Scriptures

2 Kings 15

Introduction

‘In the twenty-seventh year of Jeroboam king of Israel, Azariah son of Amaziah king of Judah began to reign. He was sixteen years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-two years. His mother’s name was Jekoliah; she was from Jerusalem. He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, just as his father Amaziah had done. The high places, however, were not removed; the people continued to offer sacrifices and burn incense there. The LORD afflicted the king with leprosy until the day he died, and he lived in a separate house. Jotham the king’s son had charge of the palace and governed the people of the land. As for the other events of Azariah’s reign, and all he did, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Judah? Azariah rested with his ancestors and was buried near them in the City of David. And Jotham his son succeeded him as king.’ 2 Kings 15:1-7

Azariah King Of Judah

Azariah began to reign in the Southern Kingdom of Judah from 767 B.C. to 740 B.C., 2 Chronicles 26:1-23. Please note that he is also referred to as Uzziah, 2 Chronicles 26:3-4 / 2 Chronicles 26:21-23 / Isaiah 1:1 / Isaiah 6:1.

Some commentators suggest that Azariah was his throne name, and Uzziah was his adopted name. We do know that the name Azariah means the Lord helps, and the name Uzziah means the Lord strengthens.

Back in 2 Kings 14:22, the writer tells us that Azariah rebuilt Elath which was Solomon’s port city on the shore of the Red Sea, 1 Kings 9:26. We also know that Azariah led Israel with a strong army, 2 Chronicles 26:6-15.

He did what was right in God’s eyes, however, he didn’t removed the high places. These high places had become very important both socially and religiously for the Northern and Southern kingdoms. They were places where sacrifices were made and offerings were made to the false gods.

In effect these high places took God’s people away from God, hence why both kingdoms fell into idolatry over and over again. Yes, the temples of Baal were destroyed but these high places remained.

God struck Azariah with leprosy because he wasn’t a priest and he wasn’t authorised to burn incense in the temple, 2 Chronicles 26:16-23 / 1 Samuel 13:13.

Notice that he lived in a separate house, this was common practice for those who had leprosy, Leviticus 13:45-46. Because God struck him with leprosy, Jotham, his son, administrated both his house and the nation in his later years.

According to 2 Chronicles 26:23, we learn that Azariah wasn’t buried with his ancestors but near them, this too was common practice for those who had leprosy as they were classed an unclean. When Azariah died, Jotham became the king of Judah.

Zechariah King Of Israel

‘In the thirty-eighth year of Azariah king of Judah, Zechariah son of Jeroboam became king of Israel in Samaria, and he reigned six months. He did evil in the eyes of the LORD, as his predecessors had done. He did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit. Shallum son of Jabesh conspired against Zechariah. He attacked him in front of the people, assassinated him and succeeded him as king. The other events of Zechariah’s reign are written in the book of the annals of the kings of Israel. So the word of the LORD spoken to Jehu was fulfilled: ‘Your descendants will sit on the throne of Israel to the fourth generation.’ 2 Kings 15:8-12

Zechariah now becomes the king of Israel; however, his reign was short lived. In a sense this is where the Northern Kingdom of Israel was about to come to an end. After six months as king, Zechariah was assassinated by Shallum.

Coffman says the following in his commentary.

‘The most important thing about this man was the fact of his terminating the dynasty of Jehu as related in 2 Kings 15:12. This, of course, had been prophesied by the Lord in 2 Kings 10:30. His violent overthrow also fulfilled the prophecy given by Hosea in which God promised that, ‘I will avenge the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu’. Hosea 1:4.’

Shallum King Of Israel

‘Shallum son of Jabesh became king in the thirty-ninth year of Uzziah king of Judah, and he reigned in Samaria one month. Then Menahem son of Gadi went from Tirzah up to Samaria. He attacked Shallum son of Jabesh in Samaria, assassinated him and succeeded him as king. The other events of Shallum’s reign, and the conspiracy he led, are written in the book of the annals of the kings of Israel. At that time Menahem, starting out from Tirzah, attacked Tiphsah and everyone in the city and its vicinity, because they refused to open their gates. He sacked Tiphsah and ripped open all the pregnant women.’ 2 Kings 15:13-16

After the assassination of Zechariah by Shallum a conspiracy broke out, and as a result of this conspiracy, the leadership in the Northern Kingdom begun to decline. Menahem went from Tizrah to Samaria, Tirzah once served as a capital of the Northern Kingdom during the reign of Jeroboam I, 1 Kings 14:17.

