Apr 8, 2009 David Lang

International Politics

In recent days, world leaders have been meeting to discuss how the world is affected by the policies of individual nations. As the world becomes smaller and information moves faster, it becomes clear that each of us is ultimately affected by events and decisions taking place on the other side of the world.

Yet this is nothing new. The ancient kingdoms of Israel and Judah were also affected by international politics, even though news didn't travel nearly as fast. Consider the synchronisms evident in this timeline:


Here we see the periods of the United Monarchy of Saul, David, and Jonathan, along with the Divided Kingdoms of Israel and Judah. We also see the events taking place in Mesopotamia during the same period. Note how the United Monarchy corresponds closely with a period of Assyrian decline. It would appear that David and Solomon were able to expand their little empire because a power vacuum had developed in the Levant. If we looked at Egypt at this same period, we would see that it too was in a state of weakness. Without having to worry about reprisals from the great empires, David was able to start an aggressive campaign of expansion.

Here's another interesting correlation. Look at the reign of the Israelite king Jeroboam II. This king's reign was a high point in the history of the northern kingdom. Jeroboam II recovered territory previously lost to Aram, and Israel enjoyed a period of prosperity during his reign. Now look up at Assyria during this time. Jeroboam II's reign took place largely during a gap between the Neo-Assyrian empire which had troubled his predecessors, and the Late Assyrian Empire which eventually consumed Israel. It would appear that Jeroboam II owed much of his success to the fact that he lived and reigned during the calm before the storm.

Look also at the kingdom of Judah during the reign of Jeroboam II. Like Jeroboam, Judah's king Uzziah enjoyed a long reign during this same period. With the time to establish themselves and an apparent lack of hostility between them, these two kings appear to have made the most of Assyria's relative weakness.

Being able to see these kinds of synchronisms is my favorite thing about the Accordance Timeline. The Biblical narratives do not concern themselves with international events unless they directly affect the Hebrew people. Yet international politics always had an indirect effect on the nations of Israel and Judah, and the timeline can help us see some of that.

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