© 2014, Mike Parker http://bit.ly/ldsarc For personal use only. Not a Church publication.

Old Testament
Week 15: Solomon; the divided kingdom; Elijah and Elisha
(1–2 Kings)
1) [SLIDE 2] Introduction.
a) This lesson not only covers a lot of reading material, it also covers more history than any
other lesson this year.
i) This is the first time when we can actually start to pinpoint exact dates in the Old

ii) 1 Kings begins with the death of David and the anointing of his son, Solomon, as king
of united Israel around 971 B.C.; 2 Kings ends 385 years later with the Babylonian
captivity of the kingdom of Judah during the reign of king Zedekiah in 586 B.C.
b) The same time period is covered in the book of 2 Chronicles.

i) While the books of Samuel and Kings give a detailed political history, the Chronicles
focus on moral and religious truth. The Chronicles also focus more on genealogy, and
include some details not found in the other books. Often the Chronicles paint a more
positive picture of the same events, overlooking David‘s sin with Bathsheba and the
problems brought on by Solomon‘s wealth and foreign wives.

c) Many of the Old Testament prophets lived during this time, including Micah, Amos,
Isaiah, Jeremiah, and others.
i) Both books indicate that there were other records of the goings-on in Israel,
including ―the book of Nathan the prophet,‖ ―the prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite,‖
and ―the visions of Iddo the seer‖ (2 Chronicles 9:29).
(1) The Book of Mormon indicates that, during this time period, there were writings
by the prophets Zenock, Neum,
and Zenos (1 Nephi 19:10) that have also been
d) [SLIDE 3] As the titles of the books imply, 1 and 2 Kings contain a long and complicated
history of succession of kings.
i) Some of them were righteous and lead the people back to the worship of Jehovah;
others allowed or encouraged the worship of Canaanite gods. The Books of Kings
evaluate the loyalty of the entire people on the basis of royal behavior.
ii) The books are considered part of the Deuteronomistic history,
which is much more
pessimistic about any worship outside of Jerusalem
and the recognition of any God
but Jehovah.

This is because we can compare events described in 1 and 2 Kings to the historical records of other nations that have been
discovered by archeologists and historians.
In the Jewish Bible, 1 and 2 Samuel and 1 and 2 Kings are called 1 through 4 Kings.
2 Chronicles also almost completely ignores the northern kingdom of Israel, gives David a major role in planning the
Temple, presents Hezekiah‘s reforms as being more far-reaching, and records that Manasseh was given an opportunity to
repent of his sins.
Neum could be the same as the Old Testament prophet Nahum, who prophesied during the seventh century B.C., about
50 years before Lehi left Jerusalem. The single Book of Mormon reference to Neum tells us that he prophesied that the
Messiah would be crucified; the short book of Nahum doesn‘t mention anything resembling crucifixion, so, if the two prophets
are the same, this would mean the Book of Mormon contains a prophecy of Nahum that has been lost from the Old Testament
Hurricane Utah Adult Religion Class Old Testament: Solomon, divided kingdom, Elijah, Elisha Week 15, Page 2
© 2014, Mike Parker http://bit.ly/ldsarc For personal use only. Not a Church publication.
e) [SLIDE 4] The major regional power during this time was the kingdom of Assyria, with
its capital at Nineveh.
i) The Assyrian Empire‘s rise to power began about 930 B.C. and reached its zenith
around 730 B.C.
ii) The Assyrians conquered most of the Ancient Near East, including the northern
kingdom of Israel (which we‘ll discuss in this lesson).
iii) Many of the prophets we‘re going to discuss in the coming weeks wrote and
prophesied about the Assyrian threat.
iv) The Assyrian Empire ended when they were conquered and absorbed by the
Babylonian Empire in 612 B.C.
v) The Babylonians conquered the kingdom of Judah, sending the Jews into captivity
and ending Israel‘s prominence as an independent state.
2) [SLIDE 5] David‘s death and the reign of Solomon.
a) 1 Kings 1–2 describe the last days of king David, and his appointment of Solomon, his
son by Bathsheba, as his successor (1 Kings 1:28–40).

i) David‘s reign is considered Israel‘s ―golden age.‖ He united Israel into a single nation
and stopped infighting between the tribes. He also strengthened Israel‘s attachment
to Jehovah as their only God.
b) Early in his reign, the Lord himself visited Solomon and granted him any wish (1 Kings
3:5–15). Solomon wished for wisdom. The Lord was impressed by this humble request
and so gave him not only wisdom, but also riches and honors.
i) Solomon‘s first use of his God-given wisdom was to decide between two mothers who
both claimed the same infant as their own son (1 Kings 3:16–28). Solomon famously
decreed that the child was to be cut in half; he was then able to determine which was
the true mother.
ii) Solomon continued and enhanced the peace and prosperity his father had brought to
Israel, and he became not only wealthy and powerful, but also famous among kings
in the region (1 Kings 4).
iii) He was credited with composing 3,000 proverbs and over 1,000 songs, and having
extensive knowledge of all the plants and animals in the area. People came from all
nations to hear his wisdom. (1 Kings 4:32–34.)
iv) The peace Israel experienced under Solomon fulfilled one of the divine promises
made to David, namely that Israel would enjoy ―rest from all thine enemies‖
(2 Samuel 7:10–11; 1 Kings 5:3–4).
c) The Temple of Solomon.
i) Solomon declared that he would complete the temple that his father David had
decreed (1 Kings 5:5; cf. 2 Samuel 7).

