This short study is about Jezebel and her lovely daughter Athaliah to show the really bad side of fallen femininity. We acknowledge male bandits, crooks, tyrants and con artists but pay no heed to the women of the night who often pull the strings of evil rooted back in the Fall of our first parents.
Castrating young males, murdering babies, slaying God’s prophets replacing them with prophets of Baal. Distorting gender identity in both parents and offspring! Murdering heirs to the throne of David and Jesus. “Treason Treason.”
Not my kind of mom or wife! Much more can be added about witches, fortune tellers, necromancers, prostitutes, and their lures, spells, charms, psychedelics.
Our two very bad queens fit an archetype of fallen womanhood appearing in history as a great prostitute, The Great Harlot.
“Come down and sit in the dust,
O virgin daughter of Babylon;
Sit on the ground without a throne,
O daughter of the Chaldeans!
For you shall no more be called
Tender and delicate.
Take the millstones and grind meal.
Remove your veil,
Take off the skirt,
Uncover the thigh,
Pass through the rivers.
Your nakedness shall be uncovered,
Yes, your shame will be seen;
I will take vengeance,
And I will not arbitrate with a man.”
As for our Redeemer, the Lord of hosts is His name,
The Holy One of Israel.
“Sit in silence, and go into darkness,
O daughter of the Chaldeans;
For you shall no longer be called
The Lady of Kingdoms.
I was angry with My people;
I have profaned My inheritance,
And given them into your hand.
You showed them no mercy;
On the elderly you laid your yoke very heavily.
And you said, ‘I shall be a lady forever,’
So that you did not take these things to heart,
Nor remember the latter end of them.
“Therefore hear this now, you who are given to pleasures,
Who dwell securely,
Who say in your heart, ‘I am, and there is no one else besides me;
I shall not sit as a widow,
Nor shall I know the loss of children’;
But these two things shall come to you
In a moment, in one day:
The loss of children, and widowhood.
They shall come upon you in their fullness
Because of the multitude of your sorceries,
For the great abundance of your enchantments.
“For you have trusted in your wickedness;
You have said, ‘No one sees me’;
Your wisdom and your knowledge have warped you;
And you have said in your heart,
‘I am, and there is no one else besides me.’
Therefore evil shall come upon you;
You shall not know from where it arises.
And trouble shall fall upon you;
You will not be able to put it off.
And desolation shall come upon you suddenly,
Which you shall not know.
“Stand now with your enchantments
And the multitude of your sorceries,
In which you have labored from your youth—
Perhaps you will be able to profit,
Perhaps you will prevail.
You are wearied in the multitude of your counsels;
Let now the astrologers, the stargazers,
And the monthly prognosticators
Stand up and save you
From what shall come upon you.
Behold, they shall be as stubble,
The fire shall burn them;
They shall not deliver themselves
From the power of the flame;
It shall not be a coal to be warmed by,
Nor a fire to sit before!
Thus shall they be to you
With whom you have labored,
Your merchants from your youth;
They shall wander each one to his quarter.
No one shall save you.
Finally the composite evil lady shows up in the apostate church with much blood on her hands. (Revelation 17-18).
Judah (and Benjamin)
Israel (Ten Northern Tribes)
|1. Rehoboam||931-913||17 years||Bad||Shemaiah||1. Jeroboam I||931-910||22 years||Bad||Ahijah|
|2. Abijah||913-911||3 years||Bad||2. Nadab||910-909||2 years||Bad|
|3. Asa||911-870||41 years||Good||3. Baasha||909-886||24 years||Bad|
|4. Elah||886-885||2 years||Bad|
|5. Zimri||885||7 days||Bad|
|6. Omri||885-874*||12 years||Bad||Elijah Micaiah|
|4. Jehoshaphat||870-848*||25 years||Good||7. Ahab||874-853||22 years||Bad|
|5. Jehoram||848-841*||8 years||Bad||8. Ahaziah||853-852||2 years||Bad|
|6. Ahaziah||841||1 years||Bad||9. Joram||852-841||12 years||Bad||Elisha|
|7. Athaliah||841-835||6 years||Bad||10. Jehu||841-814||28 years||Bad|
|8. Joash||835-796||40 years||Good||Joel||11. Jehoahaz||814-798||17 years||Bad||Jonah Amos Hosea|
|9. Amaziah||796-767||29 years||Good||12. Jehoash||798-782||16 years||Bad|
|10. Uzziah (Azariah)||767-740*||52 years||Good|| Isaiah
|13. Jeroboam II||782-753*||41 years||Bad|
|11. Jotham||740-732*||16 years||Good||14. Zechariah||753-752||6 mo||Bad|
|12. Ahaz||732-716||16 years||Bad||15. Shallum||752||1 mo||Bad|
|13. Hezekiah||716-687||29 years||Good||16. Menahem||752-742||10 years||Bad|
|14. Manasseh||687-642*||55 years||Bad/Repented|| Nahum
|17. Pekahiah||742-740||2 years||Bad|
|15. Amon||642-640||2 years||Bad||18. Pekah||740-732*||20 years||Bad|
|16. Josiah||640-608||31 years||Good||19. Hoshea||732-712||9 years||Bad|
|17. Jehoahaz||608||3 mo||Bad||722 BC Fall of Samaria to Assyria|
|18. Jehoiakim||608-597||11 years||Bad||
|19. Jehoiachin||597||3 mos||Bad|
|20. Zedekiah||597-586||11 years||Bad|
|Destruction of Jerusalem, 9th Av, 586 BC, Babylonian Captivity|
| 1. Josiah
Reigned 31 years (640-609 BC)
| 2. Jehoahaz (Shallum)
Reigned 3 months (609 BC)
Taken prisoner to Egypt by Pharaoh Neco
| 3. Jehoiakim (Eliakim)
Reigned 11 years (609-598 BC)
Died in Jerusalem
| 5. Zedekiah
Reigned 11 years (597--586 BC)
Taken prisoner to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar
| 4. Jehoichin (Jeconiah,
Reigned 3 months (December 9, 598 - March 16, 597 BC)
Taken prisoner to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar (with Ezekiel)
Since the two books of Kings in our present Bible were originally one book, 2 Kings continues on in the account of the kings of Judah and Israel where I Kings ends.
...The final part of the book of 1 Kings, beginning in chapter 17, introduces the prophetic ministry beginning with Elijah. There are other prophets who came before Elijah but they did not do miracles. Elijah begins the ministry of miracles in the Bible. The prophets who ministered to Judah, the Southern Kingdom, did no miracles because there God's testimony was still the central life of the nation. But in Israel, the Northern Kingdom, God's presence was rejected and in his place the golden calves were worshipped. The ministry of miracles here is a testimony to the people that God is still in their midst. God sought to shake them up to be aware of the fact that they have drifted away from him. Elijah's ministry is a tremendous revelation of God's dealings with the wayward human heart. First of all, in his ministry, he shut the heavens so that it did not rain upon the land for three years. Then he called down fire from heaven upon the sheriffs and others who were sent to arrest him and bring him before the king. As these miracles caught the attention of the people. there came a degree of repentance. They understood that God was using a harsh hand, as God sometimes has to do with us. in chastisement and judgment to wake us up and make us aware of how we are drifting away from central worship of him in the innermost part of our being.
When this happened there came at last the judgment of Baal, when the two philosophies in Israel came to a headlong clash up on Mt. Carmel. God vindicated his honor by sending fire from heaven to destroy all of Elijah's offering, including all the water that was poured upon the offering and the stone altar, and God reigned in mighty power. When that judgment was exercised, the heavens were opened again and rain poured down upon the land. That is all a picture of us, of what happens in our lives when we resist the right of God to rule in our hearts. God brings us under chastening, and, at last, our stubbornness is broken. The willful rebellion is ended and we are humbled at last before God. Then the rain of grace begins again and pours down upon our hearts to bring fruit and blessing once more.
Following this is the unusual account of Elijah's fear of Jezebel. I am always amused by this. Here is this fearless prophet, this rugged man of God who has faced four hundred priests alone on top of the mountain, now running in terror from one angry woman. He cries as he hides under the juniper bush, "Lord, I have had enough. It was bad enough facing four hundred priests of Baal but when this one woman gets after me, that is too much." She was threatening his life. This is amusing because he says, "Lord, I have had enough -- take my life," but of course he doesn't really mean that. All he would have to do is walk out and find Jezebel and she would accommodate him in his wish. Instead he hides under the juniper bush. God deals with him in wondrous grace. The first thing that he does is to put him to bed and give him a good night's rest. Then God gives him a good square meal. Finally God teaches him the greatest secret that Elijah ever learned -- that God does not always move through earthquake, fire, and thunder -- but many times through the still, small voice of a changed conscience.
The book closes with the story of King Ahab, and his failure, his folly, and his self-centered desire for the vineyard of Naboth, bringing down the judgment of God. In chapter 22 we learn how God works through what seem to be accidental circumstances. The two kings of Israel and Judah go out to battle. Ahab, king of Israel, in his Satanic cleverness tries to put the king of Judah out in the forefront of battle. Ahab dresses the king of Judah in his own armor in order that he might be mistaken for the king of Israel and shot at. But as King Ahab is complimenting himself on how he has tricked the king of Judah into being exposed to danger, we read that an arrow shot into the air (just by chance) by a warrior on the opposite side, finds its way to him and pierces through a crack in the armor into his heart. God's judgment is accomplished! God is the God of circumstances. God is the God of accidents. God is behind all the movements of our lives. This is the revelation of this account.
As I close this book of 1 Kings, the verse that comes most prominently to my mind and thrusts itself upon my heart, is this:
Keep your heart with all vigilance; for from it flow the springs of life. (Proverbs. 4:23)
Outward circumstances will never dethrone you from reigning in your life. Nothing you run up against in terms of outward pressures and outward circumstances will ever succeed in dethroning you. Your dethronement, your moving back into the slavery and bondage of the flesh and the devil, will come only as you permit some rival worship to enter into your heart and dethrone God. When your emotions become attached to some place that is a rival to the worship of God, then the kingdom's days are numbered...
Second Kings opens with the closing incident of the life of Elijah during the reign of King Ahaziah of Israel, the son of Ahab. Ahaziah reigned for only two years and the last word we read of him in I Kings was that he "provoked the Lord, the God of Israel, to anger in every way that his father had done." Perhaps for this, he fell through a lattice window and, while lying injured, sent to inquire of the pagan god, Baalzebub, as to whether he would recover. For this he was severely rebuked by Elijah the prophet, who informed him that he would die.
When the king sent a band of 50 soldiers to capture him, Elijah called down fire from heaven to consume them. Another band of 50 men met with a similar fate, and when the third band of 50 came, the captain entreated Elijah to spare him and his men, and the prophet went with him to the king to convey personally his sentence of doom. When the king died his brother Jehoram succeeded him, for Ahaziah had no son.
