Kings Of The Divided Kingdom
ISRAEL


JEROBOAM
c. 930-909 BC
Son of Nebat; was one of King Solomon's officials in charge of laborers, but rebelled against Solomon when the prophet Ahijah told him that God was going to tear the kingdom out of Solomon's hands, except for one tribe. Ahijah told Jeroboam that he would become king of the other 10 tribes. (The 12th tribe, that of Levi, served as priests and were not included in this division, as they had received no inheritance of land from God.) When King Solomon heard what Ahijah had foretold, he tried to kill Jeroboam to maintain the kingdom for his son and heir, Rehoboam; Jeroboam had to flee to Egypt to escape. He returned after Solomon's death to rise up against Rehoboam. Jeroboam built two golden calves, one in Dan, and one in Bethel, for the people to worship, so that they wouldn't undertake the journey to Jerusalem to worship there, and perhaps renew their loyalty to Rehoboam. He appointed men to be priests who were not of the tribe of Levi. A prophet of God saw the altars where they burned incense to these idols, and rebuked Jeroboam. He prophesied that a man named Josiah from the house of David would sacrifice these false priests, burning their bones on these very altars. The divine nature of this prophecy is evident in the fact that it was made 300 years before it was fulfilled. Jeroboam stretched out his hand to order the prophet to be seized, and his hand immediately turned leperous. Jeroboam then asked that prophet to pray to his {the prophet's} God to heal his hand, indicating that Jeroboam's god was not the one true God served by the prophet. The prophet did as he asked, and the Lord restored Jeroboam's hand, but even after that miraculous sign, Jeroboam did not repent and turn back to the Lord. He sinned more than all those before him, {Saul, David, and Solomon} in that he began a paganized system of idol worship for the entire population of the northern kingdom, leading the people of Israel away from the one true God. His son Abijah became very ill, and Jeroboam sent his wife in disguise to ask the prophet Ahijah if the boy would recover. Ahijah was very old, and blind, but the Lord told him this was Jeroboam's wife. Ahijah told her that because of Jeroboam's great sin in turning Israel away from God, the boy was going to die, and God was going to bring disaster on the house of Jeroboam, destroying every male of his family, slave or free. Ahijah prophesied that dogs would eat every member of his family that died in the city, and birds would eat those that died in the country. The boy did die, and the rest of this prophecy was fulfilled when Baasha later killed every male member of Jeroboam's family. Jeroboam reigned for 22 years after Solomon's death.


NADAB
c. 909-908 BC
Son of Jeroboam; reigned only 2 years. Continued to do all the evil that his father had begun. Nadab was murdered by Baasha while beseiging a Philistine town.


BAASHA
c. 908-886 BC
Son of Ahijah (of the tribe of Issachar, not the prophet Ahijah), Baasha became the first self-appointed king of Israel. Baasha murdered Nadab to gain the throne, then proceeded to kill Jeroboam's whole family. This fulfilled the prophecy of Ahijah against the house of Jeroboam. Baasha did evil in the eyes of the Lord, just as those before him had done. The prophet Jehu (not the same Jehu who later became king) prophesied against Baasha, saying that dogs would eat every member of his family that died in the city, and birds would eat those that died in the country, thus pronouncing on Baasha the same judgment that Ahijah had prophesied for Jeroboam.) Baasha reigned for 24 years.


ELAH
c. 886-885 BC
Son of Baasha; reigned only 2 years. Elah continued to worship idols as his father had done, and led Israel into greater sin. Was murdered while getting drunk at a friend's house by Zimri, who then became king.


ZIMRI
c. 885 BC
Zimri had been one of Elah's officials, in charge of his chariots. He killed Elah to gain the throne, and as soon as he began his reign he murdered the rest of Baasha's family. However, when the Israelites heard that he had plotted to murder their king, they proclaimed Omri, the commander of the army, as king over Israel. Omri and all the Israelites then laid seige to the city of Tirzah. When Zimri saw that they had taken the city, he locked himself in the palace and burned it down around himself; thus he reigned for only 7 days.


