2 Kings 19-20: Peace and prosperity in the days of the King

II Kings 19:

1  As soon as King Hezekiah heard it, he tore his clothes and covered himself with sackcloth and went into the house of the LORD. 2  And he sent Eliakim, who was over the household, and Shebna the secretary, and the senior priests, covered with sackcloth, to the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz. 3  They said to him, “Thus says Hezekiah, This day is a day of distress, of rebuke, and of disgrace; children have come to the point of birth, and there is no strength to bring them forth. 4  It may be that the LORD your God heard all the words of the Rabshakeh, whom his master the king of Assyria has sent to mock the living God, and will rebuke the words that the LORD your God has heard; therefore lift up your prayer for the remnant that is left.” 5  When the servants of King Hezekiah came to Isaiah, 6  Isaiah said to them, “Say to your master, ‘Thus says the LORD: Do not be afraid because of the words that you have heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have reviled me. 7  Behold, I will put a spirit in him, so that he shall hear a rumor and return to his own land, and I will make him fall by the sword in his own land.’”

 

Hezekiah’s hope is high – “It may be that your Christ heard all the words of Rabshakeh, whom his master the king of Assyria has sent to mock the Father, and will rebuke the words that your Christ has heard; therefore lift up your prayer for the remnant that is left” (a more Christocentric translation of the Hebrew).  He knows that the Son has heard these mocking words of blasphemy from Rabshakeh, and that the Father as His witness would rebuke these same words (c.f. John 8:18).  Isaiah thus prays for a spirit of fear to be placed in the heart of this Assyrian king, despite the prideful man’s many victories against neighbouring nations for these nations too have relied on their gods to deliver them, but to no avail:

 

8  The Rabshakeh returned, and found the king of Assyria fighting against Libnah, for he heard that the king had left Lachish. 9  Now the king heard concerning Tirhakah king of Cush, “Behold, he has set out to fight against you.” So he sent messengers again to Hezekiah, saying, 10  “Thus shall you speak to Hezekiah king of Judah: ‘Do not let your God in whom you trust deceive you by promising that Jerusalem will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria. 11  Behold, you have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands, devoting them to destruction. And shall you be delivered? 12  Have the gods of the nations delivered them, the nations that my fathers destroyed, Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, and the people of Eden who were in Telassar? 13  Where is the king of Hamath, the king of Arpad, the king of the city of Sepharvaim, the king of Hena, or the king of Ivvah?’”

 

14  Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers and read it; and Hezekiah went up to the house of the LORD and spread it before the LORD. 15  And Hezekiah prayed before the LORD and said: “O LORD the God of Israel, who is enthroned above the cherubim, you are the God, you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; you have made heaven and earth. 16  Incline your ear, O LORD, and hear; open your eyes, O LORD, and see; and hear the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to mock the living God. 17  Truly, O LORD, the kings of Assyria have laid waste the nations and their lands 18  and have cast their gods into the fire, for they were not gods, but the work of men’s hands, wood and stone. Therefore they were destroyed. 19  So now, O LORD our God, save us, please, from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you, O LORD, are God alone.”

 

It is refreshing to see a king lying prostrate before the King of the heavens – the LORD who is enthroned above the cherubim, above the mercy seat in the house of the LORD before which Hezekiah prayed (Exodus 25:22).  The kings of Assyria have rightly cast the gods of these nations into the fire, “for they were not gods, but the work of men’s hands”.  Is that not the same pandemic facing the world today?  Let us therefore wait on the true LORD to save us from the false leaders of this world, so that the glory of God may be revealed for all to see and be shamed!

 

Thus says the LORD through Isaiah:

 

20  Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah, saying, “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: Your prayer to me about Sennacherib king of Assyria I have heard. 21  This is the word that the LORD has spoken concerning him:

 

“She despises you, she scorns you—

the virgin daughter of Zion;

she wags her head behind you—

the daughter of Jerusalem.

22  “Whom have you mocked and reviled?

Against whom have you raised your voice

and lifted your eyes to the heights?

Against the Holy One of Israel!

23  By your messengers you have mocked the Lord,

and you have said, ‘With my many chariots

I have gone up the heights of the mountains,

to the far recesses of Lebanon;

I felled its tallest cedars,

its choicest cypresses;

I entered its farthest lodging place,

its most fruitful forest.

24  I dug wells

and drank foreign waters,

and I dried up with the sole of my foot

all the streams of Egypt.’

25  “Have you not heard

that I determined it long ago?

I planned from days of old

what now I bring to pass,

that you should turn fortified cities

into heaps of ruins,

26  while their inhabitants, shorn of strength,

are dismayed and confounded,

and have become like plants of the field

and like tender grass,

like grass on the housetops,

blighted before it is grown.

27  “But I know your sitting down

and your going out and coming in,

and your raging against me.

28  Because you have raged against me

and your complacency has come into my ears,

I will put my hook in your nose

and my bit in your mouth,

and I will turn you back on the way

by which you came.

 

These words of judgment against Sennacherib are staunch reminders of how Sennacherib could even potentially achieve victory against Israel to begin with – because the LORD allows it (v.25) – the LORD’s plan from days of old, that is to save men from their sins by the sacrifice of His divine Son (Genesis 3:15).  The Holy One of Israel is not pleased (c.f. Isaiah 41) – for He is the Christ, the remnant of the house of Judah who shall take root downward and bear fruit upward (c.f. Psalm 1).  “The zeal of the LORD will do this”.  Indeed, it is this same zeal of the LORD that the one remnant Jesus Christ indeed took root in the international church and bore fruit for the Gentiles to feed from Him (Romans 11).

 

29  “And this shall be the sign for you: this year eat what grows of itself, and in the second year what springs of the same. Then in the third year sow and reap and plant vineyards, and eat their fruit. 30  And the surviving remnant of the house of Judah shall again take root downward and bear fruit upward. 31  For out of Jerusalem shall go a remnant, and out of Mount Zion a band of survivors. The zeal of the LORD will do this.

 

32  “Therefore thus says the LORD concerning the king of Assyria: He shall not come into this city or shoot an arrow there, or come before it with a shield or cast up a siege mound against it. 33  By the way that he came, by the same he shall return, and he shall not come into this city, declares the LORD. 34  For I will defend this city to save it, for my own sake and for the sake of my servant David.”

 

Thus, the messenger of the LORD Jesus Christ went out to strike down many men in the Assyrian camps, pushing Sennacherib back home to Nineveh, worshipping his false god Nisroch (the great eagle) when he should have hid under His wings (c.f. Ezekiel 1:10).  Yet, his demise is akin to the demise of those conspiring kings of Israel – being struck down by Adrammelech (splendor of the king) and Sharezer (prince of fire) only to pave way to Esarhaddon (victor), the irony that his son is named after one of the idols Adrammelech.  This does not bode well for the royal family of Assyria has they increasingly ignore the might and presence of Christ Jesus, hence their eventual ruin:

 

35  And that night the angel of the LORD went out and struck down 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians. And when people arose early in the morning, behold, these were all dead bodies. 36  Then Sennacherib king of Assyria departed and went home and lived at Nineveh. 37  And as he was worshiping in the house of Nisroch his god, Adrammelech and Sharezer, his sons, struck him down with the sword and escaped into the land of Ararat. And Esarhaddon his son reigned in his place.

 

II Kings 20:

1  In those days Hezekiah became sick and was at the point of death. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came to him and said to him, “Thus says the LORD, ‘Set your house in order, for you shall die; you shall not recover.’” 2  Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD, saying, 3  “Now, O LORD, please remember how I have walked before you in faithfulness and with a whole heart, and have done what is good in your sight.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly. 4  And before Isaiah had gone out of the middle court, the word of the LORD came to him: 5  “Turn back, and say to Hezekiah the leader of my people, Thus says the LORD, the God of David your father: I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears. Behold, I will heal you. On the third day you shall go up to the house of the LORD, 6  and I will add fifteen years to your life. I will deliver you and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria, and I will defend this city for my own sake and for my servant David’s sake.” 7  And Isaiah said, “Bring a cake of figs. And let them take and lay it on the boil, that he may recover.”

 

Thus, on the third day, the son of God is given life (v.5) – fifteen years of more life for the purpose of seeing Jerusalem redeemed from the hand of the king of Assyria.  Yet, this life is not eternal, and is a reminder that Hezekiah serves only as a shadow and reminder to the Christ who shall rise again to achieve an eternal peace in New Jerusalem.  Thus Hezekiah recovers from a cake of sweet figs (1 Samuel 30:12)  contrary to the fig tree without figs, which offends Christ (Mark 11:13-14; sign of peace and prosperity – c.f. 1 Kings 4:25; Micah 4:4; Zechariah 3:10).

 

8  And Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “What shall be the sign that the LORD will heal me, and that I shall go up to the house of the LORD on the third day?” 9  And Isaiah said, “This shall be the sign to you from the LORD, that the LORD will do the thing that he has promised: shall the shadow go forward ten steps, or go back ten steps?” 10  And Hezekiah answered, “It is an easy thing for the shadow to lengthen ten steps. Rather let the shadow go back ten steps.” 11  And Isaiah the prophet called to the LORD, and he brought the shadow back ten steps, by which it had gone down on the steps of Ahaz.

 

This event is also recorded in Isaiah 38.  In the words of Matthew Henry:

 

He cried unto the Lord by special warrant and direction, and God brought the sun back ten degrees, which appeared to Hezekiah (for the sign was intended for him) by the going back of the shadow upon the dial of Ahaz, which, it is likely, he could see through his chamber-window; and the same was observed upon all other dials, even in Babylon, 2 Chron. xxxii. 31. Whether this retrograde motion of the sun was gradual or per saltum–suddenly–whether it went back at the same pace that it used to go forward, which would make the day ten hours longer than usual–or whether it darted back on a sudden, and, after continuing a little while, was restored again to its usual place, so that no change was made in the state of the heavenly bodies (as the learned bishop Patrick thinks)–we are not told; but this work of wonder shows the power of God in heaven as well as on earth, the great notice he takes of prayer, and the great favour he bears to his chosen. The most plausible idolatry of the heathen was theirs that worshipped the sun; yet that was hereby convicted of the most egregious folly and absurdity, for by this it appeared that their god was under the check of the God of Israel. Dr. Lightfoot suggests that the fifteen songs of degrees (Ps. cxx., &c.) might perhaps be so called because selected by Hezekiah to be sung to his stringed instruments (Isa. xxxviii. 20) in remembrance of the degrees on the dial which the sun went back and the fifteen years added to his life; and he observes how much of these psalms is applicable to Jerusalem’s distress and deliverance and Hezekiah’s sickness and recovery.

 

12  At that time Merodach-baladan the son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent envoys with letters and a present to Hezekiah, for he heard that Hezekiah had been sick. 13  And Hezekiah welcomed them, and he showed them all his treasure house, the silver, the gold, the spices, the precious oil, his armory, all that was found in his storehouses. There was nothing in his house or in all his realm that Hezekiah did not show them. 14  Then Isaiah the prophet came to King Hezekiah, and said to him, “What did these men say? And from where did they come to you?” And Hezekiah said, “They have come from a far country, from Babylon.” 15  He said, “What have they seen in your house?” And Hezekiah answered, “They have seen all that is in my house; there is nothing in my storehouses that I did not show them.”

