Josiah’s Generation

King Josiah was the last righteous king of Judah before the fall of Jerusalem.  He was an important historical figure because of his devotion to God, and I think he sets several examples for this generation that we better pay attention too.  A look at the kings (his father and grandfathers) that came before him will be a good introduction into him.  The second post will be his heirs and the major ministry he fostered as king.

HezekiahHezekiah was a great king who is associated with the prophet Isaiah.  He saw and did many great things: rid the country of idols, cleansed the Temple, celebrated Passover, was saved from a dangerous enemy, and was healed of a serious disease.  2 Chronicles 32: 31 records that these great things were used to test his heart; he did not do well!  At age forty-two he had a son, Manasseh, who became king at the age of twelve.

Manasseh – Manasseh was the worst!  After thinking about his “sins” they must have included the wholesale sacrificing of infants.  2 Kings 24 states that the “Lord was not willing to forgive” his transgressions.  (2 Kings and 2 Chronicles have slightly different stories; they were written by different people for different audiences, but probably from the same written records.).

2 Chronicles 33:12 has the story of extreme distress on the part of Manasseh and how he sought God for forgiveness and restoration.  God did restore him to Jerusalem and his kingship.  I see this as a testament of God’s faithfulness and mercy (to David).  It might be easy to blur lines and concepts here on how God deals with things, but I see a God who is treating a person with a level of kindness while still not accepting the evil done in his life.

Even with Manasseh forsaking God and leading the people into sin, he had learned and remembered the example of his father, Hezekiah.  It is a shame that it took a physical hook in the nose to get his attention.

Amon – This guy did not get the “memo” at all!  It is probable that Amon saw the events of his father’s captivity and restoration and just ignored the lesson.  Amon was twenty-two when he started ruling; he was born to Manasseh when he was forty-five years old so you would think he would have learned something.

There was a disturbing shift here that is seen with the rest of the kings before the fall of Jerusalem.  The kings started ruling early in life and had children very young.  Amon fathered Josiah at sixteen.  Yes, I know factors were different then but still these children were “growing up” very early.

It is possible that Josiah knew the “reformed Manasseh” and possible learned the lesson that Amon choose to ignore.

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Passover to Pentecost – Hezekiah’s Passover

Passover to Pentecost – Hezekiah’s Passover     Week 5 Day 3

A very large crowd of people assembled in Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread in the second month. 2 Chronicles 30:13 (NIV)

     Hezekiah was reviving the worship of God in Israel.  The Temple was still there and so were the priest; they just were not being used according to God’s Word.  The priests were not ready to do their job at the first month Passover, which was to slaughter the lamb and sprinkle the blood.  Another other reason was “all” of the people were not together.  This is why it was decided to use the second Passover date.  Hezekiah used this delay to invite the rest of Israel to join Judah in Jerusalem.

To put this story in the “big picture” of Passover we need to look at Chapter 29.  Hezekiah had just reopened the Temple, and the priest had to clean it out.  This started on the first day of the first month and was not finished until the sixteenth of the month; they had cleaned all the way through the “first Passover.”  This cleaning is the “removing of the yeast” that would have taken place normally before Passover.

It is recorded that members from five tribes joined Judah and Benjamin in Jerusalem.  There were aliens with them so the crowd may have been very large.  Hezekiah had to pray for these people because they had not “purified” themselves and was facing problems.  The pray acknowledged the goodness of God, and prayed for mercy on those who were seeking God.  The “purification” may have been yeast or circumcision.  God heard the prayer and healed them.

God showed up and showed out as the people were so overwhelmed with His presence that they finished the first week and wanted to stay for a second week.  This lead the people to destroy sacred stones, Asherah poles, high places, and altars that were in the country.

http://clipart.christiansunite.com

Simeon – Where Did They Go?

Simeon – Where Did They Go?

