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This is the September 9 reading. Select here for a new reading date:


BibleTrack Summary: September 9
Kings & Prophets
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For New King James text and comment, click here.

 

 

II Kings 15; II Chronicles 26     Listen Podcast

 

 

Azariah (Uzziah), King of Judah: Good news and bad news (II Kings 15:1-4; II Chronicles 26:1-4)

II Kings 15
II Chronicles 26
1 In the twenty and seventh year of Jeroboam king of Israel began Azariah son of Amaziah king of Judah to reign.
2 Sixteen years old was he when he began to reign, and he reigned two and fifty years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Jecholiah of Jerusalem.
3 And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father Amaziah had done;
4 Save that the high places were not removed: the people sacrificed and burnt incense still on the high places.
1 Then all the people of Judah took Uzziah, who was sixteen years old, and made him king in the room of his father Amaziah.
2 He built Eloth, and restored it to Judah, after that the king slept with his fathers.
3 Sixteen years old was Uzziah when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty and two years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name also was Jecoliah of Jerusalem.
4 And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father Amaziah did.

Actually, Uzziah is a contracted form of Azariah; it's the same King of Judah - called Azariah in II Kings 15 and Uzziah in II Chronicles. The good news? He reigned in Judah from 16 years of age until he was 68; that's 52 years.

Here's an overview of Azariah's reign:

A Summary of King #10 from 790 to 739 B.C. over Judah: Uzziah (Azariah)
References The Good The Bad

II Kings 14:21-22
II Kings 15:1-7
II Chronicles 26

II Kings 15:3 And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father Amaziah had done;

II Chronicles 26:4-5 And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father Amaziah did. And he sought God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding in the visions of God: and as long as he sought the LORD, God made him to prosper.

II Kings 15:4 Save that the high places were not removed: the people sacrificed and burnt incense still on the high places.

 

Azariah just gets 7 verses of coverage in II Kings, but significantly more detail is added about his life in II Chronicles 26.

Too much success can go to your head (II Chronicles 26:5-15)

5 And he sought God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding in the visions of God: and as long as he sought the LORD, God made him to prosper.
6 And he went forth and warred against the Philistines, and brake down the wall of Gath, and the wall of Jabneh, and the wall of Ashdod, and built cities about Ashdod, and among the Philistines.
7 And God helped him against the Philistines, and against the Arabians that dwelt in Gurbaal, and the Mehunims.
8 And the Ammonites gave gifts to Uzziah: and his name spread abroad even to the entering in of Egypt; for he strengthened himself exceedingly.
9 Moreover Uzziah built towers in Jerusalem at the corner gate, and at the valley gate, and at the turning of the wall, and fortified them.
10 Also he built towers in the desert, and digged many wells: for he had much cattle, both in the low country, and in the plains: husbandmen also, and vine dressers in the mountains, and in Carmel: for he loved husbandry.
11 Moreover Uzziah had an host of fighting men, that went out to war by bands, according to the number of their account by the hand of Jeiel the scribe and Maaseiah the ruler, under the hand of Hananiah, one of the king’s captains.
12 The whole number of the chief of the fathers of the mighty men of valour were two thousand and six hundred.
13 And under their hand was an army, three hundred thousand and seven thousand and five hundred, that made war with mighty power, to help the king against the enemy.
14 And Uzziah prepared for them throughout all the host shields, and spears, and helmets, and habergeons, and bows, and slings to cast stones.
15 And he made in Jerusalem engines, invented by cunning men, to be on the towers and upon the bulwarks, to shoot arrows and great stones withal. And his name spread far abroad; for he was marvellously helped, till he was strong.

Azariah (aka Uzziah) took over from his disgraced father, Amaziah, at the ripe old age of 16. He began as a good king - One True God worship. He equipped a large army of over 300,000 and used "engines" on the wall of the city - catapults that fired arrows and rocks at the approaching enemy. You will recall that Israel had attacked Jerusalem during Uzziah's father's reign and had broken down a large section of the Jerusalem wall (II Kings 14:13; II Chronicles 25:23 - see notes). Azariah rebuilt the walls. He fought and defended Judah against its enemy neighbors with great success - so much so that Azariah was famous as a warrior king in his day.

During his reign, he dominated the Philistines, building Jewish cities among them and keeping them in check. Even the Ammonites respected him - the first mention of them since King Jehoshaphat (of Judah) took them on and miraculously defeated them during his reign (873 to 848 B.C) back in II Chronicles 20:1-23 (see notes). A century or so later, they're obviously still at peace with Judah. Uzziah's reign was successful at keeping Judah's enemies at bay during his tenure.

