Christian Biblical Reflections.23

((Here are pages (25-50) CBR, Chapter IV, (Christian Biblical Reflections.23, the 2nd submission or installment) of the Prophetic Books of Isaiah & Jeremiah with Lamentations & Ezekiel. This is the Isaiah section. Christian Biblical Reflections. mjmselim. 2018)) (Links to the PDF Vol.1 of CBR. Chapters 1-3 (pages 1-560) & to Chapter 4 of Vol. 2 pages 1-115 : updated, completed, and further edited, corrected, and renumbered):
https://mjmselim.files.wordpress.com/2018/08/cbr-1-3-aug122018-christbibreflect-mjmselim-orgnl-08112018-24.pdf
https://mjmselim.files.wordpress.com/2019/07/cbr.4-5.wordpress.4.current.july14th.2019.christbibreflect.v2.mjmselim.orig_.pdf
https://mjmselim.blog/2019/07/14/christian-biblical-reflections-22/

 
{{ The Westminster Historical Atlas to the Bible by George Ernest Wright and Floyd Vivian Filson. “The Great Empires of Israelite Times”:

     The story of man’s oft-repeated attempt to dominate his world by the use of totalitarian power is a fascinating account. It is the story of ambitious men who consolidate their power over a people, and turn the total resources of that people toward world conquest. Strangely enough, the conquest has not always been an unmixed evil. The organizing energy required often stirred creative powers to such an extent that great prosperity resulted and achievements in science and art were phenomenal. Yet conquest was more often a dreadful thing, draining the resources of subject peoples and keeping them in a state of poverty, terror, and seething hatred. The mounds which dot the ancient Near East are filled with the evidence of this state of affairs. In Palestine and Syria especially the average city was frequently destroyed in war. Small wonder that Israel was so concerned with death and judgment and salvation! . . .The period of the Old and New Testaments was the first great epoch of empire-building, and in its maelstrom of tragedy and triumph the Hebrew people were inevitably caught. The Egyptian Empire of the fifteenth century B.C. was the greatest which the world had seen. Yet it was dwarfed by the achievements which followed. During the eighth and seventh centuries the Assyrian Empire was formed, including in its scope the whole of Mesopotamia, Palestine-Syria, southern Asia Minor, and even for a time Egypt. By 600 B.C. Assyria had fallen and Babylonia had taken its place, ruling over substantially the same territory. Babylonia soon fell, however, to the Medes and the Persians, and by 500 B.C. the Persian Empire included in its scope the whole of Western Asia, Egypt, and Thrace in Europe; and its armies were threatening Greece. By 300 B.C. Alexander the Great had mastered Greece and the Persian Empire. After his death three great Hellenistic empires divided his domain. Then in the first century before Christ, the Romans, with a military power and organizing genius unparalleled in antiquity, conquered and unified the entire Mediterranean world. Such was the procession of empires in which the small country of Palestine was caught. Geographical situation decreed that political independence could be achieved in that country only during the brief periods when a dominant empire weakened and could no longer control its dependencies.

THE EMPIRE OF ASSYRIA

      The country of Assyria lay along the upper Tigris River, and in the early period of its history Assur (or Asshur) was its chief city. As early as 1900 B.C. the people of this small region were prosperous traders. One of their trading colonies was as far away as Kanish in Asia Minor, where an active interest in the silver mines of the area was one of the chief concerns. In the thirteenth century Assyrian armies had crossed the Euphrates, and about 1100 B.C. an Assyrian monarch led his troops to the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. These conquests, however, were of a temporary nature. During the second half of the tenth century there began a series of rulers whose conquests during the subsequent century give evidence of a planned program of empire-building. This program was carried out with extraordinary vigor and determination. After securing the back door to Assyria in the highland regions to the north and east, and after subduing Babylon, the kings pushed westward. The middle Euphrates region around Gozan and Haran and the area east of the watershed in Syria from Hamath to Damascus, were in the hands of Aramean invaders, who were destined to flood the whole area with traders and settlers, and after 500 B.C. to make their language its official tongue. Around the turn of the ninth century the Assyrian monarchs, Adad-nirari II and Tukulti-Ninurta II, conquered Aramaean territory within the great northern bend of the Euphrates with the result that virtually the whole of Mesopotamia was firmly organized under Assyrian control. The major political story from Western Asia during the ninth century, however, concerns the exploits of the two Assyrian emperors whose reigns occupy the greater part of that century. The first of these, Asshurnasirpal II (883-859 B.C.), is the first of the emperors about whom detailed information is available. It was found in the excavation of his capital, Calah, the modern Nimrud. In form of braggadocio which typifies the royal inscriptions for the next two and one half centuries Asshurnasirpal describes his conquest of northern Syria, the types and amounts of the booty he received, and the sadistic brutality which he visited upon all who refused to submit to him without battle. From this time forth the Assyrian kings describe their exploits in similar vein. Their armies were so powerful that none could withstand them. Their rapacious cruelty was so terrible that the hatred of them spilled over into the literature of a people as far away as Judah (cf. Nahum, chs. 2 to 3 and Jonah). Northern Syria at that time was controlled by a number of Hittite dynasties, with their city-states, which were survivals from the fourteenth century B.C. when the region was first conquered by the Hittites of Asia Minor. Indeed both the Assyrians and the Israelites speak of Syria as “Land of the Hittites” (e.g., Josh. 1:4; cf. 1 Kings 10:29; Gen. 10:15). While the Aramaeans had pushed into the area by this period, they had rapidly assimilated the Syro-Hittite culture. Illustration of the latter has been revealed by the excavations at Carchemish and Samal. After the Assyrian conquest, the culture of the area was rapidly brought under Assyrian influence. The Lebanon district along the coast of southern Syria was not conquered by Asshurnasirpal, but all its cities fearfully purchased their freedom from him by the payment of tribute. His successor was Shalmaneser III (859-824 B.C.), by whose time the conquering armies were ready to turn southward toward Hadadezer (or Ben-hadad) of Damascus, the king who was probably the strongest ruler of the Syro-Palestinian region. In 853 B.C. the battle of Qarqar took place between Shalmaneser and a coalition headed by Hadadezer (Ben–hadad). Qarqar was south of Hamath and probably on the Orontes River. We have no mention of this battle in the Old Testament, but Shalmaneser lists among his opponents the following: 1,200 chariots, 1,200 cavalry and 20,000 infantry of Hadadezer of Damascus; 700 chariots, an equal number of cavalry and 10,000 infantry of Irhuleni of Hamath; and “2,000 chariots, 10,000 infantry of Ahab, the Israelite.” Other smaller contingents of troops were present from places as far away as Que (the area of Tarsus) and Ammon. In other words the strongest kings in Asia, between northern Syria and Egypt, were those of Damascus, Hamath, and Israel. The last-mentioned had not yet taken up the newly introduced cavalry as a weapon of war, but he was able to supply more chariots than the other two together. The Assyrian monarch claimed the victory, saying in contradictory fashion in different inscriptions that he killed 14,000, 20,500, and 25,000 of his enemy. Nevertheless, he retired from the scene and we may assume that the battle was drawn. As a result of the religious revolution in Israel, which under Elijah and Elisha not only swept the dynasty of Ahab from the throne but also deposed Ben-hadad of Damascus, the coalition was broken up (2 Kings 8:7-15; chs. 9, 10). Shalmaneser was quick to take advantage of this fact, and in 841 B.C. pictured the embassy of Jehu, the new king of Israel, bringing tribute to him. The tribute was probably received after Shalmaneser’s fifth attack on Damascus, following which he had taken his army into Phoenicia. While there he says that he received the tribute of Tyre, Sidon, and of Jehu, and that he placed his portrait on the cliff of Ba’lira’si. This portrait, along with that of Rameses II of Egypt, may still be seen on the cliff at the mouth of the Dog River, north of Beirut. After 837 B.C. Damascus was not troubled again by Assyria until 805 B.C., when its kingdom was devastated and forced to pay heavy tribute by Shalmaneser’s grandson, Adad-nirari II (810-783 B.C.). In the years before this, Hazael of Damascus had been able to bring Israel to her knees and even to extract tribute from Judah. The defeat of Damascus was a great boon to Israel and permitted her rapid recovery. For the next sixty years (c. 805-745 B.C.) the west was given a breathing space because the rulers of Assyria were not strong men. The kingdom of Urartu (Biblical Ararat) to the north gathered its resources and pressed southward. Babylon, and most of Syria freed themselves, while Israel and Judah reached the climax of their powers under Jeroboam II and Uzziah. Then another series of vigorous Assyrians began anew the relentless push of conquest. Tiglath-pileser III (745-727 B.C.), after consolidating his borders to the east and north, led his armies westward. His policy was to divide the west into subject provinces, each with its own governor, though leaving the native kings on the thrones of certain outlying areas, provided they paid a regular tribute. He also instituted a policy of exchanging large sections of the populations of conquered territories, to break up nationalistic feeling and to make the population less united and more pliable. After subduing Urartu, he struck at Syria, and within a comparatively short time he had conquered the whole of it as far south as Arvad and Hamath. Then internal political problems in Palestine gave him his opportunity there. In 738 B.C. he received tribute from Menahem of Israel, who thus purchased Assyrian support for his hold upon his throne (2 Kings 15:19). Tiglath-pileser confirms this Biblical statement by saying in his annals that Menahem “fled like a bird, alone” and bowed at his feet. He then returned Menahem to the throne and imposed a tribute upon him. It was not until c. 734 B.C. that Damascus and Israel took the lead in attempting to form a coalition of all the southern powers against the Assyrians. Yet this time Ahaz of Judah refused to join, and his northern neighbors attacked him. He appealed for aid to Tiglath-pileser (2 Kings 16:7), who was evidently delighted to have such a fine chance to intervene. Between 734 and 732 he conquered Philistia; Galilee and Transjordan were taken from Israel; and Damascus, finally, was destroyed. The whole of this territory was then incorporated into the Assyrian provincial system, ruled by Assyrian officials. Galilee, for example, was ruled from Megiddo where a large fort was erected, probably as the administrative center. A fragment of the famous Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh, recently found at Megiddo, may perhaps be evidence of the presence here of Mesopotamian officials, though it may date from an earlier period. The much-reduced Israel, as well as Judah, Ammon, Moab, and Edom, he left under their native rulers, whom he required to pay tribute (cf. 2 Kings 15:27 ff.; 16:5 ff.; Isa., ch. 7). Within a few years, however, Israel had revolted again and was this time utterly destroyed. The siege of Samaria, begun in 724 by Shalmaneser V (727-722), was completed early in 721 by his successor, Sargon II (722-705 B.C.). The latter tells us that he carried away captive from Samaria 27,290 people. Some of them were exiled in “the (Valley of the) Habor, the river of Gozan” (2 Kings 17:6). In the years that followed, people deported from Babylonia, Elam, and Syria were forced to live in Samaria.
During the reign of Sargon, Hezekiah of Judah reasserted the Davidic claims to rule all of Palestine, and to that end instituted a religious reform in both south and north (2 Chron. 29-31). He probably attempted this, not as a rebellion against Assyria, but as a readjustment within the empire, whereby he claimed control over the provinces of Samaria and Megiddo (Galilee). Probably because he believed he could secure his end in this manner, he refused to aid the king of Ashdod, Assyrian sources inform us, when the latter was attacked by Sargon in 711 B.C. (cf. Isa., ch. 20) and had his territory reorganized into an Assyrian province. Yet subsequently he evidently concluded that the role of client-king was inadequate for his aims. After Sargon’s death in 705 B.C., he allied himself with Babylon and Egypt and became the leader of all the smaller states of his area in a revolt against the new emperor, Sennacherib (705-681 B.C.). In 701 B.C. the latter retaliated (2 Kings 18:13 ff.). He claims to have reduced forty-six fortified Judean cities and to have shut up Hezekiah “like a caged bird in Jerusalem.” He did not wish to ruin the country; he simply broke down city fortifications, besieged Jerusalem but did not destroy it when the latter surrendered and paid a high tribute. The chief Judean fortress-city was Lachish, and its capture was pictured on a relief in the royal palace at Nineveh. While our sources are obscure and difficult to harmonize in places, it is not improbable that still another rebellion took place a few years later. Whereas before the first revolt the prophecies of Isaiah appear to have envisaged the fall of Judah to Assyria and to have interpreted the event as the just judgment of God, another group of later prophecies, delivered during a second siege of Judah, predicted the defeat of Assyria and the salvation of Jerusalem. According to 2 Kings 19:35, 36, which is confirmed by the Greek historian Herodotus, Sennacherib actually did retire quickly from the west when a plague broke out among his troops. The most notable event of the seventh century came in the seventies and sixties when the Assyrian kings Esarhaddon (681-669 B.C.) and Asshurbanapal (669-c.633 B.C.) conquered Egypt. The fall of Thebes, the capital of Upper Egypt, in 663 B.C. was still remembered by the Judean prophet Nahum a half century later (“No” in Nahum 3:8). Between 652 and 648 B.C. a serious revolt against Assyria occurred which was again led by Babylon. This was the probable occasion when Manasseh of Judah also revolted (2 Chron. 33:10-13). Other than that the latter’s reign was chiefly notable for the introduction of Canaanite and Assyrian religious cults into Judah and for the attempt to convert the Judean faith into polytheism with Yahweh at the head of a pantheon (2 Kings 21:2-9).
When the revolt of Babylon was suppressed, the Assyrian power began rapidly to wane. Egypt was soon free, and the Assyrians found their energies completely absorbed in defensive warfare in various directions. The golden age of the empire was drawing to a close. The remarkably detailed knowledge which we have about the Assyrians comes largely from vast palaces and imposing temple-towers built by the kings along the Tigris, especially from Dur Sharrukin (“Sargonburg”), Nineveh, and Calah. The first was a magnificent royal residence erected by Sargon II on a grander scale than the ancient world had yet seen. It was abandoned, however, by his son Sennacherib, who made Nineveh his capital. This city then became renowned the world over as the symbol of Assyrian power and aggression. It extended some two and a half miles along the Tigris, and the circumference of the inner walls was about eight miles. The palace was a tremendous structure. In one place the excavators cleared seventy-one halls, lined with stone reliefs, nearly two miles in total length, depicting various activities of the king and his armies. Asshurbanapal also made Nineveh his capital, and the reliefs in his palace represent the finest examples of Assyrian art. This king was much interested in intellectual matters, and took pride in his mastery of the art of writing. One of the greatest discoveries ever made by archaeologists occurred in the unearthing at Nineveh of his great library, composed of some 22,000 clay tablets, Here the king had systematically collected the religious, scientific, and literary works of the past. They represent our chief source of knowledge regarding life and thought in ancient Mesopotamia.

