Hildebrandt, OT History, Lit., and Theology, Lecture 26
© 2012 Dr. Ted Hildebrandt
This is Dr. Ted Hildebrandt teaching Old Testament History, Literature, and Theology course, the final lecture number 26, from Solomon to Rehoboam, Jeroboam, down to Ahab and then some of the Messianic prophecies.
Review of Solomon’s apostasy
I want to buzz through some things rather quickly here and so we’re just going to kind of hit and run as we go through this material. So let’s get this started up. Last time we were talking about Solomon and we were basically saying Solomon is the wisest man that ever lived. Then we said that at the end of his life he kind of botches up his life, he ends up with all these women, he ends up worshiping other gods, and he has these problems. So it’s kind of interesting that it’s the smartest man that ever lived turns out to be a very foolish man. The very thing that he warned his kids about is the thing that he botched up himself. So what ends up happening it seems to me and I wonder if you noticed this, have you ever noticed people that are really smart end up to being really stupid at the same time? So you get this connection on the backside of wisdom, that the wisdom and folly actually crossover sometimes. With Solomon you get this flipping over. The very things that he warned the young man against the adulteress and going after other gods is the very thing that he participates in himself. So Solomon turns his back on God. He’s got some big problems there. That brings up Hebrews 6 and a host of things about whether you’re saved, you’re always saved; but we’ll save that for New Testament. But anyways, we’ve looked at wisdom and folly, and the connections between the two in the narrative.
Dividing of the monarchy
What happen is, because Solomon goes after other gods, God comes in chapter 11 and let me just read this, chapter 11, verse 11: “The Lord said to Solomon: “‘since this is your attitude and you have not kept my covenant and my decrees,” notice “you have not kept my covenant,” the covenant was a big thing for God. “You have not kept my covenant, my decrees which I commanded you. I will most certainly tare the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your subordinates. Nevertheless, for the sake of David your father I will not do it during your lifetime.” So actually Solomon gets spared why? Because David was his father. He actually says because David was your father I won’t do it to you, because you’re David’s kid. God spares Solomon on David’s behalf, which is really an interesting concept there.
Now what happens is the kingdom is going to split north and south. I call these two guys the Boam-brothers ok, the Boam-brothers. This is when the kingdom splits. The south is going to be Rehoboam and Rehoboam is Solomon’s son. Rehoboam is going to be in the Davidic line. Rehoboam is going to be the king of Judah. Judah is going to be in the south. So there’s one tribe in the south that stays in the Davidic line--Judah in the south. The ten tribes in the north, they get carried away by this guy Jeroboam. So Jeroboam who actually is an antagonist to Rehoboam and Jeroboam sets up in the north. The north will be called “Israel;” the south will be called “Judah.” So the kingdom is going to split at this point and this is a big thing for Israel. Under Saul, David, and Solomon, the kingdom had been united. Now ten tribes headed by Ephraim are going to get carried to the north. The ten tribes in the north are going to go to Jeroboam, who’s not Davidic. Then the south, one tribe, Judah, is going to go to Rehoboam.
So we’ll look back at that, so what we have here is the kingdom’s divided into what they call a “divided monarchy” as oppose to the “united monarchy.” The united monarchy is Saul, David, and Solomon. The divided monarchy is a bunch of kings in the north, Israel, and a bunch of kings in the south, Judah.
Some dates to know: 1000 B.C., 722 B.C., and 586 B.C.
Now, there’s going to be three or four dates that I want you to know. First date that I want you to know is what? David’s what? David is a 1000 B.C. A second date and I want to introduce today is when the kingdom split in 931 B.C. I don’t want you to know the date 931. David’s a 1000 B.C., you figure Solomon is right after that so you get kind of close to this.
This date 722 B.C. is an important date. This is when the northern kingdom of Israel, the ten tribes in the north, get carried off to Assyria, to Nineveh. Nineveh is the capital of Assyria. The Assyrians where an exceedingly cruel people. Soon as I say Assyria, who’s the prophet that comes to mind? Jonah. So Jonah goes to Assyria. Basically the ten tribes get carried off to Assyria. He rips off all the people of wealth, and of means. He leaves the poor people in the land and he scatters the Jews. The ten tribes are scattered throughout Assyria and the region. Have those ten tribes ever been re-gathered? Are the ten tribes really scattered around the world? From 722 B.C., are they scattered among the world to this day? You say no Hildebrandt, they are really scattered they’re in New York City, most of them. But the Jews are scattered all over the world--Poland, Germany, etc. And now they’ve gone back to Israel but you know like we said, there are more Jews in New York City then there are in Israel. This is when the northern ten tribes were scattered by Assyria and may have been scattered ever since—722 B.C.
About a 130 years later Judah, Judah lasts about another 130 years. Judah gets scattered in 586 B.C. and this is a really big date. 586 is when the temple of Solomon is destroyed. So this is a really important date, this is when Babylon comes in and destroys the temple of Solomon. So the temple is destroyed and the Jews are hauled off to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar. And by the way, who were some Jews that were hauled off to Babylon that you know? Does anybody remember Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, those guys and Ezekiel? Does anybody remember the prophet who spoke just before the Babylonians came in and destroyed the temple? Does anybody know what prophet, was a crying prophet, he cried a lot? Jeremiah, that’s right. Jeremiah prophesied just before they go to Babylon Jeremiah tells them, “you guys are going off to Babylon. You’re going to go off to Babylon, repent, repent” and they don’t repent. Instead, they beat up on Jeremiah. They get hauled off to Babylon. By the way, does God preserve Jeremiah alive? Jeremiah doesn’t go to Babylon, he’s preserved because he spoke God’s word, although he was beat up quite a bit. So that’s 586 B.C., it’s a big date--the temple is destroyed and Jews are exiled to Babylon.
