Friday, August 29, 2008

Jehu King of Israel II Kings 9

II Kings 9:2 "And when thou comest thither, look out there Jehu the son of Jehoshaphat the son of Nimshi, and go in and make him arise up from among his brethren, and carry him to an inner chamber; v3 Then take the box of oil, and pour it on his head, and say Thus saith the LORD, I have anointed thee king of Israel. Then open the door and flee and tarry not."

These are unusual instructions from Elisha. We must remember that Israel has a king named Joram. He would not look kindly on someone being anointed to take his place although he is sick back in Jezreel.

Basically, Elisha told the young child of a prophet to do the deed and run for his life.

Added to the anointing were prophecies that Jehu would smite the house of Ahab v8 and that Jezebel would be eaten by the dogs. v10 Jezebel has been a very sinful person. She influenced Ahab to worship false gods and to steal the vineyard belonging to another. No doubt, she has been influencing Joram.

v11 "Then Jehu came forth to the servants of his lord; and one said unto him, Is all well? wherefore came this mad fellow to thee? And he said unto them, Ye know the man, and his communication."

Jehu suspected that they had been listening but they said no, so he repeated the prophecy. The servants then took their own garments and put them under Jehu who was on the stairs and bowed themselves and pronounced him king.

v16 "So Jehu rode in a chariot and went to Jezreel; for Joram lay there. And Ahaziah king of Judah was come down to see Joram."

Ahaziah was king of Judah but he had ties to the family of Omri who had been king of Israel. His mother was the daughter of Omri. v26 c8. So he went to help Joram fight with the king of Syria. Now, he has gone to visit Joram and is there when Jehu came to take over.

v22 "And it came to pass, when Joram saw Jehu, that he said, Is it peace Jehu? And he answered. What peace, so long as the whoredoms of thy mother Jezebel and her witchcrafts are so many?"

The resulting battle was short, king Joram was killed as well as Ahaziah. The Jezebel painted herself up and was standing looking out a window at the commotion. She scoffed at Jehu.

v31 "And as Jehu entered in at the gate, she said, Had Zimri peace who slew his master?"

Jehu cried out for anyone on his side to announce themselves. Some did so. Jehu told them to cast her down to the street. Later he told some to go bury her but it was too late, Jezebel had finally met her fate as prophesied.

v36 "Wherefore they came again and told him. And he said, This is the word of the LORD, which he spake by his servant Elijah, the Tishbite, saying, In the portion of Jezreel shall dogs eat this flesh of Jezebel:

They found only her skull, feet and the palms of her hands. Jezebel's days of evil are over.

Proverbs 21:15 "It is joy to the just to do judgment: but destruction shall be to the workers of iniquity."

Keywords: Bible Study, Kings, Old Testament, Jezebel, Jehu, Elisha. Jezebel is eaten by dogs. Jehu is king in Israel.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Kings Change II Kings 8

II Kings 8:13 "And Hazael said, But what, is thy servant a dog that he should do this great thing? And Elisha answered, The LORD hath shewed me that thou shalt be king over Syria."

Hazael was the the servant of king Benhadad of Syria. Benhadad was sick and sent to Elisha to find out if he would live. His prognosis was bad. Hazael would rule and Elisha prophecied that he would do a great slaughter in Israel. Elisha wept because of it.

In the start of the chapter though, the widow whose son was raised from the dead, was told by Elisha that there would be a 7 year famine and she should go someplace else for that time. She went to the land of the Philistines. Upon her return she asked the king for her land back. The King enquired of his servant about all the deeds of Elisha and while he told of the widow, she appeared before the king.

v6 "And when the king asked the woman, she told him. So the king appointed unto her a certain officer, saying Restore all that was her's and all the fruits of the field since the day that she left the land, even until now."

That must have been quite a sum. Little did she know the blessings she would receive when she helped the prophet.

The son of Jehosphaphat began to reign in Judah during this chapter. I think he was co-ruler with his father. His name was Jehoram. He was married to the daughter of Ahab which would make him the brother-in-law to the king of Israel who was Joram.

v18 "And he walked in the way of the kings of Israel as did the house of Ahab; for the daughter of Ahab was his wife: and he did evil in the sight of the LORD."

Joram had war with Edom and Libnah who had revolted. Jehoram died and his son Ahaziah took over. Joram was wounded in battle and the chapter ends with a visit from Ahaziah the king of Judah. If you read through the chapter the names of the two kings might run together. I hope I did not confuse them. The longest name with the 'h' in the middle was the king of Judah. He died and Ahaziah took his place. The other one is king of Israel. Verse 29 unravels it.

Psalm 3:3 "But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head."

Keywords: Bible Study, Old Testament, Israel, Judah, Elisha. Kings change in Judah and Israel.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Empty Camp Four Lepers II Kings 7

II Kings 7:5 "And they rose up in the twilight to go unto the camp of the Syrians: and when they were come to the uttermost part of the camp of Syria behold there was no man there."

The situation is terrible for the besieged city of Israel. Food has run out. The Syrians are camped without with plenty to eat and are just waiting for the city to die so they can march in without resistance.

Four lepers are wandering out in the country side. They must scrounge for their existence for they cannot enter the city. In this case, they are better off. At least, they can look around for food unlike the people in the city.

It was not in God's plan to let the city die.

v6 "For the Lord had made the host of the Syrians to hear a noise of chariots and a noise of horses, even the noise of a great host: and they said one to another Lo, the king of Israel hath hired against us the kings of the Hittites and the kings of the Egyptians to come upon us."

The result was that the Syrians fled leaving all their positions behind. The tents were set up but no one was home. In fleeing, they dropped anything that slowed them down, so much was their terror.

The lepers took a few things and hid them but then decided thought they ought to tell the king so they went to the gate and passed the word that the Syrian camp was there but empty. The king thought it a trick and sent out the few horses they had left to check things out. They found garments strewn all the way to the Jordan River and so decided to go to the tents. They found such abundance that prices at the gate were very cheap which fulfilled the prophecy of Elisha in the first verse of the chapter.

v1 "Then Elisha said Hear ye the word of the Lord; Thus saith the LORD To morrow about this time shall a measure of fine flour be sold for a shekel and two measures of barley for a shekel in the gate of Samaria."

One of the kings men did not believe the prophecy and scoffed. Elisha told him he would see it fulfilled but would not partake of the food.

v20 "And so it fell out unto him; for the people trode upon him in the gate and he died."

The great nation of Israel is now divided between Judah (a light for David) and Israel which is made up of those not of Judah on this side of Jordan. The nation is weak and often attacked. The reason all this is happening is their rebellion against God and their worship of pagan gods.

I Kings 11 v11 "...I will rend it out of the hand of thy son." Speaking to Solomon who had forsaken the LORD. v14 "... I will not rend away all the kingdom..." v33 "Because that they have forsaken me and have worshipped Ashtoreth...Zidonians, Chemosh and Milcom...and have not walked in my ways..."

Judgment is a hard thing. Israel was brought from slavery and made a great nation to glorify God. They were not to be like other nations but special. I believe they have disappointed the LORD.

Psalm 87:1 "His foundation is in the holy mountains."

Key words: Bible Study, Gospel, Old Testament, Old Old Story, KJV, Kings, lepers, Syrians, Samaria. Samaria is besieged and God lets the Syrian army hear a multitude coming after them so they flee.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Iron did Swim II Kings 6

II Kings 6:6 "And the man of God, said, Where fell it? And he shewed him the place. And he cut down a stick and cast it in thither, and the iron did swim."

Elisha was a man of miracles. This chapter continues the stories with the floating axe story.

I call it a story but it really did happen. The sons of the prophets decided to move and went to the river Jordan and were building a shelter. They had invited Elisha along and so he was there while they were building. One of the men had borrowed an axe. The iron head came off and went into the river. The man who borrowed the axe was upset because he could not now return it. Elisha threw in the stick and the axe floated to the top. All the man had to do was reach out and get the axe. It is a good story and I think of salvation because all the work has been done for one to receive salvation, it is a matter of believing and reaching out and taking it.

v8 "The king of Syria warred against Israel and took counsel with his servants saying In such and such a place shall be my camp."

Elisha told the king of Israel the plans and his life was saved more than once because he knew in advance where the Syrians would be. The king of Syria thought he had a traitor in his midst and so confronted his men.

v12 "And one of his servants said, None my lord, O King, but Elisha the prophet that is in Israel, telleth the king of Israel the words that thou speakest in thy bedchamber."

Then the king of Syria spied out where Elisha was and sent chariots to fetch him. Elisha was not afraid of the army and told his servant there was no need to fear.

v16-17 "And he answered Fear not for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. And Elisha prayed and said LORD I pray thee open his eyes that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man and he saw; and behold the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha."

Often, we are fearful because we cannot see what God is doing for us with our physical eye. He protects us nevertheless.

The Syrians were stricken blind and then Elisha led them into the camp of Israel in Samaria. The king of Israel wondered to Elisha if he should smite them but Elisha told him instead to feed them and let them go home.

The Syrians did not give up completely. They laid siege to Samaria and caused starvation inside the gates. So much so that two women agreed to boil their children to eat. v29 There were few horses left. Elisha is then threatened.

Psalm 121:5 "The LORD is thy keeper; the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand."

Keywords: Bible Study. Old Testament, Israel, Elisha. Elisha causes an axe to float. The iron did swim.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Elisha, Naaman, 7 Times in Jordan II Kings 5

II Kings 5:14 "Then went he down, and dipped himself seven times in Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God: and his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child and he was clean."

The captain of the Syrian army is a man of valour and an honorable man. It was by his hand that the LORD delivered Syria. It may be odd that the Lord would deliver Syria when Israel is his beloved so this seems a good place to put this verse from Proverbs.

Proverbs 8:15 "By me kings reign, and princes decree justice." In a verse before that it talks about the fear of the LORD. v13 "The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate."

So we can conclude that not only does the LORD choose who will be king over Israel but also who will lead other nations as well. He is Lord of all the earth.

Naaman was a great and might man but he was a leper. In their raids, a young maiden had been captured and she served Naaman's wife. The young maiden knew of the leprosy and wished aloud that Naaman could get to the man of God in Israel. Word got back to Naaman and he, of course, had no clue who the man of God was that she spoke of so he wrote the king of Israel a letter.

Oh no, thought the king of Israel, Syria is devising some bad thing against us. He rent his clothes in dread and fear. Elisha heard that the king had rent his clothes and enquired to find out about Naaman. 'Send him to me.' The prophet told the king.

v8 "And it was so when Elisha the man of God had heard that the king of Israel had rent his clothes that he sent to the king saying Wherefore hast thou rent thy clothes? let him come now to me and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel."

Naaman did come to Elisha and stood at his door but Elisha did not come rushing out to the man of means. He instead sent someone else to the door and had them tell Naaman go dip himself in Jordan seven times. That seemed ridiculous to Naaman, he complained citing the fine rivers they had in Damascus.

