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"Babylon The Great Has Fallen!"
God's Kingdom Rules!



Chapter 6

A Small-Scale Kingdom of God on Earth Begins

THE winter rains had ceased. Spring had come and the Jordan River was flooding over all its banks when the millions of Israelites and a "vast mixed company" of followers approached the river to cross from east to west. There was no bridge; there were no ferryboats plying the waters. But the Almighty God, Jehovah, had brought the Israelites through the much broader Red Sea forty years previously. Just as easily he could bring them through the Jordan River. With perfect timing of events he caused a great landslide to occur far above at a city called Adam, and it dammed up the flooding waters. Jehovah God, as represented by the golden ark of the covenant which was being carried on the shoulders of the Levite priests, went ahead as Leader. Just as soon as the feet of the priests touched the floodwaters, they began to go down. In no great while they drained off completely into the Dead Sea some miles to the south, leaving the Jordan riverbed dry. It was another miracle to the credit of Jehovah God. — Joshua 3:5-16.

The priests bearing Jehovah's ark of the covenant stood still in the middle of the Jordan riverbed as the millions of people with their flocks and herds crossed over into the land of Canaan. After that the ark of the covenant went across, last of all as a rear guard to the Israelites. Then the floodwaters began to pour into the emptied riverbed again.

What a miracle! How it struck terror into the hearts

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of the pagan inhabitants of Canaan to hear about it! This occurred in the spring month of Nisan, on the tenth day, the very day on which the Israelites were required by law to take the passover lamb into their dwellings. (Joshua 3:17 to 4:19) So, immediately on their taking up residence in the Promised Land, they prepared to celebrate the passover memorial. To do this their males had to be circumcised. Joshua, Caleb, and the priests and Levites were circumcised, but the others had failed to be circumcised during the forty-year journey through the wilderness. Hence a general circumcising of these took place. They were quite recovered when they had to eat the passover lamb in their tents four days later. This location came to be called Gilgal, not far from the walled city of Jericho.  — Joshua 5:1-10.

After the passover the Israelites began eating of the fruitage of the land of Canaan. Again, with perfect timing of events, the miraculous manna on which they had fed for forty years stopped forming on the ground mornings. They did not need it in a "land flowing with milk and honey." (Joshua 5:12) In this year also, now that the Israelites had come into the Promised Land, namely, in the year 1473 B.C., the count of the years began for celebrating sabbath years and liberty-bringing Jubilee years. — Leviticus 25:1, 2.

The whole Promised Land was to enjoy its sabbaths regularly. For one thing, the continuance of the Israelites as a free people in the God-given land depended on their faithfully keeping the sabbath years and fiftieth-year Jubilee. From that year, 1473 B.C., to the second sabbath year that the Israelites kept only partially during the reign of Zedekiah their last king (617 to 607 B.C.) they were obliged by God's law to celebrate 17 Jubilees and 121 intermediate sabbath years. (Jeremiah 34:1-22) Jehovah kept watching as to how they kept sabbath year and Jubilee.

Under Joshua it took six years to subdue the land of Canaan so as to have an allotting of the conquered

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land to the twelve tribes of Israel. Each tribe got its own allotment of territory. Each territory became known by the tribe to which it was allotted. The year following this assigning out of the land by lot was a sabbath year, their first sabbath year in the land. It took faith for the now-settled Israelites to obey Jehovah's law and let the land enjoy its first year-long sabbath rest. (Joshua 14:1 to 17:18) Under divine blessing the obedient Israelites survived till the harvest of the land on the eighth year. — Leviticus 25:18-22.

Joshua the son of Nun of the tribe of Ephraim was the first of a series of visible judges of Israel whom Jehovah raised up for a period of 356 years. Hundreds of years previously Jehovah's priest Melchizedek, the king of Salem, had disappeared and was no longer reigning in the land of Canaan. Consequently, under the changed conditions, one of the kings in Canaan who fought against Joshua was Adoni-zedek, the king of Jerusalem. The name Adoni-zedek means "Lord of Righteousness." But he was not a righteous king like Melchizedek, for he fought against Jehovah and his people. After Joshua defeated this king of Jerusalem and his allies at the battle of Gibeon, he put Adoni-zedek to death. — Joshua 10:1-27;12:7-10.

At that time Jerusalem was occupied by a people called Jebusites, and hence they called it Jebusi or the Jebusite: "the Jebusite at the south, that is to say, Jerusalem." "Jebusi, that is to say, Jerusalem." (Joshua 15:8; 18:28) The Jebusites were cousins of Nimrod king of Babylon. They kept dwelling in Jerusalem and enthroned a new king to take the place of Adoni-zedek. (Genesis 10:6-9, 15, 16; Joshua 15:63) The city of Jebusi or Jerusalem lay within the territory allotted to the tribe of Benjamin, but during all the period of Israel's judges Jerusalem remained a pagan city, for it was so strong. — Judges 1:21.

