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Thursday, May 29 2014
1 Kings 16: The Election Of Kings
"Then were the people of Israel divided into two parts: half of the people followed Tibni the son of Ginath, to make him king; and half followed Omri. But the people that followed Omri prevailed against the people that followed Tibni"
The Books of Kings (see 1 Kings: From Empire To Divided Kingdom and 2 Kings: The Rise And Fall Of Israel and Judah) and Chronicles (see 1 Chronicles: From Adam To King David and 2 Chronicles: Judah From Solomon To Babylon) detail the succession of kings of the Kingdom of Israel and the Kingdom of Judah (see Israelite Dynasties and Kings of Israel and Judah). Most legitimate kings followed the customary succession rule, as declared by the LORD (the inheritance law of Numbers 27:8-11 has also been followed by the royal houses of Britain and Europe for centuries) after a line was elected, either by the LORD or by the majority of the people.
Israel's human monarchy was the result of the people's own demand to elect a king, just like all of the other nations (see Our King May Judge Us). When their first king proved himself unfit (see Saul's Impeachment), he was replaced by David (see The Anointing Of David) - who was also eventually declared king by an election of majority of all of the tribes of Israel.
"5:1 Then came all the tribes of Israel to David unto 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 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.". When David's son and successor Solomon became abusive and corrupt, the people of the northern ten tribes elected themselves a new king, while the people of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin elected to continue their allegiance to Rehoboam - a man of their own tribe." (2 Samuel 5:1-3 KJV)
Throughout the thousands of years of the history of democracy (the English word "democracy" originated from an ancient Greek word that meant people power; democracy was not the invention of any late-comer nation in just the past few hundred years), the greatest danger of, and from, democracy, as warned by the LORD (Who was and is Jesus Christ - see Genesis 1: In The Beginning Was The Word and The Kingdom Of The LORD God), is that nations elect leaders that are a reflection of their own state of morality - good or evil.
Democracy can be very good, if the people are faithful to the LORD's way of true wisdom, but when "leaders" are chosen merely to facilitate a people's "freedom" to be self-destructive fools and godless heathens, regardless of how self-worshipping they claim to be in the LORD's Name (see Why Call Me, Lord, Lord, and Do Not The Things Which I Say?), then the nation will surely collapse from within as a result of its own structural weakness. It doesn't matter how powerful they may seem while falling e.g. the Roman Empire, that ruled the "world," was never conquered - it collapsed into chaos and civil strife on a massive scale from its own internal rot. Ancient Israel experienced democracy in that way, good and bad, over and over - as we will read.
As we began reading in the previous chapter (see 1 Kings 15: How Many Kings Reigned In The United Kingdom?), Baasha was the third king of the Kingdom of Israel (see Baasha Of Israel).
"15:32 And there was war between Asa and Baasha king of Israel all their days. 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 15:32-34 KJV)
Elah followed his father's election as king of Israel (see Elah Of Israel). Elah was assassinated by Zimri. Assassination has been common in some present-day democracies as well, but in Elah's case it was "according to the word of the LORD, which he spake against Baasha by Jehu the prophet."
"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.
Zimri then began his own dynasty but reigned only seven days before he had a democratic counter-revolution on his hands (see Zimri Of Israel). The people of Israel elected their own king, Omri ("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"), who led the army against Zimri.
"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. 16:20 Now the rest of the acts of Zimri, and his treason that he wrought, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?" (1 Kings 16:15-20 KJV)
Then came a plain example of royal democracy: "Then were the people of Israel divided into two parts: half of the people followed Tibni the son of Ginath, to make him king; and half followed Omri. But the people that followed Omri prevailed against the people that followed Tibni the son of Ginath: so Tibni died, and Omri reigned" (see Omri Of Israel). Omri's election also demonstrated the fatal flaw of democracy - the people's choice, as a reflection of themselves, "wrought evil in the eyes of the LORD, and did worse than all that were before him." Israel's problem wasn't just their corrupt leaders because it was their corrupt citizenry that elected and thereafter supported those "people's choice" immoral men because they were a reflection of themselves.
"16:21 Then were the people of Israel divided into two parts: half of the people followed Tibni the son of Ginath, to make him king; and half followed Omri. 16:22 But the people that followed Omri prevailed against the people that followed Tibni the son of Ginath: so Tibni died, and Omri reigned.
Omri was succeeded by his son Ahab (see Ahab Of Israel), "And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the LORD above all that were before him." His wife Jezebel became even more infamous when Ahab "took to wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Zidonians, and went and served Baal, and worshipped him."
"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.
Fact Finder: (a) Who elected Jesus Christ as the King of humanity? (b) When will His reign over all people begin?
This Day In History, May 29
1167: Frederick Barbarossa was defeated by the Lombard League at the Battle of Legnano.
1328: Philip VI was crowned King of France.
1453: Ottoman Turks (listen to our Sermon The Ottoman Empire) under Sultan Mehmed II seized Constantinople (listen also to our Sermon Constantine's Papacy) after a seven-month siege. Emperor Constantine XI was killed in the battle. The Eastern Roman Empire collapsed, marking the end of the European Middle Ages.
1500: Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Diaz, who discovered the Cape of Good Hope, drowned during a voyage.
1555: The Peace of Amasya was concluded between the Ottoman Empire and Persia.
1660: King Charles II was restored to the English throne after the Puritan Commonwealth.
1727: Peter II was proclaimed Czar (the Russian form of "Caesar") of Russia.
1838: John George Lambton, the earl of Durham, landed at Quebec. British PM Lord Melbourne had appointed Lord Durham governor general of Canada to investigate colonial grievances after the Canadian rebellions of 1837. The Durham Report urged unification of Upper Canada (Ontario) and Lower Canada (Quebec) and institution of government by colonists themselves. Unlike the colonists in New England to the south who rebelled after their demands were not met, all of the demands of the Canadian colonists were met, thereby avoiding another "revolution in the Americas."
1903: King Alexander Obrenovich of Serbia, and Queen Draga, were assassinated in Belgrade by the "Black Hand" organization.
1914: The ocean liner Empress of Ireland sank quickly in the Gulf of St. Lawrence off Rimouski, Quebec after colliding with a Norwegian coal ship in dense fog. 1,012 lives were lost, the worst maritime disaster in Canadian history.
1918: Armenian forces defeated the Ottomans at the Battle of Sardarapat.
1944: A German submarine sank the USS Block Island, a U.S. aircraft carrier, near Madeira. It was the only U.S. carrier lost in the Atlantic Ocean during the Second World War (1939-1945; the U.S. entered the war in December of 1941 after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii). Eleven U.S. aircraft carriers were sunk by Japanese forces in the Pacific Ocean during the Second World War.
1950: The RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the "Mounties") ship St. Roch arrived back at Halifax, Nova Scotia, becoming the first ship to circumnavigate North America.
1953: Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norkay become the first (known) humans to reach the top of Mount Everest.
1964: The Arab League met in "East Jerusalem," resulting in the creation of the "Palestinian Liberation Organization."
1966: Thanh Quang, a South Vietnamese Buddhist nun, committed suicide by burning with gasoline to protest the U.S. support of the Saigon regime.
1985: Amputee Steve Fonyo completed his cross-Canada run at Victoria, British Columbia; the marathon took 14 months.
1990: Boris Yeltsin was elected president of the Russian republic, thereby giving him an official power base to attack Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev.