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He Will Rule as God:

Ancient Israel History, An Old Testament Commentary

 The History of Ancient Israel: 

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On the Second Book of Chronicles

2 Chronicles 1 continues the narrative with the rule of King Solomon. In 1 Kings 3, the king went to Gibeon to sacrifice because of the great high place. Solomon then offered sacrifices on the altar. However, here Solomon and the entire assembly went to the high place in Gibeon because it harbored ‘Elohim’s tent of the meeting. In addition, although David brought the chest of ‘Elohim from Kiriath-Jearim to the tent he pitched in Jerusalem, the bronze altar made by Bezalel, the son of Uri, the son of Hur, was in front of Yahweh’s tabernacle. Therefore, Solomon and the assembly went to the deity and he offered sacrifices on the bronze altar at the tent of the meeting.

In the interpolated segment, the deity is referred to as both Yahweh and ‘Elohim, and there is a mention of the tent of the meeting as well as the tabernacle. One would theorize the original story began with Solomon merely going to the Gibeon high place to sacrifice. However, authors later condemned the high places, and the religious institution in Gibeon lost its glory in the narratives to the temple and institution centered in Jerusalem. Therefore, redactors needed to consolidate various traditions from different periods. Hence, Solomon and the assembly went to the Gibeon high place because ‘Elohim’s tent of the meeting was there. A tent of the meeting is brought to the Jerusalem temple with the chest of the deity in 1 Kings 8:4 and 2 Chronicles 5:5, but in the narratives, a tabernacle is never moved to the temple in Jerusalem. Moreover, stories often place the chest of the deity in the tent of the meeting, thus an author would have to account for its absence. Therefore, in verse 4, David had brought the chest from Kiriath-Jearim to the tent he pitched in Jerusalem. Furthermore, to align the chest of the deity and the tent of the meeting with the traditions of the bronze altar and the tabernacle in Gibeon, in verse 5, David had placed the bronze altar in front of the tabernacle. The name Gibeon means, “hilly”, and although it may have been a hilly or mountainous region, i.e., high place, to elevate oneself and worship a deity, when the Gibeon institution became prominent, leadership would have erected a temple there, in which they placed a bronze altar, not unlike the one built in the Jerusalem temple (2 Chronicles 4:1). Then in verse 6, Solomon went to Yahweh and offered sacrifices on the bronze altar at the tent of the meeting, when it was referred to as the tabernacle in the previous verse. In early or original traditions (1 Chronicles 16:39 & 1 Chronicles 21:29), authors placed the tabernacle in Gibeon, but not the tent of the meeting. In 1 Chronicles 21:29, the tabernacle and altar for burnt offerings were in Gibeon, but in 1 Chronicles 23:26, the Levites would no longer carry the tabernacle or the utensils for its service. Moreover, in 1 Chronicles 23:32, they were to perform the services for the tent of the meeting in Yahweh’s temple. However, in 1 Chronicles 6:48, the Levites under the sons of Aaron were appointed to the service of the tabernacle for the house of ‘Elohim. 1 Chronicles 6:48 is the only verse in the narratives that places a tabernacle in the temple, if one assumes the verse refers to a temple in Jerusalem. If the author, who was certainly a sons of Aaron scribe or priest, was not referring to the temple in Gibeon, he may have merely maintained his tradition of a tabernacle when his institution moved to power in Jerusalem. Therefore, it is likely there was tabernacle in the Gibeon temple and a tent of the meeting in the Jerusalem temple.

After Solomon offered sacrifices to the deity at Gibeon, that evening ‘Elohim appeared to him and ultimately granted him wisdom. Then Solomon went from the high place in Gibeon to Jerusalem before the tent of the meeting and he ruled over Israel. This verse subtly displays a move from the high place in Gibeon, i.e., from governing over the Gibeon religious institution, to the united monarchy center in Jerusalem. However, and a last point of ambiguity, scholars often erroneously translate the verse as (roughly), “Solomon went to Jerusalem from the high place in Gibeon before the tent of the meeting and reigned over Israel”, but it should read, “Solomon left the high place in Gibeon and went to Jerusalem before the tent of the meeting and reigned over Israel.” The former translation aligns with the interpolations in this chapter, but the latter details what I have placed forth, i.e., there was a tabernacle in Gibeon and a tent of the meeting in Jerusalem, and Solomon went before the latter to reign over Israel.