At the city of Shiloh, about twenty miles north of Jerusalem, was where the Israelites located Jehovah's

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house of worship, "the tent of meeting." There the twelve tribes went up to offer their sacrifices to Jehovah and to celebrate the passover and the "feast of weeks," or Pentecost, "the day of the first ripe fruits." (Joshua 18:1; Numbers 28:16-26) About ten miles north of Shiloh lay the city of Shechem. It was a city assigned to the Levites, who acted as assistants to the priests at Jehovah's house of worship. It was also a "city of refuge" for the unintentional manslayer to run to for protection from the avenger of blood. (Joshua 20:7: 21:20. 21) Here at Shechem Judge Joshua, near the close of his life, assembled all the tribes of Israel together. On this occasion he put before the entire nation the choice of either serving the gods of Babylonia or the one living and true God, Jehovah. Joshua said:

"Jehovah the God of Israel has said, 'It was on the other side of the River [Euphrates] that your forefathers dwelt a long time ago, Terah the father of Abraham and the father of Nahor, and they used to serve other gods. In time I took your forefather Abraham from the other side of the River and had him walk through all the land of Canaan and made his seed many. So I gave him Isaac. Then to Isaac I gave Jacob and Esau. . . . Jacob and his sons went down to Egypt. Later on I sent Moses and Aaron, and I went plaguing Egypt with what I did in its midst; and afterward I brought you out....'

"And now fear Jehovah and serve him in faultlessness and in truth, and remove the gods that your forefathers served on the other side of the River [Euphrates] and in Egypt, and serve Jehovah. Now if it is bad in your eyes to serve Jehovah, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve, whether the gods that your forefathers who were on the other side of the River served or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are dwelling. But as for me and my household, we shall serve Jehovah." — Joshua 24:1-15.

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The gods of Babylonia or Jehovah God — which? That choice was put to the Israelites thirty-four centuries ago, when the third dynasty of kings was ruling in ancient Babylon far to the east.

Little do people of the world today realize that they are faced with the same choice in these the final days of Great Babylon, whose downfall is foretold in sacred Bible prophecy. The choice made by Joshua for himself and his household sets the example as to the right choice for us to make today. Back there, the Israelites followed the example of Joshua, saying: "As for us, too, we shall serve Jehovah, because he is our God." When the people reaffirmed their choice of Jehovah God, Joshua said: "You are witnesses against yourselves that you of your own accord have chosen Jehovah for yourselves, to serve him." To this the people answered: "We are witnesses." (Joshua 24:16-22) The good effect of this right choice regarding worship is reported on in the following words: "And the people continued to serve Jehovah all the days of Joshua and all the days of the older men who extended their days after Joshua and who had seen all of Jehovah's great work that he did for Israel." (Judges 2:7) For that reason it went well with Israel.

JERUSALEM BECOMES ISRAEL'S CAPITAL

Jehovah reigned as heavenly King of Israel during all the centuries that his appointed judges administered justice throughout the land and delivered his people from their enemies. It was in the days of Samuel the prophet, when he had grown old, that there occurred what Jehovah had foretold as a likelihood: the Israelites asked to have a visible, human king. (Deuteronomy 17:14-20) Theocratic Samuel was keenly hurt at heart at their request. In comfort Jehovah said to Samuel: "Listen to the voice of the people as respects all that they say to you; for it is not you whom they have rejected, but it is I whom they have rejected from being

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king over them. In accord with all their doings that they have done from the day of my bringing them up out of Egypt until this day in that they kept leaving me and serving other gods, that is the way they are doing also to you. And now listen to their voice."

Though he warned them of what it would mean not to have God exclusively as their King, the Israelites insisted to Samuel: "No, but a king is what will come to be over us. And we must become, we also, like all the nations [including Babylonia], and our king must judge us and go out before us and fight our battles." (1 Samuel 8:1-20) So Samuel looked to Jehovah to choose the king.

The tribe of Judah had taken the lead in subduing the pagan inhabitants of the Promised Land, but Jehovah did not choose the first king of Israel from that tribe. (Judges 1:1-4) He chose the first king from a neighbor tribe of Judah, from the tribe of Benjamin, in whose territory the city of Jerusalem lay, right at Benjamin's border with Judah. (Genesis 49:27) This did not mean that God was offering the tribe of Benjamin the opportunity to provide the Messiah, the Christ, the promised Anointed King who would be the Seed promised in the garden of Eden, the Seed of God's "woman."

