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Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament
1In the twenty and seventh year of Jeroboam king of Israel began Azariah son of Amaziah king of Judah to reign.
Reign of Azariah (Uzziah) or Judah (cf. 2 Chronicles 26). - The statement that "in the twenty-seventh year of Jeroboam Azariah began to reign" is at variance with 2 Kings 14:2, 2 Kings 14:16-17, and 2 Kings 14:23. If, for example, Azariah ascended the throne in the fifteenth year of Joash of Israel, and with his twenty-nine years' reign outlived Joash fifteen years (2 Kings 14:2, 2 Kings 14:17); if, moreover, Jeroboam followed his father Joash in the fifteenth year of Amaziah (2 Kings 14:23), and Amaziah died in the fifteenth year of Jeroboam; Azariah (Uzziah) must have become king in the fifteenth year of Jeroboam, since, according to 2 Kings 14:21, the people made him king after the murder of his father, which precludes the supposition of an interregnum. Consequently the datum "in the twenty-seventh year" can only have crept into the text through the confounding of the numerals טו (15) with כז (27), and we must therefore read "in the fifteenth year."
2Sixteen years old was he when he began to reign, and he reigned two and fifty years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Jecholiah of Jerusalem.
Beside the general characteristics of Uzziah's fifty-two years' reign, which are given in the standing formula, not a single special act is mentioned, although, according to 2 Chronicles 26, he raised his kingdom to great earthly power and prosperity; probably for no other reason than because his enterprises had exerted no permanent influence upon the development of the kingdom of Judah, but all the useful fruits of his reign were destroyed again by the ungodly Ahaz. Uzziah did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, as his father Amaziah had done. For as the latter was unfaithful to the Lord in the closing years of his reign, so did Uzziah seek God only so long as Zechariah, who was experienced in divine visions, remained alive, and God gave success to his enterprises, so that during this time he carried on successful wars against the Philistines and Arabians, fortified the walls of Jerusalem with strong towers, built watch-towers in the desert, and constructed cisterns for the protection and supply of his numerous flocks, promoted agriculture and vine-growing, and organized a numerous and well-furnished army (2 Chronicles 26:5-15). But the great power to which he thereby attained produced such haughtiness, that he wanted to make himself high priest in his kingdom after the manner of the heathen kings, and usurping the sacred functions, which belonged according to the law to the Levitical priests alone, to offer incense in the temple, for which he was punished with leprosy upon the spot (2 Kings 15:5 compared with 2 Chronicles 26:16.). The king's leprosy is described in our account also as a punishment from God. יי ויננּע: Jehovah smote him, and he became leprous. This presupposes an act of guilt, and confirms the fuller account of this guilt given in the Chronicles, which Thenius, following the example of De Wette and Winer, could only call in question on the erroneous assumption "that the powerful king wanted to restore the regal high-priesthood exercised by David and Solomon" Oehler (Herzog's Cycl.) has already shown that such an opinion is perfectly "groundless," since it is nowhere stated that David and Solomon performed with their own hands the functions assigned in the law to the priests in connection with the offering of sacrifice, as the co-operation of the priests is not precluded in connection with the sacrifices presented by these kings (2 Samuel 6:17, and 1 Kings 3:4, etc.). - Uzziah being afflicted with leprosy, was obliged to live in a separate house, and appoint his son Jotham as president of the royal house to judge the people, i.e., to conduct the administration of the kingdom. - The time when this event occurred is not stated either in our account or in the Chronicles. But this punishment from God cannot have fallen upon him before the last ten years of his fifty-two years' reign, because his son, who was only twenty-five years old when his father died (2 Kings 15:33, and 2 Chronicles 27:1), undertook the administration of the affairs of the kingdom at once, and therefore must have been at least fifteen years old. החפשׁית בּית is taken by Winer, Gesenius, and others, after the example of Iken, to signify nosocomium, an infirmary or lazar-house, in accordance with the verb Arab. xfs̆, fecit, II debilis, imbecillis fuit. But this meaning cannot be traced in Hebrew, where חפשׁי is used in no other sense than free, set at liberty, manumissus. Consequently the rendering adopted by Aquila is correct, οἶκος ἐλευθερίας; and the explanation given by Kimchi of this epithet is, that the persons who lived there were those who were sent away from human society, or perhaps more correctly, those who were released from the world and its privileges and duties, or cut off from intercourse with God and man.
