2Kings 13-15

Sunday Evening Bible Study

August 18, 2002

Introduction

We’ve been looking at the two kingdoms that Israel has become.  There was the northern kingdom, known as Israel, and ruled by various families and dynasties.  Most recently, the northern kingdom is being ruled by the family of a man named Jehu who was used by God to wipe out the wicked family of Ahab and Jezebel.  The southern kingdom has been continuously ruled by the descendents of King David.  There was a time when the line of David was almost wiped out by the wicked Queen Athaliah, but one small baby survived and was secretly raised in the Temple by his aunt and uncle, who was a high priest named Jehoiada. As long as his uncle Jehoiada was around, Jehoash followed the Lord. But when Jehoiada died, Jehoash walked away from the Lord, even killing Jehoiada's own son Zechariah, a prophet.

We now flip from the southern kingdom, back up to the northern kingdom.

2Kings 13

:1-9 Jehoahaz reigns in Israel

:1  Jehoahaz the son of Jehu began to reign

Jehoahaz[email protected]’achaz – “Yahweh has seized”; Jehoahaz reigns from 814-798 BC

This next chapter switches back to the northern kingdom to look at the dynasty that Jehu started, as his son takes over.

:2  followed the sins of Jeroboam

As all the other kings of the northern kingdom have before him.

Jeroboam was the man who divided the nation of Israel, taking the ten northern tribes with him.

In setting up a separate kingdom, he also set up an alternate form of worship, by installing his own places of worship, complete with golden calves.

The idea was to keep the people in the north from getting drawn back to the south through the worship at the temple in Jerusalem.

:3  the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel

Jeroboam rebelled against Rehoboam in 931 b.c., it’s now been 117 years of following after these golden calves.

You would think God would begin to lose a little bit of patience with these people.  Correct.

Lesson

God doesn’t always use the paddle first!

He also uses kindness and patience:
Romans 2:4  Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?
2Peter 3:9  The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

:3  he delivered them into the hand of Hazael

Again, God uses this man Hazael, king of Syria, to bring judgment on his own people when they’ve gone astray.

God had told the prophet Elijah long ago that this would be so (1Ki. 19:15-17)

When Elisha was the one who was eventually sent to complete the anointing of Hazael, Hazael was at that time the servant of king Benhadad.  Elisha had wept when he realized how much trouble Hazael would cause for Israel (2Ki. 8:11-15).

We’ve now seen several instances where God has been using this king to bring judgment:

It was with a war with Hazael at Ramoth Gilead that King Joram of Israel was wounded, going back to Jezreel to recover, and then was killed by Jehu (2Kings 9:15).
Because Jehu didn’t follow the Lord completely, but continued with the calf worship, God allowed Hazael to begin to cut back the borders of Israel (2Kings 10:32)
When Jehoash of Judah fell away from the Lord and began to follow after idols, even killing God’s prophets, God allowed Hazael to take the city Gath from Judah, and then to loot the city of Jerusalem of all it’s valuables.  (2Kings 12:17.18)
And now Jehoahaz of Israel is facing Hazael, because of his own disobedience to the Lord.

Lesson

God disciplines those whom He loves.

It’s not because God is trying to destroy us, it’s because He loves us that He allows hard times to come when we are rebellious.
Hebrews 12:6-12  For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. 7  If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? 8  But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. 9  Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? 10  For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. 11  Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

:4  Jehoahaz besought the LORD, and the LORD hearkened unto him

Jehoahaz is crying to Yahweh!  God now has his attention.

If God wanted Israel to perish, He wouldn’t have listened to Jehoahaz’ cry for help.

:4  for he saw the oppression of Israel

God knows what you’re going through.

He’s not a stranger to it.

It’s interesting to see how the Lord was working in the nation.  The Lord was the one who delivered the nation into the hands of the Syrians (vs. 3), yet it was also the Lord who has compassion on the people when he sees the oppression of the Syrians.

:5  the LORD gave Israel a saviour

a saviouryasha‘– to save, be saved, be delivered

An interesting phrase. It’s a little unclear just what the writer means here.

1) It could be referring to Jehoahaz’ son, Joash, who would bring some temporary relief from Syria. We’ll see this at the end of the chapter, 2Kings 13:25.

2) It might refer to Jehoahaz’ grandson, Jeroboam, who “saved” Israel (2 Ki. 14:27)

3) It could be referring to the Assyrian king Adad-nirari III (not mentioned in the Bible) who fought against Damascus and defeated it in 803 b.c., causing the Syrians to turn their attentions from pestering Israel, to defending their own country.

:6  there remained the grove also in Samaria

the grove ‘asherah   “groves (for idol worship)”; a Babylonian (Astarte)-Canaanite goddess (of fortune and happiness), the supposed consort of Baal, her images; the goddess, goddesses; her images; sacred trees or poles set up near an altar

Even though Jehu got rid of all Baal worship, he apparently overlooked this Asherah pole and left it alone.

:6  Nevertheless they departed not from the sins ...

Instead of taking advantage of God’s gracious answer to their prayers, they didn’t change their ways.

Lesson

Don’t take God’s grace for granted.

When God gives you a chance to change, take it!
Just because the pressure is off doesn’t mean that God isn’t serious anymore about your sin.
Remember:
Galatians 6:7-8  Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.  8  For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

:7  fifty horsemen, and ten chariots, and ten thousand footmen

Israel’s army was left with practically nothing.

:10-13 Jehoash reigns in Israel

:10  Joash ... Jehoash ...?

