This period began under Saul,
David, and Solomon, embracing the years 1020 to 922 BC. This was also during the Iron Age I (1200-900
BC). One of the fortunate aspects of this period for
The biblical texts involved are I Samuel 8 through I Kings 11, a substantial portion of the individual sayings in the Book of Proverbs, and the Song of Solomon. The J and E documents and court records form the basis of the historical material. The Song of Hannah presupposes the monarchy, but is appears to be a text from its early period.
1 Samuel 2:1-10 (NRSV)
(Cp Lk 1.46—55)
2 Hannah prayed and said,
“My heart exults in the Lord;
my strength is exalted in my God.
My mouth derides my enemies,
because I rejoice in my victory.
2 “There is no Holy One like the Lord,
no one besides you;
there is no Rock like our God.
3 Talk no more so very proudly,
let not arrogance come from your mouth;
for the Lord is a God of knowledge,
and by him actions are weighed.
4 The bows of the mighty are broken,
but the feeble gird on strength.
5 Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread,
but those who were hungry are fat with spoil.
The barren has borne seven,
but she who has many children is forlorn.
6 The Lord kills and brings to life;
he brings down to Sheol and raises up.
7 The Lord makes poor and makes rich;
he brings low, he also exalts.
8 He raises up the poor from the dust;
he lifts the needy from the ash heap,
to make them sit with princes
and inherit a seat of honor.
For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s,
and on them he has set the world.
9 “He will guard the feet of his faithful ones,
but the wicked shall be cut off in darkness;
for not by might does one prevail.
10 The Lord! His adversaries shall be shattered;
the Most High will thunder in heaven.
The Lord will judge the ends of the earth;
he will give strength to his king,
and exalt the power of his anointed.”
The story of the united monarchy is contained in Samuel. The oldest narratives concern the following texts. There is some editing in the exilic period, though very little.
The story begins with Eli and Samuel. The sins of Eli, the lack of family control by this priest, becomes quite clear.
1 Samuel 2:12-17 (NRSV)
12 Now the sons of Eli were
scoundrels; they had no regard for the Lord
13 or for the duties of the priests to the people. When anyone
offered sacrifice, the priest’s servant would come, while the meat was boiling,
with a three-pronged fork in his hand, 14 and he would thrust it
into the pan, or kettle, or caldron, or pot; all that the fork brought up the
priest would take for himself. This is what they did at
1 Samuel 2:22-25 (NRSV)
Prophecy against Eli’s Household
22 Now Eli was very old. He
heard all that his sons were doing to all
1 Samuel 4:12-18 (NRSV)
Death of Eli
12 A man of Benjamin ran
from the battle line, and came to
We find an account of the childhood of Samuel, one that offers an early honoring of the prophet/judge. I am not sure of the date of this material.
1 Samuel 1:9-28 (NRSV)
9 After they had eaten and drunk at
12 As she continued praying before the Lord, Eli observed her mouth. 13 Hannah was praying silently; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard; therefore Eli thought she was drunk. 14 So Eli said to her, “How long will you make a drunken spectacle of yourself? Put away your wine.” 15 But Hannah answered, “No, my lord, I am a woman deeply troubled; I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before the Lord. 16 Do not regard your servant as a worthless woman, for I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation all this time.” 17 Then Eli answered, “Go in peace; the God of Israel grant the petition you have made to him.” 18 And she said, “Let your servant find favor in your sight.” Then the woman went to her quarters, ate and drank with her husband,and her countenance was sad no longer.
19 They rose early in the morning and worshiped before the Lord; then they went back to their house at Ramah. Elkanah knew his wife Hannah, and the Lord remembered her. 20 In due time Hannah conceived and bore a son. She named him Samuel, for she said, “I have asked him of the Lord.”
21 The man Elkanah and
all his household went up to offer to the Lord
the yearly sacrifice, and to pay his vow. 22 But Hannah did not go
up, for she said to her husband, “As soon as the child is weaned, I will bring
him, that he may appear in the presence of the Lord, and remain there forever; I will offer him as a nazirite for all time.” 23 Her husband Elkanah said to her, “Do what seems best to you, wait until
you have weaned him; only—may the Lord
establish his word.” So the woman remained and nursed her son, until she weaned
him. 24 When she had weaned him, she took him up with her, along
with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour, and a
skin of wine. She brought him to the house of the Lord at
She left him there forthe Lord.
1 Samuel 2:18-21 (NRSV)
The Child Samuel at
18 Samuel was ministering before the Lord, a boy wearing a linen ephod. 19 His mother used to make for him a little robe and take it to him each year, when she went up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice. 20 Then Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife, and say, “May the Lord repay you with children by this woman for the gift that she made tothe Lord”; and then they would return to their home.
21 And the Lord took note of Hannah; she conceived and bore three sons and two daughters. And the boy Samuel grew up in the presence of the Lord.
1 Samuel 3:1-4:1 (NRSV)
Samuel’s Calling and Prophetic Activity
3 Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the Lord under Eli. The word of the Lord was rare in those days; visions were not widespread.
2 At that time Eli, whose eyesight had begun to grow dim so that he could not see, was lying down in his room; 3 the lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the Lord, where the ark of God was. 4 Then the Lord called, “Samuel! Samuel!” and he said, “Here I am!” 5 and ran to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call; lie down again.” So he went and lay down. 6 The Lord called again, “Samuel!” Samuel got up and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call, my son; lie down again.” 7 Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him. 8 The Lord called Samuel again, a third time. And he got up and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” Then Eli perceived that the Lord was calling the boy. 9 Therefore Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down; and if he calls you, you shall say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’ ” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
10 Now the Lord
came and stood there, calling as before, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said,
“Speak, for your servant is listening.” 11 Then the Lord said to Samuel, “See, I am about
to do something in
15 Samuel lay there until morning; then he opened the doors of the house of the Lord. Samuel was afraid to tell the vision to Eli. 16 But Eli called Samuel and said, “Samuel, my son.” He said, “Here I am.” 17 Eli said, “What was it that he told you? Do not hide it from me. May God do so to you and more also, if you hide anything from me of all that he told you.” 18 So Samuel told him everything and hid nothing from him. Then he said, “It is the Lord; let him do what seems good to him.”
19 As Samuel grew up, the Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the
ground. 20 And all
Samuel then becomes involved in the transition from judges to kings.
1 Samuel 8 (NRSV)
8 When Samuel became old, he made his sons judges
4 Then all the elders of Israel gathered together
and came to Samuel at Ramah, 5 and said to him, “You are old and
your sons do not follow in your ways; appoint for us, then, a king to govern
us, like other nations.” 6 But the thing displeased Samuel when they
said, “Give us a king to govern us.” Samuel prayed to the Lord, 7 and the Lord said to Samuel, “Listen to the
voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected
you, but they have rejected me from being king over them. 8 Just as they
have done to me, from the day I brought them up out of
10 So Samuel reported all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking him for a king. 11 He said, “These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen, and to run before his chariots; 12 and he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and some to plow his ground and to reap his harvest, and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots. 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. 14 He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards and give them to his courtiers. 15 He will take one-tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and his courtiers. 16 He will take your male and female slaves, and the best of your cattle and donkeys, and put them to his work. 17 He will take one-tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves. 18 And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves; but the Lord will not answer you in that day.”
Israel’s Request for a King Granted
19 But the people refused to listen to the voice of
Samuel; they said, “No! but we are determined to have a king over us, 20 so
that we also may be like other nations, and that our king may govern us and go
out before us and fight our battles.” 21 When Samuel had heard all
the words of the people, he repeated them in the ears of the Lord. 22 The Lord said to Samuel, “Listen to their
voice and set a king over them.” Samuel then said to the people of
1 Samuel 4:1-7:1 (NRSV)
4 1 The
In those days the
Philistines mustered for war against
5 When the ark of the
covenant of the Lord came into
the camp, all
10 So the Philistines
Death of Eli
12 A man of Benjamin ran
from the battle line, and came to
19 Now his daughter-in-law,
the wife of Phinehas, was pregnant, about to give
birth. When she heard the news that the ark of God was captured, and that her
father-in-law and her husband were dead, she bowed and gave birth; for her
labor pains overwhelmed her. 20 As she was about to die, the women
attending her said to her, “Do not be afraid, for you have borne a son.” But
she did not answer or give heed. 21 She named the child Ichabod, meaning, “The glory has departed from
The Philistines and the
5 When the Philistines
captured the ark of God, they brought it from Ebenezer to
6 The hand of the Lord was heavy upon the people of
6 The ark of the Lord was in the country of the Philistines seven months. 2 Then the Philistines called for the priests and the diviners and said, “What shall we do with the ark of the Lord? Tell us what we should send with it to its place.” 3 They said, “If you send away the ark of the God of Israel, do not send it empty, but by all means return him a guilt offering. Then you will be healed and will be ransomed; will not his hand then turn from you?” 4 And they said, “What is the guilt offering that we shall return to him?” They answered, “Five gold tumors and five gold mice, according to the number of the lords of the Philistines; for the same plague was upon all of you and upon your lords. 5 So you must make images of your tumors and images of your mice that ravage the land, and give glory to the God of Israel; perhaps he will lighten his hand on you and your gods and your land. 6 Why should you harden your hearts as the Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened their hearts? After he had made fools of them, did they not let the people go, and they departed? 7 Now then, get ready a new cart and two milch cows that have never borne a yoke, and yoke the cows to the cart, but take their calves home, away from them. 8 Take the ark of the Lord and place it on the cart, and put in a box at its side the figures of gold, which you are returning to him as a guilt offering. Then send it off, and let it go its way. 9 And watch; if it goes up on the way to its own land, to Beth-shemesh, then it is he who has done us this great harm; but if not, then we shall know that it is not his hand that struck us; it happened to us by chance.”
10 The men did so; they took two milch cows and yoked them to the cart, and shut up their calves at home. 11 They put the ark of the Lord on the cart, and the box with the gold mice and the images of their tumors. 12 The cows went straight in the direction of Beth-shemesh along one highway, lowing as they went; they turned neither to the right nor to the left, and the lords of the Philistines went after them as far as the border of Beth-shemesh.
13 Now the people of Beth-shemesh were reaping their wheat harvest in the valley. When they looked up and saw the ark, they went with rejoicing to meet it. 14 The cart came into the field of Joshua of Beth-shemesh, and stopped there. A large stone was there; so they split up the wood of the cart and offered the cows as a burnt offering to the Lord. 15 The Levites took down the ark of the Lord and the box that was beside it, in which were the gold objects, and set them upon the large stone. Then the people of Beth-shemesh offered burnt offerings and presented sacrifices on that day to the Lord. 16 When the five lords of the Philistines saw it, they returned that day to Ekron.
17 These are the gold tumors, which the Philistines returned as a guilt offering to the Lord: one for Ashdod, one for Gaza, one for Ashkelon, one for Gath, one for Ekron; 18 also the gold mice, according to the number of all the cities of the Philistines belonging to the five lords, both fortified cities and unwalled villages. The great stone, beside which they set down the ark of the Lord, is a witness to this day in the field of Joshua of Beth-shemesh.
19 The descendants of Jeconiah did not rejoice with the people of Beth-shemesh when they greeted the ark of the Lord; and he killed seventy men of them.The people mourned because the Lord had made a great slaughter among the people. 20 Then the people of Beth-shemesh said, “Who is able to stand before the Lord, this holy God? To whom shall he go so that we may be rid of him?” 21 So they sent messengers to the inhabitants of Kiriath-jearim, saying, “The Philistines have returned the ark of the Lord. Come down and take it up to you.”7 1 And the people of Kiriath-jearim came and took up the ark of the Lord, and brought it to the house of Abinadab on the hill. They consecrated his son, Eleazar, to have charge of the ark of the Lord.
2 Samuel 6 (NRSV)
David Brings the
(1 Chr 13.1—14; 15.25—16.3)
6 David again gathered
all the chosen men of
6 When they came to the
threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah reached out his hand
to the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen shook it. 7 The
anger of the Lord was kindled
against Uzzah; and God struck him there because he reached out his hand to the
ark; and he died there beside the ark of God. 8 David was angry
because the Lord had burst forth
with an outburst upon Uzzah; so that place is called Perez-uzzah,
to this day. 9 David was afraid of the Lord that day; he said, “How can the ark of the Lord come into my care?” 10 So
David was unwilling to take the ark of the Lord
into his care in the city of
12 It was told King David,
“The Lord has blessed the
household of Obed-edom and all that belongs to him,
because of the ark of God.” So David went and brought up the ark of God from
the house of Obed-edom to the city of
16 As the ark of the Lord came into the city of David, Michal daughter of Saul looked out of the window, and saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord; and she despised him in her heart.
17 They brought in the ark of the Lord, and set it in its place, inside the tent that David had pitched for it; and David offered burnt offerings and offerings of well-being before the Lord. 18 When David had finished offering the burnt offerings and the offerings of well-being, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord of hosts, 19 and distributed food among all the people, the whole multitude of Israel, both men and women, to each a cake of bread, a portion of meat, and a cake of raisins. Then all the people went back to their homes.
20 David returned to bless
his household. But Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David, and
said, “How the king of Israel honored himself today, uncovering himself today
before the eyes of his servants’ maids, as any vulgar fellow might shamelessly
uncover himself!” 21 David said to Michal, “It was before the Lord, who chose me in place of your
father and all his household, to appoint me as prince over
The Saul cycle of stories goes from I Samuel 9:1-10:16, 11:1-15, 13:2-7a, 13:15b-23, 14:1-46. The Saul cycle in I Samuel 9:1-10:16, 10:27b-11:15, 13:27a, 15b-23, 14:1-46, is ancient, telling about his family and relation to Samuel, victory over the Ammonites in 1050 BC, revolt against Philistines, preparing for battle, Jonathan leading a battle against them. Ultimately, the history makes it clear that Saul is rejected in favor of David.
1 Samuel 9:1-10:16 (NRSV)
Saul Chosen to Be King
9 There was a man of
Benjamin whose name was
3 Now the donkeys of
5 When they came to the land of Zuph, Saul said to the boy who was with him, “Let us turn back, or my father will stop worrying about the donkeys and worry about us.” 6 But he said to him, “There is a man of God in this town; he is a man held in honor. Whatever he says always comes true. Let us go there now; perhaps he will tell us about the journey on which we have set out.” 7 Then Saul replied to the boy, “But if we go, what can we bring the man? For the bread in our sacks is gone, and there is no present to bring to the man of God. What have we?” 8 The boy answered Saul again, “Here, I have with me a quarter shekel of silver; I will give it to the man of God, to tell us our way.” 9 (Formerly in Israel, anyone who went to inquire of God would say, “Come, let us go to the seer”; for the one who is now called a prophet was formerly called a seer.) 10 Saul said to the boy, “Good; come, let us go.” So they went to the town where the man of God was.
11 As they went up the hill to the town, they met some girls coming out to draw water, and said to them, “Is the seer here?” 12 They answered, “Yes, there he is just ahead of you. Hurry; he has come just now to the town, because the people have a sacrifice today at the shrine. 13 As soon as you enter the town, you will find him, before he goes up to the shrine to eat. For the people will not eat until he comes, since he must bless the sacrifice; afterward those eat who are invited. Now go up, for you will meet him immediately.” 14 So they went up to the town. As they were entering the town, they saw Samuel coming out toward them on his way up to the shrine.
15 Now the day before Saul
came, the Lord had revealed to
Samuel: 16 “Tomorrow about this time I will send to you a man from
22 Then Samuel took Saul and his servant-boy and brought them into the hall, and gave them a place at the head of those who had been invited, of whom there were about thirty. 23 And Samuel said to the cook, “Bring the portion I gave you, the one I asked you to put aside.” 24 The cook took up the thigh and what went with it and set them before Saul. Samuel said, “See, what was kept is set before you. Eat; for it is setbefore you at the appointed time, so that you might eat with the guests.”
So Saul ate with Samuel that day. 25 When they came down from the shrine into the town, a bed was spread for Saul on the roof, and he lay down to sleep. 26 Then at the break of dawn Samuel called to Saul upon the roof, “Get up, so that I may send you on your way.” Saul got up, and both he and Samuel went out into the street.
Samuel Anoints Saul
27 As they were going down
to the outskirts of the town, Samuel said to Saul, “Tell the boy to go on
before us, and when he has passed on, stop here yourself for a while, that I
may make known to you the word of God.”10 1 Samuel took a
vial of oil and poured it on his head, and kissed him; he said, “The Lord has anointed you ruler over his
9 As he turned away to leave
Samuel, God gave him another heart; and all these signs were fulfilled that
day. 10 When they were going from there to Gibeah,a
band of prophets met him; and the spirit of God possessed him, and he fell into
a prophetic frenzy along with them. 11 When all who knew him before
saw how he prophesied with the prophets, the people said to one another, “What
has come over the son of
14 Saul’s uncle said to him and to the boy, “Where did you go?” And he replied, “To seek the donkeys; and when we saw they were not to be found, we went to Samuel.” 15 Saul’s uncle said, “Tell me what Samuel said to you.” 16 Saul said to his uncle, “He told us that the donkeys had been found.” But about the matter of the kingship, of which Samuel had spoken, he did not tell him anything.
1 Samuel (NRSV)
27 But some worthless fellows said, “How can this man save us?” They despised him and brought him no present. But he held his peace.
king of the Ammonites, had been grievously oppressing the Gadites
and the Reubenites. He would gouge out the right eye
of each of them and would not grant
Saul Defeats the Ammonites
11 About a month later, Nahash the Ammonite went up and besieged Jabesh-gilead; and all the men of Jabesh
said to Nahash, “Make a treaty with us, and we will
serve you.” 2 But Nahash the Ammonite said
to them, “On this condition I will make a treaty with you, namely that I gouge
out everyone’s right eye, and thus put disgrace upon all
5 Now Saul was coming from
the field behind the oxen; and Saul said, “What is the matter with the people,
that they are weeping?” So they told him the message from the inhabitants of Jabesh. 6 And the spirit of God came upon Saul
in power when he heard these words, and his anger was greatly kindled. 7 He
took a yoke of oxen, and cut them in pieces and sent them throughout all the
12 The people said to
Samuel, “Who is it that said, ‘Shall Saul reign over us?’ Give them to us so
that we may put them to death.” 13 But Saul said, “No one shall be
put to death this day, for today the Lord
has brought deliverance to
14 Samuel said to the people, “Come, let us go to Gilgal and there renew the kingship.” 15 So all the people went to Gilgal, and there they made Saul king before the Lord in Gilgal. There they sacrificed offerings of well-being before the Lord, and there Saul and all the Israelites rejoiced greatly.
1 Samuel 13:2-7 (NRSV)
2 Saul chose three
thousand out of
5 The Philistines mustered
to fight with
1 Samuel 13:15-23 (NRSV)
15 And Samuel left and went on his way from Gilgal. The rest of the people followed Saul to join the army; they went up from Gilgal toward Gibeah of Benjamin.
Preparations for Battle
Saul counted the people who were present with him, about six hundred men. 16 Saul, his son Jonathan, and the people who were present with them stayed in Geba of Benjamin; but the Philistines encamped at Michmash. 17 And raiders came out of the camp of the Philistines in three companies; one company turned toward Ophrah, to the land of Shual, 18 another company turned toward Beth-horon, and another company turned toward the mountain that looks down upon the valley of Zeboim toward the wilderness.
19 Now there was no smith to be found throughout all the land of Israel; for the Philistines said, “The Hebrews must not make swords or spears for themselves”; 20 so all the Israelites went down to the Philistines to sharpen their plowshares, mattocks, axes, or sickles; 21 The charge was two-thirds of a shekel for the plowshares and for the mattocks, and one-third of a shekel for sharpening the axes and for setting the goads. 22 So on the day of the battle neither sword nor spear was to be found in the possession of any of the people with Saul and Jonathan; but Saul and his son Jonathan had them.
