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In this episode of The Bible for Normal People, Pete is back to his usual antics ruining a book of the Bible. This time he’s conquering 2 Kings, uncovering the historical context, socio-political influences, and bigger picture of the biblical narrative as told through the text. Join him as he explores the following questions:

  • What’s covered in 1 Kings?
  • What questions are being asked and answered in the Deuteronomistic history?
  • What is the main theme of 2 Kings?
  • Who is Jehoiachin and why does he matter?
  • How does Babylon fit into this story?
  • How much time does 1 and 2 Kings span?
  • What’s with the names in these stories? 
  • Who do we meet in 2 Kings?
  • Why does the writer of 2 Kings seem to have such a grudge against northern kings?
  • Do we have proof of the existence of Elijah and Elisha?
  • What’s monolatry and why does it matter?
  • What historically verifiable events happen in 2 Kings?
  • Were there any good kings at all according to the Deuteronomistic historian?


Pithy, shareable, sometimes-less-than-280-character statements from the episode you can share.

  • When we turn to 2 Kings, the nation of Israel has already been divided into two nations. First and Second Kings, which were originally one book, as a whole [tell] the story of the fall of these two kingdoms, which means the exile of these two kingdoms. — @peteenns @theb4np
  • These exiles were seen by the writer as divine punishment for each nation’s persistence in worshiping other gods, or at the very least, worshiping Israel’s God in unauthorized ways. — @peteenns @theb4np
  • The theme that really is pushed is the proper worship of God. That means worship that is centralized in the temple and the temple alone, rather than the so-called high places, which is a series of altars scattered about the land—a vestige of Canaanite practice. — @peteenns @theb4np
  • This is how 1 and 2 Kings operate: these stories move chronologically, flipping back and forth between these two kingdoms. — @peteenns @theb4np
  • These stories are written in such a way to take into account things that already happened from the perspective of the writer. — @peteenns @theb4np
  • It seems that the reason that the Deuteronomistic historian is so certain of God’s desire to kill off a line of northern kings is because he sees the north as one big problem. — @peteenns @theb4np
  • The Bible is multivocal. We read in the Bible different views about the same topics. — @peteenns @theb4np
  • Geopolitically speaking, Israel’s misfortunes at the hands of the Assyrians and later the Babylonians were due to their being in the middle of a power struggle between two massive powerful nations. — @peteenns @theb4np
  • For those who want to understand this history, I think the Bible now becomes more a source that has to be interrogated and investigated, and its comments need to be discerned for their possible historical value. — @peteenns @theb4np
  • What we have, especially in 1 and 2 Kings, is an answer to the question, “why did God abandon our people into exiles?” The answer: “it was not abandonment. It was punishment.” — @peteenns @theb4np

Mentioned in This Episode

Read the transcript

Pete: You’re listening to The Bible for Normal People, the only God ordained podcast on the internet. I’m Pete Enns. 

Jared: And I’m Jared Byas.

[Music plays]

Pete: Hey everybody, Pete here to remind you that this is the last call to pay-what-you-can for our March class taught by yours truly. That would be me. So it’s called Origin of the Old Testament and it’s going to cover things like: major assumptions of the origins of the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible and why they can be sometimes problematic; the historical messiness of the canonization of the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible; and the development of canonical consciousness—whatever that means—and more.

So, our pay-what-you-can window closes in a few days on March 15th and then it will cost $25 to purchase the recording. Now what’s exciting is that as part of our Spring Semester in the Old Testament, our March class is actually pre-recorded and comes with a study guide, meaning you can purchase it and watch it on the same day regardless of your schedule. There’s going to be a live Q&A with me in May to talk about all three of our Old Testament classes.

If you’re a member of our online community The Society of Normal People, you’ll get automatic access to the class and study guide on March 1st, PLUS a bonus roundtable video featuring our amazing Nerds in Residence. We had so much fun recording that, folks, you don’t want to miss it. So for more information and to sign up for the class, head to 

[Intro music fades]

Pete: Well folks, I am back to my antics of ruining books of the Bible, and this season we are expanding our Pete Ruins series which means this is the first of eight episodes during which I will ruin a book of the Bible for you. And what I love about these episodes is I just love getting into books of the Bible and teaching them. You know, that’s why I got into this business to begin with. I love feeling like I have a handle on the big picture of individual books of the Bible. Right? And I’ve found that this is the kind of just breakdown that people just don’t get in church settings very often. They get bits and pieces and verses, but not always the whole picture, and certainly not in making biblical scholarship accessible to people as well. So I love recording these episodes. 

So anyway, enough about me, let’s talk about my episode! Last season we left off with 1 Kings, episode 257, which means today I’ll be taking us through 2 Kings. So without further ado, let’s get into the episode.

[Jaunty music plays over clip of Pete speaking]

Pete: “We should not forget that the biblical account of the centuries covered in 1 and 2 Kings are also not objective accounts of the past, but they are nationalistic theological interpretations of events. We are not reading in any way an objective account of the past, in fact, we should not even presume that that was their intention to write an objective account. The exile had to be explained.”

[Ad break] [Intro music plays briefly]

Pete: Well, hello, folks. You know, it seems like ages, doesn’t it? Like ages since we’ve covered 1 Kings. So, let’s take a few moments to get back up to speed, okay? So, 1 Kings covers the period from David’s death around 970 BCE to about 850 BCE, and at the end of 1 Kings, we’ve gone through the first four kings of the southern kingdom of Judah and the first eight kings of the northern kingdom of Israel. Why so many more northern kings during the same time period? Well, recall, the southern kingdom is one dynasty, the line of David. In the north, there are some bloody coups, three at this point, more to come. And that generated greater turnover. So when we turn to 2 Kings, we’re around the year 850 BCE, the nation of Israel has already been divided into two nations North and South.

First and Second Kings, which were originally one book, as you may remember from previous podcasts. First and Second Kings as a whole is the story of the fall of these two kingdoms, which means the exile of these two kingdoms. The North was exiled by the mighty Assyrians, you may recall, in 722 BCE, and the South, well, they were exiled by the Babylonians 136 years later in 586 BCE.

Both of those exiles occur in 2 Kings. These exiles were seen by the writer as, not just anything, but divine punishment for each nation’s persistence in doing what? Well, in worshiping other gods, or at the very least, worshiping Israel’s God in unauthorized ways. Most every king of these kingdoms either advocated for or supported these practices, which is what ran them into trouble.