The Deuteronomist source—abbreviated D—is one of four theoretical sources of the Torah and the historical works that
followed. D is considered to be the source of Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, 1 and 2 Samuel, and 1 and 2 Kings. See the
material on the Documentary Hypothesis in lesson 2, pages 3–5 (http://bit.ly/ldsarcot02n).
See, for example, 1 Kings 12:32, where Jeroboam is condemned for offering sacrifices at Bethel.
Solomon‘s rise to power was not automatic of peaceful. He had to overcome his half-brother, Adonijah, and Adonijah‘s
Hurricane Utah Adult Religion Class Old Testament: Solomon, divided kingdom, Elijah, Elisha Week 15, Page 3
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ii) [SLIDES 6–7] It took 7½ years to complete the temple structure, and an additional
13 years to finish the surrounding court and Solomon‘s adjoining palace.
iii) [SLIDE 8] The temple was built to the same design as the tabernacle, but with
exactly double its dimensions and with much greater opulence.
(1) [SLIDE 9] There were more instruments inside, including ten menorah and ten
tables of showbread (1 Kings 7:48–49; 2 Chronicles 4:7–8), and two 18-foot-tall
golden cherubim on either side of the ark of the covenant (1 Kings 6:23–29).
(2) Out in the courtyard there was a larger altar for burnt offerings, designed to
accommodate all the people of Israel. Its dimensions were 30 feet along each side
and 15 feet high (2 Chronicles 4:1).
(3) There was also an enormous laver where the priests could ritually purify
themselves by total immersion.
This laver was called ―The Sea,‖ and it was 15
feet in diameter
and held 12,000 gallons of water.
It stood on the backs of 12
oxen. (2 Chronicles 4:2–6).
iv) [SLIDE 10] After the temple was complete, the priests brought the Ark of the
Covenant and placed it in the Holy Of Holies, after which the cloud of the Lord‘s
presence filled the temple (1 Kings 8:6–11).
v) Solomon offered the dedicatory prayer (1 Kings 8:23–53), which includes themes of
thanksgiving and praise; supplication that the Lord would accept the temple as his
house; and pleas for forgiveness, mercy, and justice.
(1) The dedicatory prayer of the Kirtland Temple, revealed to Joseph Smith,
compares very closely to Solomon‘s prayer (D&C 109).

d) After the temple dedication the Lord visited Solomon a second time and accepted the
temple as his house. He promised Solomon that, if he was righteous, the Lord would
―establish the throne of the kingdom upon Israel for ever,‖ but, if he turned from
worshipping the Lord, he would cut Israel off and destroy the temple (1 Kings 9:1–9).
e) Solomon was greatly blessed (1 Kings 10:23–24), but he succumbed to the temptations
of pride and power, and married foreign women who turned Solomon‘s heart after idols
(1 Kings 11).
f) Solomon died around 931 B.C. after a 40-year reign, leaving the kingdom to his son,
3) [SLIDE 11] Judah and Israel divided.
a) The dissolution of the united kingdom began even before Solomon‘s death.

The chapter heading for 1 Kings 7 in the LDS Bible identifies the laver parenthetically as a ―baptismal font.‖ This is
somewhat of an overstatement: The laver was used by the priests to wash themselves before engaging in service in the temple.
Functionally it was closer to the washing done as part of the modern temple initiatory ordinance than to Christian baptism.
2 Chronicles 4:2 claims that the laver had a diameter of 10 cubits (15 feet) and a circumference of 30 cubits (45 feet). This
measurement was prepared before the time of Archimedes of Syracuse (c. 287–212 B.C.), who discovered the mathematical
constant pi (π). Multiplying the diameter of the Sea by pi (3.14159265) results in an actual circumference of 47 feet, 1.5 inches.
This measurement is from 1 Kings 7:26, where it says the Sea held ―two thousand baths.‖ A bath was a liquid measure
roughly equivalent to six gallons, so 6 × 2,000 = 12,000. The capacity is listed as 3,000 baths in 2 Chronicles 4:5; if this figure
is accurate, the Sea held 18,000 gallons.
See Doctrine and Covenants lesson 22, pages 5–8
Hurricane Utah Adult Religion Class Old Testament: Solomon, divided kingdom, Elijah, Elisha Week 15, Page 4
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i) Solomon married hundreds of foreign women who shifted his allegiance to other
Because of this, the Lord told Solomon that, after his death, the kingdom
would be taken from his son and given to his servant.
(1 Kings 11:1–13; cf. Ahijah‘s
prophecy in 11:29–39.)
ii) Solomon‘s policies of taxation (1 Kings 4:7, 22–23, 27–28) and conscripted labor
(5:13–38; 9:15–22) had been deeply unpopular among the people of Israel (12:4).
iii) The northern tribes didn‘t feel that Solomon was one of them (1 Kings 12:16). This
distrust of a king from Judah went back at least to the reign of David (2 Samuel
19:9–15, 41–43; 20:1–2).
iv) Solomon had received from David a powerful empire, but during his later years it
began to fall apart. As the loyalty of the northern tribes waned, the vassal states
surrounding Israel took the opportunity to assert their independence.

