THE TALE of two kingdoms continues in our Old Testament study this week. We get the stories of the northern kings of Israel Nadab, Baasha, Elah, Zimri, and Omri, and the southern kings of Judah Abijah, Asa, and Jehoshaphat.
We discuss the conflicts between Israel and Judah, and the miraculous victory of Judah over a huge force led by Zerah the Ethiopian. (Scholars Peter van der Veen and Peter James make a case for one Userḫau, Egypt’s “Overseer of the Northern Foreign Lands” during the reign of Ramesses IV, as Zerah.)
OUR STUDY of the Old Testament now moves to the time of the creation of the monarchy in Israel. We discuss the birth of Samuel, the wickedness of the sons of Eli, the loss of the Ark of the Covenant in battle (because the Israelites treated it like a magic talisman and not as the literal seat of Yahweh), and the resulting humiliation of Dagon and punishment on the Philistines.
UPDATE 2/10/19: An astute listener pointed out this week that we overlooked chapter 9 of Deuteronomy when we recorded this in 2015, something neither we (nor anyone else, apparently) had noticed before! We corrected that today. For our study on Deuteronomy 9, see GHF #222.
OUR STUDY this week is a reminder of the deadly seriousness of the spiritual war that’s been waged for millennia. Continuing his address to the people on Mount Nebo, Moses reminds the Israelites of the blessings and curses promised by Yahweh, and which they receive depends on how they behave once they enter Canaan and replace the people He will dispossess for them.