God continued, Look, Judah is super sinful. Everywhere I look there are Asherim or temples to Baal or who even knows. All this cheating has made me so wrathful your puny little human mind can’t even fathom it.
Jeremiah then prayed, Why have you cursed me with your prophecies, God? People hate me for telling them your messages! Please punish those who persecute me!
God answered, Ok, ok, Jeremiah. I get it. Now, I want you to go down to the People’s Gate in Jerusalem and remind everyone you see about the whole keeping the Sabbath holy commandment and remind them that they’re not supposed to do any work or really even leave their houses. Tell them that if they start keeping the Sabbath, I’ll forgive everything. But–if they don’t…..well, you know.
One day, Isaiah promised, when everyone’s sins had been burned away and atoned for, God would redeem Israel and restore Its people to power. One day! One day, long after all the human vanities–the temples and towers, Asherim and altars–will have crumbled to dust and the wilderness will have reclaimed the land. Then God would restore Israel! In that time, God will recall the Jewish diaspora to the Promised Land!
Hezekiah became king of Judah just six years before Israel was enslaved and exiled. Hezekiah brought back the old-time religion, outlawing the worship of all other gods and even tearing down the high places and Asherim that had quietly sprung up over the past 250 years, probably even longer. He even went so far as to destroy the Nehushtan, the fierce serpent designed by Moses. Perhaps it was his newfound fanaticism that encouraged him to pick fights with Philistia like David of old and to defy his Assyrian overlords–even though Assyria was busily consuming ancestral enemy and frenemy alike.
Eight years after the consumption of Israel, King Sennacherb’s forces were back in the Promised Land to feast on Judah. Hezekiah begged to be spared, promised to do anything required of his most honorable majesty, and would his magnificence would please accept this 11 tons of silver and 1 ton of gold as token of our submission? Continue reading “II Kings 18: Judah perseveres”
In Judah, Abijam ruled for three years. His mother or possibly wife was Maacah, a high priestess of Ashtaroth. When he died, Asa, who was either his son or his brother, became king. Asa removed Maacah from any influence in government and destroyed her asherim. He also destroyed as many other idols as he could and he outlawed male prostitution.
When Asa died, his son Jehoshapat became king.
Back in Israel, Nadab only held the throne for two years before one of his generals, Baasha, conspired against him and murdered him. Then Baasha murdered all of Nadab’s male relatives, just as Ahijah had prophesied.
Baasha reigned for 24 years. He and Asa were at war the entire time. At one point, he tried to build a fortress on the Judaean border, but Asa hired King Ben-hadad of Syria to come defeat Baasha. Not only did Ben-hadad stop construction on the fortress, but he also captured many cities in Dan and all of the territory of Naphtali.
Asa used the abandoned building materials to refurbish Geba and Mizpah.
But all wasn’t uniformly peaceful during Solomon’s forty year reign.
For instance, back in David’s day, Joab had permitted a royal of prince from Edom, Hadad, escape to Egypt, and the Pharaoh had given him asylum. When Hadad heard that David was dead, he gathered a band and skirmished with the Hebrews settled in Edom.
Rezon of Zobah had also escaped David, and he and a band took over Damascus and made frequent raids upon Israel.
But for the most part, Solomon’s kingdom was prosperous. He not only collected gold and goods, but women. He had 700 princesses for wives and another 300 concubines, and since Solomon liked variety, these women came from every people the Hebrews had any sort of contact with–trade or subjugation–including all the forbidden groups from Leviticus, because suddenly God’s upset about that again, even though it had been going on for forever and Solomon himself had a Moabite ancestor. Continue reading “I Kings 11: Solomon Angers God”
Moses reviewed Passover and the other holidays and reminded everyone that each town and city should appoint judges who should mete out justice impartially.
He also was, oh and don’t set up pillars to God like our ancestors did because now God hates that. And don’t plant trees as Asherim.
And still Moses continued, let me say again how important it is for you all to destroy the holy places, the relics, and the idols of the people you are about to exterminate. They often build their temples on high hills or mountains and they tend to worship trees or in holy groves–so be diligent in seeking out any place that looks like it might have been used for worship or have spiritual significance and raze it to the ground. Knock down their altars, break their pillars, chop down their idols, and burn their Asherim or holy trees.
And for the love of God, don’t make any inquiry or study into these people’s religious practices, because knowledge and curiosity are just traps! All you need to know is that God hates everything they are currently doing and wants it wiped from the face of the earth. They are bad people, guys. God tells me they even offer their children as burnt sacrifices. Yeah. Continue reading “Deuteronomy 12”
Moses sighed, and was like, I’m serious guys. God wants you to commit total genocide against the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites, all who already live in the lands across the Jordan. Remember, God is on your side and will help you kill them all. But it is crucial to exterminate these tribes of people! So don’t make any peace treaties with them and don’t go exchanging daughters and intermarrying. And after they are all dead, desecrate their holy places and break their alters and idols and Asherim! Continue reading “Deuteronomy 7”