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Joseph's Birthright #7

Israel's Idolatry


JUDAH'S SCEPTRE AND JOSEPH'S BIRTHRIGHT #7

by Allen (1917)

CHAPTER VII.


EPHRAIM-SAMARIA-ISRAEL'S IDOLATRY


     "When I would have healed Israel, then the iniquity of
Ephraim was discovered, and the wickedness of Samaria, for they
commit falsehood." (Hosea 7:1.) Here the names of Israel,
Ephraim, and Samaria, are used interchangeably for the one
kingdom. It bears the name Ephraim, because it is the Birthright
kingdom; that of Samaria, because that was the name of their
capital city; and the name of Israel, for the reason that when
dying Jacob, whose name had been changed to Israel, in bestowing
the Birthright upon Joseph's two sons, said: "Let my name be
named on them."

     When the blessing of Him that dwelt in the bush came upon
Joseph, he who was separated from his brethren, it is declared
that his glory was the ten thousands of Ephraim and the thousands
of Manasseh. Thus he received, in so far as tribal honor or glory
is concerned, a double portion. So, at the time of the division
of the land by lot, under the leadership of Joshua, we find the
declaration that "there was also a lot for the tribe of Manasseh,
for he was the first born of Joseph; but that "they gave no part
unto the Levites in the land, save cities to dwell in," and the
reason given for it is, "For the children of Joseph were two
tribes, Manasseh and Ephraim." Josh.14:4.
     The fact is that Jacob adopted the two sons of Joseph gave
them tribal headship, and thus made thirteen tribes in Jacob.    
And since Judah, Benjamin, and Levi were the tribal heads of the
kingdom of Judah, there were still ten tribes for the Birthright
kingdom, and the Lord's promise to the king of Israel stood fast.
The history of the kingdom of Israel, as opposed to that of the
Jews, is full of the sin of Jeroboam and of her kings who walked
in this sin. This sin was, in a special sense, the sin of that
nation. It pertained exclusively to them, because it was born,
bred, lived, and died among them; for no other nation took up
with it, not even their brethren of the kingdom of Judah. It was
the standing sin of the nation; to them it ever stood as an open
door through which other forms of idolatry might enter, and
through which they did enter. For, although it is said of Omri,
the sixth king of Israel, that he wrought evil in the sight of
the Lord in following the sin of Jeroboam, and also that he did
worse than all that were before him, the Lord is compelled to say
of Ahab, the son of Omri, that he did worse than his father; for
it was he who introduced the worship of Baal among the
Israelites. Following the introduction of Baalism, other
idolatries were quickly introduced among them, and soon the cup
of Israel's iniquity was full to the brim; the result of which
was that she was cast out of the land.
     Israel was not only cast out of that land, their Godgiven
heritage and which-if God be true-must yet become their
everlasting home; but she was cast off by the Lord and divorced
from him, because of her harlotry in forsaking him, her lawful
husband, for the worship of idols.

     Before giving the details of the casting out and the casting
off, we deem it advisable to give a complete list of Israel's
dynasties, together with a list of all the kings who reigned over
Israel from the time when the kingdom was taken from Solomon and
given to Jeroboam, his servant, until they were finally driven
out of the land, and also to give what the Scripture saith
concerning the idolatry of each of these her kings.
     So we place, below, the name and number of the king, the
number of the dynasty, and the length of time which each of the
kings reigned, in one column; and what is said concerning his
idolatry in the other.

I. DYNASTY.

1st King, Jeroboam. Reigned 22 years.

Idolatry

"And Jeroboam said in his heart, Now shall the kingdom return to
the house of David: if this people go up to do sacrifice in the
house of the Lord at Jerusalem, then shall the heart of this
people turn again unto their lord, even unto Rehoboam, king of
Judah, and they shall kill me, and go again to Rehoboam, king of
Judah, whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of
gold, and said unto them, It is too much for you to go up to
Jerusalem behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of
the land of Egypt.  And he set the one in Bethel, and the other
he put in Dan. And this thing became a sin, for the people went
to worship." (1 Ki.12 26-30.)

2nd King, Nadab. Reigned 2 years.

"And he did evil in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the way
of his father, and in his sin wherewith he made Israel to sin."
(1 Ki. 15: 26.)

II DYNASTY

3rd King. Baasha. Reigned 24 years.

"And he did evil in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the way
of Jeroboam, and in his sin wherewith he made Israel to sin." (1
Ki.15: 34.)

4th King. Elah. Reigned 2 years.

"For all the sins of Baasha (Jeroboamism), and the sins of Elah
his son, by which they sinned, and by which they made Israel to
sin, etc." (1 Ki.16:13.)

