Morning Light – September 4th, 2015

MLToday: [2 Kings Chapter Fifteen] The Procession of Kings. In this chapter we see the rapid succession of many kings in the northern kingdom of Israel. Israel’s rule is decided palace intrigues and assassination. The southern kingdom is preserved in the line of David as God has promised until Christ is born. During this time the northern kingdom continues to war with the southern kingdom while Assyria ominously begins to take territory in the north and eventually subjugate Samaria altogether.

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[2Ki 15:1-38 KJV] 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. 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. 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.

In this chapter we come to the fourth generation of the line of Jehu – the man that extinguished the line of Ahab and executed Jezebel. Because he was faithful to the word of the Lord over his life God promised him that his children would sit on the throne in Samaria unto their fourth generation. The fourth king in his line os was Zacharaiah. He was not a good king and as the kings before him he refused to take away the altars to the golden calf in Bethel and Dan. It is interesting to note that of all the encroachment of Syria and other nations against the northern tribes that the invaders never pillaged the altars in the locations. When the nations would invade Jerusalem (30 miles to the south) they continually pillaged the temple and robbed its silver and gold but the altar at Bethel was never touched according to the histories given.

Jehu’s line is now at it’s terminus and a man named Shallum assassinates Zachariah in full public view and takes the throne. In Judah meanwhile the line of David continues to rule in Azariah the son of Amaziah and his son Jotham after him. Azariah, also known as Uzziah was stricken with leprosy and his son Jotham was regeant in his stead for the majority of his rule. Uzziah was kept in a secluded house away from the people because of his disease. During this time Isaiah prophesied in Jerusalem and had a great vision of the glory of God:

[Isa 6:1-8 KJV] 1 In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. 2 Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. 3 And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, [is] the LORD of hosts: the whole earth [is] full of his glory. 4 And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke. 5 Then said I, Woe [is] me! for I am undone; because I [am] a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts. 6 Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, [which] he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: 7 And he laid [it] upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged. 8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here [am] I; send me.

We have quoted this passage in its entirety to point out that there is a historical context to the writings of the prophets. Remember that Jonah also prophesied during this time of the kings as well. In fact Jonah was the next significant prophet who was raised up during the lifetime of Elisha. Both Uzziah (Azariah) and his son Jotham were good kings save that as their predecessors they refused to remove the high places where the people still disobediently burned incense and made sacrifices to other gods.

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. 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.

After the fourth king in the line of Jehu (Zachariah) dies – his assassin (Shallum) reigns in his stead for only one month. He was likewise assassinated by Menahem. So you can see that while the line of David remains unbroken in the southern kingdom the throne of Israel is passed from family to family based on the intrigues and tumults in Samaria. During Menahem’s reign a fateful thing happens. Israel catches the eye of the king of Assyria. Menehem in order to secure his own rule makes a covenant with Assyria and exacts a thousand talents of silver from the wealthy families in the land. This satisfies the king of Assyria for now though he will return later and take the entire northern kingdom into captivity from which they shall not return. Assyria throughout scripture is connected to the antichrist and the beast system.

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. 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.

Shallum assassinated Zachariah and terminates the line of Jehu. Menehem kills Shallum after only one month in power and takes the throne. Menehem is successful in ceding the northern throne to his son Pekahiah and during the time of Pekahiah’s reign the Assyrians return and begin to carve up the northern kingdom and take its people into captivity. Pekahiah was not a good king and the son of the captain of his host (and his namesake) assassinates him and reigns in his stead. Peka not only rules over the fragmenting kingdom that is being taken piecemeal to Assyria as captives, he also joins the Assyrians in warfare against the southern kingdom. There is another conspiracy and a man by the name of Hoshea conspires against Peka the captians son and assassinates him and becomes king in his stead.

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.

While the northern kingdom suffers a constant change in rules through assassination and revolt the southern kingdom is relatively stable through 50 years under king Uzziah although Uzziah suffers from leprosy. Why did Uzziah contract leprosy? In the chronicles of the kings the further information is given – Uzziah presumed upon the office of the priesthood and went into the Holy of Holies. As a result he suffers from leprosy. His son Jotham ruled in his behalf as regeant and after his death takes the throne altogether. You will remember from the last chaper that 500 yards of the walls of Jerusalem had been destroyed and during Jotham’s reign reconstruction began to repair the breaches thereof. During the closing days of Jotham’s reign the Assyrians who have subjugated the northern tribes now begin to encroach upon the south in confederacy with the king in Samaria. Samaria and all the northern tribes will soon go completely into captivity and disappear from history but God will intervene in Judah to preserve the line of David to bring forth Christ.

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