The death of King Jeroboam II (2 Kings 14:28-14:29)

“Now the rest of the acts of King Jeroboam, and all that he did, and his might, how he fought, and how he recovered Damascus and Hamath for Israel, which had belonged to Judah, are they not written in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Israel? King Jeroboam slept with his ancestors, the kings of Israel. His son King Zechariah succeeded him.”

As usual if you want more information the lost “Book of the Annals of the Kings of Israel” will help you. This seems to be a very short summary of 41 years of a long and prosperous reign, when other kings got more attention. Somehow he had control of Damascus, which means that he must have conquered the Arameans. He also had the lands of the east bank, but we do not know how he got them back. Finally he took land from Judah, like his father. He was succeeded by his son King Zechariah.

The restoration of the Israelite territory (2 Kings 14:25-14:27)

“King Jeroboam II restored the border of Israel from Lebo-hamath as far as the Sea of the Arabah. This was according to the word of Yahweh, the God of Israel, which he spoke by his servant Jonah the son of Amittai, the prophet, who was from Gath-hepher. Yahweh saw that the distress of Israel was very bitter. There was no one left, bond or free. There was no one to help Israel. But Yahweh had not said that he would blot out the name of Israel from under heaven, so he saved them by the hand of King Jeroboam son of Joash.”

However, King Jeroboam II restored the original borders of Israel that were lost during the time of King Jehu, as in chapter 10. That was a big deal. Of course, this was accomplished by the word of Yahweh who took pity on Israel since no was on their side and he did not want to blot out their name. Yet within 50 years, Israel will be conquered. At this time they were more powerful than Judah. Yahweh seems to favor King Jeroboam II, who seems to have his own prophet, Jonah. This is the prophet Jonah who is usually assigned to the whale story in the Book of Jonah. He was from the northern area, Gath-hepher, which is Zebulun territory. There are no details of these various wars and how the territory was restored to Israel. Other northern prophets will appear about this time in the books of Amos and Hosea.

The reign of King Jeroboam II in Israel (783-743 BCE) (2 Kings 14:23-14:24)

“In the fifteenth year of King Amaziah son of King Joash of Judah, King Jeroboam son of King Joash of Israel began to reign in Samaria. He reigned forty-one years. He did what was evil in the sight of Yahweh. He did not depart from all the sins of King Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he caused Israel to sin.”

Now back to Israel, where King Jeroboam II ruled for 41 years. This was a long time and gets us to the mid 8th century BCE. He was the son of King Joash of Israel, just like King Amaziah was the son of King Joash of Judah. Of course he had the same name as the first king of Israel so he gets to be number II. He, however, like all the northern Israelite kings did evil in the sight of Yahweh, since he followed and sinned in the ways of his namesake and caused Israel to sin.

The death of King Amaziah in Judah (2 Kings 14:17-14:22)

“King Amaziah son of King Joash of Judah lived fifteen years after the death of King Joash son of King Jehoahaz of Israel. Now the rest of the deeds of King Amaziah, are they not written in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Judah? They made a conspiracy against him in Jerusalem. He fled to Lachish. But they sent after him to Lachish. They killed him there. Then they brought him back on horses. He was buried in Jerusalem with his ancestors in the city of David. All the people of Judah took Azariah, who was sixteen years old. They made him king to succeed his father King Amaziah. He built Elath and restored it to Judah, after King Amaziah slept with his ancestors.”

Once again we have the confusion of names. The father of King Amaziah was King Joash of Judah, while King Joash of Israel was the king who he fought with and lost. Of course, if you want more information, check with the lost “Book of the Annals of the Kings of Judah.” I am actually surprised that the kingship still existed in Judah after the defeat by King Joash of Israel. This was the same with King Jehu, who killed the king of Judah also in chapter 9. The northern kings seem to step back after almost annihilating Judah and its kings. King Amaziah seems to have outlived King Joash until some kind of conspiracy rose up against him. They killed him in Lachish, which is southwest of Jerusalem. They actually may have been the children whose fathers King Amaziah had killed at the beginning of his reign. However, they brought back his body to bury him in Jerusalem with his ancestors. In another play on words, Azariah succeeded Amaziah to become king. You had to be careful with your consonants.   King Azariah conquered Elath, which was near the Red Sea.

The death of King Joash of Israel (2 Kings 14:15-14:16)

“Now the rest of the acts that King Joash did, his might, and how he fought with King Amaziah of Judah, are they not written in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Israel? King Joash slept with his ancestors. He was buried in Samaria with the kings of Israel. Then his son King Jeroboam succeeded him.”

If you want more information about King Joash, then check with your lost “Book of the Annals of the Kings of Israel.” Like the other northern Israelite kings, he died and was buried in Samaria. His son became King Jeroboam II.

