Eliakim, Shebna, and Joah

These three men, Eliakim, Shebna, and Joah are palace officials who speak for Hezekiah and Jerusalem when Sennacherib’s commander maligns God. This story is found in 2 Kings 18, 2 Chronicles 32, and Isaiah 36. Eliakim and Shebna are also mentioned in Isaiah 22, this chapter is what really started this study. If you are going to do a word search for these names, please be aware that there are other men with these names. Joah for example is a name that is used several times in the family of Levi.

Joah – In Isaiah 36 he is identified as a son of Asaph and the recorder for Hezekiah. Asaph should be the musician that David appoints along with Heman in 1 Chronicles 6. This is a serious family line and it continues to the time of Josiah and Jeremiah.

He is a learned man because he knows the Assyrian and Aramaic languages and it is his job to record everything that goes on during the reign of Hezekiah. (It is possible that he documented this story.)

Other Levities, especially sons of Gershon, Moses’ son, and recorders are found in 1 Chronicles 6:21 and 26:4 and in 2 Chronicles 29:12 and 34:8.

Eliakim – This man was important for two reasons: 1. He was from the high priest’s family, Hilkiah. Like Jeremiah, he could have been a high priest. 2. He was the palace administrator. I believe that puts him in the same class as Daniel in Babylon under several kings, and Joseph in Egypt (under Potiphar, in the prison, and in Pharaoh’s house).  

Isaiah 22: 20-24 could sound like Shebna had been the administrator and got demoted. That is a very positive word for Eliakim. I could also see it happening between Hezekiah and Manasseh’s rule since he was only twelve when he started.  

Shebna – This name/man is mentioned only in connection with Sennacherib and Isaiah 22: 15- 19. Several titles are associated with him, so we know he was important. I find it odd that he has no family associations. Did his pride and questionable actions have anything to do with this? The chariots reference in vs 18 makes you think of Absalom’s behavior against David. Was he a royal? How much of the first part of Isaiah 22 was centered around him and his actions?

Whatever the truth is, my guess is he did not have a happy ending.

Further Study- Find the meanings of the names of Eliakim, Shebna, Joah, Hilkiah, Asaph, Hezekiah, and Isaiah. What does this add to the story?

A Question About Rehoboam

The question about Rehoboam was really on who his mother was. The problem for the questioner was the fact that she was an Ammonite and not a native Israelite. I have two posts on Naamah. Post #1 and Post #2. I will guess Deuteronomy 23 is the scripture the question stems from. I am not going to wade through the jots and tittles of Hebrew Law about marrying foreigners.

But I had to stop and think about all of the times that Hebrew men married foreign women. Moses, Salmon, Boaz, and probably David, and the men who returned to Jerusalem with Ezra and Nehemiah are the ones I thought of. Moses married a Cushite (Numbers 12), Salmon married Rahab (1 Chronicles 2:13, Matthew 1:5), Boaz married Ruth, David married Bathsheba (possibly a Hittite, 2 Samuel 11), and the men with Nehemiah (13:23) seemed to be marrying who was available. You may argue with God about the first four. I will try to contrast and compare the women of these two groups.

Group 1 – We know very little about the Cushite and Naamah, just that they had yoked themselves to the Israelite community. Rahab hid the spies in Jericho after acknowledging God and the things He had done. Ruth pledged to Naomi that she would follow her and accept Jehovah as her God. Bathsheba was part of the community and I guess David offered sacrifices for her when the first baby died. It seems to me that all of these women chose to follow God when they married into Israel.

Group 2 – These women were from Ashdod (Philistine), Ammon, and Moab, not that different from Group 1. Nehemiah 13: 23 and 24 paint a different picture of how they lived. They married the men but did not choose the God of Israel. To be fair to them their husband may not have been on fire for Jehovah either. They were not even taught to speak Hebrew, which met that they could not read Torah or participate in festivals with the Hebrew community.

