Nevi’im Rishonim

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The Nevi’im (נביאים) covers the time period from the death of Moshe through the Babylonian exile (ca.1200BCE-587BCE) and contains 19 books. The Nevi’im covers the time from the Hebrews entering Eretz Yisrael, conquest of Jericho, conquest of Eretz Yisrael and division among the tribes, judicial system, Era of Saul and David, Solomon’s wisdom and the construction of the First Temple, kings of Eretz Yisrael, prophecy, messianic prophecies, and the Babylonian exile.

Books of the Nevi’im

  • Nevi’im Rishonim (Early Prophets)
    • Yehoshua (Joshua) – written by Yehoshua
    • Shoftim (Judges) – written by the Shoftim
    • Shmu’el (Samuel) – written by Shmu’el
    • Melakhim (Kings) – written by the Melakhim

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Sefer Yehoshua (ספר יהושע‎) – of the Book of Joshua – is the sixth book in the Tanach. This book is the first in the section of the Tanach called the Nevi’im (Prophets). Sefer Yehoshua is also the first of the Nevi’im Rishonim (Former Prophets) which covers the history of Israel from the possession and settlement of the Land of Israel through the Babylonian Captivity.

Sefer Yehoshua contains a history of the Israelites from the death of Moses to the death of Joshua.

Sefer Yehoshua consists of three parts:

  1. The history of the conquest of the land (1-12).
  2. The allotment of the land to the different tribes, with the appointment of cities of refuge, the provision for the Levites (13-22), and the dismissal of the eastern tribes to their homes.
  3. The farewell addresses of Joshua, with an account of his death (23, 24).

Conquest of the Land

Chapter 1: After the death of Moses, Joshua received the command from God to cross the Jordan. Joshua issued the instructions to the people for the crossing of the Jordan. He reminded the Reubenits, Gadites, and half of Manasseh of their pledge given to Moses to help their brethren in exchange for land on the east side of the Jordan.

Chapter 2: Joshua sent out two spies from Shittim to explore the city of Jericho and report their findings. The king discovered their task and attempted to capture them. Rahab, a resident of the city, saved them from the king in exchange for the spies swearing to save her and her family. The spies returned to Joshua and reported on their findings.

Chapter 3: Camp was broken at Shittim and the Children of Israel marched to the Jordan. Before crossing the Jordan, Joshua addressed the people assuring them that God was in their midst. Joshua assured them that God would drive out the Canaanites. He also told them that when the Ark crosses the Jordan, a miracle will occur and change the water. As soon as the priests carrying the Ark stepped into the Jordan, the river stopped flowing.

Chapter 4: Joshua was commanded by God to take twelve stones from the Jordan where the priests stood and carry them across to the other side of the Jordan. After the stones were picked up, the people crossed the Jordan. The people traveled to Gilgal where they camped. The twelve stones were used to make an altar in Gilgal as a commemoration of the crossing over the Jordan.

Chapter 5: Joshua is told by God to make flint knives to circumcise the males of the Children of Israel since those born in the wilderness had not yet been circumcised. While located in Gilgal, the Children of Israel celebrated Pesach. The manna ceased and the people ate of the produce of the land. As Joshua was standing in front of Jericho he received a visit from “the captain of the host of the Lord” in the guise of a man. This angel declared the soil on which Joshua stood as holy ground.

Chapter 6: Joshua began the siege of Jericho. The warriors were commanded to circle the city once a day for six days and the priests shall bear seven shofarim before the ark. On the seventh day, the warriors were commanded to circle the city seven times with the priests blowing their shofarim. Joshua then had the multitude raise a great shout and the walls of Jericho crumbled. Joshua commanded that all silver, gold, copper, and iron vessels were to be consecrated unto God and placed in the treasury. Everyone in the city was destroyed except Rahab and her household who were saved because of her assistance to the spies. A curse was placed upon anyone who should rebuild the destroyed city.

Chapter 7: It was revealed that Achan did not heed Joshua’s command and he took of the consecrated vessels. As a result, when Joshua sent his men to capture the city of Ai, his men were defeated. Joshua rent his clothes and cried out to God asking why they had been defeated. God declared that Israel has sinned and taken from the consecrated things therefore, their enemies would defeat them. Joshua was commanded to do a search house by house for the perpetrator. When Joshua came to Achan, Joshua asked for Achan confession – which Achan gave. Achan was then taken to the Valley of Achor and – after judgment was passed against him – he is stoned to death.

Chapter 8: Joshua was commanded by God to take his army to the city of Ai for God said He would deliver the city to Israel. Joshua sent his men to wait in ambush outside the city. Upon, his signal, the remainder of the army that came with Joshua the next day feigned retreat – drawing the King of Ai and his men out of the city. Upon Joshua’s signal, those waiting in ambush entered the city and set it on fire. Upon seeing the city on fire Joshua and his men turned and killed the inhabitants of the city. The King of Ai was hanged until nightfall when his body was thrown into a pit in front of the city and stones heaped upon it. Joshua erected an altar on Mount Ebal where the people offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. Joshua wrote a copy of the law of Moses on stone tablets. Half of the people were placed on Mount Gerizim and half on Mount Ebal. Joshua then read the law of Moses to the entire congregation and the strangers who were among them.

Chapter 9: The Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and the Jebusites heard of the destruction of the cities and formed an alliance to battle against Joshua and his army. The Gibeonites sent ambassadors to Joshua and Gilgal to make a covenant that Joshua would not attack the Gibeonites. Joshua realized that the Gibeonites had committed fraud in their covenant but Joshua allowed them to live since he did swear not to harm them. However, the Gibeonites were made into hewers of wood and drawers of water for the congregation, and for the altar of God from that day.

Chapter 10: Adonizedek, king of Jerusalem, Hoham, king of Hebron, Piram, king of Jarmuth, Japhia, king of Lachish, and Debir, king of Eglon (the five kings) heard what Joshua did to the cities of Jericho and Ai. They responded to the Gibeonites covenant with Joshua by attacking the Gibeonite cities. The Gibenoites asked Joshua for help in their war against the five kings. Joshua responded – with God’s blessing – and fought against the five kings. God sent down hailstones during the battle to smite the enemies of Israel and the Gibeonites. Joshua commanded that the sun and moon stand still to allow time for the complete defeat of the five kings. Joshua learned that the five kings had escaped to a cave in Makkedah. Joshua ordered a stone to be placed over the mouth of the cave and guards to be placed at that entrance. After the defeat of their enemies, Joshua went to the cave in Makkedah and ordered the five kings to be brought before him. The five kings were killed and hanged on poles until evening when their bodies were thrown into the cave which was sealed with stones. Joshua and his army then went on to conquer the cities of Makkedah, Libnah, Lachish, Gezer, Eglon, Debir, and “all the country (of) the hills and of the south, and of the valley, and of the falls, and all their kings” before returning to Gilgal.

Chapter 11: The king of Hazor heard what Joshua’s army had been able to do and he sent to the kings of Madon, Shimron, Achshaph, the kings that were on the north of the mountains, and of the plains south of Chinnaroth, and in the valley, and in the regions of Dor on the west. He also sent word to the Canaanites, Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Jebusites, and Hivites. They all met at the waters of Merom to fight against Israel. With God’s blessing, Joshua went to battle against these enemies and smote them all – capturing all their cities. Joshua took all the land as God commanded. The land was divided up among the tribes and the “land rested from war”.

Chapter 12: This chapter lists the places and kings defeated by Moses on the eastern side of the Jordan and the places and kings defeated by Joshua on the western side of the Jordan.

The allotment of the land, cities of refuge, provision for the Levites, and the dismissal of the eastern tribes to their homes

Chapter 13: Joshua is commanded by God to finish the job of conquering all the land and dividing it up among the 9 ½ tribes. The borders of the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and half of Manasseh are described. The Tribe of Levi is not given an inheritance since they are to be priests unto God and work in the Tabernacle.

Chapter 14: Eleazar the priest, and Joshua the son of Nun, and the heads of the tribes of the children of Israel, distributed the land as an inheritance amongst the Children of Israel. Joshua blessed Caleb and gave him Chevron as an inheritance. The land rested from war.

Chapter 15: The borders of the tribe of Judah are given. Caleb drove the three sons of the giant called Arba out of Chevron and took the city as his inheritance. Othniel took Debir for Caleb and as a reward, he was given Caleb’s daughter Achsah as a wife. The Jebusites are said to have been living among the Children of Israel at this time.

Chapter 16: The borders of the Tribe of Joseph are described as being divided between Ephraim and half of Manasseh. The borders of the Tribe of Ephraim are described.

Chapter 17: The borders of the half-Tribe of Manasseh are described. Zelophehad’s daughters approached Joshua and Eleazar about the inheritance for their father had no sons and reminded them of Moses’ decree. The daughters of Zelophehad were given inheritance according to Moses’ decree. The people of the Tribe of Joseph argued that their allotment was too small. Joshua stated that they were therefore to drive out the Canaanites and Perizzites from the forests and take their land as part of the inheritance for the Tribe of Joseph.

Chapter 18: The entire congregation assembled at Shiloh and set up the Tabernacle. The seven tribes who had not yet been given their inheritance appointed three men from each tribe to walk the land. They were to return to Shiloh and describe the land they traveled. Upon their return, Joshua cast lots at Shiloh and the land was divided and given as an inheritance to the seven tribes. The borders of the Tribe of Benjamin are described.

Chapter 19: The borders of the Tribes of Simeon, Zebulun, Issachar, Asher, Naphtali, and Dan are described.

Chapter 20: God commanded Joshua to set aside specific cities as cities of refuge where a person who accidently kills another may flea and have safety.

Chapter 21: The Children of Israel gave of their cities and surrounding fields to the Levites as commanded by God through Moses. The cities and fields given to the children of Aaron, children of Gershon, and the children of Merari are described.

Chapter 22: Joshua called together the Tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the half-Tribe of Manasseh and dismissed them to return to their inheritance on the east shore of the Jordan since they completed their commitment to help their brothers conquer the land. The members of these tribes built an altar by the Jordan which enraged the other tribes who assembled at Shiloh to go to war against them. Phinehas and a leader from each of the tribes went to the Tribes of Reuben and Gad and the half-Tribe of Manasseh and chastised them from committing this grievous sin and turning from Torah and God. The three tribes stated that the altar was to remind them and their children of the connection with the other tribes and the altar where sacrifices were to be brought – not as a rebellious altar of sacrifice. Phineas and the tribal leaders spoke these words to the Children of Israel who were gladdened and swore not to go to war.

Farewell addresses of Joshua, with an account of his death

Chapter 23: Joshua called together the entire people and blessed them. He reminded them to keep Torah and walk in the way of God.

Chapter 24: Joshua then called all the tribes to Shechem and the leaders of the people presented themselves before God. Joshua gave a brief recount of the history of the Jewish people from Abraham through the present. Joshua prophesied that the Children of Israel would lust after foreign gods. The people claimed their loyalty to God. Joshua told the people to destroy all the idols in the land and Joshua made a covenant with them. Joshua wrote this covenant on stone and placed it at the Tabernacle. Joshua then dismissed the people to return to their inheritances. Joshua died at 110 years of age and was buried in Timnath-serah. Joseph who was brought up out of Egypt was re-buried Shechem and Eleazar was buried in the hill of Phinehas his son, which was given to him in Mount Ephraim.

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Sefer Shoftim (ספר שופטים) also known as the Book of Judges is the second book in the Nevi’im (Prophets) section of the Tanach and the second book of the Nevi’im Rishonim (Former Prophets).

According to tradition, Samuel is named as the author. The title Shoftim is taken from the content of the book – that of the history of Biblical judges who helped rule and guide the ancient Children of Israel.1

The term “judges” in Sefer Shoftim “designates men who dealt out justice to the oppressed people …; hence it is used in the sense of “rescuer”. The word, however, means more than this and more than the modern ‘judge’: it means the leaders or rulers… who took charge of the affairs of the several tribes in case of war with the Canaanites or other neighboring peoples, and who also assumed leadership of their respective tribes in the succeeding times of peace.”2

Although there are two additional stories at the end of Shoftim, the last judge is considered to be Samson. The traditional and academic view is that Samson’s exploits probably synchronized with the period immediately preceding the kohen gadol (high priest) and judge Eli. Eli’s story is then picked up in Sefer Shmu’el (Book of Samuel).1

There were twelve Biblical judges.1

Othniel (עָתְנִיאֵל)
Ehud (אֵהוּד)
Shamgar (שַׁמְגַּר)
Deborah (דְבוֹרָה) and Barak (בָּרָק)
Gideon (גִּדְעוֹן)
Tola (תּוֹלָע)
Jair (יָאִיר)
Jephthath (יִפְתָּח)
Ibzan (אִבְצָן)
Elon (אֵילוֹן)
Abdon (עַבְדּוֹן)
Samson (שִׁמְשׁוֹן)

Sefer Shoftim is generally divided into three distinct divisions: (1) introduction; (2) Book of Judges proper; and (3) appendixes.1

Introduction

The introduction (chapters 1-3) gives a summary of Sefer Shoftim with details in addition to this summary.2

Chapter 1: A general overview of the conquest of Canaan is given – including the conquering of Jerusalem, Chevron, and Beit-El.2

Chapter 2: A general description of the conditions at the time of the judges is given.2 God has asked why the Children of Israel had not smashed the idols of the land’s inhabitants and He passes judgment upon the Children of Israel. Joshua died and was buried on the Mountain of Ephraim. There is a revolving idea of the Children of Israel worshipping foreign gods and God punishing the people.

