Kings Asa and Jehoshaphat of Judah (910-847BC)


Spanning the same time period between Nadab son of Jeroboam and Ahab, kings Asa and then his son Jehoshaphat ruled consecutively in the southern kingdom, called the House of Judah.  So we can see Israel had a run of bad kings, evil in God’s eyes, and getting worse all the time.  Paralleling the rule of Nadab through Ahab (Nabad, Baasha, Omri and Ahab) were two kings in Judah whose reigns equaled the same time span, going all the way into Ahab’s son Ahaziah’s reign.  God tended to give righteous kings longer reigns.  We also notice a trend taking place, which started in the reign of Asa, and really gained momentum under Jehoshaphat his son.  King Asa came to power when his father, king Abijah died.  Asa’s army was numbered at 580,000, “So they built and prospered.  And Asa had an army of three hundred thousand from Judah who carried shields and spears, and from Benjamin two hundred and eighty thousand men who carried shields and drew bows; all these were mighty men of valor” (2nd Chronicles 14:8).  Keep that number in mind.  He reigned for 41 years (2nd Chronicles 16:13)  For the most part Asa’s reign was righteous.  He lost faith toward the end when he made a military alliance with Syria instead of trusting the LORD.  But things are far worse in Israel, as 2nd Chronicles 15:3-6 states, “For a long time Israel has been without the true God, without a teaching priest, and with law; but when in their trouble they turned to the LORD God of Israel, and sought him, he was found by them.  And in those times there was no peace to the one who went out, nor to the one who came in, but great turmoil was on all the inhabitants of the lands.  So nation was destroyed by nation, and city by city, for God troubled them with every adversity.”  Now lets look a few verses down from there to verse 9, to see this trend beginning under Asa, which really picked up steam under his son Jehoshaphat.  2nd Chronicles 15:9, “Then he [king Asa] gathered all Judah and Benjamin, and those who dwelt with them from Ephraim, Manasseh, and Simeon, for they came over to him in great numbers from Israel when they saw that the LORD his God was with him.”  A migration from the northern ten tribes had begun under Asa’s righteous rule.  Evil rulers, wars and rumors of wars, political instability were taking it’s toll.  Don’t forget, also king Omri had some impressive military campaigns against Assyria, a scary bunch of dudes to go against.  And although he won these campaigns, it wasn’t what people wanted to join the army for.  Naturally, Assyria being the looser in these campaigns, didn’t record them in their cuneiform writings.  So Israelites started migrating south into Judah “in great numbers” as verse 9 shows, during the reign of Asa.  2nd Chronicles 16 shows Asa making a treaty with Syria (not Assyria), which upset God, then he gets diseased in the feet, and dies two years after that.  Now we come to his son Jehoshaphat, who takes over rulership of the House of Judah.  2nd Chronicles 17:1-11, “Then Jehoshaphat his son reigned in his place, and strengthened himself against Israel.  And he placed troops in all the fortified cities of Judah [Jehoshaphat began his reign in the fourth year of king Ahab, 1st Kings 22:41], and set garrisons in the land of Judah and in the cities of Ephraim which Asa his father had taken.  Now the LORD was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the former ways of his father David; he did not seek the Baals, but sought the God of his father, and walked in his commandments and not according to the acts of Israel.  Therefore the LORD established the kingdom in his hand; and all Judah gave presents to Jehoshaphat, and he had riches and honor in abundance.  And his heart took delight in the ways of the LORD; moreover he removed the high places and wooden images from Judah.  Also in the third year of his reign he sent his leaders, Ben-Hail, Obadiah, Zechariah, Nethanel, and Michaiah, to teach the cities of Judah.  And with them he sent Levites:  Shemaiah, Nethaniah, Zebadiah, Asahel, Shemiramoth, Jehonathan, Adonijah, Tobijah, and Tobadonijah---the Levites; and with them Elishama and Jehoram, the priests.  So they taught in Judah, and had the Book of the Law of the LORD with them; they went throughout all the cities of Judah and taught the people.  And the fear of the LORD fell on all the kingdoms of the lands that were around Judah, so that they did not make war against Jehoshaphat.  Also some of the Philistines brought Jehoshaphat presents of silver as tribute and the Arabians brought him flocks, seven thousand seven hundred rams and seven thousand seven hundred male goats.”  That’s impressive.  Times are good, God’s blessing both the king and his land.  Economy’s booming, peace abounds, and the ordinary citizen’s children are safe from getting sacrificed to Baal in the land of Judah.  Let’s observe something.  We saw under Asa his father that Judah’s army numbered 580,000.  Let’s look at the next set of verses.  We will find an interesting statistic hidden in there.  2nd Chronicles 17:13-18, “He had much property in the cities of Judah; and the men of war, mighty men of valor, were in Jerusalem.  These are their numbers, according to their fathers’ houses.  Of Judah, the captains of thousands: Adnah, the captain, and with him three hundred thousand mighty men of valor; and next to him was Jehohanan the captain, and with him two hundred and eighty thousand; and next to him was Amasiah the son of Zichri, who willingly offered himself to the LORD, and with him two hundred thousand mighty men of valor.  Of Benjamin: Eliada a mighty man of valor, and with him two hundred thousand men armed with bow and shield; and next to him was Jehozabad, and with him one hundred and eighty thousand prepared for war.  These served the king, besides those the king put in fortified cities throughout all Judah.”  Now if you do a little bit of math, 300,000 + 280,000 + 200,000 + 200,000 + 180,000 = 1,160,000 mighty men of valor, soldiers.  That is exactly double the number of soldiers under king Asa, at 580,000.  580,000 x 2 = 1,160,000.  Obviously the Israelite migration south which started under king Asa grew even larger under king Jehoshaphat, essentially doubling Jehoshaphat’s army during wicked king Ahab and Jezebel’s rule.  Wicked rulers and civil unrest, children being murdered by the evil state religion, which was now the worship of Ba’al Hammon, that made people want to emigrate for sure.  Also the spiritual revival under Elijah made people want to move south as well. 

