Sunday, January 17, 2010

Judah, The Southern Kingdom

The Two Kingdoms stood side by side for 259 years. After the fall of Israel, Judah continued 135 years longer.

Southern Kingdom Rulers Overview

1. Rehoboam (1 Ki. 11:42-14:31; 2 Chron. 9:31-12:16).
  • He was the son of Solomon.
  • His stupidity caused the civil war of Israel.
  • He had eighteen wives and sixty concubines. They gave him twenty-eight sons and sixty daughters.
  • His favorite wife was Maachah, the evil daughter of Absalom.
  • He was invaded by Shishak of Egypt.
  • He ruled seventeen years (931-914 b.c.).

  • He defeated (by supernatural intervention) the northern king, Jeroboam, on the battlefield.
  • In spite of God’s help at this time, he later degenerated into a wicked king.
  • He ruled three years (914-911 b.c.).
  • He was Judah’s first righteous king.
  • He led Judah in a revival and was a great builder.
  • God answered his prayer and delivered him from a massive Ethiopian attack.
  • He even deposed his own grandmother Maachah because of her idolatry.
  • He later was rebuked by a prophet for his sin and responded by throwing him in prison.
  • He died with a foot disease which problem he refused to take to God.
  • He ruled forty-one years (911-870 b.c.).

4. Jehoshaphat (1 Ki. 22:41-50; 2 Chron. 17:1-20:37).
  • He was the second righteous king of Judah.
  • He instituted a nationwide Bible education program.
  • He compromised with Ahab and his two sons, Ahaziah and Jehoram.
  • He ruled for twenty-five years (873-848 b.c.).

  • He married Athaliah, daughter of Jezebel and Ahab.
  • He began his reign by murdering his six brothers.
  • He received a posthumous message from Elijah predicting judgment upon him because of his wicked and murderous reign.
  • He was attacked and defeated by the Philistines and Arabians.
  • He died of a horrible disease and was unmourned at the funeral.
  • He ruled for eight years (853-845 b.c.).

  • He was killed by Jehu (tenth northern king)
  • He ruled for one year (841 b.c.).

  • She was the mother of the slain Ahaziah.
  • At his death she slaughtered all his children except one who was hidden from her.
  • She herself was later executed.
  • She ruled for six years (841-835 b.c.).

  • He was the surviving heir of Athaliah’s bloodbath.
  • For awhile he lived for God but later became a cruel leader.
  • He sanctioned the stoning of Zechariah, the godly Jewish high priest who had rebuked Judah’s sin and called for national repentance.
  • He was executed by his own palace guard.
  • He ruled for forty years (835-795 b.c.).

  • He was a good king for awhile, and executed the men who had assassinated his father, Joash. But he did not kill their children, obeying the Mosaic law which said the sons were not to be killed for the sins of their fathers (Deut. 24:16; Ezek. 18:4, 20). (See 2 Chron. 25:1-4; 2 Ki. 12:21; 14:1-6).
  • Amaziah then organized the army of Judah and found he had an army of 300,000. He then hired 100,000 experienced mercenary soldiers from Israel for $200,000 to help him fight against Edom (2 Chron. 25:5, 6).
  • He was warned against this by a prophet. The king reluctantly sent these mercenaries home, bitterly resenting the lost money he had paid them. But the prophet reassured him, "The Lord is able to give thee much more than this" (2 Chron. 25:9). Here is a precious spiritual gem that should be carefully considered whenever God requires us to give up our time, talent, treasure, or anything close and precious to us. See Jesus’ stirring words to Peter in Matthew 19:27-29.
  • The Israelite troops returned home, also angry and frustrated. On the way they raided several cities of Judah and killed 3000 people (2 Chron. 25:13).
  • Amaziah went into battle with only his own troops and soundly defeated Edom, killing 20,000 enemy soldiers (25:11). But the foolish king brought back with him some Edomite idols and began worshiping them. God warned the king, through a prophet, of his divine anger. Amaziah refused to listen and curtly dismissed him, but not before the king’s doom was predicted (25:14-16).
  • The overconfident Amaziah then declared war on northern king Jehoash, for the disgraceful action of the returning Israelite mercenaries (25:17). Northern king Jehoash responded to Amaziah’s challenge by relating the second (and final) Old Testament fable. (For the first one, see Jdg. 9:8-15.) Note the language of this fable:
"The thistle that was in Lebanon sent to the cedar that was in Lebanon, saying, Give thy daughter to my son to wife: and there passed by a wild beast that was in Lebanon, and trode down the thistle" (2 Chron. 25:18).
  • Jehoash was at this point warning Amaziah not to let his Edomite victory blind him to reality but to withdraw his arrogant declaration of war. But the plea fell on deaf ears.
  • Amaziah was soundly defeated by Jehoash at Beth-shemesh and was led as a common prisoner back to his own capital in Jerusalem. Upon arriving, Jehoash dismantled 200 yards of the city walls to effect an impressive victory celebration. He then carried off all the treasures of the Temple and palace. Finally the northern king left, taking with him many hostages (2 Chron. 25:21-24).
  • He ruled for twenty-nine years (796-767 b.c.).

