Succession of Coups in Israel
After the death of Jeroboam, the situation in Israel grew steadily worse. His son Zechariah was king for only six months and was no better than his father, thus bringing to an end the prophecy that God had made to Jehu: "Your sons shall sit on the throne of Israel to the fourth generation" (2 Kings 10:30 2 Kings 10:30And the LORD said to Jehu, Because you have done well in executing that which is right in my eyes, and have done to the house of Ahab according to all that was in my heart, your children of the fourth generation shall sit on the throne of Israel.
American King James Version×). The assassination of Zechariah also fulfilled a portion of the prophecy we just read in Hosea that "in a little while I will avenge the bloodshed of Jezreel on the house of Jehu" (Hosea 1:4 Hosea 1:4And the LORD said to him, Call his name Jezreel; for yet a little while, and I will avenge the blood of Jezreel on the house of Jehu, and will cause to cease the kingdom of the house of Israel.
American King James Version×).
Following Zechariah's assassination, Israel was ruled by a succession of usurpers. Shallum, like the usurper Hazael (2 Kings 8:15 2 Kings 8:15And it came to pass on the morrow, that he took a thick cloth, and dipped it in water, and spread it on his face, so that he died: and Hazael reigned in his stead.
American King James Version×), was referred to in Assyrian records as "the son of nobody," indicating that he was not of royal descent. He lasted only a single month, being overthrown by Menahem. The lesson of history shows that whenever a person takes over a leadership role through a coup, whether in a nation, in the church or in any organization, he is setting an example to his followers that they too can do the same if they are dissatisfied.
Menahem attacked Tiphsah (2 Kings 15:16 2 Kings 15:16Then Menahem smote Tiphsah, and all that were therein, and the coasts thereof from Tirzah: because they opened not to him, therefore he smote it; and all the women therein that were with child he ripped up.
American King James Version×), that is, "Thapsacus, on the Euphrates, the border city of Solomon's kingdom (1 Kings 4:24 1 Kings 4:24For he had dominion over all the region on this side the river, from Tiphsah even to Azzah, over all the kings on this side the river: and he had peace on all sides round about him.
American King James Version×)" (Jamieson, Fausset & Brown's Commentary, note on 2 Kings 15:16 2 Kings 15:16Then Menahem smote Tiphsah, and all that were therein, and the coasts thereof from Tirzah: because they opened not to him, therefore he smote it; and all the women therein that were with child he ripped up.
American King James Version×). It appears that Menahem was trying to maintain the expansion that had occurred under Jeroboam II, who had died just seven months before he took the throne. Tiphsah would be an example to all those who would try to stop this brutal king. His abominable and egregious evil in ripping open the pregnant women was an all-too-common heathen practice (2 Kings 8:12 2 Kings 8:12And Hazael said, Why weeps my lord? And he answered, Because I know the evil that you will do to the children of Israel: their strong holds will you set on fire, and their young men will you slay with the sword, and will dash their children, and rip up their women with child.
American King James Version×; Hosea 13:16 Hosea 13:16Samaria shall become desolate; for she has rebelled against her God: they shall fall by the sword: their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up.
American King James Version×; Amos 1:13 Amos 1:13Thus said the LORD; For three transgressions of the children of Ammon, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because they have ripped up the women with child of Gilead, that they might enlarge their border:
American King James Version×). Ironically, the name Menahem meant "Comforter."
None of these Israelite rulers are recorded in 2 Chronicles. In fact, as noted previously in the Beyond Today Bible Commentary, almost none of the final kings of Israel, from Jeroboam II on, are even mentioned in Chronicles.