When King David was advanced in years, though they covered him with blankets he could not get warm. His servants said to him; "Let a young virgin be found to attend the king and nurse him. If she sleeps with you, my lord will be warm." So they sought for a beautiful girl throughout Israel, and found Abishag the Shunamite and brought her to the king. The girl was very beautiful and she cared for the king. But the king could not have sex with her.
Adonijah, son of Haggith, boasted; "I will be king!" and provided himself with chariots, horses, and a retinue of 50 men. His father never antagonized him by asking; "Why are you doing this?" Adonijah was also very handsome and next in age to Absalom by the same mother. He consulted with Joab, son of Zeruiah, and with Abiathar the priest, and they became Adonijah's supporters. However, Zadok the priest, Benaiah son of Jehoiada, Nathan the prophet, Shimei, and Rei, and David's warriors did not support Adonijah.
Adonijah slaughtered sheep, oxen, and fat goats at the stone Zoheleth near En-rogel and invited all his brothers, the king's sons, and all the royal officials of Judah. He did not invite Nathan the prophet, Benaiah, the warriors, or Solomon his brother.
Then Nathan said to Bathsheba, Solomon's mother: "Have you not heard that Adonijah, son of Haggith, has become king and David does not know? Come now, let me advise you so that you may save your life and the life of Solomon. Go, visit David, and say to him; 'My lord, did you not swear to your handmaid that your son Solomon shall be king after you; he shall sit on your throne? Why then, has Adonijah become king?' While you are still speaking to the king, I will enter and confirm your words."
Bathsheba visited the king in his room. The king was very old and Abishag the Shunamite was caring for him. Bathsheba bowed in homage to the king. The king said to her; "What do you wish?" She answered him; "My lord, you swore to your servant by Yahva, 'Solomon your son will be king after me; it is he who shall sit on my throne.' But now Adonijah has become king and you, my lord, do not know it. He has sacrificed bulls, fat goats, and sheep in great numbers; he has invited all the king's sons, Abiathar the priest, and Joab, the commander of the army, but not your servant Solomon. Now, my lord, all Israel is looking to you to declare to them who is to sit on the throne after the king. If this is not done, when the king rests with his ancestors, I and my son Solomon will be considered criminals and executed."
While she was still speaking, Nathan the prophet entered. They told the king; "Nathan the prophet is here." He entered the king's presence and did him homage, bowing to the floor. Then Nathan said; "My lord king, did you say, 'Adonijah shall be king after me and shall sit upon my throne'? For today he sacrificed bulls, fat goats, and sheep in great numbers; he invited all the king's sons, the commanders of the army, and Abiathar the priest; even now they are eating and drinking in his company and saying; 'Long live King Adonijah!' But me, your servant, he did not invite, nor Zadok the priest, nor Benaiah, son of Jehoiada, nor your servant Solomon. If this was done by order of my lord the king, you did not tell your servant who is to sit on the throne of my lord after him."
King David answered; "Call Bathsheba here." When she entered the king's presence and stood before him, the king swore; "As Yahva lives, who redeemed my life from all distress, this very day I will fulfill the oath I swore to you by Yahva, God of Israel, 'Your son Solomon shall be king after me and shall sit on my throne in my place.'" Bowing to the floor in homage to the king, Bathsheba said; "May King David live forever!"
David said; "Call Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah son of Jehoiada." When they had entered the king's presence, he said to them; "Take with you the royal officials. Mount my son Solomon upon my own mule and escort him to Gihon. There Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet shall anoint him king over Israel. You shall blow the ram's horn and cry; 'Long live King Solomon!' When you come back with him, he is to enter and sit on my throne. He shall be king in my place: I designate him ruler of Israel and of Judah." Benaiah son of Jehoiada, answered the king; "So be it! May Yahva decree so! As Yahva has been with my lord the king, so may he be with Solomon and make his throne even greater than that of King David!"
Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, Benaiah son of Jehoiada, and the Cherethites and Pelethites mounted Solomon on King David's mule and escorted him to Gihon. Zadok the priest took the horn of oil from the tent and anointed Solomon. They blew the ram's horn and the people shouted; "Long live King Solomon!" The people followed him, playing flutes and rejoicing so much the earth split with their shouting.
Adonijah and his guests heard it just as they ended their banquet. When Joab heard the sound of the ram's horn, he asked; "Why this uproar in the city?" As he was speaking, Jonathan, son of Abiathar the priest, arrived. Adonijah said; "Come, you are a man of worth and must bring good news." Jonathan answered Adonijah; "Hardly! King David has made Solomon king. The king sent with him Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, Benaiah, son of Jehoiada, and the Cherethites and Pelethites, and they mounted him on the king's own mule. Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet anointed him king at Gihon. They went from there rejoicing so that the city is in an uproar. That is the noise you hear. Moreover, Solomon has taken his seat on the royal throne and the king's servants have come to pay their respects to King David, saying; 'May your God make Solomon's name more famous than your name; his throne greater than your throne!' The king in his bed did homage. This is what the king said; 'Blessed be Yahva, the God of Israel, who has this day provided one to sit upon my throne so that I see it with my own eyes.'" All the guests of Adonijah got up trembling and went each their way but Adonijah, in fear of Solomon, went to grasp the horns of the altar.
It was reported to Solomon; "Adonijah, in fear, is clinging to the horns of the altar and saying; 'Let King Solomon first swear that he will not kill me.'" Solomon answered; "If he proves worthy, not a hair of his shall fall to the ground. But if evil is found in him, he shall die." King Solomon sent to have him brought down from the altar. He came and paid homage to King Solomon. Solomon said to him; "Go to your house."
When the time of David's death approached, he gave these instructions to Solomon; "I am going the way of all the earth. Be strong and manly! Keep the mandate of Yahva and obey his laws, commands, and decrees as they are written in the laws of Moses. May you succeed in whatever you do and wherever you turn. May Yahva fulfill the word he spoke about me. If your sons walk before me faithfully with their whole essence and spirit, there will always be someone of your line on the throne of Israel.
"You yourself know what Joab, son of Zeruiah, did to me-what he did to the two commanders of Israel's armies, Abner, son of Ner, and Amasa, son of Jether. He killed them and brought the blood of war into a time of peace, and put the blood of war on the belt about his waist and the sandal on his foot. Act with all the wisdom you possess; do not let his gray head go to Sheol in peace. But be true to the sons of Barzillai the Gileadite, and have them among those who eat at your table. For they were loyal to me when I was fleeing from Absalom. You also have with you Shimei, son of Gera, the Benjaminite of Bahurim, who cursed me bitterly the day I was going to Mahanaim. When he came down to meet me at the Jordan, I swore to him by Yahva; 'I will not kill you by the sword.' But you must not let him go unpunished. You are wise; you will know what to do to send his gray head to Sheol in pain."
David rested with his ancestors and was buried in the City of David. He was king over Israel for 40 years: seven years in Hebron and 33 years in Jerusalem.
Then Solomon sat on the throne of David and his kingship was established.
Adonijah, son of Haggith, came to Bathsheba, mother of Solomon. "Do you come in peace?" she asked. "In peace," he answered, adding; "I have something to say to you." She replied; "Speak." So he said; "You know that the kingship was mine. All Israel expected me to be king. But the kingship passed me by and went to my brother. By Yahva's will it went to him. But now there is one favor I would ask of you. Please do not refuse me." She said; "Continue." He said; "Please ask King Solomon, who will not refuse you, to give me Abishag the Shunamite to be my wife." Bathsheba replied, "Very well, I will speak to the king for you."
Bathsheba went to King Solomon to speak to him for Adonijah. The king stood up to meet her and paid her homage. Then he sat on his throne, and a throne was provided for the king's mother, who sat at his right. She said, "There is one small favor I would ask of you. Do not refuse me." The king said to her. "Ask it, my mother, for I will not refuse you." So she said; "Let Abishag the Shunamite be given to your brother Adonijah to be his wife." King Solomon answered his mother; "Why do you ask that Abishag be given to Adonijah? Ask the kingship for him as well for he is my older brother! Ask for him, for Abiathar the priest, for Joab, son of Zeruiah!" King Solomon swore by Yahva; "May God do thus to me and more, if Adonijah has not spoken this word at the cost of his life. As Yahva lives, who established me and set me on the throne of my father and made for me a house as he promised, this day Adonijah will be put to death." Solomon sent Benaiah, son of Jehoiada, who struck him dead. The king said to Abiathar the priest; "Go to your estate in Anathoth. Though you deserve to die, I will not put you to death at this time, because you carried the ark of Yahva before my father and shared in all the hardships my father endured." Solomon dismissed Abiathar from the office of priest of Yahva, thus fulfilling the word Yahva had spoken in Shiloh against the house of Eli.
When the news came to Joab, since he had sided with Adonijah, though not with Absalom, he fled to the tent of Yahva and clung to the horns of the altar. King Solomon was told;' "Joab has fled to the tent of Yahva and is by the altar." He sent Benaiah, son of Jehoiada, with the order; "Go! Kill him." Benaiah went to the tent of Yahva saying to him, "The king says; 'Come.'" But he answered; "No! I will die here." Benaiah reported to the king; "This is what Joab said to me in reply." The king answered; "Do as he has said. Kill and bury him to remove the blood stain from me and my father's house. Joab shed this blood without provocation. Yahva will bring justice on him, because he killed two men better and more just than himself. He killed them with the sword without my father knowledge: Abner, son of Ner, commander of Israel's army, and Amasa, son of Jether, commander of Judah's army. Their blood will be on Joab and his descendants. There will be peace on David and his descendants, his house and his throne, forever from Yahva." Benaiah, son of Jehoiada killed him. He was buried in his house in the wilderness. The king appointed Benaiah son of Jehoiada, over the army in his place; Zadok the priest was put in place of Abiathar.
The king summoned Shimei saying; "Build yourself a house in Jerusalem and stay there. Do not go anywhere else. For the day you leave to cross the Kidron valley, you will die. Your blood will be on your own head." Shimei answered; "I accept. Your servant will do as my lord has said." So Shimei stayed in Jerusalem for a long time. But three years later, two of Shimei's servants ran away to Achish, son of Maacah, king of Gath. Shimei was told; "Your servants are in Gath." So Shimei saddled his donkey and went to Achish in search of his servants. Shimei returned with his servants. When Solomon heard that Shimei had gone from Jerusalem to Gath and returned, he summoned Shimei and said to him; "Did I not have you swear by Yahva and warn you clearly; 'The day you leave to go anywhere else, you shall surely die'? You answered; 'I accept and obey.' Why, then, have you not kept the oath of Yahva and the command that I gave you?" The king said to Shimei; "In your heart you know very well the evil that you did to David my father. Now Yahva is bringing your own evil on your head. But King Solomon will be blessed and David's throne will be established before Yahva forever." The king then gave the order to Benaiah son of Jehoiada, who killed him.
