Nehemiah & Esther:
From Destruction of Jerusalem to End of Administration of Nehemiah.
598: Zedekiah is made king of Judah by Nebuchadnezzar, but relying on the assistance of Pharaoh-hophra, king of Egypt, he rebels (2 Kings 24:17-20; Ezekiel 17:15).
588: Nebuchadnezzar takes Jerusalem and destroys it. Zedekiah, while trying to escape, is captured and sent to Babylon (2 Kings 25.).
562: Evil-Merodach succeeds his father, Nebuchadnezzar, on throne of Babylon. He releases Jehoaddin from captivity (2 Kings 25: 27-30).
559: Neriglissar murders Evil-Merodach, and succeeds him.
555: Laborosarchad, son of Neriglissar, is cruelly murdered in 1st year of his reign by a band of conspirators, one of whom, Narbonidus, seizes throne.
538: Belshazzar succeeds Narbonidus, his father. His great Feast. Babylon is taken by Cyrus, and Belshazzar slain (Dan. 5.).
536: Edict of Cyrus, permitting Jews to return to their own land (Ezra 1:1).
536: First return of Exiles, under Zerubbabel, Tirshatha of Judaea. (Ezra 1:5-11).
535: Foundation of New Temple laid (Ezra 3:10-13).
529: Death of Cyrus Cambyses (= Ahasuerus, Ezra 4:6), his son, succeeds him.
522: Psuedo-Smerdis (=Artaxerxes, Ezra 4:7) ascends throne, but is deposed and slain by Darius Hystaspes.
521: Darius Hystaspes (= Darius, Ezra 4:24) becomes king.
520: Prophets Haggai & Zechariah urge on Jews to complete the work of rebuilding Temple (Ezra 5: 1).
520: Darius Hystaspes confirms the Decree of Cyrus (Ezra 6.).
516: Completion and Dedication of Temple (Ezra 6:15-16).
488: Esther is made Queen by Xerxes (= Ahasuerus, Esther 2:17), son of Darius Hystaspes.
488: Institution of the Feast of Purim (Esther 9:26-28).
458: Ezra is appointed Tirshatha by Artaxerxes (= Artaxerxes Longimanus, Ezra 7:11-26).
458: Second return of Exiles, under Ezra (Ezra 8.).
445: Nehemiah is appointed Tirshatha by Artaxerxes Longimanus (= Artaxerxes, Neb. 9:1-9). He rebuilds Walls of Jerusalem, and carries out many reforms (Neh. 3. & 4.).
444: Dedication of Walls of Jerusalem (Neh. 12:27-43).
413: Nehemiah Returns to Persia, but comes back to Jerusalem in 428.
413: His Second Reformation (Neh. 13.).
Outline of Book of Ezra:
Part I: (Chapters 1-6) 1st Return of Exiles under Zerubbabel.
Decree of Cyrus (Cyrus 1st Year). Response to Decree and Restoration of Sacred Vessels (5,400 vessels of gold and silver).
Register of the Return Remnants: Names of Leaders. Names of Heads of Families and Number of the Returned. Numbers of the Returned by Towns and Places. Names and Numbers of the Families of Levites, Singers, and Children of Porters. Names and Numbers of Families of Nethinim and of Solomon’s Servants. Account of Israelites and Priests of Uncertain Genealogy.
Sum Total (42,360) of all Remnants, together with Number of their Slaves (7,337) (200 Singers of Men & Women) and Baggage Animals (736 Horses; 245 Mules; 435 Camels; 6,720 Donkeys).
Altar of Burnt Sacrifice is restored, Feast of Tabernacles kept, and Daily Sacrifice offered.
Appointed Feasts are permanently established, and Materials got ready for Re-building of Temple.
Foundation of Temple is laid. (2nd Year of Return)
Zerubbabel refuses the help of the Samaritans in Building Temple. They hinder the work during the reigns of Cyrus and Ahasuerus.
Opposition to Building of Temple during the reign of Artaxerxes. Bishlam and his friends make most grievous charges against Jews to the King.
Artaxerxes sends an answer to the effect that Rebuilding of Temple should cease. (Ceased till 2nd year of the reign of King Darius of Persia.)
Prophets Haggai and Zechariah urge People on to finish the Work. Neighbouring Tribes make a complaint to Darius against Jews.
Decree of Cyrus is discovered at Achmetha and confirmed by Darius.
Temple is Completed and Dedicated. (6th year King Darius reign.)
Part II: (Chapters 7-10) 2nd Return of Exiles under Ezra.
Ezra’s Genealogy; his Arrival at Jerusalem. (7th year of King Artaxerxes of Persia)
Ezra’s Commission from King Ahasuerus (Artaxerxes).
Ezra’s Measures for Inducing certain Levites and Nethinim to Join his Expedition.
Details of Journey; Fast at the River Ahava; Sacred Gifts are committed to care of Priests and Levites.
Ezra Arrives at Jerusalem; Consigns Treasure to Care of Priests, and gives King’s Commission to Governors.
Religious Reforms affected by Ezra at Jerusalem. Princes complain to Ezra about the Mixed Marriages. Ezra’s Indignation and Horror.
Ezra’s Confession and Prayer.
Repentance of People. On Recommendation of Shechaniah they make Covenant and confirm it by Oath.
Ezra’s fast. Proclamation is made summoning all People to Jerusalem.
People agree to Put Away their Strange Wives.
Notes on Ezra:
Cyrus king of Persia: Cyrus was a Persian by birth. He took the city of Babylon on the night of Belshazzar’s feast, and became king.
the first year: i.e. the first year of his reign at Babylon.
word of the Lord, etc.: i.e. God’s purpose. The allusion is to the prophecy of Jeremiah, in which the prophet had fixed the date of the return by assigning a duration of seventy years to the Captivity. The prophecy runs thus: “Thus saith the Lord, That after seventy years be accomplished for Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place.” (Jer. 29:10).
