Gaebelein's Annotated Bible
In the twenty and seventh year of Jeroboam king of Israel began Azariah son of Amaziah king of Judah to reign.CHAPTER 15
1. Reign and death of Azariah (Uzziah) (2Kings 15:1-2; 2 Chron. 26).
2. Reign and death of Zachariah (2Kings 15:8-12)
3. Reign and death of Shallum (2Kings 15:13-15)
4. Menahem, King of Israel (2Kings 15:16-18)
6. Death of Menahem (2Kings 15:21-22)
7. Pekahiah and his death (2Kings 15:23-26)
8. Pekah and his death. Hoshea (2Kings 15:27-31)
9. Jotham, King of Judah (2Kings 15:32-38; 2 Chron. 27)
Eight kings are mentioned in this chapter. Of five it is said they did evil in the sight of the Lord. One was a leper; four were murdered; one committed unspeakable cruelties.
Azariah is first mentioned. In 2 Chronicles his name is Uzziah; but he is also called by this name in the present chapter (verses 13, 30, 32 and 34). Different explanations of the use of this double name have been given. We insert here the one advanced by Edersheim as the most satisfactory.
“The usual explanation either of a clerical error through the confusion of similar letters, or that he bore two names seem equally unsatisfactory. Nor is the meaning of the two names precisely the same--Azariah being ‘Jehovah helps,’ Uzziah, ‘My strength is Jehovah.’ May it not be that Azariah was his real name, and that when after his daring intrusion into the sanctuary (2Chronicles 26:16-20), he was smitten with lifelong leprosy, his name was significantly altered into the cognate Uzziah--’My strength is Jehovah’--in order to mark that the ‘help’ which he had received had been dependent on his relation to the LORD. This would accord with the persistent use of the latter name in 2 Chronicles--considering the view-point of the writer--and with its occurrence in the prophetic writings (Hosea 1:1; Amos 1:1; Isaiah 1:1; Isaiah 6:1; Isaiah 7:11). And the explanation just suggested seems confirmed by the circumstance that although this king is always called Uzziah in 2 Chronicles, yet the Hebrew word for ‘help,’ which forms the first part of the name Azariah, recurs with marked emphasis in the account of the divine help accorded in his expeditions (2Chronicles 26:7; 2Chronicles 26:13; 2Chronicles 26:15).”
As his intrusion into the priestly office and his punishment for it is found in full in the second book of Chronicles, we shall follow it there.
Then follows the brief record of Zachariah (The LORD remembers), King of Israel. He became king of Israel in the thirty-eighth year of Uzziah, King of Judah. He was the son of Jeroboam II and the fourth and last ruler of the dynasty of Jehu. Thus was literally fulfilled the Word of The LORD (2Kings 10:30). His reign lasted only six months. Shallum. assassinated him in public. The murderer occupied the throne only one month. Shallum means “requital.” As he did to Zachariah so Menahem did to him. All was now lawlessness in apostate Israel. Departure from God and the true worship came first and that opened the way for moral corruption and lawlessness. The same is true of this present Christian age. It also ends in apostasy, moral corruption and lawlessness. Hosea testified faithfully to these conditions. “And the revolters are profound to make slaughter, though I have been a rebuker of them all”--”They will not frame their doings to turn unto their God, for the spirit of whoredoms is in the midst of them and they have not known the LORD. And the pride of Israel doth testify to his face; therefore shall Israel and Ephraim fall in their iniquity, Judah also shall fall with them” (Hosea 5:2-5).
Josephus here informs us that Menahem was the military leader of Zachariah, the murdered King. When Tiphsah refused his authority he executed a terrible, barbaric punishment. “All the women therein that were with child be ripped up.” And God in His eternal justice permitted the same punishment to fall upon Samaria (Hosea 13:16; Amos 1:13).
And now for the first time the Assyrian is mentioned, the power used by God to execute judgment upon the Kingdom of Israel. The meaning of the Assyrian in prophecy we shall point out later. Pul, King of Assyria, came against the land. In verse 29 Tiglath-pileser is mentioned as king of Assyria. Are these two different kings or are they the same person under different names? The identity of Pul with Tiglath-pileser II has been proved, after the most painstaking research, beyond the possibility of a doubt. The Assyrian monuments bear witness to this fact. (Assyrian Echoes of the Word by Laurie and Fresh Light from the Ancient Monuments by Prof Sayce, are helpful books on these and other questions.) In the annals of Tiglath-pileser the record is found that he received tribute from “Minikhimmi Samirina”--this is Menahem the Samaritan. Pul was evidently one name of the Assyrian ruler and later he assumed the title of Tiglath-pileser II. This does not clash at all with the statement in 1Chronicles 5:26. Through paying an immense amount of tribute (almost two million dollars) the Assyrian was kept back. Menahem’s son, Pekahiah, after his father’s death, ruled two years in Israel. He also was assassinated. Pekah headed the conspiracy and killed him. Under his reign, doing evil in the sight of the Lord, Tiglath-pileser came again and devastated a part of the land “and carried them captive to Assyria.” This marks the beginning of the end. This invasion took place after his wicked attack upon Jerusalem with Rezin of Damascus during the reign of Ahaz, King of Judah. He tried to overthrow the house of David (2Kings 16:1-8; 2 Chron. 28; Isaiah 7:4-8). Wicked Pekah, who had killed so many Jews (2Chronicles 28:6) was murdered by Hoshea, who reigned in his stead. His death had been predicted by Isaiah (Isaiah 7:16).
The full record of Jotham, King of Israel, is given in the book of Chronicles. It was “in those days that the LORD began to send against Judah Rezin, the King of Syria, and Pekah, the son of Remaliah.” Judah, like Israel, was degenerating fast and the LORD chastised them by judgments.