3And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father Amaziah had done;
4Save that the high places were not removed: the people sacrificed and burnt incense still on the high places.
5And the LORD smote the king, so that he was a leper unto the day of his death, and dwelt in a several house. And Jotham the king's son was over the house, judging the people of the land.
6And the rest of the acts of Azariah, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?
7So Azariah slept with his fathers; and they buried him with his fathers in the city of David: and Jotham his son reigned in his stead.
When Uzziah died, he was buried with his fathers in the city of David, but because he died of leprosy, not in the royal family tomb, but, as the Chronicles (2 Kings 15:23) add to complete the account, "in the burial-field of the kings;" so that he was probably buried in the earth according to our mode. His son Jotham did not become king till after Uzziah's death, as he had not been regent, but only the administrator of the affairs of the kingdom during his father's leprosy.
8In the thirty and eighth year of Azariah king of Judah did Zachariah the son of Jeroboam reign over Israel in Samaria six months.
Reign of Zachariah of Israel. - 2 Kings 15:8. "In the thirty-eighth year of Uzziah, Zachariah the son of Jeroboam became king over Israel six months." As Jeroboam died in the twenty-seventh year of Uzziah, according to our remarks on 2 Kings 14:29, there is an interregnum of eleven years between his death and the ascent of the throne by his son, as almost all the chronologists since the time of Usher have assumed. It is true that this interregnum may be set aside by assuming that Jeroboam reigned fifty-one or fifty-three years instead of forty-one, without the synchronism being altered in consequence. but as it is not very probable that the numeral letters נב or נג should be confounded with מא, and as the conflict for the possession of the throne, which we meet with after the very brief reign of Zachariah, when taken in connection with various allusions in the prophecies of Hosea, rather favours the idea that the anarchy broke out immediately after the death of Jeroboam, we regard the assumption of an interregnum as resting on a better foundation than the removal of the chronological discrepancy by an alteration of the text.
9And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, as his fathers had done: he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin.
Zechariah also persevered in the sin of his fathers in connection with the calf-worship therefore the word of the Lord pronounced upon Jehu (2 Kings 10:30) was fulfilled in him. - Shallum the son of Jabesh formed a conspiracy and put him to death קבל־עם, before people, i.e., openly before the eyes of all.
(Note: Ewald in the most marvellous manner has made קבל־עם into a king (Gesch. iii. p. 598).)
As Israel would not suffer itself to be brought to repentance and to return to the Lord, its God and King, by the manifestations of divine grace in the times of Joash and Jeroboam, any more than by the severe judgments that preceded them, and the earnest admonitions of the prophets Hosea and Amos; the judgment of rejection could not fail eventually to burst forth upon the nation, which so basely despised the grace, long-suffering, and covenant-faithfulness of God. We therefore see the kingdom hasten with rapid steps towards its destruction after the death of Jeroboam. In the sixty-two years between the death of Jeroboam and the conquest of Samaria by Shalmaneser anarchy prevailed twice, in all for the space of twenty years, and six kings followed one another, only one of whom, viz., Menahem, died a natural death, so as to be succeeded by his son upon the throne. The other five were dethroned and murdered by rebels, so that, as Witsius has truly said, with the murder of Zachariah not only was the declaration of Hosea (Hosea 1:4) fulfilled, "I visit the blood-guiltiness of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu," but also the parallel utterance, "and I destroy the kingdom of the house of Israel," since the monarchy in Israel really ceased with Zachariah. "For the successors of Zachariah were not so much kings as robbers and tyrants, unworthy of the august name of kings, who lost with ignominy the tyranny which they had wickedly acquired, and as wickedly exercised." - Witsius, Δεκαφυλ. p. 320.