b) 1 Kings 12:1–15. After Solomon‘s death in 931 B.C., his son and heir, Rehoboam, went to
the Ephraimite city of Shechem
to be crowned king. Jeroboam, as the representative of
the people, offered to accept Rehoboam as their king if he lightened the work the people
were required to do.
i) Rehoboam‘s older advisors who had served Solomon counseled him to be willing to
serve them and fulfill their request; but Rehoboam rejected their advice.
Instead he
followed the counsel of the younger advisors, who told him to take a hard line and
promise to increase the workload on the people.
c) [SLIDE 12] The northern tribes broke away from Rehoboam and formed their own
i) This northern kingdom was known as Israel.
(1) It was also known as Ephraim because Jeroboam‘s capital, Shechem, was on
mount Ephraim (1 Kings 12:25).
(a) This is important to understand, because the term ―Ephraim‖ appears over 80
times in the Old Testament‘s historical and prophetic books, where it refers to
the northern kingdom of Israel.
ii) The southern kingdom was called Judah.
d) Both the northern and southern kingdoms immediately fall into idolatry and
wickedness. For the next 200 years they were continually at odds with one another
(1 Kings 15:6, 16), and even entered into alliances with surrounding nations to gain the
strategic advantage.
4) Elijah the prophet.
a) [SLIDE 13] Who was Elijah?

He worshipped the Sidonian goddess Ashtart (KJV: ―Ashtoreth‖), and built places of worship on the Mount of Olives for
the Moabite god Chemosh and the Ammonite god Molech (KJV: ―Milcom‖) (1 Kings 11:5, 7).
1 Kings 11:13 and 11:36 foretell that only one tribe would remain loyal to Solomon, and 12:20 identifies that tribe as
Judah. However 11:35 indicates that Jeroboam would rule over only ten tribes, and 12:21–23 indicates that Benjamin also
followed Rehoboam.
These were the Arameans of Syria (1 Kings 11:23–25), the Moabites, and the Edomites (1 Kings 11:14–22; 2 Kings 8:20–
Shechem was a key city of Ephraim, the place where the bones of Joseph, great-grandson of Abraham, were buried
(Joshua 24:32). Rehoboam almost certainly went there for his coronation to show his respect for the northern tribes.
Note that he rejected the advice before hearing the alternative; obviously they didn‘t tell him what he wanted to hear.
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i) He‘s another example of a ―wilderness prophet‖—an outsider who comes ―out of
nowhere‖ with a message of repentance.

(1) We know nothing of his origins other than he was called ―the Tishbite‖ (1 Kings
17:1), indicating he was from the city of Tishbe in Gilead to the east of Israel.

ii) Elijah‘s name means ―Jehovah is my God,‖ which is appropriate since he was one of
Israel‘s staunchest supporters of the exclusive and pure worship of Jehovah.
b) Elijah came on the scene during the reign of king Ahab of the northern kingdom of
i) Ahab came to power in Israel about 869 B.C. He was more wicked than all the kings
of Israel that came before him (1 Kings 16:30, 33).
ii) Ahab married Jezebel, the daughter of the Phoenician king (1 Kings 16:31a).

alliance was doubtless the means of procuring great riches for Ahab, some of which
he used to build an ivory palace (1 Kings 22:39).
iii) Although Ahab worshiped Jehovah (as the names of his children attest
), his wife
was firmly attached to the worship of the Canaanite god Baal, and, led by her, he
built a temple in honor of Baal in Samaria (1 Kings 16:31b–32), as well as ritual poles
to Baal‘s consort, Asherah (1 Kings 16:33). Jezebel imported a large number of Baal
prophets from Phoenicia and supported them out of state funds (1 Kings 18:19).
c) [SLIDE 14] For his first act, Elijah appeared suddenly in Ahab‘s court to announce, in
the name of Jehovah, that the heavens would be sealed: There would be paralyzing
drought in the years ahead that would not abate until he gave the command (1 Kings
i) The drought lasted over two years,
and it was serious and wide-spread.
ii) Of all the miracles Elijah could have performed, why a drought?
(1) This was a potent challenge to Baal in the very area of his expertise—rain and
agriculture. It was designed to show that the very power attributed to Baal was
actually controlled by Israel‘s God.
iii) From modern revelation we learn that this sealing power used by Elijah extends to
the ability to seal family relationships beyond death. In fulfillment of prophecy
(Malachi 4:5–6), Elijah personally restored the keys of the sealing power of the
priesthood to Joseph Smith in 1836 (D&C 110:13–16).

d) Feeding a woman of Zarephath (1 Kings 17:7–16).
i) After laying in hiding and being fed miraculously by ravens, the Lord told Elijah to
go to Zarephath in Sidon (KJV ―Zidon‖), where he had prepared a widowed woman
receive him.
ii) Zarephath was a port city in the region of Sidon. What was significant about Sidon?

