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Monday, May 21 2012

The Capitals Of Israel

Most people would correctly say that the capital of Israel, or at least of some of the Israelites, is Jerusalem. While there was a time when Jerusalem was the capital of all of Israel, as we will read from the Scriptures in this study, for most of its Israelite history, Jerusalem has been the capital of Judah, either the tribe of Judah, or later, the kingdom of Judah.

Jerusalem became the capital of all of Israel after the civil war (see The Civil War Kings).

Bethlehem, Hebron, Jerusalem

"5:1 Then came all the tribes of Israel to David unto Hebron [see Why Bethlehem, Hebron And Jerusalem?; also A View Of Heaven And Hell From Hebron], and spake, saying, Behold, we are thy bone and thy flesh. 5:2 Also in time past, when Saul was king over us, thou wast he that leddest out and broughtest in Israel: and the LORD said to thee, Thou shalt feed my people Israel, and thou shalt be a captain over Israel.

5:3 So all the elders of Israel [see What Did The Elders Of Israel Do?] came to the king to Hebron; and king David made a league with them in Hebron before the LORD: and they anointed David king over Israel.

5:4 David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years. 5:5 In Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months: and in Jerusalem he reigned thirty and three years over all Israel and Judah.

5:6 And the king and his men went to Jerusalem unto the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land [see A History Of Jerusalem: Jebus Of Canaan]: which spake unto David, saying, Except thou take away the blind and the lame, thou shalt not come in hither: thinking, David cannot come in hither. 5:7 Nevertheless David took the strong hold of Zion: the same is the city of David [see A History Of Jerusalem: The City Of David].

5:8 And David said on that day, Whosoever getteth up to the gutter, and smiteth the Jebusites, and the lame and the blind, that are hated of David's soul, he shall be chief and captain. Wherefore they said, The blind and the lame shall not come into the house.

5:9 So David dwelt in the fort, and called it the city of David. And David built round about from Millo and inward. 5:10 And David went on, and grew great, and the LORD God of hosts was with him." (2 Samuel 5:1-10 KJV)

From the time that the Israelites entered the promised land (see Milk and Honey), under Joshua and Eleazar (see From Moses And Aaron To Joshua and Eleazar), Jerusalem was assigned within the tribal territory of the tribe of Judah.

Mount Zion

"15:1 This then was the lot of the tribe of the children of Judah [see Who Were The First Jews?] by their families; even to the border of Edom the wilderness of Zin southward was the uttermost part of the south coast.

15:2 And their south border was from the shore of the salt sea [see The Salt Sea In History And Prophecy], from the bay that looketh southward: 15:3 And it went out to the south side to Maalehacrabbim, and passed along to Zin, and ascended up on the south side unto Kadeshbarnea, and passed along to Hezron, and went up to Adar, and fetched a compass to Karkaa: 15:4 From thence it passed toward Azmon, and went out unto the river of Egypt; and the goings out of that coast were at the sea: this shall be your south coast.

15:5 And the east border was the salt sea, even unto the end of Jordan [see also Beyond Jordan].

And their border in the north quarter was from the bay of the sea at the uttermost part of Jordan: 15:6 And the border went up to Bethhogla, and passed along by the north of Betharabah; and the border went up to the stone of Bohan the son of Reuben: 15:7 And the border went up toward Debir from the valley of Achor, and so northward, looking toward Gilgal, that is before the going up to Adummim, which is on the south side of the river: and the border passed toward the waters of Enshemesh, and the goings out thereof were at Enrogel: 15:8 And the border went up by the valley of the son of Hinnom unto the south side of the Jebusite; the same is Jerusalem: and the border went up to the top of the mountain that lieth before the valley of Hinnom westward, which is at the end of the valley of the giants northward: 15:9 And the border was drawn from the top of the hill unto the fountain of the water [see also How Did The Flood Happen?] of Nephtoah, and went out to the cities of mount Ephron; and the border was drawn to Baalah, which is Kirjathjearim: 15:10 And the border compassed from Baalah westward unto mount Seir, and passed along unto the side of mount Jearim, which is Chesalon, on the north side, and went down to Bethshemesh, and passed on to Timnah: 15:11 And the border went out unto the side of Ekron northward: and the border was drawn to Shicron, and passed along to mount Baalah, and went out unto Jabneel; and the goings out of the border were at the sea.

