History of the Era of the Kings until the Exile in Babylon

1 Samuel
(This summary includes details from 1 Chronicles,
a history book of the same period.)

Samuel's birth and upbringing
Samuel was a prophet, the last of the Judges of Israel. His mother Hannah dedicated him to God's service because he was born in answer to prayer after many years of childlessness. Eli the priest brought him up in Shiloh, where the worship tent was. Eli was a good man but his two sons used to steal the offerings, threaten the worshippers and seduce the women there. A prophet told Eli God was displeased about this and that his sons would both die on the same day. The first message Samuel had whilst still a child was to tell Eli the same thing.

The Ark of the Covenant captured
Some time later, the Philistines invaded and captured the Ark of the Covenant, thinking it would bring them luck. Eli's sons were killed, and Eli and his daughter-in-law died when they heard the news. The Philistines put the Ark of the Covenant near their god, Dagon, but Dagon kept falling on its face before the Ark, and broke. The Philistines got ill wherever the Ark went, so they returned it, together with golden offerings.

Samuel ruled Israel and settled disputes. He told them to get rid of all their idols. All his life the Philistines were unable to invade.

The people ask for a king (BC 1030)
When Samuel was old he made his sons judges, but they accepted bribes, so the people said they wanted a king like the other nations. God told Samuel to allow this, even though God was really their king. Samuel told them that a king would conscript men to the army and a lot of people would have to work just to maintain his household. He would take all their best land, servants and livestock and make them all slaves. However, they still wanted a king, so God told Samuel to anoint Saul (pour oil on his head) to show he was to be king. Saul was very tall and handsome and from a wealthy and influential family.

The threat of the Philistines
The Philistines continued trying to invade and oppress Israel, and Saul led them on a number of successful battles against them and the Ammonites, who were threatening to blind everyone's right eye in one of the cities if they did not surrender. The Philistines also prevented them from making metal weapons: the Israelites had to go to Philistine blacksmiths. Because of the constant Philistine threat, Saul would always enlist any strong man he came across.

Saul rejected as king
Samuel passed a message from God to Saul to wipe out the Amalekites because of their previous ill treatment of Israel. Saul defeated them but kept the best animals for himself, saying he was going to sacrifice them. For this disobedience he was to lose his throne. Now God told Samuel to visit a farmer and anoint one of his sons instead: this turned out to be David.

David brought to court
God took away his spirit from Saul and he went mad. Someone had heard of David's harp playing, so he was brought to court and soothed Saul with music.

David kills Goliath, and Saul's jealousy
During this time, the Philistines camped to prepare for invasion. An enormously large fighter, Goliath, with heavy weapons, challenged the Israelite army every day to one-to-one combat: the victor would win the whole battle. None of the soldiers would take him on. Eventually David heard of this and was allowed to answer the challenge. Goliath laughed at David, but he knocked him down with one pebble shot from his shepherd's sling, then killed Goliath with his own sword. The Israelites swarmed over the Philistines, completely routing them. Saul's son, Jonathan, formed a deep friendship with David, but Saul was jealous of him and kept trying to kill him. He offered his elder daughter to him in marriage, asking him to fight in the front line and hoping he would be killed, but David was too modest to accept and she married someone else. Then her sister Michal fell in love with David and Saul tried to trap him again: the dowry must be proof of his killing a hundred Philistines. The day before the wedding, David and his men killed two hundred, so Saul had to allow the marriage.

David flees from Saul
Jonathan warned David that Saul intended to kill him. Saul threw a spear at him in one of his mad fits. Michal helped him to escape. Saul accused David of treason and pursued him, but his many attempts on David's life failed. Jonathan always told David what he knew of Saul's plans. Twice David got the chance to kill Saul while he slept but he merely gave proof what had happened and went away. During this time the prophet Samuel died.

Nabal and Abigail
Once, David was insulted by Nabal, a hothead who owed him some favours. Nabal's wife Abigail took several loads of food and drink to David and his men to make peace. When she told Nabal what had happened, he erupted with rage and had a stroke, from which he died ten days later. When David heard he was dead, he sent a proposal of marriage to Abigail, which she accepted. (David had another wife called Ahinoam. Saul had now given Michal to another man.)

David in Philistia
Eventually, David went to live in Philistia because Saul wouldn't follow him there. The king of the region trusted him: he gave David a town to live in with his people and made him his bodyguard. During this time, a large number of highly skilled soldiers joined him. David told this king that he was making raids on towns in Judah, but he really raided other Philistine settlements. He would cover his tracks by killing everyone there so no one could report what was really happening. Then the king prepared to fight the Israelites, but his allies stopped David joining them because of his earlier reputation for killing so many Philistines.