Sociological merging of Israel and Phoenicia


But let’s notice another sociological change which occurred in the northern kingdom of Israel.  By this time, with the gods of Tyre and Sidon, which were Baal, Ashtoreth, and Tanit now adopted by Israel, we find cross-cultural ties growing by leaps and bounds between the Phoenician empire city-states of Tyre and Sidon and Israel, who have basically combined into one ocean-going shipping empire.  Economic, religious and cultural ties have grown so much that the northern Israelite language has combined with the Syro-Phoenician tongue, becoming linguistically merged.  Under Ahab the Israelite and Phoenician royal houses have intermarried.  Their economies and naval military forces have been merged since Solomon.  The linguistic merging of Hebrew and Syro-Phoenician is a historic fact, where the tongue that the Israelites were speaking was more and more like that of Phoenicia than Hebrew.


Line of Kings of the House of Judah, From Rehoboam to Joash


Rehoboam son of Solomon (ruled 17 years) 930BC-915BC


Abijam (Abijah) son of Rehoboam (ruled 3 years) 914/913-911/910BC


Asa son of Abijam (ruled 41 years) 911/910 to 870/869BC


Jehoshaphat son of Asa (ruled 25 years) 870/869 to 848/847BC

[co-regent with Asa while Asa sick, 873-871BC]


Jehoram (m. Athaliah), 848 to 841/840BC

[co-regency with Jehoshaphat, 853-848]


Ahaziah, 841/840BC


Athaliah, 841-835BC


Joash, 835-796BC


Judah under Jehoshaphat allies itself with Israel---Why?


1st Kings 22:1-4, “Now three years passed without war between Syria and Israel.  Then it came to pass, in the third year, that Jehoshaphat the king of Judah went down to visit the king of Israel.  And the king of Israel said to his servants, ‘Do you know that Ramoth in Gilead is ours, but we hesitate to take it out of the hand of the king of Syria?’  So he said to Jehoshaphat, ‘Will you go with me to fight at Ramoth Gilead?’  Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, ‘I am as you are, my people as your people, my horses as your horses.’  Also Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, ‘Please inquire for the word of the LORD today.’”  Why this alliance, late in the life of Ahab?  Now think, if half the number of men in your army, the army of the House of Judah, are from the ten tribes of Israel, the House of Israel, along with all their wives and children, numbering over several million Israelites from the north, and you as king tried to attack Israel, there’s a good chance that would spark a rebellion within the ranks of your army, half of whom are from the northern tribes of Israel. For the time being these Israelites from the north were by their own choice T.A.D. in Judah’s army.  Also Judah was dominant on land, while Israel-Phoenicia was dominant at sea.  Jehoshaphat tried to get in on this maritime shipping goldmine by building his own “ships of Tarshish” at Ezion-Geber on the Red Sea. 1st Kings 22:48-49, “Jehoshaphat made merchant ships to go to Ophir for gold; but they never sailed, for the ships were wrecked at Ezion Geber.  Then Ahaziah the son of Ahab said to Jehoshaphat, ‘Let my servants go with your servants in the ships.’  But Jehoshaphat would not.”  Now one other important item to notice, Ahaziah, Ahab’s son, from the northern kingdom of Israel offered to send “his servants”, obviously seasoned sailors from the Israelite-Phoenician merchant marine-navy, to help Jehoshaphat out, maybe even supplying the ships.  Further proof that the northern kingdom of Israel was heavily involved in maritime trade with their allies the Phoenicians.  But when God destroyed his ships, Jehoshaphat realized God wasn’t in the venture, and he backed away from his dealings with Israel.  The destination of these ships was also “Tarshish” which was a Phoenician-Israelite port on the Atlantic side of Spain near Gades (Cadiz), where they were mining gold and silver.  2nd Chronicles 20:35-37, “After this Jehoshaphat king of Judah allied himself with Ahaziah king of Israel, who acted very wickedly.  And he allied himself with him to make ships to go to Tarshish, and they made the ships in Ezion Geber.  But Eliezer the son of Dodavah of Mareshah prophesied against Jehoshaphat, saying, ‘Because you have allied yourself with Ahaziah, the LORD has destroyed your works.  Then the ships were wrecked, so that they were not able to go to Tarshish.”  Now to give you and idea of how far these ships could sail (when God didn’t sink them), Ezion Geber is on an extension of the Red Sea at the southern border of today’s Israel and Jordan.  One would have to sail south into the Indian Ocean, then south along the eastern shore of Africa, into the Atlantic around what is Cape Town today, and up past Gibraltar to the Atlantic side of Spain where Tarshish was.

