Hey, I’m back. New Year, very old book. How were your holidays? Unlike mine, I hope they were relatively vomit free, since I’m pretty after reading Leviticus that any bodily secretion makes you unclean, and I wouldn’t want any of you spontaneously bursting into flames during the first chorus of “Oh, Little Town of Bethlehem…”
Well… I wouldn’t want that to happen to most of you.
Amaziah takes the throne and has his dad’s assassin’s killed, but spares their families, which, considering the time, was pretty darned liberal of him, so good for him.
But Amaziah gets the itch to go raiding, so he organizes his military and appoints officers and hires some mercenaries from Israel.
Prophet: Hey, dude, God hates those guys.
Amaziah: What? The Jews?
Prophet: Well, when you put it that way, you make it sound awkward… but totally, he can’t stand those guys and their idol worshipping, so if you bring them with you, they’re going to cause you to lose.
Amaziah: But I already paid them up front and it’s kind of difficult to ask heavily armed men to give you your money back.
Prophet: Well, you’re going to make a lot of money raiding the Edomites, so be happy with that.
Amaziah: Fine. Hey, Northern Jews, go home. God says he doesn’t like you.
Israelites: Oh, okay, well, we’re still ready to raid places, so I guess we’ll raid and pillage your cities on the way home.
Amaziah: Thanks, God.
So Amaziah goes up to the Edomites and smites them and takes 10,000 prisoners whom he then throws off of a cliff. So, yeah, he’s still an ass.
Then Amaziah takes their gods and brings them back to Judah and decides to worship them.
Prophet: Dude… seriously? You’re worshipping the loser gods that couldn’t protect the Edomites from you?
Amaziah: Shut up, man. This god with many boobs and this god with a giant penis get me, man… they get me…
Prophet: Fine, God’s going to mess you up too, then.
So Amaziah gets the itch to go raiding again and he maybe remembers that the Israelites plundered his cities and killed three thousand of his people, so he challenges Israel to a fight.
Jehoash: Hey, little guy, be content with your victory over Edom. We’re out of your league.
Amaziah: You wanna go, bro. Come at me, bro! Come at me!
(In my mind, Amaziah is played by Mark Wahlburg.)
So Jehoash comes at him and trounces Amaziah and captures him. He takes him to Jerusalem and breaks down a section of the wall. He takes all the loot from the city and some hostages and leaves for Israel.
And then Amaziah gets assassinated.
Uzziah takes over at sixteen, he kicks off a building project and Yahweh is pretty happy with him so long as he’s got a spiritual advisor to guide him.
He raids the Ammonites and the Arabs and the Philistines and wins.
He rebuilds and fortifies Jerusalem. He has a love of horticulture and gets involved in appointing farmers and landsmen. He reforms and builds up the army and oversees some innovations in city defense.
But then he wonders why he needs the priests, so he goes into the Temple and offers some incense to God.
Priests: Hey, man, that’s not cool.
Uzziah starts yelling and shouting and cursing at the priests and God sees this:
God: Okay, well, dude, that’s wrong… and I could tell you to stop it, but instead I’ll just give you leprosy. That should teach you a lesson.
They rush him out of the Temple and Uzziah is forced to live in seclusion and his son Jotham becomes regent in his stead until Uzziah dies.
He even gets a separate grave, because he has the leprosy cooties that will infect the dead apparently.
Jotham takes the throne and realizes that he should just leave Yahweh alone and stick to being king. He does some building projects and fights the Ammonites and steals their stuff and then he dies and Ahaz takes the throne.
Ahaz takes the throne and he’s an asshole. He abandons the cult of Yahweh and worships other gods and engages in human sacrifice, but he kills his own kids instead of the kids of the Canaanites, so that’s not kosher with Yahweh, so God lets him lose a lot of battles. And this is totally because of the idolatry and not because Ahaz sucks as a general and spent all of his time building up level one grunts instead of investing in his town and building up some Griffons or Wyverns or Death Knights. F***ing noob.
Three nerds are laughing right now at that joke.
So Israel comes down and fights Ahaz and he loses and they capture two hundred thousand women, girls, and sons to go off and be slaves and sex slaves. But the prophet Oded meets the army and says:
“Hey! What the hell? God only let you win because he was angry with Judah for worshipping the same gods you worship… okay, admittedly, that makes no sense, but it sounded better in my head. Anyway, give back the women and children or God’s going to get angry with you.”