The royal power was established in Solomon's hand.
Solomon allied himself by marriage with Pharaoh, king of Egypt. He married the daughter of Pharaoh and brought her to the City of David, until he should finish building his own house, the house of Yahva, and the wall around Jerusalem. The people were sacrificing on the sacred places, until then no house had been built for Yahva. Solomon loved Yahva, obeyed the statutes, offered sacrifice and burned incense on the sacred places.
The king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there because that was the great sacred place. Upon its altar Solomon sacrificed 1,000 burnt offerings. In Gibeon Yahva appeared to Solomon in a dream, saying; "Whatever you ask I shall give you." Solomon answered; "You have shown great kindness to your servant, my father, because he walked before you with fidelity, justice, and an honest heart. You have continued this great kindness toward him today, giving him a son to sit on his throne. Now you have made your servant king to succeed David. I am a mere youth, not knowing how to behave. I am your servant among the people you have chosen, a people so vast that it cannot be numbered or counted. Give your servant discerning spirit, to judge your people and to distinguish between good and evil. Who is able to give judgment for this vast people of yours?"
Yahva was pleased by Solomon's request, saying; "Because you asked for this-you did not ask for a long life for yourself, nor for riches, nor for the life of your enemies, but you asked for discernment to know what is right- I now do as you request. I give you a mind so wise and discerning that there has never been anyone like you until now, nor after you will there be anyone to equal you. In addition, I give you what you have not asked for. I give you such riches and glory that among kings there will be no one like you all your days. If you walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and commandments, as David did, I will give you a long life; Solomon awoke; as from a dream! He went to Jerusalem, stood before the ark of Yahva, sacrificed burnt and communion offerings, and gave a feast for all his servants."
Later, two prostitutes came to the king and stood before him. One woman said; "By your leave, my lord, this woman and I live in the same house. I gave birth in the house while she was present. On the third day after I gave birth, this woman also gave birth. We were alone. No one else was in the house with us. This woman's son died during the night when she lay on him. In the night she switched infants, laying my son on her breast and her dead son on my breast. I rose in the morning to nurse my son but he was dead! When I examined him in the morning light, it was not the son I had borne. The other woman answered; "No! The living one is my son, the dead one is yours." The first kept saying; "No! The dead one is your son, the living one is mine!" Thus they argued before the king. The king said; "One woman claims; 'This, the living one, is my son, the dead one is yours.' The other answers; 'No! The dead one is your son, the living one is mine.'" The king continued; "Get me a sword." When they brought the sword to the king, he said; "Cut the living child in two, and give half to one woman and half to the other." The woman whose son was alive, because she was stirred with compassion for her son, said to the king; "Please, my lord, give her the living baby-do not kill it!" But the other said, "It shall be neither mine nor yours. Cut it in two!" The king then answered; "Give her the living baby! Do not kill it! She is the mother." When all Israel heard the judgment the king had given, they were in awe of him, because they saw that the king had wisdom for giving right judgment.
Solomon was king over Israel with these officials he had in his service:
- Azariah, son of Zadok, the priest
- Elihoreph and Ahijah, sons of Shisha, scribes
- Jehoshaphat, son of Ahilud, the chancellor
- Benaiah, son of Jehoiada, in charge of the army
- Zadok and Abiathar, priests
- Azariah, son of Nathan, in charge of the governors
- Zabud, son of Nathan, priest and companion to the king
- Ahishar, master of the palace
- Adoniram, son of Abda, in charge of the forced labor
Solomon had twelve governors over Israel who supplied food for the king and his household, each having to provide for one month in the year. Their names were:
- Son of Hur in the hill country of Ephraim
- Son of Deker in Makaz, Shaalbim, Beth-shemesh, Elon, and Beth-hanan
- Son of Hesed in Arubboth, Socoh and Hepher
- Son of Abinadab, in Naphath-dor; He married Taphath, Solomon's daughter
- Baana, son of Ahilud, in Taanach, Megiddo and Beth-shean near Zarethan below Jezreel, from Beth-shean to Abel-meholah to beyond Jokmeam;
- Son of Geber in Ramoth-gilead, the villages of Jair
- Son of Manasseh, in Gilead; and of the district of Argob in Bashan; 60 large walled cities with gates barred with bronze
- Ahinadab, son of Iddo, in Mahanaim
- Ahimaaz, in Naphtali; he married to Basemath, daughter of Solomon
- Baana, son of Hushai, in Asher and Aloth
- Jehoshaphat, son of Paruah, in Issachar
- Shimei, son of Ela, in Benjamin
- Son of Geber, son of Uri, in of Gilead, Sihon, king of the Amorites, and of Og, king of Bashan
There was also one governor over there entire lands who reported only to Solomon. The people of Judah and Israel were as numerous as the sands by the sea; they ate and drank and rejoiced.
Solomon ruled over the kingdoms from the River to the land of the Philistines, down to the border of Egypt. They paid Solomon tribute and served him as long as he lived. Solomon's provisions for each day were 30 kors of fine flour, 60 kors of meal, 10 fatted oxen, 20 pasture-fed oxen, and 100 sheep, not counting harts, gazelles, roebucks, and fat fowl. He had dominion over all the land west of the River, from Tiphsah to Gaza, and all its kings, and he had peace on all his borders. Thus Judah and Israel lived in security, everyone under their own vine and fig tree from Dan to Beer-sheba, as long as Solomon lived.
Solomon had 40,000 stalls for horses and chariots, and 12,000 horsemen. The governors, one for each month, provided food for King Solomon and for his guests. They overlooked nothing. For the chariot horses and draft animals, each brought his quota of barley and straw.
Yahva gave Solomon wisdom, exceptional understanding, and knowledge, as vast as the sand on the seashore. Solomon's wisdom surpassed that of all the peoples of the East and all the wisdom of Egypt. He was wiser than anyone else-wiser than Ethan the Ezrahite, or Heman, Chalcol, and Darda, the musicians. His fame spread throughout the neighboring peoples. Solomon also uttered 3,000 proverbs and composed 1,005 songs. He spoke of plants, from the cedar on Lebanon to the hyssop growing out of the wall, and he spoke about beasts, birds, reptiles, and fishes. People from all nations came to hear Solomon's wisdom. They came from all kings of the earth who heard of his wisdom.
When Hiram, king of Tyre, heard that Solomon had been anointed king in place of his father, he sent an embassy to him. Hiram had always been David's friend. Solomon sent back this message to Hiram; "You know that David was my father. Because of the wars, he could not build a house for Yahva his God until Yahva put his enemies under his feet. But now Yahva has given me rest on all sides, without adversary or misfortune. I intend to build a house for Yahva as he said to David; 'Your son whom I will put upon your throne in your place shall build my house.' Give orders to have cedars from Lebanon cut for me. My servants will accompany yours, and I will pay you whatever you say for your servants' wages. You know that there is no one who is skilled in cutting timber as the Sidonians." When Hiram had heard the words of Solomon, he was overjoyed, saying; "Blessed be Yahva this day, who has given David a wise son over his numerous people." Hiram then sent word to Solomon; "I have heard the proposal you sent me, and I will provide all the cedars and fir trees you desire. My servants shall bring them down from the Lebanon to the sea, and I will arrange them into rafts in the sea and bring them wherever you say. There I will break up the rafts, and you shall take the lumber. You, for your part, shall furnish the provisions I desire for my household." Hiram continued to provide Solomon with all the cedars and fir trees he desired, while Solomon gave Hiram 20,000 kors of wheat to provide for his household, and 20 kors of hand-pressed oil. Each year Solomon gave Hiram all this. Yahva gave Solomon wisdom as he promised him. There was a pact of peace between Hiram and Solomon.
King Solomon raised 30,000 forced laborers from all Israel. He sent them to Lebanon for a month in relays of 10,000, so that they spent one month in the Lebanon and two months at home. Adoniram was in charge of the forced labor. Solomon had 70,000 carriers and 80,000 stonecutters in the mountain, in addition to 3,300 overseers, who were in charge of the work and directed the people engaged in the work. By order of the king, fine, large blocks of stone were quarried to give the house a foundation of hewn stone. Solomon's and Hiram's builders, along with others from Gebal shaped them, and prepared the wood and stones for building the house.
In the 480th year after the Israelites left Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon's reign over Israel, in the month of Ziv (the second month), he began to build the house of Yahva.
The house which King Solomon built for Yahva was 60 cubits long, 20 wide, and 30 high. The porch in front of the nave of the house was 20 cubits from side to side along the width of the house, and ten cubits deep in front of the house. Windows with closed lattices were made for the house, and adjoining the wall of the house he built a substructure around its walls that enclosed the nave and the inner sanctuary, then he made side chambers all around. The lowest story was five cubits wide, the middle one six cubits wide, the third, seven cubits wide, because he put recesses along the outside of the house to avoid fastening anything into the walls of the house. The house was built of stone dressed at the quarry, so that no hammer or ax, no iron tool, was to be heard in the house during its construction. The entrance to the middle story was on the south side of the house; stairs led up to the middle story and from the middle story to the third. When he had finished building the house, it was roofed in with rafters and boards of cedar. He built the substructure five cubits high all along the outside of the house, to which it was joined by cedar beams.
The word of Yahva came to Solomon; "As to this house you are building-if you obey my statutes, ordinances, and commands, I will fulfill my word to you as I told David. I will dwell among the Israelites and not forsake my people.
When Solomon finished building the house, the inside walls were lined with cedar paneling. The interior was covered with wood from floor to ceiling, and the floor was covered with fir planking. At the rear of the house a space of 20 cubits was set off by cedar panels from the floor to the ceiling, enclosing the inner sanctuary, the holy of holies. The nave of the house was 40 cubits long. The cedar in the interior of the house was carved in the form of gourds and open flowers; all was of cedar, and no stone was visible.
