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Friday, January 27 2012
A History Of Jerusalem: The Capital Of Judah
Despite the potential of his great wisdom, King Solomon never overcame his worship of idols (see A History Of Jerusalem: The Glory Of Solomon). The LORD had given Solomon far more wisdom, plus national and personal wealth and power, than He had given to any other human. But Solomon's idolatry grew worse through his lifetime until the LORD rendered His judgment upon Solomon and the kingdom of vanity that he had created from the Israel of the LORD. Not only would the imperial glory be removed, Israel itself would cease to exist as one nation under God. In due time, Israel would become "Israel" and "Judah" - two separate and foreign to each other nations, each with their own capital city. The lesson: The LORD can make you, no matter how small you are, or The LORD can break you, no matter how big you are.
"11:9 And the LORD was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the LORD God of Israel [see The First Christian Church and The Rock Of The Church], which had appeared unto him twice, 11:10 And had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods: but he kept not that which the LORD commanded. 11:11 Wherefore the LORD said unto Solomon, Forasmuch as this is done of thee, and thou hast not kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy servant. 11:12 Notwithstanding in thy days I will not do it for David thy father's sake [see A History Of Jerusalem: The City Of David]: but I will rend it out of the hand of thy son. 11:13 Howbeit I will not rend away all the kingdom; but will give one tribe to thy son for David my servant's sake, and for Jerusalem's sake which I have chosen." (1 Kings 11:9-13 KJV)
As declared by the LORD, the rending of Israel happened in the time of Solomon's son Rehoboam - an arrogant young fool whose blustering mouth very quickly sealed his political fate (see Rehoboam's Answer). The result was the creation of a new and separate kingdom of Israel, consisting of ten of the twelve tribes (the Levites at that time were as-yet evenly distributed through all of the territories of the other tribes, but not for long; see No Levites In The Lost Ten Tribes?), with the capital up in Samaria (Shechem, Tirzah and then the city of Samaria; see The Kings Of Tirzah), leaving only the tribes of Judah and Benjamin as the kingdom of "Judah" (see also Was Paul A Jew or a Benjamite?), with their capital remaining at Jerusalem. It was a perfectly logical outcome: the tribal territories of Judah and Benjamin both already incorporated Jerusalem, from the south and from the north respectively, whereas the other tribes did not (see the Israel tribal map in the study A History Of Jerusalem: Jebus Of Canaan). From the time of the division of Israel, Jerusalem became a foreign capital city to the northern ten tribes of Israel.
"12:1 And Rehoboam went to Shechem: for all Israel were come to Shechem to make him king. 12:2 And it came to pass, when Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who was yet in Egypt, heard of it, (for he was fled from the presence of king Solomon, and Jeroboam dwelt in Egypt;) 12:3 That they sent and called him. And Jeroboam and all the congregation of Israel came, and spake unto Rehoboam, saying, 12:4 Thy father made our yoke grievous: now therefore make thou the grievous service of thy father, and his heavy yoke which he put upon us, lighter, and we will serve thee.
Rehoboam went from being the king of all of the Israelites (as his grandfather King David and father King Solomon had been), to the first king of "Judah" only - the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, plus the southern Levites (see also Are Levites 'Jews'?). Beginning with Rehoboam, the southern kingdom of Judah had 19 kings, while, beginning with Jeroboam (see Jeroboam Of Israel), the northern kingdom of Israel would also have 19 kings, of their own (see Kings of Israel and Judah for the complete list of kings, with a detailed study for each of them; see also Israelite Dynasties). Amazingly, although they were sometimes allied against other nations, there were also times when Israel and Judah ("the Jews" - "Jew" is an abbreviation of Judah; see also Who Were The First Jews?) were at war against each other - not as a civil war, but as a war between two sovereign nations. Examples:
"14:30 And there was war between Rehoboam [i.e. of Judah] and Jeroboam [i.e. of Israel] all their days." (1 Kings 14:30 KJV)
Although Israel and Judah came into existence as separate kingdoms at the same time during the reign of Rehoboam, their national duration was different. After less than 300 years as a separate nation, the northern kingdom of Israel ceased to exist by 721 BC when they were conquered and taken away by the Assyrians (see The Galilee Captivity); they thereafter became known to history as "the lost ten tribes" of Israel. During that time, Judah, with its capital at Jerusalem, continued on.
"17:1 In the twelfth year of Ahaz king of Judah began Hoshea the son of Elah to reign in Samaria over Israel nine years. 17:2 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, but not as the kings of Israel that were before him.
