Israel's time on earth is quickly approaching its end and it seems to be taking the same hard-hearted approach we saw in Jonah on his mission from God. We have one chapter in each book and then, chronologically, we'll start in to Isaiah and Amos- prophets who were less petulant to God's message.
II Kings 15
Azariah (aka Uzziah), son of Amaziah (Judah)
While Jeroboam was still king in Israel (his 27th year), in Judah, Azariah, son of Amaziah became king. He was 16 when he took the throne and reigned 52 years. He did right in the sight of the Lord, except the high places and the incense burning.
Things take a grim turn and he is struck with leprosy, which I'm guessing we'll learn more about in Chronicles.
He was isolated and his son held court for him until he was dead and buried with his fathers. Then his son, Jotham took over.
38 years in to Azariah's reign (Judah), Zechariah, son of Jeroboam II, takes over in Israel.
Zechariah makes it 6 months. He sinned and caused Israel to sin.
He was assassinated in public and replaced by Shallum.
This competed God's word to Jehu to reign to the fourth generation.
For his efforts in assassinating Zechariah, Shallum served one month as king before he was also murdered.
The MacArthur Commentary notes that Shallum was known as the "son of nobody", as he didn't come from a royal line.
After murdering Shallum, Menahem became king. He attacked a city and ripped open the pregnant ladies as punishment for not opening the gate for him. (So much for Jonah's belief that Israel was morally superior to Nineveh.)
Menahem was king for 10 years. He did evil in sight of the Lord. And bribed the Assyrians to strengthen him, using money he strong-armed from Israel's people.
Then he died and his son, Pekahiah, became king.
He reigned two years. He did evil in the sight of the Lord. He was assassinated.
In the final (52nd) year of King Azariah's reign in Judah, Pekah started his 20 year in Israel, in Samaria.
He did evil in the sight of the Lord, which made Israel sin.
We're heading firmly into the beginning of the end of Israel here. The king of Assyria, Tiglath-pileser came and captured a bunch of Israel's cities and territory, including Gilead, Galilee, all of Naphtali- and carried them captive to Assyria.
Pekah was also assassinated and replaced by Hoshea.
In the second year of Pekah (Israel), Jotham became king of Judah. He was the son of Azariah (aka Uzziah). He was 25 years old when he took the throne; and he reigned 16 years. He followed his father, Uzziah and did what was right in the sight of the Lord- except the high places.
Verse 37 tells us that Judah is at the beginning of their own end and "the Lord began to send Rezin king of Aram and Pekah the son of Remaliah against Judah."
This chapter ends with the death of Jotham, being replaced by his son, Ahaz.
II Chronicles 26
So, at the end of chapter 25, we saw the people hunt down Amaziah after he had turned away from the Lord. And then they lifted up his son, Uzziah to be king at only 16 years old.
As mentioned above, he reigned 52 years and did right(ish) in the sight of the Lord.
And he continued to seek God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding through the vision of God; and as long as he sought the Lord, God prospered him.II Chronicles 26:5
He went to war with Philistines and Arabians and had success. He received tribute from other nations and was strong.
He also strengthened things at home, militarily and economically.
Things take a grim turn in verse 16. Once he became strong; it led to him becoming proud. (Not judging; been there.) This led to corruption and becoming unfaithful to the Lord.
Then his catastrophic choice to enter the Temple of the lord to burn incense on the altar. Something reserved for the priests.
The Lord had gone to great lengths to keep the political and spiritual separate, unusual for this time when the kings were seen as gods. Uzziah must have resented being prevented anything- as he began to understand his strength coming from his own value and not that of the Lord.
(Again, not judging; been there.)
How often I have gone searching for proof that I have value worth being loved and cared for- apart from the Lord who saved my wretched soul.
Wiersbe points out that priests could be prophets; but civil leaders couldn't be priests- until Jesus, who is King, prophet, and priest.
In verse 17, 80 valiant priests went in after him to oppose him. They were clear about what he did wrong and demanded him to leave.
Uzziah was enraged at the priests. And the leprosy broke out on his forehead.
He was enraged. He was angry. With the priests.
Wiersbe says the Hebrew word emphasizes a raging like a storm. Out of control of his own senses.
He wasn't embarrassed or rationally defending himself; it made him mad. That makes me embarrassed for him. What was this really about? He knew how it all worked. He watched it for years. How did he get so far off track?
Suddenly, the leprosy broke up the debate and they began to hustle him out. He hastened as well, because he got the message.
He stayed king, but also the leprosy remained for the rest of his life. however, he was cut off from the house of the Lord, so his son, Jotham, had to hold court for him.
From here, we're going to head into the prophets who lived during these eventful final years of Israel, and eventually, Judah.