Monthly Archives: June 2012

The Vibe of Israel and Judah

Israel and Judah have a split in two vibe. Israel is the original land of milk and honey promised to Abraham as a place to settle his mighty army of descendents.

The vibe remains pretty good and Israel is home to the Israelites until King Solomon dies. Solomon has turned his back on God and as soon as he’s dead, the bubble bursts. There is a big falling out between the Twelve Tribes: two of them want Solomon’s son as king and the rest don’t. The ones that do set up the kingdom of Judah and the ones that don’t stay put in Israel.

Judah gets to keep Jerusalem and the two countries fight constantly until Israel is trounced by Assyria. Judah lingers on for another 130 years until it is beaten soundly by the Babylonians who destroy Jerusalem and drag the people off as prisoners.

Around forty years later it’s time up for Babylon as it gets a good bashing from Persia which also wipes out the Assyrians who are still squatting in what used to be Israel. Finally, the Roman army under Pompey defeats the Persians and the whole area is split into Galilee, Samaria and Judea. Around Zero BC, Jesus is born in Nazareth in the region of Galilee and the rest, my friends, is history.

General vibe of Israel and Judah: Divide and be conquered.

Factvibe: Judah is named after one of Jacob’s twelve sons whose family lived there.

The vibe of Israel and Judah, using a crockery metaphor

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The Vibe of the Temple

The Temple begins as a mobile tent put up by Moses in the Sinai desert but the vibes become more permanent when King Solomon builds an elaborate stone structure on a hill in Jerusalem.No expense is spared and the Temple is the place where the Jews come to worship, say prayers and bring small animals which they sacrifice to God.

The innermost part of the Temple is called the Holy of Holies, and it is in this room that the Ark of the Covenant is kept. Around this are an inner courtyard that has a ‘priests only’ vibe, and an outer one where the people can worship God.

The building is razed to the ground when the Babylonians destroy Jerusalem but when the Persians become the new superpower, the Jews are allowed to return and rebuild their holy shrine.

A few centuries later, the vibe goes astray again and the Temple falls into a shabby state of disrepair once more. This time it is revamped by King Herod who makes a much bigger edifice with four outer courts – one for the priests, one for women, one for Jews and one for Gentiles. This last court is used as a bazaar where people can buy animals to offer as sacrifices, and where they can exchange their Roman coins into special shekels for the annual tax that every Jew has to pay to the Temple. However, when Jesus senses that underhand business practices are at play, he kicks over the tables of the stall holders and exchange bureaux. The vibe is clear – this is God’s house, respect it.

Immediately after Jesus is executed, the curtain that separates the Holy of Holies from the rest of the Temple is ripped in two, a powerful statement that the barrier between people and God has disappeared. Around thirty years after the death of Jesus, the Temple is destroyed by the Roman army and is now an Islamic shrine. A definite ‘where are they now?’ vibe.

General vibe of the Temple: God in a building.

Factvibe: Despite its magnificence, Solomon’s Temple was actually quite small – it was only 90 feet long, 45 feet wide and 30 feet high.

The vibe of the original Temple

The Vibe of Jerusalem

Jerusalem is God HQ before Rome takes over.

It’s a big city in Israel surrounded by a wall with a massive Temple in it which is built by Solomon, knocked down by the Babylonians, rebuilt thanks to the Persians, improved by the Jews and finally knocked down again by the Romans.

After Solomon dies, the part of Israel where Jerusalem can be found becomes the kingdom of Judah and Jerusalem becomes its capital city.

Jerusalem suffers badly at the hands of the Babylonian invaders and the place is reduced to rubble. Not long after Babylon’s defeat by the Persians though, the Persian king lets the Jews back to rebuild the city.

By the time Jesus is born, Judah is known as Judea and Jerusalem is the centre of government, home to both the Jewish King Herod and the local Roman governor, Pontius Pilate. Jesus is executed on the outskirts of the city and the vibes are not good – forty years later, just after the last writer has written the last full stop at the end of the last book of the Bible, Jerusalem is ransacked by Roman armies and reduced to rubble again.