A great, well-learned Pharisee wrote a New Testament commentary on this subject in 2 Corinthians 6:14-do not be unequally yoked to unbelievers. I am not sure if any of the women in Group 1 could enter the “temple” and worship God with their husbands. I have read that the Hebrew husband would “cover” the children of these marriages, but that finer point of the Law is above my paygrade. It does seem that these women did yoke themselves to the God of Israel.

Since much of the lineage of Jesus was mentioned in Group 1, I will let you question if Rehoboam should have had an Ammonite for a mother.

Homework-What did the people (men) of Israel yoke themselves to in Numbers?

The Sons of Korah

When you read the Book of Psalms you will see the “sons of Korah” in the titles of psalms in the 40s and the 80s. Yes, these are the heirs of the Korah who rebelled against Moses (Numbers 16). Numbers 26:11 states that they did not die out during the rebellion. My guess on that is some of them were doing their appointed task of being gatekeepers for the Tabernacle; so they were not swallowed up. (Please note that Korah rebelled but the Reubenites—Dathan and Abiram, and On son of Peleth would not even talk to Moses and made some very wild claims about him.) If you look at the camp arrangement around the Tabernacle you will see that the Kohathites (Korah was of this group) were camped next to the Reubenites. So, the earth opening up may have been in a small area on the south side of the camp.

In Numbers 27:3 the daughters of Zelophehad made a point to mention that their father had not died in the rebellion. It makes it sound like the whole affair had become a curse around the camp.

Kohathites are members of the Tribe of Levi, he was one of the three sons; Gershon and Merari were the other two. Kohath had four sons, but the most important are Amram and Izhar. Moses and Aaron are children of Amram. Izhar fathered Korah, Nepheg, and Zikri (Exodus 6:21-24). Korah had three sons.

The Kohathites were responsible for the Ark and the tent that covered it. Okay, Aaron and his sons took care of the sacrifices and the Ark, and the rest of the family was responsible for moving everything in the Tent of Meeting on their shoulders. This included the Ark, all tables, the lampstand, the altar, and all of the utensils (Numbers 4).

Other Duties

From Moses to Jeremiah the family of Korah and all of the other Kohathites served God by doing many tasks and helping in times of need. God did not hold the children responsible for the sins of their father Korah. These are some of the things the sons of Korah did during the centuries.

  • 1 Chronicles 6:31 to 37-David singled them out as musicians.
  • 1 Chronicles 9:19-They guarded the entrance to the dwelling of God.
  • 1 Chronicles 9:31,32-Mattithiah baked the bread for the offering in the Tent.
  • 1 Chronicles 26:19-gatekeepers
  • 2 Chronicles 20:19-they stood and praised the Lord.
  • 2 Chronicles 29-Hezekiah and cleaning the Temple.
  • 2Chronicles 34-Josiah cleaning the Temple.

Out on a Limb

David picked the sons of Korah and other Kohathites to be his musicians for a reason, I think he was a practical man. My thought is that they were already in the position of praising God. It is clear that Moses and Miriam praised God, and there were mandates to do so. The only/first time I found someone to be put into a position to do it was with David and Solomon. They ordered the family of gatekeepers to be in charge of praise. What if that started back with Moses and just continued through the years to David.

1 Samuel 2:22 is another verse/idea that may back my thought up. What were the women doing at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting, and how were they serving? Could they have been singers, serving with the gatekeepers who were praising? Maybe they were Korahite women.

I have felt that Moses wrote Psalms 90 (attributed to Moses in the title) to 100, this is due to the material that is covered in them and Psalm 101 is “Of David”. Apparently, Jewish custom agrees. It was a note that cited Rashi when I looked up who wrote Psalm 100. Psalm 100:4 has that we should “enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise”. That fits very well with the gatekeepers (the sons of Korah) playing music and singing as they watched the gate to the Tent of Meeting.