 

Yet, in spite of Hezekiah’s recovery, he opens his house to the man ominously entitled Merodach-baladan, the son of Baladan – meaning death who has given a son.  The son of death therefore takes Hezekiah to Sheol, and Isaiah pronounces the inevitable judgment on Israel:

 

16  Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Hear the word of the LORD: 17  Behold, the days are coming, when all that is in your house, and that which your fathers have stored up till this day, shall be carried to Babylon. Nothing shall be left, says the LORD. 18  And some of your own sons, who shall be born to you, shall be taken away, and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.” 19  Then said Hezekiah to Isaiah, “The word of the LORD that you have spoken is good.” For he thought, “Why not, if there will be peace and security in my days?”

 

20  The rest of the deeds of Hezekiah and all his might and how he made the pool and the conduit and brought water into the city, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah? 21  And Hezekiah slept with his fathers, and Manasseh his son reigned in his place.

 

Yet, Hezekiah is not the promised son of Psalms 1-2.  He is but a faint (though incredibly influential and powerful) shadow, who brought temporary prosperity to Israel.  This is, however, not enough.  Note the LORD tested him through the son of death, these Babylonians, only to reveal Hezekiah’s flawed heart – the narrative showing a king whose life is marked by peace and security in his days.  This prophecy, however, would ring different in relation to Christ – whose peace and security in His days would be everlasting.  Perhaps this is why Hezekiah believes “the word of the LORD that you have spoken is good” (v.19) – for if only this were true also for Christ, then the eternal God-man would be able to bring far more peace and security than a sinful man like Hezekiah.  If Hezekiah, a tainted picture of what would otherwise be a glorious truth, a man reborn only to not make return according to the benefit done to him, could nonetheless bring temporal peace and prosperity – what more can the glorious Christ, the sinless God-man and Redeemer of Hezekiah, give to the future of Israel?  Yet, until then, we ponder on the life of Hezekiah as he points us towards the God whom he put his faith in (2 Chronicles 32:25-31):

 

25  But Hezekiah did not make return according to the benefit done to him, for his heart was proud. Therefore wrath came upon him and Judah and Jerusalem. 26  But Hezekiah humbled himself for the pride of his heart, both he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the wrath of the LORD did not come upon them in the days of Hezekiah.

 

27  And Hezekiah had very great riches and honor, and he made for himself treasuries for silver, for gold, for precious stones, for spices, for shields, and for all kinds of costly vessels; 28  storehouses also for the yield of grain, wine, and oil; and stalls for all kinds of cattle, and sheepfolds. 29  He likewise provided cities for himself, and flocks and herds in abundance, for God had given him very great possessions. 30  This same Hezekiah closed the upper outlet of the waters of Gihon and directed them down to the west side of the city of David. And Hezekiah prospered in all his works. 31  And so in the matter of the envoys of the princes of Babylon, who had been sent to him to inquire about the sign that had been done in the land, God left him to himself, in order to test him and to know all that was in his heart.

2 Kings 19-20: Peace and prosperity in the days of the King

2 Kings 17-18: Hezekiah, the son of the Father

II Kings 17:

1  In the twelfth year of Ahaz king of Judah, Hoshea the son of Elah began to reign in Samaria over Israel, and he reigned nine years. 2  And he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, yet not as the kings of Israel who were before him. 3  Against him came up Shalmaneser king of Assyria. And Hoshea became his vassal and paid him tribute. 4  But the king of Assyria found treachery in Hoshea, for he had sent messengers to So, king of Egypt, and offered no tribute to the king of Assyria, as he had done year by year. Therefore the king of Assyria shut him up and bound him in prison. 5  Then the king of Assyria invaded all the land and came to Samaria, and for three years he besieged it.

 

Note the increasing demise of Israel.  Hoshea is anything but like the Hoshea, the son of Nun (c.f. book of Joshua).  He does not bear the name Yeshua, nor is he the true salvation of Israel.  Shalmaneser (which could be translated as chained), however, lives up to his true name.  He is the one who shut up the king of Israel and bound him in prison.  “Salvation” is thus bound up – symbolically, Israel is to be chained to Assyria for many decades, scattered throughout Halah, Habor, river of Gozan and in the cities of the Medes:

 

6  In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria captured Samaria, and he carried the Israelites away to Assyria and placed them in Halah, and on the Habor, the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes.

 

This is not simply because the king of Israel walked in the ways of the previous kings of Israel – it was because the people of Israel sinned against the LORD, represented by the sinful king.  Instead of being in awe of the LORD, they were in awe of other gods (c.f. 2 Peter 2:22) which they had been saved from back in Moses’, Aaron’s and Joshua’s day.

 

7  And this occurred because the people of Israel had sinned against the LORD their God, who had brought them up out of the land of Egypt from under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and had feared other gods 8  and walked in the customs of the nations whom the LORD drove out before the people of Israel, and in the customs that the kings of Israel had practiced. 9  And the people of Israel did secretly against the LORD their God things that were not right. They built for themselves high places in all their towns, from watchtower to fortified city. 10  They set up for themselves pillars and Asherim on every high hill and under every green tree, 11  and there they made offerings on all the high places, as the nations did whom the LORD carried away before them. And they did wicked things, provoking the LORD to anger, 12  and they served idols, of which the LORD had said to them, “You shall not do this.” 13  Yet the LORD warned Israel and Judah by every prophet and every seer, saying, “Turn from your evil ways and keep my commandments and my statutes, in accordance with all the Law that I commanded your fathers, and that I sent to you by my servants the prophets.”

 

Yet, it is interesting that throughout this entire period of 1 Kings and 2 Kings, the LORD had consistently sent to the kings of Israel and kings of Judah prophets, seers, and men of God to remind the kings of them straying from the LORD.  The role of these Spirit-filled men was to simply remind them to cling onto Christ and walk in Him as David had walked, to simply keep His commandments (v.13; c.f. 1 Kings 1:10-45; 11:29; 12:22; 13:1-29; 14:2-18; 16:7-12; 17:18-24; 18:22-36; 19:16; 20:13-38; 22:7; 2 Kings 1:9-13; 3:11; 4:7-42; 5:3-13; 6:6-15; 7:2-19; 8:2-11; 9:1-4; 13:19; 14:25).  Instead of following Christ and being conformed to the image of God (Romans 8:29), “they went after false idols and became false” – conforming to the image of the false idol which they worshipped:

 

14  But they would not listen, but were stubborn, as their fathers had been, who did not believe in the LORD their God. 15  They despised his statutes and his covenant that he made with their fathers and the warnings that he gave them. They went after false idols and became false, and they followed the nations that were around them, concerning whom the LORD had commanded them that they should not do like them. 16  And they abandoned all the commandments of the LORD their God, and made for themselves metal images of two calves; and they made an Asherah and worshiped all the host of heaven and served Baal. 17  And they burned their sons and their daughters as offerings and used divination and omens and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the LORD, provoking him to anger. 18  Therefore the LORD was very angry with Israel and removed them out of his sight. None was left but the tribe of Judah only.

 

19  Judah also did not keep the commandments of the LORD their God, but walked in the customs that Israel had introduced. 20  And the LORD rejected all the descendants of Israel and afflicted them and gave them into the hand of plunderers, until he had cast them out of his sight.

 

Note that even Judah, although preserved (v.18), did not keep the commandments of the LORD and walked in the customs that Israel had introduced (v.19).  Instead, once Israel was torn from the house of David, the house of righteousness, Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, became king only to lead the majority of the kings of Israel (and sometimes of Judah) into sin (c.f. 1 Kings 13).  The narrator here therefore culminates his summary of the history of Israel with v.21-23, the apex of the pride and fall of Israel:

 

21  When he had torn Israel from the house of David, they made Jeroboam the son of Nebat king. And Jeroboam drove Israel from following the LORD and made them commit great sin. 22  The people of Israel walked in all the sins that Jeroboam did. They did not depart from them, 23  until the LORD removed Israel out of his sight, as he had spoken by all his servants the prophets. So Israel was exiled from their own land to Assyria until this day. 24  And the king of Assyria brought people from Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath, and Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the people of Israel. And they took possession of Samaria and lived in its cities. 25  And at the beginning of their dwelling there, they did not fear the LORD. Therefore the LORD sent lions among them, which killed some of them. 26  So the king of Assyria was told, “The nations that you have carried away and placed in the cities of Samaria do not know the law of the god of the land. Therefore he has sent lions among them, and behold, they are killing them, because they do not know the law of the god of the land.” 27  Then the king of Assyria commanded, “Send there one of the priests whom you carried away from there, and let him go and dwell there and teach them the law of the god of the land.” 28  So one of the priests whom they had carried away from Samaria came and lived in Bethel and taught them how they should fear the LORD.

 

However, despite the dispersion, the LORD’s efforts in destroying the Assyrians who did not fear the LORD (v.25); and even the Assyrian king eventually yielding to the LORD’s might by asking for one of the priests to teach the Assyrians how they should fear God, the reality was far different from the LORD’s plans.  “Every nation still made gods of its own and put them in the shrines of the high places that the Samaritans had made, every nation in the cities in which they lived” – even when the king of Assyria is beginning to fear the LORD, every nation still made their own gods, fearing no god but their own.  Such staunch idolatry of the neighbouring nations is but another sign of Israel’s failure to walk with Christ and be His body (c.f. Exodus 19:6):

 

29  But every nation still made gods of its own and put them in the shrines of the high places that the Samaritans had made, every nation in the cities in which they lived. 30  The men of Babylon made Succoth-benoth, the men of Cuth made Nergal, the men of Hamath made Ashima, 31  and the Avvites made Nibhaz and Tartak; and the Sepharvites burned their children in the fire to Adrammelech and Anammelech, the gods of Sepharvaim. 32  They also feared the LORD and appointed from among themselves all sorts of people as priests of the high places, who sacrificed for them in the shrines of the high places. 33  So they feared the LORD but also served their own gods, after the manner of the nations from among whom they had been carried away.

 

Every nation in which the Israelites lived, they did not witness nor were they fishers of men for Christ.  Note these false idols:

 

  • Babylon had Succoth-benoth (tents of daughters, the booths of prostitution);
  • Cuth had Nergal (hero);
  • Hamath had Ashima (crime/offence, Pan of the Greeks);
  • Avvites had Nibhaz (to bark, a dog-headed man) and Tartak (prince of darkness, in the form of an ass);
  • Sepharvaim had Adrammelech (splendor of the king, resembling Molech – male power of the sun) and Anammelech (image of the kingfemale power of the sun)

 

All also had the LORD, but also serving their own gods, after the manner of the nations from among whom they had been carried away.  What sadness, that each of these gods are still worshipped in some way, shape, or form today – yet, these are false idols, truly leading men to prostitution, as if they were worshipping a hero, as if their gods were splendors and images of the king – what lies!  The future of Israel looks dim, as Christ the LORD, His Unseen Father and Their Holy Spirit – are all but one of many Gods feared but without the same intimate relationship the saints have thus far enjoyed:

 

34  To this day they do according to the former manner. They do not fear the LORD, and they do not follow the statutes or the rules or the law or the commandment that the LORD commanded the children of Jacob, whom he named Israel. 35  The LORD made a covenant with them and commanded them, “You shall not fear other gods or bow yourselves to them or serve them or sacrifice to them, 36  but you shall fear the LORD, who brought you out of the land of Egypt with great power and with an outstretched arm. You shall bow yourselves to him, and to him you shall sacrifice. 37  And the statutes and the rules and the law and the commandment that he wrote for you, you shall always be careful to do. You shall not fear other gods, 38  and you shall not forget the covenant that I have made with you. You shall not fear other gods, 39  but you shall fear the LORD your God, and he will deliver you out of the hand of all your enemies.” 40  However, they would not listen, but they did according to their former manner.

