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.

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King Jeroboam (Sir 47:23-44:25)

“Then Jeroboam son of Nebat

Led Israel into sin.

He started Ephraim

On its sinful ways.

Their sins increased

More and more,

Until they were exiled

From their land.

They sought out

Every kind of wickedness,

Until vengeance came upon them.”

Interesting enough, Sirach talked about the king who led the Israelite northern kingdom, who was not in the Davidic line of kings. Sirach was very harsh in his judgment about the northern rebels. Their kingdom was in fact called Israel, while the southern kingdom was called Judah. Jeroboam the son of Nebat was from Ephraim, just north of Judah and Benjamin. He actually had worked for Solomon in his administration, as indicated in 1 Kings, chapters 11-14. A prophet told Jeroboam that he would be king. After a meeting with Rehoboam, Jeroboam set up a new kingdom at Shechem. His great sin was that he did not want the people to go to Jerusalem to worship. Thus he setup his own worship places. This false worship led to the downfall of the northern Kingdom of Israel (721 BCE) before that of the Kingdom of Judah (587 BCE).  The wickedness of this kingdom deserved the vengeance that came to it.

The atheist is a fool (Ps 53:1-53:1)

To the choirmaster leader, according to Mahalath, a Maskil of David

“Fools say in their hearts.

‘There is no God.’

They are corrupt.

They commit abominable acts.

There is no one who does good.”

Psalm 53 is another short psalm, much like Psalm 14.  At times, they are almost word for word the same.  This title has the choirmaster leader, a maskil or song of David, but there is an additional comment about “according to Mahalath,” which is also mentioned at the beginning of Psalm 88.  Although of uncertain meaning, Mahalath was the name of a wife of Esau and Rehoboam, here it probably refers to some kind of stringed instrument like a guitar.  This first verse is exactly the same as the first verse of Psalm 14.  Once again the question is posed what if there is no God.  The answer was simple.  Only a fool would say such a thing.  There was an ancient common belief in some kind of higher power.  Actually they only say this in their hearts that there is no God, since they are practical atheists.  They act as if there is no God.  They are the corrupt people who do terrible deeds.  None of them do good deeds.

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.

The kings of Judah (1 Chr 3:10-3:16)

“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.

 

The reign of King Abijam in Judah (913-911 BCE) (1 Kings 15:1-15:8)

“In the eighteenth year of King Jeroboam son of Nebat, Abijam began to reign over Judah. He reigned for three years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Maacah daughter of Abishalom. He walked in all the sins that his father did before him. His heart was not true to Yahweh his God, like the heart of his father David. Nevertheless for David’s sake Yahweh his God gave him a lamp in Jerusalem, setting up his son after him, and establishing Jerusalem. Because David did what was right in the sight of Yahweh, and did not turn aside from anything that he commanded him all the days of his life, except in the matter of Uriah the Hittite. The war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam continued all the days of his life. The rest of the acts of Abijam, and all that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Judah? There was war between Abijam and Jeroboam. Abijam slept with his ancestors. They buried him in the city of David. Then his son Asa succeeded him.”

Abijam only ruled for 3 years, a very short period of time compared to the others. Interesting enough, he has almost the same name as Jeroboam’s young son that died, Abijah. There is no indication of how or why he died. However, he followed his father’s bad footsteps. His mother was called Maacah, but a lot of people had that common name. There ever was a territory with that name. Her father is called Abishalom, but Chronicles will later change it to Absalom, the son of David, who revolted against him. This might be why there is a long explanation of how wonderful David was. David is referred to as his father, but Abijam is actually the great grandson of David, after Solomon and Rehoboam. However, he could be the grandson of David on his mother’s side. There was a continuous war with Jeroboam all his life, including under his own reign. Abijam was buried in Jerusalem. If anybody wanted to know more about him, there was the ever present “Book of the Annals of the Kings of Judah.”

Conclusion of the reign of King Solomon (1 Kings 11:41-11:43)

“Now the rest of the acts of Solomon, everything that he did, and his wisdom, are they not written in the Book of the Acts of Solomon? The time that Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel was forty years. Solomon slept with his ancestors. He was buried in the city of his father David. His son Rehoboam succeeded him.”

The Book of the Acts of Solomon might be part of the state documents kept by the official recorder of Solomon. As this is a reference to a book that no longer exists, it is hard to pinpoint what it is or where it came from. Certainly it existed at the time of this biblical writing.   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 Solomon’s wealth. There are few archeological finds that indicate that this tremendous 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 kids 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 Solomon reign comes to an end without any dramatic ending or a historic speech. The split kingdom promised by Yahweh is about to begin.