See notes to lesson 5, page 3 (http://bit.ly/ldsarcot05n).
The text is silent on the family origins of Elijah; however, Gilead was settled by the tribe of Manasseh (Numbers 26:29),
so it seems reasonable to assume that he was of that tribe.
Ahaziah (1 Kings 22:51) means ―Jehovah possesses,‖ and Jehoram (2 Kings 1:17) means ―Jehovah is exalted.‖
In 1 Kings 18:1 the Lord told Elijah that He would end the drought during its ―third year‖ (meaning after two full years
had been completed, but a third had not). Contrast with Luke 4:25, which says the drought lasted ―three years and six months.‖
This sealing power was also given to the Book of Mormon prophet Nephi2, son of Helaman3 (Helaman 10:4–11).
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(1) A metropolis of Phoenicia (the nation on the coast, north of Israel).
(2) Baal was the chief god of the Phoenicians.
(3) Ethbaal,

―King of the Sidonians,‖
was the father of Jezebel, wife of Ahab.
(4) In short, this is Baal‘s backyard and the home of Jezebel, Baal‘s chief supporter in
iii) The famine was so bad that the unnamed widow of Zarephath had only a handful of
flour and a little olive oil. She intended to make a final meal for herself and her son
before they died of starvation.
iv) Elijah told her to make a cake for him, then for herself and her son, with the promise
from Jehovah, God of Israel, that her jar of flour and jug of oil would not run out
until the famine ended. She did what he directed, and his promised miracle came to
v) Elijah surely performed many miracles. Why did the author bother with this story,
and what is its point?
(1) Elijah demonstrated conclusively that it is Jehovah, not Baal, who has power to
assuage hunger.
(2) He also performed this miracle in Baal‘s own territory, showing that Jehovah had
power everywhere in the earth and among all people, not just within his borders
and among his own followers.

(3) Elijah was directed by the Lord not to the king of Sidon, but to a widowed
woman—a person at the bottom of the social structure of ancient society. This
was a criticism of the hierarchy of the Baal cult, and a strong message that
Jehovah cares about and defends the weak and those without social power.
(4) The story is also of the great faith of the woman, even when she was dealing with
a prophet from a foreign land and a foreign God.
(a) [SLIDE 15] Elder Jeffrey R. Holland:
Then this understated expression of faith—as great, under these
circumstances, as any I know in the scriptures. The record says simply,
“And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah.” Perhaps uncertain
what the cost of her faith would be not only to herself but to her son as
well, she first took her small loaf to Elijah, obviously trusting that if there
were not enough bread left over, at least she and her son would have died
in an act of pure charity.
I know that a talk in general conference is not going to cut through the
centuries of temporal inequity that have plagued humankind, but I also
know that the gospel of Jesus Christ holds the answer to every social and
political and economic problem this world has ever faced. And I know we

The Phoenician king Ethbaal of Sidon reigned c. 889–856 B.C. His name means ―Baal is with him.‖ Although the Ethbaal
was known to the Hebrews as ―King of the Sidonians,‖ he was actually king of Tyre, a city 20 miles to the south.
This issue played an important role in Jacob‘s vision of the ladder (Genesis 28:10–16); see lesson 9, pages 4–5
(http://bit.ly/ldsarcot09n). It also explains Naaman‘s request to load two mules with dirt to take back with him to Syria
(2 Kings 5:17); see Michael S. Heiser, ―Sanctified Dirt,‖ Bible Study Magazine Blog, 8 September 2014
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can each do something, however small that act may seem to be. We can
pay an honest tithe and give our fast and free-will offerings, according to
our circumstances. And we can watch for other ways to help. To worthy
causes and needy people, we can give time if we don’t have money, and we
can give love when our time runs out. We can share the loaves we have and
trust God that the cruse of oil will not fail.

e) [SLIDE 16] Raising the son of the woman of Zarephath from the dead (1 Kings 17:17–
i) The woman‘s son died of a sudden illness. At first she accused Elijah of coming to
her to confront her with her sins and kill her son. But Elijah performed another
miracle by raising him from the dead.
ii) In Canaanite mythology the drought would signal that Baal had been defeated by
Mot, the god of death, and was imprisoned in the underworld. While Baal was
overcome by death and unable to function like a king, Israel‘s God demonstrated his
sovereignty and superiority to death by restoring life to her son. This demonstrated
that Jehovah was more powerful than both Baal and Mot.
f) Confrontation with the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18:1–46).
i) Drought and famine devastated the country so badly that even king Ahab was forced
to scour the land for water and grass to keep his animals alive. Elijah then received a
divine order to confront Ahab again.
ii) Ahab accused Elijah of being the source of the troubles in Israel, but Elijah replied
that the true cause was Ahab and Israel had forsaken the commandments of the
iii) Ahab agreed to a trial of strength between Elijah and the 450 prophets of Baal,
representing Jehovah and Baal, respectively.
iv) At Mount Carmel, Elijah accused the people of Israel of ―trying to have it both ways,‖
as it were, by worshipping Jehovah and Baal simultaneously:
“How long halt ye between two opinions? If the LORD be God, follow him: but if
Baal, then follow him” (1 Kings 18:21).
(1) Elder Neal A. Maxwell taught:
The stirring words of various prophets…urge us to choose, to decide, and not to
halt…. Elijah’s message has tremendous relevancy today, for all must finally
choose between the gods of this world and the God of eternity.