 

41  So these nations feared the LORD and also served their carved images. Their children did likewise, and their children’s children—as their fathers did, so they do to this day.

 

II Kings 18:

1  In the third year of Hoshea son of Elah, king of Israel, Hezekiah the son of Ahaz, king of Judah, began to reign. 2  He was twenty-five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Abi the daughter of Zechariah. 3  And he did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, according to all that David his father had done. 4  He removed the high places and broke the pillars and cut down the Asherah. And he broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until those days the people of Israel had made offerings to it (it was called Nehushtan). 5  He trusted in the LORD the God of Israel, so that there was none like him among all the kings of Judah after him, nor among those who were before him. 6  For he held fast to the LORD. He did not depart from following him, but kept the commandments that the LORD commanded Moses. 7  And the LORD was with him; wherever he went out, he prospered. He rebelled against the king of Assyria and would not serve him. 8  He struck down the Philistines as far as Gaza and its territory, from watchtower to fortified city.

 

Despite the end of 2 Kings 17, as dim as the future of Israel seemed, the light enters into the darkness by way of Hezekiah, the son of Ahaz, king of Judah.  He is indeed the might of Jehovah, his mother called my father is the LORD.  This typological Son of the Father unsurprisingly walks as David did, doing what was right in the eyes of the LORD.  He fully trusted not in himself, nor in the various idols listed in 2 Kings 17, but he trusted in the LORD, holding fast to Him and did not depart from Him.  The bronze serpent, the type of Satan, was crucified on the cross (c.f. John 3:14) and lifted up by Moses, as a sign of the Son being lifted up and destroying the work of the evil one.  Instead, they worshipped the one to be destroyed.  Hezekiah fittingly should call it Nehushtan, a trifling thing of brass, for it is indeed but a piece of brass used to speak the gospel truth to the Israelites in the wilderness.  Note his reform in the first year of his reign, in the first month (2 Chronicles 29:3-11):

 

3  In the first year of his reign, in the first month, he opened the doors of the house of the LORD and repaired them. 4  He brought in the priests and the Levites and assembled them in the square on the east 5  and said to them, “Hear me, Levites! Now consecrate yourselves, and consecrate the house of the LORD, the God of your fathers, and carry out the filth from the Holy Place. 6  For our fathers have been unfaithful and have done what was evil in the sight of the LORD our God. They have forsaken him and have turned away their faces from the habitation of the LORD and turned their backs. 7  They also shut the doors of the vestibule and put out the lamps and have not burned incense or offered burnt offerings in the Holy Place to the God of Israel. 8  Therefore the wrath of the LORD came on Judah and Jerusalem, and he has made them an object of horror, of astonishment, and of hissing, as you see with your own eyes. 9  For behold, our fathers have fallen by the sword, and our sons and our daughters and our wives are in captivity for this. 10  Now it is in my heart to make a covenant with the LORD, the God of Israel, in order that his fierce anger may turn away from us. 11  My sons, do not now be negligent, for the LORD has chosen you to stand in his presence, to minister to him and to be his ministers and make offerings to him.

 

The work of King Ahaz is thus undone by the sevenfold sacrifice of bulls, rams, lambs, and male goats (2 Chronicles 29:21, 35-36), laying their hands on the scapegoat (2 Chronicles 29:23-24).  However, despite His faithfulness, the Israelites continued to transgress the LORD’s covenant, neither listening nor obeying:

 

9  In the fourth year of King Hezekiah, which was the seventh year of Hoshea son of Elah, king of Israel, Shalmaneser king of Assyria came up against Samaria and besieged it, 10  and at the end of three years he took it. In the sixth year of Hezekiah, which was the ninth year of Hoshea king of Israel, Samaria was taken. 11  The king of Assyria carried the Israelites away to Assyria and put them in Halah, and on the Habor, the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes, 12  because they did not obey the voice of the LORD their God but transgressed his covenant, even all that Moses the servant of the LORD commanded. They neither listened nor obeyed.

 

Although the previous king of Assyria had understood the LORD’s protection over Israel (2 Kings 17:27-28), the onslaught of Assyria shall not cease until Israel returns to the LORD.  Yet, they did not.  Sennacherib (sin, the god) named after an idol, thus taunts Israel, despite Hezekiah following Christ’s burden by self-sacrificing himself to take whatever Sennacherib would impose on him (v.14):

 

13  In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and took them. 14  And Hezekiah king of Judah sent to the king of Assyria at Lachish, saying, “I have done wrong; withdraw from me. Whatever you impose on me I will bear.” And the king of Assyria required of Hezekiah king of Judah three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold. 15  And Hezekiah gave him all the silver that was found in the house of the LORD and in the treasuries of the king’s house. 16  At that time Hezekiah stripped the gold from the doors of the temple of the LORD and from the doorposts that Hezekiah king of Judah had overlaid and gave it to the king of Assyria. 17  And the king of Assyria sent the Tartan, the Rab-saris, and the Rabshakeh with a great army from Lachish to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem. And they went up and came to Jerusalem. When they arrived, they came and stood by the conduit of the upper pool, which is on the highway to the Washer’s Field. 18  And when they called for the king, there came out to them Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, who was over the household, and Shebnah the secretary, and Joah the son of Asaph, the recorder.

 

The house of the LORD is thus stripped once again, yet the king of Assyria still sends his general, the chief of the Heads, and the chief cupbearer / of the princes (Tartan, Rabsaris, Rabshakeh) with a great army.  What the narrator of 2 Kings, however, fails to record are the words of encouragement from Hezekiah in such times of difficulty:

 

7  “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or dismayed before the king of Assyria and all the horde that is with him, for there are more with us than with him. 8  With him is an arm of flesh, but with us is the LORD our God, to help us and to fight our battles.” And the people took confidence from the words of Hezekiah king of Judah. – 2 Chronicles 32:7-8

 

19  And the Rabshakeh said to them, “Say to Hezekiah, ‘Thus says the great king, the king of Assyria: On what do you rest this trust of yours? 20  Do you think that mere words are strategy and power for war? In whom do you now trust, that you have rebelled against me? 21  Behold, you are trusting now in Egypt, that broken reed of a staff, which will pierce the hand of any man who leans on it. Such is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who trust in him. 22  But if you say to me, “We trust in the LORD our God,” is it not he whose high places and altars Hezekiah has removed, saying to Judah and to Jerusalem, “You shall worship before this altar in Jerusalem”? 23  Come now, make a wager with my master the king of Assyria: I will give you two thousand horses, if you are able on your part to set riders on them. 24  How then can you repulse a single captain among the least of my master’s servants, when you trust in Egypt for chariots and for horsemen? 25  Moreover, is it without the LORD that I have come up against this place to destroy it? The LORD said to me, Go up against this land, and destroy it.’”

 

What sarcasm and what lies (v.25) from this chief cupbearer / of the princes!  Yet, these are words of irony – for it is the Assyrians who are doomed to eat their own dung and drink their own urine:

 

26  Then Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, and Shebnah, and Joah, said to the Rabshakeh, “Please speak to your servants in Aramaic, for we understand it. Do not speak to us in the language of Judah within the hearing of the people who are on the wall.” 27  But the Rabshakeh said to them, “Has my master sent me to speak these words to your master and to you, and not to the men sitting on the wall, who are doomed with you to eat their own dung and to drink their own urine?” 28  Then the Rabshakeh stood and called out in a loud voice in the language of Judah: “Hear the word of the great king, the king of Assyria! 29  Thus says the king: ‘Do not let Hezekiah deceive you, for he will not be able to deliver you out of my hand. 30  Do not let Hezekiah make you trust in the LORD by saying, The LORD will surely deliver us, and this city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.’ 31  Do not listen to Hezekiah, for thus says the king of Assyria: ‘Make your peace with me and come out to me. Then each one of you will eat of his own vine, and each one of his own fig tree, and each one of you will drink the water of his own cistern, 32  until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of grain and wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of olive trees and honey, that you may live, and not die. And do not listen to Hezekiah when he misleads you by saying, The LORD will deliver us. 33  Has any of the gods of the nations ever delivered his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria? 34  Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah? Have they delivered Samaria out of my hand? 35  Who among all the gods of the lands have delivered their lands out of my hand, that the LORD should deliver Jerusalem out of my hand?’” 36  But the people were silent and answered him not a word, for the king’s command was, “Do not answer him.” 37  Then Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, who was over the household, and Shebna the secretary, and Joah the son of Asaph, the recorder, came to Hezekiah with their clothes torn and told him the words of the Rabshakeh.

 

Just as the end of 2 Kings 17 was dark, with Israel’s future entering its darkest time, so also these words of Sennacherib mark a dark period threatening the birth of the Messiah through Judah.  If Israel is taken over, what hope can there be?  “Who among all the gods of the lands have delivered their lands out of my hand, that the LORD should deliver Jerusalem out of my hand”?  Yet, it is exactly this question, that Hezekiah shall cling onto the LORD even more than before – to anticipate that Messiah who will be the light shining into the darkest of nights.

2 Kings 17-18: Hezekiah, the son of the Father

2 Kings 15-16: Conspiring against Jesus

II Kings 15:

1 In the twenty-seventh year of Jeroboam king of Israel, Azariah the son of Amaziah, king of Judah, began to reign.

2 He was sixteen years old when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty-two years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jecoliah of Jerusalem.

3 And he did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, according to all that his father Amaziah had done.

4 Nevertheless, the high places were not taken away. The people still sacrificed and made offerings on the high places.

5 And the LORD touched the king, so that he was a leper to the day of his death, and he lived in a separate house. And Jotham the king’s son was over the household, governing the people of the land.

6 Now 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 And Azariah slept with his fathers, and they buried him with his fathers in the city of David, and Jotham his son reigned in his place.

In continuation of these chronicles of the kings of Israel and Judah, we now come to king of Judah Azariah the son of Amaziah, whose mother’s name was the LORD’s power of Jerusalem (Jecoliah), doing what was right in accordance with his father’s name.  Yet, he became a leper thorugh his own arrogance, fully described in 2 Chronicles 26:16-20.  Although defeating the Philistines by seeking the LORD (2 Chronicles 26:6-15), given much strength and wisdom, his pride preceded him and led him to inappropriately burn incense on the altar of incense – forgetting that despite his righteous acts, he – like us – are born as sinful men.  Only the sons of Aaron are consecrated to do the job of burning incense; only the Messiah, the Priest-King, can do this.  Thus he decided his own future as the leper king:

16 But when he was strong, he grew proud, to his destruction. For he was unfaithful to the LORD his God and entered the temple of the LORD to burn incense on the altar of incense.

17 But Azariah the priest went in after him, with eighty priests of the LORD who were men of valor,

18 and they withstood King Uzziah and said to him, “It is not for you, Uzziah, to burn incense to the LORD, but for the priests the sons of Aaron, who are consecrated to burn incense. Go out of the sanctuary, for you have done wrong, and it will bring you no honor from the LORD God.”

19 Then Uzziah was angry. Now he had a censer in his hand to burn incense, and when he became angry with the priests, leprosy broke out on his forehead in the presence of the priests in the house of the LORD, by the altar of incense.

