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Succession of Coups in Israel (2 Kings 14:28-29; 15:8-18) February 28

After the death of Jeroboam, the situation in Israel grew steadily worse. His son Zechariah was king for only six months and was no better than his father, thus bringing to an end the prophecy that God had made to Jehu: "Your sons shall sit on the throne of Israel to the fourth generation" (10:30). The assassination of Zechariah also fulfilled a portion of the prophecy we just read in Hosea that "in a little while I will avenge the bloodshed of Jezreel on the house of Jehu" (Hosea 1:4).

Following Zechariah's assassination, Israel was ruled by a succession of usurpers. Shallum, like the usurper Hazael (8:15), was referred to in Assyrian records as "the son of nobody," indicating that he was not of royal descent. He lasted only a single month, being overthrown by Menahem. The lesson of history shows that whenever a person takes over a leadership role through a coup, whether in a nation, in the church or in any organization, he is setting an example to his followers that they too can do the same if they are dissatisfied.

Menahem attacked Tiphsah (15:16), that is, "Thapsacus, on the Euphrates, the border city of Solomon's kingdom (1 Kings 4:24)" (Jamieson, Fausset & Brown's Commentary, note on 2 Kings 15:16). It appears that Menahem was trying to maintain the expansion that had occurred under Jeroboam II, who had died just seven months before he took the throne. Tiphsah would be an example to all those who would try to stop this brutal king. His abominable and egregious evil in ripping open the pregnant women was an all-too-common heathen practice (8:12; Hosea 13:16; Amos 1:13). Ironically, the name Menahem meant "Comforter."

None of these Israelite rulers are recorded in 2 Chronicles. In fact, as noted previously in the Bible Reading Program, almost none of the final kings of Israel, from Jeroboam II on, are even mentioned in Chronicles.

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