Now, you may further recall from previous episodes that the books of Joshua, Judges, First and Second Samuel, First and Second Kings are referred to in biblical scholarship as the Deuteronomistic history. Why? Well, because these books reflect certain theological themes that are prominent in the book of Deuteronomy, hence, Deuteronomistic history.

And namely, the theme that really is pushed is, as I just mentioned, the proper worship of God. To be more specific, that means worship that is centralized in the temple and the temple alone, rather than the so-called high places, which is a series of altars scattered about the land, which are a vestige of Canaanite practice. And that needs to be eradicated, according to the Deuteronomistic historian. The kings were supposed to tear down the high places so nobody would be tempted to engage in false worship on sacred land. But these kings, for the most part, didn’t do that. And that is the saga that 2 Kings is bringing to a conclusion. 

To put all this another way, 1 and 2 Kings asks the question, why did we lose our ancestral land that God gave us? The answer, disobedience to the command to worship Yahweh alone. 

So, with that recap, let’s move on to 2 Kings. This book covers the period from about 850 BCE to the release of King Jehoiachin. I need to pause there for a second. A lot of J names we’re going to come across here in 2 Kings and they get really confusing and they sound the same, but this is King Jehoiachin and his name ends with a C H I N. Just keep that in the back of your brain for a second because we’ll come up with somebody else with a very similar name. Okay. But anyway, King Jehoiakin was released from a Babylonian prison in 560 BCE. which is 37 years after he was deported. 

Now let’s get into this. If you do the math, that means that this King Jehoiachin, remember C H I N, he was deported around 597 BCE. And that’s not a typo. You see, the exile of 586, [sighs] see, it was preceded by a decade of unrest. Thanks to the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar. And there are a lot of moving parts to this part of the story, but here’s the gist. Jehoiachin’s father, Jehoiakim, spelled confusingly K I M at the end, not C H I N, not even C H I M, but K I M, right? That’s Jehoiachin’s father. He was king of Judah, the southern nation, but he was also a vassal to Egypt who held sway in the region at the time. 

The Babylonians, under Nebuchadnezzar, famous king who’s mentioned a lot, he defeated the Egyptians in 605, which means Jehoichin, at that point became really a vassal of King Nebuchadnezzar, but Egypt—see, though it got spanked by the Babylonians, well, they weren’t done yet. The fighting continued between Egypt and Babylon during which time Jehoiakim decided to rebel against Nebuchadnezzar, and you can imagine that this did not sit well with the Babylonian king. Not long after this, Jehoiakim died. And his son, whom he met already, Jehoiachin, he became king, who basically saw the handwriting on the wall and surrendered to Nebuchadnezzar in 597. Well, why would he do that? Well, to spare Jerusalem from destruction. 

See, at this point, Jerusalem already belongs to Babylon. Ten years before the exile, 11 years before the exile, and Jehoiachin is deported. And it would take another 10 years or so before Nebuchadnezzar actually tore down the temple and deported not just the king at the time, whose name was Zedekiah. He’s the last Judahite king. But also the upper class. So you didn’t deport everyone, but just, just the really important people, which includes people like priests, landowners, military commanders, blacksmiths, why? Because they made the weapons, right? 

And so, by the way, while we’re dealing with names here, Zedekiah, who I just mentioned, the last king of Judah, he was Jehoiachin’s uncle. And his name was actually Mataniah, but Nebuchadnezzar changed his name to Zedekiah. See, he changed his name, and that alone tells you who is really in charge here. It’s not the people of Judah, it’s Babylon. They are in charge. Anyway, all this is just to explain how Jehoiachin could be released from prison in Babylon in 560 in this 37th year of his captivity. The reason is, is because his captivity started in 597. And with that, folks, we’ve jumped all the way to the end of 2 Kings, [huffs] so let’s now back up and do this in order.

And for me, part of this, a big part of trying to explain these biblical books, as you know, means looking at some big picture overview kinds of matters. 

So first, one of those big overview parts is 2 Kings covers the remaining 16 kings of Judah of the southern kingdom and 11 kings of Israel of the north. For the North, we begin at the end of the dynasty of the powerful King Omri with another five dynasties to go. 

Second point, 2 Kings is 25 chapters long. The fall of the North comes in chapter 17 and the fall of the South occurs in chapters 24-25, the very end of the book. And with that in mind, let’s create a brief three part outline of the book.

Part one, here’s a good way to divide part one. It’s about the exploits of the prophet Elisha, who is the successor of Elijah after Elijah ascends into heaven, and that happens in chapter two of 2 Kings. His focus, Elisha’s focus, as was Elijah, his predecessor, the focus is on the Northern Kingdom. Now, Elisha, he dies in chapter 13. He really stops dominating the narrative around chapter eight. And after chapter 8, what we read about is, for example, a bloody coup of King Jehu of the North, which covers two chapters, chapters 9 and 10, and then followed by some more political intrigue in chapters 11 to 12. So chapters 1 through 13, part one in my outline here, it’s not all about Elisha, but his life provides a nice way of dividing 2 Kings. His life spans chapters 1 through 13. 

Part one covers about 50 years, into the early 8th century BCE, and the reign of the northern king Joash, who is also known as Jehoash. [Chuckles in frustration] What is it with the name of these kings? See, keeping up with the names is challenging because there are variations on names like we just saw, Joash or Jehoash, and they’re used interchangeably. And some Northern and Southern kings actually have the same names, which is like, who am I dealing with here? Right? So apologies at the outset, but this is what we’re dealing with here. Just a mass of names that can be confusing, at least the first time you’re exposed to it. Okay. So that was part one. 

Part two, this covers chapters 14 through 17, actually part of 13 through 17. And this recounts the fall of the Northern Kingdom with the tales of the Southern kings who overlapped this period woven in. Right? See, that’s, that’s how—you’ve probably seen this already in 1 Kings, but this is how 1 and 2 Kings operate. These stories move chronologically, flipping back and forth between these two kingdoms. And this section covers about 78 years, from about 800 to the end of the North, which is 722 BCE. 

Part three, this is chapters 18 to 25, recounts the remaining 136 years or so. It’s a lot of quick movement here, isn’t it? It’s 136 years covered in what, seven chapters or so. That recounts the end of the southern kingdom, the movement towards its own demise, its own exile. And here we meet two very upright kings, actually the best kings you’re going to see in the entire Hebrew Bible, and that’s Hezekiah and then his descendant Josiah. And we also meet one absolute epitome of evil, and this is King Manasseh. 

