Saturday, December 13, 2008

Advent Study #10

My apologies. My excuse this week is a nasty cold. Ah well. What follows are the final two individuals in Matthew's second grouping of Jesus' genealogy taking us up to "about the time they were carried away to Babylon." (No "it's" here MW :-) I double checked.)

Advent Study #9 is here
#8 can be found
here Study #7 and links to previous studies is here.

Our focus questions are:
who are they?
where are they from?
what place do they have-
-in the Biblical text
- in the story of salvation
-and in relation to Jesus specifically.

Josias (from the Catholic Encyclopedia)

(JOSIAH— Hebrew for "Yahweh supports"; Septuagint 'Iosías).
A pious King of Juda (639-608 B.C.), who ascended the throne when he was only eight years of age. He was the son of Amon and the grandson of Manasses. His mother's name is given as Idida, the daughter of Hadaia [IV (II) Kings, xxii, 1]. Of the actual influences under which he grew up nothing is known for certain. His reign of thirty-one years is recorded in the parallel and slightly divergent asccounts of IV (II) Kings, xxii-xxiii, 30, and II Paralipomenon (Chronicles), xxxiv-xxxv. The following is a summary of Josias's public acts as they are set forth in the former of these accounts. In the eighteenth year of his rule, the Jewish king undertook to repair the Temple with the help of the high-priest Helcias. During the course of this work, Helcias found "the Book of the Law", and handed it to the royal scribe, Saphan, who read it to Josias. The threats made therein against the transgression of its contents frightened the monarch, who well knew how often these had been disobeyed in the past, and who sent to consult the prophetess Holda then living in Jerusalem. Holda declared that the threatened punishments would indeed take place, but only after Josias's death. Whereupon the king assembled the people, published the Law in their hearing, and they all united with Josias in a solemn vow of obedience to its commands. This was followed by a drastic reformation of worship not only in Juda and in Jerusalem, but also in Northern Israel, which was not strictly a part of Josias's kingdom, but in which the Jewish prince could easily intervene, owing probably to the feeble hold of Assyria at the time upon this distant portion of its territory. The work of reform was concluded by a magnificent celebration of the Pasch.
Of the thirteen years of Josias's reign which followed this important reformation, nothing is said in the narrative of the Fourth Book of Kings. We are simply told of the monarch's exceeding piety towards Yahweh and of his death on the battle-field of Mageddo, where he perished fighting against the Egyptian Pharaoh, Nechao II, who was then on his way to the Euphrates against the Assyrians. Whoever compares carefully and impartially with this first account of Josias's reign the second one given in 2 Chronicles 34-35, cannot help being struck with their wonderful substantial agreement. Both Biblical records agree perfectly as to the age of the king at his accession and as to the length of his reign. Like the narrative of Kings, that of Paralipomenon refers to the eighteenth year of Josias's rule the discovery of the "Book of the Law", relates the samecircumstances as attending that event, speaks of a work of religious reform as carried out throughout all Israel on account of the contents of that book, and praises the magnificence of the solemn Pasch celebrated in harmony with its prescriptions. Like the narrative of Kings, too, that of Paralipomenon appreciates in the most favourable manner the king's character and describes his death on the battle-field of Mageddo when fighting against Nechao. In view of this it is plain that the differences, noticeable in their respective accounts of the reign of Josias by the authors of 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles, are only slight variations naturally accounted for by the somewhat different purposes which the two inspired. With regard to the exact extent and the Mosaic origin of the "Book of the Law", discovered under Josias, see PENTATEUCH.

From Christian Answers

Meaning: healed by Jehovah, or Jehovah will support

the son of Amon, and his successor on the throne of Judah (2 Kings 22:1; 2 Chr. 34:1)

His history is contained in 2 Kings 22, 23. He stands foremost among all the kings of the line of David for unswerving loyalty to Jehovah (23:25). He "did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in all the way of David his father." He ascended the throne at the early age of eight years, and it appears that not till eight years afterwards did he begin "to seek after the God of David his father." At that age he devoted himself to God. He distinguished himself by beginning a war of extermination against the prevailing idolatry, which had practically been the state religion for some seventy years (2 Chr. 34:3; compare Jer. 25:3, 11, 29).
In the eighteenth year of his reign he proceeded to repair and beautify the temple, which by time and violence had become sorely dilapidated (2 Kings 22:3, 5, 6; 23:23; 2 Chr. 34:11). While this work was being carried on, Hilkiah, the high priest, discovered a roll, which was probably the original copy of the law, the entire Pentateuch, written by Moses.

When this book was read to him, the king was alarmed by the things it contained, and sent for Huldah, the "prophetess," for her counsel. She spoke to him words of encouragement, telling him that he would be gathered to his fathers in peace before the threatened days of judgment came. Josiah immediately gathered the people together, and engaged them in a renewal of their ancient national covenant with God. The Passover was then celebrated, as in the days of his great predecessor, Hezekiah, with unusual magnificence. Nevertheless, "the Lord turned not from the fierceness of his great wrath wherewith his anger was kindled against Judah" (2 Kings 22:3-20; 23:21-27; 2 Chr. 35:1-19). During the progress of this great religious revolution Jeremiah helped it on by his earnest exhortations.

Soon after this, Pharaoh-Necho II. (q.v.), king of Egypt, in an expedition against the king of Assyria, with the view of gaining possession of Carchemish, sought a passage through the territory of Judah for his army. This Josiah refused to permit. He had probably entered into some new Alliance with the king of Assyria, and faithful to his word he sought to oppose the progress of Necho.

The army of Judah went out and encountered that of Egypt at Megiddo, on the verge of the plain of Esdraelon. Josiah went into the field in disguise, and was fatally wounded by a random arrow. His attendants conveyed him toward Jerusalem, but had only reached Hadadrimmon, a few miles south of Megiddo, when he died (2 Kings 23:28, 30; compare 2 Chr. 35:20-27), after a reign of thirty-one years. He was buried with the greatest honors in fulfilment of Huldah's prophecy (2 Kings 22:20; compare Jer. 34:5). Jeremiah composed a funeral elegy on this the best of the kings of Israel (Lam. 4:20; 2 Chr. 35:25). The outburst of national grief on account of his death became proverbial (Zech. 12:11; compare Rev. 16:16).


Also known as:
Jechoniah (in New Revised Standard Version)
Jeconiah (1 Chr. 3:16)
Coniah (an abbreviation of Jeconiah) (Jer. 22:24)
Jehoiachin Meaning: _____________ -->
one of the Israelite kings in the legal ancestry of Jesus Christ, through his foster-father Joseph, a descendant of King David (Matt. 1:16)
See: Matthew 1:11-12
"It was Jechoniah whose sins caused God to cut his seed off from ever sitting on David's throne (Jeremiah 22:24-30). …Jechoniah's royal line of descendants is listed here [in the genealogy of Matthew 1] to show the legal right of Joseph, the foster father of Jesus, to David's throne (Matthew 1:16). Neither Joseph nor any others of Jechoniah's seed could ever have the spiritual right to the throne. That right must be carried through Mary's ancestry" (Dr. Henry M. Morris, The Defender's Study Bible, note for Matt. 1:11.).
See: Mary, mother of Jesus
"Coniah is an abbreviation of Jeconiah (1 Chronicles 3:16), which is another form of the name Jehoiachin (2 Kings 24:6). Coniah was the last king of Judah in the direct line from King David. When he was deported to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar (2 Chronicles 36:10), Coniah's uncle Zedekiah was assigned to rule Judah for a brief reign, but he also was put down, and no later king was ever able to regain the throne" (Dr. Henry M. Morris, The Defender's Study Bible, note for Jer. 22:24.).
See Jeremiah 22:24-30 and 33:15-17.
For more information about this man, see Jehoiachin.

Biblical Illiteracy, Magisterium, and Newsweek

Several comments have referenced the general lack of biblical knowledge, even among Christians. As Mark Bauerlein observes, and proves with exhaustive research, in his book The Dumbest Generation, this is to be expected in a digital age. I love email and blogs...look at where you are reading this post...but the sound-bite generation lacks the sustained engagement with primary and significant secondary sources to be well informed about anything.

A troubling parallel would be with the Eloi in H.G. Wells' The Time Machine. Remember those happy-go-lucky folk who had lost the capacity to read and therefore to reason?

But this raises another issue. Even among the biblically literate, we have to face the question of whose exegesis, whose interpretation? Clearly the Miller piece was more on the lines of screed or rant, but there can be found other, more sound attempts at proving something like her thesis. Mind you, I am not saying such other attempts are persuasive, but the point is this. If person A pursues a legitimate form of argument and says X, and person B does the same and says Y, then who is right?

Some will say that the Holy Spirit will lead a given person into the truth. Yet many can say that they were led by the Holy Spirit. How are the rest of us to know?

And is the idea that the Holy Spirit will lead each individual person into the truth flawed, or at least not complete? Could it be rather, or along with this individualistic approach to truth, that the Holy Spirit leads the body of Christ at large into the truth?

Now we are thrown back upon the idea of a magisterium or teaching authority. As troubled as I am that our widespread bibilical illiteracy makes us unable to understand why a piece like Miller's is laughably flawed, and as bothered as I am that even those who sense that something is amiss lack the logical and rhetorical skills to combat blatant error, I am perhaps more concerned that Protestants who have the raw knowledge to take a stand cannot do so, for they have no appeal to authority. If a well-meaning, intelligent, liberal-mainline-Protestant makes a cogent argument for the legitimacy of sodomite union, and a well-meaning, intelligent, Protestant-of-a-different-stripe makes a cogent argument against such, is truth simply determined by who wins the debate? And of course, who would arbitrate?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Some Additional Thoughts On Newsweeks Bad Theology/Journalism

This excerpt from over at MereComments:
....If secularists are going to increasingly take Christian Scriptures and doctrines out into the public square for either a flogging or a makeover (for their agenda), then articulate Christians are going to have to bring their Bibles back into the public square lest innocent and/or uninformed bystanders get the wrong ideas. We were told for years to keep the Bible out of it: this a public square under the supervision of the secular state...More

Within the comments there are some nice links to discussion of the above over at GetReligion:

What's the Standard:

It is no exaggeration to say the piece was an embarrassment. My analysis of the belly flop is here. On a radio show yesterday, the host asked me whether the piece was more offensive to my sensibilities as a journalist or a Christian. I went with “journalist” since the piece wasn’t anywhere legitimate enough, theologically speaking, to be considered seriously. As a journalist, it violated almost every rule in the book. It failed to accurately represent the viewpoint being scrutinized. It was riddled with errors. It was driven by emotion. More than a few journalists — one at a competing weekly news magazine — wrote to me yesterday asking, “Where was her editor?”...
...Yes, that’s right. The editor of Newsweek thinks that argument from the Bible is “the worst kind of fundamentalism.” Can you believe that? Can that be serious? Proper exegesis is difficult and requires a great deal of understanding of languages, types of writing styles, history and tradition — but determining what the Bible teaches is very serious work. Lutherans such as myself believe that Scripture is the only divine source and the norm for our teachings. That may be shocking to a liberal Episcopalian but to call such exegesis intellectually bankrupt is ignorant. And Biblical exegesis sort of defines the “great Judeo-Christian tradition.” Perhaps Meacham’s focus on civil religion and American history has made him blind to this fact.
We’ve noticed the tendency of the media to use the term “fundamentalist” to describe any conservative Christian. There was a particularly bad example of this in the
Los Angeles Times earlier this year when I think the author was using “fundamentalist” to mean “people whose politics I disagree with.”
But if the worst kind of fundamentalist is someone who quotes Scripture in a policy discussion, the word fundamentalist has no meaning. I also question whether, say, Meacham considers
religious liberals who use, say, the Sermon on the Mount to argue for domestic policy to be the worst kind of fundamentalists. Based on past coverage, I’m going to say no. In fact, this piece — and Miller’s — basically skirt the fact that the vast, vast majority of religious groups share a support of heterosexual marriage.
But apart from that, this bizarre preachment suffers from the same ignorance of the Miller piece — that opposition to same-sex marriage is based on Scripture instead of a wide variety of sources and tradition. Opposition to same-sex marriage is mostly based in Natural Law. I feel as if I’m doing a public service by repeating this for journalists but conservatives support defining marriage as a sexual union between a husband and wife, based around the ideas that babies are created via intercourse, that procreation is necessary for the survival of society and that babies need fathers as well as mothers.

The next one deserves its own post: Sola scriptura minus the scriptura

Sola scriptura minus the scriptura

From Mollie over at GetReligion:
Newsweek’s cover story when I read the first line. It was just that bad. It was written by senior editor Lisa Miller who oversees all of the magazine’s religion coverage. Which is pretty shocking when you look at the unbelievable ignorance on display in her grossly unfair first paragraph:
Let’s try for a minute to take the religious conservatives at their word and define marriage as the Bible does. Shall we look to Abraham, the great patriarch, who slept with his servant when he discovered his beloved wife Sarah was infertile? Or to Jacob, who fathered children with four different women (two sisters and their servants)? Abraham, Jacob, David, Solomon and the kings of Judah and Israel—all these fathers and heroes were polygamists. The New Testament model of marriage is hardly better. Jesus himself was single and preached an indifference to earthly attachments—especially family. The apostle Paul (also single) regarded marriage as an act of last resort for those unable to contain their animal lust. “It is better to marry than to burn with passion,” says the apostle, in one of the most lukewarm endorsements of a treasured institution ever uttered. Would any contemporary heterosexual married couple—who likely woke up on their wedding day harboring some optimistic and newfangled ideas about gender equality and romantic love—turn to the Bible as a how-to script?
How many things are wrong with that opening line? (Beyond the junior high-worthy snarkiness of the “let’s try” opening, I mean.) How about that “religious conservatives” don’t argue that civil marriage should be defined “as the Bible does.” I mean, it would be nice if Newsweek or other mainstream outlets took the time to learn what religious conservatives have to say about marriage before they attack it. Is that so much to ask?

