Archive for the ‘Solomon’ Tag

The Superscription of the Book of Jeremiah   Leave a comment

Above:  Jeremiah

Image in the Public Domain

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READING JEREMIAH, PART I

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Jeremiah 1:1-3

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The first three verses of the Book of Jeremiah identify the prophet, his father, the prophet’s hometown, and the timeframe of his prophetic ministry.

Jeremiah (“YHWH will exalt”) ben Hilkiah hailed from Anathoth, about three and a half miles northeast of Jerusalem.  The father, Hilkiah, was a priest.  Hilkiah and Jeremiah were outside of the priestly establishment in Jerusalem.  Therefore, this Hilkiah was not the high priest Hilkiah (2 Kings 22:3-23:37) who found the scroll of Deuteronomy in the Temple, brought that scroll to King Josiah (r. 640-609 B.C.E.), and participated in Josiah’s religious reformation.

Hailing from Anathoth was significant.  Anathoth was one of the cities assigned to Levitical priests in Joshua 21:18.  After the death of King David, King Solomon had exiled the priest Abiathar (1 Samuel 22:20-22; 1 Samuel 23:6, 9; 1 Samuel 30:7; 2 Samuel 8:17; 2 Samuel 15:24, 27, 29, 35; 2 Samuel 17:15; 2 Samuel 19:11; 2 Samuel 20:25; 1 Kings 1:7, 19, 25, 42; 1 Kings 2:35; 1 Kings 4:4; 1 Chronicles 15:11; 1 Chronicles 18:16; 1 Chronicles 24:6; 1 Chronicles 27:34; Mark 2:26) to Anathoth for supporting Adonijah in the struggle for succession (1 Kings 2:26-27).  Jeremiah, therefore, was also a member of a priestly family.  He understood the ancient traditions of Israel, as well as the foundational character of the covenant in the life of Israel.

The superscription also defines the period during which Jeremiah prophesied:  from the thirteenth year (627 B.C.E.) of the reign (640-609 B.C.E.) of King Josiah of Judah through “the eleventh year of King Zedekiah,” “when Jerusalem went into exile in the fifth month” (586 B.C.E.).  We read in Chapters 39-44 that Jeremiah prophesied after the Fall of Jerusalem, too.  The list of kings names Josiah, Jehoiakim, and Zedekiah.  That list omits Jehoahaz/Jeconiah/Shallum and Jehoiachin/Jeconiah/Coniah.  Yet, as the germane note in The Jewish Study Bible, Second Edition (2014), points out, few of the prophecies in the Book of Jeremiah date to the reign of King Josiah.

Jeremiah prophesied during a turbulent and difficult period of decline–mostly after the fall of the Assyrian Empire (612 B.C.E. and before the Fall of Jerusalem (586 B.C.E.). In the wake of King Josiah’s death, Judah had become a vassal state of Egypt.  Pharaoh Neco II had chosen the next two Kings of Judah.  Jehoahaz/Jeconiah/Shallum (2 Kings 23:31-35; 2 Chronicles 36:1-4; 1 Esdras 1:34-38) had reigned for about three months before becoming a prisoner in Egypt.  Then Neco II had appointed Eliakim and renamed him Jehoiakim (r. 608-598 B.C.E.; 2 Kings 23:36-24:7; 2 Chronicles 36:5-8; 1 Esdras 1:39-42).  Jehoiakim was always a vassal while King of Judah.  After being the vassal of Neco II of Egypt for about three years, he became a vassal of the Chaldean/Neo-Babylonian Empire in 605 B.C.E.  He died a prisoner in that empire.

Two more Kings of Judah reigned; both were vassals of the Chaldean/Neo-Babylonian Empire.  Jehoiachin/Jeconiah/Coniah (2 Kings 24:8-17; 2 Kings 25:27-30; 2 Chronicles 36:9-10; 1 Esdras 1:43-46) reigned for about three months before going into exile in that empire.  The last King of Judah was Zedekiah, born Mattaniah (2 Kings 24:18-25:26; 2 Chronicles 36:11-21; 1 Esdras 1:47-58).  He reigned from 597 to 586 B.C.E.  The last events he saw before Chaldean soldiers blinded him were the executions of his sons.