God had already indicated that the promised Messiah would come through the tribe of Judah and that the title "Shiloh" would be fitting for him. (Genesis 49: 8-10) The first man whom Jehovah would choose from Judah to be king of Israel had then not yet been born in Bethlehem in Judah, not for ten years as yet. So Jehovah chose Saul the son of Kish of the tribe of Benjamin, and he had Samuel anoint Saul and install him as Israel's first visible king, (1 Samuel 9:1 to 11:15) King Saul now came under test as to whether the kingship deserved to continue in his family.

After just two years of reigning King Saul acted foolishly in a serious way. He disobeyed the prophet

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Samuel's instructions and took it upon himself to perform the sacrificial service of a priest, to act as a king-priest like Melchizedek. After this misconduct, Samuel said to Saul: "You have not kept the commandment of Jehovah your God that he commanded you, because, if you had, Jehovah would have made your kingdom firm over Israel to time indefinite. And now your kingdom will not last. Jehovah will certainly find for himself a man agreeable to his heart; and Jehovah will commission him as a leader over his people, because you did not keep what Jehovah commanded you." (1 Samuel 13:1-14) The man agreeable to Jehovah's heart was born eight years later, in 1107 B.C.

Saul continued to prove himself an unsatisfactory king and finally committed an act of rebelliousness that was as bad as the "sin of divination" as practiced by ancient Babylon. Then Jehovah declared the royal rule of Israel to be definitely ripped away from King Saul and his family, (l Samuel 15:1-29) Jehovah indicated this by afterward sending Samuel to Bethlehem secretly to anoint the young shepherd David of the tribe of Judah to be future king over Israel. Not knowing this, King Saul called David to his royal court as a musician, a harpist, to whose music psalms could be sung. (1 Samuel 16:1-23) When King Saul later saw this shepherd musician take on a championship fight with the armored Philistine giant Goliath and kill him with a stone from his shepherd's sling, he thought that David would make a good man for the army.

When David as an army commander had good success in fighting the Philistines and won ten times as much praise as the king, then Saul thought David was too good and became envious. He then saw in David the possible "man agreeable to [Jehovah's] heart" to whom the kingdom over Israel would come after being ripped away from Saul's family, (1 Samuel 17:20 to 18:9) He threatened David's very life and obliged him to flee to the wilderness for safety.

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King Saul made the still-loyal David an outlaw and hunted him down like a wild animal, to destroy him. David and his band that gathered about him in the wilderness never fought back against the "anointed of Jehovah." Hence Jehovah, to whose heart David was agreeable, protected him for the future position to which he was anointed.

At last, as a frustrated man, King Saul came into the fortieth year of his reign. (Acts 13:21) He and his army pitched camp at Mount Gilboa, while the Philistines encamped to the northwest at nearby Shunem. Here King Saul, realizing that he was abandoned by Jehovah God, turned to witchcraft,* which he had at the beginning banned from his kingdom. By night he visited a surviving witch at Endor to the north, to get her to raise the shade of the dead prophet Samuel, for information from the dead.

Saul thus resorted to demonism. A demon impersonated Samuel to the witch of Endor, to her mind's eye, and transmitted through her a message of doom to King Saul. Not "tomorrow," as the demon had incorrectly said, but a number of days later King Saul and three, not all, of his sons fell in battle at Mount Gilboa. King Saul, wounded by a Philistine arrow, hastened his own death by falling on his royal sword. The Philistine victors cut off his head, but brave Israelites afterward recovered Saul's headless body and the corpses of his sons and gave their bones a burial,


* Regarding witchcraft in ancient Babylon, we read:
"Another class of beings was greatly feared by the Babylonians, namely warlocks and witches. These were usually men and women who were deformed, or who possessed some physical peculiarity which led their neighbours to believe that they were closely associated with devils, and that they sometimes served as dwellingplaces for the powers of evil. As possessors of human intelligence, they were often considered to be more baneful than the devils themselves. They were specially masters of the Evil Eye and the Evil Spell, and they employed all the practices of the priests who exorcised devils, but with evil motives and the intent to do harm. The priests were masters of White Magic, and the warlocks and witches of Black Magic. The incantation, which in the mouth of a priest made a sick man well, in the mouth of the witch procured his death." — Page 150 of Babylonian Life and History, edition of 1925, by Sir E. A. Wallis Budge, KT.
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but on the other side of the Jordan River. — 1 Samuel 28:4-25; 31:1-13.