III DYNASTY

5th King. Zimri. Reigned 1 week.

"And it came to pass, when Zimri saw that the city was taken,
that he went into the palace of the king's house, and burnt the
king's house
Reigned 1 week. over him with fire, and died, for his sins which
he sinned in doing evil in the sight of the Lord, in walking in
the way of Jeroboam, and in his sin which he did to make Israel
to sin." (1 Ki.16:18,19.)

IV. DYNASTY.   

6th King. Omri. Reigned 12 years.

"But Omri wrought evil in the eyes of the Lord, and did worse
than all that were before him. For he 6th King, Omri. walked in
all the way of Jeroboam, Reigned 12 years. the son of Nebat, and
in his sir wherewith he made Israel to sin, to provoke the Lord
God of Israel to anger with their vanities." (1 Ki.16 25-26.)

7th King. Ahab. Reigned 22 years.

"And Ahab, the son of Omri, did evil in the sight of the Lord
above all that were before him. And it 7th King, Ahab. came to
pass, as if it had been a Reigned 22 years. light thing for him
to walk in the sins of Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, that he took
to wife Jezebel, the daughter of Ethbaal, king of the Zidonians,
and went and served Baal, and worshiped him. And he reared up an
altar for Baal in the house of Baal, which he had built in
Samaria. And Ahab made a grove; and Ahab did more to provoke the
Lord God of Israel than all the kings of Israel that were before
him." (1 Ki.16:30-33.)

8th King. Ahaziah. Reigned 2 years.

"And he did evil in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the way
of his father, and in the way of his 8th King, Ahaziah. mother,
and in the way of Jeroboam, Reigned 2 years. the son of Nebat,
who made Israel to sin: for he served Baal, and worshiped him,
and provoked to anger the Lord God of Israel, according to all
that his father had done." (1 Ki.22:52,53.)

9th King. Jehoram. Reigned 12 years.

"And he wrought evil in the sight of the Lord; but not like his
father, and like his mother; for he put away Reigned 12 years.
the image of Baal that his father had made. Nevertheless he
cleaved unto the sins of Jeroboam, the son of
Nebat, which made Israel to sin; he departed not therefrom." (2
Ki.3:2,3.)

V. DYNASTY.

10th King. Jehu. Reigned 23 years.

"Howbeit from the sins of Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, who made
Israel to sin, Jehu departed not from after them, to wit, the
golden calves that were in Bethel and that were in Dan."(2 Ki.
10:29.)

11th King. Jehoahaz. Reigned 17 years.

"And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, and
followed the sins of Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, which made
Israel to sin; he departed not therefrom." (2 Ki.13:2.)

12th King. Joash. Reigned 10 years.

"And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord; he
departed not from all the sins of Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, who
made Israel to sin; but he walked therein." (2 Ki.13:11.)

13th King. Jeroboam, the 2nd, son of Joash. Reigned 41 years.

"And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord: he
departed not from all the sins of Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, who
made Israel to sin." (2 Ki.14:24.)

14th King. Zachariah. Reigned 6 months.

"And he did that which was evil imthe sight of the Lord, as his
father had done: he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam, the
son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin." (2 Ki.15 9.)

VI DYNASTY

15th King. Shallum. Reigned 1 month.

(Sins of Shallum not recorded.)

VII DYNASTY

16th King. Menahem. Reigned 10 years.

"And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord: he
departed not all of his days from the sins of Jeroboam, the son
of Nebat, who made Israel to sin." (2 Ki.15:18.)

17th King. Pekahiah. Reigned 2 years.

"And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord: and he
departed not from the sins of Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, who
made Israel to sin."(2 Ki.15:24.)


18th King. Pekah. Reigned 20 years.

"And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord: he
departed not from the sins of Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, who
made Israel to Sin." (2 Ki.15:28.)

19th King. Hoshea. Reigned 22 years.

"And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, but not
as the kings of Israel that were before him." (2 Ki.17:2.)

