In ancient times systems under which people lived in large communities were referred to as kingdoms and the supreme ruler was a king or queen.
Today, similar systems are referred to as governments and their rulers come in a variety of shapes and forms. We still have some governments ruled by individual monarchs but in most instances, they are mainly ceremonial or titular. Usually the rulers are groups of humans with different titles such as parliaments, congresses, presidents, governors, etc. etc. The ancient word ‘subjects’ referring to those within the populations who are being ruled has now changed to less intimidating terms such as ‘citizens’ and ‘residents. And the “kingdoms’ of old have become the “nations”, “states” and “provinces” of today. However, we should make no mistake, the fundamental principal where there are human rulers and those humans who are ruled by them has not changed over time. And the power behind human rule remains supernatural in nature, whether we recognize the fact or not. So, whenever we confront the ancient forms of kings and kingdoms, we need to synchronize these terms in our minds with the modern idea of governors and governed.
THE ROLE OF JUDGES
Now back to history and GOD’s relationship with humans. As far as GOD’s nation of Israel was concerned, they already had a figurative king in their God YHWH. He was responsible for their well-being, protection and overall welfare. In addition to acting through natural and supernatural means on their behalf, he, raised individuals to assist in his ruler ship and protection for Israel as his people. In this he was taking responsibility for their welfare by personally appointing Judges on an ‘as need’ basis. Whenever an urgent need arose, he would motivate certain individuals to take the lead among his people. They would function under his Holy Spirit and overcome the problems his people were confronted with. In this simple overview, it affords us a glimpse of the “Judges” period in Israel’s history.
However, that period of the judges, wherein YHWH directly played a part in the lives of his people by providing judges and a priesthood to help them with their everyday and spiritual needs was about to come to an end. The people were about to insist on an alternative arrangement based on their own desires, rather than God’s. There is an important lesson beyond the obvious in this account, a lesson those who consider themselves God’s people cannot afford to ignore.
A JUDGE named SAMUEL There was on the scene at that time a man named Samuel. GOD was using him as a judge in directing the affairs of his people. Samuel had been dedicated to God as a young boy of twelve or thirteen. He was entirely immersed in God’s service and in tune with doing God’s will. Most of his adult life, Samuel was a righteous judge and prophet chosen by YHWH himself. Yet in his old age imperfection led him to make a decision which proved unwise in God’s eyes. He took it upon himself to choose two of his own sons to function as associate judges and then succeed him when he died. Despite this act being outside of his role as a judge and prophet, God did not look upon Samuel with disfavor for the Bible reveals God continued to let him serve until his dying day.
1 Samuel 7:15 Samuel continued as a judge in Israel as long as he lived. *
However, choosing his own sons as judges was a decision which had bad consequences because his sons were not loyal to YHWH God. They were corrupt and self-serving, taking bribes and rendering dishonest decisions. In Samuel’s case, even while he had been a faithful servant of YHWH God since boyhood, it did not mean he was perfect or that his sons would follow in his faithfulness.
WE have an important lesson in this. To us this should reinforce the understanding that even those who may be allowed to serve God for his own reasons fall short of perfection. This should help us keep in mind that our trust and faith belong to God and his son Jesus Christ alone, not to those who may give us the appearances of serving him.
Psalm 146:3 Don't trust in human leaders; no human being can save you. *
Proverbs 3:5 Trust in YHWH with all your heart, and don’t rely on your own understanding above his.*
2 Samuel 22:31 As for GOD, his way is perfect; the word of YHWH is tested: He is a protection to all that trust in him.*
The people of Samuel’s day lost sight of this principle. They equated Samuel’s mistake in selecting his evil and selfish sons with GOD’s own arrangement for judges, which they then viewed as being somehow inadequate. This not only proved disastrous for GOD’s people at that time but reinforced a model for disaster embraced by humans ever since. We have the account of what this led to and the consequences it had for people ever since.
A MONARCHY for GOD’s PEOPLE As Samuel was approaching his final years the leaders of Israel's tribes asked him to choose a king to rule over them. They claimed since his sons were corrupt, they wanted to be ruled by a human king, like all the lands around them were. Samuel was displeased by this idea so he took their request to YHWH in prayer. The whole account of this momentous incident which so greatly affected the future of God’s people is related as follows:
1Sa 8:1-18 In his old age Samuel made his sons judges in Israel. 2 His older son, Joel and the younger one named Abijah; were made associate judges in the district of Beersheba. 3 But they were not inclined to follow their father's example; they were interested only in making money, so they took bribes and rendered dishonest judgments. 4 Then a contingent of all the leaders of the tribes in Israel met together with Samuel in Ramah, 5 and said to him, "Look, you are getting on in years and your sons are not following your example. Therefore we want you to appoint a king to rule over us, so that we will have a king, as other nations around us have."6 Samuel was irked with their request for a king; so he prayed to YHWH, 7 and YHWH said, "Listen to all of what the people say to you. You are not the one they are rejecting; I am the one they have rejected as their king. 8 Ever since I rescued them out of Egypt, they have rejected me by turning away from me and worshipping other gods; and now they are doing to you what they have always done to me. 9 So then, give them what they want, but give them strict warnings and explain to them how their kings will treat them." 10 Samuel told the people who were asking him for a king everything that YHWH had said to him. 11 "This is how your king will treat you," Samuel expanded. "He will make soldiers of your sons; some of them will have to serve in his war chariots, others in his cavalry, and others as infantry and run before his chariots. 12 He will make some of them officers in charge of a thousand men, and others in charge of fifty men. Your sons will have to plow his fields, harvest his crops, and make weapons and the equipment for his warfare. 13 Your daughters will have to make perfumes for him and work as his cooks and his bakers. 14 He will take your best property, farms, vineyards, and olive groves, and give them to his officials. 15 He will take a tenth of your grain and of your grapes for his court officers and other officials. 16 He will take your servants and your best cattle and donkeys and make them work for him. 17 He will take a tenth of your flocks. And you yourselves will become his slaves to his interests. 18 When that time comes, you will complain severely because of him, a King you yourselves have chosen. But YHWH, your God will not listen to your complaints." *
Despite God’s warning that a human king would bring oppressive requirements upon the people including drafting their sons for war, forced labor, confiscation of their properties, taxes on their labors and general enslavement to the King’s interests, they still wanted a human king rather than God’s sovereignty.
What follows is the people’s reaction to Samuel’s warning and the reaction by YHWH which it elicited;
1Sa 8:19 - 22 The people ignored what Samuel told them, and said, "No! We want a king, 20 so that we will be like other nations, with our own king to rule us and to lead us out to war and to fight our battles." 21 Samuel listened to all they said and then went and told it to YHWH God. 22 YHWH responded, "Do what they want and give them a king." Then Samuel told all the leaders who had gathered in Rahmah to return to their homes. *
HUMAN RULE replaces GOD AS RULER Thus, human royalty replaced God’s own arrangement of direct rule by judges who he would select and motivate on an ‘as need basis’. It was not what YHWH preferred. It was a concession to the people’s desires. YHWH assented, with the knowledge it would have a potentially bad outcome which they might learn from and appreciate him and his ways in the future.
So, he would give them the kind of king they wanted. He would be mighty in war against their enemies yet one who held YHWH as his God. YHWH God would continue to view them as his people as long as they remained obedient to his laws and granted him exclusive devotion as their God. After a somewhat complex process of vetting and selecting, a man named Saul was introduced into the national scene to become their king.
1 Samuel 11:14 - 12:1 14 Then Samuel said to the people, Come, let us go to Gilgal and there make confirm the kingdom in the hands of Saul. 15 So all the people went to Gilgal; and there in Gilgal they made Saul king before YHWH God; and peace-offerings were offered before YHWH; and there Saul and all the men of Israel celebrated joyfully. 1 Samuel 12:1 And Samuel said to all Israel, Now see that I have listened to everything you said to me, and have made a king over you. *
So, King Saul, who was loyal to YHWH at the outset, became the first in a series of human kings exerting authority over God’s people. It was only a short time until his loyalty was tested. He failed that test when instead of obeying instructions from YHWH, he listened to his own heart and the voices of others. When confronted over this by Samuel he lamented, but it was too late.
1Sa 15:24-29. "I have sinned," Saul admitted. "I disobeyed both you and YHWH God. I was afraid of the military and I listened to them instead. 25 please forgive me and come back with me so I can worship YHWH." 26 "No!" Samuel replied, "You disobeyed GOD, and I won't go back with you. Now YHWH has said that you can't be king of Israel any longer." 27 As Samuel turned to leave, Saul grabbed a piece of Samuel's robe. It tore! 28 Samuel said, "YHWH has torn the kingdom of Israel away from you today, and he will give it to someone who is better than you. 29 Also, the eternal God of Israel isn't like a human being. He doesn't tell lies or change his mind." *
Saul’s reply to Samuel betrayed his true heart condition. He was concerned more with his own reputation before men than his sin against the God who had given him a kingdom. 1Sa 15:30 Saul said, "I did sin, but please honor me in front of the leaders of the army and the people of Israel. Come back with me, so I can worship YHWH your God."*
Saul did not end up being honored, either before men or before GOD after that. When Saul was chosen to be their king, the people were elated. He was fine physical specimen, standing head and shoulders taller than anyone else in Israel, (1 Sam. 9:2). While he may have been a giant among men in the people’s eyes, he was a spiritual pygmy! Saul turned out to be a jealous man, who lived for the praises of the people. He tended to overstep his boundaries and was guilty of gross disobedience to the commands of YHWH. As a result, Saul’s reign became an open demonstration to Israel of some of the dangers in having a human king.
GOD’s REPLACEMENT and a series of HUMAN KINGS
As a result of Saul’s rebellion, God selected a new king to rule over Israel. He chose a young man named David,’ an unlikely candidate for such a lofty and powerful office. In his choice of David as king, we are allowed to see the process God uses in choosing someone to work for Him. He does not choose according to human ways of evaluating what is important. He chooses on the basis of deeper qualifications such as what is in actually in one’s heart, not what might appear to be important on the surface.
God, remaining true to his word as he always is, removed the kingship from Saul. Instead of allowing it to pass on to Saul’s son Johnathan he gave it to an unpretentious individual named David. In the eyes of men, David was only a lowly shepherd, a young man who was not even respected by the members of his own family. He was a ‘nobody’ living in a family of nobodies. . . . But God saw something favorable about his heart.
So, when Samuel thought YHWH wanted him to consider someone named Eliab who appeared qualified according to Samuel’s own wisdom, God corrected him with this revealing statement.
From three versions:
1 Sam 16:7 But YHWH said to Samuel, Don’t look at what he appears to be. "Eliab is tall and handsome, but don't judge by things like that. God doesn't look at what people see. People judge by what is on the outside, but YHWH looks at the heart and Eliab is not the right man."
Years later, the apostle Peter, speaking of Saul’s removal, sheds more light on the reason why God chose David to replace Saul. It was because he knew David would be obedient to him.
Acts 13:22 And when he had removed Saul he raised up David to be their king; to whom also bore witness and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My heart, who will obey all My will. *
It was his heart condition and a willingness to do God’s will which made David GOD’s choice over all others. David’s heart was toward YHWH and he desired to see God glorified above all else. This attitude remained in him until his dying days.
Despite occasions when David succumbed to sin before his God, his faith in YHWH never faltered. GOD gave him many blessings including astounding victories over his enemies. Power, riches and glory were among the blessings GOD afforded him and he was so appreciative of what he received that he was motivated to compose many hymns of praise to GOD which are still with us today. They can be found in the book of Psalms in the bible.
YHWH thought so highly of David that he entered into a covenant with him. It was a covenant for a kingdom and a line of kings that would produce the Messiah in David’s future lineage. A covenant is tantamount to a contract or formal agreement, either on the part of one party or between two parties.
The nature of that covenant is described in the Bible at 2 Samuel 7:8-17:
God’s COVENANT with David 2 Samuel 7:8-17 8 “Now therefore, this is what you shall tell My servant David, ‘This is what YHWH of armies says,, “I took you from the pasture, from being a sheep herder, to be ruler over My people Israel. 9 I have been with you wherever you have gone and have detoured all your enemies from before you; and I will make yours a great name, like the names of the great men who are on the earth. 10 I will also assign a place for My people Israel and will plant them in such a way, that they may live in their own place, in peace and not be distressed again, nor will the wicked afflict them any more as before,11 In the past, I sent judges to lead my people, but evil people gave them many troubles. That will not happen now. I am giving you peace from all of your enemies. I promise that I will make your family a family of kings. YHWH also declares to you that He will make a house for you. 12 And when your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, YHWH will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and he will institute his kingdom. 13 He shall build a house for YHWH’s name, and GOD will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I, YHWH will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me. When he commits iniquity, I will correct him with the rod of men and the strokes of the sons of men, 15 but My loving kindness will not be taken from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. 16 Your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever.” 17 In harmony with all these words and according to this vision, the prophet Nathan spoke to David. *
Despite his love and devotion to YHWH, David was not perfect and after ascending to the throne, he committed a major sin against one of his own subjects as well as against GOD. David arranged for a man named Uriah to lose his life so that he might have his wife Bathsheba for himself. Because David had sinned against an absolutely just God his sin could not go unpunished.
