As Jeroboam served as king over Israel, and as Judah had her own king – who had found much disfavor with the Lord of late, the Lord placed a new king over Judah. His name was Azariah, otherwise known as Uzziah. He reigned 52 years and was considered a good king (15:1-7). The stability that Jeroboam II brought was now brought to an end, and Israel was in her final days. Zechariah, Shallum, Menahem, all served as king within a year’s time. It was Menahem who gave some semblance of stability (reigned 10 years), but Assyria’s king, Pul, had to be used as a threat against any that would threaten him (Menahem). In truth, Menahem bought and paid for Assyria’s protection because they were a serious threat to Israel’s existence (15:8-20). Pekahiah, Pekah, Hoshea, all reigned as kings over Israel (15:21-31). When Uzziah died, as king over Judah, his son Jotham reigned in his stead (15:32-38).
Application: From the Lord’s perspective, it is not how good a ruler is with regard to economic policy, with regard to domestic policy (in a broader expanse), with regard to foreign affairs, or with regard to political appointments. It is all a matter of where the Lord was placed in that person’s heart. With Israel, because he was not placed where He ought to have been, the Lord saw to their defeat. With Judah, some kings properly placed the Lord, and in this placement the king had assurance from the Lord. Down to our day will it be any different?