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Jehoahaz, King of Israel

Jehoahaz’s name means “God has held” and he is the son of Jehu. King Jehoaz ruled Israel for 17 years. He appears on the Bible Timeline Poster starting in 868 BC. During his reign the people of people of Israel were being oppressed by Hazael the King of Aram. God had allowed this captivity to take place because Jehoahaz had endorsed the Golden Calf Cult in Israel. The first ruler of the divided kingdom of Israel named Jeroboam started this cultic practice as a means to control the people of Israel. Early in his reign, Jeroboam realized that if the people were allowed to worship God at the temple in Judah they would more than likely reunite the kingdom. So he created the Golden Calf Cult to keep the people divided against God. This policy was repeatedly used by kings that followed after him. God had constantly judged these kings for this sin.

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The new kings either didn’t realize that God was judging them for allowing the Golden Calf Cult religion to flourish, or they didn’t care about how God felt about what they were doing. Many Judean rulers also allowed this cult to continue so that they could retain their power as well. So when King Hazael of Aram severely oppressed the Israelites, he was allowed to do so because of God was using him to punish his people. At one point in time, the oppression became so severe that King Jehoahaz had to turn to the Lord to find relief for the people and himself. God sent the people of Israel an unnamed deliverer who able to free the people from the clutches of the King of Aram. Once the people were free, they turned back to the sins. This is reminiscent of how the people behaved during the time of the Judges. When God sent deliverers to free the people who right back to doing the same things that brought God’s judgment down on them in the first place. Ben-Hadad of Aram was the son of Hazael, and he was allowed by God to continue to harass the Israelites because they didn’t stop sinning. King Jehoahaz had fought battles against this king, but his forces were significantly reduced in size. He fought so much and lost so many battles that toward the end of his reign he only had 50 cavalry troops, 10 chariots, and 10,000-foot soldiers. Eventually, Jehoahaz passed away, and his son Jehoash took his place as the next ruler of Israel.

Biblical References:

  • 2 Kings 13: 1, 2 Gives an overview of King Jehoahaz’s time in power. God is angry with him for not wiping out the Golden Calf Cult.
  • 2 Kings 13: 3 Because God was angry with him he kept he allowed King Hazael of Aram to oppress Israel.
  • 2 Kings 13: 4 King Jehoahaz comes to his senses and prays to God for help from Aram. God listens to his plea.
  • 2 Kings 13: 5 God sends a deliverer to free the people from the tyranny of Hazael, and the people live in their homes once again.
  • 2 Kings 13: 6 The people do not return to worshipping God and pagan idols remain the land.
  • 2 Kings 13: 7 – 9 King Jehoahaz’s army was severely decimated by war and he only had a small number of troops remain as a part of his forces. He eventually dies and is replaced by Jehoash, his son.