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Highlights From the Book: The First of Kings | Bible Reading: 1 Kings

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Highlights From Bible Reading: 1 Kings | texts explained and practical lessons


KINGS, BOOKS OF


Books of the Holy Scriptures relating the history of Israel from the last days of King David until the release of King Jehoiachin from prison in Babylon.
Originally the two books of Kings comprised one roll called Kings (Heb., Mela•khimʹ), and in the Hebrew Bible today they are still counted as one book, the fourth in the section known as the Former Prophets. In the Greek Septuagint the Books of the Kings were called Third and Fourth Kingdoms, the Books of Samuel having been designated First and Second Kingdoms. In the Latin Vulgate these books were together known as the four books of Kings because Jerome preferred the name Regum (Kings), in harmony with the Hebrew title, to the literal translation of the Septuagint title Regnorum (Kingdoms). Division into two books in the Septuagint became expedient because the Greek translation with vowels required almost twice as much space as did Hebrew, in which no vowels were used until the second half of the first millennium of the Common Era. The division between Second Samuel and First Kings has not always been at the same place in the Greek versions. Lucian, for one, in his recension of the Septuagint, made the division so that First Kings commenced with what is 1 Kings 2:12 in our present-day Bibles.

HIGHLIGHTS OF FIRST KINGS


A concise summary of the history of both the kingdom of Judah and the kingdom of Israel from the last days of David until the death of Jehoshaphat
Originally the first book of Kings was part of one scroll with Second Kings
Solomon is known for outstanding wisdom at the start of his rule, but he ends up in apostasy
Nathan, by decisive action, blocks Adonijah’s attempt to be king in Israel; Solomon is enthroned (1:5–2:12)
Asked by Jehovah what he desires, Solomon requests wisdom; he is additionally granted riches and glory (3:5-15)
Divinely given wisdom is evident in Solomon’s handling of the case of two prostitutes, each claiming to be the mother of the same baby boy (3:16-28)
King Solomon and Israel under his rule prosper; the king’s unparalleled wisdom is world famous (4:1-34; 10:14-29)
Solomon builds Jehovah’s temple and later a palace complex; then all the older men of Israel gather for the inauguration (5:1–8:66)
Jehovah sanctifies the temple, assures Solomon of permanence of the royal line, but warns against unfaithfulness (9:1-9)
The queen of Sheba comes to see Solomon’s wisdom and prosperity for herself (10:1-13)
In old age, Solomon is influenced by his many foreign wives and goes after foreign gods (11:1-8)
The nation is split in two; calf worship is instituted to prevent those in the northern kingdom from going up to Jerusalem
Because of Solomon’s apostasy, Jehovah foretells division of the nation (11:11-13)
After Solomon’s death, his son Rehoboam threatens to impose a heavier yoke on the people; ten tribes revolt and make Jeroboam king (12:1-20)
Jeroboam establishes worship of golden calves in the northern kingdom to prevent his subjects from going to Jerusalem for worship and possibly wanting to reunite the kingdom (12:26-33)
The southern kingdom, Judah, has both good kings and bad ones
Rehoboam and Abijam after him allow detestable false worship (14:21-24; 15:1-3)
Abijam’s son Asa and his son Jehoshaphat actively promote true worship (15:9-15; 22:41-43)
The northern kingdom, Israel, is marred by power struggles, assassinations, and idolatry
Jeroboam’s son Nadab becomes king; Baasha assassinates him and seizes the throne (15:25-30)
Baasha’s son Elah succeeds to the throne and is assassinated by Zimri; Zimri commits suicide when facing defeat by Omri (16:6-20)
Omri’s victory leads to civil war; Omri finally triumphs, becomes king, and later builds Samaria; his sins are even worse than those of earlier kings (16:21-28)
Ahab becomes king and marries the daughter of Ethbaal, king of the Sidonians; he introduces Baal worship into Israel (16:29-33)
Wars between Judah and Israel end with an alliance
Wars take place between Jeroboam and both Rehoboam and Abijam; Baasha fights against Asa (15:6, 7, 16-22)
Jehoshaphat makes an alliance with Ahab (22:1-4, 44)
Jehoshaphat and Ahab battle together against Ramoth-gilead; Ahab is killed (22:29-40)
Prophetic activity in Israel and Judah
Ahijah foretells ripping of ten tribes away from David’s house; later he proclaims Jehovah’s judgment against Jeroboam (11:29-39; 14:7-16)
Shemaiah conveys Jehovah’s word that Rehoboam and his subjects should not fight against the rebellious ten tribes (12:22-24)
A man of God announces Jehovah’s judgment against the altar for calf worship at Bethel (13:1-3)
Jehu the son of Hanani pronounces Jehovah’s judgment against Baasha (16:1-4)
Elijah foretells a prolonged drought in Israel; during the drought, he miraculously extends the food supply of a widow and resurrects her son (17:1-24)
Elijah proposes a test on Mount Carmel to determine who is the true God; when Jehovah is proved true, the Baal prophets are killed; Elijah flees for his life from Ahab’s wife Jezebel, but Jehovah sends Elijah to anoint Hazael, Jehu, and Elisha (18:17–19:21)
Micaiah foretells Ahab’s defeat in battle (22:13-28)

WEEK STARTING JUNE 22: Bible reading: 1 Kings 1-2


(1 KINGS 1:1)

“Now King David was old, advanced in years, and although they would cover him with garments, he could not get warm.”

*** it-1 p. 26 Abishag ***
ABISHAG
(Abʹi•shag).
A young virgin from the town of Shunem, N of Jezreel and Mount Gilboa, in the territory of Issachar. (Jos 19:17-23) She was “beautiful in the extreme” and was chosen by David’s servants to become the nurse and companion of the king during his final days.—1Ki 1:1-4.
David was now about 70 years of age (2Sa 5:4, 5), and as a result of debilitation he had little body heat. Abishag waited on him during the day, doubtless brightening the surroundings with her youthful freshness and beauty, and at night she ‘lay in the king’s bosom’ to give him warmth, but “the king himself had no intercourse with her.” Nevertheless, the attitude later manifested by Solomon regarding her indicates that Abishag was viewed as being in the position of wife or concubine of David. As such, by a rule in the ancient East, she would become the property of David’s heir at the time of his death.

(1 KINGS 1:2)

“So his servants said to him: “Let a girl, a virgin, be found for my lord the king, and she will wait on the king as his nurse. She will lie in your arms so that my lord the king may feel warm.””

*** it-1 p. 26 Abishag ***
ABISHAG
(Abʹi•shag).
A young virgin from the town of Shunem, N of Jezreel and Mount Gilboa, in the territory of Issachar. (Jos 19:17-23) She was “beautiful in the extreme” and was chosen by David’s servants to become the nurse and companion of the king during his final days.—1Ki 1:1-4.
David was now about 70 years of age (2Sa 5:4, 5), and as a result of debilitation he had little body heat. Abishag waited on him during the day, doubtless brightening the surroundings with her youthful freshness and beauty, and at night she ‘lay in the king’s bosom’ to give him warmth, but “the king himself had no intercourse with her.” Nevertheless, the attitude later manifested by Solomon regarding her indicates that Abishag was viewed as being in the position of wife or concubine of David. As such, by a rule in the ancient East, she would become the property of David’s heir at the time of his death.

(1 KINGS 1:3)

“They searched throughout all the territory of Israel for a beautiful girl, and they found Abʹi•shag the Shuʹnam•mite and brought her in to the king.”

*** it-1 p. 26 Abishag ***
ABISHAG
(Abʹi•shag).
A young virgin from the town of Shunem, N of Jezreel and Mount Gilboa, in the territory of Issachar. (Jos 19:17-23) She was “beautiful in the extreme” and was chosen by David’s servants to become the nurse and companion of the king during his final days.—1Ki 1:1-4.
David was now about 70 years of age (2Sa 5:4, 5), and as a result of debilitation he had little body heat. Abishag waited on him during the day, doubtless brightening the surroundings with her youthful freshness and beauty, and at night she ‘lay in the king’s bosom’ to give him warmth, but “the king himself had no intercourse with her.” Nevertheless, the attitude later manifested by Solomon regarding her indicates that Abishag was viewed as being in the position of wife or concubine of David. As such, by a rule in the ancient East, she would become the property of David’s heir at the time of his death.

(1 KINGS 1:4)

“The girl was extremely beautiful, and she became the king’s nurse and waited on him, but the king did not have sexual relations with her.”

*** it-1 p. 26 Abishag ***
ABISHAG
(Abʹi•shag).
A young virgin from the town of Shunem, N of Jezreel and Mount Gilboa, in the territory of Issachar. (Jos 19:17-23) She was “beautiful in the extreme” and was chosen by David’s servants to become the nurse and companion of the king during his final days.—1Ki 1:1-4.
David was now about 70 years of age (2Sa 5:4, 5), and as a result of debilitation he had little body heat. Abishag waited on him during the day, doubtless brightening the surroundings with her youthful freshness and beauty, and at night she ‘lay in the king’s bosom’ to give him warmth, but “the king himself had no intercourse with her.” Nevertheless, the attitude later manifested by Solomon regarding her indicates that Abishag was viewed as being in the position of wife or concubine of David. As such, by a rule in the ancient East, she would become the property of David’s heir at the time of his death.

(1 KINGS 1:5)

“Meanwhile, Ad•o•niʹjah the son of Hagʹgith was exalting himself, saying: “I am going to be king!” He had a chariot made for himself with horsemen and 50 men to run before him.”

*** w05 7/1 p. 28 par. 5 Highlights From the Book of First Kings ***
1:5—Why did Adonijah try to seize the throne while David was still alive? The Bible does not say. However, it is reasonable to conclude that since Adonijah’s older brothers Amnon and Absalom were already dead, as was probably David’s son Chileab, Adonijah thought that he had the right to the throne as the eldest of David’s remaining sons. (2 Samuel 3:2-4; 13:28, 29; 18:14-17) Having elicited the support of the powerful army chief Joab and the influential high priest Abiathar, Adonijah likely felt confident that his attempt would succeed. The Bible does not say whether he knew of David’s intent to have Solomon inherit the throne. However, Adonijah did not invite Solomon and others loyal to David to “a sacrifice.” (1 Kings 1:9, 10) This suggests that he viewed Solomon as a rival.

*** it-1 p. 860 Forerunner ***
It was the Oriental custom that runners go before the royal chariot to prepare and announce the king’s coming and to assist him generally. (1Sa 8:11) Absalom and Adonijah, in imitation of such regal dignity and to add prestige and seeming sanction to their respective rebellions, placed 50 runners before their personal chariots.—2Sa 15:1; 1Ki 1:5; see RUNNERS.

(1 KINGS 1:9)

“Eventually Ad•o•niʹjah held a sacrifice of sheep, cattle, and fattened animals by the stone of Zoʹhe•leth, which is near En-roʹgel, and he invited all his brothers the king’s sons, and all the men of Judah the king’s servants.”

(1 KINGS 1:41)

“Ad•o•niʹjah and all those invited by him heard it when they had finished eating. As soon as Joʹab heard the sound of the horn, he said: “Why is there such a noisy uproar in the city?””

*** it-1 p. 941 Gihon ***
Gihon was thereafter the site at which Solomon was anointed king at David’s command. The ensuing noisy procession as the people joyously followed Solomon back to the city, while not visible from the spring called En-rogel about 700 m (2,300 ft) away from Gihon, could easily be heard by presumptuous Adonijah and his guests as they banqueted at En-rogel.—1Ki 1:9, 10, 33-41.

*** it-2 p. 42 Jerusalem ***
The distance between the two points was short enough (c. 700 m; 2,300 ft) that Adonijah and his coconspirators heard the noise of the horn and celebrations at Gihon.—1Ki 1:5-9, 32-41.

(1 KINGS 1:52)

“To this Solʹo•mon said: “If he behaves in a worthy manner, not a single hair of his will fall to the ground; but if what is bad is found in him, he will have to die.””

*** it-1 p. 1021 Hair ***
‘Not a hair of your head will perish (or, fall)’ is a statement guaranteeing full and complete protection and safety. (Lu 21:18; 1Sa 14:45; 2Sa 14:11; 1Ki 1:52; Ac 27:34)

(1 KINGS 2:5)

““You also well know what Joʹab the son of Ze•ruʹiah did to me, what he did to two chiefs of the armies of Israel—Abʹner the son of Ner and A•maʹsa the son of Jeʹther. He killed them, shedding the blood of war in peacetime, and he put the blood of war on the belt around his waist and on the sandals on his feet.”

*** it-2 p. 861 Sandal ***
David instructed Solomon to punish Joab, who had “put the blood of war . . . in his sandals” during peacetime—a figurative statement representing Joab’s bloodguilt for killing Generals Abner and Amasa. (1Ki 2:5, 6)

(1 KINGS 2:7)

““But toward the sons of Bar•zilʹlai the Gilʹe•ad•ite, you should show loyal love, and they should be among those eating at your table, for that was how they stood by me when I ran away from your brother Abʹsa•lom.”

*** it-2 p. 356 Meal ***
Figurative Use. To eat a meal with someone signified friendship and peace between the persons involved. Therefore one who was privileged to eat regularly at the table of a king was especially favored and enjoyed a very close bond with the monarch. (1Ki 2:7)

(1 KINGS 2:10)

“Then David was laid to rest with his forefathers and was buried in the City of David.”

*** it-1 p. 377 Burial, Burial Places ***
However, the frequent expression ‘to lie down, or be buried, with his forefathers’ does not necessarily imply a sharing of the same burial site, for this phrase is used concerning men who were clearly not buried in the same place as their forefathers. (Ge 15:15; De 31:16; 32:50; 1Ki 2:10; Ac 13:36) It must thus refer to their common entrance into Sheol (Hades), the common grave of mankind.

*** it-1 p. 379 Burial, Burial Places ***
First Kings 2:10 tells us that David was buried in “the City of David,” and apparently this became the customary burial place of later kings of Judah. Twelve of the 20 kings following David are directly mentioned as being buried in the City of David, though not all of these were placed in “the burial places of the kings”—Jehoram, Joash (Jehoash), and Ahaz being specifically mentioned as not buried there. (2Ch 21:16, 20; 24:24, 25; 28:27) Instead of being one common tomb of many chambers, “the burial places of the kings” may have constituted a particular area within the City of David where the memorial tombs of the kings were located. King Asa was buried in a “grand burial place that he had excavated for himself in the City of David” (2Ch 16:14), and Hezekiah is spoken of as being buried “in the ascent to the burial places of the sons of David.” (2Ch 32:33) Leprous King Uzziah was buried “with his forefathers, but in the burial field that belonged to the kings, for they said: ‘He is a leper.’” This would seem to indicate the placement of his diseased body in the ground rather than in a tomb hewed out of rock.—2Ch 26:23.

(1 KINGS 2:15)

“He continued: “You well know that the kingship was to become mine, and all Israel expected me to become king; but the kingship eluded me and became my brother’s, for it was from Jehovah that it became his.”

*** it-1 pp. 49-50 Adonijah ***
However, following David’s death, Adonijah approached Bath-sheba and induced her to act as his agent before Solomon to request David’s youthful nurse and companion, Abishag, as his wife. Adonijah’s statement that “the kingship was to have become mine, and it was toward me that all Israel had set their face for me to become king” indicates that he felt he had been deprived of his right, even though he professedly acknowledged God’s hand in the matter. (1Ki 2:13-21) While his request may have been based solely on the desire for some compensation for the loss of the kingdom, it strongly suggested that the fires of ambition continued in Adonijah, since by a rule in the ancient East the wives and concubines of a king would only become those of his legal successor. (Compare 2Sa 3:7; 16:21.) Solomon so viewed this request made through his mother and ordered Adonijah’s death, which order was promptly carried out by Benaiah.—1Ki 2:22-25.

(1 KINGS 2:17)

“He then said: “Please, ask Solʹo•mon the king—for he will not turn you away—to give me Abʹi•shag the Shuʹnam•mite as a wife.””

*** w05 7/1 p. 29 par. 1 Highlights From the Book of First Kings ***
1:49-53; 2:13-25—Why did Solomon put Adonijah to death after granting him a pardon? Even though Bath-sheba had failed to recognize it, Solomon discerned the true intention behind Adonijah’s request that she ask the king to give him Abishag as a wife. Though David had not had relations with her, beautiful Abishag was considered David’s concubine. According to the custom of the times, she would become the property only of David’s legal heir. Adonijah might have thought that by taking Abishag as his wife, he could again make a bid for the throne. Interpreting Adonijah’s request as a manifestation of ambition for the kingship, Solomon revoked the pardon.

*** it-1 p. 26 Abishag ***
The account concerning Abishag directly precedes the account of the attempt at gaining the crown by the one who was probably David’s oldest surviving son, Adonijah, and would seem to be so placed to give understanding to Adonijah’s subsequent action during Solomon’s reign. Solomon, after ascending the throne, had placed Adonijah on conditional pardon. Now Adonijah persuaded Solomon’s mother, Bath-sheba, to ask Solomon to give him Abishag as his wife. Solomon, convinced that Adonijah’s request was not due alone to Abishag’s beauty but, rather, indicated a subtle effort to strengthen Adonijah’s claim to the throne, reacted angrily, revoked Adonijah’s pardon, and ordered his death. (1Ki 2:13-25)

*** it-1 pp. 49-50 Adonijah ***
However, following David’s death, Adonijah approached Bath-sheba and induced her to act as his agent before Solomon to request David’s youthful nurse and companion, Abishag, as his wife. Adonijah’s statement that “the kingship was to have become mine, and it was toward me that all Israel had set their face for me to become king” indicates that he felt he had been deprived of his right, even though he professedly acknowledged God’s hand in the matter. (1Ki 2:13-21) While his request may have been based solely on the desire for some compensation for the loss of the kingdom, it strongly suggested that the fires of ambition continued in Adonijah, since by a rule in the ancient East the wives and concubines of a king would only become those of his legal successor. (Compare 2Sa 3:7; 16:21.) Solomon so viewed this request made through his mother and ordered Adonijah’s death, which order was promptly carried out by Benaiah.—1Ki 2:22-25.

*** it-2 p. 157 King ***
Wives and property. The marriage and family customs of the Judean kings included the practice of having a plurality of wives and concubines, although the Law stipulated that the king was not to multiply wives to himself. (De 17:17) The concubines were considered to be crown property and were passed on to the successor to the throne along with the rights and property of the king. To marry or take possession of one of the deceased king’s concubines was tantamount to publishing a claim to the throne. Hence, Absalom’s having relations with the concubines of his father, King David, and Adonijah’s requesting as wife Abishag, David’s nurse and companion in his old age, were equivalent to claims on the throne. (2Sa 16:21, 22; 1Ki 2:15-17, 22) These were treasonable acts.

*** it-2 p. 988 Solomon ***
Adonijah’s Seditious Request. It was not long until Solomon had to act to carry out David’s instructions concerning Joab. This was prompted by the action of Adonijah, who still manifested ambition despite the mercy that Solomon had shown him. Adonijah approached Solomon’s mother with the words: “You yourself well know that the kingship was to have become mine, and it was toward me that all Israel had set their face for me to become king; but the kingship turned and came to be my brother’s, for it was from Jehovah that it became his.” Here Adonijah acknowledged that Jehovah was behind the enthroning of Solomon, yet his request that followed these words was a further crafty bid for usurpation of the kingship. He said to Bath-sheba: “Please, say to Solomon the king . . . that he should give me Abishag the Shunammite as a wife.” Adonijah may have felt that he had a strong enough following, together with the support of Joab and Abiathar, that, by taking David’s nurse, considered to have been David’s concubine, though David had had no relations with her, he could start an uprising that might overthrow Solomon. By custom the wives and concubines of a king could only become those of his legal successor, so the taking of such wives was considered a claim to the throne. (Compare 2Sa 16:21, 22.) When Bath-sheba, not discerning Adonijah’s duplicity, transmitted his request to Solomon, Solomon interpreted it immediately as a bid for the kingship and forthwith sent Benaiah to put Adonijah to death.—1Ki 2:13-25.

(1 KINGS 2:22)

“At this King Solʹo•mon answered his mother: “Why are you requesting Abʹi•shag the Shuʹnam•mite for Ad•o•niʹjah? You may as well request the kingship for him, for he is my older brother, and supporting him are A•biʹa•thar the priest and Joʹab the son of Ze•ruʹiah.””

*** it-1 p. 26 Abishag ***
The account concerning Abishag directly precedes the account of the attempt at gaining the crown by the one who was probably David’s oldest surviving son, Adonijah, and would seem to be so placed to give understanding to Adonijah’s subsequent action during Solomon’s reign. Solomon, after ascending the throne, had placed Adonijah on conditional pardon. Now Adonijah persuaded Solomon’s mother, Bath-sheba, to ask Solomon to give him Abishag as his wife. Solomon, convinced that Adonijah’s request was not due alone to Abishag’s beauty but, rather, indicated a subtle effort to strengthen Adonijah’s claim to the throne, reacted angrily, revoked Adonijah’s pardon, and ordered his death. (1Ki 2:13-25)

*** it-1 p. 50 Adonijah ***
While his request may have been based solely on the desire for some compensation for the loss of the kingdom, it strongly suggested that the fires of ambition continued in Adonijah, since by a rule in the ancient East the wives and concubines of a king would only become those of his legal successor. (Compare 2Sa 3:7; 16:21.) Solomon so viewed this request made through his mother and ordered Adonijah’s death, which order was promptly carried out by Benaiah.—1Ki 2:22-25.

*** it-1 p. 495 Concubine ***
After King Solomon was enthroned, Adonijah, an older brother of Solomon, who had already made an attempt for the kingship, approached Solomon’s mother, Bath-sheba, saying: “You yourself well know that the kingship was to have become mine,” and then asked her to request of Solomon, Abishag the Shunammite, who appears to have been viewed as a wife or a concubine of David. Solomon angrily answered: “Request also for him the kingship,” and then he ordered that Adonijah be put to death, indicating that he construed Adonijah’s request as an effort to get the kingdom.—1Ki 1:5-7; 2:13-25.

*** it-2 p. 157 King ***
Wives and property. The marriage and family customs of the Judean kings included the practice of having a plurality of wives and concubines, although the Law stipulated that the king was not to multiply wives to himself. (De 17:17) The concubines were considered to be crown property and were passed on to the successor to the throne along with the rights and property of the king. To marry or take possession of one of the deceased king’s concubines was tantamount to publishing a claim to the throne. Hence, Absalom’s having relations with the concubines of his father, King David, and Adonijah’s requesting as wife Abishag, David’s nurse and companion in his old age, were equivalent to claims on the throne. (2Sa 16:21, 22; 1Ki 2:15-17, 22) These were treasonable acts.

(1 KINGS 2:26)

“To A•biʹa•thar the priest, the king said: “Go to your fields in Anʹa•thoth! You deserve to die, but on this day I will not put you to death because you carried the Ark of the Sovereign Lord Jehovah before David my father and because you shared in all the hardships that my father suffered.””

*** it-1 p. 19 Abiathar ***
However, 1 Kings 2:26 shows that Solomon sent Abiathar to his fields in Anathoth, and while Anathoth was not far from Gibeon, Solomon’s order indicates that Abiathar was being removed from any active participation in the priesthood.

*** it-1 pp. 18-19 Abiathar ***
In view of his faithful record of enduring many hardships in David’s company during his time as a fugitive from Saul and again during Absalom’s rebellion, and considering his having enjoyed David’s confidence, friendship, and favor during some four decades, it is surprising to find Abiathar linking himself up with another son of David, Adonijah, in a later conspiracy for the throne. Though the plot also had the support of Joab as head of the army, it failed; and Solomon was appointed as king, with loyal priest Zadok doing the anointing at David’s instruction. (1Ki 1:7, 32-40) Abiathar’s son Jonathan, who had previously served as a runner to bear news to David during Absalom’s insurrection, now went to advise Adonijah of the plot’s miscarriage. King Solomon took no immediate action against Abiathar, but when evidence showed that the plot was still smoldering, he ordered Adonijah’s and Joab’s death and banished priest Abiathar from Jerusalem, saying: “Go to Anathoth to your fields! For you are deserving of death; but on this day I shall not put you to death, because you carried the ark of the Sovereign Lord Jehovah before David my father, and because you suffered affliction during all the time that my father suffered affliction.” (1Ki 2:26)

*** it-1 p. 105 Anathoth ***
It was to Anathoth that Solomon banished Abiathar, thus bringing to an end the line of high priests from the house of Eli. (1Ki 2:26)

(1 KINGS 2:27)

“So Solʹo•mon drove A•biʹa•thar out from serving as a priest of Jehovah, to fulfill Jehovah’s word against the house of Eʹli in Shiʹloh.”

*** it-1 p. 19 Abiathar ***
Zadok was now assigned to replace Abiathar in his priestly position, and with this the office of high priest passed again to the line of Aaron’s son Eleazar; and the priestly line of the house of Eli came to a complete end, in fulfillment of the prophecy at 1 Samuel 2:31.—1Ki 2:27; 1Sa 3:12-14.

(1 KINGS 2:34)

“Then Be•naiʹah the son of Je•hoiʹa•da went up and struck Joʹab down and put him to death, and he was buried at his own house in the wilderness.”

*** it-1 p. 378 Burial, Burial Places ***
The site might be near the person’s house, perhaps in a garden (1Sa 25:1; 1Ki 2:34; 2Ki 21:25, 26); the expression “at his house” does not mean within the building, as is shown by a comparison of 2 Chronicles 33:20 and 2 Kings 21:18.

(1 KINGS 2:39)

“But at the end of three years, two of Shimʹe•i’s slaves ran away to Aʹchish the son of Maʹa•cah the king of Gath. When Shimʹe•i was told: “Look! Your slaves are in Gath,””

*** it-1 p. 899 Gath ***
During David’s reign, Gath and its dependent towns came into Israelite hands. (1Ch 18:1) Some men from Gath became loyal supporters of David, and when David fled from Absalom, there were 600 Gittites among those who went with him. (2Sa 15:18) But during Solomon’s rule Achish was still referred to as king of Gath. (1Ki 2:39-41) Evidently Achish was a vassal prince and not a king in the usual sense. (See AXIS LORDS.) Solomon’s successor Rehoboam rebuilt and fortified Gath.—2Ch 11:5-8.

WEEK STARTING JUNE 29: Bible reading: 1 Kings 3-6


(1 KINGS 3:1)

“Solʹo•mon made a marriage alliance with Pharʹaoh king of Egypt. He married Pharʹaoh’s daughter and brought her to the City of David until he finished building his own house, and the house of Jehovah, and the wall around Jerusalem.”

*** w11 12/15 p. 10 pars. 12-13 Is He a Good Example for You or a Warning? ***
Solomon formed “a marriage alliance with Pharaoh the king of Egypt and [took] Pharaoh’s daughter and [brought] her to the City of David.” (1 Ki. 3:1) Did this Egyptian woman imitate Ruth by taking up true worship? Nothing indicates that she did so. Rather, in time Solomon built a house for her (and perhaps her Egyptian maids) outside the City of David. Why? The Scriptures say that he did so because it was not fitting for a false worshipper to dwell near the ark of the covenant.—2 Chron. 8:11.
13 Solomon may have seen political advantages in marrying an Egyptian princess, yet could he justify it? Long before, God had forbidden the marrying of pagan Canaanites, even listing certain peoples. (Ex. 34:11-16) Did Solomon reason that Egypt was not one of those listed nations? Even if he reasoned that way, would such rationalizing be valid? Actually, his course ignored the clear risk that Jehovah had mentioned—that of turning an Israelite from true worship to false.—Read Deuteronomy 7:1-4.

(1 KINGS 3:9)

“So grant your servant an obedient heart to judge your people, to discern between good and bad, for who is able to judge this numerous people of yours?””

*** w07 6/15 p. 27 par. 6 Jehovah Values Your Obedience ***
6 What will help us individually to be obedient? It is appropriate for each of us to ask God for “an obedient heart,” as did King Solomon. He asked for such a heart so that he could “discern between good and bad” in order to judge his fellow Israelites. (1 Kings 3:9) We need “an obedient heart” if we are to discern between good and bad in a world permeated with the spirit of disobedience. God has provided us with his Word, Bible study aids, Christian meetings, and caring congregation elders so that we can cultivate “an obedient heart.” Are we making good use of such loving provisions?

*** w98 7/15 pp. 29-31 Do You Have “an Obedient Heart”? ***
Do You Have “an Obedient Heart”?
WHEN Solomon became the king of ancient Israel, he felt inadequate. He therefore asked God for wisdom and knowledge. (2 Chronicles 1:10) Solomon also prayed: “You must give to your servant an obedient heart to judge your people.” (1 Kings 3:9) If Solomon had “an obedient heart,” he would follow divine laws and principles and would experience Jehovah’s blessing.
An obedient heart is not a burden but a source of joy. The apostle John wrote: “This is what the love of God means, that we observe his commandments; and yet his commandments are not burdensome.” (1 John 5:3) Surely, we should obey God. After all, Jehovah is our Grand Creator. To him belong the earth and all that is in it, even all the silver and the gold. So we cannot really give God anything materially, although he allows us to use our monetary assets to express our love for him. (1 Chronicles 29:14) Jehovah expects us to love him and humbly walk with him, doing his will.—Micah 6:8.
When Jesus Christ was asked which is the greatest commandment in the Law, he said: “You must love Jehovah your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole mind. This is the greatest and first commandment.” (Matthew 22:36-38) One way to express that love is to obey God. It should therefore be the prayer of each one of us that Jehovah give us an obedient heart.
They Had an Obedient Heart
The Bible abounds with examples of those who had an obedient heart. For instance, Jehovah told Noah to build a huge ark for the preservation of life. This was an enormous task that took some 40 or 50 years. Even with all the modern power tools and other equipment now available, it would be an engineering feat to build such a huge structure that could float. Moreover, Noah had to warn people who no doubt mocked and ridiculed him. But he was obedient to the last detail. The Bible says: “He did just so.” (Genesis 6:9, 22; 2 Peter 2:5) Noah showed his love for Jehovah by faithful obedience over many years. What a fine example for all of us!
Consider, too, the patriarch Abraham. God told him to move from prosperous Ur of the Chaldeans to an unknown land. Abraham obeyed without question. (Hebrews 11:8) For the rest of his life, he and his family lived in tents. After many years as an alien in the land, Jehovah blessed him and his obedient wife, Sarah, with a son named Isaac. How 100-year-old Abraham must have loved this son of his old age! Some years later, Jehovah asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac as a burnt offering. (Genesis 22:1, 2) The very thought of doing that must have pained Abraham. Nevertheless, he proceeded to obey because he loved Jehovah and had faith that the promised seed would come through Isaac, even if God had to raise him from the dead. (Hebrews 11:17-19) When Abraham was about to kill his son, however, Jehovah stopped him and said: “Now I do know that you are God-fearing in that you have not withheld your son, your only one, from me.” (Genesis 22:12) Because of his obedience, God-fearing Abraham came to be known as “Jehovah’s friend.”—James 2:23.
Jesus Christ is our best example of obedience. During his prehuman existence, he found delight in obedient service to his Father in heaven. (Proverbs 8:22-31) As a man, Jesus obeyed Jehovah in everything, always delighting to do his will. (Psalm 40:8; Hebrews 10:9) Thus, Jesus could truthfully say: “I do nothing of my own initiative; but just as the Father taught me I speak these things. And he that sent me is with me; he did not abandon me to myself, because I always do the things pleasing to him.” (John 8:28, 29) Finally, to vindicate Jehovah’s sovereignty and to redeem obedient mankind, Jesus willingly gave his life, undergoing a most humiliating and painful death. Indeed, “when he found himself in fashion as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient as far as death, yes, death on a torture stake.” (Philippians 2:8) What an example in manifesting an obedient heart!
Partial Obedience Not Enough
Not all who have claimed to be obedient to God have actually obeyed him. Consider King Saul of ancient Israel. God instructed him to wipe out the wicked Amalekites. (1 Samuel 15:1-3) Though Saul destroyed them as a nation, he spared their king and preserved some of their sheep and cattle. Samuel asked: “Why is it you did not obey the voice of Jehovah?” In reply, Saul said: “But I have obeyed the voice of Jehovah . . . The people [of Israel] went taking from the spoil sheep and cattle, the choicest of them . . . , to sacrifice to Jehovah.” Stressing the need for complete obedience, Samuel replied: “Does Jehovah have as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of Jehovah? Look! To obey is better than a sacrifice, to pay attention than the fat of rams; for rebelliousness is the same as the sin of divination, and pushing ahead presumptuously the same as using uncanny power and teraphim. Since you have rejected the word of Jehovah, he accordingly rejects you from being king.” (1 Samuel 15:17-23) How much Saul lost because he did not have an obedient heart!
Even wise King Solomon, who had prayed for an obedient heart, did not continue to obey Jehovah. Contrary to the divine will, he married foreign women who caused him to sin against God. (Nehemiah 13:23, 26) Solomon lost divine favor because he did not continue to have an obedient heart. What a warning this is for us!
This does not mean that Jehovah requires perfection from his human servants. He ‘remembers that we are dust.’ (Psalm 103:14) All of us are sure to make mistakes at times, but God can see whether we really have a heartfelt desire to please him. (2 Chronicles 16:9) If we err because of human imperfection but are repentant, we can ask for forgiveness on the basis of Christ’s ransom sacrifice, confident that Jehovah “will forgive in a large way.” (Isaiah 55:7; 1 John 2:1, 2) The help of loving Christian elders may also be needed so that we can recover spiritually and have a healthy faith and an obedient heart.—Titus 2:2; James 5:13-15.
How Complete Is Your Obedience?
As Jehovah’s servants, most of us undoubtedly feel that we have an obedient heart. We may reason, Am I not sharing in the Kingdom-preaching work? Do I not stand firm when such major issues as neutrality arise? And do I not attend Christian meetings regularly, as the apostle Paul urged? (Matthew 24:14; 28:19, 20; John 17:16; Hebrews 10:24, 25) True, Jehovah’s people as a whole display heartfelt obedience in such important respects.
But what about our conduct in everyday affairs, perhaps in seemingly small matters? Jesus stated: “The person faithful in what is least is faithful also in much, and the person unrighteous in what is least is unrighteous also in much.” (Luke 16:10) Each of us would therefore do well to ask himself, Do I have an obedient heart when it comes to minor things or matters that others do not even know about?
The psalmist showed that even inside his house, where others did not see him, he ‘walked about in the integrity of his heart.’ (Psalm 101:2) While sitting in your house, you may turn on the television and start watching a movie. Right there, your obedience could be tested. The movie may become immoral in content. Will you keep on watching, rationalizing that this is the type of movie being shown these days? Or will your obedient heart move you to comply with the Scriptural injunction, ‘do not let fornication and uncleanness even be mentioned among you’? (Ephesians 5:3-5) Will you turn off the TV, even if the story is intriguing? Or will you switch channels if a program becomes violent? “Jehovah himself examines the righteous one as well as the wicked one,” sang the psalmist, “and anyone loving violence His soul certainly hates.”—Psalm 11:5.
An Obedient Heart Brings Blessings
There are, of course, many areas of life wherein we can profitably examine ourselves to see if we really obey God from the heart. Our love for Jehovah should move us to please him and do what he tells us in his Word, the Bible. An obedient heart will help us to maintain a good relationship with Jehovah. Indeed, if we are fully obedient, ‘the sayings of our mouth and the meditation of our heart will be pleasurable before Jehovah.’—Psalm 19:14.
Because Jehovah loves us, he teaches us obedience for our own good. And we benefit ourselves greatly by wholeheartedly paying attention to divine teaching. (Isaiah 48:17, 18) Therefore, let us gladly accept the assistance our heavenly Father provides through his Word, his spirit, and his organization. We are being taught so well that it is as if we hear a voice behind us saying: “This is the way. Walk in it, you people.” (Isaiah 30:21) As Jehovah teaches us through the Bible, Christian publications, and congregation meetings, may we pay attention, apply what we learn, and be “obedient in all things.”—2 Corinthians 2:9.
An obedient heart will result in much joy and many blessings. It will bring us peace of mind, for we will know that we are well-pleasing to Jehovah God and are making his heart rejoice. (Proverbs 27:11) A heart that is obedient will be a protection for us when we are tempted to do wrong. Surely, then, we should obey our heavenly Father and should pray: “Give to your servant an obedient heart.”

(1 KINGS 3:16)

“At that time two prostitutes came in to the king and stood before him.”

*** it-2 pp. 700-701 Prostitute ***
It was the case of two prostitutes, handled in a wise and understanding way, that greatly strengthened the faith of the people in Solomon as the fitting successor of David to the throne of Israel. Probably the case had been one upon which the judges of the lower court could not decide, and it was referred, therefore, to the king. (De 1:17; 17:8-11; 1Sa 8:20) These women may have been prostitutes, not in a commercial sense, but women who had committed fornication, either Jewish women or, quite possibly, women of foreign descent.—1Ki 3:16-28.

(1 KINGS 4:2)

“These were his high officials: Az•a•riʹah the son of Zaʹdok was the priest;”

*** it-1 p. 224 Azariah ***
4. One of Solomon’s princes. (1Ki 4:2) He is referred to as the son of Priest Zadok; he may be the brother of Ahimaaz.—1Ch 6:8.

(1 KINGS 4:4)

“Be•naiʹah the son of Je•hoiʹa•da was in charge of the army; Zaʹdok and A•biʹa•thar were priests;”

*** it-1 p. 19 Abiathar ***
While the record later, at 1 Kings 4:4, again refers to “Zadok and Abiathar” as priests of Solomon’s reign, it is likely that Abiathar is listed only in an honorary capacity or in a historical sense. Some scholars suggest that Solomon, after demoting Abiathar, then assigned him to serve as Zadok’s deputy, and that while one officiated on Mount Zion, where the Ark was kept, the other served at the tabernacle, which continued in Gibeon prior to the building of the temple. (See 1Ch 16:37-40.) However, 1 Kings 2:26 shows that Solomon sent Abiathar to his fields in Anathoth, and while Anathoth was not far from Gibeon, Solomon’s order indicates that Abiathar was being removed from any active participation in the priesthood.

*** it-2 p. 1218 Zadok ***
In contrast with Abiathar, Zadok did not support the attempted usurpation of the throne by Adonijah; for this, David appointed Zadok as the one to anoint Solomon as king. (1Ki 1:7, 8, 26, 32-46) During the reigns of Saul and David, Zadok served only as an associate priest, but for his loyalty as contrasted with the wavering allegiance of High Priest Abiathar, Solomon expelled Abiathar from Jerusalem and made Zadok high priest. This fulfilled Jehovah’s prophecy spoken against Eli’s house. (1Ki 2:26, 27, 35) The later listing of “Zadok and Abiathar” at 1 Kings 4:4 is probably in a historical sense.

(1 KINGS 4:5)

“Az•a•riʹah the son of Nathan was over the deputies; Zaʹbud the son of Nathan was a priest and the king’s friend;”

*** it-1 p. 615 Deputy ***
So that all ran smoothly, with no shortages, the 12 deputies were placed under the supervision of one of Solomon’s leading princes, “Azariah the son of Nathan.”—1Ki 4:5.

(1 KINGS 4:7)

“Solʹo•mon had 12 deputies in charge of all Israel who provided the king and his household with food. Each one was responsible for providing the food for one month of the year.”

*** it-1 p. 615 Deputy ***
DEPUTY
The Hebrew participle translated “deputy” (nits•tsavʹ) has the basic meaning of one “stationed,” ‘put in position,’ or “set” by appointment to fulfill a duty. (1Sa 22:9; Ex 7:15; Ru 2:5) During the reign of Solomon (1037-998 B.C.E.), 12 deputies were appointed to high-ranking administrative positions. Each was responsible for providing food and other supplies for the royal household one month during the year, on a rotational basis.—1Ki 4:7.
In lieu of a general tax for the support of the government, foodstuffs were taken from the produce of the land. The deputies were therefore overseers of production, harvesting, storage, and delivery of the monthly quotas, which amounted to a considerable tonnage. (1Ki 4:22, 23) These deputies may also have served as civil administrators in their assigned territories, in addition to their work of supervising the commissary supplies.

(1 KINGS 4:12)

“Baʹa•na the son of A•hiʹlud, in Taʹa•nach, Me•gidʹdo, and all Beth-sheʹan, which is beside Zarʹe•than below Jezʹre•el, from Beth-sheʹan to Aʹbel-me•hoʹlah to the region of Jokʹme•am;”

*** it-2 p. 97 Jokmeam ***
2. A region bordering on the territory under the jurisdiction of Ahilud’s son Baana, one of Solomon’s 12 deputies. (1Ki 4:12) It may be the same as Jokneam.

*** it-2 p. 97 Jokneam ***
At 1 Kings 4:12 “Jokmeam” may possibly be a spelling error for “Jokneam.”

*** it-2 p. 1220 Zarethan ***
This identification, however, is somewhat difficult to harmonize with the description of Solomon’s fifth administrative district as given at 1 Kings 4:12, which refers to “Taanach and Megiddo and all Beth-shean, which is beside Zarethan below Jezreel, from Beth-shean to Abel-meholah to the region of Jokmeam.” Qarn Sartabeh lies much farther S than the other places there listed and not “beside” Beth-shean in the sense of neighboring it. The Jerusalem Bible endeavors to adjust the geographic order of the places listed at 1 Kings 4:12, referring to “all Beth-shean below Jezreel, from Beth-shean as far as Abel Meholah, which is beside Zarethan,” thus relating Zarethan to Abel-meholah rather than to Beth-shean. However, since the reference is to “all Beth-shean,” it doubtless indicates a region rather than the city itself. If Zarethan was indeed connected with the prominent summit of Qarn Sartabeh, it may be that the region of Beth-shean embraced the valley plain around it and extending southward to a point from which Zarethan became visible, thus serving to indicate a separate, but neighboring, region.

(1 KINGS 4:20)

“Judah and Israel were as numerous as the grains of sand by the sea; they were eating and drinking and rejoicing.”

*** w98 2/1 p. 12 par. 15 Jehovah Is a God of Covenants ***
By the time of David’s son Solomon, a third aspect of the Abrahamic covenant was fulfilled. “Judah and Israel were many, like the grains of sand that are by the sea for multitude, eating and drinking and rejoicing.”—1 Kings 4:20.

*** w98 10/15 pp. 9-10 pars. 9-11 Jerusalem—“The City of the Great King” ***
9 The nation of Israel enjoyed peace as they gave their wholehearted support to Jehovah’s worship, centered in Jerusalem. Beautifully describing this situation, the Scriptures state: “Judah and Israel were many, like the grains of sand that are by the sea for multitude, eating and drinking and rejoicing. . . . And peace itself became [Solomon’s] in every region of his, all around. And Judah and Israel continued to dwell in security, everyone under his own vine and under his own fig tree.”—1 Kings 4:20, 24, 25.
10 Archaeological findings lend support to this account of Solomon’s prosperous reign. In his book The Archaeology of the Land of Israel, Professor Yohanan Aharoni states: “The wealth that flowed into the royal court from all directions, and the flourishing commerce . . . brought about a rapid and noticeable revolution in every aspect of material culture. . . . The change in material culture . . . is discernible not only in luxury items but also especially in ceramics. . . . The quality of the pottery and its firing improved beyond all recognition.”
11 Similarly, Jerry M. Landay wrote: “Under Solomon, Israelite material culture advanced more in three decades than it had during the preceding two hundred years. We find in Solomonic strata the remains of monumental constructions, great cities with massive walls, the mushrooming of residential quarters with well-built clusters of the dwellings of the well-to-do, a quantum jump in the technical proficiency of the potter and his manufacturing processes. We find, too, the remains of artefacts representing goods made in far-off places, signs of vigorous international commerce and trade.”—The House of David.

*** gm chap. 4 p. 46 How Believable Is the “Old Testament”? ***
Other Supporting Evidence
18 Indeed, many archaeological discoveries have demonstrated the historical accuracy of the Bible. For example, the Bible reports that after King Solomon had taken over the kingship from his father, David, Israel enjoyed great prosperity. We read: “Judah and Israel were many, like the grains of sand that are by the sea for multitude, eating and drinking and rejoicing.” (1 Kings 4:20) In support of this statement, we read: “Archaeological evidence reveals that there was a population explosion in Judah during and after the tenth century B.C. when the peace and prosperity David brought made it possible to build many new towns.”10

(1 KINGS 4:21)

“Solʹo•mon ruled over all the kingdoms from the River to the land of the Phi•lisʹtines and to the boundary of Egypt. They brought tribute and served Solʹo•mon all the days of his life.”

*** gl p. 16 Israel in the Days of David and Solomon ***
GOD promised to give Abram’s seed the land “from the river of Egypt to . . . the river Euphrates.” (Ge 15:18; Ex 23:31; De 1:7, 8; 11:24) After Joshua entered Canaan, it was some four centuries before the Promised Land reached those limits.
King David overthrew the Aramaean kingdom of Zobah, which reached the Euphrates in northern Syria. To the south, David’s success against the Philistines brought him to Egypt’s border.—2Sa 8:3; 1Ch 18:1-3; 20:4-8; 2Ch 9:26.
Solomon then ruled “from the River [Euphrates] to the land of the Philistines and to the boundary of Egypt,” foreshadowing the Messiah’s peaceful rule. (1Ki 4:21

(1 KINGS 4:22)

“Solʹo•mon’s food for each day was 30 cor measures of fine flour and 60 cor measures of flour,”

*** it-2 p. 990 Solomon ***
The daily food for Solomon’s royal household amounted to “thirty cor measures [6,600 L; 188 bu] of fine flour and sixty cor measures [13,200 L; 375 bu] of flour, ten fat cattle and twenty pastured cattle and a hundred sheep, besides some stags and gazelles and roebucks and fattened cuckoos.” (1Ki 4:22, 23)

(1 KINGS 4:23)

“10 fattened cattle, 20 pastured cattle, and 100 sheep, besides some stags, gazelles, roebucks, and fattened cuckoos.”

*** it-1 p. 554 Cuckoo ***
CUCKOO
[Heb., plural, bar•bu•rimʹ].
In the Bible, this name occurs only once at 1 Kings 4:23, where the list of daily provisions of food for Solomon’s court includes “cuckoos [bar•bu•rimʹ].” (JB; NW) While other versions (KJ, RS) here read “fowl,” bar•bu•rimʹ seems to refer to a specific kind of bird rather than being simply a general term. Though some have identified it with the capon, the guinea hen, or the goose, lexicographer W. Baumgartner (Hebräisches und Aramäisches Lexikon zum Alten Testament, Leiden, 1967, p. 147) suggests the “cuckoo,” and this seems to be indicated by the Arabic name for that bird, abu burbur.
The common cuckoo (Cuculus canorus) and the great spotted cuckoo (Clamator glandarius) both pass through Palestine on their northern migration, arriving in early March. The cuckoo is a moderate-sized bird, resembling a small hawk, with a slightly curved, sharp, pointed beak. Usually cuckoos have inconspicuous colors such as light gray or light brown to reddish-brown or black. The underparts are often whitish with narrow black bars.
While some consider the cuckoo to be a rather small bird to be used on Solomon’s menu, it may be noted that even plucked sparrows were anciently sold in Middle Eastern markets. (Mt 10:29) Additionally, these cuckoos were “fattened” ones, and concerning such The American Cyclopædia says: “In autumn they are fat and esteemed as food; the ancients were very partial to them, and their flesh was supposed to have valuable medicinal properties.”—1883, Vol. V, p. 557.
The cuckoo is neither a carrion eater nor a bird of prey, but a valuable consumer of insects. It was legally “clean” and fit for use on Solomon’s royal table. While “the cuckow” is included in the King James Version as among the unclean birds, at Leviticus 11:16 and Deuteronomy 14:15, this translation (of the Hebrew shaʹchaph) is no longer considered acceptable.—See GULL.

(1 KINGS 4:24)

“For he controlled everything this side of the River, from Tiphʹsah to Gazʹa, including all the kings on this side of the River; and he enjoyed peace in every region, all around him.”

*** it-1 p. 673 Eber ***
In Hebrew the expression for “beyond the River” (Heb., ʽeʹver han•na•harʹ) is used at times to refer to the region W of the Euphrates. (Ne 2:7, 9; 3:7) At 1 Kings 4:24 the same Hebrew expression is translated “this side of the River” (NW) or “west of the Euphrates.” (RS)

(1 KINGS 4:25)

“Judah and Israel lived in security, everyone under his own vine and under his own fig tree, from Dan to Beʹer-sheʹba, all the days of Solʹo•mon.”

