This article is part of a series of Bible passages, which together are mainly about how the Bible says the Jewish race developed and were given laws, how they settled in ancient Israel, and how it says God sometimes punished them for disobeying his commands, which led to them changing their ways.
This is Part 4 (of 11) in Section 8: "The Kings of Israel and Judah, and Disaster and Prosperity Brought on the Two Kingdoms According to Their Obedience or Disobedience to God".
Some parts of the Old Testament and the Book of Revelation are very unpleasant. If you become offended by anything, please read An Attempt to Explain Gruesome Bible Passages.
The purpose of the Old Testament seems to have been mainly to try to scare lawless societies into behaving decently, giving up the cruel ways the Bible says they were guilty of. Hence much of the gruesomeness, which is at least in part meant to warn people committing cruel and hurtful actions to change.
Psalm 94 (CEV)
1 LORD God, you punish
Show what you are like
and punish them now.
2 You judge the earth.
Come and help us!
Pay back those proud people
for what they have done.
3 How long will the wicked
celebrate and be glad?
4 All of those cruel people
strut and boast,
5 and they crush and wound
your chosen nation, LORD.
6 They murder widows,
foreigners, and orphans.
7 Then they say,
"The LORD God of Jacob
doesn't see or know."
8Can't you fools see?
Won't you ever learn?
9 God gave us ears and eyes!
Can't he hear and see?
10 God instructs the nations
and gives knowledge to us all.
Won't he also correct us?
11 The LORD knows how useless
our plans really are.
12 Our LORD, you bless everyone
that you instruct and teach
by using your Law.
13 You give them rest
from their troubles,
until a pit can be dug
for the wicked.
14 You won't turn your back
on your chosen nation.
15 Justice and fairness
will go hand in hand,
and all who do right
will follow along.
16 Who will stand up for me
against those cruel people?
17 If you had not helped me, LORD,
I would soon have gone
to the land of silence.
18When I felt my feet slipping,
you came with your love
and kept me steady.
19 And when I was burdened
you comforted me
and made me feel secure.
20 But you are opposed
to dishonest lawmakers
21who gang up to murder
22 You, LORD God, are my fortress,
that mighty rock
where I am safe.
23 You will pay back my enemies,
and you will wipe them out
for the evil they did.
1 Kings chapter 20 (CEV)
1 King Benhadad of Syria called his army together. He was joined by thirty-two other kings with their horses and chariots, and together they marched to Samaria and attacked. 2 Benhadad sent a messenger to tell King Ahab of Israel, 3 "Ahab, give me your silver and gold, your wives, and your strongest sons!"
4"Your Majesty," Ahab replied, "everything I have is yours, including me."
5 Later, Benhadad sent another messenger to say to Ahab, "I already told you to give me your silver and gold, your wives, and your children. 6 But tomorrow at this time, I will send my officials into your city to search your palace and the houses of your officials. They will take everything else that you own."
7Ahab called a meeting with the leaders of Israel and said, "Benhadad is causing real trouble. He told me to give him my wives and children, as well as my silver and gold. And I agreed."
8"Don't listen to him!" they answered. "You don't have to do what he says."
9 So Ahab sent someone to tell Benhadad, "Your Majesty, I'll give you my silver and gold, and even my wives and children. But I won't let you have anything else."
When Benhadad got his answer, 10 he replied, "I'll completely destroy Samaria! There won't even be enough of it left for my soldiers to carry back in their hands. If I don't do it, I pray that the gods will punish me terribly."
11 Ahab then answered, "Benhadad, don't brag before the fighting even begins. Wait and see if you live through it."
12 Meanwhile, Benhadad and the other kings had been drinking in their tents. But when Ahab's reply came, he ordered his soldiers to prepare to attack Samaria, and they all got ready. 13 At that very moment, a prophet ran up to Ahab and said, "You can see that Benhadad's army is very strong. But the LORD has promised to help you defeat them today. Then you will know that the LORD is in control."
