INTERNET BIBLE STUDIES
Hebrew History Part 17
We continue our studies this week as we study "The Kings of Judah"
In our last study, we studied about the remainder of the kings of the Northern Kingdom. We saw the most wicked King being Ahab, who provoked the Lord to anger more than any other before him. We saw Jeroboam II being the king with the longest reign. (41 years) But none of the kings of the Northern Kingdom were recorded as being men that pleased God. This week we study the Southern Kingdom Kings as we wrap up this study on the History of the Hebrew Nation.
Rehoboam was Solomons son and the first king of Judah after the division of the Kingdom.
1 Ki 14:21 And Rehoboam the son of Solomon reigned in Judah. Rehoboam was forty and one years old when he began to reign, and he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city which the LORD did choose out of all the tribes of Israel, to put his name there. And his mother's name was Naamah an Ammonitess.
1 Ki 14:22 And Judah did evil in the sight of the LORD, and they provoked him to jealousy with their sins which they had committed, above all that their fathers had done.
1 Ki 14:23 For they also built them high places, and images, and groves, on every high hill, and under every green tree.
1 Ki 14:24 And there were also sodomites in the land: and they did according to all the abominations of the nations which the LORD cast out before the children of Israel.
1 Ki 14:25 And it came to pass in the fifth year of king Rehoboam, that Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem:
1 Ki 14:26 And he took away the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king's house; he even took away all: and he took away all the shields of gold which Solomon had made.
1 Ki 14:27 And king Rehoboam made in their stead brazen shields, and committed them unto the hands of the chief of the guard, which kept the door of the king's house.
1 Ki 14:28 And it was so, when the king went into the house of the LORD, that the guard bare them, and brought them back into the guard chamber.
1 Ki 14:29 Now the rest of the acts of Rehoboam, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?
1 Ki 14:30 And there was war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam all their days.
1 Ki 14:31 And Rehoboam slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David. And his mother's name was Naamah an Ammonitess. And Abijam his son reigned in his stead.
Judah had 20 kings in all. Every one of these men were of the family of David. Davids family was the one and only dynasty in Judah.
We mentioned last week how that not one king of the Northern Kingdom did those things that were pleasing to God. In the Southern Kingdom, there were 12 that were recorded as being evil in the sight of God. Three started out good, but turned and did evil in their latter years. Five kings did good in the sight of God.
I think we should learn from these kings that we need to put God first in our lives. It is not enough to start strong, but we need to finish strong. As we grow in the Lord, we should be people who make a difference in everyones life that we meet. They should be able to look at our lives and see that we have something that the world just does not have. The bible promises that "If God before us, who can be against us?" We need to take God literally at His Word and be strong in His might, not in our human power. But we will never finish strong if we let sin have dominion in our lives. These kings that started strong were strong because they first looked to God for guidance and leadership. But pride and sin got in the way and many did not stay true to God. Paul exhorts us over in Romans to run our race successfully by getting rid of the sin that drags us down.
Heb 12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
Heb 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Asa was the first king of Judah that did good in the sight of God.
1 Ki 15:11 And Asa did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD, as did David his father.
1 Ki 15:12 And he took away the sodomites out of the land, and removed all the idols that his fathers had made.
1 Ki 15:13 And also Maachah his mother, even her he removed from being queen, because she had made an idol in a grove; and Asa destroyed her idol, and burnt it by the brook Kidron.
1 Ki 15:14 But the high places were not removed: nevertheless Asa's heart was perfect with the LORD all his days.
I know that the desire of my heart (and I am sure it is your desire also) is to die and hear God say "Well done thou good and faithful servant." But unless we stay strong and keep our hearts pure, we most likely will hear him say "I have somewhat against thee." That was what God told the church at Ephesus over in Revelation Chapter 2.
Rev 2:1 Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;
Rev 2:2 I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:
Rev 2:3 And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.
Rev 2:4 Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.
Rev 2:5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.