David had an all-consuming hope and desire to build a temple to God’s glory. It was something which was overwhelmingly important to David. God used the denial of this great hope of David’s as a punishment. Because of his sin, YHWH precluded him from the privilege of building that temple and extended it to Solomon, his son and successor to the throne which he had originally bestowed on David.
SOLOMON’s REIGN and what we LEARN FROM IT Solomon’s reign can be seen as a prototype of what a godly government might be like. When Solomon was faithful to YHWH in governing God’s people they were greatly blessed. They enjoyed peace, prosperity, and justice under a system which honored YHWH as their ultimate sovereign.
That Solomon was GOD’s choice among David’s other sons to succeed him upon the throne of Israel is clear from 1 Chron. 22:8, 9. “The word of YHWH came to me, saying; “Behold, a son shall be born to you who shall be a man of peace: and I will give him relief from all his enemies round about; for his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace and quiet to Israel in his days." *
However, despite his being chosen before birth by YHWH to succeed his father, Solomon did not ascend to the throne without opposition. He was undermined by two of his own brothers who took it upon themselves to make an effort to seize the throne which had been designated to him by GOD. Absalom and Adonijah both gathered forces to themselves in an effort to forcibly assume the throne. However, David intervened in old age before he died and designated Solomon as official heir to the throne just as GOD had prescribed.
Solomon came to the throne at an early age, probably at about nineteen or twenty. We know little of his personal qualifications at this time except from 1 Kings 3:3. Solomon showed that he loved YHWH by obeying everything his father David told him to do, except that Solomon continued to go to the high places to offer sacrifices and to burn incense. This was prohibited according to the Mosaic Law given through Moses.
Deuteronomy 12:13, 14 "Be careful that you do not offer your burnt offerings in every cultic place you see. Offer them only at the place YHWH will choose in one of your tribes, and there observe everything I command you. *
However, scripture relates that to least some extent YHWH tolerated worship in other venues such as “high places” where heathens worshipped before a temple for YHWH was built by Solomon.
1 Ki. 3:2 Only, the people were sacrificing in high places, for a house for the name of YHWH had not been built until those days.*
1 Sam. 9:12"Yes, he is," the young women answered. "In fact, he (Samuel) is just ahead of you. If you hurry, you will catch up with him. As soon as you go into town, you will find him. He arrived in town today because the people are going to offer a sacrifice on the altar on top of the hill. The people who are invited won't start eating until he gets there, because he has to bless the sacrifice first. If you go now, you will find him before he goes up the hill to eat." *
Shortly after being anointed as king, Solomon made a prayerful request of his God YHWH. That request and the scriptural passage it appears in exemplifies what God looks for as being important in someone who is acceptable to him as king among his fellow men.
1 Ki 3:5 In Gibeon YHWH appeared to Solomon in a night vision (dream). And GOD said, “Ask what you would have me give you!” *
1 Kings 3:6-9 Solomon replied, because he was honest, true and faithful, you were wonderfully kind to my father, David. You have continued this great kindness to him by giving him a son to sit on his throne today 7 Now "YHWH” my God, although I'm young and inexperienced, you've made me king in place of my father David. 8 I serve you in the midst of the people whom you have chosen, a people so vast that it cannot be counted. 9 Give me a heart that listens and an understanding mind so that I can judge your people and tell the difference between good and evil. After all, who can judge this great mass of people of yours?" *
In his prayer Solomon showed humble honesty with the admission that he was in need of an understanding mind and a hearing heart. We can take note from these passages as to what kind of administration would make a human king acceptable to God.
Solomon said GOD was kind to David for the following reasons:
a. He was honest, he was not deceptive or untruthful in any way. b. He was true in the sense of being obedient to GOD. c. He was faithful to GOD and remained loyal to him all his life.
Then Notice what else is revealed by Solomon’s prayer and what God’s reaction to it was; Solomon prayed for:
a. An understanding Mind (the ability to apply logic and reasoning).
b. A hearing heart (the heart being the seat of desire, and motivation to act).
c. The ability to recognize right from wrong in judging his people.
YHWH God’s reaction;
1 Kings 3:10, 11 It pleased YHWH that Solomon should have asked for this. 11 GOD replied, "You've asked for this instead of a long life, or riches for yourself, or the death for your enemies. Instead, you've asked for understanding so that you can do what is right. *
1 Kings 3:12 And God said to him, Because you ask for this thing, and not for long life for yourself or for wealth or for the destruction of your enemies, but for wisdom to be a righteous judge of causes; So I will give you what you asked for. I will not only make you wise and intelligent. I will make you wiser than anyone who ever lived or ever will live *
It is of interest to us that in his reply God summed up the things Solomon had asked for in a single word; ‘wisdom’.
GOD’s response focused on wisdom and intelligence, two entirely essential qualities in ruling people effectively. Also, there is further meaning in his reply which most people seem to miss. Solomon had been charged by GOD to complete the wishes of his father David in building a temple to the worship of YHWH.
1 Chron. 28:6 “YHWHsaid to me, ‘Your son Solomon is the one who will build my Temple. I have chosen him to be my son, and I will be his father.7 I will make his kingdom extend forever if he continues to carefully obey all my laws and commands as he does now.’ *
As a loyalist of YHWH and an apologist for him, once established on the throne, Solomon held a primary task of building the temple according to the mandate of his father, David. Unlike David, he had not shed innocent blood, thus he was ritually clean and fit for the job, according to 1 Chronicles 22:8-10.62. Because of the great importance placed on the temple, we find that the majority of Solomon’s narrative in Chronicles is concerned with it. In contrast, we find that Solomon’s wisdom was the focus of the narrative in Kings.
Ancient Israel was only united under the rule of a single human king for 120 years of its history. From 1050 to 930 B.C. Kings Saul (from the tribe of Benjamin), David and Solomon (from the tribe of Judah), each ruled for forty years.
God’s Covenant with David, prior to his impending death;
1 Samuel 7:12–16. "When the time comes for you to lie down in death with your ancestors, I will boost a descendant, one who will come from you. I will inaugurate his kingdom. 13 He will build a house for my name, and I will establish the seat of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be a Father to him, and he will be a Son to me. If he sins, I will punish him with a rod and with blows inflicted by people. 15 But I will never stop showing him my love as I did to Saul, who I took out of your way. 16 Your royal lineage will remain before me forever. Your throne will be established in perpetuity." *
Under newly anointed Solomon, the nation enjoyed unprecedented peace and prosperity. When Solomon ruled according to Jehovah’s ways, enemies fell before his feet, justice prevailed in the nation for all and there was sublime peace for the peoples for decades. When Solomon became sinful by allowing himself to be influenced by foreign women who he took as wives, things took a turn for the worse for him personally and for the people as a nation.
1 Kings 11:4-10 4When Solomon grew old his wives swayed his heart to other gods; and his heart was not complete towards YHWH his God as his father David had been. 5 Solomon became a follower of Astarte, the goddess of the Sidonians, and of Milcom, the Ammonite abomination. 6 He did what was displeasing to YHWH, and was not a wholehearted follower of YHWH, as his father David had been. 7 Solomon had built a high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, on the mountain to the east of Jerusalem, and to Milcom, the abomination of the Ammonites. 8 He made similar concessions for all his foreign wives, who offered incense and sacrifice to their gods. 9 YHWH was angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the God of Israel. GOD had twice appeared to him 10 and had forbidden him to follow other gods; but he did not obey Yahweh's command. *
A Succession of Kings After Solomon's death in 931 B.C.E. the unified kingdom of twelves tribes was divided into two distinct entities with different royal lineages. GOD himself had told Solomon that the nation would split into two separate pieces because he had wrongly caused the people to worship many pagan gods.
Ten northern tribes pulled away and formed their own nation keeping the name Israel. The two remaining tribes in the south continued as a separate nation under the name of Judah. Thus there was a succession of two lines of kings who came after Solomon. God had promised David that his kingdom would not come to an end and would endure forever. It would be from the lineage of Judah that ‘Messiah’, the last in David’s royal line would emerge later as king over God’s thousand-year Kingdom and beyond
1 Kings 11:9- 10 . YHWH therefore said to Solomon, 'Since you have behaved like this and have not kept my covenant with the laws which I laid down for you, I shall tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your servants. 10 God had given him commands about this. He told him not to follow other gods. But Solomon did not obey God's command. *
1Ki 11:11 So YHWH told Solomon, "Because this is your attitude and you have no respect for my promises or my laws that I commanded you to keep, I will certainly tear the kingdom away from you. I will give it to one who currently serves you. *
1Ki 11:12, 13 But I will not do it in your lifetime because I told your father David. I will tear it away from the hands of your son. 13 However, I will not tear the whole kingdom away from you. I will give your son one tribe for my servant David's sake and for the sake of Jerusalem, the city that I chose." *
Shortly after Solomon’s son Rehoboam assumed the throne the catalyst God used to split his people up was Rehoboam's unwillingness to lift the heavy taxation implemented by his father. Thereafter, a succession of kings would rule. Starting with Rehoboam, who remained on the throne of Judah and Jeroboam who came to rule the northern kingdom calling itself Israel, two lines of kings ruled the split nation of God’s people.
