Authored By :
Published On :
August 27, 2012
Last Updated :
August 27, 2012
NOTE: This article or series has not been updated recently. As such, it may possibly contain some outdated information, and/or ideas and beliefs which I no longer embrace, or which have changed to some degree.
Origin Of Divided Kingdom, King Solomon Backslides From The Lord And Worships Heathen Gods, King Rehoboam Ignores Wise Counsel Of The Elders And People Of Israel Turn Against Him, God Controls Hearts In Order To Effectuate His Divine Will, Reign Of King David, Jehoshaphat's Time Period, Why Parallel Accounts In Books Of Samuel Kings And Chronicles, Excerpts From Adam Clarke's Commentary On The Bible, Same Parties Are Mentioned In 2 Chronicles 20 And Psalm 83, Both Sources Also Mention Asaph, Excerpts From Treasure Of Scripture Knowledge, Names Of the Nations Who Conspired Against King Jehoshaphat, Nations Who Conspired Against Jehoshaphat Were Home To False Gods That Solomon Had Worshipped, Identities Of The Members Of The Confederacy, Birth Of Esau And Jacob, Jacob's Deceit, Edom Idumaea And Edomites, Abraham Sarah Hagar And Ishmael, Extent Of The Ishmaelites, Abraham And Keturah, The Hebrews
Before continuing our discussion regarding the Psalm 83 War doctrine, I would like to backtrack a bit in time for the sake of my readers who may not be familiar with the history of how the Divided Kingdom came about. In a word, while the Scriptures inform us that King David was a man after God's own heart -- even though he was a man of war -- and while the Bible also informs us that God blessed David's son and royal heir -- Solomon -- with great wisdom, and even allowed him to build the first Temple of the Lord, sadly, we also learn in the First Book of the Kings that in his old age, Solomon grew foolish and rebellious, and actually backslid from the Lord. The severity of Solomon's backslidden condition is revealed in the following verses:
"But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites; Of the nations concerning which the LORD said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love. And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart. For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. And Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and went not fully after the LORD, as did David his father. Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon. And likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods. And the LORD was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the LORD God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice, And had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods: but he kept not that which the LORD commanded. Wherefore the LORD said unto Solomon, Forasmuch as this is done of thee, and thou hast not kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy servant. Notwithstanding in thy days I will not do it for David thy father's sake: but I will rend it out of the hand of thy son. Howbeit I will not rend away all the kingdom; but will give one tribe to thy son for David my servant's sake, and for Jerusalem's sake which I have chosen."
1 Kings 11:1-13, KJV
In the very next chapter of the First Book of the Kings, we discover exactly what mechanism God used to fulfill the above prophecy. Upon King Solomon's death, his son Rehoboam rose to the throne of Israel. He would be the last king to rule over a united Israel for many centuries to come. In reading chapter twelve, we discover that the mechanism which God used to bring about His Divine Decree concerning Israel, was tragically the youthful foolishness of the young king, as is clearly revealed in the following verses:
"And Rehoboam went to Shechem: for all Israel were come to Shechem to make him king. And it came to pass, when Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who was yet in Egypt, heard of it, (for he was fled from the presence of king Solomon, and Jeroboam dwelt in Egypt;) That they sent and called him. And Jeroboam and all the congregation of Israel came, and spake unto Rehoboam, saying, Thy father made our yoke grievous: now therefore make thou the grievous service of thy father, and his heavy yoke which he put upon us, lighter, and we will serve thee. And he said unto them, Depart yet for three days, then come again to me. And the people departed. And king Rehoboam consulted with the old men, that stood before Solomon his father while he yet lived, and said, How do ye advise that I may answer this people? And they spake unto him, saying, If thou wilt be a servant unto this people this day, and wilt serve them, and answer them, and speak good words to them, then they will be thy servants for ever. But he forsook the counsel of the old men, which they had given him, and consulted with the young men that were grown up with him, and which stood before him: And he said unto them, What counsel give ye that we may answer this people, who have spoken to me, saying, Make the yoke which thy father did put upon us lighter? And the young men that were grown up with him spake unto him, saying, Thus shalt thou speak unto this people that spake unto thee, saying, Thy father made our yoke heavy, but make thou it lighter unto us; thus shalt thou say unto them, My little finger shall be thicker than my father's loins. And now whereas my father did lade you with a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke: my father hath chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions. So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam the third day, as the king had appointed, saying, Come to me again the third day. And the king answered the people roughly, and forsook the old men's counsel that they gave him; And spake to them after the counsel of the young men, saying, My father made your yoke heavy, and I will add to your yoke: my father also chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions. Wherefore the king hearkened not unto the people; for the cause was from the LORD, that he might perform his saying, which the LORD spake by Ahijah the Shilonite unto Jeroboam the son of Nebat. So when all Israel saw that the king hearkened not unto them, the people answered the king, saying, What portion have we in David? neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse: to your tents, O Israel: now see to thine own house, David. So Israel departed unto their tents. But as for the children of Israel which dwelt in the cities of Judah, Rehoboam reigned over them. Then king Rehoboam sent Adoram, who was over the tribute; and all Israel stoned him with stones, that he died. Therefore king Rehoboam made speed to get him up to his chariot, to flee to Jerusalem. So Israel rebelled against the house of David unto this day."