New Testament

Jude 1:11 is the only mention of Korah in the New Testament. It is a “curse” that connects to the rebellion. He is matched with Cain and Balaam. Not the best way to be remembered. However, the sons of Korah that survived went on to bless the Lord and be blessed by Him.

Your Chance to Study

What were the duties of the sons of Gershon and Merari for the Tabernacle? Why did these families get carts?

David—Samuel to Goliath

I am going to paint a slightly different picture about the period in David’s life that started with Samuel and extends to him meeting Goliath. This period has gotten much attention in the last few years, mainly because picking on Jessie has become popular. I read a morning devotion that rightly said David defeated Goliath because he had a winning attitude. What Brother Prince did not mention was the anointing of David’s life (July 7th in Destined to Reign). God, in His wisdom, did not fill in a lot of details. So, tradition and agenda have stepped in and colored much of this story. Anyway, here is my not-so-traditional view on some of 1 Samuel 16 and 17.

Samuel—The anointing of David was as much of a test for Samuel as it was about replacing Saul. His choosing a different king would not look good on his resume and that resume would try to kill him. It is not too hard to see that Samuel was nervous, and he passed this to Jesse to get his family together quickly for this sacrifice/feast/rebellion against Saul. I would bet that waiting for David to be found and brought in from a distance pasture did not make his morning.

Jesse—Please see the post-Cut Jesse Some Slack. I will go out on a limb here and say that Jesse was not only a man of means but possibly the leader of the tribe of Judah. 1 Chronicles 2 has the family tree of Judah and it runs right to Jesse and his sons. Given that David and Solomon were kings while this was being written/edited, that might make sense. It may also show that Jesse was a tribal leader. There is a difference in the number of sons of Jesse in 1 Samuel and 1 Chronicles. In Samuel, David was the eighth son. In Chronicles, they listed him as number seven. A child dying may account for this difference, but we do not know.

Eliab and the other sons—Eliab is the firstborn, which meant a lot in terms of inheritance and the grooming Jesse would give him to be the leader of the family and possibly the tribe. Chapter 17 has more about his “older brother syndrome”. To be fair to him, it must have been hard to have his baby brother anointed king, in front of him, and he would just lead the family. Jonathan uses him as the excuse for David missing the feast day with King Saul. I am sure it was hard on all the brothers to watch David excel in the things he did because of the anointing. David is out in the field tending the sheep was a family duty that all of them had done in their day. All of them had to go on the run with David as Saul started hunting him down-they joined him in the cave/stronghold.

David—The youngest child of a shepherd. In their day, every son had done his time tending the sheep (Remember Rachel and Moses’ wife); it was part of growing up in a family of shepherds. It seems this task went to the youngest child when they were ready. When this rite of passage occurred may have been different for everyone, but David may have started very early. He could have been as young as twelve at his anointing. (Young men could have publicly read Torah around twelve years old. Bar mitzvah and synagogues were not a thing in Israel during his lifetime.) (Was David a Priest)

My picture really starts here. I believe David was young at his anointing and that there are several years between 1 Samuel 16: 13 and verse 14. Seven to ten years is good for me. That would make David nineteen to early twenties when he entered Saul’s service and faced Goliath. (The marriage offer of Saul’s first daughter comes into my thinking.)

So, what was David doing in these years before he came to Saul’s attention? With the anointing now affecting his life, he would kill the lion and the bear. He learned he was special and could be fearless because he was the “head and not the tail”. The brothers saw and knew that the horn of oil from Samuel had made a difference.

David grew up as a musician. Psalm 23 would reflect these “quiet years” in his life very well. He may have penned Psalm 29 while he sheltered in a field watching his flocks. I see a future king writing Psalm 101 as he wonders about his future life. His thoughts as he tended sheep can be seen in other psalms, like #86.

El Shaddai supplied those years for him to grow. From verse 14 to Goliath continued that learning cycle because David and “his time” was not yet ready. He learned about the duties of a king and the daily life in that environment when he played his harp. As an armourbearer, they trained him in warfare and tactics.

