In these four chapters, we cover quite a number of kings. I am finding, as I try to track the years that these kings reigned, that Lawrence Boadt’s years do not match the Scripture very well. The bottom line is that different scholars have different estimates for the exact years that the kings of Israel and Judah reigned. The dates we are most sure of are the dates when both kingdoms came to an end. In the chart below I am following dates taken from this web site: http://ldolphin.org/kings.html….
Jehoahaz (814-798, evil) Amaziah (796-767, good)
Jehoash (798-782, evil) Uzziah/Azariah (767-740, good)
Jeroboam II (782-753, evil) Jotham (740-732, good)
Zechariah (753-752, evil) Ahaz (732-716, bad)
Shallum (752, evil)
Menahem (752-742, evil)
Many of the accounts in this section do not give us many details about these kings. However, we are given a bit of narrative with some of them. Jehoahaz of Israel was evil. The Lord responded to this by giving Israel repeatedly into the hands of the King of Aram. However, in the midst of this, Jehoahaz prayed to the Lord and the Lord delivered Israel from Aram. This little story shows us that even when an evil person prays to God, the Lord hears and shows compassion.
Jehoash, son of Jehoahaz of Israel, also did evil in the sight of the Lord. Yet, he wept at the deathbed of the prophet Elisha. Perhaps his story, and that of his father, shows us that no human being on this earth is completely good or evil. Elisha asks Jehoash to shoot an arrow out of his window and when Jehoash does so Elisha proclaims, “The Lord’s arrow of victory, the arrow of victory over Aram!” This little incident reveals the penchant that many of the biblical prophets had for using object lessons.
Next, Elisha invites Jehoash to strike the ground with his arrows. However, Jehoash does this only three times and then stops. Elisha tells Jehoash that if he had struck the ground more then he would have struck down the King of Aram, but as it is Jehoash will only strike down Aram three times.
This incident raises the question: is there more than one possible future for every human being depending on one’s choices? Or is there one destiny decreed for everyone from before the foundation of the earth? This story intriguingly suggests the former.
Next, we have the story of the death of Elisha. His passing is not as dramatic as Elijah who is taken away in a chariot of fire. Elisha apparently dies in the normal fashion and then is buried. However, when another dead body comes in contact with the dead body of Elisha, the dead body of the other man comes to life. This suggests that there is some kind of supernatural power attached even to the body of a holy person. It is interesting to consider whether this Scripture has any broader application. Perhaps one question it raises is this: do people come more to life by their contact with us, or do we have a deadening effect upon others?
2 Kings 14 recounts, among other things, a battle between King Jehoahaz of Israel and King Amaziah of Judah. This is brought about by Amaziah’s pride and in the end Amaziah loses. This certainly seems to be a low point in the history of the divided kingdom, seeing a once-united people fighting against one another.
It should be noted that King Azariah of Judah also goes by the name Uzziah. It was in the year that good King Uzziah died that the prophet Isaiah saw the Lord for the first time. (See Isaiah 6.)
Though these chapters focus largely on human beings and their deeds or misdeeds, we are reminded that God is in the background, fulfilling his promises. For example, we read in 2 Kings 15:12, “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 happened.”
In chapters 15 and 16, we are introduced to Tiglath-pileser, king of Assyria. Wicked king Ahaz of Judah appeals to Tiglath-pileser to help him when he is being attacked by the King of Aram and the King of Israel. Tiglath-pileser and the other monarchs of Assyria who follow him will bring about the eventual demise of the Kingdom of Israel in 722 BC, and the loss of the ten northern tribes who will never be heard from again.