You have to keep your thinking caps on to keep these two straight! Two kings with the same name, and the same alternate names. You can only tell them apart by their location and their fathers’ names.

:11  evil …he departed not from all the sins of Jeroboam

It’s that same old Jeroboam problem again.

Jehoash is “evil” because of his choice of continuing in the sin of Jeroboam.

There are a few good things about Jehoash.  He is a man who seems to have valued Elisha the prophet.  But he is called “evil” because he keep the nation in the same old sin.

:12  he fought against Amaziah king of Judah

We’ll look at that closer when we get to chapter 14, and look at the rule of Amaziah.

:13  Joash slept with his fathers

Joash’s death is recorded here, but the rest of the chapter still deals with events that take place during his reign.

:14-19 Elisha and Joash

:14   O my father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof.

The Targum (an early Jewish paraphrase) here is,

“my master, my master, who was better to Israel by his prayers than chariots and horsemen.”

Joash knew that Elisha was his greatest asset as a king.  He was the “chariot of Israel”, their best weapon. He was very sad at the prospect of losing Elisha and what that might mean to Israel as a nation.

This was exactly what Elisha had said when Elijah was about to be caught up into heaven

2Ki 2:12  And Elisha saw [it], and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces.
To Elisha, Elijah was the one great defense and protection for the nation of Israel, he was their “chariot and horsemen”.

I think what’s happening here is a cry of desperation from Joash.  He doesn’t know what he’s going to do without Elisha. There is no visible successor to Elisha as there was with Elijah.

What’s going to happen from here on out is going to be a response from Elisha on the defense of Israel.

:16  Elisha put his hands upon the king’s hands.

Possibly signifying that God would also have His hands on things as well.

:17  eastward … The arrow of the LORD’S deliverance … Aphek

Eastward was the direction of their enemies, the Syrians.

If Joash hasn’t got a clue yet, it’s pretty apparent that the things that Elisha is doing with Joash have to do with God’s deliverance for Israel from Syria.

Aphek is a city located on the eastern side of the Sea of Galilee, about 44 miles northeast from Samaria. See map

:19  the man of God was wroth with him

Elisha is upset with Joash in the way that he’s handling these things.

The number of times that he was striking the ground was representative of the number of times that he would strike Syria.

Though Elisha explains this afterwards, it’s not something that would have taken a brain surgeon to figure out, considering all the discussion that has gone on before it.

Note:

It’s interesting to see the mixture of God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility here.

God in His sovereignty declares that there will be victory over Syria.

Yet God allows man the deciding part of how much victory by his own choices.

Because Joash is only half-hearted in his smiting the arrows, God is only going to allow him a half-hearted victory.

Lesson

Half-hearted effort yields a half-hearted victory.

It seems that we won’t often receive the full victory unless our hearts are really in it.
I remember many times “repenting” over certain sins, but only half-heartedly, knowing that at a weak moment I’d probably give in again.
But the victory comes during those times when your sin becomes so abhorrent to you, so filthy to you, so gross to you that you can even feel sick to your stomach as you fall on the ground weeping, knowing that you have to do WHATEVER it takes to get the victory.
That’s when the battle turns.

2Corinthians 7:11  See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter. (NIV)

Lesson

Little habits influence our whole life.

We can be involved with things that don’t seem very insignificant, yet later on they have a big impact on our lives.

:20-21 A miracle in death

:20  the bands of the Moabites invaded the land

These are roving bands of murdering bandits from the Moabites.

:21  as they were burying a man … he revived

There was a group of Jews who were in a funeral procession, getting ready to bury one of their friends.

They saw one of the Moabite gangs coming toward them and needed to get rid of the body quick!

Elisha’s tomb was nearby, so they threw the body into the tomb as a sort of temporary solution.

Gill:  The Jews say this man was Shallum the son of Tikvah, and husband of Huldah the prophetess, and was a good man, much given to alms, for which he was rewarded; and they further say, he went to his own house, and lived many years, and begat children, and particularly Hananeel, mentioned in Jer 32:7.

:22-25 Israel vs. Syria

:23   the LORD was gracious unto them ... and would not destroy them

God used Hazael as a sort of judgment, a chastisement for the nation.  Yet God’s spankings weren’t meant to destroy the nation, only to get their attention and encourage them to turn around.

Lesson

God’s wonderful grace

Right here in the Old Testament.

:24 Benhadad his son reigned in his stead.

It’s interesting that Hazael’s son was named after Hazael’s old boss, the guy he murdered.

I wonder what happened first, the murder, or the birth of the son?

:25  Three times did Joash beat him

Just like the smiting of the arrows.

That’s great to have a victory!

But it’s not the full victory it could have been.

2Kings 14

:1-6 Amaziah reigns in Judah

:1 reigned Amaziah the son of Joash king of Judah

Amaziah = “Yahweh is mighty”. Amaziah was the son of Joash. 

His father was the king who had been rescued as a baby from wicked queen Athaliah, raised by his uncle Jehoiada the high priest, and then became king at age 7. As long as Jehoiada was alive, Joash followed the Lord. But when Jehoiada died, Joash fell away from the Lord, brought idolatry into Judah, and even killed a prophet, Jehoiada’s son Zechariah (2Chr.24). Joash’s life ended when two of his own servants conspired against him and assassinated him (2Ki.13:20-21). Amaziah was then made king in the place of his father.

:3 And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD

Amaziah is considered one of the “good kings”. He is a believer. He is a follower of Yahweh. The writer of Chronicles says:

(2 Chr 25:2 KJV) And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, but not with a perfect heart.

