by Pastor Don Elmore
January 18, 2014
Scripture Reading: 2 Kings 17:13
In today's scripture reading, God reveals that House of Judah (Benjamin, Levi and Judah) also committed the same sins as did the nation of the other ten tribes: the House of Israel. Many were the prophets God had sent to both nations of Israel in an attempt to turn them from their many sins. This was addressed to Israelites only. It was not addressed to any other nation or nations. It was a racial statement.
14 prophets sent to the House of Israel:
- A man of God (1 Kings 13:1-21)
- Abijah (1 Kings 14:1-18)
- Jehu (1 Kings 16:1-4)
- Elijah (1 Kings 17:1-2; 2 Kings 2:11)
- Elisha (1 Kings 19:19-21; 2 Kings 2:1-13, 25)
- An unknown prophet (1 Kings 20:13-14, 22)
- A man of God (1 Kings 20:28)
- A son of the prophets (1 Kings 20:35-42)
- Micaiah (1 Kings 22:17-28)
- A son of the prophets (2 Kings 9:1-10)
- Jehu, the king (2 Kings 10:30)
- Jonah (2 Kings 14:25)
- Iddo (2 Chronicles 9:29)
- Oded (2 Chronicles 28:9-15)
10 Prophets and 1 Prophetess sent to the House of Judah:
- Shemalah (2 Chronicles 12:7-8)
- Oded (2 Chronicles 15:1-7)
- Hanani (2 Chronicles 16:7-9)
- Jehu (2 Chronicles 19:1-2)
- Jahaziel (2 Chronicles 20:14-17)
- Eliezer (2 Chronicles 20:37)
- Elijah (2 Chronicles 21:12-15)
- Zachariah (2 Chronicles 24:20)
- A man of God (2 Chronicles 25:7-16)
- Huldah, a prophetess (2 Chronicles 34:22-28)
- Isaiah (2 Kings 19:6-7; 20-34)
These prophets and one prophetess are the only ones mentioned in the books of Kings and Chronicles during the division of Israel into two separate kingdoms. Only 7 of the 15 writing prophets from Isaiah to Malachi lived and prophesied during this time of national division, Only Hosea and Amos were prophets to the 10 tribes before their captivity; and five of the seven to Judah before that kingdom’s captivity. The other prophets either lived or prophesied before the division of Israel into two nations or following the captivity of the 10 tribes to Assyria.
We will spend some time studying the five prophets that are highlighted in black in this sermon. What does it mean for us? What happened in the past, will it reoccur again?
A map of Israel after they split into two separate kingdoms.
1. An Unknown Prophet
“And, behold, there came a prophet unto Ahab king of Israel, saying, Thus saith the LORD, Hast thou seen all this great multitude? Behold, I will deliver it into thine hand this day; and thou shalt know that I am the LORD. And Ahab said, By whom? And he said, Thus saith the LORD, Even by the young men of the princes of the provinces. Then he said, Who shall order the battle? And he answered, Thou. 1 Kings 20:13-14
Who was king? It was Ahab. Who remembers what people Ahab was king over? It was the northern kingdom of the House of Israel; the 10 tribes. Ahab was the seventh king of this young nation, being the son of King Omri.
An unnamed prophet comes unto Ahab and tells him that he will have a great victory over the immense Syrian army that is quickly getting ready to invade Israel. Ahab then asks him two questions:
- Who will help in their defeat?
- Who will lead them in battle?
The prophet answers King Ahab that it will be the princes of the provinces that will lead him to victory and it would be himself who will give the charge.
Review of the Early Kings of the House of Israel
Let’s review the first five kings of the House of Israel. The first king was Jeroboam I. He reigned from 931-910 BC. Jeroboam was a patriot; but he made things get a lot worse than better. He rebelled against the sins that King Solomon had committed, and after he had died; he went to his son, Rehoboam, to make peace. When Rehoboam refused to meet any of Jeroboam’s suggestions, there was a split into two kingdoms.
Jeroboam was now king of the newly formed 10 tribes of Israel. He was from the tribe of Ephraim. Jeroboam built the city of Shechem and lived there and took counsel and made two new places of worship in Israel; one in Bethel and the other in Dan. And he put one calf of gold in each of the two new houses of worship; and he then made the lowest of the people the priests, none of whom were of the line of Levi. The House of Israel started off by worshipping the same false gods that they were worshipping many years ago at the Mount, while Moses was there for 40 days before returning to them.
What was said about the golden calves that Aaron made: “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt” (Exodus 32:4, 8). And about the golden calves that King Jeroboam had made: “Behold, your gods, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt” (1 Kings 12:28). They both were said to be the gods of Israel!
Next Jeroboam I changed the feast days of Judah to one which he devised of his own heart, a feast which was a month later than the one the God said to keep; and ordained a feast unto the children of Israel; and he offered upon the altar of Baal, and burned incense. He change the Feast of Tabernacles which the LORD God had told Israel to keep in the seventh month to the eighth month.
So, in the northern kingdom; they started off by worshipping in the wrong place, with the wrong god inside it, with the wrong priests ministering to them, and on the wrong month! Sounds “kinda” familiar, doesn’t it. Do we worship the right God, at the right place, with the correct pastors, on the correct month? Is the Mass of Christ, better known as “Christmas,” an example of one of these days that is similar to what Jeroboam instituted?
Jeroboam reigned for 22 years. And Nadab, his son, reigned for only 2 years. Nadab followed in the ways of his father and in his sin with which he caused Israel to sin. Nadab was assassinated by Baasha of Issachar. Baasha killed all the house of Jeroboam, because of the sins of Jeroboam with which he provoked the LORD God of Israel to anger.
So Jeroboam and his son Nadab were now dead and Baasha was now king. He ruled for 24 years. And at his death his son Elah began to rule. His rule lasted for only 2 years. For his captain of half of his chariots, Zimri, conspired against him and assassinated him when he was in a drunken state. And he killed not just the king, but all of his kinsmen and friends.
But Zimri didn’t rule very long. Just one week! When Omri, one of the major captains of the army, and most of Israel with him, besieged Tirzah, which was the capital city where Zimri was living; that Zimri went into the palace of the king’s house, and with the hopelessness of the situation, burnt the king’s house over him with fire, and he died. So the 5th king technically committed suicide.
But quickly a new rival to Omri presented himself—Tibni, the son of Ginath. The populace remained divided for about four years, during which time civil war presumably raged until Omri’s supporters finally defeated Tibni’s, securing undisputed rule for Omri. Omri ruled for about eight years of sole rule.
So far, we have had as king of the House of Israel:
- Jeroboam of Ephraim, and his son,
- Nadab; who was murdered by
- Baasha of Issachar, and his son,
- Elah; who was murdered by
- Zimri, who committed suicide;
- Omri, who took over the ruler ship of the kingdom, after a four year civil war with Tibni.
Sounds like the United States!
Omri, when he was declared the new king, began to consolidate his power and gain control of strategic trade routes. King Omri made the city of Samaria the new capital of the northern kingdom of Israel. King Omri’s son, Ahab, completed construction on this new capital city, which was built to rival Jerusalem in the lasting beauty of its buildings. He even lived in an ivory house.
King Omri conquered Moab, made numerous concessions to Syria, and cemented ties with Phoenicia by marrying off his son, Ahab, to Jezebel, daughter of the Phoenician king. However, this political marriage opened the door to the pagan worship of Baal that was so hotly contested by the Hebrew prophets Elijah and Elisha. King Omri’s reigned over Israel lasted for 12 years.
And his son Ahab began to reign in his father’s place. His father “did worse than all that were before him” (1 Kings 16:25b) as king over Israel. Ahab ruled for 22 years; and what a terrible time was this. For Ahab did “more to provoke the LORD God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel that were before him” (1 Kings 16:33b).
For with his marriage to the daughter of the king of Phoenicia, King Ahab had built altars for Baal, made a grove for him and served Baal. Now, when is the birthday of this god? Was it in May? No. July? No. September? No. December? Yes. December the what? December the 25th. Israel blasphemed their God by celebrating the birthday of Baal every December 25th. Does America? Whose birthday is it really? It certainly is not the God of Israel.
