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  • The book of first and second kings

  • Although they are two separate books in our Bibles

  • They were originally written as one book telling a unified story

  • that continues on from the book of Samuel that came before it

  • So David has unified the tribes of Israel into a kingdom

  • and God promised that from his line would come a Messianic king

  • who would establish God's kingdom over the nation's and fulfill the promises made to Abraham

  • So the Book of Kings tells the story of the long line of Kings that came after David

  • and none of them lived up to that promise

  • In fact, they run the nation of Israel right into the ground

  • The book is designed to have five main movements

  • the story begins and ends focus on Jerusalem

  • First with Solomon's reign in the construction of the temple

  • and then in this last section ending with jerusalem's destruction and Israel's exile to Babylon

  • and the story leading up to this tragedy is what makes up the center three sections

  • which explain how Israel split into two rival kingdoms

  • how God tried to prevent the corruption of Israel by sending the prophets

  • and how exile became unavoidable consequence of Israel's sins

  • The book opens with two chapters about the kingdom passing from the aging David to his son Solomon

  • and David's final words to Solomon they're very similar to those of Moses and Joshua and Samuel to the people

  • It's a call to remain faithful to the commands of the covenants

  • and to give allegiance to the God of Israel alone

  • but David's words bring somewhat hollow here

  • because David and Solomon then go on to conspire how they're going to consolidate this new kingdom

  • through a whole series of political assassinations

  • so it's not off to a great start

  • Solomon's brightest moment comes when he asked God for wisdom to lead Israel

  • and he even complete David's dream to make a temple for the God of Israel

  • Here the story actually stops and describes the design of this temple in detail

  • just like the tabernacle design in the Torah

  • there's all these gold and jewels and depictions of angels and fruit trees

  • It's all symbolism echoing back to the garden of eden

  • it's the place where heaven and earth meet where God's presence dwells with his people

  • but no sooner does Solomon finish the temple

  • but he makes them really horrible choices and the Kingdom falls apart

  • he starts marrying the daughters of other kings hundreds of them for political alliances

  • and then he adopts their gods and introduces the worship of those gods into Israel

  • Solomon then accumulates huge amounts of wealth he built a huge army

  • He even Institute slave labor for all of his building projects

  • Now if you go back to the Torah and look at God's guidelines for Israel's kings in Deuteronomy 17

  • Solomon is breaking every one

  • so by the time that he dies

  • Solomon resembles Pharaoh the king of Egypt more than he does his father David

  • the next section of the book opens with Solomon's son, Rehoboam, acting just like his father

  • it's a very sad story of greed and lust for power

  • he tries to increase taxes for slave labor

  • and under the leadership of Jeroboam the northern tribes reject this

  • they rebelled and secede and form their own rival Kingdom

  • and so now in the story you have the southern kingdom of Judah

  • centered in Jerusalem with Kings from the line of David

  • and now this new northern kingdom called Israel

  • who's capital will be Samaria eventually

  • Jeroboam also goes on to build two new temples to compete with Solomon's temple in the south

  • he put the Golden Calf in each one to represent the God of Israel

  • The connection to Exodus 32 and the Golden Calf It's all quite explicit

  • From this point on the story goes back and forth from north to south tracing the fate of both kingdoms

  • Each one had about 20 successive kings

  • and as the author introduces each king he evaluates their reign by a few criteria

  • did they worship the God of Israel alone or did they promote the worship other gods

  • did they deal with idolatry among the people

  • and did they remained faithful to the Covenant like David or do they become corrupt and unjust

  • and according to these criteria the author finds no good kings in northern Israel zero for twenty

  • And then in southern Judah only eight out of 20 get a positive rating

  • which connects to another huge purpose in this book

  • and that to introduce the role of the prophet key figures in israel's history

  • so in the Bible, prophets were not fortune tellers rather they spoke on behalf of the God of Israel