By the way, how many years did they go to Babylon for? Does anybody remember that? Seventy years. They go for seventy years. Why did God say seventy years? He said, “you owe me because you have not kept the Sabbath year.” Remember every seventh year they are supposed to let the land rest? The Sabbatical year and the Jews had not done that for 490 years and so God kept track of that. He says you’re out of my land, my land is going to get its rest. You’re in Babylon for seventy years. Now had they gotten away with it for 490 years? Yes. God says, “Okay, now it’s due, you’re out of here, you’re going to Babylon for seventy years” and they go in 586 B.C. which is the date when that actually happens in a big way.
The splitting of the kingdom with Rehoboam (Solomon’s son)
Now, the kingdom is split and we just want to talk about the split and how this happens. Rehoboam is Solomon’s son. He’s going to make some bad mistakes here. One of the mistakes he’s going to make is he’s going to listen to the young versus the old. A young person, when you ask for advice, should the young person listen to an old person or should they listen to their peers? A young person should listen to old people to get wisdom. I’m an old man now. Question, should I listen cross-generationally to my son who’s 23? Yes, I should because that gives you this cross-generational kind of context here. So Rehoboam is, “Okay, so my father is dead now, I’m the king.” And so what he says is this, he goes to the old men and he says: “hey, elders what do you recommend?” He consulted with the elders and they said: “if today, you will be a servant to these people and serve them and give them a favorable answer, they will always be your servants.” In other words, if you as the king serve your people, your people will do what to you? They will serve you. So if the king serves the people, then the people will serve the king. Is this talking about leadership? If a new king serves his people, the people will then in turn serve him. That works ok. It’s what Jesus did.
He rejects that and he goes instead to the young men that he had grown up with and here’s what they say: “Hey, Rehoboam, you’re king, you’re the big man now. You tell them, my little finger is thicker than my father’s waist. My father laid on you a heavy yoke; I will make it even heavier. My father scourged you with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions.” In other words, my father made it rough for you, you ain’t seen nothing yet. I’m on the throne now and my little finger’s tougher than my father’s whole power and being. And that’s what the young men say. Show them who’s boss. Have you ever seen the young leader come in and he’s got to take over and show everybody that he’s the man? Ok, is that a loser? That’s a loser. When you have to prove something like that, that’s a loser. The person that comes in and serves people, is that leader a winner?
I just had a talk with my son about that in terms of his experience in the Marines. You have some Marines come in and “I’m going to show them how tough I am.” My son was a group team leader and you know what he did? His guys marched sixteen miles. Rather than giving them a lecture telling them they were nothing, do you know what he did? He went out and bought pizza for his guys. Question: would those guys have died for him? I’m not talking figuratively, I’m talking literally. The answer is, yes. The problem is they knew that he would go first. If they were going through a bad door, they knew he would go first because he wouldn’t let them go first because that’s the kind of leader he is. He would go first and that’s why I was glad that he was relieved of his duty because I knew he would do that. But that’s what a leader does, a leader serves.
This guy, Rehoboam, accepts the advice of the young guys. He comes out: I’m going to whip you. My father whipped you with whips; I’m going to whip you with scorpions. All the people said what? We are taxed enough already. Did you ever see that “Taxed Enough Already”? Has anybody ever seen that? T-e-a, yes, we have had it in our country. “Taxed enough already.”
People said we’re taxed too much Rehoboam. We are not going to pay you taxes like they paid them. So they said: ten tribes, we’re going north. We’re not going to come back down here. So, they split the kingdom over this. Now Rehoboam, just to show how dumb this guy was, this guy used Adoniram who was a minor character. Adoniram was Solomon’s tax collector. What does Rehoboam do? He sends Adoniram out to collect taxes. What did the people do to this guy? When he gets out there to collect the taxes, the people stone Adoniram to death. They actually kill him; he’s trying to collect taxes for Rehoboam. They said, “sorry it doesn’t work here” and they actually stoned this guy to death. Was that a really dumb move on his part? Had this guy already had bad blood because he was a tax collector for Solomon? That’s what they were complaining about too much taxes. So Adoniram was stoned to death. It just shows Rehoboam and his stupidity.
Now, the northern kingdom splits off. The northern kingdom will be called Israel. The names get funny here. So the northern kingdom is called Israel and Judah will be in the south. All the kings of the north are bad. Every one of them are bad starting with Jeroboam, on down. They’re all bad. So it’s pretty easy for the northern kingdom, they’re all bad guys. In the south, the southern kingdom is called Judah and it’s through the southern kingdom of Judah that David’s descendants will rule. The problem is they have only got one tribe. They actually had immigrated in there, but I don’t want to get in to that. But anyway, Judah is where David’s son will rule. Most of the kings of the south were bad, some of them were good. Hezekiah was a very good king. Josiah was another real good king. So you’ve got Hezekiah, Josiah, Asa some of these kings in the south who were good. Not all of them were bad but about four or so were good.
Northern Kingdom kings: a quick overview
Now, the kings of the north, here we go. I don’t want you to know this or write this down. I’m just going to float through the northern kingdom. When I took this course many many years ago, my professor had us memorize all the kings of the north and their dates and the kings of the south and their dates. Now I swore if I ever taught this class I would never do that to anyone.
Jeroboam is going to be our first king of the north, he’s king when kingdom splits in 931. He’s the guy that takes over in the north. He has a son Nadab, but what happens to his line? His line gets cut off. Baasha kills Nadab’s son Elah, Elah gets killed. Zimri has no kids, he rules for about three weeks or three months or so. He gets killed immediately. So these guys are getting killed off. Do you see that each of their lines ends?
Now, by the way, in the south are we going to have David’s line, father son father son father son. David’s line is going continue forever. But here you see these guys are cut off, cut off, and cut off. None of their descendants lasts.
Now here’s a big one, this guy’s got four in a row Omri. You know Omri because you know his son Ahab. Ahab was famous. He was married to Jezebel. So this is Jezebel’s husband. This father Omri is also very important outside the Bible more than inside the Bible. But this is Ahab who was the worst of the worst kings. Ahab is the worst of the north and then he has a couple of sons and then his line gets cut off as well.
