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Solon The Athenian Law Giver

Solon the Lawgiver was an ancient ruler who controlled Athens around 594 B.C., which is where he appears on the Bible Timeline Chart. Solon wasn’t a king he was considered a chief archon that was considered the highest ranking council member within the ancient Athenian city-state. He was born in 638 B.C., and he was the son of Execestides, who was a descendant of a legendary Athenian king named Cordus.

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Solon

This particular King is known for sacrificing his life for his people. Historians claim that Solon’s mother was related to a tyrant. A lot of other factual information is missing from Solon’s early life. Solon must have been a wise young man or gained wisdom during his youth. The people of Athens went to Solon for him to resolve their problems.

Apparently, Solon was blessed with good judgment and a keen intellect. These particular characteristics are what motivated the people of Athens to elect him as the chief archon of Athens. When Solon was elected chief archon of Athens it happened during a time of great civil unrest within the city state. Rich land-owning citizens were at odds with the poorer members of society. A lot of the citizens had sold themselves into slavery to pay off their debts. And the other poorer members of society had to give a certain percentage of their crops to the rich to pay off their debts. Many people were unhappy because they found it to be very difficult to live in these types of circumstances.

Tyrants were a common theme in ancient Greece and the conditions in Athens were perfect for a tyrant to rule. To avoid this situation the Athens council had to move very quickly to put Solon in power. Once Solon was in power, he quickly started to make important reforms that would go on to change Athenian society. He began changing the laws within society by repealing some of the established codes that were put in place by a former archon named Draco.

This particular archon was well known for his extremely harsh and cruel laws where death was the ultimate penalty even for minor offenses. Solon eliminated most of these laws and penalties except for the ones that were related to homicide. Solon then went to work to free the poor and indebted from their obligations to the rich. He then empowered the poorer members of society by allowing them to participate in the civil government. The poorer members of society couldn’t hold office, but they certainly could vote in assembly and become jurors in the courts of law. Even though his reforms helped to ease poor people’s burden of debt he did not allow them to become ruling members of society. He also did away with slavery as a means to pay off debts. In other words, Solon thought it to be wise to allow the rich landowning members of society to remain in charge. He created the concept of citizen rights based off of land ownership. He then divided the citizenry into four primary classes. The more crops that a person’s lands produced would mean that they would have greater power within society. These were some of the primary changes that Solon created for Athenian society. His efforts helped to lay the groundwork for democracy and the democratic process which would eventually become a feature of modern society. Solon died in 558 B.C. and was also known as a poet, a military leader and for his visit to the Delphic Oracle.

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Athens Thrives 700 – 500 BC

Athens is one of the world’s oldest and recognized cities that existed from ancient times. The ancient Athenians claimed that the city was founded by the mythical Greek goddess Athena. This particular Greek deity supposedly held a contest against the sea god Poseidon over the city of Athens. Whoever gave the city the best gift would be given the honor of naming this acropolis. Athena gave the city an olive tree and proved to be the victor. The city was instantly named after her and she became its chief deity. It’s culture thrived from 700 to 500 BC which is where it appears on the Bible Timeline Chart with World History.

The area where Athens is situated is also known as Attica. The early inhabitants of Attica lived in tribal groups. The early inhabitants of Athens considered themselves to be from the original Greek settlers known as the Ionians. After being identified as Athens the Ionian tribal groups that resided in ancient Athens began to form into a city state around 800 B.C. Athens began to conquer many of the other tribes and started to absorb them into their city and by 700 B.C. the city had become a major economic, political and military center.

Since Athens was located in the Attica region which is positioned in the southeastern part of modern day Greece; it was strategically positioned for trade with other major kingdoms and empires throughout the Mesopotamian and Middle Eastern areas of the world. Places such as Egypt, Carthage, Iberia and Tyre had all traded with the Athenians at one point or another between 700 B.C. and 500 B.C. The city also had a powerful navy to protect the homeland and its oversea trade routes. Though the city of Athens fought in some major conflicts they were not a people known for their superior fighting skills they were renown for their establishing government and political systems that would influence major world empires such as Rome and even the United States.