Here a certain degree of difficulty enters in keeping straight the two lines of kings in Israel and Judah, for when this Jehoram had reigned for seven years in Israel another Jehoram, the son of Jehoshaphat j began his reign in Judah. The problem is further complicated by the fact that a shorter spelling, Joram, was used for both kings at various times. A similar confusion later exists with Kings Ahaziah and Joash.
Elijah's last moments on earth and his triumphant and miraculous translation into heaven without dying is next related in careful detail. When the faithful Elisha refused to leave him until his moment of translation, the mantle of Elijah fell upon him. He had been promised a double portion of the spirit of Elijah and this became evident immediately in the first two incidents of his ministry. There was the punitive character of Elijah in the story of the she-bears who came out of the woods to destroy those youths who jeered at him, in mockery of Elijah's translation (2:24). But there is also clearly evident the spirit of grace and kindness when he made the bitter waters wholesome by throwing a handful of salt into them (2:20,2 1).
These two men, Elijah and Elisha, both portray the future ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. Elijah pictures His attitude toward official Israel, reflected in Christ's two cleansings of the Temple with the whip of cords and with flashing eyes, while Elisha pictures the ministry of Jesus to individuals, filled with compassionate tenderness and helpfulness.
During the reign of Jehoram of Israel, the nation Moab rebelled against Israel's control and Jehoram joined with King Jehoshaphat of Judah and the king of Edom to suppress the rebellion. The allied kings found themselves in the desert with no water. They sought the counsel of Elisha who promised that the valley should be filled with water, though no rain would fall, and that their attack upon Moab would be successful. Evidently a flash flood from some considerable distance did indeed fill the valley with water without any rain falling on the spot, and their campaign was successful, as the prophet had predicted.
Chapters 4-8 contain a series of incidents from the life and ministry of Elisha, which are given in a somewhat jumbled chronological order but are presented together in this way to indicate the ministry of mercy extended to individuals while the judgments of God ground out the ultimate overthrow and exile of the nation. In these miracles Elisha provided a continuous flow of oil to a poor widow until she had enough to pay her debts; he healed the barrenness of a wealthy woman of Shunem who had been kind to him; she later bore a son and he raised this same child from the dead when he succumbed to a sudden fever; he rendered harmless a pot of poisonous vegetables by casting in a handful of meal; he fed several hundred men with only 20 loaves of bread; he healed the Syrian general, Naaman, from leprosy by having him dip seven times in the Jordan River; he caused a lost axehead to float on top of water; he opened his servant's eyes to see the Lord's chariots of fire that were protecting them when the Syrian army was besieging them; he rescued the city of Samaria by making the attacking Syrian army hear sounds of a great army which frightened them away; he predicted to Hazael, the Syrian general, that his master, Ben-hadad, king of Syria, would recover from his sickness but would be murdered by Hazael who would then proceed to bring much distress upon Israel. This insight caused Elisha to weep, much as centuries later Jesus wept over the coming destruction of Jerusalem.
In 2 Kings 8:16 the chronicler returns to the history of the Southern Kingdom of Judah, giving a brief account of the reign of Joram, the son of Jehoshaphat, who married the daughter of Ahab of Israel and "walked in the way of the kings of Israel, just as the house of Ahab had done" (v. 18). As a result of his evil the land of Edom revolted from the rule of Judah as did the city of Libnah. Joram was succeeded by his son Ahaziah (v. 24) who joined with King Joram of Israel to war against Hazael, king of Syria.
During the battle Joram of Israel was wounded and returned to Jezreel to recover. While Ahaziah of Judah was visiting him Elisha sent one of the young prophets to anoint Jehu, the general of Israel to be king in Joram's place. Immediately Jehu mounted his chariot and, driving furiously, headed for Jezreel.
Learning that Jehu was on his way, the two kings (Joram and Ahaziah) set out to meet him and came upon him at the vineyard, formerly belonging to Naboth. There the prophecy of Elijah to Ahab was fulfilled when Jehu drew his bow and slew Joram, leaving his body in the vineyard of Naboth. As Ahaziah fled, he was shot by Jehu's men and, wounded, fled to Megiddo, where he died.
Coming back to Jezreel, Jehu saw Jezebel, Ahab's widow, looking at him from her window. Jehu called to her attendants to throw her down from the window. When they did so her body was eaten by dogs, again according to the prophecy of Elijah.
Jehu then became a terrible scourge in the hands of God. But he himself did not turn from the sins of Jeroboam and "was not careful to walk in the law of the Lord, the God of Israel, with all his heart" (10:31). As a consequence, parts of Israel fell into the hands of Syria and after a reign of 28 years, Jehu died and his son Jehoahaz reigned in his stead.
When the queen mother, Athaliah (daughter of Ahab and Jezebel) learned that her son, Ahaziah, was dead, she seized the throne of Judah for herself, murdering the entire royal family (her own grandsons), except for an infant named Joash, who was hidden by his sister in the Temple. Like her mother, Jezebel, Athaliah was a devotee of Baal worship, and for the six years of her reign she did her best to introduce the worship of this male sex god to Judah, installing a priest named Matthewen to officiate at her altars.
During this six year period, the boy king, Joash, was still hidden in the Temple, as evidence of the divine overruling of human events. But in the seventh year, Jehoiada the priest, the husband of the woman who had hidden Joash, organized a plot to put Joash on the throne. With the support of the army and the priesthood, he brought the seven-year-old boy out and publicly anointed him as king. Athaliah was slain and the temple of Baal destroyed (11: 13-18).
Joash (also spelled Jehoash) reigned for 40 years in Judah; and it is recorded he "did right in the sight of the Lord all his days in which Jehoiada the priest instructed him" (12:2). The major event of his reign was the repairing of the Temple, which had been neglected for many years. This was accomplished by special offerings which the king himself oversaw. The close of his reign was shadowed by an invasion from Syria which Joash, in cowardice, averted by surrendering the treasures of the Temple to the king of Syria. Soon after this, a conspiracy was plotted by his servants, and Joash was slain in Jerusalem and his son Amaziah ascended the throne.
Turning again to Israel the Northern Kingdom, we find Jehoahaz, the son of Jehu, upon the throne. He continued the evil of the kings before him and in consequence the Syrians, under King Hazael, reconquered great portions of the land, and left Jehoahaz with an army of only 50 horsemen and chariots and 10,000 soldiers. Seeing the low state of Israel, the king turned to the Lord and besought His help. In response, "a savior" was granted to Israel. We are not told who this was, but it is very likely that it refers to an incident with Elisha the prophet, which immediately followed (13:14-19).
After a reign of 17 years Jehoahaz died and his son, Joash (not to be confused with the Joash of Judah) reigned. During his reign Elisha died and was buried, but even after his death miracles followed him. A group of men seeking to dispose of a body were suddenly surprised by a mob of bandits. They threw the body into the tomb of Elisha and when the body touched the bones of Elisha the man sprang back to life. Thus the entire ministry of Elisha seems to typify the ministry of the Spirit of Christ in bringing life out of death.
Turning briefly to Judah we are told that Amaziah, the son of Joash, "did right in the sight of the Lord, yet not like David his father" (14:3). Still the high places were not removed and worship continued there instead of at the Temple in Jerusalem where it belonged. Amaziah won a great victory over Edom and, emboldened by this, he challenged the power of King Joash of Israel. They met in battle and Amaziah was captured and a portion of the wall of Jerusalem was broken down and the Temple entered and sacked. Though Amaziah was permitted to reign 15 years after the death of Joash of Israel, eventually a conspiracy was made against him and he was slain in the city of Lachish. His son Azariah, who was only 16 years old, was made king in his place.
In Israel Jeroboam II, who followed his father Joash to the throne, had reigned for 41 years. During this time he reconquered all of Israel's territory from Syria and even brought Damascus and Hamath of Syria under tributary to Israel. The prophet Jonah (famous for his escapade with a fish) ministered in Israel during the days of Jeroboam II, also the prophets Amos, Hosea and Isaiah. Yet despite this gracious touch from the Lord, Jeroboam walked in evil ways and after his long reign, was replaced by his son Zechariah (15:8).
Azariah (15:1) is known as Uzziah in the book of 2 Chronicles (26:1-3) and also in the prophecy of Isaiah (6:1). It was during his long reign of 52 years that Isaiah began his great ministry. Azariah followed in the footsteps of his father, Amaziah, but like him did not remove the high places nor interfere with the worship that went on there. In 2 Chronicles 26:16 we are told that "when he became strong, his heart was...proud" and sought to offer incense himself upon the altar in the Temple at Jerusalem. For this he was smitten with leprosy and remained a leper until his death. His son Jotham shared the regency with him and succeeded to the throne upon Azariah's death.
Meanwhile in Israel, things were rapidly sliding into chaos. Zechariah, the son of Jeroboam, only reigned for six months and was slain by Shallum who thus ended the dynasty of Jehu in the fourth generation, as had been predicted. Shallum was only on the throne one month, and was succeeded by Menahem, who slew him and reigned for 10 evil years, characterized by cruelty and extortion. During his days the land was invaded by the new world power of Assyria to the north. Menahem was forced to pay tribute to Pul (otherwise known as Tiglath-pileser).
Menahem was succeeded by his son, Pekahiah, who reigned for two brief, evil years (2 Kings 15:23) and was slain by an army captain named Pekah. During Pekah's reign of 20 years, Tiglath-pileser of Syria invaded the northern portion of Israel and carried off captives from Galilee. Pekah later was slain by Hoshea, who had the support of Assyria. This murderous state of affairs in Israel was testimony to the persistent evil of king and people, in turning from the living God.
Things were not much better in Judah, for though Jotham, the son of Amaziah, walked before the Lord in some degree of righteousness, nevertheless, during his 16-year reign, the kings of Syria and Israel threatened the land of Judah, sent, as we are told, by the hand of the Lord as a judgment against Judah.
Jotham was followed by his son Ahaz, who likewise reigned for 16 years in Jerusalem. During the reign the nation sank to a new low, for the king himself practiced the abominations of the Canaanites, even offering his son as a burnt offering to the god Moloch. When the combined armies of Syria and Israel came against him he sought help from the king of Assyria, offering to be his vassal. He followed this idiocy by constructing a heathen altar in the actual courts of the Temple, commanding the priests to offer sacrifice on it 16: 1~16). Further, he desecrated some of the holy furnishings in the outer court of the Temple. Yet during his reign, Isaiah and Micah, the prophets, carried on a faithful ministry of testimony to the truth.
In chapter 17 we have the record of how God's long patience with Israel was at last exhausted, and the divine stroke of judgment falls. During the nine-year reign of Hoshea, the last king of Israel, Shalmaneser V of Assyria, invaded Israel and besieged Samaria. After three years the city fell and the Assyrian king systematically deported the Israelites into various cities of Assyria and Media.