SCEPTER AND COMMANDER'S STAFF COME TO JUDAH

The time for the transfer of royal power came in that year of 1077 B.C. After the fugitive David got notice of King Saul's death, Jehovah told David to go to the priest city of Hebron in Judah's territory. "Then the men of Judah came and anointed David there as king over the house of Judah." (Joshua 21:9-12; 2 Samuel 1:1 to 2:4) But Benjamin and the other tribes who stuck to the royal house of Saul made his son Ish-bosheth king over them. For seven and a half years David reigned at Hebron, about twenty miles south of Jerusalem.

Saul's son Ish-bosheth was assassinated by his own henchmen at his royal capital in Mahanaim. (2 Samuel 2:8 to 4:7) The crippled Mephibosheth, the son of Saul's son Jonathan, was not suitable for kingship, and the kingless sister tribes of Israel recalled now to mind that Jehovah had said to David: "You yourself will shepherd my people Israel, and you yourself will become leader over Israel." So they came to King David at Hebron and entered into a covenant with him before Jehovah and "anointed David as king over Israel." "Thirty years old was David when he became king. For forty years he ruled as king. In Hebron he ruled as king over Judah for seven years and six months; and in [Benjaminite] Jerusalem he ruled as king for thirty-three years over all Israel and Judah." (2 Samuel 5: 1-5) Jerusalem had yet to be taken from the Jebusites.

With this third anointing of David, which was at the Judean city of Hebron, the scepter and the commander's staff over all twelve tribes of Israel, including the priests and Levites, came to the tribe of Judah. It was to continue in that tribe in fulfillment of the patriarch Jacob's deathbed prophecy over his son Judah down in Egypt: "The scepter will not turn aside from Judah,

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neither the commander's staff from between his feet, until Shiloh comes; and to him the obedience of the people will belong." — Genesis 49:10.

How this actually proved to be true was stated by the Christian apostle Paul in a sermon in a Jewish synagogue, in these words:

"After these things he gave them judges until Samuel the prophet. But from then on they demanded a king, and God gave them Saul son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years. And after removing him, he raised up for them David as king, respecting whom he bore witness and said, 'I have found David the son of Jesse, a man agreeable to my heart, who will do all the things I desire.' From the offspring of this man according to his promise God has brought to Israel a savior, Jesus." — Acts 13:13-23.

Since King David was the son of Jesse, the prophecy of Isaiah 11:1, 2, 10 was fulfilled in this Jesus as offspring of David: "And there must go forth a twig out of the stump of Jesse; and out of his roots a sprout will be fruitful. And upon him the spirit of Jehovah must settle down, . . . And it must occur in that day that there will be the root of Jesse that will be standing up as a signal for the peoples. To him even the nations will turn inquiringly, and his resting place must become glorious." This Jesus, the offspring of Jesse through David, became also the "root of Jesse." How so? Because Jesus Christ has kept the genealogical line of Jesse alive by becoming the permanent heir of Jesse, father of David. Jesus as David's descendant according to the flesh became higher than David. How? The Christian apostle Peter explained this to the Jews at Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost of A.D. 33, when he said:


"Actually David did not ascend to the heavens, but he himself says, 'Jehovah said to my Lord: "Sit at my right hand, until I place your enemies as a stool for your feet."' Therefore let all the house of Israel know for a certainty that God made him both Lord [to King David]

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and Christ, this Jesus whom you impaled." — Acts 2:14. 34-36; Psalm 110:1; Matthew 22:41-45.


In thus becoming Lord to King David, son of Jesse, this Jesus at the same time became Lord to David's father Jesse and so too he became the "root of Jesse." Although Jesus Christ is now a Savior, he has not yet saved David's father Jesse from death. But when, during his thousand-year reign over mankind, the Lord Jesus Christ resurrects Jesse as well as his son David and becomes an Eternal Father to them, he will in still another sense be the "root of Jesse." — Isaiah 9:6: John 5:26-29.

For this reason, because this Jesus the offspring of David and Jesse was from the tribe of Judah and represents it, the scepter and commander's staff will never turn aside from Judah. As Jesus Christ has the right to the royal scepter and commander's staff and will retain these forever by reason of his immortality in heaven, he is the promised Shiloh. The name "Shiloh" is understood to mean "The One Whose It Is," the One to whom it belongs.