King Asa kept his heart perfect before God. But many other kings were like the Ephesus Church in that they didnt stay close all of their life to their first love. You and I must guard our hearts that we forget not the important things. In the business world, one of the more popular books in print today is called "First Things First". While I have not read this book, the title itself made me stop and think about how we must constantly assess and re-assess our lives to be sure that we are doing the important things. Many Christians today are not honoring God by coming to church and worshipping God has He has commanded us to do. Remember that we are commanded to be TRANSFORMED by the renewing of our minds. Our souls are secure and perfect once we know Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, but this old tabernacle of clay that we still live in is in battle against the spiritual man everyday. If we want success in life, we must be thinking on the things of God, stay in prayer without Him without ceasing, and get our minds transformed to the point that we have the mind of Christ. This is a big order, but God can give us the grace and faith to do it if we are so minded.
1 Ki 22:41 And Jehoshaphat the son of Asa began to reign over Judah in the fourth year of Ahab king of Israel.
1 Ki 22:42 Jehoshaphat was thirty and five years old when he began to reign; and he reigned twenty and five years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Azubah the daughter of Shilhi.
1 Ki 22:43 And he walked in all the ways of Asa his father; he turned not aside from it, doing that which was right in the eyes of the LORD: nevertheless the high places were not taken away; for the people offered and burnt incense yet in the high places.
1 Ki 22:44 And Jehoshaphat made peace with the king of Israel.
Jephoshaphat was the second king that did good in the sight of the Lord.
2 Ki 15:32 In the second year of Pekah the son of Remaliah king of Israel began Jotham the son of Uzziah king of Judah to reign.
2 Ki 15:33 Five and twenty years old was he when he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Jerusha, the daughter of Zadok.
2 Ki 15:34 And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD: he did according to all that his father Uzziah had done.
Jotham was the third of the kings that did good in the sight of God. It says that he did according to all that his father Uzziah had done. We have an awesome responsibility to the generations that come after us to live a Godly life. Our children will mimic us more than we will want, particularly in the things that we do wrong. The old saying about dont do what I do but do what I say just doesnt work. If you want your children to grow up and stay away from drugs and alcohol, you had best not be using them yourself. If you doubt that, look at your own life and look at how your Mother and Father lived. Like it or not, we follow the example set before us. God help us to live a life that honors and glorifies the Lord.
2 Ki 18:1 Now it came to pass in the third year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, that Hezekiah the son of Ahaz king of Judah began to reign.
2 Ki 18:2 Twenty and five years old was he when he began to reign; and he reigned twenty and nine years in Jerusalem. His mother's name also was Abi, the daughter of Zachariah.
2 Ki 18:3 And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that David his father did.
2 Ki 18:4 He removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brazen serpent that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it: and he called it Nehushtan.
2 Ki 18:5 He trusted in the LORD God of Israel; so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor any that were before him.
2 Ki 18:6 For he clave to the LORD, and departed not from following him, but kept his commandments, which the LORD commanded Moses.
2 Ki 18:7 And the LORD was with him; and he prospered whithersoever he went forth: and he rebelled against the king of Assyria, and served him not.
We see that Hezekiah was the fourth king that did good in Gods sight.
The last king to do good was Josiah.
2 Ki 22:1 Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned thirty and one years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Jedidah, the daughter of Adaiah of Boscath.
2 Ki 22:2 And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, and walked in all the way of David his father, and turned not aside to the right hand or to the left.
Our best route to follow in this life is to stay on the straight path. Remember that command that Joshua gave the people when he got old.
Josh 23:1 And it came to pass a long time after that the LORD had given rest unto Israel from all their enemies round about, that Joshua waxed old and stricken in age.
Josh 23:2 And Joshua called for all Israel, and for their elders, and for their heads, and for their judges, and for their officers, and said unto them, I am old and stricken in age:
Josh 23:3 And ye have seen all that the LORD your God hath done unto all these nations because of you; for the LORD your God is he that hath fought for you.
Josh 23:4 Behold, I have divided unto you by lot these nations that remain, to be an inheritance for your tribes, from Jordan, with all the nations that I have cut off, even unto the great sea westward.
Josh 23:5 And the LORD your God, he shall expel them from before you, and drive them from out of your sight; and ye shall possess their land, as the LORD your God hath promised unto you.
Josh 23:6 Be ye therefore very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, that ye turn not aside therefrom to the right hand or to the left;
Josh 23:7 That ye come not among these nations, these that remain among you; neither make mention of the name of their gods, nor cause to swear by them, neither serve them, nor bow yourselves unto them:
Josh 23:8 But cleave unto the LORD your God, as ye have done unto this day.
We see that at one point there was only one person left in the Royal seed. The one that remained was Joash.
2 Chr 22:10 But when Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the seed royal of the house of Judah.
2 Chr 22:11 But Jehoshabeath, the daughter of the king, took Joash the son of Ahaziah, and stole him from among the king's sons that were slain, and put him and his nurse in a bedchamber. So Jehoshabeath, the daughter of king Jehoram, the wife of Jehoiada the priest, (for she was the sister of Ahaziah,) hid him from Athaliah, so that she slew him not.
2 Chr 22:12 And he was with them hid in the house of God six years: and Athaliah reigned over the land.
When things may look impossible and hopeless, God will provide a way of escape. We see that they hid Joash for 6 years in the house of God..
2 Chr 29:3 He in the first year of his reign, in the first month, opened the doors of the house of the LORD, and repaired them.
2 Chr 29:4 And he brought in the priests and the Levites, and gathered them together into the east street,
2 Chr 29:5 And said unto them, Hear me, ye Levites, sanctify now yourselves, and sanctify the house of the LORD God of your fathers, and carry forth the filthiness out of the holy place.
2 Chr 29:6 For our fathers have trespassed, and done that which was evil in the eyes of the LORD our God, and have forsaken him, and have turned away their faces from the habitation of the LORD, and turned their backs.
2 Chr 29:7 Also they have shut up the doors of the porch, and put out the lamps, and have not burned incense nor offered burnt offerings in the holy place unto the God of Israel.
2 Chr 29:8 Wherefore the wrath of the LORD was upon Judah and Jerusalem, and he hath delivered them to trouble, to astonishment, and to hissing, as ye see with your eyes.
2 Chr 29:9 For, lo, our fathers have fallen by the sword, and our sons and our daughters and our wives are in captivity for this.
2 Chr 29:10 Now it is in mine heart to make a covenant with the LORD God of Israel, that his fierce wrath may turn away from us.
2 Chr 29:11 My sons, be not now negligent: for the LORD hath chosen you to stand before him, to serve him, and that ye should minister unto him, and burn incense.
We see that there was a spiritual revival in the days of Hezekiah. He repaired the temple, he revived the worship, and he revived the passover. We may not think that we, one person, can do a lot. But every man and woman God has ever used was one person. I heard this past week that one man took his Pastor before the City officials in Oklahoma City last year, and made a point that the District Attorney should enforce the obscenity laws that were on the books. By getting the city to do that, all adult book stores and stores selling pornography were closed down. Did it make a difference? In one year, they had 26% fewer rapes in Oklahoma City than the year before, while all other cities of comparable size had an increase. That was over 1,000 women or girls that were not attacked because one man was willing to make a difference. Hezekiah was used of God, and you and I can be used also if we are willing. As Isaiah said, "Here am I Lord, send me." But not many are willing to give themselves wholly to God in His service.
2 Ki 22:8 And Hilkiah the high priest said unto Shaphan the scribe, I have found the book of the law in the house of the LORD. And Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan, and he read it.
2 Ki 22:9 And Shaphan the scribe came to the king, and brought the king word again, and said, Thy servants have gathered the money that was found in the house, and have delivered it into the hand of them that do the work, that have the oversight of the house of the LORD.
2 Ki 22:10 And Shaphan the scribe showed the king, saying, Hilkiah the priest hath delivered me a book. And Shaphan read it before the king.
In the days of Josiah, the Book of the Lord was found in the house of the Lord. I think it was sad that it had ever been lost, but thank God that they brought it out and read it to the king. You and I have a responsibility to read the Bible everyday. If we arent doing that, we are too busy and need to go back and reassess again what are "FIRST THINGS FIRST".
2 Ki 22:11 And it came to pass, when the king had heard the words of the book of the law, that he rent his clothes.
2 Ki 22:12 And the king commanded Hilkiah the priest, and Ahikam the son of Shaphan, and Achbor the son of Michaiah, and Shaphan the scribe, and Asahiah a servant of the king's, saying,
2 Ki 22:13 Go ye, inquire of the LORD for me, and for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that is found: for great is the wrath of the LORD that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not hearkened unto the words of this book, to do according unto all that which is written concerning us.
We see that King Josiah was deeply moved by what he heard, and realized that the people were not following the commands of the Lord.
2 Ki 23:3 And the king stood by a pillar, and made a covenant before the LORD, to walk after the LORD, and to keep his commandments and his testimonies and his statutes with all their heart and all their soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people stood to the covenant.
When leaders do the right thing, it affects the people. Josiah wanted to walk after the Lord, and the people with the king made a covenant with the Lord. And more importantly, they stood to the covenant.
2 Ki 24:1 In his days Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up, and Jehoiakim became his servant three years: then he turned and rebelled against him.
2 Ki 24:2 And the LORD sent against him bands of the Chaldees, and bands of the Syrians, and bands of the Moabites, and bands of the children of Ammon, and sent them against Judah to destroy it, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake by his servants the prophets.
2 Ki 24:3 Surely at the commandment of the LORD came this upon Judah, to remove them out of his sight, for the sins of Manasseh, according to all that he did;
2 Ki 24:4 And also for the innocent blood that he shed: for he filled Jerusalem with innocent blood; which the LORD would not pardon.
2 Ki 24:5 Now the rest of the acts of Jehoiakim, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?
In the days of Jehoiakin, we see the first deportation of Judah.
2 Ki 24:11 And Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came against the city, and his servants did besiege it.
2 Ki 24:12 And Jehoiachin the king of Judah went out to the king of Babylon, he, and his mother, and his servants, and his princes, and his officers: and the king of Babylon took him in the eighth year of his reign.
2 Ki 24:13 And he carried out thence all the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king's house, and cut in pieces all the vessels of gold which Solomon king of Israel had made in the temple of the LORD, as the LORD had said.
This deportation came in 606 B.C.
2 Chr 36:6 Against him came up Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and bound him in fetters, to carry him to Babylon.
2 Chr 36:7 Nebuchadnezzar also carried of the vessels of the house of the LORD to Babylon, and put them in his temple at Babylon.
We see King Nebuchadnezzar coming down from Babylon and talking the vessels of the Lord back to his temple. We know how that eventually as he had a great party using those vessels that he lost his life and his Kingdom was taken over.
2 Chr 36:8 Now the rest of the acts of Jehoiakim, and his abominations which he did, and that which was found in him, behold, they are written in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah: and Jehoiachin his son reigned in his stead.
2 Chr 36:9 Jehoiachin was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned three months and ten days in Jerusalem: and he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD.
2 Chr 36:10 And when the year was expired, king Nebuchadnezzar sent, and brought him to Babylon, with the goodly vessels of the house of the LORD, and made Zedekiah his brother king over Judah and Jerusalem.
The second deportation came in the reign of Jehoiachin. Jehoiachin was one of the 12 kings that did evil in the sight of God. This deportation happened around 597 B.C.
2 Chr 36:11 Zedekiah was one and twenty years old when he began to reign, and reigned eleven years in Jerusalem.
2 Chr 36:12 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD his God, and humbled not himself before Jeremiah the prophet speaking from the mouth of the LORD.
2 Chr 36:13 And he also rebelled against king Nebuchadnezzar, who had made him swear by God: but he stiffened his neck, and hardened his heart from turning unto the LORD God of Israel.
2 Chr 36:14 Moreover all the chief of the priests, and the people, transgressed very much after all the abominations of the heathen; and polluted the house of the LORD which he had hallowed in Jerusalem.