:5 as soon as the kingdom was confirmed …he slew his servants

Amaziah waited until he was firmly in control, then he met out justice to the men who assassinated his father.

:6 the children of the murderers he slew not

He might have had reason to believe that these children would one day rise up and kill him, but instead he chose to follow the Law:

Deuteronomy 24:16 The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.

:7-14 Amaziah’s wars

:7 He slew of Edom in the valley of salt ten thousand

the valley of salt - the marshy plain at the south end of the Dead Sea.

(2Chronicles 25:5-11) As Amaziah was growing strong in his kingdom, he began to build an army. He had 300,000 “choice” men who were able to handle a spear and a shield. He also hired an additional 100,000 men from the northern kingdom of Israel with 7,500 pounds of silver.

But when a prophet warned him that he shouldn’t let the army of the northern kingdom go with him, he sent them home and prepared to go to battle against the Edomites.

It’s what happened after the battle that will cause Amaziah great trouble.

(2 Chr 25:14-16 KJV) Now it came to pass, after that Amaziah was come from the slaughter of the Edomites, that he brought the gods of the children of Seir, and set them up to be his gods, and bowed down himself before them, and burned incense unto them. {15} Wherefore the anger of the LORD was kindled against Amaziah, and he sent unto him a prophet, which said unto him, Why hast thou sought after the gods of the people, which could not deliver their own people out of thine hand? {16} And it came to pass, as he talked with him, that the king said unto him, Art thou made of the king's counsel (“who made you king”)? forbear; why shouldest thou be smitten? (“shut up or I’ll hit you!”) Then the prophet forbare, and said, I know that God hath determined to destroy thee, because thou hast done this, and hast not hearkened unto my counsel.

Perhaps it started simply by thinking that he was going to take home some prizes for his victory. But the more he toyed around with these Edomite gods, the more intrigued he became with them. And then he found that he kind of liked these Edomite gods. And Amaziah went into idolatry.

Lesson

Weakness in victory

I think that one of the times that we are most vulnerable is after our greatest victories.  We let our guard down.
Amaziah has just won an incredible battle, and now he does something stupid like start to worship the gods of the very people he’s just conquered.

:7 took Selah by war, and called the name of it Joktheel

Sela = “the rock”. Selah is also known as the city of Petra. You’ve seen it in the last Indiana Jones movie, The Last Crusade. Petra was that place they rode to on the horses, through the narrow gorge, and then found the ancient temple carved into the stone.

Joktheel = “the blessedness of God”

:8 Then Amaziah sent messengers to Jehoash …Come, let us look one another in the face.

When Amaziah had first faced the Edomites and ended up sending the hired Israelite troops home, they had done some damage. They were upset that they weren’t going to get to kill some Edomites, so they ravaged the nation of Judah instead, killing 3,000 people and looting some of the cities of Judah.

It would seem that Amaziah is looking for some kind of payback for the damage the Israelite troops caused.

Note: Though Jehoash’s father and grandfather (Jehoahaz and Jehu) had been suffering defeats by the Syrian king Hazael, Jehoash was starting back on the victory trail. Jehoash during his reign beat Benhadad (Hazael’s son) three times, and so must have been a pretty tough cookie.

:9 The thistle ... the cedar

Jehoash sends a reply back to Amaziah in the form of a parable.

A little, prickly thorn bush decides it’s going to make the big time and arrange a treaty by marriage with the huge, majestic cedar tree. But before anything else happens, a wild animal comes by and tramples the little thorn bush.

The point?

Amaziah is no bigger than a little thorn bush compared to large, majestic Jehoash.

If Amaziah doesn’t watch out, he might get trampled to death.  Anybody could beat Amaziah blindfolded, with their hands tied behind their back.

Get away from me kid, you’re bothering me!

:10 thou hast indeed smitten Edom

Jehoash has to give Amaziah that much credit.

:10 thine heart hath lifted thee up

It might sound like a bully, but I think that Jehoash has actually hit the nail on the head!

Lesson:

Watch out for pride and self-confidence

I think that sometimes a little too much confidence is a bad thing and can get us into trouble.
Illustration
A Burst Of Confidence
When the employees of a restaurant attended a fire safety seminar, they watched a fire official demonstrate the proper way to operate an extinguisher. “Pull the pin like a hand grenade,” he explained, “then depress the trigger to release the foam.” Later an employee was selected to extinguish a controlled fire in the parking lot. In her nervousness, she forgot to pull the pin. The instructor hinted, “Like a hand grenade, remember?” In a burst of confidence she pulled the pin .... and hurled the extinguisher at the blaze.
I always cringe a little when I hear a new believer say something like, “I’m never going to do that again”, or, “I got the victory over this area of my life and I’ll never have this problem again”.
Our confidence is to be Jesus and what He has done and will do in our life.
(Prov 16:18 KJV) Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.

:10 glory of this, and tarry at home

Or, “Just enjoy your victory over Edom, and stay at home!”

:10 why shouldest thou meddle to thy hurt

meddle - garah - to cause strife, stir up, contend, meddle, strive, be stirred up

Webster: med•dle: to interest oneself in what is not one’s concern : interfere without right or propriety

Lesson

Be careful where you stick your nose

Amaziah has meddled in two ways:
He’s gotten involved with ungodly things, the Edomite gods.
He’s gotten involved in a battle with Israel he shouldn’t have.
There are places that we as believers don’t belong:
We too get involved in ungodly things

Perhaps it’s allowing your heart to be drawn away as you are becoming to feel attached to someone you shouldn’t be attached to.