1 Kings 12:1-19, KJV
Please notice in the previous verses that we are told that "the cause was from the LORD". In other words, God actually put it in Rehoboam's heart to make such a foolish mistake, because He had already decreed that the kingdom was to be rent from Rehoboam, due to his father Solomon's blatant sin of disobedience and backslidden condition. I am reminded of verses such as the following:
"The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will."
Proverbs 21:1, KJV
"And he hardened Pharaoh's heart, that he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said."
Exodus 7:13, KJV
"But the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart, so that he would not let the children of Israel go . . . But the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart, and he would not let them go."
Exodus 10:20, 27, KJV
"And Moses and Aaron did all these wonders before Pharaoh: and the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart, so that he would not let the children of Israel go out of his land."
Exodus 11:10, KJV
"For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth."
Romans 9:17-18, KJV
"For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure."
Philippians 2:13, KJV
So as you can plainly see, God in fact controls our hearts, in order to effectuate His Divine Will and Purpose, whatever it may happen to be. This then is how we eventually arrive at the situation which existed during the reign of Judean King Jehoshaphat, whose reign began about sixty years after the schism which resulted in the Divided Kingdom. Based upon the evidence that we find in the Scriptures, it appears that this may have likewise been the time during which Psalm 83 was written.
As I began to explain in part one, prior to our current time, Bible scholars did not view Psalm 83 as a prophecy about a future war which would someday occur between Israel and her Arab and Muslim neighbors. They in fact understood the Psalm as a desperate prayer by Asaph, in which he asked God for His protection against a conspiracy which had been brewing against Israel, amongst a confederacy of enemy nations who hated the Jews. This conspiracy was discovered in Asaph's own time not quite three thousand years ago. I will be discussing why all of these nations hated Israel so much momentarily.
For those of you who may be wondering how I arrived at the figure of 3,000 years, it only requires simple math to figure it out. Bible scholars and historians generally agree that King David lived from about 1040 BC to 970 BC, and that his forty-year combined reign in Hebron and Jerusalem occurred from about 1010 BC to 970 BC. These may not be exact figures, but they are close enough for our discussion. For those of you who may not be aware of these facts, following are some verses which verify what I have just stated:
"And the time that David was king in Hebron over the house of Judah was seven years and six months."
2 Samuel 2:11, KJV
"David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years. Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months: and in Jerusalem he reigned thirty and three years over all Israel and Judah."
2 Samuel 5:4-5, KJV
"And the days that David reigned over Israel were forty years: seven years reigned he in Hebron, and thirty and three years reigned he in Jerusalem."
1 Kings 2:11, KJV
"These six were born unto him in Hebron; and there he reigned seven years and six months: and in Jerusalem he reigned thirty and three years."
1 Chronicles 3:4, KJV
"And the time that he reigned over Israel was forty years; seven years reigned he in Hebron, and thirty and three years reigned he in Jerusalem."
1 Chronicles 29:27, KJV
Allow me to also explain that the reason why we find the same or similar information in these different Books -- 2 Samuel, 1 Kings and 1 Chronicles -- is because these Books contain parallel accounts of some of the very same historical events. They are simply written from different perspectives -- as well as for different reasons -- and some contain more information regarding a certain event than others. In fact, you will find some of the Psalms from the Book of Psalms in these Books as well. It is much like the four Gospels. They all speak of the life of Christ, but they are written from different points of view.