20 And Azariah the chief priest and all the priests looked at him, and behold, he was leprous in his forehead! And they rushed him out quickly, and he himself hurried to go out, because the LORD had struck him.”

 

Thus the king’s son Jotham, perfection of the LORD, reigned in Uzziah / Azariah’s place.

8 In the thirty-eighth year of Azariah king of Judah, Zechariah the son of Jeroboam reigned over Israel in Samaria six months.

9 And he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, as his fathers had done. He did not depart from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which he made Israel to sin.

10 Shallum the son of Jabesh conspired against him and struck him down at Ibleam and put him to death and reigned in his place.

11 Now the rest of the deeds of Zechariah, behold, they are written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel.

12 (This was the promise of the LORD that he gave to Jehu, “Your sons shall sit on the throne of Israel to the fourth generation.” And so it came to pass.)

Zechariah, the son of Jeroboam II, walked in the sins of Jeroboam (in similar fashion to the kings of Israel), ending the bloodline of Jehu on the throne of Israel.  This is in fulfillment of the prophecy to king Jehu, the ancestor of Zechariah (2 Kings 10:30), whose kingdom shall not reign forever due to his sins at Jezreel (Hosea 1:4), unlike the Messianic kingdom (2 Samuel 7:13).  The bloody coups of these kings of Israel, the supposed priesthood to all nations, is now becoming more often – such conspiracies repeating itself time and time again (v.10; v.14).  The violence also knows no bound – the conspirator against the conspirator, ripping open all the women in it who were pregnant because of Tiphsah’s refusal to open to the dictatorial king of Israel (v.16):

13 Shallum the son of Jabesh began to reign in the thirty-ninth year of Uzziah king of Judah, and he reigned one month in Samaria.

14 Then Menahem the son of Gadi came up from Tirzah and came to Samaria, and he struck down Shallum the son of Jabesh in Samaria and put him to death and reigned in his place.

15 Now the rest of the deeds of Shallum, and the conspiracy that he made, behold, they are written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel.

16 At that time Menahem sacked Tiphsah and all who were in it and its territory from Tirzah on, because they did not open it to him. Therefore he sacked it, and he ripped open all the women in it who were pregnant.

17 In the thirty-ninth year of Azariah king of Judah, Menahem the son of Gadi began to reign over Israel, and he reigned ten years in Samaria.

18 And he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD. He did not depart all his days from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which he made Israel to sin.

19 Pul the king of Assyria came against the land, and Menahem gave Pul a thousand talents of silver, that he might help him to confirm his hold on the royal power.

20 Menahem exacted the money from Israel, that is, from all the wealthy men, fifty shekels of silver from every man, to give to the king of Assyria. So the king of Assyria turned back and did not stay there in the land.

21 Now the rest of the deeds 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 place.

Menahem was not a king who followed Christ; he was a king who followed his flesh, securing his royal power through ungodly alliances with the king of Assyria, exacting the money from his body, his people (v.18-20).  Unsurprisingly, Pekahiah (“eyes opened by the LORD” walked in the same sins:

23 In the fiftieth year of Azariah king of Judah, Pekahiah the son of Menahem began to reign over Israel in Samaria, and he reigned two years.

24 And he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD. He did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which he made Israel to sin.

25 And Pekah the son of Remaliah, his captain, conspired against him with fifty men of the people of Gilead, and struck him down in Samaria, in the citadel of the king’s house with Argob and Arieh; he put him to death and reigned in his place.

26 Now the rest of the deeds of Pekahiah and all that he did, behold, they are written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel.

Irony that the son of the conspirator (Menahem) against the conspirator (Shallum) is now in turn conspired against by Pekah, the son of Remaliah – Pekahiah’s captain!  Such is the failed ungodly leadership that conspiracies and falsehood reign more than the kingdom of heaven on earth.  The open-eyed one, destroyed the one whose eyes were opened by the LORD – irony upon irony.  Yet, the pattern of these kings is that though they walk in the sins of Jeroboam, they still seek the LORD’s blessings through their names.  Yet, it is Immanuel who will bear the true Name that brings blessings upon Israel, granting peace with neighbours (Exodus 23:21).  The conspiracies (fourth one this chapter) thus continue through Hoshea, son of Elah (v.30):

27 In the fifty-second year of Azariah king of Judah, Pekah the son of Remaliah began to reign over Israel in Samaria, and he reigned twenty years.

28 And he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD. He did not depart from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which he made Israel to sin.

29 In the days of Pekah king of Israel, Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria came and captured Ijon, Abel-beth-maacah, Janoah, Kedesh, Hazor, Gilead, and Galilee, all the land of Naphtali, and he carried the people captive to Assyria.

30 Then Hoshea the son of Elah made a conspiracy against Pekah the son of Remaliah and struck him down and put him to death and reigned in his place, in the twentieth year of Jotham the son of Uzziah.

31 Now 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.

In a fresh change of perspective, we turn back to the kings of Judah – free of conspiracies now, Jotham the son of Uzziah and Jerusha (daughter of righteousness, Zadok, the LORD’s possession) walks with Christ, his life described more fully in 2 Chronicles 27.  Yet, although Jotham walked ever so briefly in the LORD’s presence, Judah is now subject to what would soon become the Assyrian and Babylonian captivity of the chosen nation – subject of much of the prophetic books in the remainder of the Old Testament:

32 In the second year of Pekah the son of Remaliah, king of Israel, Jotham the son of Uzziah, king of Judah, began to reign.

33 He was twenty-five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jerusha the daughter of Zadok.

34 And he did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, according to all that his father Uzziah had done.

35 Nevertheless, the high places were not removed. The people still sacrificed and made offerings on the high places. He built the upper 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 Rezin the king of Syria and Pekah the son of Remaliah against Judah.

38 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 place.

II Kings 16:

1 In the seventeenth year of Pekah the son of Remaliah, Ahaz the son of Jotham, king of Judah, began to reign.

2 Ahaz was twenty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem. And he did not do what was right in the eyes of the LORD his God, as his father David had done,

3 but he walked in the way of the kings of Israel. He even burned his son as an offering, according to the despicable practices of the nations whom the LORD drove out before the people of Israel.

4 And he sacrificed and made offerings on the high places and on the hills and under every green tree.

Note that “walking in the way of the kings of Israel” is already a proverb in itself, the kings of Judah distinguishing themselves by doing what is right in the LORD’s eyes – walking in the way of David the type of Christ.  Such is the king of Israel, the false leader who would burn his son as an offering (c.f. Leviticus 18:21; 20:2) according to the despicable practices of the Christ-less neighbours.  Thus, the king of Israel and the Syrians come to possess the land of Elath from the possessor Ahaz.  The work of Azariah is thus undone (2 Kings 14:22), for the LORD is not helping the kings of Judah as He did Azariah.  Yet, Israel’s union with Syria against Judah too is an act of disobedience despite God using them to humble Judah (2 Chronicles 28:8-15):

8 The men of Israel took captive 200,000 of their relatives, women, sons, and daughters. They also took much spoil from them and brought the spoil to Samaria.

9 But a prophet of the LORD was there, whose name was Oded, and he went out to meet the army that came to Samaria and said to them, “Behold, because the LORD, the God of your fathers, was angry with Judah, he gave them into your hand, but you have killed them in a rage that has reached up to heaven.

10 And now you intend to subjugate the people of Judah and Jerusalem, male and female, as your slaves. Have you not sins of your own against the LORD your God?

11 Now hear me, and send back the captives from your relatives whom you have taken, for the fierce wrath of the LORD is upon you.”

12 Certain chiefs also of the men of Ephraim, Azariah the son of Johanan, Berechiah the son of Meshillemoth, Jehizkiah the son of Shallum, and Amasa the son of Hadlai, stood up against those who were coming from the war

13 and said to them, “You shall not bring the captives in here, for you propose to bring upon us guilt against the LORD in addition to our present sins and guilt. For our guilt is already great, and there is fierce wrath against Israel.”

14 So the armed men left the captives and the spoil before the princes and all the assembly.

15 And the men who have been mentioned by name rose and took the captives, and with the spoil they clothed all who were naked among them. They clothed them, gave them sandals, provided them with food and drink, and anointed them, and carrying all the feeble among them on donkeys, they brought them to their kinsfolk at Jericho, the city of palm trees. Then they returned to Samaria.

5 Then Rezin king of Syria and Pekah the son of Remaliah, king of Israel, came up to wage war on Jerusalem, and they besieged Ahaz but could not conquer him.

6 At that time Rezin the king of Syria recovered Elath for Syria and drove the men of Judah from Elath, and the Edomites came to Elath, where they dwell to this day.

Yet, instead of turning back to Christ, Ahaz turns to Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria.  What blasphemy and heresy!  “I am your servant and your son” – indeed, the follower of Satan is indeed his son (John 8:44)!  What is the LORD’s is now given to the king of Assyria!

7 So Ahaz sent messengers to Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria, saying, “I am your servant and your son. Come up and rescue me from the hand of the king of Syria and from the hand of the king of Israel, who are attacking me.”

8 Ahaz also took the silver and gold that was found in the house of the LORD and in the treasures of the king’s house and sent a present to the king of Assyria.

9 And the king of Assyria listened to him. The king of Assyria marched up against Damascus and took it, carrying its people captive to Kir, and he killed Rezin.

The victory is thus not the LORD’s – but the victory is that of Tiglath-pileser, overcoming the king of Syria with the sword rather than the love of the Father poured out through Christ.  The treasures found in the house of the LORD (v.8) was exchanged for the model of the pagan altar, its pattern and details (v.10).  Christ worship is exchanged for Satan worship:

10 When King Ahaz went to Damascus to meet Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria, he saw the altar that was at Damascus. And King Ahaz sent to Uriah the priest a model of the altar, and its pattern, exact in all its details.

11 And Uriah the priest built the altar; in accordance with all that King Ahaz had sent from Damascus, so Uriah the priest made it, before King Ahaz arrived from Damascus.

12 And when the king came from Damascus, the king viewed the altar. Then the king drew near to the altar and went up on it

13 and burned his burnt offering and his grain offering and poured his drink offering and threw the blood of his peace offerings on the altar.

14 And the bronze altar that was before the LORD he removed from the front of the house, from the place between his altar and the house of the LORD, and put it on the north side of his altar.

15 And King Ahaz commanded Uriah the priest, saying, “On the great altar burn the morning burnt offering and the evening grain offering and the king’s burnt offering and his grain offering, with the burnt offering of all the people of the land, and their grain offering and their drink offering. And throw on it all the blood of the burnt offering and all the blood of the sacrifice, but the bronze altar shall be for me to inquire by.”

16 Uriah the priest did all this, as King Ahaz commanded.

The offerings were thus made on the altar of Damascus, the bronze altar of the Temple of the LORD removed from the front of the house and instead was placed on the north side of this false altar (v.14), quietly ignored.  It was thus removed from the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite where Jesus stood (2 Samuel 24).  See the extent of his idolatry in 2 Chronicles 28:

22 In the time of his distress he became yet more faithless to the LORD—this same King Ahaz.

23 For he sacrificed to the gods of Damascus that had defeated him and said, “Because the gods of the kings of Syria helped them, I will sacrifice to them that they may help me.” But they were the ruin of him and of all Israel.

24 And Ahaz gathered together the vessels of the house of God and cut in pieces the vessels of the house of God, and he shut up the doors of the house of the LORD, and he made himself altars in every corner of Jerusalem.

