The Fifth Covenant
By Kelly Salbato
Now we are going to look at David, the
covenant mediator through whom God reorganizes a kind of national, imperial
kingdom family. The Church is now going to be a national kingdom. The
difference between a nation and a kingdom being that a nation possesses its own
sole sovereignty, but a kingdom exercises sovereignty over other states, over
other nations. The purpose of this seems to be to take the wisdom, the truth and
the righteousness that God has generously poured out upon Israel and the law of
Moses through the prophets, He wants to make that more widely accessible to the
Now the Levites are the sole priests in Israel, the twelve tribes, as it were, were almost laicized and defrocked. The law of the priesthood is given to the Levites in Leviticus, whereas in Deuteronomy we see a different kind of law that allows for such things as divorce, concubinage, polygamy, slavery, usurious loans, genocidal warfare and so on - we see all of this in Deuteronomy - a law that is generally published for the twelve tribes in their non-priestly status.
The law of the central sanctuary is not found anywhere outside of Deuteronomy. Here in Deuteronomy 12 the idea of one temple serving as, in a sense, the house of God represents what the early Church fathers believed rightly was a concession to the weakness of the Israelites. They wanted to have an earthly home that they could see, a tangible piece of evidence that God was with them.
Deuteronomy 17, verse 14: "When you come to the land which the Lord, your God, gives you and you possess it and dwell in it and then say, 'I will set a king over me like all the nations that are round about me." Notice the motivation - we want to be like all the other nations. "you may, indeed, set as king over you him whom the Lord, your God, will choose, one from among your Brethren."
Verse 16: "He must not multiply horses for himself," - God does not want the king to have standing armies that are large to threaten the surrounding neighbors.
"And he shall not multiply wives for himself lest his heart turn away." Back then monarchs didn't just like lots of weapons, they liked lots of wives because the royal harems showed forth the sovereignty over other nations and the political alliances that those concubines and wives represented.
And thirdly, "Nor shall he greatly multiply for himself silver and gold."
So God concedes to the Israelites wishes and lets them have what they want. God gives them his requirements for a king. Not only that, when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he (the king) shall write for himself in a book, a copy of this law, that is written in Deuteronomy. "and it shall be with him and he shall read in it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord, his God, by keeping all the words of this law and these statutes in doing them, so that his heart may not be lifted up above his brothers; that he may not turn aside from the commandment, either to the right or to the left, so that he may continue long in his kingdom, he and his children in Israel."
Intervening Period Between Moses and the Monarchy
Joshua who, of course, took over from Moses at his death, led the people of Israel across the Jordan into the Promised Land first conquering Jericho and then basically conquering much, but not all, of the Promised Land. At the end of the book in Joshua 24, right before his own death, he ratifies a covenant, a covenant renewal ceremony he performs with Israel because he knows that as soon as he dies, they are going to go astray, just like Moses knew.
Then when Joshua is over, we come to the Book of Judges and the period of the Judges, and here we see continual crises meeting Israel under the twelve Judges that are discussed in the Book of Judges.
Now 1st Samuel is sort of like an interim section in the first few chapters because the first few chapters of Samuel basically give us the downfall of the Judges.
We see this especially in the first few chapters here. Hannah is barren. She prays to God for a child and she has Samuel. She promised God that she would give Samuel over to the priesthood and so she delivers him up to the High Priest named Eli. Eli is serving as High Priest and he adopts Samuel along with his two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, and Samuel grows up looking at his older step brothers and sees that Eli is righteous but Hophni and Phinehas are wicked and as the High Priest ages and the two get ready to succeed him, the people are concerned because these two priests are abusing their power in some very wicked ways. So one night God appears to Samuel and basically lays out for him what is going to happen to the house of Eli. It's going to fall, and Samuel will be the one who begins a new priestly dynastic line.