Biblical Blessing of Sodomite Unions?

I can only imagine how a classically trained and well-spoken person would respond to the brazenly shallow cover story in the December 15 edition of Newsweek, available here:

If the Bible is nothing more than a human creation, then these authors are right. If Christianity is nothing more than a social construct, then these authors are right. But if the Second Person of the holy Trinity did indeed become flesh, revealing the truth of the Godhead in a way that no human could ever devise, and if that Word made flesh did indeed through the breath of the Holy Spirit inspire the biblical authors, then this warping of Christian understanding to suggest that sodomite marriage and activity is endorsed by an overarching umbrella of inclusion is nothing short of blasphemous. At its very least it is staggeringly condescending toward the idea that our faith is not eternal and unchanging, but is simply a product of the times.

Advent Study #9

Regarding the geneaology of Jesus as recorded in Matthew Chapter 1
#8 can be found here
Our focus questions are:
who are they?
where are they from?
what place do they have-
-in the Biblical text
- in the story of salvation
-and in relation to Jesus specifically.

Study #7 and links to previous studies is here.

For Discussion
Manasseh spent a lifetime dedicated to evil, including many murders, and even the human sacrifice of his own sons. Then when he repented, the LORD forgave him. Will God forgive someone who has committed extreme evil?
Manasseh repented, changed his entire life, and made great strides in doing right. Still, his primary legacy was one of great evil. Even though we know God will forgive, can we justify continuing in sin, even one more day?


Summary (more here)
Hezekiah's great grandfather King Uzziah and grandfather King Jotham were godly and wise men who had increased Judah's prosperity and influence to levels unknown since the days of David and Solomon. Then Hezekiah's father, King Ahaz, through evil practices and poor leadership, lost all the two previous generations had gained, and lost national sovereignty as well, leaving Judah a vassal of Assyria.
King Hezekiah came to the throne in the wake of his father's disasters, and with the memory the glory days of his grandfather King Jotham, who still reigned when Hezekiah was a child. Rightly concluding that these hardships had come upon Judah because they had abandoned the LORD, Hezekiah instituted the most sweeping religious reforms of all the kings before or after him. As a result, during his 29-year reign he was successful in everything he did — no small accomplishment, given the very difficult times during which he reigned.
Hezekiah's lifelong ambition was to regain national sovereignty, willingly surrendered by his father Ahaz as a convenient solution to a relatively minor invasion. He ultimately achieved this, facing extreme crisis with the help of the LORD.
While this crisis was still fresh and his newly won independence still fragile, Hezekiah became deathly ill. No doubt worried how the nation would fare after his death, he prayed for healing, and God granted him another 15 years of life. Unfortunately, during these years Hezekiah's pride overpowered and drowned his love for the LORD. During this time he also fathered his heir King Manasseh, a man of extreme evil.
Where to read Hezekiah's story: 2 Kings 18 - 20; 2 Chronicles 29 - 32; Isaiah 36 - 39

Notes from JewishEncyclopedia- on Hezekiah:

—In Rabbinical Literature:
Hezekiah is considered as the model of those who put their trust in the Lord. Only during his sickness did he waver in his hitherto unshaken trust and require a sign, for which he was blamed by Isaiah (Lam. R. i.). The Hebrew name "Ḥizḳiyyah" is considered by the Talmudists to be a surname, meaning either "strengthened by Yhwh" or "he who made a firm alliance between the Israelites and Yhwh"; his eight other names are enumerated in Isa. ix. 5 (Sanh. 94a). He is called the restorer of the study of the Law in the schools, and is said to have planted a sword at the door of the bet ha-midrash, declaring that he who would not study the Law should be struck with the weapon (ib. 94b).
Hezekiah's piety, which, according to the Talmudists, alone occasioned the destruction of the Assyrian army and the signal deliverance of the Israelites when Jerusalem was attacked by Sennacherib, caused him to be considered by some as the Messiah (ib. 99a). According to Bar Ḳappara, Hezekiah was destined to be the Messiah, but the attribute of justice("middat ha-din") protested against this, saying that as David, who sang so much the glory of God, had not been made the Messiah, still less should Hezekiah, for whom so many miracles had been performed, yet who did not sing the praise of God (ib. 94a).

Manasseh (from the kingsof Israel)

King Manasseh came to the throne at only 12years of age, when his father, the good King Hezekiah, died.
Manasseh made it his mission to undo the good reforms instituted by his father, and to do a great deal of evil. Hezekiah had destroyed shrines of pagan worship throughout the land; Manasseh rebuilt them, adding also shrines to Baal and Asherah. He desecrated the LORD's temple by putting altars for idol worship in it. He sacrificed his own sons, burning them to death in worship of the idol Molech. Manasseh murdered so many people that the historian wrote that he “filled Jerusalem from one end to the other” with innocent blood.
The LORD sent prophets to warn of the disaster that would come because the people followed Manasseh in his great sins — Judah would be destroyed by their enemies. But king and people ignored the warnings.
Late in Manasseh's 55-year reign, Assyria attacked Jerusalem, captured Manasseh, and placed him in a prison 1,000 miles away. Humiliated and powerless, he sat in his cell and remembered his father's days. He began to pray, confessing his sin and asking the LORD's help. The LORD heard Manasseh's prayer, freed him, and returned him to his throne in Jerusalem. The no doubt fascinating details of how this happened are not given.
This was no foxhole conversion. Back in power, Manasseh was a new man. He destroyed all the idol shrines he had built, removed his desecrations from the LORD's temple, and restored the temple worship.
Unfortunately, Manasseh's conversion came too late to have any lasting impact on his kingdom. When Judah fell, the LORD blamed it on the sins of Manasseh.

Where to read Manasseh's story: 2 Kings 21:1-17; 2 Chronicles 33:1-20

From Christiananswers:

The only son and successor of Hezekiah on the throne of Judah. He was twelve years old when he began to reign (2 Kings 21:1), and he reigned fifty-five years (B.C. 698-643). Though he reigned so long, yet comparatively little is known of this king. His reign was a continuation of that of Ahaz, both in religion and national polity. He early fell under the influence of the heathen court circle, and his reign was characterized by a sad relapse into idolatry with all its vices, showing that the reformation under his father had been to a large extent only superficial (Isa. 7:10; 2 Kings 21:10-15). A systematic and persistent attempt was made, and all too successfully, to banish the worship of Jehovah out of the land. Amid this wide-spread idolatry there were not wanting, however, faithful prophets (Isaiah, Micah) who lifted up their voice in reproof and in warning. But their fidelity only aroused bitter hatred, and a period of cruel persecution against all the friends of the old religion began. “The days of Alva in Holland, of Charles IX. in France, or of the Covenanters under Charles II. in Scotland, were anticipated in the Jewish capital. The streets were red with blood.” There is an old Jewish tradition that Isaiah was put to death at this time (2 Kings 21:16; 24:3, 4; Jer. 2:30), having been sawn asunder in the trunk of a tree. Psalms 49, 73, 77, 140, and 141 seem to express the feelings of the pious amid the fiery trials of this great persecution. Manasseh has been called the “Nero of Palestine.”
Esarhaddon, Sennacherib's successor on the Assyrian throne, who had his residence in Babylon for thirteen years (the only Assyrian monarch who ever reigned in Babylon), took Manasseh prisoner (B.C. 681) to Babylon. Such captive kings were usually treated with great cruelty. They were brought before the conqueror with a hook or ring passed through their lips or their jaws, having a cord attached to it, by which they were led. This is referred to in 2 Chr. 33:11, where the Authorized Version reads that Esarhaddon “took Manasseh among the thorns;” while the Revised Version renders the words, “took Manasseh in chains;” or literally, as in the margin, “with hooks.” (Compare 2 Kings 19:28.)
The severity of Manasseh's imprisonment brought him to repentance. God heard his cry, and he was restored to his kingdom (2 Chr. 33:11-13). He abandoned his idolatrous ways, and enjoined the people to worship Jehovah; but there was no thorough reformation. After a lengthened reign extending through fifty-five years, the longest in the history of Judah, he died, and was buried in the garden of Uzza, the “garden of his own house” (2 Kings 21:17, 18; 2 Chr. 33:20), and not in the city of David, among his ancestors. He was succeeded by his son Amon.
In Judg. 18:30 the correct reading is “Moses,” and not “Manasseh.” The name “Manasseh” is supposed to have been introduced by some transcriber to avoid the scandal of naming the grandson of Moses the great lawgiver as the founder of an idolatrous religion.Author: Matthew G. Easton, with minor editing by Paul S. Taylor. -->

Amon (From Christiananswers)

The son of Manasseh, and fourteenth king of Judah. He restored idolatry, and set up the images which his father had cast down. Zephaniah (1:1,4; 3:4, 11) refers to the moral depravity prevailing in this king's reign.
He was assassinated (2 Kings 21:18-26: 2 Chr. 33:20-25) by his own servants, who conspired against him.
Where to read Amon's story: 2 Kings 21:19-26; 2 Chronicles 33:21-24

Little is known of King Amon. Scripture sums up his time as king with these words:
2 Kings 21:19-20 Amon was twenty and two years old when he began to reign, and he reigned two years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Meshullemeth, the daughter of Haruz of Jotbah. And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, as his father Manasseh did.

From the Jewish Encyclopedia:

—In Rabbinical Literature:
The fact that Amon was the most sinful of all the wicked kings of Judah (II Chron. xxxiii. 23) is brought out in the Talmud (Sanh. 103b) as follows:(Sanh. 104a)
Ahaz suspended the sacrificial worship, Manasseh tore down the altar, Amon made it a place of desolation [covered it with cobwebs]; Ahaz sealed up the scrolls of the Law (Isa. viii. 16), Manasseh cut out the sacred name, Amon burnt the scrolls altogether [compare Seder Olam, R. xxiv. This is derived from the story of the finding of the Book of the Law, II Kings, xxii. 8]; Ahab permitted incest, Manasseh committed it himself, Amon acted as Nero was said to have done toward his mother Agrippina. And yet, out of respect for his son Josiah, Amon's name was not placed on the list of the kings excluded from the world to come.
A midrashic fragment preserved in the Apostolical Constitutions, ii. 23, which appears to follow an account of the repentance of Manasseh according to a lost Jewish apocryphal writing, reads:
"No sin is more grievous than idolatry, for it is treason against God. Yet even this has been forgiven upon sincere repentance; but he that sins from a mere spirit of opposition, to see whether God will punish the wicked, shall find no pardon, although he say in his heart, 'I shall have peace in the end (by repenting), though I walk in the stubbornness of my evil heart'" (Deut. xxix. 19). Such a one was Amon, the son of Manasseh, for the (Apocryphal) Scripture says: "And Amon reasoned an evil reasoning of transgression and said: 'My father from his childhood was a great transgressor, and he repented in his old age. So will I now walk after the lust of my soul and afterward return to the Lord.' And he committed more evil in the sight of the Lord than all that were before him; but the Lord God speedily cut him off from this good land. And his servants conspired against him and slew him in his own house, and he reigned two years only."
It is noteworthy that this very midrashic fragment casts light upon the emphatic teaching of the Mishnah (Yoma, viii. 9): "Whosoever says, 'I will sin and repent thereafter,' will not be granted the time for repentance." K.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Advent Study #8

Our focus questions:
who are they?
where are they from?
what place do they have-
-in the Biblical text
- in the story of salvation
-and in relation to Jesus specifically.

Study #7 and links to previous studies is here.

Uzziah (from christiananswers)

Meaning: the Lord is my strength; a contracted form of Azari'ah
One of Amaziah's sons, whom the people made king of Judah in his father's stead (2 Kings 14:21; 2 Chr. 26:1). His long reign of about fifty-two years was “the most prosperous, excepting that of Jehoshaphat, since the time of Solomon.” He was a vigorous and able ruler, and “his name spread abroad, even to the entering in of Egypt” (2 Chr. 26:8, 14).Jehovah, and “did that which was right in the sight of the Lord” (2 Kings 15:3; 2 Chr. 26:4, 5); but toward the close of his long life “his heart was lifted up to his destruction,” and he wantonly invaded the priest's office (2 Chr. 26:16), and entering the sanctuary proceeded to offer incense on the golden altar.
Azariah the high priest saw the tendency of such a daring act on the part of the king, and, with a band of eighty priests, he withstood him (2 Chr. 26:17), saying, “It appertaineth not unto thee, Uzziah, to burn incense.”
Uzziah was suddenly struck with leprosy while in the act of offering incense (26:19-21), and he was drivenfrom the temple and compelled to reside in “a several house” to the day of his death (2 Kings 15:5, 27; 2 Chr. 26:3).
He was buried in a separate grave “in the field of the burial which belonged to the kings” (2 Kings 15:7; 2 Chr. 26:23).
“That lonely grave in the royal necropolis would eloquently testify to coming generations that all earthly monarchy must bow before the inviolable order of the divine will, and that no interference could be tolerated with that unfolding of the purposes of God, which, in the fulness of time, would reveal the Christ, the true High Priest and >King for evermore” (Dr. Green's Kingdom of Israel, etc.).

from the kings of israel
Uzziah became king at 16 when his father, King Amaziah, was assassinated following a military disaster. Uzziah was faithful to the LORD for a long time, and during that time he and his nation prospered. Rising to power after a long period of decline, he restored to Judah much of the strength and influence that had been Israel's in the days of David and Solomon. He had a series of military successes against the Philistines, the Gurbaal, the Mehunims, and the Ammonites. He fortified Jerusalem, whose walls had been broken down just before he took office, and he built military outposts throughout the land as well. Being an inventor, he constructed turreted crossbows and catapults, mounting these in towers at his outposts. He was also active in agriculture, digging wells and planting vineyards throughout the land.
Unfortunately, later in his 52-year reign Uzziah presumed to alter the worship of the LORD, placing himself in the spotlight by entering the temple and burning incense, a duty reserved by the LORD for the priests only. A group of 81 priests confronted the king, informing him of his violation — a courageous act, given the unquestioned power of the king in those days. Uzziah became furious. While he raged at the priests, the LORD showed his support for the priests by afflicting Uzziah with leprosy, which became immediately visible on his forehead. As no leprous person was permitted in the temple, the priests began urging the now-unclean king to leave. Uzziah, himself in a panic, rushed away.
Uzziah never recovered from leprosy. For the rest of his life he lived in seclusion, and his son Jotham acted as king during his absence. Where to read Uzziah's story: 2 Kings 15:1-7; 2 Chronicles 26

