Prophet Pearls #5 – Chayei Sarah (1 Kings 1:1-31)

In this episode of Prophet PearlsChayei Sarah (1 Kings 1:1-31), Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson discuss the ancient story of King David’s old age, and the ensuing struggle for succession seem as modern as any HBO political drama. The portion opens with a brow-raising account of a woman “warming” the king. But which provides the best explanation—eisegesis or exegesis study methods? The word play between “Adonijah” and “Adonai” provides a virtual romp through the portion, and we learn how Amnon-Absalom-Adonijah and Solomon fit the Hebrew thought pattern of “three and four.” Gordon explains why it’s a big deal to swear by Yehovah as well as why it was dangerous to live in an ancient culture and claim to be a king. Pearls aplenty, but it’s hard to top the one little word that Bathsheba adds when proclaiming l’chaim to King David—“olam.”

"Let my lord King David live forever!" (1 Kings 1:31)

I look forward to reading your comments!

Download Prophet Pearls Chayei Sarah

Transcript

Prophet Pearls #5 - Chayei Sarah (1 Kings 1:1-31)

You are listening to Prophet Pearls with Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson. Thank you for supporting Nehemia Gordon's Makor Hebrew Foundation. Learn more at NehemiasWall.com.

Keith:Shalom chaverim shelanu,” that means peace to you our friends in Hebrew. This is Keith Johnson with Nehemia Gordon, ready to take another peek into the Prophets to see if we can find some more pearls to share with you. “Shalom chaver sheli, ata muchan?” Are you ready?

Nehemia: Ani muchan, Keith. Shalom.

Keith: What does “ani muchan” mean, Nehemia?

Nehemia: I am ready.

Keith: Ha ha! We’re ready. Folks, I’m really excited that we’re now on our fourth Prophet Pearls. It’s something that’s really been motivating me and exciting me, Nehemia, to know that what we’re doing primarily, is focusing on the Word of God. I have to say though, we are recording this early, and I’ve been gone this weekend. I just got back. You picked me up at the airport and as soon as I landed I received a message that just has been very difficult for me. Hopefully by the time you all are hearing this, will be better than it is today. But I got a message about my friend, Yehuda Glick, Rabbi Yehuda Glick, who actually had an attempted assassination in Jerusalem. Primarily because of his involvement in calling for the freedom to pray on the Temple Mount. This has been something that’s a very big deal. We don’t know by the time this show actually airs what the situation will be, but would you agree over the last 24 hours it’s been a pretty major development?

Nehemia: Oh boy. It’s really unprecedented for an Israeli public figure like that to be… for an assassination attempt to be carried out. It happened once before and it led to a war. So this is a really big deal in general, but also because of who he is, because he’s fighting for Jewish rights, he’s a Jewish rights activist and a right for any non-Muslims to pray on the Temple Mount.

Keith: Well, you know, I had an encounter with him in 2014. It really changed a lot of the focus even for myself in ministry. He and I hooked up for the Freedom to Pray Movement. There are so many things that we got a chance to do together. I’m personally really touched by this and have been in prayer, and people around the world are actually praying for his recovery. As I mentioned, by the time this show comes up, it’s our hope that he will be up and around and doing better and back to work. And of course, it just also reminded me just how important the issue is and how controversial the issue is, which is always something that you’ve talked to me about, Nehemia. But you said something interesting just about the response, all the way up to Netanyahu himself. Why it was a different issue now on how they would see Yehuda now versus maybe before this happened?

Nehemia: So again, he’s a public figure in Israel and he was attacked in the heart of Jerusalem with a targeted assassination. Now, to be honest - and this is a sad thing to say - if he had been walking down the street and a bus blew up and he was killed, there’d be a different… there’d be a response, but it wouldn’t be the same sort of response. In fact for Israel, this response is, “Maybe we’ve gotten used to that.” I hate to say that, it’s sad to say, but whereas this is, “Wait, you’re going to target a specific person for a political assassination in our capital?” I mean, that no country could tolerate that.

Keith: I haven’t processed it and hopefully as I mentioned by the time they listen to this, I will have processed it better. But you know, one of the things that I was doing with him over this last year was assisting him in terms of being able to use the gift that I’ve been given and the ability we’ve been able to use for videos and that sort of thing to help him sending his story. And we did a really powerful challenge to people. But more than that, Nehemia, I was working with him on a specific project that no one’s seen any of the footage of that. And I just have to be honest with you, the place that he was assassinated that was the focal point of the project that I’m working on with him. Of course, that place is Bible Hill.

Nehemia: It’s really a symbolic place.

Keith: Yeah, it’s a symbolic place. So just a little bit on that before we get started.

Nehemia: So, it’s known in Israel as Givat HaTanakh, Bible Hill. And one of the reasons it was originally called that is that it’s the only hilltop in Jerusalem that’s still pristine. Every other hilltop in the Jerusalem region has been quote-unquote “developed”. They’ve built modern houses on it and things like that. And you could walk up to the top of Bible Hill and it looks today the same as it did at the time of King David.

And the second reason is the oldest passage they ever found of the Bible were these two silver scrolls, the famous silver scrolls that I talk about in Shattering the Conspiracy of Silence. I think you talk about that in His Hallowed Name Revealed Again too. They’re really significant scrolls, they’re on display at the Israel Museum, and they were discovered there on Bible Hill, right behind the Begin Center, where Yehuda Glick was shot, and the Begin Center is on the downward slope of Bible Hill. So it’s all the same place, all within less than a hundred feet of each other.

Keith: I’m humbled that he’s reached out and we were able to walk together as friends. I’m saddened by the situation with him. I’m motivated to be able to eventually get this message out, because it’s such a powerful message that, he and I were able to walk together this process, and of course this happening at that place has been difficult. And again, hopefully by the time, this is out, we will have been speaking to him, and hopefully he’ll be able to maybe be a guest in one of our audio blogs and get him back again. He’s been on a few of them. Anyone that’s interested in the story about Yehuda Glick can go to BFAInternational.com, go to blogs, and you go down and you’ll hear and see pictures of me and him together. And just amazing. So by God’s grace, let’s say a prayer for the peace of Jerusalem.

Nehemia: Yes. You know, Prime Minister Netanyahu made a public statement saying, “Kulanu mitpalelim leshlomo shel Yehuda.” We are all praying for shalom, the peace of Yehuda. Yehovah, please give healing to this man, Yehuda, this man of peace who just wanted to pray to You on the place where You put Your name forever. Father, give peace to your people, Israel, and Your city, Jerusalem, and all those who call upon Your name in truth. Amen.

Keith: Amen. First Kings chapter 1. We’re in Prophet Pearls now. Our fourth episode of Prophet Pearls. I want to say that it’s been humbling to have some people come alongside that have helped us be producers. This is not one of those episodes that we have a producer for us. So the good news is we’re going to keep doing it. And the better news is that Nehemia and I are sponsoring it ourselves. So let’s get right into it.

First Kings chapter 1, “When King David was old and well advanced in years, he could not keep warm even when they put covers over him. So his servant said to him, ‘Let us look for a young virgin to attend the king and take care of him. She could lie beside him so that our lord the King may keep warm.’” Nehemia, I just have to be honest with you. When I was studying this passage, this verse jumps off the page to me and why did it jump off the page? I want to know what the tradition is, what you think the tradition is…

Nehemia: Well we’ve got to go through verse 4 to have that full discussion. Can we do that?

Keith: Well, we can get to verse 4, but I want to say something. So before we get to verse 4, why do you think I got excited about verse one?

Nehemia: Because she was a Shunammite?

Keith: No, not because she’s a Shunammite. Verse 1 Nehemia, what does verse 1 say?

Nehemia: Yeah. Hmm.

Keith: I got excited because this is the beginning of the chapter that was on my test when we went through the...

Nehemia: Oh, was it really? Wasn’t that like over 10 years ago?

Keith: It was, but the test was one of the longest chapters in the Torah, it’s Genesis chapter 24.

Nehemia: Oh, okay.

Keith: And so Genesis chapter 24 opens up with the same exact phrase. And so I’m wondering why when they picked this passage, when I saw that phrase, I immediately thought to myself, “I think this is one of the reasons.” Now before you start tapping… he’s already tapping folks.

Nehemia: You have to tell the people what you’re talking about.

Keith: Okay. So the beginning of the phrase in...

Nehemia: So this is a Prophet portion. Yes. Traditionally read Prophet’s portion that corresponds to a Torah portion. Absolutely. And that Torah portion is the portion of Vayera. And that is chapters 18 through 22. So that doesn’t have the section you’re talking about.

Keith: No, no, no, no, no, no, no. So the Torah portion that we’re looking at.

Nehemia: Is that not Vayera? Am I in the wrong one?

Keith: Folks, we’re confused.

Nehemia: No it’s the fourth one, Bereshit, Noach, Lech Lecha, and Vayera.

Keith: We’re starting this whole thing over again.

Nehemia: No, no, no, no. This is important, it is - It’s the fourth one. So this is the one that corresponds not with Genesis 24 which is what we were looking for, but Genesis 18 to 22. Oh, edit that out.

Keith: No, don’t edit it out! Nehemia!

Nehemia: This is the fifth episode we’re doing?

Keith: This is what I’m trying to tell you.

Nehemia: Oh, I thought we were on the fourth episode.

