This set of chapter repeats and embellishes upon events between 1 Kings 16 and 2 Kings 16. They present a slow decline from Jehoram to Ahaz.
Jehoram is the first king of Judah to not follow David’s example as a king. He leads them into “whoredom” as he was led by his wife, one of the daughters of Ahab.
Okay, so here’s the thing with this one. His wife is blamed for corrupting him against following his father’s example. Ahab was one of the kings of Israel who had been horrible, we had seen him back in 1 Kings 16. He was the one who “did evil in the sight of the LORD, more than all who were before him”. So naturally his daughter could set a righteous man off course….
I get that her influence is attributed here to having led him astray, but I highly doubt that it was her alone. I feel like we’re giving way too much credit to her and not nearly enough to him here, especially because it goes on to talk about how God was mad at him about it and had other people wage war against them, people who “carried away all the possessions they found that belonged to the king’s house, and also his sons and his wives…”. There are more things that they did but the point is “wives”. So we were giving credit to one wife for corrupting the king and through him, the entire country, when he even had more than one wife?
The chapter ends with his death and some statements that sound to me like no one cared that he died when it finally happened, not even the one son that was left to him. Also, that he died in horrible pain from a disease of the bowels. Not sure what that was but it must have been horrible. And gross.
Here we skip over the stories of Elijah and Elisha that were in the books of kings and come back in at the events of 2 Kings 8 where Ahaziah becomes king of Judah and then dies (as in 2 Kings 9) and then his mother goes on a killing spree of the rest of the royal family, apparently including her own grandchildren. One grandson is saved by an aunt, Jehoshabeath.
Jehoshabeath, the aunt, is married to Jehoiada, who is one of the priests. He sets up a coup to install the saved son, Joash, as the new king. This all happens like back in 2 Kings 11 and ending with Athaliah’s execution.
Joash starts off as a good king, doing right by God for as long as Jehoiada is there to guide him. He even repairs the house of the Lord and all the things in it during his reign. As soon as Jehoiada dies, though, everything goes wrong. Joash listens to bad advisers who steer him away from God and no amount of prophets, not even Jehoiada’s son, can get him back on course again. He even has Jehoiada’s son, Zechariah, stoned to death. His final words are:
May the Lord see and avenge!
It sounds like He did because the Syrians come up and attack and beat Judah by a great margin, leaving the king seriously wounded. Some of his servants finish him off for what he did to Zechariah. There is a note at the end of the chapter that basically says all the specifics of his refusing to listen to the many prophets who came to warn him are in the “Story of the Book of the Kings”.
The account of the attackers and his subsequent death are quite different in 2 Kings 12. In the 2 Kings account, they are by the king of Aram and he sends all the money and gold to that king to convince him to leave. Leave he does and some of his own officials conspire to assassinate him just after. The names of those who killed him are the same but the rest is quite different.
This chapter happens almost identically to the account in 2 Kings 14. It is preceded by some extra information that we didn’t have before.
A count of able-bodied men had been done before going up against Edom, including that he was going to borrow men from Israel. God warned him against this part because He “is not with Israel”. They win and take back the gods of Edom, which upsets God. So this why He delivers them to Israel during the exchange that is in both this chapter and in 2 Kings 14.
He is killed in the same way as the other account, conspired against while in hiding in Lachish.
Uzziah, whose name is spelled Azariah in the 2 Kings 15 version, is the focus of this whole chapter. His previous account is pretty short but this one explains why God “afflicted” him with leprosy back in that one.
He follows God pretty well in the beginning and God makes him prosper, but he gets cocky after a while and goes to burn the incense himself in the house of the Lord, which only Levites are supposed to do. Some Levites go in and warn him that it’s not for him to do and he breaks out on his forehead with leprosy at about the time that he starts getting angry with the priests. It doesn’t specify that he got violent with them, but I can’t imagine it wasn’t in the realm of possibilities.
Jotham gets a tiny paragraph in 2 Kings 15 and this tiny chapter repeats about the same things with a few extra details.
Ahaz takes over as king and does not follow his father’s example. As in 2 Kings 16, he is basically one disaster after another until his death, bringing himself and his people further and further from God.