Tag Archives: king solomon

King Rehoboam’s ‘New Deal’

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When King Solomon died, his son, Rehoboam, succeeded him. Trying to decide what kind of king he ought to be, Rehoboam first sought advice from his father’s counselors.

They gave him good advice. Ease up on taxes, Solomon’s many building programs having pretty much depleted the nation’s wealth. “If thou wilt be a servant unto this people this day, and wilt serve them, and answer them, and speak good words to them, then they will be thy servants forever” (1 Kings 12:7). But Rehoboam “forsook the counsel of the old men… and consulted with the young men that were grown up with him” (v. 8).

Yes, he took the young men’s advice instead; and when the tribes of Israel came together to hear him, he laid out his program–every bit as daft as today’s Democrats’ “Green New Deal.” Here’s what he said.

“My father made your yoke heavy, and I will add to your yoke: my father also chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions [whips with metal blades]” (v. 14). Heavier taxes, more penalties. Yeah, that’ll work.

And that was the end of the Kingdom of Israel as known to David and Solomon. Ten of the tribes revolted against the new king and founded another kingdom under Solomon’s former servant, Jeroboam. Israel would not be one nation again until our own time, some 3,000 years later.

Let us pray that the arrogance and folly of some of our own leaders doesn’t do the same to the United States.

Their counsels need to be rejected and defeated. God grant us the wisdom and the strength to do that.


‘Thou Shalt Not…’ (But They Did It Anyway)

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God understood that sooner or later His people, Israel, would want a king, like other nations. And so, through Moses, He explained what any future king of Israel should and should not do (Deuteronomy 17:14-20).

Among these instructions, two stand out. The king is not to “multiply wives to himself” (v. 17), which might turn his heart away from God; and he is to keep a book beside his throne, and every day write in it the words of God’s law (v. 18-19).

One of the details that convinces me that the Bible is a true historical record is the frequency with which the great men of ancient Israel totally fail to carry out God’s commandments–if they even try. You’d think it would be a simple matter for a king not to take on a whole passel of wives, and to write down a Bible verse or two every day.  But no.

King David’s platoon of wives gave him a whole company of sons, making it impossible for Solomon to succeed his father without shedding brotherly blood; and then Solomon collected a harem that put David’s to shame: and sure enough, this city block’s worth of pagan wives from all sorts of pagan nations turned the wise king’s heart to folly, and resulted in the breakup of the kingdom.

The Bible makes no mention of any king of Israel or Judah ever jotting down a daily verse of Scripture. You’d think, if one of them ever once did it, someone would have thought it astounding enough to mention.

One thing the Bible teaches us is our absolute and non-negotiable need for a savior. And the only Savior who will do is Jesus Christ. He alone, of all who ever walked in human flesh, kept God’s law perfectly. He alone satisfied its terms. David, the man after God’s own heart, couldn’t do it. Solomon, the wisest ruler ever, couldn’t do it.

But God did, in the person of His son. And that’s how we’re saved.

 


A Reminder from the Scriptures: Sowing Discord is a Sin

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Writing by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, King Solomon said, These six things doth the Lord hate; yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood; an heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, a false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.  (Proverbs 7:16-19)

Purposely sowing discord, for one’s own personal or political gain–well, that’s sort of the whole first chapter of a certain political party’s playbook, isn’t it?

Hands that shed innocent blood? Yeah, we do that. In fact, we have someone running for president who thinks it’s a good thing and that public money should be provided for it.

But when it comes to sowing discord–well, where don’t you see it? How much of a college education consists of “These are the people who are out to get you, so you should hate and fear them, and always vote for you-know-who to protect you from them, and punish them for not being inclusive, blah-blah”? How much of person-to-person gossip is aimed at stirring up one against another? And then on a truly grand scale we’ve got class warfare rhetoric and race hustling.

These things are sins; and those who make them their primary means of getting things done will be judged before God.

Just a little reminder from the Scriptures. He who has ears, let him hear.


Why Man Cannot Be God (Reason No. 214,989,112 )

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Robert Fulton’s design for the world’s first steam-powered warship. The thing in the very middle of the ship is the paddle wheel.