So Samuel pronounces his prophetic woe to Eli and then Eli watches the tragedy unfold as his two sons die in battle and as the Ark of the Covenant is captured by the Philistines. The glory departs as the Ark is captured and carried away to Phillistia. But then, all of a sudden plagues are sent out from the Ark and the Philistines don't want it so they send it back.
Here's where Samuel begins his reign, calling for repentance, leading the people back to the Lord. The people begin complaining again. Why? Because Samuel's sons are wicked as well! They see his sons and they say, "Oh, no! It's like Eli revisited. We want a king. We don't want these weak priests who can't raise kids. We don't want to worry about one generation to the next when we've got no political power and we are surrounded by hostile enemies all around."
Samuel says, "You don't want a king." They want a king with military and political power. God says to Samuel, "Samuel, don't take it personally. They are not rejecting you. They're rejecting me as being king over them. Now go tell them they are going to get what they want. They want a king? They'll get a king. That's my punishment. Now instead of paying one tithe to the priesthood and to the Church, as it were, they are going to end up paying double tax, two tithes to the Church and also to the state, and he'll take a tithe of everything - your flocks, your crops, your sons, your daughters, your property - everything! Warn them so they will know." So Samuel warns them. "No, but we will have a king over us," they say in verse 19, "that we also may be like all the nations and that our king may govern us and go out before us and fight our battles." The Lord said to Samuel, "Hearken to their voice and make them a king."
The Monarchy: King Saul
So God selects a man named Saul, very strong, tall and handsome and he is anointed by Samuel, coronated by the people in chapters 9 and 10 and then God sends upon Samuel with the anointing of the oil, a spirit of prophecy, 10:6. He gives to him in 10:9, "a new heart" to reign as a father figure over his own family. He is accepted and he is crowned by Israel, verse 24: "Long live the king!" Now they are becoming just like all the other nations.
In the beginning things go well. The Ammonites are defeated, the Philistines are routed, Samuel lays down his office as Judge handing it over, in a sense, to Saul, the king. He starts warring against the Philistines with great success but then, all of a sudden, he makes what might seem to be small but ends up being an enormous blunder that will cost him his dynasty. In 1 Samuel 13, Saul intrudes into the priestly office. Samuel said, "Saul wait until I appear, then I will sacrifice." He waits, he gets impatient. He goes ahead and sacrifices himself. He acts like a priest-king out of turn.
So what happens? "You've done foolishly," verse 13, "Samuel said to Saul. You have not kept the command of the Lord, your God, which he commanded you for now the Lord, he would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom shall not continue. The Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and the Lord has appointed him to be prince over his people because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you." Now he's not deposed automatically as king. He continued to reign as king. What is the punishment? Your son won't. It's the end of the kingdom in the sense of a dynastic succession.
In 14 and 15 things go worse. In 15, we have a very heavy and tragic scene. It's almost hard for us to understand how strict God wants his leaders to keep the commandments. In 1st Samuel 15, King Saul is told to go war against the Amalekites, a people who were intent upon exterminating the Jews. Therefore, God commands them to destroy the Amalekites, obliterate them completely. So Saul says, "Okay, we go up, go depart and we're going to go down and destroy them." And he goes and
he fights and he wins. Verse 9: "But Saul and the people spared Agag who was the Amalekite prince as well as the best of the sheep and the ox and the fatlings, the lambs and all that was good. He did not utterly destroy them. All that was despised and worthless they utterly destroyed."
In other words, they threw away the garbage and they kept whatever they liked, repudiating God's command. "The word of the Lord came to Samuel, 'I repent that I have made Saul king for he has turned back." Samuel rises up, angry, goes out to meet Saul in the morning, "and it was told Samuel, Saul came to Carmel and behold he set up a monument for himself and turned and passed and went down to Gilgal." Samuel basically has to chase him down. Samuel came to Saul in verse 13: "Saul said to him, 'Blessed be you to the Lord. I have performed the commandment of the Lord." Horse pucky - I mean that's not really what he says, but he could have.