Main Text

“The main text (3:11-16:31) discusses the five Great Judges and Abimelech. It consists of six stories each concerning a major judge and their struggles against an oppressive foreign overlord. There are also brief glosses of the rule of lesser judges, often only giving their name and the number of their sons.”1

Chapter 3: Due to the Children of Israel’s idolatry, God allowed the Philistines, Canaanites, Zidonians, Hivites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, and the Jebusites to remain in the land to test the Children of Israel as to whether or not they would obey God. Due to the continuing idolatry of the Children of Israel, God gave them over to Cushan-rishathaim, king of Aram-naharaim for eight years in order to serve this king.

Othniel was judge over the people during this time and the land rested for forty years. After the death of Othniel, the Children of Israel continued to practice idolatry.

Eglon the king of Moab along with the children of Ammon and Amalek were used by God to punish the Children of Israel. The Children of Israel were forced to serve Eglon for eighteen years. The Children of Israel cried out and God gave them Ehud as a judge and deliverer. Ehud presented a gift to Eglon as a ruse in order to kill Eglon. Ehud escaped after the assassination and led the Children of Israel into battle against Moab. After the defeat of Moab, the land rested for eighty years.

After Ehud died, Shamgar was appointed judge. Shamgar went on to kill 600 Philistines.

Chapter 4: The Children of Israel continued to do what was wicked in the sight of God. As punishment, God handed the Children of Israel over to Jabin, the king of Canaan, and the chieftain of his army was Sisera. The Children of Israel serve Jabin for twenty years.

Deborah and Barak were judges during this time. Deborah and Barak made plans to defeat Jabin and Sisera and it was Deborah who prophesied that Sisera would be killed by a woman. Deborah and Barak went to war against Jabin and Sisera – forcing Sisera to retreat to the tent of Jael. While Sisera was sleeping, Jael killed him. The Children of Israel eventually destroyed Jabin and his army.

Chapter 5: The Song of Deborah, describing the sufferings and the victory of the people.

Chapter 6: The Children of Israel continued to lust after false gods so God gave them to Midian for seven years. After the Children of Israel cried out against the oppression, God sent a prophet – Phineas – to them to rebuke them.

God sent an angel to Gideon to tell Gideon that he has been chosen to judge and lead the Children of Israel. God ordered Gideon to destroy the altars of Baal and Asherah which Gideon did. When the people learned of this, they went to Joash to demand he turn over his son to them but Joash refused.

Chapter 7: Gideon brought an army to fight Midian. God whittled down the size of the army so that all would know that it was God who brought the Children of Israel victory and not their own prowess. God did this by telling Gideon to send anyone home who was too afraid of fighting and testing the men by the way they drink the water in the stream. This left Gideon with 300 men to fight Midian, Amalek, and all their allies. Gideon and his men – along with help from others of the Children of Israel – forced the Midianites and their allies to retreat.

Chapter 8: Gideon and his army pursued Midian and their allies. They asked for provisions at Sukkot and Penuel but the people denied them provisions. For this denial, Gideon wrought revenge upon the men of these cities after he smote his enemies. After the defeat of Midian, the land rested for forty years. Gideon had many wives and sons – among these sons was Abimelech. After Gideon died, the Children of Israel again strayed from God’s commands.

Chapter 9: Abimelech went to Shechem and led a group of men back to his home and murdered his brothers – except Jotham who managed to escape by hiding. The inhabitants of Shechem made Abimelech king. Jotham chastised and cursed them and then fled. Abimelech ruled over Israel for three years.

Through the intervention of God, the people of Shechem rebelled against Abimelech. Gall led an army and went to battle against Abimelech only to have Abimelech recapture Shechem. Abimelech then went on to capture Thebez – except for its tower. There a woman – using a millstone – injured Abimelech who died at the hands of his weapon-bearer. Abimelech’s wickedness was thus punished and the curse of Jotham was placed upon Shechem.

Chapter 10: Tola judged Israel after the death of Abimelech’s. Tola judged Israel for 23 years and upon his death he was buried in Shamir.

After Tola’s death, Jair became judge. He judged Israel for 22 years. Upon his death he was buried in Kamon.

The Children of Israel began lusting after foreign gods once again and as punishment God delivered them into the hands of the Philistines and Ammonites for 18 years. The Children of Israel cried out to God and begged for forgiveness. They removed all foreign gods from among themselves and worshipped God. The Ammonites gathered at Gilead and the Children of Israel gathered at Mizpha.

Chapter 11: The Ammonites went to war against Israel. At this time, Jephthah – one of Gilead’s sons – was asked by the elders of Gilead (the ones who forced him to flee to Tob) to lead them in battle against the Ammonites. Jephthah attempted a peace agreement with the Ammonites who refused any such agreement.

Jephthath made an agreement with God that if God would deliver the Ammonites into his hand, the first thing that comes out of Jephthah’s house would be delivered unto God as a sacrifice. God agrees and gives the Ammonites to Jephthah. Upon returning home, Jephthah’s daughter comes to greet him. Jephthah grieves for she is the first to come out of his house and he is duty-bound to offer her as a sacrifice. After two months, his daughter returned to Jephthah where he offered her to God.

Chapter 12: The people of Ephraim confronted Jephthah asking why he did not ask them to fight against the Ammonites. Jephthah argued that he did ask for assistance from the people of Ephraim but they ignored his plea. Jephthath and Ephraim then went to war and the children of Ephraim were defeated. Jephthah judged over Israel for six years until his death and burial in the cities of Gilead.

Ibzan was the next judge over Israel. He judged Israel for seven years until his death and burial in Beit-Lechem.

Elon then judged Israel for ten years until his death and burial is Aijalon.

Abdon then judged Israel for eight years until his death and burial in Pirathon.

Chapter 13: The Children of Israel again did what displeased God and his delivered them into the hands of the Philistines for forty years.

An angel came to the wife of Manoah and told her that she would conceive and bare a son. No razor was to touch his head for he was to be a Nazirite from birth and it was he who would deliver Israel from the Philistines. Manoah pleaded for the angel to return to teach him and his wife what to do with their son upon his birth. The angel appeared and taught them. Manoah and his wife offered sacrifice unto God. Manoah’s wife gave birth to a son whom named him Samson.

Chapter 14: Samson convinced his mother and father to permit him to take a wife from the Philistines even though they wished him to take a wife from the Children of Israel.

On his trip to Timnath, Samson encountered a lion and killed it with his bare hands. On a return trip, he noticed that bees had a hive and honey in the carcass of the lion so he ate of the honey. Samson asked a riddle (based upon this experience) of those in attendance at his wedding feast and offered a gift to those who could figure it out. Samson’s wife eventually learned the answer and told the people what the answer was to the riddle. Samson became enraged that they would interrogate his wife and his anger flared. Samson’s wife was then given to a companion of his by her own father.

Chapter 15: Samson wanted to return to his wife but his father-in-law stated that she was given to another and then he went on to offer the younger daughter as a wife to Samson. Samson became enraged and using a trick involving foxes and torches, burnt down the crops of the Philistines. The Philistines in retaliation burnt Samson’s wife and her father with fire. Samson then slaughtered many Philistine soldiers.

The men of Judah bound Samson to offer him to the Philistines but Samson was able – with the help of God – to break those bonds. Samson found the jawbone of a donkey and killed 1,000 Philistines. Samson judged Israel for twenty years.

Chapter 16: Samson met Delilah who attempted to find out the source of Samson’s great strength. On three separate occasions, Samson told Delilah three ways that his strength could be overcome. Each time she told her conspirators and they attempted to bind him according to his three stories. Each time they discovered they had been deceived. At last, Samson told Delilah that his strength lay in the fact that a razor had never touched his head. Delilah and her conspirators shaved Samson’s head and his strength immediately left him. Samson was then blinded and used to work the grind in the prison house but his hair grew.

The Philistines brought Samson out to their temple during a celebration to their god Dagon. He was placed between two pillars. Samson called out to God for one last burst of strength. God heard his plea and Samson used the two pillars to bring down the temple – killing himself and the Philistines. Samson’s family came and brought him back home to be buried.

Appendices

The appendices (17:1-21:25) give two stories set in the time of the judges but the content does not describe a particular specific judge as does the rest of the book.

Chapter 17: There was no king in Israel during this time. Micahyahu had a house of idolatry in the land of Judah. A Levite came to Beit-Lechem where Micahyahu took him in and the Levite became a priest in the house of idolatry.

Chapter 18: There was no king in Israel during this time. The Children of Dan were seeking an inheritance of land and sent out five spies to search out the land. These spies came upon the house of Micahyahu and asked the Levite priest if they would have success. He affirmed that they would be successful. The Children of Dan found land and settled as an inheritance for themselves. The spies returned to the house of Micahyahu and took the idol, ephod, and teraphim and the Levite went with them to be a priest unto the Children of Dan. The Children of Dan established the city of Dan and continued to practice idolatry until the time of the exile.

Chapter 19: There was no king in Israel during this time. A Levite took a concubine from Beit-Lechem as a wife. She left him and returned to her father’s house. The Levite pursued her and was persuaded by his father-in-law to remain at his home for five days. At the end of the fifth day – near sunset – the Levite insisted upon leaving for his home.

The Levite, his wife, and his servant made it to Gibeah where an old man found them and invited them to lodge at his home. The men of the city surrounded the home and demanded that the Levite be brought out so they may have their way with him. The old man pleaded with them to not do this wicked thing. The Levite threw his wife to the crowd who raped and abused her throughout the night. In the morning, the Levite found his wife at the door of the home. He could not rouse her but placed her on his donkey and took her home. He then dismembered her into twelve pieces which were sent out to all the borders of Israel with the plea of indignation over her plight.3

Chapter 20: 400,000 footmen from all the tribes of Israel appeared before the Levite and asked him to explain what had occurred. The Levite told his story and the tribes all demanded that the Children of Benjamin turn over the wicked men form Gibeah so they may be put to death. The Children of Benjamin refused to turn over the men and prepared to go to war. The army of the Children of Israel destroyed the Children of Benjamin.

Chapter 21: The Children of Israel mourned the cutting off of the Children of Benjamin and swore to not permit their daughters to marry the men of Benjamin. The Children of Israel lamented over the fact that if this was carried out the tribe of Benjamin would cease to exist.

The Children of Israel decided that since those from Jabesh-gilead had not partaken in the war, all would be destroyed. There were found 400 virgins at Jabesh-gilead who were given to the Children of Benjamin as a peace offering and to supply wives to the men. The Children of Benjamin then proceeded – with the full knowledge and consent of the Children of Israel – to take the non-married women from Shiloh as wives so the tribe of Benjamin would not cease to exist. There was no king in Israel during this time and every man did what was right in his eyes.

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1Book of Judges [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_of_Judges]
2Book of Judges: [http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=689&letter=J&search=judges]

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Sefer Shmu’el (ספר שמואל) – or the Book of Samuel – is a single book that has been split into two books by Christianity beginning with the Septuagint and continuing into the Vulgate. In most Tanachs, Sefer Shmu’el has continued to be split into two books but is traditionally considered one book.

Sefer Shmu’el is the third book in the Nevi’im (Prophets) section of the Tanach and is part of the Nevi’im Rishonim – Former Prophets. This sefer was written by Samuel, Gad, and Nathan. Sefer Shmu’el gives the history of Israel from the concluding days of the Judges through the reigns of Saul and David. The sefer continues with the narrative up to David’s old age and decline in health.1

Shmu’el Aleph (First Samuel)

Shmu’el Aleph (First Samuel) consists of three main sections, to which the following headings may respectively be prefixed: (1) Eli and Samuel, (2) Samuel and Saul, and (3) Saul and David.

Eli and Samuel

Samuel’s birth, youth, and calling; Judgment of Eli’s house
Chapter 1: Elkanah went to the Tabernacle at Shiloh with his wives Peninnah and Hannah. While at the Tabernacle, Hannah prayed to God to give her a son with the oath that if God gave her a son he would be a Nazirite and serve God all his life. Due to her heartfelt prayer, Eli thought she was drunk. Upon approaching her to throw her out of the Tabernacle, Eli found out the reason for her behavior and blessed her. Hannah became pregnant and gave birth to Samuel.

Chapter 2: After Samuel is weaned, he is given into the care of Eli. Samuel grows up in the Tabernacle in Shiloh and learns the ways of the service and Torah.

At the same time, Eli’s two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, are priests at Shiloh who abuse their position. A man of God comes to Eli and tells him that due to his tolerance of their behavior, God has revoked his promise of perpetual priesthood for Eli’s family, and that Eli’s sons will later die on the same day.

Chapter 3: Samuel is visited by God during the night and confirmed what Eli had been told regarding his fate. God continued to speak with Samuel while he grew up in the Tabernacle at Shiloh.