14 "Who will fight the battle?" Ahab asked.
The prophet answered, "The young bodyguards who serve the district officials."
"But who will lead them into battle?" Ahab asked.
"You will!" the prophet replied.
15 So Ahab called together the two hundred thirty-two young soldiers and the seven thousand troops in Israel's army, and he got them ready to fight the Syrians. 16-17 At noon, King Ahab and his Israelite army marched out of Samaria, with the young soldiers in front.
King Benhadad of Syria and the thirty-two kings with him were drunk when the scouts he had sent out ran up to his tent, shouting, "We just now saw soldiers marching out of Samaria!"
18 "Take them alive!" Benhadad ordered. "I don't care if they have come out to fight or to surrender."
19 The young soldiers led Israel's troops into battle, 20 and each of them attacked and killed an enemy soldier. The rest of the Syrian army turned and ran, and the Israelites went after them. Benhadad and some others escaped on horses, 21 but Ahab and his soldiers followed them and captured their horses and chariots. Ahab and Israel's army crushed the Syrians.
22 Later, the prophet went back and warned Ahab, "Benhadad will attack you again next spring. Build up your troops and make sure you have some good plans."
23 Meanwhile, Benhadad's officials went to him and explained: Israel's gods are mountain gods. We fought Israel's army in the hills, and that's why they defeated us. But if we fight them on flat land, there's no way we can lose. 24 Here's what you should do. First, get rid of those thirty-two kings and put army commanders in their places. 25 Then get more soldiers, horses, and chariots, so your army will be as strong as it was before. We'll fight Israel's army on flat land and wipe them out.
Benhadad agreed and did what they suggested. 26 In the spring, Benhadad got his army together, and they marched to the town of Aphek to attack Israel. 27 The Israelites also prepared to fight. They marched out to meet the Syrians, and the two armies camped across from each other. The Syrians covered the whole area, but the Israelites looked like two little flocks of goats.
28 The prophet went to Ahab and said, "The Syrians think the LORD is a god of the hills and not of the valleys. So he has promised to help you defeat their powerful army. Then you will know that the LORD is in control."
29 For seven days the two armies stayed in their camps, facing each other. Then on the seventh day the fighting broke out, and before sunset the Israelites had killed one hundred thousand Syrian troops. 30 The rest of the Syrian army ran back to Aphek, but the town wall fell and crushed twenty-seven thousand of them.
Benhadad also escaped to Aphek and hid in the back room of a house. 31 His officials said, "Your Majesty, we've heard that Israel's kings keep their agreements. We will wrap sackcloth around our waists, put ropes around our heads, and ask Ahab to let you live."
32 They dressed in sackcloth and put ropes on their heads, then they went to Ahab and said, "Your servant Benhadad asks you to let him live."
"Is he still alive?" Ahab asked. "Benhadad is like a brother to me."
33 Benhadad's officials were trying to figure out what Ahab was thinking, and when he said "brother," they quickly replied, "You're right! You and Benhadad are like brothers."
"Go get him," Ahab said.
When Benhadad came out, Ahab had him climb up into his chariot. 34 Benhadad said, "I'll give back the towns my father took from your father. And you can have shops in Damascus, just as my father had in Samaria."
Ahab replied, "If you do these things, I'll let you go free."
Then they signed a peace treaty, and Ahab let Benhadad go.
1 Kings chapter 20 (TEV)
35 At the Lord's command a member of a group of prophets ordered a fellow prophet to hit him. But he refused, 36 so he said to him, "Because you have disobeyed the Lord's command, a lion will kill you as soon as you leave me." And as soon as he left, a lion came along and killed him.
37 Then this same prophet went to another man and said, "Hit me!" This man did so; he hit him a hard blow and hurt him. 38 The prophet bandaged his face with a cloth, to disguise himself, and went and stood by the road, waiting for the king of Israel to pass.