The inner sanctuary containing Yahva's ark was in the innermost part of the house. In front of the inner sanctuary (it was 20 cubits long, 20 wide, and 20 high, covered it with pure gold), was an altar of cedar. Solomon covered the interior of the house with pure gold and drew golden chains across in front of the inner sanctuary, then covering it with gold. He covered the whole house with gold. When the whole house was finished, the altar that belonged to the inner sanctuary was covered with gold. In the inner sanctuary was two cherubim, made of olive wood, each ten cubits high. Each wing of a cherub was five cubits so that the span from wing tip to wing tip was ten cubits. The second cherub was also ten cubits: the two cherubim were identical in size and shape; the first cherub was ten cubits high, and so was the second. He placed the cherubim in the inmost part of the house; the wings of the cherubim were spread wide so that one wing of the first touched the side wall and the wing of the second touched the other wall; the wings pointing to the middle of the room touched each other. He overlaid the cherubim with gold.
The walls of the house on the inner and the outer rooms had carved figures of cherubim, palm trees, and open flowers. The floor of the house of the inner and the outer rooms was overlaid with gold. At the entrance of the inner sanctuary, were doors of olive wood; the lintels and posts were pentagonal. The two doors were of olive wood, with carved figures of cherubim, palm trees, and open flowers. The doors were overlaid with gold, and the cherubim and the palm trees were also covered with beaten gold. He did the same at the entrance to the nave, where the doorposts were of olive wood and were four-sided. The two doors were of fir, each door consisting of two panels hinged together; and he carved cherubim, palm trees, and open flowers, and plated them with gold. He walled off the inner court with three courses of hewn stones and one course of cedar beams.
The foundations of Yahva's house were laid in the month of Ziv in the fourth year, and was finished in all particulars, exactly according to plan in the month of Bul, the eighth month, in the eleventh year. Thus Solomon built it in seven years.
It took Solomon 13 years to finish building of his own house. He built the House of the Forest of Lebanon with 100 cedar columns, with cedar beams on the columns and a ceiling of cedar above the rafters resting on the columns. There were 45 rafters in three rows, 15 to a row. There were lattices in three rows, each row facing the next. All the openings and doorposts were square with lintels, opposite each other. He also made the Porch of Columns, 50 cubits long and 30 wide. The porch extended across the front with columns and a canopy in front of them. He also made the Porch of the Throne where he gave judgment (that is, the Porch of Judgment). It was paneled with cedar from floor to ceiling. His residence was in another court, set in deeper than the Porch and of the same construction. (Solomon made a house like this Porch for Pharaoh's daughter, whom he had married.) All these buildings were of fine stones, hewn to size and trimmed front and back with a saw, from the foundation to the bonding course and outside as far as the great court. The foundation was made of fine, large blocks, about ten by eight cubits. Above stones cedar. The great court had three courses of hewn stones all around and a course of cedar beams. So also were the inner court of the house of Yahva and its porch.
King Solomon brought Hiram from Tyre. He was a bronze worker, the son of a widow from the tribe of Naphtali; his father had been from Tyre. He was endowed with wisdom, understanding, and knowledge for doing any work in bronze. He came to King Solomon and did all his metal work.
He fashioned two bronze columns, each eighteen cubits high and twelve cubits in circumference. He also made two capitals, cast in bronze, to be placed on top of the columns, each of them five cubits high. There were meshes made like netting and braid made like chains for the capitals on top of the columns, seven for each capital. He also cast pomegranates, two rows around each netting to cover the capital on top of the columns. The capitals on top of the columns (in the porch) were made like lilies, four cubits high. And the capitals on the two columns, both above and adjoining the bulge where it crossed out of the netting, had 200 pomegranates in rows around each capital. He set the columns at the temple porch; one to the south, and called it Jachin, and the other to the north, and called it Boaz. The top of the columns was made like a lily. Thus the work on the columns was completed.
Then he made the molten sea with a circular rim that measured ten cubits across, five in height, and 30 in circumference. Under the brim, gourds encircled it for ten cubits around the compass of the sea; the gourds were in two rows and were cast in one mold with the sea. This rested on twelve oxen, three facing north, three facing west, three facing south, and three facing east, with their haunches all toward the center; upon them was set the sea. It was a handbreadth thick, and its brim resembled that of a cup, being lily-shaped. Its capacity was 2,000 baths.
He also made ten bronze stands, each four cubits long, four wide, and three high. Panels were set in the framework. On the panels were lions, oxen, and cherubim; above and below the lions and oxen, there were wreaths in hammered relief. Each stand had four bronze wheels and bronze axles. The four legs of each stand had cast braces under the basin. They had wreaths on each side. The mouth of the basin was inside, a cubit above the crown, whose opening was round like a receptacle, a cubit and a half in depth. There was carved work at the opening on square panels. The four wheels were below the paneling. The axletrees and the stand were of one piece. Each wheel was a cubit and a half high. The wheels were constructed like chariot wheels with their axletrees, rims, spokes, and hubs were all cast. The four braces reached the four corners of each stand, and formed part of the stand. At the top of the stand there was a raised collar half a cubit high with the handles and panels on top of the stand. On the flat ends of the handles and the panels, wherever there was a bare space, cherubim, lions, and palm trees were carved, as well as wreaths all around. He made ten stands, all of the same casting, the same size, and the same shape. He made ten bronze basins, each four cubits in diameter with a capacity of 40 baths, one basin atop each of the ten stands.
He placed the stands, five on the south side of the house and five on the north. He placed the sea to the southeast.
When Hiram had made the pots, shovels, and bowls, he finished all his work for King Solomon in the house of Yahva: two columns; two nodes for the capitals on top of the columns; two pieces of netting covering these nodes; 400 pomegranates in double rows on both pieces of netting that covered the nodes; ten stands; ten basins on the stands; one sea; twelve oxen supporting the sea; pots, shovels, and bowls. All these articles which Hiram made for Solomon in the house of Yahva were of burnished bronze. The king had them cast near Jordan, between Succoth and Zarethan, in thick clay molds. Solomon did not weigh all the articles because they were so numerous; the weight of the bronze was not determined.
Solomon made all the articles for the house of Yahva: the golden altar; the table on which the showbread lay; the lamp stands of pure gold, five to the right and five to the left before the inner sanctuary; their flowers, lamps, and tongs of gold; basins, snuffers, bowls, cups, and firepans of pure gold; hinges of gold for the doors of the innermost part of the house, or holy of holies, and for the doors of the outer room, the nave. When all the work undertaken by Solomon for the house of Yahva was completed, he brought in the votive offerings of his father David, and put the silver, gold, and other articles in the treasuries of the house of Yahva.
Solomon assembled the elders of Israel and the heads of all the tribes?the princes in the ancestral houses of the Israelites. They came to King Solomon in Jerusalem to bring Yahva's ark from the city of David. All the people of Israel assembled before King Solomon during the festival in the month of Ethanim (the seventh month). When all the elders of Israel had arrived, the priests brought the ark of Yahva and the meeting tent with all the sacred vessels that were in the tent. King Solomon and the entire community of Israel gathered for the occasion before the ark, sacrificed sheep and oxen too many to count. The priests brought the ark of the covenant of Yahva to its place, the inner sanctuary of the house beneath the wings of the cherubim. The cherubim had their wings spread over the place of the ark, sheltering the ark and its poles from above. The poles were so long that their ends could be seen from the holy place in front of the inner sanctuary. They cannot be seen from outside, but they remain there. There was nothing in the ark but the two stone tablets which Moses put there at Horeb, when Yahva made a covenant with the Israelites after they left Egypt. When the priests left the holy place, the cloud filled the house of Yahva so that the priests could no longer minister because of the cloud, since the glory of Yahva had filled the house of Yahva. Then Solomon said;
Yahva intends to dwell in the dark cloud;
I have indeed built you a princely house,
The base for your enthronement forever.
The king turned and blessed the whole assembly of Israel, while they stood. He said; "Blessed be Yahva, the God of Israel, who made a promise to David and fulfilled it, saying; 'Since the day I brought my people from Egypt, I have not chosen a city from any tribe for building my house. I have chosen David to rule Israel.' When David wished to build a house for Yahva, he said; 'In wishing to build a house for me, you did well. But you who will not build the house, but your son. He shall build my house.' Yahva has fulfilled the word he spoke. I have succeeded my father and sit on the throne of Israel as Yahva said. I have built this house for Yahva. I have provided a place for the ark which contains the covenant of Yahva that he made with our ancestors when he rescued them from Egypt."
Solomon stood before the altar of Yahva in the presence of the assembly of Israel, stretching forth his hands toward heaven, said; "Yahva, God of Israel, there is none like you in heaven or on earth. You keep the covenant and love your servants who obey you with their spirit; the covenant you kept with your servant, David. What you promised him, you have spoken and fulfilled. Yahva; Honor your servant with that you promised; 'There shall never lack someone from your line to sit on the throne of Israel, provided that your descendants obey.' Now, God of Israel, may the words you spoke to your servant be confirmed.
Is Yahva indeed to dwell on earth? If the highest heavens cannot contain you, how much less this house which I have built! Regard kindly the prayer and petition of your servant. Yahva, listen to the cry of supplication which I utter before you this day. May your eyes be open night and day toward this house, the place of which you said; 'My name shall be there.' Listen to the prayer your servant makes toward this place. Listen to the petition of your servant and your people which they offer toward this place. Listen, from the place of your enthronement in heaven; listen and forgive.
If someone sins against a neighbor and is required to take an oath sanctioned by a curse, and takes the oath before your altar in this house, listen; act and judge your servants. Condemn the wicked, requiting their ways; acquit the just, rewarding their justice.
When your people Israel are defeated by an enemy because they sinned against you, and then they return to you, praise your name, pray to you, and entreat you in this house, listen and forgive the sin of your people. Bring them back to the land you gave their ancestors.
When the sky is closed so that there is no rain because they sinned against you, but they pray toward this place and praise your name, and turn from their sin for which you have afflicted them; listen and forgive your servants, your people (for you teach them the good way they should behave). Give rain to this land which you gave to your people as their heritage.
If there is famine in the land, pestilence, blight, mildew, locusts, or caterpillars; if an enemy of your people presses at their gates; whatever plague or sickness there may be; whatever prayer or petition that any of your people make, who know heartfelt remorse and stretch out their hands toward this house, listen in heaven; forgive and take action. Render to each according to their ways, you who know every heart. You alone know the essence of every human being. May they revere you while they live in the land you gave their ancestors.
To the foreigners (not your people but from a distant land) come to observe your works and pray to this house, listen from your throne. Do what the foreigner asks so that all the peoples of the earth may revere you as your people do and know that your honor is invoked on this house.
When your people go to war against their enemies, however you send them, and they pray to Yahva (toward the house I built in the city you chose), listen to their prayer and petition, upholding their cause.