Then you have Jehu, Jehu is important for one thing. I’m sorry for simplifying it this much but Jehu takes out Ahab’s line. Jehu is the one that finishes off all of Ahab’s kids. So Jehu basically ends this bad line in the north. Then Jeroboam II, this guy Jeroboam ends Jehu’s dynasty. He’s not related to Jeroboam I. But Jeroboam II was the most wealthy of the northern kings. He was the most powerful. This guy was very powerful and wealthy in his day.
These other guys are a bunch of nobodies. I’m sorry but to be honest with you, they’re a bunch of nobodies and what happens to them: killed, killed, killed, killed. They each get wiped out after a short period of time.
Finally, because of their idolatry in the north, God sends in Assyria from Nineveh and in 722 B.C., the ten tribes in the north get carried off to Assyria and they take all the wealthy people. They take all the people of intelligence and basically normal people and up. They take them to Nineveh and then they bring in intelligentsia people from other areas and they swap whole populations. Why would they want to swap populations? Because when you’re in a foreign country, you’re not going to create a revolt because you don’t know the people, you’re in a foreign country. So they did this thing where they would swap populations so there would be no revolt against them.
The Assyrians were really cruel. In one picture they’ve got a pyramid of people’s heads, just their heads. The point is, if you disobey them what happens? Your head would be added to the pile. Now is that a pretty convincing argument? Would that work in a philosophy class? Yes, it would. Is that pretty convincing? Pile of head, your heads will be there? That’s one of the best arguments ever. “Yes sir,” you say. So Assyria is cruel.
Jeroboam I and the beginning of the northern kingdom
Now Jeroboam I, I just want to talk about this guy, he’s the king of the north Israel. What he does is Jeroboam’s got a problem. He’s got the ten tribes in the north, Judah’s to the south. But Judah has the capital city of what? Jerusalem. Where are the people supposed to go three times a year and bring all their tithes and offerings? They’re supposed to go down to Jerusalem. This means then that all this money from the north is going to go where? It’s going to go south and so Jeroboam says: “These people are going to take their sacrifices down there, all this wealth is going down there. They’re going to go down there three times a year. These people are going to revolt against me because they’ve got to keep going to Jerusalem.” So he says, “you know we shouldn’t do this.”
Now let me just do the narration here. This is 1 Kings 12:27: “If these people go up to offer sacrifices at the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem, they will again give their allegiance to their lord, Rehoboam king of Judah. Then they will kill me and return to the King Rehoboam.” So what he does is he’s going to make these golden calves and set them up at Dan and Bethel in the north so that the people will take pilgrimages and bring their sacrifices to the north, this way he won’t lose any revenue, and he won’t lose any allegiance from those people.
Have we seen the golden calf thing before? Aaron at Mount Sinai remember? “These are the gods that brought you out of Egypt.” He’s reviving this and again he sets up a golden calf in Bethel. He sets up another one at Dan. He says, “these are the gods that brought you out of Egypt.” So they’re identifying Jehovah with these golden calves. So there will be golden calves at Dan and Bethel. His epithet is that “Jeroboam is the one that taught Israel to sin.” This epithet comes up, all the kings of Israel in the north will commit this sin that Jeroboam son of Nebat, “they taught Israel to sin.” So Jeroboam is the first one and because he set up the golden calves they all do the golden calf thing.
I should say this while I’m thinking about this too. Dan, the one up in Dan in the north, they put up a golden calf up at Dan. Do you know that they have excavated Dan and guess what they found? No, no, somebody said they found the golden calf. Why would you never find the golden calf? Because if somebody as an invader comes in and sees a golden calf, what are they going to do? They’re going to rip off the golden calf, they’re going to melt it down, they’re going to bring it back to their temples. So you’re never going to see anything like a golden calf. But would you see a platform where they had their worship? They have found the high place at Dan. In other words, where he had this thing set up. In other words, they would level the ground there, they found that. So they have actually found this high place of Jeroboam. That’s really pretty cool archaeologically up in Dan at the foot of Mount Hermon.
Man of God out of Judah confronts Jeroboam
Now what happens? Jeroboam sets up the two golden calves, the people in the north are worshiping golden calves. The king makes it. Who’s going to hold the king in check? The prophet. So in chapter 13 of 1 Kings, there’s a man of God comes up out of Judah. Do you remember this guy? The Man of God comes up out of Judah and what does he do? He prophesies against the altars that Jeroboam had set up. “So by the word of the Lord, a man of God came from Judah to Bethel as Jeroboam was standing by the altar making an offering and he cried out against the altar by the word of the Lord. O altar, altar, this is what the Lord says.” By the way, that phrase: “this is what the Lord says.” Is that what a prophet says? A prophet speaks for God: “Thus saith the Lord.” “This is what the Lord says,” and the prophet gives you what God says. “A son named Josiah will be born to the house of David and on you he will sacrifice the priests of the high places who now make offerings here. Human bones, O altar, will be burned on you.”
Human bones and the guy’s name that he will be called “Josiah.” When did Josiah live? 300 years later. There’s a prophecy here of Josiah 300 years before the guy lived telling exactly what he would do, that he would burn human bones on this altar that Jeroboam had set up. By the way, 300 years later guess what he does? Josiah is born and Josiah does exactly this. So it’s really kind of an interesting fulfilled prophecy.
Now what you’re saying is in 1 Kings 13, 300 years before the guy lives, it predicts his name and tells what he would do. Is that a miracle to tell the future and that much, 300 years, in the future? Yes. Question: do critics except miracles in the Bible? No, you can’t so you got to get rid of it and here’s how the critics get rid of most of the prophetic miracles foretelling the future. Here’s how they get rid of them: they use this thing called prophecy post-eventu. What this means is “prophecy after the event.” What this means then is that the prophecy, when it says that Josiah will do this 300 years later that that prophecy was actually made up after the time of Josiah and written back into the text. Do you see what I’m saying? So the prophecy actually comes after the time of Josiah. When Josiah does this, then they put it back in the text--prophecy after the event. That’s how basically critics get rid of a lot of the prophecies in Scripture. They make the prophecy after the event. Now by the way, does the Bible say this? Is there any manuscript evidence for this? The answer is: no. So it’s just their way to get rid of those miraculous predictions.
