Jacob 1

Jacob 1: Wickedness Prevails Among the Nephites

                Jacob picks up the story of the Nephites nearly 55 years after Lehi had left Jerusalem with his family to travel to the Promised Land (America). Nephi gives command to his brother Jacob to continue the history of the people, known as the People of Nephi, or, the Nephites.

Jacob explains that he and his people; “…labored diligently among our people, that we might persuade them to come unto Christ, and partake of the goodness of God, that they might enter into his rest…” (Jacob 1:7) Jacob explains that his brother Nephi was growing old and because his people loved him as a king, they were desirous that future kings be called after him in the manner of 1st, 2nd, 3rd Nephi and so forth. Jacob explains that Nephi did grow old, and did die.

We learn from Jacob that there were many groups; Lamanites, Nephites, Jacobites, Josephites, Zoramites, Leumeulites and Ishmaelites. However, Jacob chose to categorize the people who were against the Nephites as “Lamanites” and those people for the Nephites as “Nephites”.

“It came to pass that the people of Nephi, under the reign of the second king, began to grow hard in their hearts, and indulge themselves somewhat in wicked practices… they also began to search much gold and silver, and began to be lifted up somewhat in pride.” (Jacob 1:15-16)

                Jacob, seeing this great wickedness went to the Temple to teach the people, explaining that he and his priests would take; “…upon [themselves] the responsibility, answering the sins of the people upon [their] own heads if [they] did not teach them the word of God with all diligence…” (Jacob 1:19)

Jacob begins his Seven Chapter section of the Book of Mormon…

2 Nephi 10

2 Nephi 10: America, Land of Liberty

                Jacob speaks to his people and informs them that many of them shall perish in unbelief, but many more shall be restored and given knowledge of their true redeemer. Jacob explains that the more ‘wicked’ part of the world would crucify Jesus Christ; “…it must needs be expedient that Christ—for in the last night the angel spake unto me that this should be his name—should come among the Jews, among those who are the more wicked part of the world; and they shall crucify him—for thus it behooveth our God, and there is none other nation on earth that would crucify their God.” (2 Nephi 10:3)

Jacob explains that because of the “…priestcrafts and iniquities, they at Jerusalem will stiffen their necks against him, that he be crucified.” (2 Nephi 10:5) Famines, destructions and pestilences shall come upon them, and they shall be destroyed. However, when they come to knowledge of their Redeemer, they shall be restored to their lands and no longer shall they be dispersed throughout the entire world.

The Gentiles will not be without their inheritance, for the Lord will provide for them a land of LIBERTY, free from kings and free from oppression of other nations; “And this land [The United States of America – North American Continent] shall be a land of liberty unto the Gentiles, and there shall be no kings upon the land, who shall raise up unto the Gentiles. And I [God] will fortify this land against all other nations. And he that fighteth against Zion shall perish, saith God.” (2 Nephi 10:11-13)

                Jacob warns that anyone who raises up a King or any sort of dictator in this ‘land of Liberty’, would be destroyed! God will do this, to fulfill his covenant with the children of men, to; “…destroy the secret works of darkness, and of murders, and of abominations. Wherefore, he that fighteth against Zion, both Jew and Gentile, both bond and free, both male and female, shall perish; for they are they who are the whore of all the earth; for they who are not for me are against me, saith our God.” (2 Nephi 10:15-16)

                Jacob comforts his people by explaining that while they were forced to leave Jerusalem and the land of their inheritance, they have been granted a better land. This new land of ‘Liberty’ will be a beacon of peace for the whole world. Jacob explains that with this knowledge they should rejoice; ”…seeing that our merciful God has given us so great knowledge concerning these things, let us remember him, and lay aside our sins, and not hang down our heads, for we are not cast off; nevertheless, we have been driven out of the land of our inheritance; but we have been led to a better land, for the Lord has made the sea our path, and we are upon an isle of the sea.” (2 Nephi 10:20)

Jacob ends this chapter by emphasizing the need to follow the Lord and avoid the temptations of the devil. Jacob tries to cheer everyone up; “…cheer up your hearts, and remember that ye are free to act for yourselves—to choose the way of everlasting death or the way of eternal life.” (2 Nephi 10:23) As children of God, and as His followers we have been granted many blessings. We have the ability to choose freedom or death. We have been given this agency, and we will find much peace and joy in using our agency to follow God.

