Page 277: Hadad's personal story, which he tells on this page and the pages that follow, is based on 1 Kings 14-25.
Page 278: “My father, the King of Edom, had been murdered, along with my mother and the rest of my family. All the males in the large cities of Edom had been murdered with them, including children and the elderly. The slaughter lasted almost six months, and by the time it was over, very few males remained in Edom.” See 1 Kings 11:14-16: “Then the LORD raised up against Solomon an adversary, Hadad the Edomite, from the royal line of Edom. Earlier when David was fighting with Edom, Joab the commander of the army, who had gone up to bury the dead, had struck down all the men in Edom. Joab and all the Israelites stayed there for six months, until they had destroyed all the men in Edom.” The Bible does not describe the nature of the troubles that this "adversary" caused, but only says (1 Kings 11:25) that a second adversary, Rezon, mentioned below, "add[ed] to the trouble caused by Hadad." The possibility that the trouble Hadad caused was accomplished through his training of and counsel to Jeroboam is consistent with the traditional Rabbinic approach to the interpretation of scripture. The story of Jeroboam begins in the very next verse (1 Kings 11:26), and traditional interpretation often hypothesizes connections between stories in adjacent verses that do not appear connected on the surface.
Page 278: “I was saved thanks to my father’s slaves, who’d managed to hide me. They brought me to Egypt, where the Pharaoh Siamun agreed to grant me refuge.” As the Biblical story tells (1 Kings 11:17): “But Hadad, still only a boy, fled to Egypt with some Edomite officials who had served his father.”
Page 278: “When I grew up, the Pharaoh appointed me as the commander of the training program for his army’s elite units and gave me his wife’s sister as my wife.” This marriage is also described in the Bible (1 Kings 11:19): “Pharaoh was so pleased with Hadad that he gave him a sister of his own wife, Queen Tahpenes, in marriage.”
Page 278: The Bible tells the story of Rezon son of Eliada right after it tells the story of Hadad and right before it tells the story of Jeroboam. Rezon, like Hadad, is described as "an adversary" raised up against Solomon by God.
Pages 278-279: “The only man that had the necessary courage and will was not a king: Rezon son of Eliada, commander of the army of Aram Zobah, which had been destroyed by David. Rezon was able to take refuge in Aram-Damascus, or what was left of it after David’s conquests, and planned his revenge from there.” See 1 Kings, 11, 23-24: “And God raised up against Solomon another adversary, Rezon son of Eliada, who had fled from his master, Hadadezer king of Zobah. When David destroyed Zobah’s army, Rezon gathered a band of men around him and became their leader; they went to Damascus, where they settled and took control.”
Page 281: “If you go out on the street and ask the older residents of Jerusalem when the Mad Princess lost her mind, most of them will tell you she’s always been mad, and the few who remember will tell you it had something to do with the first rain that came down after many years of drought.” See 2 Samuel 21:14: “After that, God answered prayer in behalf of the land.”
Page 282: “... the military will soon seize the throne of Egypt, and Pharaoh Siamun will be replaced by a Libyan warlord named Shishak, the leader of the Libyan mercenaries in Egypt, who will become the new Pharaoh.” The Biblical Pharaoh Shishak is generally understood to be the Pharaoh known to Egyptologists as Shoshenq I.
Page 284: “Sheba waved the flag of rebellion and swept up tens of thousands of young people from the tribes of Rachel.” See 2 Samuel 20:1: “Now a troublemaker named Sheba son of Bikri, a Benjamite, happened to be there. He sounded the trumpet and shouted, ‘We have no share in David, no part in Jesse’s son! Every man to his tent, Israel!’”
Page 285: “But, as you know, the rebellion failed. Your grandfather died in Beth Maakah, and his body was thrown to the soldiers who were surrounding the city.” The story of Sheba son of Bikri's end is told in detail in 2 Samuel 20:14-22.
Page 287: “Most of the stories are basically endless lists of the materials used to construct the great buildings that have been built for him, especially the Temple and his private palace, which was only just recently completed after thirteen years of hard labor. Sometimes, for variety’s sake, of course, the stories also detail the precise weight of said materials, the types of sacrifices that were made on special occasions, the dimensions of the ten copper sinks in the Temple, and, most fascinatingly, the number of steps leading to the king’s throne and the exact shape of the animals carved into them.” These detailed descriptions have been recorded in the Bible. See, for example, chapter 6 and chapter 7 of 1 Kings.
Page 288: “His mother declared him the ‘wisest of all men’ and spread a sweet little story about how he judged a dispute between two prostitutes over a baby, at the end of which the people were left in awe of his great wisdom.” This famous story of "splitting the baby" is told in 1 Kings 3:16-28.