Keith: Hey folks, we’re just, you know, it’s difficult. No, but no. So again, the section that is connected with this is the fifth episode, okay Genesis 23:1-25:18. So why did I get excited? Because that first phrase, which we find in Genesis Chapter 24. Now, while you’re looking at your computer…

Nehemia: So it is not Vayera it is Chayei Sarah, the Life of Sarah.

Keith: So can I do something? So what I had to do, I want to tell you guys about how tough my teacher was. He picked the longest chapter in the Torah. Am I right or wrong?

Nehemia: What? I don’t know that it’s the longest in the Torah.

Keith: Absolutely it is. I checked it for myself. It’s the longest chapter.

Nehemia: Isn’t there one in Numbers with a whole bunch of Numbers?

Keith: No, I’m going to argue it.

Nehemia: How many verses is it?

Keith: It’s like 50 something verses, if you look at it, it’s like… Genesis 24 goes all the way to 67 verses. So let me just tell you, while he’s tapping, so he has this passage and he says, “Okay, this is going to be your test.” And the test was, I needed to know everything about that particular passage in Hebrew. So I have to read it in Hebrew, understand it. And then you’d ask all of these questions that were grammatical questions, and I just have to say, Nehemia, how much I appreciated that process. It was difficult. You were tough.

But again, one of the lines that jumped out in Genesis Chapter 24 verse 1, and I’m just throwing this out as a possibility. It says “Avraham zaken babayamim,” “And Abraham was older, advanced in days.” So when we get to First Kings, it says, what? Look, First Kings chapter 1, if I turn real quickly while you’re tapping your computer, let’s see who finds it first. And it goes, and we’re racing, they’re off to the races. And I get to First Kings, here I am First Kings, it says, “Ve’hamalek David zaken babayamim.” So I get this phrase, okay, “zaken babayamim.” And immediately I’m thinking, “I must be changing.” Because think of this, I’m reading the Hebrew of First Kings and I think of the phrase in Hebrew from Genesis Chapter 24. So I’m looking at this phrase - and I’m just throwing this out - Is this one of the reasons that there’s a connection between this passage being selected? There’s the concept of course, of David being old, Abraham being old, Sarah, obviously the death of Sarah. But when this phrase comes out, for me, I thought of Genesis when I read First Kings because the phrase is exact.

Then I looked through it and I thought, wait, where else did we see this phrase? So we also see this phrase in Joshua, I believe it is. Zaken babayamim, we see it in Genesis with Abraham, we see it with Joshua, I believe twice, and then we see it with King David.

Now all of this is for me to say to you, I think there’s a conversion process going on in terms of my thinking, that when I’m reading in English, it’s something that maybe I wouldn’t have noticed, but when I read it in Hebrew, that phrase - and I don’t know what it was like for you growing up in the synagogue, but aren’t there Hebrew phrases that when you hear them, you’re immediately reminded of other phrases?

Nehemia: Oh yeah, we talked last week about where they come and they say, “Lamo’ed ha’zeh” “At this appointed time”, “Ke’et chaya,” “According to the time of life.” I mean, you can’t hear that and not have the association with the event that took place with Sarah, and then later you have the same thing going on with…

Keith: Exactly. I want to say to folks, we know this really is a process, a genuine process of “chevruta” as you say, friends back and forth. And normally what we’ve done is we’ve have our editors come and edit all of this process out. We don’t have any editors. We just got one that takes care of what we do. But Nehemia, I want to say, isn’t it kind of cool that we can show the human side of searching through the Scriptures and not always having it all together? But we’re sincerely looking into the passages and seeing it, and we’re also doing some stuff ahead of time, which is a little bit of a challenge in terms of dates – like, which date we’re on. Are we in the fifth week or the sixth week?

Nehemia: That’s because we’re pre-recording these episodes.

Keith: Yeah.

Nehemia: Before Keith disappears into the other side of the world.

Keith: Yeah. And plus, it’s a chance, when we’re physically together, that’s actually - I enjoy it. I have more fun.

Nehemia: Yeah.

Keith: So, okay, I wanted to bring that up. Let’s move on to the part you want to talk about. “His servant said to him, let us look for a young virgin.” Got to stop. Does that word “virgin”, the same word that we’ve seen as virgin in Isaiah 7:14, the virgin. Can you look, could you tap on your computer real quick? I just want to know if the word virgin is the same; if that’s the same word as that.

Nehemia: You want me to look in the King James version?

Keith: You can look at the King James.

Nehemia: Because there it’s going to be the same.

Keith: Okay, awesome. No, I want you to look in the Hebrew.

Nehemia: But in the Hebrew, it’s obviously not.

Keith: It’s obviously not. Now wait a minute, and I want to be fair now. So if someone’s reading in Genesis, I’m sorry, in Isaiah 7:14, and they’re reading in First Kings chapter 1 and in the English version, it says virgin. Could they not assume that is the same Hebrew word?

Nehemia: They could assume, but they would be wrong.

Keith: Okay. And so can you tell us what the two different words are?

Nehemia: So the word in Kings, in the passage we’re reading, is “betulah”, and that’s the word for virgin.

Keith: That’s legitimately what the word is for virgin.

Nehemia: And if you want more details, look in Deuteronomy, where it has kind of a graphic explanation of what that is. It talks about a woman the day after her wedding, and they bring out a sheet that has certain signs that she was a virgin before. So it’s technically a virgin. And then Isaiah 7:14 has the word “alma,” which means young woman. But just to read from like for example, the New Revised Standard Version, which is a Christian translation made by the United Council of Churches, or something like that, there it has “the young woman”, “the young woman is with child and shall bear a son and shall name him Emanuel,” that’s in the Christian translation. Because they know in the Hebrew it says, alma.

Keith: The reason I bring that up though was that oftentimes at a casual reading of Scripture in the English version you don’t always see those differences. For me, when I come across that word virgin, the first thing I thought was, just from my background, is I just wanted to see - is it the same word? And come to find out it wasn’t the same word. In fact, we didn’t find out. It says here, does it not say she was a young betulah? In other words, a young woman who was a virgin,

Nehemia: A young girl who was a virgin. Ne’arah betulah.

Keith: Okay, awesome. “So let us look for a young woman for the king to take care of him so she can lie beside him that our lord the king may keep warm.” Now Nehemia, I want to do something interesting. I want you to look, and this is just...

Nehemia: Can we get to verse 4 though? Verse 4, we’ve got to do it. You read verse 2 already.

Keith: Okay. Verse 2 in the King James version says something that I just wanted to notice. Go to the King James version. And I love the phrase at the end - what does it say?

Nehemia: “That my Lord, the king may get heat.”

Keith: “May got heat.” I mean, how does it say it there?

Nehemia: It says here “may get heat.” Yours says “may got heat.” So they’ve modernized it for English.

Keith: They modernized it. But anyways, I thought it was really, really cool phrase.

All right, let’s go ahead to verse 3 and 4. It says, “And then they searched throughout Israel for a beautiful girl and found Avishag, a Shunammite.” Last time we talked about the Shunammite who didn’t have a name, this time Shunammite has a name. She’s Avishag, “and brought her to the king. The girl was very beautiful. She took care of the king and waited on him. But the king had no intimate relations with her.”

Nehemia: In the Hebrew, it says “Ve’lo yeda’ah.” “He didn’t know her.”

Keith: He didn’t know her. So you know, folks, you should know this. We did have a short conversation before we started recording, and I told Nehemia, I said that this is an amazing thing. He says, “What do you mean? It’s just a matter of that she keeps him warm.

Nehemia: Yeah, she was cuddling with him because he was cold.

Keith: Okay. So here’s what I want you to do, and I don’t know the answer to this, but I want you to tap tap. This is what’s cool about the computer. What’s the word they use for saying that she waited on him? What’s the word that they use for “waited on him”?

And while you’re looking for that, it says here, “so his servants…” Okay, we’ve got about four different things going. “They searched for her,” and it says… yes… it says in the NASB, “She became the king’s nurse and then served him.” So what I want you to look at in verse 4 is I want you to look for the word “served”, what that word would mean. And then also connecting that with the word that she was a nurse, the root of that word and how that word might be used. Because when I looked at that, Nehemia, I thought about, as the story progresses, what was she doing? We understand that he was cold. We understand that she needed to help him stay warm. But if you look at the word itself of what it means to serve him and how that’s used. Also, correct me if I’m wrong, what was Joshua called, who helped…?

Nehemia: Yes, so maybe it used the same word, but the context here is different.

Keith: I understand, but what is the word?

Nehemia: The King is cold and needed someone to warm him.

Keith: Okay, so what was Joshua called? He was a servant. She was serving him. To minister, there in the English version. It says that he was ministering. He was serving.

Nehemia: So it uses the same root, “sharat, lesharet.”

Keith: Tell us what that is.

Nehemia: It means to serve, you know, I don’t know that we can define it as precisely. It means different things in different contexts.

Keith: Okay, awesome. But in this situation, she’s basically coming in to do a service. Ultimately the service, the reason that came up is because the king couldn’t stay warm.

Nehemia: Right, right. And it’s an interesting thing. I remember learning when I was a kid. This is one of these things where we would read a verse in the Bible and then we’d read the commentary, read a verse and read the commentary. And eventually, as I’ve shared before, I decided to read it just by itself without the commentary.

But one of the things I remember from these commentaries is they ask the question, “Why was he cold?” And they came with this very rabbinical explanation of why he was cold. And they went back to the story in 1 Samuel 24 where he… and I love this story because it takes place at Ein Gedi, where Saul is chasing David and they’re going through these different “wadis,” different “nechalim”, these different creeks. And it’s mountainous, it’s very easy to escape there. And also for someone to be just around the corner and not see him.