  • He was a mighty warrior and builder.
  • He attempted to intrude into the office of the priest.
  • He was punished for this sin by leprosy.
  • He ruled for fifty-two years (792-740 b.c.).

  • He was a good king (2 Chron. 27:6).
  • He built the upper gate of the Temple and erected fortresses and towers.
  • He defeated the Ammonites and received a huge annual tribute of silver and wheat from them.
  • He ruled for sixteen years (750-732 b.c.).

  • He was perhaps the second worst king of Judah.
  • He sacrificed his own children to devilish gods.
  • He was the first person to hear about the virgin birth.
  • He ruled sixteen years (732-716 b.c.).

  • He was the second best king of Judah.
  • He was also the richest of all.
  • He organized the greatest Passover celebration since the days of Solomon.
  • He saw the death angel defeat the Assyrian enemies which had surrounded Jerusalem.
  • He was supernaturally healed and given an additional fifteen years to live.
  • He ruled for twenty-nine years (716-687).

  • He ruled longer than any northern or southern king.
  • He was the worst of all the kings.
  • He experienced the new birth prior to his death.
  • He ruled fifty-five years (697-642 b.c.).

15. Amon (2 Ki. 21:19-26; 2 Chron. 33:21-25).
  • He was, like his father Manasseh, a wicked sinner.
  • He was, unlike his father Manasseh, unrepentant.
  • He was executed by his own household servants.
  • He ruled two years (643-641 b.c.).

  • He was the best king since David.
  • The book of Moses was discovered in the Temple during his reign.
  • He led his people in a great revival.
  • He was the last good king of Judah.
  • He was killed in a battle with the Egyptians.
  • He ruled for thirty-one years (641-610 b.c.).

  • This middle son of Josiah had both a sinful (2 Ki. 23:32) and short-lived (2 Ki. 23:30, 31) reign. He was deposed by Pharaoh Necho (who had previously killed his father, Josiah, in battle), after but ninety days on the throne (2 Ki. 23:33). Necho then leveled a tax against Judah totaling $230,000. Jehoahaz was eventually carried into Egypt where he died in captivity (2 Ki. 23:34).
  • Jehoahaz’s younger brother, Eliakim (renamed Jehoiakim by Necho), was chosen by the Egyptian king to succeed him on the throne of Judah (2 Ki. 23:34). Things were now at rock bottom when the devil’s man could pick the king over the Lord’s people!
  • He ruled for three months (609 b.c.).

  • He was the brother of Jehoahaz.
  • He was probably Judah’s third worst king.
  • He persecuted Jeremiah the prophet.
  • He experienced the first of Nebuchadnezzar’s fearsome "visits" to Jerusalem.
  • During this time Daniel and other Hebrew young people were taken to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar.
  • He died, and as Jeremiah had predicted, received the burial of an ass.
  • He ruled for eleven years (609-598).

19. Jehoiachin (2 Ki. 24:6-16; 2 Chron. 36:8-10).
  • He was the son of Jehoiakim, and grandson of Josiah. Jehoiachin was also called Coniah (Jer. 22:24, 28; 37:1).
  • He began ruling at eighteen (2 Ki. 24:8). Note: There is a textual problem here, for 2 Chronicles 36:9 informs us he was eight years old.
  • He was an evil king (2 Ki. 24:9). Because of this:
  • Both Ezekiel (19:5-9) and Jeremiah (22:24-26) predicted that he would be carried off into the Babylonian captivity.
  • He was to be regarded as childless, as none of his children would ever sit upon the throne of David or rule in Judah.
The New Scofield Bible observes:
"This declaration does not mean that he would have no children, for in 1 Chron. 3:17, 18, some are named (Cf. Mt. 1:12). By divine judgment, this king was to be written childless, i.e., no physical descendant would occupy a place in the list of Israel’s kings. Consequently, if our Lord Jesus, who is to occupy David’s throne (Lk. 1:32, 33), had been begotten by Mary’s husband, Joseph, who was of the line of Jeconiah (Mt. 1:12, 16), it would have contradicted this divine prediction. Christ’s dynastic right to the throne came through his foster father, Joseph, from Jeconiah, but the physical descent of Jesus from David came through Mary, whose genealogy is traced to David through Nathan, rather than through Solomon." (Compare Lk. 3:31 with Mt. 1:17.) (pp. 793, 794)
  • Jehoiachin was captured during the eighth year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign (2 Ki. 24:12) and carried into Babylon, along with 10,000 other Jewish captives (Jer. 24:1; 29; 2 Ki. 24:14, 15). Ezekiel was also carried away at this time.
  • He then appointed Zedekiah (Jehoiachin’s great uncle) to occupy the throne of Judea (2 Ki. 24:17).
  • Jehoiachin was placed in a Babylonian prison, where he remained for thirty-six years, until the death of Nebuchadnezzar. He was then released by the new Babylonian monarch, Evil-Merodach, who not only freed him, but gave him a seat at the king’s own table and an allowance for his support (2 Ki. 25:27-30; Jer. 52:31-34).
  • He ruled for three months (598 b.c.).

  • He was the youngest son of Josiah.
  • He rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar. For this he was blinded and carried off as a captive to Babylon.
  • He ruled for eleven years (597-586 b.c.).

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