Come Follow Me Insights – 2 Kings 17-25: Lost and Found – powered by Happy Scribe
And I’m Tyler.
This is the Book of Mormon central come, follow me. Insights today. Two Kings, chapter 17 through 25. So we’re ending this long period of history is about history, and there’s a lot of history here.
Yeah, we’re going to cover some of the most critical years. And I know we say that all the time, but in this case, it really is some of the most critical period for both the Northern Kingdom and the southern Kingdom of Judah. So Israel, the ten tribes, are going to get carried away captive, and the southern tribes are going to get carried away captive. In this particular section of scriptures that we’re covering, that’s a lot of years of history. And all of it has direct implication and meaning for us today, because that’s all about the scattering of the House of Israel, the lost tribes of Israel, the ten tribes up north. And if you’re from any of the tribes beside Judah or Benjamin, then this northern tribe loss is family history for you. And the fascinating thing is that the southern two tribes, even though they got carried away captive, they’re going to come back in the book of Ezra and Nehemiah, and we’ll get that history next week, and then they’re going to be scattered again by the Romans after Jesus ministry. So in 780, 70, about 36 years after Jesus crucifixion, they’re going to get carried away captive as well.
That tribe isn’t quite as lost and hasn’t been through the years, the tribe of Judah, as the ten tribes. And so we can’t talk about the scattering of the House of Israel without, I think, beginning with the end in mind, which is the gathering effort that we’re involved in today as kind of this opening launch point of this story.
It’s the point of the restoration, is to fix or to conclude what happened in these chapters is to bring everybody back home. And President Nelson has been made this very clear.
Yeah, speaking of the gathering, he says it’s the most important thing taking place on Earth today. That’s a bold statement. The most important thing taking place on Earth today. Nothing else compares in magnitude, nothing else compares in importance, nothing else compares in majesty. And if you choose to, if you want to, you can be a big part of it. And something else that President Nelson said is he gave us the formula for K. So how do I gather Israel? What does that look like? He says, anytime you do anything that helps anyone on either side of the veil take a step toward making covenant with God and receiving their essential baptismal and temple ordinances, you are helping to gather Israel. It is as simple as that. So on that foundation point beginning, let’s dive in and see how Israel got scattered to begin with. We start in chapter 17. So just as a very quick review, israel, the Kingdom of Israel, after they’ve divided off that’s the ten tribes up north sometimes it’s also been referred to in scriptures as some area. And when we get into the Book of Isaiah. You’re even going to hear it referred to on occasion as Ephraim.
Referring to the whole group up here in the north. Down south. Kingdom of Judah and above Ephraim you get Syria. And further up to the northeast you get a Syria. Which is going to come into the story here in the beginning of chapter 17. Something we’ve talked about repeatedly this Old Testament year. Is the importance of God providing a land for his covenant people. In that relationship with Him comes a place to prosper and to spread the goodness through your posterity. But we have this repeat problem that’s been coming up.
This is a really helpful map and let’s give you the literary structure of the Bible again for how it fits into this. So you have the Torah, the five books of Moses. That’s the covenantal instruction of how to live faithful lead to God in the Promised Land. In the beginning with Joshua and then concluding with Second Kings. These are historical books written actually compilations composed by inspired editors. Imagine Mormon in the book of Mormon. It’s an analogy where he’s collecting all these historical records of how the Book of Morbid people were faithful to God or not and what the consequences were. We have something very similar happening in these books that we’re now concluding today in this lesson where these inspired editors are helping us to see how well did the people of God live, the instructions that they were given in the law of Moses, in the books of Moses. And there’s a couple of things you’ll be looking for. You’ll notice that these writers, once we start getting kings in the mix, not just judges as you had earlier, that you’ll have phrases like the king made Israel to sin. And the point here is that Jerebo, who broke the kingdom into two pieces and built two false worship centers, one at Bethel, one at Danny, built those golden calves and he told everybody, these be the gods that saved you from Egypt and for all of the northern kingdoms, several hundred years of history, no king in northern Israel took the time to fix that egregious apostasy.
And the king’s role is to model and to teach people how to live in covenant of faithfulness. Now, this is where Deuteronomy, chapter 17, verses 14 to 20 come into play. God establishes what he expects from a covenantly, loyal king. And what God expects are several things. First, don’t seek out a lot of silver and gold. That’s God’s job. He’ll provide you that. Don’t seek after a lot of horses. It’s like you don’t need to raise a military. God is the Lord of hosts. Don’t take the people back into Egypt, meaning don’t leave them back into apostasy. Don’t seek after many wives and concubines what should the king be doing? He should be preserving God’s covenant instructions of scriptures, reading them every day and sharing them with everybody. And we see this pattern happening in interesting ways in the Book of Mormon, where good kings preserve the scriptures and share them. Bad kings like King Noah don’t, and they have to have a prophet like a binadai teach people, here’s what Moses taught you to live. So as you’re reading through here, the second kings, this is several hundred years of history you’d be looking for these themes.
How well did the kings lead the people to be righteous, meaning covenantly, loyal to God. Now, God ultimately punishes people or allows them to suffer the consequences of their own choices. The way that these editors often mention it is that the kings lead out an apostasy and that people choose to live these essentially unfaithful lives to God. Now, why does this matter today? We’ve already talked about one reason. We’re trying to gather these people, their descendants. Many of us are these descendants. This is part of bringing us back into God’s fold. He has always been faithful to Abraham and his posterity. God wants us to be in covenant. We have to show our loyalty back. But the second thing that God is trying to show us with the preservation of the Bible and the Book of Mormon is the consequences of what happens when people are faithful or not. We can learn vicariously without having to have direct experience of being unfaithful to God, of what happens when people are faithful or not. That’s what I love about the scriptures. So there’s lots of history here, and it’s easy to get lost in the weeds.
Lost in the weeds of all the names and all the different events, they’re interesting and important, but this overall structure is that we’re in the gathering time today to re bring everybody back into coming with God and we can learn these lessons. Will we be faithful to what God has revealed to his chosen prophets, particularly modern day prophets?
Okay, so let’s dive in. Second Kings, chapter 17 begins by telling you that in the 12th year of Ahaz, king of Judah began hoshiya the son of Ela to reign in Samaria over Israel nine years. So you’ve now just got a timestamp of who’s the king in the kingdom of Judah, who’s the king in the kingdom of Israel up north? And what do you find out about that king up north? Verse two, he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, but not as the kings of Israel that were before him. So it’s almost as if to say, well, he’s bad, but at least he’s not as bad as the previous ones.
So he’s covenantly, unfaithful, but he wasn’t 100% covenantly on Facebook. It’s like he just got away with too many things he shouldn’t have.
So they’ve been struggling up north. They’ve never had a king. According to our biblical writers and editors who was righteous or who did that, which was right in the eyes of the Lord. And so it seems to be degrees of badness is what we’re dealing with. With the kings up north.
Yeah, it’s interesting. Every king in the north, from Jerembone down to the last, when the destruction happens and the ten traps are taken to captivity, every king is labeled as being wicked and unfaithful. And in the south, most are labeled as wicked and unfaithful. And only a few are listed as wicked.
Correct. So maybe that’s why they were allowed to last for an additional 100 and 3140 years before they were carried away captive. So now you get the introduction of Assyria in verse three. So Assyria is coming to town, and by the way, these particular stories, they’re going to come back when we cover Isaiah. We’re going to get the story from the perspective of Isaiah, this courtly prophet who’s living in Jerusalem at the time when all of this history is unfolding in the northern kingdom and eventually coming down into the southern kingdom as well. So Assyria comes to town and he finds out that Hoshia has been conspiring with the king of Egypt and he hasn’t been paying his tax to the king of Assyria. And that makes him pretty upset. So he comes and he sieges the land, besieged it for three years in verse five. And by the way, you’ll notice how quickly we work through these lessons of covering multiple years at a time. He besieged the land of Samaria for three years and you think, oh, that took us maybe a few seconds to read. Three years is a long time. And here are these people who are under siege, surrounded by the most powerful army in the eastern world at that time that we have record of.