Incidentally, the Zechariah mentioned in verse 5 is not the Zechariah who is responsible for one of the Books of the Old Testament. Little is known about this man who preceded the one after whom the Book was named by almost 300 years.

Uzziah gets too much religion (II Kings 15:5-7; II Chronicles 26:16-23)

II Kings 15
II Chronicles 26
5 And the LORD smote the king, so that he was a leper unto the day of his death, and dwelt in a several house. And Jotham the king’s son was over the house, judging the people of the land.
6 And the rest of the acts of Azariah, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?
7 So Azariah slept with his fathers; and they buried him with his fathers in the city of David: and Jotham his son reigned in his stead.
16 But when he was strong, his heart was lifted up to his destruction: for he transgressed against the LORD his God, and went into the temple of the LORD to burn incense upon the altar of incense.
17 And Azariah the priest went in after him, and with him fourscore priests of the LORD, that were valiant men:
18 And they withstood Uzziah the king, and said unto him, It appertaineth not unto thee, Uzziah, to burn incense unto the LORD, but to the priests the sons of Aaron, that are consecrated to burn incense: go out of the sanctuary; for thou hast trespassed; neither shall it be for thine honour from the LORD God.
19 Then Uzziah was wroth, and had a censer in his hand to burn incense: and while he was wroth with the priests, the leprosy even rose up in his forehead before the priests in the house of the LORD, from beside the incense altar.
20 And Azariah the chief priest, and all the priests, looked upon him, and, behold, he was leprous in his forehead, and they thrust him out from thence; yea, himself hasted also to go out, because the LORD had smitten him.
21 And Uzziah the king was a leper unto the day of his death, and dwelt in a several house, being a leper; for he was cut off from the house of the LORD: and Jotham his son was over the king’s house, judging the people of the land.
22 Now the rest of the acts of Uzziah, first and last, did Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, write.
23 So Uzziah slept with his fathers, and they buried him with his fathers in the field of the burial which belonged to the kings; for they said, He is a leper: and Jotham his son reigned in his stead.

Well...it's hard to know the players without a program. Uzziah is a contracted form of the name of the King of Judah here, Azariah. He's called Azariah in II Kings 15. However, here we find an episode where the King of Judah (Azariah aka Uzziah) is confronted by the priest (Azariah). Therefore, let's refer to the King from henceforth as Uzziah and the priest as Azariah...as does the II Chronicles account itself.

Uzziah had been so successful in battle that he just forgets his place. He goes into the temple to burn incense - BIG PROBLEM! Only the priests do that. Azariah, the priest, confronts him about this no-no. However, Azariah (the priest) was smart enough to take some reinforcements with him for this confrontation, 80 associate priests. Uzziah becomes angry with Azariah, right there in the temple. He's irate in that he would even be questioned; after all, he's the king. While Uzziah is angry, God strikes him with leprosy on his forehead - leprosy which he had for the rest of his life. Uzziah spends the rest of his days in the hospital while his son, Jotham, reigns in his place. While Uzziah reigned for 52 years, much of that time was as a leper. It is during the reign of Uzziah that Isaiah begins to prophesy.

Some archaeological information regarding Uzziah's burial is included in the Jewish Study Bible as follows:

An inscribed Aramaic marble plaque from the Second Temple period, now in the Israel Museum, reads: "Here were brought the bones of Uzziah, King of Judah. Don’t open." The wording suggests that although buried in the City of David, he was buried separately from other kings perhaps because of the leprosy whose bones were not reburied during the Second Temple period. There is no knowledge about where the plaque was originally found.

Hey Zachariah (King of Israel), what are you doing for the next 6 months? (II Kings 15:8-12)

8 In the thirty and eighth year of Azariah king of Judah did Zachariah the son of Jeroboam reign over Israel in Samaria six months.
9 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, as his fathers had done: he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin.
10 And Shallum the son of Jabesh conspired against him, and smote him before the people, and slew him, and reigned in his stead.
11 And the rest of the acts of Zachariah, behold, they are written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel.
12 This was the word of the LORD which he spake unto Jehu, saying, Thy sons shall sit on the throne of Israel unto the fourth generation. And so it came to pass.

That's right...Zachariah ruled Israel for just six months. He was evil too, as were all the kings of the Northern Kingdom (Israel). Zachariah was assassinated after just 6 months by Shallum. Remember in II Kings 10:30 (see notes) when God told King Jehu that his children to the fourth generation would reign in Israel? Well, this is the end of the fourth generation - time to hand the throne over to yet another family. Note: Israel's kingship has had a bunch of family regime changes by hook, crook and treachery. Judah, on the other hand, is still governed by descendants of David. So, it's out with Zachariah and in with Shallum.