10And Shallum the son of Jabesh conspired against him, and smote him before the people, and slew him, and reigned in his stead.
11And the rest of the acts of Zachariah, behold, they are written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel.
12This was the word of the LORD which he spake unto Jehu, saying, Thy sons shall sit on the throne of Israel unto the fourth generation. And so it came to pass.
13Shallum the son of Jabesh began to reign in the nine and thirtieth year of Uzziah king of Judah; and he reigned a full month in Samaria.
Reign of Shallum. - Shallum reigned only a full month (ירח־ימים, as in Deuteronomy 21:13; see at Genesis 29:14). Menahem the son of Gadi then made war upon him from Tirzah; and by him he was smitten and slain. Menahem must have been a general or the commander-in-chief, as Josephus affirms. As soon as he became king he smote Tiphsach, - i.e., Thapsacus on the Euphrates, which has long since entirely disappeared, probably to be sought for in the neighbourhood of the present Rakka, by the ford of el Hamman, the north-eastern border city of the Israelitish kingdom in the time of Solomon (1 Kings 5:4), which came into the possession of the kingdom of Israel again when the ancient boundaries were restored by Jeroboam II((2 Kings 14:25 and 2 Kings 14:28), but which had probably revolted again during the anarchy which arose after the death of Jeroboam, - "and all that were therein, and the territory thereof, from Tirzah; because they opened not (to him), therefore he smote it, and had them that were with child ripped up." מתּרצה does not mean that Menahem laid the land or district waste from Tirzah to Tiphsach, but is to be taken in connection with יכּה in this sense: he smote Tiphsach proceeding from Tirzah, etc. The position of this notice, namely, immediately after the account of the usurpation of the throne by Menahem and before the history of his reign, is analogous to that concerning Elath in the case of Uzziah (2 Kings 14:22), and, like the latter, is to be accounted for from the fact that the expedition of Menahem against Tiphsach formed the commencement of his reign, and, as we may infer from 2 Kings 15:19, became very eventful not only for his own reign, but also for the kingdom of Israel generally. The reason why he proceeded from Tirzah against Tiphsach, was no doubt that it was in Tirzah, the present Tallusa, which was only three hours to the east of Samaria (see at 1 Kings 14:17), that the army of which Menahem was commander was posted, so that he had probably gone to Samaria with only a small body of men to overthrow Shallum, the murderer of Zachariah and usurper of the throne, and to make himself king. It is possible that the army commanded by Menahem had already been collected in Tirzah to march against the city of Tiphsach, which had revolted from Israel when Shallum seized upon the throne by the murder of Zachariah; so that after Menahem had removed the usurper, he carried out at once the campaign already resolved upon, and having taken Tiphsach, punished it most cruelly for its revolt. On the cruel custom of ripping up the women with child, i.e., of cutting open their wombs, see 2 Kings 8:12; Amos 1:13, and Hosea 14:1. Tiphsach, Thapsacus, appears to have been a strong fortress; and from its situation on the western bank of the Euphrates, at the termination of the great trade-road from Egypt, Phoenicia, and Syria to Mesopotamia and the kingdoms of Inner Asia (Movers, Phniz. ii. 2, pp. 164,165; and Ritter, Erdkunde, x. pp. 1114-15), the possession of it was of great importance to the kingdom of Israel.