When they sin against you (for everyone sins), and in anger you give them to an enemy, who enslaves them in another land, if they repent during captivity entreating you; 'We have sinned and been wicked,' if with their entire being honor you in that land and pray to you, listen to their prayer and petition, upholding their cause. Forgive your people who have sinned all the offenses they have committed, and grant them mercy in the sight of their captors so that these will be merciful to them. For they are your people and your heritage whom you brought out of Egypt.
May your eyes be open to the petition of your servant and to your people. May you listen when they call on you. You have separated them from the peoples of the earth to be your heritage, as you declared through Moses when you rescued our ancestors from Egypt."
After Solomon finished offering this prayer and petition to Yahva, he rose from kneeling before Yahva's altar, with hands stretched toward the sky. He blessed the assembly of Israel, saying; "Blessed be Yahva who has given rest to his people in Israel, as he promised. Not a single word has gone unfulfilled of the gracious promise he made through Moses. May our God support us as he supported our ancestors. May he not forsake us nor cast us off. May he draw our being to himself so that we may walk in his ways and keep the commands, statutes, and ordinances that he enjoined on our ancestors. May these words, the petition I have offered before Yahva, be present to our God day and night, so that he may uphold the goals of his servant and his people as each day requires, so that the people of earth may know that Yahva is God and there is no other. Your heart must be wholly devoted to Yahva, observing his statutes and keeping his laws."
The king and all people with him offered sacrifices to Yahva. Solomon offered as communion offerings 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep. Thus the king and the Israelites dedicated the house of Yahva. On that day the king consecrated the middle of the court facing the house of Yahva. He offered there the burnt offerings, grain offerings, and the fat of the communion offerings, because the bronze altar of Yahva was too small to hold the offering. On this occasion Solomon and Israel held a great assembly from Lebo-hamath to the valley of Egypt, to celebrate the festival for seven days. On the eighth day he dismissed the people, who blessed the king and went to their tents, rejoicing and happy because of the blessings Yahva had given to David and to his people.
After Solomon finished building Yahva's house, the king's palace, and everything that he desired, Yahva appeared to Solomon again, as he had in Gibeon, saying; "I have heard the prayer and petition which you offered. I consecrate this house which you built and accept it in my name. My eyes and heart will be there always. If you behave as David did, with devotion and honor, obeying my commands, keeping my statutes and ordinances, I will establish your reign over Israel forever, as I promised your father. There will always be one of your line on the throne of Israel. But if you or your descendants reject me, fail to keep my commandments and statutes, and serve other gods, I will expel Israel from the land I gave them and repudiate the house I have consecrated. Israel will become a joke and a mockery among all nations. This house will become a heap of ruins. Every passerby will gasp in horror and ask; 'Why has their god done such things to this land and to this house?' And the answer will come; 'Because they abandoned their god, who brought their ancestors out of the land of Egypt, and they embraced other gods, bowing down to them and serving them. That is why their god has brought this evil on them.'"
After the 20 years during which Solomon built the two houses, Hiram, king of Tyre, supplying Solomon with all the cedar, fir, and gold he wished, and Solomon giving Hiram in return 20 cities in the land of Galilee. Hiram left Tyre to see the cities Solomon had given him, but he was not satisfied with them. He said; "What are these worthless cities you have given me, my brother?" He called them the land of Cabul, as they are still called. Hiram had given Solomon 120 talents of gold.
This is an account of the conscript labor force King Solomon raised in order to build the house of Yahva, his own house, Millo, the wall of Jerusalem, Hazor, Megiddo, Gezer (Pharaoh, king of Egypt, had come up and taken Gezer and, after destroying it by fire and slaying all the Canaanites living in the city, had given it as a wedding gift to his daughter; Solomon then rebuilt Gezer), Lower Beth-horon, Baalath, Tamar in the desert of Judah, all his cities for supplies, cities for chariots and cities for cavalry, and whatever Solomon desired to build in Jerusalem, in Lebanon, and in the entire land under his dominion. All the people who were left of the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites, who were not Israelites-those of their descendants who were left in the land and whom the Israelites had not been able to destroy under the ban-these Solomon conscripted as forced laborers, as they still are. But Solomon made none of the Israelites forced laborers, for they were his fighting force, his ministers, commanders, adjutants, chariot officers, and cavalry. There were 550 overseers answerable to Solomon's governors for the work, directing the people engaged in the work.
When Pharaoh's daughter went from the City of David to her house, Solomon built Millo. Three times a year Solomon offered burnt and communion offerings on the altar which he had built for Yahva, and to burn incense.
Thus he completed the temple.
King Solomon also built a fleet at Ezion-geber, which is near Elath on the shore of the Red Sea in the land of Edom. To this fleet Hiram sent his own servants, expert sailors, with the servants of Solomon. They went to Ophir, and obtained 420 talents of gold and brought it to King Solomon.
Having heard of Solomon's fame, the queen of Sheba came to test him with subtle questions. She arrived in Jerusalem with a very large retinue, and with camels bearing spices, gold, and precious stones. She conversed with Solomon about a wide range of topics. He explained everything she asked, even on the most obscure topic. When the queen of Sheba witnessed Solomon's great wisdom, the houses he had built, the food at his table, the seating of his ministers, the attendance and dress of his waiters, his servers, and the sacrifices he offered in Yahva's house, she was amazed. "The reports I heard about your deeds and wisdom are true," she told him. "I did not believe the reports until I saw that not even the half had been told. Your wisdom and prosperity surpass the reports. Happy are your servants, happy these ministers of yours, who stand before you always and listen to your wisdom. Blessed be your god who has been pleased to place you on the throne of Israel. In his enduring love for Israel, your god has made you king to provide judgment and justice." Then she gave the king 120 gold talents, a very large quantity of spices, and precious stones. Never again did anyone bring such an abundance of spices as the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon.
Hiram's fleet, which brought gold from Ophir, also brought a very large quantity of almug wood and precious stones. With this wood the king made supports for Yahva's house and the king's house, plus harps and lyres for the singers. Never again was almug wood like this seen in Israel.
Solomon gave the queen of Sheba everything she desired, in addition what he gave her from his royal bounty. Then she returned to her country.
The gold that Solomon received in one year weighed 666 gold talents, in addition to tolls on travelers, the traffic of merchants, and tribute of the kings of Arabia and the governors of the country. King Solomon made 200 shields of beaten gold (600 shekels of gold went into each shield) and 300 bucklers of beaten gold (three minas of gold went into each buckler). He put them in the house of the Forest of Lebanon. The king made a large ivory throne, overlaid with refined gold. The throne had six steps, a back with a round top, and an arm on each side, with two lions standing next to the arms and twelve lions standing on the steps. Nothing like this was made in any other kingdom. Solomon's drinking vessels and all the utensils in his house were pure gold. There was no silver, for in Solomon's time silver was reckoned worthless. For the king had a fleet of Tarshish ships at sea with Hiram's fleet. Once every three years the fleet would return with a cargo of gold, silver, ivory, apes, and peacocks.
Thus King Solomon surpassed all the kings of the earth in riches and wisdom. The whole world sought audience with Solomon to hear the wisdom of Yahva through Solomon. They brought their yearly tribute; vessels of silver and gold, garments, weapons, spices, horses and mules-as was due each year.
Solomon amassed chariots and horses; he had 1,400 chariots and 12,000 horses. He distributed among the chariot cities and to the king's service in Jerusalem. The king made silver as common in Jerusalem as stones, and cedars as numerous as the sycamores of the Shephelah. Solomon's horses were imported from Egypt and from Cilicia, where the king's merchants purchased them. A chariot imported from Egypt cost 600 shekels of silver, a horse 150; the standard rate for all Hittite and Aramean kings.
King Solomon loved many foreign women besides the daughter of Pharaoh-Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians, Hittites-from nations of which Yahva had ordered the Israelites; "You shall not marry women of nations for they will seduce you to their gods." But Solomon loved his 700 wives and 300 concubines.
As Solomon aged his wives convinced him to worship other gods so that he was not entirely dedicated to Yahva as David had been. Solomon sacrificed to Astarte, goddess of the Sidonians, and Milcom, the abomination of the Ammonites. Solomon violated the laws of Yahva and did not adore Yahva fully as his father had. Solomon built a place sacred to Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, and to Molech, the abomination of the Ammonites on the mountain opposite Jerusalem. He did the same for all his foreign wives who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods.
Yahva became angry with Solomon, because he violated his laws, although Yahva appeared to him twice and commanded him not to worship other gods. But he did not obey Yahva. So Yahva told Solomon; "Since you followed your desires-not keeping my covenant and the statutes-I will rip the kingdom from you and give it to your servant. I will not do this during your lifetime for my promise to David; I will strip it away from your son. I will take the whole kingdom. I will give your son one tribe for the sake of David and Jerusalem."
Yahva raised an adversary against Solomon-Hadad the Edomite-who was of the royal line in Edom. Earlier, when David had conquered Edom, Joab, the commander of the army, while burying the slain, killed every male in Edom. Joab and the Israelites remained there six months until every male of Edom were dead. But Hadad, with some servants, fled to Paran where they gathered men and went to Pharaoh, king of Egypt. He gave Hadad a house, appointed him rations, and assigned him land. Hadad won favor with Pharaoh, marrying his sister-in-law, the sister of Pharoh's wife Tahpenes. Tahpenes' sister bore Hadad a son, Genubath. who was weaned in Pharaoh's palace. Genubath lived in Pharaoh's house, with Pharaoh's sons. When Hadad heard that David and Joab were dead, he said to Pharaoh; "Give me leave to return to my land." Pharaoh asked him; "Why do you want to return to your land? What do you lack here?" He answered; "Nothing, but please let me go!"
Yahva raised up against Solomon another adversary, Rezon, the son of Eliada, who had fled from his lord, Hadadezer, king of Zobah, when David was slaughtering them. Rezon gathered men to become leader of a marauding band. They went to Damascus, settled there, and made him king in Damascus. Rezon was an adversary of Israel as long as Solomon lived, in addition to the harm done by Hadad. He felt contempt for Israel. He became king over Aram.
Solomon had a servant, Jeroboam, son of Nebat, an Ephraimite from Zeredah with a widowed mother named Zeruah. He rebelled against the king for these reasons. Solomon was building Millo, closing up the breach of the City of David. Jeroboam was a very able man. When Solomon saw that the young man was also a good worker, he put him in charge of all the carriers conscripted from the house of Joseph.
