Pekahiah

(Jah has observed)

2 Kings 15:23-26

“The righteousness of the upright shall deliver them: but transgressors shall be taken in their own naughtiness.”—Proverbs 11:5

“In the fiftieth year of Azariah king of Judah, Pekahiah the son of Menahem began to reign over Israel in Samaria, and reigned two years. And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord: he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin. But Pekah the son of Remaliah, a captain of his, conspired against him, and smote him in Samaria, in the palace of the king’s house, with Argob and Arieh, and with him fifty men of the Gileadites: and he killed him, and reigned in his room.” Azariah (Uzziah), during his long reign of more than half a century, saw the death of five of Israel’s kings, three of whom were assassinated, besides an interregnum of anarchy lasting at least eleven years. This marked contrast is what the prophet referred to, probably, when he wrote, “Ephraim encompasseth Me about with lies, and the house of Israel with deceit, but Judah yet walketh with God [El], and with the holy things of truth” (Hos. 11:13, N. Tr.). This does not mean that all Judah’s ways pleased the Lord, but that, unlike apostate Israel, they still, as a State, maintained the truth of Jehovah, as revealed in the law and symbolized in the temple’s worship and service.

Pekahiah’s slayer was his captain ( shalish, aide-de-camp, probably; “the general of his house,” Josephus says), Pekah, with two of his followers, and a company of fifty Gileadites. These Gileadites (“fugitives of Ephraim,” Judges 12:425) appear to have been a rough, wild class, a kind of Hebrew highlanders, and ready in Pekahiah’s day for any and all manner of villainy. See Hos. 6:8. They slew the king in his very palace (“with his friends at a feast;” Josephus’ Ant. ix. n, § 1), so bold were they. His name, Jah has observed, implies that God had looked upon the murder of Shallum by his father Menahem, and in the death of Pekahiah his son requited it (2 Chron. 24:22). His name, like his father’s and grandfather’s, does not occur anywhere else in Scripture.

“And the rest of the acts of Pekahiah, and all that he did, behold, they are written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel.” His death ended the seventh dynasty of the Israelitish kings.

25 ”Fugitives of Ephraim,” however, was an unrighteous taunt of the proud Ephraimites to their Manassite brethren. Gilead was a direct descendant of Manasseh, eldest son of Joseph, and head of a large, powerful family, to whom Moses gave the conquered territory east of Jordan called Gilead. See Num. 32:39-41; Deut. 3:13.