2 Kings 15 (NIV)
Azariah King of Judah
1 In the twenty-seventh year of Jeroboam king of Israel, Azariah (also known as Uzziah) son of Amaziah king of Judah began to reign. 2 He was sixteen years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-two years.
Azariah became king at a tough time. The city had recently been attached, walls were in disarray, temple treasures stolen, some of the residents taken hostage. And the new king is only a teenager!
His mother’s name was Jekoliah; she was from Jerusalem. 3 He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, just as his father Amaziah had done.
2 Chronicles 26 (which we will read tomorrow) tells us much more about the successful reign of Azariah (also known as Uzziah):
- He began his reign when he was only 16 years old (26:3).
- He reigned during the ministry of Zechariah the prophet (26:5).
- He defeated the Philistines and took many of their cities, and also kept the Ammonites in tribute (26:6-8).
- He was internationally famous as a strong king (26:8).
- He was an ambitious builder and skilled in agriculture (26:9-10).
- He built up and organized the army, introducing several new items of military technology (26:11-15).
4 The high places, however, were not removed; the people continued to offer sacrifices and burn incense there.
5 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.
6 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? 7 Azariah rested with his ancestors and was buried near them in the City of David.
Isaiah 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.
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.
And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.
And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.
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.
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:
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.
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.
And Jotham his son succeeded him as king.
Zechariah King of Israel
This section of this chapter looks at five of the last six kings of Israel and “anticipates the final overthrow of this kingdom of the tribes. It describes the corruption and disorganization that made them the easy prey of Assyria,” –F. B. Meyer. As you read, notice how short their reigns are, and how often the changes in monarchy come because of murder. Mark the brutality of the kings and the idolatry of the people that leads, inevitably, to civil chaos.
8 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. 9 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.
10 Shallum son of Jabesh conspired against Zechariah. He attacked him in front of the people, assassinated him and succeeded him as king. 11 The other events of Zechariah’s reign are written in the book of the annals of the kings of Israel. 12 So the word of the LORD spoken to Jehu was fulfilled: “Your descendants will sit on the throne of Israel to the fourth generation.”
Shallum King of Israel
13 Shallum son of Jabesh became king in the thirty-ninth year of Uzziah king of Judah, and he reigned in Samaria one month. 14 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.
15 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.
16 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.
Menahem King of Israel
17 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. 18 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.
19 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. 20 Menahem exacted this money from Israel. Every wealthy person had to contribute fifty shekels of silver to be given to the king of Assyria.
Just so you don’t feel too sorry for the rich people, here the prophet Amos describes them:
Amos 8:4-6 (ESV)
Hear this, you who trample on the needy
and bring the poor of the land to an end,
saying, “When will the new moon be over,
that we may sell grain?
And the Sabbath,
that we may offer wheat for sale,
that we may make the ephah small and the shekel great
and deal deceitfully with false balances,
that we may buy the poor for silver
and the needy for a pair of sandals
and sell the chaff of the wheat?”
The money was used to buy the backing of the Assyrian king. Israel is now a vassal of Assyria.
So the king of Assyria withdrew and stayed in the land no longer.
21 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? 22 Menahem rested with his ancestors. And Pekahiah his son succeeded him as king.
Pekahiah King of Israel
23 In the fiftieth year of Azariah king of Judah, Pekahiah son of Menahem became king of Israel in Samaria, and he reigned two years. 24 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. 25 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.
26 The other events of Pekahiah’s reign, and all he did, are written in the book of the annals of the kings of Israel.
Pekah King of Israel
27 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. 28 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.
29 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. 30 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.
This Assyrian king was not content with tribute payment. He came and took some of the best land, a sizable portion of the Northern Kingdom. And he deported a significant number of the Israelites. These are dark days for the Northern Kingdom: They have not listened to God, and there are tragic consequences.
Hoshea will be the final king of Israel.
31 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?
Jotham King of Judah
32 In the second year of Pekah son of Remaliah king of Israel, Jotham son of Uzziah king of Judah began to reign. 33 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. 34 He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, just as his father Uzziah had done. 35 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.
This is a good sign — the king working to repair the temple of the Lord.
36 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? 37 (In those days the LORD began to send Rezin king of Aram and Pekah son of Remaliah against Judah.)
God is sending trouble to Judah and giving the people an opportunity to put their trust whole-heartedly in the Lord.
38 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.
This song will carry you through whatever may come. After the recent readings of disobedience and death in Israel and Judah, here is a cheerful way for us to say YES to the Lord in our own little worlds!
HERE, by Darrell Evans — “Trading My Sorrows.”