5.35 1 Kings -- Israel and Foreign Nations
The role of foreigners changes during the Books of Kings. Under Solomon, foreign nations were either allies (Tyre, Egypt, Sheba) or tributaries. But by 2 Kings, the nations of Aram (=Syria), Assyria and Babylon functioned as enemies, invaders and conquerors. And they served unwittingly as the agents of God's judgment! It was God's original plan that Israel was to rule them and demonstrate before the world His righteousness. Instead, these foreign nations forced Israel to acknowledge the holiness and justice of the God she had defied. The nation was torn apart, permanently divided, and subjected to servitude and bondage under new Egypts.
We are not going to follow in detail the succession of kings in each house of Israel. This information is largely a catalog of names and moral qualities (“Jeroboam -- bad, Jehoshophat -- good, Ahab -- very bad!...”), and can be found in any Bible reference work. Such a list is not particularly profitable from the standpoint of racial understanding. Rather, we shall look at the larger themes of the encroachment of alien empires, the building of the Temple and its significance, the great increase in hostility between Israel and foreign nations and, best of all, right in the midst of the turmoil, the extraordinary episodes of the widow of Zarephath and of Naaman the leper.