“So Yahweh defeated the Ethiopians before King Asa and Judah. The Ethiopians fled. King Asa and the army with him pursued them as far as Gerar. The Ethiopians fell until no one remained alive. For they were broken before Yahweh and his army. The people of Judah carried away a great quantity of booty. They defeated all the cities around Gerar, for the fear of Yahweh was on them. They plundered all the cities, for there was much plunder in them. They also attacked the tents of those who had livestock. They carried away sheep and goats in abundance. Then they returned to Jerusalem.”
With the prayerful request in place, Yahweh responded by defeating the Ethiopian warriors. According to this account, one million, 1,000,000, Ethiopians were killed since none remained alive. Now that is one big defeat. After this great shocking massacre, the men of Judah went after their cities and booty as they plundered the towns in and around Gerar. They also took all the farm animals of the tent people. The city of Gerar was actually a Philistine stronghold rather than Ethiopian. Certainly the tent people were not from Ethiopia. Then all the warriors of Judah returned to Jerusalem. It is one thing to ask God for help when you are outnumbered 2-1. It is quite another thing to destroy everyone and everything, including their cities, towns, and tents, while taking their livestock animals. It is hard to justify the later. This story would have been better ending after the second sentence that the Ethiopians had fled, and leave it at that. As it is here, this is plain overkill.
“The descendants of Solomon were Rehoboam, Abijah his son, Asa his son, Jehoshaphat his son, Joram his son, Ahaziah his son, Joash his son, Amaziah his son, Azariah his son, Jotham his son, Ahaz his son, Hezekiah his son, Manasseh his son, Amon his son, Josiah his son. The sons of Josiah were Johanan the first-born, the second Jehoiakim, the third Zedekiah, the fourth Shallum. The descendants of Jehoiakim were his sons Jeconiah and Zedekiah.”
Here we have the list of the kings of Judah starting with Solomon that can be found at the end of 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. Unlike the northern kingdom of Israel, there were no revolutions in the southern kingdom of Judah until the end with the Babylonian Captivity. However, there was also a consideration of the kings of Israel in the books of Kings, which is not here at all. The whole emphasis is on Judah and Jerusalem alone. The son of Solomon (1) Rehoboam ruled from about 931-913 BCE. His son (2) Abijah or Abijam ruled from about 913-911 BCE. His son (3) Asa ruled from about 911-870 BCE. His son (4) Jehoshaphat ruled from about 870-848 BCE. His son (5) Joram or Jehoram ruled from about 848-841 BCE. His son (6) Ahaziah, Azariah, or Jehoahaz ruled for less than a year about 841 BCE. There is no mention that Athaliah, Ahaziah’s mother ruled for about 4 years until her grandson (7) Joash or Jehoash ruled from about 835-796 BCE. His son, (8) Amaziah ruled from about 796-781 BCE. His son, (9) Azariah or Uzziah ruled from about 781-740 BCE. His son (10) Jotham ruled from about 740-736 BCE. His son (11) Ahaz ruled from about 736-716 BCE. His son (12) Hezekiah ruled from about 716-687 BCE. His son (13) Manasseh ruled from about 687-642 BCE. His son (14) Amon ruled from about 642-640 BCE. His son (15) Josiah ruled from about 640-609 BCE. Many of Josiah’s sons will rule Judah. His son (16) Johanan, Jehoahaz or Shallum ruled for just one year about 609 BCE. His brother, (17) Josiah’s son Jehoiakim or Eliakim ruled from 609-598 BCE. His son (18) Jehoiachin, Coniah or Jeconiah ruled for less than a year about 598 BCE. (19) Zedekiah or Mattaniah, brother of Jehoiakim and son of Josiah, ruled from about 598-587 BCE until the beginning of the Babylonian captivity.
“King Jehoshaphat son of King Asa began to reign over Judah in the fourth year of King Ahab of Israel. King Jehoshaphat was thirty-five years old when he began to reign. He reigned twenty-five years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Azubah daughter of Shilhi. He walked in all the ways of his father King Asa. He did not turn aside from it, doing what was right in the sight of Yahweh. Yet the high places were not taken away. The people still sacrificed and burned incense on the high places. King Jehoshaphat also made peace with the king of Israel.”
King Jehoshaphat was the son of the King Asa and succeeded him. He took over as King of Judah in the 4th year of the reign of King Ahab in Israel. He was 35 when he became king so that he ruled for 25 years and died at the age of 60. He was a good man like his father King Asa. His mother was Azubah. We know nothing more of her since she is mentioned only here and in Chronicles. However, he allowed the sacrifices in the high places to continue. He also got along with King Ahab of Israel and his son.
“In the thirty-eighth year of King Asa of Judah, Ahab son of Omri began to reign over Israel. Ahab son of Omri reigned over Israel in Samaria twenty-two years. Ahab son of Omri did evil in the sight of Yahweh more than all that were before him.”
There is a slight misunderstanding since this section puts Ahab’s ascension to the throne while Asa is still alive. However, that would cut 7 years out of the reign of King Omri. Dating people 3,000 years ago is not an exact science. King Ahab, whose influence on Moby Dick is apparent, ruled all of his 22 years from Samaria. However, like his predecessors, he did evil even worse than the earlier kings of Israel. Things are getting worse and worse.
“In the twenty-seventh year of King Asa of Judah, King Zimri reigned seven days in Tirzah. Now the troops were encamped against Gibbethon, which belonged to the Philistines. The troops who were encamped heard it said. ‘Zimri has conspired and killed the king.’ Therefore all Israel made Omri, the commander of the army, king over Israel that day in the camp. So Omri went up from Gibbethon and all Israel with him. They besieged Tirzah. When Zimri saw that the city was taken, he went into the citadel of the king’s house. He burned down the king’s house over himself with fire, and died. Because of his sins which he committed, he was doing evil in the sight of Yahweh, walking in the way of Jeroboam. His sin made Israel sin. Now the rest of the acts of Zimri, and the conspiracy which he made, are they not written in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Israel?”
Wow! That was quick, 7 days. He hardly had time to kill all the family of King Baasha. Meanwhile the troops were out fighting the Philistines at Gibbethon, in the northern territory of Dan. When they heard that King Elah was dead, they made Omri, the commander of the army, the new king. They all left the Philistines alone in Gibbethon and went to Tirzah to get the killer of their king, Zimri. When King Zimri saw that army had turned against him, he set fire to the king’s house around him so that he perished in the fire. This was somewhat like the Waco, Texas, fire incident with the Branch Davidians under David Koresh in the 1993. Zimri had been a sinner also. I do not know how much more details you would have found in the “Book of Annals of the Israel Kings,” if he was only king for 7 days. You have most of the information here.
“But his servant Zimri, commander of half his chariots, conspired against Elah. When Elah was at Tirzah, drinking to get drunk in the house of Arza, who was in charge of the palace at Tirzah, Zimri came in and struck him down. He killed him, in the twenty-seventh year of King Asa of Judah. Zimri succeeded Elah. When he began to reign, as soon as he had seated himself on his throne, he killed all the house of King Baasha. He did not leave a single male of his kindred or his friends. Thus Zimri destroyed all the house of King Baasha, according to the word of Yahweh, which he spoke against King Baasha by the prophet Jehu. All the sins of King Baasha and his son Elah that they committed, plus what they had caused Israel to commit, provoked Yahweh, the God of Israel to anger because of their idols. Now the rest of the acts of Elah, and all that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Israel?”
Zimri was the commander of half the chariots for King Elah. I wonder who had the other half. He conspired against King Elah. One night when Elah and Arza, the guy in charge of the palace were over indulging in drink, Zimri killed Elah. Zimri immediately took over. He then killed all the males in the household of King Baasha, so that there could not be any heirs in that family. Of course, this was because the prophet Jehu speaking for Yahweh had prophesized so earlier in this chapter. The idol worship of Baasha, his son Elah, and what they had made Israel do had provoked the anger of Yahweh. Thus Zimri was only fulfilling the prophecy of Jehu that Yahweh had given him. If you want to know more about Elah, the lost “Book of the Annals of the kings of Israel” was available.
“In the twenty-sixth year of King Asa of Judah, Elah son of King Baasha began to reign over Israel in Tirzah. He reigned two years.”
The son of Baasha, Elah reigned over Israel from Tirzah only 2 years. Short reigns mean that some killings might be involved. Such is the case here.
“In the third year of King Asa of Judah, Baasha the son of Ahijah began to reign over all Israel at Tirzah. He reigned twenty-four years. He did what was evil in the sight of Yahweh. He walked in the way of Jeroboam and in the sin that he caused Israel to commit.”
We already saw King Baasha of Israel in his war with King Asa of Judah. He also came to the throne by killing King Nadab. Right away, you can figure that this guy Baasha is a violent sort of person. However, he did rule for 24 years so that his influence was important for the northern tribes. Most important, he was evil in the sight of Yahweh. He made Israel commit sins. Although he came into power to ostensibly combat the evil ways of Jeroboam and his son, he continued to practice their evil ways.
“Baasha son of Ahijah, of the house of Issachar, conspired against King Nadab. Baasha struck him down at Gibbethon, which belonged to the Philistines. Nadab and all Israel were laying siege to Gibbethon. So Baasha killed him in the third year of King Asa of Judah. Baasha succeeded him. As soon as he was king, he killed all the house of Jeroboam. He left to the house of Jeroboam not one that breathed. He destroyed it, according to the word of Yahweh that he spoke by his servant Ahijah the Shilonite. This was because of the sins of Jeroboam that he committed and those that he made Israel commit. This provoked the anger of Yahweh, the God of Israel.”
The reason that King Nadab had such a short reign was due to Baasha who killed him and took over his kingdom. This is the first of what might be many assassinations. Whenever anyone has a short reign, we might look for an assassination. This killing is put in terms of a religious revolution against Jeroboam and his family. They had provoked the anger of Yahweh. Yahweh is always called the God of Israel, and not the God of Judah. Is this Baasha the son of the prophet Ahijah who had spoken to Jeroboam and his wife in chapters 11 and 14? Certainly Baasha was fulfilling the prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite, but is he the same Ahijah from Issachar also? It is hard to be sure. Besides there are at least 9 people in the biblical literature with this same name.