In my post Rehoboam/Jeroboam Legacy I wondered where the tribe of Simeon went too.TwelveTribesofIsraelebible While reading about the Meunites I followed a reference to 1 Chronicles 4:41 that states the men of Simeon attacked two places and took them over for their living areas: Gedor east of the valley and the hill country of Seir. The important thing here is it was done during the time of Hezekiah. 2 Kings 18:9 gives the time stamps where this could be possible and it was just before Shalmaneser of Assyria conquered Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel and took Israel to the Habor River.habor_river

Maybe not a complete answer but it does clarify the mystery of Simeon a little better.

 

 

Map from http://www.biblestudytools.com/resources/maps/twelve-tribes-of-israel-map.html and eBibleTeacher.com.  and http://bibleatlas.org/full/habor_river.htm

Christmas – Isaiah 9

Christmas – Isaiah 9

Isaiah 9 contains three very important prophecies about Jesus: where he would live (vs. 1), a list of His titles, and what His kingdom would be like (vs. 6, 7). Nazareth is by the Sea of Galilee in the land of Naphtali and foreshadows Matthew 2: 23 in that He would be called a Nazarene. Handel immortalized verse 6 and 7 but these names/titles are important: christmas angelsWonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace. Verse seven clearly puts this ruler in David’s family and places justice and righteousness as keystones in His government. The last line is often overlooked but it too is important – The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.

These promises came to Judah and Israel not in a “great time” period but at a very low one. Just like Father to encourage His people when things look bleak. Ahaz, the fifteenth ruler of Judah, was actively rebelling against God (2 Chronicles 28 and 2 Kings 16). So God used Pekah son of Remaliah king of Israel Christmas 1to do some cleaning up of Judah (see Fifteen – Cleaning Up to Celebrate). Idolatry, oppression by foreign kings, and bloodshed was the life of the people of God when Isaiah spoke this prophecy. Hezekiah, the son of Ahaz, certainly stepped up and turned things around for Judah but only Jesus could fulfill the names in verse six.

Pic of angels: http://www.squidoo.com/vintagechristmasimages 

Nativity scene by Mark Johanningmeier

The Number Fifteen in the Bible – Cleaning Up to Celebrate

The number Fifteen -15 in the Bible.

FYI – Depending on the translation and the concordance you use some of these numbers may appear different.  For this study I just wanted the number fifteen (15).  The NIV and KJV handle numbers differently.  The KJV will spell them out like eight hundred and fifteen while the NIV will write 815 (Genesis 5:10).  Also the NIV translates some numbers in standard units (what Americans will understand) like 15 feet while the KJV would say 10 cubits (Zechariah 5:2).

  • The first number fifteen is in Genesis 7:20 and is the depth of water covering the mountains with the Flood.
  • The second usage is with the walls of the courtyard of the Tabernacle.  There were two fifteen cubit walls forming the east side leaving a twenty cubit gap that had an offset hanging acting as the gate (Exodus 27:14).
  • The third usage is in Exodus 16:1 (see 10 Test and Timeline).  This marked the second month of the Israelites marching out of slavery.
  • The most references are with Feasts (Leviticus 23).

As I thought about the fifteen cubits in Genesis I realized it was not the depth of water but the fifteen.  God used the water to “clean” the earth of corrupt humanity.  Several source listed below will tell you that if you added the letter yod (10) and the letter hey (5) you would get 15 which happens to spell out a name of God.  In Hebrew, however, it is written with the 9th (teth) letter and the 6th (waw) letter out of respect for God. (Sorry, Hebrew letters are also used as numbers.)

The total width of the courtyard for the Tabernacle was 50 cubits, that was the west and east side (the one that faces the sun).  So as you entered on the east side to worship there was a 15 cubit wall on your left and your right. (See Camp and Marching Order) The bases holding up the curtains/walls also had a fifteen associated with them. (Think about that for a minute!)