Verse 14: the irony here is just scathing, "What then is this bleating of the sheep in my ears and the lowing of the oxen which I
hear?" In other words, I hear and smell an Amalekite beast which should have been slaughtered. Saul said, "Oh, they have brought them from the Amalekites for the people; spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen to sacrifice to the Lord, your God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed." Then Samuel said to Saul, "Stop. I will tell you what the Lord said to me this night. And he said to him, 'Say on.' Though you are little in your own eyes, aren't you the head of all the tribes of Israel? The Lord anointed you king over Israel and the Lord sent you on a mission. He said 'Go out and destroy the sinners. Why then, did you not obey the voice of the Lord? Why did you swoop on the spoil and do what was evil in the sight of the Lord?"
And Saul said to Samuel, " I have obeyed the voice of the Lord. I've gone on the mission on which the Lord sent me. I have brought Agag, the king of Amalek, and I have utterly despoiled the Amalekites, but the people took of the spoil." He goes on to sacrifice to the Lord their God in Gilgal. And Samuel says: "Has the Lord as great a delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the Lord?" God didn't even initially require sacrifices until after the Golden Calf. Behold, to obey is better than the sacrifice.
Saul said to Samuel, "I have sinned, I have transgressed the commend." And he prays, "Would you pardon my sin?" Samuel said to Saul, "I will not return with you for you have rejected the word of the Lord and the Lord has rejected you from being king over Israel. "As Samuel turned to go away, Saul laid hold upon the skirt of his robe and it ripped. And Samuel said to him, "so the Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from you this day and has given it to a neighbor of yours who is better than you and all so the glory of Israel will not lie or repent for he is not a man that he should repent." And Saul worships the Lord.
David Chosen to be King by God
In 13, he lost the dynasty - his son would not be a successor. In 15, he loses the monarchy, any divine right that he might have had. So David is chosen to be king in chapter 16. "He is selected above all his older brothers."
Now we see a very unique friendship formed between David, the new king in the making, and the old king who is losing it all. Jonathan, Saul's son, the crown prince, the heir apparent becomes David's best friend. Jonathan would rather be an obedient servant of Yahweh than fight to be the next king and political power.
So David and Jonathan swear a covenant of family friendship which will produce family fruits for a generation or two. It's beautiful! The covenant is actually ratified by them going out in the field and exchanging clothes. What for? Jonathan give to David his clothes and David, who at this point was a court minister in Saul's royal court, gives to Jonathan his own. Jonathan faithfully gives up what he knows God does not want, an incredible example. Unfortunately, Jonathan dies a little bit later.
Saul goes nuts! He sees everything fall apart before his eyes. He seeks to kill David. He is driven mad by demons, by spirits who haunt him. He continually tracks down David, trying to kill him for chapter after chapter after chapter.
2 Samuel:19 -31 we see the fall of Saul and actually the rescue of David. 1st Samuel 24 Saul is chasing David frantically trying to kill him and they are going out in the wilderness and then all of a sudden we're told Saul had to go to the bathroom. So he goes to find a cave and he happens to walk into a dark cave where David is hiding in the back. He promptly walks in the back and he relieves himself inches away from David who quietly cuts off a piece of his robe.
Saul leaves the cave, goes back down to join his troops. David emerges from the cave and says, "Saul, today the Lord delivered you into my hands but I will not lay a hand on the Lord's anointed." Saul says, "No way." David holds up the piece of cloth. Saul looks down and says, "You're a better man than me." And for a while he departed from his chase until he became frantically mad again and resumed it later. Finally Saul commits suicide, then is decapitated. 2nd Samuel describes
how David is anointed king; first over the tribe of Judah in chapter 2.
David Accepted as King by all of Israel
Then with Saul's death a civil war ensues because the other tribes are trying to figure out who they want to be king. They're not
sure they want this Judaite down south. The civil war goes on through chapter 3 and then finally after 4, in chapter 5 all the tribes decide to consolidate under the kingship of David. So they send Elders down to Hebron and they anoint him as their king and proclaim, "We are your bone and flesh." It's a covenant oath they swear to him saying we are all family and we will follow you as a father.