Page 288: “. . . ever since deciding that case he’s been mostly concerned with the shovels and fountains his good friend Hiram, King of Zur, has been making for him, with the three thousand fables of beasts and fishes that he has been busy writing, and with the fifteen thousand songs he is working so hard to compose in celebration of the cedars of Lebanon and the hyssop on the walls.” As described in 1 Kings 4:32-33: “He spoke three thousand proverbs and his songs numbered a thousand and five. He spoke about plant life, from the cedar of Lebanon to the hyssop that grows out of walls. He also spoke about animals and birds, reptiles and fish”
Page 288: “Their leader is Naamah the Ammonite, mother of Rehoboam, the crown prince.” See 1 Kings 14:21: “His mother’s name was Naamah; she was an Ammonite.”
Page 285: The Bible describes Sheba son of Bikri as a Benjaminite (2 Samuel 20:1).
Page 290: The walls of the castle were made of giant cedar beams interrupted by at least thirty arches lined with gold that gleamed blindingly in the sunlight. The building of Solomon’s palace is described in 1 Kings chapter 7. The cedar beams are mentioned in 1 Kings 7:2: “He built the Palace of the Forest of Lebanon a hundred cubits long, fifty wide and thirty high, with four rows of cedar columns supporting trimmed cedar beams.”
Page 290: I couldn’t figure out how they had transported bricks of that size, how they had made the steps gleam like polished sapphire, how they could have woven thread of gold and silver into the rugs, and how they had sculpted the lions to look so real. See 1 Kings 7:10: “The foundations were laid with large stones of good quality, some measuring ten cubits and some eight.”
Page 291: “I am Adoram, in charge of the taxes.” Adoram is first mentioned in the Bible as occupying this position under King David: “Adoram was in charge of forced labor” (2 Samuel 20:24). And he remained in the position under Solomon: “Adoniram son of Abda—in charge of forced labor” (1 Kings 4:6). The Hebrew generally renders the name Adoram, but sometimes as Adoniram; it is the same person, and for this reason, some translations render it Adoniram in English even where the Hebrew has Adoram. The Secret Book of Kings uses Adoram, which is the way it is most often rendered in the Masoretic Hebrew text.
Page 291: "Ben Hur of the tribe of Judah, Ephraim’s current tax commissioner, is unable to meet the new demands for supplying the king with the required quota of construction workers." See 1 Kings, 4:7-8: “ Solomon had twelve district governors over all Israel, who supplied provisions for the king and the royal household. Each one had to provide supplies for one month in the year. These are their names: Ben-Hur—in the hill country of Ephraim . . .”
Page 292: “But now Solomon is about to build the Millo.” The Hebrew word Millo is translated as “terraces” in the New International Version translation of 1 Kings 11:27: “Solomon had built the terraces and had filled in the gap in the wall of the city of David his father.” Other translations, such as the Jewish Publication Society translation, do not translate the word, viewing it as a place-name.
Page 292: “Until now there have been ten thousand forced laborers in Jerusalem and another ten thousand in his store cities and his cities of horse men, and now the number will go up to thirty thousand.“ According to 1 Kings 5:13: “King Solomon conscripted laborers from all Israel—thirty thousand men.”
There are no additional specific Biblical allusions in this chapter.
Page 302: “You need to become Solomon’s adversary.” Compare with 1 Kings 11:14: “Then the LORD raised up against Solomon an adversary, Hadad the Edomite, from the royal line of Edom.”
Page 302: “Let’s start with thelabor tax. Who are the ones sent to do forcedlabor in Jerusalem?” This forced labor is described in the introduction to the character of Jeroboam given in 1 Kings 11:28: “Now Jeroboam was a man of standing, and when Solomon saw how well the young man did his work, he put him in charge of the whole labor force of the tribes of Joseph.”
Page 302: “Moses imposed a tax of a half shekel, which was a symbolic amount that anyone could afford." This half-shekel tax is described in Exodus 30:15: “The rich are not to give more than a half shekel and the poor are not to give less when you make the offering to the LORD to atone for your lives.”
Page 305: “Who needs this Millo?” The Hebrew word Millo is translated as “terraces” in the New International Version translation of 1 Kings 11:27: “Solomon had built the terraces and had filled in the gap in the wall of the city of David his father.” Other translations, such as the Jewish Publication Society translation, do not translate the word, viewing it as a place-name.
Page 308: “Israel hadn’t seen anything like it since the concubine in Gibeah.” The story of a Levite's concubine being raped and killed by a mob of Benjaminites is told in chapter 19 of the Book of Judges, and its aftermath is told in the next two chapters -- the final two chapters -- of the Book of Judges. The point of the story is to demonstrate the horror of the state of nature without a king; it also places the tribe of Benjamin in a negative light, consistent with the perspective of a pro-David Judean scribe, as the behavior of the Benjaminites (the tribe of Saul) echoes that of the people of Sodom just before their city was destroyed by God (Genesis 19:5). The reference here is to Judges 19:29: "When he reached home, he took a knife and cut up his concubine, limb by limb, into twelve parts and sent them into all the areas of Israel."
Page 311: "I quoted the law of Moses regarding the unfaithful wife, which forbade a jealous husband from taking the law into his own hands and killing his wife, even if he was absolutely certain that she had been with another man. Instead, he was required to bring her to a priest and make her swear her innocence." This law is described in great detail in Numbers 5:11-31.