THE BABYLONIAN EMPIRE

       On the death of Asshurbanapal c. 633 B.C. the great empire of Assyria fell rapidly to pieces. For centuries the Chaldeans, Semitic nomads, had been slowly moving into Babylonia. They now gained control of that country, and the first king of these Neo-Babylonians, Nabopolassar, declared his independence of Assyria c. 625 B.C. Meanwhile the Medes in the area of northern Iran were becoming another threat to the security of Assyria. Under their king Cyaxares they captured Asshur in 614 B.C. The Babylonians then joined them, and together they attacked and conquered Nineveh in 612 B.C. As the Babylonian Chronicle put it, “the city they turned into mounds and heaps of ruins.” This was a momentous date in ancient history. The greatest power that the world had yet known had fallen, and from the subject peoples there arose a chorus of gratitude, hatred, and new hope. To this sternly exultant mood the Hebrew prophet Nahum gave most vivid expression: “The Lord is slow to anger, and great in power, but the Lord will surely not acquit the guilty Woe to the bloody city, all of it filled with lies and robbery. ..Everyone who hears the news of thee shall clap their hands over thee, for over whom hath not thy wickedness passed continually” (chs. 1:3; 3:1, 19). The Assyrian army fell back on Haran, and in 609 B.C. the Babylonians attacked. Meanwhile Pharaoh Necho of Egypt marched north through Palestine to aid the Assyrians. King Josiah attempted to halt him at Megiddo, but was killed in the attempt (2 Kings 23:29 ff.). The Assyrians were defeated at Haran, and Necho took over their territory in Syria-Palestine. The new Egyptian empire in Asia was short-lived, however, for in 605 B.C. the vigorous Nebuchadnezzar arrived in Syria with a Babylonian army, administered a crushing defeat to the Egyptians at Carchemish, and took over the whole of the west to the border of Egypt. The new hopes which the fall of Assyria had raised among the subject peoples were dashed. Babylon was substituted for Nineveh. We do not possess the same detailed information about the exploits of Nebuchadnezzar as we do about those of the Assyrian kings. Babylonian tradition permitted him to write about his religious and architectural activity but not about his military exploits. Apart from the Bible our main source of information has been the Babylonian Chronicle, an official document which simply recorded the chief events in the empire year by year. One portion, published by C. J. Gadd in 1923, described the fall of Nineveh and for the first time fixed its date in 612 B.C. In 1956 D. J. Wiseman published four more tablets of the Chronicle. These are especially important in that they give itemized information about the chief events from 626 to 594 B.C., with a break of only six years. For the first time we learn the details of Babylonia’s struggle against Assyria, and after 609 B.C. her war with Egypt. In 605 B.C. Nebuchadnezzar completely annihilated the army of Pharaoh Necho, but the death of his father caused him to hurry home to be crowned king so that he was unable to pursue his advantage. Hitherto unknown is the record of a major battle with the Egyptians in 601 B.C. in which Nebuchadnezzar was defeated. The new documents for the first time also describe and give the precise date of Nebuchadnezzar’s capture of Jerusalem in his seventh year. Apart from his wars, the chief work of Nebuchadnezzar was the enlargement and beautification of Babylon, which now surpassed Nineveh in architectural glory. He repaired the great Temple of Marduk, the Tower of Babel, and erected a vast imperial palace, on top of which, rising terrace upon terrace, was a garden. This place was called “The House at Which Men Marvel,” and the “Hanging Gardens” were listed by the Greeks among the Seven Wonders of the World. Nebuchadnezzar was the only great king of the newly erected Babylonian kingdom. If he had had strong successors, the extent of the empire would probably have equaled that of Assyria. His thirteen-year siege of Tyre did not result in the city’s capture, though it did eventually acknowledge his sovereignty. In the latter part of his life he began the conquest of Egypt, but his death and weak successors prevented more than a purely temporary success (cf. Ezek. 29:17-20). Nabonidus (555-539 B.C.) was the last vigorous personality of the dynasty. Yet that vigor was not so observable in political and administrative matters as it was in those of religion and archaeology. He excavated and repaired ancient temples. He took a great interest in archaic religious matters. He apparently had definite opinions of his own about cultic practices and even dared interfere in priestly ceremonies and customs in Babylon. During the latter part of his life he retired to Tema in Arabia and stayed there year after year, probably insane. Administrative matters in Babylon were left to the crown prince Belshazzar, whom The Book of Daniel knows as “king” (Dan., ch. 5). Meanwhile the annual New Year’s festival could not be celebrated in Babylon. In this festival the king acted the part of the god Marduk and ritually refought and rewon the battle that took place with chaos at the beginning of time. It was undoubtedly believed that when this ceremony was not repeated annually, world order was threatened. All in all Nabonidus succeeded in making himself so unpopular that the arrival of Cyrus, the Persian, at the gates of Babylon was welcomed, at least by the priests of Marduk, as heartily as it was by the Jewish exiles (cf. Isa. 45:1-8). Commerce, literature, art, and science flourished during this age. The Chaldeans were the founders of astronomy as a science. Careful astronomical observations were continuously kept for over 360 years, and these calculations form the longest series ever made. One great Chaldean astronomer, living shortly after the completion of the period of observation, was able to calculate the length of the year as 365 days, 6 hrs., 15 mins., and 41 secs.–a measurement which the modern telescope has shown to be only 26 mins., 26 secs. too long! His calculations on the diameter of the face of the moon were far more accurate than those of Copernicus. Certain measurements of celestial motions by another Chaldean astronomer actually surpass in accuracy the figures long in practical use among modern astronomers.