At any rate, if we deduct the one hundred years or so that passed between the end of David's reign, and the beginning of King Jehoshaphat's reign, we arrive at the approximate year of 870 BC. If we add our current year of 2012 to the 870 BC, this reveals that King Jehoshaphat's reign occurred about 2,882 years ago, at which time Psalm 83 was probably written.
There exist a number of theological sources which support the view that Psalm 83 was composed during Jehoshaphat's reign, and that it is a prayer regarding a dangerous situation which existed at the time of his reign. For example, Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible -- published in 1832 -- states the following concerning Psalm 83. I have taken the liberty of reformatting the original material, as well as spelling out the complete Book names, for the sake of readability and clarity:
----- Begin Quote -----
The psalmist calls upon God for immediate help against a multitude of confederate enemies who had risen up against Judah, 1-5.
He mentions them by name, 6-8;
shows how they were to be punished, 9-17;
and that this was to be done for the glory of God, 18.
NOTES ON PSALM LXXXIII
The title, A Song or Psalm of Asaph, contains nothing particular. Among a multitude of conjectures relative to the time and occasion of this Psalm, that which refers it to the confederacy against Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, mentioned 2 Chronicles 20:1-30, is the most likely. The following reasons make it probable:
1. The children of Ammon, that is, the Ammonites and Moabites, were the principal movers in the war.
2. The Idumeans came to their assistance, 2 Chronicles 20:22; with certain Ammonites or Meonians, referred to here in Psalm 83:8, and in 2 Chronicles 20:1.
3. There were also in this confederacy many strangers of Syria, and from beyond the sea, most likely the Dead Sea, which seems to indicate the Assyrians, Hagaranes, and Ishmaelites, designed expressly here, Psalm 83:7-8.
4. In that transaction there was a prophet of the race of Asaph, named Jahaziel, who foretold to Jehoshaphat their total overthrow, 2 Chronicles 20:14, &c., and probably this Jahaziel is the same with Asaph, the author of this Psalm.
In the course of the notes we shall see other circumstances relative to the war of the Moabites and Ammonites against Jehoshaphat, which illustrates several particulars in this Psalm. See Calmet.
Verse 1. Keep not thou silence] A strong appeal to God just as the confederacy was discovered. Do not be inactive, do not be neuter. Thy honour and our existence are both at stake.
----- End Quote -----
If you take the time to read the twentieth chapter of the Second Book of Chronicles, you will quickly determine that it names some of the very same parties which are mentioned in Psalm 83; namely the Edomites -- or Mount Seir -- the Ammonites, and the Moabites. Furthermore, as the previous commentary explains, verse fourteen specifically names one of the sons of Asaph -- Jahaziel -- upon whom the Spirit of the Lord came, and who then proceeded to prophesy victory over this confederacy of nations, as we see here:
"Then upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, came the Spirit of the LORD in the midst of the congregation; And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the LORD unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God's."
2 Chronicles 20:14-15, KJV
This mention of Asaph's son Jahaziel likewise ties Psalm 83 to this chapter, and thus strongly supports the view that this is the situation that Asaph was praying about in the Psalm.
Another source which confirms the view that Psalm 83 concerns a conspiracy against the nation of Israel by a confederacy of nations at the time that King Jehoshaphat ruled Israel is the The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge. Originally published in 1836, The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge consisted largely of references that were taken from Thomas Scott's "Commentary" and the "Polyglot Bible", as well as with notes taken from the "Comprehensive Bible". In the following quote, please notice again that there is absolutely no mention of Psalm 83 being a prophecy regarding a war which would be fought in the distant future; that is, during our own time. While the author offers two views -- the confederacy against Jehoshaphat, as well as Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar's sieges against Jerusalem -- it should be noted that in either case, he is still saying that Psalm 83 concerns a past historical event, and not a future war against Israel:
----- Begin Quote -----
1 A complaint to God of the enemies' conspiracies. 9 A prayer against them that oppress the Church.
A.M. 3416. B.C. 588. A song. Some refer this Psalm to the confederacy against Jehoshaphat, and others to the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar. of Asaph. or, for Asaph. Keep. 28:1 35:22 44:23 50:3 109:1-2 be not. Isaiah 42:14
----- End Quote -----
From reading Psalm 83, we can extract a list of some of the nations and peoples who joined this alliance or confederacy against King Jehoshaphat. They are the following:
the inhabitants of Tyre;
the children of Lot
Before I identify who these people were, allow me to make a related point. One of the interesting things that I find in Psalm 83, is the fact that some of the nations which joined the confederacy against Israel, were home to the same false gods that King Solomon had worshipped in his old age. There is a bit of irony there, and perhaps a bit of God's Divine Justice as well. Solomon followed after the false gods, and the Lord turned around and used the very same nations which worshipped those gods against Israel.