The Assyrians were brutal, by the way. They were some of the most violent warriors, and they were not nice to people when they captured them. And they used a lot of very brutal techniques to intimidate future cities and kingdoms that they were going to attack.
They believe that if they could terrorize people into submission, it would make it cheaper for them to control the land. And we’ll see in a couple of lessons what happens when you have Cyrus from Persia saying, what if I actually encourage people to worship their god and I will support them in that instead of terrorizing them with fear. And the Assyrians would conquer different places and literally just depopulate one area and move all those people to another country and then take the people from that country and move them in, and that way they could try to control all the population. So when we talk about the latter days of wars and rumors of wars, I would not want to have lived at this time of Israel. It’s not like you can just, I don’t know, call food delivery and say, hey, we’re under siege. Can you make your way through any lines and deliver pizza tonight? It’s like you can’t get out to your farms and whitmer food you collect in the city. Pretty soon you’re running out and it’s famine and you’re looking at the consequences of broken covenants, god’s letting you be taken into captivity.
Yeah. So this just for the timeline. So we’re on the same page. Assyria first comes to begin this conquest of Israel, the kingdom of Israel in 735 and then it’s off and on their control and their power and their different efforts last up until 721, 720 BC. When it’s complete, when they’re going to finalize this scattering effort. Yeah.
They finally conquer northern Israel in the capital city of Samaria.
Yes. So in verse six, in the 9th year of Joshua, the king of Assyria took Samaria and carried Israel away into Assyria and placed them in Hala and in Habor by the river of Gozen and in the cities of the Meads. So they take them, it’s that fertile crescent and a Syria is further to the northeast in that crescent and even further to the east is Media. And so you’re scattering these Israelites from where they were in what is considered now as Israel today from northern Israel, Galilee and Samaria region. And now they’re being taken out and others are being brought in to this land.
As Taylor mentioned, in these areas are where modern day Iraq is today, the Iranian plateau. So a very far distance and it turns out after these records are preserved here we lose track of these ten tribes. That’s why they’re called the last tribes. If they ever kept records, we have not yet received them and history doesn’t, as far as we know, document what happens to these groups when they’re put off into northern Iraq and Iran.
Now there’s an interesting side note here. Some of you are probably scratching your head right now asking yourself the question, wait a minute, what about Lehigh? What about the Book of Mormon group that left from the kingdom of Judah down south? He wasn’t from the tribe of Judah, nor was he from the tribe of Benjamin. He was from the tribe of Manassa. And if you look in second Chronicles chapter eleven, verse 14 to 17, it says for the Levites left their suburbs in their possession and came to Judah and Jerusalem for Jeremy. His sons had cast them off from executing the priest’s office unto the Lord and he ordained him priests for the high places and for the devils and for the cabs which he had made. Now listen to this verse 16. Think of Lehi’s ancestor, whether it’s his grandparents or great grandparents. And after them out of all the tribes of Israel such as set their hearts to seek the Lord God of Israel came to Jerusalem to sacrifice unto the Lord God of their fathers. So there’s this group that of all the tribes, some who actually believed these prophets even though the kings weren’t believing the kings kept setting these up saying no, you don’t need to go to Jerusalem, don’t go to the temple, don’t worship God down there.
Here’s the God who brought you through the Red Sea on dry ground worship these idols. Well, there were some who didn’t buy that king’s message and came south and perhaps many of them stayed. And now you get Lehigh being in the Kingdom of Judah and not carried away captive. So when we talk about the scattering it’s not a one size fits all scattering because I think the Lee Heights so the Nephi and the Laymanites they would consider themselves a remnant of the house of Israel that had been scattered out to the isles of the sea. They see themselves as scattered Israelites but they never consider themselves as lost because they know exactly where they are and they’ve remembered God all along at least the Nephi record and then later on the Lehmannites are brought back into that understanding. So you get this those who had stayed those are the ones who were taken away.
What I love about this, Tyler is that the Book of Mormon makes a very powerful and clear case that it emerges out of Jerusalem around 600 BC. Now, if you’re a 19th century farm kid trying to invent a book and you say it’s a group of people coming out of Jerusalem at 600 BC you would expect to say Jewish people. So the fact that the Book of Mormon claims these are from the tribe of Joseph from Manasseh, it’s very unusual because most of the people living in Jerusalem are from the tribe of Judah and we have very few records if any. The Book of Mormon is not the only one I can think of that actually shows that there were other people. We have these stray references in the Bible that some people from the north, from the northern tribes were living in Jerusalem. So it seems very likely that Lehi’s grandparents or great grandparents fled from the northern kingdom of Israel when they saw what was going to happen with the Assyrians they wanted to worship the true God. They come to Jerusalem and then their descendant Lehigh leaves because he follows the Lord.
So again, it’s just more evidence that Joseph Smith was inspired by God to bring forth this ancient authentic witness of Jesus Christ that truly is based on real people’s lives that authentically were in Jerusalem and were from these other tribes. Very strong evidence that we can take the Book of Mormon seriously.
Great insight keeping in mind that the Assyrian conquest is 121 years before our Book of Mormon picks up in Jerusalem in 600 BC. So this is where we lose those northern tribes scattered and taken captive to the north. And you’ll notice whenever the scriptures refer to the ten tribes it always refers to them having been taken to the north. Because once again, if you look at the wider Mediterranean region with the smaller view of those two countries, the Fertile Crescent, this Mesopotamian area, the Assyrians, they are carrying them to the north, everything’s to the north. And the scattering is to the north. None of the scattering is to the south or to the east or to the west directly. They don’t travel this way.
Yeah, it’s a pretty serious volcanic desert out here.
They follow the water, they follow the fertile ground, that Fertile Crescent. So it’s always going to refer them as being scattered to the north.
These are the north countries.
And again from there, as you were just showing with your hands, now, we don’t know where they go, we keep.
Taking them all kinds of different places. But remember, many people in the latter days who have received their patriarchal blessings and had their lineage declared, find that they’re from Ephraim and Manassa and from some of these other tribes that were up north. You’re not lost, you’ve been found. And if you’ve been found, then it’s your responsibility to find others to bring back, to gather back into this covenant connection with God. And let’s see if we can do a better job at making and keeping that covenant with God and following and heeding the words of the prophets than maybe they did back in this day. Instead of having the scripture reading today be an experience where we just point a finger of scorn and judgment and condemnation at them in the past. Perhaps we could hear their voice speaking to us out of the history book of their life and learn from those lessons so that we don’t repeat them. So that we don’t start to think we’re smarter than the prophets. Or that we don’t really need that covenant connection with God. And that other things can actually save us in our time of need.
Because if we go that route, it’s just a matter of time before something will end up in a siege with us stuck in the middle. And it won’t be in a Syrian army, but it will be a serious problem for us. It’ll be something that gets us.
So you’ll notice the wording that these scripture writers give us in verse 18, 1920. This is strong language. Therefore the Lord was very angry with Israel and he removed them out of his sight. There was none left but the tribe of Judah only. Come down to verse 20. And the Lord rejected all the seed of Israel and afflicted them and delivered them into the hands of the spoilers until he had cast them out of his sight. You catch all those verbs? These are verbs not of an angry God because he’s had his feelings hurt. These are covenantal words of a God who gave them an agreement. They agreed to it and they broke it and he re established it and they broke it, and he re established it, and they broke it. And he has been through this so many times with them. And finally, it’s a matter of, okay, we’re going to put this on hold for you. And for generations, we’re going to let this scatter. So while they forgot who they were and they forgot who God was, god didn’t forget who they were, and he’s had his eye on them this whole time.
