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Kings of Israel 5

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When we left off last time, Kings had taken a small departure in its style of writing. Instead of having chapters devoted to a king’s reign, we only had a few lines.

2 Kings 15

27 In the fifty-second year of Azariah king of Judah, Pekah son of Remaliah became king of Israel in Samaria,

That’s after he assassinated Pekahiah and took the throne.

and he reigned twenty years. 28 He did evil in the eyes of the Lord. He did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit.

During his reign the king of Assyria was able to conquer more and more of Israel’s land and started to take them into captivity. We’ll find out why very soon. 

30 Then Hoshea son of Elah conspired against Pekah son of Remaliah. He attacked and assassinated him, and then succeeded him as king in the twentieth year of Jotham son of Uzziah.



Over to Judah

32 In the second year of Pekah son of Remaliah king of Israel, Jotham son of Uzziah king of Judah began to reign. 33 He was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem sixteen years. His mother’s name was Jerusha daughter of Zadok. 34 He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, just as his father Uzziah had done. 35 The high places, however, were not removed; the people continued to offer sacrifices and burn incense there. Jotham rebuilt the Upper Gate of the temple of the Lord.

38 Jotham rested with his fathers and was buried with them in the City of David, the city of his father. And Ahaz his son succeeded him as king.

 

16 In the seventeenth year of Pekah son of Remaliah, Ahaz son of Jotham king of Judah began to reign. 2 Ahaz was twenty years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem sixteen years. Unlike David his father, he did not do what was right in the eyes of the Lord his God. 3 He walked in the ways of the kings of Israel and even sacrificed his son in the fire, following the detestable ways of the nations the Lord had driven out before the Israelites. 4 He offered sacrifices and burned incense at the high places, on the hilltops and under every spreading tree.

During his reign, Pekah (the king of Israel) joined forces with Rezin (the king of Aram) and marched on Jerusalem. Although they did not win the war, they did win an important battle. The result gave the Edomites control of an important sea port.

Why didn’t Israel win the battle over Judah? Because of God’s promise to David for a remnant to survive.

Then (and this really surprised me when I read it)…

7 Ahaz sent messengers to say to Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria, “I am your servant and vassal. Come up and save me out of the hand of the king of Aram and of the king of Israel, who are attacking me.” 8 And Ahaz took the silver and gold found in the temple of the Lord and in the treasuries of the royal palace and sent it as a gift to the king of Assyria. 9 The king of Assyria complied by attacking Damascus and capturing it. He deported its inhabitants to Kir and put Rezin to death.

Did you get that? Ahaz asked the man who would be responsible for exiling the Jews to help him.

Wait it get’s worse.

10 Then King Ahaz went to Damascus to meet Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria. He saw an altar in Damascus and sent to Uriah the priest a sketch of the altar, with detailed plans for its construction.

What kind of altars would they have in Damascus? Pagan alters. 

11 So Uriah the priest built an altar in accordance with all the plans that King Ahaz had sent from Damascus and finished it before King Ahaz returned. 12 When the king came back from Damascus and saw the altar, he approached it and presented offerings on it.

He liked this new altar so much he had the altar Solomon made for the original temple moved to another place in the temple, and put his altar where it had been. Then he instructed the priest to offer sacrifices on the new altar. With the new altar in place, the rest of Solomon’s decorations didn’t quite go anymore. So…

17 King Ahaz took away the side panels and removed the basins from the movable stands. He removed the Sea from the bronze bulls that supported it and set it on a stone base. 18 He took away the Sabbath canopy that had been built at the temple and removed the royal entryway outside the temple of the Lord, in deference to the king of Assyria.

20 Ahaz rested with his fathers and was buried with them in the City of David. And Hezekiah his son succeeded him as king.

 

Over to Israel

17 In the twelfth year of Ahaz king of Judah, Hoshea son of Elah became king of Israel in Samaria, and he reigned nine years.   

2 He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, but not like the kings of Israel who preceded him.

Notice that he is not compared to Jeroboam.

Also notice that unlike the other kings Hoshea did not become king when his father died. If you look at the chart, you will see that their reigns overlapped. It was like they shared the kingdom for a year or so. During this time, Ahaz had been paying off the king of Assyria not to go to war with him.

