Lesson 8 – 1 & 2 Kings – 1 & 2 Chronicles – Ezra – Nehemiah – Tobit – Judith – Esther – 1 & 2 Maccabees

The First Book of Kings

Read this book entirely then the points I refer you too:
King Solomon: David chose Solomon as successor before dying, thus putting an end to the intrigues concerning the succession to the throne. The royalty returned to Adonias, the eldest (1 Kings 2,15-22).


Altar

Joab takes refuge at the Temple and seizes the horns of the altar; he was nevertheless killed on Solomon’s order for taking sides with Adonias (1 Kings 2,28-34). The corners of the altar of sacrifice were in the form of horns to allow the sacrificed animals’ blood shed (Exodus 27,2). Those who took refuge at the Temple and seized the horns of the altar, could not be captured and killed on the spot (attitude of Adonias 1 Kings 1,50-53). This custom was practiced for a long time among Christians, especially in Europe, where criminals sometimes, found refuge in the churches without the risk of being caught by the police for as long as they remained there.
Construction of the Temple: 480 years after the exit of Egypt (about 960 BC), Solomon built the Temple made out of Cedar wood and gold and transferred the Ark (1 Kings 6 to 8) into it. This Temple of Solomon is known as the “First Temple” of Jerusalem. It was destroyed about 400 years later by Nebuchadnezzar (in 586 BC). The “Second Temple” will be built in 515 B.C.


Solomon temple

The two columns of the Temple: at the entrance of the Temple, Solomon made two columns: “Yakin” (“absolute knowledge”, like in Arabic “yaqin” which also means knowledge with certitude), and “Boaz” (“Strength”; perhaps similar to Arabic “foulaz” which means “steel”) (1 Kings 7,21). I emphasize this fact because it is important in the “mysticism” of certain esoteric sects such as Freemasonry, and the Rosicrucians who are a cult for “Gnosis”, which means “Knowledge”, the name of one of the 2 columns, symbol of the Temple which the Jews want to build in Jerusalem.

The Queen of Sheba (Ethiopia: 1 Kings 10,1-13): the visit of this queen is important because Jesus refers to her later in speaking to the Jews who refused to believe in Him: “The Queen of the South (a non-Jew)” is the Queen of Ethiopia, in the South of Palestine, in Africa. She, the non-Jew, “on Judgment Day will rise up with this generation (Jewish) and condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and there is something (among you) greater than Solomon here (and you refuse to listen to Him)” (Matthew 12,42).

666 talents of gold: (1 Kings 10,14): “The weight of gold coming to Solomon in one year was six hundred and sixty-six talents of gold”. This number thus represents Solomon’s empire in all its power and all its splendor. The modern Jews dream of establishing such a kingdom; Solomon is their example and the ideal Zionist Messiah they are waiting to enlarge their borders from the Nile to the Euphrates. This Zionist danger is a menace to the whole of humanity. It is why it was prophesied by St John’s in the Book of Revelation, as the symbol of the “Beast” whose number is 666, which is the “number of a man“, referring to the weight of the gold King Solomon received yearly in his coffers (Revelation 13,18).

Disloyalty of Solomon: Solomon loved God… but “many foreign women” too, 1000 all in all… who “sway his heart to their own gods… He did what was displeasing to Yahweh… Yahweh was angry with Solomon… therefore said to him: ‘… I will tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your servants… I will leave your son one tribe (Judah) …” (1 Kings 11,1-13) It is the schism which was announced between Israel and Judah.

Jeroboam, a northerner at the service of Solomon, revolts (because of the taxes required by Solomon on the northerners: 1 Kings 12,4). The prophet Ahijah announces to Jeroboam that he will be king over 10 tribes, but that God, as He Himself announced to Solomon, will leave one tribe to David’s dynasty, “so that my servant David”, says God, “may always have a lamp in my presence in Jerusalem” (1 Kings 11,29-36). This “Lamp” should serve for the coming of the Messiah of the line of David. This is why the kingdom of Judaea will be governed by a stable dynasty until the Babylonian invasion, while the kingdom of the North will be marked by revolts, a king dethroning another by assassination, without a permanent dynasty.

