Day 9

A Divided Kingdom - cont.

King Jehoram of Judah

[2Kings 8:16–24; 2Chr 21:2–20] At the age of thirty-two, Jehoram, Jehoshaphat’s son, begins an eight -year reign over Judah. His wife is the daughter of King Ahab of Israel. Her influence on him is such that his reign is more like that of Ahab’s, being evil in God’s sight. He murders his brethren and some princes he thought might oppose him. But God does not bring punishment on Judah because of his promise to David. During his reign, the Edomites, who had been a tributary to Judah since the times of David, revolt and make a king for themselves. They are subdued by Jehoram, but he is distracted when the city of Libnah, a Levitical city, revolts against him because of his idolatrous practices. Jehoram receives a prophecy written by Elijah before his ascension, in which punishment for his idolatrous and ungodly ways in the form of a great plague is pronounced on him and his household, and the nature of his death is given. The Philistines and Arabians invade Judah taking all that is in the king’s house, including his wives and sons, except for Ahaziah, his youngest son. Jehoram’s bowels are then inflicted with an incurable disease for two years, from which he dies.

King Ahaziah of Judah

[2Kings 8:25-29; 2Chr 22:1-9] As Ahaziah is now the only remaining son of Jehoram, he is made king of Judah, but reigns for only one year, during which he is an idolatrous king, encouraged by his mother. He aligns himself with King Ahab and goes to war with Ahab’s son Joram against King Hazael of Syria. During this war he is wounded. He seeks refuge but is later found and executed by Jehu.

King Jehu of Israel

[2Kings 9-10] One of the prophets’ sons is sent by Elisha to anoint Jehu as king of Israel, and to order him to kill and destroy the whole house of Ahab. Jehu acquaints his captains with the instruction and sets out for Jezreel where he slays Joram, king of Israel, Ahaziah, king of Judah, then Jezebel, whose fate is that dogs should eat her flesh as foretold by the Lord. Jehu writes letters to the rulers of Jezreel, the elders, and those who brought up Ahab’s sons, telling them to select a king from amongst his sons. But knowing the dangers of doing such a thing, they refuse, but still with full submission to Jehu. He then sends a second letter ordering them to slay Ahab’s seventy sons, which they do and deliver their heads to Jezreel as instructed. Jehu then goes to Samaria where he comes across the brethren of Ahaziah, king of Judah, at the shearing house where he has his guards take them captive and slay them. When leaving the shearing house, Jehu meets Jehonadab and invites him to join him and be a witness to his zeal for God. He then enters Samaria where he slays all those remaining connected with Ahab’s household and then, after contriving to bring them together, slays all the worshippers of Baal. The images of Baal are also destroyed, but Jehu does nothing about the golden calves in Bethel through which the people of Dan worship God. Because of his work in rooting out the evil of Baal, God tells Jehu, through a prophet, that his sons would rule over Israel for four generations. But Jehu’s heart is not completely with God and Hazeal, king of Syria, afflicts all those in the coasts of Israel, as foretold by Elisha. Jehu reigns over Israel from Samaria for twenty-eight years and is buried in Samaria.

Athaliah and Joash of Judah

[2Kings 11-12; 2Chr 22:10-24:27] To save him from being slain, Ahaziah’s sister takes one of Ahaziah’s sons, Joash, and hides him for six years. Meanwhile, Ahaziah’s mother, Athaliah, reigns over Judah as a usurper (women were not permitted to rule). In the seventh year, Jehoiada the priest arranges for a guard to be put around Joash, now just seven years old, and anoints him king. When Athaliah becomes aware that Joash is made king, she claims it is treason, but the priest orders her execution. Now Joash is a good king, worshipping the only true God, ruling and walking according to the law of God with Jehoiada the priest instructing him. However, it is noted that he did not remove the high places of worship that exist outside the temple. Joash arranges for the temple to be repaired, funded by the people’s offerings. After the death of Jehoiada at the age of 130, princes of Judah, who had been secretly inclined to idolatry, make obeisance to Joash, who takes notice of them and also slips into idolatry. Jehoiada’s son Zechariah testifies against them but is killed by Joash. Following Zechariah’s death, a small company of Syrians come against Judah and Jerusalem and the princes of Judah. All the princes are killed and the spoil taken to the king of Syria at Damascus. This was God’s means of judgement over Joash who is left by the Syrians wounded and diseased. Joash’s own servants conspire against him and he is killed in his bed. Joash is buried in David’s city, but not in the king’s sepulchre. He had reigned in Jerusalem for forty years, the first twenty- one or -two years being contemporary with Jehu, king of Israel.