OMRI
c.885-874 BC
Omri had been the commander of the Israelite army when he was proclaimed king. After Zimri burned the palace down, Omri established the city of Samaria as the new capital of Israel, building it up and fortifying it with walls around it just like Jerusalem, the city David had established as the capital of Judah. The people of Israel were divided, however, with half supporting Omri as king, and half supporting Tibni. He co-reigned with Tibni for about five years, then Tibni died and Omri had sole reign for about 7 more years; so Omri reigned for a total of 12 years. Early in his reign, Omri sought to strengthen his ties to Phonecia, perhaps to assist him in overthrowing Tibni. He accomplished this alliance with Phonecia by arranging the marriage of his son Ahab to Jezebel, the daughter of Ethbaal, king of * Sidonnia. The Phonecians were worshippers of Baal, and Jezebel brought this practice to Israel when she married Ahab. Thus Omri did evil in the eyes of the Lord, sinning more than all of those before him by opening the door to Baal worship in Israel.
*Siddonia was one of the major cities of Phonecia. Each of the major fortified cities had their own king.


TIBNI
c. 885-880 BC
Tibni, the son of Ginath, never had sole reign; he co-reigned with Omri for about 5 years until he died. It is not clear whether his death was from natural causes or the result of the military struggle for control of the kingdom.


AHAB
c. 874-853 BC
Son of Omri; Ahab reigned 22 years and did more evil than all before him. Married Jezebel, daughter of the king of the Siddonians, who introduced Baal worship, a practice totally condemned by the prophets Elijah and Elisha. Ahab continued extensive construction work on the wall around the capital city his father had established. During Ahab's reign, Hiel of Bethel rebuilt Jericho, although it cost him both his oldest and youngest sons, just as Joshua had prophesied. Elijah and Obadiah were two of the more prominant prophets of the Lord during Ahab's reign. Jezebel had given orders to kill all of God's prophets, and Obadiah hid 100 of them in 2 caves to protect them. Elijah then challenged 450 prophets of Baal to call down fire from heaven to consume their offerings. None of them could, though they prayed all day, and slashed themselves with swords. Then Elijah built his altar, and dug tenches all around it; he had the people pour water over his offering until the trenches were full. Elijah then prayed to God, and the fire from the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, proving that God is the true God. At this, all the people fell prostrate and cried out "The Lord is God". Elijah told them to seize all the prophets of Baal, and they slaughtered them. This angered Jezebel so much that she vowed to kill Elijah, but he escaped to Horeb and hid in a cave. Ben-Hadad, the king of Aram, (or Syria), attacked Israel with a huge army; a prophet of the Lord told Ahab that God would give Israel the victory so that they would know that He is God. Ben-Hadad finally surrendered to Ahab, but instead of killing him, Ahab made a treaty with him. A prophet of the Lord rebuked Ahab for making such a treaty, because Ahab had freed a man God had intended should die. Ahab wanted a vineyard belonging to Naboth, but Naboth refused to give it to him. Jezebel had Naboth stoned to death, so that Ahab could have his vineyard. The Lord had Elijah come out of hiding and return to Samaria to condemn Ahab and Jezebel for their greed and treachery. Elijah pronounced the same judgment on them that Ahijah had prophesied on Jeroboam, and Jehu had prophesied on Baasha: that dogs would eat every member of his family that died in the city, and birds would devour every family member that died in the country. Ahab made an alliance with Jehoshaphat, king of Judah and Ahab's son-in-law, to go up against the Arameans. All of Ahab's prophets kept telling him He would be victorious, but Micaiah, a prophet of the Lord, said that God had filled their mouths with a lying spirit. Ahab was so angry at this that he had Micaiah thrown into prison. Ahab told Jehoshaphat to wear his royal robes into battle, but he himself went in disguise. That didn't save him, though, as he was hit by a random arrow, and died that evening.


AHAZIAH
c. 853-852
Son of Ahab; reigned for 2 years. Ahaziah did all the evils of his father and mother, and worshipped Baal. He fell from an upper room and sent messengers to consult Baal-Zebub to see if he would recover from these injuries. The messengers met the prophet Elijah along the way, who told them that Ahaziah would die, never arising from his bed. When they reported this to Ahaziah, he sent a captain and 50 men out to capture Elijah, but he called down fire from heaven to consume them. Again Ahaziah sent out a captain and 50 men, and the same thing happened to them. The third time, Elijah went back with them, where he told Ahaziah that he was going to die for consulting Baal-Zebub. He asked Ahaziah if he consulted Baal-zebub because there was no God in Israel, meaning that Ahaziah and the children of Israel had turned their backs on the one true God. This prophecy was proved to be true when Ahaziah died without ever leaving his bed, just as Elijah had said he would. Because Ahaziah had no son, his brother Joram became king. After Ahaziah's death, Elijah was caught up to heaven, and the prophet Elisha received a double portion of his spirit.