Page 313: The song that Shelomoam's mother sings is a direct quote from Song of Songs 8:1-2).
Page 314: The Festival of Freedom is another name for Passover, so called because it was “the day you came out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery" (Exodus 13:3).
Page 315: "The leader of the elders went even further, emotionally telling Adoram that what had led them to deviate from the law and put the man on trial was the extremely cruel manner of the murder, the likes of which Israel hadn’t seen since the concubine in Gibeah."Again, this is the story told in chapter 19 of the Book of Judges. See the note to Page 308 (Part III, Chapter 6) of The Secret Book of Kings.
Pages 315-316: “Just read our Torah and look at the reasoning Moses used to convince the people to set aside a weekly day of rest for every person, to free their slaves after seven years of service, and to let their fields lie fallow every seventh year, and you’ll see that I’ve come up with nothing new.” See, for example, Deuteronomy 15.
Page 320: “The mother of Ephraim, your ancient patriarch, was Egyptian.” See Genesis 41:50-52: “Before the years of famine came, two sons were born to Joseph by Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On. Joseph named his firstborn Manasseh and said, ‘It is because God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s household.’ The second son he named Ephraim and said, ‘It is because God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering.’”
Page 324: "Elisheba liked the name Gershom, who was Moses’s firstborn, but I convinced her that Aaron’s eldest had a nicer name, and we even agreed that if we were blessed with more boys, we would call them Abijah, Eleazar, or Ithamar, after Aaron’s other three sons." All of Aaron's sons are mentioned in Exodus 6:23: “Aaron married Elisheba, daughter of Amminadab and sister of Nahshon, and she bore him Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Itamar.” (Abijah and Abihu are close variants of the same name.)
Page 325: "According to the story, Bilhah was walking alone on the banks of the river one day when she was astonished to find a basket floating on the water, inside of which was a newborn baby, stained with blood." This description echoes Exodus 2:5-6, telling the origin story of Moses: “Then Pharaoh’s daughter went down to the Nile to bathe, and her attendants were walking along the riverbank. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her female slave to get it. She opened it and saw the baby. He was crying, and she felt sorry for him. ‘This is one of the Hebrew babies,’ she said.” The connections between the stories of Jeroboam and Moses are laid out in detail in "And You Shall Tell Your Son": The Concept of the Exodus in the Bible by Yair Kakovitch (pages 87-97), which Yochi Brandes cites in the introduction to the Hebrew edition of The Secret Book of Kings.
Pages 326-327: "I found out that the Benjaminites had sent a delegation to Adoram asking him to appoint me their commissioner in place of the hated Shimei son of Ela." In a list of officers of Solomon's kingdom, 1 Kings 4:18 names Shimei as the governor of Benjamin: “Shimei son of Ela—in Benjamin.”
Page 329: “The king is going to fill the gap in the wall of the city of David.” The Bible specifically describes this project in the context of Jeroboam's rebellion against Solomon (1 Kings 11:27): “Here is the account of how he rebelled against the king: Solomon had built the terraces and had filled in the gap in the wall of the city of David his father.”
Page 329: “The people of Ephraim enthusiastically built the fortifications of Hazor, Megiddo, and Gezer. The Judeans should build Jerusalem themselves.” All these building projects of King Solomon are listed in 1 Kings 9:15: “Here is the account of the forced labor King Solomon conscripted to build the LORD’s temple, his own palace, the terraces, the wall of Jerusalem, and Hazor, Megiddo and Gezer.”
Page 331: “‘"I never expected to see your face again, and now God has allowed me to see your children too. Now I am ready to die."’ Grandmother mumbled the familiar words Jacob had spoken when his son Joseph had presented him with his grandsons." See Genesis 48:11.
Page 332: “'The new Pharaoh is afraid of us because we’re the most populous tribe in Israel!' cried the chief elder of Bethel. 'He is making our lives bitter with harsh labor and weighing us down with bricks and mortar so that we’ll be unable to reproduce!'” Compare this statement with Exodus 1:14: “They made their lives bitter with harsh labor in brick and mortar and with all kinds of work in the fields; in all their harsh labor the Egyptians worked them ruthlessly.”
Page 334: "Shelomoam will say to Solomon: Let Ephraim go, Let my people go." This line in the song quotes Exodus 5:1: “Afterward Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said, ‘This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: “Let my people go, so that they may hold a festival to me in the wilderness.”’” It also echoes the famous African-American spiritual, "Go Down Moses."
Page 336: “I’m a member of the company of prophets of Shiloh.” This company is a group of prophet acolytes, as mentioned, for example, in 2 Kings 2:3: “The company of the prophets at Bethel came out to Elisha and asked, ‘Do you know that the LORD is going to take your master from you today?’ ‘Yes, I know,’ Elisha replied, ‘so be quiet.’”
Page 337: “Saul son of Kish and my grandfather met as young men in the prophet Samuel’s company of prophets.” This story is a version of the events of 1 Samuel 10:10-12: “When he and his servant arrived at Gibeah, a procession of prophets met him; the Spirit of God came powerfully upon him, and he joined in their prophesying.”
