During a lifetime of Bible study and teaching, Betty Banaszak found most fascinating the period of the “divided kingdom,” the four centuries that followed the division of Israel and Judah in 975 B.C.
That’s the subject of Banaszak’s new, self-published book, “The Divided Kingdom of Israel and Judah.”
After generations of conflict with its southern neighbor, Israel, the nation to the north, effectively disappeared with the domination of the Assyrians about 200 years after the split. Modern Jews descend from the southern kingdom, Judah.
Banaszak’s book ends in 536 B.C. when the Jews, held captive in Babylon, were freed by the conquering Persians.
In the Bible, the history of this era is told in three books of the Bible – I and II Kings and II Chronicles – and in the books of prophets from Isaiah to Zephaniah.
The Bible passages don’t provide an overview of the period, and scholarly histories don’t tell the story in a compelling way for the lay person, said Banaszak, who taught at Covenant Life College in Haines and had led classes in Bible history since 1969.
“It’s the most complex period of Bible history but it has a dynamic that’s lost if you only study one book at a time… You can read about Elijah and all his miracles, but you’d miss the beauty of the backdrop of everything else that was going on at that time,” Banaszak said in an interview.
“There’s a lot of good, solid scholarship (on the period), but nothing that’s appealing and scholarly for a normal Christian person who doesn’t have that inclination,” she said. “My job is that people could read this and say, ‘I didn’t realize it was like this.’”
The book includes Banaszak’s interpretation of events, such as this one following the self-destruction of the approaching armies of Moab, Ammon and Edom, to the relief of Jehoshaphat, the fourth king of Judah.
“(Jehoshaphat) allies himself first with God, strengthens the people in the power of their God, engages the presence of God through prayer and fasting, and then waits on instruction from their military commander, the Lord of Hosts. Faith and obedience in place, the victory is assured. The battle is won by God’s stratagem and not man’s,” Banaszak wrote.
She said she believes the book would be of interest to pastors, lay readers and students as a type of “handbook” to the Bible.
Daughter Lilly Boron designed the book’s cover. Copies are available at the Babbling Book in Haines.