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Bible Commentaries

Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible

2 Kings 15

Verse 1

2 Kings 15:1. In the twenty and seventh year In the fourteenth year, according to Houbigant. Dr. Lightfoot is of opinion, that the difficulties in the chronology of this place may be settled, by supposing that there was an interregnum, wherein the throne was vacant eleven or twelve years between the death of Amaziah and the inauguration of his son Azariah, who, being left an infant of four years old when his father died, was committed to the guardianship of the grandees of the nation, who, during his minority, took the administration of public affairs upon themselves, and when he was become sixteen devolved it upon him; so that when he became in full possession of the throne it was in the twenty-seventh year of Jeroboam. Azariah in 2Ch 26:1 is called Uzziah; and by St. Matthew, Ozias; words of pretty much the same signification.

Verse 5

2 Kings 15:5. And the Lord smote the king See on 2 Chronicles 26:19. In a several house, is rendered by Houbigant, a separate or remote house.

REFLECTIONS.—Azariah began young to reign, and sat very long upon the throne of Judah; and, like his immediate ancestors, his first days were his best. The common fault of the high places remained, and for daring to intrude into the priest's office, he was struck with leprosy, secluded from society till his death, and Jotham his son administered in his room, as viceroy, the affairs of the kingdom. Note; (1.) Those who walk in pride, God is able to abase. (2.) One stroke of disease can make the mightiest monarch loathsome to others, and a burden to himself. (3.) God, when he has pardoned the guilt of our sins, may yet correct us long with temporal afflictions, and bring us under them even to the grave.

Verse 12

2 Kings 15:12. Thy sons shall sit on the throne of Israel unto the fourth generation God had promised Jehu, that for executing his will upon the house of Ahab, he would continue the crown of Israel in his family for four generations; and accordingly Jehoahaz, Joash, Jehoram, and Zechariah succeed him; but because he did it not so much in obedience to the divine commands, as to satisfy his private ambition, and in a method of cruelty quite abhorrent to the divine nature, God cut his family short as soon as he had fulfilled his promise to him, and thereby accomplished the prophesy of Hosea: I will avenge the blood Jezreel upon the house of Jehu, and will cause to cease the kingdom of the house of Israel, chap. 2 Kings 1:4. And perhaps it was in remembrance of this promise, as well as of the prophesy which confined the kingdom to Jehu's family for four generations only, that Shallum was encouraged to attempt the life of Zechariah.

Verse 14

2 Kings 15:14. Menahem—went up from Tirzah Tirzah was a long time the regal city of the kingdom of Israel; Jeroboam, who was the first king of Israel, though he dwelt for some time at Shechem, in his latter days at least resided here; as did all the kings of Israel, till Omri, having reigned six years in Tirzah, built Samaria, and removed the royal seat thither, where it continued till a final period was put to that kingdom. See Son 6:4 and Wells's Geogr. vol. 3:

Verse 19

2 Kings 15:19. And Pul, the king of Assyria This is the first time we find any mention made of the kingdom of Assyria since the days of Nimrod, who erected a small principality there; see note on Genesis 10:11.; and Pul or Phul is the first monarch of that nation who invaded Israel, and began their transportation out of their country. Some are of opinion, that he was the same with Belesis the governor of Babylon; who, together with Arbaces the Mede, slew Sardanapalus the last of the Assyrian monarchs, and translated the empire to the Chaldeans. Bishop Patrick seems to be confident in this; but, according to Dr. Prideaux, Belesis was one generation later; and therefore it is supposed, that this Pul was the father of Sardanapalus, who was called Sardan, with the annexion of his father's name Pul, in the same manner as Merodach, king of Babylon, was called Merodach Baladan, because he was the son of Baladan. This Pul therefore was the same king of Assyria, who, when Jonah preached against Nineveh, gave great tokens of his humiliation and repentance. See Prideaux's Connection, A. 747 and Bedford's Scripture Chronology, book 6:

Verse 22

2 Kings 15:22. And Pekahiah his son reigned in his stead This shews that Menahem was a man of great weight, since, notwithstanding all his violence and cruelty, he left the kingdom in his own family, which his two predecessors could not do. It is manifest however, that there was a small interregnum of about a year's continuance between his death and his son's accession; for his son did not begin to reign till the 50th year of Azariah; and yet the father must have been dead a year before, because it is said of him that he began to reign (2 Kings 15:17.) in the 39th year of Azariah, and reigned but ten years; there was therefore apparently an interregnum; but what the occasion of it was, is not so well known, though there is reason to suppose that it proceeded from the interest of his successor, who might raise a party to keep him out of the throne, as he did afterwards to dispossess him both of that and of life; for, according to Josephus, he was cut to pieces, with several of his friends about him, at a public feast, by the treasonable practice of Pekah, one of his principal officers, who, seizing upon the government, reigned about twenty years, and left it at last a difficult question to determine, whether he was more remarkable for his impiety towards God, or his injustice towards men. See 2Ki 15:25 and Joseph. Antiq. lib. 5: cap. 11.