Page 337: “The humble Saul ignored Samuel’s prophecy and returned to plow the fields of his father, Kish.” Saul's return is implied by 1 Samuel 11:5: “Just then Saul was returning from the fields, behind his oxen”.
Page 337: “But when Nahash the Ammonite threatened to enslave the people of Jabesh Gilead and put out their eyes, Saul could no longer deny the duty that Samuel had given him and the spirit of God that came upon him, so he cut up the oxen into twelve pieces before the astonished eyes of the elders and recruited all the tribes to the great battle on the other side of the Jordan River.” This summarizes 1 Samuel, 11, 6-8: “ When Saul heard their words, the Spirit of God came powerfully upon him, and he burned with anger. He took a pair of oxen, cut them into pieces, and sent the pieces by messengers throughout Israel, proclaiming, ‘This is what will be done to the oxen of anyone who does not follow Saul and Samuel.’ Then the terror of the LORD fell on the people, and they came out together as one. When Saul mustered them at Bezek, the men of Israel numbered three hundred thousand and those of Judah thirty thousand.”
Page 337: “Samuel pulled him out from among the supplies and anointed him the first King of Israel.“ This part of Saul's story appears earlier in the Bible (1 Samuel 10:21-22): “Then he brought forward the tribe of Benjamin, clan by clan, and Matri’s clan was taken. Finally Saul son of Kish was taken. But when they looked for him, he was not to be found. So they inquired further of the LORD, ‘Has the man come here yet?’ And the LORD said, ‘Yes, he has hidden himself among the supplies.'”
Page 338: “‘Is Saul also among the prophets?'" A direct quote of 1 Samuel 10:11.
Page 338: “You’re the one who will save us from those who torture and oppress us. Thanks to you, the people of Israel will be fruitful and multiply and grow exceedingly numerous.” An allusion to Exodus, 1:6-7: “Now Joseph and all his brothers and all that generation died, but the Israelites were exceedingly fruitful; they multiplied greatly, increased in numbers and became so numerous that the land was filled with them.”
Page 338: “I will anoint your forehead with anointing oil and declare your reign in the sight of all the people.” This statement alludes to the giving of the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai (Exodus 19:10-11): “Have them wash their clothes and be ready by the third day, because on that day the LORD will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people."
Page 341: "Before this happened, just after Grandmother’s death, Hadad had returned to Egypt, and three years later the military overthrew Pharaoh Siamun and installed Pharaoh Shishak, leader of the Libyan mercenaries, in his place." The Biblical Pharaoh Shishak is generally understood to be the Pharaoh known to Egyptologists as Shoshenq I.
Page 341: The Egyptian army would invade Israel and receive minor—but crucial—help from Rezon son of Eliada, who had been appointed army commander of Aram-Damascus. In 1 Kings 11:23, the Bible states: “And God raised up against Solomon another adversary, Rezon son of Eliada, who had fled from his master, Hadadezer king of Zobah.”
Page 342: “He’s given Hiram, King of Zur, twenty Israelite cities in the Galilee region in exchange for one hundred and twenty talents of gold, but he will never give up foreign soil conquered by his father.” As told in 1 Kings 9:11: “King Solomon gave twenty towns in Galilee to Hiram king of Tyre, because Hiram had supplied him with all the cedar and juniper and gold he wanted.”
Page 342: “Hiram, King of Zur, is his friend. He calls him ‘my brother.’” The bible states that Hiram calls Solomon his brother: “’What kind of towns are these you have given me, my brother?’ he asked” (1 Kings 9:13).
Page 343: “We are building up the walls of Jerusalem,” Adoram declared cheerfully. The Bible does not specify when the walls were built, but states that they were built sometime during the reign of Solomon: “Solomon made an alliance with Pharaoh king of Egypt and married his daughter. He brought her to the City of David until he finished building his palace and the temple of the LORD, and the wall around Jerusalem” (1 Kings 3:1).
Page 343: I pulled the curtain aside and saw a young man standing on the seat of a wagon and blocking our way. His new cloak stood out against the background of the tattered wagon and drew my gaze. In 1 Kings 11:29, the Bible states: “About that time Jeroboam was going out of Jerusalem, and Ahijah the prophet of Shiloh met him on the way, wearing a new cloak. The two of them were alone out in the country.”
Page 344: “'Do you know the story that David’s scribes made up about your great-grandfather and the prophet Samuel?' asked Ahijah. 'They made up lots of stories about them.' 'The one about the tearing of the coat.'" Ahijah refers to 1 Samuel 15:27-28: “As Samuel turned to leave, Saul caught hold of the hem of his robe, and it tore. Samuel said to him, ‘The LORD has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today and has given it to one of your neighbors—to one better than you.’”
Page 345: "He cut off a large piece of fabric from his new cloak and commanded me to spread out my hands." See 1 Kings 11:30-31: “ . . . and Ahijah took hold of the new cloak he was wearing and tore it into twelve pieces.
