After the Kingdom of Judah had divided in half during the reign of Rehoboam, some of the monarchs of Israel and Judah ruled for a short amount of time. Many kings were in power for only a few short years before they were disposed of by God. All of the kings that had short reigns lost their right to rule because they were evil leaders and many of them only ruled the land for only two years.
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King Jehoahaz was a king of Judah who had ruled the land for a short time period because he was an idolatrous governor. He appears on the Biblical Timeline with World History immediately after his father King Josiah during the seventh century BC. King Neco of Egypt had killed King Jehoahaz’s father Josiah in battle. After he defeated King Josiah he forced the land of Judah to pay him tribute.
Once King Jehoahaz took over the throne from his father he continued the same pagan practices. God had decided to allow King Neco to capture King Jehoahaz and take him back to Egypt as a prisoner. He didn’t want him to rule from Jerusalem because he had some kingdoms in that part of the world that he controlled. Judah could have aligned with these kingdoms and become a threat to his power in the region.
King Neco came to Judah and took Jehoazah back to an Egyptian jail. He then placed his son Eliakim onto the throne of Judah. King Jehoahaz should have never restarted the pagan practices that his father King Josiah had stopped when he ruled. King Jehoahaz allowed the pagan shrines and altars to become a part of Judah’s landscape once again. It seemed as if he didn’t have any regard for his father’s devotion to the Lord.
During his lifetime, King Josiah made sure the kingdom of Judah was being directed toward the true and proper worship of the Lord. King Jehoahaz was a young lad who experienced the great blessings of his father under God. There was even a huge Passover feast that was given during the reign of Josiah that became one of the best in all the history of Judah. Apparently, none of these events had a positive influence on King Jehoahaz because as soon as he was in power he restarted pagan worship. In his divine wisdom God didn’t want Jehoahaz’s evil to continue to keep spreading all throughout the land. The Lord wanted the people of Judah to experience some more blessings before he sent them into captivity. So the imprisonment of King Jehoahaz brought more time to the people of Judah so that people could turn from their sins and be saved from the judgment that was about to come on Judah.
The people of Judah had been worshipping false gods for too long and the Lord was ready to purify the people from these practices. He wanted the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah to be his chosen people but God already knew that the outside world was going to influence many of his people. God isn’t caught off guard or necessarily discouraged by this predicament but he is grieved by his people’s refusal turn back from their sins. Another important thing that should be remembered is that King Josiah found the Book of the Law during his reign.
King Jehoahaz knew how important this book was to the people of Judah because it contained the knowledge that they needed to serve God in the right way. The King wasn’t moved by this book and instead of using it to continue to get the people right with God he chose to go another way. Eventually Jehoahaz died in his Egyptian prison while his son Jehoiakim ruled the land under Neco’s direction. Jehoahaz name means “Yahweh has held” and he ruled for about three months in 609 B.C.
- 2 Kings 34: 31, 32 Provides background information on Jehoahaz the son of Josiah. He only ruled for 3 months. He was an evil ruler like Manasseh.
- 2 Kings 34: 33, 34 King Neco imprisons King Jehoahaz in Egypt and places his son Eliakim on the throne in his place. Neco changes Eliakim name to Jehoiakim and Jehoahaz remains in Egyptian captivity until he dies. Neco also forces Judah to pay Egypt tribute.
- 2 Chronicles 36: 1 – 4 Tells an alternate story
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