The Book of Jeremiah is one of the longest books in the Hebrew Bible; it contains 52 chapters.  The final draft is the product of augmentation and editing subsequent to the time of Jeremiah himself.  In fact, Jeremiah 52 is mostly verbatim from 2 Kings 24:18-25:30.  Also Jeremiah 52:4-16 occur also in Jeremiah 39:1-2, 4-10.  Chronology is not the organizing principle of material in the Book of Jeremiah; jumping around the timeline is commonplace.  For example, the Fall of Jerusalem (586 B.C.E.) occurs between Chapters 32 and 33, as well as in Chapters 39 and 52.  Some ancient copies are longer than other ancient copies.  None of the subsequent augmentation and editing, complete with some material being absent from certain ancient copies of the book surprises me, based on my reading about the development of certain Biblical texts.  I do not pretend that divinely-inspired authors were mere secretaries for God.

Rabbi Abraham J. Heschel made a germane and wonderful point in The Prophets, Volume I (1962), viii:

The prophet is a person, not a microphone.  He is endowed with a mission, with the power of a word not his own that accounts for his greatness–but also with temperament, concern, character, and individuality.  As there was no resisting the impact of divine inspiration, so at times there was no resisting the vortex of his own temperament.  The word of God reverberated in the voice of man.

The prophet’s task is to convey a divine view, yet as a person he is a point of view.  He speaks from the perspective of God as perceived from the perspective of his own situation.  We must seek to understand not only the views he expounded but also the attitudes he embodied:  his own position, feeling response–not only what he said but also what he lived; the private, the intimate dimension of the word, the subjective side of the message.

Those paragraphs applied to all the Hebrew prophets.  They applied to Jeremiah with greater poignancy than to the others, though.

I invite you, O reader, to remain with me as I blog my way through the book of the “weeping prophet.”

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 6, 2021 COMMON ERA

PROPER 5:  THE SECOND SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST, YEAR B

THE FEAST OF FRANKLIN CLARK FRY, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED LUTHERAN CHURCH IN AMERICA AND THE LUTHERAN CHURCH IN AMERICA

THE FEAST OF SAINT CLAUDE OF BESANÇON, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST, MONK, ABBOT, AND BISHOP

THE FEAST OF HENRY JAMES BUCKOLL, AUTHOR AND TRANSLATOR OF HYMNS

THE FEAST OF JOHANN FRIEDRICH HERTZOG, GERMAN LUTHERAN HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM KETHE, PRESBYTERIAN HYMN WRITER

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The Superscription of the Book of Hosea   3 comments

Above:  A Map of the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah

Scanned from an Old Bible

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READING HOSEA, PART I

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Hosea 1:1

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This post begins an ambitious program of Bible study and blogging.  I, having recently blogged my way through Daniel, Jonah, and Baruch at this weblog, turn to the other books of the Old Testament classified as prophetic.  In the first stage, I am reading and blogging about Hosea, Amos, Micah, and First Isaiah, all of them contemporaries prior to the Babylonian Exile.

The prophet Hosea (“rescue”) ben Beeri lived and prophesied in the (northern) Kingdom of Israel.  According to Hosea 1:1, Hosea prophesied during the reigns of the following monarchs:

  1. Azariah (Uzziah) of Judah (r. 785-733 B.C.E.); see 2 Kings 15:1-7 and 2 Chronicles 26;
  2. Jotham of Judah (r. 759-743 B.C.E.); see 2 Kings 15:32-38 and 2 Chronicles 27:1-9;
  3. Ahaz of Judah (r. 743/735-727-715 B.C.E.); see 2 Kings 16:1-20, 2 Chronicles 28:1-27, and Isaiah 7:1-8:15;
  4. Hezekiah of Judah (r. 727/715-698/687 B.C.E.); see 2 Kings 18:1-20:21, 2 Chronicles 29:1-32:33, Isaiah 38:1-39:8, and Ecclesiasticus/Sirach 48:17-22 and 49:14; and
  5. Jeroboam II of Israel (r. 788-747 B.C.E.), see 2 Kings 14:23-29.

The list of kings (with dates taken from The Jewish Study Bible, Second Edition, 2014) does not include any Israelite monarchs who succeeded Jeroboam II through the Fall of Samaria (722 B.C.E.) and were contemporary with King Ahaz of Judah and perhaps King Hezekiah of Judah.  Also, this list prioritizes the Kings of Judah.  If one is intellectually honest (as I try to be), the chronological problem is obvious: Ahaz and Hezekiah do not belong on the list of kings in Hosea 1:1. The Book of Hosea contains layers of composition and editing.  Alteration of the original text seems to have begun perhaps as early as prior to the Babylonian Exile, in the (southern) Kingdom of Judah, and continued (probably) as late as the post-Exilic period.  The chronological discrepancy in Hosea 1:1 is a minor matter.  If I were a fundamentalist, it would trouble me, and I would attempt to reconcile the irreconcilable.  Karen Armstrong tells us:

…fundamentalism is antihistorical….

A History of God:  The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (1993), xx

The NIV Study Bible (1985) pretends that there is no chronological discrepancy in Hosea 1:1.  But I do not affirm either Biblical literalism or inerrancy, so I acknowledge and ponder the evidence of alteration of the original text of the Book of Hosea.  Besides, salvation does not require willful ignorance or a frontal lobotomy.  Besides, giving short shrift to one’s intellect in the name of piety dishonors the image of God in oneself.

The germane note in The Jewish Study Bible, Second Edition (2014) argues for the editing of the original text of the Book of Hosea during the final, declining period of the (southern) Kingdom of Judah:

From the Israelite perspective, the book is anchored in the last period of strength of the Northern Kingdom; from the Judahite perspective, it is anchored in a period in which Israel moves from a political position of strength to the beginning of its demise in the days of Hezekiah.  This double perspective is no mistake, but a rhetorical clue for the reading of the book.

–1132

Gale A. Yee wrote:

The priority of Judean kings suggests a Judean editing.  The phraseology and structure that this verse shares with other prophetic superscriptions indicates that it was part of a joint redaction of the prophetic books.  This editing probably occurred during or after the Babylonian exile, when the latter prophets can be dated.  Moreover, the phraseology is similar to the editing of 1 and 2 Kings, suggesting a deuteronomistic redaction.  The superscription emphasizes that while the revelation was addressed to a particular prophet at a particular historical time, the book in its later, edited state articulates the revealed message of God.  As God’s word through Hosea spoke to its original audience and to its later Judean audience, it continues to address us today.

The New Interpreter’s Bible, Vol. 7 (1996), 217

The (united) Kingdom of Israel had divided in 928 B.C.E., early in the reign of King Rehoboam, son of King Solomon.  The Davidic Dynasty, which had ruled the (united) Kingdom of Judah since 1005 B.C.E., governed the (southern) Kingdom of Judah, including the tribes of Judah and Simeon, until the Fall of Jerusalem (587 B.C.E.).  In contrast, dynasties rose and fell in the (northern) Kingdom of Israel.  King Jeroboam II (reigned 788-747) belonged to the House of Jehu, which had come to power in a bloody revolution in 842 B.C.E.  Jeroboam II presided over a prosperous and militarily strong realm (2 Kings 14:23-29). Yet, just a quarter-century after his death, the former (northern) Kingdom of Israel fell to the Assyrian Empire.  Those twenty-five years were politically tumultuous.

  • King Zechariah succeeded his father, Jeroboam II, in 747 B.C.E., and reigned for about six months (2 Kings 15:8-12)
  • King Shallum ended the House of Jehu, as well as the life and reign of King Zechariah via assassination in 747 B.C.E.  Shallum reigned for about a month (2 Kings 15:13-16).
  • King Menahem (r. 747-737 B.C.E.) came to power by having King Shallum assassinated (2 Kings 15:17-22).
  • King Pekahiah (r. 737-735 B.C.E.), succeeded his father, King Menahem (2 Kings 15:23-26).
  • King Pekah (r. 735-732 B.C.E.) came to power by having King Pekahiah assassinated (2 Kings 15:27-31).
  • King Hoshea (r. 732-722 B.C.E.) came to power by having King Pekah assassinated.  Assyrian King Sargon II (r. 722-705) finished what Shalmaneser V (r. 727-722) had started; Sargon II terminated Hoshea’s reign and the existence of the (northern) Kingdom of Israel (2 Kings 17:1-23).

A note in The New Interpreter’s Study Bible (2003) suggests:

Because Hosea condemned the house of Jehu, it may be that he fled Israel prior to the revolt [of 747 B.C.E.], continuing to speak from Judah.

That is possible.

God, speaking through Hosea, repeatedly warned the people of the (northern) Kingdom of Israel of the terrors they were about to experience and urged them to restore their covenant relationship with God.  They did not renew that covenant relationship, to their detriment.  Perhaps subsequent editors of the original text of the Book of Hosea amplified these themes, with the benefit of hindsight.  But these editors did not invent them.