About then Jeroboam left Jerusalem and met the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite on the road. The prophet was wearing a new cloak. When the two were alone in the open country, Ahijah took off his new cloak, tore it into twelve pieces, saying to Jeroboam; "Take ten pieces for yourself. Thus says Yahva; 'I will tear the kingdom from Solomon and give you ten tribes. He will have one tribe for the sake of David and Jerusalem, the city I chose from Israel. They have forsaken me and bowed to Astarte, goddess of the Sidonians, Chemosh, god of Moab, and Milcom, god of the Ammonites. They have not obeyed my statutes and ordinances as David did. I will not take any of the kingdom from Solomon, but will keep him as king as long as he lives for the sake of David.
I will take the kingdom from his son's hand and give it to you-that is, the ten tribes. I will give his son one tribe, that David my servant may always have a holding for me in Jerusalem there. I will take you to reign over all that you desire as king of Israel. If you heed all that I command you, obeying my my statutes and commandments like David, I will be with you. I will build a lasting house for you as I did for David. I will give Israel to you. I will humble David's line, but not forever."
When Solomon tried to have Jeroboam killed, he fled to Shishak, king of Egypt. He remained in Egypt until Solomon's death.
The rest of the acts of Solomon, with all that he did and his wisdom, are recorded in the book of the acts of Solomon. Solomon was king in Jerusalem over Israel for 40 years. Solomon rested with his ancestors and was buried in the City of David. Rehoboam his son succeeded him as king.
Rehoboam went to Shechem, where all Israel had come to make him king. When Jeroboam, son of Nebat, heard about it, he was still in Egypt. He had fled from Solomon and remained in Egypt until they sent for him.
Then Jeroboam and the assembly of Israel came to Rehoboam, saying; "Your father put a heavy yoke on us. If you now lighten the harsh servitude and the heavy yoke, we will be your servants." He answered; "Come back in three days," and the people went away.
King Rehoboam asked advice of the elders who had been in his father service; "How do you advise me to answer the people?" They replied; "If today you become the servant of the people and serve them, then give a favorable answer, they will be your servants forever. He ignored the advice the elders had given him and asked advice of the young men who had grown up with him; "What answer do you advise that we should give this people, who have told me; 'Lighten the yoke your father imposed on us?'" The young men replied; "This is what you must say to this people who have told you; 'Your father made our yoke heavy; you lighten it for us.' You must say; 'My little finger is thicker than my father's loins. My father put a heavy yoke on you, but I will make it heavier. My father beat you with whips, but I will beat you with scorpions.'" Jeroboam and the people came back to King Rehoboam on the third day, as instructed." Ignoring the advice the elders had given him, the king gave the people a harsh answer. He spoke to them as the young men had advised; "My father made your yoke heavy but I will make it heavier. My father beat you with whips but I will beat you with scorpions." The king did not listen to the people these events were from Yahva to fulfil the word spoken through Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam, son of Nebat. When all Israel saw that the king did not listen to them, the people answered the king:
What share have we in David?
We have no heritage in the son of Jesse.
To your tents, Israel!
Now look to your own house, David.
So Israel went to their tents. But Rehoboam continued to reign over the Israelites who lived in the cities of Judah.
King Rehoboam sent Adoram, who was in charge of the forced labor, but Israel stoned him to death. King Rehoboam managed to mount his chariot and flee to Jerusalem. Israel was in rebellion against the house of David to this day. When Israel heard that Jeroboam had returned, they summoned him to an assembly and made him king over all Israel. None remained loyal to the house of David except the tribe of Judah.
On his arrival in Jerusalem, Rehoboam assembled the house of Judah and the tribe of Benjamin-180,000 elite warriors-to wage war against Israel and restore the kingdom to Rehoboam. However, the word of Yahva came to Shemaiah, a holy man; "Tell Rehoboam, king of Judah, and Judah and Benjamin; Thus says Yahva; 'You must not go out to war against your fellow Israelites. Return home, each of you, for it is I who have brought this about.'" They obeyed Yahva and turned back, according to the word of Yahva.
Jeroboam built Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim and lived there. Then he left it and built Penuel.
Jeroboam thought to himself; "Now the kingdom will return to the house of David. If this people offer sacrifices to Yahva in Jerusalem, the people will return to Rehoboam. They will kill me and return to Rehoboam." The king took counsel, made two gold idols, and said to the people; "You have been going to Jerusalem long enough. Here are your gods, O Israel, who brought you from Egypt." He put one in Bethel and the other in Dan. This led to sin, because the people frequented these idols in Bethel and Dan. He also built temples on the high places and made priests from among the common people who were not Levites.
Jeroboam established a feast on the fifteenth day or the eighth month like the pilgrimage feast in Judah. He did this in Bethel, sacrificing to the idols he had made. He stationed in Bethel the priests of the new temples he had built. Jeroboam went to the altar in Bethel on the fifteenth day of the eighth month which he arbitrarily chose. He established a feast for the Israelites and burned incense on the altar.
A holy man came from Judah to Bethel by command of Yahva while Jeroboam was standing at the altar to burn incense. He cried against the altar by order of Yahva; "Altar, altar, thus says Yahva: A child shall be born to the house of David, named Josiah, who will slaughter the priests of the new temples who burn incense on you. They will burn human bones on you." He also gave a sign that same day, saying; "This is the sign that Yahva has spoken: The altar will be torn apart and the ashes on it will be scattered." When the king heard these words, Jeroboam stretched his hand from the altar, saying; "Seize him!" But his hand withered so that he could not draw it back. (The altar was torn apart and the ashes from the altar were scattered, in accordance with the sign the holy man gave by order of Yahva.)
Then the king said to the holy man; "Entreat Yahva and intercede for my hand to be restored." When he entreated Yahva, and the king's hand was restored as it was before. The king told him to come to his house for refreshment and a present." The holy man replied; "If you gave me half your palace, I could not go with you, eat bread, or drink water in this place. I was instructed by Yahva to not eat bread or drink water, and to not return by the way I came." So he departed by another road.
There was an old prophet living in Bethel whose son told him that the holy man had done that day in Bethel. When his sons repeated to their father the words the man of God had spoken to the king, the father asked; "Which way did he go?" His sons showed him the road taken by the man who had come from Judah. He said to his sons; "Saddle the donkey for me." When they had saddled it, he mounted and followed the man of God, whom he found seated under a terebinth. When he asked him; "Are you the holy man who came from Judah?" he answered; "Yes." Then he said; "Come home with me and have some bread." "I cannot return with you or go with you and I cannot eat bread or drink water in this place," he answered; "for I was told by the word of Yahva; 'You shall not eat bread or drink water there', and do not go back the way you came.'" But he said to him; "I, too, am a prophet like you. An angel told me; 'Bring him back to your house to eat bread and drink water.'" But he was lying. So the man went back, ate bread, and drank water in his house.
While they were sitting at table, the word of Yahva came to the prophet who had brought him back, and he cried out to the holy man from Judah; "Yahva says; 'Because you rebelled against Yahva and did not keep the command of Yahva, but returned and ate bread and drank water in the place where he told you not to, your corpse will not be brought to the grave of your ancestors.'" After he had eaten and drunk, they saddled the prophet's donkey and he set out. A lion met him on the road and killed him. His body lay sprawled on the road while the donkey and the lion remained standing by it.
Some passersby saw the body lying in the road with the lion standing beside it. They took the news to the city where the old prophet lived. On hearing it, the prophet said; "It is the holy man who rebelled against the order of Yahva who delivered him to a lion, which mangled and killed him." Then he said to his sons; "Saddle the donkey for me." He found the body sprawled on the road with the donkey and the lion standing beside it. The lion had not eaten the body nor had it harmed the donkey. The prophet lifted up the body of the man of God and put it on the donkey, and brought him back to the city to mourn and to bury him. He laid the man's body in his own grave and they mourned over it. After he had buried him, he said to his sons; "When I die, bury me in the grave with this man. Lay my bones beside his. For the word which he proclaimed against the altar in Bethel and the temples in the cities of Samaria shall certainly occur."
Even after this, Jeroboam did not turn from his evil way, but again made priests for the temples from among the common people. Whoever desired it was installed as a priest. On account of the sin of Jeroboam his house was to be destroyed.
At that time Abijah, son of Jeroboam, took sick. Jeroboam said to his wife; "Disguise yourself so that no one will recognize you as my wife. Go to Shiloh, where you will find Ahijah. He who spoke the word that made me king. Take ten loaves, some cakes, and a jar of honey; and go to him. He will tell you what will happen to the child." The wife of Jeroboam went to Shiloh and came to the house of Ahijah.
Now Ahijah could not see because age had dimmed his sight. But Yahva said to Ahijah; "Jeroboam's wife is coming to consult you about her son, for he is sick. When she comes, she will be in disguise. So Ahijah, hearing the sound of her footsteps as she entered the door, said; "Come in, wife of Jeroboam. Why are you in disguise? For my part, I have been commissioned to give you bitter news. Go, tell Jeroboam that Yahva says; 'I exalted you from among the people and made you ruler of Israel. I tore the kingdom away from the house of David and gave it to you. Yet you have not been like my servant David who kept my commandments and followed me with his spirit, doing only what is right. You have done more evil than all who were before you: you have gone and made other gods and molten images to provoke me; but you have rejected me. Therefore, I will destroy the house of Jeroboam.
I will kill every male Jeroboam's line in Israel, bond or free.
I will consume Jeroboam's house as dung is burned? completely.
Anyone of Jeroboam's line who dies in the city, dogs will devour;
Anyone who dies in the field, the birds of the sky will devour.
Yahva has spoken!' As for you, go home! When you enter the city, the child will die. Israel will mourn and bury him, for he alone of Jeroboam's line will be laid in the grave, since in him alone of Jeroboam's house has something pleasing to Yahva been found. Yahva will raise a king over Israel who will destroy the house of Jeroboam-today, at this very moment! Yahva will strike Israel like a reed tossed about in the water and will pluck Israel from this good land and scatter them beyond the River. They made asherahs for themselves, provoking Yahva. He will give up Israel because of the sins Jeroboam has committed and caused Israel to commit." Jeroboam's wife went home. When she came to Tirzah and crossed the threshold of her house, the child died. He was buried and all Israel mourned him, according to the word of Yahva through Ahijah.
The rest of the acts of Jeroboam, how he fought and how he reigned, are recorded in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel. The length of Jeroboam's reign was 22 years. He rested with his ancestors and Nadab his son succeeded him as king.
Rehoboam, son of Solomon, became king in Judah. Rehoboam was 41 years old when he became king, and he reigned 17 years in Jerusalem, the city Yahva chose designate his own. His mother's name was Naamah the Ammonite.