(Note: There is no foundation for the view propounded by Ewald (Gesch. iii. p. 599), Simson (Hosea, pp. 20, 21), Thenius, and many others, that Tiphsach was a city between Tirzah and Samaria, which Menahem laid waste on his march from Tirzah to Samaria to dethrone Shallum; for it rests upon nothing more than the perfectly unwarrantable and ungrammatical combination of מתרצה with את־גבוליה, "its boundaries towards Tirzah" (Sims.), and upon the two worthless objections: (1) that the great distance of מתרצה from יכה precludes the rendering "going out from Tirzah;" and (2) that Menahem was not the man to be able to conquer Thapsacus on the Euphrates. But there is no foundation for the latter assertion, as we have no standard by which to estimate the strength and bravery of the Israelitish army commanded by Menahem. And the first objection falls to the ground with the correct rendering of מתרצה, viz., "proceeding from Tirzah," which is preferred even by Ewald and Thenius. With this rendering, the words by no means affirm that Menahem smote Tiphsach from Tirzah on the way to Samaria. This is merely an inference drawn from v. 13, according to which Menahem went from Tirzah to Samaria to overthrow Shallum. But this inference is open to the following objections: (1) that it is very improbable that there was a strong fortress between Tirzah and Samaria, which Menahem was obliged to take on his march before he could overthrow the usurper in the capital of the kingdom; and (2) that the name Tiphsach, trajectus, ford, is by no means a suitable one for a city situated on the mountains between Tirzah and Samaria, and therefore, in order to carry out the hypothesis in question, Thenius proposes to alter Tiphsach into Tappuach, without any critical warrant for so doing.)
14For Menahem the son of Gadi went up from Tirzah, and came to Samaria, and smote Shallum the son of Jabesh in Samaria, and slew him, and reigned in his stead.
15And the rest of the acts of Shallum, and his conspiracy which he made, behold, they are written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel.
16Then Menahem smote Tiphsah, and all that were therein, and the coasts thereof from Tirzah: because they opened not to him, therefore he smote it; and all the women therein that were with child he ripped up.
17In the nine and thirtieth year of Azariah king of Judah began Menahem the son of Gadi to reign over Israel, and reigned ten years in Samaria.
Reign of Menahem. - Menahem's reign lasted ten full years (see at 2 Kings 15:23), and resembled that of his predecessors in its attitude towards God. In 2 Kings 15:18, the expression כּל־ימיו (all his days) is a very strange one, inasmuch as no such definition of time occurs in connection with the usual formula, either in this chapter (cf. 2 Kings 15:24 and 2 Kings 15:28) or elsewhere (cf. 2 Kings 3:3; 2 Kings 10:31; 2 Kings 13:2, 2 Kings 13:11, etc.). The lxx have instead of this, ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις αὐτοῦ (in his days). If we compare 2 Kings 15:29, בּא פּקח בּימי (in the days of Pekah came, etc.), בּא בּימיו might possibly be regarded as the original reading, from which a copyist's error בּא כּל־מיו arose, after which כּל־ימיו was connected with the preceding clause.
18And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD: he departed not all his days from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin.
19And Pul the king of Assyria came against the land: and Menahem gave Pul a thousand talents of silver, that his hand might be with him to confirm the kingdom in his hand.
In the time of Menahem, Pul king of Assyria invaded the land, and Menahem gave him 1000 talents of silver - more than two and a half millions of thalers (375,000) - "that his hands might be with him, to confirm the kingdom in his hand." These words are understood by the majority of commentators from the time of Ephraem Syrus, when taken in connection with Hosea 5:13, as signifying that Menahem invited Pul, that he might establish his government with his assistance. But the words of Hosea, "Ephraim goes to the Assyrian," sc. to seek for help (2 Kings 5:13, cf. 2 Kings 7:11 and 2 Kings 8:9), are far too general to be taken as referring specially to Menahem; and the assumption that Menahem invited Pul into the land is opposed by the words in the verse before us, "Pul came over the land." Even the further statement that Menahem gave to Pul 1000 talents of silver when he came into the land, that he might help him to establish his government, presupposes at the most that a party opposed to Menahem had invited the Assyrians, to overthrow the usurper. At any rate, we may imagine, in perfect harmony with the words of our account, that Pul marched against Israel of his own accord, possibly induced to do so by Menahem's expedition against Thapsacus, and that his coming was simply turned to account as a good opportunity for disputing Menahem's possession of the throne he had usurped, so that Menahem, by paying the tribute mentioned, persuaded the Assyrian to withdraw, that he might deprive the opposing party of the Assyrian support, and thereby establish his own rule.
