(Verses 1 through 6) And Solomon the son of David was strengthened in his kingdom, and the LORD his God was with him, and magnified him exceedingly. Then Solomon spake unto all Israel, to the captains of thousands and of hundreds, and to the judges, and to every governor in all Israel, the chief of the fathers. So Solomon, and all the congregation with him, went to the high place that was at Gibeon; for there was the tabernacle of the congregation of God, which Moses the servant of the LORD had made in the wilderness. But the ark of God had David brought up from Kirjath-jearim to the place which David had prepared for it: for he pitched a tent for it at Jerusalem. Moreover the brasen altar, that Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, had made, he put before the tabernacle of the LORD: and Solomon and the congregation sought unto it. And Solomon went up thither to the brasen altar before the LORD, which was at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and offered a thousand burnt offerings upon it.
The LORD was with Solomon, and blessed his kingdom greatly, and caused him to be great in the eyes of not only the people of Israel, but even the kings of adjoining kingdoms. Although David had brought the ark of the covenant of the LORD to Jerusalem, and established it there in a place he had prepared for it, the tabernacle of the congregation of the LORD still remained at Gibeon. Also there at the door of the tabernacle was the brasen altar for burnt offerings. So Solomon went to Gibeon, and offered upon that altar a thousand burnt offerings.
(Verses 7 through 12) In that night did God appear unto Solomon, and said unto him, Ask what I shall give thee. And Solomon said unto God, Thou hast shewed great mercy unto David my father, and hast made me to reign in his stead. Now, O LORD God, let Thy promise unto David my father be established: for Thou hast made me king over a people like the dust of the earth in multitude. Give me now wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people: for who can judge this Thy people that is so great? And God said to Solomon, Because this was in thine heart, and thou hast not asked riches, wealth, or honour, nor the life of thine enemies, neither yet hast asked long life; but hast asked wisdom and knowledge for thyself, that thou mayest judge My people , over whom I have made thee king: wisdom and knowledge is granted unto thee; and I will give thee riches, and wealth, and honour, such as none of the kings have had that have been before thee, neither shall there any after thee have the like.
This is Solomon’s wonderful dream that is so often mentioned in most conversations about him. In it the LORD appeared to him. (Whether this appearance was an actual vision to his eyes, or only a voice that spoke to him, is never fully established. But in it the LORD did communicate with him. And that is the important part of it.) In this encounter, the LORD gave Solomon a choice of what he would desire the LORD to do for him, His request was for wisdom and knowledge that he might execute his office as king in the way that would be pleasing to the LORD. God granted this request, and added to it greater wealth and honor than any king before him had had, and greater than any after him would have.
(Verses 13 through 17) Then Solomon came from his journey to the high place that was at Gibeon to Jerusalem, from before the tabernacle of the congregation, and reigned over Israel. And Solomon gathered chariots and horsemen: and he had a thousand and four hundred chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen, which he placed in the chariot cities, and with the king at Jerusalem. And the king made silver and gold at Jerusalem as plenteous as stones, and cedar trees made he as the sycamore trees that are in the vale for abundance. And Solomon had horses brought out of Egypt, and linen yarn: the king’s merchants received the linen yarn at a price. And they fetched up, and brought forth out of Egypt a chariot for six hundred shekels of silver, and an horse for an hundred and fifty: and so brought they out horses for all the kings of the Hittites, and for the kings of Syria, by their means.
When Solomon returned from this trip to Gibeon, he began working on the business of becoming a broker between Egypt and the surrounding kingdoms. His merchants brought up from Egypt horses, chariots, and linen yarn. The geographic location of Israel made it “a natural” for a merchandising center. His merchants could buy these things in Egypt, and for a profit bring them up, and sell them to the kings round about them. We are told for what price they could bring up from Egypt a chariot, or a horse. But we are not told what price they charged for them, once they were brought up. They brought them “for all the kings of the Hittites, and for the kings of Syria, by their means.” That is, for whatever price they could get out of them.
(Verses 1 and 2) And Solomon determined to build an house for the name of the LORD, and an house for his kingdom. And Solomon told out threescore and ten thousand men to bear burdens, and fourscore thousand to hew in the mountain, and three thousand and six hundred to oversee them.
As Solomon made preparation to begin building both the house of the LORD and his own house, he selected the number of workers needed, and the number of overseers to make the project move along smoothly. He had 150,000 workers, and 3,600 overseers.
(Verses 3 through 10) And Solomon sent to Huram the king of Tyre, saying, As thou didst deal with David my father, and did send him cedars to build him an house to dwell therein, even so deal with me. Behold, I build an house to the name of the LORD my God, to dedicate it to Him, and to burn before Him sweet incense, and for the continual shewbread, and for the burnt offerings morning, evening, on the sabbaths, and on the new moons, and on the solemn feasts of the LORD our God. This is an ordinance for ever to Israel. And the house which I build is great: for great is our God above all gods. But who is able to build Him an house, seeing the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain Him? who am I then, that I should build Him an house, save only to burn sacrifice before Him? Send me now therefore a man cunning to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, and in iron, and in purple, and crimson, and blue, and that can skill to grave with the cunning men that are with me in Judah and in Jerusalem, whom David my father did provide. Send me also cedar trees, fir trees, and algum trees, out of Lebanon: for I know that thy servants can skill to cut timber in Lebanon; and, behold, my servants shall be with thy servants, even to prepare me timber in abundance: for the house which I am about to build shall be wonderful great. And, behold, I will give to thy servants, the hewers that cut timber, twenty thousand measures of beaten wheat, and twenty thousand measures of barley, and twenty thousand baths of wine, and twenty thousand baths of oil.
Thus Solomon proposed a deal to Huram king of Tyre. (“Huram” is only an alternate spelling of “Hiram,” the king mentioned in I Kings 5:1) He told him what he wanted from him, and made an offer of what he would pay for it. What he wanted was materials and workers to build the house of the LORD, and his own house.
(Verses 11 through 16) Then Huram the king of Tyre answered in writing, which he sent to Solomon, Because the LORD hath loved His people, He hath made thee king over them. Huram said moreover, Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, that made the whole earth, Who hath given to David the king a wise son, endued with prudence and understanding, that might build an house for the LORD, and an house for his kingdom. And now I have sent a cunning man, endued with understanding, of Huram my father’s, the son of a woman of the daughters of Dan, and his father a man of Tyre, skilful to work in gold, and in silver, in brass, in iron, in stone, and in timber, in purple, in blue, and in fine linen, and in crimson; also to grave any manner of graving, and to find out every device which shall be put to him, with thy cunning men, and with the cunning men of my lord David thy father. Now therefore the wheat, and the barley, the oil, and the wine, which my lord hath spoken of, let him send unto his servants: and we will cut wood out of Lebanon, as much as thou shalt need: and we will bring it to thee in floats by sea to Joppa; and thou shalt carry it up to Jerusalem.
Thus was the deal closed between Solomon and Huram, exactly as Solomon had proposed it. Huram even told Solomon how, and to what point He would have his people deliver the timber that was ordered. From that point it would be Solomon’s responsibility to get it to Jerusalem.
(Verses 17 and 18) And Solomon numbered all the strangers that were in the land of Israel, after the numbering wherewith David his father had numbered them; and they were found an hundred and fifty thousand and three thousand and six hundred. And he set threescore and ten thousand of them to be bearers of burdens, and fourscore thousand to be hewers in the mountain, and three thousand and six hundred overseers to set the people a work.
In verse two we were told that Solomon counted (“told out”) the workers for this great project. Here we are informed that these were all taken from among the strangers that were in the land. It is to be remembered that there were remnants of some of the original inhabitants left in the land; but they were placed under subjugation as “hewers of wood and drawers of water.” They are the ones from whom Solomon called out the workers for this project.
(Verses 1 and 2) Then Solomon began to build the house of the LORD at Jerusalem in mount Moriah, where the LORD appeared unto David his father, in the place that David had prepared in the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite. And he began to build in the second day of the second month, in the fourth year of his reign.
Solomon began the actual construction of the house of the LORD on the second day of the second month of the fourth year of his reign. David had already chosen the site for it before his death, or rather, the LORD led David to this choice. It was the place where David had earlier built the altar unto the LORD in the threshingfloor of Ornan. It is also the mount upon which Abraham was about to offer up Isaac for a burnt offering to the LORD, but was stopped by the commandment of the LORD, and given of the LORD a ram to offer in his stead, mount Moriah.
(Verses 3 through 10) Now these are the things wherein Solomon was instructed for the building of the house of God. The length by cubits after the first measure was threescore cubits, and the breadth twenty cubits. And the porch that was in the front of the house, the length of it was according to the breadth of the house, twenty cubits, and the height was an hundred and twenty: and he overlaid it with pure gold. And the greater house he ceiled with fir tree, which he overlaid with fine gold, and set thereon palm trees and chains. And he garnished the house with precious stones for beauty: and the gold was gold of Parvaim. He overlaid also the house, the beams, the posts, and the walls thereof, and the doors thereof, with gold; and graved cherubims on the walls. And he made the most holy house, the length whereof was according to the width of the house, twenty cubits, and the breadth thereof twenty cubits: and he overlaid it with fine gold, amounting to six hundred talents. And the weight of the nails was fifty shekels of gold. And he overlaid the upper chambers with gold. And in the most holy house he made two cherubims of image work, and overlaid them with gold.
Thus we have a beginning of the description of the house of the LORD, as Solomon built it. Notice that almost everything is overlaid with gold. Precious stones were also used to garnish the house simply for beauty. We emphasize this, as set forth in verse 6, because some have a tendency to imagine what they consider each item to represent. But since verse 6 declares that the garnishing of the building with precious stones was “for beauty,” we feel that that is where this matter should be left. Any imagined representation by this, is just that, “imagined.” As can readily be seen this was a very expensive building. And why should it not be, seeing it was built for the “House of God?”
(Verses 11 through 13) And the wings of the cherubims were twenty cubits long: one wing of one cherub was five cubits, reaching to the wall of the house: and the other wing was likewise five cubits, reaching to the wing of the other cherub. And one wing of the other cherub was five cubits, reaching to the wall of the house: and the other wing was five cubits also, joining to the wing of the other cherub. The wings of these cherubims spread themselves forth twenty cubits: and they stood on their feet, and their faces were inward.
There seems to be nothing in this text that requires commentary. It is simply the description of the cherubim that were made to reach, with their extended wings all the way across the room in which they were set.
(Verses 14 through 17) And he made the veil of blue, and purple, and crimson, and fine linen, and wrought cherubims thereon. And he made before the house two pillars of thirty and five cubits high, and the chapiter that was on the top of each of them was five cubits. And he made chains, as in the oracle, and put them on the heads of the pillars; and made an hundred pomegranates, and put them on the chains. And he reared up the pillars before the temple, one on the right hand, and the other on the left; and called the name of the one on the right hand Jachin, and the name of that on the left Boaz.
One would assume that, since in the description of the veil the colors blue, and purple, and crimson are mentioned, and the next thing mentioned is fine linen, it was white. Thus the colors of the veil would be blue, purple, crimson, and white. The material of which the veil is made, other than the linen, is not mentioned. The pillars he set up before the temple, one on either side, were even named, Jachin (He will stir up) and Boaz (in a strength, or in a goat.)
(Verse 1) Moreover he made an altar of brass, twenty cubits the length thereof, and twenty cubits the breadth thereof, and ten cubits the height thereof.
This is a much bigger altar than that which Moses made in the wilderness, and nothing is said about its being made of wood boards, and covered with brass. It seems to have been made all of brass.
(Verses 2 through 6) Also he made a molten sea of ten cubits from brim to brim, round in compass, and five cubits the height thereof; and a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about. And under it was the similitude of oxen, which did compass it round about: ten in a cubit, compassing the sea round about, two rows of oxen were cast, when it was cast. It stood upon twelve oxen, three looking toward the north, and three looking toward the west, and three looking toward the south, and three looking toward the east: and the sea was set above upon them, and all their hinder parts were inward. And the thickness of it was an handbreadth, and the brim of it like the work of the brim of a cup, with flowers of lilies; and it received and held three thousand baths.
The sea was a large round container, made like a cup. It was ten cubits in diameter, and five cubits high. It was made of gold; and the thickness of the sides was a handbreadth. The brim of the container was engraved with the flowers of the lily, and around the base of the cup were cast two rows of oxen. Also it sat upon a cast base of twelve oxen, cast in a circle, with their heads lined up around the outside of the circle, and their hinder parts toward the center of the circle. This “sea” held three thousand baths of water.
(Verses 5 through 8) He made also ten lavers, and put five on the right hand, and five on the left, to wash in them: such things as they offered for the burnt offering they washed in them; but the sea was for the priests to wash in. And he made ten candlesticks of gold according to their form, and set them in the temple, five on the right hand, and five on the left. He made also ten tables, and placed them in the temple, five on the right side, and five on the left. And he made an hundred basins of gold.
As one will find as he studies the laws given by Moses, he will see that the priests, as they performed their duties, were required to wash themselves many times; and all the flesh offerings they made had to be washed before being offered: so the sea was for the priests to wash themselves, and the lavers were for the washing of the offerings that were to be made. Ten candlesticks “according to their form.” (as the pattern was given to Moses in the wilderness) were made of gold, and were placed, five on the right hand, and five on the left. Nothing is said concerning the size of these tables: they may, or may not have been larger that the one Moses was commanded to make for the shewbread. He also made a hundred basins of gold, the size of which is not given; neither is anything said about where they would be kept.
(Verses 9 through 18) Furthermore he made the court of the priests, and the great court, and doors for the court, and overlaid the doors of them with brass. And he set the sea on the right side of the east end, over against the south. And Huram made the pots, and the shovels, and the basins. And Huram finished the work that he was to make for king Solomon for the house of God; to wit, the two pillars, and the pommels, and the chapiters which were on the top of the two pillars, and the two wreaths to cover the two pommels of the chapiters which were on the top of the pillars; and four hundred pomegranates on the two wreaths, two rows of pomegranates on each wreath, to cover the two pommels of the chapiters which were upon the pillars. He also made bases, and lavers made he upon the bases; one sea, and twelve oxen under it. The pots also, and the shovels, and the fleshhooks, and all their instruments, did Huram his father make to king Solomon for the house of the LORD of bright brass, In the plain of Jordan did the king cast them, in the clay ground between Succoth and Zeredathah. Thus Solomon made all these vessels in great abundance: for the weight of the brass was not found out.
This is, primarily, a repetition of the listing of those things covered in the earlier part of this chapter. It also tells us that, although the king is given credit for doing all this work, inasmuch as he is the one who had it done, the actual work of making all these things was done by Huram, the workman king Huram had sent to Solomon. It also tells us where the casting of all these things was done. Since this casting was done in the plain of Jordan, It, probably presented something of a logistical problem in moving it to the location of the temple. However, nothing is said about any difficulty concerning this. So much brass was used that no one ever found out the actual weight thereof.