THE PERSIAN EMPIRE

       During the days of Nebuchadnezzar two powerful empires, the Median and Lydian, existed to the east, north, and northwest of Babylon. By a treaty the boundary between them had been fixed at the Halys River in Asia Minor. The Medes, who had captured Asshur in 614 B.C. and assisted the Babylonians in destroying Nineveh in 612 B.C., had their capital at Achmetha (Ecbatana). By 549 B.C. a Persian named Cyrus had united the people of his land and defeated the Median king. The attention of the west was now focused on the career of this extraordinary individual. A Judean prophet rightly interpreted the signs of the times, and saw in Cyrus one anointed of the Lord, who “giveth nations before him, and maketh him rule over kings” (Isa. 41:2; 44:28; 45:1). By 546 B.C. Sepharad or Sardis, the capital of Lydia, had fallen to Cyrus, and Croesus, its king, was a prisoner. Cyrus was then ready to strike at Babylonia; in 539 B.C. he easily defeated the Chaldean army (led by the crown prince Belshazzar? Cf. Dan., ch. 5) and entered Babylon without opposition. Thus just seventy years after the final Assyrian defeat at Haran in 609 B.C., the days of the Semitic empires were past. The Persian, Greek, and Roman empires were ruled by Indo-Europeans or Aryans. In 525 B.C. Egypt was added to the Persian Empire by Cyrus’ son. In the space of twentyfive years the whole civilized east as far as India was brought under the firm control of Persia. Repeated attempts were made to add Greece to this empire. One was led by Darius the Great, who was defeated by the Greeks at Marathon in 490 B.C.; another, ten years later, was led by Xerxes, who was defeated in a naval battle off Salamis. Unable to subdue Greece, the Persians nevertheless held a firm hold over Asia for almost two centuries. The organization of the great empire was a colossal task, brought to completion by Darius the Great (522-486 B.C.). While ruling Egypt and Babylonia directly as actual king, he divided the rest of the empire into twenty “satrapies” or provinces, each under a governor or “satrap”–a development of the earlier Assyrian provincial system. Aramaic, the language of Aramean (“Syrian”) traders, which by this time had become the commercial tongue of the Fertile Crescent, was made the official language of government. Stamped coinage, an idea borrowed from Greece, was introduced throughout the empire as a convenience for business and government alike. A fleet was organized, and to provide a sea route from Egypt to Persia, a canal was dug between the Nile and the Red Sea. Babylon and Susa (Shushan) were used as royal residences. Cyrus had built a palace at Pasargadae, and there he was buried. Darius, however, erected a magnificent palace with attendant buildings at Persepolis, structures which surpassed in grandeur even the work of Nebuchadnezzar in Babylon. It is most unfortunate that Alexander the Great saw fit in 330 B.C. to burn them, leaving only the ruins for the modern excavator to uncover. The Assyrian and Babylonian policy of suppressing subject peoples by deportation and merciless taxation was reversed by the Persians, whose enlightened policies won a measure of gratitude from subject peoples. They were the only rulers of Palestine who did not incur the wrath of the Hebrew people. When Cyrus came to the throne of Babylon in 539 B.C., he evidently had himself proclaimed king and thus the legitimate successor to Nabonidus. In so doing he did not have to reconquer the Babylonian empire; instead, as he said in an inscription written for Babylonians, the god Marduk had searched through all countries and selected him as “righteous ruler” in place of the “weakling,” Nabonidus, who babbled incorrect prayers and changed Marduk’s worship into an abomination. Once within Babylon his troops were not permitted to loot the city; he returned exiles to their countries, rebuilt their sanctuaries, and restored the statues of their gods. In Ezra 1:2-4 and ch. 6:3-5 there are preserved two accounts of the decree by which Judeans were permitted to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple. Recent study of these two documents in the light of our present knowledge of royal decrees suggests that they are actually two different statements of the one decree. The second is in Aramaic, the official language of the Persian administration. It was entitled a dikrona, a term for a memorandum that recorded the decision of a king or official and was not for publication but for filing in government archives. The document in Ezra 1:2-4, on the other hand, is in Hebrew and probably preserves the essence of the royal proclamation made to Judeans throughout the empire. The words, “The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and has charged me to build him a house in Jerusalem,” are precisely in keeping with the type of address Cyrus had previously used to the Babylonians; indeed the document was probably framed with the aid of a Judean adviser who knew what a contemporary Judean prophet was saying about Cyrus as the Lord’s Anointed (Isa. 45:1). In any event, the exiles from Judah benefited from the new policies. During the years that followed, quite a number returned to the Jerusalem area, established a small province called Yehud (Judah), built a new Temple between 520 and 515 B.C. (Ezra, chs. 5; 6), and rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem under the leadership of a Jewish governor, Nehemiah, after 445 B.C. (Neh., chs. 2 to 6). The best of the Persian monarchs felt obligated to rule justly and righteously. Their acts and words set them apart from Assyrian kings in this regard, and the reason is probably to be sought in their religion. Darius and his immediate successors, at least, were followers of Zoroaster, a Median religious reformer who lived about 600 B.C. Zoroaster saw life as a ceaseless struggle between the forces of good and evil. The good, the light, he believed, was a supreme being, named Ahura Mazda. Opposed to him and helpers he created were the evil spirits; but the good Ahura Mazda would ultimately prevail over them. Zoroaster called men to take their stand on the side of the good, and worship “the righteous Master of Righteousness.” The influence of this religion spread widely, and even Judaism by the second century B.C. had borrowed certain conceptions from it. Evidence for Jews living in foreign countries during the fifth century B.C. has been found in both Mesopotamia and Egypt. Several hundred commercial tablets found at Nippur in Babylon are in the archives of the commercial firm of Murashu Sons. They reveal the great mixture of peoples who lived in the area; the large number of Hebrew names shows that one sizable element in the population was certainly Jewish. The Elephantine papyri from Upper Egypt indicate that on the island of Elephantine at the first cataract a group of Jews were living as mercenaries, guarding Egypt’s southern frontier. They were scarcely orthodox Jews, for they had a temple of their own on the island. The Persian satrap of Egypt during the latter part of the fifth century was a man named Arsham. This we know from recently published correspondence from him and his officials. Putting all the evidence together, we infer that while Arsham was absent in Mesopotamia between 410 and 408 B.C. there were disturbances in Egypt which resulted in the razing of the Jewish temple at Elephantine. The Jews at the fortress wrote to the high priest in Jerusalem and to the sons of Sanballat, former governor of Samaria, for aid in getting the temple rebuilt. The former, as we should expect, did not reply. The latter and Bagoas, governor of Judah, advised that they petition Arsham. This they did, and a copy of the petition is preserved. The letter carefully states that no animal offering will be burnt in the temple if it is rebuilt. Some years earlier, in 419 B.C., Arsham through his commissioner for Jewish affairs had ordered the community at Elephantine to celebrate the Passover according to certain precise regulations, which, we note, accord with Pentateuchal law. These two bits of evidence suggest what we would infer from the Bible, namely, that the religious reforms in Jerusalem and the new priestly community there soon made their influence felt on Jewish affairs throughout the empire. The Elephantine temple was rebuilt, and from that fact we gather that the compromise regarding animal offerings was effective. The priesthood in Jerusalem, of course, felt that such offerings were reserved for the Jerusalem altar, for that, they believed, was the altar meant in Deut. 12:5-7. Reconciliation with the Samaritan sect at Mt. Gerizim, on the other hand, was impossible precisely because the latter believed that Shechem was the place which God had chosen for the central altar.

THE HELLENISTIC EMPIRES

         In the fourth century B.C. the center of political power moved westward while Greek culture was making an energetic and partially effective attempt to penetrate the east. Culturally, Greece had long been important. Its brilliant cluster of city-states had generated a vitality and originality still unsurpassed. Particularly at Athens political vigor, expressed in civic interest, extensive sea power, and outreaching colonies, had joined with intellectual and artistic genius to create a permanently stimulating heritage. An eastward movement of Greek influence may appear strange. Greek colonies and trade had previously been limited to the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. Two factors, however, directed attention eastward. The Greek cities in Asia Minor were inevitably bound up with trends farther east. Moreover, the competing city-states of Greece recognized that Persia, which at Marathon and Salamis had tried to conquer the Greeks, was still a threat. These divided city-states found unity and protection, but only through unwilling subjection to Macedonia. Philip of Macedon (359-336 B.C.), whose capital was at Pella, extended his power southward until a decisive battle in 338 B.C. gave him control of all Greece except Sparta. It fell to Philip’s son, Alexander the Great (336-323 B.C.), to carry out the war Philip had planned against Persia. This brilliant pupil of Aristotle, a provincial governor at sixteen, able general at eighteen, and king at twenty, swiftly won loyalty in Macedonia and Greece. In 334 B.C. he crossed the Hellespont into Asia Minor to challenge Persia. A victory at the River Granicus opened Asia Minor to conquest. The next spring, he passed through the Cilician Gates and decisively defeated the Persian army of Darius at Issus. Turning south, he subdued Syria, Palestine, and Egypt. At the western mouth of the Nile he founded the famous city of Alxandria. Returning northward, he crossed the Euphrates at Thapsacus, moved east, and in 331 B.C., at Gaugamela, near Arbela, he crushed the remaining forces of Darius and was master of the Persian Empire. Alexander continued eastward. His route took him through Babylon, Susa, Persepolis, Ecbatana, and Zadracarta. At Prophthasia, in Drangiana, when it had become apparent that he wanted to unite East and West in one great brotherhood, revolt was brewing among his followers, but he crushed it, and moved on into Bactria, Sogdiana, and India. There his troops mutinied and refused to go farther. He returned westward, moving his troops partly by sea and partly by a land route through Gedrosia and Carmania. At Babylon death ended his plan to create a world brotherhood with a culture prevailingly Greek (323 B.C.). He had proved a military genius; he had planted Greek cities and Greek influence in a wide area. But he made no deep and lasting imprint on the eastern regions he conquered. His work and the later Roman conquest did much, however, to determine the direction in which Judaism and Christianity were later to spread. At his death there was no logical successor to hold the empire intact, and Alexander’s generals fell to fighting among themselves. One of the many rivals, Ptolemy Lagi, emerged with secure possession of Egypt. Seleucus, another general, was able in 312 B.C. to establish the Seleucid dynasty in Syria and the east. The battle of Ipsus in 301 B.C. finally excluded from Asia the Antigonid dynasty, which henceforth contented itself with Macedonia. Three great empires existed, and they continued in essentially the same form until the eastern expansion of Rome absorbed them one by one. In Macedonia, Antigonus Gonatas ruled (283-239 B.C.). He was not able, however, to bring Greece under his control. In Egypt the Ptolemaic dynasty was firmly established, and Ptolemy II Philadelphus (285-246 B.C.) ruled also Cyrene, the southern part of the Aegean Sea, Lycia, Cyprus, and Palestine. The dry climate of Egypt has permitted the survival of thousands of papyri, and from these records much of our knowledge of ancient life and history is derived. Tradition dates the translation of the Pentateuch from Hebrew into Greek in the reign of Ptolemy Philadelphus. The number of Greek-speaking Jews in Egypt, especially in Alexandria, was increasing, and they needed a Greek translation of their Scriptures. The greater part of Alexander’s empire, however, was in the hand of the Seleucid Antiochus I (280262 B.C.), whose capital was at Antioch in Syria. Northern Asia Minor, including Bithynia under Nicomedes, Pontus under Mithridates, and Galatia, where the invading Gauls had just settled, was outside his control. But his empire extended from Thrace in Europe to the borders of India, although the effectiveness of his control over the eastern provinces is open to doubt. These eastern areas were soon to be lost, and Parthia was soon to begin its rise to power. At this time Palestine was fulfilling its usual role of border region. Ptolemy Lagi had obtained control of it when Alexander’s empire began to break up,and Ptolemaic control, though challenged more than once by the Seleucids, continued until 198 B.C., when Antiochus III added Palestine to the Seleucid empire. From that time until the coming of the Romans in 63 B.C. the history of Palestine was closely linked with that of Syria.

“The Great Empires of Israelite Time” George Ernest; and, Filson, Floyd Vivian (edited by); Albright, William Foxwell (introductory article by) Wright (Author), 1956). }}

The Prophetic Gift & Style of the Word is seen in Adam as having the only & initial direct communication with God; in Abel’s offering & blood in type; in Enoch & Noah as witnesses of God in a depraved age; in the patriarchs from Abram to Moses as those chosen, called & sent by God. In Moses we discovered a fullness not met with before, and the model for the generations that came after him. Thus from Moses to Samuel to Elijah & Elisha to Isaiah & all the scribal prophets, that is, the prophets who wrote down their prophecies to be kept by succeeding generations. Each prophet, as an individual, had peculiar characteristics that would be used uniquely by the Holy Spirit according to God’s will.