Long term connected to a short term prophecy
Now, another thing that the prophet does, a prophet does a long-term prophecy. Josiah is going to come 300 years later. Are any of those people going to be alive to check him up to see whether he is telling the truth or not? No, they’re all going to be dead. So what does a prophet do? A prophet gives a short-term prophecy to confirm the long-term prophecy.
So in this case, the man of God out of Judah, do you remember he was the guy that was supposed to go back to Judah and he didn’t and a lion killed him. So this prophet says this: Josiah is going to offer human bones on this altar. He says but that’s not going to be for 300 hundred years. So I’ll prove to you that that’s true. If what I’m saying is true, this altar will split into two right now and what happens? The altar splits in two. By doing that, the people know what? If the altar splits in two at this guy’s word, if that’s true, do they know this other 300-year prophecy will be true as well? So a short-term prophecy coupled with the long-term prophecy. That’s kind of how they did it and this is a case here in 1 Kings 13. So a short-range prophesy confirming a long range.
Then here is another one, Jeroboam’s son is sick so his wife goes in to talk to the prophet and the prophet. The prophet was blind he said: “but I knew you’re his wife and when you enter into your house, when you go cross the threshold of your house, your son’s going to die.” Guess what happened? She goes back home, she goes through the threshold of her house and her son dies. So again the prophet’s speaking so you get prophecy-fulfillment. The prophet prophecies and then later on in the chapter its fulfilled or later 300 years its fulfilled. So that connection, we see it several times here with these prophets. The prophets rebuke the kings. The prophets were checks on the power of the king and the prophet said “thus saith the Lord and king you’ve done wrong, repent.” The king usually beat up on the prophet. That’s usually what happened.
King Ahab and Jezebel of Israel
Now Ahab is one of the big bad guys in the Old Testament as far as kings. But his father, was named Omri and Omri is actually more famous outside the Bible then Ahab is. You know when we talked about Alexandra the Great, is Phillip of Macedon really important? Yes, Alexander is a great leader but his father Phillip set him up. This kind of in an evil way, this is kind of what’s going on here. Ahab is a big bad guy but his father Omri, moves the capital. Now if you guys are Israel, the capital of Israel was where William is here and then over where Zack is, is more where Samaria is. Now why would you move the capital from where William is over to where Zack is? Where’s the major road? If you guys are the Mediterranean Sea, is there a major Route 95 coming up right here called the Coastal Highway? So if you move the capital over here, you can now control the what? The major highway, the Coastal Highway, that runs out by the coast by the Philistines. You can control that if you’re here. If you’re back up in the mountains where William is, you can’t control that route. So, was that a brilliant move by Omri to move the capital up by overlooking the coastal plain? It’s a brilliant move. So they move it to Samaria and now Samaria will be the capital of Israel in the north. That was a brilliant move by Omri.
The Mesha Stone and the Moabite Stone are two ancient stones that archaeologists have dug up and they have the name “Omri” on them. So he was actually carved into stone, his name “Omri” dating from about 830 B.C. So we have confirmation of some of this information archaeologically. By the way, nobody argues with this. You can’t argue with it, this is like chiseled in stone ok, so they’ve got it?
It’s interesting to this guy Tiglath-Pilezer and I’m not I don’t care if you know his name, call him Tiggy for short. But anyways, Tiglath-Pilezer, in his annals in Assyria, about a hundred years later mentions Israel as the “house of Omri.” So even a hundred years later, Israel was known as the house of Omri by Assyria. Omri was a big guy, Ahab was his son. So Omri is internationally known, I guess that’s what I’m trying to say. Ahab is going to be more significant in the Bible.
Now, Omri’s son Ahab marries this wonderful woman named Jezebel. Even to say her name Jezebel today, if you call a woman “Jezebel” is that derogatory? If I ever called my wife Jezebel that would be like the worst. There are other politicians that I’ve heard called that too but we’ll get out of there. Ahab marries Jezebel. Jezebel was from Lebanon. She was from Phoenicia, she was from north of Israel, Lebanon, just north. Therefore, just because she was from out there, what kind of god did she worship? She was a Baal worshiper. Lebanon, that’s where Baal was from, Lebanon, the area of Phoenicia. So what Jezebel does then is Jezebel brings Baal worship into Israel.
Now Baal, there’s some things you should probably know about Baal. But I had the unfortunate privilege of reading Ugaritic and I had to read all these Baal myths. The Bible doesn’t tell us too much about Baal, that’s the truth. But they found a place in Ugarit with about 12,000 tablets just north, actually just north of her home up in Lebanon in Ugarit and they found 12,000 tablets that have got these tales, these myths of Baal.
So here’s Baal’s myth basically, Baal was a storm god and Baal was considered a “rider of the clouds.” By the way, it’s kind of interesting, the Bible in Psalms 68 says, Baal is not the rider of the clouds. Psalm 68 says Jehovah is the rider of the clouds. So there’s apparently even in the Psalms there’s some back and forth between the two cultures. So Baal is the rider of the clouds, Baal then rains on the earth, mother earth. When Baal rains on the earth, he’s really fertilizing mother earth. Do you get the imagery? Yes, it is that imagery. It is gross. Now, question, when you went into Baal worship, what happened? When you went into Baal worship, they had the priestess there and you as a male would go in there and basically if she conceived and had a child, that meant, if she was fertile, that meant your land would be fertile. Do you see what part of their worship was? Part of their worship was to go into these temple prostitutes and get them pregnant because that meant your land would be fertile. If she was fertile, your land would be fertile.