39 As the king was passing by, the prophet called out to him and said, "Your Majesty, I was fighting in the battle when a soldier brought a captured enemy to me and said, "Guard this man; if he escapes, you will pay for it with your life or else pay a fine of three thousand pieces of silver.' 40 But I got busy with other things, and the man escaped."
The king answered, "You have pronounced your own sentence, and you will have to pay the penalty." 41 The prophet tore the cloth from his face, and at once the king recognized him as one of the prophets. 42 The prophet then said to the king, "This is the word of the Lord: "Because you allowed the man to escape whom I had ordered to be killed, you will pay for it with your life, and your army will be destroyed for letting his army escape.'"
43 The king went back home to Samaria, worried and depressed.
1 Kings chapter 21 (TEV)
1 Near King Ahab's palace in Jezreel there was a vineyard owned by a man named Naboth. 2 One day Ahab said to Naboth, "Let me have your vineyard; it is close to my palace, and I want to use the land for a vegetable garden. I will give you a better vineyard for it or, if you prefer, I will pay you a fair price."
3 "I inherited this vineyard from my ancestors," Naboth replied. "The Lord forbid that I should let you have it!"
4 Ahab went home, depressed and angry over what Naboth had said to him. He lay down on his bed, facing the wall, and would not eat.
5 His wife Jezebel went to him and asked, "Why are you so depressed? Why won't you eat?"
6 He answered, "Because of what Naboth said to me. I offered to buy his vineyard or, if he preferred, to give him another one for it, but he told me that I couldn't have it!"
7 "Well, are you the king or aren't you?" Jezebel replied. "Get out of bed, cheer up, and eat. I will get you Naboth's vineyard!"
8 Then she wrote some letters, signed Ahab's name to them, sealed them with his seal, and sent them to the officials and leading citizens of Jezreel. 9 The letters said: "Proclaim a day of fasting, call the people together, and give Naboth the place of honor. 10 Get a couple of scoundrels to accuse him to his face of cursing God and the king. Then take him out of the city and stone him to death."
11 The officials and leading citizens of Jezreel did what Jezebel had commanded. 12 They proclaimed a day of fasting, called the people together, and gave Naboth the place of honor. 13 The two scoundrels publicly accused him of cursing God and the king, and so he was taken outside the city and stoned to death. 14 The message was sent to Jezebel: "Naboth has been put to death."
15 As soon as Jezebel received the message, she said to Ahab, "Naboth is dead. Now go and take possession of the vineyard which he refused to sell to you." 16 At once Ahab went to the vineyard to take possession of it.
Psalm 58 (NIV)
For the director of music. To the tune of "Do Not Destroy." Of David. A miktam .
Psalm 58 (CEV)
1 Do you mighty people
talk only to oppose justice?
Don't you ever judge fairly?
2 You are always planning evil,
and you are brutal.
3 You have done wrong and lied
from the day you were born.
4 Your words spread poison
like the bite of a cobra
5 that refuses to listen
to the snake charmer.
1 Kings chapter 21 (TEV)
17 Then the Lord said to Elijah, the prophet from Tishbe, 18 "Go to King Ahab of Samaria. You will find him in Naboth's vineyard, about to take possession of it. 19 Tell him that I, the Lord, say to him, "After murdering the man, are you taking over his property as well?' Tell him that this is what I say: "In the very place that the dogs licked up Naboth's blood they will lick up your blood!' "
20 When Ahab saw Elijah, he said, "Have you caught up with me, my enemy?"
"Yes, I have," Elijah answered. "You have devoted yourself completely to doing what is wrong in the Lord's sight. 21 So the Lord says to you, "I will bring disaster on you. I will do away with you and get rid of every male in your family, young and old alike. 22 Your family will become like the family of King Jeroboam son of Nebat and like the family of King Baasha son of Ahijah, because you have stirred up my anger by leading Israel into sin.' 23 And concerning Jezebel, the Lord says that dogs will eat her body in the city of Jezreel. 24 Any of your relatives who die in the city will be eaten by dogs, and any who die in the open country will be eaten by vultures." 25 (There was no one else who had devoted himself so completely to doing wrong in the Lord's sight as Ahab-all at the urging of his wife Jezebel. 26 He committed the most shameful sins by worshiping idols, as the Amorites had done, whom the Lord had driven out of the land as the people of Israel advanced.)