God raised up the prophet Elijah to meet with this adulterous king. Elijah’s job was to inform King Ahab that it was he who was responsible for the 3 ½ year long drought that was occurring in Israel.
Near the end of this severe drought, Ahab and his governor of his house, Obadiah, went out searching for some land which had some grass on it for his horses and mules to eat. Now Obadiah, when Jezebel, Ahab’s wife, was killing the prophets of God, was responsible in saving one hundred prophets of God by hiding and feeding them. Notice how King Ahab was more interested in finding food for his horses than for his people.
Elijah and Obadiah, the trusted servant of Ahab, met. And Obadiah tells King Ahab where he should go to meet with Elijah. They meet and Elijah tells King Ahab that they were to set up a contest to see who the true God is: The LORD God of Israel or Baal? Elijah verses the 850 priests of Baal. Elijah shows who the true God of Israel is; and the 850 priests of Baal are killed; but after the first rain in over three years, the Queen tries to kill Elijah. No thanks is given to Elijah; but revenge is the motive of the royal house. Elijah was outnumbered 850:1 and he was correct!
Syria Versus Israel
After this, the armies of Syria, under Benhadad challenged the House of Israel. His first demand was met by King Ahab who was willing to surrender his gold, silver, wives and children without a struggle (1 Kings 20:1-4). The second demand to permit soldiers to search all the houses of Israel and take what they wanted was refused (verses 5-8). War was then declared by Benhadad, the king of Syria.
“And, behold, there came a prophet unto Ahab king of Israel, saying, Thus saith the LORD, Hast thou seen all this great multitude? Behold, I will deliver it into thine hand this day; and thou shalt know that I am the LORD. And Ahab said, By whom? And he said, Thus saith the LORD, Even by the young men of the princes of the provinces. Then he said, Who shall order the battle? And he answered, Thou.” 1 Kings 20:13-14
King Ahab is told by this unnamed prophet that he would be victorious over this powerful Syrian army (verse 13). Ahab inquired by whom would the Lord deliver him, and he was told it would be by the young men of the provinces. He inquired again regarding who should lead them, and was told the he should be the leader (verse 14).
So Ahab numbers the young men of the princes of the provinces and finds 232; and he numbers the children of Israel and finds 7,000. Was this the 7,000 who had not bowed their knee to Baal? The Bible doesn’t say. But Ahab was leading a 7,232 man army.
The army that they were to fight was much larger; for with Benhadad were 32 other kings in the battle. Hmmm. 1 + 32 = 33 kings. How many degrees is it in freemasonry?
The very small army of Israel was sent out at noon, while Benhadad was drunk. The king was vastly over confident; but was hastily sent on his way as many of his soldiers were killed.
“And the prophet came to the king of Israel, and said unto him, Go, strengthen thyself, and mark, and see what thou doest: for at the return of the year the king of Syria will come up against thee.” 1 Kings 20:22
The unknown prophet makes his last appearance to King Ahab by telling him that there would be war again next year, so he should make preparation and humble himself by trusting in God; not Baal.
The question of what territory the gods had control over was put forth by the servants of the king of Syria. They thought that the true God of Israel was the God of the hills only, and not of the valley, so to fight in the plain might bring them victory. They further concluded that they should put captains in the place of the kings and raise up an army as large the one they had in the previous year (verses 23-25).
The army of Israel was like a small flock of sheep in comparison to the great number of Syrians; but God again came to their rescue simple because of the question regarding whether He was the God of the hills only (verses 26-28).
2. The Unnamed Man of God
“And there came a man of God and spake unto the king of Israel, and said, Thus saith the LORD, Because the Syrians have said, The LORD is God of the hills, but he is not God of the valleys, therefore will I deliver all this great multitude into thine hand, and ye shall know that I am the LORD.” I Kings 20:28
The battle began after 7 days of no fighting. On that 7th day, 100,000 Syrians were slain and another 27,000 were killed when a massive wall fell on them. Another miraculous victory by the House of Israel. Remember, America lost over 50,000 soldiers in the multi-number of years of the Vietnam War; the Syrians lost almost twice that number is just one day!