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Athens

The city of Athens was originally governed by ruling monarchs. Eventually the monarchy form of government was replaced by a council of nobles. The nobles were the high council of government and they organized the middle class citizens into a secondary ruling class. They were called the “eclesia” and they were tightly controlled by the nobles. Civil unrest was a common aspect of Athens society throughout the 7th century B.C. This particular type of civil unrest made the conditions within Athens at the time favorable for tyrants. Many other Greek city states were being ruled by tyrants during the 7th century B.C. Because of this type of threat the council enacted some important legislation to protect the city from tyrants and to keep people from rebelling.

The ruling classes had so much power that they were literally enslaving the other members of Athenian society. Many lower class citizens who couldn’t meet their financial obligations had their land taken away from them and they were forced to work off their debts. This particular practice had become widespread and many people suffered under this system. So laws were passed that canceled out the debt and forbade people from trading in their freedom in order to pay off a debt. Wealthy landowners were also limited with how much property they could control. Higher level offices were now controlled by powerful landholders and a council of lower level citizens was created as well. These set of laws would be used to help form the concept of democracy. These laws were established by a man named Cylon.

Another man named Draco became the ruler during the 6th century B.C. His laws were extremely hard and harsh against the aristocratic members of his society. His punishments for crimes, especially murder, were enforced. His set of laws is remembered throughout the ages for being harsh and cruel.

Though the city state of Athens had many challenges between the years 700 B.C. to 500 B.C. they were able to grow their kingdom into an economic and political power.Much of the history of Athens has been recorded and preserved throughout the ages by its people, historians and its conquerors. These historical accounts reveal how Athenian politics, laws and society have come to strongly influence western civilization in modern times.

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Nabopolasser, Babylonian King

Nabopolassar was the first Babylonian king to gain power after he led his forces against the Assyrians. He ruled Babylon from 625 to 605 B.C., which is where he appears on the Bible Timeline Chart. Nabopolassar is credited with leading the final revolt against Assyria that would topple their empire. He was a general in the Babylonian army, and he commanded his forces against the Assyrian rulers.

His name means “favored of Nabu” or “chosen by Nabu”. Babylon and Assyria were established by a powerful tyrant from the land of Shinar named Nimrod. Since that time, the two kingdoms waged war against each other for control of plains of Shinar and the areas surrounding this territory. Eventually, the Assyrians would emerge victoriously and they placed all of the people within that region under their control. They would dominate the Chaldeans, the Medes and the people from Babylon.

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Assyrian were very cruel; here they are skinning their prisoners alive.

Many people suffered under Assyrian rule because of their unrelenting cruelty. The Assyrians were powerful warriors, and they were merciless to the people that they defeated in battle. Thousands of captives from cities and tribes would be transported to other regions never to see their homelands again.

The Assyrians would also torture their prisoners by cutting off their body parts and performing sacrifices on them in honor of their gods. They also murdered people for fun and sport, and they were known to kill the children of conquered kings right in front of their eyes. So the conquered peoples who lived under the Assyrians rule finally had enough of their oppressive ways and decided to fight back.

A historical artifact that was uncovered by archeologists contains an engraved inscription of Nabopolasser’s childhood. The inscription reveals that Nebopolasser came from a poor and unknown family. Before Naopolasser became a powerful general and king, he considered himself to be a worthless person. While he was a young man, he made it a point to honor the deities Nabu and Marduk. He also desired to repair the temples of these two gods and to find favor with them.

Nabopolassar had used many men from the area to help him with the restoration process of the temples. He also referred to himself as a military commander. This part of the inscription gives evidence that Nabopolassar was a well-known person within his community and that he had leadership ability. When the Assyrians conquered a territory, they usually placed their own leaders in the defeated area. The people that were not deported to other regions of the empire were allowed to continue with their lives as long as they paid tribute to Assyria and didn’t try to rebel.

