The Story of the Evil Kings of Judah
David's Dynasty Starts to Approach Hitler Levels of Evil

Rehoboam, the first king of Judah, was evil. He and his cousin Maakah had a son named Abijah, who succeeded him as king and was also evil. With God’s help, Abijah killed half a million Israelites.1

The next king of Judah was Abijah’s son Asa, and he always did what was right in the eyes of the Lord. Asa brutally oppressed his own people, led them to steal building materials from the king of Israel, and imprisoned people when they criticized him. He took money from God’s treasury and used it to pay the king of Aram to fight against God’s people Israel. God was displeased with this, because he had wanted to fight against Israel himself. So then Asa developed a severe foot disease, and he died two years later.

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David's Dynasty Starts to Approach Hitler Levels of Evil
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Will the door be opened for everyone who knocks?

Jesus says you just have to knock, and the door will be opened for you. Because just as everyone who asks receives, the door will be opened to the one who knocks.

It worked for Peter… eventually. He had to knock an awfully long time, though. The servant who went to answer the door ran back without opening it, and tried to convince the others that Peter was there, but they couldn’t believe it because Peter was supposed to be in prison. But he kept knocking, and after a while they did open the door for him.

Jesus didn’t tell us it would take so long for the door to be opened. Why didn’t he specify how long you might have to knock, so people wouldn’t think he was wrong and give up? Because Jesus was wrong. He said so himself:

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The Bible’s questions, answered—part 5: Answers to questions in the reigns of David and Solomon

The Bible contains a lot of questions, and it doesn’t always provide satisfactory answers. So I’ve been answering some of the Bible’s questions myself. This time, I’m looking at questions in the stories from when David, and then his son Solomon, ruled over all Israel.

Saul’s cousin asks David’s nephew: Why should I strike you down? Answer: You shouldn’t.

Saul’s son asks Saul’s cousin: Why did you sleep with my father’s girlfriend? Answer: Why not? Your father is dead.

David’s other nephew, Joab, asks him: What have you done? Answer: Things David had done in that chapter include waging war against the people he promised not to kill, having children with a bunch of women we’ve never heard of before, and demanding that Abner do him a favor before he’ll allow Abner to do him another favor.

Joab asks him: Why did you let Abner go? Answer: So Abner could continue to help him become king of Israel.

Mephibosheth asks David: What am I, that you should notice a dead dog like me? Answer: A dead dog, apparently. And David is a worm, so maybe he intends to eat the dead dog?

The Ammonite commanders ask their new king: Do you think David is honoring your father by sending envoys to you to express sympathy? Answer: Yes, he thinks that. Also, it’s true.

They ask: Hasn’t David sent them to you only to explore the city and spy it out and overthrow it? Answer: No.

Uriah asks: With the ark of the covenant and the men of Israel currently in tents, how could I go to my house to eat and drink and make love to my wife? Answer: Well, you’re already eating and drinking at the palace, so that part clearly isn’t a problem for you…

David’s attendants ask: How can we now tell him his child is dead? Answer: By answering his question when he asks if his child is dead.

When David abruptly stops mourning as soon as he finds out his child is dead, they ask him: Why are you acting this way? Answer: Because he thinks he can manipulate God.

A woman asks David: Why then have you done this? When you side against people trying to kill my son, do you not convict yourself, since you have not brought back your own banished son? Answer: No, David never tried to kill his son like the people he condemned in the woman’s story, so no hypocrisy here.

Absalom tells Joab that he had told Joab to ask David: Why have I come from Geshur? Answer: Because Joab wanted you to. Ask him, not David.

Abishai asks: Shouldn’t Shimei be put to death for cursing David? Answer: For speaking? Of course not.

Barzillai asks David: Why should I be an added burden to you? Answer: Because David was a burden to you?

He asks: Why should the king reward me in this way? Answer: Because you provided for him.

The men of Israel ask: Why did the men of Judah steal the king away? Answer: Nobody’s taking your king away. David is still king of Israel. Which isn’t even separate from Judah at this time anyway.

When David tells Joab to count the men of Israel, Joab asks: Why do you want to do such a thing? Answer: So he’ll know how many there are. Also because God told him to.

The prophet Nathan says God asks: Did I ever say to any leader of my people, “Why have you not built me a house of cedar?” Answer: Well, Nathan had just told David that God wanted him to do that. So either the answer is yes, or Nathan is a false prophet and should be killed.

God imagines future people asking: Why has the Lord done such a thing to this land and to this temple? Answer: Because he was so bad at demonstrating his existence and superiority that the people decided they might as well be worshiping worthless idols.

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Did the Jews think God was their only father?