Jonathan Surprises and Routs the Philistines
23 Now a garrison of the Philistines had gone out to the pass of Michmash.
1 Samuel 14:1-46 (NRSV)
14 1 One day Jonathan son of Saul said to the young man who carried his armor, “Come, let us go over to the Philistine garrison on the other side.” But he did not tell his father. 2 Saul was staying in the outskirts of Gibeah under the pomegranate tree that is at Migron; the troops that were with him were about six hundred men, 3 along with Ahijah son of Ahitub, Ichabod’s brother, son of Phinehas son of Eli, the priest of the Lord in Shiloh, carrying an ephod. Now the people did not know that Jonathan had gone. 4 In the pass, by which Jonathan tried to go over to the Philistine garrison, there was a rocky crag on one side and a rocky crag on the other; the name of the one was Bozez, and the name of the other Seneh. 5 One crag rose on the north in front of Michmash, and the other on the south in front of Geba.
6 Jonathan said to the young man who carried his armor, “Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised; it may be that the Lord will act for us; for nothing can hinder the Lord from saving by many or by few.” 7 His armor-bearer said to him, “Do all that your mind inclines to. I am with you; as your mind is, so is mine.” 8 Then Jonathan said, “Now we will cross over to those men and will show ourselves to them. 9 If they say to us, ‘Wait until we come to you,’ then we will stand still in our place, and we will not go up to them. 10 But if they say, ‘Come up to us,’ then we will go up; for the Lord has given them into our hand. That will be the sign for us.” 11 So both of them showed themselves to the garrison of the Philistines; and the Philistines said, “Look, Hebrews are coming out of the holes where they have hidden themselves.” 12 The men of the garrison hailed Jonathan and his armor-bearer, saying, “Come up to us, and we will show you something.” Jonathan said to his armor-bearer, “Come up after me; for the Lord has given them into the hand of Israel.” 13 Then Jonathan climbed up on his hands and feet, with his armor-bearer following after him. The Philistines fell before Jonathan, and his armor-bearer, coming after him, killed them. 14 In that first slaughter Jonathan and his armor-bearer killed about twenty men within an area about half a furrow long in an acre of land. 15 There was a panic in the camp, in the field, and among all the people; the garrison and even the raiders trembled; the earth quaked; and it became a very great panic.
16 Saul’s lookouts in Gibeah of Benjamin were watching as the multitude was surging back and forth. 17 Then Saul said to the troops that were with him, “Call the roll and see who has gone from us.” When they had called the roll, Jonathan and his armor-bearer were not there. 18 Saul said to Ahijah, “Bring the ark of God here.” For at that time the arkof God went with the Israelites. 19 While Saul was talking to the priest, the tumult in the camp of the Philistines increased more and more; and Saul said to the priest, “Withdraw your hand.” 20 Then Saul and all the people who were with him rallied and went into the battle; and every sword was against the other, so that there was very great confusion. 21 Now the Hebrews who previously had been with the Philistines and had gone up with them into the camp turned and joined the Israelites who were with Saul and Jonathan. 22 Likewise, when all the Israelites who had gone into hiding in the hill country of Ephraim heard that the Philistines were fleeing, they too followed closely after them in the battle. 23 So the Lord gave Israel the victory that day.
The battle passed beyond Beth-aven, and the troops with Saul numbered altogether about ten thousand men. The battle spread out over the hill country of Ephraim.
Saul’s Rash Oath
24 Now Saul committed a very rash act on that day. He had laid an oath on the troops, saying, “Cursed be anyone who eats food before it is evening and I have been avenged on my enemies.” So none of the troops tasted food. 25 All the troops came upon a honeycomb; and there was honey on the ground. 26 When the troops came upon the honeycomb, the honey was dripping out; but they did not put their hands to their mouths, for they feared the oath. 27 But Jonathan had not heard his father charge the troops with the oath; so he extended the staff that was in his hand, and dipped the tip of it in the honeycomb, and put his hand to his mouth; and his eyes brightened. 28 Then one of the soldiers said, “Your father strictly charged the troops with an oath, saying, ‘Cursed be anyone who eats food this day.’ And so the troops are faint.” 29 Then Jonathan said, “My father has troubled the land; see how my eyes have brightened because I tasted a little of this honey. 30 How much better if today the troops had eaten freely of the spoil taken from their enemies; for now the slaughter among the Philistines has not been great.”
31 After they had struck down the Philistines that day from Michmash to Aijalon, the troops were very faint; 32 so the troops flew upon the spoil, and took sheep and oxen and calves, and slaughtered them on the ground; and the troops ate them with the blood. 33 Then it was reported to Saul, “Look, the troops are sinning against the Lord by eating with the blood.” And he said, “You have dealt treacherously; roll a large stone before me here.” 34 Saul said, “Disperse yourselves among the troops, and say to them, ‘Let all bring their oxen or their sheep, and slaughter them here, and eat; and do not sin against the Lord by eating with the blood.’ ” So all of the troops brought their oxen with them that night, and slaughtered them there. 35 And Saul built an altar to the Lord; it was the first altar that he built to the Lord.
Jonathan in Danger of Death
36 Then Saul said, “Let us go down after the Philistines by night and despoil them until the morning light; let us not leave one of them.” They said, “Do whatever seems good to you.” But the priest said, “Let us draw near to God here.” 37 So Saul inquired of God, “Shall I go down after the Philistines? Will you give them into the hand of Israel?” But he did not answer him that day. 38 Saul said, “Come here, all you leaders of the people; and let us find out how this sin has arisen today. 39 For as the Lord lives who saves Israel, even if it is in my son Jonathan, he shall surely die!” But there was no one among all the people who answered him. 40 He said to all Israel, “You shall be on one side, and I and my son Jonathan will be on the other side.” The people said to Saul, “Do what seems good to you.” 41 Then Saul said, “O Lord God of Israel, why have you not answered your servant today? If this guilt is in me or in my son Jonathan, O Lord God of Israel, give Urim; but if this guilt is in your people Israel, give Thummim.” And Jonathan and Saul were indicated by the lot, but the people were cleared. 42 Then Saul said, “Cast the lot between me and my son Jonathan.” And Jonathan was taken.
43 Then Saul said to
Jonathan, “Tell me what you have done.” Jonathan told him, “I tasted a little
honey with the tip of the staff that was in my hand; here I am, I will die.” 44
Saul said, “God do so to me and more also; you shall surely die,
Jonathan!” 45 Then the people said to Saul, “Shall Jonathan die, who
has accomplished this great victory in
The history of David's rise to be king is in I Samuel 16:14-II Samuel 5:10, thereby legitimizing his claim to the throne. I will limit myself here to texts that seem to originate from this period. We find two accounts of the entry of David into the service of Saul. One is his entry as minstrel and barer of the armor of Saul.
1 Samuel 16:14-23 (NRSV)
David Plays the Lyre for Saul
14 Now the spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord tormented him. 15 And Saul’s servants said to him, “See now, an evil spirit from God is tormenting you. 16 Let our lord now command the servants who attend you to look for someone who is skillful in playing the lyre; and when the evil spirit from God is upon you, he will play it, and you will feel better.” 17 So Saul said to his servants, “Provide for me someone who can play well, and bring him to me.” 18 One of the young men answered, “I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite who is skillful in playing, a man of valor, a warrior, prudent in speech, and a man of good presence; and the Lord is with him.” 19 So Saul sent messengers to Jesse, and said, “Send me your son David who is with the sheep.” 20 Jesse took a donkey loaded with bread, a skin of wine, and a kid, and sent them by his son David to Saul. 21 And David came to Saul, and entered his service. Saul loved him greatly, and he became his armor-bearer. 22 Saul sent to Jesse, saying, “Let David remain in my service, for he has found favor in my sight.” 23 And whenever the evil spirit from God came upon Saul, David took the lyre and played it with his hand, and Saul would be relieved and feel better, and the evil spirit would depart from him.
1 Samuel 17:1-11 (NRSV)
David and Goliath
17 Now the Philistines
gathered their armies for battle; they were gathered at Socoh,
which belongs to
1 Samuel 17:32-40 (NRSV)
32 David said to Saul, “Let no one’s heart fail because of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.” 33 Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are just a boy, and he has been a warrior from his youth.” 34 But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep sheep for his father; and whenever a lion or a bear came, and took a lamb from the flock, 35 I went after it and struck it down, rescuing the lamb from its mouth; and if it turned against me, I would catch it by the jaw, strike it down, and kill it. 36 Your servant has killed both lions and bears; and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, since he has defied the armies of the living God.” 37 David said, “The Lord, who saved me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, will save me from the hand of this Philistine.” So Saul said to David, “Go, and may the Lord be with you!”
38 Saul clothed David with his armor; he put a bronze helmet on his head and clothed him with a coat of mail. 39 David strapped Saul’s sword over the armor, and he tried in vain to walk, for he was not used to them. Then David said to Saul, “I cannot walk with these; for I am not used to them.” So David removed them. 40 Then he took his staff in his hand, and chose five smooth stones from the wadi, and put them in his shepherd’s bag, in the pouch; his sling was in his hand, and he drew near to the Philistine.
1 Samuel 17:42-48 (NRSV)
42 When the Philistine
looked and saw David, he disdained him, for he was only a youth, ruddy and
handsome in appearance. 43 The Philistine said to David, “Am I a
dog, that you come to me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his
gods. 44 The Philistine said to David, “Come to me, and I will give
your flesh to the birds of the air and to the wild animals of the field.” 45
But David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with sword and spear
and javelin; but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of
48 When the Philistine drew nearer to meet David, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine.
1 Samuel (NRSV)
49 David put his hand in his bag, took out a stone, slung it, and struck the Philistine on his forehead; the stone sank into his forehead, and he fell face down on the ground.
1 Samuel 17:51-54 (NRSV)
51 Then David ran and stood over the Philistine; he grasped his sword, drew it out of its sheath, and killed him; then he cut off his head with it.
When the Philistines saw
that their champion was dead, they fled. 52 The troops of
We also find a second and later account, in which David distinguishes himself in battle and comes to the attention of Saul. This account shows clearly the deterioration of the mental state of Saul, the friendship of Jonathan and Michal, Saul’s own family, with David, and the beginning of the popularity of David among the people. The two accounts did not come together as the canonical text has them until the 300’s BC.
1 Samuel 17:12-31 (NRSV)
12 Now David was the son of
an Ephrathite of Bethlehem in
17 Jesse said to his son David, “Take for your brothers an ephah of this parched grain and these ten loaves, and carry them quickly to the camp to your brothers; 18 also take these ten cheeses to the commander of their thousand. See how your brothers fare, and bring some token from them.”
19 Now Saul, and they, and
all the men of
24 All the Israelites, when
they saw the man, fled from him and were very much afraid. 25 The
Israelites said, “Have you seen this man who has come up? Surely he has come up
28 His eldest brother Eliab heard him talking to the men; and Eliab’s anger was kindled against David. He said, “Why have you come down? With whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your presumption and the evil of your heart; for you have come down just to see the battle.” 29 David said, “What have I done now? It was only a question.” 30 He turned away from him toward another and spoke in the same way; and the people answered him again as before.
31 When the words that David spoke were heard, they repeated them before Saul; and he sent for him.
1 Samuel (NRSV)
41 The Philistine came on and drew near to David, with his shield-bearer in front of him.
1 Samuel (NRSV)
48 When the Philistine drew nearer to meet David, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine.
1 Samuel (NRSV)
50 So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, striking down the Philistine and killing him; there was no sword in David’s hand.
1 Samuel 17:55-58 (NRSV)
55 When Saul saw David go out against the Philistine, he said to Abner, the commander of the army, “Abner, whose son is this young man?” Abner said, “As your soul lives, O king, I do not know.” 56 The king said, “Inquire whose son the stripling is.” 57 On David’s return from killing the Philistine, Abner took him and brought him before Saul, with the head of the Philistine in his hand. 58 Saul said to him, “Whose son are you, young man?” And David answered, “I am the son of your servant Jesse the Bethlehemite.”
1 Samuel 18:1-5 (NRSV)
Jonathan’s Covenant with David
18 When David had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was bound to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. 2 Saul took him that day and would not let him return to his father’s house. 3 Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul. 4 Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that he was wearing, and gave it to David, and his armor, and even his sword and his bow and his belt. 5 David went out and was successful wherever Saul sent him; as a result, Saul set him over the army. And all the people, even the servants of Saul, approved.
1 Samuel 18:10-11 (NRSV)
Saul Tries to Kill David
10 The next day an evil spirit from God rushed upon Saul, and he raved within his house, while David was playing the lyre, as he did day by day. Saul had his spear in his hand; 11 and Saul threw the spear, for he thought, “I will pin David to the wall.” But David eluded him twice.
1 Samuel 18:17-19 (NRSV)
David Marries Michal
17 Then Saul said to David,
“Here is my elder daughter Merab; I will give her to
you as a wife; only be valiant for me and fight the Lord’s battles.” For Saul thought, “I will not raise a hand
against him; let the Philistines deal with him.” 18 David said to
Saul, “Who am I and who are my kinsfolk, my father’s family in
1 Samuel 18:29-30 (NRSV)
29 Saul was still more afraid of David. So Saul was David’s enemy from that time forward.
30 Then the commanders of the Philistines came out to battle; and as often as they came out, David had more success than all the servants of Saul, so that his fame became very great.
The affection of Jonathan, the son of Saul, for David is
clear throughout this account. David must depart from the company of Saul,
since Saul suspects of David of sedition. Michal saves David from her father.
Samuel becomes a protector of David. Jonathan helps David to escape, “since he
loved him like his very soul.” When they depart from each other, the embrace
and weep. David receives some help from the priests at Nob
and in particular from Ahimelech. David hides among
the Philistines, pretending to be a lunatic. David now becomes an outlaw in the
eyes of Saul. His family joined him. Saul massacred the priests of Nob. Abiather, a son of Ahimelech, escaped and joined David. David goes to Keilah and saves the inhabitants from the Philistines.
David goes to Horesh and receives Jonathan. David
narrowly escapes from Saul because of the subterfuge of the people of Ziph. David spares the life of Saul. In an encounter with Nabal, eventually ending in his death, David receives his
wife, Abigal, into his family as a second wife. David
spares Saul again. David then hides among the Philistines at
2 Samuel 1:19-27 (NRSV)
19 Your glory, O Israel, lies slain upon your high places!
How the mighty have fallen!
20 Tell it not in
proclaim it not in the streets of
or the daughters of the Philistines will rejoice,
the daughters of the uncircumcised will exult.
21 You mountains of Gilboa,
let there be no dew or rain upon you,
nor bounteous fields!
For there the shield of the mighty was defiled,
the shield of Saul, anointed with oil no more.
22 From the blood of the slain,
from the fat of the mighty,
the bow of Jonathan did not turn back,
nor the sword of Saul return empty.
23 Saul and Jonathan, beloved and lovely!
In life and in death they were not divided;
they were swifter than eagles,
they were stronger than lions.
24 O daughters of
who clothed you with crimson, in luxury,
who put ornaments of gold on your apparel.
25 How the mighty have fallen
in the midst of the battle!
Jonathan lies slain upon your high places.
26 I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan;
greatly beloved were you to me;
your love to me was wonderful,
passing the love of women.
27 How the mighty have fallen,
and the weapons of war perished!
of David continues the consecration of David at
2 Samuel 5:1-12 (NRSV)
David Anointed King of All
(1 Chr 11.1—3)
5 Then all the tribes of
(1 Chr 11.4—9; 14.1—7)
6 The king and his men marched to
11 King Hiram of
Victory over the Philistines comes to David, with regular
attention given to consulting the Lord. He consolidates his religious authority
by bringing the
2 Samuel 7:8-16 (NRSV)
8 Now therefore thus you shall say to my servant David: Thus says the Lord of hosts: I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep to be prince over my people Israel; 9 and I have been with you wherever you went, and have cut off all your enemies from before you; and I will make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth. 10 And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, so that they may live in their own place, and be disturbed no more; and evildoers shall afflict them no more, as formerly, 11 from the time that I appointed judges over my people Israel; and I will give you rest from all your enemies. Moreover the Lord declares to you that the Lord will make you a house. 12 When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come forth from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be a father to him, and he shall be a son to me. When he commits iniquity, I will punish him with a rod such as mortals use, with blows inflicted by human beings. 15 But I will not take my steadfast love from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away from before you. 16 Your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me; your throne shall be established forever.
2 Samuel 7:18-29 (NRSV)
(1 Chr 17.16—27)
18 Then King David went in
and sat before the Lord, and
said, “Who am I, O Lord God, and
what is my house, that you have brought me thus far? 19 And yet this
was a small thing in your eyes, O Lord God;
you have spoken also of your servant’s house for a great while to come. May
this be instruction for the people, O Lord God!
20 And what more can David say to you? For you know your servant, O
Lord God! 21 Because
of your promise, and according to your own heart, you have wrought all this
greatness, so that your servant may know it. 22 Therefore you are
great, O Lord God; for there is
no one like you, and there is no God besides you, according to all that we have
heard with our ears. 23 Who is like your people, like
David continues to defeat the Philistines and other enemies
of the rise of David continues with an account of the difficulties involved in
who would succeed David as king. David brings the son of Jonathan, Meribbaal, into
2 Samuel 11:1-15 (NRSV)
David Commits Adultery with Bathsheba
11 In the spring of the
year, the time when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab with his officers
2 It happened, late one afternoon, when David rose from his couch and was walking about on the roof of the king’s house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; the woman was very beautiful. 3 David sent someone to inquire about the woman. It was reported, “This is Bathsheba daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite.” 4 So David sent messengers to get her, and she came to him, and he lay with her. (Now she was purifying herself after her period.) Then she returned to her house. 5 The woman conceived; and she sent and told David, “I am pregnant.”
6 So David sent word to
Joab, “Send me Uriah the Hittite.” And Joab sent Uriah to David. 7 When
Uriah came to him, David asked how Joab and the people fared, and how the war
was going. 8 Then David said to Uriah, “Go down to your house, and
wash your feet.” Uriah went out of the king’s house, and there followed him a
present from the king. 9 But Uriah slept at the entrance of the
king’s house with all the servants of his lord, and did not go down to his
house. 10 When they told David, “Uriah did not go down to his
house,” David said to Uriah, “You have just come from a journey. Why did you
not go down to your house?” 11 Uriah said to David, “The ark and
David Has Uriah Killed
14 In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab, and sent it by the hand of Uriah. 15 In the letter he wrote, “Set Uriah in the forefront of the hardest fighting, and then draw back from him, so that he may be struck down and die.”
2 Samuel 12:1-14 (NRSV)
Nathan Condemns David
But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord,12 1 and the Lord sent Nathan to David. He came to him, and said to him, “There were two men in a certain city, the one rich and the other poor. 2 The rich man had very many flocks and herds; 3 but the poor man had nothing but one little ewe lamb, which he had bought. He brought it up, and it grew up with him and with his children; it used to eat of his meager fare, and drink from his cup, and lie in his bosom, and it was like a daughter to him. 4 Now there came a traveler to the rich man, and he was loath to take one of his own flock or herd to prepare for the wayfarer who had come to him, but he took the poor man’s lamb, and prepared that for the guest who had come to him.” 5 Then David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man. He said to Nathan, “As the Lord lives, the man who has done this deserves to die; 6 he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.”
7 Nathan said to David,
“You are the man! Thus says the Lord,
the God of Israel: I anointed you king over Israel, and I rescued you from the
hand of Saul; 8 I gave you your master’s house, and your master’s
wives into your bosom, and gave you the house of Israel and of Judah; and if
that had been too little, I would have added as much more. 9 Why
have you despised the word of the Lord,
to do what is evil in his sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with
the sword, and have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with
the sword of the Ammonites. 10 Now therefore the sword shall never
depart from your house, for you have despised me, and have taken the wife of
Uriah the Hittite to be your wife. 11 Thus says the Lord: I will raise up trouble against
you from within your own house; and I will take your wives before your eyes,
and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight
of this very sun. 12 For you did it secretly; but I will do this
thing before all
2 Samuel 12:15-25 (NRSV)
15 Then Nathan went to his house.
Bathsheba’s Child Dies
The Lord struck the child that Uriah’s wife bore to David, and it became very ill. 16 David therefore pleaded with God for the child; David fasted, and went in and lay all night on the ground. 17 The elders of his house stood beside him, urging him to rise from the ground; but he would not, nor did he eat food with them. 18 On the seventh day the child died. And the servants of David were afraid to tell him that the child was dead; for they said, “While the child was still alive, we spoke to him, and he did not listen to us; how then can we tell him the child is dead? He may do himself some harm.” 19 But when David saw that his servants were whispering together, he perceived that the child was dead; and David said to his servants, “Is the child dead?” They said, “He is dead.”