     Isaiah signifies by his name the Lord’s Salvation, as does Joshua & Jesus. Isaiah signifies Salvation, & the Book of Isaiah is the Book of Salvation. He was by birth Isaiah benAmos, and as the son of Amos he was, they say, of the royal household & blood related to King Hezekiah, but of this Isaiah does not ever indicate; neither should we suggest that he was the son of that Amos of the Book of Amos, although some Rabbis teach that his father Amos was also a Prophet. He was familiar with the Court of 5 Kings of Jerusalem, 4 Kings he prophesied under, and the last one, the 5th, was Manasseh by whom the Jews say he was killed by being sawn asunder. Isaiah without doubt was a scribe & scholar of high order, & naturally was aware of the imperial expansion of the Mesopotamian powers of the Assyrians & Chaldeans or Babylonians. He was also familiar with Egypt, Syria, Arabia, & many other nations that Israel interacted with during his lifetime. His knowledge of the Books of Moses, of Joshua & Judges, & of Samuel, & the Chronicles of the Kings from David to Hezekiah is evident. He lived during the days in which the Assyrian King captured the Northern Kingdom of Samaria, along with other nations adjacent to Samaria & Israel; and he lived in the real threat of Jerusalem & Judah being destroyed by his army. The Assyrian threat was the fear that the Lord used to deal with His people & show them the divine reasons & causes of this present danger, as well as to why Israel was destroyed & exiled. The Lord had predicted for several generations that judgment & destruction was coming upon both the Houses of Israel & Judah if they did not repent & alter their ways & deeds. The Lord will reveal Himself in this judgment on Israel & by it on all the Gentiles. He as God of all the earth, the Lord of all mankind, the King of Heaven, the Creator & Savior of the world, will deal with all nations at same time & in the same way as with Israel. Thus in Isaiah we will hear & see more of His direct communication that we have not seen since Moses.

        The Lord reveals Israel’s Rebellion in relations to Himself, then their Disobedience to the Law, & at last their Failure to each other. But all these things are related to & connected with larger purposes that go back to His original purpose in the creation. God has a purpose in creation then He must do what He wants & need to bring that about. He no doubt inherently has designed the structure of life to lead towards that very end. His purpose with Man beginning with Adam & terminating in Christ is predetermined, but the way & means in the actuality of this purpose is not predetermined nor could be if creatures are free in will & movement, though bound to His determinate limitations & boundaries as seen in Job. Though man’s failure in the Fall required Him to adapt to the human corruption, and to adjust the divine plan, nothing took Him by surprise. The legal system that was instituted by Moses at His instruction & insistence showed adaptation & regulation as we clearly see. There are things & words that He must bring in by injection & infusion into humanity, but many more things & words are responsive & reactionary to the human experience & behavior. The Life of God as lived out in Man is diluted & blurred & diminished in & by Sin; thus in the Mosaic system He must communicate to man as to sin & sins in regard to offerings & sacrifices, both in the cause & the remedy. As we have seen, and as we have often noted, He must follow man in his wanderings, because He loves His creatures & children. Isaiah must bring this home to Israel & to us.

       We see this alteration in how the Jews are identified in relations to the Lord God: they are both a Virgin & a Harlot, a Virgin by creation, a Harlot by transgression. The Virgin-Whore theme of man, thus mankind, in the human experience & psychological evolution is what is journaled in Scripture. We see this in the godly & the wicked in Psalms 1, in Abel & Cain, in two cities, & in hundreds of such comparisons. Among all the nations of mankind, God selected one to invest His time, effort, & resources to cultivate a divine spiritual man, first a child then a woman. The human condition is the same in the elect as it is in the reprobate, the election alone making it holy & unique, that is of divine spiritual value. So God must judge the one as the other, with mitigated differences suited to each according their relations to Him as Lord & God. Man can return to Him at any time along the human journey in the world, but as we know mankind has not chosen to do so out of free will, but must be attracted & captured to God. The even larger picture on the cosmic scale follows the same pattern, but with angels & spirits the nature of judgment & salvation we cannot know or say clearly from Scripture; but it is all creation. Israel is to be the Firstborn among the Nations, and the Gentiles must be grafted unto the Tree of God of which Israel is a Primary Branch springing or branching out of the Hebrew Trunk rooted in the Semitic Roots in the Seed of the Woman.

       Israel’s deliverance from Egyptian bondage was purchased by the ransom price of the firstborn of Egypt, God striking to death the Egyptians on their refusal in Pharaoh to release the Israelites to go out unto God. This blood-money or death-payment secured a debt to God perpetually by the Jews; first in the House of Jacob of the 12 Tribes, then in Judah by the Monarchy of the House of David. God was bound to them and they were bound to Him, so that they were damaging & destroying the divine union; for the shared relationship between them & Him was analogous to human marriage, they were in a spiritual marriage of God & man, of the Lord, as Jehovah, & Israel. Thus the Land, the City, the Place, the Tent, the Tabernacle, the House & the Temple represented & signified the People, and the People the Man. The Lord was the Divine Man living in His Divine House by the Divine Life & Way, that is, by the Book. By disobedience they defiled the marriage, and the offspring were corrupted, & the pollution became total depravity, at which point almost nothing was redeemable, nothing, or none, worth saving, so judgment with destruction needs come; and in the ruin something new & fresh to be created, first in a remnant, then in Messiah.

      Israel must come to nothing, dispersed among the Gentiles, to bear witness to such a holy & righteous God, One Who does not tolerate evil & wickedness in all its countless forms, not even in His chosen people. The Book was that Holy Law of Words & Commandments, written, then transmitted, preserved, & disseminated in all the world, given to the Hebrews from Abram to Moses to Jesus. Isaiah introduces this condition & situation in the opening of his book; then he elaborates on this in the chapters which follow. He transitions from their Adultery to their Idolatry, from their impurity to their depravity, from the spots of leprosy to its total consumption of the body as with Job. In fact the leprosy of Uzziah for his presumption & defilement in the priesthood was a specific instance & sign of such. They were His Beloved Garden & the Love-Song of His Heart, but they were unfruitful, giving dead children or aborted fetuses. What to do with them became a divine problem to solve; to both punish them yet to reform them, to exile them for the land’s sake, but to reclaim them for His Name’s sake. The natural evolution of the imperialism of the mighty nations was a chosen instrument, of which Moses in Deuteronomy had clearly warned & predicted. As with the Egyptian Power from the Exodus to David, so here & now from Solomon to the Exile the Mesopotamian Powers, especially of Assyria, became His new Rod. The imperial expansion was a real human experience & development, but God could have interfered & intervened on Israel’s & the Jew’s behalf, if they heeded His prophetic warnings. Though He was God in the Heavens, yet He manifestly resided on earth on Zion in Jerusalem’s Temple, yet He had vacated His Holy Place because of His unholy people. Isaiah is allowed, in his shared unholiness of Israel, to see in vision the High & Holy Lord God enthroned in His Holy Court; & Isaiah is purged with fire & commissioned to speak to Israel till their captivity & exile is accomplished. This he does under King Jotham & more so under King Ahaz.

      The Assyrian power was advancing westward into Syria, northern Canaan or Palestine, southward into Samaria, down to Judaea; gaining increasing strength & exhibiting terrible cruelty in warfare. The Prophets Jonah, Amos, Hosea, & Micah, along with others not documented (and in fact going back to Elijah & Elisha), were & had spoken of the impending doom both to Israel & Judah, as well as to the Gentiles & to Nineveh (see the Books of Jonah & Nahum). In the Northern Kingdom the apostasy & depravity had reached its final condition in Jeroboam II, and the Regal Records shows the details of Samaria’s struggles with Syria & their alliances with the Gentiles, both Syria & Assyria; and of Judah with Egypt. Though the Land is Immanuel’s Land, yet God has rejected it, He has allowed squatters to claim it for themselves, and He has gotten nothing for His investment & labor. He must by Himself, & of Himself, first purge the Land, then He must reclaim it in order to make it what He desires. He must go into hiding, speaking to them from a distance, rising early to warn & reprove them by the mouth of His servants the Prophets. In time the prophetic line will consummate in John the Baptist as the Forerunner & Preparer of the Lord as foretold by Malachi. In the Incarnation the Word will be made Flesh to fulfill all the words of the Law & the Prophets & the Psalms. Immanuel & His disciples (the Christians), as with the faithful Jewish Remnant, will bring in a new dispensation, a new way & testament in a new covenant as Jeremiah will describe. This New Light shines into all the world, enlightening the Gentiles; bringing life & grace to the heathens. Messiah’s Kingdom will spread increasingly neutralizing the Kingdoms of this world, and establishing among the peoples of the earth a Witness & Testimony as a Sign & Memorial of His faithfulness to His Word & Guardian of His Name. Let the Bible reader remember the life process of the divine creation: the seed must die to birth life, rooted in the ground or land, that is the earth, the tree or plants grows according to the divine creation by nurture & care, according to its needs & nature, with adornment & fruit as God ordained; this by the riches of the words of His mouth, in all the provisions of His wisdom, and the protection of His power. This is the Sign of God, that God in Himself in His real Manifestation as God-with-us, Immanu-El, will save the Jew as well as the Gentile.

      We must reflect further by reflections on the Burdens of Isaiah. Chapters 13-35 shows the Lord’s burden concerning His people & the Gentiles that interacted with them. It is God with man; we have all like foolish sheep wandered off from Him; though He seeks to save us we are always resisting His Spirit, some more than others, but all by nature. His concern for us to live and not die, to be healthy & not sick, to be near & dear to Him , and not to be prodigal children who forget God. As children we are His servants & vessels to manifest His likeness & image, His character & glory, namely all that He is & all that He wants to be in us: God with us. Whether by Tent, Tabernacle, House or Temple His Sanctuary & Home is in His people & His creation. Because of Evil & the Evil One the Lord must be the Lord of Hosts, God must be a General & Captain, a Commander-in-Chief of His Armies. The cosmic conflict begun before the world existed is being played out in man’s brief history in time. Our temporal & natural reality & experience copies the true, larger, greater, eternal & spiritual reality of which the Book speaks. In Isaiah the Gentile powers in Kingdoms of the Nations are a continuance of infinite higher spiritual powers & principalities that are evidenced in human development & progression. These things become clearer as we move through the prophetic books of the Old Testament, becoming magnified in the New Testament, and continues to the present. Daniel will be the Prophet of these final things, the apocalyptic eschatological prophet of the Old Testament to prepare the Way of Messiah & the Book of Revelation.

       In the Burdens or Oracles we have the doctrines & truth as to the relations the Gentiles have to God in regard to His people. Every King of the nations & kingdoms is a copy & reflection of either God or what opposes God, that is a god of some sort. Lucifer was such, a distorted image of God; at enmity with God. Babylon was the first to subvert God & heaven; their confusion was their judgment. The various Gentile nations as Moab, Egypt, Arabs, Edom, Arabia, Tyre, and the like are dealt with & judged as they treated God & His people. Both the Mesopotamian & Mediterranean world are involved in the divine book, and are implicated or absolved, accused or exonerated, and all such like, as to how they deal with Israel & the Jew. The countless ways the nations interacted, traded with, or negotiated with Israel were really reflections on the Lord, and they often by such involvement with the nations were adulterating their union with God, and thereby diluting their faith in Him. In each case whereby man has distorted God’s way He has had to intervene by interposing Himself in the dispensation; and also use a vehicle in a certain men or a man to transport His word in the age. This takes us to the next focus of the prophetic burdens, that to expose man’s true nature in regard to sin, after the fall, not by creation, He must deal with man in such a way that the enemy is visible in his real wickedness & adversarial disposition towards God & goodness.

