Jeremiah got thrown in jail because, when Zedekiah rebelled against Babylon and Nebuchadnezzar besieged the city, he made a point to go to the king and tell him that Jerusalem would fall and Zedekiah would be captured, taken back to Babylon and there be executed–but, at least he could look forward to a state funeral–he was king after all.
One of the reasons God had decided to punish Jerusalem with horror, pestilence, and famine was because they were breaking God’s slaver laws that declared that Hebrew slaves had to be freed after seven years.
Isaiah said, God wants to ask you if It divorced your mother and made you a bastard? If It sold you to pay for Its debts? Of course It hasn’t! God is all powerful, and with a word It can dry up all the seas and make every fish gasp and rot!
You should listen to me because God talks to me. And I’m telling you that you should fear God. Trust It, but fear It too! If you don’t you will burn in torment.
So, Solomon continued, since wisdom blew, I decided to drown my sorrows in pleasure. Since I have all the money that anyone could ask for, I had made slaves buy the best food and cook the most delicious meals. I drank the best wines. I hired the best comedians, actors and singers. I stocked my harem full of the most delectable concubines and I kept plenty of hot slaves of both sexes who I would order to fuck in front of me when I just wanted to watch. I mean, I had every pleasure money could buy. But did any of it make me happy?
I was still bored and depressed. Hedonism is just meaningless. I was still going to die. And so were all my hot slaves. They would just grow old and gross and die, probably riddled with STDs since condoms and antibiotics haven’t been invented yet. So I went back to being studious and wise. But that still sucked. I mean, it was better than dissipation, but it was still meaningless.
I mean, I’m so freaking depressed. Why am I alive? Why is anyone? Why do we all struggle and toil every. single. day? Pleasure is meaningless. Work is meaningless. Wealth and wisdom are meaningless. Ugh.
Then the king commanded that all the beautiful young virgins from every corner of the kingdom be gathered at Susa and housed in the harem and given access to all the best beauty aids and then he would choose the most pleasing to be Miss Pers–er–the next queen.
The gathered virgins would each spend a year in the harem undergoing rigorous beauty treatments and charm schooling before being presented to the king for deflowering. After which, she would be sent into the harem for the concubines to await her fate. If she was lucky, she would be chosen Queen. If she wasn’t, her runner-up prize was to be a sex slave in the royal harem instead. Continue reading “Esther 2: The Bachelor, c.480 BCE”
Soon after work on the wall commenced, many poor families came to me as their new governor, lamenting that they had been forced to mortgage their fields and homes during a famine at interest, and now their creditors were demanding that they sell their children into slavery to pay on the debts.
When I learned these creditors were Jewish, I waxed wroth. Does not the holy writ say no interest shall be laid upon loans between sons of Israel? So I called together all the nobles and officials and sorely I chided them for their ungodly usury until they hid their faces in shame. They vowed to return all that had been mortgage forthwith.
My generosity as governor was so great that during the 12 years I ruled, not once did I demand the food allowance with which other governors had taxed the people. Moreover, I held a feast each day, prepared at mine own expense, to which I invited no less than 150 men.
So Nebuchadnezzar came and besieged Jerusalem for 11 years. The king and his men tried to make a break for it, but no luck. so Nebuchadnezzar razed Jerusalem and burnt the Temple and destroyed the walls and took most of the rest of the people as slaves–except for some peasants to tend the fields and flocks. Nebuchadnezzar left this dude named Gedaliah in charge as governor, but within half a year, he was dead as were most of his officials, Hebrew and foreign. Chaos ensued and the remainder–now called Jews–fled to Egypt.
When Evil-merodach became king of Babylon, he realized old Jehoiachin, one of the last of David’s line, was still in jail, after 37 years. So he let him out, and treated the doddering 55 year old nicely and let him eat at the king’s table.
(That ends II Kings. Next is Chronicles, which mostly is just the same stories told over again, so you will see a lot of CFs and links).
Then the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar, son of the king who helped bring the Assyrian empire to an end, came and conquered Judah and demanded tribute. Jehoiakim paid up for three years, but then refused, so Babylon and its other tribute kingdoms–Joab, Chaldea, Syria, etc.–made constant war on Judah. When Jehoiakim died, his son Jehoiachin became king. But, he only ruled for three months before Nebuchadnezzar took him hostage to guarantee Judah’s future cooperation. Nebuchadnezzar also stole all the gold and silver treasures from the palace and Temple. He also enslaved all of the royal household, the nobles, the soldiers, even the craftspeople and drove them back to Babylon. He left Jehoiachin’s uncle, whose name he changed to Zedekiah, in charge. But before too long, Zedekiah decided to bring back that other old time religion of Baal and rebelled against Babylon.
In the twelfth year of Ahaz’s reign in Judah, King Pekah of Israel was assassinated by Hoshea. I’m sure the crushing defeat by the Assyrians and Judeans had something to do with the unrest and coup. Anyway, Hoshea ruled Israel 9 years.
Hoshea finally made peace with Assyria by becoming a tribute kingdom, but then Hoshea threw in with King So of Egypt and paid him tribute instead. Unfortunately, the maneuver didn’t work–Assyrian forces decimated Israel for three years, eventually sacking Samaria and enslaving Hoshea and all the Israelites and selling them along the river Habor and Gozan and to the Halah and Medes. Continue reading “II Kings 17: Israel in Exile”
Naaman, the Syrian general, was also a leper. He happened to have a Hebrew slave girl, whom he had carried off during one of the numerous conflicts between Israel and Syria, who told him that the great prophet Elisha would be able to cure him of leprosy.
So Naaman traveled down to Samaria with a small fortune in gold, silver, and cloth, and a letter of introduction from they Syrian king to the king of Israel. The king of Israel was quite upset by all this–how was he to cure this man of leprosy? But Elisha sent a message telling the king to send Naaman on to him. So Naaman went to Elisha’s house, and Elisha sent Gehazi out to tell him to bathe in the Jordan seven times.
Naaman was pissed. He expected more courtesy from this prophet and more flash and dazzle than simply being told to bathe, so he started back to Syria in a huff. However, his retinue convinced him that it didn’t hurt to try the prophet’s instructions, since he had already came so far, so they rode to the Jordan. Naaman dunked himself in it seven times, and behold, he was cured. Continue reading “II Kings 5: Elisha heals some guy”