Israel

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ISRAEL

David served for a time in the house of King Saul, but for ten years David was little more than a refugee fleeing before the wrath of the king when it became widely known that Samuel had withdrawn the divine mandate of kingship from Saul and had bestowed it upon this youth. Saul had lost the moral authority to be king, but he retained the actual power of kingship until his death in battle against the Philistines at Mount Gilboa.

Upon the death of King Saul in about 1011 BCE, David was consecrated king of Israel on the strength of his selection by Samuel, but this was recognized only by the tribe of Judah and the city of Hebron.

Ishbaal, son of Saul, was anointed king over the rest of Israel, and for seven years the land was torn by civil war between the allies of the house of David and the allies of the house of Saul, but the house of David gradually prevailed. When David's power in Israel was unchallenged, all the tribes of Israel came to him in Hebron and offered fealty to David as their king. And David was thirty years of age when he became King of the whole House of Israel.

Then David moved against the Jebusites, and captured the city of Jerusalem after defeating them in 1004. To Jerusalem David moved his wives and concubines and sons and daughters, and built the city up as the capital of Israel.

Then David defeated the Philistines at Baal-perazim, and again in the valley of Rephaim from Gibeon to Gezer. Of the Moabites David demanded tribute after defeating them, and he also defeated Hadadezer, king of Zobah, and the Arameans of Damascus who aided him.

After David's victory in the Valley of Salt, the Edomites became David's subjects as a close commonwealth of Israel rather than merely tributary to it, as befitting their origins as the descendants of Esau, twin brother of Israel.

David defeated the Ammonites outside their capital city of Rabbah, but spared the city, while defeating their mercenaries the Arameans at Medeba.

When David was on his death bed he shivered all the time. They piled blankets on him, but he was still cold. So finally they rounded up a virgin to crawl into his bed to give him heat, which she promptly did. But it was strictly business. The noble and kingly King David was a man with a very strong will, who never once took advantage of the situation.

"And the damsel was very fair, and cherished the king, and ministered to him: but the king knew her not." David's wife Bathsheba was nearby, what was wrong with her body heat? At any rate, it is perks like deathbed virgin heating pads that has inspired men to become kings throughout history.

David revived enough to make his final words a command for David and Bathsheba's son Solomon to whack Joab, because David was exceedingly wroth with Joab for whacking his son Absalom. Solomon had Joab whacked in the Temple of El.

In 971 BCE David died at the age of seventy, after reigning in Jerusalem for thirty-three years. Then Solomon, son of David, was seated on his father's throne as King of Israel.

King Solomon eliminated his rivals and consolidated his claim to the throne in the years after David died. He reigned over a united kingdom in the period of ancient Israel's greatest prosperity.

Solomon introduced a system of taxation, slave labor, and foreign trade which financed the construction of the temple-palace complex on Mount Zion, adjacent to the old walled city of Jerusalem.

But in his private life he slipped into debauchery, with seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines, including many foreign women who often influenced him to lessen his devotion to El alone. To please some of these women, he used some money from his construction fund to build pagan temples in Jerusalem.

Upon the death of Solomon in 931 BCE, after a reign of forty years, the Kingdom was split into two separate states, with the ten northern tribes of the Kingdom of Israel moving its capital to Shechem, while the two southern tribes of the kingdom of Judah retained its capital at Jerusalem.

In 922 BCE Jeroboam I became the first king of the rump state called Israel. He built his capital first at Shechem, but them moved his court to Penuel east of the Jordan River.

To prevent the people from going to the temple in Jerusalem to worship, Jeroboam broke with Yawhist religion by introducing the worship of the golden calf at Bethel and the region of Dan, telling the people the golden calf was their El all along, and the feast days for the golden calf were timed to coincide with the feast days in Jerusalem.

After reigning for nearly two years, King Elah drank to excess and was slain by General Zimri, who commanded half of his charioteers. And Zimri destroyed the whole house of Baasha, leaving no male heir alive, and ascended to the throne himself in a kind of military coup in 876 BCE.

But when the army heard that Zimri had killed the king and set himself up in his stead, they proclaimed General Omri as the true king of Israel and marched from Gibbethon to lay seige to Tirzah. When the wall of Tirzah fell, Zimri set fire to the palace and let it burn around him rather than be captured alive. And he had reigned a total of seven days.

King Ahab married Jezebel, daughter of the king of the Sidonians, and converted to her religion of Baal worship. He built a temple to Baal in Samaria, and during his reign of twenty-two years the prophet Elijah arose to preach in opposition to the worship of Baal introduced by King Ahab and his wife Jezebel of Tyre.

King Joram was wounded in battle against the Arameans at Ramah, and retired to Jezreel to recuperate. Then in 842 BCE, Elisha, who succeeded Elijah as the greatest prophet in Israel, anointed Jehu, lieutenant of Joram and son of Jerhoshaphat, as king over Israel. Elisha commissioned him to destroy the entire house of Ahab. And Jehu formed a conspiracy against Joram, and drove his chariot to Jezreel where Joram lay ill from his wounds, and there he slew Joram and his ally Ahaziah king of Judah.

And when Jehu drew near to the gate of Jezreel to slay Jezebel, he saw the woman standing on the rampart of the wall, together with a number of court eunuchs. Jehu told them to throw her off the wall, and when they did, Jehu rode over her body with his horse to ensure she was dead. And dogs ate the remnants of her body, so that no one could ever point to a tomb and say, "There lies Jezebel."

And the heads of seventy sons of Ahab was sent to Jehu in baskets.

King Jehoahaz was defeated by the Arameans, and much of Israel was occupied until the end of the his reign. At one point, the kingdom's power was reduced to fifty horsemen, ten chariots, and ten thousand foot soldiers.

Under King Jeroboam II's long reign the Northern Kingdom reached the pinnacle of its wealth and power and territorial extent. The population of Israel exceeded 350,000 and the border of the nation extended from the river Orontes to the Mediterranean Sea. For a time, it was the leading power of the region.

The prophet Isaiah made note of an alliance between King Pekah and King Rezin of Aram that threatened King Ahaz of Judah. But this was the time the Assyrians made their bid for great power. Under Pekah's reign the kingdom of Israel was reduced to solely the lands of Ephraim and parts of Manasseh. Then in 732 BCE King Pekah was slain by Hoshea, son of Elah.

In the fourth year of his reign, Hoshea was summoned to the court of Shalmaneser to explain his failure to pay the 1,000 talents of tribute required of him. He was imprisoned, and the Assyrians attacked Israel from 727-725 BCE. The province of Samaria became, for all intents and purposes, a vassal of Damascus governed by military officers.

In 721 the Assyrian army was withdrawn to secure the succession of Sargon II after the death of Shalmaneser.

In 720 Sargon II occupied all of Israel and deported the people to the east, where they soon lost their identity forever as separate tribes through intermarriage with the Medeans. But a remnant of all the tribes of the Northern Kingdom were taken by Binah to colonize the Land We Know.

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