Bible: What Does 2 Kings 13-15 Teach Us About Success and Defeat?
Jehoahaz, King of Israel
Another unbelieving ruler (Jehoahaz) reigning in the northern kingdom maintains Israel in Jeroboam-like idolatry; as a result, Syria oppresses the people of God for several years (vv. 1-3).
In mercy the LORD sends His people a deliverer, and they gain some measure of freedom (vv. 4-5; see v. 23).
However, even with experiencing this display of agape love, Israel does not repent of false worship; consequently, Yahweh greatly reduces the size of its army through Syrian domination (vv. 6-7).
The historian concludes his comments about Jehoahaz in his typical fashion (vv. 8-9), and then mentions Jehoash (Joash) the son of Jehoahaz, whose reign does not differ greatly from his father's, except for conducting wars against the king of Judah (vv. 10-13; cf. vv. 1-2, 8-9).
Elisha's Gravesite Miracle
Elisha's final acts before his death consist of giving Joash a glimpse of Israel's fortunes in its war against Syria (vv. 14-19).
He instructs the king to shoot arrows out an east window; through this object lesson the prophet shows him that he must strike Syria and destroy him (vv. 15-17).
Further instruction reveals that Joash's efforts will fail to complete the task (vv. 18-19).
After his death, Elisha continues to impact people's lives, for even his bones prove to be rather “potent” (vv. 20-21).
God's covenant with Abraham prevents Hazael king of Syria from completely annihilating Israel (vv. 22-23).
When Ben-Hadad, Hazael's son, replaces him, he cannot keep certain Israelite cities in his control; Joash defeats him three times and recaptures them (vv. 24-25).
Pride Comes Before a Fall
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2 Kings 14
Resuming his accounts of the reigns of Judean kings, the historian first relates some incidents in the life of Amaziah son of Joash (vv. 1-22; cf. 12:21).
While a righteous ruler, Amaziah still does not prohibit the people from sacrificing in unlawful locations (vv. 1-4).
He is like his father, but unlike David, in this practice (v. 3).
After Amaziah assumes leadership of Judah, he immediately executes his father's assassins, and in obedience to the Law, spares their sons (vv. 5-6; cf. Deut. 24:16).
In addition, Amaziah accomplishes the capture of the Edomite mountain fortress, Sela [Petra], killing ten thousand enemies in the process (v. 7).
No doubt buoyed by this defeat of Edom, Amaziah challenges Jehoash king of Israel (v. 8; cf. 13:12).
Although the latter responds arrogantly with a parable, he tries to avoid battle with his Judean counterpart, knowing that he would decimate his opponent's troops (vv. 9-10).
To his disgrace, Amaziah does not heed the warning; consequently, Judah falls to Israel at Beth Shemesh (vv. 11-12).
Jehoash then proceeds to topple a large portion of Jerusalem's wall, steal the temple's treasury and that of Amaziah, and bring hostages back to Samaria (vv. 13-14).
[Before completing Amaziah's story and beginning his son's (Azariah) [vv. 17-22], the chronicler repeats a note about Jehoash's reign, death, and successor (vv. 15-16; cf. 13:12, 13)].
Although Jeroboam II king of Israel lives wickedly (as had his father before him), yet he restores much territory to Israel in fulfillment of one of Jonah's unrecorded prophecies (vv. 23-25).
Yahweh saves Israel from bitter affliction through Jeroboam (vv. 26-27). The author concludes his account of this king's reign (vv. 28-29).
Struck with Leprosy
Leprosy Strikes Again
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2 Kings 15
Azariah reigns over Judah for more than a half century, yet in a limited capacity (vv. 1-2); though a righteous man, the king stumbles through pride.
Yahweh strikes him with leprosy, so that Jotham his son needed to replace him and judge the people from the royal house (vv. 2-3, 5; cf. 2 Chron. 26).
Accordingly, Azariah lived a very ordinary life until his death (vv. 6-7).
[Azariah was also known as Uzziah].
Jeroboam II's son Zechariah rules Israel only a short time before Shallum conspires against him (vv. 8-10).
Yet as the fourth son of Jehu, Zechariah fulfills God's specific promise to that king of Israel (v. 12; cf. 2 Kings 10:30).
Shallum reigns an even shorter period, becoming a victim of assassination at the hand of Menahem (vv. 13-15).
Menahem then viciously attacks Tiphsah and kills its pregnant women (v. 16), reigns unrighteously over Israel for ten years (vv. 17-18), and exacts heavy taxes from the people to pay Tiglath-Pileser [Pul] king of Assyria, who helped him stay in power until his death (vv. 19-22).
Pekahiah his son rules briefly (two years) before he, too, feels the sharp edges of the conspirators' sword (vv. 23-26).
The main assassin, Pekah, remains king for twenty years. During his reign, Tiglath-Pileser begins to carry Israelites into captivity to Assyria (vv. 27-29); Pekah is also assassinated (vv. 30-31).
After reviewing the actions of these several kings of Israel, which eventuated in the Assyrian captivity, the historian returns to discuss another king of Judah, Jotham (vv. 32-38).
[Again, he employs the usual format for recording pertinent details:
(1) the beginning of the reign (v. 32);
(2) the king's age, the duration of his reign, and his mother's name (v. 33);
(3) the king's spiritual status (v. 34);
(4) some of his kingly activities (v. 35);
(5) mention of more data in the Chronicles (v. 36);
(6) other historical events occurring during his reign (v. 37);
(7) his death, place of burial, and successor (v. 38)].
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