*** w03 5/15 p. 24 Each One Will Sit Under His Fig Tree ***
Each One Will Sit Under His Fig Tree
SHADE is at a premium during the hot summers in the lands of the Middle East. Any tree offering refuge from the sun’s rays is welcome, especially when it grows near one’s home. With its large, broad leaves and wide-spreading branches, the fig tree provides better shade than almost any other tree of the region.
According to the book Plants of the Bible, the “shade [of a fig tree] is said to be fresher and cooler than that of a tent.” Fig trees growing at the edges of vineyards in ancient Israel offered field workers ideal places for a brief rest.
At the end of a long, hot day, family members could sit under their fig tree and enjoy pleasant association. Moreover, the fig tree rewards its owner with abundant, nutritious fruit. From the time of King Solomon, therefore, sitting under one’s own fig tree represented peace, prosperity, and plenty.—1 Kings 4:24, 25.

*** w98 10/15 pp. 9-10 pars. 9-11 Jerusalem—“The City of the Great King” ***
9 The nation of Israel enjoyed peace as they gave their wholehearted support to Jehovah’s worship, centered in Jerusalem. Beautifully describing this situation, the Scriptures state: “Judah and Israel were many, like the grains of sand that are by the sea for multitude, eating and drinking and rejoicing. . . . And peace itself became [Solomon’s] in every region of his, all around. And Judah and Israel continued to dwell in security, everyone under his own vine and under his own fig tree.”—1 Kings 4:20, 24, 25.
10 Archaeological findings lend support to this account of Solomon’s prosperous reign. In his book The Archaeology of the Land of Israel, Professor Yohanan Aharoni states: “The wealth that flowed into the royal court from all directions, and the flourishing commerce . . . brought about a rapid and noticeable revolution in every aspect of material culture. . . . The change in material culture . . . is discernible not only in luxury items but also especially in ceramics. . . . The quality of the pottery and its firing improved beyond all recognition.”
11 Similarly, Jerry M. Landay wrote: “Under Solomon, Israelite material culture advanced more in three decades than it had during the preceding two hundred years. We find in Solomonic strata the remains of monumental constructions, great cities with massive walls, the mushrooming of residential quarters with well-built clusters of the dwellings of the well-to-do, a quantum jump in the technical proficiency of the potter and his manufacturing processes. We find, too, the remains of artefacts representing goods made in far-off places, signs of vigorous international commerce and trade.”—The House of David.

*** it-1 p. 749 Solomon’s Reign ***
[Pictures on page 749]
During Solomon’s reign, Judah and Israel dwelt in security—figuratively speaking, everyone under his own vine and under his own fig tree (1Ki 4:25)

*** it-1 p. 831 Fig ***
Figurative and Prophetic Use. The fig and the vine are mentioned jointly in many texts, and Jesus’ words at Luke 13:6 show that fig trees were often planted in vineyards. (2Ki 18:31; Joe 2:22) The expression ‘sitting under one’s own vine and fig tree’ symbolized peaceful, prosperous, secure conditions.—1Ki 4:25; Mic 4:4; Zec 3:10.

(1 KINGS 4:26)

“And Solʹo•mon had 4,000 stalls of horses for his chariots and 12,000 horses.”

*** it-1 p. 1145 Horse ***
From Solomon to the Return From Exile. However, David’s son and successor, Solomon, began to accumulate thousands of horses. (1Ki 4:26 [here “forty thousand stalls of horses” is generally believed to be a scribal error for “four thousand”]; compare 2Ch 9:25.)

(1 KINGS 4:31)

“He was wiser than any other man, wiser than Eʹthan the Ezʹra•hite and Heʹman, Calʹcol, and Darʹda, the sons of Maʹhol; his fame spread among all the surrounding nations.”

*** it-1 p. 388 Calcol ***
CALCOL
(Calʹcol) [Perfected].
One whose wisdom, though great, was exceeded by King Solomon’s (1Ki 4:31); possibly the same as the descendant of Judah through Zerah.—1Ch 2:4, 6.

*** it-1 p. 765 Ethan ***
1. One of four men whose wisdom, though great, was exceeded by Solomon’s. (1Ki 4:31) This Ethan may be the writer of Psalm 89, for the superscription identifies Ethan the Ezrahite as its writer. In 1 Chronicles 2:6, Ethan, Heman, Calcol, and Dara are all spoken of as sons of Zerah of the tribe of Judah and possibly are the same as the men mentioned in First Kings. Ethan is referred to as the father of Azariah.—1Ch 2:8; see EZRAHITE.

*** it-1 p. 800 Ezrahite ***
EZRAHITE
(Ezʹra•hite) [Native].
A designation applied to Ethan (1Ki 4:31; Ps 89:Sup) and Heman (Ps 88:Sup), both of them famous for their wisdom. Ethan and Heman are identified at 1 Chronicles 2:3-6 as descendants of Judah through Zerah. Thus the designation “Ezrahite” apparently is another word for “Zerahite.” (Nu 26:20) The Targum of Jonathan interprets “Ezrahite” as “son of Zerah.”

*** it-2 p. 297 Mahol ***
MAHOL
(Maʹhol) [from a root meaning “dance; whirl”; or, possibly from a root meaning “play the flute”].
One whose sons’ wisdom, though great, was not equal to King Solomon’s. (1Ki 4:31) Some view the designation “sons of Mahol” to mean an association of musicians or dancers.—Compare Ps 150:4, where the same Hebrew word is rendered “circle dance.”

(1 KINGS 4:34)

“People from all the nations came to hear Solʹo•mon’s wisdom, including kings from all over the earth who had heard about his wisdom.”

*** it-1 p. 749 Solomon’s Reign ***
Even rulers of other lands came to hear his wisdom (1Ki 4:34; 10:1)

(1 KINGS 5:3)

““You well know that David my father was not able to build a house for the name of Jehovah his God because of the wars waged against him from every side until Jehovah put his enemies under the soles of his feet.”

*** it-2 p. 1076 Temple ***
Solomon’s Temple. King David entertained a strong desire to build a house for Jehovah, to contain the ark of the covenant, which was “dwelling in the middle of tent cloths.” Jehovah was pleased with David’s proposal but told him that, because he had shed much blood in warfare, his son (Solomon) would be privileged to do the building. This was not to say that God did not approve David’s wars fought in behalf of Jehovah’s name and His people. But the temple was to be built in peace by a man of peace.—2Sa 7:1-16; 1Ki 5:3-5; 8:17; 1Ch 17:1-14; 22:6-10.

(1 KINGS 5:11)

“And Solʹo•mon gave Hiʹram 20,000 cor measures of wheat as food supplies for his household and 20 cor measures of very fine olive oil. That was what Solʹo•mon gave Hiʹram year after year.”

*** it-2 p. 546 Oil ***
An Important Trade and Food Commodity. Olive oil became an important trade commodity in Palestine because of its abundance there. Yearly, Solomon gave King Hiram of Tyre “twenty cor measures [4,400 L; 1,160 gal] of beaten-out oil” as part of a payment for temple construction materials. (1Ki 5:10, 11)

(1 KINGS 5:13)

“King Solʹo•mon conscripted men for forced labor out of all Israel; 30,000 men were conscripted.”

*** w05 2/15 p. 23 ‘If You Are Impressed Into Service’ ***
As for the Israelites employed in building projects, 1 Kings 5:13, 14 says: “King Solomon kept bringing up those conscripted for forced labor out of all Israel; and those conscripted for forced labor amounted to thirty thousand men. And he would send them to Lebanon in shifts of ten thousand a month. For a month they would continue in Lebanon, for two months at their homes.” “There can be no doubt,” says one scholar, “that the Israelite and Judean kings made use of the corvée as a means of securing unpaid labor for their building activities as well as for work on the crown-lands.”

(1 KINGS 5:16)

“as well as Solʹo•mon’s 3,300 princely deputies who served as foremen to supervise the workmen.”

*** w05 12/1 p. 19 par. 2 Highlights From the Book of Second Chronicles ***
2:18; 8:10—These verses state that the number of deputies serving as overseers and as foremen over the labor force was 3,600 plus 250, whereas according to 1 Kings 5:16; 9:23, they numbered 3,300 plus 550. Why do the numbers differ? The difference seems to be in the way the deputies are classified. It may be that Second Chronicles differentiates between 3,600 non-Israelites and 250 Israelite deputies, while First Kings distinguishes 3,300 foremen from 550 chief supervisors of higher rank. In any case, the total number of those serving as deputies was 3,850.

*** it-1 p. 615 Deputy ***
“Princely deputies” also served as foremen and overseers of the labor force engaged in construction during Solomon’s reign. It seems that the two accounts of these deputies in First Kings and Second Chronicles differed only in methods of classification, the first listing 3,300 plus 550 for a total of 3,850 (1Ki 5:16; 9:23), and the second giving 3,600 plus 250, which also totals 3,850. (2Ch 2:18; 8:10) Scholars (Ewald, Keil, Michaelis) suggest that the Chronicles figures distinguish between the 3,600 non-Israelite and the 250 Israelite deputies, whereas in Kings the distinction in deputies is between 3,300 subordinate foremen and 550 chief supervisors, this latter figure including 300 non-Israelites.

(1 KINGS 6:1)

“In the 480th year after the Israelites came out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year after Solʹo•mon became king over Israel, in the month of Ziv (that is, the second month), he began to build the house of Jehovah.”

*** g 5/12 p. 17 The Bible—A Book of Accurate Prophecy, Part 1 ***
[Box on page 17]
PRECISE TIMEKEEPING
An example of the value of the Bible’s precise timekeeping is demonstrated at 1 Kings 6:1, which points to the time when King Solomon commenced work on the temple in Jerusalem. We read: “It came about in the four hundred and eightieth year [479 full years] after the sons of Israel came out from the land of Egypt, in the fourth year [of Solomon’s reign], in the month of Ziv, that is, the second month, after Solomon became king over Israel, that he proceeded to build the house to Jehovah.”
Bible chronology places the fourth year of Solomon’s reign at 1034 B.C.E. Counting back from that date 479 full years brings us to 1513 B.C.E. as the year of Israel’s Exodus.

*** si p. 47 par. 5 Bible Book Number 7—Judges ***
5 How long a period does Judges cover? This can be calculated from 1 Kings 6:1, which shows that Solomon began to build the house of Jehovah in the fourth year of his reign, which was also “the four hundred and eightieth year after the sons of Israel came out from the land of Egypt.” (“Four hundred and eightieth” being an ordinal number, it represents 479 full years.) The known time periods included in the 479 years are 40 years under Moses in the wilderness (Deut. 8:2), 40 years of Saul’s reign (Acts 13:21), 40 years of David’s reign (2 Sam. 5:4, 5), and the first 3 full years of Solomon’s reign. Subtracting this total of 123 years from the 479 years of 1 Kings 6:1, there remain 356 years for the period between the entry of Israel into Canaan and the start of Saul’s reign. The events recorded in the book of Judges, extending largely from the death of Joshua down to the time of Samuel, cover about 330 years of this 356-year period.

*** it-1 p. 461 Chronology ***
It was in the “four hundred and eightieth year after the sons of Israel came out from the land of Egypt,” in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign, that construction began on the temple at Jerusalem. (1Ki 6:1) “Four hundred and eightieth” is an ordinal number representing 479 full years plus some additional time, in this case one month. Counting 479 years from the Exodus (Nisan 1513 B.C.E.) brings us to 1034 B.C.E., with the temple construction beginning in the second month, Ziv (corresponding to part of April and part of May). Since this was the fourth year (another ordinal number) of Solomon’s rule, his reign began three full years earlier in 1037 B.C.E. His 40-year rule evidently ran from Nisan 1037 to Nisan 997 B.C.E., with the division of the kingdom taking place in the latter year.

(1 KINGS 6:3)

“The porch in front of the temple was 20 cubits long, corresponding to the width of the house. Its depth was ten cubits from the front of the house.”

*** it-2 p. 654 Porch ***
Solomon’s Temple. While the primary portions of the temple were the Holy and Most Holy compartments, in front of the Holy (toward the E) there was a massive porch that served as an entranceway to the temple. The porch was 20 cubits (8.9 m; 29.2 ft) long (running along the width of the temple) and 10 cubits (4.5 m; 14.6 ft) deep. (1Ki 6:3)

(1 KINGS 6:18)

“The cedar inside the house was carved with gourds and flowers in bloom. All of it was cedar; no stone was seen.”

*** it-1 p. 991 Gourd ***
The gourd-shaped ornaments (Heb., peqa•ʽimʹ) adorning the molten sea and the cedarwood paneling inside Solomon’s temple may have been round like the fruit of the colocynth.—1Ki 6:18; 7:24; 2Ch 4:3.

(1 KINGS 6:23)

“In the innermost room he made two cherubs of pinewood, each ten cubits high.”

*** it-2 p. 547 Oil Tree ***
The King James Version and Revised Standard Version refer to wood of the olive tree at 1 Kings 6:23, and it is suggested that the cherubs may have been constructed of several pieces joined together, since the olive’s short trunk does not provide timbers of great lengths. Still, the fact that the olive tree is alluded to as distinct from the oil tree at Nehemiah 8:15 would seem to rule out this suggestion.

(1 KINGS 6:27)

“Then he put the cherubs inside the inner house. The wings of the cherubs were extended so that the wing of the one cherub reached to one wall and the wing of the other cherub reached to the other wall, and their wings extended toward the middle of the house, so that the wings touched.”

*** it-1 p. 432 Cherub ***
The detailed architectural plans for Solomon’s magnificent temple called for two huge cherubs in the Most Holy. They were made of oil-tree wood overlaid with gold, each standing ten cubits (4.5 m; 14.6 ft) high. They both stood facing the E on a N-S line running presumably through the center of the room. Although standing ten cubits apart, one wing of each cherub reached to touch the tip of the other’s extended wing in the center of the room, overshadowing the ark of the covenant and its poles, which rested beneath. The outer wings of each cherub touched the N and S walls respectively. Thus the wings of the cherubs spanned the 20-cubit width of the room. (See TEMPLE.) Engraved carvings of cherubs, overlaid with gold, also decorated the walls and doors of the temple. Likewise the sides of the copper water carriages were ornamented with cherubs. (1Ki 6:23-35; 7:29-36; 8:6, 7; 1Ch 28:18; 2Ch 3:7, 10-14; 5:7, 8) In a similar manner, carved cherubs ornamented the walls and doors of the temple that Ezekiel envisioned.—Eze 41:17-20, 23-25.

(1 KINGS 6:38)

“and in the 11th year, in the month of Bul (that is, the eighth month), the house was finished in all its details and according to its plan. So he spent seven years building it.”

*** nwt p. 1694 Glossary ***
Bul. The name of the eighth month of the Jewish sacred calendar and the second month of the secular calendar. It comes from a root meaning “yield; produce” and ran from mid-October to mid-November. (1Ki 6:38)—See App. B15.

*** nwt p. 1796 B15 Hebrew Calendar ***
HESHVAN (BUL) October—November

Light rains
Olives

*** it-1 p. 374 Bul ***
Following the Exodus from Egypt, Bul became the eighth month in the sacred calendar, and it was during this month that Solomon completed the construction of the temple at Jerusalem. (1Ki 6:38) Jeroboam, the founder of the separatist northern kingdom of Israel, arbitrarily made this month a festival month, as part of his plan to divert the people’s attention from Jerusalem and its feasts.—1Ki 12:26, 31-33.

WEEK STARTING JULY 6: Bible reading: 1 Kings 7-8


(1 KINGS 7:2)

“And he built the House of the Forest of Lebʹa•non 100 cubits long, 50 cubits wide, and 30 cubits high on four rows of cedar pillars; and there were cedar beams on the pillars.”

*** it-1 p. 424 Cedar ***
“The House of the Forest of Lebanon,” constructed later, was probably so named because of its 45 pillars of cedarwood. (1Ki 7:2, 3)

*** it-1 p. 1156 House of the Forest of Lebanon ***
A problem arises in regard to the number of rows of pillars, as mentioned in the foregoing. For the Hebrew text says that there were four rows and later speaks of 45 pillars, then says: “There were fifteen to a row.” (1Ki 7:2, 3) Some have thought that the text here applies to the chambers in three tiers, 15 chambers to a row, and that there may have been a greater number of pillars placed in the four rows. Others prefer the Septuagint reading of “three” rows of pillars. A number of translations alter the reading of the text so that the “forty-five” refers to the beams rather than to the upright pillars, or columns.—See NE, NAB, AT, AS.

*** it-1 p. 1156 House of the Forest of Lebanon ***
The House of the Forest of Lebanon was 100 cubits (44 m; 146 ft) long, 50 cubits (22 m; 73 ft) wide, and 30 cubits (13 m; 44 ft) high. It appears to have had stone walls (1Ki 7:9), with cedar beams the ends of which were laid into the walls and were additionally supported by four rows of pillars (“four” in the Hebrew text; “three” in the Greek Septuagint). Above the pillars, there were evidently cedar-paneled chambers. Some suggested reconstructions of this house have three tiers of chambers above the pillars and these face an unroofed court in the middle of the building.

(1 KINGS 7:3)

“It was paneled above with cedar on the girders that rested on the pillars; they numbered 45, with 15 to a row.”

*** it-1 p. 1156 House of the Forest of Lebanon ***
A problem arises in regard to the number of rows of pillars, as mentioned in the foregoing. For the Hebrew text says that there were four rows and later speaks of 45 pillars, then says: “There were fifteen to a row.” (1Ki 7:2, 3) Some have thought that the text here applies to the chambers in three tiers, 15 chambers to a row, and that there may have been a greater number of pillars placed in the four rows. Others prefer the Septuagint reading of “three” rows of pillars. A number of translations alter the reading of the text so that the “forty-five” refers to the beams rather than to the upright pillars, or columns.—See NE, NAB, AT, AS.

*** it-1 p. 1156 House of the Forest of Lebanon ***
The House of the Forest of Lebanon was 100 cubits (44 m; 146 ft) long, 50 cubits (22 m; 73 ft) wide, and 30 cubits (13 m; 44 ft) high. It appears to have had stone walls (1Ki 7:9), with cedar beams the ends of which were laid into the walls and were additionally supported by four rows of pillars (“four” in the Hebrew text; “three” in the Greek Septuagint). Above the pillars, there were evidently cedar-paneled chambers. Some suggested reconstructions of this house have three tiers of chambers above the pillars and these face an unroofed court in the middle of the building.

(1 KINGS 7:4)

“There were three rows of framed windows, and each window was opposite another window in three tiers.”

*** it-1 p. 1156 House of the Forest of Lebanon ***
The chambers were said to have “an illumination opening opposite an illumination opening in three tiers.” This seems to have meant that, looking out over the court, there were openings or large windows that faced corresponding windows in the chambers on the opposite side of the court. Or, it possibly meant that there was a window in each chamber facing the court and one facing the outside. The entrances (likely the doorways leading to the chambers and perhaps between them) “were squared with the frame.” They were therefore not arch-shaped or vaulted. The windows were of like shape.—1Ki 7:2-5.

(1 KINGS 7:5)

“All the entrances and the doorposts had square frames, as did the front of the windows that were opposite each other in three tiers.”

*** it-1 p. 1156 House of the Forest of Lebanon ***
The chambers were said to have “an illumination opening opposite an illumination opening in three tiers.” This seems to have meant that, looking out over the court, there were openings or large windows that faced corresponding windows in the chambers on the opposite side of the court. Or, it possibly meant that there was a window in each chamber facing the court and one facing the outside. The entrances (likely the doorways leading to the chambers and perhaps between them) “were squared with the frame.” They were therefore not arch-shaped or vaulted. The windows were of like shape.—1Ki 7:2-5.

(1 KINGS 7:6)

“And he built the Hall of Pillars 50 cubits long and 30 cubits wide, and there was a porch in front of it with pillars and a canopy.”

*** it-2 p. 654 Porch ***
Porch of Pillars. One of the official buildings Solomon constructed in the temple area sometime after he completed the temple was the Porch of Pillars. (1Ki 7:1, 6) Since mention of the Porch of Pillars is made between comments about the House of the Forest of Lebanon and comments about the Porch of the Throne, it is quite possible that the Porch of Pillars was S of the temple and between these other two official buildings. Thus, one coming from the S might pass through or around the House of the Forest of Lebanon and then enter the Porch of Pillars, walking through it into the Porch of the Throne.
The building was 50 cubits (22.3 m; 72.9 ft) long and 30 cubits (13.4 m; 43.7 ft) wide. Its very name suggests that it was made up of rows of impressive pillars. First Kings 7:6 mentions another porch in front with pillars and a canopy. Perhaps this means that one first came to a porch having an extending canopy supported by pillars. Then this porch merged right into the Porch of Pillars proper. If the dimensions given apply just to the Porch of Pillars, then the size of the canopied portion is not given.
This building may have served as a grand entranceway to the Porch of the Throne and as a place where the king conducted the ordinary business of the kingdom and received some visitors.

(1 KINGS 7:7)

“He also built the Hall of the Throne, where he would judge—the Hall of Judgment—and they paneled it with cedar from the floor to the rafters.”

*** it-2 p. 654 Porch ***
Porch of the Throne. Another building that Solomon constructed after the temple was completed was the Porch of the Throne. (1Ki 7:1, 7) “The porch of judgment” referred to in the text seems to be synonymous with “the Porch of the Throne.” So “the Porch of the Throne” evidently was where Solomon placed his ornate ivory and gold throne and did judging.—1Ki 10:18-20.
The entire description of this building is: “He made the porch of judgment; and they covered it in with cedarwood from the floor to the rafters.” (1Ki 7:7) The Masoretic text actually says, “from floor to floor,” leading some to believe that there was cedar from the floor of this building to the floor of the Porch of Pillars mentioned in the preceding verse. However, the Syriac Peshitta reads “from floor to ceiling,” and the Latin Vulgate says “from floor to top.” So, certain translators believe that the cedar was some sort of splendid paneling from the floor of the Porch to its rafters or ceiling. (NW, RS, JB, Ro) Though other architectural details are lacking, this would suggest a building not having open pillars on a side or sides, as may have been the case with the House of the Forest of Lebanon and the Porch of Pillars.
Since the Porch of the Throne is listed right after the Porch of Pillars, it is possible that this latter building served as a grand entrance to the Porch of the Throne. A person coming from the S may have had to walk through the Porch of Pillars to enter the porch of judgment.

(1 KINGS 7:9)

“All of these were made of expensive stones hewn according to measure, trimmed with stonesaws inside and out, from the foundation up to the coping, and outside as far as the great courtyard.”

*** it-1 p. 1156 House of the Forest of Lebanon ***
The House of the Forest of Lebanon was 100 cubits (44 m; 146 ft) long, 50 cubits (22 m; 73 ft) wide, and 30 cubits (13 m; 44 ft) high. It appears to have had stone walls (1Ki 7:9), with cedar beams the ends of which were laid into the walls and were additionally supported by four rows of pillars (“four” in the Hebrew text; “three” in the Greek Septuagint).

(1 KINGS 7:13)

“King Solʹo•mon sent for Hiʹram and brought him from Tyre.”

*** it-1 pp. 1121-1122 Hiram ***
2. The skilled artisan who made many of the furnishings of Solomon’s temple. His father was a Tyrian, but his mother was a widow “from the tribe of Naphtali” (1Ki 7:13, 14) “of the sons of Dan.” (2Ch 2:13, 14) This apparent difference resolves itself if we take the view, as some scholars do, that she was born of the tribe of Dan, had been widowed by a first husband of the tribe of Naphtali, and then was remarried to a Tyrian.
Hiram, the king of Tyre (No. 1), sent this Hiram to supervise the special construction for Solomon because of his ability and experience in working with materials such as gold, silver, copper, iron, stone, and wood. Hiram was also unusually skilled in dyeing, engraving, and designing all sorts of devices. No doubt from childhood on he received some of his technical training in the industrial arts of the times from his Tyrian father, who himself was an accomplished craftsman in copper.—1Ki 7:13-45; 2Ch 2:13, 14; 4:11-16.

(1 KINGS 7:14)

“He was the son of a widow from the tribe of Naphʹta•li, and his father was a Tyrʹi•an coppersmith; and he had great skill, understanding, and experience for all kinds of work in copper. So he came to King Solʹo•mon and did all his work.”

*** w05 12/1 p. 19 par. 1 Highlights From the Book of Second Chronicles ***
2:14—Why is the lineage of the craftsman described here different from the one found at 1 Kings 7:14? First Kings refers to the craftsman’s mother as “a widowed woman from the tribe of Naphtali” because she had married a man of that tribe. She herself, though, was from the tribe of Dan. After her husband’s death, she married a man of Tyre, and the artisan was an offspring of that marriage.

*** it-1 pp. 1121-1122 Hiram ***
2. The skilled artisan who made many of the furnishings of Solomon’s temple. His father was a Tyrian, but his mother was a widow “from the tribe of Naphtali” (1Ki 7:13, 14) “of the sons of Dan.” (2Ch 2:13, 14) This apparent difference resolves itself if we take the view, as some scholars do, that she was born of the tribe of Dan, had been widowed by a first husband of the tribe of Naphtali, and then was remarried to a Tyrian.
Hiram, the king of Tyre (No. 1), sent this Hiram to supervise the special construction for Solomon because of his ability and experience in working with materials such as gold, silver, copper, iron, stone, and wood. Hiram was also unusually skilled in dyeing, engraving, and designing all sorts of devices. No doubt from childhood on he received some of his technical training in the industrial arts of the times from his Tyrian father, who himself was an accomplished craftsman in copper.—1Ki 7:13-45; 2Ch 2:13, 14; 4:11-16.

(1 KINGS 7:15)

“He cast the two pillars of copper; each pillar was 18 cubits high, and it took a measuring cord 12 cubits long to encircle each of the two pillars.”

*** it-1 p. 412 Capital ***
CAPITAL
The uppermost section and crowning decoration of a building’s column. Massive capitals topped Jachin and Boaz, the pillars that stood in front of Solomon’s temple. (2Ch 3:15-17) These capitals and the pillars upon which they rested were made under the direction of the craftsman Hiram at the time of the temple’s construction (1034-1027 B.C.E.) and survived over 400 years until Jerusalem was sacked by the Babylonians in 607 B.C.E. (2Ch 4:11-13; Jer 52:17, 22) In every reference to these capitals, except for one, the Hebrew word ko•theʹreth is used. It comes from the root ka•tharʹ (‘surround’; Jg 20:43) and is related to keʹther (“headdress”; Es 1:11). The Hebrew word for “capital” occurring in 2 Chronicles 3:15 (tseʹpheth) comes from the root verb tsa•phahʹ, meaning “overlay.”—Ex 25:11.
The pillars themselves were of cast copper, about 1.7 m (5.6 ft) in diameter and 18 cubits (8 m; 26 ft) high. In addition, the capitals were 5 cubits (2.2 m; 7.3 ft) high. (1Ki 7:15, 16) In view of the passages indicating that the capitals were five cubits high, a number of scholars have concluded that the reference to “three cubits” in 2 Kings 25:17 is a scribal error. That is why some Bible translations (for example, JB, NAB) have replaced “three cubits” with “five cubits.” Since the pillars were hollow, with walls about 7.5 cm (3 in.) thick, it is reasonable to suppose that the capitals were of similar construction and were also cast in clay molds “in the District of the Jordan.”—2Ch 4:17; Jer 52:21.

(1 KINGS 7:16)

“And he made two capitals cast in copper to put on the tops of the pillars. One capital was five cubits high, and the other capital was five cubits high.”

*** it-1 p. 412 Capital ***
CAPITAL
The uppermost section and crowning decoration of a building’s column. Massive capitals topped Jachin and Boaz, the pillars that stood in front of Solomon’s temple. (2Ch 3:15-17) These capitals and the pillars upon which they rested were made under the direction of the craftsman Hiram at the time of the temple’s construction (1034-1027 B.C.E.) and survived over 400 years until Jerusalem was sacked by the Babylonians in 607 B.C.E. (2Ch 4:11-13; Jer 52:17, 22) In every reference to these capitals, except for one, the Hebrew word ko•theʹreth is used. It comes from the root ka•tharʹ (‘surround’; Jg 20:43) and is related to keʹther (“headdress”; Es 1:11). The Hebrew word for “capital” occurring in 2 Chronicles 3:15 (tseʹpheth) comes from the root verb tsa•phahʹ, meaning “overlay.”—Ex 25:11.
The pillars themselves were of cast copper, about 1.7 m (5.6 ft) in diameter and 18 cubits (8 m; 26 ft) high. In addition, the capitals were 5 cubits (2.2 m; 7.3 ft) high. (1Ki 7:15, 16) In view of the passages indicating that the capitals were five cubits high, a number of scholars have concluded that the reference to “three cubits” in 2 Kings 25:17 is a scribal error. That is why some Bible translations (for example, JB, NAB) have replaced “three cubits” with “five cubits.” Since the pillars were hollow, with walls about 7.5 cm (3 in.) thick, it is reasonable to suppose that the capitals were of similar construction and were also cast in clay molds “in the District of the Jordan.”—2Ch 4:17; Jer 52:21.

(1 KINGS 7:20)

“The capitals were on the two pillars, just above the rounded portion adjoining the network; and there were 200 pomegranates in rows all around on each capital.”

*** it-1 p. 282 Belly ***
The Hebrew beʹten (belly) is also used as an architectural term at 1 Kings 7:20, referring to a protuberance, a rounded projection.

(1 KINGS 7:21)

“He set up the pillars of the porch of the temple. He set up the right-hand pillar and named it Jaʹchin, and then he set up the left-hand pillar and named it Boʹaz.”

*** it-1 p. 348 Boaz, II ***
BOAZ, II
(Boʹaz) [possibly, In Strength].
The northernmost of the two huge copper pillars erected before the porch of Solomon’s glorious temple was named Boaz, possibly meaning “In Strength.” The southern pillar was called Jachin, meaning “May [Jehovah] Firmly Establish.” So, putting the two together and reading from right to left as one faced the E would convey the thought ‘May [Jehovah] firmly establish [the temple] in strength.’—1Ki 7:15-21; see CAPITAL.

(1 KINGS 7:23)

“Then he made the Sea of cast metal. It was circular in shape, 10 cubits from brim to brim and 5 cubits high, and it took a measuring line 30 cubits long to encircle it.”

*** it-2 p. 425 Molten Sea (Copper Sea) ***
MOLTEN SEA (COPPER SEA)
When the temple was constructed during Solomon’s reign, a “molten [that is, cast or poured] sea” replaced the portable basin of copper used with the earlier tabernacle. (Ex 30:17-21; 1Ki 7:23, 40, 44) Built by Hiram, a Hebrew-Phoenician, it was evidently called a “sea” because of the large quantity of water it could contain. This vessel, also of copper, was “ten cubits [4.5 m; 14.6 ft] from its one brim to its other brim, circular all around; and its height was five cubits [c. 2.2 m; 7.3 ft], and it took a line of thirty cubits [13.4 m; 44 ft] to circle all around it.”—1Ki 7:23.
Circumference. The circumference of 30 cubits is evidently a round figure, for more precisely it would be 31.4 cubits. In this regard, Christopher Wordsworth quotes a certain Rennie as making this interesting observation: “Up to the time of Archimedes [third century B.C.E.], the circumference of a circle was always measured in straight lines by the radius; and Hiram would naturally describe the sea as thirty cubits round, measuring it, as was then invariably the practice, by its radius, or semi-diameter, of five cubits, which being applied six times round the perimeter, or ‘brim,’ would give the thirty cubits stated. There was evidently no intention in the passage but to give the dimensions of the Sea, in the usual language that every one would understand, measuring the circumference in the way in which all skilled workers, like Hiram, did measure circles at that time. He, of course, must however have known perfectly well, that as the polygonal hexagon thus inscribed by the radius was thirty cubits, the actual curved circumference would be somewhat more.” (Notes on the King James Version, London, 1887) Thus, it appears that the ratio of three to one (that is, the circumference being three times the diameter) was a customary way of stating matters, intended to be understood as only approximate.

(1 KINGS 7:24)

“And there were ornamental gourds below its brim, completely encircling it, ten to a cubit all around the Sea, with two rows of the gourds cast in one piece with it.”

*** it-1 p. 991 Gourd ***
The gourd-shaped ornaments (Heb., peqa•ʽimʹ) adorning the molten sea and the cedarwood paneling inside Solomon’s temple may have been round like the fruit of the colocynth.—1Ki 6:18; 7:24; 2Ch 4:3.

(1 KINGS 7:26)

“And its thickness was a handbreadth; and its brim was made like the brim of a cup, like a lily blossom. It would hold 2,000 bath measures.”

*** w08 2/1 p. 15 Did You Know? ***
What was the size of the molten sea at Solomon’s temple?
The account at 1 Kings 7:26 refers to the sea as containing “two thousand bath measures” of water used by the priests, whereas the parallel account at 2 Chronicles 4:5 speaks of it as containing “three thousand bath measures.” This has led to the claim that the difference is the result of a scribal error in the Chronicles account.
However, the New World Translation helps us understand how these two texts can be harmonized. First Kings 7:26 reads: “Two thousand bath measures were what it would contain.” Notice that 2 Chronicles 4:5 says: “As a receptacle, three thousand bath measures were what it could contain.” So 2 Chronicles 4:5 refers to the maximum capacity of the temple basin, what it could contain, whereas 1 Kings 7:26 states the quantity of water that was usually put into the temple basin. In other words, it was never filled to maximum capacity. It appears that it was customarily filled to only two thirds of its capacity.

*** w05 12/1 p. 19 par. 4 Highlights From the Book of Second Chronicles ***
4:5—What was the total capacity of the molten sea? When filled, the sea could hold three thousand bath measures, or about 17,400 gallons [66,000 L]. The normal level, however, was probably about two thirds of its capacity. First Kings 7:26 states: “Two thousand bath measures [11,600 gallons [44,000 L]] were what [the sea] would contain.”

*** it-2 pp. 425-426 Molten Sea (Copper Sea) ***
The brim of the sea resembled a lily blossom. The thickness of this large vessel was “a handbreadth [7.4 cm; 2.9 in.].” (1Ki 7:24-26) This huge quantity of copper came from the supplies King David had obtained in his conquests in Syria. (1Ch 18:6-8) The casting was done in a clay mold in the region of the Jordan and was indeed a remarkable feat.—1Ki 7:44-46.
Capacity. The account at 1 Kings 7:26 refers to the sea as ‘containing two thousand bath measures,’ whereas the parallel account at 2 Chronicles 4:5 speaks of it as ‘containing three thousand bath measures.’ Some claim that the difference is the result of a scribal error in the Chronicles account. However, while the Hebrew verb meaning “contain” in each case is the same, there is a measure of latitude allowable in translating it. Thus some translations render 1 Kings 7:26 to read that the vessel “held” or “would contain” 2,000 bath measures, and translate 2 Chronicles 4:5 to read that it “had a capacity of” or “could hold” or “could contain” 3,000 bath measures. (AT, JB, NW) This allows for the understanding that the Kings account sets forth the amount of water customarily stored in the receptacle while the Chronicles account gives the actual capacity of the vessel if filled to the brim.
There is evidence that the bath measure anciently equaled about 22 L (5.8 gal), so that, if kept at two thirds capacity, the sea would normally hold about 44,000 L (11,620 gal) of water. For it to have had the capacity indicated, it must not have had straight sides, but instead, the sides below the rim, or lip, must have been curved, giving the vessel a bulbous shape. A vessel having such a shape and having the dimensions stated earlier could contain up to 66,000 L (17,430 gal). Josephus, Jewish historian of the first century C.E., describes the sea as “in the shape of a hemisphere.” He also indicates that the sea’s location was between the altar of burnt offering and the temple building, somewhat toward the south.—Jewish Antiquities, VIII, 79 (iii, 5); VIII, 86 (iii, 6).

(1 KINGS 7:38)

“He made ten copper basins; each could hold 40 bath measures. Each basin measured four cubits. There was one basin for each of the ten carriages.”

*** it-1 p. 261 Basin ***
Each of the ten copper basins (lavers, AT; RS) Hiram made for temple use could hold “forty bath measures,” or about 880 L (230 gal) of water. If these basins were hemispherical in shape this would mean that they had a diameter of perhaps 1.8 m (6 ft). Of course, if they bulged and tapered somewhat toward the top, the measurements would be different, and it must be observed that the Bible does not provide detailed information on their form, though it says that “each basin was four cubits.” Each basin was placed on a four-wheeled carriage skillfully made with ornamental work and engravings, five being placed on the right and five on the left side of the house.—1Ki 7:27-39.

(1 KINGS 7:46)

“The king cast them in clay molds in the district of the Jordan, between Sucʹcoth and Zarʹe•than.”

*** si p. 65 par. 4 Bible Book Number 11—1 Kings ***
Archaeology too supports many of the statements in the book. For example, at 1 Kings 7:45, 46 we read that it was “in the District of the Jordan . . . between Succoth and Zarethan” that Hiram cast the copper utensils for Solomon’s temple. Archaeologists digging on the site of ancient Succoth have unearthed evidence of smelting activities there.

*** it-2 p. 1220 Zarethan ***
In the account at 2 Chronicles 4:17, which parallels that of 1 Kings 7:46, “Zeredah” appears in place of Zarethan, perhaps representing a variant spelling of the name.

*** it-2 pp. 1219-1220 Zarethan ***
The first reference to it is at Joshua 3:16, where the account is given of the miraculous damming up of the waters of the Jordan “at Adam, the city at the side of Zarethan.” Later the record states that at the time of the casting of copper items for the temple, such casting was done in the District of the Jordan, “in the clay mold, between Succoth and Zarethan.” (1Ki 7:46) The clay available in the Jordan Valley contributed toward the feasibility of such copper-casting operations in this area.
Since the site of Adam is generally placed at Tell ed-Damiyeh (on the E side of the Jordan opposite the entrance to the Wadi Farʽah) and since Succoth is considered to be located about 13 km (8 mi) NNE of Adam, these texts would indicate that Zarethan lay on the W side of the Jordan not far from Adam and Succoth.

(1 KINGS 7:50)

“the basins, the extinguishers, the bowls, the cups, and the fire holders, of pure gold; and the sockets for the doors of the inner house, that is, the Most Holy, and for the doors of the house of the temple, of gold.”

*** it-1 p. 788 Extinguishers ***
EXTINGUISHERS
Mezam•meʹreth, the Hebrew word variously translated “snuffers” (AS), “knives” (JB), and “extinguishers” (NW), is derived from a root (za•marʹ) meaning “trim; prune.” Hence some believe that scissorlike utensils designed for trimming the lampwicks are meant. However, all that is definitely known about these utensils is that they were made of gold or copper and were used in connection with the services at the temple.—1Ki 7:50; 2Ki 12:13; 25:14; 2Ch 4:22; Jer 52:18.

(1 KINGS 8:1)

“At that time Solʹo•mon congregated the elders of Israel, all the heads of the tribes, the chieftains of the paternal houses of Israel. They came to King Solʹo•mon at Jerusalem to bring up the ark of the covenant of Jehovah from the City of David, that is, Zion.”

*** it-1 p. 591 David, City of ***
From Solomon’s Reign Onward. Solomon transferred the Ark to the newly constructed temple on the more spacious plateau to the N of the City of David. The expression that they ‘brought up the ark out of the City of David’ shows that the temple area lay on higher ground, Mount Moriah being higher than the southern spur. (1Ki 8:1)

(1 KINGS 8:2)

“All the men of Israel assembled before King Solʹo•mon at the festival in the month of Ethʹa•nim, that is, the seventh month.”

*** nwt p. 1698 Glossary ***
Ethanim. The name of the seventh month of the Jewish sacred calendar and the first month of the secular calendar. It ran from mid-September to mid-October. After the Jews’ return from Babylon, it was called Tishri. (1Ki 8:2)—See App. B15.

*** nwt p. 1796 B15 Hebrew Calendar ***
TISHRI (ETHANIM) September—October
1 Trumpet blast
10 Day of Atonement
15-21 Festival of Booths
22 Solemn assembly
Summer ends, early rains begin
Plowing

(1 KINGS 8:8)

“The poles were so long that the tips of the poles were visible from the Holy in front of the innermost room, but they were not visible from outside. And they are there to this day.”

*** w01 10/15 p. 31 Questions From Readers ***
Questions From Readers
How were the poles for carrying the ark of the covenant positioned, since 1 Kings 8:8 indicates that they were visible from the Holy?
When Jehovah gave Moses the design for the tabernacle in the wilderness, a key feature was the ark of the covenant. This rectangular, gold-covered chest held the tablets of the Law and other items. It was kept in the innermost compartment, the Most Holy. On the cover of the Ark were two gold figures of cherubs with outstretched wings. On each side of the Ark, there were rings so that it could be carried with two poles, made of acacia wood covered with gold. Logically, the poles ran through the rings and along the length of the Ark. Thus, with the Ark in its place in the Most Holy of the tabernacle, which faced east, the poles were oriented north-south. The same was true later when the Ark was in the temple that Solomon built.—Exodus 25:10-22; 37:4-9; 40:17-21.
A curtain separated the Most Holy from the Holy (the outer room). Priests in the Holy could not look into the Most Holy and view the Ark, over which God presented himself. (Hebrews 9:1-7) Thus, 1 Kings 8:8 might seem puzzling: “The poles proved to be long, so that the tips of the poles were visible from the Holy in front of the innermost room, but they were not visible outside.” The same point is made at 2 Chronicles 5:9. How were the poles visible to anyone in the Holy of the temple?
Some have imagined that the poles touched the curtain, producing visible bumps. But that would not be so if the poles were in a north-south orientation, with the curtain parallel to the poles. (Numbers 3:38) There is a more reasonable explanation. The poles might have been visible if there was a slight gap between the curtain and the wall of the temple or when the high priest had to enter the Most Holy. The curtain obstructed any view of the Ark itself, but the poles extending to each side might have shown through the gap. While this explanation is plausible, we cannot be dogmatic about it.
Clearly, there are many details that we may yet learn. The apostle Paul mentioned a few aspects in his letter to the Hebrews. Then he commented: “Now is not the time to speak in detail concerning these things.” (Hebrews 9:5) The coming resurrection of faithful ones should open up stimulating opportunities to learn from such men as Moses, Aaron, Bezalel, and others who were personally acquainted with the design and function of the tabernacle.—Exodus 36:1.
[Footnote]
The poles were not to be removed from the rings even when the Ark was in place in the tabernacle. Consequently, the poles could not be used for any other purpose. Also, the Ark would not have to be touched; had the poles been taken out of the rings, each portage would require handling the sacred Ark to reinsert the poles in the rings. The comment at Numbers 4:6 about ‘putting in the poles’ may refer to arranging or adjusting the poles in preparation for carrying the heavy chest to a new encampment.

(1 KINGS 8:9)

“There was nothing in the Ark but the two stone tablets that Moses placed there at Hoʹreb, when Jehovah made a covenant with the people of Israel while they were coming out of the land of Egypt.”

*** it-1 p. 166 Ark of the Covenant ***
The Ark served as a holy archive for the safekeeping of sacred reminders or testimony, the principal contents being the two tablets of the testimony, or the Ten Commandments. (Ex 25:16) A “golden jar having the manna and the rod of Aaron that budded” were added to the Ark but were later removed sometime before the building of Solomon’s temple. (Heb 9:4; Ex 16:32-34; Nu 17:10; 1Ki 8:9; 2Ch 5:10)

(1 KINGS 8:19)

“However, you will not build the house, but your own son who is to be born to you is the one who will build the house for my name.’”

*** it-2 p. 262 Loins ***
LOINS
The abdominal region and the area about the hips. The Bible uses both the Hebrew words chala•tsaʹyim (loins) and moth•naʹyim (hips) to refer to this area. (Isa 5:27; 2Ki 4:29) The Greek o•sphysʹ is also applied in the ordinary sense in describing John the Baptizer as clothed about the loins with a leather girdle.—Mt 3:4.
The section of the body designated by the word “loins” contains the reproductive organs; therefore offspring are said to ‘come out of the loins.’ (Ge 35:11; 1Ki 8:19; Ac 2:30)

(1 KINGS 8:27)

““But will God really dwell on the earth? Look! The heavens, yes, the heaven of the heavens, cannot contain you; how much less, then, this house that I have built!”

*** it-1 p. 1060 Heaven ***
Solomon, the constructor of the temple at Jerusalem, stated that the “heavens, yes, the heaven of the heavens” cannot contain God. (1Ki 8:27) As the Creator of the heavens, Jehovah’s position is far above them all, and “his name alone is unreachably high. His dignity is above earth and heaven.” (Ps 148:13) Jehovah measures the physical heavens as easily as a man would measure an object by spreading his fingers so that the object lies between the tips of the thumb and the little finger. (Isa 40:12) Solomon’s statement does not mean that God has no specific place of residence. Nor does it mean that he is omnipresent in the sense of being literally everywhere and in everything. This can be seen from the fact that Solomon also spoke of Jehovah as hearing “from the heavens, your established place of dwelling,” that is, the heavens of the spirit realm.—1Ki 8:30, 39.

(1 KINGS 8:30)

“And listen to your servant’s request for favor and to the request by your people Israel that they pray toward this place, and may you hear from your dwelling place in the heavens; yes, may you hear and forgive.”

*** g 4/11 p. 28 Is God Omnipresent? ***
The Bible’s Viewpoint
Is God Omnipresent?
MANY people believe that God is omnipresent, meaning that he is literally everywhere and in everything. Wise King Solomon made this request to Jehovah in prayer: “May you yourself hear from the heavens, your established place of dwelling.” (1 Kings 8:30, 39) According to the Bible, then, Jehovah God has a place of dwelling. Solomon referred to that place as “the heavens.” But what does that mean?
The Bible sometimes uses the words “heaven” and “heavens” to refer to the physical realm surrounding the earth. (Genesis 2:1, 4) However, since God created all things, his dwelling place must have existed before he formed the material universe. Hence, God must exist in a realm that is not bound by material things. Therefore, when the Bible speaks of heaven as the dwelling place of Jehovah God, it is referring, not to a location in the sky or in outer space, but to a spirit realm.

(1 KINGS 8:39)

“then may you hear from the heavens, your dwelling place, and may you forgive and take action; and reward each one according to all his ways, for you know his heart (you alone truly know every human heart),”

*** g 4/11 p. 28 Is God Omnipresent? ***
The Bible’s Viewpoint
Is God Omnipresent?
MANY people believe that God is omnipresent, meaning that he is literally everywhere and in everything. Wise King Solomon made this request to Jehovah in prayer: “May you yourself hear from the heavens, your established place of dwelling.” (1 Kings 8:30, 39) According to the Bible, then, Jehovah God has a place of dwelling. Solomon referred to that place as “the heavens.” But what does that mean?
The Bible sometimes uses the words “heaven” and “heavens” to refer to the physical realm surrounding the earth. (Genesis 2:1, 4) However, since God created all things, his dwelling place must have existed before he formed the material universe. Hence, God must exist in a realm that is not bound by material things. Therefore, when the Bible speaks of heaven as the dwelling place of Jehovah God, it is referring, not to a location in the sky or in outer space, but to a spirit realm.

(1 KINGS 8:43)

“may you then listen from the heavens, your dwelling place, and do all that the foreigner asks of you, so that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you, as your people Israel do, and may know that your name has been called on this house that I have built.”

*** w11 8/1 p. 27 Does God Dwell in One Place? ***
Actually, the Bible speaks of God as having a specific place of dwelling—the heavens. It records a prayer of King Solomon in which he called upon God: “May you yourself listen from the heavens, your established place of dwelling.” (1 Kings 8:43) When teaching his disciples how to pray, Jesus Christ told them to address their prayers to “Our Father in the heavens.” (Matthew 6:9) After his resurrection, Christ entered “into heaven itself, now to appear before the person of God,” states the Bible.—Hebrews 9:24.
These verses clearly indicate that Jehovah God dwells, not everywhere, but only in heaven. Of course, “the heavens” mentioned in these passages does not refer to the atmosphere surrounding the earth nor to the vast expanse of outer space. The physical heavens cannot contain the Creator of the universe. (1 Kings 8:27) The Bible tells us that “God is a Spirit.” (John 4:24) He resides in the spiritual heavens, a realm independent of the physical universe.—1 Corinthians 15:44.

