830 BC to 810 BC, Psalm 6: Decline of the Kingdom of Israel.

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jehu-obelisk-croppedThis generation is that of the years between 830 BC and 810 BC.

In the previous generation, Elisha visited Hazael, the future king of Syria, while his predecessor Ben-Hadad was sick:
  • Elisha [1] went to Damascus, and Ben-Hadad king of Aram was ill. When the king was told, “The man of God has come all the way up here,”
  • he said to Hazael, “Take a gift with you and go to meet the man of God. Consult the Lord through him; ask him, ‘Will I recover from this illness?’”
  • Hazael went to meet Elisha, taking with him as a gift forty camel-loads of all the finest wares of Damascus. He went in and stood before him, and said, “Your son Ben-Hadad king of Aram has sent me to ask, ‘Will I recover from this illness?’”
  • Elisha answered, “Go and say to him, ‘You will certainly recover.’ Nevertheless,[a] the Lord has revealed to me that he will in fact die.”
    • – He will be killed by Hazael in the wake of this prediction so that the latter will seize the kingship –
  • He stared at him with a fixed gaze until Hazael was embarrassed. Then the man of God began to weep.
  • “Why is my lord weeping?” asked Hazael.
  • “Because I know the harm you will do to the Israelites,” he answered. “You will set fire to their fortified places, kill their young men with the sword, dash their little children to the ground, and rip open their pregnant women.”

The sixth generation is the generation corresponding to the last twenty years of Jehu’s reign over the kingdom of Israel and almost the first twenty years of King Joash’s reign over the kingdom of Judah. Jehu [2] illustrated himself by decimating the descendants of King Ahab and eliminating the worship of Baal in the kingdom of Israel. Joas [3] is the only survivor of the lineage of King Joram that Queen Athaliah, mother of King Achazia, tried to eliminate. Joash was saved by Josabeth, daughter of King Jehoram and sister of King Ahaziah. Joash was kept in the temple of the LORD for six years, the term of the reign of Queen Athaliah. At the end of these six years Queen Athaliah was put to death and the reign of Joash began.

It was during the reign of Jehu, during the sixth generation, that Elisha’s prediction concerning Hazael and the people of Israel began to come true:
  • The Lord [4] said to Jehu, “Because you have done well in accomplishing what is right in my eyes and have done to the house of Ahab all I had in mind to do, your descendants will sit on the throne of Israel to the fourth generation.”
  • Yet Jehu was not careful to keep the law of the Lord, the God of Israel, with all his heart. He did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam, which he had caused Israel to commit.
  • In those days the Lord began to reduce the size of Israel. Hazael overpowered the Israelites throughout their territory
  • east of the Jordan in all the land of Gilead (the region of Gad, Reuben and Manasseh), from Aroer by the Arnon Gorge through Gilead to Bashan.
It is in the light of these facts that we can understand the psalm of this generation:

(extract of the psalm 7 associated to this generation, verses 1 to 11 )

  • To the conductor with melodies on the sheminith, a song of David.
  • O Lord, do not rebuke me in Your anger, and do not chastise me in Your wrath.
    • King David, author of the psalm, tries to obtain forgiveness for the repeated mistakes of the kings of Israel.
  • Be gracious to me, O Lord, because I languish; heal me, O Lord, because my bones are frightened.
    • The kingdom of Israel begins to be dismembered, already three tribes (or two tribes and a half) are detached from other tribes to be at the mercy of other peoples, in this case Syria.
  • And my soul is very frightened, and You, O Lord, how long?
    • The fate reserved for the tribes of Gad, Ruben and Manasseh only prefigures the other misfortunes that will befall this night (of one hundred and forty-seven generations).
  • Return, O Lord, rescue my soul; save me for the sake of Your loving- kindness.
  • For there is no memory of You in death; in the grave, who will thank You?
    • Queen Athaliah nearly extinguished the descendants of King David and thereby the lineage that is to give birth to the Messiah who will announce the final and final reign of the Lord. By preserving Joas within his Temple, the Lord keeps David’s soul alive and prevents him from finally disappearing into the Sheol, and therefore responds in extremis to David’s supplication.
  • I am weary from my sighing; every night I sully my bed; I wet my couch with my tears.
  • My eye is dimmed from anger; it has aged because of all my adversaries.
    • The expectation of dawn is in the pain and anguish of the night, misfortunes that will affect the people of Israel during these one hundred and forty-seven generations and who already in this generation have almost been right in the lineage of David.
  • Turn away from me, all you workers of iniquity, for the Lord has hearkened to the voice of my weeping.
  • The Lord has hearkened to my supplication; the Lord has accepted my prayer.
  • All my enemies shall be ashamed and very frightened; they shall return and be ashamed in a moment.
    • In spite of the adversity that this generation encounters through Hazael, the initialization of the reign of Joash marks the attachment of the Lord to his people who, while preserving the royal lineage of King David, do not abandon his people. If he leaves him in the hands of his enemies, he will return to his aid in the Messianic era. The night will be rough, but the promise of dawn will remain.

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[1] Melachim II – II Kings – Chapter 8, verses 7 to 12

[2] See:  Melachim II – II Kings – Chapter 10

[3] See:  Melachim II – II Kings – Chapter 11

[4] Melachim II – II Kings – Chapter 10, verses 30 to 33