The schism: (1 Kings 12) The separation between the two parties is the sign of failure of the attempt in establishing an Israeli kingdom. It took place around 930 BC, only 100 years after it had started with Saul.

Roboam, son of Solomon, was crowned king at Sichem, in the North. Then, the northern tribes said to him: “Your father gave us a heavy burden to bear; lighten your father’s harsh tyranny now, and the weight of the burden he laid on us, and we will serve you.” (1 Kings 12,1-4) Roboam answered foolishly: “My father made you bear a heavy burden, but I will make it heavier still.” (1 Kings 12,14) This was not “an intervention of Yahweh” as explain the scribes, but rather a “non intervention”, an abandonment, God having abandoned Roboam to his madness since He did not desire royalty (1 Kings 12,15). The reaction of the Israelis was immediate: it was the schism: “What share have we in David? etc…” (1 Kings 12,16). “And Israel has been separated from the House of David until the present day.” (1 Kings 12,19) This text was therefore written by scribes after the division.

The tribes of the North took the name of Israel because, being more numerous, they represented the Patriarch Jacob, father of the 12 tribes, named “Israel” by God (Genesis 32,29). Judah kept its name because the Messiah emanates from it. The founders of the current State of Israel, created in 1948, hesitated between the names of Israel and that of Judah. They ended up choosing “Israel”, biblically more known.
The schism had a political aspect, and another religious:
The political schism resulted in the fact that the Israelis chose Jeroboam as king of the North, whereas the Judaeans kept Roboam as king of the South. The religious schism was the consequence of the political split: “Jeroboam thought to himself, ‘… If this people continues to go up to the Temple of Yahweh in Jerusalem (in the South) to offer sacrifices, the people’s heart will turn back again to their lord, Rehoboam king of Judah, and they will put me to death.’ So the king thought this over and then made two golden calves and told the people, ‘You have been going up to Jerusalem long enough. Here are your gods, Israel: these brought you up out of the land of Egypt!’ … He set up the temple of the high places and appointed priests from ordinary families, who were not of the sons of Levi… and he went up to the altar… sacrificing to the calves he had made…” (1 Kings 12,26-33) Jeroboam became thus, the example of impiety. He reigned from 931-910 BC.

The result of the request of a king to Samuel (1 Samuel 8) was that there were two kingdoms and two sanctuaries. One after the other they were destroyed, kingdoms and sanctuaries: those of the North in 721 BC, 210 years after Jeroboam, and those of the South in 586 BC, 140 years later. The kingdom of the South, the longest, lasted but 450 years approximately.

Kings of the North and of the South were both infidels, worse than each other, doing “what is displeasing to Yahweh” according to the biblical expression (1 Kings 16,30).


Principal sites of the monarchic period

The Prophet Elijah

The worst of Israel’s kings, in the North, was Ahab. He took for wife a Sidonian, Jezebel, and worshipped her god, an idol (1 Kings 16,29-33). The prophet Elijah suddenly appears to prophecy against him. Elijah himself is from the north, from Tishbe. Notice that Elijah prophesies a drought as punishment: “Neither dew nor rain” (1 Kings 17,1). This lasted three years and six months: one year, two years and a half year (1 Kings 18,1 / also see James 5,17). This period is often represented by the expression “a time, two times and half a time”. It became symbolic and, to punish the wicked of the end of times, the two apocalyptic witnesses can, they too, but in another manner, do like Elijah and “lock up (symbolically) the sky so that it does not rain as long as they are prophesying” (Revelation 11,6). Therefore, the spirit of Elijah appears at the end of times… but few understand.

Notice that God appeared to Elijah with gentleness, in “the sound of a gentle breeze”, “neither in the hurricane, nor in the earthquake” (1 Kings 19,9-12).

Elijah had to flee to Sarepta, in Lebanon (currently Sarafand) to a non-Jew (1 Kings 17,7-24). Jesus presents this fact as an example to follow: one does not have to be a Jew to please God and to protect his prophets. “When they (the Jews) heard this everyone in the synagogue was enraged” against Jesus (Luke 4,25-30). Elijah chose Elisha as successor (1 Kings 19,19-21).