(1 KINGS 8:50)

“and forgive your people who have sinned against you, forgiving all their transgressions they committed against you. You will make them objects of pity before their captors, and they will pity them”

*** it-2 p. 646 Pity ***
Jehovah God set the example in manifesting pity for those in distress, and he can move men to show this loving feeling. That is why King Solomon could appropriately pray that Jehovah would make the Israelites objects of pity before their captors if they became captives because of unfaithfulness. (1Ki 8:50)

(1 KINGS 8:64)

“On that day the king had to sanctify the middle of the courtyard that is before the house of Jehovah, for there he had to offer up the burnt sacrifices, the grain offerings, and the fat pieces of the communion sacrifices, because the copper altar that is before Jehovah was too small to contain the burnt sacrifices, the grain offerings, and the fat pieces of the communion sacrifices.”

*** it-1 p. 83 Altar ***
Despite the fact that it covered an area of over 79 sq m (850 sq ft), this copper altar proved too small for the immense quantity of sacrifices made then, and so a portion of the courtyard was sanctified for that purpose.—1Ki 8:62-64.

(1 KINGS 8:65)

“At that time Solʹo•mon held the festival together with all Israel, a great congregation from Leʹbo-haʹmath down to the Wadi of Egypt, before Jehovah our God for 7 days and then another 7 days, 14 days in all.”

*** it-2 pp. 927-928 Shihor ***
Similarly, a correspondency is noted between the reference to David’s congregating the people of Israel from Shihor (“the river of Egypt,” NW) to Hamath (when endeavoring to bring the ark of the covenant up to Jerusalem) and the congregating of the people in Solomon’s day from “the entering in of Hamath down to the torrent valley of Egypt.” (1Ch 13:5; 1Ki 8:65) The explanation for this may be that in the latter case (Solomon’s time) the account gives the practical boundaries of Israelite residence. The region between the Wadi el-ʽArish and the eastern arm of the Nile is basically desert territory and scrubland, so this wadi, or torrent valley, fittingly marked the limit of territory suitable for Israelite inhabitation, whereas in the former case (David’s) the description may be that of the entire region of Israelite activity, the region effectively dominated by David, which indeed ran to the border of Egypt.

WEEK STARTING JULY 13: July 13 Bible reading: 1 Kings 9-11


(1 KINGS 9:3)

“Jehovah said to him: “I have heard your prayer and your request for favor that you made before me. I have sanctified this house that you built by permanently putting my name there, and my eyes and my heart will always be there.”

*** it-2 p. 989 Solomon ***
Some have questioned the view just mentioned that the inauguration took place in the year after the temple was completed, because of 1 Kings 9:1-9, which speaks of Jehovah as appearing to Solomon after “the house of the king” was constructed, saying that he had heard Solomon’s prayer. (Compare 2Ch 7:11-22.) This was in his 24th year, after his 20-year building work. Was God 12 years in answering Solomon’s prayer given at the inauguration of the temple? No, for at that inauguration, at the close of Solomon’s prayer, “the fire itself came down from the heavens and proceeded to consume the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and Jehovah’s glory itself filled the house.” This was a powerful manifestation of Jehovah’s hearing of the prayer, an answer by action, and was acknowledged as such by the people. (2Ch 7:1-3) God’s later appearance to Solomon showed that he had not forgotten that prayer offered 12 years previously, and now he was answering it verbally by assuring Solomon of his response to it. God, at this second appearance, also gave Solomon added admonition to continue faithful as had David his father.

(1 KINGS 9:4)

“And you, if you walk before me as your father David walked, with integrity of heart and with uprightness, by doing everything I have commanded you, and you obey my regulations and my judgments,”

*** w12 11/15 p. 7 par. 18 “Teach Me to Do Your Will” ***
18 Although David was exemplary in many ways, he committed several serious sins. (2 Sam. 11:2-4, 14, 15, 22-27; 1 Chron. 21:1, 7) Over the course of his life, however, David proved repentant when he sinned. He walked before God “with integrity of heart.” (1 Ki. 9:4) Why can we say that? Because David tried to act in accord with Jehovah’s will.

*** w07 8/15 p. 12 ‘O Jehovah, Put Me to the Test’ ***
Because of his weaknesses, David committed several serious wrongs, but he nevertheless ‘walked with integrity of heart.’ (1 Kings 9:4) How? By accepting reproof and correcting his way. He thereby showed that he genuinely loved Jehovah. His devotion to God was complete.

*** w97 5/1 p. 5 Trust in an Imperfect World ***
King David of Israel made many mistakes, including his well-documented adulterous relationship with Bath-sheba. (2 Samuel 11:1-27) David’s many failings served to highlight that he was far from perfect. What, though, did Jehovah see in the man? Addressing David’s son, Solomon, Jehovah said: “Walk before me, just as David your father walked, with integrity of heart and with uprightness.” (1 Kings 9:4) Despite his many mistakes, David’s basic trustworthiness was recognized by Jehovah. Why?
David gave the answer when he told Solomon: “All hearts Jehovah is searching, and every inclination of the thoughts he is discerning.” (1 Chronicles 28:9) David made mistakes, but he was humble, and he wanted to do what was right. He consistently accepted reproof and correction—indeed, he asked for it. “Examine me, O Jehovah, and put me to the test; refine my kidneys and my heart” was his request. (Psalm 26:2) And refined David was. The constraints resulting from his sin with Bath-sheba, for example, lasted until the end of his life. Still, David never tried to justify his wrongdoing. (2 Samuel 12:1-12) More important, he never swerved from true worship. For this reason, and because of David’s genuine, heartfelt contrition and repentance, Jehovah was prepared to forgive his sins and accept him as a man of integrity.—See also Psalm 51.

(1 KINGS 9:11)

“Hiʹram the king of Tyre had supplied Solʹo•mon with cedar and juniper timbers and with as much gold as he desired, and King Solʹo•mon gave to Hiʹram 20 cities in the land of Galʹi•lee.”

*** w05 7/1 p. 29 par. 3 Highlights From the Book of First Kings ***
9:10-13—Was Solomon’s gift of 20 cities in the land of Galilee to King Hiram of Tyre in harmony with the Mosaic Law? The Law as stated at Leviticus 25:23, 24 could have been regarded as applying only to an area occupied by the Israelites. It is possible that the cities Solomon gave to Hiram were inhabited by non-Israelites, although lying within the boundary of the Promised Land. (Exodus 23:31) Solomon’s action could also have been an indication of his failure to comply completely with the Law, as when he ‘increased horses for himself’ and took many wives. (Deuteronomy 17:16, 17) Whatever the case, Hiram was dissatisfied with the gift. Perhaps the cities were not well-kept by their pagan inhabitants, or it may be that they were not ideally located.

(1 KINGS 9:13)

“He said: “What sort of cities are these that you have given me, my brother?” So they came to be called the Land of Caʹbul down to this day.”

*** it-1 p. 369 Brother ***
“Brother” is also applied to those united in a general cause and having similar aims and purposes. For example, King Hiram of Tyre called King Solomon his brother, not simply because he was an equal in rank and position but also perhaps because of mutual interests in supplying timbers and other things for the temple. (1Ki 9:13; 5:1-12)

*** it-1 p. 381 Cabul ***
2. The name applied to a Galilean district of 20 cities given by Solomon to King Hiram of Tyre, the gift likely deriving from Solomon’s appreciation for Hiram’s assistance in his building program. Hiram, however, on inspecting the cities, found them “not just right in his eyes,” saying to Solomon: “What sort of cities are these that you have given me, my brother?” Thereafter they came to be called “the Land of Cabul.”—1Ki 9:10-13.
According to Josephus, the cities “lay not far from Tyre.” (Jewish Antiquities, VIII, 142 [v, 3]) Galilee is called by Isaiah (9:1) “Galilee of the nations,” and certain scholars consider it probable that the 20 cities were inhabited by a pagan population. It does not seem likely that Solomon would turn them over to a foreign king if they were inhabited by Israelites, and they may indeed have been outside the boundaries actually inhabited by Israel, though still within the limits of the original area promised Israel by God and conquered by Solomon’s father David. (Ex 23:31; 2Sa 8:1-15) The propriety of Solomon’s action has been questioned because of God’s law at Leviticus 25:23, 24. This law may have been regarded as applying only to the region actually occupied by God’s covenant people, in which case Solomon’s gift would not have been improper. If otherwise, then it would be an additional example of his failure to adhere completely to divine counsel, as in the case of his multiplying horses and also taking many wives from the foreign nations.—Compare De 17:16, 17 with 1Ki 4:26; 11:1-8.
The account does not give the reason for Hiram’s lack of satisfaction with the cities. Some suggest that the pagan inhabitants kept them in poor condition; others, that their geographic situation was undesirable. At any rate his displeasure with them resulted in their receiving the name “the Land of Cabul.” The meaning of Cabul in this text has been a subject of considerable discussion. Josephus (as above) says that Cabul “in the Phoenician tongue is interpreted to mean ‘not pleasing,’” but modern scholars find no other evidence to support this interpretation. Lexicographers generally advance the suggestion that a form of pun is involved, Cabul being used in the sense of the similar-sounding Hebrew phrase kevalʹ, meaning “as good as nothing.”

(1 KINGS 9:14)

“In the meantime, Hiʹram sent to the king 120 talents of gold.”

*** w08 11/1 p. 22 Did You Know? ***
How much gold did King Solomon own?
The Scriptures say that Hiram, king of Tyre, sent four tons [4 t] of gold to Solomon, the queen of Sheba gave him a similar amount, and Solomon’s fleet brought over 15 tons [14 t] of gold from Ophir. “The weight of the gold that came to Solomon in one year,” says the account, “amounted up to six hundred and sixty-six talents of gold,” or more than 25 tons [22 t]. (1 Kings 9:14, 28; 10:10, 14) Is this plausible? How big were royal gold reserves in antiquity?
An ancient inscription, which scholars judge as credible, states that Pharaoh Thutmose III of Egypt (second millennium B.C.E.) presented some 13.5 tons [12 t] of gold to the temple of Amun-Ra at Karnak. During the eighth century B.C.E., the Assyrian King Tiglath-pileser III received over 4 tons [4 t] of gold in tribute from Tyre, and Sargon II gave the same amount of gold as a gift to the gods of Babylon. King Philip II of Macedonia (359-336 B.C.E.) is reported to have extracted more than 28 tons [25 t] of gold each year from the mines of Pangaeum in Thrace.
When Philip’s son Alexander the Great (336-323 B.C.E.) captured the Persian city of Susa, he is said to have taken some 1,180 tons [1,070 t] of gold from it and almost 7,000 tons [more than 6,000 t] from the whole of Persia. So when compared with these reports, the Bible’s description of King Solomon’s gold is not exaggerated.

*** it-1 p. 1121 Hiram ***
At the end of Solomon’s 20-year building project he gave Hiram 20 cities, but they proved most undesirable in Hiram’s eyes. (1Ki 9:10-13; see CABUL No. 2.) Whether Hiram returned these same cities or gave Solomon other cities is not certain. (2Ch 8:1, 2) Nor is it certain whether Hiram’s giving Solomon 120 talents of gold ($46,242,000) was subsequent to receiving the gift of cities or if it somehow figured in the exchange.—1Ki 9:14.

(1 KINGS 9:15)

“This is the account of those whom King Solʹo•mon conscripted for forced labor to build the house of Jehovah, his own house, the Mound, the wall of Jerusalem, Haʹzor, Me•gidʹdo, and Geʹzer.”

*** w88 8/15 pp. 24-26 The Mystery of the Gates ***
The Mystery of the Gates
MANY people are intrigued by a mystery—a story with a puzzle, with clues that can be read in various ways, and with a surprise ending, maybe the finding of a treasure. If you are, you will enjoy ‘The Mystery of the Gates.’
This mystery began to surface at Megiddo, a strategic city that dominated trade and military routes in the ancient Middle East. Archaeologists uncovered the remains of a monumental defensive gate, which the evidence convinced them was from King Solomon’s time. What was it like? The clues began.
Look to the right at the model of ancient Megiddo, and especially at the highlighted gate area. An ancient traveler or an attacking army ascending the road to the fortified city first came to a foregate. Inside that was a plaza, or courtyard. In it any attackers would be exposed as they advanced and turned left to reach the main defensive gate, which is at the heart of our mystery.
Fortified towers formed the front sides of the gate. The entire gate structure was built, not of fieldstone or of brick, but of the ashlar (carefully hewn stone blocks) that was typical of Solomon’s period. But there was a distinctive style inside the gate. On the sides of a long vestibule were massive pilasters, or masonry piers, that formed six chambers where guards might be stationed. (Compare Ezekiel 40:6, 10, 20, 21, 28, 29.) In normal times, a chariot or group of merchants could easily pass, yet it would be a different matter for attackers who managed to batter through the heavy main doors. The masonry piers would force attackers into a narrow passage, to run a gauntlet of armed men, the cream of Megiddo’s army, in the chambers right and left.
Now the mystery shifts north of the Sea of Galilee to the tell, or mound, of ancient Hazor, where Professor John Garstang excavated in 1928. Israeli archaeologist Yigael Yadin turned to this huge tell in 1955. He had in mind a Biblical statement that reads: “This is the account of those conscripted for forced labor that King Solomon levied to build the house of Jehovah and . . . the wall of Jerusalem and Hazor and Megiddo and Gezer.” (1 Kings 9:15) It seemed logical that Solomon’s engineers would follow a master plan for similar fortifications in other cities they rebuilt. Did such Solomonic gates exist at Hazor?
As Yadin’s workers progressed in their excavations, they found a casemate wall, a double wall with rooms in between. Then a large structure connected to the walls began to appear. Yadin says: “We immediately realized that we had discovered the gate . . . Furthermore, it was soon evident that the gate’s plan—comprising six chambers and two towers—as well as its dimensions were identical to those of the gate discovered [many years] earlier at Megiddo . . . Excitement in our camp intensified . . . We traced the plan of the Megiddo gate on the ground, marking it with pegs to denote corners and walls, and then instructed our labourers to dig according to the marking, promising: ‘here you will find a wall,’ or ‘there you will find a chamber.’ When our ‘prophecies’ proved correct, our prestige went up tremendously . . . When we read [to them] the biblical verse about Solomon’s activities in Hazor, Megiddo and Gezer, our prestige took a dive, but that of the Bible rose sky-high!” —Hazor: The Rediscovery of a Great Citadel of the Bible.
It seemed that the mystery of the gates was being solved precisely as expected according to the clues in the Bible. Yet, what about Gezer, to the south? Yadin knew that Irish archaeologist R. A. S. Macalister, who had excavated there between 1902 and 1909, had found nothing that was assigned to Solomon. Might important clues have been overlooked in what even Yadin called “The Mystery of Gezer”?
He relates: “The discoveries at Hazor and the famous passage in 1 Kings led me to a fresh examination of Macalister’s report in the hope of locating a gate. One can well imagine my astonishment and unbounded excitement when . . . I came across a layout . . . entitled ‘Plan of the Maccabean Castle of Gezer.’” Macalister dated the remains of that “castle” to the rebellion of the Jewish Maccabees (second century B.C.E.). But Yadin thought that he could see in this old drawing ‘a casemate wall, an outer gatehouse, and even more important what looked like half of a city gate, exactly like those found in Megiddo and Hazor.’ Yadin published an article on these clues. Later, Dr. William G. Dever excavated at Gezer. The result? Dever excitedly wrote: “Solomon did indeed re-build Gezer!” Or as Yadin puts it: “Sure enough, not only did Dever’s team find the other half of the gate, but the stratigraphy and pottery demonstrated conclusively that the complex had been built in Solomon’s times.”
So the mystery was solved. Yadin observed in The Biblical Archaeologist (Volume XXXIII, 1970, 3): “With the aid of the brief biblical passage from Kings, the Solomonic fortifications, identical in plan in the three cities, were located and dated.” “Indeed, it seems that there is no example in the history of archaeology where a passage helped so much in identifying and dating structures in several of the most important tells . . . as has 1 Kings 9:15.”
[Pictures on page 25]
Based on 1 Kings 9:15, archaeologists found at Hazor a gate of the same size and shape as that in Megiddo
[Pictures on page 26]
An aerial view of the gate at Gezer. The drawing shows what was first uncovered (solid) and what was found some 60 years later (dotted)
[Credit Line]
Pictorial Archive (Near Eastern History) Est.
[Picture Credit Line on page 24]
Pictorial Archive (Near Eastern History) Est.

*** it-1 p. 158 Architecture ***
Among the more impressive ruins uncovered are those of the identical city gates of ancient Megiddo, Hazor, and Gezer, thought to have been built in Solomon’s time. (1Ki 9:15) In each case the 20-m-long (66 ft) external walls were made with carefully drafted stones. Within the gate passage there were three successive pairs of jambs or extended piers, thus producing six recessed chambers flanking the passage on either side, in which business might be transacted or from which soldiers could harass any troops attempting to force their way through the gates. (See GATE, GATEWAY.)

*** it-1 p. 866 Fortifications ***
Besides building the magnificent temple of Jehovah at Jerusalem, he strengthened Jerusalem’s walls and built extensive fortifications at Hazor, Megiddo, and Gezer. Archaeologists were guided in their excavation of these fortifications by the Bible’s statement at 1 Kings 9:15: “Now this is the account of those conscripted for forced labor that King Solomon levied to build the house of Jehovah and his own house and the Mound and the wall of Jerusalem and Hazor and Megiddo and Gezer.” They found that the gates of these three last-named cities were all built to a single unique plan, each being 17 m (56 ft) wide, with an entrance flanked on both sides by square towers and leading into a vestibule 20 m (66 ft) long, with three chambers on each side. They were somewhat similar to the description of the gates of Ezekiel’s visionary temple.—Eze 40:5-16.

*** it-1 pp. 1049-1050 Hazor ***
At a later period, Hazor, like Gezer and Megiddo, was fortified by King Solomon. (1Ki 9:15) Archaeological finds indicate that the gates of these three cities were of similar construction. Reporting on the excavations at Hazor, Yigael Yadin, in his work The Art of Warfare in Biblical Lands (1963, Vol. II, p. 288), writes: “As the first sign of the gate of this wall began to emerge from the dust and earth that were gently being scooped away, we were struck by its similarity to the ‘Gate of Solomon’ which had been discovered at Megiddo. Before proceeding further with the excavation, we made tentative markings of the ground following our estimate of the plan of the gate on the basis of the Megiddo gate. And then we told the laborers to go ahead and continue removing the debris. When they had finished, they looked at us with astonishment, as if we were magicians or fortune-tellers. For there, before us, was the gate whose outline we had marked, a replica of the Megiddo gate. This proved not only that both gates had been built by Solomon but that both had followed a single master plan.”

*** w86 2/15 p. 23 Megiddo—Ancient Battleground With Prophetic Meaning ***
“Now this is the account of those conscripted for forced labor that King Solomon levied to build . . . the wall of Jerusalem and Hazor and Megiddo and Gezer.” (1 Kings 9:15) A 70-foot-high (21 m) mound, overlooking a wide, open valley, now marks the spot where Megiddo once stood. In ancient times, new buildings were often constructed on top of the ruins of old ones. Each level of construction may therefore mark a particular time in history. The archaeologist, starting from the top, digs his way down through layer after layer of history. At least 20 of such layers have been discovered at Megiddo, indicating that the city was rebuilt many times. And how has the Bible helped these patient diggers?
Building city gates was doubtless a vital part of Solomon’s project of fortifying Megiddo, Hazor, and Gezer. Some time ago such gates were discovered at Megiddo. Soon thereafter identically styled gates were found at Hazor. So, taking a clue from the Bible, archaeologists also began searching at Gezer. Not surprisingly, the same style gates were found there too. The significance for Bible students? A well-known archaeologist, Professor Yohanan Aharoni, states:
“In the excavations conducted at the three places, gates identical in plan were discovered in strata from the tenth century B.C.E. . . . Gates like these, with three guardrooms and four sets of piers on each side of the passageway, have been discovered thus far only in two other places. . . . Therefore, there is virtually complete agreement among scholars that the gates of Hazor, Megiddo, and Gezer with their triple chambers belong to the reign of Solomon.”
Dr. Yigael Yadin similarly concludes: “The discovery of Solomon’s fortifications at Hazor, Megiddo, and Gezer is an instructive example of how important and practical a guide is the Bible to archaeologists.”

(1 KINGS 9:16)

“(Pharʹaoh king of Egypt had come up and captured Geʹzer and had burned it with fire, and he had also killed the Caʹnaan•ites dwelling in the city. So he gave it as a parting gift to his daughter, the wife of Solʹo•mon.)”

*** it-1 p. 697 Egypt, Egyptian ***
Just when this unidentified Pharaoh had conquered Gezer, which he now gave to his daughter as a farewell wedding gift, or dowry, is not stated. (1Ki 9:16)

(1 KINGS 9:22)

“But Solʹo•mon did not make any of the Israelites slaves, for they were his warriors, servants, princes, adjutants, and the chiefs of his charioteers and horsemen.”

*** it-1 p. 47 Adjutant ***
After mentioning that none of the sons of Israel were constituted slaves by Solomon, 1 Kings 9:22 states: “For they were the warriors and his servants and his princes and his adjutants and chiefs of his charioteers and of his horsemen.” Commenting on this text, C. F. Keil states that the term sha•li•shimʹ (plural), used in this passage, could be understood as “royal adjutants.”—Commentary on the Old Testament, 1973, Vol. III, 1 Kings, p. 146.

(1 KINGS 9:23)

“There were 550 chiefs of the deputies who were over the work of Solʹo•mon, the foremen over the people who were doing the work.”

*** w05 12/1 p. 19 par. 2 Highlights From the Book of Second Chronicles ***
2:18; 8:10—These verses state that the number of deputies serving as overseers and as foremen over the labor force was 3,600 plus 250, whereas according to 1 Kings 5:16; 9:23, they numbered 3,300 plus 550. Why do the numbers differ? The difference seems to be in the way the deputies are classified. It may be that Second Chronicles differentiates between 3,600 non-Israelites and 250 Israelite deputies, while First Kings distinguishes 3,300 foremen from 550 chief supervisors of higher rank. In any case, the total number of those serving as deputies was 3,850.

*** it-1 p. 615 Deputy ***
“Princely deputies” also served as foremen and overseers of the labor force engaged in construction during Solomon’s reign. It seems that the two accounts of these deputies in First Kings and Second Chronicles differed only in methods of classification, the first listing 3,300 plus 550 for a total of 3,850 (1Ki 5:16; 9:23), and the second giving 3,600 plus 250, which also totals 3,850. (2Ch 2:18; 8:10) Scholars (Ewald, Keil, Michaelis) suggest that the Chronicles figures distinguish between the 3,600 non-Israelite and the 250 Israelite deputies, whereas in Kings the distinction in deputies is between 3,300 subordinate foremen and 550 chief supervisors, this latter figure including 300 non-Israelites.

(1 KINGS 9:24)

“But Pharʹaoh’s daughter came up from the City of David to her own house that he had built for her; then he built the Mound.”

*** it-1 p. 591 David, City of ***
After his marriage to Pharaoh’s daughter, Solomon had placed her in the City of David. (1Ki 3:1) But, upon the completion of a new residence closer to the temple area, he removed her from the City of David because it was viewed as holy, the Ark having been stationed there. (1Ki 9:24; 2Ch 8:11)

(1 KINGS 9:25)

“Three times a year Solʹo•mon offered up burnt sacrifices and communion sacrifices on the altar that he had built for Jehovah, also making sacrificial smoke on the altar, which was before Jehovah, so he completed the house.”

*** it-1 p. 84 Altar ***
The statement at 1 Kings 9:25 with regard to Solomon’s ‘offering up sacrifices on the altar’ clearly refers to his causing such to be done through the authorized priesthood.—Compare 2Ch 8:12-15.

(1 KINGS 9:26)

“King Solʹo•mon also made a fleet of ships in Eʹzi•on-geʹber, which is by Eʹloth, on the shore of the Red Sea in the land of Eʹdom.”

*** it-2 pp. 1066-1067 Tarshish ***
Trade Relations With Solomon. Phoenician trading with Tarshish is clearly borne out by the record of King Solomon’s time (some 13 centuries after the Flood), when maritime commerce also began to be engaged in by the nation of Israel. Solomon had a fleet of ships in the Red Sea area, manned in part by experienced seamen provided by Phoenician King Hiram of Tyre, and trafficking especially with the gold-rich land of Ophir. (1Ki 9:26-28) Reference is thereafter made to “a fleet of ships of Tarshish” that Solomon had on the sea “along with Hiram’s fleet of ships,” and these ships are stated to have made voyages once every three years for the importation of gold, silver, ivory, apes, and peacocks. (1Ki 10:22) It is generally believed that the term “ships of Tarshish” in course of time came to stand for a type of ship, as one lexicon puts it: “large, sea-going vessels, fit to ply to Tarshish.” (A Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament, by Brown, Driver, and Briggs, 1980, p. 1077) In a similar way, the name Indiamen originally was derived from the name applied to large British ships engaged in trade with India and in time came to apply to ships of that type no matter what their origin or destination. Thus 1 Kings 22:48 shows that King Jehoshaphat (936-911 B.C.E.) “made Tarshish ships to go to Ophir for gold.”
The Chronicles account, however, states that Solomon’s ships used for the triannual voyages “were going to Tarshish” (2Ch 9:21); also that Jehoshaphat’s ships were designed “to go to Tarshish” and, when wrecked, “did not retain strength to go to Tarshish.” (2Ch 20:36, 37) This would indicate that Ophir was not the only port of call of the Israelite “ships of Tarshish,” but that they also navigated Mediterranean waters. This, of course, poses a problem, since the launching site of at least some of these vessels is shown to have been Ezion-geber on the Gulf of ʽAqaba. (1Ki 9:26) For the ships to reach the Mediterranean Sea, they would either have to traverse a canal from the Red Sea to the Nile River and then into the Mediterranean or else circumnavigate the continent of Africa. While it is by no means possible to determine now the details of navigational routes (including canals) available or employed in Solomon’s and in Jehoshaphat’s time, there is likewise no need to view the record of their maritime projects as unfeasible.

(1 KINGS 9:28)

“They went to Oʹphir and took from there 420 talents of gold and brought it to King Solʹo•mon.”

*** w08 11/1 p. 22 Did You Know? ***
How much gold did King Solomon own?
The Scriptures say that Hiram, king of Tyre, sent four tons [4 t] of gold to Solomon, the queen of Sheba gave him a similar amount, and Solomon’s fleet brought over 15 tons [14 t] of gold from Ophir. “The weight of the gold that came to Solomon in one year,” says the account, “amounted up to six hundred and sixty-six talents of gold,” or more than 25 tons [22 t]. (1 Kings 9:14, 28; 10:10, 14) Is this plausible? How big were royal gold reserves in antiquity?
An ancient inscription, which scholars judge as credible, states that Pharaoh Thutmose III of Egypt (second millennium B.C.E.) presented some 13.5 tons [12 t] of gold to the temple of Amun-Ra at Karnak. During the eighth century B.C.E., the Assyrian King Tiglath-pileser III received over 4 tons [4 t] of gold in tribute from Tyre, and Sargon II gave the same amount of gold as a gift to the gods of Babylon. King Philip II of Macedonia (359-336 B.C.E.) is reported to have extracted more than 28 tons [25 t] of gold each year from the mines of Pangaeum in Thrace.
When Philip’s son Alexander the Great (336-323 B.C.E.) captured the Persian city of Susa, he is said to have taken some 1,180 tons [1,070 t] of gold from it and almost 7,000 tons [more than 6,000 t] from the whole of Persia. So when compared with these reports, the Bible’s description of King Solomon’s gold is not exaggerated.

*** it-1 p. 982 Gold ***
Solomon’s Revenue. Large amounts of gold poured into Solomon’s treasury from the king of Tyre (120 talents) and the queen of Sheba (120 talents), from annual tributes and taxes, and by means of his own merchant fleet. The account says: “The weight of the gold that came to Solomon in one year amounted up to six hundred and sixty-six talents of gold [c. $256,643,000].” That was apart from revenues from traders, governors, and so forth.—1Ki 9:14, 27, 28; 10:10, 14, 15.
Ophir was one place from which Solomon acquired fine gold. A pottery fragment said to be of the eighth century B.C.E. has been discovered that has inscribed on it: “Ophir gold to bet horon, thirty shekels.”—1Ki 9:28; 10:11; Job 28:16; see OPHIR.

*** it-2 p. 558 Ophir ***
Later, the trading fleet of David’s son Solomon regularly brought back from Ophir 420 talents of gold. (1Ki 9:26-28) The parallel account at 2 Chronicles 8:18 reads 450 talents. Some scholars have suggested that this difference came about when letters of the alphabet served as figures—that an ancient copyist could have mistaken the Hebrew numeral letter nun (נ), representing 50, for the letter kaph (כ), standing for 20, or vice versa. However, the evidence is that all numbers in the Hebrew Scriptures were spelled out, rather than represented by letters. A more probable explanation, therefore, is that both figures are correct and that the gross amount brought was 450 talents, of which 420 were clear gain.

(1 KINGS 10:1)

“Now the queen of Sheʹba heard the report about Solʹo•mon in connection with the name of Jehovah, so she came to test him with perplexing questions.”

*** w99 7/1 p. 30 A Visit That Was Richly Rewarded ***
Note, however, that the queen heard of Solomon’s fame “in connection with the name of Jehovah.” So this was not just a business trip. Evidently, the queen came primarily to hear Solomon’s wisdom—perhaps even to learn something about his God, Jehovah. Since she likely descended from Shem or Ham, who were worshipers of Jehovah, she may have been curious about the religion of her ancestors.
Perplexing Questions, Satisfying Answers
Upon meeting Solomon, the queen began testing him with “perplexing questions.” (1 Kings 10:1) The Hebrew word here used can be translated “riddles.” But this does not mean that the queen engaged Solomon in trivial games. Interestingly, at Psalm 49:4, the same Hebrew word is used to describe serious questions regarding sin, death, and redemption. Likely, then, the queen of Sheba was discussing deep subjects with Solomon that tested the depth of his wisdom.

*** w99 7/1 p. 30 A Visit That Was Richly Rewarded ***
They Did Jehovah’s Will
A Visit That Was Richly Rewarded
THE trip from Sheba to Jerusalem must have been grueling for the queen. She was used to living in luxury. Now, she was trekking at a camel’s pace on a journey of 1,500 miles [2,400 km], much of it through the burning desert. According to one estimate, her travels would have taken some 75 days to complete, and that was just one way!
Why did this wealthy queen leave her comfortable home in Sheba and undertake such an arduous journey?
An Intriguing Report
The queen of Sheba came to Jerusalem after “hearing the report about Solomon in connection with the name of Jehovah.” (1 Kings 10:1) Exactly what the queen heard is not stated. We know, however, that Jehovah blessed Solomon with exceptional wisdom, wealth, and honor. (2 Chronicles 1:11, 12) How did the queen come to know of this? Since Sheba was a center of trade, it may be that she heard of Solomon’s fame through traders who visited her land. Some of these may have been to Ophir, a land with which Solomon had considerable business dealings.—1 Kings 9:26-28.

*** g94 4/22 p. 25 Yemen—A Country Full of Surprises ***
The kingdom of Sheba, believed to have been located in what is now the eastern portion of Yemen, came to dominate the caravan route. It became renowned for trading in frankincense, myrrh, gold, precious stones, and ivory. (Isaiah 60:6) In Solomon’s day, the queen of Sheba traveled from “the ends of the earth” to hear that king’s wisdom firsthand. (Matthew 12:42) According to the historical Bible account, she went to Jerusalem with “a very impressive train, camels carrying balsam oil and very much gold and precious stones.” (1 Kings 10:1, 2) The memory of this ancient queen is still alive among Yemenis today. Although she is unnamed in the Koran, Islamic tradition calls her Bilqīs—a name appearing on many commercial products in Yemen.

*** it-2 p. 834 Sabeans ***
3. The descendants of Sheba (whether of the line of Shem or of Ham is uncertain) who evidently formed a kingdom near the tip of the Arabian Peninsula. Likely the queen of Sheba who visited Solomon was from this land. (1Ki 10:1) Secular sources often refer to this kingdom as Sabean, and the Bible may do likewise.—See SHEBA No. 6.

(1 KINGS 10:2)

“She arrived in Jerusalem with a very impressive entourage, with camels carrying balsam oil and great quantities of gold and precious stones. She went in to Solʹo•mon and spoke to him about everything that was close to her heart.”

*** w99 7/1 p. 30 A Visit That Was Richly Rewarded ***
According to the ancient Greek geographer Strabo, the people of Sheba were enormously wealthy. He says that they made lavish use of gold in their furniture, their utensils, and even on the walls, doors, and roofs of their homes.

*** w99 7/1 p. 30 A Visit That Was Richly Rewarded ***
In any event, the queen arrived in Jerusalem “with a very impressive train, camels carrying balsam oil and very much gold and precious stones.” (1 Kings 10:2a) Some say that the “impressive train” included an armed escort. This would be understandable, considering that the queen was a powerful dignitary and was traveling with tens of millions of dollars’ worth of valuables.

*** g94 4/22 p. 25 Yemen—A Country Full of Surprises ***
The kingdom of Sheba, believed to have been located in what is now the eastern portion of Yemen, came to dominate the caravan route. It became renowned for trading in frankincense, myrrh, gold, precious stones, and ivory. (Isaiah 60:6) In Solomon’s day, the queen of Sheba traveled from “the ends of the earth” to hear that king’s wisdom firsthand. (Matthew 12:42) According to the historical Bible account, she went to Jerusalem with “a very impressive train, camels carrying balsam oil and very much gold and precious stones.” (1 Kings 10:1, 2) The memory of this ancient queen is still alive among Yemenis today. Although she is unnamed in the Koran, Islamic tradition calls her Bilqīs—a name appearing on many commercial products in Yemen.

*** it-1 p. 140 Arabia ***
Because of the great superiority of the camel over the ass for extended desert travel, its domestication is considered to have accomplished somewhat of an economic revolution for Arabia, contributing to the development of the so-called “Spice Kingdoms” of South Arabia.
Camel caravans out of the more fertile S wound along the desert routes that ran parallel to the Red Sea, moving from oasis to oasis and from well to well until reaching the Sinai Peninsula, from which point they could branch off to Egypt or continue up into Palestine or to Damascus. Besides their highly prized spices and aromatic resins, such as frankincense and myrrh (Isa 60:6), they might carry gold and algum wood from Ophir (1Ki 9:28; 10:11) and precious gems, as did the queen of Sheba on her visit to King Solomon. (1Ki 10:1-10, 15; 2Ch 9:1-9, 14)

*** it-2 p. 912 Sheba ***
This queen, unnamed in the Bible, went to Jerusalem with “a very impressive train, camels carrying balsam oil and very much gold and precious stones.” (1Ki 10:1, 2) The mode of her travel and the type of gifts she brought indicate that she was from the kingdom of Sheba in SW Arabia.

(1 KINGS 10:5)

“the food of his table, the seating of his servants, the table service of his waiters and their attire, his cupbearers, and his burnt sacrifices that he regularly offered up at the house of Jehovah, she was left completely breathless.”

*** w99 7/1 p. 30 A Visit That Was Richly Rewarded ***
The queen of Sheba was so impressed with Solomon’s wisdom and the prosperity of his kingdom that there was “no more spirit in her.” (1 Kings 10:4, 5) Some take this phrase to mean that the queen was left “breathless.” One scholar even suggests that she fainted! Be that as it may, the queen was amazed at what she had seen and heard.

(1 KINGS 10:8)

“Happy are your men, and happy are your servants who stand before you constantly, listening to your wisdom!”

*** w99 11/1 p. 20 When Generosity Abounds ***
Astounded at what she heard and saw, the queen humbly replied: “Happy are these servants of yours who are standing before you constantly, listening to your wisdom!” (1 Kings 10:4-8) She did not pronounce Solomon’s servants happy because they were surrounded by opulence—although they were. Rather, Solomon’s servants were blessed because they could constantly listen to Solomon’s God-given wisdom. What a fine example the queen of Sheba is for Jehovah’s people today, who bask in the wisdom of the Creator himself and that of his Son, Jesus Christ!

(1 KINGS 10:9)

“May Jehovah your God be praised, who has taken pleasure in you by putting you on the throne of Israel. Because of Jehovah’s everlasting love for Israel, he appointed you as king to administer justice and righteousness.””

*** w99 11/1 p. 20 When Generosity Abounds ***
Also noteworthy was the queen’s next comment to Solomon: “May Jehovah your God come to be blessed.” (1 Kings 10:9) Evidently, she saw Jehovah’s hand in Solomon’s wisdom and prosperity. This accords with what Jehovah earlier promised to Israel. ‘Keeping my regulations,’ he said, “is wisdom on your part and understanding on your part before the eyes of the peoples who will hear of all these regulations, and they will certainly say, ‘This great nation is undoubtedly a wise and understanding people.’”—Deuteronomy 4:5-7.

(1 KINGS 10:10)

“Then she gave the king 120 talents of gold and a great amount of balsam oil and precious stones. Never again was such a quantity of balsam oil brought in as what the queen of Sheʹba gave to King Solʹo•mon.”

*** w08 11/1 p. 22 Did You Know? ***
How much gold did King Solomon own?
The Scriptures say that Hiram, king of Tyre, sent four tons [4 t] of gold to Solomon, the queen of Sheba gave him a similar amount, and Solomon’s fleet brought over 15 tons [14 t] of gold from Ophir. “The weight of the gold that came to Solomon in one year,” says the account, “amounted up to six hundred and sixty-six talents of gold,” or more than 25 tons [22 t]. (1 Kings 9:14, 28; 10:10, 14) Is this plausible? How big were royal gold reserves in antiquity?
An ancient inscription, which scholars judge as credible, states that Pharaoh Thutmose III of Egypt (second millennium B.C.E.) presented some 13.5 tons [12 t] of gold to the temple of Amun-Ra at Karnak. During the eighth century B.C.E., the Assyrian King Tiglath-pileser III received over 4 tons [4 t] of gold in tribute from Tyre, and Sargon II gave the same amount of gold as a gift to the gods of Babylon. King Philip II of Macedonia (359-336 B.C.E.) is reported to have extracted more than 28 tons [25 t] of gold each year from the mines of Pangaeum in Thrace.
When Philip’s son Alexander the Great (336-323 B.C.E.) captured the Persian city of Susa, he is said to have taken some 1,180 tons [1,070 t] of gold from it and almost 7,000 tons [more than 6,000 t] from the whole of Persia. So when compared with these reports, the Bible’s description of King Solomon’s gold is not exaggerated.

*** w99 7/1 p. 30 A Visit That Was Richly Rewarded ***
Then she gave the king costly gifts, the gold alone totaling, by modern values, some $40,000,000.

*** w99 11/1 p. 20 When Generosity Abounds ***
Her gift, the Bible tells us, included 120 talents of gold “and a very great deal of balsam oil and precious stones.” At today’s prices, the gold alone was worth about $40,000,000. Balsam oil, an aromatic and medicinal oil, was ranked with gold as a precious commodity. While the Bible does not say how much oil the queen gave Solomon, it does tell us that her gift remained unequaled.—1 Kings 10:10.

*** g92 12/22 p. 3 Giving—A Source of Joy ***
The Bible reports on many instances of giving, sometimes lavish giving at that. When the queen of Sheba experienced firsthand King Solomon’s wisdom, “she gave the king a hundred and twenty talents of gold and a very great deal of balsam oil and precious stones.” (1 Kings 10:10) Just the gold itself would be worth over 46 million dollars in modern values!

*** it-2 p. 991 Solomon ***
Then she bestowed upon Solomon the magnificent gift of 120 talents of gold ($46,242,000) and a great number of precious stones and balsam oil in unusually great quantity. Solomon, in turn, gave the queen whatever she asked, apart from his own generous-hearted bounty, possibly more than she had brought to him.—1Ki 10:10, 13; 2Ch 9:9, 12.

(1 KINGS 10:11)

“Hiʹram’s fleet of ships that carried gold from Oʹphir also brought from Oʹphir algum timbers in very great quantity, and precious stones.”

*** it-1 p. 72 Algum ***
ALGUM
[Heb., ʼal•gum•mimʹ (2Ch 2:8; 9:10, 11); ʼal•mug•gimʹ (1Ki 10:11, 12)].
A tree included by Solomon in his request to Hiram of Tyre for timbers for the construction of the temple and from which stairs and supports as well as harps and stringed instruments were constructed.
The algum tree of this account cannot be identified with certainty. It is traditionally suggested to be the red sandalwood (Pterocarpus santalinus) now found in India and Sri Lanka, although some favor the white sandalwood (Santalum album), perhaps because of Josephus’ statement that it is whitish in color. (Jewish Antiquities, VIII, 177 [vii, 1]) The red sandalwood grows to heights of about 7.5 to 9 m (25 to 30 ft) and has a hard, fine-grained, reddish-brown wood that takes a high polish. It is suggested as suitable for musical instruments of the type mentioned in the Bible account. The wood has a sweet scent and is highly resistant to insects.
The red sandalwood does not grow in Lebanon at the present time. However, the record is not definite whether the “algum” trees were native to Lebanon or not. At any rate, Hiram later saw fit to bring them from Ophir, and here again, the timbers may have been imports even in Ophir, as it was in position to act as a trading center dealing with India, Egypt, and other places in Africa. (1Ki 10:11, 22) The rarity and preciousness of the wood delivered by Hiram is indicated by the statement that “timbers of algum trees like this have not come in nor have they been seen down to this day.”—1Ki 10:12.

*** it-1 p. 982 Gold ***
Ophir was one place from which Solomon acquired fine gold. A pottery fragment said to be of the eighth century B.C.E. has been discovered that has inscribed on it: “Ophir gold to bet horon, thirty shekels.”—1Ki 9:28; 10:11; Job 28:16; see OPHIR.

(1 KINGS 10:12)

“The king made from the algum timbers supports for the house of Jehovah and for the king’s house, as well as harps and stringed instruments for the singers. Such algum timbers have never again been brought in or seen down to this day.”

*** it-1 p. 72 Algum ***
ALGUM
[Heb., ʼal•gum•mimʹ (2Ch 2:8; 9:10, 11); ʼal•mug•gimʹ (1Ki 10:11, 12)].
A tree included by Solomon in his request to Hiram of Tyre for timbers for the construction of the temple and from which stairs and supports as well as harps and stringed instruments were constructed.
The algum tree of this account cannot be identified with certainty. It is traditionally suggested to be the red sandalwood (Pterocarpus santalinus) now found in India and Sri Lanka, although some favor the white sandalwood (Santalum album), perhaps because of Josephus’ statement that it is whitish in color. (Jewish Antiquities, VIII, 177 [vii, 1]) The red sandalwood grows to heights of about 7.5 to 9 m (25 to 30 ft) and has a hard, fine-grained, reddish-brown wood that takes a high polish. It is suggested as suitable for musical instruments of the type mentioned in the Bible account. The wood has a sweet scent and is highly resistant to insects.
The red sandalwood does not grow in Lebanon at the present time. However, the record is not definite whether the “algum” trees were native to Lebanon or not. At any rate, Hiram later saw fit to bring them from Ophir, and here again, the timbers may have been imports even in Ophir, as it was in position to act as a trading center dealing with India, Egypt, and other places in Africa. (1Ki 10:11, 22) The rarity and preciousness of the wood delivered by Hiram is indicated by the statement that “timbers of algum trees like this have not come in nor have they been seen down to this day.”—1Ki 10:12.

(1 KINGS 10:13)

“King Solʹo•mon also gave the queen of Sheʹba whatever she desired and asked for, in addition to what he gave her out of his own generosity. After that she left and returned to her own land, together with her servants.”

*** w99 7/1 p. 31 A Visit That Was Richly Rewarded ***
Some take this phrase to mean that the queen had sexual relations with Solomon. Legends state that they even had a son. There is no evidence, however, to support any of this.

*** w99 7/1 pp. 30-31 A Visit That Was Richly Rewarded ***
Solomon too presented gifts, giving the queen “all her delight for which she asked.”—1 Kings 10:6-13.

(1 KINGS 10:14)

“And the weight of the gold that came to Solʹo•mon in one year amounted to 666 talents of gold,”

*** w08 11/1 p. 22 Did You Know? ***
How much gold did King Solomon own?
The Scriptures say that Hiram, king of Tyre, sent four tons [4 t] of gold to Solomon, the queen of Sheba gave him a similar amount, and Solomon’s fleet brought over 15 tons [14 t] of gold from Ophir. “The weight of the gold that came to Solomon in one year,” says the account, “amounted up to six hundred and sixty-six talents of gold,” or more than 25 tons [22 t]. (1 Kings 9:14, 28; 10:10, 14) Is this plausible? How big were royal gold reserves in antiquity?
An ancient inscription, which scholars judge as credible, states that Pharaoh Thutmose III of Egypt (second millennium B.C.E.) presented some 13.5 tons [12 t] of gold to the temple of Amun-Ra at Karnak. During the eighth century B.C.E., the Assyrian King Tiglath-pileser III received over 4 tons [4 t] of gold in tribute from Tyre, and Sargon II gave the same amount of gold as a gift to the gods of Babylon. King Philip II of Macedonia (359-336 B.C.E.) is reported to have extracted more than 28 tons [25 t] of gold each year from the mines of Pangaeum in Thrace.
When Philip’s son Alexander the Great (336-323 B.C.E.) captured the Persian city of Susa, he is said to have taken some 1,180 tons [1,070 t] of gold from it and almost 7,000 tons [more than 6,000 t] from the whole of Persia. So when compared with these reports, the Bible’s description of King Solomon’s gold is not exaggerated.

*** w98 5/15 p. 3 A King With Wealth and Wisdom ***
Notice, for example, that verse 14 states: “The weight of the gold that came to Solomon in one year amounted up to six hundred and sixty-six talents of gold.” That figure is equivalent to 25 tons of gold. Today, that much gold would be worth well over $200,000,000, U.S.!

*** w96 10/15 pp. 8-9 Is King Solomon’s Wealth Exaggerated? ***
Is King Solomon’s Wealth Exaggerated?
“The weight of the gold that came to Solomon in one year amounted up to six hundred and sixty-six talents.”—1 Kings 10:14.
ACCORDING to that Bible verse, King Solomon acquired over 25 tons of gold in a single year! This would be valued today at $240,000,000. It is almost twice as much gold as was mined worldwide in the year 1800. Is this possible? What does archaeological evidence show? It suggests that the Bible’s record of Solomon’s wealth is certainly plausible. Biblical Archaeology Review says:
□ King Thutmose III of Egypt (second millennium B.C.E.) presented approximately 13.5 tons of gold items to the temple of Amon-Ra at Karnak—and this was just part of the gift.
□ Egyptian inscriptions record gifts totaling approximately 383 tons of gold and silver offered by King Osorkon I (early first millennium B.C.E.) to the gods.
Furthermore, the volume Classical Greece of the series Great Ages of Man reports:
□ The mines of Pangaeum in Thrace yielded more than 37 tons of gold each year for King Philip II (359-336 B.C.E.).
□ When Philip’s son Alexander the Great (336-323 B.C.E.) captured Susa, the capital of the Persian empire, treasures amounting to well over 1,000 tons of gold were found.—The New Encyclopædia Britannica.
So the Bible’s description of King Solomon’s wealth is not farfetched. Remember, too, that Solomon was “greater in riches and wisdom than all the other kings of the earth” at that time.—1 Kings 10:23.
How did Solomon use his wealth? His throne was overlaid with “refined gold,” his drinking vessels were “of gold,” and he possessed 200 large shields and 300 bucklers of “alloyed gold.” (1 Kings 10:16-21) Above all, Solomon’s gold was used in connection with Jehovah’s temple in Jerusalem. The temple lampstands and sacred utensils, such as forks, bowls, pitchers, and basins, were made of gold and silver. The 15-foot-tall [4.5 m] cherubs in the Most Holy, the altar of incense, and even the entire inside of the house were overlaid with gold.—1 Kings 6:20-22; 7:48-50; 1 Chronicles 28:17.
What about a gold-plated temple? Interestingly, such use of gold was by no means unusual in the ancient world. Biblical Archaeology Review notes that Amenophis III of Egypt “honored the great god Amun with a temple at Thebes that was ‘plated with gold throughout, its floor adorned with silver, [and] all its portals with electrum’”—an alloy of gold and silver. Furthermore, Esar-haddon of Assyria (seventh century B.C.E.) plated the doors and coated the walls of the shrine of Ashur with gold. Regarding the temple of Sin at Harran, Nabonidus of Babylon (sixth century B.C.E.) recorded: “I clad its walls with gold and silver, and made them shine like the sun.”
Thus, historical records suggest that the Biblical account of King Solomon’s wealth is not exaggerated.