Assyrians attempt to invade and conquer Israel, 854BC


Stepping back into Ahab’s reign a little, let’s observe what’s going on with Assyria.  As we have seen, the northern House of Israel has been going morally downhill since the time of its birth under Jeroboam I.  And recently under Ahab, roughly 59 years after the massive civil war between Israel under Jeroboam king of Israel and Abijah, king of Judah, the Assyrian Empire has grown strong enough to attempt to invade Israel.  In reality they attempted this three times, once in 854BC, another attempt was made in 849BC and then again in 846BC.  As you can see from history, Assyria is intent on conquering and avenging Israel for the massive defeat inflicted upon their empire during the times of King’s David and Solomon, where they had become not much more than a vassal state under Israel’s control.  After that massive civil war between Israel and Judah in 913BC, where Jeroboam lost 500,000 soldiers, Assyria was able to start re-arming in earnest.  Now a mere 59 years later at the battle of Qarqar, Assyria makes their first major recorded  attempt to conquer Israel.  God was beginning to send a serious warning to the northern House of Israel that if they don’t shape up, they’re going to be shipped out, conquered and/or driven out of the land one way or another.  Ahab was able to form an alliance with the other surrounding nations which brought defeat to the Assyrian Empire’s attempts, but these three attempts put the hand-writing on the wall, so to speak, that Israel’s days were numbered.  Werner Keller in his book The Bible as History wrote:


“…King Ahab of Israel…according to the Assyrian account of the battle of Qarqar…assembled 2,000 chariots, the largest force of war-chariots in the anti-Assyrian alliance.”


[see  and ]


Line of Kings of Israel from Ahab to Jeroboam II and then to Hoshea and the captivity


Ahab (rules 22 years) 874-853BC


Ahaziah, son of Ahab (rules 2 years) 853-552BC


Jehoram, son of Ahaziah (rules 12 years) 852-841BC


Jehu (rules 28 years) 841-814BC


Jehoahaz, son of Jehu (rules 17 years) 814-798BC


Jehoash, son of Jehoahaz (rules 16 years) 798-782BC


Jeroboam II, son of Jehoash (rules 41 years) 782-753BC

[co-regent with Jehoash 793-783]

(Jonah prophet in Israel at this time)


Zechariah, son of Jeroboam II, last descendant of Jehu

(rules 6 months) 753-752BC


Shallum (rules 1 month) 752BC


Menahem (rules 10 years) 752-742BC


Pekahiah (rules 2 years) 742-740BC


Pekah (rules 20 years) 752-732/731BC

[Carl Lederer held that king Pekah set up in Gilead a rival reign to Menahem’s Samaria-based kingdom in Nisan 752BC, becoming sole ruler on his assassination of Menahem’s son Pekahiah in 740BC]

 (3.5 tribes east of Jordan taken captive by Assyrians 745-740BC, Naphthali, Gad, Reuben and half tribe of Manasseh)



 (rules 9 years, from 732/731BC to 723BC)

Assyrians conquer capital city of the House of Israel, Samaria, after a three year siege (724-721BC)


Elijah retires, Elisha is the new prophet of God in Israel (853BC)


2nd Kings 2:1-14, “And it came to pass, when the LORD was about to take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal.  Then Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Stay here, please, for the LORD has sent me on to Bethel.’  But Elisha said, ‘As the LORD lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you!’  So they went down to Bethel.  Now the sons of the prophets who were at Bethel came out to Elisha, and said to him, ‘Do you know that the LORD will take away your master from over you today?’  And he said, ‘Yes, I know; keep silent!’  Then Elijah said to him, ‘Elisha, stay here, please, for the LORD has sent me on to Jericho.’  But he said, ‘As the LORD lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you!’  So they came to Jericho.  Now the sons of the prophets who were at Jericho came to Elisha and said to him, ‘Do you know that the LORD will take away your master from over you today?’  So he answered, ‘Yes, I know; keep silent!’  Then Elijah said to him, ‘Stay here, please, for the LORD has sent me on to the Jordan.’  But he said, “As the LORD lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you!’  So the two of them went on. And fifty men of the sons of the prophets went and stood facing them at a distance, while the two of them stood by the Jordan.  Now Elijah took his mantle, rolled it up, and struck the water, and it was divided this way and that, so that the two of them crossed over on dry ground.  And so it was, when they had crossed over, that Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Ask!  What may I do for you, before I am taken away from you?’  Elisha said, ‘Please let a double portion of your spirit [i.e. the Holy Spirit for ministry which was upon Elijah, obviously] be upon me.’  So he said, ‘You have asked a hard thing.  Nevertheless. If you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so for you; but if not, it shall not be so.’  Then it happened, as they continued on and talked, that suddenly a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire, and separated the two of them; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.  And Elisha saw it, and cried out, ‘My father, my father, the chariot of Israel and its horsemen!’  So he saw him no more.  And  he took hold of his own clothes and tore them into two pieces.  He also took up the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and went back and stood by the bank of the Jordan.  Then he took the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and struck the water, and said, ‘Where is the LORD God of Elijah?’  And when he also had struck the water, it was divided this way and that; and Elisha crossed over.”  Now dating this to king Ahaziah son of Ahab in 2nd Kings 1:2-3, this is about 853 BC.  Most who read this passage in chapter 2, verses 1-14 assume Elijah was taken by God into the third heaven where God’s throne is.  Such an assumption, in this case is erroneous, when we add it to another passage in 2nd Chronicles 21:12-18, which was a record of a letter Elijah wrote to Jehoram, king of Judah in 841BC, 12 years later, written from somewhere just outside of Israel and Judah (possibly Moab, but we don’t know).  2nd Chronicles 21:8-19, “In his days Edom revolted against Judah’s authority, and made a king over themselves.  So Jehoram went out with his officers, and all this chariots with him.  And he rose by night and attacked the Edomites who had surround him and the captains of the chariots.  Thus Edom has been in revolt against Judah’s authority to this day.  At that time Libnah revolted against his rule, because he had forsaken the LORD God of his fathers.  Moreover he made high places in the mountains of Judah, and caused the inhabitants of Jerusalem to commit harlotry, and led Judah astray.  And a letter came to him from Elijah the prophet, saying,

Thus says the LORD God of your father David:  Because you have not walked in the ways of Jehoshaphat your father, or in the ways of Asa king of Judah, but have walked in the way of the kings of Israel, and have made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to play the harlot like the harlotry of the house of Ahab, and also have killed your brothers, those of your father’s household [this Jehoram was married to Athaliah, daughter of Ahab and Jezebel], who were better than yourself, behold, the LORD will strike your people with serious affliction---your children, your wives, and all your possessions; and you will become very sick with a disease of your intestines, until your intestines come out by reason of the sickness, day by day.