So let us begin to identify who these nations and peoples were who joined the confederacy or alliance of nations that conspired against King Jehoshaphat. Rather than list them in chronological order above, I have listed them in the order in which their names appear in Psalm 83, and I will now identify them in that same order, with a few variations where needed.
Esau, Edom and the Edomites
As I explain in my 1997 series entitled "The Children of God and Politics", after twenty years of marriage, the Lord blessed Isaac and his wife, Rebekah, with twins, who they named Jacob and Esau. The Lord had prophesied that two very distinct nations would arise from Rebekah's womb, and that the descendants of Jacob would be much stronger than the descendants of Esau. As you may recall from the Bible story, from an early age, Rebekah had favored Jacob, while Isaac favored his elder son, Esau. Please note that while I refer to Esau as the elder son, they were really born only a few minutes apart. Although Esau was the elder son, he made the foolish mistake of selling his birthright to his younger conniving brother for a bowl of lentils and bread. Consider the following verses:
"And Isaac intreated the LORD for his wife, because she was barren: and the LORD was intreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived. And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to enquire of the LORD. And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger. And when her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb. And the first came out red, all over like an hairy garment; and they called his name Esau. And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau's heel; and his name was called Jacob: and Isaac was threescore years old when she bare them. And the boys grew: and Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field; and Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents. And Isaac loved Esau, because he did eat of his venison: but Rebekah loved Jacob. And Jacob sod pottage: and Esau came from the field, and he was faint: And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; for I am faint: therefore was his name called Edom. And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright. And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me? And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentiles; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright."
Genesis 25:21-34, KJV
But Jacob's conniving ways did not stop there. When Isaac his father was old and ready to pass on the blessing, Jacob and his mother schemed together to trick Isaac into thinking that Jacob was actually the elder brother who rightfully deserved the blessing. Being that Isaac's eyesight had already failed him, it didn't take much to pull off this scam. You can read this story in its entirety in Genesis 27:1-29.
The level of Jacob's deception is revealed in the fact that he lied to his father Isaac three times in order to convince him that he -- meaning Jacob -- was Esau, and thus secure the blessing of the Lord's inheritance for himself. To show you how seriously men took their words in those days, even after the treachery had been discovered by Isaac, and after Esau had wept bitterly and pleaded with his father, Isaac still could not take back his blessing from Jacob. It had to stand. Thus, just as the Lord had prophesied at their birth years before, Esau was forced to submit to his younger deceitful brother.
Because of this incident, Esau obviously became very bitter against his brother, and planned to kill him. Becoming aware of Esau's treacherous plans, Isaac and Rebekah decided that it would be best to send Jacob to Laban, who was Rebekah's brother who still lived in Haran. Haran was the place where Terah had first taken Abraham, Sarah and their nephew Lot after leaving Ur in the land of the Chaldees. You can read more about these events in Genesis 27:30-45. I also discuss them in my two-part article entitled "One From Beyond: Hebrew of Hebrews". Another reason why they sent Jacob to Laban was because, just as Abraham did not want his son Isaac to marry a pagan woman of Canaan, so too, Isaac was responsible for ensuring the purity of their lineage.
So how do these events relate to our current series? Quite simply, in later years, Esau also became known as Edom, and his descendants became known as the Edomites, who dwelt in the land of Edom. Please notice that in the previous verses, concerning Esau we are told "the first came out red, all over like an hairy garment". Edom in fact means "red", while Esau means "hairy". So Esau was apparently a red, hairy man. He was also one of the progenitors of the Arab nations. In later years, Edom was also referred to as Idumaea -- or Idumea -- and thus, its inhabitants -- the Edomites -- were also known as Idumaeans. In fact, King Herod and his descendants were Idumaeans as well, and puppets of Rome.