Now by the way, is this really corrupt? This is really majorly corrupt. It was part of their worship and God hated it. It was really wicked, and Jezebel is promoting this kind of worship and we know a whole lot about it now. To be honest with you, we know too much about it.
Elijah and Ahab
Now, king Ahab is a really wicked man, he’s going to be the most wicked king in the north. What’s going to happen, is there going to be a prophet that has to stand up against him? He’s a wicked king, who’s the prophet? Guy’s name is Elijah. This is where Elijah goes against Ahab and this is why Elijah’s so famous because he’s the most wicked king. Elijah announces God’s judgment on Ahab. It’s interesting the prophets, the good prophets get blamed, killed and beat up. The false prophets, did Israel love the false prophets? What was the message of the true prophet? The major message was what? Repent. What was the message of the false prophets? Peace, shalom, peace. The message of the false prophet was largely one of peace. Everybody loved the false prophets because their always proclaiming peace, peace when there was no peace. The true prophet says, “repent,” and they hated them. So it’s very interesting. By the way, do we have true and false prophets today? It’s interesting.
Elijah and the Prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel (1 Kgs 18)
So there’s no desire on his part to repent or to face judgment and so he calls Elijah and we’re over in 1 Kings chapter 18, Ahab calls Elijah the troubler of Israel. Who is the real troubler of Israel? Ahab is the troubler of Israel, but notice how he projects his evil on to another person? Ahab is the one who’s troubling Israel but yet he projects it and calls Elijah the one who’s troubling Israel. Now, what happens? 1 Kings 18, there is a really interesting story here, we have Elijah and the prophets of Baal. They’re going to duke it out. There’s going to be 450 false prophets. How many good prophets do you have? One, 450 against one, you always go with the majority right? You should take a vote. 450 to one, Elijah versus the prophets of Baal, what’s going to happen here?
This is a map of it, where does moisture come from in Israel? It always comes from the same place; it comes from the Mediterranean Sea. The moisture blows in off the Mediterranean Sea and where does it rain? When it hits the mountains, the water goes up and when it hits the mountains it rains right here because the water, the clouds go up and when the clouds go up, things cool off and it rains. So it comes off the Mediterranean, hits the mountains, and rains on the front side of this mountain. But where is Mount Carmel where is Elijah’s going to be? Do see this mountain right here? This is called Mount Carmel, do you see the antelope’s nose here? This is a port city called Haifa today, but this is Mount Carmel. When the waters come off the ocean, what’s the first mountain that gets hit? Carmel. Will Carmel be verdant and green because it gets all out of rain? Yes, it’s right by the ocean so this is where the rain comes, this is where it rains the hardest.
Elijah’s going to duke it out with the prophets of Baal right here. If you ever get to Israel, make sure you get up there and see it. They’ve have a statue of Elijah, that’s really cool. Anyway, its right here.
Now, Elijah says “let’s duke it out.” The prophets of Baal, they go up on mount Carmel, it’s a place where storms usually hit. Elijah calls the people to a decision in chapter 18, verse 21. There is a beautiful statement there: “Elijah went before the people and said, How long will you waver between two opinion? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.” So he says don’t waver between two opinions, if Jehovah is God follow him, if Baal is God follow him. “Then Elijah said to them, I am the only one prophet of the Lord’s prophets left and Baal has 450 prophets.”
So they go up there, now the problem, Elijah says we’re going to have the gods shoot a lightning bolt on these altars. Now, by the way, did Baal specialize in lightning bolt chucking? Baal was a lightning bolt chucker god. He was the one who brought in the rains, and he was the one who brought in the thunderstorms. So Baal specialized in rains. So Elijah is saying, I’m going to fight Baal on whose turf? We’re going to fight Baal on Baal’s turf.
Now, Jehovah’s got a problem. Jehovah’s problem is that Jehovah, what does he specialize in? Baal specializes in lightning bolt chucking and rain coming down. Jehovah doesn’t specialize in anything does he? So Baal’s got this specialization, Jehovah just kind of does everything. So they go out.
Now they get this altar up and they start crying out to their gods. I’m going to ask this question: is sarcasm ever appropriate? Now if you’ve taken this class, I ask you, is sarcasm ever appropriate? Yes. I use it in class regularly and where did I get it from? Well, here it’s on the Bible, here’s Elijah talking to the prophets of Baal “At noon.” This is chapter 18, verse 27: “At noon Elijah began to taunt them. Shout louder! He said. Surely he is a god!” “Surely he is a god,” did Elijah believe that? No, is he mocking them out? He’s mocking them out. “Surely he is a god! Scream louder maybe he can’t hear you. Perhaps he is in deep thought, or busy, or traveling or maybe he’s on the pot. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened. So yell louder so he can hear you, in case he’s sleeping, you need to wake up your god.” “So they shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as the custom was until the blood flowed.” Ok, why did they cut themselves? It is believed that if you cut yourselves, that it would get the attention of god. Kind of this idea of shedding blood, if you make blood to flow, maybe the water would flow from the heavens or something like that. So they cut themselves. There’s nothing, nothing happens.
What does Elijah do? Elijah says: “there’s an old altar for the Lord here. Let’s set it up twelve rocks, twelve tribes of Israel. Let’s set the twelve stones up and let’s put a little water on this. If Jehovah’s going to shoot some lightning bolts on it, why don’t we douse it with water just to make sure the wood really burns. Put water on it and then all of a sudden you remember this little hand comes over, a little cloud hand, and all of a sudden what? God does this kind of drone thing with the laser guided lightning shoots right down on the altar and hits it right up. The thing smokes and the people are terrified and start screaming. Then basically Elijah goes after the 450 prophets and they are killed.