And what’s powerful here is that it wasn’t simply God’s agency to kick Him out of the land. If you look forth or look back on verse 1314 and 15. The Lord testified against Israel and against Judah by all the prophets and by all the Seers saying. Turn you from your evil ways. Keep My commandments. My statues. According to all the laws. All the covenantal instructions which I commanded your fathers and which I sent you by My servants. To prophets notwithstanding. They would not hear but harden their necks like the neck of their fathers. And they did not believe in the Lord their God. They were not faithful. And then in verse 15, they rejected his statues and his covenants that he made with their fathers and his testimonies, which he testified against them. And they followed vanity or emptiness or useless things and became vain and went after the heathen, and after that were round about them concerning whom the Lord had charged them. They should not do like them. So the way the agreement has worked out is, God’s like, I’m going to give you all these things, all the promises of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are all yours forever.
All you need to do is be loyal to me. And if you’re not, I have to execute the agreement, which is you can’t be in the land and have all these great things. And the people rejected. They rejected Him. So God was required to reject them. Now he’s rejecting them, but he’s not rejecting the covenant. He’s not rejecting their descendants, which is why today we have a restoration, and God is doing his work. It’s his ancient work, it’s his eternal work to bring people back together. Some groups choose to not be part of it, but he’s like, that doesn’t stop Me from continually offering my arms of love and grace and righteousness to everybody who wants to be with me.
And this is a significant point to remember that from this point forward, we told you this is a significant set of chapters. From this point forward, all of God’s work seems to be largely with the tribe of Judah and a little bit with Benjamin that kind of gets lumped in with Judah and a few of the tribe of Levi who are the priests from the Bible perspective, from the biblical perspective. So then 700 years later. When the Savior comes on the scene. When he’s born. All of his work is among the Jews. The tribe of Judah. His whole ministry is among the Jews. And he occasionally blesses Gentiles with miracles and some other interactions. But largely it’s for the House of Israel and it’s at the Mound of Ascension as he’s leaving. That he tells them. Now’s the time. Go into all the worlds. Preach the gospel to every creature. And so it was that opening up of that part of the Abrahamic covenant, which is this was never intended just to be about one family. It was always intended to be that one family is the servant that is going to carry my covenant, be the messenger of the covenant, which is a Christlike symbol to the whole world, to every nation, kindred tongue and people.
And yet that only saw a small, relatively compared to the latter days, small reach of what we’re doing with the restoration of the gospel today. Now we’re taking the gospel not just to the lost tribes of Israel, but to the Gentiles, and that’s our message to everybody to come into the safety of this covenant connection with God.
That phrase, the chosen, some people might think it must mean I’m really awesome. Well, you are. You’re a child of God. But when you’re part of this chosen covenant or group. You are chosen to be laboring in the kingdom of God. Chosen to be at work. Chosen to not be sitting on your laurels or anybody else’s laurels from the past. But chosen to be up and about spreading God’s kingdom. Doing goodness. And as President Nelson said. Doing anything on either side of the veil to help more people come to Christ by making and keeping sacred covenants. It’s really quite simple. I love the Scriptures, I love the Bible, and sometimes we can just get lost in the details. Like I can’t remember who all these people are. That’s okay. If you can remember who God is, that’s really the powerful starting point, because he always remembers who you are.
That’s it. Remember who the Lord is and who you are and who the people around you are and start looking for the hand of the Lord in their lives as well as in your own life, and you’re going to be more apt to be able to help them make them keep those covenants. Now, you’ll notice a really funny thing happened because the Assyrians remove these Israelites and bring in other people to live on this land. And then some lions come in and kill some people in verse 25 and 26 and notice their response. Now, we’ve talked about this before in an Old Testament Mesopotamian context. They have everywhere you go, each part of the land, each tribe, each kingdom, each dynasty, each conglomerate of people that live there. They have their religious traditions, they have their gods of the land and their idols that they sacrifice to try to please the gods for all the things that they need in order to feel like they’re prospering. So these outsiders that they brought in notice verse 26, it says, wherefore they speak to the king of Assyria, saying, the nations which thou hast removed and placed in the cities of Samaria know not the manner of the God of the land.
Therefore he has sent lions among them. And behold, they slay them because they know not the manner of the God of the land they’re offering to their gods. But the God of this land must be different because they’re getting consumed, some of them, by lions.
He’s mad. He must be sending lions to kill them.
The king of Assyria knows how to fix this. Okay, we’ll just go and grab some of the people, some of these priests that we’ve carried away, and have them come back in and teach these people how to worship the God of this land appropriately. And that will solve our problem, which as you bring some of these people back in, and we would have to assume that maybe some of the sick and the afflicted, the really aged, never got carried away captive, and so they’re stuck here, others come in, they bring a couple back, and you get all this intermixing. Now that is the beginnings of what, 700 years later, you’re going to be introduced to in the New Testament as the Samaritans, who the Jewish people despise.
And so Jesus, playing upon that bigotry, says, let me tell you about how to be faithful to God and love your neighbor. Look at this. Good Samaritan. And immediately you can’t use Good and.
Samaritan in the same sentence.
Exactly. There’s a problem here. You got my interest, and it’s back to 700 years before that. You have all this intermingling, and yet God can do his work. I just love that God has a way of doing his work, even if humans don’t always know what they’re up to.
Absolutely. Now we get into chapter 18. Let’s go down south to Hezekiah. King of Judah He is now the King of Judah. Hezekiah is one of the greatest kings in the history of the kingdom of Judah. He’s really powerful and righteous, and you’re going to see his example in the face of intense opposition. You’re going to see him repeatedly turning to the Lord and trusting the prophet, in his case Isaiah, which, by the way, that had to be really a neat experience for Hezekai to get to be the king with Isaiah as his court prophet. This was a privilege for both Hezekiah and for Isaiah, because in the Old Testament, many times the prophets were like the least popular guy in the kingdom, and he would have to be on the run just to save his life, to keep running from the king, who would always be trying to kill him up north or down south. In this case, it’s kind of unique because Isaiah gets to be this court prophet with hazekai, especially, where he gets great privileges living in the king’s court and kind of as. A close, trusted adviser, counselor, and you’re going to see this beautiful relationship between these two, the king and the prophet, as we move forward into the story.
So we’ve been talking about all these rough experiences with wicked kings. Let’s celebrate for a minute some of these good verbs associated with Hezekiah. He started his reign when he was 25 years old, and he’s going to be the king for 29 years. Look what it says in verse three. And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord. Look at verse five. He trusted in the Lord God of Israel. Verse six, he claved to the Lord. He departed not from following him. He kept his commandments, which the Lord commanded Moses back to what Taylor began with, we keep going back to this Torah. He’s keeping the commandments. He’s not rewriting what Moses received from God. He’s saying, that’s what I’m going to do. And notice the response. Everything in verse three through six was what hezekiah did with the help of the Lord. Look what the Lord does. Verse seven, and the Lord was with him, and he prospered with hersoever. He went forth and he rebelled against the king of Assyria and served him.
Not basically saying, I’m not going to serve these Syrian gods. I’m trusting that God as the Lord of hosts will protect me as I am faithful to God, god will protect me from this onslaught of foreigners who want to impose their barbaric practices on us.
So here’s the problem. The King of Assyria has wiped out multiple countries, multiple kingdoms, overthrown multiple gods and idols on his conquest, and he wiped out Syria just to the north, he’s wiped out Israel. And here’s the question for you to ponder for a moment. If you turn your life over to the devil, if you serve the devil or you serve just the natural man tendencies that we all have in a fallen world, the question to consider is when is enough enough? When do you arrive at that point where you say, okay, I don’t need any more, whether it be money or fame or power or land or followers or conquests or any of the pleasures of life, if you turn your life over to the devil, when do you reach that saturation point where you say, I’m good, I’m going to stop there? The scriptures are full of examples of people who get so power hungry. In this case, they can’t stop. They just keep going, trying to have more conquest, get more, which is one of those interesting attributes of the mortal fallen condition, is it doesn’t come naturally to be content with what the Lord gives us.
If we’re not careful, we’ll always be comparing ourselves to other kings around us and say, oh, I need more, or I need more power, or I need more money, more taxes, whatever it may be. And in this case, he didn’t stop at the border of Israel and Judah, he kept going, and he ends up wiping out and sieging and taking out all of the cities. In the scriptures, you’re going to see the phrase over and over again, the fenced cities of Israel and the fenced cities of Judah. That doesn’t mean that they’ve got picket fences around them. That means these big massive walls, usually, and one of the biggest cities down here. So Jerusalem is the capital, but one of the biggest cities here in the Kingdom of Judah is La Quiche. So here we go. We’re going to retell the taking of Samaria in verse nine through twelve just so we get the context of kind of getting back up to speed. We’ve lost the Kingdom of Israel and he keeps coming into the Kingdom of Judah. And verse 13 tells you, in the 14th year of King hezekiah did Sanakrab, King of Assyria, come up against all the fenced cities of Judah and took them.
So in verse 14, it tells us that he went to Laquish. And Lakisha is one of the biggest cities, a big stronghold in the Kingdom of Judah, and it falls. And it’s a sad day when you lose the light shining from Lakesh.
Archeologists have spent considerable time here and have found so many, like spearheads and arrowheads and ballistic rocks that were used to be thrown at the walls to knock down the walls. It was clearly one of the worst destruction. And this is a very substantial city. And when this falls, everybody knows it. Do you imagine the people in Jerusalem are now have shaking knees? Potentially. And it’s interesting, as we read Isaiah and the story of Hezekiah, how do people respond when death and mayhem seem to be right on their doorsteps?
Which is a really good lesson for us today, as we maybe face some opposition and maybe you see some pillars of strength around you falling and struggling and under siege, and it can be intimidating, but I love these chapters because you’ll notice you don’t help people who are struggling under siege by throwing wide open the gates and inviting the enemy in and saying, okay, I surrender. That doesn’t help anybody, much less you and your loved ones. To stay faith and firmly rooted in your covenant connection with Christ is the only hope. Even if all of the other fence cities around you are falling, you stay faithful, you stay true to those covenantal connections that you have with the Lord. So what happens is there’s one city left in the entire kingdom that hasn’t fallen, and it’s Jerusalem. And now we’ve wiped out all these other cities in Judah. And so Sanakhurib now turns his attention full force, let’s go and siege the city of Jerusalem, and that’s going to be the final city in Judah. And so he sends this servant, Rob Sheikha, with some others, to oliver his message. And boy, like we said before, the Assyrians, they taunt with terror, and they’re going to be showing the conquests of the conquered peoples and what they’ve done to torture them.
And they’re trying to get these people so scared that they give up because of these threats.
In fact, even Rob Shake, the messenger from the Syrian king, speaks in Hebrew, that is, in his own language, because he’s trying to get all the people, all the defenders and the walls in the city of Jerusalem to hear these menacing and terrifying words. The men of Hezekiah, like the leaders, are like, we understand the Assyrian language. You can speak to us in your tongue because they’re trying to keep the people from hearing these terrible taunts. And how many of us, when we get verbally attacked by people who are not our friends, might feel discouraged. And that’s why it’s important we go to church, we read the scriptures and listen the words of prophets. We hear the language of God instead of the language of the enemy that’s lying to us or saying things to distract us from what’s good, wholesome and beautiful.
And part of their message is, you are all crazy for following Hezekiah, your king, who’s promising you to be delivered by his God. And then they go through this long list. Look at verse 33. Have any of the gods of the nations delivered at all his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria? Where are the gods of Hamath and of our Pad? Where are the gods of Sapphire? Van Heena Iva They’re listing all these different countries and kingdoms that they’ve wiped out. And they’re like, Where are their gods? They didn’t save those people. These messengers are very unfamiliar with the Lord God of Israel, obviously. So watch Hezekai’s response. Chapter 19 is beautiful. It opens with verse one, came to pass it when King Hazakia heard it, that he rent his clothes and covered himself with sackcloth. And went where? Into the house of the Lord. You’ll notice things are heating up. The siege is going to start. The people are starting to get really nervous. They’re seeing what’s happened everywhere else. They’re saying, what are we going to do? And he went to the temple to connect with God. Verse two, he sent Iliahi, which was over the household, and shebdnah the scribe and the elders of the priest covered with Sacloth to Isaiah, the prophet, son of Amos.
So he goes to the temple and he sends messengers to the prophet. We need every connecting point we can with the Lord here to know what to do.
I love verse six. And Isaiah said unto them, once he’s gotten to the temple and he’s in he’s joined this meeting. Thus shall you say to your master. Thus saith the Lord, be not afraid of the words which thou hast heard, with which the servants of King Assyri have blasphemied me. Behold, I will send a blast upon him, and he shall hear a rumor and shall return to his own land and that will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land. That’s not a lot of words, but boy, is there so much strength and optimism packed into just two verses.
So he wrote that letter to Hezekiah, the messengers oliver it to Hezekiah. He gets the letter, he reads it and he says, I’m going to take this. Look at verse 14. Hezekiah received the letter of the hand of the messengers and he read it and then he went up into the house of the Lord and spread it before the Lord. That’s a really, really interesting turn of events that God speaks to a prophet because you’ve humbled yourself and petitioned him for an answer. You’ve turned to the Lord for help. The Lord has poured out a direct message to his prophet. The prophet delivers the message to you. And then what do you do? You take that message to the temple, so to speak, to the sacred space, and you spread it before the Lord. And he says, o Lord, God of Israel, which dwelleth between the cherubims, thou art the God, even thou alone. Of all the kingdoms of the earth, thou hast made heaven and earth. Lord, bow down thine air and hear. Open, Lord, thine eyes and see and hear the words of sinakrab which has sent him to reproach the living God.
And so he’s taking this message to the Lord saying, what do I do? What a beautiful pattern that you get messages from the prophets, but you don’t just stop there. You take it to the Lord and say, now, how do I live this? How do I do this? Whether the prophets are the modern prophets or is you’re reading scriptures to take the written words of the Lord that have come to us through his mouthpieces. What a powerful thing to ask Him for that guidance.
So you’d think that God, who is the Lord of hosts, would say, all right, I’m going to send this big massive army, I’m going to send in reinforcements from Egypt, or there’s a bunch of people out on the land that you didn’t know about, they’re going to come deliver you. Now, God could have done that, but God chose something a bit more powerful and memorable to impress upon the minds of his people that he has chosen his people and this city where his holy house is. If we look particularly at these verses, 313-2333, four in particular, god says in verse 34, for I will defend this city to save it for my own sake and for my servant David’s sake. Now, you might read this and kind of pass over it. There’s some really important covenantal context going on here. If you turn back to two Samuel, chapter seven, verse 14, god makes an eternal covenant to David that there will always be a Davidic king terrain. And of course, we know the fulfillment of that is jesus. And in that promise to David god also said that he would protect Jerusalem. It’s the holy city where the kingship is based.
