1 Kings

JB 1 KINGS Chapter 1

I. THE DAVIDIC SUCCESSION

David’s last days. The intrigues of Adonijah

1:1 King David was an old man well on in years and though they laid coverlets over him he could not keep warm.

1:2 So his servants said to him, ‘Let some young girl be found for my lord the king, to wait on the king and look after him; she shall lie on your breast and this will keep my lord the king warm’.

1:3 Having searched for a beautiful girl throughout the territory of Israel, they found Abishag of Shunem and brought her to the king.

1:4 The girl was of great beauty. She looked after the king and waited on him but the king had no intercourse with her.

1:5 Now Adonijah, Haggith’s son, was ambitious; he thought he might be king; accordingly he procured a chariot and team with fifty men to run in front of him.

1:6 At no time in his life had his father ever crossed him by asking, ‘Why do you behave like this?’ He was also very handsome; his mother had given birth to him after Absalom.

1:7 He conferred with Joab son of Zeruiah and with the priest Abiathar[*a] who rallied to Adonijah’s cause;

1:8 but neither Zadok the priest, nor Benaiah son of Jehoiada, nor the prophet Nathan, nor Shimei and his companions, David’s champions, supported Adonijah.

1:9 One day when Adonijah was sacrificing sheep and oxen and fattened calves at the Sliding Stone which is beside the Fuller’s Spring, he invited all his brothers, the royal princes, and all the men of Judah in the king’s service;

1:10 but he did not invite the prophet Nathan, or Benaiah, or the champions, or his brother Solomon.

The intrigues of Nathan and Bathsheba

1:11 Then Nathan said to Bathsheba, Solomon’s mother, ‘Have you not heard that unknown to our lord David, Adonijah, Haggith’s son, has become king?

1:12 Well, this is my advice to you if you want to save your own life and the life of your son Solomon.

1:13 Go straight in to King David and say, “My lord king, did you not make your servant this promise on oath: Your son Solomon is to be king after me; he is the one who is to sit on my throne? How is it, then, that Adonijah is king?”

1:14 And while you are still there talking to the king, I will come in after you and confirm what you say.’

1:15 So Bathsheba went to the king in his room (he was very old and Abishag of Shunem was in attendance on him).

1:16 She knelt down and did homage to the king, and the king said, ‘What is your wish?’

1:17 ‘My lord,’ she answered ‘you swore this to your servant by Yahweh your God, “Your son Solomon is to be king after me; he is the one who is to sit on my throne”.

1:18 And now here is Adonijah king and you, my lord king, knowing nothing about it.

1:19 He has sacrificed quantities of oxen and fattened calves and sheep, and invited all the royal princes, the priest Abiathar, and Joab the army commander; but he has not invited your servant Solomon.

1:20 Yet you are the man, my lord king, to whom all Israel looks, to name for them the successor of my lord the king.[*b]

1:21 And when my lord the king sleeps with his fathers, my son Solomon and I will be made to suffer for this.’

1:22 She was still speaking when the prophet Nathan entered.

1:23 ‘The prophet Nathan is here’ they told the king; and he came into the king’s presence and bowed down to the ground on his face before the king.

1:24 ‘My lord king,’ said Nathan ‘is this, then, your decree: “Adonijah is to be king after me; he is the one who is to sit on my throne”?

1:25 For he has gone down today and sacrificed quantities of oxen and fattened calves and sheep, and invited all the royal princes, the army chiefs, and the priest Abiathar; and they are there now, eating and drinking in his presence and shouting, “Long live King Adonijah!”.

1:26 He has not, however, invited me your servant, Zadok the priest, Benaiah son of Jehoiada, or your servant Solomon.

1:27 Is this with my lord the king’s approval? Or have you not told those loyal to you who is to succeed to the throne of my lord the king?’

Solomon is consecrated king at David’s nomination

1:28 Then King David spoke. ‘Call Bathsheba to me’ he said. And she came into the king’s presence and stood before him.

1:29 Then the king swore this oath, ‘As Yahweh lives, who has delivered me from all adversity,

1:30 just as I swore to you by Yahweh the God of Israel that your son Solomon should be king after me and take my place on the throne, so I will bring it about this very day’.

1:31 Bathsheba knelt down, her face to the ground, and did homage to the king. ‘May my lord King David live for ever!’ she said.

1:32 Then King David said, ‘Summon Zadok the priest, the prophet Nathan and Benaiah son of Jehoiada’. So they came into the king’s presence.

1:33 ‘Take the royal guard with you,’ said the king ‘mount my son Solomon on my own mule and escort him down to Gihon.

1:34 There Zadok the priest and the prophet Nathan are to anoint him king of Israel; then sound the trumpet and shout, “Long live King Solomon!”

1:35 Then you are to follow him up and he is to come and take his seat on my throne and be king in place of me, for he is the man I have appointed as ruler of Israel and of Judah.’

1:36 Benaiah son of Jehoiada answered the king. ‘Amen!’ he said ‘And may Yahweh too say Amen to the words of my lord the king!

1:37 As Yahweh has been with my lord the king, so may he be with Solomon and make his throne even greater than the throne of my lord King David!’

1:38 Then Zadok the priest, the prophet Nathan, Benaiah son of Jehoiada, and the Cherethites and Pelethites went down; they mounted Solomon on King David’s mule and escorted him to Gihon.

1:39 Zadok the priest took the horn of oil from the Tent and anointed Solomon. They sounded the trumpet and all the people shouted, ‘Long live King Solomon!’

1:40 The people all followed him up, with pipes playing and loud rejoicing and shouts to split the earth.

Adonijah is afraid

1:41 Adonijah and his guests, who had by then finished their meal, all heard the noise. Joab too heard the sound of the trumpet and said, ‘What is that noise of uproar in the city?’

1:42 While he was still speaking, Jonathan the son of Abiathar the priest arrived. ‘Come in,’ Adonijah said ‘you are an honest man, so you must be bringing good news.’

1:43 ‘Yes,’ Jonathan answered ‘our lord King David has made Solomon king.

1:44 The king sent Zadok the priest with him, and the prophet Nathan and Benaiah son of Jehoiada and the Cherethites and Pelethites; they mounted him on the king’s mule,

1:45 and Zadok the priest and the prophet Nathan anointed him king at Gihon; and they went up from there with shouts of joy and the city is now in an uproar; that was the noise you heard.

1:46 What is more, Solomon is seated on the royal throne.

1:47 And further, the king’s officers have been to congratulate our lord King David with the words, “May your God make the name of Solomon more glorious even than yours, and his throne more exalted than your own!” And the king bowed down on his bed,

1:48 and then said, “Blessed be Yahweh, the God of Israel, who has allowed my eyes to see one of my descendants sitting on my throne today”.’

1:49 At this, all Adonijah’s guests, taking fright, rose and made off in their several directions.

1:50 Adonijah, in terror of Solomon, rose too and ran off to cling to the horns of the altar.

1:51 Solomon was told, ‘You should know that Adonijah is in terror of King Solomon and is now clinging to the horns of the altar, saying, “Let King Solomon first swear to me that he will not have his servant put to the sword”‘.

1:52 ‘Should he bear himself honourably,’ Solomon answered ‘not one hair of his shall fall to the ground; but if he is found malicious, he shall die.’

1:53 King Solomon then sent for him to be brought down from the altar; he came and did homage to King Solomon; Solomon said to him, ‘Go to your house’.

JB 1 KINGS Chapter 2

David’s testament. His death

2:1 As David’s life drew to its close he laid this charge on his son Solomon,

2:2 ‘I am going the way of all the earth. Be strong and show yourself a man.

2:3 Observe the injunctions of Yahweh your God, following his ways and keeping his laws, his commandments, his customs and his decrees, as it stands written in the Law of Moses, that so you may be successful in all you do and undertake, so that Yahweh may fulfil the promise he made me,

2:4 If your sons are careful how they behave, and walk loyally before me with all their heart and soul, you shall never lack for a man on the throne of Israel’.

2:5 ‘You know too what Joab son of Zeruiah did to me, and what he did to the two commanders of the army of lsrael, Abner son of Ner and Amasa son of Jether; how he murdered them, how in time of peace he took vengeance for blood shed in war, staining the belt round my waist and the sandals on my feet with innocent blood.

2:6 You will be wise not to let his grey head go down to Sheol in peace.

2:7 As regards the sons of Barzillai of Gilead, treat them kindly, let them be among those who eat at your table, for they were as kind to me when I was fleeing from your brother Absalom.

2:8 You also have with you Shimei son of Gera, the Benjaminite from Bahurim. He called down a terrible curse on me the day I left for Mahanaim, but he came down to meet me at the Jordan and I swore to him by Yahweh I would not put him to the sword.

2:9 But you, you must not let him go unpunished; you are a wise man and will know how to deal with him to bring his grey head down to Sheol in blood.’

2:10 So David slept with his ancestors and was buried in the Citadel of David.

2:11 David’s reign over Israel lasted forty years: he reigned in Hebron for seven years, and in Jerusalem for thirty-three.

The death of Adonijah

2:12 Solomon was seated upon the throne of David, and his sovereignty was securely established.

2:13 Adonijah, Haggith’s son, went to Bathsheba the mother of Solomon and bowed down before her. ‘Do you bring peace?’ she asked. He answered, ‘Yes, peace’.

2:14 Then he said, ‘I have something to say to you’. ‘Speak’ she replied.

2:15 ‘You know’ he said ‘that the kingdom should have come to me,[*a] and that all Israel expected me to be king; but the crown eluded me and fell to my brother, since it came to him from Yahweh.

2:16 Now I have one request to make you; do not refuse me.’ ‘Speak’ she said.

2:17 He went on, ‘Please ask King Solomon – for he will not refuse you – to give me Abishag of Shunem in marriage’.

2:18 ‘Very well,’ Bathsheba replied ‘I will speak to the king about you.’

2:19 So Bathsheba went to King Solomon to speak to him about Adonijah; the king rose to meet her and bowed before her; he then sat down on his throne; a seat was brought for the mother of the king, and she sat down at his right hand.

2:20 She said, ‘I have one small request to make you; do not refuse me’. ‘My mother,’ the king answered ‘make your request, for I will not refuse you.’

2:21 ‘Let Abishag of Shunem’ she said ‘be given in marriage to your brother Adonijah.’

2:22 King Solomon answered his mother. ‘And why’ he said ‘do you request Abishag of Shunem for Adonijah? You might as well request the kingdom for him,[*b] since he is my elder brother and Abiathar the priest and Joab son of Zeruiah are on his side.’

2:23 And King Solomon swore by Yahweh: ‘May God do this to me and more’ he said ‘if Adonijah does not pay for these words of his with his life!

2:24 As Yahweh lives who has set me securely on the throne of David my father, and who, as he promised, has given him a dynasty, Adonijah shall be put to death this very day.’

2:25 And King Solomon commissioned Benaiah son of Jehoiada to strike him down, and he died.

The fate of Abiathar and Joab

2:26 As for Abiathar the priest, the king said to him, ‘Go to Anathoth[*c] to your estate. You deserve to die, but I am not going to put you to death now, since you carried the ark of Yahweh in the presence of David my father and shared all my father’s hardships.’

2:27 Solomon deprived Abiathar of the priesthood of Yahweh, thus fulfilling the oracle Yahweh had uttered against the House of Eli at Shiloh.

2:28 When the news reached Joab – for Joab had lent his support to Adonijah, though he had not supported Absalom – he fled to the Tent of Yahweh and clung to the horns of the altar.

2:29 King Solomon was told, ‘Joab has fled to the Tent of Yahweh; he is there beside the altar’. Then Solomon sent word to Joab, ‘What reason did you have for fleeing to the altar?’ Joab replied, ‘I was afraid of you and fled to Yahweh’. Then Solomon sent Benaiah son of Jehoiada. ‘Go’ he said ‘and strike him down.’

2:30 Accordingly Benaiah went to the Tent of Yahweh. ‘By order of the king,’ he said ‘come out!’ ‘No,’ he said ‘I will die here.’ So Benaiah brought back word to the king, ‘This is what Joab said, and the answer he gave me’.

2:31 ‘Do as he says’ the king replied. ‘Strike him down and bury him, and so rid me and my family today of the innocent blood Joab has shed.

2:32 Yahweh will bring his blood down on his own head, because he struck down two more honourable and better men than he, and put to the sword, without my father David’s knowledge, Abner son of Ner, commander of the army of Israel, and Amasa son of Jether, commander of the army of Judah.

2:33 May their blood come down on the head of Joab and his descendants for ever, but may David, his descendants, his dynasty, his throne, have peace for ever from Yahweh.’

2:34 Whereupon Benaiah son of Jehoiada went out, struck Joab down and put him to death; he was buried at his home in the wilderness

2:35 In his place as head of the army the king appointed Benaiah son of Jehoiada and, in place of Abiathar, Zadok the priest.

The disobedience and death of Shimei

2:36 The king had Shimei summoned to him. ‘Build yourself a house in Jerusalem,’ he told him ‘you are to live there; do not move anywhere else.

2:37 The day you go out and cross the wadi Kidron, be sure you will certainly die. Your blood will be on your own head.’

2:38 ‘Very well,’ Shimei answered the king ‘your servant will do as my lord the king orders.’ And for a long time Shimei lived in Jerusalem.

2:39 But when three years had gone by, it happened that two of Shimei’s slaves ran away to Achish son of Maacah, king of Gath; Shimei was told, ‘Your slaves are in Gath’.

2:40 At this, Shimei set about saddling his donkey and went to Achish at Gath to find his slaves. He went off and brought his slaves back from Gath.

2:41 Solomon was informed that Shimei had gone from Jerusalem to Gath and had come back.

2:42 The king had Shimei summoned to him. ‘Did I not make you swear by Yahweh,’ he said ‘and did I not solemnly warn you: The day you go out to go anywhere else, be sure you will certainly die?

