The following is based on 1 and 2 Kings; 1 and 2 Chronicles (Complete Jewish Bible and the New International Version)
Keep remembering that the Bible was not meant to be a world history. It is a historical record of what happened in one family line. And though Adam and Eve had many other sons and daughters after they were commanded to leave their perfect home in the Garden of Eden, the only “branch” on the family tree that is traced completely in the Bible is the lineage that runs from Seth to Jesus, son of Mary … Son of God.
So far we’ve seen this much of Adam and Eve’s family tree:
Adam and Eve ==> Seth ==> Noah ==> Shem ==> (Abram & Sarai) ==> Abraham and Sarah ==> Isaac ==> Jacob ==> Judah and Tamar ==> ==> Salmon and Rahab ==> ==> Jesse ==> David ==> Solomon
And this is where we left off:
God made a promise to David: “If your children pay attention to how they live, conducting themselves before me honestly with all their heart and being, you will never lack a man on the throne of Isra’el.” (1 Kings 2:4, CJB)
Unfortunately, David’s descendants (collectively) were not successful in conducting themselves before their God with all their heart and being, as their ancestor David did. Even Solomon, David’s own son, disobeyed God’s command not to marry foreign women, and they turned his heart toward false gods. It was during Solomon’s reign that God tore David’s kingdom in two — the northern kingdom (10 of the 12 tribes of Jacob) was given to Solomon’s rival, Jeroboam, and kept the name Israel; the southern kingdom (Judah and Benjamin) remained under Solomon’s authority and was called Judah.
The books of 2 Kings and 1 and 2 Chronicles record the reigns of all the kings who came after David. Once again, the Lord did not whitewash anything that happened throughout those generations. He detailed the EVIL as well as the GOOD — and there was very little good to be documented!
In 722 B.C., the evil of the northern kingdom (Israel) became so great that the Lord “removed them from his presence … So the people of Israel were taken from their homeland into exile in Assyria … ” (2 Kings 17:18-23). These people are often referred to as the “lost tribes of Israel.” But they were not literally lost. From there they migrated north into Europe and Russia. Only the kingdom of Judah remained, and those people were nicknamed “Jews.”
By 588 B.C. the EVIL in Jerusalem — Judah’s capital city — became so uncontrollable that God sent prophets to His people to warn them that their wickedness was reaching unacceptable levels. But they would not listen, so God handed them over to King Nebuchadnezzar, and they were exiled from the promised land for 70 years. Then, just as the prophet Jeremiah had foretold, the Jews were allowed to return to Jerusalem and rebuild their temple that had been destroyed by the Babylonians.
Finally, God stopped speaking through His prophets — perhaps because He was tired of being ignored. That’s why approximately 400 years before Jesus’ birth are sometimes called the “silent” years. But they were anything but silent!
Here’s what happened in Jewish history:
- 450-330 B.C. : The Persian Empire controlled Judah, and the Jews were ruled by high priests who were responsible to the Jewish government.
- 330-166 B.C. : Alexander the Great of Greece defeated the Persian armies and controlled Judah. The Greek conquest paved the way for the Old Testament to be translated into Greek (The Septuagint version).
- 63 B.C. … : Pompey, the Roman general captured Jerusalem and all of Palestine became subject to the Roman Empire. Herod the Great was ruler of all Palestine at the time of Christ’s birth.
It was once again time for the Lord God to provide a savior for His people, because He still desired RELATIONSHIP with humankind. He chose to accomplished that by returning to planet Earth (in the avatar form) as Jesus, the promised Messiah — Jesus, the Son of God … Jesus, God in the flesh!
NEXT we’ll look at the specific Old Testament prophecies that foretold Jesus’ birth.