Goliath—To stay with the steps of being trained, Goliath was just the next step up in his lesson cycle of foes. As a shepherd, I can’t think he never battled wolves. But the lion and bear would get everyone’s attention. So, defeating the man-mountain was like Saul rescuing the city of Jabesh Gilead (possibly where his mother’s family came from). These acts put both Saul and David on the map and into the public’s eye. Between the anointing and the years of practice guarding his sheep, Goliath never had a chance. Now extend this to hundreds of men for the bride’s price, saving cities, defeating raiding parties, to entire armies and nations as the king.

David, growing with his anointing from Samuel to defeating Goliath, should remind us that God has His plan and time for each of us to be used.

Thoughts

  • Jesus was twelve at the Temple.
  • I wonder what the feast was like after Samuel chose David over all of his brothers. Do you think Jesse made him go right back into the fields that day?

Ezrahite-Ethan and Heman

This study started with Psalms 88 + 89. The authors are Heman and Ethan the Ezrahites. I thought a quick look in Bible Gateway and Strong’s and it will be done quick-wrong. Please note that the names of Heman and Ethan are used many times in Scripture and they are not the same people. We normally associate those names with two descendants of Levi who led worship for David and probably Solomon in the First Temple. This took some time to sort out the Ezrahites appear to be from the tribe of Judah

Ezrahite—This name appears to originate with Zerah, the second son of Tamar and Judah (Genesis 38:27-30). Perez, the first twin out, is the one in David and Jesus’ lineage (Matthew 1, 1 Chronicles 2:10-12). Reference Strong’s #250 Hebrew. They must have been very intelligent because King Solomon in 1 Kings 4:31 is said to be wiser than them. 1 Chronicles 2:6 list the same names and calls them the sons of Zerah. Mahol could be an “unnamed father” who was not important in the family tree, they did things like that in making these lists. 1 Kings could give the idea that they were contemporaries of Solomon, while 1 Chronicles 2 gives the impression that they are much older, like Moses or before. To add to the possibilities, Heman was a seer for King David and Psalm 89 (Ethan) mentions David (more on this later). I will hold on to the older idea and offer some ideas why.

Heman (Psalm 88) – The “title” to this Psalm is imposing. It is a song. It is a psalm. (Yes, those are slightly different according to Strong’s.) It is for the music director. No one is sure what mahalath leannoth really is, and Heman wrote it. To me, that just seems like it had been around a while by the time it got to David. There are no timestamps in this psalm, as far as I could tell. So, trying to place it in history by the association with events or names is hard.

I think it has a somber tone, but many of the entries in Book Three are “dark”. I have felt that way in my life. If Heman wrote it during a period of struggle when nothing seems to be happening in his life, the tone is understandable. Verses 8-18 are very Messianic and show what Jesus endured starting in the Garden and going through the statements He made on the cross.

On a different note-Heman means faithful, and Ezrahite is cherished. It is the only psalm identified as belonging to Heman the Ezrahite, so he must have been special to have had it included in Scripture.   

Ethan – The meaning of Ethan is permanent, so is extended out to be the idea of a chieftain. According to Strong’s, the word is translated as strong or strength.

This Psalm seems to be in the time of David because it uses his name and the promises of God to David seem to be repeated in the psalm. Okay, I am stepping out on a limb here without a lot of proof. David, as a Hebrew word, is very special. If you convert the letters to numbers, it adds up to fourteen (see Matthew). It also means “beloved”. There are many websites, Jewish and Christian, that explore the meaning and etymology of this name. So, if you replace David with beloved and refer the passages to Israel/Judah, it still seems to make sense. Yes, that is weak at several levels, but it works. 

This psalm also has some negative parts and a section 26-37 that are Messianic and refer to the time Jesus was on the cross.

Well, studies may not always answer questions, but I learned many things doing this. So, my time was well spent and I hope you got something from reading this post of Heman and Ethan the Ezrahite.