Yahweh's False Promise About Judah

by John Kesler 2 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • John Kesler
    John Kesler

    The author(s) of the books of Kings claimed that the kingdom of Judah would never be captured because Yahweh had determined that Judah would always exist for David's sake (see 2 Samuel 7:13-16). This understanding, that the literal kingdom of Judah would survive and be protected by Yahweh --despite the wickedness of its kings--is mentioned several times:

    I Kings 11:11-13; 30-3611Therefore Yahweh said to Solomon, "Since this has been your mind and you have not kept my covenant and my statutes that I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom from you and give it to your servant. 12Yet for the sake of your father David I will not do it in your lifetime; I will tear it out of the hand of your son. 13I will not, however, tear away the entire kingdom; I will give one tribe to your son, for the sake of my servant David and for the sake of Jerusalem, which I have chosen."...30when Ahijah laid hold of the new garment he was wearing and tore it into twelve pieces. 31He then said to Jeroboam: Take for yourself ten pieces; for thus says Yahweh, the God of Israel, "See, I am about to tear the kingdom from the hand of Solomon, and will give you ten tribes. 32One tribe will remain his, for the sake of my servant David and for the sake of Jerusalem, the city that I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel. 33This is because he has forsaken me, worshiped Astarte the goddess of the Sidonians, Chemosh the god of Moab, and Milcom the god of the Ammonites, and has not walked in my ways, doing what is right in my sight and keeping my statutes and my ordinances, as his father David did. 34Nevertheless I will not take the whole kingdom away from him but will make him ruler all the days of his life, for the sake of my servant David whom I chose and who did keep my commandments and my statutes; 35but I will take the kingdom away from his son and give it to you--that is, the ten tribes. 36Yet to his son I will give one tribe, so that my servant David may always have a lamp before me in Jerusalem, the city where I have chosen to put my name.

    1 Kings 15:1-4Now in the eighteenth year of King Jeroboam son of Nebat, Abijam began to reign over Judah. 2He reigned for three years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Maacah daughter of Abishalom. 3He committed all the sins that his father did before him; his heart was not true to Yahweh his God, like the heart of his father David. 4Nevertheless for David's sake Yahweh his God gave him a lamp in Jerusalem, setting up his son after him, and establishing Jerusalem;

    2 Kings 8:16-1916 In the fifth year of King Joram son of Ahab of Israel, Jehoram son of King Jehoshaphat of Judah began to reign. 17He was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem. 18He walked in the way of the kings of Israel, as the house of Ahab had done, for the daughter of Ahab was his wife. He did what was evil in the sight of Yahweh. 19Yet Yahweh would not destroy Judah, for the sake of his servant David, since he had promised to give a lamp to him and to his descendants forever.

    2 Kings 19:31-3431for from Jerusalem a remnant shall go out, and from Mount Zion a band of survivors. The zeal of Yahweh of hosts will do this.
    32 "Therefore thus says Yahweh concerning the king of Assyria: He shall not come into this city, shoot an arrow there, come before it with a shield, or cast up a siege ramp against it. 33By the way that he came, by the same he shall return; he shall not come into this city, says Yahweh. 34For I will defend this city to save it, for my own sake and for the sake of my servant David."

    2 Kings 20:6b6...I will deliver you and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria; I will defend this city for my own sake and for my servant David's sake."

    However, as always happens, kingdoms come and go, and eventually in 586/587 BCE Judah was captured and taken into captivity. But what about Yahweh's promise that he would always have a "lamp" before him? Rather than admitting that "Yahweh's" promise was errant, the author of Kings had to come up with some explanation as to why Judah fell despite promises to the contrary. He found a scapegoat in King Manasseh and penned this rationalization:

    2 Kings 21:10-1510 Yahweh said by his servants the prophets, 11"Because King Manasseh of Judah has committed these abominations, has done things more wicked than all that the Amorites did, who were before him, and has caused Judah also to sin with his idols; 12therefore thus says Yahweh, the God of Israel, I am bringing upon Jerusalem and Judah such evil that the ears of everyone who hears of it will tingle. 13I will stretch over Jerusalem the measuring line for Samaria, and the plummet for the house of Ahab; I will wipe Jerusalem as one wipes a dish, wiping it and turning it upside down. 14I will cast off the remnant of my heritage, and give them into the hand of their enemies; they shall become a prey and a spoil to all their enemies, 15because they have done what is evil in my sight and have provoked me to anger, since the day their ancestors came out of Egypt, even to this day."

    2 Kings 24:1-4In his days King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came up; Jehoiakim became his servant for three years; then he turned and rebelled against him. 2Yahweh sent against him bands of the Chaldeans, bands of the Arameans, bands of the Moabites, and bands of the Ammonites; he sent them against Judah to destroy it, according to the word of Yahweh that he spoke by his servants the prophets. 3Surely this came upon Judah at the command of Yahweh, to remove them out of his sight, for the sins of Manasseh, for all that he had committed, 4and also for the innocent blood that he had shed; for he filled Jerusalem with innocent blood, and Yahweh was not willing to pardon.

    Aside from the fact that this is some obvious after-the-fact rationalization for Judah's demise, which makes Yahweh's promise untrue, there are even more problems. For one thing, the Babylonian captivity didn't start when Manasseh was king, and intervening between the reigns of Manasseh and the kings at the time of Babylon's aggression was the righteous King Josiah, who reigned for 31 years (2 Kings 22:1)!

    Look at what is said of Josiah in 2 Kings 23:21-27.

    21 The king [Josiah] commanded all the people, "Keep the passover to Yahweh your God as prescribed in this book of the covenant." 22No such passover had been kept since the days of the judges who judged Israel, even during all the days of the kings of Israel and of the kings of Judah; 23but in the eighteenth year of King Josiah this passover was kept to Yahweh in Jerusalem.
    24 Moreover Josiah put away the mediums, wizards, teraphim, idols, and all the abominations that were seen in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem, so that he established the words of the law that were written in the book that the priest Hilkiah had found in the house of Yahweh. 25Before him there was no king like him, who turned to Yahweh with all his heart, with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the law of Moses; nor did any like him arise after him.

    26 Still Yahweh did not turn from the fierceness of his great wrath, by which his anger was kindled against Judah, because of all the provocations with which Manasseh had provoked him. 27Yahweh said, "I will remove Judah also out of my sight, as I have removed Israel; and I will reject this city that I have chosen, Jerusalem, and the house of which I said, My name shall be there."

    Another problem is that the author(s) of Kings apparently didn't get the memo that Manasseh had repented:

    2 Chronicles 33:10-1610 Yahweh spoke to Manasseh and to his people, but they gave no heed. 11Therefore Yahweh brought against them the commanders of the army of the king of Assyria, who took Manasseh captive in manacles, bound him with fetters, and brought him to Babylon. 12While he was in distress he entreated the favor of Yahweh his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his ancestors. 13He prayed to him, and God received his entreaty, heard his plea, and restored him again to Jerusalem and to his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that Yahweh indeed was God.
    14 Afterward he built an outer wall for the city of David west of Gihon, in the valley, reaching the entrance at the Fish Gate; he carried it around Ophel, and raised it to a very great height. He also put commanders of the army in all the fortified cities in Judah. 15He took away the foreign gods and the idol from the house of Yahweh, and all the altars that he had built on the mountain of the house of Yahweh and in Jerusalem, and he threw them out of the city. 16He also restored the altar of Yahweh and offered on it sacrifices of well-being and of thanksgiving; and he commanded Judah to serve Yahweh the God of Israel.

    Jeremiah was a prophet who started receiving "the word of Yahweh" in the thirteenth year of Josiah's 31-year reign (Jeremiah 1:2). Here is what Yahweh declared through Jeremiah 18:

    Jeremiah 18:1-11The word that came to Jeremiah from Yahweh: 2"Come, go down to the potter's house, and there I will let you hear my words." 3So I went down to the potter's house, and there he was working at his wheel. 4The vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter's hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as seemed good to him.
    5 Then the word of Yahweh came to me: 6Can I not do with you, O house of Israel, just as this potter has done? says Yahweh. Just like the clay in the potter's hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel. 7At one moment I may declare concerning a nation or a kingdom, that I will pluck up and break down and destroy it, 8but if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will change my mind about the disaster that I intended to bring on it. 9And at another moment I may declare concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will build and plant it, 10but if it does evil in my sight, not listening to my voice, then I will change my mind about the good that I had intended to do to it. 11Now, therefore, say to the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem: Thus says Yawheh: Look, I am a potter shaping evil against you and devising a plan against you. Turn now, all of you from your evil way, and amend your ways and your doings.

    This passage clearly teaches that Judah's fate was not sealed at the time of Manasseh, and Yahweh promised to change his mind if his people turned from evil, in contradiction to what the author(s) of Kings state.

    Yet another problem is that the Chronicler, who claimed that Manasseh repented, gives an entirely different reason for Judah's capture:

    2 Chronicles 36:14-1714All the leading priests and the people also were exceedingly unfaithful, following all the abominations of the nations; and they polluted the house of Yahweh that he had consecrated in Jerusalem. 15 Yahweh, the God of their ancestors, sent persistently to them by his messengers, because he had compassion on his people and on his dwelling place; 16but they kept mocking the messengers of God, despising his words, and scoffing at his prophets, until the wrath of Yahweh against his people became so great that there was no remedy. 17 Therefore he brought up against them the king of the Chaldeans, who killed their youths with the sword in the house of their sanctuary, and had no compassion on young man or young woman, the aged or the feeble; he gave them all into his hand.

    So we see that the Bible's authors, like today's preachers and "psychics," had no pipeline to the divine. They could make educated guesses and rationalizations for failed predictions--just like their modern-day counterparts. Authors had different theological agendas, which resulted in additional contradictions, and in the end, the Bible betrays its very human, fallible origin.

  • mP

    It could be argued that Yahweh never helped the jews one bit except for the big cecil b mille exodus production.

  • designs

    You do know He made the sun stand still so just watch it Bub

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