Study Guide

Kings of Israel in 2 Chronicles

Kings of Israel

The Chronicler doesn't pay a whole lot of attention to the rulers of the Northern Kingdom. You can get their stories more fully in the Books of Kings or in the writings of the prophets. Our author is way more interested in the Southern Kingdom, so he only mentions the northern kings when their fortunes intersect with the Judah's. But that doesn't mean the Chronicler doesn't have an opinion on these monarchs. For the most part, he thinks they're simply irredeemably bad.

King Jeroboam

Jeroboam objects to King Rehoboam's policies and decides to leave Judah and take 10 tribes with him. He sets himself up as the first ruler of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. Though he does try to call a truce with Rehoboam of Judah, it ends badly and Jeroboam "r[ises] up and rebel[s] against his lord" (13:6). Later, he starts to worship other gods and gets taken down by Judah in battle. And then God kills him. Game over.

King Baasha

In an effort to prevent "anyone from going out or coming into the territory […] of Judah" (16:1), Baasha builds a blockade. He has to abandon his grand plans when the folks in Aram decide to come after him

King Ahab

Ahab's by far the most terrible king in the history of Israel. He worships Baal. He ignores the advice of God's prophets. His kids manage to start ruining things in Judah, too. Eventually he's killed in battle because God's just had enough of him. Trust us, when someone says you "walked in the ways of the house of Ahab" (22:3), it's not a compliment.

King Ahaziah

The Chronicler doesn't tell us much about this guy except to say that he "did wickedly" (20:35). As punishment, God destroys a fleet of ships he built with the king of Judah. And on their maiden voyage, too.

King Joram

The sick one. The Arameans wound this king, and his nephew King Jehoram of Judah goes to visit him in Samaria "because he was sick" (22:6). We learn in 2 Kings that one of his generals murdered him while he was recuperating.

King Jehu

The one good apple. This king is the guy "the Lord had anointed to destroy the house of Ahab" (22:7). Since Ahab's relatives have infiltrated the throne in Judah, Jehu has to clean house there as well.

Not-So-Wise Men

Clearly, this is a bad bunch. Even though he's a bit vague on the sins of the northern kings (you can read all the juicy details in 2 Kings), the Chronicler has all the proof he needs that God simply does not like the Northern Kingdom of Israel. They worship other gods. They've abandoned the House of David. They've kicked out the rightful priests and Levites and appointed their own. They don't care about the Temple in Jerusalem.

The Chronicler is trying to convey the reason why the Northern Kingdom was utterly destroyed, while the Southern Kingdom survived exile. Remember, in 722 the Assyrian Empire came in and pretty much wiped out Northern Israel. Their people were scattered across the region and the country was never able to recover. When the same thing happened to the Southern Kingdom by the Babylonians, the people of Judah were eventually able to regroup. Was this just a lucky break? Or was something else going on here?

For the Chronicler, the answer is obvious. The Southern Kingdom was more faithful, so God helped them. They strayed but they repented, and God took them back. But those guys up north are just wicked, unrepentant idolaters, carried off to Assyria never to return.