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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged
2 Kings 15

 

 

Verse 1

In the twenty and seventh year of Jeroboam king of Israel began Azariah son of Amaziah king of Judah to reign.

In the twenty and seventh year of Jeroboam. Since Amaziah, the father of Azariah, lived only until the fifteenth year of Jeroboam II (cf. 2 Kings 14:17; 2 Kings 14:23), there is a difficulty in reconciling that fact with the chronological statement in the first verse of this chapter. It may be removed, however; and a satisfactory explanation given by assuming, what seems exceedingly probable, that Jeroboam had reigned in conjunction with his father for eleven or twelve years, and on the demise of his father, reigned alone. Thus, his reign would have a double commencement. According to the former view, this would be his 27th year; according to the latter, his 15th year. Or, it is thought that the throne of Judah continued vacant eleven or twelve years, between the death of Amaziah and the inauguration of his son Azariah, who, being a boy four years old when his father was murdered, a regency was, by the popular will, appointed during his minority, for he was not formally inaugurated into the kingdom until he was sixteen. His reign was the longest with the exception of Manasseh's, in the sacred history, extending to 52 years; but chronologists are not agreed as to the period from which this term is to be computed, whether the date of his father's death, or from the time of his actual accession.

Began Azariah ... to reign , [ `Azaryaah (Hebrew #5838) and `Azaryahuw (Hebrew #5838), might of Yahweh; 'Azariyaah is probably a clerical error]. He is called Azariah here, 2 Kings 15:6-8; 2 Kings 15:23; 2 Kings 15:27; but Uzziah, 2 Kings 15:13; 2 Kings 15:32; 2 Kings 15:34, etc. [Septuagint, Ozias]. The character of big reign is described by the brief formula employed by the inspired historian in recording the religious policy of the later kings. But his reign was a very active as well as eventful one, and is fully related, 2 Chronicles 26:1-23. Elated by the possession of great power, and presumptuously arrogating to himself, as the pagan kings, the functions both of the regal and sacerdotal offices, he was punished with leprosy, which, as the offence was capital (Numbers 8:7), was equivalent to death; for this disease excluded him from all society (Leviticus 13:46); and while Jotham, his son, as his viceroy, administered the affairs of the kingdom, devoting fixed portions of his time (like Solomon, 1 Kings 7:7) to the judicial duties-being about 15 years of age (cf. 2 Kings 15:33) - he had to dwell in a place apart by himself (see the notes at 2 Kings 7:3). After a long reign he died, and was buried in the royal burying-field, though not in the royal cemetery of "the city of David" (2 Chr. 26:33 ).


Verses 2-7

Sixteen years old was he when he began to reign, and he reigned two and fifty years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Jecholiah of Jerusalem.

No JFB commentary on these verses.


Verse 8

In the thirty and eighth year of Azariah king of Judah did Zachariah the son of Jeroboam reign over Israel in Samaria six months.

In the thirty and eighth year of Azariah king of Judah did Zachariah ... reign over Israel. It has been supposed, on the ground of the recorded duration of his father's reign (see the notes at 2 Kings 14:21), where the Hebrew numerals are probably corrupt, that there was an interregnum, from some unknown cause, between the reign of Jeroboam and the accession of his son, which lasted, according to some, for 10 or 12 years, according to others, for 22 years, or more. This prince, who was a weak, facile, grovelling sot (Hosea 5:1-15), pursued the religions policy of the calf-worship, and his reign was short, being abruptly terminated by the hand of violence. There is nothing, however, said in the history as to an interregnum arising from anarchy or faction, and the idea might seem to be improbable after so vigorous a reign as Jeroboam's. But that objection has no weight in the minds of many chronologists, who maintain that on the death of Jeroboam, his kingdom fell rapidly into confusion and decay. The sacred books are exceedingly short as regards the history of the last times of the kingdom of Israel. Sacred historiography has no interest in the details of this process of decay, which began with the death of Jeroboam, and which is represented by Amos as it were the day of Israel's death (Amos 7:11), although a bare existence is still for sometime spared. By the rejection of this interregnum, Hosea's ministry would be shortened by twelve years; but this gain, if gain it be, can be purchased only at the expense of a most improbable extension of the duration of Jeroboam's reign' (Hengstenberg's 'Christology,' 1:, p. 173).