Naaman got mad and went away in a rage. Fortunately, a servant of Naaman got the man's attention and brought him to reason. If the prophet had told you to do something amazing, you would have done that, why not do as he said.

v13 "And his servants came near and spake unto him and said My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then when he saith to thee Wash and be clean?"

The man came to his senses and went down to Jordan dipping himself 7 times and was clean. He went back to Elisha and tried to give him some treasures but Elisha would take nothing, later explaining that it was not the time.

Gehazi on the other hand got greedy and ran after Naaman and asked something of him for some other folks but really intended to keep it. Elisha was not pleased.

v26 "And he said unto him Went not mine heart with thee when the man turned again from his chariot to meet thee? Is it a time to receive money, and to receive garments, and oliveyards, and vineyards and sheep and oxen and menservants and maidservants? v27 The leprosy therefore of Naaman shall cleave unto thee..."

Gehazi sinned in several ways.
-His first action was to covet the gifts. v20 Greed.
-He lied by saying it was for another. v22 v24
-He again lied to cover up his sin. v25

After all he had seen, surely he should have known that a prophet that could see things far off would see him take from Naaman.

Note: I said in another place that it seemed that Elijah did not stay around long enough, he was such an amazing individual but much is written about Elisha. In this line of thought, I can see some parallel with John the Baptist and Jesus Christ. John said that he must increase and I must decrease. John 3:30. So this story seems to me to be a picture or foretaste of Christ and the great things he would do.

Psalm 25:1 "Unto thee O LORD do I lift up my soul."

Keywords: Bible Study, Bible, Old Testament, Naaman, Elisha, Jordan. Naaman the leper dips himself in Jordan seven times as Elisha said and is healed.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Elisha Miracles - Widow's Oil II Kings 4

II Kings 4:1 "Now there cried a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets unto Elisha saying Thy servant my husband is dead, and thou knowest that thy servant did fear the LORD and the creditor is come to take unto him my two sons to be bondmen."

If we lived in those times, most Americans would be in a mess and childless. I'm glad we don't have those traditions.

Elisha asked her what she did have. She said nothing but a pot of oil. Elisha took what she had and worked with it to help her survive. He said to her go and borrow all the empty vessels you can find from your neighbors and go into your house and close the door, then fill the vessels with oil.

v6 "And it came to pass when the vessels were full that she said unto her son Bring me yet a vessel And he said unto her There is not a vessel more. And the oil stayed."

Elisha told her to go sell the oil, pay her debts and live off the rest. v7

Next we have a miracle for whom the Bible calls a 'great woman'. She honored the man of God and made a little chamber for him in her house. Elisha was pleased that she did so and wanted to do something for her. I think Elisha did not speak her language for he had his servant to ask her questions and talk to her but I'm not sure about that.

Elisha asked if he could speak to the authorities for her but she was content to live among her own people. v13 So what can we do for her? Elisha wanted to know. The servant replied.

v14 "And he said What then is to be done for her? And Gehazi answered. Verily she hath no child, and her husband is old."

Well, Elisha promised her that she would have a son and it was so.

Later, the boy was in the field and came down sick with an extreme headache and died. He was laid on Elisha's bed and she went to see the prophet. Elisha was moved and sent his servant on ahead with his staff and told him to touch the boy's face with it. v29 Then Elisha followed with the woman to her home.

v32 "And when Elisha was come into the house, behold, the child was dead, and laid upon his bed."

Elisha stretched himself upon the child and the child's flesh got warm again. Then he repeated it putting his mouth on the child's, his hands on the child's, etc. The number seven is obvious in these chapters. It sounds very much like the first case of resuscitation :) .

v35 "Then he returned and walked in the house to and fro and went up and stretched himself upon him and the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes."

Verses 38 through 41 tells the story of Elisha making bad pottage into good pottage.

Verses 42 through 44 is about a hundred being fed with a small amount of food with some left over. Twenty loaves and ears of corn in the husk bed the hundred. Luke 9:13 and John 6:12. It is remarkable how we see this miracle repeated in the New Testament. I do not see how anyone can separate the Old and the New, they are such great companions.

All these things were done to show that there was an awesome God in Israel. Elisha was but the instrument.

Psalm 131:3 "Let Israel hope in the LORD from henceforth and for ever."

Keywords: Bible Study, Old Testament, Elisha, Old Old Story, miracles, oil in the pot, raising of dead. The story of some of Elisha's miracles.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Three Kings to War II Kings 3

II Kings 3:5 "But it came to pass, when Ahab was dead, that the king of Moab rebelled against the king of Israel."

The king of Moab was paying tribute to the king of Israel. He stopped paying when Ahab was killed and his son Jehoram took over. Jehoram asked the king of Judah, Jehoshaphat and the king of Edom to help him attack Moab. They agreed.

Their journey took them through the wilderness of Edom. They soon ran out of water for themselves and their cattle. Two of the kings decided God had brought them out there to die but Jehoshaphat sought God's help.

v11 "But Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the LORD, that we may enquire of the LORD by him? And one of the king of Israel's servants answered and said, Here is Elisha the son of Shaphat which poured water on the ands of Elijah. v12 And Jehoshaphat said, The word of the LORD is with him..."

Elisha told them to dig ditches in the valley and although there would be no signs of rain or wind the ditches would be filled. It was so.

Elisha also told them he had nothing to do with the king of Israel and Edom but would help because of Jehoshaphat. v14

The enemy saw the water as blood and thought the three kings were destroyed and so went for the spoil.

v24 "And when they came to the camp of Israel, the Israelites rose up and smote the Moabites so that they fled before them, but they went forward smiting the Moabites even in their country."