(Verses 19 through 22) And Solomon made all the vessels for the house of God, the golden altar also, and the tables whereon the shewbread was set; moreover the candlesticks with their lamps, that they should burn after the manner before the oracle, of pure gold; and the flowers, and the lamps, and the tongs, made he of gold, and that perfect gold; and the snuffers, and the basins, and the spoons, and the censers, of pure gold, and the entry of the house, the inner doors thereof for the most holy place, and the doors of the house of the temple, were of gold.
Not only was there a great quantity of brass used in making things previously mentioned, but there was also much gold used in the making of all things in this account. No wonder it was considered the most magnificent building in all the world in its time.
(Verse 1) Thus all the work that Solomon made for the house of the LORD was finished: and Solomon brought in all the things that David his father had dedicated; and the silver, and the gold, and all the instruments, put he among the treasures of the house of God.
This is just a simple statement that Solomon finished the building of the house of the LORD, and placed in it, in addition to all the furniture and instruments he had made for use therein, all the things which had been dedicated by his father David.
(Verses 2 through 10) Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel, and all the heads of the tribes, the chief of the fathers of the children of Israel, unto Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the covenant of the LORD out of the city of David, which is Zion. Wherefore all the elders of Israel came; and the Levites took up the ark. And they brought up the ark, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and all the holy vessels that were in the tabernacle, these did the priests and the Levites bring up. Also king Solomon and all the congregation of Israel that were assembled unto him before the ark, sacrificed sheep and oxen, which could not be told nor numbered for multitude. And the priests brought in the ark of the LORD unto his place, to the oracle of the house, into the most holy place, even under the wings of the cherubims. For the cherubims spread forth their wings over the place of the ark, and the cherubims covered the ark and the staves thereof above. And they drew out the staves of the ark, that the ends of the staves were seen from the ark before the oracle; but they were not seen without. And there it is unto this day. There was nothing in the ark save the two tables which Moses put therein at Horeb, when the LORD made a covenant with the children of Israel, when they came out of Egypt.
Having completed the building and furnishing the house of God, Solomon called an assembly of the elders of Israel. And all the people assembled themselves also, together with the priests and the Levites. And they brought up the ark from Zion to the house of the LORD. They also brought up the tabernacle of the congregation of Israel, (which, at the last mention of where it was, was at Gibeon.) They placed the ark of the covenant of the LORD in its proper place. There was nothing in the ark but the two tables that Moses placed therein when the LORD made a covenant with the children of Israel.
(Verses 11 through 14) And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place: (for all the priests that were present were sanctified, and did not then wait by course: also the Levites which were the singers, all of them of Asaph, of Heman, of Jeduthun, with their sons and their brethren, being arrayed in white linen, having cymbals, and psalteries and harps, stood at the east end of the altar, and with them an hundred and twenty priests sounding the trumpets:) it came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the LORD; when they lifted up their voice with the trumpeters and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised the LORD, saying, For He is good; for His mercy endureth for ever: that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the LORD; so that the priests could not minister by reason of the cloud: and the glory of the LORD filled the house of God.
When all things were completed in setting the ark of the covenant of the LORD in place, all those appointed to sing and all who blew the trumpets, and all who played on any instruments, sounded at once, with those who sang, saying, “For He is good; for His mercy endureth for ever,” there was such a cloud in the house of the LORD that the priests could not even continue their ministry because of it. “For the glory of the LORD filled the house of God.”
(Verses 1 through 11) Then said Solomon, The LORD hath said that He would dwell in the thick darkness. But I have built an house of habitation for Thee, and a place for Thy dwelling for ever. And the king turned his face, and blessed the whole congregation of Israel: and all the congregation of Israel stood. And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, Who hath with His hands fulfilled that which He spake with His mouth to my father David, saying, Since the day that I brought forth My people out of the land of Egypt I chose no city among all the tribes of Israel to build an house in, that My name might be there; neither chose I any man to be a ruler over My people Israel: but I have chosen Jerusalem, that My name might be there; and have chosen David to be over My people Israel. Now it was in the heart of David my father to build an house for the name of the LORD God of Israel. But the LORD said unto David my father, Forasmuch as it was in thine heart to build an house for My name, thou didst well in that it was in thine heart: notwithstanding thou shalt not build the house; but thy son which shall come forth out of thy loins shall build the house for My name. The LORD therefore hath performed His word that He hath spoken: for I am risen up in the room of David my father, and am set on the throne of Israel, as the LORD promised, and have built the house for the name of the LORD God of Israel. And in it I have put the ark, wherein is the covenant of the LORD, that he made with the children of Israel.
After all things pertaining to the installation of the ark in the temple were accomplished, and the glory of the LORD had filled the house of God, signifying His approval of all things, Solomon made another speech to the people. He reminded them that the LORD had fulfilled His promise to David in that He had raised up David’s son on the throne of Israel, and as builder of the house David had wanted to build unto the LORD. Not only so, but he, Solomon had brought into that house the ark of the covenant of the LORD, which He had made with the children of Israel.
(Verses 12 through 21) And he stood before the altar of the LORD in the presence of all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands: for Solomon had made a brasen scaffold, of five cubits broad, and three cubits high, and set it in the midst of the court: and upon it he stood, and kneeled down upon his knees before all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward heaven, and said, O LORD God of Israel, there is no God like Thee in the heaven, nor in the earth; which keepest covenant, and shewest mercy unto Thy servants, that walk before Thee with all their hearts: Thou which hast kept with David my father that which Thou hast promised him; and spakest with Thy mouth, and hast fulfilled with Thine hand, as it is this day. Now therefore, O LORD God of Israel, keep with Thy servant David my father that which Thou hast promised him; saying, There shall not fail thee a man in My sight to sit upon the throne of Israel; yet so that thy children take heed to their way to walk in My law, as thou hast walked before Me. Now then, O LORD of Israel, let Thy word be verified, which Thou hast spoken unto Thy servant David. But will God in very deed dwell with men on the earth? behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain Thee; how much less this house which I have built! Have respect therefore to the prayer of Thy servant, and to his supplication, O LORD my God, to hearken unto the cry and the prayer which Thy servant prayeth before Thee: that Thine eyes may be open upon this house day and night, upon the place whereof Thou hast said that Thou wouldest put Thy name there; to hearken unto the prayer which Thy servant prayeth toward this place. Hearken therefore unto the supplications of Thy servant, and of Thy people Israel, which they shall make toward this place: hear Thou from Thy dwelling place, even from heaven; and when Thou hearest, forgive.
Thus Solomon begins his dedicatory prayer for the temple of the LORD, First, he declares that there is no other who is like unto the LORD God of Israel. There is none who can show mercy as He does, and none who will, or can, keep covenant as does the LORD. For this reason he calls upon the LORD to continue His keeping of his promise to David, as He has at this day. Then he acknowledges that even the heaven of heavens is not sufficient to contain the LORD; and surely this house is not sufficient. Yet he prays that He will have respect unto his prayer, and keep His eyes upon this house day and night, and hearken to the prayers and supplications that are made toward this place: that He will hear and answer these prayers, and when He hears, forgive those praying.
(Verses 22 through 25) If a man sin against his neighbour, and an oath be laid upon him to make him swear, and the oath come before Thine altar in this house; then hear Thou from heaven, and do, and judge thy servants, by requiting the wicked, by recompensing his way upon his own head; and by justifying the righteous, by giving him according to his righteousness. And if Thy people Israel be put to the worse before the enemy, because they have sinned against Thee; and shall return and confess Thy name, and pray and make supplication before Thee in this house; then hear Thou from the heavens, and forgive the sin of Thy people Israel, and bring them again unto the land which Thou gavest to them and to their fathers.
This temple was to be, not only a place in which to worship the LORD, and make offerings to Him, but also the place of judgment among the people. So the first request Solomon made in this prayer was that the LORD cause righteous judgment to be rendered here. May the guilty be properly punished, and the righteous be exonerated. Then he asked that when Israel should sin against the LORD, and as the result thereof be overcome by their enemy, if they come to this house, confess their sin, and pray for forgiveness, He will forgive their sin, and bring them back to their land in peace.
(Verses 26 through 31) When the heaven is shut up, and there is no rain, because they have sinned against Thee; yet if they pray toward this place, and confess Thy name, and turn from their sin, when Thou dost afflict them; then hear Thou from heaven, and forgive the sin of Thy servants, and of Thy people Israel, when Thou hast taught them the good way, wherein they should walk; and send rain upon Thy land, which Thou hast given unto Thy people for an inheritance. If there be dearth in the land, if there be pestilence, if there be blasting, or mildew, locusts, or caterpillars; if their enemies besiege them in the cities of their land; whatsoever sore or whatsoever sickness there be: then what prayer or supplication soever shall be made of any man, or of all Thy people Israel, when every one shall know his own sore and his own grief, and shall spread forth his hands to this house: then hear Thou from heaven Thy dwelling place, and forgive, and render unto every man according to his ways, whose heart Thou knowest; (for Thou only knowest the hearts of the children of men:) that they may fear Thee, to walk in Thy ways, so long as they live in the land which Thou gavest unto our fathers.
Solomon speaks of some other things that can befall the children of Israel. They might sin against the LORD, and for that He would withhold the rain, thus afflicting them with a drought. In such a case, if they turn from their sin and pray toward this house, his prayer is , that after the LORD has thus taught them the good way, (by chastising them for having walked in the evil one,) He will forgive their sin, and send rain upon the land which He has given them. Then when He may send upon them the famine, whether by a plague of locusts, or pestilence, or by a plague of caterpillars, or any manner of plant disease, whatsoever; or even if their enemies besiege them in their cities, or any other calamity come upon them, if any man, or the whole nation of Israel spread forth their hands toward this house and pray, may He hear that prayer, and forgive, and render to every man according to his ways. This he asks that it may cause Israel to fear the LORD, and walk in His ways as long as they live in the land which He gave to their fathers.
(Verses 32 and 33) Moreover concerning the stranger, which is not of Thy people Israel, but is come from a far country for Thy great name’s sake, and Thy mighty hand, and Thy stretched out arm; if they come and pray in this house; then hear Thou from the heavens, even from Thy dwelling place, and do all that the stranger calleth to Thee for; that all people of the earth may know Thy name, and fear Thee, as doth Thy people Israel, and may know that this house which I have built is called by Thy name.
Here Solomon turns from praying for Israel only, to a much wider scope. He asks that the LORD have respect also the prayer of any stranger, who may come because of the great name and mighty hand of the LORD to pray in this house, and do all that such a stranger shall ask, in order that the great name of the LORD may be known by all the people of the earth; and that they may know that this house is called by the great name of the LORD. Thus Solomon recognizes that the LORD is indeed the God of the whole world, and not just of Israel.
(Verses 34 through 39) If Thy people go out to war against their enemies by the way that Thou shalt send them, and they pray unto Thee toward this city which Thou hast chosen, and the house which I have built for Thy name; then hear Thou from the heavens their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause. If they sin against Thee, (for there is no man which sinneth not,) and Thou be angry with them, and deliver them over before their enemies, and they carry them away captives unto a land far off or near; yet if they bethink themselves in the land whither they are carried captive, and turn and pray unto Thee in the land of their captivity, saying, We have sinned, we have done amiss, and have dealt wickedly; if they return to Thee with all their heart and with all their soul in the land of their captivity, whither they have carried them captives, and pray toward their land, which Thou gavest unto their fathers, and toward the city which Thou hast chosen, and toward the house which I have built for Thy name: then hear Thou from the heavens, even from Thy dwelling place, their prayer and their supplications, and maintain their cause, and forgive Thy people which have sinned against Thee.
Solomon turns back to his praying for Israel. Recognizing that all men sin, he prays that when Israel shall have sinned against the LORD so that He lets them be overcome and carried away captive by their enemies; if they shall repent of, and confess, their sins, and pray toward their land, toward Jerusalem, and toward this house he has built, the LORD will hear their prayer and their supplications, and forgive their sins, and maintain their cause. And that is exactly what He has promised that He will do at His appointed time.
(Verses 40 through 42) Now, my God, let, I beseech Thee, Thine eyes be open, and let Thine ears be attent unto the prayer that is made in this place. Now therefore arise, O LORD God, into Thy resting place, Thou, and the ark of Thy strength: let Thy priests, O LORD God, be clothed with salvation, and let Thy saints rejoice in Thy goodness. O LORD God, turn not away the face of Thine anointed: remember the mercies of David Thy servant.
Thus Solomon brings his prayer to a close, begging the LORD to keep open eyes and ears for the prayers that are being made, and shall be made from this place, May the LORD take possession of this as His resting place, let His priests be clothed with salvation, and His saints rejoice in His goodness. When he calls upon the LORD to “remember the mercies of David Thy servant,” he is asking not that the LORD remember the mercies David has shown to others, but the mercies that He, the LORD, had shown to David, and continue them upon his son, Solomon.
(Verses 1 through 3) Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the LORD filled the house. And the priests could not enter into the house of the LORD, because the glory of the LORD had filled the LORD’S house. And when all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the LORD upon the house, they bowed themselves with their faces to the ground upon the pavement, and worshipped, and praised the LORD, saying, For He is good; for His mercy endureth for ever.
Immediately after Solomon finished his prayer, the LORD showed His approval of all the proceeding by sending down fire from heaven to consume all the burnt offering and the sacrifices that were offered. And the glory of the LORD so filled the house of God that even the priests could not go into it to continue their service. And all the people were so overwhelmed that they all fell prostrate before the LORD, and worshipped and praised Him, declaring, “For He is good; for His mercy endureth for ever.”
(Verses 4 through 7) Then the king and all the people offered sacrifices before the LORD. And king Solomon offered twenty and two thousand oxen, and an hundred and twenty thousand sheep: so the king and all the people dedicated the house of God. And the priests waited on their offices: the Levites also with instruments of music of the LORD, which David the king had made to praise the LORD, because His mercy endureth for ever, when David praised by their ministry; and the priests sounded trumpets before them, and all Israel stood. Moreover Solomon hallowed the middle of the court that was before the house of the LORD: for there he offered burnt offerings, and the fat of the peace offerings, because the brasen altar which Solomon had made was not able to receive the burnt offerings, and the meat offerings, and the fat.
When one considers how many offerings were offered, (22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep,) he can readily see that, even as large as was the brasen altar Solomon had made, it could not receive all of them in anything like a reasonable time. Therefore Solomon hallowed the middle of the court that was before the house of God, and there offered these sacrifices.