25 In every city of Judah he made high places to make offerings to other gods, provoking to anger the LORD, the God of his fathers.

26 Now the rest of his acts and all his ways, from first to last, behold, they are written in the Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel.

27 And Ahaz slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the city, in Jerusalem, for they did not bring him into the tombs of the kings of Israel. And Hezekiah his son reigned in his place.

17 And King Ahaz cut off the frames of the stands and removed the basin from them, and he took down the sea from off the bronze oxen that were under it and put it on a stone pedestal.

18 And the covered way for the Sabbath that had been built inside the house and the outer entrance for the king he caused to go around the house of the LORD, because of the king of Assyria.

19 Now the rest of the acts of Ahaz that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah?

20 And Ahaz slept with his fathers and was buried with his fathers in the city of David, and Hezekiah his son reigned in his place.

 

Because of the king of Assyria, he modified the temple structure and closed the way to the Holy Place, forcing idol worship in the heart of Jerusalem.  Note Matthew Henry’s view of Ahaz’ acts of degradation:

He removed the covert for the sabbath, erected either in honour of the sabbath or for the conveniency of the priests, when, on the sabbath, they officiated in greater numbers than on other days. Whatever it was, it should seem that in removing it he intended to put a contempt upon the sabbath, and so to open as wide an inlet as any to all manner of impiety. 3. The king’s entry, which led to the house of the Lord, for the convenience of the royal family (perhaps that ascent which Solomon had made, and which the queen of Sheba admired, 1 Kings x. 5), he turned another way, to show that he did not intend to frequent the house of the Lord any more. This he did for the king of Assyria, to oblige him, who perhaps returned his visit, and found fault with this entry, as an inconvenience and disparagement to his palace. When those that have had a ready passage to the house of the Lord, to please their neighbours, turn it another way, they are going down the hill apace towards their ruin.

Israel is, indeed, entering its darkest time.

2 Kings 15-16: Conspiring against Jesus

2 Kings 13-14: The LORD for the hearts of men

II Kings 13:

1 In the twenty-third year of Joash the son of Ahaziah, king of Judah, Jehoahaz the son of Jehu began to reign over Israel in Samaria, and he reigned seventeen years.

2 He did what was evil in the sight of the LORD and followed the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which he made Israel to sin; he did not depart from them.

3 And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he gave them continually into the hand of Hazael king of Syria and into the hand of Ben-hadad the son of Hazael.

4 Then Jehoahaz sought the favor of the LORD, and the LORD listened to him, for he saw the oppression of Israel, how the king of Syria oppressed them.

5 (Therefore the LORD gave Israel a savior, so that they escaped from the hand of the Syrians, and the people of Israel lived in their homes as formerly.

6 Nevertheless, they did not depart from the sins of the house of Jeroboam, which he made Israel to sin, but walked in them; and the Asherah also remained in Samaria.)

7 For there was not left to Jehoahaz an army of more than fifty horsemen and ten chariots and ten thousand footmen, for the king of Syria had destroyed them and made them like the dust at threshing.

8 Now the rest of the acts of Jehoahaz and all that he did, and his might, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel?

9 So Jehoahaz slept with his fathers, and they buried him in Samaria, and Joash his son reigned in his place.

Often the king’s actions lead to the nation’s victory or demise – and that tradition of the kings of Israel is still very much apparent up to the 13th chapter of the second book of Kings.  He sinned in the way of Jeroboam; and thus the LORD continued to give them into the hand of Hazael; yet, when he sought His favour, the LORD listened and sent a savior; instead of granting Jehoahaz victory, the LORD anointed another savior.

10 In the thirty-seventh year of Joash king of Judah, Jehoash the son of Jehoahaz began to reign over Israel in Samaria, and he reigned sixteen years.

11 He also did what was evil in the sight of the LORD. He did not depart from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which he made Israel to sin, but he walked in them.

12 Now the rest of the acts of Joash and all that he did, and the might with which he fought against Amaziah king of Judah, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel?

13 So Joash slept with his fathers, and Jeroboam sat on his throne. And Joash was buried in Samaria with the kings of Israel.

Like his father, Joash too walked in the way of the sins of Jeroboam.  Yet, this king of Israel, also like his father, understood the LORD’s role in their lives.  They knew that without the LORD, they would not be able to secure any victories against Syria or any other nation.  Joash’s pleading to Elisha (as his “father”) in v.14 is focused on the “chariots of Israel and its horsemen”, as if highlighting the need for Elisha to bless his warfare.  Elisha’s response is typically prophetic:

14 Now when Elisha had fallen sick with the illness of which he was to die, Joash king of Israel went down to him and wept before him, crying, “My father, my father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!”

15 And Elisha said to him, “Take a bow and arrows.” So he took a bow and arrows.

16 Then he said to the king of Israel, “Draw the bow,” and he drew it. And Elisha laid his hands on the king’s hands.

17 And he said, “Open the window eastward,” and he opened it. Then Elisha said, “Shoot,” and he shot. And he said, “The LORD’s arrow of victory, the arrow of victory over Syria! For you shall fight the Syrians in Aphek until you have made an end of them.”

18 And he said, “Take the arrows,” and he took them. And he said to the king of Israel, “Strike the ground with them.” And he struck three times and stopped.

19 Then the man of God was angry with him and said, “You should have struck five or six times; then you would have struck down Syria until you had made an end of it, but now you will strike down Syria only three times.”

The LORD’s arrow of victory is but the equivalent to the war bow placed in the heavens (Genesis 9:13).  The window opened eastward was towards the country beyond Jordan, which Hazael had taken from the Israelites (c.f. Adam Clarke’s commentary).  The LORD’s arrow of victory struck the ground but three times; if moreso, then Syria would have been ended.  Yet, the bow in the heavens, the sign of the covenant between man and God, faced upward towards God Himself.  The victory of Joash is but temporary – by human means.  Although Syria may be destroyed even when Joash struck the ground five or six times, yet the true victory lies in conquering the hearts rather than numbers of enemies.

20 So Elisha died, and they buried him. Now bands of Moabites used to invade the land in the spring of the year.

21 And as a man was being buried, behold, a marauding band was seen and the man was thrown into the grave of Elisha, and as soon as the man touched the bones of Elisha, he revived and stood on his feet.

22 Now Hazael king of Syria oppressed Israel all the days of Jehoahaz.

23 But the LORD was gracious to them and had compassion on them, and he turned toward them, because of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and would not destroy them, nor has he cast them from his presence until now.

The fear of death and loss pervades much of the reasoning behind both Jehoahaz and Jehoash’s actions as kings.  As people not following Christ, they do not see that victories of this world are first and foremost subject to the victory already achieved by Christ.  Yet, we have this abrupt account of Elisha’s death, through which a man was brought back to life (v.21); a keen reminder that Elisha’s wisdom is built on life after death; our baptism to death through the arrow piercing Christ, so that we rise again just as He is risen today (v.21; Romans 6:4; Colossians 2:12).  Instead of clinging onto the God of Elisha, Jehoash sought only to defeat the Syrians and recover the cities of Israel – his sights sorely earthly and without divine intentions.  The life of the man touching Elisha’s bone is but a shadow of our resurrection by drinking of the waters of life through Christ.

24 When Hazael king of Syria died, Ben-hadad his son became king in his place.

25 Then Jehoash the son of Jehoahaz took again from Ben-hadad the son of Hazael the cities that he had taken from Jehoahaz his father in war. Three times Joash defeated him and recovered the cities of Israel.

II Kings 14:

1 In the second year of Joash the son of Joahaz, king of Israel, Amaziah the son of Joash, king of Judah, began to reign.

2 He was twenty-five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jehoaddin of Jerusalem.

3 And he did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, yet not like David his father. He did in all things as Joash his father had done.

4 But the high places were not removed; the people still sacrificed and made offerings on the high places.

5 And as soon as the royal power was firmly in his hand, he struck down his servants who had struck down the king his father.

6 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 the LORD commanded, “Fathers shall not be put to death because of their children, nor shall children be put to death because of their fathers. But each one shall die for his own sin.”

The woman whom Jehovah adorns, Jehoaddin, is the mother of the next king of Judah, Amaziah (the strength of the LORD).  Although not walking like David his father (a sign that the Messiah, once again, has not yet come), he still did what was right in the eyes of the LORD – striking down his servants who had struck down the king his father (v.5).  It is interesting to compare the lives of the kings of Israel in the previous chapter, seeking external victory and glory, summed up in Jehoash’s words to Elisha – “the chariots of Israel an its horsemen!”, to the kings of Judah.  Here, the life of Amaziah is first described in terms of the high places which were not removed, and him ensuring that the king’s household is not filled with wicked counsel, earmarked by his compliance with the Mosaic law that each shall die for their own sins (Deuteronomy 24:16; Ezekiel 18:4).  That is the law of Moses; and yet, this law points us to the grace, that Adam’s crime is therefore, indeed, our crime (Hebrews 7:10).  Indeed, unless Christ takes on Adam’s sin, and thus gifts us His righteousness as our righteousness, then this law would otherwise be broken.  In God’s salvific economy, this law remains testimony to God’s fulfillment of it – though, here, not yet.

Instead, Amaziah is looking on the immediate conduct of the children’s fathers, just as Amaziah should not be put to death because of his father’s failure to follow Christ; again, this is a contrasting picture between spiritual fatherhood and physical fatherhood; between our spiritual father Christ, and our physical father – whether they cling to Christ or not.  Here, Amaziah looks on the children and sees them innocent with regards to their father’s conduct; yet, like their fathers, they are born in sin.  Unless they cling onto Christ to inherit his righteousness as ours (Isaiah 61:11), then indeed our father’s sins are our sin.

7 He struck down ten thousand Edomites in the Valley of Salt and took Sela by storm, and called it Joktheel, which is its name to this day.

Thus, instead of merely pleading to Elisha, it is Amaziah’s walk with God which secured his victory over the capital of Edom, the rock, Sela – and give due glory to the LORD by the name Joktheel (“subdued by God”).  This is more clearly laid out in 2 Chronicles 25:5-13, where Amaziah follows the counsel of a man of God, reminding him of the LORD’s power to lift up or cast down:

O king, do not let the army of Israel go with you, for the LORD is not with Israel, with all these Ephraimites.

8 But go, act, be strong for the battle. Why should you suppose that God will cast you down before the enemy? For God has power to help or to cast down.

8 Then Amaziah sent messengers to Jehoash the son of Jehoahaz, son of Jehu, king of Israel, saying, “Come, let us look one another in the face.”

9 And Jehoash king of Israel sent word to Amaziah king of Judah, “A thistle on Lebanon sent to a cedar on Lebanon, saying, ‘Give your daughter to my son for a wife,’ and a wild beast of Lebanon passed by and trampled down the thistle.

10 You have indeed struck down Edom, and your heart has lifted you up. Be content with your glory, and stay at home, for why should you provoke trouble so that you fall, you and Judah with you?”

11 But Amaziah would not listen. So Jehoash king of Israel went up, and he and Amaziah king of Judah faced one another in battle at Beth-shemesh, which belongs to Judah.

12 And Judah was defeated by Israel, and every man fled to his home.

13 And Jehoash king of Israel captured Amaziah king of Judah, the son of Jehoash, son of Ahaziah, at Beth-shemesh, and came to Jerusalem and broke down the wall of Jerusalem for four hundred cubits, from the Ephraim Gate to the Corner Gate.