JORAM also called JEHORAM
c.852-841 BC
Not to be confused with the Jehoram who was king of Judah during this same decade, this Joram/Jehoram was the son of Ahab, and youngest brother of Ahaziah. He reigned for 12 years. He did evil, although not as much as his parents had done, because he got rid of the sacred Baal-stone in the temple his father had made. He aligned with Jehoshaphat, king of Judah when the Moabites rebelled, but after 7 days, the armies ran out of water. They consulted Elisha, who said that if it wasn't for Jehoshaphat, he would not have anything to do with Joram. Elisha told them to dig ditches, and God would fill them with water, and also would give them victory. When the Moabite king saw that the battle was going against him, he sacrificed his firstborn son on the walls of the city. Joram later aligned with his nephew Ahaziah, king of Judah, to go to war against Hazael, king of Aram. Joram was injured in that battle, and withdrew to Jezreel to recover. His nephew went to visit him, and while he was there the lookouts reported that Jehu, the commander of Joram's army, was coming. Unbeknownst to Joram, Jehu had been annointed by the Lord at Elisha's instruction to become king of Israel. Twice Joram sent out a messenger to see if he came in peace, but neither one of them returned. Joram and Ahaziah then rode out to meet Jehu themselves, each in his own chariot. Jehu killed Joram with an arrow between his shoulder blades as he was fleeing. The arrow pierced his heart and he died instantly. Jehu also injured Ahaziah, but he managed to escape to Meggido, where he died from that wound.


JEHU
c. 841-814 BC
Not the prophet Jehu, this Jehu was the son of Jehoshaphat, who was the son of Nimshi, not the Jehoshaphat who had been king of Judah. Jehu was a commander in Jorams's army, and was annointed by God to become king of Israel, and to destroy the house of Ahab because of his wickedness. He extended the scope of this purge of the house of Ahab to include killing Ahaziah, king of Judah, whose mother was Athalia, the daughter of Ahab. When Jezebel, Ahab's wife and the mother of Joram, heard that her son had died by Jehu's hand, she called him Zimri, the name of the king who had murdered Elah and every other male member of Baasha's family to gain the throne about 45 years before this. Jehu had Jezebel thrown out of a window by her own eunuchs, killing her as well. He then had all 70 sons of Ahab beheaded, and piled their heads at the gate to the city. He proceeded to kill every remaining member of Ahab's family, all of his top officials, all his priests and all his close friends, leaving nothing left from Ahab's evil reign. This was the fulfillment of the prophecy of Elijah concerning the house of Ahab. Jehu also killed 42 relatives of Ahaziah of Judah when they met him on the road, once again enlarging the scope of his mission to wipe out the house of Ahab by considering Ahaziah and his relatives to be part of Ahab's family through marriage. He gathered together all the prophets of Baal remaining from Ahab's reign, falsely saying he was going to offer a sacrifice to Baal. Instead, he had them all surrounded and killed them all, then tore down the temple of Baal, thus destroying all Baal worship in Israel. However, he did not tear down the golden calves at Dan and Bethel, and he continued in the sins Jeroboam had began. Because Jehu had carried out God's judgment against Ahab, God said He would allow Jehu's sons to rule Israel for four generations, but because Jehu did not keep the law of the Lord, God made Israel smaller, allowing part of their land to be taken from them because of Jehu's sin. Although He gained the throne through wide-spread violence, Jehu and all of his sons died from natural causes. His sons did reign for only four generations, but it was still the longest-lived dynasty of the northern kingdom.


JEHOAHAZ
c. 814-798 BC
Son of Jehu; reigned 17 years. At the time Jehoahaz became king, Israel was beginning it's decline under the forces of Aram {Syria}. Jehoahaz did evil in the eyes of the Lord, leading the people in wickedness as Jeroboam had done. Because of their wickedness, God's anger burned against Israel, and as a result, He kept them under the power of Hazael, king of Aram, and his son, Ben-Hadad. Then Jehoahaz sought God's favor, and He provided a deliverer for Israel, though not in the form of a person, like the judges He had sent to deliver Israel in times past. This deliverance came when the Arameans turned away from Israel to head off an attack from Assyria. However, even after they were delivered from bondage to Aram, Jehoahaz and the people of Israel continued to do evil in the eyes of the Lord, and the Asherah pole remained. The Aramean king had destroyed all of Jehoahaz's army; nothing remained except 50 horsemen, 10 chariots, and 10,000 foot soldiers, a far cry from the 800,000 soldiers Jeroboam had assembled a hundred years earlier.


