Talk:Kings, Books of

From New World Encyclopedia
Unification Aspects:

The Books of Kings are of great interest to anyone seeking to flesh out the outline of history presented in the Divine Principle. DP summarizes God's providence during this period this way:

Because King Solomon was led by his wives and concubines to worship idols, the united kingdom of Israel was divided upon his death, having lasted only three generations. (I Kings 11:5-13) The kingdom of Israel in the north, which was founded by ten of the twelve tribes, was in the position of Cain, while the kingdom of Judah in the south, which was founded by the two remaining tribes, was in the position of Abel. This was how the period of the divided kingdoms of north and south began…. Whenever the Israelites violated their covenant with God, straying from the ideal of the Temple, God sent many prophets—such as Elijah, Isaiah and Jeremiah—to admonish them and move them to repentance and internal reform. However, because the kings and the people did not heed the warnings of the prophets and did not repent, God chastised them externally by sending gentile nations such as Syria, Assyria and Babylon to attack them…. The period of the divided kingdoms of north and south came to an end when gentile nations took the people of Israel and Judah into exile.[1]

Studying the Books of Kings offers new details and insight into God's heart during this crucial historical period, when God sought to train His people to receive the Messiah by having them build the Temple of Jerusalem—the symbolic representation of the Messiah and his Bride—as the center of their religious tradition. It also raises difficult questions relating to the attitude of the author(s) of Kings. Although Divine Principle affirms the biblical view that Judah was in Abel's position and that the two countries should have united centering on the Temple, this is not an absolute endorsement of the Deuteronomic historian's attitude.

Indeed, as we know from the teachings of the Reverend Sun Myung Moon, it is the duty of those in "Abel's" position to win the heart of "Cain," not simply to judge Cain for not taking Abel's viewpoint. According to Divine Principle, Jacob showed the heart of a "true" Abel when he won the heart of Esau after returning from exile. The Kingdom of Judah clearly did not go this victorious path in relation to the Kingdom of Israel. Nor did the Deuteronomic historian necessarily express God's viewpoint perfectly when he judged the kings of Israel and Judah mainly on the basis of whether they got rid of pagan practices and tried to centralize the worship of Yahweh in Jerusalem by destroying the ancient Israelite high places and the altars at Bethel and Dan. The Bible, says Divine Principle, after all, is "not the truth itself, but a textbook teaching the truth." [2]

At the same time, the stories in the Books of Kings are still the best record we have as to what God and His people were doing from the period of David's later reign until the Babylonian exile. While we should not accept every judgment of the biblical author at face value, by studying this text seriously with an attitude of sincere prayer to understand the heart of God in the historical moment, we can come to know God deeply and learn many lessons that can be applied to daily life on all levels.

Unification Aspects is designed to relate the subject of this article to Unification Thought and to aid
teachers and researchers who wish to further pursue these topics from a unification perspective.