20 Then David rose from the ground, washed, anointed himself, and changed his clothes. He went into the house of the Lord, and worshiped; he then went to his own house; and when he asked, they set food before him and he ate. 21 Then his servants said to him, “What is this thing that you have done? You fasted and wept for the child while it was alive; but when the child died, you rose and ate food.” 22 He said, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, ‘Who knows? The Lord may be gracious to me, and the child may live.’ 23 But now he is dead; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.”
Solomon Is Born
24 Then David consoled his wife Bathsheba, and went to her, and lay with her; and she bore a son, and he named him Solomon. The Lord loved him, 25 and sent a message by the prophet Nathan; so he named him Jedidiah, because of the Lord.
Other children become part of the intrigue. Those who become significant for this story are the following. Amnon was the oldest son of David, through Ahinoam. Absalom was his son through Maacah, daughter of Talmai, king of Geshur. Adonijah was his son through Haggith. Amnon raped the sister of Absalom, who then kills Amnon. Absalom flees for his life. David found great grief at what happened within his family. Joab negotiates the return of Absalom. Clearly, the king liked Absalom. So did the people.
2 Samuel 14:25-26 (NRSV)
David Forgives Absalom
25 Now in all
Yet, Absalom set about
to the hearts of the northern kingdom of
2 Samuel 18:9-15 (NRSV)
9 Absalom happened to meet the servants of David. Absalom was riding on his mule, and the mule went under the thick branches of a great oak. His head caught fast in the oak, and he was left hanging between heaven and earth, while the mule that was under him went on. 10 A man saw it, and told Joab, “I saw Absalom hanging in an oak.” 11 Joab said to the man who told him, “What, you saw him! Why then did you not strike him there to the ground? I would have been glad to give you ten pieces of silver and a belt.” 12 But the man said to Joab, “Even if I felt in my hand the weight of a thousand pieces of silver, I would not raise my hand against the king’s son; for in our hearing the king commanded you and Abishai and Ittai, saying: For my sake protect the young man Absalom! 13 On the other hand, if I had dealt treacherously against his life (and there is nothing hidden from the king), then you yourself would have stood aloof.” 14 Joab said, “I will not waste time like this with you.” He took three spears in his hand, and thrust them into the heart of Absalom, while he was still alive in the oak. 15 And ten young men, Joab’s armor-bearers, surrounded Absalom and struck him, and killed him.
2 Samuel 18:24-33 (NRSV)
24 Now David was sitting between the two gates. The sentinel went up to the roof of the gate by the wall, and when he looked up, he saw a man running alone. 25 The sentinel shouted and told the king. The king said, “If he is alone, there are tidings in his mouth.” He kept coming, and drew near. 26 Then the sentinel saw another man running; and the sentinel called to the gatekeeper and said, “See, another man running alone!” The king said, “He also is bringing tidings.” 27 The sentinel said, “I think the running of the first one is like the running of Ahimaaz son of Zadok.” The king said, “He is a good man, and comes with good tidings.”
28 Then Ahimaaz cried out to the king, “All is well!” He prostrated himself before the king with his face to the ground, and said, “Blessed be the Lord your God, who has delivered up the men who raised their hand against my lord the king.” 29 The king said, “Is it well with the young man Absalom?” Ahimaaz answered, “When Joab sent your servant, I saw a great tumult, but I do not know what it was.” 30 The king said, “Turn aside, and stand here.” So he turned aside, and stood still.
31 Then the Cushite came; and the Cushite said, “Good tidings for my lord the king! For the Lord has vindicated you this day, delivering you from the power of all who rose up against you.” 32 The king said to the Cushite, “Is it well with the young man Absalom?” The Cushite answered, “May the enemies of my lord the king, and all who rise up to do you harm, be like that young man.”
David Mourns for Absalom
33 The king was deeply moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept; and as he went, he said, “O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!”
David returns to
2 Samuel 23:1-7 (NRSV)
The Last Words of David
23 Now these are the last words of David:
The oracle of David, son of Jesse,
the oracle of the man whom God exalted,
the anointed of the God of Jacob,
the favorite of the Strong One of Israel:
2 The spirit of the Lord speaks through me,
his word is upon my tongue.
3 The God of
the Rock of Israel has said to me:
One who rules over people justly,
ruling in the fear of God,
4 is like the light of morning,
like the sun rising on a cloudless morning,
gleaming from the rain on the grassy land.
5 Is not my house like this with God?
For he has made with me an everlasting covenant,
ordered in all things and secure.
Will he not cause to prosper
all my help and my desire?
6 But the godless are all like thorns that are thrown away;
for they cannot be picked up with the hand;
7 to touch them one uses an iron bar
or the shaft of a spear.
And they are entirely consumed in fire on the spot.
1 Kings 2:5-12 (NRSV)
5 “Moreover you know also what Joab son of Zeruiah did to me, how he dealt with the two commanders of the armies of Israel, Abner son of Ner, and Amasa son of Jether, whom he murdered, retaliating in time of peace for blood that had been shed in war, and putting the blood of war on the belt around his waist, and on the sandals on his feet. 6 Act therefore according to your wisdom, but do not let his gray head go down to Sheol in peace. 7 Deal loyally, however, with the sons of Barzillai the Gileadite, and let them be among those who eat at your table; for with such loyalty they met me when I fled from your brother Absalom. 8 There is also with you Shimei son of Gera, the Benjaminite from Bahurim, who cursed me with a terrible curse on the day when I went to Mahanaim; but when he came down to meet me at the Jordan, I swore to him by the Lord, ‘I will not put you to death with the sword.’ 9 Therefore do not hold him guiltless, for you are a wise man; you will know what you ought to do to him, and you must bring his gray head down with blood to Sheol.”
Death of David
(1 Chr 3.4; 29.26—28)
10 Then David slept with his ancestors, and was
buried in the city of
Adonijah, a son of David through Haggith, wanted to be king. Joab and Abiathar supported him. However, Nathan the prophet, Zadok, Benaiah, Shimei, Rei, and the military leaders of David did not support him. Nathan and Bathsheba work together to bring Solomon to the throne. David consecrates Solomon as king. Adonijah begs for mercy from Solomon, and he receives it. Then, after Adonijah asks for the hand of Abishag in marriage, Solomon had Benaiah kill him. Solomon has Abiathar, Joab, and Shimei put to death as part of securing the throne for Solomon and of securing the concept of dynasty.
1 Kings (NRSV)
12 So Solomon sat on the throne of his father David; and his kingdom was firmly established.
1 Kings (NRSV)
24 Now therefore as the Lord lives, who has established me and placed me on the throne of my father David, and who has made me a house as he promised…”
1 Kings 2:33b (NRSV)
33 to David, and to his descendants, and to his house, and to his throne, there shall be peace from the Lord forevermore.”
1 Kings 2:46b (NRSV)
46 So the kingdom was established in the hand of Solomon.
Solomon appointed his administrators of the kingdom. The text makes these claims about the years of his rule.
1 Kings 4:20-21 (NRSV)
1 Kings (NRSV)
25 During Solomon’s lifetime
Solomon engaged in building the
1 Kings 8:12-13 (NRSV)
12 Then Solomon said,
“The Lord has said that he would dwell in thick darkness.
13 I have built you an exalted house,
a place for you to dwell in forever.”
Solomon then addresses the people.
1 Kings 8:14-21 (NRSV)
(2 Chr 6.3—11)
14 Then the king turned around and blessed all the
They offered sacrifices in the
The text also presents Solomon as a trader with other nations. His wisdom and riches surpassed that of surrounding nations.
Solomon had foreign enemies in Hadad of Edom and Rezon, son of Eliada.
1 Kings 11:15-22 (NRSV)
15 For when David was in
Edom, and Joab the commander of the army went up to bury the dead, he killed
every male in Edom 16 (for Joab and all Israel remained there six
months, until he had eliminated every male in Edom); 17 but Hadad fled to Egypt with some Edomites
who were servants of his father. He was a young boy at that time. 18 They
set out from Midian and came to Paran;
they took people with them from Paran and came to
1 Kings 11:23-25 (NRSV)
23 another adversary
against Solomon, Rezon son of Eliada,
who had fled from his master, King Hadadezer of Zobah. 24 He gathered followers around him and
became leader of a marauding band, after the slaughter by David; they went to
Internally, Jeroboam revolted against Solomon.
1 Kings -32, 40 (NRSV)
26 Jeroboam son of Nebat, an Ephraimite of Zeredah, a servant of Solomon, whose mother’s name was Zeruah, a widow, rebelled against the king. 27 The
following was the reason he rebelled against the king. Solomon built the Millo, and closed up the gap in the wall of the city of his
father David. 28 The man Jeroboam was very able, and when Solomon
saw that the young man was industrious he gave him charge over all the forced
labor of the house of Joseph. 29 About that time, when Jeroboam was
We find the
first appearance of the J in an account of creation, which stands in sharp
contrast to the priestly account in Genesis 1:1-2:4. I offer selected verses
from the first four chapters of Genesis to give a flavor of the movement of
thought. God shows great interest in humanity. God shows personal interest in
life. Yet, humanity rebels against God in chapter 3, refusing to offer love and
devotion to God. The idea of God walking in the garden with Adam and Eve
suggests the intimacy of communion that God intended. As we read this text, we
may wonder why the bible places such great emphasis upon this small act of
disobedience. After all, we reason, it was only some fruit. We have a graphic example of temptation in
Genesis 3. Eve isolates herself from Adam. While alone, the thought arises to
do something God forbade, namely, eating fruit from one particular tree. It
bothers us that the command of God concerns such an important think as fruit.
Yet, often we reveal our character in small events. An angry word, a selfish
act, lustful meditations, inappropriate consumption of food and expenditure of
wealth, and so on, can reveal who we are and what we value. In the small act of
disobedience, Eve discovered who she was. She wanted to lead her life
In chapter 4, humanity cannot even treat each other with love and respect. Of course, details concerning from where the enemies of Cain come is of no interest to the author. The story continues the record of human alienation from God and from each other.
Genesis 2:4b-8, -18, 21-25 (NRSV)
4 b In the day that the Lord 5 when no plant of the field was yet in the
earth and no herb of the field had yet sprung up—for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon
the earth, and there was no one to till the ground; 6 but a stream
would rise from the earth, and water the whole face of the ground— 7 then
the Lord God formed man from the
dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the
man became a living being. 8 And the Lord God planted a garden in
15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.”
18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner.”
21 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then he took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said,
“This at last is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
this one shall be called Woman,
for out of Man this one was taken.”
24 Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh. 25 And the man and his wife were both naked, and were not ashamed.
Genesis 3:1-13, 20-23 (NRSV)
Now the serpent was more crafty than any other wild animal that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God say, ‘You shall not eat from any tree in the garden’?” 2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden; 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, nor shall you touch it, or you shall die.’ ” 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not die; 5 for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves.
8 They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 He said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.” 11 He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” 12 The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate.” 13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent tricked me, and I ate.”
20 The man named his wife Eve, because she was the mother of all living. 21 And the Lord God made garments of skins for the man and for his wife, and clothed them.
22 Then the Lord God said, “See, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”— 23 therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from which he was taken.
Genesis 4:1-10 (NRSV)
Now the man knew his wife Eve, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have produced a man with the help of the Lord.” 2 Next she bore his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a tiller of the ground. 3 In the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground, 4 and Abel for his part brought of the firstlings of his flock, their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, 5 but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell. 6 The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your countenance fallen? 7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is lurking at the door; its desire is for you, but you must master it.”
8 Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let us go out to the field.” And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel, and killed him. 9 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” He said, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?” 10 And the Lord said, “What have you done? Listen; your brother’s blood is crying out to me from the ground!
This document also contains an account of life before and during the flood. Noah is a consolation to his father, Lamech. Then we read the corruption of humanity before the flood.
Genesis 6:1-7 (NRSV)
When people began to multiply on the face of the ground, and daughters were born to them, 2 the sons of God saw that they were fair; and they took wives for themselves of all that they chose. 3 Then the Lord said, “My spirit shall not abide in mortals forever, for they are flesh; their days shall be one hundred twenty years.” 4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went in to the daughters of humans, who bore children to them. These were the heroes that were of old, warriors of renown.
5 The Lord saw that the wickedness of humankind was great in the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of their hearts was only evil continually. 6 And the Lord was sorry that he had made humankind on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. 7 So the Lord said, “I will blot out from the earth the human beings I have created—people together with animals and creeping things and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.”
We go on to read of the judgment of God in the flood, and then the grace of God at the close of the flood.
Genesis 8:20-22 (NRSV)
20 Then Noah built an altar to the Lord, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. 21 And when the Lord smelled the pleasing odor, the Lord said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of humankind, for the inclination of the human heart is evil from youth; nor will I ever again destroy every living creature as I have done.
22 As long as the earth endures,
seedtime and harvest, cold and heat,
summer and winter, day and night,
shall not cease.”
Yet, Noah and his sons continue the sinful ways of humanity.
Their descendents build a
Genesis 11:1-9 (NRSV)
whole earth had one language and the same words. 2 And as they
migrated from the east, they came upon a plain in the
The following are psalms that may be from this period.
Psalm 2 (NRSV), also see II Samuel 23.
1 Why do the nations conspire,
and the peoples plot in vain?
2 The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers take counsel together,
against the Lord and his anointed, saying,
3 “Let us burst their bonds asunder,
and cast their cords from us.”
4 He who sits in the heavens laughs;
the Lord has them in derision.
5 Then he will speak to them in his wrath,
and terrify them in his fury, saying,
6 “I have set my king on
7 I will tell of the decree of the Lord:
He said to me, “You are my son;
today I have begotten you.
8 Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
and the ends of the earth your possession.
9 You shall break them with a rod of iron,
and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”
10 Now therefore, O kings, be wise;
be warned, O rulers of the earth.
11 Serve the Lord with fear,
with trembling12 kiss his feet,
or he will be angry, and you will perish in the way;
for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Happy are all who take refuge in him.
Psalm 18 (NRSV), also see II Samuel 22.
1 I love you, O Lord, my strength.
2 The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer,
my God, my rock in whom I take refuge,
my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
3 I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised,
so I shall be saved from my enemies.
4 The cords of death encompassed me;
the torrents of perdition assailed me;
5 the cords of Sheol entangled me;
the snares of death confronted me.
6 In my distress I called upon the Lord;
to my God I cried for help.
From his temple he heard my voice,
and my cry to him reached his ears.
7 Then the earth reeled and rocked;
the foundations also of the mountains trembled
and quaked, because he was angry.
8 Smoke went up from his nostrils,
and devouring fire from his mouth;
glowing coals flamed forth from him.
9 He bowed the heavens, and came down;
thick darkness was under his feet.
10 He rode on a cherub, and flew;
he came swiftly upon the wings of the wind.
11 He made darkness his covering around him,
his canopy thick clouds dark with water.
16 He reached down from on high, he took me;
he drew me out of mighty waters.
17 He delivered me from my strong enemy,
and from those who hated me;
for they were too mighty for me.
18 They confronted me in the day of my calamity;
but the Lord was my support.
19 He brought me out into a broad place;
he delivered me, because he delighted in me.
20 The Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness;
according to the cleanness of my hands he recompensed me.
21 For I have kept the ways of the Lord,
and have not wickedly departed from my God.
25 With the loyal you show yourself loyal;
with the blameless you show yourself blameless;
26 with the pure you show yourself pure;
and with the crooked you show yourself perverse.
27 For you deliver a humble people,
but the haughty eyes you bring down.
28 It is you who light my lamp;
the Lord, my God, lights up my darkness.
31 For who is God except the Lord?
And who is a rock besides our God?—
32 the God who girded me with strength,
and made my way safe.
46 The Lord lives! Blessed be my rock,
and exalted be the God of my salvation,
47 the God who gave me vengeance
and subdued peoples under me;
48 who delivered me from my enemies;
indeed, you exalted me above my adversaries;
you delivered me from the violent.
49 For this I will extol you, O Lord, among the nations,
and sing praises to your name.
50 Great triumphs he gives to his king,
and shows steadfast love to his anointed,
to David and his descendants forever.
Psalm 20 (NRSV)
1 The Lord answer you in the day of trouble!
The name of the God of Jacob protect you!
4 May he grant you your heart’s desire,
and fulfill all your plans.
5 May we shout for joy over your victory,
and in the name of our God set up our banners.
May the Lord fulfill all your petitions.
6 Now I know that the Lord will help his anointed;
he will answer him from his holy heaven
with mighty victories by his right hand.
7 Some take pride in chariots, and some in horses,
but our pride is in the name of the Lord our God.
8 They will collapse and fall,
but we shall rise and stand upright.
9 Give victory to the king, O Lord;
answer us when we call.
Psalm 41 (NRSV)
1 Happy are those who consider the poor;
the Lord delivers them in the day of trouble.
2 The Lord protects them and keeps them alive;
they are called happy in the land.
You do not give them up to the will of their enemies.
3 The Lord sustains them on their sickbed;
in their illness you heal all their infirmities.
4 As for me, I said, “O Lord, be gracious to me;
heal me, for I have sinned against you.”
5 My enemies wonder in malice
when I will die, and my name perish.
6 And when they come to see me, they utter empty words,
while their hearts gather mischief;
when they go out, they tell it abroad.
7 All who hate me whisper together about me;
they imagine the worst for me.
8 They think that a deadly thing has fastened on me,
that I will not rise again from where I lie.
9 Even my bosom friend in whom I trusted,
who ate of my bread, has lifted the heel against me.
10 But you, O Lord, be gracious to me,
and raise me up, that I may repay them.
11 By this I know that you are pleased with me;
because my enemy has not triumphed over me.
12 But you have upheld me because of my integrity,
and set me in your presence forever.
13 Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
from everlasting to everlasting.
Amen and Amen.
Psalm 60 (NRSV)
1 O God, you have rejected us, broken our defenses;
you have been angry; now restore us!
Psalm 68 (NRSV)
1 Let God rise up, let his enemies be scattered;
let those who hate him flee before him.
5 Father of orphans and protector of widows
is God in his holy habitation.
6 God gives the desolate a home to live in;
he leads out the prisoners to prosperity,
but the rebellious live in a parched land.
32 Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth;
sing praises to the Lord, Selah
33 O rider in the heavens, the ancient heavens;
listen, he sends out his voice, his mighty voice.
34 Ascribe power to God,
whose majesty is over
and whose power is in the skies.
35 Awesome is God in his sanctuary,
the God of
he gives power and strength to his people.
Blessed be God!
Psalm 72 (NRSV)
1 Give the king your justice, O God,
and your righteousness to a king’s son.
2 May he judge your people with righteousness,
and your poor with justice.
3 May the mountains yield prosperity for the people,
and the hills, in righteousness.
4 May he defend the cause of the poor of the people,
give deliverance to the needy,
and crush the oppressor.
12 For he delivers the needy when they call,
the poor and those who have no helper.
13 He has pity on the weak and the needy,
and saves the lives of the needy.
14 From oppression and violence he redeems their life;
and precious is their blood in his sight.
15 Long may he live!
May gold of
May prayer be made for him continually,
and blessings invoked for him all day long.
16 May there be abundance of grain in the land;
may it wave on the tops of the mountains;
may its fruit be like
and may people blossom in the cities
like the grass of the field.
17 May his name endure forever,
his fame continue as long as the sun.
May all nations be blessed in him;
may they pronounce him happy.
18 Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
who alone does wondrous things.
19 Blessed be his glorious name forever;
may his glory fill the whole earth.
Amen and Amen.
Psalm 75 (NRSV)
1 We give thanks to you, O God;
we give thanks; your name is near.
People tell of your wondrous deeds.
Psalm 77 (NRSV)
1 I cry aloud to God,
aloud to God, that he may hear me.
2 In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord;
in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying;
my soul refuses to be comforted.