       Satan’s nature is seen in the Book of Job, and in Isaiah he is seen at work in all world, acquiring kingdoms & power over all men, still attempting to complete his workings of the Tower of Babel. Man’s treachery against God and against all things divine must be met in wisdom & power, seasoned with compassion & mercy. By His making war on evil He thereby magnifies His glory as light becomes brighter in deeper darkness. His salvation follows his punishment, and His discipline works in us to His praise & glory; our senses no longer captivated by the evil & vice we are naturally inclined to, and habitually practice. So He produces on earth a new people walking in His holiness & righteousness , His praise & truth, patiently enduring to inherit a heavenly Kingdom where the Lord is King of all the earth as He is of heaven. It is woe to world because of offenses. The Lord as God is revealed to govern the nations in the good and in the evil; examples abound in Scripture of His sovereignty: in the protecting mark or sign on Cain; in Melchizedek Priest of the Most High God blessing Abram; in Abimelech King of Gerar of Canaan; in Pharaoh of Egypt; in Jethro the Priest of Median; in Balaam of PadanAram; & in Nebuchadnezzar, Cyrus, etc. How & when He chooses to interact & intervene is obscure & a profound mystery, but He truly does engage Himself in the world with His creatures. Hezekiah is about to die according to God’s determination, and sends word to him by Isaiah to prepare himself to meet God; but King Hezekiah pleads for more time on grounds that he has been good to God, so God gives him 15 more years to live. In the obliged years Manasseh is born, the Assyrian power is delayed, and many other things are altered. Yet the progression of history continued without obstruction; it is slower incrementally, that the Lord might accomplish His word. He works as He pleases, He installs & establishes His heart’s desire, and works wonders & miracles in defiance to natural laws without disturbing order or nature.

       His people are invincible as long as He determines to protect them; when He chooses to permit the enemy to destroy, to tempt, to capture there is good reason in the prey or in the predator. But He will always be just & righteous in His ways as Abraham discovers in regard to Lot in Sodom. Ariel is the Lioness of God, yet He makes her a Lamb for slaughter. This is recorded in the Book to instruct man concerning the ways of God. And so the Old Testament will terminate for the New Testament to be generated. We cannot escape the judgment of God in time or place, He will keep His word both now & hereafter. The prophetic word will never fail nor made void, it will come, whether we await it or ignore it; it is certain & final, because God’s trustworthiness is in it. He must deal with man, both Adam & Christ, by the law of reciprocity mitigated by the principle of retaliation, jus talionis or lex talionis, eye for eye, tit for tat, and reap what we sow. With God or God with us makes as Lions, without Him we are cowards, insane, & food for the foe. His intensity against His chosen people is commensurate to the treasures & wealth committed to them, the greater the light given the more He demands from those who see. Israel & the Jews are divinely governed by a standard infinitely more demanding than the Gentiles; and within the people the leaders, and among the leaders the King. But after He has recompensed justice, and meted out righteousness, then He will in turn against those who were used in the judgment; for He alone is true & just, and all men are culpable in nature & deeds. These things takes us to the end of the prophetic reflections of Isaiah the prophet concerning the burdens & woes of judgment.
Chapters 36-39 will focus on King Hezekiah and the inevitable Captivity & Exile of Israel. The Lord must show His sovereignty over the peoples & kingdoms of the world; the Assyrian King cannot go unpunished for His arrogance & defiance against the true & living God so that all the earth can see His power & His place. But He chooses to wait till King Hezekiah & the Jews turn to Him for help. Just He delivered Israel from the Egyptian furnace, now He saves them from the Assyrian sword; but only for a while. Though Ethiopia be hundreds of miles away, yet news of his march against Assyria was used to change the heart & plans of the Assyrian. And because the Assyrian was so arrogant against the Lord, His Avenging Angel wiped out most of his armies; and God determines the Assyrian’s death. We see that all the nations are His creatures, that He uses or discards them at will if He so pleases. He rides the human power as a man rides a horse, or a man drives a chariot. Nothing can stop God when He determines to create, to judge, or to save. But judgment on Israel cannot be nullified because He punishes the punisher that punishes. In wisdom He finds a way to test the hearts of men. King Hezekiah was a mere 40 years old when God tells him of his soon death in order to spare him of the evil calamity soon to take place against Jerusalem. So He offers Hezekiah a life extension of 15 years, in which the son of Hezekiah will seal the fate of the House of Israel & the House of David in Judah. Out of this trial of death Hezekiah offers a poem of praise to the Lord God as a reflection of the meaning of his life in the Hands of God. We learn by this submission of Hezekiah how the Holy Spirit inspires a psalm of praise, a song & hymn to God, a poem & prayer. The pattern seen in the Shepherd-King David, the sweet psalmist of Israel, the poet of Judah, is exhibited in Hezekiah, and this written will for generations to follow bring countless praises to God & comfort to saints.

      The life extension for King Hezekiah is now tested by the tempter in the King of Babylon sympathy & a kind friendly gesture by his servants sent with gifts of words & wealth. It is revealed that the messengers were really spies for the King of Babylon, who will utterly destroy the city of Jerusalem, the royal houses, the Royal Palace, & the Lord’s Temple; and take the Jews captives to exile in Babylon. This ends the first division of Isaiah in which the nature & features of the judgments of God unfolded to create the Book of God. The duration or interval of the probationary period between the grace shown to Hezekiah by means of the prophet Isaiah to the capture & destruction of the city, and the exile of the people will be about 100 years, and some 25 years more to complete the capture & exile. Isaiah living into Manasseh’s reign a few years will still have a prophetic ministry in a written form which will be chapters 40-66. (Note: The years between Hezekiah and Zedekiah total 140, & we take away 15 years from Hezekiah’s reign to reach the 14th year when the Assyrian King defied the Lord. (Hez. 29 yrs + Man. 55 + Am. 2 + Jos. 31 + Jehoa. 3 mnths + Jehoi. 11 + Jehoiach. 3 mnths. + Zed. 11 yrs. = 140 (139 1/2) less 15yrs to the 14th yr. of Kng Hez. = 125 yrs. (124 1/2)). Thus some 100 years & some 7 generations of regal government of the Judaean Kingdom are involved in the Prophetic Vision of the second half of the Book of Isaiah, and so taking in the rest of the Prophetic Books of the Old Testament from Jeremiah to Malachi.

      The prophetic word commences with divine consolation to the people of God, the comfort with which we are comforted & encouraged by God is the same consolation whereby we console others. In the prophetic visions of the first half of Isaiah the people & the nations, that is, the world is threatened & punished in divine judgment; but now the Lord desires to deal with her in grace. He will display the divine consolation in the Incarnation, the Manifestation of God Himself. The way of His Incarnation will be by Voice in the Wilderness, the desert of Judah, the Voice will preach that all the world is a transient glory, fading as a shadow, as a wilted flower; but the Voice declares that the Word of God is eternal. We respond in our preaching, teaching, praising & prophesying that God is with us; Jehovah-Jesus is coming as a Shepherd for His sheep. He is the Lord God, the Creator, Maker; He is wise, knowing, righteous; He is true & living; we cannot exhaust words to describe Him, nor could the world contain the books that could be written concerning Him; for He is not an idol, image, thing, idea, or any limited notion that we might have of Him. He is all that & more, and as He is so is His care for His own, for those who need & want Him, for those who know Him not, nor understand His love for His creatures, people, & those who love Him, seek Him, obey Him, trust Him, & suffer for Him.       Idolatry destroys the truth concerning Him, and distorts His image, His glory, & His nature; but He pursues us & providentially guides us in all our journeys, ventures, & experiences for His own Namesake. He chooses men as He wills from where He wills, to be His Anointed to accomplish His word, men like the Persian King Cyrus the Great, to be His Messenger & Angel, to be His Messiah & Christ. He chooses & ordains decades or centuries before they are born as if they exist, ready to do, to say, to be, His bidding. As He chooses so He rejects; but to those He has chosen, and made great, then reduced to a small remnant He comforts with blessed assurances to always be there for them & in them, to help & succor them in every trial, to defend them from any foe; all this and more, to make His Name, His Word, Himself, a Firm Foundation, the Eternal Rock of Ages, Who if He cannot find a man among mankind to save & help & heal His own people, that He Himself by Himself, in His own Body & in His own Presence will come to their rescue & aid. Further He challenges all men and all their divine useless idols to compete & contend with the Living Lord God, the King of Israel, the Ruler of the universe, and Maker of all things do as He does, to speak & predict as He does, to reveal & conceal as He does if there is any life or truth to them. They are all lifeless, dead, stupid, unreal things made by human minds & hands who are just like them. Idolatry is a senseless enterprise, an awful vocation, dirty business; to think we can take a created thing, like a tree or rock, like the stars & planets, or a man & one’s self to equal or replace or challenge the Majestic Infinite Incomparable Eternal Living God the Creator & Judge & Savior is utter insanity & hellish. But His people need not fear or be awestruck with such men or nations, not to worry about their power or idols, their idolatry is but the vanity of their thoughts & words that never does anything real; they have no life or power in themselves, they are myths, imaginations, & mental figments. But His people will conquer them with truth & life, the remnant shall become a great multitude of peoples & nations, both Jews & Gentiles will be swept away by the flow & current of the Eternal River that streams from His Throne. He creates people, He forms nations, He commands all His creatures at will & at random to glorify Himself & secure their hearts for Himself. Babylon or all Gentiles cannot impede His movement, they cannot resist His will to prevail against Him, they cannot harm those who He loves & chooses without His notice or permission. Though He punishes His beloved people on account of their disobedience & rebellion, yet He always remembers afterwards, to reassure them of all His promises & display His attributes. All this & a thousand more such things may be said if we had the time. But Isaiah must speak of Messiah in detail, then of the Messianic People.
Isaiah’s prophetic monologue continues concerning the stupidity & insanity of idolatry in the chosen people who know the true living God, evidenced by many miracles & messages, works & words. This evil in man must be eradicated, in a nation, it must be punished. But when God chooses the evil to judge the good who are in evil, He must recompense the evil for their own evil, and for the evil in their treatment of the good. He who shows no mercy will receive no mercy. He reveals His forth coming judgment upon His people to secure their repentance; in their obstinacy their judgment only intensifies in Jehovah’s Spirit & Anointed working to reform & reclaim them.        This work of Messiah’s Spirit is seen in the Incarnation in His becoming like one of His people in order to share their weakness & their sufferings. In His birth & life He experiences human experiences to divinely know & understand what His people experience, and in this human fellowship the divine nature can take them up into Himself as an offering to God, an acceptable sacrifice. He does this to vindicate God in truth, holiness, righteousness, & vengeance; so that mercy, love, peace, & life may be reconciled in the atonement, the propitiating sacrifice that the Mosaic Law testifies of in great detail. This appeasement to God is a necessity for all men, Jew or Gentile, He says to Him: “It is too light a thing that Thou shouldest be My Servant to raise up the Tribes of Jacob, and to restore the Preserved of Israel: I will also give Thee for a Light to the Gentiles, that Thou mayest be My Salvation unto the end of the earth.” and again: “Kings shall see and arise; Princes, and they shall worship“; and again: “In an acceptable time have I answered Thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped Thee; and I will preserve Thee, and give Thee for a Covenant of the people, to raise up the land, to make them inherit the desolate heritages“. Messiah will Shepherd man back to God as their Lord & Savior: as ImmanuEl.

