How Israel came to have Kings.
The people ask for a king. 1 Samuel 8:1-22.. When Samuel grew old, he appointed
his sons as judges’ of Israel. His eldest son was called Joel and his second
one, Abijah, they were judges at Berrsheba. His sons did not follow his example
but, seduced by the love of money, took bribes and gave biased verdicts. The
elders of Israel assembled, went back to Samuel at Ramah and said
‘Look, you are old, and your sons are not following your example. So give us a
king to judge us, like other nations. Samuel thought that it was wrong of them
to say, ‘Let us have a king to judge us,’ so he prayed to Yahweh. But Yahweh
said to Samuel, Obey the voice of the people in all that they say: it is not you
they have rejected but me, not wishing me to reign over them any more. They are
now doing to you exactly what they have done to me since the day I brought them
out of Egypt until now, deserting me and serving other gods. So do what they
ask; only, you must give them a most solemn warning, and must tell them what the
king who is to reign over them will do.’
Everything that Yahweh had said, Samuel then repeated to the people who were
asking him for a king. He said, ‘This is what the king who is to reign over you
will do.’ He will take your sons and direct them to his chariotry and cavalry,
and they will run in front of his chariot. He will use them as leaders of a
thousand and leaders of fifty; he will make them plough his fields and gather
his harvest and make weapons of war and the gear for his chariots. He will take
your daughters as perfumers, cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your
fields. your vineyards and your olive groves and give them to his officials. He
will take the best of your servants, men and women, of your oxen and your
donkeys, and make them work for him. He will tithe your flocks, and you
yourselves will become his slaves. When that day comes, you will cry aloud
because of the king you have chosen for yourselves, but on that day Yahweh will
not hear you.
The people, however, refused to listen to Samuel. They said, ‘No! We are
determined to have a king, so that we can be like the other nations, with our
own king to rule us and lead us and fight our battles.’ Samuel listened to all
that the people had to say and repeated in Yahweh’s ear.’ Yahweh said to Samuel.
‘Do as they say and give them a king.’ Samuel then said to the Israelites. ‘Go
home, each of you, to your own town.’
Yahweh Chooses Saul as the First King.
Samuel 1 9:1-27 tells us how Yahweh chose the First King of Israel. 9:2 Saul
[was] a handsome man at the prime of his life. Of all the Israelites there as no
one more handsome than he; he stood head and shoulders taller than anyone else.
9:17 ‘When Samuel saw Saul, Yahweh told him, ‘That is the man of whom I said to
you. “He is to govern my people.” 10:1 Samuel took a phial of oil and poured it
over Saul’s head; he then kissed him and said. ‘Has not Yahweh anointed you s
leader of his people? You are the man who is to govern Yahweh’s people and save
them from the power of the enemies surrounding them.’
Saul’s Disobedience. 15:10-31. War against the Amalekites. Samuel tells Saul to
listen to the words of Yahweh. “I intend you to punish what Amalek did to
Israel.................Now, go and crush Amalek. put him under the curse of destruction
with all he possess. Do not spare him, but kill man woman, babes and suckling,
ox and sheep, camel and donkey.” (Very cruel but those were the times they lived
in). 1 Samuel 15:10-23. The word of the Lord came to Samuel, ’I regret having
made Saul king, since he has broken his allegiance to me had not carried out my
orders.’ Samuel was appalled and cried to Yahweh all night.
In the morning Samuel set out to find Saul......When [he] reached Saul, Saul said,
‘May you be blessed by Yahweh! I have carried out Yahweh’s orders.’ Samuel
replied.’ Then what is that bleating in my ears and the lowing of cattle that I
hear? Sail said ‘....the people have spared the best of the sheep and cattle to
sacrifice them to Yahweh....’ Samuel replied’ Is Yahweh pleased by burnt offerings
or by obedience to Yahweh’s voice? Truly obedience is better than sacrifice.’
Saul had great courage and fulfilled the people’s wish when the asked for a king
‘to lead us and fight our battles’. Early in his reign he was admired and
respected by the people. But he was wilful, disobedient, inclined to anger and
jealousy, especially jealousy of David. He spent much energy in attempting to
kill David, energy which could have been used productively. Latterly he appeared
to suffer from madness which led to him consulting a necromancer to try and
contact Samuel. Soon afterwards he died by falling on his own sword.
David chosen as Second King
Early on in Saul’s reign Yahweh chose David as a successor. Samuel was sent to
Jesse of Bethlehem who had eight sons. David was the youngest and was working in
the fields shepherding the sheep. It was he who was chosen and Samuel anointed
David’s killing of Goliath and the adoration which he received angered Saul and
encouraged him to kill David. Yahweh’s plans come into play when David is chosen
to calm Saul by playing his lyre.
The stories of David’s battle with Goliath and fleeing from Saul are well known
as is the story of his adultery with Bathsheba and having her husband Uriah
killed. David obviously had great musical and poetic talent. The vast majority
of the Psalms are credited have to been written by him.
David lived a charmed life always managing to overcome whatever problems he
encountered. On one occasion whilst fleeing from Saul he found himself amongst
enemies. He feigned madness which convinced his captors to release him.
David’s son, Absalom, had fought against his father but when David heard of his
son’s death he was distraught and mourned and kept repeating: “Oh, my son
Absalom! My son! My son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you! Absalom my
son, my son!” Known as the most mournful words in the Old Testament.