27 When Elijah finished speaking, Ahab tore his clothes, took them off, and put on sackcloth. He refused food, slept in the sackcloth, and went about gloomy and depressed.
28 The Lord said to the prophet Elijah, 29 "Have you noticed how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Since he has done this, I will not bring disaster on him during his lifetime; it will be during his son's lifetime that I will bring disaster on Ahab's family."
Modern Western Paganism is devoid of such gruesome practices as child sacrifice and the dedication of girls to the gods as prostitutes. Some Pagans have been slandered by people who imagine that they must be involved in gruesome activities, perhaps because of widespread reports of generational Satanic ritual abuse in which girls are made to breed babies for the purposes of human sacrifice. To find out more about the reports, read the views of a policeman who says there is no physical evidence for such things having happened, and believes the stories to have been invented during harmful therapies: 'Occult Cop' (IPT Journal).
1 Kings chapter 22 (NLT)
1 For three years there was no war between Aram and Israel. 2 Then during the third year, King Jehoshaphat of Judah went to visit King Ahab of Israel. 3 During the visit, Ahab said to his officials, "Do you realize that the Arameans are still occupying our city of Ramoth-gilead? And we haven't done a thing about it!" 4 Then he turned to Jehoshaphat and asked, "Will you join me in fighting against Ramoth-gilead?"And Jehoshaphat replied to King Ahab, "Why, of course! You and I are brothers, and my troops are yours to command. Even my horses are at your service."
5 Then Jehoshaphat added, "But first let's find out what the LORD says."
6 So King Ahab summoned his prophets, about four hundred of them, and asked them, "Should I go to war against Ramoth-gilead or not?"
They all replied, "Go right ahead! The Lord will give you a glorious victory!"
7 But Jehoshaphat asked, "Isn't there a prophet of the LORD around, too? I would like to ask him the same question."
8 King Ahab replied, "There is still one prophet of the LORD, but I hate him. He never prophesies anything but bad news for me! His name is Micaiah son of Imlah."
"You shouldn't talk like that," Jehoshaphat said. "Let's hear what he has to say."
9 So the king of Israel called one of his officials and said, "Quick! Go and get Micaiah son of Imlah." 10 King Ahab of Israel and King Jehoshaphat of Judah, dressed in their royal robes, were sitting on thrones at the threshing floor near the gate of Samaria. All of Ahab's prophets were prophesying there in front of them. 11 One of them, Zedekiah son of Kenaanah, made some iron horns and proclaimed, "This is what the LORD says: With these horns you will gore the Arameans to death!" 12 All the other prophets agreed. "Yes," they said, "go up to Ramoth-gilead and be victorious, for the LORD will give you victory!"
13 Meanwhile, the messenger who went to get Micaiah said to him, "Look, all the prophets are promising victory for the king. Be sure that you agree with them and promise success."
14 But Micaiah replied, "As surely as the LORD lives, I will say only what the LORD tells me to say."
15 When Micaiah arrived before the king, Ahab asked him, "Micaiah, should we go to war against Ramoth-gilead or not?"And Micaiah replied, "Go right ahead! The LORD will give the king a glorious victory!" 16 But the king replied sharply, "How many times must I demand that you speak only the truth when you speak for the LORD?" 17 So Micaiah told him, "In a vision I saw all Israel scattered on the mountains, like sheep without a shepherd. And the LORD said, 'Their master has been killed. Send them home in peace.'"