Verse 9

And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, as his fathers had done: he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin.

No JFB commentary on this verse.


Verse 10

And Shallum the son of Jabesh conspired against him, and smote him before the people, and slew him, and reigned in his stead.

Shallum the son of Jabesh conspired against him - one of his generals.

And smote him before the people. He must have been aware of a deep and widespread disaffection before he ventured to perform the daring part of a regicide. In the fate of Zachariah was fulfilled the prophecy addressed to Jehu (2 Kings 10:30; also Hosea 1:4), that his family would possess the throne of Israel for four generations; and accordingly Jehoahaz, Joash, Jehoram, and Zachariah were his successors-but there his dynasty terminated; and perhaps it was the public knowledge of this prediction that prompted the murderous design of Shallum (Hosea 1:4; Amos 7:9).


Verse 11-12

And the rest of the acts of Zachariah, behold, they are written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel.

No JFB commentary on these verses.


Verse 13

Shallum the son of Jabesh began to reign in the nine and thirtieth year of Uzziah king of Judah; and he reigned a full month in Samaria.

Shallum ... reigned a full month. This usurper enjoyed a very brief reign, for he occupied the throne only for one month, being opposed and slain by Menahem, who, according to Josephus ('Antiquities,' b. 9:, ch. 2:, sec. 1), was commander of the forces. On the report of the king's murder, he was besieging Tirzah, a town twelve miles east of Samaria, and formerly a seat of the kings of Israel. Raising the siege, he marched directly against the usurper, slew him, and reigned in his stead.


Verse 14-15

For Menahem the son of Gadi went up from Tirzah, and came to Samaria, and smote Shallum the son of Jabesh in Samaria, and slew him, and reigned in his stead.

No JFB commentary on these verses.


Verse 16

Then Menahem smote Tiphsah, and all that were therein, and the coasts thereof from Tirzah: because they opened not to him, therefore he smote it; and all the women therein that were with child he ripped up.

Menahem smote Tiphsah. Thapsacus, on the western bank of the Euphrates, formed the border city of Solomon's kingdom (1 Kings 4:24), and having been taken by Hazael, it was regained by the arms of Jeroboam, who justly ranked this important city among his most valuable conquests. The inhabitants refusing to open their gates to him, Menahem took it by storm, and having spoiled it, committed the most barbarous excesses, without regard either to age or sex-excesses, the report of which is supposed to have attracted the notice of the Assyrian monarch, and led to that invasion of Israel which terminated in its destruction.


Verse 17

In the nine and thirtieth year of Azariah king of Judah began Menahem the son of Gadi to reign over Israel, and reigned ten years in Samaria.

Reigned ten years in Samaria. His government was conducted on the religious policy of his predecessors.


Verse 18

And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD: he departed not all his days from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin.

No JFB commentary on this verse.


Verse 19

And Pul the king of Assyria came against the land: and Menahem gave Pul a thousand talents of silver, that his hand might be with him to confirm the kingdom in his hand.