And so David and his men are hiding in a cave and Saul has been coming to the same cave. Not realizing David’s there, and Saul falls asleep and David comes and he cuts his garment. Yes. And he later shows him the garment he says, “See? I could’ve killed you. Look, check - this is a piece missing from your garment.” And the story the rabbis tell is that the reason that he couldn’t stay warm is because he didn’t have respect for clothing. And so God was punishing him that cloth would not keep him warm. So he needed flesh to keep him warm.

Keith: Oh my goodness.

Nehemia: Now, growing up hearing the story, it didn’t occur to me, because I didn’t know that old people get cold and can’t keep their warmth. But this was the kind of the thinking of the rabbis, and looking back, I say, well, that’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard in my life. He was cold because he was an old man, it wasn’t God’s punishment because he cut the garment.

Keith: Exactly. So in other words, the reason I bring this up though, isn’t it interesting? There always seems to be… well, I shouldn’t say always. Oftentimes there seems to be the need to try to find something significant beyond the plain meaning. In other words…

Nehemia: Right. What they’re doing is reading into it. What we’re doing is called exegesis, which is, reading out, pulling out the meaning. And what the rabbis will do and others will do is called eisegesis, which is reading into it. That’s from the Greek word “ex” is out and “eise”, is in. And they’re reading into it. And here they’re clearly reading onto it. They’re looking for some moral, ethical explanation of why he was cold, instead of the contextual historical reason, which it says – he was an old man. He couldn’t couldn’t stay warm. They didn’t have heated blankets, and it’s a cold place Jerusalem, relatively speaking. So they brought him a woman to lay down, and her body heat would keep him warm. And then it tells us, just so you think, you know, she’s laying in bed with him, but she’s not having sex with him. She has a functional purpose here. She’s not doing that. And you know, I don’t know, if it were me, I’d probably just get another Rhodesian Ridgeback to lay at my feet anyway. But anyway…

Keith: Well, it’s interesting. I mean, think about back in those days, you just don’t turn on a heater. You don’t say, “hey, turn up the heat.”

Nehemia: Just think about this really simple thing - they didn’t have windows. A window is a hole in the... I mean they didn’t have windows with glass. So let’s say you had some kind of opening, and maybe there was like a wooden shutter there or something. You’re not really going to keep all the cold out, and it can get cold in the winter in Jerusalem.

Keith: Yeah, absolutely. Well, I’m going to let you have some fun on this next verse. I’m sure you haven’t probably even thought about it because you want to jump... who knows? You probably have some other pearl, but I have a pearl for you Nehemia. I’ve got a great pearl for you. I’m going to give you a pearl and I want, and I’ll tell you why because it’s actually related to something that you actually taught me when I was reading this, that I had to go and check for myself. And so I did check it for myself.

It has to do with the name of the son of David. So what do you notice? Well, let me tell you what I notice. When I see his name, I see in my English Bible it says “Adonijah”. Okay. So I think of Adonijah and I think, “Okay, let me go behind the Hebrew and see what the Hebrew says.” But something really interesting jumped off the page, and it has to do with something that we talked about is that people that get caught up in saying, “Well, the end of his name…” and if you read it in Hebrew, I think it is Adoniyahu, am I right?

Nehemia: So in this verse it’s Adoniya. And other verses later it’s Adoniyahu, and that’s actually used interchangeably.

Keith: Okay. And so what’s interesting is about how that’s the end of his name. So what do we find out about that being at the end of his name? So why couldn’t I just say, “Therefore that’s showing clearly it’s God’s name. Okay. I mean that’s the end of his name is…”

Nehemia: So let’s explain to people who don’t know what you’re talking about. So many Hebrew names are what we call theophoric compound names. It’s two words that together make a short sentence in Hebrew. And so in this case, Adoni-Yahu is Yahu Yehovah is my Lord, or is Lord.

Keith: So in this verse we have Adoniya, okay? The shortened form of Ya, correct? And that Ya still represents the poetic form of God’s name.

Nehemia: It’s definitely what you find at the end of names. Yeah.

Keith: So why I got excited about this, and I know we’re going to address it again, is that I don’t know if there are other passages, maybe there are, where you have in the same passage, the same person’s name used with the formal, the longer, and the shortened form in the same chapter.

Nehemia: That’s a good question.

Keith: So the reason I think this is interesting, when we get to the more formal, the longer form of his name…

Nehemia: And again, so what you’re talking about is there is, Adoniya and Adoniyahu. And you’re saying Adoniyahu who is more formal and Adoniya is more like a nickname.

Keith: And how it used is what’s really interesting. And so we’ll get to the verse and we can come back...

Nehemia: The beauty is that those really are used interchangeably.

Keith: Yeah, absolutely. So here he is, this is “The son, whose mother was Hagit, put himself forward,” Put himself forward - what does that mean? So now David is old. He’s advanced in years. Obviously, he’s going to die. I mean, whether it’s going to be a month or six months or a year. I just think it’s interesting. David is still king - am I, right?

Nehemia: Well, you’re not dead yet, so yeah, he’s king.

Keith: So he’s king. So what is this saying? “He’s putting himself forward, putting himself forward.” What does that mean? I mean literally saying, “I’m going to be the king.”

Nehemia: Yeah.

Keith: I mean, that’s what he’s saying.

Nehemia: Well he’s jumping the gun, and he also knows that he’s not supposed to be king. That Solomon, Shlomo, has been appointed, has been promised to be king by David and so Adoniyahu is saying, “Well, wait a minute, I’m older than him, and as the elder brother, I should be king.” And that was the thinking, I guess it still is to this day in monarchies. And so he thinks, “Okay, my father doesn’t even know what’s going on. He’s some old man who’s lying in bed and is cold, and I’m just going to make myself king. And that will be a fact.” And that’s one of the things that… it’s interesting, I’ll have this conversation about… can I talk for a minute about Jesus?

Keith: Sure.

Nehemia: So I’ve had this conversation with Christians and Messianics and they’re saying, “Well, we don’t understand why the Romans would want to kill him.” And to me it’s… studying history, it’s obvious, because he was proclaiming himself to be king. He was claiming to be the son of David, the king, and the response is, “Well, so what?” And what you have to understand is that in many cultures, even today, but definitely in these ancient cultures, if you said you were king, it might just be true. And so the Romans hearing this, they’d be like, “Well, wait a minute, we can’t have somebody saying he’s king, we’re in charge.”

And that’s the case here with Adoniyahu. The mere fact that he’s proclaiming himself king may make it true. And so that’s why there had to be this response from Shlomo and his mother, Batsheva, and Natan the prophet - they had to get involved, because, you might say, “Well, wait a minute. So what if he says he’s king and he’s got 50 people running before him? It doesn’t matter. Who cares, right? But no, it mattered that… think about, what is the difference between someone who is actually the president and someone who claims to be the president? Well, if he claims to be the president and everybody accepts it, then he is.

Keith: Yeah. Well, it’s interesting…

Nehemia: Even if he shouldn’t be.

Keith: It’s interesting you bring that up, Nehemia, because he does something. He does something, it says, “So he got chariots and horses ready with 50 men to run ahead of him.” And when I read that, I immediately think of Absalom. I mean, who else did that? In other words, you get the chariots and the men and you basically say, “Look, I proclaim myself king…”

Nehemia: And I’ve got all the accouterments that go with being a king. I’ve got all the flash, the bling.

Keith: Yeah, but here’s the thing that threw me off as I was reading the passage, is the next line. The next line is where I had to slow down. I got a little concerned. Maybe there’s something you saw different in this. It says in parentheses in the NIV, it says...

Nehemia: It’s not in parentheses in the Hebrew.

Keith: Of course, of course not. “His father had never interfered with him by asking, ‘Why do you behave as you do?’” What does it say in Hebrew? Would you be willing to show us that?

Nehemia: It says “Velo atzavo aviv”. “His father did not trouble him.” His father didn’t bother him, didn’t trouble him to say, “Wait a minute, what are you doing? “Maduah kacha asita?” “Why have you done thus?”

Keith: Yeah. So he doesn’t say that to him, and that’s the part that makes me think, “So what’s happening here?” It’s not the promised one. He sees that he’s doing the same thing that Absalom did. He’s got 50 men, he’s got the horses, the chariots, he’s running...

Nehemia: The key to me is the end of the verse. It says, “And he was given birth to after Absalom,” or “She gave birth to him after Absalom.” So it’s really interesting here. There’s this pattern of thinking in the Bible, in the Tanakh, in the Hebrew thought, which is the pattern of three and four. If you look, for example, at the book of Amos, which we’ll get to, I don’t know if we’ll get to that section, it’ll talk about, “For three sins of Judah, and for the fourth I will not forgive him. And for three sins of Damascus and for the fourth...” So there’s this actual thought pattern in ancient Hebrew of the three and the four. And that’s exactly kind of what’s going on here. So, who was the first son that certainly thought he should be king or acted like a king? That was Amnon. He was the one who had the incident with his sister and he ended up getting killed.

Okay. So there’s Amnon. And then Absalom is number two. And Adoniyahu is thinking, “I’m third in line. Those two guys who were more suited than me, they had their crack. Now it’s my turn, and I’m older than Solomon, than Shlomo - why should he get a turn?” But what ends up happening is those first three are the failed kings. They never really become king. And the fourth one becomes king, which is Shlomo.

