Jeroboam II, King of Israel

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, October 31, 2022 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

The first king of the northern kingdom of Israel once the nation divided was named Jeroboam, and he was instrumental in causing the nation to split. That Jeroboam, sometimes referred to as Jeroboam I, had a legacy of being very evil through idolatry and disobedience to God. He was referenced in the descriptions of many of the kings of Israel who followed him – they continued in the ways of Jeroboam, or they did evil in the eyes of the Lord as Jeroboam did.

So when another Jeroboam comes along, we would expect him to continue in the evil ways of his namesake, and that is exactly what he did. Jeroboam II was the son of Jehoash, the previous king of Israel, and he took the throne when his father passed away. Jeroboam II’s reign is recorded in just 7 verses of Scripture, 2 Kings 13:23-29.

Jeroboam II began his reign during the reign of King Amaziah of Judah, and he reigned for 41 years. His namesake Jeroboam I is referred to in the general description of his reign: “He did evil in the eyes of the LORD and did not turn away from any of the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit” (verse 24).

But in spite of that evil, God still caused a time of prosperity for the nation of Israel. In verse 25, we read how Israel regained territory that it had lost and expanded the boundaries of the nation. This indicates that while Jeroboam II was not great at following God, he was clearly a strong military and political leader, and God allowed Jeroboam II to use his skills to take over additional territory that the nation had previously lost.

Verses 26-27 are a great summary of God’s grace on the nation of Israel: “The LORD had seen how bitterly everyone in Israel, whether slave or free, was suffering; there was no one to help them. And since the LORD had not said he would blot out the name of Israel from under heaven, he saved them by the hand of Jeroboam son of Jehoash.” Their actions deserved punishment, but God saw that they were suffering enough and decided to use the reign of Jeroboam II to relieve them of some of that suffering.

God still cared for Israel and showed mercy to them, even though they were His wayward child so to speak. The Arameans had been oppressing Israel, so God sent the Assyrian army to defeat the Arameans and provide relief for Israel. Israel had previously had some victories over the Arameans under King Jehoash, but this time God provided them with a full victory over the Arameans.

The people of Israel did well from a military perspective during this time period, but their spirituality suffered greatly. God sent 4 prophets to the nation during Jeroboam II’s reign to try and turn the people back toward worshiping Him and Him alone – Amos, Hosea, Jonah, and Micah.

The prophet Amos lived near the border of Israel and Judah, and technically he lived in Judah, though his message was directed toward both kingdoms. Amos 1-2 contains his messages to surrounding nations, including Judah. Amos 3-6 contains messages to Israel’s leaders. Amos 7-9 contains his prophetic vision for the Israel. We don’t know much about Amos himself, but his message to Israel is clear: Israel will be punished for their wrongdoing. Israel had a great calling and they had great responsibility representing God to the surrounding nations, so there will be great consequences for their unfaithfulness to Him. God desires to restore them rather than destroy them, so He gives the people plenty of warning.

The prophet Hosea lived around the same time as Amos, and his main message is to showcase Israel’s lack of faithfulness to God. Hosea 1-3 focuses on Hosea’s marriage as an example of God’s relationship with Israel, and Hosea 4-14 provides warnings to the nation. God told Hosea to marry Gomer, knowing that Gomer will be unfaithful to him. God commands Hosea to remain faithful to her in spite of her unfaithfulness. That’s the message that Israel needed to hear from God – God kinew that Israel would be unfaithful to Him, but God would remain faithful to Israel anyway. Much of Hosea’s recorded prophecy is essentially doom and gloom for the nation, but there is some hope in it as well.

The prophet Jonah is, of course, most well known for his message to the people of Nineveh and for being swallowed up by the great fish when he tried to run away from that calling. The book of Jonah is dedicated to that part of Jonah’s life. We don’t know what message specifically that Jonah gave to King Jeroboam II, but he is specifically mentioned by name in 2 Kings 14:25.

Micah was a prophet who lived in Judah during this time frame, the same time as Isaiah was a prophet in Judah as well. But Micah’s warning message is directed to both Israel and Judah. His message, like the other prophets, is one of warning that God’s judgment is coming. The people and their leaders have continued to sin, so God’s patience is running out.

That’s just how evil King Jeroboam II was – it took not one, not two, not three, but four prophets during his 41-year reign to try and turn the people back to God! Sadly, none of these warnings appear to have had much success, though God did not yet bring His judgment of exile onto the people for another 30 or so years after Jeroboam II’s reign ended.

What can we learn from Jeroboam II’s reign? We can be thankful for the grace that God gives us, and the fact that He often gives us multiple warnings before we’ll experience His punishment for our actions that disobey Him. God’s grace is evident in each of the prophets that God sent during Jeroboam II’s time. God kept giving warning after warning through multiple prophets rather than simply destroying the people. Even though Israel was very disobedient to God, God still loved His chosen people and tried to help them make good choices.

Even though we are often very disobedient to God and worship other things than Him with our lives, God still loves us! He gives us plenty of warnings through His Word and through other Christ followers around us to help us make better choices so we don’t receive punishment for our disobedience. God continues to show us His grace, especially through the sacrifice of Jesus for us so that by faith in Him, we will never experience the true punishment of eternal death that we deserve. Even if we’re as evil as Jeroboam I or Jeroboam II, God still gives us warnings and opportunities to escape His wrath by making the choice to follow Jesus.

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