The Amalekite raid
During David's army's few days' absence, the Amalekites had raided, capturing their families and burning down the town. They pursued and brought back all the captives and the loot.

The death of Saul and Jonathan
In the meantime, the Philistines attacked the Israelites and in the course of the battle, Saul and three sons, including Jonathan, were killed.

Quotes
12:23 As for me, God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you.
15:22 Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and in sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.




2 Samuel
(This summary includes details from 1 Chronicles, a history book of the same period.)

The genealogies
The First Book of Chronicles opens with pages of genealogies, detailing who founded each nation, from Adam through Abraham to Esau and Jacob, Jacob's sons and descendants, including his son Judah through to King David, King Solomon and those who succeeded him. Then the death of King Saul is mentioned, after which a detailed history is recorded.

David's mourning
David got a message that Saul and his sons were dead. David mourned for them, especially his dear friend Jonathan.

David made king of Judah (BC 1010)
Then David, his army and their families moved to the Hebron area in Judah and he was anointed as king there. He took further wives and had children by them.

The establishment of David as king
Saul's surviving son ruled Israel for two years. There were skirmishes between David's supporters and those of Saul's family but David's position became stronger. Then Saul's son insulted his army commander, Abner, who went over to David. He brought back David's former wife Michal, at David's request. Michal's husband followed her for miles, crying, but finally Abner sent him home.

The unification of Israel and Judah
Abner was murdered, and later two of David's men killed the king of Israel in his sleep to do David a favour, but David had them executed. Then the leaders of the kingdom of Israel anointed David as their king, so now all the Hebrews belonged to one kingdom.

Jerusalem becomes the capital
At that time, Jerusalem was inhabited by the Jebusites. David conquered it, made it his capital and built it up. He took more wives and concubines and had more children. The Philistines attacked again but were unsuccessful.

Moving the Ark of the Covenant
David decided to bring the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem and led a procession with music and dancing. It all went wrong when someone was struck dead for treating the Ark irreverently. Next time they processed, they carried it more carefully.

Michal despises David
When the procession entered Jerusalem, Michal saw David dancing vigorously with the other worshippers and later scolded him for making a fool of himself, but David had danced in honour of God, and Michal remained childless as a punishment.

David wants to build a temple
David decided to build a splendid temple, instead of a tent for the Ark of the Covenant, symbolising God's presence. The prophet Nathan told him it was a good wish to have, although God had never asked for one. But his son Solomon would build it because he would be a man of peace. David was a man of war. He also said that the throne would belong to David's descendants forever.

David brings security to Israel
Some time later, David ended the Philistines' stranglehold over the country and also made subjects of surrounding nations. He ensured justice was done among his subjects and appointed civil servants and public administrators.

Saul's relatives remembered
David then remembered Saul kindly and enquired about his family. Jonathan's son, who had been disabled by being dropped as a baby, was brought. David gave him all Saul's former property and a permanent place at his meal table.

War with Ammon and Syria
David sent condolences to the new king of Ammon for his father's death, but the king badly humiliated the messengers. Then he was afraid and hired armies from Syria. This started a war. The Israelites won and Syria became a subject nation.

Bathsheba
The war with Ammon continued next spring, but David stayed at home. Whilst strolling on the palace roof, he saw a woman bathing in another house. She was Bathsheba, wife of Uriah, an army officer. He sent for her and had sex with her, then she went home, but she had become pregnant. To cover up, David ordered Uriah home for a report, then told him to go home for a rest. However, Uriah refused any luxury and stayed with the guards at the palace gates out of solidarity with those at the front. David got him drunk, but he still didn't go home, so David arranged for Uriah to be put in the front line where he would be killed. After Bathsheba's time of mourning, David took her to the palace as his own wife, where she gave birth.

Nathan's challenge and a child's death
The prophet Nathan turned up with a story about a rich man who had eaten the only sheep of his poor neighbour. David wanted to punish the man. Then Nathan identified him as the one who had done just that and now some descendants of his would always die violently, and another man would have sex with his wives in public. David admitted that he had done wrong. Then Nathan said that David was forgiven, but that his child would die, and indeed, not long after, the child did get ill and die.

The next child Bathsheba bore was Solomon.

Amnon, Tamar and Absalom
Amnon, a son of David, fell in love with his half-sister, Tamar. He pretended to be ill then, when she brought him food, he grabbed her and propositioned her. She begged him not to force her, suggesting he ask David for her in marriage. Amnon didn't listen, but raped her; then he hated her and threw her out. Her full brother Absalom realised what had happened and sympathised, but advised her to keep it quiet. David was furious when he heard about it. Tamar lived, unhappy and lonely in Absalom's house.