Careful assessment is made of the reasons for this overthrow of the people of God. Their persistent sins of pride, evil practices, and public idolatry are detailed, and especially set against the patient love of God who had warned them repeatedly through prophets and seers.
When the 10 tribes had been deposed, the Assyrian king attempted to repopulate the land of Israel with people from Babylon and other countries, who brought with them their own idols. Experiencing some difficulty in settling in the land, they blamed it on their ignorance of the God of Israel, and it is recorded that they "feared the Lord, and served their graven images" (17:41, KJV). This attempted religious mixture probably contributed to the enmity between the Jews and Samaritans which, centuries later, was recorded in the New Testament (see John 4). This is clear testimony to the folly of trying to mix the religion of man with divine revelation. The result is corruption worse than anything else. The Christian church can provide many examples of this principle.
While Israel was collapsing in the north, Hezekiah, the son of Ahaz, began his reign in Jerusalem (chap. 18). His father had been an ungodly king, but Hezekiah, perhaps warned by the fate of Israel, began to walk wholeheartedly before the Lord. It was said of him "after him there was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor among those who were before him" (18:5). The kingdom had fallen into such decay that when he came to the throne his first act, as we learn from 2 Chronicles, was to cleanse the Temple. It took the Levites 16 days to carry out all the rubbish which had collected (2 Chronicles. 29:17). Hezekiah also reinstated the Passover in Israel and destroyed the great brazen serpent which the people had been worshipping (2 Kings 18:4). This was the serpent God had used for their blessing when Moses erected it in the wilderness. It had become a source of idolatry just as many things which once blessed our lives become idols if we begin to hold them in too high regard.
When Hezekiah had been on the throne for 14 years, the Assyrian king Sennacherib, who had replaced Shalmaneser, invaded Judah and took certain of their fortified cities. Frightened by this, Hezekiah offered to pay tribute, and was forced to strip the gold from the Temple to meet the payment required. Undeterred by this, the Assyrian king sent his general Rabshakeh, to besiege Jerusalem. With terrible arrogance and scorn, the Assyrian general challenged, not only the might of Israel, but the power of their God to deliver them.
In desperation, Hezekiah turned to his old friend, Isaiah the prophet, who reassured the king that God was yet in control and would turn the Assyrian hosts aside, by causing them merely to "hear a rumor" 19:7). When Rabshakeh returned to learn Hezekiah's answer, he found that Sennacherib had been diverted by rumors of an attack from Ethiopia. A letter was sent to Hezekiah to warn him that the Assyrians would return, and nothing could save him from their wrath. Hezekiah spread the letter before the Lord in the Temple, and in a moving prayer, called upon God for His deliverance (19:14-19).
Apparently when the Assyrians returned to the attack, Isaiah the prophet sent word to Hezekiah announcing that the Lord held Assyria and its armies in utter contempt, and by His own mighty hand would turn them back upon the way they had come. That very night an angel of the Lord entered the camp of Assyria and slew 185,000 men (19:35). Secular history records this as a great plague which swept the camp. With the remnant of his army Sennacherib departed for Nineveh, where, according to the prophecy of Isaiah, his sons slew him in the temple of his gods.
When King Hezekiah fell sick and was told he would die, he wept bitterly and besought the Lord for a reprieve (chap. 20). In response to this, his life was extended for 15 years, and as a sign, the shadow on the sundial turned back 10 degrees. In those 15 years, however, Hezekiah had a son whom he named Manasseh, who became the worst king Judah ever had. His was the longest reign of any of the kings, extending for 55 years of ungodliness. Some have said, therefore, that Hezekiah was "the man who lived too long," for had he accepted the word of the Lord about his death, Israel would have been spared the terrible days of Manasseh. Also during these 15 years, Hezekiah received the envoys of the king of Babylon and showed to them all the treasures of the house of the Lord. For this he was severely rebuked by Isaiah, who prophesied that the things which the envoys had seen would ultimately be carried to Babylon. In due course Hezekiah died and Manasseh became king.
Manasseh's long reign of 55 years is covered in brief account, for it is said, "he rebuilt the high places which Hezekiah his father had destroyed; and he erected altars for Baal and made an Asherah...and worshiped all the host of heaven and served them" (21:3). His reign is summarized in these words, "Manasseh seduced them to do evil more than the nations whom the Lord destroyed before the sons of Israel" (v. 9). His son, Amon, followed him to the throne, to reign for two years. He was killed in a conspiracy and his son Josiah was made king in his stead.
Josiah was eight years of age when he came to the throne (22:1). His reign marked the last attempted reformation before the kingdom would be carried into captivity. The evil state of the nation after Manasseh and Amon is seen in the fact that when King Josiah attempted to clean out the Temple and repair it a book of the Law of Moses was found within. Incredible as it may seem, neither the king nor the people seemed to know of its existence. The sacred writings had been so neglected that the actual Temple copy was lost. When this book was read to the king, his sensitive conscience was greatly distressed, and he turned for counsel to the prophetess Huldah. She responded that it was too late to save the nation from its fate, but that the reforms which the king would effect would delay the judgment of God until he had gone to his grave.
With great enthusiasm the king began his reform, first reading the book of the Law directly to the people and then making a personal covenant to walk before the Lord and keep His commandments with all his heart. The Temple was cleansed of all idolatries of the false cults, and throughout the country idolatrous priests and altars were put away (chap. 22). The reform extended even to Bethel in the north, which had been part of Israel, and the altar at Bethel which Jeroboam had erected was torn down and ground to dust.
Following this the Passover feast, which had long been neglected, was observed again in moving ritual and power (23:21-23). Homosexual prostitutes, wizards, mediums, and other abominations were swept from the land. But despite King Josiah's sincere efforts at reform, the heart of the people was not truly repentant, and when Josiah was slain in battle with Pharaoh Neco of Egypt and his son Jehoahaz succeeded him, the nation immediately returned to evil ways.
After a brief reign of three months, the king of Egypt deposed Jehoahaz and set his brother Eliakim, whose name he changed to Jehoiakim, upon the throne.
For 11 years Jehoiakim reigned, first as a tributary to Egypt and then for his last three years, under tribute to Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon (24:1). During these years the land was torn by raiding bands of Chaldeans, Syrians, Moabites and Ammonites, for the long patience of God was now ended.
Jehoiakim was succeeded by his son Jehoiachin, but after a brief reign of three months Nebuchadnezzar came against the city, besieged it, and eventually overthrew it and carried off to Babylon both the people and the treasures of the city. Jehoiachin was carried to Babylon as well and his brother, Zedekiah, was set upon the throne as a vassal king in Jerusalem. In his ninth year he attempted to rebel against Babylon, and again Nebuchadnezzar came against the city and besieged it. In Zedekiah's eleventh year a breach was made in the city wall. The king was captured and blinded and sent to Babylon in chains. The house of the Lord was burned, the walls of the city broken down, and a governor was appointed over the land. When the governor was later murdered, the remnant of Israel fled to Egypt (25:26). Thus the nation which God had called and delivered from the power of Egypt, returned to that land as a scattered and suffering people.
Yet a touch of grace closes the book, for after 37 years of imprisonment in Babylon, Jehoiachin was released by Evil-merodach, king of Babylon, who showed him great kindness and permitted him to feast from the king's table for the rest of his life.
We remember that the book of Kings began with the wonderful scene of Solomon, his kingdom at peace kneeling in his royal robes, praying to the God of heaven. Contrast this with the final scene when the Temple lay in ruins, the city was destroyed and the people were slaves and bondservants in a foreign country. In this contrast we have a vivid picture of what happens in the human heart when it disobeys God. God's loving warnings are ignored for so long that God's patience draws to an end and disaster follows.
SECOND CHRONICLES 21--36
Since the record of 2 Chronicles chapters 21-36 cover the same events that we have just covered in 2 Kings it is unnecessary to repeat the story in detail. Though in general the accounts are briefer than in 2 Kings, the author of Chronicles gives more understanding of the reason events occurred. Greater detail is given of the reformation under King Hezekiah and King Josiah than in Kings, and we learn from Chronicles that Manasseh, the most wicked king of Judah, after he had been taken captive by the Assyrians and sent to Babylon, repented from his evil and turned with a whole heart to God. He was restored to his throne and in the closing years of his life accomplished certain reforms within Jerusalem. But although the king's personal repentance was genuine, and met with the gracious restoration of God, nevertheless his long years of evil had so affected the people of the nation that when his son Amon came to the throne, the evil ways of Manasseh broke out in full force again throughout the land.
The closing days of Judah and the exile into Babylon are traced in much briefer detail than in Kings, and in the closing paragraphs we learn that the reason for the 70 years of exile was in order to permit the land to enjoy its Sabbath; the nation for 490 years failed to keep the sabbatical year of rest.
An additional note of hope is struck at the very end of Chronicles when the writer recounts how the Spirit of the Lord stirred up Cyrus, the king of Persia, after the years of exile, to issue a decree to build again the house of God in Jerusalem. This lays the groundwork for the record in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah and suggests perhaps that the writer of Chronicles was Ezra, the priest.
As we contemplate in these historical books the sorrowful record of the decline of the nation from its days of glory in the time of Solomon to the awful record of the exile, there are many valuable lessons to draw in the parallel experiences of our individual lives. Certain steps can be traced in the downward path of the nation.
THE PATH TO DESTRUCTION
First, there was the self-indulgence of Solomon, which weakened the spiritual strength of the people. Following him, Rehoboam his son turned a deaf ear to the advice of his older counselors and, it is recorded that when he was strong, "he forsook the law of the Lord." As a result, the kingdom was invaded by the Egyptians. So in our lives the moment there is a turning away from obedience to the voice of God there is an immediate weakening of the defenses of life and the enemies begin to invade.
When Jehoram followed his father Jehoshaphat to the throne, a spirit ofjealousy in the royal family enters, and it is recorded that Jehoram slew all of his brothers with a sword and also some of the princes of Israel. Further he made high places in the hill country of Judah and led the inhabitants of Jerusalem into unfaithfulness. This too was quickly followed by invasion and by plague.
In Israel, King Ahaz introduced directly the worship of the Baals with their despicable practices of vile and sexual nature. Ahaz further burned his sons as offerings; immediately invasion followed from the king of Syria. We sometimes wonder why we fall prey to afflictions and oppressions, to nervous reactions, and depressive neuroses. Sometimes these are from physical causes, but often it is because the defenses of our temple are destroyed. Some inner idolatry is weakening us, and we find ourselves defenseless against the invaders of the spirit that bring on depression, frustration, defeat and darkness. So the awful account goes on, set against the continual efforts of a patient God to awaken the consciences of evil kings and correct the practices of a stubborn and rebellious people.
