From Solomon to Elijah

About this book

1 Kings is a book about the people called Israelites. The Books of 1 Kings and 2 Kings tell us what happened after King David’s time. The Book of 1 Kings records how Solomon became king after David.

After Solomon died, the country called Israel became two countries. The south was called Judah. Rehoboam was the first king of Judah. The north was still called Israel. Here Jeroboam became king (chapter 12). There were many other kings after these two kings.

When the kings obeyed God, the people had peace. Sometimes the kings did not obey God and they worshipped other gods instead. Then bad things happened. When the people in Israel stopped obeying God, he sent a prophet. His name was Elijah. He did things that someone could only do with the help of God. He told the people that they should worship God again.

Chapter 1

David makes Solomon king

1 King David was old. He was very old. He could not get warm, even when people put blankets over him. 2 So his servants said to him, ‘We will look for a young woman who has never had sex for our master the king. She can be with the king and she can be his nurse. And she can lie at your side so that our master the king will be warm.’ 3 So they looked through all the country called Israel for a beautiful girl. And they found Abishag. She was from Shunem. And they brought her to the king. 4 The girl was very beautiful. And she was very kind to the king. She did what the king needed. But the king did not have sex with her.

5 Then Adonijah (David’s son) demanded this. ‘I want to be the king.’ His mother’s name was Haggith. He got men that were ready to ride on horses. And he had 50 men to run in front of him. 6 His father had always let him do whatever he wanted to do. (So) his father never asked him, ‘Why are you doing that?’ Also, Adonijah was very handsome. He was (the son of David that was) born next after Absalom. 7 And Adonijah talked (about this) with Joab and Abiathar. Joab was the son of (David’s sister) Zeruiah and Abiathar was the priest. They said that they would help Adonijah.

8 But these people did not join Adonijah’s group:

·          Zadok the priest

·          Benaiah the son of Jehoiada

·          Nathan the prophet

·          Shimei and Rei

·          David’s own soldiers.

9 Then Adonijah sacrificed sheep, cows and young fat cows. He did it at the Stone (called) Zoheleth. It was near to the well at Rogel. He asked all these people to come to the meeting:

·          all his brothers, who were the sons of the king

·          all the men in Judah who were the king’s officers.

10 But he did not ask these people to come to the meeting:

·          Nathan the prophet

·          Benaiah

·          David’s own soldiers

·          (Adonijah’s) brother Solomon.

11 Bathsheba was the mother of Solomon. Nathan asked her, ‘Have you heard this? Adonijah, the son of Haggith, has become king. Our master, David, does not know about it. 12 Now I will tell you how you can save your life and the life of Solomon your son. 13 Go to King David and say to him, “My master the king, did you not promise this to me, your servant? ‘Your son Solomon will become king after me. He will sit on my throne.’ So why has Adonijah become king?” 14 While you are still talking to the king, I will come in after you. I will say that your words are true.’

15 So Bathsheba went to see the king in his bedroom. The king was very old. And Abishag, the girl from Shunem, was with him. 16 And Bathsheba bent down on her knees in front of the king. ‘What do you want?’ the king asked her. 17 And she said to him, ‘My master, you promised this to me, your servant, and to the LORD your God. “Solomon, your son, will be king after me and he will sit on my throne”, you said. 18 But now, Adonijah has become king. And you, my master the king, you do not know about it.

19 He has sacrificed many cows, fat young cows and sheep. He has asked these people to come to the meeting:

·          Abiathar the priest

·          Joab the leader of the army.

But he did not ask your servant Solomon to come.

20 My master the king, everyone in Israel is waiting for you to say something. They want to know from you who will sit on the throne of my master the king after him. 21 If you do not tell them, this will happen. Soon after they bury you with your ancestors, they will put me and my son Solomon into a prison.’

22 While Bathsheba spoke to the king, Nathan the prophet arrived. 23 And (his servants) told the king, ‘Nathan the prophet is here.’ So Nathan the prophet went in to the king’s (bedroom). And he bent low, with his face to the ground. 24 Nathan said, ‘My master the king, have you said that Adonijah will become king after you? Will he sit on your throne?

25 This is what he has done today. He has sacrificed large numbers of cows, fat young cows and sheep. He has asked these people to be with him:

·          all the king’s sons

·          the leaders of the army

·          Abiathar the priest.

Even now, they are eating and drinking with him. They are saying, “We pray that King Adonijah will live for a long time!”

26 But he did not ask these people to be with him:

·          me, your servant

·          Zadok the priest

·          Benaiah the son of Jehoiada

·          Solomon your servant.

27 Has my master the king done this? Has he not told his servants who will sit on the throne of my master the king after him?’

28 Then King David answered him. He said, ‘Send Bathsheba to me!’ So Bathsheba came to the king and she stood in front of him. 29 Then the king spoke a very serious promise. He said, ‘I am sure that the LORD is alive! He has saved me from every kind of trouble. 30 As surely as that is true, today I will keep my promise to you. I said it to you and to the LORD, the God of Israel. Your son Solomon will be king after me. He will sit on my throne instead of me.’ 31 Then Bathsheba bent down low with her face to the ground. She said this, with her knees on the ground in front of the king. ‘I pray that my master King David will live always!’

32 And King David said, ‘Send to me Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada.’ And they came to the king. 33 And the king said to them, ‘Put my son Solomon on my own donkey. Then take him down to Gihon with all your master’s servants. 34 There, Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet can anoint him king over Israel. Make a noise with a trumpet and shout, “We pray that King Solomon will live for a long time!” 35 Then you must come up with him (to Jerusalem). He must come and he must sit on my throne. He must rule instead of me. I have made him ruler over Israel and Judah.’ 36 Benaiah, the son of Jehoiada, answered the king, ‘I agree! And I pray that the LORD will say that too. He is the God of my master the king. 37 The LORD was with my master the king. We pray that he will be with Solomon also. We pray that he will make the throne of Solomon even greater than the throne of my master King David!’

38 So these people put Solomon on King David’s donkey:

·          Zadok the priest

·          Nathan the prophet

·          Benaiah the son of Jehoiada

·          the Kerethites and the Pelethites.

Then they took him down to Gihon.

39 Zadok the priest anointed Solomon. He used oil from a special bottle that was in the holy place. Then they made a loud noise with a trumpet. And all the people shouted, ‘We pray that King Solomon will live for a long time!’ 40 And all the people went up after him. They used their mouths to make music with things called flutes. And they were very happy. The noise caused the ground to move under them!

41 Adonijah and all the people that were with him heard the noise. They were finishing their special meal. When he heard the sound of the trumpet, Joab asked, ‘What does all the noise in the city mean?’ 42 Even while Joab was speaking, Jonathan, the son of Abiathar the priest, arrived. Adonijah said to him, ‘Come in! You are a good man. I think that you are bringing good news.’ 43 Jonathan answered him and said, ‘No! Our master King David has made Solomon king.

44 These people put Solomon on to the king’s donkey:

·          Zadok the priest

·          Nathan the prophet

·          Benaiah the son of Jehoiada

·          the Kerethites and the Pelethites.

Then they took him to Gihon.

45 Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet anointed Solomon king at Gihon. From there they have gone (to Jerusalem). While they went, they made loud, happy noises. The sound of them is in all the city called Gihon. That is the noise that you can hear. 46 Also, Solomon has sat down on the king’s throne. 47 And the king’s officers have told our master King David that they are very happy about it. They said, “We pray that your God will make Solomon’s name more famous than your name. And we pray that his throne will be greater than your throne.” Then the king bent his head down on his bed. He said that God was great, 48 with these words. “The LORD is the great God of Israel. He has let my eyes see who will be king after me. He is on my throne today.” ’

49 When they heard this, all the people with Adonijah were afraid. They all went away. 50 But Adonijah, because he was afraid of Solomon, went to the holy place. He held the points on the corners of the altar there. 51 Then a servant told Solomon, ‘Adonijah is afraid of King Solomon. He is holding the points on the corners of the altar. He is saying, “I pray that Solomon will promise this to me today. (I pray that) he will not kill his servant with the sword.” ’ 52 Solomon answered, ‘If he is a good man, not one hair from his head will fall to the ground. But if he is a bad man, he will die.’ 53 Then King Solomon sent men, and they brought Adonijah down from the altar in the holy place. And Adonijah came and he bent down in front of King Solomon. And Solomon said to him, ‘Go to your home.’

Notes about chapter 1

King David had several wives. They included Michal, Abigail, Bathsheba and Haggith. David had many children, (2 Samuel 3:2-5). Some of them were already dead, like Absalom. The story of his death is in 2 Samuel chapters 15-19. Now Adonijah was David’s oldest son who was still alive. So Adonijah thought that he should be the next king of Israel and Judah. But Solomon’s mother said this. David had promised that Solomon should be the next king. In this chapter, Bathsheba caused David to keep his promise.

‘Sacrificed’, verse 9, is an important word in the Bible. In the first few chapters of Leviticus, it means that the Jews burnt things, like meat and bread. They did it because of two reasons.

·        God said that they should do it, Leviticus chapters 1-7.

·        They believed that it made God happy, Genesis 8:20-22.

There are many names in this chapter.

·        Adonijah was the fourth son of David, (2 Samuel 3:2-5). The first three were probably dead.

·        Abishag was a girl from the town called Shunem. It was near the Sea of Galilee.

·        A priest and a prophet.

                      Nathan was probably the prophet with David in Jerusalem.

                      Abiathar was probably the priest with the ark of the covenant.

                      The story of the ark of the covenant is earlier in the Bible.

·        Joab and Benaiah. They were leaders of the army.

                      Joab was David’s sister’s son. He was the leader of most of the army.

                      Benaiah was the leader of the soldiers that were with David.

·        Shimei and Rei.         
                      Some Bible students think that Shimei was David’s brother.
                      Rei may mean ‘and friends’.

·        Kerethites and Pelethites. They were soldiers that David paid to help him.  
                      They came from countries like Philistia and Crete.

·        Gihon was near Jerusalem, to the east.

·        Rogel was near Jerusalem, to the south.

·        Zoheleth. Bible students do not know where this was.

Chapter 2

David dies

1 The day when David should die was near. Then this is what he told his son Solomon. 2 (David) said, ‘Soon I will die like everyone else on the earth. So, be strong. And show people that you have grown into a man. 3 Do what the LORD your God asks you to do. Live in his ways. Continue to obey his rules and his laws. Do what he has decided. (Do this because) it is right. Do everything that he wants you to do. Moses wrote it all in his law books. If you do that, you will do well everywhere and in everything.

4 And the LORD will keep his promise to me. This is what he promised to me.

“Someone from your family will always rule Israel. But they must (do these things):

·          Live properly.

·          Believe in me.

·          Try as much as they can to obey me about everything.”

5 Also, you know what Joab, the son of Zeruiah, did to me. He killed the two leaders of Israel’s armies. He killed Abner, the son of Ner and Amasa, the son of Jether. He did it like there was a war. But there was no war! Their blood is on the belt round his body and on the shoes on his feet. 6 So do the right thing as you thought. Do not let him die in peace as an old man. 7 But be kind to the sons of Barzillai, who lived in Gilead. Let them eat at your table. (Do this) because they were kind to me. (They were kind) when I was running away from your brother Absalom. 8 And remember, Shimei, the son of Gera, is with you. He came from Bahurim, in Benjamin. He prayed that really bad things would happen to me. He did that when I went to Mahanaim. But he did come down to meet me at the (River) Jordan. So I promised him, with the LORD’s name, that I would not kill him with the sword. 9 But do not think that he has done nothing wrong. You are a wise man. And so you will do what is right. You know what you must do to him. He is an old man. But you must (cause your servants to) kill him!’

10 Then David (died and he) rested with his ancestors. And they buried him in the City of David, (Jerusalem). 11 David had ruled Israel for 40 years. He was (king) 7 years in Hebron, then 33 years in Jerusalem.

Solomon makes himself safe

12 So Solomon sat on the throne of his father David. He became a strong king.

13 Adonijah was the son of Haggith. He went to Bathsheba, who was the mother of Solomon. And she said, ‘Do you come in peace?’ He answered, ‘(I do come) in peace.’ 14 Then he said, ‘I want to say something to you.’ ‘Say it’, she replied. 15 And he said, ‘You know that I should be king. All Israel thought that I should be their king. But things changed, and now my brother is the king. The LORD has made him king. 16 Now I have one thing to ask you. Do not refuse me.’ ‘Tell me’, she replied. 17 So he said, ‘Ask King Solomon to give me Abishag, the girl from Shunem, as my wife. He will not refuse you.’ 18 And Bathsheba said, ‘I will speak to the king on your behalf.’

19 So Bathsheba went to King Solomon, to speak on behalf of Adonijah. The king stood up to meet her. He was polite to her. Then he sat down on his throne. And he ordered (his servants to bring) another throne for his mother. So she sat down at his right side. 20 ‘I have one small thing to ask you’, she said. ‘Do not refuse me.’ And the king answered her, ‘Ask me, mother! I will not refuse you!’ 21 So she said, ‘Let your brother Adonijah marry Abishag, the girl from Shunem.’ 22 And King Solomon said to his mother, ‘You are asking that Adonijah can marry Abishag. You are almost asking me that my older brother should become king! (That is what) Abiathar the priest and Joab the son of Zeruiah (want)!’ 23 Then King Solomon promised this to the LORD. ‘I want God to hurt me very much if Adonijah does not die because of this. And that is what I pray!

24 Now, as surely as God is alive, Adonijah will die today. God has done all these things, which he promised to me:

·          He has made me safe.

·          He has caused me to sit on the throne of my father David.

·          My children will be kings after me.’

25 So King Solomon ordered Benaiah, the son of Jehoiada, to kill Adonijah. And so he attacked him and he died.

26 The king said to Abiathar the priest, ‘Go back to your fields in Anathoth. Really, you should die. But I will not kill you now. (That is) because you carried the ark of the LORD God in front of my father David. Also, the trouble that happened to my father happened to you.’ 27 So Solomon stopped Abiathar from being a priest of the LORD. The things that the LORD said at Shiloh about Eli’s family had now happened.

28 Then the news about this came to Joab. Now Joab had talked with Adonijah, but not with Absalom (about how they could make Adonijah king.) So Joab hurried to the holy place of the LORD. He held the points on the corners of the altar there. 29 And they told Solomon that Joab had hurried to the holy place of the LORD. (They said that) he was next to the altar there. Then Solomon said to Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, ‘Go there! Knock him down!’ 30 So Benaiah went into the holy place of the LORD. He said to Joab, ‘The king says, “Come out!” ’ But (Joab) answered, ‘No! I will die here!’ So Benaiah sent a report to the king. He said, ‘This is what Joab said to me.’ 31 Then the king said to Benaiah, ‘Do as he says. Knock him down and bury him. So you will remove from me and from my father’s family the blood that Joab poured out. It was the blood of people that he should not have killed.

32 The LORD will punish him because of the blood that he poured out. He attacked two men and he killed them with his sword. My father David did not know about this. Both men were better and more honest than Joab was. (These were the two men:)

·          Abner, the son of Ner. He was the leader of Israel’s army.

·          Amasa, the son of Jether. He was the leader of Judah’s army.

33 So Joab and his children and their children will always have troubles because they killed those men. But David’s children, their children and his throne will always be in peace with (help from) the LORD.’ 34 So Benaiah, the son of Jehoiada, went and he knocked down Joab. He killed him and (Joab’s family) buried him in his own land in the country. 35 And the king chose Benaiah, the son of Jehoiada, to be the leader of the army instead of (Joab). Also, the king chose Zadok the priest to (be the leader of the priests) instead of Abiathar.

36 Then the king asked for Shimei to come to him. (The king) said (to Shimei), ‘Build yourself a house in Jerusalem and live in it. Do not go out from it to anywhere else. 37 On the day that you leave it to cross the Kidron Valley, you will die. You will die because of what you yourself have done.’ 38 And Shimei said to the king, ‘Your words are good. Your servant (Shimei) will do as my master the king has said.’ So Shimei lived in Jerusalem for many days. 39 But after three years, two of Shimei’s slaves ran away. They went to Achish, who was the son of Maacah, the king of Gath. Someone told Shimei, ‘Your slaves are in Gath.’ 40 So Shimei went out and he prepared his donkey (for a journey). He went to Achish in Gath to look for his slaves. He went out (from Jerusalem) and he brought back his slaves from Gath. 41 Someone reported to Solomon that Shimei had travelled from Jerusalem to Gath. Then he had returned (with his slaves). 42 So the king asked for Shimei to come to him. (The king) said (to Shimei), ‘You spoke a very serious promise to the LORD (to obey me). I ordered you not to leave (Jerusalem). If you did, you would die. And you said to me at that time, “Your words are good. I will obey you.” 43 But you have not kept your promise to the LORD. You did not do what I ordered you to do.’ 44 The king also said to Shimei, ‘You know in your mind all the bad things that you did to my father David. Now the LORD will punish you because of the wrong things that you did. 45 But good things will happen to King Solomon. The LORD will make David’s throne to be safe for always.’ 46 Then the king told Benaiah, the son of Jehoiada, the thing to do. So he went out and he knocked Shimei down. And he killed him. So Solomon now ruled the country. Nobody could say that he was not the proper king.

Notes about chapter 2

The first 12 verses of this chapter tell us about the last days of David. In them, David told Solomon that some people were dangerous. They included Adonijah, Abiathar, Joab and Shimei.

Verses 13-46 tell us what Solomon did about this. He killed three of them so that they could not be a danger to him.

In verses 13-25, Adonijah thought that he should be king. That was because he was older than Solomon. If he could marry Abishag, he would take David’s place. Then he thought that the people would make him king! But Solomon sent Benaiah to kill Adonijah.

In verses 26-27, Solomon sent the priest Abiathar away. He did not let Abiathar be an important priest again. So what God had spoken about in 1 Samuel 2:31-36 happened. Now Zadok was the only important priest, verse 35.

In verses 28-35, Solomon sent Benaiah to kill Joab. Joab thought that he was safe in the LORD’s holy place. But he was wrong. Joab had killed innocent people. He had ‘poured out their blood’. ‘Innocent’ means that they had not done very bad things. Joab had no reason to kill them. This is what ‘remove the blood from me’ means. It seemed like the king had killed those innocent people! But when the king killed Joab, he removed that thought from people’s minds. David’s family could now enjoy the promise in Deuteronomy 19:13.

In verses 36-46, Solomon removes the last of David’s enemies.

There are many names in this chapter. Some are in the notes on Chapter 1. Other names include these:

·        Abner was the son of Ner. He was the cousin of King Saul. Joab killed him, 2 Samuel 3:27. David wrote a sad song about Abner, 2 Samuel 3:33-39.

·        Ner was the brother of Kish, 1 Chronicles 9:36. Kish was the father of King Saul.

·        Amasa was a son of David’s sister Abigail, (2 Samuel 17:25). 2 Samuel 20:10 says that Joab killed him.

·        Jether was the husband of Abigail. 2 Samuel 17:25 spells it Ithra. Perhaps Ishmael was his ancestor.

·        Barzillai. The story starts at 2 Samuel 19:31. Perhaps Psalm 23 was also about what Barzillai did on behalf of David.

·        Shimei met David, when David returned from Barzillai to Jerusalem, 2 Samuel 19:20.

Chapter 3

Solomon prays for wisdom

1 Solomon made a covenant with Pharaoh, who was the king of Egypt. Solomon married Pharaoh’s daughter. He brought her to the city of David. Then Solomon finished the things that he was building. (They were these buildings:)

·          his palace

·          the temple of the LORD

·          the wall round Jerusalem.

2 But the people still sacrificed in high places, because they had not yet built a temple for the LORD’s Name.

3 (This is how) Solomon showed that he loved the LORD. He obeyed all the rules of his father David except (one). He burned sacrifices and he burned incense in country places. 4 The king went to Gibeon to sacrifice (to the LORD). That was the most important country place. Solomon sacrificed there a thousand times on the altar. 5 At Gibeon, Solomon saw the LORD during the night, in a dream. And God said, ‘Ask me for whatever thing that you want me to give to you.’

6 Solomon’s answered, ‘You were very kind to your servant, my father David. (This was) because he always believed in you. He was a good man and he was honest. You have continued to be very kind to him. You have given to him a son to sit on his throne to this day. 7 Now, my LORD and God, you have made (me,) your servant king, instead of my father. But I am only a little child. I do not know how to do my duties. 8 Your servant is here, among the people (in the country) that you have chosen. It is a great country. There are too many people to count, or to find out how many that there are. 9 So give to your servant a mind that understands things. So I will be able to rule your people. I will be able to see who is right. And I will be able to see who is wrong. That is how I will be able to rule your great country.’