Repurposing and revising texts was sufficiently commonplace in Biblical times that finding evidence of it had ceased to surprise me.  For example, some of the Psalms originated at one place and in one period yet went through stages of revision, to fit different contexts.

Dr. Yee’s final point provides my jumping-off point for my conclusion for this post:

…[God’s word] continues to address us today.

Here, “God’s word” refers to what God has said and says.  God’s word is as current today as it was last year, a decade ago, a century ago, a thousand years ago, and in antiquity.  God’s word, although ancient, remains fresh.  Are we paying attention?

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 12, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT GERMANUS I CONSTANTINOPLE, PATRIARCH OF CONSTANTINOPLE; AND DEFENDER OF ICONS

THE FEAST OF SAINT GREGORY OF OSTIA, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT, CARDINAL, AND LEGATE; AND SAINT DOMINIC OF THE CAUSEWAY, ROMAN CATHOLIC HERMIT

THE FEAST OF PAUL MAZAKUTE, FIRST SIOUX EPISCOPAL PRIEST

THE FEAST OF ROGER SCHÜTZ, FOUNDER OF THE TAIZÉ COMMUNITY

THE FEAST OF SYLVESTER II, BISHOP OF ROME

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Israel’s True Power and Strength   Leave a comment

Above:  King John Hyrcanus I

Image in the Public Domain

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READING JUDITH

PART III

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Judith 4:1-6:2

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Holofernes represented an oppressive violent power and an ego-driven monarch.  The general had succeeded in his previous campaigns, even against people who had greeted his army with garlands, dancing, and the sound of timbrels (2:1-3:10).  The Israelites were in dire straits as he turned his attention toward them.

Yet the Israelites worshiped God.  They prayed to God.  And, as even Achior, the Ammonite leader acknowledged, the Israelites’ power and strength resided in God.  Yet Holofernes asked scornfully,

Who is God beside Nebuchadnezzar?

–Judith 6:2b, The New American Bible–Revised Edition (2011)

Achior found refuge with the Israelites, at least.

A refresher on the Kingdom of Ammon and on the Ammonites is in order.

  1. “Ammon” comes from Benammi, both the son and grandson of Lot (Genesis 19:30-38).  Lot’s daughters had gotten their father drunk then seduced him.  They gave birth to the founders of the Moabite and Ammonite peoples.
  2. The attitude toward the Ammonites in the Bible is mostly negative.
  3. The Kingdom of Ammon was east of the River Jordan and north of Moab.  
  4. The Kingdom of Ammon, a vassal state of Israel under Kings David and Solomon.  After Ammon reasserted itself, it became a vassal state of the Neo-Assyrian Empire then the Chaldean/Neo-Babylonian Empire.  A failed rebellion led to mass deportations of Ammonites and the colonization of their territory by Chaldeans.

Anyone who wants to read more about the Ammonites in the Bible may want to follow the following reading plan:

  1. Genesis 19;
  2. Numbers 21;
  3. Deuteronomy 2, 3, 23;
  4. Joshua 12, 13;
  5. Judges 3, 10, 11, 12;
  6. 1 Samuel 10, 11, 12, 14;
  7. 2 Samuel 8, 10, 11, 12, 17, 23;
  8. 1 Kings 11, 14;
  9. 2 Kings 23, 24;
  10. 1 Chronicles 11, 18, 19, 20;
  11. 2 Chronicles 12, 20, 24, 26, 27;
  12. Ezra 9;
  13. Nehemiah 2, 4, 13;
  14. Psalm 83;
  15. Isaiah 11;
  16. Jeremiah 9, 25, 27, 40, 41, 49;
  17. Ezekiel 21, 25;
  18. Daniel 11;
  19. Amos 1;
  20. Zephaniah 2;
  21. Judith 1, 5, 6, 7, 14;
  22. 1 Maccabees 5; and
  23. 2 Maccabees 4, 5.

Back to Achior…

A close reader of Achior’s report (5:6-21) may detect some details he got wrong.  Not all characters speak accurately in every matter.  One may expect an outsider to misunderstand some aspects of the Israelite story.

At the end of the Chapter 6, we see the conflict between the arrogance of enemies of God and the humility of Israelites.  We know that, in the story, the Israelites could turn only to God for deliverance.  Anyone familiar with the Hebrew prophets ought to know that this theme occurs in some of the prophetic books, too.