v) From morning until evening the priests of Baal attempted to call down fire to
consume their sacrifice. Elijah satirically taunted them (1 Kings 18:27),
them to cut themselves as the god Anat would in an attempt to free Baal from his
captivity. But ―there was neither voice, nor any to answer, nor any that [responded]‖
(1 Kings 18:29).

Jeffrey R. Holland, ―A Handful of Meal and a Little Oil,‖ General Conference, April 1996 (http://www.lds.org/general-
Neal A. Maxwell, That My Family Should Partake (1974), 22.
The KJV rendering of 1 Kings 18:27 doesn‘t have the clarity and forcefulness of some modern translations: ―Cry aloud,
for he is a god. Either he is musing [meditating, lost in thought], or he is relieving himself, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he
is asleep and must be awakened.‖ (ESV.)
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vi) When it was Elijah‘s turn, he prepared his sacrifice, and then commanded the people
to drench the altar with water. (Remember, water is Baal‘s specialty!) He called out
to the Lord:
LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art
God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at
thy word. Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the
LORD God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again. (1 Kings 18:36–37.)
vii) Fire—the symbol of the divine presence of Jehovah
—fell from the sky, consuming
the offering, the wood, the stones, the dirt, and the water in the trench.
viii) The people of Israel fell on their faces out of fear and respect, and cried aloud,
―[Jehovah], he is the God! [Jehovah], he is the God!‖ (1 Kings 18:39).
ix) After this a gathering cloud appeared on the western horizon, and a heavy rainstorm
ensued, ending the famine.
g) [SLIDE 17] ―A still, small voice‖ (1 Kings 19:1–18).
i) Angry about Elijah‘s victory over the priests of Baal, Jezebel sought to kill him. Elijah
fled south and, with the assistance of an angel, came to Mount Horeb.
(1) Horeb is another name for Sinai, the mountain on which Moses spoke with God
face to face and received the Ten Commandments of the Law.
(2) It is clear that the text is establishing Elijah as a type of Moses: The place is the
same, Elijah fasted for 40 days, the Lord visited him personally, and the visitation
was accompanied by earthquake, wind, and fire.

ii) When the Lord came to him and asked him why he was there, Elijah complained
bitterly that he had been zealous (KJV ―jealous‖) for him, but ―the children of Israel
have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with
the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away‖ (1 Kings
(1) Implicit in Elijah‘s complaint was the accusation he had been zealous for the
Lord‘s name, but the Lord had not been zealous for his name.
iii) The Lord commanded him to stand upon the mountain. The Lord then passed by,
and his presence was accompanied by a great wind, an earthquake, and fire. But the
text states that the Lord was not in these things.
(1) This, again, is another challenge to the Baal deity. Baal was the wind, the
earthquake, and fire; but Jehovah is not those things—he is above them and
controlling them. They are incidental to his visitation, but they are not the
manifestation of his presence.
iv) That manifestation came next, with the appearance of a ―still, small voice‖ (1 Kings
(1) [SLIDE 18] In response to questions from Mike Wallace of the CBS program 60
Minutes, President Gordon B. Hinckley said:

See, for example, Exodus 3:2; 13:21; 19:18; 24:17; 1 Nephi 1:6.
Cf. Exodus 19:16–25.
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[Question:] The Mormons, Mr. President, call you a “living Moses,” a prophet
who literally communicates with Jesus. How do you do that?
Reply: Let me say first that there is a tremendous history behind this Church, a
history of prophecy, a history of revelation, and…decisions which set the
pattern of the Church so that there are not constant recurring problems that
require any special dispensation. But there are occasionally things that arise
where the will of the Lord [is needed and] is sought, and in those
circumstances I think the best way I could describe the process is to liken it to
the experience of Elijah as set forth in the book of First Kings. Elijah spoke to
the Lord, and there was a wind, a great wind, and the Lord was not in the
wind. And there was an earthquake, and the Lord was not in the earthquake.
And there was a fire, and the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire a still,
small voice, which I describe as the whisperings of the Spirit. Now, let me just
say, categorically, that the things of God are understood by the Spirit of God,
and one must have and seek and cultivate that Spirit, and there comes
understanding and it is real. I can give testimony of that.

