Conspiracy Against Amaziah
In Judah: Amaziah’s acts now brought him into conflict with his own people, who conspired against him and eventually killed him in Lachish. “The fact that Amaziah reached the city of Lachish on the border with Philistia, some 25 miles from Jerusalem, suggests that he may have been seeking sanctuary among the Philistines” (Nelson Study Bible, note on 2 Chronicles 25:27 2 Chronicles 25:27Now after the time that Amaziah did turn away from following the LORD they made a conspiracy against him in Jerusalem; and he fled to Lachish: but they sent to Lachish after him, and slew him there.
American King James Version×). That the plot “was not a move against the dynasty of David is clear from the fact that Amaziah was replaced by his own son Azariah (= Uzziah), who had been co-reigning with him for over twenty years. The most likely theory is that the foul deed of murder had, ironically, been motivated by the desire to restore a pure worship of Yahweh to the kingdom (see 2 Chronicles 25:27)” (Merrill, Kingdom of Priests, pp. 372-373).
Reign of Jeroboam II
In Israel: Meanwhile, in Israel, the continuing apostasy of the Jehu dynasty in the sins of Jeroboam can be seen in Jehoash actually naming his son Jeroboam. And this son, Jeroboam II, becomes the next king—the fourth king of the Jehu dynasty. He was co-regent with his father from around 793-782 B.C. and sole ruler from around 782-753. One of Israel’s most illustrious kings, he enlarged the northern kingdom of Israel to its greatest territorial extent. However, “Israelite society, in spite of its healthy appearance, was in an advanced state of decay, socially, morally and religiously’ (John Bright, A History of Israel, 1981, p. 256).
Sadly, Jeroboam himself continued in the sins of his namesake (2 Kings 14:24 2 Kings 14:24And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD: he departed not from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin.
American King James Version×). Yet, in spite of Israel’s idolatry, God was still incredibly merciful to His people. Through the prophet Jonah, God had recently foretold the restoration of territory just mentioned (verse 25). Incidentally, this gives us a historical context for Jonah’s ministry and the book of Jonah, which we will be reading next.
Jeroboam II was to accomplish a great deal during his long reign, and God left a major legacy through him. Sadly, Israel’s spiritual standards had fallen so low that it would not stand for long as a nation. Despite the 40-year flush of restored power and prestige under Jeroboam II, Israel’s first deportation by the Assyrians occurred only 20 years after his reign ended—just two decades after the peak of the northern kingdom. And Israel was subject to Assyria in even less time. America, having won the Cold War and feeling secure today as the world’s only superpower, would do well to reflect on that.
It should be noted here that the reign of Jeroboam II and subsequent kings of Israel are not mentioned in Chronicles. In fact, of the last seven rulers of Israel, only one, Pekah, is mentioned at all (2 Chronicles 28:6 2 Chronicles 28:6For Pekah the son of Remaliah slew in Judah an hundred and twenty thousand in one day, which were all valiant men; because they had forsaken the LORD God of their fathers.
American King James Version×).
Supplementary Reading: “The Later Kings of Israel—A Kingdom’s Downfall”, Good News Magazine, Sept.—Oct. 1998, pp. 24-26.