But it’s kind of interesting too. The people are frightened when the lightning bolt strikes. Have you ever been close to a lightning bolt strike? Will that scare the daylights out of you? Now you can train yourself as much as possible I’m not going to be scared. But when it comes close and its close, I’ve not been real real close but I’ve been pretty close and I’ll tell you it scares the daylights out of you because you’re totally out of control when the thing hits. By the way, have some people been hit by lightning bolts and survived? Yes, it’s really kind of interesting when you see the power of the things and I’ve always wondered what it would be like to get hit by a lightning bolt and survive. But I never really wanted to set up the test because I wouldn’t trust my sneakers. It would probably burn them off or something. But I just thought that would be really interesting.
Who wins the day, one against 450 prophets of Baal, Elijah wins the day. This is the greatest day of his life. He defeats the prophets of Baal, 450 of them. He takes on Jezebel, Ahab and the 450 and he wins. This is the greatest day of his life, he’s the hero, he’s the one that wins.
Elijah flees from Jezebel
What’s the problem? Jezebel in the next chapter and this is kind of incredible actually. “Now Ahab told Jezebel everything that Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, may the gods deal with me be it ever so severely if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like one of them. Elijah was afraid and ran for his life.” Where did he run? He’s up you saw where Mount Carmel was, he ran not only through the land of Israel, he ran through Judah and the next thing we know is he’s down in Beersheba. Where’s Beersheba? Beersheba’s out the bottom of Judah. Beersheba is like Key West? It’s out the bottom to the south.
So he runs down to Beersheba and he gets down there and he was afraid. Then he came under a broom tree, he sat down and prayed. He said, “‘I’ve had enough Lord,’ he said, ‘take my life. I’ve had enough, take my life.’” By the way, have we ever seen another prophet ask for something similar? I think his experience was like Moses? Elijah, “Lord take my life.” Is it possible for a Christian person or one of the greatest prophets that ever lived, Elijah, to pray for death? And he says, “take my life.”
The angel comes and gives him some food. Then the angel comes and gives him some more food. Elijah eats the food and the next thing Elijah does is he runs from Beersheba which is way out the south of Judah, he runs all the way down to Mount Sinai. By the way, who’s at Mount Sinai? God’s down there and “the word of the Lord came to him, ‘what are you doing here Elijah?’” It’s God saying, well I’m down in Mount Sinai, what are you doing down here. It’s hundreds of miles south. I’m not sure on the exact mileage. I think it’s only about 75 though miles. So 75 miles is a long way to go on foot.
“He replied, I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death, and I am the only one left and now they are trying to kill me too.” So, Elijah basically is flat down. Is Elijah really depressed? What I’m trying to suggest to you is, here Elijah has won one of the greatest victories of his life defeating the 450 prophets of Baal. A few days later, he’s fleeing all the way down and he’s totally depressed because of this woman, he’s scared to death that he’s going to lose his life.
Do highs and lows ever come together? The person gets high one day and everything is great and wonderful and the next day they’re down in the dumps. Have you ever seen a pastor on Monday? Have you ever seen a pastor preaches his heart out on Sunday, on Monday he’s down and depressed. By the way, do a lot of pastors take Monday off? Do you know why they do that? A rush of adrenaline on Sunday, Monday is crash day.
I want to call this “existential aloneness.” Elijah says, “I am the only one left and now they’re seeking to take my life.” One of the worst feelings in life that I’ve ever felt has been feeling like you’re absolutely alone. My son just got back from Afghanistan. He was in the Marines for four years and he did a deployment in Iraq and then which wasn’t too bad. When he got on to Afghanistan, Afghanistan was brutal. He gets back here, can he relate to the kids that he went to high school with? Now he’s 22-23 years old, he goes back to his high school buddies, can he hangout with his high school buddies now? Are they very different then he is? Yes, he goes out to a place and one of his girls who was in his high school class comes up and says, “how many people did you kill?” He says, does she have a clue? She has no clue, absolutely no clue. He’s totally “You don’t even know what that question means to ask it.” Can he talk to his peers? And the answer is, No. He’s had a dickens of a time talking to his peers. So all of a sudden he starts feeling what? Totally and absolutely alone. You can’t talk to anybody; nobody understands what’s going on. So all I’m saying is be careful, there can come real down times. Being totally absolutely alone, I’ll tell you it’s really really depressing. Elijah experienced this and so he’s done.
Elijah’s threefold final mission
Now what God does is God comes and says, “Okay, Elijah, you’ve got to finish up three things. There are three things for you Elijah that you need to do yet. You aren’t the only one, there’s 7000 of my prophets that haven’t bowed their knee to Baal. You need to get your tail back up there and help those guys.”
So he tells him you need to do three things: you have to anoint Hazael, who’s to be the king of Syria. Anoint the king of Syria. Secondly, you have to anoint Jehu. Now who is Jehu? Jehu’s going to be a king when he’s going to take down Ahab and his descendants. Jehu is going to be the king that takes out Ahab’s descendants. And the lastly, you’ve got to anoint the next prophet. The next prophet is going to be Elisha. So Elijah is going to anoint Elisha. It’s almost like a prophetic baton that’s going to get passed from one prophet to the next. Have we seen that before? Moses passes the baton to whom? Joshua. What you have here is Elijah passing it along to Elisha. Elisha’s an understudy and Elijah passes it on. So God says you have to go up and anoint these guys and so Elijah had to back up.
Naboth’s vineyard, and I want to hit this quickly. It’s in 1 Kings chapter 21.
This is a powerful story. Ahab goes out and looks at his palace and who’s got a
beautiful vineyard right next to his palace? A guy named Naboth. Ahab goes up
to this guy Naboth and he says, “Hey, Naboth, I want your vineyard. I will pay
you well for your vineyard; just sell it to the king. I want your vineyard,
sell it to the king.” Naboth says what? “I can’t sell it to you, it’s an
inheritance from my parents from our family. So I can’t sell it to you.”