18 "Didn't I tell you?" the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat. "He does it every time. He never prophesies anything but bad news for me."
19 Then Micaiah continued, "Listen to what the LORD says! I saw the LORD sitting on his throne with all the armies of heaven around him, on his right and on his left. 20 And the LORD said, 'Who can entice Ahab to go into battle against Ramoth-gilead so that he can be killed there?' There were many suggestions, 21 until finally a spirit approached the LORD and said, 'I can do it!' 22 "'How will you do this?' the LORD asked."And the spirit replied, 'I will go out and inspire all Ahab's prophets to speak lies.'"'You will succeed,' said the LORD. 'Go ahead and do it.' 23 "So you see, the LORD has put a lying spirit in the mouths of your prophets. For the LORD has determined disaster for you."
24 Then Zedekiah son of Kenaanah walked up to Micaiah and slapped him across the face. "When did the Spirit of the LORD leave me to speak to you?" he demanded.
25 And Micaiah replied, "You will find out soon enough when you find yourself hiding in some secret room!"
26 King Ahab of Israel then ordered, "Arrest Micaiah and take him back to Amon, the governor of the city, and to my son Joash. 27 Give them this order from the king: 'Put this man in prison, and feed him nothing but bread and water until I return safely from the battle!'"
28 But Micaiah replied, "If you return safely, the LORD has not spoken through me!" Then he added to those standing around, "Take note of what I have said."
29 So the king of Israel and King Jehoshaphat of Judah led their armies against Ramoth-gilead. 30 Now King Ahab said to Jehoshaphat, "As we go into battle, I will disguise myself so no one will recognize me, but you wear your royal robes." So Ahab disguised himself, and they went into battle. 31 Now the king of Aram had issued these orders to his thirty-two charioteers: "Attack only the king of Israel!" 32 So when the Aramean charioteers saw Jehoshaphat in his royal robes, they went after him. "There is the king of Israel!" they shouted. But when Jehoshaphat cried out, 33 the charioteers realized he was not the king of Israel, and they stopped chasing him. 34 An Aramean soldier, however, randomly shot an arrow at the Israelite troops, and the arrow hit the king of Israel between the joints of his armor.
"Get me out of here!" Ahab groaned to the driver of his chariot. "I have been badly wounded!"
35 The battle raged all that day, and Ahab was propped up in his chariot facing the Arameans. The blood from his wound ran down to the floor of his chariot, and as evening arrived he died. 36 Just as the sun was setting, the cry ran through his troops: "It's all over - return home!"
37 So the king died, and his body was taken to Samaria and buried there. 38 Then his chariot was washed beside the pool of Samaria, where the prostitutes bathed, and dogs came and licked the king's blood, just as the LORD had promised.
39 The rest of the events in Ahab's reign and the story of the ivory palace and the cities he built are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Israel. 40 When Ahab died, he was buried among his ancestors. Then his son Ahaziah became the next king.
2 Chronicles chapter 19 (TEV)
1 King Jehoshaphat of Judah returned safely to his palace in Jerusalem. 2 A prophet, Jehu son of Hanani, went to meet the king and said to him, "Do you think it is right to help those who are wicked and to take the side of those who hate the Lord? What you have done has brought the Lord's anger on you. 3 But even so, there is some good in you. You have removed all the symbols of the goddess Asherah which people worshiped, and you have tried to follow God's will."
4 Even though King Jehoshaphat lived in Jerusalem, he traveled regularly among the people, from Beersheba in the south to the edge of the hill country of Ephraim in the north, in order to call the people back to the Lord, the God of their ancestors.