Jotham (also from the kings of Israel)

King Jotham ascended to become Judah's eleventh ruler while his father, King Uzziah, still lived, this unusual arrangement being necessary because of Uzziah's medical retirement. Jotham apparently reigned for 13 years while his father lived, then three more years after his death.
Jotham lived a life of steady integrity and success. His activities include rebuilding portions of the temple and the city wall of Jerusalem, building towns and military posts throughout the land as Uzziah had, and suppressing a rebellion by the Ammonites upon his father's death. Where to read Jotham's story: 2 Kings 15:32-38; 2 Chronicles 27

From Christian answers
The son and successor of Uzziah on the throne of Judah. As during his last years Uzziah was excluded from public life on account of his leprosy, his son, then twenty-five years of age, administered for seven years the affairs of the kingdom in his father's stead (2 Chr. 26:21, 23; 27:1).
After his father's death he became sole monarch, and reigned for sixteen years (B.C. 759-743). He ruled in the fear of God, and his reign was prosperous. He was contemporary with the prophets Isaiah, Hosea, and Micah, by whose ministrations he profited. He was buried in the sepulchre of the kings, greatly lamented by the people (2 Kings 15:38; 2 Chr. 27:7-9).


King Ahaz devoted himself to pagan worship and its associated evil, touring the nation building shrines, and seeking the aid of every powerless religion he knew of. He even sacrificed his own sons, burning them alive in a ritual to the idol Molech. As a result of his infidelity, the LORD opposed Ahaz' administration, and during his 16-year reign Judah lost the empire built by his grandfather King Uzziah and his father King Jotham, suffered constant military raids by neighbors, and even lost national sovereignty, becoming a vassal to Assyria.
On one occasion, Israel invaded Judah and took 200,000 wives and children of Judah's warriors to be slaves. The LORD, unwilling to abandon Judah in spite of Ahaz' commitment to evil, sent a prophet to meet the conquering army, threatening them with the LORD's anger for kidnapping their brothers' families. Alarmed, the Israelites escorted the captives back to Jericho, where their husbands and fathers could recover them, even giving supplies and medical care to all who needed them. Yet in spite of this act of compassion prompted by the LORD, Ahaz refused to trust the LORD.
Later, when Judah was invaded by the combined armies of Israel and Syria, the LORD spoke through the prophet Isaiah, promising that the attack would not be successful — and within a couple years, both enemies' lands would be laid waste. But in spite of the LORD's offer of a miracle to verify the prophecy and aid Ahaz' faith, Ahaz wouldn't trust the LORD. He plundered the LORD's temple and his own palace to send a payment to the king of Assyria to rescue him. In response, Assyria captured Damascus, Syria's capital, and killed Syria's king. So Ahaz was rescued, but at a great cost: Judah became a vassal to Assyria.
After this incident, Ahaz visited defeated Damascus. Still refusing to turn to the LORD, he imported the idols of Damascus into Judah, building an imposing altar near the LORD's temple, after the pattern of the altar in Damascus. He even closed the LORD's temple, which was not opened again until Ahaz died.
In recognition of Ahaz' terrible leadership and its great cost to the nation, Ahaz was buried in a commoner's grave rather than the royal cemetery. Where to read Ahaz's story: 2 Kings 16; 2 Chronicles 28; Isaiah 7:1 - 8:4

Notes on Advent Study #8

King Uzziah
energetically and faithfully pursued the welfare of his people, being especially active in the military and in agriculture. His administration was marked by revival and restoration of the military and internal security that had been lost in recent generations.
Late in his life, Uzziah's pride drove him into sin, and he violated the LORD's temple. Since we are never told he repented, one might argue that we should judge Uzziah “did right in youth, evil in old age,” as we did with some kings. However, a courageous group of priests withstood the king's evil act, and the LORD himself supported them by afflicting Uzziah with leprosy. As a result, even though Uzziah perhaps never repented, he retired from office, and the impact of his sin was thereby limited.
For this reason, we feel justified in agreeing with the scripture's assessment that “Uzziah ... did that which was right.”
2 Chronicles 26:3-4 Sixteen years old was Uzziah when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty and two years in Jerusalem. His mother's name also was Jecoliah of Jerusalem. And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father Amaziah did.

King Jotham
Little is known, except that he was faithful to the LORD all through his life.
2 Kings 15:32-34 In the second year of Pekah the son of Remaliah king of Israel began Jotham the son of Uzziah king of Judah to reign. Five and twenty years old was he when he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Jerusha, the daughter of Zadok. And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD: he did according to all that his father Uzziah had done.

Scripture says this about King Ahaz' reign:
2 Kings 16:2 Twenty years old was Ahaz when he began to reign, and reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem, and did not that which was right in the sight of the LORD his God, like David his father.
The above characterization is an understatement. Ahaz steadfastly determined to reject the LORD, in spite of repeated acts of mercy and aid on the LORD's part. Not merely dabbling in evil, Ahaz went the whole distance, even to the extent of sacrificing his own children to idols. The effects of his actions were felt brutally throughout his kingdom.

The Jewish encyclopedia might be an intersting to do additional reading

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Will the U.N. Chill Out on Climate Change?

From NRO:
...Since Kyoto in December 1996, a very funny thing has happened to global temperatures: IPCC data clearly show that warming has stopped, even though its computer models said such a thing could not happen.According to the IPCC, the world reached its high-temperature mark in 1998, thanks to a big “El Niño,” which is a temporary warming of the tropical Pacific Ocean that occurs once or twice a decade. El Niño years are usually followed by one or two relatively cold years, as occurred in 1999 and 2000. No one knows what really causes these cycles but they have been going on sporadically for millennia.Wait a minute. Starting an argument about global warming in 1998 is a bit unfair. After all, that’s starting off with a very hot temperature, followed by two relatively cool years. Fine. Take those years out of the record and there’s still no statistically significant warming between 1997 and 2007. When a scientist tells you that some trend is not “significant,” he or she is saying that it cannot mathematically be distinguished from no trend whatsoever.More importantly, there’s not going to be any significant trend for some time. Assume, magically, that temperatures begin to warm in 2009 at the rate they were warming before the mid 1990s, and that they continue to warm at that rate. The world has to warm in such a fashion through 2020 before there’s a significant trend reestablished in the data. That’s a full quarter century for any discernable trend of global warming to emerge. (more)

Nothing can contradict Global Warmism

And I've seen nothing say it better than this article over at Sense of Events: Especially the update...

...Fred pearce writes elsewhere in the Guardian,
Recently I attended a conference in Reading where some of the world's top experts discussed their failings. How their much-vaunted models of the world's climate system can't reproduce El Niños, or the "blocking highs" that bring heatwaves to Europe - or even the ice ages. How their statistical mimics of tropical climate are "laughable", in the words of the official report.This sudden humility was not unconnected with their end-of-conference call for the world to spend a billion dollars on a global centre for climate modelling. A "Manhattan project for the 21st century", as someone put it. No matter what the climate does contrary to what they predict, we still need to ka-ching a billion dollars to keep climate scientists well provisioned.
Warming is evidence of global warming. Cooling does not mean that global warming is not happening, just that it hasn't yet...but it might, still..and then the theory will be right again...except if its not, and then it will be because something has temporarily interfered with the theory working, like cooling, but that doesn't mean the cooling has replaced the warming -- its just hiding it, for now. We know this because the models tell us. Can't be anything else happening like the sun, the oceans or any of that stuff. Why? Well, because that's why. Isn't science awesome?

Advent Study #7

We continue with our study of Matthew's geneaology of Jesus
here is Study #6-.
here is #5.
Notes on #5 are here.
Study #4 is here
#3 can be found here
#2 is here
#1 is here here..notes and thoughts on #1 are here.The intro to the study is here .

Our focus questions:
who are they?
where are they from?
what place do they have-
-in the Biblical text
- in the story of salvation
-and in relation to Jesus specifically.

Are there other thoughts and questions as we read these lists?
Anyone else notive that there seems to be a recurring theme of idolatry in the shortcoming of these.

Asa (from christiananswers)

Meaning: physician
Asa was a son of Abijah and grandson of Rehoboam, was the third king of Judah. He was zealous in maintaining the true worship of God, and in rooting all idolatry, with its accompanying immoralities, out of the land (1 Kings 15:8-14). The Lord gave him and his land rest and prosperity. It is recorded of him, however, that in his old age, when afflicted, he "sought not to the Lord, but to the physicians" (compare Jer. 17:5). He died in the forty-first year of his reign, greatly honored by his people (2 Chr. 16:1-13), and was succeeded by his son Jehoshaphat.Author: Matthew G. Easton, with minor editing by Paul S. Taylor. -->

Josaphattt (from Catholic encyclopedia)

(Hebrew for "Yahweh hath judged"; Septuagint 'Iosaphát).
Fourth King of Juda after the schism of the Ten Tribes. He was the son and successor of Asa, whose virtuous reign had established good traditions to which the new king endeavoured to remain faithful. He ascended the throne at the age of thirty-five and reigned twenty-three years (914-889 B.C.; 877-53 according to the Assyrian chronology). His zeal in suppressing the idolatrous worship of the "high places" is comm
ended (2 Chronicles 17:6), but it was only partially successful (1 Kings 22:44). In the third year of his reign he sent throughout the country a missionary expedition to instruct the people in the Law and exhort them to its faithful observance. He is reproached with contracting an alliance with Achab, King of Israel, the results of which were disastrous for the Kingdom of Juda. In the eighteenth year of his reign Josaphat visited Achab in Samaria, and nearly lost his life accompanying his treacherous ally to the siege of Ramoth Galaad (1 Kings 22). He subsequently continued his policy of reform, exercised a personal supervision over its execution, and established for the same purpose in the royal city a tribunal of priests, levites, and elders (2 Chronicles 19:4-11). About the twentieth year of his reign he repulsed more by prayers than by force of arms a formidablearmy of the Moabites, Maonites, and the Children of Ammon (2 Chronicles 20:1-30). Ochozias having succeeded Achab in the Northern Kingdom, Josaphat joined him in a mercantile enterprise having for object the construction of a fleet at Asiongaber, but the project was displeasing to the Lord and proved a failure (2 Chronicles 20:35-37).

Joram (Jeho'ram) (christiananswers)

Jehoram, the son and successor of Jehoshaphat on the throne of Judah (2 Kings 8:24).

Monday, December 8, 2008

Newsweek's weak arguments against real marriage, for "gay marriage"

From Insight Scoop:

Lisa Miller should receive some sort of journalism award for her recent article, "Our Mutual Joy," which appeared in the December 6th issue of The Advocate, Out, Curve, Newsweak. The problem is that the article bears no resemblance at all to journalism, which is supposedly based on facts, objectivity, logic, and a decent grasp of the English language (unless, of course, you're a French journalist or you write for Rolling Stone.) In fact, the piece is such an unabashed, polemical apologia for "gay marriage," you'd be forgiven for thinking it was written for a blog, since bloggers, as we all know, are largely incapable of dealing with facts, objectivity, logic, and so forth.
Anyhow, I suggest Miller be awarded for her courageous willingness to publicly reveal, and revel in, her ignorance of a breathtaking range of topics and issues. The award could be simply named "The Dan Brown Award," and would consist of a plastic replica of a pink hot air balloon mounted on a copy of The Da Vinci Code.
I've not the time or energy to address all of the laughable errors in the article, but will hit a handful of the highlowlights:
• "Let's try for a minute to take the religious conservatives at their word and define marriage as the Bible does." First sentence, first, "Huh?" Or, in the words of Mollie Hemingway, "How many things are wrong with that opening line?" This is shockingly simplistic, both in its broad and nearly meaningless use of "religioius conservatives" and its inability to comprehend or appreciate the rich and varied sources upon which a traditional concept of marriage is based. Then there is the whole matter of the differences between natural marriage, civil marriage, and sacramental marriage, which is mentioned in passing later, but really needs to be addressed near the start.
• "Shall we look to Abraham, the great patriarch, who slept with his servant when he discovered his beloved wife Sarah was infertile? Or to Jacob, who fathered children with four different women (two sisters and their servants)? Abraham, Jacob, David, Solomon and the kings of Judah and Israel—all these fathers and heroes were polygamists." Wow, this makes run-of-the-mill condescension look downright friendly. Right away Miller goes for the old stand-by (with an Old Testament twist): Many marriages are imperfect and messed-up, so heterosexual marriage has no moral leg to stand on (I'm surprised she didn't mention Britney Spears). Which raises the question, "If marriage is so rotten and messed-up, why do some homosexuals want to be married?" Seriously.
The Catholic, unlike the progressive secularist, understands man is fallen, flawed, and seriously wounded. He recognizes that salvation history doesn't shy away from this fact, but is meant to address it directly, even bluntly. He also understands that there is a pedagogy at work throughout salvation history, which means, to put it simply, God meets man where he is and works with what he (man, not God) has....(more)

UAW Workers Actually Cost the Big Three Automakers $70 an Hour

From the Heritage:
The United Auto Workers (UAW) wants Congress to bail out General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler to prevent their undergoing restructuring in bankruptcy proceedings. In bankruptcy, a judge could order union contracts to be renegotiated to reflect competitive realities. Many analysts have objected that hourly autoworkers at the Big Three are some of the most highly paid workers in America, costing the Big Three over $70 an hour in wages and current and future benefits. All taxpayers should not be taxed to preserve the affluence of a few.
Some observers argue that UAW members do not actually earn this much. They argue this figure includes the cost of benefits paid to current retirees as well as wages and benefits paid to current workers and that the actual hourly earnings of current UAW members are much lower. This is a mistaken interpretation of the financial data released by the Detroit automakers. (more)

Advent Study #6- December 8

Today we continue with our study of Matthew's geneaology of Jesus and his second grouping which begins with Solomon, David's son.
here is #5. Notes on #5 are here.
Study #4 is
#3 can be found here
#2 is
#1 is here
here..notes and thoughts on #1 are here.
The intro to the study is
here .