General vibe of Jerusalem: City of God.

Factvibe: Jerusalem means ‘Place of Peace’.

Over the years Jerusalem has enjoyed a somewhat up and down vibe.

The Vibe of King Solomon

Solomon is famous for his vibes of wisdom. He is the Son of King David and when God offers him anything he wants, he asks for wisdom rather than material wealth. Happily, he receives both, and also puts together one of the largest harems ever assembled.

A devout Jew, Solomon has the Temple built in Jerusalem and ensures it is constructed from the finest materials in the known world. Sadly for Solomon and the kingdom of Israel, the vibes of pagan worship creep in and Solomon turns his back on God.

As punishment, God splits Israel and Judah in two after Solomon has died. Solomon’s fondness for wisdom leads him to write many of the Proverbs, and his fondness for ladies leads him to write the feisty love poems in the Song of Songs. A ‘good but could have been brilliant’ vibe.

General vibe of King Solomon: Wisdom.

Factvibe: Despite featuring in their own novel, no mines in the African interior have any link to King Solomon.

It’s fair to say, Solomon enjoyed the vibe of the laydeez.

The Vibe of Kings

Kings begins with Solomon’s arrival on the throne of Israel and after a bit of a Golden Age during which Solomon gets his construction hat on and builds a pretty impressive Temple, all goes belly up.

Despite having impressed God with his request for wisdom rather than wealth – and getting both – Solomon gets cocky and disobeys God. As a result, Israel is overpowered by its enemies and is split in two.

The vibe goes from bad to worse – Israel has a succession of bad kings and an all time low is reached when King Ahab marries a foreign queen, Jezebel, and forces her pagan vibes on his people. From nowhere, the prophet Elijah appears and invokes the mighty vibe of God, proving to people that in a side by side comparison, God is a much better choice than Baal. Jezebel gets angry with Elijah and he has to run for his life.

Elijah hands the vibe over to Elisha but no one listens to his godly diatribe either as bad king after bad king runs the two parts of Israel into the ground. Eventually the vibe gets as bad as it can possibly get when the Babylonians conquer Israel and drag everyone off into captivity. Low, shameful, head hanging vibes.

General vibe of Kings: Abandon God at your peril.

Factvibe: Solomon is rumoured to have kept 700 wives and 700 concubines in his harem.

Being King wasn’t always a bag of fun back in Bible times.

The Vibe of King David

David makes his Bible debut as a young lad who looks after his dad’s sheep. A musical prodigy, he is invited to the royal palace to help cheer up King Saul when he’s having a bout of depression.

During a war with a neighbouring kingdom, the enemy brings out their trump card, a man mountain called Goliath. Goliath packs quite a meaty vibe in that he’s nine feet tall, strong as a wild beast and utterly terrifying. Meanwhile, the Israelites bring out David. It’s fair to say that, on paper, the poetic, lyre playing shepherd is not the bookie’s favourite but he attacks the giant like he would a marauding lion on the hunt for sheep and fires a well aimed rock at him. The pebble hits Goliath like a bullet and though not technically a fair fight – David’s sling is as close as any weapon in the Bible comes to a gun – the enemy run off like scaredy cats and victory goes to team Israel.

Realising David is more valuable as a soldier than a musician, Saul makes him one of his army top brass but his jealousy at his new general’s successes means David has to run for his life.

While on the run, David lives in caves until Saul tops himself and he can come back to Israel as king. The musical vibe won’t die though and while David is living rough, he writes a large number of songs which can still be seen (or sung) in the book of Psalms.

Once he is King, the vibe takes a dip – David gets a crush on the wife of one of his guards and sends the poor bloke to the front line to get killed so that he can have her all to himself.

Things get even less rosy for David when his own son starts fighting him to be king. David has to go on the run again until the lad gets killed in a battle and the title passes to a son who sensibly hasn’t tried to kill David: Solomon.

General vibe of King David: Fame corrupts.

Factvibe: The king on the King of Spades playing card is King David.

Don’t be fooled by the music vibe, David was a natural born killer