The kingdom of Judah lasted for about 135 years longer than Israel, until 586 BC, when they too were conquered and taken away into exile, to Babylon (see The Babylon Exodus And Exile). When Judah fell to the Babylonians, Jerusalem and the Temple built by Solomon were destroyed (see A History Of Jerusalem: The Temple Of The LORD). The devastated city was then left desolate for 70 years, until the people of Judah were given to return (from the same general area that Abraham began; see The Journey From Ur Of The Chaldees).
"36:11 Zedekiah was one and twenty years old when he began to reign, and reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. 36:12 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD his God, and humbled not himself before Jeremiah the prophet speaking from the mouth of the LORD. 36:13 And he also rebelled against king Nebuchadnezzar, who had made him swear by God: but he stiffened his neck, and hardened his heart from turning unto the LORD God of Israel. 36:14 Moreover all the chief of the priests, and the people, transgressed very much after all the abominations of the heathen; and polluted the house of the LORD which he had hallowed in Jerusalem.
Fact Finder: The people of Judah were permitted to return by a great Persian King (surprising to many, Persia is known today as Iran). Was it merely the Persian king's idea, or did the LORD make it happen - just as He prophesied? Was that Persian king, Cyrus, himself prophesied, by name, in the Bible (by the prophet Isaiah), before he was even born?
This Day In History, January 27
98: Trajan became the Emperor of the Roman Empire (see Pax Romana: The Birth Of The Roman Empire) after the death of Nerva.
447: Constantinople was severely damaged by an earthquake.
1186: German emperor Heinrich ("Henry") VI, king of Germany, Burgundy and Italy, married Constance of Sicily.
1343: Pope Clement VI's bull Unigenitus (see Papal Bull) proclaimed the doctrine of Indulgences. The sale of Indulgences was a major part of Martin Luther's "protest" (although Luther remained a "good Catholic" for almost all of Rome's other erroneous doctrines - hence the reason that the Church of Rome is rightfully called the mother of harlots in Revelation 17:5).
1731: Bartolomeo Cristofori died. The Italian harpsichord maker is credited with the invention of the piano. The major difference between the two instruments is that harpsichord strings are mechanically plucked, with very little variation in sound for each note possible, whereas piano strings are struck by hammers that do permit variation in volume and duration of each note.
1736: Stanislas II, Poland's last king, abdicated. Poland was dismembered by Germany and Russia.
1822: Greece proclaimed independence from Turkey's Ottoman Empire.
1851: Naturalist John Audubon died at age 66. He published his collection of paintings of all known species of birds in North America.
1858: Following the advice of her military advisors, Queen Victoria chose Ottawa as the capital of Canada over Quebec City, Montreal, Kingston and Toronto. Formerly called Bytown (named after Colonel John By, of the Royal Engineers, who oversaw the building of the canal through the town that was built there in 1825), Ottawa was chosen because its more-distant location from the U.S. border made it more defensible - lessons learned from the repelled invasions during the War of 1812-14.
1901: Giuseppe Verdi, a major Italian opera composer of the 19th century, died (his name in English is Joseph Green).
1916: The Spartacus League, forerunner of the German Communist Party, was formed in Berlin.
1945: The Russian army liberated the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland. 1,500,000 people, of whom 1,000,000 were Jews, were murdered by the Nazis at the "industrial death camp."
1967: Astronauts Virgil "Gus" Grissom, 41; Edward White, 37; and Roger Chaffee, 32, were killed in a fire aboard Apollo 1 during a practice launch at Cape Canaveral.
1969: As part of widespread Arab persecution of Jews living in Arab countries after the Arab defeat in the 1967 war, 9 Jews were among 14 prisoners hanged as "spies" in Baghdad's Liberation Square; a crowd estimated at 200,000 marched past the dangling bodies as a loudspeaker blared commentary on "Jewish treason."
1973: A cease-fire accord was signed by the U.S., South Vietnam, North Vietnam and the Vietcong to end the Vietnam War (which was actually a civil war between the Vietnamese people whose single country had been partitioned in 1954, by the French at the end of the First Indochina War, into North and South Vietnam). North Vietnam then over-ran the South and declared victory.
1980: The Israel-Egypt border was opened for the first time since the 1948 war that resulted in the creation of the modern state of "Israel" (it's actually the modern state of Judah; see The Southern Kingdom and The Gathering of Israel and Judah).
1990: The Polish communist party was dissolved.
1996: Germany began to observe the International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
2006: Western Union discontinued its telegram service.