The vineyard of Naboth (1 Kings 21,1-29)

Keep this story in mind. It demonstrates the cruelty of Ahab and Jezebel and concretizes the warnings of Samuel, in the past, against the kings (1 Samuel 8,10-20). The misfortune announced by God upon the house of Ahab was carried out later in the massacre of the whole family (2 Kings 9,6-10).

The prophet Micaiah

The narrative of this prophet is worthy of interest. We distinguish here between the false prophets and the true prophet: 400 “prophets” -all false- agree to announce to the two Jewish kings victory. Only one, Micaiah, contradicts them all. The true prophet is always alone against everyone. Admire the ironic attitude of Micaiah: “March and conquer. Yahweh will…”, when he knew well that the king will fall (1 Kings 22,15). The king understood the irony: “‘How often must I put you on oath to tell me nothing but the truth in the Name of Yahweh?’ Then Micaiah spoke: ‘I have seen all Israel scattered on the mountains like sheep without a shepherd…” (1 Kings 22,17). People want to know the truth, but if it is not convenient to them, they refuse it at their own expense…

In the past, there were Jewish institutes in Palestine for becoming a prophet, like the Christian seminaries for becoming a priest. But real prophets are in no need for these schools and are chosen by God outside of these human institutions, as is the case with all the Biblical prophets.

Compare the arrogance of the false prophet Sedecias who dared to strike Micaiah, with the resigned attitude of the latter. We recognize false prophets by their arrogance, “every tree can be told by its own fruit” says Jesus (Luke 6,43-45). Micaiah’s attitude (1 Kings 22,24-25) is comparable to that of Jesus in face of the grand priest’s servant who had slapped him (John 18,22-23).

A true prophet has no need to consult God through Urim and Tummim as the Levite priests did. This custom, fortunately, no longer officially exist. Only unbalanced persons practice it. When God chooses a prophet, He appears to him. To consult the Lord, we are in no need to flip a coin heads or tales (Urim-Tummim), to obtain His good council. God always responds to true believers who know how to grasp His language in their hearts (read Matthew 7,7-11 / 1 John 3,21-22). Also compare the attitude of the false prophets who, to consult God, “go into an ecstasy” (types of incantations and euphoric gestures which make them delirious: see 1 Samuel 10,5), with the sobriety of Micaiah, who is in no need to make a scene, to contact God and reveal that the Syrians would triumph over the Jews.

This Micaiah, of the North, is not Micah who is found among the Books of the Prophets, a Judaean from the south, and who came 150 years later.

From 1 Kings, two historical points are to be retained:

  1. The construction (useless) of the first Temple by Solomon,
  2. The schism due to the tension between Jews. This signifies the failure of the Israeli royalty as predicted by God and his prophets.

The Second Book of Kings

This book is important from a historical point of view; it recounts the central event which marked the history of the Israeli “nation”: the deportation to Assyria and Babylon. It is the realization of the threat of Moses who warned the Jews that, in case of infidelity, they “will be torn from the land which they are entering to make their own.” (Deuteronomy 28,62-63) The prophets you will encounter in the Books of the Prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, etc…) had also predicted this event as punishment.

Read this book with great attention, without tiring yourself in remembering the names of all the kings you will encounter. Then read my explanations.

Elijah is taken up to Heaven

Elijah is the second biblical character who escapes physical death. The first was Enoch (Genesis 5,24). Therefore, we will not find Elijah’s tomb on earth (2 Kings 2,11-18).

Elisha succeeds Elijah spiritually. Note with what strength and contempt he addresses the king of the North, as well as his desire to consult God on the soft sounds of the lyre (2 Kings 3,14-15): No Urim-Tummim, no delirium. The music elevates the soul when it is harmonious. The satanic plan employed by the agents of the “Beast of Revelation” in these end of times, aims at drawing believers away from God with hyper, raucous music, whose rowdy rhythms literally destroy the human soul. David, he too, praised God to the sound of music; all his psalms are chanted hymns.

Elishah did miracles like Elijah: the miraculous production of oil (2 Kings 4,1-7), the resurrection of a dead child (2 Kings 4,33-37): notice the number 7, symbol of perfection. The cure of the Syrian officer (2 Kings 5,14) is reported by Jesus to confuse the racist Jews (Luke 4,27). Also remark the number 7 (2 Kings 5,10). This washing in the River Jordan symbolizes baptism.