h) [SLIDE 19] At the end of his ministry, Elijah was translated—taken up into heaven
without experiencing death (2 Kings 2:1–18).

i) As Elijah was carried away in a chariot of fire,
his cloak (KJV: ―mantle‖) fell to the
ground. Elisha picked up Elijah‘s cloak, and then struck the Jordan River, parting it
miraculously. (2 Kings 2:11–14.)
(1) This is the origin of the LDS term ―the mantle of the prophet,‖ referring
symbolically to the authority of one prophet that passes to another when the first
5) [SLIDE 20] Elisha the prophet.
a) Who was Elisha?
i) Like Elijah, he was also a prophet of the northern kingdom.
ii) Elijah could have chosen a ―professional prophet‖ who belonged to the prophetic
as his assistant and apprentice. Instead the Lord told him to find and anoint
Elisha, a farmer, as his successor. (1 Kings 19:16, 19–21.)
iii) After Elijah was translated, Elisha rose to the stature of his master by performing
miracles such as multiplying a widow‘s oil and raising a child from the dead (2 Kings
b) [SLIDE 21] The stories of Elisha‘s miracles are mostly short and intended to display his

Gordon B. Hinckley, ―This Thing Was Not Done in a Corner,‖ General Conference, October 1996
Elijah‘s translation is another similarity between him and Moses. Notice also that it was Elijah and Moses who both
returned at the Mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 17:3).
Chariots were instruments of war. The chariot that took Elijah was representative of the Lord‘s armies that defended
Israel unseen. See Joshua 5:13–15; 2 Kings 6:17; Isaiah 66:15; Abraham 2:7.
The Hebrew phrase for this group is ―the sons of the prophets‖ (1 Kings 20:35; 2 Kings 2:3, 5, 7, 15; 4:1, 38; 5:22; 6:1).
These groups were gathered at Bethel and Jericho (2 Kings 2:1–5). As the LDS Bible Dictionary notes, ―Not all the ‗sons of the
prophets‘ claimed to have a supernatural gift; they were simply trained religious teachers, while some inspired prophets had
received no training in the schools‖; s.v. ―Schools of the Prophets,‖ 770 (1979 ed.) / 724 (2013 ed.)
Hurricane Utah Adult Religion Class Old Testament: Solomon, divided kingdom, Elijah, Elisha Week 15, Page 10
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i) Many of his miracles were centered around relieving poverty or hunger: He healed a
spring (2 Kings 2:19–22), nullified the poison in a stew so that his disciples could eat
during a famine (4:38–41), multiplied 20 loaves to feed 100 people (4:42–44), and
floated a borrowed ax that had fallen into a river (6:1–7).
ii) Elisha even called out two female bears to kill 42 young boys who were making fun of
his baldness! (2 Kings 2:23–24.)
(1) This story sounds shocking to us, but it was intended to establish Elisha‘s power
and authority, and that you don‘t speak evil of the Lord‘s anointed prophet.

iii) The most lengthy miracle story involved his healing of Naaman the Syrian of his
leprosy (2 Kings 5).
c) Elisha was also involved in political affairs, intervening in the war between Israel and
Syria (2 Kings 6:8–7:20). It was during this conflict that Elisha opened his servant‘s
eyes so he could see that Israel was protected by the Lord‘s armies (2 Kings 6:17).
d) Elisha‘s ministry lasted for more than 40 years, and through the reins of three of Israel‘s

6) [SLIDE 22] The next major event was the defeat of the kingdom of Israel by Assyria in 720
B.C. (2 Kings 15–17).
a) Remember that Assyria was the dominant regional power during this period.
i) Any independent kingdoms within their territory—including Israel and Judah—were
vassal states that were expected to pay tribute in order to keep their independence.
ii) The Assyrians were in a state of nearly constant war to expand their empire or to put
down revolts within their own territory.
b) Hoshea, the last king of the northern nation of Israel, came to power in 732 B.C. He was
forced to submit to Assyria and render tribute (2 Kings 17:1–3).
i) Hoshea eventually withheld the tribute he promised Shalmaneser, expecting the
support of Egypt in Egypt‘s attempt to break away from Assyrian rule. The Egyptian
support never materialized; the Assyrian army descended on Israel and deported its
citizens beyond the Euphrates River (2 Kings 17:4–6).
ii) In their place, the Assyrians transplanted people from Babylon and other Assyrian
cities to the east (2 Kings 17:24).
c) The defeat and deportation of the northern Israelites had three major effects from a
scriptural standpoint:
i) First: Because it was the ten northern Israelite tribes
who were deported, these
people became known as the ―lost ten tribes.‖
(1) There have been all kinds of bizarre and unwarranted speculation about the
location of these lost tribes.
(2) 2 Kings 17:23 merely states that they remain in Assyria ―unto this day,‖ but that
was written by record-keepers from Judah, probably in the 6th century B.C.