     After the introduction of Baalism and other idolatries,
there were a few feeble attempts at reformation; but they were
only partial, as we may readily see. Take, for instance, the case
of Jehoram to which we referred in the last chapter; how it is
written that "He wrought evil in the sight of the Lord, but not
like his father and mother, for he put away the image of Baal
that his father had made, nevertheless he cleaved unto the sins
of Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, which made Israel to sin." It was
this slight and hypocritical attempt to purify the worship of the
people which so displeased the Lord, and which made Elisha the
prophet give that scathing rebuke to Jehoram in the presence of
his kinsman kings. For if he knew enough concerning the Lord God
of his race to have his conscience troubled over Baal, he had
sufficient light to have made a clean sweep of the whole thing,
but he did not do it. And the sequel proves that he did not
succeed in destroying Baalism from among his people, for they
were soon back to it, and even went so far as to offer their own
sons and daughters in living sacrifice to the idol of Baal.
It was to this kingdom, the people of which are Israelites and
not Jews, that the Lord sent Elijah the prophet to make the fire
test as to whether he or Baal be God. And when the Lord answered
by fire, which not only consumed the sacrifice but the stones of
the altar, the water in the ditch, and the very dust under the
altar, it was these people who shouted loud and long: "The Lord,
he is God! The Lord, he is God!" But they never forsook
Jeroboam-ism, and soon relapsed into the worship of Baal worse
than ever.
     Finally the Lord raised up Jehu, who destroyed all the house
of Ahab, and became the king of Israel. He, upon his ascension,
"gathered the people together and said unto them, Ahab served
Baal a little; Jehu shall serve him much. Now therefore call unto
me all the prophets of Baal, all his priests; let none be
wanting; for I have a great sacrifice to do for Baal ; whosoever
shall be wanting (lacking) he shall not live. But Jehu did it in
subtlety, to the intent that he might destroy the worshipers of
Baal." (2 Ki.10:19.)
     His ruse worked like a charm; they all came, prophets,
priests and all the worshipers, "so that there was not a man left
that came not," and the house of Baal was full from one end to
the other. Then he commanded his guards to destroy them, saying
that the man who let one escape should pay the penalty with his
own life. They did their work and did it well. So the record
reads, "Thus Jehu did destroy Baal out of Israel." But, oh, note
the very next words: "Howbeit, from the sins of Jeroboam, the son
of Nebat, who made Israel to sin, Jehu departed not from them, to
wit, the golden calves that were in Bethel and that were in Dan."
(2 Kings 10:29.)
     It was in regard to Israel, this same ten-tribed kingdom,
that the Lord, through the prophet Hosea, said, "Israel slideth
back as a backsliding heifer," and of whom he said, "I will heal
their backslidings, I will love them freely"; and whom he
exhorted, saying: "O Israel, return unto the Lord thy God!" But
they would not. And yet at that same time the Lord declared that
the Jews did have power with him, and that they were among the
faithful saints.
     In the face of all these facts can there be any further
question as to the real meaning of the expression, "Ephraim is
joined to his idols" - Jeroboam's calves? Or need we be
surprised, in the fact of these cold, hard facts, that the Lord
should say, "Let him alone?"
     No, surely no. The only surprise is that we should have been
so stupid as to have tried to spiritualize Ephraim and his idols.
     Since it is a well-known fact that the Jews also went into
the worship of Baal, and that for this they were eventually
carried away to Babylon, we deem it advisable that all may the
more readily grasp other facts with which we shall yet deal, to
give at this juncture a tabulated list of Judah's kings from the
time God broke up the united kingdom,-for you will remember that
he said, "This is of me" - until the Jewish people went into the
Babylonish captivity.

KINGDOM OF JUDAH. 

(Dynasty a continuation of David's house.) 

     1st King ............ Rehoboam.......Reigned 17   years
     2nd  "    ............Abijah ..............  3    "
     3rd  "    ............Asa ................   41   "
     4th  "    ............Jehosaphat ..........  25   "
     5th  "    ............Jehoram ............   8    "
     6th  ..   ............Ahaziah ............   I    "
     7th  "    ............(Queen) Athaliah....   6    "
     8th  "    ............Jehoash .............  40   "
     9th  ..   ............Amaziah ............   29   "
     Loth "    ............Azariah, or Uzziah...  52   "
     11th ..   ............Jotham .............   16   "
     12th ..   ............Ahaz .............     16   "
     13th "    ............Hezekiah ...........   29   "
     14th ..   ............Manassah ...........   55   "
     15th "    ............Amon ..............    2    "
     16th "    ............Josiah ..............  31   "
     17th "    ............Jehoahaz ............  3    mos.
     18th "    ............Jehoiakim ...........  11   years
     19th "    ............Jehoiachin ..........  3    mos.
     20th "    ........... Zedekiah ............  11   years


     
     In this list we perceive that the same dynasty, which
commenced when David was made king over the united tribes,
continues throughout this entire list down to and including
Zedekiah; while, in the previously given list of Israel's kings,
you notice, there are no less than eight dynasties. The reason is
obvious. Judah's kings are the God-given royal line, along which
the swaying sceptre passed from father to son. For the Lord had
promised this family that neither the sceptre nor a law-giver
should depart from them until Shiloh should come. But such was
not the case in the kingdom of Israel, hence feudalism prevailed
among them.
....................

To be continued


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