We’ve seen that this was a common practice. But after his father died. Hoshea decided to stop paying the King of Assyria and sent envoys to the King of Egypt to see if they could form an alliance. When the King of Assyria heard about the plan…

5 The king of Assyria invaded the entire land, marched against Samaria and laid siege to it for three years. 6 In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria captured Samaria and deported the Israelites to Assyria.

The author of Kings however wants everyone to know…

7 All this took place because the Israelites had sinned against the Lord their God, who had brought them up out of Egypt from under the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt. They worshiped other gods 8 and followed the practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before them, as well as the practices that the kings of Israel had introduced. 9 The Israelites secretly did things against the Lord their God that were not right. From watchtower to fortified city they built themselves high places in all their towns. 10 They set up sacred stones and Asherah poles on every high hill and under every spreading tree. 11 At every high place they burned incense, as the nations whom the Lord had driven out before them had done. They did wicked things that provoked the Lord to anger. 12 They worshiped idols, though the Lord had said, “You shall not do this.” 

13 The Lord warned Israel and Judah through all his prophets and seers: “Turn from your evil ways. Observe my commands and decrees, in accordance with the entire Law that I commanded your fathers to obey and that I delivered to you through my servants the prophets.”

14 But they would not listen and were as stiff-necked as their fathers, who did not trust in the Lord their God. 15 They rejected his decrees and the covenant he had made with their fathers and the warnings he had given them. They followed worthless idols and themselves became worthless. They imitated the nations around them although the Lord had ordered them, “Do not do as they do,” and they did the things the Lord had forbidden them to do.

16 They forsook all the commands of the Lord their God and made for themselves two idols cast in the shape of calves, and an Asherah pole. They bowed down to all the starry hosts, and they worshiped Baal. 17 They sacrificed their sons and daughters in the fire. They practiced divination and sorcery and sold themselves to do evil in the eyes of the Lord, provoking him to anger.

18 So the Lord was very angry with Israel and removed them from his presence. Only the tribe of Judah was left, 

20 Therefore the Lord rejected all the people of Israel; he afflicted them and gave them into the hands of plunderers, until he thrust them from his presence.

Over to Judah

18 In the third year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, Hezekiah son of Ahaz king of Judah began to reign. 2 He was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-nine years. His mother’s name was Abijah daughter of Zechariah. 3 He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, just as his father David had done. 4 He removed the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles. He broke into pieces the bronze snake Moses had made, for up to that time the Israelites had been burning incense to it.

5 Hezekiah trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him. 6 He held fast to the Lord and did not cease to follow him; he kept the commands the Lord had given Moses. 7 And the Lord was with him; he was successful in whatever he undertook. He rebelled against the king of Assyria and did not serve him.        8 From watchtower to fortified city, he defeated the Philistines, as far as Gaza and its territory.

He was king for four years when Israel was taken into captivity.

13 In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah’s reign, Sennacherib king of Assyria attacked all the fortified cities of Judah and captured them.

Assyria was so successful in conquering Israel that she set her sights on little Judah too. Now its important that we don’t forget even though Hezekiah was a great king and faithful to the Lord, Judah had many, many years of doing evil in the Lord’s sight. Judah was just as guilty of sin as Israel.

Not wanting to go to war or be sent into exile Hezekiah sends a message to the king of Assyria and offers to pay him off.

15 So Hezekiah gave him all the silver that was found in the temple of the Lord and in the treasuries of the royal palace [11 tons of silver and 1 ton of gold].

Sennacherib said that it wasn’t enough. In fact, he wanted them to surrender. He had 2 things in his favor. 1. Egypt was not to be trusted and 2.

25 Furthermore, have I come to attack and destroy this place without word from the Lord? The Lord himself told me to march against this country and destroy it.’”

So to accomplish this, Sennacherib sent a military leader to Jerusalem.

28 Then the commander stood and called out in Hebrew: “Hear the word of the great king, the king of Assyria! 29 This is what the king says: Do not let Hezekiah deceive you. He cannot deliver you from my hand. 30 Do not let Hezekiah persuade you to trust in the Lord when he says, ‘The Lord will surely deliver us; this city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.’