Kings Jehoahaz and Jehoash of Israel

[2Kings 13] In the twenty-third year of Joash king of Judah’s reign, Jehoahaz, the son of Jehu king of Israel, begins to reign. Jehoahaz is a wicked king, bringing the wrath of God upon Israel through the oppression of the Syrians. Jehoahaz dies after reigning seventeen years and is buried in Samaria, where Omri and the kings he descended from were buried. Jehoahaz’s son Jehoash now reigns in Israel. He is another wicked king, as was his father before him. During his reign he fights with Amaziah, king of Judah (recorded in chapter 14). Now Elisha has fallen sick and King Jehoash of Israel comes and weeps over him, at which time Elisha foretells Jehoash’s limited victories over the Syrians. Elisha then dies of his sickness. Jehoash later defeats the Syrians three times to recover cities previously taken by them during his father’s reign. Jehoash reigns for sixteen years and is buried in Samaria.

King Amaziah of Judah

[2Kings 14:1-22; 2Chr 25] Amaziah, son of Joash king of Judah, is made king at the age of twenty-five and reigns in Judah for twenty-nine years. He is a good king who follows God’s laws, but his heart is not perfect. Amaziah slays his servants who had killed his father but, in accordance with Moses’ law, left their children unharmed. In preparation for war with the Edomites, he raises a large army from his own kingdom, to which he adds 100,000 hired out of Israel, but then sends them home on the advice of a prophet. Whilst Amaziah is at war with the Edomites, the Israelite army he sent home attacks some cities of Judah, killing three thousand and taking much spoil. From his war with the Edomites, Amaziah brings back some of their gods amongst the spoil and begins to worship them, for which he is reproved by a prophet. He then sends a challenge to Jehoash, king of Israel, which is accepted and a battle follows in which Amaziah is defeated. Treasure is taken from the temple and the king’s house before Jehoash returns to Samaria with some hostages. Amaziah lives another fifteen years after the death of Jehoash of Israel, but he turns away from following God and is killed by his own people. Nevertheless, he is still buried with his fathers in the city of David.

King Jeroboam II of Israel

[2Kings 14:23-29] Jeroboam, the son of Joash king of Israel and the second king to have that name, begins his reign when Amaziah had been reigning for fifteen years. He is yet another evil king in God’s eyes, like those before him and like the first Jeroboam. Nevertheless, God uses Jeroboam to restore lands bordering Syria that had previously been taken by Israel’s enemies. This was prophesied by Jonah, though not recorded in his book.

King Azariah (Uzziah) of Judah

[2Kings 15:1-7; 2Chr 26] [The name Azariah is used in Kings and Uzziah in Chronicles] Azariah is made king of Judah at the age of sixteen. He grows to be a good king, seeking God and following his laws. He prospers and is successful in wars and in building projects, his name becoming known by surrounding nations. But his successes eventually lead to pride and he takes it upon himself to burn incense on the altar of incense in the temple, an act permitted only by priests. When he is challenged by a company of priests he defies them and is struck with leprosy, which stays with him until his death. Azariah reigns in Jerusalem for a total of fifty-two years.

Kings Zechariah, Shallum, Menahem, Pekahiah and Pekah of Israel

[2Kings 15:8-31] Zechariah succeeds his father, Jeroboam, as king of Israel. He too is an ungodly king and reigns for only six months before Shallum, son of Jabesh, conspires against him, kills him and reigns in his place. Shallum lasts only a single month as king in Samaria as Menahem, the son of Gadi, comes to Samaria and kills him, then reigns in his place. There are people from his own city and those nearby who do not accept Menahem as king, so he deals harshly with them, including the barbaric slaughter of all pregnant women. The Assyrians rise against Israel, but their king is bribed by Menahem with some of his own money and money from the wealthy men of Israel. The bribe is accepted by the king of Assyria and they leave Israel. Menahem reigns for ten years in Samaria before his death. His son Pekahiah succeeds him, but he is another godless king and reigns just two years before one of his captains, Pekah, conspires against him, assassinates him and takes over the kingship. Pekah reigns over Israel for twenty years as another godless king. During his reign, the Assyrians invade much of Israel and take captive around half of the Israelites. Hoshea then conspires against Pekah, kills him, and reigns in his place.

King Jotham of Judah

[2Kings 15:32-38; 2Chr 27] It is in the second year of Pekah’s reign that Jotham begins his reign in Judah, at the age of twenty-five. He is a God- fearing king, yet still does not have the high places of worship outside the temple removed. He is responsible for much building work and defeats the Ammonites from whom he receives tribute for three years. Jotham reigns for sixteen years in Jerusalem and is buried with the other kings of Judah in the city of David.

King Ahaz of Judah

[2Kings 16; 2Chr 28] Jotham’s son Ahaz now begins to reign in Judah at the age of twenty. Unlike his father, he is not a God-fearing man and follows Israel’s ways, even sacrificing his own son as the Canaanites did. Rezin, king of Syria, and Pekah, king of Israel, rise against Ahaz at Jerusalem. They are not able to take the city, but Israel takes many captives from Judah, and Rezin recaptures Elath, driving the Jews out. Ahaz pays the king of Assyria to assist him against the kings of Syria and Israel, using his own funds and treasures from the temple. The king of Assyria goes against Damascus and Rezin is killed in the process. Ahaz goes to Damascus to meet with the king of Assyria where he sees an altar of an idol, which he then has replicated in the temple. He also defaces and removes items from the temple. His idolatrous acts and calamities faced by Judah continue to his death, sixteen years after his reign began.

Hoshea, last king of Israel when Israel is taken captive

[2Kings 17] Hoshea is the last king of Israel, not a God-fearing man, but said to be not as bad as his predecessors. The king of Assyria rises against Hoshea, prevails and makes Hoshea his tributary. In time, Hoshea turns to the king of Egypt for help, but the king of Assyria becomes aware of the conspiracy when Hoshea stops paying him taxes. He invades Israel and lays siege to Samaria for three years, imprisoning Hoshea. After three years, all the Israelites are taken captive and are resettled in various cities in Assyria and Medes, ending Hoshea’s nine-year reign.  And so it is, after many years of idolatry from the first Jeroboam’s reign, idolatries that are persisted with despite efforts through prophets to restore the people, God allows Israel to be taken away captive. The people removed from Israel are replaced by those from other lands, albeit some Israeli priests are returned to Israel resulting in a mixed religion, mainly heathen but partially Jewish.

King Hezekiah of Judah

[2Kings 18-20; 2Chr 29-32; Isa 36-39] Hezekiah is the twelfth king of Judah, succeeding his apostate father, Ahaz, at the age of twenty-five. He is to be a great and good king following the example of his great-grandfather Uzziah. His first act upon accession to the throne is to open the doors of the temple, to summon the priests and Levites to purge it, cleanse it and re-establish the sacrifices and ceremonies, of which the first are to be a splendid example. He abolishes idolatry and destroys the ‘brazen serpent’, said to have been the one used by Moses in the miraculous healing of the Israelites, because it had become an object of idolatrous worship. In all, a great reformation is brought about in Judah during his reign. On the death of Sargon and the accession to the Assyrian throne of his son Sennacherib, Hezekiah refuses to continue to pay tribute to the king of Assyria and enters into a league with Egypt. This leads to an invasion of Judah by Sennacherib who takes fortified cities and besieges Jerusalem. Hezekiah yields to Sennacherib’s demands and agrees to pay him three hundred talents of silver and thirty of gold, some of which has to be made up from silver and gold from the temple. Nevertheless, Sennacherib invades Judah for a second time in two years when Rabshakeh, one of Sennacherib’s generals, using blasphemous and insulting language, urges the Jews to revolt against their king. Hezekiah sends messages to Isaiah and prays to God for deliverance, a prayer that is answered when most of the Assyrian army (185,000 men) is destroyed by an angel in one night. Sennacherib flees to Nineveh with the remnant of his forces, where seventeen years later he is assassinated by his sons. Hezekiah falls sick and prays to God, who speaks to him through Isaiah, providing a means and miraculous sign of his recovering, and a promise of another fifteen years of life. The king of Babylon sends messengers to Hezekiah with a present and congratulations for his recovery. Hezekiah receives the message with joy, and in his vanity shows the messengers all his treasures. He is reproved by Isaiah and the fate of his people, their capture and exile in Babylon, is foretold and humbly accepted. Hezekiah reigns a total of twenty-nine years before he dies and is buried with his father.