THE GRACE OF GOD
By contrast, the good kings of Judah reflect the grace of God in cleansing and restoring the land and the people. There are five great reformations recorded during which God sought to arrest the deterioration of the nation and restore it to the place of glory and blessing as in the days of David. With each one, certain principles of reformation are revealed which have also application to us.
The first of these periods of reformation was under King Asa. He not only took away the foreign altars and high places, broke down the pillars, and hewed down the Asherim (a sex symbol), but also "commanded Judah to seek the Lord God of their fathers and to observe the law and the commandment"(2 Chronicles. 14:4, italics added).
It is not surprising, therefore, that when he was attacked by the Ethiopians with an army of a million men, the prophet Oded met him and said to him, "The Lord is with you when you are with Him" 15:2). Thus in Asa we find a determination to obey the Lord as an important principle in reformation. The way to return ends in renewal of the vow, a renewal of the determination and hunger to walk before the Lord. Immediately, there is a return to rest.
King Jehoshaphat during his reign also cleaned out the idols from the land, but in 17:7-9 a second principle of restoration is stated: "In the third year of his reign he sent his officials...to teach in the cities in Judah...having the book of the law of the Lord with them"(italics added). Here the great principle is that of study and teaching of the law and the Word of God.
Under King Joash we have the third principle of reformation. The main accomplishment of Joashwas to restore the Temple, and to do it required the collection of long neglected taxes. If, as we have seen, the Temple represents the human spirit, then the repairing and restoring of it is a picture of the strengthening of the spirit. This is often accomplished by the process of restitution--the paying of that which we owe. It may be an apology to someone, or the restoring of something wrongfully taken, or putting back something which has been wrongfully used. No matter--it is an important principle of return.
In Hezekiah's reign, a fourth principle is seen in the cleansing of the Temple. The Temple was finally cleansed after 16 days of clearing out rubbish. The worship was restored and a Passover celebrated. This clearly pictures the cleansing of the Temple of our spirit by putting away the filth which has accumulated. It is to turn away from wrong ideas and concepts and attitudes to which we have given ourselves and to turn back to the cleansing of the Lord and the renewing of our minds with truth.
Then, in Josiah, the last good king of Judah, we find the final principle of restoration. His attempts to restore the worship of the Temple resulted in finding anew the book of the Law which had been lost. Josiah himself publicly read this book to the people and made a covenant to walk before the Lord and obey His commandments. Thus the final principle of restoration isa return to the hearing of the Word of God and a determination to daily walk in its light and understanding.
Let us never forget that as we read these books we must bear in mind the words of Paul in I Corinthians 10:11: "Now these things happened to [Israel] as an example." We have noted specific details of these from the various incidents we have covered, but even in the total picture there is a remarkable parallel.
From the very beginning of the monarchy there were two divisions within the nation. Even under David this was true, for David was king only of Judah for seven years and it was only during the last 33 years of his life that he reigned over all 12 tribes. Thus a division between the 10 tribes of the north and the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin in the south existed from the start. But though there were two sections within the nation they were intended to worship only at Jerusalem and to be under the authority of only one king. Taken as a whole, therefore, it is evident that the nation of Israel represents the divisions of our humanity.
There are clearly two divisions in us: the outer man, consisting of the body, and the inner man, consisting of soul and spirit. But in the capital city of Jerusalem the very essence of the nation was vested in the Temple wherein the living God dwelt. We know from the Scriptures that in the human life there is not only body and soul but within the soul, so closely linked with it that only the Word of God can divide between soul and spirit, is the spirit, the dwelling place of God. Thus the temple of the Spirit was in Jerusalem and all the worship of the kingdom was to be there.
In this picture, then, the 10 tribes of the north represent the body, while the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin in the south represent the human soul, and linked to the soul is the temple of the spirit where the Spirit of God Himself dwells. This is surely what the Lord Jesus had in mind when He said to the woman at the well of Samaria, "God is spirit; and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth" (John 4:24, italics added). We find many who worship him in soul, that is mere emotional worship. But God is not interested in that. He is looking for that worship which is centered in the deepest part of our nature--in the spirit.
In line with this, it is instructive to note that when the nation began to disintegrate, it was the 10 tribes of the north which fell apart first. It is amazing how early marks of sin begin to appear in the body when there is a dissolute and debauched way of life. Coarseness and vulgarity soon begin to mark the bodies of those who give themselves to overindulgence in food and drink and a debauched lifestyle. The body is the first to deteriorate, as Israel was the first to go in this record.
But Judah (depicting the soul, the personality), was next, arrested temporarily by the reformations we have noted. Ultimately, the kingdom declined until Judah too was carried away into captivity. For a few years the Temple remained in Jerusalem, but in the end it too was stripped and burned. Thus the whole record is a picture of a wasted life. It is the picture of an individual who is a Christian but who has built upon the foundation of Christ with only wood, hay and stubble. Eventually the test of fire comes and only that which cannot be burned survives.
Light and Shadow: 2nd Kings, 2nd Chronicles 21-36 AUTHOR: RAY C. STEDMAN
Ahab Reigns in Israel (1 Kings 16:29-34)
In the thirty-eighth year of Asa king of Judah, Ahab the son of Omri became king over Israel; and Ahab the son of Omri reigned over Israel in Samaria twenty-two years. Now Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the Lord, more than all who were before him. And it came to pass, as though it had been a trivial thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he took as wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal, king of the Sidonians; and he went and served Baal and worshiped him. Then he set up an altar for Baal in the temple of Baal, which he had built in Samaria. And Ahab made a wooden image. Ahab did more to provoke the Lord God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel who were before him. In his days Hiel of Bethel built Jericho. He laid its foundation with Abiram his firstborn, and with his youngest son Segub he set up its gates, according to the word of the Lord, which He had spoken through Joshua the son of Nun.
(1 Kings 18:1-18)
And it came to pass after many days that the word of the Lord came to Elijah, in the third year, saying, “Go, present yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the earth.”
So Elijah went to present himself to Ahab; and there was a severe famine in Samaria. And Ahab had called Obadiah, who was in charge of his house. (Now Obadiah feared the Lord greatly. For so it was, while Jezebel massacred the prophets of the Lord, that Obadiah had taken one hundred prophets and hidden them, fifty to a cave, and had fed them with bread and water.) And Ahab had said to Obadiah, “Go into the land to all the springs of water and to all the brooks; perhaps we may find grass to keep the horses and mules alive, so that we will not have to kill any livestock.” So they divided the land between them to explore it; Ahab went one way by himself, and Obadiah went another way by himself.
Now as Obadiah was on his way, suddenly Elijah met him; and he recognized him, and fell on his face, and said, “Is that you, my lord Elijah?”
And he answered him, “It is I. Go, tell your master, ‘Elijah is here.’ ” So he said, “How have I sinned, that you are delivering your servant into the hand of Ahab, to kill me? As the Lord your God lives, there is no nation or kingdom where my master has not sent someone to hunt for you; and when they said, ‘He is not here,’ he took an oath from the kingdom or nation that they could not find you. And now you say, ‘Go, tell your master, “Elijah is here” ’! And it shall come to pass, as soon as I am gone from you, that the Spirit of the Lord will carry you to a place I do not know; so when I go and tell Ahab, and he cannot find you, he will kill me. But I your servant have feared the Lord from my youth. Was it not reported to my lord what I did when Jezebel killed the prophets of the Lord, how I hid one hundred men of the Lord’s prophets, fifty to a cave, and fed them with bread and water? And now you say, ‘Go, tell your master, “Elijah is here.” ’ He will kill me!”
Then Elijah said, “As the Lord of hosts lives, before whom I stand, I will surely present myself to him today.”
So Obadiah went to meet Ahab, and told him; and Ahab went to meet Elijah.
Then it happened, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said to him, “Is that you, O troubler of Israel?”
And he answered, “I have not troubled Israel, but you and your father’s house have, in that you have forsaken the commandments of the Lord and have followed the Baals...
Jezebel’s Violent Death (2 Kings 9:30-37)
Now when Jehu had come to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it; and she put paint on her eyes and adorned her head, and looked through a window. Then, as Jehu entered at the gate, she said, “Is it peace, Zimri, murderer of your master?”
And he looked up at the window, and said, “Who is on my side? Who?” So two or three eunuchs looked out at him. Then he said, “Throw her down.” So they threw her down, and some of her blood spattered on the wall and on the horses; and he trampled her underfoot. And when he had gone in, he ate and drank. Then he said, “Go now, see to this accursed woman, and bury her, for she was a king’s daughter.” So they went to bury her, but they found no more of her than the skull and the feet and the palms of her hands. Therefore they came back and told him. And he said, “This is the word of the Lord, which He spoke by His servant Elijah the Tishbite, saying, On the plot of ground at Jezreel dogs shall eat the flesh of Jezebel; and the corpse of Jezebel shall be as refuse on the surface of the field, in the plot at Jezreel, so that they shall not say, “Here lies Jezebel.” ’ ”
To follow the accounts it is helpful to use a Harmony of Kings and Chronicles. I, II Kings highlights the secular record of history, I, II Chronicles gives the divine perspective.
Ahab Killed at Ramoth Gilead (1 Kings 22:29-40 & 2 Chronicles 18:28-19:3)
So the king of Israel and Jehosh'aphat the king of Judah went up to Ramoth-gilead. And the king of Israel said to Jehosh'aphat, "I will disguise myself and go into battle, but you wear your robes." And the king of Israel disguised himself and they went into battle.
Now the king of Syria had commanded the thirty-two captains of his chariots, "Fight with neither small nor great, but only with the king of Israel." And when the captains of the chariots saw Jehosh'aphat, they said, "It is surely the king of Israel." So they turned to fight against him; and Jehosh'aphat cried out, and the LORD helped him. God drew them away from him, And [for] when the captains of the chariots saw that it was not the king of Israel, they turned back from pursuing him.
