The death of the false prophets (Jer 29:21-29:23)

“Thus says Yahweh of hosts,

The God of Israel,

Concerning Ahab,

The son of Kolaiah,

As well as Zedekiah,

The son of Maaseiah.

‘They were prophesying a lie

To you in my name.

I am going to deliver them

Into the hand

Of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon.

He shall kill them

Before your eyes.

On account of them,

This curse shall be used

By all the exiles from Judah

In Babylon.

‘Yahweh makes you

Like Zedekiah,

Like Ahab,

Whom the king of Babylon

Roasted in the fire.’

Because they have

Perpetuated outrage

In Israel.

They have committed adultery

With their neighbors’ wives.

They have spoken in my name

Lying words

That I did not command them.

I am the one who knows.

I bear witness.

Says Yahweh.’”

Yahweh talked about two prophets whom King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon roasted in a fire. These two prophets were Ahab, the son of Kolaiah, and Zedekiah, the son of Maaseiah. There was a king of northern Israel in the 9th century (874-853 BCE) named King Ahab with his wife Jezebel, who had confrontations with the prophet Elijah, as found in 1 Kings, chapters 16-22. However, this Ahab is only mentioned here. Zedekiah has the same name as the current king of Judah. His father Maaseiah was also the father of the priest Zephaniah, mentioned in chapter 21. This Zedekiah is not mentioned elsewhere either. These two prophets were prophesying lies that Yahweh had not commanded, so that they deserved to be killed by the king of Babylon. We do not know exactly what lies they were telling, but they also were adulterers. They may have tried to rebel against the king. Thus their names would be a curse.

The death of King Ahaziah (2 Chr 22:7-22:9)

“But it was ordained by God that the downfall of King Ahaziah should come about through his going to visit King Jehoram. For when he came there he went out with King Jehoram to meet Jehu the son of Nimshi, whom Yahweh had anointed to destroy the house of King Ahab. When Jehu was executing judgment on the house of King Ahab, he met the officials of Judah and the sons of King Ahaziah’s brothers, who attended King Ahaziah. Then he killed them. He searched for King Ahaziah. He was captured while hiding in Samaria. He was brought to Jehu and put to death. They buried him. They said. ‘He is the grandson of Jehoshaphat, who sought Yahweh with all his heart.’ The house of King Ahaziah had no one able to rule the kingdom.”

Now we are loosely following 2 Kings, chapter 9. Jehu, the anointed commander of the Israelite army, killed King Jehoram of Israel. Then he saw the officials of Judah and tried to kill them. King Ahaziah of Judah took off when he saw what had happened to his uncle. It is strange that he fled north to Samaria when Judah was south. He died there and not in Megiddo in northern Manasseh, as in 2 Kings. There is no mention here that they carried him in a chariot to Jerusalem, where he was buried with his ancestors in the city of David as in 2 Kings. However, they allowed him to be buried because of his holy grandfather, King Jehoshaphat.

King Ahaziah joins with King Jehoram of Israel (2 Chr 22:5-22:6)

“He even followed their advice. He went with King Jehoram of Israel, the son of Ahab, to make war against King Hazael of Aram at Ramoth-gilead. The Arameans wounded King Jehoram. He returned to Jezreel to be healed of the wounds which he had received at Ramah, when he fought against King Hazael of Aram. King Ahaziah son of King Jehoram of Judah went down to see King Jehoram son of King Ahab in Jezreel, because he was sick.”

Once again this is very close to 2 Kings, chapter 8. He followed the advice of his counselors and went to battle with his uncle King Jehoram of Israel at Ramoth-gilead. This seems to be a favorite spot to do battle with the Arameans. This is the same spot where King Ahab of Israel was killed when King Jehoshaphat of Judah went to fight the Arameans in 1 Kings, chapter 22. Now it is 12 years later when disaster strikes again. King Jehoram of Israel was wounded so that he returned to Jezreel. His nephew, King Ahaziah went to see him there at Jezreel because he was sick or wounded as in 2 Kings.

