2 KINGS CHAPTER 15.
Various Kings of Judah and Israel.
AZARIAH IN JUDAH. — V. 1. In the twenty and seventh year of Jeroboam, king of Israel, began Azariah, son of Amaziah, king of Judah, to reign, he at this time became sole regent over Judah. V. 2. Sixteen years old was he when he began to reign, when he took up the reins of the kingdom alone, and he reigned, all told, two and fifty years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Jecholiah of Jerusalem. V. 3. And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his father Amaziah had done, being devoted through his entire life to the worship of Jehovah, v. 4. save that the high places were not removed; the people sacrificed and burned incense still on the high places, against the will of God, although it was done in honor of Jehovah. V. 5. And the Lord smote the king, touching him with sickness for overstepping his authority and trespassing upon the function of the priests, 2 Chron. 26, 16-20, so that he was a leper unto the day of his death, and dwelt in a several house, apart from other people, since lepers were unclean and excluded from the society of men, Lev. 13, 46. And Jotham, the king’s son, was over the house, he was regent, he had charge of the administration, judging the people of the land, the representative of his father in the most important office in the land. V. 6. And the rest of the acts of Azariah, and all that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah? Cp. 2 Chron. 26. V. 7. So Azariah slept with his fathers; and they buried him with his fathers in the city of David, in the royal tomb; and Jotham, his son, reigned in his stead. The happy reign of Azariah, or Uzziah, was an admonition of the Lord to the people of the land, which was to cause them to turn back to the old ways, just as He now sends His blessings to lead men to return to His mercy.
ZACHARIAH AND SHALLUM IN ISRAEL. — V. 8. In the thirty and eighth year of Azariah, king of Judah, after an interregnurn or a state of anarchy lasting eleven years, did Zachariah, the son of Jeroboam, reign over Israel in Samaria six months, the affairs of the nation at that time being in a state of turmoil. V. 9. And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, as his fathers had done, there was no change of policy with reference to the calf-worship. He departed not from the sins of Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin, thus inaugurating this era of idolatry. V. 10. And Shallum, the son of Jabesh, conspired against him, and smote him before the people, not in secret, but in public, and slew him, and reigned in his stead. V. 11. And the rest of the acts of Zachariah, behold, they are written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel. V. 12. This was the word of the Lord which He spake unto Jehu, saying, Thy sons shall sit on the throne of Israel unto the fourth generation. And so it came to pass. It was in accordance with this promise, chap. 10, 30, that Zachariah, who represented the fourth generation, had at least a short reign before he was assassinated. V. 13. Shallum, the son of Jabesh, began to reign in the nine and thirtieth year of Uzziah, king of Judah; and he reigned a full month in Samaria, enjoying the rule gained by his murder of the king for only a very brief season. V. 14. For Menahem, the son of Gadi, who seems to have been the commander-in-chief of Israel’s army, went up from Tirzah, only a few miles from Samaria, where the army was stationed, and came to Samaria, and smote Shallum, the son of Jabesh, in Samaria, and slew him, and reigned in his stead, usurping the throne by force. V. 15. And the rest of the acts of Shallum, and his conspiracy which he made, how he planned to make his conspiracy a success, behold, they are written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel. God does not sanction conspiracies and assassinations, but He sometimes makes use of them for the ends He has in mind.
MENAHEM IN ISRAEL. — V. 16. Then Menahem, making use of the army to reduce the country to obedience to himself, smote Tiphsah, a fortress on the western hank of the Euphrates, which revolted against his rule, and all that were therein, and the coasts thereof from Tirzah, the base from which he went out on his campaign; because they opened not to him, they refused to receive his officers and to do him homage, therefore he smote it; and all the women therein that were with child he ripped up, a most bestial form of cruelty. V. 17. In the nine and thirtieth year of Azariah, king of Judah, began Menahem, the son of Gadi, to reign over Israel, and reigned ten years in Samaria, having established himself on the throne and holding his position by main force. V. 18. And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord; he departed not all his days from the sins of Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin. V. 19. And Pul, the king of Assyria, under whom this country assumed the position of a world monarchy, came against the land; and Menahem, not feeling strong enough to repel the invaders, gave Pul a thousand talents of silver (almost two million dollars), that his hand might be with him to confirm the kingdom in his hand, since a party hostile to Menahem had probably taken the opportunity of Pail’s approach to gain followers. When the Assyrians withdrew, Menahem was again in undisputed possession of power. V. 20. And Menahem exacted the money of Israel, by simply levying certain assessments, even of all the mighty men of wealth, of each man fifty shekels of silver (about $32), to give to the king of Assyria. So the king of Assyria, satisfied with this rich tributary gift, turned back and stayed not there in the land. V. 21. And the rest of the acts of Menahem, and all that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel? V. 22. And Menahem slept with his fathers; and Pekahiah, his son, reigned in his stead. The kingdom of Israel was hastening to its dissolution. When backsliders despise both the goodness and the severity of God, then the Lord will at last withdraw His hand and let them hasten to their own condemnation.