Note 1. —The “Seventy Years” most be regarded as a round number, extending from the year B.C. 598, when Jehoiachin and the greater part of the people were carried away captive, to B.C. 536.
Note 2. —For Ezekiel’s Prophecy of the Restoration, under the “Vision of the Dry Bones,” and Isaiah’s poetical description of the journey of the exiles through the ‘Wilderness from Babylon to Jerusalem, see page 79 = Prophecies Relating to the Return (Remnant):
(1) Ezekiel’s Prophecy of the Restoration under the vision of the Dry Bones. (Ezekiel 37:1-14).
(2) Isaiah foretells the Restoration of the Exiles. (Isaiah 40.)
The whole congregation: The total number here given is 42,360, and it agrees with the total stated in Nehemiah (Neh. 7:66), but it does not agree with the sum of the particulars as given either by Ezra or in Nehemiah, as the following table will show: According to Ezra & Nehemiah:
Men of Israel: 24,144 (Ezra); 25,406 (Nehemiah)
Priests 4,289 (Ezra); 4,289 (Nehemiah) Levites proper, Choral Levites, Doorkeepers,
Nethinim, etc.: 341 (Ezra);360 (Nehemiah)
Solomon’s Servants: 392 (Ezra); 392 (Nehemiah)
Those who could not prove their Israelitish origin: 652 (Ezra); 642 (Nehemiah)
Sum total: 29,818 (Ezra); 31,089 (Nehemiah)
No satisfactory explanation of this discrepancy has been given.
Note —Some think that the number 42,360 was the number of the “heads of families” only, the whole company being from 150,000 to 200,000.))
The Book of Nehemiah:
1. Title and Authorship. It has already been noticed that the two books bearing the names of “Ezra” and “Nehemiah” were in the Hebrew Canon united into one book, under the title of the “Book of Ezra.” Subsequently, however, the book was divided into two parts, called the “First and Second Books of Ezra,” and about the close of the fourth century the “Second Book of Ezra” was called the “Book of Nehemiah.” Most critics allow that Chapters 1-7 and Chapter 13 were written by Nehemiah himself, and that the remaining portions were, in all probability, drawn up under his authority. The parts which are ascribed to Nehemiah are distinguished by their graphic, bold and vigorous style.
2. Character and Work of Nehemiah. Nehemiah was the son of Hachaliah and of the tribe of Judah, and held the important office of cup-bearer to King Ahasuerus. Like Ezra, he was a man of eminent piety: zealous in God’s service, and lived in strict conformity to the Law. He was habitually a man of prayer, and the “short ejaculatory prayers” which appear throughout the book are the outpourings of a deeply religious soul, and show how much he depended upon God in carrying out all his undertakings. He was, moreover, a man of action, and his untiring energy is nowhere better seen than in the rapidity with which he completed the building of the city wall, in the face of so many difficulties from within and from without the city. After the completion of the work his whole aim was to raise the spiritual condition of his people, and to accomplish his purpose he often had recourse to the most drastic measures, and showed no mercy to those who transgressed God’s law. But his patriotism, his liberality, and his unselfishness won the affection of his countrymen, and although no tomb marks his last resting place, yet, as Josephus says, “the city walls form his best and most lasting monument.” (Pulpit Commentary.)
Analysis of the Book of Nehemiah.
Nehemiah’s First Visit to Jerusalem and the Restoration of the City Walls.
1. Nehemiah’s Commission. Nehemiah was a cup-bearer to King Ahasuerus, and while in the performance of the duties of his office, he learnt from his kinsman Hanani, and certain other Jews, who had recently returned from Jerusalem, the sad state of the city; how that the “people there were in great affliction, the walls were broken down, and the gates burned with fire.” Overwhelmed with grief, “for several days he sat down and wept and mourned and fasted and prayed.” His mourning continued for four long months and at last attracted the notice of the king, who, on learning its cause, gave him a commission, empowering him to go to Jerusalem and rebuild the city walls and the palace of the governor. Ahasuerus also gave him a body-guard and horsemen as a protection for the journey. Nehemiah at once set out for Jerusalem. Meanwhile, three men —Sanballat, Tobiah and Geahem, all of whom held subordinate positions under the Syrian satrap —were grieved when they heard that “a man was come to Jerusalem to seek the welfare of the children of Israel.”
2. Nehemiah secretly surveys the City Walls. Shortly after his arrival Nehemiah made a secret survey of the walls, and then called together the priests and the rulers and laid before them his plan. They were unanimous in their consent to assist him, and said “Let us rise up and build.”
3. The Building of the Wall. To hasten on the work Nehemiah apportions different parts of the wall to different classes of people —the priests, the goldsmiths, and the merchants. Sanballat and his friends still continued their opposition, but Nehemiah baffled all their attempts to hinder the work by taking the following precautions: (1) He armed all the people with swords and bows, and ordered them to take up their position behind the walls, and there await the attack of the enemy; (2) He divided his own servants into two bands, one of which consisted of those who were engaged in actual labour and the other of armed men; (3) He caused all the actual builders, who needed the use of both hands for their work, each to gird his sword on his side, while the bearers of burdens should work with one hand and carry a weapon in the other; (4) At night every man was to retire within the city, so as to be ready for an attack of the enemy. Nehemiah, his kinsmen, and his servants, kept guard in turns, and “none of them,” he tells us, “put off their clothes, saving that everyone put them off for washing.” Under this arrangement the walls were finished in the short space of fifty-two days.