      The prophetic monologue continues, but now he must focus on the Suffering Servant become an adulteress unfaithful wife, an embarrassment to the Lord, a dishonor to God, and a shame to His Name. The Lord in judgment felt compassion for His people, the divorced wife, the despised virgin, the harlot; He desires to redeem & restore the divine relationship, but in looking He found no way with any man. He decides in Himself & for Himself to become the Man, Mediator, Reconciler, the Kinsman Redeemer & to remarry the widow. Messiah will discover in the Volume of the Book these things written about Him, and in Isaiah the Divine Pattern that He must follow. Unlike His children, the rejected harlot, He will suffer against sin & sinners to the shedding of blood: He gives His Back to be whipped, His Cheeks & Hair to be strucked & plucked, and His Face to shame & spitting. This He did for God & for man. As He did with Abraham & Sarah so He will do again with the restored remnant & the redeemed Gentiles. No monster can impede Him.     The redeemed return from captivity to a new relationship with the Lord, and in a new world, Jerusalem awakes in judgment & condemnation internally of sin unto death; Zion awakes in salvation & redemption in the resurrection of life. This transformation from death to life will be by means of the good news preached of the salvation of God Who rules all things & all men. The Word is God revealed, made known & manifest; the Suffering Servant Who is assaulted & disfigured in His wisdom & obedience. So Isaiah contemplates in sorrowful vision this Suffering One: The Arm of the Lord is revealed as the Gospel of Salvation; He is the tenderest of humanity, He is ordinary & unattractive in His sufferings, despised & rejected of men; smitten of God, wounded man’s transgressions & sins; His punishment is our peace & healing. The Shepherd lays down His life for His lost sheep; and He must go after them and pay the price of love & justice as the lamb of God. He must appease & satisfy God’s justice, at the same time exhibit God’s love for the world, by His substitutional death on man’s behalf, bearing in His own body our judgment as the Innocent One, as God’s Beloved He give up His life for the many. In his death is God vindicated and Scripture fulfilled; and in His resurrection is eternal life & glory. God will be pleased, in His resurrection & transfiguration He will be rewarded with power & a kingdom; having poured out His soul by bloodshed, He dies with the wicked & visits hell to survey His victory over sin & Satan as the Great Interceder, the Mediator that Job prayed for in his sufferings.       Thus Isaiah sees the result of the Suffering Messiah in a new world by rejuvenation, then afterwards by a new creation. Though His adulteress wife & idolatrous people, like the antediluvians of the days of Noah & the Great Flood, so too the resurrection of the dead & salvation of sinners, when He defeats our foe, defends us against the enemy, & blesses us with eternal life. This word will not fail says the Lord God. We end with this section of Isaiah’s prophetic word concerning Messiah & His people in chapter 54; and we will come to the final 12 chapters concerning new things in chapters 55- 60-66.

      ‘We come to the final & closing prophetic section of the 2nd Isaiah, wherein Isaiah must bring the entire Prophecy & Testimony into one grand harmonious whole, and reveal a new people, new way, new order, & new creation.’ The Lord’s Spirit continues to speak in Isaiah, thus in the Book of Isaiah, and thus in Scripture; He speaks as Jehovah Himself, that is, as God; and also as Messiah, that is, as Jesus the Christ, the Son of God: (again the reader is entreated to consider Psalms 2, along with all the other Messianic Psalms & Biblical types, verses, example from Genesis to Isaiah.)        The Lord invites all to come to the Eternal Feast and partake of spiritual & heavenly things freely, that is, of grace. The invitation of life, in a New Covenant, that is, the Sure Mercies of David; in the Messiah, the Savior & Shepherd of the Jew & Gentile, by God’s glory. The invitation is here & now before it is too late; His Word is sure & steadfast, it will not fail, but will go & do His bidding; the word of His Thoughts & Ways; that becomes a Name & Eternal Sign: Jesus the Christ: the Word Incarnate: Immanu-El.       The Gentiles are invited to join His chosen people in obedience to the Word, and in Celebration of the Name in this salvation. Judgment comes to the wicked, but the godly are kept from the calamity of His wrath; as seen in Psalms 1. The Eternal Holy Hidden God resides with humble saints, those who in spirit are the poor, weak, broken, believing, & obedient with patience. He speaks peace to the Jew near & dear to Him; and to the Gentiles who He invites in love & grace; but there is no peace for the wicked. The Lord’s people are depraved hypocrites, they are wicked & ungodly; their Feasts & Fast are repugnant. The Lord’s Feast & Fasts is in a godly life of love & charity, of negating the evils in society, of caring for the oppressed, freeing slaves, assisting widows & orphans, especially neglected babies & infants, befriending the strangers & foreigners & aliens & immigrants; of treating all men fairly, not harming or assaulting others, especially the weak & vulnerable; speaking honestly, truthfully; namely according to God, & His Words, & the Ten Commandments, & all good & healthy doctrines & practices. It is to these whether Jews or Gentiles, the Remnant or the outcast, that He invites, & He promises to hear & answer their cries, prayer & petitions. These are the New People that He will create out of the remnant of lost mankind of every nation, tongue, & race.       The Lord has been away from His people, searching among His people & among all the nations of the earth for a man to be what He desires, & to become what is needed; but in the decades & centuries He found no man usable. So God Himself by His own Arm of Righteousness intervenes in man’s doom; and He, the Redeemer, will come to Zion bringing salvation & a new covenant, to remove Jacob’s transgression, by the Spirit & the Word.
The new age in which the remnant redeemed returned people will be such that His people will be a light to the world. God again will be rejoined to His people in harmony with all His design which He purposed from the beginning. The land will be reoccupied & all will be restored, rebuilt, & renewed. A new order in the world will be initiated based on His grace & mercy. Israel & the Gentiles will share His glory & presence. The nations will honor & serve His people with the Lord within the Walls of Salvation & Gates of Praise in His Glory. This is an intimation of the millennial Kingdom of Christ of which the New Testament speaks repeatedly & the Book of Revelation records.       Messiah with the seven-fold Spirit of God is ordained to preach this good news, and to save man by shepherding them in wisdom & grace. He offers to man what cannot be found or bought in the world, and he ignores none, he rejects none who come to Him as God wills. There will be a new celebration and a new worship shared by both Jews & Gentiles. The salvation of mankind will be seen by everyone everywhere in righteousness & praise to the Lord. The Lord’s people will become a new virgin to the Lord as a new bride, one He desires & seeks with Salvation & Judgment. The Remnant will be the kernel of the new people of the Lord Who redeems them by blood: “Wherefore art Thou red in Thine apparel, and Thy garments like him that treadeth in the winevat? I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the peoples there was no man with Me: yea, I trod them in Mine anger, and trampled them in My wrath; and their lifeblood is sprinkled upon My garments, and I have stained all My raiment. For the day of vengeance was in My heart, and the year of My redeemed is come. And I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore Mine Own Arm brought salvation unto Me; and My wrath, it upheld Me. And I trod down the peoples in Mine anger, and made them drunk in My wrath, and I poured out their lifeblood on the earth.” We have great joy & praise for this gracious Savior as Isaiah expressed; but truth is the old people did not appreciate this wonderful Lord God; instead they rebelled against Him, resisted & grieved His Holy Spirit as they did in Moses’ day. Though He was their Shepherd & Father, yet He became their enemy. He has forsaken His Sanctuary to destruction by the destroyers. Though He tried to win the heart of His people, they were a harlot & treacherous woman to Him. Yet the new people from the remnant will be made of many Gentiles who never knew the Lord, they are now called & the old rejected. The New Man is the Seed of Jacob, the Lord’s Servant, Messiah. Those who come to Him, who follow Him will share His Kingdom & enjoy His blessings.
The final things are a new people, new age, new kingdom, new earth & new heaven. The Throne of God is heaven and His Footstool is on Earth, He needs no House to reside with His people, with His saints; but He repudiates the ungodly & hypocrite. The godly are rewarded with His presence & His word, and the ungodly rewarded for their evil in shame & judgment. The Virgin Bride, the New Woman Wife, will birth the Man-Child in one day without labor; they will enjoy the new world, like a river of peace; the Gentiles’ glory will be theirs, she will nurse her children with comfort. The Lord will come to judge the world in righteousness; He will war with His Fire & His Sword to rid the world of idolatry & corruption; and to deliver the remnant who seek Him in truth. This New Heavens & New Earth will last forever, and the remnant & seed will have a new name; and they will worship the Lord forever; but the wicked shall burn in endless fire.

Isaiah Selections (24): Bullinger (CBC), Auchincloss, Plumptre, Darby, Keil & Delitzsch, Hengstenberg, Nagelsbach, Wordsworth, Chaldee Paraphrase of Jonathan Ben Uziel, Calvin, Alexander, Smith, Henderson, Robinson, Birks, Newton, Bullinger (CB), Davidson, Driver, Barnes, Govett, Young, & Lowth.

(1)
Bullinger’s Chronology ‘Summary of Principal Events’ Appendix 50. viii, from B.C. 1431 to A.D. 69.; but with modifications & additions. Jubilee Years (50 yrs) are listed for Period of Judges & between OT & NT Apocryphal Times. Decades (10 yrs) are inserted from 1000 BC to AD 100.

Judges: Years of Servitude & Years of Rule
1450:
1431: 1st Servitude. Mesopotamia 8 yrs 1423: Othniel. 40yrs [rest]
1400:
1393-1392: 1st Jubilee Year (Anno Dei reckoning). 1383: 2nd Servitude. Moab 18 yrs
1365: Ehud. 80 yrs [rest]
1350:
1300:
1285: 3rd Servitude. Canaan 20 yrs
1265: Barak. 40 yrs
1250:
1225: 4th Servitude. Midian 7 yrs
1218: Gideon. 40 yrs
1200:
1178: Tola. 23 yrs
1155: Jair. 4 yrs
1151: Jephthah. 6 yrs (300 years from Entry into Land. See note on chart 50. IV.)
1150:
1145: Ibzan. 7 yrs
1138: Elon. 10 yrs
1128: Abdon. 8 yrs
1120: 5th Servitude. Philistine. 40 yrs
[Total years of Rest & Rule: 258; & Total years of Servitude: 93.]
1100:
1080: Eli, 40 years.
1050: [400 years of Judges ends. 50 years Transition to Monarchy.] 1040: Samuel, 40 years.
1020: “Reformation”. 1st Sam. 7.
1000: Ends 45 years of Acts 13:20, & 490 years from year they should have entered into Land.
1000: KINGDOM. Saul, 40 years. [450 years of Judges ends, Monarchy begins.]
990: David b.
980:
974: David’s 1st Anointing (@16).