(Verses 8 through 11) Also at the same time Solomon kept the feast seven days, and all Israel with him, a very great congregation, from the entering in of Hamath unto the river of Egypt. And in the eighth day they made a solemn assembly for they kept the dedication of the altar seven days, and the feast seven days. And on the three and twentieth day of the seventh month he sent the people away into their tents, glad and merry in heart for the goodness that the LORD had shewed unto David, and to Solomon, and to Israel His people. Thus Solomon finished the house of the LORD, and the king’s house; and all that came into Solomon’s heart to make in the house of the LORD, and in his own house, he prosperously effected.
This great sacrifice and feast lasted for seven days, and on the eighth day they had a solemn assembly. On the twenty-third day of the seventh month the people were all dismissed, and went to their tents. Not only had Solomon finished building and furnishing the house of the LORD and his own house, but also the house of the LORD had been dedicated, just as had been hoped.
(Verses 12 through 16) And the LORD appeared to Solomon by night, and said unto him, I have heard thy prayer, and have chosen this place to Myself for an house of sacrifice. If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people; if My people that are called by My name, shall humble themselves and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. Now Mine eyes shall be open, and Mine ears attent unto the prayer that is made in this place. For now have I chosen and sanctified this house, that My name may be there for ever: and Mine ears and Mine heart shall be there perpetually.
Again the LORD appeared to Solomon by night, and told him that He had heard his prayer, and had chosen this house to Himself for a house of sacrifice. Since God is so great, certainly, as Solomon had earlier said, no house was great enough to contain Him. But He had made choice of it that it should be the place for sacrifices and offerings to be made unto Him; and He would be attentive to the prayers that should be prayed there. Verse 14 is one that even today we believe applies, not only to Israel, but also to every one of His children. Careful attention should be given to all that he said concerning what we are to do, if we want Him to forgive our sin. First, we are to humble ourselves. Remember that Jesus told His disciples, (Matthew 18:3-4) “Verily I say unto you, ‘Except ye become converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.’” It is obvious that in that saying, He was stressing the value of humility. And that is the first thing the LORD mentioned about those who come to Him, as here considered. Then we are to pray and seek His face. It is clear that if we truly pray, we must seek His face, and the third item He mentions is that we must turn from our wicked way. That is, we must not only be sorry for our sins, but must also turn away from them. And, beyond question our ways are wicked. Otherwise the LORD would not have laid chastisement upon us. If we will do all of these things, He says, “Then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” With all the troubles that we, as a people are in today, and with all the prayers we hear asking God to bless us, how often do we hear anything in the way of exhortations to us as a people or as individuals, to repent? And how often do we hear someone praying that the LORD will give us repentance? Have we forgotten that true repentance is a gift from our God, and only He can give it? And only if we do all these things He has said, including repentance, has He promised to forgive our sin, and heal our land. Although the temple Solomon built has long ago been destroyed, our LORD has commanded us to come to the mercy seat, that is, come to Jesus, for He is our mercy seat, or throne of grace, and there find mercy and grace to help in time of need. He is perpetually watching over us; but remember under what conditions He has said that He will “hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” And that will apply to us as to them.
(Verses 17 through 22) And as for thee, if thou wilt walk before Me, as David thy father walked, and do according to all that I have commanded thee, and shalt observe My statutes and My judgments; then will I stablish the throne of thy kingdom, according as I have covenanted with David thy father, saying, There shall not fail thee a man to be ruler over Israel. But if ye turn away, and forsake My statutes and My commandments, which I have set before you, and shall go and serve other gods, and worship them; then will I pluck them up by the roots out of my land which I have given them; and this house, which I have sanctified for My name, will I cast out of My sight, and will make it a proverb and a byword among all nations. And this house, which is high, shall be an astonishment to every one that passeth by it; so that he shall say, Why hath the LORD done thus unto this land, and unto this house? And it shall be answered, Because they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, Which brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, and laid hold on other gods, and worshipped them, and served them: therefore hath He brought all this evil upon them.
The LORD continues His message to Solomon, and it concerns the future of Solomon and his kingdom, as well as the house of the LORD. He tells Solomon both sides of the matter. First He tells him that, if Solomon will walk before Him as did his father David, He will fulfill His promise to David, that there shall not fail to be one of his descendants upon the throne of Israel for ever. But if he shall turn away, and forsake His commandments, and serve other gods, He will pluck up the whole kingdom, and root it out of the land which He has given to Israel. And He will cause this house which He has chosen for His name to become an astonishment to every one that passes by. Men will question why has the LORD let such a thing come upon this land and this house. And the answer shall be that the people have turned away from the LORD Who brought them up from the land of Egypt, and established them; and have worshipped and served other gods, and for this reason has all this evil come upon them.
(Verses 1 through 6) And it came to pass at the end of twenty years, wherein Solomon had built the house of the LORD, and his own house, that the cities which Huram had restored to Solomon, Solomon built them, and caused the children of Israel to dwell there. And Solomon went to Hamath-zobah, and prevailed against it. And he built Tadmor in the wilderness, and all the store cities, which he built in Hamath. Also he built Beth-horon the upper, and Beth-horon the nether, fenced cities, with walls, gates, and bars; and Baalath, and all the store cities that Solomon had, and all the chariot cities, and the cities of the horsemen, and all that Solomon desired to build in Jerusalem, and in Lebanon, and throughout all the land of his dominion.
Solomon had given some cities to king Huram, but when he saw them he was displeased with them, and, apparently, he gave them back to Solomon. So he re-built them, and caused some of the Israelites to dwell there. He also prepared cities for store cities, and for cities in which to keep his chariots and his horsemen. He put on quite a building program throughout his domain
(Verses 7 through 10) As for the people that were left of the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, which were not of Israel, but of their children, who were left of them in the land, whom the children of Israel consumed not, them did Solomon make to pay tribute until this day. But of the children of Israel did Solomon make no servants for his work, but they were men of war, and chief of his captains, and captains of his chariots and horsemen. And these were the chief of king Solomon’s officers, even two hundred and fifty, that bare rule over the people
So Solomon made servants of the remnants of the nations that still remained in Israel, and he put them under tribute. But he made no servants of the children of Israel. He made them his officers, and his captains over his army, his chariots, and his horsemen, as well as overseers over the servants he used in his building projects.
(Verses 11 through 13) And Solomon brought up the daughter of Pharaoh out of the city of David unto the house that he had built for her: for he said, My wife shall not dwell in the house of David king of Israel, because the places are holy whereunto the ark of the LORD hath come. Then Solomon offered burnt offerings unto the LORD on the altar of the LORD, which he had built before the porch, even at a certain rate every day, offering according to the commandment of Moses, on the sabbaths, and on the new moons, and on the solemn feasts, three times in a year, even in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles.
Solomon did not want his wife, the daughter of Pharaoh, to defile any of the places whereunto the ark of the LORD had come, so he moved her up from the city of David to the house he had built for her. Then he started following all the schedule Moses had set for the daily burnt offerings and all the special offerings, for the sabbaths, the new moons, and the feasts that Moses had established. Apparently, these had been somewhat neglected for some time previous to this.
(Verses 14 through 16) And he appointed, according to the order of David his father, the courses of the priests to their service, and the Levites to their charges, to praise and minister before the priests, as the duty of every day required: the porters also by their courses at every gate: for so had David the man of God commanded. And they departed not from the commandment of the king unto the priests and Levites concerning any matter, or concerning the treasures. Now all the work of Solomon was prepared unto the day of the foundation of the house of the LORD, and until it was finished. So the house of the LORD was perfected.
Solomon gave commandments to set all the appointments of the courses of the priests and Levites just as David had instructed him before his death. For he had declared that the LORD had given him all these appointments, just as He had given him the patterns for all the building, and the furnishings thereof. So now all these things were perfected.
(Verses 17 and 18) Then went Solomon to Ezion-geber, and to Eloth, at the east side of the land of Edom. And Huram sent him by the hands of his servants ships, and servants that had knowledge of the sea; and they went with the servants of Solomon to Ophir, and took thence four hundred and fifty talents of gold, and brought them to king Solomon.
Solomon and Huram continued to be friends, and Huram sent some ships to Solomon by his servants who knew something of handling ships at sea. These servants also went with Solomon’s servants on a voyage to Ophir, from whence they brought back to Solomon four hundred and fifty talents of gold. This was the beginning of quite a lot of sailing by the navy of Solomon, as is elsewhere recorded.
(Verses 1 through 8) And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon, she came to prove Solomon with hard questions at Jerusalem, with a very great company, and camels that bare spices, and gold in abundance, and precious stones: and when she was come to Solomon, she communed with him of all that was in her heart. And Solomon told her all her questions: and there was nothing hid from Solomon which he told her not. And when the queen of Sheba had seen the wisdom of Solomon, and the house that he had built, and the meat of his table , and the sitting of his servants, and the attendance of his ministers, and their apparel; his cupbearers also, and their apparel; and his ascent by which he went up into the house of the LORD, there was no more spirit in her. And she said to the king, It was a true report that I heard in mine own land of thine acts, and of thy wisdom: howbeit I believed not their words, until I came, and mine eyes had seen it: and, behold, the one half of the greatness of thy wisdom was not told me: for thou exceedest the fame that I heard. Happy are thy men, and happy are these thy servants, which stand continually before thee, and hear thy wisdom. Blessed be the LORD thy God, which delighted in thee to set thee on His throne, to be king for the LORD thy God: because thy God loved Israel, to establish them for ever, therefore made He thee king over them, to do judgment and justice.
There have been some arguments as to just where Sheba was. It is usually considered as being around the southern tip of Felix Arabia, and has even been thought by some to reach across the Arabian sea, and include Ethiopia. At any rate, considering the mode of traveling in her day, the queen of Sheba made quite a long journey to come to Israel to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and to see the wealth and order of his kingdom. She had prepared herself with many, as she thought, very difficult questions, with which she wanted to test his wisdom. But he answered all of them, and left her dumbfounded. She declared that, although the report she had been given in her own land concerning Solomon, his wealth, and his wisdom, was incredible, it didn’t even tell the half of the situation. Everything was far greater than she had heard. She declared that the LORD must indeed have loved Israel, to have given this kingdom such a wonderful king.
(Verses 9 through 12) And she gave the king an hundred and twenty talents of gold, and of spices great abundance, and precious stones: neither was there any such spices as the queen of Sheba gave king Solomon. And the servants also of Huram, and the servants of Solomon, which brought gold from Ophir, brought algum trees and precious stones. And the king made of the algum trees terraces to the house of the LORD, and to the king’s palace, and harps and psalteries for the singers: and there were none such seen before in the land of Judah. And king Solomon gave to the queen of Sheba all her desire, whatsoever she asked, beside that which she had brought unto the king. So she turned, and went away to her own land, she and her servants.
It was customary for rulers of nations, to show that they were on friendly terms, to exchange presents. And that is what this text describes. The queen gave Solomon presents, and he also gave her whatever she might seem to have a desire for. So after this she went back to her own country.
(Verses 13 through 19) Now the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was six hundred and threescore and six talents of gold; beside that which chapmen and merchants brought. And all the kings of Arabia and governors of the country brought gold and silver to Solomon. And king Solomon made two hundred targets of beaten gold: six hundred shekels of beaten gold went to one target. And three hundred shields made he of beaten gold: three hundred shekels of gold went to one shield. And the king put them in the house of the forest of Lebanon. Moreover the king made a great throne of Ivory, and overlaid it with pure gold. And there were six steps to the throne, with a footstool of gold, which were fastened to the throne, and stays on each side of the sitting place, and two lions standing by the stays. And twelve lions stood there on the one side and on the other upon the six steps. There was not the like made in any kingdom.
With the steady inflow of gold, the kingdom of Israel was under Solomon, no doubt, one of the wealthiest kingdoms, if not the wealthiest kingdom, in the world in Solomon’s day. And Solomon made use of this wealth in his building programs. He made all the targets and shields mentioned here of beaten gold, and put them on display in the house of the forest of Lebanon. And he built such a fancy throne that there was no other like it in any kingdom.
(Verses 20 through 24) And all the drinking vessels of king Solomon were of gold, and all the vessels of the house of the forest in Lebanon were of pure gold: none were of silver; it was not any thing accounted of in the days of Solomon. For the king’s ships went to Tarshish with the servants of Huram: every three years once came the ships of Tarshish bringing gold, and silver, and ivory, and apes, and peacocks. And king Solomon passed all the kings of the earth in riches and wisdom. And all the kings of the earth sought the presence of Solomon, to hear his wisdom, that God had put in his heart. And they brought every man his present, vessels of gold, and raiment, harness, and spices, horses, and mules, a rate year by year.
Solomon had so much gold coming in year by year that silver was not considered of much value in his day. All the drinking vessels, and all the vessels of the house of the forest of Lebanon were of gold. All the kings in the kingdoms around him came regularly to hear his wisdom; and when they came, they brought a yearly rate of presents of silver, gold, raiment, harness, spices, horses, and mules. So he was never at a loss for such. He surpassed all kings in riches and wisdom.
(Verses 25 through 28) And Solomon had four thousand stalls for horses and chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen; whom he bestowed in chariot cities, and with the king at Jerusalem. And he reigned over all the kings from the river even unto the land of the Philistines, and to the border of Egypt. And the king made silver in Jerusalem as stones, and cedar trees made he as the sycomore trees that are in the low plains in abundance. And they brought unto Solomon horses out of Egypt, and out of all lands.
Solomon maintained a very large army of chariots and horsemen, some of which he quartered in various cities through the kingdom, and some he kept with him in Jerusalem. All the kings in the area, from the border of Egypt to the land of the Philistines were in subjection to him. He had so much silver coming in all the time that it was considered of little value, “as stones,” in Jerusalem. He also must have carried on a very good forestry program also, for “cedar trees made he as the sycomore trees that are in the low plains in abundance.” These sycomore trees (or sycamore, as it is usually spelled) were not as the sycamore trees with which we are acquainted, but were a species of wild figs. He also received horses from all the lands of the region as well as from Egypt.
(Verses 29 through 31) Now the rest of the acts of Solomon, first and last, are they not written in the book of Nathan the prophet, and in the prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite, and the visions of Iddo the seer against Jeroboam the son of Nebat? And Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel forty years. And Solomon slept with his fathers, and he was buried in the city of David his father: and Rehoboam his son reigned in his stead.
This seems to need no commentary, for it seems to be perfectly clear as written.
(Verses 1 through 5) And Rehoboam came to Shechem: for to Shechem were all Israel come to make him king. And it came to pass, when Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who was in Egypt, whither he had fled from the presence of Solomon the king, heard it, that Jeroboam returned out of Egypt. And they sent and called him. So Jeroboam and all Israel came and spake to Rehoboam, saying, Thy father made our yoke grievous: now therefore ease thou somewhat the grievous servitude of thy father, and his heavy yoke that he put upon us, and we will serve thee. And he said unto them, Come again unto me after three days. And the people departed.