4. Troubles which arose inside the City, and how Nehemiah overcame them. The poor were in extreme poverty, and complained of the oppression of the rich nobles. The causes of this state of things were the large families of the poor, the dearth and the heavy taxation. The poor said that they had been compelled to mortgage their lands, vineyards and their houses to buy themselves food; to borrow money on their lands and their vineyards to pay the king’s taxes, and even to sell their sons and daughters into bondage to pay the high rate of interest. They appealed to Nehemiah as the new governor to remedy these evils. Nehemiah advised the rich nobles: (1) To restore all the lands, vineyards and houses which they held in pledge; (2) To remit to their debtors all the interest which they had illegally taken. This the nobles agreed to do.
Nehemiah testified to his own unselfish conduct by assuring his countrymen (a) That since his appointment as governor he had not taxed them for his own support or that of his court; (b) That he and his attendants had done their share of the work of building the wall; (c) That he had not bought any land, as indeed, he might have done with advantage, at a time when the famine was raging; (d) That he had maintained daily, at his own expense, one hundred and fifty guests (probably foreign Jews).
5. The Intrigues of Sanballat and Tobiah against Nehemiah. (1) Four times they invited him to a conference in a village near Jerusalem, with a view to assassinate him, but Nehemiah very wisely refused to go; (2) They gave out that he was heading a rebellious movement against the king, a statement which Nehemiah denied; (3) They hired a false prophet named Shemaiah to persuade Nehemiah to seek refuge within the Temple, knowing that if he did so, he would incur the charge of desecration, and be branded as a coward by his countrymen. Nehemiah rejected their proposal.
6. The Wall being finished, Nehemiah makes an arrangement for the effectual guarding of the Gates. He ordered: (1) That the gates should not be opened until the sun was hot and the guards at their posts; (2) That they should be closed before the guards left them; (3) That the inhabitants should undertake the duty of watchmen.
The Religious Reforms carried out by Nehemiah.
1. Arrangements are made for the public reading and expounding of the Law. Ezra takes the lead in the affair.
2. The Feast of Tabernacles is kept in strict accordance with the Law.
3. A day of general fasting, prayer and confession is instituted.
4. The Levites give the people a solemn address, reminding them of God’s goodness towards them in times past, and their ingratitude.
5. A covenant is made with God, in which the people bind themselves: (1) Not to intermarry with the heathen; (2) Not to trade on the Sabbath-day; (3) To observe the Sabbathical Year; (4) To pay one-third of a shekel for the maintenance of the Temple services; (5) To give the first fruits and tithes to the priests.
Note —To supply the wood necessary for the burnt sacrifices lots were cast among the priests, Levites and the people.
6. To counteract the attempts of the enemy to destroy the city Nehemiah makes an arrangement for increasing the population within the walls. Lots are cast “to bring one of ten to dwell in the holy city.”
7. The dedication of the city walls follows amidst the greatest rejoicing.
8. Officers are appointed to collect tithes and other dues, and further arrangements are made for the carrying on the Temple services.
9. After Nehemiah had been governor twelve years, and had carried out many reforms, he returned to Shushan. We are not told how long he remained at the Persian court, but on his return to
Jerusalem, he found that many abuses had crept in during his absence. These abuses he now proceeded to remedy; they were: (1) The non-payment of tithes; (2) The desecration of the Temple buildings by Tobiah, who had been permitted by Eliashib, the High Priest, to reside within its sacred precincts; (3) The profanation of the Sabbath by such practices as the treading of grapes, bringing in of sheaves, the carrying of burdens, the lading of asses, and the sale of fish; (4) The intermarriages of the Jews with the heathen.
Note.—Two important points of historical interest are brought before our notice in the books of “Ezra” and “Nehemiah”: (1) The rise of two parties in the Jewish community —the one headed by Ezra and Nehemiah remarkable for its strict observance of the Law; the other, headed by Eliashib, the High Priest, noted for its laxity in its observance of the Law and its favourable attitude towards the Gentile element in the population; (2) The origin and development of the enmity between the Jews and the Samaritans.
Outline of Book of Nehemiah:
Part I: (Chapters 1-7) Nehemiah’s 1st Visit to Jerusalem & Restoration of City Walls.
Nehemiah receives evil tidings of the State of Jerusalem. (20th year of Captivity.)
Nehemiah’s intense grief attracts the notice of King. He obtains Commission to Rebuild the Walls of Jerusalem.
Nehemiah’s journey to Jerusalem.
Survey of Walls and resolves to Rebuild them. Sanballat and his friends oppose him.
Names of those who undertook to rebuild the walls, and the parts they rebuilt (Repaired).
Attempts made by Sanballat and his friends to hinder the work.
Precautions taken by Nehemiah.
Troubles within Walls and how Nehemiah met them. People complain of the oppression of Nobles.
Nehemiah advises the nobles (1) To restore all the lands and vineyards which they held in pledge; (2) To remit all the interest which they had illegally taken. The nobles consent to do so.
Nehemiah’s unselfish conduct towards his countrymen.
Intrigues of Sanballat and Tobiah against Nehemiah. (1) They invite him to a conference with a view to assassinate him.
Shemaiah, a false prophet, is hired by Sanballat to persuade Nehemiah to seek refuge within the Temple.
Walls are Finished. Discouragement of Enemies of Jews and Treasonable Correspondence of the Jewish Nobles.
Walls being now Rebuilt, Nehemiah makes arrangements for guarding the gates.
Part II: (Chapters 8-10)
Public Reading and Expounding of the Law by Ezra.
Feast of Tabernacles is kept in strict accordance with the Law.
Day of general Fasting, Prayer and Confession of sins is instituted.
Solemn Address of Levites, reminding the People of God’s goodness towards them in times past and their ingratitude: (1) Call of Abram, and God’s covenant with him. (2) Bondage in Egypt and Deliverance therefrom. Destruction of Egyptians in Red Sea. (3) Journey through Wilderness, Giving of Law on Mount Sinai, and Worshipping of Golden Calf. (4) Conquest of Canaan, and Settlement therein. (5) Disobedience of Israelites, their Oppression, and Deliverance by Judges. (6) Present Humiliation of Israelites. Their Determination to make a Covenant with God.