As a reminder our focus questions, as we examine the genealogy narrative of Matthew:
who are they?
where are they from?
what place do they have-
-in the Biblical text
- in the story of salvation
-and in relation to Jesus specifically.

Are there other thoughts and questions as we read these lists?


(from christiananswers)
Meaning: peaceful, (Hebrew: Shelomoh)
David's second son by Bathsheba, i.e., the first after their legal marriage (2 Samuel 12). He was probably born about B.C. 1035 (1 Chr. 22:5; 29:1). He succeeded his father on the throne in early manhood, probably about sixteen or eighteen years of age. Nathan, to whom his education was intrusted, called him Jedidiah, i.e., "beloved of the Lord" (2 Sam. 12:24,25).
He was the first king of Israel "born in the purple." His father chose him as his successor, passing over the claims of his elder sons:
"Assuredly Solomon my son shall reign after me."
His history is recorded in 1 Kings 1-11 and 2 Chr. 1-9. His elevation to the throne took place before his father's death, and was hastened on mainlyby Nathan and Bathsheba, in consequence of the rebellion of Adonijah (1 Kings 1:5-40). During his long reign of forty years the Hebrew monarchy gained its highest splendor.
This period has well been called the "Augustan age" of the Jewish annals. The first half of his reign was, however, by far the brighter and more prosperous; the latter half was clouded by the idolatries into which he fell, mainly from his heathen intermarriages (1 Kings 11:1-8; 14:21, 31).

Our sources for the study of the life, reign, and character of Solomon are 1 Kings 1-9 ; and 2 Chronicles 1-9 . Solomon (Heb. "peaceful"), also called Jedidiah, i.e., "beloved of Yahweh ", was the second son of David by his wife Bathsheba, and the acknowledged favourite of his father. This may have been due partly to the fact that he, as a late offspring, considerably younger than David's other sons, was born in his father's old age, and partly to the intense love of David for Bathsheba and the beautiful qualities of Solomon himself. Solomon was not the logical heir to the throne, but David conferred it upon him instead of his older brothers, and in doing so he committed no wrong according to Israelitish ideas. Solomon was eighteen years old when he ascended the throne, or at least no older than this, and his successful reign of forty years speaks well for his intelligence, ability, and statesmanship. His reign offers a striking contrast to that of his father. It was almost entirely devoid of incident, and was marked by none of the vicissitudes of fortune which were so notable a feature in the career of David. Enjoying for the most part peaceful relations with foreign powers, and set free from the troubles that menaced him at home, Solomon was enabled to devote himself fully to the internal organization of his kingdom and the embellishment of his Court. In particular he gave much attention to the defence of the country (including the construction of fortresses), the administration of justice, the development of trade, and the erection of a national temple to the Almighty.


Meaning: he enlarges the people
the successor of Solomon on the throne, and apparently his only son
He was the son of Naamah (his mother) "the Ammonitess," some well-known Ammonitish princess (1 Kings 14:21; 2 Chr. 12:13).
He was forty-one years old when he ascended the throne, and he reigned seventeen years (B.C. 975-958). Although he was acknowledged at once as the rightful heir to the throne, yet there was a strongly-felt desire to modify the character of the government. The burden of taxation to which they had been subjected during Solomon's reign was very oppressive, and therefore the people assembled at Shechem and demanded from the king an alleviation of their burdens. He went to meet them at Shechem, and heard their demands for relief (1 Kings 12:4).
After three days, having consulted with a younger generation of courtiers that had grown up around him, instead of following the advice of elders, he answered the people haughtily (6-15). "The king hearkened not unto the people; for the cause was from the Lord" (compare 11:31). This brought matters speedily to a crisis. The terrible cry was heard (compare 2 Sam. 20:1):
"What portion have we in David?Neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse:To your tents, O Israel:Now see to thine own house, David" (1 Kings 12:16).
And now at once the kingdom was rent in twain. Rehoboam was appalled, and tried concessions, but it was too late (18). The tribe of Judah, Rehoboam's own tribe, alone remained faithful to him. Benjamin was reckoned along with Judah, and these two tribes formed the southern kingdom, with Jerusalem as its capital; while the northern ten tribes formed themselves into a separate kingdom, choosing Jeroboam as their king.
Rehoboam tried to win back the revolted ten tribes by making war against them, but he was prevented by the prophet Shemaiah (21-24; 2 Chr. 11:1-4) from fulfilling his purpose. (See JEROBOAM.)
In the fifth year of Rehoboam's reign, Shishak (q.v.), one of the kings of Egypt of the Assyrian dynasty, stirred up, no doubt, by Jeroboam his son-in-law, made war against him. Jerusalem submitted to the invader, who plundered the temple and virtually reduced the kingdom to the position of a vassal of Egypt (1 Kings 14:25,26; 2 Chr. 12:5-9).
A remarkable memorial of this invasion has been discovered at Karnac, in Upper Egypt, in certain sculptures on the walls of a small temple there. These sculptures represent the king, Shishak, holding in his hand a train of prisoners and other figures, with the names of the captured towns of Judah, the towns which Rehoboam had fortified (2 Chr. 11:5-12).
The kingdom of Judah, under Rehoboam, sank more and more in moral and spiritual decay. "There was war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam all their days." At length, in the fifty-eighth year of his age, Rehoboam "slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David" (1 Kings 14:31). He was succeeded by his son Abijah (also known as Abijam).

Abijah (from christiananswers)

Meaning: father of Jehovah (i.e., possessor or worshipper of Jehovah).
This is a common name used by both men and women of the Old Testament.

The son of Rehoboam, whom he succeeded on the throne of Judah (1 Chr. 3:10). He is also called Abijam (1 Kings 14:31; 15:1-8). He began his three years' reign (2 Chr. 12:16; 13:1,2) with a strenuous but unsuccessful effortto bring back the ten tribes to their allegiance. His address to "Jeroboam and all Israel," before encountering them in battle, is worthy of being specially noticed (2 Chr. 13:5-12). It was a very bloody battle, no fewer than 500,000 of the army of Israel having perished on the field. He is described as having walked "in all the sins of his father" (1 Kings 15:3; 2 Chr. 11:20-22).
It is said in 1 Kings 15:2 that "his mother's name was Maachah, the daughter of Abishalom;" but in 2 Chr. 13:2 we read, "his mother's name was Michaiah, the daughter of Uriel of Gibeah." The explanation is that Maachah is just a variation of the name Michaiah, and that Abishalom is probably the same as Absalom, the son of David. It is probable that "Uriel of Gibeah" married Tamar, the daughter of Absalom (2 Sam. 14:27), and by herhad Maachah. The word "daughter" in 1 Kings 15:2 will thus, as it frequently elsewhere does, mean grand-daughter.

