Jehu’s dynasty (the longest in Israel) continued with Jeroboam, who had the longest reign among the northern kings. During his rule the northern kingdom extended its furthest since the time of Solomon. Archaeological evidence discovered in 1910 at Samaria showed there was a rebuilding program in the royal palace during the prosperous reigns of Joash and Jeroboam II.
Unfortunately Jeroboam II lived up to his namesake, Jeroboam I and maintained the golden calf worship. It is striking to note that despite his sinfulness the Lord blessed him and enabled him to rule for a long time. The reason for this is clearly stated as the Lord’s faithfulness to his promises (2 Kings 14:27). Even the prophet Jonah foretold this would take place for Jeroboam II.
But the Lord’s mercy would not continue indefinitely in the face of Israel’s unrepentant sin. For a good handle on just how the wealthy had become complacent during this time read the prophet Amos who spoke to Jeraboam II and Israel. And just as foretold by (Amos 7:7-11) the fall of Israel and its subsequent captivity was only thirty-one years after Jeroboam II’s death.
To read about Jeroboam II: 2 Kings 14:23-29
Can you think of a time when you thought a good leader, ruler, or family patriarch should have lived longer but had his life cut short? Can you think of any examples when a corrupt, sinful, or wicked person is allowed to prosper for many years?
When reading the accounts of the kings one has to be careful not to jump to the conclusion that God’s dealings with them is the way he always deals with every authority figure or leader. We need to keep in mind that they had a special arrangement and promise. So often we read that good kings are “blessed” but when they do evil they are “cursed” by God. The direct lesson was important for the people of God as they functioned as his “nation of priest” before the world (Exodus 19). Read about the special promise they operated under in Deuteronomy 30:15-20.
Yet God is not bound to immediately bring misfortune and suffering on the wrongdoer. In fact he quite often allows the wicked to prosper -for a time. Read 2 Kings 14:23-29.
What did God do through Jeroboam? What important lesson does this account give us? How is that lesson a comfort to you today?
There is only a brief account of king Zechariah who ruled for only six months. Just as prophesied (2 Kings 10:30) Jehu’s line endured to the fifth generation because he had faithfully served the Lord in ridding the land of Baal and ending the line of Ahab.
Recall that Jehu’s reforms didn’t go so far as to remove the high places and end the worship of the golden calf at Dan and Bethel. Jehu’s offspring all walked in the sins of Jeroboam I with tolerance of golden calf worship as well as other offences.
Just as Amos (Amos 7:9) prophesied Jeraboam II’s son, Zechariah, was assassinated and the line of Jehu ended when the throne was usurped.
Coincidently Jeroboam I’s son was also assassinated.
Read about Zechariah king of Israel: 2 Kings 15:8-12
His origins are unknown. He ruled for only one month (752 BC) after his public assassination of King Zechariah. He was then in turn assassinated by Manehem who succeeded him to the throne. There are only thirty years counting after him until the northern kingdom falls (722 BC).
Read about Shallum king of Israel: 2 Kings 15:10-15
His origins are unknown. He ruled for ten years after his assassination of King Shallum. He paid off the King of Assria to maintain his throne and imposed a heavy tax on the people to pay the Assyrian’s tribute. He is ruthless in practice even attacking the pregnant women in places he conquered. He is characterized as continuing in the sins of Jeroboam. The spiritual and political decline of Israel becomes increasingly evident by his death (742).
His reign, centered in Samaria, was apparently opposed from the start by a rival throne in Gilead set up by Pekah.
Read about Manehem king of Israel: 2 Kings 15:14-22
He ruled for only two years. As the son of Manehem he no doubt continued to pay tribute to the Assyrians. He is characterized as continuing in the evil sins of Jeroboam. One of his chief officers, Pekah, wanted to fight the Assyrians to gain freedom.
It seems that his reign from Samaria, was apparently opposed by the rival throne in Gilead with King Pekah. Pekah assassinated Pekahiah (around 740 BC) and took over reign of all of Israel for himself.
Read about Pekahiah: 2 Kings 15:22-26
He ruled for twenty years and continued the golden calf worship started by the first king of Israel. It seems that Pekah had already set up a rival throne in Gilead to Manehem who ruled in Samaria in 752 BC after the assassination of Shallum.
Pekah made an alliance with Syria and they joined together to attack Jerusalem. He did have some measure of success in campaigns against Judah –killing at one point 120,000 people. (2 Chronicles 28:6) The people of Judah were terrified at his threats to conquer Jerusalem. Isaiah, however, prophesied Pekah’s failure. When he stopped paying tribute as a vassal nation to Assyria much of the territory of Israel was lost and many were deported by the Assyrians.
Read about Pekah: 2 Kings 15:25-38, 16:5; 2 Chronicles 28:6; Isaiah 7:1-9
King Hoshea –Last King of Israel
Hoshea is the 19th and final king of Israel. He took advantage of the losses of Pekah who rebelled against the Assyrians and assassinated Pekah to take the throne.
Not much is recorded of his rule apart from the significant end of Israel as a nation. The prophets Micah, Hosea, Isaiah all had important messages for the people of Israel as final warnings and judgments.
After a three-month siege Samaria fell to the Assyrians and a lengthy list of grievances and reasons why God had given over his people to their enemies follows his brief account in 2 Kings 17.
After 722 BC the northern kingdom of Israel is no more and fully under Assyrian control.
Read of Hoshea: 2 Kings 17:1-6, 18:9-12
Read 2 Kings 17 A short summary of the offenses from Jeroboam on are listed here. Generate a list of “crimes” the people of Israel had committed.
Give some examples of other instances in Bible history when God destroyed or wiped out cities or nations of people because they had rejected his Word. Agree or Disagree: God destroys godless nations.
While it is easy to see God’s justice, how do you see his grace in this chapter?
Israel was influenced by the pagans around them. Note how the sins of Israel in turn influenced their neighbor, Judah. See if you can recall at least two of the kings of Judah who could be blamed for allowing Israel’s sin to cross the borders to Judah. Why do we sometimes unwittingly allow evil to influence us?
How did Samaria end up with a mixed religion of both worship of the Lord and other gods?
Find at least three outstanding characteristic(s) of our Lord and King as you reflect on this recap of the history of the northern kingdom.
How did reading about the kings of Israel help you better see and appreciate Jesus our King?