Terms of Covenant: (1) Marriages with Heathen and Trading on Sabbath were prohibited. (2) Sabbatical Year was to be Observed, Tax of 1/3rd of a Shekel Imposed for Maintenance of Service of Temple. (3) Firstfruits and Tithes were to be Given to the Priests.
Part III: (Chapters 11-13) Miscellaneous Facts.
Arrangement made for Increasing the Population of Jerusalem.
Dedication of the City Walls.
Officers are Appointed to Collect the Tithes and Other Dues.
Arrangements made for Carrying Out the Temple Services.
Religious Reforms Carried Out by Nehemiah. (1) The Israelites Separate themselves from the Mixed Multitude. (2) Nehemiah Casts Forth the Furniture of Tobiah out of the Chambers of the Temple, and Restores the Chambers to their proper use. (3) Nehemiah Provides for the Proper Maintenance of
the Levites. (4) Nehemiah takes Measures to Ensure the Proper Observance of the Sabbath. (5) He takes Prompt Action Against the Mixed Marriages.
Note: (The prophet Malachi gives a pathetic description (Mal. 2:13) of the discarded wives appealing to God, and “covering the altar of the Lord with tears, with weeping and with sighing.”)
Notes on Nehemiah:
Eliashib: he was the grandson of Jeshua (Joshua), the high priest, who returned from Babylon with Zerubbabel (Sheshbazzar).
Note: “The second part of the Book of Nehemiah (chap. 8-10) is generally
supposed to have been written by another hand. The reasons for this statement are: (1) Nehemiah is spoken of in the Third Person; (2) He is called the Tirshatha, whereas in the earlier chapters he has the title of Pekah; (3) He retires into the background, his place being taken by Ezra, who holds the
first and most prominent position.” (Speaker’s Commentary.)
Outlines of Great National Confession made by Levites:
1. Ascription of Praise to God as the Creator and Preserver of the Universe.
2. Concise Summary of the Past History of the Israelites including:
(1) Call of Abram, the Change of his Name and God’s Covenant with him.
(2) Affliction in Egypt and Deliverance therefrom, and Destruction of Egyptians.
(3) Journey of Israelites through Wilderness under God’s Protecting Care. Bread of Heaven and Water from Rock are Miraculously Provided for their Sustenance.
(4) Giving of Law on Mount Sinai, and Worshipping of Golden Calf.
(5) Frequent Murmurings of Israelites and God’s Long Sufferance.
(6) Forty Years’ Wanderings in Wilderness; Conquest of Land and Settlement therein.
(7) Disobedience of Israelites; their Oppression by their Enemies, and Deliverance by Judges.
(8) They Confess that their Punishment has been Result of their Wickedness.
3. Present Humiliation of Israelites; their Determination to make Covenant with God.
Exodus of Exiles under Zerubabbel Compared with that under Ezra:
1. Cyrus, being stirred up by God, issued a decree giving permission to those Jews who belonged to
the tribes of Judah and Benjamin to return to their own land to re-build the House of God which was at Jerusalem, and to carry back with them the sacred vessels which Nebuchadnezzar had taken to Babylon.
2. Zerubbabel, a prince of the house of David, was appointed the Tirshatha.
3. No mention is made of the powers and privileges conferred on Zerubbabel.
4. The number of adults (males) who went up with Zerubbabel, including priests, Levites, Nethinim,
etc., is given as 42,360.
5. A very considerable number of priests and Levites went up with Zerubbabel.
6. Cyrus called upon all his subjects to assist the poorer Jews by every means in their power.
7. Zerubbabel’s main object was to re-build the Temple.
8. No details of Zerubbabel’s journey from Babylon to Jerusalem are recorded.
1. Artaxerxes, induced in all probability by Ezra, issued a decree giving permission to Jews of every tribe, who were so minded, to return to their land, and to take with them the offerings of
gold and silver which the king, his courtiers and his subjects had given them.
2. Ezra, a priest descended from Aaron, was appointed the Tirshatha.
3. A full description of the powers and privileges conferred on Ezra is recorded.
4. The number of adults (males) who went up with Ezra, including priests, Levites and Nethinim, is stated as being 1,773.
5. In Ezra’s company there were very few priests, about 28 Levites and 220 Nethinim.
6. Artaxerxes ordered that all persons connected with the services of the Temple should be exempt
from taxation of every kind.
7. Ezra’s main abject was to bring about a religious reformation among his countrymen in Jerusalem.
8. A short description of Ezra’s Journey is given in Ezra 8.
The Book of Esther. Introduction.
The “Book of Esther ” relates a story in the history of the “Jews of the Dispersion,” as those Jews were called who did not avail themselves of Cyrus’ decree and return to their own land. The great peculiarity of the book is the entire absence of all religious teaching. The name of God nowhere occurs in the book, nor is there any allusion to Palestine, Jerusalem, the Temple, or the Law, but there is an indirect allusion to “prayer” in 4:16. Moreover, the Hand of God is clearly seen directing the course of events, and the main object of the book is to show that the “Jews of the Dispersion” were no less the object of Divine protection than their brethren who had returned to Palestine (see 4:14). But another object of the book is evidently to encourage the observance of the Feast of Purim among the Jews, by showing why the Feast was instituted. The story is told with a considerable amount of literary and dramatic skill, but the name of the writer is unknown.
Analysis of the Book of Esther.
1. Vashti, the Queen of Ahasuerus is deposed. The book opens with an account of the greatness of King Ahasuerus and the two great feasts given by him at Shushan: (1) To his nobles and princes; (2) To all the people in Shushan. Vashti, the queen, refuses to obey the king’s command to appear unveiled before the king and his princes. The anger of the king is so great that Memucan, one of the king’s wise men, advises that Vashti should be deposed, and her dignity conferred on another.