Kings Manasseh and Amon of Judah

[2Kings 21; 2Chr 33] Hezekiah’s son Manasseh succeeds him at the tender age of twelve years. He is heavily influenced by the nations around him and leads Judah into idolatry, to do more evil than the nations that were before them in Canaan. Nevertheless, God reaches out to Judah, but the people do not listen. Manasseh is captured by the Assyrians and imprisoned. His imprisonment causes him to reflect and he repents of his ways and is restored to Jerusalem. He begins to undo the evil he had brought upon Judah and encourages his people to return to worshipping God, but the reformation is incomplete. After a lengthy reign of fifty-five years, Manasseh dies and is buried in his own garden. Manasseh’s son Amon succeeds him at the age of twenty-two. He reigns for just two years, during which short time his idolatrous acts are like those of his father. He is assassinated by his servants, who in turn are killed by the people. Amon is buried in the garden where his father was buried.

King Josiah, Judah’s last and greatest reformer

[2Kings 22:1-23:30; 2Chr 34-35] Manasseh is succeeded by his son Josiah at the age of eight, but he does not seek God until eight years later when he devotes himself to Him and begins a campaign of exterminating the prevailing idolatry from Judah. At the age of twenty- six, he begins to repair and restore the temple, which is by now in very poor condition. During this restoration, the book of the law is discovered and given to Josiah, who is alarmed by the things it contains and sends for the prophetess Huldah for her counsel. She tells of the destruction of Jerusalem to come, but assures him it will not be during his lifetime. Josiah then gathers his people and reads the book of the law to them, after which a renewal of the ancient covenant is made. Idolatry in all its forms is then systematically removed from Judah, including the final destruction of the ‘high places’. A great Passover is celebrated, after which Josiah continues with his work of cleansing Judah of idolatry. Pharaoh Necho is passing through Judea with his army when Josiah rashly decides to go into battle against him. He is fatally wounded and carried back to Jerusalem. Here he is mourned by all Judea and lamented for by Jeremiah. Josiah had reigned for a total of thirty-one years.

Josiah’s successors: Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin and Zedekiah

[2Kings 23:31-24:20; 2Chr 36:2-12] Josiah’s son Jehoahaz is not the eldest, but is anointed by the people as king. However, his reign is a wicked one and lasts for only three months. He is deposed by the king of Egypt, making Jehoiakim king and taking tribute from Judah. Jehoahaz is taken to Egypt where he later dies. Jehoiakim does not pay the tribute from his own money but taxes the people. He reigns for eleven years doing that which was evil in the sight of the Lord. In the third year of his reign, Nebuchadnezzar besieges Jerusalem and Jehoiakim serves him for three years before rebelling. Troops are later sent to Judah and Jehoiakim is taken to Babylon along with other captives. (It is at this time that Daniel and his companions are taken captive.) Jehoiachin, Jehoiakim’s son, now reigns in his place at the age of eighteen, but his reign lasts for only three months and ten days before Nebuchadnezzar besieges Jerusalem and he is carried off to Babylon, along with all his household and its treasures, as well as treasures from the temple. Despite his short reign Jehoiachin was also said to have done all that was evil in the sight of the Lord. The king of Babylon now makes Mattaniah king and renames him Zedekiah (Mattaniah is Josiah’s third son and Jehoiachin’s uncle). Zedekiah is twenty-one when he becomes king and reigns for eleven years in Jerusalem. He too does all that was evil in the sight of the Lord, despite having the prophet Jeremiah as his counsellor.

The fall of Jerusalem

[2Kings 25; 2Chr 36:13-23; Jer 52] Zedekiah rebels against Babylon resulting in a siege of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, lasting for eighteen months and causing a great famine in the city. The city is overcome and Zedekiah and his household try to escape, but are captured and taken prisoner. He is made to witness the killing of his sons; then his eyes are gouged out. He is then put in chains and thrown in prison where he stays for the rest of his life. The city is later burned, including the temple. All the temple furniture had been taken, and the people taken captive in a total of three waves over a period of several years. And so the fall of Jerusalem and the exile of the Jews begins, reckoned in the year 606 B.C. When Nebuchadnezzar is succeeded by Evilmerodach, Jehoiachin, now about fifty years old, is released from prison and made king above the lesser kings in Babylon, a position he holds until his death.
30-Day Reading Plan This is a 30-day reading plan based on an average of 15 minutes per session - a total read time of 7½ hours. The actual read times vary from 12 to 20 minutes to accommodate for practical read session end points. If the reading times don’t suit you, then simply go at your own pace and note where you finished. Please select your reading day below
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