In 2 Chronicles 2, Solomon decided to build himself a palace and a temple for the deity. He assigned men as workers, stonecutters, and their supervisors. He then sent word to King Hiram and requested craftsmen, as well as trees and logs from Lebanon, all for which he would provide food, wine, and oils. Hiram replied to Solomon in a letter. Since Yahweh loved his people and chose Solomon as their king, Hiram would send him a skilled man of discernment like Hiram's father. He was the son of a man from Tyre and his mother was a daughter of Dan, not coincidentally, two allies of the Judah alliance that ascended to power over the united monarchy. As the chapter ends, Solomon again instituted men as workers, stonecutters, and their supervisors, but in this passage, the workers were foreigners, which is not a subtle change in the story.

In 2 Chronicles 3, Solomon began to build the temple on Mount Moria, which is where Abraham went to sacrifice Isaac to the deity (Genesis 22:2). The remainder of chapters 3 & 4 continue with the details of the temple construction, followed by chapter 5, in which they filled the temple with treasures, the chest of the deity, the tent of the meeting, and the holy utensils. Chapters 6 & 7 cover prayers and dedication ceremonies, and chapter 8 covers the other building projects of King Solomon.

2 Chronicles 9 begins with the previously covered story about the queen of Sheba. The chapter ends with:

"29. And the rest of the acts of Solomon, the first and the last, not they are written in the words of Nathan the prophet, and in the prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite, and in the visions of Iddo the seer as to Jeroboam the son of Nebat."

The 2 Chronicles history does not detail the contention between Solomon and Jeroboam. Therefore, the Jeroboam reference is most likely an interpolation. However, since the visions of the seer covered the matters of Jeroboam, the visions could have been of his later rebellion against Solomon’s son. In addition, this text of 2 Chronicles 9 reads virtually verbatim of 1 Kings 10 (until verse 29). Then after verse 29, the reign of Solomon comes to an end, but the first book of Kings continues into 1 Kings 11, which denigrates Solomon by stating he did evil in the eyes of Yahweh.

2 Chronicles 10 mirrors the beginning of 1 Kings 12, in which Rehoboam went to Shechem to accept the kingship and Jeroboam returned from Egypt to confront him. 2 Chronicles 11 covers the rule of King Rehoboam and his building projects. However, the chapter begins as the Kings history. Rehoboam mobilized his armies for war, but Yahweh intervened and Rehoboam turned back from invading Israel, which could imply Judah could not defeat the Israel rebellion.

King Rehoboam fortified the cities of Bethlehem, Etam, Tekoa, Beth-Zur, Soco, Adullam, Gath, Mareshah, Ziph, Adoriam, Lachish, Azekah, Zorah, Aijalon, and Hebron. He strengthened their fortresses and supplied them with food, oil, and wine, thus Judah and Benjamin were secure under his control.

Verse 13 provides one with invaluable information.

"13. And the priests and the Levites that {were}in all Israel stationed themselves by him, out of all their territory, 14. for had abandoned the Levites their pasture- lands and their property, and they came to Judah and to Jerusalem. For had excluded them Jeroboam and his son from acting as priests to Yahweh. 15. Yes, he chose for himself priests for the high places, and for the male-goat demons, and for the calves that he made. 16. And after them out of all the tribes of Israel, those who gave their heart to seek Yahweh 'Elohim of Israel, came to Jerusalem to sacrifice to Yahweh 'Elohim of their forefathers."

The quote intimates a split within the Levitical school. Although the verses can read as if all the Levites joined the Judah institution, it was probably intended to discredit the priests who served under Jeroboam or remained in Israel. The Levites who joined the priests in Jerusalem presided as subordinates to the sons of Aaron.

Rehoboam married Mahalath, who was the daughter of Abihail (the daughter of Jesse’s son Eliab) and David’s son Jerimoth. Mahalath gave birth to Jeush, Shemariah, and Zaham. Rehoboam also married Maacah, the daughter of Absalom. Maacah gave birth to Abijah, Attai, Ziza, and Shelomith. Rehoboam loved Maacah more than all his wives and concubines.