So, with that rough outline, let’s do a deeper dive into some highlights of each of these sections. All right? 

Part one, let’s talk about Elisha. In chapter two, the great prophet Elijah, as I mentioned before, is taken up into heaven in a whirlwind, and his protege Elisha asks for a double portion of Elijah’s spirit. And also his mantle. That’s where we get the expression down, taking over somebody’s mantle, which we use all the time. Okay. His power, Elisha’s power is seen in the miracles that he performs. Some of which people have noticed are very Jesus-y kinds of miracles. So in short order, he raises from the dead the Shunammite woman’s son—so raising the dead. He miraculously feeds a group of 100 men—so feeding a multitude. And he heals Naaman, the commander of the army of Aram, and he heals him of his leprosy, which again sounds very Jesus y. It’s possible Jesus was modeled, and some of the things he did was modeled, against the ministry of Elijah, but that is a huge topic about Jesus studies that we’re not going to get into here. 

Anyway, Elijah and Elisha are prominent in the story of the Northern kings. Elijah in 1 Kings, mainly, and Elisha in 2 Kings. And for the Deuteronomistic historian, the northern kings are the truly corrupt ones. He has nothing good to say about them whatsoever, right? Don’t forget, the Deuteronomistic historian, he’s writing from a southern perspective. And the finishing touches on the Deuteronomistic history didn’t happen until the Babylonian exile, or even later than that, after the people of Judah returned somewhat triumphantly back into the land. This is the perspective we’re getting in 1 and 2 Kings, right? 

Anyway, Elijah’s ascent to heaven is not a private affair. He and Elisha are actually accompanied by a group of people called “a company of the prophets”, and this phrase pops up a few times in 2 Kings. Now, prophets, you might want to know, in those days, they formed something like a guild, like it was a job title, and not just an occasional zap of the spirit to individuals. It was a group of them. We might get the impression, right, and I wouldn’t blame us for doing that, but we might get the impression that the only prophets in Israel were those we read about: either the so-called writing prophets like Isaiah and Jeremiah and Ezekiel, or the non, so-called non-writing prophets like Nathan, right, who’s a prophet of David, or Elijah, or Elisha, and a couple of others. And there were others that were not named at all. 

And you have Amos, for example, he’s one of the writing prophets, and he famously said, I am not a prophet, nor a son of a prophet, which again means that he’s not part of the guild. He’s sort of an outsider. He has a different kind of anointing. But the point here is simply that prophecy was not just a loner kind of thing. There was a group of them, like a school. 

Now we saw in 1 Kings that Elijah acts very Moses-like. Remember, he ascends Mount Horeb, which is how the Deuteronomistic historian refers to Mount Sinai. That’s his term, which is a whole other thing, anyway. But Elijah, he ascends Mount Horeb/Sinai. And we see here in 2 Kings 2, where he parts the Jordan River with his mantle, which is reminiscent, of course, of Moses parting the Red Sea with his staff. It’s also reminiscent of the Jordan River dividing during the time of Joshua. Anyway, similarly, Elisha does some Moses-like things. In chapter 2, he makes bad water drinkable by throwing salt into a spring, which is reminiscent of Moses making the bitter waters sweet right after the crossing of the Red Sea in Exodus. And incidentally, in chapter 4, Elisha does something similar when he makes a poisonous stew edible by mixing in some flour. Not sure how that works, but that’s not the point. The stories of Elijah and Elisha, well, they call upon well known images from the Hebrew Bible, especially the Exodus story. 

You see, both prophets are Moses among us. And such a presence is needed in light of the godless disobedience of the Northern kingdom. So the question does arise, did these prophets live? And it’s always hard to answer a question like this historically, because, you know, how do you really know if people lived or not? A typical academic comment is that at least Elijah has historical roots, probably more so than Elisha.

And in both cases, you know, regardless of whether they have historical roots, the stories told about them are normally considered to be, let’s say, less than historically plausible. And I’m just going to leave that there. This is something we can all decide for ourselves. I don’t really lose much sleep over this sort of thing. I think stories can be told that have a great impact. But I don’t want to deny the historical connections with these stories either. I don’t think there’s a real need to do that. So let’s just leave that alone. That’s a whole other topic, the nature of history in the Bible. 

The point is that the stories of both prophets probably arose in Northern circles, which is why they’re so focused on the North. And they seem to have been carried south into Judah during the time of the Assyrian crisis, which we’ll see in a minute that begins in the 730s, roughly. That’s when people started fleeing from the north to Judah for safety. And that’s how these northern traditions came to be a part of the writing of this Hebrew Bible that was largely done by the Southerners, the Judahites.

Right? So these, let’s call them independent literary creations, were only later edited together and then embedded in the Deuteronomistic history in the form we see them in our Bibles. Now I want to comment briefly on this—we’re in section one still, folks. I want to comment briefly on three stories from this section of 2 Kings that tend to get some attention and they’re worth at least commenting on.

So the first is the rather bizarre story in chapter two, when some young boys come out to taunt Elisha. They chant, “Go away bald head, go away bald head!” Hmmm. In response, what does Elisha do? Well, he calls upon the Lord, whereupon two she bears come out of the woods and maul, literally in Hebrew, like “tear to pieces” forty two of them. Now, this suggests that there may have been more than forty two young boys present, and so, might have posed an actual physical threat to Elisha, who knows? But as a prophet, there’s got to be other ways of getting out of this. Some also argue, I don’t think this works at all, but some argue that these “young boys” were actually older. So not maybe middle school or junior high school or something, maybe older, like high school, even college age, right? That kind of thing. But it’s really difficult to justify that on the basis of the Hebrew. I’m going to say it’s impossible to justify that because we read that they were, nə-‘ā-rîm qə-ṭan-nîm. Now those two words, nə-‘ā-rîm qə-ṭan-nîm—nə-‘ā-rîm is a words for “boys” and it really doesn’t designate age or anything like that by itself.

I mean, even Moses as an infant in Exodus is referred to as a na’ar, so the word itself doesn’t mean anything, but it says nə-‘ā-rîm qə-ṭan-nîm, which means small or young boys. I guess I want to just disabuse us of the notion that Elisha is dealing with some army of West Side Story thugs showing up with switchblades. But it’s a truly odd story that happens almost as soon as Elisha is empowered by the Spirit. Now, I don’t mean to imply that this is a frivolous story, though. In my opinion, it’s meant at the very least to make clear Elisha’s uncompromising prophetic role at this serious moment when the kingdom of the North is just teetering on destruction. But no matter how we slice it, it is an odd and morally problematic story. 

