Amaziah begins at age 25 and rules for 29 years. He did well in the beginning, but didn’t remove the “high places” and the “people continue to offer sacrifices and burn incense” in such places (2 Kings 14:3-4). The narrative of the rise and fall of Amaziah has no reference to prophets or seeking God’s will. For the record, neither does any discussion about the northern kingdom. At this time Elijah and Elisha are gone, but there are other prophets, major and minor prophets, who will speak into the lives of God’s chosen people. They definitely need to be listening to the prophets!
Amaziah establishes himself and executes those who conspired to assassinate his father, Joash. He didn’t kill their entire family, just those who were responsible. The power of the throne must have strengthened him because he is notorious for attacking the Edomites against 10,000 soldiers. He was so impressed with himself that he provoked King Jehoash, northern kingdom, to come and fight. Jehoash’s response is classic:
“A thistle in Lebanon sent a message to a cedar in Lebanon, ‘Give your daughter to my son in marriage.’ Then a wild beast in Lebanon came along and trampled the thistle underfoot.” 2 Kings 14:9
Just to be sure the message is clear, Jehoash continues:
“You have indeed defeated Edom and now you are arrogant. Glory in your victory, but stay at home! 2 Kings 14:10
Amaziah is indeed arrogant and foolish. He continues to provoke the “wild beast” and the civil war picks up the pace. Israel routs Judah, breaks down the walls, takes hostages and returns to Samaria. Amaziah escapes, but is tracked down and killed in Lachish.
Azariah is next in line as King of Judah. He begins at age 16 and reigns for 52 years. Once again, he does well, but doesn’t remove the “high places” and people keep up their habit of burning incense there. Eventually, the Lord afflicted him with leprosy and he died in a separated house leaving Jotham, his son, in charge until he succeeded him. Not much else to say about Azariah.
Jotham was 25 years old when he started and he reigned for 16 years. He did the same as his fathers (meaning he did well, but didn’t destroy the “high places”). He also “rebuilt the Upper Gate of the temple of the Lord” (2 Kings 15:35). In his time, the Lord sent “Rezin king of Aram and Pekah [king of Israel] against him” (2 Kings 15:37). Ahaz is next.
Isaiah speaks during the reign of Jotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah and Manasseh. Michah overlaps a bit with Hezekiah and Manesseh. It’s good to remember the prophets do exist, they’re just not given the presence of the king during these declining dynasties.
Northern Kingdom – Israel
A new Jeroboam begins in the southern kingdom. As his namesake implies, he continue to do evil in the eyes of the Lord. As bad as Jeroboam was, the Lord had mercy on the people and saved them from his hands.
Zechariah followed Jeroboam II as king of Israel for a mere 6 months. Assassinated quickly, he was followed by Shallum for one month. Shallum was assassinate and Menahem took over for 10 years. The evil continues to grow in Israel.
Under Menahem’s reign, the king of Assyria (Pul) invaded. Menahem forced everyone to contribute and he paid Pul off, so the Assyrians left (for now).
Pekahiah, son of Menahem, became king next. He continued the evil practices and lasted 2 years. He was assassinated by Pekah and now Pekah is king of Israel. He managed to stay alive for 20 years, continued the evil practices and was himself assassinated by Hoshea. Not much to say about Pekah except that the king of Assyria came and taken people seemingly at will.
Amos and Hosea, two of the minor prophets, speak into the northern kingdom during the timeframe of Jeroboam II to Hoshea (the last king of Israel) before they are taken into Assyrian captivity and vanquished from the planet. Incredibly sad. God’s people completely forgot the incredible gift given to them.