II Kings 15: Game of thrones, the Divided Kingdom

Zechariah, the fourth generation of Jehu’s line, only reigned in Israel 6 months before Shallum murdered him and usurped the throne. Shallum only held the throne one month before Menahem murdered him and usurped the throne. Menahem was a brutal dude and not the sort to be murdered and usurped upon. He even sacked Israelite cities and murdered pregnant women by ripping open their bellies in his bid for power. Despite his penchant for violence, he avoided war with Assyria by levying a steep tax in the amount of 37.5 tons of silver, which he paid as tribute to the Assyrian king. He only lived ten years, however, and his son Pekahiah became king. He only ruled Israel 2 years before his general Pekah murdered him and usurped the throne. Pekah reigned 20 years; however he lost a lot of territory to King Tiglath-pilesar of Assyria. He, too, was murdered, by a follower named Hoshea, who then usurped the Israelite throne.

In Judah, things were a bit more stable. Azariah reigned 52 years. At some point, however, he was stricken with leprosy, so he had to live in isolation and confinement. His son Jothan acted as regent. Jothan became king of Judah in his own right during the second year of Pekah’s reign in Israel. Jothan ruled Israel 16 years, and his son Ahaz inherited the throne.

 

I’m out of town for a few days, so the exciting parade of kings will pick back up next week! 

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II Kings 14

In Judah, Amaziah reigned 29 years. He executed his father’s murderers as soon as he consolidated his power. He also soundly defeated Edom in the Valley of Salt. Feeling confident, he sent a challenge of war to King Jehoash in Israel. Jehoash was all, Come on bro, let’s be friends. But Amaziah insisted, so they battled and Israel creamed Judah, sacked Jerusalem and destroyed a large section of the city’s wall.

Amaziah’s reign also came to a violent end, when he too was murdered by conspirators. His 16-year old son Azariah was crowned king.

In Israel, in the fifteenth year of Amaziah’s reign, Jehoash’s son Jeroboam inherited the throne. He successfully regained a lot of the territory lost to Syria. He reigned for 41 years and when he died, his son Zechariah became king.

II Kings 11: Murderous grandmother

When Athaliah, Ahaziah’s mother, saw he was dead, she saw her chance to consolidate her own power and become queen. She murdered all of her grandkids as well as all of her late husband’s other male children–except for the infant Joash, whose sister Jehosheba smuggled him out of the palace and hid him in the home of the high priest Jehoida.

When Joash was 7, Jehoida conspired with all the soldiers. He had them guard the boy at the Temple and crowned him king. Then he had the soldiers kill Athaliah and all her followers. He also roused the people to rise up and destroy all the temples of Baal and murder Mattan, high priest of Baal.

II Kings 9: Israel gets a new dynasty

Elisha sent one of the prophet trainees to Ramah to anoint a general named Jehu as king of Israel. The guy found Jehu in the officers’ tent and asked to speak to him privately. When the were alone, the prophet trainee dumped some oil on Jehu’s head and was all, God has decreed you to be the next king of Israel and that you will carry out Its curse on Ahab’s family, killing them all, as well as Jezebel! Then he ran away.

Bemused, Jehu went back into the officers’ tent. The other guys were all, what did that crazy dude want? At first Jehu was all, nothing, but they pressed him, so he was all, Well, he poured oil on my head and said I was king of Israel. The room got really quiet for a minute. Then as a body, the men rose to their feet and shouted, All hail King Jehu!  Continue reading “II Kings 9: Israel gets a new dynasty”

II Kings 3: The Moabite Rebellion

Jehoram ruled Israel for 12 years. God didn’t really like him, but thought he was better than his parents since he didn’t worship Baal.