3 I think of God, and I moan;
I meditate, and my spirit faints. Selah
11 I will call to mind the deeds of the Lord;
I will remember your wonders of old.
12 I will meditate on all your work,
and muse on your mighty deeds.
13 Your way, O God, is holy.
What god is so great as our God?
14 You are the God who works wonders;
you have displayed your might among the peoples.
15 With your strong arm you redeemed your people,
the descendants of Jacob and Joseph. Selah
16 When the waters saw you, O God,
when the waters saw you, they were afraid;
the very deep trembled.
17 The clouds poured out water;
the skies thundered;
your arrows flashed on every side.
18 The crash of your thunder was in the whirlwind;
your lightnings lit up the world;
the earth trembled and shook.
19 Your way was through the sea,
your path, through the mighty waters;
yet your footprints were unseen.
20 You led your people like a flock
by the hand of Moses and Aaron.
Psalm 89 (NRSV)
1 I will sing of your steadfast love, O Lord, forever;
with my mouth I will proclaim your faithfulness to all generations.
2 I declare that your steadfast love is established forever;
your faithfulness is as firm as the heavens.
3 You said, “I have made a covenant with my chosen one,
I have sworn to my servant David:
4 ‘I will establish your descendants forever,
and build your throne for all generations.’ ” Selah
5 Let the heavens praise your wonders, O Lord,
your faithfulness in the assembly of the holy ones.
6 For who in the skies can be compared to the Lord?
Who among the heavenly beings is like the Lord,
7 a God feared in the council of the holy ones,
great and awesome above all that are around him?
8 O Lord God of hosts,
who is as mighty as you, O Lord?
Your faithfulness surrounds you.
9 You rule the raging of the sea;
when its waves rise, you still them.
10 You crushed Rahab like a carcass;
you scattered your enemies with your mighty arm.
11 The heavens are yours, the earth also is yours;
the world and all that is in it—you have founded them.
12 The north and the south —you created them;
Tabor and Hermon joyously praise your name.
13 You have a mighty arm;
strong is your hand, high your right hand.
14 Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne;
steadfast love and faithfulness go before you.
15 Happy are the people who know the festal shout,
who walk, O Lord, in the light of your countenance;
16 they exult in your name all day long,
and extol your righteousness.
17 For you are the glory of their strength;
by your favor our horn is exalted.
18 For our shield belongs to the Lord,
our king to the Holy One of Israel.
19 Then you spoke in a vision to your faithful one, and said:
“I have set the crown on one who is mighty,
I have exalted one chosen from the people.
20 I have found my servant David;
with my holy oil I have anointed him;
21 my hand shall always remain with him;
my arm also shall strengthen him.
22 The enemy shall not outwit him,
the wicked shall not humble him.
23 I will crush his foes before him
and strike down those who hate him.
24 My faithfulness and steadfast love shall be with him;
and in my name his horn shall be exalted.
25 I will set his hand on the sea
and his right hand on the rivers.
26 He shall cry to me, ‘You are my Father,
my God, and the Rock of my salvation!’
27 I will make him the firstborn,
the highest of the kings of the earth.
28 Forever I will keep my steadfast love for him,
and my covenant with him will stand firm.
29 I will establish his line forever,
and his throne as long as the heavens endure.
30 If his children forsake my law
and do not walk according to my ordinances,
31 if they violate my statutes
and do not keep my commandments,
32 then I will punish their transgression with the rod
and their iniquity with scourges;
33 but I will not remove from him my steadfast love,
or be false to my faithfulness.
34 I will not violate my covenant,
or alter the word that went forth from my lips.
35 Once and for all I have sworn by my holiness;
I will not lie to David.
36 His line shall continue forever,
and his throne endure before me like the sun.
37 It shall be established forever like the moon,
an enduring witness in the skies.” Selah
Psalm 93 (NRSV)
1 The Lord is king, he is robed in majesty;
the Lord is robed, he is girded with strength.
He has established the world; it shall never be moved;
2 your throne is established from of old;
you are from everlasting.
3 The floods have lifted up, O Lord,
the floods have lifted up their voice;
the floods lift up their roaring.
4 More majestic than the thunders of mighty waters,
more majestic than the waves of the sea,
majestic on high is the Lord!
5 Your decrees are very sure;
holiness befits your house,
O Lord, forevermore.
Psalm 110 (NRSV)
1 The Lord says to my lord,
“Sit at my right hand
until I make your enemies your footstool.”
2 The Lord
sends out from
your mighty scepter.
Rule in the midst of your foes.
3 Your people will offer themselves willingly
on the day you lead your forces
on the holy mountains.
From the womb of the morning,
like dew, your youth will come to you.
4 The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind,
“You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.”
5 The Lord is at your right hand;
he will shatter kings on the day of his wrath.
6 He will execute judgment among the nations,
filling them with corpses;
he will shatter heads
over the wide earth.
7 He will drink from the stream by the path;
therefore he will lift up his head.
Psalm 132 (NRSV)
1 O Lord, remember in David’s favor
all the hardships he endured;
2 how he swore to the Lord
and vowed to the Mighty One of Jacob,
3 “I will not enter my house
or get into my bed;
4 I will not give sleep to my eyes
or slumber to my eyelids,
5 until I find a place for the Lord,
a dwelling place for the Mighty One of Jacob.”
6 We heard of it in Ephrathah;
we found it in the fields of Jaar.
7 “Let us go to his dwelling place;
let us worship at his footstool.”
8 Rise up, O Lord, and go to your resting place,
you and the ark of your might.
9 Let your priests be clothed with righteousness,
and let your faithful shout for joy.
10 For your servant David’s sake
do not turn away the face of your anointed one.
11 The Lord swore to David a sure oath
from which he will not turn back:
“One of the sons of your body
I will set on your throne.
12 If your sons keep my covenant
and my decrees that I shall teach them,
their sons also, forevermore,
shall sit on your throne.”
13 For the Lord
he has desired it for his habitation:
14 “This is my resting place forever;
here I will reside, for I have desired it.
15 I will abundantly bless its provisions;
I will satisfy its poor with bread.
16 Its priests I will clothe with salvation,
and its faithful will shout for joy.
17 There I will cause a horn to sprout up for David;
I have prepared a lamp for my anointed one.
18 His enemies I will clothe with disgrace,
but on him, his crown will gleam.”
Psalm 144 (NRSV)
1 Blessed be the Lord, my rock,
who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle;
2 my rock and my fortress,
my stronghold and my deliverer,
my shield, in whom I take refuge,
who subdues the peoples under me.
3 O Lord, what are human beings that you regard them,
or mortals that you think of them?
4 They are like a breath;
their days are like a passing shadow.
5 Bow your heavens, O Lord, and come down;
touch the mountains so that they smoke.
6 Make the lightning flash and scatter them;
send out your arrows and rout them.
7 Stretch out your hand from on high;
set me free and rescue me from the mighty waters,
from the hand of aliens,
8 whose mouths speak lies,
and whose right hands are false.
9 I will sing a new song to you, O God;
upon a ten-stringed harp I will play to you,
10 the one who gives victory to kings,
who rescues his servant David.
11 Rescue me from the cruel sword,
and deliver me from the hand of aliens,
whose mouths speak lies,
and whose right hands are false.
12 May our sons in their youth
be like plants full grown,
our daughters like corner pillars,
cut for the building of a palace.
13 May our barns be filled,
with produce of every kind;
may our sheep increase by thousands,
by tens of thousands in our fields,
14 and may our cattle be heavy with young.
May there be no breach in the walls, no exile,
and no cry of distress in our streets.
15 Happy are the people to whom such blessings fall;
happy are the people whose God is the Lord.
Although it is difficult to say when any proverb originated, according to one study, certain forms of the proverb appear to come from the earliest period. One example is the description of the way of the wisdom and the way of foolishness.
How much better to get wisdom than gold!
To get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver. ( A)
An intelligent mind acquires knowledge,
and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge. ( A)
To get wisdom is to love oneself;
to keep understanding is to prosper. (19:8 A)
There is gold, and abundance of costly stones;
but the lips informed by knowledge are a precious jewel. ( A)
Wisdom is at home in the mind of one who has understanding,
but it is not known in the heart of fools. ( A)
Wisdom is a fountain of life to one who has it,
but folly is the punishment of fools. ( A)
The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life,
so that one may avoid the snares of death. ( A)
Those who keep the commandment will live;
those who are heedless of their ways will die. ( A)
Listen to advice and accept instruction,
that you may gain wisdom for the future. ( A)
Fools think their own way is right,
but the wise listen to advice. ( A)
Better is open rebuke
than hidden love. (27:5 A)
One who is often reproved, yet remains stubborn,
will suddenly be broken beyond healing. (29:1 A)
Whoever heeds instruction is on the path of life,
but one who rejects a rebuke goes astray. ( A)
Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge,
but those who hate to be rebuked are stupid. (12:1 A)
Wisdom considers matters of the human heart.
The light of the eyes rejoices the heart,
and good news refreshes the body. ( A)
Like cold water to a thirsty soul,
so is good news from a far country. (25:25 A)
Even in laughter the heart is sad,
and the end of joy is grief. ( A)
A glad heart makes a cheerful countenance,
but by sorrow of heart the spirit is broken. ( A)
A cheerful heart is a good medicine,
but a downcast spirit dries up the bones. ( A)
The heart knows its own bitterness,
and no stranger shares its joy. ( A)
The human spirit will endure sickness;
but a broken spirit--who can bear? ( A)
The purposes in the human mind are like deep water,
but the intelligent will draw them out. (20:5 A)
The words of the mouth are deep waters;
the fountain of wisdom is a gushing stream. (18:4 A)
Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life. ( A)
A tranquil mind gives life to the flesh,
but passion makes the bones rot. ( A)
There is a way that seems right to a person,
but its end is the way to death. ( A?)
Sometimes there is a way that seems to be right,
but in the end it is the way to death. ( A)
Character traits find comment in wisdom literature. Humility is one trait wisdom values.
Do you see persons wise in their own eyes?
There is more hope for fools than for them. (26:12 A)
When pride comes, then comes disgrace;
but wisdom is with the humble. (11:2 A)
Pride goes before destruction,
and a haughty spirit before a fall. ( A)
Do not boast about tomorrow,
for you do not know what a day may bring. (27:1 A)
Another trait is that of trust
Many proclaim themselves loyal,
but who can find one worthy of trust? (20:6 A)
Another trait is that of a good reputation.
A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches,
and favor is better than silver or gold. (22:1 A)
Wisdom also considers the use of words.
One who is quick-tempered acts foolishly,
and the schemer is hated. ( A)
Those with good sense are slow to anger,
and it is their glory to overlook an offense. ( A)
A gossip reveals secrets;
therefore do not associate with a babbler. ( A)
A gossip goes about telling secrets,
but one who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a confidence. ( A)
Pleasant words are like a honeycomb,
sweetness to the soul and health to the body. ( A)
Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
and those who love it will eat its fruits. ( A)
To make an apt answer is a joy to anyone,
and a word in season, how good it is! ( A)
A word fitly spoken
is like apples of gold in a setting of sliver. (25:11 A)
A soft answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger. (15:1 A)
Truthful lips endure forever,
but a lying tongue lasts only a moment. ( A)
Wisdom leads to certain reflections upon relationships in the family.
Like a gold ring in a pig's snout,
is a beautiful woman without good sense. ( A)
It is better to live in a corner of the housetop
than in a house shared with a contentious wife. (21:9; 25:24 A)
It is better to live in a desert land
than with a contentious and fretful wife. ( A)
A continual dripping on a rainy day
and a contentious wife are alike;
to restrain her is to restrain the wind
or to grasp oil in the right hand. (27:15-15 A)
Like a bird that strays from its next
is one who strays from home. (27:8 A)
Train children in the right way,
and when old, they will not stray. (22:6 A)
Those who spare the rod hate their children,
but those who love them are diligent to discipline them. ( A)
Discipline your children while there is hope;
do not set your heart on their destruction. ( A)
Discipline your children, and they will give you rest;
they will give delight to your heart. (29:17 A)
A wise child loves discipline,
but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke. (13:1 A)
A slave pampered from childhood
will come to a bad end. (29:21 A)
Wisdom offers guidance in relationships with the neighbor.
A friend loves at all times,
and kinsfolk are born to share adversity. ( A)
Do not forsake your friend or the friend of your parent;
do not go to the house of your kindred in the day of your calamity.
Better is a neighbor who is nearby
than kindred who are far away. (27:10 A)
Some friends play at friendship
but a true friends sticks closer than one's nearest kin. ( A)
If you have found honey, eat only enough for you,
or else, having too much, you will vomit it.
Let your foot be seldom in your neighbor's house,
otherwise the neighbor will become weary of you and hate you.
Well meant are the wounds a friend inflicts,
but profuse are the kisses of an enemy. (27:6 A)
Wisdom recommends the discipline of work.
Do not love sleep, or else you will come to poverty;
open your eyes, and you will have plenty of bread. ( A)
In all toil there is profit,
but mere talk leads only to poverty. ( A)
One who is slack in work
is close kin to a vandal. (18:9 A)
Know well the condition of your flocks,
and give attention to your herds;
for riches do not last forever,
nor a crown for all generations.
When the grass is gone, and new growth appears,
and the herbage of the mountains is gathered,
the lambs will provide your clothing,
and the goats the price of a field;
there will be enough goats' milk for your food,
for the food of your household
and nourishment for your servant girls. (27:23-27 A)
Wealth hastily gotten will dwindle,
but those who gather little by little will increase it. ( A)
Wisdom recommends the path that avoids greed.
Sheol and Abaddon are never satisfied,
and human eyes are never satisfied. (27:20 A)
Wisdom recognizes the realities of wealth and poverty.
The wealth of the rich is their fortress;
the poverty of the poor is their ruin. ( A)
Some pretend to be rich, yet have nothing;
others pretend to be poor, yet have great wealth. (13:7 A)
Wealth brings many friends,
but the poor are left friendless. (19:4 A)
The poor are disliked even by their neighbors,
but the rich have many friends. ( A)
If the poor are hated even by their kin,
how much more are they shunned by their friends!
When they call after them, they are not there. (19:7 A)
All the days of the poor are hard,
but a cheerful heart has a continual feast. ( A)
Wisdom honors age.
The glory of youths is their strength,
but the beauty of the aged is their gray hair. ( A)
Wisdom recognizes proper behavior in the court system.
A truthful witness saves lives,
but one who utters lies is a betrayer. ( A)
A gift opens doors;
it gives access to the great. ( A)
Many seek the favor of the generous,
and everyone is a friend to a giver of gifts. (19:6 A)
Wisdom recognizes proper behavior in the government.
The glory of a king is a multitude of people;
without people a prince is ruined. ( A)
It is not fitting for a fool to live in luxury,
much less for a slave to rule over princes. ( A)
When a land rebels
it has many rulers;
but with an intelligent ruler
there is lasting order. (28:2 B)
Without counsel, plans go wrong,
but with many advisers they succeed. ( A)
A bad messenger brings trouble,
but a faithful envoy, healing. ( B)
Do not put yourself forward in the king's presence
or stand in the place of the great;
for it is better to be told, "Come up here,"
than to be put lower in the presence of a noble. (25:6-7 A)
It is the glory of God to conceal things,
but the glory of kings is to search things out. (25:2 A)
The story of Joseph appears to be a novella, a little novel. Scenes are part of the whole rather than individual Joseph sagas. Joseph is the ideal youth of the wisdom school in the time of Solomon. We find the theme of the story in two places.
Genesis 45:5-8 (NRSV)
5 And now do not be
distressed, or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here; for God sent me
before you to preserve life. 6 For the famine has been in the land
these two years; and there are five more years in which there will be neither
plowing nor harvest. 7 God sent me before you to preserve for you a
remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. 8 So it
was not you who sent me here, but God; he has made me a father to Pharaoh, and
lord of all his house and ruler over all the
Genesis 50:20 (NRSV)
20 Even though you intended to do harm to me, God intended it for good, in order to preserve a numerous people, as he is doing today.
We find a largely J account in 37, 39, 43-44, 46:28-47:6, 13-31, 50:1-14.
Genesis 37 (NRSV)
Joseph Dreams of Greatness
37 Jacob settled in the land where his father had
lived as an alien, the
Joseph, being seventeen years old, was
shepherding the flock with his brothers; he was a helper to the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah, his father’s
wives; and Joseph brought a bad report of them to their father. 3 Now
5 Once Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him even more. 6 He said to them, “Listen to this dream that I dreamed. 7 There we were, binding sheaves in the field. Suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright; then your sheaves gathered around it, and bowed down to my sheaf.” 8 His brothers said to him, “Are you indeed to reign over us? Are you indeed to have dominion over us?” So they hated him even more because of his dreams and his words.
9 He had another dream, and told it to his brothers, saying, “Look, I have had another dream: the sun, the moon, and eleven stars were bowing down to me.” 10 But when he told it to his father and to his brothers, his father rebuked him, and said to him, “What kind of dream is this that you have had? Shall we indeed come, I and your mother and your brothers, and bow to the ground before you?” 11 So his brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the matter in mind.
Joseph Is Sold by His Brothers
12 Now his brothers went to pasture their father’s
flock near Shechem. 13 And
He came to Shechem, 15
and a man found him wandering in the fields; the man asked him, “What are
you seeking?” 16 “I am seeking my brothers,” he said; “tell me,
please, where they are pasturing the flock.” 17 The man said, “They
have gone away, for I heard them say, ‘Let us go to
25 Then they sat down to eat; and looking up they
saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead, with
their camels carrying gum, balm, and resin, on their way to carry it down to
Egypt. 26 Then
29 When Reuben returned to the pit and saw that
Joseph was not in the pit, he tore his clothes. 30 He returned to
his brothers, and said, “The boy is gone; and I, where can I turn?” 31 Then
they took Joseph’s robe, slaughtered a goat, and dipped the robe in the blood. 32
They had the long robe with sleeves taken to their father, and they said,
“This we have found; see now whether it is your son’s robe or not.” 33 He
recognized it, and said, “It is my son’s robe! A wild animal has devoured him;
Joseph is without doubt torn to pieces.” 34 Then Jacob tore his
garments, and put sackcloth on his loins, and mourned for his son many days. 35
All his sons and all his daughters sought to comfort him; but he refused
to be comforted, and said, “No, I shall go down to Sheol to my son, mourning.”
Thus his father bewailed him. 36 Meanwhile the Midianites
had sold him in
Genesis 39 (NRSV)
Joseph and Potiphar’s Wife
39 Now Joseph was taken down to
Now Joseph was handsome and good-looking. 7 And after a time his master’s wife cast her eyes on Joseph and said, “Lie with me.” 8 But he refused and said to his master’s wife, “Look, with me here, my master has no concern about anything in the house, and he has put everything that he has in my hand. 9 He is not greater in this house than I am, nor has he kept back anything from me except yourself, because you are his wife. How then could I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” 10 And although she spoke to Joseph day after day, he would not consent to lie beside her or to be with her. 11 One day, however, when he went into the house to do his work, and while no one else was in the house, 12 she caught hold of his garment, saying, “Lie with me!” But he left his garment in her hand, and fled and ran outside. 13 When she saw that he had left his garment in her hand and had fled outside, 14 she called out to the members of her household and said to them, “See, my husband has brought among us a Hebrew to insult us! He came in to me to lie with me, and I cried out with a loud voice; 15 and when he heard me raise my voice and cry out, he left his garment beside me, and fled outside.” 16 Then she kept his garment by her until his master came home, 17 and she told him the same story, saying, “The Hebrew servant, whom you have brought among us, came in to me to insult me; 18 but as soon as I raised my voice and cried out, he left his garment beside me, and fled outside.”
19 When his master heard the words that his wife spoke to him, saying, “This is the way your servant treated me,” he became enraged. 20 And Joseph’s master took him and put him into the prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined; he remained there in prison. 21 But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love; he gave him favor in the sight of the chief jailer. 22 The chief jailer committed to Joseph’s care all the prisoners who were in the prison, and whatever was done there, he was the one who did it. 23 The chief jailer paid no heed to anything that was in Joseph’s care, because the Lord was with him; and whatever he did, the Lord made it prosper.