Jeroboam had had something of a quarrel with Solomon, and Solomon had tried to have him killed; but he fled to Egypt and remained there as long as Solomon lived. However, when Solomon was dead, and Rehoboam was about to be crowned king, he returned, and was selected by the people to be spokesman for them to try to get a little relief from the heavy tax burden Solomon had put upon them to finance all his building projects. Accordingly Jeroboam and the people came before Rehoboam, asking for some relief in this burden. Rehoboam took their request under advisement, and told them to come back to him after three days. So they departed.
(Verses 6 through 11) And king Rehoboam took counsel with the old men that had stood before Solomon his father while he yet lived, saying, What counsel give ye me to return answer to this people? And they spake unto him, saying, If thou be kind to this people, and please them, and speak good words to them, they will be thy servants for ever. But he forsook the counsel which the old men gave him, and took counsel with the young men that were brought up with him, that stood before him. And he said unto them, What advice give ye that we may return answer to this people, which have spoken to me, saying, Ease somewhat the yoke that thy father did put upon us? And the young men that were brought up with him spake unto him, saying, Thou shalt answer the people that spake unto thee, saying, Thy father made our yoke heavy, but make thou it somewhat lighter for us; thus shalt thou say unto them, My little finger shall be thicker than my father’s loins. For whereas my father put a heavy yoke upon you, I will put more to your yoke: my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.
There seems to be little here that would need any explanation. No doubt, with all the continuous building program that Solomon carried on, the tax burden must have been very heavy. But, since Rehoboam had been brought up the son of the king, he knew nothing of the weight of this burden, and neither did the young men who had grown up with him. But the older men knew something of the burden that was upon the people. And they also knew that the time had come when it would be much better to yield a little to the people that they might be made more loyal to the king. However Rehoboam would not listen to the advice of the old men. He turned to those young men who knew nothing of the burden under which the people served, and nothing about the danger of antagonizing them more. The counsel of the one group was directly opposite that of the other.
(Verses 12 through 15) So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam on the third day, as the king bade, saying, Come again to me on the third day. And the king answered them roughly; and king Rehoboam forsook the counsel of the old men, and answered them after the advice of the young men, saying, My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add thereto: my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions. So the king hearkened not unto the people: for the cause was of God, that the LORD might perform His word, which He spake by the hand of Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam the son of Nebat.
So when the people came before Rehoboam again on the third day, he answered them according to the counsel given him by the young men. This was the beginning of the fulfilling of the prophecy delivered to Jeroboam by Ahijah the Shilonite, for which see I Kings 11:29-39. As we continue, we shall see that the LORD always fulfills His word.
(Verses 16 through 19) And when all Israel saw that the king would not hearken unto them, the people answered the king, saying, What portion have we in David? and we have none inheritance in the son of Jesse: every man to your tents, O Israel: and now, David, see to thine own house. So all Israel went to their tents. But as for the children of Israel that dwelt in the cities of Judah, Rehoboam reigned over them. Then king Rehoboam sent Hadoram that was over the tribute; and the children of Israel stoned him with stones, that he died. But king Rehoboam made speed to get him up to his chariot, to flee to Jerusalem. And Israel rebelled against the house of David unto this day.
Rehoboam’s refusal to heed the request of Jeroboam and the people of Israel was not long in getting an answer, albeit it was not at all what Rehoboam thought he would get. They immediately declared themselves no longer under his authority, and went back to their own tents. Then Rehoboam sent his head tax collector to them, and they stoned him to death. So Rehoboam lost no time in getting into his chariot and going back to Jerusalem where, no doubt, he felt a little safer.
(Verses 1 through 4) And when Rehoboam was come to Jerusalem, he gathered of the house of Judah and Benjamin an hundred and fourscore thousand chosen men, which were warriors, to fight against Israel, that he might bring the kingdom again to Rehoboam. But the word of the LORD came to Shemaiah the man of God, saying, Speak to Rehoboam the son of Solomon, king of Judah, and to all Israel in Judah and Benjamin, saying, Thus saith the LORD, Ye shall not go up, nor fight against your brethren: return every man to his house: for this thing is done of Me. And they obeyed the words of the LORD, and returned from going against Jeroboam.
So when Rehoboam returned to Jerusalem, he called together the armies of Judah and Benjamin, thinking that he would go and take back Israel from Jeroboam. But the LORD sent His word to the people by His prophet Shemaiah, commanding them to return to their places, and not go up to fight against Jeroboam, because this matter was by His decree.
(Verses 5 through 12) And Rehoboam dwelt in Jerusalem, and built cities for defense in Judah. He built even Beth-lehem, and Etam, and Tekoa, and Beth-zur, and Shocho, and Adullam, and Gath, and Mareshah and Ziph, and Adoraim, and Lachish, and Azekah, and Zorah, and Aijalon, and Hebron, which are in Judah and in Benjamin fenced cities. And he fortified the strong holds, and put captains in them, and store of victual, and of oil and wine. And in every several city he put shields and spears, and made them exceeding strong, having Judah and Benjamin on his side.
Rehoboam immediately begin to prepare for defense of his kingdom. These cities which he is here said to build, are some that were already in use. So it might be more accurate to say that he strengthened them, or built them up, instead of just saying that he built them. All the work mentioned in this text was for the purpose of strengthening his defenses. He tried to strengthen all the cities in Judah and Benjamin.
(Verses 13 through 17) And the priests and the Levites that were in all Israel resorted to him out of all their coasts. For the Levites left their possession, and came to Judah and Jerusalem: for Jeroboam and his sons had cast them off from executing the priest’s office unto the LORD: and he ordained priests for the high places, and for the devils, and for the calves which he had made. And after them out of all the tribes of Israel such as set their hearts to seek the LORD God of Israel came to Jerusalem, to sacrifice unto the LORD God of their fathers. So they strengthened the kingdom of Judah, and made Rehoboam the son of Solomon strong, three years: for three years they walked in the way of David and Solomon.
Jeroboam put the priests and Levites out of their offices; so they left Israel, and went to Judah and Jerusalem. Jeroboam ordained priests for the high places, for devils, and for the two golden calves he made; one of these calves he placed in Beer-sheba, and the other in Dan. He then told his people that they no longer should go up to Jerusalem to worship the LORD, but go to Dan or Beer-sheba to worship the calves he had made. So all who had their hearts set on worshipping the LORD God of their fathers went to Judah and Jerusalem.. Thus they strengthened Rehoboam as long as he followed the way of David and Solomon. This seems to have lasted only about three years. Then we find that gradually the people, and the kings of Judah also turned away from following the LORD, and worshipped idols.
(Verses 18 through 23) And Rehoboam took him Mahalath the daughter of Jerimoth the son of David to wife, and Abihail the daughter of Eliab the son of Jesse; which bare him children; Jeush, and Shamariah, and Zaham. And after her he took Maacha the daughter of Absalom; which bare him Abijah, and Attaia, and Ziza, and Shelomith. And Rehoboam loved Maachah the daughter of Absalom above all his wives and his concubines: (for he took eighteen wives, and threescore concubines; and begat twenty and eight sons, and threescore daughters.) And Rehoboam made Abijah the son of Maachah the chief among his brethren, to be ruler among his brethren: for he thought to make him king. And he dealt wisely, and dispersed of all his children throughout all the countries of Judah and Benjamin, unto every fenced city: and he gave them victual in abundance. And he desired many wives
What is principally set forth in this is a list of the wives and children of Rehoboam, and his setting his sons in the cities of defense that he had established throughout Judah and Benjamin. Just as was his father Solomon, he was very much of what we today would call a “ladies’ man.”
(Verses 1 through 4) And it came to pass, when Rehoboam had established the kingdom, and strengthened himself, he forsook the law of the LORD, and all Israel with him. And it came to pass, that in the fifth year of king Rehoboam Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem, because they had transgressed against the LORD, with twelve hundred chariots, and threescore thousand horsemen: and the people were without number that came up with him out of Egypt; the Lubims, the Sukkiims, and the Ethiopians. And he took the fenced cities which pertained to Jerusalem.
A little earlier we saw that the coming from Israel to Judah of those in Israel who were put out of their offices as priests and Levites, and those who were determined to worship the LORD God of their fathers, strengthened Rehoboam for about three years. But before the fifth year of his reign Rehoboam and all Israel had forsaken the law of the LORD. Now, in the fifth year of his reign Shishak the king of Egypt came against him with a great army, and took the fenced cities that pertained to Judah, and came to Jerusalem.
(Verses 5 through 12) Then came Shemaiah the prophet to Rehoboam, and to the princes of Judah, that were gathered together to Jerusalem because of Shishak, and said unto them, Thus saith the LORD, Ye have forsaken Me, and therefore have I also left you in the hand of Shishak. Whereupon the princes of Israel and the king humbled themselves; and they said, The LORD is righteous. And when the LORD saw that they humbled themselves, the word of the LORD came to Shemaiah, saying, They have humbled themselves; therefore I will not destroy them, but I will grant them some deliverance; and My wrath shall not be poured out upon Jerusalem by the hand of Shishak. Nevertheless they shall be his servants; that they may know My service, and the service of the kingdoms of the countries. So Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem, and took away the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king’s house; he took all: he carried away also the shields of gold which Solomon had made. Instead of which king Rehoboam made shields of brass, and committed them to the hands of the chief of the guard, that kept the entrance of the king’s house. And when the king entered into the house of the LORD, the guard came and fetched them, and brought them again into the guard chamber. And when he humbled himself, the wrath of the LORD turned from him, that He would not destroy him altogether: and also in Judah things went well.
This is one of the few instances of a king of Israel or of Judah, who had turned away from the LORD to follow the way of evil, when rebuked by one of the LORD’S prophets, humbled himself under the hand of the LORD, and was delivered from the destruction that seemed so imminent. However the LORD did let Shishak overcome Jerusalem, and rob the house of the LORD and the king’s house of all the treasures that were laid up there. The LORD said that He would permit this to show Rehoboam the difference between serving Him, and serving the king of one of the nations around the area.
(Verses 13 through 16) So king Rehoboam strengthened himself in Jerusalem, and reigned: for Rehoboam was one and forty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city which the LORD had chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, to put His name there. And his mother’s name was Naamah an Ammonitess. And he did evil, because he prepared not his heart to seek the LORD. Now the acts of Rehoboam, first and last, are they not written in the book of Shemaiah the prophet, and Iddo the seer concerning genealogies? And there was war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam continually. And Rehoboam slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David: and Abijah his son reigned in his stead.
Thus we wind up the reign of Rehoboam son of Solomon, the king of Judah. He may not have been so evil as was Jeroboam of Israel, but verse 14 says, “And he did evil , because he prepared not his heart to seek the LORD.” This should be a warning to all. If our hearts are not prepared to seek the LORD, we will only do evil.
(Verses 1 through 3) Now in the eighteenth year of Jeroboam began Abijah to reign over Judah. He reigned three years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Michaiah the daughter of Uriel of Gibeah. And there was war between Abijah and Jeroboam, And Abijah set the battle in array with an army of valiant men of war, even four hundred thousand chosen men. Jeroboam also set the battle un array with eight hundred thousand chosen men, being mighty men of valour.
We often find throughout the record that the chronicler establishes the beginning of the reign of a king of Judah by the number of the year in the reign of the king of Israel, and vice versa. Abijah had only reigned about three years when, in what was almost a perpetual war with Israel, a great battle was about to start. When considering only the numbers of those set up for the battle, it would seem that Jeroboam and his army would have a great advantage over Abijah and his men; for Abijah had only four hundred thousand men , while Jeroboam had eight hundred thousand.
(Verses 4 through 12) And Abijah stood up upon mount Zemaraim, which is in Ephraim, and said, Hear me, thou Jeroboam, and all Israel; Ought ye not to know that the LORD God of Israel gave the kingdom over Israel to David for ever, even to him and his sons by a covenant of salt? Yet Jeroboam the son of Nebat, the servant of Solomon the son of David, is risen up, and hath rebelled against his lord. And there are gathered unto him vain men, the children of Belial, and have strengthened themselves against Rehoboam the son of Solomon, when Rehoboam was young and tenderhearted, and could not withstand them. And now ye think to withstand the kingdom of the LORD in the hands of the sons of David; and ye be a great multitude, and there are with you golden calves, which Jeroboam made you for gods. Have ye not cast out the priests of the LORD, the sons of Aaron, and the Levites, and have made you priests after the manner of the nations of other lands? so that whosoever cometh to consecrate himself with a young bullock and seven rams, the same may be a priest of them that are no gods. But as for us, the LORD is our God, and we have not forsaken Him; and the priests, which minister unto the LORD, are the sons of Aaron, and the Levites wait upon their business: and they burn unto the LORD every morning and every evening burnt sacrifices and sweet incense: the shewbread also set they in order upon the pure table; and the candlestick of gold with the lamps thereof, to burn every evening: for we keep the charge of the LORD our God; but ye have forsaken Him. And, behold, God Himself is with us for our captain, and His priests with sounding trumpets to cry alarm against you. O ye children of Israel, fight not against the LORD God of your fathers; for ye shall not prosper.
Before the battle, Abijah went up to the top of the hill, and called to all the host of Israel to listen while he reminded them of the fact that the LORD had given the kingdom to David and his sons after him. Albeit he said nothing concerning the conditions the LORD had placed upon the continuation of the kingdom in the hands of David’s descendants. He then reminded them of the fact that they had forsaken the laws and ordinances of the LORD, and had thrust out the LORD’S priests and the Levites from the service to which the LORD had appointed them, while He and his people still honored the priests and Levites of the LORD, and made their offerings to Him. Then he called upon them to, “fight ye not against the LORD God of your fathers; for ye shall not prosper.”
(Verses 13 through 20) But Jeroboam caused an ambushment to come about behind them: so they were before Judah, and the ambushment was behind them. And when Judah looked back, behold, the battle was before and behind: and they cried unto the LORD, and the priests sounded with the trumpets. Then the men of Judah gave a shout: and as the men of Judah shouted, it came to pass, that God smote Jeroboam and all Israel before Abijah and Judah. And the children of Israel fled before Judah: and God delivered them into their hand. And Abijah and his people slew them with a great slaughter: so there fell down slain of Israel five hundred thousand chosen men. Thus the children of Israel were brought under at that time, and the children of Judah prevailed, because they relied upon the LORD God of their fathers. And Abijah pursued after Jeroboam, and took cities from him, Beth-el with the towns thereof, and Jeshanah with the towns thereof, and Ephrain with the towns thereof . Neither did Jeroboam recover strength again in the days of Abijah: and the LORD struck him, and he died.