Many conquered peoples still had armies, but they were not too quick to rebel against Assyria because they were too strong. Eventually, an Assyrian king named Assurbanipal had died, and his death caused a lot of infighting and confusion among the remaining Assyrian rulers. Nabopolassar and the other tribes in the area had joined forces and used this situation as an opportunity to rebel. Nabopolassar and his forces attacked the Assyrian governors in Babylon and then defeated an Assyrian army that was stationed near the city. This blow to the Assyrians gave the Babylonians the inspiration that they would need to overthrow the rest of the empire.

Nabopolassar was then crowned king and recognized by his people as the first ruler of Babylon. Nabopolassar eventually went on to defeat the Assyrians and became the first ruler of the Babylonian dynasty. He conquered Nineveh and then Harran and restored temple worship of a sun god at Sippar. He fought against Egypt starting in 610 B.C. He was fulfilling the Biblical prophecy. His son Nebuchadnezzar continued this siege in 605 B.C. He died of natural causes at the age of 53 and before his death he allowed his son to rule along side of him.

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Carthage A Major Sea Power

Carthage was an ancient city port established by the Phoenicians. This particular port became so powerful that it was able to form its own unique kingdom independent of Tyre. Ancient Phoenician traders from Tyre created the port as a western hub for trade within the Mesopotamian Sea. Once Carthage was established as a trade colony in time it grew to become a major power within the Mesopotamian region. The city was established in 841 B.C. which is where it appears on the Bible Timeline Chart with World History.

One of the reasons why Carthage became so powerful was because of their ability to dominate the waterways of the Mesopotamian Sea. Carthage not only controlled oversea trade routes for commerce they also had one of the most powerful navies in ancient history.

The Carthage navy was powerful for a number of reasons. The first being is that Carthage had a naval force that was feared by many kingdoms and empires in the ancient world. This city-state had a vast number of ships that they could use immediately for warfare. Historical sources claim that the Carthaginians could place about 350 warships into the sea for the purpose of defence or to assault an enemy.

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Roman Ship from Carthage

Many Carthaginians were excellent seafarers and they knew how to sail and fight on the open waters of the Mesopotamia. A lot of the sailors were trained in basic naval functions and military tactics. The Carthaginians were considered the best sailors in the ancient world and they were a deadly force to contend with if they were engaged on the seas by an enemy. The Carthaginians used quadriremes and quinqueremes. These were three-decked ships that were powered by rowers and sails. They were used to ram enemy vessels or they shot long bolts at enemy boats with large sized bolts that resembled modern day harpoons. The use of Greek Fire (burning oil or pitch) was also as a weapon when sea battles occurred.

God established the city of Tyre to be a powerful trading city-state. The Phoenician kings of Tyre had befriended both Kings David and Solomon before the kingdom of Israel split apart. King David had King Haram of Tyre supply him with supplies and other goods for Solomon when he was ready to build the Temple. King Solomon built the Temple he also used King Hiram’s assistance with supplies, goods and craftsmen for the project. Solomon and Hiram established an alliance and from this alliance Israel established its first navy that was based in Tyre. The powerful city-state of Tyre still remained allies with the people of Judah and Israel but their alliances are barely mentioned after the rule of Solomon.

Even though Carthage isn’t specifically mentioned in the Bible, it can be reasonably said that the city wasn’t too different from that of Tyre.

Biblical References:

  •  1 Kings 8: 10 – 11, 26 – 28 King Solomon’s navy established at Tyre.
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Babylonian Captivity, First

The first Babylonian captivity took place around 598 BC which is where it appears on the Bible Timeline chart. God had decided to make the Hebrews his chosen people. He wanted them to be set apart so that they could be used to tell the people of the Earth about who he is and how he wants them to live. The Lord is holy and he expects his servants to live in the same way. God had given the Hebrew people the fertile land of Canaan to the Hebrew people after he drove out the other nations that occupied the territory. The reason he took the land away from these people was due to their wickedness, deviant sexual practices and idolatry. Once the Hebrew people settled into Canaan, God had to constantly warn them about getting involved in the pagan practices that went on in other nations.