Genesis 43-44 (NRSV)
The Brothers Come Again, Bringing Benjamin
43 Now the famine was severe in the land. 2 And
when they had eaten up the grain that they had brought from
11 Then their father
16 When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the steward of his house, “Bring the men into the house, and slaughter an animal and make ready, for the men are to dine with me at .” 17 The man did as Joseph said, and brought the men to Joseph’s house. 18 Now the men were afraid because they were brought to Joseph’s house, and they said, “It is because of the money, replaced in our sacks the first time, that we have been brought in, so that he may have an opportunity to fall upon us, to make slaves of us and take our donkeys.” 19 So they went up to the steward of Joseph’s house and spoke with him at the entrance to the house. 20 They said, “Oh, my lord, we came down the first time to buy food; 21 and when we came to the lodging place we opened our sacks, and there was each one’s money in the top of his sack, our money in full weight. So we have brought it back with us. 22 Moreover we have brought down with us additional money to buy food. We do not know who put our money in our sacks.” 23 He replied, “Rest assured, do not be afraid; your God and the God of your father must have put treasure in your sacks for you; I received your money.” Then he brought Simeon out to them. 24 When the steward had brought the men into Joseph’s house, and given them water, and they had washed their feet, and when he had given their donkeys fodder, 25 they made the present ready for Joseph’s coming at , for they had heard that they would dine there.
26 When Joseph came home, they brought him the present that they had carried into the house, and bowed to the ground before him. 27 He inquired about their welfare, and said, “Is your father well, the old man of whom you spoke? Is he still alive?” 28 They said, “Your servant our father is well; he is still alive.” And they bowed their heads and did obeisance. 29 Then he looked up and saw his brother Benjamin, his mother’s son, and said, “Is this your youngest brother, of whom you spoke to me? God be gracious to you, my son!” 30 With that, Joseph hurried out, because he was overcome with affection for his brother, and he was about to weep. So he went into a private room and wept there. 31 Then he washed his face and came out; and controlling himself he said, “Serve the meal.” 32 They served him by himself, and them by themselves, and the Egyptians who ate with him by themselves, because the Egyptians could not eat with the Hebrews, for that is an abomination to the Egyptians. 33 When they were seated before him, the firstborn according to his birthright and the youngest according to his youth, the men looked at one another in amazement. 34 Portions were taken to them from Joseph’s table, but Benjamin’s portion was five times as much as any of theirs. So they drank and were merry with him.
Joseph Detains Benjamin
44 Then he commanded the steward of his house, “Fill the men’s sacks with food, as much as they can carry, and put each man’s money in the top of his sack. 2 Put my cup, the silver cup, in the top of the sack of the youngest, with his money for the grain.” And he did as Joseph told him. 3 As soon as the morning was light, the men were sent away with their donkeys. 4 When they had gone only a short distance from the city, Joseph said to his steward, “Go, follow after the men; and when you overtake them, say to them, ‘Why have you returned evil for good? Why have you stolen my silver cup? 5 Is it not from this that my lord drinks? Does he not indeed use it for divination? You have done wrong in doing this.’ ”
6 When he overtook them, he repeated these words
to them. 7 They said to him, “Why does my lord speak such words as
these? Far be it from your servants that they should do such a thing! 8 Look,
the money that we found at the top of our sacks, we brought back to you from
14 Judah and his brothers came to Joseph’s house
while he was still there; and they fell to the ground before him. 15 Joseph
said to them, “What deed is this that you have done? Do you not know that one
such as I can practice divination?” 16 And
Judah Pleads for Benjamin’s Release
Genesis 46:28-47:6 (NRSV)
Jacob Settles in
47 So Joseph went and told Pharaoh, “My father and
my brothers, with their flocks and herds and all that they possess, have come
Genesis 47:13-21 (NRSV)
The Famine in
13 Now there was no food in all the land, for the
famine was very severe. The
20 So Joseph bought all the
Genesis 50:1-14 (NRSV)
50 Then Joseph threw himself on his father’s face
and wept over him and kissed him. 2 Joseph commanded the physicians
in his service to embalm his father. So the physicians embalmed
4 When the days of weeping for him were past,
Joseph addressed the household of Pharaoh, “If now I have found favor with you,
please speak to Pharaoh as follows: 5 My father made me swear an
oath; he said, ‘I am about to die. In the tomb that I hewed out for myself in
7 So Joseph went up to bury his father. With him
went up all the servants of Pharaoh, the elders of his household, and all the
elders of the
The E document also has an account of Joseph in 40-42.
Genesis 40-42 (NRSV)
The Dreams of Two Prisoners
40 Some time after this, the cupbearer of the king
9 So the chief cupbearer told his dream to Joseph, and said to him, “In my dream there was a vine before me, 10 and on the vine there were three branches. As soon as it budded, its blossoms came out and the clusters ripened into grapes. 11 Pharaoh’s cup was in my hand; and I took the grapes and pressed them into Pharaoh’s cup, and placed the cup in Pharaoh’s hand.” 12 Then Joseph said to him, “This is its interpretation: the three branches are three days; 13 within three days Pharaoh will lift up your head and restore you to your office; and you shall place Pharaoh’s cup in his hand, just as you used to do when you were his cupbearer. 14 But remember me when it is well with you; please do me the kindness to make mention of me to Pharaoh, and so get me out of this place. 15 For in fact I was stolen out of the land of the Hebrews; and here also I have done nothing that they should have put me into the dungeon.”
16 When the chief baker saw that the interpretation was favorable, he said to Joseph, “I also had a dream: there were three cake baskets on my head, 17 and in the uppermost basket there were all sorts of baked food for Pharaoh, but the birds were eating it out of the basket on my head.” 18 And Joseph answered, “This is its interpretation: the three baskets are three days; 19 within three days Pharaoh will lift up your head—from you!—and hang you on a pole; and the birds will eat the flesh from you.”
20 On the third day, which was Pharaoh’s birthday, he made a feast for all his servants, and lifted up the head of the chief cupbearer and the head of the chief baker among his servants. 21 He restored the chief cupbearer to his cupbearing, and he placed the cup in Pharaoh’s hand; 22 but the chief baker he hanged, just as Joseph had interpreted to them. 23 Yet the chief cupbearer did not remember Joseph, but forgot him.
Joseph Interprets Pharaoh’s Dream
41 After two whole years, Pharaoh dreamed that he
was standing by the Nile, 2 and there came up out of the Nile seven
sleek and fat cows, and they grazed in the reed grass. 3 Then seven
other cows, ugly and thin, came up out of the
9 Then the chief cupbearer said to Pharaoh, “I remember my faults today. 10 Once Pharaoh was angry with his servants, and put me and the chief baker in custody in the house of the captain of the guard. 11 We dreamed on the same night, he and I, each having a dream with its own meaning. 12 A young Hebrew was there with us, a servant of the captain of the guard. When we told him, he interpreted our dreams to us, giving an interpretation to each according to his dream. 13 As he interpreted to us, so it turned out; I was restored to my office, and the baker was hanged.”
14 Then Pharaoh sent for Joseph, and he was
hurriedly brought out of the dungeon. When he had shaved himself and changed
his clothes, he came in before Pharaoh. 15 And Pharaoh said to
Joseph, “I have had a dream, and there is no one who can interpret it. I have
heard it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it.” 16 Joseph
answered Pharaoh, “It is not I; God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer.” 17
Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “In my dream I was standing on the banks of
25 Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, “Pharaoh’s dreams
are one and the same; God has revealed to Pharaoh what he is about to do. 26
The seven good cows are seven years, and the seven good ears are seven
years; the dreams are one. 27 The seven lean and ugly cows that came
up after them are seven years, as are the seven empty ears blighted by the east
wind. They are seven years of famine. 28 It is as I told Pharaoh;
God has shown to Pharaoh what he is about to do. 29 There will come
seven years of great plenty throughout all the
Joseph’s Rise to Power
37 The proposal pleased Pharaoh and all his
servants. 38 Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find anyone else
like this—one in whom is the spirit of God?” 39 So Pharaoh said to
Joseph, “Since God has shown you all this, there is no one so discerning and
wise as you. 40 You shall be over my house, and all my people shall
order themselves as you command; only with regard to the throne will I be
greater than you.” 41 And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “See, I have set
you over all the
46 Joseph was thirty years old when he entered the
service of Pharaoh king of
50 Before the years of famine came, Joseph had two sons, whom Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On, bore to him. 51 Joseph named the firstborn Manasseh, “For,” he said, “God has made me forget all my hardship and all my father’s house.” 52 The second he named Ephraim, “For God has made me fruitful in the land of my misfortunes.”
53 The seven years of plenty that prevailed in the
Joseph’s Brothers Go to Egypt
42 When Jacob learned that there was grain in
6 Now Joseph was governor over the land; it was he
who sold to all the people of the land. And Joseph’s brothers came and bowed
themselves before him with their faces to the ground. 7 When Joseph
saw his brothers, he recognized them, but he treated them like strangers and
spoke harshly to them. “Where do you come from?” he said. They said, “From the
18 On the third day Joseph said to them, “Do this and you will live, for I fear God: 19 if you are honest men, let one of your brothers stay here where you are imprisoned. The rest of you shall go and carry grain for the famine of your households, 20 and bring your youngest brother to me. Thus your words will be verified, and you shall not die.” And they agreed to do so. 21 They said to one another, “Alas, we are paying the penalty for what we did to our brother; we saw his anguish when he pleaded with us, but we would not listen. That is why this anguish has come upon us.” 22 Then Reuben answered them, “Did I not tell you not to wrong the boy? But you would not listen. So now there comes a reckoning for his blood.” 23 They did not know that Joseph understood them, since he spoke with them through an interpreter. 24 He turned away from them and wept; then he returned and spoke to them. And he picked out Simeon and had him bound before their eyes. 25 Joseph then gave orders to fill their bags with grain, to return every man’s money to his sack, and to give them provisions for their journey. This was done for them.
Joseph’s Brothers Return to Canaan
26 They loaded their donkeys with their grain, and departed.
29 When they came to their father Jacob in the
35 As they were emptying their sacks, there in each one’s sack was his bag of money. When they and their father saw their bundles of money, they were dismayed. 36 And their father Jacob said to them, “I am the one you have bereaved of children: Joseph is no more, and Simeon is no more, and now you would take Benjamin. All this has happened to me!” 37 Then Reuben said to his father, “You may kill my two sons if I do not bring him back to you. Put him in my hands, and I will bring him back to you.” 38 But he said, “My son shall not go down with you, for his brother is dead, and he alone is left. If harm should come to him on the journey that you are to make, you would bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to Sheol.”
This approach to Solomon is from the standpoint of the Wisdom school.
1 Kings 3:4-28 (NRSV)
4 The king went to
10 It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. 11 God said to him, “Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches, or for the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, 12 I now do according to your word. Indeed I give you a wise and discerning mind; no one like you has been before you and no one like you shall arise after you. 13 I give you also what you have not asked, both riches and honor all your life; no other king shall compare with you. 14 If you will walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your life.”
15 Then Solomon awoke; it had been a dream. He came
Solomon’s Wisdom in Judgment
16 Later, two women who were prostitutes came to the king and stood before him. 17 The one woman said, “Please, my lord, this woman and I live in the same house; and I gave birth while she was in the house. 18 Then on the third day after I gave birth, this woman also gave birth. We were together; there was no one else with us in the house, only the two of us were in the house. 19 Then this woman’s son died in the night, because she lay on him. 20 She got up in the middle of the night and took my son from beside me while your servant slept. She laid him at her breast, and laid her dead son at my breast. 21 When I rose in the morning to nurse my son, I saw that he was dead; but when I looked at him closely in the morning, clearly it was not the son I had borne.” 22 But the other woman said, “No, the living son is mine, and the dead son is yours.” The first said, “No, the dead son is yours, and the living son is mine.” So they argued before the king.
23 Then the king said, “The one says, ‘This is my
son that is alive, and your son is dead’; while the other says, ‘Not so! Your
son is dead, and my son is the living one.’ ” 24 So the king said,
“Bring me a sword,” and they brought a sword before the king. 25 The
king said, “Divide the living boy in two; then give half to the one, and half
to the other.” 26 But the woman whose son was alive said to the
king—because compassion for her son burned within her—“Please, my lord, give
her the living boy; certainly do not kill him!” The other said, “It shall be
neither mine nor yours; divide it.” 27 Then the king responded:
“Give the first woman the living boy; do not kill him. She is his mother.” 28
1 Kings 4:29-34 (NRSV)
Fame of Solomon’s Wisdom
29 God gave Solomon very great wisdom, discernment,
and breadth of understanding as vast as the sand on the seashore, 30 so
that Solomon’s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the people of the east, and
all the wisdom of
1 Kings 10:1-13 (NRSV)
Visit of the Queen of
(2 Chr 9.1—28)
10 When the queen of
6 So she said to the king,
“The report was true that I heard in my own land of your accomplishments and of
your wisdom, 7 but I did not believe the reports until I came and my
own eyes had seen it. Not even half had been told me; your wisdom and
prosperity far surpass the report that I had heard. 8 Happy are your
wives! Happy are these your servants, who continually attend you and hear your
wisdom! 9 Blessed be the Lord
your God, who has delighted in you and set you on the throne of
11 Moreover, the fleet of Hiram, which carried gold from Ophir, brought from Ophir a great quantity of almug wood and precious stones. 12 From the almug wood the king made supports for the house of the Lord, and for the king’s house, lyres also and harps for the singers; no such almug wood has come or been seen to this day.
13 Meanwhile King Solomon
gave to the queen of
1 Kings 10:23-24 (NRSV)
23 Thus King Solomon excelled all the kings of the earth in riches and in wisdom. 24 The whole earth sought the presence of Solomon to hear his wisdom, which God had put into his mind.
type of literature is encountered with the Song of Songs. It is likely from the time of Solomon, though
there is debate at this point. In the
history of exegesis, this text has been the object of more study than any other
eight chapters. The allegorical interpretation in Judaism and Christianity was
the preferred method of approach. This love song is in the Bible because of the
allegorical interpretation of it, as people viewed it as an expression of the
The book contains several interesting comments about romantic love.
Song of Solomon 1:2-3 (NRSV)
2 Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth!
For your love is better than wine,
3 your anointing oils are fragrant,
your name is perfume poured out;
therefore the maidens love you.
The woman describes herself in this way: “I am black and beautiful.” She also describes her past sexual experiences in this way:
Song of Solomon 1:6 (NRSV)
6 they made me keeper of the vineyards,
but my own vineyard I have not kept!
We read of the elusive quality of love.
Song of Solomon 1:7 (NRSV)
7 Tell me, you whom my soul loves,
where you pasture your flock,
where you make it lie down at ;
Song of Solomon 3:2 (NRSV)
2 “I will rise now and go about the city,
in the streets and in the squares;
I will seek him whom my soul loves.”
I sought him, but found him not.
Song of Solomon 3:4 (NRSV)
4 Scarcely had I passed them,
when I found him whom my soul loves.
I held him, and would not let him go
until I brought him into my mother’s house,
and into the chamber of her that conceived me.
Song of Solomon 5:6 (NRSV)
6 I opened to my beloved,
but my beloved had turned and was gone.
My soul failed me when he spoke.
I sought him, but did not find him;
I called him, but he gave no answer.
Song of Solomon 6:1 (NRSV)
Where has your beloved gone,
O fairest among women?
Which way has your beloved turned,
that we may seek him with you?
The text presents genuine celebration of sensual, romantic love. One interesting phrase in 2:4 is "his banner over me is love.” Another interesting phrase is in , 6:3 “My beloved is mine, and I am his.” Another phrase in , “On the day of his wedding, On the day of the gladness of his heart.” We also find this phrase:
Song of Solomon (NRSV)
10 I am my beloved’s,
and his desire is for me.
2:5, "for I am faint with love," may refer to an insatiable sexual desire for her partner. In fact, the following verse and in 8:3 speaks of "His left arm is under my head, his right embraces me," clearly in one love-making position. We also find these verses of celebration:
Song of Solomon (NRSV)
16 His speech is most sweet,
and he is altogether desirable.
This is my beloved and this is my friend,
O daughters of
Her lover appears to be a peeping tom:
Song of Solomon 2:9 (NRSV)
9 Look, there he stands
behind our wall,
gazing in at the windows,
looking through the lattice.
The text refers to pre-marital sex with her partner is anticipated.
Song of Solomon 3:1 (NRSV)
Upon my bed at night
I sought him whom my soul loves;
I sought him, but found him not;
I called him, but he gave no answer.
The text refers to how volatile romantic love can be.
Song of Solomon 3:5, 8:4 (NRSV)
5 I adjure you, …
do not stir up or awaken love
until it is ready!
Song of Solomon 6:5 (NRSV)
5 Turn away your eyes from me,
for they overwhelm me!
He praises her body in chapter 4--all of it. We find another praise of her body in chapter 7. A single glance from her could arouse passion in him in 4:9. The reference to the "garden" in may refer to the sexual act itself.
We need to think of the celebration of the sensual:
Song of Solomon 5:1 (NRSV)
I come to my garden, my sister, my bride;
Eat, friends, drink,
and be drunk with love.
He poetically expresses his desire to fondle her breasts:
Song of Solomon 7:7-9 (NRSV)
7 You are stately as a palm tree,
and your breasts are like its clusters.
8 I say I will climb the palm tree
and lay hold of its branches.
O may your breasts be like clusters of the vine,
and the scent of your breath like apples,
9 and your kisses like the best wine
that goes down smoothly,
gliding over lips and teeth.
The woman expresses her sexual desire as well:
Song of Solomon 5:4 (NRSV)
4 My beloved thrust his hand into the opening,
and my inmost being yearned for him.
The text shows the attachment that romantic love creates between two people that translates into a lifting up and making special the object of affection.
Song of Solomon 6:9 (NRSV)
9 My dove, my perfect one, is the only one,
the darling of her mother,
flawless to her that bore her.
The maidens saw her and called her happy;
the queens and concubines also, and they praised her.
The woman suggests that when he comes to her, she will have sexual pleasures from the past awaiting him, as well as some new pleasures:
Song of Solomon (NRSV)
13 The mandrakes give forth fragrance,
and over our doors are all choice fruits,
new as well as old,
which I have laid up for you, O my beloved.
Even with the elusiveness of romantic love a theme throughout, it concludes with the abiding nature of love:
set me like a seal on your hear, like a seal on your arm.
For love is strong as Death, passion as relentless as Sheol
Love no flood can quench,
no torrents drown.
were a man to offer all his family wealth to buy love,
contempt is all that he would gain.
The love she has will bring peace to him:
Song of Solomon (NRSV)
10 I was a wall,
and my breasts were like towers;
then I was in his eyes
as one who brings peace.
Saul was on
the lips of everyone. He soon became a subject of poetry. For theology, he
became the anointed one who slipped from Yahweh’s hand, the one quitting the
stage, and yielding to him who was coming. Saul is the god-forsaken, driven
from one delusion to the other. He ended up desperate and alone. Right to the end,
the stories follow the unhappy king on his with a deep human sympathy, and
unfold a tragedy that in its final act rises to solemn grandeur. He was called
to be a a special tool of the will of Yahweh in
history, for it was through him that Yahweh wanted to give effect to his plan
chooses David. He enters the service of Saul.
The story of Goliath is clearly a combination of two accounts that were
combined in the fourth century. The
affection of Jonathan, Saul's son, for David is recurring theme. Saul's jealousy increasing mental illness
becomes an issue. David must leave and
avoid Saul. He becomes an outlaw, hiding
in Philistine territory at times. After
the death of Saul and Jonathan in battle, David is proclaimed king at
The rise of kingship had a religious dimension. As such, it was far more profoundly involved with the inner experience of the people than any element of political life could ever be. It was both strongly affected by religious movements and had its own effect upon them. Attempts have been made to clarify the theme of sacral kingship on the broadest possible basis afforded by the comparative study religions. It is all too easy to underrate the spiritual power of the concept of Yahweh and its transforming effect on traditional material, when a pattern of divine kingship based on myth and cult is used to give a definitive explanation of the Israelite conception of the king.
dynasty of David was the great new thing that Yahweh set up in the history of
The Succession Document is a unity from beginning to end. It begins with a discordant note, but stating that the queen is barren, and follows this with the Nathan prophecy. This gives the theme and creates the tension. How will Yahweh make good the promise to build a house for David? This tension holds the reader in suspense until the last act, when the problem becomes fraught with the highest degree of drama. It keeps giving dark hints at the main problem. Ammon, the eldest son of David, falls victim to his own licentiousness. Absalom falls victim to his own ambitious schemings. The possibility that a descendant of Saul might be the successor of David is also ruled out. At last, the young Solomon comes into view. His older stepbrother, Adonijah, would have had the better title in law to claim the throne, but at that moment Nathan and Bathsheba succeed in enforcing the accession of Solomon.