See Fred E. Woods, ―Elisha and the Children: The Question of Accepting Prophetic Succession,‖ BYU Studies 32/3
(Summer 1992), 47–58 (https://byustudies.byu.edu/showTitle.aspx?title=6097).
Jehu (842–815 B.C.), Jehoahaz (815–801 B.C.), and Joash (801–786 B.C.).
The southern nation of Judah was inhabited by the two remaining tribes, Judah and Benjamin (see footnote 13).
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(3) Some people have concluded that the lost tribes are still together as an
identifiable people. These individuals interpret a handful of scriptures
about the
lost tribes literally to mean that they are all in a single place and will return en
masse at a given time.
(a) [SLIDE 23] Some extremists have even claimed that this revelation confirms
that the earth is actually hollow, and that the ten tribes are living inside the
earth and will emerge from a giant, as-yet-undiscovered hole somewhere near
the North Pole.

(b) However, the scriptures don‘t say that they‘re all in a single place. In fact,
Nephi explained that they are ―scattered to and fro upon the isles of the sea‖
(1 Nephi 22:4), and Jesus referred to them as ―the dispersed of my people‖
(3 Nephi 21:26).
(c) [SLIDE 24] Bruce R. McConkie wrote:
There is something mysterious and fascinating about believing the Ten
Tribes are behind an iceberg somewhere in the land of the north, or that
they are on some distant planet that will one day join itself with the earth,
or that the tribe of Dan is in Denmark, the tribe of Reuben in Russia, and so
forth. A common cliché asserts: “If we knew where the Lost Tribes were,
they would not be lost.” True it is that they are lost from the knowledge of
the world; they are not seen and recognized as the kingdom they once
were; but in general terms, their whereabouts is known. They are scattered
in all the nations of the earth, primarily in the nations north of the lands of
their first inheritance.

ii) Second: The people transplanted from Babylon and other places in eastern Assyria
settled in the region of Samaria, between Judah and the Sea of Galilee. These people
became the Samaritans.
(1) They worshipped Jehovah, but their genealogy and worship style were not
acceptable to the Jews (2 Kings 17:24–41), so great cultural animosity grew
between the two groups, and continued even through the time of Jesus.

iii) Third: This left the kingdom of Judah all alone to struggle against the small tribes
that surrounded her, and against the larger nations in the region. This eventually led
to their own defeat and deportation in the 6th century B.C.
7) Josiah‘s reforms (2 Kings 22–23; 2 Chronicles 34–35).

Most notably D&C 133:26–27.
I am not kidding. There are a number of pseudoscientific organizations who are trying to prove this claim. Steve Currey
of Provo, Utah was to lead an expedition to find the hole, but he died in 2006 before he was able to begin the voyage
(http://www.voyagehollowearth.com/); his family has since distanced his company from this endeavor. As recently as 2008,
LDS author and get-rich-quick entrepreneur Rodney Cluff (http://www.ourhollowearth.com/) and an organization called the
Phoenix Science Foundation (http://www.phoenixsciencefoundation.org/) were trying to raise funds to make the trip; but by
2013 their web sites had removed information about their plans.
See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hollow_Earth for an overview of hollow earth theories from ancient times to the present.
Bruce R. McConkie, A New Witness for the Articles of Faith (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1985), 520; italics added. On
pages 520–21, McConkie also denied that the lost tribes will return under the leadership of their own prophet, or that it will be
attended by a literal flowing down of the ice, etc. In an earlier work, McConkie claimed that ―They were still a distinct people
many hundreds of years [after their captivity], for the resurrected Lord visited and ministered among them following his
ministry on this continent among the Nephites. (3 Nephi 16:1–4; 17:4.)‖ Mormon Doctrine (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1966
[2nd ed.]), 457.
Jesus had interactions with the Samaritans (such as the woman at the well—John 4:4–42) and included them as
characters in some of his parables (most famously, the parable of the Good Samaritan—Luke 10:30–37).
Hurricane Utah Adult Religion Class Old Testament: Solomon, divided kingdom, Elijah, Elisha Week 15, Page 12
© 2014, Mike Parker http://bit.ly/ldsarc For personal use only. Not a Church publication.
a) [SLIDE 25] We‘re going to skip forward now to 623 B.C. and the reign of Josiah, king of
i) 2 Kings 22:2 describes Josiah as a king who ―did that which was right in the sight of
the LORD.‖
b) According to the account in 2 Kings (22:3–23:25), Josiah wanted to renovate the
temple, so he sent Hilkiah the high priest in to gather up silver to pay the workers.
i) While he was in the treasury, Hilkiah discovered a scroll with the Law on it. (This is
generally believed to have been the book of Deuteronomy).
ii) Hilkiah read the scroll to Josiah, who, upon realizing how far gone the people were,
asked for a revelation from the Lord. He was told the Lord was angry with the people
for worshipping idols and was going to destroy Judah if they didn‘t repent.
iii) Josiah ordered all the idols cleaned out of the temple and put a stop to all sacrifices
except at the temple complex. He also put the people under covenant to live the Law.
c) Josiah is considered one of the great heroes of Jewish history because he put things
right that had gone wrong for so many generations.
i) But consider for a moment:
(1) [25.1] What if Josiah was wrong?
(a) It‘s generally accepted that ―history is written by the winners.‖ What if the
account we read in 2 Kings 22–23 is a sympathetic account written by people
who agreed with Josiah? (2 Kings was, after all, written by Deuteronomists

