Throughout the old testament, the corruption of the priests was unquestionable! False prophets and prophesies promoted by the priests challenging the right of the God called, anointed and ordained prophets like Jeremiah, Michaiah, Ezekiel, Isaiah, and so on. A careful study of the book of first and second book of kings and the first and second book of chronicles shows some contradictions that indicated the level of bias of the writers for or against a particular king due to his cooperation or lack of cooperation with the priests.
I will take a particular case or two to buttress my point.
The account of the royal scribes of the conduct of King Asa in the book of 1st Kings 15 vs 15-20 tells the story of a God fearing king who fought a million Ethiopians at the onset of his kingdom and won. He did a lot of positive things and encouraged the worship of the most high God in his territory, but towards the end of his reign, he was faced with another war which he could either fight with diplomacy or with sword.
The duty of a leader, the head of the home, organisation or government is to access the strengths and weaknesses of the home before making his decision in favour of a choice or another. Not every battle is winnable by force, especially when there are many enemies who will take advantage of a shift in power or any conceivable weakness.
Baasha was the king of Israel at this time while Asa was king of Judah, geographically, Israel and Judah share boundaries and any weakness on the part of Asa will encourage Israel to invade his territory, King Baasha was unwilling to relent in the pursuit of their territorial feud and forced the issue by building a city called Ramah which will effectively disconnect Judah from the outside world. King Asa didn’t want to fight his brother, for Israel and Judah are kin right from Abraham and it was the foolishness of Rehoboam that caused the enemity between the two nations which was separated by the Jordan river.
Asa knew he had to do something which will give him freedom from the present oppression of Israel, and such had to be done without asking Judah to go into battle with Israel. He took gold and silver and other treasures and sent them to King Benhadad of Syria in order to make a treaty with him, knowing that a bully can only enjoy his reign as long as no one stands up to him or her.
Ben Hadad acceped the terms of the treaty and attacked Israel, in order to defend themselves, Israel had to withdraw the personnel building Ramah and this gave Asa the opportunity to invade Ramah and cart away all the stones there which he used in building two cities Geba of Benjamin and Mizpah.
As far as strategy was concerned, Asa got it spot on. It takes resources to finance a war and what he did was use what he has in order to protect his people from the tyranny of King Baasha.
But the book of Chronicles written by the priests gave a slightly contradictory account, because priests are powerful and like other humans sees things in black and white, Asa was presented as being a king who relied on his wits and the help of a foreign nation rather than relying on God.
2 chronicles 16 vs 1-10, relates the story with a conclusion that Hanani the prophet accused the King of some misdeeds as regards how he handled the oppression of Israel and pronounced that from that moment onwards Asa will experience wars and not k now peace again. In anger Asa threw the prophet in prison and he never fought another war until his death according to the biblical account. It was reported that he also oppressed some people (names and identity withheld) during that period but otherwise he was a good king!
Remember a certain King Ahab? In 1st Kings 20 vs 1-5, king Ben Hadad demanded that he wants the entire household of King Ahab and King Ahab complied? Remember Hezekiah and Sennacherib of Assyria? Sennacherib demanded 300 talents of silver and 30 talents of gold and Hezekiah stripped the temple of all its treasures just to prevent a certain war which he was sure to lose without divine intervention, remember the King Pul of Assyria when Menahem was king? He collected 1000 talents of silver just to desist from attacking Israel, Manahem had to tax all the rich men in the city in order to raise the money, remember the second world war when Hitler’s Nazi was engaged in warfare with France? France gave up the fight and allowed their country to be invaded because they fear that the city of light Paris which was the world’s most beautiful city will be destroyed by the bombs and other weapons of the Nazis and in order to preserve their legacy, they decided to dine with the devil.
Diplomacy has always been the way nations and kingdoms were governed even till today, treaties are signed in public and declarations made but diplomats know the number of hours, thoughts and negotiations that go on underneath the public acceptance and signing of such treaties.
David married from the palace of the King of Geshur, Absalom fled there after killing Amnon for the rape of his sister Tamar! Solomon married from every kingdom that could have waged war against Israel and had peace because of his diplomatic prowess, what Asa did was not out of place! Remember King Hiram Tyre? Solomon made a deal to exchange certain agricultural products of Israel with his kingdom provided he will supply them with the world acclaimed Cedars and firs, he even promised to give him a city or two in Israel which the bible reported that when the king of Tyre saw what has been given to him, he was not pleased and he called the cities Cabul. 1 Kings 9 vs 12
The priests on the other hand are not kings, their duty is to protect God’s interest in terms of treasures and values, as far as they are concerned, giving away such treasures in order to purchase peace is an act of distrust in the ability of God to defend his people and a betrayal of sorts! This reflected in their rendition of the account of Asa’s reign and was conspicuously missing from the account of the royal scribes who were privy to the intricate details of such a decision and how the deal was struck.