*** it-2 p. 990 Solomon ***
Solomon’s annual revenue of gold came to be 666 talents (c. $256,643,000), aside from silver and gold and other items brought in by merchants. (1Ki 10:14, 15; 2Ch 9:13, 14)

(1 KINGS 10:16)

“King Solʹo•mon made 200 large shields of alloyed gold (600 shekels of gold went on each shield)”

*** it-1 p. 171 Arms, Armor ***
The smaller “shield” or “buckler” (Heb., ma•ghenʹ) was customarily carried by archers and is usually associated with light weapons such as the bow. For instance, it was carried by Benjaminite bowmen of Judean King Asa’s military force. (2Ch 14:8) The smaller shield was usually round and more common than the large shield, probably being used chiefly in hand-to-hand fighting. That the Hebrew tsin•nahʹ and ma•ghenʹ differed considerably in size seems to be indicated by the gold shields Solomon made, the large shield being overlaid with four times as much gold as the smaller shield, or buckler. (1Ki 10:16, 17; 2Ch 9:15, 16) Ma•ghenʹ, like tsin•nahʹ, seems to be used as part of a formula for weapons of war.—2Ch 14:8; 17:17; 32:5.

*** it-1 p. 1156 House of the Forest of Lebanon ***
After Solomon finished the house, he placed in it 200 large shields of alloyed gold, each overlaid with 600 shekels of gold (worth c. $77,000), and 300 bucklers of alloyed gold, each plated with three minas of gold (worth c. $19,300). This would be over 21 million dollars’ worth of gold on the shields and bucklers. Besides this, there was an unstated number of gold vessels used in the house. (1Ki 10:16, 17, 21; 2Ch 9:15, 16, 20) These gold shields were carried away by Shishak king of Egypt during the reign of Solomon’s son Rehoboam.

(1 KINGS 10:17)

“and 300 bucklers of alloyed gold (three miʹnas of gold went on each buckler). Then the king put them in the House of the Forest of Lebʹa•non.”

*** it-1 p. 171 Arms, Armor ***
The smaller “shield” or “buckler” (Heb., ma•ghenʹ) was customarily carried by archers and is usually associated with light weapons such as the bow. For instance, it was carried by Benjaminite bowmen of Judean King Asa’s military force. (2Ch 14:8) The smaller shield was usually round and more common than the large shield, probably being used chiefly in hand-to-hand fighting. That the Hebrew tsin•nahʹ and ma•ghenʹ differed considerably in size seems to be indicated by the gold shields Solomon made, the large shield being overlaid with four times as much gold as the smaller shield, or buckler. (1Ki 10:16, 17; 2Ch 9:15, 16) Ma•ghenʹ, like tsin•nahʹ, seems to be used as part of a formula for weapons of war.—2Ch 14:8; 17:17; 32:5.

*** it-1 p. 1156 House of the Forest of Lebanon ***
After Solomon finished the house, he placed in it 200 large shields of alloyed gold, each overlaid with 600 shekels of gold (worth c. $77,000), and 300 bucklers of alloyed gold, each plated with three minas of gold (worth c. $19,300). This would be over 21 million dollars’ worth of gold on the shields and bucklers. Besides this, there was an unstated number of gold vessels used in the house. (1Ki 10:16, 17, 21; 2Ch 9:15, 16, 20) These gold shields were carried away by Shishak king of Egypt during the reign of Solomon’s son Rehoboam.

(1 KINGS 10:22)

“For the king had a fleet of ships of Tarʹshish on the sea along with Hiʹram’s fleet. Once every three years, the fleet of ships of Tarʹshish would come loaded with gold and silver, ivory, apes, and peacocks.”

*** w08 11/1 p. 27 The Rise and Fall of “the Ships of Tarshish” ***
Solomon’s “fleet of ships of Tarshish” collaborated with Hiram’s fleet, probably operating out of Ezion-geber and trading in the Red Sea and beyond.—1 Kings 10:22.

*** it-1 p. 119 Ape ***
APE
[Heb., qohph].
The apes imported by King Solomon may have been a species of long-tailed monkeys referred to by ancient writers as being native to Ethiopia. (1Ki 10:22; 2Ch 9:21) The fact that the Hebrew word qohph may be related to the Sanskrit word kapi and that peacocks are considered to be native to SE Asia has given rise to the conclusion that the apes were brought by Solomon’s fleet from India or Sri Lanka. However, the imported items need not necessarily have come directly from the country of origin nor from the same land, in view of the indications that commercial intercourse existed between India and Africa even before Solomon’s time.—See PEACOCK; TARSHISH No. 4.

*** it-2 p. 593 Peacock ***
In King Solomon’s time his fleet of ships of Tarshish made triannual voyages, bringing cargoes of “gold and silver, ivory, and apes and peacocks.” (1Ki 10:22) While certain of Solomon’s ships made trips to Ophir (evidently in the Red Sea area; 1Ki 9:26-28), 2 Chronicles 9:21 mentions ships “going to Tarshish” (likely in Spain) in connection with the carrying of the above commodities, including peacocks. It is not certain, therefore, from what place or area the peacocks were imported.

*** it-2 pp. 1066-1067 Tarshish ***
Trade Relations With Solomon. Phoenician trading with Tarshish is clearly borne out by the record of King Solomon’s time (some 13 centuries after the Flood), when maritime commerce also began to be engaged in by the nation of Israel. Solomon had a fleet of ships in the Red Sea area, manned in part by experienced seamen provided by Phoenician King Hiram of Tyre, and trafficking especially with the gold-rich land of Ophir. (1Ki 9:26-28) Reference is thereafter made to “a fleet of ships of Tarshish” that Solomon had on the sea “along with Hiram’s fleet of ships,” and these ships are stated to have made voyages once every three years for the importation of gold, silver, ivory, apes, and peacocks. (1Ki 10:22) It is generally believed that the term “ships of Tarshish” in course of time came to stand for a type of ship, as one lexicon puts it: “large, sea-going vessels, fit to ply to Tarshish.” (A Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament, by Brown, Driver, and Briggs, 1980, p. 1077) In a similar way, the name Indiamen originally was derived from the name applied to large British ships engaged in trade with India and in time came to apply to ships of that type no matter what their origin or destination. Thus 1 Kings 22:48 shows that King Jehoshaphat (936-911 B.C.E.) “made Tarshish ships to go to Ophir for gold.”
The Chronicles account, however, states that Solomon’s ships used for the triannual voyages “were going to Tarshish” (2Ch 9:21); also that Jehoshaphat’s ships were designed “to go to Tarshish” and, when wrecked, “did not retain strength to go to Tarshish.” (2Ch 20:36, 37) This would indicate that Ophir was not the only port of call of the Israelite “ships of Tarshish,” but that they also navigated Mediterranean waters. This, of course, poses a problem, since the launching site of at least some of these vessels is shown to have been Ezion-geber on the Gulf of ʽAqaba. (1Ki 9:26) For the ships to reach the Mediterranean Sea, they would either have to traverse a canal from the Red Sea to the Nile River and then into the Mediterranean or else circumnavigate the continent of Africa. While it is by no means possible to determine now the details of navigational routes (including canals) available or employed in Solomon’s and in Jehoshaphat’s time, there is likewise no need to view the record of their maritime projects as unfeasible.

(1 KINGS 10:27)

“The king made the silver in Jerusalem as plentiful as the stones, and cedarwood as plentiful as the sycamore trees in the She•pheʹlah.”

*** it-2 p. 125 Judah ***
Just E of it rises a hilly area, cleft by numerous valleys, that attains an altitude of about 450 m (1,500 ft) above sea level in the S. This is the Shephelah (meaning “Lowland”), a region anciently covered with sycamore trees. (1Ki 10:27) It is a lowland when compared with the mountainous region of Judah, which lies farther to the E and has elevations varying from about 600 to more than 1,000 m (2,000 to 3,300 ft) above sea level.

(1 KINGS 10:29)

“Each chariot imported from Egypt cost 600 silver pieces, and a horse cost 150; in turn, they would export them to all the kings of the Hitʹtites and the kings of Syria.”

*** g 11/10 p. 16 A Book You Can Trust—Part 1 ***
Business enterprises. Jeremiah, who wrote the two books of Kings, gave specific details regarding King Solomon’s trade in horses and chariots with the Egyptians and the Hittites. A chariot cost “six hundred silver pieces, and a horse . . . a hundred and fifty,” or one quarter the cost of a chariot, the Bible states.—1 Kings 10:29.
According to the book Archaeology and the Religion of Israel, the Greek historian Herodotus and archaeological findings both confirm that a lively trade in horses and chariots was carried on during the reign of Solomon. In fact, “a standard exchange rate of four . . . horses for one Egyptian chariot was established,” the book states, corroborating the figures given in the Bible.

*** it-1 p. 1145 Horse ***
During Solomon’s reign, royal merchants trafficked in horses and chariots. The price of a horse was 150 silver pieces ($330, if the silver pieces were shekels), and the price of a chariot was 600 silver pieces (c. $1,320, if shekels).—1Ki 10:28, 29; 2Ch 1:16, 17.

(1 KINGS 11:1)

“But King Solʹo•mon loved many foreign women besides the daughter of Pharʹaoh: Moʹab•ite, Amʹmon•ite, Eʹdom•ite, Si•doʹni•an, and Hitʹtite women.”

*** it-1 p. 945 Kingdoms Surrounding Israel ***
Phoenicia 1Ki 11:1, 2, 5; 16:30, 31

(1 KINGS 11:4)

“In Solʹo•mon’s old age, his wives inclined his heart to follow other gods, and his heart was not complete with Jehovah his God like the heart of David his father.”

*** w05 7/1 p. 29 par. 4 Highlights From the Book of First Kings ***
11:4—Did senility cause Solomon to become unfaithful in his old age? This does not seem to be the case. Solomon was quite young when he began ruling, and although he reigned for 40 years, he did not reach an advanced old age. Moreover, he did not completely leave off following Jehovah. He apparently tried to practice some form of interfaith.

*** it-2 pp. 991-992 Solomon ***
His Deviation From Righteousness. As long as Solomon remained true to the worship of Jehovah, he prospered. Evidently his proverbs were uttered, and the books of Ecclesiastes and The Song of Solomon, as well as at least one of the Psalms (Ps 127), were written during his period of faithful service to God. However, Solomon began to disregard God’s law. We read: “And King Solomon himself loved many foreign wives along with the daughter of Pharaoh, Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian and Hittite women, from the nations of whom Jehovah had said to the sons of Israel: ‘You must not go in among them, and they themselves should not come in among you; truly they will incline your heart to follow their gods.’ It was to them that Solomon clung to love them. And he came to have seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines; and his wives gradually inclined his heart. And it came about in the time of Solomon’s growing old that his wives themselves had inclined his heart to follow other gods; and his heart did not prove to be complete with Jehovah his God like the heart of David his father. And Solomon began going after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians and after Milcom the disgusting thing of the Ammonites. And Solomon began to do what was bad in the eyes of Jehovah, and he did not follow Jehovah fully like David his father. It was then that Solomon proceeded to build a high place to Chemosh the disgusting thing of Moab on the mountain that was in front of Jerusalem, and to Molech the disgusting thing of the sons of Ammon. And that was the way he did for all his foreign wives who were making sacrificial smoke and sacrificing to their gods.”—1Ki 11:1-8.
While this took place “in the time of Solomon’s growing old,” we need not assume that his deviation was because of senility, for Solomon was relatively young when taking the throne, and the length of his reign was 40 years. (1Ch 29:1; 2Ch 9:30) The account does not say that Solomon completely forsook the worship at the temple and the offering of sacrifices there. He apparently attempted to practice a sort of interfaith, in order to please his foreign wives. For this, “Jehovah came to be incensed at Solomon, because his heart had inclined away from Jehovah the God of Israel, the one appearing to him twice.” Jehovah informed Solomon that, as a consequence, He would rip part of the kingdom away from him, but not in Solomon’s day, out of respect for David and for the sake of Jerusalem. But he would do it in the days of Solomon’s son, leaving that son with only one tribe (besides Judah), which tribe proved to be Benjamin.—1Ki 11:9-13.

(1 KINGS 11:7)

“It was then that Solʹo•mon built a high place to Cheʹmosh, the disgusting god of Moʹab, on the mountain in front of Jerusalem and to Moʹlech, the disgusting god of the Amʹmon•ites.”

*** it-2 p. 553 Olives, Mount of ***
King Solomon built high places for idolatrous worship there “to the right [south] of the Mount of Ruination,” but King Josiah later made these unfit for worship. (1Ki 11:7; 2Ki 23:13, ftn)

(1 KINGS 11:13)

“but I will not rip away the entire kingdom. One tribe I will give to your son, for the sake of David my servant and for the sake of Jerusalem, which I have chosen.””

*** it-1 p. 947 Divided Kingdom ***
DIVIDED KINGDOM
JUST 120 years after Saul became the first king of Israel, the nation was torn in two. Why? Because of the apostasy of King Solomon. Desiring to please his foreign wives, Solomon allowed rank idolatry to infiltrate the nation, building ‘high places’ to false gods. This interfaith was abhorrent to Jehovah. Yet, loyal to his covenant with David, God did not cut short the Davidic dynasty. Rather, he decreed the ripping away of part of the nation.—1Ki 11:7-13.
This occurred in 997 B.C.E. when the actions of Solomon’s headstrong son Rehoboam incited ten tribes to rebel and form a kingdom largely in the northern part of the land but also including Simeonite enclave cities scattered throughout Judah. Only the tribes of Benjamin and Levi remained loyal to the southern kingdom in Judah.

(1 KINGS 11:26)

“And there was Jer•o•boʹam the son of Neʹbat, an Eʹphra•im•ite from Zerʹe•dah, a servant of Solʹo•mon’s whose mother’s name was Ze•ruʹah, a widow. He too began to rebel against the king.”

*** it-2 p. 37 Jeroboam ***
1. First king of the ten-tribe kingdom of Israel; the son of Nebat, one of Solomon’s officers in the village of Zeredah; of the tribe of Ephraim. Apparently at an early age Jeroboam was left fatherless, to be raised by his widowed mother Zeruah.—1Ki 11:26.

(1 KINGS 11:27)

“This is why he rebelled against the king: Solʹo•mon had built the Mound and had closed up the gap of the City of David his father.”

*** nwt p. 1705 Glossary ***
Mound. A geographic or structural feature of the City of David. It may have been terraced supporting walls or some other supporting feature.—2Sa 5:9; 1Ki 11:27.

*** it-2 p. 990 Solomon ***
He further fortified the Mound. He “closed up the gap of the City of David.” (1Ki 11:27) This may have reference to his building or extending “Jerusalem’s wall all around.” (1Ki 3:1)

(1 KINGS 11:36)

“To his son I will give one tribe, so that David my servant may always have a lamp before me in Jerusalem, the city that I have chosen for myself as the place to put my name.”

*** it-2 p. 48 Jerusalem ***
It was the only city in all the earth upon which Jehovah God placed his name. (1Ki 11:36) After the ark of the covenant, associated with God’s presence, was transferred there, and even more so when the temple sanctuary, or house of God, was constructed there, Jerusalem became Jehovah’s figurative ‘residence,’ his “resting-place.” (Ps 78:68, 69; 132:13, 14; 135:21; compare 2Sa 7:1-7, 12, 13.)

(1 KINGS 11:38)

“And if you obey all that I command you and walk in my ways and do what is right in my eyes by obeying my statutes and my commandments, just as David my servant did, I will also be with you. I will build you a lasting house, just as I have built for David, and I will give you Israel.”

*** it-2 p. 37 Jeroboam ***
Subsequently, Jeroboam was approached by God’s prophet Ahijah with startling news. After tearing his own new garment into 12 pieces, the prophet told Jeroboam to take ten of them in symbol of how Jehovah would rip Solomon’s kingdom in two and make Jeroboam king over ten of the tribes. This, however, was to be merely a governmental division and not also a departure from true worship as centered at the temple in Jerusalem, the capital of the southern kingdom. So Jehovah assured Jeroboam that he would bless and prosper his reign and build him a lasting house of successors provided he kept God’s laws and commandments.—1Ki 11:29-38.

(1 KINGS 11:40)

“So Solʹo•mon tried to put Jer•o•boʹam to death, but Jer•o•boʹam fled to Egypt, to Shiʹshak the king of Egypt, and he remained in Egypt until Solʹo•mon’s death.”

*** w05 7/1 p. 30 par. 5 Highlights From the Book of First Kings ***
11:30-40. King Solomon sought to kill Jeroboam because of what Ahijah had prophesied concerning Jeroboam. How different the king’s response was some 40 years earlier when he refused to seek revenge against Adonijah and other conspirators! (1 Kings 1:50-53) This change of attitude was a result of his drawing away from Jehovah.

*** it-2 p. 37 Jeroboam ***
Subsequently, Jeroboam was approached by God’s prophet Ahijah with startling news. After tearing his own new garment into 12 pieces, the prophet told Jeroboam to take ten of them in symbol of how Jehovah would rip Solomon’s kingdom in two and make Jeroboam king over ten of the tribes. This, however, was to be merely a governmental division and not also a departure from true worship as centered at the temple in Jerusalem, the capital of the southern kingdom. So Jehovah assured Jeroboam that he would bless and prosper his reign and build him a lasting house of successors provided he kept God’s laws and commandments.—1Ki 11:29-38.
Possibly it was upon learning of these events that Solomon sought to kill Jeroboam. However, Jeroboam fled to Egypt, and there under the sheltering protection of Pharaoh Shishak he remained until the death of Solomon.—1Ki 11:40.

(1 KINGS 11:43)

“Then Solʹo•mon was laid to rest with his forefathers and was buried in the City of David his father; and his son Re•ho•boʹam became king in his place.”

*** w05 7/15 p. 31 Questions From Readers ***
The faithful ones referred to in Hebrews chapter 11, then, are in Sheol, or Hades, awaiting the resurrection. Among these are God’s loyal servants Abraham, Moses, and David. Now consider how the Bible speaks of them with regard to their dying. “As for you,” Jehovah told Abraham, “you will go to your forefathers in peace; you will be buried at a good old age.” (Genesis 15:15) Jehovah said to Moses: “Look! You are lying down with your forefathers.” (Deuteronomy 31:16) Concerning Solomon’s father, David, the Bible says: “David lay down with his forefathers and was buried in the City of David.” (1 Kings 2:10) Thus, the expression ‘lying down with one’s forefathers’ is another way of saying that the person went to Sheol.
What happened to Solomon when he died? The Bible answers: “The days that Solomon had reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel were forty years. Then Solomon lay down with his forefathers, and was buried in the City of David his father.” (1 Kings 11:42, 43) Hence, it seems reasonable to conclude that Solomon is in Sheol, or Hades, from which he will be resurrected.

(1 KINGS 12:1)

“Re•ho•boʹam went to Sheʹchem, for all Israel had come to Sheʹchem to make him king.”

*** it-1 p. 947 Divided Kingdom ***
Shechem 1Ki 12:1, 25

(1 KINGS 12:5)

“At this he said to them: “Go away for three days; then return to me.” So the people went away.”

*** it-1 p. 593 Day ***
There are times when the Hebrews used ‘day and night’ to mean only a portion of a solar day of 24 hours. For example, 1 Kings 12:5, 12 tells of Rehoboam’s asking Jeroboam and the Israelites to “go away for three days” and then return to him. That he did not mean three full 24-hour days but, rather, a portion of each of three days is seen by the fact that the people came back to him “on the third day.”

(1 KINGS 12:10)

“The young men who had grown up with him said to him: “This is what you should say to this people who have said to you, ‘Your father made our yoke heavy, but you should make it lighter for us’; this is what you should tell them, ‘My little finger will be thicker than my father’s hips.”

*** it-1 p. 832 Finger ***
When a delegation asked King Rehoboam for a lighter load of service than his father Solomon had laid upon them, the king was advised by his young attendants to respond that ‘his little finger would be thicker than his father’s hips’; this metaphor meant that he would put a much heavier burden on them. (1Ki 12:4, 10, 11) The Hebrew word used here for “little finger” comes from a root meaning “be small, little, least.”

(1 KINGS 12:11)

“My father imposed a heavy yoke on you, but I will add to your yoke. My father punished you with whips, but I will punish you with scourges.’””

*** it-1 p. 273 Beating ***
Figurative Usage. King Rehoboam compared his intended way of ruling with the rule of his father Solomon by metaphorically referring to the more serious punishment of the scourge as contrasted with whips. (In the Hebrew, the word for “scourges” [ʽaq•rab•bimʹ] literally means “scorpions” and apparently was a type of whip with knots, or with barbed ends like a scorpion’s stinger, or perhaps with knotted or thorny twigs.)—1Ki 12:11-14, ftn.

*** it-2 p. 876 Scorpion ***
At 1 Kings 12:11, 14 and 2 Chronicles 10:11, 14, the Hebrew term ʽaq•rab•bimʹ, which is rendered “scourges,” literally means “scorpions.” The instrument of punishment alluded to may have been a scourge equipped with sharp points.

(1 KINGS 12:12)

“Jer•o•boʹam and all the people came to Re•ho•boʹam on the third day, just as the king had said: “Return to me on the third day.””

*** it-1 p. 593 Day ***
There are times when the Hebrews used ‘day and night’ to mean only a portion of a solar day of 24 hours. For example, 1 Kings 12:5, 12 tells of Rehoboam’s asking Jeroboam and the Israelites to “go away for three days” and then return to him. That he did not mean three full 24-hour days but, rather, a portion of each of three days is seen by the fact that the people came back to him “on the third day.”

(1 KINGS 12:14)

“He spoke to them according to the advice of the young men, saying: “My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add to your yoke. My father punished you with whips, but I will punish you with scourges.””

*** it-1 p. 273 Beating ***
Figurative Usage. King Rehoboam compared his intended way of ruling with the rule of his father Solomon by metaphorically referring to the more serious punishment of the scourge as contrasted with whips. (In the Hebrew, the word for “scourges” [ʽaq•rab•bimʹ] literally means “scorpions” and apparently was a type of whip with knots, or with barbed ends like a scorpion’s stinger, or perhaps with knotted or thorny twigs.)—1Ki 12:11-14, ftn.

*** it-2 p. 876 Scorpion ***
At 1 Kings 12:11, 14 and 2 Chronicles 10:11, 14, the Hebrew term ʽaq•rab•bimʹ, which is rendered “scourges,” literally means “scorpions.” The instrument of punishment alluded to may have been a scourge equipped with sharp points.

(1 KINGS 12:25)

“Jer•o•boʹam then built up Sheʹchem in the mountainous region of Eʹphra•im and lived there. From there he went out and built up Pe•nuʹel.”

*** it-1 p. 947 Divided Kingdom ***
Shechem 1Ki 12:1, 25

(1 KINGS 12:28)

“After consultation, the king made two golden calves and said to the people: “It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here is your God, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.””

*** it-1 p. 207 Astrologers ***
Molech and Astrology in Israel. There is evidence to show that astrology was closely allied with the worship of Molech, a god who was sometimes depicted with a bull’s head. The bull was worshiped by the Babylonians, Canaanites, Egyptians, and others as a symbol of their deities—Marduk, Molech, Baal, and so forth. The bull was one of the most important signs of the zodiac, Taurus. The sun-god was often represented by bulls, the horns signifying the rays, and the bull’s strong reproductive power, the sun’s power as “giver of life.” The female, the cow, was given equal honor as a symbol of Ishtar or Astarte, as she was variously called. So when Aaron and Jeroboam introduced in Israel such worship of the bull (calf worship) it was indeed a great sin in Jehovah’s eyes.—Ex 32:4, 8; De 9:16; 1Ki 12:28-30; 2Ki 10:29.
The apostate ten-tribe kingdom of Israel was denounced for joining this astrology cult, for “they kept leaving all the commandments of Jehovah their God and proceeded to make for themselves molten statues, two calves, and to make a sacred pole, and they began to bow down to all the army of the heavens and to serve Baal; and they continued to make their sons and their daughters pass through the fire and to practice divination and to look for omens.”—2Ki 17:16, 17.

*** it-1 p. 393 Calf ***
The first king of the ten-tribe kingdom, Jeroboam, fearing that his subjects would revolt and go back to the house of David if they continued going up to Jerusalem for worship, had two golden calves made. (1Ki 12:26-28) The Bible record does not reveal to what extent Jeroboam’s choice of a calf to represent Jehovah was influenced by earlier calf worship in Israel, by what he had observed while in Egypt (1Ki 12:2), or by the religion of the Canaanites and others, who often represented their gods as standing upon an animal, such as a bull.

*** it-1 p. 947 Divided Kingdom ***
Bethel 1Ki 12:28, 29

(1 KINGS 12:29)

“Then he placed one in Bethʹel, and the other he put in Dan.”

*** it-1 p. 947 Divided Kingdom ***
Bethel 1Ki 12:28, 29

(1 KINGS 12:30)

“And this caused them to sin, and the people went as far as Dan to worship the one there.”

*** it-1 p. 207 Astrologers ***
Molech and Astrology in Israel. There is evidence to show that astrology was closely allied with the worship of Molech, a god who was sometimes depicted with a bull’s head. The bull was worshiped by the Babylonians, Canaanites, Egyptians, and others as a symbol of their deities—Marduk, Molech, Baal, and so forth. The bull was one of the most important signs of the zodiac, Taurus. The sun-god was often represented by bulls, the horns signifying the rays, and the bull’s strong reproductive power, the sun’s power as “giver of life.” The female, the cow, was given equal honor as a symbol of Ishtar or Astarte, as she was variously called. So when Aaron and Jeroboam introduced in Israel such worship of the bull (calf worship) it was indeed a great sin in Jehovah’s eyes.—Ex 32:4, 8; De 9:16; 1Ki 12:28-30; 2Ki 10:29.
The apostate ten-tribe kingdom of Israel was denounced for joining this astrology cult, for “they kept leaving all the commandments of Jehovah their God and proceeded to make for themselves molten statues, two calves, and to make a sacred pole, and they began to bow down to all the army of the heavens and to serve Baal; and they continued to make their sons and their daughters pass through the fire and to practice divination and to look for omens.”—2Ki 17:16, 17.

(1 KINGS 12:32)

“Jer•o•boʹam also established a festival in the eighth month, on the 15th day of the month, like the festival in Judah. On the altar that he made at Bethʹel, he sacrificed to the calves he had made, and at Bethʹel he assigned priests for the high places that he had made.”

*** it-1 p. 374 Bul ***
Following the Exodus from Egypt, Bul became the eighth month in the sacred calendar, and it was during this month that Solomon completed the construction of the temple at Jerusalem. (1Ki 6:38) Jeroboam, the founder of the separatist northern kingdom of Israel, arbitrarily made this month a festival month, as part of his plan to divert the people’s attention from Jerusalem and its feasts.—1Ki 12:26, 31-33.

*** it-1 pp. 823-824 Festival of Booths ***
An interesting sidelight is that Jeroboam, who broke away from Solomon’s son Rehoboam and became king over the ten northern tribes, carried on (in the eighth month, not the seventh) an imitation of the Festival of Booths, apparently to hold the tribes away from Jerusalem. But, of course, the sacrifices were made to the golden calves that he had set up contrary to Jehovah’s command.—1Ki 12:31-33.

(1 KINGS 12:33)

“And he began to make offerings on the altar that he had made at Bethʹel on the 15th day in the eighth month, in the month that he had devised on his own; and he established a festival for the people of Israel, and he ascended the altar to make offerings and sacrificial smoke.”

*** it-1 pp. 823-824 Festival of Booths ***
An interesting sidelight is that Jeroboam, who broke away from Solomon’s son Rehoboam and became king over the ten northern tribes, carried on (in the eighth month, not the seventh) an imitation of the Festival of Booths, apparently to hold the tribes away from Jerusalem. But, of course, the sacrifices were made to the golden calves that he had set up contrary to Jehovah’s command.—1Ki 12:31-33.

(1 KINGS 13:1)

“By the word of Jehovah, a man of God came from Judah to Bethʹel while Jer•o•boʹam was standing by the altar to make sacrificial smoke.”

*** it-1 p. 1108 High Places ***
About 100 years after this, faithful King Josiah of Judah pulled down the altar and the high place at Bethel and desecrated the altar by burning human bones upon it. He also removed all the houses of the high places in the cities of Samaria, sacrificed (killed) all the priests of the high places, and burned human bones upon the altars. (2Ki 23:15-20) This fulfilled a prophecy uttered over 300 years earlier by an unnamed “man of God.”—1Ki 13:1, 2.

(1 KINGS 13:2)

“Then he called out against the altar by the word of Jehovah and said: “O altar, altar! This is what Jehovah says: ‘Look! A son named Jo•siʹah will be born to the house of David! He will sacrifice on you the priests of the high places, those making sacrificial smoke on you, and he will burn human bones on you.’””

*** w14 5/1 p. 5 Can Anyone See the Future? ***
HUMAN BONES WILL BURN: Who would be so daring as to announce—300 years in advance—the exact name and specific ancestry of a man who would burn human bones on an altar, as well as the name of the town where the altar would be located? If such an unusual prediction came true, it would surely make the forecaster famous. God’s spokesman announced: “A son named Josiah will be born to the house of David . . . , and he will burn human bones” on an altar in the town of Bethel. (1 Kings 13:1, 2) About three centuries later, a king named Josiah—not a common Biblical name—came from the family lineage of David. Exactly as foretold, Josiah had “bones taken from the graves and burned them on the altar” located in Bethel. (2 Kings 23:14-16) How could anyone foretell such specific details unless guided by a superhuman source?

*** it-1 p. 297 Bethel ***
Josiah destroyed the site of idolatrous worship in Bethel, first burning the bones from nearby tombs on the altar, thereby desecrating it in fulfillment of the prophecy given by “the man of the true God” over three centuries earlier. The only grave spared was that of “the man of the true God,” in that way sparing also the bones of the old prophet occupying the same grave.—2Ki 22:3; 23:15-18; 1Ki 13:2, 29-32.

*** it-1 p. 856 Foreknowledge, Foreordination ***
Jehovah’s prophecy concerning Josiah called for some descendant of David to be so named, and it foretold his acting against false worship in the city of Bethel. (1Ki 13:1, 2) Over three centuries later a king so named fulfilled this prophecy. (2Ki 22:1; 23:15, 16) On the other hand, he failed to heed “the words of Necho from the mouth of God,” and this led to his being killed. (2Ch 35:20-24) Hence, while foreknown by God and foreordained to do a particular work, Josiah was still a free moral agent able to choose to heed or disregard advice.

*** it-1 p. 1108 High Places ***
About 100 years after this, faithful King Josiah of Judah pulled down the altar and the high place at Bethel and desecrated the altar by burning human bones upon it. He also removed all the houses of the high places in the cities of Samaria, sacrificed (killed) all the priests of the high places, and burned human bones upon the altars. (2Ki 23:15-20) This fulfilled a prophecy uttered over 300 years earlier by an unnamed “man of God.”—1Ki 13:1, 2.

(1 KINGS 13:7)

“The king then said to the man of the true God: “Come home with me and take some food, and let me give you a gift.””

*** w08 8/15 pp. 8-9 pars. 4-7 Maintain Loyalty With a Unified Heart ***
4 Then Jeroboam says to the man of the true God: “Do come with me to the house and take sustenance, and let me give you a gift.” (1 Ki. 13:7) What is the prophet to do now? Should he accept the king’s hospitality after delivering a message of condemnation to him? (Ps. 119:113) Or should he reject the king’s invitation, even though the king appears to be remorseful? Jeroboam certainly has the means to lavish expensive gifts on his friends. If God’s prophet has harbored any secret desire for material things, the king’s offer is likely to be a huge temptation. However, Jehovah has commanded the prophet: “You must not eat bread or drink water, and you must not return by the way that you went.” So the prophet unequivocally replies: “If you gave me half of your house I would not come with you and eat bread or drink water in this place.” And the prophet leaves Bethel by another way. (1 Ki. 13:8-10) What lesson does the prophet’s decision teach us about heartfelt loyalty?—Rom. 15:4.
“Be Content”
5 Materialism may not seem to be an issue of loyalty, but it is. Do we trust in Jehovah’s promise to provide what we really need? (Matt. 6:33; Heb. 13:5) Rather than striving to obtain at any cost some of the “better” things in life that are presently beyond our reach, can we do without them? (Read Philippians 4:11-13.) Are we tempted to forgo theocratic privileges in order to get what we want now? Does loyal service to Jehovah have first place in our life? Our answers will largely depend on whether we are wholehearted in our service to God or not. “It is a means of great gain,” wrote the apostle Paul, “this godly devotion along with self-sufficiency. For we have brought nothing into the world, and neither can we carry anything out. So, having sustenance and covering, we shall be content with these things.”—1 Tim. 6:6-8.
6 For example, our employer may offer us a promotion with better pay and other benefits. Or perhaps we realize that we can obtain greater financial rewards if we move to another country or region to find employment. At first, such opportunities might seem to be a blessing from Jehovah. But before we act on them, should we not examine our motives? Our primary concern should be, “How will my decision affect my relationship with Jehovah?”
7 Satan’s system relentlessly promotes materialism. (Read 1 John 2:15, 16.) The Devil’s objective is to corrupt our hearts. Therefore, we need to be vigilant to identify and root out materialistic desires in our heart. (Rev. 3:15-17) Jesus had no difficulty rejecting Satan’s offer of all the kingdoms of the world. (Matt. 4:8-10) He warned: “Keep your eyes open and guard against every sort of covetousness, because even when a person has an abundance his life does not result from the things he possesses.” (Luke 12:15) Loyalty will help us to rely on Jehovah instead of ourselves.

(1 KINGS 13:18)

“At this he said to him: “I too am a prophet like you, and an angel told me by the word of Jehovah, ‘Have him come back with you to your house so that he may eat bread and drink water.’” (He deceived him.)”

*** w08 8/15 p. 9 Maintain Loyalty With a Unified Heart ***
An Old Prophet “Deceived Him”
8 Things would have gone well with God’s prophet if he had continued on his journey back home. Almost immediately, however, he faced another test. “A certain old prophet was dwelling in Bethel,” states the Bible, “and his sons now came in and related to him” all that had taken place earlier that day. Upon hearing the report, the old man asks them to saddle an ass for him so that he might catch up with God’s prophet. Not long thereafter, he finds the prophet resting under a big tree and says: “Go with me to the house and eat bread.” When the man of the true God declines the invitation, the old man replies: “I too am a prophet like you, and an angel himself spoke to me by the word of Jehovah, saying, ‘Have him come back with you to your house that he may eat bread and drink water.’” But the Scriptures say: “He deceived him.”—1 Ki. 13:11-18.
9 Whatever might have been the old prophet’s motive, he lied. Perhaps the old man had at one time been a faithful prophet of Jehovah. At this point, however, he was acting deceptively. The Scriptures strongly denounce such conduct. (Read Proverbs 3:32.) Deceitful ones not only hurt themselves spiritually but often harm others.
“He Went Back With” the Old Man
10 The prophet from Judah should have been able to see through the ruse of the old prophet. He could have asked himself, ‘Why would Jehovah send an angel to someone else with new instructions for me?’ The prophet could have asked Jehovah to clarify the direction, but the Scriptures do not indicate that he did so.

(1 KINGS 13:32)

“The word that he called out by the word of Jehovah against the altar in Bethʹel and against all the houses of worship on the high places in the cities of Sa•marʹi•a is sure to take place.””

*** it-2 p. 847 Samaria ***
2. The territory of the ten-tribe northern kingdom of Israel. The name of its capital city, Samaria, was sometimes applied to this entire area. For example, when Ahab was called “the king of Samaria,” it was not with the restricted meaning of being king of the city only, but in the broader sense as king of the ten tribes. (1Ki 21:1) So, too, “the cities of Samaria” referred to those scattered throughout the ten tribes, not to towns clustered around the capital. (2Ki 23:19; this same expression recorded at 1Ki 13:32 as if used before the city Samaria was built, if not prophetic, may have been introduced by the compiler of the Kings account.) The famine “in Samaria” in the days of Ahab was extensive throughout the whole kingdom of Samaria and, in fact, even took in Phoenicia, extending at least from the torrent valley of Cherith, E of the Jordan, to Zarephath on the Mediterranean. (1Ki 17:1-12; 18:2, 5, 6) Similarly, the restoration promise regarding “the mountains of Samaria” must have embraced the whole of the realm of Samaria.—Jer 31:5.

WEEK STARTING JULY 20: July 20 Bible reading: 1 Kings 12-14


(1 KINGS 14:11)

“Anyone belonging to Jer•o•boʹam who dies in the city, the dogs will eat; and anyone who dies in the field, the birds of the heavens will eat, for Jehovah has spoken it.”’”

*** it-1 p. 644 Dog ***
Dogs (Canis familiaris), like carrion birds, were scavengers, particularly in the cities. The Law directed throwing to the dogs flesh that had been torn by a wild beast. (Ex 22:31) At times Jehovah’s judgment against his enemies was that their dead bodies would be eaten or their blood licked up by scavenger dogs. Because of the course of gross unfaithfulness followed by Kings Jeroboam, Baasha, and Ahab, any who belonged to their respective households and who died in the city were to be devoured by dogs. (1Ki 14:11; 16:4; 21:24)

(1 KINGS 14:13)

“All Israel will mourn him and bury him, for he alone of Jer•o•boʹam’s family will be laid in a grave, because he is the only one of the house of Jer•o•boʹam in whom Jehovah the God of Israel has found something good.”

*** cl chap. 24 p. 244 par. 11 Nothing Can “Separate Us From God’s Love” ***
11 Third, as Jehovah searches through us, he carefully sifts, looking for the good. For instance, when Jehovah decreed that the entire apostate dynasty of King Jeroboam was to be executed, He ordered that one of the king’s sons, Abijah, be given a decent burial. Why? “Something good toward Jehovah the God of Israel has been found in him.” (1 Kings 14:1, 10-13) Jehovah, in effect, sifted through the heart of that young man and found “something good” there. However small or insignificant that bit of good may have been, Jehovah found it worth noting in his Word. He even rewarded it, showing an appropriate degree of mercy to that one member of an apostate household.

*** w10 7/1 p. 29 He Looks for the Good ***
1 KINGS 14:13
“ALL hearts Jehovah is searching, and every inclination of the thoughts he is discerning.” (1 Chronicles 28:9) Those inspired words were meant to fill us with appreciation for the depth of Jehovah’s interest in us. Jehovah looks for the good in our hearts even though we are far from perfect. This is clearly evident in his words regarding Abijah, found at 1 Kings 14:13.
Abijah lived in a wicked household. His father, Jeroboam, was the head of an apostate dynasty. Jehovah purposed to make a clean sweep of Jeroboam’s house, “just as one clears away the dung.” (1 Kings 14:10) But God ordered that only one member of Jeroboam’s household, Abijah—who was gravely ill—be given an honorable burial. Why? God explained: “Something good toward Jehovah the God of Israel has been found in him in the house of Jeroboam.” (1 Kings 14:1, 12, 13) What do these words tell us about Abijah?
The Bible does not say that Abijah was a faithful worshipper of God. Still, there was a measure of goodness in him. This goodness was “toward Jehovah,” perhaps involving His worship. Rabbinic writers suggest that Abijah made a pilgrimage to the temple in Jerusalem or that he removed the guards that his father had posted to prevent the Israelites from going to Jerusalem.
Whatever its exact nature, Abijah’s goodness was noteworthy. First, it was genuine. This goodness was “in him”—that is, in his heart. Second, it was exceptional. Abijah exhibited this goodness even though he was “in the house of Jeroboam.” One scholar says: “It is a great commendation for men to retain their goodness whilest they live in bad places and families.” Another says that Abijah’s goodness was “conspicuous . . . , just as the stars are brightest when the sky is dark, and the cedars are most beautiful when surrounding trees are leafless.”
Most important, the words of 1 Kings 14:13 teach us something beautiful about Jehovah and what he looks for in us. Recall that something good was “found in” Abijah. Jehovah evidently searched through Abijah’s heart until He found a trace of goodness. Compared to his family, Abijah was, as one scholar put it, the lone pearl “in a heap of pebbles.” Jehovah cherished this goodness and rewarded it, granting a measure of mercy to this one member of a wicked family.
Is it not reassuring to know that Jehovah looks for and values the good in us despite our imperfections? (Psalm 130:3) Knowing this should move us to draw closer to Jehovah, the God who sifts through our heart in search of even the smallest trace of goodness.
[Footnotes]
Jeroboam had set up idolatrous calf worship in the northern ten-tribe kingdom of Israel to keep the people from going to Jerusalem to worship Jehovah at the temple there.
In Bible times, to be denied a decent burial was seen as an expression of divine displeasure.—Jeremiah 25:32, 33.

*** w05 7/1 p. 31 par. 4 Highlights From the Book of First Kings ***
14:13. Jehovah searches through us to look for the good in us. Regardless of how insignificant that good may be, he can make it grow as we do our best to serve him.

*** w95 4/1 p. 12 par. 11 You Are Precious in God’s Eyes! ***
11 For instance, when Jehovah decreed that the entire apostate dynasty of King Jeroboam was to be executed, cleared away like “dung,” He ordered that just one of the king’s sons, Abijah, be given a decent burial. Why? “Something good toward Jehovah the God of Israel has been found in him.” (1 Kings 14:10, 13) Did this mean that Abijah was a faithful worshiper of Jehovah? Not necessarily, since he died, as did the rest of his wicked household. (Deuteronomy 24:16) Still, Jehovah valued the “something good” that he saw in Abijah’s heart and acted accordingly. Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible notes: “Where there is but some good thing of that kind, it will be found: God that seeks it, sees it, be it ever so little, and is pleased with it.” And do not forget that if God finds even a small measure of some good quality in you, he can make it grow as long as you endeavor to serve him faithfully.

(1 KINGS 14:14)

“Jehovah will raise up for himself a king over Israel who will do away with the house of Jer•o•boʹam from that day forward, yes, even now.”

*** ip-1 chap. 11 pp. 133-134 pars. 1-3 Woe to the Rebels! ***
WHEN Jehovah’s covenant people were divided into two kingdoms, the northern ten-tribe kingdom came under the rulership of Jeroboam. The new king was an able, energetic ruler. But he lacked real faith in Jehovah. Because of this he made a terrible error that blighted the whole history of the northern kingdom. Under the Mosaic Law, the Israelites were commanded to travel three times a year up to the temple in Jerusalem, which was now in the southern kingdom of Judah. (Deuteronomy 16:16) Afraid that such regular journeys would make his subjects think about reunification with their southern brothers, Jeroboam “made two golden calves and said to the people: ‘It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here is your God, O Israel, that brought you up out of the land of Egypt.’ Then he placed the one in Bethel, and the other he put in Dan.”—1 Kings 12:28, 29.
2 In the short term, Jeroboam’s plan seemed to work. The people gradually left off going to Jerusalem and took up worshiping before the two calves. (1 Kings 12:30) However, this apostate religious practice corrupted the ten-tribe kingdom. In later years, even Jehu, who had shown such commendable zeal in clearing Baal worship out of Israel, continued to bow down to the golden calves. (2 Kings 10:28, 29) What else resulted from Jeroboam’s tragically wrong decision? Political instability and suffering for the people.
3 Because Jeroboam had become apostate, Jehovah said that his seed would not reign over the land, and in the end the northern kingdom would suffer a terrible disaster. (1 Kings 14:14, 15) Jehovah’s word proved true. Seven of Israel’s kings ruled for two years or less—some for only a few days. One king committed suicide, and six were assassinated by ambitious men who usurped the throne. Especially after the reign of Jeroboam II, which ended about 804 B.C.E. while Uzziah was reigning in Judah, Israel was plagued with unrest, violence, and assassinations.

(1 KINGS 14:15)

“Jehovah will strike Israel down like a reed that sways in the water, and he will uproot Israel off this good land that he gave to their forefathers, and he will scatter them beyond the River, because they made their sacred poles, offending Jehovah.”

*** ip-1 chap. 11 pp. 133-134 pars. 1-3 Woe to the Rebels! ***
WHEN Jehovah’s covenant people were divided into two kingdoms, the northern ten-tribe kingdom came under the rulership of Jeroboam. The new king was an able, energetic ruler. But he lacked real faith in Jehovah. Because of this he made a terrible error that blighted the whole history of the northern kingdom. Under the Mosaic Law, the Israelites were commanded to travel three times a year up to the temple in Jerusalem, which was now in the southern kingdom of Judah. (Deuteronomy 16:16) Afraid that such regular journeys would make his subjects think about reunification with their southern brothers, Jeroboam “made two golden calves and said to the people: ‘It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here is your God, O Israel, that brought you up out of the land of Egypt.’ Then he placed the one in Bethel, and the other he put in Dan.”—1 Kings 12:28, 29.
2 In the short term, Jeroboam’s plan seemed to work. The people gradually left off going to Jerusalem and took up worshiping before the two calves. (1 Kings 12:30) However, this apostate religious practice corrupted the ten-tribe kingdom. In later years, even Jehu, who had shown such commendable zeal in clearing Baal worship out of Israel, continued to bow down to the golden calves. (2 Kings 10:28, 29) What else resulted from Jeroboam’s tragically wrong decision? Political instability and suffering for the people.
3 Because Jeroboam had become apostate, Jehovah said that his seed would not reign over the land, and in the end the northern kingdom would suffer a terrible disaster. (1 Kings 14:14, 15) Jehovah’s word proved true. Seven of Israel’s kings ruled for two years or less—some for only a few days. One king committed suicide, and six were assassinated by ambitious men who usurped the throne. Especially after the reign of Jeroboam II, which ended about 804 B.C.E. while Uzziah was reigning in Judah, Israel was plagued with unrest, violence, and assassinations.

(1 KINGS 14:21)

“Meanwhile, Re•ho•boʹam the son of Solʹo•mon had become king in Judah. Re•ho•boʹam was 41 years old when he became king, and he reigned for 17 years in Jerusalem, the city that Jehovah had chosen out of all the tribes of Israel as the place to put his name. The name of Re•ho•boʹam’s mother was Naʹa•mah the Amʹmon•it•ess.”

*** w11 12/15 p. 10 par. 11 Is He a Good Example for You or a Warning? ***
11 Solomon reigned for 40 years. (2 Chron. 9:30) Hence, what can you conclude from 1 Kings 14:21? (Read.) According to that verse, upon Solomon’s death his son Rehoboam became king at age 41, his mother being “Naamah the Ammonitess.” This means that before Solomon became king, he married a foreigner from an enemy nation that served idol gods. (Judg. 10:6; 2 Sam. 10:6) Did she worship them? Even if she did at one time, she may have turned away from idols and may have become a true worshipper, as did Rahab and Ruth. (Ruth 1:16; 4:13-17; Matt. 1:5, 6) Still, Solomon likely came to have Ammonite in-laws and relatives who did not serve Jehovah.

(1 KINGS 14:23)

“They too kept building for themselves high places, sacred pillars, and sacred poles on every high hill and under every luxuriant tree.”

*** it-2 p. 835 Sacred Pole ***
Both Israel and Judah disregarded God’s express command not to set up sacred pillars and sacred poles; they placed them upon “every high hill and under every luxuriant tree” alongside the altars used for sacrifice. It has been suggested that the poles represented the female principle, whereas the pillars represented the male principle. These appendages of idolatry, likely phallic symbols, were associated with grossly immoral sex orgies, as is indicated by the reference to male prostitutes being in the land as early as Rehoboam’s reign. (1Ki 14:22-24; 2Ki 17:10) Only seldom did kings such as Hezekiah (and Josiah) come along, who “removed the high places and broke the sacred pillars to pieces and cut down the sacred pole.”—2Ki 18:4; 2Ch 34:7.

(1 KINGS 14:25)

“In the fifth year of King Re•ho•boʹam, King Shiʹshak of Egypt came up against Jerusalem.”

*** si p. 295 Study Number 3—Measuring Events in the Stream of Time ***
993 B.C.E. Shishak invades Judah and
takes treasures from temple 1 Ki. 14:25, 26

*** it-1 pp. 149-150 Archaeology ***
At Karnak (ancient Thebes), on the Nile River, a vast Egyptian temple contains an inscription on its S wall confirming the campaign of Egyptian King Shishak (Sheshonk I) in Palestine, described at 1 Kings 14:25, 26 and 2 Chronicles 12:1-9. The giant relief depicting his victories shows 156 manacled Palestinian prisoners, each representing a city or village, the name of which is given in hieroglyphics. Among the names identifiable are those of Rabbith (Jos 19:20), Taanach, Beth-shean and Megiddo (where a portion of a stele or inscribed pillar of Shishak has been excavated) (Jos 17:11), Shunem (Jos 19:18), Rehob (Jos 19:28), Hapharaim (Jos 19:19), Gibeon (Jos 18:25), Beth-horon (Jos 21:22), Aijalon (Jos 21:24), Socoh (Jos 15:35), and Arad (Jos 12:14). He even lists the “Field of Abram” as one of his captures, the earliest reference to Abraham in Egyptian records.

