This session was taught at the Christ Church Manchester School of Theology on Saturday 6th June 2020. The CCM School of Theology was set up to serve local churches in Manchester and beyond.
Topic: Samuel, Kings and Chronicles
In this session, we look at 1&2 Samuel, 1&2 Kings and 1&2 Chronicles
Speaker: Richard Thomas
Richard Leads the team at Hope Church Worcester and also heads up the Worcester School of Theology
SAMUEL, KINGS AND CHRONICLES
ONE SCROLL, TWO BOOKS.
SAMUEL covers about 150 years of history, but told from a prophetic viewpoint – how God sees things.
|Approx 2000 – 1500 BC||Led by Patriarchs
Abraham, Isaac, Jacob
|Families, then tribes|
|Approx 1500 – 1000 BC||Led by Prophets and Judges||Moses to Samuel|
|Approx 1000 – 587 BC||Led by Kings||Saul to Zedekiah,
• Against Eli’s house 1 Sam 2:27-36
• Samuel’s farewell 1 Sam 12
• Samuel’s rejection of Saul 1 Sam 15:17-31, 28:15-19
• YHWH’s promise to David 2 Sam 7:4-16
• Nathan’s condemnation of David 2 Sam 12:7-14.
(Hebrew Poetic Passages
• Hannah’s prophetic prayer 1 Sam 2:1-10
• David’s lament 2 Sam 1:19-27
• David’s song of deliverance 2 Sam 22
• David’s last words 2 Sam 23:1-7)
ELI, HANNAH AND BIRTH OF SAMUEL.
He is named SAMUEL, meaning “God has heard” (1Sam 1 v 20), “because I asked the Lord for him”. (The Hebrew word “sha’al” meaning asked appears 7 times in 1 Sam 1)
HANNAH prays a great prayer of thanksgiving – later echoed in Mary’s prayer after the angel visits her. (1Sam 2 c.f. Luke 1 v 46ff)
SAMUEL HEARS GOD – JUDGEMENT, REPENTANCE, VICTORY
“God cannot fit into our plans, we must fit into his. We can’t use God – God is not a tool or appliance or credit card” Eugene Peterson.
The principle is consistent – disobedience leads to defeat, repentance and obedience to success.
SAUL ANNOINTED FOR KINGSHIP
SAUL’S CHARACTER AND DEATH
Things soon go wrong due to Saul’s character weaknesses.
SAMUEL is very angry and tells him the Kingdom will be snatched away and handed to someone else.
“To obey is better than sacrifice” SAMUEL executes KING AGOG himself! (1Sam 15 v 26-35)
Consulting with a medium. (1 Sam28 v 3 – 10)
SAUL is told his next battle will be his last. (1 Sam 28 v 19)
PREPARED… AT COURT … A HERO (1Sam 16 v 13- 14)
GOLIATH – 9ft 6inches tall and an experienced warrior. (Ch 17)
“The battle is the LORDS” – (17 v 45 – 47)
SAUL’s jealousy again is problematic –
DAVID continues in court but in danger – spears fly!
DAVID A FUGITIVE
Gath, a PHILISTINE town.
In the cave of Adullum,
Tthe Engedi desert…
In the desert of Moan
DAVID a mercenary of the Philistines.
The deaths of SAUL and JONATHAN.
THE RISE OF DAVID
The first 9 Chs of 2 Samuel then chart the rise of DAVID
There is a tribal war of murder …
The tribe of Judah, in the south, crown DAVID King
He eventually settles the national unity, 2 Sam 5.
DAVID is keen to make peace –
DAVID’s empire then grew by military campaigns –
Israel reaches her political height. –
THE DECLINE OF DAVID
He breaks the first 5 commandments – coveting his neighbours’ wife, lying to her husband, URIAH, stealing the wife, committing adultery and arranging URIAH’s murder.
(‘Though “Uriah’s wife” is recorded in the genealogy of the Lord Jesus in Matthew, 1 v 6, along with Tamar and Rahab – who also had a chequered record – that’s grace!)
NATHAN the prophet convicts DAVID of his sin, and Psalm 51 is the result.
SOLOMON, means “peace”. The prophet Nathan gives him the name “Jeddediah” meaning “Loved by the LORD” (2 Sam 12 v 25)
AMNON, and TAMAR.
ABSOLOM and AMNON
FAILURE TO RESOLVE
ABSOLOM HUMILIATES DAVID on the palace roof …. as prophesied by NATHAN, (2 Sam 12 v 11-12).
Civil war battle, (ch17-18) and DAVID’s military commander JOAB
The nation remains unhappy despite its territories, those in the north feeling neglected.
SHEBA starts a revolt, which is put down.
Census and the prophet Gad (2 Sam 24)
“The threshing floor of Arunah” above Jerusalem. (24 v 18)
He gathered resources for building but SOLOMON would build it.
HOW DO WE READ SAMUEL?
Stories / Character studies.
WOMEN – like Hannah and Abigail –
Samuel as history
About 150 years of history…
• David’s skill as warrior leader and organiser
• Centralising power makes the issue of the King’s character and godliness critical.
• God intervenes in history and responds to people and events.
• The “Davidic covenant” that his “kingdom will endure forever” – (2 Sam 7 v 12 – 16)
• Fulfilled in Jesus
• God’s ongoing purpose is for his people to be ruled by one King – crucified “King of The Jews” but King of every tribe, tongue and nation.
1 and 2 KINGS
The original one book covers King Solomon to King Zedekiah.
The big emphasis is not on territory ruled but HOW each King ruled as evaluated by God.
• Kings does not give equal space to each King
• E.g. Omri in N,
• Eg Jeroboam the 2nd. 7 verses for the same reason! –
• Hezekiah gets 3 chs, because …………………..
• Elijah and Elisha take a third of the book!
• – not conventional history…….
• Spiritual and moral qualities are key.
• Kings is the last of “the former prophets”… from Joshua onwards – History from God’s perspective – what did they believe, how did they behave?
Kings opens with Israel as a powerful nation but records its downfall. – Civil war, divided Kingdom to eventual exile.
• Solomon inherits territory from Egypt to the river Euphrates and controls more territory.
• When they split “Israel” no longer refers to the whole nation but ten tribes in the North.
• In the south the tribes of Judah and Benjamin are called “Judah” (the larger tribe)
• The North (Israel) goes downhill until Assyria conquers them and sends them into exile.
• The South (Judah) have some good Kings, (Hezekiah, Josiah), but also decline until exiled to Babylon.
• (Ironically that’s where Abraham had begun his story!)
|Approx 80yrs war, 80 peace, 50 war??||Israel exiled to Assyria
|140yrs||Judah exiled to Babylon 587BC|
WAR TO EXILE
Unrest had begun with Solomon’s heavy taxes perceived to be benefitting only the south.
On his death civil war erupts and conflict continues for 80 years.
The south keeps Jerusalem, the north set up Bethel and Dan as alternative worship centres, creating golden calves as the focus of worship. (Possibly originally a representation of the Egyptian god Apis, (in Exodus 32 v 4), and the Canaanite fertility god Baal, (in 1 Kings 12 v 28ff).
Succession in the north is not smooth –
Elijah and Elisha play important roles in the centre of 1 + 2Kings
In 721 Israel is deported to Assyria, Kings then focuses on the smaller S Kingdom of Judah.
Further warnings from prophets have little long term effect – Judah goes into exile 140 years later.
|ISRAEL (N) 10 Tribes||JUDAH (S) 2 Tribes|
WHO WROTE KINGS?
Uncertain but traditionally many have said Jeremiah, though many dispute this.
• Parts are identical to his prophecy.
• It would make sense of his not being mentioned, though he was a contemporary of Josiah and at those events, (self effacing)
• Prophets often wrote about Kings e.g. Isaiah, on Kings Uzziah and Hezekiah.
• God specifically told Jeremiah to write about Israel. (e.g. Jer 30 v 2, 36 v 1 – 25)
• He reports in his book that Judah rejects his reminders to obey God and that they will therefore experience his judgement. (Kings tells that in prophetic story form).
• Jeremiah was taken to Egypt in 586BC and died there – and the events at the end of Kings show familiarity with what is going on in Babylon. So if he did write it, perhaps another person finished it?
• (It is just possible Joshua to Kings was put into the form we have it in today, by a further figure, as they are remarkably similar in writing style).
HOW WAS KINGS WRITTEN?
The writer uses national records as sources – he references The Acts of Solomon, Chronicles of the Kings of Israel (17x), Chronicles of the Kings of Judah.
Parts of Isaiah are identical to Kings, suggesting they either borrowed one from another, or had a common source.
The N and S Kingdoms are covered simultaneously – this is deliberate, though confusing at first. He wants us to know how each Kingdom is progressing in relation to the other. (Sometimes at war, sometimes intermarriage led to peace)
WHEN WAS KINGS WRITTEN?
The temple was still standing (1Kings 8 v 8, “and still is to this day”) which suggests before the 586BC exile to Babylon, when it was destroyed.