Then he said to Jeroboam, ‘Take ten pieces for yourself, for this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: “See, I am going to tear the kingdom out of Solomon’s hand and give you ten tribes.”’”
Page 346: “Our two greatest patriarchs changed their names after they accepted their roles as fathers of the nation. Abram became Abraham, and Jacob became Israel.” Abram's name change is found in Genesis 17:5: “No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations.” And Jacob's is described in Genesis 32:28: “Then the man said, ‘Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.’”
Page 348: "That night, I tossed and turned in bed, but I could not fall asleep." This alludes to Esther 6:1: “That night the king could not sleep; so he ordered the book of the chronicles, the record of his reign, to be brought in and read to him.”
Page 354: “Adoram is calling you ‘Solomon’s Bane’” The Hebrew term in the bible, translated here as "bane" is “satan,” which means "adversary" in Hebrew, and is used in the introduction of Hadad in 1 Kings 11:14: “Then the LORD raised up against Solomon an adversary, Hadad the Edomite, from the royal line of Edom.” Jeroboam is mentioned immediately thereafter as another adversary against Solomon: “Also, Jeroboam son of Nebat rebelled against the king” (1 Kings 11:26).
Page 354: “'Flee, Shelomoam!' he screamed. 'If you don’t run for your life tonight, tomorrow you’ll be killed!'” These were the exact words Michal said to David when she saved him from her father: “Saul sent men to David’s house to watch it and to kill him in the morning. But Michal, David’s wife, warned him, ‘If you don’t run for your life tonight, tomorrow you’ll be killed’” (1 Samuel 19:11). This scene is depicted on pages 186-88 of The Secret Book of Kings.
Page 354: “There was no one in the palace like him—blameless and upright, a man who feared God and shunned evil.” This is nearly a direct quote of Job 1:1: “In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil.”
Page 355: “I thought she was confused by my resemblance to my grandfather, which everyone always talks about.” Ithiel’s grandfather was King David.
Page 355: "His mouth dropped open a bit, and his eyes widened in horror. 'Who killed my father?' 'Benaiah son of Jehoiada, the commander of Solomon’s army.'" This is explicitly stated in the Bible (1 Kings 2:25): “So King Solomon gave orders to Benaiah son of Jehoiada, and he struck down Adonijah and he died.”
Page 357: "Had I not insisted on stopping at the lepers’ cave, we would have had time to bake a few loaves of bread for the road, but I couldn’t flee without taking my leave of Mother." Shelomoam alludes to Exodus 12:39: “With the dough the Israelites had brought from Egypt, they baked loaves of unleavened bread. The dough was without yeast because they had been driven out of Egypt and did not have time to prepare food for themselves.”
Page 357: “Sometimes a mother’s love is tested most powerfully in parting, like Jochebed, who let go of her son and abandoned him on the waters of the Nile in order to save his life.” In alluding to the origin story of Moses (Exodus 2:1-3), Zeruiah is again drawing connection between her son and Moses. Other such connections are discussed, for example, on pages 52-53 324-28 of The Secret Book of Kings.
Page 358: “'Our matriarch Asenath was an Egyptian,'” Nadab reminded her. Genesis 41:45 tells that Joseph married an Egyptian woman, who became the mother of Ephraim and Manasseh: “Pharaoh gave Joseph the name Zaphenath-Paneah and gave him Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On, to be his wife. And Joseph went throughout the land of Egypt.”
Page 359: “Besides, don’t forget that he’s the spitting image of his grandfather.” Ithiel’s grandfather was King David.
Page 365: "And unlike his father, the days of his life were few and good." This statement echoes Genesis 47:9: “And Jacob said to Pharaoh, 'The years of my pilgrimage are a hundred and thirty. My years have been few and difficult, and they do not equal the years of the pilgrimage of my fathers.'”
Page 366: "Hadad’s messengers left Egypt urgently to spread the word about my return throughout Israel." The phrasing alludes to Esther 3:15: “The couriers went out, spurred on by the king’s command, and the edict was issued in the citadel of Susa. The king and Haman sat down to drink, but the city of Susa was bewildered.”
Page 366: “Of course I know. Moses taught you that your god is the One Who Must Not Be Named. And you’re still trying to tell me your people are in their right minds?” Hadad's allusion to the Jewish tradition of avoiding stating the name of God echoes the way characters in the Harry Potter series refuse to utter the name of Lord Voldemort, instead referring to him as "He Who Must Not Be Named." A popular new podcast explores the Harry Potter novels themselves as sacred texts.
Page 369: “A young, innocent girl is taken by force from her home and brought to the bed of an elderly king who is about to die, and you’re surprised that she falls head over heels for the only woman in the entire palace to give her a smile?” As the opening of 1 Kings tells: “When King David was very old, he could not keep warm even when they put covers over him. So his attendants said to him, ‘Let us look for a young virgin to serve the king and take care of him. She can lie beside him so that our lord the king may keep warm.’ Then they searched throughout Israel for a beautiful young woman and found Abishag, a Shunammite, and brought her to the king.
The woman was very beautiful; she took care of the king and waited on him, but the king had no sexual relations with her.”