When the nation of Israel first had kings their devotion was to God. From the time of King Saul to the era of King Solomon the nation of Israel didn’t worship any false gods. However at the end of Solomon’s reign, he got involved with many foreign women who were able to turn his heart away from worshipping God alone. The Lord decided to split the kingdom of Israel in half. In the north would be the ten tribes of Israel and the remaining two tribes would be called Judah.

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Golden Calf Cult

When the Kingdom first split in half the people still worshipped at God’s temple but the first ruler of the newly formed Israeli kingdom decided that he was going to start the Golden Calf Cult so that he could keep the people of Israel from being reunited with Judah through their devotion to the Lord. After Jeroboam established this religion it became a type of policy that most kings of Israel used during their time in power. The kings of Judah were also influenced by foreign gods as well.

Jeroboam’s actions introduced idolatry to the Israelites and Judeans in a new way. Many people from both parts of the divided kingdom took to idolatry and God became angry. God didn’t just automatically judge and condemn the people he sent them prophets to warn them about their idolatrous ways. Prophets such as Elisha, Elijah, Huldah, Jeremiah and Isaiah constantly warned and rebuked kings to turn from their idolatrous ways. Sometimes the people listened and sometimes they refused to hear. The Lord used priests to help get the people to honor him, but the people only listened to them half of the time. God established righteous kings who did a lot during their reign to keep the people devoted to his truth but once most of these good kings died the people went right back into idolatry.

God had warned the people for so long that finally he had no choice but to judge them for their evil deeds. The Lord had sent the Israelites into captivity by the hands of the Assyrian and this was punishment for their sins. The people of Judah didn’t learn from this example. So God eventually sent them into captivity by the power of the Babylonians. King Jehoiakim experienced the arrival of the Babylonians and he was forced to pay them tribute. After he had died his son Jehoiachin had to deal with the Babylonians.

The Lord prompted King Nebuchadnezzar’s forces to enter Judah a second time during the reign of King Jehoiachin. He was one of the last kings of Judah and the Lord considered him an evil ruler who promoted idolatry. King Jehoiachin was forced to go to Babylon as a prisoner by King Nebuchadnezzar. He ended up spending the rest of his days in Babylon as a prisoner. King Nebuchadnezzar had also marched many of the elite citizens of Judah back to Babylon as well. The people of Judah were forced to pay tribute to King Nebuchadnezzar. God had allowed the Babylonians to become the rulers of Judah and he did this so that they could turn their attention back to him once again.

The first Babylonian captivity of Judah happened during the reign of King Jehoiachin and it was the beginning of a series of captivities that would plague Judah for almost a century. The people of Judah still didn’t learn their lesson and God had to judge them once again.

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Jotham of Judah, King

King Jotham ruled Judah around 742 B.C., which is where he appears on the Bible Timeline Chart and was the son of King Uzziah. Jotham’s name means “God is perfect” or “God is complete”.

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He was 25 years old when he took the throne and ruled Judah for 16 years. His mother was named Jerusha and she was queen to Uzziah. The Lord considered Jotham a good king because he did what was right according to his expectations.

King Jotham influenced his son in the ways of God. Throughout the course of Uzziah’s life he continuously sought the Lord. God had blessed him tremendously for faithfulness to him. Jotham recognized the importance of serving God from observing his father. Uzziah almost had a perfect life with the Lord but toward the end of his reign he became proud. He entered the temple and burned incense on the altar. The priest told him that he should not be doing such a thing but the king didn’t listen to them and became outraged. God then struck him with leprosy and he had to live outside of his kingdom until the day he died. This event was very significant to King Jotham because he never entered into Solomon’s Temple during his time in power.

Joatham,_King_of_Judah
Joatham

While Uzziah was still alive and living outside of kingdom with leprosy he still ruled the land but he did so with the aide Jotham. They were co-regents that ruled together. Jotham rebuilt the upper gates of Solomon’s Temple and he was careful to live in obedience to the Lord. Even though he personally served God he could not influence his subjects to follow in his ways. King Jotham didn’t destroy the pagan shrines. The people still offered sacrifices and burned incense to foreign gods. This is probably one reason why God sent the Arameans, Rezin and King Pekah of Israel against Judah as punishment for their sins.

King Jotham lived during the time of the prophets Isaiah, Hosea, Amos and Micah. Since he was a god fearing man he apparently listened intently to these messages from the Lord. He not only listened but he obeyed them as well. The fact still remains is that the people did not obey the messages from these prophets nor were they influenced by this king no matter how much he tried to do what was right according to God. God faulted the people and not the king for this situation.

The king waged war against the Ammonites and defeated them. He received a three year tribute of silver, wheat and barely from the Ammonites. Throughout the years of his rule, King Jotham was careful to obey all the commands of God. The Lord blessed King Jotham with power since he was personally obedient to his commands. Though the Bible doesn’t go into specific details about how God expanded the power of King Jotham, it’s safe to assume that the Lord built up his military forces and treasury in the same way that he did for his father Uzziah. King Jotham eventually died and was buried in the City of David. His son Ahaz took over the throne after he passed away.

Biblical References:

  •  2 Chronicles 27: 1, 2 Background information about King Jotham.
  • 2 Chronicles 27: 3 – 5 Outlines King Jotham’s building projects and some of his battles.
  • 2 Chronicles 27: 6 King Jotham becomes powerful because he obeys the Lord.
  • 2 Chronciles 27: 8, 9 Gives information about the death of King Jotham.
  • 2 Kings 15: 34, 35 King Jotham pleased the Lord but he did not completely destroy the pagan places of worship in Judah.
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Jonah and the Whale

Jonah was the son of Amittai, and he is a prophet who lived in Israel in the 8th century B.C., which is where he appears on the Bible Timeline Chart.  His name means “dove”. There is a book in the Bible that bears his name and he also appears in 2 Kings as a prophet from Gath-Hepher. And he predicts that King Jeroboam II would take back lands that were previously lost to Israel. God had called Jonah to go to the city of Nineveh so that he could send them a message of repentance. The people of Nineveh were wicked and God wanted them to repent, but Jonah didn’t want to deliver this message. Nineveh was an ancient city that was a part of the Assyrian empire. The Israelite’s constantly had problems with the people of Nineveh and Jonah would have rather watched these people suffer for their sins than to warn them about turning away from their transgressions.

Jonah_and_the_Whale_Storm

Jonah had run in the opposite direction of God because he wanted to get away from the Lord. He then boarded a ship to place called Tarshish which used to be located in modern day Lebanon. While he was sailing away, God sent a huge storm against the ship to sink it to the bottom of the sea. Jonah was asleep at the bottom of the ship while the storm was raging against the vessel. The sailors who were on board the ship began to pray to their gods to stop the storm, but it didn’t work. The captain went down to the bottom of the ship and woke Jonah up and had him pray to his god to make the storm stop. The sailors then cast lots to see who handled the storm and Jonah were the guilty one. Jonah then explained to the sailors why he was running from God, and they eventually threw Jonah into the sea at his request to stop the storm. The sailors began to pray and offer sacrifices to God once they threw Jonah overboard. They did this because God had immediately stopped the storm after they got rid of Jonah. God created a giant fish to swallow Jonah after he was thrown the ship overboard. Once Jonah was inside of the fish he prayed to God. His prayer was for God to save him from the fish because he realized that he was wrong for not obeying the Lord. After Jonah prayed this prayer, the giant fish spit him up on the beach. God spoke to Jonah again about delivering a message of repentance to Nineveh and this time around Jonah obeyed him. Once Jonah arrived in the city, he told the people that in 40 days God was going to destroy the place. The people believed his message, and they began to repent of their sins by wearing sackcloth and fasting. Their king also told all of his people that they had to wear sackcloth and pray to God for forgiveness. God saw that the people did have a change of heart, and he withheld his judgments from the people.