So you have the temple and the palace or basically God throne and a king throne all wrapped in this one city and it’s God’s city and so it’s his job to defend the city as he claimed he would do for David. So obviously we all need to be doing things to trust God and to protect ourselves from any enemy force that’s out there emotional, physical, moral, whatever it might be. But this is interesting that God is essentially saying I made a covenant hezekiah to your forefather David to do this thing and I will therefore do. And of course what’s the conclusion? You have these massive Assyrian armies surrounding the city of Jerusalem. Verse 35 it came to pass that night that the angel of the Lord went out and smote in the camp of the Assyrians 104 score and 5000 and when they arose early in the morning, behold they were all dead corpses. Tulsa Napkirg, king of Assyria departed and went and returned and dwelt at nineveh. It came to pass as he was worshiping in the house of Nissrak his God that adrenalek and sherazer his son smote him with the sword and they escaped in the land of Armenia in Esshadan his son reigned a stead.
This fulfills the prophecy that Isaiah had made that no error would be shot there, that the city would not be taken and that Sonica would leave and he would die by the sword. All these things happen. Now what I’m about to share is my personal opinion of how this connects to the Book of Mormon. You might remember Lehman and Lemuel could not conceive that the great city Jerusalem could fall. Lehigh was preaching that the city would fall. It turns out that there was a school of thought in Jerusalem at the time that because God had made this covenant to David and David kings that Jerusalem would never fall. As long as the temple is there it could never fall the city. As long as there is a David king the city could never fall. And the people became complacent in God’s covenant and they failed to realize their role in being faithful. They thought because God promised to protect them they didn’t have to do anything. And my view is that Lehman and Lemuel were very comfortable in expecting God to simply take care of their salvation without them acting. And they would have seen Lehigh as a political and a religious traitor to saying that Jerusalem could fall.
That’s as if saying that God cannot protect his people, his temple, his king. And so even 130 years after the time of Hezekiah the spectacular victory that God makes the memory of this would have been very fresh in the minds of people living in Jerusalem. So when the Babylonians come and are now threatening Jerusalem you had a lot of people saying god saved us during the time of Hezekiah. He protected his city, there’s no need to fear. And you had people like Lehigh and Jeremiah is saying it’s time to repent and you have people saying, no we got it, god will take care of this. So I wonder if there’s this kind of political or religious conflict going on between Lehigh and his sons Leyn and Lemuel who have false hope because they aren’t being covenantly faithful.
Which you get the reasons for the difference between what’s happening with Hezekiah and Isaiah versus Lehi and Zeta kaya later on your king went to the temple. Your king turned to the prophet and listened to him. Well, the kings aren’t doing that in Judah 120 years later. They’re doing quite the opposite. So let’s bridge the gap here for a second between the story of Isaiah and Hezekiah and how did we get here to where layman and Lambiel can even have that argument with Father Lehi? Potentially what’s changed? You’ll notice it tells us in chapter 20 Hezekiah’s life gets extended 15 years, it’s preserved. And then starting in chapter 21 you get the next king, Manassa. He began terrain after Hezekiah and he’s only twelve years old, but look at verse two. He did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord after the abominations of the heathen whom the Lord cast out before the children of Israel. So he turns back to the very same things that the northern kingdom had been doing and previous kings in the kingdom of Judah had been doing totally rejects his dad haze kaya and tradition. He’s responsible for the death of Isaiah in some early traditions he’s building up the high places which his very father had destroyed and things are going terrible.
The Lord spoke in verse ten by his servants, the prophets. So multiple prophets are coming and saying, no, you know, this isn’t going to end well, don’t keep doing this.
What’s interesting here is that Manasse is doing so much evil to cause a policy and yet it’s one of the most economically flourishing times in ancient Israel. So people Oliver at this time are like, this is great, we’re all making more money, we’re getting more land, we’re getting bigger vehicles. They didn’t have cars but they have insurance. Everybody is prospering but not with God. And so many people are feeling like, hey, what’s the problem here? Manasse has helped us all become really wealthy. Do we really need to be listening to these prophets? Because things seem to be going quite well by rejecting the truth that Hezekai and Isaiah todd. So this is what happens. It’s the pride cycle where people misinterpret the prosperity they have and it can endure for some time. And they think, oh my hand has done this, I don’t need God anymore. And we’re going to see the cycle return as Manassa and others move on, that it will just cause Mormons hardship for the kingdom. And so I think the invitation for all of us is that God wants to bless us with the good things of life but we should never let those things be the symbol that God is with us in the sense that we have no need for him anymore in our Oliver which is what Manasse.
Is doing sadly and then he dies. Chapter 21 verse 18 Manasse slept with his father’s and was buried in the garden of his own house and Ammon, his son, reigned in his stead. Let’s see how Ammon does verse 19. Ammon was 22 years old when he began to reign and he reigned two years in Jerusalem. And verse 20 tells us he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord as his father Manassa did and he walked in all the way that his father walked in, served the idols that his father served and worshiped them. And he forsook the Lord God of his father’s and walked not in the.
Way of the Lord, was not walking a path.
So ironically his life doesn’t seem to be prolonged. The servants of Ammon conspired against him and slew the king in his own house and so that put his son Josiah onto the throne. But if you’re doing the math you realize Josiah couldn’t be that old. Look at chapter 22, verse one. Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign and he rained 31 years in Jerusalem. So you’re seeing that we’re taking these kings, Manasseh, Amon, Josiah we’re getting really close now to Lehigh’s time period in Jeremiah’s time period when you’re going to be introduced eventually to Zeta Kaya as the king.
Lehigh may have been a young man when Josiah came to the throne and so these two men overlapped in some way.
So when Josiah comes into the throne at age eight you have to know that he’s got advisors, mentors, counselors who are helping him run the affairs of the kingdom. And gratefully Hilkaya, the high priest helps him with some things and they go up to the temple and they start working on the temple and repairing it.
So July is about 26 when this happens and it’s a sign of piety and faithfulness for a king to build a temple or want to do it. Think of King David wanting to build a temple and Solomon builds it or to refurbish a temple. So we have Josh taking the time to refurbish a temple. So this is what good kings do. They get people oriented to worshiping God in faith and faithfulness and something significant happens, in fact really deeply significant as they’re working on the repairs. Here’s what happens in verse eight. Halka the high priests set in the shafa on the scribe. I have found the book of the law in the house of the Lord. Now if one of your kids came out during family evening and says I found my scriptures, you might say, well, okay, big deal. Like we got lots of extra copies. You can pull out an electronic device and probably get 100 different translations. It turns out in the time of the ancient Israelites, we don’t know.
Many copies of the Law of Moses were available. Now, definitely one had been put into a secret location in the temple and forgotten. For how long, we don’t know. And so it’s interesting if you think about this in context of the Book of Mormon, think about how crucial it was for Nephi to get the records so that people would know how to keep the commandments. And as we read the rest of this little story here, we will find that part of the reason that the people were so often off base is it seems that the Book of the Law, the record of the count of obstructions, have been lost for possibly generations. How can you remind people of what God’s Covenant Instructions are if the written text is gone and the prophets who don’t have the modern day Internet to record all their voices can’t get out to everybody? So this is a really important story to understand why there was a religious reformation during the time of Josiah and how it wasn’t sufficient for people to be protected because they didn’t fully turn back to the Lord. And they were thus taking the captivity into Babylonian captivity around 600 BC, just about 20 years later.
Yeah, so that’s an important concept to understand that we’ve gone who enos how long without any access to the Scriptures. As Taylor’s pointing out, no printing press, no mass production of being able to produce books. If you want the Law subscribe has to sit down and letter for letter, copy it down by hand in some form or scratch it into metal like the brass plates or later on with the golden plates, because anything written on papyrus or vellum or any of their less than metal products or scratched into stone, it’s not going to last. So we take for granted the fact that we have so much access to scripture like Taylor was talking about. It’s remarkable in the latter days, but to them, he found it. He hasn’t read. You can picture this king just weeping over knowing, oh, that’s what God wants us to do. So you’ll notice that he commands the people to assemble and he reads to them and has read to them the Law.