who would have agreed with Josiah‘s reforms.)
(b) What if Josiah actually put down an older form of worship that was closer to
the one practiced by Abraham? One that included worship of the Son of the
Most High God, a Melchizedek priesthood, and a recognition of a Heavenly
Queen who was God‘s wife? And what if these lost beliefs were kept by
Israelite believers who were not part of the temple priests—people like the
Book of Mormon prophet Lehi—and were restored hundreds of years later as
part of Christianity?
(2) [SLIDE 26] Let me introduce you to Margaret Barker.
Barker is a Methodist
scholar from England who has come to exactly these conclusions.
(a) She‘s been publishing on this subject since 1987, and while not all scholars
accept her theories, there has been wide interest in her work, particularly
among Latter-day Saints.
(b) Barker herself has been impressed by the Book of Mormon‘s account of Lehi
and his vision of the tree of life. She has spoken at BYU, been published by

See footnote 5.
Barker maintains her own web site at http://www.margaretbarker.com
Hurricane Utah Adult Religion Class Old Testament: Solomon, divided kingdom, Elijah, Elisha Week 15, Page 13
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BYU press,
and was also a speaker at the 2005 ―Worlds of Joseph Smith‖
conference at the Library of Congress.

(i) In brief, Barker believes Lehi‘s vision of the tree of life (1 Nephi 8) is an
authentic representation of Jewish beliefs as they were before Josiah‘s
reforms and the Babylonian captivity.

(3) Now, I‘m not saying that Margaret Barker is right and that Josiah put down
authentic worship. But she brings up some fascinating ideas, and there has been
enthusiastic response to her work from some LDS scholars.

8) [SLIDE 27] The Babylonian captivity.
a) We close this lesson with the overthrow of Judah and the deportation of the Jewish
people in 586 B.C. (2 Kings 24–25; 2 Chronicles 36).

b) In 612 B.C. the Babylonians overthrew the Assyrian Empire and became the new regional
power. Although the Neo-Babylonian Chaldean Empire lasted only 73 years, they had a
major effect on Biblical history.
c) Zedekiah was the last king of Judah. He was installed as king by Nebuchadnezzar II,
king of Babylon. The prophet Jeremiah was his counselor, yet ―he did evil in the sight of
the LORD‖ (2 Kings 24:19–20; Jeremiah 52:2–3).
d) Despite the protests of Jeremiah and his other advisors, Zedekiah revolted against
Babylon, and entered into an alliance with Egypt. Nebuchadnezzar responded by
invading Judah and deporting virtually all its inhabitants to Babylon.
i) Some Jews, including Jeremiah, escaped to Egypt (2 Kings 25:26).
ii) The Jews remained in captivity until 539 B.C., when the Persians overthrew the
Babylonians and the Persian king Cyrus granted Jews the right to return to their
e) Latter-day Saints are familiar with this story partly because of the account of Lehi in the
Book of Mormon (1 Nephi 1:1–2:4).
i) 2 Chronicles 36:15–16 verifies that Lehi‘s experience was accurate:
The Lord God of their ancestors continually warned them [the people of
Jerusalem] through his messengers, for he felt compassion for his people and his
dwelling place. But they mocked God’s messengers, despised his warnings, and
ridiculed his prophets. Finally the Lord got very angry at his people and there was
no one who could prevent his judgment. (NET)
9) [SLIDE 13] Next week:

Her talk ―What Did King Josiah Reform?‖ was given at BYU‘s weekly devotional on 6 May 2003. A recording of the talk
can be downloaded in MP3 format (http://speeches.byu.edu/index.php?act=viewitem&id=898), and an edited transcript was
printed as chapter 17 of the Neal A. Maxwell Institute‘s book Glimpses of Lehi’s Jerusalem
A transcript of her ―Worlds of Joseph Smith‖ talk was published as ―Joseph Smith and Preexilic Israelite Religion,‖ BYU
Studies 44/4 (2005), 69–82 (https://byustudies.byu.edu/showTitle.aspx?title=7141).
Barker, ―Joseph Smith and Preexilic Israelite Religion,‖ 76–77.
A good introduction to Barker‘s arguments is Kevin Christensen, ―Prophets and Kings in Lehi‘s Jerusalem and Margaret
Barker‘s Temple Theology,‖ Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture 4 (2013), 177–93
Arguing against Barker‘s conclusions in the same journal is William J. Hamblin, ―Vindicating Josiah,‖ 165–76
There were several deportations of Jews to Babylon, beginning as early as 605 B.C. (in which the boy Daniel was taken).
Hurricane Utah Adult Religion Class Old Testament: Solomon, divided kingdom, Elijah, Elisha Week 15, Page 14
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a) Wisdom & poetry literature (Job; Psalms; Proverbs; Ecclesiastes; Song of Solomon).

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