31 “Do not listen to Hezekiah. This is what the king of Assyria says: Make peace with me and come out to me. Then every one of you will eat from his own vine and fig tree and drink water from his own cistern, 32 until I come and take you to a land like your own, a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of olive trees and honey. Choose life and not death!

Then he went too far. He asked the people if their God could save them?

“Do not listen to Hezekiah, for he is misleading you when he says, ‘The Lord will deliver us.’ 33 Has the god of any nation ever delivered his land from the hand of the king of Assyria?

19 When King Hezekiah heard this, he tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and went into the temple of the Lord. 2 He sent Eliakim the palace administrator, Shebna the secretary and the leading priests, all wearing sackcloth, to the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz.

How did God communicate with the king? Through a prophet.

5 When King Hezekiah’s officials came to Isaiah, 6 Isaiah said to them, “Tell your master, ‘This is what the Lord says: Do not be afraid of what you have heard—those words with which the underlings of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me.

7 Listen! I am going to put such a spirit in him that when he hears a certain report, he will return to his own country, and there I will have him cut down with the sword.’”

Soon after that Sennacherib discovers that the king of Egypt is marching out to meet him. So he sent another messenger to Hezekiah and warns him not to fight. And this time Sennacherib says the same thing his official did; that no god had saved their people before.

Hezekiah went to them temple and prayed.

Isaiah told him not to be afraid. Since Sennacherib had blasphemed the Lord when he equated Him with other gods, the Lord would personally demonstrate to the Assyrian king who was boss.

35 That night the angel of the Lord went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand men in the Assyrian camp. When the people got up the next morning—there were all the dead bodies! 36 So Sennacherib king of Assyria broke camp and withdrew. He returned to Nineveh and stayed there.

37 One day, while he was worshiping in the temple of his god Nisroch, his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer cut him down with the sword, and they escaped to the land of Ararat. And Esarhaddon his son succeeded him as king.

 

We have studied chapter 20 before. Hezekiah gets sick and asks Isaiah to ask God if he’s going to die. God says yes. Hezekiah prays and God tells Isaiah that he will heal him and add 15 years to his life. Then instead of saying thank you, Hezekiah asked for a sign to know that this was true.

20: 9 Isaiah answered, “This is the Lord’s sign to you that the  Lord will do what he has promised: Shall the shadow go forward ten steps, or shall it go back ten steps?”

10 “It is a simple matter for the shadow to go forward ten steps,” said Hezekiah. “Rather, have it go back ten steps.”

11 Then the prophet Isaiah called upon the Lord, and the Lord made the shadow go back the ten steps it had gone down on the stairway of Ahaz.

 

Soon after he recovered, the king of Babylon sent a messenger with a get well gift to Hezekiah. And then Hezekiah did a strange thing. He took this messenger and showed him all his wealth and riches. They did a storehouse by storehouse tour of the kingdom. It was like he showed the thief where all the good stuff was.

So God sends Isaiah in for a reality check.

16 Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Hear the word of the Lord:      17 The time will surely come when everything in your palace, and all that your fathers have stored up until this day, will be carried off to Babylon. Nothing will be left, says the Lord. 

18 And some of your descendants, your own flesh and blood, that will be born to you, will be taken away, and they will become eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.”

21 Hezekiah rested with his fathers. And Manasseh his son succeeded him as king.

21 Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-five years. His mother’s name was Hephzibah. 2 He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, following the detestable practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before the Israelites. 3 He rebuilt the high places his father Hezekiah had destroyed; he also erected altars to Baal and made an Asherah pole, as Ahab king of Israel had done. He bowed down to all the starry hosts and worshiped them. 4 He built altars in the temple of the Lord, of which the Lord had said, “In Jerusalem I will put my Name.”

5 In both courts of the temple of the Lord, he built altars to all the starry hosts. 6 He sacrificed his own son in the fire, practiced sorcery and divination, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the eyes of the Lord, provoking him to anger. 

So God sends the king a prophet and says enough is enough.