2:43 Why did you not keep the oath of Yahweh and the order I laid on you?

2:44 You know all the evil you did to my father David’ the king went on. ‘Yahweh will bring your wickedness down on your own head.

2:45 But may King Solomon be blessed, and may the throne of David be kept secure before Yahweh for ever.’

2:46 The king gave orders to Benaiah son of Jehoiada; he went out and struck down Shimei; and he died.

And now the sovereignty was securely in the hands of Solomon.

JB 1 KINGS Chapter 3

II. SOLOMON IN ALL HIS GLORY

A. SOLOMON THE SAGE

Introduction

3:1 Solomon allied himself by marriage with Pharaoh[*a] king of Egypt; he married Pharaoh’s daughter, and took her to the Citadel of David until he could complete the building of his palace and the Temple of Yahweh and the wall surrounding Jerusalem.

3:2 The people, however, were still sacrificing on the high places, because at that time a dwelling place for the name of Yahweh had not yet been built.

3:3 Solomon loved Yahweh: he followed the precepts of David his father, except that he offered sacrifice and incense on the high places.

Solomon’s dream at Gibeon

3:4 The king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, since that was the greatest of the high places – Solomon offered a thousand holocausts on that altar.

3:5 At Gibeon Yahweh appeared in a dream to Solomon during the night. God said, ‘Ask what you would like me to give you’.

3:6 Solomon replied, ‘You showed great kindness to your servant David, my father, when he lived his life before you in faithfulness and justice and integrity of heart; you have continued this great kindness to him by allowing a son of his to sit on his throne today.

3:7 Now, Yahweh my God, you have made your servant king in succession to David my father. But I am a very young man, unskilled in leadership.

3:8 Your servant finds himself in the midst of this people of yours that you have chosen, a people so many its number cannot be counted or reckoned.

3:9 Give your servant a heart to understand how to discern between good and evil, for who could govern this people of yours that is so great?’

3:10 It pleased Yahweh that Solomon should have asked for this.

3:11 ‘Since you have asked for this’ Yahweh said ‘and not asked for long life for yourself or riches or the lives of your enemies, but have asked for a discerning judgement for yourself,

3:12 here and now I do what you ask. I give you a heart wise and shrewd as none before you has had and none will have after you.

3:13 What you have not asked I shall give you too: such riches and glory as no other king ever had.

3:14 And I will give you a long life, if you follow my ways, keeping my laws and commandments, as your father David followed them.’

3:15 Then Solomon awoke; it was a dream. He returned to Jerusalem and stood before the ark of the covenant of Yahweh; he offered holocausts and communion sacrifices, and held a banquet for all his servants.

The judgement of Solomon

3:16 Then two prostitutes came to the king and stood before him.

3:17 ‘If it please you, my lord,’ one of the women said ‘this woman and I live in the same house, and while she was in the house I gave birth to a child.

3:18 Now it happened on the third day after my delivery that this woman also gave birth to a child. We were alone together; there was no one else in the house with us; just the two of us in the house

3:19 Now one night this woman’s son died; she overlaid him.

3:20 And in the middle of the night she got up and took my son from beside me while your servant was asleep; she put him to her breast and put her own dead son to mine.

3:21 When I got up to suckle my child, there he was, dead. But in the morning I looked at him carefully, and he was not the child I had borne at all.’

3:22 Then the other woman spoke. ‘That is not true! My son is the live one, yours is the dead one’; and the first retorted, ‘That is not true! Your son is the dead one, mine is the live one.’ And so they wrangled before the king.

3:23 ‘This one says,’ the king observed ‘”My son is the one who is alive; your son is dead”, while the other says, “That is not true! Your son is the dead one, mine is the live one.”

3:24 Bring me a sword’ said the king; and a sword was brought into the king’s presence.

3:25 ‘Cut the living child in two,’ the king said ‘and give half to one, half to the other.’

3:26 At this the woman who was the mother of the living child addressed the king, for she burned with pity for her son. ‘If it please you, my lord,’ she said ‘let them give her the child; only do not let them think of killing it!’ But the other said, ‘He shall belong to neither of us. Cut him up.’

3:27 Then the king gave his decision. ‘Give the child to the first woman,’ he said ‘and do not kill him. She is his mother.’

3:28 All Israel came to hear of the judgement the king had pronounced, and held the king in awe, recognising that he possessed divine wisdom for dispensing justice.

JB 1 KINGS Chapter 4

Solomon’s high officials

4:1 King Solomon was king over all Israel,

4:2 and these were his high officials: Azariah son of Zadok, priest.

4:3 Elihoreph and Ahijah, sons of Shisha, secretaries. Jehoshaphat son of Ahilud, recorder.

4:4 (Benaiah son of Jehoiada, commander of the army. Zadok and Abiathar, priests.)

4:5 Azariah son of Nathan, chief administrator. Zabud son of Nathan, Friend of the King,

4:6 and his brother, master of the palace. Eliab son of Joab, commander of the army. Adoram son of Abda, in charge of forced labour.

Solomon’s administrators

4:7 Solomon had twelve administrators for the whole of Israel who saw to the provisioning of the king and his household; each had to provide for one month in the year.

4:8 These are their names: . . . son of Hur, in the mountain country of Ephraim.

4:9 . . . son of Deker, in Makaz, Shaalbim, Beth-shemesh, Aijalon as far as Beth-hanan.

4:10 . . . son of Hesed, in Arubboth; his district was Socoh and all the land of Hepher.

4:11 . . . son of Abinadab: the whole region of Dor. Taphath, Solomon’s daughter, was his wife.

4:12 Baana son of Ahilud, in Taanach and Megiddo as far as the other side of Jokmeam, and all Beth-shean below Jezreel, from Beth-shean as far as Abel Meholah, which is beside Zarethan.

4:13 . . . son of Geber, in Ramoth-gilead: his district was the Encampments of Jair, son of Manasseh, which are in Gilead; he had the region of Argob, which is in Bashan, sixty fortified towns, walled-in and with bolts of bronze.

4:14 Ahinadab son of Iddo, in Mahanaim.

4:15 Ahimaaz in Naphtali; he too married a daughter of Solomon, Basemath.

4:16 Baana son of Hushai, in Asher and in the highlands.

4:17 Jehoshaphat son of Paruah, in Issachar.

4:18 Shimei son of Ela, in Benjamin.

4:19 Geber son of Uri, in the land of Gad, the land of Sihon king of the Amorites and of Og king of Bashan. In addition, there was one governor in the land.[*a]

JB 1 KINGS Chapter 5

5:7 <4:27 These administrators provided the food for Solomon and for all those who were admitted by him to the royal table, each for the period of a month; they saw to it that nothing was wanting.

5:8 <28 They also provided the barley and straw for the horses and draught animals, where required, each according to his own assignment.

5:2 <22 The daily provisions for Solomon were: thirty measures of fine flour and sixty measures of meal,

5:3 <23 ten fattened oxen, twenty free-grazing oxen, one hundred sheep, besides deer and gazelles, roebucks and fattened cuckoos.

5:4 <24 For he was master of all Transeuphrates[*a] – of all the kings of Transeuphrates from Tiphsah to Gaza – and he enjoyed peace on all his frontiers.

5:5 <25 Judah and Israel lived in security, each man under his vine and his fig tree, from Dan as far as Beersheba, throughout the lifetime of Solomon.

<4:20 Judah and Israel were like the sand by the sea for number; they ate and drank and lived happily.

5:1 <4:21 Solomon extended his power over all the kingdoms from the river to the land of the Philistines and the Egyptian border. They brought tribute and served him all his life long.

5:6 <26 For his chariots Solomon had four thousand stalls and twelve thousand horses.

Solomon’s fame

5:9 <29 Yahweh gave Solomon immense wisdom and understanding, and a heart as vast as the sand on the seashore.

5:10 <30 The wisdom of Solomon surpassed the wisdom of all the sons of the East, and all the wisdom of Egypt.

5:11 <31 He was wiser than any other, wiser than Ethan the Ezrahite,[*b] wiser than Heman and Calcol and Darda, the cantors.

5:12 <32 He composed three thousand proverbs, and his songs numbered a thousand and five.

5:13 <33 He could talk about plants from the cedar in Lebanon to the hyssop growing on the wall; and he could talk of animals, and birds and reptiles and fish.

5:14 <34 Men from all nations came to hear Solomon’s wisdom, and he received gifts from all the kings of the world, who had heard of his wisdom.

B. SOLOMON THE BUILDER

Preparations for building the Temple

5:15 <1 Hiram the king of Tyre sent an embassy to Solomon, having learnt that he had been anointed king in succession to his father

5:16 <2 and because Hiram had always been a friend of David. And Solomon sent this message to Hiram,

5:17 <3 You are aware that David my father was unable to build a temple for the name of Yahweh, his God, because his enemies waged war on him from all sides, until Yahweh should put them under his control.

5:18 <4 But now Yahweh my God has given me rest on every side: not one enemy, no calamities.

5:19 <5 I therefore plan to build a temple for the name of Yahweh my God, just as Yahweh said to David my father, “Your son whom I will place on your throne to succeed you shall be the man to build a temple for my name”.

5:20 <6 So now have cedars of Lebanon cut down for me; my servants will work with your servants, and I will pay for the hire of your servants at whatever rate you fix. As you know, we have no one as skilled in felling trees as the Sidonians.’

5:21 <7 When Hiram[*c] heard what Solomon had said, he was delighted. ‘Now blessed be Yahweh’ he said ‘who has given David a wise son to rule over this great people!’

5:22 <8 And Hiram sent word to Solomon, ‘I have received your message. For my part, I will supply all you want in the way of cedar wood and juniper.

5:23 <9 Your servants will bring these down from Lebanon to the sea, and I shall have them towed by sea to any place you name; I shall discharge them there, and you will take them over. For your part, you will see to the provisioning of my household as I direct.

5:24 <10 So Hiram provided Solomon with all the cedar wood and juniper he wanted,

5:25 <11 while Solomon gave Hiram twenty thousand kors of wheat to feed his household, and twenty thousand kors of pure oil. Solomon gave Hiram this every year.

5:26 <12 Yahweh gave Solomon wisdom as he had promised him; good relations persisted between Solomon and Hiram, and the two of them concluded a treaty.

5:27 <13 King Solomon raised a levy throughout Israel for forced labour: the levy numbered thirty thousand men.

5:28 <14 He sent these to Lebanon in relays, ten thousand a month; they spent one month in Lebanon and two months at home. Adoram was in charge of the forced labour.

5:29 <15 Solomon also had seventy thousand porters and eighty thousand quarrymen in the mountains,

5:30 <16 as well as the administrators’ officials who supervised the work, three thousand three hundred of them in charge of the men employed in the work.

5:31 <17 At the king’s orders they quarried huge stones, special stones, for the laying of the temple foundations, dressed stones.

5:32 <18 Solomon’s workmen and Hiram’s workmen and the Giblites cut and assembled the wood and stone for the building of the Temple.

JB 1 KINGS Chapter 6

The Temple building

6:1 In the four hundred and eightieth year after the Israelites came out of the land of Egypt[*a] the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, in the month of Ziv, which is the second month, he began to build the Temple of Yahweh.

6:2 The Temple[*b] that King Solomon built for Yahweh was sixty cubits long, twenty cubits wide and twenty five in height.

6:3 The Ulam in front of the Hekal of the Temple was twenty cubits long across the width of the temple and ten cubits wide along the length of the Temple.

6:4 He made windows for the Temple with frames and latticework.

6:5 He also built an annex against the Temple wall round the Hekal and the Debir, and made side tiers all round.

6:6 The lower story was five cubits wide, the middle one six cubits, and the third seven cubits, for round the Temple on the outside he had placed offsets so that this was not attached to the Temple walls.

6:7 The building of the Temple was done with quarry-dressed stone; no sound of hammer or pick or any iron tool was to be heard in the Temple while it was being built.

6:8 The entrance to the lower story was at the right-hand corner of the Temple, and access to the middle story above was by trap-doors, and so from the middle story to the third.

6:9 He built the Temple, completed it, and covered it with cedar wood.

6:10 He built the annex on to the whole length of the Temple; it was five cubits high and was attached to the Temple by beams of cedar wood. .

6:11 And the word of Yahweh came to Solomon,

6:12 ‘This house you are building … if you follow my statutes and obey my ordinances and faithfully follow my commandments, I will fulfil that promise I made about you to your father David.

6:13 And I will make my home among the sons of Israel, and never forsake Israel my people.’

6:14 Solomon built the Temple, and completed it.

Interior furnishings. The Holy of Holies

6:15 He lined the inside of the Temple walls with panels of cedar wood – panelling them on the inside from the floor of the Temple to the rafters in the roof – and laid the floor of the Temple with juniper planks.

6:16 The twenty cubits measured from the end of the Temple he built of cedar planks from floor to rafters, and this

part was reserved as the Debir, the Holy of Holies.

6:17 The Temple measured forty cubits – the Hekal – in front of the Debir.

6:18 There was cedar wood round the inside of the Temple, ornamentally carved with gourds and rosettes; all was cedar wood, with no stone showing.

6:19 In the inner part of the Temple he designed a Debir, to contain the ark of the covenant of Yahweh.

6:20 The Debir was twenty cubits long, twenty cubits wide, and twenty high, and he plated it on the inside with pure gold. He made an altar of cedar wood

6:21 in front of the Debir and plated it with gold.

6:22 He plated the whole Temple with gold, the whole Temple entirely.

The cherubs

6:23 In the Debir he made two cherubs of olive wood … It was ten cubits high.

6:24 One cherub’s wing was five cubits long and the other wing five cubits: ten cubits from wing tip to wing tip.

6:25 The other cherub also measured ten cubits; both cherubs had the same measurements and the same shape.

6:26 The height of one cherub was the same as the other’s.