Perhaps it’s getting too involved in worldly stuff that takes you away from the Lord.

Pr 6:27 Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned?

Sometimes we get involved in battles that aren’t ours.

We can jump into problems between people, thinking we’re going to try and fix the situation, but in reality we only make things worse.

For a long time I’ve seen myself as a “peacemaker”. But a problem I’ve had in the past is that I haven’t done things correctly.

Often times I’ll listen to only one side of things and without realizing it I make a decision as to who is the “good guy” and who is the “bad guy”.  Then I’ll listen to the other side, and truly get confused.

To be a true peacemaker, you can’t take sides.

To be a true peacemaker, you need to get both individuals together and talk.  Hold their hands.  Pray with them.  But be careful about taking sides and taking on battles that aren’t yours.

(Prov 26:17 KJV) He that passeth by, and meddleth with strife belonging not to him, is like one that taketh a dog by the ears. (like a really BIG dog)

Lesson

Get involved in the right things.

There is a place to get involved in the lives of others. It’s in helping the hurting, in reaching out to others. It’s in “loving your neighbor”.
Yet even this can be turned into “meddling” if we’re not careful.
Job and his “friends”
Job’s friends showed up because they knew that Job was going through a difficult time.
They sat in silence for seven days.
When Job finally speaks and begins to complain about his situation, they felt they needed to respond.
They actually say some pretty profound things. Many of the things they say contain truth.  The problem was they weren’t true for Job.

They kept trying to tell Job that he needed to repent. They felt that Job’s problems were all due to some sort of secret sin.

Sometimes sin does bring difficult times.  But this wasn’t the truth in Job’s case.

After one particular scathing speech from one of his friends where he was called a “windbag”, a “fool”, and a “wicked” person, Job replied:

(Job 16:2-5 NLT) "I have heard all this before. What miserable comforters you are! {3} Won't you ever stop your flow of foolish words? What have I said that makes you speak so endlessly? {4} I could say the same things if you were in my place. I could spout off my criticisms against you and shake my head at you. {5} But that's not what I would do. I would speak in a way that helps you. I would try to take away your grief.

Job knew what he needed, and he wasn’t getting it. Sometimes the person you’ll find the most comfort from is the person who has gone through the most.  They know exactly what you need.

The Good Samaritan
Jesus was explaining what it meant to love your neighbor.
(Luke 10:30-37 KJV) And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. {31} And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. {32} And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.

Note that the “religious” people didn’t want to get involved.

{33} But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, {34} And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. {35} And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. {36} Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? {37} And he said, He that showed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.

The “Good Samaritan” saw a person in need and responded. He didn’t say, “I’ll bet you did something bad to deserve this!” He didn’t ask questions.  He didn’t go hunt down the thieves and beat them up.  He just showed mercy.

This is what Jesus has done for us.  He showed mercy.  He died on a cross.

:10 and Judah with thee?

When we meddle, we don’t just hurt ourselves, but we hurt others around us.

:11 But Amaziah would not hear.

God was going to use Amaziah’s pride against him, to teach him a lesson:

2Ch 25:20 But Amaziah would not hear; for it [came] of God, that he might deliver them into the hand [of their enemies], because they sought after the gods of Edom. (AV)

Lesson

Pay attention

It seems that Amaziah had a problem with his hearing.  He didn’t pay attention to what others said.
When the prophet warned him after the Edomite victory, he didn’t pay attention. He didn’t want to hear it.
Now when he’s facing Jehoash, he again doesn’t pay attention.
God wants you to pay attention.
Eight times in the Gospels, Jesus says,

(Mat 11:15 KJV) He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

Eight more times in the book of Revelation, Jesus says,

(Rev 2:7 KJV) He that hath an ear, let him hear …

God wants you to take it a step further. He doesn’t just want you to hear what He says, He wants you to do it.
(James 1:19-25 NLT) Dear friends, be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. {20} Your anger can never make things right in God's sight. {21} So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the message God has planted in your hearts, for it is strong enough to save your souls. {22} And remember, it is a message to obey, not just to listen to. If you don't obey, you are only fooling yourself. {23} For if you just listen and don't obey, it is like looking at your face in a mirror but doing nothing to improve your appearance. {24} You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. {25} But if you keep looking steadily into God's perfect law--the law that sets you free--and if you do what it says and don't forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.
Illustration
This elderly couple was having trouble with forgetfulness, so they went to their doctor. He said, “Why don’t you try writing down everything so you’ll remember.” So one evening, Grandma asked Grandpa if he’d like some ice cream. “Sure, that’s sounds good, but you’d better write it down.” “No,” Grandma said. “I can remember that. Would you like chocolate syrup on top?” “Yes, but you’d better write it down.” “I can remember that. How about some nuts on top, too?” “OK, but I think you’d really better write it all down.” “No, I can remember.” So she went into the kitchen and she was in there a long time. Finally, Grandpa went in and asked her what was taking so long. “I made you bacon and eggs,” Grandma said. “I told you to write it down!” Grandpa said. “I wanted toast, too!”
Perhaps if God has been speaking to you this morning, you had better write it down as well!

:11 Beth Shemesh

A city about 15 miles west of Jerusalem. See map

:13 brake down the wall of Jerusalem

This was a practice of the victor, as a way of keeping the city defenseless.

The wall was a protection around the city from attack, but now there’s this 600 foot gap in the protection, making them easier to attack the next time.

When Nehemiah came to rebuilt Jerusalem, the first thing he did was rebuilt the wall, to again provide protection for the city.