With the children of Rehoboam, an author placed forth a mini version of the history I have detailed. The author associated his first wife Mahalath with Abihail, the daughter of Jesse’s son Eliab, and with David’s son Jerimoth. Samuel passed over Eliab when he was choosing one of Jesse’s sons as the next king of Israel, which intimates his status moving forward. Furthermore, verse 18 is the only instance in the narratives that an author referred to Jerimoth as a son of David, but he is listed as an early supporter of David’s religious faction (1 Chronicles 12:5). As referenced, Jerimoth represents an early order of priests. Abihail, a descendant of Gad (1 Chronicles 5:14), represents a Bethlehem camp that coalesced with peoples east of the Jordan. Therefore, the sons of Mahalath (sickness) represent early religious coalitions in Judah, but due to her name, the author revealed their fate. The first of son of Rehoboam and Mahalath was Jeush. He is an Edomite in Genesis 36:5 who was born to Oholibamah, who I connected to Saul and the Gibeon institution. Hence, Jeush represents Edomites who migrated from Hebron into Benjamin, but the forces of Solomon conquered their institution. The next son was Shemariah, an early Benjamite supporter of David in 1 Chronicles 12:6, thus another entity from the same period that fell to the forces of Solomon. Finally, the name Zaham means, “loathing”, and could symbolize the new Judah government’s feelings toward the old coalitions. Rehoboam’s second wife was Maacah, the daughter of Absalom. Authors also portrayed Maacah as the mother of Absalom (2 Samuel 3:3) and the daughter of the king of Geshur (the Maacathites and Geshurites were Arameans). Hence, this second set of sons represents the Judah alliances with peoples from Aram, including the Shiloh priests and the sons of Ammon (Rehoboam’s mother was an Ammonitess). The new alignment of peoples supplanted the aforementioned coalitions. The first son of Rehoboam and Maacah was Abijah, a name that means, “father of Yah”. Abijah, the next king of Judah, represents the new kingdom that superseded the earlier political establishments. Moreover, the Chronicles authors may have changed his name to represent this new Judah government, as in the Kings history, authors referred to Abijah as Abijam, which means, “father of the sea”. The second son of Rehoboam and Maacah was Attai, a name that is a variation of the name Ittai, who is David’s Philistine ally in 2 Samuel 15:19. As covered, the Philistines were instrumental in this government’s rise to power. The third son of Rehoboam and Maacah was Ziza (prominence), a name that is a variation of the name Zaza (brother of Philistine Peleth), which I discussed in my commentary on 1 Chronicles 2:33. Finally, the last son was Shelomith, who as discussed, represents exiles from Judah who migrated to northern Dan and later allied with the Jerusalem monarchy. Hence, with the sons of Rehoboam, the author placed forth a condensed version of Judah’s history.

Rehoboam acquired eighteen wives and sixty concubines and was the father of twenty-eight sons and sixty daughters. He appointed Abijah as the leader of his brothers and intended to declare him the next king in Jerusalem. He also dispersed his sons (allies) throughout Benjamin and Judah to secure his control over the land.

2 Chronicles 12 continues on the reign of Rehoboam when King Shishak of Egypt invaded Judah. He had a massive force that included Libyans, Cushites, and Sukkiims. He captured the fortified cities of Judah and came as far as Jerusalem. Judah and Rehoboam became servants of Egypt and Shishak, who seized the treasures of the royal palace. Ironically, besides the aforementioned, conditions were good in Judah, which implies the people could live well under the dominion of a foreign country.

King Rehoboam established his kingdom in Jerusalem and reigned seventeen years. His mother was Naamah the Ammonitess. As with the Kings history, there was war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam throughout their reigns. Rehoboam rested with his fathers and he was buried in the city of David. His son Abijah became king in his place.