Defeat of Israel by the Philistines; Capture and recovery of the ark
Chapter 4: The Philistines went to battle against the Israelites and the Israelites were defeated. The Israelites proceeded to go to Shiloh and bring the Ark of the Covenant back to the camp. The Israelites shouted and made such noise that the Philistines became afraid. However, when battle ensued, the Philistines defeated the Israelites. Eli’s sons died and the Ark of the Covenant was taken by the Philistines.

An Israelite came to Eli and told him of his sons’ deaths, the lost battle and the taking of the Ark of the Covenant. Eli fell backward – breaking his neck – and dying. Eli judged over Israel for forty years. Upon hearing of the deaths of her husband and father-in-law and the taking of the Ark of the Covenant, Phinehas’s wife went into labor and gave birth to a son. After she named him Ichabod, she died.

Chapter 5: The Philistines brought the Ark of the Covenant to Ashdod and placed in the temple of their god Dagon. In the morning, the Philistines discovered that the statue of Dagon had fallen upon its face in front of the Ark of the Covenant. They returned the statue to its proper place.

The next morning, the Philistines discovered the statue of Dagon had fallen upon its face in front of the Ark of the Covenant. This time Dagon’s head and the two palms of his hands were cut off and lying on the threshold; only Dagon’s trunk remained upon him. God plagued the Philistines of Ashdod with Techoreem (טְחוֹרִים). The Philistines became afraid and decided to send the Ark of the Covenant to Gath where God also plagued the people of Gath with Techoreem (טְחוֹרִים). The Ark of the Covenant was then sent to Ekron where God plagued the people with Techoreem (טְחוֹרִים).

Chapter 6: The Ark of the Covenant was with the Philistines for seven months and the people asked the diviners and priests what should be done. The priests said that the Ark of the Covenant should be returned to the Israelites along with a guilt offering of gold in the form of the Techoreem (טְחוֹרִים) and mice.

A new cart of wood was built and the Ark of the Covenant along with the guilt offering was placed upon it. Two cows were hitched to the cart and sent away. The cows pulled the cart straight to Bet-shemesh to the field of Joshua. The people of Bet-shemesh rejoiced and offered up the cows as sacrifice to God. Messengers were sent to Qiryat-ye’arim to alert the others that the Ark of the Covenant had been returned.

Chapter 7: The men of Qiryat-ye’arim came and took the Ark of the Covenant and brought it to the house of Abinadab where they designated Eleazar to guard it. The Ark of the Covenant remained there for twenty years. The Israelites destroyed the Baalim and the Ashtaroth and served only God.

Upon learning that the Israelites were at Mizpah, the Philistines came to make war. Samuel prayed to God and God answered – chasing the Philistines back to Bet-kar. The Philistines never came up against the Israelites again. The cities that the Philistines had taken from the Israelites were returned to the Israelites. Samuel judged Israel for the rest of his life.

Samuel and Saul

Israel asks for a king and God accepts
Chapter 8: As Samuel reached old age, he appointed his sons Joel and Aviyya judges and they ruled from Beer-sheva. The elders of Israel came to Samuel and said that since he is old in age and his sons do not judge properly, they wanted Samuel to appoint a king over them.

Samuel prayed to God Who told Samuel to listen to the people. God told Samuel to tell the people of the horrible things that will befall them if a king is appointed over them. Samuel relayed this message to the people but they still insisted upon having a king like all the other nations. Samuel prayed again to God and God conceded and told Samuel that a king would be appointed.

Samuel anoints Saul as king and makes God’s choice of king known to the people at Mizpah
Chapter 9: Saul – the Benjamite – was sent by his father to try and find some donkeys that had disappeared from their land. Saul and his servant were unable to find the donkeys so they went to a town to seek guidance from a man of God. The day before Saul came to seek Samuel, God told Samuel that Saul would be coming to him. Saul meets Samuel who offers food and shelter to Saul and Saul’s servant.

Chapter 10: Samuel anoints Saul as leader of the Israelites. Samuel then prophesies about Saul’s return to his father. Saul met with his uncle and told him all that happened during his absence from his father’s household.

Samuel called the people together at Mizpah where he announced Saul’s kingship. Saul returned to his home in Giv’a with his followers.

Saul’s choice was confirmed by a victory over the Ammonites
Chapter 11: The Ammonites came to battle against the people of Yavesh-gil’ad. The people of Yavesh-gil’ad asked for a treaty and the Ammonites replied that a treaty would be granted only if the people were blinded as a shame to Israel. The people of Yavesh-gil’ad asked for one week and if no one came to their aid they would allow the Ammonites to blind them.

Messengers were sent to Giv’a and when Saul heard of the news he called all of Israel to assist the people of Yavesh-gil’ad. Saul and his army defeated the Ammonites. Samuel led Saul to Gilgal where Saul was formally crowned king.

Saul’s reign was inaugurated and the covenant renewed at Gilgal
Chapter 12: Samuel announced Saul’s kingship to the Israelites. Samuel asked the people to be a witness before God for Samuel that he did not wrong to them. Samuel then orates about the greatness and righteousness of the Israelites’ forefathers who were made great by God.

Samuel tells the people that if they follow God and His laws they and the king will be blessed but if they choose to do the opposite, the people and the king will be cursed and destroyed.

Saul’s kingship is a failure
Chapter 13: A year in Saul’s reign, Jonathan killed all the officers of the Philistines in Geva. Saul blew the shofar announcing this feat and the people came and gathered with Saul at Gilgal. The Philistines camped at Michmash in preparation for war against the Israelites.

Saul waited seven days – the appointed time – for Samuel to come and make sacrifices. When Samuel did not arrive, Saul himself offered up a burnt offering. Just after his offered this sacrifice, Samuel arrived. Samuel rebuked Saul for not following the law and tells Saul that his kingdom will end and another who follows after God will be appointed ruler.

Saul and Jonathan remained at Gilgal and the Philistines began war preparations. There were few in Saul’s army and only Saul and Jonathan had any metal spears or swords.

Chapter 14: Jonathan and his weapons bearer secretly parted from Saul’s army to battle the Philistines. Jonathan stated that if they were successful in getting into the Philistine camp it will be a sign that God has put the Philistines into their hands.

The Philistines called Jonathan and his weapons bearer into the camp which was a sign that the Philistines were put into the Israelites hands by God. Jonathan and his weapons bearer began to slaughter the Philistines and the earth shook and the Philistines became afraid. Saul and his army saw what was taking place, joined in the battle and defeated the Philistines.

Saul declared that no man shall eat until evening and anyone who does eat will be cursed. Jonathan did not hear of this declaration and he ate honey before evening. Jonathan ignored the people who told him not to eat. Instead Jonathan declared that the Philistines must be pursued and booty taken.

Many more Philistines were slaughtered and the booty was taken – meat was eaten by the Israelites with the blood still on the meat. Saul was informed of this grievous sin. Samuel ordered that all the oxen and sheep must be brought back to the camp and properly slaughtered so the sin of eating blood will cease.

Saul built an altar to God after declaring that the Israelites would attack the Philistines at night. Saul asked God if the Philistines would be defeated but God did not answer that day.

Saul asked that all the leaders come to him so he may determine who first sinned. After finding that it was Jonathan who had sinned by eating the honey, Jonathan was put under a death penalty. However, the people redeemed Jonathan for he had saved them from the Philistines.

Saul pursued the enemies of Israel and defeated the Philistines, Ammonites, Edomites, the people of Zobah, and the Amalekites. A brief outline of Saul’s family is given at the end of the chapter.

Chapter 15: Samuel came to Saul and told him that God has commanded Saul to completely destroy Amalek – every human and animal. Saul went to war against Amalek and smote all except the finest animals and King Agag whom Saul had pity on.

God came to Samuel and told him what Saul had done. When Samuel and Saul met Saul stated that he did as God commanded. However, Samuel asked Saul why he could then hear the bleating of sheep and lowing of oxen. Saul stated that the best of the animals were taken to be sacrificed to God. Samuel then went on to tell Saul what God had spoken to him regarding Saul’s actions. Saul insisted that the sheep and oxen were for sacrifices to God but Samuel said that God desires obedience more than sacrifice. Samuel went on to state that rebellion is as the sin of divination, and stubbornness is as idolatry. Since Saul has turned his back on God, God has turned His back on Saul and his kingship. Saul repented but his kingship would still be ended. Samuel had Saul bring Agag before him and Samuel slaughtered Agag.

Samuel went to Ramah, and Saul went up to his house in Giv’a. Samuel mourned for Saul but did not see him again until his death.

Saul and David

David is anointed, enters Saul’s service, and flees
Chapter 16: God told Samuel that he was to go to the house of Jesse where a new king would be anointed. Samuel went to Bet-lechem and invited Jesse and his sons to a sacrificial feast. Jesse came with seven sons to the feast. God rejected them all for kingship. Samuel inquires as to any other sons and Samuel ordered Jesse to bring the youngest son to the feast. When David arrived, God told Samuel to anoint him before his father and brothers. David was given the gift of prophecy from that day. After performing his task, Samuel returned to Ramah.

The spirit of God left Saul and was replaced by an evil spirit God sent to torment Saul. Saul’s servants suggested that they find a musician who can play music when the evil spirit is harassing Saul. Saul accepts this suggestion. David was sent to Saul and there he played music to sooth Saul.

Chapter 17: The Philistines came to battle the Israelites. In the Valley of the Terebinth. Goliath taunted the Israelites and said that if a man from Israel defeated him the Philistines would be slaves to Israel. If Goliath defeated the man from Israel, Israel would be slaves to the Philistines. The Israelites were afraid and sent no one to battle Goliath.

Jesse called to David and had him take corn and bread to his three eldest brothers who were in the army of Saul. When David arrived and spoke with his brothers, Goliath appeared and made the same statements as he had done previously. The Israelites were fearful and David questioned this fear. David’s reactions were reported to Saul and Saul commanded that David be brought before him. David made the pronouncement to Saul that he would battle Goliath. Saul questioned David’s ability to defeat Goliath. However due to David’s unwavering faith that God would allow him to defeat Goliath, Saul gave him his blessing.

David picked up five smooth stones from the brook and approached Goliath. Goliath taunted David and David spoke truths about God to Goliath. Using his slingshot and one stone, David killed Goliath by hitting him in his forehead. David then took Goliath’s own sword and cut off his head. At seeing this, the Philistines fled. The Israelites pursued the Philistines and slew them. David brought the head of Goliath and his weapons back to Jerusalem. Saul inquired as to whom slew the Philistine and David was presented before Saul – announcing that he was the son of Jesse.

Chapter 18: Saul appointed David over his armies and sent him out on campaigns. The people rejoiced at David’s prowess in battle and declared he was greater than Saul. This made Saul envious of David and he kept an eye on David from that day.

The evil spirit sent by God appeared before Saul. David played music to help sooth Saul but Saul took his spear with the intention of killing David. Due to Saul’s fear of God resting on David, he had David leave to take charge of a thousand soldiers.

Saul wished to give his eldest daughter, Merav, to David as a wife. However David refused because he felt himself of too humble a background to be a son-in-law to the king. Michal – Saul’s other daughter – was in love with David. Saul attempted to use trickery by telling David that he wished David to be his son-in-law by marrying Michal. Saul stated that the “dowry” would be 100 foreskins of the Philistines – which in reality was a trap with the hope that the Philistines would kill David. David slew 200 Philistines and Saul was forced to give Michal as a wife to David. Saul’s fear and anger grew toward David. David continued in his battles against the Philistines and defeating them time and time again.

Chapter 19: Saul told Jonathan and his servants that David was to be killed. Jonathan warned David and told him to hide. Jonathan spoke favorably of David to his father. Saul relented and said that David must not be killed.

The evil spirit sent by God returned to Saul. As David was playing music, Saul attempted to run a spear through David but David managed to escape. Saul sent messengers to David’s house to guard him and kill him in the morning. Michal warned David of the plot and helped David escape the home. David fled to Ramah and told Samuel what had occurred. David and Samuel then fled to Naioth. Saul sent three groups of messengers to kill David but each of the groups began prophesying and not carrying out their mission. Saul went to find David and fell under the same spirit of God and also began prophesying before Samuel.

Chapter 20: David fled to Jonathan to inquire as to the sin he committed that would make Saul want to kill him. Jonathan had no idea why his father wants to kill David but he comforts David and offers to assist him. At the meal on the second day when David did not appear, Jonathan told Saul that David went back to his father’s house. Saul became enraged and attempted to kill Jonathan. Jonathan knew by this rage that Saul had every intention of killing David so he could retain his kingship.

The next day, Jonathan did as he swore to David. Jonathan made a ruse of target practice as a means of communicating with David. Jonathan met with David and informed him of Saul’s intentions.

Chapter 21: David came to Nov, to Achimelech the priest who gave David the showbread to eat and Goliath’s spear for a weapon. David then arose and fled from Saul unto Achish the king of Gath. Achish recognized David and this made David afraid. David began to act as if he was mentally insane to fool Achish.