What’s the king going to do? Well, in this case the king didn’t kill him. It says here: Ahab went home sullen and angry because Naboth the Jezreelite had said I will not sell it to you. He laid on his bed sulking and refused to eat. His wife Jezebel came in and said why are you sullen why won’t you eat?” Jezebel comes and says, “how come you’re so down? Ahab, you’re the king how are you down in your bed sullen?” She says, “don’t worry about it Ahab, I will take care of it. What do you want for Christmas Ahab? You want his vineyard? I’ll give it to you; I’ll get it for you. I’ll take care of it, Jezebel says. Now when Jezebel says that is that going to be bad news?
Jezebel says this and I want to introduce a concept that I call “religious evil.” Could Jezebel have just ordered her men to go out and kill him? She could have just ordered her men to go out and kill him. Is that what she does? No, she doesn’t. Here’s how Jezebel kills this guy Naboth. “She says, proclaim a day of fasting and seat Naboth in a prominent place.” So it’s a day of fasting, it’s a religious ceremony. Naboth is put in a prominent place among the people. “But seat two scoundrels opposite him,” notice two scoundrels. She would need two witnesses to convict a person. “and have them testify that he has cursed both God and the king. And then take him out and stone him to death.”
Naboth was killed. Was he killed using the law of blasphemy? She used the law of blasphemy to kill him. This was Jehovah’s law, she uses Jehovah’s law to kill this guy. Is that wicked? Is it doubly wicked? It’s kind of like cheating in a Bible class, you know what I’m saying? I mean, you going to cheat in class, you cheat in a Bible class, is that like really bad? What I’m saying she’s using religion to destroy Naboth. She uses religion and rather than just killing the guy, so this is what I want to call “religious evil.” Do people hide behind religion to do evil? Yes, they do. Often they coat it with all this religion stuff. It’s incredible Jezebel does that.
God comes, by the way, there is a God. He sees what happens and so guess who shows up? Who’s the prophet? Elijah shows up, he goes after Ahab and he says, “Ahab you’re a dead man. Dogs, will the dogs lick up your blood. The dogs are going to lick up your blood Ahab.” And then he comes to Jezebel, he says “Jezebel you set that up, dogs are going to eat you. You’re going to be eaten by dogs, you’re done.”
Ahab and God’s grace
Now what happens, listen to what the Bible says, “there was never,” this is chapter 21 verse 25: “There was never a man like Ahab who sold himself to do evil in the eyes of the Lord urged on by his wife Jezebel.” Is Ahab the worst of the worst? But what happens here? Next verse: “When Ahab heard these words, he tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and fasted. He lay in sackcloth and went around meekly.” What’s this guy doing? Yes, Ahab repents. I mean this is the wickedest guy that lived in the northern kingdom, this guy repents. Check this out: “When the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite, he said, “have you noticed how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he has humbled himself, I will not bring disaster in his day. But I will bring it on the days of his son.” Is Ahab spared? Ahab is spared, he repented. This guy is the worst, the wickedest person in the Old Testament. This guy repents and God’s spares him.
That brings me back, some people say there isn’t much grace in the Old Testament. Question, is this grace? This is grace, this guy just butchered Naboth and had done all these bad things and yet God spares him. Is the Old Testament full of grace as well? The answer is: yes. God is gracious in both testaments, it’s the same God and God spares Ahab here.
My other point is this: is it possible that in your life, you will do something that’s so bad that you’ll say: God can’t forgive me for this? Question: if a person repents, does God forgive? Even if it’s an Ahab, it’s absolutely incredible. So Ahab is like the worst of the worst, he repents, God says, “I won’t bring disaster in your day.”
Dates to know
Now, here’s some dates to know. These are just some quick things and then I want to hit something else. David’s a 1000 B.C., that’s easy. Here’s a new one, the northern kingdom is deported to Assyria, what’s the capital of Assyria? Nineveh, that’s Jonah’s territory, that’s 722 B.C.
I forgot to talk to you guys about the Samaritans. Do you guys know who the Samaritans are? Remember Jesus and the woman of Samaria? The northern kingdom, when Assyria took those ten tribes away, they left the poor people in the land. The Assyrians then brought in other peoples and had them intermarry with these poor Jews. So the Samaritans are half-breeds set up by the Assyrians who took most of the middle class and up, they didn’t really have a middle class, but they took the wealthy and intelligent away and left only the poor people. Then they brought other groups in that intermarried with the Jews and those people became the Samaritans. That’s why the Samaritans are so despised in the New Testament, they’re half-breeds. They’re the lowest class Jews who intermarried with these people. So Jesus will run into that prejudice in his day.
Now, Judah got deported to Babylon in 586 B.C., what else will happen in 586 B.C.? What’s the most important event? The temple is destroyed 586 B.C. Judah gets exiled to Babylon in 586, and the temple’s destroyed. Then here is the last date. These are the four big dates that I want you to know for this semester. The end of the Old Testament, as we are in Nehemiah, and I call this guy Malachi, the last of the Italian prophets. But he’s the last prophet. Keep thinking Malachi now. Malachi ends at 400 B.C. So after 400 B.C., prophecy is over after 400 B.C. Prophecy ends with Malachi and until the time of Jesus, you got what? About 400 years, they call the silent years that is when the Apocrypha is written. So from Malachi 400 B.C. until the time of Christ, that’s basically when the Apocrypha is written. Jesus comes around. Jesus comes around zero. Wrong, but anyway, we’ll talk about that in the New Testament.
Babylon was capital of the Neo-Babylonian empire. There was the Old Babylonian Empire, you know Hammurabi (ca. 1750 B.C.). Hammurabi is the Old Babylonian king, they went down the tubes. Assyria came up, Assyria was the big one and in 612 B.C., Babylon destroyed Nineveh. Then Babylon was on a role. Nebuchadnezzar and all those guys and then Babylon became big for the Neo-Babylon Empire (612-539 B.C.).
