Jeroboam II


All these successful wars brought much tribute to Jeroboam and his nobles. The wealthy had both winter and summer homes; some lived in houses of ivory, others in houses of hewn stone. The prophet Amos, contemporary with Jeroboam in his later years, gives us a graphic description of a banqueting scene in which the perfumed guests lay on silken cushions, eating the flesh of lambs and stall-fed calves, drinking wine from bowls, and singing songs to the music of viols (Amos.6.4-Amos.6.6). But side by side with this luxury there was much poverty in the land. Twice the prophet says that the needy were sold for a pair of shoes (Amos.2.6; Amos.8.6). No one was grieved for the afflictions of the poor or was distressed for the corruption that prevailed in the land. Drunkenness, licentiousness, and oppression went unchecked by the religious hierarchy.

Not that the land was devoid of religion. Worship went on not only at Dan and Bethel, but also at subsidiary temples and altars at Gilgal and Beersheba (Amos.4.4; Amos.5.5; Amos.8.14), places with long religious associations. Amos complained (Amos.5.21ff.) that ritual was substituted for righteousness, that devotees prostrated themselves before altars clothed in garments taken in cruel pledge, and that they drank sacrificial wine bought with the money of those who were condemned (Amos.2.8).

During the reign of Jeroboam the prophets Hosea, Joel, Jonah, and Amos ministered. Amos says that he was commanded by God to go to Bethel to testify against the whole proceedings there. He was to foretell the destruction of the sanctuaries of Israel and of the house of Jeroboam (Amos.7.9). When Amaziah, the high priest of Bethel, heard this denunciation, he sent a messenger to Jeroboam with a report of a “conspiracy” of Amos, saying that Amos had declared, “Jeroboam will die by the sword,” which Amos had not done (Amos.7.10ff.). There are some who regard this as a prophecy that was not fulfilled, as there is no evidence that the king died other than a natural death, for he was buried with his ancestors in state (2Kgs.14.29). The probability, however, is that the high priest, in order to inflame Jeroboam against the prophet, gave his words an unwarranted twist.

In 2Kgs.14.25 we are told that a Jonah predicted the large extension of the territory of Israel by Jeroboam. This is the same Jonah, the son of Amittai, whose mission to Nineveh forms the subject of the Book of Jonah (2Kgs.1.1).

Jeroboam was succeeded on his death by his son Zechariah (2Kgs.14.29), a weak king with whom the dynasty ended.——SB