3. An Unnamed Son of the Prophets
The Syrians fell on the mercy of the House of Israel. They dressed in sackcloth and robes and approached the Israelites and pleaded for their lives. King Ahab granted them their lives; and he made a covenant with King Benhadad and sent him away. This displeased the LORD who sent a prophet to rebuke King Ahab and predict defeat and judgment for him in the next war with Syria.
1 Kings 20:35-42:
35) “And a certain man of the sons of the prophets said unto this neighbour in the world of the LORD, Smite me, I pray thee, And the man refused to smite him.
36) Then said he unto him, Because thou hast not obeyed the voice of the LORD, behold, as soon as thou art departed from me, a lion shall slay thee. And as soon as he was departed from him, a lion found him, and slew him.
37) Then he found another man, and said, Smite me, I pray thee. And the man smote him, so that in smiting he wounded him.
38) So the prophet departed, and waited for the king by the way, and disguised himself with ashes upon his face.
39) And as the king passed by, he cried unto the king: and he said, Thy servant went out into the midst of the battle; and, behold, a man turned aside, and brought a man unto me, and said, Keep this man: if by any means he be missing, then shall thy life be for his life, or else thou shalt pay a talent of silver.
40) And as thy servant was busy here and there, he was gone. And the king of Israel said unto him, So shall thy judgment be; thyself has decided it.
41) And he hasted, and took the ashes away from his face; and the king of Israel discerned him that he was of the prophets.
42) And he said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Because thou hast let go out of thy hand a man whom I appointed to utter destruction, therefore thy life shall go for his life, and thy people for his people.”
The prophet gave a story similar to the story that the prophet Nathan gave to King David over a century previously. King Ahab passed sentence on himself; like David did. The prophet told Ahab that because you have let a man go out of your hand, whom the LORD had appointed to utter destruction (Benhadad), therefore your life shall go for his life. And the lives of your people shall go for the lives of his people.
King Ahab departed very heavy-hearted and discontent. But he could have avoided this; all he had to do was to obey God (verse 43). Instead of appreciating what God had done for him and living right, he went further into sin and rebellion. And what he did next, was the terrible story of the vineyard that he coveted so much that it would up a homicide. And the king and his wife were totally involved.
God sent Elijah and he announced His doom on King Ahab and Queen Jezebel. But there is something that most Christians do not know about Ahab. Ahab genuinely humbled himself.
It evidently was a humility that lasted for a short time, but it did happen, probably for a couple of years. For after God sent Elijah back to the king commending him and predicting mercy in his days (verses 26-29); Ahab had a major relapse.
But King Ahab’s humbling was five-fold; for he had:
- Rent his clothes,
- Put on sackcloth as a garment,
- Lay in sackcloth,
- Went softly.
And as a result, there was peace between the two nations; Israel and Syria, for three years. Then King Ahab asked King Jehoshaphat, King of the House of Judah, if he wanted to fight with him against Syria? It was the first time that Israel had started the battle.
Jehoshaphat wanted to inquire of the LORD first, so Ahab gathered all the false prophets together, about 400 men, and inquired if he should go to war with Syria over the city: Ramoth-gilead. They all advised him to go to war and the Lord would deliver the Syrians into his hand. However, something seemed lacking in the messages of these prophets, so King Jehoshaphat asked if there was a prophet of God in the kingdom besides these prophets of Baal. And one was found who made a different prediction.
Map of Jehoshaphat’s journey to Samaria and from Samaria to Ramoth-gilead to battle the Syrians. Jehoshaphat was almost killed; Ahab’s life was ended.
The one prophet that was found was the man of God that King Ahab said that he hated! Why? Because he never say anything good about him. So he didn’t talk with him. So they called on the man, whose name was Micaiah. But Micaiah only said what God had told him; nothing more, nothing less. He came to the two kings and told them both what God had to say about the upcoming battle against Syria. Here is what he said:
1 Kings 22:17-28:
17) “And he said, I saw all Israel scattered upon the hills, as sheep that have not a shepherd: and the LORD said, These have no master: let them return every man to his house in peace.
18) And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, Did I not tell thee that he would prophesy no good concerning me, but evil?
19) And he said, Hear thou therefore the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him on his right hand and on his left.
20) And the LORD said, Who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead? And one said on this manner, and another said on that manner.