Absalom takes revenge for his sister
Two years later, Absalom invited all his brothers to a party and had Amnon killed while he was drunk. All the others ran away and Absalom remained in exile for three years. After a further two years in Jerusalem, David welcomed him.

Absalom's attempted coup
Soon afterwards, he started a plot to take the throne. David left Jerusalem with all his officials, his army, and their families. Ten concubines remained to keep an eye on the palace. David set up a spy network and a false advisor for when Absalom took over Jerusalem. When Absalom arrived at the palace, he went onto the roof and had sex openly with David's concubines to humiliate him.

Absalom's death
Absalom's army attacked David's but David told the commanders not to harm him. Finally, Absalom's head caught in a tree as he rode under it, so he was left hanging there. Three of David's soldier's killed him, and all the fighting stopped. David mourned for his son.

David was welcomed back to Jerusalem.

Famine
There was famine for three years. God said it was because Saul had killed non-Israelites under his protection in Gibeon. David offered them compensation and they wanted to hang seven of Saul's descendants. Seven were found, not from Jonathan's family, and were hanged near Gibeon. Then the famine ended.

War with Philistia
War broke out with Philistia again. They had huge fighters like Goliath, but were defeated. Once, David sighed his longing for water from the well in his home town, Bethlehem: three soldiers crossed the Philistine lines to fetch him some. David was touched and poured it out as an offering to God.

The census and the epidemic
Later God was angry with Israel and told David to take a census to give them trouble (1 Chronicles says it was Satan who impelled him): this he did. 1,300,000 men were fit for military service. Then David felt guilty about it, and God sent a three-day epidemic. 70,000 people died, then God said "stop”. David saw the epidemic angel stop at Jerusalem, so he bought some land at that place and offered a sacrifice. He declared it the site of the future temple.

Quotes
from 2 Samuel
22:26-27With the merciful you will show yourself merciful, and with the upright man you will show yourself upright, with the pure you will show yourself pure, and with the froward you will show yourself unsavoury.
24:14David said ... "I am in a great strait: let us fall now into the hand of the Lord, for his mercies are great, and let me not fall into the hand of man.”
24:23-24All these things did Araunah, as a king, give to (David) the king ... and the king said to Araunah, "No, but I will surely buy it of you at a price, neither will I offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God of that which does cost me nothing.”
from 1 Chronicles
15:28Thus all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the Lord with shouting, and with sound of the cornet, and with trumpets, and with cymbals, making a noise with psalteries and harps.
29:10-11David blessed the Lord before all the congregation: and David said, "Blessed be you, Lord God of Israel our father, for ever and ever. Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is yours: yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all.”




1 Kings
(BC 970- 853)
(This summary includes details from 1 and 2 Chronicles, history books of the same period.)

Every king in Jerusalem was required to read from the Book of Kingship, which set out the duties of kings.

Solomon anointed (BC 970)
David was old now, and his son Adonijah tried to claim the throne but it had been promised to Solomon. David quickly ordered a priest and Nathan the prophet to go to a place near Adonijah's party, anoint him and proclaim him as king. The noise of the crowd shouting and the music reached Adonijah. Everyone sneaked off and Adonijah had to beg for his life.

David's death
David passed on instructions to Solomon and died. He had reigned for 40 years.

Solomon establishes his kingdom
Solomon had Adonijah executed for a further act of treason. He also settled some unfinished business that David had left him and so established his position securely.

God's gift to Solomon
One night, God spoke to Solomon asking him what gift he would like. Solomon requested wisdom and discernment to rule with justice. God was so pleased with his answer that he also promised him wealth, honour and long life.

An example of Solomon's wisdom
Two prostitutes who shared a house each had a son. One boy died in the night and each woman claimed that the living child was her own. Solomon called for the child to be cut in two and shared between them. Then the real mother begged for him to be given to the other woman, so long as he lived.

Solomon's fame
Solomon's kingdom was very prosperous and covered a large area. His wisdom was the greatest known on earth and he became famous for it abroad. He composed three thousand proverbs and over a thousand songs.

The temple built
Solomon commissioned the building of the temple in Jerusalem, which took twenty years. His father David had already prepared vast quantities of gold, silver and stone for the purpose. The building site had to be quiet, so the stones were finished at the quarry, then fitted together in Jerusalem. Specifications for the temple and its furnishings and equipment are given.

Solomon's other building projects
Solomon also built a palace for himself with vast halls panelled in cedar, and a similar one for his wife, an Egyptian princess. He fortified the city wall and restored and resettled ruined cities elsewhere. He also built a fleet of ships.

The tasks of the Levites
King David had already assigned the descendants of Levi1 to be priests, play instruments, sing, care for temple equipment, mix incense, cook baked flour offerings, settle disputes, do administration and praise God twice a day and on special occasions.

1Levi's descendants were the tribe assigned to all religious duties. No one else was allowed to be a priest.

The opening ceremony of the temple
The Ark of the Covenant was moved into the temple. A cloud of God's presence filled the temple so dazzling that they couldn't continue the service. Solomon addressed everyone gathered for the opening. He prayed, acknowledging the impossibility of the Universe to contain God, much less this temple; he asked for continuing protection, forgiveness and provision for his people for all time, wherever they were, and that everyone in the world would know and obey the true God.

God's promises to Solomon
That night God told him that if the people turned to him after a disaster, changing their ways, they would be forgiven. If Solomon was faithful to him, his descendants would always rule Israel but if he worshipped other gods the temple would be destroyed and they would be taken out of their land.

The queen of Sheba's visit
The queen of Sheba travelled along way to visit Solomon. She and her retinue brought 4000 kg of gold, a large amount of spices and jewels. She asked Solomon difficult questions to explore his wisdom. Despite the exalted reports she had heard, she was astonished by Solomon's wisdom and his wealth. Only gold was used in the palace: silver was so common it was considered worthless.

How Solomon's foreign wives led him astray
Solomon had a lot of wives from heathen countries. He married seven hundred princesses and had three hundred concubines. He provided them with places of worship for their gods and even worshipped them himself. So God was angry and told him he would take away some of his successor's kingdom. Some of his allies turned against him and Jeroboam, one of his ministers, revolted. A prophet had told him he would be king of ten of the tribes of Israel. Jeroboam took refuge in Egypt.

Solomon's death
Solomon died, having reigned for 40 years. His son Rehoboam ascended the throne.

The kingdom is divided in two (BC 931)
When Rehoboam went to the northern tribes (Israel) for his coronation, Jeroboam had already arrived there. Rehoboam turned the people against him by saying he would treat them worse than Solomon had, so the north rejected him and made Jeroboam their king. Judah and Benjamin (the kingdom of Judah) remained under Rehoboam with Jerusalem as the capital. The capital of Israel was Samaria.

The histories of the two kingdoms, shown in parallel

ISRAELJUDAH
King Jeroboam of Israel
Jeroboam feared losing his new subjects' allegiance if they went to the Jerusalem temple, so he set up idols and altars in his own country. However, some still visited Jerusalem to worship God in the temple and a number of people emigrated to Judah. A prophet denounced Jeroboam's idolatry and miraculously destroyed an altar.
King Rehoboam of Judah
During Rehoboam's reign of Judah, in the south, idols and pagan places of worship were also set up. Israel and Judah were constantly at war with each other, and Egypt attacked and looted the best treasure in the temple and the palace. Rehoboam was king for 17 years: Abijah succeeded him.
Jeroboam did not change his ways. Finally, his son fell ill and he was told that the son and all his other descendants would be wiped out because he had led the whole nation into idolatry. He died after reigning for 22 years, and his son Nadab succeeded him.King Abijah of Judah
Abijah reigned for 3 years and was the same as his father. War broke out again between Israel and Judah. Judah won with an army half the size of Israel's: God helped them because they relied on him and still worshipped him, whereas Israel did not. Abijah's son Asa succeeded him.




Baashah's coup in Israel
Early in Asa's reign the king of Israel and the rest of Jeroboam's family were killed in a coup by Baashah. Judah and Israel remained at war. A prophet told Baashah that because he encouraged idolatry and had killed all Jeroboam's family, so all his family would be killed. He reigned for 24 years, then his son Elah was king for 2 years until he was assassinated and succeeded by Zimri.
King Asa of Judah
Asa respected God: he put a stop to the idolatry, paganism and pagan prostitution but did not destroy all the pagan worship sites. He also gained allies and strengthened the cities in Judah. Asa made an ally of Syria to help against Israel's invasions. The prophet Hanani told him that because he did this instead of relying on God, he would always be at war. He imprisoned Hanani and became more cruel after that. He reigned for 41 years. His son Jehoshaphat succeeded him.
King Zimri of Israel
Zimri immediately slaughtered all Elah's family. One week later Baashah's army returned form war and besieged Samaria. Zimri hid; then he set light to the palace and died in the fire. The army commander, Omri, became king.

King Omri of Israel
Omri ruled for 12 years and led the people in idolatry. His son Ahab succeeded him.

King Ahab of Israel
Ahab was king for 22 years. He was worse than King Jeroboam. He married Princess Jezebel and worshipped Baal and the goddess Asherah. Jezebel had God's messengers killed, but some were hidden in caves.