5 He appointed judges in each of the fortified cities of Judah 6 and instructed them: "Be careful in pronouncing judgment; you are not acting on human authority, but on the authority of the Lord, and he is with you when you pass sentence. 7 Honor the Lord and act carefully, because the Lord our God does not tolerate fraud or partiality or the taking of bribes." 8 In Jerusalem Jehoshaphat appointed Levites, priests, and some of the leading citizens as judges in cases involving a violation of the Law of the Lord or legal disputes between inhabitants of the city. 9 He gave them the following instructions: "You must perform your duties in reverence for the Lord, faithfully obeying him in everything you do. 10 Whenever your fellow citizens from any of the cities bring before you a case of homicide or any other violation of a law or commandment, you must instruct them carefully how to conduct themselves during the trial, so that they do not become guilty of sinning against the Lord. Unless you do, you and your fellow citizens will feel the force of the Lord's anger. But if you do your duty, you will not be guilty. 11 Amariah the High Priest will have final authority in all religious cases, and Zebadiah son of Ishmael, governor of Judah, will have final authority in all civil cases. The Levites have the responsibility of seeing that the decisions of the courts are carried out. Be courageous and carry out these instructions, and may the Lord be on the side of the right!"
The Bible does not instruct Christians and ordinary people to be violent towards Pagans or to destroy their places of worship. The Bible indicates that God illustrated in Old Testament times how much he objects to the worship of other gods and disobedience to his commands. It instructs Christians and ordinary individuals to behave in a very different way to the way in which God wanted the kings of Israel and Judah to behave. To find out more, visit What The Bible Says About Violence, Anger, Jealousy, Arguments, And Living In Peace With Each Other.
The next file in this section (Part 5), is entitled: "A Great Defeat For Judah's Invaders; God's Judgment On The Kings By Death, Disease And Shipwreck; The Death Of Elijah, And The Life Of His Successor Elisha".
The main Bible pages on this site:
|Bible Part 1: Bible Quotations, The Holy Spirit, People And Their Stories|
|Bible Part 2: The Lives and Suffering of the Ancient Israelites|
|Bible Part 3: The Bible, Articles About Alleged Inaccuracies in it, And Stories of People who Became Christians.|
|If you have found parts of the Old Testament or the Book of Revelation offensive, please read An Attempt to Explain Gruesome Bible Passages.|
The selections of Bible quotations have been put together by Diana Holbourn.
Throughout this series, wherever the initials TEV appear, they stand for Today's English Version (The Good News Bible).Other initials:
Don't be afraid to question the truth of what a religious authority figure tells you, or even the Bible or other holy books themselves, or certain people's interpretation of them. Nothing to do with religion or the supernatural is so well established in fact it shouldn't be questioned. To find out why caution is a good idea, visit:
Are you up to trying the challenges of the New Testament's moral guidelines, and would you like to know more of what it says about the love of Jesus? Here are some links to Bible quotes about the beautiful ideals the New Testament encourages Christians to try to live up to:
There are a lot of pages on this website with quotations from the Old Testament on them. Many of these are unfortunately rather gruesome, since the main theme of the Old Testament is warnings and stories about how it says societies were punished for mass lawless and hurtful behaviour, even to the extent of having war brought on them by God, that seem to have been designed to scare societies where crime and violence were rampant into behaving more ethically. In case there is any misunderstanding, it should be understood that this website does not endorse war as anything other than a last resort. The position of the website owner can be gleaned from the articles:
Fancy some light relief or laughter therapy? Then go to the first of our jokes pages:
If you have a problem affecting your mental health or well-being, like depression, a difficulty with life-damaging worry, panic attacks, phobias or OCD, marriage problems, an addiction, an eating disorder, recovering from the trauma of sexual abuse or domestic violence, coping with bullies in the workplace, or bullying and teasing at school, trying to lose weight, raising difficult teenagers, caring for someone with a disease like Alzheimer's, wanting to recover from anorexia or self-harm, or grieving for someone you were close to or feeling lonely, and you'd like some ideas on coping or getting past it, visit our Self-help series.
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Go to the Broadcaster.org.uk home page to find out more.....