Whenever they had a king who was obedient to YHWH things would go well for the nation and its people. When they had a ruler who was open to idolatry and opposed to exclusive devotion to YHWH, their enemies were allowed to over run them causing things to go badly for the people.
Below see a chart published by:
http://www.biblestudy.org/prophecy/israel-kings.html showing dates and the kind of rule people experienced under their rule after Solomon died.
Kings of divided nations - Israel and Judah (After Solomon) ruling dates approximate
Dates Name Years Ruled Rating 930 - 909 Jeroboam I 22 Bad 909 – 908 Nadab 2 Bad 908 – 886 Baasha 24 Bad 886 - 885 Elah 2 Bad 885 Zimri 7 days Bad 885 - 880 Tibni ** 5 ? 885 - 874 Omri ** 12 Extra Bad 874 - 853 Ahab 22 Worst 853 - 852 Ahaziah 2 Bad 852 - 841 Joram 12 Bad mostly 841 - 814 Jehu 28 Bad mostly 814 - 798 Jehoahaz 17 Bad 798 - 782 Jehoash 16 Bad 793 - 753 Jeroboam 11 Bad 753 Zechariah 6 mo. Bad 752 Shallum 1 mo. Bad 752 - 742 Menahem ** 10 Bad 752 - 732 Pekah ** 20 Bad 742 - 740 Pekahiah ** 2 Bad 732 - 723 Hoshea 9 Bad
In 723 B.C. Samaria, capital of the Northern Ten Tribes, fell to Assyrian King Shalmaneser V. The people of the ten tribe nation went into Assyrian captivity.
** After the death of Zimri in 885 B.C. Tibni ruled half the nation and Omri ruled the other half (1Kings 16:21 - 22). Except for this brief mention in Scripture nothing else is known about Tibni. After his death Omri became sole king of the Northern kingdom in 880 B.C. Pekah began as a ruling rival of Menahem in 752 B.C. This rivalry lasted ten years (2Kings 15:17) until Menahem's death in 742. From 742 to 740 Pekah and Pekahiah maintained rival thrones (2Kings 15:23), with Pekah beginning his sole rule of the Northern kingdom in 740 B.C. with his assassination of Pekahiah. Pekah's reign ended when he was assassinated by Hoshea in 732 (2Kings 15:30).
By Date Name Years Ruled Rating
930 - 913 Rehoboam 17 Bad mostly 913 - 910 Abijah 3 Bad mostly 910 - 869 Asa 41 Good 872 – 848 Jehoshaphat 25 Good 853 - 841 Jehoram 8 Bad 841 Ahaziah 1 Bad 841 – 835 Queen Athaliah 7 Devilish 835 - 796 Joash 40 Good mostly 796 - 767 Amaziah 29 Good mostly 792 – 740 Azariah (Uzziah) 52 Good 750 - 732 Jotham 16 Good 735 - 715 Ahaz 16 Wicked 715 - 686 Hezekiah 29 Best 696 - 642 Manasseh 55 Worst 642 - 640 Amon 2 Worst 640 - 609 Josiah 31 Best 609 Jehoahaz 3 mo. Bad 609 – 598 Jehoiakim 11 Wicked 598 - 597 Jehoiachin 3 mo. Bad 597 - 586 Zedekiah 9 Bad
If the period of time when God’s model nation was allowed to exist under the authority of human – ruler ship was an experiment, it was one which failed badly.
A LESSON FOR GOD’S PEOPLE FROM HISTORY There was an important lesson to be learned from this period of history where we saw forty -three kings ruling over God’s people with largely dismal results.
What we can see from this period of more than 354 years, was that human rulers in YHWH’s model nation failed to live up to his expectations far more often than not. As a consequence, in 597 B.C. Jerusalem fell into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar captured Jehoiachin and took him to Babylon as prisoner. Then he set up Zedekiah as a puppet king over Judah. The next chapter will explore the effects their time in Babylonian bondage had on God’s nation of Israel.