Azariah’s Good Reign in Judah

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Example

Azariah was a good king like his father but he too failed to remove the high places. He expanded Judah’s territories southward to Elath (2 Kings 14:22), eastward so that the Ammonites paid him tribute (2 Chron. 26:8) and westward by defeating the Philistines (2 Chron. 26:6, 7).  He fortified Jerusalem and other parts of Judah (2 Chron. 26:9-15) and reorganized the army (2 Chron. 26:1-14). After Jeroboam’s death, Azariah became even more powerful and was looked to for leadership by the surrounding nations.

However, because of his pride and taking over of priestly responsibilities he became a leper (2 Chron. 26:16-21). After that he lived a life of limited seclusion as required of lepers in Israel. He was more or less a figurehead, while his son, Jotham, undertook his royal duties. We now find record of the lost years of the Northern Kingdom. Zechariah succeeded Jeroboam II to the throne but he only reigned six months. He was assassinated publicly by Shallu (v. 13).  Shallu’s reign was the second shortest in Israel’s history (after Zimri’s seven-day reign, l Kings 16:15-20) as it only lasted one month. Menahem who was commander of the army regarded Shallu as a usurper to the throne and believed that he should succeed Zechariah to the throne so he killed him and took over. He reigned 10 years and when he died he was succeeded by his son Pekohiak.

Application

To rise above the influence of poor examples in our life we must seek better ones. I can move beyond those limitations by taking Christ as my example and try to live as He did.

II Kings 15:1-22 (English Standard Version)

In the twenty-seventh year of Jeroboam king of Israel, Azariah the son of Amaziah, king of Judah, began to reign. He was sixteen years old when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty-two years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Jecoliah of Jerusalem. And he did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, according to all that his father Amaziah had done. Nevertheless, the high places were not taken away. The people still sacrificed and made offerings on the high places. And the LORD touched the king, so that he was a leper to the day of his death, and he lived in a separate house. And Jotham the king's son was over the household, governing the people of the land. Now the rest of the acts of Azariah, and all that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah? And Azariah slept with his fathers, and they buried him with his fathers in the city of David, and Jotham his son reigned in his place. In the thirty-eighth year of Azariah king of Judah, Zechariah the son of Jeroboam reigned over Israel in Samaria six months. And he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, as his fathers had done. He did not depart from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which he made Israel to sin. Shallum the son of Jabesh conspired against him and struck him down at Ibleam and put him to death and reigned in his place. Now the rest of the deeds of Zechariah, behold, they are written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel. (This was the promise of the LORD that he gave to Jehu, "Your sons shall sit on the throne of Israel to the fourth generation." And so it came to pass.) Shallum the son of Jabesh began to reign in the thirty-ninth year of Uzziah king of Judah, and he reigned one month in Samaria. Then Menahem the son of Gadi came up from Tirzah and came to Samaria, and he struck down Shallum the son of Jabesh in Samaria and put him to death and reigned in his place. Now the rest of the deeds of Shallum, and the conspiracy that he made, behold, they are written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel. At that time Menahem sacked Tiphsah and all who were in it and its territory from Tirzah on, because they did not open it to him. Therefore he sacked it, and he ripped open all the women in it who were pregnant. In the thirty-ninth year of Azariah king of Judah, Menahem the son of Gadi began to reign over Israel, and he reigned ten years in Samaria. And he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD. He did not depart all his days from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which he made Israel to sin. Pul the king of Assyria came against the land, and Menahem gave Pul a thousand talents of silver, that he might help him to confirm his hold on the royal power. Menahem exacted the money from Israel, that is, from all the wealthy men, fifty shekels of silver from every man, to give to the king of Assyria. So the king of Assyria turned back and did not stay there in the land. Now the rest of the deeds of Menahem and all that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel? And Menahem slept with his fathers, and Pekahiah his son reigned in his place.

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