A new vision (Zech 1:7-1:7)

“On the twenty-fourth day

Of the eleventh month,

The month of Shebat,

In the second year

Of King Darius,

The word of Yahweh

Came to the prophet Zechariah,

The son of Berechiah,

The son of Iddo.”

This apparently is the first of 8 visions that Zechariah had.  This oracle of Yahweh took place on the 24th day of the 11th month in the 2nd year of King Darius, either late 520 BCE or early 519 BCE.  This month was called Shebat.  Once again, there is a mention of Zechariah’s lineage, via Berechiah and Iddo, with Iddo the most well-known.

The priests with Zerubbabel (Neh 12:1-12:7)

“These are the priests and the Levites who came up with Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua. They were Seraiah, Jeremiah, Ezra, Amariah, Malluch, Hattush, Shecaniah, Rehum, Meremoth, Iddo, Ginnethoi, Abijah, Mijamin, Maadiah, Bilgah, Shemaiah, Joiarib, Jedaiah, Sallu, Amok, Hilkiah, and Jedaiah. These were the leaders of the priests and of their associates in the days of Jeshua.”

Now suddenly we are back to the list of those who came with Zerubbabel some 90 years earlier. This is like an appendix to this document. It refers to Ezra, chapter 2. There are 22 priests listed here. Of the 22, only 2 were listed in Ezra, chapter 2, Seraiah and Rehum. Jedaiah is listed twice. Clearly Zerubbabel and Jeshua were the leaders. 11 off these same people, Seraiah, Jeremiah, Amariah, Hattush, Malluch, Meremoth, Ginnethon, Abijah, Mijamin, and Shemaiah, signed the agreement with Nehemiah in chapter 10 of this book. However this took place about 90-100 years after the original group, which would make it difficult for these same people to sign the document, after having returned 90 years earlier. Ezra is mentioned with this group but he did not return until about 10 years before Nehemiah.   Iddo was with Ezra so that he would not have been with the original group. Shecaniah and Meremoth were builders of the wall so that they could not have come with the original group, almost a century earlier. This is the only mention of Maadiah, Bilgah, and Amok so they are real possibilities. Jedaiah was the son of Joiarib, so that he could not have come with the original group, but Joiarib might have. Sallu was the son of Meshullam so that he could not have been there 100 years earlier. Seraiah was the son of Hilkiah, so that he could have been with the original group. Thus, not more than 4 or 5 of the named priests could have come back with Zerubbabel, unless the ones at the time of Nehemiah had the same name as the ones who came nearly a century earlier.

More people come with Ezra (Ezra 8:15-8:20)

“I gathered them by the river that runs to Ahava. There we camped three days. As I reviewed the people and the priests, I found there none of the descendents of Levi. Then I sent for Eliezer, Ariel, Shemaiah, Elnathan, Jarib, Elnathan, Nathan, Zechariah, and Meshullam, who were leaders, and for Joiarib and Elnathan, who were wise. I sent them to Iddo, the leader at the place called Casiphia. I told them what to say to Iddo and his colleagues the temple servants at Casiphia. He should send us ministers for the house of our God. Since the gracious hand of our God was upon us, they brought us a man of discretion, of the descendents of Mahli son of Levi, son of Israel, namely Sherebiah, with his sons and kinsmen, eighteen. Also they brought Hashabiah and with him Jeshaiah of the descendents of Merari, with his kinsmen and their sons, twenty. Besides two hundred twenty of the temple servants, whom David and his officials had set apart to attend the Levites, also came. These were all mentioned by name.”

Once again, we have the use of the personal pronoun singular, “I gathered them.” Over and over again “I” appears. This is a personal first person account of what happened. The Ahava River is not known, but probably a tributary of the Euphrates River in Babylon. Ezra realized that he had no Levites. So he sent a group of people to Iddo who was the leader at Casiphia. There 4 or 5 different people with the name of Iddo, including Levites, and prophets. This one was a temple slave leader at Casiphia, which must have been an important place for a group of Israelite exiles because they had so many temple slaves. They may have had their own house of God there in northern Babylon. Interesting enough this Iddo sent 2 Levite families of 19 and 20 people from the Mahli and Merari branch of Levites. He also sent 220 Temple servants who were to help the Levites. There must have been a lot of them there.

The end of King Abijah (2 Chr 13:19-13:23)

“King Abijah pursued King Jeroboam. He took cities from him, Bethel with its villages, Jeshanah with its villages, and Ephron with its villages. King Jeroboam did not recover his power in the days of King Abijah. Yahweh struck him down and he died. But King Abijah grew strong. He took fourteen wives, and became the father of twenty-two sons and sixteen daughters. The rest of the acts of King Abijah, his behavior and his deeds, are written in the story of the prophet Iddo. King Abijah slept with his ancestors. They buried him in the city of David.”

King Abijah pursued King Jeroboam with little success. However, he was able to take over 3 cities of northern Israel. Bethel with its villages was across the border from Benjamin. Jeshanah with its villages was about 4 miles north of Bethel. Ephron with its villages was on the northern border of Judah. This was not a great incursion into northern Israel. King Abijah had had 14 wives, 22 sons, and 16 daughters. If anybody wanted to know more about him, there was the Lost book by the prophet Iddo, and not the lost “Book of the Annals of the Kings of Judah,” or 1 Kings, which we have today. King Abijah died and was buried in the city of David.

