The Kings of Yehudah

Posted by on May 29, 2016

 

1. Rehavam (3010-3026), the First King. King Shlomo was succeeded by his son, Rehavam (1Ki_11:43) in year 3010. Upon his elevation to the throne a deputation of his countrymen waited upon him, requesting relief from oppressive taxation. He forsook the counsel of the old men and followed the counsel of the young men, and refused to grant their request (1Ki_12:1-15; 2Ch_10:1-15). His ungenerous treatment caused ten of the tribes to rebel against his authority. He undertook to suppress the rebellion, but was warned of Elohim not to make war against his brethren (1Ki_12:16-24; 2Ch_10:16-19). He established himself upon the throne and followed the Torah for three years (2Ch_11:16-17) but because he forsook the Torah and was greatly punished by Shishak, king of Egypt in the fifth year of King Rehavam’s reign (2Ch_12:1-12). There was a war between Yarovam, the king of Israel, and Rehavam continually (1Ki_15:6). He reigned seventeen years (2Ch_12:13) and was contemporary with Yarovam (1Ki_12:1-20; 1Ki_14:20).

Shemayah was the prophet in the reign of Rehavam and spoke to him the command of the YHVH not to go to war against the ten tribes when they rebelled against him (1Ki_12:22-24).

Insert: Shlomo married Na’amah the Ammonitess. She is the only one of his many wives that is named; she was presumably Shlomo’s first wife, and her son Rehavam became king (1Ki_14:21 and 31) and maintained the long dynasty of David. Rehavam was born in the last year of King David (2969), being 41 years old when he became a king of Israel (2Ch_12:13) at the death of Shlomo in 3009 and therefore his father Shlomo was born in the 18th year of king David’s reign, year 2948, or before.

2. Aviyam (3027-3029), the Second King. Rehavam was succeeded by his son Aviyam in 3027. He walked in the ways of his father and sinned against Elohim (1Ki_15:1-5). The war that had begun between the two kingdoms was continued during the reign of Aviyam, and finally resulted in the defeat of Yarovam (2Ch_13:1-20). During the latter part of Aviyam’s reign he married fourteen wives (2Ch_13:21-22). He reigned three years contemporaneously with Yarovam (1Ki_14:20, 1Ki_15:1-2, 2Ch_13:1-2) and no more, as is proven in 1Ki_15:9, And in the twentieth year of Yarovam, king of Israel, Asa reigned over Yehudah. We find that he did not reign even three whole years.

3. Asa (3030-3070), the Third King. Aviyam was succeeded by his son Asa (1Ki_15:8) in 3030 and the land rested ten years (2Ch_14:1). During these ten years, he removed the sodomites out of the Land; he removed all the idols of his father; he removed his mother from being queen, and destroyed her idol. His heart was perfect toward YHVH (1Ki_15:9-15). There was no war until the thirty-fifth year of his reign (2Ch_15:19). But after that, there was a war between Asa and Baasha, king of Israel, and success seemed to attend Baasha for a time, but finally Asa induced Ben-Hadad, king of Aram, to make a league with him which resulted in favor of Asa (1Ki_15:16-22). Asa greatly improved his military equipments, and greatly increased the army (2Ch_14:1-8). He gained a victory over the mighty host of Zerah the Ethiopian (2Ch_14:9-15). He was also greatly encouraged by Oded, the prophet, and, as a result of his words, pushed his reforms (2Ch_15:8-19). Asa was severely rebuked by Hanani because he had relied on the Syrians to assist him in war. The king was angry at the seer and imprisoned him (2Ch_16:7-10). Asa’s closing years were clouded by disease and sorrow; he sought the physicians and not the Lord, and he slept with his fathers, and his countrymen buried him with distinguished honors in the city of David (2Ch_16:11-14). Asa reigned forty-one years (2Ki_15:8-10), and was contemporary with seven of the kings of Israel:

1. Yarovam two years (1Ki_14:20, 1Ki_14:31; 1Ki_15:1-2; 2Ch_12:13);

2. Nadab, two years (1Ki_14:20; 1Ki_15:25);

3. Baasha, twenty-four years (1Ki_15:33);

4. Elah, two years (1Ki_16:8);

5. Zimri, seven days (1Ki_16:8-10, 1Ki_16:15);

6. Omri, six years (1Ki_16:23, 1Ki_16:28-29);

7. Ahab, three years (1Ki_16:29).

Azariah, Oded, and Hanani were the prophets during his reign (2Ch_15:1-2, 2Ch_15:8, 2Ch_15:1-8; 2Ch_16:7-10).