*** it-1 p. 697 Egypt, Egyptian ***
Shishak (known as Sheshonk I from Egyptian records) had founded a Libyan dynasty of Pharaohs (the “Twenty-second Dynasty”), with its capital at Bubastis in the eastern Delta region. In the fifth year of the reign of Solomon’s son Rehoboam (993 B.C.E.), Shishak invaded Judah with a powerful force of chariots, cavalry, and foot soldiers including Libyans and Ethiopians; he captured many cities and even threatened Jerusalem. Because of Jehovah’s mercy, Jerusalem was not devastated, but its great wealth was handed over to Shishak. (1Ki 14:25, 26; 2Ch 12:2-9) A relief on a temple wall at Karnak depicts Shishak’s campaign and lists numerous cities in Israel and Judah as having been captured.

*** it-1 p. 952 Enemy Nations That Attacked Israel ***
[Picture on page 952]
Egyptian inscription boasting over the conquest of Judean cities by Pharaoh Shishak

*** it-1 p. 951 Enemy Nations That Attacked Israel ***
Egypt 1Ki 14:25, 26; 2Ch 36:2-4

(1 KINGS 14:29)

“And the rest of the history of Re•ho•boʹam, all that he did, is it not written in the book of the history of the times of the kings of Judah?”

*** w09 3/15 p. 32 Questions From Readers ***
On the other hand, certain references may be to books that have names similar to books of the Bible but that are not actually part of the Bible. We might illustrate this with four ancient books: “the book of the affairs of the times of the kings of Judah,” “the Book of the Kings of Judah and of Israel,” “the Book of the Kings of Israel,” and “the Book of the Kings of Israel and of Judah.” While those names may sound similar to the names of the Bible books we know as 1 Kings and 2 Kings, the four books were not inspired, nor do those books find a place in the Bible canon. (1 Ki. 14:29; 2 Chron. 16:11; 20:34; 27:7) They were likely just historical writings available back in the period when the prophet Jeremiah and Ezra wrote the accounts that we have in the Bible.

WEEK STARTING JULY 27: July 27 Bible reading: 1 Kings 15-17


(1 KINGS 15:12)

“He expelled the male temple prostitutes from the land and removed all the disgusting idols that his forefathers had made.”

*** w12 8/15 p. 8 “There Exists a Reward for Your Activity” ***
Asa also ousted from the kingdom of Judah “the male temple prostitutes,” who practiced sodomy in the name of religion.

*** w12 8/15 p. 8 “There Exists a Reward for Your Activity” ***
1 Ki. 15:12,

(1 KINGS 15:13)

“He even removed Maʹa•cah his grandmother from her position as queen mother, because she had made an obscene idol for the worship of the sacred pole. Aʹsa cut down her obscene idol and burned it in the Kidʹron Valley.”

*** it-1 p. 183 Asa ***
He removed his grandmother, Maacah, from her position as a sort of ‘first lady’ of the land because of her making “a horrible idol” to the sacred pole, or Asherah, and he burned the religious idol.—1Ki 15:11-13.

(1 KINGS 15:14)

“But the high places were not removed. Nevertheless, Aʹsa’s heart was complete with Jehovah all his life.”

*** it-1 pp. 183-184 Asa ***
The record at 2 Chronicles 14:2-5 states that Asa “removed the foreign altars and the high places and broke up the sacred pillars and cut down the sacred poles.” However, 1 Kings 15:14 and 2 Chronicles 15:17 indicate that “the high places he did not remove.” It may be, therefore, that the high places referred to in the earlier Chronicles account were those of the adopted pagan worship that infected Judah, while the Kings account refers to high places at which the people engaged in worship of Jehovah. Even after the setting up of the tabernacle and the later establishment of the temple, occasional sacrificing was done to Jehovah on high places, which was acceptable to him under special circumstances, as in the cases of Samuel, David, and Elijah. (1Sa 9:11-19; 1Ch 21:26-30; 1Ki 18:30-39) Nevertheless, the regular approved place for sacrifice was that authorized by Jehovah. (Nu 33:52; De 12:2-14; Jos 22:29) Improper modes of high-place worship may have continued in spite of the removal of the pagan high places, perhaps because the king did not pursue their elimination with the same vigor as he did the removal of the pagan sites. Or Asa may have effected a complete removal of all high places; but if so, such cropped up again in due time and had not been removed by the time of the conclusion of his reign, allowing for their being smashed by his successor Jehoshaphat.

*** it-1 pp. 1108-1109 High Places ***
Asa, who succeeded Abijam to the throne, served Jehovah in faithfulness and put forth decisive efforts to rid the kingdom of all appendages of false worship. (1Ki 15:11-13) “He removed from all the cities of Judah the high places and the incense stands.” (2Ch 14:2-5) However, 1 Kings 15:14 and 2 Chronicles 15:17 apparently indicate that the high places were not removed. It may be that, although Asa removed the high places for worship of false gods, he left those at which the people worshiped Jehovah. Or, perhaps, high places cropped up again toward the end of his reign and were thereby present for his successor Jehoshaphat to destroy. But even during Jehoshaphat’s reign the high places did not fully disappear. (1Ki 22:42, 43; 2Ch 17:5, 6; 20:31-33) So entrenched was Judah’s worship at high places that the reforms of both Asa and Jehoshaphat could not remove all of them permanently.

(1 KINGS 15:16)

“There was constant warfare between Aʹsa and Baʹa•sha the king of Israel.”

*** it-1 p. 184 Asa ***
So, too, the apparent difference between the statement at 2 Chronicles 15:19 to the effect that, as for “war, it did not occur down to the thirty-fifth [actually, the fifteenth] year of Asa’s reign,” and the statement at 1 Kings 15:16 to the effect that “warfare itself took place between Asa and Baasha the king of Israel all their days,” may be explained in that once conflicts began between the two kings they were thereafter continuous, even as Hanani had foretold.—2Ch 16:9.

(1 KINGS 15:17)

“So King Baʹa•sha of Israel came up against Judah and began to build up Raʹmah to prevent anyone from going out or coming in to King Aʹsa of Judah.”

*** it-2 p. 42 Jerusalem ***
During faithful King Asa’s reign, King Baasha of the northern kingdom made an unsuccessful attempt to build up strength on Judah’s northern frontier in order to seal it off and prevent communication with Jerusalem (and possibly expressions of loyalty to the Judean kingdom by any of his subjects). (1Ki 15:17-22)

(1 KINGS 15:19)

““There is a treaty between me and you and between my father and your father. I am sending you a gift of silver and gold. Come, break your treaty with King Baʹa•sha of Israel, so that he will withdraw from me.””

*** it-1 p. 184 Asa ***
Intrigue and Warfare Against Baasha. King Baasha of Israel set out to block the path of any inclining toward a return to Judah by fortifying the frontier city of Ramah, located on the main road to Jerusalem and only a short distance N of that city. Asa, by some process of human reasoning or because of heeding bad counsel, now failed to rely solely on Jehovah and resorted to diplomacy and conspiratorial maneuvering to remove this threat. He took the temple treasures and those from the royal house and sent them as a bribe to King Ben-hadad I of Syria to induce him to divert Baasha’s attention through an attack on Israel’s northern frontier. Ben-hadad I accepted, and his raid on Israelite cities in the N disrupted Baasha’s building work and brought a withdrawal of his forces from Ramah. Asa now conscripted all the available manpower from the entire kingdom of Judah and carried off all Baasha’s supplies of building materials, using them to build up the cities of Geba and Mizpah.—1Ki 15:16-22; 2Ch 16:1-6.

(1 KINGS 15:20)

“Ben-haʹdad listened to King Aʹsa and sent the chiefs of his armies against the cities of Israel, and they struck down Iʹjon, Dan, Aʹbel-beth-maʹa•cah, all Chinʹne•reth, and all the land of Naphʹta•li.”

*** it-1 p. 437 Chinnereth ***
2. A district or region of Israel attacked by Syrian King Ben-hadad I at the instigation of King Asa of Judah. (c. 962 B.C.E.) (1Ki 15:20; compare 2Ch 16:4.) The expression “all Chinnereth” is usually considered to refer to the fertile Plain of Gennesaret.

(1 KINGS 15:23)

“As for all the rest of the history of Aʹsa, all his mightiness and all that he did and the cities that he built, is it not written in the book of the history of the times of the kings of Judah? But in his old age he suffered from a disease in his feet.”

*** it-1 p. 184 Asa ***
Illness and Death. Asa’s last three years brought suffering due to an illness of the feet (perhaps gout), and he unwisely sought physical healing over spiritual healing.

(1 KINGS 15:33)

“In the third year of King Aʹsa of Judah, Baʹa•sha the son of A•hiʹjah became king in Tirʹzah over all Israel and reigned for 24 years.”

*** it-1 p. 184 Asa ***
The statement at 2 Chronicles 16:1 that Baasha came up against Judah “in the thirty-sixth year of the reign of Asa” has caused some question, since Baasha’s rule, beginning in the third year of Asa and lasting only 24 years, had terminated about 10 years prior to Asa’s 36th year of rule. (1Ki 15:33) While some suggest a scribal error and believe the reference is to the 16th or the 26th year of Asa’s reign, the assumption of such error is not required to harmonize the accounts. Jewish commentators quote the Seder Olam, which suggests that the 36th year was reckoned from the existence of the separate kingdom of Judah (997 B.C.E.) and corresponded to the 16th year of Asa (Rehoboam ruling 17 years, Abijah 3 years, and Asa now in his 16th year). (Soncino Books of the Bible, London, 1952, ftn on 2Ch 16:1) This was also the view of Archbishop Ussher.

*** it-1 p. 947 Divided Kingdom ***
Tirzah 1Ki 15:33

(1 KINGS 16:4)

“Anyone belonging to Baʹa•sha who dies in the city the dogs will eat; and anyone belonging to him who dies in the field the birds of the heavens will eat.””

*** it-1 p. 644 Dog ***
Dogs (Canis familiaris), like carrion birds, were scavengers, particularly in the cities. The Law directed throwing to the dogs flesh that had been torn by a wild beast. (Ex 22:31) At times Jehovah’s judgment against his enemies was that their dead bodies would be eaten or their blood licked up by scavenger dogs. Because of the course of gross unfaithfulness followed by Kings Jeroboam, Baasha, and Ahab, any who belonged to their respective households and who died in the city were to be devoured by dogs. (1Ki 14:11; 16:4; 21:24)

(1 KINGS 16:9)

“His servant Zimʹri, the chief of half of his chariot forces, conspired against him while he was in Tirʹzah drinking himself drunk at the house of Arʹza, who was over the household in Tirʹzah.”

*** it-1 p. 427 Chariot ***
After Solomon’s death, chariots were common in both the northern and southern kingdoms. The northern kingdom had a “chief of half the chariots,” indicating that there were two principal divisions of chariots. (1Ki 16:9)

(1 KINGS 16:16)

“In time the troops who were encamped heard it being said: “Zimʹri has conspired and has also struck down the king.” So all Israel made Omʹri, the chief of the army, king over Israel on that day in the camp.”

*** it-2 p. 554 Omri ***
Omri came to the throne, not by inheritance, but by the sword. He had been chief of Israel’s army under King Elah (and perhaps under his predecessor Baasha) when Zimri, chief of half the chariots, overthrew Elah, took the kingship for himself, and wiped out the house and friends of Baasha. As soon as this was reported to the Israelite army, at the time camped against the Philistines at Gibbethon, “all Israel,” doubtless the tribal heads “in the camp,” made Omri their king. At once they withdrew from Gibbethon and stormed Zimri’s capital Tirzah. Zimri, seeing the hopelessness of his cause, burned down the king’s house over himself, tragically ending his seven-day rule.—1Ki 16:8-20.

(1 KINGS 16:23)

“In the 31st year of King Aʹsa of Judah, Omʹri became king over Israel, and he reigned for 12 years. In Tirʹzah he reigned for six years.”

*** it-1 p. 947 Divided Kingdom ***
Samaria 1Ki 16:23, 24

(1 KINGS 16:24)

“He bought the mountain of Sa•marʹi•a from Sheʹmer for two talents of silver, and he built a city on the mountain. He named the city that he built Sa•marʹi•a, after Sheʹmer the owner of the mountain.”

*** it-1 p. 947 Divided Kingdom ***
Samaria 1Ki 16:23, 24

(1 KINGS 16:31)

“As if it were a trivial thing for him to walk in the sins of Jer•o•boʹam the son of Neʹbat, he also took as wife Jezʹe•bel the daughter of Eth•baʹal, the king of the Si•doʹni•ans, and began to serve Baʹal and to bow down to him.”

*** it-1 p. 59 Ahab ***
Condones False Worship. Ahab’s record was one of the worst as regards the vital area of true worship. Not only did the corrupted worship of Jehovah by means of Jeroboam’s golden calves continue but Ahab also allowed Baal worship to infect Israel on an unprecedented scale due to his early marriage to Jezebel, the daughter of Ethbaal, king of Sidon. Josephus, quoting ancient historian Menander, refers to Ethbaal as Ithobal, and the account (Against Apion, I, 123 [18]) relates that he was the priest of Astarte before ascending the throne by murdering the king.
Ahab allowed his pagan wife Jezebel to lead him into Baal worship, to build a temple for Baal, and to erect a sacred pole in honor of Asherah. (1Ki 16:30-33) Before long there were 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of the sacred pole, all being fed from Jezebel’s royal table. (1Ki 18:19)

*** it-1 p. 230 Baal ***
A different Baal cult was introduced into Israel in King Ahab’s day (c. 940-920 B.C.E.), that of Melkart, the Baal of Tyre. (PICTURE, Vol. 2, p. 532) Ahab formed a marriage alliance with the daughter of the king of Tyre, named Ethbaal (meaning “With Baal”). This resulted in Ethbaal’s daughter, Jezebel, importing this more virile cult into Israel, with many priests and attendants. (1Ki 16:31-33)

*** it-1 p. 766 Ethbaal ***
ETHBAAL
(Eth•baʹal) [With Baal].
King of the Sidonians, the father of Jezebel the wife of King Ahab. (1Ki 16:31) By giving his daughter in marriage to Ahab, Ethbaal entered into a political alliance with him. Ethbaal is evidently the Ithobal mentioned in Josephus’ quotation of historian Menander as being the priest of the goddess Astarte (Ashtoreth). This priest got the kingship by murdering Phelles, a descendant of Hiram the king of Tyre with whom Solomon had had dealings in connection with the building of the temple. Ethbaal is said to have ruled for 32 of the 48 years of his life. (Against Apion, I, 123 [18]) Indicative of the commercial expansion carried on during his reign is Menander’s reference to Ethbaal’s building Auza in Libya. Menander also mentions that a one-year drought occurred during Ethbaal’s reign.—Jewish Antiquities, VIII, 324 (xiii, 2).

(1 KINGS 16:34)

“In his days, Hiʹel the Bethʹel•ite rebuilt Jerʹi•cho. At the cost of A•biʹram his firstborn he laid its foundation, and at the cost of Seʹgub his youngest he put up its doors, according to the word of Jehovah spoken through Joshua the son of Nun.”

*** w98 9/15 pp. 21-22 Is God Real to You? ***
For example, read the prophecy about the penalty for rebuilding Jericho and then consider its fulfillment. Joshua 6:26 states: “Joshua had an oath pronounced at that particular time, saying: ‘Cursed may the man be before Jehovah who gets up and does build this city, even Jericho. At the forfeit of his firstborn let him lay the foundation of it, and at the forfeit of his youngest let him put up its doors.’” Fulfillment came some 500 years later, for we read at 1 Kings 16:34: “In [King Ahab’s] days Hiel the Bethelite built Jericho. At the forfeit of Abiram his firstborn he laid the foundation of it, and at the forfeit of Segub his youngest he put up its doors, according to Jehovah’s word that he spoke by means of Joshua the son of Nun.” Only a real God could inspire such prophecies and see to their fulfillment.

*** si p. 42 par. 4 Bible Book Number 6—Joshua ***
4 At the time of Jericho’s destruction, Joshua placed a prophetic curse on the rebuilding of the city, which had a remarkable fulfillment in the days of Ahab king of Israel, some 500 years later. (Josh. 6:26; 1 Ki. 16:33, 34)

*** it-1 pp. 25-26 Abiram ***
2. The firstborn son of Hiel the Bethelite. At Joshua 6:26 Joshua’s oath is recorded concerning the destroyed city of Jericho, foretelling that whoever should rebuild it would do so at the loss of his firstborn son. Abiram’s father, Hiel, ignored this oath and, during the reign of King Ahab (c. 940-920 B.C.E.) some five centuries after Joshua’s time, he laid Jericho’s foundations. Abiram, his son, died, evidently prematurely as a historically recorded fulfillment of the prophecy.—1Ki 16:34.

*** it-1 p. 60 Ahab ***
Moabite and Assyrian Inscriptions. Mention is made of the rebuilding of Jericho during Ahab’s reign, perhaps as part of a program for strengthening Israel’s control over Moab. (1Ki 16:34; compare 2Ch 28:15.) The Moabite Stone by King Mesha of Moab speaks of the domination of Moab by King Omri and his son.

*** it-1 p. 1106 Hiel ***
HIEL
(Hiʹel) [shortened form of Ahiel, meaning “My Brother Is God; Brother of God”].
A Bethelite who rebuilt Jericho during Ahab’s reign in the tenth century B.C.E. In fulfillment of the oath Joshua had pronounced at the destruction of Jericho over 500 years earlier, Hiel laid the foundation of the city at the forfeit of Abiram his firstborn and put up its doors at the forfeit of Segub his youngest child.—Jos 6:26; 1Ki 16:33, 34.

(1 KINGS 17:1)

“Now E•liʹjah the Tishʹbite, an inhabitant of Gilʹe•ad, said to Aʹhab: “As surely as Jehovah the God of Israel whom I serve is living, during these years there will be no dew or rain except by my word!””

*** w92 4/1 p. 17 Do You Have Faith Like Elijah’s? ***
Elijah Proclaims a Drought
It was probably at the end of a long, rainless summer season—just when the people were beginning to expect Baal to usher in the life-giving rains—that Elijah appeared on the scene. He bursts into the Bible record with the suddenness of a thunderclap. We are told little of his background, nothing of his parentage. But unlike thunder, Elijah was not the harbinger of a rainstorm. He announced to Ahab: “As Jehovah the God of Israel before whom I do stand is living, there will occur during these years neither dew nor rain, except at the order of my word!”—1 Kings 17:1.
Picture this man, clad in his rustic garment of hair. He is a native of the rugged hills of Gilead, likely raised among humble shepherds of the flocks. He stands before the mighty king Ahab, perhaps right in his vast palace, with its fabled house of ivory, its rich and exotic decorations and imposing idols. There, in the bustling fortified city of Samaria, where the worship of Jehovah is all but forgotten, he tells Ahab that this god of his, this Baal, is impotent, a nonentity. For this year and for years to come, Elijah declares, there will be neither rain nor dew!
Where did he get such faith? Did he not feel intimidated, standing there before this arrogant, apostate king? Perhaps. Over a thousand years later, Jesus’ half brother James assures us that Elijah was “a man with feelings like ours.” (James 5:17) But note Elijah’s words: “As Jehovah the God of Israel before whom I do stand is living.” Elijah kept in mind that as Jehovah’s servant, he was standing before a much higher throne than Ahab’s—the throne of the Sovereign Lord of the universe! He was a representative, an emissary, of that throne. With this perspective, what had he to fear from Ahab, a puny human monarch who had lost Jehovah’s blessing?

*** w90 11/1 p. 16 Samaria—Capital Among Northern Capitals ***
Excavations have revealed the ruins of Ahab’s palace, shown on the next page. That palace was known for luxury and exceeding wickedness. (1 Kings 16:29-33) Picture the prophet Elijah climbing to this city and walking the broad road to the palace, there to denounce Ahab’s Baal-centered evil.—1 Kings 17:1.

*** it-1 p. 230 Baal ***
Likely because Baal, believed to be the owner of the sky, was regarded by his worshipers as the giver of rains and fertility, a drought was ordered by Elijah in the name of Jehovah. (1Ki 17:1)

(1 KINGS 17:3)

““Leave here, and turn eastward and hide at the Valley of Cheʹrith, east of the Jordan.”

*** w92 4/1 p. 18 Do You Have Faith Like Elijah’s? ***
Faith Expressed in Following Direction
For the moment, though, Elijah’s proclamation put him in mortal danger. It was time for another aspect of his faith to come into play. In order to stay alive, he had to be faithful in following Jehovah’s instructions: “Go away from here, and you must turn your way eastward and conceal yourself at the torrent valley of Cherith that is east of the Jordan. And it must occur that from the torrent valley you should drink, and the ravens I shall certainly command to supply you food there.”—1 Kings 17:3, 4.
Elijah obeyed immediately. If he wanted to survive the drought and famine that befell his land, he had to rely on whatever provisions Jehovah made for him. This was by no means easy. It meant concealing himself, living in complete isolation for months on end. It meant eating meat and bread carried to him by ravens—carrion-eating birds deemed unclean in the Mosaic Law—and trusting in Jehovah that such meat was not carrion but meat that had been properly bled according to law. So unlikely does this extended miracle seem to some Bible commentators that they suggest that the original word here must have meant “Arabs” and not “ravens” at all. But ravens were the ideal choice. No one would suspect that these lowly, unclean birds flying off into the wilderness with their scraps of food were actually feeding Elijah, whom Ahab and Jezebel were seeking in all the kingdoms round about!—1 Kings 18:3, 4, 10.
As the drought dragged on, Elijah may well have grown concerned over his water supply in the torrent valley of Cherith. Most of Israel’s torrent valleys dry up in times of drought, and “at the end of some days,” this one did too. Can you imagine Elijah’s feelings as the water gradually slowed to a trickle and the pools sank lower day by day? Surely he must have wondered what would happen when the water was gone. Nonetheless, Elijah faithfully stayed put.

(1 KINGS 17:4)

“You should drink from the stream, and I will command the ravens to supply you food there.””

*** w92 4/1 p. 18 Do You Have Faith Like Elijah’s? ***
Faith Expressed in Following Direction
For the moment, though, Elijah’s proclamation put him in mortal danger. It was time for another aspect of his faith to come into play. In order to stay alive, he had to be faithful in following Jehovah’s instructions: “Go away from here, and you must turn your way eastward and conceal yourself at the torrent valley of Cherith that is east of the Jordan. And it must occur that from the torrent valley you should drink, and the ravens I shall certainly command to supply you food there.”—1 Kings 17:3, 4.
Elijah obeyed immediately. If he wanted to survive the drought and famine that befell his land, he had to rely on whatever provisions Jehovah made for him. This was by no means easy. It meant concealing himself, living in complete isolation for months on end. It meant eating meat and bread carried to him by ravens—carrion-eating birds deemed unclean in the Mosaic Law—and trusting in Jehovah that such meat was not carrion but meat that had been properly bled according to law. So unlikely does this extended miracle seem to some Bible commentators that they suggest that the original word here must have meant “Arabs” and not “ravens” at all. But ravens were the ideal choice. No one would suspect that these lowly, unclean birds flying off into the wilderness with their scraps of food were actually feeding Elijah, whom Ahab and Jezebel were seeking in all the kingdoms round about!—1 Kings 18:3, 4, 10.
As the drought dragged on, Elijah may well have grown concerned over his water supply in the torrent valley of Cherith. Most of Israel’s torrent valleys dry up in times of drought, and “at the end of some days,” this one did too. Can you imagine Elijah’s feelings as the water gradually slowed to a trickle and the pools sank lower day by day? Surely he must have wondered what would happen when the water was gone. Nonetheless, Elijah faithfully stayed put.

(1 KINGS 17:6)

“And the ravens were bringing him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the stream.”

*** it-2 p. 754 Raven ***
The raven also has the practice of storing surplus food in rock crevices or burying it beneath leaves. These birds were thus an apt selection when God used them miraculously to carry in bread and meat twice daily to Elijah while the prophet was concealed in the torrent valley of Cherith.—1Ki 17:2-6.

(1 KINGS 17:9)

““Rise up, go to Zarʹe•phath, which belongs to Siʹdon, and stay there. Look! I will command a widow there to supply you with food.””

*** w14 2/15 p. 13 The Widow of Zarephath Was Rewarded for Her Faith ***
After Elijah announced the drought, God hid him from Ahab and miraculously fed the prophet with bread and meat brought to him by ravens. Jehovah then told Elijah: “Rise up, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and stay there. Look! I will command a widow there to supply you with food.”—1 Ki. 17:1-9.

*** w14 2/15 p. 14 The Widow of Zarephath Was Rewarded for Her Faith ***
She lived in Zarephath, a town that ‘belonged to,’ or was apparently dependent upon, the Phoenician city of Sidon. Very likely, Zarephath was inhabited by Baal worshippers. Nevertheless, Jehovah had seen something exceptional in this widow.
Although the poor widow of Zarephath lived among idolaters, she exercised faith. Jehovah sent Elijah to her for the sake of both the woman and the prophet. From this, we can draw a vital lesson.
Not all the inhabitants of Baal-worshipping Zarephath were completely corrupt. By sending Elijah to this widow, Jehovah showed that He takes note of well-intentioned individuals who are not yet serving Him. Indeed, “in every nation the man who fears [God] and does what is right is acceptable to him.”—Acts 10:35.

*** w92 4/1 pp. 18-19 Do You Have Faith Like Elijah’s? ***
It was not until the stream was dry that Jehovah gave him his next set of instructions. Go to Zarephath, the prophet was told. There he would find sustenance at the home of a widow.—1 Kings 17:7-9.
Zarephath! That town belonged to the city of Sidon, where Jezebel hailed from and where her own father had ruled as king! Would it be safe? Elijah may have wondered. But “he rose up and went.”—1 Kings 17:10.

(1 KINGS 17:10)

“So he rose up and went to Zarʹe•phath. When he came to the entrance of the city, there was a widow gathering pieces of wood. So he called to her and said: “Please, bring me a little water in a cup so that I may drink.””

*** w14 2/15 p. 13 The Widow of Zarephath Was Rewarded for Her Faith ***
When Elijah arrived at Zarephath, he saw a poor widow collecting pieces of wood. Could she be the woman who would provide food for the prophet? How could she do so, since she herself was so poor? Despite any misgivings Elijah may have had, he began a conversation with the woman. “Please,” he said, “bring me a little water in a cup so that I may drink.”

(1 KINGS 17:11)

“As she went to get it, he called to her: “Please, bring me a piece of bread in your hand.””

*** w14 2/15 pp. 13-14 The Widow of Zarephath Was Rewarded for Her Faith ***
When she went to get him some water, Elijah added: “Please, bring me a piece of bread.” (1 Ki. 17:10, 11) Giving the stranger a drink did not trouble the widow, but giving him bread was a problem.

(1 KINGS 17:12)

“At this she said: “As surely as Jehovah your God is living, I have no bread, only a handful of flour in the large jar and a little oil in the small jar. Now I am gathering a few pieces of wood, and I will go in and make something for me and my son. After we have eaten, we will die.””

*** w14 2/15 p. 14 The Widow of Zarephath Was Rewarded for Her Faith ***
“As surely as Jehovah your God is living,” she replied, “I have no bread, only a handful of flour in the large jar and a little oil in the small jar. Now I am gathering a few pieces of wood, and I will go in and make something for me and my son. After we have eaten, we will die.” (1 Ki. 17:12) Let us reflect on what this exchange reveals.
The widow recognized Elijah as a God-fearing Israelite. This is evident from her words “as surely as Jehovah your God is living.” It appears that while she had some knowledge of Israel’s God, it was not to the point of using the words “my God” when referring to Jehovah.

*** it-1 p. 1030 Hand ***
“a handful” may mean only a little (1Ki 17:12) or a modest portion (Ec 4:6), according to the context.

*** it-2 p. 952 Everyday Life in Ancient Israel ***
[Picture on page 952]
Vessels were of many sizes and shapes, usually earthenware, sometimes made of stone (1Ki 17:12)

(1 KINGS 17:13)

“Then E•liʹjah said to her: “Do not be afraid. Go in and do as you said. But first make me a small round loaf of bread with what is there, and bring it out to me. Then you can make something afterward for you and your son.”

*** w14 2/15 p. 14 The Widow of Zarephath Was Rewarded for Her Faith ***
‘FIRST MAKE ME A SMALL LOAF OF BREAD’
Consider carefully what Elijah asked the widow to do. She had just told him that after she made one more meal for her and her son, they would eat it and die. Yet, what did Elijah say? “Do not be afraid. Go in and do as you said. But first make me a small round loaf of bread with what is there, and bring it out to me. Then you can make something afterward for you and your son. For this is what Jehovah the God of Israel says: ‘The large jar of flour will not run out, and the small jar of oil will not run dry until the day Jehovah makes it rain on the surface of the ground.’”—1 Ki. 17:11-14.
‘Give away our last meal? You must be joking,’ some might have said. But that was not this widow’s reaction. Despite her limited knowledge of Jehovah, she believed Elijah and did what he asked of her. What a momentous test of faith that was—and what a wise decision she made!

(1 KINGS 17:14)

“For this is what Jehovah the God of Israel says: ‘The large jar of flour will not run out, and the small jar of oil will not run dry until the day Jehovah makes it rain on the surface of the ground.’””

*** w14 2/15 p. 14 The Widow of Zarephath Was Rewarded for Her Faith ***
‘FIRST MAKE ME A SMALL LOAF OF BREAD’
Consider carefully what Elijah asked the widow to do. She had just told him that after she made one more meal for her and her son, they would eat it and die. Yet, what did Elijah say? “Do not be afraid. Go in and do as you said. But first make me a small round loaf of bread with what is there, and bring it out to me. Then you can make something afterward for you and your son. For this is what Jehovah the God of Israel says: ‘The large jar of flour will not run out, and the small jar of oil will not run dry until the day Jehovah makes it rain on the surface of the ground.’”—1 Ki. 17:11-14.
‘Give away our last meal? You must be joking,’ some might have said. But that was not this widow’s reaction. Despite her limited knowledge of Jehovah, she believed Elijah and did what he asked of her. What a momentous test of faith that was—and what a wise decision she made!

(1 KINGS 17:15)

“So she went and did as E•liʹjah said, and she together with him and her household ate for many days.”

*** w14 2/15 pp. 14-15 The Widow of Zarephath Was Rewarded for Her Faith ***
Despite her limited knowledge of Jehovah, she believed Elijah and did what he asked of her. What a momentous test of faith that was—and what a wise decision she made!
God did not abandon that poor widow. Just as Elijah promised, Jehovah multiplied her meager supplies so that they sustained Elijah, the widow, and her son until the drought ended. Indeed, “the large jar of flour did not run out, and the small jar of oil did not run dry, according to Jehovah’s word that he had spoken through Elijah.” (1 Ki. 17:16; 18:1) If that woman had acted differently, the loaf of bread that she made from her meager supply of flour and oil may well have been her last meal. Instead, she acted in faith, trusted in Jehovah, and fed Elijah first.
A lesson that we can learn from this is that God blesses those who exercise faith. When you face a test of integrity and exercise faith, Jehovah will help you. He will be a Provider, a Protector, and a Friend in order to help you cope with your trial.—Ex. 3:13-15.
In 1898, Zion’s Watch Tower drew this lesson from the widow’s story: “If the woman had the faith necessary to obey, then she would be esteemed worthy of the Lord’s assistance through the Prophet; if she did not exercise the faith, another widow might have been found who would. Thus it is with us,—at various steps in the journey of life the Lord brings us to the place where he tests our faith. If we exercise the faith we will get the blessing; if we do not, we will lose it.”
When we face specific trials, we need to seek divine guidance from the Scriptures and from our Bible-based publications. Then we should act in harmony with Jehovah’s direction regardless of how difficult it may be to accept it. We will indeed be blessed if we act in harmony with this wise proverb: “Trust in Jehovah with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding. In all your ways take notice of him, and he will make your paths straight.”—Prov. 3:5, 6.

(1 KINGS 17:16)

“The large jar of flour did not run out, and the small jar of oil did not run dry, according to Jehovah’s word that he had spoken through E•liʹjah.”

*** w14 2/15 pp. 14-15 The Widow of Zarephath Was Rewarded for Her Faith ***
Despite her limited knowledge of Jehovah, she believed Elijah and did what he asked of her. What a momentous test of faith that was—and what a wise decision she made!
God did not abandon that poor widow. Just as Elijah promised, Jehovah multiplied her meager supplies so that they sustained Elijah, the widow, and her son until the drought ended. Indeed, “the large jar of flour did not run out, and the small jar of oil did not run dry, according to Jehovah’s word that he had spoken through Elijah.” (1 Ki. 17:16; 18:1) If that woman had acted differently, the loaf of bread that she made from her meager supply of flour and oil may well have been her last meal. Instead, she acted in faith, trusted in Jehovah, and fed Elijah first.
A lesson that we can learn from this is that God blesses those who exercise faith. When you face a test of integrity and exercise faith, Jehovah will help you. He will be a Provider, a Protector, and a Friend in order to help you cope with your trial.—Ex. 3:13-15.
In 1898, Zion’s Watch Tower drew this lesson from the widow’s story: “If the woman had the faith necessary to obey, then she would be esteemed worthy of the Lord’s assistance through the Prophet; if she did not exercise the faith, another widow might have been found who would. Thus it is with us,—at various steps in the journey of life the Lord brings us to the place where he tests our faith. If we exercise the faith we will get the blessing; if we do not, we will lose it.”
When we face specific trials, we need to seek divine guidance from the Scriptures and from our Bible-based publications. Then we should act in harmony with Jehovah’s direction regardless of how difficult it may be to accept it. We will indeed be blessed if we act in harmony with this wise proverb: “Trust in Jehovah with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding. In all your ways take notice of him, and he will make your paths straight.”—Prov. 3:5, 6.

(1 KINGS 17:18)

“At this she said to E•liʹjah: “What do you have against me, O man of the true God? Have you come to remind me of my guilt and to put my son to death?””

*** w14 2/15 p. 15 The Widow of Zarephath Was Rewarded for Her Faith ***
‘HAVE YOU COME TO PUT MY SON TO DEATH?’
The widow’s faith was about to undergo another test. “After these things,” says the Bible account, “the son of the woman who owned the house fell sick, and his sickness became so severe that he stopped breathing.” Searching for a reason for this tragedy, the grieving mother said to Elijah: “What do you have against me, O man of the true God? Have you come to remind me of my guilt and to put my son to death?” (1 Ki. 17:17, 18) What do those bitter words mean?
Had the woman recalled a sin that troubled her conscience? Did she think that her son’s death was divine retribution and that Elijah was God’s messenger of death? The Bible does not tell us, but one point is clear: The widow did not accuse God of any unrighteousness.
Elijah must have been shocked by the death of the widow’s son and by her idea that the prophet’s very presence was responsible for her heartbreaking bereavement.

(1 KINGS 17:19)

“But he said to her: “Give me your son.” Then he took him from her arms and carried him up to the roof chamber, where he was staying, and he laid him on his own bed.”

*** it-1 p. 1155 House ***
Often a roof chamber or upper chamber was built on the housetop. This was a pleasant, cool room that often served as a guest room. (Jg 3:20; 1Ki 17:19; 2Ki 1:2; 4:10)

(1 KINGS 17:20)

“He called out to Jehovah: “O Jehovah my God, are you also bringing harm to the widow with whom I am staying by putting her son to death?””

*** w14 2/15 p. 15 The Widow of Zarephath Was Rewarded for Her Faith ***
After carrying the boy’s limp body to the roof chamber, Elijah cried out: “O Jehovah my God, are you also bringing harm to the widow with whom I am staying by putting her son to death?” The prophet could not bear the thought that reproach would be cast on God’s name if He were to allow this kind and hospitable woman to suffer further. So Elijah begged: “O Jehovah my God, please, let this child’s life come back into him.”—1 Ki. 17:20, 21.

(1 KINGS 17:21)

“Then he stretched himself out over the child three times and called out to Jehovah: “O Jehovah my God, please, let this child’s life come back into him.””

*** it-2 p. 1006 Soul ***
Similarly, when the prophet Elijah performed a miracle regarding the dead son of the widow of Zarephath, the child’s neʹphesh (“soul,” or life as a creature) came back into him and “he came to life,” was again a living creature.—1Ki 17:17-23.

(1 KINGS 17:22)

“Jehovah listened to E•liʹjah’s request, and the life of the child came back into him, and he revived.”

*** w07 7/15 pp. 4-5 Do You Have an Immortal Soul? ***
But what about Bible texts that speak of the going out and the coming back of the soul? Concerning what happened to Rachel when she gave birth to a son, the Bible says: “As her soul was going out (because she died) she called his name Ben-oni; but his father called him Benjamin.” (Genesis 35:18) And referring to the resurrection of a widow’s son, 1 Kings 17:22 states: “Jehovah listened to Elijah’s voice [in prayer], so that the soul of the child came back within him and he came to life.” Do these passages indicate that the soul is some invisible, shadowy part that can escape from or enter a body?
Well, remember that one meaning of the word “soul” is “life.” Hence, Rachel’s soul was going out in that her life was going out. In fact, some Bibles render the phrase “her soul was going out” as “her life was ebbing away” (Knox) and “she breathed her last” (Jerusalem Bible). Similarly, in the case of the widow’s son, it was life that returned to the boy.—1 Kings 17:23.

*** w99 4/1 p. 16 par. 10 Life After Death—What Does the Bible Say? ***
10 It is similar with the resurrection of a widow’s son, recorded in 1 Kings chapter 17. In verse 22, we read that as Elijah prayed over the young boy, “Jehovah listened to Elijah’s voice, so that the soul of the child came back within him and he came to life.” Once again, the word “soul” means “life.” Thus, the New American Standard Bible reads: “The life of the child returned to him and he revived.” Yes, it was life, not some shadowy form, that returned to the boy. This is in harmony with what Elijah said to the boy’s mother: “See, your son [the whole person] is alive.”—1 Kings 17:23.

*** ie p. 23 par. 7 What Happens to the Soul at Death? ***
7 It is similar with the resurrection of a widow’s son, recorded in 1 Kings chapter 17. In verse 22, we read that as Elijah prayed over the young boy, “Jehovah listened to Elijah’s voice, so that the soul of the child came back within him and he came to life.” Once again, the word “soul” means “life.” Thus, the New American Standard Bible reads: “The life of the child returned to him and he revived.” Yes, it was life, not some shadowy form, that returned to the boy. This is in harmony with what Elijah said to the boy’s mother: “See, your son [the whole person] is alive.”—1 Kings 17:23.

*** it-1 p. 711 Elijah ***
During Elijah’s stay in her home her son dies. Elijah prays to God, who brings him to life, the first recorded resurrection and the third of Elijah’s eight miracles.—1Ki 17.

*** it-2 p. 1006 Soul ***
Similarly, when the prophet Elijah performed a miracle regarding the dead son of the widow of Zarephath, the child’s neʹphesh (“soul,” or life as a creature) came back into him and “he came to life,” was again a living creature.—1Ki 17:17-23.

WEEK STARTING AUGUST 3: Aug. 3 Bible reading: 1 Kings 18-20


(1 KINGS 18:1)

“After some time, in the third year, Jehovah’s word came to E•liʹjah, saying: “Go, present yourself to Aʹhab, and I will send rain on the surface of the ground.””

*** w08 4/1 p. 19 He Watched, and He Waited ***
[Box/Picture on page 19]
How Long Was the Drought in Elijah’s Day?
Jehovah’s prophet Elijah announced to King Ahab that the long drought would end soon. That happened “in the third year”—evidently counting from the day Elijah first announced the drought. (1 Kings 18:1) Jehovah sent rain soon after Elijah said that He would. Some might conclude, then, that the drought ended during the course of its third year and that it was therefore less than three years long. However, both Jesus and James tell us that the drought lasted “three years and six months.” (Luke 4:25; James 5:17) Is this a contradiction?
Not at all. You see, the dry season in ancient Israel was quite long, lasting up to six months. No doubt Elijah came to Ahab to announce the drought when the dry season was already proving to be unusually long and severe. In effect, the drought had begun nearly half a year earlier. Thus, when Elijah announced the end of the drought “in the third year” from his previous announcement, the drought had already lasted nearly three and a half years. The full “three years and six months” had elapsed by the time all the people assembled to witness the great test on Mount Carmel.
Consider, then, the timing of Elijah’s first visit to Ahab. The people believed that Baal was “the rider of the clouds,” the god who would bring rains to end the dry season. If the dry season was unusually long, people likely wondered: ‘Where is Baal? When will he bring the rains?’ Elijah’s announcement that neither rain nor dew would occur until he said so must have been devastating to those Baal worshippers.—1 Kings 17:1.
[Credit Line]
Pictorial Archive (Near Eastern History) Est.

*** w92 4/1 p. 17 Do You Have Faith Like Elijah’s? ***
Both Jesus and James say that it did not rain in the land for “three years and six months.” Yet, Elijah is said to appear before Ahab to end the drought “in the third year”—no doubt counting from the day he announced the drought. Thus, it must have been after a long, rainless dry season when he first stood before Ahab.—Luke 4:25; James 5:17; 1 Kings 18:1.

(1 KINGS 18:3)

“Meanwhile, Aʹhab called O•ba•diʹah, who was over the household. (Now O•ba•diʹah greatly feared Jehovah,”

*** w06 10/1 p. 20 par. 18 Courageous Through Faith and Godly Fear ***
18 Undoubtedly, Obadiah was both cautious and discreet in his worship of Jehovah. Still, he did not compromise. In fact, 1 Kings 18:3 tells us: “Obadiah himself had proved to be one greatly fearing Jehovah.” Yes, Obadiah’s fear of God was exceptional! This wholesome fear, in turn, gave him outstanding courage, as was demonstrated immediately after Jezebel murdered Jehovah’s prophets.

(1 KINGS 18:4)

“and when Jezʹe•bel was doing away with Jehovah’s prophets, O•ba•diʹah took 100 prophets and hid them 50 to a cave, and he supplied them with bread and water.)”

*** w06 10/1 p. 20 par. 19 Courageous Through Faith and Godly Fear ***
19 We read: “It came about that when Jezebel cut off Jehovah’s prophets, Obadiah proceeded to take a hundred prophets and keep them hid by fifties in a cave, and he supplied them bread and water.” (1 Kings 18:4) As you can imagine, secretly feeding a hundred men was a very dangerous undertaking. Not only did Obadiah have to avoid getting caught by Ahab and Jezebel but he also had to avoid detection by the 850 false prophets who frequented the palace. Besides that, the many other false worshippers in the land, from peasants to princes, would no doubt have seized any opportunity to expose Obadiah so as to curry favor with the king and queen. Nevertheless, right under the noses of all these idolaters, Obadiah courageously attended to the needs of Jehovah’s prophets. How powerful the fear of God can be!

(1 KINGS 18:19)

“And now summon all Israel to me at Mount Carʹmel, as well as the 450 prophets of Baʹal and the 400 prophets of the sacred pole, who are eating at the table of Jezʹe•bel.””

*** it-1 p. 947 Divided Kingdom ***
Carmel (Mt.) 1Ki 18:19-40

*** it-1 p. 949 Prophetic Activity of Elijah and Elisha ***
Carmel (Mt.) 1Ki 18:19-40

*** it-1 p. 950 Prophetic Activity of Elijah and Elisha ***
[Picture on page 950]
Mount Carmel, site of the fire test proving that not Baal but Jehovah is the true God (1Ki 18:21-39)

(1 KINGS 18:21)

“Then E•liʹjah approached all the people and said: “How long will you be limping between two different opinions? If Jehovah is the true God, follow him; but if Baʹal is, follow him!” But the people did not say a word in answer to him.”

*** ia chap. 10 pp. 86-87 He Stood Up for Pure Worship ***
“Limping”—How?
9 The heights of Mount Carmel commanded a sweeping view—from the torrent valley of Kishon below to the Great Sea (Mediterranean Sea) nearby and to the mountains of Lebanon on the far northern horizon. But as the sun rose on this climactic day, the vista was grim. A deathly pall hung over the once fertile land that Jehovah had given to the children of Abraham. It was now a land baked hard by the merciless sun, ruined by the folly of God’s own people! As those people thronged, Elijah approached them and spoke: “How long will you be limping upon two different opinions? If Jehovah is the true God, go following him; but if Baal is, go following him.”—1 Ki. 18:21.
10 What did Elijah mean by the expression “limping upon two different opinions”? Well, those people did not realize that they had to choose between the worship of Jehovah and the worship of Baal. They thought that they could have it both ways—that they could appease Baal with their revolting rituals and still ask favors of Jehovah God. Perhaps they reasoned that Baal would bless their crops and herds, while “Jehovah of armies” would protect them in battle. (1 Sam. 17:45) They had forgotten a basic truth—one that still eludes many today. Jehovah does not share his worship with anyone. He demands and is worthy of exclusive devotion. Any worship of him that is mixed with some other form of worship is unacceptable to him, even offensive!—Read Exodus 20:5.
11 So those Israelites were “limping” along like a man trying to follow two pathways at once. Many people today make a similar mistake, allowing other “baals” to creep into their life and push aside the worship of God. Heeding Elijah’s clarion call to stop limping can help us to reexamine our own priorities and worship.

*** w08 1/1 p. 19 He Stood Up for Pure Worship ***
“Limping”—How?
On its wind-whipped heights, Mount Carmel commands a sweeping view of Israel—from the torrent valley of Kishon below to the Great Sea (Mediterranean Sea) nearby to the mountains of Lebanon on the far northern horizon. But as the sun rose on this climactic day, the vista was grim. A deathly pall hung over the once fertile land that Jehovah had given to the children of Abraham. It was now a land baked hard by the merciless sun, ruined by the folly of God’s own people! As those people thronged together, Elijah approached them and spoke: “How long will you be limping upon two different opinions? If Jehovah is the true God, go following him; but if Baal is, go following him.”—1 Kings 18:21.
What did Elijah mean by the expression “limping upon two different opinions”? Well, those people did not realize that they had to choose between the worship of Jehovah and the worship of Baal. They thought that they could have it both ways—that they could appease Baal with their revolting rituals and still ask favors of Jehovah God. Perhaps they reasoned that Baal would bless their crops and herds, while “Jehovah of armies” would protect them in battle. (1 Samuel 17:45) They had forgotten a basic truth—one that still eludes many today—that Jehovah does not share his worship with anyone. He demands and is worthy of exclusive devotion. Any worship of him that is mixed with some other form of worship is unacceptable to him, even offensive!—Exodus 20:5.
So those Israelites were “limping” along like a man trying to follow two pathways at once. Many people make a similar mistake today, allowing other “baals” to creep into their life, pushing aside the worship of God! Elijah’s clarion call to stop limping can help us to reexamine our own priorities and worship.

*** w05 7/1 p. 30 par. 8 Highlights From the Book of First Kings ***
18:21—Why were the people silent when Elijah asked them to follow either Jehovah or Baal? It could be that they recognized their failure to give Jehovah the exclusive devotion that he exacts and therefore felt guilty. Or perhaps their consciences were hardened to the extent that they saw nothing wrong with worshipping Baal while claiming to be worshippers of Jehovah. It was only after Jehovah demonstrated his power that they said: “Jehovah is the true God! Jehovah is the true God!”—1 Kings 18:39.

*** w05 12/15 pp. 24-29 Now Is the Time for Decisive Action ***
Now Is the Time for Decisive Action
“How long will you be limping upon two different opinions?”—1 KINGS 18:21.
DO YOU believe that Jehovah is the only true God? Do you also believe that Bible prophecies point to our time as “the last days” of Satan’s wicked system? (2 Timothy 3:1) If so, you will surely agree that now, of all times, there is a need for decisive action. Never before in human history have so many lives been at stake.
2 In the tenth century B.C.E., the nation of Israel needed to make a very serious decision. Whom would they serve? King Ahab, under the influence of his pagan wife, Jezebel, promoted Baal worship in the ten-tribe kingdom of Israel. Baal was a fertility god who was supposed to provide rain and fruitful crops. Many Baal worshippers may have blown a kiss or bowed down to an idol of their god. To induce Baal to bless their crops and livestock, his worshippers took part in sex orgies with temple prostitutes. They also had the custom of cutting themselves to make blood flow.—1 Kings 18:28.
3 A remnant of some 7,000 Israelites refused to take part in this idolatrous, immoral, violent form of worship. (1 Kings 19:18) They loyally stuck to their covenant relationship with Jehovah God, and for this they were persecuted. For example, Queen Jezebel murdered many prophets of Jehovah. (1 Kings 18:4, 13) Because of these trying conditions, the majority of the Israelites practiced interfaith, trying to please both Jehovah and Baal. But it was apostasy for an Israelite to turn away from Jehovah and worship a false god. Jehovah promised to bless the Israelites if they loved him and obeyed his commandments. However, he warned them that if they failed to give him “exclusive devotion,” they would be annihilated.—Deuteronomy 5:6-10; 28:15, 63.
4 A similar situation exists in Christendom today. Church members claim to be Christians, but their holidays, behavior, and beliefs conflict with Bible teachings. Like Jezebel, Christendom’s clergy spearhead the persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Christendom’s clergy also have a long record of supporting wars and are thus responsible for the deaths of countless millions of church members. Such religious support of worldly governments is identified in the Bible as spiritual fornication. (Revelation 18:2, 3) In addition, Christendom has become increasingly tolerant of literal fornication, even among its clergy. Jesus Christ and his apostles foretold this great apostasy. (Matthew 13:36-43; Acts 20:29, 30; 2 Peter 2:1, 2) What will be the final outcome for the more than one billion adherents of Christendom? And what responsibility do true worshippers of Jehovah have toward these and all others who have been misled by false religion? We get a clear answer to such questions by examining the dramatic events that led to the ‘annihilation of Baal out of Israel.’—2 Kings 10:28.
God’s Love for His Wayward People
5 Jehovah God takes no delight in punishing those who become unfaithful to him. As a loving Father, he desires that wicked ones repent and turn back to him. (Ezekiel 18:32; 2 Peter 3:9) As evidence of this, Jehovah used many prophets in the days of Ahab and Jezebel to warn His people of the consequences of Baal worship. Elijah was one such prophet. After a devastating drought, which was announced in advance, Elijah told King Ahab to gather the Israelites and Baal prophets together on Mount Carmel.—1 Kings 18:1, 19.
6 The meeting took place at the site of an altar of Jehovah that had been “torn down,” probably to please Jezebel. (1 Kings 18:30) Sadly, the Israelites in attendance were not sure who—Jehovah or Baal—was in the best position to produce the much-needed rain. Baal was represented by 450 prophets, whereas Elijah was the only prophet representing Jehovah. Getting to the root of their problem, Elijah asked the people: “How long will you be limping upon two different opinions?” Then, in even plainer words, he placed the issue before them: “If Jehovah is the true God, go following him; but if Baal is, go following him.” To move the indecisive Israelites to render exclusive devotion to Jehovah, Elijah proposed a test of Godship. Two bulls were to be slaughtered as a sacrifice, one for Jehovah and the other for Baal. The true God would consume his sacrifice with fire. The Baal prophets got their sacrifice ready, and then for hours they kept calling: “O Baal, answer us!” When Elijah began to mock them, they cut themselves until blood flowed, and they shouted at the top of their voice. But there was no answer.—1 Kings 18:21, 26-29.
7 Now came Elijah’s turn. First, he repaired the altar of Jehovah and placed the pieces of the young bull on it. Next, he ordered that four large jars of water be poured on the sacrifice. This was done three times until the trench around the altar was filled with water. Then Elijah prayed: “O Jehovah, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, today let it be known that you are God in Israel and I am your servant and it is by your word that I have done all these things. Answer me, O Jehovah, answer me, that this people may know that you, Jehovah, are the true God and you yourself have turned their heart back.”—1 Kings 18:30-37.
8 The true God responded by consuming both sacrifice and altar with fire from heaven. That fire consumed even the water in the trench around the altar! Imagine the effect on the Israelites. “They immediately fell upon their faces and said: ‘Jehovah is the true God! Jehovah is the true God!’” Elijah now took further decisive action, ordering the Israelites: “Seize the prophets of Baal! Do not let a single one of them escape!” All 450 Baal prophets were then executed at the foot of Mount Carmel.—1 Kings 18:38-40.
9 On that same unforgettable day, Jehovah caused rain to fall upon the land for the first time in three and a half years! (James 5:17, 18) You can imagine all the talk among the Israelites as they returned home; Jehovah had vindicated his Godship. The Baal worshippers, however, did not give up. Jezebel continued her campaign of persecuting Jehovah’s servants. (1 Kings 19:1, 2; 21:11-16) Thus the integrity of God’s people was again tested. Would they be giving exclusive devotion to Jehovah when his day of judgment against Baal worshippers came?
Act Decisively Now
10 In modern times, anointed Christians have done a work like that of Elijah. By word of mouth and by the printed page, they have warned people of all nations inside and outside of Christendom about the danger of false religion. As a result, millions have taken decisive action to end their membership in false religion. They have dedicated their lives to Jehovah and have become baptized disciples of Jesus Christ. Yes, they have heeded God’s urgent appeal respecting false religion: “Get out of her, my people, if you do not want to share with her in her sins, and if you do not want to receive part of her plagues.”—Revelation 18:4.
11 Other millions, while attracted to the Bible-based message spread by Jehovah’s Witnesses, are still unsure about what they should do. Some of these occasionally come to Christian meetings, such as the observance of the Lord’s Evening Meal or sessions of a district convention. We urge all such ones to consider carefully Elijah’s words: “How long will you sit on the fence?” (1 Kings 18:21, New English Bible) Instead of delaying, they need to take decisive action now and zealously work toward the goal of becoming dedicated, baptized worshippers of Jehovah. Their prospects for everlasting life are at stake!—2 Thessalonians 1:6-9.
12 Sadly, some baptized Christians have become irregular or inactive in their worship. (Hebrews 10:23-25; 13:15, 16) Some have lost their zeal because of fear of persecution, the anxieties of making a living, efforts to get rich, or the pursuit of selfish pleasures. Jesus warned that these very things would stumble, choke, and ensnare some of his followers. (Matthew 10:28-33; 13:20-22; Luke 12:22-31; 21:34-36) Instead of ‘limping on two opinions,’ as it were, such ones should “be zealous and repent” by taking decisive action to carry out their dedication to God.—Revelation 3:15-19.
False Religion’s Sudden End
13 The reason why it is urgent for humans to take decisive action now is seen in what happened in Israel about 18 years after the issue of Godship was settled on Mount Carmel. Jehovah’s day of judgment against Baal worship came suddenly and unexpectedly during the ministry of Elijah’s successor, Elisha. King Ahab’s son Jehoram was ruling Israel, and Jezebel was still alive as queen mother. Quietly, Elisha sent his attendant to anoint Israel’s army chief, Jehu, as the new king. At the time, Jehu was on the east side of the Jordan at Ramoth-gilead, directing a war against Israel’s enemies. King Jehoram was at Jezreel in the valley plain near Megiddo, recovering from a battle wound.—2 Kings 8:29–9:4.
14 This is what Jehovah commanded Jehu to do: “You must strike down the house of Ahab your lord, and I must avenge the blood of my servants the prophets and the blood of all the servants of Jehovah at the hand of Jezebel. And the whole house of Ahab must perish; . . . Jezebel the dogs will eat up in the tract of land at Jezreel, and there will be no one burying her.”—2 Kings 9:7-10.
15 Jehu was a decisive man. Without delay, he got into his chariot and sped toward Jezreel. A watchman at Jezreel recognized the driving of Jehu and reported to King Jehoram, whereupon Jehoram got into his chariot and went out to meet his army chief. When they met, Jehoram asked: “Is there peace, Jehu?” Jehu replied: “What peace could there be as long as there are the fornications of Jezebel your mother and her many sorceries?” Then, before King Jehoram could flee, Jehu drew his bow and killed Jehoram with an arrow that pierced his heart.—2 Kings 9:20-24.
16 Wasting no time, Jehu raced to the city in his chariot. Looking down from a window, the heavily made-up Jezebel greeted Jehu with a challenging threat. Ignoring her, Jehu called for support: “Who is with me? Who?” Jezebel’s attendants now had to act decisively. Two or three court officials stuck their heads out of the window. Immediately, their loyalty was put to the test. “Let her drop!” ordered Jehu. The officials let Jezebel drop to the street below, where she was trampled by Jehu’s horses and chariot. Thus the instigator of Baal worship in Israel came to her deserved end. Before there was time to bury her, dogs had eaten up her fleshy parts, just as foretold.—2 Kings 9:30-37.
17 A similar shocking end will come to the symbolic harlot who has the name “Babylon the Great.” The harlot represents the false religions of Satan’s world, which have their origin in the ancient city of Babylon. After false religion’s end, Jehovah God will turn his attention to all humans who make up the secular parts of Satan’s world. These will also be destroyed, preparing the way for a righteous new world.—Revelation 17:3-6; 19:19-21; 21:1-4.
18 After Jezebel’s death, King Jehu wasted no time in executing all Ahab’s descendants and key supporters. (2 Kings 10:11) But many Baal-worshipping Israelites remained in the land. Concerning these, Jehu took decisive action to show his “toleration of no rivalry toward Jehovah.” (2 Kings 10:16) Pretending to be a Baal worshipper himself, Jehu organized a great festival at the temple of Baal that Ahab had built in Samaria. All Baal worshippers in Israel came to the festival. Trapped inside the temple, they were all slaughtered by Jehu’s men. The Bible concludes the account with the words: “Thus Jehu annihilated Baal out of Israel.”—2 Kings 10:18-28.
19 Baal worship was eradicated from Israel. Just as surely, this world’s false religions will come to a sudden, shocking end. On whose side will you be during that great day of judgment? Act decisively now, and you may be privileged to be included among the “great crowd” of human survivors of “the great tribulation.” Then you will be able to look back with joy, and you will praise God for executing judgment on “the great harlot who corrupted the earth with her fornication.” United with other true worshippers, you will be in agreement with the thrilling words that heavenly voices sing: “Praise Jah, you people, because Jehovah our God, the Almighty, has begun to rule as king.”—Revelation 7:9, 10, 14; 19:1, 2, 6.

*** w98 1/1 p. 30 Elijah Exalts the True God ***
Then Elijah addressed the crowd: “How long will you be limping upon two different opinions? If Jehovah is the true God, go following him; but if Baal is, go following him.”—1 Kings 18:17-21.

*** w98 1/1 p. 30 Elijah Exalts the True God ***
Some scholars suggest that Elijah may have alluded to the ritual dance of Baal worshipers. The same use of the word “limping” is found at 1 Kings 18:26 to describe the dance of the Baal prophets.

*** it-2 p. 191 Lame, Lameness ***
On a later occasion, Elijah asked the Israelites: “How long will you be limping upon two different opinions? If Jehovah is the true God, go following him; but if Baal is, go following him.” At that time the Israelites were claiming to worship Jehovah but at the same time were worshiping Baal. Their course was unsteady and halting, like that of a lame man. During the contest that ensued, when the prophets of Baal were vainly trying from morning till noon to get their god to answer them, “they kept limping around the altar that they had made.” This may be a mocking description of the ritualistic dance or hobble of the fanatical Baal worshipers, or it may be that they limped because of their tiredness from the long, futile ritual.—1Ki 18:21-29.

(1 KINGS 18:23)

“Let them give us two young bulls, and let them choose one young bull and cut it into pieces and put it on the wood, but they should not put fire to it. I will prepare the other young bull, and I will place it on the wood, but I will not put fire to it.”

*** ia chap. 10 p. 87 He Stood Up for Pure Worship ***
Notably, Elijah told them: “You must not put fire to” the sacrifice. Some scholars say that such idolaters sometimes used altars with a secret cavity beneath so that a fire could appear to be lit supernaturally.

*** w08 1/1 p. 19 He Stood Up for Pure Worship ***
Notably, Elijah told them: “You must not put fire to” the sacrifice. Some scholars say that such idolaters sometimes used altars with a secret cavity beneath so that a fire could appear to be lit supernaturally.

(1 KINGS 18:26)

“So they took the young bull that was given to them, prepared it, and kept calling on the name of Baʹal from morning until noon, saying: “O Baʹal, answer us!” But there was no voice and no one answering. They kept limping around the altar that they had made.”

*** it-1 p. 575 Dancing ***
The worship of Baal was associated with wild, unrestrained dances. In Elijah’s time there was such a display by the priests of Baal who, in the course of the demonic dance, lacerated themselves with knives as they kept “limping around” the altar. (1Ki 18:26-29) Other translations say they “performed a limping dance” (AT), “danced in halting wise” (JP), “performed their hobbling dance” (JB).

(1 KINGS 18:27)

“About noon E•liʹjah began to mock them and say: “Call out at the top of your voice! After all, he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought or he has gone to relieve himself. Or maybe he is asleep and someone needs to wake him up!””

*** ia chap. 10 p. 88 par. 14 He Stood Up for Pure Worship ***
At noon Elijah began to mock them, asserting sarcastically that Baal must be too busy to answer them, that he was relieving himself in the privy, or that he was napping and someone needed to wake him up. “Call at the top of your voice,” Elijah urged those charlatans. Clearly, he saw this Baal worship as ridiculous fakery, and he wanted God’s people to see it for the fraud that it was.—1 Ki. 18:26, 27.

*** w08 1/1 p. 20 He Stood Up for Pure Worship ***
At noon Elijah began to mock them, asserting sarcastically that Baal must be too busy to answer them, that he was relieving himself in the privy, or that he was napping and someone needed to wake him up. “Call at the top of your voice,” Elijah urged those charlatans. Clearly, he saw this Baal worship as ridiculous fakery, and he wanted God’s people to see it for the fraud that it was.—1 Kings 18:26, 27.

(1 KINGS 18:28)

“They were calling out at the top of their voice and cutting themselves with daggers and lances, according to their custom, until their blood gushed out all over them.”

*** w98 1/1 p. 30 Elijah Exalts the True God ***
Some suggest that self-mutilation was related to the practice of human sacrifice. Both acts implied that bodily affliction or the shedding of blood can invoke a god’s favor.

*** w98 1/1 p. 30 Elijah Exalts the True God ***
The Baal prophets even began cutting themselves with daggers and lances—a practice often employed by pagans to arouse the pity of their gods.—1 Kings 18:28.

*** it-1 p. 563 Cuttings ***
Inflicting lacerations upon the flesh, however, was not limited to mourning rites. In the hope of having their god answer their appeals, the prophets of Baal cut themselves “according to their custom with daggers and with lances, until they caused blood to flow out upon them.” (1Ki 18:28) Similar rites were engaged in by other ancient peoples. For example, Herodotus (II, 61) mentions that during the festival of Isis, the Carians residing in Egypt cut their foreheads with knives.

(1 KINGS 18:29)

“Noon was past and they continued in a frenzy until the time the evening grain offering is presented, but there was no voice and no one answering; no one was paying attention.”

*** it-1 p. 1152 Hour ***
God commanded that burnt offerings be made on the altar “in the morning” and “between the two evenings.” Along with each of these, a grain offering was made. (Ex 29:38-42) So it came about that expressions such as “the going up of the grain offering,” where the context indicates whether morning or evening (as at 1Ki 18:29, 36), and “the time of the evening gift offering” (Da 9:21) referred to a fairly well-defined time.

(1 KINGS 18:30)

“At length E•liʹjah said to all the people: “Approach me.” So all the people approached him. Then he repaired the altar of Jehovah that had been torn down.”

*** ia chap. 10 pp. 88-90 par. 16 He Stood Up for Pure Worship ***
16 Late in the afternoon came Elijah’s turn to offer a sacrifice. He repaired an altar to Jehovah that had been torn down, no doubt by enemies of pure worship.

*** w08 1/1 p. 20 He Stood Up for Pure Worship ***
Late in the afternoon, Elijah’s turn came. He repaired an altar to Jehovah that had been torn down, no doubt by enemies of pure worship.

*** w05 12/15 p. 26 par. 6 Now Is the Time for Decisive Action ***
6 The meeting took place at the site of an altar of Jehovah that had been “torn down,” probably to please Jezebel. (1 Kings 18:30)

(1 KINGS 18:31)

“E•liʹjah then took 12 stones, corresponding to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom Jehovah’s word had come, saying: “Israel will be your name.””

*** ia chap. 10 p. 90 par. 16 He Stood Up for Pure Worship ***
He used 12 stones, perhaps reminding many in the 10-tribe nation of Israel that the Law given to all 12 tribes was still binding on them.

*** w08 1/1 p. 20 He Stood Up for Pure Worship ***
He used 12 stones, perhaps reminding many in the 10-tribe nation of Israel that the Law given to all 12 tribes was still binding upon them.

(1 KINGS 18:32)

“With the stones he built an altar in the name of Jehovah. Then he made a trench all around the altar, an area large enough to sow with two seah measures of seed.”

*** it-1 p. 711 Elijah ***
Now it is Elijah’s turn. Using 12 stones, he mends an altar that was torn down, probably at Jezebel’s instance. Then he has the people soak the offering and the altar in water three times; even the trench around the altar, circumscribing an area perhaps 32 m (103 ft) square, is filled with water. (1Ki 18:30-35)

(1 KINGS 18:33)

“After that he put the pieces of wood in order, cut the young bull into pieces, and placed it on the wood. He now said: “Fill four large jars with water and pour it on the burnt offering and on the pieces of wood.””

*** w98 1/1 p. 31 Elijah Exalts the True God ***
Afterward, the bull, the altar, and the wood were thoroughly soaked with water, and the trench was filled with water (no doubt seawater obtained from the Mediterranean Sea).

*** ba p. 17 Can This Book Be Trusted? ***
In some cases the omission of certain details only adds to the credibility of the Bible writer. For example, the writer of 1 Kings tells of a severe drought in Israel. It was so severe that the king could not find enough water and grass to keep his horses and mules alive. (1 Kings 17:7; 18:5) Yet, the same account reports that the prophet Elijah ordered enough water to be brought to him on Mount Carmel (for use in connection with a sacrifice) to fill a trench circumscribing an area of perhaps 10,000 square feet [1,000 sq m]. (1 Kings 18:33-35) In the midst of the drought, where did all the water come from? The writer of 1 Kings did not trouble himself to explain. However, anyone living in Israel knew that Carmel was on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, as an incidental remark later in the narrative indicates. (1 Kings 18:43) Thus, seawater would have been readily available. If this otherwise detailed book were merely fiction masquerading as fact, why would its writer, who in that case would be a clever forger, have left such an apparent difficulty in the text?

(1 KINGS 18:34)

“Then he said: “Do it again.” So they did it again. Once more he said: “Do it a third time.” So they did it a third time.”

*** ba p. 17 Can This Book Be Trusted? ***
In some cases the omission of certain details only adds to the credibility of the Bible writer. For example, the writer of 1 Kings tells of a severe drought in Israel. It was so severe that the king could not find enough water and grass to keep his horses and mules alive. (1 Kings 17:7; 18:5) Yet, the same account reports that the prophet Elijah ordered enough water to be brought to him on Mount Carmel (for use in connection with a sacrifice) to fill a trench circumscribing an area of perhaps 10,000 square feet [1,000 sq m]. (1 Kings 18:33-35) In the midst of the drought, where did all the water come from? The writer of 1 Kings did not trouble himself to explain. However, anyone living in Israel knew that Carmel was on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, as an incidental remark later in the narrative indicates. (1 Kings 18:43) Thus, seawater would have been readily available. If this otherwise detailed book were merely fiction masquerading as fact, why would its writer, who in that case would be a clever forger, have left such an apparent difficulty in the text?

(1 KINGS 18:35)

“And the water ran all around the altar, and he also filled the trench with water.”

*** ba p. 17 Can This Book Be Trusted? ***
In some cases the omission of certain details only adds to the credibility of the Bible writer. For example, the writer of 1 Kings tells of a severe drought in Israel. It was so severe that the king could not find enough water and grass to keep his horses and mules alive. (1 Kings 17:7; 18:5) Yet, the same account reports that the prophet Elijah ordered enough water to be brought to him on Mount Carmel (for use in connection with a sacrifice) to fill a trench circumscribing an area of perhaps 10,000 square feet [1,000 sq m]. (1 Kings 18:33-35) In the midst of the drought, where did all the water come from? The writer of 1 Kings did not trouble himself to explain. However, anyone living in Israel knew that Carmel was on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, as an incidental remark later in the narrative indicates. (1 Kings 18:43) Thus, seawater would have been readily available. If this otherwise detailed book were merely fiction masquerading as fact, why would its writer, who in that case would be a clever forger, have left such an apparent difficulty in the text?

(1 KINGS 18:36)

“About the time when the evening grain offering is presented, E•liʹjah the prophet stepped forward and said: “O Jehovah, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, today let it be known that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and that it is by your word that I have done all these things.”

*** ia chap. 10 p. 90 par. 17 He Stood Up for Pure Worship ***
17 When everything was ready, Elijah said a prayer. Eloquent in its simplicity, the prayer showed clearly where Elijah’s priorities lay. First and foremost, he wanted it known that Jehovah, not this Baal, was “God in Israel.” Second, he wanted everyone to know that his own role was that of Jehovah’s servant; all glory and credit should go to God. Finally, he showed that he still cared about his people, for he was eager to see Jehovah turn “their heart back.” (1 Ki. 18:36, 37) Despite all the misery that they had caused by their faithlessness, Elijah still loved them. In our own prayers to God, can we manifest similar humility, concern for God’s name, and compassion for others who need help?

*** w10 10/1 pp. 4-5 2 To Whom? ***
After Elijah prayed, his God answered instantly, sending fire from heaven to consume an offering that Elijah had set out. What was the difference? There is one vital clue in Elijah’s prayer itself, recorded at 1 Kings 18:36, 37. It is a very short prayer—there are only about 30 words in the original Hebrew. Yet, in those few lines, Elijah three times addressed God by his personal name, Jehovah.
Baal, meaning “owner” or “master,” was the god of the Canaanites, and there were many local versions of this deity. Jehovah, however, is a unique name, applying only to one Personage in all the universe. This God told his people: “I am Jehovah. That is my name; and to no one else shall I give my own glory.”—Isaiah 42:8.
Did Elijah’s prayer and the prayers of those Baal prophets go to the same place? Baal worship degraded people with ritual prostitution and even human sacrifice. In contrast, the worship of Jehovah ennobled his people, Israel, freeing them from such degrading practices. So think about it: If you specifically addressed a letter to a highly respected friend, would you expect it to be delivered to someone who did not bear your friend’s name and whose vile reputation contradicted everything your friend stood for? Surely not!

*** w08 1/1 p. 20 He Stood Up for Pure Worship ***
When everything was ready, Elijah said a prayer. Eloquent in its simplicity, the prayer showed clearly where Elijah’s priorities lay. First and foremost, he wanted it known that Jehovah, not this Baal, was “God in Israel.” Second, he wanted everyone to know that his own role was that of Jehovah’s servant; all glory and credit should go to God. Finally, he showed that he still cared about his people, for he was eager to see Jehovah turn “their heart back.” (1 Kings 18:36, 37) Despite all the misery that they had caused by their faithlessness, Elijah still loved them. In our own prayers to God, can we manifest similar concern for God’s name, as well as humility and compassion for others who need help?

*** it-1 p. 1152 Hour ***
God commanded that burnt offerings be made on the altar “in the morning” and “between the two evenings.” Along with each of these, a grain offering was made. (Ex 29:38-42) So it came about that expressions such as “the going up of the grain offering,” where the context indicates whether morning or evening (as at 1Ki 18:29, 36), and “the time of the evening gift offering” (Da 9:21) referred to a fairly well-defined time.

(1 KINGS 18:37)

“Answer me, O Jehovah! Answer me so that this people may know that you, Jehovah, are the true God and that you are turning their hearts back to you.””

*** ia chap. 10 p. 90 par. 17 He Stood Up for Pure Worship ***
17 When everything was ready, Elijah said a prayer. Eloquent in its simplicity, the prayer showed clearly where Elijah’s priorities lay. First and foremost, he wanted it known that Jehovah, not this Baal, was “God in Israel.” Second, he wanted everyone to know that his own role was that of Jehovah’s servant; all glory and credit should go to God. Finally, he showed that he still cared about his people, for he was eager to see Jehovah turn “their heart back.” (1 Ki. 18:36, 37) Despite all the misery that they had caused by their faithlessness, Elijah still loved them. In our own prayers to God, can we manifest similar humility, concern for God’s name, and compassion for others who need help?

*** w10 10/1 pp. 4-5 2 To Whom? ***
After Elijah prayed, his God answered instantly, sending fire from heaven to consume an offering that Elijah had set out. What was the difference? There is one vital clue in Elijah’s prayer itself, recorded at 1 Kings 18:36, 37. It is a very short prayer—there are only about 30 words in the original Hebrew. Yet, in those few lines, Elijah three times addressed God by his personal name, Jehovah.
Baal, meaning “owner” or “master,” was the god of the Canaanites, and there were many local versions of this deity. Jehovah, however, is a unique name, applying only to one Personage in all the universe. This God told his people: “I am Jehovah. That is my name; and to no one else shall I give my own glory.”—Isaiah 42:8.
Did Elijah’s prayer and the prayers of those Baal prophets go to the same place? Baal worship degraded people with ritual prostitution and even human sacrifice. In contrast, the worship of Jehovah ennobled his people, Israel, freeing them from such degrading practices. So think about it: If you specifically addressed a letter to a highly respected friend, would you expect it to be delivered to someone who did not bear your friend’s name and whose vile reputation contradicted everything your friend stood for? Surely not!

*** w08 1/1 p. 20 He Stood Up for Pure Worship ***
When everything was ready, Elijah said a prayer. Eloquent in its simplicity, the prayer showed clearly where Elijah’s priorities lay. First and foremost, he wanted it known that Jehovah, not this Baal, was “God in Israel.” Second, he wanted everyone to know that his own role was that of Jehovah’s servant; all glory and credit should go to God. Finally, he showed that he still cared about his people, for he was eager to see Jehovah turn “their heart back.” (1 Kings 18:36, 37) Despite all the misery that they had caused by their faithlessness, Elijah still loved them. In our own prayers to God, can we manifest similar concern for God’s name, as well as humility and compassion for others who need help?

(1 KINGS 18:40)

“Then E•liʹjah said to them: “Seize the prophets of Baʹal! Do not let a single one of them escape!” At once they seized them, and E•liʹjah brought them down to the stream of Kiʹshon and slaughtered them there.”

*** ia chap. 10 pp. 90-91 par. 19 He Stood Up for Pure Worship ***
However, they had not as yet shown any faith. Frankly, to admit that Jehovah is the true God after seeing fire fall from heaven in response to a prayer is not an impressive demonstration of faith. So Elijah asked more of them. He asked them to do what they should have done many years earlier—obey the Law of Jehovah. God’s Law said that false prophets and idolaters should be put to death. (Deut. 13:5-9) These Baal priests were committed enemies of Jehovah God, and they deliberately worked against his purposes. Did they deserve mercy? Well, what mercy had they ever granted to all those innocent children who were burned alive as sacrifices to Baal? (Read Proverbs 21:13; Jer. 19:5) Those men were well beyond the reach of mercy! So Elijah ordered that they be executed, and executed they were.—1 Ki. 18:40.

*** w08 1/1 p. 21 He Stood Up for Pure Worship ***
However, they had not as yet shown any faith. Frankly, to admit that Jehovah is the true God after seeing fire fall from heaven in response to a prayer is not an impressive demonstration of faith. So Elijah asked more of them. He asked them to do what they should have done many years earlier—obey the Law of Jehovah. God’s Law said that false prophets and idolaters should be put to death. (Deuteronomy 13:5-9) These Baal priests were committed enemies of Jehovah God who worked deliberately against his purposes. Did they deserve mercy? Well, what mercy was ever granted to all those innocent children who were burned alive as sacrifices to Baal? (Proverbs 21:13; Jeremiah 19:5) No, those men were well beyond the reach of mercy. So Elijah ordered that they be executed, and executed they were.—1 Kings 18:40.

*** it-1 p. 420 Carmel ***
After the test, Elijah had the false prophets brought down to the torrent valley of Kishon, which courses along the eastern foot of Carmel before ending in the Bay of Acco, and there slaughtered them. (1Ki 18:40)

(1 KINGS 18:41)

“E•liʹjah now said to Aʹhab: “Go up, eat and drink, for there is the sound of a heavy downpour.””

*** ia chap. 11 p. 93 par. 5 He Watched, and He Waited ***
5 Elijah approached Ahab and said: “Go up, eat and drink; for there is the sound of the turmoil of a downpour.”

*** ia chap. 11 p. 95 pars. 10-11 He Watched, and He Waited ***
Remember, Elijah had just told King Ahab: “There is the sound of the turmoil of a downpour.” How could the prophet say such a thing when there were no rain clouds to be seen?
11 Elijah knew of Jehovah’s promise. As Jehovah’s prophet and representative, he was sure that his God would fulfill His word. Elijah was confident—so much so that it was as if he could already hear the downpour. We might be reminded of the Bible’s description of Moses: “He continued steadfast as seeing the One who is invisible.” Is God that real to you? He provides ample reason for us to put that kind of faith in him and his promises.—Heb. 11:1, 27.

*** w08 4/1 p. 18 He Watched, and He Waited ***
Remember, Elijah had just told King Ahab: “There is the sound of the turmoil of a downpour.” How could the prophet say such a thing when there were no rain clouds to be seen?
Elijah knew of Jehovah’s promise. As Jehovah’s prophet and representative, he was sure that his God would fulfill His word. Elijah was confident—so much so that it was as if he could already hear the downpour. We might be reminded of the Bible’s description of Moses: “He continued steadfast as seeing the One who is invisible.” Is God that real to you? He provides ample reason for us to put that kind of faith in him and his promises.—Hebrews 11:1, 27.

*** w08 4/1 p. 17 He Watched, and He Waited ***
Elijah approached Ahab and said: “Go up, eat and drink; for there is the sound of the turmoil of a downpour.” (Verse 41)

(1 KINGS 18:42)

“So Aʹhab went up to eat and drink, while E•liʹjah went up to the top of Carʹmel and crouched on the ground, keeping his face between his knees.”

*** ia chap. 11 pp. 93-94 pars. 5-8 He Watched, and He Waited ***
No, Ahab simply “proceeded to go up to eat and drink.” (1 Ki. 18:41, 42) What about Elijah?
6 “As for Elijah, he went up to the top of Carmel and began crouching to the earth and keeping his face put between his knees.” While Ahab went off to fill his stomach, Elijah had an opportunity to pray to his heavenly Father. Note the humble posture described here—Elijah on the ground with his head bowed so low that his face was near his knees. What was Elijah doing? We need not guess. The Bible, at James 5:18, tells us that Elijah prayed for the drought to end. Likely he was offering such a prayer on top of Carmel.
7 Earlier, Jehovah had said: “I am determined to give rain upon the surface of the ground.” (1 Ki. 18:1) So Elijah prayed for the fulfillment of Jehovah’s stated will, much as Jesus taught his followers to pray some one thousand years later.—Matt. 6:9, 10.
8 Elijah’s example teaches us much about prayer. Foremost in Elijah’s thoughts was the accomplishment of God’s will. When we pray, it is good to remember: “No matter what it is that we ask according to [God’s] will, he hears us.” (1 John 5:14) Clearly, then, we need to know what God’s will is in order to pray acceptably—a good reason to make Bible study a part of our daily life. Surely Elijah also wanted to see an end to the drought because of all the suffering among the people of his homeland. His heart was likely full of thanksgiving after the miracle he had seen Jehovah perform that day. We likewise want our prayers to reflect heartfelt thanksgiving and concern for the welfare of others.—Read 2 Corinthians 1:11; Philippians 4:6.

*** w08 4/1 pp. 17-18 He Watched, and He Waited ***
No, Ahab simply “proceeded to go up to eat and drink.” (Verse 42) What about Elijah?
“As for Elijah, he went up to the top of Carmel and began crouching to the earth and keeping his face put between his knees.” While Ahab went off to fill his stomach, Elijah had an opportunity to pray to his Father. Note the humble posture described here—Elijah on the ground with his head bowed so low that his face was near his knees. What was Elijah doing? We need not guess. The Bible, at James 5:18, tells us that Elijah prayed for the drought to end. No doubt he was offering such a prayer on top of Carmel.
Earlier, Jehovah said: “I am determined to give rain upon the surface of the ground.” (1 Kings 18:1) So Elijah prayed that his Father’s stated will be accomplished, much as Jesus taught his followers to pray some one thousand years later.—Matthew 6:9, 10.
Elijah’s example teaches us much about prayer. Foremost in Elijah’s thoughts was the accomplishment of his Father’s will. When we pray, it is good to remember: “No matter what it is that we ask according to [God’s] will, he hears us.” (1 John 5:14) Clearly, then, we need to know what God’s will is in order to pray acceptably—a good reason to make Bible study a part of our daily life. Surely Elijah also wanted to see an end to the drought because of all the suffering among the people of his homeland. His heart was likely full of thanksgiving after the miracle he had seen Jehovah perform that day. Concern for the welfare of others and heartfelt thanksgiving should mark our prayers as well.—2 Corinthians 1:11; Philippians 4:6.

*** it-1 pp. 215-216 Attitudes and Gestures ***
Sitting and prostrating. Sitting was another posture employed in prayer, the petitioner evidently kneeling and then sitting back upon his heels. (1Ch 17:16) From this position he could bow his head or rest it on his bosom. Or, as Elijah did, he might crouch to the earth and put his face between his knees. (1Ki 18:42)

(1 KINGS 18:43)

“Then he said to his attendant: “Go up, please, and look toward the sea.” So he went up and looked and said: “There is nothing at all.” Seven times E•liʹjah said, “Go back.””

*** ia chap. 11 pp. 94-95 He Watched, and He Waited ***
Confident and Watchful
9 Elijah was sure that Jehovah would act to end the drought, but he was not sure when Jehovah would act. So, what did the prophet do in the meantime? Note what the account says: “He said to his attendant: ‘Go up, please. Look in the direction of the sea.’ So he went up and looked and then said: ‘There is nothing at all.’ And he went on to say, ‘Go back,’ for seven times.” (1 Ki. 18:43) Elijah’s example teaches us at least two lessons. First, note the prophet’s confidence. Then, consider his watchfulness.
10 Because Elijah had confidence in Jehovah’s promise, he eagerly sought evidence that Jehovah was about to act. He sent his attendant up to a high vantage point to scan the horizon for any signs of impending rain. Upon his return, the attendant delivered this unenthusiastic report: “There is nothing at all.” The horizon was clear, and the sky, evidently cloudless. Now, did you notice something unusual? Remember, Elijah had just told King Ahab: “There is the sound of the turmoil of a downpour.” How could the prophet say such a thing when there were no rain clouds to be seen?
11 Elijah knew of Jehovah’s promise. As Jehovah’s prophet and representative, he was sure that his God would fulfill His word. Elijah was confident—so much so that it was as if he could already hear the downpour. We might be reminded of the Bible’s description of Moses: “He continued steadfast as seeing the One who is invisible.” Is God that real to you? He provides ample reason for us to put that kind of faith in him and his promises.—Heb. 11:1, 27.
12 Next, notice how watchful Elijah was. He sent his attendant back, not once or twice, but seven times! We might imagine the attendant tiring of such a repetitive task, but Elijah remained eager for a sign and did not give up.

*** w08 4/1 pp. 18-19 He Watched, and He Waited ***
Confident and Watchful
Elijah was sure that Jehovah would act to end the drought, but he was not sure when Jehovah would act. So, what did the prophet do in the meantime? Note what verse 43 says: “He said to his attendant: ‘Go up, please. Look in the direction of the sea.’ So he went up and looked and then said: ‘There is nothing at all.’ And he went on to say, ‘Go back,’ for seven times.” Elijah’s example teaches us at least two lessons. First, note the prophet’s confidence. Then, consider his watchfulness.
Elijah eagerly sought evidence that Jehovah was about to act, so he sent his attendant up to a high vantage point to scan the horizon for any signs of impending rain. Upon his return, the attendant delivered this unenthusiastic report: “There is nothing at all.” The horizon was clear, and the sky, evidently cloudless. Now, did you notice something unusual? Remember, Elijah had just told King Ahab: “There is the sound of the turmoil of a downpour.” How could the prophet say such a thing when there were no rain clouds to be seen?
Elijah knew of Jehovah’s promise. As Jehovah’s prophet and representative, he was sure that his God would fulfill His word. Elijah was confident—so much so that it was as if he could already hear the downpour. We might be reminded of the Bible’s description of Moses: “He continued steadfast as seeing the One who is invisible.” Is God that real to you? He provides ample reason for us to put that kind of faith in him and his promises.—Hebrews 11:1, 27.
Next, notice how watchful Elijah was. He sent his attendant back, not once or twice, but seven times! We might imagine the attendant tiring of such a repetitive task, but Elijah remained eager for a sign and did not give up.

(1 KINGS 18:44)

“The seventh time his attendant said: “Look! There is a small cloud like a man’s hand ascending out of the sea.” He now said: “Go, say to Aʹhab, ‘Hitch up the chariot! Go down so that the downpour may not detain you!’””

*** ia chap. 11 pp. 95-97 pars. 12-14 He Watched, and He Waited ***
Finally, after his seventh trip, the attendant reported: “Look! There is a small cloud like a man’s palm ascending out of the sea.” Can you picture that attendant holding his arm outstretched and using his palm to gauge the size of one little cloud coming up over the horizon of the Great Sea? The attendant may have been unimpressed. To Elijah, though, that cloud was significant. He now gave his attendant urgent directions: “Go up, say to Ahab, ‘Hitch up! And go down that the downpour may not detain you!’”—1 Ki. 18:44.
13 Again, Elijah set a powerful example for us. We too live at a time when God will soon act to fulfill his stated purpose. Elijah awaited the end of a drought; God’s servants today await the end of a corrupt world system of things. (1 John 2:17) Until Jehovah God acts, we must keep ever on the watch, as Elijah did. God’s own Son, Jesus, advised his followers: “Keep on the watch, therefore, because you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.” (Matt. 24:42) Did Jesus mean that his followers would be completely in the dark as to when the end would come? No, for he spoke at length about what the world would be like in the days leading up to the end. All of us can observe the fulfillment of this detailed sign of “the conclusion of the system of things.”—Read Matthew 24:3-7.
14 Each facet of that sign furnishes powerful, convincing evidence. Is such evidence enough to move us to act with urgency in our service to Jehovah? One little cloud rising from the horizon was enough to convince Elijah that Jehovah was about to act.

*** w09 1/1 pp. 15-16 Be Thankful for the Rain ***
Less than a hundred years after Solomon’s day, God’s prophet Elijah showed his knowledge about the direction from which to expect rain. During his day, the land experienced a severe drought for over three years. (James 5:17) Jehovah God brought this calamity upon his people because they had rejected him in favor of the Canaanite rain-god, Baal. But Elijah helped to bring the Israelites to repentance, so he was now willing to pray for rain. While praying, Elijah asked his attendant to look “in the direction of the sea.” On being informed of “a small cloud like a man’s palm ascending out of the sea,” Elijah knew that his prayer was answered. Soon, “the heavens themselves darkened up with clouds and wind and a great downpour began to occur.” (1 Kings 18:43-45) Thus Elijah showed an awareness of the water cycle. He knew that clouds would form over the sea to be blown eastward by winds over the Promised Land. To this day, that is the method by which the land gets its rain.

*** w08 4/1 pp. 19-20 He Watched, and He Waited ***
Finally, after his seventh trip, the attendant reported: “Look! There is a small cloud like a man’s palm ascending out of the sea.” (Verse 44) Can you picture that attendant holding his arm outstretched and using his palm to gauge the size of one little cloud coming up over the horizon of the Great Sea? The attendant may have been unimpressed. To Elijah, though, that cloud was significant. He now gave his attendant urgent directions: “Go up, say to Ahab, ‘Hitch up! And go down that the downpour may not detain you!’”
Again, Elijah set a powerful example for us. We too live at a time when God will soon act to fulfill his stated purpose. Elijah awaited the end of a drought; God’s servants today await the end of a corrupt world system of things. (1 John 2:17) Until Jehovah God acts, we need to remain watchful, as Elijah was. God’s own Son, Jesus, advised his followers: “Keep on the watch, therefore, because you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.” (Matthew 24:42) Did Jesus mean that his followers would be completely in the dark as to when the end would come? No, for he spoke at length about what the world would be like in the days leading up to the end. Each of us can learn about this detailed sign of “the conclusion of the system of things.”—Matthew 24:3-7.
Each facet of that sign furnishes powerful, convincing evidence. Is such evidence enough to move us to act with urgency? One little cloud rising from the horizon was enough to convince Elijah that Jehovah was about to act.

(1 KINGS 18:45)

“Meanwhile, the sky grew dark with clouds, the wind blew, and a heavy downpour fell; and Aʹhab kept riding and made his way to Jezʹre•el.”

*** ia chap. 11 p. 97 He Watched, and He Waited ***
Jehovah Brings Relief and Blessings
15 The account tells us: “It came about in the meantime that the heavens themselves darkened up with clouds and wind and a great downpour began to occur. And Ahab kept riding and made his way to Jezreel.” (1 Ki. 18:45) Events began to unfold at remarkable speed. While Elijah’s attendant was delivering the prophet’s message to Ahab, that little cloud became many, filling and darkening the sky. A great wind blew. At last, after three and a half years, rain fell on the soil of Israel. The parched ground drank in the drops. As the rain became a downpour, the river Kishon swelled, no doubt washing away the blood of the executed Baal prophets. The wayward Israelites too were being given a chance to wash away the terrible stain of Baal worship on the land.
16 Surely Elijah hoped that it would be so! Perhaps he wondered how Ahab would respond to the dramatic events that were unfolding. Would Ahab repent and turn away from the pollution of Baal worship? The events of the day had furnished powerful reasons to make such changes. Of course, we cannot know what was going through Ahab’s mind at the moment. The account simply tells us that the king “kept riding and made his way to Jezreel.” Had he learned anything? Was he resolved to change his ways? Later events suggest that the answer is no. Still, the day was not yet over for Ahab—nor for Elijah.

*** w08 4/1 p. 20 He Watched, and He Waited ***
Jehovah Brings Relief and Blessings
The account continues: “It came about in the meantime that the heavens themselves darkened up with clouds and wind and a great downpour began to occur. And Ahab kept riding and made his way to Jezreel.” (Verse 45) Events began to unfold at remarkable speed. While Elijah’s attendant was delivering the prophet’s message to Ahab, that little cloud became many, filling and darkening the sky. A great wind blew. At last, after three and a half years, rain fell on the soil of Israel. The parched ground drank in the drops. As the rain became a downpour, the river Kishon swelled, no doubt washing away the blood of the executed Baal prophets. The wayward Israelites too were being given a chance to wash away the terrible stain of Baal worship on the land.
Surely Elijah hoped that it would be so! Would Ahab repent and turn away from the pollution of Baal worship? The events of the day had furnished powerful reasons to make such changes. Of course, we cannot know what was going through Ahab’s mind at the moment. The account simply tells us that the king “kept riding and made his way to Jezreel.” Had he learned anything? Was he resolved to change his ways? Later events suggest that the answer is no. Still, the day was not yet over for Ahab—nor for Elijah.

(1 KINGS 18:46)

“But the hand of Jehovah came on E•liʹjah, and he wrapped his garment around his hips and ran ahead of Aʹhab all the way to Jezʹre•el.”

*** ia chap. 12 p. 99 par. 1 He Took Comfort in His God ***
ELIJAH ran through the rain as the darkness deepened. He had a long way to go before he would reach Jezreel, and he was no young man. Yet, he ran on tirelessly, for “the very hand of Jehovah” was upon him. The energy coursing through his body was surely unlike any he had ever known. Why, he had just outpaced the team of horses that was pulling King Ahab in his royal chariot!—Read 1 Kings 18:46.

*** ia chap. 11 p. 98 pars. 17-19 He Watched, and He Waited ***
17 Jehovah’s prophet began to make his way along the same road Ahab had taken. A long, dark, wet trek lay ahead of him. But something unusual happened next.
18 “The very hand of Jehovah proved to be upon Elijah, so that he girded up his hips and went running ahead of Ahab all the way to Jezreel.” (1 Ki. 18:46) Clearly, “the very hand of Jehovah” was acting on Elijah in a supernatural way. Jezreel was 19 miles (30 km) distant, and Elijah was no youth. Just picture that prophet girding up his long garments, tying them at his hips so that his legs would have freedom of movement, and then running along that rain-drenched road—running so fast that he caught up with, passed, and outpaced the royal chariot!
19 What a blessing that must have been for Elijah! To feel such strength, vitality, and stamina—perhaps even more than he had ever felt in his youth—must have proved a thrilling experience. We might recall the prophecies that guarantee perfect health and vigor to faithful ones in the coming earthly Paradise. (Read Isaiah 35:6; Luke 23:43) As Elijah raced along that wet road, he surely knew that he had the approval of his Father, the only true God, Jehovah!

*** w11 7/1 p. 18 He Took Comfort in His God ***
ELIJAH ran through the rain as the darkness deepened. He had a long way to go before he would reach Jezreel, and he was no young man. Yet, he ran on tirelessly, for “the very hand of Jehovah” was upon him. The energy coursing through his body was surely unlike any he had ever known. Why, he had just outpaced the team of horses that was pulling King Ahab in his royal chariot!—1 Kings 18:46.

*** w08 4/1 p. 20 He Watched, and He Waited ***
Jehovah’s prophet began to make his way along the same road Ahab had taken. A long, dark, wet trek lay ahead of him. But something unusual happened next.
“The very hand of Jehovah proved to be upon Elijah, so that he girded up his hips and went running ahead of Ahab all the way to Jezreel.” (Verse 46) Clearly, “the very hand of Jehovah” was acting upon Elijah in a supernatural way. Jezreel was some 20 miles [30 km] distant, and Elijah was no youth. Just picture that prophet girding up his long garments, tying them at his hips so that his legs would have freedom of movement, and then running along that rain-drenched road—running so fast that he caught up with, passed, and outpaced the royal chariot!
What a blessing that must have been for Elijah! To feel such strength, vitality, and stamina—perhaps even more than he had ever felt in his youth—must have proved a thrilling experience. We might be reminded of the prophecies that guarantee perfect health and vigor to faithful ones in the coming earthly Paradise. (Isaiah 35:6; Luke 23:43) As Elijah raced along that wet road, he surely knew that he had the approval of his Father, the only true God, Jehovah!

*** w08 4/1 p. 20 He Watched, and He Waited ***
Soon after this, Jehovah would assign Elijah to train Elisha, who would become known as the one “who poured out water upon the hands of Elijah.” (2 Kings 3:11) Elisha acted as Elijah’s attendant, evidently offering practical assistance to an older man.

*** it-1 p. 172 Arms, Armor ***
Girdle. The military girdle of ancient times was a leather belt worn around the waist or hips. It varied in width from 5 to 15 cm (2 to 6 in.) and was often studded with plates of iron, silver, or gold. The warrior’s sword was suspended from it, and at times the belt was supported by a shoulder strap. (1Sa 18:4; 2Sa 20:8) Whereas a loosened girdle denoted leisure (1Ki 20:11), girding up the loins or hips indicated readiness for action or battle.—Ex 12:11; 1Ki 18:46; 1Pe 1:13, ftn.

*** it-1 p. 420 Carmel ***
From here Elijah ran at least 30 km (19 mi) to Jezreel, by Jehovah’s help outpacing Ahab’s chariot all the way.—1Ki 18:46.

*** it-1 p. 654 Dress ***
Sash, belt, or girdle. A sash was often worn over the inner or the outer garments. When one engaged in some form of physical activity or work, he would ‘gird up his loins’ by wearing a sash, often pulling the ends of the garment up between his legs and tucking these ends under the sash so that he would have freedom of movement. (1Ki 18:46; 2Ki 4:29; 9:1)

*** it-1 p. 711 Elijah ***
By Jehovah’s power Elijah then runs ahead of Ahab’s chariot, perhaps as much as 30 km (19 mi), to Jezreel.—1Ki 18:39-46.

*** it-1 pp. 1120-1121 Hips ***
Before engaging in any form of vigorous physical activity, a person would ‘gird up his hips,’ often by pulling the ends of his loose, flowing garment between his legs and tucking those ends under his sash. The Israelites in Egypt ate the Passover with their hips girded, ready to march out of the land. Elijah was similarly prepared when he ran before Ahab’s chariot.—Ex 12:11; 1Ki 18:46.