Moreover the LORD stirred up against Jehoram the spirit of the Philistines and the Arabians who were near the Ethiopians.  And they came up into Judah and invaded it, and carried away all the possessions that were found in the king’s house, and also his sons and his wives, so that there was not a son left to him except Jehoahaz [margin: Ahaziah], the youngest of his sons.  After all this the LORD struck him in his intestines with an incurable disease.  Then it happened in the course of time, after the end of two years, that his intestines came out because of his sickness; so he died in severe pain.  And his people made no burning for him, like the burning for his fathers.”  Jehoram the son of Ahab is still reigning in Israel.  This Jehoram king of Judah (same name, different country) was a brother-in-law of Jehoram king of Israel, whose sister was his wife Athaliah, daughter of Ahab and Jezebel.  Can you see how the royal line of David has married into the royal line of Ahab, and thus been polluted by it and the evil religious practices of Ahab and Jezebel, Baalism, child sacrifice?  God had Elijah write to this king Jehoram of Judah, passing God’s judgment on him.  Elijah was now living in retirement somewhere else on earth.  Can you see how one Scripture passage, if taken alone and out of context, can be seriously misinterpreted and made to say something it never said?  This letter didn’t come from heaven, it came from somewhere else on earth and was delivered to the king of Judah, Jehoram.


Seven year famine in Israel


If you thought things were bad in Israel during the three year famine Elijah called down on Israel, imagine Israel without rain for seven years. (This would be during the reign of king Jehoram of Israel, 852-841BC.)    The Bible only mentions this in passing, but it must have caused many more to move out of the land.  Some undoubtedly moved by Phoenician-Israelite ships west across the Mediterranean to Carthage, or Iberia (Spain).  Some just moved to neighboring countries.  Elijah certainly got the attention of the average Israelite from these ten northern tribes, letting them know there was a true God of Israel.  Now Elisha is following through even more powerfully.  2nd Kings 8:1-2, “Then Elisha spoke to the woman whose son he had restored to life, saying, ‘Arise and go, you and your household, and stay wherever you can; for the LORD has called for a famine, and furthermore, it will come upon the land for seven years.  So the woman arose and did according to the saying of the man of God, and she went with her household and dwelt in the land of the Philistines seven years.”  As we saw, Jehoram king of Judah, Jehoshaphat’s son, married Ahab’s and Jezebel’s daughter, Athaliah.  2nd Kings 8:16-19, “Now in the fifth year of Joram [also called Jehoram] the son of Ahab, king of Israel, Jehoshaphat having been king of Judah, Jehoram the son of Jehoshaphat began to reign as king in Judah.  [this is the same Jehoram we just read about, whom God had Elijah write to]  He was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem.  And he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, just as the house of Ahab had done, for the daughter of Ahab was his wife; and he did evil in the sight of the LORD.  Yet the LORD would not destroy Judah, for the sake of his servant David, as he promised him to give a lamp to him and his sons forever.”  This makes, as we noted before, Jehoram king of Israel and Jehoram king of Judah brother-in-laws.  After Jehoram king of Judah dies of that terrible intestinal disease, his son Ahaziah reigns in his place.  He is the nephew of king Jehoram of Israel, Athaliah being the sister of Jehoram of Israel.  Verses 25-27, “In the twelfth year of Joram [Jehoram and Joram seem to be used interchangeably throughout this text, for the same person] the son of Ahab, king of Israel, Ahaziah the son of Jehoram, king of Judah began to reign.  Ahaziah was twenty-two years old when he became king and he reigned one year in Jerusalem.  His mother’s name was Athaliah the granddaughter of Omri, king of Israel.  And he walked in the way of the house of Ahab, and did evil in the sight of the LORD, like the house of Ahab, for he was the son-in-law of the house of Ahab.”  Can you see how intertwined the house of Ahab and the royal line of David have become?  This is not a good thing, and God is about to put an end to the entire mess.  Don’t forget, the general populace of both Judah and the northern kingdom of Israel are living spectators to this drama.  Judah must have gotten word of Elijah’s letter to king Jehoram, and you can’t hide a horrible intestinal disease and subsequent death from it.  Let’s watch as the drama unfolds, and yes, in front of the general population of both nations.  God, in spite of all the promotion of Baal worship by the ruling kings, first in Israel, now in Judah, has been whittling away at Baal worship and it’s worshippers for awhile now, first through Elijah, and now through Elisha.  When those two spoke, people listened, and believed.  Let’s pick up the action in verses 28-29, “Now he [Ahaziah] went with Joram [Jehoram] the son of Ahab to war against Hazael king of Syria at Ramoth Gilead; and the Syrians wounded Joram [Jehoram].  Then king Joram went back to Jezreel to recover from the wounds which the Syrians had inflicted on him at Ramah, when he fought against Hazael king of Syria.  And Ahaziah the son of Jehoram, king of Judah, went down to see Joram the son of Ahab in Jezreel, because he was sick.”   So Ahaziah, young king of Judah is paying a visit to his uncle, brother of Athaliah his mother.  That sets the stage.  Now God has Elisha step in again.  Something big is about to happen.  God is about to clean house in both the House of Israel and the House of Judah, both kingly lines.


Jehu Anointed king of Israel by Elisha’s servant


2nd Kings 9:1-13, “And Elisha the prophet called one of the sons of the prophets, and said to him, ‘Get yourself ready, take this flask of oil in your hand, and go to Ramoth Gilead.  Now when you arrive at that place, look there for Jehu the son of Jehoshaphat [not king Jehoshaphat of Judah, don’t get confused], the son of Nimshi, and go in and make him rise up from among his associates, and take him to an inner room.  Then take the flask of oil, pour it on his head, and say, ‘Thus says the LORD:  I have anointed you king over Israel.’  Then open the door and flee, and do not delay.’  So the young man, the servant of the prophet, went to Ramoth Gilead.  And when he arrived, there were the captains of the army sitting; and he said, ‘I have a message for you, Commander.’  Jehu said, ‘For which one of us?’  And he said, ‘For you, Commander.’  Then he arose and went into the house.  And he poured the oil on his head, and said to him, ‘Thus says the LORD God of Israel:  I have anointed you king over the people of the LORD, over Israel.  You shall strike down the house of Ahab your master, that I may avenge the blood of my servants the prophets, and the blood of all the servants of the LORD, at the hand of Jezebel.  For the whole house of Ahab shall perish; and I will cut off from Ahab all the males in Israel, both bond and free.  So I will make the house of Ahab like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and the house of Baasha the son of Ahijah.  The dogs shall eat Jezebel on the plot of ground at Jezreel, and there shall be none to bury her.  And he opened the door and fled.  Then Jehu came out to the servants of his master, and one said to him, ‘Is all well?  Why did this madman come to you?’  And he said to them, ‘You know the man and his babble.’  And they said, ‘A lie!  Tell us now.’  So he said, ‘Thus and thus he spoke to me, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD: I have anointed you king over Israel.’  Then each man hastened to take his garment and put it under him on the top of the steps; and they blew trumpets, saying, ‘Jehu is king!’  Jehu is the Commander of Jehoram’s army of Israel, the commanding general, just like Omri was.  He must have been a good soldier from looking at the following text, all business. 


Jehoram (Joram) king of Israel killed by Jehu


2nd Kings 9:14-26, “So Jehu the son of Jehoshaphat, the son of Nimshi, conspired against Joram.  (Now Joram had been defending Ramoth Gilead, he and all Israel, against Hazael king of Syria.  But king Joram had returned to Jezreel to recover from the wounds which the Syrians had inflicted on him when he fought against Hazael king of Syria.)  And Jehu said, ‘If you are so minded, let no one leave or escape from the city to go and tell it in Jezreel.’  So Jehu rode in a chariot and went to Jezreel, for Joram [Jehoram] was laid up there; and Ahaziah king of Judah had come down to see Joram.  Now a watchman stood on the tower in Jezreel, and he saw the company of Jehu as he came, and said, ‘I see a company of men.’  And Joram said, ‘Get a horseman and send him to meet them, and let him say, ‘Is it peace?’  So the horseman went to meet him, and said, ‘Thus says the king: ‘Is it peace?’  And Jehu said, ‘What have you to do with peace?  Turn around and follow me.’  So the watchman reported, saying, ‘The messenger went to them, but is not coming back.’  Then he sent out a second horseman who came to them, and said, ‘Thus says the king: ‘Is it peace?’  [literally “Shalom?”]  And Jehu answered, ‘What have you to do with peace?  Turn around and follow me.’  So the watchman reported, saying, ‘He went up to them and is not coming back; and the driving is like the driving of Jehu the son of Nimshi, for he drives furiously!’  Then Joram said, ‘Make ready.’  And his chariot was made ready.  Then Joram king of Israel and Ahaziah king of Judah went out, each in his chariot; and they went out to meet Jehu, and met him on the property of Naboth the Jezreelite.  Now it happened, when Joram saw Jehu, that he said, ‘Is it peace, Jehu?’  So he answered, ‘What peace, as long as the harlotries of your mother Jezebel and her witchcraft are so many?’  Then Joram turned around and fled, and said to Ahaziah, ‘Treachery, Ahaziah!’  Now Jehu drew his bow with full strength and shot Jehoram between his arms;  [Now you can see in this same verse, 23, Joram is called Jehoram, both names are used for the same person interchangeably.] and the arrow came out at his heart, and he sank down in his chariot.  Then Jehu said to Bidkar his captain, ‘Pick him up, and throw him into the tract of the field of Naboth the Jezreelite; for remember, when you and I were riding together behind Ahab his father, that the LORD laid this burden upon him:  ‘Surely I saw yesterday the blood of Naboth and the blood of his sons,’ says the LORD, ‘and I will repay you in this plot,’ says the LORD.  Now therefore, take and throw him on the plot of ground, according to the word of the LORD.”


Ahaziah, king of Judah is next


Verses 27-29, “But when Ahaziah king of Judah saw this, he fled by the road to Beth Haggan.  So Jehu pursued him, and said, ‘Shoot him also in the chariot.’  And they shot him at the Ascent of Gur, which is by Ibleam.  Then he fled to Megiddo, and died there.  And his servants carried him in the chariot to Jerusalem, and buried him in his tomb with his fathers in the City of David.  In the eleventh year of Joram the son of Ahab, Ahaziah had become king over Judah.”