ZION BECOMES THE CAPITAL

In order to reign at Jerusalem, King David had to take the city from the pagan Jebusites. Now that David was king over all Israel, he could move against Jerusalem though it lay in the territory of Benjamin. Promptly David marched his army northward from Hebron, his temporary capital. The Jebusites were confident that they could keep holding the city of Jerusalem or Jebusi, even with blind and lame defenders. In 2 Samuel 5:6-9 we read:

"The king and his men went to Jerusalem against the Jebusites inhabiting the land, and they [the Jebusites] began to say to David: 'You will not come in here, but the blind and the lame ones will certainly turn you away,' they thinking: 'David will not come in here.' Just the same, David proceeded to capture the

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stronghold of Zion, that is, the city of David. So David said on that day: 'Anyone striking the Jebusites, let him, by means of the water tunnel, make contact with both the lame and the blind, hateful to the soul of David!' That is why they say: 'The blind one and the lame one will not come into the house.' And David took up dwelling in the stronghold, and it came to be called the city of David; and David began to build all around from the Mound and inward."

To this, 1 Chronicles 11:6-8 adds: "So David said: 'Anyone striking the Jebusites first, he will become head and prince.' And Joab the son of Zeruiah [half sister of David] got to go up first, and he came to be head. And David took up dwelling in the place difficult to approach. That is why they called it the city of David. And he began to build the city all around, from the Mound even to the parts round about, but Joab himself brought to life the rest of the city." — See also 2 Samuel 2:18.

Thus Jerusalem consisted at first of what was Jebusi, the stronghold, "the place difficult to approach." It was located on the southeastern hill of the group of hills that the walls of Greater Jerusalem afterward enclosed. This original stronghold came to be called Zion; and as David transferred his capital from Hebron to Zion, it came to be called "the city of David." This was in 1070 B.C., more than three hundred years before Rome was founded to become what modern religionists call "The Eternal City." Under King David the fame of Zion or Jerusalem began to go out to the nations round about. — Ezekiel 16:14.

After two disastrous failures of the Philistines to overthrow him as king in Zion, David, now firmly established in his kingdom, specially concerned himself with the interests of Jehovah's worship. At that time where was Jehovah's ark of the covenant, containing the tablets of the Ten Commandments? It had been removed from the Tabernacle at Shiloh during warfare

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with the Philistines in the last days of High Priest Eli and had never returned to its tabernacle at Shiloh. (1 Samuel 4:1 to 7:2: Jeremiah 7:12-14) For many years it had been kept in a home in Kiriath-jearim (Baale-Judah) about nine miles northwest of Jerusalem. In harmony with God's purpose David took steps to remove it from there and finally had it borne on the shoulders of the Levites up Mount Zion and into the city of David. There he put it in a tent that he had pitched for it, and he appointed ten Levites and two priests to serve before it. On that day David composed and sang a new psalm, saying:

"Give thanks to Jehovah, you people; call upon his name, make his deeds known among the peoples! . . . Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be joyful, and let them say among the nations, 'Jehovah himself has become king!' Let the sea thunder and also that which fills it. Let the field exult and all that is in it. At the same time let the trees of the forest break out joyfully on account of Jehovah, for he has come to judge the earth. Give thanks to Jehovah, you people, for he is good, for to time indefinite is his loving-kindness. And say, 'Save us, O God of our salvation, and collect us together and deliver us from the nations, to give thanks to your holy name, to speak exultingly in your praise. Blessed be Jehovah the God of Israel from time indefinite to time indefinite.'"

To this psalm the people said Amen. (1 Chronicles 13:1-12; 15:1 to 16:36; 2 Samuel 6:1-19) It was a day of rejoicing for the people and David. Since the sacred ark of the covenant resided within it, Zion or Jerusalem became a holy city. The lid of the Ark was surmounted by two golden cherubs whose wings spread out to one another to cover the lid, and there Jehovah was thought of as dwelling, sitting upon the cherubs. Zion or Jerusalem thus became the city of the great King Jehovah. With the arrival of his holy ark into the royal city, it was as if Jehovah himself had begun to reign on

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Mount Zion. Now more than ever King David sat on the throne as the visible representative of Jehovah God, ruling in the name of Jehovah. With all propriety David's throne was spoken of as "Jehovah's throne."  — Psalm 96:10-13; 1 Chronicles 29:23.

The Levite Asaph, who was one of those appointed to minister before the Ark, could now rightly compose a psalm and say: "God is known in Judah; in Israel his name is great. And his covert proves to be in Salem itself, and his dwelling place in Zion." (Psalm 76:1. 2) The Levite sons of Korah could compose a psalm and sing:

"Jehovah is great and much to be praised in the city of our God, in his holy mountain. Pretty for loftiness, the exultation of the whole earth, is Mount Zion on the remote sides of the north, the town of the grand King. . . . May Mount Zion rejoice, may the dependent towns of Judah be joyful, on account of your judicial decisions. March around Zion, you people, and go about it, count its towers. Set your hearts upon its rampart, inspect its dwelling towers, in order that you may recount it to the future generation. For this God is our God to time indefinite, even forever. He himself will guide us until we die." — Psalm 48:1-14.