10 It made the LORD happy that Solomon had asked for this.

11-12 So God said to him, ‘I will give you what you have asked for. I will do it for (these reasons):

·          You have asked for a mind that understands how to rule people fairly.

·          You have not asked for a long life or to be very rich.

·          You have not asked for the death of your enemies.

I will give to you a mind that is wise. And I will give to you a mind that understands things. As a result, there never has been, or never will be, anyone like you.

13 I will give you more than this. I will give to you the things that you did not ask for. (I will make you) rich. (People will know that you are) great. While you are alive, there will be no better king than you. 14 Also, I will give to you a long life, if you (do this). Live as I want you to live. Obey my rules and my laws. That is what David your father did.’

15 Then Solomon awoke. (And he knew) that it was a dream. He returned to Jerusalem and he stood in front of the ark of the covenant of the LORD. He sacrificed (animals) and he burned them. He gave a peace gift (to God). Then he gave a very good meal to all his servants.

Solomon uses his wisdom

16 Then two women came and they stood in front of the king. (The women) were prostitutes. 17 And one woman said (to the king), ‘Oh! My lord (and king)! I and this woman live in the same house. And I had a baby while she lived in the house (with me). 18 And three days after (my child) was born, she also had a baby. We were alone in the house. Only the two of us were there. There was no stranger there. 19 But this woman lay on her son in the night and he died. 20 So she got up at midnight and she took my son from my side. I, your servant, was asleep (when she did this). She put him by her breast and she put her dead son by my breast. 21 When I got up in the morning to feed my son, he was dead! So I looked carefully at him in the morning (light). Then I saw that he was not my son. He was not the son that was born to me!’ 22 Then the other woman said, ‘No! It is my son that is alive. Your son is dead!’ But the first woman answered, ‘No! The dead boy is yours. My son is alive!’ And so they argued in front of the king.

23 Then the king said, ‘This (woman) says, “My son is alive and your son is dead.” But the other (woman) says, “No! Your son is dead and my son is alive.” ’ 24 So the king said, ‘Bring me a sword.’ So they brought a sword to the king. 25 And the king said, ‘Cut the child that is alive into two pieces. Give half to one (woman) and half to the other (woman).’ 26 Then the woman whose son was alive spoke. She really loved her son. So she said to the king, ‘My lord, please give the baby that is alive to her. Do not kill him.’ But the other (woman) said, ‘Neither you nor I will have him. Cut him in half!’ 27 Then this was what the king decided. ‘Give the baby that is alive to the first woman. She is its mother. Do not kill it.’ 28 Everybody in Israel heard what the king had decided. And they were really afraid of the king. They knew that he used the wisdom from God to decide fairly.

Notes about chapter 3

The word ‘wisdom’ at the top of this chapter means this. You are able to use the things that you know in a good way.

Verse 1. In this kind of covenant, their countries agreed to be friendly to each other. There should be no wars between them.

The city of David was probably the part of Jerusalem on the east. Solomon’s wife lived there in her own house. It was probably near to Solomon’s house, 1 Kings 7:8. She lived there 13 years, until Solomon had built his palace, 1 Kings 7:1. A palace is a big house that a king lives in.

The temple was the house that Solomon built for the LORD in Jerusalem. He built it where David put the ark of the covenant, 2 Samuel 6:12-18.

Verse 2. Deuteronomy 12:13-14 contains an important rule for the Jews. They must sacrifice to God only in one place. But, because they had not built that one place, they did it in many places. They obeyed Exodus 20:24 instead!

Verse 3. Some translations of the Bible say, ‘high places’ or ‘hills’, instead of ‘country places’. But they were probably any place out in the country. Solomon built the temple on a hill called Moriah, or Zion, in Jerusalem. Incense makes a very nice smell when people burn it.

Verse 4. Gibeon was about 10 kilometres north-west of Jerusalem.

Verses 5-7. God accepted the meat and bread that Solomon sacrificed in Gibeon. This was because there was no temple in Jerusalem yet. God spoke often to people in dreams. There are examples in Genesis 31:11 and 41:25. Solomon was probably 17 or 18 years old when this happened.

Verse 8. ‘Country’ does not mean the same here as it does in verses 2-4.

Verse 9. ‘A mind that understands things’. We think that Solomon meant ‘a mind that knows what God wants’. Solomon wanted to know that so that he would always do the right thing.

Verse 14. ‘Live as I want you to live’ is another way to say ‘obey my rules’. Psalm 1 helps us to understand what it means.

Verse 15. ‘The ark of the covenant of the LORD’ was very important. The ark was a box. Exodus 25:10-22 tells us how the Jews made it. They put things in to it. These things helped them to remember that God was good to them in their journey from Egypt. The covenant included what God and the Jews agreed. They agreed to love and to obey him. He agreed to be their God and to make them safe. ‘LORD’, with four capital letters, is an English way to write the Hebrew word ‘Jehovah’. Jehovah was God’s covenant name. Leviticus chapter 3 and 7:11-21 tell us about the ‘peace gift’. When they gave it to God, people ate food together. This made them happy. They were ‘at peace’ with each other and with God. When they burnt animals to God, they became ‘at peace’ with God.

Verses 16-28. Here is an example of how Solomon used his wisdom. People who were arguing came to him. They knew that he would decide fairly. So perhaps it was the wrong people, like the second woman, who were afraid!

Chapter 4

Solomon’s government

1 So King Solomon was the king of all Israel.

2 And these were his important officers:

            Azariah, (who was) the son of Zadok. Zadok (was an important) priest.

3 Elihoreph and Ahijah. They were the sons of Shisha. They wrote down (what happened).

            Jehoshaphat, (who was) the son of Ahilud. (Jehoshaphat) told people (what Solomon wanted).

4 Benaiah, (who was) the son of Jehoiada. (Benaiah was) the leader of the army.

            Zadok and Abiathar (were) priests.

5 Azariah, (who was) the son of Nathan. He told the 12 officers (in verse 7) what to do.

            Zabud, (who was also) a son of Nathan. (Zabud was) a priest and he was a friend of the king.

6 Ahishar, (who) kept (the king’s) houses and fields well.

            Adoniram, (who was) the son of Abda. (Adoniram) told the workers (what they should do).

7 Solomon also had 12 (other) officers. They were in (different) places in all Israel. They supplied food for the king and for the people that lived in his houses. Each (officer) had to supply food for one month in (each) year.

8 These are their names.

            Ben-hur. (He supplied food from) the hills in Ephraim.

9 Ben-deker. (He supplied food from) Makaz and Shaalbim and Beth Shemesh and Elon Beth Hanan.

10 Ben-hesed. (He supplied food from) Arubboth. Socoh and all the fields round Hepher were his (also).

11 Ben-abinadab. (He supplied food from) the hills near Dor. (Abinadab) had married Solomon’s daughter called Taphath.

12 Baana, (who was) the son of Ahilud. (He supplied food from) Taanach and Megiddo and (from) all of Beth-shean. (Beth-shean) is near Zarethan, (which is) below Jezreel. (He also supplied food) from Beth-shean to Abel-meholah and across to Jokmeam.

13 Ben-geber. (He supplied food from) Ramoth Gilead. The villages of Manasseh’s son Jair in Gilead were his. Also, the country round Argob in Bashan (was his). It included 60 large cities. The cities had walls and long pieces of metal (to lock) the gates.

14 Ahinadab, (who was) the son of Iddo. (He supplied food from) Mahanaim.

15 Ahimaaz. (He supplied food from) Naphtali. (Ahimaaz) had married Basemath, (who was) Solomon’s daughter.

16 Baana, (who was) the son of Hushai. (He supplied food from) Asher and (from) Aloth.

17 Jehoshaphat, (who was) the son of Paruah. (He supplied food from) Issachar.

18 Shimei, (who was) the son of Ela. (He supplied food from) Benjamin.

19 Geber, (who was) the son of Uri. (He supplied food from) Gilead. (Gilead was) the country where Sihon was king. He was king of the people called Amorites. Also, (Gilead was) the country where Og was the King of Bashan. (Geber) was the only officer in (all) this country.

Solomon’s kingdom

20 There were very many people in Judah and Israel. There were as many of them as (there are bits of) sand by the sea (shore). They ate (their food) and they drank (their drink). So they were very happy.

21 And Solomon ruled over all the kingdom. (The kingdom) was from the River (Euphrates in Babylon) to the country where the Philistines live. (They live) near the border of Egypt. The people (from these places) brought gifts (to Solomon) and they were his servants all the days of his life.

22 And this is what (his officers) supplied Solomon each day.

            30 cors (6600 litres or 1700 gallons) of flour

            60 cors (13 200 litres or 3400 gallons) of wheat

23      10 cows that ate in the farm buildings

            20 cows that ate in the fields

            100 sheep

            also (animals called) deer, gazelle, roebuck and chickens.

24 (This is) because (Solomon) ruled all (the land) west of the River (Euphrates in Babylon). (He ruled) from Tiphsah to Gaza. (He ruled) all the kingdoms west of the River (Euphrates). There was no war in any of these places. 25 While Solomon ruled, Judah and Israel were safe. Each (person) lived under their vine or fig tree, from Dan to Beersheba. 26 Solomon had 4000 buildings for horses that pulled chariots. And he had 12 000 horses. 27 The 12 officers supplied food for King Solomon and for everybody that ate with him. (The king) got everything that he needed. 28 (Each officer) brought his part (each month). They brought food and dry grass for the horses that pulled chariots and for the other horses.

Verse 27. The 12 officers are the men in verses 8-19.

Solomon’s wisdom

29 God gave Solomon wisdom. He could see what things mean. So he understood them well. (He had more wisdom) than there are bits of sand on the sea shore! 30 Solomon had more wisdom than all the men (that lived) in the East. (His wisdom) was greater than all the wisdom in Egypt. 31 He had more wisdom than any other man. This includes the man called Ethan the Ezrahite. And (it includes) Heman, Calcol and Darda. (Calcol and Darda were) the sons of Mahol. (Solomon) was famous in all the countries round (Israel). 32 (Solomon) spoke 3000 proverbs and (he wrote) 5000 songs. 33 And he described (many) plants: (He described large ones) like the cedar trees that grow in Lebanon. And (he described small ones) like the small plant called hyssop. Hyssop grows on walls. And he taught (people) about all kinds of animals, birds, fishes and things that move on their stomachs. 34 (People) came from all countries to listen to the wisdom of Solomon. Every king on earth who had heard about his wisdom (sent) someone.

Notes about chapter 4

Verses 7-19. The Hebrew word ‘ben’ means ‘son’ or ‘son of’. So, Ben-hur is ‘son of Hur’, and so on. ‘He supplied food from’ is not in the Hebrew Bible. The Hebrew Bible just has ‘in’ in each verse. So, verse 8 is ‘Ben-hur in the hills in Ephraim’, and so on. This translation uses the words from verse 7 for all 12 officers. Some Bible students think this: Each place grew food that was best for just one month. That was the month when they had to supply food!

Verse 13. The long pieces of metal locked the gates so that people outside could not open them.

Verse 19. The reports about Sihon and Og are in Numbers 21:21-35.

Verse 21. A kingdom is the country where a king rules.

Verse 22. Wheat is the fruit of a plant. People make bread from it.

Verse 25. The vine is a plant. It grows fruits called grapes. The fig is a fruit, too.

Verse 26. Bible students are not sure if it is 4000 or 40 000. A chariot is a like a car but horses pulled it. Soldiers rode in them. Some Bible students think that ‘12 000 horses’ should be ‘12 000 men that rode on horses’.

Verses 29-34. The notes in front of 1 Kings 3:1 explain the word ‘wisdom’. The ‘East’ and ‘Egypt’ (verse 30) mean ‘everywhere’. 1 Chronicles 2:6 tells us that Ethan, Heman, Calcol and Darda (verse 31) were famous because of their wisdom. Some Bible students think ‘sons of Mahol’ should be ‘singers’.

Verse 32. There is a whole book of Solomon’s proverbs in the Bible. Each proverb teaches something that is important.

Chapter 5

Solomon prepares to build the temple

1 Hiram (was the) king of Tyre. He heard that Solomon had become king after his father (David). So (Hiram) sent his servants to Solomon, because Hiram had always been a friend of David. 2 And Solomon sent (this message) to Hiram. It said, 3 ‘You know about my father David. He was unable to build a temple for the Name of the LORD his God. This was because people on all sides fought wars against my father David. (They did this) until God caused him to beat his enemies. 4 But now the LORD my God has made it quiet all round (me). There are no enemies and nothing to destroy anything. 5 So, I have decided to build a temple for the Name of the LORD my God. This is what the LORD said to my father David. (The LORD) said, “I will put your son on your throne after you. He will build the temple for my Name.” 6 And you know that none of us can make wood from trees like the men from Sidon. So now, tell (your men) that they should cut down cedar trees in Lebanon for me. And my men will (work) with your men. And I will pay you whatever you ask for your men.’

7 Hiram was very happy when he heard Solomon’s message. And he said, ‘Praise the LORD today, because he gave David a wise son to rule over this great country.’ 8 So Hiram sent this message to Solomon. ‘I have received (the message) that you sent to me. I will do all that you ask. (I will send you) cedar wood and pine wood. 9 My men will pull them from Lebanon to the sea. And I will tie several trees together. And then I will pull them along the top of the sea to where you want them. There I will make them into separate trees again, and you will take them away. And you will supply food for my palace, as I want.’ 10 So Hiram supplied Solomon with all the cedar wood and pine wood that (Solomon) wanted. 11 Then Solomon supplied Hiram with 20 000 cors (4.4 million litres or 1.1 million gallons) of wheat as food for his palace. He also (supplied) 20 cors (4400 litres or 1100 gallons) of olive oil. Solomon sent this every year to Hiram. 12 And the LORD gave wisdom to Solomon, as (the LORD) had promised to him. Also, there was no war between Hiram and Solomon. They agreed that they would not fight.

13 Then King Solomon caused 30 000 men from all Israel to work for him. 14 He sent them to Lebanon in groups of 10 000 men each month. So, they were one month in Lebanon and two months at home. Adoniram was the master of these men. 15 Solomon had 70 000 men that carried things. And he had 80 000 men that cut stones in the hills. 16 He also had 3300 leaders. They told the workers what they should do. 17 The king ordered them to take large pieces of the best stone that they had cut. They had to take these from the hills where they had cut them. These were the stones that they would build the foundation of the temple with. 18 So the men that worked for Solomon and for Hiram prepared the stone and the wood to build the temple.

Notes about chapter 5

Verses 1-6. The temple was God’s special house in Jerusalem. God did not let David build it, because David was a ‘man of war’, 1 Chronicles 22:8-9. Now there was no war, so Solomon could build a temple for ‘the Name of the LORD his God’. God had promised this to David in 2 Samuel 7:12-13. Solomon asked Hiram to supply wood for the temple. Lebanon was famous because of its beautiful cedar trees. Hiram ruled Lebanon, where his people lived. Sidon was the most important city in Lebanon. Hiram lived in a city called Tyre. It was on an island near the coast of Lebanon.

Verse 7. ‘Praise’ means ‘tell someone that they are very good and great’.

Verse 11. Hiram’s palace means all the people that live in it. This includes his family and his servants. A palace is a special house that a king lives in. Olive oil comes from a fruit called the olive. They used this oil to cook things in. Some Bible students think that 20 cors should be 20 000 cors.

Verse 18. The Hebrew Bible has ‘the men of Gebal’ after ‘Hiram’. Bible students are not sure what this means. They are not sure who these men are.

Chapter 6

Solomon builds the temple

1 So, Solomon began to build the temple of the LORD. It was 480 years after the Jews had come out from Egypt. Solomon had been king for 4 years. It was in the month called Ziv, the second month (of the year). 2 The temple that Solomon the king built for the LORD was 60 cubits long. It was 20 cubits wide and 30 cubits high. 3 The temple had a group of columns. It was at the front of the larger room (in the temple). (This group) was as wide as the temple. That is, it was 20 cubits wide. It was 10 cubits from the front (of the columns) to the temple itself. 4 And (Solomon) made narrow windows near the tops of the temple (walls). 5 Outside the walls of the temple (Solomon) built rooms at the side. These were outside the larger room of the temple and the holy of holies. (The side rooms) had (three) storeys. 6 The lowest storey was 5 cubits wide. The middle storey was 6 cubits wide and the third one was 7 cubits wide. Beams (of wood) kept the (storeys) up. (The beams) rested on stone pillars so they did not go into the temple walls. 7 When they made the temple, there was no sound of hammers, axes or any iron tools. They used only big stones that they had cut already. They cut them into the right shape at the place where they found them. 8 The door to the lowest storey was on the south side of the temple. And stairs went up to the middle storey and to the top storey. 9 So (Solomon) built the temple and he finished it. He made the roof out of beams (of wood) and cedar boards. 10 And he built the rooms all along the sides of the temple. Each room was 5 cubits high. Cedar beams fastened (the rooms) to the temple.

11 And the word of the LORD came to Solomon. (The LORD) said,

12 ‘You are building this temple (for me). I will do everything for you that I promised to your father David. But you must (do these things):

·          You must obey my laws.

·          You must obey my rules.

·          You must do everything that I order you to do.

13 If you do those things, I will live among the Israelites. And I will not leave my people Israel.’

14 So Solomon built the temple and he finished it. 15 He put boards (that his men made from) cedar wood on the inside walls. The boards went from the floor of the temple to its ceiling. (The men) covered the floor of the temple with pine wood. 16 (Solomon) made a Most Holy Place at the back of the temple. It was inside the temple and it was 20 cubits long. It had cedar boards from floor to ceiling. It made a very special place (inside the temple). 17 The room in front of this (Most Holy) Place was 40 cubits long. 18 (They made) the inside of the temple with cedar (wood). (They made) pictures (in the wood) of plants like flowers. (They made) everything out of cedar (wood). You could not see any stone. 19 (Solomon) made the (Most Holy) place inside the temple for the ark of the LORD’s covenant. 20 This (Most Holy Place was called) the inside sanctuary. It was 20 cubits long, 20 cubits wide and 20 cubits high. (Solomon) put pure gold on everything (in the sanctuary). He also did this with the cedar altar. 21 Solomon covered everything inside the temple with pure gold. Also, he put a curtain that they made out of gold in front of the sanctuary. (Everything in the sanctuary) he covered with gold. 22 So he covered everything inside (the temple) with gold. He also covered with gold the altar by the inside sanctuary.

23 In the inside sanctuary, (Solomon) made two cherubs from olive wood. Each one was 10 cubits high. 24 One wing of the first cherub was 5 cubits long. Its other wing was also 5 cubits long. So it was 10 cubits from the end of one wing to the end of the other wing. 25 The second cherub was also 10 cubits long. (This was because) the two cherubs were the same in size and shape. 26 Each cherub was 10 cubits high. 27 (Solomon) put the cherubs in the inside room of the temple. Their wings were very wide. The wing of one cherub touched one wall (of the temple). The wing of the other (cherub) touched the other wall. And their wings touched each other in the middle of the room. 28 (Solomon) covered the cherubs with gold.

29 (Solomon) made pictures in the wood of cherubs, palm trees and open flowers. He put them on the walls, all round both the rooms in the temple. 30 He also covered the floors of both the rooms in the temple with gold. 31 He made the doors to the sanctuary out of olive wood. The wood that held the doors had 5 sides. 32 And on the doors he put pictures in the wood of cherubs, palm trees and open flowers. Then he covered the cherubs and the palm trees with very thin gold. 33 The olive wood that held the doors to the (temple) itself had 4 sides. 34 (Solomon) also made two doors out of pine wood (for the temple). Each door had two parts that turned separately. 35 He put pictures of cherubs, palm trees and open flowers on (the doors). He covered them with gold. 36 (Solomon) also built a yard, (called a courtyard, round the temple). (The wall round the courtyard) was three stones high. There were cedar wood boards on top of it.

37 They put down the first stones of the temple of the LORD in the 4th year (that Solomon was king). It was in the month called Ziv. 38 They finished building the temple in the 11th year (that Solomon was king). It was the 8th month, the month called Bul. Everything was as it was in (Solomon’s) plans. It had taken him 7 years to build it.

Notes about chapter 6

Verse 2. A cubit was about 18 inches. So 60 cubits means about 30 yards or 28 metres.

Verse 3. The columns were large, tall, round pieces of stone.

Verse 4. The windows were narrow. They may have let smoke out rather than let light in.

Verse 5. There were only two rooms inside the temple. There was a larger room and a smaller room, called the ‘holy of holies’. Only the leader of the priests could go in to it, and that only on one day every year. Buildings with two or three storeys means that they have one or two floors upstairs.