JEHOASH
c. 798-782 BC
Son of Jehoahaz; reigned 16 years. Continued in all the evils of his fathers. Jehoash was challenged by Amaziah, king of Judah, whose victory over the Edomites went to his head and made him arrogant. At first Jehoash just ignored the challenge, but when he had finally had enough of Amaziah's arrogance, he met Amaziah on the battlefield and took him prisoner. (Amaziah remained a prisoner until the death of Jehoahaz 10 years later; then he lived 15 more years until he was killed in Lachish by his own people.) To show his contempt for Amaziah and Judah, Jehoahaz proceeded to break down the wall around Jerusalem, and he ransacked the temple of the Lord, taking all the gold and silver articles from it . There probably was not much left to take, however, as king Joash of Judah had stripped the temple of all of it's valuables to pay tribute to king Hazael of Aram. Jehoash visited the prophet Elisha during his final illness, complaining of his despair and the terrible situation Israel was in. Elish told him to shoot an arrow out of the window, calling it the Lord's arrow of victory, and saying they would defeat the Arameans. Elisha then told Jehoahaz to strike the ground with the arrows. Jehoahaz only struck the ground three times, rather weakly, and Elisha told him his lack of zeal meant that instead of total victory, they would only defeat the Arameans 3 times. Elisha then died and was buried. One day some men were burying someone else when they saw raiders coming, so they hurried up and threw the corpse in Elisha's grave. The corpse came back to life as soon as it touched Elisha's bones. Just as Elisha had prophesied, Jehoahaz defeated Ben-Hadad of Aram 3 times, but was never able to have complete victory over them. It was his son, Jeroboam II who was finally able to gain control over Aram.


JEROBOAM II
c. 793-753 BC
This son of Jehoash reigned 41 years. He continued to commit all the sins of his fathers, and was rebuked by the prophets Hosea and Amos. However, God saw how badly Israel was suffering at the hands of the Arameans, the Moabites, and the Ammonites. Because He had said He would not blot the name of Israel out, He used Jeroboam II to regain the lands Israel had lost. Jeroboam II gained control of the Arameans, regaining all the lands they had taken from Israel. He also brought the Moabites and Ammonites under control, and under his rule, the northern kingdom enjoyed a period of greater prosperity than they had experienced since the days of King Solomon.


ZECHARIAH
c. 753 BC
Son of Jeroboam II, Zechariah continued to do evil as his ancestors had done. He reigned for only 6 months when he was publicly attacked and murdered by Shallum, a son of Jabesh, who then succeeded him as king. This was the fulfillment of the word of the Lord that had been spoken to King Jehu, that his sons would reign for only four generations because Jehu did not keep the law of the Lord after becoming king. With this downfall of the house of Jehu, the northern kingdom entered into a period of political instability where 3 of the next 5 kings would be murdered. The prosperity Israel experienced under Jeroboam II would be very short-lived.


SHALLUM
c. 752 BC
Son of Jabesh; murdered Zechariah to obtain the throne for himself, but reigned for only a month before he was likewise murdered by Menahem, son of Gadi.


MENAHEM
c. 752-742 BC
Son of Gadi; reigned 10 years. Menahem was probably a military commander. After murdering Shallum in Samaria to gain the throne, he marched from Tirzah to Tiphsah; because the people there refused to open their gates to him, he attacked that city, ransacking it and ripping open all the pregnant women there. Such acts of violence were typical of conquering armies. (see II Kings 8:12) Menahem did evil throughout his reign, as his forefathers had done. When Assyria invaded Israel, Menahem paid * Pul , the Assyrian king, a thousand talents of silver to gain his support, and thus strengthen his {Menahem's} hold on the kingdom. This was an enormous amount of money, which Menahem took from the people of Israel. Every wealthy man in the kingdom had to pay 50 shekels of silver. It took 60,000 men paying 50 shekels of silver each to provide the 1,000 talents; this gives an indication of the extent of the prosperity Israel experienced from the reign of Jeroboam II.
* Pul was the Babylonian name for Tiglath-Pileser III


PEKAHIAH
c. 742-740 BC
Son of Menahem; reigned for 2 years. Continued to do evil, as his father had done; not once during his reign did he turn away from these sins. One of his chief officials , Pekah, conspired against him. Taking along 50 men of Gilead, Pekah murdered Pekehiah in the royal palace in Samaria, and succeeded him as king.