Jonah_and_the_Whale_desert

Jonah became very angry with God for allowing the people of Nineveh to repent. He knew that God would spare them from judgment once they turned from their evil ways. Jonah would have wanted the people to receive God’s punishment instead of mercy and grace. Jonah was so angry that he was depressed. Jonah then went to the eastern side of the city to see if anything bad would happen. While he was there, he built a shelter and God allowed a plant to grow to cover him from the sun. The next day God sent a worm to eat the plant’s root, and Jonah lost his shade. God then sent a hot wind against Jonah and the sun made him so uncomfortable that he wished to die.

God then explained to Jonah that he didn’t do anything to make the plant live but that he wanted to die because it no longer provided him shade. God said he felt the same way about the people of Nineveh and their animals even though they were no longer serving their purpose to the Lord by worshipping him. The book of Jonah ends without anybody knowing if Jonah was still angry with God or if the prophet finally saw things from God’s perspective.

Biblical References:

  • Jonah 1 God tells Jonah to go to Nineveh and get the people to repent. A large storm appears and sailors throw Jonah overboard to stop the storm. Jonah is swallowed by a whale.
  • Jonah 2 Jonah says a prayer of repentance and the whale spits him up on a beach.
  • Jonah 3 Jonah finally goes to Nineveh to tell them about God’s judgment if they don’t repent. The people listen and they are spared from God’s wrath.
  • Jonah 4 Jonah is angry with God for sparing the people of Nineveh and he wants to die. God explains to Jonah that he cares for all of the people that he has created and did not want to damn anybody.
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Omri Unrighteous King Of Israel

King Omri rose to the throne of Israel through a series of assassination plots. Once he was in power he didn’t bring God glory, by the way, he ruled the kingdom. God allowed Omri to rule Israel for a total of 12 years and during this period he continued the pagan practices that were started with Jeroboam the first king of Israel. King Omri’s name means “sheaf’ or “grain” or “king”. He appears on the Bible Timeline Chart starting in 939 BC.

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Omri

The Golden Calf Cult was a religion that was started by Jeroboam for the purpose of keeping his control of Israel. Jeroboam realized that the people would turn back to God if they were allowed to continue to keep worshipping at the temple in Judah. So the Golden Calf Cult served the purpose of keeping the people of Israel divided against Judah and God.

God had to punish many Israeli rulers for their worship of the Golden Calf. King Baasha of Israel was a king who ruled the land before Omri came to the throne. King Baasha was a wicked king who forsook the worship of God. As a result of his actions, God told him through a prophet named Jehu that he was going to wipe out his line. God didn’t carry out this prophecy until King Baasha’s son Elah took the throne.

King Elah ruled Israel for only 2 years before one of his military commanders named Zimri schemed an assassination plot against him. While King Elah was getting drunk at his friend’s home, Zimri snuck in and killed him. Zimri then proceeded to kill the rest of Baasha’s family line so that God’s prophecy against Bashaa would come true. Then Zimri placed himself on the throne of Israel and continued the pagan practices of the kings that were before him.

About a week later Omri and his soldiers found out what was going on at the palace. Omri was one of Elah’s other military commanders. After they had heard that Elah was dead, they proclaimed Omri as their new ruler. Omri then took his men and started to siege the palace where Zimri was located. King Zimri became terrified and thought all hope was gone, so he burned the palace and died in the fire. Omri was about to become the king, but another challenger to his throne rose up against him. This challenger’s name was Tibni half of the people supported him. Omri ended up beating Tibni and became king.

Omri built a city called Samaria during the rest of his time in power, and he had a son named Ahab. He raised his child in an atmosphere of rebellion toward God. His son learned his lessons well and after Omri had passed away his son, King Ahab, became known as one of the most corrupt kings in the history of Israel.