13 I will stretch out over Jerusalem the measuring line used against Samaria and the plumb line used against the house of Ahab. I will wipe out Jerusalem as one wipes a dish, wiping it and turning it upside down. 14 I will forsake the remnant of my inheritance and hand them over to their enemies. They will be looted and plundered by all their foes, 15 because they have done evil in my eyes and have provoked me to anger from the day their forefathers came out of Egypt until this day.” 

18 Manasseh rested with his fathers and was buried in his palace garden, the garden of Uzza. And Amon his son succeeded him as king.

 

19 Amon was twenty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem two years. His mother’s name was Meshullemeth daughter of Haruz; she was from Jotbah. 20 He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, as his father Manasseh had done. 21 He walked in all the ways of his father; he worshiped the idols his father had worshiped, and bowed down to them. 22 He forsook the Lord, the God of his fathers, and did not walk in the way of the Lord.



23 Amon’s officials conspired against him and assassinated the king in his palace. 24 Then the people of the land killed all who had plotted against King Amon, and they made Josiah his son king in his place.



22 Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem thirty-one years. His mother’s name was Jedidah daughter of Adaiah; she was from Bozkath. 2 He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and walked in all the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left.

When he was 26 years old, he hired workers to repair the temple. In the process the high priest found a copy of the Book of the Law.

11 When the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, he tore his robes.

And told the priest 

13 “Go and inquire of the Lord for me and for the people and for all Judah about what is written in this book that has been found. Great is the Lord’s anger that burns against us because our fathers have not obeyed the words of this book; they have not acted in accordance with all that is written there concerning us.”

So the priests went to see a prophetess.

15 She said to them, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Tell the man who sent you to me, 16 ‘This is what the Lord says: I am going to bring disaster on this place and its people, according to everything written in the book the king of Judah has read. 17 Because they have forsaken me and burned incense to other gods and provoked me to anger by all the idols their hands have made,  my anger will burn against this place and will not be quenched.’ 18 Tell the king of Judah, who sent you to inquire of the Lord, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says concerning the words you heard: 19 Because your heart was responsive and you humbled yourself before the Lord when you heard what I have spoken against this place and its people, that they would become accursed and laid waste, and because you tore your robes and wept in my presence, I have heard you, declares the Lord. 20 Therefore I will gather you to your fathers, and you will be buried in peace. Your eyes will not see all the disaster I am going to bring on this place.’”

23 Then the king called together all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. 2 He went up to the temple of the Lord with the men of Judah, the people of Jerusalem, the priests and the prophets—all the people from the least to the greatest. He read in their hearing all the words of the Book of the Covenant, which had been found in the temple of the Lord. 3 The king stood by the pillar and renewed the covenant in the presence of the Lord—to follow the Lord and keep his commands, regulations and decrees with all his heart and all his soul, thus confirming the words of the covenant written in this book. Then all the people pledged themselves to the covenant.

  • Then they cleansed the temple.
  • The priests took all the pagan idols and utensils and anything else the previous kings had added to the temple out side the city walls and burned them.
    • To prevent the people from collecting the ashes of the burned idols, they collected them and took them to Bethel.
  • They removed all the high places and shrine prostitutes, throughout the kingdom.
    • To make sure no one would ever rebuild those places, they killed pagan priests and burned their bodies at the site.

When everything was in order,

21 The king gave this order to all the people: “Celebrate the Passover to the Lord your God, as it is written in this Book of the Covenant.” 22 Not since the days of the judges who led Israel, nor throughout the days of the kings of Israel and the kings of Judah, had any such Passover been observed. 23 But in the eighteenth year of King Josiah, this Passover was celebrated to the Lord in Jerusalem.

That’s not to say that they didn’t celebrate the Passover in 400 years, it just means that they followed the instructions in the law to the letter.

24 Furthermore, Josiah got rid of the mediums and spiritists, the household gods, the idols and all the other detestable things seen in Judah and Jerusalem. This he did to fulfill the requirements of the law written in the book that Hilkiah the priest had discovered in the temple of the Lord. 25 Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him who turned to the Lord as he did—with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength, in accordance with all the Law of Moses.