Page 369: “The son of Solomon will not inherit his throne.” According to 1 Kings 11:11-12: “So the LORD said to Solomon, ‘Since this is your attitude and you have not kept my covenant and my decrees, which I commanded you, I will most certainly tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your subordinates. Nevertheless, for the sake of David your father, I will not do it during your lifetime. I will tear it out of the hand of your son.’”
Page 371: "They’ll see right away that your demand is a trap, and they’ll teach him a basic principle of how to be a king: if you want the people to worship you forever, be their servant at the start." This is what the elder advisers indeed told Rehoboam in 1 Kings, 12:6-7: “Then King Rehoboam consulted the elders who had served his father Solomon during his lifetime. ‘How would you advise me to answer these people?’ he asked. They replied, ‘If today you will be a servant to these people and serve them and give them a favorable answer, they will always be your servants.’”
Page 372: “I’ll tell him that his aged advisors understand nothing, and that if he wants to rule, he needs to make a show of strengthbecause the people of Israel only understand power, and the only viable response to their audacious demand is to increase the tax burden.” This is the advice the young companions of Rehoboam gave him in 1 Kings, 12, 8-11.
Page 372: “That’s what Pharaoh did when Moses dared to demand that he give the people of Israel three days off.” As told in Exodus 5:6-9: “That same day Pharaoh gave this order to the slave drivers and overseers in charge of the people: ‘You are no longer to supply the people with straw for making bricks; let them go and gather their own straw. But require them to make the same number of bricks as before; don’t reduce the quota. They are lazy; that is why they are crying out, “Let us go and sacrifice to our God.” Make the work harder for the people so that they keep working and pay no attention to lies.’"
Page 372: “Measure for measure” – in addition to the echoes of Shakespeare's famous play, the phrase alludes to the Mishnah (Sotah 1:7): "In the measure that a person measures, so it is measured out to him."
Page 376: "A few minutes later he gave me a sober look and said flatly that no power in the world would be able to attach the tribe of Judah to the Kingdom of Israel." This was Ahijah's original prophecy, quoted in 1 Kings 11:32: “But for the sake of my servant David and the city of Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, he will have one tribe.”
Page 376: “I have faith that the scribes of Judah will spoil my favorable prophecies, just as they did Samuel’s. They’ll write in their books that I rejected Jeroboam and prophesied a terrible future for him and his family.” Ahijah's statement alludes to the later prophecy the Bible says he gave to Jeroboam's wife in 1 Kings 14:7-16: “Go, tell Jeroboam that . . . the LORD will raise up for himself a king over Israel who will cut off the family of Jeroboam . . . .”
Pages 376-377: “'For all I care, they can also write that the Benjaminites joined up with Judah because of their great admiration for Rehoboam, the grandson of their beloved son of Jesse,' Hadad said." This is, in fact, more or less what the bible does say in 1 Kings 12:21: “When Rehoboam arrived in Jerusalem, he mustered all Judah and the tribe of Benjamin—a hundred and eighty thousand able young men—to go to war against Israel and to regain the kingdom for Rehoboam son of Solomon.” The Bible sometimes describes Benjamin as a northern tribe, and sometimes as a southern tribe.
Page 377: "The people of Judah and Israel were as numerous as the sand on the seashore; they ate, they drank, and they were happy." This is a direct quote of 1 Kings 4:20.
Page 377: "The elders gave me an emotional welcome, and the chief elder of Benjamin even burst into tears, telling me that he’d been waiting his entire life for this moment, believing with all his heart that, even though it tarried, it would most certainly come." This statement alludes to the twelfth of Maimonides's thirteen principles of faith: "I believe with perfect faith in the coming of the Messiah; and even though he may tarry, nonetheless, I wait every day for his coming."
Page 379: “Listen carefully to what I tell you, and deliver the message to Rehoboam word for word—do not neglect anything." This instruction quotes Esther 6:10: "'Go at once,’ the king commanded Haman. ‘Get the robe and the horse and do just as you have suggested for Mordecai the Jew, who sits at the king’s gate. Do not neglect anything you have recommended.’”
Page 379: “Yourfather put a heavy yoke on us, but now lighten the harsh labor and the heavy yoke he put on us, and we will serve you.” is a direct quote of 1 Kings 12:4, which describes this scene.
Page 379: “You said it” echoes Jesus's reply of, "You have said so" in Matthew 26:64.
Page 380: "I wanted to reach the town of Ramah to pray at the grave of our matriarch Rachel." The location of Rachel's tomb in the town of Ramah accords with the northern tradition retained in 1 Samuel 10:2 (“Rachel’s tomb, at Zelzah on the border of Benjamin”) and Jeremiah 31:15 (“A voice is heard in Ramah, mourning and great weeping, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more”), but not with the Judean tradition recorded in Genesis 35:19: “So Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem).” Ramah is in the territory of the northern kingdom, while Bethlehem is in the territory of Judah.
Page 380: "Moses freed our ancestors From Egyptian slavery," alludes to, for example, Exodus 20:2: “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.”