So, after some discussion, they send the women and children home with some clothes and shoes, because, you know, they previously stripped them naked because people are horrible.
Then the Edomites attack and the Philistines attack and Ahaz is stupid and appeals to Assyria for help, which would kind of like the Baltic states in WW2 asking Hitler for help in fending off the Russians. You can’t trust him and it’s not going to end well. And it doesn’t. Ahaz tries to bribe the king of Assyria, but he takes the bribe and continues to raid Judah anyway.
So Ahaz goes, “Hey, I guess I’ll try some new gods. Those Aramean gods look cool.”
Surprisingly, a change of religion doesn’t help him. He desecrates Yahweh’s temple and seals it shut, and then he dies and Hezekiah takes over.
Hezekiah takes the throne and he reopens the Temple and calls everyone together.
Hez: Okay, guys, we’re doing another religion change again. We’re going back to Yahweh and everything here sucks not from poor management, corruption, and incompetence, but because our fathers chose the wrong religion.
Israelite: Then why are the Assyrians doing so well?
Hez: Uh… because they’re not chosen by God…
Israelite: Maybe he should choose them instead and then we can be great and powerful and still have sex orgies to our gods.
Hez: Look, it doesn’t work that way, okay?
Israelite: Maybe it should!
Hez: Can someone just put him outside, please? Okay, look, we’re going back to Yahweh worship, so everyone get on board or else, okay? Levites? Go clean everything up and open the Temple. People? Bring me animals to kill. Yahweh seems to like it when we do that. Get a band together. So they have a shindig, a lot of critters die, and everyone is back on board with Yahweh.
They celebrate the Passover and thousands more critters die. Everyone is happy and full of lamb.
After this, fundamentalist religious mobs go about all the cities in Judah smashing up idols and altars of other gods.
Then Hezekiah reorganizes the priesthood. Hey, guys, I’m starting to think that there was a lot of political infighting between the kings and the priestly caste over who should get the most influence and perks from their position.
The Assyrians are on the march, and Hezekiah fortifies Jerusalem and sabotages some water sources near the city to put stress on the Assyrian army.
Uh… we’ve read all this before. The Assyrians trash talk Judah and God and Hezekiah says, “Hey, God, you hear this shit?” And God sends down an angel and kills 180,000 Assyrians for trash talking him.
So the Assyrians slink away and Hezekiah feels pretty good about himself, and God can’t let that stand, so God makes him sick, and Hezekiah repents for feeling good about himself and God says, “Okay, I won’t punish you, I’ll punish the generations that follow yours! Don’t let anyone say I’m not a just and fair God!”
And Hezekiah does more stuff, building projects and stuff and then he dies and Manasseh takes the throne.
Advisors: Okay, Manasseh, your twelve and king, so it’s very important that we talk about some things.
Manasseh: Phhpppt… what?
Advisors: Can you… can you put down the Game Boy, son? We need to talk to you.
Manasseh: Sigh…. FINE! What?
Advisors: Okay, well, we’ve got lots of religious cults in the kingdom and people are curious… could… could you look at us while we’re talking to you? Manasseh? Okay… what religion are you going to support?
Manasseh: Sigh… what are my choices, nerds?
Advisors: Okay, your dad went with Yahweh. You’ve got to live by a bunch of rules and kill animals to make him happy.
Manasseh: Sounds pretty metal, but I don’t know about the rules…
Advisors: Or… you can go with the fertility goddess and see lots of boobies.
So Manasseh screws everything up and goes whole hog in on foreign gods and orgies and who could possibly have guessed that giving a twelve year-old boy absolute power would work out so poorly?
Then Assyria comes up and takes him hostage and leads him away with a hook in his nose to an Assyrian jail for a time out, and while in jail, Manasseh decides to find Jesus as all ex-cons do, and he gets to come back and be king again.
But this time, he’s learned his lesson and he starts cleaning up the country from idols, but God is still hacked off and planning on destroying Judah. Then Manessah dies and his son Amon takes the throne, but he only lasts two years before he’s assassinated and his son Josiah takes the throne.