Just a little minor point here. Josiah has the Book read to him first. And remember, it’s the Covenant Instructions, especially for how a king is supposed to lead people. It may be that Josiah is illiterate and notice he has the Book read to the people. Well, partly because it’s the fastest way to have everyone here. But again, we don’t know what literacy rates are, but they may have been 5%. And it seems to suggest that the ability to write is a very precious skill in the ancient world and Nephi enos how to write. And my opinion is that layman and lemuel are illiterate because there are times where they say nephi explain the scriptures that you read to us and never talks about layman millennial ever reading the scriptures except Nephi sharing it. So just say something about the culture here that there wasn’t apparently a pervasive literate culture where people had access to the written word of God. We have this enormous blessing today where we have this overabundance of the word of God to the point that some people say a Bible, Bible, I don’t need any more Bible, right? And the people back then are like we wish we would have more and we wish we would have known it and lived it.
So from the biblical editor’s perspective back in this ancient day look at verse 25 of chapter 23 and like unto him was there no king before him but turned to the Lord with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his might according to all the law of Moses. Neither after him arose there any like him.
Speaking of Josiah speaking of Josiah sits.
In a pretty incredible position right before Lehigh comes onto the scene but the.
Very next verse is interesting. You’ve often pointed out this word notwithstanding notwithstanding all the good that Josiah did to refurbish the temple to read the covenant’s instructions to people and invite them into the covenant in fact in some ways it’s almost like a King Benjamin speech back there in chapter second Kings 22 notwithstanding that there was so much wickedness in the land that the Lord turned not from his fierceness of his great wrath wherewith his anger was canceled against Judah because of all the provocations that Manassehe had provoked him with. All just kind of sad that the people still because of bad king could not fully overcome generations of habitual wickedness.
So eventually we shift now to verse 36 with Jehoyakim who was 25 years old when he began to reign and he gets eleven years on the throne in Jerusalem. Verse 37 he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord according to all that his fathers had done. Here we go again. It’s this repeat story. Well, Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon which is to the east, he comes and he’s got control over Jerusalem and they’re supposed to be paying tribute and paying their taxes. They once again are looking to Egypt to help deliver them. Egypt is kind of this old dynasty that doesn’t have the power that they used to back in the day. But you’ll notice the kingdom of Judah is looking for help in Egypt. They’re looking down to Egypt rather than.
Up to God like Hazekiah had done during the time of Isaiah where he had turned to God when the Assyrians had been threatening. Now the Babylonians who had overthrown the assyrians now are wanting to take over all these lands the Assyrians used to own and extract all the resources.
So what’s going to end up happening is Nebuchadnezzar comes in chapter 24, verse ten, and you get the first wave of conquest. So the first group now gets removed. This is about 597. So Lehigh’s only been gone three years when you get that first wave of people removed out to Babylon, including the.
King, the king, the leaders, the wealthy people, the merchants. Lehigh definitely would have been taken into Babylon captivity had he stuck around.
Exactly. And so would Ishmil and probably Zorum and Laban, quite frankly. Look at verse 17. The king of Babylon made Mataniah his father’s brother king in his stead and changed his name to Zedekaya. There you’re introduced to that king that opens up the Book of Mormon in those first few verses where it tells that they’re from Jerusalem in the first year of the reign of King Zedekaya. It’s this Zekaya who is also the father of Mulek or the mulekites that are going to meet the people of King Mosaiah I when he comes down into the land of Zarahimla from the land of Nephi in roughly 200 BC. So all of these stories should start to be connecting for us. So the timing, the calendars are our way of reckoning time. It’s a little tricky to know exactly how it lines up with our current Gregorian calendar looking back into this BC time period. What we know is the book Mormon opens with Lehigh in Jerusalem during the first year of the reign of Zeta Kaya, who is put on the throne as kind of a puppet king by Nebuchadneser, king of Babylon after he’s taken out that first wave of people.
And you think that people want to listen, like, we’ve lost a lot of people, maybe we should listen to the prophets and things will go better and like, no, nothing bad can happen to Jerusalem. Wait, have you guys just missed what’s been going on recently? It’s amazing as humans how easily we can get distracted with the mundane things of the world or whatever it might be and miss the clear call, trust God so he can save us.
So Zeta Kai is 21 years old when he began to rain and he rained eleven years in Jerusalem. So you’ll notice Jerusalem falls to Babylon. Ultimately the final siege from Babylon really kicks in in 587 and finalizes in 586 BC. When they’re destroyed and 586 is when he’s carried captive into Babylon. That’s interesting because he started when he was 21, he reigns for it’s in his 11th year. So he’s 31 or 32 when he’s carried captive and all his children are killed. But there’s one that isn’t mentioned here in the Bible that we get in that book warmth Mulek, one of the children who apparently was carried away safely and brought over to the Americas.
So the Hebrew word for. King is malek. So Zeta Kai is the king. One of his sons would be going to become the next king. So what might you call a young king? You might call them a Mulek, a little king. So it’s interesting that Zeta Kai’s son’s name is Mulch, which means little king. He may have been 8910, maybe just a young teenager when Mueller was able to get out of Jerusalem and make his way over to the New World. So all these interesting tantalizing connections with the end of the historical narrative of the Bible to the Book of Mormon, and to kind of bring it together, these Bible writers are helping us to see patterns in history that God gave covenant. He wants us to be in covenant with them. What happens when people are unfaithful? Notice that after 400 years most of people are taking into captivity because of faithlessness. So Nephi’s party leaves, the first thing they do is make sure they have a copy of the Covenant Instructions, the law of Moses, and they have another thousand years with a final couple of faithful editors, mormon moroni, who then compiled this record to explain yet again here’s what happens to God’s people when they choose to be faithless or faithful.
So really that’s what’s going on. And I see Nephi leaving at this time and realizing, wow, how do we reset God’s covenant in this new land and not fall into these bad patterns of faithlessness that we saw so often in the history of our own people. And I think that’s what’s motivating Nephi to want to teach his brothers and his posterity, let’s be faithful to the Lord. I have lived in an environment where I’ve seen through history, generations of faithlessness, and it was a disaster, let’s not repeat that. And sadly, he had a vision of what was going to happen to his own people when they had finally chosen to completely disavow God and choose to worship the arm of flesh.
And what a blessing that we have all these scriptures to testify of God, of his power, his goodness, his kindness to his children on both sides of the veil. I love that perspective that President Nelson has emphasized for the church that our work isn’t just on this side of the veil, among the living, but it’s on both sides of the veil. And anytime we do anything to help anyone make and keep those sacred covenants with the Lord to enter in and keep those connecting covenants to the ordinances that he has provided, we are gathering Israel. There truly is no greater work happening on the face of this earth. And what a privilege it is to be able to spend this time with you and with our families studying these scriptures and trying to figure out our place in this big narrative that is being written to this day in this unfolding restoration with ongoing revelation to help us find and discover our place in this beautiful latter day effort that we were privileged to come to the earth at this time with these resources to be able to participate in this work as a collective group.
May the Lord be praised forever for his goodness in giving us these opportunities. And we know he lives, and we know he’ll help us in this effort. And we leave that with you. In the name of Jesus. Jesus Christ. Amen.
Know that you’re loved and spread light and goodness.
King Josiah and His Good Works (Week 29, Part 5/6) 2 Kings 17-25 | July 11- July 17 – powered by Happy Scribe
It’s fair to say that the kingdom of Judah had some real ups and downs when it came to their leadership.
In all honesty, there were a lot more bad kings than there were good ones.
But King Josiah, whose story is found in Second Kings 22 23, is, is one of the best ones. Josiah was just eight years old when he began his reign, but the records record that he did what was right in the sight of the Lord and walked in the way of David’s father and turned on aside to the right hand or to the left. King Josiah had launched a series of reforms designed to realign the people of Judah with the Lord’s commandments.
