Israel's Humiliation Under Jehoahaz
2 Kings 13:1-7
In the three and twentieth year of Joash the son of Ahaziah king of Judah Jehoahaz the son of Jehu began to reign over Israel in Samaria…

The story of the reign of Jehoahaz, Jehu's son, is a story of unmitigated misfortune. We note -


1. The downward movement in Israel. With the extinction of Ahab's house, the rooting out of Baal, and the establishment of Jehu's dynasty, Israel obtained a new chance of doing well. But Jehu's reforming zeal soon died out, and he fell back into godless ways. His son followed the worse, and not the better, traditions of his father's reign. Thus the downward movement again began, Of Jehoahaz also the old monotonous refrain has to be spoken, "He did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord." This is the burden of the song regarding every king of Israel. In the whole line, from first to last, there is not one of whom a different report can be given.

2. The cardinal sin. The foremost sin of all these monarchs-that which fatally entangled them in other sins - was the perpetuation of the worship of the calves. Religion affects the springs of morality, and this idolatrous cultus sent poisonous streams through the whole life of the nation. It was the grand transgression which, amidst all temporary reforms, was never abandoned.


1. Divine anger. "The anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel" God had done so much for the people, had granted them so favor-able an opportunity for repentance, had counseled and warned them so long by great prophets like Elijah and Elisha, that he was justly wroth with them for their continued transgressions. God is jealous of his honor, and presumptuous transgressors must expect to find his hand laid heavily upon them. When God's anger is kindled against a people, things cannot go well. Troubles break out on every side, and calamities fall thick and fast.

2. Weighty chastisements. God delivered the people of Israel into the hands of the kings of Syria - Hazael and Benhadad. This time it was no passing invasion. The completeness of the conquest, and the severity of the oppression, recall the days of the judges, or the Philistine oppression of the reign of Saul (Judges 5:6, 7; 1 Samuel 13:19-22). Out of the hosts of Israel there was left to Jehoahaz but fifty horsemen, and ten chariots, and ten thousand footmen. Elisha's foresight of the evils which Hazael would inflict on the nation was thus terribly verified. Again is the reflection forced on us - How bitter is the fruit of sin! The Bible is little else than a repeated enforcement of the truth, "Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him.... Woe unto the wicked! it shall be ill with him: for the reward of his hands shall be given him" (Isaiah 3:10, 11).


1. The king's prayer. The very existence of the kingdom seemed threatened. Happily, the desperate straits to which he was reduced led Jehoahaz to humble himself before God. He felt himself in the hands of a living God, and, rightly tracing the calamities which had befallen him to Jehovah's anger, he turned to Jehovah for his help. The chastisements with which God visits men for their sins are designed to break their pride and stubbornness, and lead them to repentance. They often have the effect of producing a temporary submission, though they cannot of themselves change the heart. We have examples in Pharaoh (Exodus 8:28) and in Ahab (1 Kings 21:27).

2. God's answer to the prayer. A prayer wrung from the king, not by the sense of his sin, but by the intolerable pressure of affliction, might have been thought undeserving of an answer. But the Lord is very pitiful, and welcomes the faintest approach of the sinner unto him. He does not thrust the suppliant away, but seeks, by giving him tokens of his grace, to ripen his imperfect desires into real repentance. Accordingly, the approaches of Jehoahaz to the throne of grace met with a gracious response. God promised a savior to the land, and ultimately raised one up in the person of Joash, who, but for his want of perseverance, would have completely delivered the nation from the Syrians. The work which he left undone was finished by his son, Jeroboam II. Thus God shows himself ready to hear the cries even of the worst of men. None need despair in calling on Heaven when Jehoahaz was listened to in such dire straits. Happy they who are led to call, though it be from the depths, to God (Psalm 130. l). He will not turn any away. His promise is, "Call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee" (Psalm 50:15).

3. Imperfect repentance. The imperfection of Jehoahaz's repentance is seen in the fact that the worship of the calves was still maintained; also there remained the symbol of Astarte in Samaria. God's promise having been given, was not revoked, and there were other reasons why he was willing to help the people (ver. 23). But these sins in high places wrought ruin afterwards. - J.O.

Parallel Verses
KJV: In the three and twentieth year of Joash the son of Ahaziah king of Judah Jehoahaz the son of Jehu began to reign over Israel in Samaria, and reigned seventeen years.

WEB: In the three and twentieth year of Joash the son of Ahaziah, king of Judah, Jehoahaz the son of Jehu began to reign over Israel in Samaria, [and reigned] seventeen years.

The Last Days of Joash. He Began Well, But Ended Badly
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