Melachim II Fifteen: Kings and Death

It’s very late, but I’m committed to sticking to my daily chapter, so this analysis may be short and not particularly articulate. Jeroboam is king in Israel and Azariah becomes king of Judah. He’s a young king, taking the throne at sixteen, but he reigns for a long time. We hear his mother’s name, as well as his father’s, which, as in previous chapters, leads me to believe that she was a significant figure of the time. “And he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, like all that Amaziah his father did (Kings II 15:3).” So much of this is repetitive. Once again the altars aren’t removed, and I’m wondering why the people don’t just finally learn from their mistakes once and for all. God brings a plague to the king, and Azariah’s son Jotham takes over the throne. Jeroboam also dies, and his son Zechariah takes the throne in Israel for a short period of time. He only gets six months on the throne, but quickly does evil.

“And Shallum the son of Jabesh revolted against him and struck him before the people and slew him, and reigned in his stead (Kings II 15:10).” Shallum reigns for a month before Menahem the son of Gadi comes and kills him. This guy came pretty much out of nowhere, and he seems pretty terrible. “Then Menahem attacked Tiphsah and all those therein and its boundaries from Tirzah; since he did not open, he attacked it; he ripped open all its pregnant women (Kings II 15:16).” If that’s a literal statement, it’s barbaric. If it’s metaphorical, it must still stand for something completely awful. Menahem reigns for ten years, and both he and his people continue to sin. The Assyrians invade during his reign, and Menahem essentially pays them off from taxes from the people. Then he dies and his son Pekahiah takes the throne. Following the pattern of this book, he reigns for two years, is evil, and there’s a rebellion against him. He is killed, and Pekah, who is not a relative but rather the son of one of his officers, becomes king.

Pekah has a longer reign – twenty years – but he is evil also, and loses a lot of the land to the Assyrians. Then he’s dispossessed and dies too. There’s a new king in Judah at this time, Jotham the son of Uzziah. “And he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord; like all that his father Uzziah did, he did (Kings II 15:34).” How refreshing. But the altars still exist, so it’s not that idyllic. And Jotham dies, and the chapter that chronicles all of these basically forgotten kings comes to an end.

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