I point out the fact of bilocation: Elishah, from afar, is nevertheless present: he saw his servant, Gehazi, swindling Naaman’s money (2 Kings 5,20-27).

A final important point should be known about Elijah to understand what Jesus said about him. God had said through the prophet Malachi: “Know that I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before my day comes, that great and terrible day. He shall turn the hearts of fathers toward their children and the hearts of children toward their fathers…” (Malachi 3,23-24) Ever since, the Jews expected to see Elijah coming in person before the appearance of the Messiah. And yet, the Apostles saw Elijah appear with Moses after the coming of Jesus and were astonished. Jesus explained to them that this prophecy was about John the Baptist (Matthew 17,1-13). In fact, whence Gabriel announced to Zechariah on the birth of John, he says to him, “With the spirit and power of Elijah, he (John) will go before him (Jesus) to turn the hearts of fathers toward their children… preparing for the Lord a people fit for him.” (Luke 1,17) Thus, it was not about Elijah the person, since this envoy precedes the Messiah with “the spirit” of Elijah, this same spirit which, before, “had rested on Elishah” (2 Kings 2,15). Elijah appeared whence the Transfiguration of Jesus (Matthew 17) to reveal to us that Malachi’s prophecy was accomplished with John the Baptist (see Matthew 11,10). Compare Elijah’s strength against Ahab and Jezebel with that of John the Baptist’s against Herod and Herodia (Matthew 14,3-4). It is the same spirit which speaks with force and prophesies with courage against the grand and powerful unjust of this world. This spirit of witnessing against the wicked reappears in John’s Book of Revelation, prescribed to the Pagans in the end of times (Revelation 10,11).

With Elijah and Elishah, we are in around 850 BC. We will move on to chapter 17 of 2 Kings, making a leap of 120 years to see the two deportations: first, that of the North (Israel), then that of the South (Judaea).


Chronology of the Biblical Kings (2 Kings 14 to 25)

The Deportation of the North (2 Kings 17-19)

In 721 BC (date to remember), Hoshea, “the king of Assyria invaded the whole country (Israel) and, coming to Samaria, laid siege to it… Hoshea captured Samaria and deported the Israelites to Assyria… This happened because the Israelites had sinned against Yahweh… made idols of cast metal for themselves, the two calves… They made their sons and daughters pass through fire (holocaust to the idols) …” (2 Kings 17,5-17)

Not only were the Israelites deported, but in their place Hoshea “brought people from Babylon… and settled them in the towns of Samaria” (2 Kings 17,24). This presence of foreigners became the cause of accrued dissension between the Jews of Judaea and the Samaritans, who the Judaeans, secularly, despised and did not consider as Jews: “What? You are a Jew and you ask me, a Samaritan, for a drink?”, the Samaritan woman replies to Jesus eight centuries after this deportation. The Gospel explains that “Jews, in fact, do not associate with Samaritans.” (John 4,7-9)

The prophet Isaiah (a Judaean) is a contemporary of this deportation. Sennacherib, the son and the successor of Hoshea, “attacked the fortified towns of Judah and captured them.” (2 Kings 18,13) Even Jerusalem was threatened (2 Kings 18,17) and Hezekiah, the king of Judaea, asked for Egypt’s aid (2 Kings 18,21-24). In front of the persistent threats, Hezekiah had recourse to the advice of the prophet Isaiah who reassured him (2 Kings 19,1-7) by his prophecy against Sennacherib, the scornful (2 Kings 19,20-31). He declared that he “will not enter Jerusalem” (2 Kings 19,32-34). However, it would be Babylon -150 years later- which will invade Judaea, as Isaiah had prophesied to Hezekiah (2 Kings 20,12-19). This is the first mention of the Babylonian empire which succeeds the Assyrian empire, after having destroyed it in the battle of Carchemish (mentioned in 2 Chronicles 35,20).

This prophet Isaiah is the one whose book is found among the Books of the Prophets. In his book, we find the words of malediction he had pronounced against the Judaeans, but that the scribes of 2 Kings did not want to report, sufficing themselves only with what flatters the Judaeans: “A sinful nation, a people weighed down with guilt, a breed of wrongdoers, perverted sons… Your land is desolate, your towns burned down, your fields—strangers lay them waste before your eyes…” (Isaiah 1,4-7) This is about the Babylonian invasion already predicted by Isaiah to Hezekiah (2 Kings 20,12-19).