During his brief reign, Josiah labored diligently to restore the temple, break down the idolatrous practices of the people, cleanse the priesthood, and restore the grand traditions of worshiping Jehovah, including the Passover. In the midst of Josiah’s valiant attempts to reform his kingdom, the Priest of Hilkiah found a book of the lot, most likely a version of the Book of Deuteronomy. When the book was read to Josiah, he rent his clothes and lamented the sorry state of the people. But he didn’t stop there. Josiah labored diligently to bring the people of Judah more into line with the true worship of Jehovah.
He gathered together all the people to the temple and read to them all the words in the lost book. Then he set the example by making a covenant before the Lord to keep his commandments with all his heart and soul and ask the people to do the same. Sadly, Josiah’s reign and reforms were cut short when Josiah was wounded in battle against the Egyptian forces of Magido and later died. But his legacy cast a long shadow for the kings who followed him. So was King Josiah a failure?
He only had a few years to try and bring his kingdom back to God before his life was cut short. But this brief renaissance, where a righteous king led reforms and emphasized the power of God’s word, was a big influence on the next generation. Among the young people who would have been influenced by King Josiah and his righteousness were Jeremiah, who would become one of the most important prophets in the entire Old Testament. Other prophets in Judah, such as Zephaniah, Nahum and Habakkuk, all taught around the same time as Jeremiah and were influenced by King Josiah’s attempts to bring the people back to the Lord. Perhaps most important for us, there was a young man in the days of Josiah who lived in Jerusalem named Lehi.
Lehi taught at the same time as Jeremiah and the other prophets. However, knowing that the fall of the kingdom of Judah was coming, lehi was directed to take his family and depart into the wilderness, eventually finding a new promised land on the other side of the earth and founding the great civilizations taught about in the Book of Mormon. Sometimes, like Josiah, we look at our efforts and just think we aren’t making a difference. The odds are too overwhelming. And it seems like in spite of all we can do, things aren’t getting better.
But just like Josiah, we can’t really measure the impact our righteous actions will have even in our own lifetime. Josiah’s work inspired others like Jeremiah and Lehi to pick up his banner and carry on his work. Some, like Jeremiah, fought on even though they knew the people they loved would eventually be destroyed. Some, like Lehi, struggled and fought, but found deliverance when the Lord led him and his family to a new home. All of them made a difference.
Those few brief years that the Kingdom of Judah had a righteous leader who loved and honored the Scriptures became the means for an entire civilization to know the covenants of their fathers. And Josiah’s work still matters today because Latter day Saints have the Book of Mormon, another testament of Jesus Christ, written by a long line of prophets who could trace their discipleship back to one young king who struggled against the odds to do what was right in the face of overwhelming opposition.
The Last Five Kings of Judah (Week 29, Part 6/6) 2 Kings 17-25 | July 11- July 17 – powered by Happy Scribe
Hello. I’m Lynn Hilton Wilson, back again to talk about part of the fabulous book of Second Kings. We are now down to the last five kings of Judah. The northern tribes have been taken away captives to Assyria and the southern tribes are going to be taken captive at the end of the Book of Second Kings. And we look at these last five kings.
One is Josiah and then his four sons. Well, three sons and one grandson. But this book is filled with fabulous stories and I’m going to focus today on chapter 23, 24 and 25. And we’ll start with Josiah. Remember, he was this little baby who was saved from those who are trying to kill off the heirs to the throne.
He was David in the temple, he was raised by the priests, he was put on the throne at age eight. We know that many of the reforms that take place were probably the idea of the priests and those that were raising him and working with him and giving him counsel and guidance. But we’re told in Kings chapter, Second Kings chapter 22 that Josiah is now 20 years old and his reforms are coming into full force. I personally feel that Lehigh was probably there and part of this, this is this fabulous age in the history of the world from 640 to 600 BC is some of the most fluid time in the ancient world. We find archaeological finds that let us know that travel and languages are being shared from Egypt up to Syria and Babylon and modernday Turkey.
And travel is coming back and forth and people are communicating and sharing merchandise. And it appears that Lehi lived in Jerusalem all of his life is what we read in First Nephi. And so he would have been there at this time of the reforms. He would have been there to watch some of these huge idols being torn out of the temple. He could have seen the changes where the groves are cut down, where all of the purging is done of the priests of Baal and other foreign kings.
We even had kings a generation back that were still sacrificing their children. And Lehigh was part of this as he was living in Jerusalem at this time. We’re told that in the 18th year of the reign of King Josiah he holds the largest passover that has ever been held. Josiah kept the Passover of the Lord in Jerusalem and he killed the passover and sank to fight yourself and prepare your brethren that they may do according to the word of Lord. And Josiah gave the people 33,000 bullocks, 2600 small cattle, 300 oxen and the princes gave 5000 small cattle and 500 oxen.
And then he talks about the priests and the Levites and the singers and the porters and everyone’s making ready. The Book of Moses says every lamb is to be shared by at least ten people. And so if we take this math. We have at least a half million people there that are gathered for this. If not, double that number, if the numbers are accurate, if we’re dealing with an exaggeration, I don’t know, but it just gives you a feel for how many people are living in Jerusalem at this time.
We’re also continued on in Second Chronicles. So the service of the Lord was prepared on the same day to keep the passover and to offer burnt offerings unto the altar of the Lord according to the commandment of King Josiah and the feast of unleavened bread, seven days, just as Moses had outlined. As we go back to the Book of Kings in chapter 23. Verse 25. We read that Josiah turned to the Lord with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his might according to the law of Moses.
And neither after him arose there any like him. Which means that his three sons and his grandson did not follow in his ways. But there’s only four more after him that served from this dynasty. So sadly. They do not follow in his path.
When we read the accounts of Josephus, though at this time, josephus is of course the Jewish historian who’s writing at the time of the Roman captivity. So it’s 670 years later than this. He talks about this political alliance that’s being formed because the Assyrian empire has been weakened. The Egyptians want to come up and gain that power. And so the Egyptian Pharaoh, whose name is Nico, is trying to vy for the power, and Babylon sees this void and they are trying to vie for the power.
And according to Josephus’s record, we can read that Nico sent a herald to Josiah and said, can I please just come through your land to get up to ayria I don’t want to fight with you guys, I just want to bring my army through your land, is what he says here as he’s trying to get up to Euphrates. But Josiah, King Josiah did not admit him and put him in a posture to hinder him from intending. The March 1 of the Egyptians shot an arrow at him, meaning King Josiah, and put an end of his eagerness of fighting and being sorely wounded, he commanded a retreat and to be sounded to his army, and he returned to Jerusalem and died of the wound. So he dies at age 39, after only a 31 year reign, and this loss was very sorely felt. Josiah’s son that is put on the throne is actually Johoaz, his fourth son.
And after only three months, the Pharaoh comes up and takes him down and puts him in a vassal state and says, I don’t like the way you’re ruling. And another one of his sons, named Elkim, he chooses to change his name when he gets on the throne to Johokin. He is placed on the throne and he is able to serve for eleven years under as a vassal of Pharaoh initially, but it’s good to also look at what their names meant. Now, Josiah’s name meant that God will support or God will heal. And I believe that Josiah tried to oliver up to that name, but his sons did not.
They were not righteous. We told repeatedly in the book of Kings 23, 24 and 25 that they were wicked, and so their names do not fit. Jojoz, which is the name that he chose to be on the throne. His throne name was God Will fortify referring to Fortify, his people and Jehovah Kim. His throne name means Jehovah will raise up or set up.
But that is not what happened. Jehovah Kim. Actually, we’re told in verses 36 and 37 David, that which was evil in the sight of the Lord according to all that his fathers had done. And he’s not referring to his father Josiah, but we’re told in Daniel, because Daniel has already been taken captive by this time. The first of the deportations has occurred, right when the Egyptians and the Babylonians are all vying for power.
