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Session 12a Session 12b
Bible Books Summary

Session 6: Section 1

Overview of the Books of the Bible - Part 3

In this section we take a look at our second period of history following on from where we arrived in session 4 section 2. We went as far as the reign of David. We start this time with his son, Solomon, and go through to the end of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. This covers the period in time from about 1000 B.C. to about 700 B.C.

As in the last overview section, we will review what happened to the nation of Israel historically and indicate, at the same time, the books and passages that are relevant. The time charts (see links below) show the time period we will be looking at in this session and in the next "overview" session.

Click here for detailed Timelines.

We are dealing with a period of history with which very few people are familiar.

1 Samuel 16 v 1 to 13, 19 v 1 to 24 v 22
David was chosen to be King long before King Saul died. As a result Saul regarded David as a threat and tried to kill him on more than one occasion.
2 Samuel 1 v 1 to 20 v 26
David was made King after Saul’s death. David conquered lands and suffered political intrigues during his reign.
1 Kings 1, and 2 Chronicles 1
David’s son Solomon was most noted for his wisdom. When Solomon began to reign, he made an excellent start: he “loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of his father David”(1 Kings 3 v 3).
1 Kings 3
God appeared to Solomon in a dream and asked what Solomon wanted. Solomon requested wisdom to rule the nation of Israel. So God gave Solomon the wisdom he asked. In addition to wisdom, Solomon was granted riches and glory. Israel was at its height.
1 Kings 6, and 2 Chronicles 3 to 5

Solomon built the Temple. When it was built, God's glory came to fill the temple. Picture of a reconstruction of Solomon’s temple.


Model from the Maritime Museum,
Haifa, Israel of a merchant ship
from King Solomon’s fleet.

1 Kings 4, and 2 Chronicles 1 and 9
Solomon's weaknesses.
Solomon was a great king for a period of time, but all his wealth and importance began to have their effect. A desire for selfish glory was aroused and he began to look for other avenues to fulfil these desires.
The Bible tells us that Solomon gathered together chariots, horsemen and horses from Egypt. He became like the kings of the nations about him, trusting in himself.
Solomon, in effect, turned his back on God, the real strength of Israel.
1 Kings 11
In addition to this, Solomon failed in another way, and that was with women. He ended up having over 700 wives and 300 mistresses.
The Scriptures teach that when he was old these women turned his heart from God and he followed after other gods - those of his wives. It is interesting to note that they were from all those nations that Israel was supposed to have driven out of the land.
It is a tragic story and an important example for us. Despite his wisdom, he was not strong enough to resist his selfish nature, and slowly drifted away until his heart was turned from God and he became an idol-worshipper.
The son of faithful David, instead of showing wisdom, stability and leadership, became at length an old and foolish king.
Solomon himself seemed to confess this in the book of Ecclesiastes, when he wrote: “Better is a poor and a wise youth than an old and foolish king who will be admonished no more” (Ecclesiastes 4 v 13) .
As Solomon ignored God’s principles, the kingdom was divided, and most of it taken from Solomon’s son Rehoboam.
God raised up political opponents, one of whom was Jeroboam.
1 Kings 12, and 2 Chronicles 10
Jeroboam represented the people in a plea to Rehoboam, Solomon’s son, requesting that the burden of taxation be lessened.
Rehoboam made the grave mistake of increasing the taxation, ignoring the council of the wiser, old men and accepting, instead, the advice of his young friends to show himself tougher than his father.
So Jeroboam led ten tribes in a revolt against Rehoboam, and the nation divided.
The nation then had two kings; Jeroboam ruled over the northern section, and Rehoboam ruled over the southern part.
The map shows the land of Israel in Old Testament times. Click on it to enlarge it.

It is very important to remember that the northern ten tribes were known as “Israel” and sometimes “Ephraim”. The southern two tribes, Judah and Benjamin, were normally referred to as “Judah”.

1 Kings 12 v 25 to 33
Jeroboam’s problems
Early in Jeroboam’s reign he was faced with a crisis. Jeroboam wanted to maintain the political split with the southern kingdom of Judah, but he thought that the worship of God, centred in Jerusalem, would provide a unifying influence which would prove stronger than the political forces driving them apart. So he decided to set up a religion of his own in the northern kingdom.
1 Kings 12 v 28 to 30
He denied a fundamental doctrine and made two golden calves which he placed at Dan and Bethel in the northern kingdom. He argued that it was too far for the people to go to Jerusalem to worship there.
v 31
He did not deny the need for a priesthood, but he changed the qualifications of the priests: instead of being drawn exclusively from the sons of Aaron, he made priests of those from other families.
v 32 to 33
He did not deny the need for feasts, but he changed the days; the feast of tabernacles should commence on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, Jeroboam’s feast began on the fifteenth day of the eighth month. His religion was man-centred.
However, people cannot worship God in any way they want.
For his sins Jeroboam became notorious in Israel. All of the kings of the northern kingdom who came after him followed in his ways. In the summary of the lives of most of the following kings, the words recur: “He walked in all the ways of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and in his sin by which he had made Israel sin...” So the age of gold and glory under David and Solomon descended to an age of division and false religion.
Jeroboam’s bad influence on the northern kingdom continued through the reigns of all the kings of the northern kingdom, to king Hoshea, who was taken captive to Assyria.
1 Kings 5 to 2 Kings 17 v 23, and 2 Chronicles 13 to 28
The kings of the southern kingdom were not much better, but the southern kingdom lasted longer. All of the southern kings were descendants of David. There were some good kings.

We will look at the southern kings in Session 8.

The role of the prophets

The time chart, in two parts, [click here • (part 1) and here • (part 2)] shows the kings of Judah and Israel along with the prophets that were sent by God to Judah and Israel. You will notice that towards the end of both the kingdom of Israel and the kingdom of Judah there was an increase in the number of the prophets. This was because the people were evil and God sent the prophets to turn the people back to Him. And since this period of time was a steady decline, God kept sending prophets, to try to get the people to turn back from their idolatry and to serve Him; but the decline just would not stop, until God had no option but to destroy them.

Examples of prophets

Prophets which were sent to the northern kingdom, such as Hosea and Amos.

Prophets which were sent to the southern kingdom, such as Micah and Isaiah.

Prophets which were sent to other nations, such as Jonah and Nahum.

There were prophets who do not have a book of the Bible named after them, the most famous of which were Elijah and Elisha.

Optional Assignment 8

Overview of the books of the Bible

As in assignment 6 at the end of Session 4, Section 2, read the references we have given in the books of Kings and make your own summary. You can then add it to your own summary of the Bible story if you have done assignment 6.

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