20And Menahem exacted the money of Israel, even of all the mighty men of wealth, of each man fifty shekels of silver, to give to the king of Assyria. So the king of Assyria turned back, and stayed not there in the land.
To collect the requisite amount, Menahem imposed upon all persons of property a tax of fifty shekels each. יצא with על, he caused to arise, i.e., made a collection. הציא in a causative sense, from יצא, to arise, to be paid (2 Kings 12:13). חיל גּבּורי: not warriors, but men of property, as in Ruth 2 Kings Ruth 2:1; 1 Samuel 9:1. אחד לאישׁ, for the individual. Pul was the first king of Assyria who invaded the kingdom of Israel and prepared the way for the conquest of this kingdom by his successors, and for the extension of the Assyrian power as far as Egypt. According to the thorough investigation made by Marc. v. Niebuhr (Gesch. Assurs u. Babels, pp. 128ff.), Pul, whose name has not yet been discovered upon the Assyrian monuments, was the last king of Nineveh of the family of the Derketades, who still ruled over Babylon according to Berosus, and the last king but one of this dynasty.
(Note: It is true that some trace of his expedition has been found in the monuments, since an inscription has been deciphered with tolerable certainty, stating that king Minikhimmi of Samirina (Menahem of Shomron or Samaria) paid tribute to an Assyrian king. But the name of this Assyrian king is not determined with certainty, as Rawlinson, and Oppert read it Tiglat-palassar, and suppose Tiglath-pileser to be intended; whereas M. v. Niebuhr (p. 132, note 1) imagines it to be the full name of Pul, since no Assyrian king ever had a name of one syllable like Pul as his official name, and even before that Hincks had detected in the name Minikhimmi the king Menahem who had to purchase the friendship of the Assyrian ruler Pul with 1000 talents of silver. (Comp. J. Brandis, uber d. histor. Gewinn aus der Entzifferung der assyr. Inschriften, Berl. 1856, p. 50.))
21And the rest of the acts of Menahem, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?
22And Menahem slept with his fathers; and Pekahiah his son reigned in his stead.
23In the fiftieth year of Azariah king of Judah Pekahiah the son of Menahem began to reign over Israel in Samaria, and reigned two years.
Reign of Pekahiah. - Pekahiah the son of Menahem began to reign "in the fiftieth year of Uzziah." As Menahem had begun to reign in the thirty-ninth year of Uzziah and reigned ten years, he must have died in the forty-ninth year of Uzziah; and therefore, if his son did not become king till the fiftieth year, some months must have elapsed between the death of Menahem and Pekahiah's ascent of the throne, probably cause, in the existing disorganization of the kingdom, the possession of the throne by the latter was opposed. Pekahiah reigned in the spirit of his predecessors, but only for two years, as his aide-de-camp (שׁלישׁ, see at 2 Samuel 23:8) Pekah conspired against him and slew him in the citadel (ארמון, see at 1 Kings 16:8) of the king's palace, with Argob and Aryeh. Argob and Aryeh were not fellow-conspirators of Pekah, who helped to slay the king, but principes Pekachijae, as Seb. Schmidt expresses it, probably aides-de-camp of Pekahiah, who were slain by the conspirators when defending their king. We must take the words in this sense on account of what follows: וגו חמשּׁים ועמּו, "and with him (Pekah) were fifty men of the Gileadites" (i.e., they helped him). The Gileadites probably belonged to the king's body-guard, and were under the command of the aides-de-camp of Pekah.