But a certain man drew his bow at a venture, and struck the king of Israel between the scale armor and the breastplate; therefore he said to the driver of his chariot, "Turn about, and carry me out of the battle, for I am wounded." And the battle grew hot that day, and the king of Israel was propped [propped himself] up in his chariot facing the Syrians, until at evening; then at sunset he died; and the blood of the wound flowed into the bottom of the chariot. And about sunset a cry went through the army, "Every man to his city, and every man to his country!" (1Ki 22:29-36 & 2Ch 18:28-34)
So the king died, and was brought to Sama'ria; and they buried the king in Sama'ria. And they washed the chariot by the pool of Sama'ria, and the dogs licked up his blood, and the harlots washed themselves in it, according to the word of the LORD which he had spoken. (1Ki 22:37- 38)
Jehosh'aphat the king of Judah returned in safety to his house in Jerusalem. But Jehu the son of Hana'ni the seer went out to meet him, and said to King Jehosh'aphat, "Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the LORD? Because of this, wrath has gone out against you from the LORD. Nevertheless some good is found in you, for you destroyed the Ashe'rahs out of the land, and have set your heart to seek God." (2Ch 19:1-3)
Now the rest of the acts of Ahab, and all that he did, and the ivory house which he built, and all the cities that he built, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel? So Ahab slept with his fathers; and Ahazi'ah his son reigned in his stead. (1Ki 22:39-40)
Athaliah Reigns in Judah (2 Kings 11:1–3, 2 Chronicles 23:1–11)
Now when Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the royal heirs of the house of Judah. But Jehoshabeath, the daughter of the king, took Joash the son of Ahaziah, and stole him away from among the king’s sons who were being murdered, and put him and his nurse in a bedroom. So Jehoshabeath, the daughter of King Jehoram, the wife of Jehoiada the priest (for she was the sister of Ahaziah), hid him from Athaliah so that she did not kill him. And he was hidden with them in the house of God for six years, while Athaliah reigned over the land.
Joash Crowned King of Judah
In the seventh year Jehoiada sent and brought the captains of hundreds—of the bodyguards and the escorts—and brought them into the house of the Lord to him. And he made a covenant with them and took an oath from them in the house of the Lord, and showed them the king’s son. Then he commanded them, saying, “This is what you shall do: One-third of you who come on duty on the Sabbath shall be keeping watch over the king’s house, one-third shall be at the gate of Sur, and one-third at the gate behind the escorts. You shall keep the watch of the house, lest it be broken down. The two contingents of you who go off duty on the Sabbath shall keep the watch of the house of the Lord for the king. But you shall surround the king on all sides, every man with his weapons in his hand; and whoever comes within range, let him be put to death. You are to be with the king as he goes out and as he comes in.”
So the captains of the hundreds did according to all that Jehoiada the priest commanded. Each of them took his men who were to be on duty on the Sabbath, with those who were going off duty on the Sabbath, and came to Jehoiada the priest. And the priest gave the captains of hundreds the spears and shields which had belonged to King David, that were in the temple of the Lord. Then the escorts stood, every man with his weapons in his hand, all around the king, from the right side of the temple to the left side of the temple, by the altar and the house. And he brought out the king’s son, put the crown on him, and gave him the Testimony; they made him king and anointed him, and they clapped their hands and said, “Long live the king!”
Death of Athaliah (2 Chronicles 23:12—24:1)
Now when Athaliah heard the noise of the escorts and the people, she came to the people in the temple of the Lord. When she looked, there was the king standing by a pillar according to custom; and the leaders and the trumpeters were by the king. All the people of the land were rejoicing and blowing trumpets. So Athaliah tore her clothes and cried out, “Treason! Treason!”
And Jehoiada the priest commanded the captains of the hundreds, the officers of the army, and said to them, “Take her outside under guard, and slay with the sword whoever follows her.” For the priest had said, “Do not let her be killed in the house of the Lord.” So they seized her; and she went by way of the horses’ entrance into the king’s house, and there she was killed.
Then Jehoiada made a covenant between the Lord, the king, and the people, that they should be the Lord’s people, and also between the king and the people. And all the people of the land went to the temple of Baal, and tore it down. They thoroughly broke in pieces its altars and images, and killed Mattan the priest of Baal before the altars. And the priest appointed officers over the house of the Lord. Then he took the captains of hundreds, the bodyguards, the escorts, and all the people of the land; and they brought the king down from the house of the Lord, and went by way of the gate of the escorts to the king’s house. Then he sat on the throne of the kings. So all the people of the land rejoiced; and the city was quiet, for they had slain Athaliah with the sword in the king’s house. Jehoash was seven years old when he became king.
Jehoram Reigns in Judah (1 Kings 22:50; 2 Kings 8:16–24, 2 Chronicles 21:1 - 24:27)
And Jehoshaphat rested with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the City of David. Then Jehoram his son reigned in his place. He had brothers, the sons of Jehoshaphat: Azariah, Jehiel, Zechariah, Azaryahu, Michael, and Shephatiah; all these were the sons of Jehoshaphat king of Israel. Their father gave them great gifts of silver and gold and precious things, with fortified cities in Judah; but he gave the kingdom to Jehoram, because he was the firstborn.
Now when Jehoram was established over the kingdom of his father, he strengthened himself and killed all his brothers with the sword, and also others of the princes of Israel.
Jehoram was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem. And he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, just as the house of Ahab had done, for he had the daughter of Ahab as a wife; and he did evil in the sight of the Lord. Yet the Lord would not destroy the house of David, because of the covenant that He had made with David, and since He had promised to give a lamp to him and to his sons forever.
In his days Edom revolted against Judah’s authority, and made a king over themselves. So Jehoram went out with his officers, and all his chariots with him. And he rose by night and attacked the Edomites who had surrounded him and the captains of the chariots. Thus Edom has been in revolt against Judah’s authority to this day. At that time Libnah revolted against his rule, because he had forsaken the Lord God of his fathers. Moreover he made high places in the mountains of Judah, and caused the inhabitants of Jerusalem to commit harlotry, and led Judah astray.
And a letter came to him from Elijah the prophet, saying,
Thus says the Lord God of your father David:
Because you have not walked in the ways of Jehoshaphat your father, or in the ways of Asa king of Judah, but have walked in the way of the kings of Israel, and have made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to play the harlot like the harlotry of the house of Ahab, and also have killed your brothers, those of your father’s household, who were better than yourself, behold, the Lord will strike your people with a serious affliction—your children, your wives, and all your possessions; and you will become very sick with a disease of your intestines, until your intestines come out by reason of the sickness, day by day.
Moreover the Lord stirred up against Jehoram the spirit of the Philistines and the Arabians who were near the Ethiopians. And they came up into Judah and invaded it, and carried away all the possessions that were found in the king’s house, and also his sons and his wives, so that there was not a son left to him except Jehoahaz, the youngest of his sons.
After all this the Lord struck him in his intestines with an incurable disease. Then it happened in the course of time, after the end of two years, that his intestines came out because of his sickness; so he died in severe pain. And his people made no burning for him, like the burning for his fathers.
He was thirty-two years old when he became king. He reigned in Jerusalem eight years and, to no one’s sorrow, departed. However they buried him in the City of David, but not in the tombs of the kings.
Ahaziah Reigns in Judah (2 Kings 8:25–29; 9:14–16, 27–29)
Then the inhabitants of Jerusalem made Ahaziah his youngest son king in his place, for the raiders who came with the Arabians into the camp had killed all the older sons. So Ahaziah the son of Jehoram, king of Judah, reigned. Ahaziah was forty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned one year in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Athaliah the granddaughter of Omri. He also walked in the ways of the house of Ahab, for his mother advised him to do wickedly. Therefore he did evil in the sight of the Lord, like the house of Ahab; for they were his counselors after the death of his father, to his destruction. He also followed their advice, and went with Jehoram the son of Ahab king of Israel to war against Hazael king of Syria at Ramoth Gilead; and the Syrians wounded Joram. Then he returned to Jezreel to recover from the wounds which he had received at Ramah, when he fought against Hazael king of Syria. And Azariah the son of Jehoram, king of Judah, went down to see Jehoram the son of Ahab in Jezreel, because he was sick.
His going to Joram was God’s occasion for Ahaziah’s downfall; for when he arrived, he went out with Jehoram against Jehu the son of Nimshi, whom the Lord had anointed to cut off the house of Ahab. And it happened, when Jehu was executing judgment on the house of Ahab, and found the princes of Judah and the sons of Ahaziah’s brothers who served Ahaziah, that he killed them. Then he searched for Ahaziah; and they caught him (he was hiding in Samaria), and brought him to Jehu. When they had killed him, they buried him, “because,” they said, “he is the son of Jehoshaphat, who sought the Lord with all his heart.”
So the house of Ahaziah had no one to assume power over the kingdom.
Joash Crowned King of Judah (2 Kings 11:4–12)
In the seventh year Jehoiada strengthened himself, and made a covenant with the captains of hundreds: Azariah the son of Jeroham, Ishmael the son of Jehohanan, Azariah the son of Obed, Maaseiah the son of Adaiah, and Elishaphat the son of Zichri. And they went throughout Judah and gathered the Levites from all the cities of Judah, and the chief fathers of Israel, and they came to Jerusalem.
Then all the assembly made a covenant with the king in the house of God. And he said to them, “Behold, the king’s son shall reign, as the Lord has said of the sons of David. This is what you shall do: One-third of you entering on the Sabbath, of the priests and the Levites, shall be keeping watch over the doors; one-third shall be at the king’s house; and one-third at the Gate of the Foundation. All the people shall be in the courts of the house of the Lord. But let no one come into the house of the Lord except the priests and those of the Levites who serve. They may go in, for they are holy; but all the people shall keep the watch of the Lord. And the Levites shall surround the king on all sides, every man with his weapons in his hand; and whoever comes into the house, let him be put to death. You are to be with the king when he comes in and when he goes out.”
So the Levites and all Judah did according to all that Jehoiada the priest commanded. And each man took his men who were to be on duty on the Sabbath, with those who were going off duty on the Sabbath; for Jehoiada the priest had not dismissed the divisions. And Jehoiada the priest gave to the captains of hundreds the spears and the large and small shields which had belonged to King David, that were in the temple of God. Then he set all the people, every man with his weapon in his hand, from the right side of the temple to the left side of the temple, along by the altar and by the temple, all around the king. And they brought out the king’s son, put the crown on him, gave him the Testimony, and made him king. Then Jehoiada and his sons anointed him, and said, “Long live the king!”
Death of Athaliah (2 Kings 11:13–20)
Now when Athaliah heard the noise of the people running and praising the king, she came to the people in the temple of the Lord. When she looked, there was the king standing by his pillar at the entrance; and the leaders and the trumpeters were by the king. All the people of the land were rejoicing and blowing trumpets, also the singers with musical instruments, and those who led in praise. So Athaliah tore her clothes and said, “Treason! Treason!”
And Jehoiada the priest brought out the captains of hundreds who were set over the army, and said to them, “Take her outside under guard, and slay with the sword whoever follows her.” For the priest had said, “Do not kill her in the house of the Lord.”
So they seized her; and she went by way of the entrance of the Horse Gate into the king’s house, and they killed her there.
Then Jehoiada made a covenant between himself, the people, and the king, that they should be the Lord’s people. And all the people went to the temple of Baal, and tore it down. They broke in pieces its altars and images, and killed Mattan the priest of Baal before the altars. Also Jehoiada appointed the oversight of the house of the Lord to the hand of the priests, the Levites, whom David had assigned in the house of the Lord, to offer the burnt offerings of the Lord, as it is written in the Law of Moses, with rejoicing and with singing, as it was established by David. And he set the gatekeepers at the gates of the house of the Lord, so that no one who was in any way unclean should enter.