2. Esther is chosen Queen in the place of Vashti. Young virgins are sought throughout the king’s dominions, one of whom the king is to select as queen. The king chooses Esther, a Jewess, who had been brought up with Mordecai, her uncle. Mordecai discovers a plot against the king’s life formed by two of the king’s chamberlains. The conspirators are put to death, and the event written in the book of the “Chronicles of the Kings of Persia.”
3. Haman’s Advancement. Haman, the Agagite, is raised to the position of grand vizier. Mordecai refuses to pay him due respect, whereupon Haman forms the plan of exterminating the whole of the Jews. Ahasuerus sanctions the plan, and decrees are issued to that effect. The mourning of Mordecai and the Jews.
4. Esther appeals to the King to revoke the Edict. Esther, at the peril of her life, resolves to appeal to the king to revoke the edict. She is graciously accepted by the king, and invites the king and Haman to a banquet. But her courage fails her, and she invites the king and his minister to a second banquet. Incensed by Mordecai’s conduct, Haman orders gallows to be erected in the court of his own house on which Mordecai may be impaled (hanged).
5. Haman’s humiliation and fall. Meanwhile the king orders Haman to do honour to Mordecai for the services he had rendered. At the banquet Esther denounces Haman as the enemy of the Jews. The king, in his rage, orders Haman to be impaled on the gallows which had been erected for Mordecai.
The highest honours are conferred on Mordecai.
6. The Jews are avenged of their Enemies. At Esther’s request the king issues a counter-edict, allowing the Jews to defend themselves if attacked by their enemies. On the 13th day of the month Adar, the day fixed for the massacre, the Jews, aided by the Persian governors and officers, slay 500 in Shushan, and on the next day 300 more, and Haman’s ten sons are also hanged. In the provinces as many as 75,000 are said to have been slain.
7. The Feast of Purim is instituted. To commemorate so great a deliverance Mordecai and Esther ordered two days, the 14th and the 15th of the month Adar, to be kept as days of rejoicing. The book closes with a short account of Ahasuerus’ greatness and Mordecai’s efforts to establish peace and to increase the prosperity of his countrymen.
Outline of Book of Esther: (Chapters 1-10)
Two Great Feasts of Ahasuerus. (1) To his Nobles and Princes. (2) To all the People in Shushan.
Queen Vashti Refuses to obey King’s Command.
Memucan Advises that Vashti should be Deposed and her Dignity Given to Another.
Esther is Chosen Queen in Place of Vashti.
Mordecai Discovers Plot Against the Life of King Ahasuerus.
Hainan’s Advancement. Mordecai Refuses to do him Reverence.
Haman Resolves to Exterminate the Whole of the Jewish Race. Ahasuerus Sanctions his Plan and Issues a Decree to that Effect.
Mourning of Mordecai and Jews.
Esther Resolves to Appeal to King to Revoke Edict.
Esther is Graciously Received by King. She invites King and Haman to Banquet, and while there invites
them to 2nd Banquet.
Haman’s Exultation is Damped by Mordecai’s Refusal to Pay him Reverence. Zeresh, Haman’s Wife, advises Haman to erect Gallows on which Mordecai may be Impaled (Hanged).
Mordecai is Rewarded for the Services he had rendered the King.
Esther Denounces Haman as the Enemy of Jews.
Ahaseurus Orders Haman to be Impaled (Hanged) on Cross he had Erected for Mordecai.
Mordecai is Advanced to Haman’s Position.
At Esther’s Request Ahaseurus Issues a Counter-Edict for Jews’ Preservation.
Jews are Avenged of their Enemies.
Institution of the Feast of Purim.
Greatness of Mordecai.
Notes on Esther:
Ahasuerus: generally supposed to be Xerxes, the son of Darius Hystaspes, who led the famous expedition against Greece.
Vashti the queen: The Amestris of secular history.
in the royal house: i.e. the royal harem.
To bring Vashti the queen before the king: As Persian ladies never showed themselves unveiled except to their nearest relations, the king’s order was a gross insult to Vashti.
the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, etc.: In all probability the writer here gives Mordecai’s true descent from a certain Kish, who was of the tribe of Benjamin.
Who had been carried away: “Who” refers to Kish. The Second Captivity is here referred to, when Jeconiah (Jehoiakin) was carried away captive to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar.
Hadassah: Like other Jews of the time of the Captivity, Esther had two names. Hadassah is the Hebrew word for “myrtle,” Esther is the Persian word for “star.” By adopting the Persian name Hadassah Esther was able to conceal her Jewish descent.
hanged on a tree: rather, they were impaled on a stake, or crucified, the ordinary death of criminals.
it was written in the book, etc.: Among the Persians important public events were carefully recorded in the book of the chronicles of the kingdom.
Select Notes: Chief Persons Mentioned.
Ahasuerus (1): (Ezra iv. 6); probably Cambyses, the son and successor of Cyrus. All we read of him is that, at the beginning of his reign, Bishlam and his companions, adversaries of the Jews, “wrote an accusation against the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem,” and the result was that the building of the Temple was stopped.
Ahasuerus (2): (Esther 1:1); generally supposed to be Xerxes, and the opinion is strengthened by the fact that the capricious conduct of Ahasuerus, as related in the Book of Esther, agrees with what we know of Xerxes. We are told that Xerxes scourged the tempestuous sea, and caused the engineers of his bridge to be put to death, because it was damaged by a storm; so Ahasuerus deposed his queen, because she refused to appear unveiled before his guests, and willingly gave his consent to the extermination of the whole of the Jewish people merely to satisfy the caprice of a court favourite.