  • and they played the role of Covenant watchdog

  • which means they called out idolatry and injustice among the Kings and the people

  • they were constantly reminding Israel of their calling to be a light to the nations

  • that they should obey the commands of the Torah

  • and so the prophets challenged Israel to repent and follow their God

  • In these centres sections for each King, God then raises up prophets to hold them accountable

  • the most prominent prophets over the northern ones are Elijah and his disciples Elisha

  • right here in the center of the book

  • Elijah was a wild man of a prophet living out in the desert

  • and his arch nemesis was the northern King Ahab and his Canaanite wife Jezebel

  • together these two had instituted the worship of the Canaanites God Baal over Israel

  • and so in a famous story Elijah challenged four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal

  • to a contest to see which God was a real

  • so they both built altars and prayed to their gods

  • but only the God of Israel answers with fire

  • After this, Ahab uses his royal power to murder an Israelite farmer and then steal his family's vineyard

  • and the Elijah again confront Ahab's injustice and he announces the downfall of his house

  • Elijah eventually passes the mantle of his prophetic leadership to a young disciple named Elisha

  • who asks for two times the authority of Elijah

  • but what's fascinating here is how the author is recounted 7 miraculous feats for Elijah

  • and then he offers stories of 14 acts of power from Elisha

  • Both prophets were clearly remarkable men and they played the same role confronting Israel's Kings

  • for idolatry and injustice and ultimately they were unsuccessful in turning Israel back from apostasy

  • In the next section, the northern kingdom has rocked by a bloody revolution started by a king named Jehu

  • who destroys Ahab's family and although Jehu was at first commissioned by God

  • his violence just gets out of control

  • and it creates the spiral of political assassinations and rebellions from which Israel never recovered

  • coup follows coup after Jehu

  • and each King follows other gods allows horrible injustice it all leads up to second Kings chapter 17

  • the big bad empire of Assyria swoops down and takes out the northern kingdom altogether

  • and the capital city of Samaria is conquered

  • and the Israelites were exiled and scattered throughout the ancient world

  • now chapter 17 is key

  • the author stops the story and offers this prophetic reflection and what's just happened

  • he blames the downfall of the northern kingdom on the idolatry

  • and covenant unfaithfulness of Israel and its kings

  • and so God has allowed them to face the consequences of their decisions

  • The final movement of the book tells the story of the lone southern kingdom

  • In here, we meet very heroic kings like Hezekiah who trust God

  • when the armies of Assyria come knocking on Jerusalem's door

  • or Josiah who discovers this lost scroll of the Torah in the temple

  • So he start to reading it. He's convicted

  • and he institutes religious reforms to remove idolatry in Canaanite influences from the land

  • but Judah is just too far gone

  • The King right in between these two, Menassah. He's the worst by far

  • so he not only introduces the worship of idols statues into the Jerusalem Temple,

  • he also institutes child sacrifice

  • And so God sends prophets to say the time is up. Israel has reached the point of no return

  • The final chapters tell the story of the Babylonian Empire coming to invade Jerusalem destroy the temple

  • and carry the people and the royal line of David off into exile

  • and so the story ends leaving us wondering has God done with Israel

  • has he done with a line of David

  • Well, the final paragraph zooms about forty years forward into the exile

  • and it tells very odd story. It's about Jehoiachin, a descendant from David

  • who would have been king and he was back in Jerusalem

  • and the king of Babylon releases him from prison and invite them to eat at the Royal table for the rest of his life

  • and the book ends

  • so it's not much but it's a story that gives a glimmer of hope

  • that God has not abandon the line of David

  • so the question now is how is that going to fulfill his promises to Abraham to David

  • How he is going to bless the nations and bring the Messianic Kingdom

  • and answer those questions you have to read on into the wisdom and the prophetic books

  • but for now that's the Book of Kings

The book of first and second kings

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聖書を読む1-2 キングス (Read Scripture: 1-2 Kings)

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    sophia に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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