24And 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.
25But 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.
26And 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.
27In the two and fiftieth year of Azariah king of Judah Pekah the son of Remaliah began to reign over Israel in Samaria, and reigned twenty years.
Reign of Pekah. - Pekah the son of Remaliah reigned twenty years.
(Note: As this is apparently at variance not only with 2 Kings 15:30, according to which Pekah was slain in the twentieth year of Jotham, i.e., in the fourth year of Ahaz, abut also with 2 Kings 17:1, according to which Hosea the murderer of Pekah became king in the twelfth year of Ahaz and reigned nine years, Ewald has added ותשׁע after עשׂרים without any hesitation, and lengthened Pekah's reign to twenty-nine years, whereas Thenius proposes to alter twenty into thirty. But we do not thereby obtain an actual agreement either with 2 Kings 15:30 or with 2 Kings 17:1, so that in both these passages Thenius is obliged to make further alterations in the text. For instance, if Pekah had reigned for thirty years from the fifty-second or closing year of Uzziah's reign, Hosea would have ascended the throne in the fourteenth year of Ahaz, supposing that he really became king immediately after the murder of Pekah, and not in the twelfth, as is stated in 2 Kings 17:1. It is only with a reign of twenty-eight years and a few months (one year of Uzziah, sixteen of Jotham, and eleven of Ahaz), which might be called twenty-nine years, that the commencement of Hosea's reign could fall in the twelfth year of Ahaz. But the discrepancy with 2 Kings 15:30, that Hosea conspired against Pekah and slew him in the twentieth year of Jotham, is not removed thereby. For further remarks see at 2 Kings 15:30 and 2 Kings 17:1.)
During his reign the Assyrian king Tiglath-pileser came, and after conquering the fortified cities round Lake Merom took possession of Gilead and Galilee, namely the whole land of Naphtali, and led the inhabitants captive to Assyria. Tiglath-pileser (פּלאסר תּגלת or פּלסר תּגלת, 2 Kings 16:7; פּלנאסר or פּלנסר תּלגת פּלנסר, 1 Chronicles 5:26, and 2 Chronicles 28:20; Θεγλαθφαλασάρ or Θαλγαθφελλασάρ, lxx; written Tiglat-palatsira or Tiglat-palatsar on the Assyrian monuments, and interpreted by Gesenius and others "ruler of the Tigris," although the reading of the name upon the monuments is still uncertain, and the explanation given a very uncertain one, since Tiglat or Tilgat is hardly identical with Diglath equals Tigris, but is probably a name of the goddess Derketo, Atergatis), was, according to M. v. Niebuhr (pp. 156, 157), the last king of the Derketade dynasty, who, when the Medes and Babylonians threw off the Assyrian supremacy after the death of Pul, attempted to restore and extend the ancient dominion.
(Note: M. Duncker (Gesch. des Alterthums, i. pp. 658, 659) also assumes that the dynasty changed with the overthrow of the Derketades, but he places it considerably earlier, about the year 900 or 950 b.c., because on the one hand Niebuhr's reasons for his view cannot be sustained, and on the other hand there are distinct indications that the change in the reigning family must have taken place about this time: viz., 1. in the ruins of the southern city of Nineveh, at Kalah, where we find the remains of the palace of two rulers, who sat upon the throne of Assyria between the years 900 and 830, whereas the castles of Ninos and his descendants must undoubtedly have stood in the northern city, in Nineveh; 2. in the circumstance that from the time mentioned the Assyrian kingdom advanced with fresh warlike strength and in a fresh direction, which would agree with the change in the dynasty. - Which of these two assumptions is the correct one, cannot yet be decided in the present state of the researches on this subject.)
