Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:4-7

01 November 2012

How to read ALL of the Bible # 4 - Samuel, Kings and Chronicles

Eventually the Israelites look around at the nations that surround them, led not by God but by human kings, and they want a human king too. God warns them through the prophet Samuel (a prophet is messenger from God) that to live with God as their king is a much better way to go. But they insist on having a human king so God gives them over to their desire and presents them with King Saul. Saul (not to be confused with the Saul who becomes known as Paul in the New Testament) doesn't keep his eyes and heart fixed on God and has a troubled time of it.

Following Saul is King DAVID (of David and Goliath fame) - a man after God's own heart. A lot of David's reign is spent in battle, securing the Israelite borders as should have been done when they first entered thePromised Land but despite the many battles that mark this period, it is a time when the Israelites, under David whose rule is under God, seem to be heading in the right direction.

David is succeeded by his son King Solomon - the wise king who did well to a point but fell into all the pitfalls God warned of in relation to human kings - amassing an army with many horses and chariots and also amassing enormous wealth (relying on his own power and might) and amassing a huge collection of foreign wives and concubines (who with their foreign gods lead Solomon astray.)

After Solomon there is a SCHISM. Solomon is succeeded by his son Reheboam however Solomon's advisor Jereboam, thinking he can do a better job of it, also has a tilt for the throne. In the end Reheboam becomes the king of two of the tribes/areas of Israel - Judah and Benjamin - and Jereboam becomes king of the remaining ten tribes/areas.

Reheboam's territory of two tribes now becomes known in the Bible as the SOUTHERN KINGDOM or JUDAH.

Jereboam's territory of ten tribes becomes known as the NORTHERN KINGDOM or ISRAEL.

It is really important to get these titles straight. Judah was one of Jacob's sons and now it is the name of the combined land of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. Israel was Jacob's new name, then the name of the nation of all of his descendants and after the schism, the territory of the ten remaining tribes other than Judah and Benjamin.

This diagram is from Gospel and Kingdom: A Christian Interpretation of the Old Testament by Graeme Goldsworthy, page 32. (Published by Paternoster Press in 1982)

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