6:27 He placed the cherubs in the middle of the inner chamber; their wings were spread out so that the wing of one touched one of the walls and the wing of the other touched the other wall, while their wings met in the middle of the chamber, wing to wing.

6:28 And he plated the cherubs with gold. All round the Temple walls he carved figures of cherubs, palm trees and rosettes, both inside and outside.

6:30 He plated the floor of the Temple with gold, both inside and outside.

The doors. The court

6:31 He made the door of the Debir with uprights of olive wood, and five-sided door jambs,

6:32 and the two leaves of olive wood. He carved figures of cherubs, palm trees and rosettes which he plated with gold; he put a gold surface on the cherubs and palm trees.

6:33 Similarly, he made uprights of olive wood for the door of the Hekal, and four-sided door jambs,

6:34 and the two leaves of juniper: one leaf had two ribs binding it, and the other had two ribs binding it.

6:35 He carved cherubs, palm trees and rosettes, which he plated with gold laid evenly over the carvings.

6:36 He built the wall of the inner court in three courses of dressed stone and one course of cedar beams.

The date

6:37 In the fourth year, in the month of Ziv, the foundations of the Temple were laid;

6:38 in the eleventh year, in the month of Bul – that is, the eighth month – the Temple was completed exactly as it had been planned and designed. Solomon took seven years to build it.

JB 1 KINGS Chapter 7

Solomon’s palace

7:1 As regards his palace, Solomon spent thirteen years on it before the building was completed.

7:2 He built the Hall of the Forest of Lebanon, a hundred cubits long, fifty cubits wide, and thirty cubits high, on four rows of cedar wood pillars with cedar capitals on the pillars.

7:3 It was panelled in cedar on the upper part as far as the planks above the pillars.

7:4 There were three rows of architraves, forty-five in all, that is, fifteen in each row, facing one another from three sides.

7:5 All the doors and uprights were of rectangular design, facing one another from three sides.

7:6 And he made the Hall of Pillars, fifty cubits long and thirty cubits wide… with a porch in front.

7:7 He also made the Hall of the Throne where he used to dispense justice, that is, the Hall of Justice; it was panelled in cedar from floor to rafters.

7:8 His own living quarters, in the other court and inwards from the Hall, were of the same construction. And there was a house similar to this Hall for the daughter of Pharaoh whom he had taken in marriage.

7:9 All these buildings were of special stones cut to measure, trimmed on the inner and outer sides with the saw, right from the foundations to the wood course

7:10 – their foundations were of special stones, huge stones, stones of ten and eight cubits,

7:11 and, above these, special stones, cut to measure, and cedar wood –

7:12 and, on the outside, the great court had three courses of dressed stone round it and one course of cedar beams; so also had the inner court of the Temple of Yahweh and the vestibule of the Temple.

Hiram, the bronzeworker

7:13 King Solomon sent for Hiram of Tyre;

7:14 he was the son of a widow of the tribe of Naphtali but his father had been a Tyrian, a bronzeworker. He was a highly intelligent craftsman, skilled in all types of bronzework. He came to King Solomon and did all this work for him:

The bronze pillars

7:15 He cast two bronze pillars; the height of one pillar was eighteen cubits, and a cord twelve cubits long gave the measurement of its girth; so also was the second pillar.

7:16 He made two capitals of cast bronze for the tops of the pillars; the height of one capital was five cubits, and the height of the other five cubits.

7:17 He made two sets of filigree to cover the moulding of the two capitals surmounting the pillars, one filigree for one capital and one filigree for the other capital.

7:18 He also made pomegranates: two rows of them round each filigree,

7:19b four hundred in all,

7:20 applied on the raised moulding behind the filigree; there were two hundred pomegranates round one capital and the same round the other capital.

7:19a The capitals surmounting the pillars were flower-shaped.

7:21 He set up the pillars in front of the vestibule of the sanctuary; he set up the right-hand pillar and named it Jachin; he set up the left-hand pillar and named it Boaz.

7:22 So the work on the pillars was completed.

The bronze ‘Sea’

7:23 He made the Sea of cast metal, ten cubits from rim to rim, circular in shape and five cubits high; a cord thirty cubits long gave the measurement of its girth.

7:24 Under its rim and completely encircling it were gourds; they went round the Sea over a length of thirty cubits; the gourds were in two rows, of one and the same casting with the rest.

7:25 It rested on twelve oxen, three facing north, three facing west, three facing south, three facing east; on these, their hind-quarters all turned inwards, stood the Sea.

7:26 It was a hand’s breadth in thickness, and its rim was shaped like the rim of a cup, like a flower. It held two thousand baths.

The wheeled stands and the bronze basins

7:27 He made the ten stands of bronze; each stand was four cubits long, four cubits wide, and three high.

7:28 They were designed as follows: they had an undercarriage and crosspieces to the undercarriage.

7:29 On the crosspieces of the undercarriage were lions and bulls and cherubs, and on top of the undercarriage was a support; under the lions and oxen there were scrolls in the style of…

7:30 Each stand had four bronze wheels with bronze axles; its four feet had shoulderings under the basin, and the shoulderings were cast…

7:31 Its mouth measured one and a half cubits from where the shoulderings met to the top; its mouth was round like a rest for a vessel, and on the mouth there were engravings too; the crosspieces, however, were rectangular and not round.

7:32 The four wheels were under the crosspieces. The axles of the wheels were inside the stands; the height of the wheels was one and a half cubits.

7:33 The wheels were designed like chariot wheels: their axles, felloes, spokes and naves had all been cast.

7:34 There were four shoulderings at the four corners of each stand: the stand and the shoulderings were all of a piece.

7:35 At the top of the stand there was a support, circular in shape and half a cubit high; and on top of the stand there were lugs. The crosspieces were of a piece with the stand.

7:36 On the bands he engraved cherubs and lions and palm leaves… and scrolls right round.

7:37 He made the ten stands like this: the same casting and the same measurements for all.

7:38 He made ten bronze basins; each basin held forty baths and each basin measured four cubits, one basin to each of the ten stands.

7:39 He arranged the stands, five on the right-hand side of the Temple, five on the left-hand side of the Temple; the Sea he placed on the right-hand side of the Temple to the south-east.

The utensils. Summary

7:40 Hiram made the ash containers, the scoops and the sprinkling bowls. He finished all the work that he did for King Solomon on the Temple of Yahweh:

7:41 two pillars; the two mouldings of the capitals surmounting the pillars; the two sets of filigree to cover the two mouldings of the capitals surmounting the pillars;

7:42 the four hundred pomegranates for the two sets of filigree; the pomegranates of each set of filigree were in two rows;

7:43 the ten stands and the ten basins on the stands;

7:44 the one Sea and the twelve oxen beneath the Sea;

7:45 the ash containers, the scoops, the sprinkling bowls. All these furnishings made by Hiram for King Solomon for the Temple of Yahweh were of burnished bronze.

7:46 He made them by the process of sand casting, in the Jordan area between Succoth and Zarethan.

7:47 There were so many of them, that the weight of the bronze was never calculated.

7:48 Solomon placed all the furnishings he had made in the Temple of Yahweh: the golden altar and the table for the loaves of offering, which was of gold;

7:49 the lamp-stands, five on the right and five on the left in front of the Debir, of pure gold; the floral work, the lamps, the extinguishers, of gold;

7:50 the basins, so knives, sprinkling bowls, incense boats, censers, of pure gold; the door sockets for the inner shrine – that is, the Holy of Holies – and for the Hekal, of gold.

7:51 So all the work that King Solomon did for the Temple of Yahweh was completed, and Solomon brought what his father David had consecrated, the silver and the gold and the vessels, and put them in the treasury of the Temple of Yahweh.

JB 1 KINGS Chapter 8

The ark brought to the Temple

8:1 Then Solomon called the elders of Israel together in Jerusalem to bring the ark of the covenant of Yahweh up from the Citadel of David, which is Zion.

8:2 All the men of Israel assembled round King Solomon in the month of Ethanim, at the time of the feast[*a] (that is, the seventh month),

8:3 and the priests took up the ark

8:4 and the Tent of Meeting with all the sacred vessels that were in it.

8:5 In the presence of the ark, King Solomon and all Israel sacrificed sheep and oxen, countless, innumerable.

8:6 The priests brought the ark of the covenant of Yahweh to its place, in the Debir of the Temple, that is, in the Holy of Holies, under the cherubs’ wings.

8:7 For there where the ark was placed the cherubs spread out their wings and sheltered the ark and its shafts.

8:8a These were long enough for their ends to be seen from the Holy Place in front of the Debir, but not from outside.

8:9 There was nothing in the ark except the two stone tablets Moses had placed in it at Horeb, the tablets of the covenant which Yahweh had made with the Israelites when they came out of the land of Egypt;

8:8b they are still there today.

The Lord takes possession of his Temple

8:10 Now when the priests came out of the sanctuary, the cloud filled the Temple of Yahweh,

8:11 and because of the cloud the priests could no longer perform their duties: the glory of Yahweh filled Yahweh’s Temple.

8:12 Then Solomon said: ‘Yahweh has chosen to dwell in the thick cloud.

8:13 Yes, I have built you a dwelling, a place for you to live in for ever.’

Solomon addresses the people

8:14 Then the king turned and blessed the whole assembly of Israel, while the whole assembly of Israel stood.

8:15 He said, ‘Blessed be Yahweh, the God of lsrael, who has carried out by his hand what he promised with his mouth to David my father when he said,

8:16 “From the day I brought my people Israel out of Egypt I chose no city, in any of the tribes of Israel, to have a house built where my name might make its home; but I chose David, to rule over Israel my people”.

8:17 My father David had set his heart on building a house for the name of Yahweh the God of Israel,

8:18 but Yahweh said, “You have set your heart on building a house for my name, and in this you have done well;

8:19 and yet, you are not the man to build the house; your son, born of your own body, shall build the house for my name”.

8:20 Yahweh has kept the promise he made: I have succeeded David my father and am seated on the throne of Israel, as Yahweh promised; I have built the house for the name of Yahweh, the God of Israel,

8:21 and have made a place in it for the ark containing the covenant that Yahweh made with our fathers when he brought them out of the land of Egypt.’

Solomon’s prayer for himself

8:22 Then (in the presence of the whole assembly of Israel) Solomon stood before the altar of Yahweh and, stretching out his hands towards heaven,

8:23 said, Yahweh, God of Israel, not in heaven above nor on earth beneath is there such a God as you, true to your covenant and your kindness towards your servants when they walk wholeheartedly in your way

8:24 You have kept the promise you made to your servant David my father; what you promised with your mouth, today you have carried out by your hand.

8:25 And now, Yahweh, God of Israel, keep the promise you made to your servant David when you said, “You shall never lack for a man to sit before me on the throne of Israel, if only your sons are careful how they behave, walking before me as you yourself have done”.

8:26 So now, God of Israel, let the words come true which you spoke to your servant David my father.

8:27 Yet will God really live with men on the earth? Why, the heavens and their own heavens cannot contain you. How much less this house that I have built!

8:28 Listen to the prayer and entreaty of your servant, Yahweh my God; listen to the cry and to the prayer your servant makes to you today.

8:29 Day and night let your eyes watch over this house, over this place of which you have said, “My name shall be there”. Listen to the prayer that your servant will offer in this place.

Solomon’s prayer for the people

8:30 ‘Hear the entreaty of your servant and of Israel your people as they pray in this place. From heaven where your dwelling is, hear; and, as you hear, forgive.

8:31 ‘If a man sins against his neighbour, and the neighbour calls down a curse on him and makes him swear an oath before your altar in this Temple,

8:32 hear from heaven, and act; decide between your servants: pronounce the wicked one guilty, bringing his conduct down on his own head; and vindicate the innocent, rewarding him as his innocence deserves.

8:33 ‘When your people Israel are defeated by the enemy because they have sinned against you, if they return to you and praise your name and pray to you and entreat you in this Temple,

8:34 hear from heaven; forgive the sin of your people Israel, and bring them back to the land you gave to their ancestors.

8:35 ‘When the heavens are shut and there is no rain because they have sinned against you, if they pray in this place and praise your name and, having been humbled by you, repent of their sin,

8:36 hear from heaven and forgive the sin of your servant and of your people Israel – show them the good way they ought to follow – and send rain on your land which you have given your people for an inheritance.

8:37 ‘Should there be famine in the land, or pestilence, blight or mildew, locust or caterpillar; should this people’s enemy lay siege to one of its city gates; if there is any plague or sickness;

8:38 if anyone should feel remorse in his own heart and pray or make entreaty, stretching out his hands towards this Temple,

8:39 hear from heaven where your home is; forgive and act, dealing with each as his conduct deserves; for you know every heart, – you alone know the hearts of all mankind –

8:40 and so they may come to revere you as long as they live in the land you gave to our fathers

Supplementary section

8:41 ‘And the foreigner too, not belonging to your people Israel, if he comes from a distant country for the sake of your name

8:42 – for men will hear of your name, of your mighty hand and outstretched arm – if he comes and prays in the temple,

8:43 hear from heaven where your home is, and grant all the foreigner asks, so that all the peoples of the earth may come to know your name and, like your people Israel, revere you, and know that your name is given to the Temple I have built.

8:44 ‘If your people go out to war against their enemies on the way that you send them, and if they turn towards the city you have chosen and towards the Temple I have built for your name, and pray to Yahweh,

8:45 hear from heaven their prayer and their entreaty, and uphold their cause.

8:46 ‘If they sin against you – for there is no man who does not sin – and you are angry with them and deliver them to the enemy, and their conquerors lead them captive to a country far or near,

8:47 if in the land of their exile they come to themselves and repent, and in the country of their conquerors they entreat you saying, “We have sinned, we have acted perversely and wickedly”,

8:48 and if they turn again to you with all their heart and soul in the country of the enemies who have deported them, and pray to you, turning towards the land you gave to their ancestors, towards the city you have chosen, and towards the Temple I have built for your name,

8:49 hear from heaven where your home is,

8:50 forgive your people the sins they have committed against you and all the crimes they have been guilty of, grant them to win favour with their conquerors so that they may have pity on them;

8:51 for they are your people and your heritage whom you brought out of Egypt, that iron furnace.