Edom was situated between southern Israel and the Arabian Petraea. Also known as Provincia Arabia or simply Arabia, the Arabian Petraea was a frontier province of the Roman Empire beginning in the Second Century. It consisted of the former Nabataean kingdom in modern Jordan, southern modern Syria, the Sinai Peninsula and northwestern Saudi Arabia. The rock city of Petra was the capital of Provincia Arabia. Arabia was bordered on the north by Syria, and on the west by Iudaea -- or Judea -- and Aegyptus -- or Egypt. If you examine the map below -- assuming that you are reading the online HTML version of this series on the Bill's Bible Basics website -- you can see that Edom stretched from what is today known as southern Jordan, through southern Israel, and to the eastern region of the Sinai Peninsula.
As their name implies, the Ishmaelites were the descendants of Ishmael. As I also explain in "The Children of God and Politics", after having lived ten years in Canaan, and now in his mid-eighties, Abraham still did not have an heir, as his wife Sarah was barren. It was at that time that Sarah devised a plan whereby she would give Abraham her Egyptian handmaiden, Hagar, to be his wife. Abraham consented, and shortly thereafter, Hagar conceived a son. He was given the name of Ishmael.
Despite Sarah's good intentions of wanting to provide her husband Abraham with an heir, the Scriptures inform us that this resulted in friction between Sarah and Hagar, as Hagar despised Sarah her mistress. Sarah thus dealt with Hagar causing her to flee into the wilderness. While there, the Angel of the Lord appeared to her and told her to return and submit herself to Sarah. As a result of her obedience, God blessed Hagar and her descendants, beginning with her son, Ishmael, who became the father of the twelve princes of the Arab nations, as we see by the following verses:
"Now these are the generations of Ishmael, Abraham's son, whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah's handmaid, bare unto Abraham: And these are the names of the sons of Ishmael, by their names, according to their generations: the firstborn of Ishmael, Nebajoth; and Kedar, and Adbeel, and Mibsam, And Mishma, and Dumah, and Massa, Hadar, and Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah: These are the sons of Ishmael, and these are their names, by their towns, and by their castles; twelve princes according to their nations. And these are the years of the life of Ishmael, an hundred and thirty and seven years: and he gave up the ghost and died; and was gathered unto his people. And they dwelt from Havilah unto Shur, that is before Egypt, as thou goest toward Assyria: and he died in the presence of all his brethren."
Genesis 25:12-18, KJV
Earlier in this same chapter, we learn that sometime after Sarah died, Abraham took a second wife named Keturah, who bore him six sons, one of whom was Midian, as we see here:
"Then again Abraham took a wife, and her name was Keturah. And she bare him Zimran, and Jokshan, and Medan, and Midian, and Ishbak, and Shuah. And Jokshan begat Sheba, and Dedan. And the sons of Dedan were Asshurim, and Letushim, and Leummim. And the sons of Midian; Ephah, and Epher, and Hanoch, and Abida, and Eldaah. All these were the children of Keturah. And Abraham gave all that he had unto Isaac. But unto the sons of the concubines, which Abraham had, Abraham gave gifts, and sent them away from Isaac his son, while he yet lived, eastward, unto the east country. And these are the days of the years of Abraham's life which he lived, an hundred threescore and fifteen years. Then Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years; and was gathered to his people. And his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron the son of Zohar the Hittite, which is before Mamre; The field which Abraham purchased of the sons of Heth: there was Abraham buried, and Sarah his wife."
Genesis 25:1-10, KJV
The Bible offers no clue regarding Keturah's background, or her ethnic origin. However, being as we know that Abraham and Isaac were both concerned with polluting their genetic pool, I would assume that she was probably Hebrew, as was Abraham himself, as we see by the following verse:
"And there came one that had escaped, and told Abram the Hebrew; for he dwelt in the plain of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol, and brother of Aner: and these were confederate with Abram."
Genesis 14:13, KJV
But the question is, exactly what does it mean to be Hebrew? As I point out in the articles "The Book of Enoch: Truth or Heresy?" and "One From Beyond: Hebrew of Hebrews", the word "hebrew" -- which is actually pronounced ib-ree' -- means "one from beyond". This word is derived from the name Eber, or Heber, which means "the region beyond". The Hebrews were also known as Heberites. But exactly who was Heber?
Pleases go to part three for the continuation of this series.
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