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.

King Abijah defends Yahweh worship (2 Chr 13:8-13:12)

“Now you think you can withstand the kingdom of Yahweh?

In the hand of the sons of David,

Because you are a great multitude

You have with you the golden calves

That King Jeroboam made you for gods.

Have you not driven out the priests of Yahweh?

The descendents of Aaron,

And the Levites?

You have made priests for yourselves like the peoples of other lands. Whoever comes to be consecrated with a young bull or seven rams Becomes a priest of what are no gods.

But as for us,

Yahweh is our God.

We have not abandoned him.

We have priests ministering to Yahweh

Who are descendents of Aaron,

And Levites for their service.

They offer to Yahweh every morning and every evening

Burnt offerings and incense of sweet spices,

Set out the rows of bread on the table of pure gold,

And care for the golden lamp stand

So that its lamps may burn every evening.

For we keep the charge of Yahweh our God,

But you have abandoned him.

See, God is with us at our head,

And his priests have their battle trumpets

To sound the call to battle against you.

O Israelites,

Do not fight against Yahweh, the God of your fathers.

You cannot succeed.”

This speech now becomes a great defense of Yahweh worship, not warring factions. The false gods cannot drive out the priests of Yahweh, the descendents of Aaron. King Jeroboam and Israel only have made up priests, not Levites. The priests of Jerusalem offer service every morning and evening. These true priests are ready to sound the battle trumpets. He warned the Israelites not to fight against Yahweh, because they cannot succeed. This speech is not found elsewhere in biblical literature.

The priests and Levites of King Rehoboam (2 Chr 11:13-11:17)

“The priests and the Levites, who were in all Israel, presented themselves to King Rehoboam from all their territories. The Levites had left their common lands and their holdings. They came to Judah and Jerusalem, because King Jeroboam and his sons had prevented them from serving as priests of Yahweh. He had appointed his own priests for the high places, and for the goat-demons, and for the calves which he had made. Those who had set their hearts to seek Yahweh God of Israel came after them from all the tribes of Israel to Jerusalem to sacrifice to Yahweh, the God of their ancestors. They strengthened the kingdom of Judah. For three years they made King Rehoboam the son of King Solomon secure. They walked for three years in the way of King David and King Solomon.”

There was no source for this material. This biblical author wanted to show how the northern priests and Levites left their towns and came to Jerusalem. According to Joshua, they should have stayed in their towns. For some reason, this wonderful exodus of priests, Levites, and good Yahweh believers lasted only 3 years. Something must have happened after 3 years. King Jeroboam of Israel had set up his own high places of worship. He even had his own priests with devil goats and god calves. There was no mention of his holy place at Bethel that was so contentious in 1 Kings, chapter 13. This also seems to ignore the false worship of King Solomon that led Yahweh to take away the northern territory from the current king of Judah.

The final decision of King Rehoboam (2 Chr 10:12-10:15)

“So Jeroboam and all the people came to King Rehoboam on the third day, as the king had said. ‘Come to me again the third day.’ The king answered them harshly. King Rehoboam disregarded the advice of the older men. He spoke to them in accordance with the advice of the young men. ‘My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add to it. My father disciplined you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.’ So the king did not listen to the people. This was a turn of affairs brought about by God so that Yahweh might fulfill his word, which he had spoken by Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam son of Nebat.”

Once again, this is based almost word for word on 1 Kings, chapter 12. On the third day, they all came back together. King Rehoboam rejected the advice of the older men and stuck with the advice of the young men. Thus he repeated their advice. King Rehoboam was going to make it tougher than his father King Solomon. In fact, he would use scorpions or iron instruments rather than whips. According to the both biblical writers, this simply fulfilled the plan of Yahweh as outlined by the prophet Ahijah to Jeroboam. Although not explicitly mentioned here in this book, but outlined in 1 Kings, chapter 11, Jeroboam son of Nebat was a very able man who helped to build the Millo or fortress around the city of David. He was in charge of the forced labor for the house of Joseph. One day when he was leaving Jerusalem, he met Ahijah, the prophet from Shiloh. The prophet Ahijah told Jeroboam that his mission was to be the king of the Israel, except for one tribe Judah and Benjamin with the city of Jerusalem. King Solomon had worshiped false gods. Judah and Jerusalem would be saved for the Davidic line because of the goodness of King David. King Solomon would not lose his kingdom while he lived, but his son would. Thus the punishment of King Solomon would come after his death with Jeroboam the new leader of Israel. Jeroboam did not hesitate to flee into Egypt, which seems to be the place to go when you are having trouble with King Solomon. He stayed in Egypt until the death of King Solomon, which is where this story picks up, as it left out his problems with King Solomon.

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.

Israel is wiped out (2 Kings 17:19-17:23)

“Judah also did not keep the commandments of Yahweh their God, but walked in the customs that Israel had introduced. Yahweh rejected all the descendants of Israel. He punished them. He gave them into the hand of plunderers, until he had banished them from his presence. When he had torn Israel from the house of David they made Jeroboam son of Nebat king. King Jeroboam drove Israel from following Yahweh. He made them commit a great sin. The people of Israel continued in all the sins that Jeroboam did. They did not depart from them, until Yahweh removed Israel out of his sight, as he had foretold through all his servants the prophets. Israel was exiled from their own land to Assyria until this day.”

Judah did not follow the commandments of Yahweh. They too walked in the bad customs of Israel. However, Yahweh had rejected all the descendants of Israel. He punished them by having them plundered. He had hoped by tearing the House of David from the rest of Israel it would be better. However, the first Israelite king was no better than Solomon, in fact worse. They all followed the sins of King Jeroboam I. Now Israel has been removed from the sight of Yahweh even until today. This indicates that the biblical writer was writing from the time of the Israelite exile.

The reign of King Pekah in Israel (737-732 BCE) (2 Kings 15:27-15:28)

“In the fifty-second year of King Azariah of Judah, King Pekah son of Remaliah began to reign over Israel in Samaria. He reigned twenty years. He did what was evil in the sight of Yahweh. He did not depart from the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he caused Israel to sin.”

Near the end of the rule of King Azariah in Judah, King Pekah who had been the captain who had revolted and killed King Pekahiah ruled over Israel in Samaria for 20 years. However, once again, there is a discrepancy between the text and the title with a footnote indicating that it was closer to 5 years. As per usual, he did evil in the sight of Yahweh when he walked in the ways of King Jeroboam that caused Israel to sin.