Verse 8. Each storey was about 7½ feet (2.3 metres) high. So this is why the windows were high up, verse 4.

Verse 13. The Israelites were the people that lived in Israel.

Verses 16-38. It says ‘Solomon made’. But it means that his men did the work. He told them what they should do. The temple itself was the Holy Place. They believed that God lived there. Because the holy God lived there it also was called holy. Only the priests could go into this temple. At the back was a Most Holy Place. Only the leader of the priests could go in to it, and that only on one day every year. The usual name for this Most Holy Place was the sanctuary, or the holy of holies. A sanctuary is the most holy part of any temple or church. Bible students have many problems with these verses. Here are two of them.

·        Was the altar in verse 22 in the temple, or in the inside sanctuary? Or were there two altars?

·        Was the wall in verse 36 low enough for people to look over? Or was the whole courtyard three stones high with wood on top? Only the priests could go into this courtyard.

We may never know the answers to these questions.

Chapter 7

Solomon builds his palace

1 Solomon was building his palace for 13 years. Then he finished it. 2 He built the House of the Forest of Lebanon. It was 100 cubits long, 50 cubits wide and 30 cubits high. It had 3 lines of cedar pillars. On top of them were (more) cedar beams, which (his men had) cut. 3 They made the roof (also) from cedar wood. (The roof was over the pillars of) cedar wood. Also, it was over the cedar beams that were on top of (the pillars). There were 45 cedar pillars, in 3 lines of 15. 4 Its windows were very high. There were three groups of them. They were on the other side from other (groups of windows). 5 All the doors were a rectangular shape. The wood that held the doors and the windows was rectangular too. There were three (groups) of windows in the front (of the building). 6 He also made a hall of pillars. It was 50 cubits long and 30 cubits wide. The pillars were at the front of the hall, and there was a low wall in front of them. 7 And he built a room to put his throne (special seat for a king) in. He sat on it to decide who was right. And he decided who was wrong. He covered it with cedar wood from floor to ceiling. 8 And he built his house behind (the room for the king’s special seat). This was where he lived. (His house) was like (the room for the king’s special seat). He also made a house like it for Pharaoh’s daughter. She was (Solomon’s) wife.

9 His workers made these buildings from very good, large stones. They cut (the stones) to the right size with a special tool. (They cut) the sides that were towards the inside and towards the outside (of the buildings). (They did this) from the front to the important courtyard behind it. Also, (they did it) from the floor to the roof.

10 (Solomon) had put very good, large stones in the ground. They were 8 or 10 cubits long. He built everything on these. 11 Above (the ground) he used very good stones. (His men) cut them to (the right) size. He also used cedar wood beams. 12 There was a wall all round the important courtyard. It was 3 stones high, with cedar beams on top. (Solomon’s men) cut the stones (to the right size). (This wall) was like the (wall in the) courtyard of the temple of the LORD. There were pillars at the front of it.

More news about the temple

13 King Solomon sent (a message) to Tyre. (The message) brought Hiram (from Tyre). 14 (Hiram) was the son of a widow from the tribe of Naphtali. His father had come from the city called Tyre. His father was a very good worker with metals. (His son, Hiram,) was also a very good worker with metals. He knew how to make very many metal things. So he came to King Solomon. He did everything that (Solomon) asked him to do.

15 He made two metal pillars. Each pillar was 18 cubits high. A line 12 cubits long would make a circle round each of them. The metal itself was about 7 centimetres thick. The two pillars were the same. 16 He also made two metal pieces, which were the shape of big cups. And he put one on the top of each pillar. Each piece was 5 cubits high. 17 (Each piece) had a group of metal chains. He put 7 of them on the top of each pillar. 18 And he made two chains of pomegranates. They went round each of the metal chains. They made the tops of the pillars very beautiful. He did the same for each pillar. 19 The shapes on the tops of the pillars were like (flowers called) lilies. Each one was 4 cubits high. 20 There were 200 pomegranates all round the tops of both pillars. They were above the shapes (of flowers) next to the metal chains. 21 He put these pillars in the hall of pillars in the temple. The pillar at the south he called Jakin and the pillar at the north he called Boaz. 22 The tops of the pillars were in the shape of (flowers called) lilies. And so (Solomon) finished the work on the pillars.

23 And (Hiram) made with metal (what they called) a Sea. It was 10 cubits from one side to the other side. It was 5 cubits deep. (Its shape) was a circle 30 cubits round. 24 All round it, below the top, were (shapes like) the fruit of wild plants called gourds. There were 10 for every cubit. (Hiram) made them in one piece with the Sea. 25 He built the Sea on 12 metal male cows. Three pointed north and three pointed west. Three pointed south and three pointed east. Their backs were towards the middle (of the Sea). 26 The sides of the Sea were 3 inches thick. Its top was like the top of a cup. It was like a (flower called the) lily. (The Sea) contained 44 000 litres (12 000 gallons) (of water).

27 (Hiram) also made 10 metal carts (to carry water). Each one was 4 cubits long, 4 cubits wide and 3 cubits deep. 28 This is how he made the water carts. (He made them) with square pieces (of metal, that he) fastened at the corners. 29 There were (pictures of animals called) lions and oxen on the sides and on the corners. (There were) also (pictures of) cherubs. There were shapes like leaves above and below the lions and the oxen. (The shapes were made) with hammers. 30 Each cart had 4 metal wheels with metal axles. Each (cart) also had 4 corners and a bucket that was on 4 pieces of metal. There were metal shapes like leaves, which he made with hammers (next to the buckets). 31 On the top of the cart there was a round hole. It was one cubit deep and a cubit and a half across. Round the hole there were pictures (that Hiram) made with metal. The pieces of metal on the sides (of the carts) were square. They were not round. 32 There were 4 wheels under each cart. (Hiram) fastened the axles of the wheels to the under sides of the carts. Each wheel was a cubit and a half across. 33 The wheels (of the cart) were like the wheels of a chariot. He cast the metal (to make) the axles and all the parts of the wheels. 34 Each cart had 4 handles. There was one on each corner. (Hiram) made them as one piece with each cart. 35 There was a piece of metal round the top of each cart. It was half a cubit deep. (Hiram) fastened the handles and (square) pieces (of metal) to the tops of the carts. 36 And he cut pictures of cherubs, lions and palm trees. He cut them on the handles and the (square) pieces (of metal on the carts). He put them everywhere! There were also (metal pictures of) leaves everywhere! 37 This was how (Hiram) made the 10 carts. They all had the same size and shape. (That is because) they were all cast in the same mould. 38 And (Hiram) also made 10 metal buckets. Each one contained about 230 gallons. Each bucket was 4 cubits across. There was one bucket for each of the 10 carts. 39 (Hiram) put 5 of the carts on the south side of the temple. He put the other 5 on the north side (of the temple). He put the Sea on the south side of the temple. It was at the south east corner.

40 He also made pots, small shovels and small cups.

So Hiram finished all the work in the temple of the LORD. He had promised to King Solomon that he would do these things:

41-45 (He would make these things):

·          2 pillars

·          2 metal pieces, the shape of big cups, on the top of each pillar

·          2 groups of chains, which made the shapes of cups on the tops of the pillars more beautiful

·          400 pomegranates for the 2 groups of chains. There were two groups of pomegranates for each chain. They made the shapes of big cups on the tops of each pillar more beautiful.

·          10 carts with their 10 buckets

·          the Sea and the 12 male cows under it

·          the pots, small shovels and small cups.

The metal that Hiram used for all these things was bronze. He made them for King Solomon, (who wanted them) for the temple of the LORD.

46 The king made them in sand moulds. He did it near the (River) Jordan, between Succoth and Zarethan.

47 Solomon did not weigh any of these things, because there were so many (of them). They did not discover the weight of the bronze.

48-50 Solomon also made everything that was in the LORD’s temple. (He made these things):

·          The altar (which he made) out of gold.

·          The table (which he made) out of gold. On it was the (special) bread. That bread showed (that God) was there.

·          The things that held the lights. He made them from pure gold. There were 5 on one side and 5 on the other side of the sanctuary.

·          The flowers (that he made) from gold.

·          The lights and the tools that held things (for the altar).

·          The pure gold plates.

·          The tools that (they used) for the lights.

·          The cups (with water in them).

·          The spoons and the baskets (which made smoke).

·          Also, the places that held the doors of the sanctuary. (This is) the Most Holy Place.

·          Also, the places that held the doors of the important hall of the temple.

51 Solomon brought (into the temple) all the things that David his father had put to one side for the temple. (Solomon) did this after he had finished all the things that he had made for the temple of the LORD. They were the things that they made out of wood, silver and gold. He put these things in safe places in the LORD’s temple.

Notes about chapter 7

Verses 1-12. A palace is the house of a king. This palace had 5 parts:

·        the House of the Forest of Lebanon (verses 2-5)

·        the Hall of Pillars (verse 6)

·        the room for the king’s special seat (verse 7)

·        Solomon’s own house (verse 8)

·        Solomon’s wife’s house (verse 8).

Bible students do not agree about Solomon’s palace. This is because the Hebrew words are very difficult to translate. A cubit is about 18 inches long. So 100 cubits is about 50 yards (or 46 metres). The pillars were tall pieces of wood. The wood came from trees called cedars. The word ‘rectangular’ means ‘like a square, but with two sides longer than the other two’.

The cedar wood came from the forests in Lebanon. This is why it is called the House of the Forest of Lebanon. It was perhaps where Solomon met important people, like the Queen of Sheba in chapter 10. Bible students think that the other 4 buildings were behind the House of the Forest of Lebanon. Solomon had a large family and many servants. So, we think that his house was very large. Perhaps his wife’s house and Solomon’s house joined together.

Verses 13-22. This part, to the end of the chapter, is again about the temple. The tribe, or large family group, of Naphtali was in the north of Israel. It was very near to Tyre. They made the pillars in verses 1-12 from wood. But, for the temple, Hiram made pillars from metal. He mixed two metals to make the pillars. We call the result bronze. The chains were lines of metal; each piece of metal fastened to the next.

Verse 21. The names mean:

·        Jakin: he will prepare.

·        Boaz: in him (you will be) strong.

Perhaps ‘he’ and ‘him’ mean God.

Verses 23-26. The Sea was something special. It was full of water. The priests used this to wash themselves when they went into the temple. In the Hebrew Bible, 44 000 litres is 2000 baths. We do not really know how big a bath was.

Verse 27. A cart is like a small truck that people or horses pulled. They used these carts to take water to the Sea (verses 23-26).

Verses 29-31. Lions are wild animals, like large cats. Oxen (plural of ox) were farm animals, like cows. Cherubs were special angels, servants of God in his home, called heaven. Hiram made the ‘pictures’ with a hammer and pieces of metal.

Verse 33. Hiram cast the axles and wheels to make them. This means that he made the metal very hot. Then he poured it into shapes. The shapes were called moulds. These shapes were usually in sand. When the metal became cold, it became hard again. It was the same shape as the mould. This is called ‘casting’. The worker has cast the metal.

Verse 40. The pots, small shovels and cups were for the priests to use. A shovel is a tool that people use to dig with. They also use it to remove ashes from fires.

Verses 41-51. The lists here include things that are not in chapter 6.

Chapter 8

Solomon brings the ark into the temple

1 Then Solomon said that all the leaders of Israel must come to him in Jerusalem. The king wanted all the leaders of the tribes and families of Israel to (do this. He wanted them to) bring the ark of the covenant of the LORD (to the temple). (The ark) was in David’s part of the city, called Zion. 2 So all the men from Israel came together, to King Solomon. It was the 7th month, called Ethanim. There was a festival (at this time). 3 When all the leaders of Israel had arrived, the priests lifted up the ark.

4 Together with the ark of the LORD, they brought (these other things):

·          the tent where people met.

·          the holy tools that were in the tent.

The priests and the Levites carried them up (to the temple).

5 While they did this, all Israel’s people were with King Solomon. They sacrificed sheep and oxen in front of the ark. (There were) more than they could count. 6 Then the priests brought the ark of the covenant of the LORD to its place. That place was the inside sanctuary of the temple, called the Most Holy Place. They put it under the wings of the cherubs. 7 The wings of the cherubs were over the place where the ark was. The ark and the handles to carry it were in the shadow (of the cherubs). 8 The handles were very long. (The priests) could see their ends from the Holy Place outside the Most Holy Place. They could not see them from outside the Holy Place. And they are still there today. 9 There was nothing in the ark, except two flat stones. Moses had put them there at Horeb. That was where the LORD made a covenant with the Jews. He did that after they came out from Egypt. 10 And when the priests came out from the Holy Place (in the temple), the cloud filled the LORD’s temple. 11 And the priests could not do their work, because of the cloud. Then something like a very bright light filled the LORD’s temple to show that the LORD was there.

12 Then Solomon said, ‘The LORD said that he would live in a dark cloud.

13 I have built a beautiful temple for you. It is a place where you can always live.’

Solomon speaks to his people

14 While everybody in Israel stood there, the king turned round. He prayed that God would be good to them. 15 And he said, ‘Praise the LORD, (who is) the God of Israel. With his own hand he has done what he promised with his own mouth to do for my father David. This is what (God) said: 16 “I brought my people Israel out from Egypt. Since then, I have not chosen a city in any tribe of Israel, to build a temple for my Name. But I have chosen David to rule my people Israel.” 17 My father really wanted to build a temple for the Name of the LORD, (who is) the God of Israel. 18 But the LORD said to my father, David, “It was good that you really wanted to build a temple for my Name. 19 You will not build the temple. But, instead, your son will build it. He is (from) your own body and blood. He is the person who will build the temple for my Name.” 20 The LORD has done what he promised to do. I am (king) after David (who was) my father. Now I sit on the throne of Israel. This is what the LORD promised. Also, I have built the temple for the Name of the LORD, (who is) the God of Israel. 21 I have made a place there for the ark. In it, is the covenant of the LORD. He made it with our ancestors, when he brought them out of Egypt.’

Solomon prays in the temple

22 Then Solomon stood in front of the altar of the LORD. He was in front of all Israel’s people.

He lifted up his hands towards the skies.

23 And (Solomon) said,

LORD, (you are) the God of Israel. There is no God like you, (either) in the skies above (us) or in the earth beneath (the skies). You continue to do what you have promised to do for your servants. (Your servants are the people) to whom you are always very kind. (Your servants) continue to obey your words as well as they can. 24 You have done what you promised to do for your servant, my father David. Your mouth spoke the promise. Then your hands did (the work, as we see) today. 25 Now, LORD God of Israel, there is (another) promise that you spoke to your servant, my father David. (I pray) that you will do that also. You said to (David), “There will always be a man to sit on my behalf on the throne of Israel. But for this to happen, your sons must always obey me like you did.” 26 So now I pray (to you), God of Israel, “Cause what you promised to your servant, my father David, to happen.”

27 But surely God will not really live on the earth! Even heaven, the highest heaven of all the heavens, cannot contain you! How much less will this temple that I have built (contain you)! 28 But listen (to me) while I, your servant, pray (to you), my LORD and my God. I am asking you for mercy. Hear me, while I, your servant, am praying to you today. 29 Watch over this temple day and night. This is the place about which you said, “My Name will be there.” (So,) you will hear your servant (the king) when he prays towards this place. 30 Hear the words of your servant, and of your people Israel, when they pray towards this place. Hear (us) from the place called heaven, where you live. And when you hear us, then forgive us.

31 Sometimes, a man does something that is wrong to somebody else. The man must come to this temple. He must promise in front of the altar that his words are true. 32 Then, listen from heaven. And say who is right. If the man really has done something wrong, punish him. But if he has not done anything wrong, be good to him.

33 Perhaps an enemy will win a war against your people, Israel, because (Israel) has not obeyed you. (Your people) may then turn back to you. (They may do these things:)

·          (They may) say that your name (is the name of their God).

·          (They may) pray to you.

·          (They may) ask you (to forgive them) in this temple.

34 If they do that, hear them from heaven! Forgive the sin of your people, Israel. And bring them back to the land that you gave to their ancestors.

35 Sometimes, the skies will become dry and there will be no rain. This will be when your people have not obeyed you. (Then, they may do these things:)

·          They may pray towards this place.

·          They may say that your name (is the name of their God).

·          They may turn from what they have done wrong. (This is) because you have hurt them.

36 If they do that, hear (them) from heaven. Forgive your servants, your people Israel, for what they have done wrong. Teach them the right things to do. Send rain on to the land, which you gave as a gift to your people.

37 Sometimes, (these things will happen) in the country:

·          There will not be enough food.

·          The (animals and plants and people) will be ill.

·          There will be (insects called) locusts and grasshoppers.

·          There will be an enemy all round one of their cities.

·          Illness (will hurt people) and (enemies will) kill people.

38 Then, perhaps, only one person from among all of your people Israel will pray to you. He may feel that his heart hurts inside him. So, he will lift up his hands towards this temple. 39 (If he does that,) hear (him). Hear him from heaven where you live. Forgive (the people) and do something. Do to each person what should happen to them. Only you can know what everyone is thinking. 40 So, everybody will be afraid of you, (LORD), while they live in the country. (This is the country) that you gave to our ancestors.

41 Strangers, who do not belong to your people Israel, will come far from other countries. (They will do this) because (they will hear about) your name. 42 People will hear about your great name and about your strong hand and about the arm that you lift up. The stranger will come and he will pray towards this temple. 43 (When this happens, God,) hear him from your home in heaven. Do what he asks you to do. So, all the people in the world will know your name. They will be afraid of you, as your own people Israel are. And they will know this. The temple that I have built is for you.

44 Sometimes, your people will go to fight against their enemies. (They will go) to where you send them. And when they pray to the LORD, they will look towards the city (Jerusalem). You chose (this city). And I built the temple in it for you. 45 When they pray (to you), listen to them (from your home) in heaven. Do what they ask. And give them help.

46 There is nobody that does not sin (against God). When (your people) sin against you, you will become angry with them. You will give them to their enemies. (The enemies) will take them to their own country. Perhaps it will be far; perhaps it will be near. (Your people will be) in the enemy’s prisons. 47 Then, they may become sorry that they have sinned. They may change their minds and they may pray to you. They will be in the country of the people who put them into prisons. In that country, they may pray (these words): “We have sinned. We have done what is wrong. We have been very bad.” 48 They may turn back to you in the country of their enemies, who put them into prisons. (They may want to obey you) with all their minds and bodies. They may pray to you. And they will look towards the country that you gave to their ancestors. (They will look) towards the city that you have chosen. (And they will look) towards the temple that I have built for your Name. 49 Then hear them from your home in heaven, when they pray to you. Do what they ask you to do. And give help to them. 50 And forgive your people who have sinned against you. Forgive all the wrong things that they have done against you. And cause their enemies to have mercy on them. 51 (Do this) because they are your people. They belong to you. You brought them out of Egypt. And Egypt was like a very hot fire that could make iron like water.

52 I pray that your eyes will always be open (to two things):

·          to what your servant (Solomon) asks you.

·          to what your people, Israel, ask you.

I hope that you will always listen to them. (Do this) when they pray to you.

53 (Do this) because you chose them from all the countries in the world, to be your own people. This is what you promised to your servant Moses. You did it when you, Lord, our LORD, brought our ancestors out of Egypt.’

54 So Solomon finished praying about everything that he wanted to ask the LORD for. He stood up in front of the altar of the LORD. He had been on his knees with his hands lifted up to the skies. 55 But now he stood up (and he asked God) to do good things to all the people in Israel. He said with a loud voice, 56 ‘Praise the LORD! He has given rest to his people Israel. This is what he promised (to Moses). Every good promise that (the LORD) gave to his servant Moses has really happened. 57 The LORD our God was with our ancestors. I pray that he will be with us like that. I pray that he will never leave us by ourselves. 58 I pray that (the LORD) will cause us to love him again. So we will do what he wants us to do. And we will obey everything that he asked our ancestors to do. 59 All these words of mine I have prayed to the LORD. I pray that these words of mine will be near to the LORD our God day and night. I want him to help me in what I do. And I pray that he will help (me), his servant. Also, his people, Israel, need his help every day. I pray that he will help them. 60 So, all the people on the earth will know that the LORD is God. And they will know that there is no other (God). 61 But you (people) really must want to be servants of the LORD our God. You must do what he orders you to do. And you must obey his words, as you do now.’

Solomon offers the temple to God

62 Then the king, and all Israel’s people with him, offered sacrifices to the LORD.

63 These are the sacrifices that Solomon offered to the LORD:

·          22 000 cows

·          120 000 sheep and goats.