Okay, the second weird story in this section is in chapter three, and this involves a battle between the Moabites—these are a people east of the Jordan River. But it’s a battle between these Moabites and a coalition of armies from the north, Israel, from the south, Judah, and from the nation of Edom. Now, Elisha, the prophet, he promises victory for them over Moab, but not because he likes them, only because of the presence of the king of Judah in the south. That’s Jehoshaphat. So he’s not keen on the North. He’s not keen on the Edomites, but he is keen on the South. They wage war and they, they have King Mesha of Moab pinned in a city and in the hope of turning the tide, what does Mesha do? Well, he’s sort of stuck there. He doesn’t want to die. So he sacrifices his firstborn son on the city wall in an attempt to appease his god, Chemosh, and give him victory. 

And folks, with that we have one of the odder lines in the Hebrew Bible. After sacrificing his son, we read the following, “And a great wrath came upon Israel, so they withdrew from him,” that’s from Mesha, “and returned to their own land.” So it looks like the sacrifice worked. And what are we to make of that? What exactly is the wrath, first of all, that came upon the three-nation coalition? You know, bad head cold, leprosy, whatever, or just a sense you got to leave. Anyway, the story ends abruptly, without explanation, and that’s part of the problem. It just ends there, a great wrath, and they scattered. 

But see, perhaps it really needed no explanation, and I never grow tired of saying that these stories come from ancient Israel. And in those ancient days, the Israelites believed in the existence of multiple deities. They were not to worship any of them, but they certainly existed. They were not monotheists in our sense of the word. Rather, this is called monolatry. And I talk about that in blog posts, I’m sure several other podcasts and in a book or two. Just search monolatry on our website. It’s the notion that even though other deities exist, you only worship one. That’s what monolatry means. Mono, one, lotry is a root that means worship, where we get liturgical from, things like that. Anyway, the thing is that the sacrifice worked. That’s all we know, and any explanation as to why is simply speculative on our part, but it’s just a weird story. 

Okay, one more related point. A Moabite version of the tensions between Moab and Israel is known to us. It’s called the Mesha inscription, or the Mesha stele, which is like a monument, or the Moabite stone, and it’s dated to about 840 BCE. And it mentions one of Israel’s kings, King Omri, mentions him by name. And also one of his sons, which probably doesn’t mean his immediate son, but a descendant. The stele talks about these tensions and the triumph of Moab over the Israelites and blah, blah, blah. But this is one of those moments in biblical scholarship where we have some corroborating archaeological evidence, at least generally speaking, corroborating evidence for a biblical story. 

They don’t say the same thing. They’re not even necessarily talking about the same thing. But you can see the tensions between these people from the Moabite stone, which really corroborates nicely with 2 Kings 3, that there are tensions between the Moabites and these other people.

[Ad break]

Okay, the third odd story is the miracle of the floating ax head in chapter 6. And this does seem like a frivolous act. Hardly the kind of thing you might expect such a major prophet to be concerned with. See, as the story goes, the company of the prophets, there they are again, they are felling logs to build a bigger place for them. And an ax head of one of the workers slips off and falls into the water and sinks. And he freaks out. See, crucial here though, is the fact that this iron ax head was borrowed, which would likely have created an economic hardship to replace, right? These prophets weren’t rich people. And so Elisha threw a stick in the water to make it float.

The point of this and other miracle stories could be that, you know, Elisha’s ministry is for the benefit of everyone. It’s for kings, it’s for army commanders with leprosy, it’s for a Shunammite woman, and it’s for poor prophets. This may not be a frivolous story, but just a comment on the nature of Elisha’s ministry. Most of the rest of the Elisha story concerns northern dealings, though the Deuteronomistic historian weaves in stories of the kings of Judah who reigned during Elisha’s prophetic activity. One of those stories of the north, which we need to talk about, goodness gracious, concerns the bloody coup of a guy named Jehu, J E H U. He was the commander of the army of the north, and Elisha sent one of the prophets under his charge, one of the company of the prophets to anoint Jehu for a very grim task. And this is to strike down, to annihilate the house of Ahab, which is a wicked dynasty that among other things has a history of killing prophets.

And by the way, that’s where the well-known wife of Ahab, Jezebel, appears in this story. Ahab is 1 Kings, Jezebel pops up again in 2 Kings. Now the blood of the prophets has to be avenged, period. No discussion. So after being anointed, Jehu is hailed as king, and his first act is to comply with his orders and begin killing the descendants of Ahab. Beginning with the current king, Joram, aka Jehoram, aka also the name of a southern king, people please try to keep up. Anyway, he also had in his sights the king of Judah at the time, Ahaziah, who had teamed up with Joram to fight Jehu. Ahaziah is also the name of an earlier northern king. So next, what happens?

Jehu kills wicked Jezebel in the town of Jezreel by having her eunuchs throw her down from the city wall. And then he wrote letters to the elders and guardians of who? Of the 70 sons of Ahab to have them massacred, which they did, gladly, I guess, by beheading them and sending their heads to Jehu in a basket in Jezreel. I keep mentioning Jezreel. Remember that word? It’s going to come up in a second in a very important way. 

Anyway, when Jehu himself finally rides out to Samaria, which is the capital of the Northern Kingdom, he meets along the way the relatives of Ahaziah of Judah, whom he already killed. And he killed all 42 of his relatives. The carnage not being done, he slaughters the worshipers of the Canaanite god Baal by tricking them into thinking he wanted to worship Baal, too. Instead, he has them all killed and then he raises the temple to Baal, tears it down, and makes it into a latrine. By the way, just a side issue here because it annoys me to no end, the Canaanite god spelled B A A L is usually pronounced in English “bail”, but I don’t know, no language that I know are two A’s next to each other pronounced like a long A.

And actually in Hebrew it’s actually not B A A L but B A and then a letter that we don’t really pronounce in English and then A L. So there’s a consonant in between the two A’s. And it’s called a guttural consonant, and Baal is probably best pronounced Ba’al. Little, hear that little stop there? Ba’al. And you can impress people in church by saying it’s not Baal, it’s Ba’al, and then run away.

Anyway, okay, for his deeds, Jehu is without qualification commended by the Lord, and we read this in chapter 10 verse 30. Listen to what it says. “Because you have done well in carrying out what I consider right,” I meaning the Lord, “and in accordance with all that was in my heart, have dealt with the house of Ahab, because you’ve done this, your sons of the fourth generation shall sit on the throne of Israel.”

