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other names that stand out among the judges. But, eventually the people began to complain that they needed a king to rule over them, like the nations round about.

The prophet Samuel then received instructions from God to anoint Israel's first king. He was sent to the family of "Kish, the son of Abiel, the son of Zeror, the son of Bechorath, the son of Aphiah, a Benjamite, a mighty man of power." (1 Samuel 9:1 KJV) When the Lord revealed to Samuel that his choice was Kish's son Saul, "Then Samuel took a flask of oil and poured it on Saul's head and kissed him, saying, 'Has not the LORD anointed you leader over his inheritance?'" (1 Samuel 10:1 NIV)

However, Saul later proved unfaithful, and God had Samuel anoint David, son of Jesse, to succeed him. Sheep herder Jesse brought seven of his sons before the prophet, one by one, but left the youngest to watch the sheep. Yet it turned out to be this one that God had chosen. "The LORD said, 'Arise, anoint him; for this is he.' Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon David from that day forward. ... Now the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul." (1 Samuel 16:12-14 RSV) So David, too, was a Messiah or anointed one. Kings in David's line continued to rule in Jerusalem for generations, some of them faithful to God, but others unfaithful as Saul had been.

Throughout that period inspired prophets pointed forward to a time when the ultimate Messiah would come, a Messiah who would not need a successor, because he would live forever and his rulership would last forever. First, though, he would be killed, and would rise again, immortal, and would eventually take power to rule the whole world in righteousness, on into eternity.

A hint of the coming Messiah was provided by the prophet Nathan who gave this divine revelation to David:

"'The LORD declares to you that the LORD himself will establish a house for you: When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom.

He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him with the rod of men, with floggings inflicted by men. But my love will never be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.'" (2 Sam. 7:11-16 NIV)

David's son Solomon succeeded his father and built the temple in Jerusalem. But God's promise of someone from the house of David ruling "forever" was not fulfilled in Solomon, nor was God's reference to a future king who would be "my son." Kings from the house of David ruled in Jerusalem for nearly four hundred years, but around 600 B.C. that rule was interrupted when the neo-Babylonian empire took the city and destroyed the temple. From that point onward faithful Jews looked to God to send them a son of David who would restore the kingdom in Jerusalem. They began hoping for the promised Messiah.

Daniel wrote: "Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined." (Daniel 9:26-26 KJV)

Isaiah foretold many details about this promised Messiah:

He would be born of a Virgin: "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel." (Isa. 7:14 KJV)

His ministry would be largely in Galilee: "Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the Gentiles, by the way of the sea, along the Jordan— The people

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