Decline of Israel
Moses prophesies the dispersion among the nations and the eventual return of the Jews to the Lord:
25 After you have had children and grandchildren and have lived in the land a long time—if you then become corrupt and make any kind of idol, doing evil in the eyes of the Lord your God and arousing his anger, 26 I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you this day that you will quickly perish from the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess. You will not live there long but will certainly be destroyed. 27 The Lord will scatter you among the peoples, and only a few of you will survive among the nations to which the Lord will drive you. 28 There you will worship man-made gods of wood and stone, which cannot see or hear or eat or smell. 29 But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul. 30 When you are in distress and all these things have happened to you, then in later days you will return to the Lord your God and obey him. 31 For the Lord your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your ancestors, which he confirmed to them by oath.
-Captivity prophesied by Moses
36 The Lord will drive you and the king you set over you to a nation unknown to you or your ancestors. There you will worship other gods, gods of wood and stone. 37 You will become a thing of horror, a byword and an object of ridicule among all the peoples where the Lord will drive you.
“The books of Kings (called 1 Kings and 2 Kings) trace the decline of Israel’s success. God blesses David’s son, Solomon, with immense wisdom. As king, Solomon expands Israel into an empire and builds a great temple in Jerusalem. Solomon disobeys God by worshipping other deities, and, at his death, the kingdom splits into a northern kingdom, Israel, and a southern kingdom, Judah. A host of evil kings leads the two kingdoms away from worshipping God. Despite the attempts of the prophets Elijah and Elisha to halt Israel’s wrongdoing, the two kingdoms fall to the Assyrian and Babylonian Empires. Jerusalem is destroyed, and the people are sent into exile.”
Prophesying Babylonian Captivity Reason –
19 And when the people ask, ‘Why has the Lord our God done all this to us?’ you will tell them, ‘As you have forsaken me and served foreign gods in your own land, so now you will serve foreigners in a land not your own.’ – Jeremiah 5:19
8 Therefore thus says the Lord of hosts: Because you have not obeyed my words, 9 I am going to send for all the tribes of the north, says the Lord, even for King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, my servant, and I will bring them against this land and its inhabitants, and against all these nations around; I will utterly destroy them, and make them an object of horror and of hissing, and an everlasting disgrace.[a] 10 And I will banish from them the sound of mirth and the sound of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the sound of the millstones and the light of the lamp. 11 This whole land shall become a ruin and a waste, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. 12 Then after seventy years are completed, I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation, the land of the Chaldeans, for their iniquity, says the Lord, making the land an everlasting waste. 13 I will bring upon that land all the words that I have uttered against it, everything written in this book, which Jeremiah prophesied against all the nations. 14 For many nations and great kings shall make slaves of them also; and I will repay them according to their deeds and the work of their hands. -Jeremiah 25:8-14
-During Jehoiakim’s reign, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon invaded the land, and Jehoiakim became his vassal for three years. But then he turned against Nebuchadnezzar and rebelled. 2 The Lord sent Babylonian, Aramean, Moabite and Ammonite raiders against him to destroy Judah, in accordance with the word of the Lord proclaimed by his servants the prophets. 3 Surely these things happened to Judah according to the Lord’s command, in order to remove them from his presence because of the sins of Manasseh and all he had done, 4 including the shedding of innocent blood. For he had filled Jerusalem with innocent blood, and the Lord was not willing to forgive. -II Kings 24
Sins of Manasseh
Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-five years. His mother’s name was Hephzibah. He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, following the detestable practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before the Israelites. For he rebuilt the high places which Hezekiah his father had destroyed; he raised up altars for Baal, and made a wooden image, as Ahab king of Israel had done; and he worshiped all the host of heaven and served them. He also built altars in the house of the LORD, of which the LORD had said, “In Jerusalem I will put My name.” And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the LORD. Also he made his son pass through the fire (Manasseh sacrificed his own son to the Canaanite god Molech, who was worshipped with the burning of children), practiced soothsaying, used witchcraft, and consulted spiritists and mediums. He did much evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke Him to anger. He even set a carved image of Asherah that he had made (Asherah was the Canaanite goddess of fertility, and worshipped through ritual prostitution. This means that Manasseh made the temple into an idolatrous brothel, dedicated to Asherah.), in the house of which the LORD had said to David and to Solomon his son, “In this house and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, I will put My name forever; and I will not make the feet of Israel wander anymore from the land which I gave their fathers; only if they are careful to do according to all that I have commanded them, and according to all the law that My servant Moses commanded them.” But they paid no attention, and Manasseh seduced them to do more evil than the nations whom the LORD had destroyed before the children of Israel. –2 Kings 21
What God says in response to Manasseh’s and the people’s evil:
And the LORD spoke by His servants the prophets, saying, “Because Manasseh king of Judah has done these abominations (he has acted more wickedly than all the Amorites who were before him, and has also made Judah sin with his idols), therefore thus says the LORD God of Israel: ‘Behold, I am bringing such calamity upon Jerusalem and Judah, that whoever hears of it, both his ears will tingle. And I will stretch over Jerusalem the measuring line of Samaria and the plummet of the house of Ahab; I will wipe Jerusalem as one wipes a dish, wiping it and turning it upside down. So I will forsake the remnant of My inheritance and deliver them into the hand of their enemies; and they shall become victims of plunder to all their enemies, because they have done evil in My sight, and have provoked Me to anger since the day their fathers came out of Egypt, even to this day.’ ” -2 Kings 21
We see the tragic progression in Manasseh’s sin.
- First, idolatry is tolerated among God’s people.
- Then idolatry is promoted.
- Then idolatry is supported and funded.
- Then the worship of the true God is undermined.
- Then the worshippers of the true God are persecuted and murdered.
- Then the judgment of God soon comes.
This leads us into the messages of the Pre-Exilic Prophets (before the Assyrian and/or the Babylonian invasions and exile of the people Israel) and to the Prophets in general…
–The Pre-exilic prophets (or those who prophesied before the Babylonian exile). These are, (1) Jonah, Amos and Hosea, prophets of Israel. (2) Obadiah, Joel, Isaiah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, and Jeremiah, prophets of Judah.
–The Exilic Prophets – (While exiled away at Babylon) Prophets were Ezekiel and Daniel.
–The Post-Exilic Prophets were: Obadiah, Joel, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi.