The kings of Judah from Solomon to the gap (Mt 1:7-1:8)

“Solomon was

The father of Rehoboam.

Rehoboam was

The father of Abijah.

Abijah was

The father of Asaph.

Asaph was

The father of Jehoshaphat.

Jehoshaphat was

The father of Joram.”

 

Σολομὼν δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ῥοβοάμ, Ῥοβοὰμ δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἀβιά, Ἀβιὰ δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἀσάφ, Ἀσὰφ δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἰωσαφάτ, Ἰωσαφὰτ δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἰωράμ.

I Chronicles, chapter 3 lists the kings of Judah, based on 1 Kings and 2 Kings.  Based on those 2 books, there was no disruption in the lineage of David via Solomon to all the kings of Judah before the Exile, since there were no revolutions in the southern kingdom of Judah.  The son of Solomon (Σολομὼν) was Rehoboam (Ῥοβοάμ) who ruled from about 931-913 BCE.  His son Abijah (Ἀβιά,) or Abijam ruled from about 913-911 BCE.  His son Asaph (Ἀσάφ) or Asa ruled from about 911-870 BCE.  His son Jehoshaphat (Ἰωσαφάτ) ruled from about 870-848 BCE.  His son Joram (Ἰωράμ) or Jehoram ruled from about 848-841 BCE.  The Greek text used the term “begat” (ἐγέννησεν) to represent the relationships between these 5 men.  However, it seems perfectly acceptable to simply call them the father instead of saying “fathered them.”  Now there was a gap in this genealogy from 841-781 BCE, since there was no mention of Ahaziah, Azariah or Jehoahaz who only ruled for less than a year in 741 BCE.  Actually, his mother Athaliah, ruled for about 6 years until her grandson Joash or Jehoash ruled from about 835-796 BCE.  Joash’s son, Amaziah ruled from about 796-781 BCE.  Perhaps this gap in the chronology of the kings was done to keep the numbers down to 14.

The Former Prophets

The former prophets are the same as the so-called Christian Old Testament historical works.  These works tell us of the establishment of the Israelites and the troubles that they faced.  However, they introduced a number of prophets that received oracles from God, including Elias, Elijah, Samuel, and Nathan.  The former prophets include the works of Joshua, from the 8th-7th century BCE and Judges, from the 7th-6th century BCE.  They also include the works of Samuel or 1 Samuel and. 2 Samuel, as well as Kings, or 1 Kings and 2 Kings. all coming from the 7th-6th century BCE.  These writings indicate what happened to the Israelites as they struggled in the new promised land.  They gradually went from a few judges to a full-blown kingdom, with many prophets with their divine oracles along the way.

Against Damascus (Am 1:3-1:5)

“Thus Says Yahweh.

For three transgressions

Of Damascus,

And for four,

I will not revoke

The punishment.

They have threshed Gilead

With threshing sledges

Of iron.

So,

I will send a fire

On the house of Hazael.

It shall devour

The strongholds of Ben-hadad.

I will break the gate bars

Of Damascus.

I will cut off

The inhabitants

From the Valley of Aven.

I will cut of

The one who holds

The scepter from Beth-eden.

The people of Syria

Shall go into exile

To Kir.’

Says Yahweh.”

In typical prophetic language, Amos said that that Yahweh had spoken to him about Damascus, one of the neighbors of the northern kingdom of Israel, the Syrian capital city, about 130 miles northeast of Jerusalem, fairly close to the older northeastern territory of Manasseh. Damascus was under Aramean rule from 950-732 BCE, so that it is often referred to in the Bible as Aram instead of Syria. However, the Assyrian people conquered them in 732 BCE. The idea of numbering iniquities could be found later in the numerical Proverbs, chapter 30, talking about 3 and 4 things. The fact that Amos ranted against the neighbors of Israel was like Isaiah in chapter 17. These people of the north had defeated Gilead in 2 Kings, chapter 10. Hazel and Ben-hadad III were rulers in Damascus. The Valley of Aven or On was near Lebanon. They would be exiled to Kir, the place of their origins.

The evil in Gilgal (Hos 9:15-9:15)

“Every evil

Of theirs

Began at Gilgal.

There I began

To hate them.

Because of the wickedness

Of their deeds,

I will drive them

Out of my house.

I will love them

No more.

All their officials

Are rebels.”

Gilgal was the original west bank camping grounds, east of Jericho, in Joshua, chapters 4-5. There Saul was also anointed king in 1 Samuel, chapter 11, despite the fact that Samuel was opposed to him. Gilgal was, nevertheless, the home of the prophets Elijah and Elisha in 2 Kings, chapter 2. Yahweh, via Hosea, said that all the evil things began here at Gilgal, as they entered the promised land. Yahweh began to hate the Israelites there, because of their wicked deeds. Yahweh was going to drive them out of his house, because he was not going to love them anymore. All their officials were rebels against Yahweh.

