Kings of Israel
In the period proceeding kings in Israel, the Nation, the 12 tribes had NO HUMAN King. GOD WAS THEIR KING!!
Waaaaayyyyyy back in Deuteronomy 17:14-17 we read: “When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you and have taken possession of it and settled in it, and you say, “Let us set a king over us LIKE ALL THE NATIONS AROUND US,” be sure to appoint over you a king the Lord your God chooses. He must be from among your fellow Israelites. Do not place a foreigner over you, one who is not an Israelite. The king, moreover, must not acquire great numbers of horses for himself or make the people return to Egypt to get more of them, for the Lord has told you, “You are not to go back that way again.” He must not take many wives, or his heart will be led astray. He must not accumulate large amounts of silver and gold.”
As often as God commanded HIS CHOSEN people NOT to be like the other nations around them…..they were already beginning to “rumble” about having a HUMAN KING. And did you notice WHY??? Sadly so they could “be like the other nations around them!!!” Ummmm……not a whole lot as changed today….how often do we compare ourselves to friends, family, famous people, and look at all the news reports about the “royal baby!!” I remember when Kate and William were married and how many young women WANTED her wedding dress!! Can you imagine how many babies will be named after this child, because somehow that will make people feel closer to or more like royalty? I don’t think anything is wrong with looking at this beautiful couple and sharing their joy. However, when we take it to a whole other level of desiring to BE them, desiring to have all they have, etc….we take our focus off of what God wants us to be and WHO HE is. TRULY NO condemnation here….just thinking points to test our own hearts and minds and make sure we are focused on the right things.
OK…back to Israel. In Judges 21:25 we read: “Israel had no king and everyone did as they saw fit.”
In God’s wisdom he raised Samuel (remember Hannah could not conceive a child, she prayed to God, promised to give her child to God, God blessed her with Samuel, and she kept her promise when she took Samuel to the High Priest Eli when she had weaned Samuel.) Hannah made a Nazarite Vow on Samuel’s behalf before his birth and she did as she promised. Samuel also was faithful to God. Samuel was to lead the people (1 Sam 3:4). He judged Israel ALL the days of his life. And when he was old he made his sons judges over Israel (1 Samuel 8:1.) BUT….. Israel rejected his sons, refused to obey Samuel and DEMANDED a HUMAN KING (1 Samuel 8:19-20.) Samuel went before God with the situation and God said: “Listen to them and give them a king.” (1 Samuel 8:22)
Saul was the 1st King of Israel. He was a Benjamite. Saul appeared to be the perfect king….he was handsome, and began his reign with a victory over the Ammorites. Unfortunately, we witnessed his success going quickly to his head, humility gave way to pride. Saul offered sacrifice to God…..ummmmm….ONLY the Levites were to do this!!! Saul GRIEVED God through his pride, self-centeredness, disobedience, and rebellion (1 Sam 5:10.) Saul reigned unsuccessfully from 1049 BC to 1009 BC then “he took his own sword and fell on it.” (1 Sam 31:4)
David was the 2nd King of Israel. He is from the tribe of Judah. His purpose was to UNIFY the Nation which he did with grand success. David was known as “a man after God’s own heart.” He was an unlikely choice for King…a lowly shepherd boy….even his father didn’t even consider the possibility that David would be the choice for king and left him in the field when Samuel came to Jesse’s house to pick the next king. Jesse had to call David in from the field and God told Samuel…. YES…. THIS is my choice for the King of Israel. David was anointed King in private the first time only in front of his family. Years later he was publicly anointed King of Judah (the nation of Israel had split under Saul’s rule.) He ruled as Judah’s King for seven years then was publicly anointed King of ALL of Israel in his 7th year as King of Judah. David reigned from 1009 BC to 969 BC.
Solomon of the tribe of Judah, David’s son of Bathsheba, became King of the UNIFIED nation of Israel in 971 BC and reigned until 931 BC. Solomon’s reign was also known as the “golden years” for Israel. They had risen from obscurity to fame and power. They were at peace with all nations around them and had great wealth. Solomon was known by all as the wisest man in the world and all leaders came to him for advice. Of course we have already read what lead to Solomon’s downfall….his 1000 wives and concubines from pagan nations whose lifestyles he came to accept, mimic, and WORSHIP. He pulled away from the very God who came to him and asked him if you could have ANYTHING what would it be and Solomon asked for wisdom. Because Solomon asked for this, God blessed him GREATLY with EVERYTHING.
Because of Solomon’s behavior as he grew older which included worshipping and building idols, God said the Nation of Israel would divide under his son. The ONLY reason it did not divide under Solomon was because God was honoring Solomon’s father, David. HOW AWESOME is our God too keep such a commitment!!!???
Israel is now the “Northern Nation of ISRAEL” with 10 of the 12 original tribes. The Kings of Israel are listed below along with the years of their reign. We have not read about all of them yet but I thought this list would be beneficial to help you keep straight who is the king in which kingdom PLUS I have added who is a “good” king and who is a “bad” king.
KINGS OF ISRAEL:
Jeroboam, bad, 930-909 B.C.
Nadab, bad, 909-908 B.C.
Baasha, bad, 908-886 B.C.
Elah, bad, 886-885 B.C.
Zimri, bad, 885 B.C.
Tibni, bad, 885-880 B.C.
Omri (overlap), extra bad, 885-874 B.C.
Ahab, the worst, 874-853 B.C.
Ahaziah, bad, 853-852 B.C.
Joram, bad mostly, 852-841 B.C.
Jehu, not good but better than the rest, 841-814 B.C.
Jehoahaz, bad, 814-798 B.C.
Joash, bad, 798-782 B.C.
Jeroboam II (overlap), bad, 793-753 B.C.
Zechariah, bad, 753 B.C.
Shallum, bad, 752 B.C.
Menahem, bad, 752-742 B.C.
Pekahiah, bad, 742-740 B.C.
Pekah (overlap), bad, 752-732 B.C.
Hoshea, bad, 732-722 B.C.
Judah is now the “Southern Kingdom” with 2 of the original 12 tribes. The Kings of Judah are listed below in hopes of helping you keep them straight.
KINGS OF JUDAH:
Rehoboam, bad mostly, 933-916 B.C.
Abijah, bad mostly, 915-913 B.C.
Asa, GOOD, 912-872 B.C.
Jehoshaphat, GOOD, 874-850 B.C. (***Jehoshaphat is the current King of Judah in our reading as of this posting.***)
Jehoram, bad, 850-843 B.C.
Ahaziah, bad, 843 B.C.
Athaliah, devilish, 843-837 B.C.
Joash, good mostly, 843-803 B.C.
Amaziah, good mostly, 803-775 B.C.
Uzziah, GOOD mostly, 787-735 B.C.
Jotham, GOOD, 749-734 B.C.
Ahaz, wicked, 741-726 B.C.
Hezekiah, THE BEST, 726-697 B.C.
Manasseh, the worst, 697-642 B.C.
Amon, the worst, 641-640 B.C.
Josiah, THE BEST, 639-608 B.C.
Jehoahaz, bad, 608 B.C.
Jehoiakim, wicked, 608-597 B.C.
Jehoiachin, bad, 597 B.C.
Zedekiah, bad, 597-586 B.C.
And, remember…..the tribe that JESUS will come from is JUDAH!!!
Sharing HIS love,