Elijah, the drought and the widow
Elijah the prophet told Ahab that there would be no rain or dew for two or three years until he said so, then he went and lived in the desert. When the brook there dried up God sent him to a widow who was down to her last handful of flour and jar of olive oil. Elijah told her that these would not run out until the rain came, and so she made bread day after day. One day the woman's son fell ill and died. Elijah lay on the body hand to hand and mouth to mouth, and the boy revived. Elijah and the prophets of Baal In the third year of drought, Elijah returned to King Ahab. He got Ahab to bring along 450 prophets of Baal and 400 of Asherah to Mount Carmel. So they and crowds of ordinary people arrived and Elijah challenged them to decide whether the Lord or Baal was the real God. Two altars with sacrifices must be prepared, but no fire set to them. Then each would pray for fire. Soon the prophets of Baal were praying, shouting, and dancing around their altar. Elijah said, "shout louder: maybe he's travelling or asleep, or in the loo!” They went on for hours, cutting themselves, and nothing happened. Then Elijah dug a trench round his altar and had plenty of water poured on top of his sacrifice until the trench was full. Then he prayed once. God sent fire that consumed the sacrifice, the wood, the stone altar, the water and scorched the earth. The people threw themselves down, acknowledging the real God. All the prophets of the false gods were caught and killed. A cloud appeared in the sky and soon there were torrents of rain. Elisha joins Elijah Jezebel swore to kill Elijah and he ran away discouraged and hid. He had an encounter with God who told him there were 7,000 people in Israel who had been true to him. As Elijah returned he met Elisha, who became his assistant. Ahab and Syria The king of Syria threatened Ahab, then prepared to attack. Ahab won, but Syria returned next year. Again Ahab won against all the odds, and made a profitable alliance with them. Naboth's vineyard Ahab fancied a vineyard near him owned by Naboth. Naboth refused, but Ahab got obsessed by it so Jezebel had Naboth killed. Ahab went to the vineyard and Elijah was there. He told him his family would be destroyed because of Naboth's murder and his idolatry. Then Ahab wore rough clothes and fasted. Because of this, the disaster fell on his son's family instead.
King Jehoshaphat of Judah
Jehoshaphat ruled Judah for 25 years. He didn't destroy the pagan places of worship, although he did ban pagan prostitution and he sent out priests to travel throughout the country and teach the people God's law.
King Ahab's death
Ahab attacked a city even though a prophet told him not to. Ahab was in disguise. An enemy soldier shot a chance arrow which killed Ahab. Ahaziah succeeded him.
Jehoshaphat and Ahab's raid
Jehoshaphat visited King Ahab because they were related by marriage. They had a party and Ahab invited him to join him on a raid in a neighbouring country. The prophet Micaiah contradicted all the court prophets and said that it would be disastrous and that Ahab would be killed, but they went anyway.
King Ahaziah of Israel
Ahaziah reigned for 2 years and was the same as his father Ahab, worshipping Baal.
King Jehoshaphat makes amends
Later, the prophet Jehu told Jehoshaphat God was angry because he had allied himself with the wicked king Ahab, but he was not all bad: he had destroyed idols. After that, Jehoshaphat used to travel throughout the country to call the people back to God, and appointed judges, warning them to try cases fairly.

A victory without a battle
Some nations to the east allied to attack Judah. Jehoshaphat made the whole nation pray without eating for a day. God told them exactly where to position the army and assured them they wouldn't need to fight. Next day the king put temple musicians and singers to lead the army singing God's praise. As soon as they heard it, their enemies went mad and started killing each other, until not one was left. Judah collected large quantities of loot and after that no one dared attack them.

Quotes
from 1 Kings
21:20And Ahab said to Elijah, "Hast thou found me, O mine enemy?” And he answered, "I have found thee.”
from 2 Chronicles
6:18Will God in very deed dwell with men on the earth? behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain you: how much less this house which I have built.
16:9The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect towards him.
20:20-21(Jehoshaphat said) "Believe in the Lord your God, so shall you be established, believe his prophets, so shall you prosper,” and when he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers to the Lord, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, "Praise the Lord, for his mercy endures for ever.”




2 Kings
(BC 853 - 538)
(This summary includes details from 2 Chronicles, a history book of the same period.)

ISRAEL (contintued)JUDAH (continued)
King Ahaziah's death
Ahaziah fell off a balcony. He sent to ask a Philistine god if he would recover but Elijah sent the messengers back to say why did he act as if Israel had no god to consult, and that he would die. Ahaziah didn't accept this and sent officers to Elijah. Twice he called down fire from heaven which destroyed them. The third time he went with them and repeated the message to the king. Then the king died.