Keith: Amazing. So it says here, and this is where he goes further. It says, “He was also very handsome and was born next after Absalom.” And then 7, how does it use his name in verse 7?

Nehemia: It’s Adoniya.

Keith: It’s again Adoniya, in verse7? All right. So in verse 7, it says “He conferred with Joab and he also conferred with the priest, and they both gave him support.” So I’m going to ask this - when I read that, I thought, “So why would these guys immediately do that? What would be their thinking?” I mean, Joab, this is the commander of David’s army. What would it be about him…

Nehemia: So, Joab, Yoav, he had seen a long time ago that the king wasn’t entirely with him, and it was the situation where Yoav was just too powerful to get rid of. And so the king kind of had to step back and let him do some of the things he did. But for example, we talked about the story of Shimmi, and there’s an example where he says “You, sons of blood,” he refers to the sons of Tsriya, who were Yoav and his two brothers. So he knows that King David isn’t entirely with him, and we see in later chapters that that actually proves out, that David warns Solomon, he says, “look, you got to do something about this Yoav.”

Keith: You know, it’s funny, I was reading Nehemia before this - and just a question that came up that kind of hit me as I thought, “Okay, so what’s the last interaction historically that we see between David and Joab? The last time we hear about Joab’s name, and that last conversation that they have, and then check me on this if I’m wrong, but the last conversation that they have, at least biblically, was a disagreement. In other words, that David wanted to count the people. And, and then Joab said, “My king, don’t do this...”

Nehemia: So that’s the last chapter of 2 Samuel, and there’s some question about the chronology of that, about whether that’s actually the last thing in his kingdom or… So anyway, but yeah, it’s definitely in a sequence of the story there is a disagreement.

Keith: Yeah. There’s something knows whatever the issues are that are going on between...

Nehemia: But actually, in that instance Yoav, Joab was in the right.

Keith: Oh, he was…

Nehemia: David was in the wrong.

Keith: But here’s the point. So David was in the wrong, I’m just asking this question. What are the things where Joab is questioning his…?

Nehemia: But that was a good questioning. I think the bigger issue is that he had murdered these two people without the authority of David and it made David look bad, these two generals. And later on, we see that when David’s on his deathbed, giving his final instructions to Solomon, this is what he brings up. He doesn’t mention about the counting. He mentioned the murders of Amasa and Abner - Abner, the general of Israel, and Amasa the general of Judah. There’s got to be reckoning for that. The spilling of innocent blood.

Keith: Is it fair to say when you look back and you look forward in the story, there’s definitely this issue between David and his commander? Anyway, so the commander decides that he’s going to follow him along with the high priest. And so, he’s got a pretty good situation. He’s got the military, so he thinks, the military backing, he’s got the 50 men, he’s got the chariots, he’s made the declaration, he’s next in line, but there’s something he was missing. What was that? Any even beyond his father not saying anything, there was something even more important that he was missing.

Nehemia: He didn’t have the prophet with him.

Keith: He didn’t have the prophet. And because he didn’t have the prophet, he didn’t have what else? Whatever God was saying through the prophet. So he’s building it up himself and then...

Nehemia: Well, and the interesting thing is this is one of the few periods in history where we have two high priests side by side. So he had Eviatar the priest, he didn’t have Tzadok, or Tzedak, the priest.

Keith: Okay. Now verse 9. Now can you take and look and say what name is being used here in verse 9?

Nehemia: That’s Adoniyahu.

Keith: So just so I’m clear in verse 5 it’s Adoniya, in verse 7 it’s Adoniya in verse 9 it’s Adoniyahu. I mean, maybe we could do this and put it in later, but I would really like to find an example where you have a person’s name being two different ways in the same passage. I don’t know - that just kind of jumped off. And then, of course, the other thing it says, “He then sacrificed sheep, cattle and fattened calves at the stone of Zohelet near Ein Rogel. He invited all of his brothers, the king’s sons and all the men of Judah who were royal officials, but he did not invite Nathan the prophet or Beniya or the special guard or more importantly, his brother Solomon.” What’s he doing Nehemia? What’s going on?

Nehemia: This is what they call a coup d’etat. He’s seizing control of the kingdom by proclaiming himself king and he’s having a coronation ceremony and where does he go? He goes down to the spring of Ein Rogel. And it’s interesting what the name of that spring means.

Keith: Tell me about that.

Nehemia: So there were two main springs in ancient Jerusalem. And the interesting thing is no one knows exactly where Ein Rogel is anymore. That spring is dried out. There is a well that is a dug well, you know, a spring comes naturally out of the ground, the water oozes out of the ground naturally in Israel. And a well is something that’s actually dug into the ground. So there’s a well in that area, and some people say originally it was a spring and because of an earthquake it stopped putting out water, and so they dug down knowing that they’d reach water. But the spring doesn’t exist anymore. So the exact location is uncertain.

But Ein Rogel, I love this - so the word rogel is a word that means slander. And so Ein Rogel is the Spring of Slander, and how appropriate that he goes down to the Spring of Slander. There are two springs, and he chose that one to proclaim himself king. And there’s this great passage where that… it’s a pretty rare word it appears in Psalm 15, which is one of my favorite Psalms. Let me read it real quick here. It says, “Yehovah, who shall abide in your Tabernacle, who shall dwell in your Holy Hill? He that walks uprightly and works righteousness and speaks the truth in his heart. He that backbiteth not with his tongue.” And in the Hebrew it says “Lo raga laleshano”, he didn’t slander with his tongue. And I love this, because you read this psalm and you get the picture. There are these people who are standing… Levites, and they’re standing - and this is a psalm of David – there are these Levites who are standing at the entrance of the Temple and they’re saying, “Who shall abide in your Tabernacle, who shall dwell in your Holy Hill?” And they’re saying, “Look, if you want to come to this place, this is what you need to live up to. You need to be righteous with Yehovah - don’t just come here and bring sacrifices. God doesn’t want rivers of oil and blood, like the prophets say. You need to have this righteousness, and then you can come to this mountain and bring your sacrifices.”

Keith: Wow, amazing.

Nehemia: So when I hear Ein Rogel, the Spring of Slander, I’m reminded of that verse where that word appears. You know, and so that’s where Adoniyahu decided to go to proclaim himself king.

Keith: So when we get to verse 11, I always think about this when prophet shows up – Nathan is just going to show up now in verse 11, and he goes to Batsheva, Bathsheba, Solomon’s mother, and he says, “Have you not heard that Adoni…” well I should say in my English, I don’t even know how to say…

Nehemia: Adonaijah.

Keith: “…that Adonaijah the son of Hagit has become king without our lord David knowing it.”

Nehemia: There it’s Adoniyahu.

Keith: Ah, and there it’s again Adoniyahu, again, the prophet uses the full...

Nehemia: And in Hebrew, there’s a sort of - I don’t even know if it’s a play on words - but there’s definitely a ring to this. She says, “Ki malach Adoniyahu ben Hagit ve’adoneinu David lo yada.” So there’s “Adoniyahu has done this, and Adoneinu, our Lord David doesn’t know about it.” Like that has a ring to it in Hebrew that’s lost in English.

Keith: Great preaching. By the way Nehemia, this is really good folks. We’ve got him into a system now where for each of the Prophet Pearls you’ve been reading the entire passage in Hebrew. And actually, I’m really excited you’ve even been a little bit dramatic about it. So when you get to this phrase, we’re expecting you to say it like you just said it. We want it to jump off the page that there’s a little bit of a...

Nehemia: “Lo shemata ki Adoniyahu ben Hagit ve’Adoneinu David lo yada.”

Keith: There it is! Have you not heard?

Nehemia: “Have you not heard that Adoniyahu, son of Hagit, has reigned and proclaimed himself king and our Lord David doesn’t know?”

Keith: Doesn’t know. Wow. So anyway, we’re expecting that. Let’s continue, because this gets interesting. It says, “Now then let me advise you on how you can save your own life and the life of your son Solomon.” In other words, this isn’t just an issue of a power play where he wants to be king. He realizes what this means. If he becomes king, you’re done.

Nehemia: If he’s king, Solomon’s going to die.

Keith: It’s over. I mean, we see that in this over and over again. The sons of the king get slaughtered.

Nehemia: Especially for a usurper, meaning someone who’s stealing the authority… that really doesn’t have it coming, he doesn’t have true legitimacy. So those who have other potential legitimacy, he’s got to kill them.

Keith: Hmm. Wow. So it says here, “Surely Solomon, your son,” it says, “go unto King David say to him, ‘My Lord the king, did you not swear to me, your servant, surely Solomon, your son shall be king after me and he will sit on my throne? Why then has Adoniyahu…’” Then I think it’s interesting Bathsheba uses the shortened form. She doesn’t use the long form. She’s talking to him like, “Hey, your son, you know, you know Mike?” Adoniya not Adoniyahu. She uses the shortened form, because this is the way they called him. They called him by the shortened form. Interestingly, when they’re ready to proclaim him king, they don’t use the shortened form, they used the long form. I’m making this up folks, no I’m reading it. I’m just telling you Bathsheba uses the shortened form.

Not going to make a whole theology out of it, but I just think if you can find another example, where in the same story we have two examples of the long form and the shortened form - and I’m saying this is, from a formal standpoint, when it’s time for him to do his proclamation, where they proclaim him, we’re going to get to that - which form did they use? Let’s continue. And I want to get to that, Nehemia, because I have a very controversial thing I want to ask you about.

Nehemia: Oh, okay.