Lesson

The result of meddling

When we give in to things like pride, or meddle in areas where we don’t belong, we become weaker.
The person who has trouble with alcohol and who gives in to that one little drink is going to have a lot harder time refusing the next one.
Once you start across the emotional boundaries with a person you shouldn’t be attached with, it’s easier and easier to get closer and closer.
Instead, rebuild the walls in your life!

:15-16 Death of Jehoash

:16  Jehoash slept ...

So king Jehoash, the grandson of Jehu, dies, and his son Jeroboam becomes king in the north.

:17-20 Death of Amaziah

:17   Amaziah ... lived after the death of Jehoash ... fifteen years

After having been beaten so badly by Jehoash, Amaziah then goes on to outlive Jehoash.

:19  Lachish

A fortified city 28 miles southwest of Jerusalem. See map

:19  they made a conspiracy against him in Jerusalem

I wonder if this sounds familiar?

Amaziah’s dad, whose name was also Joash, had been a good king, until his mentor, uncle Jehoiada the high priest died.

After Jehoiada died, Joash got into idolatry, and even persecuted the believers in Judah.
And two of his servants made a conspiracy (2Kings.12:20-21) against him and killed him, allowing Amaziah to come to the throne.

Amaziah has now gone in the footsteps of his father, and began to go into idolatry.

After he conquered the Edomites, he brought their “gods” back with him, and began to worship these idols!

2Ch 25:27  Now after the time that Amaziah did turn away from following the LORD they made a conspiracy against him in Jerusalem; and he fled to Lachish: but they sent to Lachish after him, and slew him there.
Apparently, this conspiracy to kill Amaziah was linked to his going into idolatry.

Note:

It’s interesting that with Amaziah we’re never told who the conspirators were as we were with his father Joash.
Josephus records (pg.207) that he was killed by his friends.

:20  he was buried at Jerusalem with his fathers in the city of David

Josephus records (pg.207) that he was given a royal funeral.

Odd, isn’t it?

These people kill him, then turn around and give him a king’s burial!

:21-22 Azariah (Uzziah) reigns in Judah

:21  all the people of Judah took Azariah

Azariah is also known by another name, Uzziah (Is.6). We’ll look at Azariah’s reign more in detail in chapter 15. The writer wants to stay mostly on the northern kings for a while.

:22  He built Elath

Elath – A port city in Edom, located at the N extremity of the Gulf of Aqabah, one hundred miles south of the Dead Sea.

Under Israelite dominion during the period of the monarchy, Elath fell under Edomite control in Jehoram’s time.   Reconquered by Amaziah, it was lost again in the days of Ahaz, never to be recovered.

:23-29 Jeroboam II reigns in Israel

:23  Jeroboam the son of Joash king of Israel began to reign in Samaria

JeroboamYarob‘am – “the people will contend”

In case you haven’t been confused about any of the names of the kings yet, here’s another one to turn things around.  This guy is named after the first king of the northern kingdom, the king that set up the golden calves in Bethel and Dan.

He will have the longest reign of any king in the north, 41 years. He reigns from 793 - 753 b.c.

:24  he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD

Just as all the kings in the north before him.

:25  He restored the coast of Israel from the entering of Hamath unto the sea of the plain

NIV - He was the one who restored the boundaries of Israel from Lebo Hamath to the Sea of the Arabah

Lebo Hamath – about 200 miles north of Samaria.

Sea of the Arabah - the Dead Sea.

This is the biggest the northern kingdom has ever been, almost to the boundaries that were under King Solomon, except for the southern kingdom.

:25  according to the word ... Jonah ...Gathhepher

JonahYonah – “dove”; this is the same guy who tried to run to Tarshish and ended up in the belly of a great fish.

This is the same guy that got swallowed by a big fish.

(Jonah 1:1 KJV)  Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying,

He’s the first prophet mentioned, whose written works we still have.

We do not have any written works by any of the other prophets between Joshua and Jonah (like Elijah and Elisha).

It appears that he had an important prophetic career, possibly even giving guidance to Jeroboam II.

He at least gave a prophecy concerning the enlargement of Israel, a prophecy we don’t have recorded.

I wonder which came first, the incident recorded in the book of Jonah, or the successful career as a prophet?

GathhepherGath-ha-Chepher – “the winepress of digging”,   See map

It’s about 15 miles to the west of the Sea of Galilee, and 3 miles north of Nazareth in Israel.

Lesson

Learn your Bible

When the Jews were beginning to figure out what to do with Jesus, they said:
Joh 7:52  They answered and said unto him, Art thou also of Galilee? Search, and look: for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet.

They were wrong.

Here the first writing prophet mentioned in the Bible is from Galilee.

There were other prophets also at this time who wrote books of the Bible.  The prophets Amos and Hosea were at this same time.

:26  there was not any shut up, nor any left, nor any helper for Israel

This appears to be an awkward phrase to translate, and the different translations vary in the sense of it.

NAS -  for there was neither bond nor free, nor was there any helper for Israel

Gill:  a phrase used to express the miserable state and condition of a people, when none are left, but all are carried off, or cut off, and destroyed, and there is none to help them; when there are none shut up in garrisons, and left there to defend a people;

There wasn’t anyone left to rescue the nation.

:26  For the LORD saw the affliction of Israel

It’s kind of interesting as we’ve gone along to see that when Israel was under affliction, it was as a kind of judgment on their sins, for being so disobedient to Him.

But even in the kind of affliction that God allows on our lives which might be a result of our own sin, God sees it.

Lesson

God sees your state of affairs.

He knows exactly what your condition is.
Psalm 139:1-6  <<To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.>> O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me. 2  Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. 3  Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. 4  For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether. 5  Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. 6  Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.

He not only sees, but He cares as well.

He is the God of all comfort.
And He comforts us in ALL of our afflictions.
2Corinthians 1:3-6  Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; 4  Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. 5  For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. 6  And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation.

:27  he saved them by the hand of Jeroboam the son of Joash.

Could this be the answer to grandpa Jehoahaz’ prayer?

(2 Ki 13:4-5 KJV)  And Jehoahaz besought the LORD, and the LORD hearkened unto him: for he saw the oppression of Israel, because the king of Syria oppressed them. {5} (And the LORD gave Israel a saviour, so that they went out from under the hand of the Syrians: and the children of Israel dwelt in their tents, as beforetime.

Lesson

Answers to prayer

Sometimes God’s answers take time.

:28  he recovered Damascus

Damascus is 68 miles northeast of Galilee and the capital of Syria.  It had been captured and was a tributary under King David. Somewhere along the line the Syrians took it back. Now Jeroboam takes Damascus again.

This is amazing!

2Kings 15

:1-7  Azariah (Uzziah) reigns in Judah

:1  Azariah

As we’ve mentioned before, he’s also known as Uzziah.

Azariah = “Jehovah has helped”

Uzziah = “my strength is Jehovah”

:2  Sixteen years old was he when he began to reign

And you thought it was scary when a seven year old became king!

:2  two and fifty years

Almost a record. Manasseh (still to come), who was Judah’s most wicked king, reigned fifty-five years.

It doesn’t always figure that good guys last long, while bad guys get cut short.

:4  Save that the high places were not removed

Just as the kings of Israel continue in the sins of Jeroboam, the kings of Judah continue to allow the high places to stick around.

God’s desire was for there to be one place of worship, at the temple in Jerusalem.

Deuteronomy 12:5  But unto the place which the LORD your God shall choose out of all your tribes to put his name there, [even] unto his habitation shall ye seek, and thither thou shalt come:

:5  dwelt in a several house

or, “he lived in a separate house”

Because he was a leper, he had to live apart from the rest of his family, according to the Law.

Nu 5:2  Command the children of Israel, that they put out of the camp every leper, and every one that hath an issue, and whosoever is defiled by the dead:

:5  Jotham the king’s son was over the house, judging the people of the land.

In other words, there was a “co-regency”, where father and son ruled together, because of the father’s condition.

Because he was a leper, Uzziah would not have been able to have contact with other people.

And so he wouldn’t be able to efficiently run a nation, unless he had someone to do it for him, as his son.

Scholars figure there must have been about 11 years where this co-regency went on.

Uzziah was struck with leprosy when he was 57 years old.

:6 And the rest of the acts of Azariah

The book of Chronicles tells us much about Azariah (Uzziah).  He was a great king and conquered many cities.  He enlarged the kingdom of Judah and made it stronger.  He fortified the city of Jerusalem and invented machines to throw large stones, such as catapults, and other machines that could launch large numbers of arrows at a time.  He raised a huge army.  He dabbled in things like agriculture and brought great prosperity to the nation.

(2 Chr 26:15-16 KJV)  And he made in Jerusalem engines, invented by cunning men, to be on the towers and upon the bulwarks, to shoot arrows and great stones withal. And his name spread far abroad; for he was marvellously helped, till he was strong. {16} But when he was strong, his heart was lifted up to his destruction: for he transgressed against the LORD his God, and went into the temple of the LORD to burn incense upon the altar of incense.

This was not something a king was supposed to do.  Only a priest, a descendent from Aaron was allowed to go into the Holy Place in the Temple.  When the priests showed up and told him to leave, he got mad at the priests.  And when he got mad, leprosy broke out on his forehead and the priests rushed him out of the Temple.  He lived as a leper until he died.

Lesson

Weak isn’t bad.

It’s when we are weak and needy that we are in a place to receive from the Lord.
2Corinthians 12:7  And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. 8  For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. 9  And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10  Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
It’s not even that we can’t grow stronger in the Lord.
But it’s all relative.
The more we start thinking in our hearts that we’ve “arrived”, and that we don’t need the Lord anymore, the more dangerous it becomes.
We get kind of discouraged when we feel weak and helpless, but at those times, we can actually be the safest in the Lord.

Lesson

Pride is dangerous

his heart was lifted up to his destruction (vs.16)
As we grow stronger and stronger in our lives, we need to grow more and more dependant upon the Lord.
Illustration:
A stinging letter from the pen of John Wesley dating back to September 20, 1978, has survived until now. It is a letter addressed to Francis Asbury, a dear acquaintance of Wesley’s. Here is a rather pointed portion of this strong letter:

But in one point, my dear Brother, I am a little afraid the Doctor (Coke) and you differ from me. I study to be little, you study to be great; I creep, you strut along; I found a school, you a college  -- nay, and call it after your own names! Oh beware! Do not seek to be something! Let me be nothing, and Christ be all in all. One instance of this, your greatness, has given me great concern. How can you—how dare you suffer yourself to be called a Bishop! I shudder—I start at the very thought. Men may call me a knave, or a fool, a rascal, a scoundrel, and I am content, but they shall never, by my consent, call me a Bishop! For my sake—for Christ’s sake, put a full end to this! ... Thus, my dear Frankie, I have told you all that is in my heart....”

  A.P. Gabbs, God’s Good News, Walterick Pubs., 1940, p. 157-8.

We need to be careful about the enemy’s tricks to make us think more highly of ourselves than we ought.

It’s not that we should not attempt great things for God, but that we should always stay His humble, submissive servants.
Proverbs 16:18 Pride [goeth] before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.

:7  Azariah slept with his fathers

This is a very interesting time in history, something else happened that year as well.

(Isa 6:1-8 KJV)  In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.

This would have taken place very early in the life and ministry of Isaiah.

He prophesied during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, being put to death by Manasseh.

Note: 

Isaiah dates this vision to the year that Uzziah “died”.
This is kind of unusual, since the common way of dating things was in the “so-and-so year of a certain king’s reign”.
Not the year they died.
In other words, this isn’t just dating the vision, but it shows us that this event of Uzziah’s death was a very important factor in understanding this vision.

At the end of Uzziah’s life, several things would have been on the minds of the people.  One of them would be the great uncertainty they faced.

Lesson

God reigns in uncertain times

Here was a man who had done great things for the nation, greatly strengthening it and building it up.
He would be greatly missed.
He had brought great stability to the people, and now that he was gone, what would happen?
The answer is that God is still on His throne!
God still reigns!
Even when our earthly stability falls apart, God is in control!

Psalm 46:1-2  God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. 2  Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;

{2} Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. {3} And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. {4} And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke. {5} Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.

Unclean - tame’ - unclean, impure

It’s used predominantly in the Old Testament to describe what things are unacceptable in God’s presence.
It’s the same word that’s used in:
Leviticus 13:45  And the leper in whom the plague is, his clothes shall be rent, and his head bare, and he shall put a covering upon his upper lip, and shall cry, Unclean, unclean.

One of the other things in the minds of the people at Uzziah’s death?

Here was a man who was filled with uncleanness.
The very king of the nation had to cry out “unclean, unclean”
And Isaiah is fully aware of his own uncleanness as He stands before the Lord.

{6} Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: {7} And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged. {8} Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.

Lesson

From chaos to calling

Here was a time of great chaos for Isaiah and the nation.
And yet it was the very time that God called Isaiah to serve Him.
God can take the times in our lives that seem most disastrous and we find that those are the very turning points in our lives.
Listen for His call.

:8-12 Zachariah reigns in Israel

:8  Zachariah the son of Jeroboam

Zechariah = “Jehovah remembers”

In contrast to his ancestors:

Jehu ruled for 28 years (2Ki.10:36)

Jehoahaz ruled for 17 years (2Ki.13:1)

Jeroboam II ruled for 41 years (2Ki.14:23)

Now, as the fourth generation, Zechariah only rules six months.

:9  he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat

Another northern king follows the golden calves.

:10  smote him before the people

Shallum assassinated Zechariah publicly. The thought is that the people must have approved it, to have done it in front of them.

:12  This was the word of the LORD which he spake unto Jehu ... and so it came to pass

Jehu was the guy who had overthrown the house of Ahab, and had destroyed Baal worship from the northern kingdom of Israel.

He had done these because God had instructed him to do them.

As a reward for what he had done, God promised that his sons to the fourth generation would rule Israel (2Kings 10:30).

The descendants that reigned were:  Jehoahaz, Jehoash, Jeroboam, and Zachariah.
And Zechariah is now the fourth generation.

Lesson:

What God promises, happens.

Psalm 33:11  The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations.
Isaiah 46:9-10  Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me,  10  Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:

:13-15 Shallum reigns in Israel

:13  Shallum the son of Jabesh …he reigned a full month in Samaria

Shallum = “retribution”

Not exactly a world’s record.

:14  Menahem …went up from Tirzah

Menahem = “comforter”. He’s not going to be much comfort though.

Tirzah used to be the capitol of the northern kingdom before Samaria. It was Ahab’s dad, Omri, who moved the capitol to Samaria. Tirzah is 8.5 miles east of Samaria. See map

There’s now been four kings within eight months (Jeroboam II, Zechariah, Shallum, Menahem.

:16-22 Menahem reigns in Israel

:16  Then Menahem smote Tiphsah

Tiphsah is a small town about 11 miles south of Samaria. See map

:16  because they opened not to him, therefore he smote it…all the women therein that were with child he ripped up.

Apparently these people weren’t willing to recognize him as their king, so he attacked them.

Probably hoping to strike fear into the people to serve him, he kills all the pregnant women, in a pretty gross way.

:18 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD

Are you kind of getting used to this by now?

:19   Pul the king of Assyria came against the land

This is identified with the Assyrian king known also as Tiglath-Pileser III (745-742 b.c.)

He was one of Assyria’s strongest rulers.

Assyria was located roughly in the area of modern day Iraq.

It’s capitol city was Nineveh, who Jonah went to preach to.

This invasion took place in 743 b.c.

:19  Menahem gave Pul a thousand talents of silver

Menahem was able to buy off Pul with money.

1,000 talents = 37 tons of silver!

:19  to confirm the kingdom in his hand.

Part of the agreement with Pul was that he would support Menahem as the king of the nation.

:20  Menahem exacted the money of Israel

Menahem paid the bill to Assyria by taxing the wealthy men in Israel.

:20  So the king of Assyria turned back, and stayed not there in the land.

It looks as if everything turned out okay!  Right?

There was a prophet ministering during these times, the prophet Hosea:

Ho 1:1 The word of the LORD that came unto Hosea, the son of Beeri, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, [and] Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel.

Though Menahem isn’t mentioned, he comes at the 39th year of Uzziah, before Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, and so is included.

Some interesting scriptures from this time:

The calves of Jeroboam weren’t going to help.

Ho 8:5  Thy calf, O Samaria, hath cast [thee] off; mine anger is kindled against them: how long [will it be] ere they attain to innocency? (AV)

Making an agreement with Assyria was as good as eating wind.

Ho 12:1  Ephraim feedeth on wind, and followeth after the east wind: he daily increaseth lies and desolation; and they do make a covenant with the Assyrians, and oil is carried into Egypt. (AV)

Samaria would get what it gave out.

Ho 13:16  Samaria shall become desolate; for she hath rebelled against her God: they shall fall by the sword: their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up. (AV)
Though this was a prophecy in this time, it surely came to pass.

Lesson

Don’t mess with God!

Galatians 6:7-8  Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8  For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
It may be that those who live godless lives look like they’re making out okay, but it’s only extremely temporary.
The Psalmist had a problem watching how great the wicked had it:
Psalm 73:2-3  But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped. 3  For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
Then he writes:

Psalm 73:17-18  Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end. 18  Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction.

Hang in there!
It’s not a waste of time to live a godly life!!!

:23-26 Pekahiah reigns in Israel

:23  Pekahiah the son of Menahem

Pekahiah = “Jehovah sees”

What an interesting name to give your son, when you are so far from the Lord!

:24  he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD…from the sins of Jeroboam

Standard operating procedure.

:25  Pekah the son of Remaliah, a captain of his, conspired

Another insider-coup at the palace.

:27-31 Pekah reigns in Israel

:27  Pekah the son of Remaliah began to reign over Israel in Samaria, and reigned twenty years.

Pekah = “opened”

twenty years – Not bad for a bad king! He starts reigning during the last year of Uzziah (Azariah), and his reign goes through the reign of Jotham the son of Uzziah, and through the reign of Ahaz, the son of Jotham.

:28  he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD

Oh no, not again!

:29 Tiglathpileser king of Assyria, and took Ijon …

This is Tiglath-pileser III, also known as “Pul” in verse 19.

Apparently Pekah had a different foreign policy than Menahem, and rather than buying off the Assyrians, he formed an alliance with the Syrian king, Rezin, to fight against the Assyrians.

They lost quite a bit.

Tiglath-pileser would actually make several campaigns against Israel, Syria, and Judah, this being just the beginning.

Ijon … - These are all towns in the northern part of Israel, north of Samaria, some even pretty far north of Galilee.

:30 And Hoshea the son of Elah made a conspiracy

We’re coming up to the end of the northern kingdom of Israel.  Hoshea will be the last king to rule Israel before the Assyrians come and take them all away. He will be the one to fall to the Assyrians when we get to chapter 17.

:32-38 Jotham reigns in Judah

:32  Jotham the son of Uzziah king of Judah to reign

As we’ve seen before, he ruled with his dad for quite a while, because his dad had leprosy. Apparently, this is the beginning of his solo reign.

:33  his mother’s name was Jerusha, the daughter of Zadok.

I did a quick peek at “mother’s name” in 1-2 Kings, and it seems as if the mothers’ names weren’t always given, and even when they were, the grandfather isn’t always given.

It seems as if the writer only gives the mother’s name when it’s important, and the grandfather’s name is only given when it’s important to who the mother was.

Zadok = “righteous”

It’s interesting to note that “Zadok” is a name often linked with someone of the priesthood. I wonder if Jotham’s maternal grandfather was a priest? One commentator (Lightfoot) says he was a high priest.

:34  he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD

At last!  Hooray!  A good king!

:34  he did according to all that his father Uzziah had done

The writer of Chronicles adds something to this comment:

2Ch 27:2  And he did [that which was] right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father Uzziah did: howbeit he entered not into the temple of the LORD. And the people did yet corruptly. (AV)

NIV says:

but unlike him he did not enter the temple of the LORD. The people, however, continued their corrupt practices.

His father, Uzziah, had gotten on such a pride trip that he actually decided he should be able to act as a priest as well as a king, and entered into the temple to burn incense, a job only priests were allowed to do.

Jotham followed his dad as far as following the Lord, but when it got to his dad’s pride trip, he didn’t follow him!

:35  He built the higher gate of the house of the LORD.

The “higher gate” was on the north side of the temple (Ryrie)

His father was known for his building projects, he was able to accomplish some of his own.

:36  the rest of the acts of Jotham

We don’t have a whole lot of info on Jotham.

He’s kind of overshadowed at one end by his father, Uzziah, and on the other by his son, Ahaz.

But we are told a little more in 2Chronicles, where it tells us that he became a “mighty” king.

(2 Chr 27:6 KJV)  So Jotham became mighty, because he prepared his ways before the LORD his God.

2Ch 27:6  So Jotham became mighty because he ordered his ways before the LORD his God. (NAS)

prepared -  kuwn - to fix, make ready, prepare, provide, provide for, furnish; to arrange, order

ways - derek - way, road, distance, journey, manner

These two words are also found in

Proverbs 4:20-27 (NIV) My son, pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words. 21  Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; 22  for they are life to those who find them and health to a man’s whole body. 23  Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. 24  Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. 25  Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. 26  Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm. 27  Do not swerve to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.
Solomon is telling his son to smooth out the path in front of him, so it’s easier to walk.

Lesson

Strength comes when we clean house.

Jotham’s strength came because he cleared out the way before him.
It’s like cleaning off your desk at work.
When my desk gets all cluttered up, it seems I can’t get a thing done.
But when I go through all the various piles and throw out the trash, I seem to work much better.
Or like weeding the garden.
When the weeds creep up in the garden, they start choking off the vegetables, and the garden doesn’t produce very much.
So you have to weed and prune.

Map