(Solomon) offered these because he and the LORD were friendly. So the king, and all Israel’s people, gave the temple to the LORD.

64 On that same day, the king gave the courtyard in front of the temple to the LORD. There, (Solomon) offered sacrifices (to the LORD). He burned animals and he offered wheat and fat (material from inside animals). The fat was the fellowship sacrifice. The bronze altar was too small to contain all the animals, the wheat and the fat of the friendly sacrifice. So Solomon burned all these things in the courtyard and not on the bronze altar. 65 So Solomon had a festival at that time. Everybody in Israel was there. So, there was a very big crowd. There were people from everywhere from Hamath to the Valley of Egypt. Hamath was in the north and the Valley of Egypt was in the south (of Israel). The festival continued in front of the LORD our God for 7 days. Then it continued for another 7 days. So it was 14 days long. 66 The day after (the party, Solomon) sent the people away. They all said good things about the king and then they went home. They were very happy and they felt good inside themselves. This was because the LORD had done so many good things for his servant David and for his people Israel.

Notes about chapter 8

Verses 1-13. The ark was a box. It was important to God’s people, the Jews. It was called ‘the ark of the covenant’. The covenant was what God and his people agreed to do. They would love and obey him. If they did that, he would be their God.

Before they built the temple, the ark was in a tent. This was a house that they made from the skins of animals. In the tent were the things (‘holy tools’ in verse 4) that they used to sacrifice animals to God. ‘Sacrifice’ here means to kill the animals and to burn them. They did this outside God’s house, the temple, after they had built it. They put the ark in the inside part of the temple, called ‘The Most Holy Place’, or ‘the sanctuary’.

Only the leader of the priests went into it, and that only on one day every year. The priests were God’s special servants in and round the temple. They all came from the tribe (large family) of Levi. Those who were not priests were called Levites.

A festival (verse 2) was like a big party outside the temple.

Verses 6-7. They put the ark under the cherubs. The cherubs were like pictures that they had made out of wood. They were like pictures of God’s special angels. His angels are his servants in heaven, where God lives. Wings are what a bird, and a cherub, flies with.

Verse 15. ‘Praise’ means ‘tell someone that they are good and great’.

Verse 20. A throne is a special seat that a king sits on.

Verse 22. The altar was where they sacrificed animals. It was outside the door of the temple. We could translate ‘skies’ as ‘heaven’, which is the home of God.

Verse 24. The mouth of God means what he said. The hands of God mean his power.

Verse 25. This verse means that the king would rule on behalf of God in Jerusalem.

Verse 28. Mercy is a very important Christian word. When God has mercy towards someone, it means this. He is kind when he does not have to be kind.

Verse 29. ‘My Name’ really means God Himself. ‘Pray towards’ the temple means pray to God.

Verse 30. ‘Forgive’ means excuse. But for Christians, it means excuse in a special way. It means this. ‘For us, give the wrong things that we have done to Jesus.’ Read 2 Corinthians 5:21. Solomon could not read 2 Corinthians but we can!

Verse 34. Here (and in verses 40, 48, 53, 57 and 58) the word ‘ancestors’ means all the Jews that lived before Solomon.

Verses 37. Locusts and grasshoppers are insects that eat every green plant.

Verse 39. ‘Forgive’ is an important Christian word. The note on verses 27-36 explains it.

Verses 41-43 are important for people who are not Jews. They tell us this: God will answer them too, when they pray.

Verse 42. The name, the hand and the arm are three things about God. Some Christians think that they mean the Father (name), his Son Jesus (the arm) and the Holy Spirit (the hand). Solomon perhaps meant that God was very strong and powerful.

In verse 43, the Hebrew Bible has, ‘The temple that I have built has your Name’. Our translation says, ‘The temple that I have built is for you.’ Also, in verse 44, we have ‘for you’, but the Hebrew Bible has ‘for your Name’. We have put capital Ns because God’s name means God himself.

Verses 46-50. We sin when we do not obey God.

Verse 47. ‘Become sorry’ in the Hebrew Bible is ‘have a change of mind’.

Verse 50. ‘To have mercy’ means ‘to be kind when you do not have to be kind’.

Verse 53. ‘Lord’ in this verse, is not the same Hebrew word as LORD in the same verse. ‘Lord’ means someone with authority.

Verse 56. ‘Praise’ means ‘tell someone that they are very good and great’.

Verse 61. In the Hebrew Bible, in verse 61, ‘you really must want to be servants of the LORD’ is ‘your hearts must belong to the LORD’.

Verses 62-64. A sacrifice was an animal that the Jews killed for the LORD. This obeyed his words in Leviticus. Maybe the courtyard was the one for men only. In verse 64, there were 3 kinds of sacrifice. Leviticus chapters 1, 2 and 3 tell us about them. The fat was from inside the animal. It is what we have called the friendly sacrifice. It tells us that God and his people are friends.

Chapter 9

The LORD appears again to Solomon

1 Solomon had finished building the temple of the LORD and the king’s palace. He had built everything that he had wanted to build. 2 Then the LORD appeared to (Solomon) a second time, as he had appeared to him at Gibeon.

3 The LORD said to (Solomon),

            ‘I have heard what you have prayed to me. And (I have heard) what you have asked me. I have made this temple special, which you have built. I have put my Name on it for all time. My eyes and my heart will always be there.

4 (I will do good things) for you, if you (will do these things):

·          You must be my servant, as your father David was (my servant).

·          You must do everything that I ask you to do.

5 Then I will make someone from your family king over Israel for all time. This is what I promised to your father David. (I said,) “You will never fail to have a man (from your family) on the throne of Israel.” 6 But you and your sons must not turn away from me. You must not become servants of other gods and you must not worship them. You must not refuse to obey the laws and rules that I have given you. 7 If you do, I will remove Israel from (their) country. (It is the country) that I have given to them. Also, I will destroy this temple that I have made special for my Name. Israel will then become something that people say bad things about. They will all laugh at (Israel). 8 This temple now is really beautiful. Then, everyone that sees it will be surprised. (They will think that) it seems very bad to look at. They will laugh about it! They will ask, “Why has the LORD done this to this country and to this temple?” 9 And people will answer, “He has done it because they have not obeyed the LORD their God. He brought their ancestors out of Egypt. But they have chosen other gods. They have become their servants and they worship them. That is why the LORD has caused such bad things to happen to them (and to their temple).” ’

Other things that Solomon did

10 Solomon was building the temple of the LORD and the king’s palace for 20 years. After this, 11 he gave 20 towns in Galilee to Hiram, the king of Tyre. (He did this) because Hiram had given him all that (Solomon) needed. (He had given him) cedar and pine wood and gold. 12 So Hiram went from Tyre (to Galilee), to see the towns that Solomon had given to him. But Hiram was not happy with them. 13 ‘These are not very good towns that you have given to me, my dear friend!’ he said. (Hiram) called them the Land of Cabul. They are still called that today. 14 Hiram had sent to king (Solomon) 120 talents of gold.

15 Solomon caused slaves to work for him. They built the LORD’s temple, (Solomon’s) palace, the Millo and the wall round Jerusalem. (They) also (built) (the towns called) Hazor, Megiddo and Gezer. 16 Pharaoh was the king of Egypt. He had attacked Gezer and it had become his. He had burnt it. He had killed the Canaanites that lived there. He gave it as a gift to his daughter, when she married Solomon. 17 So Solomon built Gezer again. He also built (the town called) Lower Beth Horon. 18 (He also built) Baalath and Tadmor. They were in his country, (in places) where there was much sand. 19 And (Solomon) built cities and towns where he could store things. He also kept his chariots and horses in them. He built everything that he wanted (to build), in Jerusalem, Lebanon and everywhere in his kingdom. 20 Some people who were not Jews lived in Israel. They were called Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. 21 The Jews had not been able to kill all of these people. So Solomon made them his slaves, as they still are today. 22 But Solomon did not make any of the Jews into slaves. They became his soldiers, and they became the people in his government. (Some of the soldiers) were army leaders. Other soldiers told the people that drove chariots what to do.

23 And 550 people were leaders of the people that built things (for Solomon). They told the men that did the work what to do.

24 Pharaoh’s daughter came up (from where she lived) in the City of David. She came up to the palace that Solomon had built for her. After this, he built walls (that people could walk on) round it.

25 Three times every year Solomon offered sacrifices. He offered sacrifices that he burned and friendly sacrifices. He did this on the altar that he had built for the LORD. He burned incense to the LORD with everybody else. In this way, he did what he had to do in the temple (of the LORD).

26 King Solomon also built ships at Ezion Geber. (This place) is near Elath in Edom. (It is) by the Red Sea. 27 Hiram had sailors who knew about the sea. (Hiram) sent these men to sail with Solomon’s sailors. 28 They sailed to Ophir and they brought back 420 talents of gold. They gave it to King Solomon.

Notes about chapter 9

Verse 2. The LORD appeared to Solomon the first time in 1 Kings 3:5.

Verse 3. ‘Put my Name on it’ means ‘I will be there’. ‘For all time’ means ‘for always’. Perhaps ‘my eyes’ means ‘I will watch it’. And perhaps ‘my heart’ means ‘I will think about it’.

Verse 5. ‘On the throne’ means ‘to be king’.

Verse 6. ‘Worship’ means to tell someone that they are very great.

Verse 13. ‘Cabul’ sounds like a Hebrew word that means ‘like nothing’. The towns were near Tyre. Maybe Solomon was deciding the border between Israel and Tyre. Hiram thought that the towns were ‘like nothing’, or ‘they had no worth’. We do not know why Hiram thought that.

Verse 15. Maybe the Millo was a road round, or on, the walls of Jerusalem.

Verse 16. The Canaanites was the name of the people that lived in Israel many years before. They lived there until Joshua beat them. The other people who were living in Israel are in verse 20. Joshua did not kill all the people that lived in Canaan. Canaan was the old name for Israel. We can read about that in the Book of Joshua.

Verse 25. The sacrifices are in the first few chapters of Leviticus.

Chapter 10

The Queen of Sheba

1 The Queen of Sheba heard that Solomon was very famous. Also, she heard that (he was a servant) of the LORD. So she came to ask (Solomon) difficult questions. 2 She arrived at Jerusalem with many servants. She had animals called camels. They carried spices. (They also carried) a lot of gold and valuable stones. She came to Solomon. She talked to him about everything that was in her mind. 3 Solomon answered all her questions. There was nothing that was too difficult for the king to explain to her. 4 The Queen of Sheba saw how wise Solomon was. She saw the palace that he had built. 5 (She saw) all the food that was on his table. (She saw) all the important men (in his government) when they met together. (She saw) all his servants in their beautiful clothes. (She saw) all the people that tasted wine at his table. (She saw) all the sacrifices that he burned at the temple of the LORD. And it surprised her very much. So she did not know what to say! 6 She said to the king, ‘I heard in my country about what you had done. Also, (I heard) about how wise you were. Everything (that I heard) was true! 7 But I did not believe those things until I came here. Then I saw with my own eyes (that it was true)! Really, they told me less than half (of what was true)! You are very much wiser and a lot richer than the report that I heard (about you). 8 I think that your men should be very happy! The people in your government, who are always with you, should be very happy too. They are always hearing how wise you are. 9 (So, we must) praise the LORD (who is) your God! He is so happy with you and he has put you on the throne of Israel. He has made you king because he will always love Israel. You will always decide fairly and you will always obey God’s laws.’ 10 And she gave to the king 120 talents of gold, a lot of spices and many valuable stones. Nobody ever brought so many spices (to Jerusalem) as the Queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon.

11 Hiram’s ships brought gold from Ophir. They also brought from there large amounts of a special kind of wood called almugwood and valuable stones. 12 The king used the almugwood to make things for the temple of the LORD and for the king’s palace. He also used it to make harps and lyres for people to make music on. There was more almugwood than anyone has brought here since that time. Nobody has even seen so much of it since that time.

13 So King Solomon gave to the Queen of Sheba everything that she wanted. (He gave her everything) that she asked for. He also gave her valuable gifts. Then she left (Solomon) and she returned to her own country with her servants.

The valuable things that belonged to Solomon

14 The weight of gold that Solomon received each year was 666 talents.

15 This did not include money from (these people):

·          people who bought and sold things to get money

·          all the kings of Arabia

·          the government in (Solomon’s) own country.

16 King Solomon made 200 large shields. They made the gold (for the shields) flat with hammers. They used 600 bekas (about 7.5 pounds or 3.5 kilos) of gold in each shield. 17 (Solomon) also made 300 small shields. They also made the gold (for these shields) flat with hammers. They used 3 minas (about 4 pounds or 1.5 kilos) of gold in each (small) shield. (Solomon) put these (shields) in the House of the Forest of Lebanon. 18 Then the king made a large throne. He used ivory to make the inside (of the throne) and he covered it with gold. 19 There were 6 steps up to the throne. The back (of the throne) was round at the top. There were places to put his arms on both sides of the seat. There was a lion on each side of the throne. 20 There were 12 (more) lions on the 6 steps. (There was) one at each end of each step. No other country had made anything like it. 21 They made all King Solomon’s (wine) cups with gold. They made everything in the House of the Forest of Lebanon with gold. They had not mixed the gold (with any other metal). They did not make anything with silver. They did not think (that silver) was valuable in Solomon’s time. 22 The king had a number of ships that could sail as far as Tarshish. They sailed with Hiram’s ships. Every 3 years they returned (to Solomon). They carried gold, silver and ivory. (They also brought) apes and baboons (which were animals like large monkeys).

23 King Solomon was richer than all the other kings in the world. Also, he had more wisdom than (the other kings). 24 All the people in the whole world wanted to talk to Solomon. They wanted to hear the wisdom that God had put into (Solomon’s) mind. 25 Every year, everyone who came (to Solomon) brought him a gift. (They brought) silver and gold things, beautiful clothes, arms, spices, horses and mules.

26 Solomon brought together many chariots and horses. He had 1400 chariots and 12 000 horses. He kept (some of) them in special cities for chariots. And (he kept some of them) with him in Jerusalem. 27 The king made silver as common in Jerusalem as stones (were common)! There were as many cedar trees as there were fig trees in the hills (round Jerusalem). 28 Solomon’s horses came from Egypt and from Kue. He sent people to Kue to buy the horses for him. 29 They brought a chariot from Egypt for 600 shekels of silver. A horse cost 150 (shekels). Also, they sold (chariots and horses) to all the kings of the people called Hittites and Arameans.

Notes about chapter 10

Verse 1. Sheba may be in Africa. Bible students are not sure where it was.

Verse 2. Camels were animals that carried people and luggage.

Verse 4. A wise man knows a lot. He uses what he knows well.

Verse 5. Wine is a drink with alcohol in it.

Verse 11. Bible students think that almugwood was a very hard wood.

Verse 12. People liked to make music with harps and lyres in Bible times.

Verse 17. 1 Kings 7:2-5 tells us about the House of the Forest of Lebanon.

Verse 18. Ivory is a material that people got from animals. The animals were called elephants. A throne is a special seat that a king sits on.

Verse 19. The lion was not really an animal. Perhaps it was a lion that they made from wood or stone.

Verse 22. Tarshish was hundreds of miles away from Jerusalem. There was no sea at Jerusalem, so Solomon kept his ships with Hiram. Hiram lived in Tyre, by the Mediterranean Sea.

Verse 24. Perhaps ‘all the people in the whole world’ means ‘all the world’s leaders’.

Verse 25. A mule is an animal like a small horse. Mules carried heavy things for people.

Verse 28. Some Bible students think that Kue was in the mountains east of Jerusalem.

Verse 29. One hundred shekels weighed about 2.5 pounds (1.1 kilos).

Chapter 11

Solomon’s wives and women

1 Solomon loved Pharaoh’s daughter (who came from Egypt). But he also loved many other women from foreign countries. (They were called) Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians and Hittites (because of the countries that they came from). 2 The LORD had said this to the Israelites about these countries. ‘You must not marry people (from these countries), because they would cause you to love their own gods.’ But Solomon did love (these foreign women). 3 He had 700 wives who were important ladies. Also, he had 300 other women who lived with him. His wives caused him to become the servant of (other gods). 4 This happened when Solomon got older. His wives caused him to love other gods. (Solomon) did not completely love the LORD (who was) his God. David, his father, had always loved (the LORD). 5 (Solomon) made Ashtoreth his god. She was the female god of the people in Sidon. He also made Molech his god. He was the really bad god of the people who lived in Ammon. 6 So Solomon did what the LORD did not like. His father David had (completely obeyed the LORD). But Solomon did not completely obey the LORD. 7 There was a hill east of Jerusalem. Solomon built a high place there for Chemosh and Molech. They were really bad gods of the people who lived in Moab and in Ammon. 8 (Solomon) did the same for all his foreign wives. They burned incense and they offered sacrifices to their own gods (in these places).

9 So the LORD became angry with Solomon. (Solomon’s) had stopped loving the LORD (who was) the God of Israel. (The LORD) had appeared to Solomon twice. 10 (The LORD) had told Solomon that he should not become the servant of other gods. But Solomon did not obey the LORD. 11 So the LORD said to Solomon, ‘(I have seen) what you are doing. You have not obeyed my covenant. You have not done what I ordered you to do. So, I will tear the kingdom away from you. I will give it to one of your servants. 12 But I will not do it while you are alive. This is because of (the promise that I said to) David your father. I will tear (the kingdom) from your son. 13 But I will not tear the whole kingdom from him. I will give to him the one tribe (called Judah). This is because I have chosen Jerusalem. (Jerusalem is in Judah.) Also, it is because of what (I promised) to my servant David.’

Solomon’s enemies

14 Then the LORD brought Hadad (to Edom). (He was) an enemy of Solomon. (Hadad) was a man in the king’s family in Edom. 15 David had fought against Edom a few years before. (Then) Joab was the leader of (David’s) army. He had gone (to Edom) to bury the dead people. He killed all the men in Edom. 16 Joab and all (the army from) Israel stayed (in Edom) for 6 months. They killed all the men in Edom. 17 But Hadad was only a boy at this time. He ran away to Egypt, with some people from his father’s government. 18 They started from Midian and they went to Paran. They took men from Paran with them and they went to Egypt. They went to Pharaoh, (who was) the king of Egypt. (Pharaoh) gave Hadad a house and land and food. 19 Pharaoh was so happy with Hadad that he gave him a wife. She was the sister of his own wife, Queen Tahpenes. 20 Tahpenes’s sister had a son (with Hadad). (They) called (him) Genubath. He lived with Tahpenes in the king’s palace. Genubath lived there with Pharaoh’s own children. 21 In Egypt, Hadad heard that David had died. Also, Joab, the leader of (David’s) army, was dead. Then Hadad said to Pharaoh, ‘Let me return to my own country.’ 22 Pharaoh asked him, ‘Why do you want to return to your own country? What have you not got here that you want?’ ‘Nothing’, Hadad replied, ‘but do let me go!’

23 And God brought another enemy against Solomon. (He was) the son of Eliada, called Rezon. (Rezon) had run away from his master, Hadadezer, the king of Zobah. 24 (Rezon) had men with him and he became their leader. They wanted to fight David, after he had destroyed the army (of Zobah). (Rezon’s) men went to Damascus. They decided to live there. They became leaders (in Damascus). 25 Rezon was Israel’s enemy all the time that Solomon was alive. Like Hadad, he caused trouble (for Solomon). So Rezon ruled in Aram and he was an enemy of Israel.

26 Then, Jeroboam, (who was) the son of Nebat, started to fight against the king. He was one of Solomon’s officers. (Jeroboam) came from Zeredah in Ephraim. His mother was a widow. Her name was Zeruah. 27 This happened when Jeroboam started to fight against the king. Solomon had built the Millo on top of the wall of the city of David, (who was) his father. 28 Jeroboam was an important man. And Solomon saw that the young man (Jeroboam) did his work very well. So, Solomon made him the leader of all the workers from the tribe of Joseph. 29 At that time, Jeroboam went out from Jerusalem. He met Ahijah who was a prophet from Shiloh. (Ahijah) was wearing a new coat. They were both alone, in the country (fields). 30 Then Ahijah took off the new coat that he was wearing. He tore it into 12 pieces. 31 Then he said to Jeroboam, ‘Take 10 pieces for yourself, because the LORD, the God of Israel, is saying (to you), “I will tear the kingdom away from Solomon and I will give you 10 tribes. 32 But for two reasons (Solomon) will have one tribe:

·          I promised something to David.

·          I have chosen Jerusalem.