Keith: “Let me advise you. Go unto the king. Say this to him,” verse 14, “while you are still there talking to the king, I will come in and confirm what you have said.” Now for a little conversation. Verse 15, “So Bathsheba went to see the aging king in his room where Avishag…” now here comes the Shunammite, “…was attending him.” Nehemia - same word. Now she comes in and she’s attending him. I’m saying this, “What was she attending? How was she attending him?”

Nehemia: She was cuddling him, he was cold. It was body heat. Grow up.

Keith: Okay. So she comes in and she has to make mention of Avishag, who was ministering to the king, who’s serving the king. Maybe she’s getting him water and tea…

Nehemia: Give me a break, come on. We heard what her purpose was. Come on!

Keith: I think Avishag was a nurse. I think she’s doing more for the king.

Nehemia: In English, you have the word nurse. It doesn’t say that in Hebrew.

Keith: Well, okay. She was being a servant. Okay. So she does this and it says, “Batsheva bowed low, knelt before the king. ‘What is it that you want?’ the king asked. She said, ‘My lord, you yourself swore to me your servant.’” And I think it’s interesting when Nathan says, “Go in and say to him, ‘My Lord the king, did you not swear to me your servant?’” When she does it, she says, “My lord you yourself swore to me.” And then what does it say?

Nehemia: By Yehovah. By Yehovah. “Nishbata ba’Yehovah.” “You have sworn by Yehovah your God.”

Keith: And how big of a deal is that?

Nehemia: That’s a really big deal. Meaning, if you swear something by Yehovah…

Keith: That’s a big deal. What does that mean?

Nehemia: …then that’s binding upon you. You can’t annul that or get out of that. And her point was, “You swore, so I’m holding you to your word.”

Keith: You swore by Yehovah. Wow. And it says here, “Solomon, your son shall be king after me and he will sit on my throne.” Now let’s do something - just historically, a little bit of context for people that don’t realize, can we do something? Can we just do something?

Nehemia: Well, here once again we’ve got Adoniyahu and Adoni, there’s this contrast once again, there’s your son whose name is, Adoniyahu. And then Adoni, my Lord the king.

Keith: So when you begin, when you’re reading that make sure you bring that up. Can we do a little context, a little history, a little context?

Nehemia: Sure.

Keith: How big a deal is it that David has this promised seed, of Solomon? How big of a deal is it for Bathsheba that it’s her son that’s going to be this promised seed. And could we just for a second, would you be willing to go back to the promise that God gave David? In other words, just from a little bit of context, why is this a big deal? This is just like, you know…

Nehemia: Well, it’s a big deal to her because she’s going to die if Adoniyahu becomes king.

Keith: Why is it a big deal to the bigger story…?

Nehemia: So here’s a really interesting thing that I was talking to my friend Tim about down in San Antonio, Texas. Hey Tim! And I was talking to him just a few days ago, and he pointed out to me, “You know, we really have a lot of information about David.” And I thought about it - we know more about the life of David, about the adventures and challenges and failings of David, than we know about Moses. Than we know about Abraham, than we know about… I mean maybe Jacob comes close, Joseph comes close. But really, we know a lot more even about David than we do about Jacob and Joseph. So think about it, is there another biblical figure that we know about so many of his failings and ins and outs, and challenges with the family…

Keith: Lifespan, when there’s a child.

Nehemia: So we really have a lot of information about David, and I think that’s because David is a central figure in the Bible. Because David begins the line of the kings which ultimately will result in the final redemption with the King Messiah, and so that’s why this is important. This is the succession, meaning who comes after David isn’t some trivial matter, because the Messiah is going to be decided based on that line. Who is it?

Keith: So that’s why I’ll tell you for me. So when we were reading this passage, what I wanted to do is ask myself, “Okay, so why is this a big deal?” And we’re hearing the story about Avishag and keeping the king warm and this guy’s a false king, whatever. But if the story goes different then the promise ends. I mean, the promise was for Solomon, for his son…

Nehemia: And so basically we’ve got the promised king of the Line of David, but then there’s always this danger of the false king rising up and proclaiming himself king. Maybe he has even some priests behind him, and maybe he’s got some military might behind it, but he doesn’t have the true right and legitimacy and he doesn’t have the prophet with him to be the true king of the line of David.

Keith: Amen. Then that’s what I wanted. Okay, so it says here, “She said to him, ‘My lord, you swore this to me, and he’s sacrificed great numbers of cattle, fattened calves, sheep, and has invited all the king’s sons, the priests and Joab the commander of the army. But he has not invited Solomon your servant. My lord, the king, the eyes of all of Israel are on you to learn from you who will sit on the throne of my lord the king after him. Otherwise, as soon as my lord, the king is laid to rest with his fathers, I and my son Solomon will be treated as…’” and, it says in the English here “as criminals.” In other words, she’s also reminding him, “Look, you’ve sworn this…”

Nehemia: In Hebrew, it says “chata’im”, sinners. And what will be their sin? I guess their sin will be rebelling against the one who proclaims himself to be the true king, even though he’s not the true king, but he’s the one with the power. So they’ll be deemed sinners.

Keith: Wow. “And while she was still speaking with the king, Nathan the prophet arrived and they told the king, ‘Nathan, the Prophet is here.’ So he went before the king and bowed with his face to the ground.” Verse 24. And of course, we know the story of Nathan and the king. He shows up at significant times in his life. When he comes in…

Nehemia: And Nathan… can I say this? He’s a little bit of a schemer. Like, he had a similar thing… it’s almost the same story, where he got a woman, I believe she was from Tacoa, and he said to her, “Look, you’ve got to go tell the story to the king about a sheep…” and you know that story. And then the king proclaims the judgment and then Nathan shows up and says, “Hey, wait a minute. You’re the man.” And maybe that says something about Nathan and David and their relationship, that he was afraid of David, I guess.

Keith: Well, think about it. You’re bringing the kind of mess back… accountability…

Nehemia: All right. Whatever. But this is Yehovah speaking through him. But even so, he was afraid to come and bring that message to the king. And we can see from stories about, for example, Jeremiah, where he got thrown into a dungeon basically, for doing the same thing. So I understand why he was afraid. But you know, it’s an interesting dynamic they have.

Keith: And that’s actually, Nehemia, why I brought that up earlier, just about the dynamic of the king and the people. When I hear about Joab I think about, what was their deal? Here’s Nathan, what was their deal? His sons, Absalom, what was the deal, what was going on with them? And the things that happened… David is a very complicated figure.

Nehemia: I mean think about it. This is the true king of Israel, and he’s the forefather of the one who in the end will reign as the Messiah…

Keith: Say that brother.

Nehemia: …who brings peace to the entire world, where all mankind will come before his throne and profess his kingship. May it be soon. And think about what we know about him. He’s not a perfect man in any sense. He’s sinned. He’s murdered, he’s committed adultery, he’s made a lot of mistakes. But he had this faith and loyalty to Yehovah and he was willing to change. He was willing to repent.

Keith: Amen.

Nehemia: And that’s the power of David, not that he’s perfect, but that he has a true heart for Yehovah and is willing to come to Him in full repentance.

Keith: May it be that we have a heart like that.

Nehemia: Amen.

Keith: So Nathan comes, as you mentioned, “Has my lord, the king, declared that Adoniyahu shall be king after you and that he will sit on your throne? Today he has gone down and sacrificed great numbers.” Hearing the story again, now for the third time, first we heard Adoniyahu do it…

Nehemia: Then we heard Nathan tell Bathsheba that he did it…

Keith: Bathsheba told the king that he did it, and now he’s coming to confirm it again. “Have you my lord done this today? He’s gone down… sacrificed sheep. He’s invited all the king’s sons, the commanders of the army and the priests. Right now they are eating and drinking with him and saying…” And now I want you to take a look at what it says here in Hebrew. This made me stop, Nehemia, because when I heard what Nathan told David, in this phrase, and then what I heard them say to him, it really made me stop. So could you do us a favor and just tell us, what does the phrase say, that Nathan is telling them that they’re saying about the king?

Nehemia: So he says, “Vayemru”, “and they said”, and they said, meaning the people who are backing Adoniyahu. “Yechi hamelech Adoniyahu” “long live King Adoniyahu.” And actually, it doesn’t say long live, “Yechi”, may the King Adoniyahu live. And that’s a really important phrase, “yechi”, “may he live.” And we’ll see it in a minute when we get to the end that this is what’s proclaimed about David. It’s powerful.

Keith: So I saw that. And I have to be honest with you, when I saw that I asked myself, if the people are saying this, what would be a modern day example where someone would say “live” to a king?

Nehemia: Oh, so in French, you’ve got this expression, which I imagine comes from the Hebrew, perhaps, where you say like, you know, “Viva la so-and-so”, “Viva la revolution”, long live the revolution. Well, the revolution isn’t a thing that lives, it comes from this ancient Hebrew concept that you’re proclaiming the life of something or someone.

Keith: So in other words, okay, we’re going to keep developing, because this phrase is what caught my attention. And it says, “But me, your servant and Tzedak the priest and Benaya the son of Yehoyada and your servant Solomon he did not invite. Is this something my lord the king has done without letting his servants know who should sit on the throne of my lord the king after him?” Then King David said… Now up until now, up until verse 28, we have not heard David say anything in this whole chapter. We’ve heard that he’s got Avishag, he’s got a Shunammite…

Nehemia: He’s got a cuddle partner.