15:12 And the west border was to the great sea, and the coast thereof [see also The Joppa Lessons Of Jonah And Peter]. This is the coast of the children of Judah round about according to their families." (Joshua 15:1-12 KJV)

It is ironic that Jerusalem has been the capital of all of Israel for only a few decades, through the latter part of the reign of King David, the entire reign of King Solomon, and the beginning of the reign of Solomon's son Rehoboam. The LORD declared that He would divide the kingdom of Israel because of Solomon's unfaithfulness and idolatry (see A History Of Jerusalem: The Glory Of Solomon). As the LORD also decreed, it happened in the time of Solomon's son (see Rehoboam's Answer). For then on, Jerusalem was the capital of Judah, the people and the kingdom, not that of Israel, the other tribes of Israel (see A History Of Jerusalem: The Capital Of Judah). King David was the first king of united Israel; King Rehoboam was the last king of united Israel.

The Division of The Kingdom under Rehoboam

"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.

12:5 And he said unto them, Depart yet for three days, then come again to me. And the people departed.

12:6 And king Rehoboam consulted with the old men, that stood before Solomon his father while he yet lived, and said, How do ye advise that I may answer this people?

12:7 And they spake unto him, saying, If thou wilt be a servant unto this people this day, and wilt serve them, and answer them, and speak good words to them, then they will be thy servants for ever.

12:8 But he forsook the counsel of the old men, which they had given him, and consulted with the young men that were grown up with him, and which stood before him: 12:9 And he said unto them, What counsel give ye that we may answer this people, who have spoken to me, saying, Make the yoke which thy father did put upon us lighter?

12:10 And the young men that were grown up with him spake unto him, saying, Thus shalt thou speak unto this people that spake unto thee, saying, Thy father made our yoke heavy, but make thou it lighter unto us; thus shalt thou say unto them, My little finger shall be thicker than my father's loins. 12:11 And now whereas my father did lade you with a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke: my father hath chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.

12:12 So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam the third day, as the king had appointed, saying, Come to me again the third day. 12:13 And the king answered the people roughly, and forsook the old men's counsel that they gave him; 12:14 And spake to them after the counsel of the young men, saying, My father made your yoke heavy, and I will add to your yoke: my father also chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions. 12:15 Wherefore the king hearkened not unto the people; for the cause was from the LORD, that he might perform his saying, which the LORD spake by Ahijah the Shilonite unto Jeroboam the son of Nebat.

12:16 So when all Israel saw that the king hearkened not unto them, the people answered the king, saying, What portion have we in David? neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse: to your tents, O Israel: now see to thine own house, David.

So Israel departed unto their tents.

12:17 But as for the children of Israel which dwelt in the cities of Judah, Rehoboam reigned over them. 12:18 Then king Rehoboam sent Adoram, who was over the tribute; and all Israel stoned him with stones, that he died. Therefore king Rehoboam made speed to get him up to his chariot, to flee to Jerusalem. 12:19 So Israel rebelled against the house of David unto this day." (1 Kings 12:1-19 KJV)

"Rehoboam made speed to get him up to his chariot, to flee to Jerusalem. So Israel rebelled against the house of David unto this day"

After the division of Israel into "Israel" and "Judah," the first king of Israel was Jeroboam (see Jeroboam Of Israel; see also Kings of Israel and Judah for a complete list of the kings of Israel and Judah, each with a detailed Bible study). Under Jeroboam, Israel was corrupt almost from the very beginning. He made "calves of gold," just like the Israelites did at Mount Sinai (see The Mount Sinai Riot) and "made priests of the lowest of the people, which were not of the sons of Levi" (see No Levites In The Lost Ten Tribes? and The Origin Of The Levite Priesthood). During that time, King Jeroboam of Israel "built Shechem in mount Ephraim, and dwelt therein."

Shechem

"12:25 Then Jeroboam built Shechem in mount Ephraim, and dwelt therein; and went out from thence, and built Penuel.

12:26 And Jeroboam said in his heart, Now shall the kingdom return to the house of David: 12:27 If this people go up to do sacrifice in the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, then shall the heart of this people turn again unto their lord, even unto Rehoboam king of Judah, and they shall kill me, and go again to Rehoboam king of Judah.

12:28 Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold, and said unto them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.

12:29 And he set the one in Bethel, and the other put he in Dan.

12:30 And this thing became a sin: for the people went to worship before the one, even unto Dan.

12:31 And he made an house of high places, and made priests of the lowest of the people, which were not of the sons of Levi. 12:32 And Jeroboam ordained a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, like unto the feast that is in Judah, and he offered upon the altar.

