Is South Africa a replay of Israel’s history?

It is a well known fact that the president of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, is an ancestor worshipper. For the previous elections he sacrificed more than 12 cows to appease the ancestors so that he would be reelected.1 Does the Bible have anything to say about this kind of idolatry and what it might lead a country into?

Golden calf
Image of golden calf god


In 1 Kings 12:26-30 we read how king Jeroboam of the Northern Kingdom of Israel, set up two golden calves for the people to worship. He started idolatry to keep his people from going down to the Southern Kingdom to worship God at the appointed temple in Jerusalem. He was afraid that his subjects would change loyalties. This effort to make sure that you stay in power is also happening in South Africa. The ancestors are venerated and statues of them are erected all over the country.


With the apostasy in Israel, we read in 2 Kings 10:32 that ‘the Lord began to reduce the size of Israel.’ Isn’t that what is starting to happen in the South African economy? Nigeria has become Africa’s largest economy, overtaking South Africa.


In 2 Kings 13:7 we read that the army of one of the Northern kings, Jehoahaz, was reduced to the pitiful number of ten thousand foot soldiers, fifty horsemen and ten chariots. Before that, in the time of king Jeroboam, Israel drew up a battle line… with eight hundred thousand able troops.’ 2 It is interesting that the ability of the present South African defence force to protect the country is questioned by many.


2 Kings 15:29 tells how the Assyrians deported the Israelites because of their unfaithfulness to God. God had warned them that it would happen, if they served idols and mistreated their people.  In South Africa it is happening, albeit in another way. The people, mostly highly skilled ones, are emigrating. The reason is that the ANC insists skill is worthless. All that is important is your colour and even if you are not qualified for the work, you will learn to do the job. So the country is in the midst of a ‘forced’ deportation.


What does the above mentioned situation in South Africa have to do with the Bible? The Bible is a book about real life. In Ecclesiastes is written, ‘What has been will be again, what has been done, will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.’ 3  What happened in the history of the Northern Kingdom of Israel is repeated in South Africa, because the government has rejected God as the supreme Ruler.


The high cost of Zuma’s extensive household, with at least four wives, the widespread corruption and good life for his loyalists, is causing South Africa to decline economically. Bribery is rampant, and the decline in the effectiveness of the army, navy and air force is noticeable. The apostasy of many of the kings of Israel led to the eventual downfall of the nation. Are we witnessing the same thing in South Africa?



  1. G van Onselen, Jacob Zuma, the good witch, Business Day Live, 13 January 2014.
  2. 2 Chronicles 13:3
  3. Ecclesiastes 1:9
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