Keith: And he’s got a minister named Avishag the Shunammite, and he’s got Bathsheba coming in and Nathan coming in. He even has… it seems to say that he’s aware of the fact that his son is doing these things and not saying anything about it. But we don’t hear from him. And then when we finally hear him, I get this picture, Nehemia - what was the thing that finally made David respond? Was it what they were saying? Long live king or, well, I should say, “Live King Adoniyahu”? Was it that Bathsheba and Solomon were at risk for their lives? Was it that these… whatever it is, something makes the king finally say, “Call in Bathsheba.”

Nehemia: Which is interesting; it means that when Nathan came in, she was sent out.

Keith: Exactly. So first she comes in, she tells the story, she’s out. Here comes the prophet...

Nehemia: And Nathan’s point was, if I come and say it to him, maybe he won’t believe it. And if you go and say it to him he won’t believe. But if he hears it from two witnesses, he’s going to believe it.

Keith: There it is. “So she came into the king’s presence and stood before him. The king then took an oath.” It seems like he almost… and we have to stop. We have to stop. I want us to break up this oath in Hebrew. “The king then took an oath,” and in English it says this, “‘As surely as the LORD lives,’ as surely as Yehovah lives, ‘who has delivered me out of every trouble, I will surely carry out today what I swore to you by Him.’” So this idea that he’s by the life of...

Nehemia: So he says “Chai Yehovah”, “as Yehovah lives”, “asher pada et nafshi mikol tzara”, “who redeemed my soul from all trouble” “Ki ka’asher nishbati lach ba’Yehovah Elohei Yisrael”, “as I have sworn to you by Yehovah the God of Israel,” “le’emor”, saying, “ki Shlomo venech yimloch acharai”, “that Solomon your son will be king after me,” “vehu yoshev al kis’ee tachtai”, “and he will sit on my throne after me”, “ki ken e’eseh hayom hazeh”, “for thus shall I do this very day.” Yeah.

So it’s really interesting. I love this phrase where he… So he’s swearing chai Yehovah, as Yehovah lives, and there are prophecies about that. I want to talk about that, do we have time or…?

Keith: Please. I mean we have time because I want to talk about the significance of that phrase.

Nehemia: I love that phrase, “chai Yehovah.” It’s one of the most important phrases I think in the Tanakh, and we have 43 times that people are swearing “chai Yehovah”, “as Yehovah lives.” 1 Samuel 14:39, there’s an oath, it says “ki chai Yehovah hamoshia et Yisrael”, “for as Yehovah lives, the one who saves Israel”, the savior of Israel. I love that. And then there’s a prophecy in Jeremiah 12:16, and I’ve talked about this before, one of the reasons this is a fascinating prophecy to me is that most of the prophecies I think are directed at Israel, whereas Jeremiah 12:16 is explicitly not directed at Israel. In Jeremiah 12:16 he starts out in verse 14, it says, “Ko amar Yehovah al kol sh’cheinei haraim”, “thus says Yehovah to all my evil neighbors”, “hanogaim benachala asher hinachalti et ami at Yisrael”, “who touch upon the inherited portion that I’ve given to my people, Israel.” So in other words, Israel’s neighbors, the Gentiles - this is a prophecy to the Gentiles.

And then in verse six 16 he says, “And it shall come to pass if they surely learn the way of My people to swear in My name, or by My name, chai Yehovah, as Yehovah lives.” So if you learn to swear the way David swore, to make an oath the way David made an oath, as Yehovah lives, and it says, “as they taught My people to swear by Baal”, because that’s what they did, they would swear as Baal lives. It says, “venivnu betoch ami”, “and they will be built in the midst of My people”.

So think about what an amazing promise that is to Jeremiah. This promise through Jeremiah to the nations of the world, that if they learn to swear the way David swore, then they will be built into the midst of Yehovah’s people. They’ll be part of that Davidic heritage, that Davidic promise, the promise to Israel. You know, we read in Isaiah before about how the covenant to Israel - there’s a connection between that covenant to Israel and the loyal promises to David. The faithful promises to David. And here we can see there’s this oath that David made, that 43 times in the Tanakh is made by different people, and if the Gentiles will learn to swear that way there’ll be built in the midst of Israel.

Keith: I want to just bring this up, Nehemia, and you know, we’re some weeks into the process now, but in the Ten Commandments series, the third series in the Scripture Bite series at BFEinternational.com speaks about the fact that He says, “You shall not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.”

So it’s talking about these… you talked about the gentiles will learn to swear in His name, but yet in the general sense of how it’s been taught, you stay as far away from God’s name not only in Jewish tradition but in the Christian tradition. I’m about to give you a chance for the Ministry Minute. But what’s so exciting about this is that when you’re reading the Scriptures and we see chai Yehovah, and then you bring up the verse in Jeremiah that says, “If I as a gentile will learn to swear in God’s name, just like David did, then He’ll build me up.” But what’s my learning? What is it that I learn? You stay away from the name and certainly, well, you wouldn’t, swear in His name.

Nehemia: Yes, so, that’s one of the things that my people have... we’ve sinned. We’ve turned the name of God, the name of Yehovah, into this thing we’re supposed to be afraid of. This thing we have to stay as far away from as possible. And in my book Shattering the Conspiracy of Silence, I talk about this, that there really is a conspiracy of silence about God’s name. And it’s an open conspiracy. Meaning that we must not speak this name - it’s forbidden, it’s too holy to pronounce. It’s too profound to know.

And we read an ancient Hebrew and we see David swear, “chai Yehovah”, “as Yehovah lives.” One of the things I talk about in that book, Shattering the Conspiracy of Silence, is there’s this ancient Hebrew letter that was found in a place called Lachish. And I love it. It’s one of the Lachish letters and it’s written in Paleo Hebrew, and we can date it very precisely. It’s from the Babylonian invasion of Judea. And it’s this commander who’s sending letters back. In one place, the guy says, “chai Yehovah”, the same words that David said, the same words that Jeremiah taught that if the nations will learn they’ll be built in the midst of Yehovah’s people.

But what’s really cool about it in this ancient Hebrew letter from Lachish, in southern Israel, is that he writes chai Yehovah, as Yehovah lives, as one single word. And what scholars have come along and said is that this reflects the way people pronounced Hebrew. That it’s kind of like… it’s what we would call an English contraction. Like, you know, we say “do not”. And then we’ll say “don’t”, and we’ll even write it that way. Don’t.

Well, Hebrew had a similar thing. And so when they would say “as Yehovah lives” it was such a common phrase, it was like don’t, isn’t or ain’t. And they would say ChaiHova, they’d write it as one word. And it’s actually a good clue about how the name was pronounced. Because if it was chai Yahweh, well that couldn’t possibly be contracted to one syllable in Hebrew, and this has to do with Hebrew grammar, that the Yud in Yehovah has a shva, and the shva is only a half a vowel so it can fall out. And we have that, for example, le’Yerushalayim, to Jerusalem is LiYerushalayim, and this is grammar. But this is a standard rule in Hebrew that when you have this kind of structure with the shva, the shva can fall out and you can say ChaiYehova, you can say ChaiHova. It’s beautiful stuff.

Keith: Well I want to tell you, Nehemia, it’s interesting about what you just shared, you talk about it’s just grammar, but that’s one of the things that your ministry, one of the things you have been doing in your life is learning. So to take a minute, we’re almost at the end here, but we can do it at any time during the show, we’ve agreed that we’re always going to give each one a minute, I’ll either let you go first or I’ll go first.

Nehemia: All right, well I’ll go first because I kind of started. So my ministry is Makor Hebrew Foundation, my website’s NehemiasWall.com, and what we’ve really been about is empowering people with information to defend the word of Yehovah and build their faith based on ancient Hebrew sources. And the reason I called Nehemia’s Wall is there’s that image of the people up on the wall and they’ve got in one hand the tool to build and the other hand the tool to defend themselves. And what I’ve seen is the people have just been harassed and given false information, and I want to empower those people with that information to have the two tools in their hands to build their faith and defend their faith. And I’m not about tearing down anybody’s faith. I really want to build your faith in the truth, based on ancient Hebrew sources. And even if you disagree with me on certain important things, you need to be empowered. And then I love this image - it then describes in Nehemiah, my book Nehemia, how there are men with him on the wall who blow the trumpet. And you know, I’ve started this thing called my raw stream of Torah consciousness, where I’m putting out these special studies to my support team, people who can sign up and join the support team. And those are the people who are standing with me on the wall to get this message out. And I just want to send my thanks to those people.

Keith: Awesome. Well and again, it’s important, Nehemia, what you’re doing, because having the information, oftentimes, at least for myself, there just haven’t been enough people that I’m around that have access to that kind of information. So you say it’s grammar. I say that that’s really important to understand how the language works. So again, for us, for BFAinternational.com you can go on the front page and you’ll see two things that jump right off the page. One is Prophet Pearls, which is what we’re doing right now. And the other is Scripture Bites - it’s just a 10 part series. By now I’m sure we’re in, I believe it is week five. And what we’re doing is we’ve decided that we want to provide the best information we can, information, inspiration, revelation to inspire people around the world to build a biblical foundation for their faith. But I want to challenge some of you that are able to consider becoming a part of the Premium Content Library. And I’ll tell you why. The Premium Content Library is a give and take. One, if you’re a Premium Content Library member, it’s a minimum $9.99 a month, gives people access to everything we’ve done, including I think the numbers up to like 40 some, television quality teachings on God’s time, God’s Torah, God’s name. Those things are played all over the world and now we make them available in the Premium Content Library.

