Israelites used to live under the rule of judges before the establishment of united monarchy. Abimelech rule the Israelites but was later killed .As a result, Israelites tribes united to form a stronger kingdom that could defend itself against foreign enemies. The reason that motivated the idea of forming a monarchial system of rule was that the philistines conquered them and took away the ark of covenant. Other reasons include increased population growth and inadequate food. Moreover, the tribes lacked unity and the leadership of judges was inconsistent. (Dick, 2008). The judges could not rule the tribes uniformly. The wicked behavior of judges angered the Israelites and influenced their decision to choose a common ruler (New standard version 1 samuel8: 1-5).
Samuel was reluctant to appoint a king but had to conform to the Israelite wishes. God instructed Samuel to appoint Saul. He appointed Saul as the first king. Saul came from the tribe of Benjamin, part of the larger Israel kingdom. As a result, a formidable army was formed to withstand external threat, power was centralized and the introduction of tax policy to support the royal court.
Kingdom of Saul
The exact record may not be clear but Saul his reign is believed to have lasted between 1020-1000BC.
Samuel chose Saul to be the first king of Israel after the Israelites demanded strong king who could defend the m in times of war. Saul revamped the confidence of Israelites that they would not be attacked by the philistines.
However, His reign could not last due to his disobedience. Firs he disobeyed god when he was sent to kill the Amalekites. However, he spared King Agag and ordered his forces to keep some of the best livestock. Saul denied the act when Samuel confronted him for disobeying god’s rule (Senior, 2003).
On another occasion, Saul’s impatience for Samuel to perform god’s sacrifice revealed his ignorance, lack of faith and pride. He instead justified his sins rather than repent (1 samuel13:10; 8:11-12).Saul also attempted to kill David and d this did not impress God. These acts angered God and Samuel was instructed to anoint David, son of Jesse as the next king
Kingdom of David
God later instructed Samuel to go to Bethlehem at the House of Jesse and anoint the next King.” When Samuel arrived in Jesse’s home, he met David’s eldest brother and believed he was the right man. God said to him, “Do not be perturbed by his appearance or height for I have rejected him .the lord does not look at what men look. The lord looks at the heart”. Saul anointed David as the King (Senior, 2003).
David liberated Jerusalem from the Canaanites and made it his capital. He also brought the Ark of covenant and made Jerusalem religious capital. David’s knowledge led to formation of treaties and alliances and a strong bureaucratic system of governance. David was a strong believer and always obeyed gods words.
David killed Uriah so that he could have his wife Bathsheba. This act was so sinful, before God. He removed his clothes, wore a dirty linen and rolled on the floor to show his remorse to God over his sinful act. However, his reign was adversely affected by his sins. His daughter Tamar was raped by her half-brother Ammon, who was killed by Tamar’s d brother Absalom (David’s favorite son) he is eventually killed (2 Samuel 13:1-39).This expressed David’s disloyalty to God and his people.
Solomon ensured that his son Solomon is made the next King of Israel. Solomon’s wisdom gains applause among Israelites. Solomon was Bathsheba’s son. He is made the next king and his mother is impressed.
He builds the first temple to Yahweh in Jerusalem around 950BC
In addition, his wise skills in uniting the Israelites are applauded across the Israelites.
His affairs with concubines are the start if his fall .These women led him to worship gods and goddesses, against the will of God. In addition, his half-hearted loyalty towards God led to the fall of his reign. (New international version 1 Kings: 11:1-43).
Gods covenant with David and Its relation to Mosaic covenant.
God entered onto a covenant with David through Prophet Nathan .The covenant was unconditional since it involved the promises that God would deliver to David for his obedience. First, he promised David that he would have a child who will establish his throne forever. This child was Solomon. In addition, the throne will not be taken away from his son even though his sins proliferate. His Son will build a temple for the lord. God was to retain his throne, house and kingdom forever.
Contrary to the Mosaic covenant, the mosaic covenant was a conditional covenant that God entered with the Israelites at Mount Sinai through Moses. There were to be consequences if they disobeyed any of these commands. In contrast, David would not suffer any consequence in case he doubted any of God’s promises. (2 samuel7:16).Through Moses, God made the covenant with the Israelites. He promises them that if they obey his voice they would be God’s own possession and the kingdom will be a kingdom of priests. Unlike with David, God spell out the Ten Commandments that sealed the commitment to God’s orders. . (Dick, 2008).
Function of the temple for Israelites and its relevance to Christianity.