Little will be gained by commenting on this account beyond the fact that when we are faced with what seems insurmountable odds, there is still One upon Whom we can call, and expect to receive help. But the key is in found in verse 18: “And the children of Judah prevailed, because they relied upon the LORD God of their fathers.” Far too often we want to rely upon ourselves, or anyone else beside the LORD, when He alone is the One who can help us. This was the last major confrontation between Israel and Judah during the reign of Jeroboam. I Kings, chapters 12 through 15 give much more concerning the reigns of both Jeroboam and Rehoboam.
(Verses 21 and 22) But Abijah waxed mighty, and married fourteen wives, and begat twenty and two sons, and sixteen daughters. And the rest of the acts pf Abijah , and his ways, are written in the story of the prophet Iddo.
Thus is concluded the record of Abijah. There seems to be some discrepancy between the account of Abijah (Abijam in I Kings) and that given in I Kings. That is, if Abijam and Abijah are the same person, as appears to be the case.
So Abijah slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the city of David, And Asa his son reigned in his stead. In his days the land was quiet ten years. And Asa did that which was good and right in the eyes of the LORD his God. For he took away the altars of the strange gods, and the high places, and brake down the images, and cut down the groves: and commanded Judah to seek the LORD of their fathers, and do the law and the commandment. Also he took away out of all the cities of Judah the high places and the images: and the kingdom was quiet before him.
After the death of Abijah, his son Asa was made king, and under his reign the kingdom was in peace for ten years. He tried to eradicate idolatry from the kingdom, and commanded the people of Judah to seek the LORD God of their fathers, and to keep His law and commandment.
(Verses 6 through 8) And he built fenced cities in Judah: for the land had rest, and he had no war in those years; because the LORD had given him rest. Therefore he said unto Judah, Let us build these cities, and make them about with walls, and towers, gates, and bars, while the land is yet before us, because we have besought the LORD our God, we have sought Him, and He has given us rest on every side. So they built and prospered. And Asa had an army of men that bear targets and spears, out of Judah three hundred thousand; and out of Benjamin, that bare shields and drew bows, two hundred and fourscore thousand: all these were mighty men of valour.
Asa was a very prudent man; for while the LORD had given him and his kingdom peace, he, knowing that sooner or later war would come, turned his attention to preparing the defenses of the land, by building better infrastructure for defending the cities, and preparing what we would call “a standing army.” Then if, and when war did come, he would have the country and the people ready for it.
(Verses 9 through 15) And there came out against them Zerah the Ethiopian with an host of a thousand thousand, and three hundred chariots; and came unto Mareshah. Then Asa went out against him, and they set the battle in array in the valley of Zephathah at Mareshah And Asa cried unto the LORD his God, and said, LORD, it is nothing with Thee to help, whether with many, or with them that have no power: help us, O Lord our God; for we rest on Thee, and by Thy name we go out against this multitude. O LORD,, Thou art our God; let not man prevail against Thee. So the LORD smote the Ethiopians before Asa, and before Judah; and the Ethiopians fled. And Asa and the people that were with him pursued them unto Gerar: and the Ethiopians were overthrown, that they could not recover themselves: for they were destroyed before the LORD, and before His host; and they carried away much spoil. And they smote all the cities round about Gerar; for the fear of the LORD came upon them: and they spoiled all the cities; for there was exceeding much spoil in them. They smote also the tents of cattle, and carried away sheep and camels in abundance, and returned to Jerusalem.
Asa was using wisdom in preparing his kingdom for war, for their tranquility was broken by Zerah the Ethiopian and his million man army. He also had three hundred chariots. So it was a formidable host. And when the battle lines were drawn, Asa realized that, from a standpoint of the power of man, he had little, or no, hope of success. So he prayed to the LORD, that He, Who could work with a great many, or with a few, and they with no power, would deliver them from this great foe. And the LORD caused the Ethiopians to flee before Judah. Judah chased them all the way to Gerar, and destroyed all the cities around Gerar, taking much spoil, and completely defeating the Ethiopian army.
(Verses 1 through 7) And the Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded: and he went out to meet Asa, and said unto him, Hear ye me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin; The LORD is with you, while ye be with Him; and if ye seek Him, He will be found of you; but if ye forsake Him, He will forsake you. Now for a long season Israel hath been without the true God, and without a teaching priest, and without law. But when they in their trouble did turn unto the LORD God of Israel, and sought Him, He was found of them. And in those times there was no peace to him that went out, nor to him that came in, but great vexations were upon all the inhabitants of the countries. And nation was destroyed of nation, and city of city: for God did vex them with all adversity. Be ye strong therefore, and let not your hands be weak: for your work shall be rewarded.
This is a wonderful declaration to us even today, as it was to Asa and his army. God has promised that, just as surely as we will sincerely seek the LORD, we shall find Him. Not only so, but in that situation, He will bless us to be successful in our endeavors, in spite of all the opposition Satan may put before us. But if we forsake Him, and turn away from His commandments, He will forsake us. Azariah reminded Asa and Judah that for a long season Israel was disobedient to the LORD: they were without Him, and without a teaching priest. They had turned so far away from God that they did not even have anyone to teach them His laws. But when they were brought into sufficient trouble by their sins, they did seek Him. And the most wonderful thing about the whole matter is that they found Him. That is the key to all of our tranquility. Azariah calls their attention to the fact that during all that time they had gone without the LORD there was no peace, but nation was destroyed by nation, and great troubles were upon the inhabitants of all the countries. Everyone was surrounded by enemies. But now that Judah is walking after the way of the LORD, He is with them and blessing them. Therefore they are to go forward with their following Him, and “let not your hands be weak: for your work shall be rewarded.”
(Verses 8 through 15) And when Asa heard these words, and the prophecy of Oded the prophet, he took courage, and put away the abominable idols out of all the land of Judah and Benjamin, and out of the cities which he had taken from mount Ephraim, and renewed the altar of the LORD, that was before the porch of the LORD. And he gathered all Judah and Benjamin, and the strangers with them out of Ephraim and Manasseh, and out of Simeon: for they fell to him out of Israel in abundance, when they saw that the LORD his God was with him. So they gathered themselves together at Jerusalem in the third month, in the fifteenth year of the reign of Asa. And they offered unto the LORD the same time, of the spoil which they had brought, seven hundred oxen and seven thousand sheep. And they entered into a covenant to seek the LORD God with all their heart and all their soul; that whosoever would not seek the LORD God of Israel should be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman. And they sware unto the LORD with a loud voice, and with shouting, and with trumpets, and with cornets. And all Judah rejoiced at the oath: for they had sworn with all their heart, and sought Him with their whole desire; and He was found of them: and the LORD gave them rest round about.
When Asa and all the people heard the words of Azariah the prophet, they all rejoiced greatly, and covenanted together to seek the LORD with all their heart, and with all their soul. They all decreed that anyone , whether man or woman, great or small, would not do so that one would be put to death. In this congregation were not only the children of Judah and of Benjamin, but also many who had come out of the tribes of Ephraim, Manasseh, and Simeon, and had joined themselves with those of Judah and Benjamin. They were all glad to enter into the covenant to seek and serve the LORD. On this occasion they held a great sacrifice unto the LORD. They offered seven hundred oxen and seven thousand sheep. And there was great rejoicing by all. And the LORD gave them rest round about.
(Verses 16 through 19) And concerning Maachah the mother of Asa the king, he removed her from being queen, because she had made an idol in a grove: and Asa cut down her idol, and stamped it, and burnt it at the brook Kidron. But the high places were not taken away out of Israel: nevertheless the heart of Asa was perfect all his days. And he brought into the house of God the things that his father had dedicated, and that he himself had dedicated, silver and gold, and vessels. And there was no more war unto the five and thirtieth year of the reign of Asa.
It seems that it was Asa’s intention to completely eradicate idolatry from the kingdom of Judah. When the account says , “But the high places were not taken away out of Israel,” it seems that this is in reference to the high places where the people sacrificed their offerings to the LORD, but did not bring them to the altar at Jerusalem for so doing. It was, indeed, a violation of one of the laws the LORD had given concerning sacrifices, but it is a practice that was used even in the days of Samuel. Except for this failure, Asa’s heart was perfect before the LORD. His mother was an Ammonitess, and she had set up a grove and one of the idols of the Ammonites. This Asa destroyed, and he even deposed her from being queen because of this. The land had peace until the thirty-fifth year of Asa’s reign.
(Verses 1 through 6) In the six and thirtieth year of the reign of Asa Baasha king of Israel came up against Judah, and built Ramah, to the intent that he might let none go out or come in to Asa king of Judah. Then Asa brought out silver and gold out of the treasures of the house of the LORD and of the king’s house, and sent to Ben-hadad king of Syria, that dwelt at Damascus, saying, There is a league between me and thee, as there was between my father and thy father: behold, I have sent thee silver and gold; go, break thy league with Baasha king of Israel, that he may depart from me. And Ben-hadad hearkened unto king Asa, and sent the captains of his armies against the cities of Israel; and they smote Ijon, and Dan, and Abel-maim, and the store cities of Naphtali. And it came to pass, when Baasha heard it, that he left off building of Ramah, and let the work cease. Then Asa the king took all Judah; and they carried away the stones of Ramah, and the timber thereof, wherewith Baasha was building; and he built therewith Geba and Mizpah.
Everything seems to have gone along very quietly until the thirty-sixth year of the reign of Asa. Then Baasha the king of Israel, being jealous that so many of his subjects had been defecting to Judah, went up to the border between Israel and Judah, to the city of Ramah, and started to build it up, and fortify it so that he could there stop the passage of people to and from Judah. So Asa sent a present to Ben-hadad the king of Syria, who lived at Damascus. And with that present he sent a message to Ben-hadad that he would go up and interfere with the project Baasha had started. So Ben-hadad sent his army up to attack some of the cities of Israel. When they did this, Baasha left Ramah unguarded, and Asa carried his forces up, and took away all the materials Baasha had assembled for the work, carried them away, and used them to build up Geba and Mizpah. Thus it seemed that everything was working just right for Asa and Judah. But we shall learn more in the next few verses.
(Verses 7 through 10) And at that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah, and said unto him, Because thou hast relied on the king of Syria, and not relied on the LORD thy God, therefore is the host of Syria escaped out of thine hand. Were not the Ethiopians and the Lubims a huge host, with very many chariots and horsemen? yet because thou didst rely on the LORD, he delivered them unto thine hand. For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him. Herein thou hast done foolishly: therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars. Then Asa was wroth with the seer, and put him in a prison house; for he was in a rage with him because of this thing. And he oppressed some of the people at the same time.
Asa, no doubt was feeling his importance because he had, by the help of Ben-hadad, stopped Baasha’s plan of cutting off passage from one kingdom to the other. But in doing so, he had forgotten the LORD, and did not remember what a victory He had given him over the Ethiopians. So he had relied upon his own judgment to get help against Baasha, instead of calling upon the LORD. So the LORD sent His seer to him to rebuke him for his lack of faith. And, by the seer, He told him that for this lack of faith, he would have wars, something he had not experienced in his reign as king. When the seer told him this, he did just as many today do. He became angry with the messenger because of the message. This is something we should always seek to avoid. The messenger is only the bearer of the message, and not the author. So Asa imprisoned Hanani, and also oppressed some of the others of the people.
(Verses 11 through 14) And, behold, the acts of Asa, first and last, lo, they are written in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel. And Asa in the thirty and ninth year of his reign was diseased in his feet, until his disease was exceeding great: yet in his disease he sought not to the LORD, but to the physicians. And Asa slept with his fathers, and died in the one and fortieth year of his reign. And they buried him in his own sepulchres, which he had made for himself in the city of David, and laid him in the bed filled with sweet odours and divers kinds of spices prepared by the apothecaries’ art: and they made a very great burning for him.
It seems a great pity when one who has been so ardent a follower of the LORD for almost all his life, becomes as careless about Him as did Asa in his last days. When he died he was buried in his own sepulchre which he had prepared. With all the great effort expended upon his funeral, it accomplished nothing for him.
(Verses 1 through 6) And Jehoshaphat his son reigned in his stead, and strengthened himself against Israel. And he placed forces in all the fenced cities of Judah, and set garrisons in the land of Judah, and in the cities of Ephraim, which Asa his father had taken. And the LORD was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the first ways of his father David, and sought not unto Baalim; but sought to the LORD God of his father, and walked in His commandments, and not after the doings of Israel. Therefore the LORD stablished the kingdom in his hand; and all Judah brought to Jehoshaphat presents; and he had riches and honour in abundance. And his heart was lifted up in the ways of the LORD: moreover he took away the high places and the groves out of Judah.
When Asa died, his son Jehoshaphat was made king. And he followed all the commandments of the LORD, as had David . He did not seek to follow Baalim, or any of the other idols that some had followed. He even destroyed the “high places” and groves that had been in use since the entrance of the children of Israel into the land of Canaan. The LORD so established the kingdom of Judah in his hand, and gave him such honor that all Judah brought him presents. When it is said that “his heart was lifted up,” it does not mean that he became proud and arrogant, as the phrase usually means, but as it continues, this lifting up was “in the ways of the LORD.” He, indeed put forth every effort to walk in the ways of the LORD.
(Verses 7 through 11) Also in the third year of his reign he sent to his princes, even to Ben-hail, and to Obadiah, and to Zechariah, and to Nethaneel, and to Micaiah, to teach in the cities of Judah. And with them he sent Levites, even Shemaiah, and Nethaniah, and Zebadiah, and Asahel, and Shemiramoth, and Jehonathan, and Adonijah, and Tobijah, and Tob-adonijah, Levites; and with them Elishama and Jehoram, priests. And they taught in Judah, and had the book of the law of the LORD with them, and went about throughout all the cities of Judah, and taught the people. And the fear of the LORD fell upon all the kingdoms of the lands that were round about Judah, so they made no war against Jehoshaphat. Also some of the Philistines brought Jehoshaphat presents, and tribute silver; and the Arabians brought him flocks, seven hundred rams, and seven thousand and seven hundred he goats.
In order that the people of his kingdom might know how to worship the LORD and follow His commandments, Jehoshaphat ordained a school in the cities of Judah, and sent certain princes, Levites, and priests to those cities with the book of the law of the LORD, that they might teach the people. The LORD caused His fear to so fall upon the kingdoms around Judah that they made no war against Judah. Even the Philistines and the Arabians brought great presents to Jehoshaphat.
(Verses 12 through 19) And Jehoshaphat waxed great exceedingly; and he built in Judah castles, and cities of store. And he had much business in the cities of Judah: and the men of war, mighty men of valour, were in Jerusalem. And these are the numbers of them according to the house of their fathers: Of Judah, the captains of thousands; Adnah the chief, and with him mighty men of valour three hundred thousand. And next to him was Jehohanan the captain, and with him two hundred and fourscore thousand. And next to him was Amasiah the son of Zichri, who willingly offered himself unto the LORD; and with him two hundred thousand mighty men of valour. And of Benjamin; Eliada a mighty man of valour, and with him armed men with bow and shield two hundred thousand. And next to him was Jehozabad, and with him an hundred and fourscore thousand ready prepared for war. These waited on the king, beside those whom the king put at the fenced cities throughout all Judah.
Jehoshaphat became very great; and although he was not plagued with war, he did maintain a great army. This list is only of those he kept at Jerusalem. As has been mentioned before, he also maintained large forces in the cities he had prepared for defense throughout the land of Judah.
(Verses 1 through 3) Now Jehoshaphat had riches and honour in abundance, and joined affinity with Ahab. And after certain years he went down to Ahab in Samaria. And Ahab killed sheep and oxen in abundance, and for the people he had with him, and persuaded him to go up with him to Ramoth-gilead. And Ahab king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat king of Judah, Wilt thou go with me to Ramoth-gilead? And he answered him, I am as thou art, and my people as thy people; and we will be with thee in the war.
Judah and Israel had been enemies since the rebellion of Israel against Judah in the days of Rehoboam king of Judah. Now, however, since Jehoshaphat had become so great, he had made peace with Israel, and on this occasion had gone down to visit Ahab king of Israel. So Ahab killed a great many sheep and oxen, and made a great feast for Jehoshaphat and his retinue. During this feast, Ahab persuaded Jehoshaphat to join forces with him in an excursion against Ramoth-gilead.
(Verses 4 through 7) And Jehoshaphat said unto the king of Israel, Inquire, I pray thee, at the word of the LORD today. Therefore the king of Israel gathered together of prophets four hundred men, and said unto them, shall we go to Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall I forbear? And they said, Go up; for God will deliver it into the king’s hand. But Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the LORD besides, that we might inquire of him? And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, There is yet one man, by whom we may inquire of the LORD: but I hate him; for he never prophesied good unto me, but always evil: the same is Micaiah the son of Imla. And Jehoshaphat said, Let not the king say so.
Jehoshaphat had, evidently, been accustomed to asking counsel of the LORD before engaging in anything so momentous as going to war. So he asked Ahab if there was not someone by whom they might inquire of the LORD before engaging in this enterprise. Ahab then called his prophets, four hundred of them. When he asked them concerning whether or not to go up to Ramoth-gilead, they, of course, told him to go. And they also said that God would deliver the city into their hands. This they had said, not only because they were only “yes men” for Ahab, and not prophets at all, but also because, as will be soon be made clear, the LORD orchestrated this matter for His own purpose. In spite of their unanimous prophecy of success for Ahab, Jehoshaphat recognized that they were not true prophets, and asked if there were not a prophet of the LORD by whom they might inquire. Ahab told him that there was one man by whom they might inquire of the LORD, but he had never prophesied anything good for Ahab. Therefore Ahab hated him. But Jehoshaphat insisted that he be called.
(Verses 8 through 17) And the king of Israel called for one of his officers, and said, Fetch me quickly Micaiah the son of Imla. And the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat king of Judah sat either of them on his throne, clothed in their robes, and they sat in a void place at the entering in of the gate of Samaria; and all the prophets prophesied before them. And Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah had made him horns of iron, and said, Thus saith the LORD, With these thou shalt push Syria until they be consumed. And all the prophets prophesied so, saying, Go up to Ramoth-gilead, and prosper, for the LORD shall deliver it into the hand of the king. And the messenger that went to call Micaiah spake to him, saying, Behold, the words of the prophets declare good to the king with one assent; let thy word, I pray thee, be like one of theirs, and speak thou good. And Micaiah said, As the LORD liveth, even what my God saith, that will I speak. And when he was come to the king, the king said unto him, Micaiah, shall we go to Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall I forbear? And he said, Go ye up, and prosper, and they shall be delivered into thine hand. And the king said to him, How many times shall I adjure thee that thou say nothing but the truth to me in the name of the LORD? Then he said, I did see all Israel scattered upon the mountains, as sheep that have no shepherd: and the LORD said, These have no master; let them return therefore every man to his house in peace. And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, Did I not tell thee that he would not prophesy good unto me, but evil?
The messenger who went to get Micaiah, told him what the prophets had said, and asked him to let his prophecy be as theirs. He knew that those prophets were only trying to please the king of Israel, and he thought a prophet could change his prophecy to make it suitable to the occasion. But Micaiah’s answer was that he would speak only what the LORD gave him to say. When they arrived, and the king asked him whether or not he should go up to Ramoth-gilead, he answered him just as had the false prophets. But even Ahab knew that he was not giving his real answer. So he called upon him to answer truly. Then Micaiah gave a very clear answer that showed that Ahab would not even return alive from this foray. So Ahab said to Jehoshaphat, “Did I not tell thee that he would not prophesy good unto me, but evil?” He had made up his mind to go to war, and nothing was going to stop him.
(Verses 18 through 22) Again he said, Therefore hear the word of the LORD; I saw the LORD sitting upon His throne, and all the host of heaven standing on His right hand and on his left. And the LORD said, Who shall entice Ahab king of Israel, that he may go up, and fall at Ramoth-gilead? And one spake after this manner, and another saying after that manner. Then there came out a spirit, and stood before the LORD, and said, I will entice him. And the LORD said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go out, and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And the LORD said, Thou shalt entice him, and thou shalt also prevail, go out and do even so. Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil against thee.
As we mentioned before, not only were these so called “prophets,” not true prophets, but just “yes men” for Ahab, but the LORD had set up this whole matter. And Micaiah told Ahab, and all those with him exactly what the situation was. But as we shall see, nothing could deter Ahab from his intent. Of course, it is no surprise that he did not believe the LORD. He never had believed Him. But one would think that Jehoshaphat would have at least have had some strong misgivings about going on this excursion.
(Verses 23 through 28) Then Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah came near, and smote Micaiah upon the cheek, and said, Which way went the spirit of the LORD from me to speak unto thee? And Micaiah said, Behold, thou shalt see on that day when thou shalt go into an inner chamber to hide thyself. Then the king of Israel said, Take ye Micaiah, and carry him back to Amon the governor of the city, and to Joash the king’s son; and say, Thus saith the king, Put this fellow in the prison, and feed him with the bread of affliction, until I return in peace. And Micaiah said, If thou certainly return in peace, then hath the LORD not spoken by me. And he said, Hearken all ye people. So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah went up to Ramoth-gilead.
This is another instance of one who, because he did not like the message, wanted to destroy the messenger. Ahab ordered Micaiah imprisoned, and fed on bread and water until he returned in peace. Whereupon Micaiah declared that if Ahab returned in peace, the LORD had not spoken by him. So the kings went on as they had planned.
(Verses 29 through 34) And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, I will disguise myself, and will go to the battle; but put thou on thy robes. So the king of Israel disguised himself, and they went to the battle. Now the king of Syria had commanded the captains of the chariots that were with him, saying, Fight not with small or great, save only with the king of Israel. And it came to pass, when the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, they said, It is the king of Israel. Therefore they compassed about him to fight: but Jehoshaphat cried out, and the LORD helped him; and God moved them to depart from him. For it came to pass, that, when the captains of the chariots perceived that it was not the king of Israel, they turned back from pursuing him. And a certain man drew a bow at a venture, and smote the king of Israel between the joints of the harness: therefore he said to his chariot man, Turn thine hand, that thou mayest carry me out of the host; for I am wounded. And the battle increased that day: howbeit the king of Israel stayed himself up in his chariot against the Syrians until the even: and about the time of the sun going down he died.
There is no explanation given of why Ahab wanted to disguise himself, and have Jehoshaphat remain dressed in his royal robe. Perhaps, he thought that by so doing he would cause the Syrians to fight against Jehoshaphat, and leave him alone. If so, that idea backfired. The Syrians did, at first, think this, but they soon discovered their error, and turned away from Jehoshaphat. And the man who shot Ahab did it altogether by accident, so far as he was concerned. Nevertheless, just as Micaiah had prophesied, Israel was left without a shepherd; for Ahab was killed, just as the LORD had said by Micaiah. He did live until the evening; but about sundown he died.
(Verses 1 through 4) And Jehoshaphat the king of Judah returned to his house in peace to Jerusalem. And Jehu the son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him, and said to king Jehoshaphat, Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the LORD? therefore is wrath upon thee from before the LORD. Nevertheless there are good things found in thee, in that thou hast taken away the groves out of the land, and hast prepared thine heart to seek God. And Jehoshaphat dwelt at Jerusalem: and he went out again through the people from Beer-sheba to mount Ephraim, and brought them back unto the LORD God of their fathers.
When Jehoshaphat returned to his house in Jerusalem, the prophet Jehu the son of Hanani, met him, and gave him a message from the LORD. It was a rebuke for trying to help Ahab, an evil king. Nevertheless, the LORD also commended him for some of his works which had been good. So he went out among his people. and worked to turn them back to the LORD God of their fathers. He did not become angry, and try to destroy the messenger who had brought him this message.
(Verses 5 through 7) And he set judges in the land throughout all the fenced cities of Judah, city by city, and said to the judges, Take heed what ye do: for ye judge not for man, but for the LORD, Who is with you in judgment. Wherefore now let the fear of the LORD be upon you; take heed and do it: for there is no iniquity with the LORD our God, nor respect of persons, nor taking of gifts.
This needs no explanation: but it does need a great deal more emphasis laid upon it, not only in our public offices, but also in our private lives. We should be far more careful to deal according to that which is in keeping with the commands of the LORD than that which will make us more popular, or will increase our wealth.
(Verses 8 through 11) Moreover in Jerusalem did Jehoshaphat set of the Levites, and the priests, and of the chief of the fathers of Israel, for the judgment of the LORD, and for controversies, when they returned to Jerusalem. And he charged them, saying, Thus shall ye do in the fear of the LORD, faithfully, and with a perfect heart. And what cause soever shall come to you of your brethren that dwell in their cities, between blood and blood, between law and commandment, statutes and judgments, ye shall warn them that they trespass not against the LORD, and so wrath come upon you, and upon your brethren: this do, and ye shall not trespass. And, behold, Amariah the chief priest is over you in all matters of the LORD; and Zebadiah the son of Ishmael, the ruler of the house of Judah, for all the king’s matters: also the Levites shall be officers before you. Deal courageously, and the LORD shall be with the good.
This is so clearly set forth that it seems none could fail to understand it. Jehoshaphat established judges, and all other necessary officers in the land, and charged them to execute their offices in the fear of the LORD. He told them who would be in charge of those things pertaining to the LORD, and who in those related to the government, “the king’s matters.” At the end of this, he told them, “Deal courageously, and the LORD shall be with the good.” That charge should be given to every public official today.
(Verses 1 through 4) It came to pass after this also, that the children of Moab, and the children of Ammon, and with them other beside the Ammonites, came against Jehoshaphat to battle. Then there came some that told Jehoshaphat, saying, There cometh a great multitude against thee from beyond the sea on this side Syria; and, behold, they be in Hazazon-tamar, which is En-gedi. And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. And Judah gathered themselves together, to ask help of the LORD: even out of all the cities of Judah they came to seek the LORD.
There came a time when a great multitude gathered themselves to make war against Judah. And when Jehoshaphat knew of it, he was much afraid, and set himself to seek the LORD. He proclaimed a fast in Judah, and called upon all the people to seek the LORD also. And they all responded at once. They came together out of all the cities of Judah
(Verses 5 through 13) And Jehoshaphat stood in the congregation of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the LORD, before the new court, and said, O LORD God of our fathers, art not thou God in heaven? and rulest not Thou over all the kingdoms of the heathen? and in Thine hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand Thee? Art not Thou our God, Who didst drive out the inhabitants of this land before Thy people Israel, and gavest it to the seed of Abraham Thy friend for ever? And they dwelt therein, and have built Thee a sanctuary therein for Thy name, saying, If when evil cometh upon us, as the sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we stand before this house, and in Thy presence, (for Thy name is in this house,) and cry unto Thee in our affliction, then Thou wilt hear and help. And now, behold, the children of Ammon and Moab and mount Seir, whom Thou wouldest not let Israel invade, when they came out of the land of Egypt, but they turned from them, and destroyed them not; behold, I say, how they reward us, to come to cast us out of Thy possession, which Thou hast given us to inherit. O our God, wilt Thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon Thee. And all Judah stood before the LORD, with their little ones, their wives, and their children.
No doubt the hearts of all the people were filled with fear. But what a wonderful sight to behold! This whole assembly standing before the LORD, trusting in Him, and listening to this great prayer by a king who, as they all knew, had spent his life trying to serve the LORD, and trying to bring all his people closer to the LORD. As He prayed, he laid hold by faith upon the great promises that the LORD had made to Israel, and had renewed to Solomon at the dedication of the temple. They were all relying upon nothing other than the wonderful word of the Living God. And the answer to this prayer was not long in coming.
(Verses 14 through 19) Then upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph came the Spirit of the LORD in the midst of the congregation; and he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the LORD unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s. Tomorrow go ye down against them: behold, they come up by the cliff Ziz; and ye shall find them at the end of the brook before the wilderness of Jeruel. Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the LORD with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them: for the LORD will be with you. And Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground: and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell before the LORD, worshipping the LORD. And the Levites, of the children of the Kohathites, and of the children of the Korhites, stood up to praise the God of Israel with a loud voice on high.
When Jehoshaphat finished praying, the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jahaziel, one of the Levites, and moved him to prophesy. The message he was given was that there was no need to be afraid, because the LORD was going to take charge of the situation, so that the people should on the next day go down, not to fight their enemies, but more to observe the LORD as He took care of the matter. At the end of this speech, Jehoshaphat and all the people fell down to worship the LORD, and the Levites stood up to praise the LORD with a loud voice.
(Verses 20 through 25) And they rose early in the morning, and went forth into the wilderness of Tekoa: and as they went forth, Jehoshaphat stood and said, Hear me, O Judah and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem; Believe in the LORD your God, so shall ye be established; believe His prophets, so shall ye prosper. And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers unto the LORD, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and say, Praise the LORD; for His mercy endureth for ever. And when they began to sing and to praise, the LORD set ambushers against the children of Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir, which were come against Judah; and they were smitten. For the children of Ammon and Moab stood up against the inhabitants of mount Seir, utterly to slay and destroy them: and when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, every one helped to destroy another. And when Judah came toward the watch tower in the wilderness, they looked unto the multitude, and, behold, they were dead bodies fallen to the earth, and none escaped. And when Jehoshaphat and his people came to take away the spoil of them, they found among them in abundance both riches with the dead bodies, and precious jewels, which they stripped off for themselves, more than they could carry away: and they were three days in gathering of the spoil, it was so much.