33 I will do this because (Solomon) has gone away from me. He has worshipped Ashtoreth, (who is) the female god of the people in Sidon. (He has also worshipped) Chemosh, (who is) the god of the people in Moab. (He has worshipped) Molech, (who is) the god of the people in Ammon. (Solomon) has not lived in my ways. He has not done what I see to be right. He has not obeyed my words or my rules. David, (who was) Solomon’s father, (obeyed all my words). 34 But I will not take all the kingdom away from Solomon. I have made him ruler (of Israel) for all of his life. That is because of my promise to David, (who was) my servant. I chose (David) and he obeyed all my words and my rules. 35 I will take the kingdom away from his son and I will give 10 tribes to you. 36 I will give one tribe to his son. So my servant David will always have a light in front of me in Jerusalem. (Jerusalem) is the city where I chose to put my Name. 37 But I will do this to you. I will take you (from Jerusalem). You will rule everything that you want (to rule). You will be the king of Israel. 38 But you must do everything that I order you (to do). You must live in my ways. You must do what I see to be right. You must obey my words and my rules, as my servant David did. If you do that, I will (always) be near to you. I will build for you a family that will continue as long as David’s family. I will give Israel to you. 39 David’s family will think that they are not important because of this. But it will not always be like this.” ’ 40 Solomon tried to kill Jeroboam, but Jeroboam ran away to Egypt. He went to Shishak (who was) the king (of Egypt). And he stayed there until Solomon died.

Solomon dies

41 Other things happened while Solomon was king. They are all are in the Book about Solomon. It includes his wisdom and everything that he did. 42 Solomon ruled all Israel from Jerusalem for 40 years. 43 Then he rested with his ancestors. People buried him in the city of his father, David. And his son Rehoboam was king after him.

Notes about chapter 11

Verse 7. The ‘high place’ was a kind of house for these gods. Maybe it had trees round it.

Verses 12-13. Solomon’s son ruled the tribe called Judah. He may also have ruled the tribe called Benjamin. Jerusalem was in the country called Judah.

Verse 14. Edom was a country to the south-east of Israel.

Verse 15. The story of David’s war with Edom is in 1 Samuel chapter 8.

Verse 24. Damascus was the capital of Aram. Aram is called Syria now.

Verse 26. Ephraim was north-east of Jerusalem. One of the biggest tribes of Israel lived there.

Verse 27. Perhaps the Millo was a road round the top of the walls of the city of David. The city of David was the part of Jerusalem where David had lived.

Verses 28-36. Joseph may be another name for Ephraim. Each of the tribes of Israel had to help Solomon to build the Millo. Bible students think that they did not like this. Part of Jerusalem was in Judah, not in Ephraim! So maybe that is why Jeroboam wanted to fight Solomon. Ahijah said that the LORD would give 10 tribes (in the north) to Jeroboam. In the south, Judah would remain with Solomon’s son. Part of Jerusalem was in Judah, but the other part was in Benjamin. Maybe Ahijah counted Benjamin as part of Judah!

Verses 33 and 38. ‘live in my ways’ means ‘do what I want him to do’.

Verse 36. ‘Chose to put my Name’ means ‘chose to live’.

Verses 37-38. ‘Israel’ means the 10 tribes north of Judah and Benjamin.

Chapter 12

Rehoboam, king of Judah

1 Rehoboam went to Shechem, because all the Israelites had gone there to make him king. 2 Now Jeroboam, (who was) the son of Nebat, was still in Egypt. He had gone there when he ran away from King Solomon. But Jeroboam returned from Egypt when he heard (about Rehoboam). 3 Then (the Israelites) sent a message to Jeroboam. They wanted him to come to them. And (Jeroboam) and all the Israelites went to Rehoboam. They said to Rehoboam, 4 ‘Your father caused us to work too much. Now, make it easier for us. If you make our work easier, we will be your servants.’ 5 Rehoboam answered them, ‘Go away for three days. Then come back to me.’ So the people went away.

6 Then King Rehoboam went to some older men. They had helped his father Solomon, when he was alive. ‘What answer should I give to these (Israelites)?’ he asked. 7 They said to him, ‘If you are like a servant to them today, (they will always be your servants). If you speak kindly to them, they will always work for you.’ 8 But Rehoboam did not believe what these older men said. He talked about it to some younger men. They had always been with him and they were his servants. 9 He said to them, ‘What do you think that I should do? What answer should we give to the people who say (this) to me? “Make our work easier than your father made it.” ’ 10 (These young men) had always been with Rehoboam. The young men said, ‘Say this to the people who said (these things) to you. “Your father caused us to do work that was not easy. Now make our work easier.” Say to them, “My little finger is thicker than my father’s body. 11 My father gave you work that was not easy. I will make it even less easy. My father hit you with whips, but I will hit you with snakes.” ’

12 Jeroboam and all the people returned to Rehoboam three days after that. That was because the king had said, ‘Return to me in three days.’ 13 The king spoke words that were not kind to the people. He did not say what the older men had wanted him to say. 14 He said what the young men had suggested. ‘My father gave you work that was not easy. I will make it even less easy. My father hit you with whips. I will hit you with snakes!’ 15 So the king did not do what the (Israelites) wanted him to do. Really, the LORD caused this to happen. He had said what would happen in his words to Jeroboam the son of Nebat. Ahijah who was from Shiloh (told them to Jeroboam).

16 Then all the Israelites saw that the king would not listen to them. So they said to the king,

            ‘We do not want to be a part of David’s (country).

            We do not want to belong to Jesse’s son.

            Israelites, go to your homes!

            Now, David’s son, you can rule your own people!’

So all the Israelites went home.

17 But Rehoboam still ruled the people that lived in the towns in Judah. 18 A man called Adoniram told the workers what they should do. Rehoboam sent him (to do this). But the Israelites threw stones at him and he died. But Rehoboam, (who was with him,) got into his chariot. He was able to get to Jerusalem. 19 So the people that live in Israel have been against the family of David until now. 20 All the Israelites heard that Jeroboam had returned. They all met together and they asked (Jeroboam) to come to them. They made him king over all Israel. Only the tribe of Judah still remained with the house of David.

21 Rehoboam arrived back in Jerusalem. He brought all the people that lived in Judah and Benjamin together. There were 180 000 of them that could fight. (Rehoboam) wanted to start a war against Israel. He wanted to get back (the tribes in the north of) Israel for himself. (He was) Rehoboam, (who was) the son of Solomon. 22 Then this word of God came to Shemaiah. (Shemaiah) was a servant of God. 23 ‘Say this to Rehoboam (who is) the son of Solomon. (Solomon was) the king of Judah. Say it to everybody in Judah and in Benjamin. Say it also to everybody else. 24 This is what the LORD is saying. “Do not fight against the Israelites, (who are like) your brothers. Go home, everybody. What is happening is what I want to happen.” ’ So they obeyed the word of the LORD. They went home again because the LORD said it.

Jeroboam, king of Israel

25 Then Jeroboam made Shechem into a strong (city). He lived there, in the hills of Ephraim. Then he went to (the city called) Penuel and he made it stronger. 26 Jeroboam thought inside himself, ‘Now, almost certainly, the kingdom will go back to the family of David. 27 The people (from the north) will go to Jerusalem. They will offer sacrifices there in the temple of the LORD. They will become servants (again) of their lord, Rehoboam. He is the king of Judah. They will kill me and they will go back to King Rehoboam.’ 28 (Jeroboam) asked (some people) what he should do. Then, the king (Jeroboam) made two young cows out of gold. He said to the people (that he ruled), ‘It is too difficult for you to go up to Jerusalem. (These young cows) are your gods, people of Israel. They brought you up out of Egypt.’ 29 He put one young cow in Bethel and he put the other (young cow) in Dan. 30 But that became a sin. Some people went as far as Dan to worship the (young cow) that was there! 31 (Jeroboam) also built places on hills where people could worship (gods). He made priests from many tribes. Many of them were not Levites. 32 (Jeroboam) started a special day on the 15th day of the 8th month. That was like the special day that they had in Judah. But he offered sacrifices in Bethel to the young cows that he had made. He also put priests into the places on hills (where people could worship gods). 33 (Jeroboam) chose the 8th month in his own mind. On the 15th day of that month, he offered sacrifices on the altar that he had made at Bethel. So (Jeroboam) started a special day for the Israelites. They went to the altar (at Bethel or Dan) to offer (their sacrifices to their gods).

Notes about chapter 12

Verses 1-20. The Israelites were the people that lived in the north of the country.

Verse 4. ‘be your servants’ means ‘let you be our king’. Jeroboam went to Egypt (verse 2) because the work was not easy (1 Kings 11:26-29).

Verses 4-14, ‘work that is not easy’ is ‘heavy weight’ in the Hebrew Bible.

Verse 19. ‘the family of David’ means King Rehoboam and the people that he ruled in Judah.

Verse 20. All the tribes in the north made Jeroboam king of Israel. Judah, and maybe Benjamin in the south, made Rehoboam their king.

Verse 22. ‘Word of God’ is not only what God said. It is also a name for Christ, John 1:1. It helps us to remember that Christ is in the Old Testament. He did not only come at Christmas! This is very important.

Verse 26. Maybe ‘the family of David’ means ‘David’s sons will rule it’. ‘The kingdom’ means the north part that Jeroboam ruled.

Verses 28-30. The Book of Deuteronomy said that each Israelite must go to Jerusalem three times in every year. Jeroboam made other places for them to go to instead. The places were Bethel and Dan. There were already temples in these places from a long time ago. It was easier for most Israelites to travel to Bethel (in the south) and to Dan (in the north). A sin is when we do not obey God.

Verse 32. The special day in Judah was on the 15th day of the 7th month. Jeroboam wanted his special day to be like the one in Judah. But he wanted it to be different too! So he had it on the 15th day of the 8th month.

Chapter 13

A man that is God’s servant visits Jeroboam

1 The LORD ordered a man that was God’s servant to go from Judah to Bethel. He came (to Bethel) while Jeroboam was standing by the altar. (Jeroboam) was ready to burn something with a nice smell. 2 (God’s servant) shouted loudly against the altar. (He did it) by the word of the LORD. (He shouted), ‘Altar! Altar! This is what the LORD is saying (to you). “A son called Josiah will be born in the family of David. He will burn the priests on you, (altar). (They are the priests that work) in the high places. They are offering sacrifices here now. (Josiah) will burn human bones on you!” ’ 3 The same day, God’s servant (said what else would happen). (He said that) it would be like a sign. ‘This is the sign that the LORD has given (to you). (You will see) the altar break in its middle. The ashes on it will pour out.’ 4 Jeroboam heard what God’s servant shouted loudly against the altar at Bethel. Then (Jeroboam) took his hand away from the altar (and he pointed it at God’s servant). ‘Hold that man’, he said. But after he pointed with his hand, he could not move his arm! He could not pull it back. 5 Also, the altar did break in its middle. And ashes did pour out, as God’s servant had said. This was the sign that the word of the LORD gave (to Jeroboam). 6 Then the king said to God’s servant, ‘Pray for me. (Pray) to the LORD (who is) your God. Pray that my hand will become well again.’ So God’s servant prayed to the LORD. And the king’s hand became well again, as it was before. 7 Then the king said to God’s servant, ‘Come (to my) home with me. Have something to eat. Then I will give you a gift.’ 8 But God’s servant said to the king, ‘You might give to me half of what is yours. But still I would not go with you! I would not eat bread and I would not drink water here. 9 (That is because) I was sent here by the word of the LORD. (He said), “You must not eat bread or drink water (there). You must not return on the same road that you came on.” ’ 10 So God’s servant returned by another road. He did not go on the road by which he came to Bethel.

The old prophet in Bethel

11 Now a certain old prophet lived in Bethel. And his son came (to him). And he told (the old prophet) everything that God’s servant had done there that day. (His sons also) told their father what (God’s servant) had said to the king. 12 Their father asked (his sons), ‘Which way did (God’s servant) go?’ And his sons told him on which road God’s servant from Judah had gone. 13 Then (the old prophet) said to his sons, ‘Get my donkey ready (for me to ride).’ When they had got ready the donkey, (the old prophet) got on to it. 14 Then he rode after God’s servant. He found (God’s servant), who was sitting under an oak tree. He asked him, ‘Are you the servant of God from Judah?’ ‘I am’, (God’s servant) replied. 15 The (old) prophet said to him, ‘Come (to my) home with me and eat.’ 16 God’s servant said, ‘I cannot come with you. I must not go back (to Bethel). I cannot eat bread or drink water with you in that country. 17 The word of the LORD told me, “You must not eat bread or drink water there. You must not return by the way in which you came.” ’ 18 The old prophet answered, ‘I, too, am a prophet like you. But an angel said to me, by the word of the LORD, “Bring him back with you to your house. There, he can eat bread and drink water.” ’ But what the (old prophet) said was not true. 19 So God’s servant went with him. And he ate and drank in his house.

20 They were sitting together at the table, when the word of the LORD came to the old prophet. (He was the old prophet) that had brought (God’s servant) back. 21 (The old prophet) said to the servant of God who had come from Judah, ‘This is what the LORD is saying. You have not obeyed the word of the LORD. You have not done what the LORD your God ordered you to do. 22 You came here. He said to you, ‘You must not eat bread or drink water in that place.’ But you ate bread and you drank water here. As a result, they will not bury your body in the same place as (they buried) your fathers’ body.’ 23 God’s servant finished his food and his drink. Then the prophet, who had brought him back, made his donkey ready for him. 24 But when he went on his journey, a lion met him on the road. (The lion) killed him and it threw his body down on to the road. Then, both the donkey and the lion stood by the dead body. 25 Some people, who passed it, saw the dead body. It lay on the road. The lion stood by the dead body. They went and reported it in the city. The old prophet lived (in that city).

26 That was the (old) prophet who had brought (God’s servant) back from his journey. When he heard about it, he said, ‘It is the servant of God who did not obey the word of the LORD. The LORD has given him to the lion. The lion has attacked him and it has killed him. The word of the LORD had told him that there would be danger.’ 27 The (old) prophet said to his sons, ‘Make my donkey ready for me (to ride).’ So they did (what he had asked them to do). 28 Then (the old prophet) went and he found the body. It lay on the road. The donkey and the lion stood by it. The lion had not eaten the body and it had not attacked the donkey. 29 So the (old) prophet put the body of God’s servant on to the donkey. And he brought it back to his own city. There, he was sad about it. Then he (decided to) bury it. 30 He buried the body in the place that he had made for his own dead body. They were (all) sad about it, and they said, ‘Oh! My dear friend!’ 31 When they had buried him, (the old prophet) said to his sons, ‘When I die, bury me in the same place. Put me where (we buried) the servant of God. Lay my bones by his bones. 32 This is why (you must do it). Certainly the message that (God’s servant) brought will become true. (The message that he brought) was by the word of the LORD. It was against the altar in Bethel. It was also against all the altars on the high places in the towns in Samaria.’

33 Even after this, Jeroboam did not stop doing bad things. He made more priests for the high places from all kinds of people. Anybody who wanted to be a priest, (Jeroboam) made into a priest for the high places. 34 This was a big sin in the family of Jeroboam. And that is why it did not continue. (God) destroyed it from the whole earth.

Notes about chapter 13

Verse 1. The Hebrew Bible says that God’s servant came ‘by the word of the LORD’. This is a name for Christ. Really, the servant was a prophet. The writer does not call him a prophet because he does not want to confuse us. There is another prophet in verse 11.

Verse 2. The high places were on the hills, 1 Kings 12:31.

Verse 13. A donkey is an animal that people rode on. It is like a small horse.

Verse 32. Samaria is another name for the kingdom in the north called Israel.

Verse 34. The ‘family of Jeroboam’ means Jeroboam and the kings that came after him.

Chapter 14

The prophet Ahijah and King Jeroboam

1 Jeroboam’s son was called Abijah. At that time, (Abijah) became ill. 2 So Jeroboam said to his wife, ‘Cause yourself to seem different so people will not recognise you as the wife of Jeroboam. Then go to Shiloh. Ahijah the prophet is there. He told me that I would rule the people (of Israel). 3 Take 10 loaves of bread with you. Also (take) some cakes and a jar of honey. Then go to (Ahijah). He will tell you what will happen to the boy.’ 4 So Jeroboam’s wife did what he said (to her). She went to Ahijah’s house in Shiloh. Ahijah could not see because he was very old. 5 But the LORD had said to Ahijah, ‘Jeroboam’s wife will come to you. She will ask you about her son, who is ill. You must give her the answer (that I tell you). She will (soon) arrive. Then, she will say that she is somebody else.’

6 So, when Ahijah heard the sound of her feet on the ground, he said, ‘Come in, Jeroboam’s wife! You need not cause yourself to seem like somebody else. (The LORD) has given me bad news for you. 7 Go and tell this to Jeroboam. It is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says (to you). I chose you out of (all) the people and I made you the leader of my people, Israel. 8 I tore the kingdom away from the house of David. I gave the kingdom to you, but you have not been like my servant David. (David) obeyed my rules. He always tried to obey me as much as he could. He always did what was right in my mind. 9 But you have done more really bad things than all (the people) that lived before you. You have made other gods for yourself. You have made idols with metal. You have made me very angry. You have done to me like when someone throws something (away), behind his back. 10 Because of this, I will destroy the house of Jeroboam. I will kill every male from the (house of) Jeroboam, whether they are slaves or free men. I will take away the house of Jeroboam. It will be like when people sweep away dung. Everything will go! 11 Dogs will eat any of Jeroboam’s (family) that die in the city (of Jerusalem). The birds (that fly) in the air will eat those that die in the country (places). This is what the LORD has said! 12 But you, (Jeroboam’s wife,) go back home. The boy will die when your feet reach the city. 13 All Israel will cry because of him and they will bury him. He is the only person from Jeroboam’s family that they will bury. He is the only person in the house of Jeroboam that Israel’s God, the LORD, has found anything good in. 14 The LORD will choose for himself a king of Israel. (That king) will destroy the family of Jeroboam. It will start now, yes, even today! 15 Also, the LORD will hit (the country of) Israel. It will move like a thin plant that is growing in a stream. (The LORD) will take Israel away from this good country that he gave to their ancestors. He will move them beyond the River (Euphrates). (That is because) they made the LORD very angry. (They did that) when they made Asherah poles. 16 (And the LORD) will give Israel (to its enemies) because of Jeroboam’s sin. Also, it is because Jeroboam caused Israel’s people to sin.’

17 Then Jeroboam’s wife stood up. She left (the house) and she went to Tirzah. When she walked through the door of (her) house, the boy died. 18 They buried him and all Israel cried about his death. This is what the LORD had said (would happen) by his servant the prophet Ahijah.

19 There is a book with reports about the kings of Israel. They wrote about everything else that King Jeroboam did, (in this book). (It includes) his wars. And (it includes) how he ruled (his people). 20 (Jeroboam) was king for 22 years. Then he died (and they buried him) with his ancestors. His son Nadab was king after him.

Rehoboam dies

21 Rehoboam (was) the son of Solomon. He was the king of Judah. He was 41 years old when he became king. He ruled 17 years in Jerusalem. (Jerusalem) was the city that the LORD had chosen out of all the tribes of Israel. The LORD put his Name (in Jerusalem). Rehoboam’s mother was called Naamah. She came from the country called Ammon. 22 (The people in) Judah did what the LORD did not like. Their sins made the LORD angrier than the sins of their ancestors had done. 23 They also had made high places for themselves. They had put Asherah poles on every high hill and under every big tree. 24 There were even temples where men could have sex with other men for money in (Judah). The people did all these very bad things. They were the things that the people did before the Israelites came. God had killed all (those people).

25 After Rehoboam had been king for 5 years, Shishak attacked Jerusalem. (Shishak) was the king of Egypt. 26 (Shishak) took away the valuable things from the temple of the LORD. He also (took) the valuable things from the king’s palace. He took away everything. That includes the shields that Solomon had made with gold. 27 So Rehoboam made shields with bronze. His soldiers used these instead (of the shields of gold). (The soldiers) stood at the door of the king’s palace to keep out enemies. 28 Every time that the king went to the LORD’s temple, the soldiers carried the shields. After that, they took them back to the room where they stored them.

29 There is a book with reports about the kings of Judah. People wrote in it everything that King Rehoboam did. 30 There was always a war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam. 31 So Rehoboam died and they buried him with his ancestors in the City of David. (Rehoboam’s) mother’s name was Naamah. She came from the country called Ammon. Then, (Rehoboam’s) son Abijam became king after him.

Notes about chapter 14

Verse 2. Ahijah first met Jeroboam in 1 Kings 11:29.

Verse 3. Honey is something that is very sweet. It is a kind of sugar.

Verse 9. An idol is like a picture of a false god.

Verse 15. An Asherah pole is an idol, or false god, on a tall stick.