Then he took the captains of hundreds, the nobles, the governors of the people, and all the people of the land, and brought the king down from the house of the Lord; and they went through the Upper Gate to the king’s house, and set the king on the throne of the kingdom. So all the people of the land rejoiced; and the city was quiet, for they had slain Athaliah with the sword.
Joash Repairs the Temple (2 Kings 11:21—12:16)
Joash was seven years old when he became king, and he reigned forty years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Zibiah of Beersheba. Joash did what was right in the sight of the Lord all the days of Jehoiada the priest. And Jehoiada took two wives for him, and he had sons and daughters.
Now it happened after this that Joash set his heart on repairing the house of the Lord. Then he gathered the priests and the Levites, and said to them, “Go out to the cities of Judah, and gather from all Israel money to repair the house of your God from year to year, and see that you do it quickly.”
However the Levites did not do it quickly. So the king called Jehoiada the chief priest, and said to him, “Why have you not required the Levites to bring in from Judah and from Jerusalem the collection, according to the commandment of Moses the servant of the Lord and of the assembly of Israel, for the tabernacle of witness?” For the sons of Athaliah, that wicked woman, had broken into the house of God, and had also presented all the dedicated things of the house of the Lord to the Baals.
Then at the king’s command they made a chest, and set it outside at the gate of the house of the Lord. And they made a proclamation throughout Judah and Jerusalem to bring to the Lord the collection that Moses the servant of God had imposed on Israel in the wilderness. Then all the leaders and all the people rejoiced, brought their contributions, and put them into the chest until all had given. So it was, at that time, when the chest was brought to the king’s official by the hand of the Levites, and when they saw that there was much money, that the king’s scribe and the high priest’s officer came and emptied the chest, and took it and returned it to its place. Thus they did day by day, and gathered money in abundance.
The king and Jehoiada gave it to those who did the work of the service of the house of the Lord; and they hired masons and carpenters to repair the house of the Lord, and also those who worked in iron and bronze to restore the house of the Lord. So the workmen labored, and the work was completed by them; they restored the house of God to its original condition and reinforced it. When they had finished, they brought the rest of the money before the king and Jehoiada; they made from it articles for the house of the Lord, articles for serving and offering, spoons and vessels of gold and silver. And they offered burnt offerings in the house of the Lord continually all the days of Jehoiada.
Apostasy of Joash
But Jehoiada grew old and was full of days, and he died; he was one hundred and thirty years old when he died. And they buried him in the City of David among the kings, because he had done good in Israel, both toward God and His house.
Now after the death of Jehoiada the leaders of Judah came and bowed down to the king. And the king listened to them. Therefore they left the house of the Lord God of their fathers, and served wooden images and idols; and wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem because of their trespass. Yet He sent prophets to them, to bring them back to the Lord; and they testified against them, but they would not listen.
Then the Spirit of God came upon Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest, who stood above the people, and said to them, “Thus says God: Why do you transgress the commandments of the Lord, so that you cannot prosper? Because you have forsaken the Lord, He also has forsaken you.’ ” So they conspired against him, and at the command of the king they stoned him with stones in the court of the house of the Lord. Thus Joash the king did not remember the kindness which Jehoiada his father had done to him, but killed his son; and as he died, he said, “The Lord look on it, and repay!”
Death of Joash (2 Kings 12:19–21)
So it happened in the spring of the year that the army of Syria came up against him; and they came to Judah and Jerusalem, and destroyed all the leaders of the people from among the people, and sent all their spoil to the king of Damascus. For the army of the Syrians came with a small company of men; but the Lord delivered a very great army into their hand, because they had forsaken the Lord God of their fathers. So they executed judgment against Joash. And when they had withdrawn from him (for they left him severely wounded), his own servants conspired against him because of the blood of the sons of Jehoiada the priest, and killed him on his bed. So he died. And they buried him in the City of David, but they did not bury him in the tombs of the kings.
These are the ones who conspired against him: Zabad the son of Shimeath the Ammonitess, and Jehozabad the son of Shimrith the Moabitess. Now concerning his sons, and the many oracles about him, and the repairing of the house of God, indeed they are written in the annals of the book of the kings. Then Amaziah his son reigned in his place.
From the Harmony (reduntant)
Jehoram King of Judah (2 Kings 8:16-24 & 2 Chronicles 21:4-20)
In the fifth year of Joram the son of Ahab, king of Israel, Jehox'ram the son of Jehosh'aphat, king of Judah, began to reign. (2Ki 8:16)
He [Jeho'ram] was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem. And he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, as the house of Ahab had done, for the daughter of Ahab was his wife. And he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD. Yet the LORD would not destroy Judah [the house of David], for the sake of [because of the covenant which he had made with] David his servant, and since he promised to give a lamp to him and to his sons for ever.
In his days Edom revolted from the rule of Judah, and set up a king of their own. Then Joram [Jeho'ram] passed over to Za'ir with his commanders and all his chariots, and he rose by night, and he and his chariot commanders smote the E'domites who had surrounded him and his chariot commanders; but his army fled home. So Edom revolted from the rule of Judah to this day.
Then Libnah revolted at the same time [At that time Libnah also revolted from his rule, because he had forsaken the LORD, the God of his fathers]. (2Ki 8:17-22 & 2Ch 21:5-10)
When Jeho'ram had ascended the throne of his father and was established, he slew all his brothers with the sword, and also some of the princes of Israel. (2Ch 21:4)
And a letter came to him from Eli'jah the prophet, saying,
"Thus says the LORD, the God of David your father, 'Because you have not walked in the ways of Jehosh'aphat your father, or in the ways of Asa king of Judah, but have walked in the way of the kings of Israel, and have led Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem into unfaithfulness, as the house of Ahab led Israel into unfaithfulness, and also you have killed your brothers, of your father's house, who were better than yourself; behold, the LORD will bring a great plague on your people, your children, your wives, and all your possessions, and you yourself will have a severe sickness with a disease of your bowels, until your bowels come out because of the disease, day by day.'"
And the LORD stirred up against Jeho'ram the anger of the Philistines and of the Arabs who are near the Ethiopians; and they came up against Judah, and invaded it, and carried away all the possessions they found that belonged to the king's house, and also his sons and his wives, so that no son was left to him except Jeho'ahaz, his youngest son.
And after all this the LORD smote him in his bowels with an incurable disease. In course of time, at the end of two years, his bowels came out because of the disease, and he died in great agony. His people made no fire in his honor, like the fires made for his fathers. (2Ch 21:12-19)
Now the rest of the acts of Joram, and all that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah? So Joram slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David; and Ahazi'ah his son reigned in his stead. (2Ki 8:23-24)
Ahaziah King of Judah (2 Kings 8:25-29 & 2 Chronicles 22:1-6)
And the inhabitants of Jerusalem made Ahazi'ah his youngest son king in his stead; for the band of men that came with the Arabs to the camp had slain all the older sons. So In the twelfth year of Joram the son of Ahab, king of Israel, Ahazi'ah the son of Jeho'ram, king of Judah, began to reign [reigned].
Ahazi'ah was twenty [forty]-two years old when he began to reign, and he reigned one year in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Athali'ah; she was a [the] granddaughter of Omri king of Israel. He also walked in the way of the house of Ahab, for his mother was his counselor in doing wickedly and [He] did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, as the house of Ahab had done, for he was son-in-law to the house of Ahab [for after the death of his father they were his counselors, to his undoing].
He even followed their counsel, and went with Joram [Jeho'ram] the son of Ahab to make war against Haz'ael king of Syria at Ramoth-gilead, where [And] the Syrians wounded Joram .
And King Joram [he] returned to be healed in Jezreel of the wounds which the Syrians had given him [he had received] at Ramah, when he fought against Haz'ael king of Syria. And Ahazi'ah the son of Jeho'ram king of Judah went down to see Joram the son of Ahab in Jezreel, because he was sick. (2Ki 8:25-29 & 2Ch 22:1-6)
Jehu Anointed King of Israel (2 Kings 9:1-13)
He was thirty-two years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem; and he departed with no one's regret. They buried him in the city of David, but not in the tombs of the kings. (2Ch 21:20)
Jehu Kills Joram and Ahaziah (2 Kings 9:14-29 & 2 Chronicles 22:7-9 )
Thus Jehu the son of Jehosh'aphat the son of Nimshi conspired against Joram. (Now Joram with all Israel had been on guard at Ramoth-gilead against Haz'ael king of Syria; but King Joram had returned to be healed in Jezreel of the wounds which the Syrians had given him, when he fought with Haz'ael king of Syria.) So Jehu said, "If this is your mind, then let no one slip out of the city to go and tell the news in Jezreel." Then Jehu mounted his chariot, and went to Jezreel, for Joram lay there. And Ahazi'ah king of Judah had come down to visit Joram.
Now the watchman was standing on the tower in Jezreel, and he spied the company of Jehu as he came, and said, "I see a company."
And Joram said, "Take a horseman, and send to meet them, and let him say, 'Is it peace?'" So a man on horseback went to meet him, and said, "Thus says the king, 'Is it peace?'" And Jehu said, "What have you to do with peace? Turn round and ride behind me."
And the watchman reported, saying, "The messenger reached them, but he is not coming back."
Then he sent out a second horseman, who came to them, and said, "Thus the king has said, 'Is it peace?'"
And Jehu answered, "What have you to do with peace? Turn round and ride behind me." Again the watchman reported, "He reached them, but he is not coming back. And the driving is like the driving of Jehu the son of Nimshi; for he drives furiously."
Joram said, "Make ready." And they made ready his chariot. Then Joram king of Israel
and Ahazi'ah king of Judah set out, each in his chariot, and went to meet Jehu, and met him at the property of Naboth the Jezreelite. And when Joram saw Jehu, he said, "Is it peace, Jehu?"
He answered, "What peace can there be, so long as the harlotries and the sorceries of your mother Jez'ebel are so many?"
Then Joram reined about and fled, saying to Ahazi'ah, "Treachery, O Ahazi'ah!"
And Jehu drew his bow with his full strength, and shot Joram between the shoulders, so that the arrow pierced his heart, and he sank in his chariot. Jehu said to Bidkar his aide, "Take him up, and cast him on the plot of ground belonging to Naboth the Jezreelite; for remember, when you and I rode side by side behind Ahab his father, how the LORD uttered this oracle against him: 'As surely as I saw yesterday the blood of Naboth and the blood of his sons--says the LORD--I will requite you on this plot of ground.' Now therefore take him up and cast him on the plot of ground, in accordance with the word of the LORD."