Moab was devastated by the war. The wells were filled in, the good trees were cut down and rocks were dumped in the fields.

A terrible thing happened in Moab. The king in desperation placed his son, who was to take his place, on the wall and killed him. Because of the great indignation toward Israel they went home.

Psalm 139:14 "I will praise thee for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvellous are thy works, and that my soul knoweth right well."

Keywords: Bible Study, Old Testament, Old Old Story, Israel, Judah, Edom, Moab, Elisha. Three kings go to war against Moab because they stopped paying tribute to Israel.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Elijah Leaves Earth Alive II Kings 2

II Kings 2:11 "And it came to pass as they still went on and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven."

Many people say it, over and over, Elijah went to heaven in a Chariot of Fire. He did not. Look at this verse again and the first verse.

v1 "And it came to pass, when the LORD would take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal."

Elijah was trying to 'shake Elisha off' so that he could be translated out of his sight but Elisha would not leave him alone. Some of the younger prophets told Elisha that his master was leaving and he kept telling them 'I know'. In a manner, he was telling them to leave him alone because he did not want to loose sight of Elijah. Why?

v10 "And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing: nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken from thee it shall be so unto thee but if not, it shall not be so."

Elisha wanted a double portion of the spirit that Elijah had. Elijah is the one who called fire down from heaven and consumed the offering and the altar in was on and all the stones and water. Elijah was the one who called down fire and consumed the fifty sent by the king to force him to come to him. Elisha wants a double portion of that spirit. It was indeed a hard thing he asked. Still he persisted and Elijah finally was content with the situation and they went on talking.

Here are the places Elijah went before he was translated and one preachers idea of the symbolism in them:
-Gilgal-salvation, the place where Israel was circumcised and the reproach of Egypt was cast off.
-Bethel-a place of prayer or the house of God
-Jericho-a place of victory
-Jordan - often thought of as death, the crossing over also of the Christian life where we put off the old man and put on the new.

There is not enough about Elijah as far as I am concerned. He is often compared to John the Baptist and is called Elias in the New Testament. But Elisha is on the scene. He is a former 'plow boy' who answered the call and followed Elijah. One place described him as the one who washed Elijah's hands.

Elijah had used his mantel to part the Jordan river and so Elisha did the same thing on his way back saying:

v14 "And he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him and smote the waters and said Where is the LORD God of Elijah? and when he also had smitten the waters they parted hither and thither and Elisha went over."

The scene was witnessed by the sons of the prophets Elisha continued on his journey. He came to a city that had a bad water supply and used salt to restore it to sweetness. He then went on his way and a lesson was taught that the man of God was to be respected. Elisha had a bald head but it was not to be laughed at.

v24 "And he turned back and looked on them and cursed them in the name of the LORD. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood and tare forty and two children of them."

It was a very dramatic way to make a point but we could use a few bears around our churches in our day. People have lost respect for the house of God and those who minister. God is an awesome God. He will be our friend but he must be respected as the ultimate power.

Psalm 1:6 "For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous but the way of the ungodly shall perish."

Keywords: Bible Study, Old Testament, Israel, Elijah, Elisha. Elijah translated and Elisha calls out the bears to teach reverence for the man of God.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Elijah and Ahaziah II Kings 1

II Kings 1:2 "And Ahaziah fell down through a lattice in his upper chamber that was in Samaria, and was sick: and he sent messengers and said unto them, Go enquire of Baal-zebub the god of Ekron whether I shall recover of his disease."

Second Kings is also called the fourth book of the kings if you include 1st and 2nd Samuel.

Ahaziah is the king of Israel excluding Judah. He has fallen down and injured himself. As the verse tells us he did a very bad thing in seeking information from a false god called Baalzebub.

The messengers were met by Elijah after he was informed of the situation by the angel of the Lord. Elijah asked the messengers:

v3 "...Is it not because there is not a God in Israel, that ye go to enquire of Baalzebub the god of Ekron?"

The messengers turned around and told the king what happened. He asked for a description of the prophet and knew it was Elijah. So he then decides to ask him the question and sent fifty men with their captain to get Elijah. Elijah did not answer to the king but rather to the LORD.

v10 "And Elijah answered and said to the captain of fifty. If I be a man of God then let fire come down from heaven and consume thee and the fifty, And there came down fire from heaven and consumed him and his fifty."

This happened the second time in verse 12, then another captain was sent with his fifty but he had a humble approach and so was not consumed.

v15 "And the angel of the LORD said unto Elijah Go down with him be not afraid of him. And he arose and went down with him unto the king."

The answer was not what the king wanted. Elijah told him because of his actions in seeking out a false god that he would not recover. v16 The king then died.

Elijah had a unique appearance as did John the Baptist:
v8 "And they answered him He was an hairy man and girt with a girdle of leather about his loins..."
Matthew 3:4 "And the same John had his raiment of camel's hair and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey."

Psalm 139:1 "O LORD thou hast searched me, and known me."

Keywords: Bible Study, Old Testament, Elijah, Old Old Story, Elisha, Ahaziah, Kings, Israel. Elijah calls down fire.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Jehoshaphat and Ahab Join Forces I Kings 22

I Kings 22:4 "And he said unto Jehoshaphat, Wilt thou go with me to battle to Ramoth-gilead? And Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, I am as thou art, my people as thy people, my horses as thy horses."

Syria is occupying Ramoth-gilead, a territory of Israel. The two kings of Canaan, Israel and Judah, are on a friendly basis and wish to join forces to take the area back. They first wish to enquire of the Lord and send for the prophets. Over 400 show up and give their particular prediction of what will take place, but there is another prophet: Micaiah.

v23 "Now therefore behold the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil concerning thee."

In other words, all was not going to go well for Ahab as the 400 had told him. I expect they wished to tell the king what he wanted to hear but actually had no real insight. Micaiah on the other hand told the king the truth.

v17 "And he said, I saw all Israel scattered upon the hills, as sheep that have not a shepherd: and the LORD said, These have no master; let them return every man to his house in peace."

That was a prediction of the death of Ahab. Micaiah was thrown in jail and put on bread and water. Ahab and Jehosphaphat got to the battlefield. Ahab decided he would go into battle as one of the troops while Jehoshaphat sat in robes as the king. The enemy was given orders to go after the king in particular and so the king had to flee. In all the fighting, Ahab was wounded and bleed in the chariot.

v34 "And a certain man drew a bow at a venture and smote the king of Israel between the joints of the harness wherefore he said unto the driver of his chariot Turn thine hand and carry me out of the host; for I am wounded."

The king died before they got home and the chariot was washed out in the place where Naboth was stoned and killed.

v38 "And one washed the chariot in the pool of Samaria and the dogs licked up his blood and they washed the armour according unto the word of the LORD which he spake."

Jehoshaphat was a good king and reigned for 25 years from the time he was 35 years old. He followed after Asa who was also a good king.

Proverbs 22:1 "A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches and loving favour rather than silver and gold."

keywords: Bible Study, Samaria, Israel, Jehoshaphat, Ahab. Ahab killed in battle and the dogs licked his blood.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Ahab-Naboth's Vineyard I Kings 21

I Kings 21:1 "And it came to pass after these things, that Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard, which was in Jezreel, hard by the palace of Ahab king of Samaria."

Well, Ahab is the king and the vineyard is probably in walking distance of his palace. I suppose he looks out his window and gazes at it for days and decides it would make him a nice herb garden. He could just walk out the back door and walk in his garden.

The problem is it belongs to someone else: Naboth.

That is not the only thing that stands in the way of him having it:

Exodus 20:17 "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbours' house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is thy neighbour's.

Ahab offered to buy the property or to trade another property of better value to Naboth for the vineyard he wanted. No way, says Naboth. It's been in my family and is our inheritance. I won't do it.

So Ahab pouts: v4 "And Ahab came into his house heavy and displeased because of the word which Naboth the Jezreelite had spoken to him: for he had said, I will not give thee the inheritance of my fathers. And he laid him down upon his bed, and turned away his face, and would eat no bread."

What a site, for the king of Israel to act. Then comes Jezeebel to the rescue. She said she would get the vineyard for him. She forged letters to the elders of the city and lined up two false witnesses against Naboth. She used the kings seal.

Court was in session, Naboth was found guilty of blasphemy and stoned outside the city. Jezeebel has accomplished her mission and tells Ahab to go get his vineyard. But Elijah is informed of the plot by the LORD and Ahab is met in the vineyard by the prophet.

v20 "And Ahab said to Elijah, Hast thou found me O mine enemy? And he answered, I have found thee, because thou hast sold thyself to work evil in the sight of the LORD."

The dogs would lick the blood of Ahab in the same place where Naboth was killed. It is also told him that Jezeebel would not escape and that the dogs would eat her at the wall of the city. v23

Upon hearing these tidings Ahab put on sackcloth and went away quietly. The LORD noticed that he humbled himself and gave him a stay on the punishment so far as wiping out his posterity until after his death.

v29 "Seest thou how Ahab humbleth himself before me? because he humbleth himself before me, I will not bring the evil in his days: but in his son's days will I bring the evil upon his house."

I wonder what Ahab would have been like if he had married a different woman. One who respected the law and the God of Ahab's fathers.

Proverbs 14:1 "Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands."

Keywords: Bible Study. Old Testament, Kings, Ahab, Jezeebel, Elijah. Ahab steals Naboth's vineyard an Jezeebel has him killed.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Israel-Syria at War I Kings 20

I Kings 20:20 "And they slew every one his man and the Syrians fled and Israel pursued them and Benhadad the king of Syria escaped on an horse with the horsemen."

Benhadad could not have known that his kingship was doomed when he went off into battle against Israel. Elijah had already been sent c19v15 to anoint Hazael to be king over Syria.

Nevertheless, Benhadad decided to strip Israel of its possessions. He and 32 other kings. He made demands of the King of Israel and when those were agreed to, he increased his demands. Apparently, he was going to attack no matter what.

Demand one: v3 "Thy silver and thy gold is mine; thy wives also and thy children, even the goodliest are mine."

The king of Israel agreed to this but I don't know how. Second Demand: v6 "Yet I will send my servants unto thee to morrow about this time and they shall search thine house and the houses of thy servants and it shall be that whatsoever is pleasant in thy eyes they shall put it in their hand and take it away."

Finally, that got the kings anger up and he was ready to fight. Benhadad invokes his gods against Israel with this threat. v10 "And Benhadad sent unto him, and said The gods do so unto me and more also if the dust of Samaria shall suffice for handfuls for all the people that follow me."

I'm not sure but I think he is saying that he has more people to attack than there are handfuls of dirty in Samaria.

Israel's reply: v11 "And the king of Israel answered and said Tell him, Let not him that girdeth on his harness boast himself as he that putteth it off."

Now that's a riddle: He might have been saying that 'You put your pants on just like I do.' or Since he mentioned harness he may have been calling him something like a donkey.

Regardless diplomacy has failed :) .

The armies:
Syria: 100,1000 footmen, v29great multitude v28 (campaign one was like campaign 2 in number)
Israel: 232 princes, 7,000 people

In this the first campaign the people went out and Benhadad ordered them taken alive. He was drunk. That plan did not work and the Syrians were slain and fled.

In the second campaign, the Syrian numbers were suppose to be the same according to the kings advisers. Also, they told the king that the gods of Israel (Really the one God) was God only of the mountain where they lost the first battle so they would fight in the plain or valley.

v27 "And the children of Israel were numbered and were all present and went against them and the children of Israel pitched before them like two little flocks of kids; but the Syrians filled the country."

Help is on the way, in the following long verse we see the LORD letting the Syrians that he is not restricted to victory in the hills:

v28 "And there came a man of God and spake unto the king of Israel, and said Thus saith the LORD, Because the Syrians have said The LORD is God of the hills but he is not God of the valleys, therefore will I deliver all this great multitude into thine hand and ye shall know that I am the LORD."

v29 "And they pitched one over against the other seven days. And so it was that in the seventh day the battle was joined and the children of Israel slew of the Syrians an hundred thousand footmen in one day. v30 But the rest fled..."

There is more to the chapter, Jezebeel is silent for now. But Ahad spared the king of Syria after he had been delivered into his hand and it displeased the LORD. v42 So Ahab's life was required in return. But not just now.

Psalm 61:3 "For thou hast been a shelter for me and a strong tower from the enemy."

Keywords: Bible Study, Old Testament, Old Old Story, Ahab, Syria. Israel and Syria at war. God is God of the valley as well as the mountain.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Elijah picks Elisha I Kings 19

I Kings 19:19 "So he departed thence and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he with eh twelfth: and Elijah passed by him, and cast his mantle upon him."

Elijah's ministry seems to be a short one but we do not know how long he was around before he contacted Ahab. Often the Bible does not give us a name but will say 'a man of God' or a prophet. Perhaps that is one reason he is compared to John the Baptist.

He was human though and got discouraged. It is the case, often, in the Christian life where after a victory in our life we are again tested by troubles.

v2 "Then Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah saying So let the gods do to me and more also if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by to morrow about this time."

She was speaking of the death of the prophets of Baal and threatening to kill Elijah.

Elijah left the area and went into the wilderness after leaving his servant in Judah for his safety. Elijah was so discouraged that he wanted to die. v4 "... O LORD take away my life for I am not better than my fathers."

Then we have the story of the juniper tree where Elijah slept and the angels waking him up to give him food. Elijah traveled for 40 days on the strength of that food and was in a cave when we have this beautiful story. It answers the question Where do we find God? It is not always where we think.

v12 "And after the earthquake, a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice."

Then they talked and Elijah was told that he was not alone but there were 7000 still out there serving the true God. So Elijah goes on his way and does the bidding of the LORD. He anoints two kings and then Elisha.

v21 "And he returned back from him, and took a yoke of oxen and slew them and boiled their flesh with the instruments of the oxen and gave unto the people and they did eat. Then he arose and went after Elijah and ministered unto him."

Elisha answered the call but wanted to tell his family bye. He was given leave to do so. Then, it is obvious that his decision was final to follow Elijah. He did away with is earthly tools and bid goodbye to his family for a higher mission. He did not put the tools in a shed so he could come back if things did not work out.

Psalm 30:11 "Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing thou hast put off my sackcloth and girded me with gladness;"

Keywords: Old Old Story, Bible study, Old Testament, Elijah, Ahad,Jezebel, Elisha. Elijah anoints Elisha.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Elijah meets Ahab I Kings 18

I Kings 18:1 "And it came to pass after many days that the word of the LORD came to Elijah in the third year, saying, Go shew thyself unto Ahab and I will send rain upon the earth."

It had not rained for three years. Little did the world know that the drought was about over. There is a series of events that take place before it rains. The word goes out to Ahab that Elijah wants to see him. They've been looking for Elijah because he announced that it would not rain. The messenger from Elijah to Ahab is a little nervous that Elijah might not be there when Ahab shows up.

v10 "As the LORD thy God liveth, there is no nation or kingdom whither my lord hath not sent to seek thee: and when they said, He is not there; he took an oath of the kingdom and nation, that they found thee not. v11 And now thou sayest, Go, tell thy lord, Behold Elijah is here."

The messenger here was Obadiah. Elijah finally convinced him that he would indeed show up. Elijah made a challenge to Ahab. Gather all the prophets of Baal and we will see who makes it rain. Elijah's challenge to the people was this:

v21 "And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him; but if Ball then follow him. And the people answered him not a word."

An altar was set up. Two bullocks were chosen: one for the prophets of Baal and one for Elijah. The prophets of Baal went first. Though they climbed on the altar and cut and abused themselves, yet Baal did not answer them and the offering was not consumed. Elijah had a little fun with them.

v27 "And it came to pass at noon that Elijah mocked them, and said, Cry aloud: for he is a god, either he is talking or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked."

There were over 400 prophets of Baal and none were able to arouse any god.

Now it is Elijah's turn. He prepared the altar and laid the bullock on it. Then he had them pour water on it over and over until it was soaked and the trench around it was full of water. Then he prayed.

v37 "Hear me O LORD hear me, that this people may know that thou art the LORD God and that thou hast turned their heart back again."

v38 "Then the fire of the LORD fell and consumed the burnt-sacrifice, and the wood and the stones and the dust and licked up the water that was in the trench."

