Jeroboam II

(Whose people is many)

(2 Kings 14:23-29)

Contemporary Prophets: Hosea; Amos.

“The froward is abomination to the Lord: but His secret is with the righteous.”—Proverbs 8:82

“In the fifteenth year of Amaziah the son of Joash king of Judah, Jeroboam the son of Joash king of Israel began to reign in Samaria, and reigned forty and one years. And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord: he departed not from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin.” His was the longest and most prosperous of any of the reigns of the kings of Israel. “He restored the coast of Israel from the entering of Hamath unto the sea of the plain, according to the word of the Lord God of Israel, which He spake by the hand of His servant Jonah, the son of Amittai, the prophet, which was of Gath-hepher.” This was the beginning of the ministry of the sixteen prophets whose writings have been preserved to us. Jonah was the earliest of these probably, and appears to have been Elisha’s immediate successor. His prophecy referred to here, of the enlargement of Israel’s coast (border), must have been a very pleasant one to him—a much more welcome work than his commission toward the Ninevites. But God’s servants have no choice. They know “the love of Christ,” and, constrained by that same love, it is their joy to tell it; but they also know “the terror of the Lord”; and knowing this, they do their utmost to “persuade” and warn men of “the wrath to come.” It is not grace only that came by Jesus Christ, but “grace and truth.” And the truth must be made known to men, however unpleasant or unthankful the task. But if done as unto God, it can never be a disagreeable or unwelcome undertaking to the spirit, however painful or unpleasant to the flesh. See 1 Cor. 9:16, 17.

The increase of Israel’s territory under Jeroboam II was considerable; his prosperity in this way corresponding with his name— whose people is many. “‘The entering in of Hamath’ indicates that the long valley between Lebanon and Anti-lebanon was the point of entrance into the land of Israel for an invading army” (Fausset). “The sea of the plain” was the Dead Sea (Josh. 3:16), making the total distance of his kingdom, north and south, almost two hundred miles. He was, no doubt, the “savior” promised under the unfortunate reign of Jehoahaz (2 Kings 13:5). “For the Lord saw the affliction of Israel, that it was very bitter: for there was not any shut up, nor any left, nor any helper for Israel. And the Lord said not that He would blot out the name of Israel from under heaven: but He saved them by the hand of Jeroboam the son of Joash.” This was not for any goodness that He saw in them or Jeroboam their king, but “because of His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob” (2 Kings 13:23).

“Now the rest of the acts of Jeroboam, and all that he did, and his might, how he warred, and how he recovered Damascus, and Hamath, which belonged to Judah, for Israel, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?” Damascus and Hamath were both capitals of two once powerful kingdoms, and though once subjugated by David (1 Chron. 18:3-6), their recovery to Israel under Jeroboam, more than one hundred and fifty years after their revolt from Judah, speaks eloquently for the success and power of his arms against those hostile nations on his northern border. Hamath, called “the great” in Amos 6:2, was the principal city of upper Syria, and an important strategic point, commanding the whole valley of the Orontes leading to the countries on the south.

Israel was blessed, with the ministries of both Hosea and Amos during Jeroboam’s reign. From their writings it will readily be seen that though there was political revival under his rule, there was no real moral or spiritual awakening among the people. Amos was looked upon as a troubler to the peace of the kingdom, and admonished by Amaziah the priest of Bethel to flee away to the land of Judah, “and there eat bread, and prophesy there,” as if God’s prophet were nothing more than a mere mercenary like himself. He also accused the prophet before the king of having conspired against his life. Jeroboam appears to have paid little or no attention to this charge, being, perhaps, too sensible a man to believe the accusation, knowing the jealous, self-seeking spirit of the arch-priest of the nation. See Amos 7:7-17.

“And Jeroboam slept with his fathers, even with the kings of Israel; and Zachariah his son reigned in his stead.”