In John 8, Jesus talks to some Jews, who are on his side at the beginning of the conversation. But then he starts making outrageous unfounded accusations against them, and before long they think Jesus is demon-possessed and should be stoned to death.

During that conversation, Jesus mentions these Jews doing what their father has told them. They respond that Abraham is their father. When Jesus disagrees, the Jews now insist that God is the only father they have. (Which they think somehow shows that they’re not illegitimate children.) Jesus doesn’t agree with that either, and insists the devil is their father. But forget about what Jesus thinks… How can the Jews say God is their only father, when they just said Abraham is their father?

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The Story of Jonah and the Fish
It was This Big!

God told a prophet named Jonah to go to the Assyrian city of Nineveh and announce that it would be destroyed soon. But Jonah knew God well enough to know that he wouldn’t actually do what he said he would do. Jonah didn’t think it would be right to deliver a false prophecy, so he ran away from God and hid on a ship that was going somewhere else.1

But God sent a storm, which nearly wrecked the ship. The sailors found out that Jonah had angered his God and brought a storm on their ship. So Jonah suggested they throw him overboard, to divert God’s wrath away from the ship. But the sailors didn’t want to kill him. They tried to sail back and return him to land, so he could resume his mission.

But God liked Jonah’s idea better, so he made the storm worse and prevented them from getting back to land. So the sailors reluctantly threw Jonah overboard, and the storm stopped. God sent a huge fish, which swallowed Jonah and then threw him up on land three days later.

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It was This Big!
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Is prostitution acceptable?

No.

The Bible doesn’t actually contain a law banning all prostitution, but it does tend to be disapproving of it.

When Judah found out that his daughter-in-law was “guilty of prostitution”, he thought she should be burned to death. And Paul thinks Christians should never be “united” with prostitutes.

What does God think of prostitution? He seems to disapprove of his people visiting the houses of prostitutes. He seems to think prostitution is a shameful practice, a horrible thing that defiles Israel. God said prostitution was leading his people astray and would cause them not to flourish. He said he was against someone because by being a prostitute, she had somehow enslaved nations and caused huge wars. The Bible implies that male shrine prostitution was one of the “detestable practices” that provoked God to try to wipe out the native inhabitants of Canaan.

Kings who expelled the male shrine prostitutes from the land were doing what was right in God’s eyes. God punished Jehoram for leading the people to “prostitute themselves”, though it’s not clear whether that’s literal or a metaphor for idolatry.

God had his prophets tell several allegorical stories portraying his people as a prostitute. He describes her prostitution as a wicked act of rebellion. He doesn’t want his wife back after she becomes a prostitute. God punishes the land when she defiles it with her prostitution and wickedness, and he thinks she ought to be ashamed. He also disapproves of her killing his children, but just the prostitution would have been bad enough.

And then there’s Ezekiel 23, where Israel and Judah are both prostitutes, which God thinks is depraved, defiling, disgusting, and shameful. So he hands them over to be stripped, mutilated, and killed, in order to put a stop to their prostitution.

So it sure sounds like God hates prostitution, though it’s possible he just hates idolatry, which is what those parables are really about. That’s a problem with a lot of these passages. It’s hard to tell whether the Bible is really talking about prostitution or not, since it so often either uses it metaphorically, or conflates it with other behaviors like adultery.

Anyway, God also has a few laws on the subject of prostitution. He never completely outlaws it, but he does have some laws concerning more specific scenarios:

Yes.

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The Bible’s questions, answered—part 4: Answers to questions in the reign of Saul

The Bible contains a lot of questions, and it doesn’t always provide satisfactory answers. So I’ve been answering some of the Bible’s questions myself. This time, I’m looking at questions from when Saul was king of Israel.

Some Israelites ask: How can Saul save us? Answer: By threatening to destroy the property of any Israelites who don’t help him fight their enemies.

Samuel asks Saul: Why did you not obey the Lord? Why did you pounce on the plunder? Answer: He did obey the Lord, and he did not pounce on the plunder. He was still going to destroy all those animals, just like God told him to. He just hadn’t done it yet.

Samuel asks: Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? Answer: Who knows? The Bible has some seriously mixed messages on those issues.

After Jesse presents seven of his sons to Samuel, Samuel asks him: Are these all the sons you have? Jesse’s answer: No, there’s an eighth son. Alternative biblical answer: Yes, Jesse had seven sons.

Goliath asks the Israelites: Why do you come out and line up for battle? Answer: Because the Philistines did.

The Israelites ask each other: Do you see how this man Goliath keeps coming out? Answer: Probably. He seems kind of hard to ignore.

David’s brother angrily asks him: Why have you come down here? Answer: To see how you’re doing and to bring you food.

He also asks David: With whom did you leave those few sheep in the wilderness? Answer: Another shepherd.

