In the post Josiah by His Numbers I listed Josiah’s life and the numbers that are given in Scripture. The numbers are found in both 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles, God repeated Himself, so you know they are important. There is much written on numbers, there occurrences, uses, and meanings on the internet, be careful as some sites don’t always glorify Jesus.
Seven is a number showing completion, it also carries covenant context. Josiah took seven years in clean the idols and other pagan influences of Judah and Israel. it probably took that long because the people and leaders seemed pretty comfortable with idolatry and keeping the Lord as a figurehead.
Eight – Eight is referred to the number of new beginnings, I have often felt this is because of Genesis and the days of creation. In Josiah’s life, eight signals a “new” of something that had or should have been going on. His “eights” are the beginning of his reign and him starting to seek God. The “seeking God” is impressive because he had no copy of the Law, it was given to him ten years later (also the number of Commandments).
Twelve (apostles) is associated with leadership. His twelfth years as ruler is when he started taking control and clearing out pagan worship.
Thirteen (see my post of 13) is the start of something new. Not recycling or restarting, but brand new. Jeremiah started his ministry in the 13th year of Josiah’s reign, and they celebrated the Passover (implied) until Josiah died.
Sixteen – In my post on sixteen it seems that it was associated with the “eye of God” keeping watch. Josiah starting to seek God at sixteen fits that thought well, God was keeping his eye on him.
Eighteen is a number with a lot associated it with (See Eighteen in the Bible), but it representing fullness makes the most sense to me. In Josiah’s life it was the eighteenth year when his campaign to up Judah came to its “fullness” with the finding of the Law and Passover celebrated properly.
Twenty –Josiah’s waited until the age of twenty to start his battle against pagan influences. This corresponds with two themes of twenty in the Bible. Jacob waited/served twenty years to get his wives, children, and flocks. Young men entered military service at twenty.
One aspect of the story of Samuel that has always made me curious was the Levitical priest. Samuel may have been “adopted” by Eli, but he was from the wrong Tribe. He assumed the role of prophet and clearly was a judge (leader of Israel), but he could not be a priest. Eli and his sons died on the same day, so that left his grandsons. They would have needed to be trained. I had written in another post that Samuel may have done this, but I had not counted on the other part of the family that had gone very quiet.
Aaron had four sons during the Exodus. The first two died because they did not have proper respect for God. That left Eleazar and Ithamar. Eli was a descendant of Ithamar. Eleazer’s side of the family had “disappeared” for some reason.
Eli’s side of the family was removed from serving as priest by Solomon. The two graphics show the list and the family tree of Aaron’s sons. I used the NIV and various concordances to make the list. The websites will help with further study.
Jehoshaphat was a godly king who did good and tried to have his people follow in the ways of the Lord. He took measures to protect against Israel (2 Chronicles 17:1), had the people taught from the Book of the Law by priest (vs. 9), rid the land of false worship (vs. 6), reformed the judicial system (19:4-10), lead Judah’s army against a huge invading army (20: 1-30), and took care of his family (21:3). I think it is fair to say that he loved God and personally choose the “high road” but he did have a really alarming mindset.
This mindset shows itself in four things Jehoshaphat did. In 2 Chronicles 18:1 he aligned himself/Judea with Israel (the Northern kingdom) by marriage; he allowed/arranged the marriage of Jehoram to Athaliah (Ahab’s daughter). In 2 Chronicles 18: 2 he agreed to go with Ahab to get Ramoth Gilead back from Aram and he went with Joram in 2 Kings 3 to attack Moab. Then in 2 Chronicles 20: 36 it talks about a trade agreement with Ahaziah Ahab’s son. (In the passages below I combined Kings and Chronicles where these books cover the topic. The book of Kings talk about both Israel and Judah while Chronicles primarily covers the kings of Judah.)
I and II Kings with I and II Chronicles From the Conservative Version
1Ki 22:45 2Ch 20:34 Now the rest of the acts of Jehoshaphat, and his might that he showed, and how he warred, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah and written in the history of Jehu the son of Hanani, which is inserted in the book of the kings of Israel.