No doubt, some will say that this is only a made up tale, and it could not have happened. Such as say that, most likely, do not even believe the history of creation given in the first chapter of Genesis. Most warriors of that day were men that could be easily goaded into a death struggle with another by some very small incident. And thus such a battle could have started by what we would call natural cause. But, beyond that, the LORD Himself can, without natural cause, turn one army against another instantly, and bring about such destruction. And He had already declared that the battle would not be of Judah; but it would be of Him. And so it was. Stripping the dead, after a battle, of whatever of value they might have upon them was a common practice. And people of that area of the world have always been noted for their wearing of rich ornaments, such as gold and precious stones, even in battle. So when the people of Judah stripped the dead in this case, there was so much spoil that it took them three days to collect it all.
(Verses 26 through 30) And on the fourth day they assembled themselves in the valley of Berachah: for there they blessed the LORD: therefore the name of the same place was called, The Valley of Berachah, unto this day. Then they returned, every man of Judah and Jerusalem, and Jehoshaphat in the forefront of them, to go again to Jerusalem with joy; for the LORD had made them to rejoice over their enemies. And they came to Jerusalem with psalteries and harps and trumpets unto the house of the LORD. And the fear of the LORD was on all the kingdoms of those countries, when they had heard that the LORD fought against the enemies of Israel. So the realm of Jehoshaphat was quiet: for his God gave him rest round about.
After they had finished stripping the dead, they spent the next day in an assembly in the valley, praising and thanking the LORD their God. They even called the name of that valley, “Berachah,” which means “Blessing.” Then they returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and with much playing upon the various musical instruments they had. When the nations around them heard of the great victory the LORD had given them they were quieted down so that none tried to make war against Judah.
(Verses 31 through 34) And Jehoshaphat reigned over Judah: he was thirty and five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned twenty and five years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Azubah the daughter of Shilhi. And he walked in the way of Asa his father, and departed not from it, doing what was right in the sight of the LORD. Howbeit the high places were not taken away: for as yet the people had not prepared their hearts unto the God of their fathers. Now the rest of the acts of Jehoshaphat, first and last, behold, they are written in the book of Jehu the son of Hanani, who is mentioned in the book of the kings of Israel.
This gives us the length of the reign of Jehoshaphat, his age at the beginning of his reign, and his mother’s name, and who her father was. It is somewhat difficult to reconcile verse 33 with Chapter 17, verse 6, concerning the “high places” of Judah.
(Verses 35 through 37) And after this did Jehoshaphat king of Judah join himself with Ahaziah king of Israel, who did very wickedly. And he joined himself with him to make ships to go to Tarshish: and they made the ships in Ezion-geber. Then Eliezer the son of Dodavah of Mareshah prophesied against Jehoshaphat, saying, Because thou hast joined thyself with Ahaziah, the LORD hath broken thy works. And the ships were broken, that they were not able to go to Tarshish.
Near the end of his reign Jehoshaphat joined with Ahaziah, one of the wicked kings of Israel, to build some ships to start up trade with Tarshish. But Eliezer prophesied against this project: and the ships were destroyed so that the project was abandoned.
(Verses 1 through 4) Now Jehoshaphat slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David. And Jehoram his son reigned in his stead. And he had brethren the sons of Jehoshaphat, Azariah, and Jehiel, and Zechariah, and Azariah, and Michael, and Shephatiah: all these were the sons of Jehoshaphat king of Israel. And their father gave them great gifts of silver, and of gold, and of precious things, with fenced cities in Judah: but the kingdom gave he to Jehoram because he was the firstborn. Now when Jehoram was risen up to the kingdom of his father, he strengthened himself, and slew all his brethren with the sword, and divers also of the princes of Israel.
So when Jehoshaphat died and was buried in the city of David, his son Jehoram became king of Judah. He then, as soon as he felt secure enough to do so, had all his brothers and some of the princes of Judah killed. He apparently had two brothers named Azariah, which seems a little unusual. And, for what reason we do not know, the chronicler, in verse 2, changes Jehoshaphat from “king of Judah” to “king of Israel.” Jehoshaphat had given the kingdom to Jehoram, but seemingly Jehoram also wanted the rich gifts that his father had given to his brothers.
(Verses 5 through 11) Jehoram was thirty and two years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem. And he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, like as did the house of Ahab: for he had the daughter of Ahab to wife: and he wrought that which was evil in the eyes of the LORD. Howbeit the LORD would not destroy the house of David, because of the covenant that He had made with David, and as He promised to give a light to him and to his sons for ever. In his days the Edomites revolted from under the dominion of Judah, and made themselves a king. Then Jehoram went forth with his princes, and all his chariots with him: and he rose up by night, and smote the Edomites which compassed him in, and the captains of his chariots. So the Edomites revolted from under the hand of Judah unto this day. The same time also did Libnah revolt from under his hand; because he had forsaken the LORD God of his fathers. Moreover he made high places in the mountains of Judah, and caused the inhabitants of Jerusalem to commit fornication, and compelled Judah thereto.
Jehoram only reigned eight years over Judah. But he followed all the evil ways of the house of Ahab king of Israel. He even married the daughter of Ahab, and apparently did all the evil he could. Nevertheless the LORD would not destroy the house of David for the sake of David’s faithfulness. It was during Jehoram’s reign that both the Edomites and Libnites revolted from Judah. Jehoram made new “high places” for the people of Judah that they might sacrifice to idols at those altars. And he forced the people to worship these idols. It may be that, in verse 11, when it is said that he “caused the inhabitants of Jerusalem to commit fornication, and compelled Judah thereto,” the meaning is that he caused them to commit idolatry, which is usually considered as spiritual fornication or adultery. But since the act of fornication was often a part of the worship of the idols of that time and area, it can well be what is meant.
(Verses 12 through 17) And there came a writing to him from Elijah the prophet, saying, Thus saith the LORD God of David thy father, Because thou hast not walked in the ways of Jehoshaphat thy father, nor in the ways of Asa king of Judah, but hast walked in the way of the kings of Israel, and hast made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to go a-whoring, like to the whoredoms of the house of Ahab, and hast slain thy brethren of thy father’s house, which were better than thyself: behold, with a great plague will the LORD smite thy people, and thy children, and thy wives, and all thy goods: and thou shalt have great sickness by disease of thy bowels, until thy bowels fall out by reason of the sickness day by day. Moreover the LORD stirred up against Jehoram the spirit of the Philistines, and of the Arabians, that were near the Ethiopians: and they came up into Judah, and brake into it, and carried away all the substance that was found in the king’s house, and his sons also, and his wives; so that there was never a son left him, save Jehoahaz, the youngest of his sons.
The first step of the great fall of Jehoram was that Elijah the prophet wrote him a letter, (he did not even come to see him to give him the message) and told him not only what was going to come upon him, but also why it was being sent. He did not give him some conditions that he could fulfill and avoid these great calamities. They were established, and must come upon him. A great plague was coming. He would lose all his children, his wives, and his goods. And that would be followed by a terrible disease that would come upon him, and finally destroy him. Verses 15 and 17 tell us that the Philistines and the Arabians were the ones who took away his wealth, his wives, and his children. The only son he had left was Jehoahaz, the youngest of all.
(Verses 18 through 20) And after all this the LORD smote him in his bowels with an incurable disease. And it came to pass, that in process of time, after the end of two years, his bowels fell out by reason of his sickness: so he died of sore diseases. And his people made no burnings for him, like the burnings of his fathers. Thirty and two years old was he when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem eight years, and departed without being desired. Howbeit they buried him in the city of David, but not in the sepulchres of the kings,
Verse 20 seems to be a very appropriate epitaph for Jehoram.
(Verses 1 through 4) And the inhabitants of Jerusalem made Ahaziah his youngest son king in his stead: for the band of men that came with the Arabians had slain all the eldest. So Ahaziah the son of Jehoram king of Judah reigned. Forty and two years old was Ahaziah when he began to reign, and reigned one year in Jerusalem. His mother’s name also was Athaliah the daughter of Omri. He also walked in the ways of the house of Ahab: for his mother was his counsellor to do wickedly. Wherefore he did evil in the sight of the LORD like the house of Ahab: for they were his counsellors after the death of his father to his destruction.
In verse 17 of the preceding chapter, the name of the youngest son of Jehoram is said to be Jehoahaz; but here it is given as Ahaziah. So, evidently he had two names, which is not unusual for anyone, even today. But it can be a little confusing, unless one pays close attention to the matter. He was the only one of the sons of Jehoram that was left after the raid by the Arabians and those with them. At the age of forty-two he became king, but only reigned for one year. However, in that year he did wickedly, after the way of the house of Ahab king of Israel: for his mother was his counsellor to do evil, as were also all the house of Ahab. They led him to quick destruction
(Verses 5 through 10) He walked also after their counsel, and went with Jehoram the son of Ahab king of Israel to war against Hazael king of Syria at Ramoth-gilead: and the Syrians smote Joram. And he returned to be healed in Jezreel because of the wounds which were given him at Ramah, when he fought with Hazael king of Syria. And Azariah the son of Jehoram king of Judah went down to see Jehoram the son of Ahab at Jezreel, because he was sick. And the destruction of Ahaziah was of God by coming to Joram: for when he was come, he went out with Jehoram against Jehu the son of Nimshi, whom the LORD had anointed to cut off the house of Ahab. And it came to pass, that when Jehu was executing judgment upon the house of Ahab, and found the princes of Judah, and the sons of the brethren of Ahaziah, that ministered to Ahaziah, he slew them. and he sought Ahaziah: and they caught him, (for he was hid in Samaria,) and brought him to Jehu: and when they had slain him, they buried him: because, said they, he is the son of Jehoshaphat, who sought the LORD with all his heart. So the house of Ahaziah had no power to keep still the kingdom.
This is a very clearly written account. And it tells us when, where, why, and how, Ahaziah was brought to his death. Also it shows that even the honor of being buried was accorded him, not for his sake, but for the sake of his father Jehoshaphat. There, evidently, was nothing about Ahaziah that even merited that much respect.
(Verses 10 through 12) But when Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the seed royal of the house of Judah. But Jehoshabeath, the daughter of the king, took Joash the son of Ahaziah, and stole him from among the king’s sons that were slain, and put him and a nurse in a bedchamber. So Jehoshabeath, the daughter of king Jehoram, the wife of Jehoiada the priest, (for she was sister of Ahaziah,) hid him from Athaliah, so that she slew him not. And he was with them hid in the house of God six years: and Athaliah reigned over the land.
Perhaps, all royal families have, at one time or another, been plagued with some member who wants everything for himself, or herself. And it was no different in the royal family of Judah. Athaliah, the mother of king Ahaziah, when she knew that her son was dead, set forth to destroy all his sons, her own grandchildren; and had it not been for the efforts of her daughter, she would have succeeded.. But it was not the will of God that her plot be successful, although He permitted it to succeed for a space of about six years. During this time one of Ahaziah’s sisters took one of his sons, and hid him away. During this six years Athaliah did reign over Judah, although nothing is said about any accomplishments of her reign.
(Verses 1 through 7) And the seventh year Jehoiada strengthened himself, and took the captains of hundreds, Azariah the son of Jeroham, and Ishmael the son of Jehohanan, and Azariah the son of Obed, and Maaseiah the son of Adaiah, and Elishaphat the son of Zichri, into a covenant with him. and they went about in Judah, and gathered the Levites out of all the cities of Judah, and the chief of the fathers of Israel, and came to Jerusalem. And all the congregation made a covenant with the king in the house of God. And he said unto them, Behold, the king’s son shall reign, as the LORD hath said of the sons of David. This is the thing that ye shall do; A third part of you entering on the sabbath, of the priests and of the Levites, shall be porters of the doors; and a third part shall be at the king’s house; and a third part at the gate of the foundation: and all the people shall be in the courts of the house of the LORD. But let none come into the house of the LORD, save the priests, and they that minister of the Levites; they shall go in, for they are holy: but the people shall keep the watch of the LORD. And the Levites shall compass the king round about, every man with his weapons in his hand; and whosoever else cometh into the house, he shall be put to death: but be ye with the king when he cometh in, and when he goeth out.
In the seventh year of this hiding of the son of Ahaziah, Jehoiada the priest decided that it was time to make this young man king in the stead of his father. Since the boy’s mother had so wickedly taken over the kingdom, it was necessary to work very carefully to bring this about. So he talked with certain captains of hundreds in the army of Judah, and with the priests and Levites, and the chief fathers in Judah, and brought them into a secret covenant. Then he called them together at Jerusalem. And renewed the covenant with them while they were all together. Then he gave them instructions as to what each was to do when they brought forth the young son of Ahaziah, to make him king. Everything was organized to give the maximum security for the event.
(Verses 8 through 11) So the Levites and all Judah did according to all things that Jehoiada the priest had commanded, and took every man his men that were come in on the sabbath, with them that were to go out on the sabbath: for Jehoiada the priest dismissed not the courses. Moreover Jehoiada the priest delivered to the captains of hundreds spears, and bucklers, and shields, that had been king David’s, which were in the house of God. And he set all the people, every man having his weapon in his hand, from the right side of the temple to the left side of the temple, along by the altar and the temple, by the king round about. Then they brought out the king’s son, and put upon him the crown, and gave him the testimony, and made him king. And Jehoiada and his sons anointed him, and said, God save the king.
Thus, without any untoward incident, they made Joash king over Judah. The whole operation had been carefully planned, and executed.
(Verses 12 through 15) Now when Athaliah heard the noise of the people running and praising the king, she came into the house of the LORD: and she looked, and, behold, the king stood by his pillar at the entering in, and the princes and the trumpets by the king: and all the people of the land rejoiced, and sounded with trumpets, also the singers with instruments of music, and such as taught to sing praise. Then Athaliah rent her clothes, and said, Treason, Treason. Then Jehoiada the priest brought out the captains of hundreds that were set over the host, and said unto them, Have her forth of the ranges: and whoso followeth her, let him be slain with the sword. For the priest said, Slay her not in the house of the LORD. So they laid hands on her; and when she was come to the entering of the horse gate by the king’s house, they slew her there.
The whole matter of making Joash king had been a closely guarded secret until it was accomplished. Then there was such a noise of the rejoicing of the crowd that Athaliah heard it, and came into the house of the LORD to see what it was about. And when she saw all things in order with the king standing in his proper place, and surrounded by all the people, she called the whole matter treason. But it was not, because she had obtained the throne by murder, and had never been anointed queen. But the present matter had been done according to all the traditions of crowning one king in Judah.