14 And he seized all the gold and silver, and all the vessels that were found in the house of the LORD and in the treasuries of the king’s house, also hostages, and he returned to Samaria.

15 Now the rest of the acts of Jehoash that he did, and his might, and how he fought with Amaziah king of Judah, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel?

16 And Jehoash slept with his fathers and was buried in Samaria with the kings of Israel, and Jeroboam his son reigned in his place.

17 Amaziah the son of Joash, king of Judah, lived fifteen years after the death of Jehoash son of Jehoahaz, king of Israel.

18 Now the rest of the deeds of Amaziah, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah?

19 And they made a conspiracy against him in Jerusalem, and he fled to Lachish. But they sent after him to Lachish and put him to death there.

20 And they brought him on horses; and he was buried in Jerusalem with his fathers in the city of David.

21 And all the people of Judah took Azariah, who was sixteen years old, and made him king instead of his father Amaziah.

22 He built Elath and restored it to Judah, after the king slept with his fathers.

Yet, despite comparing Amaziah’s more apparently virtuous life with Jehoash, we are immediately informed that Amaziah’s arrogance against Jehoash has led to the demise of Judah and the wall of Jerusalem, in the battle at the house of the sun (Beth-shemesh).  This defeat of Judah and the breaching of Jerusalem is an unfitting victory for a man who follows in the path of Jeroboam.  However, this is not described in 2 Kings but in 2 Chronicles 25:

14 After Amaziah came from striking down the Edomites, he brought the gods of the men of Seir and set them up as his gods and worshiped them, making offerings to them.

15 Therefore the LORD was angry with Amaziah and sent to him a prophet, who said to him, “Why have you sought the gods of a people who did not deliver their own people from your hand?”

16 But as he was speaking, the king said to him, “Have we made you a royal counselor? Stop! Why should you be struck down?” So the prophet stopped, but said, “I know that God has determined to destroy you, because you have done this and have not listened to my counsel.

 

Instead of destroying the objects that captured the hearts of the Edomites, he merely destroyed the Edomites.  That is contrary to the mandate to be a priesthood to all nations, for the LORD does not grant true victory except the victory through circumcision of the heart (Exodus 19:6).  He forgot that the LORD, though lifting him up in the victory over Edom, can equally destroy Amaziah because of setting up the Edomite gods and worshipping them.

Although the LORD is not with Jehoash, Amaziah’s fall and explicit denial of the man of God (who, if at all, is more suited to be a royal counselor than anything else) is a reminder that the true king of Israel – the true Messiah – is to heed wisdom from mere men not of immediate royal presence or stature.  In the downfall of Judah is the ironic death of Amaziah in the same manner as his father (2 Kings 12:20), even more ironically so dying in the Canaanite city Lachish (“invincible”).  Thus becomes the appointment of Azariah (“whom the LORD helps”), the son of Amaziah, whose first notable work was restoration of Elath to Judah.

23 In the fifteenth year of Amaziah the son of Joash, king of Judah, Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel, began to reign in Samaria, and he reigned forty-one years.

24 And he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD. He did not depart from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which he made Israel to sin.

25 He restored the border of Israel from Lebo-hamath as far as the Sea of the Arabah, according to the word of the LORD, the God of Israel, which he spoke by his servant Jonah the son of Amittai, the prophet, who was from Gath-hepher.

26 For the LORD saw that the affliction of Israel was very bitter, for there was none left, bond or free, and there was none to help Israel.

27 But the LORD had not said that he would blot out the name of Israel from under heaven, so he saved them by the hand of Jeroboam the son of Joash.

According to Jesus, the Word Who spoke by his servant Jonah from the winepress of the well (Gath-hepher), even the LORD would use a man such as Jeroboam to restore the border of Israel.  This again is the LORD’s mercy, to ensure that not only Judah but the whole of Israel is maintained until the day that the LORD uses the Satan to also lift the curse of death by causing the death of the Christ on the cross.  Such is the irony – yet, follows closely with what the man of God stated:  “God has power to help or to cast down”.

28 Now the rest of the acts of Jeroboam and all that he did, and his might, how he fought, and how he restored Damascus and Hamath to Judah in Israel, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel?

29 And Jeroboam slept with his fathers, the kings of Israel, and Zechariah his son reigned in his place.

2 Kings 13-14: The LORD for the hearts of men

2 Kings 11-12: Jehoiada, bearing the reproach of Christ

II Kings 11:

1 Now when Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the royal family.

2 But Jehosheba, the daughter of King Joram, sister of Ahaziah, took Joash the son of Ahaziah and stole him away from among the king’s sons who were being put to death, and she put him and his nurse in a bedroom. Thus they hid him from Athaliah, so that he was not put to death.

3 And he remained with her six years, hidden in the house of the LORD, while Athaliah reigned over the land.

The whore of Babylon, however, has not yet been destroyed – for the end of days has not yet come. Until then, the bloodline of Satan shall continue to wreck havoc on the promised nation, this time through Athaliah, the type of the enemy.  This is the woman “whom God afflicts”, for she causes the death of the royal family for her own gain.  Even Joash, her grandson “whom Jehovah bestowed”, would not have escaped such brutal murder.  This scene is reminiscent of the hiding of Moses, and the hiding of Jesus – to ensure that the line of Israel is not destroyed (c.f. Exodus 2; Matthew 2).  Six years he spent in the house of the LORD, until the tutelage of priest Jehoiada (“Jehovah known”), growing in the faith as Athaliah sought to destroy all the royal seed (the literal Hebrew of the ESV’s adoption of “family”), destroying the possible fulfillment of Genesis 3:15.

4 But in the seventh year Jehoiada sent and brought the captains of the Carites and of the guards, and had them come to him in the house of the LORD. And he made a covenant with them and put them under oath in the house of the LORD, and he showed them the king’s son.

5 And he commanded them, “This is the thing that you shall do: one third of you, those who come off duty on the Sabbath and guard the king’s house

6 (another third being at the gate Sur and a third at the gate behind the guards) shall guard the palace.

7 And the two divisions of you, which come on duty in force on the Sabbath and guard the house of the LORD on behalf of the king,

8 shall surround the king, each with his weapons in his hand. And whoever approaches the ranks is to be put to death. Be with the king when he goes out and when he comes in.”

9 The captains did according to all that Jehoiada the priest commanded, and they each brought his men who were to go off duty on the Sabbath, with those who were to come on duty on the Sabbath, and came to Jehoiada the priest.

10 And the priest gave to the captains the spears and shields that had been King David’s, which were in the house of the LORD.

11 And the guards stood, every man with his weapons in his hand, from the south side of the house to the north side of the house, around the altar and the house on behalf of the king.

12 Then he brought out the king’s son and put the crown on him and gave him the testimony. And they proclaimed him king and anointed him, and they clapped their hands and said, “Long live the king!”

Are v.4-12 not a picture of the Old Testament?  (c.f. 1 Peter 1) The picture of Israelites, under oath in the house of the LORD to protect and safeguard the king’s son until the day of his crowning?  Some may not see his crowning, yet they long for the day when Athaliah is destroyed and the true King is crowned (Hebrews 11:13).  The object of faith has not changed – it has always been the true king Joash, as directed by Jehoiada who faithfully keeps this one royal seed of Adam and Eve and of Israel from perishing.

13 When Athaliah heard the noise of the guard and of the people, she went into the house of the LORD to the people.

14 And when she looked, there was the king standing by the pillar, according to the custom, and the captains and the trumpeters beside the king, and all the people of the land rejoicing and blowing trumpets. And Athaliah tore her clothes and cried, “Treason! Treason!”

15 Then Jehoiada the priest commanded the captains who were set over the army, “Bring her out between the ranks, and put to death with the sword anyone who follows her.” For the priest said, “Let her not be put to death in the house of the LORD.”

16 So they laid hands on her; and she went through the horses’ entrance to the king’s house, and there she was put to death.

17 And Jehoiada made a covenant between the LORD and the king and people, that they should be the LORD’s people, and also between the king and the people.

18 Then all the people of the land went to the house of Baal and tore it down; his altars and his images they broke in pieces, and they killed Mattan the priest of Baal before the altars. And the priest posted watchmen over the house of the LORD.

19 And he took the captains, the Carites, the guards, and all the people of the land, and they brought the king down from the house of the LORD, marching through the gate of the guards to the king’s house. And he took his seat on the throne of the kings.

20 So all the people of the land rejoiced, and the city was quiet after Athaliah had been put to death with the sword at the king’s house.

21  Jehoash was seven years old when he began to reign.

Such a fundamental picture of Satan destroyed according to his folly and arrogance.  Though he too may shout “Treason! Treason!”, he has no justification to do so.  He wants to be God (Ezekiel 28:9), such that Athaliah’s charisma and beauty was struck down by the innocence and incomparable authority of the young king Joash.  She shall be destroyed outside of the house of the LORD (v.15) and thrown into the pit, outside of the fellowship of believers.  It is on this Sabbath day of rest that the coronation of the king is achieved; and that the house of Baal is simultaneously destroyed with the priest of Baal permanently removed.  So the ascension of Joash as king is completed in a matter of one appointed day (Hebrews 5), the fullness of time when Christ too shall return to destroy the house of Babylon and be revealed as the King of kings despite other falsities such as Athalia as the interim king / ruler.  And this judgment shall begin at the house of God (1 Peter 4:17).

II Kings 12:

1 In the seventh year of Jehu, Jehoash began to reign, and he reigned forty years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Zibiah of Beersheba.

2 And Jehoash did what was right in the eyes of the LORD all his days, because Jehoiada the priest instructed him.

3 Nevertheless, the high places were not taken away; the people continued to sacrifice and make offerings on the high places.

4 Jehoash said to the priests, “All the money of the holy things that is brought into the house of the LORD, the money for which each man is assessed—the money from the assessment of persons—and the money that a man’s heart prompts him to bring into the house of the LORD,

5 let the priests take, each from his donor, and let them repair the house wherever any need of repairs is discovered.”

6 But by the twenty-third year of King Jehoash, the priests had made no repairs on the house.

7 Therefore King Jehoash summoned Jehoiada the priest and the other priests and said to them, “Why are you not repairing the house? Now therefore take no more money from your donors, but hand it over for the repair of the house.”

8 So the priests agreed that they should take no more money from the people, and that they should not repair the house.

9 Then Jehoiada the priest took a chest and bored a hole in the lid of it and set it beside the altar on the right side as one entered the house of the LORD. And the priests who guarded the threshold put in it all the money that was brought into the house of the LORD.

10 And whenever they saw that there was much money in the chest, the king’s secretary and the high priest came up and they bagged and counted the money that was found in the house of the LORD.

11 Then they would give the money that was weighed out into the hands of the workmen who had the oversight of the house of the LORD. And they paid it out to the carpenters and the builders who worked on the house of the LORD,

12 and to the masons and the stonecutters, as well as to buy timber and quarried stone for making repairs on the house of the LORD, and for any outlay for the repairs of the house.

13 But there were not made for the house of the LORD basins of silver, snuffers, bowls, trumpets, or any vessels of gold, or of silver, from the money that was brought into the house of the LORD,

14 for that was given to the workmen who were repairing the house of the LORD with it.

15 And they did not ask an accounting from the men into whose hand they delivered the money to pay out to the workmen, for they dealt honestly.

16 The money from the guilt offerings and the money from the sin offerings was not brought into the house of the LORD; it belonged to the priests.