King Ahaziah (2 Chr 22:1-22:4)

“The inhabitants of Jerusalem made the youngest son of King Jehoram Ahaziah king as his successor. The troops who came with the Arabs to the camp had killed all the older sons. So King Ahaziah son of King Jehoram reigned as king of Judah. King Ahaziah was forty-two years old when he began to reign. He reigned one year in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Athaliah, a granddaughter of King Omri of Israel. He also walked in the ways of the house of King Ahab, because his mother was his counselor in doing wickedly. He did what was evil in the sight of Yahweh, as the house of King Ahab had done. After the death of his father they were his counselors, to his ruin.”

Once again, this is loosely based on 2 Kings, chapter 8. King Ahaziah, the son of King Jehoram of Judah, was the nephew of King Jehoram of Israel. Thus he was the great grandson of King Omri of Israel, since his mother was Athaliah, the sister of King Jehoram of Israel and daughter of King Ahab of Israel. This King Ahaziah of Judah had the same name as King Ahaziah of Israel, who was his uncle. He may have been named after him. They both had short reigns as kings. Therefore, he walked in the evil ways of the house of King Ahab. However, there are 2 problems with King Ahaziah besides his short reign of 1 year. First, he was called Jehoahaz in the preceding chapter as the only son left after the killing of all the sons of Jehoram. The reference is to the same person. The 2nd problem is his age. Here he is 42 years old, which makes no sense since his father died at the age of 40. In 2 Kings, he was 22, which means that he probably was an older son of King Jehoram since he was born when King Jehoram was 18. In any case, he is young and wicked. He following the advice of the Israelite family of King Ahab since his mother had some influence on him. This would seem to indicate the younger age.

The crime of King Jehoram (2 Chr 21:4-21:7)

“When King Jehoram had ascended the throne of his father and was established, he put all his brothers to the sword, and also some of the officials of Israel. King Jehoram was thirty-two years old when he began to reign. He reigned eight years in Jerusalem. He walked in the way of the kings of Israel, as the house of King Ahab had done. The daughter of King Ahab was his wife. He did what was evil in the sight of the Yahweh. Yet Yahweh would not destroy the house of David, because of the covenant that he had made with David. He had promised to give a lamp to him and to his descendents forever.”

This section is based on 2 Kings, chapter 8. This is almost word for word except for the beginning additional notice that he killed all 6 of his brothers. This almost sound like what King Jehu of Israel did to the family of King Ahab, which now includes this King Jehoram. In 2 Kings it merely mentioned that he walked in the evil ways of the Israelite kings. King Jehoram was 32 when he began to rule and he ruled for 8 years, so he died at the age of 40, not too old. This became the time of the 2 kings named Jehoram that lasted 8 years since they both died about 841 BCE. One was king in Israel and the other king in Judah. Not only did they have the same names, they were brothers-in-law. This King Jehoram in Judah had married the sister of King Jehoram in Israel, another son of King Ahab of Israel. However, Yahweh did not destroy King Jehoram of Judah because he had promised David a descendent forever.

My Understanding of 2 Kings

The second book of Kings is a follow up to the first book of Kings. Originally this was one book. Thus most people believe that it was the same author who wrote both of these books, 1 and 2 Kings. 2 Kings used some of the same sources, the lost “Book of the Annals of the Kings of Judah” and the “Book of the Annals of the Kings of Israel.” Despite the fact that this book was called “kings,” there was quite a lot about the prophet Elisha, who was a disciple of Elijah, and his relationship to the kings. This 2 Kings followed the exploits of the kings in Israel and Judah. This book ended with the capture and destruction of Jerusalem and the exile of the leaders in Judah. Earlier in this book of 2 Kings, the Assyrians captured Samaria and transported the people out of Israel. Then the final conclusion was the Babylonian defeat of Judah and Jerusalem with the deportation of the people to Babylon. Thus this is not a book with a happy ending. Throughout this book we see the history of the kings of Israel and Judah as each king was mentioned.

2 Kings started out with the prophet Elijah and King Ahaziah of Israel. Elijah kept burning up the men that King Ahaziah sent to bring him back to the king, until finally the last group was successful. Then the two prophets Elijah and Elisha went to Bethel, Jericho, and the Jordan River as Elijah was taken up to heaven in a fiery chariot. The prophet Elisha picked up the mantel of Elijah as they searched in vain for Elijah. The prophet Elisha then performed a few miracles.