DIVINE COVENANT WITH ZION'S KING

Naturally the question came up for thought, Would the kingdom over Israel continue within David's family? Or would it be taken away, as it had been removed from Saul's family, and be given to some other family in the tribe of Judah? Some time after Jehovah had begun to reign on Mount Zion, in Jerusalem, he made known his decision on this question. David had by now built his palace on Mount Zion, but he began feeling uncomfortable because he dwelt in a house of cedars whereas the sacred ark of the true God, the real King of Israel, dwelt under tent curtains. So David suggested to the prophet Nathan the building of a palatial temple to Jehovah.

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The next day, through Nathan, Jehovah expressed his appreciation of David's desire and went on to say, in 2 Samuel 7:1-17:

"I shall prove to be with you wherever you do go, and I will cut off all your enemies from before you; and I shall certainly make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones that are in the earth. . . . And Jehovah has told you that a house is what Jehovah will make for you. When your days come to the full, and you must lie down with your forefathers, then I shall certainly raise up your seed after you, which will come out of your inward parts; and I shall indeed firmly establish his kingdom. He is the one that will build a house for my name, and I shall certainly establish the throne of his kingdom firmly to time indefinite. I myself shall become his father, and he himself will become my son. When he does wrong, I will also reprove him with the rod of men and with the strokes of the sons of Adam. As for my loving-kindness, it will not depart from him the way I removed it from Saul, whom I removed on account of you. And your house and your kingdom will certainly be steadfast to time indefinite before you; your very throne will become one firmly established to time indefinite."

With those words Jehovah put in force between himself and King David a covenant for an everlasting kingdom. This meant that David was to have a dynasty of kings in his family, that is, a line of kings descended from him whose kingship would never end. He was to have a royal house in this sense. This covenant for the everlasting kingdom made more secure than ever the fulfillment of Jacob's deathbed prophecy over Judah that the royal scepter would never depart from his tribe. (Genesis 49:10) From this fact it became clear that the Seed of God's "woman" as promised in the garden of Eden, yes, the Seed of Abraham in whom all the nations of earth are to be blessed, would come in David's line of kings  — Genesis 3:15; 22:18.

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King David was now like a precious cornerstone that had been laid in Zion and on which a royal house of rulers was to be built to represent the heavenly King, Jehovah. For this unspeakable favor to him David expressed heartfelt appreciation. — 2 Samuel 7:18-29.

By Bath-sheba, one of David's wives, a son was born to him in Zion. "His name came to be called Solomon. And Jehovah himself did love him. So he sent by means of Nathan the prophet and called his name Jedidiah, for the sake of Jehovah." (2 Samuel 12:24, 25) His name Jedidiah means "Beloved of Jehovah," but his name Solomon means "Peaceable" and was prophetic of his peaceful reign over Israel. For Solomon it was quite an honor to be born in Zion. It surpassed the honor of being born in Babylon. The Levite sons of Korah sang of the reason why it was such an honor, in these words:

"Jehovah is more in love with the gates of Zion than with all the tabernacles of Jacob [Israel]. Glorious things are being spoken about you, O city of the true God. ... I shall make mention of Rahab [Egypt] and Babylon as among those knowing me; here are Philistia and Tyre, together with Cush [Ethiopia]: This is one who was born there.' And respecting Zion it will he said: 'Each and every one was born in her.' And the Most High himself will firmly establish her. Jehovah himself will declare, when recording the peoples: 'This is one who was born there.' " — Psalm 87:2-6.

In 1037 B.C. the young man Solomon was born, that is, installed, as king in Zion or Jerusalem, and Jehovah specially became a Father to him. "And Solomon began to sit upon Jehovah's throne as king in place of David his father and to make a success of it, and all the Israelites were obedient to him." (1 Chronicles 29:23) Owing to the conquests made by his father David, Solomon reigned from the river of Egypt on the south

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plan of Jerusalemaway up to Kadesh on the Orontes, eighty miles north of Damascus. — 2 Samuel 24:6. *

Before King David died, he had much building material and treasure for the proposed temple of Jehovah, for which also David was inspired to provide the building plans. Besides great contributions of money by David and the rest of the Israelites to the temple, King David also bought and contributed the exact piece of land for the temple structure. At the direction of Jehovah's angel David had already built a temporary altar there and offered up sacrifice during the three days of pestilence that struck Israel.

"Then David said: This is the house of Jehovah the true God, and this is an altar for burnt offering for Israel.' " (1 Chronicles 21: 14 to 22:1: 2 Samuel 24: 10-25) This high ground, which served excellently for an old-fashioned threshing floor, lay just to the north of Mount Zion. It proved to be the very same Mount Moriah where, more than eight hundred years previously, Abraham had built an altar to offer up his son Isaac. It was connected with Mount Zion by a southern spur that came to be called "Ophel." When the walls of Jerusalem were extended to include the temple loca-


* According to the Lagardian edition of the Greek Septuagint Version, 2 Samuel 24:6 reads: "Hittites toward Kadesh," instead of "Tahtimhodshi," as in the Hebrew text.  — See footnote of NW, edition of 1955.
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tion, Ophel was, of course, walled in also and was fortified. Jehovah's temple would therefore be on a lofty elevation, over 2,400 feet above the level of the Mediterranean Sea, and from any direction the worshipers would have to go up to it. — Psalm 122:1-4; Isaiah 2:2.

To prevent his ambitious fourth son Adonijah from taking over the throne, the aged King David had his beloved son Solomon suddenly anointed as king at Gihon, a well just outside the eastern wall of Zion, the City of David. (1 Kings 1:1-40) Later, after King David had given his final instructions concerning the building of God's temple on Mount Moriah, all the people who were assembled at the capital city "proceeded a second time to make Solomon the son of David king and to anoint him to Jehovah as leader and also Zadok as priest." David's death is reported as occurring shortly after this. (1 Chronicles 28:1; 29:20-28) Thus began the forty-year rule of Solomon as king, sitting on "Jehovah's throne" in the City of David on Mount Zion, in 1037 B.C.

TEMPLE REPLACES TABERNACLE

In the spring of the fourth year of Solomon's reign he began to build Jehovah's temple, not in the City of David on Mount Zion, but to the north on Mount Moriah. This action was said to be "in the four hundred and eightieth year after the sons of Israel came out from the land of Egypt, in the fourth year, in the month of Ziv, that is, the second month, after Solomon became king over Israel." That would be in 1034 B.C. (1 Kings 6:1) Because of all the advance preparation the temple building proceeded with noteworthy ease. At the end of seven and a half years of work this costly temple, which was built on a grander scale than the tabernacle built by Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, was completed. During all this time Jehovah's ark of

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the covenant continued in the tent pitched for it by King David on Mount Zion. (1 Kings 6:37, 38) Without that ark of the covenant in its Most Holy compartment the gorgeous new temple would not be complete in its furnishings.

The first festival celebrated at the new temple was that of the booths or tabernacles, "the festival of ingathering," in the seventh lunar month. (Exodus 34: 22; Leviticus 23:33-36) This festival was made the occasion for inaugurating the temple.

"At that time Solomon proceeded to congregate the older men of Israel, all the heads of the tribes, the chieftains of the fathers, of the sons of Israel, to King Solomon at Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the covenant of Jehovah out of the city of David, that is to say, Zion. So all the men of Israel congregated themselves to King Solomon in the lunar month of Ethanim in the festival, that is, the seventh month. So all the older men of Israel came, and the priests began to carry the Ark. . . . Then the priests brought in the ark of the covenant of Jehovah to its place, to the innermost room of the house, the Most Holy, to underneath the wings of the cherubs. For the cherubs were spreading out their wings over the place of the Ark, so that the cherubs kept the Ark and its poles screened over from above." (1 Kings 8:1-7) These two cherubs were made of wood, overlaid with gold, and stood ten cubits high in the Most Holy, and the wingspread of each cherub was ten cubits. — 1 Kings 6:23-28.

Thus, as Jehovah by his miraculous Shekinah light sat on the two golden cherubs that were upon the lid of the ark of the covenant, and as the two large cherubs formed a canopy above with their long wings, it could be said that Jehovah was dwelling among the cherubs. (Psalms 80:1; 99:1; Isaiah 37:16; Numbers 7:89) Jehovah had now transferred his symbolic presence from the City of David on Mount Zion to the magnificent temple on Mount Moriah. But his presence stayed

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within Jerusalem, for the temple area on Mount Moriah was made part of the Greater Jerusalem. It stayed within Zion, for the name Zion was extended to include all of Greater Jerusalem. The name Zion was no longer confined to just Mount Zion.

"And it came about that when the priests came out from the holy place, the cloud itself filled the house of Jehovah. And the priests were unable to stand to do their ministering because of the cloud, for the glory of Jehovah filled the house of Jehovah. At that time Solomon said: 'Jehovah himself said he was to reside in the thick gloom. I have successfully built a house of lofty abode for you, an established place for you to dwell in to time indefinite.'" — 1 Kings 8:10-13.

Then King Solomon, kneeling before the massive copper altar in front of all the congregation of Israel, offered a long prayer of dedication of the new temple to Jehovah. In the closing petition of that beautiful prayer King Solomon, doubtless remembering the warning that Moses had given about God's curses, prayed for Israel to be delivered from captivity in any foreign land. If they sincerely repented from their sins on account of which Jehovah had abandoned them to their enemies, and if they prayed to Jehovah "in the direction of their land that you gave to their forefathers, the city that you have chosen and the house that I have built to your name," then would Jehovah, please, hear them, show mercy and bring them back to their God-given land. After closing this prayer, King Solomon blessed all the congregation of worshipers and expressed the hope that God would answer his prayer "to the end that all the peoples of the earth may know that Jehovah is the true God. There is no other."  — 1 Kings 8:22-61.

Left or south of the altar before which Solomon prayed, stood a tremendous circular water basin, having a diameter of fifteen feet and a height of seven and a half feet. It rested on twelve images of bulls, each

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three of these facing in a different direction. (1 Kings 7:23-26) With water from this "molten sea," as it was called, the priests had washed themselves and had also washed the sacrifices. The altar for offering the sacrifices doubtless stood at the exact place where Solomon's father had built his altar on Mount Moriah. It was much larger than David's temporary altar, for it was thirty feet square and fifteen feet high. (2 Chronicles 4:1-5) Upon it a grand sacrifice was made on this inauguration day.

However, who was to start the altar fire going? Not man; for 2 Chronicles 7:1-3 tells us: "Now as soon as Solomon finished praying, the fire itself came down from the heavens and proceeded to consume the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and Jehovah's glory itself filled the house. And the priests were unable to enter into the house of Jehovah because Jehovah's glory had filled the house of Jehovah. And all the sons of Israel were spectators when the fire came down and the glory of Jehovah was upon the house, and they immediately bowed low with their faces to the earth upon the pavement and prostrated themselves and thanked Jehovah, 'for he is good, for his loving-kindness is to time indefinite.' " In this manner Jehovah God accepted the new temple on Mount Moriah.

ROYAL PALACE

During the next thirteen years King Solomon dwelt in his father's palace in the city of David on Mount Zion. To go from this palace to the temple of Mount Moriah he would have to travel about half a mile. So now Solomon proceeded to build a new royal palace on Mount Moriah, immediately to the south of the temple, so that it was near the temple's outer courtyard, but on lower ground. South of this he built the Porch of the Throne, the Porch of Pillars and then the House of the Forest of Lebanon. All this building block was on the falling ground between the summit of the Tem-

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ple Hill and the low spur of the City of David.* There was also a house for Solomon's queen: "As regards the house of his where he was to dwell, at the other courtyard, it was away from the house belonging to the Porch [of the Throne for judging]. It proved to be like this in workmanship. And there was a house like this Porch that he proceeded to build for Pharaoh's daughter, whom Solomon had taken." — 1 Kings 7:1-8; 3:1; 9:24; 11:1.

At the end of this thirteen-year building program Solomon moved out of the City of David on Mount Zion and carried on his royal functions on the slope of Mount Moriah, the Temple Mountain. His wife, Pharaoh's daughter, was moved to the new house; she was not allowed to "dwell in the house of David the king of Israel, for the places to which the ark of Jehovah has come are something holy," as King Solomon said.  — 2 Chronicles 8:11.

The appearance of Solomon's building works and of all the arrangements for taking care of them was so impressive as to leave the beholder breathless, as in the case of the visiting queen of Sheba. (1 Kings 10:1-5) Solomon's long reign was one of glory, of world fame, and of peace and prosperity. His subjects became many:

"Judah and Israel were many, like the grains of Hand that are by the sea for multitude, eating and drinking and rejoicing. And Judah and Israel continued to dwell in security, everyone under his own vine and under his own fig tree, from [the city of] Dan to Beer-sheba, all the days of Solomon." — 1 Kings 4:20, 25.

It was a prophetic picture of the happiness, peace and prosperity that people on earth will enjoy under God's real kingdom, the government in the hands of the One greater than Solomon, the Seed of God's "woman," the Prince of Peace. — Matthew 12:42; Isaiah 9:6, 7.


* See pages 130, 436 of Jerusalem in the Old Testament - Researches and Theories (1952), by Dr. J. Simons, S.J.


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