July 31


II Kings 15-18

We are in the Nation Stream reading from the New Living Translation.

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Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis

Chart of the Kings of Israel and Judah

15 – The reading in II Kings today commenced with Uzziah being crowned King of Judah in the south. He had a successful reign – it was among the best eras since the secession of the north (between 930 B.C. and 586 B.C.. The military campaigns were successful against the Philistines &Arabs &Ammonites. Uzziah could have done a better job to cleanup up the miscellaneous false religions around nation but he didn’t. He also became arrogant so God afflicted him with “leprosy”. II Chron. 26 has more on Uzziah and his reign. When there is about a decade plus left for Uzziah to rule in the south, the north had an especially chaotic season. All in a one year span [minus]; in 748 b.c. Zechariah [NOT the prophet!] was made king and assassinated in less than six months by Shallum who assumed the throne. Shallum and was killed within a month by Menahem who seized rulership and was able to hold control of Israel by cold-blooded brutality and conniving. Assyria invaded from the north, but Menahem bought them off using a “semi-truck-load” of silver {forgive the modern phrase-ology}. It worked for a time and the Assyrians turned back. Though there was hardly 20 years until Assyria would pour in and take no bribes or payoffs; they would simply butcher and pillage and burn. But for Menahem’s reign, a payoff bought a little time. His son Pekahiah took over, was evil, was assassinated in two years, Pekah, commander of Pekahiah’s army, schemed and assassinated Pekahiah. He was co-regent for ca. 20 years with others that have been listed. His stance was valiant but he still lost more land and cities to the Assyrians; including Galilee in 734 B.C. During Pekah’s reign in the north, Uzziah died in the south and his son; Jotham became king. He did well – his father’s leprosy due to disobedience served as effective warning to him. II Chron. 27 is a helpful cross-reference for all who want a greater picture. and BTW, this is the year of Isaiah’s vision in Isa. 6. Remember “he saw the Lord, the year that King Uzziah died…” !?!

16 – Ahaz became king. He reigned 16 years until around 726 B.C. He was Judean; Jotham’s son and Uzziah’s grandson. Uzziah did great but he was not entirely good and he was punished for straying. Jotham did better but he did not clean up the land the way he could have. Ahaz was a political, religious, civic, and personal “warthog” of a character. My apologies to anyone who has a pet warthog – we don’t mean to insult this “thing of beauty” when compared to Ahaz. Ahaz is told of in II Ki. 16 and II Chron. 28. He co-reigned with his father, but when his father was out of the picture he completely flipped against Judaism and the God of Abraham. He brought back Baal worship with a vengeance and also reinstituted Molech; the Satanic god who wanted children sacrificed live in the fires of Judah. He even burnt his own children to death in a religious ritual. For his Satanic behavior Judah was attacked from all sides by Philistines, Edomites, Israelites, and Syrians; from King Rezin from Aram. Judah lost hundreds of thousands! Ahaz then took gold and silver and valuables from the Temple and gave them to the King of Assyria to get him to attack those who were attacking Judah. It worked, though some of the time Assyria accidentally attacked Judeans during the sheer momentum of his thirst for gore. Ahaz went even further and closed the Temple for worship as he altered the altar and the Hebrew’s courtyard to accommodate the Assyrians and their pagan practices. Simply put, Ahaz was an utter psychopath. Hezekiah; a good king, Ahaz’ son, followed Ahaz as king (tryyyy to figure it out if you want to – go ahead!)

17 – Hoshea came to rule in Israel 730 B.C. and he was the king who saw the northern country of Israel fall for the last and final time. Captors had chipped away at the north for a few decades but there was no recovering from the smashing of 722 B.C. Hoshea was paying tribute to Assyria to keep them at bay, but he was also working a deal with Egypt in hopes that Egypt would push back the Assyrians and those two countries would become preoccupied with wiping each other out and Israel would be in the clear…. At any rate, Assyria caught wind of this, Hoshea was imprisoned, and Israel was leveled! Only Samaria was left of it and Samaria got plundered. It’s short 200 year history came to a close. All 19 of its kings were apostate. It’s religion was false and rebellious. It’s behavior was lecherous. It’s practices and negotiations were faithless and diabolical – so they were gone. God had no more remedy nor effort nor intention to be so. God removed Israel from the land.

18 – Hezekiah came to power in Judah; the south about 5-6 years before the northern kingdom fell to Assyria. Hezekiah knew what the lynchpin of reform and protection was. He returned the Judean culture to God. He removed all the idols from the land, reopened the Temple, honored and sacrificed to God. Hezekiah refused to pay the Assyrians from the Judeans accounts. Hezekiah is in II Chron. 29-32 also. Come II Kings, Hezekiah’s faith is tested as Assyria invaded Judah and absorbed much of it until he had Jerusalem surrounded. The Assyrians described Hezekiah as “a bird trapped in a cage”. Hezekiah swiftly built a tunnel to secure Jerusalem’s water supply – that can still be walked through today – if you don’t have trouble with claustrophobia or skotophobia (fear of darkness) or … hydrophobia as parts of it don’t have much airspace. Sennacherib, leader of the Assyrian army, taunted Hezekiah and threatened him – even played mind games religiously claiming that the Lord had tolllllld Assyria to attack Jerusalem. The memo was shared with Hezekiah. Stress could not have been higher. What is going to happen? We’ll read it to you next week.

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