21) And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the LORD, and said, I will persuade him.
22) And the LORD said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said, Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also: go forth, and do so.
23) Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil concerning thee.
24) But Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah, went near, and smote Micaiah on the cheek, and said, Which way went the Spirit of the LORD from me to speak unto thee?
25) And Micaiah said, Behold, thou shalt see in that day, when thou shalt go into an inner chamber to hide thyself.
26) And the king of Israel said, Take Micaiah, and carry him back unto Amon the governor of the city, and to Joash the king’s son;
27) And say, Thus saith the king, Put this fellow in the prison, and feed him with bread of affliction and with water of affliction, until I come in peace.
28) And Micaiah said, If thou return at all in peace, the LORD hath not spoken by me. And he said, Hearken, O people, every one of you.”
Micaiah starts out by explaining a vision that he saw. He saw the LORD sitting upon a throne, and all the host of heaven standing by Him on both sides. The LORD inquired as to whom He could send to persuade Ahab to go to Ramoth-gilead to battle. Various spirits gave their ideas, but one spirit’s idea was the one that the LORD chose. That idea was that one spirit would be a lying spirit to the mouths of Ahab’s prophets to urge him to go to battle.
Zedekiah must have been the chief prophet of these 400 false ones of Baal. He smote Micaiah on the cheek and taunted him. Micaiah responded that he would know when he went to the chamber to hide himself (verse 25). Micaiah was the only prophet to inform King Ahab that he would die; all 400 of the others said that he would be victorious; 400 against 1; .25%! Ahab put Micaiah in prison and instructed his handlers to feed him with a minimum of food (bread and water) until Ahab should return in peace. It seems to me that being in the majority does not make a person correct; so why all the public polls?
So the kings of both houses of Israel went to Ramoth-gilead to battle against the Syrian army; despite what the prophet of God, Micaiah, had prophesied. The king of Israel, to counter what Micaiah had said, decided that he was going to disguise himself in the battle. And that the King of Judah, Ahab said, should disguise himself as being the King of Israel. Word went out from the 32 captains of the Syrians to fight neither with anyone else except the King of Israel. Once again we see the freemasonic number“33” fighting against Israel.
So, as they chased Jehoshaphat, who was disguised as Ahab, and were about to fight and kill him, King Jehoshaphat cried out. And it came to pass, that the captains of the chariots perceived that it was not the King of Israel that they turned back from pursuing him (verse 33).
And it was at this time that a certain man drew back his bow and shot an arrow at random, and unknowingly smote the king of Israel between the joints of the harness: wherefore Ahab said unto the driver of his chariot, “Turn thine hand and carry me out of the host; for I am wounded” (verse 34). The captain followed Ahab’s orders, and the battle intensified. The king died at even. After the evening, the Israelite soldiers went every man to his city and country, just like Micaiah prophesied.
Both Houses Don't Believe
- “Notwithstanding they would not hear, but hardened their necks, like to the neck of their fathers, that did not believe in the LORD their God.” 2 Kings 17:14.
Both Houses of Israel rejected the words of the Prophets that were sent to them. They refused to hear and hardened their necks. They did not believe in the LORD their God.
- “And they rejected His statues, and His covenant that He made with their fathers, and His testimonies which He testified against them; and they followed vanity, and became vain, and went after the heathen that were round about them, concerning whom the LORD had charged them, that they should not do like them.” 2 Kings 17:15
Both Houses of Israel are said to have rejected the LORD’s statues and His covenant that He made with their fathers. Now who were the fathers of both Houses? It was Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Both Houses of Israel are accused of imitating the heathen and acting like they acted. They also copied the way that they worshipped their God and did likewise.
- “And they left all the commandments of the LORD their God, and made them molten images, even two calves, and made a grove, and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served Baal.”2 Kings 17:16
Both houses of Israel tried to worship their God in that same manner as the heathen worshipped theirs. They did not keep the commandments that their LORD had given them and they made images and two calves and served the false god Baal.
“And they caused their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire, and used divination and enchantments, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke Him to anger.” 2 Kings 17:17
Both houses of Israel sacrificed some of their children by killing them in the hot fire to the god Moloch or Baal. They also practiced divination and enchantments and did so much evil that it provoke their God to anger.