What impresses the theologian who reads this history is the worldliness of the picture. It portrays character here. In the center of it all stands David, a man with strong inner antagonisms. As a public official, he was a far-sighted genius. As a man, many passions drove him. He could succumb to crime. Yet, he was always capable of generous impulses, and had a genuine dignity in misfortune. As he grew old, he had to experience the fading of his splendor and the transference of favor and popularity to his sons. To these sons, he was attached to the extent of weakness and guilt, and this brought his throne to the brink of ruin. This undemonstrative and yet very penetrating artistry in psychological portrayal goes far beyond the possibilities of depicting human nature that were open to the older narratives. The utter candor of this historian’s openness to the world stands up to the test, for the people whom he portrays are certainly anything but religious characters. He allows the thoughtful reader to see the whole range of love and hate, intrigue, ambition, humiliations, cunning, and tests of loyalty, without casting blame on what is dark or praising what is light. The freedom that this historian reserved to himself in his treatment of the king is something unique in the ancient East. An air of austere nobility broods over the whole work. God acts upon the sinner through the eye for eye principle.
of the monarchy has its roots in the office of the primitive chieftain endowed
with divine powers, exercising prophetic and royal functions. The king
appropriated to himself the exercise of military power, and of the religious
limits. Nevertheless, he kept the character of a religious leader, and it
depended largely on the trend of the times and the general spiritual state of
the nation to what extent this character made itself felt. The incorporation of
the king into the cultus ensures that this primitive
outlook is preserved. Typically, the king of this period used religion to
uphold the state. However, this relationship was bound to assume quite another
form when the religion of
The tension between the Mosaic brand of charismatic leadership and an official position like that of the king and court existed from the beginning. This move from the sporadic outbursts of power in both religion and politics and toward settled political and religious institutions appear as a lack of trust in Yahweh. As a matter of experience, the monarchy strove to make itself hereditary, and to secure an inalienable authority quite independent of the qualities of the person filling it. Was it right to hand over to such an office the ascendancy over the free working of the spirit? The more people saw Yahweh working in the form of unexpected interventions in the course of events, of explosive acts of power shattering in their force, the less they were inclined to acknowledge as the principal champion of the Yahweh religion a man who held office quite without reference to these divine operations. In these circumstances, the old conflict between enthusiasm and official status was bound to break out. They feared the abuse of royal power. Part of this fear was the prospect of the despotic use of national resources. Behind this, those who had hitherto been the nation’s religious leaders saw another danger. Religion might be used as a means to an end, as just one more horse harnessed to the chariot of dynastic and nationalist designs. The purity of the religious motto, Yahweh alone, seemed imperiled.
documents clearly show the continuation of the need for the charismatic form of
leadership. The seers and the prophets
become convinced that the monarchy was politically inevitable and accepted it
only on the understanding that it would be charismatic in character. The rise
of Saul suggests he is a step beyond the judge, but still dependent upon the
sudden presence of the Lord coming upon him.
The decisive factor in the mind of the ancient historian was the
charismatic character of the man, his personal enthusiasm. What makes the king
is the proof in his person that he is a man filled with divine power, and
therefore capable of greater things than other people are. The attempt to
attribute the desire for a king to purely the will of people is a later
interpretation, based upon the historical experience with kingship. The rise of kingship at its beginning is the
continuation of the form of charismatic leadership for the previous
centuries. It did not destroy the tribal
federation, but completed its purpose.
Indeed, it appears the internal dynamics of charismatic leadership would
eventually lead to such a leader being over all
It became apparent that monarchy could not be put into practice because of Saul. What had been possible in the case of the judges over a short period and with limited objectives was not enough for a monarchy designed for permanence, and entrusted with solving the critical problems of the nation’s destiny. A broader foundation for its existence was needed than the force of a strong personality. A constitutional basis was required for the king to collect his forces and establish his influence in the intervals of peace between a standing army of professional soldiers. It remained to be seen whether the official power entrusted to the king could be adapted to the needs of the religion of Yahweh, or would turn out to be its enemy. The tragedy of Saul is that he failed to unite these two different aspects of the monarchy.
David understood that he had to deal with two main
representative parties in the religion of Yahweh. As king, he succeeded in
allying the charismatic and institutional conceptions of religion. He
reconciled both in the monarchy. He was at the same time able to raise this
into a much safer and less vulnerable structure than Saul had done. piety
purified by the harsh experiences of his life provided him with the
presuppositions indispensable to this work. His actions reveal a breadth of
feeling and thought with a capacity for working otherwise incompatible elements
in double harness such as few men have possessed. He brought the
This is further shown in the
designation of his successor. Solomon had no vision to realize how vitally
important this religious foundation was for kingship. His ideal was the
absolutism of Pharaoh or the king of
The divided monarchy
continued into most of the eighth century, with Iron Age II going from 900-600
The 800’s BC saw the work of Elijah and Elisha as prophets. It also saw the beginning work of the Deuteronomic school in the northern kingdom and the priestly school begins work on its documents in the south. The Deuteronomic views a succession of kings as evil, mostly because they worshipped Canaanite deities.
reign of Jeroboam II, the
"The Instruction of Amen-em-opet," is an Egyptian writing of this period.
The punishment of the wicked is sure.
Those who do evil, the very river-bank abandons them,
And their floodwater carry them off.
The north wind comes down that it may end their hour;
It is joined to the tempest;
The thunder is loud, and the crocodiles are wicked.
One is not to worry about the future.
Do not spend the night fearful of the morrow. At daybreak what is the morrow like?
One is not to respond to an opponent with violence.
Do not greet thy heated opponent in thy violence,
nor hurt thy own heart thereby.
One is to be careful about the use of words.
Another good deed in the heart of the god
is to pause before speaking.
Empty not your belly to everybody,
nor damage thus the regard for you.
Spread not your words to the common people,
nor associate to yourself one too outgoing of heart.
Better are people whose talk remains in their belly
than those who speak it out injuriously.
Do not talk with people falsely--
the abomination of the god.
Do not cut off your heart from your tongue,
that all your affairs may be successful.
Be sincere in the presence of the common people,
for one is safe in the hand of the god.
God hates those who falsify words;
their great abomination is the contentious belly.
One is to be careful concerning riches.
Cast not your heart in pursuit of riches,
For there is no ignoring Fate and Fortune.
Place not your heart upon externals,
For all persons belong to their appointed hour.
Do not strain to seek an excess
When your needs are safe for you.
Better is poverty in the hand of the god
Than riches in a storehouse...
Better is bread, when the heart is happy,
Than riches with sorrow.
One is to have integrity in business dealilngs.
Do not lean on the scales nor falsify the weights
Nor damage the fractions of the measure.
Make not for yourself weights which are deficient;
They abound in grief through the will of God.
If riches are brought to thee by robbery,
They will not spend the night with you;
At daybreak they are not in your house;
Their places may be seen, but they are not.
One is to treat with respect those not fortunate in life.
Do not laugh at a blind person or tease a dwarf
Nor injure the affairs of the lame.
Do not tease a person who is in the hand of the god,
For humanity is clay and straw,
And the god is the builder.
He is tearing down and building up every day.
Be not greedy for the property of a poor people,
Nor hunger for their bread.
Guard yourself against robbing the oppressed
and against overbearing the disabled.
If you find a large debt against a poor person,
Make it into three parts,
Forgive two, and let one stand...
Better is praise as one who loves people
Than riches in a storehouse...
God desires respect for the poor
More than the honoring of the exalted.
One is to speak the court with respect.
Do not bear witness with false words,
Nor support another person thus with your tongue.
Do not accept the bribe of a powerful person...
One needs to accept the role one has in contributing to wrong-doing in this world.
Say not: "I have no wrongdoing,"
Nor yet strain to seek quarreling.
of Kings shows the rise, decline, and fall of the monarchy. The themes are loyalty to the worship of the
Lord in temple, fulfillment of the word of God in prophecy, and divine judgment
because of the sin of the people. All of
this shows the interests of the author of Deuteronomy once again. Sources include
the history of the divided monarchy, which includes annals of the kings, the
story of the House of Ahab, and prophetic legend and folk tales surrounding
Elijah and Elisha. Formalized during this period were the Ten Commandments, the
covenant code of Exodus 21-23, and the Ritual code of Exodus 34. The biblical
material during this period includes the Proverbs that interpret wisdom in
light of the prophetic emphasis upon the Lord. One
text that may reflect this period is the account of the levitical
cities in Joshua 21, which reflects where Levites had their teaching center of
cycle goes from I Kings 17 to II Kings 1. It involves the story of the drought
and defeat of the prophets of Baal, the encounter with God at
cycle goes from II Kings 2 through 13.
This includes Elijah being taken into heaven, miracles by Elisha which
most likely originated around the prophetic circle around
important factor in the history of
Adad-nirari II (c. 911–891) left detailed
accounts of his wars and his efforts to improve agriculture. He led six
campaigns against Aramaean intruders from northern
1 Kings 12:26-33 (NRSV)
26 Then Jeroboam said to himself, “Now the kingdom
may well revert to the house of David. 27 If this people continues
to go up to offer sacrifices in the house of the Lord at
An anonymous prophet denounced this altar.
In the Southern Kingdom, Rehoboam reigned from 931-913. The judgment upon was that he built high places for worship and used male sacred prostitutes, copying the worship practices of the Canaanites.
In the Southern Kingdom, Abijam ruled from 913-911. His mother was Maacah, descendant of Absalom. Nothing of significance occurred.
Tukulti-Ninurta II (c. 890–884), the son of Adad-nirari II, preferred
Ashurnasirpal II was the first to use cavalry units to any
large extent in addition to infantry and war-chariot troops. He also was the
first to employ heavy, mobile battering rams and wall breakers in his sieges.
Following after the conquering troops came officials from all branches of the
civil service, because the king wanted to lose no time in incorporating the new
lands into his empire. The supremacy of
Ashurnasirpal, so brutal in his wars, was able to inspire
architects, structural engineers, and artists and sculptors to heights never
before achieved. He built and enlarged temples and palaces in several cities.
His most impressive monument was his own palace
The son and successor of Ashurnasirpal was Shalmaneser III (858–824). His father's equal in both brutality and energy, he was less realistic in his undertakings. His inscriptions, in a peculiar blend of Assyrian and Babylonian, record his considerable achievements but are not always able to conceal his failures. His campaigns were directed mostly against
long reign he built temples, palaces, and fortifications in
In the last
four years of the reign of Shalmaneser, the crown
prince Ashur-da'in-apla led a rebellion. The old king
appointed his younger son Shamshi-Adad as the new crown prince. Forced to
Shamshi-Adad V died while Adad-nirari III (810–783) was still a minor. His Babylonian mother, Sammu-ramat, took over the regency, governing with great energy until 806. The Greeks, who called her Semiramis, credited her with legendary accomplishments, but historically little is known about her. Adad-nirari later led several campaigns against the Medes and also against
Southern Kingdom, Asa ruled from 911-870. He rid the
country of male prostitutes and idols. He did not give his grandmother, Maacah, the dignity of the queen mother. He did not destroy
the high places that had altars. He was loyal to the Lord. He was at war with
the king of the
of Omri, ruled from 874-853. The text remembers him
as being particularly displeasing to the Lord. He received support from one
prophet for his Aramaean wars. However, the band of
prophets in the wilderness generally went against him. In a second war with
Elijah is the first prophet of whom we have a clearly drawn historical figure. He is unapproachable, unpredictable, feared, and even hated. However, is always someone with whom one must reckon. A miracle with the widow at Zarepath had the woman receive an endless flow of flour and oil during a drought. Yet, as Jesus would later point out, we must balance this act of mercy with the reality that many other people continued to starve. Further, her son became sick, and Elijah raised him to life. Again, Jesus pointed out that many people died, even if God worked through Elijah to heal this boy.
1 Kings 18:20-40 (NRSV)
20 So Ahab sent to all the Israelites, and
assembled the prophets at
30 Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come closer to me”; and all the people came closer to him. First he repaired the altar of the Lord that had been thrown down; 31 Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord came, saying, “Israel shall be your name”; 32 with the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord. Then he made a trench around the altar, large enough to contain two measures of seed. 33 Next he put the wood in order, cut the bull in pieces, and laid it on the wood. He said, “Fill four jars with water and pour it on the burnt offering and on the wood.” 34 Then he said, “Do it a second time”; and they did it a second time. Again he said, “Do it a third time”; and they did it a third time, 35 so that the water ran all around the altar, and filled the trench also with water.
36 At the time of the offering of the oblation, the prophet Elijah came near and said, “O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that you are God in Israel, that I am your servant, and that I have done all these things at your bidding. 37 Answer me, O Lord, answer me, so that this people may know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back.” 38 Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt offering, the wood, the stones, and the dust, and even licked up the water that was in the trench. 39 When all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and said, “The Lord indeed is God; the Lord indeed is God.” 40 Elijah said to them, “Seize the prophets of Baal; do not let one of them escape.” Then they seized them; and Elijah brought them down to the Wadi Kishon, and killed them there.
In I Kings ,
we learn of the destruction of an altar to Yahweh, built after the death of
David, representing an invasion into Canaanite territory.
The story of the appearance of Yahweh at Horeb in I Kings 19 also takes seriously the desperate plight of Yahweh. The divine intention shows itself in particular forms of divine activity. One recognizable shift in perspective occurs in the memorable story of Elijah and his encounter with God at Horeb. Yahweh is not in the storm, earthquake, or fire, as the people of the Tribal Federation came to know Yahweh, but rather in the soft, gentle breeze. It suggests the closest proximity of one whispering, as over against terrifying distance.
1 Kings 19:11-13 (NRSV)
11 He said, “Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; 12 and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence. 13 When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Then there came a voice to him that said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
The extermination of the pure worship of Yahweh is the real
reason for his despair. Showing weakness at its weakest, the prophet
contemplates suicide. The contrast between earthquake, storm, and fire on the
one hand and the voice of a thin silence is strange and effective. The powers
of nature lying in the foreground of the story should make us aware of another
world lying behind them. The representation of the manifestation of Yahweh in
air or breath, though still in the natural realm, represents the extreme limit
of apprehension by the senses. The result increases the tension in Elijah. The
text appears to point back to a tradition of Sinai. The journey taken by Elijah
may have been a pilgrimage. In any case, his complaint is that the cause of
Yahweh is lost. The answer he received is that Yahweh is not finished with
The picture of Elijah continues with the story of Naboth in I Kings 21.
1 Kings 21:1-21 (NRSV)
Later the following events took place: Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard in Jezreel, beside the palace of King Ahab of Samaria. 2 And Ahab said to Naboth, “Give me your vineyard, so that I may have it for a vegetable garden, because it is near my house; I will give you a better vineyard for it; or, if it seems good to you, I will give you its value in money.” 3 But Naboth said to Ahab, “The Lord forbid that I should give you my ancestral inheritance.” 4 Ahab went home resentful and sullen because of what Naboth the Jezreelite had said to him; for he had said, “I will not give you my ancestral inheritance.” He lay down on his bed, turned away his face, and would not eat.
5 His wife Jezebel came to him and said, “Why are
you so depressed that you will not eat?” 6 He said to her, “Because
I spoke to Naboth the Jezreelite
and said to him, ‘Give me your vineyard for money; or else, if you prefer, I
will give you another vineyard for it’; but he answered, ‘I will not give you
my vineyard.’ ” 7 His wife Jezebel said to him, “Do you now govern
8 So she wrote letters in Ahab’s name and sealed them with his seal; she sent the letters to the elders and the nobles who lived with Naboth in his city. 9 She wrote in the letters, “Proclaim a fast, and seat Naboth at the head of the assembly; 10 seat two scoundrels opposite him, and have them bring a charge against him, saying, ‘You have cursed God and the king.’ Then take him out, and stone him to death.” 11 The men of his city, the elders and the nobles who lived in his city, did as Jezebel had sent word to them. Just as it was written in the letters that she had sent to them, 12 they proclaimed a fast and seated Naboth at the head of the assembly. 13 The two scoundrels came in and sat opposite him; and the scoundrels brought a charge against Naboth, in the presence of the people, saying, “Naboth cursed God and the king.” So they took him outside the city, and stoned him to death. 14 Then they sent to Jezebel, saying, “Naboth has been stoned; he is dead.”
15 As soon as Jezebel heard that Naboth had been stoned and was dead, Jezebel said to Ahab, “Go, take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, which he refused to give you for money; for Naboth is not alive, but dead.” 16 As soon as Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, Ahab set out to go down to the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, to take possession of it.
17 Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite,
saying: 18 Go down to meet King Ahab of
20 Ahab said to Elijah, “Have you found me, O my enemy?” He answered, “I have found you. Because you have sold yourself to do what is evil in the sight of the Lord, 21 I will bring disaster on you; I will consume you, and will cut off from Ahab every male, bond or free, in Israel;
The point is the unconditional validity of the law of God,
before which all people are equal, to which even a king is subject. The
arbitrary rights and privileges of a monarch was characteristic of the
Canaanite city-states. This contrasts with the concept of king in
The picture continues with the account of the search of Ahaziah for a cure in II Kings 1. A conflict breaks out in the sphere of sacral medicine. He sought healing from Beelzebub of Ekron, known as the possessor of the power of miraculous healing. Elijah again displays intolerance by saying that healing belongs to Yahweh. The king had broken the first commandment.
regard Elijah as a part of a mighty event in the self-witness borne by Yahweh
after a time of syncretism and apostasy. The subject of these stories is
Yahweh. Yahweh brought everything to pass and gave answer to the question of
who would be God in
In the Southern Kingdom, Jehoshphat ruled from 870-848 BC. Although he did not destroy the high places, he basically pleased the Lord.
Southern Kingdom, Jehoram rules from 848 to 841.
Southern Kingdom, Ahaziah rules in 841. in his war
2 Kings 10:15-16 (NRSV)
15 When he left there, he met Jehonadab son of Rechab coming to meet him; he greeted him, and said to him, “Is your heart as true to mine as mine is to yours?” Jehonadab answered, “It is.” Jehu said,“If it is, give me your hand.” So he gave him his hand. Jehu took him up with him into the chariot. 16 He said, “Come with me, and see my zeal for the Lord.” So he had him ride in his chariot.
The two of them adopted the strategy of offering a sacrifice to Baal, and then killing the priests and destroying the temple area.
In the Southern Kingdom, Athaliah, mother of Ahaziah, ruled from 841 to 835. She murdered the rest of the royal family when she learned of the death of her son. She was assassinated. The priest Jehoiada made a covenant that the king and people would remain faithful to Yahweh.
Southern Kingdom, Jehoash ruled from 835-796 BC. He
started his rule at seven years old. The priest Jehoiada
essentially ruled for a period. He paid a substantial tribute to
The stories surrounding Elisha begin with Elijah taken into heaven and the succession of Elisha as the leader of the prophets.
2 Kings 2:8-13 (NRSV)
8 Then Elijah took his mantle and rolled it up, and struck the water; the water was parted to the one side and to the other, until the two of them crossed on dry ground.