(1 KINGS 19:1)

“Then Aʹhab told Jezʹe•bel all that E•liʹjah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword.”

*** ia chap. 12 p. 101 He Took Comfort in His God ***
An Unexpected Turn of Events
5 When Ahab reached his palace in Jezreel, did he give any evidence of being a changed man? We read: “Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done and all about how he had killed all the prophets with the sword.” (1 Ki. 19:1) Notice that Ahab’s account of the day’s events left out Elijah’s God, Jehovah. A fleshly man, Ahab saw the day’s miraculous events in strictly human terms—what “Elijah had done.” Clearly, he had not learned to respect Jehovah God. And how did his vengeful wife react?

*** w11 7/1 p. 18 He Took Comfort in His God ***
An Unexpected Turn of Events
When Ahab reached his palace in Jezreel, did he give any evidence of being a changed, more spiritual man? We read: “Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done and all about how he had killed all the prophets with the sword.” (1 Kings 19:1) Notice that Ahab’s account of the day’s events left out Elijah’s God, Jehovah. A fleshly man, Ahab saw the day’s miraculous events in strictly human terms—what “Elijah had done.” Clearly, he had not learned to respect Jehovah God. And how did the vengeful Jezebel react?

(1 KINGS 19:2)

“At that Jezʹe•bel sent a messenger to E•liʹjah, saying: “So may the gods do to me and add to it if by this time tomorrow I do not make you like each one of them!””

*** ia chap. 12 p. 101 par. 6 He Took Comfort in His God ***
6 Jezebel was furious! Livid with rage, she sent this message to Elijah: “So may the gods do, and so may they add to it, if at this time tomorrow I shall not make your soul like the soul of each one of them!” (1 Ki. 19:2) This was a death threat of the worst kind. In effect, Jezebel was vowing that she herself should die if she could not have Elijah killed within the day to avenge her Baal prophets. Imagine Elijah being awakened from sleep in some humble lodging in Jezreel on that stormy night—only to hear the queen’s messenger deliver those awful words.

*** w11 7/1 pp. 18-19 He Took Comfort in His God ***
She was furious! Livid with rage, she sent this message to Elijah: “So may the gods do, and so may they add to it, if at this time tomorrow I shall not make your soul like the soul of each one of them!” (1 Kings 19:2) This was a death threat of the worst kind. In effect, Jezebel was vowing that she herself should die if she could not have Elijah killed within the day to avenge her Baal prophets. Imagine Elijah being awakened from sleep in some humble lodging in Jezreel on that stormy night—only to hear the queen’s messenger deliver those awful words.

(1 KINGS 19:3)

“At that he became afraid, so he got up and ran for his life. He came to Beʹer-sheʹba, which belongs to Judah, and he left his attendant there.”

*** ia chap. 12 pp. 101-102 He Took Comfort in His God ***
Overcome by Discouragement and Fear
7 If Elijah cherished any notions that the war against Baal worship was all but over, his hopes came crashing down at that moment. Jezebel was undeterred. A great many of Elijah’s faithful colleagues had already been executed on her orders, and now, it seemed, he was to be next. What effect did Jezebel’s threat have on Elijah? The Bible tells us: “He became afraid.” Did Elijah picture in his mind’s eye the terrible death that Jezebel had in store for him? If he dwelled on such thoughts, it is no wonder that his courage failed him. At any rate, Elijah “began to go for his soul”—he ran for his life.—1 Ki. 18:4; 19:3.
8 Elijah was not the only man of faith ever to be overcome by fear. Much later, the apostle Peter had a similar problem. For instance, when Jesus enabled Peter to join Him in walking on water, the apostle began “looking at the windstorm.” He then lost his courage and started to sink. (Read Matthew 14:30.) The examples of Elijah and Peter thus teach us a valuable lesson. If we want to maintain our courage, we must not let our mind dwell on the dangers that frighten us. We need to keep our focus on the Source of our hope and strength.
“It Is Enough!”
9 Driven by fear, Elijah fled southwestward some 95 miles (150 km) to Beer-sheba, a town near the southern border of Judah. There he left his attendant behind and struck out into the wilderness alone.

*** w11 7/1 p. 19 He Took Comfort in His God ***
Overcome by Discouragement and Fear
If Elijah cherished any notions that the war against Baal worship was all but over, his hopes came crashing down at that moment. Jezebel was undeterred. A great many of Elijah’s faithful colleagues had already been executed on her orders, and now, it seemed, he was to be next. The Bible tells us: “He became afraid.” Did Elijah picture in his mind’s eye the terrible death that Jezebel had in store for him? If he dwelled on such thoughts, it is no wonder that his courage failed him. At any rate, Elijah “began to go for his soul”—he ran for his life.—1 Kings 18:4; 19:3.
Elijah was not the only man of faith ever to be overcome by fear. Much later, the apostle Peter had a similar problem. For instance, when Jesus enabled Peter to join Him in walking on water, the apostle began “looking at the windstorm.” He then lost his courage and started to sink. (Matthew 14:30) The examples of Peter and Elijah thus teach us a valuable lesson. If we want to maintain our courage, we must not let our mind dwell on the dangers that frighten us. We need to keep our focus on the Source of our hope and strength.
“It Is Enough!”
Driven by fear, Elijah fled southwestward some 95 miles (150 km) to Beer-sheba, a town near the southern border of Judah. There he left his attendant behind and struck out into the wilderness alone.

*** it-1 p. 711 Elijah ***
Flees From Jezebel. On being informed of the death of her Baal prophets, Queen Jezebel vows to have Elijah put to death. In fear Elijah flees some 150 km (95 mi) southwestward to Beer-sheba, to the W of the lower Dead Sea. (MAP, Vol. 1, p. 949)

(1 KINGS 19:4)

“He went a day’s journey into the wilderness and came and sat down under a broom tree, and he asked that he might die. He said: “It is enough! Now, O Jehovah, take my life away, for I am no better than my forefathers.””

*** w14 3/15 p. 15 How to Maintain a Positive Viewpoint ***
“TAKE MY LIFE AWAY”
12 The prophet Elijah was loyal to Jehovah and had strong faith. Yet, at one point he felt so low that he asked Jehovah to put him to death, saying: “It is enough! Now, O Jehovah, take my life away.” (1 Ki. 19:4) Those who have not experienced such despair might be tempted to dismiss Elijah’s prayer as mere “wild talk.” (Job 6:3) However, his feelings were real. Note, though, that rather than chastise Elijah for wanting to die, Jehovah helped him.
13 How had Elijah come to feel as he did? Shortly before this, he had presided over a decisive test in Israel that proved that Jehovah is the true God, and this led to the execution of 450 prophets of Baal. (1 Ki. 18:37-40) Elijah likely hoped that God’s people would now return to pure worship, but that did not happen. Wicked Queen Jezebel sent a message to Elijah that she was arranging for him to be killed. Fearing for his life, Elijah fled south across neighboring Judah into the wilderness, a barren and wild place.—1 Ki. 19:2-4.
14 Alone with his thoughts, Elijah reflected on the seeming futility of his work as a prophet. He told Jehovah: “I am no better than my forefathers.” His point was that he felt as useless as the dust and bones of his dead ancestors. He had, in effect, tested himself by his own standards and had decided that he was a failure, of no value to Jehovah or anyone else.

*** ia chap. 12 pp. 102-103 He Took Comfort in His God ***
“It Is Enough!”
9 Driven by fear, Elijah fled southwestward some 95 miles (150 km) to Beer-sheba, a town near the southern border of Judah. There he left his attendant behind and struck out into the wilderness alone. The record says that he went “a day’s journey,” so we may picture him starting off at sunrise, evidently carrying no provisions with him. Depressed, spurred ever onward by fear, he struggled over the rough and wild terrain under the blazing sun. As that glaring disk gradually reddened and sank to the horizon, Elijah’s strength gave out. Exhausted, he sat down under a broom tree—the closest thing to shelter in that barren landscape.—1 Ki. 19:4.
10 Elijah prayed in utter desperation. He asked to die. He said: “I am no better than my forefathers.” He knew that his forefathers were then mere dust and bones in the grave, unable to do any good for anybody. (Eccl. 9:10) Elijah felt just as worthless. No wonder he cried out: “It is enough!” Why go on living?
11 Should it be shocking to learn that a man of God could become so low in spirits? Not necessarily. A number of faithful men and women in the Bible record are described as feeling so sad that they wished for death—among them Rebekah, Jacob, Moses, and Job.—Gen. 25:22; 37:35; Num. 11:13-15; Job 14:13.
12 Today, we live in “critical times hard to deal with,” so it is not surprising that many people, even faithful servants of God, find themselves feeling low at times. (2 Tim. 3:1) If you ever find yourself in such a dire situation, follow Elijah’s example in this respect: Pour out your feelings to God. After all, Jehovah is “the God of all comfort.” (Read 2 Corinthians 1:3, 4.) Did he comfort Elijah?

*** w11 7/1 pp. 19-20 He Took Comfort in His God ***
“It Is Enough!”
Driven by fear, Elijah fled southwestward some 95 miles (150 km) to Beer-sheba, a town near the southern border of Judah. There he left his attendant behind and struck out into the wilderness alone. The record says that he went “a day’s journey,” so we may picture him starting off at sunrise, evidently carrying no provisions with him. Depressed, spurred ever onward by fear, he struggled over the rough and wild terrain under the blazing sun. As that glaring disk gradually reddened and sank to the horizon, Elijah’s strength gave out. Exhausted, he sat down under a broom tree—the closest thing to shelter in that barren landscape.—1 Kings 19:4.
Elijah prayed in utter desperation. He asked to die. He said: “I am no better than my forefathers.” He knew that his forefathers were then mere dust and bones in the grave, unable to do any good for anybody. (Ecclesiastes 9:10) Elijah felt just as worthless. No wonder he cried out: “It is enough!” Why go on living?
Should it be shocking to learn that a man of God could become so low in spirits? Not necessarily. A number of faithful men and women in the Bible record are described as feeling so sad that they wished for death—among them Rebekah, Jacob, Moses, and Job.—Genesis 25:22; 37:35; Numbers 11:13-15; Job 14:13.
Today, we live in “critical times hard to deal with,” so it is not surprising that many people, even faithful servants of God, find themselves feeling low at times. (2 Timothy 3:1) If you ever find yourself in such a dire situation, follow Elijah’s example in this respect: Pour out your feelings to God. After all, Jehovah is “the God of all comfort.” (2 Corinthians 1:3) Did he comfort Elijah?

*** w97 5/15 p. 13 par. 17 When Jesus Comes in Kingdom Glory ***
17 Further, the Israel of God had an experience comparable to that of Elijah on Mount Horeb. Like Elijah at the time he was running from Queen Jezebel, the fearful anointed remnant thought that their work was done at the end of World War I. Then, also like Elijah, they had an encounter with Jehovah, who had come to judge those organizations claiming to be “the house of God.” (1 Peter 4:17; Malachi 3:1-3) While Christendom was found wanting, the anointed remnant was recognized as “the faithful and discreet slave” and was appointed over all Jesus’ earthly belongings. (Matthew 24:45-47) In Horeb, Elijah heard “a calm, low voice” that proved to be that of Jehovah, giving him more work to do. In the quiet period of the postwar years, faithful anointed servants of Jehovah heard his voice from the pages of the Bible. They too perceived that they had a commission to fulfill.—1 Kings 19:4, 9-18; Revelation 11:7-13.

*** it-1 p. 368 Broom Tree ***
When Elijah fled into the wilderness to escape Jezebel’s wrath, the record at 1 Kings 19:4, 5 says, he “sat down under a certain broom tree” and then slept there. While the smaller broom trees would provide very scant shade from the burning sun of the wilderness, one of good size could give welcome relief. This desert bush also served as fuel. The wood of the broom tree makes excellent charcoal, which burns with an intense heat.

(1 KINGS 19:5)

“Then he lay down and fell asleep under the broom tree. But suddenly an angel touched him and said to him: “Get up and eat.””

*** ia chap. 12 p. 103 par. 13 He Took Comfort in His God ***
1 Ki. 19:5

*** ia chap. 12 p. 103 par. 13 He Took Comfort in His God ***
After Elijah sank into sleep, Jehovah sent an angel to him. The angel gently woke Elijah with a touch and said: “Rise up, eat.”

*** w11 7/1 p. 20 He Took Comfort in His God ***
1 Kings 19:5

*** w11 7/1 p. 20 He Took Comfort in His God ***
After Elijah sank into sleep, Jehovah sent an angel to him. The angel gently woke Elijah with a touch and said: “Rise up, eat.”

*** it-1 p. 368 Broom Tree ***
When Elijah fled into the wilderness to escape Jezebel’s wrath, the record at 1 Kings 19:4, 5 says, he “sat down under a certain broom tree” and then slept there. While the smaller broom trees would provide very scant shade from the burning sun of the wilderness, one of good size could give welcome relief. This desert bush also served as fuel. The wood of the broom tree makes excellent charcoal, which burns with an intense heat.

(1 KINGS 19:6)

“When he looked, there at his head was a round loaf on heated stones and a jug of water. He ate and drank and lay down again.”

*** ia chap. 12 p. 103 par. 13 He Took Comfort in His God ***
Elijah did so, for the angel had kindly set out a simple meal for him—fresh, warm bread along with water. Did he even thank the angel? The record says only that the prophet ate and drank and went back to sleep. Was he too despondent to speak?

*** ia chap. 12 p. 103 par. 13 He Took Comfort in His God ***
1 Ki. 19:5-7.

*** w11 7/1 p. 20 He Took Comfort in His God ***
Elijah did so, for the angel had kindly set out a simple meal of fresh, warm bread and water for him. Did he even thank the angel? The record says only that the prophet ate and drank and went back to sleep. Was he too despondent to speak?

*** w11 7/1 p. 20 He Took Comfort in His God ***
1 Kings 19:5-7.

*** it-1 p. 243 Bake, Baker ***
Bread was generally baked in ovens in Bible times. (See OVEN.) Occasionally, however, baking was done by kindling a fire on stones that had been laid together. When they were well heated, the cinders were swept aside and dough was placed on the stones. After a while, the cake was turned and then left on the stones until the bread was thoroughly baked. (Ho 7:8) Travelers might bake coarse bread in a shallow pit filled with hot pebbles, upon which a fire had been built. After the embers were removed, dough was laid on the heated stones, perhaps being turned several times while the bread was baking.—1Ki 19:6.

(1 KINGS 19:7)

“Later the angel of Jehovah came back a second time and touched him and said: “Get up and eat, for the journey will be too much for you.””

*** ia chap. 12 p. 103 pars. 13-14 He Took Comfort in His God ***
At any rate, the angel woke him a second time, perhaps at dawn. Once more, he urged Elijah, “Rise up, eat,” and he added these remarkable words, “for the journey is too much for you.”—1 Ki. 19:5-7.
14 Thanks to God-given insight, the angel knew where Elijah was headed. He also knew that the journey would be too much for Elijah to carry out in his own strength. What a comfort to serve a God who knows our goals and our limitations better than we do! (Read Psalm 103:13, 14.)

*** w11 7/1 p. 20 He Took Comfort in His God ***
At any rate, the angel woke him a second time, perhaps at dawn. Once more, he urged Elijah, “Rise up, eat,” and he added these remarkable words, “for the journey is too much for you.”—1 Kings 19:5-7.
Thanks to God-given insight, the angel knew where Elijah was headed. He also knew that the journey would be too much for Elijah to carry out in his own strength. What a comfort to serve a God who knows our goals and our limitations better than we do! (Psalm 103:13, 14)

(1 KINGS 19:8)

“So he got up and ate and drank, and in the strength of that nourishment he went on for 40 days and 40 nights until he reached Hoʹreb, the mountain of the true God.”

*** ia chap. 12 pp. 103-104 pars. 15-17 He Took Comfort in His God ***
15 We read: “He rose up and ate and drank, and he kept going in the power of that nourishment for forty days and forty nights as far as the mountain of the true God, Horeb.” (1 Ki. 19:8) Like Moses some six centuries before him and Jesus nearly ten centuries after him, Elijah fasted for 40 days and 40 nights. (Ex. 34:28; Luke 4:1, 2) That one meal did not make all his problems go away, but it sustained him miraculously. Imagine that older man trudging through the trackless wilderness day after day, week after week, for nearly a month and a half!
16 Jehovah sustains his servants today as well, not with miraculous physical meals, but in a far more vital way. He provides for his servants spiritually. (Matt. 4:4) Learning about God from his Word and from publications that are carefully based on the Bible sustains us spiritually. Taking in such spiritual nourishment may not make all our problems go away, but it can help us endure what might otherwise be unendurable. It also leads to “everlasting life.”—John 17:3.
17 Elijah walked nearly 200 miles (320 km) until he finally reached Mount Horeb. It was a place of great significance, for there Jehovah God through an angel had long before appeared to Moses in the burning thornbush and there Jehovah had later made the Law covenant with Israel. Elijah found shelter in a cave.

*** w11 7/1 pp. 20-21 He Took Comfort in His God ***
We read: “He rose up and ate and drank, and he kept going in the power of that nourishment for forty days and forty nights as far as the mountain of the true God, Horeb.” (1 Kings 19:8) Like Moses some six centuries before him and Jesus nearly ten centuries after him, Elijah fasted for 40 days and 40 nights. (Exodus 34:28; Luke 4:1, 2) That one meal did not make all his problems go away, but it sustained him in a miraculous way. Imagine that older man laboring through the trackless wilderness day after day, week after week, for nearly a month and a half!
Jehovah sustains his servants today as well, not with miraculous physical meals, but in a far more vital way. He provides for his servants spiritually. (Matthew 4:4) Learning about God from his Word and from publications that are carefully based on the Bible sustains us spiritually. Taking in such spiritual nourishment may not make all our problems go away, but it can help us endure what might otherwise be unendurable. It also leads to “everlasting life.”—John 17:3.
Elijah walked nearly 200 miles (320 km) until he finally reached Mount Horeb, where Jehovah God through an angel had long before appeared to Moses in the burning thornbush and where Jehovah had later made the Law covenant with Israel. Elijah found shelter in a cave.

*** it-1 p. 711 Elijah ***
Here the angel of Jehovah appears to him, to prepare him for a long journey to “the mountain of the true God,” Horeb. Sustained for the 40-day journey by what he eats then, he covers a distance of over 300 km (190 mi).

*** it-1 p. 950 Prophetic Activity of Elijah and Elisha ***
[Picture on page 950]
Mount Sinai area. Elijah fled from the wrath of Jezebel some 450 km (285 mi) to this region (1Ki 19:1-18)

(1 KINGS 19:9)

“There he entered a cave and spent the night; and look! Jehovah’s word came to him, telling him: “What are you doing here, E•liʹjah?””

*** ia chap. 12 p. 104 par. 18 He Took Comfort in His God ***
1 Ki. 19:9,

*** ia chap. 12 p. 104 par. 18 He Took Comfort in His God ***
18 At Horeb, Jehovah’s “word”—evidently delivered by a spirit messenger—posed this simple question: “What is your business here, Elijah?” The question was likely spoken in a gentle way, for Elijah took it as an invitation to pour out his feelings.

*** w11 7/1 p. 21 He Took Comfort in His God ***
1 Kings 19:9,

*** w11 7/1 p. 21 He Took Comfort in His God ***
At Horeb, Jehovah’s “word”—evidently delivered by a spirit messenger—posed this simple question: “What is your business here, Elijah?” The question was likely spoken in a gentle way, for Elijah took it as an invitation to pour out his feelings.

(1 KINGS 19:10)

“To this he said: “I have been absolutely zealous for Jehovah the God of armies; for the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, your altars they have torn down, and your prophets they have killed with the sword, and I am the only one left. Now they are seeking to take my life away.””

*** ia chap. 12 p. 104 pars. 18-19 He Took Comfort in His God ***
He said: “I have been absolutely jealous for Jehovah the God of armies; for the sons of Israel have left your covenant, your altars they have torn down, and your prophets they have killed with the sword, so that I only am left; and they begin looking for my soul to take it away.” (1 Ki. 19:9, 10) Elijah’s words reveal at least three reasons for his low spirits.
19 First, Elijah felt that his work had been in vain. Despite years of being “absolutely jealous” in serving Jehovah, putting God’s sacred name and worship above all else, Elijah saw that conditions seemed only to have grown worse. The people were still faithless and rebellious, while false worship was running rampant. Second, Elijah felt alone. “I only am left,” he said, as if in that nation he were the last man who still served Jehovah. Third, Elijah was scared. Many of his fellow prophets had already been killed, and he was convinced that he was next. It may not have been easy for Elijah to admit to those feelings, but he did not let pride or embarrassment hold him back. By opening his heart to his God in prayer, he set a good example for all faithful people.—Ps. 62:8.

*** w11 7/1 p. 21 He Took Comfort in His God ***
He said: “I have been absolutely jealous for Jehovah the God of armies; for the sons of Israel have left your covenant, your altars they have torn down, and your prophets they have killed with the sword, so that I only am left; and they begin looking for my soul to take it away.” (1 Kings 19:9, 10) Elijah’s words reveal at least three reasons for his low spirits.
First, Elijah felt that his work had been in vain. Despite years of being “absolutely jealous” in serving Jehovah, putting God’s sacred name and worship above all else, Elijah saw that conditions seemed only to have grown worse. The people were still faithless and rebellious, while false worship was running rampant. Second, Elijah felt alone. “I only am left,” he said, as if he were the last man in the nation who still served Jehovah. Third, Elijah was scared. Many of his fellow prophets had already been killed, and he was convinced that he was next. It may not have been easy for Elijah to admit to those feelings, but he did not let pride or embarrassment hold him back. By opening his heart to his God in prayer, he set a good example for all faithful people.—Psalm 62:8.

(1 KINGS 19:11)

“But He said: “Go out and stand on the mountain before Jehovah.” And look! Jehovah was passing by, and a great and strong wind was splitting mountains and breaking crags before Jehovah, but Jehovah was not in the wind. After the wind, there was an earthquake, but Jehovah was not in the earthquake.”

*** cl chap. 4 p. 37 “Jehovah Is . . . Great in Power” ***
CHAPTER 4
“Jehovah Is . . . Great in Power”
ELIJAH had seen amazing things before. He had seen ravens carrying food to him twice a day while he lived in hiding. He had seen two containers supplying flour and oil throughout a long famine and never emptying. He had even seen fire falling from the sky in response to his prayer. (1 Kings, chapters 17, 18) Still, Elijah had never seen anything like this.
2 As he huddled near the mouth of a cave on Mount Horeb, he witnessed a series of spectacular events. First there was a wind. It must have made a howling, deafening roar, for it was so powerful that it sundered mountains and shattered crags. Next there was an earthquake, unleashing immense forces pent up in the earth’s crust. Then came a fire. As it swept through the region, Elijah likely felt the blast of its searing heat.—1 Kings 19:8-12.
3 All these diverse events that Elijah witnessed had one thing in common—they were demonstrations of Jehovah God’s great power.

*** cl chap. 4 p. 43 “Jehovah Is . . . Great in Power” ***
The Bible states that “Jehovah was not in the wind . . . , the quaking . . . , the fire.” Unlike worshipers of mythical nature gods, Jehovah’s servants do not look for him within the forces of nature. He is far too great to be contained within anything that he has created.—1 Kings 8:27.

*** cl chap. 4 p. 43 par. 15 “Jehovah Is . . . Great in Power” ***
Elijah’s experience, mentioned at the outset, is a case in point. Why did Jehovah give him that awesome demonstration of divine power? Well, wicked Queen Jezebel had vowed to have Elijah executed. The prophet was on the run, fleeing for his life. He felt alone, frightened, and discouraged—as if all his hard work had been in vain. To comfort the troubled man, Jehovah vividly reminded Elijah of divine power. The wind, the earthquake, and the fire showed that the most powerful Being in the universe was there with Elijah. What had he to fear from Jezebel, with the almighty God on his side?—1 Kings 19:1-12.

*** ia chap. 12 p. 106 pars. 20-21 He Took Comfort in His God ***
20 How did Jehovah address Elijah’s fears and concerns? The angel told Elijah to stand at the mouth of the cave. He obeyed, not knowing what was in store. A mighty wind sprang up! It must have emitted a deafening roar, for it was so powerful that it tore mountains and crags apart. Picture Elijah trying to shield his eyes while clinging to his heavy, rustic garment of hair as the gusts whipped it about him. Then he had to struggle to keep his footing, for the very earth began to heave and toss—an earthquake shook the region! He had barely recovered when a great fire swept through, forcing him back into the cave to shield himself from the searing heat.—1 Ki. 19:11, 12.
21 In each case, the account reminds us that Jehovah was not to be found within these spectacular displays of nature’s power. Elijah knew that Jehovah was not some mythical nature god such as Baal, who was hailed by his deluded worshippers as “the rider of the clouds,” or bringer of rains. Jehovah is the real Source of all the awesome power found in nature, but he is also vastly greater than anything he has made. Even the physical heavens cannot contain him! (1 Ki. 8:27) How did all of this help Elijah? Remember his fear. With a God like Jehovah on his side, a God who had all that overwhelming power at His disposal, Elijah had nothing to fear from Ahab and Jezebel!—Read Psalm 118:6.

*** w11 7/1 pp. 21-22 He Took Comfort in His God ***
How did Jehovah address Elijah’s fears and concerns? The angel told Elijah to stand at the mouth of the cave. He obeyed, not knowing what was in store. A mighty wind sprang up! It must have emitted a deafening roar, for it was so powerful that it tore mountains and crags apart. Picture Elijah trying to shield his eyes while clinging to his heavy, rustic garment of hair as the gusts whipped it about him. Then he had to struggle to keep his footing, for the very earth began to heave and toss—an earthquake shook the region! He had barely recovered when a great fire swept through, forcing him back into the cave to shield himself from the searing heat.—1 Kings 19:11, 12.
In each case, the account reminds us that Jehovah was not to be found within these spectacular displays of nature’s power. Elijah knew that Jehovah was not some mythical nature god, such as Baal, who was hailed by his deluded worshippers as the “Rider of the Clouds,” or bringer of rains. Jehovah is the real Source of all the awesome power found in nature, but he is also vastly greater than anything he has made. Even the physical heavens cannot contain him! (1 Kings 8:27) How, though, did all of this help Elijah? Remember his fear. With a God like Jehovah on his side, with all that overwhelming power at His disposal, Elijah had nothing to fear from Ahab and Jezebel!—Psalm 118:6.

*** it-1 p. 711 Elijah ***
At Horeb, Jehovah speaks to him after an awe-inspiring display of power in a wind, an earthquake, and a fire. Jehovah is not in these manifestations; he is not a nature god, or just natural forces that are personified. These natural forces are merely expressions of his active force, not Jehovah himself.

(1 KINGS 19:12)

“After the earthquake, there was a fire, but Jehovah was not in the fire. After the fire, there was a calm, low voice.”

*** cl chap. 4 p. 37 “Jehovah Is . . . Great in Power” ***
CHAPTER 4
“Jehovah Is . . . Great in Power”
ELIJAH had seen amazing things before. He had seen ravens carrying food to him twice a day while he lived in hiding. He had seen two containers supplying flour and oil throughout a long famine and never emptying. He had even seen fire falling from the sky in response to his prayer. (1 Kings, chapters 17, 18) Still, Elijah had never seen anything like this.
2 As he huddled near the mouth of a cave on Mount Horeb, he witnessed a series of spectacular events. First there was a wind. It must have made a howling, deafening roar, for it was so powerful that it sundered mountains and shattered crags. Next there was an earthquake, unleashing immense forces pent up in the earth’s crust. Then came a fire. As it swept through the region, Elijah likely felt the blast of its searing heat.—1 Kings 19:8-12.
3 All these diverse events that Elijah witnessed had one thing in common—they were demonstrations of Jehovah God’s great power.

*** cl chap. 4 p. 43 “Jehovah Is . . . Great in Power” ***
The Bible states that “Jehovah was not in the wind . . . , the quaking . . . , the fire.” Unlike worshipers of mythical nature gods, Jehovah’s servants do not look for him within the forces of nature. He is far too great to be contained within anything that he has created.—1 Kings 8:27.

*** cl chap. 4 p. 43 par. 15 “Jehovah Is . . . Great in Power” ***
Elijah’s experience, mentioned at the outset, is a case in point. Why did Jehovah give him that awesome demonstration of divine power? Well, wicked Queen Jezebel had vowed to have Elijah executed. The prophet was on the run, fleeing for his life. He felt alone, frightened, and discouraged—as if all his hard work had been in vain. To comfort the troubled man, Jehovah vividly reminded Elijah of divine power. The wind, the earthquake, and the fire showed that the most powerful Being in the universe was there with Elijah. What had he to fear from Jezebel, with the almighty God on his side?—1 Kings 19:1-12.

*** ia chap. 12 p. 106 pars. 20-22 He Took Comfort in His God ***
He had barely recovered when a great fire swept through, forcing him back into the cave to shield himself from the searing heat.—1 Ki. 19:11, 12.
21 In each case, the account reminds us that Jehovah was not to be found within these spectacular displays of nature’s power. Elijah knew that Jehovah was not some mythical nature god such as Baal, who was hailed by his deluded worshippers as “the rider of the clouds,” or bringer of rains. Jehovah is the real Source of all the awesome power found in nature, but he is also vastly greater than anything he has made. Even the physical heavens cannot contain him! (1 Ki. 8:27) How did all of this help Elijah? Remember his fear. With a God like Jehovah on his side, a God who had all that overwhelming power at His disposal, Elijah had nothing to fear from Ahab and Jezebel!—Read Psalm 118:6.
22 After the fire was gone, a hush fell and Elijah heard “a calm, low voice.” It invited Elijah to express himself again, and he did so, pouring out his concerns a second time.

*** ia chap. 12 p. 106 He Took Comfort in His God ***
The source of this “calm, low voice” may have been the same spirit who was used to deliver “Jehovah’s word” mentioned at 1 Kings 19:9. In verse 15, this spirit is referred to simply as “Jehovah.” We might be reminded of the spirit emissary whom Jehovah used to guide Israel in the wilderness and of whom God said: “My name is within him.” (Ex. 23:21) We cannot be dogmatic on this point, of course, but it is worth noting that in his prehuman existence, Jesus served as “the Word,” the special Spokesman to Jehovah’s servants.—John 1:1.

*** w11 7/1 p. 22 He Took Comfort in His God ***
He had barely recovered when a great fire swept through, forcing him back into the cave to shield himself from the searing heat.—1 Kings 19:11, 12.
In each case, the account reminds us that Jehovah was not to be found within these spectacular displays of nature’s power. Elijah knew that Jehovah was not some mythical nature god, such as Baal, who was hailed by his deluded worshippers as the “Rider of the Clouds,” or bringer of rains. Jehovah is the real Source of all the awesome power found in nature, but he is also vastly greater than anything he has made. Even the physical heavens cannot contain him! (1 Kings 8:27) How, though, did all of this help Elijah? Remember his fear. With a God like Jehovah on his side, with all that overwhelming power at His disposal, Elijah had nothing to fear from Ahab and Jezebel!—Psalm 118:6.
After the fire was gone, a hush fell and Elijah heard “a calm, low voice.” It invited Elijah to express himself again, and he did so, pouring out his concerns a second time.

*** w11 7/1 p. 22 He Took Comfort in His God ***
The source of this “calm, low voice” may have been the same spirit who was used to deliver “Jehovah’s word” mentioned at 1 Kings 19:9. In verse 15, this spirit is referred to simply as “Jehovah.” We might be reminded of the spirit emissary whom Jehovah used to guide Israel in the wilderness and of whom God said: “My name is within him.” (Exodus 23:21) We cannot be dogmatic on this point, of course, but it is worth noting that in his prehuman existence, Jesus served as “the Word,” the special Spokesman to Jehovah’s servants.—John 1:1.

*** w97 5/15 p. 13 par. 17 When Jesus Comes in Kingdom Glory ***
17 Further, the Israel of God had an experience comparable to that of Elijah on Mount Horeb. Like Elijah at the time he was running from Queen Jezebel, the fearful anointed remnant thought that their work was done at the end of World War I. Then, also like Elijah, they had an encounter with Jehovah, who had come to judge those organizations claiming to be “the house of God.” (1 Peter 4:17; Malachi 3:1-3) While Christendom was found wanting, the anointed remnant was recognized as “the faithful and discreet slave” and was appointed over all Jesus’ earthly belongings. (Matthew 24:45-47) In Horeb, Elijah heard “a calm, low voice” that proved to be that of Jehovah, giving him more work to do. In the quiet period of the postwar years, faithful anointed servants of Jehovah heard his voice from the pages of the Bible. They too perceived that they had a commission to fulfill.—1 Kings 19:4, 9-18; Revelation 11:7-13.

*** it-1 p. 711 Elijah ***
At Horeb, Jehovah speaks to him after an awe-inspiring display of power in a wind, an earthquake, and a fire. Jehovah is not in these manifestations; he is not a nature god, or just natural forces that are personified. These natural forces are merely expressions of his active force, not Jehovah himself.

(1 KINGS 19:13)

“As soon as E•liʹjah heard it, he wrapped his face in his official garment and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Then a voice asked him: “What are you doing here, E•liʹjah?””

*** it-1 p. 802 Face ***
The concealing, or covering, of the face by a human or an angel may express humility or reverential fear and respect. (Ex 3:6; 1Ki 19:13; Isa 6:2)

*** it-2 p. 545 Official Garment ***
When translating ʼad•deʹreth, for the official garment used by Elijah and Elisha, the Septuagint uses the Greek word me•lo•teʹ (meaning sheepskin or any rough woolly skin). (1Ki 19:13) This suggests that the garment was made of skins with the hair left on, similar to the garb worn by certain Bedouin. Paul’s description of persecuted servants of God who “went about in sheepskins, in goatskins,” may refer to the dress of such prophets of Jehovah. (Heb 11:37)

(1 KINGS 19:15)

“Jehovah said to him: “Return, and go to the wilderness of Damascus. When you arrive, anoint Hazʹa•el as king over Syria.”

*** ia chap. 12 pp. 106-107 par. 22 He Took Comfort in His God ***
Undoubtedly, though, Elijah found even more comfort in what the “calm, low voice” told him next. Jehovah reassured Elijah that he was far from worthless. How so? God revealed much of his long-range purpose regarding the war against Baal worship in Israel. Clearly, Elijah’s work had not been in vain, for God’s purpose was moving inexorably forward. Furthermore, Elijah still figured in that purpose, for Jehovah sent him back to work with some specific instructions.—1 Ki. 19:12-17.

*** w11 7/1 p. 22 He Took Comfort in His God ***
Undoubtedly, though, Elijah found even more comfort in what the “calm, low voice” told him next. Jehovah reassured Elijah that he was far from worthless. How so? God revealed much of his long-range purpose regarding the war against Baal worship in Israel. Clearly, Elijah’s work had not been in vain, for God’s purpose was moving inexorably forward. Furthermore, Elijah still figured in that purpose, for Jehovah sent him back to work with some specific instructions.—1 Kings 19:12-17.

*** w97 5/15 p. 13 par. 17 When Jesus Comes in Kingdom Glory ***
17 Further, the Israel of God had an experience comparable to that of Elijah on Mount Horeb. Like Elijah at the time he was running from Queen Jezebel, the fearful anointed remnant thought that their work was done at the end of World War I. Then, also like Elijah, they had an encounter with Jehovah, who had come to judge those organizations claiming to be “the house of God.” (1 Peter 4:17; Malachi 3:1-3) While Christendom was found wanting, the anointed remnant was recognized as “the faithful and discreet slave” and was appointed over all Jesus’ earthly belongings. (Matthew 24:45-47) In Horeb, Elijah heard “a calm, low voice” that proved to be that of Jehovah, giving him more work to do. In the quiet period of the postwar years, faithful anointed servants of Jehovah heard his voice from the pages of the Bible. They too perceived that they had a commission to fulfill.—1 Kings 19:4, 9-18; Revelation 11:7-13.

*** it-1 p. 16 Abel-meholah ***
Additional argument adduced for this identification has been that Elijah, after leaving Horeb, stopped at Abel-meholah to anoint Elisha and had the further commission to travel to “the wilderness of Damascus” to anoint Hazael as king over Syria. (1Ki 19:15) The major ancient highway leading from Horeb to Damascus was E of the Jordan, although at times this route was controlled by nomads.

*** it-1 p. 16 Abel-meholah ***
And, as regards Elijah’s trip to the Wilderness of Damascus, the record shows that this was not effected immediately but, rather, was made sometime later by his successor, Elisha. (1Ki 19:15-19; 2Ki 8:7-13) In view of this, some geographic texts continue to recommend a site W of the Jordan rather than E of it. (The Geographical and Topographical Texts of the Old Testament, by J. Simons, Leiden, 1959; The Geography of the Bible, by D. Baly, 1957; and the Atlas of the Bible, by L. H. Grollenberg, 1956) Both Jerome and Eusebius of the early centuries of the Common Era identified Abel-meholah with a site 10 Roman miles (15 km; 9 mi) S of Beth-shean (W of the Jordan). The Land of the Bible, by Y. Aharoni, states: “Abel-meholah has now been identified with much confidence with Tell Abu Sus on the [west] bank of the Jordan, 15 km. south of Beth-shean.” (Translated and edited by A. Rainey, 1979, p. 313)

*** it-1 pp. 113-114 Anointed, Anointing ***
There are instances in which a person was regarded as being anointed because of being appointed by God, even though no oil was put on his head. This principle was demonstrated when Jehovah told Elijah to anoint Hazael as king over Syria, Jehu as king over Israel, and Elisha as prophet in place of himself. (1Ki 19:15, 16) The Scriptural record goes on to show that one of the sons of the prophets associated with Elisha did anoint Jehu with literal oil, to be king over Israel. (2Ki 9:1-6) But there is no record that anyone anointed with oil either Hazael or Elisha.

*** it-1 p. 1046 Hazael ***
Years prior to Hazael’s reign, Jehovah had instructed Elijah to “anoint Hazael as king over Syria.” The reason for the appointment was that Israel had sinned against God and Hazael was to execute punishment upon the nation.—1Ki 19:15-18.

(1 KINGS 19:16)

“And you should anoint Jeʹhu the grandson of Nimʹshi as king over Israel, and you should anoint E•liʹsha the son of Shaʹphat from Aʹbel-me•hoʹlah as prophet to take your place.”

*** w97 5/15 p. 13 par. 17 When Jesus Comes in Kingdom Glory ***
17 Further, the Israel of God had an experience comparable to that of Elijah on Mount Horeb. Like Elijah at the time he was running from Queen Jezebel, the fearful anointed remnant thought that their work was done at the end of World War I. Then, also like Elijah, they had an encounter with Jehovah, who had come to judge those organizations claiming to be “the house of God.” (1 Peter 4:17; Malachi 3:1-3) While Christendom was found wanting, the anointed remnant was recognized as “the faithful and discreet slave” and was appointed over all Jesus’ earthly belongings. (Matthew 24:45-47) In Horeb, Elijah heard “a calm, low voice” that proved to be that of Jehovah, giving him more work to do. In the quiet period of the postwar years, faithful anointed servants of Jehovah heard his voice from the pages of the Bible. They too perceived that they had a commission to fulfill.—1 Kings 19:4, 9-18; Revelation 11:7-13.

*** it-1 pp. 113-114 Anointed, Anointing ***
There are instances in which a person was regarded as being anointed because of being appointed by God, even though no oil was put on his head. This principle was demonstrated when Jehovah told Elijah to anoint Hazael as king over Syria, Jehu as king over Israel, and Elisha as prophet in place of himself. (1Ki 19:15, 16) The Scriptural record goes on to show that one of the sons of the prophets associated with Elisha did anoint Jehu with literal oil, to be king over Israel. (2Ki 9:1-6) But there is no record that anyone anointed with oil either Hazael or Elisha.

*** it-1 p. 218 Attitudes and Gestures ***
Elisha was ‘anointed’ by being appointed but was never literally anointed with oil. (1Ki 19:16, 19)

*** it-2 p. 22 Jehu ***
3. The son of Jehoshaphat (not King Jehoshaphat of Judah) and grandson of Nimshi. (2Ki 9:14) Jehu ruled as king of Israel from about 904 to 877 B.C.E. During the reign of King Ahab of Israel, Elijah the prophet had fled to Mount Horeb to escape death at the hands of Ahab’s wife Jezebel. God commanded Elijah to go back and to anoint three men: Elisha as Elijah’s successor, Hazael as king of Syria, and Jehu as king of Israel. (1Ki 19:15, 16) Elijah anointed Elisha (or, appointed him; see ANOINTED, ANOINTING). However, the anointing of Jehu remained for Elijah’s successor Elisha actually to perform.
Was this leaving of Jehu’s anointing to Elisha due to procrastination on Elijah’s part? No. A while after giving Elijah the command, Jehovah told him that the calamity on Ahab’s house (to be executed by Jehu) would not come in Ahab’s day, but in the days of Ahab’s son. (1Ki 21:27-29) So it is evident that the delay was by Jehovah’s guidance and not because of laxity on Elijah’s part. But Jehovah timed the anointing exactly right, when the opportunity was ripe for Jehu to put the anointing immediately into effect by action. And, in harmony with Jehu’s decisive and dynamic personality, he did not lose a moment, but acted immediately.

(1 KINGS 19:18)

“And I still have left 7,000 in Israel, all whose knees have not bent down to Baʹal and whose mouths have not kissed him.””

*** ia chap. 12 p. 107 par. 23 He Took Comfort in His God ***
Second, Jehovah revealed this thrilling news: “I have let seven thousand remain in Israel, all the knees that have not bent down to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.” (1 Ki. 19:18) Elijah was far from alone. It must have warmed his heart to hear of those thousands of faithful people who refused to worship Baal. They needed Elijah to keep up his faithful service, to set an example of unshakable loyalty to Jehovah in those dark times. Elijah must have been deeply touched to hear those words through Jehovah’s messenger, the “calm, low voice” of his God.

*** w11 7/1 p. 22 He Took Comfort in His God ***
Second, Jehovah revealed this thrilling news: “I have let seven thousand remain in Israel, all the knees that have not bent down to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.” (1 Kings 19:18) Elijah was far from alone. It must have warmed his heart to hear of those thousands of faithful people who refused to worship Baal. They needed Elijah to keep up his faithful service, to set an example of unshakable loyalty to Jehovah in those dark times. Elijah must have been deeply touched to hear those words through Jehovah’s messenger, the “calm, low voice” of his God.

*** it-2 p. 511 Number, Numeral ***
Occasionally numbers are used in an approximate sense, as round numbers, for example, at Psalm 90:10, where the psalmist speaks of man’s age limit, and possibly also at 1 Kings 19:18 (7,000 who had not bowed to Baal) and 2 Chronicles 14:9 (the million Ethiopians defeated by Asa).

(1 KINGS 19:19)

“So he went from there and found E•liʹsha the son of Shaʹphat while he was plowing with 12 pairs of bulls ahead of him, and he was with the 12th pair. So E•liʹjah went over to him and threw his official garment on him.”

*** w14 2/1 p. 12 He Endured in the Face of Injustice ***
In any case, the Bible record states: “Elijah went over to him and threw his official garment on him.” (1 Kings 19:19) Elijah’s official garment—likely of sheepskin or goatskin—was worn as a cloak and signified his special appointment from Jehovah. Throwing it over Elisha’s shoulders, then, was a gesture full of meaning. Elijah willingly submitted to Jehovah’s command to appoint Elisha as his successor.

*** w97 11/1 p. 30 An Example of Self-Sacrifice and Loyalty ***
FOR a young farmer named Elisha, what began as a routine day of plowing turned out to be the most significant day in his life. While he was working in the field, Elisha received an unexpected visit from Elijah, Israel’s foremost prophet. ‘What could he want with me?’ Elisha may have wondered. He did not have to wait long for an answer. Elijah threw his official garment upon Elisha, indicating that one day Elisha would be his successor. Elisha did not treat this calling lightly. At once, he left his field to become Elijah’s attendant.—1 Kings 19:19-21.

*** w97 11/1 p. 31 An Example of Self-Sacrifice and Loyalty ***
When extended the invitation to special service with Elijah, Elisha immediately left his field to minister to Israel’s foremost prophet. Evidently, some of his duties were menial, for he became known as the one who “poured out water upon the hands of Elijah.” (2 Kings 3:11) Nevertheless, Elisha viewed his work as a privilege, and he stuck loyally by Elijah’s side.
Many of God’s servants today display a similar spirit of self-sacrifice. Some have left their “fields,” their livelihoods, to preach the good news in distant territories or to serve as members of a Bethel family. Others have traveled to foreign lands to work on the Society’s construction projects. Many have accepted what might be called lowly tasks. Yet, no one who slaves for Jehovah is performing an insignificant service. Jehovah appreciates all who serve him willingly, and he will bless their spirit of self-sacrifice.—Mark 10:29, 30.

*** w90 9/1 p. 16 Will You Learn From the Seasons? ***
You may read of Elijah’s appointing of his successor: “He . . . found Elisha the son of Shaphat while he was plowing with twelve spans before him.” (1 Kings 19:19)

*** w90 9/1 p. 16 Will You Learn From the Seasons? ***
Elisha was taking part in a major plowing operation when he was called as a prophet. That likely places the time in Tishri (September-October), when the extreme heat of the summer was past. The early rains had begun to soften the soil, making it possible to do plowing, followed by sowing.

*** it-1 p. 714 Elisha ***
ELISHA
(E•liʹsha) [God Is Salvation].
The son of Shaphat and a prophet of Jehovah in the tenth and ninth centuries B.C.E.; successor to the prophet Elijah. Elijah was directed by Jehovah to anoint Elisha from Abel-meholah. Finding Elisha plowing, Elijah threw his official garment over him, designating an appointment. (1Ki 19:16) Elisha was plowing behind 12 spans of bulls, “and he with the twelfth.” It is of interest that in the 19th century William Thomson in The Land and the Book (1887, p. 144) reported that it was a custom among the Arabs to work together with their small plows, and one sower could easily sow all that they plowed in a day. Elisha, in the rear of the group, would be able to stop without disrupting the work of the rest. The fact that he sacrificed a span of the bulls and used the implements as fuel speaks for Elisha’s promptness, decisiveness, and appreciativeness for Jehovah’s call. After preparing a meal, Elisha immediately left to follow Elijah.—1Ki 19:19-21.

*** it-2 p. 649 Plowing ***
A number of men, each with a pair, or span, of cattle, might work together, plowing parallel rows one behind the other. In Elisha’s case, as related at 1 Kings 19:19, he was the 12th and last so he could stop without disrupting others following him. He left the field and used his wood plowing instruments as firewood in offering the bulls as a sacrifice. (1Ki 19:21) In The Land and the Book (revised by J. Grande, 1910, p. 121), W. M. Thomson reports that one man could easily sow the area plowed by a group of men.

(1 KINGS 19:20)

“At that he left the bulls and ran after E•liʹjah and said: “Please, let me kiss my father and my mother. Then I will follow you.” He replied to him: “Go, return, for what have I done to stop you?””

*** w97 11/1 p. 30 An Example of Self-Sacrifice and Loyalty ***
FOR a young farmer named Elisha, what began as a routine day of plowing turned out to be the most significant day in his life. While he was working in the field, Elisha received an unexpected visit from Elijah, Israel’s foremost prophet. ‘What could he want with me?’ Elisha may have wondered. He did not have to wait long for an answer. Elijah threw his official garment upon Elisha, indicating that one day Elisha would be his successor. Elisha did not treat this calling lightly. At once, he left his field to become Elijah’s attendant.—1 Kings 19:19-21.

*** w97 11/1 p. 31 An Example of Self-Sacrifice and Loyalty ***
When extended the invitation to special service with Elijah, Elisha immediately left his field to minister to Israel’s foremost prophet. Evidently, some of his duties were menial, for he became known as the one who “poured out water upon the hands of Elijah.” (2 Kings 3:11) Nevertheless, Elisha viewed his work as a privilege, and he stuck loyally by Elijah’s side.
Many of God’s servants today display a similar spirit of self-sacrifice. Some have left their “fields,” their livelihoods, to preach the good news in distant territories or to serve as members of a Bethel family. Others have traveled to foreign lands to work on the Society’s construction projects. Many have accepted what might be called lowly tasks. Yet, no one who slaves for Jehovah is performing an insignificant service. Jehovah appreciates all who serve him willingly, and he will bless their spirit of self-sacrifice.—Mark 10:29, 30.

