Jeroboam II

2 Kings 14:23‑29  •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 11
Whose people is many
Contemporary Prophets: Hosea, and Amos
The froward is abomination to the Lord: but his secret is with the righteous. Prov. 3:3232For the froward is abomination to the Lord: but his secret is with the righteous. (Proverbs 3:32)
The reign of Jeroboam II was the longest and most prosperous of any of the reigns of the kings of Israel.
“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 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, therefore 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. 9:16-1716For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel! 17For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me. (1 Corinthians 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. 3:1616That the waters which came down from above stood and rose up upon an heap very far from the city Adam, that is beside Zaretan: and those that came down toward the sea of the plain, even the salt sea, failed, and were cut off: and the people passed over right against Jericho. (Joshua 3:16)), making the total distance of his kingdom from north to south almost two hundred miles. He was, no doubt, the deliverer promised under the unfortunate reign of Jehoahaz (2 Kings 13:55(And the Lord gave Israel a saviour, so that they went out from under the hand of the Syrians: and the children of Israel dwelt in their tents, as beforetime. (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” (2 Kings 14:26-2726For 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. 27And 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. (2 Kings 14:26‑27)). 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 13:2323And the Lord was gracious unto them, and had compassion on them, and had respect unto them, because of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and would not destroy them, neither cast he them from his presence as yet. (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. 18:3-63And David smote Hadarezer king of Zobah unto Hamath, as he went to stablish his dominion by the river Euphrates. 4And David took from him a thousand chariots, and seven thousand horsemen, and twenty thousand footmen: David also houghed all the chariot horses, but reserved of them an hundred chariots. 5And when the Syrians of Damascus came to help Hadarezer king of Zobah, David slew of the Syrians two and twenty thousand men. 6Then David put garrisons in Syria-damascus; and the Syrians became David's servants, and brought gifts. Thus the Lord preserved David whithersoever he went. (1 Chronicles 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 armies against those hostile nations on his northern border. Hamath, called “the great” in Amos 6:22Pass ye unto Calneh, and see; and from thence go ye to Hamath the great: then go down to Gath of the Philistines: be they better than these kingdoms? or their border greater than your border? (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 considered a troubler to the peace of the kingdom. He was 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 chief priest of the nation (see Amos 7:7-177Thus he showed me: and, behold, the Lord stood upon a wall made by a plumbline, with a plumbline in his hand. 8And the Lord said unto me, Amos, what seest thou? And I said, A plumbline. Then said the Lord, Behold, I will set a plumbline in the midst of my people Israel: I will not again pass by them any more: 9And the high places of Isaac shall be desolate, and the sanctuaries of Israel shall be laid waste; and I will rise against the house of Jeroboam with the sword. 10Then Amaziah the priest of Beth-el sent to Jeroboam king of Israel, saying, Amos hath conspired against thee in the midst of the house of Israel: the land is not able to bear all his words. 11For thus Amos saith, Jeroboam shall die by the sword, and Israel shall surely be led away captive out of their own land. 12Also Amaziah said unto Amos, O thou seer, go, flee thee away into the land of Judah, and there eat bread, and prophesy there: 13But prophesy not again any more at Beth-el: for it is the king's chapel, and it is the king's court. 14Then answered Amos, and said to Amaziah, I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet's son; but I was an herdman, and a gatherer of sycomore fruit: 15And the Lord took me as I followed the flock, and the Lord said unto me, Go, prophesy unto my people Israel. 16Now therefore hear thou the word of the Lord: Thou sayest, Prophesy not against Israel, and drop not thy word against the house of Isaac. 17Therefore thus saith the Lord; Thy wife shall be an harlot in the city, and thy sons and thy daughters shall fall by the sword, and thy land shall be divided by line; and thou shalt die in a polluted land: and Israel shall surely go into captivity forth of his land. (Amos 7:7‑17)).
“And Jeroboam slept with his fathers, even with the kings of Israel; and Zachariah his son reigned in his stead.”