Well, first of all, why the fourth generation? Well, in my opinion, because these stories were written after, long after the demise of the Northern Kingdom. And the story is told in such a way to comply with those later facts because three of Jehu’s descendants would become king in a dynasty that lasted almost a hundred years.

So this is a way of sort of talking about, forgive me, it makes it look like it’s something of a prediction when in fact it’s probably a retrospective. Now I know many people would take issue with that and if that bothers you, just ignore it. It’s not the main part of this episode. But that’s how I see it. These stories are written in such a way to take into account things that already happened from the perspective of the writer. 

You might be troubled, and you probably should be, with the idea that God will order such a massacre and be pleased with it. And if that bothers you, you are not alone. What is fascinating to me in all of this is that the Lord, through the prophet Hosea, condemns Jehu for the very act for which he is praised in 2 Kings. And just a little background here, Hosea is one of the earliest writing prophets. He and Amos are 8th century prophets, probably the two first ones that pop up, and they’re all about the fall of the Northern Kingdom. They pop up right around, you know, a decade or two before the fall of the North in 722.

So Hosea has this to say, and again, he’s speaking for the Lord, he says this. “In a little while, I will punish the house of Jehu for the blood of Jezreel.” Remember, Jezreel is where these massacres happened. “And I will put an end to the kingdom of the house of Israel.” That’s Hosea 1:4. See, not only is Jehu’s act out of alignment with God’s will here, according to Hosea, but it’s worse than that. It seems to be the very reason why the North went into exile, right? That’s how this prophecy ends. I will put an end to the kingdom of the house of Israel. It seems that the reason that the Deuteronomistic historian is so certain of God’s desire to kill off a line of northern kings, is because he sees the North as one big problem.

And Hosea, even though he has many harsh words for the North, he does not share that same perspective. The Bible is, as many including myself put it, multivocalic. We read in the Bible different views about the same topics, and this is one example. 

Okay, one last word on Jehu. We have from his reign a most interesting archaeological find. It’s been dubbed the Black Obelisk because it is made of black limestone and it’s about six feet high. It’s dated to 825 BCE. A little bit after the Moabite stone. And it depicts the Assyrian King, Shalmaneser III and some of his defeated foes. Right? Shalmaneser is an Assyrian king. And one of these defeated foes that’s depicted is Jehu. Yes. During Jehu’s reign, the Assyrians started throwing their weight around in that area—and by the way, the Assyrians would be a hostile presence for North and South for about the next 200 years, long after the demise of the Northern Kingdom. They’re a persistent problem. 

Anyway, the monument depicts, among other things, Jehu bowing before Shalmaneser III, paying him tribute. He is submitting himself to the power of the Shalmaneser III because he doesn’t want to die or have his people massacred. So the significance and meaning of this monument is somewhat debated. I mean, welcome to biblical scholarship, they don’t all agree on stuff, but this monument is regardless just a wonderful overlap between the biblical story and evidence from outside of the Bible. And we have here not only a reference to historical figures known to us from the Bible, but also the earliest depiction, in fact, the only ancient depiction from the time of the ancient Israelites. of what they looked like, at least when dressed up to pay tribute to a mighty king. And interesting. So anyway, if you’re interested, just Google Black Obelisk, and you can see the relief for yourselves. And it’s, it’s pretty cool. 

Back to the action. Rounding out part one, amid more ups and downs of Judah and Israel, Elisha dies after giving King Joash of Israel assurance that he will defeat the Arameans. Great. So Elisha dies and is buried. And sometime later, a man’s body is thrown into Elisha’s grave, and no sooner did he touch Elisha’s bones than he came to life and stood at his feet. Another Jesus-y kind of thing. And also, I think the main point here is demonstrating that God’s power is with Elisha, even after his death. You can’t just ignore Elisha. He’s still there, in a sense. 

Okay, moving to part two, this is chapters 13 through 17. We find a fast-paced narrative of the fall of Samaria, which is the northern capital. Stories are told of the last seven kings of Israel and of four Judahite kings. One of which is Ahaz, who figures prominently in Isaiah, for example, in chapter 7 of Isaiah. And this takes us from about 800 BCE to the fall of Samaria in 722. Those seven kings of the north represent five separate dynasties. In other words, again, we have more turnover in the king department here in the north because of these, you know, bloody coups. 

So, Zechariah, we’ll read, he killed the last king of Jehu’s dynasty, known as Jeroboam II. Jeroboam I was the first king of the north, and this guy’s Jeroboam II. And he reigned for six months before he was killed by Sholom, who reigned one whole month before him being killed by Menachem, who managed to hang on for 10 years and then his son Pekahiah, who reigned two years and was cut down by Pekah, who reigned for 20 years according to the story. And with that, we’re nearly at the end of the Northern Kingdom, but a lot of turnover as you can see. 

Now if I may, folks, just a quick commercial break, just like pause for a second here. This is as good a place as any to mention that the years assigned to the various kings of Judah and Israel are very difficult to track, and they don’t always add up. This is a notorious problem with the years given of the Hebrew kings. So, for example, Pekah, who I just mentioned, the last of the kings I just mentioned, he reigned, we are told, 20 years, but to make it add up with some established dates, like the fall of Samaria in 722, his reign needs to be adjusted to about two years in length.

Now, it’s often suggested that this is not really a mistake in the text. But more an indication of coregency, where father and son ruled at the same time, and the years of the son’s reign, well, it could reflect either the entire son’s reign with dad that overlap, or just his solo years. So, maybe, Pekah’s 20 year reign was, well, 18 with dad and 2 solo. It’s confusing, but there are some well known problems, again, with the dates of the biblical kings, and it’s best to have charts and a calculator with you if you’re going to really take a deep dive and try to figure all this out. All I can say is good luck. Again, Pekah—whether his reign was 20 years or two years—he was on the throne when the Assyrian invasion began. This is in the 730s and it’s led by the warring Assyrian king Tiglath Pileser, which by the way, here we have another point of corroboration with extra biblical sources, sources outside of the Bible. Um, in this case, it’s the annals of Tiglath Pileser that mentions these, you know, warring things that he did.

Anyway, next is Hoshea, he conspires against Pekah, and thus he becomes the last king of the North. And he was on the throne in 722 when Samaria was captured by Shalmaneser V. We met III, now here we have V. And Shalmaneser V died soon thereafter, and his successor, Sargon II, was responsible for the actual deportation, the actual exile.