All the prophets mentioned in the Books of the Prophets of the Bible, existent from this period up till approximately 350 years later, including the invasion of the South (Judaea) by the Babylonians, whose contemporary is the prophet Jeremiah who had prophesied it.


Main sites of Judaea under the late monarchy.
The broken line indicates the kingdom fief borders toward the end of VIIth century AD, in the time of king Josiah.

The Deportation of the South (2 Kings 24,10-25,21)

King Josiah made religious reforms to avoid the punishment. He made reparations to the Temple and removed the statues of Baal (2 Kings 22,3-7). Note that within the Temple there was the “sacred pole (phallus)”, as well as the sacred prostitutes (2 Kings 23,4-7). Idolatry and the sacrifice of children were also practiced (2 Kings 23,8-14). The religious reforms of Josiah extended until the Temple of Samaria, the old kingdom of the North (2 Kings 23,15).

Despite all the reforms of Josiah, he was defeated and killed by the army of Pharaoh Neko in Megiddo (609 BC). The prophets Zephaniah, Nahum and Habakkuk are contemporaries of this period. In order to understand their books, you must place them in their time and understand the circumstances in which they have prophesied.

The battle of Megiddo (2 Kings 23,29-30), so briefly reported by the scribes (obviously embarrassed by the defeat of this king, pious as he was), must be retained and well understood. War broke out between the weaker Assyria and the powerful Babylon which attacked it. Egypt wanted to help the Assyrians. Josiah tried to prevent the Pharaoh from going to the aid of the Assyrians. He wanted their defeat, because they were occupying the North of the country (Samaria) and presented a danger to the Judaeans. He did not think that the Babylonians were to be feared. He was mistaken. Josiah and the Israelis believed they could overcome Pharaoh’s army, God being with them because of the religious reforms. But this was not the case. The defeat of Megiddo demoralized the Judaeans and Jeremiah composed a lamentation on this subject. This battle is better described in 2 Chronicles 35,25. Weakened, Judaea became easy prey to the Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar.

In 586 BC, the Babylonians entered Jerusalem and destroyed the Temple (the 1st Temple built by Solomon). The most important Judaeans were deported in their turn (2 Kings 25,11-12) … with the 2 columns of the Temple (2 Kings 25,16), 135 years after the deportation of the Israelis, as Isaiah predicted (2 Kings 20,16-18 / Isaiah 5,13 and 39,1-8).

Jeremiah prophesied that this exile was to last 70 years: this famous prophecy is to be retained (2 Chronicles 36,21 / Jeremiah 25,11). Note that the deportation took place in two stages: a first deportation in 598 BC (2 Kings 24,10-16), followed by a second, eleven years later (2 Kings 25,1-21). The Temple was destroyed during the second deportation (587 – 586 BC).

The Books of Chronicles

These two books were written after the return of the Jews from the Babylonian exile which lasted 70 years. Back in Palestine, the scribes wrote a summary of all the history which preceded this return from Adam up till the edict of Cyrus, the king of Persia, who toppled the Babylonian empire. Cyrus allowed the exiled to return to their countries. These exiled were not only Jews, but also other peoples of the regions vanquished by Nabuchadnezzar. Each group could return to its land of origin and rebuild its temple. This historical summary is contained in the two Books of “Chronicles”, a word which means “historical sequence of events”.

Thus, you will find in 1 & 2 Chronicles the essentials of what was recounted. Read them quickly up till chapter 33 of the second book. The 3 final chapters (2 Chronicles 34 / 35 / 36) deserve to be read attentively. Keep in mind what follows:

The prophetess Hulda

She announces the destruction of Judah, despite Josiah’s reforms. But, because this king was pious, he would die. Thus, “your eyes will not see all the disasters that I mean to bring on this place and on those who live in it” (2 Chronicles 34,22-28 / 2 Kings 22,14-20).