The last part details the Babylonians killing Zedekiah, last King of Judah, having watched his own son’s execution. This suggests the book may then have been finished half way through the exile period as there is no mention of a return.
WHY WAS KINGS WRITTEN?
A nation has been / will be exiled…
The book answers questions – How did this happen? Where was God in it all? What about his promises?
– so there is hope!
The king before Zedekiah, (who was executed), was Jehoiachin. He was released from imprisonment and allowed to eat at the King of Babylon’s table – The promise is being kept, despite their backsliding!
MORE ON KINGS …
Asking God for “WISDOM”
E.G 2 prostitutes and baby… (1Kings 3 v 16)
• Built temple
• Dedicated the temple
•(see also Lev 26 and Deut 28
Famous and prosperous –
WISDOM AND FOOLISHNESS
• Collected 3,000 proverbs and wrote 1,005 songs – with 6 in the Bible.
• Wise for others, but ….
• Foreign wives …
• Divided heart … divided Kingdom to follow.
• 12 years building programme for his own and wives palace
• Northern Kings of Israel, all compared to the first one, Jereboam, who was bad.
• In South (Judah), mixture of good and bad Kings, with David as the benchmark.
• 2 very good Kings were
• The worst in the S was
Hezekiah s story is also in Isaiah’s prophecy.
Josiah became King aged 8.
3 BAD! …
Ahab and Jezebel
Jezebel’s daughter Athaliah married a King of Judah (S
. (1 Kings 17, James 5 v 17-18).
Ran for his life! (1 Kings 19)
Elisha succeeded Elijah and asked for a double portion of his spirit. (2 Kings 2)
Elijah gave a challenge to repent and challenged, whilst generally Elisha was more pastoral and corporate, with school of prophets.
Judgement came to those who know what they have done is wrong!
REMINDERS OF JESUS
• Jesus is the ultimate King, who will fulfil the promise of a glorious eternal kingdom.
CHRONICLES IN BRIEF
Much of Chronicles is identical to Sam/Kings – so either they were the source for Chronicles or they BOTH used another source. Other material includes genealogies from Genesis and Joshua, plus quotes from Psalms.
The story is told from Adam through to the restoration from Babylon.
Traditionally Chronicles is attributed to Ezra – its closing verses are almost identical to Ezra’s opening ones. Ezra certainly continues the story. The book states no authorship.
Cyrus King of Persia (2 Chronicles 36 v 21-23)
JUDGEMENT OVER, PROPHESY FULFILLED
• This marks the end of judgement as an expression of God’s anger (2 Chron 36 v 15- 16, also Jeremiah 39 v 1 -10, 52 v 3 – 30)
• The length of exile fulfilled now the land has had a quota of “Sabbath rests”.
Sabbath was on only one day in seven but also one year in seven, where land was to rest and the people were to trust god for provision. Leviticus promised covenant breaking would result in expulsion “so the land will rest and enjoy its Sabbaths”. (Lev 25 v 2-4, 26 v 33 – 35)
490 years of Kingly and national disobedience had resulted in 70 years exile. (490 divided by 7)
• Jeremiah’s prophesy was fulfilled. (Jer’ 25 v 11 – 12, 29 v 10 – 14).
• (Daniel also anticipated this and prayed for it – (Daniel 9 v 1-2).
• A pagan king unwittingly fulfils “the word of the Lord” – a supernatural reversal.
WHO ARE WE? – WHY HAVE WE RETURNED?
WHO they are and WHY they have returned – their big story.
WHO ARE WE? – THE GENEALOGIES? (Ch 1 – 9)
• “We are still God’s people, despite reduced circumstances. The LORD is still our God”.
The author reworks the material for his own age, focussing more on the need to re-establish identity, worship, and obedience.
WHY HAVE WE RETURNED? – TO WORSHIP
• 1Chron 13, 15 David before ark
• 1Chron 16 Organisation for continual worship at the ark
• 1Chron 23 – 25 Levites, priests and musicians
• 1Chron 29 Gifts for temple
• 2 Chron 2 – 7 Gifts and building and dedication of temple
• 2 Chron 24 Josiah repairs temple
• 2 Chron 29 – 30 Hezekiah purifies temple and restores Passover
• 2Chron 34 Josiah’s reforms and rediscovery of book of law
• The Northern tribes have cut themselves off from true worship, focussed in Jerusalem.
“We are still God’s people and we will worship him obediently”
WHY HAVE WE RETURNED? – TO OBEY
• TRUST GOD
• BE FAITHFUL – REPENT
• WORSHIP AND OBEY