Notes on Advent Study #6

Solomon (notes from Christian Answers)

He had seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines, an evidence at once of his pride, his wealth, and his sensuality.

But that golden age of Jewish history passed away. The bright day of Solomon's glory ended in clouds and darkness. His decline and fall from his high estate is a sad record.
Chief among the causes of his decline were his polygamy and his great wealth.
"As he grew older he spent more of his time among his favorites. The idle king living among these idle women, for 1,000 women, with all their idle and mischievous attendants, filled the palaces and pleasure-houses which he had built (1 Kings 11:3), learned first to tolerate and then to imitate their heathenish ways.
He did not, indeed, cease to believe in the God of Israel with his mind. He did not cease to offer the usual sacrifices in the temple at the great feasts. But his heart was not right with God; his worship became merely formal; his soul, left empty by the dying out of true religious fervour, sought to be filled with any religious excitement which offered itself. Now for the first time a worship was publicly set up amongst the people of the Lord which was not simply irregular or forbidden, like that of Gideon (Judg. 8:27), or the Danites (Judg. 18:30,31), but was downright idolatrous." (1 Kings 11:7; 2 Kings 23:13.)
This brought upon him the divine displeasure. His enemies prevailed against him (1 Kings 11:14-22, 23-25, 26-40), and one judgment after another fell upon the land. And now the end of all came, and he died, after a reign of forty years, and was buried in the city of David, and "with him was buried the short-lived glory and unity of Israel." "He leaves behind him but one weak and worthless son, to dismember his kingdom and disgrace his name."

The fact that Solomon's reign was passed in tranquillity, except for the attempts of Edom and Damascus to regain their independence, testifies to the care he displayed for the defence of the realm. That he showed no ambition to undertake foreign conquests redounds to his credit; after the exhausting wars of David the nation needed repose. And if he spent his people's wealth lavishly, his commercial policy may have helped to produce that wealth, and perhaps even given to the Jewish people that impulse towards trade which has been for centuries so marked a trait in their character. Nor can the indirect effects of the commerce he fostered be overlooked, inasmuch as it brought the people into closer contact with the outside world and so enlarged their intellectual horizon. And in two other respects he profoundly influenced his nation's after-history, and thereby mankind in general. In the first place, whatever the burdens which the construction of the temple entailed upon the generation that saw it erected, it eventually became the chief glory of the Jewish race. To it, its ritual, and its associations, was largely due the stronger hold which, after the disruption, the religion of Jehovah had upon Judah as contrasted with Northern Israel; and when Judah ceased to be a nation, the reconstructed temple became in a still higher degree the guardian of the Hebrew faith and hope. And secondly, the Book of Proverbs, though parts are expressly ascribed to other authors than Solomon, and even those sections which are attributed to him may be complex of origin, is nevertheless the product of Solomon's spirit and example, and much that it contains may actually have proceeded from him. And as Proverbs served as a model for many works of a similar character in later times, some of which, as has been said, were popularly ascribed to him (Ecclesiastes, Wisdom), the debt which the world of literature indirectly owes to the Hebrew king is considerable. The works named do not exhaust the list of productions with which Solomon's name is connected. The Song of Songs is attributed to him; two of the Canonical psalms are entitled his; and a book of Psalms of quite late date also goes by his name.

Biblical Data: (From Jewish encyclopedia)
The second king of Judah, son of Rehoboam. His reign lasted three years (B.C. 918-915). From the account in I Kings, xv. 1-8 (where he is called Abijam), it would appear that he was a wicked ruler, "who walked in all the sins of his father," and that it was only for the sake of David, his ancestor, that the royal line was continued in him. "God gave him a lamp in Jerusalem to set up his son after him, and to establish Jerusalem: because David did that which was right in the sight of the Lord and turned not aside from anything that he commanded him all the days of his life, save only in the matter of Uriah the Hittite." The only other matter there touched upon is his relations with the northern kingdom, as to which it is merely said that there was constant war between him and Jeroboam I. In II Chron. xiii. much is said of Abijah, and all of it with direct or implied approbation. Indeed, no two accounts of the same person could be more contradictory. In I Kings, xv. 2, his mother is said to have been Maachah, daughter of Abishalom; this is confirmed by II Chron. xi. 20 in its account of the reign of Rehoboam. But in II Chron. xiii. 2 she is called "Michaiah, the daughter of Uriel of Gibeah" (see Targ. Chron. for the rabbinical view). The chronicler records an address by Abijah to Jeroboam before a battle with that monarch, congratulating the people of Judah upon their devotion to YHWH, and dealing minutely with the matters of worship and ritual in which they were superior to the people of the Ten Tribes, against whom the judgment of YHWH is invoked (II Chron. xiii. 4-12). The chronicler also gives a detailed account of this battle, in which Judah was victorious. We are warned by the case of Uzziah (Azariah) not to hastily infer from the silence of the Book of Kings with regard to events narrated in Chronicles that such events are unhistorical. There was doubtless a continuation under Abijah of the state of feud that had prevailed from the beginning of the schism; and the tradition of a signal victory gained by Abijah over Jeroboam must have had a well-grounded basis. But the details given in Chronicles are impossible. The number of men engaged in battle is greater than the whole adult male population of the kingdoms at any epoch, and much greater than that of any armies that ever faced one another during the world's history. As a result of his defeat, Jeroboam is said to have lost Bethel and two other districts with their towns. This was at best but a temporary gain for Judah. The chronicler adds that Abijah waxed mighty and married fourteen wives, and begat twenty and two sons and sixteen daughters (II Chron. xiii. 21). The context implies that this occurred after Abijah's accession and during his reign of three years. The account is closed with the statement that these and other facts are to be found in the Midrash of the prophet Iddo.J. F. McC.—In Rabbinical Literature:
Although Abijah took up God's cause against Jeroboam, the idolatrous king of Israel, he was not permitted to enjoy the fruits of his victory over the latter for any considerable time, dying as he did shortly after his campaign (Josephus, "Ant." viii. 11, § 3). The rabbis recount many transgressions committed by Abijah against his fellow men, which resulted in drawing God's vengeance upon him more speedily than upon Jeroboam's idolatries. Thus it is stated that he mutilated the corpses of Jeroboam's soldiers, and even would not permit them to be interred until they had arrived at a state of putrefaction. Nor did Abijah show himself zealous in God's cause after all; for when, by the conquest of Bethel (II Chron. xiii. 19), the golden calves came into his possession, he did not destroy them as the law (Deut. vii. 25) enjoined. The rabbis also point out that it was improper for Abijah to accuse the whole of Israel of idolatry and to proclaim the appointment of Jeroboam as king to have been the work of "vain men, the children of Belial" (II Chron. xiii. 7), since in point of fact it was the prophet Ahijah, the Shilonite, who made him king (I Kings, xi. 37). For these reasons Abijah's reign was a short one.