26 Nevertheless, the Lord did not turn away from the heat of his fierce anger, which burned against Judah because of all that Manasseh had done to provoke him to anger. 27 So the Lord said, “I will remove Judah also from my presence as I removed Israel, and I will reject Jerusalem, the city I chose, and this temple, about which I said, ‘There shall my Name be.’ ”

The warning for is here is that we are not condemned nor saved by our leaders. Each one of us is accountable for our actions.



29 While Josiah was king, Pharaoh Neco king of Egypt went up to the Euphrates River to help the king of Assyria.

Wait a minute I though Assyria & Egypt were sworn enemies. God can use anyone to achieve his purpose.

King Josiah marched out to meet him in battle, but Neco faced him and killed him at Megiddo. 30 Josiah’s servants brought his body in a chariot from Megiddo to Jerusalem and buried him in his own tomb. And the people of the land took Jehoahaz son of Josiah and anointed him and made him king in place of his father.

 

31 Jehoahaz was twenty-three years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months. His mother’s name was Hamutal daughter of Jeremiah; she was from Libnah. 32 He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, just as his fathers had done.

33 Pharaoh Neco put him in chains at Riblah in the land of Hamath so that he might not reign in Jerusalem, and he imposed on Judah a levy of a hundred talents [3.75 tons] of silver and a talent [75 punds] of gold. 34 Pharaoh Neco made Eliakim son of Josiah king in place of his father Josiah and changed Eliakim’s name to Jehoiakim. But he took Jehoahaz and carried him off to Egypt, and there he died. 35 Jehoiakim paid Pharaoh Neco the silver and gold he demanded. In order to do so, he taxed the land and exacted the silver and gold from the people of the land according to their assessments.

36 Jehoiakim was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eleven years. His mother’s name was Zebidah daughter of Pedaiah; she was from Rumah. 37 And he did evil in the eyes of the Lord, just as his fathers had done.

24 During Jehoiakim’s reign, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon invaded the land, and Jehoiakim became his vassal for three years. But then he changed his mind and rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar. 2 The Lord sent Babylonian, Aramean, Moabite and Ammonite raiders against him. He sent them to destroy Judah, in accordance with the word of the Lord proclaimed by his servants the prophets.

6 Jehoiakim rested with his fathers. And Jehoiachin his son succeeded him as king.

 

I love this next part.

7 The king of Egypt did not march out from his own country again, because the king of Babylon had taken all his territory, from the Wadi of Egypt to the Euphrates River.

8 Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months. His mother’s name was Nehushta daughter of Elnathan; she was from Jerusalem. 9 He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, just as his father had done.

10 At that time the officers of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon advanced on Jerusalem and laid siege to it, 11 and Nebuchadnezzar himself came up to the city while his officers were besieging it. 12 Jehoiachin king of Judah, his mother, his attendants, his nobles and his officials all surrendered to him.

14 He carried into exile all Jerusalem: all the officers and fighting men, and all the craftsmen and artisans—a total of ten thousand. Only the poorest people of the land were left.

15 Nebuchadnezzar took Jehoiachin captive to Babylon. He also took from Jerusalem to Babylon the king’s mother, his wives, his officials and the leading men of the land. 

17 [Nebuchadnezzar] made Mattaniah, Jehoiachin’s uncle, king in his place and changed his name to Zedekiah.

 

18 Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eleven years. His mother’s name was Hamutal daughter of Jeremiah; she was from Libnah.                 19 He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, just as Jehoiakim had done. 

20b Now Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon.

25 So in the ninth year of Zedekiah’s reign, on the tenth day of the tenth month, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon marched against Jerusalem with his whole army. He encamped outside the city and built siege works all around it. 2 The city was kept under siege until the eleventh year of King Zedekiah – [2 years.]

3 By the ninth day of the fourth month the famine in the city had become so severe that there was no food for the people to eat.

The Babylonians breached the wall in 2 places and the people made a run for it.

6 and Zedekiah was captured. He was taken to the king of Babylon at Riblah, where sentence was pronounced on him.              7 They killed the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes. Then they put out his eyes, bound him with bronze shackles and took him to Babylon.

We know the Babylonian army looted and destroyed the temple and the king’s palace and virtually burned Jerusalem to the ground. They broke down the walls and carried Judah off into exile.



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