Elijah carried up to heaven
Elijah was to be taken to heaven rather than dying. Elisha insisted on following him to the river Jordan. Elijah struck the river with his cloak and it parted. They crossed, then Elisha asked for double of the power that God had given Elijah. Elijah said if Elisha saw the chariot that took him, his desire would be granted. He saw a chariot of fire sweep up Elijah, never to be seen again, and Elijah's cloak fell to the ground. Elisha picked up the cloak, parted the Jordan with it again, and crossed.

King Joram of Israel
Joram was a son of Ahab, but not as bad as him. He reigned for 12 years. The subject nation Moab rebelled and Israel and Judah allied to declare war on them. Elisha told them to dig ditches in the dry river bed. In the morning there was water in them which, in the morning sunlight, looked like blood to the Moabites. They thought Judah and Israel had killed each other and came to loot. The Israelites had the advantage and it ended with a siege. The king of Moab sacrificed his son to his god on the city wall. The Israelites were appalled and withdrew.




King Jehoram of Judah
Jehoram succeeded Jehoshaphat, his father. He was married to Ahab's daughter and was king for 8 years. Edom won independence from Judah during his reign. Early in his reign he killed all his brothers and some of his ministers. Then Elijah wrote him a letter saying he would lose his family and possessions and suffer a painful degenerative disease. Some Arabs and Philistines attacked, looted his palace and carried away his family, except for one son. Then he got ill and deteriorated over two years, finally dying. No one mourned his death. His son Ahaziah succeeded him and was king for a year.
Some of Elisha's miracles
Water from a town well was causing illness and miscarriages. Elisha made the water harmless again.
Some boys made fun of him. He cursed them and bears came and killed some of them.
A creditor was going to take a widow's sons as slaves in payment. She had only a small jar of olive oil, and Elisha told her to borrow as many vessels as possible. She poured oil into the pots until they were all full. The sale of the oil paid the debt and provided something to live on.
Elisha foretold the birth of a son to a childless couple. Some years later he fell ill and Elisha was called. By now the child was dead. Elisha lay against him, mouth to mouth, hand to hand and eye to eye. The boy got warm, then sneezed and opened his eyes.
Someone poisoned a stew by mistake. Elisha made it edible.
Elisha was presented with twenty loaves: they satisfied a hundred men and there was bread left over.
Naaman visits Elisha
Naaman, who commanded the Syrian army, had acquired an Israelite girl during a raid who became his wife's servant. Naaman had leprosy, and the girl was concerned: she said Elisha would be able to cure him. His king sent a large amount of gold, silver and rich clothes and a letter with him. Naaman went to the king of Israel, then on to Elisha who told him to wash in the Jordan seven times. At first Naaman felt insulted but his servants persuaded him, and the seventh time he was completely cured. He swore to worship only God and prayed forgiveness for when he supported his king in the Syrian temple. He offered all the gifts he had brought but Elisha refused them. But his servant ran after him for some treasure. From then on the servant had Naaman's disease.

Elisha ends Syria's raids
Syria tried to invade Israel but Elisha knew their plans and told the king, so they tried to capture him. God allowed Elisha's servant to see chariots of fire surrounding the Syrians, but blinded the Syrians. Elisha led them to the king, their sight was restored and they were given a feast before returning home. After that, Syria didn't raid any more.

Syria's siege and flight
Some time later, Syria declared war on Israel and besieged Samaria. Food was scarce, prices shot up and some people turned to cannibalism. Elisha foretold an overnight drop in food prices. That evening, four men with leprosy went to beg food from the Syrians, but they found the camp deserted. The Syrians had heard the sound of a huge advancing army and fled, abandoning everything. Everyone ran out and looted the camp, so there was a surplus of food and the prices plummeted.

King Jehu of Israel
Elisha sent a young prophet to anoint Jehu, an army officer, privately. Jehu then told his companions, who immediately proclaimed him king of Israel. Jehu rushed to meet Joram, the current king, and challenged him with the idolatry and witchcraft he encouraged, then shot him. He also killed King Ahaziah of Judah, all King Ahab's descendants and his widow Jezebel.

Jehu reigned for 28 years and his son Jehoahaz succeeded him.

Jehu eradicates Baal worship
Jehu invited all Baal's worshippers to a great sacrifice. He made them ensure that no one who worshipped the Lord was present. Guards surrounded the temple and killed everyone in it. The statue was burned and the temple turned into a latrine.

King Jehoahaz of Israel
Jehoahaz was king for 17 years. He led Israel away from God and the Syrians attacked them constantly until Jehoahaz asked God to stop them. But he persisted in idolatry. His son Jehoash succeeded him.