In 2 Kings 17, starting in verse 7, like verses 7 and 8, he puts a decidedly Deuteronomistic stamp on the telling of these events. Listen to what he says. This, the fall of the north, “This occurred because the people of Israel had sinned against the Lord their God, who had brought them up out of the land of Egypt from under the hand of Pharaoh, king of Egypt. They had worshiped other gods and walked in the customs of the nations whom the Lord drove out before the people of Israel, and in the customs that the kings of Israel had introduced.” Now it keeps on going for a couple of more verses, and of course, this is attributing a theological cause to the fall of Samaria, which is the whole point of the Deuteronomistic history, to explain religiously why the North, which is the bulk of the nation, it’s every tribe except for one, the tribe of Judas in the South, everybody else is associated with the North, right? It has to explain why the bulk of the promised people in the promised land was lost to history. Why? Well, it was punishment from God.

Now, looking at it from a non-Israelite perspective, maybe a historian’s perspective, another reason why this happened is simply that Tiglath Pileser was a warmonger who wanted to capture as much territory between him and Egypt and then his successors, they followed suit. See, the Assyrians, they were, as I mentioned before, a thorn in the side of the North and later the South, but not because they just felt like giving these people a hard time. They were giving everyone a hard time who stood between them and the other superpower of the day, which is the Egyptians. See, Israel was situated in prime real estate that gave the Assyrians a direct line to Egypt. Control that area and you have smooth sailing. 

Geopolitically speaking, Israel’s misfortunes at the hands of the Assyrians and later the Babylonians were due to their being in the middle of a power struggle between two massive powerful nations. That is why Assyria’s sights were on taking territory from Israel and deporting their population. It was to give them a buffer zone. The Israelites, however, interpreted all of this from within themselves and their own experience. They interpreted all this theologically rather than simply geopolitically.

Now, one could say that the two explanations, right, the theological and the geopolitical are not mutually exclusive, and I agree. You might not need to pick one over the other. The only difference is that one of those explanations, the geopolitical one, is historically verifiable—at least generally so—and the other, the theological, is not. That doesn’t mean it’s not true, only that it is an explanation that is outside of historical investigation. 

And all this brings us to part three and the demise of the southern kingdom of Judah. Come a long way here, folks. The action here begins in chapter 18. And Hezekiah is the king of Judah, he’s on the throne, and he’s a good king by Deuteronomistic standards. We read in verse five, for example, “he trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel, so that there was no one like him among all the kings of Judah after him or among those who were before him.” See, no one has gotten an evaluation like this and none will with the exception of Josiah, whom we will meet in a few chapters.

Anyway, during Hezekiah’s reign, something happened, and this is in 701, another wonderfully documentable date from an archaeological point of view. But anyway, we’ll get to that in a second. In 701, the Assyrian king Sennacherib, he invaded Judah to tame it, as his predecessors had tamed the north 20 years earlier. But he did not succeed in conquering Jerusalem. The account of the failed sack 

of Jerusalem takes two chapters to tell, and other events of Hezekiah’s reign are recounted in chapter 20. So he gets like three whole chapters. Also, the failed sack of Jerusalem and the other events of Hezekiah’s reign are also recounted elsewhere in the Hebrew Bible. This is one of these stories that gets sort of a double mention, and this is in Isaiah 36-39. And, of course, as you might expect, we see some variations there in Isaiah compared to 2 Kings, but it’s the same basic story. And it’s most likely, for what this is worth, it’s most likely that the version in 2 Kings is older and Isaiah adapted it for another purpose. But that’s a story for the book of Isaiah, not for 2 Kings. 

So anyway, here’s a quick breakdown of Hezekiah’s reign. Sennacherib, the Assyrian king, he’s on the move, and he has already sacked towns in Judah, one of which is the city of Lachish to the south of Jerusalem. A massive Assyrian relief was found archaeologically, and it depicts the fall of Lachish, and the pictures there are pretty grim. You can find it by googling Lachish reliefs or something similar. It depicts gruesome scenes of, among other things, a lot of beheadings and people being tortured. See, that’s what happens if you don’t surrender to the Assyrians. They make you pay. And after the siege of Lachish, Sennacherib’s officials are sent north to Jerusalem to give them an ultimatum, and we imagine this is what happened every time he went from one town to another.

The ultimatum was surrender or you’re going to get it. And specifically for Jerusalem, it’s surrender or what happened to Lachish is going to happen to you. So the question for Hezekiah is obviously, well, what do I do? So he consults Isaiah, who tells him not to worry. God will put a rumor in Sennacherib’s head, causing him to go back home where he will die by the sword. And so, after receiving another threat, Hezekiah makes a pious prayer, after which he is reassured that Sennacherib will not be able to come into the city, “for my own sake,” this is God talking, “for my own sake and for the sake of my servant David.” That’s in chapter 19 verse 34. 

Now, this event is another gem from an archaeological point of view. Not only the Lachish relief, that depicts the kinds of things the Assyrians did to the people of Judah. But also, we have here an Assyrian record that also recounts the siege of Jerusalem, known as the Sennacherib Prism, because it’s, it’s a six sided monument with writing on all sides, which if you can imagine this, it allows more text to be written in a smaller area.

Anyway, Sennacherib here admits that he did not breach the walls of Jerusalem, but in a piece of pure political propaganda, he turned that defeat into a victory, saying that, wow, he trapped Hezekiah in Jerusalem and held him there like a caged bird. Um, Sennacherib, you didn’t breach the walls? “No, no, I meant to not do that. I just wanted to keep him stuck in there.” Anyway, the biblical and Assyrian accounts are two versions of the same story. Both of which engage in nationalistic propaganda of questionable historical value. You see, each nation’s record is telling the story from their own ideological perspective. For Judah, the story of Jerusalem’s miraculous survival helped fuel what is often referred to as the theology of the inviolability of Jerusalem—the idea that Jerusalem cannot be conquered because God is clearly protecting his holy city. You know, frankly, in a way, it’s hard, you know, to blame them for coming to this conclusion based on the events of 701. I mean, Jerusalem survived. The Assyrians didn’t get in. 

But you see, over time, the people would become a bit smug about it. See, a century later, just before the Babylonian attack, Jeremiah, the prophet Jeremiah, he chides the Judahites for thinking that God will protect the city no matter what, even from the Babylonian threat. But Jeremiah assured them that the Babylonians were coming, and they were coming as God’s instrument of punishment for their failure to obey the covenant.