The lords temple was a fulfillment of God’s promise to David. The temple was to be a central worship for Israelites .God would appoint priests among Israelites who would intercede on behalf of Israelites. The ark of covenant was housed in the temple. In addition, children were baptized in the temple. In addition, all sacrifices and rituals were performed in the temple by holy priests. In the temple, God would reveal his wishes to the people.
In the Christian perspective, this was the foundation of the church. Christians adopted the Israelites way of worship by building the church. All rituals, prayer for harvest, gifts to God, baptism of children are performed in the church by anointed priests. Christians believe that the church, a resemblance of the temple is a holy place where God manifests himself to his people.
The beginnings of prophets and prophecy in Israel
Prophecy was highly regarded by the Israelites .It was the God’s way of communication to the Israelites. God used his special anointed people to warn people of the impending consequence if they disobeyed. In addition, he would communicate of any event to his people. (Berlin and 2004) A prophet is a person who foresees future events bound to happen. Some of the prophets of Israel include Samuel, Amos Jeremiah, Isaiah, Habakkuk, Elisha and Elijah.
Prophet can be categorized into different groups depending on their messages. These categories include former prophets, Eighth century prophets, exilic prophets and post-exilic prophets.
Eighth century prophets
These prophets prophesied to Israel before the Assyria attacked them in 720BC.In addition they also foresaw the attack of Judah by Babylonians in 587BC. The theme of their message was judgment .The proclaimed Gods anger and the chance for them to repent was over .the had to wait for the impending judgment. (Berlin and 2004) These prophets were Amos, Hosea, Zephaniah, Micah, Nahum, Isaiah and Habakkuk .Moreover, they promised of a new temple and a new king.
Prophets in this category are Elijah and Elisha. Their message to Israelites was to the King s of Israel. They warned them to repent since God was not happy with their actions and if they do not desist from their winked ways, God’s Judgment would befall them
These prophets were Ezekiel and Jeremiah, who their prophesied in writing before and during the Babylonians attack on Judah and taken to exile. They claim that it was gods doing and there will be a restoration of the kingdom with a new temple. Their message was about faith after God’s judgment.
These prophets include prophet Zachariah, Haggai and Malachi. Their message from God was to the returnees to continue having faith and wait for the rebuilding of their temple. Through the prophets, God communicated to the Israelites that he had not given up on them
Jeremiah and the Deuteronomistic History
It is not well established about the author of this history tough it is largely attributed to Jeremiah. Due to his emphasis about covenant. His main theme was about obedience to the covenant as an ingredient to national prosperity and disobedience as a national calamity.
Israelites obedience to Yahweh resulted in God harvest large families, while their disobedience invited drought ,famine and epidemics.(Deutronomy30:15-20).Prophets Isaiah, Micah ,Amos ,Habakkuk and others prophesied about the attack by Assyria Their message revolved around the sins of luxury ,fashion and superficiality in men and women. Besides, they condemned about defiance of Yahweh. Their message was that Yahweh was in control of life and the provider of everything.
Significance of King Josiah’s reforms in Judah
Josiah became king of Judah at the age of eight and died at the age of thirty-nine. He declared to fulfill the will of Yahweh according to the Torah scroll that was found in the temple. He destroyed all pagan worships, attempted to unite Israel and Judah and centralized worship at Jerusalem temple. (Dick, 2008). Prophets believe that these reforms died with its founder because Judah was conquered first by Egypt and then to Babylon before Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed. Nevertheless, his program continued to stimulate Israelites hopes of rebuilding in the aftermath of the Babylonian exile.
Meaning of the prophecies of Nahum, Habakkuk, and Jeremiah
These prophets conveyed to the Israelites that God’s impatience for them to desist from sins and repent had subdued and there was no more chance .they had to face the punishment.( Senior,2003). However, God was to spare the remnants that would revive the kingdom under a new king and a new temple to worship and offer sacrifices.
The overall pattern of Deutronomistic theory revolved around obedience and disobedience in God’s rules. Consequences were prophesied for those who defy and promises for those who obey and practice God’s will
Dick, M. B. (2008). Reading the Old Testament: An inductive introduction. Peabody, Mass: Hendrickson Publishers.
Berlin, A., Brettler, M. Z., & Fishbane, M. (2004). The Jewish study Bible: Featuring the Jewish Publication Society Tanakh translation. New York: Oxford University Press.
Senior, D. (2003). The Catholic study Bible. New York: Oxford University Press.