Adam Clarke in his commentary says the following.

‘Menahem is supposed to have been one of Zachariah’s generals. Hearing of the death of his master, when he was with the troops at Tirzah, he hastened to Samaria, and slew the murderer, and had himself proclaimed in his stead. But, as the people of Tiphsah did not open their gates to him, he took the place by assault; and as the text tells us, practiced the most cruel barbarities, even ripping up the women that were with child!’

Menahem King Of Israel

‘In the thirty-ninth year of Azariah king of Judah, Menahem son of Gadi became king of Israel, and he reigned in Samaria ten years. He did evil in the eyes of the LORD. During his entire reign he did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit. Then Pul king of Assyria invaded the land, and Menahem gave him a thousand talents of silver to gain his support and strengthen his own hold on the kingdom. Menahem exacted this money from Israel. Every wealthy person had to contribute fifty shekels of silver to be given to the king of Assyria. So the king of Assyria withdrew and stayed in the land no longer. As for the other events of Menahem’s reign, and all he did, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Israel? Menahem rested with his ancestors. And Pekahiah his son succeeded him as king.’ 2 Kings 15:17-22

Menahem reigned from 752 B.C. to 742 B.C., and there’s no doubt that Menahem was harsh military leader, who assassinated Shallum. During his reign, the Assyrians, under the leadership of Shalmaneser, 858 B.C. to 824 B.C. and Adadnirari, 805 B.C. to 782 B.C., were expanding the Assyrian Empire to the west and south.

Coffman in his commentary says the following.

‘The two things of importance in Menahem’s reign are,

1. His brutal atrocity against the pregnant women of Tiphsah, And,

2. His becoming tributary to Tiglath-Pileser. In this latter event, there appeared before the gates of Israel the great Assyrian power that would soon destroy the Northern Israel forever.’

Such savage cruelty was typical of those days of the Assyrian terror. It was expected of Hazael, 2 Kings 8:12, perpetrated against Israel by Ammon, Amos 1:13, and was to be part of Israel’s final tragedy, Hosea 14:1.

Pul is the Babylonian name for the Assyrian king, Tiglath-Pileser. Menahem knew that he couldn’t win a war against the Assyrians and so he made the rich in Israel to pay heavy taxes in order to pay tribute to Assyria.

Pekahiah King Of Israel

‘In the fiftieth year of Azariah king of Judah, Pekahiah son of Menahem became king of Israel in Samaria, and he reigned two years. Pekahiah did evil in the eyes of the LORD. He did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit. One of his chief officers, Pekah son of Remaliah, conspired against him. Taking fifty men of Gilead with him, he assassinated Pekahiah, along with Argob and Arieh, in the citadel of the royal palace at Samaria. So Pekah killed Pekahiah and succeeded him as king. The other events of Pekahiah’s reign, and all he did, are written in the book of the annals of the kings of Israel.’ 2 Kings 15:23-26

Menahem’s son, Pekahiah reigned for two years in the Northern Kingdom of Israel, from 742 B.C. to 740 B.C. It appears that the rich who were having to pay the high taxes, 2 Kings 15:20, rebelled against Menahem. No one knows who Argob and Arieh are, some people believe they are men, whilst others believe they were statues.

Pekah one of Menahem’s commanders, helped in a rebellion against Pekahiah, he had fifty Gileadites in the conspiracy with him, and murdered Pekahiah in the process. Pekah now becomes king and he reigned from 740 B.C. to 732 B.C.

