… The high places were not removed; the people still sacrificed and burned incense on the high places. Then the Lord struck the king, so that he was a leper until the day of his death 2 Kings 15:4, 5
Kings of Judah: Amazia, Azariah (Uzziah), Jotham and Ahaz
Kings of Israel: Zachariah, Shallum, Menahem, Pekahiah, Pekah and Hoshea
2 Kings 15:1-7 / 2 Chronicles 26:1-23. Uzziah (Azariah) of Judah (792-740 B.C.) – A Powerful King of Judah Becomes A Leper
Uzziah, called Azariah in 2 Kings, rules for some 52 years in Jerusalem. For the first 24 years, he is co-regent
with his father, Amaziah. Uzziah is a contemporary of Jeroboam II, and during this time Judah too knows a great resurgence of prosperity. Uzziah reorganizes his army, extends his territory, and after the death of Jeroboam II surpasses Israel in influence. Assyrian records dating to Uzziah’s 48 year identify him (arias of Saudi) as the chief of a coalition of kings organized to defend against her.
Uzziah is a godly king. But his successes bring character change. “After Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall” (2 Chron. 26:16). The king is struck with leprosy and lives in isolation until his death. The year Uzziah dies, Isaiah, who becomes one of the greatest of the prophets, receives his call from God to a ministry that will span many decades.
1 In the twenty-seventh year of Jeroboam king of Israel, Azariah the son of Amaziah, king of Judah, became king. … 3 And he did what was right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his father Amaziah had done, 4 except that the high places were not removed; the people still sacrificed and burned incense on the high places. 5 Then the Lord struck the king, so that he was a leper until the day of his death; so he dwelt in an isolated house. And Jotham the king’s son was over the royal house, judging the people of the land.
2 Kings 15:8-16. Zechariah and Shallum of Israel (753, 752 B.C.)
In quick succession these two take the throne, and are assassinated.
9 And he did 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, who had made Israel sin. 10 Then Shallum the son of Jabesh conspired against him, and struck and killed him in front of the people; and he reigned in his place. … 12 This was the word of the Lord which He spoke to Jehu, saying, “Your sons shall sit on the throne of Israel to the fourth generation.” And so it was.
2 Kings 15:17-22. Menahem of Israel (752-742 B.C.)
Menahem represents the 7th ruling family in the north. He was one of Jeroboam II’s administrators, in Tirzah. He assassinates Shallum and claims the throne. But now Assyria is strong again. The great Tiglath-pileser III puts down Babylonian and Urartu threats in the north and south, and then turns west to the Mediterranean world. Menahem is forced to buy off the threatening Assyrians. He continues to rule, but as a vassal king under the Assyrian overlord.
17 In the thirty-ninth year of Azariah king of Judah, Menahem the son of Gadi became king over Israel, and reigned ten years in Samaria. 18 And he did evil in the sight of the Lord; he did not depart all his days from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who had made Israel sin. 19 Pul king of Assyria came against the land; and Menahem gave Pul a thousand talents of silver, that his hand might be with him to strengthen the kingdom under his control. 20 And Menahem exacted the money from Israel, from all the very wealthy, from each man fifty shekels of silver, to give to the king of Assyria. So the king of Assyria turned back, and did not stay there in the land.
Tiglath-Pileser III, King of Assyria
Hosea. Hosea rebukes Israel for its unfaithfulness to God, and announces that she will now be treated without pity by the Lord.
2 Kings 15:23-31. Pekahiah and Pekah of Israel (752-732 B.C.)
The last confusing years of Israel saw internal strife as well as war. Pekah, one of Menahem’s officials, sets up a rival kingdom across the Jordan at Gilead. 12 years later Pekah crosses the Jordan with 50 men and kills Pekahiah. He is probably supported by an anti-Assyrian party, incensed at the heavy taxes levied to pay off that power. He rules 8 years as sole king.
Pekah forms an alliance with Rezin of Damascus and rebels against Assyria. The two attack Judah, but Ahaz appeals to Assyria for help. Tiglath-pileser II returns, devastates Damascus, and executes Rezin. Before Israel is attacked, Pekah is assassinated and the killer, Hoshea, confirmed by Assyria as vassal ruler. But Assyria strips away much of Israel’s territory. Galileeand Transjordan become Assyrian provinces, and Israel is reduced to the hills west of the Jordan.
27 In the fifty-second year of Azariah king of Judah, Pekah the son of Remaliah became king over Israel in Samaria, and reigned twenty years. 28 And he did evil in the sight of the Lord; he did not depart from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who had made Israel sin. 29 In the days of Pekah king of Israel, Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria came and took Ijon, Abel Beth Maachah, Janoah, Kedesh, Hazor, Gilead, and Galilee, all the land of Naphtali; and he carried them captive to Assyria. 30 Then Hoshea the son of Elah led a conspiracy against Pekah the son of Remaliah, and struck and killed him; so he reigned in his place in the twentieth year of Jotham the son of Uzziah.
2 Kings 15:32-38 / 2 Chronicles 27:1-9. Jotham of Judah (750-735 B.C.)
It is difficult to sort out the dates of this king of Judah. While he is still co-regent with his father Uzziah, he makes his own son Ahaz his co-regent. Thus Judah has three overlapping kings living at the same time. We do know that Jotham is the 4th of Judah’s godly kings, and that God keeps his nation strong and free.
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 became king, 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 sight of the Lord; he did according to all that his father Uzziah had done. 35 However the high places were not removed; the people still sacrificed and burned incense on the high places. He built the Upper Gate of the house of the Lord. … 37 In those days the Lord began to send Rezin king of Syria and Pekah the son of Remaliah against Judah.