Megiddo and Carchemish

2 Chronicles 35,19-25 recounts these battles in more detail than 2 Kings 23,29-30, which only speaks of Megiddo, very briefly, saying nothing of Carchemish, probably because this battle had not yet taken place (it occurred in 605 BC, 4 years after Megiddo), or because the writer had not seized its importance for the Jews.

On the contrary, the writer (or writers) of Chronicles had the time to reflect up till the return from exile, and to establish the link between the events that had occurred.

This is why the battle of Carchemish is mentioned in 2 Chronicles. It is important because it puts an end to the Assyrian empire and confirms the Babylonian empire by the triumph of Nabuchadnezzar on Neko in 605 BC. It was the Assyrians’ last chance; they lost it in spite of the assistance brought by Pharaoh Neko’s Egyptian army.

For a better understanding, I must speak to you of another battle which preceded Carchemish, that of Niniveh in 612 BC. Niniveh was the capital of Assyria on the east bank of the Tigris river. It was invaded and destroyed by the Babylonian king Nabopolassar, father of Nabuchadnezzar, in 612 BC. The Assyrian king Assourbanipal was dead, leaving his country weakened. The Assyrians thus had recourse to Egypt to free their land and retake Niniveh. They organized together with Neko’s army at Carchemish, but were definitively defeated by the Babylonians in 605 BC, 7 years after the fall of Niniveh.

The prophet Nahum is a contemporary of these events and announced the fall of Niniveh. His book is devoted to this defeat of the Assyrians whom he did not like for having invaded Samaria and threatened Judaea: “From you (Niniveh) has sprung one who plots evil against Yahweh” (Nahum 1,11). He announces, “Woe to the city soaked in blood (Niniveh), full of lies, stuffed with booty, whose plunderings know no end!” (Nahum 3,1) … “A destroyer (Nabuchadnezzar) advances against you.” (Nahum 2,2)

The Jews hoped a lot of good for them after the fall of Niniveh. This was, on the contrary, the tragedy of Megiddo. The prophet Habakkuk hoped to see the deliverance of Judaea and rejoiced at the idea of seeing the fall of the Assyrians under the “blows” of the Chaldaeans (Babylonians): “… For I am doing something in your own days that you would not believe… For now I am stirring up the Chaldaeans, that fierce and fiery people who march miles across country to seize the homes of others (the Assyrians)” (Habakkuk 1,5-6). Habakkuk did not suspect that the Chaldaeans were to seize Judea too and destroy the Temple of Jerusalem. The prophet Zephaniah, he too, rejoiced at Niniveh’s destruction and announced that God “will raise his hand against the north and bring Assyria down in ruins; He will make Nineveh a waste, dry as the desert…” (Zephaniah 2,13) This is what happened in 612 BC.


The 4 battles to remember

It is necessary to retain these 4 battles in order to understand the prophets later on:

  1. 612: Niniveh: First defeat of the Assyrians. Neko then decided to help them.
  2. 609: Megiddo: Josiah tries to stop Neko, but he was vanquished and killed.
  3. 605: Carchemish: Defeat of the Assyrians and Neko. End of the Assyrian empire.
  4. 586: Jerusalem: The Babylonians invade Jerusalem and destroy the Temple.

The 70 years of exile announced by Jeremiah: Retain this prophecy (2 Chronicles 36,21) which will be useful to understand the prophecies of Daniel (Daniel 9,1-2 and 9,24).

The edict of Cyrus (2 Chronicles 36,22-23) is to be retained. It is with this edict that the Book of Ezra commences (Ezra 1,1-4). This book, with that of Nehemiah and Chronicles, was written after the return from exile to recount the history of the return of the Jews from Babylon, of the rebuilding of the Temple (Ezra), and the wall which surrounded the city of Jerusalem (Nehemiah).

The Book of Ezra

This book relates the stages and difficulties of the rebuilding the Temple “on its old site, despite their fear of the surrounding peoples (Palestinians and Samaritans)” (Ezra 3,3). Read it and return to my explanations.

The edict of Cyrus, king of Persia (Iran), inaugurates the book (Ezra 1,1-4). This edict may be compared to the Balfour declaration, the British Foreign Minister who, in 1917, promised a homeland to the Jews in Palestine, without however, allowing the rebuilding of the Temple for the 3rd time (the 3rd Temple). The second Temple was rebuilt towards 515 BC, with Ezra, and was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD.