The desolation of Ephraim (Hos 5:9-5:9)

“Ephraim shall become

A desolation,

In the day of punishment.

Among the tribes of Israel,

I declare what is sure.”

Ephraim would be wiped out, a desolation, at the time of punishment during the Syrian-Assyrian war in 2 Kings, chapter 15. Yahweh was going to single out Ephraim among the various tribes of the northern kingdom of Israel.

The son of Hosea is called Jezreel (Hos 1:3-1:5)

“Gomer conceived.

She bore him a son.

Yahweh said to him,

‘Name him Jezreel!

In a little while,

I will punish

The house of Jehu

For the blood of Jezreel.

I will put an end

To the kingdom

Of the house of Israel.

On that day,

I will break

The bow of Israel

In the valley of Jezreel.’”

Gomer then conceived and bore a son. Yahweh, spoke directly to Hosea. He told him to name his son, Jezreel, meaning that God sows. All the children of this union between Hosea and Gomer will have symbolic prophetic names. In a little while, Yahweh was going to punish the house of Jehu, who had been king nearly a century earlier in 841-814 BCE. The current king of Israel, King Jeroboam II (783-743 BCE) was a descendant of King Jehu. Jezreel was also the name of the royal palace where King Jehu had killed the descendants of King Omri (885-874 BCE). The dynasty of King Jehu actually ended with the son of King Jeroboam II, King Zachariah in 743 BCE, after the death of King Jeroboam. Yahweh also said that the house of Israel would come to an end, which it did in 724 BCE. Thus, Yahweh was going to break the bow of Israel in Jezreel, the northern royal palace. Jezreel was also the name of the valley of Megiddo. The so-called history of the northern Israelite kings, especially King Jehu, can be found in 2 Kings, chapters 9-10.

Exile to Babylon (Ezek 12:12-12:13)

“The prince

Who is among them

Shall lift

His baggage

On his shoulder

In the dark.

He shall go out.

He shall dig

Through the wall.

He will carry his baggage

Through the hole.

He shall cover

His face.

Thus he may not see

The land

With his eyes.

I will spread

My net over him.

He shall be caught

In my snare.

I will bring him

To Babylon,

The land of the Chaldeans.

Yet he shall not see it.

He shall die there.”

This appears to be a description of what happened to King Zedekiah in 2 Kings, chapter 25, and Jeremiah, chapter 39. The prince or King Zedekiah of Judah left Jerusalem through the hole in the wall. He was captured, blinded, and then taken to Babylon, where he eventually died. This prince was going to take his baggage on his shoulder in the dark, as he dug through the hole in the wall. He covered his face so that he could not see the land. However, he was caught by the Babylonians who blinded him and sent him to Babylon where he died.

Restoration of King Jehoiachin (Jer 52:31-52:34)

“King Evil-Merodach

Spoke kindly

To King Jehoiachin.

He gave him

A seat

Above the seats

Of the other kings

Who were with him

In Babylon.

So King Jehoiachin

Put aside

His prison clothes.

Every day of his life

He dined regularly

At the king’s table.

A regular daily allowance

Was given him

By the king of Babylon,

As long as he lived,

Up to the day of his death.”

This is exactly the same as in 2 Kings, chapter 25. King Jehoiachin got new clothes and ate with the new Babylonian King Evil-Merodach every day. He had a higher place at the table among the other kings there. He also had a daily allowance as long as he lived. So the old Judean king took his place with the other kings in Babylon. There was no mention of his uncle, King Zedekiah. Thus the 2nd book of Kings as well as Jeremiah end with everyone in exile, but at least 1 happy exiled king.

The release of King Jehoiachin (Jer 52:31-52:31)

“In the thirty-seventh year

Of the exile

Of King Jehoiachin

Of Judah,

In the twelfth month,

On the twenty-fifth day

Of the month,

King Evil-Merodach

Of Babylon,

In the year

That he began to reign,

Showed favor

To King Jehoiachin

Of Judah.

He brought him

Out of prison.”

This once again is similar to 2 Kings, chapter 25. However, the date is off by 2 days. Here it is the 25th and the not the 27th of the 12th month. The death of King Nebuchadnezzar about 562 BCE led to the reign of King Merodach who is also known as King Evil-Merodach or Merodach-Baladan. Merodach was also the name of a Babylonian god. This new king of Babylon freed King Jehoiachin of Judah, who was now 55 years old, from jail, after being in jail for 37 years.