“The word of Yahweh
Came to Hosea,
The son of Beeri.
This was in the days
Of King Uzziah,
Of King Jotham,
Of King Ahaz,
Of King Hezekiah,
Kings of Judah.
This was in the days
Of King Jeroboam.
The son of Joash,
The king of Israel.”
Hosea was a prophet during the last days of the kingdom of Israel in the 8th century BCE. He also was the earliest Israelite written prophet that we know of. This work of Hosea is considered the first of the 12 minor prophets. In a classic prophetic phrase, the word of Yahweh came to Hosea, the son of Beeri, who may have been a prophet himself. At that time, the kings of Judah were King Uzziah (781-740 BCE), King Jotham (740-736 BCE), King Ahaz (736-716 BCE), and King Hezekiah (716-687 BCE), spanning nearly 100 years. Meanwhile, the king of Israel mentioned here was only King Jeroboam II (783-743 BCE), the son of King Joash (798-783 BCE). That would eliminate all the Judean kings after King Uzziah. The last 4 kings of Israel were King Menahem, (743-738 BCE), King Pekahiah (738-737 BCE), King Pekah (737-732 BCE), and King Hoshea (732-724 BCE), but they were not mentioned here.
“In the year
That King Uzziah died,
I saw Yahweh
Sitting on a throne,
High and lofty.”
Now we have the call of Isaiah. Should this not have been at the beginning of this book? Here it is found with a series of oracles about the war with the Assyrians. King Uzziah, also known as King Azariah, had been King of Judah from around 792-742 BCE, about 50 years. He ruled first with his father King Joash and then with his son King Jotham, when he was struck with leprosy, as noted in 2 Kings, chapter 15, and 2 Chronicles, chapter 26. In this vision, Isaiah saw Yahweh sitting on his high lofty throne in the Temple in the year aht King Uzziah had died, 742 BCE.
“King Amaziah son of King Joash of Judah lived fifteen years after the death of King Joash son of Jehoahaz of Israel. Now the rest of the deeds of King Amaziah, from first to last, are they not written in the Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel? From the time that King Amaziah turned away from Yahweh they made a conspiracy against him in Jerusalem. He fled to Lachish. But they went after him to Lachish. They killed him there. They brought him back on horses. He was buried with his ancestors in the city of David.”
Once again this is based on 2 Kings, chapter 14, almost word for word. 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 and Israel.” I am not sure whether this is referring to the biblical book of Kings, or the lost annals about the kings of Judah and Israel. 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. 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.
“However, King Amaziah would not listen. This was God’s doing, in order to hand him over to his enemies, because they had sought the gods of Edom. So King Joash of Israel went up, as he and King Amaziah of Judah faced one another in battle at Beth-shemesh, which belongs to Judah. Judah was defeated by Israel. Everyone fled home. King Joash king of Israel captured King Amaziah of Judah, son of Joash, son of Ahaziah, at Beth-shemesh. He brought him 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, and all the vessels that were found in the house of God, as well as Obed-edom with them. He seized also the treasuries of the king’s house and also hostages. He then returned to Samaria.”
Once again, this is based on 2 Kings, chapter 14, word for word except for a different opening twist. King Amaziah would not listen to anyone. Here, however, it is the work of God because he had worshipped false gods, which was not mentioned in 2 Kings. King Amaziah 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 own homes. 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), that left 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. This was a crushing defeat for King Amaziah, Jerusalem, and Judah. The north had conquered the south.
“Then King Amaziah of Judah took counsel and sent to King Joash son of Jehoahaz, son of 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 on Lebanon sent to a cedar on Lebanon, saying. ‘Give your daughter to my son for a wife.’ However, a wild animal of Lebanon passed by and trampled down the thorn bush. You say. ‘See! I have defeated Edom.’ Your heart has lifted you up in boastfulness. But now stay at home! Why should you provoke trouble so that you fall, you and Judah with you?’”
This is similar to 2 Kings, chapter 14, almost word for word at times. 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 this 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. He told him not to provoke trouble between Israel and Judah. They were taunting each other. King Joash had been the name of King Amaziah’s father, but the two King Joashs were not related. One was in Judah and the other in Israel.
“King Amaziah was twenty-five years old when he began to reign. He reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jehoaddan of Jerusalem. He did what was right in the sight of Yahweh, yet not with a true heart. As soon as the royal power was firmly in his hand, he killed his servants who had murdered his father the king, King Joash. However, he did not put their children to death, according to what is written in the law, in the book 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 sins.”
Parts of this section are almost word for word from 2 Kings, chapter 12. The 25 year old son of King Joash began his rule after the murder of his father. Thus the short era of the 2 kings of Judah and Israel with the same name of Joash came to a quick end. King Amaziah had 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 Jehoaddan or Jehoaddin as she was called in 2 Kings. One of his first actions was to avenge the death of his father by killing his servants who had murdered his father. 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.
“At the end of the year, the army of Aram came up against King Joash. They came to Judah and Jerusalem. They destroyed all the officials of the people from among them. They sent all the booty they took to the king of Damascus. Although the army of the Arameans had come with few men, Yahweh delivered into their hand a very great army, because they had abandoned Yahweh, the God of their ancestors. Thus the Arameans executed judgment on King Joash.”
This is rewritten from 2 Kings, chapter 12. Instead of King Hazael of the Arameans coming to capture Jerusalem, here it is a small Aramean army. Instead of King Joash giving the Arameans money not to attack, the Arameans attack, kill the leaders, and take their wealth. Here it is a personal defeat for King Joash instead of a payoff to the Arameans for them to go home and leave Jerusalem alone.
“King Joash gave a command. They made a chest. They set it outside the gate of the house of Yahweh. A proclamation was made throughout Judah and Jerusalem to bring in the tax that Moses the servant of God laid on Israel in the wilderness for Yahweh. All the leaders and all the people rejoiced. They brought their tax and dropped it into the chest until it was full. Whenever the chest was brought to the king’s officers by the Levites, when they saw that there was a large amount of money in it, the king’s secretary and the officer of the chief priest would come and empty the chest. They took it and returned it to its place. So they did day after day. They collected money in abundance.”
This once again is loosely based on 2 Kings, chapter 12. Here it is King Joash not the priest Jehoiada who had an idea to leave a chest with a hole in top on the right side of the altar. Here it is a tax that Moses demanded in the wilderness. It is unclear when Moses imposed such a tax. All the money that was given to the temple went into this chest. Here the chest is outside the Temple while in 2 Kings, it was by the altar. When the money chest got full, the secretary and the high priest would take it away. Apparently this was on a daily basis. Here they did not count it as in 2 Kings. This program seemed to be successful as the money poured in.
“King Joash was seven years old when he began to reign. He reigned forty years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Zibiah of Beer-sheba. King Joash did what was right in the sight of Yahweh all the days of the priest Jehoiada. Jehoiada got two wives for him. He had sons and daughters.”
This is almost word for word from 2 Kings, chapter 12, except there is nothing about how people were still worshipping and making sacrifices at the high places. This biblical chronicler decided not to mention that. King Joash was 7 when he was crowned king. King Joash ruled for 40 years so that his impact was important. He was a good king because he followed Yahweh as long as the priest Jehoiada was there to guide him. He had been instructed by the priest Jehoiada during his first 7 years. Once again we see the importance of early childhood learning. Zibiah was his mother but we never hear of her otherwise, unlike Athaliah or Jezebel. Notice the priest Jehoiada got him 2 wives.