4. Yehoshaphat (3071-3095), the Fourth King. Asa was succeeded by his son Yehoshaphat (1Ki_15:24). He continued the work inaugurated by his father by fortifying the land and destroying the remains of idolatrous worship. He also appointed Levites to go throughout the cities of the country and teach the people the Torah (2Ch_17:1-9). Fear fell upon the surrounding nations and Yehoshaphat’s reign was one of peace (2Ch_17:10). He assisted Ahav in a campaign against Ramothgilead, which resulted in the death of the king of Israel (2Ch_18:1-34). Yehoshaphat reigned twenty-five years (2Ch_20:31), and was contemporary with Ahav seventeen years (1Ki_16:29; 1Ki_22:41, 1Ki_22:50-51), Ahazyahu two years (1Ki_22:51), Yehoram six years (2Ki_3:1).

The prophets Yehu, the son of Hanani (2Ch_19:1-3), and Yahaziel flourished during the reign of Yehoshaphat (2Ch_20:14-17).

5. Yehoram (3096-3103), the Fifth King. Yehoshaphat was succeeded by his son Yehoram at the age of thirty-two (2Ch_21:1-5). His reign was characterized by murder, war, devastation and great trouble, and his departure caused not regret (2Ch_21:1-20). He reigned eight years (2Ch_21:1, 2Ch_21:5; contemporary with Yehoram, king of Israel (1Ki_22:42; 2Ki_3:1; 2Ki_9:29). Elohim plagued him in his bowels with an incurable illness and he died at the end of two years (2Ch_21:18-19).

The prophet Eliyahu flourished during the reign of Yehoram (2Ch_21:12).

6. Ahazyahu (3104), the Sixth King. Yehoram was succeeded by Ahazyahu at the age of forty-two (2Ch_22:2); twenty-two in 2Ki_8:26. His Reign was in wickedness (2Ch_22:1-4). Ahazyahu reigned contemporaneously with Jehoram one year (2Ki_3:1; 2Ki_8:24-26).

* Athalyah (3105-3110), the Usurper. As soon as the mother of Ahazyahu discovered that he was dead, she attempted to destroy all the royal seed of the House of Yehudah, and succeeded him as king (2Ki_11:1-3; 2Ch_22:10-12). She reigned contemporaneously with Yehu about six years (2Ki_9:1-12; 2Ki_10:36; 2Ki_11:1-4).

7. Yo’ash (3111-3150), the Seventh King. Athalyah was succeeded Yo’ash, the son of Ahazyahu, at the age of seven and reigned forty years (2Ch_24:1). He was saved by Yehosheva at the time of the destruction of the royal seed and kept in concealment in the attic of the Most Set-apart place, that is above the Ark of the Covenant where the Tabernacle was stored, for six years (2Ki_11:1-3). In the seventh year, led by Yehoyada the priest the people made him king and slew Athalyah (2Ki_11:4-16). At his coronation the people destroyed and broke down the house of Baal, destroyed idols and slew the idolatrous priest (2Ki_11:17-21). The young king, under the instruction of Yehoyada, the priest, honored YHVH (2Ki_12:1-2). After the death of Yehoyada, the people and king departed from the Lord. The closing years of his reign were characterized by suffering and sorrow, and he was finally assassinated by his own servants (2Ki_12:20-21; 2Ch_24:23-26). Yo’ash reigned forty years (2Ki_12:1). He was contemporary with Yehu about twenty-one years (2Ki_10:36; 2Ki_12:1), Yehoahaz seventeen years (2Ki_13:1; about two years (2Ki_13:10).

Zechariah, the son of Yehoyada, the Prophet, was stoned to death during the reign of Yo’ash (2Ch_24:15-22).

8. Amatsyahu (3151-3179), the Eighth King. Yo’ash was succeeded by his son Amatsyahu (2Ch_24:27) at the age of twenty-five (2Ch_25:1). Amatsyahu’s reign was a mixture of good and evil, but the evil finally triumphed. He made great military preparations and defeated the Edomites in battle. Subsequently he challenged the king of Israel to war and was ingloriously defeated (2Ch_25:1-28). Amatsyahu reigned twenty-nine years (2Ki_12:19-21; 2Ki_14:1-2). He was contemporary with Yo’ash fourteen years (2Ki_13:10; 2Ki_14:1-2) and Yarovam the Second fifteen years (2Ki_14:23).