Zerubbabel and Jeshua (Ezra 2,2) were part of the list of Zionists who returned from exile, some preferring to remain in Babylon. Zerubbabel is the son of Shealtiel, of the royal family, and heir to the throne of David, hence his importance. Matthew mentions him in his Gospel as an ancestor of the Messiah (Matthew 1,12). Jeshua was a priest. Both encouraged the rebuilding of the Temple. This is why these two persons are important and have a spiritual symbolic valor, being two witnesses of the rebuilding of the Temple.

The Samaritans wanted to contribute in the Temple’s restoration, but, being from the North, they were considered as “enemies of Judah and Benjamin”, the two tribes of the South (Ezra 4,1-3). Therefore, their assistance was rejected.

The prophets Haggai and Zechariah, whose writings are found among the Books of the Prophets, are of that period (Ezra 5,1). They pushed for the reconstruction of the Temple. You can already read the small book of Haggai. It is only two chapters. You will be thus in the ambiance to understand it. Read chapter 4 of Zechariah too; which recounts his vision of the two olive-trees, identifying them to Zerubbabel and Jeshua, the builders of the Temple. But John’s Revelation takes brings back this vision to reveal that these two olive-trees are the two witnesses of the Apocalypse, whose mission is to build the Spiritual Temple at the end of times (Revelation 11,3-4). The material Temple, we know so, has never interested the Lord.

The second Temple, more modest than the first which was made of cedar wood and gold, disappointed “many priests… who were then old and had seen with their own eyes (the luxury of) the earlier Temple (of Solomon destroyed by Nabuchadnezzar) … wept aloud”. But the new generation “raised their voices in shouts of joy” at the sight of this sanctuary (Ezra 3,12). It was completed in 515 BC.

This second Temple, neglected along the centuries and profaned (see 1 Maccabees 1,41-47), was enlarged and embellished by king Herod. It took 46 years of work for this. It is this Temple that Jesus knew and of which He prophesied the destruction (John 2,13-21 / Matthew 24,1-2)

Racism of Ezra: Note the zionist mentality revealed by Ezra 9,12. Ezra requires the Jews not “you must not be concerned for their (the Palestinians) peace or their prosperity…”; compare that with the lesson that Jesus gave to the Jews: “Love your enemies (the non-Jews considered always as enemies by the Jews) … Treat others as you would like people treat you…” (Luke 6,27-35)

The saved “Remnant”: (Ezra 9,8). This topic of the “small remnant” of Jews saved after the fall of the Israeli kingdom is common in biblical language and prophetic. God strikes the whole Jewish people, but a remnant survives to continue the spiritual mission of the Israelites (Isaiah 4,3 / 10,20-22 / Romans 9,27). The purpose of this remnant, their sacred mission, is to welcome the Messiah at the time of his Advent. It is a small number indeed, a small remainder that followed and supported Jesus. The majority persecuted Him.

The Book of Nehemiah

Nehemiah is a notable of the Jewish families which did not return from exile. He was in Susa (South of Iran) and had access to the king, being in charge of the royal wines (Nehemiah 2,1). The story occurs in 445 BC, more than sixty years after the return from exile and the edict of Cyrus. The second Temple was already built, but the lamentable situation of the Jews in Palestine and the state of the wall of Jerusalem “in ruin and its gates burnt down” (after the passage of Nabuchadnezzar), saddened Nehemiah who wanted to help “the remnant rescued from captivity” (Nehemiah 1,1-4) and rebuild the Wall (Nehemiah 2,7-8).

This book recounts the history of the return of Nehemiah to Palestine, with the support of the Persian king, with the aim of rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem. Read it.

Books of Toby, Judith and Esther

These books inform us about some narrations of the exiled. They are easy to read. Toby and Judith are not found in the Hebraic Bible.

First and Second Books of Maccabees

The Books of Maccabees report a part of the history of the two empires which followed the Persian Empire, namely the Greek Empire and the Roman Empire.