Verse 29

2 Kings 15:29. Tiglath-pileser, king of Assyria, &c.— He is supposed by some to have been the son and successor of Sardanapalus, who restored the kingdom of Assyria and possessed it, after it had been dismembered by Belesis and Arbaces: but our learned Prideaux makes him to be the same with Arbaces; by AElian called Thilgamus, and by Castor, Ninus Junior; who, together with Belesis, headed the conspiracy against Sardanapalus, and fixed his royal seat at Nineveh, the ancient residence of the Assyrian kings, as Belesis, who in Scripture is likewise called Baladan, Isa 39:1 fixed his at Babylon, and there governed his new erected empire for nineteen years. The first captivity of the Israelites was made by Pul, who carried away the two tribes and a half situate beyond Jordan: the second was this made by Tiglath-pileser. There were three deportations of the Hebrews; the first was of Galilee, the second of Samaria, the third of Judea; whence probably, under the second temple, Samaria, Galilee, and Judea, were the general names of the three provinces.

Verse 30

2 Kings 15:30. And Hosea, the son of Elah After Hoshea had murdered his predecessor Pekah, the elders of the land seem to have taken the government into their own hands; for he had not the possession of the kingdom till the latter end of the twelfth year of Ahaz; i.e. nine years after he had committed the fact. He came to the crown, it must be owned, in a very wicked manner; and yet his character in Scripture is not so vile as that of many of his predecessors, chap. 2 Kings 17:2. For whereas the kings of Israel had hitherto maintained guards upon the frontiers, to hinder their subjects from going to Jerusalem to worship, Hoshea took away these guards, and gave free liberty to all to go and pay their adoration where the law had directed; and therefore, when Hezekiah had invited all Israel to come to his passover, this prince permitted all that would to go; and when upon their return from that festival, they destroyed all the monuments of idolatry that were found in the kingdom of Samaria, instead of for-bidding them, in all probability he gave his consent to it; because without some tacit encouragement, at least, they could not have ventured to do it.

REFLECTIONS.—1st, Terrible was the state of Israel in these last days. Like the convulsions of the body before its dissolution, under judgments unhumbled, by mercies unaffected, uniformly persevering in a course of idolatry; their kings mounting successively to the throne by murder; shook with intestine commotions, spoiled by invading enemies, till, at last, the besom of destruction swept the land.

1. Zachariah, the last of Jehu's family, began and ended his reign in six months.
2. Shallum, his murderer and successor, had still a shorter space. One month saw his ill-gotten greatness ruined. Menahem revenged his treason and murder upon him, and seized the crown, of which the usurper was dispossessed. Note; Few traitors and murderers die in their beds.

3. Menahem, having climbed into the throne by blood, seeks to secure his seat by the most inhuman barbarity on those who dared to oppose him. Tiphsah, for refusing to open its gates, is, as a terror to others, sacked and ravaged with the most savage fury, even to ripping up the women with child. Yet, cowardly as cruel, he dared not fight the king of Assyria, who invaded him; but at an immense sum, which he levied from his nobles, bought him off, and engaged him to support his wicked government. Note; The more we read of this miserably oppressed and distracted state, the more thankful should we be for the liberty, peace, and security we enjoy under our own mild government.

4. Pekahiah succeeded his father, who died in peace, though a tyrant and usurper. Two years his tottering government continued, when he fell by the conspiracy of his general Pekah, who seized the throne, and reigned in his stead.
5. Twenty years Pekah kept the crown that his treason had secured; but long impunity is no final security. The king of Assyria, though so lately bribed, returned, and seized all Gilead, with part of Naphtali, Zebulon, and Ephraim; and thus half of the ten tribes went into captivity. Whereupon a conspiracy was formed against Pekah, and Hoshea, having murdered him, as he did his predecessor, ventured to wear that crown which had been so fatal to others, and proved as destructive to himself. All these kings concurred in following Jeroboam's sins, and thereby justified God in these judgments which fell so heavily upon them.

2nd, Jotham, who succeeded his father Uzziah on the throne of Judah; copied his excellencies, and avoided his sins; only the high places remained. His repairing the gate of the Lord's house shews his respect to the place, and God kept him in peace, it seems, all his days, removing him at the age of forty-one, from the storm which was gathering under the confederacy of the kings of Syria and Israel. Note; (1.) The righteous are taken away from the evil to come. (2.) When God removes a good king from a nation, or a good minister from his flock, they have reason to fear, lest for their sins and unprofitableness the Lord has a controversy against them.

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Bibliographical Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on 2 Kings 15". Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/tcc/2-kings-15.html. 1801-1803.