For the Lord saw that the affliction of Israel was very bitter; and whether bond or free, there was no helper for Israel. And the Lord did not say that He would blot out the name of Israel from under heaven; but He saved them by the hand of Jeroboam the son of Joash. 2 Kings 14:26, 27
2 Kings 14-22 / 2 Chronicles 25:1-28. Amaziah of Judah (796-767 B.C.)
Amaziah begins well. He obeys the written word and the messages of the prophets, and wins a victory over the Edomites. But then Amaziah turns to idolatry. Judah is defeated by Israel, and one wall of the city is torn down. This is the ultimate humiliation, for unwalled cities are viewed with contempt as defenseless. It’s likely that Amaziah is kept in Samaria as captive for some years, for his son Uzziah (Azariah) becomes co-regent about the time of the defeat.
3 And he did what was right in the sight of the Lord, yet not like his father David; he did everything as his father Joash had done. 4 However the high places were not taken away, and the people still sacrificed and burned incense on the high places. 5 Now it happened, as soon as the kingdom was established in his hand, that he executed his servants who had murdered his father the king.
13 Then Jehoash king of Israel captured Amaziah king of Judah, the son of Jehoash, the son of Ahaziah, at Beth Shemesh; and he went to Jerusalem, and broke down the wall of Jerusalem from the Gate of Ephraim to the Corner Gate–four hundred cubits. 14 And he took all the gold and silver, all the articles that were found in the house of the Lord and in the treasuries of the king’s house, and hostages, and returned to Samaria.
2 Kings 14:23-29. Jeroboam II of Israel (793-753 B.C.)
Only a few verses in the OT are devoted to Jeroboam II. Yet his 41 year rule is remarkable. Israel began a resurgence under Jehoash. Her power keeps on growing under Jeroboam, until Israel becomes the leading eastern Mediterranean state.
During this period Assyria is particularly weak. There are pressures from a people called the Urartu; there is internal strife; and Assyria has a series of weak rulers. Just before Jeroboam II, Assyria had mauled the Aramaeans and weakened this enemy of Israel. Now the Assyrians are unable to move against the growing power of Israel.
Jeroboam II fills the power vacuum. He recovers all the Transjordan, and expands Israel to the limits of Solomon’s days (cf. 2 Kings 14:25 with 1 Kings 8:65). He also takes Damascus and Hamath, which had belonged to Judah in David’s time.
The time of Jeroboam II is a time of great prosperity. The wealth, and the luxury of the rich, as well as the lack of concern of that society for the poor, are graphically portrayed in the Book of the prophet of Amos. But the king and the people continue to do evil, nor will they turn away fro the false religious system instituted by the first Jeroboam (1 Kings 12).
24 And he did evil in the sight of the Lord; he did not depart from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who had made Israel sin. 25 He restored the territory of Israel from the entrance of Hamath to the Sea of the Arabah, according to the word of the Lord God of Israel, which He had spoken through 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; and whether bond or free, there was no helper for Israel. 27 And the Lord did not say that He would blot out the name of Israel from under heaven; but He saved them by the hand of Jeroboam the son of Joash.
Jonah About this time, Jonah is sent to Nineveh the capital of Assyria. He is to warn the people of God’s judgment. Nineveh repents and is saved, to the prophet’s frustration. Within decades, a revived Assyria will carry Jonah’s fellow Israelites into captivity.
Amos Amos condemns the Israel of Jeroboam II as an unjust society. He warns the materialistic people to return to God and too justice. Nineveh had repented under the preaching of Jonah. Now God’s people have had the opportunity to repent.