In the context contemporary to the composition of the Book of Judith, Jews had endured Hellenistic oppression under the Seleucid Empire.  Jews had won the independence of Judea.  John Hyrcanus I (reigned 135-104 B.C.E.; named in 1 Maccabees 13:53 and 16:1-23) had ordered the destruction of the Samaritan temple on Mount Gerazim and forced many people to convert to Judaism.  The persecuted had become persecutors.  This was certainly on the mind of the anonymous author of the Book of Judith.

May we, collectively and individually, do to others as we want them to do to us, not necessarily as they or others have done to us.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 8, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE TENTH DAY OF ADVENT

THE FEAST OF WALTER CISZEK, ROMAN CATHOLIC MISSIONARY PRIERST AND POLITICAL PRISONER

THE FEAST OF SAINTS AMATUS OF LUXEUIL AND ROMARIC OF LUXEUIL, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONKS AND ABBOTS

THE FEAST OF ERIK CHRISTIAN HOFF, NORWEGIAN LUTHERAN COMPOSER AND ORGANIST

THE FEAST OF JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER, U.S. QUAKER ABOLITIONIST, POET, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARIN SHKURTI, ALBANIAN ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR, 1969

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The Reign of King Azariah/Uzziah of Judah   9 comments

Above:  King Azariah/Uzziah of Judah

Image in the Public Domain

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READING 1-2 SAMUEL, 1 KINGS, 2 KINGS 1-21, 1 CHRONICLES, AND 2 CHRONICLES 1-33

PART XCV

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2 Kings 15:1-7

2 Chronicles 26:1-23

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Love righteousness, you rulers of the earth.

think of the Lord with uprightness,

and seek him with sincerity of heart;

because he is found by those who do not put him to the test,

and manifests himself to those who do not distrust him.

For perverse thoughts separate men from God,

and when his power is tested, it convicts the foolish;

because wisdom will not enter a deceitful soul,

nor dwell in a body enslaved to sin.

For a holy and disciplined spirit will flee from deceit,

and will rise and depart from foolish thoughts,

and will be ashamed at the approach of unrighteousness.

–Wisdom of Solomon 1:1-5, Revised Standard Version–Second Catholic Edition (2002)

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King Amaziah of Judah (Reigned 798-769 B.C.E.)

King Azariah/Uzziah of Judah (Reigned 785-733 B.C.E.)

King Jotham of Judah (Reigned 759-743 B.C.E.)

King Jeroboam II of Israel (Reigned 788-747 B.C.E.)

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Again, the account in 2 Chronicles expands on its source material in 2 Kings.  This elaboration creates a different impression regarding the cause of the monarchs’ skin disease (“leprosy”–not what most of us think of when we hear that word) than 2 Kings 15 does.

Anyway, the skin disease made King Azariah/Uzziah ritually impure, thereby excluding him from the Temple and isolating him.  His son Jotham served as the regent.

The primary theme regarding King Azariah/Uzziah is hubris.  Strength leads to pride.  The lack of repentance for pride leads to punishment.  Willful disobedience has terrible consequences.  

The scene of the monarch’s hubris, impenitence, and willful disobedience may seem odd to many.  Perhaps one recalls that King Solomon burned incense in a priestly manner in 1 Kings 9:25.  The Chronicler’s perspective, informed by postexilic standards that only Aaronic priests may burn incense at the Temple, may be anachronistic.

Nevertheless, the example of King Azariah/Uzziah should serve as a reminder not to rest on one’s spiritual laurels.  If we think we are spiritual insiders, we may set ourselves up for the fall that comes after pride goes.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 5, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF ARTHUR AND LEWIS TAPPAN, U.S. CONGREGATIONALIST BUSINESSMEN AND ABOLITIONISTS; COLLEAGUES AND FINANCIAL BACKERS OF SAMUEL ELI CORNISH AND THEODOER S. WRIGHT, AFRICAN-AMERICAN MINISTERS AND ABOLITIONISTS

THE FEAST OF BERNARD LICHTENBERG, GERMAN ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR, 1943

THE FEAST OF SAINT HRYHORII LAKOTA, UKRAINIAN GREEK CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR, 1950

THE FEAST OF JOHANN DANIEL GRIMM, GERMAN MORAVIAN MUSICIAN

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The Conclusions of the Reigns of Kings Rehoboam of Judah and Jeroboam I of Israel, with the Fall of the House of Jeroboam I   Leave a comment

Above:  King Rehoboam of Judah

Image in the Public Domain

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READING 1-2 SAMUEL, 1 KINGS, 2 KINGS 1-21, 1 CHRONICLES, AND 2 CHRONICLES 1-33

PART LXVII

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1 Kings 14:1-31

1 Kings 15:1-8

1 Kings 15:25-32

2 Chronicles 12:1-16

2 Chronicles 13:1-21

Ecclesiasticus/Sirach 47:23-25

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Solomon rested with his ancestors,

and left behind him one of his sons,

broad in folly and lacking in sense,

Rehoboam, whose policy drove the people to revolt.