So he makes a covenant and he takes over the kingship over all of Israel. He was thirty years old when he began to reign and he reigned forty years, in verse 4. Hebron, 7 years and a half and then at Jerusalem, he reigned for the next 33 years. But he doesn't even have Jerusalem yet. So the next section in 2nd Samuel 5 describes how he goes about capturing Jerusalem which is one of the strongest fortresses in the whole of the Promised Land. It's practically impregnable. In fact, the people who have to defend the city actually taunt David from the wall saying, "We could put blind men up here and they could successfully defend it against you." Because it was such an impregnable city fortress.
He then defeats the Philistines and has relative peace with all the enemies round about. So he makes his move. In 2nd Samuel 6, the Ark of the Covenant: "David again gathered all the chosen men of Israel, 30,000. He rose and went with all the people who were with him. He goes ahead and he carries the Ark upon a new cart and they are carrying it toward Jerusalem, the city which they have just captured.
Where have you heard of Jeru-Salem before? Way back in Genesis 14 where Melchizedek was Priest of God Most High and King of Salem. That, of course, is the same place where Abraham went when he went to the mountain of Mount Moriah to sacrifice Isaac under the auspices, perhaps, of the Priest-King Melchizedek. In other words, there we have a priest king of God who is ruling over the whole human family in a time of relative peace that Abraham acknowledges and his kingship is in Jerusalem, a universal, worldwide kingship that reflects the relative unity of the human family under God.
David knows for certain that Deuteronomy 12 was talking about Jerusalem. The central sanctuary, when you go into land and you have rest from your enemies, "Build for me a central sanctuary, and there you shall bring all of your offerings and sacrifices and tithes." Never mentions Jerusalem by name, but it does say, "Go to the place where I will choose my name to dwell," my 'shem' to dwell. And according to Rabbinic teachings and legends and folklore, it was the city that Shem, later Melchizedek, reigned over as priest-king in Abraham's day. Traditions that, perhaps, David knew about and was hearkening to as he consolidated a kingdom there in Jerusalem.
So in 2nd Samuel 6 he's bringing the Ark of the Covenant, the holiest object in the world toward Jerusalem. Verse 6: " And when they came to the threshing floor at Nacon, Uzzah. who was helping to carry it put out his hand to the Ark of God to take hold of it for the oxen stumbled." I mean you can understand Uzzah. He sees one of the oxen stumble, the Ark of the Covenant starts to shake, maybe it's going to fall, so what is righteous Uzzah to do? Well he's not an Aaronite so he shouldn't touch the Ark, but he reaches out to stabilize it and what happens? "And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah and God smote him there because he put forth his hand to the Ark, and he died there beside the Ark of God."
So this holy object was not to be touched by just anybody. And Uzzah's dead on the spot. Our God is so holy, we dare not forget the fact that when it comes to God we're not told that he's "love, love, love; mercy, mercy, mercy," but twice - once in the Old Testament and again in the New Testament we're told that Our Lord is "Holy, Holy, Holy." The Hebrew language does not have superlatives like we do - "good, better, best; round, rounder, roundest." If you want to stress to a superlative degree you repeat it twice. But if you want to stress it to the maximum, you say it three times. God isn't just holy, he's not just holier, he is the holiest. He's "holy, holy, holy" and what he sanctifies to himself is also. We've got to realize that as far as our life is concerned, our Church, our sacraments, our priests, our marriages, our children are all "holy unto the Lord." So we've got to be careful in what we allow them to touch and what touches them.