A Summary of King #14 in 753 B.C. over Israel: Zachariah
References The Good The Bad

II Kings 15:8-12

Not specified - he was evil.

II Kings 15:9 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, as his fathers had done: he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin.

This marks the end of the fourth dynasty in Israel (Northern Kingdom) which started with Jehu in II Kings 10:28-36 (see notes).

Shallum, King for a month over Israel (II Kings 15:13-15)

13 Shallum the son of Jabesh began to reign in the nine and thirtieth year of Uzziah king of Judah; and he reigned a full month in Samaria.
14 For Menahem the son of Gadi went up from Tirzah, and came to Samaria, and smote Shallum the son of Jabesh in Samaria, and slew him, and reigned in his stead.
15 And the rest of the acts of Shallum, and his conspiracy which he made, behold, they are written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel.

How much can you say about a guy who just reigns one month? Of course he was evil - killed Zachariah, then a month later, Menahem killed him. One king does not a dynasty make...and especially with only a one-month rule before his assassination.

A Summary of King #15 in 752 B.C. over Israel: Shallum
References The Good The Bad

II Kings 15:13-15

Not specified

Since he only reigned for a month, his reign is not characterized.

The ruthless Menahem (Israel) - all evil, all the time (II Kings 15:16-22)

16 Then Menahem smote Tiphsah, and all that were therein, and the coasts thereof from Tirzah: because they opened not to him, therefore he smote it; and all the women therein that were with child he ripped up.
17 In the nine and thirtieth year of Azariah king of Judah began Menahem the son of Gadi to reign over Israel, and reigned ten years in Samaria.
18 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD: he departed not all his days from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin.
19 And Pul the king of Assyria came against the land: and Menahem gave Pul a thousand talents of silver, that his hand might be with him to confirm the kingdom in his hand.
20 And Menahem exacted the money of Israel, even of all the mighty men of wealth, of each man fifty shekels of silver, to give to the king of Assyria. So the king of Assyria turned back, and stayed not there in the land.
21 And the rest of the acts of Menahem, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?
22 And Menahem slept with his fathers; and Pekahiah his son reigned in his stead.

How do you become King of Israel these days? Murder, murder, murder! This one is particularly gruesome, though. When Tiphsah (a lost city) declined to throw open their gates to let him come in and take over, he demonstrated his ruthlessness - cut open all their pregnant women after he conquered them. That's not all he did. He had only interests in remaining King of Israel - at any cost. He assessed a tax on the Israelites to pay off the King of Assyria in order to be allowed to stay on the throne - which he did for 10 years. The King of Assyria is named as "Pul" in verse 19. That was the nickname of Tiglathpileser, seen down in verse 29.

Incidentally, the kingship of Israel at this point is now in the hands of the sixth family. We'll call this the fifth dynasty since (unlike his predecessor, Shallum) Menahem did have a son (Pekahiah) who took over the throne after his death.

A Summary of King #16 from 752 to 742 B.C. over Israel: Menahem
References The Good The Bad

II Kings 15:16-22

Not specified - he was evil.

II Kings 15:18 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD: he departed not all his days from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin.

Pekahiah of Israel - two years, then assassinated (II Kings 15:23-26)

23 In the fiftieth year of Azariah king of Judah Pekahiah the son of Menahem began to reign over Israel in Samaria, and reigned two years.
24 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD: he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin.
25 But Pekah the son of Remaliah, a captain of his, conspired against him, and smote him in Samaria, in the palace of the king’s house, with Argob and Arieh, and with him fifty men of the Gileadites: and he killed him, and reigned in his room.
26 And the rest of the acts of Pekahiah, and all that he did, behold, they are written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel.

Son of Menahem; evil just like his Daddy and Jeroboam from the beginning; killed by his body guard, Pekah. It's hard to get good, dependable help when you're evil through and through. If you're counting, this is the end of the reign of the sixth family of kings in Israel and the fifth dynasty of two or more kings from one family line.

A Summary of King #17 from 742 to 741 B.C. over Israel: Pekahiah
References The Good The Bad

II Kings 15:23-26

Not specified - he was evil.

II Kings 15:24 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD: he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin.

