Shallum

(Requital)

2 Kings 15:13-15

Contemporary Prophet: Amos (?).

“An evil man seeketh only rebellion: therefore a cruel messenger shall be sent against him.”—Proverbs 17:11

“Shallum the son of Jabesh began to reign in the nine and thirtieth year of Uzziah king of Judah; and he reigned a full month in Samaria. For Menahem the son of Gadi went up from Tirzah, and came to Samaria, and smote Shallum the son of Jabesh in Samaria, and slew him, and reigned in his stead.” This assassin was not allowed to live long in his ill-gotten power—only for a brief four weeks—and then met the just reward of his crime. His name (a very common one in Israel) means recompense, or retribution; and as he requited his predecessor, so did Menahem his successor recompense him. It is the old principle of governmental just retribution in kind exemplified. This assassination of two rulers, Zachariah and Shallum, within the space of half a year, speaks loudly of the state of anarchy prevailing in the kingdom at the time. It was, as the prophet testified, “blood touch-eth blood” (Hos. 4:2). The great prosperity and ex- pansion under Jeroboam II appears to have corrupted the people and caused them to give free rein to their evil desires and violence. See Hos. 4:7. Those in authority, instead of checking this spirit of lawlessness, found pleasure in it. “They make the king glad with their wickedness, and the princes with their lies” (Hos. 7:3). Dissipation to surfeit marked the conduct of these princes, under this monarchy: “In the day of our king, the princes made themselves sick with the heat of wine” (Hos. 7:5, N. Tr.). The demoralized condition of public affairs can scarcely be wondered at, when the king himself encouraged the disdain of the lawless: “He stretched out his hand to scorners” (Ibid.). Disintegration and bloodshed followed, as a natural consequence. Out of the political chaos and disorder following the death of this, Israel’s most powerful king, came forth the undesired Zachariah, and his murderer, Shallum. So wickedness brings its own reward, whether it be in a nation, a family, or an individual.

“And the rest of the acts of Shallum, and his conspiracy which he made, behold, they are written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel.”