Conclusion of the prayer and blessing of the people

8:52 ‘Be always watchful for the entreaty of your servant and of your people Israel, always hearing them when they call to you.

8:53 For it was you who set them apart from all the peoples of the earth to be your own heritage, as you declared through Moses your servant when you brought our ancestors out of Egypt, Lord Yahweh.’

8:54 When Solomon had finished offering this whole prayer and entreaty, he rose from where he was kneeling with hands stretched out towards heaven before the altar of Yahweh,

8:55 and stood erect. And in a loud voice he blessed the whole assembly of Israel.

8:56 ‘Blessed be Yahweh’ he said ‘who has granted rest to his people Israel, keeping all his promises; of all the promises of good that he made through Moses his servant, not one has failed.

8:57 May Yahweh our God be with us, as he was with our ancestors; may he never desert us or cast us off.

8:58 May he turn our hearts towards him so that we may follow all his ways and keep the commandments, and laws, and ordinances he gave to our ancestors.

8:59 May these words of mine, of my entreaty before Yahweh, be present with Yahweh our God day and night, that he may uphold the cause of his servant and the cause of Israel his people, as each day requires,

8:60 so that all the peoples of the earth may come to know that Yahweh is God indeed, and that there is no other.

8:61 May your hearts be wholly with Yahweh our God, following his laws and keeping his commandments as at this present day.’

The sacrifices on the feast of Dedication

8:62 The king and all Israel with him offered sacrifice before Yahweh.

8:63 Solomon offered twenty-two thousand oxen and a hundred and twenty thousand sheep as communion sacrifices to Yahweh; and so the king and all the Israelites dedicated the Temple of Yahweh.

8:64 On the same day the king consecrated the middle of the court lying in front of the Temple of Yahweh; and there he offered the holocaust, oblations and fatty parts of the communion sacrifices, since the bronze altar that stood before Yahweh was too small to hold the holocaust, oblation and the fatty parts of the communion sacrifices.

8:65 And so at that time, Solomon celebrated the feast, and all the Israelites with him, a great gathering from the Pass of Hamath to the wadi of Egypt, before Yahweh our God for seven days.[*b]

8:66 Then, on the eighth day, he dismissed the people, who blessed the king and went to their homes, rejoicing and happy in heart for all the goodness Yahweh had shown to David and to his people Israel.

JB 1 KINGS Chapter 9

Yahweh appears a second time

9:1 When Solomon had finished building the Temple of Yahweh and the royal palace and all he had a mind to build,

9:2 Yahweh appeared to Solomon a second time, as he had appeared to him at Gibeon.

9:3 Yahweh said to him, ‘I grant your prayer and the entreaty you have made before me. I consecrate this house you have built: I place my name there for ever; my eyes and my heart shall be always there.

9:4 For your part, if you walk before me with innocence of heart and in honesty, like David your father, if you do all I order you and keep my laws and my ordinances,

9:5 I will make your royal throne secure over Israel for ever, as I promised David your father when I said: You shall never lack for a man on the throne of Israel.

9:6 But if you turn away from me, you or your sons, and do not keep the commandments and laws I have set before you, and go and serve other gods and worship them,

9:7 then I will cut Israel off from the land I have given them, and I will cast out from my presence this Temple that I have consecrated for my name, and Israel shall become a proverb and a byword among all the nations.

9:8 As for this exalted Temple, all who pass by will be astounded; they will whistle and say, “Why has Yahweh treated this country and this Temple like this?”

9:9 And the answer will be, “Because they deserted Yahweh their God who brought their ancestors out of the land of Egypt, and they adopted other gods and worshipped them and served them; that is why Yahweh has brought all these disasters on them”.’

The bargain with Hiram

9:10 At the end of the twenty years it took Solomon to erect the two buildings, the Temple of Yahweh and the royal palace

9:11 (Hiram king of Tyre had provided Solomon with as much cedar wood, juniper wood and gold as he had wanted), King Solomon gave Hiram twenty towns in the land of Galilee.

9:12 But when Hiram came from Tyre to view the towns Solomon had given him, he was not pleased with them.

9:13 He said, ‘What kind of towns are these you have given me, my brother?’ And to this day they are called ‘the land of Cabul’.

9:14 ‘Hiram sent the king one hundred and twenty talents of gold.

Forced labour for Solomon’s building programme

9:15 This is an account of the forced labour King Solomon levied for the building of the Temple of Yahweh, his own palace, the Millo[*a] and the wall of Jerusalem, Hazor, Megiddo, Gezer

9:16 (Pharaoh king of Egypt went up and captured Gezer, he burnt it down and massacred the Canaanites living there; he then gave the town as a dowry to his daughter, Solomon’s wife,

9:17 and Solomon rebuilt Gezer), Lower Beth-horon,

9:18 Baalath, Tamar in the wilderness, inside the country,

9:19 all the garrison towns owned by Solomon, all the towns for his chariots and horses, and all it pleased Solomon to build in Jerusalem, in Lebanon and in all the countries subject to him.

9:20 All those who survived of the Amorite, Hittite, Perizzite, Hivite and Jebusite peoples, who were not Israelites,

9:21 their descendants who were left in the country after them, those on whom the Israelites had not been able to enforce the ban, these Solomon conscripted as slave labourers, as they are still.

9:22 However, Solomon did not impose slave labour on the Israelites;[*b] these served as fighting men: they were his guards, officers, equerries, chariot and cavalry commanders.

9:23 These were the administrators’ officials who supervised Solomon’s work: five hundred and fifty of them in charge of the people employed in the work.

9:24 After Pharaoh’s daughter had moved from the Citadel of David to the house which he had built for her, he then built the Millo.

The maintenance of the Temple

9:25 Three times a year Solomon offered holocausts and communion sacrifices on the altar he had built for Yahweh… and he kept the Temple in good repair.

C. SOLOMON THE TRADER

Solomon as ship-owner

9:26 King Solomon equipped a fleet at Ezion-geber, which is near Elath on the shores of the Red Sea, in the land of Edom.

9:27 For this fleet Hiram sent men of his, sailors who knew the sea, to serve with Solomon’s men.

9:28 They went to Ophir and from there they brought back four hundred and twenty talents of gold, which they delivered to King Solomon.[*c]

JB 1 KINGS Chapter 10

The queen of Sheba visits Solomon

10:1 The fame of Solomon having reached the queen of Sheba… [*a] she came to test him with difficult questions.

10:2 She brought immense riches to Jerusalem with her, camels laden with spices, great quantities of gold, and precious stones. On coming to Solomon, she opened her mind freely to him;

10:3 and Solomon had an answer for all her questions, not one of them was too obscure for the king to expound.

10:4 When the queen of Sheba saw all the wisdom of Solomon, the palace he had built,

10:5 the food at his table, the accommodation for his officials, the organisation of his staff and the way they were dressed, his cup-bearers, and the holocausts he offered in the Temple of Yahweh, it left her breathless,

10:6 and she said to the king, ‘What I heard in my own country about you and your wisdom was true, then!

10:7 Until I came and saw it with my own eyes I could not believe what they told me, but clearly they told me less than half: for wisdom and prosperity you surpass the report I heard.

10:8 How happy your wives are! How happy are these servants of yours who wait on you always and hear your wisdom!

10:9 Blessed be Yahweh your God who has granted you his favour, setting you on the throne of Israel! Because of Yahweh’s everlasting love for Israel, he has made you king to deal out law and justice.’

10:10 And she presented the king with a hundred and twenty talents of gold and great quantities of spices and precious stones; no such wealth of spices ever came again as those given to King Solomon by the queen of Sheba.

10:11 And the fleet of Hiram, which carried gold from Ophir, also brought great cargoes of almuggim wood and precious stones.

10:12 The king made supports with the almuggim wood for the Temple of Yahweh and for the royal palace, and lyres and harps for the musicians; no more of this almuggim wood has since come or been seen to this day.

10:13 And King Solomon in his turn, presented the queen of Sheba with all she expressed a wish for, besides those presents he made her out of his royal bounty. Then she went home, she and her servants, to her own country.

Solomon’s wealth

10:14 The weight of gold coming to Solomon in one year was six hundred and sixty-six talents of gold,

10:15 not counting what came in from merchants’ dues and traders’ profits, and from all the foreign kings and the governors of the country.

10:16 King Solomon made three hundred great shields of beaten gold, and plated each shield with six hundred shekels of gold;

10:17 also three hundred small shields of beaten gold, and plated each of these with three minas of gold; and he put them in the Hall of the Forest of Lebanon.

10:18 The king also made a great ivory throne, and plated it with refined gold.

10:19 The throne had six steps, and bulls’ heads at the back of it, and arms at either side of the seat; two lions stood beside the arms,

10:20 and twelve lions stood on either side of the six steps. No throne like this was ever made in any other kingdom.

10:21 All King Solomon’s drinking vessels were of gold, and all the furnishings in the Hall of the Forest of Lebanon were of pure gold; silver was thought little of in the time of Solomon.

10:22 And the king also had a fleet of Tarshish at sea with Hiram’s fleet, and once every three years the fleet of Tarshish would come back laden with gold and silver, ivory, apes and baboons.

10:23 For riches and for wisdom King Solomon outdid all the kings of the earth.

10:24 The whole world sought audience of Solomon to hear the wisdom God had implanted in his heart

10:25 and each would bring his own present: gold vessels, silver vessels, robes, armour, spices, horses and mules; and this went on year after year.

Solomon’s chariots

10:26 Solomon built up a force of chariots and horses; he had one thousand four hundred chariots and twelve thousand horses; these he stationed in the chariot towns and near the king in Jerusalem.

10:27 In Jerusalem the king made silver common as pebbles, and cedars plentiful as the sycamores of the Lowlands.

10:28 Solomon’s horses were imported from Cilicia; the king’s agents took delivery of them from Cilicia at a fixed rate.

10:29 A chariot was imported from Egypt for six hundred shekels, a horse for a hundred and fifty. These were exported through the king’s agents to all the kings of the Hittites and to the kings of Aram in the same way.

JB 1 KINGS Chapter 11

D. HIS DECLINE

Solomon’s wives

11:1 King Solomon loved many foreign women: not only Pharaoh’s daughter but Moabites, Edomites, Sidonians and Hittites,

11:2 from those peoples of whom Yahweh had said to the Israelites, ‘You are not to go to them nor they to you, or they will surely sway your hearts to their own gods’. But Solomon was deeply attached to them.

11:3 He had seven hundred wives of royal rank, and three hundred concubines.

11:4 When Solomon grew old his wives swayed his heart to other gods; and his heart was not wholly with Yahweh his God as his father David’s had been.

11:5 Solomon became a follower of Astarte, the goddess of the Sidonians, and of Milcom, the Ammonite abomination.

11:6 He did what was displeasing to Yahweh, and was not a wholehearted follower of Yahweh, as his father David had been.

11:7 Then it was that Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the god of Moab on the mountain to the east of Jerusalem, and to Milcom the god of the Ammonites.

11:8 He did the same for all his foreign wives, who offered incense and sacrifice to their gods.

11:9 Yahweh was angry with Solomon because his heart had turned from Yahweh the God of Israel who had twice appeared to him

11:10 and who had then forbidden him to follow other gods; but he did not carry out Yahweh’s order.

11:11 Yahweh therefore said to Solomon, ‘Since you behave like this and do not keep my covenant or the laws I laid down for you, I will most surely tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your servants.’

11:12 For your father David’s sake, however, I will not do this during your lifetime, but will tear it out of your son’s hands.

11:13 Even so, I will not tear the whole kingdom from him. For the sake of my servant David, and for the sake of Jerusalem which I have chosen, I will leave your son one tribe.'[*a]

Solomon’s foreign enemies

11:14 Yahweh raised an enemy against Solomon, Hadad the Edomite, of the kingly stock of Edom.

11:15 After David had crushed Edom, Joab, the commander of the army, had gone to bury the dead and he had slaughtered the entire male population of Edom

11:16 (Joab stayed there with all Israel for six months until he had exterminated the entire male population of Edom),

11:17 but Hadad with a number of Edomites in his father’s service had fled to Egypt. Hadad had been only a boy at the time.

11:18 They set out from Midian, and on reaching Paran, took a number of men from Paran with them and went on to Egypt, to Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, who provided him with a house, undertook to maintain him, and assigned him an estate.

11:19 Hadad became a great favourite of Pharaoh who gave him his own wife’s sister in marriage, the sister of the Great Lady Tahpenes.

11:20 The sister of Tahpenes bore him Genubath his son whom Tahpenes brought up in Pharaoh’s palace, Genubath living with Pharaoh’s children.

11:21 But when news reached Hadad in Egypt that David slept with his ancestors and that Joab the commander of the army was dead, he said to Pharaoh, ‘Give me leave to return to my own country’.

11:22 ‘Do you want for anything here with me’ said Pharaoh ‘that you now ask to return to your own country?’ ‘No,’ he replied ‘but please let me go.’

11:25b This is where the harm of Hadad comes from: he loathed Israel and ruled Edom.

11:23 God raised a second enemy against Solomon, Rezon son of Eliada. He had fled from his master, Hadadezer king of Zobah.

11:24 A number of men having rallied to him, he had become leader of a marauding band (which was then massacred by David). Rezon captured Damascus and settled there and became king of Damascus.

11:25a He was hostile to Israel as long as Solomon lived.

The revolt of Jeroboam

11:26 Jeroboam was the son of Nebat, an Ephraimite from Zeredah; the name of his mother, a widow, was Zeruah; he was in Solomon’s service but revolted against the king.