“Therefore the LORD was very angry with Israel and removed them out of His sight; there was none left but the tribe of Judah only.” 2 Kings 17:18
Here is the major division of the two houses: The House of Israel is eventually placed in a state of divorcement and captivity; while the House of Judah is just placed in captivity. But here is where almost all Christians are misled. Many Judeo-Christians say that: “These verses make it clear that the 10 tribes were completely destroyed…” and yet there is the future New Covenant that is made with both Houses of Israel. How could this be if the largest House of Israel was completely destroyed?
And in this same reference Bible it states later a completely different view of the 10 tribes of Israel; when James refers to the “twelve tribes which are scattered…” by saying that “the twelve tribes were still in existence, so ten of them were not lost and never have been any more than the two tribes.” This reference book of the Bible and Judeo-Christians pay no attention to the divorcement of the House of Israel and to the prophet Hosea.
There are a lot of lessons that can be derived from these Old Testament Scriptures. One is: Why did God keep sending prophets, seers and men of God to His covenant people; even though they were not keeping His commandments. It is because they were His covenant people. And for a short time it did seem to pay off for Ahab as he made a genuine repentance of all of his evil deeds.
And what about a man’s wife? What influence can she have on a man’s living a godly life; i.e. living according to God’s commandments. Ahab’s wife tried to kill Elijah after he had the people murder 850 of her false prophets and she did have the farmer, Naboth killed, and took his vineyard on false pretenses. She was a strong worshipper of Baal. She was a very negative influence on her husband.
And what about Jehoshaphat, king of the House of Judah? Jehu, the seer, asked him a very important question after he returned from the battle against Syria in which King Ahab had been killed. “Shoudest thou help the wicked, and love them who hate the LORD? Therefore, there is wrath upon thee from before the LORD” (2 Chronicles 19:2b).
When a people gets so ungodly and hates God to the extent that Ahab and most of the 10 tribes of Israel did, then it is not surprising when God sends a prophet to the person who tried to help them. God would not completely destroy Judah for helping the 10 apostate tribes, they were to be spared for the good work that Jehoshaphat had done regarding the removal of the groves, and because he had prepared his heart to seek God.
Jehoshaphat learned his lesson. It happened a while later, when Jehoshaphat was faced with a very serious situation. His country was attacked by three nations: 1. Moab; 2. Ammon; and 3. Edom. When messengers reported the approaching three armies, Jehoshaphat’s response was unlike that of any of Judah’s kings either before or after him. He assembled the entire nation to pray. Jehoshaphat himself prayed:
“O our God…we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do; but our eyes are upon thee” (2 Chronicles 20:12).
Is it important to have the whole church pray? Does prayer change things? Do we hurry through the prayers? How much time do we spend on prayers? Are prayers answered?
Well, what happened? Was the prayers heard that was made by Jehoshaphat king of Judah? Jehoshaphat’s army went out to meet the invaders of the three armies and found their corpses strewn across the valley; the invading armies had turned on each other and destroyed themselves. The army of the House of Judah did not have to do anything but rejoice. Jehoshaphat’s army returned to Jerusalem singing praises to God for his protection.
Do we know what to do? There is no way we can fight and win; for the enemy is too great. Edom is the jews of today. The Hasidic and the Ashkenazi jews control our country today. But we can be like Jehoshaphat; he led the Israelites to victory because they prayed; we can pray too. Jehoshaphat fought against the ancestors of the jews too; their armies didn’t have to kill anyone. The three enemy armies killed themselves. The victory was God’s.
“And the fear of the God was on all the kingdoms of those countries when they had heard that the LORD fought against the enemies of Israel. So the realm of Jehoshaphat was quiet: for his God gave him rest round about.” 2 Chronicles 20:29-30
Kind of reminds me of what happened in the Battle of Blood River in South Africa many years later. When God gives His covenant people a miraculous victory, even the enemies of Israel know what happened. The fear of God is on all the countries that heard that the LORD fought against the enemies of the Israelites who were living in South Africa; and they had peace!
Why don’t we do the same thing?
Blessed be the LORD God of Israel.