When Ahazi'ah the king of Judah saw this, he fled in the direction of Beth-haggan. And Jehu pursued him, and said, "Shoot him also"; and they shot him in the chariot at the ascent of Gur, which is by Ibleam. And he fled to Megid'do, and died there. His servants carried him in a chariot to Jerusalem, and buried him in his tomb with his fathers in the city of David. In the eleventh year of Joram the son of Ahab, Ahazi'ah began to reign over Judah. (2Ki 9:14-29)
But it was ordained by God that the downfall of Ahazi'ah should come about through his going to visit Joram. For when he came there he went out with Jeho'ram to meet Jehu the son of Nimshi, whom the LORD had anointed to destroy the house of Ahab. And when Jehu was executing judgment upon the house of Ahab, he met the princes of Judah and the sons of Ahazi'ah's brothers, who attended Ahazi'ah, and he killed them.
He searched for Ahazi'ah, and he was captured while hiding in Sama'ria, and he was brought to Jehu and put to death. They buried him, for they said, "He is the grandson of Jehosh'aphat, who sought the LORD with all his heart." And the house of Ahazi'ah had no one able to rule the kingdom. (2Ch 22:7-9)
Jezebel Killed, (2 Kings 9:30-37), Ahab’s Family Killed (2 Kings 10:1-17), Ministers of Baal Killed (2 Kings 10:18-36)
Athaliah and Joash (2 Kings 11:1-21 & 2 Chronicles 22:10-23:21)
Now when Athali'ah the mother of Ahazi'ah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the royal family of the house of Judah. But Jehosh'eba, [Jeho-shab'e-ath] the daughter of the King Joram, sister of Ahazi'ah, took Jo'ash the son of Ahazi'ah, and stole him away from among the king's sons who were about to be slain, and she put him and his nurse in a bedchamber. Thus [she] Jeho-shab'e-ath, the daughter of King Jeho'ram and wife of Jehoi'ada the priest, because she was a sister of Ahazi'ah, hid him from Athali'ah, so that he was not slain [she did not slay him]; and he remained with her [them] six years, hid in the house of the LORD [God], while Athali'ah reigned over the land. (2Ki 11:1-3 & 2Ch 22:10-12)
But in the seventh year Jehoi'ada sent and brought the captains of the Carites and of the guards, and had them come to him in the house of the LORD; and he made a covenant with them and put them under oath in the house of the LORD, and he showed them the king's son. (2Ki 11:4)
And he commanded them, "This is the thing that you shall do: one third of you, those who come off duty on the sabbath and guard the king's house (another third being at the gate Sur and a third at the gate behind the guards), shall guard the palace; and the two divisions of you, which come on duty in force on the sabbath and guard the house of the LORD, shall surround the king, each with his weapons in his hand; and
whoever approaches the ranks is to be slain. Be with the king when he goes out and when he comes in." (1Ki 11:5-8)
But in the seventh year Jehoi'ada took courage, and entered into a compact with the commanders of hundreds, Azari'ah the son of Jero'ham, Ish'mael the son of Jehoha'nan, Azari'ah the son of Obed, Ma- asei'ah the son of Adai'ah, and Elisha'phat the son of Zichri. And they went about through Judah and gathered the Levites from all the cities of Judah, and the heads of fathers' houses of Israel, and they came to Jerusalem. And all the assembly made a covenant with the king in the house of God. And Jehoi'ada said to them, "Behold, the king's son! Let him reign, as the LORD spoke concerning the sons of David.
This is the thing that you shall do: of you priests and Levites who come off duty on the sabbath, one third shall be gatekeepers, and one third shall be at the king's house and one third at the Gate of the Foundation; and all the people shall be in the courts of the house of the LORD. Let no one enter the house of the LORD except the priests and ministering Levites; they may enter, for they are holy, but all the people shall keep the charge of the LORD. The Levites shall surround the king, each with his weapons in his hand; and whoever enters the house shall be slain. Be with the king when he comes in, and when he goes out." (2Ch 23:1-7
The captains [Levites] did according to all that Jehoi'ada the priest commanded, and [They] each brought his men who were to go off duty on the sabbath, with those who were to come on duty on the sabbath, and came to Jehoi'ada the priest; for Jehoi'ada the priest did not dismiss the divisions. And Jehoi'ada the priest delivered to the captains the spears and the large and small shields that had been King David's, which were in the house of the LORD [God]; and the guards stood [he set all the people as a guard for the king], every man with his weapons in his hand, from the south side of the house to the north side of the house, around the altar and the house.
Then he brought out the king's son, and put the crown upon him, and gave him the testimony; and they proclaimed him king, and Jehoi'ada and his sons anointed him; and they clapped their hands, and said, "Long live the king!"
When Athali'ah heard the noise of the guard and of the people running and praising the king, she went into the house of the LORD to the people; and when she looked, there was the king standing by the pillar at the entrance, according to the custom, and the captains and the trumpeters beside the king, and all the people of the land rejoicing and blowing trumpets, and the singers with their musical instruments leading in the celebration. And Athali'ah rent her clothes, and cried, "Treason! Treason!"
Then Jehoi'ada the priest commanded [brought out] the captains who were set over the army, saying to them, "Bring her out between the ranks; and slay with the sword any one who follows her [is to be slain with the sword]." For the priest said, "Let her not be slain [Do not slay her] in the house of the LORD." So they laid hands on her; and she went through the horses' entrance to [into the entrance of the horse gate of] the king's house, and there she was slain [they slew her there].
And Jehoi'ada made a covenant between the LORD and the king and people [himself and all the people and the king], that they should be the LORD's people; and also between the king and the people. Then all the people of the land went to the house of Ba'al, and tore it down; his altars and his images they broke in pieces, and they slew Mattan the priest of Ba'al before the altars.
And the priest [Jehoi'ada] posted watchmen [for] the house of the LORD under the direction of the Levitical priests and the Levites whom David had organized to be in charge of the house of the LORD, to offer burnt offerings to the LORD, as it is written in the law of Moses, with rejoicing and with singing, according to the order of David. He stationed the gatekeepers at the gates of the house of the LORD so that no one should enter who was in any way unclean. And he took the captains, the Carites, the guards, the nobles, the governors of the people, and all the people of the land; and they brought the king down from the house of the LORD, marching through the gate of the guards [the upper gate] to the king's house. And he took his seat on the throne of the kings [And they set the king upon the royal throne]. So all the people of the land rejoiced; and the city was quiet after Athali'ah had been slain with the sword at the king's house. Jeho'ash was seven years old when he began to reign. (2Ki 11:9-21) (2Ch 23:8-21)
Joash Repairs the Temple (2 Kings 12:1-16 & 2 Chronicles 24:1-16 )
In the seventh year of Jehu Jeho'ash [Jo'ash was seven years old when he] began to reign, and he reigned forty years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Zib'iah of Beer-sheba. And Jeho'ash [Jo'ash] did what was right in the eyes of the LORD all his days, because Jehoi'ada the priest instructed him [the days of Jehoi'ada the priest]. Nevertheless the high places were not taken away; the people continued to sacrifice and burn incense on the high places. Jehoi'ada got for him two wives, and he had sons and daughters. (1Ki 12:1-4 & 2Ch 24:1-3)
Jeho'ash said to the priests, "All the money of the holy things which is brought into the house of the LORD, the money for which each man is assessed--the money from the assessment of persons--and the money which a man's heart prompts him to bring into the house of the LORD, let the priests take, each from his acquaintance; and let them repair the house wherever any need of repairs is discovered."
But by the twenty-third year of King Jeho'ash the priests had made no repairs on the house.
Therefore King Jeho'ash summoned Jehoi'ada the priest and the other priests and said to them, "Why are you not repairing the house? Now therefore take no more money from your acquaintances, but hand it over for the repair of the house." So the priests agreed that they should take no more money from the people, and that they should not repair the house. (1Ki 12:4-8)
For the sons of Athali'ah, that wicked woman, had broken into the house of God; and had also used all the dedicated things of the house of the LORD for the Ba'als. (2Ch 24:7)
Then Jehoi'ada the priest took a chest, and bored a hole in the lid of it, and set it beside the altar on the right side as one entered the house of the LORD; and the priests who guarded the threshold put in it all the money that was brought into the house of the LORD.
And whenever they saw that there was much money in the chest, the
king's secretary and the high priest came up and they counted and tied up in bags the money that was found in the house of the LORD. Then they would give the money that was weighed out into the hands of the workmen who had the oversight of the house of the LORD; and they paid it out to the carpenters and the builders who worked upon the house of the LORD, and to the masons and the stonecutters, as well as to buy timber and quarried stone for making repairs on the house of the LORD, and for any outlay upon the repairs of the house.
But there were not made for the housxe of the LORD basins of silver, snuffers, bowls, trumpets, or any vessels of gold, or of silver, from the money that was brought into the house of the LORD, for that was given to the workmen who were repairing the house of the LORD with it. And they did not ask an accounting from the men into whose hand they delivered the money to
After this Jo'ash decided to restore the house of the LORD. And he gathered the priests and the Levites, and said to them, "Go out to the cities of Judah, and gather from all Israel money to repair the house of your God from year to year; and see that you hasten the matter."
But the Levites did not hasten it.
So the king summoned Jehoi'ada the chief, and said to him, "Why have you not required the Levites to bring in from Judah and Jerusalem the tax levied by Moses, the servant of the LORD, on the congregation of Israel for the tent of testimony?" (2Ch 24:4-6)
So the king commanded, and they made a chest, and set it outside the gate of the house of the LORD. And proclamation was made throughout Judah and Jerusalem, to bring in for the LORD the tax that Moses the servant of God laid upon Israel in the wilderness. And all the princes and all the people rejoiced and brought their tax and dropped it into the chest until they had finished.
And whenever the chest was brought to the king's officers by the Levites, when they saw that there was much money in it, the king's secretary and the officer of the chief priest would come and empty the chest and take it and return it to its place. Thus they did day after day, and collected money in abundance. And the king and Jehoi'ada gave it to those who had charge of the work of the house of the LORD, and they hired masons and carpenters to restore the house of the LORD, and also workers in iron and bronze to repair the house of the LORD. (2Ch 24:8-12
pay out to the workmen, for they dealt honestly. The money from the guilt offerings and the money from the sin offerings was not brought into the house of the LORD; it belonged to the priests. (1Ki 12:9-16)
So those who were engaged in the work labored, and the repairing went forward in their hands, and they restored the house of God to its proper condition and strengthened it. And when they had finished, they brought the rest of the money before the king and Jehoi'ada, and with it were made utensils for the house of the LORD, both for the service and for the burnt offerings, and dishes for incense, and vessels of gold and silver. And they offered burnt offerings in the house of the LORD continually all the days of Jehoi'ada.