Goliath asks David: Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks? Answer: He’s coming at you with stones, not sticks.

Saul asks: What more can David get but the kingdom? Answer: Your daughter.

Saul asks his daughter: Why did you deceive me and let my enemy escape? Answer: Because your enemy is her husband.

Jonathan, skeptical of the idea that Saul is trying to kill David, asks: Why would he hide this from me? Answer: Telling you to kill David for him is not hiding it from you.

Jonathan asks David: If I knew my father wanted to harm you, wouldn’t I tell you? Answer: That seems pretty unnecessary when your father has already blatantly tried to murder David several times. Plus, you already did tell him.

Saul asks: Why hasn’t David come to the meal yesterday or today? Answer: Could it have something to do with the fact that you’ve tried to kill him repeatedly?

Jonathan asks a confused boy: Isn’t the arrow beyond you? Answer: No.

The Philistines ask: Isn’t this David, the king of the land? Answer: No, Saul is the king.

Achish king of the Philistines asks: Why must this madman come into my house? Answer: It was the madman’s idea to go to you. Ask him.

Saul asks: Is that your voice, David my son? Answer: No, it’s the voice of David Jesse’s son.

Saul asks: When a man finds his enemy, does he let him get away unharmed? Answer: Depends on how serious their enemyship is, the man’s moral beliefs, his self-control, etc.

Nabal asks: Who is this David? Answer: The son of Jesse.

He also asks: Who is this son of Jesse? Answer: David.

Then he asks: Why should I take my bread and water and the meat meant for my shearers, and give it to this David guy? Answer: Because he deserves a reward for not harming you. /s

Abner asks: Who are you who calls to the king? Answer: Nobody’s calling to the king. He’s calling to the commander.

Ghost-Samuel asks Saul: Why do you consult me, now that the Lord has departed from you and become your enemy? Answer: Because he can’t consult the Lord, because the Lord has departed from him and become his enemy.

The Philistines ask: How better could David regain Saul’s favor than by taking the heads of our own men? Answer: He doesn’t need to. He already did that a few chapters ago.

The Philistines ask: Isn’t this the David who the women of Israel sang about, saying he had slain tens of thousands? Answer: Yes, but they were wrong. He hadn’t done that yet.

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Are all rulers wise?

The eighth chapter of Proverbs is all about wisdom and understanding. It portrays Wisdom as saying that all who rule on earth reign and govern by her, by Wisdom. So all rulers on earth must be wise.

But the Bible mentions some rulers who were not wise. Nebuchadnezzar wasn’t a wise man, or he wouldn’t have tried to get all the wise men in Babylon killed. Saul did such a foolish thing that God decided he couldn’t be king anymore. Even Solomon wasn’t wise when he first became king.

Speaking of Solomon, he certainly didn’t seem to think all rulers were wise when he wrote Ecclesiastes. And he ought to be an expert on these things. Solomon doesn’t say it’s impossible to be a foolish old king, only that it’s not the best thing you can be. He contrasts wise people with rulers, which would make no sense if rulers were always wise themselves.

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The Story of Elisha and the Mean Boys
God Rescues His Servant From Persecution

The life of Elijah the prophet ended when God took him up to heaven in a whirlwind. He was succeeded by his servant Elisha, who gained the ability to do miracles like Elijah had done. As Elisha was walking along, a bunch of boys saw him and started making fun of him because he was bald. This bothered Elisha, so he stopped to put a curse on them. Then God sent two bears out of the woods to maul the mean little boys, so the bald prophet could continue on his way without anyone reminding him that he was bald.

The end.

The moral of the story

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God Rescues His Servant From Persecution
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Will the sun and moon last forever?

They will last forever.

Solomon equates “forever” with “as long as the sun” continues. So does God, who also says something will be established forever like the moon. The Bible says God established the sun and moon for ever and ever, with a decree that will never pass away.

There’s also a verse in Isaiah that says Jerusalem’s sun will never set again, and its moon will wane no more.

Then they will be destroyed?

The verse just before that in Isaiah, though, makes it sound like it might actually be talking about God, not the actual sun and moon. And in any case, that verse says at that time the sun and moon will no longer shine on Jerusalem.

But won’t they still exist forever, even if Jerusalem is cut off from them somehow? No, Joel says by the time the day of the Lord arrives, the sun and moon will be darkened. The sun will turn to darkness and the moon will turn to blood. And Revelation says after the sun turns black and the moon turns red, an angel will darken a third of both of them.

Then they will still exist.

Apparently they won’t be completely destroyed at this point, because after that a woman will wear the sun and put her feet on the moon. And an angel will even make the sun more powerful.

And then they won’t be needed.

Then there’s the new Jerusalem, which won’t need the sun or moon either.

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