970:
960: David, 40 years. Second Anointing (@30). 953: David’s 3rd Anointing (@37).
950:
940:
930:
920: Solomon, 40 years.
917: Temple begun. 573 years after Exodus. (Cp. Acts 13:20-23).
910: Temple finished.
900:
897: End of 20 years, the “two houses” finished (1Kings 9:10).
890:
880: Disruption. Rehoboam, 17 years.
870:
863: Abijam, 3 years.
860: Asa, 41 years.
850:
840:
830:
820:
819: Jehoshaphat, 25 years.
810:
800
796: Jehoram’s accession.
794: Jehoshaphat d.
790:
789: Ahaziah’s accession. 788: Ahaziah slain by Jehu.
788-782: Gap, 6 years. Athaliah’s usurpation.
782: Jehoash, 41 years.
780:
770:
760:
750:
743: Amaziah, 29 years.
740:
730:
720:
714: Amaziah ends.
714-701: Gap, 13 years.
710:
701: Uzziah (Azariah), 52 years.
700:
690: Jonah? Amos?
687: Hosea’s prophecies begin?
680:
670:
660:

650:
649: Gap. One year between Uzziah’s (Azariah’s) death and Jotham’s accession. 647: Jotham, 16 years.
640:
634: Micah’s prophecies begin? 632: Ahaz, 16 years.
630:
620:
617: Hezekiah’s accession.
616: Ahaz d.
615: Hosea ends?
613: Siege of Samaria begun.
611: Samaria taken, & Israel ends. [Exile & Captivity]
610:
603: Sennacherib invades Judah in 14th year of Hezekiah (2Kings 18:13). Nahum?
600:
590:
588: Manasseh, 55 years.
584: Isaiah killed? (Cp. Isa. 7:6 [Jewish tradition: sawn asunder under Manasseh.].
580:
570:
560:
540:
533: Amon, 2 years.
531: Josiah, 31 years.
530: Zephaniah?
520:
518: Jeremiah’s prophecies begin in Josiah’s 13th year. Habakkuk? Zephaniah? 513: Book “found” & Passover in Josiah’s 18th year.
510:
500: Jehoahaz, 3 months.
499: Jehoiakim, 11 years.
497: Nebuchadnezzar’s 1st Siege of Jerusalem.
496: Jehoiakim’s 4th year, Nebuchadnezzar’s 1st. Daniel taken to Babylon. [Exile begins] 495 Jehoiakim burns the roll.
494: Nebuchadnezzar’s 2nd year. His dream of Great Image. Daniel interprets.
490: Joel?
489: Jehoiachin, 3 months. Captivity begins in Nebuchadnezzar’s 8th year (2nd Siege). 488: Zedekiah, 11 years.
484: Ezekiel’s prophecies begin.
480: Obadiah?
478: Nebuchadnezzar’s 3rd siege of Jerusalem begins.
477: Jerusalem taken, & Temple destroyed, in Nebuchadnezzar’s 19th year. Jeremiah ends. 473: Punishment for murder of Gedaliah (Jer. 52:30).
470:
462: Ezekiel’s last dated prophecy.
461-454: Nebuchadnezzar’s 7 years of “madness”.
460:

454: 20th year of Asteiages (Artaxerxes). Commandment to Rebuild Jerusalem. (See 50. VI, VII. 5, 12.) Nehemiah’s 1st visit to Jerusalem.
452: Nebuchadnezzar d. after 44 years’ reign. 452: Evil-Merodach. Jehoiachin’s Captivity ends. 450:
446: Nabonidus.
440:
430:
429: Belshazzar, 3 years.
426: Belshazzar slain. “Darius the Median” (Asteiages) takes Kingdom. Cyrus (Asteiages’ son) issues Decree to rebuild Temple. Daniel’s vision of “seventy sevens” (490 yrs). “seven sevens” (49 yrs) begin. Foundations of Temple laid. Nehemiah’s 2nd visit to Jerusalem.
421: Cyrus ends.
420:
418: Cambyses makes Nehemiah Governor. Nehemiah’s 3rd visit to Jerusalem. 411: Darius Hystaspis re-enacts Decree of Cyrus.
410: Haggai & Zechariah begin. Temple superstructure commenced & carried on to completion, from 2nd – 6th year of Darius.
408: Zechariah’s last date.
405: Temple finished & dedicated. “seven sevens” (49 yrs) end, & “sixty-two sevens” (441 yrs) commence.
404: Passover.
403: Ezra’s last date: 1st of Nisan. 400: [Malachi last Prophet of OT.] 390:
380:
375: ? Darius Hystaspis d. (according to Herodotus, 63 years old).
370:
360:
350:
300:
250:
200:
150:
100:
50:
4: Nativity of Christ the Messiah, (revised date). A.D.
0: Common Era of A.D. (Birth of Christ-Messiah, traditional date.)
10:
20:
29: “sixty-nine sevens” end with the “cutting off of Messiah”, 483 years from the “going forth of commandment to build Jerusalem” in 454 B.C.
30: (Death of Messiah-Christ, revised date.) 33: (Death of Christ-Messiah, traditional date.) 40:
50:
60:

69: Destruction of Jerusalem by Titus.
70:
80:
90:
96: (Book of Revelation by Apostle John the Evangelist-Seer, (Emperor Domitian’s 2nd yr.).
100: (Death of last Apostle, John the Evangelist-Seer, his 94th yr; traditional date & belief.)

First, we will list 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. (Creation to Flood, Adam to Noah, some 2300 years (4004 – 2348 B.C.); Flood to Abraham’s Call, about 400 years (2348 – 1946 B.C.); Abraham to Moses’ Exodus, circa 450 years (1946 – 1491 B.C.); Exodus to Monarchy, around 500 years (1491 – 1000 B.C.). Before the Monarchy Eli the High Priest & Samuel the Seer-Prophet both judged Israel 40 years each; King Saul & King David & King Solomon each ruled in Israel for 40 years; in all some 200 years from Eli to Rehoboam.

Kings of Judah: Southern Kingdom: Jerusalem. Prophets or Seers mentioned.
Rehoboam to Nebuchadnezzar, Divided Monarchy to Babylonian Captivity, is about 400 yrs (880 – 480); Rehoboam to Uzziah-Azariah & Isaiah 200 yrs (880 – 680); Uzziah to Hezekiah some 60 yrs (680 – 620);
Hezekiah to Josiah & Jeremiah some 90 yrs (620 -530); Josiah to Captivity some 50 yrs (530 – 480).

1. Rehoboam: 1st King. (did evil) 17 yrs. (School of Prophets) Shemaiah (Man of God).
2. Abijah (Abijam, Abia): benRehoboam. (did evil) 3 yrs. (Prophets) Azariah benOded
3. Asa: benAbijah? (did right) 41 yrs. Seers: Hanani (abiJehu). Iddo
4. Jehoshaphat: benAsa. (did right) 25 yrs. Prophet: Jehu benHanani. Jahaziel, Levite, benZechariah. Eliezer benDodavahu of Mareshah. Zechariah benJehoiada the Priest.
5. Jehoram (Joram): benJehoshaphat; Athaliah’s husband. (did evil) 8 yrs.
6.a. Ahaziah: benJehoram & Athaliah. (did evil) 1 yr.
6.b. Athaliah: Ahab & Jezebel’s daughter; Jehoram’s wife; Queen, usurp Throne. (did evil) 6 yrs.
7. Joash (Jehoash): benAhaziah. (good young, did evil older) 40 yrs.
8. Amaziah: benJoash. (good, young, did evil older) 29 yrs. Prophet: unnamed. Seer: Zechariah.
9. Uzziah (Azariah): benAmaziah. (did right) 52 yrs. Prophet: Isaiah benAmoz. Micah the Morashtite.
10. Jotham: Regent, later King; benUzziah. (did right) 16 yrs. Prophet: Isaiah. Micah ‘Morashtite.
11. Ahaz: benJotham. (did evil) 16 yrs. Prophet: Isaiah. Micah ‘Morashtite.
12. Hezekiah: benAhaz; husband of Hephzi-Bah. (good & right) 29 yrs. Prophets: Isaiah. Micah. Nahum the Elkoshite.
13. Manasseh: benHezekiah & Hephzi-Bah. (did evil, repented old) 55 yrs. Prophet: Joel benPethuel.
14. Amon: benManasseh. (did evil) 2 yrs.
15. Josiah (Josias): benAmon. (good & right) 31 yrs. Prophet: Jeremiah benHilkiah (of priests of Anathoth of Benjamin). Prophet: Habakkuk (pre-Captivity). Zephaniah benCushi. [Obadiah.]
16. Jehoahaz (Joahaz): benJosiah. (did evil) 3 mnths.
17. Jehoiakim: benJosiah. (did evil) 11 yrs.
18. Jehoiachin: benJehoiakim. (did evil) 3 mnths.
19. Zedekiah: benJosiah (at 21); kingdom overthrown by Nebuchadnezzar. (did evil) 11 yrs (d.32).
20. Nebuchadnezzar: King of Babylon destroyed Jerusalem & exiled Judah (Zedekiah’s 11th yr). Prophet: Priest Ezekiel benBuzi (son of man, benAdam) in Chaldea (Babylon). Daniel (Belteshazzar), God’s servant,

magi of Babylon. Haggai, Jehovah’s messenger. Zechariah benBerechiah (Darius’ reign). Malachi, last messenger prophet of the OT.

Kings of Israel: Northern Kingdom: Samaria. Prophets or Seers mentioned.
Jeroboam to Ahab & Elijah some 60 yrs (980 – 920); Ahab to Jeroboam 2nd & Hosea & Amos, some 90 yrs (920 – 830); Jeroboam 2nd to Hoshea & Assyrian Captivity about 110 yrs (830 – 720).