2 Chr 36:15 And the LORD God of their fathers sent to them by his messengers, rising up betimes, and sending; because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling place:
2 Chr 36:16 But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against his people, till there was no remedy.
2 Chr 36:17 Therefore he brought upon them the king of the Chaldees, who slew their young men with the sword in the house of their sanctuary, and had no compassion upon young man or maiden, old man, or him that stooped for age: he gave them all into his hand.
2 Chr 36:18 And all the vessels of the house of God, great and small, and the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king, and of his princes; all these he brought to Babylon.
2 Chr 36:19 And they burnt the house of God, and brake down the wall of Jerusalem, and burnt all the palaces thereof with fire, and destroyed all the goodly vessels thereof.
2 Chr 36:20 And them that had escaped from the sword carried he away to Babylon; where they were servants to him and his sons until the reign of the kingdom of Persia:
2 Chr 36:21 To fulfil the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths: for as long as she lay desolate she kept sabbath, to fulfil threescore and ten years.
Zedekiah was the king when the third deportation happened which was 586 B.C.
Why were the people in Captivity?
The Condition of the Exile
During the exile, they were allowed some freedom. During this time of exile, they were allowed to worship their God at times without opposition. We have many things to be thankful for in our country, but our religious freedom is the greatest of all benefits.
The Benefit of the Captivity
We know that Romans 8:28 promises that God can take all things and make it to work for good for our lives. He doesnt promise that all things will be good, but He does promise to use it to work to our good. That is what we see in the Southern Kingdom of Israel. Because of this captivity, the following four things happened.
The Return of the Jews
Ezra 1:1 Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying,
Ezra 1:2 Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah.
Ezra 1:3 Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the LORD God of Israel, (he is the God,) which is in Jerusalem.
Ezra 1:4 And whosoever remaineth in any place where he sojourneth, let the men of his place help him with silver, and with gold, and with goods, and with beasts, beside the freewill offering for the house of God that is in Jerusalem.
Cyrus was a man that God chose to release the people of Judah.
Isa 44:28 That saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid.
Isa 45:1 Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut;
Isa 45:2 I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron:
Isa 45:3 And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel.
Jer 25:9 Behold, I will send and take all the families of the north, saith the LORD, and Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and will bring them against this land, and against the inhabitants thereof, and against all these nations round about, and will utterly destroy them, and make them an astonishment, and an hissing, and perpetual desolations.
Jer 25:10 Moreover I will take from them the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the sound of the millstones, and the light of the candle.
Jer 25:11 And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.
Jer 25:12 And it shall come to pass, when seventy years are accomplished, that I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, saith the LORD, for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans, and will make it perpetual desolations.
Jer 25:13 And I will bring upon that land all my words which I have pronounced against it, even all that is written in this book, which Jeremiah hath prophesied against all the nations.
Jer 25:14 For many nations and great kings shall serve themselves of them also: and I will recompense them according to their deeds, and according to the works of their own hands.
We see here in Jeremiah that God had prophesied that this captivity would be for 70 years.
Neh 4:10 And Judah said, The strength of the bearers of burdens is decayed, and there is much rubbish; so that we are not able to build the wall.
Neh 4:11 And our adversaries said, They shall not know, neither see, till we come in the midst among them, and slay them, and cause the work to cease.
Neh 4:12 And it came to pass, that when the Jews which dwelt by them came, they said unto us ten times, From all places whence ye shall return unto us they will be upon you.
Neh 4:13 Therefore set I in the lower places behind the wall, and on the higher places, I even set the people after their families with their swords, their spears, and their bows.
Neh 4:14 And I looked, and rose up, and said unto the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, Be not ye afraid of them: remember the Lord, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses.
Neh 4:15 And it came to pass, when our enemies heard that it was known unto us, and God had brought their counsel to nought, that we returned all of us to the wall, every one unto his work.
Neh 4:16 And it came to pass from that time forth, that the half of my servants wrought in the work, and the other half of them held both the spears, the shields, and the bows, and the habergeons; and the rulers were behind all the house of Judah.
Neh 4:17 They which builded on the wall, and they that bare burdens, with those that laded, every one with one of his hands wrought in the work, and with the other hand held a weapon.
We see that in the end, that Nehemiah led the people back and the house of Judah rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem.
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