Then Jeroboam son of Nebat led Israel into sin

and started Ephraim on its sinful ways.

Their sins increased more and more,

until they were exiled from their land.

For they sought out every kind of wickedness,

until vengeance came upon them.

–Ecclesiasticus/Sirach 47:23-25, The New Revised Standard Version with the Apocrypha (1989)

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King Rehoboam of Judah (Reigned 928-911 B.C.E.)

King Jeroboam I of Israel (Reigned 928-907 B.C.E.)

King Abijah/Abijam of Judah (Reigned 911-908 B.C.E.)

King Nadab of Israel (Reigned 907-906 B.C.E.)

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The New American Bible–Revised Edition (2011) does not mention Jeroboam I by name in Ecclesiasticus/Sirach/Wisdom of Ben Sira 47.  That translation describes him as

the one who should not be remembered.

Both mentioning and not mentioning Jeroboam I by name in Ecclesiasticus/Sirach/Wisdom of Ben Sira 47 are justifiable.  In fact, Ben Sira did not name either Rehoboam or Jeroboam I.  No, Ben Sira substituted a synonym for 

broad, open place

for Rehoboam and 

let his name not be mentioned

for Jeroboam I.  Nevertheless, as I read in Volume V (1997) of The New Interpreter’s Bible, the present Hebrew text contains the names of both monarchs.  And Ecclesiasticus/Sirach/Wisdom of Ben Sira exists in both Hebrew and Greek versions.

1 Kings 14 would have us believe that King David kept commandments and followed God with all his heart, doing only what was right.  Biblical stories of King David are fresh in my memory.  I do not know what version God, according to the prophet Ahijah, had read or heard.  It must have been a truncated, nostalgic version.

Moving on….

After nearly twenty-two years of King Jeroboam I and about two years of King Nadab, the first dynasty of the northern Kingdom of Israel fell and a bloodbath ensued.  The theme of divine retribution via domestic and foreign troubles played out, according to the texts.  The same theme played out in Judah, in the context of King Rehoboam, in 1 Kings 14 and 2 Chronicles 12.

King Jeroboam I also fought a war against King Abijah, son of King Rehoboam, in violation of the truce in 1 Kings 12:24.

The saga of Israel and Judah was far from over.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 24, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF ROSA PARKS, AFRICAN-AMERICAN CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST

THE FEAST OF FRITZ EICHENBERG, GERMAN-AMERICAN QUAKER WOOD ENGRAVER

THE FEAST OF HENRY CLAY SHUTTLEWORTH, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

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The Beginning of the Reign of King Rehoboam of Judah, with the Division of the Kingdom of Israel   3 comments

Above:  Jeroboam’s Sacrifice at Bethel, by Gerbrand van den Eeckhout

Image in the Public Domain

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READING 1-2 SAMUEL, 1 KINGS, 2 KINGS 1-21, 1 CHRONICLES, AND 2 CHRONICLES 1-33

PART LXV

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1 Kings 12:1-33

2 Chronicles 10:1-11:23

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He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind;

And the foolish shall be servant to the wise of heart.

–Proverbs 11:29, The Holy Scriptures (1917)

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King Rehoboam of Judah (Reigned 928-911 B.C.E.)

King Jeroboam I of Israel (Reigned 928-907 B.C.E.)

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“My father imposed a heavy yoke on you, and I will add to your yoke; my father flogged you with whips, but I will flog you with scorpions.”

–Rehoboam in 1 Kings 12:11, TANAKH:  The Holy Scriptures (1985)

With that attitude, no wonder a rebellion succeeded!  No wonder Jeroboam, back from exile in Egypt (see 1 Kings 11:40), became King Jeroboam I of Israel!