Page 381: "Let my people go" was the demand Moses made of the Pharaoh (Exodus 5:1). By making the same demand of Rehoboam, a claim is being made that Rehoboam is the new Pharaoh (and Jeroboam the new Moses).
Page 382: The Bible (2 Samuel 20:1) writes that, at the start of his revolt, Sheba son of Bikri shouted, “We have no share in David, no part in Jesse’s son! Every man to his tent, Israel!” This revolt is described on page 284 of The Secret Book of Kings.
Page 383: "The widest man alive" refers to Rehoboam, whose name comes from the Hebrew word for “wide” (rahab). There is a contrast drawn here to Rehoboam's father, Solomon, and great-great-grandfather (according to the novel), Ahithophel, who were described as the "wisest of all men," and there is a foreshadowing of the statement Rehoboam will make in the next chapter: “My little finger shall be thicker than my father’s loins.”
Page 384: "The messengers left Jerusalem urgently" alludes to Esther 3:15: “The couriers went out, spurred on by the king’s command, and the edict was issued in the citadel of Susa. The king and Haman sat down to drink, but the city of Susa was bewildered.”
Page 386: The trumpets sounded again, and this time they were joined by a long, ear-splitting blast from seven rams’ horns." The seven rams' horns allude to Joshua 6:4. God tells Joshua that the city's walls will collapse after "seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark" and blow them on the seventh day, after marching around the city seven times.
Page 386: “Your father put a heavy yoke on us, but now lighten the harsh labor and the heavy yoke he put on us, and we will serve you.” This is a direct quote from the description of this scene in 1 Kings, 12:4.
Page 386: “My little finger shall be thicker than my father’s loins. My father made your yoke heavy, and I will add to your yoke. My father also chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.” This is also a direct quote. See the King James Bible translation of 1 Kings 12:10-11.
Page 387 (and page 382) quote the cry of rebellion: "'We have no share in David!' they screamed. 'And no part in Jesse’s son! Every man to his tent, Israel!'” This quote is the rallying cry of Sheba son of Biker's rebellion (described on page 284 of The Secret Book of Kings) in 2 Samuel 20:1. In the Bible's story of Jeroboam’s coronation (1 Kings 12:16), a slightly different phrasing is given: “When all Israel saw that the king refused to listen to them, they answered the king: ‘What share do we have in David, what part in Jesse’s son? To your tents, Israel! Look after your own house, David!’ So the Israelites went home.”
Page 388: "I led Rehoboam to the chariot, protecting him with my body. He tried to get on, but his knees buckled, and I had to support him with both my hands." As described in 1 Kings 12:18, “King Rehoboam, however, managed to get into his chariot and escape to Jerusalem.”
Page 388: "I regained control of myself and took a closer look at the body. I couldn’t recognize the mangled face, but I recognized the clothing right away. It was Adoram." As described in 1 Kings 12:18: “King Rehoboam sent out Adoniram, who was in charge of forced labor, but all Israel stoned him to death.” (The Masoretic Hebrew text renders the name Adoram, although the New International Version translation, which is generally used in The Secret Book of Kings renders it Adoniram; the novel has retained the name as given in the Hebrew text.)
Page 390: “O my brother, Ithiel!” I called out. “My brother, my brother Ithiel! If only I had died instead of you— O Ithiel, my brother, my brother!” This cry directly quotes (with the name changed) King David’s lament in 2 Samuel 18:33, following the death of his son Absalom: “O my son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you—O Absalom, my son, my son!”
Page 390: “Get up, wash yourself, and eat some bread!” This alludes to King David’s actions after the death of his newborn son, 2 Samuel, 12:20-21: “Then David got up from the ground. After he had washed, put on lotions and changed his clothes, he went into the house of the LORD and worshiped. Then he went to his own house, and at his request they served him food, and he ate. His attendants asked him, ‘Why are you acting this way? While the child was alive, you fasted and wept, but now that the child is dead, you get up and eat!’”
Page 391: "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." This is a direct quote from Isaiah 55:9.
Page 391: “The word of God will reach Rehoboam through the prophet Shemaiah.” This prediction in based on 1 Kings 12:22-24: “But this word of God came to Shemaiah the man of God: ‘Say to Rehoboam son of Solomon king of Judah, to all Judah and Benjamin, and to the rest of the people,"This is what the LORD says: Do not go up to fight against your brothers, the Israelites. Go home, every one of you, for this is my doing.”’ So they obeyed the word of the LORD and went home again, as the LORD had ordered.”
Page 392: “Because of his compassion, they lost a king in whom even his most bitter rivals could find no fault.” This view of Saul corresponds to the view expressed by Samuel (a Talmudic sage, not the prophet in the Bible) in the Talmud (Yoma 22b): "Rabbi Judah said in the name of Samuel: 'For what reason did the kingdom of the House of Saul not endure? Because he had not a single flaw.'"
Page 392: “One who takes mercy upon the cruel will end up being cruel to the merciful.” This is a well known quote of Rabbi Eleazar found in the Rabbinic text Midrash Tanhuma on the Torah portion Mezora.