Verse 19. We do not have this book. We do not know what this book was. Nobody knows where it is.

Verse 21. ‘Put his Name’ is a strange group of words. Maybe it meant that it was God’s own city. Or maybe it meant that he lived there. Isaiah and Revelation tell us that he will live there on the New Earth.

Verse 31. The ‘City of David’ was the part of Jerusalem where King David had lived.

Chapter 15

Abijam, king of Judah

1 Abijam became king of Judah. This happened after Jeroboam had been king of Israel for nearly 18 years. Jeroboam was the son of Nebat. 2 (Abijam) was king in Jerusalem for three years. His mother’s name was Maacah. She was the daughter of Abishalom. 3 Abijam did all the sins that his father had done before him. He was not a good servant of the LORD (who was) his God. David, his father’s grandfather, had been a good servant (of God). 4 But the LORD his God gave (Abijam) a light in Jerusalem. (That was) because of what (God) had promised to David. So God made Jerusalem strong. He also gave (Abijam) a son (to be king) after him. 5 David had always done what the LORD wanted him to do. David had obeyed the LORD’s rules all his life. The only time that he did not do that was about Uriah. Uriah came from the people called the Hittites. 6 There was war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam for all (Abijam’s) life.

7 There is a book with reports about the kings of Judah. People wrote in it everything that King Abijam did. There was war between Abijam and Jeroboam.

8 So Abijam died and they buried him with his ancestors in the City of David. Then, (Abijam’s) son Asa became king after him.

Asa, king of Judah

9 Asa became king of Judah when Jeroboam had been king of Israel for nearly 20 years. 10 And Asa was king in Jerusalem for 41 years. His grandmother’s name was Maacah. She was the daughter of Abishalom. 11 And Asa did what his father David had done. Asa did what the LORD wanted him to do. 12 He sent away from the temple the men that had sex with other men for money. (He sent them) away from (Judah). And he destroyed all the idols that his father had made. 13 He even told his grandmother Maacah that she could not continue to call herself ‘Queen Mother’. (This was) because she had made (one of the) bad Asherah poles. Asa cut the (Asherah) pole down and he burned it in the Kidron Valley. 14 Asa loved the LORD for all his life. But he did not remove the high places. 15 He brought into the temple silver and gold. He also brought things that he and his father had made special (for God).

16 There was a war between Asa and King Baasha of Israel. It continued all the time that they ruled their countries. 17 Baasha, the king of Israel, attacked Judah. He made (the town called) Ramah very strong. As a result, nobody could go in to or leave the country of Asa, king of Judah. 18 So Asa took all the silver and the gold that they stored in his palace and in the LORD’s temple. He gave it to his servants and he sent them to Ben-hadad. He was the king of Aram, who ruled in (the capital city called) Damascus. Ben-hadad’s father was Tabrimmon and his grandfather was Hezion. 19 (Asa sent) this message (to Ben-hadad). ‘We should agree together, as our fathers agreed together. Look! I am sending you a gift of silver and gold. Do not now help Baasha, (who is) the king of Israel. So (maybe) he will leave my (country).’ 20 And Ben-hadad did agree with King Asa. He sent his army with its leaders against the towns in Israel. He beat Ijon, Dan, Abel-beth-maacah, all Kinnereth and also Naphtali. 21 When Baasha heard this, he did not build again in Ramah. He (brought his army) back to Tirzah. 22 Then King Asa said that everyone in Judah must do this. They must carry away everything that Baasha was using in Ramah. (This included) stones and wood. King Asa used them to make Geba in Benjamin strong and also Mizpah.

23 There is a book with reports about the kings of Judah. In it, people have written everything that happened during Asa’s time.

In the book are these things:

·          everything that he did

·          the (wars) that he fought

·          the cities that he built.

24 So Asa died and they buried him with his ancestors in the City of David. Then, (Asa’s) son Jehoshaphat became king after him.

Nadab, king of Israel

25 When Asa had been king of Judah for two years, Nadab the son of Jeroboam became king of Israel. (Nadab) was king of Israel for two years. 26 He did what the LORD did not like. He did what his father had done. He did the same sins as his (father had done). And he caused Israel’s people to do them also. 27 Baasha (was) the son of Ahijah. He came from the big family of Issachar. He decided to kill (Nadab). He did kill him at a town in Philistia called Gibbethon. (This was) while Nadab and (his army from) Israel were attacking (Gibbethon). 28 When Asa had been king of Judah for nearly three years, Baasha killed Nadab. Baasha became king (of Israel) after (Nadab). 29 Immediately after (Baasha) became king, he killed all Jeroboam’s family. He did not leave anybody in Jeroboam’s (family) alive. He killed them all. The LORD had said that it would happen. He said it by his servant Ahijah who was from Shiloh. 30 (That was) because of Jeroboam’s sins. Also, it was because he had caused Israel’s people to do the same sins. This had made the LORD God of Israel very angry.

31 There is a book with reports about the kings of Israel. This book tells about when Nadab was king. It tells about what he did. And it tells about everything else that happened then.

32 There was war between Asa and Baasha, king of Israel, all the time that they ruled (their countries).

Baasha, king of Israel

33 When Asa had been king in Judah for nearly three years, Baasha became the king of all Israel. Baasha was the son of Ahijah. It happened in Tirzah. (Baasha) was king for 24 years. 34 (Baasha) did what the LORD did not like. He did all the sins that Jeroboam did. He had caused Israel’s people to do them also.

Notes about chapter 15

Verse 2. Some Bibles spell Abishalom as Absalom. So maybe Maacah was the granddaughter of King David.

Verse 4. The light in Jerusalem means this: People kept a light in their homes if they still lived there. So the light means this. David’s family still lived in Jerusalem.

Verse 5. David sent Uriah to his death, so that David could marry Uriah’s wife, 2 Samuel chapter 11.

Verse 7. We do not know what this ‘book’ is. Nobody knows where it is.

Verse 8. The ‘City of David’ was the part of Jerusalem where King David had lived.

Verse 13. Maybe Maacah was a leader of the people that worshipped idols. ‘Queen Mother’ is a name for the mother of the king. The Kidron Valley was outside Jerusalem.

Verse 15. The silver and gold may have come from the wars that Asa fought.

Verse 17. Ramah was very near to Jerusalem. Ramah was in Benjamin, so it was part of King Asa’s kingdom.

Verse 29. Ahijah’s words are in 1 Kings 14:10.

Verse 33. Tirzah was a beautiful place, (Song of Songs 6:4). Perhaps that is why Israel’s kings went there instead of to Shechem.

Chapter 16

1 Then (God) spoke to Jehu (who was) the son of Hanani. The LORD’s words were against Baasha. 2 ‘You were not important, but I made you the leader of my people Israel. But then you did all the bad things that Jeroboam did! Also, you caused my people Israel to sin and you made me very angry because of their sins. 3 As a result, I will take away completely Baasha and his family. I will make the family of Baasha like that of Jeroboam the son of Nebat. 4 Dogs will eat (the dead bodies) of Baasha’s family if they die in the city. Some of them will die in country places. The birds (that fly) in the air will eat (the dead bodies of) those people.’

5 There is a book with reports about the kings of Israel. This book tells about when Baasha was king. It tells about what he did. And it tells about everything else that happened then.

6 Baasha died as his ancestors (had died). They buried him in Tirzah. Then (Baasha’s) son Elah became king after him. 7 The word of the LORD had come by the prophet Jehu. (Jehu) was the son of Hanani. (The word) came to Baasha and to the family of Baasha. It came because of all the bad things that he had done. He had done what the LORD did not like. (Baasha) had made the LORD very angry by the things that he had done. (The family of Baasha) had become like the family of Jeroboam. The word also came because Baasha had destroyed (the family of Jeroboam).

Elah, king of Israel

8 Elah, the son of Baasha, became king of Israel. (This happened) when Asa had been king of Judah for nearly 26 years. Now (Elah) was king in Tirzah for two years. 9 Zimri was the leader of half of (Elah’s) chariots. (Zimri) decided to kill (Elah). Elah was in Tirzah, in the home of (a man called) Arza. (Elah) was drinking too much alcohol. (Arza) said what people must do in (Elah’s) palace in Tirzah. 10 Zimri came in (to where Elah was). He hit Elah and he killed him. At this time, Asa had been king of Judah for nearly 27 years. So (Zimri) made himself king instead of (Elah). 11 When Zimri became king on the throne (of Israel), he immediately killed everybody in Baasha’s family. He killed every male in the family and (he killed) every friend (of Baasha). 12 So Zimri killed everybody in Baasha’s family. The word of the LORD had said that this would happen. The prophet Jehu had spoken (what the LORD had said) against Baasha. 13 (The LORD had said this) because of all the sins that Baasha and his son Elah had done. Also, they had caused Israel’s people to do them. Their idols, which had no value, had made the LORD, the God of Israel, very angry. 14 There is a book with reports about the kings of Israel. This book tells about when Elah was king. It tells about what he did. And it tells about everything else that happened then.

Zimri, king of Israel

15 Zimri was king (of Israel) in Tirzah for (only) 7 days. Asa had been king of Judah for nearly 27 years (when this happened). The army (of Israel) was near a town in Philistia called Gibbethon. 16 The army of Israel heard about what Zimri had done. (Zimri) had decided to kill the king (Elah) and he had done it. Omri was the leader of the army (of Israel). The army made Omri king of Israel on that day, while they were (in Gibbethon). 17 Then Omri left Gibbethon. All (the army of) Israel left with him. (Omri and his army) attacked Tirzah. 18 Zimri saw that (Omri) had taken the city (Tirzah) from him. So he went into the king’s palace, where it was (still) safe. He lit a fire which burned down the palace all round him. So (Zimri) died, 19 because of all the sins that he had done. He had done what the LORD did not like. He had copied the ways of Jeroboam. He had done the sins that Jeroboam had done. Also, he had caused Israel’s people to do them. 20 There is a book with reports about the kings of Israel. In it are all the other things that Zimri did. It includes the way that he killed (Baasha’s family).

Omri, king of Israel

21 There were two groups of people in Israel. Half (of the people) wanted Tibni, (who was) the son of Ginath, to be the king. The other half wanted Omri (to be the king). 22 But the half that wanted Omri (to be the king) was stronger than the other half. (After 4 years), Tibni (who was) the son of Ginath, died. Then Omri became the king (of Israel). 23 Omri became king of Israel when Asa had been king of Judah for nearly 31 years. (Omri) ruled the people for 12 years. He was in Tirzah for 6 of these years. 24 (Omri) bought a hill called Samaria from Shemer. He paid two talents of silver for it. He built a city on the hill and he called the city Samaria. That was because he bought the hill from Shemer. 25 But Omri did what the LORD did not like. He sinned more than all (the kings of Israel) before him. 26 He did all the bad things that Jeroboam the son of Nebat had done. He did all the sins which (Jeroboam) had caused Israel’s people to do. This made the LORD, the God of Israel, very angry, because of the idols which were worth nothing. 27 There is a book with reports about the kings of Israel. This book tells about when Omri was king. It tells about what he did. And it tells about everything else that happened then. 28 So Omri died and they buried him with his ancestors in Samaria. His son Ahab became king (of Israel) after him.

Ahab becomes king of Israel

29 Ahab, (who was) the son of Omri, became king of Israel. Asa had been king of Judah for nearly 38 years (when that happened). Ahab was king of Israel in Samaria for 22 years. 30 Omri’s son, Ahab, did more things that the LORD did not like than any of those (kings) before him. 31 He did not think that it was a bad thing to do the same sins as Jeroboam the son of Nebat. So he did something that was even worse. He married Jezebel, who was the daughter of Ethbaal. (Ethbaal) was the king of Sidon. (Ahab) became the servant of Baal and he began to worship him. 32 (Ahab) built a temple for Baal in Samaria. He made an altar for Baal in this (temple). 33 Ahab also made an Asherah pole. He did more things to make the LORD, the God of Israel, angry than all the kings of Israel before him. 34 While Ahab was king (of Israel), Hiel built Jericho again. (Hiel lived) in Bethel. His first son, called Abiram, died when he started to build (Jericho). And his youngest son, called Segub, died when he built the gates (of Jericho). This agreed with the word of the LORD by Joshua, the son of Nun.

Notes about chapter 16

Verse 4. The city may be Tirzah, 1 Kings 15:33.

Verse 5. We do not know what this ‘book’ is. Nobody knows where it is.

Verse 7. Remember, ‘the word of the LORD’ is a name for Christ!

Verse 22. The 4 year fight is not in verse 22 of the Hebrew Bible. It comes from verses 15 and 23.

Verse 24. Samaria is the word in the Greek language for the Hebrew word Shemer (or Shomron). Students dug the place in 1924. They showed that Omri was the first person to build a city there. They also think that the Hebrew name was Shomron, from ‘Omri’. In the Hebrew language, the names of many hills in Israel ended in –on. Examples are Zion, Hermon and Lebanon.

Verse 27. ‘what he did’ includes Samaria. He built that city, which would become important in Israel.

Verse 31. Baal was a false god. The word ‘baal’ means ‘lord’.

Verse 34. Joshua’s words are in Joshua 6:26.

Chapter 17

Ravens feed Elijah

1 Elijah came from (a place called) Tishbe in Gilead. (So, Elijah was) a Tishbite. (Elijah) said to Ahab, ‘I am a servant of the LORD, (who is) the God of Israel. As surely (as God) is alive, no water will appear on the ground during the night in the next few years. And it will not rain. I will say when it will rain. It will not rain until then.’ 2 Then, the word of the LORD came to Elijah. 3 (The LORD said), ‘Leave here! Go to the east. And hide by the stream called Cherith, east of the (River) Jordan. 4 You will drink (water) from the stream and the ravens will feed you there. I have said (to them) that they must do this.’ 5 So (Elijah) obeyed the word of the LORD. He went. And he lived by the stream called Cherith, east of the (River) Jordan. 6 The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening. He drank (water) from the stream.

The widow at Zarephath

7 There was no rain in the country (Israel), so the stream became dry after a time.

8 Then the word of the LORD came (again) to (Elijah). 9 ‘Go immediately to Zarephath (which is) near Sidon. Stay there. I have said to a widow there that she must supply you with food.’ 10 So (Elijah) went to Zarephath. When he came to the town gate, he met a widow. She was getting some small sticks. (Elijah) spoke to her and he asked her, ‘Please bring me some water in a jar, so that I can drink (it).’ 11 While she was getting it, he said (also), ‘And bring me, please, a bit of bread.’ 12 She replied, ‘As surely as your God is alive, I do not have any bread. I have only a small amount of flour in a jar. I have also a small amount of oil (to cook with). I am getting a few small sticks to take home. Then I will make a meal for myself and for my son. We will eat it. Then we will die (because there is no more food).’ 13 Elijah said to her, ‘Do not be afraid. Go home. And do what you have said. But first, make a small cake of bread for me. Use what you have got (to make it). Then bring it to me. And (after) that, make something for yourself and for your son. 14 This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says. “You will not use all the flour in your jar. You will not use all the oil (that you cook with). Before (you use them all), the LORD will give rain to the country (called Israel).” ’ 15 Then (the widow) went away. And she did what Elijah had asked her to do. And after that, there was food every day for Elijah and for the widow and her family. 16 (She did not) use all the flour in the jar and she did not use all the oil. And that is what Elijah had promised. He did it when he spoke the word of the LORD.

17 Some time after that, the son of the woman who had the house became ill. He became worse and worse until he died. 18 (The woman) said to Elijah, ‘Servant of God, why have you done this to me? Did you come to cause me to think about my sins? (Did you come) to kill my son?’ 19 ‘Give your son to me’, Elijah replied. He took (her son) from her arms. (Elijah) carried him upstairs, to the room where he was staying. (Elijah) put (the widow’s son) on to his bed. 20 Then (Elijah) prayed this to the LORD. ‘LORD, (you are) my God! Did you cause this sad thing to happen to this widow? Did you cause the son of the widow that I am staying with to die?’ 21 Then (Elijah) lay on the boy three times. (Elijah) prayed (this) to the LORD. ‘LORD, (you are) my God! Cause this boy’s life to return to him!’ 22 The LORD heard Elijah when he prayed (to God). The boy’s life returned to him. He was alive again! 23 Elijah picked up the boy and he carried him downstairs. He took (the boy) from his room into the house. He gave (the boy) to his mother and he said, ‘Look! Your son is alive!’ 24 Then the woman said to Elijah, ‘Now I know that God (sent) you. The word of the LORD that you speak is really true.’

Notes about chapter 17

Verse 2. The deep valley of Cherith is about 40 miles north of the Dead Sea. The stream, Cherith, went through this valley.

Verse 4. A raven is a large, black bird.

Verse 10. Towns had walls round them. The way in was through the ‘town gate’.

Chapter 18

Elijah and Obadiah

1 Three years after that, the word of the LORD came to Elijah. ‘Go and meet Ahab. Then, I will send rain on to the land (in Israel).’ 2 So Elijah went to meet Ahab. It was a time when there was almost no food for the people in Samaria to eat. 3 Ahab had asked Obadiah to meet him. (Obadiah) was the leader (of the servants) in (Ahab’s) palace. Obadiah was really afraid of the LORD (in a good way). 4 Jezebel had killed (many of) the LORD’s prophets. While she was doing this, Obadiah had hidden 100 prophets. He had put them in two caves, 50 in each cave. Also he had supplied them with food and water. 5 Ahab had said to Obadiah, ‘Go through all the country (called Israel). (Go to) all the valleys and to places where there is (usually) water. Maybe we can find some grass to feed the horses and other animals. If we do, we will not have to kill (all) our animals.’ 6 So Ahab and Obadiah went through the country (called Israel). Ahab went in one direction and Obadiah went in another (direction).

7 While Obadiah was walking along, Elijah met him. Obadiah recognised (Elijah) and he bent in front of him. (Obadiah) said, ‘Is it really you, my lord Elijah?’ 8 ‘Yes!’ Elijah replied. ‘Go. And tell your master that Elijah is here.’ 9 ‘Have I done something (that is) wrong?’ Obadiah asked. ‘Is that why you are sending (me), your servant, to Ahab? (Ahab) will certainly kill me! 10 As surely as the LORD your God lives, my master (Ahab) has sent people to look for you (everywhere). Every country and kingdom has said that you were not there. He caused them all to say it. It really was true that you were not there. 11 But now you want me to go to my master. And you want me to say, “Elijah is here!” 12 I do not know where the (Holy) Spirit of the LORD will carry you next. (Where will you go) when I leave you? I may go to tell Ahab where you are. But if he does not find you, he will kill me. I am your servant. I have worshipped the LORD since I was a young man. 13 Have you not heard what I have done? While Jezebel was killing the prophets of the LORD, I hid 100 of the LORD’s prophets in two caves. (I put) 50 (prophets) in each cave. And I supplied them with food and water. 14 And now you want me to go to my master. And you want me to say, “Elijah is here!” He will kill me!’ 15 Elijah said, ‘I am the LORD’s servant. As (certainly) as he is alive and powerful, I will surely show myself to Ahab today.’

Elijah and the prophets of Baal

16 So Obadiah went to meet Ahab. He told Ahab (where Elijah was.) And Ahab went to meet Elijah. 17 When Ahab saw Elijah, he said to him, ‘Is that (really) you? (You are) the person that is bringing trouble to Israel.’ 18 ‘I have not brought trouble to Israel’, Elijah replied. ‘You and your father’s family have (done that). You threw away the LORD’s rules. Instead, you have become servants of the Baals. 19 Now, fetch people from all over Israel. (Say that they must) meet me. They must meet me on the hill called Carmel. Also, bring the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Asherah, who eat with Jezebel at her table.’

20 So Ahab sent the message through all Israel. He brought the (false) prophets to the hill called Carmel. 21 Elijah stood up in front of the people and he said, ‘You should not have two ideas still about what you should do. If the LORD is God, worship him. If Baal is God, worship him.’ But the people said nothing. 22 Then Elijah said to them, ‘I am the only prophet of the LORD that is still (here). Baal has 450 prophets. 23 Fetch two male cows for us. (The prophets of Baal) can choose one for themselves. Then they should cut it into pieces and they should put it on the wood (on the altar). But they must not light the fire. I will prepare the other male cow and I will put it on the wood (on the altar). I will not light the fire. 24 Then, you pray to your god (Baal) and I will pray to the LORD. The god who sends fire for an answer, (that god,) he is God!’ Then all the people said, ‘What you say is good.’