Jezebel’s Violent Death


2nd Kings 9:30-37, “Now when Jehu had come to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it; and she put paint on her eyes and adorned her head, and looked through a window.  Then, as Jehu entered at the gate, she said, ‘Is it peace, Zimri, murderer of your master?’  And he looked up at the window, and said, ‘Who is on my side?  Who?’  So two or three eunuchs looked out at him.  Then he said, ‘Throw her down.’  So they threw her down, and some of her blood spattered on the wall and on the horses; and he trampled her underfoot.  And when he had gone in, he ate and drank.  Then he said, ‘Go now, see to this accursed woman, and bury her, for she was a king’s daughter.’  So they went to bury her, but they found no more of her than the skull and the feet and the palms of her hands.  Therefore they came back and told him.  And he said, ‘This is the word of the LORD, which he spoke by his servant Elijah the Tishbite, saying, ‘On the plot of ground at Jezreel dogs shall eat the flesh of Jezebel; and the corpse of Jezebel shall be as refuse on the surface of the field, in the plot at Jezreel, so that they shall not say, ‘Here lies Jezebel.’”  A parallel account is found in 2nd Chronicles 22:1-9, then in verses 10-12, it shows Athaliah, Ahaziah’s mother (daughter of Jezebel) upon her son’s death takes over rule in Judah. Let’s continue to follow Jehu and see what he does to all the worshippers of Baal he can find in Israel.  But first he dispatches Ahab’s seventy sons and the rest of his family, a very thorough guy, this Jehu.  Remember, he’s a career soldier and a general, a killing machine (imagine General Patton being given this job by God).  2nd Kings 10:1-8, 11-17, “Now Ahab had seventy sons in Samaria.  And Jehu wrote and sent letters to Samaria [the capital city of Israel, the northern kingdom], to the rulers of Jezreel, to the elders, and to those who reared Ahab’s sons, saying:

Now as soon as this letter comes to you, since your master’s sons are with you, and you have chariots and horses, a fortified city also, and weapons, choose the best qualified of your master’s sons, set him on his father’s throne, and fight for your master’s house.

But they were exceedingly afraid, and said, ‘Look, two kings could not stand up to him; how then can we stand?’  And he who was in charge of the house, and he who was in charge of the city, the elders also, and those who reared the sons, sent to Jehu, saying, ‘We are your servants, we will do all you tell us; but we will not make anyone king.  Do what is good in your sight.’  Then he wrote a second letter to them, saying,

If you are for me and will obey my voice, take the heads of the men, your master’s sons, and come to me at Jezreel by this time tomorrow.

Now the king’s sons, seventy persons, were with the great men of the city, who were rearing them.  So it was, when the letter came to them, that they took the king’s sons and slaughtered seventy persons, put their heads in baskets and sent them to him at Jezreel.  Then the messenger came and told him, saying, ‘They have brought the heads of the king’s sons…So Jehu killed all who remained of the house of Ahab in Jezreel, and all his great men and his close acquaintances and his priests, until he left him none remaining. 


Ahaziah’s Forty-two Brothers Killed


And he arose and departed and went to Samaria.  On the way, at Beth Eked of the Shepherds, Jehu met with the brothers of Ahaziah king of Judah, and said, ‘Who are you?’  So they answered, ‘We are the brothers of Ahaziah; we have come down to greet the sons of the king and the sons of the queen mother.’ [i.e. Jezebel, queen mother]  Very wrong answer to be giving Jehu.  Can you see the close ties which had been formed between the royal house of David and Ahab’s line?  God is using Jehu to totally weed out not only Ahab’s line in Israel, but also where it had made it’s way into David’s line.  Jehu’s not done yet.  And he said, ‘Take them alive!’  So they took them alive, and killed them at the well of Beth Eked, forty-two men, and he left none of them.”


The Rest of Ahab’s Family Killed


“Now when he departed from there, he met Jehonadab the son of Rechab, coming to meet him; and he greeted him and said to him, ‘Is your heart right, as my heart is toward your heart?’  And Jehonadab answered ‘It is.’  Jehu said, ‘If it is, give me your hand.’  So he gave him his hand, and he took him up to him into the chariot.  Then he said, ‘Come with me, and see my zeal for the LORD.’  So they had him ride in his chariot.  And when he came to Samaria, he killed all who remained to Ahab in Samaria, till he had destroyed them, according to the word of the LORD which he spoke to Elijah” (verses 11-17). 