Then who took over after the Babylonians? Do you remember that? Cyrus the Persian, do you guys remember the Persians? The Persians came in and wiped out Babylon, now that was about 539 B.C. Seventy years after the Jews were exiled the Persians come in. Who comes after the Persians? Yes, the Greeks, the 300, the Greeks under Alexander wipe the Persians out. After the Persians then the Greeks are what? And who’s after the Greeks? No one. The Romans stole all the stuff from the Greeks. Sorry, I have a bad view of the Romans.
Now, let me jump down to some prophecies here. I want to go through some Messianic prophecies. The Old Testament points forward to Christ and I just want to spend this last little bit thinking about some of these prophecies. What is the first look forward to Christ in the Bible? The proto-evangelium. The one who will come from the seed of the woman who would crush the serpent’s head. Right from the beginning, after Adam and Eve fell into sin there is the expectation that from the seed of the woman would come one that would crush the serpent’s head, proto-evangelium.
The covenant with Abraham was what? The land, the seed, a blessing that Abraham’s descendants would be a blessing to all the world. That is us. Jesus would come and the gospel would spread throughout all the world and we, as Gentiles, would be grafted in to the stock of Israel, to the olive tree of Israel. So the blessings of Abraham to all the world looked forward again to Christ. The thing narrows in even more with David, now with David it is said that the Messiah would be the what? The Son of David. God would build David a house [dynasty], and that his descendant would sit on the throne of his father David and would rule forever and forever looking down to Jesus as the ben David. Ben David means what? Ben means “son” of David, ben David. Now there’s going to be another. Let’s run through this.
Malachi at the end of the Bible, in the very end here it mentions. Let me just read this to you. It’s interesting, the last verses of the Old Testament end this way: “See,” says chapter 4, verse 5 of Malachi: “See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before the great and dreadful day of the Lord comes.” When Jesus shows up, did they ask John the Baptist if he’s Elijah? They asked him if he’s Elijah who is to come. The Old Testament told them that Elijah was coming before the great and dreadful day of the Lord. That was how the Old Testament ended. Now let me just run through some others.
(student question) Yes and no, Jesus said, “John the Baptist is Elijah if you will hear it” but Elijah was on the Mount of Transfiguration Mathew 17:2, but I think it refers more to John the Baptist. It gets complicated and we’ll talk about that in the New Testament.
“For on to us a Child is born, on to us a Son is given” (Isa. 9:6) what does that sound like? “and his name should be called,” yes, let me just read this: “For on to us a Child is given is born, to us a Son is given and the government should be upon his shoulder. And he should be called Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of peace.” Ok, it’s really bad when you got to go through it like this. How do you guys know this because you know Handel’s Messiah. Handel’s Messiah, I swear half of it is out of Isaiah. Seriously, Handel’s Messiah is incredible. A child will be born and he will be called Wonderful, he will be called Mighty God Mighty God, so it’s not just a regular child, he will be called Mighty God.
How about this one, turn back a page in Isaiah, Isaiah chapter 7 verse 14 it says this: “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. A virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son and you will call him” what? “ Emmanuel.” What does Emmanuel mean? God with us. A child, who is the virgin who will conceive and give birth to a son? Mary, quoted in the New Testament.
Micah 5:2, I won’t look this one up, it’s basically that Jesus will be born in Bethlehem of Judea. Who was born in Bethlehem before Jesus was? David.
Zechariah 9 says that the king will come to you riding on a donkey. When does Jesus do that? He rides a donkey in the city of Jerusalem, what do all the people say? “Hosanna, Hosanna, the son of David, Hosanna to the son of David.” The triumphant entry, Jesus fulfills Zechariah chapter 9.
Here’s one that you all know: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Who said that? David. David knowing the heart of God. “My God, my God, he writes a psalm. Jesus, when he’s on the cross quotes from David: “My God, my God why have You forsaken Me?” David possibly seeing Jesus in the future and that kind of thing.
Now there is one passage I want to finish up with and that’s Isaiah 53 and this is beautiful. When I was young person, my father had me memorize this. “Who has believed our report and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? He grew up before him like a tender shoot, like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” The Jews were looking for the Messiah ben David who would come and throw off the Roman yoke, who would sit on the throne of David. When Jesus came did he come as the Messiah who would throw off and would rule? He didn’t come like that and the Jews noticed this passage and others and they said, the Bible tells us about another Messiah and they called this Messiah, the Messiah ben Joseph--yhe Messiah ben David versus the Messiah ben Joseph. The Messiah ben Joseph is the what? What happened to Joseph? He got put in prison. The Messiah ben Joseph is a suffering one and so the Jews had this idea of this Messiah ben Joseph and this Messiah ben David. Here he’s described, “he was despised and rejected.” “Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows yet we considered him stricken by God and smitten. He was pierced.” Do you noticed the pierced thing references the cross? “He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him and by his wounds we are healed. All we, like sheep, have gone astray”, sound familiar? “each one to his own way and the Lord laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted”
Now check this out down in verse 9: “He was assigned a grave with the wicked” plural, with the wicked (plural), were there more than one in his death that were wicked on the both sides of him? Would the plural wicked and the rich singular in his death. Is that exactly what happened with Jesus? The wicked plural on both sides and in his death the rich, who was the rich in his death? Joseph of Arimathea do you remember he gave Jesus his tomb? He was a rich man that provided for Jesus. So there’s a play on the rich and with the plural there it’s absolutely incredible.
So this passage of Isaiah 53 is absolutely gorgeous telling us about what? He bore our iniquities. We call it the “substitutionary atonement” that Jesus substituted himself for us. “He bore our sins and by his stripes we are healed.”
This is my last slide. Check this song out, “Joy to the world.” I was going to sing it, but I can’t do it today. “Joy to the world the Lord has come, let earth receive her King.” The whole Old Testament moving up to this, “the earth receiving her King. Let every heart prepare him room” and then “let heaven and nature sing, let heaven and nature sing and heaven and heaven and nature sing.” That’s where we need to end this course, that’s where we’re going to end it. “Joy to the world, the Lord has come.”
by Allana Notaro
Rough edited by Ted Hildebrandt