25 Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, ‘Choose one of the male cows. Prepare it first, because there are so many of you. Pray to your god, but do not light the fire.’ 26 So (the prophets of Baal) took their male cow and they prepared it (for the altar). Then they prayed to Baal from morning until noon. ‘Baal, answer us!’ they shouted. But there was no answer; nobody replied. And they all danced badly round the altar that they had made. 27 At noon, Elijah began to laugh at them. ‘Shout louder!’ he said. ‘He is a god! Maybe he is thinking (about something). Or (maybe) he is busy (in the bathroom), or he is away (from home) on a journey. (Or) maybe he is asleep and you must wake him up!’ 28 So they (all) shouted louder. And they cut themselves with swords and knives, as they often did. Soon, there was blood everywhere. 29 They continued what they were doing through the afternoon. They did it until the time came for the evening sacrifice. But nothing happened. Nobody answered (them). None (of the false gods) replied.

30 Then Elijah said to all the people, ‘Come here, (near) to me.’ When they came, (Elijah) mended the altar of the LORD. (Somebody) had broken it into small pieces. 31 Elijah found 12 stones, one for each of the tribes that Jacob’s sons started. (Jacob was the man) to whom the word of the LORD came. It said, ‘Your name will be Israel.’ 32 (Elijah) built an altar in the name of the LORD with these stones. He dug a hole all round it. (The hole) was big enough to contain 15 litres (4 gallons) of seeds. 33 He put wood on (the altar). He cut the male cow into pieces. Then he put the pieces on to the wood. Then he said to the people, ‘Fill 4 large jars with water. Pour it on to the male cow and on to the wood.’ 34 ‘Do it again’, he said. So they did it again. ‘Do it a third time’, he said. So they did it for the third time. 35 The water poured down from the altar. It even filled the hole (that was round the altar).

36 The time came for the (evening) sacrifice. Elijah came to the front (of the altar). He prayed (these words). ‘LORD, (you are) the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel. Cause people to know today that you are (still) God in Israel. (Cause them to know) that I am your servant. I have done all these things because you ordered me to do them. 37 Answer me, LORD, answer me! So these people will know that you, LORD, are (still their) God. And they will know that you have changed their minds back to you again.’ 38 Then fire came down from the LORD. It burned the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the ground (round the altar). It even boiled the water in the hole (round the altar) until it had all gone. 39 When all the people saw this, they fell flat on the ground. They shouted, ‘The LORD, he is God! The LORD (really) is God!’ 40 Then Elijah said, ‘Catch the prophets of Baal. Do not let any of them run away!’ So they caught them (all) and Elijah brought them down to the Kishon Valley. There, he killed them all.

Elijah waits for rain

41 Then Elijah said to Ahab, ‘Go (to where your servants are). Eat and drink there. (Do it quickly), because there is the sound of a lot of rain.’ 42 So Ahab went to eat and to drink. But Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel. He bent down to the ground. He put his face between his knees. 43 He said to his servant, ‘Go and look towards the sea.’ So his servant went and looked. ‘There is nothing there’, he said (to Elijah). Elijah said (to him) 7 times, ‘Go back (and look).’ 44 The 7th time, the servant reported, ‘A cloud is rising up from the sea. It is as small as a man’s hand.’ So Elijah said (to him), ‘Go and say to Ahab, “Make your chariot ready to go. Then, return down (to Jezreel) before the rain stops you.” ’ 45 As he said this, the sky became black with clouds. The wind started to blow and heavy rain started. So Ahab rode away to Jezreel. 46 Then the LORD made Elijah strong. Elijah tied his shirt into his belt and he ran in front of Ahab all the way to Jezreel.

Notes about chapter 18

Verse 2. There was almost no food because the plants had not grown well. Here, it was because there had been no rain.

Verse 3. ‘Obadiah’ is the Hebrew word for ‘servant of the LORD’.

Verse 4. A cave is a large and deep hole in the side of a hill. Prophets wore special clothes that people would recognise.

Verses 9-15. Obadiah was afraid that Elijah would hide again. But Elijah promised Obadiah that he would not hide again.

Verse 18. Baals is plural because there were many false gods.

Verse 22. There were 100 more of the LORD’s prophets, but they were hiding in caves!

Verse 24. Elijah asks for fire, because Baal was a sun-god. The sun can cause things to burn.

Verse 29. ‘what they were doing’ was this: They were throwing their arms and legs about while they danced. They became like wild animals! The evening sacrifice was not an animal. They mixed flour, oil, salt and incense. Then they burned it as a sacrifice.

Verse 32. ‘in the name of the LORD’ means that the altar was for the LORD. It was not for Baal.

Verse 40. The River Kishon went through the Kishon Valley. It was there that Barak beat Sisera. The river carried away the dead bodies, (Judges 5:21). Maybe the same happened here!

Verses 42-44. From the top of Carmel, you can see the Mediterranean Sea. The rain was coming from the sea. The rain came in verse 45.

Chapter 19

Elijah becomes very sad

1 Then Ahab told Jezebel about everything that Elijah had done. (He told her) how (Elijah) had killed all the prophets (of Baal) with a sword. 2 So Jezebel sent a message to Elijah. ‘By this time tomorrow, I will make your life like one of (the prophets of Baal). If I do not, the gods can kill me.’ 3 Then Elijah was afraid. He ran away (to save) his life. He came to Beersheba in (the country called) Judah. He left his servant there. 4 (Elijah) himself went into the desert. He travelled for about a day (into the desert). He found a kind of tree called a broom tree there. And he sat down under the tree. There, he prayed that he might die. He said, ‘LORD, I have had enough (of this life)! Kill me. I am no better (than the prophets who were) before me.’ 5 Then he lay down under the tree and he went to sleep. Soon, an angel touched him and said, ‘Get up and eat.’ 6 And (Elijah) looked and he saw by his head a cake. (Someone) had baked it on a fire. Also, there was a jar of water. So he ate (the cake) and he drank (the water). Then he lay down again (to sleep). 7 The angel of the LORD came back a second time. He touched (Elijah) and he said (to him), ‘Get up and eat (this food). You (must go) on a long journey.’ 8 So (Elijah) got up. He ate (the food) and he drank (the water). The food made him strong enough to travel for 40 days and 40 nights to Horeb. (Horeb was) the mountain of God.

The LORD appears to Elijah

9 (Elijah) went into a cave (in Horeb) and he stayed there all night. The word of the LORD came to Elijah. ‘Elijah, what (are) you (doing) here?’ 10 Elijah replied, ‘I have always been a very good servant of the LORD, (who is) the powerful God. But the Israelites have thrown away your covenant. They have destroyed your altars. And they have killed your prophets with swords. I am the only prophet (that is) still (alive). Now, they are trying to kill me also.’ 11 Then (the LORD) said, ‘Go out (from the cave) and stand in front of the LORD, on the mountain. The LORD will pass in front of you.’ Then a very strong and powerful wind tore the mountains into pieces. It broke the rocks in front of the LORD. But the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind, there was an earthquake. But the LORD was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake, there was a fire. But the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire, he heard someone who was speaking very, very quietly. 13 When Elijah heard (that), he put his coat over his face. He went out and he stood at the way into the cave. Then a voice said to him, ‘Elijah, what (are) you (doing) here?’ 14 (Elijah) said, ‘I have always been a very good servant of the LORD, (who is) the powerful God. But the Israelites have thrown away your covenant. They have destroyed your altars. They have killed your prophets with swords. I am the only prophet (that is) still (alive). Now, they are trying to kill me also.’

15 The LORD said to (Elijah), ‘Go back again on the way (by which you came). (Go) to the desert (which is) near Damascus. When you arrive, anoint Hazael, to make him king of Aram. 16 Also, anoint Jehu, (who is) the son of Nimshi, to make him king of Israel. Then, anoint Elisha, (who is) the son of Shaphat, to be a prophet after you. (Elisha comes from) Abel Meholah. 17 Jehu will kill anybody that the sword of Hazael does not kill. Then, Elisha will kill anybody that the sword of Jehu does not kill. 18 But there are still 7000 people in Israel that have not worshipped Baal. Their mouths have not kissed him.’

Elisha becomes Elijah’s servant

19 Then Elijah went away from (Horeb). He found Elisha, (who was) the son of Shaphat. (Elisha) was ploughing with 12 pairs of oxen. (Elisha) himself was driving the 12th pair (of oxen). Elijah went to (Elisha) and he threw his coat over (Elisha). 20 So Elisha left his oxen and he ran after Elijah. (Elisha) said, ‘Let me kiss my father and my mother goodbye. Then I will come with you.’ ‘Go back’, Elijah replied. ‘Think about what I have done to you.’ 21 So Elisha left Elijah. He went back (home). Then, he took a pair of oxen and he killed them. He burned the plough to cook the meat (from the oxen). He gave it to the people (that were there). They (all) ate (what he gave to them). Then he went to follow Elijah and to become his servant.

Notes about chapter 19

Verses 1-8. Elijah was very sad for this reason. Ahab let Jezebel send her message (verse 2). There would be no change in Israel!

Verse 2. ‘Like one of the prophets of Baal’ here means ‘dead’!

Verse 3. Beersheba was in the south of the country called Judah.

Verse 4. There was much sand there in the desert. Broom trees gave wood to burn. And they gave roots that people ate. People only ate them when there was not much other food. (See Job 30:3.) Verse 7. The Hebrew Bible has ‘the journey is too much for you’. This was the angel’s reason for Elijah to eat again.

Verse 8. Horeb was the mountain where God met Moses, (Exodus 3:1). Moses, Elijah and Jesus all lived without food for 40 days and 40 nights. ‘It is not only bread that keeps people alive’, Deuteronomy 8:3, Matthew 4:4.

Verse 9. The cave may have been where Moses stood in Exodus 33:22. That was a very special place. The Hebrew Bible says, ‘The word of the LORD came to him.’ It does not say, ‘The LORD spoke to Elijah.’ Some Christians think that this is the reason. ‘Word of the LORD’ is a name for Christ. The question is only 4 Hebrew words. They translate as ‘What to-you here, Elijah?’ They may mean, ‘Why have you come here, Elijah?’ Or they may mean, ‘Why are you still very sad, Elijah?’ Elijah’s answer (verse 10) tells us that the second question may be the right one.

Verse 10. Some translations have ‘God of angel armies’ for ‘powerful God’. The covenant that they threw away is in Exodus 20:3. It says, ‘You must not have any other gods, only me.’ One of the altars that they destroyed was in Carmel, 1 Kings 18:30.

Verse 11. The mountain of the LORD is Horeb. In the Hebrew Bible, LORD in the words ‘in front of the LORD’ is plural. This helps us to remember that the Christian God is really three persons in one God!

Verse 11. An earthquake is when the ground moves. As a result, buildings can fall down.

Verse 13. The question in verse 13 is the same as the question in verse 9.

Verse 15. Aram is another name for Syria, which was a country north of Israel.

Verse 16. Jehu was really the grandson of Nimshi, 2 Kings 9:2.

Verse 18. ‘worshipped’ is ‘bent their knees to’ in the Hebrew Bible.

Verses 19-20. Elijah’s coat was a special one. It showed that he was a prophet. He put it on Elisha to show people that Elisha was a prophet also. That is why Elijah said, ‘Think about what I have done to you.’ Elisha is now God’s servant. That is what Elijah has done to Elisha.

Chapter 20

Ben-hadad attacks Samaria

1 Ben-hadad was the king of Aram. He got all his army together. He had 32 princes, with their horses and chariots. Then he went to Samaria. (He put his army) all round it and then he attacked it. 2 He sent people with messages into the city (Samaria). (They came) to Ahab, (who was) the king of Israel. They said (to Ahab), ‘This is what Ben-hadad says. 3 “Your silver and your gold are mine. Your children are mine and the best of your wives (are mine).” ’ 4 (This is what) the king of Israel answered (him). ‘It is as you say, my lord. (You are) the king (of Syria). I, and everything that I have, are yours.’ 5 The people with messages came again. They said, ‘This is what Ben-hadad says. “I want your silver, your gold, your wives and your children. 6 At this time tomorrow, I will send my officers to look in your palace. They will also (look in) the houses of your officers. They will take everything that is valuable. They will carry it away (with them).” ’

7 Then the king of Israel said that all the leaders in (his) country must come to him. He said to them, ‘You must know (this). This man wants to cause trouble! I did not refuse when he asked for my wives and my children, my silver and my gold.’ 8 The leaders and the people answered (him), ‘Do not listen to him. Do not agree to what he demands.’ 9 So (the king of Israel) said to the people who brought messages from Ben-hadad, ‘Say this to my lord, (who is) king (of Aram). “Your servant will do all that you demanded the first time. But I will not let you do what you demand now.” ’ So they left (Ahab) and they took the answer back to Ben-hadad. 10 Then Ben-hadad sent another message to Ahab. (He said,) ‘I want the gods (to be cruel) to me, if I am not very cruel! And I pray that it will happen! I will leave very little dirt in Samaria. There will not be enough (dirt) to fill the hands of each of my soldiers.’ 11 (This was) the king of Israel’s answer. ‘Say to him, “If you put on a soldier’s clothes, do not boast. When you take them off (you may not have anything to boast about).” ’ 12 Ben-hadad received this message when he and his princes were drinking (alcohol) in their tents. So he said to his men, ‘Prepare to attack!’ So they prepared to attack the city (Samaria).

Ahab beats Ben-hadad

13 Then a prophet came to Ahab, (who was) the king of Israel. He said (to Ahab), ‘The LORD is saying this (to you). “Look at this very large army! You will beat them today. Then you will know that I am the LORD.” ’ 14 ‘But who will do this?’ asked Ahab. The prophet answered (Ahab), ‘This is what the LORD says. “The young officers among the army leaders will do it.” ’ ‘Who will start the war?’ asked (Ahab). The prophet answered (him), ‘You will.’ 15 So Ahab said that the young officers must come to him. There were 232 of them among the army leaders. Then he brought all the other Israelite (soldiers) together. There were 7000 of them.

16 They went out at noon (to where the enemy’s army was). Ben-hadad and his 32 princes were like drunks in their tents. 17 The young officers, from among the army leaders, went out first. Now Ben-hadad had put men to watch (the enemy). They said (to him), ‘Men are coming from Samaria.’ 18 (Ben-hadad) said, ‘If they want to stop the war, catch them alive. If they want to fight, catch them alive.’ 19 The young officers, from among the army leaders, marched out of the city (Samaria). The army (marched) behind them. 20 Each (of the soldiers) killed an enemy. When that happened, the soldiers from Aram ran away. The Israelites followed them. But Ben-hadad, (who was) the king of Aram, rode away on his horse. Some of his riders on horses (went) with him. 21 The king of Israel attacked the horses and chariots (of the enemies), and he beat them. Many of (the enemies) died.

22 After (the fight), the prophet came to the king of Israel. He said (to the king), ‘See what you must do to make your (country) strong. (Do this), because next spring the king of Aram will attack you again.’ 23 Also, (after the fight), some of the king of Aram’s leaders spoke to him. ‘The gods of (the Israelites) are gods of the hills. That is why (the Israelites) were too strong for us. But if we fight them on flat ground, we will be stronger than them. 24 Do this. Remove all the princes from the army. Put other leaders (in the army) instead of them. 25 Also you must get an army the same size as the one that you lost. There must be the same number of horses and chariots. We will fight Israel on the flat ground. If we do that, surely, we will be stronger than them.’ (Ben-hadad) agreed with them. And he did what they had suggested.

26 The next spring, Ben-hadad brought together his (army of) soldiers from Aram. They went to Aphek to fight against Israel. 27 (Ahab) brought all the Israelite (army) together and he gave enough food to them (for the war). They marched out to meet (the enemies). The tents of the Israelites were like two small groups of goats. The soldiers from Aram covered all the land (because there were so many). 28 A man who was God’s servant came to the king of Israel. He told the king, ‘This is what the LORD says. “The men from Aram think that the LORD is a god of the hills. (They think that) he is not a god of the valleys. But you will know that I am the LORD (of both). You will know that because I will give this very large army to you.” ’ 29 For 7 days, (the two armies) stayed in their tents, on different sides (of the flat ground). On the 7th day, the war started. The Israelites killed 100 000 soldiers from Aram on one day. (These soldiers) did not have horses. 30 The other (soldiers) ran to the city of Aphek. There, a wall fell on 27 000 of them. Ben-hadad hurried into the city and he hid in a room inside (one of the houses).

31 Some of his leaders said to Ben-hadad, ‘We have heard that the kings of the family of Israel are kind (men). We should go to the king of Israel. We will wear short, hairy trousers and we will put ropes (thick pieces of line) on our heads. Maybe (Ahab) will not kill you.’ 32 So they put on short hairy trousers. They (made hats out of) thick lines and they put them on their heads. They went to the king of Israel and they said, ‘Your servant Ben-hadad says, “Please let me live.” ’ The king (Ahab) answered, ‘Is he still alive? He is (like) my brother.’ 33 So the men hoped (that they would get a friendly answer). They answered him quickly. ‘Yes! Ben-hadad (is like) your brother’, they said. ‘Go and fetch him’, the king said. When Ben-hadad came out (from Aphek), Ahab got him up into his chariot. 34 (Ben-hadad) said, ‘I will give you the cities that my father took from your father. You can have your own markets in Damascus, as my father had in Samaria.’ Ahab answered, ‘We will agree to do this and you can go (home) a free (man).’ So they agreed together, and Ahab let (Ben-hadad) go home.

A prophet brings a message to King Ahab

35 The word of the LORD (ordered) one of the sons of the prophets to say (this) to another prophet. ‘Hit me with your stick.’ But the man refused. 36 So the prophet said, ‘You have not obeyed the LORD, so a lion will kill you. It will happen soon after you leave me.’ And after the man went away, a lion did find him. (The lion) killed him. 37 The prophet found another man. He said, ‘Hit me, please.’ So the man hit him and hurt him. 38 Then the prophet went and he stood by the road. He was waiting for the king (Ahab). He did not seem like a prophet, because he pulled his hat down over his eyes. 39 The king passed the prophet, who shouted to him, ‘Your servant went into the worst part of the war. Someone came to me with a soldier of the enemy’s army that he had caught. He said, “Do not let this man run away. If he does, you will die. Or you must pay a talent of silver.” 40 But your servant was busy. He did several things. While (he did them), the man ran away.’ ‘That is your problem’, the king of Israel said. ‘You have said yourself what will happen.’ 41 Then the prophet quickly took the hat from his eyes. And the king of Israel recognised that the man was one of the prophets. 42 The (prophet) said to the king, ‘This is what the LORD is saying to you. “I decided that a man should die. But you have let him go free. So, it is your life for his life, and your people for his people.” ’ 43 So the king went to his palace in Samaria. He was angry and he would not speak (to people).

Notes about chapter 20

Verse 1. Aram is another name for Syria. It was a country north of Israel. A prince is an important person, maybe the son of a king.

Verse 11. ‘Boast’ means ‘say that you are better than everybody else’.

Verse 12. A tent is a house that people made from animal skins. Soldiers used them.

Verse 24. The princes had lost the fight. So Ben-hadad chose proper army leaders instead.

Verse 26. Bible students think that Aphek was on flat ground.

Verse 28. The servant of God in this verse may not be the prophet in verses 13 and 22. Bible students are not sure.

Verse 31. ‘The family of Israel’ means the family of Israel’s kings. These leaders knew that Ahab had beaten them. That is why they wore those clothes. Maybe the ropes were round their necks.

Verse 32. ‘like my brother’ means that both of them were kings.

Verse 35. The ‘sons of the prophets’ was a group of prophets. The prophet wanted people to think that someone had hurt him in the war.

Verse 36. The lion punished the prophet’s friend because he did not obey ‘the word of the LORD’.

Verse 42. ‘your life for his life’ means that Ahab would die.

Chapter 21

Naboth’s vineyard

1 Naboth lived in a town called Jezreel. He had a vineyard. After (the war with Ben-hadad), this happened. (Naboth’s) vineyard was in Jezreel, near to the palace of Ahab, (who was) the king of Samaria. 2 Ahab said to Naboth, ‘Give me your vineyard. I want to grow vegetables in it, because it is near to my palace. I will give you a better vineyard for it. Or, maybe, you would rather have its value in money.’ 3 Naboth replied to Ahab, ‘The LORD will not let me give (the field) to you. My ancestors gave it to me.’ 4 So Ahab went to his home. He was angry and he would not speak (to people). (That was) because of what Naboth from Jezreel had said. (He had said,) ‘I will not give to you (the field) that my ancestors gave to me.’ (Ahab) lay on his bed. He was angry and he would not eat (any food).