1. Jeroboam I: Led secession of Israel. (evil) 22 yrs. Prophet: Ahijah; (Man of God fr. Judah. School. Old Prophet in Bethel).
2. Nadab: benJeroboam I. (evil) 2 yrs.
3. Baasha: Overthrew Nadab. (evil) 24 yrs. Prophet: Jehu benHanani.
4. Elah: benBaasha. (evil) 2 yrs.
5. Zimri: Overthrew Elah. (evil) 7 days.
6. Omri: Overthrew Zimri. (evil) 12 yrs. Prophet: Elijah the Tishbite.
7. Ahab: benOmri; Jezebel’s husband. (evil) 21 yrs. Prophet: Elijah ‘Tishbite; Micah benImcah.
8. Ahaziah: benAhab. (evil) 1 yr. Prophet: Elisha benShaphat. (School of Prophets)
9. Jehoram II (Joram): benAhab. (evil) 11 yrs.
10. Jehu: Overthrew Jehoram. (good & evil) 28 yrs. Prophet: Elisha
11. Jehoahaz (Joahaz): benJehu. (evil) 16 yrs. Prophet: Jonah benAmittai.
12. Jehoash (Joash): benJehoahaz. (evil) 16 yrs. Prophet:
13. Jeroboam Il: benJehoash. (evil) 40 yrs. Prophet: Hosea benBeeri. Seer: Amos of Tekoa.
14. Zachariah: benJeroboam II. (evil) ½ yr.
15. Shallum: Overthrew Zechariah. (evil) 1 mnth.
16. Menahem: Overthrew Shallum. (evil) 10 yrs.
17. Pekahiah: benMenahem. (evil) 2 yrs.
18. Pekah: Overthrew Pekahiah. (evil) 20 yrs. Prophet: Oded of Samaria.
19. Hoshea: Overthrew Pekah; kingdom overthrown by Assyrians, Sargon II. (evil) 9 yrs.
20. Shalmaneser: Assyria’s King, in Hoshea’s 9th yr deported & exiled Israel to Assyria.

Twenty (20) High-Priests & Priests from the Exodus to the Captivity; but we complete the list from the Jewish Encyclopedia of 1910:

I: Aaron benAmram, Eleazar benAaron, Phinehas benEleazar, Abishua benPhinehas, [Shesha benAbishua abiBukki (Samaritans’ tradition] Bukki benAbishua, Uzzi benBukki. [Aaron to Eli = 340 yrs.]
II: Eli (ben-(son, grandson, great-grandson, or descendant) of Ithamar benAaron), (Ahitub benPhinehas benEli), (Ahimelech benAhitub). Abiathar benAhimelech), ((Jewish Encyclopedia: ‘Ahimelech benAhitub, High Priest during reign of King Saul; killed at Nob by Doeg; part of Curse on the House of Eli –that none of Eli’s male descendants would live to old age– was fulfilled with death of Ahimelech. Abiathar benAhimelech, High Priest during reign of King David & early years of Solomon, deposed (1st Kings 2:2-4). 5th Generation descendant of Eli; Deposed from office of High Priest which went to the House of Zadok after the Holy Spirit deserted Abiathar and without which the Urim & Thummin could not be consulted; other part of the Curse on the House of Eli –that the priesthood would pass out of his descendants– was fulfilled when Abiathar was deposed from the office of High Priest.’)) ((Jew. Ency.: Zadok benAhitub (benAmariah, benMeraioth, benZerahiah, benUzzi: 1st Chron. 6:6-8) of line of Eleazar, High Priest during reign of King Solomon & construction of the 1st Temple. Ahimaaz benZadok, High Priest during reign of King Solomon; Azariah benAhimaaz (during Solomon’s reign: 1st Kings 4:2).

III: Joash benAzariah, Jehoiarib benJoash (1st Chron. 9:10), Jehoshaphat benJehoiarib, Jehoiada benJehosaphat (c. 842 – 820 BCE, 2nd Kings 11:4); Pediah benJehoiada, Zedekiah benPediah, Azariah II benZedekiah (c. 750 BCE, 2nd Chron. 26:17; seemingly conflated with Azariah I in 1st Chron. 6:6-8). Jotham benAzariah, Urijah benJotham (c. 732 BCE, 2nd Kings 16:10; cf. Isaiah 8:2). Azariah III, benJohanan, benAzariah II (c. 715, 1st Chron. 6:9, 2nd Chron. 31:10). Hoshaiah benAzariah. (Priesthood may have failed during 50-years’ apostasy of Manasseh.) Shallum benZadok, benAhitub (or probably grandson), benAmariah, benAzariah III (c. 630, 1st Chron. 6:12, 2nd Chron. 34:22). Hilkiah benShallum (c. 622, 2nd Kings 22:4). Azariah IV, benHilkiah (1st Chron. 6:13). Seriah benAzariah IV (2nd Kings 25:18).)). (Next is a list of all the names of the Priests or High Priests attested in OT.):
[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.]
(The High Priests after the Captivity, after the close of the OT, are more problematic, but attested to by several sources. In Matthew & Luke of the NT some of these are connected. Josephus gives some. We are not concerned further, since Messiah is the last Great High Priest.)

(2)
Auchincloss’ Chronology of Holy Bible by William S. Auchincloss. Introduction by A. H. Sayce, LLD. (1908. gs):

{{ “The Bible is not a work on Chronology any more than it is a treatise on astronomy or physics. We therefore approach it in the wrong spirit when we expect to find a list of reigns arranged with the precision characteristic of any history of England where years, months and days are minutely stated. On the contrary the Bible scarcely takes notice of months and days but deals in full years, merging odd months with the reign preceding or following, consequently the true length must be determined by historic conditions found in the Bible, before the count can proceed. Our first duty then will be to ferret out the unknown quantities and use them in connection with the known. By this means, the full current of Scripture light will be turned on to the Grand Avenue of Bible history, and all occasion for stumbling or perplexity will be removed. The first obstacle encountered in constructing a continuous record is found in the life of the prophet Samuel….
‘Samuel’s Leadership:
(Acts 13:20): Land Division to Saul’s Reign: 450 yrs; (Judges 11:26: Land Division to Jephthah: 300 yrs. Consequently: Jephthah to Saul: 150 yrs. (Judges 12:7): Jephthah judged Israel: 6 yrs. (Jdgs 12:9): Ibzan: 7 yrs. (Jdgs 12:11): Elon: 10 yrs. (Jdgs 12:14): Abdon: 8 yrs. (Jdgs 13:1): Philistines ruled Israel: {20 yrs. (Jdgs 15:20): Samson judged Israel: {20 yrs. (1st Sam. 4:18): Eli judged Israel: 40 yrs. Jephthah to Samuel was Ill yrs. Totals: 450 = 300 + 150; 150 = 6,7,10,8,20,20,40 (=111 yrs), leaving negative 39 or 40 yrs which goes to Samuel rule or judgeship.’
This demonstration beautifully illustrates the necessity of treating the Bible as a whole and comparing Scripture with Scripture. Evidently without the Book of Acts, no one could ever have known how many years Samuel ruled, and for that matter, how many years Saul was on the Throne of Israel. But the Book of Acts in conjunction with Judges and Samuel, reveal the whole truth in regard to both reigns.”
‘Exodus to Temple: 479 yrs = Moses to Land Division: 46 yrs; to Jepthah: 200 yrs; to Samuel: 150 yrs; Saul: 40 yrs; David: 40 yrs; Solomon’s Temple: 3 yrs.’ (“And it came to pass in the 480th year [479 years having gone by] after the children of Israel were come out of Egypt that they began to build the House of the Lord.” (1st Kings 6:1)) “

“The Old Testament, when giving the name of a child, once removed, makes no use of the modern prefix “grand.” With it, a grandson is simply a son; and a granddaughter simply a daughter. It is important to bear this distinction in mind when locating the characters chronologically. We read frequently of Jehu the son of Nimshi (1st Kngs. 19:16), when in truth his father was named Jehoshaphat, and his grandfather Nimshi (2nd Kngs 9:2). Then again Athaliah the daughter of Omri (2nd Chron. 22:2) was in reality the daughter of Ahab & granddaughter of Omri (2nd Chron. 21:6). Although Mephibosheth was called the son of Saul (2nd Sam. 19:24), he was the son of Jonathan & grandson of Saul, (2nd Sam. 4:4). In like manner Nebuchadnezzar was the grandfather of Belshazzar & Nabonidus the father (Dan. 5:11). Achan, according to Joshua 22:20, was the “Son of Zerah,” but in reality he was the great-grandson of Zerah as explained in Joshua 7:18. The careful reader, however, will supply the prefix “grand” as the occasion may require. “

“The list of Israel’s Monarchs marshals before the inquirer an array of 495 years extending from the coronation of Saul to the burning of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar. The period may be divided into three parts:…With these general features in mind, we have made a geometrical plotting of each year from B.C. 961 to 721, have studied every event in its historical setting and arrived at the following figures, which can be accepted as the true length of each king’s reign. Kingdom: Saul to Zedikiah:
Saul, David, Solomon = 120 yrs (40+40+40) (Acts 13, 1st Kngs 2, 11). Rehoboam to Hezekiah 6th yr = 240 yrs (1st Kngs 12, 15, 22) (18+2+42+23; +6+1+6+39+14+53+15+15; +6) (2nd Kngs 8,9, 11,12,
14,15,16, 18). Hezekiah 29th yr to Zedekiah = 135 yrs (23+56+2+31; +1/2+11+1/2+11) (2nd Kngs 18,
21-24). Total: 495 yrs.
Two Kingdoms: Judah & Israel Years of Active Rule (Regardless of Regencies.):
Judah: 240 yrs (92+59+89) (1st Kngs 12, 15; 2nd Kngs 11,12, 14-16, 18). Rehoboam to Ahaziah (18+2+42+23+6+1); Athaliah to Amaziah (6+39+14); Uzziah to Hezekiah’s 6th yr (53+15+15+6).
Israel: 240 yrs (92+59+89) (1st Kngs 12, 15-16, 22; 2nd Kngs 1, 3, 14-17). Jeroboam I to Joram (22+1+23+1+11+21+1+12); Jehu to Joash (29+14+16); Jeroboam II to Hoshea (38+1+10+2+29+9).”

Regencies:
“There are four Regencies found in the history of Judah & Israel’s Kings which appear in the following list:
1st: Jehoran was made Regent 2 years before his father died. 2nd: Joram, Regent 6 yrs before brother’s death. 3rd: Uzziah, Regent 15 yrs before father’s death. 4th: Jotham, Regent 14 yrs before father’s death.
These supplemental governments are largely responsible for difficulties in chronology, because in effect they introduced a double count, which at last prompted the sacred writer to try and balance his accounts, a process which only made matters worse, because it did not remove the disturbing cause. Among the regencies, those of Uzziah & Jotham are the most complex and are thought worthy of special mention:
Amaziah reigned alone from B.C. (824 to 810): 14 yrs. Uzziah reigned as Regent from B.C. (810 to 795): 15 yrs. Amaziah died in B.C. (795). Uzziah’s active reign ran from B.C. (810 to 757): 53 yrs. Jotham reigned as Regent, B.C. (757 to 743): 14 yrs. Uzziah died in B.C. (743).”

“Irreconcilable lengths between the Kingdoms of Judah & Israel: Rehoboam to Ahaz = 267 yrs; Jeroboam I to Hoshea = 249 yrs (Qualified by: Ahaz: 12+3 yrs + Excess 1 yr + Hodges 9 yrs). “

Auchincloss’ Bible Chronology:

About mjmselim

Male, 65, born in Jamaica, USA since 1961, citizen in 2002; cobbler for 40 plus years, Christian since 1969; married to same wife since 1979; 6 daughters and 2 sons, with 7 grandkids. Slowly adapting to the digital world of computers and internet; hobby in digital editing.
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2 Responses to Christian Biblical Reflections.23

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