King Joash of Judah
Ahaziah's mother then had all the royal family killed, except for his son Joash. He was hidden for six years by his aunt, whose husband was the priest Jehoiada. When Joash was seven, Jehoiada gave him an armed guard, took him out in public and anointed him king. Jehoiada had Ahaziah's mother executed and everyone pulled down Baal's temple. Joash reigned for 40 years. He pleased God as long as Jehoiadah lived, but then he allowed idolatry and paganism again. Zechariah, Jehoiadah's son, denounced this publicly and Joash had him executed. A few months later, the Syrians attacked, killed, looted, and injured Joash, then he was assassinated to revenge Zechariah. His son Amaziah succeeded him.
King Jehoash of Israel
Jehoash reigned for 16 years and Israel continued to worship idols. His son Jeroboam II succeeded him.

Elisha's death
On his deathbed, Elisha predicted King Jehoash's victory over the Syrians. Some time later, bandits raided during a funeral. The corpse was abandoned in Elisha's tomb, it touched his bones and the man came back to life.

King Jeroboam II of Israel
Jeroboam II reigned for 41 years. Although he led Israel in idolatry, God used him to ease their suffering. His son Zechariah succeeded him.


King Amaziah of Judah
Amaziah ruled for 29 years. He executed his father's assassins but not their families out of respect for God's law: "a person may not be executed for another's crime.” Judah and Israel started a war and King Jehoash of Israel took Amaziah prisoner while he looted Jerusalem. Amaziah reigned for 15 years after this until he was assassinated. His son Uzziah succeeded him at the age of 16.
King Zechariah of Israel
Zechariah reigned for six months. Shallum assassinated him and succeeded him.

King Shallum of Israel
Shallum reigned for one month and was assassinated by Menahem, who became king. On his way to kill Shallum he destroyed a city and committed atrocities.

King Menahem of Israel
Menahem was king for 10 years. He displeased God, hired military police from Assyria and paid for them with extra taxes. His son Pekahiah succeeded him.

King Pekahiah of Israel
Pekahiah reigned for 2 years . He displeased God. Pekah assassinated him and became king.




King Uzziah of Judah
Uzziah reigned for 52 years. He gained land, fortified cities and built many waterworks. He encouraged the people to plant vines and other crops. Although he was a good man, he didn't remove the pagan worship sites. However, when he became powerful, he also grew arrogant and offered incense in the temple1. He was angry when challenged, and immediately contracted leprosy2. Thereafter, he lived in quarantine. His son Jotham governed the country and when Uzziah died became king himself.

1A privilege reserved to priests, descendants of Levi.
2No one with leprosy was allowed in the temple.

King Pekah of Israel
Pekah reigned for 20 years. He displeased God and lost land and people to Assyria. Hoshea assassinated him and became king.




King Jotham of Judah
Jotham reigned for 16 years. He pleased God but didn't destroy the pagan places of worship. His son Ahaz succeeded him.
King Hoshea of Israel
Hoshea reigned for 9 years. Assyria conquered Israel and it became a tributary. One year, Hoshea didn't pay: Assyria invaded and took the people back to Assyria.

The reason for the exile (BC 722)
This happened because they broke their agreement with God, practised idolatry and followed heathen customs, sacrificing their children and consulting mediums and diviners. God's patience ran out after sending many prophets to warn them.

The Babylonians in Israel
Assyria settled Babylonians in Israel. They worshipped idols, and when some were killed by lions the emperor thought they must have displeased the local god, so he returned a priest to teach them to worship the Lord. Then they mixed worship of God with idol worship.

King Ahaz of Judah
Ahaz reigned for 16 years. He closed the temple, worshipped idols, went to the pagan sites, and even sacrificed his own son. Syria and Israel allied and besieged Jerusalem without success. Ahaz bought Assyria's help with treasure from the palace and temple. He also used temple furniture and equipment for a heathen altar. Hezekiah his son succeeded him.

King Hezekiah of Judah
Hezekiah was king for 29 years and was the best king Judah ever had. He put his trust in God, and pleased him by getting rid of idolatry and paganism. He reopened the temple and reinstated the Passover: the first one was delayed so it could be celebrated properly and was such a joyful time that they continued for a second week. He rebelled against Assyria and defeated the Philistines.

The threat from the Assyrians
Assyria sent an envoy who shouted to Jerusalem to surrender: he said their God couldn't save them. King Hezekiah asked for God's help and Isaiah1 told him that the Assyrians would return home because of a rumour. They did indeed hear that an army was advancing on their home territory, and so withdrew. On the emperor's return home he was assassinated by two of his sons and succeeded by a third.

1Isaiah's book of messages from God appears later in this volume.

Hezekiah's illness
Hezekiah was ill and Isaiah said he would die. Hezekiah begged God to change his mind. Then Isaiah returned and said he would live for another fifteen years. The proof of this was that the shadow on the staircase moved back 10o.