We’re told in Daniel chapter one that Nebuchadnezzar conquered Egypt. Nebuchadnezzar is the king of Babylon, and he planned to take Jehovah’s, or at least the governor at this point, he planned to take Jeholah Kim captive, but instead he took others and joked, paid tribute to Babylon. So Jehovah Kim was able to stay on his throne. So for three years, eight years, he was on his throne, more or less holding hands with Egypt, and then the last three years being tied to the Babylonians. But after that, Nebuchadezzar came in and he’s taken down, and his son Joe Chin is put on.
That name means God will fortify his people, but he only serves for three months before he’s taken down. Nebuchadnezzar doesn’t like the way he’s being served. Another one of the sons of Josiah is put on the throne, and his name is changed to Zechariah. During this time, we learned that Jeremiah and Ezekiel and Daniel and Habakkuk and Obadiah and Lehi are all serving as prophets in Jerusalem, calling the people to repentance, warning them that their time is short. And we read in 1851, verse four, that in that same year many prophets came prophesying unto the people that they must repent or the great city of Jerusalem would be destroyed.
Now, we’ve already had one of the deportations. We’re told in Two Kings, chapter 24, verse 14, that Nebada and Knezzar carried all Jerusalem into exile. Now, that isn’t quite true, but he carried much of it, all the officers and the fighting men and the skilled workers and the Artesians, a total of 10,000. Well, we just had about a half million there at a passover a few decades earlier. But maybe between the different battles, it’s already been decimated.
Or maybe this is just Jerusalem that’s being taken now when he says 10,000, but it continues on in verse 14, only the poorest people were left in the land. So the first of the three deportations, we read about it in Jeremiah, chapter 25, as well as Jeremiah chapter 46, verse two. And of course, that whole first area of Daniel refers to it as well, because Daniel and his friends, Shadrac, Me, Shack and Bendigo, they’re all taken captive at that first deportation. Then we’ve got another deportation and another deportation. And during this first and second and third deportation is when the Lord begins taking some of his promised people out, including Lehi and his family.
Ishmael and his family. And we know that Zedakia has a son who’s also taken and hidden. We read in some of these chronicles that were kept by the Babylonians, that were on clay tablets, that had been fired and were rediscovered in the 1920s, or at least translated by the 1920s that are now in the British Museum for you to go look at. And we can read that Nebuchadnezzar besieged the city of Judah, so they’ve surrounded it. Nobody’s coming in, nobody’s going out.
On the second day of the month, this is February or March sometime, and he siege the city and captured the king Jehovah’s, and he appointed there a king of his own choice. And that is Zedekaiah, and that is now another son of the good king. So now this is his third son, who will be serving, Josiah’s son. And he received heavy tribute to pay to Babylon, but this son is willing to do it. And so we learn of Zeta Kaya’s reign.
Even though he’s really just a vassal puppet, he is not a man with much autonomy as he’s raining. As we continue on in chapter 25 of Two Kings. Verses eight through twelve reads. In the 19th year of Nebuchadnezzar. King of Babylon.
He set fire to the temple of the Lord and the royal palace and all the houses of Jerusalem and every important building he burned down and he carried them into exile. The people who remained in the city along with the rest of the populace. But the commander he left behind and some of the poorest people of the land to work in the vineyards, in the fields. Well, we have archeological evidence that this happened because when you get down to the level of 600 BC, you find these burnt homes, these ashes. In fact, there are at least three beautiful homes.
They find a lot of information so we can find out what was happening at this time. And just outside the city wall at this time in these charred remains, one archeologist was able to find the oldest scripture ever found in Jerusalem. And it’s written interestingly on metal. It dates to 600 BC. It’s the silver scroll that has the priestly Benediction for numbers, chapter six.
The Lord bless you and keep you, and may his face shine upon you and be gracious. But the Babylonians come in and Lehi’s family has left the Mulakites, the people around the last son of the king have left and the rest of the people are taken captive into Babylon. As we go back to one nephi, though and read in chapter five, verses twelve through 13 we read a little bit more about Zekaiya’s reign but it’s not until we get to the Book of Omni and Heloman that we actually read about the history of the people that were living in Zarahemla the mulekites and the name Mulch. If you take out the vowels, remember there’s no vowels in the ancient Hebrew it’s MLK, the very word that means King Melek just like Melchizedek, king of righteousness. And this is a perfect name for these people because they are carrying Zekai’s baby all the other sons of Zetika were killed and in front of Zetika’s eyes and Zetika’s eyes were taken out and then he was taken in chains to Babylon as a blind man but his one little baby son that was saved by some of the servants and the servants left and are those that came to the same land that Lehigh’s family was taken to and we are told that they were able to learn the language and have the scriptures restored to them through the work of great King Mosaic and the later judges after that time as they became one people as we learn in the Book of Words of Mormon I want to remind you that one of the best places to read the Old Testament commentary is in the Book of Mormon.
We find that it’s true, we find that it’s consistent and we also find that the Book of Mormon is spot on. Historically, Joseph Smith had no idea any of these things about Mulek as he was going through this translation process and yet it fits in beautifully. What a gift it is to have the Book of Mormon to not only testify of the restoration but to teach us more about the Old Testament.
Summary of RSC Lesson Resources for July 11–17, 2022: Your Weekly Resource for Gospel Scholarship – powered by Happy Scribe
Hello. My name is Jared Letlow, the publications director at the BYU Religious Study Center, your weekly resource for gospel scholarship. Today we’ll talk about some resources that can accompany you. Come follow me. Study for July 11 through 17th, 2nd King, 17th through 25.
The first one is by Paul Hoskinson, a retired religion faculty member called a Latter Day Saint Reading of Isaiah, and it comes from a Spirit Symposium volume. And while we haven’t yet hit the Book of Isaiah as a topic of study and come follow me, isaiah does show up in these chapters as he interacts with King Hezekiah during the Assyrian invasion. So this is kind of a foreshadowing or preparation for reading of Isaiah, but he outlines some of the difficulties that we commonly find in the writings of Isaiah, and he lists six particular difficulties. One is Isaiah’s use of poetry. Second, related to this is elevated Hebrew literary style, so even when not in poetry writing on a high level.
Third, that he’s removed culturally from our day. So some of the symbolism and objects are not as familiar to us. Fourth, he’s removed in time from our day, which is related to number three, except for just the fact that we don’t have anything we can really ask or find information about from Isaiah’s day, except for a few random historical artifacts or texts. And so that removes a lot of information that we could gain otherwise. Fifth, Isaiah draws heavily on scripture and doctrines outside his time and place, and so being able to coordinate all of those things together makes his writing sometimes a little more difficult.
And lastly, just the nature of this prophetic vision, the things that he sees, and trying to understand what it is he’s seeing. And so Brother Hoskinson talks about these different challenges, but then uses an example, his reading of Isaiah. Six, The Calling of Isaiah is a prophet to show how we can better understand what’s going on by breaking down and understanding these different components. The second article is called the imprisonment of Jeremiah in its historical context. It’s by Kevin Talley, an institute teacher in Southern California, and it comes from a religious educator article.
He does a great job of talking about the political background for Jeremiah’s imprisonment as the Babylonians come to take over the region. And this is recorded in Jeremiah 38. But a lot of the political background that he talks about, particularly the reigns of Josiah and Zeta Kaya, occur in Second Kings. And so he really does a great job of looking at the different kings and how they’re related to each other and how they’ve come to power during this critical time period. And later on, in the later section of the article, he draws some connections with the Book of Mormon, because this is also the time period that Lehi and Nephi come out of, as they are in Jerusalem, and know some of these kings and then leave to go to their prompt land.