Pekah of Israel - no regard for God and hated the Assyrians (II Kings 15:27-31)

27 In the two and fiftieth year of Azariah king of Judah Pekah the son of Remaliah began to reign over Israel in Samaria, and reigned twenty years.
28 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD: he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin.
29 In the days of Pekah king of Israel came Tiglathpileser king of Assyria, and took Ijon, and Abelbethmaachah, and Janoah, and Kedesh, and Hazor, and Gilead, and Galilee, all the land of Naphtali, and carried them captive to Assyria.
30 And Hoshea the son of Elah made a conspiracy against Pekah the son of Remaliah, and smote him, and slew him, and reigned in his stead, in the twentieth year of Jotham the son of Uzziah.
31 And the rest of the acts of Pekah, and all that he did, behold, they are written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel.

Now the kingship of Israel (Northern Kingdom) is in the hands of the seventh family since Jeroboam split off after the reign of Solomon. Pekah probably assassinated Pekahiah because he and a following in the Northern Kingdom objected to Pechahiah's ties with Assyria - especially since he was taxing the people to maintain it and stay on the throne. So the King of Assyria, Tiglathpileser, came after him and began to chisel into Pekah's kingdom until Hoshea killed him, but not until after a 20-year reign. Tiglathpileser carried some of the Northern-kingdom people into captivity, including the land of Naphtali during his reign. This marks the beginning of the Assyrian deportation.

We get some extra-biblical perspective regarding this deportation from an entry found in the Jewish Study Bible:

In his campaigns of 733–32 BCE, Tiglath–pileser conquered the same block of territories taken by Arameans from Israel in the days of Baasha (1 Kings 15:20) along with Transjordanian Gilead. His annals mention that he took 13,520 people to Assyria. This marks the beginning of the Diaspora of the ten northern tribes.

Incidentally, we see in II Kings 15:37 that Pekah apparently at some point allied with Rezin, the king of Syria, to attack Judah. Pekah is opportunistic and ruthless - no dynasty for him; Hoshea, the last king the Northern Kingdom would have, assassinates Pekah and establishes himself as the eighth (and final) different family to rule over the Northern Kingdom of Israel. It is during the reign of Hoshea that the Northern Kingdom (Israel) falls once and for all to the Assyrians in 722/721 B.C. This account is found in II Kings 17 (see notes).

The length of reign of Pekah is a little confusing. Perhaps his reign began in Gilead in 752 B.C., at the same approximate time as did the reign of Menahem in Samaria. Pekah is the last king before Hoshea, during whose reign Israel fell. Therefore, his reign appears to overlap that of Menahem and Pekahiah, but for the first 10 years or so was not over all of the Northern Kingdom - just the region around Gilead.

A Summary of King #18 from 752 to 731 B.C. over Israel: Pekah
References The Good The Bad

II Kings 15:27-31

Not specified - he was evil.

II Kings 15:28 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD: he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin.

Jotham of Judah: good king (II Kings 15:32-38)

32 In the second year of Pekah the son of Remaliah king of Israel began Jotham the son of Uzziah king of Judah to reign.
33 Five and twenty years old was he when he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Jerusha, the daughter of Zadok.
34 And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD: he did according to all that his father Uzziah had done.
35 Howbeit the high places were not removed: the people sacrificed and burned incense still in the high places. He built the higher gate of the house of the LORD.
36 Now the rest of the acts of Jotham, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?
37 In those days the LORD began to send against Judah Rezin the king of Syria, and Pekah the son of Remaliah.
38 And Jotham slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David his father: and Ahaz his son reigned in his stead.

Finally...we're back to Judah. Jotham served the one true God, but he also allowed the places of idol worship to remain. By the way, his Dad was Azariah, aka Uzziah. He worked on the temple a little - died after a 16-year reign. During his reign, Judah was attacked by Rezin, the King of Syria, and Pekah the King of the Israel. After his death, his son Ahaz took over as King of Judah. Incidentally, if you're keeping track, Judah is still working from the dynasty of kings led by King David of United Israel. While Israel (Northern Kingdom) went through eight different family lines on their throne before their demise, Judah remained with one, single Davidic dynasty until their fall in 586 B.C. This single dynasty of Kings of Judah was in keeping with the Davidic Covenant (see notes).

A Summary of King #11 from 750 to 731 B.C. over Judah: Jotham
References The Good The Bad

II Kings 15:32-38
II Chronicles 27

II Kings 15:34 And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD: he did according to all that his father Uzziah had done.

II Chronicles 27:6 So Jotham became mighty, because he prepared his ways before the LORD his God.

II Kings 15:35 Howbeit the high places were not removed: the people sacrificed and burned incense still in the high places.

 


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Copyright 2003-2011 by Wayne D. Turner