11:27 This is the account of his revolt. Solomon was building the Millo and closing the breach in the Citadel of David his father.

11:28 Now this Jeroboam was a man of rank; Solomon, noticing how the young man set about his work, put him in charge of all the forced labour of the House of Joseph.

11:29 One day when Jeroboam had gone out of Jerusalem, the prophet Ahijah of Shiloh accosted him on the road. Ahijah was wearing a new cloak; the two of them were in the open country by themselves.

11:30 Ahijah took the new cloak he was wearing and tore it into twelve strips,

11:31 saying to Jeroboam, ‘Take ten strips for yourself, for thus Yahweh speaks, the God of Israel, “I am going to tear the kingdom from Solomon’s hand and give ten tribes to you.

11:32 He shall keep one tribe[*b] for the sake of my servant David and for the sake of Jerusalem, the city I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel;

11:33 for he has forsaken me to worship Astarte the goddess of the Sidonians, Chemosh the god of Moab, Milcom the god of the Ammonites; he has not followed my ways by doing what is right in my eyes or keeping my laws and ordinances as his father David did.

11:34 But I will not take the kingdom out of his own hands, since I have made him a prince for as long as he lives, for the sake of my servant David who kept my commandments and laws.

11:35 I will, however, take the kingdom from the hand of his son, giving the ten tribes to you.

11:36 I will keep one tribe to give to his son, so that my servant David may always have a lamp in my presence in Jerusalem, the city I have chosen as a dwelling place for my name.

11:37 You nonetheless I will take to rule over as much as you wish, and you shall be king of Israel.

11:38 If you listen to all my orders and follow my ways, by doing what is right in my eyes and keeping my laws and commandments as my servant David did, then I will be with you and will build you as enduring a House as the one I built for David. I will give Israel to you,

11:39 thus humbling the descendants of David; but not for ever.”‘

11:40 Solomon tried to kill Jeroboam but he made off and fled to Egypt, to Shishak king of Egypt, and he remained in Egypt until Solomon’s death.

The end of the reign of Solomon

11:41 The rest of the history of Solomon, his entire career, his wisdom, is not all this recorded in the Book of the Acts of Solomon?

11:42 Solomon’s reign in Jerusalem over all Israel lasted forty years.

11:43 Then Solomon slept with his ancestors and was buried in the Citadel of David his father; Rehoboam his son succeeded him.

JB 1 KINGS Chapter 12

III. THE POLITICAL AND RELIGIOUS SCHISM

The assembly at Shechem

12:2 As soon as Jeroboam son of Nebat heard the news – he was still in Egypt, where he had taken refuge from King Solomon – he returned from Egypt.

12:1 Rehoboam went to Shechem, for it was to Shechem that all Israel[*a] had gone to proclaim him king,

12:3 and they said this to him,

12:4 ‘Your father gave us a heavy burden to bear; lighten your father’s harsh tyranny now, and the weight of the burden he laid on us, and we will serve you’.

12:5 He said to them, ‘Go away for three days and then come back to me’. And the people went away.

12:6 King Rehoboam consulted the elders, who had been in the service of his father Solomon while he was alive. ‘What reply’ he asked ‘do you advise me to give to this people?’

12:7 ‘Act as servant of this people now,’ they said ‘humour them, treat them fairly, and they will be your servants for ever.’

12:8 But he rejected the advice given him by the elders and consulted the young men who had grown up with him and were in his service.

12:9 ‘How do you advise us’ he asked ‘to answer this people who have said to me, “Lighten the burden your father imposed on us”?’

12:10 The young men who had grown up with him replied, ‘Give this answer to these people who have said, “Your father gave us a heavy burden to bear, you must lighten it for us”, say this to them, “My little finger is thicker than my father’s loins!

12:11 So then, my father made you bear a heavy burden. I will make it heavier still. My father beat you with whips; I am going to beat you with loaded scourges.”‘

12:12 On the third day all the people came to Rehoboam in obedience to the king’s command: ‘Come back to me on the third day’.

12:13 The king, rejecting the advice given him by the elders, gave the people a harsh answer,

12:14 speaking to them as the young men had recommended. ‘My father made you bear a heavy burden,’ he said ‘but I will make it heavier still. My father beat you with whips; I am going to beat you with loaded scourges.’

12:15 The king in fact took no notice of the people’s wishes, and this was brought about by Yahweh to carry out the promise he had spoken through Ahijah of Shiloh to Jeroboam son of Nebat.

12:16 When all Israel saw that the king took no notice of their wishes, they gave him this answer: ‘What share have we in David? We have no inheritance in the son of Jesse. To your tents, Israel! Henceforth look after your own house, David!’ And Israel went off to their tents.

12:17 Rehoboam, however, reigned over those sons of Israel who lived in the towns of Judah.

12:18 King Rehoboam sent Adoram who was in charge of forced labour, but the Israelites stoned him to death; whereupon King Rehoboam was obliged to mount his chariot and escape to Jerusalem.

12:19 And Israel has been separated from the House of David until the present day.

The political schism

12:20 When all Israel heard that Jeroboam had returned, they summoned him to the assembly and made him king of all Israel; no one remained loyal to the House of David, except the tribe of Judah.

12:21 Rehoboam went to Jerusalem and mustered the whole House of Judah and the tribe of Benjamin, a hundred and eighty thousand picked warriors, to fight the House of Israel and win back the kingdom for Rehoboam son of Solomon.

12:22 But the word of Yahweh came to Shemaiah the man of God,

12:23 ‘Say this to Rehoboam son of Solomon, king of Judah, to the whole House of Judah, to Benjamin and to the rest of the people,

12:24 “Yahweh says this: Do not go to fight against your brothers, the sons of Israel; let everyone go home, for what has happened is my doing”‘.

12:25 Jeroboam fortified Shechem in the mountain country of Ephraim, and lived there. Then, leaving there, he fortified Penuel.

The religious schism

12:26 Jeroboam thought to himself, ‘As things are, the kingdom will revert to the House of David.

12:27 If this people continues to go up to the Temple of Yahweh in Jerusalem to offer sacrifices, the people’s heart will turn back again to their lord, Rehoboam king of Judah, and they will put me to death.’

12:28 So the king thought this over and then made two golden calves; he said to the people, ‘You have been going up to Jerusalem long enough. Here are your gods, Israel; these brought you up out of the land of Egypt!’

12:29 He set up one in Bethel

12:30 and the people went in procession all the way to Dan in front of the other.

12:31 He set up the temple of the high places and appointed priests from ordinary families, who were not of the sons of Levi.

12:32 Jeroboam also instituted a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth of the month, like the feast that was kept in Judah, and he went up to the altar.[*b] That was how he behaved in Bethel, sacrificing to the calves he had made; and at Bethel he put the priests of the high places he had established.

12:33 On the fifteenth of the eighth month, the month he had deliberately chosen, he went up to the altar he had made; he instituted a feast for the Israelites, and went up to the altar to offer incense.

JB 1 KINGS Chapter 13

The condemnation of the altar in Bethel

13:1 There came to Bethel at Yahweh’s command a man of God from Judah, just as Jeroboam was standing by the altar to offer the sacrifice,

13:2 and at Yahweh’s command this man denounced the altar. ‘Altar, altar,’ he said ‘Yahweh says this, “A son shall be born to the House of David, Josiah by name, who shall immolate on you the priests of the high places who have offered sacrifice on you, and on you shall he burn the bones of men”.’

13:3 At the same time he gave a sign. ‘This is the sign’ he said ‘that Yahweh has spoken, “This altar here will burst apart and the ashes that are on it will be scattered”.’

13:4 When the king heard how the man of God denounced the altar of Bethel, he stretched out his hand from the altar, saying, ‘Seize him!’ But the hand he stretched out against the man withered, and he could not draw it back,

13:5 and the altar burst apart and the ashes from the altar were scattered, in accordance with the sign given by the man of God at Yahweh’s command.

13:6 The king said to the man of God, ‘I beg you to placate Yahweh your God, and so restore me the use of my hand’. The man of God placated Yahweh; the king’s hand was restored as it had been before.

13:7 The king then said to the man of God, ‘Come home with me and refresh yourself, and I will give you a present’;

13:8 but the man of God answered the king, ‘Were you to give me half your house, I would not go with you. I will eat and drink nothing here,

13:9 for I have had Yahweh’s order: “You are to eat or drink nothing, nor to return by the way you came”.’

13:10 And he left by another road and did not return by the way he had come to Bethel.

The man of God and the prophet[*a]

13:11 Now there was an old prophet living in Bethel and his sons came to tell him all that the man of God had done in Bethel that day; and the words he had said to the king, they told these to their father too.

13:12 ‘Which road did he take?’ their father asked. His sons showed him the road that the man of God who came from Judah had taken.

13:13 ‘Saddle the donkey for me’ he said to his sons; they saddled he donkey for him and he mounted.

13:14 He followed the man of God and found him sitting under a terebinth. ‘Are you the man of God’ he said ‘who came from Judah?’ ‘I am’ he replied.

13:15 ‘Come home with me’ he said ‘and take some food.’

13:16 ‘I cannot go back with you’, he answered ‘or eat or drink anything here,

13:17 for I have received Yahweh’s order: “You are to eat or drink nothing there, nor to return by the way you came”.’

13:18 ‘I too am a prophet like you,’ the other replied ‘and an angel told me this by Yahweh’s order: “Bring him back with you to your house to eat and drink”.’ He was lying to him.

13:19 The man of God went back with him; he ate and drank at his house.

13:20 As they were sitting at table a word of Yahweh came to the prophet who had brought him back,

13:21 and he addressed the man of God who came from Judah. ‘Yahweh says this,’ he said ‘”Since you have defied Yahweh’s command and not obeyed the orders Yahweh your God gave you,

13:22 but have come back and eaten and drunk where he forbade you to eat or drink, your corpse will never reach the tomb of your ancestors”.’

13:23 After he had eaten and drunk, the prophet saddled the donkey for him, and he turned about and went away.

13:24 A lion met him on the road and killed him; his corpse lay stretched out on the road; the donkey stood there beside it; the lion stood by the corpse too.

13:25 People going by saw the corpse lying on the road and the lion standing by the corpse, and went and spoke about it in the town where the old prophet lived.

13:26 When the prophet who had made the man turn back heard about it, he said, ‘That is the man of God who defied Yahweh’s command! Yahweh has handed him over to the lion, which has mauled and killed him, just as Yahweh had foretold it would.’

13:27 He said to his sons, ‘Saddle the donkey for me’, and they saddled it.

13:28 He set off and found the man’s corpse lying on the road with the donkey and the lion standing beside the corpse; the lion had neither eaten the corpse nor mauled the donkey.

13:29 The prophet lifted the corpse of the man of God and put it on the donkey and brought it back to the town where he lived to hold mourning for him and bury him.

13:30 He laid the corpse in his own tomb, and they raised the mourning cry for him, ‘Alas, my brother!’

13:31 After burying him, the prophet said to his sons, ‘When I die, bury me in the same tomb as the man of God, lay my bones beside his.

13:32 For the word he uttered at Yahweh’s command against the altar of Bethel and against all the shrines of the high places in the towns of Samaria will certainly come true.’

13:33 Jeroboam did not give up his wicked ways after this incident, but went on appointing priests for the high places from the common people. He consecrated as priests of the high places any who wished to be.

13:34 Such conduct made the House of Jeroboam a sinful House, and caused its ruin and extinction from the face of the earth.

JB 1 KINGS Chapter 14

IV. THE TWO KINGDOMS UNTIL ELIJAH

Continuation of the reign of Jeroboam I (931-910)

14:1 At that time Abijah, Jeroboam’s son, fell sick,

14:2 and Jeroboam said to his wife, ‘Come, please disguise yourself so that no one will recognise you as Jeroboam’s wife, and go to Shiloh; the prophet Ahijah is there, the man who said I was to be king over this people.

14:3 Go to him, and take ten loaves and some savoury food and a jar of honey; he will tell you what will happen to the child.’

14:4 Jeroboam’s wife did this: she set out, went to Shiloh and came to Ahijah’s house. Now Ahijah could not see, his eyes were dimmed with age,

14:5 but Yahweh had told him, ‘Jeroboam’s wife is now on her way to ask you for an oracle about her son, as he is sick. You will tell her such and such. When she comes, she will pretend to be some other woman.’

14:6 So when Ahijah heard her footsteps at the door, he called, ‘Come in, wife of Jeroboam; why pretend to be someone else? I have bad news for you.

14:7 Go and tell Jeroboam, “Yahweh says this, the God of Israel: I raised you from the people and made you leader of my people Israel; I tore the kingdom from the House of David and gave it to you.

14:8 But you have not been like my servant David who kept my commandments and followed me with all his heart doing only what is right in my eyes;

14:9 you have done more evil than all your predecessors, you have gone and made yourself other gods, idols of cast metal, provoking my anger, and you have turned your back on me.

14:10 For this I will bring disaster on the House of Jeroboam, I will wipe out every male belonging to the family of Jeroboam, fettered or free in Israel, I will sweep away the House of Jeroboam as a man sweeps dung away till none is left.

14:11 Those of Jeroboam’s family who die in the city, the dogs will eat; and those who die in the open country, the birds of the air will eat, for Yahweh has spoken.”

14:12 Now get up and go home; at the moment your feet enter the town, the child will die.

14:13 All Israel will mourn for him, and bury him; and he alone of Jeroboam’s household will go to the tomb, for it is in him alone of the House of Jeroboam that anything pleasing to Yahweh, the God of Israel, is found.

14:14 Yahweh will raise up a king for himself over Israel to wipe out the House of Jeroboam.

14:15 Yahweh will make Israel shake as a reed shakes in the water, he will uproot Israel from this prosperous land which he gave to their ancestors and scatter them beyond the river for provoking Yahweh to anger by making their sacred poles.

14:16 He will abandon Israel for the sins Jeroboam has committed and made Israel commit.’

14:17 Jeroboam’s wife rose and left. She arrived at Tirzah[*a] and when she crossed the threshold of the house, the child was already dead.

14:18 They buried him, and all Israel mourned him, just as Yahweh had foretold through his servant Ahijah the prophet.

14:19 The rest of the history of Jeroboam, what wars he waged, how he governed, these may be found recorded in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Israel.

14:20 Jeroboam’s reign lasted twenty two years; then he slept with his ancestors; his son Nadab succeeded him.

The reign of Rehoboam (931-913)

14:21 In Judah Rehoboam son of Solomon became king; he was forty-one years old when he came to the throne and he reigned for seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city which Yahweh had chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, to give his name a home there. His mother’s name was Naamah, the Ammonitess.

14:22 He did what is displeasing to Yahweh, arousing his resentment more than his ancestors did by all the sins they committed,

14:23 they who had built themselves high places, and had set up pillars and sacred poles on every high hill and under every spreading tree.

14:24 There were even men in the country who were sacred prostitutes. He copied all the shameful practices of the nations whom Yahweh had dispossessed for the sons of Israel.

14:25 In the fifth year of Rehoboam, Shishak the king of Egypt marched on Jerusalem.

14:26 He took all the treasures from the Temple of Yahweh and the treasures from the royal palace, he took everything, including all the golden shields that Solomon had made;

14:27 in place of them King Rehoboam had bronze shields made, entrusting them to the care of the officers of the guard who guarded the king’s palace gate.

14:28 Whenever the king went to the Temple of Yahweh, the guards would carry them, returning them to the guardroom afterwards.

14:29 The rest of the history of Rehoboam, his entire career, is not all this recorded in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Judah?

14:30 Rehoboam and Jeroboam were at war with each other throughout their reigns.

14:31 Then Rehoboam slept with his ancestors and was buried in the Citadel of David; his son Abijam succeeded him.

JB 1 KINGS Chapter 15

The reign of Abijam in Judah (913-911)

15:1 In the eighteenth year of King Jeroboam son of Nebat, Abijam became king of Judah

15:2 and reigned for three years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Maacah, daughter of Absalom.

15:3 He followed the sinful example of his father before him in everything; his heart was not wholly with Yahweh his God, as the heart of David his ancestor had been.

15:4 However, for David’s sake, Yahweh his God gave him a lamp in Jerusalem, assuring him sons after him and keeping Jerusalem secure;

15:5 for David had done what is right in the eyes of Yahweh and had never in all his life disobeyed whatever he ordered him.

(6)7 The rest of the history of Abijam, his entire career, is not all this recorded in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Judah? Abijam and Jeroboam were at war with each other.

15:8 Then Abijam slept with his ancestors and they buried him in the Citadel of David; his son Asa succeeded him.

The reign of Asa in Judah (911-870)

15:9 In the twentieth year of Jeroboam king of Israel, Asa became king of Judah

15:10 and reigned for forty-one years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Maacah, daughter of Absalom.

15:11 Asa did what is right in the eyes of Yahweh, as his ancestor David had done.

15:12 He drove out of the country the men who had been sacred prostitutes and cleared away all the idols his ancestors had made.

15:13 He even deprived his grandmother of the dignity of queen mother for making an obscenity for Asherah; Asa cut down her obscenity and burned it in the wadi

15:14 Though the high places were not abolished, the heart of Asa was wholly with Yahweh throughout his life.

15:15 He deposited the offerings dedicated by his father and his own offerings too, in the Temple of Yahweh, silver and gold and furnishings.

15:16 Asa and Baasha king of Israel were at war with each other as long as they lived.

15:17 Baasha king of Israel marched on Judah and fortified Ramah to blockade Asa king of Judah.

15:18 Asa then took the remaining silver and gold from the treasuries of the Temple of Yahweh and the royal palace. Entrusting this to his servants, he sent them with the following message to Ben-hadad son of Tabrimmon son of Hezion, the king of Aram who lived in Damascus,

15:19 An alliance between myself and you, as between my father and your father! With this I send you a gift of silver and gold. Come, break off your alliance with Baasha king of Israel, and he will have to retire from my territory.’

15:20 Ben-hadad agreed, and sent his generals against the towns of Israel; he conquered Ijon, Dan, Abel-beth-maacah, all Chinneroth, and the whole land of Naphtali too.

15:21 When Baasha heard this he gave up fortifying Ramah and returned to Tirzah.

15:22 King Asa then summoned the whole of Judah, no one was exempt; they took away the stones and timber with which Baasha had been fortifying Ramah, and with them the king fortified Geba of Benjamin and Mizpah.

15:23 The rest of the history of Asa, all his valour, his entire career, is not all this recorded in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Judah? In his old age, however, he suffered from a disease of the feet.

15:24 Then Asa slept with his ancestors and was buried in the Citadel of David his ancestor; his son Jehoshaphat succeeded him.

The reign of Nadab in Israel (910-909)

15:25 Nadab son of Jeroboam became king of Israel in the second year of Asa king of Judah, and he reigned over Israel for two years.

15:26 He did what is displeasing to Yahweh; he copied his father’s example and the sin into which he had led Israel.

15:27 Baasha son of Ahijah, of the House of Issachar, plotted against him and murdered him at Gibbethon, a Philistine town which Nadab and all Israel were besieging.

15:28 Baasha killed Nadab and succeeded him in the third year of Asa king of Judah.

15:29 No sooner was he king than he butchered the entire House of Jeroboam, not sparing a soul, and wiped it out, just as Yahweh had foretold through his servant Ahijah of Shiloh,

15:30 because of the sins into which he had led Israel, and because he had provoked the anger of Yahweh, the God of Israel.

15:31 The rest of the history of Nadab, his entire career, is not all this recorded in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Israel?[* ](32)a

The reign of Baasha in Israel (909-889)

15:33 In the third year of Asa king of Judah, Baasha son of Ahijah became king of Israel at Tirzah for twenty-four years.

15:34 He did what is displeasing to Yahweh; he copied the example of Jeroboam and the sin into which he had led Israel.

JB 1 KINGS Chapter 16

16:1 The word of Yahweh came to Jehu son of Hanani against Baasha,

16:2 ‘I raised you from the dust and made you leader of my people Israel, but you have followed Jeroboam’s example and led my people Israel into sins that provoke my anger.

16:3 Now I will sweep away Baasha and his House; I will make your House like the House of Jeroboam son of Nebat.

16:4 Those of Baasha’s family who die in the city, the dogs will eat; and those who die in the open country, the birds of the air will eat.’

16:5 The rest of the history of Baasha, his career, his valour, is not all this recorded in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Israel?

16:6 Then Baasha slept with his ancestors and was buried in Tirzah; his son Elah succeeded him.

16:7 Furthermore, the word of Yahweh was delivered through the prophet Jehu son of Hanani against Baasha and his House, firstly because of all the evil he did in the sight of Yahweh, provoking him to anger by his actions and becoming like the House of Jeroboam; secondly because he destroyed that House.

The reign of Elah in Israel (886-885)

16:8 In the twenty-sixth year of Asa king of Judah, Elah son of Baasha became king of Israel at Tirzah, for two years.

16:9 Zimri, one of his officers, captain of half his chariotry, plotted against him. While he was at Tirzah, drinking himself senseless in the house of Arza who was master of the palace in Tirzah,

16:10 Zimri came in, struck him down and killed him in the twenty-seventh year of Asa king of Judah, and succeeded him.

16:11 On his accession, as soon as he was seated on the throne, he butchered Baasha’s entire family, not leaving him a single male, or any relations, or friends.

16:12 Zimri destroyed the whole House of Baasha, in accordance with the word which Yahweh had spoken through the prophet Jehu,

16:13 because of all the sins of Baasha and his son Elah into which they had led Israel, provoking the anger of Yahweh, the God of Israel, with their useless idols.

16:14 The history of Elah, his entire career, is not all this recorded in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Israel?

The reign of Zimri in Israel (885)

16:15 In the twenty-seventh year of Asa king of Judah, Zimri became king for seven days, in Tirzah. The people were then encamped in front of Gibbethon, a Philistine town.

16:16 When news reached the camp of how Zimri had not only plotted against but actually killed the king, all Israel proclaimed Omri, their general, king of Israel in the camp the same day.

16:17 Omri, and all Israel with him, raised the siege of Gibbethon and laid siege to Tirzah.

16:18 When Zimri saw that the town was captured, he went into the keep of the royal palace, burned the palace over his own head, and died.

16:19 This was because of the sin he committed by doing what is displeasing to Yahweh, by copying the example of Jeroboam and the sin into which he had led Israel.

16:20 The rest of the history of Zimri and the plot he hatched, is not all this recorded in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Israel?

16:21 The people of Israel then split into two factions: one half following Tibni son of Ginath to make him king, the other half following Omri.

16:22 But the faction of Omri proved stronger than that of Tibni son of Ginath; Tibni died, and Omri became king.

The reign of Omri in Israel (885-874)

16:23 In the thirty-first year of Asa king of Judah, Omri became king of Israel and reigned for twelve years. He reigned for six years in Tirzah.

16:24 Then for two talents of silver he bought a hill from Shemer and on it built a town which he named Samaria after Shemer who had owned the hill.

16:25 Omri did what is displeasing to Yahweh, and was worse than all his predecessors.

16:26 In every way he copied the example of Jeroboam son of Nebat and the sins into which he had led Israel, provoking the anger of Yahweh, the God of Israel, with their useless idols.

16:27 The rest of the history of Omri, his career, his valour, is not all this recorded in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Israel?

16:28 Then Omri slept with his ancestors and was buried in Samaria; his son Ahab succeeded him.

Introduction to the reign of Ahab (874-853)

16:29 Ahab son of Omri became king of Israel in the thirty-eighth year of Asa king of Judah, and reigned over Israel for twenty-two years in Samaria.

16:30 Ahab son of Omri did what is displeasing to Yahweh, and was worse than all his predecessors.

16:31 The least that he did was to follow the sinful example of Jeroboam son of Nebat: he married Jezebel, the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians[*a] and then proceeded to serve Baal and worship him.

16:32 He erected an altar to him in the temple of Baal which he built in Samaria.

16:33 Ahab also put up a sacred pole and committed other crimes as well, provoking the anger of Yahweh, the God of Israel, more than all the kings of Israel who were his predecessors.

16:34 It was in his time that Hiel of Bethel rebuilt Jericho; he laid its foundations at the price of Abiram, his first-born; its gates he erected at the price of his youngest son Segub,[*b] just as Yahweh had foretold through Joshua son of Nun.

JB 1 KINGS Chapter 17

V. THE ELIJAH CYCLE

A. THE GREAT DROUGHT

Elijah foretells the drought

17:1 Elijah the Tishbite, of Tishbe in Gilead said to Ahab, ‘As Yahweh lives, the God of Israel whom I serve, there shall be neither dew nor rain these years except at my order’.

At the wadi Cherith

17:2 The word of Yahweh came to him,

17:3 ‘Go away from here, go eastwards, and hide yourself in the wadi Cherith which lies east of Jordan.

17:4 You can drink from the stream, and I have ordered the ravens to bring you food there.’

17:5 He did as Yahweh had said; he went and stayed in the wadi Cherith which lies east of Jordan.

17:6 The ravens brought him bread in the morning and meat in the evening, and he quenched his thirst at the stream.

At Zarephath. The miracle of the flour and the oil

17:7 But after a while the stream dried up, for the country had no rain.

17:8 And then the word of Yahweh came to him,

17:9 ‘Up and go to Zarephath, a Sidonian town, and stay there. I have ordered a widow there to give you food.’

17:10 So he went off to Sidon. And when he reached the city gate, there was a widow gathering sticks; addressing her he said, ‘Please bring a little water in a vessel for me to drink’.

17:11 She was setting off to bring it when he called after her. ‘Please’ he said ‘bring me a scrap of bread in your hand.’

17:12 ‘As Yahweh your God lives,’ she replied ‘I have no baked bread, but only a handful of meal in a jar and a little oil in a jug; I am just gathering a stick or two to go and prepare this for myself and my son to eat, and then we shall die.’

17:13 But Elijah said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, go and do as you have said; but first make a little scone of it for me and bring it to me, and then make some for yourself and for your son.

17:14 For thus Yahweh speaks, the God of Israel: “Jar of meal shall not be spent, jug of oil shall not be emptied, before the day when Yahweh sends rain on the face of the earth”.’

17:15 The woman went and did as Elijah told her and they ate the food, she, himself and her son.

17:16 The jar of meal was not spent nor the jug of oil emptied, just as Yahweh had foretold through Elijah.

The widow’s son raised to life

17:17 It happened after this that the son of the mistress of the house fell sick; his illness was so severe that in the end he had no breath left in him.

17:18 And the woman said to Elijah, ‘What quarrel have you with me, man of God? Have you come here to bring my sins home to me and to kill my son?’

17:19 ‘Give me your son’ he said, and taking him from her lap, carried him to the upper room where he was staying and laid him on his own bed.

17:20 He cried out to Yahweh, ‘Yahweh my God, do you mean to bring grief to the widow who is looking after me by killing her son?’

17:21 He stretched himself on the child three times and cried out to Yahweh, ‘Yahweh my God, may the soul of this child, I beg you, come into him again!’

17:22 Yahweh heard the prayer of Elijah and the soul of the child returned to him again and he revived. ‘

17:23 Elijah took the child, brought him down from the upper room into the house, and gave him to his mother. ‘Look,’ Elijah said ‘your son is alive.’

17:24 And the woman replied, ‘Now I know you are a man of God and the word of Yahweh in your mouth is truth itself’.

JB 1 KINGS Chapter 18

Elijah and Obadiah

18:1 A long time went by, and the word of Yahweh came to Elijah in the third year, ‘Go, present yourself to Ahab; I am about to send down rain on the land’.