During the reign of King Jehoram in Israel, there was a revolt of King Mesha of Moab. King Jehoshaphat of Judah joined King Jehoram against Moab. They picked up the king of Edom as these three kings set out, despite a lack of water. In order to get help they decided to consult with the prophet Elisha. Meanwhile, the people of Moab thought that the three kings had attacked each other so they simply came to loot their camp. However, the Moabites suffered a bad defeat when the three kings were still there willing to fight.

The prophet Elisha continued to perform miracles with a widow and the never ending oil. He also had a second home at Shumen, where a Shunammite woman was very kind to him. When her son died, Elisha came and restored her dead son. Elisha made a bad poisonous stew good as well as multiplied barley loaves. He even cured Naaman, the commander of the Aramean forces, who had leprosy. However, his servant Gehazi tried to get money for this cure so that he ended up with the leprosy himself.

The prophet Elisha warned the king of Israel that the Arameans were coming. Somehow Elisha knew their plans, so the Arameans went after Elisha. However, Elisha had Yahweh strike them blind. He then led the blind Arameans to Samaria where they were captured but were treated fairly well.

Meanwhile there was a siege and famine in Samaria so that some of the people resorted to cannibalism. The king was mad at the prophet Elisha since he blamed Elisha for the famine. However, Elisha announced the imminent end of the crisis. Four lepers discovered that the Aramean camp had been abandoned because Yahweh made them think that a great army was attacking them. The four lepers told the king, but he was skeptical about the deserted Aramean camp. Finally, the Israelites plundered the abandoned Aramean camp. The Shunammite woman and her son had avoided the famine by going to a different country. However, when she returned, the king helped the Shunammite woman and her son. The prophet Elisha went to Damascus where he met Hazael who then killed King Ben-hadad and became king himself.

Then King Ahaziah in Judah went to war with King Hazael of Aram. The prophet Elisha sent a disciple to anoint Jehu the new king. King Jehu then murdered King Jehoram of Israel in the Naboth vineyard, King Ahaziah of Judah, and the Queen mother Jezebel. King Jehu sent letters to the seventy sons of King Ahab. He then asked for their heads so this led to a complete massacre of the royal family of Israel and Judah. Thus the complete family of King Ahab was wiped out. King Jehu then assembled all the Baal believers for a great worship service, where he massacred them also. However, King Jehu was not perfect as he lost some territories.

Queen Athaliah tried to destroy the royal family, but the people crowned her hidden grandson Joash as the king in Judah. Then she was killed as they destroyed the temple of Baal. As king, King Joash wanted money to repair the temple. Then King Joash sent gifts to King Hazael before he defeated the new king of the Arameans. Finally, Elisha the prophet died after his last request with a prophecy and a miracle.

King Amaziah in Judah killed the murders of his father. He also killed the Edomites. He had a war of words King Joash of Israel so that Israel defeated Judah. Under King Jeroboam II in Israel, there was a restoration of the Israelite territory. King Azariah in Judah was the leper king with his son Jotham. Meanwhile there were a series of three kings in Israel as they each killed each other. Finally King Menahem in Israel paid off the king of Assyria. However, the king of Assyria attacked King Pekah in Israel. Hoshea revolted and then became King Hoshea. King Ahaz in Judah withstood the siege of Jerusalem and made a treaty with Assyria. He even had an altar built in Jerusalem based on one he saw in Damascus, as he removed things from the temple in Jerusalem.

During the reign of King Hoshea in Israel, Samaria was taken by the Assyrians in 724 BCE. Of course, this was due to the evils of the people in the Israelite kingdom, as they did not follow the prophets and commandments of Yahweh. Thus they were wiped out. The leaders were taken into captivity in Assyria. This led to the repopulation of Israel and the introduction of foreign gods into Samaria. The origins of the Samaritans can be traced back to these foreigners in Samaria intermarrying with the poor people who stayed behind.