But the other thing it does, Nehemia, and those that are listening, it helps us for the things that haven’t been developed. One of the things that hasn’t been developed is an amazing, amazing series that I actually did with Yehuda Glick, on his mission regarding bringing people to the Temple Mount and the importance of the Temple Mount, and that’s sitting on a camera that we can’t even address until we can get enough resources. And so that’s an example - if you sign up as a premium content member, you’re helping us, we’re helping you, and together if we can get enough people just doing a little, that’s going to help us do a lot. And so there’s a couple of series like that are just going to be, I think that are going to be earth shattering they’re going to be amazing for people.

So if you’d be interested, please consider going to BFAinternational.com just sign into the Academy. You’ll see a choice of Free Member or a Premium Content Member. Free members get even more things than the general person. But the Premium Content folks are the people that are helping us one, prepare for the things that we have due and doing, and two, they get a chance to have access to absolutely everything. So please consider that, we need a whole lot of people to get that, to do that so that by the end of the year we can start the year producing some amazing series that we have that need to be developed.

So that’s it for me and my Ministry Minute. Nehemia would you like to say anything else? I hope not. I’m just kidding him. He’s… really, I have to say something about Nehemia, for those that are considering to be in a support team. You know, he’s in the process of developing not his ministry, but developing how he talks about it. His ministry has been going on for years. You’ve been doing amazing teachings, written articles that are available, and certainly the things we’ve done together, where you’ve just raised the bar, but you haven’t so much been dealing with the issue of resources, and that’s not an easy conversation for you. So I want to tell you, for those that are listening, consider being a part of the support team that’s going to help you continue to do what you’re doing, which is providing the best information, I think, that’s available for people to learn for themselves. So that’s my plug for you. Thank you.

We’ve only got a verse left and we’re actually just about out of time…

Nehemia: Woah, woah, wait a minute. We’ve got to talk about verse 29.

Keith: We’re going to get to 29, 30.

Nehemia:Chai Yehovah”, “as Yehovah lives”. He says, “asher pada nafshi mikol tzara”, “who redeemed my soul from all trouble”, and in English, maybe you can just gloss over that.

Keith: It says, “The king took an oath, ‘As surely as the LORD lives, who has delivered me out of every trouble.’

Nehemia: “Delivered me out of every trouble.” So in Hebrew, the word is pada, which means redeemed, and the image there is… we have actually had this image in the Tanakh of every firstborn belongs to Yehovah and they have to redeem Him. They do the five shekels to the Kohen. This word redeemed is somebody who is basically being bought out of some kind of situation. A slave, for example, can be redeemed. So “Yehovah redeemed my soul.” I mean, the literal meaning has to do with you pay some kind of price to get somebody out of something. And here Yehovah paid the price to get my soul from all trouble.

And in Hebrew this is a very unusual phrase, it only appears here in 1 Kings 1:29, and in the Psalms, and specifically it’s often in the psalms of David. So my favorite example here, I’ll bring the clearest example. Psalm 34 verse 23, which in the English is verse 22 because you have different verse numbers. In the King James, it says, “The LORD redeemeth the soul of his servants and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate.” And it’s the same phrase. It says “podeh Yehovah nefesh avadah”, “Yehovah redeems the soul of his servants.” And if you look at the beginning of that psalm, it is a psalm of David in a very specific situation. And so David… this is Davidic terminology. This is like a turn of phrase that David liked to use, and here he’s using it like in daily life - he’s dealing with the situation.

Keith: Wow, I’m calling this a Pearl. And so I want this to be the Word of the Week. That actual word, I want you to teach the word, and then we’re going to… We do have a couple of verses that we go and I want to bring out a story at the end that you’re really going to appreciate.

Nehemia: So the word is padah. It’s a very easy word in Hebrew Peh-Daled-Hey. And it means to redeem. And let me just give you a quick example of it. And here for example, well we have to read this because this is a powerful thing. This is Exodus 13 verse 13, it says, “And every firstling of an ass thou shalt redeem with a lamb.” Same word, padah, you will padah with a lamb. “And if you not redeem it, then you shall break his neck and all the firstborn of man among your children shall you redeem.” Again, padah.

And then skip ahead to verse… well, let’s read it. “And it shall be when your son asks you in time to come saying, ‘What is this?’ That you shall say unto him, ‘By the strength of the hand Yehovah brought us up from Egypt, from that house of bondage. And it came to pass when Pharaoh would hardly let us go that Yehovah slew all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of man and the firstborn of beasts. Therefore I sacrifice to Yehovah all that opens the matrix, being males, but all the firstborns of my children, I padah, I redeem.’” And so Yehovah redeems our souls from trouble. Hallelujah.

Keith: Well, if it’s okay, I want to end with a story that I think you’re going to appreciate. There’s a verse here… Can I the rest of the verse? We go to 30.

Nehemia: Go ahead. Read it.

Keith: Okay. It says here, “Solomon your son shall be king after me. He will sit on my throne, my place. Then Bathsheba bowed low with her face to the ground, kneeling before the king and said, ‘Now may my lord the king live forever.’”

Nehemia: What - you want to gloss over that?

Keith: No, I’m not going to gloss over it, I’m bringing it to the end. That’s why I’m, so now, tell what it says.

Nehemia: Oh, so she says here, “Yechi adoni hamelech David le’olam”, “May my lord the king, David, live forever.” So that’s that same word, yechi, that the people had said about Adoniyahu. And here she’s saying it about the king, and then she adds the word le’olam, which is the word we had before in our word of the week, olam for the universe, forever. What does that mean? David’s almost on his deathbed. I mean, he’s inches from death and she’s saying, “may he live forever”. There’s got to be something deeper in that. Can I get excited about it?

Keith: Tell you what I think it is. What do you mean? Of course, she knows also the promise.

Nehemia: Amen.

Keith: So by you doing this, your seed, the seed that’s coming, the seed that will be l’olam, forever, may it be that the promise that God gave you that I’m now fighting for with your son, who’s going to be the next son, line all the way in to the end, it’s almost like she’s saying, “Look, if we can get this done, if we can keep this line going the way it’s supposed to, that seed will go forever.” I mean, why not? I mean, it’s pretty powerful, at least for you and I sitting here today - we know that that seed from David to Solomon, and ultimately the king that will come, it comes from his seed, it’s forever.

Nehemia: And that’s one way of looking at it. But I want, you know, I don’t think I’m going out on a limb by saying that she may have had something else in mind, which is that she knew that there would be a day when, as it says in Daniel, “Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall arise, some for eternal life.” And this may be what she meant by saying to David, “may David live forever.”

Keith: Oh, wow. Oh, may it be. Listen, we’re out of time, but I want to give you a chance to respond to something. In December, some years ago, I had a very good friend named Reggie White who passed on. And the day before he passed on, he called me here at this house and he told me about a dream that he had, and when he’s telling me about this dream he said that he saw this word and this word he spoke about was, he’s saying the word that he was redeemed. And I remember him just being frantic about this. He’s calling, he’s calling me, I think he… the next day, and actually we talked about it, you were checking to see what it was, but refresh my memory. Do you remember what verse it was? He didn’t say it was a verse, but he said that it was this word. Do you remember that?

Nehemia: Yeah, it was the word padah. It was a form of the word padah. The benoni pa’ool, for those who know Hebrew. And yeah, I believe it was, well actually it’s a couple of verses, but for example, Isaiah 35:10, says “u’pduyei Yehovah”, “those who are redeemed of Yehovah shall return.” Here let’s read that in your King James just for fun. “And the ransomed of the LORD.” That’s how they translate it, ransomed. And it’s not a bad translation, because ransom is you pay money, but the word is redeemed padah. “The ransomed of Yehovah, the redeemed of Yehovah shall return and come designed with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads. They shall obtain joy and gladness and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.”

And then the same exact words, virtually, appear in Isaiah 51:11, “Therefore the redeemed of the LORD,” or literally “the ransomed,” “then Yehovah shall return and come with singing to Zion in everlasting joy shall be upon their head. They shall obtain gladness and joy and sorrow mourning shall flee away.” So it’s essentially the same prophecy twice. Two witnesses.

And so think about that. The day before he passed away, Reggie sees these two words, these words, the ransomed of the LORD, the redeemed of Yehovah, and it speaking about how they’re going to come to Zion with song. And my prayer is that I have the opportunity, one day in the future, perhaps in the far future, to come to Zion with song as one of the redeemed of Yehovah, and stand there shoulder to shoulder with Reggie White.

Keith: Amen. Isn’t it something that he was talking potentially about that time? You know, Reggie had this dream, the same word. So, he really was a great inspiration to me. Obviously, I know he’d be excited about what we’re doing with Prophet Pearls and the many things that we’re doing, because it gives a chance for people to see God’s language in its original language, history, and context, which he was desiring more than anything and was studying diligently for that. So we bless his memory, we bless his family.

And at this point, Nehemia, I’m going to have to end this. I know you’d like to go another 30 minutes, but we’ve got to end this before we go too far. Folks, we really do appreciate you listening. Make sure that you visit NehemiasWall.com, take a look at all the things that he has provided there. BFAinternational.com, take a look at what we have there and consider joining us in our mission is we try to help people really around the world, as you said, defend their faith, and we say inspiring people to build a biblical foundation for their faith. Until next time, keep reading. Keep studying. Keep watching. And would you do us this favor? Would you keep praying? Amen?

Nehemia: Amen.