One more thing about Hezekiah. His death notice at the end of chapter 20 mentions a pool and conduit that Hezekiah had built to supply water to the city during the siege. Well, guess what? There is an inscription from the time of Hezekiah commemorating the event. And that can be seen today at the entrance to the conduit. This is easily Googleable. You can find it. It’s been dubbed the Salome Tunnel inscription. So in addition, you know, it’s, it’s also one of the earliest bits of Hebrew writing we have. In fact, for some people, it is the earliest bit of Hebrew writing we have. There’s some stuff a little bit older, but some debate whether it’s actually Hebrew or not. But that’s irrelevant. 

We’re back here around the year 700 and we have Hebrew writing. And we have this archeological find, which corroborates things very, very nicely. It’s one of the clearest bits of corroboration, in my opinion, that we have between archeology and the Hebrew Bible. 

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The last two kings of note that we’re going to talk about here, at least, are the reigns of Manasseh and Josiah, and they couldn’t be more different. See, Manasseh was the worst king of the southern kings. By far. He reversed Hezekiah’s religious reforms by, you know, actively promoting false worship, which in Manasseh’s case included the sacrifice of children. Ironically, and this is very problematic from a theological point of view, but ironically, Manasseh has the longest reign of any Judahite king. It’s 55 years. So, you know, why would God let a bad king live so long? It doesn’t seem fair. It doesn’t seem just. Why do that? Why reward a bad king with long life? Right? That’s sort of the idea. 

Now, according to the Deuteronomistic historian, Manasseh is very important. Here’s why. It’s because of Manasseh that Jerusalem will suffer the same fate as Samaria. 

In a wonderful turn of phrase, here’s what we read in chapter 21. This is verses 12 to 13. God says, “I am bringing upon Jerusalem and Judah such evil that the ears of everyone who hears of it will tingle. I will stretch over Jerusalem the measuring line for Samaria and the plummet for the house of Ahab. I will wipe Jerusalem as one wipes a dish, wiping it and turning it upside down.” This is just a beautiful piece of rhetoric because, you know, just the whole idea of wiping a dish and turning it upside down, like we’re done. But also it reverses the systematic imagery of careful building, right? He will stretch the measuring line of Samaria over Jerusalem. It’s, it’s, you know, it’s a tape measure or something like that. Right? But that’s usually meant for building, but here it’s meant for systematic dismantling. I’m going to be as careful to dismantle it as we were to build it. And also he’ll stretch over the plummet for the house of Ahab. And of course, Ahab, what happened to them? Well, they were destroyed, but a plummet, if you know what that is, a plummet is basically probably an iron object that has rounded and it’s got a tip at the end and at the opposite end, there’s a string and the string, you know, however long it is, you hold that plummet by the string. And gravity takes over, and the plummet gives you a complete straight edge for, say, the side of a building. Now we do that with lasers, but back then that’s what they did. Until fairly recently, you have a plummet line. Again, it’s another imagery for building that’s now reversed and for dismantling. Like, boy, am I going to be systematic about tearing this place apart, right? And it’s all because of Manasseh. 

So anyway, Manasseh was followed by his son, Ammon, who was no better than his dad. But next in line came Josiah. And with Josiah, we are very much toward the middle and latter part of the seventh century. I didn’t give you some dates, but moving back, Manasseh, his father’s dates are 687 to 642. If you do the math, that’s 45 years, I said before he reigned 55 years, well, again, according to the Deuteronomistic historian, the date is given as 55 years, but for it to work out mathematically, it needs to be shifted a bit. And so Manasseh and Hezekiah had probably some sort of a co-regency, they reigned at the same time.

Anyway, don’t let the math bother you. But he reigned a good long time, even if it’s 45 years it’s longer than anybody else. So then Ammon, his son, had a shorter reign. He was like 642 to 640. And then Josiah, 640 to 609, not bad, right? 31 years or so. Pretty good reign. Josiah’s reign is taken up here toward the end of 2 Kings and two rather longish chapters giving him about as much airtime as Hezekiah. And he is really the best king, even though the Deuteronomistic historian was all gushy about Hezekiah and “nobody’s better since or before”, but Josiah is even better, right? And he is the best king of Judah. And therefore, obviously of all the kings of either nation, because the northern kings never did anything worth commending.

And, you know, again, just not to beat a dead horse, but that’s because you have a Southern perspective here, not a Northern perspective. Anyway, the Northern kings can do no good, just the Southern ones have the potential for that, and those two are Hezekiah and Josiah, and Josiah is the best. You know, at any rate, Josiah did no wrong, and he came on the scene and swept away all the damage that Manasseh had done, and the author just can’t say enough good about him.

Now, it was during his reign that the high priest Hilkiah, apparently rummaging around in the temple, stumbled upon a copy (heretofore undiscovered copy) of the Book of the Law. Now, by saying Book of the Law, the Deuteronomistic historian is not referring to the entire Torah (Genesis through Deuteronomy) but only the Book of Deuteronomy, or better, an early version of it. Now, this event is dated to 622 BCE. Now, not to get too deep in the weeds here, but many scholars think that this story records not really the finding of a law that had been there and somehow lost in a temple, which seems a bit unusual, I think, but it was referring more to the actual composition of the Book of the Law, which is only said to have been found to give it more gravitas, to support the Josianic reforms and his movement of the religion of Judah forward.

And not to get off track here, but the scholarly consensus is that Deuteronomy, like the Deuteronomistic historian, is a seventh century text in part for, because of the story that we read here. And it was revised then over, you know, the next century or two. And I mentioned this as well in my Deuteronomy episode, so I’m not going to belabor all that here. But Josiah, we read at the finding of this law, is just beside himself with concern. When he heard the words of the book, it is clear to him that Judah had not been following it. So he and his inner circle consult the prophetess Huldah, who, by the way, yes, is a woman, for some of you let that sink in. A prophetess is speaking the authoritative word of God to the king in a pivotal moment in Israel’s history, and that didn’t need to be explained or defended. 

Anyway, she pronounces that disaster will indeed come upon Jerusalem for its neglect of the covenant all these long years. Josiah responds by, okay, listen, he enacts a long list of reforms, even though the doom’s coming. He enacts a long list of reforms, all of which are aimed at countering Manasseh’s shenanigans. And he then institutes the celebration of the Passover, which apparently had not been celebrated since the days of the judges. And yet, you know, in keeping with what Huldah said, for all of Josiah’s efforts, we read the following in chapter 23, and this is verses 25 through 27. “Before him,” Josiah, “there was no king like him who turned to the Lord with all his heart, with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the law of Moses. Nor did any like him arise after him. Still, the Lord did not turn from the fierceness of his great wrath, by which his anger was killed against Judah, because of all the provocations with which Manasseh had provoked him. The Lord said, I will remove Judah also out of my sight, as I have removed Israel, and I will reject this city that I have chosen, Jerusalem. And the house of which I said, my name shall be there.” 

