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The Prophets: North and South

The United Kingdom of Israel was established (see The Origin and The Civil War) under King David and his son and successor King Solomon. During that era, prophets such as Samuel and Nathan were the foremost of the servants of the LORD's Word.

After the death of King Solomon (but due to his henpecked apostasy during the latter part of his lifetime), Israel divided into two independent kingdoms (see The Division Of Israel); the northern ten tribes that composed The Northern Kingdom of "Israel" and the southern tribes of Judah and Benjamin which composed The Southern Kingdom of "Judah." Both Israel and Judah were eventually conquered because they became unfaithful to the LORD (their fall, Israel to the Assyrians and Judah to the Babylonians, were actually direct wrath from the LORD). While their warnings were based on God's Law that applies to everyone, everywhere, through all time, prophets during those few centuries were directed to specific targets:

  • prophets primarily to the northern kingdom of "Israel"

  • prophets primarily to the southern kingdom of "Judah"

  • prophets of Judah in Babylon during the seventy years of exile

  • prophets of Judah after the return from the Babylonian exile

"The LORD testified against Israel, and against Judah, by all the prophets"

All of the prophets will be studied individually in this series, however it's important to understand the time and circumstances of their ministries. It was the why that they were given to be prophets of the LORD to begin with.

The Holy Scriptures The fall of the northern kingdom of Israel was completed by the Assyrians in 721 BC (see The Galilee Captivity). The so-called "lost ten tribes" never returned from their exile in Assyria; they became "lost" to themselves and to the historical record (the reason that, unlike Judah, there are no recorded prophets to "Israel" during their exile, and why there couldn't have been prophets to them after their return - because they haven't returned, yet - see The Gathering of Israel and Judah).

"17:5 Then the king of Assyria came up throughout all the land, and went up to Samaria, and besieged it three years. 17:6 In the ninth year of Hoshea the king of Assyria took Samaria, and carried Israel away into Assyria, and placed them in Halah and in Habor by the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes.

17:7 For so it was, that the children of Israel had sinned against the LORD their God, which had brought them up out of the land of Egypt, from under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and had feared other gods, 17:8 And walked in the statutes of the heathen, whom the LORD cast out from before the children of Israel, and of the kings of Israel, which they had made." (2 Kings 17:5-8 KJV)

"17:13 Yet the LORD testified against Israel, and against Judah, by all the prophets, and by all the seers, saying, Turn ye from your evil ways, and keep my commandments and my statutes, according to all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you by my servants the prophets. 17:14 Notwithstanding they would not hear, but hardened their necks, like to the neck of their fathers, that did not believe in the LORD their God." (2 Kings 17:13-14 KJV)

The fall of the southern kingdom of Judah was completed in 586 BC (the southern kingdom lasted about 135 years after the northern kingdom fell in 721 BC) by the Babylonians (see Ancient Empires - Babylon) who had conquered the Assyrians (see Ancient Empires - Assyria). Despite the time difference, Judah fell for the very same reason as Israel - they became lawless in God's sight (see Violence). Just like much of the modern-day "Christian" world, "they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against his people, till there was no remedy."

"36:15 And the LORD God of their fathers sent to them by his messengers, rising up betimes, and sending; because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling place: 36:16 But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against his people, till there was no remedy. 36:17 Therefore he brought upon them the king of the Chaldees, who slew their young men with the sword in the house of their sanctuary, and had no compassion upon young man or maiden, old man, or him that stooped for age: he gave them all into his hand. 36:18 And all the vessels of the house of God, great and small, and the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king, and of his princes; all these he brought to Babylon. 36:19 And they burnt the house of God, and brake down the wall of Jerusalem, and burnt all the palaces thereof with fire, and destroyed all the goodly vessels thereof.

36:20 And them that had escaped from the sword carried he away to Babylon; where they were servants to him and his sons until the reign of the kingdom of Persia: 36:21 To fulfil the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths: for as long as she lay desolate she kept sabbath, to fulfil threescore and ten years." (2 Chronicles 36:15-21 KJV)

Fact Finder: Who was "the LORD God" that all of the prophets served?
See Christ The Creator and 'Before Abraham Was, I AM'

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