His expedition against Israel falls, according to 2 Kings 15:29 and 2 Kings 16:9, in the closing years of Pekah, when Ahaz had come to the throne in Judah. The enumeration of his conquests in the kingdom of Israel commences with the most important cities, probably the leading fortifications. Then follow the districts of which he took possession, and the inhabitants of which he led into captivity. The cities mentioned are Ijon, probably the present Ayun on the north-eastern edge of the Merj Ayun; Abel-beth-maacah, the present Abil el Kamh, on the north-west of Lake Huleh (see at 1 Kings 15:20); Janoach, which must not be confounded with the Janocha mentioned in Joshua 16:6-7, on the border of Ephraim and Manasseh, but is to be sought for in Galilee or the tribe-territory of Naphtali, and has not yet been discovered; Kedesh, on the mountains to the west of Lake Huleh, which has been preserved as an insignificant village under the ancient name (see at Joshua 12:22); Hazor, in the same region, but not yet traced with certainty (see at Joshua 11:1). Gilead is the whole of the land to the east of the Jordan, the territory of the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and half-Manasseh (1 Chronicles 5:26), which had only been wrested from the Syrians again a short time before by Jeroboam II, and restored to Israel (2 Kings 14:25). הגּלילה (the feminine form of הגּליל, see Ewald, 173, h.) is more precisely defined by the apposition "all the land of Naphtali" (see at 1 Kings 9:11). - In the place of אשּׁוּרה, "to the land of Assyria," the different regions to which the captives were transported are given in 1 Chronicles 5:26. For further remarks on this point see at 2 Kings 17:6.
28And 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.
29In the days of Pekah king of Israel came Tiglathpileser king of Assyria, and took Ijon, and Abelbethmaachah, and Janoah, and Kedesh, and Hazor, and Gilead, and Galilee, all the land of Naphtali, and carried them captive to Assyria.
30And Hoshea the son of Elah made a conspiracy against Pekah the son of Remaliah, and smote him, and slew him, and reigned in his stead, in the twentieth year of Jotham the son of Uzziah.
Pekah met with his death in a conspiracy organized by Hosea the son of Elah, who made himself king "in the twentieth year of Jotham." There is something very strange in this chronological datum, as Jotham only reigned sixteen years (2 Kings 15:33), and Ahaz began to reign in the seventeenth year of Pekah (2 Kings 16:1); so that Pekah's death would fall in the fourth year of Ahaz. The reason for this striking statement can only be found, as Usher has shown (Chronol. sacr. p. 80), in the fact that nothing has yet been said about Jotham's successor Ahaz, because the reign of Jotham himself is not mentioned till 2 Kings 15:32.
(Note: Other attempts to solve this difficulty are either arbitrary and precarious, e.g., the conjectures of the earlier chronologists quoted by Winer (R. W. s. v. Jotham), or forced, like the notion of Vaihinger in Herzog's Cycl. (art. Jotham), that the words בן־עזיה ליותם are to be eliminated as an interpolation, in which case the datum "in the twentieth year" becomes perfectly enigmatical; and again the assertion of Hitzig (Comm. z. Jesaj. pp. 72, 73), that instead of in the twentieth year of Jotham, we should read "in the twentieth year of Ahaz the son of Jotham," which could only be consistently carried out by altering the text of not less than seven passages (viz., 2 Kings 15:33; 2 Kings 16:1, and 2 Kings 16:2, 2 Kings 16:17; 2 Chronicles 27:1 and 2 Chronicles 27:8, and 2 Chronicles 28:1); and lastly, the assumption of Thenius, that the words from בשׁנת to עזיה have crept into the text through a double mistake of the copyist and an arbitrary alteration of what had been thus falsely written, which is much too complicated to appear at all credible, even if the reasons which are supposed to render it probable had been more forcible and correct than they really are. For the first reason, viz., that the statement in what year of the contemporaneous ruler a king came to the throne is always first given when the history of this king commences, is disproved by 2 Kings 1:17; the second, that the name of the king by the year of whose reign the accession of another is defined is invariably introduced with the epithet king of Judah or king of Israel, is shown by 2 Kings 12:2 and 2 Kings 16:1 to be not in accordance with fact; and the third, that this very king is never described by the introduction of his father's name, as he is here, except where the intention is to prevent misunderstanding, as in 2 Kings 14:1, 2 Kings 14:23, or in the case of usurpers without ancestors (2 Kings 15:32, 2 Kings 16:1 and 2 Kings 16:15), is also incorrect in its first portion, for in the case of Amaziah in 2 Kings 14:23 there was no misunderstanding to prevent, and even in the case of Joash in 2 Kings 14:1 the epithet king of Israel would have been quite sufficient to guard against any misunderstanding.)