The Kingdom of Judah was to last about a hundred and forty years longer. The good King Hezekiah of Judah withstood the invasion of King Sennacherib of Assyria, who had taken over Israel in the north. A number of officials met in Jerusalem where they were warned about making treaties with Egypt. King Hezekiah sent his advisors to the prophet Isaiah, who told them to stand firm. King Sennacherib sent a letter to King Hezekiah, who then prayed to Yahweh. Yahweh responded that the king of Assyria would not attack Jerusalem. Yahweh instead killed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers as King Sennacherib also died.

The prophet Isaiah told King Hezekiah that he was going to die, but then reversed himself as he healed King Hezekiah. Meanwhile, the ambassadors of Merodach came to King Hezekiah who showed them everything about Jerusalem. The prophet Isaiah was upset at King Hezekiah for doing this and predicted the downfall of Jerusalem to Babylon. Eventually King Hezekiah died.

Following King Hezekiah were two bad kings. King Manasseh ruled for forty-five years. During his time, he desecrated the temple in Jerusalem. Yahweh was not happy about this. Eventually King Manasseh died and King Amon ruled Judah for two years.

Then the good King Josiah led a religious reform in Judah for over thirty years as he made repairs to the temple. During these repairs, they discovered the book or scroll of the law. They read this book and consulted with the prophetess Huldah. She told them to have a solemn reading of the law with a covenant renewal. Thus there was a religious reform at the temple, the house of Yahweh. They destroyed all the high places in Judah and the foreign god’s worship places. They even went north to Bethel to destroy the altar and tombs there and also the high places throughout Samaria. Then they held a public celebration of the Passover as they concluded the year of religious reform. Despite all this reform of King Josiah, the Day of Judgment for Judah was coming as King Josiah died.

King Jehoahaz, his son ruled for only a year. His brother King Jehoiakim in Judah then ruled for ten years as the invasion of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon took place. King Jehoiakim died, as the extensive kingdom of Babylon laid siege to Jerusalem and the first deportation to Babylon took place. The Babylonian king named King Zedekiah as king in Judah until finally Jerusalem was captured and destroyed. The Babylonians took all the valuable things from the temple and killed all the leaders of Judah at Riblah. King Nebuchadnezzar appointed Gedaliah as the governor of Judah, but a revolt by Ishmael put an end to that. Meanwhile King Jehoiachin lived in exile under pleasant circumstances. So the end of Israel and Judah was complete as the Exiles of the eighth and sixth centuries BCE were in full swing.

Yahweh’s response to the ways of King Manasseh (2 Kings 21:10-21:15)

“Yahweh said by his servants the prophets. ‘King Manasseh of Judah has committed these abominations. He has done things more wicked than all that the Amorites did, who were before him. He has caused Judah also to sin with his idols. Therefore thus says Yahweh, the God of Israel. I am bringing upon Jerusalem and Judah such evil that the ears of everyone who hears of it will tingle. I will stretch over Jerusalem the measuring line for Samaria, and the plummet for the house of King Ahab. I will wipe Jerusalem as one wipes a dish, wiping it and turning it upside down. I will cast off the remnant of my heritage. I will give them into the hand of their enemies. They shall become a prey and a spoil to all their enemies, because they have done what is evil in my sight. They have provoked me to anger, since the day their ancestors came out of Egypt, even to this day.’”

In a very colorful presentation, Yahweh responded to his prophets about the evil ways of King Manasseh, which were wickeder than the Amorites. King Manasseh had caused Jerusalem and Judah to sin. Yahweh was going to send such an evil upon them that their ears would tingle. What a wonderful phrase, tingling ears. Like a builder, he would use his tools for measuring Samaria and their evil King Ahab compared to Jerusalem. He was going to wipe out Jerusalem. Their enemies would overtake them. He was going to wipe out the Israelites because they have not listened to Yahweh since the days that he brought them out of Egypt. Thus it seems that the captivity of Babylon will be blamed on King Manasseh. Despite his faithfulness, Yahweh can no longer stand these sinners, as not even the remnant will be saved.

