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October 12, 2010

These kings  of the Divided Kingdom are recorded in scripture beginning with I Kings 12 and continue through II Kings 25.  Included here are the exploits of Elijah and Elisha.  I Chronicles covers much of David’s reign and complements II Samuel .  II Chronicles 1-9 covers Solomon’s reign and complements I Kings 1-11.  These scriptures were covered in previous lessons in the section titled “Judges to Kings”.  It is said that I-II Kings is written from a prophetic perspective and that I-II Chronicles is written from a priestly perspective.  Chronicles only records the kings of Judah whereas I and II Kings includes both the kings of Judah and the kings of Israel.  Consequently, I have chosen Kings to be my main text for Israel  until there conquering and  scattering by Assyria.  II Chronicles will be my main text for Judah’s kings until their exile to Babylon.

I have not found a better way to go back and forth between Israel’s kings and Judah’s kings except to follow the scripture as recorded.  I will try to note relationships and dates in my comments to keep the chronological accuracy alive.  Also refer to the chart of Kings and Prophets in my main section of this Commentary titled The Prophets.  There is another good chart outlining dates associated with Israel’s kings and Judah’s kings in the New Bible Commentary under their introduction to I and II Kings.  Similar charts help considerably to understand the political implications of this period.  Another excellent resource for this period is The Reese Chronological Bible.

There were zero “good” kings out of a total of 19 kings in Israel’s history [the northern kingdom].  And there were only about 8 “good” kings out of a total of 20 kings in Judah’s history [the southern kingdom].  Judah lasted about 140 years longer than Israel.  Judah’s kings generally ruled longer while 6 of Israel’s kings ruled 1 year or less.  While writing my commentary on The Prophets I believe God gave up in trying to salvage Israel during the reign of Ahab even though Elijah had a positive influence with the people.  However, Elijah’s influence was temporary and any Godly influence ended with Elisha’s death.  It also seems that God lost patience with Judah during the  reign of Manasseh even though he was considered a “bad” king who eventually became a “good” king near the end of his reign.  Unfortunately his change of heart had no influence on the people of Judah.

Overall this is one of the saddest eras in Israel’s history.  They forsook God and became worldly which led to their downfall as a nation whose purpose was to bear witness to God’s power, glory, majesty, and love.  They are still struggling to recover today.  They continue to survive by depending on themselves, acknowledging God but refusing to acknowledge His Son, Jesus Christ, as His Savior Messiah sent to redeem all people, including Israel.

The main lesson from God to us as a result of Israel’s failure to trust God is that there are severe corporate and personal consequences for our sins.  Sin is both personal and corporate and God punishes both.  We are personally responsible for our own sin and we are corporately responsible for the sins of our nation, our failure to acknowledge God as Sovereign over all things.


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