Ahasuerus’ dominions, we are told, extended from India even unto Ethiopia, and included one hundred and twenty-seven provinces. In the third year of his reign he gave two great feasts on a most magnificent scale (see Esther 1:6,7). The first feast was given to all his princes and nobles, and lasted one hundred and eighty days, during which time the king took special delight in showing “the riches of his glorious kingdom, and the honour of his excellent majesty.” This was followed by a second feast, to which all the dwellers in Shushan were invited; and at the same time Vashti, the queen, also entertained all the women who resided in the royal palace.
In the midst of his drunken revelries, Ahasuerus ordered Vashti, his queen, to appear unveiled before his guests —”to show her beauty, for she was fair to look upon”; but Vashti indignantly refused to obey the king’s command, as, indeed, she had a perfect right to do, according to the customs of the country; “therefore was the king very wroth and his anger burned within him.”
To appease the king and to prevent the re-election of Vashti, Memucan, one of the king’s wise men, advised that Vashti should be deposed, and a royal proclamation issued to that effect, lest, by her contumacious conduct, the women of Persia, following the example set them by the queen, should despise their husbands and refuse to obey them. Further, he advised that fair young virgins should be sought out from every part of the empire, and one of them selected by the king to fill the place of the deposed queen.
The thing pleased the king, and out of the many maidens gathered together unto Shushan the palace, the king chose Esther, a Jewess, “who had neither father nor mother, and was very fair and beautiful” and had been brought up by Mordecai, her cousin. Following the instructions laid down by Mordecai, Esther did not disclose her kindred or her people.
Plots and intrigues were common occurrences in Oriental courts; and shortly after Esther’s election, we read that Mordecai discovered a plot formed by two of the royal chamberlains to assassinate the king. He at once informed Esther, who, in turn, told the king. The conspirators were executed, and the event recorded in the Chronicles of the Persian kings.
Ahasuerus then promoted Haman, the Agagite, to be his grand vizier, and bade all his servants to prostrate themselves before him and do him reverence. Mordecai alone refused to obey the king’s order, whereupon Haman was so incensed that he formed the design of exterminating all the Jews throughout the king’s dominions. Lots were cast to obtain a propitious day for the massacre, and the lot fell on the thirteenth day of the month Adar (12th month, our December). His next step was to obtain the king’s sanction for the undertaking; and to do this he represented that the Jews were a people scattered abroad throughout all the provinces of his kingdom; that their laws were different to the laws of other nations; that they did not obey the king’s commands; and that it was not for the king’s benefit to allow them to live. He also said that if the Jews were exterminated the confiscation of their property would bring no loss than 10,000 talents ((1 million dollars per talent of gold, more or less, in today’s value; if silver talents the value is 5%, more or less, of that of gold, 20 talents of silver = 1 talent of gold)) into the royal treasury.
The king willingly agreed to this proposal, and took off his signet ring from his hand and gave it to Haman, telling him that “the silver was his and the people also, to do with them as it seemed good to him.” Letters containing the king’s decree were dispatched with all possible speed to all the people throughout his dominions, with instructions “to destroy, to kill, and to cause to perish, all Jews, both young and old, little children, and women, in one day, even the thirteenth day of the month Adar, and to take the spoil of them for a prey.” Then we read “that the king and Haman sat down to drink; but the city Shushan was perplexed.”
When Mordecai perceived what was done, he put on sackcloth and ashes, and, uttering loud and bitter cries of lamentation, came even before the king’s gate. Esther was informed of his doings by her maids and chamberlains, and sent raiment to clothe him, but he received it not. She then sent Hatach, her chamberlain, to enquire the reason of his mourning; whereupon he informed her of the king’s cruel order, and sent her a copy of the writing of the decree, and charged her to go in before the king and make request for her people. At first Esther hesitated; any man or woman, she said, who approached the king unbidden was put to death. Mordecai’s reply was to the effect that she was not to imagine that because she was queen she would escape death; if she refused to supplicate the king, deliverance would arise from some other quarter, and destruction would fall upon her and her father’s house. Mordecai’s words produced the desired effect; she sent word to Mordecai that he should gather together all the Jews in Shushan, and fast; that she and her maidens would also fast; and she added, in a spirit of true resignation, “I will go in unto the king, although it is contrary to law; and if I perish, I perish.”
On the third day Esther put on her royal apparel and stood in the inner court of the palace. She was so graciously received by the king that he promised to give her anything she might ask for. She then requested that the king and Haman would come to a banquet which she had specially prepared for them. The king assented, but when the opportunity came for her to plead for her people, her heart failed her, and she merely requested that the king and his minister would attend a second banquet on the morrow.
Haman went forth from the queen’s presence with a joyful heart; but when he saw that Mordecai “stood not up nor moved for him, his heart was full of indignation against him.” Still he refrained himself and went home; and calling together his friends and his wife, recounted to them the glory of his riches, the multitude of his children, and the distinctions which the king had heaped upon him, and concluded by saying that the queen had conferred on him the greatest honour of all by inviting him alone to a banquet with the king. Yet all this, he said, afforded him no satisfaction so long as he saw Mordecai, the Jew, sitting at the king’s gate and refusing to do him honour. On hearing this, Zeresh, his wife, was so impatient for Mordecai’s death that she advised that a gallows, fifty cubits high, should be erected in the court-yard of the house, and that the king’s permission should be obtained on the morrow to hang Mordecai thereon; meanwhile, that Haman should go merrily in with the king unto the banquet. “And the thing pleased Haman; and he caused the gallows to be made.”
