Jehoahaz, King of Israel

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, October 10, 2022 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

Jehoahaz is the next king of Israel that we’ll take a look at. He was the son of King Jehu, and he took over the kingdom after his father died. Jehoahaz became king when King Joash was ruling in Judah, the same year that Joash began fixing up the temple.

Just like every other king of the northern kingdom of Israel, “He did evil in the eyes of the LORD by following the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit, and he did not turn away from them” (2 Kings 13:2). Because of that continued disobedience to God, God allowed the Arameans to oppress Israel, both under King Hazael of Aram and then his son Ben-Hadad (2 Kings 13:3).

The oppression of the Arameans got so bad that King Jehoahaz cried out to God for relief (2 Kings 13:4). A few verses later, we read how bad it got – Israel was down to 50 horsemen, 10 chariots, and 10,000 soldiers (2 Kings 13:7). Back in the days of King Ahab, he could easily round up 2,000 chariots! God allowed to Arameans to basically cripple the military forces of Israel because of their continued disobedience. Jehoahaz was the 11th king of the northern kingdom, and not one of them had actually honored God and encouraged the nation to follow Him.

After King Jehoahaz cried out to God, we see in 2 Kings 13:5 that “The LORD provided a deliverer for Israel, and they escaped from the power of Aram. So the Israelites lived in their own homes as they had before.” Who was this deliverer? We don’t know, and the text gives no indication. Perhaps it was someone from within Israel, perhaps a prophet of some sort, or perhaps it was someone from outside the nation. But at any rate, God heard the cries of Israel and delivered them from the oppression of the Arameans.

How did Israel respond to God’s deliverance? “But they did not turn away from the sins of the house of Jeroboam, which he had caused Israel to commit; they continued in them. Also, the Asherah pole remained standing in Samaria” (2 Kings 13:6). They cried out to God, God delivered them, and they thanked Him by continuing to worship false gods, including Asherah.

We really don’t know anything else about Jehoahaz and his 17-year reign over the kingdom of Israel. His death was likely from old age, as 2 Kings 13:9 reports that “Jehoahaz rested with his ancestors and was buried in Samaria. And Jehoash his son succeeded him as king.”

King Jehoahaz’s reign has similarities with his father Jehu’s reign. King Jehu followed God in some aspects of his reign, but he also did not make a great effort to be obedient to God. He still allowed some idolatry to happen, though he did get rid of a large part of it by destroying the temple of Baal and all his prophets. King Jehoahaz did cry out to God for help, and God delivered the nation, but then Jehoahaz continued to allow the people to worship idols instead of the one true God.

The events of King Jehoahaz’s reign are also reminiscent of the time period of the Judges for the nation of Israel, before the era of the kings and before the kingdom was divided. Israel would go through a 5-step cycle in their relationship with God: sin, slavery, supplication, salvation, and silence. The people would sin by disobeying God (usually by worshiping false gods), then God would allow them to go into slavery and be oppressed by their enemies. When it got bad enough, the people would cry out to God to deliver them (supplication). God would deliver them (salvation), and then they would have a time of silence or peace until the cycle started all over again with sin after they got complacent.

However, in the time of the judges, the nation of Israel would often recognize God as their deliverer and turn back to Him for their time of silence. Under King Jehoahaz, Israel did not do that and instead continued to worship false gods. The difference is leadership. The judges were leaders of God who were obedient to what God commanded them, whereas King Jehoahaz committed idolatry like all the kings of the northern kingdom who went before him. He did not break the pattern established for the nation.

How have you seen God intervene in your life and provide some kind of deliverance for you? When God has done that, what is your reaction? Do you turn your life toward worshiping and praising the God who delivered you, or do you turn back to your sinful ways that likely caused the situation that God needed to deliver you from? God is always worthy of our praise and honor simply because of who He is, but He is especially worthy of it when He delivers us from difficult situations. Focus your life on praising God, no matter what you’re currently experiencing!

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