Biblical References:

  • 1 Kings 16: 1 – 7 Baasha is an evil king who rules in Israel. Because of his evil ways God tells him his lineage will be wiped out.
  • 1 Kings 16: 8 – 10 King Elah is the son of Baasha and after he takes over the throne he is killed by one of his military commanders named Zimri. Zimri then kills the rest of Baasha’s lineage as prophesized by God. After slaughtering all of Baasha’s relatives, Zimri sets himself up as king.
  • 1 Kings 16: 15 -20 Another military commander in King Elah’s army was named Omri. Once he hears about the assignation of Elah, the soldiers underneath him make him king. He then leads them in a coup against Zimri. Omri and his forces defeat the king’s soldiers, and King Zimri kills himself in a palace fire.
  • 1 Kings 16: 21 – 23 Omri is about to become king when another contender to the throne named Tibni challenges him. He defeats Tibni and finally becomes the king.
  • 1 Kings 16: 24 He builds a city named Samaria.
  • 1 Kings 16: 25,26 God is angry with Omri for leading the people of Israel in false worship.
  • 1 Kings 16: 28 King Omri dies and his son Ahab takes over the throne.
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Jehoshaphat Righteous King

Jehoshaphat was a famous Judean king who led his people back to the true worship of God during his reign. He was the son of another godly Judean leader named King Asa. He was thirty-five years old when he ruled the kingdom of Judah, and he reigned for 25 years.  He appears on the Bible Timeline Chart with World History 928 BC.

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Statues of Josaphat and Ezechias on the Monastery of El Escorial.

A Life Committed to God

When Jehoshaphat took over the throne, he quickly established himself as a righteous ruler who feared the Lord. He was devoted to God in his heart and his actions. His love for God greatly benefited the kingdom of Judah. The people’s hearts were turned from the false worship of Baal that was present in the land during his time in power. Because of his actions God strengthened the nation of Judah so that no one would dare to attack them for many years. Judah’s foreign enemies also sent them gifts and paid tribute to avoid going to war with Jehoshaphat. The Bible says that the fear of the Lord was on the nations that surrounded Judah, and this caused them to treat Judah with love and respect. Since God had made the other nations fear Judah, Jehoshaphat was able to build up forts and strengthen his military forces.

King Jehoshaphat and King Ahab

King Jehoshaphat and King Ahab of Israel were good friends, and they became allied through a marriage between some of their close relatives. Ahab wanted Jehoshaphat’s help against Ramoth Gilead a foreign group of people that had been harassing Israel. King Jehoshaphat agreed, but he desired God’s opinion about his decision to fight with Ahab. So, King Ahab summoned a bunch of prophets who told them that they were going to win the war. King Jehoshaphat didn’t believe these prophets. Somehow he knew they were lying. He then asked Ahab to summon a true prophet from God that would tell them the truth. A prophet named Micaiah came forth and told King Ahab that he would fail and die during this conflict. King Ahab had him imprisoned and went to battle with Jehoshaphat. King Ahab disguised himself on the battlefield while Jehoshaphat wore his royal robes. When the enemy realized that, King Jehoshaphat wasn’t King Ahab they didn’t kill him. A Bowman shot a random arrow, and it hit King Ahab who died later on that night. Jehoshaphat made it home safely.

Jehu Son of Hanani Prophesizes against King Jehoshaphat Once the king returned home, he was soon greeted by a prophet named Jehu, who was the son of Hanani. Jehu told the king that the wrath of God was upon him. God didn’t carry out this judgment right away because of the good things that the king had done for him and the people of Judah.

Moab and Ammon Attacks Judah

Eventually, God’s judgment finally came, and the Ammonites with the help of the Moabites attacked Judah. This particular foreign army was huge and vast, and they were so big that they could have annihilated King Jehoshaphat’s forces if they went to war. All of Judah was afraid, so the king summoned the people and gave a speech and a prayer to God to overcome this great enemy. Then a priest named Jahaziel prophesied that God would give Judah victory against this united army. God revealed to the army of Judah that they had to praise him with music and songs and when they did he defeated the invading army by having them to turn on each other until they destroyed themselves. King Jehoshaphat and his forces carried away the plunder of the enemy, and the fear of God came upon all of the surrounding nations. Once again, no one messed with Judah because of God’s protection.