Chapter 22: David then escaped to the cave of Adullam where his brothers and others gathered around him. David then went to the king of Moav and requested that he hide David’s mother and father and would keep them safe. The king agreed and Jesse and his wife were given into the king’s care. The prophet Gad told David that he must go to the land of Judah.

Saul was told by Doeg the Edomite that David had gone to Nov, to Achimelech who gave David provisions and Goliath’s sword. Saul sent for Achimelech and inquired why he had rebelled against him by assisting David. Achimelech answered that he had not rebelled but Saul commanded that Achimelech, all the priests at Nov, and the people of Nov were to be killed for their rebellion.

Evyatar, Achimelech’s son, escaped the slaughter and ran to David. Evyatar told David what Saul had done to the priests and people of Nov. David laments that he knew Doeg was at Nov and David fears that he himself brought about this tragedy by allowing Doeg to live. David tells Evyatar to stay with him and he would protect Evyatar.

Chapter 23: David and his men went to Qe’ila, and defeated the Philistines as God commanded. The news of the Philistine defeat was relayed to Saul who again plotted to kill David. David asked God if the people of Qe’ila would give him over to Saul. God answered in the affirmative and David and his men fled.

David was in the Desert of Ziph, in the forest, and Jonathan came to David offering comfort. Jonathan said to David that he would rule as king and Saul would not capture him.

The Ziphites betrayed David and sent word to Saul that David is hiding in the forest. Saul and his men pursued David into the Desert of Ma’on. Saul and his men were closing in on David when word came that the Philistines were coming to wage battle. Saul left the pursuit and went to battle the Philistines.

Chapter 24: Saul learned that David was hiding in En-gedi and pursued him. Saul went into a cave where David and his men were hiding – unbeknownst to Saul. David discreetly cut off a corner of Saul’s coat. David repented for he should not have touched God’s anointed and he forbade his men from harming Saul.

When Saul left the cave, David came out and prostrated himself toward Saul. David showed Saul the piece of cloth and declared that he could have killed Saul had he chosen but he allowed him to live. David said that God would judge between the two of them. Upon hearing this, Saul wept and declared that David was righteous. Saul said that he knew that the kingdom was to be in David’s hands. All that Saul asked was that David not rise up against him or his household. The two departed in peace.

Chapter 25: Samuel died and was lamented by Israel. Samuel was buried in Ramah.

David went to the Desert of Paran where he heard of Naval and his wife Abigail who owned a threshing floor in Carmel. David sent messengers to offer peaceful words to Naval. Naval responded by asking who David was and why he should supply provisions to David and his men. When the messengers returned with Naval’s words, David prepared for war.

One of the youths went to Abigail and told of David’s kindness and of Naval’s evilness. Abigail led a procession of provisions to David without telling Naval. Abigail prostrated herself before David and pleaded with him to not take heed of Naval and shed any blood. David blessed Abigail, took the provisions, and sent Abigail back home in peace.

The next morning Abigail told Naval what she had done. Naval’s heart turned to stone and ten days later, God inflicted him with a stroke and he died. Upon hearing of Naval’s death, David sent a messenger to ask Abigail to be his wife. Abigail accepted and married David. David then had three wives – Michal, Achino’am, and Abigail.

Chapter 26: The Ziphites again came to Saul and informed him of David’s whereabouts. Saul and a small army went to pursue David. Upon hearing the news, David sent spies to learn what Saul was planning.

David and Avishay went into Saul’s camp and David forbid Avishay from killing Saul for he was God’s anointed and God would appoint the time of his death. David and Avishay took Saul’s spear and the jug of water and left the camp. David and Avishay crossed back to their camp and called upon Avner. David said that Avner should be killed for he did not protect Saul. Saul recognized David’s voice and repented for his sin. David returned the spear to Saul and he and David parted ways.

David seeks refuge with the Philistines, Saul is killed
Chapter 27: David and his men dwelt with Achish in Gath in an attempt to relieve themselves of Saul’s pursuits. David asked for a city for him and his men to occupy. Achish gave Ziqlag to David as his city. David and his men would go up and raid the Geshurites and the Gizrites and the Amalekites with the full knowledge of Achish. Achish believed that David would serve him forever.

Chapter 28: The Philistines encamped at Shunem where David was made bodyguard by Achish. Saul and his army encamped at Gilboa. Upon seeing the camp of the Philistines Saul became fearful. Saul made inquiries of God but God would not answer him.

Saul commanded his servants to seek out necromancers. One of the servants told Saul of a necromancer in En-dor. Saul disguised himself and went to En-dor commanding the necromancer to conjure up Samuel. Samuel rebuked Saul and asked Saul why he wanted contact with him when God had turned away from Saul. Samuel told Saul that David would become ruler and Saul and his sons would die in battle the next day at the hand of the Philistines.

Chapter 29: The Philistines gathered all their camps to Aphek, and the Israelites were encamped by the fountain which is in Yizre’el. The commanders of the Philistines demanded that Achish make David return to his home and not come to battle with them. Achish relented and told David to return home. Achish assured David that he knew David was righteous and loyal but the commanders of the Philistines did not trust him. David and his men returned home in the morning. The Philistines went to battle against Saul and his army.

Chapter 30: When David and his men came to Ziqlag, that on the third day, the Amalekites had raided the South and Ziqlag, burned it with fire, and led the people away. The people wept and threatened David. David inquired of God if he should pursue the Amalekites. God affirmed this and David went in pursuit of the Amalekites.

David’s men came across an Egyptian man and brought him to David who fed him. This man was a slave of an Amalekite who had been left behind by his master. David asked if the slave would take him to the Amalekite’s encampment. The slave agreed as long as David would not kill him or return him to his master. David’s men were led to the Amalekites where they smote them all. David recovered everything and everyone that had been captured at Ziqlag. David then proceeded to send out the spoils of the Amalekites to the elders of Judah who had befriended David.

Chapter 31: The Philistines fought the Israelites at Mount Gilboa where all three of Saul’s sons were killed. Saul became afraid of the Philistines and asked his weapons bearer to use his sword to kill him so the Philistines would not capture him alive. The weapons bearer refused and Saul took his sword and fell upon it. The weapons bearer then took his sword and also fell upon it.

The next day the Philistines came upon Saul’s body. They decapitated him and stripped him of his armor. Saul’s head and armor were sent around the Philistine cities to spread the tidings to the house of their idols and to the people. They put his armor in the house of Ashtarot, and they impaled his body on the wall of Bet-shan. The brave men of Yavesh-gil’ad heard what had happened to Saul. They went by night to Bet-shan and gathered the bodies of Saul and his sons. They took the bodies back to Yavesh where they cremated them and buried the bones in a tree. The people fasted for seven days.

Shmu’el Beit (Second Samuel)

Shmu’el Beit “lends itself to a division into three main parts: (1) David as king (i.-viii.); (2) David and his crowned princes (ix.-xx.); and (3) complementary appendixes consisting of various historical glosses (xxi.-xxiv.).”1

Sefer Shmu’el Beit can be further subdivided as follows:2

David as king

David becomes king over Judah
Chapter 1: After defeating the Amalekites, David returned to his city of Ziklag. There an Amalekite came to him with news of the deaths of Saul and Jonathan. With him, he carried the crown and armlet from Saul and gave them to David. David and the men with him rent their clothes and wept and lamented over Saul and Jonathan.

Chapter 2: David asked God if he should go to the cities of Judah. God answered in the affirmative. David and his men and all their families moved to Chevron. The men of Judah came and anointed David as king over the house of Judah. These men told David that the people of Yavesh-gil’ad buried Saul. For this, David blessed the people of Yavesh-gil’ad. Avner, the general of Saul’s army, took Ish-boshet, Saul’s son, and brought him over to Mahanayim where he made him king over all Israel. Ish-boshet reigned over Israel for two years and David ruled in Chevron over the house of Judah for 7 years and 6 months. Avner took the servants of Ish-boshet to Gibeon and waged war against Yo’av and David’s servants. Avner and his army were defeated. Asa’el, brother of Yo’av, pursued Avner. Avner warned Asa’el to leave him or he would kill Asa’el. Asa’el refused to stop the pursuit and Avner killed him. o’av and Avner had a brief exchange of words. Yo’av and his men did not pursue Avner and his men. Yo’av took Asa’el and buried him in his father’s grave in Bet-lechem. They then returned to Chevron.

Chapter 3: Six sons were born to David’s six wives while he was living in Chevron. The battle between the house of Saul and the house of David continued. Avner was working with great effort to support the house of Saul. Ish-boshet accused Avner of having a relationship with one of Saul’s concubines. As a result, Avner cursed Ish-boshet and stated that he will help to fulfill God’s command that David will be king over all Israel. Avner sent messengers to David offering to honor David’s kingship if David would make a covenant with him. David did so on the condition that Michal be returned to David as a wife. Avner did as was requested and he and David made a covenant. Yo’av and his men learned of the peace between David and Avner. Yo’av coerced Avner to return to Chevron where he killed Avner in revenge for the death of Asa’el. David cursed Yo’av and buried Avner in Chevron where David wept over Avner’s death.

Chapter 4: Ish-boshet and all of Israel was dismayed to hear of the death of Avner. While Ish-boshet was sleeping, Baanah and Rechab – two leaders of Saul’s army killed Ish-boshet. They decapitated him and took the head to David in Chevron. David cursed Baanah and Rechab for killing an innocent in his bed. David had his men killed Baanah and Rechab. David then took the head of Ish-boshet and buried it with Avner in Chevron.

David becomes king over all Israel
Chapter 5: The leaders of the tribes of Israel came to David in Chevron and anointed him king over all Israel and made a covenant with him. David was thirty when he became king. He ruled over Judah for 7 years and 6 months and over Israel and Judah for 33 years.

Conquest of Yerushalayim and defeat of the Philistines
Chapter 5: David conquered the area of Zion – which became known as the City of David – from the Jebusites. David built up the area and grew in strength. Chiram, King of Tyre, sent messengers to David, and cedar-trees, and carpenters, and stone-masons [for the building] of a wall, and they built a house for David. David took many concubines and wives from Yerushalayim. He had many sons and daughters from these relationships – including Solomon and Nathan. Upon hearing that David was anointed king the Philistines came to the valley of Rephaim to go to war. David asked God if he should go to battle and God answered in the affirmative. David defeated the Philistines at Baal-peratzim and he and his men destroyed all the idols of the Philistines. The Philistines then came back to the valley of Rephaim to make war against David. God told David to circle around back of them. David did as God commanded and he defeated the Philistines from Geva to Gezer. The ark is brought to Yerushalayim

Chapter 6: David and the people moved the Ark of the Covenant from Ba’ale-yehuda and the house of Avinadav with great fanfare and rejoicing. When the procession came to Goren-nachon, Uzza touched the Ark of the Covenant to steady it and God killed him. David became saddened about Uzza’s death and called the place Peretz-uzza. David became afraid of God and did not want to move the Ark of the Covenant any further. David kept the Ark of the Covenant in the house of Oved-edom the Gittite for three months. God blessed Oved-edom and all his household. David and the people moved that Ark of the Covenant from Oved-edom’s home to the tent that David had pitched in Yerushalayim with great celebration. David offered sacrifices to God after the Ark of the Covenant was placed in the tent. David distributed to all the people, to each individual, a loaf of bread, and a portion of meat, and a barrel of wine. And all the people departed to his home. When David returned to his household to bless it, Michal confronted him and chastised him for dancing and merrymaking. David chastised her stating that he was making merry for the honor of God. Michal was not blessed and had no children.

God’s promise to David
Chapter 7: David made known his wish to build a house for the Ark of the Covenant. God came to Nathan that night and told him to tell David that it will be David’s seed who will build the House of God. Nathan is also to tell David that the kingdom will remain forever with his seed. God stated that David’s seed would be like a son to Him and God would protect him and allow him to live in peace.

David’s victories and justice
Chapter 8: David went to battle and defeated the Philistines, Moabites, the people of Zobah and Aram, and the people of Hadadezer. Toi, the king of Hamath, sent Yoram to David with offerings of silver, gold, and copper. David added these gifts to the booty of his defeated enemies and all was saved and dedicated to God. David ruled over all the conquered land and over Israel with justice and charity. A list of his court and military men is listed.

David and his crowned princes

David’s kindness to the last of Saul’s relatives
Chapter 9: Mefivoshet, the lame son of Jonathan came before David for David wanted to do a kindness to any remaining people from the house of Saul. David gave all of Saul’s land, and Saul’s servant Ziva, to Mefivoshet. Mefivoshet continued to dwell in Yerushalayim and was treated as a member of David’s family.

David’s defeat of the Ammonites and Aramaeans
Chapter 10: David sent messengers to offer condolences and peace to Chanun the son of Nachash. Nachash was king of the Ammorites and showed kindness to David and David wanted to return the favor. Chanun’s subjects made overtones that these messengers were actually spies. Chanun shaved half their beards and cut of half of their clothes and sent them back to David. The messengers sent word to David when they reached Jericho. David told them to stay there until their beards grew back and they would not be ashamed. The Ammonites hired the Arameans to wage war against David. Yo’av went to war against the Arameans and Avishay went to war against the Ammonites. The Arameans fled in fear and upon seeing this, the Ammonites also fled in fear. The Arameans again threatened war and David defeated them. A peace agreement was signed and the Arameans were afraid to ever assist the Ammonites again.