* Interregnum. There might have been an interregnum of twelve years between the death of Amatsyahu and the succession of Uzziyahu (2Ki_14:1-2, 2Ki_14:23; 2Ki_15:1-2).

Insert: Rashi on 2Ch_25:27. He [Amatsyahu] fled to Lachish, where he remained fifteen years until they followed him to Lachish and assassinated him there. And during those fifteen years that he was in Lachish, Jecoliah, Uzziah’s mother, reigned in his stead. This is how it appears to me. In the commentary of Rabbi Joseph (Kara), I saw that during those fifteen years that he was in Lachish, Uzziah his son reigned in his stead, but it is incorrect to interpret it in this manner, for it is written immediately following (26:1): “who was sixteen years old.” We find that when his father fled, he was only one year old. Moreover, if this is the case, it should say, “took Uzziah and made him king instead of his father during his lifetime.” Rather, Scripture intimated that he did not reign during his father’s lifetime.

9. Azaryah or Uzziyahu (3180-3203), the Ninth King. Amatsyahu was succeeded by his son Uzziyahu at the age of sixteen (2Ki_14:21). His reign was similar to his predecessors. He had a large army, and was successful in war because the Lord helped him (2Ch_26:1-15). But then, His pride led to his downfall. He was unfaithful and entered the Temple to burn incense on the altar of incense (2Ch_26:15-16). Azariah the High Priest saw the tendency of such a daring act on the part of the king, and with a band of eighty priests he withstood him (2Ch_26:17-18). In the mean time a great earthquake shook the ground and a rent was made in the Temple. Uzziah was suddenly struck with tzara’at while in the act of offering incense (2Ch_26:19-21). He was driven from the Temple and compelled to reside in “a separate house” until his death (2Ki_15:5). The government was turned over to his son Yotham (2Ki_15:5), a coregency that lasted for the last 11 years of Uzziah’s life. Uzziyahu reigned fifty-two years (2Ki_15:1-2; 2Ch_26:1, 2Ch_26:3). Isaiah sees YHVH “in the year that king Uzziah died” (Isa_6:1). He was contemporary of Yarovam the second fourteen years (2Ki_14:3; 2Ki_15:1-2), Zacharyahu six months (2Ki_15:8; month (2Ki_15:13), Menahem ten years (2Ki_15:23); Peqah one year (2Ki_15:27).

The prophet Amos flourished during the reigns of Uzziyahu king of Judah and Yarovam the Second, king of Israel (Amo_1:1). It is thought that the prophet Yoel also flourished about this time (Joe_1:1).

10. Yotham (3204-3212), the Tenth King. Uzziyahu was succeeded by his son Yotham at the age of twenty-five (2Ch_27:1), whose reign was distinguished by internal improvements and a successful contest with the Ammonites. His success is attributed to his fidelity to YHVH (2Ch_27:1-7). Yotham reigned sixteen years contemporaneously with Pekah (2Ki_15:27, 2Ki_15:32-33).

11. Ahaz (3213-3228), the Eleventh King. Yotham was succeeded by his son Ahaz at the age of twenty (2Ki_16:2), whose reign was distinguished by the most appalling acts of wickedness known to the history of Yehudah (2Ch_28:1-27). Ahaz reigned sixteen years (2Ki_16:1-2). He was contemporary with Pekah four years (2Ki_15:27) and Hoshea four years (2Ki_17:1). In the twelfth year of Ahaz, Hoshea the last king of Israel began to reign for nine years. And the sovereign of Ashshur invaded and besieged it for three years.