1Ki 22:46 And he put away out of the land the remnant of the sodomites, who remained in the days of his father Asa.
1Ki 22:47 And there was no king in Edom; a deputy was king.
2Ch 20:35 And after this Jehoshaphat king of Judah joined himself with Ahaziah king of Israel. The same did very wickedly.
2Ch 20:36 And he joined himself with him to make ships to go to Tarshish.
1Ki 22:48 2Ch 20:36 Jehoshaphat made ships of Tarshish to go to Ophir for gold in Ezion-geber , but they did not go, for the ships were broken at Ezion-geber.
1Ki 22:49 Then Ahaziah the son of Ahab said to Jehoshaphat, Let my servants go with thy servants in the ships. But Jehoshaphat would not.
2Ch 20:37 Then Eliezer the son of Dodavahu of Mareshah prophesied against Jehoshaphat, saying, Because thou have joined thyself with Ahaziah, LORD has destroyed thy works. And the ships were broken, so that they were not able to go to Tarshish.
1Ki 22:50 2Ch 21:1 And Jehoshaphat slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David his father. And Jehoram his son reigned in his stead.
2 Chronicles 19: 2 states the problem, “Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the Lord.” (NIV) Right away many Christians would say what about evangelism or how can we ever be a witness to the unsaved? I think with a little meditation it is easy to see this is not what Jehoshaphat was doing, he was “yoking” himself to people who had rejected much of the Laws of God on purpose and setup another religious experience. The most destructive of these four acts was the marriage alliance with the royal family of Baal-worshipping Ahab and Jezebel. The three “business deals” are bad because it mixed the unbelievers into his nation that he was trying to change to follow God. So the warning is to pastors and heads of households – watch what you allow/bring into your lives and that of your charges. In future post I will look at the results of Jehoshaphat’s choices.
Historical figures, types and shadows of the Church, part of the Story, or two kings who had problems; these and more could apply to the men found in 1 Kings 11:26 – 1 Kings 15:10. The story of Rehoboam as David’s descendant and king of Judah is found in 2 Chronicles 9:29 – 2 Chronicles 14:1. The reason these two are worded the same in many places is because they were taken from a common source (what ever it was) but written for different audiences. Possible sources may be from the pens of people involved in the story such as Iddo the Seer or even the chronicles of the kingdom.
As a writer it was fun to image the conflicts and possible twist that could make this story a bestseller. The probability that they knew and worked together during Solomon’s lifetime may have set the stage for a lot of what happened in the story. When Rehoboam saw the fugitive, Jeroboam, at his inauguration it might have tipped the scale to his bad decision and been some of the fuel for the continual warfare.
Their names are very similar in meaning: Rehoboam is “the people will/have enlarge or expand”; Jeroboam “the people will contend or increase.” In the Book of Kings there are two Jeroboams, both are bad and not related. (see Bethel in The Places of Rehoboam and Jeroboam) Both of these men have a son named Abijah or worshipper of Jah. Jeroboam’s died and had a decent burial because God found something good in him; Rehoboam’s son became king of Judah and confronted Jeroboam in battle. (That may have fed the warfare also.)
Getting advice on something is normally good but these two clearly are in their own league. Rehoboam sought counsel on how to answer the people and did what he wanted to do while Jeroboam apparently never listened to the prophet about doing the right thing in the eyes of the Lord.
Josephus in his writings The Antiquities of the Jews in Book Eight chapters 8, 9, and 10 tell the story of these two men. Most of it is just a retelling of what is found in the Bible but Chapter Nine was about the “man of God from Judah.” Josephus identifies him as Jadon The Prophet and adds some interesting plot twist to the Biblical story. The “old prophet” is portrayed as a very wicked man who may have helped Jeroboam in the evil he did by “killing/lying to” Jadon and then discrediting what he had said to Jeroboam. If you are studying this time period it maybe worth the effort to read it; if nothing else it would liven up the story.