Pul the king of Assyria came against the land , [ Puwl (Hebrew #6322); Septuagint, Foua, probably from the error of a copyist in mistaking the final lambda (L) for a capital alpha (A) elsewhere (1 Chronicles 5:26); Vatican, Falooch; Alexandrine, Faloos]. In the passage just cited, it is said, conformably to the statement here, that "the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul king of Assyria." But Hoses (Hosea 5:13) referring to this crisis says, "Ephraim (Israel) went to the Assyrian." These different statements may be reconciled thus-`Pul, of his own motion, resolved to chastise Menahem, induced, perhaps, by the double motive of crushing a bold rebel, whose ambition had led him to usurp the throne of a kingdom which from the time of Jehu had been an Assyrian dependency, and of avenging the expedition of Menahem against Thapsacus. Then Menahem, on his part, sent Pul 1,000 talents, in order not only to divert him from his hostile purpose, but at the same time to purchase his friendship and aid for the establishment of his own precarious sovereignty ("to confirm the kingdom in his hand:" cf. 2 Kings 14:5). According to this view, which seems the proper order of events, Menahem did not make the first overture to Assyria, but on "Pul the king of Assyria coming against the land," he took measures to change the enemy when marching against the country, by the offer of a bribe, into a patron or protector for the security of his usurped dominion, which the prophet Hosea, less concerned about the historical fact than the disposition betrayed therein, might very well censure as a going of Ephraim to the Assyrian (Hosea 5:13; Hosea 7:11; Hosea 8:9), and a covenant-making with Asshur' (2 Kings 12:1).

A thousand talents of silver = œ62,200. This tribute, which Menahem raised by a poll-tax imposed on the wealthier classes of the people in Israel, bribed Pul to return to his own country (1 Chronicles 5:26). It was an oppressive exaction, and seems to form the subject of a strong prophetic interdict, proclaimed at the time of the return from the Babylonian captivity (Ezekiel 45:8; Ezekiel 46:18).-A special interest is attached to Pul as the first mentioned in Scripture of the great northern sovereigns who invaded Palestine, and exercised a political influence in that country. The identification of this conqueror, however, with any of the Assyrian or Babylonian monarchs has not been established; for the various conjectures of Sir H. Rawlinson and the late Dr. Hincks in the early days of cuneiform studies-such as that the native appellation of Pul was Phallukha-that he was identical with Iva-lush-and that he was the last of the old or upper dynasty of Assyria, have been successively abandoned; nay, even the idea of a close connection between Pul and Tiglath-pileser, which the tenor of the sacred narrative appeared to suggest, has been given up since the discovery of the Assyrian canon, which has shown that three reigns, extending over a period of 32 years, intervened between Iva-lush IV and Tiglath-pileser II But what has most of all tended to overthrow the many hypotheses at one time advanced and zealously supported by eminent explorers of cuneiform monuments, is that the name of Pul is not found in the list of Assyrian kings, nor can admit of being identified with that of any sovereign in the catalogue.

The consequence is, that scholars in the present day are now divided in opinion as to whether Pul was not another name of Tiglath-pileser, or whether he was an Assyrian king at all. The grounds on which the supposed identification rests are briefly these. The sacred history records that Menahem paid tribute to Pul, the Ninevite monuments expressly record that he made such payment to Tiglath-pileser in the eighth year of his reign; whence the conclusion is drawn, that, as it is not very likely two Assyrian monarchs would successively undertake so distant an expedition as an invasion of Israel within the short space of ten years-which was the duration of Menahem's reign-the tribute must have been offered to one and the same sovereign. Also, it is alleged that Pul and Tiglath-pileser are spoken of (2 Chr. ) in such a manner as to create an impression that they were identical-an impression which receives additional strength from the circumstance that in the passage just cited the Syriac and Arabic versions have one name only, not two. These arguments, which are all that can be adduced in support of the theory of identification, are far from being satisfactory: for it must appear to the mind of every candid and unbiassed reader that the language of the sacred history, both in this book and in Chronicles, points to two different sovereigns.

The present views entertained upon this obscure point are thus summarized by G. Rawlinson ('Ancient Monarchies,' 2:, p. 388): 'The most probable supposition is, that he was a pretender to the Assyrian crown, never acknowledged at Nineveh, but established in the western southern provinces so firmly that he could venture to conduct an expedition into lower Syria, and to claim there the fealty of Assyria's vassals. Or, possibly, he may have been a Babylonian monarch, who, in the troublous times that had now come upon the northern empire, possessed himself of the Euphrates valley, and thence descended upon Syria and Palestine. Berosus represented Pul as a Chaldean king; and the name itself, which is wholly alien to the ordinary Assyrian type-being all compound words-has at least, one counterpart among known Babylonian names.'