You have gotten to know the history of the Israelite community under the three empires: Assyrian (deportation of the North), Babylonian (deportation of the South) and Persian (return from exile). The last news given to us by the Book of Nehemiah on the rebuilding of the ancient walls of Jerusalem was around 445-450 BC. The Books of Maccabees give us information on the events that took place in Palestine and in the region of the Middle East as from the year 175 BC, until 135 BC, thus a period of approximately 40 years. The Bible leaves us without any news of what occurred between 450 and 175 BC, a period of 275 years.

These two books are not found in the Hebraic Bible. They speak of the same events, 2 Maccabees is almost a repetition of 1 Maccabees, and brings back the story of the resistance of the Jews to the Greek empire, under the leadership of the family of Judah Maccabee, whence the name of the two books. The main Greek king was Antiochus Epiphanes, whose name you must remember.

Read the two books of Maccabees then my explanations.

1 Maccabees

Alexander the Great: The book starts in mentioning Alexander the Great, son of Philip who “defeated Darius, king of the Persians and Medes, whom he succeeded as ruler” (1 Maccabees 1,1). This victory of Alexander in the battle of Abeles (Iraq) in 331 BC, put an end to the Persian-Medes empire which had lasted approximately 200 years. The Greek Empire commenced with Alexander.

Antiochus Epiphanes: he comes from the successors of Alexander, “a sinful offshoot, Antiochus Epiphanes… he became king in the year 137 of the kingdom of the Greeks”, which corresponds to the year 175 BC (1 Maccabees 1,10). He wanted to spread the Greek culture amongst the Jews, “and a number of the people eagerly approached the king, who authorized them to practice the pagan observances. So they built a gymnasium… disguised their circumcision, etc…” (1 Maccabees 1,13-15) A great number of Jews adopted the Greek way of life (1 Maccabees 1,43-52).

“The Abomination of desolation”: Antiochus Epiphanes profaned the Temple and placed the statue of Zeus, “the Abomination of desolation” therein (1 Maccabees 1,54). Daniel the prophet had foreseen this “Abomination”, approximately 400 years before, prophesying that “on the wing of the Temple will be the disastrous Abomination” (Daniel 9,27 / Matthew 24,15). At the time of the Maccabees, the Jews believed that this Abomination was the Zeus idol in the Temple. But Jesus, speaking of the end of times, brings back this prophecy of Daniel to say that it had not been fulfilled under Antiochus Epiphanes, but will be accomplished at the end of times, when the subjects of the Antichrist will occupy Jerusalem and mislead many disciples of Jesus (Matthew 24,15). Towards the end of Antiochus Epiphanes’ life, the Jews destroyed this “Abomination” (1 Maccabees 6,6-7).

King Alexander Balas, a Pagan, installed Jonathan as Grand priest of the Jews. This latter accepted! Now, he should have refused to be installed by a Pagan who knows not God. Here is how religious worship was practiced… (1 Maccabees 10,15-21)

Alliance of the Jews with the Romans (1 Maccabees 8,1-31 / 12,1-23 / 14,16-24 / 15,15-21). It is the beginning of the Roman empire that will grow. It is the habit of Zionists to ally themselves with a powerful nation to be established in Palestine as a nation. In the XXth century, they first allied with England, then with the United States of America for the same purpose.

2 Maccabees

2 Maccabees is not the continuation of the first. It speaks of the same events contained in the first, but stops at the defeat of Nikanor. This represents fifteen years of history, the contents of chapters 1 to 7 of the first book. No mention at all is made of the Romans.

Remember the five empires that followed:

  1. Assyrian,
  2. Babylonian,
  3. Persia – Medes,
  4. Greek,
  5. Roman.

By knowing them, you will better understand the prophecies, like for example, that of Daniel announced to Nabuchadnezzar, the Babylonian king, that the Messiah was to appear in the third empire after his (Daniel 2,36-45). He was talking of the Roman Empire, under which Jesus effectively was born into.


The 5 empires

Recommendation

We recommend the book “THE BIBLE UNEARTHED”: the new revelations of Archaeology by the 2 Israeli archaeologists: Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman, 2001. Originally published by “The Free Press”, A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc. (New York, USA).

These two archaeologists demonstrate scientifically, the non-historical basis of the alleged grandeur of the Israeli and Judaean kingdoms, as well as the Temple of Jerusalem.