Judah did evil in Yahva's sight and they angered him even more than their ancestors had done. They, too, built for themselves high places, sacred pillars, and asherahs upon every high hill and under every green tree. There were also pagan priests in the land. Judah imitated all the abominable practices of the nations whom Yahva had driven out of the Israelites' way. In the fifth year of King Rehoboam, Shishak, king of Egypt, attacked Jerusalem. He took everything, including the treasures of the house of Yahva and the treasures of the house of the king, even the gold shields Solomon had made. To replace them, King Rehoboam made bronze shields, which he entrusted to the officers of the guard on duty at the entrance of the royal house. Whenever the king visited the house of Yahva, those on duty would carry the shields, and then return them to the guardroom.
The rest of the acts of Rehoboam, with all that he did, are recorded in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah. There was war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam all their days. Rehoboam rested with his ancestors; he was buried with his ancestors in the City of David. His mother's name was Naamah the Ammonite. His son Abijam succeeded him as king.
In the 18th year of King Jeroboam, son of Nebat, Abijam became king of Judah; he reigned three years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Maacah, daughter of Abishalom.
He continued the sins his father had committed, and his spirit was not entirely with Yahva as was David. Yet for David's sake Yahva gave him a holding in Jerusalem, raising up his son after him and permitting Jerusalem to endure, because David had done what was right in the sight of Yahva and did not disobey any of his commands as long as he lived, except in the case of Uriah the Hittite.
There was war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam all their days. The rest of the acts of Abijam, with all that he did, are recorded in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah. There was war between Abijam and Jeroboam. Abijam rested with his ancestors; they buried him in the City of David and his son Asa succeeded him as king.
In the 20th year of Jeroboam, king of Israel, Asa, king of Judah, became king; he reigned 41 years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Maacah, daughter of Abishalom. Asa did what was right in the sight of Yahva like David, banishing the pagan priests from the land and removing the idols his ancestors had made. He also deposed his grandmother Maacah from her position as queen mother because she had made an outrageous object for Asherah. Asa cut down this object and burned it in the Kidron valley. The high places did not disappear; yet Asa's heart was entirely with Yahva as long as he lived. He brought into the house of Yahva his father's and his own votive offerings of silver and gold and various vessels.
There was war between Asa and Baasha, king of Israel, all their days. Baasha attacked Judah and fortified Ramah to blockade Asa. Asa then took all the silver and gold remaining in the treasuries of the house of Yahva and the house of the king. Entrusting them to his ministers, King Asa sent them to Ben-hadad, son of Tabrimmon, son of Hezion, king of Aram, who ruled in Damascus. He said; "There is a treaty between you and me, as there was between your father and my father. I am sending you a present of silver and gold. Break your treaty with Baasha so that he may withdraw from me." Ben-hadad agreed with Asa and sent the leaders of his troops against the cities of Israel. They attacked Ijon, Dan, Abel-beth-maacah, and Chinnereth, besides all the land of Naphtali. When Baasha heard of it, he left off fortifying Ramah, and stayed in Tirzah. Then King Asa summoned all Judah without exception, and they carried away the stones and beams with which Baasha was fortifying Ramah. With them King Asa built Geba of Benjamin and Mizpah. All the rest of the acts of Asa, with all his valor and all that he did, and the cities he built, are recorded in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah. In his old age Asa had an infirmity in his feet. Asa rested with his ancestors; he was buried with his ancestors in the City of David. His son Jehoshaphat succeeded him as king.
Nadab, son of Jeroboam, became king of Israel in the second year of Asa, king of Judah. For two years he reigned over Israel.
He did evil in Yahva's sight, walking in the way of his father and the sin he had caused Israel to commit. Baasha, son of Ahijah, of the house of Issachar, plotted against him and struck him down at Gibbethon of the Philistines, which Nadab and all Israel were besieging. Baasha killed him in the third year of Asa and succeeded him as king. Once he was king, he killed the entire house of Jeroboam, not leaving a single soul, according to the word of Yahva through, Ahijah because of the sins Jeroboam committed and caused Israel to commit, by which he provoked Yahva, to anger.
The rest of the acts of Nadab, with all that he did, are recorded in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel. There was war between Asa and Baasha, king of Israel, all their days.
In the 3rd year of Asa, king of Judah, Baasha, son of Ahijah, became king of all Israel in Tirzah for 24 years. He did evil in Yahva's sight, walking in the way of Jeroboam and the sin he had caused Israel to commit.
The word of Yahva came to Jehu, son of Hanani, against Baasha; "Inasmuch as I exalted you from the dust and made you ruler of my people Israel, but you have followed the way of Jeroboam and have caused my people Israel to sin, provoking me to anger, I will burn up what is left of Baasha and his house; I will make your house like that of Jeroboam, son of Nebat.
One of Baasha's line who dies in the city, dogs will devour;
One who dies in the field, the birds of the sky will devour.
The rest of the acts of Baasha, what he did and his valor, are recorded in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel. Baasha rested with his ancestors; he was buried in Tirzah, and his son Elah succeeded him as king. (Through the prophet Jehu, son of Hanani, the word of Yahva came against Baasha and his house, because of the evil Baasha did before Yahva, provoking him to anger.)
In the 26th year of Asa, king of Judah, Elah, son of Baasha, became king of Israel in Tirzah for two years.
His servant Zimri, commander of half his chariots, plotted against him. As he was in Tirzah, drinking to excess in the house of Arza, master of his palace in Tirzah, Zimri entered; he struck and killed him in the 27th year of Asa, king of Judah, and succeeded him as king. Once he was king, seated on the throne, he killed the whole house of Baasha, not sparing a single male relative or friend. Zimri destroyed the entire house of Baasha, according to the word Yahva spoke against Baasha through Jehu the prophet, because of all the sins which Baasha and his son Elah committed and caused Israel to commit, provoking Yahva to anger by their idols.
The rest of the acts of Elah, with all that he did, are recorded in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel.
In the 27th year of Asa, king of Judah, Zimri became king for seven days in Tirzah. The army was encamped at Gibbethon of the Philistines16when they heard that Zimri had formed a conspiracy and killed the king. That day in the camp Israel made Omri king of Israel. Omri and Israel marched from Gibbethon to besiege Tirzah. When Zimri saw that the city was captured, he entered the citadel of the king's house and burned it down over him. He died because of the sins he had committed, doing what was evil in Yahva's sight by following Jeroboam and the sin he caused Israel to commit.
The rest of the acts of Zimri, with the conspiracy, are recorded in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel.
At that time the people of Israel were divided, half following Tibni, son of Ginath, to make him king, and half for Omri. The partisans of Omri prevailed over those of Tibni. Tibni died and Omri became king.
In the 31st year of Asa, king of Judah, Omri became king of Israel for 12 years; the first six of them he reigned in Tirzah.
He then bought the mountain of Samaria from Shemer for two silver talents and built on the mountain the city he named Samaria, after Shemer, the former owner. But Omri did evil in Yahva's sight, more than any of his predecessors. In every way he imitated the sinful conduct of Jeroboam and the sin he caused Israel to commit, thus provoking Yahva to anger by their idols.
The rest of the acts of Omri, what he did and his valor, are recorded in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel. Omri rested with his ancestors; he was buried in Samaria, and Ahab his son succeeded him as king.
Ahab, son of Omri, became king of Israel in the 38th year of Asa, king of Judah. Ahab reigned over Israel in Samaria for 22 years.
Ahab did evil in Yahva's sight more than any of his predecessors. It was not enough for him to follow the sins of Jeroboam. He even married Jezebel, daughter of Ethbaal, king of the Sidonians, and began to worship Baal. Ahab set up an altar to Baal in the house of Baal which he built in Samaria, and also made an asherah. Ahab did more to provoke Yahva than any of the kings of Israel before him. During his reign, Hiel from Bethel rebuilt Jericho. With the sacrifice of Abiram, his firstborn son, he laid the foundation, and with the sacrifice of Segub, his youngest son, he set up the gates, as Yahva spoke through Joshua.
Elijah the Tishbite, from Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab; "By Yahva, the God of Israel, whom I serve, during these years there shall be no dew or rain except at my word." The word of Yahva came to Elijah; "Leave here, go east and hide in the Cherith valley, east of the Jordan. You shall drink from the creek and I have commanded ravens to feed you. He did as Yahva commanded, remaining in the Cherith. Ravens brought him bread and meat, morning and evening, He drank from the creek.
After some time, the creek ran dry because no rain had fallen. The word of Yahva came to him; "Arise, go to Zarephath of Sidon and stay there. I have commanded a widow there to feed you." He arose and went to Zarephath. When he arrived at the entrance of the city, a widow was there gathering sticks; he called out to her; "Please bring me a small cupful of water to drink." She left to get it, and he called out after her; "Please bring along a crust of bread." She said, "By Yahva, I have nothing baked; there is only a handful of flour in my jar and a little oil in my jug. Just now I was collecting a few sticks, to go in and prepare something for myself and my son; when we have eaten it, we will die." Elijah said to her; "Do not be afraid. Do as you have said. But first make a little cake and bring it to me. Afterwards you can prepare something for yourself and your son. For Yahva, the God of Israel, says; 'The jar of flour shall not go empty nor the jug of oil run dry, until the day when Yahva sends rain upon the earth.'" She left and did as Elijah had said. She had enough to eat for a long time-he and she and her household. The jar of flour did not go empty nor the jug of oil run dry, according to the word of Yahva spoken through Elijah.
Sometime later the son of the woman, the owner of the house, fell sick, and his sickness grew more severe until he stopped breathing. She said to Elijah, "Why have you done this to me, man of God? Have you come to me to call attention to my guilt and to kill my son?" Elijah said to her, "Give me your son." Taking him from her lap, he carried him to the upper room where he was staying, and laid him on his own bed. He called out to Yahva; "Yahva, my God, will you afflict even the widow with whom I am staying by killing her son?" Then he stretched himself out upon the child three times and he called out to Yahva; "Yahva, my God, let the life breathe return to the body of this child." Yahva heard the prayer of Elijah; the life breath returned to the child's body and he lived. Taking the child, Elijah carried him down into the house from the upper room and gave him to his mother. Elijah said; "See! Your son is alive." The woman said to Elijah; "Now indeed I know that you are a man of God, and it is truly the word of Yahva that you speak."
Long afterward, in the 3rd year, the word of Yahva came to Elijah; "Present yourself to Ahab so that I may send rain to the earth. So Elijah went to present himself to Ahab.