Summary of 2 Kings

Summary of 2 Kings

Chapter by Chapter:

2 Kings 1-2: “John the Baptist” – Elijah Prophesies the Death of Ahaziah/Elijah and Elisha
2 Kings 3-4: The Moabites are Defeated/Elisha Raises a Boy from Death
2 Kings 5-6: Naaman Washes in the Jordan River/Floating Axe
2 Kings 7-8: Israel Takes Spoil/Elisha Prophesies a Seven Year Famine
2 Kings 9-10: Jezebel Slain and Eaten by Dogs/Ahab’s 70 Sons Are Slain
2 Kings 11-12:  Jehiada Destroys the House of Baal/Jehoash (Joash) Reigns in Righteousness
2 Kings 13-14: Jehoahaz Reigns in Wickedness/Jeroboam Reigns in Wickedness
2 Kings 15-16: Israel and Judah in Wickedness/Ahaz Reigns in Wickedness
2 Kings 17-18: The Catholic Church?/Hezekiah Reigns in Righteousness
2 Kings 19-20: Hezekiah Seeks Counsel from Isaiah/Hezekiah Pleads with the Lord
2 Kings 21-22: Manasseh Does Evil/Josiah Reigns in Righteousness
2 Kings 23-25: The Book of the Covenant/Jerusalem Taken by Nebuchadnezzar/The Fall of Jerusalem

The Second Book of Kings (2 Kings) is a narrative History and Prophecy of the affairs and dealings of the divided nations/kingdoms. The book was written around 550 B.C. and it’s author is unknown, although it has been rumored that Jeremiah might have written it. We learn about many characters including; Elijah, Elisha, Naaman, Jezebel, Jehu, Joash, Hezekiah, Sennacherib, Isaiah, Manasseh, Josiah, Jehoiakim, Zedekiah and Nebuchadnezzar. Some things that we can learn or take from this book is that those who obey God, will be blessed and those who do not obey him will not be blessed and are usually cursed. Love GOD!

In the first chapters we read about the miracles of Elijah and his apprentice of sorts “Elisha”. Elijah is taken up to heaven in a whirlwind  and because of this Elisha asks God for a double portion of Elijah’s spirit that he might be able to carry on with the work of the Lord as His prophet. The remaining chapters tell of the violence and wars that occurred between the kingdoms. We learn that the last evil king Hoshea, because of his evil ways he and his kingdom are taken in under the Assyrian Empire who take them into captivity!

2 Kings 15-16

2 Kings 15-16

Chapter 15: Israel and Judah in Wickedness

In the twenty seventh year of the reign of Jeroboam, reined also Azariah the son of Amaziah in Judah. Azariah began to reign when he was only 16 years old and reigned for 52 years! Azariah did right in the eyes of the Lord, but became a leper until the end of his life 2 Chronicles 26 tells us more about that. Jotham was over the land and did the judging for Azariah until he died and was buried with his fathers.

The 5 Kings over the Kingdom of Israel:

Zechariah reigned over Israel in Samaria for 6 months, in which time he did evil in the sight of the Lord, making Israel to sin! Jabesh conspired against him, and Shallum the son of Jabesh killed him in front of the people and reigning in his stead. Shallum reigned for 1 full month, before Menahem the son of Gadi went up from Tirzah and struck Shallum dead. Mehahem was very wicked he went into Tirzah and killed everyone and ripped open all the pregnant women there. Menahem reigned for 10 years! During his reign he gave Pul a thousand talents of silver so that Israel could in tribute to the Assyrian Empire!

After his reign, Pekahiah, the son of Menahem became king over Israel in Samaria. He reigned for 2 years and he did evil in the sight of the Lord. In the 52nd year of Azariah, king of Judah the son of Remaliah (Pekah) became king over Israel in Samaria. Pekah’s reign lasted for twenty years! In the days of Pekah, Tiglath-Pileser the king of Assria came and took Ijon, Abel Beth Maachah, Janoah, Kedesh, Hazor, Gildead, and Galilee, which is all the land of Naphtali and carried them captive into Assyria. Then Hoshea the son of Elah led a conspiracy against the king of Assyria and killed him, taking his place.

Jotham dies and his sons Ahaz reigns in his place.

Chapter 16: Ahaz Reigns in Wickedness

In the 17th year of Pekah the son of Remaliah, Ahaz king of Judah began to reign. Ahaz was only twenty years old when he became a king and he reigned for sixteen years in Jerusalem and he did not do what was right in the sight of the Lord, he did evil.

Ahaz walked in the way of the many kings that had gone before him. He did not worship God properly. Rezin king of Syria and Pekah the king of Israel went to war with Jerusalem and they attacked Ahaz, but could not overcome him. But Ahaz was not cocky he immediately sent messengers to Tiglath-Pileser to make a treaty with him.

Ahaz perverts the worship at the temple by designing an altar that he saw in Damascus. This was done to please the Assyrian Empire. Ahaz also directs the renovation of the temple court to give it preference to the new altar. Ahaz made the altar, ruled over the people and was a priest of his own design… not something that God would have.