18:2 So Elijah set off to present himself to Ahab. As the famine was particularly severe in Samaria,

18:3 Ahab summoned Obadiah, the master of the palace – Obadiah held Yahweh in great reverence:

18:4 when Jezebel was butchering the prophets of Yahweh, Obadiah took a hundred of them and hid them, fifty at a time, in a cave, and kept them provided with food and water –

18:5 and Ahab said to Obadiah, ‘Come along, we must scour the country, all the springs and all the wadis in the hope of finding grass to keep horses and mules alive, or we shall have to slaughter some of our stock’.

18:6 They divided the country for the purpose of their survey; Ahab went one way by himself and Obadiah went another way by himself.

18:7 While Obadiah was on his way, whom should he meet but Elijah; recognising him he fell on his face and said, ‘So it is you, my lord Elijah!’

18:8 ‘Yes,’ he replied ‘go and tell your master, “Elijah is here”.’

18:9 But Obadiah said, ‘What sin have I committed, for you to put your servant in Ahab’s power and cause my death?

18:10 As Yahweh your God lives, there is no nation or kingdom where my master has not sent in search of you; and when they said, “He is not there”, he made the kingdom or nation swear on oath that they did not know where you were.

18:11 And now you say to me, “Go and tell your master: Elijah is here”.

18:12 But as soon as I leave you, the spirit of Yahweh will carry you away and I shall not know where; I shall come and tell Ahab; he will not be able to find you, and will kill me. Yet from his youth your servant has revered Yahweh.

18:13 Has no one told my lord what I did when Jezebel butchered the prophets of Yahweh, how I hid a hundred of them in a cave, fifty at a time, and kept them provided with food and water?

18:14 And now you say to me, “Go and tell your master: Elijah is here”. Why, he will kill me!’ Elijah replied,

18:15 As Yahweh Sabaoth lives, whom I serve, I shall present myself before him today!’

Elijah and Ahab

18:16 Obadiah went to find Ahab and tell him the news, and Ahab then went to find Elijah.

18:17 When he saw Elijah, Ahab said, ‘So there you are, you scourge of Israel!’

18:18 ‘Not I,’ he replied ‘I am not the scourge of Israel, you and your family are; because you have deserted Yahweh and gone after the Baals.

18:19 Now give orders for all Israel to gather round me on Mount Carmel, and also the four hundred prophets of Baal who eat at Jezebel’s table.’

The sacrifice on Carmel

18:20 Ahab called all Israel together and assembled the prophets on Mount Carmel.

18:21 Elijah stepped out in front of all the people. ‘How long’ he said ‘do you mean to hobble first on one leg then on the other? If Yahweh is God, follow him; if Baal, follow him.’ But the people never said a word.

18:22 Elijah then said to them, ‘I, I alone, am left as a prophet of Yahweh, while the prophets of Baal are four hundred and fifty.

18:23 Let two bulls be given us; let them choose one for themselves, dismember it and lay it on the wood, but not set fire to it. I in my turn will prepare the other bull, but not set fire to it.

18:24 You must call on the name of your god, and I shall call on the name of mine; the god who answers with fire, is God indeed.’ The people all answered, ‘Agreed!’

18:25 Elijah then said to the prophets of Baal, ‘Choose one bull and begin, for there are more of you. Call on the name of your god but light no fire.’

18:26 They took the bull and prepared it, and from morning to midday they called on the name of Baal. ‘O Baal, answer us!’ they cried, but there was no voice, no answer, as they performed their hobbling dance round the altar they had made.

18:27 Midday came, and Elijah mocked them. ‘Call louder,’ he said ‘for he is a god: he is preoccupied or he is busy, or he has gone on a journey; perhaps he is asleep and will wake up.’

18:28 So they shouted louder and gashed themselves, as their custom was, with swords and spears until the blood flowed down them.

18:29 Midday passed, and they ranted on until the time the offering is presented;[*a] but there was no voice, no answer, no attention given to them.

18:30 Then Elijah said to all the people, ‘Come closer to me’, and all the people came closer to him. He repaired the altar of Yahweh which had been broken down.

18:31 Elijah took twelve stones, corresponding to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of Yahweh had come, ‘Israel shall be your name’,

18:32 and built an altar in the name of Yahweh. Round the altar he dug a trench of a size to hold two measures of seed.

18:33 He then arranged the wood, dismembered the bull, and laid it on the wood.

18:34 Then he said, ‘Fill four jars with water and pour it on the holocaust and on the wood’; this they did. He said, ‘Do it a second time’; they did it a second time. He said, ‘Do it a third time’; they did it a third time.

18:35 The water flowed round the altar and the trench itself was full of water.

18:36 At the time when the offering is presented, Elijah the prophet stepped forward. ‘Yahweh, God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel,’ he said ‘let them know today that you are God in Israel, and that I am your servant, that I have done all these things at your command.

18:37 Answer me, Yahweh, answer me, so that this people may know that you, Yahweh, are God and are winning back their hearts.’

18:38 Then the fire of Yahweh fell and consumed the holocaust and wood and licked up the water in the trench.

18:39 When all the people saw this they fell on their faces. ‘Yahweh is God,’ they cried ‘Yahweh is God.’

18:40 Elijah said, ‘Seize the prophets of Baal: do not let one of them escape’. They seized them, and Elijah took them down to the wadi Kishon, and he slaughtered them there.

The drought ends

18:41 Elijah said to Ahab, ‘Go back, eat and drink; for I hear the sound of rain’.

18:42 While Ahab went back to eat and drink, Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel and bowed down to the earth, putting his face between his knees.

18:43 ‘Now go up,’ he told his servant ‘and look out to the sea.’ He went up and looked. ‘There is nothing at all’ he said. ‘Go back seven times’ Elijah said.

18:44 The seventh time, the servant said, ‘Now there is a cloud, small as a man’s hand, rising from the sea’. Elijah said, ‘Go and say to Ahab, “Harness the chariot and go down before the rain stops you”‘.

18:45 And with that the sky grew dark with cloud and storm, and rain fell in torrents. Ahab mounted his chariot and made for Jezreel.

18:46 The hand of Yahweh was on Elijah, and tucking up his cloak he ran in front of Ahab as far as the outskirts of Jezreel.

JB 1 KINGS Chapter 19

B. ELIJAH AT HOREB

The journey to Horeb

19:1 When Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and how he had put all the prophets to the sword,

19:2 Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, ‘May the gods do this to me and more, if by this time tomorrow I have not made your life like the life of one of them!’

19:3 He was afraid and fled for his life. He came to Beersheba, a town of Judah, where he left his servant.

19:4 He himself went on into the wilderness, a day’s journey, and sitting under a furze bush wished he were dead. ‘Yahweh,’ he said ‘I have had enough. Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.’

19:5 Then he lay down and went to sleep. But an angel touched him and said, ‘Get up and eat’.

19:6 He looked round, and there at his head was a scone baked on hot stones, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again.

19:7 But the angel of Yahweh came back a second time and touched him and said, ‘Get up and eat, or the journey will be too long for you’.

19:8 So he got up and ate and drank, and strengthened by that food he walked for forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God.

The encounter with God

19:9 There he went into the cave[*a] and spent the night in it. Then the word of Yahweh came to him saying, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’

19:10 He replied, ‘I am filled with jealous zeal for Yahweh Sabaoth, because the sons of Israel have deserted you, broken down your altars and put your prophets to the sword. I am the only one left, and they want to kill me.’

19:11 Then he was told, ‘Go out and stand on the mountain before Yahweh’. Then Yahweh himself went by. There came a mighty wind, so strong it tore the mountains and shattered the rocks before Yahweh. But Yahweh was not in the wind. After the wind came an earthquake. But Yahweh was not in the earthquake.

19:12 After the earthquake came a fire. But Yahweh was not in the fire. And after the fire there came the sound of a gentle breeze.

19:13 And when Elijah heard this, he covered his face with his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Then a voice came to him, which said, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’

19:14 He replied, ‘I am filled with jealous zeal for Yahweh Sabaoth, because the sons of Israel have deserted you, broken down your altars and put your prophets to the sword. I am the only one left and they want to kill me.’

19:15 ‘Go,’ Yahweh said ‘go back by the same way to the wilderness of Damascus. You are to go and anoint Hazael as king of Aram.

19:16 You are to anoint Jehu son of Nimshi as king of Israel, and to anoint Elisha son of Shaphat, of Abel Meholah, as prophet to succeed you.

19:17 Anyone who escapes the sword of Hazael will be put to death by Jehu; and anyone who escapes the sword of Jehu will be put to death by Elisha.

19:18 But I shall spare seven thousand in Israel: all the knees that have not bent before Baal, all the mouths that have not kissed him.’

The call of Elisha

19:19 Leaving there, he came on Elisha son of Shaphat as he was ploughing behind twelve yoke of oxen, he himself being with the twelfth. Elijah passed near to him and threw his cloak over him.

19:20 Elisha left his oxen and ran after Elijah. ‘Let me kiss my father and mother, then I will follow you’ he said. Elijah answered, ‘Go, go back; for have I done anything to you?’

19:21 Elisha turned away, took the pair of oxen and slaughtered them. He used the plough for cooking the oxen, then gave to his men, who ate. He then rose, and followed Elijah and became his servant.

JB 1 KINGS Chapter 20

C. THE ARAMAEAN WARS

The siege of Samaria

20:1 Ben-hadad king of Aram[*a] mustered his whole army – thirty-two kings were with him, and horses and chariots – and went up to lay siege to Samaria and storm it.

20:2 He sent messengers into the city to Ahab king of Israel to tell him,

20:3 ‘Thus says Ben-hadad, “Your silver and gold are mine; you may keep your wives and children”.’

20:4 “The king of Israel replied, ‘As you command, my lord king. Myself and all I have are yours.’

20:5 But the messengers came back and said, ‘Ben-hadad says this, “I sent you this order: Hand over your silver and your gold, your wives and your children.

20:6 Count on it that this time tomorrow I will send my servants to search your house and your servants’ houses and lay hands on all they fancy and take it away.”‘

20:7 The king of Israel summoned all the elders of the land and said, ‘You can see clearly how this man intends to ruin us. He now claims my wives and my children, although I have not refused him my silver and my gold.’

20:8 All the elders and all the people said, ‘Take no notice. Do not consent’.

20:9 So he gave this answer to Ben-hadad’s messengers, ‘Say to my lord the king, “All you first required of your servant I will do, but this I cannot do”‘. And the messengers went back with the answer.

20:10 Ben-hadad then sent him the following message, ‘May the gods do this to me and more if there are enough handfuls of rubble in Samaria for all the people in my following’.

20:11 But the king of Israel returned this answer, ‘The proverb says: The man who puts on his armour is not the one who can boast, but the man who takes it off’.

20:12 When Ben-hadad heard this message – he was under the awnings drinking with the kings – he gave orders to his servants, ‘Take post!’ And they took up their positions against the city.

Victory for Israel

20:13 A prophet then arrived, looking for Ahab king of Israel. ‘Yahweh says this’ he said. ‘You have seen this mighty army? This very day I will deliver it into your hands, and you shall know that I am Yahweh.’

20:14 ‘By whose means?’ asked Ahab. The prophet replied, ‘Yahweh says this, “By means of the young soldiers of the district governors”‘. ‘Who is to open the attack?’ Ahab asked. ‘Yourself’ the prophet answered.

20:15 So Ahab inspected the young soldiers of the district governors: there were two hundred and thirty-two. After these he reviewed the whole army, all the Israelites: there were seven thousand.

20:16 They made a sortie at midday, when Ben-hadad was drinking himself senseless under the awnings, he and the thirty-two kings who were his allies.

20:17 The young soldiers of the district governors led the sortie. Ben-hadad was informed, ‘Some men have come out of Samaria’.

20:18 He said, ‘If they have come out for peace, take them alive; if they have come out for war, take them alive too’.

20:19 So they made a sortie from the town, the young soldiers of the district governors and behind them the army,

20:20 and each struck down his man. Aram took to flight and Israel pursued; Ben-hadad king of Aram escaped on a chariot horse.

20:21 Then the king of Israel came out, capturing horses and chariots and inflicting a great defeat on Aram.

Respite

20:22 The prophet went up to the king of Israel. ‘Come,’ he said to him ‘take courage and think carefully what you should do, for at the turn of the year the king of Aram will march against you.’

20:23 The servants of the king of Aram said to him, ‘Their god is a god of the mountains; that is why they have proved stronger than us. But if we fight them on level ground, we will certainly beat them.

20:24 This is what you must do: remove all these kings from their posts and appoint commanders instead.

20:25 You, for your part, must recruit an army as large as the one that deserted you, with as many horses and as many chariots; then if we fight them on level ground, we will certainly beat them.’ He listened to their advice and acted accordingly.

The victory of Aphek

20:26 At the turn of the year, Ben-hadad mustered the Aramaeans and went up to Aphek to fight Israel.

20:27 The Israelites had also mustered, and marched out to meet them. Encamped opposite them, the Israelites looked like two herds of goats, whereas the Aramaeans filled the countryside.

20:28 The man of God accosted the king of Israel. ‘Yahweh says this’ he said. ‘”Since Aram has said that Yahweh is a god of the mountains and not a god of the plains, I will put all this mighty host into your power, and you shall know that I am Yahweh.”‘

20:29 For seven days they were encamped opposite each other. On the seventh day battle was joined and the Israelites slaughtered the Aramaeans, a hundred thousand foot soldiers[*b] in one day.

20:30 The rest fled to Aphek, into the town itself, but the walls fell down on the twenty-seven thousand who remained. Now Ben-hadad had fled and taken refuge within the town in an inner room.

20:31 ‘Look,’ his servants said to him ‘we have heard that the kings of Israel are merciful kings. Let us put sackcloth round our waists and ropes on our heads and go out to the king of Israel; perhaps he will spare your life.’

