Azariah was king in Judah and he worshiped the right God. But everyone still loved those high places, just like Samuel did. And God afflicts Azariah with leprosy for some reason, maybe a bet with Satan, so he has to move to his own separate house and his son serves as regent until Azariah dies. Jotham, his son, takes his place.
Back over in Israel, Zachariah took the throne and he worshiped the wrong gods and he gets assassinated by Shallum who takes the throne for a month before he’s killed by Menahem whose great accomplishment is taxing the rich to pay off the king of Assyria to not kill all the Jews. And he dies, and his son Pekahiah reigns in Israel. And he gets assassinated by Pekah after two years. Pekah reigns for 20 years and sees the Assyrians return and begin taking his cities and exporting his people. And then he gets assassinated by Hoshea who becomes king.
Jotham reigns in Judah and he worships the right God, except for those darned high places, and in those days God decides to afflict Judah with incursions by Aram and Israel for some reason. It’s almost as if these are all geo-political moves that have little to do with whether one worships the right god or not.
But Jotham dies and Ahaz his son becomes king.
Ahaz has had enough of this Jehovah stuff and decides to explore some other options. He even sacrifices his son to another god. Our God would never ask for human sacrifice, except for those times when he did, but those were different because reasons….
Ahaz gets into some wars with Israel and Aram, but loses and is besieged, so he sends all the gold and silver he can muster as a present to the king of Assyria to come and help him out. So the Assyrians come and attack Damascus and crush Aram and carry them off into exile.
So Ahaz goes to Damascus to meet the king of Assyria and he sees a really nice altar there set up to one of the losing gods, and decides that would look cool in God’s house. So he has the priest come up and make some schematics of it and then build it in Jerusalem and orders the priests to only sacrifice on that altar. The old altar will be for him to inquire of God only.
And he strips out some more precious metals from the temple and sends them off to Assyria to keep them happy.
Then he dies, and Hezekiah takes the throne.
Hoshea reigns in Israel, and he worshiped other gods, but wasn’t quite as bad as everyone before him. He becomes the vassal of Assyria, but plots treason and is taken into custody, and Assyria invades and besieges Samaria for three years before it falls. The Assyrians take the Jews away and resettle them in other lands.
The author would like us to know that Israel fell against a better armed, better funded, and stronger army that had conquered many other nations because they chose their religion poorly. Also, I’m sure their “let’s assassinate the king every couple of years” system of government had nothing to do with it either.
The author would also like us to know that Judah sucks too because they’re choosing their religion poorly.
And the author reminds us that all of this choosing their religion poorly stretches back to Jeroboam whom God put in charge knowing that he would introduce the cow gods to Israel and lead them into idolatry.
So the king of Assyria puts foreigners into the cities of Israel and God gets mad that a people who don’t know him aren’t worshiping him, so he sends lions to kill some of them. And the people come to the king of Assyria and say, “Hey, this crazy God we know nothing about is killing us because we don’t know anything about him…”
So the Assyrian king said, “Take a priest from Israel with you to teach you what to do to keep this God you don’t know from killing you.”
So they take a priest and he teaches them to fear the Lord. But the author would like to assure you that those filthy evil Samaritan devils up there in Samaria are still idol worshipers and filthy foreigners and not real true Jews.