Worshippers of Baal Killed


2nd Kings 10:18-31, “Then Jehu gathered all the people together, and said to them, Ahab served Baal a little, Jehu will serve him much.  Now therefore, call to me all the prophets of Baal, all his servants, and all his priests.  Let no one be missing, for I have a great sacrifice for Baal.  Whoever is missing shall not live.’  But Jehu acted deceptively, with the intent of destroying the worshippers of Baal.  And Jehu said, ‘Proclaim a solemn assembly for Baal.’  So they proclaimed it.  Then Jehu sent throughout all Israel; and all the worshippers of Baal came, so that there was not a man left who did not come.  So they came into the temple of Baal, and the temple of Baal was full from one end to the other.  And he said to the one in charge of the wardrobe, ‘Bring out vestments for all the worshippers of Baal.’  So he brought out vestments for them.  Then Jehu and Jehonadab the son of Rechab went into the temple of Baal, and said to the worshippers of Baal, ‘Search and see that no servants of the LORD are here with you, but only worshippers of Baal.’  So they went in to offer sacrifices and burnt offerings.  Now Jehu had appointed for himself eighty men on the outside, and had said, ‘If any of the men whom I have brought into your hands escapes, whoever lets him escape, it shall be his life for the life of the other.’  Now it happened, as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt offering, that Jehu said to the guard and to the captains, ‘Go in and kill them; let no one come out!’  And they killed them with the edge of the sword; then the guards and officers threw them out, and went into the inner room of the temple of Baal.  And they brought the sacred pillars out of the temple of Baal and burned them.  Then they broke down the sacred  pillar of Baal, and tore down the temple of Baal and made it a refuse dump to this day.  Thus Jehu destroyed Baal from Israel.  However Jehu did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who had made Israel sin, that is, from the golden calves that were at Bethel and Dan.  And the LORD said to Jehu, ‘Because you have done well in doing what is right in my sight, and have done to the house of Ahab all that was in my heart, your sons shall sit on the throne of Israel to the fourth generation.  But Jehu took no heed to walk in the law of the LORD God of Israel with all his heart; for he did not depart from the sins of Jeroboam, who had made Israel sin.”  Now that was quite a job of eradicating Baal worship in Israel and expunging the house of Ahab from Israel, and even where it had reached into the house of David, the royal line of David.  But Jehu’s reformation was more like a political reformation and not a spiritual one.  Coupled to the work of Elijah and Elisha there was a major spiritual reformation taking place in the northern kingdom, it just wasn’t visible on the surface or in the leadership of Israel.  We’ll see this later on.  There’s one crucial descendant of Ahab and Jezebel that lives on, Athaliah, daughter of Jezebel and Ahab.  And she is now ruling the House of Judah, the southern kingdom, in place of her dead son Ahaziah, who was just killed by Jehu.  Jehu for some reason, maybe not wanting to declare a major war against Judah, leaves Athaliah alone, as he would have to defeat Judah’s army to get at her.  I could just see him, straining at the leash like an angry pit bull.  She was out of reach.  But she wasn’t out of God’s reach.  Let’s go over to Judah’s history at this point in time, and see how God, Yahweh, handles Athaliah. 


Athaliah Rules in Judah


For one thing, Athaliah being a Baal worshipping pagan, never paid much attention to God’s promise of the Messiah who was to come through the line of David.  She foolishly attempted to destroy that royal line, and God destroyed her instead.  The one son of Amaziah, her son, that did survive still had the blood of Ahab in him as well, but one thing that comes out when you study the line of David going from Abraham to Christ, it was far from perfect.  Rahab is in it, and she was a harlot living in Jericho at the time of Joshua.  Ruth was a Moabitess.  The royal line got started through an incestuous relationship between Judah and his daughter-in-law Tamar, who bore him twin boys, Pharez and Zarah, the beginning of the royal line of Judah which goes all the way to David, and then to Christ.  But let’s pick up Athaliah’s story in 2nd Kings 11.  2nd Kings 11:1-20, “When Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the royal heirs.  But Jehosheba, the daughter of king Joram [Jehoram, king of Judah], took the son of Ahaziah, and stole him away from among the king’s sons who were being murdered; and they hid him and his nurse in the bedroom, from Athaliah, so that he was not killed.  So he was hidden with her in the house of the LORD for six years, while Athaliah reigned over the land.


Joash Crowned King of Judah


In the seventh year Jehoiada sent and brought the captains of hundreds---of the bodyguards and the escorts---brought them into the house of the LORD to him.  And he made a covenant with them and took an oath from them in the house of the LORD, and showed them the king’s son.  Then he commanded them, saying, ‘This is what you shall do:  One-third of you who come on duty shall be at the gate of Sur, and one-third at the gate behind the escorts.  You shall keep the watch of the house, lest it be broken down.  The two contingents of you who go off duty on the Sabbath shall keep watch of the house of the LORD for the king.  But you shall surround the king on all sides, every man with his weapons in his hand; and whoever comes within range, let him be put to death.  You are to be with the king as he goes out and as he comes in.’  So the captains of the hundreds did according to all that Jehoiada the priest commanded.  Each of them took his men who were to be on duty on the Sabbath, with those who were going off duty on the Sabbath, and came to Jehoiada the priest.  And the priest gave the captains of hundreds the spears and shields which had belonged to King David, that were in the temple of the LORD.  Then the escorts stood, every man with his weapons in his hand, all around the king, from the right side of the temple to the left side of the temple, by the altar and the house.  And he brought out the king’s son, put the crown on him, and they clapped their hands and said, ‘Long live the king!’ 


Death of Athaliah


Now when Athaliah heard the noise of the escorts and the people, she came to the people in the temple of the LORD.  When she looked, there was the king standing by a pillar according to custom; and the leaders and the trumpeters were by the king.  All the people of the land were rejoicing and blowing trumpets.  So Athaliah tore her clothes and cried out, ‘Treason!  Treason!’  And Jehoiada the priest commanded the captains of the hundreds, the officers of the army, and said to them, ‘Take her outside under guard, and slay with the sword whoever follows her.’  For the priest had said, ‘Do not let her be killed in the house of the LORD.’  So they seized her; and she went by way of the horses entrance into the king’s house, and there she was killed.  Then Jehoiada made a covenant between the LORD’s people, and also between the king and the people.  And all the people of the land went to the temple of Baal, and tore it down.  They thoroughly broke in pieces its altars and images, and killed Mattan the priest of Baal before the altars.  And the priest appointed officers over the house of the LORD.  Then he took the captains of hundreds, the bodyguards, the escorts, and all the people of the land; and they brought the king down from the house of the LORD, and went by way of the gate of the escorts to the king’s house.  Then he sat on the throne of the kings.  So all the people of the land rejoiced; and the city was quiet, for they had slain Athaliah with the sword in the king’s house.  Jehoash was seven years old when he became king.”  Here again, you see two versions of his name.  He was called Joash and also Jehoash.  He reigns 40 years and has a good reign in the sight of God.  When the daughter of Jehoram hid him in the Temple with the high priest to look after him, he was only one year old.  Essentially the high priest, Jehoiada, became a father to the infant boy, helping raise him until he was seven.  2nd Kings 12:1-2, “In the seventh year of Jehu, Jehoash became king, and he reigned forty years in Jerusalem.  His mother’s name was Zibiah of Beersheba.  Jehoash did what was right in the sight of the LORD all the days in which Jehoiada the priest instructed him.”


