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The Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser
"He will raise a signal for a nation from afar off, and whistle for it from the ends of the earth; and lo, swiftly, speedily it comes." Isaiah 5:26
Chart of Hebrew Kings and Prophets
Brief History about the Kings and Prophets
In Hebrew history when the people of Israel cried for a king, the Lord sent Samuel to anoint Saul as the first king over Israel. After Saul died David became king and he was the greatest king over Israel, he made Israel a strong nation following the Lord. After David died, his son Solomon became king and he made Israel wealthy and famous among all the nations of the world. Solomon's one mistake was that he married foreign wives. These women brought their foreign gods and idols into Israel, and it was not long before idolatry spread throughout Israel. When Solomon died the kingdom was split in two, the Northern Kingdom consisted of ten of the tribes and was called Israel, and the Southern Kingdom consisted of two of the tribes and was called Judah.
From this point onward almost every king was an idol worshipper. In fact every king in the North was evil, but in the Southern Kingdom of Judah some of the kings followed the Lord, and when they brought the people back to God the nation prospered. But when they disobeyed the Lord great problems would arise.
It was during this time that God raised up certain "prophets" who were His mouthpieces. They would speak out against their sin and idolatry and would continually warn of God's judgment. Some of the prophets spoke out in the North and some in the South, but God was faithfully warning them of certain catastrophe if they would not turn to him.
Finally in 722 BC the Assyrians came down and conquered the Northern Kingdom of Israel and took the ten tribes away never to be seen again. The prophets had continually warned them but the judgment finally came.
The Southern Kingdom had continued to follow the Lord, but they finally turned away from God and became totally corrupt. In 586 BC the Babylonians came and destroyed Jerusalem and carried the Jews away to Babylon. God continued to send prophets to encourage the Hebrews that their captivity would only last 70 years.
The prophets also gave a message of hope that one day God would send His Messiah, who would not only save the Hebrews but the whole world. Their message was that their real bondage and captivity was to spiritual powers that cannot be seen, and God Himself would come as a man and die, so that death would "Passover" anyone who believes, and break their spiritual captivity.