Now the famine in Samaria was severe. Ahab summoned Obadiah, master of his palace, who greatly revered Yahva. When Jezebel was slaughtering the prophets of Yahva, Obadiah took 100 prophets, hid them away by 50 in each cave. He supplied them with food and water. Ahab said to Obadiah; "Go through the land to all sources of water and to all the valleys. We may find grass and keep the horses and mules alive, so that we shall not have to slaughter any of the beasts." Dividing the land to explore between them, Ahab went one way, Obadiah another way. As Obadiah was on his way, Elijah met him. Recognizing him, Obadiah fell prostrate and asked, "Is it you, my lord Elijah?" He said to him; "Yes. Go tell your lord that Elijah is here!" Obadiah said; "What sin has your servant committed? Why are you giving me to Ahab to be killed? By Yahva, there is no nation or kingdom where my lord has not sent in search of you. When they replied; 'He is not here,' he made each kingdom and nation swear they could not find you. Now you say; 'Go tell your lord that Elijah is here!' After I leave you, Yahva will carry you to some place I do not know. When I go to inform Ahab and he does not find you, he will kill me-though your servant has revered Yahva from his youth! Have you not been told, my lord, what I did when Jezebel was murdering the prophets of Yahva-that I hid 100 prophets of Yahva, 50 each in caves, and supplied them with food and water? Now you say; 'Go tell your lord that Elijah is here!' He will kill me!" Elijah answered; "As Yahva lives I will present myself to him today."
Obadiah went to meet Ahab and informed him, as Ahab came to meet Elijah. When Ahab saw Elijah, he said to him; "Is it you, you disturber of Israel?" He answered; "I do not disturb Israel, but you and your father's house, by forsaking the commands of Yahva and following the Baals. Now summon Israel to me on Mount Carmel, with the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Asherah who eat at Jezebel's table." Ahab summoned the Israelites and had the prophets gather on Mount Carmel.
Elijah approached all the people, saying; "How long will you straddle the issue? If Yahva is God, obey him; if Baal, obey him." The people did not answer him. So Elijah said to the people; "I am the only remaining prophet of Yahva. There are 450 prophets of Baal. Give us two young bulls. Let them choose one, cut it into pieces, and place it on the wood, but start no fire. I shall prepare the other and place it on the wood, but shall start no fire. You shall call upon the name of your gods, and I will call upon the name of Yahva. The one who answers with fire is God." All the people answered; "We agree!"
Elijah then said to the prophets of Baal; "Choose one young bull and prepare it first, for there are more of you. Call upon your gods, but do not start the fire." Taking the young bull that was turned over to them, they prepared it and called upon Baal from morning to noon, saying; "Baal, answer us!" But there was no sound and no one answering. They danced around their altar. When it was noon, Elijah taunted them; "Call louder for he is a god. He may be busy with his business or on a journey. Perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened." They called out louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears according to their ritual until blood gushed over them. Noon passed and they remained in a prophetic state until the time for offering sacrifice. But there was no sound, no one answering, no one listening.
Then Elijah said to the people; "Come to me." When they drew near to him, he repaired the altar of Yahva which had been destroyed. He took twelve stones, for the number of tribes to whom Yahva had said; "Israel shall be your name." He built the stones into an altar for of grain. When he had arranged the wood, he cut up the young bull and laid it on the wood. He said; "Fill four jars with water and pour it over the burnt offering and the wood." "Do it again," he said, and they did it again. "Do it a third time," he said, and they did it a third time. The water flowed around the altar; even the trench was filled with the water. At the time for offering sacrifice, Elijah came forward, saying; "God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. Answer me, Yahva! Answer me so that these people may know that you are God and that you have returned their spirit to you." Yahva's fire came down and devoured the burnt offering, wood, stones, and dust, and lapped up the water in the trench. Seeing this, the people fell prostrate, saying; "Yahva is God! Yahva is God!" Then Elijah said to them; "Seize the prophets of Baal. Let none of them escape!" They seized them and Elijah brought them to the Kishon valley where he slaughtered them. Elijah then said to Ahab; "Get up, eat, and drink for there is sound of a heavy rain." Ahab ate and drank, while Elijah went to the top of Carmel, crouched to the earth, and put his head between his knees. He said to his servant; "Look to sea." He looked, and reported; "There is nothing." Seven times he said; "Go look again!" And the seventh time the youth reported; "There is a cloud rising from the sea as small as a man's hand." Elijah said; "Go and tell Ahab to harness up and go down the mountain before the rain stops him." Suddenly the sky grew dark with clouds and wind, and a heavy rain fell. Ahab mounted his chariot and headed for Jezreel. But the hand of Yahva was with Elijah. He girded up his clothing and ran before Ahab as far as the approaches to Jezreel.
Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done-how he had killed all the prophets. Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying; "May the gods kill me or worse, if by this time tomorrow I have not taken your life as was done to each of them." Elijah was afraid and fled for his life to Beer-sheba of Judah. He left his servant there and went a day's journey into the wilderness, until he came to a solitary broom tree and sat beneath it. He prayed for death; "Enough, LORD! Take my life, for I am no better than my ancestors." He lay down and fell asleep under the broom tree. Suddenly a messenger touched him, saying; "Get up and eat!" He looked and at his head was a hearth cake and a jug of water. After he ate and drank, he lay down again, but the angel of Yahva came back a second time, touched him, saying; "Get up and eat or the journey will be too much for you!" He got up, ate, and drank; then strengthened by that food, he walked 40 days and nights to Horeb, the mountain of Yahva.
He came to a cave for shelter. The word of Yahva came to him; "Why are you here, Elijah?" He answered; "I have been most zealous for Yahva but the Israelites have forsaken your covenant. They have destroyed your altars and murdered your prophets. I alone remain, and they seek to take my life." Then Yahva said; "Go out and stand on the mountain facing Yahva. He will pass by. There will be a strong and violent wind rending the mountains and crushing rocks-but Yahva is not in the wind; then an earthquake-but Yahva is not in the earthquake; then fire-but Yahva is not in the fire; after the fire, a light silent sound.
When he heard this, Elijah hid his face in his cloak, went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. A voice said to him; "Why are you here, Elijah?" He replied; "I have been most zealous for Yahva but the Israelites have forsaken your covenant. They have destroyed your altars and murdered your prophets. I alone remain and they seek to kill me." Yahva said to him; Go back! Take the desert road to Damascus. When you arrive, you shall anoint Hazael as king of Aram. You shall also anoint Jehu, son of Nimshi, as king of Israel, and Elisha, son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah, as prophet to succeed you. Anyone who escapes the sword of Hazael, Jehu will kill. Anyone who escapes the sword of Jehu, Elisha will kill. But I will spare 7,000 in Israel-every knee that has not bent to Baal, every mouth that has not kissed him.
Elijah set out, and came upon Elisha, son of Shaphat, as he was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen; he was following the 12th. Elijah went to him and threw his cloak on him. Elisha left the oxen, ran after Elijah, saying; "Please, let me kiss my father and mother goodbye, before I follow you." Elijah answered; "Go back! What have I done to you?" Elisha left him and, taking the yoke of oxen, slaughtered them; he used the plowing equipment for fuel to boil their flesh, and gave it to the people to eat. Then he left and followed Elijah to serve him.
Ben-hadad, king of Aram, gathered his forces, accompanied by 32 kings with horses and chariots, set out to besiege Samaria. He sent messengers to Ahab, king of Israel, within the city, saying to him; "This is Ben-hadad's message. Your silver and gold are mine, and your wives and your fine children are mine." The king of Israel answered; "Just as you say, my lord, I and all I have are yours." But the messengers came again, saying, "This is Ben-hadad's message. Give me your silver and gold, your wives and your children. But now I say. At this time tomorrow I will send my servants to you. They will ransack your house and the houses of your servants. They shall seize and take whatever they consider valuable." The king of Israel then summoned all the elders of the land, saying; "Understand clearly that this man is intent on evil. When he sent to me for my wives and children, my silver and my gold, I did not refuse him." All the elders and all the people said to him; "Do not listen. Do not give in." Accordingly, he directed the messengers of Ben-hadad, saying; "To my lord the king: I will do all that you demanded of your servant the first time. But this I cannot do." The messengers left and reported this. Ben-hadad responded; "May the gods do torture me or worse, if there remains enough dust in Samaria to make handfuls for my followers." The king of Israel replied; "Let not one who puts on armor boast like one who takes it off.'" Ben-hadad was drinking in the pavilions with the kings when he heard this reply. He commanded his servants; "Get ready!" and they prepared to storm the city.
Then a prophet came up to Ahab, saying; "Yahva says; 'Do you see this vast army? Today I give it to you so that you may know I am Yahva.'" Ahab asked; "Through whom will it be given?" He answered; "Yahva says; 'Through the aides of the provincial governors.'" Ahab asked; "Who is to attack?" He replied; "You are." Ahab mustered the aides of the provincial governors, 232 of them. Behind them he mustered the Israelite soldiery, who numbered 7,000. They marched out at noon while Ben-hadad was drinking heavily in the pavilions with the 32 allied kings. When the aides of the provincial governors marched out first, Ben-hadad received word; "Some men have marched out of Samaria." He answered; "Whether they have come out for peace or for war, take them alive." But when these had come out of the city-the aides of the provincial governors with the army following them-each of them struck down his man. The Arameans fled with Israel pursuing them. Ben-hadad escaped on a chariot horse. The king of Israel destroyed the horses and chariots, inflicting a severe defeat on Aram.
Then the prophet approached the king of Israel and said to him; "Regroup your forces. Understand what you must do. At the turning of the year, the king of Aram will attack you." Meanwhile the servants of the king of Aram said to him; "Their gods are mountain gods. That is why they defeated us. But if we fight them on level ground, we will defeat them. This is what you must do: Take the kings from their posts and put prefects in their places. Raise an army as large as the army you have lost, horse for horse, chariot for chariot. Let us fight them on level ground to defeat them." He took their advice and prepared. At the turning of the year, Ben-hadad mustered Aram and went to Aphek to fight against Israel. The Israelites, too, were mustered and supplied with provisions. They went to meet the enemy. The Israelites, encamped opposite, looked like little flocks of goats, while Aram covered the land. A holy man approached the king of Israel saying; "Yahva says; 'Because Aram has said that Yahva is a god of mountains, not a god of plains, I will give this vast army to you so that you may know I am Yahva." They were camped opposite each other for seven days. On the seventh day battle was joined and the Israelites killed 100,000 foot soldiers of Aram in one day. The survivors fled to the city of Aphek where the wall collapsed on 27,000 of them.