(1 KINGS 19:21)

“So he went back and took a pair of bulls and sacrificed them, and he used the plowing gear to boil the meat of the bulls and gave it to the people, and they ate. After that he rose up and followed E•liʹjah and began to minister to him.”

*** w97 11/1 p. 30 An Example of Self-Sacrifice and Loyalty ***
FOR a young farmer named Elisha, what began as a routine day of plowing turned out to be the most significant day in his life. While he was working in the field, Elisha received an unexpected visit from Elijah, Israel’s foremost prophet. ‘What could he want with me?’ Elisha may have wondered. He did not have to wait long for an answer. Elijah threw his official garment upon Elisha, indicating that one day Elisha would be his successor. Elisha did not treat this calling lightly. At once, he left his field to become Elijah’s attendant.—1 Kings 19:19-21.

*** w97 11/1 p. 31 An Example of Self-Sacrifice and Loyalty ***
When extended the invitation to special service with Elijah, Elisha immediately left his field to minister to Israel’s foremost prophet. Evidently, some of his duties were menial, for he became known as the one who “poured out water upon the hands of Elijah.” (2 Kings 3:11) Nevertheless, Elisha viewed his work as a privilege, and he stuck loyally by Elijah’s side.
Many of God’s servants today display a similar spirit of self-sacrifice. Some have left their “fields,” their livelihoods, to preach the good news in distant territories or to serve as members of a Bethel family. Others have traveled to foreign lands to work on the Society’s construction projects. Many have accepted what might be called lowly tasks. Yet, no one who slaves for Jehovah is performing an insignificant service. Jehovah appreciates all who serve him willingly, and he will bless their spirit of self-sacrifice.—Mark 10:29, 30.

*** it-1 p. 714 Elisha ***
ELISHA
(E•liʹsha) [God Is Salvation].
The son of Shaphat and a prophet of Jehovah in the tenth and ninth centuries B.C.E.; successor to the prophet Elijah. Elijah was directed by Jehovah to anoint Elisha from Abel-meholah. Finding Elisha plowing, Elijah threw his official garment over him, designating an appointment. (1Ki 19:16) Elisha was plowing behind 12 spans of bulls, “and he with the twelfth.” It is of interest that in the 19th century William Thomson in The Land and the Book (1887, p. 144) reported that it was a custom among the Arabs to work together with their small plows, and one sower could easily sow all that they plowed in a day. Elisha, in the rear of the group, would be able to stop without disrupting the work of the rest. The fact that he sacrificed a span of the bulls and used the implements as fuel speaks for Elisha’s promptness, decisiveness, and appreciativeness for Jehovah’s call. After preparing a meal, Elisha immediately left to follow Elijah.—1Ki 19:19-21.

(1 KINGS 20:1)

“Now King Ben-haʹdad of Syria gathered his whole army together along with 32 other kings and their horses and chariots; he went up and laid siege to Sa•marʹi•a and fought against it.”

*** it-1 p. 286 Ben-hadad ***
2. The next mention of a Syrian king named Ben-hadad occurs during the reign of King Ahab of Israel (c. 940-920 B.C.E.). About the fifth year before Ahab’s death, “Ben-hadad the king of Syria” led the combined forces of 32 kings, evidently vassals, against Samaria, besieging the city and calling on King Ahab to surrender unconditionally. (1Ki 20:1-6) Ahab called a council of the older men of the land, who advised him to resist. Then, while the Syrian forces were preparing for an assault on the city and while Ben-hadad and the other kings were drinking themselves drunk in the booths they had erected, Ahab, following divine counsel, used strategy to initiate a surprise attack on the Syrian camp, and he successfully routed them.—1Ki 20:7-21.

*** it-1 p. 951 Enemy Nations That Attacked Israel ***
Syria 1Ki 20:1-6, 26; 2Ki 12:17, 18; 16:5-9

(1 KINGS 20:11)

“The king of Israel answered: “Tell him, ‘The one who puts on his armor should not boast about himself like one who takes it off.’””

*** w05 7/1 p. 31 par. 10 Highlights From the Book of First Kings ***
20:11. When Ben-hadad bragged about destroying Samaria, Israel’s king answered: “Do not let one girding on [his armor in preparation for battle] boast about himself like one unfastening” his armor after returning victorious from battle. When faced with a new task, we must avoid the overconfidence of a braggart.—Proverbs 27:1; James 4:13-16.

*** it-1 p. 172 Arms, Armor ***
Girdle. The military girdle of ancient times was a leather belt worn around the waist or hips. It varied in width from 5 to 15 cm (2 to 6 in.) and was often studded with plates of iron, silver, or gold. The warrior’s sword was suspended from it, and at times the belt was supported by a shoulder strap. (1Sa 18:4; 2Sa 20:8) Whereas a loosened girdle denoted leisure (1Ki 20:11), girding up the loins or hips indicated readiness for action or battle.—Ex 12:11; 1Ki 18:46; 1Pe 1:13, ftn.

(1 KINGS 20:23)

“Now the servants of the king of Syria said to him: “Their God is a God of mountains. That is why they overpowered us. But if we fight against them on level land, we will overpower them.”

*** it-1 p. 1144 Horse ***
Horses, however, do not lend themselves well for military use in mountainous, rough terrain. (Am 6:12) Hence, when King Ahab of Israel defeated the army of Syria, Ben-hadad’s servants offered the excuse that it was because the God of Israel was “a God of mountains” and not of the level plains, where horses and chariots operate to advantage. Nevertheless, Jehovah gave Israel the victory even in the plains.—1Ki 20:23-29.

(1 KINGS 20:24)

“Also do this: Remove all the kings from their places, and replace them with governors.”

*** it-1 p. 286 Ben-hadad ***
The Syrian forces had been reorganized, the 32 kings having been replaced by governors as heads of the troops, evidently because it was thought that the governors would fight more unitedly and obediently and perhaps would also have stronger incentive for winning promotion to higher rank than the more independent kings. Ben-hadad’s religious and military theories, however, proved worthless against the Israelite forces who, though vastly outnumbered, were forewarned by a prophet of the attack and had the backing of the King of the universe, Jehovah God. The Syrian forces were cut to pieces, and Ben-hadad fled into Aphek. Ahab, however, let this dangerous enemy go free, with this promise from Ben-hadad: “The cities that my father took from your father I shall return; and streets you will assign to yourself in Damascus the same as my father assigned in Samaria.”—1Ki 20:22-34.
There is considerable difference of opinion as to whether this Ben-hadad is the same Syrian king of Baasha and Asa’s day or whether he is instead a son or grandson of that king. For Ben-hadad I (of Asa’s time) to be the Ben-hadad of Ahab’s and even of Jehoram’s time (c. 917-905 B.C.E.) would require a reign of some 45 years or more. This, of course, is not impossible.
However, those who hold that the Syrian king of Ahab’s day should be called Ben-hadad II point to the promise made by Ben-hadad to Ahab, quoted above. (1Ki 20:34) On the face of it, this appears to say that Ben-hadad’s father had taken cities from Omri, Ahab’s father. But if the seizure referred to was that effected by Ben-hadad I during Baasha’s rule, that would make Ben-hadad I the father (or perhaps simply the predecessor) of the Ben-hadad II of Ahab’s reign. Likewise, Ahab’s “father” could possibly refer to a royal predecessor on the throne even though not related by blood as a lineal ancestor.—See BELSHAZZAR.
Nevertheless, the fact that Ben-hadad’s promise to Ahab made reference to Samaria would appear to limit the Syrian capture of the Israelite cities to the reign of Omri, since Samaria was built by him and thereafter made Israel’s capital. The “streets” assigned apparently were for the establishment of bazaars, or markets, to promote commercial interests.
Whatever the circumstances and time of the capture of the Israelite cities, the Scriptural evidence would seem to point to a different Ben-hadad as ruling by Ahab’s time, and hence he may be referred to as Ben-hadad II. It appears that the promise of Ben-hadad to return the cities taken from Israel by his father was not completely fulfilled, for in Ahab’s final year of rule this Israelite king formed an alliance with Jehoshaphat in a vain attempt to recover Ramoth-gilead (E of the Jordan) from the Syrians. Ben-hadad II is evidently the anonymous “king of Syria” who ordered his “thirty-two chiefs of the chariots” to concentrate their attack on Ahab in that battle. (1Ki 22:31-37)

(1 KINGS 20:26)

“At the start of the year, Ben-haʹdad mustered the Syrians and went up to Aʹphek for battle against Israel.”

*** g94 3/8 p. 29 Watching the World ***
Biblical City Uncovered
Le Figaro, a French newspaper, reports that a team of Japanese archaeologists has uncovered the ruins of one of the five ancient Biblical cities named Aphek. For years scholars have unsuccessfully tried to connect the location of this ancient city with the modern village of Afriq, or Fiq, three miles [5 km] east of the Sea of Galilee. However, archaeologist Hiroshi Kanaseki believes that the discovery of part of an ancient wall at ʽEn Gev, located on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, proves that the site is indeed where this particular Biblical city of Aphek once stood. It is mentioned in the Bible at 1 Kings 20:26 as the location where Syrian King Ben-hadad II was defeated by the Israelite forces under King Ahab.

*** it-1 p. 120 Aphek ***
5. A city mentioned at 1 Kings 20:26 as the site of the defeat of the Syrian Ben-hadad II. The retreating Syrians pulled back to the city, only to have its wall fall upon 27,000 of them. (1Ki 20:29, 30) It likewise seems to be the place prophetically indicated to King Jehoash by the dying prophet Elisha as the point where the Syrians would suffer future defeats at the hands of Israelites. (2Ki 13:17-19, 25) Some scholars would place the Aphek mentioned in these texts about 5 km (3 mi) E of the Sea of Galilee, where the modern village of Afiq or Fiq is found. However, so far no remains older than the fourth century B.C.E. have been found at the site. But at nearby ʽEn Gev on the shore of the Sea of Galilee remains of a large fortified city of the tenth to eighth centuries B.C.E. have been discovered.

(1 KINGS 20:27)

“The people of Israel were also mustered and supplied, and they went out to meet them. When the people of Israel camped in front of them, they were like two tiny flocks of goats, while the Syrians filled the whole land.”

*** it-1 p. 60 Ahab ***
The Israelite forces advanced to the battle site but looked like “two tiny flocks of goats” compared to the massive Syrian encampment. Reassured by Jehovah’s promise to demonstrate that his power was not controlled by geography, Ahab’s forces dealt a crushing defeat to the enemy. (1Ki 20:26-30)

(1 KINGS 20:28)

“Then the man of the true God approached the king of Israel and said: “This is what Jehovah says, ‘Because the Syrians have said: “Jehovah is a God of mountains, and he is not a God of plains,” I will give all this large crowd into your hand, and you will certainly know that I am Jehovah.’””

*** it-1 p. 1144 Horse ***
Horses, however, do not lend themselves well for military use in mountainous, rough terrain. (Am 6:12) Hence, when King Ahab of Israel defeated the army of Syria, Ben-hadad’s servants offered the excuse that it was because the God of Israel was “a God of mountains” and not of the level plains, where horses and chariots operate to advantage. Nevertheless, Jehovah gave Israel the victory even in the plains.—1Ki 20:23-29.

(1 KINGS 20:31)

“So his servants said to him: “Look, we have heard that the kings of the house of Israel are merciful kings. Please, let us wear sackcloth on our hips and put ropes on our heads and go out to the king of Israel. Perhaps he will spare your life.””

*** it-1 p. 216 Attitudes and Gestures ***
Bowing could also be a symbol of acknowledgment of defeat. (Isa 60:14) Those persons defeated might appear before their conqueror in sackcloth and, additionally, with ropes upon their heads in an appeal for mercy. (1Ki 20:31, 32) Some think that the ropes mentioned were put about their necks to symbolize their captivity and submission.

*** it-1 p. 507 Cord, Rope ***
In an act evidently symbolic of abject subjection and humiliation, defeated Syrians “girded sackcloth upon their loins, with ropes upon their heads, and came in to the king of Israel,” seeking Ahab’s indulgence toward Syrian King Ben-hadad II. Each may have worn a rope as a band around his head or his neck.—1Ki 20:31-34.

(1 KINGS 20:32)

“So they wore sackcloth around their hips and ropes on their heads and came in to the king of Israel and said: “Your servant Ben-haʹdad says, ‘Please, let me live.’” He replied: “Is he still alive? He is my brother.””

*** it-1 p. 216 Attitudes and Gestures ***
Bowing could also be a symbol of acknowledgment of defeat. (Isa 60:14) Those persons defeated might appear before their conqueror in sackcloth and, additionally, with ropes upon their heads in an appeal for mercy. (1Ki 20:31, 32) Some think that the ropes mentioned were put about their necks to symbolize their captivity and submission.

(1 KINGS 20:34)

“Ben-haʹdad now said to him: “The cities that my father took from your father I will return, and you may establish markets for yourself in Damascus, just as my father did in Sa•marʹi•a.” Aʹhab replied: “On the basis of this agreement, I will let you go.” With that he made an agreement with him and let him go.”

*** w05 7/1 p. 31 par. 1 Highlights From the Book of First Kings ***
20:34—After Jehovah gave Ahab victory over the Syrians, why did Ahab spare their king, Ben-hadad? Instead of striking Ben-hadad down, Ahab concluded a covenant with him by which streets in the Syrian capital, Damascus, would be assigned to Ahab, evidently for the establishment of bazaars, or markets. Earlier, Ben-hadad’s father had similarly assigned himself streets in Samaria for commercial purposes. Hence, Ben-hadad was released so that Ahab could establish commercial interests in Damascus.

*** it-1 p. 60 Ahab ***
However, much like King Saul with Agag the Amalekite, Ahab let Ben-hadad survive and concluded a covenant with him by which captured cities would be returned to Israel and streets in Damascus would be assigned to Ahab, evidently for the establishment of bazaars, or markets, to promote Ahab’s commercial interests in that Syrian capital. (1Ki 20:31-34) Similar to Saul, Ahab was condemned by Jehovah for this, with future calamity foretold for him and his people.—1Ki 20:35-43.

*** it-1 p. 286 Ben-hadad ***
The Syrian forces had been reorganized, the 32 kings having been replaced by governors as heads of the troops, evidently because it was thought that the governors would fight more unitedly and obediently and perhaps would also have stronger incentive for winning promotion to higher rank than the more independent kings. Ben-hadad’s religious and military theories, however, proved worthless against the Israelite forces who, though vastly outnumbered, were forewarned by a prophet of the attack and had the backing of the King of the universe, Jehovah God. The Syrian forces were cut to pieces, and Ben-hadad fled into Aphek. Ahab, however, let this dangerous enemy go free, with this promise from Ben-hadad: “The cities that my father took from your father I shall return; and streets you will assign to yourself in Damascus the same as my father assigned in Samaria.”—1Ki 20:22-34.
There is considerable difference of opinion as to whether this Ben-hadad is the same Syrian king of Baasha and Asa’s day or whether he is instead a son or grandson of that king. For Ben-hadad I (of Asa’s time) to be the Ben-hadad of Ahab’s and even of Jehoram’s time (c. 917-905 B.C.E.) would require a reign of some 45 years or more. This, of course, is not impossible.
However, those who hold that the Syrian king of Ahab’s day should be called Ben-hadad II point to the promise made by Ben-hadad to Ahab, quoted above. (1Ki 20:34) On the face of it, this appears to say that Ben-hadad’s father had taken cities from Omri, Ahab’s father. But if the seizure referred to was that effected by Ben-hadad I during Baasha’s rule, that would make Ben-hadad I the father (or perhaps simply the predecessor) of the Ben-hadad II of Ahab’s reign. Likewise, Ahab’s “father” could possibly refer to a royal predecessor on the throne even though not related by blood as a lineal ancestor.—See BELSHAZZAR.
Nevertheless, the fact that Ben-hadad’s promise to Ahab made reference to Samaria would appear to limit the Syrian capture of the Israelite cities to the reign of Omri, since Samaria was built by him and thereafter made Israel’s capital. The “streets” assigned apparently were for the establishment of bazaars, or markets, to promote commercial interests.
Whatever the circumstances and time of the capture of the Israelite cities, the Scriptural evidence would seem to point to a different Ben-hadad as ruling by Ahab’s time, and hence he may be referred to as Ben-hadad II. It appears that the promise of Ben-hadad to return the cities taken from Israel by his father was not completely fulfilled, for in Ahab’s final year of rule this Israelite king formed an alliance with Jehoshaphat in a vain attempt to recover Ramoth-gilead (E of the Jordan) from the Syrians. Ben-hadad II is evidently the anonymous “king of Syria” who ordered his “thirty-two chiefs of the chariots” to concentrate their attack on Ahab in that battle. (1Ki 22:31-37)

*** it-1 p. 571 Damascus ***
The “streets” that Ben-hadad II offered to be assigned to Ahab in Damascus were evidently for the establishment of bazaars, or markets, to promote Ahab’s commercial interests in that Syrian capital.—1Ki 20:34.

*** it-2 p. 845 Samaria ***
During the latter part of Ahab’s reign, the Syrian king Ben-hadad II laid siege to Samaria, vowing he would strip it so completely that there would not be sufficient dust to fill the hands of those in his army. However, the Israelites were given the victory in order that Ahab should know that Jehovah is God Almighty. (1Ki 20:1-21) In a second encounter less than a year later, when Ben-hadad was forced to surrender, Ahab let him go on the promise that cities would be returned to Israel and ‘streets in Damascus would be assigned’ to Ahab the same as Ben-hadad’s father had assigned himself streets in Samaria. (1Ki 20:26-34) These “streets” evidently had been for the establishment of bazaars, or markets, to promote the commercial interests of Ben-hadad’s father. Nevertheless, Ahab returned to Samaria sad and dejected, for, since he had spared Ben-hadad’s life, Jehovah told him he would forfeit his own.—1Ki 20:35-43.

*** it-2 p. 1039 Street ***
The “streets” that Ben-hadad offered to be assigned to Ahab in Damascus were evidently for the establishment of bazaars, or markets, to promote Ahab’s commercial interests in that Syrian capital. (1Ki 20:34)

(1 KINGS 20:35)

“By the word of Jehovah, one of the sons of the prophets said to his companion: “Strike me, please.” But the man refused to strike him.”

*** it-2 p. 697 Prophet ***
Though often sharing quarters and food in common, they might receive individual assignments to go out on prophetic missions.—1Ki 20:35-42;

(1 KINGS 20:40)

“And while your servant was busy here and there, suddenly the man was gone.” The king of Israel said to him: “So your own judgment will be; you have decided it yourself.””

*** it-1 p. 1176 Illustrations ***
(4) Even when being used to give correction to a person, illustrations can be used to sidestep prejudice on the part of the hearer, keeping his mind from being beclouded by such prejudice, and thereby accomplishing more than would a mere statement of fact. Such was the case when Nathan found a hearing ear in reproving King David for his sin in connection with Bath-sheba and Uriah. (2Sa 12:1-14) This was also the case when an illustration was used to get wicked King Ahab unknowingly to weigh the principles involved in his own disobedient action in sparing the life of King Ben-hadad of Syria, an enemy of God, and to utter a judgment condemning himself.—1Ki 20:34, 38-43.

WEEK STARTING AUGUST 10: Aug. 10 Bible reading: 1 Kings 21-22


(1 KINGS 21:1)

“After these things, an incident took place concerning a vineyard that belonged to Naʹboth the Jezʹre•el•ite; it was in Jezʹre•el, next to the palace of Aʹhab the king of Sa•marʹi•a.”

*** it-2 p. 847 Samaria ***
2. The territory of the ten-tribe northern kingdom of Israel. The name of its capital city, Samaria, was sometimes applied to this entire area. For example, when Ahab was called “the king of Samaria,” it was not with the restricted meaning of being king of the city only, but in the broader sense as king of the ten tribes. (1Ki 21:1) So, too, “the cities of Samaria” referred to those scattered throughout the ten tribes, not to towns clustered around the capital. (2Ki 23:19; this same expression recorded at 1Ki 13:32 as if used before the city Samaria was built, if not prophetic, may have been introduced by the compiler of the Kings account.) The famine “in Samaria” in the days of Ahab was extensive throughout the whole kingdom of Samaria and, in fact, even took in Phoenicia, extending at least from the torrent valley of Cherith, E of the Jordan, to Zarephath on the Mediterranean. (1Ki 17:1-12; 18:2, 5, 6) Similarly, the restoration promise regarding “the mountains of Samaria” must have embraced the whole of the realm of Samaria.—Jer 31:5.

(1 KINGS 21:3)

“But Naʹboth said to Aʹhab: “It is unthinkable, from Jehovah’s standpoint, for me to give you the inheritance of my forefathers.””

*** w14 2/1 p. 13 He Endured in the Face of Injustice ***
Ahab summoned him and offered to give him money or to trade for the vineyard. Naboth, though, said: “It is unthinkable, from Jehovah’s standpoint, for me to give you the inheritance of my forefathers.” (1 Kings 21:3) Was Naboth stubborn? Reckless? Many have assumed so. In fact, he was obeying the Law of Jehovah, which did not allow Israelites permanently to sell land that was the hereditary possession of their family. (Leviticus 25:23-28) To Naboth, it was unthinkable to break God’s Law. He was a man of faith and courage, for he surely knew that it was dangerous to stand up to Ahab.

*** w97 8/1 p. 13 par. 18 Serving Loyally With Jehovah’s Organization ***
18 Sometimes Satan’s attacks on our loyalty are direct. Consider the case of Naboth. When King Ahab pressured him to sell his vineyard, he replied: “It is unthinkable on my part, from Jehovah’s standpoint, for me to give the hereditary possession of my forefathers to you.” (1 Kings 21:3) Naboth was not being stubborn; he was being loyal. The Mosaic Law ordered that no Israelite sell a hereditary possession of land in perpetuity. (Leviticus 25:23-28) Naboth surely knew that this vicious king could have him killed, for Ahab had already let his wife, Jezebel, kill off many of Jehovah’s prophets! Yet Naboth stood firm.—1 Kings 18:4.

(1 KINGS 21:19)

“You must tell him, ‘This is what Jehovah says: “Have you murdered a man and also taken his property?”’ Then say to him, ‘This is what Jehovah says: “In the place where the dogs licked up the blood of Naʹboth, the dogs will lick up your own blood.”’””

*** w14 2/1 p. 15 He Endured in the Face of Injustice ***
Soon thereafter, Jehovah’s sentence on Ahab was carried out. Wounded in battle, Ahab bled to death in his chariot. The account adds this grim detail: When the royal chariot was washed out, some of the dogs licked up the king’s blood. In this public way, Jehovah’s words that Elijah delivered to Ahab were fulfilled: “In the place where the dogs licked up the blood of Naboth, the dogs will lick up your own blood.”—1 Kings 21:19; 22:19-22, 34-38.

*** it-1 p. 60 Ahab ***
As the dogs had licked up Naboth’s blood so dogs would lick up Ahab’s blood, and Jezebel herself and Ahab’s descendants would become food for dogs and scavenger birds. These words hit home, and in deep grief Ahab fasted in sackcloth, alternately sitting and pacing the floor in despondence. On this basis a measure of mercy was extended to him as regards the time when the calamity would come on his house.—1Ki 21:1-29.

*** it-1 p. 60 Ahab ***
His body was brought to Samaria for burial and when “they began to wash off the war chariot by the pool of Samaria . . . the dogs went licking up his blood.” A large artificial basin has been excavated in the NW corner of the spacious palace courtyard in Samaria, and this may be the location of this fulfillment of prophecy.—1Ki 22:1-38.

*** it-1 p. 644 Dog ***
At times Jehovah’s judgment against his enemies was that their dead bodies would be eaten or their blood licked up by scavenger dogs. Because of the course of gross unfaithfulness followed by Kings Jeroboam, Baasha, and Ahab, any who belonged to their respective households and who died in the city were to be devoured by dogs. (1Ki 14:11; 16:4; 21:24) In fulfillment of Jehovah’s word, the dogs licked up Ahab’s blood, and the flesh of his wife Jezebel became food for the dogs. (1Ki 21:19; 22:38; 21:23; 2Ki 9:10, 35, 36)

*** it-1 p. 712 Elijah ***
Elijah meets Ahab at the vineyard and tells Ahab that his blood will be licked up by the dogs at the same place where they had licked up the blood of Naboth. He also announces a similar fate for Jezebel.—1Ki 19:19; 21:1-26.
About three years later Ahab dies in battle. His war chariot is washed by the pool of Samaria, and the dogs lick up his blood. Jezebel’s execution, however, awaits a time perhaps 15 years later. Ahab was succeeded by his son Ahaziah. This king follows in his wicked father’s footsteps, for when he is injured in an accident he turns to the false god Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron, to inquire regarding the outcome of his sickness. Elijah sends him Jehovah’s word that because of this he will positively die. When Ahaziah sends in succession three groups to get Elijah, each group composed of a chief with 50 men, the prophet calls down fire from the heavens to annihilate the first two groups, but on the plea of the third chief, he goes back with him to pronounce the judgment against Ahaziah in person.—1Ki 22:1, 37, 38; 2Ki 1:1-17.

(1 KINGS 21:20)

“Aʹhab said to E•liʹjah: “So you have found me, O my enemy!” He replied: “I have found you. ‘Because you are determined to do what is bad in the eyes of Jehovah,”

*** w14 2/1 pp. 14-15 He Endured in the Face of Injustice ***
Imagine his expression as he lingered in that vineyard, his head full of dreams about the wondrous garden he would make of the place. But, suddenly, Elijah appeared! Ahab’s blissful countenance changed, twisted with rage and hatred, as he spat out the words: “So you have found me, O my enemy!”—1 Kings 21:20.
Ahab’s words reveal two kinds of folly. First, in saying, “So you have found me” to Elijah, Ahab revealed that he was spiritually blind. Jehovah had already “found” him. He had seen Ahab abuse the gift of free will and enjoy the fruitage of Jezebel’s wicked plot. God saw into Ahab’s heart, where love for a material possession had eclipsed any sense of mercy, justice, or compassion. Second, in saying to Elijah, “O my enemy!” Ahab revealed his hatred for a man who was a friend of Jehovah God and who could have helped Ahab turn from his disastrous course.
We may learn vital lessons from Ahab’s folly. We must ever remember that Jehovah God sees all. As a loving Father, he knows when we stray from the path of what is right, and he is eager to see us change our ways. To help us, he often uses his friends—faithful humans who, like Elijah, bear God’s words to their fellow humans. What a mistake it would be to view God’s friends as our enemies!—Psalm 141:5.
Picture Elijah answering Ahab: “I have found you.” He found Ahab for what he was—a thief, a murderer, and a rebel against Jehovah God. What courage it took for him to stand up to that wicked man!

(1 KINGS 21:21)

“here I am bringing calamity upon you, and I will make a clean sweep after you and will annihilate from Aʹhab every male, including the helpless and weak in Israel.”

*** w14 2/1 p. 15 He Endured in the Face of Injustice ***
Elijah went on to pronounce God’s sentence on Ahab. Jehovah saw the whole picture—wickedness was spreading out from the family of Ahab and infecting the people. So Elijah told Ahab that God had ordained “a clean sweep,” the extermination of that entire dynasty. Jezebel too would be brought to justice.—1 Kings 21:20-26.

*** it-1 p. 209 Athaliah ***
When Jehoash reached seven years of age, God-fearing High Priest Jehoiada brought the lad out of secrecy and crowned him rightful heir to the throne. Hearing the tumult, Athaliah rushed to the temple and, upon seeing what was happening, cried, “Conspiracy! Conspiracy!” High Priest Jehoiada ordered her taken outside the temple grounds to be executed at the horse gate of the palace; she was perhaps the last of Ahab’s abominable house. (2Ki 11:1-20; 2Ch 22:1–23:21) How true it proved to be: “Nothing of Jehovah’s word will fall unfulfilled to the earth that Jehovah has spoken against the house of Ahab”!—2Ki 10:10, 11; 1Ki 21:20-24.

*** it-1 p. 717 Elisha ***
There is yet an unfinished work of Elijah for Elisha to carry out, namely, the anointing of Jehu as God’s executioner against the wicked house of Ahab. (2Ki 9:1-10) He carries it out over 18 years after Jehovah gave the command to Elijah. Elisha gets to see the fulfillment of the prophecies at 1 Kings 19:15-17 and 21:21-24.

(1 KINGS 21:23)

“Also concerning Jezʹe•bel, Jehovah has said: ‘The dogs will eat up Jezʹe•bel in the plot of land of Jezʹre•el.”

*** jr chap. 10 pp. 120-121 par. 15 Are You Daily Asking, “Where Is Jehovah?” ***
15 Jeremiah recorded the account about Jezebel, the wicked wife of King Ahab of Samaria. His account included Elijah’s declaration that dogs would eat up Jezebel in the plot of the land of Jezreel. (1 Ki. 21:23) And in harmony with what Jeremiah recorded, you know that some 14 years later, Jezebel was thrown out of a window, trampled upon by Jehu’s horse, and eaten by dogs. (2 Ki. 9:31-37) Research into Elijah’s prophecy and its fulfillment, even in its details, must have strengthened Jeremiah’s faith in God’s word.

*** it-1 p. 644 Dog ***
At times Jehovah’s judgment against his enemies was that their dead bodies would be eaten or their blood licked up by scavenger dogs. Because of the course of gross unfaithfulness followed by Kings Jeroboam, Baasha, and Ahab, any who belonged to their respective households and who died in the city were to be devoured by dogs. (1Ki 14:11; 16:4; 21:24) In fulfillment of Jehovah’s word, the dogs licked up Ahab’s blood, and the flesh of his wife Jezebel became food for the dogs. (1Ki 21:19; 22:38; 21:23; 2Ki 9:10, 35, 36)

(1 KINGS 21:24)

“Anyone belonging to Aʹhab who dies in the city the dogs will eat up, and anyone who dies in the field the birds of the heavens will eat up.”

*** it-1 p. 209 Athaliah ***
When Jehoash reached seven years of age, God-fearing High Priest Jehoiada brought the lad out of secrecy and crowned him rightful heir to the throne. Hearing the tumult, Athaliah rushed to the temple and, upon seeing what was happening, cried, “Conspiracy! Conspiracy!” High Priest Jehoiada ordered her taken outside the temple grounds to be executed at the horse gate of the palace; she was perhaps the last of Ahab’s abominable house. (2Ki 11:1-20; 2Ch 22:1–23:21) How true it proved to be: “Nothing of Jehovah’s word will fall unfulfilled to the earth that Jehovah has spoken against the house of Ahab”!—2Ki 10:10, 11; 1Ki 21:20-24.

*** it-1 p. 644 Dog ***
Dogs (Canis familiaris), like carrion birds, were scavengers, particularly in the cities. The Law directed throwing to the dogs flesh that had been torn by a wild beast. (Ex 22:31) At times Jehovah’s judgment against his enemies was that their dead bodies would be eaten or their blood licked up by scavenger dogs. Because of the course of gross unfaithfulness followed by Kings Jeroboam, Baasha, and Ahab, any who belonged to their respective households and who died in the city were to be devoured by dogs. (1Ki 14:11; 16:4; 21:24)

(1 KINGS 21:27)

“As soon as Aʹhab heard these words, he ripped his garments apart and put sackcloth on his body; and he went on a fast and kept lying down in sackcloth and walking despondently.”

*** w14 2/1 p. 15 He Endured in the Face of Injustice ***
Perhaps Elijah was surprised at Ahab’s reaction to the divine judgment. The account reads: “As soon as Ahab heard these words, he ripped his garments apart and put sackcloth on his body; and he went on a fast and kept lying down in sackcloth and walking despondently.” (1 Kings 21:27) Was Ahab repenting of his ways?
We can at least say that it was a move in the right direction. Ahab was humbling himself—surely a difficult thing for a proud, arrogant man to do. But was it true repentance? Consider, by comparison, a later king who may have exceeded Ahab in wickedness—Manasseh. When Jehovah punished Manasseh, the man humbled himself, calling out to Jehovah for help. But he went further. He then turned his life course around by getting rid of the idolatrous images that he had set up, making efforts to serve Jehovah, and even encouraging his people to do the same. (2 Chronicles 33:1-17) Do we see such actions on Ahab’s part? Sadly, no.

(1 KINGS 21:29)

““Have you seen how Aʹhab has humbled himself on my account? Because he has humbled himself before me, I will not bring the calamity during his lifetime. I will bring the calamity upon his house in the days of his son.””

*** w14 2/1 p. 15 He Endured in the Face of Injustice ***
Did Jehovah notice that Ahab made that public display of his sadness? Jehovah said to Elijah: “Have you seen how Ahab has humbled himself on my account? Because he has humbled himself before me, I will not bring the calamity during his lifetime. I will bring the calamity upon his house in the days of his son.” (1 Kings 21:29) Was Jehovah forgiving Ahab? No, only true repentance would have elicited such divine mercy. (Ezekiel 33:14-16) But since Ahab showed a measure of regret, Jehovah responded with a corresponding measure of mercy. Ahab would be spared the horrific experience of seeing his entire family destroyed.
Still, Jehovah’s judgment of the man stood. Jehovah later consulted with his angels about the best way to fool Ahab into joining the battle that would end his life. Soon thereafter, Jehovah’s sentence on Ahab was carried out.

(1 KINGS 22:22)

“He replied, ‘I will go out and become a deceptive spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ So he said, ‘You will fool him, and what is more, you will be successful. Go out and do that.’”

*** it-2 p. 245 Lie ***
Jehovah God allows “an operation of error” to go to persons who prefer falsehood “that they may get to believing the lie” rather than the good news about Jesus Christ. (2Th 2:9-12) This principle is illustrated by what happened centuries earlier in the case of Israelite King Ahab. Lying prophets assured Ahab of success in war against Ramoth-gilead, while Jehovah’s prophet Micaiah foretold disaster. As revealed in vision to Micaiah, Jehovah allowed a spirit creature to become “a deceptive spirit” in the mouth of Ahab’s prophets. That is to say, this spirit creature exercised his power upon them so that they spoke, not truth, but what they themselves wanted to say and what Ahab wanted to hear from them. Though forewarned, Ahab preferred to be fooled by their lies and paid for it with his life.—1Ki 22:1-38; 2Ch 18.

(1 KINGS 22:23)

“And now Jehovah has put a deceptive spirit in the mouth of all these prophets of yours, but Jehovah has declared calamity for you.””

*** it-2 p. 245 Lie ***
Jehovah God allows “an operation of error” to go to persons who prefer falsehood “that they may get to believing the lie” rather than the good news about Jesus Christ. (2Th 2:9-12) This principle is illustrated by what happened centuries earlier in the case of Israelite King Ahab. Lying prophets assured Ahab of success in war against Ramoth-gilead, while Jehovah’s prophet Micaiah foretold disaster. As revealed in vision to Micaiah, Jehovah allowed a spirit creature to become “a deceptive spirit” in the mouth of Ahab’s prophets. That is to say, this spirit creature exercised his power upon them so that they spoke, not truth, but what they themselves wanted to say and what Ahab wanted to hear from them. Though forewarned, Ahab preferred to be fooled by their lies and paid for it with his life.—1Ki 22:1-38; 2Ch 18.

(1 KINGS 22:26)

“Then the king of Israel said: “Take Mi•caiʹah and turn him over to Aʹmon the chief of the city and to Joʹash the king’s son.”

*** it-2 p. 81 Joash ***
6. One of those into whose custody the faithful prophet Micaiah was committed for imprisonment by Ahab. He is designated “the king’s son.” (1Ki 22:26, 27; 2Ch 18:25, 26) This expression may refer to an offspring of King Ahab or it could denote an official of royal descent or someone else closely connected with the royal household.

(1 KINGS 22:31)

“Now the king of Syria had ordered his 32 chariot commanders: “Do not fight with anyone, small or great, except the king of Israel.””

*** it-1 p. 286 Ben-hadad ***
The Syrian forces had been reorganized, the 32 kings having been replaced by governors as heads of the troops, evidently because it was thought that the governors would fight more unitedly and obediently and perhaps would also have stronger incentive for winning promotion to higher rank than the more independent kings. Ben-hadad’s religious and military theories, however, proved worthless against the Israelite forces who, though vastly outnumbered, were forewarned by a prophet of the attack and had the backing of the King of the universe, Jehovah God. The Syrian forces were cut to pieces, and Ben-hadad fled into Aphek. Ahab, however, let this dangerous enemy go free, with this promise from Ben-hadad: “The cities that my father took from your father I shall return; and streets you will assign to yourself in Damascus the same as my father assigned in Samaria.”—1Ki 20:22-34.
There is considerable difference of opinion as to whether this Ben-hadad is the same Syrian king of Baasha and Asa’s day or whether he is instead a son or grandson of that king. For Ben-hadad I (of Asa’s time) to be the Ben-hadad of Ahab’s and even of Jehoram’s time (c. 917-905 B.C.E.) would require a reign of some 45 years or more. This, of course, is not impossible.
However, those who hold that the Syrian king of Ahab’s day should be called Ben-hadad II point to the promise made by Ben-hadad to Ahab, quoted above. (1Ki 20:34) On the face of it, this appears to say that Ben-hadad’s father had taken cities from Omri, Ahab’s father. But if the seizure referred to was that effected by Ben-hadad I during Baasha’s rule, that would make Ben-hadad I the father (or perhaps simply the predecessor) of the Ben-hadad II of Ahab’s reign. Likewise, Ahab’s “father” could possibly refer to a royal predecessor on the throne even though not related by blood as a lineal ancestor.—See BELSHAZZAR.
Nevertheless, the fact that Ben-hadad’s promise to Ahab made reference to Samaria would appear to limit the Syrian capture of the Israelite cities to the reign of Omri, since Samaria was built by him and thereafter made Israel’s capital. The “streets” assigned apparently were for the establishment of bazaars, or markets, to promote commercial interests.
Whatever the circumstances and time of the capture of the Israelite cities, the Scriptural evidence would seem to point to a different Ben-hadad as ruling by Ahab’s time, and hence he may be referred to as Ben-hadad II. It appears that the promise of Ben-hadad to return the cities taken from Israel by his father was not completely fulfilled, for in Ahab’s final year of rule this Israelite king formed an alliance with Jehoshaphat in a vain attempt to recover Ramoth-gilead (E of the Jordan) from the Syrians. Ben-hadad II is evidently the anonymous “king of Syria” who ordered his “thirty-two chiefs of the chariots” to concentrate their attack on Ahab in that battle. (1Ki 22:31-37)

(1 KINGS 22:34)

“But one man shot his bow at random, and he struck the king of Israel between the joints of his coat of mail. So the king said to his charioteer: “Turn around and take me out of the battle, for I have been badly wounded.””

*** it-1 pp. 171-172 Arms, Armor ***
Coat of mail. A coat worn for protection during battle. The coat of mail (Heb., shir•yohnʹ or shir•yanʹ) consisted of a cloth or leather cloak that had hundreds of small adjoining pieces of metal (somewhat like fish scales) attached to its surface. Often it covered the breast, back, and shoulders, though it sometimes reached to the knees or even the ankles.—1Sa 17:5.
Among the Hebrews the coat of mail was frequently made of leather covered with metal scales or plates. The wearer enjoyed considerable protection thereby, but, nonetheless, would be vulnerable where the scales were connected or where the coat of mail adjoined other parts of the armor. Thus, King Ahab was mortally wounded by a bowman who “got to strike the king of Israel between the appendages and the coat of mail.”—1Ki 22:34-37.

(1 KINGS 22:38)

“When they washed off the war chariot by the pool of Sa•marʹi•a, the dogs licked up his blood and the prostitutes bathed there, according to the word that Jehovah had spoken.”

*** w14 2/1 p. 15 He Endured in the Face of Injustice ***
Soon thereafter, Jehovah’s sentence on Ahab was carried out. Wounded in battle, Ahab bled to death in his chariot. The account adds this grim detail: When the royal chariot was washed out, some of the dogs licked up the king’s blood. In this public way, Jehovah’s words that Elijah delivered to Ahab were fulfilled: “In the place where the dogs licked up the blood of Naboth, the dogs will lick up your own blood.”—1 Kings 21:19; 22:19-22, 34-38.

*** it-1 p. 60 Ahab ***
As the dogs had licked up Naboth’s blood so dogs would lick up Ahab’s blood, and Jezebel herself and Ahab’s descendants would become food for dogs and scavenger birds. These words hit home, and in deep grief Ahab fasted in sackcloth, alternately sitting and pacing the floor in despondence. On this basis a measure of mercy was extended to him as regards the time when the calamity would come on his house.—1Ki 21:1-29.

*** it-1 p. 60 Ahab ***
His body was brought to Samaria for burial and when “they began to wash off the war chariot by the pool of Samaria . . . the dogs went licking up his blood.” A large artificial basin has been excavated in the NW corner of the spacious palace courtyard in Samaria, and this may be the location of this fulfillment of prophecy.—1Ki 22:1-38.

*** it-1 p. 153 Archaeology ***
At the NW corner of the summit a large cemented pool was found, measuring some 10 m (33 ft) in length and about 5 m (17 ft) in width. It could be “the pool of Samaria,” in which Ahab’s chariot was washed of his blood.—1Ki 22:38.

*** it-1 p. 644 Dog ***
At times Jehovah’s judgment against his enemies was that their dead bodies would be eaten or their blood licked up by scavenger dogs. Because of the course of gross unfaithfulness followed by Kings Jeroboam, Baasha, and Ahab, any who belonged to their respective households and who died in the city were to be devoured by dogs. (1Ki 14:11; 16:4; 21:24) In fulfillment of Jehovah’s word, the dogs licked up Ahab’s blood, and the flesh of his wife Jezebel became food for the dogs. (1Ki 21:19; 22:38; 21:23; 2Ki 9:10, 35, 36)

*** it-1 p. 712 Elijah ***
Elijah meets Ahab at the vineyard and tells Ahab that his blood will be licked up by the dogs at the same place where they had licked up the blood of Naboth. He also announces a similar fate for Jezebel.—1Ki 19:19; 21:1-26.
About three years later Ahab dies in battle. His war chariot is washed by the pool of Samaria, and the dogs lick up his blood. Jezebel’s execution, however, awaits a time perhaps 15 years later. Ahab was succeeded by his son Ahaziah. This king follows in his wicked father’s footsteps, for when he is injured in an accident he turns to the false god Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron, to inquire regarding the outcome of his sickness. Elijah sends him Jehovah’s word that because of this he will positively die. When Ahaziah sends in succession three groups to get Elijah, each group composed of a chief with 50 men, the prophet calls down fire from the heavens to annihilate the first two groups, but on the plea of the third chief, he goes back with him to pronounce the judgment against Ahaziah in person.—1Ki 22:1, 37, 38; 2Ki 1:1-17.

(1 KINGS 22:39)

“As for the rest of the history of Aʹhab, all that he did and the house of ivory that he built and all the cities that he built, is it not written in the book of the history of the times of the kings of Israel?”

*** w90 11/1 p. 17 Samaria—Capital Among Northern Capitals ***
It may be of interest to you that archaeologists also discovered fragments of ivory inlay or panels, as shown here. Remember that 1 Kings 22:39 long ago mentioned that Ahab built a “house of ivory.” Perhaps this included furniture with carved ivory inlays, such as the splendid “couches of ivory” that the prophet Amos referred to a century later. (Amos 3:12, 15; 6:1, 4) Among the motifs on them were winged sphinxes and other symbols from Egyptian mythology.

*** w90 11/1 p. 17 Samaria—Capital Among Northern Capitals ***
Inset: Israel Department of Antiquities and Museums; photograph from Israel Museum, Jerusalem

*** si p. 149 par. 5 Bible Book Number 30—Amos ***
Numerous ivory objects were found in the excavation of Samaria. The Encyclopedia of Archaeological Excavations in the Holy Land states: “Two main groups can be distinguished: 1. Plaques carved in high relief, . . . 2. Plaques carved in low relief, and decorated with insets of precious stones, colored glass, gold foil, etc. . . . The ivories are considered as products of Phoenician art, and they were probably used as inlays in the palace furniture of the Israelite kings. The Bible mentions the ‘ivory house’ which Ahab built (1 Kings 22:39)

*** it-1 p. 59 Ahab ***
It is believed that Ahab’s construction works included the completing of Samaria’s fortifications, shown by archaeology to have consisted of three immensely strong walls of superior workmanship. Excavations have revealed a rectangular palace platform measuring about 90 m (295 ft) by 180 m (590 ft), with an enclosing wall of fine ashlar masonry. Numerous ivory panels for decorating furniture and wall panels were found, perhaps connected with Ahab’s “house of ivory” mentioned at 1 Kings 22:39.—PICTURE, Vol. 1, p. 948; also compare Am 3:15; 6:4.

*** it-1 p. 153 Archaeology ***
Large quantities of ivory pieces, plaques, and panels were found in the palace area and may relate to Ahab’s house of ivory mentioned at 1 Kings 22:39. (Compare Am 6:4.)

*** it-1 p. 1155 House ***
“The houses of ivory” of some wealthy ones evidently had rooms paneled with wood inlaid with ivory. (1Ki 22:39; Am 3:15)

(1 KINGS 22:47)

“Then there was no king in Eʹdom; a deputy was acting as king.”

*** it-1 p. 615 Deputy ***
During the rule of Jehoshaphat, king of Judah (936-c. 911 B.C.E.), “a deputy was king” in Edom, which, at the time, was under Judean control. (1Ki 22:47) This indicates that a vicegerent had been appointed or approved to act in the place of the king.

(1 KINGS 22:48)

“Je•hoshʹa•phat also made Tarʹshish ships to go to Oʹphir for gold, but they did not go because the ships were wrecked at Eʹzi•on-geʹber.”

*** it-2 pp. 1066-1067 Tarshish ***
It is generally believed that the term “ships of Tarshish” in course of time came to stand for a type of ship, as one lexicon puts it: “large, sea-going vessels, fit to ply to Tarshish.” (A Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament, by Brown, Driver, and Briggs, 1980, p. 1077) In a similar way, the name Indiamen originally was derived from the name applied to large British ships engaged in trade with India and in time came to apply to ships of that type no matter what their origin or destination. Thus 1 Kings 22:48 shows that King Jehoshaphat (936-911 B.C.E.) “made Tarshish ships to go to Ophir for gold.”
The Chronicles account, however, states that Solomon’s ships used for the triannual voyages “were going to Tarshish” (2Ch 9:21); also that Jehoshaphat’s ships were designed “to go to Tarshish” and, when wrecked, “did not retain strength to go to Tarshish.” (2Ch 20:36, 37) This would indicate that Ophir was not the only port of call of the Israelite “ships of Tarshish,” but that they also navigated Mediterranean waters. This, of course, poses a problem, since the launching site of at least some of these vessels is shown to have been Ezion-geber on the Gulf of ʽAqaba. (1Ki 9:26) For the ships to reach the Mediterranean Sea, they would either have to traverse a canal from the Red Sea to the Nile River and then into the Mediterranean or else circumnavigate the continent of Africa. While it is by no means possible to determine now the details of navigational routes (including canals) available or employed in Solomon’s and in Jehoshaphat’s time, there is likewise no need to view the record of their maritime projects as unfeasible.

(1 KINGS 22:49)

“It was then that A•ha•ziʹah the son of Aʹhab said to Je•hoshʹa•phat: “Let my servants go with your servants in the ships,” but Je•hoshʹa•phat did not consent.”

*** it-1 p. 63 Ahaziah ***
The account at 1 Kings 22:48, 49 shows that Ahaziah wanted Jehoshaphat’s authorization for Israelite mariners to man the ships jointly with those of Judah, a request that Jehoshaphat refused. If this request was made prior to the wrecking of the ships, it may simply indicate Jehoshaphat’s distrust of Ahaziah and caution against encroachment by the northern kingdom. If the request came after the failure of the fleet, it may have been an insinuation on Ahaziah’s part that Jehoshaphat’s men were lacking in ability and were responsible for the wreckage of the ships and hence the suggestion that the ships be refitted and sent out again with Israelite sailors also on board. In that case Jehoshaphat’s refusal may have been in acknowledgment of God’s manifest disapproval of the project.

(1 KINGS 22:50)

“Then Je•hoshʹa•phat was laid to rest with his forefathers and was buried with his forefathers in the City of David his forefather; and his son Je•hoʹram became king in his place.”

*** it-2 p. 172 Kings, Books of ***
First Kings covers a period of about 129 years, commencing with the final days of King David, about 1040 B.C.E., and running through to the death of Judean King Jehoshaphat in about 911 B.C.E. (1Ki 22:50)

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You can download the specific information for each week in the digital file that is provided for the Theocratic Ministry School.

Highlights From the Book: The First of Kings

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