Israel defeats Judah (2 Kings 14:11-14:14)

“King Amaziah would not listen. So King Joash of Israel went up. He and King Amaziah of Judah faced one another in battle at Beth-shemesh, which belonged to Judah. Judah was defeated by Israel. Every one fled home. King Joash of Israel captured King Amaziah of Judah, son of King Joash, son of King Ahaziah, at Beth-shemesh. He came to Jerusalem. He broke down the wall of Jerusalem from the Ephraim Gate to the Corner Gate, a distance of four hundred cubits. He seized all the gold and silver. He took all the vessels that were found in the house of Yahweh and in the treasuries of the king’s house. He also took hostages. Then King Joash returned to Samaria.”

King Amaziah would not listen to anyone. He wanted to fight the king of Israel, King Joash. They met at the battlefield in Beth-shemesh, which was in Judah territory. King Joash and Israel prevailed. They defeated and captured King Amaziah and the people of Judah. Everyone fled to their home. King Joash proceeded to Jerusalem where he broke down the northern wall in a section that was 200 yards or 600 feet long (400 cubits), a gaping hole. He took the gold, silver, and other treasures from the house of the king, the palace, and from Yahweh’s house, the temple. King Joash then took some hostages and went home to Samaria. They may have taken the hostages and let the king go. This was a crushing defeat for King Amaziah, Jerusalem, and Judah. The north had conquered the south.

The war of words between King Amaziah and King Joash (2 Kings 14:8-14:10)

“Then King Amaziah sent messengers to King Joash son of King Jehoahaz, son of King Jehu of Israel, saying. ‘Come! Let us look one another in the face.’ King Joash of Israel sent word to King Amaziah of Judah. ‘A thorn bush in Lebanon went to a cedar in Lebanon, saying. ‘Give your daughter to my son for a wife.’ But a wild animal of Lebanon passed by and trampled down the thorn bush. You have indeed defeated Edom. Your heart has lifted you up. Be content with your glory. Stay at home. Why should you provoke trouble so that you fall, you and Judah with you?’”

King Amaziah of Judah wanted to see who was better between him and King Joash of Israel. He wanted to have them look in the face at each other. However, King Joash said that would be like comparing a thorn bush to a Lebanon cedar tree. Wild animals would trample the thorn bust. He told King Amaziah to stay home and bask in the glory of his defeat of the Edomites. Do not provoke trouble for you and Judah. They were taunting each other.

King Amaziah kills the Edomites (2 Kings 14:7-14:7)

“King Amaziah killed ten thousand Edomites in the Valley of Salt. He took Sela by storm. He called it Joktheel, which is its name to this day.”

King Amaziah led an expedition to Edom, where he killed over 10,000 people. He renamed Sela Joktheel, which was its name when this biblical writer was alive. Edom was southeast of Judah and had revolted against his great grandfather King Jehoram earlier in chapter 8. The Valley of the Salt is where David had defeated the Edomites also.

King Amaziah kills the murders of his father (2 Kings 14:5-14:6)

“As soon as the royal power was firmly in his hand, King Amaziah killed his servants who had slaughtered his father King Joash. But he did not put to death the children of the murderers. According to what is written in the book of the Law of Moses, where Yahweh commanded. ‘The parents shall not be put to death for the children, or the children be put to death for the parents. All shall be put to death for their own sin.’”

One of the first acts of King Amaziah was to avenge the death of his father. For some unexplained reasons, the servants had killed his father. Now he in turn has killed them. However, there is the important remark about not killing their children. Many of the kings tried to wipe out entire families by killing their children so that there would be no heir. Here there is a strong reminder of the Mosaic Law that only the sinner, no one in his family, should be put to death. This is based on the explicit and exact saying from Deuteronomy, chapter 24, about individual responsibility. This is a further indication that this biblical author may have the same as Deuteronomy.

The reign of King Amaziah in Judah (796-781 BCE) (2 Kings 14:1-14:4)

In the second year of King Joash son of King Jehoahaz of Israel, King Amaziah son of King Joash of Judah began to reign. He was twenty-five years old when he began to reign. He reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jehoaddin of Jerusalem. He did what was right in the sight of Yahweh, yet not like David his ancestor. He did in all things as his father King Joash had done. But the high places were not removed. The people still sacrificed and burned incense on the high places.”

The 25 year old son of King Joash began his rule after the murder of his father in the 2nd year of the rule of King Joash in Israel. Thus the short era of the 2 kings with the same name of Joash came to a quick end. King Amaziah has a different name than his grandfather King Ahaziah, because of the m and h. These names are tricky. However, King Amaziah was important because he ruled for 29 years. His mother was Jehoaddin who is only mentioned here. He was like King David, except for the fact that he was more like his father, King Joash. In other words, he followed Yahweh up to a point. He never removed the high places and the people still sacrificed and worshipped there.