2 Chronicles 13 conveys a battle between Abijah and Jeroboam, but there is a clever interpolation in the story. Abijah assembled four hundred thousand choice warriors and Jeroboam responded with eight hundred thousand of his own. Abijah stood on Mount Zemaraim in the hill country of Ephraim and called out to Jeroboam and Israel. Yahweh, the ‘Elohim of Israel, established the kingship over Israel for David and his descendants, but Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, who was a servant of Solomon, stood up and rebelled against his lord. Worthless men gathered around him and he defied Rehoboam when he was young and inexperienced. However, the author failed to mention a specific action or battle against Solomon, any iniquities committed by or a denigration of Solomon, nor does Yahweh have his prophet foretell the split of the kingdom. The author unequivocally placed the entire fault upon Jeroboam and his worthless followers. Abijah continues to question the audacity of Jeroboam, who had driven out the priests of Yahweh, but Abijah's priests were sons of Aaron and the Levites served their tasks. Thus, the author conveyed a consolidated front of the two religious groups. Although the text mentions the sons of Aaron and states they were the acting priests, a Levitical author whose sect once presided in Israel wrote the speech of Abijah, which would explain the mention of Yahweh, the ‘Elohim of Israel. However, even though this author was Levitical, he was not from the sect that constantly admonished the institution of Judah, the sons of Aaron, and King Solomon. He was from a sect of Levites in Israel that joined the sons of Aaron and the Judah institution, which an author mentioned in chapter 11.

"14. for had abandoned the Levites their pasture- lands and their property, and they came to Judah and to Jerusalem."

Jeroboam assembled an ambush, but Judah (not their king, thus a different author and possibly a different reign) discovered his plan and called out to Yahweh. The priests blew their trumpets and when the men of Judah cried out for battle, ‘Elohim routed Jeroboam and all of Israel. The sons of Israel were subdued because the sons of Judah followed Yahweh, the ‘Elohim of their ancestors (not the ‘Elohim of Israel).

Abijah and the army captured Bethel, Jeshanah, Ephron and the surrounding villages. Jeroboam was subdued during the reign of Abijah and Yahweh ultimately killed him. At this time, Abijah became strong and acquired fourteen wives, twenty-two sons, and sixteen daughters.

In the Kings history, there were mere sentences on the three year reign of Abijah, or Abijam, and his victory over Jeroboam is conspicuously silent. In 1 Kings 15:3, the author stated he committed the sins of his father and was not completely devoted to Yahweh, but this denigration stemmed from the fact he incorporated an opposing Levitical sect (to the author) into his institution. Furthermore, the authors of the Kings history who continually denounced Jeroboam failed to mention the territories he lost or even his death at the hand of Yahweh. It appears a Levitical sect that stayed in Israel did not want to give the Judah establishment, and thus their betraying brothers, any credit or notoriety for its accomplishments against the country of Israel.

In 2 Chronicles 14, Abijah was buried in the city of David and his son Asa became king. During his reign, the land was at peace for ten years. Asa was upright in the sight of Yahweh, his ‘Elohim, and he removed the pagan altars, he tore down the high places (which he failed to do in the Kings history), and he cut down the Asherah poles. He instructed the people of Judah to follow Yahweh, the ‘Elohim of their ancestors.

During the time of peace, Asa built fortresses in cities throughout Judah. When Judah was finally attacked by Zerah the Cushite, Asa marched against him in the valley of Zephathah at Mareshah. He cried out to Yahweh, his ‘Elohim, thus Yahweh defeated the Cushites and the Judah army pursued them as far as Gerar. They attacked the enemy until there were no survivors, and then they turned and plundered the surrounding cities. They also attacked the tents of the herdsmen and confiscated numerous sheep and camels.

2 Chronicles 15 continues on the reign of King Asa. The spirit of ‘Elohim came upon Azariah, the son of Oded, and he called out to Asa, Judah, and Benjamin. When an author praised King Abijah, he had the king speak out against Jeroboam and Israel, but this other Levitical sect preferred to speak via the prophets because they seldom had the support of the kings. As far as Azariah’s words to the people, Yahweh was with them when they sought him, but he would abandon them if they abandoned him. Israel had been without a true ‘Elohim, but then they turned to Yahweh, the ‘Elohim of Israel. Asa and Judah were not to be discouraged because their work had a reward. When Asa heard these words, he removed the idols from Judah, Benjamin, and the cities he captured in Ephraim. He then gathered all the people to Judah and Benjamin, including those of Ephraim, Manasseh, and Simeon who settled among them when they defected from Israel (a display of the Simeonite migration to Israel before this defection back to Judah). All the people performed a great sacrifice and they entered a covenant to follow Yahweh, the ‘Elohim of their forefathers, with all their mind and heart. The leaders would execute anyone who did not follow Yahweh, the ‘Elohim of Israel, from the men to the women, and from the elderly to the young. Due to this oath with Yahweh, they had peace at all their borders. This section prepares the scene for a forthcoming condemnation.

King Asa dethroned his grandmother Maacah because she had made an image of Asherah, which he crushed and burned in the Kidron Valley (as did Josiah in 2 Kings 23:6). This mention of dethronement appears to have been a statement against allies of the Judah government. However, unlike in the last chapter, he did not remove the high places. Nevertheless, Asa acted with a good heart his entire life and he brought consecrated gifts into the temple of ‘Elohim. The country was without war until the thirty-fifth year of his reign, where in the last chapter, they had ten years of peace.

2 Chronicles 16 covers Asa’s alliance with Aram in the war against King Baasha of Israel (1 Kings 15). However, with verse 7, there is a later addition or layer to the story. Hanani the seer rebuked Asa for his affiliation with Aram. Asa failed to depend on Yahweh, but when he did, Yahweh handed the Cushites and Libyans over to him. Since Asa allied with Aram and displayed a lack of faith in Yahweh, there would be war for the remainder of his reign. This condemnation angered Asa, who placed Hanani in prison. He also oppressed segments of the people at this time, which further unveils the interwoven authors from opposing religious sects, as in the last chapter, Asa acted with a good heart his entire life.

Verse 11 ends the chapter with a short weave. In the thirty-ninth year of his reign, Asa developed a foot disease, but instead of seeking Yahweh, he sought the physicians. Then with verse 13, another author continued his praise. Asa passed away and he was buried in his own tomb in the city of David. The people placed him in a coffin that was full of spices and prepared ointments and they held a great fire in his honor. With his death, his son Jehoshaphat became king.

 2 Chronicles 17 moves the narrative to the reign of King Jehoshaphat, who strengthened himself against the country Israel. He deployed troops in the fortified cities of Judah as well as in the cities of Ephraim that were captured by Asa. In chapter 13, Abijah captured Bethel and the surrounding villages, thus if chapter 13 was accurate, Asa may have merely kept control of these lands, if he did not capture additional territories. Moreover, and a point I neglected to mention in chapter 13, it is now understandable why the Israel government moved the capital to Tirzah. Jeroboam may have established the religious centers in Dan and Bethel when he allied with the Jerusalem monarchy, but after Israel’s rebellion, Abijah and Judah captured Bethel. Therefore, Bethel became irrelevant in the history of Israel, except as means for the authors to denigrate Jeroboam.

Yahweh was with Jehoshaphat because he walked in the ways of David. He did not worship the Baalim, but followed the ‘Elohim of his father and stayed away from the practices of Israel. Yahweh established the kingdom of Judah in his hands and all the people brought him tribute. Jehoshaphat sent his officials, along with the Levites and priests, to teach in the cities of Judah, which was definitely a state obedience course. The terror of Yahweh fell upon surrounding kingdoms as Jehoshaphat grew mighty and built fortresses throughout Judah. Furthermore, as his father, he removed the high places and the Asherah poles from the land. However, the accolades for removing the high places and idols of worship were mere praise by hyperbole. If his father removed the aforementioned, Jehoshaphat would not have had to remove them again.

2 Chronicles 18 begins with Jehoshaphat’s alliance with Ahab. Then the chapter moves into a text that mirrors 1 Kings 22 and culminates with the death of the king of Israel.

In a 2 Chronicles 19 interpolation, Jehoshaphat returned to Jerusalem from Israel. Upon his arrival, Jehu, the son of Hanani, confronted him about his alliance with Ahab, which I mentioned would have spawned disdain. Jehoshaphat would have experienced the wrath of Yahweh, but because he removed the Asherah and ded