Ben-hadad again fled, taking refuge in an inner room of the city. His servants said to him; "We have heard that the kings of Israel are merciful. Allow us to garb ourselves in sackcloth with cords around our heads and go to the king of Israel. Perhaps he will spare your life." Dressed in sackcloth girded at the waist and wearing cords around their heads, they went to the king of Israel; saying; "Your servant Ben-hadad says; 'Spare my life!'" He asked; "Is he still alive? He is my brother." Hearing this as a good omen, the men quickly took him at his word and said; "Ben-hadad is your brother." He answered; "Go and get him." When Ben-hadad came to him, the king had him mount his chariot. Ben-hadad said to him; "The cities my father took from your father I will restore, and you may set up bazaars for yourself in Damascus, as my father did in Samaria. Ahab replied; "For my part, I will set you free on those terms." So he made a pact with him and then set him free.
Acting on the word of Yahva, one of the guild prophets said to his companion; "Strike me." But he refused to strike him. Then he said to him, "Since you did not obey the voice of Yahva, a lion will attack you when you leave me." When he left him, a lion came to him and attacked. Then the prophet met another man and said; "Strike me." The man struck him a blow and wounded him. The prophet went on and waited for the king on the road, disguising himself with a bandage over his eyes. As the king was passing, he called out to the king, saying; "Your servant went into the thick of the battle, and suddenly someone turned and brought me a man and said; 'Guard this man. If he is missing, you will have to pay for his life with your life or pay out a talent of silver.' But while your servant was occupied here and there, the man disappeared." The king of Israel said to him; "That is your sentence. You have decided it yourself." He quickly removed the bandage from his eyes, and the king of Israel recognized him as one of the prophets. He said to him; "Yahva says; 'Because you have set free the man I put under the ban, your life shall pay for his life, your people for his people.'" Disturbed and angry, the king of Israel went home and entered Samaria.
Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard in Jezreel next to the palace of Ahab, king of Samaria. At one time, Ahab said to Naboth; "Give me your vineyard to be my vegetable garden, since it is close to my house. I will give you a better vineyard in exchange or, if you prefer, I will give you its value in money." Naboth said to Ahab, "Yahva forbid that I should give you my ancestral heritage." Ahab went home disturbed and angry at the answer Naboth had given him." Lying on his bed, he turned away and would not eat. His wife Jezebel came to him, saying; "Why are you so sullen that you will not eat?" He answered her; "Because I said to Naboth; 'Sell me your vineyard, or, if you prefer, I will give you a vineyard in exchange.' But he said; 'I will not give you my vineyard.'" Jezebel said to him; "What a king of Israel you are! Get up! Eat and be cheerful. I will give you the vineyard of Naboth."
She wrote letters in Ahab's name and, having sealed them with his seal, sent them to the elders and to the nobles who lived in the same city as Naboth; "Proclaim a fast and set Naboth at the head of the people. Next, set two scoundrels opposite him to accuse him; 'You have cursed God and king.' Then take him out and stone him to death."
His fellow citizens-the elders and the nobles who dwelt in his city-did as Jezebel had ordered in the letters. They proclaimed a fast and set Naboth at the head of the people. Two scoundrels came in and sat opposite Naboth, and accused him in the presence of the people; "Naboth has cursed God and king." They led him from the city and stoned him to death. Then they sent word to Jezebel; "Naboth is dead."
When Jezebel learned that Naboth was dead, she said to Ahab, "Take possession of the vineyard of Naboth. Naboth is not alive, but dead." When Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, he started on his way to the vineyard to take possession of it.
The word of Yahva came to Elijah; "Go to meet Ahab, king of Israel. He will be in the vineyard of Naboth, where he has gone to take possession. Tell him; "Yahva says; 'After murdering, do you also take possession?' And tell him; "Yahva says; 'In the place where the dogs licked up the blood of Naboth, the dogs shall lick up your blood."
Ahab said to Elijah, "Have you found me out, my enemy?" He said, "I have found you because you have given yourself to doing evil, I am bringing punishment on you. I will consume you and will kill every male belonging to Ahab, whether bond or free. I will make your house like that of Jeroboam and like the house of Baasha because you have provoked me by leading Israel into sin."
Against Jezebel, Yahva declared;
The dogs shall devour Jezebel in Jezreel.
Anyone of Ahab's line who dies in the city, dogs will devour.
Anyone who dies in the field, the birds will devour.
No one pursued doing of evil as did Ahab, when urged by his wife Jezebel. He became completely abominable worshiping idols of the Amorites, whom Yahva drove out of Israel's way.
When Ahab heard these words, he tore his garments and wore sackcloth over his bare flesh. He fasted, slept in the sackcloth, and went about subdued. The word of Yahva came to Elijah; "Have you seen how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Since he has humbled himself before me, I will not bring the evil in his time. I will punish his house in his son's time."
Three years passed without war between Aram and Israel. In the third year, however, King Jehoshaphat of Judah came to the king of Israel. The king of Israel said to his servants; "Do you not know that Ramoth-gilead is ours and we are doing nothing to take it from the king of Aram?" He asked Jehoshaphat; "Will you come with me to fight Ramoth-gilead?" Jehoshaphat answered the king of Israel; "You and I are as one, and your people and my people, your horses and my horses as well."
Jehoshaphat also said to the king of Israel; "Seek the word of Yahva at once." The king of Israel assembled the prophets, about 400 of them, and asked; "Shall I go to fight Ramoth-gilead or shall I refrain?" They said; "Attack. Yahva will give it to the king." Jehoshaphat said; "Is there no other prophet of Yahva here we might consult?" The king of Israel answered; "There is one other man through whom we might consult Yahva; but I hate him because he prophesies evil about me. He is Micaiah, son of Imlah." Jehoshaphat said; "Let not the king say that." So the king of Israel called an official and said to him; "Get Micaiah at once."
The king of Israel and the king of Judah, were seated, each on his throne, clothed in their robes of state in the square at the entrance of the gate of Samaria. The prophets were prophesying. Zedekiah, son of Chenaanah, made himself two horns of iron saying; "Yahva says that these you will gore Aram until you destroy them." The other prophets prophesied in a similar vein, saying; "Attack Ramoth-gilead and conquer! Yahva will give it to the king."
Meanwhile, the messenger who had gone to Micaiah said to him; "The prophets are unanimously predicting good for the king. Let your word be the same as theirs." Micaiah said; "By Yahva, I shall speak whatever Yahva tells me."
When he came to the king who said to him; "Micaiah, shall we go to fight at Ramoth-gilead, or shall we refrain?" He said; "Attack and conquer! Yahva will give it to the king." But the king answered him; "How many times must I adjure you to tell me nothing but the truth in the name of Yahva?" So Micaiah said:
I see Israel scattered on the mountains, like sheep without a shepherd,
And Yahva saying; "They have no master! Let each go home in peace."
The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat; "Did I not tell you, he does not prophesy good about me, but only evil?" Micaiah continued; "Therefore hear the word of Yahva. I saw Yahva seated on his throne with the host of heaven standing to his right and left. Yahva asked; 'Who will deceive Ahab so that he will attack Ramoth-gilead?' They disagreed until this spirit came forth and stood before Yahva, saying; 'I will deceive him.' Yahva asked; 'How?' He answered; 'I will become a lying spirit in the mouths of his prophets.' Yahva replied; 'You shall succeed in deceiving him. Go forth and do this.' Now, Yahva has put a lying spirit in the mouths of your prophets. Yahva himself has decreed evil against you."
Then Zedekiah, son of Chenaanah, struck Micaiah on the cheek, saying; "Has the spirit of Yahva left me to speak with you?" Micaiah said; "You will find out on the day you go into an inner room to hide." The king of Israel then said; "Seize Micaiah and take him back to Amon, prefect of the city, and to Joash, the king's son, saying, 'This is the king's order. Put this man in prison and feed him scanty rations of bread and water until I come back in safety." But Micaiah said; "If you return in safety, Yahva has not spoken through me." He also said; "Hear, O peoples, all of you."
The kings of Israel and Judah, went to Ramoth-gilead. The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat; "I will disguise myself and go into battle, but you wear your own robes." So the king of Israel disguised himself and entered the battle. Meanwhile the king of Aram had given his 32 chariot commanders the order; "Do not fight with anyone, great or small, except the king of Israel."
When the chariot commanders saw Jehoshaphat, they cried; "There is the king of Israel!" and wheeled to fight him. Jehoshaphat cried and the chariot commanders, seeing that he was not the king of Israel, turned away from him. But someone drew his bow at random and hit the king of Israel between the joints of his breastplate. He ordered his charioteer, "Rein about and take me out of the ranks for I am wounded."
The battle grew fierce during the day, and the king, propped up in his chariot facing the Arameans, died in the evening. The blood from his wound flowed to the bottom of the chariot. At sunset a cry went through the army, "Let every man return to his city or his land!" The king died and was returned to Samaria where they buried him. When they washed out the chariot at the pool of Samaria, dogs licked up his blood and prostitutes bathed there as Yahva had prophesied.
The rest of the acts of Ahab, with all that he did including the ivory house and all the cities he built, are recorded in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel. Ahab rested with his ancestors, and his son Ahaziah succeeded him as king.
Jehoshaphat, son of Asa, became king of Judah in the 4th year of Ahab, king of Israel. Jehoshaphat was 35 years old when he became king, and he reigned 25 years in Jerusalem. His mother was Azubah, daughter of Shilhi.
He walked in the way of Asa his father unceasingly, doing what was right in Yahva's sight. Nevertheless, the high places did not disappear; the people still sacrificed and burned incense there. Jehoshaphat also made peace with the king of Israel.
The rest of the acts of Jehoshaphat, with his valor, what he did and how he fought, are recorded in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah. He removed from the land the rest of the pagan priests who had remained in the reign of Asa his father. There was no king in Edom, but an appointed regent. Jehoshaphat prepared Tarshish ships to go to Ophir for gold but the ships were wrecked at Ezion-geber. That was the time when Ahaziah, son of Ahab, had said to Jehoshaphat; "Let my servants accompany your servants in the ships." But Jehoshaphat would not agree. Jehoshaphat rested with his ancestors. He was buried with his ancestors in the City of David. His son Jehoram succeeded him as king.
Ahaziah, son of Ahab, became king over Israel in Samaria in the 17th year of Jehoshaphat, king of Judah. He reigned two years over Israel.
He did evil in the sight of Yahva, following the way of his father, his mother, and Jeroboam, son of Nebat, who caused Israel to sin. He served Baal and worshiped him, thus provoking Yahva as his father had done.
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