The Babylonian exile predicted
The Babylonian king sent a get well letter and present to Hezekiah. He showed the envoys all the treasure, spices, perfumes and arms. Because of this, Isaiah said, it would all be taken to Babylon in future and some of his descendants would be eunuchs in the Babylonian palace. This was not predicted for his lifetime, so Hezekiah was unconcerned.

Hezekiah's reservoir
Hezekiah built a reservoir and aqueduct. His son Manasseh succeeded him.

King Manasseh of Judah
Manasseh reigned for 55 years from when he was 12 years old. He followed heathen practices, re-established the idols and pagan sites, even in God's temple, and worshipped the stars. He sacrificed his son, and consulted mediums and fortune-tellers. The people followed him in this. Manasseh killed so many innocent people that the streets had blood running in them. God was so angry he decided to let them be conquered, looted and scattered. Manasseh was deported to Babylon and there asked God for help. God let him return as king to Jerusalem where he outlawed idols and pagan worship and commanded the people to worship God. His son Amon succeeded him.

King Amon of Judah
Amon was the same as his father. He reigned for 2 years until he was assassinated. His son Josiah succeeded him. King Josiah of Judah Josiah came to the throne at 8 years old. He ruled for 31 years and followed all God's laws wholeheartedly. He desecrated the pagan and heathen altars. The law book discovered A book of the law was discovered in the temple in the eighteenth year of Josiah's reign. When he read it he rushed to ask a prophet how to put right the nation's offences. She told him God was ready to punish the nation, but because of the king's attitude, his lifetime would be peaceful. Josiah read the law to the people and they all promised to keep it. Then he held a special celebration of the Passover in Jerusalem.

Josiah's reforms
Josiah rooted out paganism, idolatry, worship of heavenly bodies, fortune-telling and practices of mediums, and destroyed everything to do with them, including things in private houses.

Josiah's death
Josiah fought Pharaoh while he was en route to another battle, and was mortally wounded. The prophet Jeremiah1 wrote him a song of lament2. His son Joahaz succeeded him.

1Jeremiah's book of messages from God appears later in this volume.
2see the Book of Lamentations.

King Joahaz of Judah
Joahaz was king for three months. He turned against God and the Egyptians took him prisoner, making his brother Jehoiakim king instead.

King Jehoiakim of Judah
Jehoiakim reigned for 11 years. Judah had to collect taxes to pay Egypt tribute. Jehoiakim turned against God. Babylonia conquered Judah but after three years Jehoiakim rebelled. His son Jehoiachin succeeded him.

King Jehoiachin of Judah
Jehoiachin reigned for three months. He also turned against God. Babylon besieged Jerusalem and deported all the important families and skilled people to Babylon, including Jehoiachin. His uncle, Zedekiah, was made king instead.

King Zedekiah of Judah
Zedekiah reigned for 11 years. He offended God, worshipped idols and ignored his messages sent via Jeremiah.

The Babylonian exile
The people laughed at the prophets and ignored God's messages for so long that God became angry and made Babylon attack them. Zedekiah rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, who then besieged Jerusalem. He killed Zedekiah's sons then blinded him. Then they destroyed the temple, the best buildings and the wall of Jerusalem. They deported the survivors to Babylon as slaves, where they remained for seventy years, as foretold by Jeremiah. The poorest people were left as farm workers.

The Babylonian Governor (BC 587/6)
Gedaliah was made governor but was assassinated after a few months. Everyone fled to Egypt for fear of reprisals.

King Jehoiachin released
Evilmerodach succeeded Nebuchadnezzar and released Jehoiachin from prison. He gave him a high position and a permanent place at his meal table.

King Cyrus of Persia (BC 538)
As soon as Cyrus had conquered Babylon he proclaimed that the Lord of the Universe had charged him with building him a temple in Jerusalem. He was therefore returning God's people there for the task.

Quotes
9:20And the watchman told, saying, "He came to them, and comes not again: and the driving is like the driving of Jehu the son of Nimshi, for he drives furiously.”
9:30When Jehu was come to Jesreel, Jezebel heard of it: and she painted her face, and tired (attired) her head, and looked out at a window.
19:35And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the Lord went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead men.


Next section: The Exile in Babylon
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Introduction and Index     Books of Moses     Books about the time of the Judges     History of the Era of the Kings      The Exile in Babylon     Songs and Wisdom     The Major Prophets     The Minor Prophets     The Gospels     Acts of the Apostles     Letters (Epistles) from Paul the Apostle     Letters (Epistles) from Other People     Revelation     Ten Commandments     Selection From Psalms     Selection From Proverbs     Jesus's teachings and sayings

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