So did he in Bethel, sacrificing unto the calves that he had made: and he placed in Bethel the priests of the high places which he had made. 12:33 So he offered upon the altar which he had made in Bethel the fifteenth day of the eighth month, even in the month which he had devised of his own heart; and ordained a feast unto the children of Israel: and he offered upon the altar, and burnt incense." (1 Kings 12:25 33 KJV)

The capital of the northern kingdom of Israel (the southern kingdom was called "Judah") was thereafter situated at Tirzah, when Jeroboam was in his residence there. Regardless of where he was however, he had made himself an object of the wrath of the LORD (see Appearances Of The LORD God).

Tirzah

"14:1 At that time Abijah the son of Jeroboam fell sick. 14:2 And Jeroboam said to his wife, Arise, I pray thee, and disguise thyself, that thou be not known to be the wife of Jeroboam; and get thee to Shiloh: behold, there is Ahijah the prophet, which told me that I should be king over this people. 14:3 And take with thee ten loaves, and cracknels, and a cruse of honey, and go to him: he shall tell thee what shall become of the child. 14:4 And Jeroboam's wife did so, and arose, and went to Shiloh, and came to the house of Ahijah.

But Ahijah could not see; for his eyes were set by reason of his age. 14:5 And the LORD said unto Ahijah, Behold, the wife of Jeroboam cometh to ask a thing of thee for her son; for he is sick: thus and thus shalt thou say unto her: for it shall be, when she cometh in, that she shall feign herself to be another woman.

14:6 And it was so, when Ahijah heard the sound of her feet, as she came in at the door, that he said, Come in, thou wife of Jeroboam; why feignest thou thyself to be another? for I am sent to thee with heavy tidings. 14:7 Go, tell Jeroboam, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Forasmuch as I exalted thee from among the people, and made thee prince over my people Israel, 14:8 And rent the kingdom away from the house of David, and gave it thee: and yet thou hast not been as my servant David, who kept my commandments, and who followed me with all his heart, to do that only which was right in mine eyes; 14:9 But hast done evil above all that were before thee: for thou hast gone and made thee other gods, and molten images, to provoke me to anger, and hast cast me behind thy back:

14:10 Therefore, behold, I will bring evil upon the house of Jeroboam, and will cut off from Jeroboam him that pisseth against the wall, and him that is shut up and left in Israel, and will take away the remnant of the house of Jeroboam, as a man taketh away dung, till it be all gone. 14:11 Him that dieth of Jeroboam in the city shall the dogs eat; and him that dieth in the field shall the fowls of the air eat: for the LORD hath spoken it.

14:12 Arise thou therefore, get thee to thine own house: and when thy feet enter into the city, the child shall die. 14:13 And all Israel shall mourn for him, and bury him: for he only of Jeroboam shall come to the grave, because in him there is found some good thing toward the LORD God of Israel in the house of Jeroboam.

14:14 Moreover the LORD shall raise him up a king over Israel, who shall cut off the house of Jeroboam that day: but what? even now. 14:15 For the LORD shall smite Israel, as a reed is shaken in the water, and he shall root up Israel out of this good land, which he gave to their fathers, and shall scatter them beyond the river, because they have made their groves, provoking the LORD to anger. 14:16 And he shall give Israel up because of the sins of Jeroboam, who did sin, and who made Israel to sin.

14:17 And Jeroboam's wife arose, and departed, and came to Tirzah: and when she came to the threshold of the door, the child died; 14:18 And they buried him; and all Israel mourned for him, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake by the hand of his servant Ahijah the prophet.

14:19 And the rest of the acts of Jeroboam, how he warred, and how he reigned, behold, they are written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel. 14:20 And the days which Jeroboam reigned were two and twenty years: and he slept with his fathers, and Nadab his son reigned in his stead." (1 Kings 14:1-20 KJV)

After Jeroboam, King Baasha, the third king of the separated kingdom of Israel (see Baasha Of Israel) apparently intended to move the capital to Ramah, but an invasion from Benhadad of Syria caused Baasha to remain at Tirzah.

The Hills Of Samaria

"15:20 So Benhadad hearkened unto king Asa, and sent the captains of the hosts which he had against the cities of Israel, and smote Ijon, and Dan, and Abelbethmaachah, and all Cinneroth, with all the land of Naphtali. 15:21 And it came to pass, when Baasha heard thereof, that he left off building of Ramah, and dwelt in Tirzah. 15:22 Then king Asa made a proclamation throughout all Judah; none was exempted: and they took away the stones of Ramah, and the timber thereof, wherewith Baasha had builded; and king Asa built with them Geba of Benjamin, and Mizpah." (1 Kings 15:20-22 KJV)

Baasha reigned, corruptly, from Tirzah for twenty-four years; he was buried in Tirzah. The LORD chose Baasha's successor.

"15:33 In the third year of Asa king of Judah began Baasha the son of Ahijah to reign over all Israel in Tirzah, twenty and four years. 15:34 And he did evil in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the way of Jeroboam, and in his sin wherewith he made Israel to sin." (1 Kings 15:33-34 KJV)

"16:1 Then the word of the LORD came to Jehu the son of Hanani against Baasha, saying, 16:2 Forasmuch as I exalted thee out of the dust, and made thee prince over my people Israel; and thou hast walked in the way of Jeroboam, and hast made my people Israel to sin, to provoke me to anger with their sins; 16:3 Behold, I will take away the posterity of Baasha, and the posterity of his house; and will make thy house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat. 16:4 Him that dieth of Baasha in the city shall the dogs eat; and him that dieth of his in the fields shall the fowls of the air eat.

16:5 Now the rest of the acts of Baasha, and what he did, and his might, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel? 16:6 So Baasha slept with his fathers, and was buried in Tirzah: and Elah his son reigned in his stead [see Elah Of Israel]." (1 Kings 16:1-6 KJV)

King Elah reigned in Israel for two years. He was assassinated while in a drunken stupor; his entire family was killed, ending his dynasty (the northern kingdom had nine royal lines, or dynasties - just as democracies do when father and son(s) are elected as president; see also see Israelite Dynasties). Zimri, one of Elah's military commanders, assassinated and succeeded Elah as king.

"16:8 In the twenty and sixth year of Asa king of Judah began Elah the son of Baasha to reign over Israel in Tirzah, two years.

16:9 And his servant Zimri, captain of half his chariots, conspired against him, as he was in Tirzah, drinking himself drunk in the house of Arza steward of his house in Tirzah. 16:10 And Zimri went in and smote him, and killed him, in the twenty and seventh year of Asa king of Judah, and reigned in his stead.

16:11 And it came to pass, when he began to reign, as soon as he sat on his throne, that he slew all the house of Baasha: he left him not one that pisseth against a wall, neither of his kinsfolks, nor of his friends. 16:12 Thus did Zimri destroy all the house of Baasha, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake against Baasha by Jehu the prophet, 16:13 For all the sins of Baasha, and the sins of Elah his son, by which they sinned, and by which they made Israel to sin, in provoking the LORD God of Israel to anger with their vanities." (1 Kings 16:8-13 KJV)

Zimri (see Zimri Of Israel) lasted a week as king in Tirzah before the people rose up in retaliation for the assassination of Elah. Zimri committed suicide by burning his palace to the ground with himself in it. Omri, another of Elah's military commanders, was then proclaimed king (see Royal Democracy).

"16:15 In the twenty and seventh year of Asa king of Judah did Zimri reign seven days in Tirzah. And the people were encamped against Gibbethon, which belonged to the Philistines. 16:16 And the people that were encamped heard say, Zimri hath conspired, and hath also slain the king: wherefore all Israel made Omri, the captain of the host, king over Israel that day in the camp. 16:17 And Omri went up from Gibbethon, and all Israel with him, and they besieged Tirzah. 16:18 And it came to pass, when Zimri saw that the city was taken, that he went into the palace of the king's house, and burnt the king's house over him with fire, and died, 16:19 For his sins which he sinned in doing evil in the sight of the LORD, in walking in the way of Jeroboam, and in his sin which he did, to make Israel to sin." (1 Kings 16:15-19 KJV)

Omri (see Omri Of Israel) reigned in Tirzah for six years, before establishing the capital at Samaria, a newly-built city named after the territory in which it was located.

Samaria

"16:23 In the thirty and first year of Asa king of Judah began Omri to reign over Israel, twelve years: six years reigned he in Tirzah. 16:24 And he bought the hill Samaria of Shemer for two talents of silver, and built on the hill, and called the name of the city which he built, after the name of Shemer, owner of the hill, Samaria." (1 Kings 16:23-24 KJV)

The only thing "great" about Omri was his evil; "Omri wrought evil in the eyes of the LORD, and did worse than all that were before him." The kingdom of Israel was then in full decay; the remaining kings did nothing to stop it - Ahab is one of the most well-known, not because of himself, but because of his wife: "he took to wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Zidonians, and went and served Baal, and worshipped him."