The most references with fifteen belong to 15th of the month because several Feasts (celebrations) start on that day – Unleavened Bread, Booths/Tabernacles, Purim, and several you may not find in a Christian Bible.  Passover is on the 14th of the first month and the 15th is the start of Feast of Unleavened Bread, which is also when Pharaoh let Israel go because the firstborn all died (another cleaning/judgment).  The Feast of Tabernacles celebrates the exodus when Israel lived in booths waiting for everyone over twenty to die.  A “silent/hidden” fifteen is associated with the Feast of Pentecost (Leviticus 23: 17 – 21) it is the number of offerings:

Why the fifteenth of the month?  If you do not know it the Hebrew calendar is set on a 30-day month (lunar cycle) with the month being the actual unit of time.  The first day is the new moon so the fifteenth day would be the full moon of each month.  Here are some thoughts about this: the Feast was a reminder of the “best” of Egypt dying and them leaving; full moon is a reflection of sunlight at its best; it still could add up to be a name of God. (Something to think about.)  To be fair to one source I read which said 15 represented “rest.”  The Feast do start (and end) with a day of rest but the first one, the day after the first Passover, was them leaving in a hurry. These Feasts (Day of Atonement/Yom Kippur and Feast of Tabernacle) were so important that Jeroboam set up a false holiday on the 15th of the 8th month to act as a distracter for the Ten Tribes (1 Kings 12:33).  In Ezekiel 31:17 it is talking about Egypt, the time frame the 15th day of the first month (Passover/ Unleavened Bread).  Purim is the holiday from the Book of Esther and is still celebrated today (enemies got cleaned out).

Another notable story that has fifteen wrapped in it is the healing of Hezekiah where God added fifteen years to his life (2 Kings 20:6, Isaiah 38:5).  One resource concluded that fifteen must deal with “addition” because fifteen years were added to his life.  His reign was twenty-nine years long so this extra fifteen years started in the fifteenth year of his reign.

Some other non-holiday references with fifteen being a part of the story are (You will find these scriptures in a King James Version.):

  • Hosea 3:2 where the prophet bought his wife back for fifteen pieces of money (a picture of Jesus redeeming His Bride)
  • Solomon had columns in rows of fifteen holding his house up (1 Kings 7)
  • Ziba in 2 Samuel 9 had fifteen sons
  • 2 Kings Amaziah king of Judah lived 15 years then he was killed (cleaned out)
  • Asa king of Judah threw a party in the 15 year of his reign to renew the seeking of God – 2 Chronicles 15:10
  • Bethany was fifteen furlongs from Jerusalem
  • Paul spent fifteen days with Peter (Galatians 1:18)
  • Acts 27:28 finds Paul in a boat over fifteen fathoms of water.  Chronologically this would be the last listing of fifteen in the Bible.  The first reference (Genesis 7:20) had fifteen units of water and a boat also. (Just saying.)
  • Luke 3:1 is where John the Baptist starts to preach and that was the 15th year of Tiberius.  (Another party was starting.)

God cleaning things and parties starting seem to happen, a lot, when the number fifteen is involved.  The feast were times to enjoy God and His goodness by drawing close to Him so they are cathartic in themselves.

Screen Shot 2014-05-17 at 8.07.29 PMThe fifteenth letter in the Hebrew alphabet is Samech.  I will list some things associated with it but follow the links to the various sources for a better study (Please note that some are Messianic Jew/Christian and others are strictly Jewish).

  • Numerically it represents the number sixty.
  • The priestly blessing has fifteen words and sixty letters.
  • It means “to support” or “to protect.”  This is all forms of support: spiritual, financial, physical, moral, etc.
  • Samech (15) and Mem (13) surround/support Nun (14).  Samech and Mem are the only fully enclosed Hebrew letters. (See studies on Thirteen and Fourteen).  Nun may represents someone who is “bent down.”
  • Because it is circular it represents the wedding ring.

There are still other references with the number fifteen (15) in the Bible but I hope you will continue to study as this number/letter has a lot associated with it.

References/Resources