You have been listening to Prophet Pearls with Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson. Thank you for supporting Nehemia Gordon’s Makor Hebrew Foundation. Learn more at NehemiasWall.com.

We hope the above transcript has proven to be a helpful resource in your study. While much effort has been taken to provide you with this transcript, it should be noted that the text has not been reviewed by the speakers and its accuracy cannot be guaranteed. If you would like to support our efforts to transcribe the teachings on NehemiasWall.com, please visit our support page. All donations are tax-deductible (501c3) and help us empower people around the world with the Hebrew sources of their faith!

Subscribe to "Nehemia's Wall" on your favorite podcasts app!
iTunes | Android | Spotify | Google Play | Stitcher | TuneIn

Share This Teaching

Thank you for supporting my research and teachings through my nonprofit, Makor Hebrew Foundation. Together we are empowering people around the world with vital information about the Hebrew sources of their faith!

Related Posts:
The Original Torah Pearls - Chayei Sarah (Genesis 23:1-25:18)
Torah and Prophet Pearls
Hebrew Voices Episodes
Support Team Studies
Nehemia Gordon's Teachings on the Name of God

28 thoughts on “Prophet Pearls #5 – Chayei Sarah (1 Kings 1:1-31)

  1. In Europe in the Middle Ages, at public baths/spas, it was customary for a woman servant to prewarm the guests’ bed by lying in it for a while before the guest retired. Either that or a regular metal or clay bedwarmer with hot coals…

  2. In Genesis 22 : 16 – Yehovah says to Abraham ” By Myself have I sworn ” and when David says in 1 King 1 : 30 – ” even as I swore to you ” but qualified by ” by Yehovah ” : the very use of the Hebrew Term ” Sheva” is irrevocable .

  3. “May the king (david) live forever!” A perfect blessing for a dire time, especially considering that a blessing of life for anything less than forever is the same as a sentense of death; except deferred. Even if she had no power to enforce the blessing, it would have plainly showed david that she had no ill will toward him at all, only good will. That would be appropriate, as david had just proclaimed to save her and solomon’s life. Not all is esoteric, but all has a practical side too. Yah bless! (and chaiaoeh!)

  4. Nehemiah has reason to be excited about his insight regarding eternal life found in the phrase-
    “Let my lord King David live forever!”

    We find a second witness at the end of Psalm 17 being a prayer by King David.
    “…From men of the world, whose portion is in this life”
    “As for me, I shall behold Your face in righteousness; I will be satisfied with Your likeness when I awake.”

    The phrase “When I awake” coincides with Daniel 12:2 “Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake …” this is in contrast to those “whose portion is in this life”.

  5. SOLOMON THE WISE

    Why should life have been easy when Solomon was able to take advantage of those slaves hanging around to build the tunnels and waterways, naturally ?

    The Jebusites were common peoples, and lazy too, it seems, as they build their houses near the spring.

    The miracles start, when the healing begins, and the poor slaves are restored.

    Hmm…

    An interesting article

    http://www.bibleplaces.com/warrenshaft.htm

  6. Sorry to bother you with all these questions,

    But,

    Is there, or has there ever been , a natural water spring within the Haram esh-Sharif
    ???

    If no, would this possibly rule out “The” place of Solomon’s temple ??

  7. P.S.
    At the same time Ezekiel’s temple comes to mind. Obviously this is yet future, yet would this not imply the same place as Solomon’s temple??

    Gihon kind of makes sense because of the gushing-cleansing living waters…???

    • PPS
      Nehemia,

      Your explanation of the Gihon spring is very interesting, because of the following Psalm..

      87:7 As well the singers as the players on instruments shall be there: all my springs are in you.

      Would this place Zion over the gushing spring/springs ?

    • Haha. No. Gichon means to “gush forth”. It refers to the nature of the Gichon Spring. It gushes forth with water about every 40 minutes and in between gushes trickles out slowly. This is a rare type of natural spring called a “siphon spring” or “rhythmic spring”.

  8. On the question of why Nathan set Bathsheba up to enter first, and him to come in and repeat the events:
    “On the testimony of two witnesses is a matter to be established.” To testify that Aviyashav was usurping the throne, and request that King David intervene and name another be successor, would render – essentially – a probable death sentence to Aviyashav. I believe that Nathan was aware of the import of the situation, and ensured that a right judgement would be rendered. Judging, as he desired to do, from the basis of Torah, David would have recognized the importance of two witnesses standing before him, and that he had an obligation to do the right thing. David’s history of not correcting his son implies that perhaps David would have avoided dealing with his wayward, and willful, son, and delayed making a decision/ judgement. Perhaps this was God’s idea – an inspired way of cornering David, in a way, and ensuring Solomon’s kingship.

  9. Hey there, Prophet Patriots (Keith and Nehemiah).

    Another great contribution to the study of YeHoVaH’s word in the 1 Kings 1:1-1:31 haftarah portion coming from the dynamic duo; that banner for your program is great. It really is great to hear both of you again digging for solid information on the ancient Hebrew sources of faith. I could use some clarity on what was briefly mentioned in I Kings 1:1-31.

    Maybe it is only in how I heard Keith’s ‘softball’ toss of ‘virgin’ (bethuwlah) in 1 Kings 1:1-1:31 as contrasted with Isaiah 7:14 (almah), to which Nehemiah offered the “obvious” home-run that Isaiah’s use does not allow virgin. I’m not sure what the point in that was, unless it is to cast doubt on the understanding [in my words] found in Matthew’s take on the verse in Hebrew Matthew (and in English Matt. 1:23).

    My point (?): If the Hebrew writer of Matthew concluded that the Hebrew writer of Isaiah (as is pertains to the use of almah for ‘virgin’ verses ‘maiden’ or ‘young woman’) was correct in saying “virgin (bethuwlah),” then the more obvious understanding, when comparing scripture with scripture, is found in the associated Torah portion, Genesis 23:1-25:18.

    The Pearl: I find it fascinating that YeHoVaH would inspire the Hebrew text that Moses was writing for Hebrew believers to include (1st) bethuwlah in Genesis 24:16 and secondly almah in verse 43, both of which were accurately translated into virgin. Here is the same author in the same language writing about the same characters (Abraham’s servant and Rebekah)…all in the same chapter calling Rebekah bethuwlah-almah-virgin. Possible for sure, but is it likely that Isaiah understood Moses’s use of the Hebrew language in antiquity pertaining to how, when, and whom either bethuwlah or almah (perhaps both) are used, and thereafter translated into virgin? I think the quick teamwork comment to included an unrelated text to the scheduled reading is a foul play and falls into eisegesis. Brethren, please stick with exegesis, because the support for *Isa. 7:14’s ‘virgin’ is absolutely and correctly withing the bounds of this field, causing both of you in this portion to be found wanting. You guys missed that pearl.

    In love: Brethren, keep reading…

    • In all fairness Aron, I guess we both know plenty of virgins who also happen to be young women, and plenty of young women who happen to be virgins. Some, but not necessarily all, will be both. Evidently Rivkah was both, and was described so in the scripture. I’m guessing you saw “foul” where none existed.

  10. Shalom, Nehemia and Keith (please pass this on to him)!

    Truly enjoy these Prophet Pearls as well as the Torah Pearls; blessings upon both of you!

    Doing the search about the Hebrew word meanings as the two of you were talking, and found a couple more “pearls” ……

    The first was in connection with Adoniyahu’s choice of places to hold his sacrificial feast of his kingship (1 Ki. 1:9) “… at the Zohelet stone which was near En-rogel”. I found out that the word “Zohelet” means “crawling” as in serpents and the word for stone is ‘even, to build ; so it sounds like this just may have been an altar stone for serpent worship. Am I deducing correctly or not?

    The second one was that the phrase that King David uses in 1 Ki. 1:29 “As Yehovah lives, who has redeemed me from every trouble” he also used back in 2 Sam. 4:9 when he has the murderers of King Sha’ul’s son, Ish-boshet killed just like he killed the man who thought he was bringing David good news about the death of King Sha’ul! I found it interesting that David used this phrase in conjunction with situations where men of vile, conniving minds and hearts acted for or against David and what and Who he stood for!

    Shavuah-tov, Kyla

    .

  11. I think that “thigh” can also mean a staff of power, such as Moses staff, or the goad or maddox which a man uses to drive oxen. This is how I have always considered the thigh, as placing the hands on the staff of power. Didn’t EliYahu leave his staff for Elisha???

  12. Shalom,

    1kings2:22-24

    Interestingly , when one keeps reading , the conspiracy becomes quite obvious…

    Thank you , Nehemiah , for adding clarity to the story.

  13. Like a future false king/leader may attempt to usurp (false messiah ) verses the correct Messiah? Watch out for coming counterfeits israel.

    Bathsheba and Nathan remind David of his word and promise to bestow the appointment onto Solomon. King David was still in control as the King (let that never slip anyone’s mind about God even when kings and prophets are appointed) David gave a voluntary appointment. Without that appointment many people would have died. Solomon therefore became salvation for his mother and Nathan.

    David,Moses also called on God in a personal way to fulfill his word and promises to bring events about.

    • When Messiah comes, how will it be declared? There is no Roman-appointed high priest anymore. If the Sanhedrin’s call differs again from the mass-aggreement of people on the ground, will the people win out this time?

  14. Thank you for posting early! We appreciate being able to spend time with you both and mulling over your words and your pearls. My husband and I host a Torah study each Saturday morning and love to be prepared. Your resource is a blessing!

Please leave a comment.