Robert Fulton was a genius–right? He invented the steamboat. They called it “Fulton’s Folly,” but they were wrong: Fulton had just revolutionized transportation.

Nevertheless, Fulton did come up with one real folly, and it was the last project he did in his life.

In 1814 Fulton got Congress to appropriate $500,000–a staggering sum, in those days–to build a steam-powered warship that would sweep the British Navy from the seas. The War of 1812 was ongoing, the British had sailed into Chesapeake Bay and burned Washington, and it was feared they would do the same to New York. The young nation looked to Fulton to prevent that.

Fulton knew that the obvious problem for any steamboat entering a naval battle was the paddle-wheel: it would be shot to bits in a matter of minutes, leaving the ship dead in the water. So Fulton put the paddle-wheel inside the ship (see drawing, above), smack-dab in the middle, where no enemy could damage it without sinking the ship outright. And to make sure that wouldn’t happen, Fulton built the hull extra-thick and armed the vessel to the teeth with heavy guns.

As he designed it, so they built it. They finished the job a few months before the war ended.

Two things turned out to be wrong.

First, the design didn’t leave room for an engine big enough to move this monster into anything like a battle speed. It was slooooow.

But worst–you won’t believe this, but it’s true–Fulton’s design did not provide any way to steer the vessel! Again, look at the drawing: with the paddle-wheel in the middle of the boat, the boat could only go in one direction. If you really did have to turn it, you had to send men out in rowboats, with lots of strong rope, to drag the ship into another course. Not the most practical expedient during the hubbub of a battle.

How could Robert Fulton–Robert Fulton!–design and build a ship that could only go in one direction, very slowly? And given the hundreds of Navy men and shipbuilders involved in the project, why did no one ever speak up and say, “Uh, er, how are we supposed to steer this ship?”

The moral of the story: Before granting godlike powers to any moral man or woman, we do well to remember that even the wisest of us occasionally comes up with a plan that wouldn’t do credit to a monkey. The Bible tells us that “In a multitude of  counselors there is safety” (Proverbs 11:14)–and even a multitude of counselors is unsafe, once they get to thinking that they’re wise. Let the Bible and King Solomon have the last word:

“Seest thou a man who is wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him.” (Proverbs 26:12)


Sorry–I Believe the Bible

I had occasion yesterday to consult “Biblical scholars.” But as usual, I found their company to be annoying–because most of them seem not to believe hardly a single word the Bible says. They (most of them) would have us believe that virtually the whole Old Testament is fiction, cooked up by Jewish priests looking to wile away the years of captivity in Babylon by spinning tall tales.

I like to think that I know something about writing fiction. I’ve been doing it for almost all my life. And reading a lot of it, too. Not to mention history produced by Greeks and Romans, Britons, Scandinavian peoples, and others.

The great medieval Icelandic historian, Snorri Sturlusson, said he trusted his sources–royal poets, most of them–because, had they praised the kings who employed them with stories and boasts that people knew were not true, they would only win for their kings mockery, not praise. I take that to be always true. People have always laughed at empty boasts.

So not only would those fictioneering Jewish priests have exposed themselves to ridicule–but why would they take their two greatest kings, David and Solomon, and describe how those kings fell into sin and folly, and brought evil on their country? No Roman historian–and Roman historians, like Livy, are always, always accused to making their subjects look much better than they were–would have dreamed of writing such a thing.

The practice of tearing down the great and famous men of the past never came into general use until late in the 19th century. There could have been no reason whatsoever for Biblical chroniclers to show Solomon, wise King Solomon, indulging in foolish behavior that ruined his kingdom.

They would not have written that unless it were true and everyone knew it to be true. Ditto David and some of his more egregious mis-steps.

This, of course, is a vast subject and I have only scraped its surface here. But if scholars are going to accuse the Bible writers of spinning yarns, they would do well to acquire some slight understanding of fiction.


More Troubles With Pictures

“Go to the ant, thou sluggard. Consider her ways, and be wise,” King Solomon once said.

I haven’t been able to post any pictures today. I think the ants have been at WordPress. But if this picture comes out, I may be back in business.


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