Then Jeremiah went to the gate of the Temple in Jerusalem and accosted all the men coming in and out, saying to them, Reform! Repent! Praying in the Temple will not save you! Do you think God listens to sinners like you? To reprobates that oppress foreigners and women? Those who worship other gods? Shabbat believers like you, who burn incense to Baal on Tuesdays are as condemned as murderers! Those of you who offer cakes to Ashtoreth for fertility and childbirth rituals are no better than adulterers! You all might as well go into mourning now, because God rejects you all. God especially abhors those of you who go into the Valley of Ben Hinnon and sacrifice your children, your sons and daughters!, to Tophet! You will die wretched deaths and your carcasses will be left to rot in the streets!
When Hezekiah’s son Manasseh inherited the throne, he brought back the other old time religion of Baal and Ashtaroth, like in II Kings 21.
Here we find out that to punish him for cheating, God let the Babylonians capture Manasseh and hold him hostage in Babylon. While there, he came to regret his cheating ways and begged God to forgive him and promised never to cheat again, so God let him go back to Jerusalem.
Once there, he reinstated his father’s religious reforms and began working on building up the city walls, and that’s why he got to die of old age instead of murder or plague or something.
However, his son Amon inherited throne, promptly cheated on God, and got murdered by servants after only a couple years.
Elisha warned the wealthy woman in Shumen about the long famine mentioned earlier before it happened so that she and her family could emigrate. They spent the seven years of the famine in Philistia and when it was over, Elisha made sure the king gave them back their land.
Elisha’s travels took him to Damascus and there King Ben-hadad lay ill, so he sent his servant Hazael to inquire of Elisha about his chances of recovery. Elisha was all, tell him he’ll get better. I mean, he’ll die, but tell him anyway. Then he stared at Hazael a long time. Just as Hazael was getting really uncomfortable, Elisha burst into tears. At this, Hazael was completely taken aback, and was all, What’s wrong with you?
Elisha was all, I can foresee all the horrors you will rain upon Israel–the young men slaughtered, the cities burned, the brains of the babies dashed upon rocks, the eviscerated abdomens of pregnant women. Hazael was all, Wait, what? Elisha continued, For God has shown me that you will be king of Syria! Continue reading “II Kings 8”
The famine and drought were terrible. After three years there wasn’t even enough weeds or scrub brush to feed the livestock. Ahab and his head bureaucrat Obadiah decided to divide the land to scour it for any vegetation to sustain at least some of the animals.
On his journey, Obadiah met Elijah who was coming to confront Ahab again. Elijah was all, Go inform your master that I have come.
But Obadiah was all, What! Why do you want me dead? Don’t you know that I’m the guy who hid and sheltered, like, 100 prophets when Jezebel was on the warpath looking for you? Yeah, I mean she killed like all the prophets, but I saved as many as I could for as long as I could. Now you want me to go tell Ahab that I’ve found you? What if God whisks you away in the meantime? He’ll totally kill me.
Elijah answered, Never fear, my good man. God will do no such thing. Go inform Ahab! Continue reading “I Kings 18: Elijah ends the drought and gets some people dead”
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.
Rehoboam reigned in Judah for 17 years. His mother was an Ammonite princess, and he continued in all his father’s heretical practices of worshiping the Baals and Ashtaroth and other gods. He even allowed male cult prostitution to flourish.
In the fifth year of his reign, King Shishak of Egypt came and raided Jerusalem and robbed the Temple.
Rehoboam was also at constant war with Jeroboam.
When Rehoboam died, his son Abijam became king.
Over in Israel, Jeroboam ruled 22 years. Sometime after Abijam came to the other throne, one of Jeroboam’s sons got really sick, so he told his wife to put on a disguise and go consult the prophet Ahijah. The prophet, though old and blind, was unfooled by her disguise and was all, Oh wife of Jeroboam, tell your husband that his heresies have so angered God that It will smite every male in his family! Dogs and birds shall pick their corpses. Moreover, the ill child will die as soon as you step foot in Tirzah!
When Jeroboam died, his son Nadab ascended the throne.
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”
Meanwhile, Saul was fighting the Philistines and losing. Jonathan and his brothers Abinadab and Malchi-shua had been killed and Saul was badly wounded by an arrow. He asked his armor bearer to finish him off so that he didn’t die by the hands of the uncircumcised, but his armor-bearer refused. So Saul took his sword and committed seppuku. His armor-bearer followed suit.
Many Hebrew died that day and the Philistines occupied many Hebrew cities. They also cut off Saul’s head and placed it and his armor in a temple of Ashtaroth. They hung his body and those of his sons on the wall of Beth-shan. But the inhabitants of Jabesth-gilead snuck out at night and recovered the bodies and buried them under a tamarisk tree.
And so ends I Samuel, but not the saga of David, soon to be king.
The men of Kiriath-jearim took the Ark to Abinadab’s house and put his son Eleazar in charge of it. For the next twenty years were unhappy ones for Israel.
Samuel told everyone that the problem was that they had forsaken God for Baal and Ashtaroth and other gods and that if they got rid of them and went back to God, It would bless them again.
Samuel called for a gathering of atonement at Mizpah. But the Philistines had heard of the gathering and came to ambush it. Samuel told them not to panic and then burnt a nursing lamb whole on the altar. So God sent lightning and thunder to confuse the Philistines, and the Hebrews defeated them. Continue reading “I Samuel 7”
Next, Tola an Issacharite from Ephraim arose and ruled the land for twenty-three years.
Then Jain the Gileadite ruled for twenty-two years. Each of his thirty sons wrote saddled donkeys and ruled a city apiece.
But the Hebrews kept whoring after Baal and Ashtaroth, as well as the gods of Syria, Sidon, Moab, Ammon, Philistia, and pretty much any other god or goddess or nifty idol that took their fancy. Eventually God completely forsook them, and then the Philistines and Ammorites ruthlessly conquered the Hebrews east of the Jordan and ground them under for eighteen years. Continue reading “Judges 10”