The long reign of King Manasseh in Judah (687-642 BCE) (2 Kings 21:1-21:3)

“King Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign. He reigned fifty-five years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Hephzibah. He did what was evil in the sight of Yahweh, following the abominable practices of the nations whom Yahweh drove out before the people of Israel. He rebuilt the high places that his father King Hezekiah had destroyed. He erected altars for Baal. He made a sacred pole as King Ahab of Israel had done. He worshiped all the host of heaven, and served them.”

This new young king was named after the tribe of Manasseh. His mother must have had some role in the rule since he was only 12 when he took the throne. He ruled for over 55 years. Once again there is a problem with numbers. The Jerusalem Bible has him ruling only 45 years. Anyway, it was a very long time, one of the longest reigns of any of these kings. After the wonderful King Hezekiah, his son King Manasseh was one of the worst kings in the sight of Yahweh. King Hezekiah ruled for nearly 30 years. You would think that he would have made a better imprint on the country and his son. For some reason this bad King Manasseh gets to rule for such a long time in Jerusalem. He followed the practices of the people who were driven out of Israel. The monotheistic Yahweh worship suffered a setback during his rule as king. He undid all the work of his father. He rebuilt all the high places and erected altars for Baal. He seemed to follow the terrible King Ahab of Israel with the sacred poles. He worshiped many gods.

King Jehu assembles all Baal believers for a great worship service (2 Kings 10:18-10:24)

“Then King Jehu assembled all the people. He said to them. ‘King Ahab offered Baal a small service. However, King Jehu will offer much more. Now therefore summon to me all the prophets of Baal, all his worshipers and all his priests. Let none be missing. I have a great sacrifice to offer to Baal. Whoever is missing shall not live.’ But King Jehu was acting with cunning in order to destroy the worshipers of Baal. King Jehu decreed. ‘Sanctify a solemn assembly for Baal.’ So they proclaimed it. King Jehu sent word throughout all Israel. All the worshipers of Baal came, so that there was no one left who did not come. They entered the temple of Baal, until the temple of Baal was filled from wall to wall. He said to the keeper of the wardrobe. ‘Bring out the vestments for all the worshipers of Baal.’ So he brought out the vestments for them. Then King Jehu entered the temple of Baal with Jehonadab son of Rechab. He said to the worshipers of Baal. ‘Search and make sure that there is no worshipper of Yahweh here among you, but only the worshipers of Baal.’ Then he went in to offer sacrifices and burnt offerings.”

King Jehu said that King Ahab had worshipped Baal a little bit, but he wanted to worship Baal much more. He wanted to have a great big Baal worship sacrifice celebration. He called all the Baal prophets, priests, and worshippers to offer a great sacrifice to Baal. If any Baal believer did not show up, they would be killed. Thus the Baal people were very happy. This was the cunning plot of King Jehu to get rid of these Baal worshippers. They all came together at the house of Baal and put on the vestments of worship. He even made sure that there were no worshippers who were not Baal worshippers. This seems like one big happy family of Baal worshippers. Then he went in to offer sacrifices and burnt offerings.

The complete massacre of the royal family of Israel (2 Kings 10:8-10:11)

“When the messenger came and told him. ‘They have brought the heads of the king’s sons.’ King Jehu said. ‘Lay them in two heaps at the entrance of the gate until the morning.’ Then in the morning, when he went out, he stood, and said to all the people. ‘You are innocent. It was I who conspired against my master, and killed him. But who struck down all these? Know then that there shall fall to the earth nothing of the word of Yahweh, which Yahweh spoke concerning the house of King Ahab. Yahweh has done what he said by his servant Elijah.’ King Jehu killed all who were left of the house of Ahab in Jezreel, all his leaders, close friends, and his priests, until he left him no survivor.”

You guessed it, why not the whole family and friends? King Jehu had the heads of the 70 sons of King Ahab placed on a heap at the city gate. He went out there and said he was guilty of killed King Jehoram. However, Yahweh wanted the whole family of Ahab wiped out as pronounced by the prophet Elijah in 1 Kings, chapter 21. Then King Jehu wiped out and killed anyone close to the house of King Ahab. All the leaders, friends, and priests did not survive the wrath of King Jehu, Elijah, and Yahweh.