Saturday, November 26, 2011

Division, Civil War, Defeat, Exile, and Return

After the death of King Solomon, the Kingdom of Israel divided and engaged in civil war, Northern Israel against Southern Judah.  The warnings of Samuel about kingship were validated as both were led by a series of mostly bad kings.  But the Bible story depicts the continuing “steadfast love” of God throughout their trials and tribulations. 

The Northern Kingdom survived 201 years and 19 kings before being defeated by the Assyrians who infiltrated and settled among the people.  Thus originated the infamous Samaritans, a mixed race with dubious religious practices. 

The Southern Kingdom, Judah, including the dynasty of King David, survived 336 years and 20 kings before being defeated and exiled to Baghdad by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon.  A remnant of Jews, the poorest people, were left in the homeland “to be vinedressers and tillers of the soil.”  What a difference between the effects of infiltration and exile.

After 47 years in captivity, God “stirred up the spirit” of King Cyrus of Persia so that he released the Jewish captives to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple his predecessor had destroyed.

If you don’t read anything else in the lists below, be sure to check out the ancient stories of the theft of Naboth’s vineyard and the healing of Naaman’s leprosy.

Note: This is another in a series of simple outlines of Old Testament history suitable for an introductory Bible course or for a Confirmation Class.  Others in the series are:

Primeval History in the Bible

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