20:32 So they wrapped sackcloth round their waists and put ropes on their heads and went to the king of Israel, and said, ‘Your servant Ben-hadad says, “Spare my life”‘. ‘So he is still alive?’ he answered. ‘He is my brother.'[*c]

20:33 The men took this for a good omen and quickly seized on his words. ‘Yes,’ they said ‘Ben-hadad is your brother.’ Ahab said, ‘Go and fetch him’. Then Ben-hadad came out to him and Ahab made him get up into his chariot.

20:34 Ben-hadad said, ‘I will restore the towns my father took from your father and you may set up bazaars for yourself in Damascus as my father did in Samaria. Myself, by the terms of this treaty, you will set free.’ So Ahab made a treaty with him and let him go free.

A prophet condemns Ahab’s policy

20:35 At Yahweh’s order a member of the brotherhood of prophets said to a companion of his, ‘Strike me’, but the man refused to strike him.

20:36 So he said to him, ‘Since you have disobeyed the order of Yahweh, the very moment you leave me a lion will kill you’. And no sooner had he left him than he met a lion, which killed him.

20:37 The prophet then went to find another man and said, ‘Strike me’, and the man struck him and wounded him.

20:38 The prophet then went and stood waiting for the king on the road, disguising himself with his headband over his eyes.

20:38 As the king passed, he called out to him, ‘Your servant was making his way to where the fight was thickest when someone left the fighting to bring a man to me, and said, “Guard this man; if he is found missing, your life will pay for his, or else you will have to pay one talent of silver”.

20:40 But while your servant was busy with one thing and another, the man disappeared.’ The king of Israel said, ‘That is your sentence, then. You have pronounced it yourself.’

20:41 At this the man quickly pulled off the headband covering his eyes, and the king of Israel recognised him as one of the prophets.[*d]

20:42 He said to the king, ‘Yahweh says this, “Since you have let the man escape who was under my ban, your life will pay for his, your people for his people”‘.

20:43 And off went the king of Israel, gloomy and out of temper, on his way back to Samaria.

JB 1 KINGS Chapter 21

D. NABOTH’S VINEYARD

Naboth refuses to hand over his vineyard

21:1 This is what happened next: Naboth of Jezreel had a vineyard close by the palace of Ahab king of Samaria,

21:2 and Ahab said to Naboth, ‘Give me your vineyard to be my vegetable garden, since it adjoins my house; I will give you a better vineyard for it or, if you prefer, I will give you its worth in money’.

21:3 But Naboth answered Ahab, ‘Yahweh forbid that I should give you the inheritance of my ancestors!’

Ahab and Jezebel

21:4 Ahab went home gloomy and out of temper at the words of Naboth of Jezreel, ‘I will not give you the inheritance of my fathers’. He lay down on his bed and turned his face away and refused to eat.

21:5 His wife Jezebel came to him. ‘Why are you so dispirited’ she said ‘that you will not eat?’

21:6 He said, ‘I have been speaking to Naboth of Jezreel; I said: Give me your vineyard either

for money or, if you prefer, for another vineyard in exchange. But he said, “I will not give you my vineyard”.’

21:7 Then his wife Jezebel said, ‘You make a fine king of Israel, and no mistake! Get up and eat; cheer up, and you will feel better; I will get you the vineyard of Naboth of Jezreel myself.’

Naboth is murdered

21:8 So she wrote letters in Ahab’s name and sealed them with his seal, sending them to the elders and nobles who lived where Naboth lived.

21:9 In the letters she wrote, ‘Proclaim a fast, and put Naboth in the forefront of the people.

21:10 Confront him with a couple of scoundrels who will accuse him like this, “You have cursed God and the king” Then take him outside and stone him to death.’

21:11 The men of Naboth’s town, the elders and nobles who lived in his town, did what Jezebel ordered, what was written in the letters she had sent them.

21:12 They proclaimed a fast and put Naboth in the forefront of the people.

21:13 Then the two scoundrels came and stood in front of him and made their accusation, ‘Naboth has cursed God and the king’. They led him outside the town and stoned him to death.

21:14 They then sent word to Jezebel, ‘Naboth has been stoned to death’.

21:15 When Jezebel heard that Naboth had been stoned to death, she said to Ahab, ‘Get up! Take possession of the vineyard which Naboth of Jezreel would not give you for money, for Naboth is no longer alive, he is dead.’

21:16 When Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, he got up to go down to the vineyard of Naboth of Jezreel and take possession of it.

Elijah pronounces God’s sentence

21:17 Then the word of Yahweh came to Elijah the Tishbite,

21:18 ‘Up! Go down to meet Ahab king of Israel, in Samaria. You will find him in Naboth’s vineyard; he has gone down to take possession of it.

21:19 You are to say this to him, “Yahweh says this: You have committed murder; now you usurp as well. For this – and Yahweh says this – in the place where the dogs licked the blood of Naboth, the dogs will lick your blood too.”‘

21:20 Ahab said to Elijah, ‘So you have found me out, O my enemy!’ Elijah answered, ‘I have found you out. For your double dealing, and since you have done what is displeasing to Yahweh,

21:21 I will now bring disaster down on you; I will sweep away your descendants, and wipe out every male belonging to the family of Ahab, fettered or free in Israel.

21:22 I will treat your House as I treated the House of Jeroboam son of Nebat and of Baasha son of Ahijah, for provoking my anger and leading Israel into sin.

21:23 (Against Jezebel too Yahweh spoke these words: The dogs will eat Jezebel in the Field of Jezreel.)

21:24 Those of Ahab’s family who die in the city, the dogs will eat; and those who die in the open country, the birds of the air will eat.’

21:25 And indeed there never was anyone like Ahab for double dealing and for doing what is displeasing to Yahweh, urged on by Jezebel his wife.

21:26 He behaved in the most abominable way, adhering to idols, just as the Amorites used to do whom Yahweh had dispossessed for the sons of Israel.

Ahab repents

21:27 When Ahab heard these words, he tore his garments and put sackcloth next his skin and fasted; he slept in the sackcloth; he walked with slow steps.

21:28 Then the word of Yahweh came to Elijah the Tishbite, ‘Have you seen how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Since he has humbled himself before me, I will not bring the disaster in his days; I will bring the disaster down on his House in the days of his son.’

JB 1 KINGS Chapter 22

E. ANOTHER WAR WITH ARAM

Ahab plans a campaign against Ramoth-gilead

22:1 There was a lull of three years, with no fighting between Aram and Israel.

22:2 Then, in the third year, Jehoshaphat king of Judah paid a visit to the king of Israel.

22:3 The king of Israel said to his officers, ‘You are aware that Ramoth-gilead belongs to us? And yet we do nothing to wrest it away from the king of Aram.’

22:4 He said to Jehoshaphat, ‘Will you come with me to fight at Ramoth-gilead?’ Jehoshaphat answered the king of Israel, ‘I am as ready as you, my men as your men, my horses as your horses’.

The spurious prophets predict success

22:5 Jehoshaphat, however, said to the king of Israel, ‘First, please consult the word of Yahweh’.

22:6 So the king of Israel called the prophets together, about four hundred of them. ‘Should I march to attack Ramoth-gilead’ he asked ‘or should I refrain?’ ‘March,’ they replied ‘Yahweh will deliver it into the power of the king.’

22:7 But Jehoshaphat said, ‘Is there no other prophet of Yahweh here for us to consult?’

22:8 The king of Israel answered Jehoshaphat, ‘There is one more man through whom we can consult Yahweh, but I hate him because he never has a favourable prophecy for me, only unfavourable ones; he is Micaiah son of Imlah’. ‘The king should not say such things’ Jehoshaphat said.

22:9 Accordingly the king of Israel summoned one of the eunuchs and said, ‘Bring Micaiah son of Imlah immediately’.

22:10 The king of Israel and Jehoshaphat king of Judah were both sitting on their thrones in full regalia, at the threshing-floor outside the gate of Samaria, with all the prophets raving in front of them.

22:11 Zedekiah son of Chenaanah had made himself iron horns. ‘Yahweh says this’ he said. ‘”With these you will gore the Aramaeans till you make an end of them.”‘

22:12 And all the prophets prophesied the same. ‘March to Ramoth-gilead’ they said ‘and conquer. Yahweh will deliver it into the power of the king.’

The prophet Micaiah predicts defeat

22:13 The messenger who had gone to summon Micaiah said, ‘Here are all the prophets as one man speaking favourably to the king. Try to speak like one of them and foretell success.”

22:14 But Micaiah answered, ‘As Yahweh lives, what Yahweh says to me, that will I utter!’

22:15 When he came to the king, the king said, ‘Micaiah, should we march to attack Ramoth-gilead, or should we refrain?’ He answered, ‘March and conquer. Yahweh will deliver it into the power of the king.’

22:16 But the king said, ‘How often must I put you on oath to tell me nothing but the truth in the name of Yahweh?’

22:17 Then Micaiah spoke: ‘I have seen all Israel scattered on the mountains like sheep without a shepherd. And Yahweh said, “These have no master, let each go home unmolested”.’

22:18 At this the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, ‘Did I not tell you that he never gives me favourable prophecies, but only unfavourable ones?’

22:19 Micaiah went on, ‘Listen rather to the word of Yahweh. I have seen Yahweh seated on his throne; all the array of heaven stood in his presence, on his right and on his left.

22:20 Yahweh said, “Who will trick Ahab into marching to his death at Ramoth-gilead?” At which some answered one way, and some another.

22:21 Then the spirit came forward and stood before Yahweh. “I,” he said “I will trick him.” “How?” Yahweh asked.

22:22 He replied, “I will go and become a lying spirit in the mouths of all his prophets”. “You shall trick him,” Yahweh said “you shall succeed. Go and do it.”

22:23 Now see how Yahweh has put a lying spirit into the mouths of all your prophets here. But Yahweh has pronounced disaster on you.’

22:24 Then Zedekiah son of Chenaanah came up and struck Micaiah on the jaw. ‘Which way’ he asked ‘did the spirit of Yahweh leave me, to talk to you?’

22:25 ‘That is what you will find out,’ Micaiah retorted ‘the day you flee to an inner room to hide.’

22:26 The king of Israel said, ‘Seize Micaiah and hand him over to Amon, governor of the city, and to Prince Joash,

22:27 and say, “These are the king’s orders: Put this man in prison and feed him on nothing but bread and water until I come back safe and sound”‘.

22:28 Micaiah said, ‘If you come back safe and sound, Yahweh has not spoken through me’.

Ahab falls at Ramoth-gilead

22:29 The king of Israel and Jehoshaphat king of Judah went up against Ramoth-gilead.

22:30 The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, ‘I will disguise myself to go into battle, but I want you to wear your royal uniform’. The king of Israel went into battle disguised.

22:31 The king of Aram had given his chariot commanders the following order: ‘Do not attack anyone of whatever rank, except the king of Israel’.

22:32 When the chariot commanders caught sight of Jehoshaphat, they said, ‘That is obviously the king of Israel’. And they wheeled to the attack. But Jehoshaphat shouted his war cry

22:33 and the chariot commanders, realising that he was not the king of Israel, called off their pursuit.

22:34 Now one of the men, drawing his bow at random, hit the king of Israel between the corslet and the scale-armour of his breastplate. ‘Turn about’ the king said to his charioteer. ‘Get me out of the battle; I have been hurt.’

22:35 But the battle grew fiercer as the day went on; the king was held upright in his chariot facing the Aramaeans, and in. the evening he died; the blood from the wound flowed into the bottom of the chariot.

22:36 At sundown a shout ran through the camp, ‘Every man back to his town, every man back to his country;

22:37 the king is dead!’ They went to Samaria, and in Samaria they buried the king.

22:38 They washed the chariot at the Pool of Samaria; the dogs licked up the blood, and the prostitutes washed in it, in accordance with the word that Yahweh had spoken.

F. AFTER THE DEATH OF AHAB

The end of the reign of Ahab

22:39 The rest of the history of Ahab, his entire career, the ivory house he erected, all the towns he built, is not all this recorded in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Israel?

22:40 Then Ahab slept with his ancestors; his son Ahaziah succeeded him.

The reign of Jehoshaphat in Judah (870-848)

22:41 Jehoshaphat son of Asa became king of Judah in the fourth year of Ahab king of Israel.

22:42 Jehoshaphat was thirty-five years old when he came to the throne, and he reigned for twenty-five years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Azubah, daughter of Shilhi.

22:43 In every way he followed the example of his father Asa undeviatingly, doing what is right in the eyes of Yahweh.

22:44 The high places, however, were not abolished; the people still offered sacrifice and incense on the high places.

22:45 Jehoshaphat was at peace with the king of Israel.

22:46 The rest of the history of Jehoshaphat, the valour he showed, the wars he waged, is not all this recorded in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Judah?

22:47 The remaining male sacred prostitutes of those who had lived in the time of his father Asa, he swept out of the country.

22:48 There was no king in Edom,

22:49 and King Jehoshaphat built a ship of Tarshish to go to Ophir for gold, but his ship never reached there: it was wrecked at Ezion-geber.

22:50 Then Ahaziah son of Ahab said to Jehoshaphat, ‘Let my men man the ships with yours’. But Jehoshaphat would not agree.

22:51 Then Jehoshaphat slept with his ancestors and was buried in the Citadel of David, his ancestor; his son Jehoram succeeded him.

King Ahaziah of Israel and the prophet Elijah (853-852)

22:52 Ahaziah son of Ahab became king of Israel in Samaria in the seventeenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and reigned over Israel for two years.

22:53 He did what is displeasing to Yahweh, by following the example of his father and mother, and of Jeroboam son of Nebat who had led Israel into sin.

22:54 He served Baal and worshipped him, and provoked the anger of Yahweh the God of Israel just as his father had done.

END OF JB 1 KINGS [22 Chapters].

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