This comment here seems to me, as it does to other biblical scholars, to have been written to account for the fact, just listen to the logic here, to account for the fact that despite Josiah’s reforms, Judah was taken into exile anyway, it had to be explained somehow. And so we have the Deuteronomistic historian giving an explanation for why the Josianic reforms were surprisingly ineffective. Manasseh’s sins were just too much that God could not overlook them, and thus, he sent the Babylonians to take the people into exile. 

Now, one wonders, theologically, why God would act this way, why the sins of one king would’ve such an effect, but another king’s obedience would not. The exile had to be explained. Now, to make matters worse, Josiah’s death is not at all peaceful as one might expect from such a faithful king and said he dies in battle. And that’s the battle of Megiddo, which is a city to the north. Here’s sort of what happened. Pharaoh Neco sounds like a candy. I know Pharaoh Neco of Egypt, right? He was heading north. through Israel, because that’s how you go north, headed north to help the Assyrians. Now, they were limping at this point—but to help them fend off the Babylonians, because they were beginning to make their presence felt in the region. And by the way, this is around the year 609. This is three years after the fall of the Assyrian capital of Nineveh. The Assyrians are still there, but they’re limping, right? They’re trying to get their kingdom back. They’re trying for a resurgence. 

And so Neco went up there to help them do that against the Babylonians. Josiah went up there for a very different reason, to keep Neco from helping out the Assyrians. See, with respect to Josiah, apparently the logic was that Judah had had enough of the Assyrians. You can’t really blame them, can you? And so Josiah was willing to side with the Babylonians, which meant stopping Neco from helping the Assyrians. And, you know, again, Josiah, you know, politically it’s a pretty smart move, I guess. I don’t know. You don’t want the Assyrians around, but the Babylonians also at that time, they were sort of the odds on favorite to become the superpower of the region anyway. So might as well back a winner rather than irritate them, have them wipe you out. 

So he wanted to intercept Neco, but Josiah was tragically killed in 609 by Neco, and then his son Jehoahaz was named king. And now things quickly unravel. He reigned for a mere three months in Jerusalem before Neco moved him to the city of Riblah, which is in the land of Hamath, about 200 miles north. Then Neco makes Josiah’s other son, Eliakim, king, probably because he was more compliant with Egyptian ways. And Neco changed his name to Jehoiakim, who reigned from 609 to about 598. And he was a good Egyptian vassal, this King Jehoiakim, but things are getting politically complicated, very complicated time.

The Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar, he wound up defeating Neco a few years later in 605, and this is called the Battle of Carchemish. And now the Egyptians are out of the picture. That’s the result. So you only have the Babylonians to deal with, there are no alliances at this point. And Jehoiakim rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar. But after he died, his son Jehoiachin became king in 598, and he surrendered Jerusalem to Nebuchadnezzar, and that is where he is taken captive to Babylon in 597. And with that, folks, we are back to where, oh gosh, we began this podcast about seven hours ago with the events leading up to the fall of Jerusalem and the final blow being the rebellion of the last king, Zedekiah, against the Babylonians in 586.

All right, so let’s draw this to a quick close here. I think it’s clear that there are a lot of moving parts to this part of the story and a lot of names and dates that involve not only Israel and Judah, but Assyria, Egypt, and Babylon. And this is because when we focus on this period of the biblical story, we have a lot of corroboration with other sources outside of the Bible. We begin seeing this corroboration with the reign of Jehu and his depiction on the 9th century Black Obelisk. 

But again, corroboration does not mean all the sources agree. They don’t. It only means that they corroborate the existence of things like battles and kings. And we should not forget that the biblical account of the centuries covered in 1 and 2 Kings are also not objective accounts of the past. But, they are nationalistic, theological interpretations of events. We’re not getting the straight events, we’re getting interpretations of them. And 2 Kings 24, and this is verses 3 and 4, this puts the final stamp on it, referring to Nebuchadnezzar’s conquest of Jerusalem, this is what the Deuteronomistic historian says.

“Surely, this came upon Judah at the command of the Lord. To remove them out of his sight for the sins of Manasseh, for all that he had committed, and also for the innocent blood that he had shed, for he filled Jerusalem with innocent blood, and the Lord was not willing.” 

See, this is how the biblical writer understood the history of his people. Though the history itself as history is prone to be, right, It’s much more complicated. But for those who want to understand this history, I think the Bible now becomes more a source that has to be interrogated and investigated, and its comments need to be discerned for their possible historical value. And the consensus of the academic world, at least, is that the events of the monarchy as described way back to 1 Samuel and now through 2 Kings, It reflects the theological standards of the Deuteronomistic tradition and their interpretation of the history. In other words, folks, and not to beat a dead horse, but we are not reading in any way an objective account of the past. In fact, we should not even presume that that was their intention, to write an objective account. What did that even mean in antiquity? You know, they don’t have modern sort of standards for writing history. It’s a different world. Rather, what we have, especially in 1 and 2 Kings, is an answer to the question, “why did God abandon our people into exiles?” The answer: “it was not abandonment. It was punishment.”

Now, the books of 1st and 2nd Chronicles will revisit this story from a much later and much different perspective, and it will ask of it a very different question and offer a very different answer. But that is for next time.

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Jared: Well thanks to everyone who supports the show. If you want to support what we do, there are three ways you can do it. One, if you just want to give a little money, go to

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Outro: You’ve just made it through another episode of the Bible for Normal People! Don’t forget you can catch our other show Faith for Normal People in the same feed wherever you get your podcasts. This episode was brought to you by the Bible for Normal People team: Brittany Hodge, Stephen Henning, Wesley Duckworth, Savannah Locke, Tessa Stultz, Danny Wong, Natalie Weyand, Lauren O’Connell, Jared Cazel, Jessica Shao, and Naiomi Gonzalez.

Pete Enns, Ph.D.

Peter Enns (Ph.D., Harvard University) is Abram S. Clemens professor of biblical studies at Eastern University in St. Davids, Pennsylvania. He has written numerous books, including The Bible Tells Me So, The Sin of Certainty, and How the Bible Actually Works. Tweets at @peteenns.