The following night the king could not sleep, and so he ordered the chronicles of the kingdom to be read to him. On being informed by his servants that Mordecai had not been rewarded for the services he had done (Esther 2:21), the king asked who was in the court. Now it happened that Haman had come into the court in the early morning to get the king’s sanction to hang Mordecai; and when the court officials informed the king that Haman was present, he bade his minister do honour to Mordecai by leading him through the city, clad in royal robes and riding on the king’s own horse. Haman was compelled to carry out the king’s order; but after he had done so, “he hastened to his house mourning, and having his head covered.” When Haman had told his wife Zeresh and his wise men all that had happened, they predicted that his recent humiliation was an omen of his ultimate downfall. “If,” said they, “Mordecai is of Jewish origin, before whom thou hast begun to fall, then thou shalt not prevail against him; but shalt surely fall before him. While they were talking with him, the king’s chamberlains came and hasted to bring Haman unto the banquet that Esther had prepared.”
At the second banquet the king again asked Esther what her petition was, and, in reply, she begged that her life and that of her people might be spared, “for she and they were sold to be destroyed, to be slain and to perish.” The king then asked who it was that had dared in his heart to do so terrible a deed. Esther replied, “The adversary and enemy is this wicked Haman.” The king then arose in anger from the banquet, and went into the palace garden; but on his return he found that Haman had fallen on the couch whereon Esther was lying, apparently in the act of pleading for his life. But the king put the worst construction on his degraded minister’s conduct, and thought that he intended to do violence to the queen; and so he sentenced him to death, and ordered him to be impaled (hanged) on the very gallows which he had prepared for Mordecai.
The same day King Ahasuerus installed Mordecai in Haman’s place, with the full powers of a grand vizier. But, although Haman, the enemy of the Jews, was removed, the edict of destruction still hung over their heads. To avert so terrible a calamity, Esther “Fell down at the king’s feet and besought him with tears to put away the mischief of Haman and the device that he had devised against the Jews.” But by the laws of the Medes and Persians the decree could not be rescinded; and so the king issued a counter-edict, giving the Jews permission “to stand for their life, to destroy, to slay and to cause to perish all these that would assault them.” Accordingly, on the thirteenth day of the month Adar, the day fixed for the massacre, the Jews slew five hundred in Shushan, and on the next day three hundred more; while, in the provinces, as many as 75,000 are said to have been destroyed.
The last mention of Ahasuerus in the Book of Esther is that “he laid a tribute upon the land and upon the isles of the sea.”
Artaxerxes (1): (mentioned in Ezra 4:7-9) is generally supposed to be the Pseudo-Smerdis, who succeeded Cambyses. In the above quoted passage wo read that Rehum the chancellor and Shimshai the scribe, acting for Bishlam, Mithredath and Tabeel, the enemies of the Jews, wrote to King Artaxerxes stating that the Jews were a rebellious people, and that if the king allowed Jerusalem to be rebuilt he would have no dominion on this side the river Euphrates. Accordingly Artaxerxes ordered a search to be made among the records of the kingdom, and the charges laid against the Jews were found to be true, and so the king ordered “that the city should not be builded until another commandment should be given from him.”
Artaxerxes (2): i.e. Artaxerxes Longimanus (Ezra 7:11) king of Persia. Two facts are recorded of him: (1) He appointed Ezra Tirshatha of Judaea, and gave him a commission conferring on him many privileges. (2) He also gave a commission to Nehemiah to re-build the walls of Jerusalem, and made him Tirshatha.
Zerubbabel: (called also Sheshbazzar) (Ezra 5:14-16) was the son of Shealtiel, and a prince of the royal house of David. He was the leader of the first band of Exiles who returned to their own land, and from Hag. 2:23 we gather that he had received a special mission from God to undertake the work. “In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, will I take thee, O Zerubbabel, my servant, and will make thee as a signet: for I have chosen thee.” He was urged on by the prophets Haggai and Zechariah to complete the building of the Temple, but after this he suddenly disappears from the page of history.
Final reflections and conclusions to the Books of Samuel, Kings, Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther of the Historical Books of the Old Testament. The two lengthy selections from the works of Crockett and Carter above allows us to grasp the relations and sequence of events and details in this period of Israel’s history. The generations cover some 500 years, and the transition from the Theocracy of the Judges to the Monarchy of the Kings is recorded with great care. The Historical Books prepares us for the Poetical Books (Job to Solomon’s Song) which in turn prepares us for the Prophetic Books (Isaiah to Malachi).
W.G. Scrooggie in his great work “The Unfolding Drama of Redemption” “the Bible as a Whole”, 3 volumes in one (1976, ©1953 vol. 1, ©1957 vol. 2, ©1970 vol. 3) using the literary motif of the Theatrical Drama of Shakespearean style he presents the Divine Story of Creation and Judgment and Salvation in Divine Acts. The Redeeming Purpose in Revelation, Progression, and Consummation Unfolded in Prologue (Gen. 1-11), Act I (Gen. 11- Malachi), Interlude (Malachi-Matthew), Act II (Matthew-Jude), and Epilogue (Book of the Revelation). Old Testament Begins with the Creation to the Fall to the Flood to Babel; a Divine Covenant of Law Embodied in the History & Literature of a Semitic Race: in 3 Scenes of the Hebrew Family, the Israelitish Nation, and the Jewish Church; then Judaism and Heathenism Preparing the World for the Advent of the Messiah; then the New Testament with a Divine Covenant of Grace Embodied in the History & Literature of the Christian Church: in 2 Scenes of the Introduction of Christianity into the World by Jesus the Messiah, and Progress of Christianity in the World to Close of the 1st Century A.D.; and ends with a Vision of Grace & Christ the Lord (Head) of the Church, a Vision of Government & Christ as Judge of the World, and a Vision of Glory & Christ as King of the Universe. In the Age of the Monarchy, page 238, he writes: After citing Jeremiah 18:1-10 of “the clay was marred in the hand of the potter” “In this story the LORD is the Potter and Israel is the clay. Under the Theocracy the clay was marred in the hand of the Potter, so ‘He made it again another vessel’, Monarchy. A second time the clay defaulted, and the Potter made it yet again, and this time, a Dependency…. It is of vital importance to understand the significance of this change from Theocracy to Monarchy; and two things should be carefully considered: first, the long anticipation of a monarchy; and secondly, the Divine disapproval of it when it came.”