David and Bathsheba
Chapter 11: David saw Bat-sheva from his home and had relations with her. Bat-sheva told David that she was pregnant. David sent for Uriyya and told him to go to his home and reunite with his wife. Uriyya instead slept in the doorway of David’s palace. David sent Uriyya back to the war with a message to Yo’av. David told Yo’av to place Uriyya in the fiercest battle so that Uriyya may be killed. Yo’av did as he was told and Uriyya died in battle. Bat-sheva mourned her husband. At the end of the mourning period, David married Bat-sheva and she bore him a son.

Chapter 12: Nathan was sent by God to David where Nathan told David a parable about a rich man and a poor man. Nathan then told David that he is the thieving rich man. Nathan tells David that there will be eternal fighting within David’s household due to his treachery and taking Bat-sheva as a wife. David confessed his sin and Nathan said that God had already forgiven David. However, due to this act, the son of Bath-sheva will die. After the son died and the mourning period ended David had relations with Bat-sheva. She became pregnant and bore him a son whom she named Solomon and Nathan called Yedidiah. Yo’av fought against Rabbah of the children of Ammon, and captured the royal city. Yo’av requested that David come and join the fight so he and not Yo’av would get the glory for the battle. David did as requested and when the war was won, the crown was taken from Malkam and set upon David’s head. David then became ruler over the territory of the Ammonites.

David loses his sons Amnon and Absalom
Chapter 13: Amnon, David’s son, fell in love with his sister Tamar (who was the sister of Absalom). Feigning illness, Amnon lured Tamar to his home where he raped her. Absalom learned of the treachery and had Tamar come and live under his protection. David also learned of the rape and became very angry. Two years later, Absalom lured Amnon into a trap. While Amnon was drunk, Absalom ordered his youths to kill him. They followed his orders and killed Amnon. Absalom fled, and he went to Geshur, and he was there three years.

Chapter 14: Yo’av used a wise woman from Tekoa to confront David and help him with his grief and anxiety over Absalom. Having succeeded, David told Yo’av to fetch Absalom and bring him back to Yerushalayim but not to allow him to see David. Absalom returned to Yerushalayim but did not go to meet his father. Absalom was married and had three sons and one daughter – named Tamar. After two years, Absalom twice asked Yo’av to take him to David. Yo’av refused and Absalom had his servants set Yo’av’s fields on fire. After confronting Absalom, Yo’av reported to David what had occurred and David had Absalom come to meet him.

Chapter 15: Absalom treated all those who came to the king’s court with courtesy in order to curry favor with them. After forty years, Absalom asked permission from David to go to Chevron and fulfill a vow he made to God. Absalom was given permission and when he went to Chevron he sent spies to every tribe telling them that when they hear the shofar, they are to declare Absalom king in Chevron. Achitofel the Gilonite, David’s counselor reported to David that the people were backing Absalom. David decided to flee to the Mount of Olives. David sent Chushay the Archite back to Yerushalayim to set up a spy ring to report on Absalom’s activities.

Chapter 16: David came across Ziva the servant of Mefivoshet carrying provisions on the Mount of Olives. Ziva reported that Mefivoshet stated that Saul’s kingdom would be given to him. David told Ziva that the provisions he carried were now granted to Ziva. David came to Bachurim where he was physically and verbally assaulted by Shim’i, the son of Gera of the house of Saul. Avishay requested that David allow him to kill Shim’i but David told Avishay to leave Shim’i alone. Chushay did as David instructed and feigned loyalty to Absalom. Achitofel was counsel for Absalom. Achitofel told Absalom that he should show all of Israel his contempt for David by having relations with David’s concubines that still resided in Yerushalayim. Absalom took his advice.

Chapter 17: Achitofel requested that he lead an army on Absalom’s behalf and pursue David that very day. Absalom called Chushay in for his counsel. Chushay told Absalom that it would be wiser for Absalom to call the people of Israel to him and for Absalom to lead the army himself. Chushay said to Zadok and Evyatar the priests what had occurred. They dispatched Ahimaaz and Jonathan to David with the news. A youth spotted them and told Absalom where Ahimaaz and Jonathan were located. Zadok and Evyatar fled to a house in Bachurim where they were hid. The woman who hid them told Absalom’s servants that Zadok and Evyatar returned to Yerushalayim because they could not find David. After the servants left, Zadok and Evyatar found David and told him everything concerning Absalom. Achitofel, seeing that his counsel was disregarded, hung himself at his house in his city. Israel and Absalom encamped in the land of Gilead and David and his men camped in Machanayim. Shobi the son of Nahash, Machir the son of Ammiel, and Barzillai the Gileadite brought provisions to David and his men and Machanayim.

Chapter 18: David set Yo’av, Avishay, and Ittay as commanders over the army. David had made plans to go to battle but the people counseled him to remain behind so he could carry on the fight if David’s army was defeated. David told Yo’av, Avishay, and Ittay to be gentle with Absalom. The battle took place in the forest of Ephraim. Absalom’s army was being defeated and in his attempt to continue the battle Absalom ran through thick boughs of the great terebinth and was hanging by his hair in the terebinth. Yo’av and ten of his men struck and killed Absalom while he was still alive. They cast Absalom in the forest, into the great pit, and they placed over him a very large heap of stones. The army of Israel fled. Achima’az was sent by Yo’av to deliver the news of victory to David. Achima’az could not answer David as to the state of Absalom for he did not know. The Cushite arrived with news for David also. The Cushite responded cryptically to David’s inquires about Absalom that Absalom’s fate should be the fate of all of David’s enemies.

Chapter 19: David mourned over the death of his son and the people mourned because David mourned. Yo’av confronted David for not appearing to be concerned over those who fought for him but instead is mourning over his own enemies. David sent word to Zadok and to Evyatar the priests to speak to the people of Judah asking if they would accept David back. The people relented and requested that David return back to Yerushalayim. The people of the house of Saul and the people of Judah came and greeted David on his way back to Yerushalayim. David forgave Shim’i for insulting and attacking him on the Mount of Olives. David forgave Mefivoshet for not following him. He told Mefivoshet to split his estate with Ziva since Ziva had been loyal to David. Mefivoshet instead gave all he owned to his servant Ziva. The men of Israel and the men of Judah continued to wage verbal battle over David and their closeness to him.

Chapter 20: Sheva the son of Bichri declared that the men of Israel have no portion of David and called all of Israel to return to their homes. Upon returning to Yerushalayim, David had the ten concubines that Absalom defiled put into a separate home where they were cared for but they lived as widows whose husband was still alive. Amasa was sent out to call together the men of Judah. However after the allotted three days, Amasa did not return to David so David sent out Yo’av and Avishay to pursue Sheva. Yo’av found Amasa at the walls of Giv’on. Yo’av feigned a friendly embrace but instead killed Amasa. Yo’av and Avishay continued their pursuit of Sheva and found him at Avel of Bet-ma’acha. A woman came and inquired why Yo’av would try to destroy the peaceful city. Yo’av informed the woman of Avel about Sheva’s treachery. The woman went to the people of Avel and told them of Sheva’s treachery. The people caught Sheva and killed him. A listing of court appointments is given at the end of the chapter.

Complementary appendixes consisting of various historical glosses

Appendix – final reflections on David’s reign
Chapter 21: There was a famine for three years in the land. God told David that it was due to Saul’s attempt to kill the Gibeonites even though Israel vowed to protect them. David called together the Gibeonites and asked what he could do for them so the famine would be lifted from the land. The Gibeonites requested that seven from among Saul’s sons be given to them so they may hang them. David relented and gave them seven of Saul’s family. Rizpah who had two sons taken by David mourned over her lose. Upon hearing of Rizpha’s mourning, David took the seven hanged men as well as the bones of Saul and Jonathan and had them interred in the sepulcher of Kish. The Philistines waged numerous battled against the Israelites but were defeated every time.

Chapter 22: This chapter consists of a song of praise written by David in praise of God’s deliverance of him from his enemies.

Chapter 23: This chapter consists of David’s recounting of the deeds of the mighty, righteous men who fought alongside David.

Chapter 24: This chapter consists of David’s recounting of his own deeds with an emphasis on the altars he built to God and of his purchasing the threshing floor as a space to build the House of God.

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1Books of Samuel [http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=131&letter=S&search=book%20of%20samuel]
2Book of Samuel [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Books_of_Samuel]

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Sefer Melakhim – or the Book of Kings – is a single book that has been split into two books by Christianity beginning with the Septuagint and continuing into the Vulgate. In most Tanachs, Sefer Melakhim has continued to be split into two books but is traditionally considered one book.

Sefer Melakhim is the fourth book in the Nevi’im (Prophets) section of the Tanach and is part of the Nevi’im Rishonim – Former Prophets. This sefer was written by Jeremiah. Sefer Melakhim contains the accounts of the kings of the ancient Kingdom of Israel and the Kingdom of Judah. This sefer includes the annals of the Jewish commonwealth from the ascension of Solomon through the time of the subjugation of the kingdom by Nebuchadnezzar.1

Melakhim Aleph (First Kings)

Melakhim Aleph can be divided into the following parts:2

David and Solomon

Chapter 1: Adonijah forms a plot with Joab and Abiathar to seize the kingdom from the aging King David. Bath-sheba hears of the plot and along with the prophet Nathan, foils Adonijah’s plot. Solomon is anointed and crowned king and successor of David.

Chapter 2: David charged Solomon to keep in the ways of God – to follow all God’s statutes and laws and all that is written in the Books of Moses. David tells Solomon to not allow Yo’av or Shim’i to die natural deaths. However, Solomon is to show kindness to the children of Barzillay the Gil’adite. Adoniyyahu asks Solomon to give him David’s concubine, Avishag, as a wife. Adoniyyahu is subsequently killed by Benayahu upon Solomon’s command for his unseemly request. Evyatar is deposed from the priesthood but his life is spared by Solomon. Yo’av and Shim’i are killed by Benayahu at the command of Solomon for their past crimes against David.

Solomon

Chapter 3: Solomon married the daughter of Par’o and he continued to walk in the ways of his father. God appeared to Solomon in a night vision asking Solomon what God could give him in honor of Solomon’s obedience to God. Solomon asked for an understanding heart to judge between the people and wisdom to discern between good and bad. God was pleased with Solomon’s request and gave him a wise and understanding heart as well as great wealth and honor. Two harlots came before Solomon both claiming a child. Solomon ordered the child to be split into two and half given to each woman. The one harlot spoke out and said not to slay the child but to give him to the other woman. The second harlot spoke out and said to split the child. Solomon judged that the first woman was to get the child for he knew by her action that the child belonged to her. All of Israel heard of the judgment and the wisdom of Solomon.

Chapter 4: The “princes” of Solomon’s court are listed as well as the twelve officers appointed over all Israel.

Chapter 5: Solomon reigned peacefully with his neighbors and they brought him offerings every day. Solomon had 40,000 stalls of horses for his chariots and 12,000 horsemen. Solomon’s wisdom grew and he taught many wise sayings. People from all around learned of his wisdom and came to hear his teachings. Hiram King of Tyre – an ally of David – sent servants to Solomon in honor of Solomon becoming king. Solomon sent word to Hiram that he wished to form an agreement where Hiram would provide the cedars of Lebanon to Solomon to build the Beit HaMikdash. Hiram agreed to provider Solomon with cedar and cypress wood in exchange for wheat and oil. Solomon conscripted 780,000 men – who worked with the men provided by Hiram – as workers to build the Beit HaMikdash.

Chapter 6: Solomon began building the Beit HaMikdash in the second month of his reign – 480 years after the Exodus from Egypt. A description of the Beit HaMikdash’s construction is given. God tells Solomon that if the people will continue to walk in the ways of God, He will continue to dwell among the Children of Israel and will not forsake them. After seven years, the Beit HaMikdash was completed.

Chapter 7: A description of Solomon’s house and place of judgment is described and was built over 13 years. The copper vessels were made by Hiram and placed within the Beit HaMikdash complex. These included the two pillars in front of the Beit HaMikdash, the ten bases, ten lavers, large laver that sat upon twelve oxen, as well as all the pots, shovels, and basins as needed. All the gold vessels were also made. These included the altar of gold, the table of showbread, ten menorahs, lamps, tongs, bowls, musical instruments, basins, spoons, and door hinges. All the silver, gold, and vessels that David dedicated to the Beit HaMikdash were brought by Solomon into the Beit HaMikdash treasury.

Chapter 8: The priests brought the Aron HaBrit, the Mishkan, and all the sacred vessels to the Beit HaMikdash. Sacrifices were made and the priests carried the Aron HaBrit into the Holy of Holies. As soon as the priests left the Holy of Holies, the presence of God filled the Beit HaMikdash. Solomon blessed the Children of Israel, prayed to God, and offered sacrifices.