The death of King Rehoboam (2 Chr 12:15-12:16)

“Now the acts of King Rehoboam, from first to last, are they not written in the chronicles of the prophet Shemaiah and of the seer Iddo, recorded by genealogy? There were continual wars between King Rehoboam and King Jeroboam. King Rehoboam slept with his ancestors. He was buried in the city of David. His son Abijah succeeded him.”

Once again, this is loosely based on 1 Kings, chapter 14. Instead of the reference to the lost book, “The Book of the Annals or Chronicles of the Kings of Judah,” here there is a reference to “Chronicles of the prophet Shemaiah” and “The Genealogies of the seer Iddo.” Both of these books are lost, but there is no reference to the book of I Kings, which clearly was used as a reference point. Once again, it may have been the local royal scribes keeping records. King Rehoboam and King Jeroboam are almost synchronized in their reigns. They spent most of their life fighting and warring against each other. Remember that Yahweh had told King Rehoboam not to war with King Jeroboam at the beginning of this rule. Somehow that admonition has gone by the wayside. King Rehoboam seems to have died before King Jeroboam. His son Abijah took over as the king of Judah.

The death of King Solomon (2 Chr 9:29-9:31)

“Now the rest of the acts of King Solomon, from first to last, are they not written in the history of the prophet Nathan, and in the prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite, and in the visions of Iddo the seer concerning Jeroboam the son of Nebat? King Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel forty years. King Solomon slept with his ancestors. He was buried in the city of his father King David. His son King Rehoboam succeeded him.”

Once again, this is closely based on 1 Kings, chapter 11. Here there is no mention of the “The Book of the Acts of Solomon” which might be part of the state documents kept by the official recorder of Solomon. There is no mention of the Book of 1 Kings, which he obviously relied on.   Perhaps, he called that book, the history of the prophet Nathan. Nathan was the friendly prophet of David. He may have been the tutor of Solomon also. There are indications of 2 other books, the prophecies and visions of Ahijah and Iddo. Ahijah was the prophet who told Jeroboam to split the kingdom in 2 because Yahweh wanted it done that way. Iddo, on the other hand, was a prophet to Rehoboam in Jerusalem. As these are references to books that no longer exist, it is hard to pinpoint what they were or where they came from. Probably they existed at the time of this biblical writing, after the Exile. Once again there is the obligatory 40 year reign of King Solomon, just like King David. There is no indication of his age but some would put it around 80. There is a whole controversy around the mythical stories of King Solomon’s wealth. There are few archeological finds that indicate that this tremendous rich empire existed in the 10th century BCE. Nevertheless, these stories are still wonderful. There is no indication of a power struggle after Solomon’s death since the writer simply says Rehoboam, who was the son of the Ammonite princess Naamah, became king. You would have thought that with 700 wives, some of those children might have complained. He might have been the oldest, but the oldest wife was the daughter of the Egyptian Pharaoh. So the end of the King Solomon reign comes to an end without any dramatic ending or a historic speech.

Various tribal leaders (1 Chr 27:16-27:22)

“Over the tribes of Israel,

For the Reubenites Eliezer son of Zichri was chief officer.

For the Simeonites, Shephatiah son of Maacah was chief officer.

For Levi, Hashabiah son of Kemuel was chief officer.

For Aaron, Zadok was chief officer.

For Judah, Elihu, one of David’s brothers was chief officer.

For Issachar, Omri son of Michael was chief officer.

For Zebulun, Ishmaiah son of Obadiah was chief officer.

For Naphtali, Jeremoth son of Azriel was chief officer.

For the Ephraimites, Hoshea son of Azaziah was chief officer.

For the half-tribe of Manasseh, Joel son of Pedaiah was chief officer.

For the half-tribe of Manasseh in Gilead, Iddo son of Zechariah was chief officer.

For Benjamin, Jaasiel son of Abner was chief officer.

For Dan, Azarel son of Jeroham was chief officer.

These were the leaders of the tribes of Israel.”

Notice first, that there is no leader for Gad or Asher. Aaron also had a separate leader. Although there are 10 different people with the name of (1) Eliezer, this son of Zichri is only mentioned here. Even though there are 7 different people with the name of (2) Shephatiah, this son of Maacah is only mentioned here. This (3) Hashabiah son of Kemuel may be the same as the Levite mentioned earlier in this book, but there were a lot of Levites with this name. (4) Zadok was the high priest. (5) Elihu was not really a blood brother of King David. There were 3 others with the name of (6) Omri, but this Omri was not a king. (7) Ishmaiah son of Obadiah may have been one of the “Thirty” warriors of David. (8) Jeremoth son of Azriel may have been one of the warriors mentioned in chapter 25. There were 3 other people with the name of Hoshea, including a king, but not this (9) Hoshea son of Azaziah. Although Joel was a popular name of over 14 people, including a prophet, this (10) Joel son of Pedaiah only appears here. 6 different biblical people have the name of Iddo, but this (11) Iddo son of Zechariah only appears here. There is only 1 other Jaasiel besides this (12) Jaasiel son of Abner. This (13) Azarel son of Jeroham may be the same one mentioned in chapter 25.