Summary of 1 Kings

Summary of 1 Kings

Chapter by Chapter:

1 Kings 1-2: Adonijah Fails to Be King/Solomon; King of Israel
1 Kings 3-4: Solomon’s Judgment/Solomon Reigns with Wisdom
1 Kings 5-6: Stones and Timber for the Temple/Solomon Builds the Temple
1 Kings 7-8: Solomon Builds Himself a House/The Ark of the Temple
1 Kings 9-10: Promises of Blessings/Queen of Sheba Visits King Solomon
1 Kings 11-12: Solomon Worships False Gods/The 10 Tribes Revolt
1 Kings 13-14:  Jeroboam is Healed by a Prophet from Judah/Prophecy of Ahijah and Jeroboam
1 Kings 15-16: Abijam Reigns in Wickedness/Elah, Zimi, Omri and Ahas Reign in Wickedness
1 Kings 17-18: Elijah Raises a Little Child from Death/Elijah Challenges the Prophets of Baal
1 Kings 19-20: A Still Small Voice/Ben-hadad Makes War with Israel
1 Kings 21-22: Ahab Kills Naboth for His Vineyard/Micaiah Foretells the Death of Ahab

The book of 1st Kings is Narrative History and Prophecy. The author is anonymous; whoever, some suggest the prophet Jeremiah had his hand in writing the book. It was written about 560-538 B.C. The people mentioned most are David, Solomon, Rehoboam, Elijah, Ahab and Jezebel.

If you had to categorize and figure out what 1 Kings is teaching, I would say that the purpose is to learn and contrast between those who obey and those who disobey God, and the consequences good and bad that follow that decision. The book describes the rule of Solomon as the last king of Israel and then the dividing of the kingdom after his death. It includes a great prayer to the Lord in chapter 8. The writer of the books of the Kings describes the events of the Northern and Southern kingdoms after the division.

In chapters 1-11: Solomon becomes kings, through violent means. After his father David dies, David instructs Solomon to “walk in His (God’s) ways” (1st Kings 2:3). Solomon asks God for wisdom an God is pleased at this request and approves. Solomon begins a building, which includes the construction of the Temple, which his father desired and prepared him to do. He began building the Temple 480 years after the Exodus from Egypt started. Seven years later, the Ark was brought to the temple, and the Glory of the Lord descended upon it, Solomon prays a powerful prayer and then offers sacrifices to the Lord. Solomon, although the wisest king ever, starts to do things that are not so wise and begins to worship false gods of his wives and is subdued by his lust for women, his downfall was looming and his death followed shortly after.

In chapters 12-22: show the beginning of the end of the united kingdom of Israel, the nation, with difficult decisions, ends up making the wrong decision. Around 931 B.C. the kingdom splits in two: North and South. Rehoboam inherits the kingdom and is persistent about enforcing high taxes. The Northern tribes begin a revolt and Jeroboam is crowned king of Israel. Ten tribes became the Northern Kingdom of Israel and the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin became the Southern Kingdom of Judah. God rises up his prophet Elijah to warn the evil king Ahab to turn from idol worship and to return to God.

2 Samuel 23-24

2 Samuel 23-24

Chapter 23: Rulers must be Just

                David speaks (some of) his last words;

                “…He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.” (2 Samuel 23:3). This is something really important, especially in today’s political scene. Rulers must always fear God, if they do this they will be successful! If not, they will be responsible for their actions.

                The rest of the chapter speaks of how David was not a great ruler, but God will bless them for their everlasting covenant. He also mentions the names of his mighty men and their deeds.

Chapter 24: David Sins; the Lord Sends Pestilence            

                David decides to number Israel and Judah, which combines 1, 300,000 troops! This angers the Lord and he sends a famine that kills 70,000 men! David tells Gad; “…let us fall now into the hand of the Lord; for his mercies are great: and let me not fall into the hand of man” (2 Samuel 24:14). We learn hear of the importance of being in the hands of God. Sometimes it is not popular to be with God, but whose hands would you rather be in? I think I would rather be in the hands of God and NOT MAN!

                David sees an Angel of the Lord, with whom he had sent. The Angel prepares to deliver more destruction, but David pleads with God and God decides to stop the destruction… because David repented of what he had done.

1 Samuel 7-8

1 Samuel 7-8

Chapter 7: Put Away False gods

So we know that the men took the Ark to Kirijath-jearim to be safe. The Ark rested there for a space of more than 25 years, before the people of Israel began to fall into darkness. Samuel goes before the people and exhorts them to return to the Lord and put away the false gods of Ashtaroth. So the children of Israel put away both Ashtaroth and Baalim the false gods and served only the Lord God.

Samuel gathers all of Israel to Mizpeh where he prays to God on their behalf, while there in Mizpeh the children of Israel fast. The Philistines find out that Israel is gathered in Mizpeh and sends an army to destroy them. The Israelites see them approaching and get worried, so Samuel sacrifices a lamb unto God and God causes thundering to scare the Philistines away. Samuel becomes a judge over Israel.

Chapter 8: Evils of Kings

Samuel’s sons do evil and take bribes and pervert the Judgment in the land of Israel. Israel seeks a king to rule over them, Samuel tells Israel of the evils of having a king. How they can take power too far. But the Lord gives his consent to them having a king, if they really want one.