2 Kings 16-17 — The LORD’s Presence—Promise and Threat

16:1 – Ahaz – son of Jotham. He reigned for (3 years as coregent then another) 16 years (735-715 BC) over Judah. He did evil in the eyes of the LORD unlike his father David and even acted like the kings of Israel (16:2; II Chron.28:1-2). He made idols and worshipped them (16:4; II Chron.28:2, 4, 24-25), offered his son (or sons – II Chron.28:3) in the fire (16:3 – apparently as an idolatrous act – see Deut.12:31; 18:9-10). Ahaz suffered a great defeat (II Chron.28:5-15 even though the captives of Judah were eventually returned) and while under siege by Pekah king of Israel and Rezin king of Aram he refused to trust in the LORD rejecting the word of the LORD through Isaiah the prophet and instead relied upon Tiglath Pileser III of Assyria (16:5-9; Isa.7-8) by bribing him (16:8). While delivering the bribe to Tiglath Pileser III he noticed the Assyrian altar and commanded a replicas immediate construction by Uriah the priest (see also Isa.8:2) and placement in the Temple of the LORD. This new altar was meant to replace the original altar which was then used by Ahaz for his own sacrifices (16:10-16) to the gods of Damascus (II Chron.28:22-23). In some sense Ahaz was following other Priestly-Kings like David (II Sam. 6:17-18) and Solomon (I Kings 8:63) – albeit in a wicked manner – so he seemed to emulate more especially Jeroboam I of Israel (I Kings 12:32-33).

17:1 – Hoshea – son of Elah. He assassinated Pekah king of Israel and reigned for 9 years (732-722 BC) over Israel doing evil in the eyes of the LORD, but was not considered as bad as others before him (17:3). Hoshea payed Shalmaneser V king of Assyria tribute for some time but quit and sent instead for help from Egypt (17:3-4) which was weak at this time due to many internal conflicts and therefore not able to help appropriately. His trust in Egypt was against the word of the LORD (Isa.30-31) and thus Hoshea was captured by Shalmaneser V, Samaria fell after a three year siege, and Israel was deported into exile according to the word of the LORD (see Lev.26; Deut.27-28; I Kings 14:14-16; Jer.31:15).

17:7-23 – The author of Kings makes explicit (just in case anyone already missed the critique) why all of this happened…Israel (and Judah was included in this prophetic sermon) had ultimately broken the covenant with the LORD and disobeyed all of the prophets sent to call back to faithful obedience (17:13, 20).

17:8, 11, 15 – “as the nations”? Israel is accused of acting like both the nations the LORD drove out of the land and as the nations all around them. Is this the struggle also of the Church…to be a people who belong peculiarly to the LORD who live differently than the people of the world? (see Deut.10:15; I Sam.12:22; Titus 2:14; I Pet.2:9)

17:9 – “The Israelites secretly did things against the LORD their God”? (If “secretly” is the correct translation – see Konkel NIVAC 577) Does the LORD see things done in ‘secret’? (see Ps.90:8; Matt.6:18; Eph.5:12)

17:24-28 – The Gentiles newly settled in the land of Israel appear to have a better understanding of the relation of the LORD to the land and the necessary obedience, but this is only short lived (17:29-41).

17:33, 44 – They “worshipped (feared) the LORD, but…”? (see Hos.6:4-10)

17:39 – To who are the LORD’s promises directed? (see II Sam.7:7-17; Isa.6:11-13; Hos.11:8-11; Amos 9:11-15) There is a promise of a “remnant”; thus the naming of Shearjashub (meaning “a remnant will return”) son of Isaiah (Isa.7:1-10). The promise is ultimately fulfilled in “Immanuel” meaning “God with us” (Isa.7-8; Matt.1:22-23). The presence of God is essential to the promise being fulfilled, but it must be remembered that the one who is both a “promise” is also simultaneously a “threat.” “The choice is not whether God will be present; the choice is only in the response to that presence” (Konkel NIVAC pg. 569).

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