Chapter 9: God appeared to Solomon a second time telling him that God has heard Solomon’s supplications. God promised Solomon that if Solomon would walk in the ways of God and keep the mitzvot, the throne of the kingdom of Israel would remain forever in Solomon and his descendant’s hands. God also warned that is Solomon and the Children of Israel break the mitzvot and worship foreign gods, the people would be cut out from the land and the Beit HaMikdash would be destroyed. Solomon gave Hiram 20 cities in the Galilee as further payment and a show of appreciation for supplying the needed cedar and cypress wood. Solomon continued to raise a levy of taxes to maintain the Beit HaMikdash, rebuild the cities of Hazor, Megiddo, Gezer, Bet-horon, Ba’alat, and Tadmor, and pursue other architectural projects. The levy of forced labor was taken from the remaining people of the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. Solomon built a ship in Ezyon-gever and Hiram sent ships, servants, and seafarers to accompany Solomon’s ship. They came to Ophir, and obtained from there gold-four hundred and twenty talents, and delivered [it] to King Solomon.

Chapter 10: The Queen of Sheva came to test Solomon with riddles. Upon his answering her riddles truthfully and correctly and seeing his kingdom, she believed that Solomon was as wise as he was purported to be. She gave him gifts of gold, precious stones, and spices. The men brought from Ophir a huge quantity of almog-wood and precious stones. Solomon used the wood to make a path to the Beit HaMikdash and to his palace. He also used the wood to make harps and psalteries to [accompany] the vocalists. Solomon blessed the Queen of Sheva, gave her gifts and she returned to her home. Solomon built body shields, a throne, and various vessels for himself from the precious stones and gold. Solomon transcended all the kings of the earth with affluence and wisdom.

Chapter 11: Solomon loved many foreign women who were forbidden to him and the Children of Israel. For God has said not to mingle with these foreigners for they will lead the Children of Israel to foreign gods. Solomon had 700 hundred royal wives and 300 concubines who turned Solomon’s heart from complete devotion to God. Solomon went after Ashoret, the goddess of the Zidonians and after Milkom the abomination of the Ammonites. Solomon built an altar for Kemosh, a god of the Moabites and an altar for Molech, god of the Ammonites. Solomon offered sacrifices and incense to these foreign gods. For this, God told Solomon that his kingdom would be torn apart under the kingship of his son. God raised up Hadad, the Edomite and Rezon, the son of Elyada as enemies to Solomon. Ahiyya the prophet sought out Yarov’am, a servant of Solomon’s, and told him that God would give him ten tribes as his own kingdom but set aside Yerushalayim and the other tribes for Solomon and his son. Solomon put Yarov’am under the penalty of death but he escaped to Egypt where he remained until Solomon’s death. Solomon ruled for 40 years and upon his death he was buried in Yerushalayim. Solomon’s son, Rehav’am became king over Israel.

Chapter 12: Rehav’am went to Shechem to be crowned king. Upon hearing this, Yarov’am and the Children of Israel pleaded with Rehav’am to lighten the levy of taxes and labor. Rehav’am said he would make a decision in three days. Rehav’am took counsel with the elders who served Solomon. They advised him to speak kind words to the people and they will follow him. Rehav’am dismissed their advice. Rehav’am took counsel with his peers. They advised him to speak harshly and increase the burden on the people. On the third day, Rehav’am spoke harshly to Yarov’am and the people for God had caused him to dismiss the counsel of the elders so the prophecy regarding Yarov’am would come to pass. Israel– with the exception of the tribe of Judah – revolted against Rehav’am and they made Yarov’am king over them. Shema’ya the prophet spoke to Rehav’am and his followers and told them not to make war against Yarov’am and Israel. Rehav’am and his followers heeded Shema’ya’s words and they returned to their homes. Yarov’am built up Shechem and lived there. He also built Penu’el. Yarov’am feared that is his people would go to offer sacrifices at the Beit HaMikdash they will turn toward Rehav’am. If this happens they will kill him and return to Rehav’am as their king. As a result of this fear, Yarov’am made two golden calves and placed one in Bet-El and the other in Dan. He told the people that it is too far to go to the Beit HaMikdash so he offered them these calves as the gods of the Kingdom of Israel. Yarov’am made altars and ordained priests over these gods. He also made a festival in the eighth month on the fifteenth day of the month as a replacement for the festival of Sukkot that takes place in the seventh month. He brought up offerings and incense to the altar at Bet-El.

Kings and Prophets

Chapter 13: Iddo came to Bet-El to prophecy to Yarov’am saying that a man named Josiah from the House of David would slaughter the priests of the high places erected by Yarov’am. Iddo said that the sign would be the altar splitting and ashes pouring out. Yarov’am put his hand out over the altar and the altar split and the ashes poured out. Yarov’am asked Iddo to come back to his home and eat with him. Iddo refused for God told him not eat or drink in that place and not to go back to the Kingdom of Judah by the same route. An elderly prophet was told by his son everything that had taken place between Iddo and Yarov’am. The prophet searched for Iddo and found him under a terebinth. The prophet entreated Iddo to come and dine with him but Iddo refused. The prophet stated that he himself was a prophet and God told him to bring Iddo back to his house for a meal. Iddo relented and returned with the prophet to his home. While they were seated at the table God spoke to the prophet and told him to rebuke Iddo for not following God’s commands. God, through the prophet, said that Iddo would not be buried with his forefathers due to his disobedience. Iddo left the prophet’s home but was killed by a lion. The prophet retrieved the body of Iddo and buried him. The prophet told his children that when he dies he is to buried beside Iddo. Yarov’am did not turn from his evil ways. He continued to sacrifice and ordain priests for the idols.

Chapter 14: Aviyya, the son of Yarov’am became sick. Yarov’am sent his wife to Shiloh to inquire of Achiyya what should be done with their son. When Yarov’am’s wife arrived, Achiyya spoke to her the words of God. God, through Achiyya, said that since Yarov’am did not keep Torah and mitzvot, he was cursed. God said that every male child would be cut off within Yarov’am’s household and the house of Yarov’am would be destroyed. Many will die in the city of Yarov’am – including the son. God will cause a man to rise up who will utterly destroy and disperse Yarov’am’s house and the people of his kingdom. The years of Yarov’am’s rule was 22 years and Nadav came to rule in his stead. The people of the Kingdom of Judah also built high places, monuments, and trees for idol worship. Adultery and other abominations were also present in the land. In the fifth year of Rehav’am’s reign, God set Shishaq, the king of Egypt, against Yerushalayim. Shishaq took the Temple treasures and the treasures of the king’s palace. There was a constant war between Rehav’am and Yarov’am. After 17 years of reigning, Rehav’am died and was buried with his forefathers in the City of David. His son, Aviyyam took over his throne.

Chapter 15: Aviyyam ruled for two years and continued his father’s idolatrous practices. He died and was buried with his forefathers. His son, Asa then ruled over Judah. Asa rules for 41 years and did was just in God’s eyes for he removed the idols and idolaters from the land but he did not destroy the high places. There was war between Asa and Ba’asha, king of Israel all their days. Ba’asha set up a great tower to prevent the people of Judah leaving or entering the land. In reponse Asa sent silver and gold to Ben-hadad, king of Aram, asking him to break his treaty with Ba’asha. Ben-hadad did as requested and launched attacks against cities in Israel. Upon hearing of this, Ba’asha discontinued the building of the tower and went to the city of Tirza. Asa commanded the people of Judah to take the stones from the tower and build Geva and Mizpa. Asa died and was buried with his forefathers. His son, Yehoshafat took over the throne of Judah. Ba’asha had come to power by killing Nadav and destroying the house of Yarov’am. He ruled from Tirza for 24 years and did what was evil in the sight of God.

Chapter 16: Yehu was sent to Ba’asha where God told Ba’asha, through Yehu, that Ba’asha and his household will be expunged just as Yarov’am’s household was expunged. Ba’asha died and was buried with his forefathers. His son Ela took over the throne of Israel and ruled from Tirza for two years. Ela’s servant Zimri plotted and ultimately killed Ela. Zimri then ruled in Ela’s place and destroyed the house of Ba’asha. After ruling for seven days, the people of Israel were angered over Zimri’s rebellion and appointed Omri king of Israel. Omri and the people of Israel conquered Tirza and Zimri was killed. The people of Israel were divided – half wanted Omri for king and half wanted Tivni for king. The followers of Omri overpowered the followers of Tivni. Tivni was killed and Omri became king and ruled for 12 years. Omri bought the mountain of Shomeron from Shemer and built a city named Shomeron. Omri did what was evil in the eyes of God. He died and was buried in Shomeron. His son, Ah’av then ruled. Ah’av ruled in Shomeron for 22 years and did what was evil in the eyes of God. He took Izevel as a wife and built altars to Baal and Ashera in Shomeron. Hi’el built Jericho and laid the foundation with his son Aviram and the gates with his son Seguv.

Chapter 17: Eliyahu confronted Ah’av as God commanded him stating that rain and dew would not fall in Israel. Eliyahu was then told by God to hide in the brook of Kerit where he shall drink from the brook and be fed by the ravens. After a time the brook dried up because there was no rain. God then told Eliyahu to go to Zarefat where a widow would feed him. Eliyahu did as he was commanded. The widow stated that she did not have enough to feed Eliyahu plus herself and her son. However, Eliyahu told her not to fear for she and her son would have enough to eat for many days by the miracle of God. The widow’s son died. Eliyahu prayed to God and asked for the life to be brought back to the child. God heard him and the widow’s son was brought back to life.

Chapter 18: After three years of no rain, God told Eliyahu to go and confront Ah’av. During this time, Izevel cut off the prophets from the land. Ovadiah hid 100 prophets in caves and nourished them. In search of food and water for his animals, Ovadiah came across Eliyahu. Eliyhau ordered Ovadiah to return to Ah’av and announce Eliyahu’s arrival. Ah’av came to Eliyahu and Eliyahu commanded that Ah’av bring together all the people of Israel and the prophets of Ba’al on Har Karmel. Eliyahu gave a challenge to the 450 prophets of Ba’al. He challenged them to see if their idol would consume the bull sacrifice. They failed. Eliyahu then built an altar of 12 stones with a trench around it. He then placed the bull sacrifice upon the altar and had water poured over the wood and the sacrifice. Eliyahu prayed to God and God sent down a fire and consumed the sacrifice, wood, stones, and water. Eliyahu then had the priests of Ba’al captured and slain. Eliyahu then told Ah’av to return home for rain was coming. Eliyahu was given strength by God and he ran ahead of Ah’av until he arrived at Yizre’el.

Elijah and Elisha

Chapter 19: Ah’av told Izevel that Eliyahu slew the priest of Ba’al. Upon hearing this, Izevel sent a threatening message to Eliyahu. Upon hearing this message, Eliyahu ran to Be’er-sheva. Eliyahu arrived in the desert where an angel was sent to feed and provide water to Eliyahu. This food and water was enough to sustain for Eliyahu on Har Horev for 40 days and 40 nights. Eliyahu despaired in the cave believing that he alone was left to follow in the ways of God. God told Eliyahu to go to Damascus where he is to anoint Haza’el king over Aram. Eliyahu is also told to anoint Yehu as king over Israel and Elisha is to replace Eliyahu as prophet. Eliyahu went and found Elisha who followed Eliyahu and learned from him.

Chapter 20: Ben-hadad waged war against Ah’av and conquered Shomeron. Prophet Micaiah was sent to Ah’av to tell him that God would give Ben-hadad into his hands. Ah’av did as he was told and defeated Ben-hadad. Prophet Micaiah again went to Ah’av and told him to gather an army for Ben-hadad would come to wage war in the coming months. Ben-hadad again waged war against Israel at Afeq. Prophet Micaiah told Ah’av that God would again give the army of Ben-hadad into his hands. Israel defeated the army of Ben-hadad but Ben-hadad escaped. Ben-hadad and Ah’av formed a treaty. Prophet Micaiah told Ah’av to kill Ben-hadad but Ah’av refused. Prophet Micaiah told Ah’av that because he disobeyed God a lion would kill him.

Chapter 21: Ah’av tried to persuade Navot to give him his vineyard. However, Navot refused. Upon hearing of this, Izevel devised a plan. Izevel sent a letter to the elders and officials and requested that they place Navot on trial. At this trial his is to be charged with cursing God and the king. Upon conviction, Navot is to be stoned to death. The elders did as requested and Navot was stoned to death. Upon hearing this, Izevel told Ah’av to take possession of Navot’s vineyard. Eliyahu was told by God to confront and curse Ah’av and Izevel for Navot’s murder. Upon hearing this, Ah’av submitted to God and for this God told Eliyahu that the disaster that would have befallen Ah’av will befall his son.