"16:25 But Omri wrought evil in the eyes of the LORD, and did worse than all that were before him. 16:26 For he walked in all the way of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and in his sin wherewith he made Israel to sin, to provoke the LORD God of Israel to anger with their vanities.

16:27 Now the rest of the acts of Omri which he did, and his might that he showed, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel? 16:28 So Omri slept with his fathers, and was buried in Samaria: and Ahab his son reigned in his stead.

16:29 And in the thirty and eighth year of Asa king of Judah began Ahab the son of Omri to reign over Israel: and Ahab the son of Omri reigned over Israel in Samaria twenty and two years. 16:30 And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the LORD above all that were before him. 16:31 And it came to pass, as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he took to wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Zidonians, and went and served Baal, and worshipped him. 16:32 And he reared up an altar for Baal in the house of Baal, which he had built in Samaria. 16:33 And Ahab made a grove; and Ahab did more to provoke the LORD God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel that were before him." (1 Kings 16:25-33 KJV)

The kingdom of Israel ended with their being invaded by the Assyrians, who took the people of Israel away into thereafter historical oblivion, "the lost ten tribes" of Israel (see The Galilee Captivity).

"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.

17:3 Against him came up Shalmaneser king of Assyria; and Hoshea became his servant, and gave him presents. 17:4 And the king of Assyria found conspiracy in Hoshea: for he had sent messengers to So king of Egypt, and brought no present to the king of Assyria, as he had done year by year: therefore the king of Assyria shut him up, and bound him in prison. 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." (2 Kings 17:1-6 KJV)

Fact Finder: When will Israel and Judah be reunited?
See The Gathering of Israel and Judah; also The Church In The Kingdom Of God and The Church: Mission Accomplished


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This Day In History, May 21

293: Roman Emperors Diocletian, Maximian, Galerius and Diocletian began to reign as a Tetrarchy, meaning "four rulers" (see also A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars).

878: Syracuse, Italy, was captured by the Muslim sultan of Sicily.

996: Otto III was crowned the Roman Emperor at age 16 by Pope Gregory V (Gregory's real name was Bruno of Carinthia; he was the first German pope and a cousin of Otto - see Emperors and Popes and The Struggle For The Papacy; also Constantine's Crusades In History And Prophecy and A History Of Jerusalem: Constantine and Muhammad).

1471: King Henry VI was murdered in the Tower of London during the Wars of the Roses. Edward IV took the throne.

1502: Portuguese explorer Joao da Nova discovered the island later known as Saint Helena.

1536: The General Assembly of Geneva, Switzerland officially embraced Protestantism by accepting the "evangelical faith" of the Swiss reformers.

1809: The Battle of Aspern-Essling, Napoleon's first serious personal defeat, fought between a French and allied army of 73,000 men, and 115,000 Austrians under Archduke Charles around the towns of Aspern and Essling near Vienna. Austrian loses were 23,400 men, French losses over 23,000.

1856: The town of Lawrence, Kansas was burned by pro-slavery forces.

1894: England's Manchester Ship Canal was officially opened by Queen Victoria.

1939: The Canadian National War Memorial was unveiled by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (the mother of Queen Elizabeth II) in Ottawa. Canada immediately joined with Britain in the war against Adolf Hitler a few months later (Canada had 1 million people in the military during the war), at the start of the Second World War in September 1939 (listen to our Sermon The European World Wars; see also Presidential Quotes On War, Terrorism, Religion).

1940: British tank forces attacked German General Erwin Rommel's 7th Panzer Division at Arras, slowing his blitzkrieg of France.

1946: Nuclear weapons physicist Louis Slotin was fatally irradiated during an experiment with the "Demon core" (a 14 pound mass of plutonium that was detonated in an experimental atomic explosion a few weeks later) at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

1956: The U.S. exploded the first airborne weapon of mass destruction with a hydrogen bomb over the Bikini Atoll in the Pacific.

1960: 5,700 people were killed in southern Chile by the by one of the strongest earthquakes on record: magnitude 9.5

1991: Former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated by a bomb hidden in a bouquet of flowers while campaigning in India's southern state of Tamil Nadu.

2001: France (by means of the "Taubira law") officially declared the Atlantic slave trade and slavery as crimes against humanity.


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