5 (Ahab’s) wife, (who was called) Jezebel, came in (to Ahab’s room). She asked him, ‘Why are you so angry? Why will you not eat anything?’ 6 Ahab answered her, ‘(It is) because I said to Naboth from Jezreel, “Sell your vineyard to me. Or, if you would like it better, I will give you another vineyard instead of it.” But he said, “I will not give you my vineyard.” ’ 7 (Ahab’s) wife Jezebel said, ‘You are the king of Israel, so you can do anything. Get up (from your bed) and eat (something). Be happy! I will get the vineyard of Naboth from Jezreel for you.’ 8 Then Jezebel wrote letters. They seemed to come from Ahab, because she used his special mark. She sent them to the older men and the leaders that lived in Naboth’s city with him. 9 This is what she wrote in those letters. ‘Tell everybody that there will be a fast. Give Naboth a seat where everybody can see him. 10 But cause two bad men to sit near him. Order them to say that Naboth has said bad things about God and about the king. Then take him out. Throw stones at him until he is dead.’

11 So the older men and the leaders, who lived in Naboth’s city, obeyed Jezebel. They did what she ordered them to do in her letters to them. 12 They said that there must be a fast. They put Naboth in a seat where everybody could see him. 13 Then two bad men came and they sat near to him. They said, in front of all the people, that Naboth had said bad things about God and about the king. So (the people) took him outside their city. They threw stones at him until he was dead. 14 Then they sent a message to Jezebel. ‘(The people) threw stones at Naboth. He is dead.’ 15 So Jezebel knew that Naboth was dead. (He was dead because they threw) stones at him. Then she said to Ahab, ‘Get up (from your bed) and take for yourself the vineyard of Naboth from Jezreel. He would not sell it to you, but now he is not alive but dead.’ 16 When Ahab knew that Naboth was dead, he got up (from his bed). He went to take for himself Naboth’s vineyard.

17 When this (had happened), the word of the LORD came to Elijah from Tishbe. 18 (He said), ‘Go to meet King Ahab of Israel. He is the ruler of Samaria. He is now in Naboth’s vineyard. He is taking it for himself. 19 Say to him, “This is what the LORD says (to you). You have killed a man and you have taken his (vineyard) for yourself.” Then say to him, “This is what the LORD says (to you). In the place where the dogs drank Naboth’s blood, dogs will drink your blood. Yes, (they will drink) your blood!” ’ 20 Ahab said to Elijah, ‘You have found me. (You are) my enemy.’ (Elijah) answered, ‘I have found you because of all the bad things that you have done. You have decided to do everything that the LORD does not like. It is like you have sold yourself. 21 (The LORD says), “I will kill you. I will take away your children and their children. I will kill every man in Israel from Ahab’s family. (It does not matter) whether they are slaves or free men. 22 I will make your family like the family of Jeroboam the son of Nebat. (I will make it like the family of) Baasha (who was) the son of Ahijah. (I will do this) because you have made me very angry. Also, you have caused (the people in) Israel to sin (against me).” 23 Also, the LORD says this about Jezebel. “Dogs will eat Jezebel near the wall of (the city of) Jezreel. 24 Dogs will eat people who belong to Ahab(’s family). (They will eat them) if they die in the city (Samaria). And the birds in the air will eat those people that die outside the city.” ’

25 Ahab had decided to do everything that the LORD did not like. Nobody (before him) was ever worse than he was. His wife Jezebel wanted him to be like that. 26 (Ahab) did the worst things. He worshipped idols like the people called Amorites did. The LORD had killed those people before Israel (came into their country).

27 When Ahab heard these words, he tore his clothes (into pieces). He wore hairy clothes and he fasted. He made his bed from hairy blankets and he became humble. 28 Then the word of the LORD came to Elijah from Tishbe. (The word of the LORD said to him,) 29 ‘You have seen that Ahab has become humble in front of me. I will not destroy (his family) while he is alive. (This is) because he has become humble (in front of me). (I will destroy his family when he is dead.) I will destroy his family when his son is alive.’

Notes about chapter 21

Verse 1. A vineyard is a field where people grow vines. The vines grow fruits called grapes.

Verse 3. Naboth was still a servant of the LORD. (See 1 Kings 19:18.) Naboth was obeying Numbers 36:7-8.

Verse 9. A ‘fast’ means ‘a time when people do not eat’. People did this to show God that their words to him were really true.

Verse 20. ‘Sold yourself’ means this. Ahab has let other people do bad things for him. Now Ahab cannot do anything to help himself.

Verse 23. 2 Kings 9:35-37 tells us what happened to Jezebel.

Verse 27. ‘Humble’ means ‘you do not think that you are important’. People that were sorry for their sins wore hairy clothes. They also fasted.

Chapter 22

The prophet Micaiah and Ahab

1 There was no war between Aram and Israel for three years. 2 But after three years, Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah, went to see the king of Israel. 3 The king of Israel had said to his leaders, ‘You know that Ramoth Gilead belongs to us. But we are not doing anything to take it from the king of Aram.’ 4 So (the king of Israel) asked Jehoshaphat, ‘Will you go with me to fight against Ramoth Gilead?’ Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, ‘I am like you are. My people are your people and my horses are your horses.’

5 But Jehoshaphat also said to the king of Israel, ‘First, we must know what the LORD wants us to do.’ 6 So the king of Israel brought together about 400 prophets. He asked them, ‘Should I fight a war against Ramoth Gilead, or not?’ And they answered, ‘Go, because the LORD will give it into the hands of the king.’ 7 But Jehoshaphat asked, ‘Can we not ask (someone who is really) a prophet of the LORD?’ 8 The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, ‘There is still one man, called Micaiah, (who is) the son of Imlah. We can ask him what the LORD wants us to do. But I do not like him, because he never says anything good about me.’ ‘The king (of Israel) should not say that’, replied Jehoshaphat. 9 So the king of Israel said to one of his officers, ‘Bring Micaiah the son of Imlah (to me), quickly.’ 10 The king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah were wearing their kings’ clothes. They sat on thrones by the gate of Samaria. (The gate) was near (the place where farmers) made flour from wheat. All the (400) prophets were speaking in front of them. 11 Zedekiah (was the) son of Kenaanah. He had used iron to make sharp points like a cow has on its head. (Zedekiah) said, ‘This is what the LORD is saying. “With these (sharp points) you will attack the soldiers from Aram. You will kill them all.” ’ 12 All the other prophets said the same. They said, ‘Attack Ramoth Gilead. You will beat it. The LORD will give it into the hands of the king.’

13 The man who had fetched Micaiah said to him, ‘All the (400) prophets have said that the king would beat (Aram). What you say must agree with their words. Say something that people want to hear.’ 14 But Micaiah said, ‘I can only tell the king what the LORD orders me (to say). I say that as surely as the LORD is alive.’ 15 When he arrived (at Samaria), the king asked him, ‘Micaiah, should we attack Ramoth Gilead or not?’ He answered, ‘(If you) attack it, you will beat it. (This is) because the LORD has given it into the king’s hands.’ 16 The king (Ahab) said to (Micaiah), ‘I always have to order you to say only what is true in the name of the LORD!’

17 Then Micaiah said,

            ‘I saw all the people of Israel.

            They were moving about on the hills like sheep.

            They did not have a leader.

            The LORD said (to me), “These people have no master.

            Let each of them go home and not fight.” ’

18 The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, ‘I told you (what he would say)! He will never say anything that is good about me. (He will only say) bad things.’ 19 Micaiah also said, ‘So now listen to the word of the LORD. I saw the LORD. He was sitting on his throne. All the armies from God’s home were standing round him on both sides. 20 And the LORD said, “Who will cause Ahab to attack Ramoth Gilead, where he will die?” One spirit suggested this (man) and another (suggested) that (man). 21 In the end, the spirit came and stood in front of the LORD. (The spirit) said, “I will cause (Ahab) to do it.” 22 “How will you do it?” the LORD asked (him). (The spirit) said, “I will go to all the prophets. And I will put words that are not true into their mouths.” The LORD said, “Go and do it. You will be able to cause (Ahab to do it).” 23 So, the LORD has now put a spirit into the mouths of all your prophets. (This spirit will cause them to say) words that are not true. The LORD has decided that you will die.’

24 Then Zedekiah, (who was) the son of Kenaanah, went to Micaiah. (Zedekiah) hit (Micaiah’s) face. (Zedekiah) asked (Micaiah), ‘Which way did the spirit from the LORD go, when he went from me to speak to you?’ 25 Micaiah answered (him), ‘You will know on the day that you go to hide in a secret room.’ 26 Then the king of Israel said (to his servants), ‘Take Micaiah and send him back to Amon. (Amon was the ruler) of the city. Send him also to Joash (who is) the king’s son. 27 Say (to them), “This is what the king wants you to do. Put this man (Micaiah) in a prison. Give him only bread and water until I return safely.” ’ 28 Micaiah said, ‘If you ever return safely, the LORD has not spoken by me.’ Then he said (to all the people), ‘Remember my words, all you people!’

An arrow kills King Ahab

29 So (Ahab) the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah went up to Ramoth Gilead. 30 The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, ‘I will go into the war and I will wear (a soldier’s) clothes. (People will not recognise me.) But you wear your king’s clothes.’ So the king of Israel caused himself to seem like somebody else. Then he went into the war. 31 Now the king of Aram had said to his 32 chariot leaders, ‘Do not fight with anybody, whether they are small or great. Only (fight) the king of Israel.’ 32 The chariot leaders saw Jehoshaphat. They thought, ‘Surely this (is) the king of Israel.’ So they turned to attack him. But Jehoshaphat shouted (something) aloud. 33 Then the chariot leaders saw that (Jehoshaphat) was not the king of Israel. So they did not follow him.

34 Then, someone shot (an arrow from) his bow. He did not shoot at anyone, but he hit the king of Israel. The (arrow) went between holes in the king’s war clothes. The king said to the man that drove his chariot, ‘Turn the chariot round. Take me away from where they are fighting. (An arrow) hurt me badly.’ 35 The soldiers fought all day. The king (of Israel) sat in his chariot. He was looking at the soldiers from Aram. The blood from where the arrow had hit him went down to the floor of the chariot. That evening, (Ahab) died. 36 When the sun started to go behind (the hills), people in the army shouted, ‘Every man must now go back to his town or to his farm.’

37 So the king (of Israel) died and they brought him to Samaria. They buried him there. 38 They washed the chariot in a pool (of water) in Samaria. It was where the prostitutes bathed. And the dogs drank (Ahab’s) blood. The word of the LORD had said that this would happen. 39 There is a book with reports about the kings of Israel. People wrote in it everything that King Ahab did. It includes the palace that he built. And it includes the cities that he made strong. 40 They buried Ahab with his ancestors. His son Ahaziah became the king (of Israel) after him.

King Jehoshaphat of Judah

41 After Ahab had been king of Israel for nearly 4 years, Jehoshaphat the son of Asa became the king of Judah. 42 Jehoshaphat was 35 years old when he became king. He ruled in Jerusalem for 25 years. His mother’s name was Azubah. (Azubah) was the daughter of Shilhi. 43 Jehoshaphat was like his father Asa in everything that he did. He did not do anything that was wrong. He did what the LORD wanted him to do. But he did not remove the (altars) on hills. People continued to offer sacrifices (on the hills) and they continued to burn incense there. 44 Also Jehoshaphat did not fight against the king of Israel.

45 There is a book with reports about the kings of Judah. People wrote in it everything that King Jehoshaphat did. It includes the wars that he fought. 46 He also removed the male prostitutes from their special altars. They were there even when his father Asa was the king (of Judah). 47 At this time there was no king in (the country called) Edom. Someone less important (than a king) ruled (in Edom). 48 Also, Jehoshaphat built some ships. He wanted them to bring back gold from Ophir. But they never went. (A storm) destroyed them at Ezion Geber. 49 At that time, Ahaziah the son of Ahab had said to Jehoshaphat, ‘Let my men sail with your men.’ But Jehoshaphat refused (when he offered to help). 50 So Jehoshaphat died and they buried him with his ancestors in the city of his father David. Jehoram his son ruled (Judah) after him.

King Ahaziah of Israel

51 Ahaziah (was) the son of Ahab. He became the king of Israel in Samaria. This was nearly 17 years after Jehoshaphat became the king of Judah. Ahaziah ruled Israel for two years. 52 He did things that the LORD did not like. He did the things that his father and mother did. And he did the things that Jeroboam the son of Nebat did. (Jeroboam) had caused Israel’s people to sin. 53 (Ahaziah) was the servant of Baal and he also worshipped him. He made the LORD, (who was) the God of Israel, very angry. That was what his father had also done.

Notes about chapter 22

Verse 4. ‘I am like you’ means that an enemy in Ramoth Gilead was dangerous to both kings. So Jehoshaphat’s people (army) and horses (chariots) would join with Ahab’s army.

Verse 6. ‘into the hands of the king’ means that Ahab would beat Aram. It also means that in verses 12 and 15.

Verse 7. Maybe Jehoshaphat thought that the 400 prophets were false prophets.

Verse 10. The gate into a city was an important place. The leaders of the town decided there what they should do.

Verse 11. Zedekiah was the leader of Ahab’s prophets.

Verse 21. Because the Hebrew Bible has ‘the spirit’, Bible students think this: It was a special spirit. It told prophets what to say. It caused them to say what was not true.

Verse 30. Maybe Ahab thought that Micaiah was right. So he caused himself to seem like somebody else.

Verse 31. The king of Aram had 32 chariot leaders now, instead of the 32 princes in 1 Kings 20:16. These chariot leaders were important soldiers.

Verse 34. An arrow is a stick with a sharp point. People shot them from bows. This soldier did not shoot at King Ahab. But his arrow hit the king, who died after some time! Maybe the soldier did not know what he had done.

Verse 46. The male prostitutes were part of what people did for the false god Baal.

Verses 51-53. The story of Ahaziah is continued in 2 Kings chapter 1.

Word List

a special table in a temple. Priests sacrificed animals on it.
fathers and grandfathers and people years ago that they were born to.
a servant of God in heaven.
pour oil from a fruit called the olive on to someone. This is how the Jews made people into kings or priests. The Hebrew word for ‘anoint’ gave us our word ‘messiah’.
a special box that the Jews carried with them. David kept it in the holy place.
a stick with a sharp point that people shot with bows.
Asherah poles
idols on tall sticks.
metal piece like a stick between two wheels.
the name of a very bad false god. The word ‘baal’ means ‘lord’.
say that you are better than everybody else.
people mix two other metals to make bronze.
people who lived in Israel before Joshua beat them.
a small truck that people pulled.
the worker makes the metal very hot, so that he can pour it into shapes. The shapes are called moulds. These shapes are usually in sand. When the metal became cold, it became hard again. It was the same shape as the mould. The worker has cast the metal.
a large hole in the side of a hill.
a large and beautiful tree.
a line of metal pieces which joined together.
a cart that soldiers rode in. Horses pulled them.
a special angel.
City of David
the part of Jerusalem where King David had lived.
a tall, round bit of stone.
a special yard outside the temple. There were several courtyards, one for men, one for women and one for people from foreign countries.
when two people promise things to each other. God’s covenant with his people was very special.
18-22 inches, or half a metre.
a dry place with much sand, so not many people live there.
an animal like a small horse.
human dirt or animal dirt that comes from their bodies.
when the ground moves and breaks.
family can sometimes mean not only sons and daughters but grandchildren and their children and so on; sometimes it can mean grandfathers and their fathers.
when people do not eat food. It tells God that their words to him are really true.
when people are together and they want the same things; when we are very good friends with someone.
like a big party outside the temple.
fig tree
a tree that grew fruits called figs.
excuse, but more than that. For Christians, it means excuse in a special way. It means, ‘For us, give the wrong things that we have done to Jesus.’ Read 2 Corinthians 5:21.
the strong part in the ground that people build houses on.
a room in a house, usually at the front.
you use your fingers to make music with a harp.
the home of God.
the language that the Jews spoke.
high places
altars on hills, where people worshipped their gods.
to be good and like God. Only God is really holy.
holy of holies
part of the temple; only the leader of the priests could go in to it, and that only on one day every year.
holy place
where the priests sacrificed animals to God.
something that is very sweet, like sugar; insects make it.
house of David
usually means the family of David, but may mean the palace of David.
house of Jeroboam
the family of Jeroboam. In 1 Kings 14:10, it may mean Jeroboam’s palace.
humble people do not think that they are important.
like a picture of a false god.
something that made a nice smell when people burned it.
the people that lived in Israel; or, sometimes, the people that lived in the north part of Israel.
a white material like bone that people got from elephants (large animals).
a person who is born from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their children.
keep a promise
do what you promised to do.
Kerethites (and Pelethites) were soldiers that David paid to help him. They came from countries like Philistia and Crete.
a country that a king rules.
laugh at
laugh against someone to cause him to feel bad.
law books
the first five books of the Bible.
the rules that God gave to his people, most importantly those in the Old Testament; or, the rules that a government makes.
God’s special servants in and round the temple. They all came from the tribe, or large family, of Levi.
wild animal, like a very large cat.
a name for God. It translates the Hebrew word ‘Yahweh’.
master, someone with authority. With a capital L it is a name for God.
people used their fingers to make music with a lyre.
when you are kind to someone that you do not have to be kind to.
maybe a road round, or on, the walls of Jerusalem.
a shape in sand.
an animal like a small horse. Mules carried heavy weights for people.
a large tree whose leaves fall off in winter.
from a fruit called the olive.
Old Testament
the first part of the Bible, which the writers wrote before the life of Jesus.
a tree that grew fruits called olives. They made things from its wood also.
to say what another person must do.
animal on a farm, like a cow. Plural ‘oxen’.
a large and beautiful house that a king lives in.
a kind of tree.
when we and God are friends; or, when there is no war, and when people do not argue.
Pelethites (and Kerethites) were soldiers that David paid to help him. They came from countries like Philistia and Crete.
the king of Egypt.
a tall, round bit of stone, metal or wood that keeps something up.
a kind of tree.
a fruit.
tell someone that they are good and great.
a special servant of God. Priests sacrificed animals to God in God’s house in Jerusalem. Priests came from the tribe of Levi.
an important person, maybe the son of a king.
someone that tells people what God is saying.
someone that has sex with people for money.
words that teach something that is important.
hurt someone because they are bad.
material with nothing else in it.
Queen Mother
name for the king’s mother.
a large, black bird.
like a square, but with two sides longer than the other two sides.
part of plant in the ground.
to kill animals and then burn them. This is how they offered them to God. The word also means the things (here, animals, but sometimes children) that they offered.
here, it means that nothing has hurt him.
a special part of the temple. Only the leader of the priests could go in to it, and that only on one day every year.
a weight of money among the Jews.
a soldier holds this over himself to stop things that would hit him.
a tool with a long handle that people use to dig with.
a valuable metal, like gold.
it is a sin when we do not obey God. Also, we sin when we do not obey God.
they had a nice or strong smell.
somebody that lives in God's home.
upstairs floor of a building.
a long, sharp knife that soldiers used.
a Hebrew weight. It was about 34 kilos (75 pounds). But some students say that a talent was sometimes twice as heavy as that.
the house of God in Jerusalem; or, a special building where people go to pray to their gods.
a house that people made from animal skins.
a special seat that a king sits on.
a very large family group. There were 12 tribes in Israel.
you use your mouth to make loud music with a trumpet.
a plant that grows fruits called grapes.
a field where people grow vines.
the fruit of a plant. People make bread from it.
round things that help things like cars to move.
like a thick line on the end of a stick; they hit people or animals with the line.
a woman whose husband has died.
a drink with alcohol in it.
what a bird flies with.
people with wisdom can say and do the right things.
wise people say and do the right things.
word of the LORD
what God said, and (maybe) a name for Christ.
tell someone that they are very great; also, tell them that you love them.

Book List

Alfred Barry, DD ~ A Bible Commentary for English Readers, Volume 3 ~ Cassell and Company

B. Davidson ~ Analytical Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon ~ Bagster, 1959

J. J. S. Perowne ~ Kings 1 and 2 ~ Cambridge University Press, 1897

Frank L. Paine ~ Miracle of Time ~ Shiloah Ministries, 1994

Simon J. DeVries ~ Word Biblical Commentary Volume 12, 1 Kings ~ Word Books, Waco, Texas, 1985

Oxford Bible Atlas, Third Edition ~ OUP, 1995

John R. Kohlenberger III ~ The Interlinear NIV Hebrew-English Old Testament ~ Zondervan Publishing House, 1987



The Promise, CEV ~ Nelson, 1995

English Version for the Deaf ~ Baker Book House, 1992

New Living Translation ~ Tyndale House Publishers, 1997


© Wycliffe Associates (UK), 1997-2008

This version published February 2008

The translated Bible text has been through Advanced Checking.