Of course, she tried to get away, but Jehoiada the priest ordered her to be arrested, and whosoever followed her to be slain. And he commanded the officers to not kill Athaliah in the house of the LORD. So they waited until they had taken her to the gate of the king’s house, and there they slew her. Her wicked reign was over.
(Verses 16 through 21) And Jehoiada made a covenant between him, and between all the people, and between the king, that they should be the LORD’S people. Then all the people went to the house of Baal, and brake it down, and brake his altars and his images in pieces, and slew Mattan the priest of Baal before the altars. Also Jehoiada appointed the offices of the house of the LORD by the hand of the priests the Levites, whom David had distributed in the house of the LORD, to offer burnt offerings of the LORD, as it is written in the law of Moses, with rejoicing and with singing, as it was ordained by David. And he set the porters at the gates of the house of the LORD, that none which was unclean in any thing should enter in. And he took captains of hundreds, and the nobles, and the governors of the people, and all the people of the land, and brought down the king from the house of the LORD: and they came through the high gate into the king’s house, and set the king upon the throne of the kingdom. And all the people of the land rejoiced: and the city was quiet after that they had slain Athaliah with the sword.
Jehoiada the priest had the king and all the people, and himself to enter into a covenant that they would be the LORD’S people, that is, that they would worship and serve the LORD God only. Then they all went together to the house pf Baal, and tore down both the house, and all the altars and images of Baal.. Then he appointed the priests and the Levites to their offices according to the order that had been ordained by David. Then he together with all the people brought the king down from the house of the LORD, and set him upon the throne of the kingdom, amidst the rejoicing of all the people. And after the slaying of Athaliah, the city remained very quiet.
(Verses 1 through 3) Joash was seven years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name also was Zibiah of Beer-sheba. And Joash did that which was right in the sight of the LORD all the days of Jehoiada the priest. And Jehoiada took for him two wives: and he begat sons and daughters.
Since Joash was only seven years old when he was made king, no doubt Jehoiada the priest was his closest advisor as to how he should reign. And we are told that as long as Jehoiada lived Joash did that which was right in the sight of the LORD. Jehoiada was even the one who chose two women to be wives to Joash. This may seem a little strange to us today, but it was not unusual for marriages to be arranged by someone other than the contracting parties, usually their parents. But Joash’s father was dead, and Jehoiada was his most trusted advisor. So it was only natural that he should be the one to do this. Joash reigned for forty years, and he also had both sons and daughters born to him.
(Verses 4 through 10) And it came to pass after this, that Joash was minded to repair the house of the LORD. And he gathered together the priests and the Levites, and said to them, Go out unto the cities of Judah, and gather of all Israel money to repair the house of your God from year to year, and see that ye hasten the matter. Howbeit the Levites hastened it not. And the king called for Jehoiada the chief, and said unto him, Why hast thou not required of the Levites to bring in out of Judah and out of Jerusalem the collection according to the commandment of Moses the servant of the LORD, and the congregation of Israel, for the tabernacle of witness? For the sons of Athaliah, that wicked woman , had broken up the house of God: and also all the dedicated things of the house of the LORD did they bestow upon Baalim. And at the king’s commandment they made a chest, and set it without at the gate of the house of the LORD. And they made a proclamation through Judah and Jerusalem, to bring in to the LORD the collection that Moses the servant of God laid upon Israel in the wilderness. And all the princes and all the people rejoiced, and brought in, and cast into the chest, until they had made an end.
Upon the first commandment of Joash to gather money and repair the house of the LORD the Levites did not do what he had commanded. But he then set the matter up so that they could not hide behind their laziness; for the whole matter was brought before the public, by a public proclamation, and the setting of the chest to receive the collection by the side of the gate of the house of the LORD
(Verses 11 through 15) Now it came to pass, that at what time the chest was brought into the king’s office by the hand of the Levites, and when they saw that there was much money, the king’s scribe and the high priest’s officer came and emptied the chest, and took it, and carried it to his place again. Thus they did day by day, and gathered the money in abundance. And the king and Jehoiada gave it to such as did the work of the service of the house of the LORD, and hired masons and carpenters to repair the house of the LORD, and also such as wrought brass and iron to mend the house of the LORD. So the workmen wrought and the work was perfected by them, and they set the house of God in his state, and strengthened it. And when they had finished it, they brought the rest of the money before the king and Jehoiada, whereof were made vessels for the house of the LORD, even vessels to minister, and to offer withal, and spoons, and vessels of gold and silver. And they offered burnt offerings in the house of the LORD continually all the days of Jehoiada.
So when the chest seemed to be about full, the king’s scribe and Jehoiada removed the money from the chest, and replaced the chest for it to continue to receive the collection. And they gave the money to the proper workmen to get the necessary materials, and do the work of repairing the house of the LORD. When the repairs had been satisfactorily made they took the excess of the money, and made vessels and utensils as required to do the service of the house of God. For the sons of Athaliah, during her reign, had taken all such from the house of the LORD, and had put them in the house of Baal. When all things had been finished as they had purposed, they offered burnt offerings, which practice they did continually as long as Jehoiada the priest lived.
(Verses 15 through 19) But Jehoiada waxed old, and was full of days when he died; an hundred and thirty years old was he when he died. And they buried him in the city of David among the kings, because he had done good in Israel, both toward God, and toward His house. Now after the death of Jehoiada came the princes of Judah, and made obeisance to the king. Then the king hearkened unto them. And they left the house of the LORD God of their fathers, and served groves and idols: and wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem for this their trespass. Yet He sent prophets unto them, to bring them again unto the LORD; and they testified against them: but they would not give ear.
Jehoiada was, perhaps, one of the most outstanding priests Judah ever had. He did much to help his country, and he was faithful to the LORD. He must have been the influence that kept Joash following the way of the LORD. For soon after he died, the princes of Judah came to Joash, and persuaded him to turn completely away from the way of the LORD, so that they and all Judah turned to the idols and the groves as they had before Joash was made king. The LORD sent prophets to them to testify against them, and try to lead them back to Him: but they would not listen. It is extremely sad to see a man who seemed to be such a servant of the LORD as Joash had been during the life of Jehoiada, turn completely away from the LORD as he did. But it does sometimes take place.
And the Spirit of the LORD came upon Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest, which stood above the people, and said unto them, Thus saith God, Why transgress ye the commandments of the LORD, that ye cannot prosper? because ye have forsaken the LORD, He hath forsaken you. And they conspired against him, and stoned him with stones at the commandment of the king in the court of the house of the LORD. Thus Joash the king remembered not the kindness which Jehoiada his father had done to him, but slew his son. And when he died, he said, The LORD look upon it, and require it.
This needs no explanation, for all can understand it. But it shows to what a depth a man can sink when he turns away from the LORD. As he died, Zechariah said, “The LORD look upon it, and require it.” What an awful sentence for a man who had once been considered as a friend, but had turned so fully under the power of Satan. And as we follow the remainder of the career of Joash, we shall see that the LORD did look upon this act of murder, and require it.
(Verses 23 through 27) And it came to pass at the end of the year, that the host of Syria came up against him: and they came to Judah and Jerusalem, and destroyed all the princes of the people from among the people, and sent the spoil of them unto the king of Damascus. For the army of the Syrians came with a small company of men, and the LORD delivered a very great host into their hand, because they had forsaken the LORD God of their fathers. So they executed judgment against Joash. And when they had departed from him, (for they left him in great diseases,) his own servants conspired against him for the blood of the sons of Jehoiada the priest, and slew him on his bed, and he died: and they buried him in the city of David, but they buried him not in the sepulchres of the kings. And these are they that conspired against him; Zabad the son of Shimeath an Ammonitess, and Jehozabad the son of Shimrith a Moabitess. Now concerning his sons, and the greatness of the burdens laid upon him, and the repairing of the house of God, behold, they are written in the story of the book of the kings. And Amaziah his son reigned in his stead.
Apparently it was at the end of the same year in which Joash had had Zechariah stoned to death, that the Syrians came to Judah and Jerusalem, and destroyed all the princes of the people. Even though they had come with a small force, they had spoiled a great host, and this was the judgment of the LORD sent upon them for the blood of the sons of Jehoiada whom they had slain. They left Joash in great distress. His own servants conspired against him and killed him. And, though he was buried in the city of David they would not bury him in the sepulchres of the kings. After his death Amaziah his son became king.
(Verses 1 through 5) Amaziah was twenty and five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned twenty and nine years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Jehoaddan of Jerusalem. And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, but not with a perfect heart. Now it came to pass, when the kingdom was established to him, he slew his servants that had killed the king his father. But he slew not their children, but did as it is written in the law in the book of Moses, where the LORD commanded, saying, The fathers shall not die for the children, neither shall the children die for the fathers, but every man shall die for his own sin.
Amaziah was only twenty-five years of age when he became king of Judah, and he reigned twenty-nine years. For the greater part, he did that which was tight in the eyes of the LORD, though his heart was not perfect toward the LORD. One of his first acts when he was established as the king was to put to death those servants of his that had slain his father. However he followed the LORD’S commandment instead of the common practice of the day, in that he did not put their children to death.
(Verses 5 through 10) Moreover Amaziah gathered Judah together, and made them captains over thousands, and captains over hundreds, according to the houses of their fathers, throughout all Judah and Benjamin: and he numbered them from twenty years old and above, and found them three hundred thousand choice men, able to go to war, that could handle spear and shield. He hired also an hundred thousand mighty men of valour out of Israel for an hundred talents of silver. But there came a man of God to him, saying, O king, let not the army of Israel go with thee; for the LORD is not with Israel, to wit, with all the children of Ephraim. But if thou wilt go, do it, be strong for the battle: God shall make thee fall before the enemy: for God hath power to help, and to cast down, And Amaziah said to the man of God, But what shall we do for the hundred talents which I have given to the army of Israel? And the man of God answered, The LORD is able to give thee much more than this. Then Amaziah separated them, to wit, the army that was come to him out of Ephraim, to go home again: wherefore their anger was greatly kindled against Judah, and they returned home in great anger.
Evidently, Amaziah was preparing to go to war; for he reorganized his army, and hired a hundred thousand soldiers out of Ephraim. But the LORD was not pleased with this army he had hired, and He sent His prophet to Amaziah to tell him to dismiss this army he had hired. And Amaziah obeyed the commandment of the LORD. When the army he had hired out of Israel were dismissed, they became very angry, and returned to their homes in great anger. They must have wanted very badly to get into a fight; for Amaziah had already paid them, and did not demand any refund from them.
(Verses 11 through 13) And Amaziah strengthened himself, and led forth his people, and went to the valley of salt, and smote the children of Seir ten thousand. And other ten thousand left alive did the children of Judah carry away captive, and brought them unto the top of the rock, and cast them down from the top of the rock, that they all were broken in pieces. But the soldiers of the army which Amaziah sent back, that they should not go with him to battle, fell upon the cities of Judah, from Samaria even unto Beth-horon, and smote three thousand of them, and took much spoil.
This all seems clear enough; but two things stand out in the account. First, People in those days were fully as bloodthirsty as they have ever been; witness the children of Judah as they took ten thousand captives, and forced them over the cliff, that they were broken to pieces. And, probably because they felt they had been slighted, the army which Amaziah had dismissed attacked some cities of Judah, and killed three thousand of the inhabitants, and took spoils of them.
(Verses 14 through 20) Now it came to pass, after that Amaziah was come from the slaughter of the Edomites, that he brought the gods of the children of Seir, and set them up to be his gods, and bowed down himself before them, and burned incense unto them. Wherefore the anger of the LORD was kindled against Amaziah, and He sent unto him a prophet, which said unto him, Why hast thou sought after the gods of the people , which could not deliver their own people out of thine hand? And it came to pass, as he talked with him, that the king said unto him, Art thou made of the king’s counsel? forbear; why shouldest thou be smitten? Then the prophet forbare, and said, I know that God hath determined to destroy thee, because thou hast done this, and hast not hearkened unto my counsel. Then Amaziah king of Judah took advice, and sent to Joash, the son of Jehoahaz, the son of Jehu, king of Israel, saying, Come, let us see one another in the face. And Joash king of Israel sent to Amaziah king of Judah, saying, The thistle that was in Lebanon sent to the cedar that was in Lebanon, saying, Give thy daughter to my son to wife: and there passed by a wild beast that was in Lebanon, and trode down the thistle. Thou sayest, Lo, thou hast smitten the Edomites; and thine heart lifteth thee up to boast: abide now at home; why shouldest thou meddle to thine hurt, that thou shouldest fall, even thou and Judah with thee? But Amaziah would not hear; for it came from God, that He might deliver them into the hand of their enemies, because they sought after the gods of Edom.
After the LORD had given Amaziah such a victory over the Edomites, Amaziah did a most foolish and wicked thing. He took the idols of the Edomites, brought them back to Jerusalem, and set them up as his gods, and worshipped them. Although the LORD sent a prophet to Amaziah to warn him, the king threatened to kill the prophet for saying anything to him about what he had done. Yet the prophet told Amaziah that the LORD had determined to destroy him for his sin, but Amaziah gave no heed to him. Instead, he sent a message to Joash king of Israel to prepare to have war with him. Joash warned him that he should stay at home, and enjoy the victory he had been given over the Edomites. But Amaziah would not listen to his advice.
(Verses 21 through 24) So Joash the king of Israel went up; and they saw one another in the face, both he and Amaziah king of Judah, at Beth-shemesh, which belongeth to Judah. And Judah was put to the worse before Israel, and they fled every man to his tent. And Joash king of Israel took Amaziah king of Judah, the son of Joash, the son of Jehoahaz, at Beth-shemesh, and brought him to Jerusalem, and brake down the wall of Jerusalem from the gate of Ephrain to the corner gate, four hundred cubits. And he took all the gold and the silver, and all the vessels that were found in the house of God with Obed-edom, and the treasures of the king’s house, the hostages also, and returned to Samaria.
Amaziah would not listen to reason, but insisted in having a battle with Joash and finally Joash accommodated him. They met at Beth-shemesh, a town of Judah. In this battle the army of Judah was completely overcome, and Joash captured Amaziah and some of his people. He then took them to Jerusalem. And broke down a long section of the city wall of Jerusalem, robbed the house of the LORD and the king’s house, and took some hostages back to Samaria with him.
(Verses 25 through 28) And Amaziah the son of Joash king of Judah lived after the death of Joash son of Jehoahaz king of Israel fifteen years. Now the rest of the acts of Amaziah, first and last, behold, are they not written in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel? Now after the time that Amaziah did turn away from following the LORD they made a conspiracy against him in Jerusalem; and he fled to Lachish: but they sent to Lachish after him, and slew him there. And they brought him upon horses, and buried him with his fathers in the city of Judah.
Thus Amaziah came to his end at the hand of the assassin, because he had turned away from following the LORD. But they did bury him with his fathers.