Day 165 (June 14): Elijah challenges Ahaziah, Joram continues Ahab’s wickedness, Joram and Jehoshaphat face Moab, God gives them easy victory, Jehoram sits on Judah’s throne after Jehoshaphat

Welcome to BibleBum where we are exploring the entire Bible in one year to better learn how to follow God’s instructions and discover the purpose for our lives.  The BibleBum blog uses The One Year Chronological Bible, the New Living Translation version.  At the end of each day’s reading, Rob, a cultural history aficionado and seminary graduate, answers questions from Leigh An, the blogger host, about the daily scripture.  To start from the beginning, click on “Index” and select Day 1.

2 Kings 1:1-18

2 Kings 3:1-27

1 Kings 22:41-50

2 Chronicles 20:31-37

1 Kings 22:50

2 Chronicles 21:1-4

2 Kings 8:16-22

2 Chronicles 21:5-7

Questions & Observations

Q. (2 Kings 1:2): Is Baal-zebub the same as Baal?

A. That is a complicated question, though it doesn’t seem like it.  For some reason, the writer of 2 Kings uses a title for some form of deity in this section (verses 2,3,6, and 16) and then never uses the term again, returning to the usage of Baal as we have seen.  So, it is difficult to explain why.  One possibility is that it is referring to a different deity (the word “baal” just means lord).  The word “Baal-zebub” means “lord of the flies,” which many scholars suspect is a Jewish wordplay slight at the worship of Baal.  The implication of this mocking name is that Baal is a pile of dung, and his followers are the “flies” drawn to it.  It is my suspicion that the name is referring to the Baal that we have been reading about, but there is no consensus as to why this particular name is used here and then never again (until the NT, you’ll see).

Q. (1:17): I notice the authors continuously let us know who is the king of both Israelite groups — Israel and Judah.

A. It’s not called the Book of Kings for nothing.

Q. (3:3): I have noticed that the author frequently refers to “the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat.”  He started all of the sinning.  I don’t remember how bad he was.

A. It was Jeroboam who led the revolt of the Northern kingdoms, and originally set up places of worship of pagan gods in order to prevent the people from going back to Judah in order to worship God in Jerusalem.  Check 1 Kings 12-14 for the record.

Q. (3:4-5): Why would King Mesha consider Israel an enemy after Ahab’s death?  Joram was Ahab’s son.  Mesha used to give Ahab gifts.

A. The wool that they were providing each year was tribute (a required offering, like a tax), not a gift, for its’ vassal state (Israel).  This was a heavy burden for Moab to pay, and it appears that Mesha thought it was a good time to try and break free from Israel while they were in transition.

Q. (3:12-13): It is strange that when the kings are really scared or stressed out, they will fall back on seeking God’s advice.

A. Strange?  That sounds like human nature to me.  Try to make it on our own for as long as possible, and only seek out God when that doesn’t work.  I’m pretty convinced you would find that a pattern for many people.

Q. (3:27): I really didn’t need to read that.  King Mesha sounds like a monster.  Why would he sacrifice his own son?  Somehow I don’t think this battle is over.  That last sentence sounds like the last scene of a movie sequel.

A. Ha!  It’s never over with Moab.  Mesha sacrifices his son in an attempt to bring the Moabite deity, called Chemosh, to his aid (we’ve seen Chemosh referred to in 1 Kings 11:7 and 33, and also back in Numbers 21:29 and Judges 11:24).  He is almost always referred to as “detestable” for his requirement of child sacrifice, as we see here.  This was particularly repugnant for the Israelites, who saw children as a gift of God, not to be sacrificed to the gods.

Q. (2 Chronicles 20:33): The author sounds as if not destroying all of the pagan shrines will come back to haunt Jehoshaphat.

A. Only in his standing among the great kings of the nation (from the author’s perspective anyway).

Q. (21:4): Another surprise.  Why would Jehoram kill all of his brothers?  He sounds crazed.  I hope he didn’t just kill them for the possessions that Jehoshophat gave them.  I am surprised the people would put up with him.

A. It’s a Game of Thrones style attempt to remove rivals, including what appears to be rivals in the other kingdom, who likely tried to gain power because of his marriage to Ahab’s daughter.  Not only did Jehoram kill his own family, but likely in-laws as well.  I doubt the people liked what he did, but he was the king, so he could.  Yuck.

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