Jeroboam I’s golden calves at Bethel and Dan were political and religious.  He did not want his subjects making sacrifices in Jerusalem, in the Kingdom of Judah.  These golden calves influenced the telling of the story in Exodus 32.  The words of Aaron in Exodus 32:8 and those of Jeroboam I in 1 Kings 12:28 are even identical.  The agenda in both passages was pro-Temple:  making sacrifices elsewhere constituted idolatry.  Exodus 32 projected the story of Jeroboam I’s cultic sites backward in time.

Both Jeroboam I and Rehoboam consolidated their power and went on to receive negative reviews from Biblical authors.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 24, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF ROSA PARKS, AFRICAN-AMERICAN CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST

THE FEAST OF FRITZ EICHENBERG, GERMAN-AMERICAN QUAKER WOOD ENGRAVER

THE FEAST OF HENRY CLAY SHUTTLEWORTH, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

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The Death and Legacy of King Solomon   Leave a comment

Above:  Icon of King Solomon

Image in the Public Domain

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READING 1-2 SAMUEL, 1 KINGS, 2 KINGS 1-21, 1 CHRONICLES, AND 2 CHRONICLES 1-33

PART LXIV

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1 Kings 11:41-42

2 Chronicles 9:29-31

Ecclesiasticus/Sirach 47:12-22

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Give the King your justice, O God,

and your righteousness to the King’s Son;

That he may rule your people righteously

and the poor with justice;

That the mountains may bring prosperity to the people,

and the little hills bring righteousness.

–Psalm 72:1-3, The Book of Common Prayer (1979)

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The accounts in 1 Kings 11 and 2 Chronicles 9 are brief and to the point.  The text in Ecclesiasticus/Sirach 47 is more interesting reading.  It is a lament for the potential King Solomon wasted.  That text also emphasizes the faithfulness of God–in this case, to the Davidic Dynasty.  People sin and suffer the consequences of their sins.  God remains faithful.

I write these posts to be universal, not bound by time and space.  I frequently restrict my choice of names to the material from the passage or passages.  I write these posts to be universal, therefore never at risk of becoming so dated as to be become irrelevant with the passage of time.  In so doing, I like to apply timeless principles which are, by definition, always germane.

Any leader of a nation-state, province, state, town, city, county, kingdom, et cetera, has certain duties.  These include making wise decisions and improving the common good.  Perhaps the most basic duty is to leave the nation-state, province, state, town, city, county, kingdom, or whatever is is better than he or she found it.

Solomon failed as a monarch and a leader.  Generations of people paid the high price for his failure.

May all in authority decide and govern wisely, for the common, intergenerational good.  May those who will not so decide and govern leave office as soon as possible.  May those who will so decide and govern replace them as soon as possible.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 23, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JAMES OF JERUSALEM, BROTHER OF JESUS

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King Solomon, Women, and Violence   Leave a comment

Above:  King Solomon

Image in the Public Domain

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READING 1-2 SAMUEL, 1 KINGS, 2 KINGS 1-21, 1 CHRONICLES, AND 2 CHRONICLES 1-33

PART LXIII

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1 Kings 11:1-40

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Your word is a lantern to my feet

and a light upon my path.

I have sworn and am determined

to keep your righteous judgments.

–Psalm 119:105-106, The Book of Common Prayer (1979)

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Or not.

King Solomon committed idolatry and contended with foes, foreign and domestic.  Notably, the future King Jeroboam I of the (northern) Kingdom of Israel rose up in rebellion against King Solomon.  Jeroboam, in charge of some of the forced labor, hardly had clean hands.

1 Kings 11, reflecting a theological agenda born out of hindsight, understands royal idolatry to have caused the united kingdom’s troubles and to have led to the division of the kingdom.  I, reading the text as a historian with a strong sense of social justice, conclude that the text’s theological agenda is somewhat correct.  The worship of wealth maintained forced labor, which increased discontent and fostered domestic rebellion.  The decision of King Rehoboam, the immediate successor to Solomon, to continue forced labor, was the last straw in Chapter 12.  As for foreign enemies, any potentate had foes outside his borders.  Proper diplomacy minimized their number and increased the number of allies, though.  And some foreign leaders should have been enemies, not allies.  

I understand that the writing of certain sources and the cutting and pasting of them into composite works occurred in the context of grief for loss of national greatness.  I grasp that certain theological assumptions informed that writing of history.  I do not share all of those theological assumptions.

However, I still recognize much of contemporary value in 1 Kings 11.  Leaders reap what they sow.  Their people  and people in foreign lands also reap what the leaders sow.  May all in authority govern wisely, for the sake of all of us.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 23, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JAMES OF JERUSALEM, BROTHER OF JESUS

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Posted October 23, 2020 by neatnik2009 in 1 Kings 11, 1 Kings 12, Psalm 119

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The Visit of the Queen of Sheba   Leave a comment

Above:  The Tomb of King Hiram of Tyre, by Charles William Meredith von de Velde

Image in the Public Domain

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READING 1-2 SAMUEL, 1 KINGS, 2 KINGS 1-21, 1 CHRONICLES, AND 2 CHRONICLES 1-33

PART LXII

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1 Kings 10:1-29

2 Chronicles 9:1-28

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The earth, O LORD, is full of your love;

instruct me in your statutes.

–Psalm 119:64, The Book of Common Prayer (1979)

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I intend the quote from Psalm 119 partially as a counterpoint to the texts from 1 Kings and 2 Chronicles.

Sheba was Sabea, on the southwestern corner of the Arabian peninsula.  The strategically-located Sabea controlled access to the Sea of Aden from the Red Sea.  The queen was in Jerusalem to meet a potential trading partner. The story of her state visit flows from the end of 1 Kings 9 and 2 Chronicles 8, and flows into accounts of extreme wealth late in 1 Kings 10 and 2 Chronicles 9.  The story of the state visit also builds up King Solomon’s reputation before the turmoil of 1 Kings 11 and 12 and 2 Chronicles 10 and 11.

In ancient societies without a strong middle class, one could not accumulate extreme wealth without exploiting people and perpetuating their exploitation.  Biblical authors have already told us that King Solomon used slavery and forced labor.

King Solomon’s court does not impress me.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 22, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF FREDERICK PRATT GREEN, BRITISH METHODIST MINISTER, POET, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF EMILY HUNTINGTON MILLER, U.S. METHODIST AUTHOR AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF KATHARINA VON SCHLEGAL, GERMAN LUTHERAN HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF PAUL TILLICH, GERMAN-AMERICAN LUTHERAN THEOLOGIAN

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Various Activities of King Solomon   Leave a comment

Above:  The Tomb of King Hiram of Tyre, by Charles William Meredith von de Velde

Image in the Public Domain

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READING 1-2 SAMUEL, 1 KINGS, 2 KINGS 1-21, 1 CHRONICLES, AND 2 CHRONICLES 1-33

PART LXI

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1 Kings 9:10-28

2 Chronicles 8:1-18

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I am filled with a burning rage,

because of the wicked who forsake your law.

–Psalm 119:53, The Book of Common Prayer (1979)

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We learn the following in this reading:

  1. King Solomon partially paid King Hiram of Tyre with 20 towns that Hiram, displeased, described as “nothing.”
  2. King Solomon used forced labor to construct the First Temple, walls, fortifications, supply cities, his palace, and the palace for the Egyptian princess.
  3. King Solomon enslaved resident aliens, not Israelites.
  4. King Solomon, having had Gezer burned and the Canaanites who lived there killed, gave Gezer to his Egyptian wife as a dowry.
  5. King Solomon tended to religious duties, including maintaining the First Temple, offering incense, and offering burnt offerings and sacrifices.
  6. King Solomon appointed priests, Levites, and gatekeepers.
  7. King Solomon had a commercial fleet, built and maintained in conjunction with King Hiram of Tyre.

The combination of piety, violence, and exploitation is staggering.  The hypocrisy of King Solomon is evident.

Each one of us is guilty of hypocrisy on some scale.  Regardless of the scale of that hypocrisy, each one of us needs to repent.  We may also unwittingly be part of collective hypocrisy because of our membership in a society that perpetuates and exploitation.  Consider, O reader, the supply chains upon which our lifestyles depend.  Who made our clothes and towels, and under what circumstances?  Did those who made our clothes and towels earn a living wage?  And what about the supply chains for our groceries?  I could point to more examples, but I trust I have made my point.  As we go about daily life and mundane tasks, we may commit sins of commission and omission that harm others.  Sin is both collective and individual.  Sin infects institutions as well as individuals.

May God save us all from ourselves and each other.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 22, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF FREDERICK PRATT GREEN, BRITISH METHODIST MINISTER, POET, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF EMILY HUNTINGTON MILLER, U.S. METHODIST AUTHOR AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF KATHARINA VON SCHLEGAL, GERMAN LUTHERAN HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF PAUL TILLICH, GERMAN-AMERICAN LUTHERAN THEOLOGIAN

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