PEKAHIAH AND PEKAH IN ISRAEL. - V. 23. In the fiftieth year of Azariah, king of Judah, probably after some months of anarchistic turmoil, Pekahiah, the son of Menahem, began to reign over Israel in Samaria, and reigned two years. V. 24. And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord; he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin, his idolatry with the calves having persisted through all the history of Israel. V. 25. But Pekah, the son of Remaliah, a captain of his, the king’s adjutant, conspired against him, and smote him in Samaria, in the palace of the king’s house, the fortified part of his palace, where he had fled at the approach of the conspirators, with Argob and Arieh, who, as high officials faithful to Pekahiah, were killed with him, and with him, on the side of Pekah, fifty men of the Gileadites; and he killed him, and reigned in his room. V. 26. And the rest of the acts of Pekahlah, and all that he did, behold, they are written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel. V. 27. In the two and fiftieth year of Azariah, king of Judah, Pekah, the son of Remaliah, began to reign over Israel in Samarla, and reigned twenty years, his accession to the throne following his assassination of the king. V. 28. And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord; he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin, the constantly recurring phrase serving to draw attention to this continual defection of the ruler and the nation. V. 29. In the days of Pekah, king of Israel, came Tiglath-pileser, king of Assyria, and took Ijon, and Abel-beth-maachah, and Janoah, and Kedesh, and Hazor, and Gilead, and Galilee, all the land of Naphtali, with some of the districts on its boundary, and carried them captive to Assyria. This was the beginning of Israel’s end. V. 30. And Hoshea, the son of Elah, evidently as a result of this Assyrian campaign, made a conspiracy against Pekah, the son of Remaliah, and smote him, and slew him, and reigned in his stead, in the twentieth year of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, this note taking into account Jotham’s viceregency. V. 31. And the rest of the acts of Pekah, and all that he did, behold, they are written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel. It is a source of great comfort that, shortly after the events here recorded, Isaiah prophesied of the light and glory of the Messiah which was to appear to the inhabitants of the devastated districts in Galilee, Is. 9, 1.
JOTHAM IN JUDAH. — V. 32. In the second year of Pekah, the son of Remaliah, king of Israel, began Jotham, the son of Uzziah, king of Judah, to reign. V. 33. Five and twenty years old was he when he began to reign, that is, when he entered upon the rule alone after the death of his father, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Jerusha, the daughter of Zadok. V. 34. And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord; he did according to all that his father Uzziah had done, worshiping Jehovah alone. V. 35. Howbeit, the high places were not removed; the people sacrificed and burned incense still in the high places. He built the higher, that is, the upper, the most northern, gate of the house of the Lord, this including both its restoration and its ornamentation. V. 36. Now, the rest of the acts of Jotham, and all that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah? V. 37. In those days the Lord began to send against Judah Rezin, the king of Syria, and Pekah, the son of Remaliah. The Syrians, having thrown off the yoke of the Assyrians, were glad to have the Israelite nation as confederates, in order to obtain, if possible, the overlordship of all the countries between the Euphrates and Egypt. V. 38. And Jotham, while this misfortune was preparing against Judah, slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David, his father, in the royal tombs; and Ahaz, his son, reigned in his stead. The object of God’s punishment is to lead the sinner to repentance while the time of grace is still at hand. But woe unto every person whom God surrenders to the perversity and obstinacy of his own mind!