As David was dying his eldest surviving son, Adonijah, started to celebrate with
his friends and declared himself as King. When the prophet Nathan heard of this
he and Bathsheba told David who declared that Solomon would be the next king.
(The story mentions that David had previously made a promise on oath that
Solomon would succeed him. There is no Biblical mention of this oath in the life
Solomon chosen as Third King.
Solomon’s request for ‘wisdom’ is well known as is his judgement of the two
women claiming the baby. Possibly less well known is that Solomon, in order to
make secure his kingship, ordered the deaths of many who he claimed were a
threat to his reign. He had his brother Adonijah put to death .He ordered the
death of Joab who had been David’s military commander and had supported
Adonijah. Also to die were Abnor the son of the commander of the army of Israel
and Amasa the son of Jether the commander of the army of Judah. Finally he had
put to death Shimei who had broken his word.
1 Kings 2:46 And now the kingdom was securely in Solomon’s hands.
Solomon had many high officials as befits a great king. The list can be read in
1Kings 4:1-19. 1 Kings 5:1-29.
1 Kings: 5:1.14.
Yahweh had given Solomon the task of building the Temple. In doing so 1 Kings
5:27. [He] raised a levy throughout Israel for forced labour, the levy numbered
thirty thousand men. He also had a palace built for himself. Solomon’s use of
forced labour was to backfire and cause the breakup of the twelve tribes.
Despite his ‘wisdom’ Solomon was led astray and to pacify his many wives he
visited the high places where Baal was worshiped.
Successive Kings after Solomon.
After Solomon’s death anger erupted. Solomon’s son was the rightly heir to the
kingdom. But the Northern Tribes under their leader, Jereboam I, wanted an
assurance that they would not be used as slaves as had happened under Solomon’s
reign. When that assurance was refused the kingdom split into Israel in the
North with its centre in Samaria and Judah in the South centred in Jerusalem.
That was a direct result of Salomon’s act of slavery of the Northern Tribes.
Which also meant that the Northern Tribes could not go to worship at the Temple
in Jerusalem but instead built their own altars.
From here on all the Kings of the Northern tribes of Israel are designated as
bad or even worse. The Southern tribes of Judah are a little better with seven
out of the twenty given a ‘good/bad’ or ‘mostly good’ or’ good.’ As we sow so
shall we reap.
1 Samuel 15:10-11. The word of Yahweh came to Samuel, ‘I regret having made Saul
king.........’ giving the impression that Yahweh makes mistake. Not so! When Yahweh
chose Saul he knew of his temper, of his jealousy and of his coming madness. But
Saul was the right person for those times and gave the kingship a sure
foundation on which to build.
When he chose David he knew of his lust and was prepared to forgive him even
after he had Uriah killed.
But Yahweh also knew of David’s fine qualities as a leader.
When Yahweh gave Solomon ‘wisdom’ he knew it would not last for ever.
Yahweh is all seeing and all knowing.
Seeing the evil of many of the kings of Israel and Judah, Yahweh sent Prophets
to warn them. Elijah, Amos and Hosea were sent to Kingdom of Israel and Isaiah,
Micah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel were sent to the Kingdom of Judah. But they were
threatened with death, imprisoned and ignored. The people did not want to listen
and preferred to continue their evils ways.
LIST OF THE KINGS OF THE PROMISED LAND
1030 – 1012 Saul
1012- 970 David
970 - 930 Solomon
Kings of the Northern Kingdom of Israel.
Years Kings Good/Bad Prophets
930 – 909 Jereboam I Bad
909 = 908 Nadab Bad
908 – 886 Baasha Bad
886 – 885 Elah Bad
885 Seven Days Zimri Bad
885 – 874 Omri Extra Bad
874 – 853 Ahab Worst Elijah
853 – 852 Ahaziah Bad Elijah
852 – 841 Joram Mostly Bad Elijah
841 – 814 Jehu Mostly Bad
814 – 798 Jehoahaz Bad
798 – 782 Jehoash Bad
783 – 743 Jereboam II Bad Amos
743 Six Months Zecharaih Bad Hosea
743 One Month Shallum Bad Hosea
743 – 738 Menahem Bad
738 - 737 Pekahiah Bad
737 – 732 Pekah Bad
732 – 723 Hoshea Bad
723 The Kingdom of Israel falls. The Northern Tribes
fall to Assyrian King Shalmaneser V.
Kings of the Southern Kingdom of Judah
Years Kings Good/Bad Prophets
930 – 913 Rehoboam Mostly Bad
913 – 910 Abijam Mostly Bad
910 – 869 Asa Good
870 – 848 Jehoshaphat Good
848 – 841 Jerhoram Bad
841 One Year Ahaziah Bad
841 – 835 Queen Athaliah Devilish
835 – 796 Joash Mostly Good
796 – 767 Amaziah Mostly Good
792 – 740 Azariah Good
740 – 735 Jotham Good Isaiah
735 – 715 Ahaz Wicked Isaiah
715 – 686 Hezekiah Best Isaiah
686 – 642 Manasseh Worst Isaiah/Micah
642 – 640 Amon Worst
640 – 609 Josiah Best Jeremiah
609 Three Months Jehoahaz Bad Jeremiah
609 – 598 Jehoiakim Wicked Jeremiah
597 Three Months Jehoiachin Bad Jeremiah/Ezekiel
597 Jerusalem falls at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon
who destroys the city and sets fire to the Temple.
597 – 586 Zedekiah is set up as a puppet king over Judah.
70 A.D. Herod’s Temple is completely destroyed.