9 When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha,
“Tell me what I may do for you, before I am taken from you.” Elisha said,
“Please let me inherit a double share of your spirit.” 10 He responded,
“You have asked a hard thing; yet, if you see me as I am being taken from you,
it will be granted you; if not, it will not.” 11 As they continued
walking and talking, a chariot of fire and horses of fire separated the two of
them, and Elijah ascended in a whirlwind into heaven. 12 Elisha kept
watching and crying out, “Father, father! The chariots of
13 He picked up the mantle of Elijah that had
fallen from him, and went back and stood on the bank of the
Elisha is in the company of disciples of the prophets, a separate group within society. Elisha is their leader and teacher. They may cling to the patriarchal mode of life, in which they had a title to land, and had been unable to maintain themselves within the framework of the more feudal economy of the Canaanites. They represent the pure worship of Yahweh. Elisha was a worker of miracles. His possession of gifts gave him the power to perform miracle is the subject of these stories. He made bitter water drinkable, he had children who called him baldy killed by bears, a widow receives an endless supply of oil, the woman of Shunem receives a son and has him healed, he does not allow a poisoned pot of soup to hurt his prophetic community, and a small amount of bread is enough for the whole army.
II Kings 5
gives the story of Naaman the Syrian. He is one of the chief officials of state
and an upright man. Yahweh lent aid to him and the Syrians, demonstrating the
Yahweh is always looking out for the righteous and blesses them. However, he is
a leper. The story contrasts the hiddenness of the
ways of God and the insignificance of the means that Yahweh employs. A slave
interest may have been politics. The story in II Kings 8:7-15 suggests he had
influence as far away as
The story of the death of Elisha summarizes much of the influence this man had on his times.
2 Kings 13:14-21 (NRSV)
14 Now when Elisha had fallen sick with the illness
of which he was to die, King Joash of
20 So Elisha died, and they buried him. Now bands of Moabites used to invade the land in the spring of the year. 21 As a man was being buried, a marauding band was seen and the man was thrown into the grave of Elisha; as soon as the man touched the bones of Elisha, he came to life and stood on his feet.
Shalmaneser IV (c. 783–773) fought against Urartu, then at the height of its power under King Argishti (c. 780–755). He successfully defended
cultural decline about the year 1000 was overcome during the reigns of Ashurnasirpal II and Shalmaneser
III. The arts in particular experienced a tremendous resurgence. Literary works
continued to be written in Assyrian and were seldom of great importance. The
literature that had been taken over from
In Babylonia not much was left of the feudal structure; the large landed estates almost everywhere fell prey to the inroads of the Aramaeans, who were at first half nomadic. The leaders of their tribes and clans slowly replaced the former landlords. Agriculture on a large scale was no longer possible except on the outskirts of metropolitan areas. The predominance of the Babylonian schools for scribes may have prevented the emergence of an Aramaean literature. In any case, the Aramaeans seem to have been absorbed into the Babylonian culture. The religious cults in the cities remained essentially the same. The Babylonian empire was slowly reduced to poverty, except perhaps in some of the cities.
In 764, after
an epidemic, the Erra epic, the myth of Erra (the god of war and pestilence), was written by Kabti-ilani-Marduk. He invented an original plot,
which diverged considerably from the old myths; long discourses of the gods
involved in the action form the most important part of the epic. There is a
passage in the epic claiming that the text was divinely revealed to the poet
during a dream.
other period of Assyrian history is there an abundance of sources comparable to
those available for the interval from roughly 745 to 640. Aside from the large
number of royal inscriptions, about 2,400 letters, most of them more or less
fragmentary, have been published. Usually the senders and recipients of these
letters are the king and high government officials. Among them are reports from
royal agents about foreign affairs and letters about cultic matters. Treaties,
oracles, queries to the sun god about political matters, and prayers of or for
kings contain a great deal of additional information. Last but certainly not
least are paintings and wall reliefs, which are often
of Assyrian power after 780 was notable;
undertaking was to check Urartu. His campaigns in
The death of
King Nabonassar of
Tiglath-pileser was succeeded by his son Shalmaneser V (726–722), who continued the policy
of his father. As king of
probably a younger brother of Shalmaneser who
ascended the throne of
In order to
protect his ally, the state of Mannai, in
now free to settle accounts with Marduk-apal-iddina
Sargon resided in
Southern Kingdom, Amaziah, son of Jehoahaz,
ruled from 796 to 781 BC. He killed those officers involved in the death of his
fater. He slaughtered 10,000 Edomites.
Amos 7:10-17 (NRSV)
10 Then Amaziah, the
‘Jeroboam shall die by the sword,
away from his land.’ ”
12 And Amaziah said to Amos, “O seer, go, flee away to the land of Judah, earn your bread there, and prophesy there; 13 but never again prophesy at Bethel, for it is the king’s sanctuary, and it is a temple of the kingdom.”
14 Then Amos answered Amaziah, “I am no prophet, nor a prophet’s son; but I ama herdsman, and a dresser of sycamore trees, 15 and the Lord took me from following the flock, and the Lord said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’
16 “Now therefore hear the word of the Lord.
You say, ‘Do not prophesy against
and do not preach against the house of Isaac.’
17 Therefore thus says the Lord:
‘Your wife shall become a prostitute in the city,
and your sons and your daughters shall fall by the sword,
and your land shall be parceled out by line;
you yourself shall die in an unclean land,
Hosea may also have referred to him.
Hosea 4:4-19 (NRSV)
4 Yet let no one contend,
and let none accuse,
for with you is my contention, O priest.
5 You shall stumble by day;
the prophet also shall stumble with you by night,
and I will destroy your mother.
6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge;
because you have rejected knowledge,
I reject you from being a priest to me.
And since you have forgotten the law of your God,
I also will forget your children.
7 The more they increased,
the more they sinned against me;
they changed their glory into shame.
8 They feed on the sin of my people;
they are greedy for their iniquity.
9 And it shall be like people, like priest;
I will punish them for their ways,
and repay them for their deeds.
10 They shall eat, but not be satisfied;
they shall play the whore, but not multiply;
because they have forsaken the Lord
to devote themselves to11 whoredom.
The Idolatry of
Wine and new wine
take away the understanding.
12 My people consult a piece of wood,
and their divining rod gives them oracles.
For a spirit of whoredom has led them astray,
and they have played the whore, forsaking their God.
13 They sacrifice on the tops of the mountains,
and make offerings upon the hills,
under oak, poplar, and terebinth,
because their shade is good.
Therefore your daughters play the whore,
and your daughters-in-law commit adultery.
14 I will not punish your daughters when they play the whore,
nor your daughters-in-law when they commit adultery;
for the men themselves go aside with whores,
and sacrifice with temple prostitutes;
thus a people without understanding comes to ruin.
15 Though you play the whore, O Israel,
do not let
Do not enter into Gilgal,
or go up to Beth-aven,
and do not swear, “As the Lord lives.”
16 Like a stubborn heifer,
can the Lord now feed them
like a lamb in a broad pasture?
17 Ephraim is joined to idols—
let him alone.
18 When their drinking is ended, they indulge in sexual orgies;
they love lewdness more than their glory.
19 A wind has wrapped them in its wings,
and they shall be ashamed because of their altars.
Amos 2:6 (NRSV)
6 Thus says the Lord:
For three transgressions of
and for four, I will not revoke the punishment;
because they sell the righteous for silver,
and the needy for a pair of sandals—
Amos 4:1 (NRSV)
4 Hear this word, you cows of
who are on
who oppress the poor, who crush the needy,
who say to their husbands, “Bring something to drink!”
10 They hate the one who reproves in the gate,
and they abhor the one who speaks the truth.
Amos 5:14-15 (NRSV)
14 Seek good and not evil,
that you may live;
and so the Lord, the God of hosts, will be with you,
just as you have said.
15 Hate evil and love good,
and establish justice in the gate;
it may be that the Lord, the God of hosts,
will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.
12 Do horses run on rocks?
Does one plow the sea with oxen?
But you have turned justice into poison
and the fruit of righteousness into wormwood—
Amos 8:4 (NRSV)
4 Hear this, you that trample on the needy,
and bring to ruin the poor of the land,
He speaks beautifully of the special relationship God has
Amos 3:2 (NRSV)
2 You only have I known
of all the families of the earth;
therefore I will punish you
for all your iniquities.
He speaks of the opportunity that, if they seek the Lord, they will survive.
Amos 5:4-7 (NRSV)
4 For thus says the Lord to the house of
Seek me and live;
5 but do not seek
and do not enter into Gilgal
or cross over to Beer-sheba;
for Gilgal shall surely go into exile,
6 Seek the Lord and live,
or he will break out against the house of Joseph like fire,
and it will devour
7 Ah, you that turn justice to wormwood,
and bring righteousness to the ground!
He speaks powerfully of the Day of the Lord and against the formal character of a religion that has no justice with it.
Amos 5:18-24 (NRSV)
18 Alas for you who desire the day of the Lord!
Why do you want the day of the Lord?
It is darkness, not light;
19 as if someone fled from a lion,
and was met by a bear;
or went into the house and rested a hand against the wall,
and was bitten by a snake.
20 Is not the day of the Lord darkness, not light,
and gloom with no brightness in it?
21 I hate, I despise your festivals,
and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies.
22 Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings,
I will not accept them;
and the offerings of well-being of your fatted animals
I will not look upon.
23 Take away from me the noise of your songs;
I will not listen to the melody of your harps.
24 But let justice roll down like waters,
and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.
He promises disaster upon the
Amos 9:7-10 (NRSV)
7 Are you not like the Ethiopians to me,
O people of
Did I not bring
and the Philistines from Caphtor and the Arameans from Kir?
8 The eyes of the Lord God are upon the sinful kingdom,
and I will destroy it from the face of the earth
—except that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob,
says the Lord.
9 For lo, I will command,
and shake the house of
as one shakes with a sieve,
but no pebble shall fall to the ground.
10 All the sinners of my people shall die by the sword,
who say, “Evil shall not overtake or meet us.”
of visions he relates have no parallels, for he has no older tradition on which
he depends for the contents. He simply ponders the situation he saw in
that God alone is the God of
He preached that
Judean, he took his stand on the election traditions of the south, and in
particular those attaching to David and
Hosea lived during the tumult of the
eighth century B.C. He was a contemporary with Isaiah, which meant that he,
too, endured the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah and
Jeroboam II. Like Isaiah, Hosea watched uneasily as
The date of the writing would have
to be before the captivity
Hosea charges Jeroboam II with idolatry, apostasy, sexual promiscuity, and human sacrifice. This is against II Kings, which views him as better than most and a recipient of divine grace. He was aided by Jonah ben Amittai in , probably "The Prophet" Hosea mentions. Also, "The Priest," in Ch 4 should be Amaziah of Bethel, mentioned in Amos. The reference in Hosea 7:3-7 is of a plot is Zechariah.
He is the first to describe
First, let us discuss his
relationship to other 8th century prophets, such as Amos, Isaiah, and Micah.
Hosea had no visions recorded. He does not record a personal call to prophetic
ministry. We must focus upon his relationship
with Amos. Their language is different,
Amos being closer to that of the nabis. Their view of God is different, Amos
picturing a God logically planning
Second, let us discuss Hosea's marriage and family drama as a symbol.
Hosea 1:2-9 (NRSV)
2 When the Lord first spoke through Hosea, the Lord said to Hosea, “Go, take for yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the Lord.” 3 So he went and took Gomer daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son.
4 And the Lord
said to him, “Name him Jezreel; for in a little while
I will punish the house of Jehu for the blood of Jezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of the house
6 She conceived again and bore a daughter. Then
the Lord said to him, “Name her
Lo-ruhamah, for I will no longer have pity on the
8 When she had weaned Lo-ruhamah, she conceived and bore a son. 9 Then the Lord said, “Name him Lo-ammi, for you are not my people and I am not your God.”
All that we know of his life is his unhappy experiences of love and marriage. The surprising element is the section of life he chooses to be a prophetic symbol. His own marriage becomes the towering symbol of his people's situation in the present and future. He makes public the secrets of his bedroom. For months and years, Hosea experienced his family misery as a symbolic action. He did not permit himself to consider personal happiness. As Yahweh's messenger, he no longer had a private life of his own. He does not believe God originally commanded marriage to a harlot. The marriage of Hosea is probably to a woman who took part in Canaanite fertility rites. Out of his personal and family life came his call, his message, and the symbolism of family. The narrative portion is symbolic prophetic action. The important thing is the command to do a prophetic action, not the personal experience. This act foreshadows his prophetic message.
Third, let us discuss Yahweh's
family drama as the content of the symbolism.
In terms of religion and monarchy, Yahweh is the husband of the Promised
Land, acquired in the process of salvation history. In Chapter 2, the sons represent Israelites;
the land is the mother. A fatal
misunderstanding is that the fruit of the land is from Baal. The first child, Jezreel,
means, "El inseminates." The city is the winter residence of
Israelite kings. Hosea stresses the
masculine role of God because of the erotic connotation, contrast it with
another power conceived in feminine terms.
We see the nature of the religious rites in -14. The
common practices of local sanctuaries, consisting of an altar, a stone pillar
is masseba and a wooden post is ashera. The
purpose was to have intercourse with young women of marriageable age, believing
this would guarantee a productive year.
The name Jezreel reveals differences with
earlier prophet, Elisha. Note II Kings
9-10. Now deeply loving, shamefully
deceived husband and father, see 7:1, 6:4.
Marriage imagery controls his scheme of meta-history. The desert wanderings were an ideal period. As soon as they entered
Fourth, let us discuss Divine
marriage as common ground for prophet and apparent. Hosea singly views the true relationship of
Fifth, let us discuss Torah,
knowledge of God, a correct view of nature and further salvation. The torah will give knowledge of God, and
this is the guide for conduct. This
knowledge is not abstract, but personal, calling forth emotion and action. For
Note 2:18-25, the key to Hosea's thinking in general. He takes an important step toward a transcendent God, above nature.
Hosea 2:18-25 (NRSV)
18 I will make for you a covenant on that day with the wild animals, the birds of the air, and the creeping things of the ground; and I will abolish the bow, the sword, and war from the land; and I will make you lie down in safety. 19 And I will take you for my wife forever; I will take you for my wife in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love, and in mercy. 20 I will take you for my wife in faithfulness; and you shall know the Lord.
21 On that day I will answer, says the Lord,
I will answer the heavens
and they shall answer the earth;
22 and the earth shall answer the grain, the wine, and the oil,
and they shall answer Jezreel;
23 and I will sow him for myself in the land.
And I will have pity on Lo-ruhamah,
and I will say to Lo-ammi, “You are my people”;
and he shall say, “You are my God.”
He indicts the
Hosea 4:1-3 (NRSV)
word of the Lord, O people of
for the Lord has an indictment against the inhabitants of the land.
There is no faithfulness or loyalty,
and no knowledge of God in the land.
2 Swearing, lying, and murder,
and stealing and adultery break out;
bloodshed follows bloodshed.
3 Therefore the land mourns,
and all who live in it languish;
together with the wild animals
and the birds of the air,
even the fish of the sea are perishing.
Hosea 5:15-6:6 (NRSV)
15 I will return again to my place
until they acknowledge their guilt and seek my face.
In their distress they will beg my favor:
6 “Come, let us return to the Lord;
for it is he who has torn, and he will heal us;
he has struck down, and he will bind us up.
days he will revive us;
on the third day he will raise us up,
that we may live before him.
3 Let us know, let us press on to know the Lord;
his appearing is as sure as the dawn;
he will come to us like the showers,
like the spring rains that water the earth.”
4 What shall I do with you, O Ephraim?
What shall I do with you, O Judah?
Your love is like a morning cloud,
like the dew that goes away early.
5 Therefore I have hewn them by the prophets,
I have killed them by the words of my mouth,
and my judgment goes forth as the light.
6 For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice,
the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.
Chapter 11 portrays the conflict of the love the Lord has
Hosea 11 (NRSV)
When Israel was a child, I loved him,
and out of
2 The more I called them,
the more they went from me;
they kept sacrificing to the Baals,
and offering incense to idols.
3 Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk,
I took them up in my arms;
but they did not know that I healed them.
4 I led them with cords of human kindness,
with bands of love.
I was to them like those
who lift infants to their cheeks.
I bent down to them and fed them.
5 They shall return to the
because they have refused to return to me.
6 The sword rages in their cities,
it consumes their oracle-priests,
and devours because of their schemes.
7 My people are bent on turning away from me.
To the Most High they call,
but he does not raise them up at all.
8 How can I give you up, Ephraim?
How can I hand you over, O Israel?
How can I make you like Admah?
How can I treat you like Zeboiim?
My heart recoils within me;
my compassion grows warm and tender.
9 I will not execute my fierce anger;
I will not again destroy Ephraim;
for I am God and no mortal,
the Holy One in your midst,
and I will not come in wrath.
10 They shall go after the Lord,
who roars like a lion;
when he roars,
his children shall come trembling from the west.
11 They shall come trembling like birds from
and like doves from the
and I will return them to their homes, says the Lord.
12 Ephraim has surrounded me with lies,
and the house of
and is faithful to the Holy One.
Chapter 12 presents an interpretation of the history of the
Hosea 12 (NRSV)
Ephraim herds the wind,
and pursues the east wind all day long;
they multiply falsehood and violence;
they make a treaty with
and oil is carried to
2 The Lord has an indictment against Judah,
and will punish Jacob according to his ways,
and repay him according to his deeds.
3 In the womb he tried to supplant his brother,
and in his manhood he strove with God.
4 He strove with the angel and prevailed,
he wept and sought his favor;
he met him at
and there he spoke with him.
5 The Lord the God of hosts,
the Lord is his name!
6 But as for you, return to your God,
hold fast to love and justice,
and wait continually for your God.
7 A trader, in whose hands are false balances,
he loves to oppress.
8 Ephraim has said, “Ah, I am rich,
I have gained wealth for myself;
in all of my gain
no offense has been found in me
that would be sin.”
9 I am the Lord your God
I will make you live in tents again,
as in the days of the appointed festival.
10 I spoke to the prophets;
it was I who multiplied visions,
and through the prophets I will bring destruction.
they shall surely come to nothing.
In Gilgal they sacrifice bulls,
so their altars shall be like stone heaps
on the furrows of the field.
12 Jacob fled to the
and for a wife he guarded sheep.
13 By a prophet the Lord brought
and by a prophet he was guarded.
14 Ephraim has given bitter offense,
so his Lord will bring his crimes down on him
and pay him back for his insults.
After a description of the devastation soon to come to the
Hosea 14:2-9 (NRSV)
2 Take words with you
and return to the Lord;
say to him,
“Take away all guilt;
accept that which is good,
and we will offer
the fruit of our lips.
we will not ride upon horses;
we will say no more, ‘Our God,’
to the work of our hands.
In you the orphan finds mercy.”
4 I will heal their disloyalty;
I will love them freely,
for my anger has turned from them.
5 I will be like the dew to
he shall blossom like the lily,
he shall strike root like the forests of
6 His shoots shall spread out;
his beauty shall be like the olive tree,
and his fragrance like that of
7 They shall again live beneath my shadow,
they shall flourish as a garden;
they shall blossom like the vine,
their fragrance shall be like the wine of
8 O Ephraim, what have I to do with idols?
It is I who answer and look after you.
I am like an evergreen cypress;
your faithfulness comes from me.
9 Those who are wise understand these things;
those who are discerning know them.
For the ways of the Lord are right,
and the upright walk in them,
but transgressors stumble in them.
In the Southern Kingdom, Uzziah, son of Amaziah, ruled from 781 to 740 BC. He developed a form of leprosy. He lived confined to his room. Jothan, the son of the king, governed the country.
Hosea 6:7-7:7 (NRSV)
7 But at Adam they transgressed the covenant;
there they dealt faithlessly with me.
tracked with blood.
9 As robbers lie in wait for someone,
so the priests are banded together;
they murder on the road to Shechem,
they commit a monstrous crime.
10 In the house of
Ephraim’s whoredom is there,
11 For you also, O Judah, a harvest is appointed.
When I would restore the fortunes of my people,
I would heal
the corruption of Ephraim is revealed,
and the wicked deeds of
for they deal falsely,
the thief breaks in,
and the bandits raid outside.
2 But they do not consider
that I remember all their wickedness.
Now their deeds surround them,
they are before my face.
3 By their wickedness they make the king glad,
and the officials by their treachery.
4 They are all adulterers;
they are like a heated oven,
whose baker does not need to stir the fire,
from the kneading of the dough until it is leavened.
5 On the day of our king the officials
became sick with the heat of wine;
he stretched out his hand with mockers.
