II Kin. 13:1-14:20, 23-29; II Chron. 25:1-28
During the next several years, the nation of Israel saw three kings and much unrest. Jehoahaz, the son of Jehu became king and continued in the ways that Jeroboam had instituted as the first king of the northern kingdom of Israel. Because of their continual idol worship, God “delivered them into the hand of Hazael king of Syria, and into the hand of Ben-Hadad the son of Hazael, all their days.” Israel suffered oppression at the hands of Syria most of the seventeen years that Jehoahaz was their king.
Jehoahaz’s son, Joash succeeded him to the throne of Israel. He also displeased God by continuing in the ways of Jeroboam. However, because of His covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, God allowed Joash to recapture many of the cities of Israel that had fallen to Syria. Joash also waged war with Judah.
Even though Joash was displeasing to God, he did have a close relationship with Elisha. As the prophet laid on his death-bed, Joash went down and wept over him. He received one last prophecy from Elisha that he would have victories over Syria, but would not completely destroy them.
Elisha died and was buried. As he had done previously in raising the Shunammite woman’s son, another person was raised from the dead miraculously. A funeral was interrupted because of a Moabite raid. In their haste, they buried the man’s body in Elisha’s tomb. As soon as the dead man touched the prophet’s bones, he was brought back to life. That continued to show the power of God through Elisha.
Joash’s son Jeroboam followed him as king of Israel. He reigned for forty-one years and also continued in the first Jeroboam’s wicked ways. However, he was a strong king. Syria and Assyria had weakened and Jeroboam took advantage of their weaknesses and regained much of Israel’s lost land on both their northern and southern borders. The prophet, Jonah had prophesied that it would take place.
Amaziah became king of Judah at the age of twenty-five after his father Joash’s assassination by his servants. One of his first acts as king was to execute the murderous servants. He did right before God, but he was just like other men; he did not fully restore the proper worship of God.
During that time in the history of man, God continued to use wars to punish evil nations. Amaziah attacked the Edomites with His help and destroyed about twenty thousand of their men after God had instructed him to discharge one hundred thousand soldiers that he had hired from Israel.
However, Amaziah was like other kings in that he took gods from defeated Edom and erected them for Judah’s worship. The question that God asked him still applies to us today. “Why have you sought the gods of the people, which could not rescue their own people from your hand?” That action was disastrous for Judah. The prophet delivered the message, “I know that God has determined to destroy you, because you have done this and have not heeded my advice.”
Even the dire warning from God did not stop the prideful Amaziah from challenging Joash, the king of Israel to battle. Joash rejected his challenge by stating in effect that the Judean king should not engage in a war that he could not win. The ensuing battle at Beth Shemesh resulted in a costly defeat of Judah before they could even invade Israel. Their king was captured, the wall of Jerusalem was partially destroyed and the temple of God was looted of its treasures.
In time, a conspiracy was formed against the king. Even after escaping to the strong city of Lachish, Amaziah was killed and his son, Azariah then became king of Judah.