The Last Days of Jehoshaphat

Jehoshaphat’s last days were peaceful, but the people still didn’t fully have their hearts set on the Lord and some pagan temples and altars remained in the land. God was also disappointed with Jehoshaphat for making an alliance with King Ahab’s successor King Ahaziah and he destroyed Judah’s trading vessels as a result. Ultimately, God claimed that King Jehoshaphat’s rule was successful.

Bible References

  • 2 Chronicles 17 Jehoshaphat governs the kingdom of Judah in a godly manner.
  • 2 Chronicles 18 King Jehoshaphat Allies with King Ahab
  • 2 Chronicles 19: 1 – 3 Jehu warns Jehoshaphat about his sins.
  • 2 Chronicles: 20 Moab and Ammon unite against Judah
  • 2 Chronicles 20: 31 – 38 Jehoshaphat’s final days.
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Lycurgian Constitution and Legislation

The Lycurgian constitution and legislation was considered to be the prime legacy of the Spartan leader, Lycurgus. He is placed on the Bible Timeline Chart with World History during the eighth century BC. His laws had defined the powerful militaristic political state we now envision Sparta to be during those times. What made Lycurgian rule unique to all other Greek states was its insistence on not keeping historical records and issuing any form of written law. Each case that needed resolution was handled on a case to case basis. Lycurgus and his somewhat democratic form of law were instrumental to Sparta’s rise to power.

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Lycurgus
Lycurgus

The Ruler

It is believed that Lycurgus lived and reigned sometime between 800 to 630 BC. What we know of Lycurgus today can largely be attributed to old historians like Plutarch and his peers considering that Lycurgus did away with any form of historical records. Plutarch is the main source for any semblance of historical study on Lycurgus. In a way, what Plutarch discusses is more of an anecdotal collection rather than a biography. Some believe that Lycurgus may not have actually existed and is symbolic for some ancient ruler who brought sweeping change to Sparta.

The Institution

Lycurgus started the change in the political and legislative landscape by distributing the king’s power unto an elder senate. At times, a general assembly of the people would be held wherein the public would decide the fate of a piece of legislation. However, the people could not make new laws but could only approve or reject what the Senate has made. This was one of the earliest forms of democracy. This is the basic backbone of the Lycurgian constitution and legislation. Of course, not every citizen, particularly those in the upper class, favored this new arrangement but Lycurgus, according to Plutarch, succeeded in quelling opposition to his rule.

Many of the approved pieces of legislation were somehow idiosyncratic even by today’s standards. One feature compelled citizens to eat in public mess halls, into small groups called “sysstia”. These groups was generally a mixture of citizens both rich and poor. When one member disliked what was being served, they could bring their own meal, provided that they also feed everyone else in the group. Under the constitution, all manner of trade using gold or silver was banned, and iron was the new currency. Any form of occupation deemed useless was also banned, which included prostitution. Adultery was also allowed if it was done in the pursuit of creating an ideal offspring. Having an ideal baby was such an important concept during the Lycurgian era that those infants deemed defective were reportedly cast out into a cliff. The examination of an infant, if he or she was fit to live, was done by the council.

After Lycurgus

Even after the reported disappearance of Lycurgus, believed to have sought out the Oracle of Delphi and never returned, Sparta continued following the constitutional structure he presented. It is believed that this very adherence to the form of governing was the reason for Sparta becoming a powerful militaristic state in the Greek region. Many surrounding states also favored Spartans to be dispute arbitrators given the structure they followed when it come to conflict resolution. The apparent success in this otherwise crude and primitive form of democracy had led many other states to consider adopting the principles of the Lycurgian constitution and legislation.