Uzzah is dead. David's upset because the "Lord had broken forth upon Uzzah," verse 9. David's afraid of the Lord that day and he said, "How can the Ark of the Lord come to me?" So he just leaves it there, right at the house of Obededom for three months until he hears word that Obededom's house is flourishing like never before. He thinks, "Well, maybe I should have the Ark then." You know, good opportunist. So he decides to go back and bring up the Ark to Jerusalem. Verse 12 and 13: "David went and brought up the Ark of God from the house of Obededom to the City of David with rejoicing." In verse 14 that David danced before the Lord with all his might, girded with a linen effod. Now the word for dance is a Hebrew term for a liturgical dance. I mean not like the nuns around the altar, but a priest who's whirling with joy around the Ark of the Covenant, as the sacrifices are made every six steps. And he is dressed not in royal garments but in a sheer linen effod, what the Levites were supposed to wear for their priestly service so they wouldn't sweat - it was so light.
What is the king of Israel doing dressed up like a lowly Levite? He has captured Jerusalem, the city of the priest-king and there hasn't been a priest-king ruling over God's family since Noah-shem, Melchizedek. Maybe David's aspiring to restore something that is beautiful and right. Because, after all, what did God initially want for the people of Israel? To be royal priests. Not kings at the end of a gun or the edge of a sword, but kings who would rule through priestly service and teaching. David would rather dress up like a lowly Levite than a pompous king. And he is sacrificing, and he's before the Ark with the other Levites. And we're told, "They brought in the Ark of the Lord and set it in its place inside the tabernacle which David had pitched for it."
You go back to the law of Moses - only Levites are allowed to pitch the tabernacle. David did it here. He offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the Lord. Only Levites are allowed to offer the sacrifices. David does it here. And when David is finished offering the burnt offerings and the peace offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord. According to the Book of Numbers, that is a task for the Levites and the Aaronite priests. Then he goes a step further and distributes among all the people, the whole multitude of Israel, both men and women, "to each a cake of bread and a measure of wine and a cake of raisins." Now that phrase "portion of meat" can be translated into "measure of wine." Long and other scholars translate it, "measure of wine." He gives them bread and wine as he comes up, dressed like a priest-king to Jeru-Salem.
Covenant with David
Then he asks Nathan the Prophet to do what is in the ancient Near East, the most priestly thing of all, that is to build God, not a tabernacle, but a temple, a house. Nathan at first consents, says, "sure." And now in 2nd Samuel 7, we see the Davidic covenant. David says to Nathan, "I dwell in this beautiful house and God's dwelling in a tent." Nathan says, "Do whatever is in your heart." But then the word of the Lord came to Nathan and says, "Go back and give David another message." What is the message? A New Covenant.
Verse 5: "Go and tell my servant David, thus sayeth the Lord 'Would you build a house for me to dwell in? I've not dwelt in a house since the day I brought up the people of Israel from Egypt to this
day. I've been moving about in a tent for my dwelling.'" Nathan, you shall say to my servant David, thus sayeth the Lord of Hosts, I took you from the pasture from following the sheep that you should be prince over my people of Israel. I have been with you wherever you went. I have cut off all your enemies from before you and I will make for you a great name."
This was the promise after the Tower of Babel builders were trying to make a shem (name) for themselves, a name for themselves to repudiate Noah's family rule, they were scattered and God called Abraham to go to the Promised Land "and I will make your shem great. I will restore the fortunes of the righteous first-born son of Noah and through him, the unity of the human family."
Now, God is promising David a similar thing. "I will make for you a great name, like the shem, the name of the great ones of the earth and I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them that they may dwell in their own place and be disturbed no more." And it goes on, "And I will give you rest from all your enemies. Moreover the Lord declares to you that the Lord will make you a house."
Notice all the things that God is promising David? He promises him a great shem, a great name. He promises him rest. He promises him a house. "The Lord will make you a house. When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your seed, your offspring after you, who shall come forth from your body and I will establish his kingdom." In other words there will be dynastic succession at last. "He shall build a house for my name (shem) and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. And I will be his father and he shall be my son."
