When we left off in our study of 2Chronicles three weeks ago, we had seen in chapter 21 that Ye-ho-shaw-FAWT's son Yeh-ho-RAWM had killed all six of his brothers when he'd become king.
God judged this action by stirring up the Philistines and Arabs against him.
2Chr. 21:17 and they came against Judah and invaded it, and carried away all the possessions found in the king's house together with his sons and his wives, so that no son was left to him except Yeh-ho-aw-KHAWZ, the youngest of his sons.
Then, King Yeh-ho-RAWM had suffered a sickness and died, and no one regretted his death.
Studying this period in Jewish history has a tendency to be terribly confusing. You see, many of the kings of Israel and Judah were known by several names, and to make matters worse, many of the names are the same across the kingdoms!
But to keep it simple tonight, we'll just focus on the man who has been made king. This man that was called Yeh-ho-aw-KHAWZ back in chapter 21 (2Chron. 21:17) was also known as Az-ar-YAW (22:6). But he was most commonly called Akh-az-YAW (22:1), as we see in this verse.
Akh-az-YAW was a young man when he became king, and would not reign for long. His mother was Ath-al-YAW, the one we read about back in chapter 21.
2Chr. 21:6 (Yeh-ho-RAWM) walked in the way of the kings of Israel, just as the house of Ahab did (for Ahab's daughter was his wife), and he did evil in the sight of the LORD.
The kings of Israel were as wicked as you can imagine.
1Kings 16:25 Omri did evil in the sight of the LORD, and acted more wickedly than all who were before him.
1Kings 16:30 Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the LORD more than all who were before him.
This was the family from which Ath-al-YAW had come, and she was a chip off the old block! She was determined to make her son take after her side of the family, and she certainly succeeded.
King Akh-az-YAW walked in the ways of that family, because his mother was his counselor to do wickedly, and his other counselors were also from that family.
The Bible says that this was "to his destruction," which should serve as a grave warning to us. You see, people are always saying that there is wisdom in a multitude of counselors. But there is only destruction to be found among wicked counselors. And so as parents, we need to be careful who our children's friends are, who they're getting advice from. And as Christians, we need to be careful about where we ourselves are seeking counsel.
Part of the wicked counselors' advice was to once again ally with Israel to wage war against Raw-MOTH Ghil-AWD, as his grandfather Ye-ho-shaw-FAWT had done (2Chron. 18).
God had rebuked Ye-ho-shaw-FAWT for this, saying through the prophet Jehu,
2Chr. 19:2 ..."Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the LORD and so bring wrath on yourself from the LORD?"
Ye-ho-shaw-FAWT had repented. But now his grandson, King Akh-az-YAW, was making the same mistake, but this time, there will be no voice of righteousness to prompt him towards repentance.
Once again, we face confusion because of the multiple names of the kings. To clarify, Yeh-ho-RAWM and Yo-RAWM are the same guy, the king of Israel. When King Akh-az-YAW allied with King Yeh-ho-RAWM of Israel to fight against the Aramean King Khaz-aw-ALE, the king of Israel was wounded.
King Ye-ho-RAWM of Israel then went back across the Jordan to Jezreel to be healed of his wounds. King Akh-az-YAW of Judah went to visit him during his recovery.
Akh-az-YAW's visit to his injured ally couldn't have been more poorly timed. You see, there was a lot of intrigue and planning happening behind closed doors in heaven and earth. We read about these events in 2Kings chapter nine.
Elisha called one of the sons of the prophets and told him to find Jehu the son of Nim-SHEE, who was one of the captains of army of Israel, which was still at Raw-MOTH Ghil-AWD. The prophet was to privately anoint him with oil and say,
2Kings 9:3 "Thus says the LORD, 'I have anointed you king over Israel.'"
He did as he was told, and told Jehu,
2Kings 9:7-8 'You shall strike the house of Ahab your master, that I may avenge the blood of My servants the prophets, and the blood of all the servants of the LORD, at the hand of Jezebel. For the whole house of Ahab shall perish, and I will cut off from Ahab every male person both bond and free in Israel."
God was about to judge the house of Ahab through Jehu. They would all be killed.