Chapter 22: After three years of peace between Israel and Aram, Yehoshafat visited Ah’av. Ahav requested that Yehoshafat join him in retaking Ramot-gil’ad. Yehoshafat agreed if the prophets agreed. All the prophets of the idols said that God would deliver the city into Ah’av’s hands. However, Yehoshafat wanted to hear from a prophet of God. Ahav had Micaiah brought to him. Micaiah said that Ah’av should go and conquer the city but Ah’av would not survive the battle. Micaiah also told Ah’av that the prophets in his court were filled with a spirit of God that caused them to lie. Ah’av turned Micaiah over to Amon who was to place him in prison until Ah’av came back from his campaign. Ah’av and Yehoshafat went to battle against the king of Aram. Ah’av had Yehoshafat dress in his garb in an attempt to have the army of Aram mistake him for the king of Israel and kill him. This plan did not work for the army discovered the deceit and killed Ah’av. Ahav was buried in Sheomeron and his son Ahazyahu took over his throne. Yehoshafat reigned for 25 years and walked in the ways of God. He was buried with his forefathers in the City of David. Yehoram took over the kingship of Judah. Ahazyahu reigned after Ah’av as king of Israel. He did wicked in the sight of God.

Melakhim Beit (Second Kings)

Melachim Beit can be divided into the following parts:2

Ahav and Elisha

Chapter 1: Moav rebelled against Israel after Ahav’s death. Ahazya fell ill and he sent messengers to inquire of Ba’al-zevuv, the god of Ekron, whether he would heal. An angel came to Eliyyahuhu telling him to confront the messengers and prophecy to them that Ahazya would die. Eliyyahu did as he was told and the messengers returned to Ahazya and told him what was prophesied. The messengers told the king that it was Eliyyahu who prophesied the king’s death. Ahazya sent out a captain and his fifty men to ask Eliyyahu to come to the king. All were killed by fire from heaven. A second captain and his fifty men were dispatched and were also killed by fire from heaven. A third captain and his fifty men were dispatched. This time, the captain came to Eliyyahu and prostrated himself asking for mercy on himself and his men. This time, and angel came to Eliyyahu and told him to go with the man. Eliyyahu went to the king and told him that since he chose to inquire of Ba’al-zevuv about his injuries, he would die. Ahazya did die and Yehoram ruled in his stead.

Chapter 2: Eliyyahu and Elisha traveled together. Three times Eliyyahu asked Elisha to stay behind and not travel with him. Elisha insisted on travelling with Eliyyahu. They traveled to Beit-el, Yericho, and the Yarden. At each stop, men came and told Elisha that Eliyyahu was to be taken that day. Elisha told these men that he was aware of this and to keep their tongues quiet. When Eliyyahu and Elisha reached the Yarden. Eliyyahu used his mantle to split the water so they could cross on dry land. When they reached the other side, Eliyyahu asked Elisha what Eliyyahu should do for him. Elisha responded that he wished to be blessed with twice the portion of spirit that rested upon Eliyyahu. Eliyyahu responded that if Elisha saw him taken into heaven, he request would be granted. As they began their travels again, a fiery chariot separated them and Eliyyahu was taken into heaven. Elisha cried out to God and taking Eliyyahu’s mantle, Elisha split the Yarden and crossed on dry land. The disciples of the prophets from Yericho went on a search for Eliyyahu but could not find him. Elisha chastised them and told them that they should have listened to him for Elisha knew their search would be in vain. The people of Yericho told Elisha that the water was bad and people were dying. Elisha added salt to the water and told the people that God had cursed the waters but now the waters are cured. On his way to Beit-el, boys came out to the road and taunted Elisha. In anger, he turned and cursed the boys, causing to bears to come from the woods and kill the boys. Elisha then traveled to Har Karmel and then returned to Shomeron.

Chapter 3: Yehoram reigned in Israel for twelve years. He did remove the Baal that his father had made but he still clung to the other sins and did what was bad in the eyes of God. The king of Moav paid tribute to the king of Israel until Ahav died. Due to Moav’s rebellion, Yehoram counted the people of Israel and requested that Yehoshafat, king of Judah, assist him in his war with Moav. Yehoshafat agrees. Yehoram, Yehoshafat, and the king of Edom travelled for seven days to make war against Moav. When they could find no water, the three wept and assumed they would be given into the hand of Moav. Yehoram’s servant mentioned Elisha as being a prophet. The three kings decided to go and meet with Elisha for guidance. Elisha prophesied that Moav would be delivered into the hands of the three kings. The three kings went to war against Moav and completely decimated the kingdom.

Chapter 4: On his travels, a woman came to Elisha stating that her husband died and now the creditors are taking her sons as slave to pay the debts. Elisha performed a miracle for her and overflowed her house with jugs of oil. She was able to pay the debts and live on the money from the oil. Elisha traveled to Shunem where he often stayed at the home of a married couple. The woman and her husband made a small chamber for Elisha where he could stay when he traveled to the area. Elisha wished to do a kindness for the woman. Elisha’s servant Gehazi suggested that she be blessed with a son. Elisha called to the woman and told her that she would conceive and give birth to a son. The following year, the Shunemite woman gave birth to a son. He grew up and one day was working in the fields with his father. Upon complaining of an illness, the boy was taken to his mother where he died in her arms. The Shunemite woman came and cried to Elisha about her dead son. Elisha went to her house and prayed to God. God caused a miracle to occur and the child was brought back to life. When Elisha returned to Gilgal there was a famine in the land. Elisha performed a miracle and a pot of stew and twenty loaves of bread fed 100 men with some remaining left over.

Chapter 5: Na’aman, the general of the king of Aram, suffered from zaraath. That Arameans captured a girl from Shomeron who told her mistress that Na’aman should go to the prophet in Shomeron who would heal him. Na’aman came to Elisha’s house. Elisha called out and told Na’aman tol immerse seven times in the Yarden and he will be cleaned. Na’aman became incensed for Elisha did not come out of his house and call upon God to heal him. Na’aman’s servants convinced him to go and immerse himself. He did what Elisha told him and he became clean. Na’aman returned to Elisha declaring that only God is God and offered a gift to Elisha but Elisha refused. Gehazi, Elisha’s servant, ran after Na’aman. When he caught up to Na’aman, Gehazi falsely stated that Elisha sent him to tell Na’aman that two youths were in need of money and clothing. Na’aman gave the money and clothing and Gehazi returned to Elisha’s home. Elisha confronted Gehazi about where he had gone. The servant lied and said that he had not left the house. Upon this deceit, Elisha cursed his servant with Na’aman’s zaraath.

Elisha’s Career

Chapter 6: The king of Aram was waging war against Israel. He planned a secret attack but Elisha warned the king of Israel about the plot. The king of Israel took precautions and the king of Aram thus believed that he had a spy amongst his men. The king of Aram called his servants and asked who the spy was amongst his men. A servant explained that it was Elisha who was the one that told the king of Israel about the plan. The king of Aram sent his army to surround the city where Elisha stayed. Elisha prayers to God and the surrounding mountains were full of fiery chariots that surrounded Elisha. Elisha prayed again and the army of Aram was blinded. Elisha then led the army to Shomeron. When he reached Shomeron, Elisha prayed for God to open the eyes of the army. The king of Israel asked Elisha if he should slaughter the army. Elisha commanded the king to offer the army food and water and let them return to their master. After this, the army of Aram never invaded Israel again. A famine was in the land of Shomeron. The king of Israel mourned for the famine and the besiegement of Shomeron. The king sent a man to kill Elisha because he believed that it was Elisha’s fault that there was a famine.

Chapter 7: Elisha told the king of Israel’s officer to hearken to the word of God and the famine will be lifted. There were four men afflicted with zaraath at the gate of Shomeron. They decided to go to the Aramean camp and defect as an attempt to survive due to the famine. When they reached the edge of the camp, they discovered it had been deserted. God caused the Aramean army to hear chariots and believe the king of Israel was attacking them. They left behind all their property and fled. The four men ate and collected the gold and silver from the camp. They decided it was not right to keep this to themselves so they reported their finds to the guard at the gate of Shomeron. The guard then carried the message to the king of Israel. The king sent out two riders to scout the camp and ensure the king that the Aramean army was not laying in wait for them. The riders came back with the news of the abandoned camp. Thereupon the people of Shomeron went and plundered the camp.

Chapter 8: Elisha spoke to the woman whose son he revived and told her a famine was coming. She took his advice and she and her family left the city for seven years and lived amongst the Philistines to avoid the famine. Upon returning to the city, the woman went to the king to request her land and crops be returned to her. Elisha’s servant, Gehazi, told the king about Elisha reviving her dead son. The king ordered that all her property and the produce from her fields for the last seven years to be returned to her. Elisha went to Damascus when Ben-Hadad was ill. Ben-Hadad sent Hazael with gifts for Elisha and to inquire whether or not Ben-Hadad will live. Hazael met with Elisha and Elisha told him to tell Ben-Hadad that he would live – even though God allowed Elisha to see that he would actually die. Elisha began to cry. When Hazael inquired to Elisha’s sorrow Elisha told Hazael that he was given the vision that Hazael would attack the Children of Israel and slaughter them. Hazael asked how this could happen and Elisha told him that he would be the next king of Aram. Hazael returned to Ben-Hadad and told him that he would live. The next day, Ben-Hadad died and Hazael became king. Yehoram became king of Judah at the age of 32 and reigned for eight years. He took for himself a daughter of Ah’av to be his wife and he did what was evil in the sight of God. Edom and Libnah rebelled under Yehoram’s rule. After Yehoram died and was buried in the City of David, Ahazyahu – his son – became king over Judah. He was 22 when he became king and reigned for one year. Ahazyahu did what was evil in the eyes of God. He went with Yoram the son of Ah’av to war with Hazael, king of Aram, in Ramot- gil’ad; and the Arameans struck Yoram. After returning from his defeat by Hazael, Ahazyahu went down to see Yoram the son of Ahav in Jezreel, because he was ill.

Chapter 9: Elisha summoned Yonah the son of Amittai and told him to go to Ramot-gil’ad. Once there he was to take Yehu, the son of Yehoshafat into an inner chamber. There Yonah is to pour oil on Yehu’s head and declare that according to God’s command, Yehu is king over Israel. After anointing Yehu, Yonah told the prophecy that Yehu is to attack the house of Ah’av to carry out God’s retribution. God has said that Ah’av’s male descendents shall be cut off. In addition, Izevel will be eaten by dogs and nobody will bury her. Yehu revolted against Yoram at Ramot-gil’ad. Yehoram and Ahazyahu went to meet Yehu and asking if he came in peace. Yehu cursed them both. Yehoram turned and fled. As he did, Yehu used his bow and killed Yehoram. Ahazyahu then fled himself and was followed and killed by Yehu. Yehu came to Yizre’el. Upon hearing this Izevel painted her eyes and sat in the window. Yehu ordered two eunuchs to push her out the window. After her fall, the order was given to bury her. However, the only parts of her left were her skull, the feet, and the palms of her hands.

Yehu’s Iniquities

Chapter 10: Yehu sent letters to Ah’av’s sons telling them to choose the best of the sons and place them upon Ah’av’s throne. The letter was answered in the negative – they would not choose a king and would only follow Yehu’s instructions. Yehu sent a second letter. The people followed Yehu’s instructions and slaughtered the sons of Ah’av. Yehu went on to kill those who remained from the house of Ah’av in Jezreel. ehu went to Shomeron. On his way, he came across the brothers of Ahazyahu whereupon, he ordered his men to slaughter all 42 brothers. Yehu then met Yehonadav along the road. Yehu took Yehonadav with him to Shomeron where he killed the remainder of Ah’av’s house. Yehu declared that he would worship Baal and called together all Baal worshippers for a grand celebration. Yehu then showed his hand and had all the Baal worshippers killed and the Baal temples and altars destroyed. Thus, Baal was removed from Israel. Yehu was promised that his descendants of the fourth generation would sit on the throne of Israel. However, Yehu did not whole-heartedly follow God’s commands. Due to his sins, God caused Haza’el to smite Israel. Yehu died after reigning for 28 years in Shomeron and was succeeded by his son Yeho’ahaz.

Chapter 11: When Atalya, Ahazyahu’s mother, learned of his death she rose up and destroyed all those of royal descent. Yehosheva, Yoram’s daughter and Ahazyahu’s sister, secreted away Ahazyahu’s son Yoash and hid him from Atalya. He remained in the Temple for six years. In the seventh year of Yoash’s staying in the Temple, Yehoyada, the priest, brought the officers of the hundreds to meet the child. Yehoyada gave the officers the shields and spears of David that were kept at the Temple in order that they may safeguard the Yoram. Yehoyada brought Yoram out in front of the people and crowned him king. Atalya, witnessing this coronation, rent her clothes and cried out Revolt! Yehoyada had the officers of the hundreds take her away to the palace and execute her. A covenant was made between God, the people, and Yoram. The people destroyed the temples of Baal and slaughtered the priests of Baal. Yoram sat on the throne of the kings.

Chapter 12: Yeho’ash became king when he was seven and he sat on the throne of Jerusalem for 40 years. Yeho’ash did what was proper in the sight of God but the high places where people offered sacrifices were not removed. Yeho’ash commanded that the money collected at the Temple should be used to restore and repair the Temple. However in the 23rd year of Yeho’ash, the priests did not strengthen the damages to the Temple. After being reprimanded by Yeho’ash, Yehoyada the priest set up a chest in which to collect money from those visiting the Temple. After the money was collected, it was given to tradesmen to make the necessary repairs. Haza’el the king of Aram, went to war against Gat and defeated the city. The king then turned his face toward Jerusalem. Yeho’ash took all that was hallowed and all the money from the Temple and gave it to Haza’el. This caused Haza’el to turn from his march on Jerusalem. The servants rose up in revolt against Yeho’ash. The servants Yozakhar and Yehozavad killed Yeho’ash. Yeho’ash was buried in the City of David with his forefathers. His son Amazya reigned in his stead.