The activities of v.1-16 is but a picture of Nehemiah’s building up of the temple after the Babylonian captivity.  However, the hearts of men were still faulty.  Joash reveals the state of man’s heart in v. 4-5, that “All the money of the holy things that is brought into the house of the LORD, the money for which each man is assessed—the money from the assessment of persons—and the money that a man’s heart prompts him to bring into the house of the LORD,

let the priests take, each from his donor, and let them repair the house wherever any need of repairs is discovered”.  The money was a free-will offering to repair the house of the LORD, and Joash’s focus was on ensuring that this house of worship would be the focal point of Israel rather than the high places.  Such is the marked difference between the leadership of one who walks with Jesus under the guidance of a priest of God, compared to the leadership of one who walks by the flesh, heeding poor counsel.  However, the decay of the house of the LORD is an apparent departure from Solomon’s day.  V.13 – there were not made for the house of the LORD basins of silver, snuffers, bowls, trumpets, or any vessels of gold, or of silver.  All went simply to repair.  This is not the golden city of Jerusalem of Revelation 21-22.  Joash is but repairing a shadow, the importance of which has been increasingly neglected by the people of Israel – even Joash himself.  Note the invasion by the Syrians:

17 At that time Hazael king of Syria went up and fought against Gath and took it. But when Hazael set his face to go up against Jerusalem,

18 Jehoash king of Judah took all the sacred gifts that Jehoshaphat and Jehoram and Ahaziah his fathers, the kings of Judah, had dedicated, and his own sacred gifts, and all the gold that was found in the treasuries of the house of the LORD and of the king’s house, and sent these to Hazael king of Syria. Then Hazael went away from Jerusalem.

Instead of lifting up the invasion to God, we see instead Joash gifting items in the house of the LORD to the Syrians.  This act may seem strange independent of his other account in 2 Chronicles 24, which reveals that Jehoiada was the one ensuring Joash was following Jesus:

““15 But Jehoiada grew old and full of days, and died. He was 130 years old at his death.

16 And they buried him in the city of David among the kings, because he had done good in Israel, and toward God and his house.

17 Now after the death of Jehoiada the princes of Judah came and paid homage to the king. Then the king listened to them.

18 And they abandoned the house of the LORD, the God of their fathers, and served the Asherim and the idols. And wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem for this guilt of theirs.

19 Yet he sent prophets among them to bring them back to the LORD. These testified against them, but they would not pay attention.

20 Then the Spirit of God clothed Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest, and he stood above the people, and said to them, “Thus says God, ‘Why do you break the commandments of the LORD, so that you cannot prosper? Because you have forsaken the LORD, he has forsaken you.’”

21 But they conspired against him, and by command of the king they stoned him with stones in the court of the house of the LORD.

22 Thus Joash the king did not remember the kindness that Jehoiada, Zechariah’s father, had shown him, but killed his son. And when he was dying, he said, “May the LORD see and avenge!””

 

Instead, the king began to listen to the princes of Judah, and they “abandoned the house of the LORD” and served the Asherim and the idols.  Joash, too, abandoned the house – and thus wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem, explaining the invasion of the Syrians.  Instead, these are the rest of the acts of Joash described in the following v.19, and so the plan against Joash in the opening of 2 Kings 11 was materialized in the end of his life.  Joash, unfortunately, was not the promised Seed who would rebuild the house of God and Israel, although his life was modeled as such by Jehoiada and Zechariah, the true worshippers of Jesus Christ.  Instead, Joash dies a gruesome death, fitting to that of a king without God.

19 Now the rest of the acts of Joash and all that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah?

20 His servants arose and made a conspiracy and struck down Joash in the house of Millo, on the way that goes down to Silla.

21 It was Jozacar the son of Shimeath and Jehozabad the son of Shomer, his servants, who struck him down, so that he died. And they buried him with his fathers in the city of David, and Amaziah his son reigned in his place.

2 Kings 11-12: Jehoiada, bearing the reproach of Christ

2 Kings 9-10: Jehu, the Angel of Judgment

II Kings 9:

1 Then Elisha the prophet called one of the sons of the prophets and said to him, “Tie up your garments, and take this flask of oil in your hand, and go to Ramoth-gilead.

2 And when you arrive, look there for Jehu the son of Jehoshaphat, son of Nimshi. And go in and have him rise from among his fellows, and lead him to an inner chamber.

3 Then take the flask of oil and pour it on his head and say, ‘Thus says the LORD, I anoint you king over Israel.’ Then open the door and flee; do not linger.”

The opening of 2 Kings 9 immediately enables us to see the connection with the previous chapter; Hazael becoming the king of Syria comes hand in hand with Jehu’s anointing as king of Israel, both prophesied in 1 Kings 19.  The purpose, is as in 1 Kings 19:15-18 –

15 And the LORD said to him, “Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus. And when you arrive, you shall anoint Hazael to be king over Syria.

16 And Jehu the son of Nimshi you shall anoint to be king over Israel, and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah you shall anoint to be prophet in your place.

17 And the one who escapes from the sword of Hazael shall Jehu put to death, and the one who escapes from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha put to death.

18 Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.”

The ones which Hazael and Jehu put to death are those who follow in the steps of Baal; and Elisha is the first one anointed in 1 Kings 19 as he is the last barrier to ensuring that Israel remains the nation from which Christ is born.  It is interesting that the order of anointing is Elijah, Elisha, Hazael and then Jehu – Jehu being the last vessel through whom the LORD redeems Israel.  Again and again we are reminded that the human kings are but shadows of Christ – Jehu, “Jehovah is he”, the grandson of Nimshi (saved) reflects the picture of the Spirit anointing the chosen Son in destroying the religion of Judah and Israel.  Through Elijah and Elisha Israel’s reformation has time and time again been a reminder that if the kings were to model the kings of other nations, then it would only result in war (c.f. Genesis 14; the existence of kings before Israel was born); but under the rule of the true king David and Solomon, the true Sabbath and jubilee will ensue.

4 So the young man, the servant of the prophet, went to Ramoth-gilead.

5 And when he came, behold, the commanders of the army were in council. And he said, “I have a word for you, O commander.” And Jehu said, “To which of us all?” And he said, “To you, O commander.”

6 So he arose and went into the house. And the young man poured the oil on his head, saying to him, “Thus says the LORD the God of Israel, I anoint you king over the people of the LORD, over Israel.

7 And you shall strike down the house of Ahab your master, so that I may avenge on Jezebel the blood of my servants the prophets, and the blood of all the servants of the LORD.

8 For the whole house of Ahab shall perish, and I will cut off from Ahab every male, bond or free, in Israel.

9 And I will make the house of Ahab like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha the son of Ahijah.

10 And the dogs shall eat Jezebel in the territory of Jezreel, and none shall bury her.” Then he opened the door and fled.

11 When Jehu came out to the servants of his master, they said to him, “Is all well? Why did this mad fellow come to you?” And he said to them, “You know the fellow and his talk.”

12 And they said, “That is not true; tell us now.” And he said, “Thus and so he spoke to me, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD, I anoint you king over Israel.’”

13 Then in haste every man of them took his garment and put it under him on the bare steps, and they blew the trumpet and proclaimed, “Jehu is king.”

It is interesting the reaction of Jehu’s servants, referring to the son of the prophet as a “mad fellow” – a reminder of the persecution of the Christ who was seen more as mad than Messiah.  Yet, upon Jehu’s revelation that he is to be king, they immediately blew the trumpet and proclaimed as such, bearing witness to the truth of the word of the son of the prophet (c.f. Matthew 21:7-9).  Perhaps these men had been truly waiting for the day when the mad rule of Joram and Ahaziah would be destroyed, and their service to Jehu will facilitate a reformation they have longed in their hearts.

Note therefore the man of Ramoth-gilead, where Joram had been fighting against Hazael, now goes to Jezreel – the very place where innocent blood was spilled over a vineyard of Jezreel in 1 Kings 21 due to Ahab’s wickedness, spawning the anointing of Jehu for the purpose of destroying the house of Ahab and Jezebel (v.7-10 above):

14 Thus Jehu the son of Jehoshaphat the son of Nimshi conspired against Joram. (Now Joram with all Israel had been on guard at Ramoth-gilead against Hazael king of Syria,

15 but King Joram had returned to be healed in Jezreel of the wounds that the Syrians had given him, when he fought with Hazael king of Syria.) So Jehu said, “If this is your decision, then let no one slip out of the city to go and tell the news in Jezreel.”

16 Then Jehu mounted his chariot and went to Jezreel, for Joram lay there. And Ahaziah king of Judah had come down to visit Joram.

17 Now the watchman was standing on the tower in Jezreel, and he saw the company of Jehu as he came and said, “I see a company.” And Joram said, “Take a horseman and send to meet them, and let him say, ‘Is it peace?’”

18 So a man on horseback went to meet him and said, “Thus says the king, ‘Is it peace?’” And Jehu said, “What do you have to do with peace? Turn around and ride behind me.” And the watchman reported, saying, “The messenger reached them, but he is not coming back.”

19 Then he sent out a second horseman, who came to them and said, “Thus the king has said, ‘Is it peace?’” And Jehu answered, “What do you have to do with peace? Turn around and ride behind me.”

20 Again the watchman reported, “He reached them, but he is not coming back. And the driving is like the driving of Jehu the son of Nimshi, for he drives furiously.”

21 Joram said, “Make ready.” And they made ready his chariot. Then Joram king of Israel and Ahaziah king of Judah set out, each in his chariot, and went to meet Jehu, and met him at the property of Naboth the Jezreelite.

22 And when Joram saw Jehu, he said, “Is it peace, Jehu?” He answered, “What peace can there be, so long as the whorings and the sorceries of your mother Jezebel are so many?”

Just as the men of Jehu appeared to be idol-worshippers, calling sons of the prophet as madmen, so also these men of Joram side with Jehu for they knew that under Joram and Ahaziah’s rule, there is no true peace.  “What do you have to do with peace?” – indeed, they have nothing to do with the peace that comes through Christ (Romans 5:1).  The third time they ask Jehu whether it is peace, they stand on the very property which was stolen by the house of Ahab under the direction of Jezebel the whore.  Thus, Jehu’s response was duly and appropriately given, in fulfillment of 1 Kings 21:29, supported by Bidkar (the one who stabs) executing the final burial of Joram.

23 Then Joram reined about and fled, saying to Ahaziah, “Treachery, O Ahaziah!”

24 And Jehu drew his bow with his full strength, and shot Joram between the shoulders, so that the arrow pierced his heart, and he sank in his chariot.

25 Jehu said to Bidkar his aide, “Take him up and throw him on the plot of ground belonging to Naboth the Jezreelite. For remember, when you and I rode side by side behind Ahab his father, how the LORD made this pronouncement against him:

26 ‘As surely as I saw yesterday the blood of Naboth and the blood of his sons—declares the LORD—I will repay you on this plot of ground.’ Now therefore take him up and throw him on the plot of ground, in accordance with the word of the LORD.”

27 When Ahaziah the king of Judah saw this, he fled in the direction of Beth-haggan. And Jehu pursued him and said, “Shoot him also.” And they shot him in the chariot at the ascent of Gur, which is by Ibleam. And he fled to Megiddo and died there.

Thus, Ahaziah too was shot, at the ascent of Gur (whelp) by Ibleam (people-waster), strangely dying in the place of crowns Megiddo.  This sequence is differently described in 2 Chronicles 22:8-9:

8 And when Jehu was executing judgment on the house of Ahab, he met the princes of Judah and the sons of Ahaziah’s brothers, who attended Ahaziah, and he killed them.