God was using Jehu to execute judgment on the wicked kings. Again, 2Kings 9 tells us much more of the story. Jehu rode in his chariot to Jezreel.
2Kings 9:21-24 ...Joram king of Israel and Ahaziah king of Judah went out, each in his chariot, and they went out to meet Jehu and found him in the property of Naboth the Jezreelite. When Joram saw Jehu, he said, "Is it peace, Jehu?" And he answered, "What peace, so long as the harlotries of your mother Jezebel and her witchcrafts are so many?" So Joram reined about and fled and said to Ahaziah, "There is treachery, O Ahaziah!" And Jehu drew his bow with his full strength and shot Joram between his arms; and the arrow went through his heart and he sank in his chariot.
God had judged Ye-ho-RAWM, and would now judge Akh-az-YAW. Not only was he killed, but Jehu had killed all of his nephews. Then, the unimaginable happened: Akh-az-YAW's mother destroyed her own grandchildren!
Akh-az-YAW's sister Yeh-ho-shab-ATH managed to save one of the king's sons, her newborn nephew Yo-AWSH, by stealing him and hiding him and his nurse. They kept him hidden in the house of God for six years while the wicked Ath-al-YAW ruled over the nation of Judah.
Yeh-ho-shab-ATH's husband was Yeh-ho-yaw-DAW the high priest (2Chron. 22:11). After six years of rule under the wicked queen mother's rule, he was able to garner support from the army and the Levites. He was able to make this covenant by unifying under the Scriptures, saying, "The king's son shall reign, as the Lord has spoken" (2Chron. 23:3).
The plan was also in accordance with the Scriptures. Although it might have been tempting to have the army inside the temple to protect them, Yeh-ho-yaw-DAW knew that a plan that violates the Word is doomed to failure.
Yeh-ho-yaw-DAW was able to gather enough people together by bringing in the next division of Levites without excusing the previous division. And they were armed with the spears and shields which were dedicated by King David. Thus, they were able to crown the king unhindered and unopposed.
The queen mother Ath-al-YAW heard the commotion, and came into the temple area. She was taken back outside and put to death. The "Horse Gate of the king's house" was the place where the horses would enter (2Kings 11:16). It was a fitting end for a woman who brought such filth into the nation.
When the wicked Ath-al-YAW was killed, the people of Judah were refreshed and revived. They tore down the temple that had been made for the false god BAH-al, broke his altars and killed his priest. And the Laws of God regarding the temple began to be obeyed again.
The young king was placed upon the throne, and things were good in Judah.
The temple had fallen into disrepair from the years of idolatry in the land. Yo-AWSH ordered that the Levites should begin to follow the Scriptures regarding offerings. He wanted this instituted quickly, but the Levites didn't act on it quickly.
And so they made an offering box - a chest that was set outside by the gate of the temple.
The money collected went to the staff that served in the temple, as well as the contractors who repaired it. The rest was for supplies and equipment.
When the high priest Ye-ho-yaw-DAW died, Yo-AWSH fell away from the Lord. Not having the godly instruction and fellowship, he gave heed to those that bowed down to him. How often we have seen this happen in our day! People with a strong Christian walk who move away and fall out of fellowship. Who lose the friend or relative that kept them accountable for being in fellowship and in the word. The writer of Hebrews reminded us,
Heb. 10:24-25 ...let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.
When they abandoned the house of the Lord, the Lord sent His wrath upon them. In His mercy, He sent prophets to exhort them to turn from wrong and begin to do right, but still they would not listen.
This prophet named Zechariah was not the one who wrote the book of Zechariah. This guy was the son of Ye-ho-yaw-DAW the high priest, who had recently died.
Because Ye-ho-yaw-DAW had raised King Yo-AWSH for the first six years of his life, then Zechariah should have been like a brother to him. But in telling the king the truth, Zechariah was considered by the king not as a brother, but as an enemy. He was put to death at the command of the king.
God's judgment upon Judah was swift. The Arameans attacked with only a small army, but thoroughly defeated the Jews. When Yo-AWSH was wounded, there was no pity for him even among his own people, for they had seen his wickedness in the murder of Zechariah.
Next week, we will see the reign of Yo-AWSH's son Am-ats-YAW.