12. Hizqiyahu (3229-3257), the Twelfth King. Ahaz was succeeded by his son Hizqiyahu at the age of twenty-five (2Ki_18:1-2). He followed in the footprints of his father David (2Ki_18:1-3). In the first year of his reign, he cleansed the Temple from the abominations and performed the Passover in the second month of the year for the festival had not been performed since the reign of King Shlomo. His reign was distinguished for the destruction of high places, images, groves and the brazen serpent Mosheh had made because the people made idol (2Ki_18:4); the consecration of the Temple (2Ch_29:1-18); the subjugation of the Philistines (2Ki_18:8); the captivity of Israel took place during his reign (2Ki_18:9-12); the comfort brought him by Isaiah when he was greatly troubled on account of the threats of Rabshakeh the servant of the king of Assyria, and the final throwing off of the Assyrian yoke by the destruction of the army (2Ki_18:13-37; 2Ki_19:1-37); his miraculous restoration to health, the backward movement of the shadow on the dial (2Ki_20:1-11); his mistake in showing his treasures to the ambassadors of the king of Babylon (2Ki_20:12-19); the keeping of the Passover (2Ch_30:1-27); he fortified and improved Yerushalayim (2Ch_32:1-31). In the ninth year of Hoshea, the sixth of Hizqiyahu king of Yehudah, the sovereign of Ashur captured Shomeron and exiled Israel to Ashur, and settled them in Chalach, Chavor, the River of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes, thus the house of Israel ceased to exist as a kingdom (2Ki_17:1-6, 2Ki_18:10). And the king of Ashur brought other people and placed them in the cities of Shomeron instead of the children of Israel. (2Ki_17:24

Insert: Isa_7:8 prophesied that within sixty-five years Ephrayim is to be broken as a people. This prophecy was given in the second year of King Ahaz of Yehudah. In the sixth year of his son, King Hizqiyahu, i.e. 3234, Ephrayim ceased to exist as a kingdom and sixty-five years later when the last remnant was exiled and the land was inhabited by foreigners Ephrayim was terminated as nation.

Now, undoubtedly the sixty-five years do not come out if we suppose the prophecy to refer to what was done by Tiglath-pileser after the Syro-Ephraimitish war, and to what was also done to Ephraim by Shalmanassar in the sixth year of Hezekiah’s reign, to which Isa_7:16 unquestionably refers, and more especially to the former. But there is another event still, through which the existence of Ephraim, not only as a kingdom, but also as a people, was broken up – namely, the carrying away of the last remnant of the Ephraimitish population, and the planting of colonies from Eastern Asia by Esarhaddon. We have only to assume that what was done to Ephraim by Esarhaddon, as related in the historical books, took place in the twenty-second and twenty-third years of Manasseh (the sixth year of Esarhaddon), which is very probable, since it must have been under Esarhaddon that Manasseh was carried away to Babylon about the middle of his reign (2Ch_33:11); and we get exactly sixty-five years from the second year of the reign of Ahaz to the termination of Ephraim’s existence as a nation (viz., Ahaz, 14; Hezekiah, 29; Manasseh, 22; in all, 65). [K&D]

Hizqiyahu reigned twenty-nine years (2Ki_18:1-2), and was contemporary with King Hoshea of Israel about six years (2Ki_17:1; 2Ki_18:1-2).

The prophets Isaiah, Hoshea, Micah, and Nahum flourished during the reigns of the last three or four kings (Isa_1:1; Hos_1:1; Mic_1:1; Nah_1:1).

13. Manassheh (3258-3302), the Thirteenth King. Hizqiyahu was succeeded by his son Manasseh at the age of twelve (2Ki_21:1). The early part of this reign was distinguished by the restoration of the idolatrous practice that had been destroyed by Hizqiyahu (2Ch_33:1-10). As a punishment YHVH allowed the king of Assyria to carry Manasseh a prisoner in Babylon. During his sojourn there he humbled himself greatly and was restored to his throne, and the latter part of his reign was a restoration of a true worship (2Ch_33:11-20). Manasseh reigned fifty-five years (2Ki_21:1).

14. Amon (3303-3304), the Fourteenth King. Manasseh was succeeded by his son Amon at the age of twenty-two (2Ki_21:19), who reigned in wickedness two years until he was assassinated (2Ki_21:18-22; 2Ch_33:20-24).

15. Yoshiyahu (3305-3335), the Fifteenth King. Amon was succeeded by his son Yoshiyahu at the age of eight (2Ki_21:26, 2Ki_22:1). Many years before his birth, the prophet of the Lord had predicted that he would be a reformer (2Ki_13:1-2). Yoshiyahu lived and worked in strict obedience to the Torah. In his eighth year while still youth he started to seek after Elohim and in the twelfth year he started to purge Yehudah from the idolatry (2Ch_34:1-3). In the 18th year of his reign, he began to repair the Temple. During the work Hilkiah, the priest, discovered the Torah and Shaphan, the scribe, read it before the king, who, greatly sorrowed over the condition of Israel and his fear of the judgments of Elohim. YHVH however gave him assurance that he should live and die in peace (2Ki_22:3-20). After the land had been purged of idolatry, Yoshiyahu kept the feast of the Passover (2Ch_35:1-19, 1Es_1:1-22). Yoshiyahu, 39, was killed in a battle with Pharaoh Necho, the king of Egypt not regarding the words of the prophet Yirmeyahu spoken by the mouth of YHVH (1Es_1:28), and he was buried in Yerushalayim (2Ki_23:29-30; 2Ch_35:20-27). Yoshiyahu reigned thirty-one years (2Ki_21:26; 2Ki_22:1).