Pekah King Of Israel

‘In the fifty-second year of Azariah king of Judah, Pekah son of Remaliah became king of Israel in Samaria, and he reigned twenty years. He did evil in the eyes of the LORD. He did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit. In the time of Pekah king of Israel, Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria came and took Ijon, Abel Beth Maakah, Janoah, Kedesh and Hazor. He took Gilead and Galilee, including all the land of Naphtali, and deported the people to Assyria. Then Hoshea son of Elah conspired against Pekah son of Remaliah. He attacked and assassinated him, and then succeeded him as king in the twentieth year of Jotham son of Uzziah. As for the other events of Pekah’s reign, and all he did, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Israel?’ 2 Kings 15:27-31

When we read Isaiah 7:1-9 and Isaiah 8:1-8, we read about the plot in which Pekah was ambitious to replace Ahaz king of Judah with a puppet who was favourable to Pekah’s plans. The prophet Isaiah frustrated his efforts.

The Assyrians took captives of conquered peoples as slaves back to their homeland. Here we read that Tiglath-Pileser, king of Assyria assaulted the northern kingdom, defeated Pekah’s army, and then took Israelites captive back to Assyria, 2 Kings 17:6.

Ijon, Abel Beth Maakah, Janoah, Kedesh and Hazor were places which belonged to Israel and were taken by Ben-Hadad, king of Syria, when he was in league with Asa, king of Judah, 1 Kings 15:20. They were regained by Jeroboam II and now they are taken from Israel once more by Tiglath-Pileser.

Pul and Tiglath-Pileser, kings of Assyria, carried away into captivity the two tribes of Reuben, and Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh, all that belonged to Israel, on the other side of Jordan, 1 Chronicles 5:26. These places were never restored to Israel.

Because of Pekah’s defeat by the Assyrians, Hoshea conspired against him in order to bring Israel under the control of Assyria.

Calmet says the following concerning the chronology in these verses.

‘Hoshea conspired against Pekah, the twentieth year of the reign of this prince, which was the eighteenth after the beginning of the reign of Jotham, king of Judah. Two years after this, that is, the fourth year of Ahaz, and the twentieth of Jotham, Hoshea made himself master of a part of the kingdom, according to 2 Kings 15:30. Finally, the twelfth year of Ahaz, Hoshea had peaceable possession of the whole kingdom, according to 2 Kings 17:1.’

Jotham King Of Judah

‘In the second year of Pekah son of Remaliah king of Israel, Jotham son of Uzziah king of Judah began to reign. He was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem sixteen years. His mother’s name was Jerusha daughter of Zadok. He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, just as his father Uzziah had done. The high places, however, were not removed; the people continued to offer sacrifices and burn incense there. Jotham rebuilt the Upper Gate of the temple of the LORD. As for the other events of Jotham’s reign, and what he did, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Judah? (In those days the LORD began to send Rezin king of Aram and Pekah son of Remaliah against Judah.) Jotham rested with his ancestors and was buried with them in the City of David, the city of his father. And Ahaz his son succeeded him as king.’ 1 Kings 15:32-38

Jotham becomes king of the Southern Kingdom of Judah, he reigned with together with Uzziah from 740 B.C. to 732 B.C., 2 Chronicles 27:1-4 / 2 Chronicles 1:7-9. He did what was right in God’s eyes but he didn’t remove the high places.

Notice the text says in brackets, ‘In those days the LORD began to send Rezin king of Aram and Pekah son of Remaliah against Judah’. This is the first intimation of the hostile feelings of the kings of Israel and Syria, to Judah, which led them to form an alliance and make joint preparations for war, 2 Chronicles 27:5. However, war wasn’t actually waged until the reign of Ahaz.

Adam Clarke, in his commentary says the following.

‘It was about this time that the Assyrian wars, so ruinous to the Jews, began, but it was in the following reigns that they arrived at their highest pitch of disaster to those unfaithful and unfortunate people. However much we may blame the Jews for their disobedience and obstinacy, yet we cannot help feeling for them under their severe afflictions. Grievously they have sinned, and grievously have they suffered for it.’

It’s clear that the Northern Kingdom of Israel failed to humble themselves and failed to seek the Lord and so, what we see in this chapter is a simple outline of the final destruction of the sinful kingdom of Israel, Amos 9:8.

Go To 2 Kings 16

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."

Galatians 2:20

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