But Jehoi'ada grew old and full of days, and died; he was a hundred and thirty years old at his death. And they buried him in the city of David among the kings, because he had done good in Israel, and toward God and his house. (2Ch 24:13-16)
The Wickedness of Joash (2 Chronicles 24:17-27 (also 2 Kings 12:17-21)
Now after the death of Jehoi'ada the princes of Judah came and did obeisance to the king; then the king hearkened to them. And they forsook the house of the LORD, the God of their fathers, and served the Ashe'rim and the idols. And wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem for this their guilt. Yet he sent prophets among them to bring them back to the LORD; these testified against them, but they would not give heed.
Then the Spirit of God took possession of Zechari'ah the son of Jehoi'ada the priest; and he stood above the people, and said to them, "Thus says God, 'Why do you transgress the commandments of the LORD, so that you cannot prosper? Because you have forsaken the LORD, he has forsaken you.'"
But they conspired against him, and by command of the king they stoned him with stones in the court of the house of the LORD. Thus Jo'ash the king did not remember the kindness which Jehoi'ada, Zechari'ah's father, had shown him, but killed his son. And when he was dying, he said, "May the LORD see and avenge!" (1Ch 24:17-22)
At that time Haz'ael king of Syria went up and fought against Gath, and took it. But when Haz'ael set his face to go up against Jerusalem, Jeho'ash king of Judah took all the votive gifts that Jehosh'aphat and Jeho'ram and Ahazi'ah, his fathers, the kings of Judah, had dedicated, and his own votive gifts, and all the gold that was found in the treasuries of the house of the LORD and of the king's house, and sent these to Haz'ael king of Syria. Then Haz'ael went away from Jerusalem.
Now the rest of the acts of Jo'ash, and all that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah?
At the end of the year the army of the Syrians came up against Jo'ash. They came to Judah and Jerusalem, and destroyed all the princes of the people from among the people, and sent all their spoil to the king of Damascus. Though the army of the Syrians had come with few men, the LORD delivered into their hand a very great army, because they had forsaken the LORD, the God of their fathers. Thus they executed judgment on Jo'ash. (2Ch 24:23- 24)
Accounts of his sons, and of the many oracles against him, and of the rebuilding of the house of God are written in the Commentary on the Book of the Kings. And Amazi'ah his son reigned in his stead. (2Ch 24:27)
His servants arose and made a conspiracy, and slew Jo'ash in the house of Millo, on the way that goes down to Silla. It was Jo'zacar the son of Shim'e-ath and Jeho'zabad the son of Shomer, his servants, who struck him down, so that he died. And they buried him with his fathers in the city of David, and Amazi'ah his son reigned in his stead. (2Ki 12:17-21)
Jehoahaz King of Israel 2 Kings 13:1-9, Jehoash King of Israel 2 Kings 13:10-25
Amaziah King of Judah (2 Kings 14:1-22 & 2 Chronicles 25:1-28 )
In the second year of Jo'ash the son of Jo'ahaz, king of Israel, Amazi'ah the son of Jo'ash, king of Judah, began to reign. He [Amazi'ah] was twenty-five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Jeho-ad'din [Jeho-ad'dan] of Jerusalem. And he did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, yet not with a blameless heart like David his father; he did in all things as Jo'ash his father had done. But the high places were not removed; the people still sacrificed and burned incense on the high places.
And as soon as the royal power was firmly in his hand he killed his servants who had slain the king his father. But he did not put to death the children of the murderers [their children to death]; according to what is written in the book of the law of Moses, where the LORD commanded, "The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, or the children be put to death for the fathers; but every man shall die for his own sin." (2Ki 14:1-6 & 2Ch 25:1-4)
Then Amazi'ah assembled the men of Judah, and set them by fathers' houses under commanders of thousands and of hundreds for all Judah and Benjamin. He mustered those twenty years old and upward, and found that they were three hundred thousand picked men, fit for war, able to handle spear and shield. He hired also a hundred thousand mighty men of valor from Israel for a hundred talents of silver.
But a man of God came to him and said, "O king, do not let the army of Israel go with you, for the LORD is not with Israel, with all these E'phraimites. But if you suppose that in this way you will be strong for war, God will cast you down before the enemy; for God has power to help or to cast down."
And Amazi'ah said to the man of God, "But what shall we do about the hundred talents which I have given to the army of Israel?"
The man of God answered, "The LORD is able to give you much more than this."
Then Amazi'ah discharged the army that had come to him from E'phraim, to go home again. And they became very angry with Judah, and returned home in fierce anger. (2Ch 25:5- 10)
When they had departed from him, leaving him severely wounded, his servants conspired against him because of the blood of the son of Jehoi'ada the priest, and slew him on his bed. So he died; and they buried him in the city of David, but they did not bury him in the tombs of the kings.
Those who conspired against him were Zabad the son of Shim'e-ath the Ammonitess, and Jeho'zabad the son of Shimrith the Moabitess. (2Ch 24:25-26)
“And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write,
‘These things says the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass: “I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first. Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent. Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds. I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works...
Revelation 17:1 - 18:24
Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and talked with me, saying to me, “Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication.”
So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication. And on her forehead a name was written:
MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT,
THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS
AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS
OF THE EARTH.
I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her, I marveled with great amazement.
But the angel said to me, “Why did you marvel? I will tell you the mystery of the woman and of the beast that carries her, which has the seven heads and the ten horns. The beast that you saw was, and is not, and will ascend out of the bottomless pit and go to perdition. And those who dwell on the earth will marvel, whose names are not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world, when they see the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.
“Here is the mind which has wisdom: The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits. There are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, and the other has not yet come. And when he comes, he must continue a short time. The beast that was, and is not, is himself also the eighth, and is of the seven, and is going to perdition.
“The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast. These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast. These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful.”
Then he said to me, “The waters which you saw, where the harlot sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues. And the ten horns which you saw on the beast, these will hate the harlot, make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh and burn her with fire. For God has put it into their hearts to fulfill His purpose, to be of one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled. And the woman whom you saw is that great city which reigns over the kings of the earth.”
After these things I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was illuminated with his glory. And he cried mightily with a loud voice, saying, “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird! For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich through the abundance of her luxury.”
And I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues. For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. Render to her just as she rendered to you, and repay her double according to her works; in the cup which she has mixed, mix double for her. In the measure that she glorified herself and lived luxuriously, in the same measure give her torment and sorrow; for she says in her heart, ‘I sit as queen, and am no widow, and will not see sorrow.’ Therefore her plagues will come in one day—death and mourning and famine. And she will be utterly burned with fire, for strong is the Lord God who judges her.
“The kings of the earth who committed fornication and lived luxuriously with her will weep and lament for her, when they see the smoke of her burning, standing at a distance for fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! For in one hour your judgment has come.’
“And the merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over her, for no one buys their merchandise anymore: merchandise of gold and silver, precious stones and pearls, fine linen and purple, silk and scarlet, every kind of citron wood, every kind of object of ivory, every kind of object of most precious wood, bronze, iron, and marble; and cinnamon and incense, fragrant oil and frankincense, wine and oil, fine flour and wheat, cattle and sheep, horses and chariots, and bodies and souls of men. The fruit that your soul longed for has gone from you, and all the things which are rich and splendid have gone from you, and you shall find them no more at all. The merchants of these things, who became rich by her, will stand at a distance for fear of her torment, weeping and wailing, and saying, ‘Alas, alas, that great city that was clothed in fine linen, purple, and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls! For in one hour such great riches came to nothing.’ Every shipmaster, all who travel by ship, sailors, and as many as trade on the sea, stood at a distance and cried out when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What is like this great city?’
“They threw dust on their heads and cried out, weeping and wailing, and saying, ‘Alas, alas, that great city, in which all who had ships on the sea became rich by her wealth! For in one hour she is made desolate.’
“Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you holy apostles and prophets, for God has avenged you on her!”
Then a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, “Thus with violence the great city Babylon shall be thrown down, and shall not be found anymore. The sound of harpists, musicians, flutists, and trumpeters shall not be heard in you anymore. No craftsman of any craft shall be found in you anymore, and the sound of a millstone shall not be heard in you anymore. The light of a lamp shall not shine in you anymore, and the voice of bridegroom and bride shall not be heard in you anymore. For your merchants were the great men of the earth, for by your sorcery all the nations were deceived. And in her was found the blood of prophets and saints, and of all who were slain on the earth.”
Notes Added from Bryce Self
A famous image, this carved ivory plaque showing a beautiful woman peering out of a balcony window. Several versions of this piece have been found in the excavations of the “Ivory Palace” of Ahab at Samaria. Perhaps in commemoration of Jezebel’s violent death (and not incidentally a testimony to the accuracy and truth of the Biblical record).
The modern-day charismatic prophets and apostles make much constantly of a “Spirit of Jezebel”, a kind of demon of religiosity, which they usually conveniently “discern” to be working through anybody who opposes or even questions them. Little do they know that they are in fact fulfilling the role of Jezebel’s false prophets of Baal and Asherah, and are destined for as ominous a fate as they. Zedekiah, chief of Jezebel’s prophets who prophesied Ahab’s victory had no idea that he was himself seized upon by spirit of deception from the Lord, but was convinced that he had the Spirit of God in greater measure than anyone else. (I Kings 22).
Curerently, I’ve just begun teaching through Revelation again (for the first time in over 20 years), and this week we begin the church letters of chapters 2-3. So this is just here I’m at in the present moment. These chapters have always been personal favorites, and the Holy Land tour that I chose to go on was selected because it visited the sites of the seven churches rather than going to Egypt.
The altar in Berlin was originally from Pergamum, northermost of the seven churches of Asia Minor in the book of Revelation — and it seems to be what Christ refers to as “Satan’s Throne” there. Construction was much later than Solomon’s Temple, just a couple hundred years B.C., and was solidly Greek (a remnant kingdom of Alexander’s Hellenized empire). The Kingdom of Pergamon was willed to the Roman Empire by the last one of it’s kings, and became the major portion of the Roman province of Asia Minor (today's western Turkey).
The altar was built on the commanding shoulder of the acropolis and dominated the skyline view from the lower city on the plain below. It was actually shaped like a massive three-sided throne for some titanic being. I’ve stood on the foundations of the altar at the original spot, and it is indeed the visual and spiritual nexus of that city — focal point of all the demonic powers represented in the temples to the pagan gods and emperors behind it on the hil,l and domineering like an iron fist over the residential city below. Here is a reconstruction of it, front and center.
The answer to all this, whether you are male or female: Give Jesus Christ full permission to enter your life and take over the throne room at the core of your being. He will make you a whole person whether you are male or a female or somewhere in between.
Jesus, the Last Adam is on His way back now to pick up His Virgin Bride -- the true church-- which he has been building for two thousand years now.
"Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm; for love is strong as death, jealousy is cruel as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, a most vehement flame. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it. If a man offered for love all the wealth of his house, it would be utterly scorned." (Song of Solomon 8:6,7).
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June 18, 2019