In Verse 18; (the next two verses are often mistranslated so check out your translations and see what they say.) Verse 18: "Then King David went in and sat before the Lord and said, 'Who am I, Oh Lord God, and what is my house that thou hast brought me thus far; and yet this was a small thing in your eyes. Oh Lord God, you have also spoken to me of thy servant's house for a great while to come and you have shown me "wasoth torath ha adam." You have shown me future generations, the word future is not there and the word generations is not there."Torath" is an easy Hebrew phrase unless you misunderstand the nature of the covenant. Then you would try to translate it some other way. It's simply, "Torah - torath is the word for law, "ha adam," adam is humanity.
David could see the covenant and this worldwide decree is the means by which God is going to establish the corporate destiny of the human family. He is going to give a constitution, through the Davidonic covenant, so that an international family charter for all mankind will be given, will be offered freely to the nations - if they choose to accept, which they do for a brief time. Much like Israel chose to accept for a brief time the call of God to be a kingdom of priests and then Israel and the nations were repudiated because, It isn't easy. Carrying your cross, sacrificing lower goods from this world, setting your heart
on treasures in heaven has never been easy and it never will be.
David's Sin and Repentance
2nd Samuel 11: Here we get to the rise and then the fall of King David. David should have been out in battle. He was at home taking it easy in his palace. He goes up to the roof one day, late in the afternoon, and all of a sudden he sees from the roof a woman bathing, and the woman was very beautiful. David inquired about the woman, "Isn't this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah, the Hittite?" who we will learn later on in 2nd Samuel, 23 was one of David's chief military advisors. Can you believe it? So, he asks for her and she comes to him and he takes her and it says, "Now she was purifying herself from her uncleanness." That means seven days after her menstrual period. Then she returned to her house and the woman conceived and told David, "I am with child."
David says, "Send for me Uriah; recall him from duty." He needs a break. He's been at this battle so long and so hard, he's going to take it easy. I'm going to give him leave. So he tells Uriah to go home and relax. Uriah is like, "How can I? God's people are out there in battle along with the Ark of the Covenant", he says. "I can't rest. I just can't go in and sleep with my wife." He asks again. In his loyalty he refuses. So, because Uriah won't consent to this, he goes back into battle carrying a letter, sealed, that David wrote to Joab saying, "Joab, when you besiege the city, put Uriah up on the front lines and then when it gets really, really bad, draw back and leave him up there by himself."
Uriah is cut down in battle. "Shed a tear," says David. In verse 26 "When the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah, her husband, was dead, she made lamentation for her husband and when the mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house. She became his wife and bore him a son, "But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord" and so he sends Nathan who tells a quaint little country parable about a poor man and a rich man. The rich man had flocks and herds. The poor man had only one little ewe lamb that was like a best buddy and a pillow and everything all wrapped in one. The rich man had some people over. Wants to prepare a banquet, Didn't want to kill his own. So he steals, he takes the poor man's only ewe lamb.
David's anger was greatly kindled against that man and he said to Nathan, "As the Lord lives," which is an oath, "the man who has done this deserves to die and he shall restore the lamb fourfold because he did this thing and because he had no pity." And David heard Nathan say, "Ecce homo. You are the man; behold the man, you are that scoundrel. Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, 'I anointed you King over Israel, I delivered you from the hand of Saul. I gave you the master's house, the master's wife. I gave you the House of Israel, then of Judah, and if this wasn't enough, I gave you more. But you smite Uriah the Hittite
with a sword and have taken his wife to be your wife. Now therefore' (here's the curse in verse 10) 'the sword shall never depart from your house because you despised me and have taken the wife of Uriah, the Hittite to be your wife.' " And a Hittite is a Canaanite. You're not allowed to marry them.
"Thus sayeth the Lord, 'Behold, I will raise up evil against you out of your own house and I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of the sun.' " David says, "I have sinned against the Lord." Nathan said, "The Lord has put away your sin. You shall not die, but the child will," and does. And David writes the greatest psalm of repentance ever, Psalm 51.
Solomon is born after the first child dies. "Solomon is born to Bathsheba." One of Davids sons, Ammon, falls in love with one of his half-sisters, Tamar. He connives a plan to rape her and he does so. And Absalom, Tamar's brother, finds out what his half-brother has done. He kills him. Before he kills him, he probably waited for a few weeks to see what his father, David, would do. And he did nothing. So he kills him. Then he returns and sets up a revolt against David. He takes over Jerusalem, steals his father's concubines, the royal harem, and he sleeps with them in public to shock the people into their allegiance
with him. Finally, he himself dies and brings the greatest sorrow to father David's heart.
David's Son Solomon
Solomon took over and brought glory back to the Davidic monarchy. 1st Kings, 1 - 10 describes how it happens. It's really beautiful. David in his old age consents to hand the kingdom over to Solomon, David gives his last will and charge in chapter 2 of 1st Kings and there we see Solomon establish a throne in his right hand for Bathsheba, the Queen Mother.
God says, "I'll give you what you want. Do you want wealth? Do you want weapons? Do you want wives? Do you want all the goods and services and whatever?" He says, "No, I want wisdom." Yahweh says, "You just pleased me. Because you have asked for wisdom, I will give you all the wisdom that you could have and I will give you everything else as well."
The prayer for wisdom is found in chapters 3 and 4 and at the end of chapter 4 Solomon's wisdom is broadcast around the world. Kings and Queens are traveling from Africa and from Europe and from all inhabited continents to hear the wisdom of Solomon. With that wisdom, he sets about the building of the Temple as God had promised in chapters 6 and 7. Then in chapter 8, he dedicates the Temple with a long and beautiful prayer. And at the end of the prayer in 2nd Chronicles, 6 and
7, verse 1 tell us how fire comes down from heaven and consumes the sacrifice on the altar and everybody finds themselves on their faces worshiping God
Solomon systematically disobeys the law of the king in Deuteronomy 17. First in 10:14, he begins to squeeze and tax these
colonies and nations around him dry. He demands they bring up to Jerusalem, not their bodies and souls to hear the law of God and the wisdom of Solomon. Now he wants their gold. And he requires gold in order for them to use his lands and seas - a subscription price of 666 talents of gold per annum. It's the only other place in the Bible where 666 is used, the number of the beast in Revelation that calls for wisdom, like the wisdom of Solomon.
In 10:26. he begins to multiply horses and chariots for himself. He has standing armies and weapons in contradiction to the law of the king that God had given.
Finally, in 1st Kings, chapter 11, verse 1. Seven hundred wives, 300 concubines Verse 1: "Now King Solomon loved many foreign women, the daughter of Pharaoh and Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians and Hittite women" - none of whom he should have been marrying. But he wanted to be a king like all the others. He wanted to have political alliances, "from nations concerning which the Lord had said to the people of Israel, ' You shall not enter into marriage with them, neither shall they be with you, for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods." And Solomon falls away from the Lord; actually begins to construct idolatrous altars and tried to have it both ways with Yahweh, with Ashora and with Bael, and God won't have it.
He sends enemies from within and enemies from without and Solomon grows old and watches his kingdom grow more and more insecure. His son Rehoboam takes over at a time of great instability. Rehoboam's not sure what to do. They have begun taxing their fellow-Israelites for money. The Israelite tribes sent representatives saying, "Rehoboam, your father is dead, Solomon's dead. The tax burden is very great. What are you going to do? Please lighten it." Rehoboam talks to his old advisors, the counselors of Solomon and they say, "You'd better loosen it. It's too much." But then he talks to his young counselors, all of his buddies who stand to gain the money from the taxes. They say, "Increase it." He stands up and tells these representatives, "You thought my father taxed you? My little finger is thicker than his loins and thighs."
Civil war ensues. Ten tribes split away, never to be reunited again. The northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah under the Davidic monarchy has got two measly tribes.
And thus spells the beginning of the end of the Davidic monarchy, the beginning of the end of the charter of humanity, the restored, unified family of God? What is going on? "The flesh profits nothing," Jesus says, "it's the spirit alone which gives life." Even the greatest human wisdom is not going to be enough to bring political unity and peace to our land, to our world.