Now we go back to the northern ten tribes realm. After Joash’s death, his son Jeroboam became king. We don’t know why Joash named his son and heir to the throne Jeroboam. It is remarkable that he names his son after the man who gave Israel two alternative places of worship with on each of those places a golden calf.
That Jeroboam made Israel sin, a refrain that we hear from every king who ruled over the kingdom of the ten tribes, apparently didn’t concern Joash at all. On the contrary, it seems that he venerated Jeroboam and therefore gave his son the same name. To distinguish him from the first king of the ten tribes realm, this Jeroboam is called Jeroboam II in comments.
The ten tribes realm has blossomed under Jeroboam II. Seen superficially, it seems that he gets the blessing of God. There is an exceptionally great prosperity under his reign. He also reigns for a long time, longer than any other king has reigned over the ten tribes realm. He is the third generation after Jehu. His son reigns only for a few months, and then it is over with the reign of the family of Jehu.
Then we hear of the prophet Jonah. Prophets act when the people have departed from God. That is also the case here. Usually the prophets call for repentance and threaten with God’s judgment if they do not repent. That is not the case here. The message of the prophet Jonah is different. He prophesies that there will be prosperity.
Of this Jonah we also have a book in the Bible. The prophecy he made in that time, however, is not in his Bible book. His prophecy refers to the near future and not, as is customary for God’s prophets whose book is in the Bible, to the distant future. In this time the service of the writing prophets begins. The prophet Isaiah began prophesying in the days of Uzziah. Amos and Hoshea also started prophesying in these days (Amos 7:9-159“The high places of Isaac will be desolated
And the sanctuaries of Israel laid waste.
Then I will rise up against the house of Jeroboam with the sword.”10Then Amaziah, the priest of Bethel, sent [word] to Jeroboam king of Israel, saying, “Amos has conspired against you in the midst of the house of Israel; the land is unable to endure all his words.11For thus Amos says, ‘Jeroboam will die by the sword and Israel will certainly go from its land into exile.’”12Then Amaziah said to Amos, “Go, you seer, flee away to the land of Judah and there eat bread and there do your prophesying!13But no longer prophesy at Bethel, for it is a sanctuary of the king and a royal residence.”14Then Amos replied to Amaziah, “I am not a prophet, nor am I the son of a prophet; for I am a herdsman and a grower of sycamore figs.15But the LORD took me from following the flock and the LORD said to me, ‘Go prophesy to My people Israel.’).
The reason for sending Jonah is that the LORD sees the misery of Israel and that they have no helper. The misery in which the people find themselves is the consequence of their abandonment of the LORD. Therefore He must let this misery come upon His people. But in spite of His judgment He will not erase the name of the people from under heaven.
Through a man like Jeroboam II the LORD gives his people deliverance. Here again it is the grace of God Who uses a man who does not take Him into account. The prosperity of Jeroboam II is not a sign of God’s approval, but only of His compassion.