31And the rest of the acts of Pekah, and all that he did, behold, they are written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel.
32In the second year of Pekah the son of Remaliah king of Israel began Jotham the son of Uzziah king of Judah to reign.
Reign of Jotham of Judah (cf. 2 Chronicles 27:1-9). - 2 Kings 15:32. "In the second year of Pekah Jotham began to reign." This agrees with the statement in 2 Kings 15:27, that Pekah became king in the last year of Uzziah, supposing that it occurred at the commencement of the year. Jotham's sixteen years therefore came to a close in the seventeenth year of Pekah's reign (2 Kings 16:1). His reign was like that of his father Uzziah (compare 2 Kings 15:34, 2 Kings 15:35 with 2 Kings 15:3, 2 Kings 15:4), except, as is added in Chr. 2 Kings 15:2, that he did not force himself into the temple of the Lord, as Uzziah had done (2 Chronicles 26:16). All that is mentioned of his enterprises in the account before us is that he built the upper gate of the house of Jehovah, that is to say, that he restored it, or perhaps added to its beauty. The upper gate, according to Ezekiel 9:2 compared with 2 Kings 8:3, 2 Kings 8:5,2 Kings 8:14 and 2 Kings 8:16, is the gate at the north side of the inner or upper court, where all the sacrifices were slaughtered, according to Ezekiel 40:38-43. We also find from 2 Chronicles 27:3. that he built against the wall of Ophel, and several cities in the mountains of Judah, and castles and towers in the forests, and subdued the Ammonites, so that they paid him tribute for three years. Jotham carried on with great vigour, therefore, the work which his father had began, to increase the material prosperity of his subjects.
33Five and twenty years old was he when he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Jerusha, the daughter of Zadok.
34And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD: he did according to all that his father Uzziah had done.
35Howbeit the high places were not removed: the people sacrificed and burned incense still in the high places. He built the higher gate of the house of the LORD.
36Now the rest of the acts of Jotham, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?
37In those days the LORD began to send against Judah Rezin the king of Syria, and Pekah the son of Remaliah.
In those days the Lord began to send against Judah Rezin, etc. It is evident from the position of this verse at the close of the account of Jotham, that the incursions of the allied Syrians and Israelites into Judah under the command of Rezin and Pekah commenced in the closing years of Jotham, so that these foes appeared before Jerusalem at the very beginning of the reign of Ahaz. - It is true that the Syrians had been subjugated by Jeroboam II((2 Kings 14:28); but in the anarchical condition of the Israelitish kingdom after his death, they had no doubt recovered their independence. They must also have been overcome by the Assyrians under Pul, for he could never have marched against Israel without having first of all conquered Syria. But as the power of the Assyrians was greatly weakened for a time by the falling away of the Medes and Babylonians, the Syrians had taken advantage of this weakness to refuse the payment of tribute to Assyria, and had formed an alliance with Pekah of Israel to conquer Judah, and thereby to strengthen their power so as to be able to offer a successful resistance to any attack from the side of the Euphrates. - But as 2 Kings 16:6. and 2 Kings 17 show, it was otherwise decreed in the counsels of the Lord.
38And Jotham slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David his father: and Ahaz his son reigned in his stead.