9 He searched for Ahaziah, and he was captured while hiding in Samaria, and he was brought to Jehu and put to death. They buried him, for they said, “He is the grandson of Jehoshaphat, who sought the LORD with all his heart.” And the house of Ahaziah had no one able to rule the kingdom.”

 

Although a different sequence, both 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles sought to portray the same message – that Ahaziah supported the house of Ahab and Jezebel – and thus in 2 Chronicles 22:9, in “the house of Ahaziah had no one able to rule the kingdom”.  A fitting summary of the life of those who follow in the steps of the Satan who is but an impostor attempting to rule in this world, only to have the tables turned against him.

28 His servants carried him in a chariot to Jerusalem, and buried him in his tomb with his fathers in the city of David.

29 In the eleventh year of Joram the son of Ahab, Ahaziah began to reign over Judah.

30 When Jehu came to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it. And she painted her eyes and adorned her head and looked out of the window.

31 And as Jehu entered the gate, she said, “Is it peace, you Zimri, murderer of your master?”

What irony that Jezebel refers to Zimri in 1 Kings 16 – the man who reformed Israel by destroying the house of Baasha though unfortunately walking a compromised life of sin against God (1 Kings 16:19).  Yet, Jehu is quite different; though appearing to be a conspirator like Zimri, Jehu is a tool of the LORD’s judgment against the prostitute Jezebel in order to bring reunification for Israel and Judah.  This is clearly desired by the eunuchs serving Jezebel, just like the servants of Jehu, awaiting the day a true prophet comes to say that good news has come (fulfilling 1 Kings 21:23) – the enemy shall be destroyed once and for all.  So Satan shall do be destroyed utterly, so that no one can say, “This is the enemy of God.” (c.f. v. 37)

32 And he lifted up his face to the window and said, “Who is on my side? Who?” Two or three eunuchs looked out at him.

33 He said, “Throw her down.” So they threw her down. And some of her blood spattered on the wall and on the horses, and they trampled on her.

34 Then he went in and ate and drank. And he said, “See now to this cursed woman and bury her, for she is a king’s daughter.”

35 But when they went to bury her, they found no more of her than the skull and the feet and the palms of her hands.

36 When they came back and told him, he said, “This is the word of the LORD, which he spoke by his servant Elijah the Tishbite, ‘In the territory of Jezreel the dogs shall eat the flesh of Jezebel,

37 and the corpse of Jezebel shall be as dung on the face of the field in the territory of Jezreel, so that no one can say, This is Jezebel.’”

II Kings 10:

1 Now Ahab had seventy sons in Samaria. So Jehu wrote letters and sent them to Samaria, to the rulers of the city, to the elders, and to the guardians of the sons of Ahab, saying,

2 “Now then, as soon as this letter comes to you, seeing your master’s sons are with you, and there are with you chariots and horses, fortified cities also, and weapons,

3 select the best and fittest of your master’s sons and set him on his father’s throne and fight for your master’s house.”

4 But they were exceedingly afraid and said, “Behold, the two kings could not stand before him. How then can we stand?”

5 So he who was over the palace, and he who was over the city, together with the elders and the guardians, sent to Jehu, saying, “We are your servants, and we will do all that you tell us. We will not make anyone king. Do whatever is good in your eyes.”

6 Then he wrote to them a second letter, saying, “If you are on my side, and if you are ready to obey me, take the heads of your master’s sons and come to me at Jezreel tomorrow at this time.” Now the king’s sons, seventy persons, were with the great men of the city, who were bringing them up.

7 And as soon as the letter came to them, they took the king’s sons and slaughtered them, seventy persons, and put their heads in baskets and sent them to him at Jezreel.

8 When the messenger came and told him, “They have brought the heads of the king’s sons,” he said, “Lay them in two heaps at the entrance of the gate until the morning.”

9 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?

10 Know then that there shall fall to the earth nothing of the word of the LORD, which the LORD spoke concerning the house of Ahab, for the LORD has done what he said by his servant Elijah.”

11 So Jehu struck down all who remained of the house of Ahab in Jezreel, all his great men and his close friends and his priests, until he left him none remaining.

Jehu’s first pleading is but the same pleading as what he has been doing in chapter 9 – and this is the same pleading, calling if you will, of God when He sent His Son to die for us on the cross.  That is the first pleading, the first call for us to be on the true Jehu’s side; to know whether we are the eunuchs who will help crush Jezebel, the messengers who will take part in Jehu’s party of invaders of Ahaziah and Joram’s security.  Jehu’s pleading is but a shadow of the first coming of Christ, calling upon those who revere His name and identifying those who remain distant to His mission.  V.5 is revealing – “we are your servants, and we will do all that you tell us.  We will not make anyone king.  Do whatever is good in your eyes.”  It is important to note here that many of these men do not know of Jehu’s anointing; and yet, they see that God is with him.  Despite the failures of the kings in fighting against the idolatrous household of Ahab, it is God through Jehu that the enemies are truly scattered at Jezreel, in fulfillment of 1 Kings 21:21-24.  Thus, we are called to join Him who returns on the Wedding day to destroy the house of Ahab and Jezebel (1 Corinthians 1:26; Ephesians 4:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:11; Hebrews 3:1; 2 Peter 1:10).  What 2 Kings 10 plays out is but a shadow of Revelation 14, an ascertaining of whether such men have the mark of Jezebel; and Revelation 17-18, the destruction of Jezebel in ushering a new age of Israel.

Here, however, the situation should be distinguished.  The men were afraid – Jehu was challenging them as a test, to see which of the 70 sons would now ascend to the throne of Ahab.  Jehu’s taunt in v.2-3 immediately draws the men’s fear (v.4) in forming their reply (v.5-6).  They know that the LORD is with Jehu; however, they do not pledge their allegiance to God, but only to Jehu.  This is the reason for Jehu’s revelation of shame in the morning before the two heaps at the entrance of the gate (v.8-9).  This is a picture of the final judgment.  They dared to destroy their master’s sons, disobeying the authority upon them in such a gruesome manner, on the basis of blind obedience to the word of Jehu.  The clarity of the issue could not, however, be distinguished purely from perceiving the facts – for Jehu too conspired against his master (v.9).  The difference is that these ‘great men’ still stood in the house of Ahab, which led to Jehu’s destruction of them (v.11), regardless of whether they ‘obeyed’ Jehu or not.  These men were not men of peace; they were men of blood and wrath, men who blindly obeyed Jezebel to the destruction of Naboth (1 Kings 21).  The destruction at the pit of the shearing house (Beth-eked) of the Shepherds is but a clear reference of those who fellowship with darkness (2 Corinthians 6:14) thrown into the pit (Revelation 20:3).

12 Then he set out and went to Samaria. On the way, when he was at Beth-eked of the Shepherds,

13 Jehu met the relatives of Ahaziah king of Judah, and he said, “Who are you?” And they answered, “We are the relatives of Ahaziah, and we came down to visit the royal princes and the sons of the queen mother.”

14 He said, “Take them alive.” And they took them alive and slaughtered them at the pit of Beth-eked, forty-two persons, and he spared none of them.

15 And when he departed from there, he met Jehonadab the son of Rechab coming to meet him. And he greeted him and said to him, “Is your heart true to my heart as mine is to yours?” And Jehonadab answered, “It is.” Jehu said, “If it is, give me your hand.” So he gave him his hand. And Jehu took him up with him into the chariot.

16 And he said, “Come with me, and see my zeal for the LORD.” So he had him ride in his chariot.

17 And when he came to Samaria, he struck down all who remained to Ahab in Samaria, till he had wiped them out, according to the word of the LORD that he spoke to Elijah.

What a turn of events for the house of Rechab, the man who had been destroyed by David (2 Samuel 4) for similar reasons laid out in 2 Kings 10 in the destruction of the great men serving in the house of Ahab.  Instead, Jehonadab the son of Rechab now walks in the light, his heart true to the heart of Jehu (c.f. Jeremiah 35:19).

18 Then Jehu assembled all the people and said to them, “Ahab served Baal a little, but Jehu will serve him much.

19 Now therefore call to me all the prophets of Baal, all his worshipers and all his priests. Let none be missing, for I have a great sacrifice to offer to Baal. Whoever is missing shall not live.” But Jehu did it with cunning in order to destroy the worshipers of Baal.

20 And Jehu ordered, “Sanctify a solemn assembly for Baal.” So they proclaimed it.

21 And Jehu sent throughout all Israel, and all the worshipers of Baal came, so that there was not a man left who did not come. And they entered the house of Baal, and the house of Baal was filled from one end to the other.

22 He said to him who was in charge of the wardrobe, “Bring out the vestments for all the worshipers of Baal.” So he brought out the vestments for them.

23 Then Jehu went into the house of Baal with Jehonadab the son of Rechab, and he said to the worshipers of Baal, “Search, and see that there is no servant of the LORD here among you, but only the worshipers of Baal.”

24 Then they went in to offer sacrifices and burnt offerings.

Now Jehu had stationed eighty men outside and said, “The man who allows any of those whom I give into your hands to escape shall forfeit his life.”

25 So as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt offering, Jehu said to the guard and to the officers, “Go in and strike them down; let not a man escape.” So when they put them to the sword, the guard and the officers cast them out and went into the inner room of the house of Baal,

26 and they brought out the pillar that was in the house of Baal and burned it.

27 And they demolished the pillar of Baal, and demolished the house of Baal, and made it a latrine to this day.

This is the application of Matthew 10:16 – the wisdom of a serpent, but the innocence of a dove – Jehu deceives these prophets of Baal in order to wipe out Baal from Israel (v.28).  It is fitting that the house of Baal is thus made into a latrine, a fitting place for the waste of men to be made equal to Baal which is but unclean dung to be removed from the presence of godly men (c.f. Leviticus 8:17).

Yet, although the picture of 1 Kings 9 and 10 is the swan-song of Jehu the anointed king of Israel, his calling as king spawned from the death of Naboth in 1 Kings 21, a type of the first and second coming of Christ, he is not Christ.  He is but a man, still drawn to his own idols, still leading Israel to sin as the Israelites still await for the true king who would rid the world of its idols and is careful to walk in the law of the LORD with all his heart (Psalm 1-2):

28 Thus Jehu wiped out Baal from Israel.

29 But Jehu did not turn aside from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which he made Israel to sin—that is, the golden calves that were in Bethel and in Dan.

30 And the LORD said to Jehu, “Because you have done well in carrying out what is right in my eyes, and have done to the house of Ahab according to all that was in my heart, your sons of the fourth generation shall sit on the throne of Israel.”

31 But Jehu was not careful to walk in the law of the LORD the God of Israel with all his heart. He did not turn from the sins of Jeroboam, which he made Israel to sin.

32 In those days the LORD began to cut off parts of Israel. Hazael defeated them throughout the territory of Israel:

33 from the Jordan eastward, all the land of Gilead, the Gadites, and the Reubenites, and the Manassites, from Aroer, which is by the Valley of the Arnon, that is, Gilead and Bashan.

34 Now the rest of the acts of Jehu and all that he did, and all his might, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel?

35 So Jehu slept with his fathers, and they buried him in Samaria. And Jehoahaz his son reigned in his place.

36 The time that Jehu reigned over Israel in Samaria was twenty-eight years.

2 Kings 9-10: Jehu, the Angel of Judgment