Back to Israel, Jehu and his line of four descendants


Jehu, reigned 28 years, 841-814BC


Jehoahaz, reigned 17 years, 814-798BC


Jehoash, reigned 16 years, 798-782BC


Jeroboam II, reigned 41 years, 782-753BC

 [co-regent with Jehoash his father, 793-783]

(Jonah was prophet in Israel)


Zechariah, reigned 6 months, 753—752BC

(End of the line of Jehu)



Jehoahaz, son of Jehu reigns in Israel


2nd Kings 13:1-2, “In the twenty-third year of Joash the son of Ahaziah king of Judah, Jehoahaz the son of Jehu became king over Israel in Samaria, and reigned seventeen years.  And he did evil in the sight of the LORD, and followed in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who had made Israel sin.  He did not depart from them.”


Jehoash (Joash) grandson of Jehu reigns in Israel---Elisha dies during his reign


2nd Kings 13:10, “In the thirty-seventh year of Joash king of Judah, Jehoash the son of Jehoahaz became king over Israel in Samaria, and reigned sixteen years.  And he did evil in the sight of the LORD.  He did not depart from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel sin, but walked in them.”  This Jehoash, king of Israel, is also alternately called Joash, right within this chapter.  It is during his reign that Elisha dies.  Elisha is still a very prominent person in Israel and in the eyes of all the Israelites of the northern ten tribes, and even the king.  Much has been done at the grass-roots level in Israel to restore a true belief, if not worship of the true God of Israel, Yahweh.  But the kingly line of Jehu continued to worship the golden calves and did not restore official worship of the LORD in Israel, even though a powerful prophet still lived in their midst.  We pick up the story in 2nd Kings 13:14-20.  2nd Kings 13:14-21, “Elisha had become sick with the illness of which he would die.  Then Joash the king of Israel came down to him, and wept over his face, and said, ‘O my father, my father, the chariots of Israel and their horsemen!’  And Elisha said to him, ‘Take a bow and some arrows.’  So he took himself a bow and some arrows.  Then he said to the king of Israel, ‘Put your hand on the bow.’  So he put his hand on it, and Elisha put his hands on the kings hands.  And he said, ‘Open the east window’; and he opened it.  Then Elisha said, ‘Shoot’; and he shot.  And he said, ‘The arrow of the LORD’s deliverance from Syria; for you must strike the Syrians at Aphek till you have destroyed them.  Then he said, ‘Take the arrows’: so he took the them.  And he said to the king of Israel, ‘Strike the ground’; so he struck the ground three times, and stopped.  And the man of God was angry with him, and said, ‘You should have struck five or six times; then you would have struck Syria till you had destroyed it!  But now you will strike Syria only three times.’  Then Elisha died, and they buried him.  And the raiding bands from Moab invaded the land in the spring of the year.  So it was, as they were burying a man, that suddenly they spied a band of raiders; and they put the man in the tomb of Elisha; and when the man was let down and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived and stood on his feet.”  Can you see what an effect Elisha and Elijah had on the northern nation of Israel?  This king, the grandson of Jehu is weeping over Elisha’s face when he hears he’s about to die.  That’s a lot of love and respect.  Elijah and Elisha and the work they did has brought a huge grass-roots level revival about in the northern nation of Israel, even though these ‘sons’ of Jehu, like Jehu himself didn’t repent of worshipping those golden calves instead of going to Jerusalem and worshipping the true God.  Keep this in mind as we go forward.


Back to the kings of Judah, Amaziah


Joash king of Judah dies in a conspiracy, 2nd Kings 12:19-20, “Now the rest of the acts of Joash and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?  And his servants arose and formed a conspiracy, and killed Joash in the house of the Millo, which goes down to Silla.  For Jozachar the son of Shimeath and Jehozabad the son of Shomer, his servants struck him.  So he died, and they buried him with his fathers in the City of David.  Then Amaziah his son reigned in his place.” 

2nd Kings 14:1-4, “In the second year of Joash the son of Jehoahaz, king of Israel, Amaziah the son of Joash, king of Judah, became king.  He was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem.  And he did what was right in the sight of the LORD, yet not like his father David; he did everything as his father Joash had done.  However the high places were not taken away, and the people still sacrificed and burned incense on the high places.”  Amaziah starts a senseless war with Jehoash, son of Jehoahaz, son of Jehu and lost.  The grandson of Jehu then came down to Jerusalem and broke down part of the wall and took a lot of gold and silver out of the temple and the king’s house and brought them back to Samaria.  Both kings were on a par spiritually, more or less, and the king of Judah had no business attacking Israel.  God watched over situations like that and gave bloody noses to those who deserved it most (verses 8-14).

Sources used:

New King James Bible

“Israel’s Lost Empires” by Steven Collins, P.O. Box 88375, Sioux Falls, SD  57109-8735 ($25.oo includingg S&H)


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