PEKAH
c. 752-732 BC
Son of Remaliah; assassinated Pekahiah to obtain the throne; his total reign was 20 years. Apparantly, Pekah had established a rival government when Menahem murdered Shallum, and thus the beginning of his reign overlapped that of both Menahem and Pekahiah. Pekah continued to do evil, continuing in all the sins of his fathers. He invaded Judah during the reign of Ahaz, and in one day killed 120,000 soldiers and took 200,000 women and children captive, to become slaves. Under Pekah's command, an Ephraimite named Zicri killed Ahaz's second in command, the official in charge of his palace, and his son, Maaseiah. They also took much plunder; however, they were rebuked by Oded, a prophet of the Lord, for this widespread slaughter of their fellow countrymen. Many of the leaders of Ephraim, including the son of Shallum, balked at having all these prisoners, saying it would add to the guilt of Israel and anger God greatly. Pekah's soldiers then fed and clothed the prisoners, and released them to return to their own country, along with all the plunder that had been taken. Pekah continued in all the sins of his fathers, however. Assyria invaded Israel, capturing many of it's cities and taking the people of those captured cities to Damascus to serve as slaves. This was the beginning of the promise God had made to decrease the size of Israel. (see II Kings 10:32) Pekah was left with a defeated and depleted nation; then he himself was attacked and murdered by Hoshea, who would become the final king of Israel.


HOSHEA
c. 732-722 BC
Son of Elah; murdered Pekah to obtain the throne, then reigned 9 years. Continued to do evil in the eyes of the Lord, but not as bad as those before him. Hoshea became a mere puppet of a king when he became a vassal to Assyria under the reign of * Pul , paying tribute to him, conspiring with him when Assyria invaded Israel. When Pul died,he was succeeded by his son, Shalmaneser V. In a reckless attempt to overthrow the Assyrians, Hoshea betrayed Shalmaneser by secretly sending envoys to ** So, king of Egypt; he also stopped paying tribute to Shalmaneser. This led to the final downfall of Israel. The betrayed Assyrian king seized Hoshea and put him in prison, and proceeded to march through the entire land. He laid seige to Samaria, the capital of Israel, for three years, finally capturing that city in the 9th year of Hoshea's reign and deporting all the Israelites to Assyria.
* Pul was the Babylonian name for Tiglath-Pileser III
** So is possibly an abbreviation for Osorkon
Historical note: In December of 722 BC, Shalmaneser V died, possibly by assassination, and was succeeded by his brother, Sargon II. In his annals, Sargon II claims to have captured Samaria at the very beginning of his reign, but in actuality Samaria had already fallen, and his was hardly more than a mopping-up operation. His son Sennacherib succeeded him as king, by usurping the place of his older brother, and marched against Judah, being stopped only by the Lord's intervention.


All of this took place because the Israelites had continually sinned against God, who had brought them out of Egypt, and out from under bondage to Pharoah, the Egyptian king. They worshipped other gods, and followed the detestable practices of the pagan nations God had driven out before them, as well as the practices the kings themselves had introduced. They built high places in every town, setting up sacred stones and Asherah poles on every corner and under every tree. The Lord warned them through the prophets many times, but they refused to listen when the prophets spoke. They were stubborn, and refused to repent; they did not trust in God, and rejected His commandments and decrees. They made and worshipped golden calves, and practiced witchcraft, divination, and sorcery. They even sacrificed their children in the fires of Molech.

Because of all these evils and their stubborn refusal to repent, God removed them from his presence, keeping only the tribe of Judah because of His covenant with David. The Assyrians settled in Samaria, and being pagans, they did not worship the Lord, so God sent lions in among them. The lions killed many, and the king of Assyria ordered a priest of Israel to return to Jerusalem and teach them how to worship the Lord. They worshipped the Lord, but still they all continued to worship their own gods as well.

By the time of the New Testament, these mixed-ancestry Samaritans had largely rejected the idolatry of their pagan ancestors to follow the teachings of Moses. Jesus testified to a Samaritan woman, and many Samaritans were converted under the ministry of His disciple, Philip. (see Acts 8:4-25) There were a total of twenty kings of Israel. They reigned for about 210 years; from about 930 BC when the kingdom was divided, to about 722-721 BC, when the kingdom of Israel fell to Assyria. The small remnant of the tribes of Israel who remained were invited by king Hezekiah to return to Judah; thus Hezekiah reunited the divided kingdom.


Note: There is some confusion over some of these dates in relation to historical events; most of this has been explained by scholars as son's reigns overlapping that of their fathers. The dates used here are from "A Chronology Of The Hebrew Kings", by Edwin R. Thiele, 1977 by The Zondervan Corporation.

Reference:
NIV Study Bible, Zondervan Bible Publishers
Who's Who In The Bible, Publications International, Ltd.










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