Page 396: “Moses didn’t want to be the leader, that much is true, butafter God reproached him, he accepted the position and stopped making trouble.” This description refers to the story of Moses at the Burning Bush (Exodus 3:7-4:27). God's "reproach" alludes to Exodus 4:14 (“Then the LORD’s anger burned against Moses”).
Page 398: “The cave is my home. There are crookedthings that cannot be straightened. When will you learn to accept that, Jeroboam?” Jeroboam’s mother refers to Ecclesiastes 1:15: “What is crooked cannot be straightened; what is lacking cannot be counted.”
Page 399: “'For example,' Ahijah says, thinking out loud, 'for example, the story about the tearing of my new cloak in the field. Future generations will see right away that I was correcting the wicked story that the scribes of Judah made up about Samuel and Saul.'” The story about Samuel and Saul is in 1 Samuel 15:27-28: “As Samuel turned to leave, Saul caught hold of the hem of his robe, and it tore. Samuel said to him, ‘The LORD has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today and has given it to one of your neighbors—to one better than you.’”
The story about Ahijah and Jeroboam is from 1 Kings 11:29-31: “About that time Jeroboam was going out of Jerusalem, and Ahijah the prophet of Shiloh met him on the way, wearing a new cloak. The two of them were alone out in the country, and Ahijah took hold of the new cloak he was wearing and tore it into twelve pieces.
Then he said to Jeroboam, 'Take ten pieces for yourself, for this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: "See, I am going to tear the kingdom out of Solomon’s hand and give you ten tribes.”'"
Page 402: "He glances at me with a teary look in his eyes and lifts up his face to the mountains." Compare with Psalms 121:1: “I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from?”
Page 402: "'Six hundred thousand,' Ahijah whispers loudly. 'Just like at Mount Sinai.'” See Exodus 12:37: “The Israelites journeyed from Rameses to Sukkoth. There were about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides women and children.”
Page 403: Jeroboam mentions the fifteenth day of the eighth month, the precise day that the tribe of Ephraim celebrates its Festival of Rain (see Part I, chapter 1 of The Secret Book of Kings). The bible tells us in 1 Kings 12:32 that Jeroboam “instituted a festival on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, like the festival held in Judah, and offered sacrifices on the altar.”
Page 404: Jeroboam says that, "We will all continue to celebrate the Festival of Freedom, the Festival of Harvest, and the Festival of Booths, the three major holidays of Israel." These are the three holidays mention in Exodus 23:14-17: “Three times a year you are to celebrate a festival to me. Celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread; for seven days eat bread made without yeast, as I commanded you. Do this at the appointed time in the month of Aviv, for in that month you came out of Egypt. No one is to appear before me empty-handed. Celebrate the Festival of Harvest with the firstfruits of the crops you sow in your field. Celebrate the Festival of Ingathering at the end of the year, when you gather in your crops from the field. Three times a year all the men are to appear before the Sovereign LORD.”
The “Festival of Unleavened Bread,” Passover, was later also called the “Festival of Freedom” based on the fact that it marked “the day you came out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery” (Exodus 13:3). The “Festival of Harvest” is Shavuot, the “Feast of Weeks” (Exodus 34:22), which occurs seven weeks after Passover, and according to tradition is the day God gave the Torah to the nation of Israel at Mount Sinai. The “Festival of Ingathering” is also called the “Festival of Booths” or the “Festival of Tabernacles” (Deuteronomy 16:13), commemorating the dwellings of the Israelites in the wilderness after the Exodus from Egypt.
Page 404: "Build them to your hearts’ desire" alludes to Exodus 25: 2: “Tell the Israelites to bring me an offering. You are to receive the offering for me from everyone whose heart prompts them to give.”
Page 404: "Our God does not wish to dwell in houses of cedar covered in gold, but in simple, modest temples, just like the Tabernacle that the Israelites built for Him in the wilderness." “The wilderness” refers to the forty yeats of wandering in the Sinai desert. (See, for example, Jeremiah 2:6: “They did not ask, ‘Where is the LORD, who brought us up out of Egypt and led us through the barren wilderness, through a land of deserts and ravines, a land of drought and utter darkness, a land where no one travels and no one lives?’”)
Page 404: "Appoint to His service only the humble and modest boys who, despite being firstborns, have hearts that are not proud and eyes that are not haughty." See Psalms 131:1: “My heart is not proud, LORD, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me.”
Page 405: "The different tribeswill place their own symbols in the doorways of thetemples . . . ." Many of these symbols are mentioned in Jacob’s blessing to his sons in chapter 49 of Genesis.
Page 405: The song at the bottom of the page is quoted from Deuteronomy 33:5 and 33:4 (from Moses's last blessing of the Children of Israel before his death) and from Joshua 24:25 (describing the last deeds of Joshua before his death).
Page 406: "God redeemed us from the house of bondage in Egypt." See Exodus 13:14 in King James Bible.
Page 406: "I proclaim liberty throughout the land" echoes Leviticus 25:10: "Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you."