Chapter 13: In the 23rd year of Yeho’ash, Yeho’ahaz reigned over Israel in Shomeron for 17 years. He did what was evil in the sight of God and God caused Haza’el to defeat Israel. Yeho’ahaz prayed to God for relief from Haza’el’s oppression. God relented and sent Yo’ash to set Israel free from the king of Aram. However, the people did not turn away from their sins. Yeho’ahaz died and was buried with his forefathers. His son, Yo’ash reigned after him. Yo’ash did what was evil in the sight of God and the people continued in their sinful ways. Yo’ash died and was buried with his forefathers. His son, Yarov’am, took his place as king. Elisha died and the bands of Mo’av came to invade Israel. Haza’el oppressed Israel all the days of Yeho’ahaz. When Haza’el died, his son Ben-hadad ruled.

Chapter 14: In the second year of Yeho’ash, Amazyahu became king of Judah. He was 25 when he became king and he reigned for 29 years. He did what was right in the eyes of God but he did not remove the high places where people offered sacrifices. When he was powerful enough he had the servants who murdered his father put to death but he did not put the sons of these servants to death. He struck down ten-thousand of the Edomites in the valley of salt. Then Amazyahu sent messengers to Yo’ash declaring a war. Yeho’ash told Amazyahu that his defeat of the Edomites made him arrogant and he was better off not going to war against Israel. Amazyahu did not heed Yeho’ash’s warning. Judah and Israel met for battle at Bet-shemesh. Amazyahu defeated Yo’ash – sending the warriors of Judah scurrying back to their homes. Yeho’ash seized Amazyahu at Bet-shemesh. Yeho’ash then went on to breach the walls of Jerusalem and took all the silver and gold from the Temple and the king’s palace and returned to Shomeron. Yeho’ash died and was buried in Shomeron. His son, Yarov’am reigned after him. Amazyahu was assassinated and then buried in the City of David. The entire nation crowned his son Azarya king. Azarya build up Elat and restored it to Judah. He then died and was buried with his forefathers. In the 15th year of Amazyahu, Yarov’am became king of Israel and ruled for 41 years. Even though he did evil in the sight of God, he restored the boundaries of Israel and he was used by God to saved Israel. Yarov’am died and his son Zekharya reigned.

Chapter 15: In the 27th year of Yarov’am, Azarya became king of Judah at the age of 16. Azarya ruled for 52 years on Jerusalem. He did what was right in the sight of God but the high places were not torn down. God caused a plague upon the king and he was struck with zaarath until the day of his death. Yotam, Azarya’s sons judged the people. When Azarya died, he was buried in the City of David and Yotam became king. In the 38th years of Azarya, Zekharya reigned over Israel for six month. He did what was evil in the eyes of God. Shallum revolted and assassinated Zekharya. Shallum became king in the 39th year of Uzziyya and reigned for one month in Shomeron. Menahem assassinated Shallum and reigned as king. He became king in the 39th years of Azarya and ruled for 10 years. He did what was evil in the eyes of God. Pul, the king of Assyria invaded Israel but Menahem was able to pay Pul to leave and not return. In the 50th year of Azarya, Menahem died and Peqahya became king for two years. He did evil in the sight of God. In the 52nd year of Azarya, Peqah revolted, killing Peqahya and reigning as king. He did what was evil in the sight of God and reigned in Shomeron 20 years. Under the reign of Peqah, Tiglat-pil’eser, king of Assyria defeated many cities and the entire land of Naphtali in Israel. In the 20th year of Yotam, Hoshea revolted. Hoshea killed Peqah and reigned in his stead. In the 2nd year of Peqah Yotam became king of Judah. He was 25 years old and reigned for 16 years. He did what was good in the sight of God but the high places remained. He died and was buried in the City of David. His son, Ahaz reigned after him.

Later Kings

Chapter 16: In the 17th year of Peqah, Ahaz became king of Judah. He was 20 years old and reigned in Jerusalem for 16 years. He did wicked in the sight of God. He sacrificed his son to Molech and offered up foreign sacrifices on the high places and the hills. Rezin, king of Aram and Peqah came to wage war against Ahaz but they were unsuccessful. Rezin then defeated Elat. Ahaz used the money from the palace and the Temple to bribe Tiglat-pil’eser into assist him. Tiglat-pil’eser agreed and he seized Damascus and slew Rezin. Ahaz went to meet Tiglat-pil’eser at Damascus where he saw an altar. Ahaz sent the likeness and pattern of the altar to the priest Uriyya. Uriyya built the altar as requested. Ahaz proceeded to offer sacrifices upon the altar. He then had the copper altar from the Temple brought to sit on the north side of this new altar. Ahaz commanded that all the sacrifices be made upon this altar. Uriyya did as he was commanded. Ahaz died and was buried in the City of David. His son, Hizqiyyahu became king.

Chapter 17: In the 12th year of Ahaz, Hoshea became king over Israel and reigned for nine years. He did evil in the eyes of God but not like the former kings of Israel. Shalman’eser, the king of Assyrai, went to battle against Hoshea and Hoshea became his vassal. In the ninth year of Hoshea’s reign, Shalman’eser defeated Israel and exiled the inhabitants to Assyria. This punishment was due to the idolatry and neglect of God’s laws. Shalman’eser brought people from Bavel, Kuta, and Avva to settle in Shomeron in place of the Israelites. Since these people did not fear God, lions were set against them by God. The people cried out to the king of Assyria and he commanded that a priest from the conquered Israel should be brought to teach the people about God. A priest was chosen and settled in Beit-El to teach these people about God. The people feared God yet they continued to sacrifice and worship their own foreign gods.

Chapter 18: In the third year of Hoshea, Hizqiyya became king of Judah. He was 25 years old when he became king and he ruled from Jerusalem for 29 years. Hizqiyya did what was good in the eyes of God. He torn down all the high places and destroyed the idols. God gave him success in everything that he did, including defeating the Philistines. In the 14th year of Hizqiyya, Sanheriv captured Judah. Hizqiyya paid Sanheriv 30 talents of gold and 300 talents silver from the palace and Temple treasuries as Sanheriv had requested. Sanheriv and his men marched to Jerusalem and taunted the residents. Sanheriv told the residents that he was sent by God to destroy them. He told them that the gods of the other nations could not withstand the Assyrians and neither would the Judeans.

Chapter 19: These words were relayed to Hizqiyya who rent his garments when he heard what had been said. He sent Elyaqim, the household overseer, and Shevna the scribe covered in sackcloth to Yesha’yahu. Yesha’yahu told them to tell Hizqiyya that God will cause the Assyrians to leave and battle another and the king of Assyria will die. When the messengers arrived back at Jerusalem, they found that the Assyrians had left and were now fighting at Livna. Before he left, the king of Assyria again taunted Hizqiyya, telling him that Hizqiyya’s God would not save him. Hizqiyya went to the Temple and prayed for deliverance. God heard his pleas and that very night, God sent an angel to slaughter 185,000 Assyrians who were still encamped around Jerusalem. Sanheriv departed for Nineve. While he was prostrating before his idol, his sons Adram-melekh and Shar’ezer killed him. His son Esar-haddon ruled in his place.

Chapter 20: Hizqiyya became very ill. He was told by Yesha’yahu that he was going to die. Upon hearing this, Hizqiyya turned toward the wall and prayed. Before Yesha’yahu could leave the palace, God told him to return to Hizqiyya. God said – through Yesha’yahu – that he has heard Hizqiyya’s tears and he will heal him. Hizqiyya is told that on the third day he is to go to the Temple. Hizqiyya is promised an additional 15 years of life and he will be saved from the king of Assyria. Berodakh-bal’adan, the son of Bal-adan – the king of Bavel – sent gifts and letters to Hizqiyya because he heard Hizqiyya was sick. In appreciation, Hizqiyya showed the messengers all the treasure of the palace and Temple. Yesha’yahu prophesied to Hizqiyya that in the future, the people of Judah and all the treasures will be taken by Bavel. Hizqiyya died and was buried in the city of David. Menashshe reigned after him.

Chapter 21: Menashshe was 12 when he became king and he reigned from Jerusalem for 55 years. He did what was evil in the sight of God. Menashshe rebuilt the idols and their altars – even building altars inside the Temple. He worshipped Molech and practiced necromancy and soothsaying. Nachum and Havakkuk prophesied that due to Menashshe’s disobedience and leading the people astray, Jerusalem will be destroyed and the people will be taken captive by their enemies. However, Menashshe continued to do evil. Menashshe died and was buried in his garden. His son, Amon reigned after him. Amon was 22 when he became king and reigned from Jerusalem for two years. Amon did what was evil in God’s eyes and worshipped the idols of his father. Amon’s servants conspired against him and assassinated him in the palace. He was buried in his garden. The people slew Amon’s assassins and placed his son, Yoshiyyahu on the throne.

Chapter 22: Yoshiyyahu was eight when he became king. He ruled from Jerusalem for 31 years. He did what was good in the sight of God. Yoshiyyahu had Shafan melt down the silver that was brought to the Temple. This silver was to be given to the craftsmen in order to repair the Temple. When Shafan returned after doing the bidding of Yoshiyyahu, he told Yoshiyyahu that the priest Hilqiyya found the scroll of the law hidden in the Temple. Shafan read the scroll to the king. Yoshiyyahu sent the priest Hilqyya, along with Shafan and a few others to visit the prophetess Hulda and inquire about the danger the people were in for not obeying God’s law. Hulda told them that the people would be conquered and Jerusalem would be devastated. However, due to Yoshiyyahu’s return to God and his tears over the waywardness of the people, he would die peacefully and not see the coming destruction.

Chapter 23: Yoshiyyahu went to the Temple where the whole multitude of Judah gathered and heard the words of the Law. They all vowed to keep and uphold the covenant with God. Yoshiyyahu destroyed all the idols, temples, and altars associated with the idols in both Judah and Shomeron. He slaughtered all the priests of the idols. Upon returning to Jerusalem, Yoshiyyahu commanded that a Passover sacrifice be offered according to the Law. Yoshiyyahu also banished all the necromancers and diviners from Judah. Yoshiyyahu was killed in battle in Megiddo by Par’o-nekho. Yoshiyyahu’s was buried in Jerusalem and his son Yeho-ahaz was anointed king. Yeho-ahaz was 23 when he became king and he reigned from Jerusalem for three months. Yeho-ahaz did what was evil in the eyes of God. Par’o-nekho had him seized and imprisoned. Par’o-nekho had Yoshiyyahu’s other son, Yehoyaqim crowned king. Yehoyaqim exacted the bribe from the people as required by Par’o. Yehoyaqim was 25 when he became king and he ruled for 11 years from Jerusalem. He did what was evil in the eyes of God.

Chapter 24: Yehoyaqim was the vassal of King Nevukhadnezzar for three years before he rebelled. God caused the Chaldeans, Arameans, Moabites, and Ammonites to come against Yehoyaqim. Yehoyaqim died and his son, Yehoyakhin became king. Yehoyakhin was 18 when he became king and he ruled for three months from Jerusalem. He did evil in the sight of God. Nevukhadnezzar seiged Jerusalem at this time. In the eighth year of Nevukhadnezzar’s reign, Yehoyakhin surrendered to Nevukhadnezzar. Nevukhadnezzar stripped the palace and the Temple of all their gold and exiled everyone except the poor to Bavel. Nevukhadnezzar crowned Yehoyakhin’s uncle Mattanya king and changed his name to Zidqiyyahu. Zidqiyyahu was 21 when he was crowned king. He ruled from Jerusalem for 21 years, doing evil in the eyes of God.

Chapter 25: In the 11th year of Zidqiyyahu, Nevukhadnezzar attacked Jerusalem. Famine ensued and the walls were breached. Zidqiyyahu attempted to escape but was captured by the Chaldeans. He was brought before the king of Bavel. His sons were slaughtered in front of him and then he was blinded. He was bound in chains and led captive to Bavel. Nevuzar-adan, captain of the guard of Bavel, came to Jerusalem and burnt the Temple and the homes. The remaining people were then sent into exile in Bavel. The only exceptions were some of the poorest who were used to tend the vineyards and the farms. The Temple treasures and vessels were sacked and brought to the king of Bavel. Nevukhadnezzar appointed Gedalyahu to be their leader. Shortly after this appointment Gedalyahu was assassinated by Yishma’el. In the 37th year of exile, Evil-merodakh became king of Bavel. He released Yehoyakhin from prison and gave him food every day for the rest of his life.

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1Books of Kings [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Books_of_Kings]
2Books of Kings [www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=226&letter=K&search=book%20of%20kings]
3The Complete Jewish Bible [http://www.chabad.org/library/bible_cdo/aid/63255/jewish/The-Bible-with-Rashi.htm]