Meesha, the king of Moab a vassal kingdom of Israel, thought that the confusion over succession seemed like a good time to rebel against them, and refused to send the ton of wool or herds of lambs Israel demanded yearly as tribute. So Jehoram sent a message to Jehoshaphat asking for help putting the rebellion down. It was decided that they would take the roundabout way into Moab by marching through the desert of Edom, a vassal kingdom of Judah. So they set out, but after a week, they weren’t there yet, and they had run out of water. After some pondering, the kings decided to consult Elisha, who happened to be handy. At first, Elisha was all rude to Jehoram, but he consented to talk to God out of respect for Jehoshaphat. So he called for a musician and in the music, he heard God or something, and he told the kings that in the morning, the arroyo would be filled with water, though no rain would fall. Continue reading “II Kings 3: The Moabite Rebellion”

I Kings 1: More Family Drama

When David was really really old, he became sickly and frail. He was cold all the time, so his people decided that what he needed was a beautiful young virgin to tend to him and to sleep naked with him to warm him up. Her name was Abishag.

Adonijah, son of Haggith, decided that since David was so close to dying and he was now the oldest since Absalom was dead, he should start acting like the heir apparent. So he got himself a retinue and followers. Joab and Abithar the priest decided to back his play. However, Zadok and the other mighty men didn’t want any part of it.

One day Adonijah decided to go down to the Serpant’s Stone to make a huge sacrifice and throw a big party in anticipation of his reign, but he didn’t invite Solomon or Nathan or any of the mighty men. Continue reading “I Kings 1: More Family Drama”

II Samuel 16: Family Strife Continues

On David’s decent of the Mount of Olives, he was met by Ziba, Mephibosheth’s servant, who had a bunch of food and some donkeys for David. David was all, Thanks! Is this from Mesphisbosheth? Where’s he at?  Ziba was all, Um, actually this is from me. Mephibosheth is back in Jerusalem, waiting for the people to return the throne to him. David was all, What? After all I’ve done for him? Well, fuck him. All his property is now yours.

Later, as David approached the town of Bahurim where he planned on camping, a dude named Shimei, who was from Saul’s clan, began trailing the the troop from a nearby hill. He started throwing rocks at David and calling him a worthless whoreson murderer and other obscenities. Abishai was all, Sire, you want that I should go cut off that loser’s head? But David was all, What’s with you bloodthirsty brothers? No! If he curses me, God wills it. I mean, my own son is trying to kill me. Let him curse. Maybe God will turn his curses to blessings. Continue reading “II Samuel 16: Family Strife Continues”

II Samuel 15: Absalom Causes More Trouble

Restored to his father’s graces, Absalom started going about Jerusalem again. Before too long, however, Absalom’s pride made him want to stand out–his father was a king and his mother a princess, after all. So he bought one of those new-fangled chariot things and horses to pull it and hired fifty men to act as a body guard and to move people out of the way of his chariot.

Eventually Absalom’s thoughts began wandering toward the throne itself. But Absalom knew the Hebrews adored his father, so before he could sit upon the seat of glory, he’d have to win the people’s love. So he started hanging out by the city gates and intercepting petitions going to the king. He would always ask who they were, where they were from, and what their complaint was–and no matter what it was, he always told them their cause was just and if he were a judge in Israel, he would rule for them. And when people would try to bow and do obeisance, Absalom would raise them up and hug them like they were old friends. Soon everyone in Israel loved the handsome young man with the magnificent hair.  Continue reading “II Samuel 15: Absalom Causes More Trouble”

I Samuel 22: Then Saul Kills Some Priests

Then David hid out in the Cave of Adullam. He sent word to his family, and they sneaked off to join him. As word got out, more and more people came to join David–outlaws and debtors, the disgruntled, those who hated Saul–and he organized them into a fighting force of about 400 men.

Among them was the prophet Gad, who advised David to leave the gave and seek shelter in the Forest of Hereth in Judah. On the way, David stopped in Moab to beg King Mizpah to allow his elderly parents to shelter there (Jesse was 1/4 Moab after all).  Continue reading “I Samuel 22: Then Saul Kills Some Priests”