The prophet Zephaniah was the prophet during Yoshiyahu’s reign (Zep_1:1); and it is thought that Habakkuk flourished also at this time (Hab_1:1). Yirmeyahu started prophesying from the thirteenth year of Yoshiyahu until the exile (Jer_1:1-3).

16. Yehoahaz (3335), the Sixteenth King. The people of the land made Yehoahaz king in his father’s place. He reigned only three months after which he was dethroned by the king of Egypt (2Ch_36:1-3).

17. Yehoyaqim (3336-3346), the Seventeenth King. The king of Egypt crowned Yehoahaz’s brother and changed his name to Yehoyaqim who started reigning at the age of twenty-five (2Ki_23:36) for eleven wicked years. He was finally taken into captivity by the king of Babylon (2Ch_36:5-8).

18. Yehoyaqin (3346), the Eighteenth King. Yehoyaqim was succeeded by Yehoyaqin at the age of eighteen (2Ki_24:8), whose wicked reign lasted three months and ten days, after which he was carried into captivity by the king of Babylon (2Ch_36:9-10).

19. Tzidqiyahu (3346-3357), the Nineteenth King. Yehoyaqin was succeeded by his uncle Tzidqiyahu. He was twenty-one years old when he became king and reigned in wickedness eleven years (2Ki_24:18). He made a unsuccessful attempt to throw off the Babylonian yoke. During his reign the Temple and Yerushalayim were destroyed and Yehudah went into the Babylonian exile(2Ch_36:11-21). The prophets Yirmeyahu and probably Obadiah flourished during the closing years of the kingdom of Yehudah (Jer_1:1-3; Oba_1:1).

What is interesting to notice is that three consecutive kings of Yehudah, as listed in the table above, are omitted from the genealogy of Yeshua in Matthew 1 and they are: Ahazyahu, Yo’ash, and Amatsyahu. Not only were these three kings wicked (2Ch_22:7-9, 2Ch_24:23-25, 2Ch_25:27-28) but they were of the cursed line of King Ahav of the Northern Kingdom (Ahav married Izevel, the daughter of the King of Tyre) through his daughter Athalyahu to the third and fourth generation (1Ki_21:21-29). Other omitted kings in Matthew 1 are Yehoyaqim and Tsidqiyahu. Queen Athalyahu, who is not mentioned either in the genealogy of Yeshua, and the reason being most likely was that she had no blood connection with King David and the Messiah in addition to her wickedness. The omission of these kings was deliberate to ensure that the number of the kings after David was exactly fourteen generations as stated in Mat_1:17. So, in Mat_1:17, the Apostle allots three sets of fourteen generations in the Messiah’s genealogy, but if one compares Yeshua’s progenitors in 1 & 2 Kings and 1 & 2 Chronicles, he will find the kings in question omitted. Why? Was the disciple not familiar with the Tanak? There must be a reason as to why Matthew gives us these three sets of exact fourteen generations in his Gospel. The present author does not know the answer to this intriguing question, but here is a possible clue: the Hebrew name DaViD (Yeshua is very often called “The son of David”), Dalet Vav Dalet, has a gematria of 14 [d = 4, v = 6, d = 4] = 4 + 6 + 4 = 14.

As for King Yehoyaqim, Yirmeyahu prophesied, “He shall have no one to sit on the throne of David,” (Jer_36:30-31) and against his son King Yehoyakin, “Write this man childless, a man who will not prosper in his days; for no man of his seed will prosper, sitting on the throne of David or ruling again in Yehudah.” (Jer_22:24-30) Some see this prophecy as permanently disqualifying Yehoyakin from the ancestry of the Messiah. More likely, the curse was limited to Yehoyakin’s lifetime, and even then, rabbinical tradition has it that Yehoyakin repented in exile and the curse was lifted (Marshall D. Johnson (1988), The purpose of the Biblical genealogies, 2nd edition, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p. 184).