Verses 20-22

And Menahem exacted the money of Israel, even of all the mighty men of wealth, of each man fifty shekels of silver, to give to the king of Assyria. So the king of Assyria turned back, and stayed not there in the land.

No JFB commentary on these verses.


Verse 23

In the fiftieth year of Azariah king of Judah Pekahiah the son of Menahem began to reign over Israel in Samaria, and reigned two years.

Pekahiah the son of Menahem began to reign. On comparing the date given with Azariah's reign, it seems that several months had intervened between the death of Menahem and the accession of Pekahiah; probably owing: to a contest about the throne.


Verse 24

And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD: he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin.

No JFB commentary on this verse.


Verse 25

But Pekah the son of Remaliah, a captain of his, conspired against him, and smote him in Samaria, in the palace of the king's house, with Argob and Arieh, and with him fifty men of the Gileadites: and he killed him, and reigned in his room.

With Argob and Arieh ... Many commentators view these as the captain's accomplices. But it is more probable that were influential friends of the king's, who were murdered along with him.


Verses 26-28

And the rest of the acts of Pekahiah, and all that he did, behold, they are written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel.

No JFB commentary on these verses.


Verse 29

In the days of Pekah king of Israel came Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria, and took Ijon, and Abel-beth-ma'achah, and Jonoah, and Kedesh, and Hazor, and Gilead, and Galilee, all the land of Naphtali, and carried them captive to Assyria.

In the days of Pekah ... came Tiglath-pileser , [ Tiglat-Pil'ecer (Hebrew #8407) or ( Tilgat-Piln


Verse 30

And Hoshea the son of Elah made a conspiracy against Pekah the son of Remaliah, and smote him, and slew him, and reigned in his stead, in the twentieth year of Jotham the son of Uzziah.

Hoshea the son of Elah made a conspiracy against Pekah the son of Remaliah, and smote him, and slew him. It is highly probable that the discontent and disorders consequent upon the sufferings of the people, through so extensive a portion of the kingdom of Israel, originated the conspiracy by which, in the year following, Pekah's throne became vacant.

And reigned in his stead, in the twentieth year of Jotham the son of Uzziah. The murder of Pekah introduced a period of anarchy, which lasted nine years, and was terminated by Hoshea's success in establishing himself on the throne (see further the note at 2 Kings 17:1). Jotham's reign having lasted only sixteen years, the meaning is, that the reign of Hoshea began in the twentieth year after the beginning of Jotham's reign: the sacred historian, having not yet introduced the name of Ahaz, reckoned the date by Jotham, whom he had already mentioned (see the notes at 2 Chronicles 27:8).


Verse 31-32

And the rest of the acts of Pekah, and all that he did, behold, they are written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel.

No JFB commentary on these verses.


Verse 33

Five and twenty years old was he when he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Jerusha, the daughter of Zadok.

Five and twenty years old was he when he began to reign - i:e., alone, for he had ruled as his father's viceroy.


Verse 34

And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD: he did according to all that his father Uzziah had done.

No JFB commentary on this verse.


Verse 35

Howbeit the high places were not removed: the people sacrificed and burned incense still in the high places. He built the higher gate of the house of the LORD.

The higher gate of the house of the Lord - not the temple itself, but one of its courts; probably that which led into the palace (2 Chronicles 23:20).


Verse 36

Now the rest of the acts of Jotham, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?

No JFB commentary on this verse.


Verse 37

In those days the LORD began to send against Judah Rezin the king of Syria, and Pekah the son of Remaliah.

The Lord began to send against Judah ... This is the first intimation of the hostile feelings of the kings of Israel and Syria to Judah, which led them to form an alliance and make joint preparations for war, which, however, was not actually waged until the reign of Ahaz.

 


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Kings 15:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/2-kings-15.html. 1871-8.

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Sunday, December 15th, 2019
the Third Week of Advent
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