The people did fall down and worship the LORD. The prophets of Baal were killed by the brook Kishon.

v41 "And Elijah said unto Ahab, Get thee up eat and drink for there is a sound of abundance of rain."

So both sides, that were still alive, had food and drink. Then Elijah sits on mount Carmel with his head between his knees. He tells his servant to go look for clouds. Then seven times he looked and one the size of a man' s hand appeared. Then the sky was black and Elijah told Ahab to get off the mountain. Ahab took to his chariot and took off.

v46 "And the hand of the LORD was on Elijah and he girded up his loins and ran before Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel."

I think Ahab was convinced that day which side he should be on but he had a wife named Jezebel who was filled with hate.

Psalm 150:6 "Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD."

Keywords: Bible Study, Old Old Story, Old Testament, Elijah, Ahab. Elijah out runs Ahab's chariot.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Ahab and Elijah I Kings 17

I Kings 17:1 "And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead said unto Ahab, As the LORD God of Israel liveth, before who I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word."

We need to jump back to the last chapter to get a picture of Ahab and why the wrath of God came on him.

I Kings 16:33 "And Ahab made a grove, and Ahab did more to provoke the LORD God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel that were before him."

So, why did Ahab not die like the other kings who did evil? I'm not sure but I think it is so the LORD could show his power to the people before they were scattered. Elijah was just the prophet for that job. He did what God told him to do and was not afraid. Being before the king did not intimidate Elijah because as he said he stood before the LORD.

With the power of God Elijah:
-stopped the rain
-kept the barrel of meal and cruse of oil from running out
-raised the widows son
That's just in this one chapter. His credentials are well established.

v5 "So he went and did according unto the word of the LORD: for he went and dwelt by the book Cherith, that is before Jordan."

Here Elijah drank from the brook and was fed by the ravens. He got two meals a day of bread and meat. After the brook dried up, provisions were made for him in the widows house where he slept in the loft.

v14 "For thus saith the LORD God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail until the day that the LORD sendeth rain upon the earth."

So Elijah stayed there for a time. The widow's son became ill while he was there and died. Elijah took the child and laid him on his own bed in the loft and entreated the LORD for him and the child lived again.

v22 "And the LORD heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived."

It was three years later when the LORD gave Elijah another command and so he waited for the Lord.

Psalm 34:17 "The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth and delivereth them out of all their troubles."

Keywords: Old Old Story, Old Testament, Bible Study, Ahab, Elijah. Widow's son is raised. Elijah confronts Ahab.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Baasha , Omri I Kings 16

I Kings 16:2 "Forasmuch as I exalted thee out of the dust, and made thee prince over my people Israel, and thou hast walked in the way of Jeroboam and hast made my people Israel to sin, to provoke me to anger with their sins. v3 Behold I will take away the posterity of Baasha..."

We see a line of kings who refused the ways of God. We also see the patience of God with the people. He clearly tells us that the king led the people to sin. Although the people are not innocent, they were led by a bad king and could have been led in a different direction had the king done right.

Baasha is king over the ten tribes of Israel. Asa is king in Judah.

v8 "In the twenty and sixth year of Asa king of Judah began Elah the son of Baasha to reign over Israel in Tirzah, two years."

The practice of taking the kingship by killing the king is still going strong. Zimri was captain of half the chariots of the king. He decided he could do a better job and so killed the king. Zimri's first act is to kill the kings family.

Zimri ruled seven days and when Israel rebelled against him, he set his own house on fire and killed himself.

Even Israel was divided besides the division between them and Judah.

v21 "Then were the peopleof Israel divided into two parts: half of the people followed Tibni the son of Ginath, to make him king; and half followed Omri."

Omri prevailed to reign. It was he who brought the name Samaria into our Bible language.

v24 "And he brought the hill Samaria of Shemer for two talents of silver and built on the hill and called the name of the city which he built, after the name of Shemer, owner of the hill, Samaria."

But Omri followed the ways of Jeroboam and died.

Then we come to a story we all remember, the story of Ahab and Jezebel. Ahab becomes king and he is the son of Omri. He was very bold in his sin.

v32 "And he reared up an altar for Baal in the house of Baal, which he had built in Samaria."

Well, we will get to know the family and about the prophet Elijah.

Psalm 2:1 "Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?"

Keywords: Old Old Story, Old Testament, Bible Study, Kings. Evil kings of Israel leading up to Ahab and Jezebel.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Asa I Kings 15

I Kings 15:11 "And Asa did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD, as did David his father."

Asa was the son of Abijam (called Abijah in Chronicles) but for reasons of tradition he was also called the son of David as many more men were.

Asa was a good king and reigned 41 years. He had a disease in his feet in his old age.

He tried his best to do away with idol worship and other things that displeased the LORD. He even had his mother the queen removed from her throne because of her idol worship. He made a league with other nations and seems to have studied after David. When he was surrounded by the enemy he prayed for deliverance and had victory. That story can be found in chronicles.

Meanwhile in Israel Baasha the son of Ahijah of Issachar took the kingship from Nadab the son of Jeroboam.

v28 "Even in the third year of Asa king of Judah did Baasha slay him (Nadab), and reigned in his stead."

He reigned 24 years over Israel.

v34 "And he did evil in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the way of Jeroboam, and in his sin wherewith he made Israel to sin."

Psalm 65:9 "Thou visitest the earth, and waterest it: thou greatly enrichest it with the river of God, which is full of water: thou preparest them corn, when thou hast so provided for it."

Keywords: Old Old Story, Old Testament, Bible Study, Asa, Judah, Israel, Baasha, Jeroboam. Asa reigns in Judah. Baasha in Israel.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Jeroboam's Downfall I Kings 14

I Kings 14:20 "And the days which Jeroboam reigned were two and twenty years and he slept with his fathers and Nadab his son reigned in his stead."

Here is the picture. Jeroboam reigns over Israel (10 tribes) and has set up calves for the people to worship. Then his son falls sick and he turns to the prophet for help. He does not approach the prophet himself but sent his wife who he told to pretend to be someone else.

v2 "And Jeroboam said to his wife, Arise, I pray thee, and disguise thyself, that thou be not known to be the wife of Jeroboam: and get thee to Shiloh: behold there is Abijah the prophet which told me that I should be king over this people."

There is only one letter difference in the name of the son who was sick and the prophet. The son Abijah, the prophet Ahijah.
Abijah: my father is Jehovah
Ahijah: Jehovah is brother

Abijah, the son of Jeroboam has a nice name but I can't help but wonder, considering the life Jeroboam lived, that if he was referring to himself when he named his son 'my father is Jehovah'. He was quite arrogant.

Anyway, it did not work when the wife went to Abijah. Abijah, the prophet was blind but the LORD told him the woman was coming and why she was coming. the pronouncement was not good for the family.

v12 "Arise thou therefore, get thee to thine own house: and when thy feet enter into the city, the child shall die."

Jeroboam did several things wrong. He tried to play both sides, for one thing,. He brought the false gods of Egypt back to Canaan but still tried to hold on to the power of God. The Bible says that Jeroboam put God behind his back. It seems he wanted God around but only when he needed him.

v9 "But hast done evil above all that were before thee: for thou hast gone and made thee other gods, and molten images, to provoke me to anger, and hast cast me behind thy back:"

So Jeroboam died and his son Nadab reigned in his stead. v20 There is some overlap between the lives of Jeroboam of Israel and Rehoboam of Judah. Rehoboam's successor warred with Jeroboam so we can see that the king of Judah died first.

v22 "And Judah did evil in the sight of the LORD...v23 For they also built them high places and images and groves on every high hill, and under every green tree."

v25 "And it came to pass in the fifth year of king Reboboam that Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem: v26 And took away the treasures of the house of the LORD..."

The riches and the kingdom that David and Solomon built is now disintegrating. Solomon brought in the daughter of the king of Egypt and so they had inside information of all the happenings and weakened condition and civil war in Canaan. It was a good time to go on a robbing spree and they did so.

David worshipped only the one true God and Solomon did at first but his wives drew him away in his efforts to please them.

We see a kingdom falling apart. They were established by the LORD who also fought along with Israel in the conquest of the nation. The LORD also sustained them in the land and brought the 'early and latter rain'. But they turned from Him in their prosperity. Now, we see the sadness of a great kingdom coming down.

Now Abijam the son of Rehoboam rules in Judah, while Nadab the son of Jeroboam rules in Israel.

Psalm 124:8 "Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth."

Keywords: Old Old Story, Bible Study, Old Testament, Israel, Kings, Jeroboam, Rehoboam. The kings die and their sons take over in Judah and Israel.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Jeroboam I Kings 13

I Kings 13:1 "And behold there came a man of God out of Judah by the word of the LORD unto Bethel: and Jeroboam stood by the altar to burn incense."

Jeroboam is king over the 10 tribes of Israel. He spent time in Egypt while hiding from Solomon who sought to kill him. He has come back then is made king. He fears that if the people go down to Jerusalem to worship in the temple that he will loose his kingdom so he sets up some calves c12 v28 for them to worship. If you remember, while Moses was in the mountain getting the commandments, Aaron set up a calf for the people to worship. It was wrong in both cases.

A man of God is sent to Jeroboam with notice that the altar would be torn down.

v3 "And he gave a sign the same day, saying, This is the sign which the LORD hath spoken; Behold the altar shall be rent and the ashes that are upon it shall be poured out."

Jeroboam thinking to apprehend the man of God pointed and told his people to take hold of the man of God. The hand he pointed with became stiff so that he could not bring it again to his body. Then he as the prophet to pray that it be restored and it was. v6

Then we come to the specific instructions of the man of God and his failure to follow them.

v9 "For so was it charged me by the word of the LORD, saying, Eat no bread, nor drink water, nor turn again by the same way that thou camest."

The man of God managed to refuse the kings offer to take him home with him and so went on his way. But another temptation came to him. It was from an unlikely source: another man of God.

V11 "Now there dwelt an old prophet in Bethel and his sons came and told him all the works that the man of God had done that day in Bethel: the words which he had spoken unto the king, them they told also to their father."

Now we can go to Galations 1:8,9

Galations 1:8,9 "But though we or an angel from heaven preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed."

God told the man of God not to eat or drink and to go home by a different route than he went to Bethel but now that the prophet sent for him, he left off doing what God said in favor of doing what the prophet said. Even an old prophet cannot change the command of God.

v24 "And when he was gone, a lion met him by the way, and slew him; and his carcase was cast in the way, and the ass stood by it, the lion also stood by the carcase."

The man of God was buried in that area instead of in his home town. There is another story that is similar in Numbers 22.

v33 "And this thing became sin unto the house of Jeroboam even to cut it off, and to destroy it from off the face of the earth."

Jeroboam not only lost himself but his legacy.

Psalm 112:10 "The wicked shall see it, and be grieved; he shall gnash with his teeth, and melt away; the dsire of the wicked shall perish."

Keywords: Old Old Story. Bible Study, Old Testament, Jeroboam, Israel. Jeroboam is warned by the man of God.