6 For they are kindled like an oven, their heart burns within them;
all night their anger smolders;
in the morning it blazes like a flaming fire.
7 All of them are hot as an oven,
and they devour their rulers.
All their kings have fallen;
none of them calls upon me.
Southern Kingdom, Jotham ruled from 740 to 736 BC. He
mother was Jerusha, daughter of Zadok. He built the
Upper Gate of the
Southern Kingdom, Ahaz, son of Jotham,
ruled from 736-716. In 733 BC, Razon, king of
One text may come from before the Fall of Jerusalem.
Micah 1:2-7 (NRSV)
2 Hear, you peoples, all of you;
listen, O earth, and all that is in it;
and let the Lord God be a witness against you,
the Lord from his holy temple.
3 For lo, the Lord is coming out of his place,
and will come down and tread upon the high places of the earth.
4 Then the mountains will melt under him
and the valleys will burst open,
like wax near the fire,
like waters poured down a steep place.
5 All this is for the transgression of Jacob
and for the sins of the house of
What is the transgression of Jacob?
Is it not
And what is the high place of
Is it not
6 Therefore I will make
a place for planting vineyards.
I will pour down her stones into the valley,
and uncover her foundations.
7 All her images shall be beaten to pieces,
all her wages shall be burned with fire,
and all her idols I will lay waste;
for as the wages of a prostitute she gathered them,
and as the wages of a prostitute they shall again be used.
offers a lament for
Isaiah 5:1-7 (NRSV)
Let me sing for my beloved
my love-song concerning his vineyard:
My beloved had a vineyard
on a very fertile hill.
2 He dug it and cleared it of stones,
and planted it with choice vines;
he built a watchtower in the midst of it,
and hewed out a wine vat in it;
he expected it to yield grapes,
but it yielded wild grapes.
3 And now, inhabitants of
and people of
judge between me
and my vineyard.
4 What more was there to do for my vineyard
that I have not done in it?
When I expected it to yield grapes,
why did it yield wild grapes?
5 And now I will tell you
what I will do to my vineyard.
I will remove its hedge,
and it shall be devoured;
I will break down its wall,
and it shall be trampled down.
6 I will make it a waste;
it shall not be pruned or hoed,
and it shall be overgrown with briers and thorns;
I will also command the clouds
that they rain no rain upon it.
7 For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts
is the house of
and the people of
are his pleasant planting;
he expected justice,
but saw bloodshed;
but heard a cry!
He pronounces a woe upon
Isaiah 6:1-11 (NRSV)
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lofty; and the hem of his robe filled the temple. 2 Seraphs were in attendance above him; each had six wings: with two they covered their faces, and with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. 3 And one called to another and said:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory.”
4 The pivots on the thresholds shook at the voices of those who called, and the house filled with smoke. 5 And I said: “Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”
6 Then one of the seraphs flew to me, holding a live coal that had been taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. 7 The seraph touched my mouth with it and said: “Now that this has touched your lips, your guilt has departed and your sin is blotted out.” 8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I; send me!” 9 And he said, “Go and say to this people:
‘Keep listening, but do not comprehend;
keep looking, but do not understand.’
10 Make the mind of this people dull,
and stop their ears,
and shut their eyes,
so that they may not look with their eyes,
and listen with their ears,
and comprehend with their minds,
and turn and be healed.”
11 Then I said, “How long, O Lord?” And he said:
“Until cities lie waste
and houses without people,
and the land is utterly desolate;
Isaiah offers some hope to Ahaz.
Isaiah 7:10-17 (NRSV)
10 Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz, saying, 11 Ask a sign of the Lord your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven. 12 But Ahaz said, I will not ask, and I will not put the Lord to the test. 13 Then Isaiah said: “Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary mortals, that you weary my God also? 14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel. 15 He shall eat curds and honey by the time he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good. 16 For before the child knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land before whose two kings you are in dread will be deserted. 17 The Lord will bring on you and on your people and on your ancestral house such days as have not come since the day that Ephraim departed from Judah—the king of Assyria.”
He offers a pronouncement against Philistia in 14:29-32, and Moab in 15 and 16. He prophecies against Damascus in 17. He prophecies against Samaria in 28:1-4.
Hoshea sought an alliance with
Psalms may come from the northern kingdom before the fall of
Psalm 44 (NRSV)
1 We have heard with our ears, O God,
our ancestors have told us,
what deeds you performed in their days,
in the days of old:
2 you with your own hand drove out the nations,
but them you planted;
you afflicted the peoples,
but them you set free;
3 for not by their own sword did they win the land,
nor did their own arm give them victory;
but your right hand, and your arm,
and the light of your countenance,
for you delighted in them.
4 You are my King and my God;
you command victories for Jacob.
5 Through you we push down our foes;
through your name we tread down our assailants.
6 For not in my bow do I trust,
nor can my sword save me.
7 But you have saved us from our foes,
and have put to confusion those who hate us.
8 In God we have boasted continually,
and we will give thanks to your name forever. Selah
9 Yet you have rejected us and abased us,
and have not gone out with our armies.
10 You made us turn back from the foe,
and our enemies have gotten spoil.
11 You have made us like sheep for slaughter,
and have scattered us among the nations.
12 You have sold your people for a trifle,
demanding no high price for them.
13 You have made us the taunt of our neighbors,
the derision and scorn of those around us.
14 You have made us a byword among the nations,
a laughingstock among the peoples.
15 All day long my disgrace is before me,
and shame has covered my face
16 at the words of the taunters and revilers,
at the sight of the enemy and the avenger.
17 All this has come upon us,
yet we have not forgotten you,
or been false to your covenant.
18 Our heart has not turned back,
nor have our steps departed from your way,
19 yet you have broken us in the haunt of jackals,
and covered us with deep darkness.
20 If we had forgotten the name of our God,
or spread out our hands to a strange god,
21 would not God discover this?
For he knows the secrets of the heart.
22 Because of you we are being killed all day long,
and accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
23 Rouse yourself! Why do you sleep, O Lord?
Awake, do not cast us off forever!
24 Why do you hide your face?
Why do you forget our affliction and oppression?
25 For we sink down to the dust;
our bodies cling to the ground.
26 Rise up, come to our help.
Redeem us for the sake of your steadfast love.
Psalm 80 (NRSV)
1 Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel,
you who lead Joseph like a flock!
You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth
2 before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh.
Stir up your might,
and come to save us!
3 Restore us, O God;
let your face shine, that we may be saved.
4 O Lord God of hosts,
how long will you be angry with your people’s prayers?
5 You have fed them with the bread of tears,
and given them tears to drink in full measure.
6 You make us the scorn of our neighbors;
our enemies laugh among themselves.
7 Restore us, O God of hosts;
let your face shine, that we may be saved.
8 You brought a vine out of
you drove out the nations and planted it.
9 You cleared the ground for it;
it took deep root and filled the land.
10 The mountains were covered with its shade,
the mighty cedars with its branches;
11 it sent out its branches to the sea,
and its shoots to the River.
12 Why then have you broken down its walls,
so that all who pass along the way pluck its fruit?
13 The boar from the forest ravages it,
and all that move in the field feed on it.
14 Turn again, O God of hosts;
look down from heaven, and see;
have regard for this vine,
15 the stock that your right hand planted.
16 They have burned it with fire, they have cut it down;
may they perish at the rebuke of your countenance.
17 But let your hand be upon the one at your right hand,
the one whom you made strong for yourself.
18 Then we will never turn back from you;
give us life, and we will call on your name.
19 Restore us, O Lord God of hosts;
let your face shine, that we may be saved.
Psalm 83 (NRSV)
1 O God, do not keep silence;
do not hold your peace or be still, O God!
2 Even now your enemies are in tumult;
those who hate you have raised their heads.
3 They lay crafty plans against your people;
they consult together against those you protect.
4 They say, “Come, let us wipe them out as a nation;
let the name of
5 They conspire with one accord;
against you they make a covenant—
6 the tents of
7 Gebal and Ammon and Amalek,
they are the strong arm of the children of
9 Do to them as you did to Midian,
as to Sisera and Jabin at the Wadi Kishon,
10 who were destroyed at En-dor,
who became dung for the ground.
11 Make their nobles like Oreb and Zeeb,
all their princes like Zebah and Zalmunna,
12 who said, “Let us take the pastures of God
for our own possession.”
13 O my God, make them like whirling dust,
like chaff before the wind.
14 As fire consumes the forest,
as the flame sets the mountains ablaze,
15 so pursue them with your tempest
and terrify them with your hurricane.
16 Fill their faces with shame,
so that they may seek your name, O Lord.
17 Let them be put to shame and dismayed forever;
let them perish in disgrace.
18 Let them know that you alone,
whose name is the Lord,
are the Most High over all the earth.
Psalm 53 (NRSV)
1 Fools say in their hearts, “There is no God.”
They are corrupt, they commit abominable acts;
there is no one who does good.
2 God looks down from heaven on humankind
to see if there are any who are wise,
who seek after God.
3 They have all fallen away, they are all alike perverse;
there is no one who does good,
no, not one.
4 Have they no knowledge, those evildoers,
who eat up my people as they eat bread,
and do not call upon God?
5 There they shall be in great terror,
in terror such as has not been.
For God will scatter the bones of the ungodly;
they will be put to shame, for God has rejected them.
6 O that deliverance for
When God restores the fortunes of his people,
Psalm 4 (NRSV)
1 Answer me when I call, O God of my right!
You gave me room when I was in distress.
Be gracious to me, and hear my prayer.
Psalm 6 (NRSV)
1 O Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger,
or discipline me in your wrath.
Psalm 9 (NRSV)
1 I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart;
I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.
2 I will be glad and exult in you;
I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.
3 When my enemies turned back,
they stumbled and perished before you.
4 For you have maintained my just cause;
you have sat on the throne giving righteous judgment.
5 You have rebuked the nations, you have destroyed the wicked;
you have blotted out their name forever and ever.
6 The enemies have vanished in everlasting ruins;
their cities you have rooted out;
the very memory of them has perished.
7 But the Lord sits enthroned forever,
he has established his throne for judgment.
8 He judges the world with righteousness;
he judges the peoples with equity.
9 The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed,
a stronghold in times of trouble.
10 And those who know your name put their trust in you,
for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.
11 Sing praises to the Lord, who dwells in
Declare his deeds among the peoples.
12 For he who avenges blood is mindful of them;
he does not forget the cry of the afflicted.
13 Be gracious to me, O Lord.
See what I suffer from those who hate me;
you are the one who lifts me up from the gates of death,
14 so that I may recount all your praises,
and, in the gates of daughter
rejoice in your deliverance.
15 The nations have sunk in the pit that they made;
in the net that they hid has their own foot been caught.
16 The Lord has made himself known, he has executed judgment;
the wicked are snared in the work of their own hands. Higgaion. Selah
17 The wicked shall depart to Sheol,
all the nations that forget God.
18 For the needy shall not always be forgotten,
nor the hope of the poor perish forever.
19 Rise up, O Lord! Do not let mortals prevail;
let the nations be judged before you.
20 Put them in fear, O Lord;
let the nations know that they are only human. Selah
Psalm 10 (NRSV)
1 Why, O Lord, do you stand far off?
Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?
Psalm 11 (NRSV)
1 In the Lord I take refuge; how can you say to me,
“Flee like a bird to the mountains;
2 for look, the wicked bend the bow,
they have fitted their arrow to the string,
to shoot in the dark at the upright in heart.
3 If the foundations are destroyed,
what can the righteous do?”
Psalm 13 (NRSV)
1 How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
2 How long must I bear pain in my soul,
and have sorrow in my heart all day long?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?
3 Consider and answer me, O Lord my God!
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death,
4 and my enemy will say, “I have prevailed”;
my foes will rejoice because I am shaken.
5 But I trusted in your steadfast love;
my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
6 I will sing to the Lord,
because he has dealt bountifully with me.
Psalm 14 (NRSV)
1 Fools say in their hearts, “There is no God.”
They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds;
there is no one who does good.
2 The Lord looks down from heaven on humankind
to see if there are any who are wise,
who seek after God.
3 They have all gone astray, they are all alike perverse;
there is no one who does good,
no, not one.
4 Have they no knowledge, all the evildoers
who eat up my people as they eat bread,
and do not call upon the Lord?
5 There they shall be in great terror,
for God is with the company of the righteous.
6 You would confound the plans of the poor,
but the Lord is their refuge.
7 O that deliverance for Israel would come from Zion!
When the Lord restores the fortunes of his people,
Jacob will rejoice; Israel will be glad.
Psalm 15 (NRSV)
Who Shall Abide in God’s Sanctuary?
A Psalm of David.
1 O Lord, who may abide in your tent?
Who may dwell on your holy hill?
2 Those who walk blamelessly, and do what is right,
and speak the truth from their heart;
3 who do not slander with their tongue,
and do no evil to their friends,
nor take up a reproach against their neighbors;
4 in whose eyes the wicked are despised,
but who honor those who fear the Lord;
who stand by their oath even to their hurt;
5 who do not lend money at interest,
and do not take a bribe against the innocent.
Those who do these things shall never be moved.
Psalm 17 (NRSV)
Prayer for Deliverance from Persecutors
A Prayer of David.
1 Hear a just cause, O Lord; attend to my cry;
give ear to my prayer from lips free of deceit.
2 From you let my vindication come;
let your eyes see the right.
8 Guard me as the apple of the eye;
hide me in the shadow of your wings,
9 from the wicked who despoil me,
my deadly enemies who surround me.
10 They close their hearts to pity;
with their mouths they speak arrogantly.
11 They track me down; now they surround me;
they set their eyes to cast me to the ground.
12 They are like a lion eager to tear,
like a young lion lurking in ambush.
Psalm 19 (NRSV)
1 The heavens are telling the glory of God;
and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.
2 Day to day pours forth speech,
and night to night declares knowledge.
3 There is no speech, nor are there words;
their voice is not heard;
4 yet their voice goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.
In the heavens he has set a tent for the sun,
5 which comes out like a bridegroom from his wedding canopy,
and like a strong man runs its course with joy.
6 Its rising is from the end of the heavens,
and its circuit to the end of them;
and nothing is hid from its heat.
7 The law of the Lord is perfect,
reviving the soul;
the decrees of the Lord are sure,
making wise the simple;
8 the precepts of the Lord are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is clear,
enlightening the eyes;
9 the fear of the Lord is pure,
the ordinances of the Lord are true
and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold,
even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey,
and drippings of the honeycomb.
11 Moreover by them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.
12 But who can detect their errors?
Clear me from hidden faults.
13 Keep back your servant also from the insolent;
do not let them have dominion over me.
Then I shall be blameless,
and innocent of great transgression.
14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable to you,
O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
Psalm 22 (NRSV)
1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning?
2 O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer;
and by night, but find no rest.
3 Yet you are holy,
enthroned on the praises of Israel.
4 In you our ancestors trusted;
they trusted, and you delivered them.
5 To you they cried, and were saved;
in you they trusted, and were not put to shame.
6 But I am a worm, and not human;
scorned by others, and despised by the people.
7 All who see me mock at me;
they make mouths at me, they shake their heads;
8 “Commit your cause to the Lord; let him deliver—
let him rescue the one in whom he delights!”
9 Yet it was you who took me from the womb;
you kept me safe on my mother’s breast.
10 On you I was cast from my birth,
and since my mother bore me you have been my God.
11 Do not be far from me,
for trouble is near
and there is no one to help.
12 Many bulls encircle me,
strong bulls of Bashan surround me;
13 they open wide their mouths at me,
like a ravening and roaring lion.
14 I am poured out like water,
and all my bones are out of joint;
my heart is like wax;
it is melted within my breast;
15 my mouth is dried up like a potsherd,
and my tongue sticks to my jaws;
you lay me in the dust of death.
16 For dogs are all around me;
a company of evildoers encircles me.
My hands and feet have shriveled;
17 I can count all my bones.
They stare and gloat over me;
18 they divide my clothes among themselves,
and for my clothing they cast lots.
19 But you, O Lord, do not be far away!
O my help, come quickly to my aid!
20 Deliver my soul from the sword,
my life from the power of the dog!
21 Save me from the mouth of the lion!
From the horns of the wild oxen you have rescued me.
22 I will tell of your name to my brothers and sisters;
in the midst of the congregation I will praise you:
23 You who fear the Lord, praise him!
All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him;
stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel!
24 For he did not despise or abhor
the affliction of the afflicted;
he did not hide his face from me,
but heard when I cried to him.
25 From you comes my praise in the great congregation;
my vows I will pay before those who fear him.
26 The poor shall eat and be satisfied;
those who seek him shall praise the Lord.
May your hearts live forever!
27 All the ends of the earth shall remember
and turn to the Lord;
and all the families of the nations
shall worship before him.
28 For dominion belongs to the Lord,
and he rules over the nations.
29 To him, indeed, shall all who sleep inthe earth bow down;
before him shall bow all who go down to the dust,
and I shall live for him.
30 Posterity will serve him;
future generations will be told about the Lord,
31 and proclaim his deliverance to a people yet unborn,
saying that he has done it.
Psalm 23 (NRSV)
1 The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters;
3 he restores my soul.
He leads me in right paths
for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I fear no evil;
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff—
they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Surely goodness and mercyshall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
my whole life long.
Psalm 24 (NRSV)
1 The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it,
the world, and those who live in it;
2 for he has founded it on the seas,
and established it on the rivers.
3 Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord?
And who shall stand in his holy place?
4 Those who have clean hands and pure hearts,
who do not lift up their souls to what is false,
and do not swear deceitfully.
5 They will receive blessing from the Lord,
and vindication from the God of their salvation.
6 Such is the company of those who seek him,
who seek the face of the God of Jacob. Selah
7 Lift up your heads, O gates!
and be lifted up, O ancient doors!
that the King of glory may come in.
8 Who is the King of glory?
The Lord, strong and mighty,
the Lord, mighty in battle.
9 Lift up your heads, O gates!
and be lifted up, O ancient doors!
that the King of glory may come in.
10 Who is this King of glory?
The Lord of hosts,
he is the King of glory. Selah
Psalm 27 (NRSV)
1 The Lord is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid?
2 When evildoers assail me
to devour my flesh—
my adversaries and foes—
they shall stumble and fall.
3 Though an army encamp against me,
my heart shall not fear;
though war rise up against me,
yet I will be confident.
4 One thing I asked of the Lord,
that will I seek after:
to live in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to behold the beauty of the Lord,
and to inquire in his temple.
5 For he will hide me in his shelter
in the day of trouble;
he will conceal me under the cover of his tent;
he will set me high on a rock.
6 Now my head is lifted up
above my enemies all around me,
and I will offer in his tent
sacrifices with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make melody to the Lord.
7 Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud,
be gracious to me and answer me!
8 “Come,” my heart says, “seek his face!”
Your face, Lord, do I seek.
9 Do not hide your face from me.
Do not turn your servant away in anger,
you who have been my help.
Do not cast me off, do not forsake me,
O God of my salvation!
10 If my father and mother forsake me,
the Lord will take me up.
11 Teach me your way, O Lord,
and lead me on a level path
because of my enemies.
12 Do not give me up to the will of my adversaries,
for false witnesses have risen against me,
and they are breathing out violence.
13 I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living.
14 Wait for the Lord;
be strong, and let your heart take courage;
wait for the Lord!
Psalm 33 (NRSV)
1 Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous.
Praise befits the upright.
2 Praise the Lord with the lyre;
make melody to him with the harp of ten strings.
3 Sing to him a new song;
play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.
4 For the word of the Lord is upright,
and all his work is done in faithfulness.
5 He loves righteousness and justice;
the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord.
6 By the word of the Lord the heavens were made,
and all their host by the breath of his mouth.
7 He gathered the waters of the sea as in a bottle;
he put the deeps in storehouses.
8 Let all the earth fear the Lord;
let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him.
9 For he spoke, and it came to be;
he commanded, and it stood firm.
10 The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing;
he frustrates the plans of the peoples.
11 The counsel of the Lord stands forever,
the thoughts of his heart to all generations.
12 Happy is the nation whose God is the Lord,
the people whom he has chosen as his heritage.