We initiated our survey and reflections in the Historical Books with Joshua and Judges, then then the beautiful and meaningful story of Ruth the Moabite Gentile woman who married an Israelite and brought into relations to the Covenant People and the Covenant God, the Lord God of Israel. She is a widow in the Land of Moab and clings to Naomi her mother-in-law, and she returns with her to Judah of Israel and marries Boaz of the Tribe of Judah, and in time became the great grandmother of King David and the Lord Jesus the Messiah, the Christ of God. In comparison and contrast to the Book of Ruth is the Book of Esther of a Jewish woman concealing her Jewish roots and race by taking on her Persian name and identity in place of her Hebrew name Hadassah, the niece of the Benjaminite Mordecai the Jew. Esther the Jew of the Covenant People and God is exiled outside the Covenant Land, the Promised Land, and she marries a Gentile Persian King, and becomes a Queen of Persia, and in time saves her People from genocide. In Ruth the Lord God is mentioned frequently, but in Esther His name or reference to Him is never recorded. In both Books God never speaks in red.
The Divine Red Words in the Books of Samuel – Esther is interesting and instructive. In 1st Samuel 2 we read that a Man of God said to the High Priest Eli: “Thus saith Jehovah, Did I reveal Myself unto the house of thy father, when they were in Egypt [in bondage] to Pharaoh’s house? and did I choose him out of all the tribes of Israel to be My priest, to go up unto Mine altar, to burn incense, to wear an ephod before Me? and did I give unto the house of thy father all the offerings of the children of Israel made by fire? Wherefore kick ye at My sacrifice and at Mine offering, which I have commanded in [My] habitation, and honorest thy sons above Me, to make yourselves fat with the chiefest of all the offerings of Israel My people? Therefore Jehovah, the God of Israel, saith, I said indeed that thy house, and the house of thy father, should walk before Me forever: but now Jehovah saith, Be it far from Me; for them that honor Me I will honor, and they that despise Me shall be lightly esteemed. Behold, the days come, that I will cut off thine arm, and the arm of thy father’s house, that there shall not be an old man in thy house. And thou shalt behold the affliction of [My] habitation, in all the wealth which [God] shall give Israel; and there shall not be an old man in thy house for ever. And the man of thine, [whom] I shall not cut off from Mine altar, [shall be] to consume thine eyes, and to grieve thy heart; and all the increase of thy house shall die in the flower of their age. And this shall be the sign unto thee, that shall come upon thy two sons, on Hophni and Phinehas: in one day they shall die both of them. And I will raise Me up a faithful priest, that shall do according to that which is in My heart and in My mind: and I will build him a sure house; and he shall walk before Mine anointed forever. And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left in thy house shall come and bow down to him for a piece of silver and a loaf of bread, and shall say, Put me, I pray thee, into one of the priests’ offices, that I may eat a morsel of bread.” Then in chapter 3 in the call of the boy Samuel and a word to him of the Lord’s judgment against the House of Eli. Next in chapter 8 He speaks to Samuel against Israel for rejecting the Lord as their King; so he gives them a King after their heart in chapter 9. He speaks in Red in a few verses in chapters 10, 14, 15-16, 23, 24 (a quote by David’s men to David), and 30:8 a sentence. In 2nd Samuel the Words in Red are chapters: in 2 only 4 words (in Hebrew 2 words); in 3 one sentence as a quote; in 5 a few verses; in 7, the Lord by Nathan to David concerning the House of the Lord; in 12; 21 (a sentence about the Gebeonite against Saul’s House); and finally in David’s last words and acts, a few verses in 23 and 24. This trend continues in the Kings and Chronicles, the Lord speaking infrequently and intermittingly as the need demands, even with His favorite Kings like Solomon, Jehoshaphat, Hezekiah, and Josiah. 1st Kings chapters: 3; 5-6 (3 verses); 8; 9; 11; 12-14; 16-22 (a few verses in each chapter). In 2nd Kings the Red Words are found in chapters: 1-4, few verses in each; 7; 9-10; 15 (a sentence); 17-23, the longest passage in 19:20-34 against the King of Assyria. It is the same in the Chronicles; 1st Chronicles chapters: 11, one verse, a quote, about King David; 14; 16-17; 21-22; and 28. 2nd Chronicles chapters: 1 (two verses to Solomon); 6; 7; 11-12; 18; 20-21; 24-25 (two verses total); 33 to Manasseh; and 34 to Josiah. He is hiding in Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther. In Ezra the Red Words is found in chapter 9, a quote of two verses in Ezra’s prayer. In Nehemiah the Red is in chapter 1, two verses quoted in Nehemiah’s prayer. As said before Esther is blank, all black and white.
The Dispensational Covenantal relationship between the Lord and Israel from Theocracy to Monarchy to the Captivity under Gentile Power brings us to a new dispensational covenantal relationship between the people and God. The Deuteronomy measurement of the Mosaic Law was unable to preserve the people from judgment or oppression; their condition was such, as it is with all humans of all times and places, that they needed a Savior to save them from themselves, from sin and sins, and from Satan. It is this in view we are about to enter something new and better in the Poetic Books and to be followed by the Prophetic Books; from Poetry to Prophecy. Genesis and Deuteronomy as the two key Books will still govern in the new dispensational revelation and dealings and experiences; but a higher and more spiritual way will unfold in preparation for the New Testament and the Messiah-Christ.
Part III: PSALMS – ISAIAH: JOB, PSALMS, PROVERBS, ECCLESIASTES, PROVERBS & SONGS.